The best train travel guide is run by one man, all for free
BeSpacific
by Sabrina I. Pacifici
2d ago
BoingBoing: “I’ve not found a more accurate or thorough guide to international train travel than the website The Man in Seat 61. It’s the long-running passion project of one die hard train enthusiast, Mark Smith, who writes, updates, and aims to sample all the locomotion this good earth has to offer. While bus and train aggregates will feed you typical routes and prices, they don’t offer any human insight. And with today’s busted search algorithms, it can be really difficult to find first hand accounts from people who’ve taken those journeys. The Man in Seat 61’s posts, written entirely by a p ..read more
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Everyone Has A Price And Corporations Know Yours
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by Sabrina I. Pacifici
2d ago
The Lever – “Digital surveillance and customer isolation are locking us into a consumer hell of personalized prices.  Six years ago, I was at a conference at the University of Chicago, the intellectual heart of corporate-friendly capitalism, when my eyes found the cover of the Chicago Booth Review, the business school’s flagship publication. “Are You Ready for Personalized Pricing?” the headline asked. I wasn’t, so I started reading. The story looked at how online shopping, persistent data collection, and machine-learning algorithms could combine to generate the stuff of economists’ dream ..read more
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Peer review is essential for science. Unfortunately, it’s broken.
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by Sabrina I. Pacifici
2d ago
Ars Technica: “Rescuing Science: Restoring Trust in an Age of Doubt was the most difficult book I’ve ever written. I’m a cosmologist—I study the origins, structure, and evolution of the Universe. I love science. I live and breathe science. If science were a breakfast cereal, I’d eat it every morning. And at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, I watched in alarm as public trust in science disintegrated. But I don’t know how to change people’s minds. I don’t know how to convince someone to trust science again. So as I started writing my book, I flipped the question around: is there anything we ..read more
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New Ways to Search Archived Music News
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by Sabrina I. Pacifici
2d ago
Internet Archive Blogs: “When MTVNews.com went offline in late June, Internet users were quick to discover that some (but sadly, not all) of the site had been archived in the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. While you can no longer browse MTV News directly on the web, the archived pages are available via the Wayback Machine, starting with the first crawl of the site on July 5, 1997. The same is true for CMT (Country Music Television) News, which was first crawled by the Internet Archive on January 10, 2002. In response to patron requests, our engineers have created new search indexes for ea ..read more
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New map gives horror glimpse at world’s climate in 60 years
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by Sabrina I. Pacifici
2d ago
Express UK: “As Britons experience a cold, rainy summer, experts are urging them to appreciate the milder conditions while they can. A new interactive map developed by scientists from the University of Maryland offers a glimpse into a much hotter future, predicting drastic changes in climate for cities worldwide within the next 60 years. According to the research, more than half of the planet is expected to shift into new climate zones by the end of the century. For instance, London’s summers are predicted to become 4.6C warmer and 10 percent drier, resembling the current climate of the South ..read more
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Not Everyone Has an Inner Voice Streaming Through Their Head
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by Sabrina I. Pacifici
2d ago
Scientific American [unpaywalled]: “Most of us have an “inner voice,” and we tend to assume everybody does, but recent evidence suggests that people vary widely in the extent to which they experience inner speech, from an almost constant patter to a virtual absence of self-talk. “Until you start asking the right questions you don’t know there’s even variation,” says Gary Lupyan, a cognitive scientist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “People are really surprised because they’d assumed everyone is like them.” A new study, from Lupyan and his colleague Johanne Nedergaard, a cognitive scien ..read more
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Pharmacy Benefit Managers – Middlemen Inflating Drug Costs, Squeezing Main Street Pharmacies
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by Sabrina I. Pacifici
2d ago
StatNews: FTC report finds PBMs profit at the expense of patients and independent pharmacies Pharmacy Benefit Managers: The Powerful Middlemen Inflating Drug Costs and Squeezing Main Street Pharmacies Interim Staff Report July 2024 U.S. Federal Trade Commission Office of Policy Planning ..read more
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TikTok Content Farms Use AI Voiceovers to Mass-Produce Political Misinformation
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by Sabrina I. Pacifici
2d ago
“In September 2023, NewsGuard identified what appeared to be the first of its kind: a network of 17 TikTok accounts using AI text-to-speech software to create videos advancing conspiracy theories about celebrities, amassing hundreds of millions of views. Now, the phenomenon appears to be growing and shifting its focus to politics. NewsGuard has identified 41 TikTok accounts in English and French using AI-generated narration to spread political misinformation at scale. Call it the rise of the TikTok AI content farm. (Content farms are entities that generate large volumes of low-quality content ..read more
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Even Disinformation Experts Don’t Know How to Stop It
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by Sabrina I. Pacifici
2d ago
The New York Times – “Researchers have learned plenty about misinformation and how it spreads. But they’re still struggling to figure out how to stop it…Holding the line against misinformation and disinformation is demoralizing and sometimes dangerous work, requiring an unusual degree of optimism and doggedness. Increasingly, however, even the most committed warriors are feeling overwhelmed by the onslaught of false and misleading content online. Researchers have learned a great deal about the misinformation problem over the past decade: They know what types of toxic content are most common, t ..read more
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Every Phone Can ID Your Router – Here’s How to Stop It
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by Sabrina I. Pacifici
3d ago
PC Mag: “Your smartphone constantly checks available Wi-Fi nodes, looking to reconnect with any that you’ve used before. You can see it happening, and it’s very convenient (though vulnerable to spoofing and “evil twin” attacks). What you don’t see is that your smartphone also uploads identifying details about your router to giant databases maintained by Apple, Google, and others. These databases benefit you (and everyone else) by fine-tuning your device’s GPS location skills. We’re here to explain why you might not want to participate and show you how to opt out ..read more
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