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Capturing bits & pieces on media, politics, culture & daily life

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gq:

The Man Who Hacked Hollywood

The hacker’s eyes widened as the image filled his screen. There, without her makeup, stood Scarlett Johansson, her famous face unmistakable in the foreground, her naked backside reflected in the bathroom mirror behind her, a cell phone poised in her hand snapping the shot. Holy shit, he thought. This was a find—even for him. For years, he had stealthily broken into the e-mail accounts of the biggest players in Hollywood. He had daily access to hundreds of messages between his victims and their managers, lawyers, friends, doctors, family, agents, nutritionists, publicists, etc. By now he knew more dirt than almost anyone in L.A.—the secret romances, the hidden identities, films in all stages of development. Still, this photo, a private self-portrait of one of our biggest stars, was something new, something larger than life, especially his. “You feel like you’ve seen something that the rest of the world wanted to see,” he says. “But you’re the only one that’s seen it.”

From GQ contributor David Kushner’s exclusive report on Chris Chaney, the man who cracked the email accounts of dozens of Hollywood’s biggest stars—including Scarlett Johansson and Mila Kunis—and spilled their secrets for the world to see

gq:

The Man Who Hacked Hollywood

The hacker’s eyes widened as the image filled his screen. There, without her makeup, stood Scarlett Johansson, her famous face unmistakable in the foreground, her naked backside reflected in the bathroom mirror behind her, a cell phone poised in her hand snapping the shot. Holy shit, he thought. This was a find—even for him. For years, he had stealthily broken into the e-mail accounts of the biggest players in Hollywood. He had daily access to hundreds of messages between his victims and their managers, lawyers, friends, doctors, family, agents, nutritionists, publicists, etc. By now he knew more dirt than almost anyone in L.A.—the secret romances, the hidden identities, films in all stages of development. Still, this photo, a private self-portrait of one of our biggest stars, was something new, something larger than life, especially his. “You feel like you’ve seen something that the rest of the world wanted to see,” he says. “But you’re the only one that’s seen it.”

From GQ contributor David Kushner’s exclusive report on Chris Chaney, the man who cracked the email accounts of dozens of Hollywood’s biggest stars—including Scarlett Johansson and Mila Kunis—and spilled their secrets for the world to see

Filed under longreads celebrities interesting gq

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I Was a Cookbook Ghostwriter - NYTimes.com

teachingliteracy:

Many real-world cooks have wondered at the output of authors like Martha Stewart, Paula Deen and Jamie Oliver, who maintain cookbook production schedules that boggle the mind. Rachael Ray alone has published thousands of recipes in her cookbooks and magazine since 2005. How, you might ask, do they do it?

The answer: they don’t. The days when a celebrated chef might wait until the end of a distinguished career and spend years polishing the prose of the single volume that would represent his life’s work are gone. Recipes are product, and today’s successful cookbook authors are demons at providing it — usually, with the assistance of an army of writer-cooks.

“The team behind the face is invaluable,” said Wes Martin, a chef who has developed recipes for Ms. Ray and others. “How many times can one person invent a new quick pasta dish?”

Filed under cookbooks ghostwriting food interesting

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kenyatta:

Kevin Slavin: How algorithms shape our world (TED Global)

Kevin Slavin argues that we’re living in a world designed for — and increasingly controlled by — algorithms. In this riveting talk from TEDGlobal, he shows how these complex computer programs determine: espionage tactics, stock prices, movie scripts, and architecture. And he warns that we are writing code we can’t understand, with implications we can’t control.

Version 2.0 of Kevin’s talk on algorithms is both brilliant and wonderful.

(Source: youtube.com, via futurejournalismproject)

Filed under TED TED Global videos Kevin Slavin algorithms interesting

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markcoatney:

skepttv:

The Flashed Face Effect

Here is some really surprisingly research coming out of the University of Queensland. While working on an unrelated project, researchers aligned a bunch of faces at the eyes. The surprise came when the faces were played back in succession while not looking directly at them. Viewed in the periphery, what you perceive is a procession of horrific, scary, monster-like faces. But stop the video on any one of them, and each turns out to be a pretty, pleasing face.

According to the researchers, Sean Murphy and Matt Thompson, what your brain keys on are all the specific differences between each face. As the center of your brain’s attention, those differences appear magnified and greatly distorted.

Watch this video twice. First do as it says, and keep your eyes on the cross. Note how ugly the faces are that go by. And then play it a second time, looking directly at the faces, and pausing it whenever you like. There is not an ugly one to be found.

Amazing!

by Brian Dunning.

This is fascinating.

Filed under videos science The Flashed Face Effect interesting

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More Than 1 Billion People Are Hungry in the World

For many in the West, poverty is almost synonymous with hunger. Indeed, the announcement by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in 2009 that more than 1 billion people are suffering from hunger grabbed headlines in a way that any number of World Bank estimates of how many poor people live on less than a dollar a day never did.

But is it really true? Are there really more than a billion people going to bed hungry each night? Our research on this question has taken us to rural villages and teeming urban slums around the world, collecting data and speaking with poor people about what they eat and what else they buy, from Morocco to Kenya, Indonesia to India. We’ve also tapped into a wealth of insights from our academic colleagues. What we’ve found is that the story of hunger, and of poverty more broadly, is far more complex than any one statistic or grand theory; it is a world where those without enough to eat may save up to buy a TV instead, where more money doesn’t necessarily translate into more food, and where making rice cheaper can sometimes even lead people to buy less rice.

But unfortunately, this is not always the world as the experts view it. All too many of them still promote sweeping, ideological solutions to problems that defy one-size-fits-all answers, arguing over foreign aid, for example, while the facts on the ground bear little resemblance to the fierce policy battles they wage.

Jeffrey Sachs, an advisor to the United Nations and director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, is one such expert. In books and countless speeches and television appearances, he has argued that poor countries are poor because they are hot, infertile, malaria-infested, and often landlocked; these factors, however, make it hard for them to be productive without an initial large investment to help them deal with such endemic problems. But they cannot pay for the investments precisely because they are poor — they are in what economists call a “poverty trap.” Until something is done about these problems, neither free markets nor democracy will do very much for them.

(Source: azspot)

Filed under poverty foreign policy hunger interesting

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futurejournalismproject:

Twitter visualized is a giant game of laser tag.

Twenty-four hours of twitter via Anders Johansson on the Simulacra blog at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London:

Tweets are shown as red circles, and re-tweets as yellow points moving in the direction of information, i.e. from the original tweets towards the location of the re-tweets.

I suppose the geographic clustering in the center of the city shouldn’t surprise but I’d love to see other major cities in action to see if they’re the same.

(Source: futurejournalismproject, via copyeditor)

Filed under twitter interesting

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…a relationship that remains rooted in a calculus of exchange is dismal. We don’t understand sex in Western cultures because we no longer try to understand love. We understand tit-for-tat, you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours, business partnerships, contracts, torts, hostile takeovers, and war. All these are the obvious analogies to the world we’ve come to embrace over the past four hundred years or so. But love is a complete mystery to us. The loss of Christianity as a significant cultural force has meant a loss in the rich landscape of love that so ignited the imaginations of Dante and Petrarch, Shakespeare, Donne and Herbert, and the romantic poets. But it is also a loss of the link between romantic love and what in the New Testament is rendered by the Greek word agape: a love that mirrors the way God loves. Romance may begin as a system of exchange, but to love as God loves is the heart’s deep desire. And here’s perhaps the most radical claim of Saint Paul: love, like faith and hope, is a gift from God. In medieval theology, it’s called a theological virtue. It is a skill, a practice that enables a person to relinquish the economic model of relationship (“what’s in it for me?”). It is an act of faith in the other, an opening to possibilities in the relationship that one cannot control. It is a risk. It takes time, effort, creativity, and single-mindedness to constantly ask the question “how can I love this person the way God would love this person?” But its payoff, in contrast to the economic model, is that it becomes perhaps the only island in our market-driven world where one is not engaging in competition, but cooperation.
Sex and the Anti-Economics of Love (via azspot)

(via azspot)

Filed under love economics sex interesting

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markcoatney:

nationalpost:

Map: The world’s most — and least — livable citiesIn an annual survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Vancouver scored 98% on a combination of stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure to be ranked the world’s most livable city. Above, the survey’s top ten — and bottom ten — mapped.

Apparently if you live anywhere but Canada or Australia, you’re a total sucker. 

markcoatney:

nationalpost:

Map: The world’s most — and least — livable cities
In an annual survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Vancouver scored 98% on a combination of stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure to be ranked the world’s most livable city. Above, the survey’s top ten — and bottom ten — mapped.

Apparently if you live anywhere but Canada or Australia, you’re a total sucker. 

Filed under cities maps lists livable cities interesting top 10

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futurejournalismproject:

Visualizing the influence of Egyptian social media by mapping users and their Twitter posts.
Via Kovas Boguta:

The map is arranged to place individuals near the individuals they influence, and factions near the factions they influence. The color is based on the language they tweet in — a choice that itself can be meaningful, and clearly separates different strata of society.
Many fascinating structures can be seen. Wael Ghonim, a pivotal figure in this self-organzing system who instigated the initial protests on January 25th, is prominently located near the bottom of the network, straddling two factions as well as two languages. The size of his node reflects his influence on the entire network. 
The lump on the left is dominated by journalists, NGO and foreign policy types; it seems nearly gafted on, and goes through an intermediary buffer layer before making contact with the true Egyptian activists on the ground. However, this process of translation and aggregation is key; it is how those in Egypt are finally getting a voice in Western society, and an insurance policy against regime violence. Many of the prominent nodes in this network were at some point arrested, but their deep connectivity help ensure they were not “dissapeared”.

Viewing (and zooming in on) the hi-res PDF is recommended.
PDF is recommended.

futurejournalismproject:

Visualizing the influence of Egyptian social media by mapping users and their Twitter posts.

Via Kovas Boguta:

The map is arranged to place individuals near the individuals they influence, and factions near the factions they influence. The color is based on the language they tweet in — a choice that itself can be meaningful, and clearly separates different strata of society.

Many fascinating structures can be seen. Wael Ghonim, a pivotal figure in this self-organzing system who instigated the initial protests on January 25th, is prominently located near the bottom of the network, straddling two factions as well as two languages. The size of his node reflects his influence on the entire network. 

The lump on the left is dominated by journalists, NGO and foreign policy types; it seems nearly gafted on, and goes through an intermediary buffer layer before making contact with the true Egyptian activists on the ground. However, this process of translation and aggregation is key; it is how those in Egypt are finally getting a voice in Western society, and an insurance policy against regime violence. Many of the prominent nodes in this network were at some point arrested, but their deep connectivity help ensure they were not “dissapeared”.

Viewing (and zooming in on) the hi-res PDF is recommended.

PDF is recommended.

(Source: futurejournalismproject)

Filed under Egypt social media Twitter interesting maps Journalists

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The problem with bringing data to journalism isn’t convincing writers and editors that it’s useful for telling stories; it’s the toil required to get the numbers in a usable format. The data is already there, from federal sentencing figures and unemployment rates by county to minute-by-minute Twitter responses to the Black Eyed Peas’ smoldering wreckage of a Super Bowl halftime show. The problem is that it all looks different. It is compiled by different people using different programs and represented in different formats. As a result, mashing up data isn’t as simple as mashing together two balls of Silly Putty. It’s more like trying to plug a bunch of American appliances into outlets in Tbilisi.
Chris Wilson, Slate, An HTML for Numbers: Is Google’s Public Data Explorer the first step toward a universal data format? (via futurejournalismproject)

(Source: futurejournalismproject)

Filed under data journalism interesting google public data explorer

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There are a variety of character traits—intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, self-direction, creativity—that are best learned by being immersed in a community where those traits are cultivated and rewarded. They’re not on the formal curriculum, but they’re implicit in much of what happens on a college campus. Spending four years at a good college makes you a certain kind of person. A college graduate is more likely to read books in his free time, pay attention to spelling and grammar, know how to recognize and fact-check dubious statements by authority figures, juggle multiple deadlines, and so forth.
The Innovator’s Dilemma in Higher Education 

(via azspot)

Filed under education interesting good reads high education internet technology

66 notes

At Media Companies, a Nation of Serfs

soupsoup:

David Carr at The New York Times

For the media, this is a Tom Sawyer moment. “Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?” he says to his friends, and sure enough, they are soon lined up for the privilege of doing his chores. That’s a bit like how social networks get built. (Just imagine if Tom had also schooled them in the networking opportunities of the user-generated endeavor: “You’re not just painting a fence. You’re building an audience around your personal brand.”)

“The technology of a lot of these sites is very seductive, and it lulls you into contributing,” said Anthony De Rosa, a product manager at Reuters. “We are being played for suckers to feed the beast, to create content that ends up creating value for others.”

Last month, Mr. De Rosa wrote — on Tumblr, naturally — about how audiences became publishers, essentially painting the fence for the people who own the various platforms.

“We live in a world of Digital Feudalism,” he wrote. “The land many live on is owned by someone else, be it Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr, or some other service that offers up free land and the content provided by the renter of that land essentially becomes owned by the platform that owns the land.”

Filed under media interesting social networks Twitter Tumblr Facebook