Star Wars: The Last Jedi abuse blamed on Russian trolls and ‘political agendas’

More than half of the hostile responses to The Last Jedi, episode eight of the Star Wars saga, were politically motivated trolling or the result of non-human bot activity, according to an academic paper published by a US digital media expert. Morten Bay, a research fellow at the University of Southern California (USC), analysed Twitter activity about the film and concluded that more than 50% of posts are by “bots, trolls/sockpuppets or political…

The Decline of Humanities Enrollments and the Decline of Pre-Law

It’s a myth that humanities majors don’t care about post-graduation employment. What changed was the safety valve of subsequent law school enrollment.

Law school was long the default post-graduation plan for majors in qualitative fields. As long as you had the prospect of a lucrative legal career after college, you could safely major in English or poli sci. Those students didn’t ignore the vocational imperative; they just postponed it. And for a long time, that worked pretty well.

But the Great Recession, combined with AI and offshoring, did a number on law as a career option.

Headshot of U.S. President Donald J. Trump

How Trump Is Making Journalism School Great Again

This is an important time to teach people what journalists do and why it matters. “The media” is much larger than “journalists devoted to the objective coverage of the news.”  If you don’t like the slant, or the shallowness, or the opportunism of the media you run across, then check out several different sources, including reputable ones with slants that differ from yours. (If nowhere on the planet can you…

Russian trolls ‘spreading discord’ over vaccine safety online

The good news is that there are fewer Americans think vaccination is a government conspiracy than your social media stream makes it appear that there are. The bad news is that somewhere out there is an organization that believes it will benefit from you believing that more people doubt vaccinations than really do. “The vast majority of Americans believe vaccines are safe and effective, but looking at Twitter gives the…

Portrait of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, biting his lips as if pensive or nervous.

 The Expensive Education of Mark Zuckerberg and Silicon Valley

Because what he never managed to grok then was that the company he created was destined to become a template for all of humanity, the digital reflection of masses of people across the globe. Including — and especially — the bad ones. Was it because he was a computer major who left college early and did not attend enough humanities courses that might have alerted him to the uglier aspects…

President Trump speaking at a political rally in Florida. He is pointing his finger in the direction of the camera.

‘Not good, not nice’: At Florida rally, Trump says China has ‘targeted our farmers’

They weren’t the most newsworthy part of Trump’s Florida rally yesterday, but I’m just taking a moment to acknowledge a journalist who is using muted language, in keeping with the charge of journalists to report objectively.  It’s perfectly neutral to place, deep in the body of the article, a note about the president’s claim that you need a picture ID to buy groceries, without using any loaded language.  Other reporters…