Matt Mabe is one of the few people who know what it's like to be on both sides of the strained marriage between the military and the media. He left the army in 2007 to become a reporter and he was recently recalled to duty as a soldier. Mabe describes how both sides mistrust and misunderstand one another. He joins us from Afghanistan to tell his story.
It was a big week for conspiracy theories, with two big rumors circulating in the news. First, that the President is secretly not American. Second, that Obama's health care proposal includes plans to euthanize senior citizens, a claim promoted by former New York Lieutenant Governor Betsy McCaughey. The Atlantic's James Fallows explains how these claims fare in today's 24-hour news cycle.
Two years ago, Netflix offered a $1 million prize to whomever could improve their movie recommendation software by 10%. Now a team has won (though the winning team has yet to be announced.) Writer Clive Thompson tells us why the competition is important and Bob Bell, a team member on the potential winning team, tells us how he crossed the 10% threshold.
Last week the AP announced plans to electronically tag their online content so illegal use will be easier to track. The Fair Syndication Consortium, which includes The New York Times and The Washington Post, is trying to get a piece of the ad revenue other sites make off their member's content. But New York Times blogger Saul Hansell questions whether these efforts will work.
Did you know that Walter Cronkite is so identified with the news business that in Sweden an anchorman is called a "Kronkiter"? And speaking of anchorman, did you know that word was coined in the 1950s to define Cronkite’s role on broadcast TV? Neither did we. Perhaps because none of it is true. Ben Zimmer, executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus, traced some of the myths surrounding the man who was once the most trusted in America.
Getting a patent is a notoriously slow process and U.S. patent office employees are sometimes ill-equipped to evaluate whether highly technical applications are worthy of patents. A few years ago, Beth Noveck, Deputy Chief Technology Officer in the Obama Administration, came up with a fix: put applications on the Internet. Noveck says her experiment seems to be working.