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Black Canary: Justice League of America #73, Art by Dick Dillin & Sid Greene, Aug 1969

Black-Canary

Black Canary
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #73 (Aug. 1969)
Art by Dick Dillin & Sid Greene
Words by Dennis O’Neil

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At Least There’s That: Buzzenfreude

plagNot being a regular follower of Buzzfeed (though it’s hard to avoid their media influence, unfortunately) this almost escaped my attention. It was plagiarism week in the news, this but one of the items in circulation.

From Slate‘s David Weigel:

…The added irony, which is upping the schadenfreude quotient, is that BuzzFeed has cornered a market in hitting politicians for plagiarism. In the fall of 2013, BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski made life hell for Sen. Rand Paul, pulling pages from his books and sections from his speeches that were lifted from Wikipedia or other sources. In 2014, Kaczynski expanded the franchise, shaming candidate after candidate for lifting grafs or phrases from other Republicans, usually (funny enough) Paul…

My following (reply to a) tweet was meant to be playfully insulting, but in retrospect, it looks fair, and harmless. Harmless enough that rather than be offended, David Weigel retweeted it:

…Kaczynski’s findings were baffling and pathetic. Who were these people, who cared enough about politics to mortgage their lives and reputations on runs for office, but didn’t care enough to come up with their own thoughts? The cases of plagiarism were much more blatant than what Johnson’s accused of. People have found him lifting sentences that included factoids; the pols were lifting bland political thoughts, word for word. But BuzzFeed was proving that catching plagiarism had become easy, and that lifting a few sentences without a link-back constituted outright fraud.

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M.I.T. Meets Tumblr: The Anatomy of a Forgotten Social Network

While network scientists have been poring over data from Twitter and Facebook, they’ve forgotten about Tumblr. Now they’ve begun to ask how this network differs from the rest.

Tumblr
The study of social networks has gripped computer scientists in recent years. In particular, researchers have focused on a few of the biggest networks that have made their data available, such as some mobile phone networks, Wikipedia and Twitter.

“One interesting question is whether Tumblr more closely resembles a blogosphere network than a microblogging network like that of Twitter.”

But in the rush, one network has been more or less ignored by researchers: Tumblr, a microblogging platform similar to Twitter. So an interesting question is how the network associated with Tumblr is different from the Twitter network.

Today we get an answer thanks to the work of Yi Chang and pals at Yahoo Labs in Sunnyvale. These guys point out that relatively little is known about Tumblr compared to other networks like Twitter and set out to change this.

The basic statistics are straightforward. Tumblr is a microblogging service with about 160 million users who together have published over 70 billion posts.

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The Decline of Wikipedia: Even As More People Than Ever Rely on It, Fewer People Create It

Tom Simonite writes: The sixth most widely used website in the world is not run anything like the others in the top 10. It is not operated by a sophisticated corporation but by a leaderless collection of volunteers who generally work under pseudonyms and habitually bicker with each other. It rarely tries new things in the hope of luring visitors; in fact, it has changed little in a decade. And yet every month 10 billion pages are viewed on the English version of Wikipedia alone. When a major news event takes place, such as the Boston Marathon bombings, complex, widely sourced entries spring up within hours and evolve by the minute. Because there is no other free information source like it, many online services rely on Wikipedia. Look something up on Google or ask Siri a question on your iPhone, and you’ll often get back tidbits of information pulled from the encyclopedia and delivered as straight-up facts.

Yet Wikipedia and its stated ambition to “compile the sum of all human knowledge” are in trouble. The volunteer workforce that built the project’s flagship, the English-language Wikipedia—and must defend it against vandalism, hoaxes, and manipulation—has shrunk by more than a third since 2007 and is still shrinking. Those participants left seem incapable of fixing the flaws that keep Wikipedia from becoming a high-quality encyclopedia by any standard, including the project’s own. Among the significant problems that aren’t getting resolved is the site’s skewed coverage: its entries on Pokemon and female porn stars are comprehensive, but its pages on female novelists or places in sub-Saharan Africa are sketchy. Authoritative entries remain elusive. Of the 1,000 articles that the project’s own volunteers have tagged as forming the core of a good encyclopedia, most don’t earn even Wikipedia’s own middle-­ranking quality scores.

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The History and Psychology of Clowns Being Scary

You aren’t alone in your fear of makeup-clad entertainers; people have been frightened by clowns for centuries

By Linda Rodriguez McRobbie via Smithsonian.com

There’s a word— albeit one not recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary or any psychology manual— for the excessive fear of clowns: Coulrophobia.

Not a lot of people actually suffer from a debilitating phobia of clowns; a lot more people, however, just don’t like them. Do a Google search for “I hate clowns” and the first hit is ihateclowns.com, a forum for clown-haters that also offers vanity @ihateclowns.com emails. One “I Hate Clowns” Facebook page has just under 480,000 likes. Some circuses have held workshops to help visitors get over their fear of clowns by letting them watch performers transform into their clown persona. In Sarasota, Florida, in 2006, communal loathing for clowns took a criminal turn when dozens of fiberglass clown statues—part of a public art exhibition called “Clowning Around Town” and a nod to the city’s history as a winter haven for traveling circuses—were defaced, their limbs broken, heads lopped off, spray-painted; two were abducted and we can only guess at their sad fates.

Even the people who are supposed to like clowns—children—supposedly don’t. In 2008, a widely reported University of Sheffield, England, survey of 250 children between the ages of four and 16 found that most of the children disliked and even feared images of clowns. The BBC’s report on the study featured a child psychologist who broadly declared, “Very few children like clowns. They are unfamiliar and come from a different era. They don’t look funny, they just look odd.”

But most clowns aren’t trying to be odd. They’re trying to be silly and sweet, fun personified. So the question is, when did the clown, supposedly a jolly figure of innocuous, kid-friendly entertainment, become so weighed down by fear and sadness? When did clowns become so dark?

Maybe they always have been…

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Welcome to President “Modified Limited Hangout” Revisited

 by 

IRS Won’t Say If It Will Comply With Congressional Demand for All Communications and Names Involved in Discriminating Against Tea Party Groups | CNS News

(CNSNews.com) – The Internal Revenue Service has given no indication to the House Ways and Means Committee about whether it will respond to the committee’s demand, delivered in writing last Friday, that the agency hand over copies of all internal communications containing the words “tea party,” “patriot,” or “conservative” and the names and titles of all IRS officials involved in discriminating against tea party and conservative groups when they submitted applications for tax-exempt status.

IRS spokesmen also did not respond to repeated emailed and telephone inquiries that CNSNews.com made between Friday afternoon and Tuesday morning asking if the IRS intended to comply with the committee’s demand–and if not, why not.

I expect that as the firestorm heats up, the IRS will release some relatively harmless stuff, and serve up a couple of low-level human sacrifices.  Only time will tell if it works.

Limited hangout – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A limited hangout, or partial hangout, is a public relations or propaganda techniquethat involves the release of previously hidden information in order to prevent a greater exposure of more important details. It takes the form of deceptionmisdirection, orcoverup often associated with intelligence agencies involving a release or “mea culpa” type of confession of only part of a set of previously hidden sensitive information, that establishes credibility for the one releasing the information who by the very act of confession appears to be “coming clean” and acting with integrity; but in actuality, by withholding key facts, is protecting a deeper operation and those who could be exposed if the whole truth came out. In effect, if an array of offenses or misdeeds is suspected, this confession admits to a lesser offense while covering up the greater ones.

In case you’re wondering how this game is played.

via  Daily Pundit.