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Facebook and Google, the favored tools of dissidents, are now shaping Taiwan’s relationship with China.
For The Diplomat, Vincent Y. Chao writes: Underneath the piercing gaze of Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China, a group of students sat, unshaved, unkempt and basking in the glow of their laptops. Amongst stacks of coffee cups, crudely drawn artwork, and piles of unevenly stacked office chairs, they were hard at work, plotting the next phase of their revolt against the government in Taiwan.
Three weeks earlier, the group had broken past police barriers and forcefully occupied the main Legislative assembly hall, defeating multiple attempts to evict them by the police. They sit engrossed: sending out press releases, updating the group’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and sparking discussion on PTT (an online bulletin board favored by many of the country’s youth). Others are dozing off, or hold a blank stare in their eyes, a product of weeks of tension, uncertainty and sleep deprivation.
Initially there were only a hundred of them – students from Taiwan’s top universities energized by a series of controversial land seizures and, in this case, upset at the government’s attempt to ram through a wide-ranging services trade deal with China. Their numbers subsequently swelled, buoyed by 24 hour news coverage, Facebook shares, and, of course, volunteers from the hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic supporters that have flooded the capital Taipei’s streets in recent weeks.
Oliver Chen, 26, is a student from Taiwan’s prestigious National Taiwan University Law School. His hallmark, he says, is the colorful dress shirts he changes into every day. “Nothing else is changed. Shirts are all that I brought.” During the protests, he was responsible for the bank of computers to the left of Sun’s portrait. His team of English speakers worked with the foreign press to arrange interviews with the two protest leaders, Chen Wei-ting, 23, and Lin Fei-fan, 25.
Oliver and the rest of the students were organized. Very organized. Even the opposition, rumored to have ties to some of the student organizers, admits to such. “They could probably run a better campaign than the DPP,” said opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen during a media interview. The students have a medical center, distribution tables for snacks and goods, and even rooms for yoga or singing.
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NRO Editors: In 2008, Barack Obama and Brendan Eich both were against gay marriage. Senator Obama averred his support for the one-man/one-woman view of marriage, while Mr. Eich, a cofounder of the Mozilla web-browser company, donated $1,000 to support Proposition 8 — a California ballot initiative that had the effect of making Senator Obama’s avowed marriage policy the law in California, at least until a federal court overturned it on the theory that California’s constitution is unconstitutional. Barack Obama inexplicably remains, as of this writing, president of the United States of America, but Mr. Eich has just been forced out as CEO of Mozilla because of his political views.
“The nation’s full-time gay-rights professionals simply will not rest until a homogeneous and stultifying monoculture is settled upon the land…”
The various tendencies that operate under the general heading of “gay rights” have had an extraordinary run of it in the past several years, in both the political and the cultural theaters. We now have a constitutional right to commit homosexual acts (Lawrence v. Texas), while Facebook offers at last count 56 different gender options to its users (trans with or without asterisk, genderqueer, neutrois, and two-spirit among them). Having won the battle in California, the sore winners are roaming the battlefield with bayonets and taking no prisoners. Mr. Eich’s donation had been a matter of public record for some years, but Eros is a jealous god, and he will have blood from time to time. Mr. Eich’s elevation to the chief executive’s position provided occasion for critics within his firm and without to make an example of him.
This is, of course, pure poison….
The shooter who killed three people and injured 16 before killing himself at Fort Hood Wednesday apparently shared his love for the band Slipknot on his Facebook page.
ABC News found a page under the name Ivan Slipknot–the shooter’s real name is Ivan Lopez–but the details and photographs from the site match with the gunman.
The story is here. I just pulled out the customer’s quote. I call this the ass-kissing “non-judgmental” quote of the day:
“I am in no way judging his beliefs or dis-meriting his beautiful artwork, I am however judging his lack of professionalism and respect for others.”
What? Beautiful artwork? Being so careful not to be perceived as judging this moron’s ‘beliefs’? You think this guy is expressing his legitimate religious views on coffee foam?
I can imagine, in todays climate, if this customer dared to judge the barista, she would invite a Facebook or Twitter hate-storm. She’d be branded a bigot. Accused of “Satanist-shaming”, or “Art-shaming”. A mob would rise up to defend the barista. They would find her home address, her work address, protest on her lawn, threaten to burn her house down.
I interviewed Orin Miller, an actual Satan worshiper in San Francisco, to get a response. Here’s what he said:
“That woman should feel free to judge his beliefs. And feel free to call him an idiot, and a poser. As a Satanist, I’m offended. I wouldn’t want some coffee-jerk drawing a picture of Jesus on my cappuccino foam. Why should she have to be careful not to insult him? “
– Orin Miller, Church of Satan, San Francisco
Then I asked Orin, how should have she reacted? What would have been a more appropriate response?
“Look. I’m probably the wrong person to ask, but here’s what I think. If she spit hot coffee in his face, or burned his eyelids off with a cigarette lighter, or cut his thumbs off with a knife and fed them to pigs under a full moon, I wouldn’t blame her”.
That was harsher than I expected, but that’s what I get for asking.
Okay, well, there is no guy named Orin Miller in San Francisco, I just made that up. But you get the idea, right? This is not the time to indulge misplaced tolerance. Be intolerant. Don’t tolerate jackasses. Nobody has to be a doormat. She got played.
The generation making their own soda and designing their own shoes is voting Independent.
A new report by the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way highlights the political complexity of a generation raised to believe they were utterly unique. When it comes to politics, they do it their way. Which could make the cohort that turned out en masse for President Obama unpredictable as voters.
Third Way focused on how Millennials’ experience as the first generation raised in an information-on-demand culture has shaped them. They are not “adaptors.” They have only known a world full of endless choices, not a life where you make do with what is available.
Third Way reported, “Living in an à la carte world with unlimited options, Millennials don’t feel they have to choose between two limited choices.” For their elders, it was Coke or Pepsi. But Millennials create their perfectly flavored soft drink with a Soda Stream. They design their own shoes on the Internet. They buy just the songs they like.
Still reeling from the stinging legislative defeats of 2013, proponents of tougher firearm regulations are increasingly turning their focus to private sector campaigns.
Gun control groups have claimed victories in recent months, successfully pushing Starbucks to declare guns unwelcome in stores and persuading Facebook to crack down on unregulated firearm solicitations.
“Whenever the anti-gun groups get stymied in Congress they resort to boycotts and other private measures.”
With no end in sight to the congressional gridlock that has thwarted more stringent federal gun laws, groups say they will continue to apply pressure on major companies.
Andy Greenberg writes: Mark Zuckerberg isn’t the first name that comes to mind as a champion of privacy. But the seemingly endless revelations of NSA surveillance programs has inspired Facebook’s founder to call up no less than President Obama himself to defend his users from government intrusion.
“They need to be much more transparent about what they’re doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst…”
– Zuckerberg’s statement
On Thursday Zuckerberg posted a statement on Facebook calling on the U.S. government to take more measures to respect users’ privacy and security. “The US government should be the champion for the internet, not a threat,” reads his statement. “I’ve called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future. Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform.”
“We work together to create this secure environment and make our shared space even better for the world,” Zuckerberg’s statement reads. “This is why I’ve been so confused and frustrated by the repeated reports of the behavior of the US government…”
Though Zuckerberg never explicitly names the NSA in his statement, his comments follow news of NSA programs that have potentially allowed spying on Facebook users for years–particularly the majority of those users outside the United States. The initial stories on the NSA’s PRISM program last July cited NSA slides that made Facebook appear to have given direct backdoor access to its servers, a notion Zuckerberg and others have vehemently denied.
[Check out Andy Greenberg's book "This Machine Kills Secrets: Julian Assange, the Cypherpunks, and Their Fight to Empower Whistleblowers" at Amazon]
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.