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Category: Business

Journalism: Sports Illustrated laid off about half of its newsroom today

Journalism: Sports Illustrated laid off about half of its newsroom today

It may be that the value of a journalist was that the journalist was integrated with a printing press or broadcast license. Today, that value proposition has blown up. The “old” journalist had power through the control of information via access to printing presses and broadcast facilities. Now that everyone has low cost access to distribution, do journalists still add as much value as they once did?

Journalism and Selection bias: “Real estate is still the best investment today, millionaires say”

Journalism and Selection bias: “Real estate is still the best investment today, millionaires say”

“Selection bias” is common in news reporting. In this example, the news report about investing in real estate interviews only those who have made much money in real estate, and mostly those who work in the real estate industry. We do not hear from anyone who lost money or had an unsatisfactory experience in real estate investing. This skews our perspective on the subject.

Climate communications: the problem with buying cars based on miles-per-gallon

Climate communications: the problem with buying cars based on miles-per-gallon

Nice illustration of how easy we can be fooled by numbers: to save gas, do you upgrade your 36 mpg car to a newer 46 mpg car, or do you upgrade your pickup truck from 15 mpg to 18 mpg? You drive both the same amount per year. Most people will select the 10 mpg fuel improvement – but they’ll save twice as much gas if they updated the pick up truck.

Climate Communications: Much of what we think we know about “sustainability” and “ethical” food choices is wrong, really wrong

Climate Communications: Much of what we think we know about “sustainability” and “ethical” food choices is wrong, really wrong

Some great examples of how people make decisions – and conclusions – based on marketing propaganda. Many now choose “almond milk” because production doesn’t produce as much green house gases (notably methane) as produced by dairy milk. Except it takes 6.098 liters (1,611 US gallons) to make 1 liter of almond milk, and most almonds are grown in California which has high variability (e.g. frequent drought) in rainfall. People make supposedly environmentally friendly choices based on incorrect information, limited information, or missing critical context.

News is mostly negative because news consumers pay more attention to negative news

News is mostly negative because news consumers pay more attention to negative news

Many studies have found that the “news” is mostly negative, and many studies have also found that news consumers seem to desire negative news. A new study found this is true across 17 countries and is not relegated just to the U.S. or certain European news outlets. A corollary hypothesis is that with the advent of online news and counting of clicks, news editors are aware that negative news sells and hence, choose to deliver more negative news today.

Google clamps down on internal political debates

Google clamps down on internal political debates

Google’s internal culture – to those of us outside the company – was looking like a free-for-all of political divisions and internal disarray. Google is now trying to halt these activities, which might lead to less outrage and more productivity 🙂

Yet another in the endless, shared, fake (or modified) memes on Facebook

Yet another in the endless, shared, fake (or modified) memes on Facebook

This item was shared into my FB feed today, claiming these two were killed in Afghanistan in June of 2019. In fact, the photo is copyrighted with all rights reserved, and is from 2011. The purpose is to emotionally hook viewers into sharing it, thereby getting exposure for their online business. The page appears to be maintained in Kosovo, and their organization’s address for their Pet Cemetery in New York City is that of a college student housing dormitory.

Twitter may be in trouble for privacy violations

Twitter may be in trouble for privacy violations

Twitter has been leaking personal information to 3rd parties for a year. Twitter has also been making “inferences” or assumptions about each of us to aid in targeted advertising. In my own case, Twitter and Facebook have both made false inferences – yet they use these false assumptions to target ads – and presumably to curate our news feeds. We only see what Twitter and Facebook wants us to see – which is literally machine driven propaganda.