Broadcasters should time-delay presidential debates, allowing them to mute any outright lies

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Dan Gillmor writes: "Time for journalists to declare a boycott on bullshit. Start with muting the sound when Trump lies during the debate." Read the rest

Oppps.ru: patient zero in Russia's fake news epidemic

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Donald Trump did not slam the International Paralympic Committee's decision to bar Russian athletes from the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, and the BBC never quoted him as saying, "The decision to bar Russian Paralympics athletes was made by complete retards. These people are the real cripples." But virtually every news outlet in Russia ran a story saying both things were true, after Oppps.ru (The Optimist) ran a completely false story to that effect. Read the rest

Why Facebook's "It's too hard" excuse for Vietnam war photo takedown is bullshit

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On Friday, Facebook started deleting posts containing "The Terror of War," Nick Ut's photo depicting a young Vietnamese girl fleeing a napalm attack on her village; Facebook approach this photo with a scorched earth (ahem) policy, even deleting it when it was posted by the Prime Minister of Norway. Read the rest

Facebook returns trending picks to mechanical feed only to see total garbage float to top

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After being accused of political bias in its trending news picks, Facebook returned to a purely algorithmic feed. Within hours, the machine picked a gross fake-news hatebait item claiming Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly was being forced out of the network, thereby forcing a human being to remove it from the trending feed. Bias! Read the rest

British Muslim detained for reading a book about Syria while on a plane

Faizah Shaheen, via her Twitter profile.

A British woman of Muslim descent was detained and questioned by police under terror laws after a flight crew member noticed she was reading a book about Syrian art while flying to Turkey.

The Thomson Airways attendant reported her for “suspicious behavior,” which amounted to reading a book.

Read the rest

Flossing is bullshit

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The Associated Press filed Freedom of Information requests with the US government to find the evidence behind the Surgeon General's admonition to floss regularly for dental health and found that there was no good evidentiary basis for flossing. Read the rest

How a cooked Assange quote ended up media gospel

Julian Assange. Image: Reuters.

Wikileaks, the clearing house for state secrets, seems more about founder Julian Assange's grudges these days: especially the one for Hillary Clinton. Much fuss was made over a quote—that he had "enough evidence" to guarantee an indictment of her—that was widely attributed to him. It turns out, though, that the quote doesn't check out: most point to a mangled interview on the UK's ITV where it isn't even said. Jesse Singal set out to track down a source that no-one bothered to verify. It's a surprisingly tantalizing and teasing journey, but the tl;dr seems to be that the quote was originally fabricated by the blog Zero Hedge. Read the rest

Olympics to companies: mentioning "Olympics" in social media is a trademark violation

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The US Olympics Committee has sent a letter to companies that sponsor athletes but don't sponsor the games, warning them that mentioning the Olympics in social media is a trademark violation. Read the rest

Web Sheriff's legal scare strategy: throw everything at the wall, hope something sticks

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Web Sheriff has been retained by the mysterious celeb(s) at the center of the super injunction over an olive-oil threesome in a paddling pool, and as we learned, merely mentioning that such a thing exists is enough to lure them out of their caves and onto your doorstep, from which vantage they will endlessly pastebomb a series of legal threats, each more bizarre and incoherent than the last. Read the rest

Company says facial features reveal terrorists and pedophiles 80% of the time

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Faception uses 15 secret classifiers of facial features to accuse subjects of terrorism and pedophilia, as well as predicting their poker abilities. Read the rest

No, tax-havens aren't good for society (duh)

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As the Panama Papers story unfolds and we learn more about the systematic world-scale corruption of offshore tax-havens, the usual suspects have mounted a charm-offensive top defend anonymous offshore bank accounts as critical to democracy and a check against the rise of fascism (no, really). Read the rest

Three pieces of statistical "bullshit" about the UK EU referendum

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Economist Tim Harford attacks three of the statistics being widely cited in the campaigns over the upcoming referendum on the UK remaining in the EU, two from the "leave" camp and one from the "stay" camp. Read the rest

Verizon pays $1.35M FCC settlement for using "supercookies"

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In 2014, Verizon was caught sneaking "supercookies" onto its customers' computers -- these are tracking cookies that bypassed the normal cookie system to surveil Verizon users and target ads to them. Read the rest

Detoxing is (worse than) bullshit: high lead levels in "detox clay"

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"Bentonite Me Baby" is a brand of "detox clay" that you spread on your face, or eat, to rid your body of mysterious, nonspecific "toxins." It is full of lead. Read the rest

University of Maryland claims sponsor's chocolate milk helps concussion recovery

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The University of Maryland's Maryland Industrial Partnerships program hooks up researchers with businesses: just before Christmas, MIPS sent out a press-release claiming that a local brand of chocolate milk aided in recovery from concussions sustained playing high school football. Read the rest

Why all scientific diet research turns out to be bullshit

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The gold standard for researching the effects of diet on health is the self-reported food-diary, which is prone to lots of error, underreporting of "bad" food, and changes in diet that result from simply keeping track of what you're eating. The standard tool for correcting these errors comparisons with more self-reported tests. Read the rest

Exponential population growth and other unkillable science myths

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There's a widespread understanding that the vaccine-autism link and climate denial are bullshit, but there are plenty of widespread science myths that are repeated by people who should know better, from the idea that early screening lowers cancer mortality to the idea that the human population is growing exponentially. Read the rest

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