Social Media Turbulence



 

Now that the election is behind us, we’ve seen interesting tidbits about the impact of social media on the election. Whatever your stance on the candidates might be, some of the trends in social are disturbing. One particularly disturbing trend: the traction gained by fake news sites, some simply satirical, others with an axe to grind.

Fake news isn’t the only problem with social media. Social media’s original goals of bringing people together may be undermined by algorithmic-driven silos. Social media, with its ability to let users avoid divergent views, allows us to place ourselves in comfortable echo chambers. What can we do? What can the social media companies do? David Bryant and I take a stab at these thorny questions.

Tools

I picked up a Manfrotto 131db “reproduction arm” to facilitate more efficient top-down photography. Next step is to perfect my technique — in particular, making the focal plane level relative to the target. I also pick up an iPad Pro, mainly for the improved screen, beefier GPU, and overall improved performance. I may pick up a Pencil at some point, but I’m in no hurry.

Oh, and the Wunderlist desktop app is the bomb. It actually makes me use the mobile app more.

David joins Boldbort, which develops artsy-looking electronics project with terrible documentation to confuse users encourage exploration. To be fair, Boldport puts up full instructions on their website. And their hand-drawn PCB designs look amazing. David also dives into the wireless gaming mouse club — sort of — by ordering a Razer Orochi. It’s primarily a wired mouse but includes Bluetooth support for wireless use. That makes it an interesting option for laptop gaming, though latencies are relatively high. Finally, David also dives into the API docs for Weather Underground, and writes code to enable data upload to the site from his personal weather station.

Fun

I finally, finally, get a chance to play Terraforming Mars. It’s a superb board game design well worth the time investment to learn and play. I’m also really loving Dishonored 2 which may be my pick for game of the year. I also begin reading an atmospheric science textbook as well as re-reading the second novel in The Expanse series, Caliban’s War, in preparation for season 2 of the SyFy TV series which begins in February.

David’s slowly getting into Firewatch, the excellent atmospheric “walking simulator”. The game features some excellent voice acting by Rich Sommer (from Mad Men) and Cissy Jones. He also waxes lyrical about Patrick Rothfuss’ The Slow Regard of Silent Things, the recent novella set in the author’s Kingkiller universe.

 

 

 

 

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