By samzenpus from Slashdot's mine-now-I-take-it department
writes Operating in collaboration with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other federal entities, Black Asphalt members exchanged tens of thousands of reports about American motorists, many of whom had not been charged with any crimes, according to a company official and hundreds of internal documents obtained by The Post. For years, it received no oversight by government, even though its reports contained law enforcement sensitive information about traffic stops and seizures, along with hunches and personal data about drivers, including Social Security numbers and identifying tattoos. Black Asphalt also has served as a social hub for a new brand of highway interdictors, a group that one Desert Snow official has called 'a brotherhood.' Among other things, the site hosts an annual competition to honor police who seize the most contraband and cash on the highways. As part of the contest, Desert Snow encouraged state and local patrol officers to post seizure data along with photos of themselves with stacks of currency and drugs. Some of the photos appear in a rousing hard-rock video that the Guthrie, Okla.-based Desert Snow uses to promote its training courses.Read Replies (0)
By samzenpus from Slashdot's 8-out-of-10-scientists-agree department
writes From the article: "Fiction author Michael Crichton probably started the backlash against the idea of consensus in science. Crichton was rather notable for doubting the conclusions of climate scientists—he wrote an entire book in which they were the villains—so it's fair to say he wasn't thrilled when the field reached a consensus. Still, it's worth looking at what he said, if only because it's so painfully misguided: 'Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results.'" As a STEM major, I am somewhat biased toward "strong" evidence side of the argument. However, the more I read literature from other, somewhat-related fields (i.e. psychology, economics and climate science), the more I felt they have little opportunity to repeat experiments, similar to counterparts in traditional hard science fields. Their accepted theories are based on limited historical occurrences and consensus among the scholars. Given the situation, it's important to understand what "consensus" really means.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's get-out-of-school-free-card department
A respiratory illness that almost exclusively infects children and for which there is no vaccine has struck Denver, Colorado
, the latest in a series of infection clusters in the Midwest; one Denver hospital alone has treated more than 900 children for the illness since August 18, though no deaths have been reported.Health officials believe that the sickness is related to a rare virus called human enterovirus 68 (HEV68), the [Denver] Post says. HEV68, first seen in California in 1962, and an unwelcome but highly infrequent visitor to communities worldwide since then, is a relative of the virus linked to the common cold (human rhinoviruses, or HRV), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ... HEV68, which almost uniquely affects children, tends to first cause cold-like symptoms, including body aches, sneezing and coughing. These mild complaints then worsen into life-threatening breathing problems that are all the more dangerous to children with asthma. Since viruses do not respond to antibiotics, hospitals have treated the illness with asthma therapies.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's bet-the-changes-were-mostly-in-one-direction department
New submitter Prune (557140)
writes with a link to a story at The Intercept which might influence the way you look at media coverage of the kind of government activity that deserves rigorous press scrutiny. According to the story, "Email exchanges between CIA public affairs officers and Ken Dilanian, now an Associated Press intelligence reporter who previously covered the CIA for the Times, show that Dilanian enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication. In at least one instance, the CIA’s reaction appears to have led to significant changes in the story that was eventually published in the Times."
Another telling excerpt: On Friday April 27, 2012, he emailed the press office a draft story that he and a colleague, David Cloud, were preparing. The subject line was “this is where we are headed,” and he asked if “you guys want to push back on any of this.” It appears the agency did push back. On May 2, 2012, he emailed the CIA a new opening to the story with a subject line that asked, “does this look better?”
The piece ran on May 16, and while it bore similarities to the earlier versions, it had been significantly softened.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's ok-maybe-it-was-a-gas-leak-or-antimatter department
A wire report from AFP says that an explosion heard in Managua last night, and a 40-foot crater evident today, are evidence that the city was the impact site for a small meteorite that struck Saturday night
. The photos are not very exciting at a glance, which is a good thing, considering that a dirt crater and no injuries is probably the best outcome if a meteorite strikes the city where you live. From the article: The meteorite appeared to have hurtled into a wooded area near the airport around midnight Saturday, its thunderous impact felt across the capital.
The hit was so large that it registered on the instruments Strauss’ organization uses to size up earthquakes.
“You can see two waves: first, a small seismic wave when the meteorite hit Earth, and then another stronger one, which is the impact of the sound,” he said.
Government officials and experts visited the impact site on Sunday.
One of them, William Martínez, said it was not yet clear if the meteorite burned up completely or if it had been blasted into the soil.
“You can see mirror-like spots on the sides of the crater from where the meteorite power-scraped the walls,” Martínez said.
(The same news, in slightly shorter form, from the AP
.)Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's rude-to-users-is-the-short-term-business-mindset department
Another good reason to be annoyed by autoplaying videos online: it eats up dataplan allowances
, making for some rude surprises
. I'm always nervous about data allowances, and sites should be cautious about what they shove at you; turning off the autoplay feature isn't hard (and it's explained in the second article linked above), but I sure wish it was the default setting, or at least caught and handled by a browser extension. (Perhaps this is a job for Social Fixer
's next iteration.) Is Facebook the worst offender on this front?Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's whew-that's-a-relief-said-all-the-celebrities department
4chan might have introduced a DMCA policy
, but Reddit goes farther: VentureBeat reports that the online community known as The Fappening has been dissolved by Reddit
, in response to its use in posting and sharing many of the photos leaked from dozens of celebrities
This isn’t the first time Reddit has decided to take action to ban certain questionable communities from its site, as its previously killed other subreddits like Creepshots for similar invasions of privacy as well as banned well-known power users shown to enable such actions. ... Reddit system admin Jason Harvey (aka “alienth”) attempted to cool some of the fuss by starting that discussion about why the company decided to ban the subreddit. Most of it boils down to Reddit waiting too long to speak up about it before making the decision to ban, while assuming its users would mostly understand why it took place. ... “If Reddit is truly to be a platform that’s open in any way, it needs transparency when (heavy handed) actions such as these are taken,” said Reddit user SaidTheCanadian in response to Harvey, while also suggesting the company create a “public log” of sorts showing all banning actions as well as explanations for each instance of a banned community. “I don’t want to be part of a community where community voices are silenced without meaningful notice or explanation. (No one really does like that secret police feeling.)”
Read Replies (0)