Peter Shulman, an associate history professor at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, was lecturing on the reemergence of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s when a student asked an odd question: Was President Warren Harding a member of the KKK? He confessed that he was not aware of that allegation, but that Harding had been in favor of anti-lynching legislation, so it seemed unlikely. But then a second student pulled out his phone and announced that yes, Harding had been a Klan member, and so had four other presidents. For most of its history, Google did not answer questions. Users typed in what they were looking for and got a list of web pages that might contain the desired information.
Aggregators rely on votes, and links to select and present subsets of the large quantity of news and opinion items generated each day. Opinion and topic diversity in the output sets can provide individual and societal benefits, but simply selecting the most popular items may not yield as much diversity as is present in the overall pool of votes and links. In this paper, we define three diversity metrics that address different dimensions of diversity: inclusion, non-alienation, and proportional representation. We then present the Sidelines algorithm – which temporarily suppresses a voter’s preferences after a preferred item has been selected – as one approach to increase the diversity of result sets. In comparison to collections of the most popular items, from user votes on Digg.com and links from a panel of political blogs, the Sidelines algorithm increased inclusion while decreasing alienation. For the blog links, a set with known political preferences, we also found that Sidelines improved proportional representation. In an online experiment using blog link data as votes, readers were more likely to find something challenging to their views in the Sidelines result sets. These findings can help build news and opinion aggregators that present users with a broader range of topics and opinions.
Expect financial markets to face headwinds today after the Federal Reserve reported Friday that U.S. industrial production fell more than expected in March. This is the latest sign that economic growth slowed significantly in the first quarter. On the plus side, though, many economists still forecast a rebound in growth as the year plods ahead. Don't complain -- you got three extra days this year. The normal deadline, April 15, was a holiday -- Emancipation Day -- in the District of Columbia (Emancipation Day is actually April 16, but because that fell on a Saturday, the holiday was observed Friday).
Members of the House Judiciary Committee peppered the head of Google about potential bias against conservatives and Russian influence and misinformation; Gillian Turner reports. Google has been forced to shut down and "effectively end" its controversial China search engine project, code-named Project Dragonfly, after members of the company's privacy team raised complaints, according to a new report. The tech giant led by CEO Sundar Pichai was forced to close a data analysis system it was using for the controversial project, according to The Intercept, citing two sources familiar with the matter. The news outlet originally broke the news that Google had been considering launching the app-based search engine. Google has not yet responded to a request for comment from Fox News.