Facebook inflated a key video view metric by 60-80% for two years

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No one saw this coming, except everyone who works in online video. The Wall Street Journal reports that social media giant Facebook over-reported video ad view time on its platform for two whole years, citing unnamed sources.

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How the New York Public Library made ebooks open, and thus one trillion times better

Leonard Richardson isn't just the author of Constellation Games, one of the best debut novels I ever read and certainly one of the best books I read in 2013; he's also an extremely talented free/open source server-software developer who has been working for the New York Public Library on a software project that liberates every part of the electronic book lending system from any kind of proprietary lock-in, and, in the process, made reading library ebooks one trillion times better. Read the rest

Crowdfunding a second anthology of great UK sf magazine Holdfast

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Laurel writes, "Holdfast is an award-winning free online speculative fiction magazine that celebrates all things fantastic. We are trying to raise enough money to pay our writers and artists for their valuable work and also print a beautiful paperback. After a successful campaign for anthology #1 and winning the British Fantasy Society award for best magazine 2015 - we're hoping to create an even bigger and better anthology this time." Read the rest

Kickstarting Donald of the Dead: a Trump zombie comic

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Dan Taylor sez, "Prepare for the TRUMPOCALYPSE! When there is no more room in HELL, the dead will TRUMP the Earth. An all-new comic book from the creative team that brought you HERO HAPPY HOUR. If you think the idea of Donald Trump as President of the United States is scary, wait until you get a look at him as a zombie overlord amassing an army of undead to rule the world." Read the rest

Marc "Half-Life" Laidlaw's gonzo cyberpunk is back in DRM-free ebooks

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Marc Laidlaw, the cyberpunk pioneer who went on to serve as writer on some of Valve's greatest video-game titles -- the Half-Life series, Portal -- has just posted his entire backlist to Amazon as $3, DRM-free ebooks, including his debut novel Dad's Nuke (think Fallout, but with religious extremist militants who subsist on "Host on a shingle," this being the cultured recovered foreskin tissue of Jesus Christ on fortified crackers) and Kalifornia, a brilliant and prescient novel about media, cultural disintegration, and celebrity. Read the rest

100 African science fiction writers you should be reading

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Canadian/British science fiction and fantasy author Geoff Ryman, author of the incredible novel WAS, has begun a series in which he profiles 100 working science fiction and fantasy writers in Africa, place by place, starting with Nairobi. Read the rest

Kickstarting an indie graphic novel about John Brown and Harper's Ferry

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Wilfred Santiago and Sanlida Cheng are comics pros who've worked for the likes of Marvel, DC and Fantagraphics, but for "Thunderbolt: An American Tale," their dramatization of the life of John Brown and the militant abolitionist uprising at Harper's Ferry, they've decided to go indie and take it to Kickstarter. Read the rest

Kickstarting a collection of "Decrypting Rita," a graphic novel about a lesbian robot with reality problems

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Egypt Urnash (AKA Margaret Trauth) is kickstarting a third print collection of her webcomic Decrypting Rita (previously), "about a robot lady who's dragged outside of reality by her ex-boyfriend; she's got to pull herself together across four parallel worlds before a hive-mind can take over the entire planet. It's a slickly-drawn story that plays around with narrative in ways only comics can do; those four parallel worlds run beside each other on the page, twining around each other in various ways." Read the rest

Gay Talese learns the subject of his new book is a liar, disavows the book UPDATED

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Gay Talese's forthcoming book The Voyeur's Motel tells the allegedly true story of Gerald Foos, a Colorado motel owner and voyeur who claimed to have conducted "research" on human sexuality by spying on the sex lives of his guests through strategically placed ceiling gratings that let him covertly watch them from the motel's attics. Read the rest

Crowdfunding the publication of Samuel R Delany's journals

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Samuel R Delany is one of the most important figures in science fiction; one of the first prominent black writers in the field; the first out, queer writer; a titan of imagination and a prose stylist without compare. Read the rest

Hong Kong bookseller: I was forced to confess on China TV

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Lam Wing Kee, one of the dissident Hong Kong booksellers who was kidnapped to the mainland by Chinese spies, only to surface on TV confessing to "illegal trading," now says he was forced into the confession. (Image: BBC) Read the rest

Kickstarting a pair of goth cookbooks featuring drawings of Morrissey and Nick Cave

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Elly from Microcosm Publishing writes, "Artist Automne Zingg started drawing pictures of Nick Cave gorging on comfort foods and Morrissey hoarding treats a few years ago to get over a breakup and it turned into an obsession. We got rockstar chef Joshua Ploeg to write lyrics-inspired vegan recipes to go with the books, and the result is... magic." Read the rest

Gawker files for bankruptcy, will sell itself after $140 million Hulk Hogan lawsuit judgement

Gawker founder Nick Denton talks with his legal team before Hulk Hogan testifies in Florida court, March 8, 2016.
Gawker Media was crushed by the $140 million legal judgment in Hulk Hogan's invasion-of-privacy lawsuit, which we now know was financed by a bitter and resentful Peter Thiel. Nick Denton's gossip news site Gawker.com published a sex tape featuring former wrestler Hulk Hogan, and the former wrestler (real name: Terry Bollea) sued with Thiel's help.

The publishing company is now putting itself up for sale, reports the New York Times, citing an anonymous source. Gawker Media Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday “after a judge overseeing the suit against the company entered the full judgment and denied Gawker’s request for a stay under terms the company could meet.”

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Science fiction's Radium Age: prewar stories of postscarcity, peace and justice

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For nearly a decade, science fiction historian Joshua Glenn has waged a campaign to resurrect the "Radium Age" of science fiction: the period from 1904-1933 when writers turned their pens to "Air Battles, Antigravity, Interplanetary Voyages, Lost Worlds, Mad Scientists, Time Travel, and Utopias," before writers like Andre Norton and Arthur C Clarke and Isaac Asimov began their careers. Read the rest

30 years on, Roz Kaveney's "Tiny Pieces of Skull, or a Lesson in Manners" is finally in print and winning prizes

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More than 30 years ago, Roz Kaveney showed a draft of her novel Tiny Pieces of Skull to Neil Gaiman, who was "saddened and horrified" that publishers wouldn't put her story of "trans street life and bar life in London and Chicago in the late 1970s" into print. Read the rest

Class action: publishers paid writers "sale" royalties on ebooks whose fine-print says they're "licensed"

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When you sign a publishing deal, the contract spells out different royalty rates for different kinds of commercial activity; you get so much every time a copy is sold, and significantly more from every licensing deal for the book. Read the rest

Crowdfunding Maximum Plunder, a collection of 1,100 gig posters by Mike King

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Chloe from Portland's Reading Frenzy writes, "Mike King has made more concert posters than any designer in America. This book contains more than 1000 of them. Spanning three decades of music, Maximum Plunder gathers together Mike's work into a comprehensive retrospective. A five-year project, the book presents nearly 1,100 of his remarkable posters from every period in nearly every musical genre, from country to death metal, jazz to punk. You'll see striking examples of Mike's work for both internationally famous bands to barely-known local artists." Read the rest

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