Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Will fake news drown out real news?

I've been on Facebook for about 6 years now. I like the posts my Facebook friends put up, because it's things I have an interest in that I probably wouldn't have otherwise seen. Of course there are the funny videos and such too. But I like the history, news, and such that I find.

But lately there has been an avalanche of fake news.  This comes from facebook posts directly, and sometimes from a friend inadvertently thinking such posts are actual news.  It wouldn't be too bad  if this was just a once in a while occurrence, but lately it has become almost as frequent as all other posts combined. 


"A dozen or so of the sites are published in-house, but posts from the company’s small team of writers are free to be shared among the entire network. The deal for a would-be Liberty Alliance member is this: You bring the name and the audience, and the company will build you a prefab site, furnish it with ads, help you fill it with content and keep a cut of the revenue. Coca told me the company brought in $12 million in revenue last year. (The company declined to share documentation further corroborating his claims about followers and revenue.)
Because the pages are run independently, the editorial product is varied. But it is almost universally tuned to the cadences and styles that seem to work best on partisan Facebook. It also tracks closely to conservative Facebook media’s big narratives, which, in turn, track with the Trump campaign’s messaging: Hillary Clinton is a crook and possibly mentally unfit; ISIS is winning; Black Lives Matter is the real racist movement; Donald Trump alone can save us; the system — all of it — is rigged."

Click bait will destroy Facebook, and maybe a large chunk of the Internet.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What will become of libraries?


"Besides, it's easy to criticize. But when was the last time any of these traditionalists even stepped foot in a library? When I was growing up in the 1970s, libraries were where you went to read books and research papers. They were a portal to new and exciting worlds, a pathway to adventure.
Today, we do all that through electronic devices we can hold in the palm of our hand. Public libraries could soon become just another relic of the past, like the full-service gas station, the five-and-dime and the soda fountain in the corner drugstore."

So what should libraries be doing now that almost any needed bit of information or entertainment can be found in a little magic box we carry around?  How about Internet connection for those who can't otherwise reach it?  How about access to the latest technologies before most people know how to use them?  And how about video games?  
I am happy to see that libraries are flexible enough to move with the times and still provide useful stuff for the public.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The future of farming? Using sea water


"It’s the first agricultural system of its kind in the world and uses no soil, pesticides, fossil fuels or groundwater. As the demand for fresh water and energy continues to rise, this might be the face of farming in the future.
An international team of scientists have spent the last six years fine-tuning the design – first with a pilot greenhouse built in 2010; then with a commercial-scale facility that began construction in 2014 and was officially launched today."

wow, I hadn't heard of this before.  Looks great!