Arizona Senate votes to seize assets of those who plan, participate in protests that turn violent

On Wednesday the Arizona Senate passed SB 1142. The bill would allow the state to seize the assets of demonstrators who attend protests that turn violent.

From Arizona Capitol Times:

But the real heart of the legislation is what Democrats say is the guilt by association — and giving the government the right to criminally prosecute and seize the assets of everyone who planned a protest and everyone who participated. And what’s worse, said Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, is that the person who may have broken a window, triggering the claim there was a riot, might actually not be a member of the group but someone from the other side.

Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, said that chilling effect is aimed at a very specific group of protesters. “You now have a situation where you have full-time, almost professional agent-provocateurs that attempt to create public disorder," he said. “A lot of them are ideologues, some of them are anarchists," Kavanagh continued. “But this stuff is all planned."

What's to stop the state or someone else from hiring agents provocateurs to damage property, thereby giving the state an excuse to strip peaceful protestors of their homes and assets?

Image: David Mulder/Flickr

Ken Norton: "How I read 61 books last year"

Ken Norton is a partner at GV (formerly Google Ventures). In the post, he explains how he increased the number of books he read per year from 5 or 6 to 61. One smart thing he did was quickly abandon books that bored him.

I had an almost masochist need to finish any book I started, even if I got bored five pages in, found it repetitive, or decided the author was annoying. That meant a single book could take months to grind through, a page or two at a time. This probably slowed my book reading pace more than anything else. Now if I’m not enjoying a book, I quit and move on to the next one. No big deal. I find that’s another advantage of reading e-books (see below). An abandoned paper book just sits on my nightstand, a sad monument to my failed experiment. When I ditch an e-book, it just scrolls off the list into the void.

He also writes down what he learned from each book:

Remembering that I’ve read a book isn’t sufficient if I don’t also keep track of what I’ve learned. I use Kindle’s highlights and notes features to mark interesting or representative passages as I go. I don’t tend to write lengthy book reviews, so I’ve started a note file to record three things I learned from each book. Within a few days of finishing a book, I review the Kindle highlights and then take five minutes to record my thoughts (I use the Bear app, but anything will do the trick).

Here’s a recent example, from Eric Schlosser’s outstanding book about nuclear safety, Command & Control:

1. There have been way more nuclear accidents than I’d ever imagined

2. Only sheer luck has prevented an accidental nuclear detonation

3. For years during the Cold War the nuclear bombers were in the air at all times, armed and ready to attack

That’s it. (And sleep tight!). It’s just enough to freshen my memory and to remind me that it was time well spent. I do this for non-fiction and fiction, but for the latter it often includes characters or story elements I enjoyed, narrative techniques, writing style and the like. I’ve only been doing this for a few months so we’ll see how useful this over time.

Digital marketing is the new normal, and you can master it for under $20

Making people aware of goods and services in the digital age requires an array of new strategies from social media and email to number-crunching tools like Google Analytics. To get a handle on the techniques used to capture attention and convert traffic into dollars in a crowded online environment, the Full-Stack Marketer Bundle offers 22 hours of training to get you up to speed.

In this course, you’ll start by getting a broad overview of marketing strategies including copywriting, web analytics, email campaigns, social media, and SEO. Studying these core concepts will help you understand how to create a great customer experience and web presence for your company or brand.

Diving deeper, you'll explore Google Analytics and AdWords to give you the tools to make smart, data-informed business decisions. By the end of the bundle, you'll have a wealth of relevant skills that you can leverage for high-paying jobs or apply to your own entrepreneurial ventures.

Wearing an activity tracker gives insurance companies the data they need to discriminate against people like you

Many insurers offer breaks to people who wear activity trackers that gather data on them; as Cathy "Mathbabe" O'Neil points out, the allegedly "anonymized' data-collection is trivial to re-identify (so this data might be used against you), and, more broadly, the real business model for this data isn't improving your health outcomes -- it's dividing the world into high-risk and low-risk people, so insurers can charge people more. (more…)

A "travel mode" for social media - after all, you don't take all your other stuff with you on the road

As the US government ramps up its insistence that visitors (and US citizens) unlock their devices and provide their social media accounts, the solution have run the gamut from extreme technological caution, abandoning mobile devices while traveling, or asking the government to rethink its policy. But Maciej Cegłowski has another solution: a "travel mode" for our social media accounts. (more…)

Lawsuit forces DoJ to admit that Obama administration sneakily killed transparency bill

The Freedom of the Press Foundation's lawsuit against the DoJ has resulted in the release of documents showing that a bill with that was nearly unanimously supported in Congress and the Senate was killed by behind-the-scene lobbying by the Department of Justice, which feared that they would lose the ability to arbitrarily reject Freedom of Information Act requests if the bill passed. (more…)

Off-duty cop drags kid into his yard, draws and fires gun

An off-duty cop got into a fight with a group of children who walked on his lawn, dragged a 13-year-old unarmed boy into his yard, pulled his firearm, then fired a shot. Thankfully, he missed. The incident in Anaheim, California, was captured on camera and has already led to protests.

Christian alleged in the video that the off-duty cop called a girl a "cunt" when telling her to get off his property, and then tackled him first when he stood up for her.

The verbal exchanges led to the off-duty cop dragging the kid towards some bushes. It's unclear from the tape if he ever identified himself as a police officer. "I'd understand if you were a cop, but you're not a cop," Christian told the off-duty officer at one point during the video. One teen came in to shove the man over the bushes after the impasse. Another took a swing but missed. That's when the off-duty cop reached into his waistband and pulled out a gun. The surrounding youth started backing off—and then a shot rang out.

The kid was charged with battery on an officer. KTLA has other footage.

The officer responds that the teen had said he was going to shoot him, and the teen denies that, saying, “I didn’t say that. Why you lying? I said, 'I’m going to sue you.'”

Then the pair tell each other to “get your hands off me.”

“I’m only like 13,” the teen says.

AI learns to write code the old-fashioned way: stealing!

We've all seen the uncanny, not-quite-there art produced by new AIs. Why Matt Reynolds reports on an area computers might be expected to excel at creatively: programming themselves. And this one's doing it the same way humans do, by stealing and remixing.

DeepCoder uses a technique called program synthesis: creating new programs by piecing together lines of code taken from existing software – just like a programmer might. Given a list of inputs and outputs for each code fragment, DeepCoder learned which pieces of code were needed to achieve the desired result overall.

“It could allow non-coders to simply describe an idea for a program and let the system build it”

One advantage of letting an AI loose in this way is that it can search more thoroughly and widely than a human coder, so could piece together source code in a way humans may not have thought of. What’s more, DeepCoder uses machine learning to scour databases of source code and sort the fragments according to its view of their probable usefulness.

DeepCoder, make me a point-and-click adventure game featuring Rosicrucians, billionaire perverts and the complete dissolving of all culture by internet-mediated telepathy.

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