The News Machine is a contraption that explains the news distortion that happens when a message is broadcast through different media. The starting point is a tweet sent from a tablet, then the 140 character sentence is echoed through different media filters and into print. The transmission alters the original tweet slightly through slight mistranslations between the filters. The final result is a twisted version of the original source.
Dave Lee, a technology reporter at BBC News, experimented with hiring a women for $5 in order to get the coveted Facebook status: ‘In a relationship with’. “Sophia” – not her real name – offers her services as a make-believe girlfriend through the website Fiverr. According to Lee, many men hire fake girlfriends to look better on social networking sites or to make their exes jealous. Though Sophia was not real, for a few days she was “real” to Lee’s friends and acquaintances on Facebook.
Over at the New York Times, a recent article exposes the clever and surprisingly immoral ways the food industry manufactures foods to rival hard drugs for their addictive potential. Well worth the read, the article discusses “designer sodium”, the genesis of the ideal kid’s lunch, and the search for the morphine-like “bliss point” in soda. One scientist’s description of Cheetos, in particular, highlighted the extraordinary detail that goes into what we see as a normal, familiar food:
“This,” Witherly said, “is one of the most marvelously constructed foods on the planet, in terms of pure pleasure.” He ticked off a dozen attributes of the Cheetos that make the brain say more. But the one he focused on most was the puff’s uncanny ability to melt in the mouth. “It’s called vanishing caloric density,” Witherly said. “If something melts down quickly, your brain thinks that there’s no calories in it . . . you can just keep eating it forever.” Read more
Now that our cooler friends can Instagram, tweet, and FourSquare the heck out of every underground concert and speakeasy cocktail, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) has become a persistent problem for the less-hip. But there’s hope for those who would rather spend their Saturday nights watching re-runs of Downton Abbey than heading downtown to the newest brewpub.
The new application CouchCachet promises to give you the fully-booked, in-the-know life you so desperately wish to present. The app is a full-service social booster: Not only does it check you in to the trendiest places in your neighborhood, it also periodically tweets obscure lyrics and photos of hipsters in skinny jeans. As one of the quotes from the site says: “I can finally be who I want you to think I am”. And what you are, along with the rest of the internet, is mostly an algorithm.
Via the New York Times.