Tag: Google

May 24

Google Winners in Children’s Art Contest

I’ve been following the Google Art winners — Google asked school children around US to submit art showing “Google” logo.  There were many imaginative, worthy entries.  Summery, full of fun animals – fun kid stuff – but also some savvy artwork from the older students.  Really – look it up.  Great stuff – makes you proud.

And the winner is (wait for it) … a military theme:  a young daughter running to her soldier dad coming home.  One of the least imaginative works I’ve seen.  But let’s not forget it’s military, thus Americana I guess.  The first prize was a generous college scholarship.  I’m touched.  btw, it was the only military theme I saw, though maybe I missed one or two.

But Xanthe, what kind of beeach takes issue with a little girl running to her dad just home from war.  Considering the other art I’ve seen and the other themes available – well, me for one.

If you go to Google home page you’ll see the winning artwork and can follow through to see some of the rest of the work submitted.  Really awesome stuff from our students.  

Of course, good luck to the young person who won but really – supposedly this was voted in by google users which makes me even sadder than if Google chose the winner.  

Jul 17

This Isn’t Over Yet

Reading Netroots blogs gets depressing, the content is repetitive, the problems are all too well known and the solutions are obvious, but they aren’t seen as solutions by the corporate or political establishments, they’re seen as lethal threats.  So we’re portrayed as radicals, we’re demonized by Republicans and ignored by Democrats, tens of millions of Americans pay no attention at all to us, many of them don’t even know we exist.    

You can look out across cyberspace tonight, you can see all words written on progressive blogs, all of the insights and commentary, all of the assessments, you can see all of the passion and dedication and idealism, but most of all, you can see the futility, the frustration of people who have no power.  It doesn’t matter if you’re Kos or Hamsher or the newest blogger on the smallest blog, the view is the same and so is the dilemma . . .      

You can see a million miles tonight,

But you can’t get very far . . .

 

Nov 26

Trans News Digest

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has asked all ob-gyns to either prepare to provide routine treatment and screening to transpeople or else refer them to other physicians in order to address health care disparities and improve our access to care.

In a Committee Opinion published November 22, The College also states its opposition to discrimination on the basis of gender identity and supports both public and private health insurance coverage for treatment of gender disphoria.

Transgender patients have many of the same health care needs as the rest of our patients.   It would be wonderful if all transgender patients had the resources to be seen in a specialized clinic, but the reality is that many forgo care because they don’t. By increasing the number of ob-gyns providing care to transgender patients we can help improve the overall health of the transgender community.

–Eliza Buyers, MD, former member of The College’s Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women, who helped develop the new recommendations

Oct 25

It’s The End Of The Internet As We Know It (And Orrin Hatch Feels Fine)

Cross-posted to CandyBullets, MyLeftWing, The Stars-Hollow Gazette and firefly-dreaming

If you follow my website (CandyBullets) you’re probably well aware of the threat posed by the “IP PROTECT ACT” known more commonly as the Internet Blacklist bill. You’re may also be aware that this bill was recently halted in the Senate by the true Democrat Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) who prevented the bill from coming up for a vote in the Senate (where it would doubtless pass) however a House version will be introduced this week with help of Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) — probably tomorrow. If you’re not familiar with this bill then I suggest you become acquainted (the full text of the bill may be found here.)

Aug 10

What if Verizon Could Censor Your Telephone Conversations: Why Net Neutrality Matters

Imagine if you were talking on the phone and Verizon or ATT decided they didn’t like where your conversation was going. You’d be in the middle of a sentence and suddenly disconnected. Or maybe they didn’t like the person you were talking to, or the subject. You’d be unable to connect or your conversation would become so slow and poor quality you’d give up and call someone else. Or maybe you lived in an area of the country where they didn’t want to give you telephone service. So you’d be unable to call at all. The telecom companies would justify all this by explaining that the fiber optic lines or wireless frequencies were simply their private property. They had a right, they’d say, to do whatever they wanted with them.

Aug 09

“Alternative Internet?” Verizon CEO Says “No, it’s a Specialized Network”

cross-posted from Sum of Change

If Verizon and Google were trying to show support for net neutrality, they sure dropped the ball today. On a conference call with media just a couple hours ago, Verizon CEO, Ivan Seidenberg began explaining how companies might want to use a different network to send information. He took offense when Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land termed it “alternative internet,” but his further explanation did little to counter the naming. Here is Mr. Seidenberg’s further discussion of the “alternative internet” after questioning from Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch:

Mar 17

Newspapers are Folding, and We’re Part of their Problem!

The fact that Newspapers are folding, left and right, is hardly News. It’s a long-term trend playing out, due to the ‘Market Forces’ of the Internet.

What is News is the effect that Internet Bloggers (aka Citizen Journalists) are having on the long, slow fade of “Traditional” News.

It seems fewer and fewer people are willing to pay for their News, these days — and WHY should we when we can find it FREE on-line, often with a dash of humor and wit throw-in, for free too!

One Problem though — Bloggers to maintain credibility, have this little habit of citing those very same “Traditional” News Sources who are quietly fading away, as we speak Type.

I think there is a “Chicken and Egg” thing going on here — just few of us have yet to realize it.

Could be someday we go out to get our Information Breakfast — and it turns out that both “nutritional items” have turned up MISSING! (the Blogger and the Source)

Jan 21

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – Sarah Palin’s Brilliant FOX Debut

Crossposted from Daily Kos.  I didn’t have the time yesterday to post it here.

THE WEEK IN EDITORIAL CARTOONS

This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?

2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?

3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.

:: ::

The Teabaggers’ Intellectual

Clay Bennett

Clay Bennett, Comics.com

Jan 14

Google Earth & Maps: Haiti Devastation

This is going to be short but might be helpful to some for a wide variety of reasons.

Google has teamed up with GeoEye to bring updated aerial views of the devastation from the Haiti Earthquake.

Google Earth Reveals the Devastation in Haiti    

Dec 09

The Soft News/Hard News Debate: Internet Edition

Time Magazine, or at least its online edition, seeks to understand why Google seems to love highlighting a particular “news source” in its search results.  The very subtle, but nonetheless evident message implanted within the article is that search engine algorithms might have the same biases and favoritism embedded into them as any other corporation who owns or has partnership with other media companies.  I know that by monitoring IP addresses that visit my site by use of a tracker I frequently notice when Google bot sweeps periodically come through to make a note of and reference recently posted columns I have written.   It isn’t very long after that before I notice that traffic has been directed to my site as a result.   However, let me say that I do make a concerted effort to write something unique and meaningful, qualities which are in short supply when effort is not rewarded by much in the way of money.

If you type the name of a celebrity – say, Angelina Jolie – into Google News, chances are somewhere in the top five results you’ll get a story from Examiner.com. This is particularly true if the celebrity is in the news that day. For early December that means searches for Tiger Woods, Sandra Bullock and Weezer on Google News consistently brought up Examiner.com stories in the topmost results. And in those stories, by the way, there was very little actual news.

Absolutely.   The only currently existing model available to those who blog for pay is centered around advertising revenue as the most important variable of all.   Instead of providing a unique perspective on the news, instead one gets a bare minimum of original content and a whole e-farm’s worth of hyper-linking and search engine keyword baiting.   It needs to be noted, of course, that Examiner.com is not the only site out there using a similar strategy to press a similar agenda.   But in that regard, it is not much different to any kind of freelance work which promises sporadic assignments, minimal pay, few benefits, and no real job security.   The signer of the paychecks or distributor of funds to the PayPal account still holds most of the cards at the table.   In a field where so many are fighting to be heard and where competition is fierce and often cutthroat, employers get utterly inundated with prospective writers and many of them have the ego and the swagger but none of the talent to back it up.   Proceeding directly for the easy sell and the low hanging fruit has padded profits but has rarely advanced a civic discourse or issue evolution.    

They also have very little news value. Generally, an Examiner.com news story is a compendium of tidbits culled from other websites, neither advancing the story nor bringing any insight (a description, it should be noted, that can be just as fairly applied to many offerings of more mainstream media). Most Examiners are not journalists, and their prose is not edited. CEO Rick Blair, who helped launch AOL’s Digital Cities, an earlier attempt at a local-news network, calls them “pro-am” – more professional than bloggers, but more amateur than most reporters. You might also call them traffic hounds: because their remuneration is set by, among other things, the number of people who click on their stories, Examiners will often piggyback on hot news, or oft-searched people. The Angelina Jolie story, from a celebrity-fitness and -health Examiner, discussed Jolie and husband Brad Pitt’s recent night out at a movie premiere and assessed their health by their appearance.

Put this way, here is a decent enough description of most collaborative blogs.   However, before one buys into this description hook, line, and sinker without taking into account the underlying intent it must be added that Daily Kos was described by Time as one of its “Most Overrated Blogs of 2009” in very searing language.

It wrote,

Markos Moulitsas – alias “Kos” – created Daily Kos in 2002, a time he describes as “dark days when an oppressive and war-crazed administration suppressed all dissent as unpatriotic and treasonous.” Be careful what you wish for. With the Bush years now just a memory, Kos’s blog has lost its mission, and its increasingly rudderless posts read like talking points from the Democratic National Committee.

Easy for you to say, Time.   Dear pot, kindly meet kettle.

Returning to my original point, at the beginning of this post, I referenced an article written to encourage a spirit of full disclosure, no matter how stealthy proposed.   I would be similarly remiss if I did not state that I, too, am a reporter for Examiner.com.   Yet, I note, however, that in nearly a month of writing for it I have made under $20 for my efforts, even though my pieces usually attract a respectable audience that frequently exceeds the average number of hits which typify the typical DC Politics Examiner.  I don’t run away from controversy in that which I write, but neither do I seek to provoke without backing up my points, buttressing my argument, and taking into account the inevitable counter-arguments of my opponents.   Still, one simply can’t keep up with those who dispense romance advice, bicycle repair, child rearing tricks, and pet psychic services.   Nor can I keep up with the barrage of ultimately meaningless drivel that might be the opiate of the masses but tends to put me into an opium-based sleep.   I do not expect to make much out of any of what I do but I will say that I seek to strategically position and my postings to get maximum exposure.   I am no different from many of you reading this, I daresay.  

So why does Examiner.com’s fairly superficial posts on the big stories of the day end up so often near the front of Google’s news queue? “It’s not a trick,” says Blair. “We have almost 25,000 writers posting 3,000 original articles per day.” Examiners take seminars on writing headlines, writing in the third person and making full use of social media, all of which are Google manna. But Blair thinks it’s mostly the scale of the operation that makes Examiner.com articles so attractive to search engines, from which more than half of the site’s traffic comes. That is, by stocking the lake with so many fish every day Examiner.com increases the chances the Google trawlers will haul one of theirs up.

And here we have a perfect example of why an unholy combination of made up celebrities, made up drama, and manufactured crises for the sake of readership threaten to choke out everything wholly decent.   Weeds are on the verge of taking over the garden.   Or, as Howard Beale would say, “And woe is us! We’re in a lot of trouble!”   Speak softly, though, because to some extent we’ve already been handcuffed by the almighty dollar and may always be.   Some realities go well beyond our poor power to add or detract.

In a coy final note, the Time article concludes,

The goal of all these companies, eventually, is to snare local advertising, a $141 billion market that, according to Blair, has been left largely untapped by the Internet.  Examiner.com will start rolling out ad packages in the next few months, and will hit up its network for leads.

In the meantime, these pro-am armies are giving the big media companies plenty to worry about. The mainstream media’s news-harvesting machines are no match for a swarm of local locusts buzzing over the same crop. And Big Media is starting to take notice. CNN, which already uses a lot of crowdsourced material with its ireport arm, just invested in another local outfit, outside.in. Perhaps the news giant figures that if everybody’s going to be a reporter, they might as well work for CNN.

The note is winking and coy because Time is, after all, owned by CNN.   I, too, have been an iReporter for CNN, for the same reasons I write at Examiner.com.   I don’t make a dime out of it, but I do get my name out in the hope that someone, somewhere, is listening, reading, and contemplating.   My hope, of course, is that at least with my post there will be an alternative, thought-provoking voice in the middle of all the fluff and unsubstantial content.   Perhaps that is what we all wish for when we put our fingers to our keyboards and begin typing or begin synching up our digital cameras.  We want to be better than that which we just finished reading or want to be provide a better analysis than a pundit who makes thousands upon thousands of dollars a year to sound supremely ignorant.   Yet, we might also need to contemplate our current realities before we get caught up on our own narratives.  Recall Network once more.

You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today.

We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there’s no war or famine, oppression or brutality — one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock, all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused.  

 

Dec 05

On Getting Found, Or, Search Engines: Is There A Difference?

I have a story today that comes from my predilection to “self-syndicate”, meaning that I post my stories far and wide, in the same way a newspaper columnist is syndicated nationally-or beyond.

After I post, I know others will also post my stories to their sites, a topic that was itself the subject of a recent conversation.

To keep track of it all, I use the Google…but I recently wondered if that’s actually the most effective tool for the job-or not-so as an experiment I recently challenged several search engines to go out and seek the same search term.

We find out today…and the results are, indeed, interesting.

Jul 28

Eclectic Collections: The Googling, Citizen Journalism and Thou

Above the fold, two surreal videos. Below, a quick mention of some of the past week’s pieces on ePluribus Media that you may not have seen and will probably find very interesting.  Opening volley: Surreal Videos — “The Googling” Part 1 and Part III:

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After the flip, a brief preview of some of the great pieces currently on ePluribus Media.

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