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Thursday, Jul 31, 2014
So it turns out that Facebook has been emotionally manipulating users as part of a scientific experiment. And it's partly our fault.
Above: Suspecting emoticon from Shutterstock.com.


At the end of June, several news outlets ran the story that Facebook, the social networking giant which now commands about $2.91 billion in profits, ran a bizarre—and probably unethical—experiment on hundreds of thousands of its users back in 2012. According to reports, the company manipulated the newsfeed of 689,003 users with a view to provoking shifts in psychological and emotional dispositions.


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Thursday, Jul 31, 2014
Check out the latest music video from folk troubadour Mary Gauthier, the tender "Oh Soul".

Americana troubadour Mary Gauthier has released a new video from her recently released album, Trouble & Love. The song, “Oh Soul”, is wonderfully complemented by photographs from the reputed photographer Jack Spencer, which are hung on string as Gauthier plays a heartfelt lamentation on her guitar.


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Thursday, Jul 31, 2014
In her latest video, Katie Herzig shows those true humor-soaked colors whilst sporting her true school colors.

Despite the fact that her music is filled with deeply contemplative themes, Katie Herzig has a sneakily humorous side, as well. One view of her “Hey Na Na” video proves that, flat out. But, if further evidence is needed, her latest video for “Drug” should dispel any remaining doubts.


In it, Herzig shows those true humor-soaked colors whilst sporting her true school colors. The piece takes place in a high school gymnasium during a PE class. The “students” are played by Herzig, her bandmates, a few friends, and a handful of dancers. Herzig explains that she had the initial concept and director Joel Kling helped her flesh it out: “It really just started with the idea that I wanted to do a video with my whole band because I’ve only done them with just me or maybe one other person in it. I think the idea of my drummer Billy [Brimblecom] being a PE teacher teaching us ‘students’ how to dance was the first idea. It helped knowing I had a band of very talented and hilarious people.”


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Thursday, Jul 31, 2014
Some players think it’s the worst yet. Lead designer Nick Davidson thinks quite the opposite. In a strange way, they are both right.

In a recent interview with Polygon, Magic 2015’s lead designer Nick Davidson called the latest entry in the Duels of the Planeswalkers franchise, “the best Magic experience that you’re going to get at that price point pretty much in history.” Hundreds of fans on Steam, Metacritic, and a variety of forums might have something to say about that grandiose statement. Since its launch earlier this month, the game has received a heavy dose of criticism. Some players think it’s the worst yet. Davidson thinks quite the opposite. In a strange way, they are both right.


Let’s take a step back. For those unfamiliar with Magic the Gathering, it is a tabletop card game that has stayed alive for more than twenty years. Even today, the game has a massive audience, young and old alike, thanks in no small part to a fantastically designed system that has withstood the test of time. This beautiful system, the artful construction of decks and ingenious play, is still the glistening diamond at the head of Magic 2015. Despite its transition into the digital space, when you put your deck together, planning and imagining all the card combinations and synergies together and then take it for a glorious spin, you can see it. This is, hands down, a great game.


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Thursday, Jul 31, 2014
King and Country finds Joseph Losey examining the human soul with his signature dispassionate curiosity.

Joseph Losey never saw a cornice, plinth, or pediment he didn’t like. This most architectural of directors opens King and Country with a slow, caressing shot that runs over two minutes long, moving around the details of a war memorial from arch to statuary to frieze. We hear only traffic, and then we cut to newsreel footage of an explosion with a boom. Surely, only Losey would open a movie this way.


Then we get to the credits, scored by Larry Adler’s lonely harmonica as the close-up camera roves over mud, boots, and duckboards of the trenches of WWI. The explosion repeats again, followed photos from the Imperial War Museum, then capped off by a transition of one startling skull-headed soldier’s corpse to the head of Tom Courtenay, lying down (already dead without knowing it) and supposedly playing that harmonica we’ve been hearing. We also hear a few lines from A.E. Housman. In this way, the film announces itself as serious art.


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