John Fund & Hans von Spakovsky: Obama’s ‘Scandal-Free Administration’ Is a Myth 

obama-oval-solo

Even a prominent Trump adviser accepts the false premise that there has been no ‘ethical shadiness.’

John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky write: You often hear that the Obama administration, whatever its other failings, has been “scandal-free.” Valerie Jarrett, the president’s closest adviser, has said he “prides himself on the fact that his administration hasn’t had a scandal and he hasn’t done something to embarrass himself.”

Even Trump adviser Peter Thiel seems to agree. When the New York Times’s Maureen Dowd observed during an interview that Mr. Obama’s administration was “without any ethical shadiness,” Mr. Thiel accepted the premise, saying: “But there’s a point where no corruption can be a bad thing. It can mean that things are too boring.”

In reality, Mr. Obama has presided over some of the worst scandals of any president in recent decades. Here’s a partial list:

• State Department email. In an effort to evade federal open-records laws, Mr. Obama’s first secretary of state set up a private server, which she used exclusively to conduct official business, including communications withobama-BW the president and the transmission of classified material. A federal criminal investigation produced no charges, but FBI Director James Comey reported that the secretary and her colleagues “were extremely careless” in handling national secrets.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

• Operation Fast and Furious. The Obama Justice Department lost track of thousands of guns it had allowed to pass into the hands of suspected smugglers, in the hope of tracing them to Mexican drug cartels. One of the guns was used in the fatal 2010 shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Congress held then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt when he refused to turn over documents about the operation.

• IRS abuses. Mr. Obama’s Internal Revenue Service did something Richard Nixononly dreamed of doing: It successfully targeted political opponents. The Justice Department then refused to enforce Congress’s contempt citation against the IRS’s Lois Lerner, who refused to answer questions about her agency’s misconduct. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Fascinating 3D-Printed Light-Based Zoetrope by Akinori Goto 

Media artist Akinori Goto designed this fun 3d-printed zoetrope that when lit from the side reveals walking people. The piece was just on view at the Spiral Independent Creators Festival where it won both the Runner-up Grand Prix and the Audience Award. Video above from Tokyo Art Beat. (via Prosthetic Knowledge)

zoetrope-1

sculpt-1 Read the rest of this entry »


Movie Critic on Obama Farewell: ‘I Want to Grab His Pant Leg and Tell Him Not to Go!

dog-biting-pant-leg-joey43
Tim Graham reports: Movie critic Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter offered a rave review of President Obama’s farewell address on Tuesday night, hailing it in the headline as “One Last Reminder of What Presidential Looks Like.” Donald Trump is all “schoolyard taunts” for white people in “silly hats,” while Obama is so terrific that “Watching him walk off the stage made you feel like a child desperately holding onto a father’s pants [sic] legs to try to prevent him from leaving the house.”
chris-matthews

“I know exactly how you feel.”

…This sounds like a parody of media fawning over Obama….but then so does so much of the Obama-loving media. But the line about grabbing on to Obama’s pant leg is just priceless:

“I’m more optimistic than when we started,” declared Obama, and it was then that you fully realized that he was transitioning from commander in chief to therapist in chief.

“It has been the honor of my life to serve you. … I won’t stop,” he assured us, invoking the slogan that accompanied his ascendancy to the presidency: “Yes we can.” Except this time, he added, “Yes we did.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Democratic CNN Contributor Unsurrrre if Chicago Attack on Trump Supporter is a Hate Crime 

c1aerenukaemdq6-1

 


GRAPHIC: Anti-Gun Activists Send Grotesque Gun Victim Christmas Cards

betsy-riot-640x479

Conservatives, gun store owners, and Second Amendment activists are receiving ‘Christmas Cards’ from anti-gun advocates that include graphic photos of victims who have received gunshots to the face.

Lana Shadwick writes: The Christmas card includes the Bible verse, “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked. And the one who loves violence His soul hates.”

The card also bears the inscription:

The NRA gives the gift of nonfatal gunshot wounds like these to 100,000 Americans per year. Your continued support of ‘guns everywhere’ legislation is directly responsible for this health epidemic. In your heart, do you honestly believe this is what Jesus wants? Shame on you for dishonoring Jesus Christ with your support of gun-pushing legislation.

The Christmas card is signed from “The Betsy Riot” which describes itself on the card as “a decentralized movement that nonviolently opposes gun culture.”

The post on Facebook bears a graphic warning that must be clicked on before the photos can be seen.

[Read the full story here, at Breitbart.com]

The photos can also be found on the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health and the National Journal of Maxillofacial Surgery, Official Publication of Maxillofacial Society of India. These sources do not tell how both of these victims sustained their wounds. The male victim can be found under a case report for “self-inflicting gunshot injury.” Read the rest of this entry »


$1 Million Bail Sought for Suspect in #MountVernon Officer’s Shooting

mtvernonshooter

MOUNT VERNON, Wash.  KOMO Staff & Associated Press report: A man suspected of shooting a police officer in the back of the head was ordered held on $1 million bail Friday.

The suspect, identified in court documents as Ernesto Lee Rivas, 44, appeared in Skagit County Superior Court the day after the cold-blooded shooting.

Rivas, who has a lengthy criminal history, was arrested earlier Friday morning after a seven-hour standoff in Mount Vernon that began after a police officer was shot and critically wounded, the Washington State Patrol said.

The online roster for the Skagit County Jail shows Rivas was booked at 1:55 a.m. Friday following his arrest.

Court and State Patrol records show that Rivas has eight felonies on his record, including unlawful possession of a firearm in 2011 and unlawful imprisonment in 1998. He was subject to a domestic violence protection order last year after the mother of his child accused him of stalking her at work.

At Friday’s court hearing, prosecutors said the suspect is being held for investigation of attempted first-degree murder. It was not immediately clear if Rivas has obtained an attorney. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] YouTube Sensation: Spamusement Park Project, Beppu, Japan 湯~園地計画!

bvtrcgdmeousu0ro89hv

The Japanese city of Beppu is known for its countless hot springs and spas that pop up around them. So much so, that the city’s mayor, Yasuhiro Nagano, pledged to build an entire spa-themed amusement park—although it might not be quite as awesome as the one featured in this promotional video.


The “spamusement” park’s development hinged on this promo video hitting a million views, which it did just a few days after hitting YouTube. The city’s mayor has since announced plans to begin planning and development of the park, and we’re really hoping that bathtub roller coaster makes the cut…(more)

人が入れる温泉として世界一の湧出量を誇る大分県別府市では、この度温泉都市別府の魅力を国内外にむけて幅広く発信すべく、新たな都市ビジョンとして“遊べる温泉都市構想”を策定。
構想実現にむけた取り組みの第一弾として、「湯~園地」計画公約ムービーを別府市内で開催中のイベントONSENアカデミアにて発表、同日Web上にて公開致しました。

[YouTube via RocketNews24]

Source: gizmodo


Cheap, Lethal Chinese Drones Are Filling Distant Skies

china-drones

Lower quality, but they get the job done.

Ryan Pickrell reports: Chinese drones are taking flight in skies beyond China’s borders in great numbers, filling a massive void in a multibillion-dollar industry left by the U.S.

“I believe this is the largest campaign we’ve seen that has been focused on drone technology. It seems to align pretty well with the focus of the Chinese government to build up their own drone technology capabilities.”

— Darien Kindlund, manager of Fireeye’s Threat Intelligence division

While the U.S. is recognized as a leader in the development and deployment of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), it keeps its drone technology close and its armed drones even closer, creating new opportunities for China, which is eager to play a role in the global arms trade.

lijian_uav_1

The U.S. only exports armed drones to a few select allies, such as the U.K., as part of a Department of State decision made early last year. Jordan, for example, requested permission to purchase U.S. drones in 2014 but was rejected.

The U.S. limits its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) exports, especially its armed drones, for two main reasons.

One, the U.S. is a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a multilateral partnership that prohibits the export of missile and UAV technology capable of delivering a 1,100 lb payload at a range greater than 185 miles. Two, some U.S. officials are concerned that regular U.S. drone exports would lead to an increase in drone warfare abroad, creating a less secure international environment.

[Read the full text here, at The Daily Caller]

Unhindered by international agreements and export restrictions, China is moving into the drone export business, creating cheap, yet effective alternatives for countries interested in purchasing drone technology.

Chengdu Pterodactyl I

Chengdu Pterodactyl I

China has been actively developing its drone technology, making great strides in recent years.

Early last month, China showed off its CH-5 Rainbow drone, which it claims can rival America’s MQ-9 Reaper, at an air show in Zhuhai.

[Read more here, at The Daily Caller]

The CH-5 “can perform whatever operations the MQ-9 Reaper can and is even better than the US vehicle when it comes to flight duration and operational efficiency,” Shi Wen, a chief designer of the CH series drones at the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics, explained to the China Daily a little over a month ago.

hackers-china-drones

“Several foreign nations have expressed intentions to purchase the CH-5, and we are in talks with them,” he added, signaling China’s interest in selling the new CH-5.

The CH-4referred to as the “AK-47 of drones,” preceded the CH-5. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Tacoma Police Shooting Homeowner Statement 

Debra Heine writes:

…Kristi Croskey owns the Tacoma, Washington, home where a domestic disturbance call resulted in a deadly police stand-off Wednesday. Tacoma police officer Reginald J. “Jake” Gutierrez was killed after being shot by a 38-year-old man — who was fatally shot by police hours later.

ap_16336089178852-sized-770x415xc

“I don’t want to hear about Black Lives Matter, because all lives matter” Creskey said. “I do not want to hear about the police officers being inhumane and shooting people unnecessarily or any of those things. I want to say that the Tacoma Police Department handled this matter with such professionalism despite their own being shot. I want to say that this did not have to occur. I want to say that when you make poor choices, and the response is someone being killed, if that may be the situation — I want you to know that the Tacoma Police Department did any and everything that they could to protect and serve.
Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Facebook Helps Users Block The New York Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, with ‘B.S. Detector’, Fake News Warning Plugin 

nytimes-building-ap-640x480

Not only is Facebook not providing little red warnings along with links to potentially specious news—it’s now blocking links to the plugin that did.

Over the past week, some Facebook users reported seeing content warnings next to links from established fake news domains, apparently without realizing a third party was responsible. We reported this phenomenon, later clarifying that B.S. Detector is in fact a third party plugin that both we and a number of Facebook users mistook as a testing feature. Irony!

Now, if you attempt to share a link to B.S. Detector on Facebook, you’ll be met with this message. Apparently, blocking fake news (detectors) is quite simple!

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-7-22-17-am

“I believe they are doing this because of TechCrunch article that came out yesterday, falsely identifying a screenshot of my plugin as a Facebook feature under development,” Daniel Sieradski, design technologist and creator of B.S. Detector, told TechCrunch. “It would seem I’ve caused them some embarrassment by showing them to be full of bull when it comes to their supposed inability to address fake news and they are punishing me for it.”

Jeff Fager (L), chairman CBS News and executive producer '60 Minutes', Scott Pelley, anchor and managing editor CBS Evening News and David Rhodes (R) president CBS News, speak at the CBS Television Network's 2011 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour in Beverly Hills, California August 3, 2011. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS) - RTR2PL1B

For now, the B.S. Detector plugin itself remains functional, as do links to the plugin on Product Hunt and the Chrome app store. Read the rest of this entry »


Facebook User Verifies Truth Of Article By Carefully Checking It Against Own Preconceived Opinions

tumblr_ohilty31tt1qckp4qo1_1280

“You can’t just accept everything you see online, which is why I always take a closer look at the claims that are made in every article and make sure that each one of them is backed up by my existing assumptions and personal feelings about the world.”

CLARKSVILLE, TN—Explaining that people need to be critical of the news stories that circulate on social media these days, area Facebook user James Wheatley, 44, reportedly took the time to verify the truth of an article he came across Thursday by carefully checking it against the opinions he already holds.

 “There are all kinds of bogus news stories out there, so it’s important to take a step back and hold each article up against my personal convictions to find out for myself whether what I’m reading is true or not. It’s pretty sad, but once I got in the habit of looking at articles this way, I could see just how many awful sites there are on the internet that don’t even adhere to the most basic tenets of my individual worldview, so now I just disregard them completely.”

“You can’t just accept everything you see online, which is why I always take a closer look at the claims that are made in every article and make sure that each one of them is backed up by my existing assumptions and personal feelings about the world,” said Wheatley, who told reporters he had to correct several friends on Facebook earlier this week after an investigation of his beliefs and individual political perspectives proved the articles they had posted to be entirely false. Read the rest of this entry »


Social Media Is Killing Discourse Because It’s Too Much Like TV

democacysocialmedia_0

We need more text and fewer videos and memes in the age of Trump.

Hossein Derakshan writes: If I say that social media aided Donald Trump’s election,
you might think of fake news on Facebook. But even if Facebook fixes the algorithms that elevate phony stories, there’s something else going on: social media represents the ultimate ascendance of television over other media.

I’ve been warning about this since November 2014, when I was freed from six years of incarceration in Tehran, a punishment I received for my online activism in Iran. Before I went to prison, I blogged frequently on what I now call the open Web: it was
decentralized, text-centered, and abundant with 51kxbo1vo8l-_sl250_hyperlinks to source material and rich background. It nurtured varying opinions. It was related to the world of books.

[Order Neil Postman’s book “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business” from Amazon.com]

Then for six years I got disconnected; when I left prison and came back online, I was confronted by a brave new world. Facebook and Twitter had replaced blogging and had made the Internet like TV: centralized and image-centered, with content embedded in pictures, without links.

[Read the full story here, at technologyreview.com]

Like TV it now increasingly entertains us, and even more so than television it amplifies our existing beliefs and habits. It makes us feel more than think, and it comforts more than challenges. The result is a deeply fragmented society, driven by emotions, and radicalized by lack of contact and challenge from outside. This is why Oxford Dictionaries designated “post-truth” as the word of 2016: an adjective “relating to circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than emotional appeals.”

TV-head

Neil Postman provided some clues about this in his illuminating 1985 book, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show BusinessThe media scholar at New York University saw then how television transformed public discourse into an exchange of volatile emotions that are usually mistaken by pollsters as opinion. One of the scariest outcomes of this transition, Postman wrote, is that television essentially turns all news into disinformation. “Disinformation does not mean false information. It means misleading information—misplaced, irrelevant, fragmented or superficial information—information that creates the illusion of knowing something but which in fact leads one away from knowing … The problem is not that television presents us with entertaining subject matter but that all subject matter is presented as entertaining.” (Emphasis added.) And, Postman argued, when news is constructed as a form of entertainment, it inevitably loses its function for a healthy democracy. “I am saying something far more serious than that we are being deprived of authentic information. I am saying we are losing our sense of what it means to be well informed. Ignorance is always correctable. But what shall we do if we take ignorance to be knowledge?” Read the rest of this entry »


Can You Find the Hidden Word to Explain Venezuela’s Escape Economic Collapse?

nyt-socialism

 The New York Times Can’t.

WILLEMSTAD, Curaçao — Nicholas Case reports: The dark outlines of land had just come into view when the smuggler forced everyone into the sea.

Roymar Bello screamed. She was one of 17 passengers who had climbed onto the overloaded fishing boat with aging motors in July, hoping to escape Venezuela’s economic disaster for a new life on the Caribbean island of Curaçao.

socialism-600x260

Can you guess what word NYT’s Nicholas Casey failed to use even one time in his report on Venezuela’s economic crisis?

Stephen Green

Afraid of the authorities, the smuggler refused to land. Ms. Bello said he gruffly ordered her and the others into the water, pointing toward the distant shore. In the panic, she was tossed overboard, tumbling into the predawn blackness.

But Ms. Bello could not swim.

As she began to sink under the waves, a fellow migrant grabbed her by the hair and towed her toward the island. They washed up on a rocky cliff battered by waves. Bruised and bleeding, they climbed, praying for a lifeline: jobs, money, something to eat.

“It was worth the risk,” said Ms. Bello, 30, adding that Venezuelans like her, “are going after one thing — food.”

Maria Piñero at an empty grocery store in La Vela, Venezuela. “I’m nervous,” she said. “I’m leaving with nothing. But I have to do this. Otherwise, we will just die here hungry.” Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s richest countries, flush with oil wealth that attracted immigrants from places as varied as Europe and the Middle East.

[Read the full story here, at he New York Times]

But after President Hugo Chávez vowed to break the country’s economic elite and redistribute wealth to the poor, the rich and middle class fled to more welcoming countries in droves, creating what demographers describe as Venezuela’s first diaspora.

Now a second diaspora is underway — much less wealthy and not nearly as welcome.

Well over 150,000 Venezuelans have fled the country in the last year alone, the highest in more than a decade, according to scholars studying the exodus.

Hundreds of Venezuelans lined up at a grocery store in La Vela in September to see if food would be delivered.Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

“It’s hard to see a solution to this problem because hunger is involved. Venezuela doesn’t have enough food for its people, so some are coming here.”

— Mayor Altemir Campos

And as Mr. Chávez’s Socialist-inspired revolution collapses into economic ruin, as food and medicine slip further out of reach, the new migrants include the same impoverished people that Venezuela’s policies were supposed to help.

“We have seen a great acceleration,” said Tomás Páez, a professor who studies immigration at the Central University of Venezuela. He says that as many as 200,000 Venezuelans have left in the last 18 months, driven by how much harder it is to get food, work and medicine — not to mention the crime that such scarcities have fueled.

“Parents will say: I would rather say goodbye to my son in the airport than in the cemetery,” he said.

Two would-be migrants waiting for the boat that will take them from Venezuela. Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Desperate Venezuelans are streaming across the Amazon Basin by the tens of thousands to reach Brazil. They are concocting elaborate scams to sneak through airports in Caribbean nations that once accepted them freely. When Venezuela opened its border with Colombia for just two days in July, 120,000 people poured across, simply to buy food, officials said. An untold number stayed.

socialist-communist

But perhaps most startling are the Venezuelans now fleeing by sea, an image so symbolic of the perilous journeys to escape Cuba or Haiti — but not oil-rich Venezuela.

“It has all totally changed,” said Iván de la Vega, a sociologist at Simón Bolívar University in Caracas. About 60 percent more Venezuelans fled the country this year than during the year before, he added.
Read the rest of this entry »


David Marcus: What Happened When A Brooklyn Store Played ‘Sweet Home Alabama’

Upscale progressives have gotten used to tuning out the voice of the Trump voter. But there’s an America out there that they can no longer ignore.

 writes: Three days after the election, my wife and I were shopping at the . For those unfamiliar with it, Fairway is a less corporate, more co-op version of Whole Foods, offering pretty produce and exotic cheeses that don’t come cheap. The mood in the store was glum. As in most of Brooklyn, people stared ahead, moving slowly, still in shock from the political earthquake of Tuesday night.

freakout

After getting our Brazilian Arabica ground for drip (I know, I should really use a French Press), Libby and I walked towards the organic maple syrup. That’s when it started. I suppose there had been music playing in the store, but I hadn’t noticed until a familiar guitar lick pierced the air and a soft voice said, “Turn it up.”

red-hook-is-back-baby

Source: blog.fairwaymarket.com

“A woman in her fifties, wearing a Love Trump Hates button, turned to her Brooklyn-bearded husband and said loudly, ‘This is unbelievable!’ She found the nearest store clerk, a young woman in a green apron who was staring up at the ceiling, looking for the invisible speakers blaring this message from the other America. ‘This is so inappropriate,’ the woman said. ‘Can we turn this off?'”

Libby and I both stopped and looked at each other. “Seriously?” said my wife, a very disappointed Clinton supporter. She started gripping her soft Tomme Crayeuse a little too hard. By the time Ronnie Van Zant’s drawl started in with “Big wheels keep on turnin’,” everyone in the store was standing in shock.

[Read the full story here, at thefederalist.com]

Brows were furrowed, people mumbled to each other. The song seemed to get louder as one of those New York moments happened, when everyone was thinking the exact the same thing.

27redhook_span-videolarge

“Cafés turned into phone banks, where you could buy a croissant and make a few calls to flyover country. Buttons, banners, and bumper stickers were everywhere…As the election grew near, confidence was overflowing.”

A woman in her fifties, wearing a Love Trump Hates button, turned to her Brooklyn-bearded husband and said loudly, “This is unbelievable!” She found the nearest store clerk, a young woman in a green apron who was staring up at the ceiling, looking for the invisible speakers blaring this message from the other America. “This is so inappropriate,” the woman said. “Can we turn this off?”

90

The City of Homes, Cafés, and Clinton

Brooklyn was the epicenter of the Clinton campaign. Throughout the summer and fall in Brooklyn Heights, you could see young staffers near the campaign headquarters: expensive coffee in hand, eyes bright, ready to tackle the future. Read the rest of this entry »


Speaking of ‘Fake News’…

loser cxegjc_w8aqryoq


The Mechanics of Mechanophilia: Why Men Find Siri Sexy

flying-robot

We all have relationships with tech. The question is: how far do you go?

How would you feel if you walked in on your flatmate pouring his iPhone a glass of Cristal and remarking on her exceptional ‘wallpaper’? Open mouthed and curious, right? Well, welcome to the future. For some technophiles at least.

Apart from neo-Luddites, we all have relationships with tech. The question is: how far do you go?

A survey from 2012 revealed the extreme level of attachment many of us feel towards our gadgets. It found that three-quarters of the 2,500 people polled said losing a personal device would give them more anxiety than losing a wedding ring. Another from 2016 discloses that nearly 40pc of millennials say they interact more with their smartphones than their co-workers, parents, children or friends.

Of course, such interactions could be simply checking the time – and if you started calling your friends to do that they’d think you’d gone batty – but what these stats betray is the shaping of an emotional bond between man and machine that seems to be growing year on year.

robot

“People use things in a sexual way all the time. You could name any object, from a radiator to a tin can, and there’s someone out there that gets sexually aroused by it.”

–Professor Mark Griffiths

Sci-fi programmes like Humans, depicting the trouble caused when overly lifelike AI get mixed in with the rest of society, may be fictional, yet our relationship with tech still gets closer and closer. Quite alarmingly close.

Virtual assistants (VA for short), also known as personal assistant A.I.s, are digital secretaries that can schedule meetings, order meals, play audio and visual files, and assess online accounts. Not to be confused with ‘virtual assistants’ that work remotely and are actual people, current VAs on the market include Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and, of course, Apple’s Siri.

“Most new technology seems to turn to porn eventually. Webcams, virtual reality, Internet etc. I see no reason why A.I won’t be included in this. It’ll certainly be cheaper to run phone sex lines with an army of bots instead of having to pay women to answer the phones.”

— Steve Worswick, an expert in the field of digital A.I

Last month, in an interview with The Times, Illy Eckstein, chief executive of Robin Labs, creators of a virtual assistant and satnav known as ‘Robin’, said that 5pc of interactions in their database are classified as “clearly sexually explicit”.

Trawling the Internet for evidence of the above I discovered a Reddit forum titled: ‘I masturbate to Siri and I feel disgusting’. The poster says he’s a 20 year old male, who started talking to Siri sexually as a joke before realising that “it really turned me on.”

The phenomenon clearly has farther reaches than one sole forum post. VA creators and chatbot companies predict such interactions and put algorithmic safeguards in place to deter feelings of emotional and sexual attachment from costumers.

[Read the full story here, at telegraph.uk]

Earlier this year one of the key writers for Microsoft’s Cortana, Deborah Harrison, revealed at the Virtual Assistant Summit in San Francisco that “a good chunk of the volume of early-on inquiries” regarded Cortana’s ‘sex life’ adding, “That’s not the kind of interaction we want to encourage.”

Steve Worswick is an expert in the field of digital A.I. He’s also the leading developer of Mitsuku, a family-friendly online chatbot.

robot-waitress-zhejiang

“Mechanophilia: love or sexual attraction to computers, cars, robots or androids, washing machines, lawnmowers and other mechanized gardening equipment, sexual relations between living organisms and machines.”

He told Telegraph Men that he used to have a banning system (five strikes and you’re out) for anyone who attempted to have sexually explicit conversations with Mitsuku. However, he received so many emails from people who wanted to treat the bot sexually, that he removed the strike system and instead programmed Mitsuku to either ignore sexual requests, say something to steer the conversation to other topics, or simply insult the user.

Worswick believes men are using Mitsuku in this way and seeing bots as “sex objects” simply because they cannot fight back, have no legal rights, and are not going to judge them or contact the authorities or their wives or girlfriends.

Read the rest of this entry »


Network Security Company CEO Forced to Resign After ‘Joking’ About Killing Trump 

U.S. President Barack Obama walks to greet well-wishers, with Secret Service agents at his side, upon his arrival in Tampa, Florida

Trump-Hating Cuckoo Bananas Matt Harrigan of PacketSled Loses His Mind, Makes Public Death Threats, Declares on Facebook, ‘Bring it, Secret Service’

[redditor chipotlemcnuggies]

 reports: Matt Harrigan, the CEO of San Diego-based network security startup PacketSled, resigned yesterday after a flurry of comments he made on Facebook went viral over the weekend, prompting the company to place him on administrative leave and to report his comments to the Secret Service. Harrigan’s comments weren’t the usual sort of executive meltdown—they amounted to a declaration that Harrigan was going to assassinate President-elect Donald Trump.

packetsled

In a Facebook thread about last week’s presidential election, Matt Harrigan wrote, “I’m going to kill the President Elect.”

“Bring it secret service,” he wrote.

While those may have been rage posts stemming from the election last week, Harrigan went on to describe how he was going to buy a sniper rifle and hunt down Trump when he moved into the White House. “Getting a sniper rifle and perching myself where it counts,” he wrote in one of a series of comments on a thread about the election. “Find a bedroom in the whitehouse [sic] that suits you motherfucker. I’ll find you.”

[Read the full story here, at Ars Technica]

The comments went viral in screenshots, being posted first on Reddit’s The_Donald subreddit. On Sunday, Harrigan apologized on his company’s blog for the comments, saying that his rant “was intended to be a joke, in the context of a larger conversation, and only privately shared as such.” Read the rest of this entry »


Two-Thirds of the World’s Internet Users Live Under Government Censorship

Web freedom declined across the globe for the sixth consecutive year, according to a new report.

Amar Toor reports: Two-thirds of the world’s internet users live under regimes of government censorship, according to a report released today. The report from Freedom House, a pro-democracy think tank, finds that internet freedom across the globe declined for a sixth consecutive year in 2016, as governments cracked down on social media services and messaging apps.

censored-forbidden-china

“Although the blocking of these tools affects everyone, it has an especially harmful impact on human rights defenders, journalists, and marginalized communities who often depend on these apps to bypass government surveillance.”

— Sanja Kelly, director and co-author of the Freedom on the Net 2016 report

The findings are based on an analysis of web freedom in 65 countries, covering 88 percent of the world’s online population. Freedom House ranked China as the worst abuser of internet freedom for the second consecutive year, followed by Syria and Iran. (The report does not include North Korea.) Online freedom in the US increased slightly over the year due to the USA Freedom Act, which limits the bulk collection of metadata carried out by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence agencies.

“Telegram faced restrictions in four countries including China, where the government blocked the encrypted messaging service due to its rising popularity among human rights lawyers.”

This year saw a notable crackdown on secure messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram. WhatsApp was blocked or restricted in 12 countries over the course of the year — more than any other messaging app — including in Bahrain, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia, where authorities blocked it in response to civilian protests. Telegram faced restrictions in four countries including China, where the government blocked the encrypted messaging service due to its rising popularity among human rights lawyers.
Read the rest of this entry »