How Much Should Facebook Be Paying Us?

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Laurel Ptak

1. Wages for Facebook, by Laurel Ptak.

"Ptak’s own elegant, angry manifesto has bewildered as much as it has enlivened. Some people on Twitter wondered if this wasn’t all a joke, while others took to sampling the text. Others were enraged by the way the auto-scroll refused to give the user any control—a sly metaphor for the invisible hand of social media. One article for the International Business Times had the headline: 'Wages for Facebook’ Campaign Demands Pay for Social Media Activity.' While Ptak had not sent the URL out herself, it still wound its way through the porous walls of the Internet. Ironically, 80 percent of links to the site come from Facebook itself, and the city with the fourth most visitors was Menlo Park, California, home to Facebook headquarters. 'Those three words'—Wages for Facebook—'get you to the heart of something that you might not otherwise recognize as a social condition.'"


2. We see what's out there in the world, but also what we expect.

"The sensory systems are part of a feedback loop with the motor systems. As we move, we adjust our movements according to the new sensations we receive. But as fundamental as this, there is also feedback within each system. Sensation itself is adjusted by feedback from the cortex. For example, pathways ascend from the eye to the visual cortex (via the lateral geniculate nucleus), but they also descent from the visual cortex to the eye (again via the lateral geniculate nucleus). Eyes are not just dumb sensors. From the very beginning our senses are fully integrated into the whole system that is the brain."


3. The print artifacts of the Chicano/a movement are gorgeous and sly

"The posters on view in “Serigrafía”—a traveling exhibition of some of the most prominent printmakers to have emerged from the Chicano movement and the development of a Chicana/Chicano consciousness in California—show that Chicana/o identity has been fluid ever since the initial Chicano manifesto, El Plan de Santa Barbara, was written in 1969. The posters give us a view into an artistic space in which Chicana/o identity and consciousness have been imagined, explored, constructed, expressed, and challenged while simultaneously serving community advocacy and engagement.


4. 60 Minutes discovered that some computers that would "receive a nuclear missile launch order from the President" still use 5.25 floppy disks

"Like the old, big 8-inch floppy disks. Like the kind, pictured above, that are often featured in a computer history museum or found in your attic, beneath old DOS manuals. Like, not even the newer, 3.5-inch model of floppy disk. That's how they control our nuclear missiles. At 23 years old, the deputy missileer said she had never even seen a floppy disk before finding one that can help wreak untold carnage on planet Earth."


5. NPR is trying to convince us that farting is a sign of good (microbiome) health. Nice try, dudes.

"We know that air often comes after eating nutrient-packed vegetables, such as cabbage, kale and broccoli. And researchers have found that fiber-rich foods, like beans and lentils, boost the levels of beneficial gut bacteria after only a few days, as we reported in December. So all this got us wondering: Could passing gas, in some instances, be a sign that our gut microbes are busy keeping us healthy?"


Today's 1957 American English Tip

belittle, to make seem little, or less; to depreciate, minimize. An Americanism, formerly deplored by Brit. scholars, the word is now standard on both sides of the Atlantic.


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Eyes Are Not Just Dumb Sensors

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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