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The Media

In Defense of the Anonymous Commenter 198

Posted by Soulskill
from the seems-familiar dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Doug Feaver has an interesting story in the Washington Post 'in defense of the anonymous, unmoderated, often appallingly inaccurate, sometimes profane, frequently off point and occasionally racist reader comments that washingtonpost.com allows to be published at the end of articles and blogs.' Feaver says that during his seven-year tenure as editor and executive editor of washingtonpost.com he kept un-moderated comments off the site, but now, four years after retiring, he says he has come to think that online comments are a terrific addition to the conversation, and that journalists need to take them seriously. 'The subjects that have generated the most vitriol during my tenure in this role are race and immigration,' writes Feaver. 'But I am heartened by the fact that such comments do not go unchallenged by readers. In fact, comment strings are often self-correcting and provide informative exchanges.' Feaver says that comments are also a pretty good political survey. 'The first day it became clear that a federal bailout of Wall Street was a real prospect, the comments on the main story were almost 100 percent negative. It was a great predictor of how folks feel, well out in front of the polls. We journalists need to pay attention to what our readers say, even if we don't like it. There are things to learn.'"
Upgrades

Use apt-p2p To Improve Ubuntu 9.04 Upgrade 269

Posted by kdawson
from the sharing-it-around dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With Jaunty Jackalope scheduled for release in 12 days on April 23, this blog posting describes how to switch to apt-p2p in preparation for the upgrade. This should help significantly to reduce the load on the mirrors, smooth out the upgrade experience for all involved, and bypass the numerous problems that have occurred in the past on Ubuntu release day. Remember to disable all third-party repositories beforehand."
The Almighty Buck

Paper Companies' Windfall of Unintended Consequences 284

Posted by kdawson
from the pulp-nonfiction dept.
Jamie found a post on ScienceBlogs that serves as a stark example of the law of unintended consequences, as well as the ability of private industry to game a system of laws to their advantage. It seems that large paper companies stand to reap as much as $8 billion this year by doing the opposite of what an alternative-fuel bill intended. Here is the article from The Nation with more details and a mild reaction from a Congressional staffer. "[T]he United States government stands to pay out as much as $8 billion this year to the ten largest paper companies.... even though the money comes from a transportation bill whose manifest intent was to reduce dependence on fossil fuel, paper mills are adding diesel fuel to a process that requires none in order to qualify for the tax credit. In other words, we are paying the industry — handsomely — to use more fossil fuel. 'Which is,' as a Goldman Sachs report archly noted, the 'opposite of what lawmakers likely had in mind when the tax credit was established.'"
Censorship

Goldman Sachs Tries To Shut Down Dissident Blogger 161

Posted by kdawson
from the maybe-they'd-like-a-different-number dept.
The Narrative Fallacy sends along a piece from the Telegraph on efforts by Goldman Sachs to silence a blogger who is posting commentary critical of the bank. "Goldman Sachs has instructed Wall Street law firm Chadbourne & Parke to pursue blogger Mike Morgan, warning him in a recent cease-and-desist letter that he may face legal action if he does not close down his website goldmansachs666.com. According to the C&D letter, dated April 8, the bank is rattled because the site 'violates several of Goldman Sachs' intellectual property rights' and also 'implies a relationship' with the bank itself. Morgan claims he has followed all legal requirements to own and operate the website and that the header of the site clearly states that the content has not been approved by the bank. In a post entitled Goldman Sachs vs Mike Morgan, the blogger predicts that the fight will probably end up in court. He went through a similar battle with US home builder Lennar a few years ago after he set up a website to collect information on what he alleged was shoddy workmanship in its homes. 'Since I went through this with Lennar, I've had advice from some of the best intellectual property lawyers, and I know exactly what I can and can't do. We're not going to back down from this.'"
Robotics

"Tweenbots" Test NYC Pedestrian-Robot Relations 197

Posted by kdawson
from the heart-of-gold-beneath-that-hard-bitten-exterior dept.
MBCook recommends Kacie Kinzer's tweenbots page, which documents some of her experiments with small, anthropomorphized robots that need help. Kinzer is writing a thesis (at the Center for the Recently Possible) centered around investigating whether people in New York City will help a cute little robot to get where it's going. "Tweenbots are human-dependent robots that navigate the city with the help of pedestrians they encounter. Rolling at a constant speed, in a straight line, Tweenbots have a destination displayed on a flag, and rely on people they meet to read this flag and to aim them in the right direction to reach their goal."

"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." -- John Wooden

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