Stories for Jul. 1, 2014

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Facebook’s study of how content manipulation can affect users’ moods has stirred up an ethical hornet’s nest, but there’s a bigger question beyond whether the study should have happened. Now that we know it’s possible, what’s to stop more ambitious attempts to manipulate consumers? Read more »

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In Brief

Vine has become a popular medium for users to share six-second videos, but until now there hasn’t been a way to know how popular individual Vines are. On Tuesday, the company introduced “loop counts,” which are available now in the Vine update for iOS and Android. Loop counts are exactly that — a number in the corner of a Vine that shows how many times a video has been “looped” — or played end-to-end and restarted — since April 3. The update, which includes a redesign, also offers richer analytics for Vines, including milestones like reaching 100 “likes.”

In Brief

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The web-based integration service If This Then That, which is trying to tie your physical connected devices to your digital services (and everything to each other), now supports the Nest thermostat. Or rather the Nest thermostat, which is the subject of a new open developer program, now supports IFTTT. So now readers could geo-fence their Nest to their phones, change their temps based on incoming emails (your ex sends an email the temp drops 30 degrees!) or whatever other recipes you’d like. Yes, all this will likely be available via the Nest developer program, but IFTTT is a way to bring in devices that may not yet be supported.

The Switzerland-based startup, established by MIT, Harvard and CERN researchers, couldn’t access money that crowdfunding backers have given it, because PayPal had frozen its account. A PayPal rep apparently asked if ProtonMail had asked the government for permission to offer encryption. Read more »

Stories for Jun. 30, 2014

The Associated Press says it will use algorithm-generated content from Automated Insights to produce earnings reports, which has some professional journalists nervous about robots taking their jobs — but in reality such drudgery is better off being done by algorithms than by human beings Read more »

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