The Push to Ostracize Gun Fans on Facebook
This, at least, is the premise of a new gun-control petition, in which the entertainingly neurotic founder of Moms Demand Action, Shannon Watts, complains that “Facebook and Instagram are currently being used to facilitate sales and trades of firearms between private sellers.” In consequence, Watts and her cohorts are calling for the company to “ban gun-themed fan pages on the site,” technology website VentureBeat confirmed yesterday. Thus far, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a few drearily predictable celebrities, and nearly 100,000 Americans have added their names to the supplication.
“…After all, the Internet presents a genuine and welcome challenge to centralized authority, and the state has not yet managed to quell the unruly hordes. And do Facebook and Instagram contribute to this headache? Yes, of course…”
In her entreaty, Watts gripes that Facebook’s “platforms unfortunately allow users to buy, sell, and trade firearms without requiring criminal background checks.” This, she suggests, is “a threat to public safety and the security of our families.” In fact, the “platforms” “allow” no such thing. As a spokesman for Facebook noted with barely disguised irritation, “you can’t buy things on Instagram and Facebook, nor can you promote the sale or use of weapons in advertising.” What he presumably didn’t feel he needed to clarify is that what the two “platforms” dofacilitate is people talking to one another — a service, it should be remembered, that is provided by almost every interactive system on the Internet, including e-mail, instant- and text-messaging services, photo-sharing venues, blogging hosts, comments sections, and forums.
WASHINGTON – The turmoil that was generated between Russia and the United States after President Vladimir Putin granted asylum to Edward Snowden earlier this month escalated even further when President Obama cancelled his private meeting with the Russian president before September’s G-20 conference of world economic leaders in St. Petersburg. But the delicate fragments of alliance that remained between the two countries may have been irretrievably shredded in the proverbial fan today after Vladimir Putin unfriended President Obama on his Facebook page.
Sources inside the administration say President Obama learned of the Russian president’s Facebook coup during his morning White House briefing. Obama became quite upset when he was told the news, but upon learning that Vice President Biden and Vladamir Putin remained Facebook friends the president became enraged, forcing everyone out of the Oval Office before angrily kicking the door closed. Moments later it was discovered President Obama had signed onto his personal Twitter account and unfollowed President Putin.
Klint Finley writes: Nothing beats a movie recommendation from a friend who knows your tastes. At least not yet. Netflix wants to change that, aiming to build an online recommendation engine that outperforms even your closest friends.
The online movie and TV outfit once sponsored what it called the Netflix Prize, asking the world’s data scientists to build new algorithms that could better predict what movies and shows you want to see. And though this certainly advanced the state of the art, Netflix is now exploring yet another leap forward. In an effort to further hone its recommendation engine, the company is delving into “deep learning,” a branch of artificial intelligence that seeks to solve particularly hard problems using computer systems that mimic the structure and behavior of the human brain. The company details these efforts in a recent blog post.
Netflix is following in the footsteps of web giants like Google and Facebook, who have hired top deep-learning researchers in an effort to improve everything from voice recognition to image tagging.
With the project, Netflix is following in the footsteps of web giants like Google and Facebook, who have hired top deep-learning researchers in an effort to improve everything from voice recognition to image tagging. But Netflix is taking a slightly different tack. The company plans to run its deep learning algorithms on Amazon’s cloud service, rather than building their own hardware infrastructure a la Google and Facebook. This shows that, thanks to rise of the cloud, smaller web companies can now compete with the big boys — at least in some ways.
He has a Pen, and a Phone…
Due to weather hammering the south, Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry designated northern Georgia a “No Valentine’s Day Zone” in a Facebook post.
The program makes it easy for the president to spy on and blackmail his enemies
Glenn Harlan Reynolds writes: Most of the worry about the National Security Agency’s bulk interception of telephone calls, e-mail and the like has centered around threats to privacy. And, in fact, the evidence suggests that if you’ve got a particularly steamy phone- or Skype-sex session going on, it just might wind up being shared by voyeuristic NSA analysts.
But most Americans figure, probably rightly, that the NSA isn’t likely to be interested in their stuff. (Anyone who hacks my e-mail is automatically punished, by having to read it.) There is, however, a class of people who can’t take that disinterest for granted: members of Congress and the judiciary. What they have to say is likely to be pretty interesting to anyone with a political ax to grind. And the ability of the executive branch to snoop on the phone calls of people in the other branches isn’t just a threat to privacy, but a threat to the separation of powers and the Constitution.
Robert W. Wood reports: America is a great land and lures immigrants worldwide, yet record numbers of U.S. citizens and permanent residents are giving up their citizenship or residency. For all the immigrant arrivals the trickle the other direction is increasing. The number is still small, with the “published” expatriates for the quarter was 630 for the last quarter or 2013.
That brings the total number to 2,999 for all of 2013. The previous record high for a year was 1,781 set in 2011. It’s a 221% increase over the 932 who left in 2012. You can call it a shaming or a public record, but the Treasury Department is required to publish a quarterly list of Americans who renounced their U.S. Citizenship or terminated their long-term U.S. residency. The public outing puts Americans on notice who relinquished their rights.
Those seem like tiny numbers, yet the total thus far for 2013 is 2,369. See Number of Taxpayers Who Renounced U.S. Citizenship Skyrockets to All-Time Record High, quoting Andrew Mitchel. Under U.S. tax law, it is not relevant why someone expatriates. Whether the expatriation was motivated by tax avoidance or something else used to matter, but the law was changed in 2004.
Brietbart.com’s Matthew Boyle reports: FWD.us, the pro-amnesty brainchild of Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, made a big splash at the House GOP retreat last week in Cambridge, Maryland, with a packet distributed to every lawmaker touting the benefits of a big, comprehensive reform bill.
However, the Republicans who received the document might be interested to learn that one of its co-authors is a hardened Democratic party operative.
According to the file properties of a near-final version of the Microsoft Word version of the document obtained by Breitbart News, FWD.us staffer Jennifer Martin was at one point the last person to modify it.
Martin is a “field coordinator” at Zuckerberg’s lobbying group, according to her LinkedIn page.
Forget income inequality. Most of our money and clout goes to Washington.
For USATODAY, Jonah Goldberg writes: On my wife’s side, I have a very large family in Fairbanks, Alaska. Culturally, Fairbanks is a lot further from New York City (where I grew up) or Washington, D.C., (where I live now) than the several thousand miles on the map might suggest. Alaska wins a lot of comparisons, and not just the obvious ones such as physical beauty or salmon fishing. For instance, Alaska ranks second best in terms of economic equality (just behind Wyoming) while New York and the District of Columbia compete for dead last.
[Jonah Goldberg‘s book “The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas” is available at Amazon]
Frankly, I don’t much care about the issue of income inequality beyond its status as a symptom for real problems such as poor economic mobility, chronic unemployment and family breakdown. But lots of people do. President Obama even says it’s the “defining challenge of our time.” So it’s at least fun to note that Sarah Palin’s Alaska beats the competition.
Next month: Celebrate World Honor-Killing Day, World Fored-Female-Circumcision Day, and World Adulterer-Stoning Day
Guess what day IT IS! Huh? Anybody?
That’s right. It’s World Hijab Day.
Sort of like Christmas and Thanksgiving rolled into one for lovers of Muslim head coverings, World Hijab Day offers a formalized opportunity to proselytize about veils.
The World Hijab Day website offers a wealth of information about this festive day. The plan is for women who don’t wear Islamic headscarves to step into “the shoes of a hijabi for one day,” thus fostering “awareness of what the hijab is about.”
“I think of a Conservative, and I take away reason, and accountability”
Consider the recent mess-o-rama. The botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act. The Senate report that deemed the attack in Benghazi, Libya, preventable and raised questions about accountability, or lack thereof. The mounting problems of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
From the IRS to the NSA, Americans have reasons not to trust the Obama Administration
His answer: 9.5. Other tax experts on the panel called it “awful,” and said that it has done “tremendous damage.”
I think that’s right. And I think that the damage extends well beyond the Internal Revenue Service. In fact, I think that the government agency suffering the most damage isn’t the IRS, but the National Security Agency. Because the NSA, even more than the IRS, depends on public trust. And now that the IRS has been revealed to be a political weapon, it’s much harder for people to have faith in the NSA.
To create one of those 3-D holographic images, you record how countless beams of light bounce off an object and then you store these little bits of information across a vast database. While still in high school, back in 1960s Britain, Hinton was fascinated by the idea that the brain stores memories in much the same way. Rather than keeping them in a single location, it spreads them across its enormous network of neurons.
‘I get very excited when we discover a way of making neural networks better — and when that’s closely related to how the brain works.’
This may seem like a small revelation, but it was a key moment for Hinton — “I got very excited about that idea,” he remembers. “That was the first time I got really into how the brain might work” — and it would have enormous consequences. Inspired by that high school conversation, Hinton went on to explore neural networks at Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and by the early ’80s, he helped launch a wildly ambitious crusade to mimic the brain using computer hardware and software, to create a purer form of artificial intelligence we now call “deep learning.”