Whistleblowers have been getting a fair bit of attention in the new recently. Edward Snowden’s memoir Permanent Record hit stores earlier in September. The currently unidentified whistleblower who broke the story about Donald Trump’s connections with the Ukrainian government sparked an impeachment inquiry against the President. And now, Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower who broke the story about Cambridge Analytica has written his own memoir about the scandal that is slated to release Oct. 8.
image via random house
You might remember Cambridge Analytica as the data-mining firm that found itself at the center of a political scandal in early 2018. Wylie revealed CA had harvested tons of Facebook users’ personal information without their knowledge or consent for use in political campaigns.
In particular, Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz were discovered to be working directly with Cambridge Analytica. It was a watershed moment in how the public thinks about the personal data they post online, and Facebook’s reputation has never quite recovered. In the documents Wylie supplied to reporters, Cambridge Analytica was even implicated in influencing the Brexit referendum.
image via getty images
Now, Christopher Wylie is publishing a book through Random House that tells the story of how he came to break the story. Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America is scheduled to release on October 8th, and Random House has described it as “both exposé and dire warning” about the potential to manipulate people with online data.
We all get sucked into the cycle of checking our phone every ten minutes just to see that we have no notifications. But, alas, this leads to us checking Instagram for the fiftieth time to see the same old posts that we purposely didn’t like in the first place. For busy book lovers who struggle with short attention spans, the thought “I should be reading right now” comes into our heads at least a few times a day. Now, an app can tell us just how successful we’d be if if we just listened to those impulses.
The Omni Calculator was created by sociologist Mateusz Mucha who wanted to offer easy solutions to everyday problems, 841 of them to be exact. The app can help you calculate how your plastic bag ecological footprint, the projectile motion of throwing a grape into your mouth or just how much free time you would have if you stopped excessively scrolling through social media.
The calculator is called “Social Media Time Alternatives” and allows you to input how many times an hour you check social media and how long these visits last. It then compares this number to an average book length of 240 pages with 250 words on each page read at 200 words per minute. You can adjust the length of the books or your reading speed to betting fit your reading habits. It then tells you just how many books you could be reading a year. For example, if you check social media for seven minutes every hour, that time could be spent reading 136 books every year.
Omni also measures this wasted time in other ways, such as binging Friends yet again or listening to “Despacito” or learning a new skill, like playing guitar. Whatever your vice, Omni acts as a reminder that every time you open Twitter, another one of the book piled on your desk could be fulfilling its dream of finally being opened and read fully.
Whether you download the app and use it daily or simply learning about the app and the excessive amount of time wasted everyday makes you want to put a few pages in on the novel that has been sitting on your nightstand for a month now, hopefully Omni can help all us book loving procrastinators to finally finish our Good Reads reading challenge for once.
Featured Image via Friends of the Fayette County Public Library
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It’s a pretty typical belief that technology stands in the way of our collective ability to read a book or maintain a five-minute attention span (insert edgy comic art of headphones strangling teens here). In fact, technology has lead to groundbreaking developments in publishing. Here’s another one—the world’s top bestselling author, James Patterson, has released a jaw-dropping thriller for Facebook Messenger months ahead of its print release.
Image Via Theverge.com
James Patterson’s latest, The Chef, is an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride following a respected officer fighting serious criminal allegations. Set amidst the revelry and decadence of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras festival, this crime novel will give you cause to celebrate (only after you’re done biting your nails and/or staying up until four in the morning to finish). Patterson writes: Police detective by day, celebrity food truck chef by night, now Caleb Rooney has a new title: Most Wanted. Users can find The Chefby searching for it in the app—but that’s not the only exciting new development. Patterson’s interactive story goes far beyond words on a screen.
Image Via Techcrunch.com
Using the Internet’s potential to its full extent, Patterson has included sound clips and videos that connect with the story. This multimedia content will help readers to envision the novel’s thrilling locations and feel closer to its protagonists. There are also Instagram accounts for the major characters—all to enhance the feeling that these characters (and the dangers they face) are real and immediate. Best of all, the online release comes three months before the print version! Physical copies of The Chefwill be available in February. There will also be Live Q&A with Patterson during which he will answer all your questions—unless your question is how does it end!? For that, you’ll have to keep reading and scrolling!
Gif Via Tenor.com
Patterson, the world’s wealthiest author and recipient of the only ever nine-figure book deal, has made previous forays into the new frontier of electronic publishing—in fact, he broke yet another all-time record by becoming the first author to publish one million ebooks. Journeying into experimental publishing territory may be one thing that Patterson is not the first or only author to do. Recently, HarperCollins released the first ever Snapchat adaptation of a novel using source material from Suzy Cox‘s The Dead Girls Detective Agency. Still, it’s likely that Patterson’s multimedia breakthrough will be unprecedented in its success (unless, of course, it’s precedented only by him).
Kathryn Butler Mills, a teacher from Columbus, Texas, was heartbroken at the sight of children sequestered away in bathrooms, pantries, and staircases while tornado warnings were in effect. “A reporter on our local news station said for all of us to remember that even when kids are putting on an brave face, they might still be scared on the inside,” she said.
Image Courtesy of USA Today
In order to bring them a much needed distraction, Mills created the public Facebook group “Hurricane Harvey Book Club” Sunday afternoon. As of Tuesday, the group is 1,600 members and growing.
From their homes or temporary shelters, volunteer readers of all ages set up a camera, crack open a book, and read. Picture books appear to be the most popular genre as of late.