Word of the day: Kakistocracy

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Kakistocracy n. (kak·is·toc·ra·cy / kækɪsˈtɑkɹəsi) Government by the worst persons; a form of government in which the worst persons are in power. Read the rest

Twitterbot experiment suggests that public disapproval by white men can reduce harassers' use of racist language

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NYU PhD candidate Kevin Munger made a set of four male-seeming twitterbots that attempted to "socially sanction" white Twitter users who habitually used racial epithets (he reasons that these two characteristics are a good proxy for harassment): the bots could be white or black (that is, have names that have been experimentally shown to be associated with "whiteness" or "blackness") and could have 2 followers or 500 of them. Read the rest

Hugely successful Facebook fake news author considers himself a "satirist"

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Paul Horner says he made more than $10,000 month writing fake news on Facebook that was widely shared by Trump supporters and picked up by the real press -- for example, hoax stories about protesters being paid to turn out against Trump -- and that he targeted Trump supporters as an act of "satire" to show that they would credulously share anything, providing that it confirmed their conspiracy theories about the left and the Democratic party. Read the rest

Yes, humans are capable of creating a happy and successful liberal society: The Netherlands

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As U.S. headlines bombard us with proof of how low humanity can go, here's a look at a happy, peaceful, and prosperous country -- The Netherlands -- to remind us that it is actually possible for the human race to get it right. If people want to change present circumstances through liberal ideals, it's helpful to look at a liberal, politically stable country with a strong and open economy. Also known as Holland, the country does not have the same history and culture that creates the inherent social and economic problems in the U.S., but it is clearly moving in the right direction -- forward.

It's a great destination for liberal ex-patriates looking for a place to live and work -- especially in the tech sector -- that already has its shit together, in case you really are now considering moving out of the country. Staying or going, it makes sense to see what a liberal society looks like and how it works. 

We've compiled a list of facts about The Netherlands to show you what humans can do when they're not fighting en masse on Twitter:

The Dutch government plans to ban the sales of petrol and diesel-powered cars in 2025Healthiest country in the world for dietKeeps closing prisons due to a lack of prisonersFirst to legalize same-sex marriageHighest concentration of museums in the worldHighest English-proficiency in the world where it is not first languageHighest population density in EuropeHome to more bikes than peopleCycling in the Netherlands is the safest in the worldAmsterdam’s Schiphol airport offers more direct flights than any airport in the world83 percent of the population live in urban areas but there are few high risesLargely secular country: up to 40 percent of Dutch say they have no religion, 30 percent are Catholic, and 20 percent are Protestant. Read the rest

Here are the devastating capabilities of the weapons Obama will leave behind for Trump

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Even the extreme legal theories of the George W Bush administration were mild compared to some of the "compromise" positions Obama's DoJ argued for, and now Donald J Trump gets to use those positions to further its own terrifying agenda of mass deportations, reprisals against the press, torture and assassination, and surveillance based on religious affiliation or ethnic origin. Read the rest

U.S. internet giants ask Trump to support encryption, net neutrality, and reform domestic surveillance

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) says a few words of support for  Donald Trump (L) at a campaign rally in Naples, Florida, U.S. October 23, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The US-based trade group The Internet Association has released a policy roadmap for Trump's incoming administration and the GOP-led Congress with proposals “to enable continued growth and success in the internet ecosystem, and in turn, the U.S. economy.” Read the rest

Pirate Utopia: Bruce Sterling's novella of Dieselpunk, weird politics, and fascism

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Between 1920 and 1924, the Free State of Fiume was a real-world "pirate utopia," an ungoverned place of blazing futurism, military triumphalism, transgression, sex, art, dada, and high weirdness. In Bruce Sterling's equally blazing dieselpunk novella Pirate Utopia, the author turns the same wry and gimlet eye that found the keen edges for steampunk's seminal The Difference Engine to the strange business of futurism.

Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton are Trump's leading picks for Secretary of State

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Aides to President-elect Donald Trump are focusing on former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and former U.S. ambassador to U.N. John Bolton for the role of Secretary of State under our new fascist white supremacist groper-in-chief.

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US foreclosure map predicts US battleground states map

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Tom Adams, a lawyer and 20-year veteran of the securitization business, compares a map of America's largest foreclosure inventories with a map of key battleground states. Read the rest

Bruce Sterling on the US election: the net is great at tearing down, terrible at building

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Bruce Sterling's characteristically acerbic remarks on the US election gets to a really important point: internet-based movements have been amazing at tearing down corrupt establishment system, but have failed (so far) to create the kinds of stable governance structures that build up something better from the ruins. Read the rest

Canadian tech firms will have their pick of overseas talent thanks to Trump's anti-immigrant policies

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The massive talent shortage in tech has all kinds of weird effects: the inability to outbid tech giants means that badly secured hospitals get devoured by ransomware; it means that companies that value diversity get to outmaneuver much better-resourced competitors; it means that companies that pledge to be ethical can edge out their competition (and that unethical conduct can have real costs); and it means that companies get so desperate that they form industry-wide criminal conspiracies to try to short circuit the seller's market for tech skills. Read the rest

Advice on contacting your representatives from a former Congressional staffer

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Writer and editor Emily Ellsworth has been earning a lot of attention for her incredibly helpful Twitter thread on how best to contact your Congressional representatives. A registered Republican who campaigned and voted for Hillary Clinton, Ellsworth has formerly worked for both Utah Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart. Here's her advice:

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Trump chooses Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff, Steve Bannon as "Chief Strategist"

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Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee and the face of the party's insider establishment, is Donald Trump's pick as chief of staff.

Live footage from the White House:

Trump campaign mastermind and Breitbart chief Steve Bannon was also tipped for the position; he is named as a "Chief Strategist" instead, and gets top billing in the press release. The pairing is presumably contrived to please both the GOP establishment and Trump's "base," which is to say people who agree with Bannon when it comes to "renegade Jews" and the like.

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Rules for surviving an autocracy

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Masha Gessen, who grew up in Putin's Russia, has six rules for us: 1. Believe the autocrat; 2. Do not be taken in by small signs of normality; 3. Institutions will not save you; 4. Be outraged; 5. Don’t make compromises; 6. Remember the future. Read the rest

"Hitler's only kidding about the antisemitism" New York Times, 1922

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"Several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler's anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch masses of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic, and in line for the time when his organization is perfected and sufficiently powerful to be employed effectively for political purposes." Read the rest

Fact-checking Trump's plan for the first 100 days

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After a campaign characterized by vagueness and tiny hand-waving, Donald Trump finally released a semi-detailed plan for his first 100 days in office yesterday, including "a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated" and "cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama." Read the rest

Bernie Sanders wants Keith Ellison to run the DNC

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The Democratic Party establishment's insistence on fronting a more-of-the-same establishment candidate cost them the election and cost America its sanity: now it's time to start planning for the 2018 midterms and a Congress that can roadblock Trump's mass deportations, torture, spying and censorship. Read the rest

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