The folks running Twitter may be too young to have heard of George Orwell, or perhaps they simply do not care that their new advisory council sounds frighteningly Orwellian. Either way, the brand new "Twitter Trust and Safety Council" seems like a board ready to censor comments in deference to political correctness.
It doesn't help that among the more than 40 organizations that make up the council, one finds such groups as the "Dangerous Speech Project," a group with ties to the liberal John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and to financier George Soros' Open Society Institute.
Another council member is GLAAD, formerly an acronym for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (the organization now goes by just its initials). Feminist Frequency, which also seeks to monitor free speech, is another member of the council.
The council does include some groups that appear to do good work preventing cyber-bullying against the young. Absent, however, are any conservative-leaning groups.
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Monday, January 18, 2016
"'Whiteness History Month: Context, Consequences, and Change' is a multidisciplinary, district-wide, educational project examining race and racism through an exploration of the construction of whiteness, its origins, and heritage," PCC states on its website. "Scheduled for the month of April 2016, the project seeks to inspire innovative and practical solutions to community issues and social problems that stem from racism."
The WHM site makes clear that the project is not a "celebratory endeavor" like heritage months, but is rather "an effort to change our campus climate" by "[challenging] the master narrative of race and racism through an exploration of the social construction of whiteness." ("Challenging the master narrative," PCC explains, "is a strategy within higher education that promotes multicultural education and equity.")
Friday, January 15, 2016
A man who implanted a microchip containing his airline booking details into his hand was able to use it to pass effortlessly through security to his flight.
Andreas Sjöström, vice president of digital for technology consulting company Sogeti, had the near-field communication chip (NFC) about the size of a grain of rice injected into his hand with a syringe, before using it at Stockholm Arlanda Airport to pass through security and board his plane.
The technology has been used before to make digital payments, control a mobile phone and unlock doors, in the same way contactless payment cards work. All it requires is a scanner to link up to that is compatible with the NFC.
So, this time you have to agree to be listened to.
Wait, what? It's using the microphones on cell phones to listen? Who's it listening in on?
The company behind the technology is called Symphony Advanced Media. The Observer spoke to its CEO Charles Buchwalter, about how it works, via phone. "Our entire focus is to add insights and perspectives on an entire new paradigm around how consumers are consuming media across platforms," he told the Observer.
Cool, but is Symphony listening to viewers without their knowledge?
Short answer: pretty much no.
Symphony collects data with a similar strategy to Nielsen, by inviting users to opt-in to specific monitoring. Nielsen has the set meter and its paper diaries. Unlike Nielsen, Symphony uses a less direct strategy than a box on top of a TV to track what a viewer is watching, because not all the viewing is on TVs and not all the broadcasters want to be tracked.
For the privacy-conscious, Symphony's app isn't hidden inside other apps with permissions buried in user agreements no one reads.
Symphony asks those who opt in to load Symphony-branded apps onto their personal devices, apps that use microphones to listen to what's going on in the background. With technology from Gracenote, the app can hear the show playing and identify it using its unique sound signature (the same way Shazam identifies a song playing over someone else's speakers). Doing it that way allows the company to gather data on viewing of sites like Netflix and Hulu, whether the companies like it or not. (Netflix likes data)
That is not always the case. Chrome apparently tracks pretty much every click and mouse movement these days, AND harvests your cookies. Meaning the guy who has your Facebook cookie can log in to your Facebook account. Or your gmail account, or any other service you use that has an "instant log-in" feature that remembers you are logged in. You know that little "remember me" box? That works by cookies.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
This is the coolest thing. On sale for January, an AR15 lower with the Monster Hunter International logo laser etched on it.
Friday, December 25, 2015
My movie companion was moved to tears when Carrie Fisher came on the screen. It's really sad how old and busted that woman appeared. I hope it was all movie magic, because damn. She moves like it hurts. A lot. Worse than watching Arnold Schwarzenegger try to run. Don't get me wrong, it works for the movie. But it'll make you cry if you're a Princess Leia fan.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
USA Today: Oh Noes! We are running out of WATERZ!!!!
Time is running out for portions of the High Plains Aquifer, which lies beneath eight states from South Dakota to Texas and is the lifeblood of one of the world's most productive farming economies. The aquifer, also known as the Ogallala, makes possible about one-fifth of the country's output of corn, wheat and cattle. But its levels have been rapidly declining, and with each passing year more wells are going dry.
As less water pours from wells, some farmers are adapting by switching to different crops. Others are shutting down their drained wells and trying to scratch out a living as dryland farmers, relying only on the rains.
In parts of western Kansas, the groundwater has already been exhausted and very little can be extracted for irrigation. In other areas, the remaining water could be mostly used up within a decade.
Monday, December 07, 2015
"Shares of the two publicly traded gun makers rallied on Monday, a day after President Barack Obama gave a prime-time address calling for a modest reduction in the availability of firearms."