Overnight Fame, Instant Notoriety

“In a world where anyone can become a star almost overnight, the Internet has shown that with a single move as mindless, insensitive, and shocking as what Logan Paul did in Japan, one can just as quickly earn notoriety.”

My Life As An Aspiring Software Engineer

If the Internet has taught us anything, it is this: it can make people instantly famous, but it can also just as quickly make them infamous.

Such was what happened with YouTube superstar and actor Logan Paul recently. Paul first attained fame in the now-defunct Vine, a video hosting site similar to YouTube, where he posted 6-second video loops of himself that were wacky. He eventually started vlogging in YouTube where he quickly gained tons of fans. Today, he has a massive audience of more than 15 million followers. He is known for creating outrageous, goofy, and sometimes irreverent content. This paid off very well for him, literally earning him over $14 million in ad revenue for his videos last year.

But on New Year’s Eve, he went way too far. He visited Japan with his crew to film an episode in the infamous Aokigahara Forest, also known as the…

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Google’s search update is a moment of clarity, not catch-up

Google is updating how it curates your search results [Google blog], with a focus on highlighting trending news and localized content on mobile. While they seem to be prioritizing the "follow" option for topical interests, here's what I found the most interesting from its announcement: Diversifying content in News: "News stories may have multiple viewpoints from… Continue reading Google’s search update is a moment of clarity, not catch-up

A framework for understanding fake news 

The Wikimedia Foundation (which operates Wikipedia and its associated community projects like Creative Commons) funded new research into the supply and distribution of misinformation, fake news and falsified content.  The research provides a helpful framework that makes it easier to discuss this complex and tricky topic. The representative chart below divides trends of fake news… Continue reading A framework for understanding fake news 

“The Backfire Effect” Is the Cognitive Concept of the Moment

If you only believe what you want to hear, you’re doing life wrong.


If you’ve been awake and online in the past 24 hours, there’s a good chance someone you know has shared this lovely Oatmeal comic. Yes, the one that explains why our brains our wired to reject information that goes against our previously held beliefs.

The comic was based on a three-episode sequence from You Are Not So Smart — a popular podcast and WordPress.com site — devoted to the backfire effect, the name of this cognitive phenomenon. On the first episode, the YANSS team goes deeper into the neurological underpinnings of this resistance to information that might change our minds:

By placing subjects in an MRI machine and then asking them to consider counterarguments to their strongly held political beliefs, Jonas Kaplan’s and Sarah Gimbel’s research, conducted along with neuroscientist Sam Harris, revealed that when people were presented with evidence that alerted them to the possibility that their political…

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