Journal

What should you think about when using Facebook?

Vicki Boykis:

Facebook started as a way for college students to connect with each other, and has eventually gotten to the point where it’s changing people’s behavior, tracking their usage, and possibly aggregating information for the government.

The problem is that each person, whether he or she uses Facebook or not, is implicated in its system of tracking, relationship tagging, and shadow profiling. But this is particularly true if you are an active Facebook user.

So the most important thing to is to be aware that this is going on and give Facebook as little data as possible.

An alarming – but unsurprising – analysis of the data Facebook collects and who has access to it.

Paradise Lost

I had braced myself for its eventual fate, but seeing footage of Birmingham Central Library being demolished still brought a tear to my eye.

Admiring the Abstract in Basel’s Kunstmuseum

Admiring the Abstract in Basel's Kunstmuseum

During a recent trip to Basel, I found plenty to inspire in the city’s recently extended art museum. As I explored the exhibits, I jotted down the artists whose work caught my attention. Reviewing this list some weeks later, I thought I’d share my findings.

Climb Dance

Climb Dance is a famous cinéma vérité short film, which features Finnish rally driver Ari Vatanen setting a record time in a highly modified four-wheel drive, all-wheel steering Peugeot 405 Turbo 16 GR at the 1988 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado, USA. The film was produced by Peugeot and directed by Jean Louis Mourey.

I love everything about this film (which I had not seen until Adam Perfect mentioned it on his blog): the cinematography, the score, and of course Vatanen’s daring cliff-edge driving.

Not funny

On this clear, sunny Friday, the weather belies the fact that the UK has undertaken an unprecedented and improbable act of self-harm.

Breaking Point: Why I’m voting to Remain in the EU Referendum

Breaking Point: Why I'm voting to Remain in the EU Referendum

Tomorrow is the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. I’ve wanted to write about this for some time, but I’ve delayed and delayed in the hope I could offer a tidy summary and clear reasoning behind my decision to remain. The question on the ballot paper demands a simple black or white answer, yet a study of the issues only offers shades of grey.

Election Expenses Exposed

If the Conservative Party wasn’t already rigging the system in its favour, be that by redrawing consistency boundaries (gerrymandering by any other name) or reforming party funding, it turns out they may have broken campaign spending rules as well.

A Channel 4 News investigation has uncovered evidence suggesting large-scale and systematic abuse of spending limits, both at last year’s general election, and during three key by-elections in 2014:

Our investigation has uncovered hundreds of pages of receipts for more than 2,000 nights of hotel stays. In each of three by-election campaigns, we found a pattern – luxury hotels for senior staff, while junior campaigners were put up cheaper rooms – usually the local Premier Inn.

The campaign spending was similar in other ways: 770 rooms were booked in the name or home address of one Conservative staffer - Marion Little - while others appeared under the name “Mr Conservatives”.

None of these hotel receipts seem to have been declared by the party.

This is nothing short of a scandal, yet one helpfully suppressed by the current EU Referendum campaign. All this, revealed on the same week David Cameron hosted the international Anti-Corruption Summit; maybe we need to focus on the corruption taking place a little closer to home, first.


Beyond the depressing particulars of this story, as someone who worked on an earlier design of the Channel 4 News website, I found the presentation of this story to be encouraging, not least because of its uncluttered layout, digestible content and accessible data visualisations. As a news team renowned for its in-depth reporting and investigations, I hope this article is a sign that we can expect more of its online coverage to meet those same high standards.

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