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The Emma Watson nude pictures hoax shames our ‘news’ culture

Did you hear that a shady group of antisocial hackers threatened to release nude pictures of Emma Watson after she gave a highly visible speech at the United Nations? It turns out that was just one of many hoaxes that professional journalists unwittingly helped to propagate last week. By Wednesday, a supposed PR firm had stepped up to claim responsibility for the threats against Watson, as part of an effort…

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BP Lawyers Cheat by Adjusting Line Spacing in a Legal Brief

U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier was not amused. In his ruling Monday, Barbier issued an order and then reminded BP’s lawyers that their brief was supposed to be limited to 35 pages, double-spaced: “BP’s counsel filed a brief that, at first blush, appeared just within the 35-page limit. A closer study reveals that BP’s counsel abused the page limit by reducing the line spacing to slightly less than double-spaced.…

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Apple Watch is ugly and boring (and Steve Jobs would have agreed)

I am not feeling the love for Apple’s iWristBrick. What do most contemporary smartwatches have in common? They’re mostly squarish, clunky, bulky, flat things with a screen that go on your wrist. They mostly do things your phone does, and they mostly rely heavily on your phone for a good portion of their functionality. They’re fairly expensive, and it’s not really clear that they do anything amazing that your other…

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What Twitter Changes Might Mean for Academics

This is one of the reasons I still consider my blog to be my main presence on the internet. Twitter and Facebook and all the other commercialized social media platforms regularly change their algorithm in oder to suit their business model, without warning and without the consent of their user bases. Even though I am dependent upon WordPress (and my blog host, and several free plugins, and to Google for…

Joan Rivers

4 writing lessons from the comedy of Joan Rivers

All writers can learn from studying the work of great comics — especially in the age of Twitter, where economy and a sharp point matter. It is said that humor does not lend itself to analysis, that you either get it or you don’t. But I don’t buy that. I believe there are patterns to Rivers’ most interesting work that can be traced, not to imitate her voice or style,…

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Journalism is doing just fine, thanks — it’s mass-media business models that are ailing

Hmm… I warn my freshmen not to use the vague “Some people say…”, so I’m immediately biased against this author’s writing. Nevertheless, the internal links provide a useful overview. Some argue that the rise of the internet has destroyed — or severely crippled — journalism, but all it has really done is disrupted traditional mass-media business models. Journalism itself has never been healthier, and new players are finding new models.…