Tag Archives: news

The Atlantic goes full speed ahead on digital, internet – gives up on print, magazines

Only a few print magazines understand the internet – and The Atlantic is one of them. Now in their third year of profit, after spending a decade losing millions, the magazine is ready to expand. And the next step is to let the print magazine die and expand with more websites. From the N.Y. Times:

“It’s become very, very clear to me that digital trumps print, and that pure digital, without any legacy costs, massively trumps print,” David G. Bradley said.

And digital is where The Atlantic is going, with three successful sites - TheAtlantic.comAtlantic WireAtlantic Cities - and one more launching this week, Quartz.com. A business news site focused on a global audience – from the Editor’s Note:

We’ve assembled a team of digital journalists and developers to create a new kind of business news offering that is global, digitally native, and designed for the mobile and tablet devices.

Full speed ahead on digital, mobile, and social. And while this sounds like just another website, the team has some interesting insights that may give them an advantage. “Data is ubiquitous while real insight on the news is a rare commodity.” I would agree. When everybody reports the same news, if you can consistently provide better insight – that’s an advantage.

“Any good blog or magazine has defining obsessions, and we’ll structure around the ones that we think smart, globally minded people will be interested in.” Don’t you love how he interchanges the words blog and magazine – as if they are the same thing.

Finally, the site will be free – no paywalls or subscriptions – instead showing ads from sponsors in the news stream. It’s the newest digital model that avoids big banner ads – and the company already has four paid sponsors until the end of the year.

And we shouldn’t be surprised they’re adopting the latest digital innovation. The company is diving into digital and giving up on it’s print roots. Something that few print publications will ever do.

 

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Astronomers discover a star-creating galaxy that sheds light on the galactic cooling problem

Massive galaxy cluster spawns more than 700 stars a year

A newly discovered cluster of galaxies, more than 5 billion light years from Earth…is among the most massive clusters of galaxies in the universe, and produces X-rays at a rate faster than any other known cluster.

It also creates new stars at an “unmatched” pace of more than 700 per year, said Michael McDonald. “This extreme rate of star formation was unexpected,” he said during a NASA news conference Wednesday, noting that the Milky Way forms just one or two stars a year.

In addition to being massive, unique, and the biggest star-nursery in the universe, this area, called Phoenix, also helps theorists with something, the galactic cooling problem.

 

Phoenix Cluster: a combination of the X-ray, Optical, and Ultraviolet images, left; artists concept of the central galaxy, right. (photo: NASA)

 

For years scientists have been coming up with explanations for how stars are formed. The earliest being a mass of molecules would collapse in on themselves as fusion begins. The mass would then accumulate until its gravity becomes strong enough to spin, turn into a sphere, and pull on everything around it, collecting planets, asteroids, and other debris into its solar system.

But, this doesn’t take into account thermodynamics, specifically why doesn’t the star expand as it heats up. Indeed, several half-stars were observed in the universe stuck in this state of expansion unable to contract into the ultra-compact ball of a star.

That’s where a new theory comes in, the galactic “cooling flow”.

**There appears to be no name for the theory, all references are to a general theory theory of star formation.

This says the creation of stars is a lot like an explosion, with an initial burst of heat which then dissipates bringing cool air back into the explosion zone. In this case, thermonuclear fusion ignites much of the galaxy and begins sucking into the center lots of mass, including the surrounding galaxies.

As the (star) forms, this plasma initially heats up due to the gravitational energy released from the infall of smaller galaxies.

As the gas cools, it should condense and sink inward, a process known as a “cooling flow.” 

In the cluster’s center, this cooling flow can lead to very dense cores of gas, termed “cool cores,” which should fuel bursts of star formation in all clusters that go through this process. Most of these predictions had been confirmed with observations – the X-ray glow, the lower temperatures at the cluster centers – but starbursts accompanying this cooling remain rare. – TG Daily

 

A step forward in our knowledge of star formation, but something tells me we are not there yet.

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Obama campaign launches iPhone app, Obama for America – 100 days till the election

With the 2012 election less than 100 days away — 98 days, to be exact — Team Obama is giving its supporters, volunteers and voters a digital push. The president’s campaign and the Democratic Party have launched Obama for America, a mobile app that packs election information, grassroots organizational tools, campaign news and more into a single package.

Instead of developing another photo-sharing app with ready-made templates, the Obama campaign has opted to create a much more focused get-out-the-vote tool.

Keep in mind, however, that the app is tailored toward people who already support the 44th U.S. president. This is most decidedly not a non-partisan effort.

“As we push through the last 100 days of this election, our focus remains on helping make grassroots organizing as easy and accessible as possible for the volunteers and supporters that are the heart and soul of this campaign,” Stephanie Cutter, Deputy Campaign Manager for Obama for America, told Wired in an email. “That’s why we designed our new app to help break down the distinction between online and offline organizing, giving every supporter the same opportunities to get involved that they would find in a field office.”

Toward this goal, the app includes sections called…

 

Keep reading: Wired - Obama Campaign Launches iOS App to Support Re-Election Effort

 

 

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International Space Station has a Large Hadron Collider – and it’s collected 18 billion cosmic rays

The largest-ever experiment in space has reported the collection of some 18 billion “cosmic ray” events that may help unravel the Universe’s mysteries.

Run from a centre at Cern, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) aims to spot dark matter and exotic antimatter.

At the heart of the seven-tonne, $2bn machine is a giant, specially designed magnet which bends the paths of extraordinarily high-energy charged particles called cosmic rays onto a series of detectors, giving hints of what the particles are.

A series of ever-larger particle accelerators built here on Earth aim to drive particles to ever-higher energies, smashing them into one another to simulate the same processes that create them elsewhere in the cosmos.

But no Earth-bound experiment can match nature’s power as a particle accelerator – and Earth’s atmosphere absorbs incoming cosmic rays – so the AMS will catch some of these high-energy particles “from the source”, as a kind of complement to the likes of the Large Hadron Collider.

 

Learn more: BBC - Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer claims huge cosmic ray haul

 

 

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Foursquare launches promoted updates – now all social networks have ads in your news feed

It’s official, all the social networking sites have started adding “promoted” tweets/posts/places to your news feed. It’s no surprise considering that Twitter, with its “promoted tweets,” recently said it has a “truckload of money in the bank”.

 

Today Foursquare is launching its version of search ads, Promoted Updates.

Promoted Updates operate like Google’s promoted listings or Twitter’s promoted tweets. They are pay-per-action ad placements that only appear when a user is searching for a venue in Foursquare’s Explore tab.

Foursquare determines a user’s current location and check-in history before displaying a Promoted Update. The ads are powered by the same recommendation engine as its Explore feature. All of the paid placements will be clearly labeled at the top of the feed; they can include a store’s recent news, photos or specials.

Foursquare has partnered with about 20 merchants, from small mom and pop shops to national chains like Best Buy, to launch the pilot program. In the next few months, Foursquare hopes to turn Promoted Updates into a self-service tool merchants of all sizes can use on its platform.

 

Keep reading: Business Insider - Foursquare Launches Promoted Updates, Its Newest Effort To Generate Revenue

 

 

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Newsmastering – or why it’s an incredible time to be a news geek

European news editor Robin Good used to write all the time about a concept he called Newsmastering.

Newsmastering is the ability to identify, select, aggregate, filter and distribute/publish news and informatiom streams on very tight, specific themes/topics.

Newsmastering is a new emerging and much needed network function allowing the huge news flow to be categorized, filtered, de-spammed and re-routed and contextualized in one thousand and more ways.

The output generated by a skilled and qualified newsmaster enables a great number of individual to avoid needing to subscribe to tens of RSS feeds or to having to visit multiple sites daily to keep themselves on top of the latest relevant news to their specific field of interest. The newsmaster aggregates and compiles very high-quality news feeds which completely replace the need to visit or subscribe to large number of RSS feeds, suddenly providing those same individuals with much greater time available to them and much higher quality up-to-date news available to them at all times.

It’s an incredible time to be a news geek. Who can be fastest, smartest, best, add the most value, exercise the most compelling editorial judgement, capture social experiences and build a loyal audience?

The game is on!

 

Source: Marshall Kirkpatrick - We’re entering a golden age of news geekery

 

 

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YouTube a major platform for news – says new Pew report

According to a new report from the Pew Research Center, “YouTube is becoming a major platform for viewing news.”

By far, the incident that sparked the most interest was the Japan earthquake and tsunami. Pew looked at the most popular videos in the “news & politics” section of YouTube over those 15 months and found that 5 percent of the 260 videos related to the Japanese disaster.

Given that 70 percent of YouTube traffic comes from outside the U.S., it’s not surprising that the top three news videos were related to non-U.S. events. After the earthquake/tsunami, the Russian elections and the unrest in the Middle East topped news-related video views, Pew said.

Natural disasters and political upheavals were the most popular news video topics. People did not figure prominently; “No one individual was featured in even 5 percent of the most popular videos studied here-and fully 65 percent did not feature any individual at all,” Pew found. President Obama, however, was featured in 4 percent of the top videos worldwide, in posts that ranged from speeches to campaign ads from opponents.

As Pew noted, the growth of news videos on YouTube has been a help and a hindrance to traditional news outlets…

 

Keep reading: PC Mag - YouTube Becoming ‘Major Platform’ for News

 

 

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NBC splits with MSNBC – as it’s biased political persona grows

Another driver was MSNBC, the cable channel, which started to take on a politically progressive persona several years ago. As the image of MSNBC changed, the head of MSNBC.com, Charlie Tillinghast, floated a name change.

“Both strategies are fine, but naming them the same thing is brand insanity,” Charlie Tillinghast said to his staff in early 2010.

NBC and Microsoft could not agree on proposed changes that year. But conversations resumed after Comcast acquired a majority stake in NBCUniversal in early 2011. Divorce talks between Comcast and Microsoft started in earnest last winter and were reported by a number of media outlets in the spring. The deal was signed last Friday.

For now, MSNBC.com will automatically redirect browsers to NBCNews.com…At first, the site will retain sections for MSNBC’s political programs like “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “Morning Joe.” But those will be moved onto a new MSNBC.com early next year.

Said John Kelly, “There’s a big opportunity for the MSNBC cable brand to have its own digital destination.”

 

Source: N. Y. Times - Microsoft and NBC Complete Web Divorce

 

 

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Researchers explore Chinese censors – find 13% of posts blocked but not those criticizing government

The 500m people who use the internet in China have long been aware of the presence of the censors who watch their movements online and delete their more inflammatory posts. Now those monitors may have to get used to someone watching over their shoulders.

Teams at Harvard and the University of Hong Kong have been using new software that allows them to watch the censoring of posts on Chinese social-media sites more closely than before. And now they have started to release some of their key findings.

  • Found that 13% of all social-media posts in China were censored.
  • Posts critical of the government are not rigorously censored.
  • But, posts that have the purpose of getting people to assemble, potentially in protest, are swept from the internet within a matter of hours.
  • Censoring of topics, days before the news broke.

Keep reading to learn how this data is allowing researchers to challenge the censorsThe Economist: Monitoring the monitors

 

 

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Learn more about the Affordable Care Act – the individual mandate: penalty and subsidies

If you can afford insurance but do not get it, you will be charged a fee. This is the “mandate” that people are talking about. Basically, it’s a trade-off for the “pre-existing conditions” bit, saying that since insurers now have to cover you regardless of what you have, you can’t just wait to buy insurance until you get sick. Otherwise no one would buy insurance until they needed it. You can opt not to get insurance, but you’ll have to pay the fee instead, unless of course you’re not buying insurance because you just can’t afford it.

*Note: On 6/28/12, the Supreme Court ruled that this is Constitutional.

 

ViaReddit – What exactly is Obamacare?

 

 

More details from Kaiser Health News:

Q: I don’t have health insurance. Will I have to get it, and what happens if I don’t?

A: Under the legislation, most Americans will have to have insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty. The penalty would start at $95, or up to 1 percent of income, whichever is greater, and rise to $695, or 2.5 percent of income, by 2016. This is the individual limit; families have a limit of $2,085 or 2.5 percent of household income, whichever is greater. Some people can be exempted from the insurance requirement, called an individual mandate, because of financial hardship or religious beliefs or if they are American Indians, for example.

Q: I want health insurance, but I can’t afford it. What do I do?

A: Depending on your income, you might be eligible for Medicaid, the state-federal program for the poor and disabled, which will be expanded sharply beginning in 2014. Low-income adults, including those without children, will be eligible, as long as their incomes didn’t exceed 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or $14,404 for individuals and $29,326 for a family of four, according to current poverty guidelines.

Q: What if I make too much for Medicaid but still can’t afford coverage?

A: You might be eligible for government subsidies to help you pay for private insurance that would be sold in the new state-based insurance marketplaces, called exchanges, slated to begin operation in 2014.

Premium subsidies will be available for individuals and families with incomes between 133 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level, or $14,404 to $43,320 for individuals and $29,326 to $88,200 for a family of four.

The subsidies will be on a sliding scale. For example, a family of four earning 150 percent of the poverty level, or $33,075 a year, will have to pay 4 percent of its income, or $1,323, on premiums. A family with income of 400 percent of the poverty level will have to pay 9.5 percent, or $8,379.

In addition, if your income is below 400 percent of the poverty level, your out-of-pocket health expenses will be limited.

 

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