The final bar? How gentrification threatens America’s music cities

The final bar? How gentrification threatens America’s music cities | Cities | The Guardian



What Facebook Did to American Democracy

In late 2014, The Daily Dot called attention to an obscure Facebook-produced case study on how strategists defeated a statewide measure in Florida by relentlessly focusing Facebook ads on Broward and Dade counties, Democratic strongholds. Working with a tiny budget that would have allowed them to send a single mailer to just 150,000 households, the digital-advertising firm Chong and Koster was able to obtain remarkable results. “Where the Facebook ads appeared, we did almost 20 percentage points better than where they didn’t,” testified a leader of the firm. “Within that area, the people who saw the ads were 17 percent more likely to vote our way than the people who didn’t. Within that group, the people who voted the way we wanted them to, when asked why, often cited the messages they learned from the Facebook ads.”

…That this could be a problem was apparent to many. Eli Pariser’s The Filter Bubble, which came out in the summer of 2011, became the most widely cited distillation of the effects Facebook and other internet platforms could have on public discourse.

Pariser began the book research when he noticed conservative people, whom he’d befriended on the platform despite his left-leaning politics, had disappeared from his News Feed. “I was still clicking my progressive friends’ links more than my conservative friends’— and links to the latest Lady Gaga videos more than either,” he wrote. “So no conservative links for me.”

…Most germane to this discussion, he raised the point that if every one of the billion News Feeds is different, how can anyone understand what other people are seeing and responding to?

…Targeting made tracking the actual messaging that the campaigns were paying for impossible to track. On Facebook, the campaigns could show ads only to the people they targeted. We couldn’t actually see the messages that were actually reaching people in battleground areas. From the outside, it was a technical impossibility to know what ads were running on Facebook.

…“in the final three months of the U.S. presidential campaign, the top-performing fake election-news stories on Facebook generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, NBC News, and others.”

…What made the election cycle different was that all of these changes to the information ecosystem had made it possible to develop weird businesses around fake news. Some random website posting aggregated news about the election could not drive a lot of traffic. But some random website announcing that the Pope had endorsed Donald Trump definitely could. The fake news generated a ton of engagement, which meant that it spread far and wide.

A few days before the election Silverman and fellow BuzzFeed contributor Lawrence Alexander traced 100 pro–Donald Trump sites to a town of 45,000 in Macedonia. Some teens there realized they could make money off the election, and just like that, became a node in the information network that helped Trump beat Clinton.

…There were reports that Russian trolls were commenting on American news sites. There were many, many reports of Russia’s propaganda offensive in Ukraine.

…A Guardian reporter who looked into Russian military doctrine around information war found a handbook that described how it might work. “The deployment of information weapons, [the book] suggests, ‘acts like an invisible radiation’ upon its targets: ‘The population doesn’t even feel it is being acted upon. So the state doesn’t switch on its self-defense mechanisms,’” wrote Peter Pomerantsev.

…As many people have noted, the 3,000 ads that have been linked to Russia are a drop in the bucket, even if they did reach millions of people. The real game is simply that Russian operatives created pages that reached people “organically,” as the saying goes. Jonathan Albright, research director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, pulled data on the six publicly known Russia-linked Facebook pages. He found that their posts had been shared 340 million times. And those were six of 470 pages that Facebook has linked to Russian operatives. You’re probably talking billions of shares, with who knows how many views, and with what kind of specific targeting.

…But the point isn’t that a Republican beat a Democrat. The point is that the very roots of the electoral system—the news people see, the events they think happened, the information they digest—had been destabilized.

What Facebook Did to American Democracy – The Atlantic


Parasites make treatment of N. Korean defector harder, doctor says

The soldier has successfully undergone a second round of surgery at Ajou University hospital earlier in the day, which lasted for about three-and-a-half hours, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. He is still in a critical condition, according to Lee Cook-jong, the physician who treated him.

The operation concluded with the removal of a bullet lodged in the abdominal wall, Lee said.

“We are struggling with treatment as we found a large number of parasites in the soldier’s stomach, invading and eating into the wounded areas,” Lee said. “We have also discovered a parasite never seen in Koreans before. It is making the situation worse and causing tremendous complications.”

…“I don’t know what is happening in North Korea, but I found many parasites when examining other defectors,” said Professor Seong Min at the Dankook University Medical School. “In one case, we found 30 types of roundworms in a female defector. The parasite infection problem seems to be serious even if it does not represent the entire North Korean population.”

Parasites make treatment of N. Korean defector harder, doctor says – Korea Biomedical Review


Homeland Security Official Resigns Over Remarks on African-Americans and Muslims


The Department of Homeland Security’s head of outreach to religious and community organizations resigned on Thursday after audio recordings revealed that he had previously made incendiary remarks about African-Americans and Muslims while speaking on radio shows.

…John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, had appointed Mr. Johnson to the department in April during his brief tenure as secretary of Homeland Security.

…[Johnson said on a radio show] that the black community had “turned America’s major cities into slums because of laziness, drug use and sexual promiscuity.” He also said black people were anti-Semitic because they were jealous of Jewish people..

…Mr. Johnson attacked Islam, …“Muslims want to cut our heads off,” that Islam is “an ideology posing as a religion” and that President George W. Bush made a mistake by calling it a religion of peace.

…Mr. Johnson also said he agreed with the conservative author Dinesh D’Souza that “all that Islam has ever given us is oil and dead bodies over the last millennia and a half.”

…“The DHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships is driven by one simple, enduring, inspirational principle,” Mr. Johnson wrote on his account’s inaugural post eight months ago. “LOVE THY NEIGHBOR.”

Homeland Security Official Resigns Over Remarks on African-Americans and Muslims – The New York Times

Kelly appointed a bigot to an office in charge of outreach to minority groups. Sadly, this isn’t a surprise. At least he was outed and pushed out.

The incredible shrinking Democratic ground game

Research shows little evidence that appearances can change election outcomes, and to the extent that appearances matter, it is because they lead to volunteer sign-ups and contributions. The reason to visit Wisconsin, therefore, would be to excite the base and motivate those supporters to volunteer for the campaign.

Getting out the vote relies on more than excitement, however. Translating enthusiasm into action may require establishing a “ground game.” Campaigns open field offices that serve as points of coordination for volunteer activities, where the data possessed by national campaigns is translated into walk packets and call lists for local volunteers, who in turn talk to voters and collect more data at the doors and on the phones. Offices can increase candidate vote share and turnout in an area, but perhaps more importantly, they indicate to volunteers and local activists that the national campaign cares about their area.

…Better field operations lead to better data, which improves targeting and persuasion, starting the cycle anew.

…The data [in Clinton’s 2016 campaign] may not have indicated that something was wrong, but with fewer volunteers in the field, that data was incomplete. Data and field are not competing resource centers; they should work together seamlessly, each benefiting from the insights of the other.

The incredible shrinking Democratic ground game – Vox