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Truthy project explores influence of social media

The Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research (CNetS) on the IU campus is at the cutting edge of researching how information spreads on social media such as Twitter.  Researchers want to understand how social media influences behavior in areas such as politics, advertising, social revolutions, and how it can be manipulated and abused.  The project goes by the name of Truthy.

Ironically, Truthy itself is now the target of media attempts to spread disinformation.  In September an article in the Columbia Journalism Review detailed the spread of attacks against Truthy on conservative media.  Several television hosts and commentators on the Fox News Channel compared the project to the McCarthy era and Orwell’s 1984.  On Monday the Indianapolis Star reported that the Lamar Smith GOP chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee is investigating how IU’s project, which has funding from the National Science Foundation, was able to secure federal funds.  Last week an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Ajit Pai implied that the purpose of Truthy was to suppress and limit free speech.  It seems that Truthy-bashing has gone viral. But a blog posted by Henry Farrell of the Washington Post on October 22, presented a more balanced view of the project and included an interview with Filippo Menczer and Alessandro Flammini, principle investigators. When asked about why or how the attacks began, Menczer and Flammini preferred not to speculate about the motives, but did add that since the project started several years ago, there has been widespread positive coverage in the national and international press.

A blog titled ‘The Truth About Truthy’ on the CNetS website says “an important goal of the Truthy project is to better understand how social media can be abused.”

New Director at the Kinsey Institute

IU announced today that Dr. Sue Carter will become director of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University beginning November 1st. A distinguished scientist, Carter is known internationally for her research in the field of behavioral neuroendocrinology (neuro-end-oh-crih-nology). Her work advanced understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying love and emotion in human relationships. Currently Carter researches the effects of drugs taken by mothers during childbirth on the infant’s development.  According to the today’s press release, Carter plans to continue that research at the Kinsey Institute. Carter will also focus on development of the Kinsey Institute Resource Center. The center will offer access to information on the biology of human relationships to the greater Bloomington community. Carter will be the 7th director of the Kinsey Institute since its founding in 1947.

Extended BMV hours for voter IDs

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles will have extended hours on Monday and Tuesday for voters needing photo ids.   According to a press release from the DMV, all branches will be open Monday, November 3rd, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Tuesday, November 4th, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.   The Indiana BMV provides free, state-issued ID cards for voting purposes to any unlicensed Hoosier who has the proper documentation and is old enough to vote.  A list of what documentation is required is posted on the website mybmv.com.  Normal hours will resume on Wednesday, November 5th.

Daily Local News (每日地方新闻) October 29,2014 – polar vortex phenomenon (极地涡流现象)


Local residents, along with everyone east of the Rocky Mountains, have been shivering under sub-zero temperatures for the last couple of days. – 当地居民,以及落基山脉以东居民,在过去的几天一直在零度以下的温度.

Daily Local News (每日地方新闻) October 29,2014 – IU Media School (IU媒体学院)


October 17 Indiana University will inaugurate its newest school on the Bloomington campus. the Media School–10月17日, 美国印第安纳大学揭幕在布鲁明顿校区其最新学校-媒体学院

Ins and Outs of Money – Knowing How to Pay Yourself


Think about all of the people you pay regularly – did you remember to think of yourself? The trick to paying yourself is putting money aside before you ever know it’s there.

Interchange – Education: The Local Up Against the Global


Host Doug Storm offers selections from two previous shows on the state of public education in Indiana and the nation.

Part I

The program begins with the first half of our October 1, 2013 program, “The State of Education in Indiana.

Our guests for the October 1, 2013 program were Vic Smith, Board President of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education; Phil Harris, the Executive Director of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology; and Gary Crow, a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

Our topics included the coercive economics of educational products corporations like Pearson Education, the funding of charter schools by foundations like the Lilly Endowment which have tremendous reach by placing employees in government to influence public policy, and the role the school used to play, ought to play, but no longer does, in developing a democratic citizen. Listen closely as the guests focus on how educating for democracy ought to be “non-partisan.”

Part II

This segment excerpts our June 24, 2014 program, “Subverting Democracy Through Education Reform.” We invited nationally known blogger and Purdue PhD student Freddie DeBoer to join us. DeBoer is writing a dissertation on the Collegiate Learning Assessment ( or CLA) and its successor, the CLA+, which was developed by the Council for Aid to Education

In that show we looked at issues in the politics and economics of our education system with a fair amount of focus on Bill Gates who seems to be the shadow secretary of the department of education (and a big shadow at that). We also discussed the manufacturing of the CRISIS Narrative to sell the desperate need for educational reform to “keep pace” with the world’s labor markets.

Our break music tonight was from Hoosier School Heist author Doug Martin’s song, “When I-Step Was a Famous Dance.

Of related interest:

Interchange – Doug Martin: Muckraking Education Politics


Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Social Media Coordinator: Carissa Barrett
Executive Producer: Alycin Bektesh

Daily Local News – October 28, 2014


A public open house will be held by the group “I-69 Development Partners” to allow the public to address the planned construction on I-69 Section 5 between Bloomington and Martinsville; A recent study from Indiana University associate
professors of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Ashlyn Nelson and Beth Gazley, found that the number public school-supporting charities rose dramatically from 1995 to 2010, as did the impact of their fundraising efforts; According to a press release from a private literary foundation, two authors with Indiana origins have won Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Awards; Indiana University is investing $7 million in a new Complexity Institute; After months of discussion, Ellettsville won’t be combining its streets and utilities departments.

The Republican Party caucus in the state assembly has released its legislative agenda for the upcoming 2015 session. The statement lists what the GOP describes as four major issue categories that it wants to address: budget, education, ethics, and public safety. The Daily Local News asked Peggy Mayfield, Republican house member for District 60 – Martinsville, which includes part of Bloomington and Monroe County, to talk about these issues and others. With regard to the budget, the party aims for a balanced budget with no increase in taxes or borrowing. However, recently, revenues have fallen below earlier expectations. We asked Representative Mayfield how her colleagues plan to deal with this potential shortfall.

Anchors: Casey Kuhn, Chris Martin
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy, Anson Shupe and Cathi Norton
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access
Television Services.
Our feature correspondent is David Murphy
The Ins and Outs of Money is produced by Ryan Stacey and Dan Withered, in partnership with the Monroe County Public Library and The United Way of Monroe County.
Our engineer today is Anna Legge
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Managing Producer is Joe Crawford
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Republican Caucus Releases GOP Focus Of Upcoming Legislative Session


The Republican Party caucus in the state assembly has released its legislative agenda for the upcoming 2015 session. The statement lists what the GOP describes as four major issue categories that it wants to address: budget, education, ethics, and public safety. With regard to the budget, the party aims for a balanced budget with no increase in taxes or borrowing. However, recently, revenues have fallen below earlier expectations.

Rep. Mayfield explains how her colleagues plan to deal with this potential shortfall.

“We want to maintain the surplus and reserve because those revenues could come in shy of expectations,” Mayfield says. “And that has happened before, especially during the recession.”

For education, the caucus promises to increase funding and fix the funding formula.

Rep. Mayfield said that specific expenditure requests would have to await final state income receipt figures. Under Indiana’s public school funding formula, lower income districts receive more than higher income districts in order to pay for special services such as subsidized meals and supplemental teaching.

“There’s a huge disparity in the formula,” Mayfield says. “Carmel receives the lowest funding while East Chicago receives the highest. Prior to last year the disparity was even greater and they’re closing the gap. I think what we need to look at is the foundation of that forumula.”

The most recent ethics scandal was around Republican Representative Eric Turner’s behind-the-scenes-effort to kill a bill which may have negatively affected his family’s private business interests. He was exonerated of any wrongdoing by his colleagues.

Since then, numerous other examples of Republican legislators with obvious conflicts of interest not recusing themselves from debates have come light.

“This week we will be meeting with national ethics experts on best practices,” Mayfield says. “I think this will be good in continuing the public confidence in our elected leaders. It also helps elected officials understand a more clearer definition of the line you cannot cross.”

The focus of the Republican’s public safety agenda is domestic violence. No mention is made of changes in the law around this issue, rather the GOP promises to invest funds in and work with the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

“I think by focusing efforts on current programs and not trying to put new, state-level programs in place we can help more people,” Mayfield says.

The republican caucus agenda did not directly address Indiana’s economic issues such growing income polarization, wage stagnation among workers, and rising youth poverty levels.

The environmental protection agency has tasked states with reducing their reliance on coal burning, citing it’s direct impact on global warming. Indiana’s primary electricity source is coal, and jobs related to coal use are the main industry in certain parts of the state.

“80 percent of our electricity comes from coal and that’s not an insignificant figure,” Mayfield says.

A major issue during the 2014 legislative session was marriage equality in Indiana. This fall the Supreme Court declined to reexamine the issue, letting stand lower court rulings in several states, including Indiana, thereby legalizing same-sex marriage.

Shortly after taking office in 2013, Representative Mayfield stated that she would remain open on the issue of same-sex marriage until either voters or the court made a final decision. Representative Mayfield won her seat two years ago, switching the long time district seat from democrat to republican after redistricting in 2011. Her democratic challenger for the November 4th election is Daymon Brodhacker.

Daily Local News – October 27, 2014


The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission released an energy efficiency report this month that conflict with moves by the Indiana legislature earlier this year; Indiana University is going forward with the construction of a new fraternity house for the university’s chapter of Phi Gamma Delta, known as FIJI; Fewer Monroe County voters than usual have cast ballots so far in this year’s midterm election; The rules for Bloomington streets are up for review; Hoosier Hysteria, Indiana University’s kickoff for their basketball season, was not only an event for school spirit; This Saturday, the Hoosier Hills Food Bank’s (HHFB) fourth “Annual Canstruction” event concludes at the College Mall just in time for “Mall-o-ween”—the Mall’s annual trick-or treat event from 6-8 p.m.

The Indiana State NAACP State Convention Conference was held in Bloomington this weekend, and included workshops on health, veterans affairs, environmental climate and justice and an awards banquet. The keynote speaker of the conference was Cornell William Brooks, the president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. WFHB Correspondent William Hosea spoke with Brooks about racial tensions in America and, in light of next week’s election, voter suppression, for today’s community report.

Our weekly segment spotlighting people working for positive change in our community.

Anchors: Maria McKinley, Doug Storm
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy and Sophia Saliby
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Alycin Bektesh with correspondent William Hosea
Activate! is produced by Jennifer Whitaker,
Our engineer is Chris Martin,
Managing Producer is Joe Crawford
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

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