Culture


Twitter crackdown sparks free speech concerns

Twitter’s verification program put the company at the center of another political headache this week, with the social media giant stuck between liberals who demand stricter rules about hate speech and misinformation and conservatives who fear the site will target them for their political views.

Twitter’s “blue checkmark” verification program is meant to authenticate the identities of high-profile users. But it’s also come to be seen as an endorsement or mark of approval from Twitter, sparking outrage when the checkmarks were bestowed on white nationalists like Richard Spencer or Charlottesville, Va. “Unite the Right” organizer Jason Kessler.

The social media site responded to the criticism Wednesday by taking checkmarks away from several users affiliated with the far right or white nationalism, as well as kicking one prominent Charlottesville marcher off the platform permanently.

Further changes are expected next week, when Twitter says it will implement more rules. Twitter declined to comment on the changes.

While liberals cheered the crackdown, conservatives worried that they’ll be punished next. Describing the crackdown, a Breitbart headline declared that “conservative figures” had been “purged.”

 

 

source/read more:http://thehill.com/policy/technology/360806-twitter-crackdown-sparks-free-speech-concerns

Sweden Installs Microphones in Migrant Areas to Pick Up Women’s Screams

17th Nov 2017

Police in Sweden are installing microphones in migrant ghetto areas to pick up the sound of women screaming as the country’s rape crisis continues to escalate after the mass importation of Muslim “refugees”.

The Stockholm County Administrative Board will use both surveillance cameras and sound detectors to pick up “tell-tale” sounds such as explosions, gunfire, the clatter of broken glass and the shrieks of women being attacked.

“I know that police in New York have long been using microphones with success. From what I know, however, this is the first time a police authority has received permission to do this sort of thing in Sweden,” Joakim Söderström told the Svenska Dagbladet daily.

The first rollout of the technology will be in Järva, where a gay pride parade organized by right-wingers to highlight the intolerance of Muslims was cancelled last year after death threats towards conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos.

The new program follows the rollout of surveillance cameras that were recently installed in the notorious migrant areas of Rinkeby, Tensta and Husby.

The microphones will partly act as a stand in for actual police officers given that Järva’s only police station is set to close despite crime figures continuing to rise in no-go migrant suburbs, where cops, firefighters and ambulance workers are routinely attacked.

The number of gang-related shootings has surged 43% over the last three years in Sweden, while rapes have increased by 14% since last year. A recent poll also found that half of young women in the country felt insecure walking the streets.

The figures back up veteran Swedish police officer Peter Springare’s assertion that crimes he processed, which include rape, assault, violence against police, drug trafficking and murder, were almost exclusively committed by someone named “Mohammed” or a variation of that name and the culprits were invariably from Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, Somalia, or Syria.

Sexual assaults on women at music festivals in Sweden have also risen by 1000%, with feminists and organizers responding by proposing that all men be banned from such events.

Low level urban terrorism and grenade attacks are also now commonplace in Sweden’s migrant areas, with a whopping 16 explosions in the last 28 days alone.

 

source/read more: https://www.infowars.com/sweden-installs-microphones-in-migrant-areas-to-pick-up-womens-screams/

Council Cracks Down on ‘Islamophobia’ After Parents Withdraw Children from School Mosque Trips

15th Nov 2017

A council in Britain is taking action to crack down on “Islamophobia” in response to some parents refusing to send their children on mosque visits arranged by schools.

After it emerged that some pupils were being prevented from going on school trips to mosques by their families, Staffordshire’s Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) produced a document claiming mosque visits are vital in preparing children for life in “diverse” Britain.

While families have the right to remove their children from school trips, SACRE said it was a “serious matter” that pupils have been withdrawn from mosque visits. Some parents have cited concerns over cost and safety in their requests, while others deplored a “political agenda” behind the activities, according to the Stoke Sentinel.

To counter this trend, SACRE is issuing schools with guidance on how to counter the trend, which includes a template letter to parents claiming that mosque visits play an important role in “helping to prepare and equip pupils for life and citizenship in today’s diverse and plural Britain”.

The education body told schools: “While objections are raised about visits to a number of places of worship, they are most frequently about visits to mosques, which raises the bigger issue of Islamaphobia [sic] and how this can be addressed.”

There have been mixed reactions to SACRE’s response to parents’ concerns, with Stoke Sentinel readers taking to Facebook to express their opinions on the matter.

“As long as there are also trips to places of worship of other religions too, but usually it’s just the mosque and children are expected to pray or even dress as if they were Muslim for this purpose. Would Muslims go to pray in the churches of other religions?” said Lynne Smith.

“I was called a bad parent by a teacher at my daughter’s primary school for not letting her visit a mosque on a school trip,” wrote Gemma Hollins, reporting that “the majority of Muslims” in her child’s class failed to attend a church visit scheduled by the school.

SACRE attracted some controversy when, in 2010, it released Ramadan guidelines instructing Staffordshire schools to halt swimming lessons during the Islamic holy month to ensure Muslim pupils “do not swallow water”, as it could break their fast.

 

 

 

source/read more :http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/11/15/council-islam-parents-mosque-visits/

Email iPad generation’s fingers not ready to write, teachers say

15th Nov 2017

Kindergarten and early primary teachers have aired their concerns that the rise of touchscreen devices means more children are starting school not ready to learn handwriting.

A Saturday morning discussion about the benefits of technology for children prompted Carolyn to send an SMS to ABC Radio Melbourne.

A primary school teacher, Carolyn said she and her colleagues had noticed “a big decline in fine motor skills” among children arriving at prep and kindergarten.

Carolyn and her colleagues blamed their young students’ declining dexterity on their use of touchscreen devices such as tablets and smartphones.

“Children are holding crayons and scissors less and making fewer things with their hands,” she said.

“We’ve noticed that sometimes, even if you pass a pencil or a paintbrush to a child, they’re not quite sure how to receive it and how to hold it.”

Ms Clark said that in general children spend less time than they used to involved in “messy play” such as modelling with playdough or being crafty with scissors and glue.

“Children in families are in households where there’s a lot of electronic devices, from iPhones to iPads and computers, so we know that that’s another option for children,” she said.

She said children who spent too much time on touchscreens did not develop the fine motor skills they needed when it came time to learn to write.

 

 

source/read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-14/ipad-generations-fingers-not-ready-to-write/9143880

Mattel reveals first hijab wearing Barbie doll

14th Nov 2017

The maker of the world famous Barbie doll has revealed plans to sell a doll modelled on an Olympic fencer in the US who competed while wearing a hijab.

Mattel Inc. has created a doll inspired by Ibtihaj Muhammad. She became the first American to compete at the Olympics while wearing a hijab, and won a bronze medal in fencing at the 2016 Rio Games.

(image Twitter Barbie account)

On its website, Mattel said the new Barbie is “inspiration for countless little girls who never saw themselves represented in sports and culture,” adding it hopes the doll “shows girls they can be anything.”

The doll is part of the Barbie “Shero” line that honours women who break boundaries.

Past dolls have included gymnast Gabby Douglas and “Selma” director Ava DuVernay.

Muhammad, 31, said on Twitter that she was “proud” that young people will be able to play with “a Barbie who chooses to wear hijab!”

She described the doll created in her image as a “childhood dream come true.”

 

 

source/ read more: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/kids/mattel-reveals-first-hijab-wearing-barbie-doll/news-story/

Professors Not Happy That Jordan Peterson Wants To Warn Students About ‘Radical Left’ Classes

12 Nov2017

Professor Jordan Peterson, the University of Toronto instructor who won’t use “gender neutral” pronouns, says students should know what they’re getting into when taking courses from hard-core leftist faculty. That’s not sitting well with some of Peterson’s colleagues who say identifying their politics amounts to harassment.

Peterson told the Toronto Star on Friday that he has discussed the idea of creating an “information website” that would forewarn students that a course they’ve selected has an ideological axe to grind with “radical left social justice-oriented courses.”

“I’m not happy with the fact that a huge chunk of the humanities and the social sciences have turned into an indoctrination cult. So I thought, well, the students need to be informed. Because they don’t have the information necessary to make an informed choice, and this would help them make an informed choice,” Peterson told the Star.

The professor says he’s surprised that there would be objections raised now when he hasn’t even discussed the website for over three months. What Peterson envisioned at that time was a reference of “courses and professors and disciplines that should be avoided” for students not interested in left-wing social justice teaching.

But that isn’t sitting well with the U of T facility. Faculty association president Cynthia Messenger issued a statement on Friday that explained how her group “has taken the unprecedented step of asking that the entire executive meet with the provost’s office to express our deep concern about this threat to our members and to the academic mission of the university.”

Peterson was unfazed by the “unprecedented” action, telling the Star that if “what the faculty association did today was an attempt to intimidate me into not doing it, you can be bloody sure that they’ve failed completely.”

 

 

source/read more: http://dailycaller.com/2017/11/11/professors-not-happy-that-jordan-peterson-wants-to-warn-students-about-radical-left-classes/

Once taboo, socialism finds comrades among US millennials

11th Nov 2017

While working as an electrician Lee Carter received a literal shock, through one hand and across the chest, that jolted him into politics and turned him on to what was a dirty word in America for nearly a century: socialism.

His struggle to obtain compensation for the workplace injury inspired him to run for office, and this week Carter ousted a top Republican incumbent to nab a spot in Virginia’s House of Delegates, becoming one of over a dozen unabashed socialists newly elected to US state and municipal seats one year after Donald Trump took the White House.

The 31-year-old former Marine is part of a growing cadre of Americans, particularly millennials, pledging their allegiance to the Democratic Socialists of America, the nation’s fastest growing leftist group that was originally founded in 1982 as a foothold for Marxists.

Riding the wave of democratic socialist Bernie Sanders’s spirited White House bid against primary rival Hillary Clinton, the organization is helping propel socialism out of the shadows.

In the years prior to the Sanders campaign, the DSA’s number of card-carrying members hovered around 6,500 — and has nearly quintupled since 2016’s presidential race to more than 30,000.

Its median age has dropped from about 60 to 35, according to organizers, some of whom have playfully referred to the surge among youth as a “socialist baby boom.”

Dismayed by Trump’s rise to power Jacquelyn Smith in January joined the DSA, which has chapters in nearly every US state. And at just 22 years old, she managed Carter’s victorious campaign.

Organizing as a DSA member means “I am challenging the root of the problem and not the symptoms,” she told AFP, speaking at a recent convention of the organization’s local Washington branch.

“I focus a lot less on challenging Trump and a lot more on challenging why he got there in the first place,” she said, citing forces including economic inequality and white supremacist movements.

Today Smith said millennials — a generation that grew up during the 2008 financial crisis — are eager for socialism, to “embrace the ideology and really fight with it publicly.”

Under her management DSA members spent months canvassing for Carter in Virginia’s 50th district, about an hour’s drive west of the nation’s capital, knocking on more than 9,000 doors in the final four days.

Those grassroots efforts helped propel Carter, who ran as a socialist on the Democratic party

Despite their current momentum far-left groups like the DSA remain on the fringes of American politics, working within a two-party system that leaves little space for outsiders.

The political group is not a party, and has nowhere near the clout of sister movements elsewhere such as Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in Britain, or Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain.

But socialism has not had a voice this loud in American politics for decades.

Though she would not yet classify the wave of leftist activism as a mass movement, politics professor Cathy Schneider of American University said the DSA’s growth is significant in that it indicates voters shocked by Trumpism are also increasingly disillusioned with the Democratic Party.

“There is a sector of American society who feel that the political parties do not address their concerns,” she said. “The Democratic Socialists have said we have an answer for that.”

Their current strategy does not necessarily include third-party politics; instead the DSA is fielding socialist candidates for elected office using whichever ballot line makes winning likely, generally that of the Democrats.

And though many members got involved in the aftermath of the Sanders campaign, organizers now say their goal is to build a movement not connected to any single politician but instead based on core issues like universal health care, public investment in education and housing and bolstering labor protections.

Schneider also noted that socialism’s “alarming reputation” appears to be fading, no small development in a country that lived through the Red Scare era of anti-communist propaganda.

“People no longer associate socialism with dictatorships in the USSR and China,” she said.

 

 

 

 

source:https://www.yahoo.com/news/once-taboo-socialism-finds-comrades-among-us-millennials-051949477.html

How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You’ve Ever Met

12th nov 2017

In real life, in the natural course of conversation, it is not uncommon to talk about a person you may know. You meet someone and say, “I’m from Sarasota,” and they say, “Oh, I have a grandparent in Sarasota,” and they tell you where they live and their name, and you may or may not recognise them.

You might assume Facebook’s friend recommendations would work the same way: You tell the social network who you are, and it tells you who you might know in the online world. But Facebook’s machinery operates on a scale far beyond normal human interactions. And the results of its People You May Know algorithm are anything but obvious. In the months I’ve been writing about PYMK, as Facebook calls it, I’ve heard more than a hundred bewildering anecdotes:

A man who years ago donated sperm to a couple, secretly, so they could have a child – only to have Facebook recommend the child as a person he should know. He still knows the couple but is not friends with them on Facebook.
A social worker whose client called her by her nickname on their second visit, because she’d shown up in his People You May Know, despite their not having exchanged contact information.
A woman whose father left her family when she was six years old – and who then saw his then-mistress suggested to her as a Facebook friend 40 years later.
An attorney who wrote: “I deleted Facebook after it recommended as PYMK a man who was defence counsel on one of my cases. We had only communicated through my work email, which is not connected to my Facebook, which convinced me Facebook was scanning my work email.”

Investigating the secret algorithm that knows who you know

Connections like these seem inexplicable if you assume Facebook only knows what you’ve told it about yourself. They’re less mysterious if you know about the other file Facebook keeps on you – one that you can’t see or control.

Behind the Facebook profile you’ve built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users. Contact information you’ve never given the network gets associated with your account, making it easier for Facebook to more completely map your social connections.
Behind the Facebook profile you’ve built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users.

Shadow contact information has been a known feature of Facebook for a few years now. But most users remain unaware of its reach and power. Because shadow-profile connections happen inside Facebook’s algorithmic black box, people can’t see how deep the data-mining of their lives truly is, until an uncanny recommendation pops up.

Facebook isn’t scanning the work email of the attorney above. But it likely has her work email address on file, even if she never gave it to Facebook herself. If anyone who has the lawyer’s address in their contacts has chosen to share it with Facebook, the company can link her to anyone else who has it, such as the defence counsel in one of her cases.

Facebook will not confirm how it makes specific People You May Know connections, and a Facebook spokesperson suggested that there could be other plausible explanations for most of those examples – “mutual friendships”, or people being “in the same city/network”. The spokesperson did say that of the stories on the list, the lawyer was the likeliest case for a shadow-profile connection.

 

 

source/read more: https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2017/11/how-facebook-figures-out-everyone-youve-ever-met/

To Fight Revenge Porn, Facebook Is Asking to See Your Nudes

 

8th Nov 2017

The social network is testing a new tool in Australia aimed at stopping non-consensual images from spreading ahead of time.

Facebook has a new strategy for combating revenge porn: It wants to see your nudes first, before an abuser has the chance to spread them.

As part of a new feature the social network is testing in Australia, users are being asked to upload explicit photos of themselves before they send them to anyone else, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

This is how the new feature works. First, you upload an explicit image of yourself to Facebook Messenger (you can do so by starting a conversation with yourself). Then, you flag it as a “non-consensual intimate image” for Facebook.

The social network then builds what is referred to as a “hash” of the image, meaning it creates a unique fingerprint for the file. Facebook says it is not storing the photos, just the hashes of the photos. If another user tries to upload the same image on Facebook or Instagram, Facebook will test it against its stored hashes, and stop those labeled as revenge porn from being distributed.

One information security researcher I spoke to said using the new feature requires putting an enormous amount of trust in Facebook. “Yes, they’re not storing a copy, but the image is still being transmitted and processed. Leaving forensic evidence in memory and potentially on disk,” digital forensics expert Lesley Carhart told me in a Twitter DM. “My speciality is digital forensics and I literally recover deleted images from computer systems all day—off disk and out of system memory. It’s not trivial to destroy all trace of files, including metadata and thumbnails.”

Facebook’s new anti-revenge porn feature follows a similar one it instituted in April. If you report an image as revenge porn when you come across it on Facebook or Instagram, the social network’s moderators will tag the image using photo-matching technology in an attempt to keep it from spreading. Facebook says it disables the account of whoever shared the image in the first place, “in most cases.”

Non-consensual porn became a major scandal for Facebook earlier this year when the secret group Marines United became public. Over 30,000 current and former US servicemen distributed private and often nude images of women, including their female colleagues, without their consent in the secret group.

 

 

 

source/read more; https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/7x478b/facebook-revenge-porn-nudes