A legitimate ad blocker?

Pretty cool new idea from Google. It’s called Contributor, and it allows users to pay not to see ads on the web.

Internet advertising works on a cost-per-view (or cost-per-click) basis. So if you’re browsing Salon.com and click on the Roto-Rooter ad, Salon gets, say, 50¢. (And Google takes a cut, too.)

With Google Contributor, you can pay Salon.com 50¢ direct, in exchange for an add-free reading experience. It all works on a budget system. So if you only want to spend $1/month, under this costly scenario, you’ll only get your ads blocked twice.

This could be great for media companies, as ad blockers become ever more common and the revenue from ads falls as a result.

It’s important to note: This only applies to ads served by Google. (Which is a lot of the web’s ads.)

Check out the story from On the Media below. It includes an interview with the Contributor product manager.

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.

Friday Link List

1. Google Under Fire for Data-Mining Student Emails {education week}

Oh, Google. Stop it. Now.

As part of a potentially explosive lawsuit making its way through federal court, the giant online-services provider Google has acknowledged scanning the contents of millions of email messages sent and received by student users of the company’s Apps for Education tool suite for schools.

2. Not-So-Private Meta Data {on the media}

Frightening rebuttal to the oft-repeated claim that “it’s just meta data; there’s not much one can learn from that”:

The NSA has defended its controversial surveillance program by arguing that it just collects metadata, and therefore doesn’t violate the privacy of individual Americans. But computer scientists at Stanford Security Lab have conducted their own simulation of the NSA’s program, and found the metadata to be inherently revealing. Bob speaks with Jonathan Mayer, one of the researchers on the project, about how much can be learned just from the numbers.

3. Winnebago Man {official}

Director Ben Steinbauer tracked down the “star” of the first viral video. What follows is one of the best documentaries I’ve seen in awhile. Check out the trailer:

Last Man to Know Who Won the Super Bowl

Love this story {tldr}:

Every year, a small group of sports fans scattered across the US play a game called “Last Man.” The goal is to be the last man in America to find out who won the Super Bowl.

It gets pretty brutal too. People create twitter accounts just to ruin the competition for these guys, using handles like “ravens_won” to communicate with those-who-would-rather-not-know.

Definitely worth a listen.

Heads Up 56 Up

I really want to see this.

From On the Media:

In 1964, a documentary called Seven Up! sought to illustrate Britain’s entrenched class system through the stories of 14 seven-year-olds. Michael Apted, an assistant on that film crew, ended up expanding the project into a longitudinal series: every seven years, he has directed a new documentary that revisits the characters as they grow. One of the most memorable characters from the series is Tony Walker, a London cab driver. Brooke speaks with Michael and Tony about the 2012 installment of the series, 56 Up.

And here’s the trailer: