Friday News: Tech edition, more or less
Facebook amps up ‘fake news’ antidotes. Plus: fact-checkers! – It’s kind of sad when a major feature of news coverage about Facebook’s approach to the “fake news” problem is the company’s turn to human fact-checkers rather than pure tech. Although I think it’s good news that the company does not appear to be trying to establish itself as the autonomous arbiter of “real news” (whatever that is). In any case, the company appears to be implementing a number of protocols, including the use of “engagement trends” (e.g. stories not shared after being read).
The company said it will make it easier to report a hoax by clicking on the upper right-hand corner of a post.
It kicked off a program with “third-party fact checking organizations” such as the AP and ABC News that have signed a code of principles laid out by Poynter, a nonprofit journalism institute. If fact-checking organizations identify a story as fake, the item gets flagged and triggers a link to a corresponding article explaining why.
Those disputed stories appear lower in news feed, and before you share a disputed story, you will see a warning. Once a story is flagged, it can’t be promoted or turned into an ad. – CNET
Verizon Wants A Yahoo Price Cut After Company Reveals Another, Massive Hack Attack – News of a second massive hack of Yahoo (affecting more than a billion accounts) is not only a major concern to Internet users at large, but also an opportunity for Verizon to negotiate a lower purchase price for the company. Which draws even more attention to what Techdirt characterizes as Verizon’s “plan to magically become Google by gobbling up failed 90s internet brands,” because that’s the direction we want the Internet to keep going, right?
While some outlets continue to suggest the deal could be killed entirely, Yahoo is critical to Verizon executives’ beliefs they can transform Verizon from stodgy old telco into a Millennial-focused media and advertising juggernaut. The problem is that Verizon’s attempt to become the next Google or Facebook isn’t going particularly well. Being a pampered telecom monopoly for a generation doesn’t imbue you with the kind of DNA required to make such a disruptive transition, resulting in the company’s Millennial-focused streaming service Go90 being a “dud” in the words of Verizon’s own partners. – Techdirt
The US book industry is hoping to befriend Trump by teaching him Copyright 101 – Although this Quartz article is hardly objective coverage on the AAP’s unprecedented letter to a new US president (I now associate the phrase “the expectation that everything should be free” with a flat-footed refusal to understand the public interest in copyright and its constitutionally articulated “limited Times), you at least get the basics about where the AAP and some authors are hoping they can guide Trump. And it’s a direction that’s ultimately only beneficial for corporate interests (not including individual authors). If only they could figure out how to DRM print books, right?!
The letter brings Trump up to speed on what fiction publishers are for (they “play a critical role in securing a future for writers and books”) and what university presses do (they “advanc[e] quality scholarship that is validated through peer review”). It also explains the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (“to encourage online availability of popular copyrighted works”) and Chinese subscription services that circumnavigate licensing fees (which violate US copyright laws and allow “the unauthorized dissemination of electronic copies of academic journal articles”). . . .
The AAP has never written a letter to a US president before, and this one comes after eight years of a tech-friendly president in Barack Obama. According to the AAP, the current laws aren’t adequate to protect intellectual property in the digital age. But the AAP thinks there’s a chance they’ll have an ally in Trump. – Quartz
Here’s why men have boneless penises – Okay, not really tech, but posted on Ars Technica, so . . . these new findings by anthropologists at University College London and published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggest to researchers that the more competition for mates and the longer the sexual engagement, the more bony the mammalian penis. May put a new spin on the appeal of non-human erotica and erotic Romance, too (although there seems to be an implicit assumption that all mammals are strictly heterosexual).
Over the course of primate evolution, the presence of penis bones tightly hooked up with longer intromissions—those more than three minutes long, to be exact. And the longer the sex, the longer the bone, the researchers found. Moreover, long bacula were also linked with more competition for females.
Brindle, Opie, and other researchers speculate that the penis bone allows for extended lovemaking sessions—or at least ones that last for longer than three minutes. In this scenario, the bone may act like a supportive rod, strengthening the penis and protecting the urethra while keeping it open. . . .
For men, the data points to a softer crotch. The average amount of time between penetration and ejaculation for men is less than two minutes. And with monogamy becoming popular among humans after our split from chimpanzees and bonobos, the evolutionary chances of keeping penis bones went limp. – Ars Technica