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Wednesday News: Google & Net Neutrality, Gamergate, the ‘science’ of extraordinary appeal, and extreme OKCupid date = new romcom.

Wednesday News: Google & Net Neutrality, Gamergate, the ‘science’ of extraordinary...

Google is all grown up

This is the realpolitik theory, and represents the simplest and most likely explanation. The point, which National Journal makes too, is that Google is a mature, diversified company that sits on both sides of many policy issues. The company has less interest in staking out idealist positions and, in the case of net neutrality, is rich enough to cut a “fast lane” check to whoever is demanding one.

There is, of course, an irony here in that companies like Google, and especially YouTube, might not have emerged in the first place were it not for net neutrality. But that was then and this is now. –Gigaom

By design, Gamergate is nearly impossible to define. It refers, variously, to a set of incomprehensible Benghazi-type conspiracy theories about game developers and journalists; to a fairly broad group of gamers concerned with corruption in gaming journalism; to a somewhat narrower group of gamers who believe women should be punished for having sex; and, finally, to a small group of gamers conducting organized campaigns of stalking and harassment against women.

This ambiguity is useful, because it turns any discussion of this subject into a debate over semantics. Really, though, Gamergate is exactly what it appears to be: a relatively small and very loud group of video game enthusiasts who claim that their goal is to audit ethics in the gaming-industrial complex and who are instead defined by the campaigns of criminal harassment that some of them have carried out against several women. (Whether the broader Gamergate movement is a willing or inadvertent semi-respectable front here is an interesting but ultimately irrelevant question.) None of this has stopped it from gaining traction: Earlier this month, Gamergaters compelled Intel to pull advertising from a gaming site critical of the movement, and there’s no reason to think it will stop there. –Deadspin

What Rudder and his team found was that not all averages are created equal in terms of actual romantic opportunities — greater variance means greater opportunity. Based on the data on heterosexual females, women who were rated average overall but arrived there via polarizing rankings — lots of 1’s, lots of 5’s — got exponentially more messages (“the precursor to outcomes like in-depth conversations, the exchange of contact information, and eventually in-person meetings”) than women whom most men rated a 3. –Brain Pickings

What happens when “a reclusive writer who spends hours identifying new constellations in the ceiling paint” agrees to go on an OKCupid date with “a wildly energetic university professor”? Well, if they’re two twentysomethings who share an overly robust sense of whimsy, the date turns into a spontaneous three-week trip around the world, which turns into a Salon essay and then into a big-time Hollywood movie. –New York Magazine

Wednesday News: Low cost battery search is on; Amazon Breakthrough Contest with more categories, richer purses

Wednesday News: Low cost battery search is on; Amazon Breakthrough Contest...

Wifi visualization

Starting January 14, authors can enter the contest in one of five categories—general fiction, mystery/thriller, romance, science fiction/fantasy/horror, and young adult fiction—for the chance to win a publishing contract with Amazon Publishing. A finalist will be chosen in each category, and a Grand Prize winner will then be selected by Amazon customers and receive a $50,000 advance. The remaining finalists will also receive a publishing contract with Amazon Publishing, with a $15,000 advance. This year’s ABNA contest is open to unpublished and self-published English-language novels, which can be submitted from January 14, 2013 through January 27, 2013. The five finalists will be announced on May 21, and the Grand Prize winner will be announced during a special ceremony at Amazon headquarters in Seattle in June.

Up to 10,000 eligible entries will be accepted for the ABNA contest this year. The top 400 entries from each category will advance to the second round. Amazon reviewers will then read excerpts of the entries and narrow the pool to 100 titles in each category. In the subsequent round, reviewers from Publishers Weekly will read, review and rate the full manuscripts to find the top five semi-finalists for each category. Amazon Publishing editors will then choose a finalist in each of the five categories. In the final stage of the contest, Amazon.com customers will vote for a Grand Prize winner.