Google see’s 71% increase in Gov. takedown requests

I came across this article about Google and content censorship and takedown requests by the government and corporations : http://www.theverge.com/2012/11/14/3643998/google-transparency-report-h1-2012 .

It grabbed my attention because it states that Google will be issuing it’s transparency report for the year which reveals exactly what companies, institutions and countries have asked Google to remove content from the search engine. The article states that over the last six months alone, Google has seen a 71 percent increase in content removal.

Jeff Jarvis’s piece “What Would Google Do?” asks us to find alternate ways to convey news other than newspapers. He calls for us to think outside the box and harness the internet for solutions to the dying newspaper industry. He offers great advice and solutions for journalists and the news companies. But with content takedown requests and content censorship apparently on the rise, does this pose a problem for us as media/news consumers? To me, this transparency report offers a lot of insight about who “owns” the media and who has a say over what content to publish and what content to censor. Can we really rely on the the power of the internet to save journalism and the news when there is so much censorship and filtering going on by the people who are in power over content?

For me personally, I’ve seen a huge decline in search engine efficiency. Youtube is not what it used to be, I rarely use it anymore when looking for videos. There are increasing copyright claims and content removal. This topic really frustrates me…

What do you guys think about this?

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Google see’s 71% increase in Gov. takedown requests

I came across this article about Google and content censorship and takedown requests by the government and corporations : http://www.theverge.com/2012/11/14/3643998/google-transparency-report-h1-2012 .

It grabbed my attention because it states that Google will be issuing it’s transparency report for the year which reveals exactly what companies institutions and countries have asked Google to remove content from the search engine. The article states that over the last six months alone, Google has seen a 71 percent increase in content removal.

Jeff Jarvis’s piece “What Would Google Do?” asks us to find alternate ways to convey news other than newspapers. He calls for us to think outside the box and harness the internet for solutions to the dying newspaper industry. He offers great advice and solutions for journalists and the news companies. But with content takedown requests and content censorship apparently on the rise, does this pose a problem for us as media/news consumers? To me, this transparency report offers a lot of insight about who “owns” the media and who has a say over what content to publish and what content to censor. Can we really rely on the the power of the internet to save journalism and the news when there is so much censorship and filtering going on by the people who are in power over content?

For me personally, I’ve seen a huge decline in search engine efficiency. Youtube is not what it used to be, I rarely use it anymore when looking for videos. There are increasing copyright claims and content removal. This topic really frustrates me…

What do you guys think about this?

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A Clockwork Orange

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while, having heard great things about this classic novel. I enjoyed the twisted, trippy journey as the main character Alex, a teenaged gang member associated with hideous crimes, is put away in jail and then used as a guinea pig in the government’s experiment to end violent tendencies in criminals. Alex was injected with drugs that made him feel tremendously ill and was forced to watch heinous and violent acts. In a Pavlovian method of association, Alex was eventually brainwashed to be incapable of violence.

This incapability to act violently leaves Alex a victim to the revenge of one of his old comrades in a savage beating. Seeking refuge, Alex wanders to a house where a seemingly charitable man takes him in. Alex soon realizes this man, F. Alexander, is one of his many victims from his streak of crime. This man’s wife, earlier in the story, was brutally raped by Alex and his gang and later died.

F. Alexander is not only a victim of Alex’s atrocious violence, but also an active political figure against the government which drugged and brainwashed Alex. Eventually the politically-charged man who took Alex in discovers the truth about Alex and in turn uses Alex in his revolutionary plot all the while attempting to kill him using the torture inflicted on him by the government.

F. Alexander’s plan to kill Alex foils and Alex ends up in the hospital and therefore, in the hands of the government once again. They decide to reverse the effects of their experiment and release Alex back to his violent self.

The book takes you through a winding trip of heinous crime volleying between good and evil and what it really means to be either. I feel I need to read it again to really understand the full messages and themes involved in this complex and psychological thriller.

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How Starbucks Changed My Life

                                                         How Starbucks Changed My Life is an autobiography written by Michael Gates Gill about how he was fired from his advertising executive position at a lead advertising agency that he had loyally been an employee for 25 years. As his life ends up in shambles at his feet with his affair ruining his marriage and his relationship with his kids, Gill increasingly sees the pressing need to make money somehow as the days go on. As Gill discovers he has a brain tumor, the need to make money perpetuates when the medical bills pile up.

This story takes you through the bustling competitive streets of New York City as a man in his 60’s loses it all and then finds a new path and a new way of thinking in of all places– Starbucks.

A depressed and jobless Gill enters a Starbucks on Broadway in Manhattan and meets Crystal, a manager to one of the stores. Crystal offers Gill a job at her store and sure enough Gill takes the offer.

Working at Starbucks proves to be not only a humbling experience for the over privileged ex-executive, but life altering as well. Gill for the first time in all of his years learns to open his eyes to the world around him and see beyond his bubble of upper class white America.

The story is a humbling one as well as inspiring. It has the message of, although you can think you’re losing it all, one door closed may lead to another one open.

I enjoyed this book in it’s simplicity as well as it’s message. It was a quick entertaining read that kept you flipping through the pages to see how Michael Gates Gill picks up the pieces and starts all over again. Also, I am a huge fan of Starbucks :).

 

 

 

 

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Aug. 2

“Default by the United States is unthinkable. This is not a new or partisan judgement; it is a conclusion that has been shared by every Secretary of the Treasury, regardless of political party, in the modern era. A default would cause a financial crisis potentially more severe than the crisis from which we are only now starting to recover.” -US Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner.

I obtained this quote from a Washington Post photo slideshow titled “Debt Ceiling Doomsday Scenario”. Geithner wrote this in a letter to Capitol Hill in April, according to the slideshow.

The slideshow outlines the possible outcomes of default including not being able to pay government employees including veterans of war and the elderly.

Another interesting point in the slideshow is, now that the US is facing default and may be unable to fulfill fiscal obligations, it could now be seen as a “risky investment”-Jason Reed, Reuters. This could seriously affect the US’s reputation among investors other countries, etc.

Also, according to Andrew Harrer from Bloomberg, the US dollar could devalue.

The slideshow goes on for pages with the potential horrors of what could happen if we default. It opened my eyes to many more negative and serious outcomes than I was aware of. This is pretty unsettling considering August 2nd is two days away…

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Three Cups of Tea

                    I just finished reading Three Cups of Tea written by David Oliver Relin, a traveling Journalist who has contributed to Parade magazine and achieved national recognition for his writing, and Greg Mortenson the director of the Central Asia Institute and also the hero of the story.

The story follows Mortenson’s life as he fails to climb the treacherous K2 mountain and instead meets some villagers from a remote region in Pakistan who end up gripping his attention and having a life-altering impact. Mortenson saw the desperate need for schools, especially girls’ schools as the rise of extremist religious schools continue to invade the land with very little effort or funding for secular education, and no funding for the education of girls.

Mortenson embarks on a nearly impossible journey of attempting to fulfill the Village of Korphe’s dreams of education for their young. After several failures and disappointments in Mortenson’s life, he ends up prevailing and even exceeding his goal of completing the Korphe school. As the director of the CAI, he completes over 50 schools for young girls in the regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Not only does this prove to be fiscally difficult, but Mortenson finds himself in a dangerous situation. On the brink of 9/11 and the shadows of the Taliban lurking around every corner threatening his endeavors, being an American in these lands is no easy feat. Especially an American opposing the extreme religious education imposed by the government.

The overall theme and lesson of this book is that one person CAN make a huge difference in the lives of those less fortunate. Mortenson started out with nothing, barely enough money for his own survival, and ended up constructing not just one but multiple schools for the children  of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He was trying to appease a tumultuous situation between the Middle East and the U.S by promoting education not war to overcome terror. This book was not only adventurous, but inspiring as well. I really admire Greg Mortenson for his compassion and faith for the youth of Pakistan and Afghanistan, especially as an American in a time when the middle eastern relations were very dangerous and widely misunderstood by a lot of people in the west.

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Feature Story from NYTimes: In Online Games, a Path to Young Consumers

I personally enjoy writing and reading longer more in depth feature stories rather than hard spot news stories. Both are equally important in that hard breaking news stories get vital and relevant information to the reader fast and efficiently and feature news stories sort of remind us of an issue that may not have been talked about recently, with a more in depth and meticulous angle.

From class, we learned features should always stick to the reporting and peg certain issues that will capture people’s attention. In other words, an issue that is relevant and important and will resonate with people. There is also a lot of research that goes into these types of stories, you need to find out what others have already found out about this issue so you can move beyond that. You must also present opposing points to avoid being biased and give different sides a fair chance. The final thing to keep in mind when writing feature stories is to draw a conclusion, check and recheck sources to confirm your point and then sum it up for the reader.

I found this story in the NYTimes Health section:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/21/business/21marketing.html?_r=1&ref=health

The beginning sets the scene describing a young girl aged 10 playing an online computer game. The author doesn’t assume her feelings, they simply set the scene in an appropriately descriptive manner. They hook the reader with the line, “But this is not just a game, it is also advertising.” This will grab any parents’ attention whose kids go online.

The writer talks about the concerns of nutrition experts in the prominence of “junk food” advertising on websites that feature kids’ games. Bringing nutrition experts into the story creates a reliable and valid source, if they’re concerned, you should be too.

This story is relevant with the growth of new media and social networking. kids are online more now than ever before and advertisers are taking advantage of that. This article begs the question: where is the line between advertisements and invasion of privacy?

I have personal experience with this as I surf the web or go on sites like Facebook I see how eerily the advertisements mirror exactly what my interests are.

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