How Wikipedia’s Volunteers Became The Web’s Best Weapon Against Misinformation

from Fast Company For a few minutes near the end of his first presidential debate, Mike Bloomberg was dead. At 9:38 p.m. Eastern time, a Wikipedia user named DQUACK02 added some text to the Wikipedia page for the former Democratic presidential candidate and New York City mayor: “death_date   = {{Death date and age|2020|02|19|1942|02|14}}; |death_place  = [[Las Vegas, Nevada]], U.S.; |death_cause = [[Getting stabbed by Warren, Biden and Sanders]].” Within three minutes, another user named Cgmusselman had reverted the page back. By then the inevitable screenshots and joke tweets had already begun to spread. It was an obvious hoax, and […]

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Chinese Dissidents Feel Heat of Beijing’s Wrath. Even in Canada.

from NYTs Search for Sheng Xue on Google in English and you will find the story of an award-winning writer who left China for Canada after the Tiananmen Square uprising and became one of the world’s leading advocates for Chinese democracy. But that same search in Chinese comes up with a very different portrait: Sheng Xue is a fraud, a thief, a traitor and a serial philanderer. Want proof? It offers up salacious photos, like one seeming to show her kissing a man who is not her husband. As China extends its influence around the globe, it has mastered the […]

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For Two Months, I Got My News From Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned.

from NYTs I first got news of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., via an alert on my watch. Even though I had turned off news notifications months ago, the biggest news still somehow finds a way to slip through. But for much of the next 24 hours after that alert, I heard almost nothing about the shooting. There was a lot I was glad to miss. For instance, I didn’t see the false claims— possibly amplified by propaganda bots — that the killer was a leftist, an anarchist, a member of ISIS and perhaps just one of multiple shooters. […]

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It’s The (Democracy-Poisoning) Golden Age Of Free Speech

from Wired FOR MOST OF modern history, the easiest way to block the spread of an idea was to keep it from being mechanically disseminated. Shutter the news­paper, pressure the broad­cast chief, install an official censor at the publishing house. Or, if push came to shove, hold a loaded gun to the announcer’s head. This actually happened once in Turkey. It was the spring of 1960, and a group of military officers had just seized control of the government and the national media, imposing an information blackout to suppress the coordination of any threats to their coup. But inconveniently for […]

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Google Updates Policy on News Pay Walls. ‘First Click Free’ to End.

from NYTs Publications like The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and The New York Times have long asked readers to pay for access to online articles. But many reading this article online are probably familiar with an easy workaround: Plug a search term or headline into Google, and voilà! Free access to articles normally locked behind pay walls. That digital sleight of hand is great for inquisitive readers, but bad for the publishers that are increasingly dependent on subscription dollars for survival. So now, in an acknowledgment of this industrywide strategy shift, Google is working on new tools that […]

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The Fake-News Fallacy

from The New Yorker On the evening of October 30, 1938, a seventy-six-year-old millworker in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, named Bill Dock heard something terrifying on the radio. Aliens had landed just down the road, a newscaster announced, and were rampaging through the countryside. Dock grabbed his double-barrelled shotgun and went out into the night, prepared to face down the invaders. But, after investigating, as a newspaper later reported, he “didn’t see anybody he thought needed shooting.” In fact, he’d been duped by Orson Welles’s radio adaptation of “The War of the Worlds.” Structured as a breaking-news report that detailed […]

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For Marketers, TV Sets Are an Invaluable Pair of Eyes

from NYTs While Ellen Milz and her family were watching the Olympics last summer, their TV was watching them. Ms. Milz, 48, who lives with her husband and three children in Chicago, had agreed to be a panelist for a company called TVision Insights, which monitored her viewing habits — and whether her eyes flicked down to her phone during the commercials, whether she was smiling or frowning — through a device on top of her TV. “The marketing company said, ‘We’re going to ask you to put this device in your home, connect it to your TV and they’re […]

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What’s The Next Step For Media (And For Us)?

from Seth’s Blog Perhaps the biggest cultural change of my lifetime has been the growing influence and ubiquity of commercial media in our lives. Commercial media companies exist to make a profit, and they’ve grown that profit faster than just about any industry you can name. At first, it was the scarcity created by the FCC (a few channels) and mass markets that led the industry. Now, though, it’s a chaotic system with different rules. A system that rewards certain outputs, relentlessly, generating ever more of those outputs. The participants all believe that the ends will justify the means, all […]

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The Evolution Of Recorded Music

from kottke The Recording Academy has produced a series of three short and breezy videos on the history of recorded music, from the wax cylinder phonograph to cassette tapes to CDs to MP3s. Interest piqued, I went to read more about the history of the CD. When developing the disc, the physical size of it was dictated by Beethoven: The two companies argued about what size, shape and technology the CD should support. It was eventually settled on a disc of 115 millimetres in diameter and 74 minutes worth of storage. Why 74 minutes? To fit Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, of course. […]

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How Star Trek Artists Imagined The iPad… Nearly 30 Years Ago

from ars technica One interesting characteristic of Star Trek: The Next Generation—one that separated it from the original series and most of the early films—was its widespread use of smooth, flat, touch-based control panels throughout the Enterprise-D. This touch interface was also used for numerous portable devices known as PADDs, or Personal Access Display Devices. These mobile computing terminals bear a striking resemblance to Apple’s iPad—a mobile computing device largely defined by its smooth, flat touchscreen interface. To understand the thinking that led to the design of the Star Trek PADD, we spoke to some of the people involved in production of ST:TNG (as well as other Star […]

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How “Mr. Robot” Is Going To Reveal The Storytelling Possibilities Of Virtual Reality

from co.create “You can look away,” the narrator of the Mr. Robot VR Experience tells you, the viewer, just before things get awkward. And of course, you can look away. You can look anywhere you choose in the entire drab apartment, which should be familiar to viewers of the bracing hit USA show. Up until now, the main feature of virtual reality experiences has always been that you can look away, anywhere you want in 360 miraculously accounted for degrees. What’s revolutionary about this experience, though, is that the story in front of you is so compelling, you don’t want to look away. Besides, there will […]

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The Big Lock-In

from Medium What if all of the devices in your life had a common interface, controlled by a single company, that picked what video content you could easily search and access online? What if that single company had its own economic reasons to support some “channels” and hide others? Welcome to the world of Xfinity, Comcast’s brand name for its services. You’ve seen the advertising. Now here’s the big idea: If Comcast has its way, Xfinity will be Americans’ window on the world. Basically, our only window. First, some background. In 1996, Congress passed a law directing the FCC to ensure a competitive […]

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The Future of the Internet Might Hinge on This Bet

from Medium Humans are driven by metaphors. We can’t help it. “Internet access is like electricity,” we say, and that leads to a host of other mental images: standard plugs for a wealth of devices, warm light against a dark frozen landscape, the burdens of life made more bearable. The warring metaphor now is “the Internet is the new TV,” thoroughly managed, channelized, bent on entertainment, ad-driven, interactive only when it suits someone’s business plan. Both of these metaphors are limited and not quite right. That’s the way metaphors work. But we are in fact ants on a wrinkle of […]

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Since 2004, This Small Team Has Been Crushing The Podcasting Competition

from Fast Company One afternoon in 2004, Mikel Ellcessor walked into his boss’s office with a big idea. At the time, he was the head of local content for New York public radio station WNYC. It was making all sorts of interesting shows, but connecting them with the right audience could be difficult. Distributing them outside of New York was complicated and time-consuming, and involved convincing a big group of people working at local public radio stations around the country that a new show was worth their time (and money). It was as if the people behind Parks and Recreation […]

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Among the Disrupted

From NYTs Amid the bacchanal of disruption, let us pause to honor the disrupted. The streets of American cities are haunted by the ghosts of bookstores and record stores, which have been destroyed by the greatest thugs in the history of the culture industry. Writers hover between a decent poverty and an indecent one; they are expected to render the fruits of their labors for little and even for nothing, and all the miracles of electronic dissemination somehow do not suffice for compensation, either of the fiscal or the spiritual kind. Everybody talks frantically about media, a second-order subject if […]

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Grappling With the ‘Culture of Free’ in Napster’s Aftermath

from NYTs Once upon a time, a new technology happened along. It was called radio. Soon enough, some people began plucking wireless transmissions out of the air for their own purposes. One clever young man in Washington figured out how to intercept messages that Navy units sent to one another. “He has represented himself to be at distant naval stations or at sea on warships equipped with wireless apparatus,” a magazine called Electrical World reported in 1907. Back then, this fellow’s actions were not unlawful. They amounted nonetheless to a form of piracy. As radio grew more sophisticated, so did […]

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We Need To Be Pragmatic About The Principle Of Net Neutrality

from the guardian The composer and aesthete Lord Berners was a famous eccentric who hated sharing railway compartments with strangers and developed a sure-fire way of ensuring that he travelled alone. He would stand at the door of his chosen compartment, maniacally beckoning people in. This being England, no one ever entered. Nowadays, the same effect may be achieved by telling people that you wish to engage them in a discussion about net neutrality. You get the glassy smile, the sideways glance checking the location of the nearest exit, the sudden remembering of things that have to be done at that very […]

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Voltaire on the Perils of Censorship, the Freedom of the Press, and the Rewards of Reading

from Brain Pickings Voltaire (November 21, 1694–May 30, 1778) is one of the most revered and quotable writers in literary history, credited with pioneering “social networking” with his Republic of Letters— the remarkable epistolary mesh of correspondence between him and some of his era’s greatest intellectuals on both sides of the English Channel and beyond. But more than a mere participant in literary culture, Voltaire was also its vocal proponent, unflinching custodian, and tireless crusader for its highest ideals. In a poignant and pointed 1733 letter to a high-ranking government commissioner, found in the volume Voltaire in His Letters: Being a Selection From […]

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