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The End of the Free Internet Is Near by Declan Mccullagh (

So far, at least, the U.S. government has yet to appoint a chief censor. But Silicon Valley’s coastal elites have been eager to volunteer their services gratis.

The last year has marked a dispiriting new low in the “deplatforming,” or banning from various online channels, of dissident voices. The ax fell on Infowars’ Alex Jones, actor James Woods, the editorial director of, the director of the Ron Paul Institute, and radio talk show host Jesse Kelly. (Some of these accounts have since been reinstated.)

Lawmakers have encouraged these social media bans. Congressional hearings have been called to interrogate tech execs on how their products are being used. Last August, Sen. Chris Murphy (D–Conn.) urged an even broader crackdown, proclaiming on Twitter that “the survival of our democracy depends on it.”

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D–Miss.), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, must have been listening. In March, Thompson sent a letter to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Microsoft insisting that they remove “toxic and violent” content, even if it is legal to distribute in the United States. (The platforms already prohibit illegal content.) If the companies are “unwilling” to do so voluntarily, Thompson warned, Congress will “consider policies” to compel their cooperation. Left unexplained was how any such requirement could comply with the First Amendment.

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Restorative justice? What’s that? by Howard Zehr (Zehr Institute)

As you might imagine with so many Google references, the usage of the term varies widely. Sometimes it is used in ways that are rather far removed from what those in the field have intended. So when you see the term, you might ask yourself these questions: Are the wrongs being acknowledged? Are the needs of those who were harmed being addressed? Is the one who committed the harm being encouraged to understand the damage and accept his or her obligation to make right the wrong? Are those involved in or affected by this being invited to be part of the “solution?” Is concern being shown for everyone involved? If the answers to these questions are “no,” then even though it may have restorative elements, it isn’t restorative justice.

I’m curious. I have questions that I have been unable to answer via Google search. For example, how does the process address acts where the victim has been permanently harmed? Examples that come to mind:

  • The victim has suffered financial loss too significant for the person committing the act to provide restoration
  • The victim has been disabled and is unable to work
  • There are multiple victims and some of the victims prefer traditional justice

What are your filters, human and algorithmic, not letting you see?

Who you are as a person is an essential piece of context in how to judge information. If you’re walking on the street and a random stranger asks to have a coffee, you interpret it very differently from when your partner walking next to you asks you the same thing. We are all walking information filters, our brains are very well used to doing that. So what I know socially about you helps me interpret what you share, as it will be coloured by who you are. Let’s call this social filtering.Feed Reading By Social Distance by Ton Zijlstra

The USA border patrol is using soviet era tactics in foreigners and Americans.

I had my doubts as to whether they could actually crack my iPhone and MacBook, but I didn’t doubt that they would be happy to confiscate them. So I decided to take another tack: I told the officers I had nothing to hide, but I felt I had a professional obligation to call an attorney for further advice. Pomeroy said I could not because I wasn’t under arrest; I just wasn’t allowed to enter the United States. I wasn’t allowed to leave the Homeland Security zone, either. I know because I tried to sort of wander out a couple of times and got yelled at. When I actually tried to call a lawyer friend of mine in Austin, Pomeroy stopped me. They held onto my phone from then out.I’M A JOURNALIST BUT I DIDN’T FULLY REALIZE THE TERRIBLE POWER OF U.S. BORDER OFFICIALS UNTIL THEY VIOLATED MY RIGHTS AND PRIVACY

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Facial Recognition Tech Straight Out of ‘Robocop’ Could Be a Real Threat to Civil Liberties (

Civil-liberties concerns have driven California lawmakers to consider Assembly Bill 1215, which would ban police agencies from using facial and biometric tracking devices as part of their body cameras.

“Having every patrol officer constantly scanning faces of everyone that walks into their field of view to identify people, run their records, and record their location and activities is positively Orwellian,” said ACLU attorney Peter Bibring.

This technology is creepy, especially when one considers the next step that’s under active development: Tying facial-recognition software into security cameras that are practically everywhere. The bill’s author, Assemblyman Phil Ting (D–San Francisco), points to an incident in China where the authorities used recognition software to grab someone from a crowd of 20,000 people during a concert.

Opponents of the ban naively insist that there’s no difference between using such software and looking at a mugshot—and that police are still required to follow the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment restraints on unreasonable searches. That’s nonsensical. Police admit that they want to use these cameras as part of wholesale dragnets, by scanning everyone at public events and not only those that they suspect of having committed a crime.

In its official opposition to the bill, the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association argues that, “Huge events…and scores of popular tourist attractions should have access to the best available security—including the use of body cameras and facial-recognition technology.” There you have it. The goal of police is to scan our faces at every event.

According to the Assembly analysis, the ACLU used such software to compare photos of all federal legislators and “incorrectly matched 28 members of Congress with people who had been arrested. The test disproportionately misidentified African-American and Latino members of Congress as the people in mug shots.” The company that produced the software disputed the ACLU’s approach, but this is disturbing, especially in terms of racial bias.

Some of the presidential hopefuls in the Democratic Party sound like front runners for the Communist Party. At what point will they start advocating to bring back slavery and indentured servitude?

The world doesn’t owe you a dream college or a dream house or a dream job. You have no right to someone else’s labor and time. If you want to attend free college, ask professors to offer you their lectures gratis or ask school administrators who run massive endowments to open their doors to everyone.Bernie Sanders’ #CancelStudentDebt Is a Dangerous Scam

Are you a geek or a nerd? Both? It’s ok to be both but know which one you are at any given moment.

I had an LOL moment last night watching Jimmy Fallon [a late-night talk show, for y’all in different countries]. Ex-gangsta-rapper and “Law and Order” detective Ice-T was on TV (it was broadcast here, anyway—I don’t watch often enough to know whether it was a rerun or not) with his extravagant wife Coco, and he pointed out that there’s a big difference between a nerd and a geek. Given any little area of enthusiasm, a nerd is a guy who knows all about it—and likes to talk about it and argue about it—and a geek is a guy who likes to do it. Whatever “it” is.

So I’m a darkroom geek but a Miata nerd. (Makin’ me laugh again*.)

I remember back when I occasionally participated in the often contentious forums of a certain high profile British digital camera review site. I got into it once with a guy who was evangelical about a certain brand of high-end professional DSLR and outspokenly critical of the competing brand’s flagship model. (I forget whether he loved C and hated N, or loved N and hated C…not that it really matters.) When I dug into it, it turned out that the fellow was a teenager who didn’t own a nice DSLR at all.

A goal for him to aspire to: geekhood!Geeks vs. Nerds by Mike at The Online Photographer

5G networks may be faster but less ubiquitous and more costly to build out.

Thousands of engineers and planners like Mr. Hubbard, along with diggers of trenches and installers of antennas, must coordinate to link more fiber-optic cable, in more places in the U.S. than ever before. All so we can do more stuff on mobile devices.

This is the paradox of 5G, the collection of technologies behind next-generation wireless networks: They require a gargantuan quantity of wires. This is because 5G requires many more small towers, all of which must be wired to the internet. The consequences of this unavoidable reality are myriad. The 5G build-out, which could take more than a decade, could disrupt our commutes, festoon nearly every city block with antennas, limit what cities can charge for renting spots on their infrastructure to carriers on which to place their antennas, and result in an unequal distribution of access to high-speed wireless, at least at first.

The driving force behind this enormous build-out is that 5G networks don’t work like previous wireless cellular networks. Where 2G, 3G and even 4G rely on large towers with powerful antennas that can cover many square miles, the shorter-range, higher-frequency radio waves used by 5G networks—essential to their ability to deliver the 10- to 100-times faster speeds they promise—mean that 5G networks must have small cells placed much closer together.The Downside of 5G: Overwhelmed Cities, Torn-Up Streets, a Decade Until Completion by Christopher Mims in the Wall Street Journal

What exactly does it mean to be mentally tired? What’s actually happening in your brain? Proposing an answer to these riddles is the challenge that a new paper in Sports Medicine, from a team at the University of Canberra led by Kristy Martin, takes on.

The basic hypothesis that Martin and her colleagues present (drawing on a suggestion from 2014) is that mental fatigue results from the accumulation of a brain chemical called adenosine. In this picture, sustained cognitive activity burns up glucose, particularly in certain regions of the brain associated with “effortful mental processes,” such as the anterior cingulate cortex. This temporary and localized fuel shortage triggers a rise in adenosine levels, which in turn blocks the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine. The result is a rise in perception of effort and a decrease in motivation—in other words, a feeling of mental fatigue.Here’s What We Know About Mental Fatigue by Alex Hutchinson