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Facebook needs an ethical code

Tuesday, 1 July, 2014 0 Comments

So, Facebook manipulated users’ feeds for a psychology experiment. Why is this is controversial? Over at Animal, Sophie Weiner explains:

“Apparently what many of us feared is already a reality: Facebook is using us as lab rats, and not just to figure out which ads we’ll respond to but to actually change our emotions. According to the authors of this study, it was all perfectly legal. Using an algorithm that can recognize negative or positive words, the researchers were able to comb through NewsFeeds without actually viewing any text that may have been protected under users’ privacy settings. “As such, it was consistent with Facebook’s Data Use Policy, to which all users agree prior to creating an account on Facebook, constituting informed consent for this research,” the study’s authors wrote. That’s right: You consented to be randomly selected for this kind of research when you signed up for Facebook. Might want to check out that User Policy again.”

Is anyone is surprised by this?

Pre-metric weights and measures

Monday, 30 June, 2014 0 Comments

Gooseberries have been a popular fruit in Ireland since as far back as Elizabethan times. Right now, they are bright green, and quite hard and tart, which makes them ideal for making gooseberry fool.


The rags of time

Sunday, 29 June, 2014 0 Comments

John Donne’s The Sun Rising is an aubade, a morning poem that mourns lovers’ parting. Donne, a satirist, lawyer and priest, is considered the pre-eminent representative of the metaphysical English poets.

Busy old fool, unruly sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers’ seasons run?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late school boys and sour prentices,
Go tell court huntsmen that the king will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices,
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

John Donne (1572 — 1631)

Flight Brigade

Saturday, 28 June, 2014 0 Comments

The music of Flight Brigade has been described as a dark dystopian soundscape of triumphant optimism that’s filtered “through a lifting combination of driving piano, soaring strings, accelerating guitars and intertwining harmonies.”

Look Out, Belgium!

Friday, 27 June, 2014 0 Comments

“Germany are the most complete team in the tournament. They have the top goal poachers and a great goalkeeper; they have a midfield packed with creativity and greed for the ball. And they are Germany! More than Italy, Spain, and any other European power, they advance through the World Cup with demoralizing consistency. To be paired against them is to have a strong suspicion of the unfortunate outcome. Their history implants itself in the brain.”

So writes Franklin Foer in Bravo, Klinsmann. And Look Out, Belgium! Foer is the author of How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization, and along with Aleksandar Hemon and Karl Ove Knausgaard he’s leading coverage of the World Cup for The New Republic.

Finding Vivian Maier

Thursday, 26 June, 2014 0 Comments

Excellent documentary about a mysterious nanny, who secretly took over 100,000 photographs and hid them in storage lockers. They were discovered decades later, and Vivian Maier is ranked now among the 20th century’s greatest photographers.

Football is war by other means

Wednesday, 25 June, 2014 0 Comments

Documentary maker Errol Morris invites Nobel Peace Prize winners and nominees to talk about how important the World Cup is for their countries.

Suarez: The chomp

Tuesday, 24 June, 2014 0 Comments

Very slow (sometimes no) net connection here

Monday, 23 June, 2014 0 Comments

Sassoon on Sunday

Sunday, 22 June, 2014 0 Comments

Looking back over the lengthy literary career of Siegfried Sassoon, Peter Levi wrote in Poetry Review: “One can experience in his poetry the slow, restless ripening of a very great talent; its magnitude has not yet been recognised…. He is one of the few poets of his generation we are really unable to do without.”

Everyone Sang

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on—on—and out of sight.

Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away … O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

Siegfried Sassoon (1886 — 1967)

The Gothenburg sound scene

Saturday, 21 June, 2014 0 Comments

“There’s always been a tradition of DIY and keeping things pretty rough and unpolished, that keeps it warm and alive,” says indie singer-songwriter José González. He’s talking about Gothenburg’s underground music scene. The Swedish city is famous for its Way out West festival, which takes place in early August. Until then, let’s chill with the sounds of The Embassy, Frida Sundemo and Boat Club.