Every Color Of Cardigan Mister Rogers Wore From 1979–2001

While y’all were watching the world fall apart this week, I was watching Fred Rogers build it back up. For the past few days I’ve been transfixed by the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” marathon that began on Monday afternoon over on Twitch. Like watching the “Joy of Painting” with Bob Ross, zoning out to “Mister Rogers” is an exercise in escapism. After Rogers helped reset my brain I began to wonder about all the handsome, colorful sweaters he famously wore. Did Rogers have a favorite?

Read more at The Awl.

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AME and members in King 5 news

A recent King 5 article highlights how our recent statewide leglislation on media literacy sets a national precedent:

Washington lawmakers recently approved new digital citizenship legislation that’s among the first of its kind in the country.

The bill focuses on a new problem in the digital age: teaching kids what constitutes appropriate and responsible use of technology.  That includes knowing what to post on social media as well as how to protect yourself online.

“Our students need to be prepared for this online era we’re in.  The pluses and minuses or it,” said Senator Marko Liias, D-Edmonds. 

Read more and view a video here at King 5.

The recent sexual assault cases in the Seattle area on local teenagers and the role social media and technology is playing in them has prompted local news outlet King 5 to reach out to several AME members for their input and experiences:

AME member Claire Beach was interviewed on King 5 News concerning the recent sexual assault cases that highlight concerns of social media use among teens.  She mentions Action for Media Education.

“We need to talk about it.  People don’t like to talk about these things with kids, but we have to,” said Claire Beach.

See her interview and read more here at King 5.

AME President Michael Danielson and his freshman class at Seattle Preparatory School were also interviewed on the challenges and pitfalls of sharing images on a phone or other mobile device.

“It’s hard to keep up with, and literally every week there’s something new to talk about,” said Michael Danielson.

See the interview and read more here at King 5.

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A new resource to help parents protect their children’s privacy

parent toolkit ccfcToday’s schools are more connected than ever: most education records are stored digitally, and students and staff use apps and websites for daily instruction, homework, and administrative tasks. These apps, websites, and digital storage vendors collect a wide variety of data about students, including kids’ names, birth dates, internet browsing histories, grades, test scores, disabilities, disciplinary records, family income information, and more—often without parental consent or clear, adequate security protections.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) has teamed up with the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy (PCSP) to create The Parent Toolkit for Student Privacy: A Practical Guide for Protecting Your Child’s Sensitive School Data from Snoops, Hackers, and Marketers.

The kit offers clear guidance about parental rights under federal law, helps parents ask the right questions about their schools’ data policies, and offers simple steps parents can take to advocate for better privacy policies and practices in their children’s schools. And, thanks to a generous grant from the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, it’s free!

To download the toolkit now, or for more information, click here, or on the image above.

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) supports parents’ efforts to raise healthy families by limiting commercial access to children and ending the exploitive practice of child-targeted marketing. In working for the rights of children to grow up—and the freedom for parents to raise them—without being undermined by corporate interests, CCFC promotes a more democratic and sustainable world. Learn more at www.commercialfreechildhood.org.

Teaching kids how to distinguish fake news from real news

In his former career as a freelance photojournalist, Jeff Share documented issues such as poverty and social activism, and won awards for his coverage of the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament of 1986.

Today, the lecturer and faculty adviser in UCLA’s Teacher Education Program has turned his lens on two critical issues facing educators and students: climate change and the need for critical thinking skills to decipher the barrage of real and alternative facts in the media.

Share, whose photos once appeared in the Washington Post, was recently interviewed by the newspaper about his critical media literacy courses at UCLA, where he trains current and future K-12 teachers in ways to show students how to deconstruct media, create their own alternative messages and separate fake news from facts. Share is the author of a 2009 book, “Media Literacy is Elementary: Teaching Youth to Critically Read and Create Media.” In 2015, a second edition of the book was released.

Read more at UCLA Newsroom.

Image courtesy of UCLA Newsroom.

Newseum ED pilots fake news class at Palo Alto High School

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Palo Alto High School

NewseumED curriculum developers will be at Palo Alto High School in California on Tuesay, May 16, to pilot their newest media literacy class, “Fighting Fake News: How to Outsmart Trolls and Troublemakers.” The class was launched at the Newseum in March in response to the “fake news” phenomenon that garnered national attention during the 2016 presidential election, and continues to be a major global concern.

Students of Esther Wojcicki, a journalism teacher at Palo Alto, provided input to NewseumED staff as they developed the class as well as a flow chart helping students determine whether a story is worth sharing by text, tweet or email.

Read more at www.Newseum.org.

Image courtesy of Newseum.

Think Before You Tweet In the Wake of an Attack

Monday night, a suicide bomber took the lives of at least 22 people—including an 8-year-old girl—at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. Almost instantly, images and video of the devastating attack overtook Twitter timelines and Facebook News Feeds. As natural and understandable a response to horrific events as that might be, it also threatens to amplify the chaos that terrorists intend.

Terrorists have always sought attention, and the age of social media has enabled them to find it with unprecedented breadth. They use social networks to recruit, to inspire, and to connect, but they also rely on social media bystanders—everyday, regular people—to spread the impacts of their terror further than they could themselves, and to confuse authorities with misinformation. That amplification encourages more terrorism, inspires copycats, and turns the perpetrators into martyrs. It also traumatizes the families of the murdered victims, as well as the public at large.

“In the last few years, this problem has become more acute and more complicated technically, practically, and ethically, with the acceleration of the news cycle and the advent of social media,” London School of Economics professor Charlie Beckett wrote for the Columbia Journalism Review last year, analyzing how social media and journalism amplify terrorist messaging.

Read more at Wired.

Image courtesy of Wired.

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Roger Moore Was the Best Bond Because He Was the Gen X Bond

One of the most telling and interesting reads about the passing of James Bond actor Roger Moore , who brought an over the top edge to the character, appeared yesterday in The New York Times:

Mr. Moore exerted himself heroically, grappling with villains atop a moving train, chasing them down ski slopes or into outer space, his unflappable suavity accompanied by an occasional smirk or upward twitch of the eyebrow. He knew exactly how silly these endeavors were, but he was committed to them all the same. He was an ironist and a professional, and as such a pretty good role model for post-’60s preadolescents.

Read more at The New York Times.

Stop the Sinclair-Tribune Merger

The FCC is paving the way for Sinclair Broadcast Group — already the nation’s largest TV conglomerate — to take over Tribune, which owns 42 stations in many of the country’s big cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas and Denver.

If this deal goes through, Sinclair’s cookie-cutter, Trump-boosting content could reach more than 70 percent of the U.S. population. But to pull off its takeover of Tribune, Sinclair needs the FCC to change the rules. The FCC’s ownership limits were designed to ensure a diversity of local voices and opinions but very few TV stations are owned by women or people of color. Instead of creating policies that promote equity and opportunity, the Trump FCC would rather super-size Sinclair.

To take action on this issue to stop the Sinclair merger and unplug Trump TV click here.

The Free Press Action Fund is a nonpartisan organization fighting for your rights to connect and communicate. The Free Press Action Fund does not support or oppose any candidate for public office. Learn more at www.freepress.net.

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We crashed UW’s class on calling BS. Here’s what we learned about sleuthing ‘big data.’

A University of Washington seminar, “Calling BS in the Age of Big Data,” promises to help students develop a BS detector — and it’s become a global phenomenon, with universities as far away as Australia planning to teach a version of it this fall.

Did you hear about the researchers in China who said they’d developed an algorithm that could predict whether somebody was a criminal by scanning a photo of their face?

The researchers used “fancy machine learning” to eliminate human biases and come up with a scientific way to determine criminality by examining facial features, University of Washington professor Carl Bergstrom told his class in Mary Gates Hall one day last month.

“What do you guys think?” Bergstrom asked.

In unison, more than 100 students responded out loud: “Bullshit!”

Exactly.

Read more at The Seattle Times.

Image courtesy of The Seattle Times.

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Stop Mattel’s Aristotle from trading children’s privacy for profit

In July, Mattel will release Aristotle, a Wi-fi enabled “digital nanny.” Aristotle is an Amazon Echo-type listening and talking device with a camera. To work, it collects and stores data about a child’s activity and interactions with it. Because Aristotle connects to other apps and online retailers, that data may be shared with those partner corporations, which may use it for a wide variety of purposes—including targeting the marketing of other products to children and families.

Even limited use of Aristotle could pose a significant risk to children. As Marc Rotenberg, President of EPIC Privacy, says:

“Companies that offer Internet-connected toys are simply spying on young children. And they can’t even protect the data they secretly gather. They have already lost passwords and personal data and exposed families to ransomware demands. Toys that spy are unsafe for children.”

To take action on this issue, please join the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood in telling Mattel: Put the well-being of children, and the privacy of families, ahead of corporate profits. Don’t sell Aristotle.

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) supports parents’ efforts to raise healthy families by limiting commercial access to children and ending the exploitive practice of child-targeted marketing. In working for the rights of children to grow up—and the freedom for parents to raise them—without being undermined by corporate interests, CCFC promotes a more democratic and sustainable world. Learn more at www.commercialfreechildhood.org.

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Facebook posts fake-news ads in newspapers ahead of UK vote

Facebook launched a UK newspaper campaign on Monday warning British citizens to be wary of fake news in the lead up to the General Election on June 8.

The social network took out ads in major papers including The Times, The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph, which list ten things its users should look out for when deciding whether to trust information they read online. The tips include checking headlines, URLs, photos and dates.

The spread of fake news has been a problem online for years, but blew up during the US presidential election last year. Facebook resorting to physical media to warn people about fake news is an indication of how widespread the problem has become and the perceived potential for it to impact the outcome of elections.

“People want to see accurate information on Facebook and so do we,” Simon Milner, Facebook’s director of policy for the UK in a statement. “That is why we are doing everything we can to tackle the problem of false news.”

Read more at C-Net.

Image courtesy of C-Net.

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Take Action! FCC votes to start rolling back landmark net neutrality rules

The Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to begin undoing a key decision from the Obama era that could relax regulations on Internet providers, according to The Washington Post.

By a 2-1 vote led by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the agency proposed to roll back a 2015 decision that regulated Internet providers more heavily, using some of the same rules the agency applies to phone companies. The proposal also suggests repealing the so-called “general conduct” rule that allows the FCC to investigate business practices of Internet providers that it suspects may be anti-competitive. And finally, the proposal asks whether the agency should eliminate the most high-profile parts of the net neutrality rules: The rules banning the blocking and slowing of websites, as well as the rule forbidding ISPs from charging websites extra fees.

Democrats — concerned that the results could be much weaker than the current rules — are instead gearing up for a grass roots battle similar to the kind that defeated the House Republican health care plan.

“This fight is just starting,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), in a statement. “The public now has the opportunity to stand up, be heard, and influence the outcome. It will take millions of people standing up … to say that the Internet needs to stay free and open.”

Here’s what you can do to join in and make sure we win this fight in support of net neutrality, as shared by The Nation:

Continue reading

Seeing with your tongue

Erik Weihenmayer is the only blind person to have climbed Mt. Everest. He was born with juvenile retinoschisis, an inherited condition that caused his retinas to disintegrate completely by his freshman year of high school. Unable to play the ball games at which his father and his brothers excelled, he took to climbing after being introduced to it at a summer camp for the blind. He learned to pat the rock face with his hands or tap it with an ice axe to find his next hold, following the sound of a small bell worn by a guide, who also described the terrain ahead. With this technique, he has summited the tallest peaks on all seven continents.

A decade ago, Weihenmayer began using the BrainPort, a device that enables him to “see” the rock face using his tongue. The BrainPort consists of two parts: the band on his brow supports a tiny video camera; connected to this by a cable is a postage-stamp-size white plastic lollipop, which he holds in his mouth. The camera feed is reduced in resolution to a grid of four hundred gray-scale pixels, transmitted to his tongue via a corresponding grid of four hundred tiny electrodes on the lollipop. Dark pixels provide a strong shock; lighter pixels merely tingle. The resulting vision is a sensation that Weihenmayer describes as “pictures being painted with tiny bubbles.”

Read more at The New Yorker.

Image courtesy of The New Yorker.

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Local librarians to lead workshop on media literacy

Media Literacy, a free two-hour workshop, is set at the Port Angeles Library at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Librarians Danielle Gayman and Sarah Morrison at the Port Angeles Library of the North Olympic Library System will present the workshop at the library at 2210 S. Peabody St.

“Today’s media landscape and technologies mean that misinformation or disinformation can be widely shared and disseminated, accidentally or purposefully, regardless of the facts,” according to a news release issued by the library system.

Read more in the Peninsula Daily News.

To attend, here are the workshop details

Title: Media Literacy: Thinking Critically about News & Other Resources

Date/Time: Thursday, May 18, 2017 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Location: The Carver Room at Port Angeles Library, 2210 S. Peabody Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362

Description: NOLS Librarians Danielle Gayman and Sarah Morrison will present an introductory session on Media Literacy, including types of journalism, identifying perspective, and determining bias.  Find out about “Truthiness” and learn how to identify “Fake” or “Fabricated” news.

For more information, visit the North Olympic Library website.

Image courtesy of The Peninsula Daily News.

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North Olympic Library System librarians Danielle Gayman and Sarah Morrison will offer a workshop about Media Literacy on Thursday night.

Why Hollywood’s most thrilling scenes are now orchestrated thousands of miles away

Movies, always the realm of fantasy, are now further removed from reality than ever. Actors do their acting in spandex suits on blank stages, delivering their lines to position markers and balls on sticks. Then an army of VFX artists transports them back in time, adds dragon companions or blows up their car. Audiences love it. Of the 25 top-grossing films of the 21st century so far, 20 have been visual-effects showcases like “Avatar,” “The Avengers” and “Jurassic World.” (The other five were entirely animated, like “Frozen.”) The typical blockbuster now spends about a third of its production budget on visual effects.

But while visual effects’ role in movie making is growing, its presence in Hollywood is shrinking. From 2003 to 2013, at least 21 notable visual-effects companies went out of business, including Digital Domain, which produced the Oscar-winning effects in “Titanic.” Rhythm & Hues finally filed for bankruptcy protection in 2013, just days before winning an Oscar for “Life of Pi,” though it has since been revived under new ownership, working largely on TV shows like “Game of Thrones.”

Read more at The New York Times.

Image courtesy of The New York Times.

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Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Bottles’ come in all shapes and sizes, embodying the brand message

In an inspired packaging stunt, Ogilvy London has created a limited-edition set of Dove Body Wash bottles that come in various shapes and sizes, communication the brand’s longtime celebration of body-diverse beauty.

“Every woman’s version of beauty is different, and if you ask us, these differences are there to be celebrated,” Dove said in a statement. “That’s what real beauty is all about—the unique things that set us apart from each other and make us one of a kind. We’ve championed this version of beauty for the past 60 years, and celebrated diverse women in our groundbreaking real beauty campaigns. But we wanted to bring this to life through our products, too.”

Read more at Ad Week.

Image courtesy of Ad Week.

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One very basic job in sneaker manufacturing is testing the limits of automation

If you’ve ever bought a pair of new, unlaced sneakers you know what it’s like to lace them yourself. It requires carefully wriggling the plastic-cased end of the lace up and through the tiny holes in the shoe’s upper from the inside. Sometimes there are two layers to navigate: the cushioned textile interior and maybe a hard plastic overlay used to tighten the shoe around your foot when you tie it up.

Of the approximately 120 steps involved in manufacturing an Adidas sneaker, that seemingly simple task is among those robots have not yet been able to master, at least not on an industrial scale, according to Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted. “The biggest challenge the shoe industry has is how do you create a robot that puts the lace into the shoe,” he said. “I’m not kidding. That’s a complete manual process today. There is no technology for that.”

Read more at Quartz.

Image courtesy of Quartz.

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Which tech giant would you drop?

Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, are not just the largest technology companies in the world. As I’ve argued repeatedly in my column, they are also becoming the most powerful companies of any kind, essentially inescapable for any consumer or business that wants to participate in the modern world. But which of the Frightful Five is most unavoidable? I ponder the question in my column this week.

But what about you? If an evil monarch forced you to choose, in what order would you give up these inescapable giants of tech?

5 tech companies dropRead more at The New York Times.

Image courtesy of The New York Times.

Virtual-reality worlds filled with penguins and otters are a promising alternative to painkillers

Over the last few decades, US doctors have tackled constant pain problems by prescribing ever-higher levels of opioid painkillers—drugs such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, which belong to the same chemical family as morphine and heroin. These medications have turned out to be less effective for treating chronic pain than thought – and far more addictive. The surge in prescriptions has fed spiraling levels of opioid abuse and tens of thousands of overdose deaths.

Efforts to curb opioid prescriptions and abuse are starting to work. But with the spectacular failure of a drug-centric approach to treating chronic pain, doctors desperately need alternative ways to fight a condition that blights millions of lives. Jones is trying one, seemingly unlikely technological solution: virtual reality.

Read more at Quartz.

Image courtesy of Quartz.

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These DNA Diet Apps Want to Rule Your Health

First, there was the grapefruit diet—promising that the tart monotony of grapefruit after grapefruit would finally reveal your abs. There were more: Atkins, Blood Type, Dukan, Whole30, each with it’s own claim that a one-size-fits-all regimen is the answer to longevity and better fitting pants.

But what if there were a way to determine, away from the citrus fruit mongers and peppy SoulCycle fanatics, the best way to live a healthy life? What if the answer were personal, buried in your genes?

Read more at Backchannel.

Image courtesy of Backchannel.

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Colleges are starting varsity programs for video games

Professional esports — competitive video game playing as a spectator sport — is surging in the U.S., with revenues in the hundreds of millions and growing fast. So it’s little surprise that collegiate esports — in which universities field their own teams just as they would for baseball or basketball — has been been growing as well, to the point where players are now sometimes earning scholarships that pay their entire tuition.

Stephen’s College, an all-women’s college in Columbia, Missouri, announced a varsity esports program two weeks ago. The University of Utah did the same in early April.

The growth of varsity esports teams is phenomenal, said Michael Brooks, executive director at the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE), a non-profit organization that is working to set standards and build infrastructure for the scene.

Read more at The Outline.

Image courtesy of The Outline.

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In Europe’s Election Season, Tech Vies to Fight Fake News

In the battle against fake news, Andreas Vlachos — a Greek computer scientist living in a northern English town — is on the front lines.

Armed with a decade of machine learning expertise, he is part of a British start-up that will soon release an automated fact-checking tool ahead of the country’s election in early June. He also is advising a global competition that pits computer wizards from the United States to China against each other to use artificial intelligence to combat fake news.

“I’m trying to channel my research into something that is useful for everyone who’s reading the news,” said Mr. Vlachos, who is also an academic at the University of Sheffield. “It’s a positive way of moving artificial intelligence forward while improving the political debate.”

As Europe readies for several elections this year after President Trump’s victory in the United States, Mr. Vlachos, 36, is one of a growing number of technology experts worldwide who are harnessing their skills to tackle misinformation online.

Read more at The New York Times.

Image courtesy of The New York Times.

Andreas Vlachos, a computer scientist at the University of Sheffield in England

The real “Fake News”

The following is a blog post that Eni Mustafaraj has recently published in The Spoke. We reproduce it here with permission.

Fake news has always been with us, starting with The Great Moon Hoax in 1835. What is different now is the existence of a mass medium, the Web, that allows anyone to financially benefit from it.

Etymologists typically track the change of a word’s meaning over decades, sometimes even over centuries. Currently, however, they find themselves observing a new president and his administration redefine words and phrases on a daily basis. Case in point: “fake news.” One would have to look hard to find an American who hasn’t heard this phrase in recent months. The president loves to apply it as a label to news organizations that he doesn’t agree with.

Read more at TwitterTrails, a research project at Wellesley College.

Image courtesy of TwitterTrails.

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Automation predicted to take over Vegas and rural farmlands

Two news articles recently came out that highlight how automation will dramatically impact several industries, specifically entertainment and agriculture, reducing the number of workers over the next 20 years.

This piece from The Atlantic’s City Lab begins:

Economists expect that millions of American jobs are going to be replaced by automation in the coming decades. But where will those job losses take place? Which areas will be hardest hit?

Much of the focus regarding automation has been on the Rust Belt. There, many workers have been replaced by machines, and the number of factory jobs has slipped as more production is offshored. While a lot of the rhetoric about job loss in the Rust Belt has centered on such outsourcing, one study from Ball State University found that only 13 percent of manufacturing job losses are attributable to trade, and the rest to automation.

A new analysis suggests that the places that are going to be hardest-hit by automation in the coming decades are in fact outside of the Rust Belt.

Read more at City Lab.

While this piece from the MIT Technology Review shares how robots will take the place of apple pickers:

Roughly $4 billion worth of apples are harvested in the U.S. each year. Startup Abundant Robotics hopes to suck up some of it with a machine that vacuums ripe fruit off the tree.

Today apple orchards rely on people to pick their crops. Dan Steere, cofounder and CEO of Abundant, says recent tests in Australia, where apple season is under way, proved that the company’s prototype can spot apples roughly as accurately as a human, and pull them down just as gently. The machine deposits apples in the same large crates that human pickers use.

“The results convinced us that we’re on the right path to scale up to a full commercial system,” says Steere.

Read more at the MIT Technology Review.

Image courtesy of City Lab.

F.C.C. chairman pushes sweeping changes to net neutrality rules

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday outlined a sweeping plan to loosen the government’s oversight of high-speed internet providers, a rebuke of a landmark policy approved two years ago to ensure that all online content is treated the same by the companies that deliver broadband service to Americans.

The chairman, Ajit Pai, said high-speed internet service should no longer be treated like a public utility with strict rules, as it is now. The move would, in effect, largely leave the industry to police itself.

Read more at The New York Times.

Image courtesy of The New York Times.

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