Literary Midwest, Snapchat, Facebook, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, December 22, 2016


From the University of Minnesota: U Libraries to make key Minnesota literary archives accessible to world. “The University of Minnesota Libraries has received an $88,000 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grant to increase access to the archives of three pivotal Minnesota poets and one premier literary press: Robert Bly, Margaret Hasse, Bill Holm, and Milkweed Editions. The materials for each are held in the Libraries’ Upper Midwest Literary Archives in Elmer L. Andersen Library.”

Disney will develop original content for Snapchat. “The media conglomerate, which owns TV networks including ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, and Freeform, announced a deal yesterday to produce several original series for the millennial-centric media app. The first will be a spin-off of the reality romance The Bachelor.” At one point I thought it might be a good move for Snapchat to buy Twitter. Now I think: why should it bother?


Do you have Facebook’s new colored statuses? Ya got options. “Is your Facebook suddenly filled with brightly coloured, gradiented placards in the place of regular Facebook statuses? Some people seem to love them, but if you’re someone who prefers to browse updates that aren’t screaming in your face with vivid colours, here’s some good news: there’s already a ‘fix’ for it.”


This is a long article, but I think it’s worth your time. From TechRepublic: Inside Amazon’s clickworker platform: How half a million people are being paid pennies to train AI. “[Kristy] Milland is one of more than 500,000 “Turkers”—contract workers who perform small tasks on Amazon’s digital platform, which they refer to as “mTurk.” The number of active workers, who live across the globe, is estimated to run between 15,000 and 20,000 per month, according to Panos Ipeirotis, a computer scientist and professor at New York University’s business school. Turkers work anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours a day.”

WIRED: How Photos Fuel the Spread of Fake News. “This rise has been driven both by the preponderance of images available online, and the ease with which they can be manipulated. In 1950, fake news hucksters needed scissors, paste, and patience to create a fictitious collage of Senator Millard Tydings with Earl Browder of the American Communist party. These days, all it takes is a middling understanding of Photoshop to show John Kerry with Jane Fonda at an anti-Vietnam War rally and Donald Trump’s parents in Ku Klux Klan garb.”

Interesting. From Rapid TV News: China prohibits self-generated video on social media. “Under the new guidelines, only video from official sources will be allowed to be shared on social platforms such as Sina Webo, which is similar to Twitter, or on WeChat, which is more like an amalgam of Facebook and WhatsApp.”


From PsyPost: Study: Internet use in class tied to lower test scores. “Michigan State University researchers studied laptop use in an introductory psychology course and found the average time spent browsing the web for non-class-related purposes was 37 minutes. Students spent the most time on social media, reading email, shopping for items such as clothes and watching videos. And their academic performance suffered.” Gee, ya think?

Forbes: How Academia, Google Scholar And Predatory Publishers Help Feed Academic Fake News . ” The Editor-in-Chief of one of the world’s most prestigious and storied scientific journals recently casually informed me that his journal now astoundingly accepts citations to non-peer-reviewed personal web pages and blog posts as primary citations supporting key arguments in papers published in that journal. You read that correctly. One of the world’s most prestigious scientific journals now permits non-peer-reviewed content from personal web pages and blogs to be cited as primary evidence supporting a claim in a paper published in that journal. Even just a few years ago such a move would have been unheard of, with most reputable journals requiring that citations be almost exclusively to peer-reviewed academic journals to ensure that the body of evidence supporting scholarly discourse was as peer-reviewed and fact checked as possible. When top journals allow an unverified and non-peer-reviewed blog post to be plucked from the open web and used as a primary citation supporting a claim, that dilutes all academic literature.”


One of the things I appreciate about the week of Christmas is that things get a little goofy. From the CDC: ‘Twas the Week before Christmas: Safety and Health at the North Pole. Elves, don’t forget your dust masks. Good afternoon, Internet…

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