Boing Boing 

Google Maps promises to stop racist trolls messing with maps—but how?

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Struck by a succession of abusive scrawlings going live on its popular maps service, Google has apologized and promised to retool the service to prevent it from happening in future.

"This week, we had some problems with Google Maps, which was displaying results for certain offensive search queries," wrote Jen Fitzpatrick, a Vice President of Engineering and Product Development, explaining how Google's system slurped up the offensive terms because of how it incorporates "online discussions" of particular places. "… This surfaced inappropriate results that users likely weren’t looking for."

Earlier this week, it was found that when given offensive search terms, Google would return inappropriate locations. Queried with "nigga house," for example, Google would offer the White House.

Howard University, reported one internet user, "shows up as ‘N***er University’ on Google Maps."

The benefits of algorithmic changes will be seen soon, Fitzpatrick promised, and Google will continue to refine its software over time: "Simply put, you shouldn’t see these kinds of results in Google Maps, and we’re taking steps to make sure you don't."

Maps, like much in the Googleverse, is comprised significantly of information added by users or algorithmically incorporated into its dataset—unvetted and often dependent on community reporting when something goes awry.

Google recently shuttered another crowdsourced component of Google Maps due to repeated addition of naughty and offensive landscape features that were not, in fact, there.

Internet star Natalie Tran discusses Asian representation in the media

Natalie Tran is well known for the hilarious, absurd, and relatable observational comedy videos she releases on her YouTube channel CommunityChannel. But she recently stopped by Brown University to give a slightly more serious chat about Asians in media.

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Ijeoma Oluo: “What You Can Do Right Now About Police Brutality”

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In a new article, activist and writer Ijeoma Oluo gives advice those who are upset about the recent public examples of police brutality but feel helpless to do anything.

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Racial Bias Watch: How is the media covering the Waco biker gang shootout?

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Thanks to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, there has been a lot of discussion recently about racial bias in the media

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Drowned in the Mediterranean: Libyan refugees tell their stories

James Bridle writes: "There's huge debate in the UK about the deaths of people in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe, but we rarely see or hear the people themselves."

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A beginner's guide to the Redpill Right

The gnostic paradox of young, tech-savvy traditionalists, who see through everything except their own conspiracy theoriesRead the rest

Oklahoma GOP wants to outlaw hoodies, unless you are part of a minstrel troupe

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Modified London police brag-sheets


These are a refreshing antidote to the Metropolitan London Police's poster campaign trumpeting their 2014 achievements.

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Undercover agent pulls gun on protesters and photographer during Oakland protest of police killings

An undercover police officer, who had been marching with anti-police demonstrators, aims his gun at protesters. REUTERS/Noah Berger


An undercover police officer, who had been marching with anti-police demonstrators, aims his gun at protesters. REUTERS/Noah Berger

Who is the man pointing a gun at a photographer in this photo from last night's protests in Oakland and Berkeley, and why is he aiming his weapon at photographers and protesters?

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Where to host history of Scandinavian right rescued from the Memory Hole?


A Boing Boing reader has gotten ahold of a controversial Norwegian magazine article documenting the history of the Scandinavian right, tracing the connections between the Third Reich collaborators and the present-day anti-immigrant movement -- it's an article that was suppressed by Norway's new far-right government, which used threats against the publisher to get it withdrawn.

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Diet Racism

A soda for people who would never say anything untoward, but can't figure out why there isn't a White History Month.

LAPD handcuffs black actress for kissing white boyfriend

My wife has kissed me in front of Studio Police, CA and she wasn't handcuffed. So why did they handcuff and detain Daniele Watts for kissing her boyfriend?

Watts' husband, Brian Lucas, who is white, answered the question on Facebook:

Today, Daniele Watts & I were accosted by police officers after showing our affection publicly.

From the questions that he asked me as D was already on her phone with her dad, I could tell that whoever called on us (including the officers), saw a tatted RAWKer white boy and a hot bootie shorted black girl and thought we were a HO (prostitute) & a TRICK (client). This is something that happened to her and her father when she was 16. What an assumption to make!!!

Because of my past experience with the law, I gave him my ID knowing we did nothing wrong and when they asked D for hers, she refused to give it because they had no right to do so. So they handcuffed her and threw her roughly into the back of the cop car until they could figure out who she was. In the process of handcuffing her, they cut her wrist, which was truly NOT COOL!!!

Sorry LAPD, anti-miscegenation laws are no longer on the books.

LAPD Confuses Black Actress Kissing White Husband for Prostitute

Video: GOP congressman says Ferguson protesters of 'a single continental origin'

Speaking on conservative internet TV show NewsMax, Rep. Steve King said that he was not concerned that police in Ferguson, Missouri were racially profiling protesters, because all of these protestors appeared to be of a "single origin, a single continental origin might be the way to phrase that." Starts about 2:10 in to this video.

King added that he wants to "reject race-based politics, identity politics" because "we're all God's children and we all should be held to the same standards and the same level of behavior."

And then he name-dropped Dr. Martin Luther King.

"It's pretty close to anarchy there."

'Mike Brown was a man.'

Police officers keep watch while demonstrators protest the death of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson

Anil Dash, at Medium: "It’s plain as day that the cops have no strategy, no end goal in Ferguson. There’s no leadership. They don’t even understand the situation that they’ve found themselves in."

Ferguson police response 'a municipal version of shock and awe'

Bu9Ly79CYAAH34IEyewitness Jelani Cobb, reporting for the New Yorker: "What transpired in the streets appeared to be a kind of municipal version of shock and awe; the first wave of flash grenades and tear gas had played as a prelude to the appearance of an unusually large armored vehicle, carrying a military-style rifle mounted on a tripod. The message of all of this was something beyond the mere maintenance of law and order: it’s difficult to imagine how armored officers with what looked like a mobile military sniper’s nest could quell the anxieties of a community outraged by allegations regarding the excessive use of force. It revealed itself as a raw matter of public intimidation."

Ferguson police: Officer doxed by Anonymous isn't the one who shot Mike Brown

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CNN is reporting that Missouri police say neither of the two officers whose names, photographs, and personal data were released this morning by Anonymous are the officer who shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown.

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Video of Ferguson police gassing news crew and dismantling their equipment

A news crew, clearly no threat or impediment to the cops, films from a verge in Ferguson, Missouri. A pop and a cloud of white smoke marks the arrival of a tear gas canister at their feet, and the newscrew is forced to flee. Moments later, police pull up in an armored van and hurriedly try to break down the film equipment--until they notice that another crew is still filming them from across the street.

Update: Kate O'Brian, president of Al Jazeera America, released a statement condemning the police.

Last night at 9:30 CDT in Ferguson, Missouri, an Al Jazeera America news crew was reporting behind police barricades. They were easily identifiable as a working television crew. As they were setting up their camera for a live report, tear gas canisters landed in their proximity and police fired rubber bullets in their direction. Police continued to shoot after crew members clearly and repeatedly shouted ‘Press’. Al Jazeera America is stunned by this egregious assault on freedom of the press that was clearly intended to have a chilling effect on our ability to cover this important story. Thankfully all three crew members are physically fine. We believe that this situation must be investigated along with those involving our colleagues at other media outlets.

Ferguson police deny the targeting was intentional.

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