Sunday, March 6, 2011

Google, can you make us an Objective News feed?

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 I once believed that everything is on the internet.  That might be true, but I'd never know it.  Search today has some major drawbacks, such as normally you can only find the popular results to any search query.  Sometimes however you want the unpopular ones.

I've also found that when I have an idea that I might want to share, I'm at a loss as to where to share it.  If I had some great research idea for a doctorate... where would I post such a thing?  If I had a great idea for a book, which collection of authors looking for book ideas could I send it to?

The social net allows famous people to give this sparks of an idea to the world, and sometimes a person will act on it.. but what about not so famous people with interesting questions and ideas? I have no clue.

Anyway, this brings me to the point of my post.  I want an automated "objective" news feed.  I want the top news stories of the day to be filtered through an "adjective filter" giving ratings to the news stories that use the least amount of adjectives and or adverbs.  Now obviously I don't really mean adjectives, as language is much more complex than that.  However, I am sure that there are linguists out there who know how to tell if a word is an opinion making adjective, or is an actual fact.

Take these two sentences for example:

(second sentence from the first article I clicked on from a news website)
"The fighting in Zawiyah, 30 miles west of the capital, Tripoli, was some of the most savage so far of the two-week uprising that has seen the east of the country fall into rebel hands and the veteran autocrat's rule pushed to the brink of collapse."

(What I'd rather see the sentence say.)
"The fighting in Zawiyah, 30 miles west of the capital, Tripoli, has increased in the past two-weeks since  the the east of the country is no longer under the authority of Khadafi." 
(please ignore the fact that I'm not very good at writing.)

If I had the choice of reading two different articles, I'd rather read the article with the second sentence.  Especially since the first article gives me no clue as to who the rebels are, yet they clearly want me to cheer for one side and get joy in the downfall of the other.  
I'd like to make my own decisions of who is the team to cheer for, thank you very much., and I think other people would as well.

If we could get a news feed that brings the articles with less agenda to the to the top of the list, perhaps we can get better news, and even in the long run get better written articles.  But I have no idea who to suggest this to, and even worse, I have no idea how to go about doing it myself.

edit: Thanks to one of my friends on facebook, I learned that these are currently fields of research. Yay! And I was able to find this lovely pdf... now how to turn that into a news feed?

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