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In 2020, hundreds of top TikTok content creators banded together in service of a single goal: get Joe Biden elected. They posted videos, hosted online events and spent hours educating followers to help Biden defeat Donald Trump. Four years later, the coalition once known as TikTok for Biden is now called Gen-Z for Change — and so far, it has not endorsed Biden’s reelection. “Biden is out of step with young people on a number of key issues,” said the coalition’s founder, Aidan Kohn-Murphy, 20, who called “the frustrations of young progressive leaders a barometer of widespread dissatisfaction among Gen Z voters.” Across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Twitch, anger and resentment toward Biden are boiling among Gen Z content creators who say they feel disaffected and betrayed by Biden’s positions on an array of issues, including the war in Gaza, the climate crisis and the president’s decision to support a potential TikTok ban. The rift has been exacerbated by the White House’s evolving strategy of courting friendly influencers while shutting out others who have been critical of the administration. When Biden took office in 2021, the White House sought to fortify its relationships with Gen Z content creators, working with them to promote the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine and briefing them on key issues. At one such briefing on the war in Ukraine in 2022, press secretary Jen Psaki and Matt Miller, special adviser for communications at the White House National Security Council, told influencers that Biden viewed them as the “new media” and would strive to keep them informed.

“I have noticed that there have been a lot more events with creators, but the creators that are getting invited are the creators who are very pro Biden and just parroting talking points or sharing photo ops of them smiling with the President. Not the creators who have been critical,” said Kahlil Greene, a history content creator and education advocate in Washington who said he hasn’t been invited to the White House since he criticized the administration over the TikTok ban and the war in Gaza. Annie Wu Henry, a political influencer and digital strategist who has worked on Democratic campaigns, agreed. While the White House once treated creators as independent media, she said, they now seem to be playing favorites. Biden’s team “is trying to say that they’re handling influencers like the press. But the thing is, the press briefing room has to have Fox News no matter what. They have to allow all of the media in,” Henry said. “When it comes to influencers, they only let in people who agree, and anyone who gives even a little bit of pushback is not welcome.” This picking and choosing has had stark consequences for Biden: In the first four months of this year, nearly a quarter of top left-leaning content creators on TikTok have posted anti-Biden content, according to CredoIQ, a social media analytics firm, with those posts collectively amassing over 100 million views. Much of the anti-Biden content is being posted by young, non-White liberals with “shared ideology that the U.S. Government, and specifically Joe Biden, want to stop the flow of free speech and information,” CredoIQ found. “This perceived assault on free speech is enabling anti-Biden sentiment to leap from a smaller demographic of pro-Palestine young progressives” — who are outraged by Biden’s support for Israel as it wages a brutal war in Gaza — “to a potentially market-moving bloc of unenthusiastic young voters that are upset with the TikTok ban.” According to a recent poll conducted by Morning Consult, two-thirds of Gen Z voters — 67 percent — say Biden’s decision to back legislation that could lead to a TikTok ban has made them less likely to vote for him in November. Smaller groups say they have been turned off by the president’s handling of the war in Israel (46 percent) and Biden’s approval of new oil and gas drilling projects on federal land (38 percent). A White House spokesperson said administration officials “continue to have substantive meetings and discussions with creators who hold a variety of viewpoints – including those who disagree with us on important issues.” “This White House has taken historic steps to engage digital creators, and works hard to meet Americans where they are,” the spokesperson said. “… We’ll continue to elevate their voices and utilize a variety of platforms to reach Americans who don’t closely follow traditional news.” Democrats have long struggled to compete with conservatives online. While Trump and other conservatives enjoy the support of a vast cohort of right-wing content creators and platforms, Democrats have tried to recruit influencers to amplify their message. As president, Barack Obama courted Vine stars and sat for interviews on policy initiatives with YouTubers during his second term. During the 2020 campaign, Biden established a partnership team for influencers in July, shortly before the Democratic convention. This time around, the Biden campaign started its influencer outreach earlier and on a broader scale, according to a person familiar with the strategy. Dozens of staffers are focused on courting content creators, and the campaign has partnered with more than 550 of them. It is advertising for a manager position to develop partnerships with meme pages — social media accounts where users post entertaining images and videos — that pays up to $85,000 per year. While some influencers feel unfairly excluded, Biden supporters say the campaign is genuinely struggling to respond to a rapidly evolving media landscape in which some influencers think of themselves as traditional journalists while others are paid for their views. “I think they’re in a political pickle. There’s just not a traditional comms structure for creators,” said pro-Biden political content creator Keith Edwards. “If they were press, this type of [restricted access] would be outrageous, but they’re in this strange space where they occupy media attention, but they’re not traditional press. And I don’t know if anyone knows what the right way is to engage. Is it traditional press outreach? Is it paid [marketing] work? This is something we’re all learning together as the media is quickly shifting.” To help recruit new online supporters, the Biden campaign has contracted Village Marketing, an influencer marketing firm, which began sending outreach emails in April to a slew of popular content creators, according to emails viewed by The Post. “We’re reaching out on behalf of the Biden-Harris campaign team in search of social media supporters for the 2024 election!” said the email, which offered creators the chance to become “an official campaign partner.” Those interested were directed to a portal where they could link their social media accounts and provide access to account metrics like audience data. Village Marketing founder Vickie Segar said many creators are hesitant to post about politics given the contentious online climate and decisions by various platforms to downgrade political content. “We are here to talk it out with any creators who are hesitant [about Biden] and who have questions,” Segar said. “I hope that we have even more people participating as we get closer to the election. We want to get President Biden elected, we agree with his values and policies, and we’re here to support that.” But creators are less eager to sign on to a political campaign in 2024 than they were in 2020. On TikTok, for example, many creators who were relatively new to the industry four years ago and working to build their followings have become powerful multiplatform influencers running profitable media businesses that reach tens of millions of young people. Today, they say they expect more in return for their support.

In 2020, “Gen Z put Biden in office with our voices and with our platforms,” said Hassan Khadair, a content creator in Birmingham, Ala., with 6.3 million followers on TikTok, 2.8 million subscribers on YouTube, a podcast and a robust following across myriad other apps. This time around, Khadair said, “He has to earn that vote. We’re not just going to give it to him because we don’t want Trump to win. We did that once. We’re not doing it twice.” Gen-Z for Change Executive Director Elise Joshi, a content creator and climate activist, said she hosted Zoom calls with hundreds of other young people in 2020 outlining why they should vote for Biden. Now, she said, she and others her age have a host of reasons for feeling betrayed. Back then, Joshi said, she appreciated Biden’s climate policies and how he said he planned to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. Today, Joshi said, Biden is permitting record-breaking oil and gas extraction on public lands while “doubling down on the fossil fuel economy.” Joshi said she and others also are frustrated with Biden’s “mishandling” of the pandemic, which remains “a crisis and we can’t even get masks in health-care settings.” While “combating the pandemic was a focal point of Biden’s campaign in 2020,” she said, “now it doesn’t seem to be a top priority.” Finally, Joshi said many young people are outraged by the administration’s failure to negotiate an end to the Israeli military campaign in Gaza. “The group that rallied people around Biden in 2020 is the same group that built a tool sending over 100 million emails to the government urging a cease-fire,” she said. Joshi said she doesn’t mind being left off guest lists for events like the White House Christmas party for digital content creators. What angers her is the president’s failure to engage with Gen Z influencers’ substantive concerns, she said — though she acknowledged that the White House climate office recently contacted her directly regarding a pause in the approval of new liquefied natural gas projects. “I prefer having a meaty climate strategy conversation with them than to get an invite somewhere,” Joshi said. Alaina Wood, a Gen Z sustainability scientist and content creator, said she also has felt cut off from the Biden administration since becoming more critical of his policies. “As soon as I was like, I’m not going to praise you all the time, I’m not going to be a propaganda piece for you, they stopped talking to me,” she said. Wood and other creators said they are skeptical that Biden’s latest attempts to recruit influencers would make a material difference in Gen Z support for his reelection. “If the comment section of my videos are any indication,” she said, “a lot of people, especially young people, do not want to vote for Biden again.”

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submitted 22 minutes ago* (last edited 20 minutes ago) by take_five_seconds@hexbear.net to c/news@hexbear.net

click for article text

Eggs of the spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect so destructive that New Yorkers were instructed to kill any on sight, were found for the first time in California on a 30-foot-tall metal art installation headed to the Bay Area.

The lanternfly egg masses were found at the Truckee Border Protection Station in late March, the California Association of Winegrape Growers announced on Monday. According to CAWG, station staff found 11 “viable egg masses” on a large metal art sculpture that was en route to Sonoma County from New York.

Upon finding the eggs, staff rejected the shipment and sent it to Nevada, where officials discovered 30 more egg masses on other parts of the sculpture. The installation was then power washed with detergent and sent to Sonoma County under a warning hold notice. Sonoma County staff found an additional three egg masses during another inspection in which cranes were used to take the sculpture apart. The inspection was concluded after staff were sure no egg masses were left on the sculpture, according to CAWG.

The incident marks the first time spotted lanternfly eggs have been found in California. The insect presents enough risk to local plants and crops that the California Department of Food and Agriculture developed an action plan last year in the event of the bugs showing up in the state, which would include deploying an emergency response from the department and initiating an eradication authority in all counties where the insects are found.

Native to parts of China, India and Vietnam, the spotted lanternfly was first spotted in the U.S. in 2014, when it was found in Pennsylvania. It feeds on myriad plant species and causes serious damage to both plants and crops, particularly vineyards, which makes the prospect of the insects arriving in Sonoma County especially precarious. Spotted lanternflies caused “considerable, often catastrophic, damage” to vineyards after traveling to South Korea and Pennsylvania, according to CDFA.

Spotted lanternflies have “the potential to affect the entire winegrape industry,” CAWG wrote in its press release.

If additional egg masses made it into the state undetected, live spotted lanternflies may be hatching in the coming weeks, CAWG said. The insect experiences peak population growth in the late summer to early fall.

“This is essentially a public service announcement to raise awareness of how to identify a spotted lanternfly and the immediate action to take if discovered,” CAWG President Natalie Collins said in the release. “Spotted lanternflies have been found in 18 states and have proven to pose a serious threat to vineyards. These invasive insects feed on the sap of grapevines, while also leaving behind a sticky honeydew residue on the clusters and leaves. Their activities stress the plants, decrease vine health, and in some cases, can lead to plant death.”

Spotted lanternflies look different at various life stages, with the adults appearing tan-gray in color with black spots. CDFA recommends inspecting plants, trees, vehicles and trailers for egg masses or other signs of the bug, and reporting suspected findings to the CDFA pest hotline.

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I know Trump's word is worth less than dogshit, but hypothetically, he's now the harm reduction candidate when it comes to Ukraine.

Of course the liberals of reddit are hand-wringing about Putin and "tHe FrEe WoRlD"

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Scribd has some pdfs I want to download but they charge 15 dollars a month to be able to download stuff and require you to view an ad for every few pages you read using the in-site viewer. Does anyone know a way to get past this and just download or read it without the subscription or ads?

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Source

Part two of this awesome piece (Direct Link)

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“Prime Minister Trudeau and I don’t agree on much, but we do agree that Canada is not for sale to foreign governments,” opposition leader Pierre Poilievre said. “Canada is now, and has always been, for sale to mining companies, agricultural conglomerates, and the American hedge funds who own most of our news media.”

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Archived version

- The shocking revelation is documented in a collection of several dozen anonymous, in-depth interviews. Chinese researchers felt compelled, and even encouraged, to engage in misconduct to protect their jobs.

- The pressure came from a Chinese programme to create globally recognized universities. The programme prompted some Chinese institutions to set ambitious publishing targets. Anotber problem is a lack of transparency and of systems to detect and deter misconduct in China, experts say.

- Some experts say tbe study's findings could be biased as those Chinese scientists who accepted the interview might have strong feelings and might not represent the opinions of those who declined to be interviewed.

Anonymous interviewees say they engaged in unethical behaviour to protect their jobs — although others say study presents an overly negative view.

"I had no choice but to commit [research] misconduct,” admits a researcher at an elite Chinese university. The shocking revelation is documented in a collection of several dozen anonymous, in-depth interviews offering rare, first-hand accounts of researchers who engaged in unethical behaviour — and describing what tipped them over the edge. An article based on the interviews was published in April in the journal Research Ethics1.

The interviewer, sociologist Zhang Xinqu, and his colleague Wang Peng, a criminologist, both at the University of Hong Kong, suggest that researchers felt compelled, and even encouraged, to engage in misconduct to protect their jobs. This pressure, they conclude, ultimately came from a Chinese programme to create globally recognized universities. The programme prompted some Chinese institutions to set ambitious publishing targets, they say.

The article offers “a glimpse of the pain and guilt that researchers felt” when they engaged in unethical behaviour, says Elisabeth Bik, a scientific-image sleuth and consultant in San Francisco, California.

But other researchers say the findings paint an overly negative picture of the Chinese programme. Zheng Wenwen, who is responsible for research integrity at the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China, under the Ministry of Science and Technology, in Beijing, says that the sample size is too small to draw reliable conclusions. The study is based on interviews with staff at just three elite institutes — even though more than 140 institutions are now part of the programme to create internationally competitive universities and research disciplines.

Rankings a game

In 2015, the Chinese government introduced the Double First-Class Initiative to establish “world-class” universities and disciplines. Universities selected for inclusion in the programme receive extra funding, whereas those that perform poorly risk being delisted, says Wang.

Between May 2021 and April 2022, Zhang conducted anonymous virtual interviews with 30 faculty members and 5 students in the natural sciences at three of these elite universities. The interviewees included a president, deans and department heads. The researchers also analysed internal university documents.

The university decision-makers who were interviewed at all three institutes said they understood it to be their responsibility to interpret the goals of the Double First-Class scheme. They determined that, to remain on the programme, their universities needed to increase their standing in international rankings — and that, for that to happen, their researchers needed to publish more articles in international journals indexed in databases such as the Science Citation Index.

Some universities treated world university rankings as a “game” to win, says Wang.

As the directive moved down the institutional hierarchy, pressure to perform at those institutes increased. University departments set specific and hard-to-reach publishing criteria for academics to gain promotion and tenure.

Some researchers admitted to engaging in unethical research practices for fear of losing their jobs. In one interview, a faculty head said: “If anyone cannot meet the criteria [concerning publications], I suggest that they leave as soon as possible.”

Zhang and Wang describe researchers using services to write their papers for them, falsifying data, plagiarizing, exploiting students without offering authorship and bribing journal editors.

One interviewee admitted to paying for access to a data set. “I bought access to an official archive and altered the data to support my hypotheses.”

An associate dean emphasized the primacy of the publishing goal. “We should not be overly stringent in identifying and punishing research misconduct, as it hinders our scholars’ research efficiency.”

Not the whole picture

The authors “hit the nail on the head” in describing the relationship between institutional pressure and research misconduct, says Wang Fei, who studies research-integrity policy at Dalian University of Technology.

But she says it’s not the whole picture. Incentives to publish high-quality research are part of broader reforms to the higher-education system that “have been largely positive”. “The article focuses almost exclusively on the negative aspects, potentially misleading readers into thinking that Chinese higher education reforms are severely flawed and accelerating research misconduct.”

Tang Li, a science- and innovation-policy researcher at Fudan University in Shanghai, agrees. The first-hand accounts are valuable, but the findings could be biased, she says, because those who accepted the interview might have strong feelings and might not represent the opinions of those who declined to be interviewed.

Zheng disagrees with the study’s conclusions. In 2020, the government issued a directive for Double First-Class institutes. This states specifically that evaluations should be comprehensive, and not just focus on numbers of papers, she says. Research misconduct is a result not of the Double First-Class initiative, but of an “insufficient emphasis on research integrity education”, says Zheng. Punishing misconduct

The larger problem, says Xiaotian Chen, a library and information scientist at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, is a lack of transparency and of systems to detect and deter misconduct in China. Most people do the right thing, despite the pressure to publish, says Chen, who has studied research misconduct in China. The pressure described in the paper could just be “an excuse to cheat”.

The Chinese government has introduced several measures to crack down on misconduct, including defining what constitutes violations and specifying appropriate penalties. They have also banned cash rewards for publishing in high-impact journals.

Wang Peng says that government policies need to be more specific about how they define and punish different types of misconduct.

But Zheng says that, compared with those that apply in other countries, “the measures currently taken by the Chinese government to punish research misconduct are already very stringent”.

The authors also ignore recent government guidance for elite Chinese institutions to break with the tendency of evaluating faculty members solely on the basis of their publications and academic titles, says Zheng.

Tang points out that the road to achieving integrity in research is long. “Cultivating research integrity takes time and requires orchestrated efforts from all stakeholders,” she says.

And the pressure to publish more papers to drive up university rankings “is not unique to China”, says Bik. “Whenever and wherever incentives and requirements are set up to make people produce more, there will be people ‘gaming the metrics’.”

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Good to see people are making the connections between scientific racism, tech moguls, and the effective altruist/longtermism dumbasses.

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A great movie trailer can single handedly turn a movie into a success story--like that genius Cloverfield trailer in 2007 that didn't say what the title of the movie was. But it's more common these days, I'd argue, for a trailer to have the opposite impact. A generic trailer can so thoroughly dampen hype for a film that something like Furiosa, a great movie everybody likes that's a sequel to a great movie everybody likes, could become a major box office disappointment.

Furiosa was the second big financial letdown in May after The Fall Guy kicked the month off with a similarly low-key box office take, and both will end up coming in well below the numbers that summer blockbusters are supposed to have--neither of these films will get to the $100 million mark at the domestic box office. There are a lot of factors playing a part in why the summer has been so dismal thus far, but this my favorite: the trailers for those movies were awful.

In technical terms, the ads for The Fall Guy and Furiosa are fine. They're slickly edited, and they played up the cool action that those films have and all that. But they lacked something that's just as important as big explosions for potential audiences: information. The Fall Guy was marketed on being a movie that Ryan Gosling does action scenes in--but if you wanted to actually know what it was about, or what the title meant, you'd have to google it. Furiosa, likewise, was sold as little more than Fury Road again but with new actors, with the trailers doing little to demonstrate how immensely different it is in structure. Furiosa is an epic tale that takes place over 18 years--it's the Godfather Part 2 of Mad Max, basically, but the ads hid everything that made it different from the last one.

The core issue, really, is how cookie cutter the Hollywood marketing machine has gotten--just about every big trailer is cut similarly to these ones I'm complaining about. But it's fine when they actually give us information, or are able to come somewhat close to matching the vibe of the movie. That's certainly a factor in how Denis Villeneuve's Dune flicks have managed to become hits, with Part Two reigning as the top movie of 2024 so far--the trailers for both Dune movies generally reflect the vibe of the films they are selling, and they use narration to fill you in on the various conflicts in the story so you can get a sense of what's going on without reading any books. In other words, those trailers come off subconsciously to viewers as sincere and trustworthy.

And by extension, the trailers for The Fall Guy and Furiosa, which seem to fear trying to sell those movies on their own actual merits, play instead as empty and meaningless and not really worth caring about. Hollywood's been churning out trailers like this, which coast entirely on vibes at the expense of telling you what the movie is about, non-stop for about a decade--we may just be over it at this point.

Previously: Are trailers revealing too much again nowadays?

view more: next ›

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