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Why Facebook’s survey about trust won’t make or break the media

Last Friday, Facebook announced two key changes to the News Feed: one, it would reduce the amount of news in the News Feed from roughly 5 percent to 4 percent; and two, it would begin taking into account how trusted a publisher is when ranking it in the feed. Trust levels are to be determined by a survey, and today BuzzFeed’s Alex Kantrowitz got ahold of it. The survey consists of two questions:

Do you recognize the following websites?

- Yes

- No

How much do you trust each of these domains?

- Entirely

- A lot

- Somewhat

- Barely

- Not at all

Journalists noted that this was not a particularly comprehensive survey. ”People could game this survey,” said the FT’s Hannah Kuchler. ”I’ve filled out more robust surveys at fast food...

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GM faces lawsuit after crash between motorcyclist and self-driving Che

A motorcyclist involved in a crash last month in San Francisco with a Cruise Automation self-driving vehicle filed suit against that company’s parent and maker of the vehicle, General Motors.

Oscar Nilsson’s suit over the Dec. 7, 2017 crash, The Mercury News reported Tuesday, claims he was injured while riding behind a Cruise Automation Chevrolet Bolt that had someone in the driver’s seat, but who did not have their hands on the steering wheel. When the car started to change into a left lane, it abruptly returned to the initial lane and collided with Nilsson, who now says the crash resulted in injuries that have forced him to take disability leave from work, according to The Mercury News.

But details of the crash in a report filed by GM...

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YouTube is asking its promoted artists not to insult the company

YouTube is asking musicians to agree to non-disparagement clauses in exchange for promotional support, according to sources familiar with the matter who spoke to Bloomberg. While non-disparagement clauses can be more common in partnerships or spokesperson deals, it is not a norm within the music industry and YouTube’s biggest competitors in this arena don’t use them. Over the past few months, YouTube has worked with select artists to promote their work by way of producing music videos and placing them on billboards.

The report states the campaign’s purpose is to help YouTube build a bridge with the music industry, and that non-disparagement clauses are a safeguard to keep these artists from saying negative things about the company. They...

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Legendary author Ursula K. Le Guin dies at 88

Ursula K. Le Guin, the renowned author of the Earthsea series, has died at the age of 88. Her more than 20 novels and more than 100 works of short fiction, which won numerous Locus, Hugo, and Nebula awards, expanded the way many people thought about the science fiction and fantasy genres; authors who cite her as an influence range from Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman to Salman Rushdie and George R. R. Martin.

Her work often explored sociology and politics, from the anti-colonial and environmentalist themes of The World for World is Forest to the otherworldly anarchist imaginings of The Dispossessed. It also pushed boundaries around gender, particularly the award-winning 1969 novel The Left Hand of Darkness, which imagined a world where...

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Google is working on bringing AR to Chrome with downloadable 3D object

Google today unveiled its experimental effort to integrate augmented reality features into the mobile and desktop web using its Chrome browser. That way, web designers, media organizations, and other creative professionals could create virtual 3D objects, embed them into websites for viewing on desktop, and make them downloadable on mobile so users could place those objects into their real world surroundings.

“In the next few months, there will be hundreds of millions of Android and iOS devices that are able to provide augmented reality experiences — meaning you’ll be able to look at the world through your phone, and place digital objects wherever you look,” writes Reza Ali and Josh Carpenter, who work on user experience on Google’s...

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Stripe will end bitcoin support because customers aren’t interested

Stripe will no longer supporting bitcoin payments by April this year, the company announced today. Stripe said that customers aren’t using bitcoin as a method of payment as often anymore. The company plans to slowly end support with the cutoff point being April 23rd.

It’s a total reversal of the company’s position four years ago, when it announced it would become the first payment platform to accept bitcoin, citing bitcoin’s potential to be bought by anyone. At the time, Stripe CEO and co-founder Patrick Collison very aptly said, “We acknowledge that bitcoin is important today … it may or may not be important in five years.”

High transaction fees and volatile prices have made bitcoin a difficult and unreliable method of payment,...

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Snoop Dogg spent the afternoon smoking a blunt and streaming a game on

Rapper and noted cannabis connoisseur Snoop Dogg — aka Twitch user Doggydogg20 — spent some some leisure time today streaming SOS, a survival game currently in early access that he declared was “dope as fuck.” Naturally, he spent the entire stream smoking a blunt.

Snoop makes an appearance on Twitch from time to time; the multi-talented performer is actually pretty good at it, too, whether he’s on a killstreak out or offering advice to his fellow players. As Snoop says in the stream, “Teamwork makes the dream work!”

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Terrifying baby robot has crawled right out of my dirt nightmares and

A rolling stone gathers no moss, but a crawling baby picks up hella dirt — or, more specifically, a bunch of bacteria, dead skin cells, and maybe even some fungal spores. In order to better understand just how much of these gross particles babies are inhaling, researchers over at Purdue built a “simplified robot crawling infant.”

This tinfoil-wrapped cyclops, spotted by Boing Boing, mashes its golf club-like — arms? — arms onto the floor to simulate how much dust a real baby would kick up. According to Purdue’s findings, which were published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, not only did this filth child stir up a cloud of nasty particles with a concentration as much as 20 times greater than geographically higher spots...

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Trump’s death wish for sharks boosts donations to shark conservation

President Donald Trump may be “terrified” of sharks — but, ironically, his wish that “all the sharks die” is inspiring people to give money to shark conservation groups, according to MarketWatch.

Several non-profits have recently received donations that specifically mention Trump as the reason for charity. And many are new donors, including several from outside of the US. For instance, one donation to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society came with the comment “Because Trump.” Another one said: “Contribution to save the Sharks after reading the article ‘Trump hopes sharks die,’” Zorianna Kit, media director for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, tells The Verge.

Trump’s alleged hatred for sharks was revealed last week, when...

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Sundance’s breakout horror hit Hereditary is pants-wettingly scary

Welcome to Cheat Sheet, our brief breakdown-style reviews of festival films, VR previews, and other special event releases. This review comes from the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

For the past several years, theater owners have been visibly struggling to find gimmicks to keep film lovers from abandoning movie theaters in favor of their own audiovisual setups at home. The rise of 3D and 4D films, the movement toward luxury seating and gourmet food in theaters, the push toward higher technical standards — they’re all aimed at increasing the value of the moviegoing experience. But theater owners could opt for a much lower-tech solution: just program a lot more horror movies like Ari Aster’s terrifying feature debut, Hereditary.

More than...

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