Advertising Spending and Media Bias: Evidence from News Coverage of Car Safety Recalls | Beattie, Durante, Knight, Sen

Graham Beattie, Ruben Durante, Brian Knight, Ananya Sen; Advertising Spending and Media Bias: Evidence from News Coverage of Car Safety Recalls; Some Working Paper; 2017-02; 43 pages; paywall.

tl;dr → [Question:] Do media outlets bias news content in favor of advertisers?
Answer: Yes. Though, technically, Betteridge’s Law does not apply because the question is in the abstract, not the title.


Do media outlets bias news content in favor of advertisers? We study this question by examining the relationship between advertising spending by car manufacturers in U.S. newspapers and news coverage of major safety recalls issued between 2000 and 2014. Examining car safety recalls allows us to separate the effect of advertisers’ influence from that of readers’ tastes which, in this case, should lead to more coverage as owners of recalled vehicles demand more information about the safety risks associated with the recall. Consistent with the predictions of our theoretical model, we find that recalls involving a given manufacturer receive significantly less coverage on newspapers in which that manufacturer advertised more over the previous two years. We find that pro-advertiser bias is more pronounced in markets with a single newspaper, which indicates that competition – and the related reputational concerns – mitigates capture by advertisers. Finally, increased competition for advertising revenues from online platforms makes newspapers more vulnerable to the pressure of advertisers.

Realtime Paged Data Exchange 1.0 | W3C

Realtime Paged Data Exchange 1.0, Final Community Group Report; W3C; 2017-08-14.



  • Endpoint Validator at
  • openactive/realtime-paged-data-exchange at GitHub
  • Domain: physical activity data.
    • Like RSS feeds, but different
    • Like Twitter feeds, but different
    • JSON “feeds”
  • Scale
    In perpetuity (forever>
    while in the “available” state (is “updated” state) state
    Seven (7) days
    While in the “soft delete” notification prior to expungement (delisting, disappearance)
  • Format: JSON (of course, this is the web, yes?)
  • Elements
    1. Implementation
    2. Paging
    3. Transport
  • SQL specifications of behavior are given


Time Symmetry Theory, or Retrocausality, Predicts That the Future Is Influencing the Past | Big Think

A New Quantum Theory Predicts That the Future Could Be Influencing the Past; Paul Ratner; In Big Think; 2017-07-09.

Original Sources

Matthew Leifer (Chapman University), Matt Pusey (Perimeter); Does time-symmetry in quantum theory imply retrocausality?; Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi); 2016-07-17; 28 slides.
<paywalled>Matthew S. Leifer, Matthew F. Pusey; Is a time symmetric interpretation of quantum theory possible without retrocausality?; In Proceedings of the Royal Society A; 2017-06-21; DOI:10.1098/rspa.2016.0607</paywalled>

tl;dr → Betteridge’s Law. No.


  • retrocausality
  • time symmetry
  • Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario.


<quote>retrocausality does not mean that you get to send signals from the future to the past – rather that an experimenter’s measurement of a particle can influence the properties of that particle in the past, even before making their choice.</quote>


  • Matthew S. Leifer
  • Huw Price, professor, philosophy, University of Cambridge,
    …quoted for color, background & verisimilitude.


  • Einstein
  • Bell



In Big Think

Holding People Responsible for Ethical Violations: The Surprising Benefits of Accusing Others | Kennedy, Schweitzer

Jessica A. Kennedy (Owen, Vanderbuilt), Maurice E. Schweitzer (Wharten, U. Penn.); Holding People Responsible for Ethical Violations: The Surprising Benefits of Accusing Others; draft; Destined for Some Social Science Journal; 2017-now; 65 pages.

tl;dr → “High-Horse” Sanctimony Works.


Individuals who accuse others of unethical behavior can derive significant benefits. Compared to individuals who do not make accusations, accusers engender greater trust and are perceived to have higher ethical standards. In Study 1, accusations increased trust in the accuser and lowered trust in the target. In Study 2, we find that accusations elevate trust in the accuser by boosting perceptions of the accuser’s ethical standards. In Study 3, we find that accusations boosted both attitudinal and behavioral trust in the accuser, decreased trust in the target, and promoted relationship conflict within the group. In Study 4, we examine the moderating role of moral hypocrisy. Compared to individuals who did not make an accusation, individuals who made an accusation were trusted more if they had acted ethically but not if they had acted unethically. Taken together, we find that accusations have significant interpersonal consequences. In addition to harming accused targets, accusations can substantially benefit accusers.

Can We Foresee the Future? Explaining and Predicting Cultural Change | SPSP

Igor Grossmann, Michael E. W. Varnum in their roles as; editor of the blog of Society for Personality and Social Psychology) Can We Foresee the Future? Explaining and Predicting Cultural Change; In That Certain Blog; 2017-10-17.

tl;dr → Yes.  Betteridge’s Law fails.
ahem → No. Betteridge’s Law holds. Surely no one can know the future, and anyone who says they can is either high or a fool, perhaps both.  One can problematize quibble on the epistemology sense of the word “to know,” if you think you have time for that sort of thing.


Michael E. W. Varnum, Igor Grossmann. (2017). Cultural change: The how and the why. In Perspectives on Psychological Science. DOI:10.1177/1745691617699971


The promotional build running up to the release of that certain sequel (2017) to the movie Blade Runner (1982) which is in turn based on a short novel by Philip K. Dick entitled Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Doubleday 1968) [Answer: No (whereas Androids, after the Ice Cream Sandwich release, are functionally people too, being as they feel pain and love, as eloquently and forcefully testified by Rutger Hauer in a monologue performed so memorably on that dark & rainy night), again, Betteridge's Law holds, c.f. Jimi Wales' Wiki, Jimi Wales' Wiki].


A means & method for producing new predictions, which is better.

  • Uniqueness.
  • Rigorous
    • Theory-Driven [not Theory-Laden].
    • Testable [falsifiable]
  • Empirical.
    • Documentation
      Whereas sociology is either slow journalism [documentation] or activism [promotion] in service to personal ideals.
    • Repeatable
      Replicatability is not claimed.  It’s a best practice for high fidelity journalism.

<quote>What is unique is a rigorous theory-driven attempt to not only document but to test explanations for patterns of societal change empirically </quote>

The enumerated [cultural] changes are features of the ecology [our ecologies].
<quote>This emerging work suggests <snide>asserts</snide> that among the most powerful contributors to cultural changes in areas like individualism, gender equality, and happiness are shifts in essential features of our ecologies.</quote>
This schema was shown in animal behavior; now it is replicated with people [our people].
<quote>The idea that variations in ecological dimensions and cues like scarcity or population density might be linked to behavioral adaptations has been widely explored in animal kingdom, and recently started to gain prominence as a way to explain variations in human behavior.</quote>

  • Ellis, Bianchi, Griskevicius, & Frankenhuis, 2017.
  • Sng, Neuberg, Varnum, & Kenrick, 2017.


  • It’s an “implications” paper:
    <quote>but also has fundamental implications for psychometric assumptions and replicability in psychological science.</quote>
  • <quote>Neither experts nor lay people do much better than chance
    as “proven” in: Tetlock, 2006; Tetlock & Gardner, 2016.</quote>
  • <quote>psychological phenomena unfold within a temporal context,</quote> → <fancier>events occur over spans of time; therefor psychological events occur over spans of time<fancier>,
    the insight is attributed to Kurt Lewin and Lev Vygotsky; unnamed “other theorists.”
  • ngrams, as mentioned in Google Books.
  • cross-lagged statistical models
  • cross-correlation functions
  • tests of Granger causality
  • SES (Socio-Economic Status; i.e. Marx-archetype class.
  • The Misery Index, of [NAME] Okun.
  • ecological framework
  • big data
  • econometric tools
  • insights from machine learning
  • predictive science of cultural change.
  • emerging science of cultural change
  • predictive psychological science (Yarkoni & Westfall, 2017)


  • Ellis, B. J., Bianchi, J., Griskevicius, V., & Frankenhuis, W. E. (2017). Beyond risk and protective factors: An adaptation-based approach to resilience. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(4), 561–587. DOI:10.1177/1745691617693054
  • Flynn, J. R. (1987). Massive IQ gains in 14 nations: What IQ tests really measure. Psychological Bulletin, 101(2), 171 – 191. DOI:10.1037/0033-2909.101.2.171.
  • Greenfield, P. M. (2017). Cultural change over time: Why replicability should not be the gold standard in psychological science. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(5), 762-771. DOI:10.1177/1745691617707314
  • Grossmann, I. & Varnum, M. E. W. (2015). Social structure, infectious diseases, disasters, secularism, and cultural change in America. Psychological Science, 26(3) 311-324. DOI:10.1177/0956797614563765
  • Henrich, J., Heine, S.J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). The weirdest people in the world? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33, 62–135. doi:10.1017/S0140525X0999152X
  • Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G. J., & Minkov, M. (2010). Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind (revised and expanded). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill I
  • liev, R., Hoover, J., Dehghani, M., & Axelrod, R. (2016). Linguistic positivity in historical texts reflects dynamic environmental and psychological factors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A, 113(49), 7871-7879. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1612058113
  • Oishi, S., Kesebir, S., & Diener, E. (2011). Income inequality and happiness. Psychological science, 22(9), 1095-1100. DOI:10.1177/0956797611417262
  • Putnam, R. D. (1995). Bowling alone: America’s declining social capital. Journal of Democracy, 6(1), 65-78.
  • Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: America’s declining social capital. In Culture and politics (pp. 223-234). Palgrave Macmillan US.
  • Santos, H. C., Varnum, M. E. W., Grossmann, I. (2017). Global increases in individualism. Psychological Science. DOI:10.1177/0956797617700622
  • Sng, O., Neuberg, S. L., Varnum, M. E., & Kenrick, D. T. (2017). The crowded life is a slow life: Population density and life history strategy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 112(5), 736 754. DOI:10.1037/pspi0000086
  • Tetlock, P. E. (2006). Expert Political Judgment. How Good Is It? How Can We Know? Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Tetlock, P. E., & Gardner, D. Superforecasting: The art and science of prediction. Broadway Books.
  • Trahan, L. H., Stuebing, K. K., Fletcher, J. M., & Hiscock, M. (2014). The Flynn effect: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 140(5), 1332 – 1360. DOI:10.1037/a0037173
  • Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2001). Age and birth cohort differences in self-esteem: A cross-temporal meta-analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5(4), 321-344. DOI:10.1207/S15327957PSPR0504_3
  • Twenge, J. M., Konrath, S., Foster, J. D., Keith Campbell, W., & Bushman, B. J. (2008). Egos inflating over time: A cross-temporal meta-analysis of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. Journal of Personality, 76(4), 875-902. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-6494.2008.00507.x
  • Varnum, M. E. W. & Grossmann, I. (2017). Cultural change: The how and the why. Perspectives on Psychological Science. DOI:10.1177/1745691617699971
  • Varnum, M. E. W. & Grossmann, I. (2016). Pathogen prevalence is associated with cultural changes in gender equality. Nature Human Behaviour, 1(0006). doi:10.1038/s41562-016-0003
  • Yarkoni, T., & Westfall, J. A. (2017). Choosing prediction over explanation in psychology: lessons from machine learning. Perspectives on Psychological Science. DOI:10.1177/1745691617693393

Separately noted.

Verifying Strong Eventual Consistency in Distributed Systems | Gomes, Kleppmann, Mulligan, Beresford

Victor B. F. Gomes, Martin Kleppmann, Dominic P. Mulligan,, Alastair R. Beresford. Verifying Strong Eventual Consistency in Distributed Systems. In Proceedings of OOPSLA? and also Proceedings of the ACM on Programming Languages (PACMPL), 2017. arXiv”1707.01747

Martin Kleppmann, Alastair R. Beresford. A Conflict-Free Replicated JSON Datatype. In IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems (TPDS), 2017. arXiv:1608.03960


  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • Ruby
  • OCaml
  • Conflict-Free Replicated Data Types (CRDT)
  • Kafka
  • ZooKeeper


The AI Now Report: social/economic implications of near-future AI | Boing Boing

The AI Now Report: social/economic implications of near-future AI; Cory Doctorow; In Boing Boing; 2016-09 (one year ago, back before The Bad Times, back in the Obama Administration, back when The Science was a The Thing)

Original Sources

<unavailable>The AI Now Report; Information Law Institute, New York University (NYU); 2016-07.</unavailable>


  • National Economic Council
  • Symposium at Information Law Institute, New York University (NYU), 2016-07.
  • Artificial Intelligence Now (AI Now)


In Boing Boing

Understanding Emerging Threats to Online Advertising | Budak, Goel, Rao, Zervas

Ceren Budak (Michigan), Sharad Goel (Stanford), Justin Rao (Microsoft), Georgios Zervas (Boston); Understanding Emerging Threats to Online Advertising; Research Paper No. 2505643, School of Management, Boston University; doi:10.1145/2940716.2940787, ssrn:2505643; 265 pages; 2014-10-06 → 2016-06-29.

tl;dr → There is peril to display advertising systems, which are mid-sized linkbaitists and newspapers. Paywalls are indicated.


Two recent disruptions to the online advertising market are the widespread use of ad-blocking software and proposed restrictions on third-party tracking, trends that are driven largely by consumer concerns over privacy. Both primarily impact display advertising (as opposed to search and native social ads), and affect how retailers reach customers and how content producers earn revenue. It is, however, unclear what the consequences of these trends are. We investigate using anonymized web browsing histories of 14 million individuals, focusing on “retail sessions” in which users visit online sites that sell goods and services. We find that only 3% of retail sessions are initiated by display ads, a figure that is robust to permissive attribution rules and consistent across widely varying market segments. We further estimate the full distribution of how retail sessions are initiated, and find that search advertising is three times more important than display advertising to retailers, and search advertising is itself roughly three times less important than organic web search. Moving to content providers, we find that display ads are shown by 12% of websites, accounting for 32% of their page views; this reliance is concentrated in online publishing (e.g., news outlets) where the rate is 91%. While most consumption is either in the long-tail of websites that do not show ads, or sites like Facebook that show native, first-party ads, moderately sized web publishers account for a substantial fraction of consumption, and we argue that they will be most affected by changes in the display advertising market. Finally, we use estimates of ad rates to judge the feasibility of replacing lost ad revenue with a freemium or donation-based model.

Rewriting History: Changing the Archived Web from the Present | Lerner, Kohno, Roesner

Ada Lerner (Wellsley), Tadayoshi Kohno (Washington), Franziska Roesner (Washington); Rewriting History: Changing the Archived Web from the Present;; In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS). Dallas, Texas, USA, 2017-10-30→2017-11-03; 18 pages.

tl;dr → Web “content” is now an executable program, assembled only in the client. The JavaScript HTML5 people are very proud of this. Programs create dynamic URLs.  e.g. advertising.  Mashups are not preservable, as such.


The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine is the largest modern web archive, preserving web content since 1996. We discover and analyze several vulnerabilities in how the Wayback Machine archives data, and then leverage these vulnerabilities to create what are to our knowledge the first attacks against a user’s view of the archived web. Our vulnerabilities are enabled by the unique interaction between the Wayback Machine’s archives, other websites, and a user’s browser, and attackers do not need to compromise the archives in order to compromise users’ views of a stored page. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our attacks through proof-of-concept implementations. Then, we conduct a measurement study to quantify the prevalence of vulnerabilities in the archive. Finally, we explore defenses which might be deployed by archives, website publishers, and the users of archives, and present the prototype of a defense for clients of the Wayback Machine, ArchiveWatcher.

Two Narratives of Platform Capitalism | Frank Pasquale

Frank Pasquale (2017) “Two Narratives of Platform Capitalism,” Yale Law & Policy Review: Vol. 35 : Iss. 1 , Article 11; landing, landing.
Frank Pasquale, is a Professor of Law, University of Maryland.

tl;dr → Economists, as a self-conscious class, are storytellers in service to the governing class; their stories are wrong. The Rent-Seeking Behavior obtains. Michel Foucault is invoked. Diagnosis & Nostrum. The Salubious Result obtains. Q.E.D.
and → gig work is sucky work undignified; guaranteed employment is better.


  1. [Conventional] Narrative: Market is good.
  2. [Herein] Counternarrative: Gig-market is bad


Mainstream economists tend to pride themselves on the discipline’s resemblance to science. But growing concerns about the reproducibility of economic research are undermining that source of legitimacy. These concerns have fueled renewed interest in another aspect of economic thought: its narrative nature. When presenting or framing their work, neoliberal economists tend to tell stories about supply and demand, unintended consequences, and transaction costs in order to justify certain policy positions. These stories often make sense, and warn policymakers against simplistic solutionism.


  • narrative == story.
    story == parable.
  • The bible is full of parables
    Footnote  34 cites Ecclesiastes 9:11 to remind about the nature of chance (serendipity, luck): To wit:
    <quote ref=”KJV“>I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.</quote>
  • <quote>These stories often make sense, and warn policymakers against simplistic solutionism.</quote>

Platforms increase discrimination by identifying customers with picture-based profiles which reveal their race or racially-identified names. Ranking and rating systems can also reinforce bias.

Conventional Narrative Counternarrative
Platforms promote fairer labor markets by enabling lower-cost entry into these markets by service providers. Platforms entrench existing inequalities and promote precarity by reducing the bargaining power of workers and the stability of employment.
Platforms reduce the impact of discrimination by increasing the number of service providers in transportation, housing, and other markets. Platforms increase discrimination by identifying customers with picture- based profiles which reveal their race or racially-identified names. Ranking and rating systems can also [always & everywhere] reinforce bias.
Regulators of platforms are likely to [always & everywhere] reflect the biases and interests of incumbent providers (like taxis and hotels) thanks to incumbents’ political ties. Large platforms now command so many resources that their own lobbying efforts can easily swamp those of fragmented and uncoordinated incumbents.
Large digital platforms have gained massive market share because of the quality of their service. Large digital platforms have gained massive market share because of luck, first-mover advantage, network effects, lobbying, strategic lawlessness, and the unusually low cost of investment capital due to quantitative easing.
Platforms promote economic growth by drawing the un- and under-employed into the labor market. Platforms undermine growth by reducing wages as workers scramble for gigs by offering to complete them for lower wages than their competitors.
Platforms promote flexibility by breaking down jobs into tasks, enabling workers to piece together work at their own pace. Low-pay gigs and piecework force workers to be “ready for duty” constantly lest they miss an opportunity to work.
Using data-driven profiles of users, platforms can preemptively channel them to the workers they are most compatible with. Users may experience loss of agency when serendipitous or unpredictable options are effectively hidden or obscured


There are 39 references, appearing as footnotes in the legalistic style.


The Suitcase Words
  • economists,
    mainstream economists
  • themselves,
    pride themselves,
    pride themselves on the <snip/> resemblance <snip/>,
    pride themselves on the discipline’s resemblance to science.
  • reproducibility
    the reproducibility,
    the reproducibility of economic research
  • undermining
  • source of legitimacy.
  • narrative,[
    the] narrative nature
  • economists,
    neoliberal economists
  • supply,
    supply and demand
  • unintended consequences
  • transaction costs
  • positions,
    policy positions.
  • solutionism,
    simplistic solutionism.

and more in the main corpus.