This week, I have pieces on Internet advertising, TMZ, and Pikachu. Let’s face it: you can never get enough Pikachu.

  • At his Observatory blog, Ken Segall writes about how Internet advertising has become increasingly obtrusive. He thinks that YouTube’s pre-roll ads and overlay ads are among the worst offenders. I agree, and I think that obtrusive advertising has ruined it for the “good guys.” It’s why I follow a whitelisting approach to ad blocking rather than a blacklisting one.
  • Jenny Lawson, a.k.a. the Bloggess, has a humourous piece about the folly of the new “Women Against Feminism” movement. I’m not comfortable with its blithe dismissal of mainstream feminism’s failure to address intersectional issues, but it’s worth a read nonetheless.
  • BuzzFeed continues to have surprisingly good long-form investigative pieces. This one about gossip site TMZ’s history by Anne Helen Petersen is well worth your time.
  • Julian Rosen of the LA Times reports on some new psychological research coming out of Israel: showing people version extreme versions of their strongly-held beliefs can get them to adopt softer stances. The beliefs researched in this particular study pertained to the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. If there’s hope on that front, then what can’t we accomplish? By the way, I also consider this research to be support for the value of satire. Yay!
  • Finally, writing for KQED, Luba Vangelova talks about an experimental program in high schools where students self-design a course of study. Students who went through the program are reportedly better at formulating questions and managing their time. It’s an interesting program, and I’d love to see it get a wider rollout so that we can really evaluate its effects.

Alright, I’m out of here. Have fun staring at weird Pikachu photos.