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Fantasy football and the cold future of robot journalism

For fantasy football players, the service is a clever added bonus that keeps people on site longer. It’s like having a hometown beat reporter covering your fantasy team: analyzing your draft picks, providing fun recaps of games, and insightful game-day analysis. But Automated Insights, and contemporaries like Narrative Science, are having a major impact outside the realm of fantasy football. Such prominent news organizations as Associated Press are trialing this…

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What happens if you hide everything on Facebook? I tried it for a day.

Spoiler: not much really happened. Telling Facebook you want to hide everything it shows you only means it will try to show you those same things again later. I began my day of refusal with a perfectly pleasant photo of a friend boating. I don’t want to see this. Next was a post from someone I don’t know, but liked by someone I do, about Iggy Azalea. Nope. Another boating…

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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…

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The Surprisingly Savvy Weird Al Internet Machine

When he talks about his business being threatened by YouTube parody video-makers, he’s talking about the fact that the public’s yen for parodies is being met by amateurs. Earlier this week, a young woman turned an infamous recording of a Comcast customer service call into a belty ballad. Between the release of that recording and its conversion into digital video fodder, fewer than 24 hours had elapsed. This is an…

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Language Log » 25 Questions for Teaching with “Word Crimes”

A little perspective is good. So is genre awareness… anybody who takes this song literally is missing the point of satire. After the apocalypse happens and society collapses, my knowledge of the difference between irony and coincidence won’t help me escape the zombie hordes. While “grammar nerds” are psyched about Weird Al’s new “Word Crimes” video, many linguists are shaking their heads and feeling a little hopeless about what the…