First-grade worksheet about running from cops deemed "inappropriate"

First-grade schoolchildren in Pittsburgh were given a worksheet to fill out that contained an unusual scenario.

The worksheet says:

“Tom will run. He will run from the cop. Tom will run with Rob. They will not stop. Look at the cop. The cop has a big mop. What will he do with the mop? Tom falls on a log. Rob falls in the pond. ‘Get them!’ yells the cop to his dog. The dog gets Tom and Rob. Rob’s socks is wet from the pond.”

[Pittsburgh Public Schools Public Information Officer Ebony Pugh] said the school is reaching out to parents to begin the “discussion” and address concerns the worksheet has raised.

What will Tom say to the cops when they catch him?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ Read the rest

Scott Adams, of "Dilbert" fame, threatens legal action over tweet mocking him

Cartoonist Scott Adams is famous for "Dilbert", for his right-wing commentary, and most recently a nauseating attempt to promote an app after the Gilroy massacre. On Twitter, journalist John Cook mocked him as "the louis farrakhan of incel white nationalists." Adams threatened legal action.

"No wonder your piece of shit Gawker publication got its balls cut off," Adams wrote. "My lawyers will be contacting you."

Adams would be unlikely to prevail should he follow through with the implied lawsuit, as libel concerns false statements of fact, not insults. But the threat of lawsuits—especially the cost of defending them—is a time-honored method of silencing critics and mockers. Read the rest

Sexy Mr. Rogers costume

Trashwear retailer Yandy has released the perfect costume for Halloween 2019: sexy Mr Rogers. (Previously)

Won't you be my neighbor? Entice your friends next door with your playful puppets! Suit up with a neck tie, and be the friendliest next door neighbor in town in this exclusive Nicest Neighbor costume featuring a red top with a V-neckline, long fitted sleeves, a white detachable collar with a black neck tie, and matching high waisted gray shorts with belt loops. (Hand puppets, wig, belt and socks not included.)

Amazon has plenty of gray wigs in the requisite style, but those hand puppets seem hard to find. Read the rest

KFC launches trial of horrific "Chicken Donut"

Move over, Popeyes and Chick-fil-A! Fast-food giant KFC is trialing a new menu item in Pittsburgh and Richmond. The Chicken Donut is a slab of deep-fried chicken sandwiched between two glazed donuts.

Consumers are increasingly seeking novel, crave-able flavor combinations that give them the best of both sweet and savory worlds to create a unique taste experience. Through this test market, KFC is evaluating consumer appetite for bringing this growing food trend to its customers on a national scale.

Business Insider reports on the carb bomb.

The chicken-and-doughnut meal will cost $5.50 for one doughnut and $7.50 for two doughnuts. The sandwich is priced at $6, or as a combo meal for $8. KFC said customers can also add a doughnut — served hot — to any meal for $1.

KFC said in a press release that it was using the test to evaluate whether customers are craving chicken and doughnuts on a national scale.

According to a representative, the doughnuts will arrive at stores already cooked, and when a customer orders them, the doughnuts will be dipped in the fryers and glazed with a vanilla icing to ensure they are hot and fresh.

Read the rest

Richard Stallman resigns from MIT and the Free Software Foundation

Richard Stallman resigned Monday from his positions at MIT and the Free Software Foundation, following controvery over his remarks suggeting victims of Jeffrey Epstein were willing participants.

Last week it emerged that Stallman had cast doubt upon the reports that AI pioneer Marvin Minsky had sexually assaulted one of Epstein’s victims. In an email chain sent to the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) mailing list that was published by Motherboard, Stallman said that “the most plausible scenario” was that Epstein’s victim “presented herself to [Marvin Minsky] as entirely willing.”

"Stallman cast doubt over the use of the term “sexual assault”"

Stallman also described the distinction between a 17 or 18 year old victim as a “minor” detail, and suggested that it was an “injustice” to refer to it as a “sexual assault.” The emails first came to light after MIT alum Selam Jie Gano posted about them on Medium, and she said they would have been seen by undergraduates who are themselves 17 or 18.

Financier and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein killed himself last month while awaiting trial on new sex trafficking charges, amid speculation about his extensive contacts with America's scientific and political elites.

Stallman, who founded the FSF in 1985, said that headlines casting his remarks as a defense of Epstein were a mischaracterization. But they also drew attention to Stallman's long history of jocular sexism and now-repudiated past arguments in favor of permitting child pornography.

MIT's own entaglements with Epstein, and its apparent efforts to conceal them, recently led to the resignation of MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito. Read the rest

New York Times: Brett Kavanaugh thrusting his penis in a woman's face "may seem like harmless fun"

The New York Times has a story out today about Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh's old schoolmates tattling on sexual misbehavior, and the FBI's refusal to talk to any of them in its abbreviated and crudely politicized investigation of him. Here's the tweet the NYT used to pitch it to readers:

This is what Richard Rorty described twenty years ago as the coming age of "jocular contempt for women" in public life. He was wrong, though, in thinking it would be a fashion of badly-educated Americans reacting against college graduates. You think the person who wrote that headline skipped school?

UPDATE: The NYT deleted the tweet, without apology, claiming it was "poorly phrased."

On the contrary, the sentiment contained in the tweet was phrased concisely and unambiguously. It is not the phrasing that was poor. Read the rest

The EFF received a false copyright takedown demand. Bad mistake.

At the EFF's Deeplinks blog, the foundation posts a copyright takedown demand sent to it regarding an illustration used on an earlier posting. Given that the EFF is paramount among organizations fighting for more liberal copyright laws and employs numerous lawyers, activists and experts to this end, this already seems a tentative prospect. In this case, though, it turns out to be worse than that: the EFF's own artists created the illustration.

For EFF this was more amusing than threatening. We knew instantly that we needn’t worry about the implied threat, and if things went badly, we probably have more IP litigators per capita than any entity that’s not a boutique IP litigation firm. So we wrote back explaining the situation, and expect that will be the end of this.

But for many entities, it can be quite scary. Even if they are secure in their rights, the potential for a costly or time-consuming conflict may lead to a rational choice that a link is a low-cost solution. They might wonder if this misunderstanding will escalate into a DMCA takedown, potentially interfering with the availability of the page until the improper notice is resolved. Even if they disregard such a weak threat, dealing with it has the serious potential to take time away from running their operation.

Read the rest

High school apologizes for assigning suicide note as English homework

The Cheney School in Oxford, England, apologized this week after asking students to write suicide notes as part of their English homework. The assignment generated complaints.

GCSE English students at Cheney School in Headington, Oxford, were set the task as part of studying J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls. One mother branded the exercise - which invited teenagers to adopt the persona of a young woman in 1912 - a "massive fail".

In a statement, the school said it was "very sorry for any distress caused".

LINK: Resources for people in crisis Read the rest

What should become of the MIT Media Lab?

The MIT Media Lab is in crisis after the extent of child-abusing billionaire Jeffrey Epstein's donations became clear. Its director resigned in disgrace after an article at The New Yorker exposed the extent of those ties and apparent efforts to cover them up. Alumni participated in a public support campaign that came to exemplify the geek social fallacies. The lab is long-accused of being more a corporate advocacy playground than an incubator of research and the arts.

Destroy it, writes Noah Kulwin:

What, then, is the point of something like the MIT Media Lab? What is the justification for its continued existence? After all, elite academia is rotted through with corporate sponsorship these days, particularly from Silicon Valley; a 2017 Wall Street Journal report revealed that Google had funded “hundreds” of research papers written by professors from Harvard, UC Berkeley, the University of Illinois and elsewhere, which reached conclusions favorable to the company’s anti-regulation position. As the critic Evgeny Morozov notes in The Guardian, the purpose of the MIT Media Lab is something a little more grand, a little less visibly craven: to create a “third culture” of the elite, replacing “technophobic literary intellectuals with those coming from the world of science and technology.”

Put into action, the “third culture” is a safe haven for breathless bullshit, a place where the ultra-rich might fantasize about, say, administering a eugenics scheme in New Mexico with the semen of a convicted serial sexual predator. Whether or not “third culture” progenitors like the Media Lab actually go forward with such an insane idea is beside the point, as they’re just happy to help cash a check

In looking for a counterpoint, someone outlining how the lab might be saved, I came up blank today, but for an old tweet. Read the rest

Please note that the at-home "metoo"-branded rape kits aren't real products

A Brooklyn company is supposedly offering at-home "metoo"-branded rape kits, complete with official-looking "EVIDENCE" tape. Such kits would be legally useless, according to experts.

The kits are not yet available for purchase, but the idea has already sparked criticism. In a cease-and-desist letter to the company, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel argued that “an at-home evidence kit does not address the health care needs of many sexual assault survivors,” and that any evidence collected might not be admissible in court.

“We are advocates for all options for survivors” as long as those options are not dangerous or harmful, Morgan Dewey, communications director for the group End Rape on Campus, told Vox. “This is in fact harmful.”

Company co-founder Madison Campbell told Vox that the kit was in its early stages and that she wanted to work with experts on making sure the evidence gathered by users could be admissible in court. She said the idea for the kit was rooted in her personal experience as a survivor of campus sexual assault.

Poe's law may be defined as "without a signifier of humor, it is impossible to tell extremism from parody."

As the only company by the name Metoo in New York's public records appears to be a Chinese restaurant, I propose a corollary: "without an LLC or trademark registration, it is impossible to tell a bad joke from a grift." Read the rest

Collection of sites with dumb password rules

The entries at the dumb-password-rules hall of shame are truly dreadful, especially the banks. My favorite ones are sites whose security measures run in the user's browser, which means it can be overridden by opening the web inspector and editing the rules. Why yes, javascript, 敗' OR 1=1 -- is a fine username.

At Hacker News, turdnagel writes about one astonishing example of incompetence.

My favorite dumb password experience involves EZPass, a system for paying tolls without cash, in New York.

I signed up for EZPass using a relatively “long” password (20 chars). I then received a letter in the mail about a toll I had to pay, even though I’d had the EZPass at the the time. But, the letter said, I could pay the toll by logging in to their site and using my EZpass credentials. Didn’t use OAuth but I figured it would be OK. I input my username and password using my password manager but it didn’t work. Pretty strange, as I was able to log in to the “main” EZpass site using those same credentials. I tried logging in on the payment site again to no avail. Finally I realized that my password was being truncated by the password input field itself.

The solution was to inspect the page and change the maxlen attribute of the password field.

There are sites that block password managers! One site has you send three characters of your old password when picking a new one. American Express is apparently still on 8-character case-insentive alphanumeric passwords, which at this point suggests you might go to a public library to read about the security defects of its systems, in printed books written by people who have been dead for decades. Read the rest

Stop typing and "The Most Dangerous Writing App" wipes everything

The Most Dangerous Writing App is a simple, attractive text editor on the web. But there's a twist to Manuel Ebert's design: if you stop typing before 5 minutes is up, your work starts to fade, and if you don't start again immediately, it disappears completely.

It's not absolute—you can copy your work out of the box, and it's not bugging you with a spellchecker to stop you going klsdafjgh alskdfjhasd kjfh to get through moments of block. But you are gonna be typing all the same, and that's the point.

Read the rest

Dead man unavailable for comment

Journalism is a tough job, especially when they won't pick up the phone! Read the rest

Babies turn into hairy "werewolves" after mislabeled Rogaine sold as antacid

A pharmaceutical lab in Spain mislabeled minoxidil (a hair-loss drug sold in the U.S. as Rogaine) as omeprazole (an antacid marketed as Prilosec). Excess hair growth resulted after babies were prescribed the latter and consumed the former, reports the New York Times.

The children who took the mislabeled medicine, some of them babies, began growing hair all over their bodies, a rare condition known as hypertrichosis, Spain’s health minister said on Wednesday. ...

Ms. Carcedo, the health minister, told reporters that no pharmacy in Spain still had the mislabeled omeprazole.

“We have immobilized all the batches,” she said.

Do not drink Rogaine. Read the rest

@Jack Hacked

The incompetence horrowshow is on Twitter right now! It's lasted a few minutes; to my shame was I there to see it and wonder how long it would last, and it has not ceased yet.

UPDATE, 1:02 p.m. Eastern Time: It has ceased. Read the rest

Dior launches racist Native American-themed ad campaign for "The New Sauvage"

You can explain it to them. They can sense the damage, and they can perceive that they have made a mistake. They can pretend to be contrite, and maybe for a brief moment they can even understand what it is they have done wrong. But as soon as the voices of complaint fade away and the crisis subsides, they'll go right back to doing it again, because the truth is they don't care and they are completely indifferent to everything about you that they cannot take and sell.

UPDATE: Here's the amazing full-length version; Johnny Depp is involved.

Read the rest

Wonkette posts bizarre cease-and-desist letter it received from "Diamond and Silk"

Diamond and Silk are a social media duo famous for supporting Trump and claiming, without evidence, that Facebook "censored" them. Wonkette is a news, politics and culture website. Bianca DeLaRosa writes for it, and recently offered the opinion that Diamond and Silk were notable as "Black White Nationalists" due to their support of Trump's policies and their own ethnicity. Diamond and Silk threatened to sue Wonkette, it claims, over this opinion piece, and the cease-and-decist letter is amazing.

The consensus among lawyers on the internet is that the "Diamond and Silk Legal Team" is probably not, technically, a lawyer. I'm having trouble with the idea that the letter's even real. It's so strewn with spelling mistakes and mangled legal terminology that it reads like a joke about a stupid person pretending to be a lawyer—an exemplar of Poe's Law, the maxim that it is impossible to distinguish parody from authenticity on the Internet.

Read the rest

More posts