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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Synchronous and Asynchronous Communication

There is an immediate transactional response in most mediated communication. This communication is said to be synchronous, or at the same time.

Asynchronous communication is a message that is not read, heard or seem at the same time as it is transmitted. A good example is a letter. There is delay or even a lack of response.

Synchronous messages are those that are sent and received simultaneously, instantly from when they are sent and received. Feedback is usually also immediate.

Going Viral: Political Campaigns and Video

Peggy Miles - President and Founder, Intervox Communications
I don't think we're ever going to see election campaigning be the same, especially after Internet video came into play.
Politicians are using it. And why not? I can get in front of people. I can get my whole message across. And it's valuable.
Richard Campbell - Author, Media and Culture
I think if you want to talk about transformation and sort of modern politics, you'd probably go back to 1960 and the Kennedy-Nixon debate, in which sort of what we know in surveys that Nixon won that debate on radio when people sort of interviewed later, just on the substantive, substance of the debate, but that Kennedy won on television. The director of that first debate was Don Hewitt, who invented 60 Minutes and suggested to Nixon that he put more makeup on because he had this really dark beard and growth. And Hewitt suggested, you know, you should soften that up a little bit. And Nixon refused to do this. And so he got on the air and was contrasted with John F. Kennedy, who was very sun-tanned and very, very striking looking. And by contrast, Nixon looked kind of sinister with this dark growth. And it showed in the debate.
Peggy Miles
Because once a video goes someplace on any broadcast network or any kind of electronic device, other people are get access to it. And that allows your neighbor to comment on a video, to bring up a new point, not just the reporters you see behind the news. And if there was something that was slipped in there that somebody else didn't catch, you'll find it. Let's say one of the politicians says something and it might not really be what they did in '84 - my goodness, which is then in the news recently. It comes to light in less than five minutes. Somebody does all the research and actually brings that information and can research it for us.
Richard Campbell
I think that's probably a good thing. And I think you also have, you know, Barack Obama's very clever use of the Internet in his whole campaign.
Peggy Miles
We're seeing all types of video communication going here and there, even within the campaign process and the fundraising. And also where people are voting or where people are deciding to vote. There's been a whole network of these little video live Webcasting phones; they're put in polling places. And so instantly you can get that video back. And you can see or click on a screen of 20 or 30 actual, live videos coming out of different polling places and talking to people around the nation or around the world. And, you know, sometimes, depending on if your carrier doesn't block it in some countries, that means that video can get to where it needs to go. And maybe only one or two people will see it. But guess what? If it's worth seeing, they're going to share it with two or three more friends. And it gets more. Then it takes off and it will get where it needs to go. That's the fun part about this.
  • Description:Online video has changed political campaigning forever. Peggy Miles of Intervox Communications discusses how politicians use the Internet to reach out to voters.
  • Terms(s):
    Media and Democracy
  • Featured Writer(s):
    Martin, Christopher R.
    Fabos, Bettina G.
    Campbell, Richard

Facebook, Amazon, Grocery Stores and the loss of privacy and the right to keep your own preferences private....

Employers, politicians, neighbors and "wacko" are finding it easier than ever to find out all sorts of things that you may think are not their business.
And you are giving them the right to do so.
Discrimination based on things you wrote or bought years ago are already a reality, as are bias and prejudices based on the 'data' version of you.
Facebook is at the forefront of gathering data to customize ads and services to meet "your needs," and collecting and "selling" data to make it easier for others to do the same.
In the near future your television ads, ads in magazines, ads on line, offers you receive in the mail, and even discounts and credits where you shop will be based on a data network gathering everything they can about you and about your politics, beliefs, consumer habits and other demographic data. 
Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime do much the same with their tracking of data, which is now available to Facebook and other sources.
Facebook gathers data from “Like” buttons even after users have logged out, saying that the collection is part of a system to prevent improper logins. Yet they now admit this software data collection is also being used in advertising, the selling of data about you and the ability of outside parties to understand your likes, wants, beliefs and needs.
The practice is raising questions about the privacy implications of Facebook’s vast presence on the Web.
Now Facebook has gone into partnerships with research films, sharing your data in order to gain data from you customer cards uses at grocery stores and in retain, some select charge and bank card data, subscriptions you may have, DMV and other sources.
When you sign the agreement to use the service, cards or other customer service tools, you are signing away your privacy in favor of the convenience of a data collection society.
“Even if you are logged out, Facebook still knows and can track every page you visit,” Cubrilovic wrote in a blog post about the issue. “The only solution is to delete every Facebook cookie in your browser, or to use a separate browser for Facebook interactions.”
Here’s how the Facebook user data collection works: When you log in to Facebook or visit without logging in, the site places small files called “cookies” on your computer. Some of these cookies remain on your computer even after you log out, and then whenever you visit a site that connects to Facebook – such as those with a “Like” button – information from those cookies is sent back to Facebook, providing a record of where you’ve been on the Web.
Facebook acknowledges that it gets that data but says it deletes it right away is either not logged or is used for security purposes or for aggregate statistics. The company says the data is sent because of the way the “Like” button system is set up; any cookies that are associated with will automatically get sent when you view a “Like” button.
“The onus is on us is to take all the data and scrub it,” said Arturo Bejar, a Facebook director of engineering. “What really matters is what we say as a company and back it up.”
In a statement, a Facebook spokesman said “no information we receive when you see a social plugin is used to target ads.”
Bejar said Facebook is looking at ways to avoid sending the data altogether but that it will “take a while.”
So why does Facebook keep cookies after you log out in the first place? Bejar said that it’s to prevent spam and phishing attacks and to help keep users from having to go through extra authentication steps every time they log in.
When a user logs in to Facebook from a new computer, the site will often make them take steps to prove that they are who they say they are, rather than someone attempting to log into an account improperly. Cookies allow Facebook to skip those steps when people are logging in from a computer they’ve used before, Bejar said.
But Facebook has been under fire lately over privacy, and the fact that Facebook is getting data at all after people have logged out is raising concerns. “This is not what ‘logout’ is supposed to mean,” Cubrilovic wrote.
This is not the first time people have questioned how much information Facebook gets from “Like” buttons.
In May, the Journal’s Amir Efrati wrote that Facebook would continue to collect browsing data even if users closed their browser or turned off their computers, until they explicitly logged out of Facebook. The current findings, which your Digits blogger confirmed on her computer, indicate that the collection continues even after users explicitly log out.
And earlier this year, Facebook discontinued the practice of obtaining browsing data about Internet users who had never visited, after it was disclosed by Dutch researcher Arnold Roosendaal.
CLARIFICATION: Facebook says some of the cookies identified by Cubrilovic are not logged by the system. However, one cookie is stored and is used to detect suspicious logins, the company says. That cookie is deleted after 90 days. An earlier version of this article incorrectly indicated that all the cookies Cubrilovic identified were not kept when users were logged out.

Facebook's new data combo platter

A Facebook employee holds a phone that is running the new 'Home' program during an event at Facebook headquarters during an event at Facebook headquarters on April 4, 2013 in Menlo Park, Calif.
Facebook is rolling out a new tool for advertisers that could make it easier for them to target consumers, and easier for Facebook to make another buck off of us. Until now, the social network has relied mainly on data it collects from users' Facebook pages. Now, it is partnering with large data companies that track consumer behavior on and offline, to create more complete profiles for advertisers.
Data marketers, such as Acxiom and Datalogix, collect information about what you buy online and which websites you visit. They also keep track of what you buy offline by mining data from credit cards and rewards cards. By partnering with the data firms, Facebook will know more than ever about its users.
"We think about Facebook as being a database of affinity," says Fatemeh Khatibloo, a senior analyst at Forrester Research.
In other words, a giant trove of peoples' likes. But, says Khatibloo, these other firms "have data about actual transactional behavior" -- what people actually buy.
Consider, says Khatibloo, a grocery-store rewards card. While Facebook might know from your page that you "like" a particular brand of cola, the data marketing companies know whether or not you're actually buying it -- and how often. Facebook can use that combination of data to lure advertisers. Privacy advocates say the data mingling is troubling.
"What's disturbing about what happened today is that all of these data companies are all working together," says Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. "So today consumers face this unknown, evergrowing complex of data sources merging bits of information about who they are -- that's now used in real time without having any ability to control, influence or stop it."
Facebook notes that they are not offering up information on individuals, only on large groups of people.
Sources include Marketplace, National Public Radio, American Public Radio, Public Radio International, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Wired Magazine.

First published April 10, 2013

Newsweek RIP (last issue December 31, 2012)

A July 2011 edition of Newsweek featured a computer-generated image of Princess Diana, imagining what she would look like at age 50 with Kate Middleton, now Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge. The magazine is ending its print edition and going all-digital in 2013.

Newsweek will no longer be printed. On-line will continue. They have shifted main stream, and also under Tina Brown it has been using entertainment, buzzy cover stories, and Globe type headlines to drive the on-line side. The readers of the magazine stopped reading, with a fifty percent reduction of print circulation. 1.4 million copies are sold or subscribed to, one third of the level estimated for a break even point.

The Daily Beast is the same company on-line, so the future of Newsweek is in doubt. But for now it will continue on-line.

The revenue declines prompted an August 2010 sale by owner The Washington Post Company to 92-year-old audio pioneer Sidney Harman—for a purchase price of $1.00 and an assumption of the magazine's liabilities.Newsweek is jointly owned by the estate of the late Harman and the diversified American Internet company IAC.

CEO and co-owner Barry Diller says that the bleeding had to stop. He will also mandate staff cuts and a strict budget for both the Daily Beast and Newsweek on-line.

Newsweek is planned to be reborn as Newsweek World Wide, an interactive news and feature site with localized features and links as well as the things that form our common culture.

US News and World report stopped printing in 2010.

Time has no plans to stop printing, but size and print magazine budget have been reduce almost monthly in small increments.

Time-Warner ended sister publications "Look" magazine in 1972 and "Life" (after various experiments with changes to take advantage of the brand) in 2000, but occasionally comes out with special issues of "Life" magazine. Those photo based publications became obsolete as postage rates began to escalate, television grew in strength and later the Internet provided instant access to billions of photos and articles..

Cande' Nast did massive layoffs last week, but spared "The New Yorker", which is bleeding money heavily but is their prestige publication, both on-line and in print.

Publications have yet to figure out how to make much money on-line, however the overall cost are far lower because no printing and distribution programs are needed. These two elements are the primary cost of publishing content, not the writers, photographers and editors.

For additional information go to NPR by clicking here.

-Art Lynch

Two Lobes Divided: The Battle for the Brain.

Democrats tend to be socially conscious and feel that government and overall society exists, in part, to help the least of our brothers and sisters. They put right brain characteristics such as art, health care, welfare and creativity ahead of business profits and the constant race for wealth.

Republicans tend to be conservative in actions, rooted in what has worked in the past, to believe that individuals are responsible for their own fate and that pulling "yourself up by your own bootstraps is still possible." 

Most women are democrats while a slight majority of men tend toward being Republican.

Yet in both parties, and in all individuals, strong differences in definition, differentiation and beliefs exist, as the two parts of the "soul" compete to comprehend, adjust to and react to the universe as it is perceived by the individual. Life experience, nature and nurture, combine to create the diversity we have as human beings, constantly torn between right and left brain values and practice.

While this does not hold true from individual to individual it does in terms of party platforms, basic beliefs and doctrines. And for a western democracy this is considered normal and even healthy, despite the polarized paralysis we have today. Since for better or worse, emotion is a right brain function, Democrats have usually been more successful in selling emotional need. The current "tea bag" movement and a major well financed move to blog, e-mail and capture the Internet by the Republican Party may just reverse that, at least in the short term.

So, it works for democracies? Or just democracies based in the Phoenician, Greek, Roman and Anglo (English) tradition? Eastern societies have a much more balanced perspective. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, that may be changing. A capitalistic China, sweat shop Asia, unemployed middle east and Africa for sale look at the early 21st century may mean it is time we all take a step back, try to work with each other, and think about where our brains may be leading us.

The beginning of a Wall Street Journal look at the Brain, its two halves and social evolution can be found below. The full story may require subscription. The link is  to the full story is attached .

And on to a Wall Street Journal article that illustrates just how much our brains are at war with themselves...

(partial from story in Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2010, W9)
Why is the brain divided? If it is about making connections, why has evolution so carefully preserved the segregation of its hemispheres? Almost every function once thought to be the province of one or other hemisphere—language, imagery, reason, emotion—is served by both hemispheres, not one.
There is nonetheless a highly significant difference in how the two hemispheres work, giving rise to two wholly distinct takes on the world. Normally we synthesize them without being aware that we are doing so. But one of the two hemispheres can come to dominate—and just as this may happen for individuals, it may also happen for a whole culture.
[BRAIN]illlustration by Douglas B. Jones 

The neuropsychological evidence shows that the right hemisphere pays wide-open attention to the world, seeing the whole, whereas the left hemisphere is adept at focusing on a detail. New experience, whatever its kind, is better apprehended by the right hemisphere, whereas the predictable is better dealt with by the left. And because the right hemisphere sees things in context, as inseparably interconnected, it recognizes the vast extent of what remains implicit. By contrast, because of its narrow focus, the left hemisphere isolates what it sees, and is relatively blind to things that can be conveyed only indirectly.

In humans, the left hemisphere controls the grasping right hand and the bits of language that enable us to pin down meaning unambiguously. It helps us manipulate and use the world, in pursuit of our aims. The left hemisphere's world is sharply delineated and certain, along the lines of the general's strategy map on the command room wall, where the complexity of the world is stripped away. Yet we still need to see the essentially human world as it is before we simplify and disconnect it. A general needs to be in touch with the world in which his soldiers actually fight. The knowledge that is mediated by the left hemisphere is knowledge within a closed system. It has the advantage of perfection, but such perfection is bought ultimately at the price of emptiness.

The right hemisphere's take on the world is far more complex and nuanced. Instead of distinct mechanisms, the right hemisphere sees interconnected, living, embodied entities. In communication the right hemisphere recognizes all that is nonverbal, metaphorical, ironic or humorous, where the left is literalistic. The right is at ease with ambiguity and the idea that opposites may be compatible.
There is a reason we have two hemispheres: We need both versions of the world.

Without the right hemisphere, we are socially and emotionally insensitive, and have an impaired understanding of beauty, art and religion. Effectively autistic, we have no sense of the broader context of experience. Meanwhile, without the left hemisphere, we struggle to bring detail into focus. If a culture were ever to rely excessively on one take alone, there would sooner or later need to be a correction.

Yet in the West there has been such an imbalance. And as a consequence, over the past 2,500 years, there has been a kind of battle going on in our brains, the result of which has been, despite swings of the pendulum, an ever greater reliance on the left hemisphere.

(continuned at Wall Street, use school library link as subscription may be required for access)

First posted January 2, 2010

Too Much Information clogs the mobile world

Too many phones and smart computers?

By the end of this year (2010)the amount of information carried by call phones, smart phones and mobile data devices will be 18 times the amount contained in every book ever written in the history of mankind.

AT&T and iPhone got a bad rap when cell phone service in NYC ground to a halt. The overall metro system, it seems, was overtaxed and in need of upgrade. Such upgrades require money, and carriers say that the way to generate that money, and relive the system from overuse, is to charge more and charge by data use (for examples videos will cost more or ear up your "credits').  The too the heavy marketing push for G4, which is really no faster than some carriers G3 (AT&T as an example), eats up a greater bandwidth and therefore takes up data transmission space than its predecessor. As we seek more and better service, we are also rushing toward paying more or facing crashes or down time on existing systems.

This volume may mean the end of "free" Internet, as to provide service avoid drop outs and reboots, it may be necessary to limit use or charge consumers by use instead of monthly access. Of course this information is coming form the industry, which is interested in both countering complaints by customers an increasing profits.

First published 11-12-2010

Agree to Dissagree..Agree to listen..Agree to understand...Do no harm.

1. Agree to disagree. Do not take the opinions of others personally. Realize they have a vested interests in believing what they believe. Do try to get into productive discourse and to educate, but be open to learning as you do so.
2. Agree to listen. Listening is the most important communication and critical thinking skill, yet is it rapidly becoming he weakest. You need to really listen, not just sit and hear someone go on and on and repeat memorized or internalized tracts. Listen for what is underneath what they are saying. Look for the value, truths and lessons in what they say. Also listen to understand the views of others as you prepare persuasive discourse yourself.
3. Agree to understand. This includes understanding time restraints (for a teacher class time and number of speakers, amount that must be covered in a term and so on), physical limitations, the full demographics and psychographics of other individuals or groups, possible painful personal beliefs or experience behind their beliefs, that if you look underneath the surface you may find you agree more than you think, that everyone has different life expediences and above all (for students) that this is only a class.
4. Do no harm. Never intentionally harm another person with your words or actions. There is no faster way to shut down communication and progress than causing harm or the threat of harm. The word intentional is important, as we should not let a fear of offense or harm keep us from advancing legitimate arguments or exploring the envelope in the name of growth and understanding.

On the Media: Calling for a National Conversation, Offshore Leaks, and More

00:00 / 00:00
Brooke looks into just what it means to have a national conversation about government surveillance, international journalists focus on another big leak story, and the dubious explanatory power of bathtubs. 

How Do We Have a National Conversation?

This week, President Obama told Charlie Rose that he would like to have a national conversation about government surveillance. Brooke explores what it means to truly have a "national conversation" with the American Library Association's Lynne Bradley, the Constitution Project's Sharon Bradford Franklin, and California Congressman Henry Waxman.

We Aren't Watching You - Yet

Last week, a bill called the We Are Watching You Act was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives. It’s meant to protect consumers from new technology that could monitor them as they watch TV or play video games. Brooke speaks to Rep. Walter Jones, one of the bill's cosponsors, about why he feels these regulations are necessary.

Who's Watching Who

Brooke asks the Boston Globe's Hiawatha Bray the key question about the We Are Watching You Act: who, exactly, is watching us -- and how?

Offshore Leaks

While the US is focusing on leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, international journalists have been reporting stories from a massive trove of documents called the "Offshore Leaks" that reveals the mysterious world of offshore tax havens. Brooke talks to Gerard Ryle, the Director of the Center for Public Integrity's International Consortium for Investigative Journalism about coordinating the reporting on these leaks around the world.

Fracking Feud

As hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, continues its spread throughout the nation, oil industry representatives and environmentalists vie for control over coverage of the issue. Brooke speaks to ProPublic's Abrham Lustgarten about how advocates on both sides of the issue are attempting to control the narrative.

Terrorists vs. Bathtubs

In a Guardian livechat this week, NSA leaker Edward Snowden advised Americans to consider the trade off they make between privacy and security: "Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we've been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it.” These "X kills more people than Y" comparisons crop up all the time, in discussions of terrorism, gun control, even obesity. Brooke talks to risk analyst Peter Sandman about why they aren't very persuasive .

Keeping Track Of Your Digital Footprints

Millions of us are willing are share intimate details about ourselves online — but we may be inadvertently sharing more than we mean to. Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin talks to NPR's Steve Henn about how parents and kids can protect their privacy online.