Wednesday October 16th, 2019

That dark cloud spreading northward is

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That dark cloud spreading northward is apparently burning storage tanks at the refinery in Crockett

Tuesday October 15th, 2019

FBI abusing NSA database

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Remember the FBI's promise it wasn’t abusing the NSA’s data on US citizens? Well, guess what…

The FBI routinely misused a database, gathered by the NSA with the specific purpose of searching for foreign intelligence threats, by searching it for everything from vetting to spying on relatives.

Via Violet Blue

Legacy of Mao

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Washington Post — The Volokh Conspiracy — Remembering the biggest mass murder in the history of the world:

Who was the biggest mass murderer in the history of the world? Most people probably assume that the answer is Adolf Hitler, architect of the Holocaust. Others might guess Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, who may indeed have managed to kill even more innocent people than Hitler did, many of them as part of a terror famine that likely took more lives than the Holocaust. But both Hitler and Stalin were outdone by Mao Zedong. From 1958 to 1962, his Great Leap Forward policy led to the deaths of up to 45 million people – easily making it the biggest episode of mass murder ever recorded.

Monday October 14th, 2019

Millennihilism

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ABC news memory hole

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Oh geez: ABC News apparently aired some video from the "Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot" as video of Syria attacks

Source video: Knob Creek Machine gun shoot. 2017, Merica (YouTube video)

I guess what bothers me most about this is that a Google news search for "abc news all out military assault kurdish civilians" is bringing up a whole bunch of "404" or "this video has been marked private" results; rather than taking responsibility and posting corrections on those search results, it's just "memory hole, this didn't exist".

I hope ABC posts a full post-mortem of how this happened.

ABC news memory hole

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Oh geez: ABC News apparently aired some video from the "Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot" as video of Syria attacks

Source video: Knob Creek Machine gun shoot. 2017, Merica (YouTube video)

I guess what bothers me most about this is that a Google news search for "abc news all out military assault kurdish civilians" is bringing up a whole bunch of "404" or "this video has been marked private" results; rather than taking responsibility and posting corrections on those search results, it's just "memory hole, this didn't exist".

I hope ABC posts a full post-mortem of how this happened.

Car Pollution

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Car Pollution In Boston Area Neighborhoods Poses Health Risk To Residents, New Research Finds

Levy's research also found minorities in Massachusetts are breathing in more of this stuff than white people because of living in communities with greater exposure. And those with lower educational attainment have more exposure than more educated people. Massachusetts is currently working with eight other states to develop a policy for reducing the region's transportation emissions.

Sunday October 13th, 2019

Fort Worth cops kill woman in her own home

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Don't call the police unless you want someone killed: Woman killed in own home when Fort Worth officer shoots her, police and witness say :

Police released a statement Saturday afternoon saying officers responded at 2:25 a.m. to a report the front door of a home was open in the 1200 block of East Allen Avenue. James Smith, who called a non-emergency police number, said he saw the doors were open and the lights were on, which struck him as unusual. He knew Jefferson, his neighbor, was home with her 8-year-old nephew.

Apparently they shot her through the window.

Saturday October 12th, 2019

Cash/Consent

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If you are at all interested in the intersection of consent and sex and work and all that stuff rolled into one, this is an amazing essay: N+1 Magazine: Lorelei Lee — Cash/Consent — The war on sex work

... I remember Hall testifying to the committee that he had written this bill because someone needed to be “a voice for the voiceless,” and that person would be him. I sat beside him at a podium microphone. My coworkers stood in a long line at a microphone behind him, waiting for him to stop so we could speak.

Via Eros Blog: Making Porn And Doing Sex Work: It’s Complicated

Friday October 11th, 2019

A number of people have been posting this story as indication of some sort of malfeasance by PG&E. I'm not gonna defend PG&E, but this is a failure of social services, or the medical system, not PG&E. Here in relatively dense Petaluma we had an 18 hour outage because someone missed the curve at Mountain View and Fairview (the one in the middle of https://goo.gl/maps/VVxmYsqJQ43gc5kb6 with the white rocks and the reflectors) and took out the power pole. I realize California doesn't have much in the way of thunderstorms, but they occur, and when I lived in Chattanooga we lost power regularly because of such things.

Yes, 4 or 5 days without power is a thing (although when we lived in Lagunitas, within an hour of San Francisco, that wasn't that unusual.

If you're 12 minutes of power failure away from death, in freakin' Pollock Pines California, that's not the fault of the power company.

Northern California man found dead 12 minutes after PG&E power shutoff, fire district says

SFPD assaulted cyclist

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SFPD officer accused of lying under oath after severely beating bicyclist in SF’s Mission

Officers celebrated with ‘high-fives’ and ‘fist-bumps’ after beating man who rode bike on sidewalk, per witness testimony — and body camera footage

Thursday October 10th, 2019

Watched by humans

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Don't point your cameras at anything you don't want the world seeing: Amazon Workers May Be Watching Your Cloud Cam Home Footage

Teams in India and Romania use video snippets sent by customers for troubleshooting purposes and to train artificial intelligence algorithms.

And, once again, "AI" means "underpaid human".

Conch Shell Mask

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Hold the fuck up

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Vaccination schedules by country

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Trump defends diplomat's wife involved in car crash that killed British teenager: 'It happens'

I don't mean to emphasize the "Trump" part of this story, 'cause I frankly believe that most US Presidents would react the same way; we've normalized automobile violence.

Wednesday October 9th, 2019

So, apparently Medium is over and it's now just all cryptocurrency shilling, all the time?

porpoiseful tuna

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Consumers sue Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea, StarKist over 'dolphin-safe' tuna claims.

What's most surprising to me about this (another friend who's reading legal briefs on this has passed along) is that there are actually legit brands:

"Several tuna companies use traditional pole-and-line and trolling methods of catching tuna. These products include Safe Catch, Ocean Naturals (for its Albacore tuna), and Wild Planet, which are caught using pole-and-line and trolling, and American Tuna, Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value brand (for its skipjack and albacore tuna), and Trader Joe’s (for its yellowfin tuna), which are caught using exclusively pole-and-line."

https://www.dolphin-safe-tuna-lawsuits.com/case-information/

Tuesday October 8th, 2019

I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation

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I was prepared to give the Dallas PD the benefit of the doubt, but... Dallas police name three suspects in Joshua Brown murder investigation. Joshua Brown was a witness in the prosecution of Dallas police officer Amber Guyger's murder of her neighbor Botham Jean.

The assertion is that 3 people drove 300 miles from Alexandria, Louisiana, to buy cannabis from Joshua Brown.

So, yeah: 3 dudes from the middle of Louisiana drove all the way to Dallas to buy weed? There are way way more plausible scenarios.

inconsistent with statutory minimization requirements

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Secret Court: FBI Warrantless Searches Were Illegal

Judge James Boasberg of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court found last October that elements of FBI procedures for querying the databases and then purging irrelevant results – a mechanism to protect Americans’ privacy – “inconsistent with statutory minimization requirements and the requirements of the Fourth Amendment,” which protects Americans against unreasonable searches.

Among the awful of China's brutal

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Among the awful of China's brutal crackdown in Hong Kong is seeing how quickly organizations that have said they can't do anything about neo-Nazis are to suppress pro-freedom speech. At least seeing all the conservatives become suddenly pro-authoritarian is validating.

Yahoo engineer snooping on email

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US Department of Justice: Former Yahoo Software Engineer Pleads Guilty To Using Work Access To Hack Into Yahoo Users’ Personal Accounts

In pleading guilty, Ruiz, a former Yahoo software engineer, admitted to using his access through his work at the company to hack into about 6,000 Yahoo accounts. Ruiz cracked user passwords, and accessed internal Yahoo systems to compromise the Yahoo accounts. Ruiz admitted to targeting accounts belonging to younger women, including his personal friends and work colleagues. He made copies of images and videos that he found in the personal accounts without permission, and stored the data at his home. Once he had access to the Yahoo accounts, Ruiz admitted to compromising the iCloud, Facebook, Gmail, DropBox, and other online accounts of the Yahoo users in search of more private images and videos. After his employer observed the suspicious account activity, Ruiz admitted to destroying the computer and hard drive on which he stored the images.

Monday October 7th, 2019

"... my great and unmatched wisdom..."

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As Donald Trump abandons our allies the Kurds (presumably in pursuit of trying to get Biden dirt out of Erdogan), it's pretty awful to see this batshit insanity: RT Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over...

Who's paying the tariffs?

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Hong Kong protests

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Fantastic look at the protests in Hong Kong, the kindness of strangers, and how the unrest there goes far beyond the protesters: October 1 in Hong Kong: Solidarity, resistance and the kindness of strangers

I don't have a before shot

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I don't have a before shot, but I found it striking how much this simple sign changed the tenor of Helen Putnam Plaza

Lin Oliver, Henry Winkler, Charlene and me