Apparently Facebook did approve ads saying Republicans support the Green New Deal

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.

Video Link Read the rest

Shocking: Trump campaign official insists President Trump has never lied

It is all the fake media, she says.

Read the rest

NYPD cop who choked Eric Garner lied about it to investigators, says judge

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

How big Greenland really is

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

Academic used GDPR request to reveal they'd been secretly blacklisted

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.

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.

Read the rest

Algorithm can identify 99.98% of users in supposedly "anonymized" data

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

Big U.S. news media Twitter accounts amplify Trump's lies uncritically 19 times a day: Study

Journalists “end up amplifying falsehoods.”

Warning: It's April Fools' day

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

Minnesota Attorney General's suit catalogs the many lies of Comcast

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. Read the rest

Trump claims, without evidence, that he is "extremely happy"

File with "I can change the 14th Amendment with an executive order" and "no collusion". [via] Read the rest

Facebook lied: its in-home "Portal" cameras will collect your data

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. Read the rest

Twitter publishes tweet archive of Russian and Iranian state-run troll farms

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

The art (and science) of lying

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 Read the rest

FBI dumps all over Trump's Clinton-China hacking distraction

Trump repeating conspiracy theories does not make them true, Fox NEWS has to repeat them 30 more times.

Via Ars Technica:

The Federal Bureau of Investigations issued a terse statement today regarding President Donald J. Trump's allegation via Twitter that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private mail server had been compromised by the Chinese government. The official statement, issued by an FBI spokesperson in response to an inquiry by NBC News, simply read, "The FBI has not found any evidence the servers were compromised"—referring to the three email servers used by Clinton during and after her tenure at the US State Department.

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What to do when your 5'8" boyfriend insists he is 6 feet tall

Daniel Mallory Ortberg:

A: This is not a situation where you need much of a strategy beyond “acknowledging reality.” Talk to your boyfriend. “Hey, it’s clear that this hits a really deep nerve for you, but I’m not sure why you keep bringing up your height and insisting that you’re 6 feet tall. It was obvious at the doctor’s office that you felt very strongly about hearing your height spoken aloud. What’s going on?” If he wants to talk about his feelings about his height with you, that’s going to be a lot more useful to him than pretending he’s 4 inches taller for the rest of his life.

Ah, but what do to when your 5'11" president insists he is 6'3"?

Trudeau, you see, is standing taller than Trump. Which is difficult to explain when Trudeau is 6″2, and Trump claims to be 6″3. At least, that figure is according to Trump’s physical exam results which were released in January this year by the White House doctor. Other than his lack of exercise, love of junk food and obsession with Diet Coke, Trump was declared to be overall in “excellent health”.

Now, critics are suggesting Trump overestimated his height so his Body Mass Index would be conveniently classified as “overweight”, not “obese”.

White House Photo. Read the rest

Nicaragua's Ortega says everything's fine while protestors continue to die in the street

Are you sitting down? After months of anti-government protests, over 300 civilian deaths and, more recently, the rounding up of protesters and intellectuals who were designated as terrorists or linked to risks to Nicaragua’s sovereignty, the country’s president-cum-dictator Daniel Ortega announced today that he refuses to step down from his post. On the bright side, Ortega told Fox News (the preferred network of dictators and kleptocrats, apparently) that he has fabulous news: the violence that's plagued his nation for months is over! Just like that!

Except, it isn’t.

From CBS News:

Thousands of people marched yesterday in Nicaragua to demand that President Daniel Ortega step down. The demonstrations over proposed benefit cuts, which began three months ago, are expected to continue today.

CBS News correspondent Manuel Bojorquez reports an eerie quiet during much of the day in the capital city of Managua, as people stay home and business owners close up shop for their own safety.

But after the calm, the sounds of protest pierce the air, and the fear of bloody confrontations returns.

Within minutes of arriving in the capital, Bojorquez encountered an anti-government protest and the sound of mortar fire.

It didn’t take long for Bojorquez to find the source of the mortar fire. He spoke with a group of young men who’d DIY’d their mortars, firing them off as a warning that government forces and para-militaries were drawing near. The mortar crews provide the warning with good reason: over the past few weeks, violent attacks against protestors by loyalist paramilitaries and Nicaraguan police have intensified. Read the rest

Florida cop accuses Burger King of putting dirt on his burger. It was seasoning.

Tim McCormick, a cop in Fort Myers, publicly accused a local Burger King of serving him dirt on a burger. But after an investigation, the "dirt" was found to be the burger seasoning.

Fitzpatrick said that after the officers watched the video they determined that nothing inappropriate had happened to the food cooked for McCormick.

So what was it?

As part of the prep process for cooking the meat, Fitzpatrick said, there is a salt and pepper blend applied to the food. He said it is possible that the spice mixture, as well as the flame-broiled grilling process itself, may have left particles the officer thought was dirt.

Also:

McCormick, posting under the Facebook name of Mac O'Durham, added that he noticed that his receipt had block letters with the word POLICE on it, something he said he had never noticed in previous visits.

But the restaurant has more receipts:

"Every one of our guests we ask 'May we have your name to better serve you?'," he said.

In this instance when the server asked McCormick for his name he simply said "officer." When the clerk didn't understand and asked him to repeat his name, McCormick said "police officer."

Christ, what an asshole. Read the rest

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