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» Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable Clay Shirky

» Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable Clay Shirky
Back in 1993, the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain began investigating piracy of Dave Barry’s popular column, which was published by the Miami Herald and syndicated widely. In the course of tracking down the sources of unlicensed distribution, they found many things, including the copying of his column to on usenet; a 2000-person strong mailing list also reading pirated versions; and a teenager in the Midwest who was doing some of the copying himself, because he loved Barry’s work so much he wanted everybody to be able to read it. One of the people I was hanging around with online back then was Gordy Thompson, who managed internet services at the New York Times. I remember Thompson saying something to the effect of “When a 14 year old kid can blow up your business in his spare time, not because he hates you but because he loves you, then you got a problem.” I think about that conversation a lot these days. Revolutions create a curious inversion of perception.

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Why plagiarize when you can rip off a writer's thoughts? I could frame this piece about plagiarism by starting with a little verse about a renowned professor who won his fame by appropriating the work of another: Let no one else’s work evade your eyes Remember why the good Lord made your eyes So don’t shade your eyes But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize… Only be sure always to call it please ‘research.’ I might credit the author of those lines, the satirist and folk singer Tom Lehrer, but you’d likely think me less clever for merely quoting someone when I could have used an idea of my own. Perhaps I should start off with what put plagiarism back in journalism’s center court—a series of allegations against prominent writers such as CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, The New Yorker’s Malcolm Gladwell, and BuzzFeed’s Benny Johnson.

Clay Shirky: Society doesn't need newspapers, it needs journalism This is an extract from Clay Shirky's article, Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable. The full essay can be read here. If you want to know why newspapers are in such trouble, the most salient fact is this: Printing presses are terrifically expensive to set up and to run. This bit of economics, normal since Gutenberg, limits competition while creating positive returns to scale for the press owner, a happy pair of economic effects that feed on each other.

blog » Multisystem Trojan Janicab attacks Windows and MacOSX via scripts On Friday, July 12th a warning from an AVAST fan about a new polymorphic multisystem threat came to an inbox of AVAST. Moreover, an archive of malicious files discussed here were attached. Some of them have been uploaded to Virustotal and therefore they have been shared with computer security professionals on the same day.

Lines on Plagiarism Blur for Students in the Digital Age “Now we have a whole generation of students who’ve grown up with information that just seems to be hanging out there in cyberspace and doesn’t seem to have an author,” said Teresa Fishman, director of the Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson University. “It’s possible to believe this information is just out there for anyone to take.” Professors who have studied plagiarism do not try to excuse it — many are champions of academic honesty on their campuses — but rather try to understand why it is so widespread. In surveys from 2006 to 2010 by Donald L. McCabe, a co-founder of the Center for Academic Integrity and a business professor at Rutgers University, about 40 percent of 14,000 undergraduates admitted to copying a few sentences in written assignments.

Equal-opportunity malware targets Macs and Windows Researchers have uncovered a family of malware that targets both Windows and OS X. Janicab.A, as the trojan is known, is also unusual because it uses a YouTube page to direct infected machines to command-and-control (C&C) servers and follows a clever trick to conceal itself. The threat first came to light last week, when researchers from F-Secure and Webroot documented a new trojan threatening Mac users. Like other recently discovered OS X malware, Janicab was digitally signed with a valid Apple Developer ID. It also used a special unicode character known as a right-to-left override to make the infection file appear as a PDF document rather than a potentially dangerous executable file.

The high cost of not finding information By Susan Feldman On Sept 23, 1999, NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft disappeared. The spacecraft had flown nine-and-a-half months and 416 million miles flawlessly. Scientists were stumped at first about what had gone wrong. They had checked and rechecked the calculations. It turned out that unbeknownst to the metric-based NASA, its contractor had submitted acceleration data in pounds of force instead of the metric equivalent, newtons. From 'why?' to 'why not?', the internet revolution The near future of the web is tied up with the logic of present media practice, and the logic of present media practice dates back to Gutenberg's invention of movable type in the mid-1400s. The problem Gutenberg introduced into intellectual life was abundance: once typesetting was perfected, a copy of a book could be created faster than it could be read. Figuring out which books were worth reading, and which weren't, became one of the defining problems of the literate. This abundance of new writing thus introduced a new risk as well: the risk of variable quality. A Bible was valuable, almost by definition. But a new work of fiction?

nelletorres's blurblog It’s another whimsical Sunday morning, a perfect time to re-examine assumptions, and the one I’m working on this morning is when smaller business is actually better, where by “better” I might mean from the perspective of someone inside the business or from the perspective of the public. I came to this question by way of two articles I’ve read recently. Women CEO’s Facebook News Feed: Finally lets you choose which friends' posts to see first. Courtesy of Facebook The big complaint about Facebook* has always been that you can’t control what you see in your News Feed. That is finally beginning to change. Facebook announced a new set of options Thursday that will let you specify, among other things, which friends’ posts you’d like to see at the top of your feed when you open the app or website.

WikiLeaks has created a new media landscape WikiLeaks affects one of the key tensions in democracies: the government needs to be able to keep secrets, but citizens need to know what is being done in our name. These requirements are fundamental and incompatible; like the trade-offs between privacy and security, or liberty and equality, different countries in different eras find different ways to negotiate those competing needs. In the case of state secrets v citizen oversight, however, there is one constant risk: since deciding what is a secret is itself a secret, there is always a risk that the government will simply hide an increasing amount of material of public concern. One response to this risk is the leaker, someone who believes that key elements of political life are being wrongly kept from public view, and who circulates that material on his or her own. This transformation is under-appreciated. The press often covers WikiLeaks as a series of unfortunate events, one crisis or scandal after another.