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Interface changes make it a little harder to work with Google’s image search

When I’m looking for a picture I’m going to use in an academic project, I typically search Creative Commons; however, Google’s image search is quite useful. The interface is changing to make it easier to view a picture in context (and a little harder to download an image without visiting the source page). The the underlying tools (opening an image in a new window, downloading the image, and searching by…

Google Autocomplete Still Makes Hateful Autocorrect Suggestions

The top suggestion for a Holocaust search no longer points to a denier’s website, but Google’s search algorithm still makes some truly awful suggestions. (I’ve turned off the suggested search feature on my browser.) The top result for “Black lives matter is a hate group,” for instance, leads to a link by the Southern Poverty Law Center that explains why it does not consider Black Lives Matter a hate group.…

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How Facebook is killing comedy (and other indie content creators)

Facebook has monetized access to online content. The mobile apps make it difficult for you to actually leave Facebook to follow a link, which means Facebook is increasingly showing other people’s content, bypassing the creator’s own ads (and their “subscribe” and “comment” and “contact us” and “archive” buttons). As Internet comedy writer Matt Klinman puts it: The problem is that Facebook is our editor and our boss. They decide what…

Why We Forget Most of the Books We Read

It was pleasurable to encounter a familiar reference to Plato’s Phaedrus (which I just assigned in my Media & Culture class) in this Atlantic article on memory in the digital information age. With its streaming services and Wikipedia articles, the internet has lowered the stakes on remembering the culture we consume even further. But it’s hardly as if we remembered it all before. Plato was a famous early curmudgeon when…

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Updated a post about Sarah Rush — the “launch when ready” crew member from 1979 Battlestar Galactica

I recently noticed that a blog post I created in 2003 has been getting a spike in traffic. Today my five-year-old son was watching one of my wife’s old Battlestar Galactica videotapes, and I remembered that when I was about 11 I had a crush on the cute bridge crewmember who told the Viper pilots stuff like “Transferring core command to probe craft. You may launch when ready.” —Battlestar Galactica…