Russia's troll factory

An outstanding expose of Internet Research Agency, a St Petersburg, Russia-based army of trolls for hire who post pro-Kremlin messages to comment forums all day. Read the rest

It's pretty darned easy to pull off a nutritional "science" hoax

John Bohannon teamed up with a German documentary crew to undertake a crappy junk-science study on the effects of bitter chocolate on weight loss, and managed to push their hoax to major media outlets all over the world -- here's how. Read the rest

The business model of NSA apologists

Those talking heads you see on TV defending the NSA and calling for Snowden's ass in a sling? They make bank off NSA surveillance contracts. Read the rest

UK Tories forged letter of support in the Telegraph from "5,000 small businesses"

David Cameron tweeted it and the Telegraph published the letter on the front page, listing 5,000 businesses who endorsed the Conservative Party in the General Election, many of which weren't businesses, weren't supporting the Tories, were repeat entries, or were individual employees of businesses who were incorrectly presumed to speak for their employers. Read the rest

Imaginary ISIS attack on Louisiana and the twitterbots who loved it

Gilad Lotan has spotted some pretty sophisticated fake-news generation, possibly from Russia, and possibly related to my weird, larval twitterbots, aimed at convincing you that ISIS had blown up a Louisiana chemical factory. Read the rest

Telegraph's lead political writer resigns because of censorship of criticism of advertisers, especially HSBC

Peter Osborne was the head political writer at the Telegraph, a rock-ribbed conservative paper owned by the shadowy Barclay brothers; he quit after seeing the paper soft-pedal and downplay scandals involving its major advertisers, and broke his silence once he learned that the paper had squashed stories of illegal tax-avoidance schemes run by HSBC. Read the rest

Why journalists should be free speech partisans

Following on the New York Times's decision to continue its critical coverage of China, despite the Chinese government's retaliation against it, Dan Gillmor calls on journalists and news organizations to abandon the pretense of "neutrality" and take a partisan stand for free speech in questions of censorship, surveillance, net neutrality, copyright takedown, and other core issues of speech in the 21st century. Read the rest

Verizon's new big budget tech-news site prohibits reporting on NSA spying or net neutrality

They're positioning the new site "Sugar String" as a well-funded competitor to Wired, but reporters are not allowed to mention NSA spying (in which Verizon was an enthusiastic partner) or net neutrality (which Verizon has devoted itself to killing, with campaigns of overt lobbying and covert dirty tricks). Read the rest

Why (and how) games are art

I sat down for an interview with the LA Times's Hero Complex to talk about my book In Real Life (I'm touring it now: Chicago tomorrow, then Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Warsaw, London...), and found myself giving a pretty good account of why games are art, and how the art of games works: Read the rest

Why the Clarice/Hannibal scene works so well

Brilliant analysis that's part of Tony Zhou ongoing Every Frame a Painting series. Read the rest


The San Francisco Bay Guardian has ceased publication after 48 years of yeoman service to the Bay Area. It will be sorely missed. Read the rest

How AIs are rewriting photographic history

If you send your holiday photos to Google's Autoawesome processor, it will snip out the best smiles and poses and combine them to make pictures of scenes that never actually happened. Read the rest

US Forestry Service wages war on photography in national forests

The new, stupid ban on "professional" photography violates the First Amendment, the Service admits that there's no actual need for it, and it will undermine the visibility of the national forests at a time when they are under unprecedented threat from developers, the energy sector, and mining. Read the rest

Alameda Sheriff boots reporter from SWAT show for "unauthorized photos"

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Newspapers are, pretty much, dead.

Clay Shirky has some some truths: "Maybe 25 year olds will start demanding news from yesterday, delivered in an unshareable format once a day. Perhaps advertisers will decide 'Click to buy' is for wimps. Mobile phones: could be a fad. After all, anything could happen with print. Hard to tell, really." Read the rest

Brits trust Wikipedia more than the BBC, "serious" newspapers

According to a Yougov poll, 64% of Britons believe Wikipedia tells the truth "a great deal" or "a fair amount." Read the rest

Claims of looting at MH17 crash-site

An article in The Wire, citing mostly tabloid and Ukrainian government sources, claims that locals and separatists looted the wreckage of MH17, creating difficulties for forensic investigators. Read the rest

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