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posted by martyb on Saturday February 02 2019, @10:25PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the don't-look-at-me-that-way dept.

San Francisco could become the first U.S. city to ban the use of facial recognition technology, criticized as biased by lawmakers and privacy advocates.

A new bill unveiled on Tuesday, known as the Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance, states that the risks of the controversial technology "substantially outweigh...its purported benefits, and the technology will exacerbate racial injustice and threaten our ability to live free of continuous government monitoring."

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Tuesday January 29 2019, @07:52AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the autism-causes-councils dept.

Anti-vaccine advocates appointed to Minnesota autism council after measles outbreak

Officials in Minnesota have appointed anti-vaccine advocates to a newly formed state council on autism, sparking controversy in the wake of a record measles outbreak in the state.

State senator Jim Abeler formed the MN Autism Council last fall to address issues surrounding autism, including "treatment, educational options, employment opportunities, independent living, and more." While about one in 59 children in the US are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, the rate in Minnesota is one in 42.

Though the council is not designed to take up the issue of vaccination, it has been ensnared in controversy due to the anti-vaccine sentiments it includes, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. At least two of the council's more than 30 members are skeptical of vaccine safety and oppose compulsory immunizations. One of those skeptical members, Wayne Rohde, was one of three initial people Abeler appointed to the council. Rohde was charged with helping to shape the council and with picking other members.

Related: Anti-Vaccine Movement Linked to Measles Outbreak in New York

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Friday January 25 2019, @10:22PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the we're-safe...-for-now... dept.

Senate Passes Short-Term Deal To Reopen Government, With Trump's Endorsement

President Trump has endorsed a bipartisan deal that would end the 35-day partial government shutdown. The three-week stopgap funding measure would reopen shuttered agencies while negotiations continue.

Trump announces deal to lift shutdown

President Donald Trump has endorsed a deal to reopen the US government for three weeks, after a record-breaking shutdown of federal agencies.

But the pact does not include any money that Mr Trump has demanded for a US-Mexico border wall.

See also: Dem senator unveils 'Stop STUPIDITY Act' to prevent all shutdowns
White House: 'Large down payment' on wall could end government shutdown
35 ways the shutdown is affecting America

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posted by martyb on Thursday January 24 2019, @02:26AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the With-great-beard-comes-great-responsibility dept.

Philosophers deal with real, empirical, questions! From Quartzy, the ethical question of male facial hair.

Those who believe growing a beard is a personal fashion choice need to reconsider. The bristly facial hair of men is, in fact, the physical embodiment of deep ethical and aesthetic considerations. Henry Pratt, philosophy professor at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, wrote a detailed analysis of such philosophical conundrums in his aptly titled paper, “To Beard or Not to Beard: Ethical and Aesthetic Obligations and Facial Hair.”

Why now: well, it all goes back to the "fool says in his heart" guy, St. Anselm.

In this paper, presented at the January 2019 eastern division meeting of the American Philosophical Association in New York, Pratt considers the premise set out by Saint Anselm of Canterbury, an 11th century philosopher. Anselm writes:

Not having a beard is not dishonorable for a man who is not yet supposed to have a beard, but once he ought to have a beard, it is unbecoming for him not to have one. In the same way, not having justice is not a defect in a nature that is not obligated to have justice, but it is disgraceful for a nature that ought to have it.

The take-away:

However, one surprising consequence of my philosophical work on pogonotrophy is that I now find myself thinking that the choices made by myself and others about what to grow on our faces are actually pretty important. I find myself wondering whether I should worry about the masculinity projected by my beard, and the effects thereof. I also consider whether friends and associates should have the facial hair they grow. But just as it’s a bad idea to tell other parents they’re raising their kids wrong, I think it’s a bad idea to tell others that their beards are wrong. So far.

Other relevant sources:
The Philosophy of Beards: A Lecture Physiological, Artistic and Historical, by Thomas Gowing; 1875;
The Philosopher’s Beard
Beard Taxes!
The Gentleman Lawyer’s Guide to Facial Hair
"Law of Conservation of Facial Hair" still applies.

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Monday January 21 2019, @06:02PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the identification-politics dept.

Civil rights group marks MLK Day with call for 'Trump card' national ID

A prominent civil rights group is marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day by pressing President Trump to honor his promise to create a national photo ID card for citizens.

Martin Luther King III, the oldest son of the iconic civil rights leader and a co-chairmen of the Drum Major Institute, met with Trump two years ago on MLK Day. During that meeting, the then president-elect endorsed the idea of a national photo ID. This year, the group is calling on Trump to follow through.

William Wachtel, co-founder of the Drum Major Institute, said the group sees the issue as critical to ensuring King's work to remove barriers to voting.

[...] The idea has invited controversy in the past, in particular over privacy concerns. In 2013, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a measure, the Protect Our Privacy Act, attached to a Senate immigration bill. The Paul amendment sought to prevent the creation of a national ID card, citing worries that it would make it easier for the government to track people. Wachtel sought to ease concerns about such an ID, saying it would not be mandatory and would only be an option for those who sought it.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday January 20 2019, @10:00AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the just-eat-it dept.

Over the years, scientists have identified dams, pollution and vessel noise as causes of the troubling decline of the Pacific Northwest's resident killer whales. Now, they may have found a new and more surprising culprit: pink salmon.

Four salmon researchers were perusing data on the website of the Center for Whale Research, which studies the orcas, several months ago when they noticed a startling trend: that for the past two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years.

In a newly published paper, they speculate that the pattern is related to pink salmon, which return to the Salish Sea between Washington state and Canada in enormous numbers every other year — though they're not sure how. They suspect that the huge runs of pink salmon, which have boomed under conservation efforts and changes in ocean conditions in the past two decades, might interfere with the whales' ability to hunt their preferred prey, Chinook salmon.

Given the dire plight of the orcas, which officials say are on the brink of extinction, the researchers decided to publicize their discovery without waiting to investigate its causes.

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posted by martyb on Saturday January 19 2019, @01:04PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the wondering-what-Russia-and-China-are-thinking dept.

Trump to Hold Second Summit With Kim Jong Un in February, U.S. Says

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet near the end of February for a second summit, despite evidence North Korea is advancing its nuclear weapons program.

The White House announced the summit and timing after Trump met Friday with Kim Yong Chol, a top aide to the North Korean leader and a former spy chief.

Trump's decision to go ahead with another in-person meeting -- further elevating Kim's global profile -- underscores the president's confidence that his personal involvement and negotiating skills can change the behavior of recalcitrant regimes in ways that traditional leverage and diplomacy, past U.S. leaders and his own emissaries could not.

Previously: President Trump Tweets about Nuclear Talks with North Korea
President Trump Set to Meet Kim Jong-un at 9 PM EDT (01:00 UTC, 9 AM Singapore)

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Wednesday January 16 2019, @05:46PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Why-Not-Re-Referendum? dept.

Brexit vote: What just happened and what comes next?

With only approximately two more months before a default no-deal "hard Brexit," the British Parliament has decisively rejected Prime Minister May's proposed plan for leaving the European Union.

There is a no confidence vote in works which, if successful, will dissolve the government and force another general election.

See also: Live: Latest as MPs debate no confidence vote

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Sunday January 13 2019, @10:00PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the race-to-disgrace dept.

James Watson: Scientist loses titles after claims over race

Nobel Prize-winning American scientist James Watson has been stripped of his honorary titles after repeating comments about race and intelligence.

In a TV programme, the pioneer in DNA studies made a reference to a view that genes cause a difference on average between blacks and whites on IQ tests. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory said the 90-year-old scientist's remarks were "unsubstantiated and reckless". Dr Watson had made similar claims in 2007 and subsequently apologised.

He shared the Nobel in 1962 with Maurice Wilkins and Francis Crick for their 1953 discovery of the DNA's double helix structure.

Dr Watson sold his gold medal in 2014, saying he had been ostracised by the scientific community after his remarks about race. He is currently in a nursing home recovering from a car accident and is said to have "very minimal" awareness of his surroundings.

Previously: Disgraced Scientist is Selling his Nobel Prize

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday January 11 2019, @10:36PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the what-would-YOU-do? dept.

Got a contingency plan for men with guns showing up at your cubicle and ordering you to re-route traffic to please the government?

Section 606 of the 1934 Communications Act provides for government takeover of wired and radio communication in the event of war or "other national emergency".

I'm not saying anything will happen in the next few days. Trump's state of emergency might be just talk. It might be limited to its stated purpose. It's rare for actual disasters to happen.

You've got a disaster recovery plan (DRP), though. If it's not in the next few days, a "national emergency" problem might show up sometime down the road. Does your DRP cover it?

It's hard to imagine a technical solution. This may require the company lawyer to prepare a [Layer 8] contingency plan in advance.

Original Submission