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FTC May Try To Delay Facebook's Plan To Integrate its Apps

Slashdot - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 15:51
Facebook's stock took a dive on Thursday following a report that federal regulators may seek to prevent the company from more tightly integrating its social media products. From a report: The Federal Trade Commission is said to be considering asking for a court order to delay Facebook from making the services it owns, including WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger, interoperable with one another, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter. Shares of Facebook fell more than 3 percent in afternoon trading Thursday after the news broke.

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Categories: Geek

Supreme Court's latest abortion move shows need for state level advocacy and legislative champions

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 15:50

 Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal challenging a 2017 Kentucky law that requires medical providers to perform a narrated “transvaginal ultrasound” on all patients seeking abortion care, and which makes no provision for either patients or providers to opt out. The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of Kentucky’s only abortion care provider, and the Supreme Court’s decision means the law will remain in place. Currently, Kentucky’s forced narrated ultrasound law is the only one of its kind in effect. Similar laws passed in North Carolina and Oklahoma were previously struck down by the courts.

While progressives have often viewed the federal courts, particularly the Supreme Court, as the last best safeguard for the protection of people’s rights, the Court’s newly-cemented conservative majority has sent a message that they will look away as states’ anti-choice legislators continue to chip away at the availability of abortion care. As a result, the work of state-level pro-choice legislators and organizers has taken on increased urgency.

“Now, with the courts stacked against us at even the highest level, we must elect representation that will stand up to these ideological agendas and protect our rights and freedoms,” said Nicole Erwin, communications manager for Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.

Categories: Politics

You may be able to save thousands of dollars on upgrading Mac Pro RAM

9to5Mac - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 15:42

Apple is known to charge exorbitant prices for memory, and the just-released Mac Pro is no exception. For example, the Mac Pro comes with a base amount of 32GB of RAM in a 4x8GB configuration, but upgrading to 48GB costs $300 and quickly balloons to $1000 for 96GB of RAM.

Even worse is the RAM that Apple sells separately. In that case, a mere 16GB of RAM in a 2x8GB config will cost you $400, while 64GB in a 2x32GB config will cost you a whopping $1200. Want $256GB? Prepare to pay $6000.

But there may be good news in all of this. As has been the case for many years, it may be possible to utilize third-party RAM, which comes at a much more reasonable price. For example, this 64GB kit in a 2x32GB configuration from NEMIX RAM costs under $200, a $1000 savings over Apple’s kit. more…

The post You may be able to save thousands of dollars on upgrading Mac Pro RAM appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

FTC may block Facebook’s plans to integrate WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram messaging

iDownloadBlog - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 15:41

Facebook's plans to integrate the messaging components of its apps like WhatsApp and Instagram may get blocked by the FTC.
Categories: Geek

Lunchtime Flower

Kevin Drum - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 15:30

This is a popcorn flower. Does it look like popcorn? I guess it does, sort of, though it wouldn’t have been my first guess.

April 5, 2019 — Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Orange County, California
Categories: Politics

Nikki Haley whines that 'outrage culture' won't let her bothsides the Confederate flag

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 15:27

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, just off a stint as Donald Trump's appointed ambassador to the United Nations, thoroughly stepped in it a few days ago in a speech bothsidesing the Confederate battle flag, a Civil War banner that has been used as symbol of violent and institutionalized white nationalism and white supremacy since its inception. She has done this before, and will do it again, largely by pretending to be completely unaware of the flag's role  through American history, no matter how often it is explained to her.

The problem here is that Haley, who just released a similarly whining and self-serving book, wants very much to run for president under a Republican banner. That means catering to the vast swath of racists who themselves pretend that the Confederate flag is not one of the most identifiable symbols of organized American racism, but is instead a symbol of a murky, ill-defined "heritage" of revering white supremacist figures, slaveholders, terrorists, and the "Lost Cause" of states getting to decide to enslave black Americans if they damn well want to.

That’s no reason for The Washington Post to give her space for yet another official do-over, though. It's especially redundant if Haley is going to use the space to issue snowflakian whines about how the problem isn't her attempts to signal to racists that she feels their pain—the problem is that you people, out there, had a reaction against what she said. It is you who should feel ashamed of yourselves, not her. Wrote Haley, "Today’s outrage culture does not allow any gestures to the other side. It demands that we declare winners and losers."

If you're making a gesture to people who think that flying the flag of the slaveholding South, one repurposed by violent white supremacists as symbol of opposition to every civil rights demand for a century, you are going to be critiqued. The nation offers its deepest sympathies to your glass ego, person who insists on being in the national spotlight despite these travails.

But the big claim, the big fat malevolent claim that Haley trots out and shoots in the middle of the road, and one of the most common claims of conservative cretins denying their own racist beliefs, is that it's not the "disturbing" "upsurge in white nationalism" that threatens civil rights, but the rest of you. You, there, with your "outrage culture." And if you take Haley’s claim as a threat, you should, because that is how it is intended every time.

Categories: Politics

Georgia councilman admits interracial marriage makes his 'blood boil' in roundabout defense of mayor

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 15:25

Here’s where I agree with racist Georgia councilman Jim Cleveland, who rose to infamy after proudly articulating his opposition to interracial marriage: There is a stark difference between Atlanta and the rest of Georgia. While Atlanta may boast a diverse population that's more than 50% black and headed by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a black woman, larger Georgia seems to defy the bounds of time, with many residents still harboring a fondness for the Confederacy and the white supremacy that is its hallmark. 

That sentiment is so popular that when Mayor Theresa Kenerly of Hoschton, a city about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta, admitted that she snuffed a black job candidate's chances because of his race, the aforementioned councilman defended her by admitting he couldn't stomach seeing blacks with whites together on television, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Makes my blood boil because that's just not the way a Christian is supposed to live," Cleveland said.

He went on to explain his beliefs.“I understood where she was coming from,” Cleveland told the AJC. “I understand Theresa saying that, simply because we’re not Atlanta. Things are different here than they are 50 miles down the road.” He’s since resigned, saying Tuesday that he would rather quit on his own terms than face voters in a recall election next month. “I’m not going to give them the pleasure of saying they recalled Mr. Cleveland,” he told the paper.

Categories: Politics

University of Phoenix settles deceptive ad dispute, agrees to cancel $141 million in student debt

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 15:18

In the largest settlement obtained against a for-profit college, the University of Phoenix and its parent company, the Apollo Education Group, have agreed to cancel $144 million in student debt owed to the university and pay $50 million in cash to settle a dispute with the Federal Trade Commission, in a deal announced Tuesday

The dispute is over the university using deceptive advertising to recruit students. An ad campaign for the university suggested falsely that the university had active partnerships with companies that included Microsoft, Twitter, AT&T, Yahoo, and Adobe, NBC reported. It suggested that the school worked with the companies to create job opportunities for its graduates. 

“Students making important decisions about their education need the facts, not fantasy job opportunities that do not exist," the director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, Andrew Smith, said.

Categories: Politics

Julián Castro's perfect response to ICE's tweet 'honoring' Human Rights Day: 'Delete your account'

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 15:15

There was really only one way to respond to a tweet from the out-of-control Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency supposedly recognizing Human Rights Day—and former HUD secretary and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro knew what it was. “Delete your account,” he responded in a tweet that has now racked up more than 400,000 likes.


ICE’s tweet had linked to propaganda from the mass deportation agency claiming that “The women and men of ICE dedicate themselves every day to protecting the dignity and human rights of people around the world,” and that “through our work investigating perpetrators of genocide, torture, war crimes and other violations of human rights, they are committed to seeking the prosecution and removal of human rights violators seeking refuge here.”

From deporting whistleblowers, to allowing detainees to be used as captive labor, to deporting military veterans after they’ve honorably served their country, there’s a horror show of examples explaining why recent polling has found ICE to be the most unpopular federal agency among the American public, viewed even more unfavorably than the IRS. As we said earlier this year, ICE has a bad reputation because it’s earned one.

Categories: Politics

Matt Gaetz Throws Stones At Glass House, Gets Cut By Glass

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 15:05

Oh, my goodness gracious. These Republicans are so divorced from reality, and so very, very dumb. If only those two things didn't spell immense danger, we could enjoy the hilarity thoroughly.

Today, astonishingly, some GOP smarty thought it would be a good strategic move to have Rep. Matt Gaetz -— the idiot who could be that "Florida Man" in every single article that starts "Florida man gets face eaten by scorpions on a dare" — be the one to bring up Hunter Biden's substance abuse problem. One that, mind you, Biden has overcome.

Gaetz, you must understand, has his own colorful history with DUIs. And thus far, he's shown no evidence of rehabilitation, unless you count his ability to call his dad to get him out of trouble. There's a lot of that projection going around Republican circles nowadays, no?

Well, new hero of the Judiciary Committee, the Gentleman from Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson, handed Gaetz his ass so politely, swiftly, poetically, and professionally, the entire audience erupted in loud laughter. Rep. Johnson, of course, did not. He kept right on going, making his point about the fact that impeachment is not about Hunter Biden's brush with the law, but Donald Trump's open contempt of it.

After Gaetz mocked Biden's having had a substance abuse problem, and Burisma's employing him after he'd conquered it, Rep. Johnson threw up this block so powerful, Gaetz is probably calling his dad to get him out of trouble as we speak.

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Categories: Politics

Inside the Podcast that Hacks Ring Camera Owners Live on Air

Slashdot - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 15:05
In the NulledCast podcast hackers livestream the harassment of Ring camera owners after accessing their devices. Hundreds of people can listen. From a report: A blaring siren suddenly rips through the Ring camera, startling the Florida family inside their own home. "It's your boy Chance on Nulled," a voice says from the Ring camera, which a hacker has taken over. "How you doing? How you doing?" "Welcome to the NulledCast," the voice says. The NulledCast is a podcast livestreamed to Discord. It's a show in which hackers take over people's Ring and Nest smarthome cameras and use their speakers to talk to and harass their unsuspecting owners. In the example above, Chance blared noises and shouted racist comments at the Florida family. "Sit back and relax to over 45 minutes of entertainment," an advertisement for the podcast posted to a hacking forum called Nulled reads. "Join us as we go on completely random tangents such as; Ring & Nest Trolling, telling shelter owners we killed a kitten, Nulled drama, and more ridiculous topics. Be sure to join our Discord to watch the shows live." Software to hack Ring cameras has recently become popular on the forum. The software churns through previously compromised email addresses and passwords to break into Ring cameras at scale. This has led to a recent spate of hacks that have occurred both during the podcast and at other times, several of which have been covered by local media outlets. In Brookhaven a hacker shouted at a sleeping woman through her hacked Ring camera to wake-up. In Texas, a hacker demanded a couple pay a bitcoin ransom. Hackers targeted a family in DeSoto County, Mississippi, and spoke through the device to one of the young children.

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Facebook stock drops on potential FTC injunction to block app interoperability with Instagram and WhatsApp

9to5Mac - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 14:53

The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly looking into filing a preliminary injunction against Facebook over antitrust concerns based on the interoperability of its apps. A potential injunction could focus on how Facebook interacts with Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.


The post Facebook stock drops on potential FTC injunction to block app interoperability with Instagram and WhatsApp appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Rep. Hank Johnson calls out Matt Gaetz’s hypocrisy after nasty impeachment hearing comment

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 14:45

The House Judiciary Committee is meeting on Thursday to discuss the impeachment of Donald Trump over his Ukraine bribery and extortion. The Republican Party has decided to use this time not to defend the facts of the case, but to continue doing Donald Trump’s personal dirty work—the same reason he is being impeached as we speak.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, a particularly despicable figure, decided to throw in a reference to Hunter Biden’s previous substance abuse issues—something that has been well-documented and discussed by the Bidens themselves, and something that has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not Donald Trump should or should not be impeached.

Whether Trump used his position of power to withhold earmarked aid to Ukraine in return for the foreign state helping to at least cast doubt about one of Trump’s political opponents, and whether or not one of those political opponents’ children had issues with drugs or alcohol are not related. At all. But, then again, we are talking about Matt Gaetz here. Rep. Matt Gaetz is a man that produces so much manure every time he opens his mouth, it is shocking that our entire country isn’t filled with fertilized soil.

Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia wasn’t going to allow this ludicrous bit of hypocrisy to go unchallenged. He opened his statement to the committee by saying, “I would say that the pot calling the kettle black is not something we should do.” Rep. Johnson took a long pause here that elicited laughter from the audience. He used pregnant pauses throughout his statement to great effect, but also decided to put Gaetz on notice that if the Congress member wants to be dirty about being full of Trump-branded dung, Johnson was going to be there to call him out.

I don't know what members, if any have, had any problems with substance abuse. Been busted in DUI. I don't know. But if I did I wouldn't raise it against anyone on this committee. I don't think it's proper and, you know, I think we got to get back down to what is most important here.

CSPAN’s cameras knew exactly “what members” shouldn’t be casting their stones in glass houses, and cut to Rep. Gaetz and his strangely frenetic countenance before cutting back to Johnson.
Categories: Politics

Here’s what scrolljacking is and how to remove it from Apple.com and other websites

iDownloadBlog - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 14:40

Learn what scrolljacking is and how to stop it so that you can scroll up and down a webpage like you normally would without being forced to sit through boring transitions and animations.
Categories: Geek

House Democrats pass bill to lower prescription drug costs, dramatically improve Medicare

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 14:40

In a 230-192 vote, the House passed legislation to reduce prescription drug costs, a bill renamed the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act to honor the recently deceased Maryland congressman. The bill received a last-minute and drastic improvement when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed to proposals from the Congressional Progressive Caucus to increase the number of drugs Medicare could negotiate prices for, and to protect employer-sponsored insurance plans from drug price hikes.

The proposal originally allowed for Medicare to negotiate prices on 35 drugs, but thanks to the CPC intervention, it's now a minimum of 50 drugs. Prices would be capped to 120% of what they sell for in other wealthy nations, and those prices can be negotiated down further. The lower prices would also apply to private insurance. And if a drug company refused to negotiate, it could be hit with up to a 95% tax on revenue for the drug in question.

“What I hear most often is not impeachment, it's not what's on the front page of The Washington Post, it's 'What are you going to do about the cost of our prescription drugs?'" said Rep. Kim Schrier, a freshman from Washington state and the only female physician in the House, as well as a type 1 diabetic. "And this bill is an answer to my constituents." Democrats also pointed out that they were fulfilling another key campaign promise from someone else.

”It's exactly what President Trump promised on the campaign trail," Rep. Andy Levin of Michigan said. And it is, but that doesn't mean Trump will support it, and it certainly doesn't mean Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will allow it to get anywhere near the Senate floor.

That's despite the fact that the Congressional Budget Office says it would lower drug costs by about 50% on the negotiated drugs and would also save Medicare $456 billion over 10 years. The bill would return those savings to expand Medicare benefits to include hearing, dental, and vision care. This would be a massive win for seniors. But McConnell and Trump aren't going to let it happen. That’s one more reason to take the whole shebang of elected government back in 2020.

Categories: Politics

Judiciary Committee resumes hearing to send Articles of Impeachment to full House

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 14:37

The Thursday hearing to hear and vote on the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump might have been relatively brief. Except, of course, Republicans have dragged out the hearing all day by offering a series of ludicrous amendments—such as striking the whole first article, or inserting an entire conspiracy theory into the text. The hearing has already taken long enough that, right on cue, Republicans moved to making complaints about all the “time wasted that could be spent on other things” … right before Nadler put the committee on hold so they could move to the floor and vote on other things.

Through seemingly endless rounds of parliamentary “move to strike the last word” and “point of order” and insisting for roll calls for clearly defeated amendments, Republicans have stayed on task—which is lying. In particular, Thursday’s hearing has been a day for absolutely lying about Joe Biden and his actions in Ukraine. Rep. John Ratcliffe may have gone the deepest into absolute, knowing, nothing-but-lies statements in claiming that Biden sacked a prosecutor engaged in investigating the company where his son worked. Ratcliffe was also the first Republican to finally go on record saying that sure, it’s fine to solicit foreign interference in a U.S. election. 

But it was Matt Gaetz who, as he so often does, provided the tragicomic relief. Gaetz went out of his way to read into the record an article claiming that Hunter Biden had a drug problem and talked about claims that a car crash was drug-related. Following which Democrat Hank Johnson responded by saying. “The pot calling the kettle black is not something we should do.” Johnson said he didn’t know which of his collegues had drug issues or DUIs, but said that if he knew of such problems, it’s not “something I would bring up.” Matt Gaetz was arrested for a DUI.

That didn’t stop what might have been Gaetz’ absolutely best moment. Still eager to get more salacious information about Hunter Biden into the public record, Gaetz read from his divorce proceedings. As he did so, Gaetz tried to make gifts received by Hunter Biden seem extravagant and capped it by saying, “Corrupt people, they don't just steal once. They get into the habit of corruption." This statement came a day after Donald Trump was forced to pay a $2 million fine for his fake charity. Which followed the $25 million fine he paid over his fake university. Which followed his $10 million fine for money laundering at his casino. Spot on, Mr. Gaetz, spot on.

Sometime this afternoon, assuming Republicans tire of throwing up pointless amendments, we should finally get to the vote.

Thursday, Dec 12, 2019 · 7:45:00 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner Republican Rep. Buck starts off the afternoon saying that Republicans were sent there to “obstruct” Congress. Because Congress had such a low rating and ran up such high deficits.  That would have been the Republican Congress. The one Democrats were sent to replace in 2018. Buck also notes that Republicans were sent there to stop things like a provision giving federal employees family leave. Which was included in the bill Republicans already signed off on without noticing. So ... good job, guys. Thursday, Dec 12, 2019 · 7:46:36 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Lesko continues the claims against Biden. I’d be happy if someone took just a moment to point out again that Shokin was not, Not, NOT investigating Burisma when Biden asked for his removal.

It also wouldn’t hurt to mention that a collection of Republican Senators wrote a letter to Obama to request his removal, specifically attaching that action to Ukraine aid.

Thursday, Dec 12, 2019 · 7:47:57 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Nadler: “When I hear colleagues arguing that Congress is unpopular, and therefore obstruction of Congress is a good thing, it shows terrible ignorance.” 

Cool beans, Jerry.

Thursday, Dec 12, 2019 · 7:51:13 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Here’s what Trump actually says in his phone call:

Trump: “There's a lot of talk about Biden's son. That Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you ·can look into it ... It sounds horrible to me.”

Gaetz amendment requires that Joe Biden isn’t the target of the Trump’s demand. Which is ludicrous on its face.

Thursday, Dec 12, 2019 · 7:58:01 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Why is C-SPAN’s camera stuck looking at Louie Gohmert? Are we not being tortured enough already?

Categories: Politics

Fox News' Wallace says Trump has done damage with his historic 'assault on freedom of the press'

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 14:37

In a speech before an audience at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Fox News’ Chris Wallace said that, as president, Donald Trump is “engaged in the most direct, sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history,” Mediaite reports. He said that Trump’s attacks “have done some damage.”

The Fox News anchor’s comments come after years of Trump’s relentless attacks on everyone not completely lying about his corruption and policies and racism and anti-Semitism and xenophobia and authoritarian behavior and abuses of power.

Wallace has made headlines outside of his normal right-wing fascistic propaganda sphere of late because he has had the gall to try and simply point out factual information in the face of dime-store science-fiction-level Republican propaganda. When you tell someone as ridiculous as Rep. Steve Scalise that he needs to stop straight-up lying about verifiable facts, you are bound to find yourself considered something of a rebel in conservative circles.

Categories: Politics

Google Adds Spam Detection and Verified Business SMS To Messages

Slashdot - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 14:23
Businesses often send one-time passwords, account alerts and appointment confirmations via text. But if you've ever received one of those, you know they tend to come from a random number, and bad actors can take advantage of that by disguising phishing scams as one of those messages. To protect users, Google will soon verify SMS messages from registered businesses. From a report: When you receive a message from a verified business, you'll see the company name, logo and a verification badge in the message thread. Businesses must sign up to use Verified SMS, and so far, 1-800-Flowers, Banco Bradesco, Kayak, Payback and SoFi are on-board. Verified SMS is rolling out gradually in the US, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Mexico, Philippines, Spain and the UK. Google is also adding real-time spam detection. When Google suspects a message is phishy or garbage, it will show a spam warning in Messages.

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Categories: Geek

House Democrats slam Trump admin attempt to skyrocket immigration-related fees by as much as 83%

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 13:47

More than 80 House Democrats are calling on the Trump administration to abandon proposed changes needlessly skyrocketing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services fees for applications ranging from green cards to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals renewals, some by amounts that will make already burdensome fees a near impossibility for many low-income immigrants.

Applications to naturalize, for example, will increase 83%, from $640 to $1,170, said faith-based immigrant rights advocacy group CLINIC. DACA recipients—who have to renew their protections every two years or lose the ability to work legally—will see their fees go from $495 to $765, a 55% increase. In one unprecedented proposal, the administration also wants asylum-seekers to pay a $50 fee, which would make the U.S. one of the few countries to charge applicants to seek protection. In their letter, legislators led by Rep. Grace Meng said increases would “undermine fair and equitable access to our immigration system.”

“As currently drafted, the proposal would inevitably price out hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people from obtaining citizenship and other immigration benefits for which they qualify, based solely on their ability to afford these unreasonably high fees,” they said. Of course, that’s also the point of these fee increases: where the administration can’t physically block asylum-seekers or separate families or deport whistleblowers who barely survived a workplace disaster, it hopes changes like this can be enough to wall them off from a future in America.

Of course, the administration has claimed that the proposed increases for USCIS (which is nearly entirely funded by fees) “accounts for increased costs to adjudicate immigration benefit requests, detect and deter immigration fraud, and thoroughly vet applicants, petitioners, and beneficiaries.” But as the legislators note in their letter, the administration has had no issue in the past swindling cash from other government agencies in order to fund his out-of-control mass deportation agents and detention camps.

“We respectfully urge you to withdraw this rule and work with Congress to address any demonstrated funding shortfalls USCIS may have,” the legislators continue. “The American dream should be available to all those who aspire to it, regardless of wealth or income.” The public comment period for this proposed rule is open through December 30—click here today to leave your comment opposing these harmful fee increases.

Categories: Politics

Rude Paper Reviews Are Pervasive and Sometimes Harmful, Study Finds

Slashdot - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 13:44
sciencehabit writes: There's a running joke in academia about Reviewer 2. That's the reviewer that doesn't bother to read the manuscript a journal has sent out for evaluation for possible publication, offers condescending or outright offensive comments, and -- of course -- urges the irrelevant citation of their own work. Such unprofessional conduct is so pervasive there's even a whole Facebook group, more than 25,000 members strong, named "Reviewer 2 Must Be Stopped!" But it is no laughing matter, concludes a new study that finds boorish reviewer comments can have serious negative impacts, especially on authors belonging to marginalized groups. The study surveyed 1106 scientists from 46 countries and 14 disciplines. More than half of the respondents -- who were promised anonymity -- reported receiving at least one "unprofessional" review, and a majority of those said they had received multiple problematic comments. Those comments tended to personally target a scientist, lack constructive criticism, or were just unnecessarily harsh or cruel, the authors report. For example, one author received a review that stated: "The phrases I have so far avoided using in this review are 'lipstick on a pig' and 'bullshit baffles brains.'" Another reported receiving this missive: "The author's last name sounds Spanish. I didn't read the manuscript because I'm sure it's full of bad English."

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