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Ear to the Ground

Pierre Omidyar: ‘The New Face of an Old Imperial Tradition’

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Posted on Jun 3, 2014

The eBay and First Look Media founder is a walking contradiction when it comes to his “progressive anti-state image” and his actions to further the “global neoliberal agenda”; Facebook may wield control over votes in elections; meanwhile, more than half of congressional members are millionaires and have no idea what it’s like to be poor. These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

eBay Shrugged: Pierre Omidyar Believes There Should Be No Philanthropy without Profit
“I had a long debate with Pierre,” [Nobel Peace Prize winner] Yunus told me, referring to Omidyar. “He says people should make money. I said, Let them make money—but why do you want to make money off the poor people?”

Solar Energy Represents 74% of All New U.S. Electricity Generation in 1st Quarter of 2014
Kiley Kroh of Think Progress writes U.S. Residential Solar Just Beat Commercial Installations For The First Time, with solar energy accounting for 74% of all new electricity generation in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014.

FCC May Redefine What It Means to Have ‘Broadband’ Internet
The Federal Communications Commission is all up in your interwebs lately.

In Their Silence, Israeli Academics Collude With Occupation
In 2006, I was among 25 professors from five Israeli universities who filed a petition with the High Court of Justice in Israel requesting that the court put a stop to the transformation of a small college, located in the occupied West Bank, into a university.

Facebook Could Decide an Election Without Anyone Ever Finding Out
In November 2, 2010, Facebook’s American users were subject to an ambitious experiment in civic-engineering: Could a social network get otherwise-indolent people to cast a ballot in that day’s congressional midterm elections?

Bilderberg Group at 60: Still Keeping the Things that Matter Private
Photographers play an important part in bringing the faces of the powerful at the Copenhagen conference to a wider world.

U.S. Residential Solar Beat Commercial Installations
The first quarter of 2014 was another big one for the U.S. solar industry, with 74 percent of all new electricity generation across the country coming from solar power.

The Science of Inequality: The Ancient Roots of the 1%
Don’t blame farming. Inequality got its start among resource-rich hunter-gatherers.

NSA Collecting Millions Of Faces From Web Images
The National Security Agency is harvesting huge numbers of images of people from communications that it intercepts through its global surveillance operations for use in sophisticated facial recognition programs, according to top-secret documents.

How Advanced Socialbots Have Infiltrated Twitter
Automated bots can not only evade detection but also gather followers and become influential among various social groups, say computer scientists who have let their bots loose on Twitter.

Automated System Lets Trucks Convoy as One
A recent demonstration involving two trucks tethered by computer control shows how automation and vehicle-to-vehicle communication are creeping onto the roads.

Symbolic Slap at Social Sciences
The U.S. House of Representatives early Friday morning approved an increase in overall funding for research at the National Science Foundation but also endorsed an effort to pare social science studies that the agency funds.

American Chestnut Set for Genetically Modified Revival
The near-extinct American chestnut looks set to make a comeback.

Why It Matters That Politicians Have No Experience of Poverty
For the first time, more than half of the members of Congress are millionaires. Maybe the country would be better off if they had some first-hand encounters with need.

Two-Thirds Of Californians Lose On Fracking, Corrupt Dems Sell Out
A California bill that would have banned fracking while the state studied its risks was narrowly defeated in the state Senate, despite polling that showed a majority of California voters favored the legislation.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication.

A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

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