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Boosting the Signal: Peaceful Protesters in Baltimore are the Norm

Video of people throwing rocks or burning cars appeals to our baser emotions (anger, fear, disgust), which leads to faster, more intense emotional responses that TV can use to make money (by packaging our eyeballs and selling them to advertisers). TV news is very good at capturing our attention. Images of hundreds of peaceful, determined faces appeal to our higher emotions, which are not as easy to monetize. I want…

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National Science Foundation announces plan for comprehensive public access to research results

This is good news. It’s unfair that government-funded studies get published in private databases that make money off of the public’s desire to access results of studies paid for by our taxes. NSF will require that articles in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and papers in juried conference proceedings or transactions be deposited in a public access compliant repository and be available for download, reading and analysis within one year of publication.…

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Citizen Journalist Thrown Out of City Council Receives $200,000 Settlement

Know your rights as a journalist, and your rights as a citizen. The Mayor called the meeting to order and then said, “First of all, a little house cleaning. Uh, Chief Tatum, if you would, remove the camera from — from the auditorium. We don’t allow filming inside of the city hall here unless it’s specific reasons, so if you would remove the camera.” “Respectfully, Mayor … I am exercising…

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Five myths about daylight saving time

No, Daylight Saving Time was not created to help farmers (actually, they hate it) and no, it doesn’t save energy (running the air conditioner longer in the evenings costs more than we save by turning on fewer lights in the morning). And why are we on “Daylight Standard Time” just four months out of the year? Reading about these myths will make you an *informed* sleep-deprived Monday morning grump. Daylight…

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FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules For ‘Open Internet’

Verizon and Comcast lobbyists hang their heads. Technolibertarians rejoice… within reason. The full text of the policy has not been released, so we’re not sure exactly what the policy means for supporters of keeping the Internet open and weird. The Federal Communications Commission approved the policy known as net neutrality by a 3-2 vote at its Thursday meeting, with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler saying the policy will ensure “that no one…

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The dark future of American space exploration: NASA’s golden age is about to come to a thudding halt

I remember, as a kid, being thrilled by the images that came in from the Voyager flybys in the late 70s and 80s. I wrote a fan letter to NASA when I was about 11, and received a big stack of glossy publications on the Space Shuttle and commercial technologies spun off from NASA inventions. If NASAs New Horizons mission to Pluto is extended beyond 2017, the entire active human presence at…