Fired by an algorithm, and no one can figure out why

Ibrahim Diallo was eight months into a three year contract with a big company when its systems abruptly decided that he was fired: first it told his recruiter that he'd been let go, then it stopped accepting his pass for the parking and the turnstyles, then his logins stopped working, and at each turn, his supervisor, and that person's boss, and the HR people, were at a loss to explain or reverse the steady, automated disappearance of Ibrahim from the company. Read the rest

Microsoft CEO: don't worry, we're mostly helping the parts of ICE that don't involve kidnapping children

As Microsoft employees grow increasingly furious that their employer is a key technology provider to ICE, providing, among other things, facial recognition software, the company is responding, conscious of the possibility of a repeat of Google's showdown with its employees over the provision of AI for drone warfare systems. Read the rest

Today, an EU committee voted to destroy the internet. Now what?

This morning, the EU's legislative affairs committee (JURI) narrowly voted to include two controversial proposals in upcoming, must-pass copyright reforms: both Article 11 (no linking to news stories without permission and a paid license) and Article 13 (all material posted by Europeans must first be evaluated by a copyright filter and blocked if they appear to match a copyrighted work) passed by a single vote. Read the rest

David Graeber's "Bullshit Jobs": why does the economy sustain jobs that no one values?

David Graeber defined a "bullshit job" in his viral 2013 essay as jobs that no one -- not even the people doing them -- valued, and he clearly struck a chord: in the years since, Graeber, an anthropologist, has collected stories from people whose bullshit jobs inspired them to get in touch with him, and now he has synthesized all that data into a beautifully written, outrageous and thought-provoking book called, simply, Bullshit Jobs.

The EU is about to "end everything that's good and pure about the internet"

On Gizmodo, Rhett Jones pulls no punches about Article 13 and Article 11 -- a pair of copyright proposals that go up for a committee vote in the EU in mere hours. Read the rest

In less than 24 HOURS, an EU committee votes on whether to mass-censor the global internet

We've got less than a day until the key vote on the wording of the new EU Copyright Directive, when members of the EU's legislative committee will vote on whether to include controversial mass censorship language in the proposal that the parliament will vote on. Read the rest

Pencil dice: a D6 in pencil form

Roll Sebastian Bergne's $3.33 pencil dice across the table to get a randomish value from 1-6. Useful for writing choose-your-own-adventures! (via Geekologie) Read the rest

The secret RPG history of an enabler of America's border child kidnapping policy

When Bryant Durrell was in college, he played D&D with an amazing Dungeon Master, Eric, who was obsessed with the moral dimension of the game, constructing thoughtful, elaborate campaigns to get the players to reflect on the nature of good and evil -- the players jokingly called the setting Eric created "Catholic World." Read the rest

As thousands of children are torn from their parents, Trump's popularity rating hits an all-time high

In case you thought that kidnapping babies would awaken the moral consciences of Trump supporters, be told: Trump's approval rating hit its all-time peak on Monday, with 45% of Americans saying he is doing a good job. The administration is said to be planning even harsher measures before the midterms, including indefinite incarceration of kidnapped children. (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

Secret recording of weeping children begging for their parents while a Border Patrol official mocks them

"Well, we have an orchestra here. What’s missing is a conductor." That's the voice of a Border Patrol official, mocking a sobbing group of 10 terrified Central American children who've been separated from their parents at a US border-crossing. Read the rest

History's most productive geniuses goofed off like crazy

In Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less (published in 2016, just out in paperback), Alex Soojung-Kim Pang painstakingly investigates the working lives of the likes of Charles Darwin and finds that history's most productive high-performers were working about four hours a day and slacking off the rest of the time: napping, strolling, having leisurely lunches. Read the rest

With the App Store monopoly case, the Supreme Court could reverse decades of frustrated antitrust enforcement

On Monday, the Supreme Court will review the 9th Circuit's decision in Apple Inc. v. Pepper, in which the plaintiffs argue that Apple has established a monopoly over apps for Ios (this part is actually incontrovertible, as Apple has used both technology and law to prevent rival app stores from operating), and that Iphone and Ipad owners have a right to ask the government to break up this monopoly (that's the controversial part). Read the rest

Screwdriver optional: fingerprint lock broadcasts its unlock code over Bluetooth (and the steel is garbage)

Fingerprint locks are catastrophically awful, part LXVII: the software security on the crowdfunded Tapplock "is basically nonexistent" -- the lock broadcasts its own unlock code over Bluetooth, and if you send it back to the lock, it pops open. Read the rest

The Rent's Too Damned High: 15,000 words on the ways real-estate speculation and inequality have killed NYC

Harper's has published The Death of a Once Great City, Kevin Baker's beautifully written, 15,000 word, non-comprehensive list of all the ways that raising the rents in New York City (something that was enabled by the related phenomena of the increasing wealth of the global rich and the influence of property developers on New York City's planning) has squeezed all the juice out of the city, evicting its people and its businesses in favor of "land banked" condos and co-op units that serve as "an investment, a pied-à-terre, a bolt-hole, a strongbox" -- and whose only viable retail is chain pharmacies and ATMs. Read the rest

Public Domain Hulk explains the EU's catastrophic copyright filtering proposal

"WHAT YOU THINKING EUROPE? WANT BORING STUPID INTERNET? WANT MUSIC INDUSTRY INTERNET? WANT COPYRIGHT INTERNET? HULK SMASH CENSORSHIP. HULK SMASH SURVEILLANCE. HULK SMASH ARTICLE 13. #HULK #SMASH #ARTICLE13 #SAVEYOURINTERNET" - @PUBDOMAINHULK Read the rest

The EU's Link Tax will be voted on in TWO DAYS: if passed, you won't be able to link to the news except on Big Tech's licensed platforms

Article 11 is the EU's bizarre proposal for transferring money from Google and Facebook to newspapers: it creates a special copyright over links to news stories and bans services from linking to the news unless they pay for a license to link. Read the rest

Mexican election: saturation robo-calls spreading disinformation about Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador the front-running candidate for president of Mexico on a largely progressive ticket (tuition breaks, increased aid to seniors, drug war amnesty, though it's a mixed bag, reflecting the weird coalition of left-wing and right-wing parties he's fronting); and he is the target of a bizarre, mass-scale disinformation campaign being carried out by blanket robo-calling. Read the rest

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