FROM Will Oremus
Identifying real news v. fake news: it's complicated Facebook, Twitter and Google have all been criticized for posting fake news stories, misleading clickbait and conspiracy theories. For example, the Pope endorsing Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton involved in a child sex ring in a pizza parlor. These companies are working on plans to combat fake news.
Are PCs are making a comeback? Apple just revealed a new MacBook Pro with a touch panel instead of function keys at the top of the keyboard. Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled the Surface Studio, a desktop PC with a giant, ultra high-definition touchscreen. One technology writer is calling it a comeback for PCs and a letdown from Apple.
Tesla’s 'ingenious' autopilot software update Following a fatal crash in May in which a Tesla Model S on autopilot crashed into a truck because it didn’t recognize it as a truck, Tesla has been working on a software fix to prevent that kind of an accident. Now Tesla says they’ve done it, and if true, it could make self-driving cars a lot safer. Slate’s Will Oremus calls the fix “ingenious.”
Facebook’s Influence in the Presidential Election More than a billion people log onto Facebook every day to look at cat gifs and baby pictures; and now more than ever, people are getting their news from the social networking site. That news is controlled by Facebook’s powerful news feed algorithm, but there are also humans involved. Gizmodo reported Monday that, according to a former Facebook contractor, curators of Facebook’s trending news feature routinely suppressed conservative news stories. Facebook has denied the allegations, but a Senate committee is looking into the matter. Regardless of whether the allegations are true or not, Facebook is clearly having an effect on this election.
The Elitism of the Apple Watch Tech addicts around the world have been waiting anxiously for the final rollout of Apple’s new smart watch. And they finally got their fix, Monday. Aside from the usual debates that accompany any new Apple product, there is the issue of price. The company says, “There’s an Apple Watch for everyone.” But that’s if “everyone” has at least $349 and a late-model iPhone. Mid-range models are closer to $1,000 and high-end models will go for as much as $17,000. That’s the cost to consumers, but what about the cost to Apple? The steep price of the watch could damage its image as a company that brings high-tech and great design to the masses.
Cyber Silliness It’s Cyber Monday, the day that online retailers offer deals hoping to lure consumers into spending a lot of time and money shopping on the Internet. Is it a day of great bargains, or a bunch of manufactured hype? Slate’s Will Oremus is firmly in the second camp. Two years ago he wrote a piece titled “ The Unmitigated Inanity of Cyber Monday: The Dumbest Fake Holiday of the Year ,” and today he explains why he stands by it.
Requiem for the San Francisco Bay Guardian The owners of the San Francisco Bay Guardian announced that it will cease publishing today. The progressive weekly newspaper was founded in 1966 by muckraking reporter Bruce Brugmann and his wife, Jean Dibble. They vowed "to print the news and raise hell." Its demise reflects not only the changing face of the Bay Area, but troubles experienced by alt-weekly papers nationwide.
iHype This morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced a new slate of products, including two new iPhone models. Many news outlets live-blogged every minute of the event. But… why? What is it about Apple that inspires an avalanche of breathless press every time a new product is unveiled?
Aging Facebook Today marks the 10 year anniversary of Facebook’s launch. But while the site is still going strong for now, its users are aging. We take a look at the social media sites young people are actually using, and why a lot of adults haven’t heard of them. We’ll also talk about whether these sites are doing enough to keep kids safe from predators.
Tesla Motors Fights a Very Bad Review After months of "best car" awards and glowing reviews of the Tesla Model S luxury electric car, the New York Times' John Broder published a dissenting opinion . Tesla CEO Elon Musk then accused Broder of deliberate fabrications and trying to stall the car out on purpose. Technology writer Will Oremus has been following the dispute with potential impact on the future of a much-hyped industry for Slate.com .
Twists and turns on Capitol Hill What’s the political fallout over the GOP health care bill? The investigation into Russia’s ties to the Trump campaign also took another twist today. And, will Democrats filibuster Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch?
James Mangold on 'Logan' and fighting franchise fatigue Filmmaker James Mangold has been making character-driven dramas for more than 20 years, but lately, he's been in the X-Men superhero business. In his latest film, Logan, Hugh Jackman plays the slashing Marvel mutant one last time, so Mangold wanted to make something more nuanced than the usual comic-book movie.
Attacks on climate data and internet privacy President Donald Trump signed an executive order to undo most of President Obama’s climate change agenda. One arctic researcher details how the Trump administration has deleted some of her climate data from federal websites. Also, Congress is expected to pass a big change to internet privacy rules.
Russian citizens skeptical of election meddling allegations FBI Director James Comey said today that the Russians did try to influence the U.S. presidential election, and that the FBI is investigating whether that hacking was coordinated with the Trump campaign. Some Russians don’t buy it.