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Topical Satire Is Not “Fake News.”

While I’ve been preparing to teach a class on memes and “fake news,” my complaints are all about propaganda that misleads in order to wield influence or make money. I am not talking about the “fake news” which is clever satire, such as these two posts which made me belly-laugh. The Sanders pic I found in my Facebook feed, where it had been posted on P-diddy’s page. The Obama pic is…

Little Things

I recently came across an abandoned stash of tiny doll shoes. When TeenGirl was little, she would take the tiny shoes off her tiny dolls, and if she momentarily lost one, she’d be distraught. My wife finally got all the shoes in one place, put them on a ledge, and we all forgot about them. This magazine article describes a subculture based on the aesthetic of miniatures, and the mastercrafting…

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When it comes to the truth, point of view really does matter.

You may have seen a version of this meme floating around. I don’t know the source of the original, but just now I came across an adaptation by Haplo Schaffer: I like it, but I had some thoughts of my own. Hah! And showing that Haplo is an open-minded good sport about this whole thing…. More feedback… again, Haplo is being admirably open-minded, and her followers are participating in a…

Now you can fact-check Trump’s tweets — in the tweets themselves

The Washington Post, which was one of about a dozen news outlets that Trump banned from his campaign events for a few months this summer, has released a Chrome browser plugin that adds Post-sponsored commentary into Trump’s Twitter feed. Sometimes the Post says the commentary will simply add context, but they are announcing it as a fact-checking tool. We made a tool that slips a bit more context into Trump’s…

Astaire Unwound (Ceiling Dance from “Royal Wedding”)

My high school physics teacher, Admiral Peebles, showed us episodes of this nerdy, awesome science video, which demonstrated what various common motions (a falling ball, a rolling ball) look like from fixed and moving frames of reference. The 1969 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey featured a huge rotating set, a realistic representation of artificial gravity in the interior of a space ship. I pored over stills from this scene a few years…

What If the Newspaper Industry Made a Colossal Mistake?

This sounds a lot like wishful thinking, but there’s plenty to learn from well-articulated alternate opinions. What if, in the mad dash two decades ago to repurpose and extend editorial content onto the Web, editors and publishers made a colossal business blunder that wasted hundreds of millions of dollars? What if the industry should have stuck with its strengths—the print editions where the vast majority of their readers still reside…