Friday Link List: Making Connections Edition

1. Missed Connections for A-Holes {new yorker}

We made small talk in the checkout line at Trader Joe’s. You said that you literally could not live without the salsa you were buying. I wish we could talk again. You used “literally” incorrectly. It really pissed me off. I wish you could literally not live without that salsa, because then I’d take it from you.


2. Spurious Correlations 

Tyler Vigen has created a site that draws attention to the ways in which statistical terms like correlation can be manipulated to fit a narrative:

Spurious Correlation

See also: Andrew Sullivan’s take and On the Media’s TLDR.

3. The EU Sticks up for the Right to Be Forgotten {npr}.

This seems cool but gosh will be a nightmare for the tech companies to manage.

Audie Cornish: So, give us a quick kind of sketch about the case that brought about the ruling. I understand it involved a man from Spain. He wanted to delete an auction notice of his home from a Spanish newspaper.

Meg Ambrose: That’s right. Usually, the content that we talk about with the right to be forgotten is much more salacious. This guy wanted an old debt to be removed from his Google search results. He took his complaint to the Spanish Data Protection Agency, who determined that he did have a case for the right to be forgotten. And the agency ordered Google to remove links to that content. It moved through the courts as Google appealed it and the case that came down was shocking, I think, for most people.

See also: Andrew Sullivan’s take.

4. A Spoon That Shakes To Counteract Hand Tremors {npr}

This is really cool:

“There’s a little motion sensor right near the spoon,” Pathak explains. “If I had tremor, it’s going to move opposite to what the shaking is doing. So, if I move to the left, it’ll physically move the spoon to the right.”

And that cancels out the tremor as the spoon moves from plate to mouth. In a clinical trial, the Liftware spoon canceled out more than 70 percent of a user’s tremor.

The Paywall Revolution

Prolific blogger and gay Catholic conservative (not to blatantly reduce him to a narrow cultural stereotype or anything) Andrew Sullivan made a splash today when he announced that his popular blog will be once again striking out on its own, leaving its current home on Newsweek-owned Daily Beast website.

From the NPR story on the move:

Saying that [Sullivan] and his team want “to help build a new media environment that is not solely about advertising or profit above everything, but that is dedicated first to content and quality…”

He’ll be charging readers $20/year for full access to the site, although the paywall will be on the porous side—a la The New York Times’ recent paywall implementation. As Nieman Lab reported back in March 2011, when the Times’ paywall first launched:

Now, the Times paywall is, to a certain extent, defined by its leakiness. The various holes — external links from social media and search biggest among them — are no accident; they’re the result of some (correct, I say) thinking about hitting the right balance between fly-by and dedicated readers, between those who come in the front door and others who arrive from the side.

I think it’s more than just catering to certain audiences, although that’s certainly a practical concern. I think this is an extremely positive development, part of a larger movement back to the idea that readers should be an important part of journalism’s revenue model. It’s getting people in the mindset that good content is worth something, and is worth coughing up a little dough for every once in awhile.

So far, at least for Sullivan, it seems like it’s working.

And don’t worry, dear reader, this blog is just a hobby and I’ll never shut out my five readers with a paywall.

Friday link list

1. Lessons Learned from the Lance Armstrong Scandal {talk of the nation}.

He specifically said many times, I’m doing this clean. No one else can do this. They have to be on drugs. And he exploited his cancer to get people’s sympathy. He said, I would never hurt my body by putting drugs in it. I overcame cancer. It’s just so crass, what he did. It’s so crass and arrogant and self-centered. It’s – to me, it’s really shocking that he could pull the wool over everyone’s eyes, including himself, as to what a good person he seemed to be. —from call-in listener Christine.

2. Why K-Pop is Taking over the World {planet money}.

Music is an export, just like anything else. And, as with other exports, businesses in lots of other countries are fighting for their share of the global market. They want people all around to world to be listening to their music. And they’re figuring out how to make it happen.

3. Pinning Your Emotions {andrew sullivan}.

Therapists often run into a curious problem during treatment: Clients aren’t very good at describing their emotions. How exactly do you express the nature of your depression? So this spring, relationship counselor Crystal Rice hit upon a clever idea. She had her clients use Pinterest, the popular picture-pinning social network, to create arrays of images that map out their feelings. It’s a brilliant epiphany: While emotions can be devilishly difficult to convey in words, they’re often very accessible via pictures.