Showing posts with label media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label media. Show all posts

How to Spot a News Hoax and Prove that Its Source Is Fake

Image via Hoax Slayer
We all know the internet is rife with falsehoods, misinformation and disinformation. And, sooner or later, we're all bound to be taken in by an internet hoax, whether it is a fake news article, a photoshopped image, an advertisement masquerading as legitimate content, or even a government-sponsored propaganda campaign. In this article we'll use a real-world example to take a look at some simple sleuthing strategies on how to spot a hoax news article and prove that its source is fake.

A Drone New World: Disney To Use Flying Robots In Their "Magic"

Like them or not, no one can deny that Disney live operations are major spectacles that are specifically engineered for a maximum "wow" factor. Now, they plan to augment their man-made magic with some help from some happy little flying robot friends. Weirdest sidekick ever?

According to the, Disney Enterprises are massing a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles to fly around and aid with puppetry and light work in their live shows, like Cinderella or Snow White's fun forest friends (if they were electronic and had cousins with the potential to be used for evils from surveillance to assassinations.)

Similar to Jeff Bezos' notion to put drones to work as delivery vehicles, or Google's plan to make them aerial photographers (supposedly) for cartographical purposes, the masters of the Mouse feel that drones would make good "castmembers" (Disney slang for workers.) Three patents approved this week would allow the ground-controlled gizmos to manipulate puppet "tether lines" from the air, carry around portable "flexible projection screens" like flying carpets for movies, or shoot colored lights from the sky (and with Disney's penchant for fireworks, this could look amazing.)

The latter, as part of Disney's "Symphony of Lights", was quoted as being applicable for use “over a sports stadium or theme park where no or few buildings may be present.” Cue the countdown to someone using it to make a wedding proposal. While this technology is interesting and could be used well by such creative types as Disney, does this open a door for constant drone-based entertainment-whoring or flying advertisements to become part of our world?

It's the cirrrrrcle of liiiiife (and sometimes lack thereof.)

"Luddite Hipsters" Rejoice: Tom Hanks Has Created A Typewriter IPad App

Are you one of those retronauts who longs for the days of clacking keys and difficult deletes?  Are you even old enough to remember what a typewriter acted like?  Either way, Tom Hanks is bringing back the dubious heyday of typewriting, all via your suspiciously-slender and technologically-inclined iPad.

As reports, Mr. Hanks has released a new app called "Hanx Writes" that replicates a frustration-free feel of the analog word processors.  Hanks, who is a devotee of typewriters (like some sort of sad spinoff of record collecting), has had his app reenact the moving pages and chattering keystrokes for the ultimate in what he calls "Luddite hipster" appeal.

The "crisp typeface" Hanks lauds is actually your standard typewriter font, with the added bonus of a "delete" button (although this can be turned off and replaced with the classic "XXXX" elimination...seriously.)

The app is free and was co-developed by the Hitcents agency.  So if you need an excuse to take up even more time working on your screenplay, now Forrest Gump is on your side.

Momma always said, "Life is like a box of a bunch of cumbersome letter and symbol keys that make a lot of noise and are hard to find ink for."

Even the Corporate Media Are Coming Out Against the Comcast Merger

The New York Times editorial board has come out against the proposed Comcast/TimeWarner merger.  There are far too few companies with far too much power over the local, state and national media to which the people of this country are exposed.  It is time to bring real competition to the media markets, rather than continuing to allow well-connected corporations to hold the American public hostage to their narrow, self-serving political agendas. From the NYT:
There are good reasons the Justice Department and the Federal acquisition of Time Warner Cable. The merger will concentrate too much market power in the hands of one company, creating a telecommunications colossus the likes of which the country has not seen since 1984 when the government forced the breakup of the original AT&T telephone monopoly.
Communications Commission should block Comcast’s $45 billion
The combined company would provide cable-TV service to nearly 30 percent of American homes and high-speed Internet service to nearly 40 percent. Even without this merger and the proposed AT&T-DirecTV deal, the telecommunications industry has limited competition, especially in the critical market for high-speed Internet service, or broadband, where consumer choice usually means picking between the local cable or phone company.
By buying Time Warner Cable, Comcast would become a gatekeeper over what consumers watch, read and listen to. The company would have more power to compel Internet content companies like Netflix and Google, which owns YouTube, to pay Comcast for better access to its broadband network. Netflix, a dominant player in video streaming, has already signed such an agreement with the company. This could put start-ups and smaller companies without deep pockets at a competitive disadvantage.
There are also worries that a bigger Comcast would have more power to refuse to carry channels that compete with programming owned by NBC Universal, which it owns. Comcast executives say that they would not favor content the company controls at the expense of other media businesses . . .

Issue Complexity and Corporate Conflicts of Interest Lead to Media Silence on Net Neutrality

From Esquire:
The FCC is holding a chat on Twitter today about its new “Net Neutrality rules” proposed by Chairman Tom Wheeler. We implore you to let them hear it. The hashtag to do so is #FCCNetNeutrality, and the chat starts at 2 p.m.
Here’s why it’s a big deal: FCC Commissioner and former telecom lobbyist Tom Wheeler proposed rules two weeks ago that would permit for a “Fast Lane” for those willing to pay for it on the web, relegating the rest of Internet traffic to a slow lane unless a toll is paid to an Internet service provider. That means, yes, Netflix might slow down if Comcast is at odds with the company. But it also means companies like Netflix, in the future, might not be allowed to created — because the toll to start and maintain an Internet business early on would be too heavy.
The new rules have been met with radio silence on television, likely because of the complexity of the issue and because, as David Carr points out, parent companies of cable nets like CNN (TimeWarner) and MSNBC (Comcast) have a rooting interest in keeping the big cable/Internet bundle in place. [Emphasis added.]
This might pass for an artist's rendition of our mainstream press corpse at work, except for the fact that the monkey would eventually come up with the complete works of Shakespeare if given enough time:

Nightmare: Comcast to Acquire Time Warner Cable

As if the internet and cable service of these two corporations weren't bad enough already!  One can only surmise that the service will we twice as bad if this merger is allowed to go through.  Media consolidation continues apace and represents a growing threat to the freedom of information in the United States.  I do not imagine that the Democratic and Republican parties, which are effectively nothing more than subsidiaries of these  corporations, will do much to prevent the further consolidation and monopolization of media in the United States. From Reuters:
Comcast Corp's proposed $45.2 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc could face close scrutiny from U.S. antitrust regulators because of the deal's potential to reshape the country's pay TV and broadband markets.
The company resulting from the merger of the top two U.S. cable service providers would boast a footprint spanning from New York to Los Angeles, with a near 30 percent share of the pay TV market as well as a strong position in providing broadband Internet services.

The all-stock deal, announced on Thursday, would put Comcast in 19 of the 20 largest U.S. TV markets, and could give it unprecedented leverage in negotiations with content providers and advertisers.
The situation is bad enough already . . .

Corporate Media Monopolies Hinder Technological Development

Today, corporate media consolidation has resulted in a situation where a handful of companies now exert virtual monopoly control over our media environment.  From the New York Times:
Susan Crawford, a professor at the school, has written a book, “Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age,” that offers a calm but chilling state-of-play on the information age in the United States. She is on a permanent campaign, speaking at schools, conferences and companies — she was at Google last week — and in front of Congress, asserting that the status quo has been great for providers but an expensive mess for everyone else. 

Ms. Crawford argues that the airwaves, the cable systems and even access to the Internet have been overtaken by monopolists who resist innovation and chronically overcharge consumers. 

The 1996 Telecommunications Act, which was meant to lay down track to foster competition in a new age, allowed cable companies and telecoms to simply divide markets and merge their way to monopoly . . . 

Has the Internet Already Killed Television?

From NPR:
In a flashy presentation to advertisers Wednesday night, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt declined to forecast that Internet video will displace television watching. Instead he declared: "That's already happened."

Schmidt said "the future is now" for YouTube, which recently passed the milestone of 1 billion unique visitors every month. But, he added with the Third World in mind, if you think that's a large number, "wait until you get to 6 (billion) or 7 billion."

Schmidt and YouTube, which billed the event as a "brandcast," shifted away from the video platform's relationship to TV.