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Echo Loop

27 September 2019

Artificial Intelligence is Your Mentor

19 September 2019

Nothing to do with books, unless you’re looking for ideas for dystopian fiction. From The Wall Street Journal (with a 15 second commercial at the beginning, sorry):

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Eugene V. Debs

2 September 2019

Today is celebrated as Labor Day in the United States.

One of the early heroes of what was called The Labor Movement was Eugene V. Debs.

From American Experience:

Outspoken leader of the labor movement, Eugene Debs opposed Woodrow Wilson as the Socialist Party candidate in the 1912 Presidential Election. Later, he would continue to rally against President Wilson and his decision to take American into war — and be jailed for it under the Espionage Act.

Debs was born in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1855, the son of poor Alsatian immigrants. Though his parents encouraged an intellectual spirit, Debs left high school after one year to become a locomotive paint-scraper. There, among the rough-and-tumble of railway men, Debs found his calling. From his membership in the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen to his role co-founding the Industrial Workers of the World (the “wobblies”), Debs raised his voice in defense of the common man.

The years leading up to the turn of the twentieth century brought America unprecedented prosperity — but relatively few people, men like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller Sr., controlled the new wealth. For the nation’s working class, and leaders like Eugene Debs, it was a time to be angry. From steel fabrication to mining, American industries saw major protests as workers tried to secure 8-hour workdays, living wages, and other fundamental improvements.

After leading the American Railway Union in a confrontation with federal troops sent to break up the Pullman strike of 1894, Debs was jailed for six months for contempt of court. It was then that he came to a set of beliefs that roughly mirrored the socialist tenets of the European labor movements. Upon his release, Debs became a featured speaker for the Socialist Party, and ran for president in 1900 as their nominee. He lost, but continued to be the party’s candidate in several subsequent elections.

Debs found his greatest success in the 1912 Election, when he campaigned against Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson, incumbent President William Howard Taft, and former President Theodore Roosevelt. Debs received almost a million votes – six percent of the ballots cast.

Link to the rest at American Experience.

Debs was accused of sedition because of the anti-WWI speech he’d given in Canton, Ohio, on June 16, 1918. Found guilty on ten counts under the Espionage and Sedition Acts, he would eventually be sentenced to 10 years.

Following is a reading of an excerpt of a speech Debs gave to the court on Sept 18, 1918.


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A reminder that PG does not always agree with items he posts.

Where The Wild Things Are

30 August 2019
Comments Off on Where The Wild Things Are

Little Women

28 August 2019

1933

1949

1978 Miniseries (NBC)

1994

2019

BBC

Amazon offered vendors ‘Amazon’s Choice’ labels in return for ad spending and lower prices

19 August 2019

From DigiDay:

Amazon has previously offered vendors the ability to “bid” for an Amazon’s Choice badge by lowering prices and spending more money on advertising, bringing into sharper focus how the program, which recently came under fire from senators, actually works.

It’s unclear whether or not this offer was taken up by any Amazon vendors, or how long the program was offered before it was discontinued. One source believed it was only offered for a few months.

Amazon’s Choice label, which is a mark that denotes that an item is recommended, gives certain products and items higher and more obvious placement in search results. While it’s unclear how exactly the mark is earned, it’s been accepted that it’s generally a mix of product listing and specifications, price and reviews, operated by Amazon’s algorithms.

But sources say that Amazon actually offered sellers the chance to bid on the mark back in 2017.

A pitch deck reviewed by Digiday details a 2017 bidding program for the Amazon’s Choice badge in a particular product category. The deck explained the Amazon’s Choice program, which launched in 2015, as valuable to brands in that it increases the visibility of a product listing in Amazon’s search results, which then drives an increase in units sold and revenue over time. An example for an Amazon’s Choice-recommended electronic showed a 10% increase in units sold over one quarter and an immediate increase in the number of people going to the product page over a few weeks.

While Amazon didn’t set up an outright pay-to-play system for its coveted Amazon’s Choice badge, which increases visibility and conversion rates for product listings that receive the tag, it did set up an internal process that could be seen as manipulating the Amazon’s Choice system.

In an email requesting confirmation and information on whether this program existed, an Amazon spokesperson denied that this program was offered.

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An agency source said that while this bidding program ran briefly in 2017, Amazon rolled it back and Amazon’s Choice badges are now driven by Amazon’s algorithms. According to Amazon’s vendor and seller resources, Amazon’s Choice is rewarded to product listings that have high in-stock and conversion rates, high customer ratings, competitive prices and Prime shipping. But nefarious recommendations from Amazon have come under scrutiny: In a report in June that reviewed dozens of Amazon’s Choice products, BuzzFeed found that Amazon frequently recommended inferior and defective products, as well as products whose reviews had been manipulated by the seller.

Link to the rest at DigiDay

PG was reminded the following song, titled “Don’t Be Stupid.” (Given the title, he has no idea why people are dancing in water).

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Discovering Family Secrets via DNA Testing

13 August 2019

Perhaps he’s late to the party, but PG immediately thought about the literary possibilities of this technology in the hands of some fiction authors.

New Whodunit Movie

10 August 2019

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