Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
16

Everything Except Rap and Country

There is something that reviewers are not quite saying about Taylor Swift's new album, 1989. It's on the tips of their tongues. Jon Caramanica comes closest: Modern pop stars — white pop stars, that is — mainly get there by emulating black music. Think of Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber. In the current ecosystem, Katy Perry is probably the pop star least reliant on hip-hop and R&B to make her sound, but her biggest recent hit featured the rapper Juicy J; she’s not immune.

Ms. Swift, though, is having none of that; what she doesn’t do on this album is as important as what she does. There is [...]

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0

Unrelenting Trauma: It's a Living

"So companies like Facebook and Twitter rely on an army of workers employed to soak up the worst of humanity in order to protect the rest of us. And there are legions of them—a vast, invisible pool of human labor. Hemanshu Nigam, the former chief security officer of MySpace who now runs online safety consultancy SSP Blue, estimates that the number of content moderators scrubbing the world’s social media sites, mobile apps, and cloud storage services runs to “well over 100,000”—that is, about twice the total head count of Google and nearly 14 times that of Facebook."

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1

Mood Disrupted

Each quarter a gaggle of Bay Area venture capitalists are asked, you know, how does everything feel? Aside from totally great, of course. What's your sense of things, other than that you are changing the world utterly for the better? This quarter’s index measurement fell [to 3.89] from the previous quarter’s index reading of 4.02. The Q3 reading is the first recorded decline in confidence in two years.

In the new report Professor Cannice indicates that “The lower Q3 index reading raises some concern for the near to medium term outlook for the high-growth venture environment.”

The concept of Valley investor "confidence" is unusual. In a survey [...]

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1

A Brief Conversation with the Internet Concerning Renée Zellweger

Here Are Some Pictures of Renée Zellweger

but

Here is Renée Zellweger’s Awesome Response To Trolls Over Her Appearance

however, this is

What’s Really Behind The Ridicule Of Renée Zellweger’s Face

and actually

If You Looked at Renee Zellweger's Plastic Surgery, You Need to See These Photos

which will remind you that people are dying, specifically of Ebola, despite the fact that

This Ohio man has the perfect reaction to Ebola

and anyway

Don’t panic over Ebola in America

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1

Dutch Uncles, “In N Out”

2014 has been, for a broad swath of music, the year of the obligatory synth: Countless artists, new and old, have converged on the same neon moan, if only for a few bars on a few tracks. It makes it a little harder to tell when artists really mean it—to know which ones are just having a little fun with the past and which ones are wholly dedicated to performing it. Dutch Uncles? I don't know. But the song works!

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0

On the Many Previous Internets

"Falstaff Press and Panurge Press were the best-known of [mail-order smut] publishers, and their books were also the best made. They make up a subgenre in the history of pornography that has largely been left behind: Too titillating to have any real scientific value, they often also had too much deflating scientific detail to be thoroughly useful to the average masturbator."

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6

How Amazon Solved the Problem of Work

On Wednesday, October 8th, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk. The case pits warehouse workers Jesse Busk and Laurie Castro against their former employer. The issue at hand is time: Should minutes spent waiting to be screened at the end of the workday—Integrity manages warehouses that fulfill online shopping orders—be counted as work? If so, then shouldn't workers be paid?

Supreme Court cases that feel ethically simple are often legally complicated; similarly, cases that make it that far and yet appear legally tidy are often ethically difficult. This case seems to fall into the former category: you have decades [...]

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0

Todd Terje, "Delorean Dynamite (for sale)"

A song that you can enjoy aesthetically or for its cheery thesis: That music is a subset of advertising.

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2

Shoe Fit

"Ringo Starr Is The New Face Of Skechers."

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1

Cosmic Moans, Ranked

10. Neptune moan 9. Earth moan 2 ("song") 8. Uranus moan 7. Saturn ring moan 6. Jupiter moan 5. Saturn moan 4. Earth moan 1 ("voice") 3. Miranda moan 2. IO moan (moon-moan) 1. Uranus ring moan

(via Consequence of Sound)

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0

Shabazz Palaces, "Motion Sickness"

A narrative video for one of the more accessible tracks on the excellent Lese Majesty, which I've been coming back to again and again over the last couple months (see previously: #CAKE).

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2

Modern Experience Rendered Accurately

Who do you identify with? Is it one of the many Waldos? All of the Waldos? The guy relaxing briefly at the axis? The unstoppable spinning prism itself? One of the few people who, at the very beginning, runs and then jogs and then walks out of frame?

The object label for this installation (via Chuck Anderson) reads:

Crowd dynamics test using Miarmy for Maya. Shows the new servo force feature which allows struggling animation once the agent has become dynamic Rendered with Arnold

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0

Court Meddles

"A pregnant unwed mother can’t use Facebook alone to notify the father about the baby before putting the child up for adoption, Oklahoma’s highest civil court has ruled."

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5

Your Ebola Halloween Costume: A User's Guide

So you're doing "Ebola" for your halloween costume this year. You've found a topical novelty outfit online, or maybe you've just purchased some cheap and readily available medical clothing, knowing that your peers will have no problem guessing what it's supposed to represent.

But "Ebola" is going to be a very popular costume this year. You're not the only person who heard about this epidemic on the news! If you want to stand out—if you want to be the star of the party, by evoking Ebola hemorrhagic fever—you need to study up. Here are some helpful facts that you can recite to your friends in order to give [...]

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8

The Uncanny Language of Medical Instagram

A few months ago a friend showed me a story about an app called Figure 1. It was billed as "Medicine’s Answer to Instagram," and had apparently just raised a couple million dollars. I downloaded it. I am not a doctor, nor did I claim to be one when I signed up. I checked "Journalist" from the "Non-Healthcare Professional" menu. This got me in on a sort of limited basis (selecting "Other" would have worked too). I couldn't post—that's for pros—but I could see everything.

To a "Non-Healthcare Professional" the main Figure 1 feed is shocking. It's an infinite scroll of graphic medical photos—growths, infections, fractures, rashes, traumatic injuries, birth [...]

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2

Sounds Enumerated

In 2014, not a single artist’s album has gone platinum. Not one has managed to cross that million sales mark.

One album has managed to sell over a million copies so far this year, but it’s a soundtrack. The ever-popular Frozen soundtrack may slowly be working its way down the charts, but it is by far the best selling collection this year. Though it doesn’t have any marquee names on it—those that are usually expected to sell the best—the soundtrack has managed to move 3.2 million copies so far, and with winter coming, that number is sure to rise.

The most popular album of 2014 that was actually released [...]

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71

The Sad Parents of #Gamergate

All around the country, parents are sitting down to have the talk with their children. Not about sex or mortality or college. They're having the talk about Gamergate. From our own comments:

I have a 17 year old son and trying to point out the actual facts in this story is like trying to convince a rabid 70 year old FOX viewer that Obama is not a terrorist, born on Mars, here to take your guns. "It's about ethics, mom. Don't you care about ETHICS?"

He's not down with the death threats though, so I guess Yay?

Imagine! You hear your child talking animatedly about something. He steps [...]

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0

Leon Bridges, "Coming Home"

Via GvB, a supremely satisfying soul pop throwback to ~60 years ago which, obviously, you can read all about on the artist's Tumblr.

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0

Countdown to the Last-Ever October Surprise

It's election season. It's October. According to the political-astrological calendar, this is very important: It's time for an October surprise. Juan Williams thinks the surprise will be war: To be clear, Republicans remain a slight favorite to win enough seats to claim the majority of the U.S. Senate. But the twists and turns of war have the capacity to create one legendary October political surprise.

He is using the conspiratorial definition of "October Surprise," as opposed to the literal surprise definition. War for votes. Bob Beckel, conspiracy theorist, agrees: "I think I know what it is, but it is going to shake things up…it’s going to have to [...]

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0

Erykah Badu, "Street Hustle Experiment"

"I just, kind of always wanted to see what it would be like to, you know, sing for money on the streets. So what I'm going to do is, I'm going to find a good place." Erykah Badu busks in Times Square.

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