Is This Film Review Algorithm Better than Ebert?

A new study stakes a film’s significance on how many times it’s cited in the work of other directors.

A new study out of Northwestern University suggests that an algorithm is as good or even better at identifying quality films than a movie critic. Using the film's "significance" as the key denominator, the group of scientists led by Professor Luís Amaral studied how many times a movie was referenced in another movie. Based on these results, the group was able to pick out the films with the most cultural impact, essentially placing the vote into the hands of fellow movie directors rather than critics.

Published in this week's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the study explains how the team of scientists broke down 15,425 US films by various metrics: critical reviews, awards, public opinion, citations and box office sales before finding citations to be the best signifier of quality. By comparing the results of each approach to the particular movie's inclusion in or exclusion from the National Film Registry of the U.S. Library of Congress, the team was able to narrow down its approach.

This particular algorithm was most successful when measuring films that are 25 years old or more, with The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Psycho, Casablanca and Gone With the Wind coming out on top. They also found that some films like Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory weren't cited for a significant stretch of time before blowing up on the cultural spectrum. Amaral also says that initially underappreciated films such as these, while not currently in the National Film Registry, may very well be included in the future.

"Twenty-five years may seem like a long time to wait before we can begin quantifying film significance," concludes the study. "However, significance by definition may not be readily apparent. This is true of other forms of art, as well as any other field where influence spreads. There is a reason the Nobel Prize is no longer awarded for research done in the same year. A film’s significance should ultimately be judged on how its ideas influence filmmaking and culture in the longterm."

Amaral hopes to take his findings on significance and apply them to scientific papers, paintings and music next.

via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

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A survey of 2,966 men and women conducted by New America found that men are more likely to receive paid parental leave. Over half (52%) of fathers had fully paid parental leave, and 14% of fathers had partially paid parental leave. In comparison, 33% of mothers had fully paid parental leave and 19% had partially paid parental leave.

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Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger


Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head


Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor


Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

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