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In Ferguson, Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery gives account of his arrest

Comedian Robin Williams and actress Lauren Bacall died. That news made me sad. Reporters from the Washington Post and the Huffington Post were arrested last night by police who refused to provide their badge numbers. The reporters were covering the ongoing tension between police and crowds protesting the death of an unarmed teenager, who police say resisted arrest, but who witnesses say was shot in the back with his hands…

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5 myths about Facebook’s Messenger app

Real journalism takes a look at that Huffington Post blog warning you that Facebook Messenger will summon intubation associates who will extract up to a pint of six different bodily fluids. And I, for one, welcome our Facebook overlords. One blog from the Huffington Post published in December has gone viral, making the rounds on the social network recently because it claims the app gives Facebook “direct control over your…

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Liking Everything He Saw on Facebook for 24 Hours Turned Him Into a Marketing Machine

I like everything. Or at least I did, for 48 hours. Literally everything Facebook sent my way, I liked—even if I hated it. I decided to embark on a campaign of conscious liking, to see how it would affect what Facebook showed me. I know this sounds like a stunt (and it was) but it was also genuinely just an open-ended experiment. I wasn’t sure how long I’d keep it…

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How Humans Respond to Robots

The play that coined the word “robot,” Karel Capek’s R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), included violent robots, compassionate robots, and herd robots (who are content to be workers until incited by the violent robot leaders). This article explores a wide range of human responses to robots. Our expectations of robots and our response to their designs varies internationally; the Uncanny Valley curve has a different arc depending where you are. Certainly,…

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My Dad Is a Right-Wing Asshole (Village Voice)

A closed-minded liberal writing a letter to the very liberal Village Voice receives a powerful dose of tolerance. Saving to show my students during a unit on developing an argument. The world isn’t being destroyed by democrats or republicans, red or blue, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist — the world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world. The world is being hurt…

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I accidentally started a Wikipedia hoax

Hoaxes roam the Information Superhighway, camouflaged as factoids. Consider this one: “Amelia Bedelia was a maid in Cameroon.” The “Amelia Bedelia was a maid in Cameroon” factoid had been cited in a lesson plan by a Taiwanese English professor. It was cited in a book about Jews and Jesus. It was cited in innumerable blog posts and book reports, as well as a piece by blogger Hanny Hernandez, who speculated that Amelia…

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Marketers package female empowerment to sell products

This article makes an excellent point. The essential connection between the positive message that makes the pro-girl ad worth sharing and the product being sold is tentative at best. In a recent ad for Always feminine hygiene products, women and men are asked to demonstrate how it looks to “run, throw and fight like a girl.” They all portray inept ditziness. Then a group of young girls is asked to…