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Terrific FiveThirtyEight

fivethirtyeight.com

 

Originally launched as a blog that used deep data to analyze U.S. politics, Nate Silver's fascinating stories quickly caught the eye of the New York Times, which started to license his content in 2010, only two years after the launch. Looking to build on brands outside the ESPN circle, as they did with Bill Simmons' Grantland website, the sports giant lured Silver away from the Times and allowed him to set up his own team and named him editor-in-chief of a refreshed FiveThirtyEight.

Taking a broader analysis of the world around him, Silver and his team's big data-supported pieces on sports, politics, science, public affairs and pop culture allowed them to look at new ways to interpret what was happening in the top stories happening around the world. Silver isn't the first journalist to let the numbers lead his analysis, but he did make it more accessible through interactive pieces, timely longform reporting and by having an eye for what people were looking for.

From how Neymar's injury impacts Brazil's chances in the World Cup to showing how tech culture keeps women under a glass ceiling, FiveThirtyEight is a destination site for anyone interested in insightful statistical analysis that doesn't bore you to death.

 

Slingshot

www.facebook.com/slingshot

 

Recently launched by Facebook, Slingshot is a picture- and video message-distribution app that essentially forces you to reply to any message sent to you by a friend with a video or picture of your own if you want to see what they sent you. Hoping to capitalize on the trendy nature of ephemeral messaging that is huge with younger demographics, this is Mark Zuckerberg and team's response to a failed attempt to buy Snapchat.

Facebook designers are quick to point out this isn't another messaging service or a way to share status updates, but an app to share moments and to work "like you interact in real life."

If you abandon the notion that you are trying to communicate with your friends on Slingshot and just focus on the notion of sharing moments, some users have found some traction with the app. That's not to say its going to bury Snapchat any time soon, but it does give Facebook some room to continue to develop the app and for users to figure out how they want to use it for themselves.

 

Video of the Week:

Veruca Salt -- It's Holy

bit.ly/veruca_salt

 

Back together for the first time since 1998, the original lineup of alt-rock favourites Veruca Salt started its triumphant comeback with a special 10-inch release on Record Store Day. One of the hottest albums from RSD, the release featured two new songs, The Museum of Broken Relationships and It's Holy. Featuring crowdsourced clips and video of fans listening to the record, It's Holy has all the punch of classic Veruca Salt and is a great bridge between longtime fans and new music lovers just finding out about the band. The group is in the midst of a U.S. tour that stopped off in Minneapolis this week.

 

Download of the Week:

Bonobo -- Essential Mix

bit.ly/bonobo_mix

 

While his live shows incorporate musicians, Ninja Tune artist Bonobo (Simon Green) also knows his way around the turntables. Featuring tracks like Tales of Us's remix of Mano Le Tough's Primative, a Maya Jane Coles remix of his track First Fires and a reworking of Kelis's Runnin' by Machinedrum, Green takes a bit of a detour from the sound he is typically associated with on his recent appearance on BBC's Essential Mix.

 

Anthony Augustine is a freelance music, technology and pop culture writer who spends way too much time in front of a computer. Got a site you think he should see? Email him at anthony.siteunseen@gmail.com or follow him at twitter.com/anthonya.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 10, 2014 C16

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