Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

If You Like “Fake News,” You Will Love “Fake Science”

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Prestigious Science Journals Struggle to Reach Even Average Reliability by Björn Brembs.


In which journal a scientist publishes is considered one of the most crucial factors determining their career. The underlying common assumption is that only the best scientists manage to publish in a highly selective tier of the most prestigious journals. However, data from several lines of evidence suggest that the methodological quality of scientific experiments does not increase with increasing rank of the journal. On the contrary, an accumulating body of evidence suggests the inverse: methodological quality and, consequently, reliability of published research works in several fields may be decreasing with increasing journal rank. The data supporting these conclusions circumvent confounding factors such as increased readership and scrutiny for these journals, focusing instead on quantifiable indicators of methodological soundness in the published literature, relying on, in part, semi-automated data extraction from often thousands of publications at a time. With the accumulating evidence over the last decade grew the realization that the very existence of scholarly journals, due to their inherent hierarchy, constitutes one of the major threats to publicly funded science: hiring, promoting and funding scientists who publish unreliable science eventually erodes public trust in science.

Facts, even “scientific facts,” should be questioned, tested and never blindly accepted.

Knowing a report appears in Nature, or Science, or (zine of your choice), helps you find it. Beyond that, you have to read and evaluate the publication to credit it with more than a place of publication.

Reading beyond abstracts or click-bait headlines, checking footnotes or procedures, do those things very often and you will be in danger of becoming a critical reader. Careful!

Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online – Overview

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online.

The quick summary from the webpage:

“the spread of false or misleading information is having real and negative effects on the public consumption of news.”

  • Internet subcultures take advantage of the current media ecosystem to manipulate news frames, set agendas, and propagate ideas.
  • Far-right groups develop techniques of “attention hacking” to increase the visibility of their ideas through the strategic use of social media, memes, and bots—as well as by targeting journalists, bloggers, and influencers to help spread content.
  • The media’s dependence on social media, analytics and metrics, sensationalism, novelty over newsworthiness, and clickbait makes them vulnerable to such media manipulation.
  • While trolls, white nationalists, Men’s Rights Activists, gamergaters, the “alt-right,” and conspiracy theorists may diverge deeply in their beliefs, they share tactics and converge on common issues.
  • The far-right exploits young men’s rebellion and dislike of “political correctness” to spread white supremacist thought, Islamophobia, and misogyny through irony and knowledge of internet culture.
  • Media manipulation may contribute to decreased trust of mainstream media, increased misinformation, and further radicalization.

The full report, Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online by Alice Marwick and Rebecca Lewis.

A useful report but know up front that its concern is very much agenda driven. The following terms occur in the text, alt-right (89), racists (44), white supremacists (30), without treatment of similar groups but of different agendas.

I think the aforementioned groups are loathsome but when treating media manipulation/disinformation, a broader sampling would be more instructive.

There are extensive footnotes and a great bibliography if you are interested in reading further.

As an overview of the issues of media manipulation/disinformation, I don’t think I have seen a better one.

Suggestions of more detailed case study collections?

Audiogram (New York Pubic Radio)

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Audiogram from New York Public Radio.

My interest in Audiogram was sparked by the need to convert an audio file into video, so the captioning service at YouTube would provide a rough cut at transcribing the audio.

From the post:

Audiogram is a library for generating shareable videos from audio clips.

Here are some examples of the audiograms it creates:

Why does this exist?

Unlike audio, video is a first-class citizen of social media. It’s easy to embed, share, autoplay, or play in a feed, and the major services are likely to improve their video experiences further over time.

Our solution to this problem at WNYC was this library. Given a piece of audio we want to share on social media, we can generate a video with that audio and some basic accompanying visuals: a waveform of the audio, a theme for the show it comes from, and a caption.

For more on the backstory behind audiograms, read this post.

I hope to finish the transcript I obtained from YouTube later this week and will be posted it, along with all the steps I took to produce it.

Hiding either the process and/or result would be poor repayment to all those who have shared so much, like New York Public Radio.

Electronic Literature Organization

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

Electronic Literature Organization

From the “What is E-Lit” page:

Electronic literature, or e-lit, refers to works with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer. Within the broad category of electronic literature are several forms and threads of practice, some of which are:

  • Hypertext fiction and poetry, on and off the Web
  • Kinetic poetry presented in Flash and using other platforms
  • Computer art installations which ask viewers to read them or otherwise have literary aspects
  • Conversational characters, also known as chatterbots
  • Interactive fiction
  • Literary apps
  • Novels that take the form of emails, SMS messages, or blogs
  • Poems and stories that are generated by computers, either interactively or based on parameters given at the beginning
  • Collaborative writing projects that allow readers to contribute to the text of a work
  • Literary performances online that develop new ways of writing

The ELO showcase, created in 2006 and with some entries from 2010, provides a selection outstanding examples of electronic literature, as do the two volumes of our Electronic Literature Collection.

The field of electronic literature is an evolving one. Literature today not only migrates from print to electronic media; increasingly, “born digital” works are created explicitly for the networked computer. The ELO seeks to bring the literary workings of this network and the process-intensive aspects of literature into visibility.

The confrontation with technology at the level of creation is what distinguishes electronic literature from, for example, e-books, digitized versions of print works, and other products of print authors “going digital.”

Electronic literature often intersects with conceptual and sound arts, but reading and writing remain central to the literary arts. These activities, unbound by pages and the printed book, now move freely through galleries, performance spaces, and museums. Electronic literature does not reside in any single medium or institution.

I was looking for a recent presentation by Allison Parrish on bots when I encountered Electronic Literature Organization (ELO).

I was attracted by the bot discussion at a recent conference but as you can see, the range of activities of the ELO is much broader.


BBC Trials Something Topic Map-Like

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

BBC trials a way to explain complex backstories in its shows by Nick Summers.

From the post:

Most of the BBC’s programming is only available for 30 days on iPlayer, so trying to keep up with long-running and complicated TV shows can be a pain. Want to remember how River Song fits into the Doctor Who universe, but don’t have the DVD box sets to hand? Your best option is normally to browse Wikipedia or some Whovian fan sites. To tackle the problem, the BBC is experimenting with a site format called “Story Explorer,” which could explain storylines and characters for some of its most popular shows. Today, the broadcaster is launching a version for its Home Front radio drama with custom illustrations, text descriptions and audio snippets. More importantly, the key events are laid out as simple, vertical timelines so that you can easily track the show’s wartime chronology.

With three seasons, sixteen interlocking storylines and 21 hours of audio, Story Explorer could be a valuable resource for new and lapsed Home Front fans. It’s been released as part of BBC Taster, a place where the broadcaster can share some of its more creative and forward-thinking ideas with the public. There’s a good chance it won’t be taken any further, although the BBC is already asking on its blog whether license fee payers would like an “informative, attractive and scalable” version “linked through to the rest of the BBC and the web.” Sort of like a multimedia Wikipedia for BBC shows, then. The broadcaster has suggested that the same format could be used to support shows like Doctor Who, Casualty, Luther, Poldark, Wolf Hall and The Killing. It sounds like a pretty good idea to us — an easy way for younger Who fans to recap early seasons would go down a storm.

This is one of those times when you wonder why you don’t live in the UK? Isn’t the presence of the BBC enough of a reason for immigration?

There are all those fascists at the ports of entry, so say nothing of the lidless eyes and their operators that follow you around. But still, there is the BBC, at the cost of living in a perpetual security state.

Doesn’t the idea of navigating through a series with links to other BBC and one presumes British Library and Museum resources sound quite topic map like? Rather than forcing viewers to rely upon fan sites with their trolls and fanatics? (sorry, no pun intended)

Of course, if the BBC had an effective (read user friendly) topic map authoring tool on its website, then fans could contribute content, linked to programs or even scenes, at their own expense, to be lightly edited by staff, in order to grow viewers around BBC offerings.

I suspect some nominal payment could be required to defray the cost of editing comments. Most of the people I know would pay for the right to “have their say,” even if the reading of other people’s content was free.

Should the BBC try that suggestion, I hope it works very well for them. I only ask in return is that they market the BBC more heavily to cable providers in the American South. Thanks!

For a deeper background on Story Explorer, see: Home Front Story Explorer: Putting BBC drama on the web by Tristan Ferne.

Check out this graphic from Tristan’s post:


Doesn’t that look like a topic map to you?

Well, except that I would have topics to represent the relationships (associations) and include the “real world” (gag, how I hate that phrase) as well as those shown.

Ontology for Media Resources 1.0

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Ontology for Media Resources 1.0 W3C Recommendation 09 February 2012

From the abstract:

This document defines the Ontology for Media Resources 1.0. The term “Ontology” is used in its broadest possible definition: a core vocabulary. The intent of this vocabulary is to bridge the different descriptions of media resources, and provide a core set of descriptive properties. This document defines a core set of metadata properties for media resources, along with their mappings to elements from a set of existing metadata formats. Besides that, the document presents a Semantic Web compatible implementation of the abstract ontology using RDF/OWL. The document is mostly targeted towards media resources available on the Web, as opposed to media resources that are only accessible in local repositories.

Credit where credit is due. It is nice to see that this ontology comes with a mapping to existing metadata formats.

I would not take the last line about “media resources available on the web,” too seriously. There are more media resources off the web than on. If you find this ontology useful, use it.