Many, many Facebook users still don’t know that their news feeds are filtered by an algorithm

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Last year I did the “stop liking things on Facebook” challenge/experiment. Instead of clicking “like” I commented on posts I liked or were of interest to me.

The resulting feed was more of what I wanted to see and of what the algorithm chose for me.

But, as a creature of habit, I went back to clicking and my feed changed back to what the algorithm decided I should see. Sigh.

Originally posted on Fusion:

For heavy Facebook users, let alone social media gurus, the idea that Facebook’s news feed is filtered by an algorithm is very, very old news. But a majority of everyday Facebook users in a recent study had no idea that Facebook constructs their experience, pushing certain posts into their stream and leaving others out. And worse, many participants blamed themselves, not Facebook’s software, when friends or family disappeared from their news feeds.

“In the extreme case, it may be that whenever a software developer in Menlo Park adjusts a parameter, someone somewhere wrongly starts to believe themselves to be unloved,” wrote a team of researchers led by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign doctoral student Motahhare Eslami, in a new paper on Facebook’s news feed algorithm.

The new qualitative research study sampled 40 Facebook users and ran them through an in-depth examination of the ways that Facebook filters their experience. Twenty-five of the users—or more than 60 percent…

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Thousands Set to Attend March to Protest Rape of Elderly Nun in India

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The whole world is watching.

Originally posted on TIME:

Thousands of Indians are expected to take to the streets of the eastern city of Kolkata on Monday to protest the rape of an elderly nun that took place over the weekend.

Thomas D’Souza, the city’s Archbishop, condemned the “inhuman act” in a statement, according to the BBC. “It has brought a lot of shame and pain to all concerned,” he said.

The 74-year-old nun, who was sexually assaulted by six attackers after they burgled and vandalized her convent, is currently in a stable condition at a local hospital. Ten men have been arrested in connection with the incident, although none of them resemble the alleged assailants who were caught on CCTV cameras.

Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of the state of West Bengal, where Kolkata is situated, vowed quick and severe consequences for the perpetrators when they are found. The state police’s special investigative branch has reportedly taken over the…

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The Difference Between “Flawed” Characters and “Too Dumb to Live”

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Kristen’s post highlights one of my pet peeves. I have read many an inexperienced author who wants to write “trendy” stories, rather than what she/he KNOWS. Not only does the plot suffer, but ultimately, so do the characters. Just because particular types of characters are popular today, does not mean that an author should write about them. Nor does that mean they should follow the herd – off a cliff – by creating plot lines that become a caricature of themselves.

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

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Which is more important? Plot or character? Though an interesting discussion—sort of like, Could Ronda Rousey take a Klingon with only her bare hands?—it isn’t really a useful discussion for anything other than fun. To write great fiction, we need both. Plot and characters work together. One arc drives the other much like one cog serves to turn another, thus generating momentum in the overall engine we call “STORY”.

If we goof up plot? Readers/Audiences get confused or call FOUL. Watch the movie Ouija for what I am talking about *shakes head*.

Goof up characters? No one cares about the plot.

New writers are particularly vulnerable to messing up characters. We drift too far to one end of the spectrum or the other—Super-Duper-Perfect versus Too Dumb to Live—and this can make a story fizzle because there is no way to create true dramatic tension. This leaves us (the frustrated…

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Meet the transgender ex-SEAL who’s challenging the House’s No. 2 Democrat

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I wish she still lived in FL. I would support her campaign!

Originally posted on Fusion:

Kristin Beck served 20 years in the U.S. Navy. She realized recently that she still wants to serve — albeit in a much different role.

Beck, the only openly transgender former Navy SEAL, announced late Wednesday she will challenge Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House of Representatives, next year. Beck’s entry into the House race could set up a high-profile — albeit uphill — battle of a campaign for a seat in Maryland’s 5th congressional district, as she attempts to become Congress’ first transgender member.

“When you’re in the military, you feel outside of the system and isolated a little bit from politics,” Beck, 48, told Fusion. “But then you look around — the homelessness, the unemployment — this country is what I fought 20 years for. And I want to do something to make it better.”

Beck said both her military experience and her journey thereafter make…

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Anonymous boy sends valentines to every girl in school

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This is the true spirit of Valentine’s Day! Just be nice, people.

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EDMOND, Okla. — Flowers, candy, and public displays of affection.  It’s supposed to be the most romantic day of the year. But Valentine’s Day can be hurtful for those without a special someone.

At Edmond Memorial High School, there are no lonely hearts this year.

“All the girls were surprised this morning,” Laura Pitcock said.

All 1076 female students were surprised with candy and cards.

“He wanted to stay anonymous, but I have a feeling a good deed like this is going to get out,” Sarah Cameron said.

Secrets are hard to keep, especially in high school.  It didn’t take long for the Bulldog student body to learn who was behind this random act of kindness.

Dan Williams is the secret Romeo. “To know that someone cares about them, that’s the best feeling in the world I think.”

Williams worked all summer to raise enough money for his Valentine’s…

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Watch This Australian TV Anchor Brilliantly Slam ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’

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Loved her review. It was spot on, if you consider the source material.

Originally posted on UPROXX:

Whatever you think of morning shows (hopefully meh things), they’re not exactly known for their rich film criticism. But recently, Lisa Wilkinson, a typically cheery anchor on Australia’s typically cheery Today show, went out and saw Fifty Shades of Grey. Her response?

Fifty Shades of Grey is, quite simply, the worst movie I’ve ever seen.”

“Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey is a 30-something jerk of a billionaire who never seems to work. An emotionally crippled narcissist no one could love. Meanwhile, Dakota Johnson is the one-dimensional lip biting—COULD SOMEONE GET THAT GIRL A CHAPSTICK?—pathetic Anastasia Steele who, for no discernible reason, falls in love with the aforementioned jerk and singlehandedly sells women across the world short. Yes, Fifty Shades of Grey is more appalling than appealing. It’s domestic violence dressed up as erotica. And if there’s one thing this movie is not, it’s erotic. One star out of five, Dicky…

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Top Ten Reasons “Secretary” Beats “50 Shades of Grey” – SundanceTV

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I mentioned how poorly 50 Shades of Grey, tries to depict a D/s or BDSM relationship, in a few earlier posts.  This article illustrated it more concisely than I could.

Top Ten Reasons “Secretary” Beats “50 Shades of Grey” – SundanceTV.