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wepon ([personal profile] wepon) wrote2017-07-02 02:43 pm
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Link Roundup June 2017

A Tweet to Kurt Eichenwald, a Strobe and a Seizure. Now, an Arrest.
Lawsuits involving stalking and bullying on the internet have focused on how online content, such as disparaging and abusive messages and pictures, can harm victims emotionally and even increase the risk of suicide. But with this case, Mr. Rivello is said to have designed the attack specifically around the victim’s medical condition.

What Do Prisoners Make for Victoria’s Secret?
Federal Prison Industries, a.k.a. Unicor, says that in addition to soldiers’ uniforms, bedding, shoes, helmets, and flak vests, inmates have “produced missile cables (including those used on the Patriot missiles during the Gulf War)” and “wiring harnesses for jets and tanks.” In 1997, according to Prison Legal News, Boeing subcontractor MicroJet had prisoners cutting airplane components, paying $7 an hour for work that paid union wages of $30 on the outside.

Accused of underpaying women, Google says it's too expensive to get wage data
The current court battle stems from the DoL’s lawsuit filed against Google in January, accusing the company of violating federal laws by refusing to provide salary history and contact information of employees as part of a government audit. As a federal contractor, Google is required to comply with equal opportunity laws and allow investigators to review records.

Three Trillion and Counting
Together, Stiglitz and Bilmes lay out a simple and straightforward agenda: to establish an accurate price tag for the American war on Iraq. Of course, the incalculable costs are easily tallied. In five years of fighting, the United States has lost over 4,000 young men and women of its armed services. Violence in Iraq has sent another 60,000 American troops home maimed and injured. The ghastly conditions there have left over 100,000 vets with serious mental disorders and rendered hundreds of thousands more in need of psychological counseling. And these figures do not begin to account for the untold numbers of Iraqis killed, injured, and displaced by half a decade of brutal chaos. But following the money, as the authors make clear, is far more difficult.

11 Years Old, a Mom, and Pushed to Marry Her Rapist in Florida
In New Hampshire, a girl scout named Cassandra Levesque learned that girls in her state could marry at 13. So she set out to change the law. A legislator sponsored Cassandra’s bill to raise the age to 18, and researchers found that two 15-year-olds had recently married in New Hampshire, along with one 13-year-old. But politicians resisted the initiative. “We’re asking the Legislature to repeal a law that’s been on the books for over a century, that’s been working without difficulty, on the basis of a request from a minor doing a Girl Scout project,” scoffed one state representative, David Bates. In March the Republican-led House voted to kill the bill, leaving the minimum age at 13. (Legislators seem willing to marry off girls like Cassandra, but not to listen to them!)

Forget zombies: In young-adult games, the hot new villain is the world itself
The institutions that supported their parents and grandparents are obviously dying, but kids are still being expected to participate in them.

Election 2017: Trans people 'being blocked from registering to vote'
According to the Electoral Commission, local authorities are issued with “comprehensive guidance” on the processes to follow for protected voters. Voters without a national insurance number are also able to register and can send proof of identification by email for processing. However, one man told Pink News his local authority did not know how to handle the situation. “They just didn’t know what to do. I can’t register because I can’t ‘prove my identity’, even though I have documents. Because I don’t have a Gender Recognition Certificate it’s not enough,” he said.

Robot priest unveiled in Germany to mark 500 years since Reformation
A robot priest that delivers blessings in five languages and beams light from its hands has been unveiled as part of an exhibition to mark the anniversary of the start of the Reformation, a Europe-wide religious, political and cultural upheaval sparked when Luther nailed his 95 theses to a church door in the town.

Reporter Covering Inauguration Protests Now Faces 75 Years in Prison
In the first hours of Donald Trump’s presidency, Washington, D.C., police booked John Boswell and Aaron Cantú into jail. Boswell was a millionaire Trump supporter arrested after he sexually assaulted a maid in the hotel room he’d booked for the inauguration. Cantú was a journalist arrested while covering protesters outside the inaugural ceremonies. Boswell will serve no prison time for the sexual abuse, to which he pleaded guilty. Cantú faces up to 75 years in prison.

Hiding in plain sight: how the 'alt-right' is weaponizing irony to spread fascism
“Fascism is more or less a social taboo. It’s unacceptable in modern society,” Ross says. “Humour or irony is one of the ways that they can put forward their affective positions without having to fall back on any affirmative ideological positions.” He adds: “They’re putting forward the anger, the sense of betrayal, the need for revenge, the resentment, the violence. They’re putting forward the male fantasies, the desire for a national community and a sense of unity and a rejection of Muslims. They’re doing all of that, but they’re not stating it.”

Octopuses Do Something Really Strange to Their Genes
Back in 2015, Rosenthal and Eisenberg discovered that RNA editing has gone wild in the longfin inshore squid—a foot-long animal that’s commonly used in neuroscience research. While a typical mammal edits its RNA at just a few hundred sites, the squid was making some 57,000 such edits. These changes weren’t happening in discarded sections of RNA, but in the ones that actually go towards building proteins—the so-called coding regions. They were ten times more common in the squid’s neurons than in its other tissues, and they disproportionately affected proteins involved in its nervous system.

Republican candidate charged with assault after 'body-slamming' Guardian reporter
On 28 April, Jacobs reported on Gianforte’s financial ties to Russian companies that have been sanctioned by the US. Gianforte’s wealth is estimated at between $65m and $315m.

America's obsession with rooting out communism is making a comeback
Travis Allen, a Republican from southern California, took to the floor of the state assembly on 8 May to denounce communism. “To allow subversives and avowed communists to now work for the state of California,” he railed, “is a direct insult to the people of California who pay for that government.” Allen was speaking out against a move to remove language from the California code that that bars members of the Communist party from holding government jobs in the state.

Election 2017: UK Results
No party wins a majority in parliament as Theresa May's Conservatives lose seats in England and Wales to Labour and the Liberal Democrats, despite seeing their vote share rise.

What really happened in the Christmas truce of 1914?
High Command was angry – they feared that men would now question the war, and even mutiny, as a result of fraternising with the enemy that they were meant to defeat. Stricter orders were issued to end such activity – with harsh punishment for any man caught refusing to fight.

His start-up, Ambrosia, is charging about $8,000 a pop for blood transfusions from people under 25, Karmazin said at Code Conference on Wednesday. Ambrosia, which buys its blood from blood banks, now has about 100 paying customers. Some are Silicon Valley technologists, like Thiel, though Karmazin stressed that tech types aren’t Ambrosia’s only clients, and that anyone over 35 is eligible for its transfusions.

May: I’ll rip up human rights laws that impede new terror legislation
Theresa May has declared she is prepared to rip up human rights laws to impose new restrictions on terror suspects, as she sought to gain control over the security agenda just 36 hours before the polls open.

The RNC Files: Inside the Largest US Voter Data Leak
This reporter was able, after determining his RNC ID, to view his modeled policy preferences and political actions as calculated by TargetPoint. It is a testament both to their talents, and to the real danger of this exposure, that the results were astoundingly accurate.

Officials Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter For Flint Water Crisis
The defendants, all high-ranking members of the city and state government, are Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, former Flint water manager Howard Croft, and Liane Shekter-Smith and Stephen Busch of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Additionally, Dr. Eden Wells, the state’s chief medical officer, has been charged with obstruction of justice and lying to a police officer.

n September 2016, the Program on Extremism at George Washington University (GWU) published a study describing the use of Twitter by white nationalists compared to ISIS supporters and reported that “[m]ajor American white nationalist movements on Twitter added about 22,000 followers since 2012, an increase of about 600%” and that “Nazis had a median follower count almost eight times greater than ISIS supporters, and a mean count more than 22 times greater.” The researchers also reported that “white nationalist accounts suffered relatively little suspension pressure.“ During their study period, the team found that only three white nationalist accounts and four Nazi accounts were suspended, “and a handful of additional accounts were seen to be suspended in the days that followed.“ By comparison, 1,100 ISIS accounts were suspended during the same period.

An Artificial Intelligence Developed Its Own Non-Human Language
In the report, researchers at the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research lab describe using machine learning to train their “dialog agents” to negotiate. (And it turns out bots are actually quite good at dealmaking.)

Ancestry.com takes DNA ownership rights from customers and their relatives
There are three significant provisions in the AncestryDNA Privacy Policy and Terms of Service to consider on behalf of yourself and your genetic relatives: (1) the perpetual, royalty-free, world-wide license to use your DNA; (2) the warning that DNA information may be used against “you or a genetic relative”; (3) your waiver of legal rights.

A Sergeant Who Learned He’s Part Black Says He Faced Racist Taunts at Work
Later, the lawsuit charges, some members of the department “started whispering ‘Black Lives Matter’ while pumping their fists as they walked” past Sergeant Brown. Even the mayor at the time, Frank Campbell, got in on the racist teasing, Sergeant Brown said, by telling him a joke in which he used the word “Negroid” at least twice.

Why Are Bird Eggs Egg-Shaped? An Eggsplainer
“We mapped egg shapes like astronomers map stars,” Stoddard says. “And our concept of an egg is on the periphery of egg shapes.”

Fortunately, there are some encouraging lessons from the 19th century. Though the federal government betrayed Reconstruction, the Klan's reign was short-lived. "I don't want to sound like I'm suggesting anything," Parsons says, "but speaking as a historian, violent resistance was very effective. We've told ourselves a story about the Klan facing cowering victims, but people organized, fought, and defeated the Klan constantly." Black Americans in the Reconstruction South were often armed, not just as individuals but as communities, for collective self-defense. "There were places the Klan couldn't go," Parsons says, "people who, according to their code, they should have attacked, who they didn't."

Toward the Next Jewish Rebellion: Facing Anti-Semitism and Assimilation in the Movement
Until we do this work, we will continue fighting in a way that strengthens our enemies. Until we face anti-Semitism, Jews will always be at risk of being targeted by the ruling class when it becomes politically useful. Until we face anti-Semitism, the fascist Right will continue to use it as a recruitment strategy, and Jews will continue to cling to a militarized Israel for protection. Until we face anti-Semitism, many Jews will continue to play the middleman role prescribed to us by the system, causing harm to other oppressed communities. Until we face anti-Semitism, the Jews in the movement will never address our trauma, never be able to bring our most powerful selves to the many struggles in which we are disproportionately active. And as I’ve written about before, becoming our powerful selves is not only a pre-requisite for winning the world we deserve, but a pre-requisite for survival.