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How Facebook and Twitter control what you see about Ferguson

On Twitter, I see tear-gassed civilians, heavily armed cops, and reporters being arrested. On Facebook, I see people dumping buckets on their heads. The Washington Post offers a good overview of a complex, and important, issue. “The study found that, because Facebook friend networks are often composed of ‘weak ties’ where the threshold for friending someone is low, users were often negatively surprised to see their acquaintances express political opinions…

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Editorial: Video Games and The Great Train Robbery

Through the development of crosscutting and other continuity editing techniques, many filmmakers (perhaps unwittingly) found “that the development of systematic narration and continuous action could also deliver a sense of shock, of percussive action that is broken and picked up again continually.” (Gunning, 311, 2006) The once disjointed forces, attraction and narrative, came together to function symbiotically in films. The same cannot yet be said for most video games. Many…

Avoid Padding

The Best Way to Start an Academic Paper

Both of the following writing samples demonstrate effective use of grammar, punctuation, and other surface-level matters. Which version does a better job introducing an argument? Version 1: The Best Way to Start an Academic Paper In universities across the country, students start papers in different ways. Some papers start with a statement about life or some abstract quality like truth or justice. Others start with a striking quotation from notable…

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Forgive and Remember: How a Good Boss Responds to Mistakes

I’m thinking about risk. When my tween decided to try out for a local professional production of Annie, she told me she’d feel less nervous if I auditioned along with her. I found myself muddling through a dance routine, alongside teenagers who have been taking ballet and tap since they were 4. It’s humbling to find myself standing on the wrong foot, or singing the wrong note. I’m a better…

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BuzzFeed plagiarism, deleted posts: Jonah Peretti explains.

In 2012 my former Slate colleague Farhad Manjoo revealed that several of BuzzFeed’s most popular listicles were lifted in large part from other websites, including Reddit. In the years since, the site has been hit with lawsuits and public accusations from people who feel it has exploited or flat-out stolen their work. Last month the site fired staff writer Benny Johnson after a pair of sharp-eyed bloggers documented several instances…

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Reading Literature on Screen: A Price for Convenience?

Because all of my Seton Hill students get iPads and MacBooks, I try to assign ebooks whenever possible, though students are welcome to use paper, too. This study suggests that students who choose the ebook option have a harder time reconstructing the a timeline of plot events. I’ll keep that in mind as we discuss our texts. In most respects, there was no significant difference between the Kindle readers and…