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We are the product that Facebook has been testing

Up to now, I refrained from posting anything on the FB “contagion” issue, but this article seems to have the right approach. Facebook has made no secret of the fact that its news feed is a manipulated version of reality. It selects the posts and links to display prominently that it has found through testing are the most likely to interest users, and encourage them to return and post themselves.…

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The New American Man Doesn’t Look Like His Father

NPR has a story that should probably have run last weekend, for Fathers’ Day. It’s still an interesting exploration of how the traditional definition of masculinity in culture has changed, as more men are not only studying and working alongside women (and seeing them as peers) but also playing a larger part in childcare. Noguera also has seen men become much more involved with raising their children and general housework. “But…

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William Shatner: My Problem With Twitter’s Verified Accounts

At age 84, William Shatner (most famous for portraying Star Trek’s Captain Kirk) is quite knowledgable about social media. I have no dog in the Twitter Verified Accounts fight, but I’m still interested to hear from a celebrity of his generation (my father’s generation) who is this informed about Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, etc. Acting gives you the courage to go (for the lack of better words) where you haven’t…

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Essay on meaning of a life grounded in the liberal arts @insidehighered

For David N. DeVries, the critical thinking, openness to other viewpoints and appreciation of diversity are all well and good, but those are not why he values the liberal arts. The real reason is pleasure. The pleasure of having my mind tickled into action by the vibrations of words sprung into patterns “where more is meant than meets the ear.” The pleasure of having within my reach congeries of words…

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Millennials Shy Away from Voice Mail

I was happy a few years ago when Seton Hill got a new phone and email system that allowed me to get my voicemails directly via email, but I do so little work over the telephone that the feature is really not that useful. Having grown up in a texting-friendly culture, with unmediated cellphone access to their friends, they have had little formative experience leaving spoken or relayed messages over…

The army of mechanical men no longer obeys my saxophone-issued orders! What will become of the noble workers!?
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Awesome 1935 Soviet Movie Deploys Saxophone-Controlled Robots to Crush Tophat- and Bowler-Wearing Capitalists

I wish I understood Russian, so that I could make sense of this 1935 Russian film featuring a mechanical man remote-controlled via saxophone. Apparently the capitalists take control of the invention and turn it on the workers, at least temporarily. The climax features the workers gaining control of the machines and using them to fight together against the evil capitalists. The story is obviously inspired by Rossum’s Universal Robots, the…