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Chelsea Manning cut off from contact with lawyers after medical emergency

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U.S. military officials are preventing imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning from having contact with her legal team or her friends, following unconfirmed reports that she was hospitalized after a health crisis.

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Claude Shannon, MOOCs, and nanoassembly: what 3D printing is really about

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Neal Gershenfeld, founder of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms, has been talking about making digital things physical and physical things digital longer than almost anyone, and his books -- notably FAB: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop -- are visionary and inspirational ways to think about how information technology has changed our species' relationship with the universe; while the Fab Labs he helped invent represent the best and most thoughtful way that a makerspace can be built to suit local community needs. Read the rest

UK cops routinely raided police databases to satisfy personal interest or make money on the side

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Between 2011-2015, there were more than 800 individual UK police personnel who raided official databases to amuse themselves, out of idle curiosity, or for personal financial gain; and over 800 incidents in which information was inappropriately leaked outside of the police channels. Read the rest

White House plan to use data to shrink prison populations could be a racist dumpster fire

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The US imprisons more people than any other country in history, both as a total number and as a proportion of its population; a White House data-mining effort proposes to set free prisoners who are "low risk," which is something we can all get behind. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning on the end of U.S. ban on transgender people in the military

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From her prison cell, whistleblower Chelsea Manning has written a beautiful piece for the Guardian about the Pentagon's announcement that it will end a longtime ban on transgender people serving in the Armed Forces, and the implications this has for ordinary trans Americans who serve our country, just like her.

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U.S. military ends trans ban

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter addresses reporters at the Pentagon. REUTERS
The Pentagon today ended its ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military. The historic announcement formally removes some of the risks faced by an estimated thousands of U.S. troops, who could have been expelled from the armed forces because of their gender identity. Trans people who serve in the armed forces still have harassment, sexual violence, physical assault, and prejudice to face, but the hatred and sickness no longer has a Pentagon directive to hid behind.

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Human or machine: can you tell who wrote these poems?

By Mirko Tobias Schaefer [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

NPR has a quiz that invites you to guess which of six poems were written by a computer program, and which were written by humans. A group of 10 judges weren't fooled, but I had trouble correctly guessing all of them. I appreciated the computer-generated poems as much as the human-written ones.

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The dirty rusty wooden dresser drawer. A couple million people wearing drawers, Or looking through a lonely oven door, Flowers covered under marble floors.

And lying sleeping on an open bed. And I remember having started tripping, Or any angel hanging overhead, Without another cup of coffee dripping.

Surrounded by a pretty little sergeant, Another morning at an early crawl. And from the other side of my apartment, An empty room behind the inner wall.

A thousand pictures on the kitchen floor, Talked about a hundred years or more.

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Newly released police reports describe Michael Jackson’s very disturbing porn collection

Reuters

(UPDATE BELOW)

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department documents obtained by Radar Online describe materials depicting "animal torture" and "nude children" that were found during a 2003 search of Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch. The issue of pornography in the Michael Jackson child abuse investigations first arose about a decade ago. The pop music icon died seven years ago, but the ugly secrets of his alleged abuse keep surfacing.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony Awards sonnet for the Orlando shooting victims

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Last night Lin-Manuel Miranda won the Tony for Best Original Score for the astounding Hamilton, and his acceptance speech beautifully honored the dead in the Orlando gay nightclub shooting. Read the rest

U.S. Navy sailors banned from drinking in Japan

Image: Wikipedia/ Hhaithait

A 21-year-old Naval petty officer in Okinawa allegedly hit two cars while she was drunk, injuring two other people. It was the latest in a series of incidents involving US military personnel who have hurt or killed Japanese citizens. On Monday, the US Navy banned all 19,000 Navy personnel from drinking. The ban applies both on-base and off-base. In addition, sailors have been grounded. The can only leave their base to run "necessary errands." McClatchy DC:

The U.S. military presence in Japan is under scrutiny after a series of incidents involving American soldiers on the islands, with Navy personnel already under curfew in connection with the arrest of a former Marine. He was working as a civilian contractor on a base and was arrested in connection with the death of a Japanese women.

Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga said such measures taken by the Navy to keep an eye on soldiers’ behavior were not strict enough.

"There needs to be a fundamental resolution," Onaga said.

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NSA dumps docs about its Snowden response, reveals that Snowden repeatedly raised alarms about spying

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Since the earliest days of the Snowden revelations, apologists for the NSA's criminal spying program have said that Snowden should have gone "through channels" to report his concerns, rather than giving evidence to journalists and going public. Read the rest

United Nations reminds members including U.S. to not bomb hospitals and kill doctors please

Burnt vehicles in front of a hospital hit by airstrikes in rebel-held Aleppo. Reuters

The United Nations Security Council recently passed a resolution reminding members that intentional attacks on medical facilities are war crimes.

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Community college evicts daycare center to make room for Goldman Sachs

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Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo -- a former venture capitalist who invested state funds with hedge funds during her tenure as state treasurer -- invited Goldman Sachs to set up a partnership with the Community College of Rhode Island, then kicked out the college's daycare center to make room for Goldman staffers to work. Read the rest

That hospital we bombed in Afghanistan in 2015? Not a war crime, says Pentagon

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U.S. forces bombed a Doctors Without Borders-run hospital in Afghanistan last year, destroying it and killing and injuring scores of medical personnel and patients. But the air strike didn't amount to a war crime because it was caused by "unintentional human errors, process errors, and equipment failures," and “other factors,” U.S. military authorities said today.

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Riot Control Robot Unveiled in China Looks Ominously Like a 'Doctor Who' Dalek, May In Fact Be One

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“China's first intelligent security robot debuts in Chongqing,” reads the headline in the Chinese Communist Party official newspaper People's Daily. The riot control robot has a name, “AnBot,” and it's freaking everyone out even more than your regular garden variety riot control robots because the damn thing looks like a Dalek from Doctor Who. And nothing good comes from a Dalek.

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Hackers take $81 million from Bangladesh's central bank by pwning its $10 second-hand routers

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The central bank of Bangladesh lost $81M in a digital heist whose perpetrators have not been caught, thanks in large part to the bank's decision to run its computers without a firewall, and to run networking with second-hand cheapie routers it sourced for $10 each. Read the rest

Why is Congress so clueless about tech? Because they fired all their experts 20 years ago

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It's been 21 years since the Republican Congress zeroed out the $20M budget of the Office of Technology Assessment, a casualty of Newt Gingrich's "Contract With America" that deprived Congress of its principal source of technological expertise. Read the rest

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