Merchants of Alarming Truth and the Reality of Media Bias

first_imgAlong about New Year’s Eve, Sports Illustrated ran a piece on the firing of Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter.“For the seventh time in eight years,” wrote Jonathan Jones, “the Bucs finished last in the NFC South, a level of ineptitude to which only the Browns can lay claim… At 5–11, the Buccaneers have missed the playoffs for the 11th consecutive year, and it’s the seventh time in that span that Tampa Bay has had double-digit losses.”“Ineptitude.” Ouch. That’s kind of… judgmental. But funny thing about what did not happen next. There were no howls about S.I.’s bias. Nobody questioned Jonathan Jones’ journalistic ethics or declared him the purveyor of Fake Sports News or castigated him as the Enemy of the Tampa-St, Petersburg-Clearwater metroplex.Because, objectively, the Buccaneers suck.Elsewhere on the meteorological disaster front, over the years the National Review has called Hurricane Katrina a “killer storm,” Newsweek called Cyclone Nargis a “killer storm” and Popular Mechanics called Hurricane Irma a “killer” storm. I don’t recall there being a trial verdict—in this country one is innocent until proven guilty—yet not a single accusation was forthcoming about the media’s anti-weather agenda. Evidently, the accuracy of the reporting spoke for itself.So now comes ex-New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson’s new book, “Merchants of Truth,” in which she concludes that the paper’s negative coverage of the Trump Administration violates the paper’s founding values and panders to its—she says—mainly liberal audience. It’s mainly a digression in her examination of the overall (treacherous) media landscape, but of course the right-wing-media-o-sphere swooped in like seagulls spying a stray boardwalk french fry. If you Google “jill abramson bias,” your tops hits will be: the New York Post, Realclearpolitics.com, Washington Times, Fox News, Russia Today (!) The Hill, and National Review.The liberal-bias narrative, after all, is their raison d’etre, their obsession and their business model. And it has been at the core of conservative politics since Nixon. But is it, you know, true? Is there a liberal bias in mainstream media? Yes. And, also, no.In the Venn diagram of values, journalism and liberalism do have a huge overlap. Questioning authority, suspicion of big money, “reform” in general, afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted—which is really another way of saying “social justice.” Journalism isn’t a political party, much less an “opposition party,” but it is inherently progressive and inherently adversarial to the sitting government. Among recent victims: Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. And would-be president Hillary Clinton? Ask her. On the other hand, while the latest survey numbers are a bit outdated, in 2013 only 7 percent of journalists self-identified as Republican. (52 percent identified as independent). So the bleeding-heart sensibility is not a figment of the right’s imagination.But does that prove political bias? No, it does not.With some notable and horrifying exceptions, large news organizations—especially the ones dismissed as hubs of liberal bias—are rigorous in their work. Their publishing protocols police fairness and accuracy, and are difficult to circumvent within a newsroom. When a story is deemed particularly explosive, the caution is even greater. (Indeed, here the press tends toward the more insidious sin of false balance.) Nonetheless, when things happen, we report them, and when bad things happen we report them louder. That is not evidence of bias. It is evidence of observation and judgment.We have a president who told three bald-faced lies on his second day in office, one about the CIA, one about crowd size at his inauguration and one about the weather. Since then, fact checkers have documented thousands of presidential lies, falsehoods and misstatements. According to the Washington Post, in 2018, he made 15 false claims per day. Plus the schoolyard ad hominem against his critics. Plus his attacks on the press, the judiciary, the Congress, the intelligence community, the Justice Department and NATO. Plus his nakedly racist and unconstitutional statements and actions, blocked again and again by the courts. Plus his embrace of dictators in Russia, North Korea, Philippines and Turkey (and, this just in, now a fascist in Brazil). Plus his sleazy business conduct. Plus his sleazy “charity.” Plus his hidden tax returns. Plus his unabashed misogyny.These are all observable, and they are manifestly unique in the history of the presidency. This stuff is also not a figment of anyone’s imagination. The statements, the tweets, the insults, the executive orders, the firings, the defense of Charlottesville Nazis—they are all on the record and unfolding before our eyes. Yet when the media report on the wreckage, it’s seen as a smoking gun of bias and partisanship.Has the press piled on Donald Trump? Of course it has. For that you can blame Donald Trump. It is simply an eyewitness account of historic… hmm… I was going to say “depravity,” but let’s just go with ineptitude.Sarah Sanders wonders why we don’t report on Trump’s achievements, instead of focusing on Robert Mueller and Vladimir Putin and Stormy Daniels. Yeah, well, Dirk Koetter’s Tampa Bay offense gained more yards than any team in Bucs’ history. They still fired his ass.last_img read more

Digital photography begins its next chapter with radical changes

first_img Walmart Share your voice Why we need 16 cameras on a smartphone $849 Apple $589 30 See All $812 Stuart Palley, a professional wildfire photographer here standing in the Angeles National Forest, believes mirrorless cameras will replace conventional SLRs. Stuart Palley Digital photography has changed a lot over the past two decades, with clunky DSLRs giving way to sleek smartphones. Over the next 10 years, expect a similar evolution as the science behind the art changes. Much of the technology in use today represents the breakthroughs of the first generation of digital cameras. Film was stripped away and digital image sensors took its place, but much of the rest of the camera — things like lenses, shutters, autofocus systems — often stayed largely the same. Manufacturers centered camera designs on the single, fleeting snap of the shutter. Now two big trends are reshaping our expectations of digital photography. Computational photography, which uses computing technology to improve photos, vaults over the limits of smartphone camera hardware to produce impressive shots. And the “mirrorless” movement, which drops hardware once necessary for film and elevates the image sensor’s importance, overhauls the mechanics of traditional cameras. Old assumptions about optics are being reconsidered — or discarded — as computer processing takes over. “Cameras will change more in the next 10 years than in the past 10,” said Lau Nørgaard, vice president of research and development at Phase One, a Danish company that makes ultra-premium 151-megapixel medium-format cameras costing $52,000 apiece. See It Sep 1 • iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5 and more: The final rumors Best Buy The changes will matter to all of us, not simply professional photographers on fashion shoots. New technology will mean better everyday snapshots and new creative possibilities for enthusiasts. Everything — selfies, landscapes and family portraits — will simply look better. Computational photography For much of camera history, bigger meant better. A larger frame of film could capture more image detail, but that meant a bigger camera body. Bigger lenses offered more detail, but that meant more weight. Computational photography, which runs on powerful processors, will change that paradigm. And that’s good news because most of us rely on our phones for taking pictures. Perhaps some of the most advanced computational photography available now is in Google’s Pixel 3 phone, which arrived in October. Here’s some of what it can do: Combine up to nine frames into a single shot with a technology called HDR+ that captures details in both dark shadows and bright highlights. Monitor how much your hands shake the photo so it can snap shots during fleeting moments of stillness. Compare multiple shots of photos to find the ones where people aren’t blinking or suffering from awkward facial expressions. Brighten the parts of the image where it detects humans and slightly smooths skin to make subjects look better. Zoom in better by capturing more data about the scene from multiple shots and and using artificial intelligence technology that predicts how best to expand an image. Photograph in dim conditions by merging multiple shots through a technology called Night Sight. Isaac Reynolds, Google’s Pixel camera product manager, says his company’s product underscores a fundamental change in what we think cameras are. Much of the Pixel 3’s performance and features come not from the lens and sensor but from software running on the phone’s chip that processes and combines multiple frames into one photo. With a computational photography feature called Night Sight, Google's $900 Pixel 3 smartphone can take a photo that challenges a shot from a $4,000 Canon 5D Mark IV SLR.Enlarge ImageWith a computational photography feature called Night Sight, Google’s $900 Pixel 3 smartphone can take a photo that challenges a shot from a $4,000 Canon 5D Mark IV SLR, below. The Canon’s larger sensor outperforms the phone’s, but the phone combines several shots to reduce noise and improve color. Stephen Shankland/CNET “You’re seeing a redefinition of what a camera is,” Reynolds said. “The Pixel 3 is one of the most software-based cameras in the world.” Seeing in 3D It’s all pretty radical compared with a shutter flipping open for a moment so photons can change the chemistry of film. And it’s only the beginning. Two years ago, the iPhone 7 started using two cameras side by side, which lets the phone judge just how far away each element of the scene is. The phone’s computing hardware then constructs a 3D-infused layer of information called a “depth map” in which each pixel of a photo holds both color and spatial information. Initially, Apple used the technology to re-create a style used in portrait photography that requires expensive camera lenses. Those lenses could shoot a shallow depth of field that focused on the subject but left the background an undistracting blur. Apple used software to do the blurring. The depth map has more to offer. With Lightroom, Adobe’s widely used photo editing and cataloging software, you now can adjust an iPhone photo based on that 3D information. For example, you can selectively brighten shadowed subjects in the foreground while leaving a bright background unchanged. That’s a manual process photo enthusiasts will appreciate, but it should help smartphones take photos automatically, said Google distinguished engineer Marc Levoy, who coined the term “computational photography” in 2004 when he was at Stanford University. A camera that could generate reliable depth maps means a camera app could fix problems with brightness and color balance so photos look more natural. “We have just begun to scratch the surface with what computational photography and AI have done to improve the basic single-press picture taking,” Levoy said. This photo, shot with Adobe Lightroom on an iPhone XS Max, contains "depth map" information about how far away elements of the scene are. That lets you easily select foreground areas for brightening.This photo, shot with Adobe Lightroom on an iPhone XS Max, contains “depth map” information about how far away elements of the scene are. That lets you easily select foreground areas for brightening. Stephen Shankland/CNET Goodbye, SLRs Generations of photographers grew up using SLRs — short for single lens reflex. It’s named after its reflex mirror that bounces light from the lens into a viewfinder so you can compose a shot. When you take the photo, the mirror flips out of the way and the shutter opens to let light reach the film. The first serious digital cameras — DSLRs — replaced the film with an image sensor and memory card. But they left almost everything else the same — the mirror and viewfinder, the autofocus system, the mount for interchangeable lenses. Now mirrorless cameras are changing that setup, dumping the mirror and optical viewfinder. You compose your shots using a screen. It might be the screen on the back of the camera or a smaller electronic viewfinder you use like a film-era photographer. With mirrorless cameras, the sensor is recording nonstop. It’s essentially taking a video but throwing away most of the data, except when you push a button and pluck out a single frame. Indeed, this video-centric design makes mirrorless cameras adept at video. What’s so great about mirrorless designs? They offer smaller, lighter camera bodies that can shoot photos silently; use autofocus across the frame, not just in the central portion; make it easier to compose shots at night; shoot fast bursts of photos; and preview shots more accurately through an electronic viewfinder so you can do better dialing in exposure, focus and aperture. “There’s none of this dropping the camera down, looking at the image and seeing if it’s too bright or dark,” said wildlife photographer David Shaw, who sold his Canon gear to move to Panasonic’s Lumix G9 camera, which is smaller and a quarter the weight. “I can see it all as I’m shooting.” Canon and Nikon embrace mirrorless Mirrorless cameras have been gaining traction for years, but here’s what changed in 2018: Canon and Nikon. The two DSLR heavy hitters, still the top dogs of the traditional photography market, started selling high-end mirrorless models. Nikon’s Z7 and Z6 and Canon’s EOS R. Following Sony’s lead, they come with large “full-frame” sensors that are best at capturing color and light data. Nikon and Canon aren’t phasing out their traditional SLRs, but their mirrorless models will be peers. Meanwhile, mirrorless pioneer Panasonic joined in with plans for two full-frame models debuting in 2019. Nikon's $3,400 Z7 looks similar to traditional DSLR cameras but dumps the internal mirror in a move to a more purely digital design.Nikon’s $3,400 Z7 looks similar to traditional DSLR cameras but dumps the internal mirror in a move to a more purely digital design. Nikon Mirrorless is the future, says Stuart Palley, a Newport Beach, California, professional photographer whose specialty in wildfire photography appears in his new book Terra Flamma. “DSLRs are going the way of medium formats and Speed Graphics,” Palley said, referring to film-era camera designs that now are mostly footnotes in history. He’s begun shooting with a Nikon Z7 and likes how it’s lighter than his Nikon D850 DSLR. “It’s so liberating carrying around less,” Palley said. The Z7, like the Sony and Panasonic full-frame mirrorless models, also can move its image sensor to compensate for shaky hands — something utterly impossible with film. “I can shoot a handheld image of the Milky Way now. It’s crazy,” Palley said. Outpaced by phone innovation? The traditional camera makers are adapting. But will they adapt fast enough? There’s nothing in principle that stops them from using the same computational photography techniques that smartphone makers do, but so far that’s been a secondary priority. “The camera guys have to look at what’s going on with handsets and computational photography and see what’s’ adaptable to traditional cameras,” said Ed Lee, a Keypoint Intelligence analyst. He expects the pace of change in photography technology to increase. The phone makers are moving fast, but Phase One’s Nørgaard doesn’t see any problem embracing their technology. Indeed, the company has begun embedding its Capture One editing software directly into the camera body. “The cellphones make really good images from a small camera,” Nørgaard said. “We can do the same on the other end, where we start with an absolutely fantastic image. The software approach will push that even further.” But smartphones have gobbled up the point-and-shoot camera market and each year pick up more high-end camera abilities. Phones that sell by the tens of millions offer a huge incentive for chipmakers like Qualcomm to push photography technology. The company’s next-gen mobile chip, the Snapdragon 855, adds all kinds of photo smarts, like the ability to detect, identify and track objects in a scene, to create depth maps and to counteract shaky hands. And that’s just next year’s chip, said P.J. Jacobowitz, Qualcomm’s senior marketing manager for camera and computer vision. “In this book, there are about 50 chapters,” he said of digital photography tech. “We are in chapter two.” CNET’s Holiday Gift Guide: The place to find the best tech gifts for 2018. Cambridge Analytica: Everything you need to know about Facebook’s data mining scandal. Aug 31 • Best places to sell your used electronics in 2019 See It Review • Pixel 3 review: The best Android phone of 2018 Sep 1 • 7 phones with the best battery life: iPhone XR, Note 10 Plus and more Mentioned Above Google Pixel 3 (64GB, not pink)center_img Now playing: Watch this: 2:02 News • Unlocked Google Pixel 3: Just $499.99 with this exclusive code Preview • Pixel 3 and 3 XL: Google’s nicest Pixel might lack that killer feature $799 Tags See it CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Aug 31 • iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8 Plus: Which iPhone should you buy? Mobile Photography Cameras Sprint See It Comments • reading • Digital photography begins its next chapter with radical changes Google Pixel 3 Qualcomm Canon Google Nikon Panasonic Sony Applelast_img read more

The Korean state of mind

first_imgLove Korean films? Here’s something you should not miss! The Korean Cultural Centre, India in association with Cinedarbaar is organising Korean Cine Experience 2013 at the Korean Cultural Centre.The festival is a treat for cinephiles which will bring the best of the Korean cinema, from auteur driven cinema to popular gangster movies genre to romantic drama to documentaries. The opening film of the festival is Barking Dogs Never Bite by Joon-Ho Bong, starring: Doona Bae, Sung-jae Lee, Hie-bong Byeon. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Korean Cine Experience 2013 also marks the culmination of Indo-Korean 40th Diplomatic Year celebrations.For the past decade, the Korean film industry has enjoyed a renaissance and gained immense popularity in the pop culture. With innovative storytelling and visceral effects, Korean films not only have been commercially viable in the domestic and regional markets but also have appealed to cinephiles everywhere in the international festival circuit. This event is the rarest of the opportunity for the Indian audience to enjoy the Korean movies under a single roof. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixKorean Gangster movies have gained immense popularity and many Korean films have been adapted in Hollywood productions. This festival will explore this genre through three films naming  Breathless by IK-Joon Yang, Rough Cut by Hun Jang and Show Must Go On by Jae-Rim Han.The three-day long festival will showcase seven films to celebrate Korean Cinema. All films will be followed by an interactive sessions to explore the themes and styles of different auteurs and quizzes and exciting prizes will be given away. A session called Indian remakes of Korean films is a session about Indian films ‘inspired by’ or ‘based on’ Korean films, the legalities of this practice and how they are adapted for Indian audiences. Focus will be on films like: Zinda – Remake of Old Boy, Ugly aur Pagli – Remake of My Sassy Girl, Awarapan – Remake of A Bittersweet Life. The entry to the festival is free and is on first come first serve basis. There is also Hello Hangul, a Korean Calligraphy Exhibition by calligraphy artist Hyung Byung Chan at the Korean Cultural Centre.Korean calligraphy is a unique cultural heritage which has taken several leaps over the period of time. Hangul is often evaluated as the most scientific language which is easy to learn.This exhibition is organised by the ‘Sejong Korean Calligraphers Association’, an association of calligraphy masters who have devoted their life to Korean calligraphy. The exhibition presents various facets of Korean Calligraphy evolved in present day Korea from ancient calligraphic styles, which is an amalgamation of both traditional and contemporary forms. The contents are mainly quotes or poems of renowned people of the past which also includes those written by the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore.When: Movie screenings: 6 Dec (6:30pm), 7 and 8 Dec (12:30 pm); Exhibition: On till 30 DecemberWhere: Korean Cultural Centre, Lajpat Nagarlast_img read more

HMC all set to launch online tax payment system on June 25

first_imgKolkata: The Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) has set June 25 as the deadline to introduce the online payment system of property tax.This comes after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee directed the civic body to introduce the same as early as possible. She gave the direction while presiding over the administrative review meeting in Howrah on June 7.HMC had been working rigorously for the past few months to introduce the online property tax payment system after the decision to implement the same was taken in a high-level meeting headed by Mayor Dr Rathin Chakraborty. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsArun Roy Chowdhury, member, Mayor-in-Council for Tax and Licence, said: “Chief Minister had directed us to ensure its introduction as early as possible. The work was expedited and it is expected to get introduced on June 25.”It may be mentioned that a major part of the work to introduce the system is almost complete and the remaining work is being carried out in a war footing following the direction of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.Around 1.70 lakh people will be benefited with the introduction of the online system to pay property tax. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedIt will ensure better civic amenities to the residents of Howrah as people will no more have to visit the headquarters of the civic body to pay off their property tax.Instead, they can do the same just by logging into the website of the civic body. It will bring an end to the days of standing in long queues to pay property tax.Earlier, it was possible to pay off taxes of the current month without paying the old ones. In such cases, mainly a section of real estate developers used to pay the current taxes saying that the same of the previous months are clear but they have lost the documents. However, it is no longer possible as the HMC authorities have taken necessary steps in this connection and the same will be done with introduction of the online system as well.But, with heavy lightning on Tuesday some of the systems, which are already in place, got a bit affected. The civic body authorities have already taken up necessary steps to ensure timely completion of the work.It may be mentioned that the system of making online payment of property tax is already in place under Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC).last_img read more

For Microsoft Office Users Newest Version Might Cause Headaches

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. min read Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now The new Office embraces change.Combined with Microsoft’s upcoming Surface tablet and its Windows Phone mobile OS, the new Office software can help open new opportunities for firms that have been hesitant about using touch-based tools. With its tile-based look, buttons are large and navigation for complex programs such as Excel is simple. With rival Google claiming that 4 million businesses use its Google Apps office software suite, Microsoft needed a cloud-based makeover. The new Office’s integration with SkyDrive means documents can be accessed via a desktop app, Web app or mobile device. Contacts can be culled from Outlook, for example, and ported into social media.And the download time is quick. Users can be running the upgrade in less than 15 minutes.Related: Microsoft Upgrades Office for Cloud, Social  The learning curve will be steep.While the new features can be useful, a business that upgrades from an older version of Office to this one might be overwhelmed by how different it is.For example, the new Office uses the “Metro” style interface used in Windows 8, eliminating the old-fashioned virtual desktop, that showed a user’s documents, and making it so that you never have to leave the app. It’s now possible to search the web and upload photos from within Office itself. That’s a major shift in thinking from shrinking a window or clicking into another tab.Another feature, called Resume Reading, lets users immediately pick up where they left off in a document, even if they were previously on another computer. While handy, it might be distracting or disorienting for some. Veterans of previous Office iterations will have to learn a new way of thinking.And even though collaborative features have elegant interfaces, they can be complex to learn. There is a dizzying array of buttons for everything from launching a meeting to sharing comments or documents.Related: Why Microsoft’s ‘Surface’ Might Be Your Next Tablet More work to do when it comes to the cloud.Many team features in the new Office are improved but, at least in this early demo, Office is not the collaborative engine Google Apps is. Basic documents are still aimed at single-person editing. And it can be slow for teams to learn to work together in real time. Collaborative team sites have to be set up and administered for working on different documents and projects. Will you upgrade to the new version of Microsoft Office or continue using the tools you currently have? Let us know in the comments section below. Enroll Now for Freecenter_img This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. The new features that come with the recently announced Microsoft Office 2013 — such as a touch-friendly interface and new Internet-oriented collaborative features — are sure to be useful tools for businesses large and small. But when it comes to switching from an older version of Office to this one, the interface is so drastically different that it might be too much for many users to make a quick adjustment.And for companies that are already using plug-and-play apps such as Google Apps or Zoho, upgrading to the new Office might not be a consideration at all.So, does the new Office make the case for replacing the tools you already use? Here are our initial impressions of the free Office 365 preview and what they mean for small-business users: July 17, 2012last_img read more

Twitter Makes IPO Filing Public

first_img Enroll Now for Free Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Twitter made its S-1 filing available to the public on Thursday, finally shedding some light on its initial public offering plans.The company has seen rapid growth recently. In 2012 the company saw an increase in revenue of 198 percent to about $317 million and a net loss decrease of 38 percent to about $79 million, according to the filing.According to the filing, Twitter, which plans to trade under the ticker TWTR, has 250 million monthly active users, 100 million of those are daily active users.The company said in the filing that mobile is the primary driver of its business and that 75 percent of the monthly active users access Twitter from a mobile device.There’s still a lot of information that is missing from the filing, like the number of shares the company plans to offer and the price of the shares, but it does give some insight into which investors stand to make the most money off the offering.Jack Dorsey has a 4.9 percent stake in the company, Evan Williams has a 12 percent stake and Peter Fenton, a Twitter board member, has a 6.7 percent stake.In September, the company announced it had confidentially submitted documents to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with plans to go public, but Twitter didn’t reveal anything else about its IPO plans. The filing was made under the JOBS Act, which allows companies making less than $1 billion in revenue to work with regulators on IPO plans before actually making it public.The micro-blogging site has been valued at about $10 billion and is one of the most anticipated Silicon Valley IPOs since Facebook. Related: Experts Say Twitter Didn’t Botch Its IPO Announcement This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Brought to you by CNBC October 3, 2013 2 min readlast_img read more