An anonymous police officer in Herington, Kansas, claimed he was given a coffee cup with "fucking pigs" written on it by staff at McDonalds. The story went viral, uncritically laundered by local media and spread by outraged conservatives on the internet. But it turned out he was lying. McDonalds had the receipts—video surveillance of the purchase—and forced the Herington P.D. to admit that it didn't happen. The cop "is no longer employed" by Herington Police Department, says Chief Brian Hornaday
"In (our) investigation we have found that McDonald's and its employees did not have anything whatsoever to do with this incident, this was completely and solely fabricated by a Herington police officer who is no longer employed with our agency," Herington Police Department Chief Brian Hornaday said in a news conference Monday.
The incident, the chief said, has been an "obvious violation of ... public trust."
"Our job is solely to do this job with the utmost integrity because if you can't trust the cops, who can you trust," he said.
It was Hornaday himself who first posted the photos to social media, which is why we don't know the name of the cop, because he is refusing to tell anyone. "If you can't trust the cops, who can you trust," he adds. Read the rest
Propublica's meticulously researched and reported story about McKinsey's roles in designing ICE's detention centers, advising ICE to skimp on supervision, food and medical care, is as unimpeachable as all of Propublica's work.
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America's telcoms sector is hugely concentrated and corrupt, and systematically underinvests in maintenance and infrastructure even as it gouges customers, which it can get away with thanks to its monopoly power, leaving Americans with some of the world's worst, most expensive communications services.
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Apple's response to the Congressional committee investigating monopolistic behavior by tech giants contains a chapter on Right to Repair, whose greatest enemy is Apple -- the company led successful campaigns to kill 20 state level Right to Repair bills last year.
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The Really Online Lefty League has a wonderful ad running on Facebook. Using archival footage of Republican leaders speaking up for the environment, to prove AOC's point about Facebook being untrustworthy and duplicitous, the ad shows Lindsay Graham backing the Green New Deal.
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It is all the fake media, she says.
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A judge says that NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo should be fired for his “reckless” use of a banned chokehold—and for lying about it after his victim Eric Garner, an unarmed black man selling cigarettes on the street, died.
The judge, Rosemarie Maldonado, who has recommended that Officer Pantaleo be fired, concluded that he had been “untruthful” during the interview, according to the opinion that grew out of a departmental trial that ended in June.
A final decision about Officer Pantaleo’s fate rests with the police commissioner, and will come five years after the death of Mr. Garner — who uttered “I can’t breathe” 11 times — first galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement
Pictured here is Eric with his family. Read the rest
Trump wants to buy Greenland, because of course he does. Reading the coverage, it struck me that media generally prefer to use the Mercator projection when showing the island. This is because we think it's funny to depict Greenland as a vast place as large as North America itself.
Though all 2D projections of our very 3D planet are distorted, this particular projection was designed for navigating equatorial seas and is ludicrously obsolete and inappropriate for depicting arctic regions. Instead, here's a general perspective projection--the globe as if viewed from space--that shows Greenland's true size, relatively undistorted compared to neighboring regions.
Still a big place—just not as big as the BBC's misleading map would have it. (Which is crudely inaccurate, too, with that distance marker) Read the rest
In The Independent, Dora B writes about experiencing a growing and disturbing awareness that they were being shunned and excluded from their field of specialism. Dora eventually used the GDPR—Europe's recent law providing access to the data held on you by companies and institutions—to expose what was going on. Dora was not only professionally blacklisted, the emails revealed, but privately the subject of insults, scorn and abuse from peers that Dora trusted and depended upon for references and appointments.
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Firstly, my eminent and influential PhD supervisor had let it be widely known that they thought I was an unpleasant person, impossible to work with, fundamentally stupid, and that I definitely shouldn’t be doing a doctorate.
They complained vigorously about having such an awful student, but never mentioned the two hour-long interviews they conducted with me before agreeing to take me on. After that, one of my PhD examiners had been asked about me off the record, and had advised against me. They repeatedly used insults and demeaning adjectives to block me from several employment positions and speaking engagements.
I approached the individuals and the institutions concerned about the content of my Subject Access Request. They all refused to discuss the matter with me, so I can only speculate as to what was going on. If my conduct had been that awful, I would have received a warning or been subject to some kind of disciplinary procedure, but I wasn’t, so where my supervisor thought I was difficult, it is equally possible that, as a mature student, I merely had clear boundaries.
In The New York Times, Gina Kolata writes that a team of scientists has proven a method of identifying specific individuals from "anonymous" data sets.
Scientists at Imperial College London and Université Catholique de Louvain, in Belgium, reported in the journal Nature Communications that they had devised a computer algorithm that can identify 99.98 percent of Americans from almost any available data set with as few as 15 attributes, such as gender, ZIP code or marital status.
Even more surprising, the scientists posted their software code online for anyone to use. That decision was difficult, said Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, a computer scientist at Imperial College London and lead author of the new paper.
They had to publish because to do the research is to realize that criminals and governments already did the research. Read the rest
Journalists “end up amplifying falsehoods.”
Remember that a lot of what you see today on the internet will be humorless lies. And everything else will be April Fools jokes. Read the rest
Late last year, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson sued Comcast for lying and lying and lying and lying and lying to the people of Minnesota, all the time, because Comcast is a garbage company, universally loathed by every person who has ever come into contact with them, with the sole exception of FCC Chairman, noted coward, and former telcoms exec Ajit "Fucking" Pai.
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File with "I can change the 14th Amendment with an executive order" and "no collusion". [via] Read the rest
Facebook Portal is a camera that is supposed to follow you around your house while you videoconference; the product launch was repeatedly delayed because of the company's string of horrific privacy breaches; when the company finally pulled the trigger on the launch it was at pains to insist that Portal would not collect your data while you used it.
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To enable "further research of information operations on Twitter", the company today published a dataset of tweets posted by known Russian and Iranian troll farms.
In line with our strong principles of transparency and with the goal of improving understanding of foreign influence and information campaigns, we are releasing the full, comprehensive archives of the Tweets and media that are connected with these two previously disclosed and potentially state-backed operations on our service. We are making this data available with the goal of encouraging open research and investigation of these behaviors from researchers and academics around the world.
These large datasets comprise 3,841 accounts affiliated with the IRA, originating in Russia, and 770 other accounts, potentially originating in Iran. They include more than 10 million Tweets and more than 2 million images, GIFs, videos, and Periscope broadcasts, including the earliest on-Twitter activity from accounts connected with these campaigns, dating back to 2009.
Downloads! The Russian set is 1.24GB of tweets, with nearly 300GB of media. The Iranian one is 168MB, with 65GB of media. Read the rest
Now seems like a fine time to read this Scientific American article titled The Art of Lying by Theodor Schaarschmidt. According to a study conducted by UC Santa Barbara psychologist Bella M. DePaulo and referenced in the article, people make up around two stories every day. Apparently, children "initially have difficulty formulating believable lies, but proficiency improves with age. Young adults between 18 and 29 do it best. After about the age of 45, we begin to lose this ability." From Scientific American:
Current thinking about the psychological processes involved in deception holds that people typically tell the truth more easily than they tell a lie and that lying requires far more cognitive resources. First, we must become aware of the truth; then we have to invent a plausible scenario that is consistent and does not contradict the observable facts. At the same time, we must suppress the truth so that we do not spill the beans—that is, we must engage in response inhibition. What is more, we must be able to assess accurately the reactions of the listener so that, if necessary, we can deftly produce adaptations to our original story line. And there is the ethical dimension, whereby we have to make a conscious decision to transgress a social norm. All this deciding and self-control implies that lying is managed by the prefrontal cortex—the region at the front of the brain responsible for executive control, which includes such processes as planning and regulating emotions and behavior.
"The Art of Lying" (Scientific American)
image: screenshot of Pinocchio film trailer, public domain
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