He had countless hit records. You never heard of him.

Many of the world's favorite records weren't really recorded by the artist on the label.

Image source: Sebra / Steve Mann / Paper Wings / Shutterstock
  • Hal Blaine, the behind-the-scenes heartbeat of over 40 #1 hits, has died at 90.
  • Many records by 1960s and 1970s artists were secretly recorded by session musicians and singers.
  • These unheralded performers were some of the most talented artists ever.
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How Spotify manipulates your emotions and sells your data

A new book on the music distribution service claims it is.

Spotify logo on an android mobile phone. (Photo by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • Spotify Teardown claims that the streaming service is sending (and receiving) much more than music.
  • The authors contend that the service is engaged in emotional manipulation given their playlist emphasis.
  • Music is only the surface layer of a much larger data collection and advertising infrastructure.
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14 movies for your next pagan holiday

In your Ostara bonnet…

  • 14 pagan-flavored movies to consider for your next holiday get-together.
  • Filmmakers just can't stay way from the pagan love of nature and magic.
  • Pagan-themed movies can be excellent training for wee environmentalists.
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“It’s all going down.” Why journalism is up in flames.

News doesn't sell. That's lethal to journalism – and democracy.

  • Apart from media giants like The New York Times and The Washington Post, nearly every news outlet is laying off journalists or collapsing completely.
  • The reason? No advertiser wants to put their ad next to serious, hard-edged news. Sensational content is favored by algorithms, and that isn't just annoying. It has terrifying consequences.
  • Journalists are the watchdogs of democracy. The more local news outlets and independent media disappear, the more those in power can do as they wish. Unreported scandals will fester and damage citizens. Corruption will go unchecked.
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A century of alien landings, in two maps

First contact movies had their Golden Age in 1980s America – now they're going global.

Credit: Dylan_Mq. Find his maps on Reddit, Twitter and Etsy.
  • The first extra-terrestrial to make contact (in a movie) appeared in 1920s Germany.
  • ET set off a wave of 'first contact' movies in the 1980s.
  • Many recent alien-landing movies are set in China and India – the future of the genre may well be Asian.
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