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Second Life is the newest front in America’s electoral ugliness

There is officially nowhere you can go to hide from the interminable agony that is this election, especially online. To wit: Cory Doctorow, by way of Motherboard, reports that tensions between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump loyalists have boiled over on Second Life (2003). More to the point, Trump supporters have attacked Sanders HQ, which is apparently a not-that-socialist roman fort. “Peace was shattered,” Doctorow writes, “when Second Life‘s Donald Trump supporters laid siege to the building, firing virtual guns whose rounds exploded into swastika flags at Sanders central.” the toxic discourse around the edges of this campaign cannot be avoided…

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How Twitter bots could sway the outcome of the presidential election

n the midst of the most unprecedented election season in recent history, questioning the political power of technology is now more important than ever. Over on Wired, Samuel Wooley and Phil Howard investigated how social platform’s could be changing the course of history with propaganda bots. Elsewhere, Twitter was recently accused of purposefully pulling a trending hashtag that critiqued presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Facebook is being investigated for political bias in its trending topics. People now see that these are not just platforms, but curated and published media. And, like all published media, they come with a bias, be it…

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Even presidential campaigning is available in sweet, sweet VR

Don’t look now but Ted Cruz won the Republican vote in the Iowa caucus. (At the time of writing, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were on track to split Iowa’s Democratic delegates.) Or maybe you want to look. I don’t know you or your political views. At the very least it seems safe to bet that at some point during this interminable campaign, which is still very far from over, you have wanted to turn away from a candidate. Just for a second, for your sanity. Thanks to the magic of virtual reality, you can now turn your back on…

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Here is the old Bernie Sanders videogame that we aren’t ready to forget

Melancholia is meant to be seen on the largest screen possible. Reruns of Law and Order SVU are meant to be seen on your laptop. Puppy gifs are meant to be seen on your phone. (OK, that’s a lie. Puppy gifs are meant to be seen anywhere and everywhere.) From each according to its content, to each according to its screen.  a sentient dad joke who can play his part in memes  The optimal context for Bernie Sanders’ content is the Internet Archive’s “Way Back Machine,” a digital place in which everything takes on the quality of recent history. By virtue…

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Forget Donald. The Contender stages your own, better presidential debate

The Contender is a tabletop game that combines the rhetoric of political campaigns and the mechanics of Cards Against Humanity, all of which raises a thorny interpretive question: Would tonight’s second Republican presidential debate be improved if it were replaced by a televised game of The Contender? To answer this question, let us consider the rules of each debate. CNN’s primetime debate and the straggler’s undercard that precede it surely have rules, which probably involve speaking times and not interrupting others. If history is any indicator, those rules will probably be ignored by at least one of the candidates, and…