July 31, 2009

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Friday, July 31, 2009

Conspiracy theories: how they spread and how to stop them, tracking if and how the government is spending the stimulus, the many myths of Walter Cronkite.

The Origins of Rumors

It was a big week for conspiracy theories, with two big rumors circulating in the news. First, that the President is secretly not American. Second, that Obama's health care proposal includes plans to euthanize senior citizens, a claim promoted by former New York Lieutenant Governor Betsy ...

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Looking for a Fight

Computer scientists at Intel have developed Dispute Finder, a program they say can keep you from believing everything you see online. It scans what you’re reading and shows you an article or blog that presents the opposing point of view. Research scientist Rob Ennals explains how ...

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Covering Recovery

The Obama Administration promised that Recovery.gov would make the massive stimulus package transparent and highlight how well (or poorly) it's working. But Eric Umansky, senior editor at ProPublica, says it's hard to track the stimulus money because the numbers on the website just don't ...

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Is This New?

Getting a patent is a notoriously slow process and U.S. patent office employees are sometimes ill-equipped to evaluate whether highly technical applications are worthy of patents. A few years ago, Beth Noveck, Deputy Chief Technology Officer in the Obama Administration, came up with a fix: put applications on ...

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Give it Back

Last week the AP announced plans to electronically tag their online content so illegal use will be easier to track. The Fair Syndication Consortium, which includes The New York Times and The Washington Post, is trying to get a piece of the ad revenue other sites ...

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Getting to Know You

Two years ago, Netflix offered a $1 million prize to whomever could improve their movie recommendation software by 10%. Now a team has won (though the winning team has yet to be announced.) Writer Clive Thompson tells us why the competition is important and ...

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Too Good to Check

Did you know that Walter Cronkite is so identified with the news business that in Sweden an anchorman is called a "Kronkiter"? And speaking of anchorman, did you know that word was coined in the 1950s to define Cronkite’s role on broadcast TV? Neither did we. ...

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In Memoriam: Stone Weeks and Holt Weeks

On July 23, Stone and Holt Weeks were killed in a car accident. They were the sons of a dear colleague and friend. A foundation has been created in their names and this week's show is dedicated to their memory.

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