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Ari Melber Shreds Acting CBP Chief In Contentious Interview

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 20:43

One of the best things about watching The Beat with Ari Melber is when his guests come on and assume that because Melber is such a friendly guy that the interview will be similar to other friendly interviews they have on other shows. You know, softball questions, no real follow up, lies allowed to stand and few receipts to refute obvious lies.

Well, if you watch The Beat you know that Melber may be friendly, but his interviews are more akin to a legal cross examination than a softball interview. Tonight's interview Acting CBP Director, Mark Morgan, is a perfect example. Not only did Melber refuse to let him squirm out of answering direct questions, but he had receipts to prove that he was lying when he actually did choose to answer a question (with a lie).

When Ari Melber looks down, sticks up his pen and his smile turns up, wait for the cross exam to start. He knows how to interview.

Here is a bit of the back and forth:

MELBER: Let me start by playing for you some of the emotional testimony we've heard. I know you're familiar with some of this. This is a mother describing the death of her 1-year-old daughter in U.S. custody and she says ICE officials told her "this is a country of Americans and we can take your daughter."


MELBER: Is that death avoidable and is it acceptable?

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Categories: Politics

Repubs in Disarray!… Open Thread: Lee Atwater Wept

Balloon Juice - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 20:39

The ‘smart’ ones don’t mind the racism, of course, but they wish the Oval Office Squatter could be a little more discreet in front of the media kiddies…

Categories: Politics

Crowd Gives Rep. Ilhan Omar A Hero's Welcome

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 20:34

It's been quite a day for Rep. Ilhan Omar, in what has already been quite a week. On Monday she faced-down the vile and repugnant president of the United States over his racist comments. And today, after Trump racheted up the "send her back" talk even more at a campaign rally last night, the hashtag #IStandWithIlhan spent much of the day trending at #1 on twitter.

Source: Star Tribune

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar was engulfed in a crowd of cheering supporters Thursday at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, a loud counterpoint to a turbulent week in Congress where she came under a sustained rhetorical assault from President Donald Trump and his supporters.

More than 100 people filled the baggage claim area with songs, signs and chants of “welcome home Ilhan,” providing a stark contrast to chants of “send her back” that reverberated through a Trump rally in North Carolina just a day before. In brief remarks, a defiant Omar vowed to “continue to be a nightmare to our president, because his policies are a nightmare to us.”

“We are not deterred, we are not frightened, we are ready. We are in the ring,” Omar said before departing for a town hall in south Minneapolis. “We are in the peoples’ house and we are going to continue to fight it until we have the America we know we all deserve.”

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Categories: Politics

Undocumented Workers Make Up 3% of the Total US Population

Kevin Drum - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 20:34

Just to remind everyone, here is the long-term context for illegal immigration across our southern border:

Right now we’re all obsessed with the spike in asylum claims at the border, and that’s a serious problem that deserves our attention. But in terms of overall numbers, it’s a drop in the bucket. When the smoke has finally cleared, it’s unlikely that the current asylum crisis will change the number on the right by more than a tenth of a percentage point. In other words, 3.3 percent of the population instead of 3.2 percent.

This is not a huge problem. It just isn’t.

Categories: Politics

EFF Hits AT&T With Class-Action Lawsuit For Selling Customers' Location To Bounty Hunters

Slashdot - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 20:03
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Tuesday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class action lawsuit against AT&T and two data brokers over their sale of AT&T customers' real-time location data. The lawsuit seeks an injunction against AT&T, which would ban the company from selling any more customer location data and ensure that any already sold data is destroyed. The move comes after multiple Motherboard investigations found AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon sold their customers' data to so-called location aggregators, which then ended up in the hands of bounty hunters and bail bondsman. The lawsuit, focused on those impacted in California, represents three Californian AT&T customers. Katherine Scott, Carolyn Jewel, and George Pontis are all AT&T customers who were unaware the company sold access to their location. The class action complaint says the three didn't consent to the sale of their location data. The complaint alleges that AT&T violated the Federal Communications Act by not properly protecting customers' real-time location data; and the California Unfair Competition Law and the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act for misleading its customers around the sale of such data. It also alleges AT&T and the location aggregators it sold data through violated the California Constitutional Right to Privacy. The lawsuit highlights AT&T's Privacy Policy that says "We will not sell your personal information to anyone, for any purpose. Period." An AT&T spokesperson said in a statement "While we haven't seen this complaint, based on our understanding of what it alleges we will fight it. Location-based services like roadside assistance, fraud protection, and medical device alerts have clear and even life-saving benefits. We only share location data with customer consent. We stopped sharing location data with aggregators after reports of misuse."

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Categories: Geek

Apple moving into new ‘futuristic tower’ office building in Vancouver [Gallery]

9to5Mac - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 19:50

According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple is planning to open new offices in a quickly growing Vancouver development. Apple will join the likes of Deloitte and IWG plc’s Spaces in the office space.


The post Apple moving into new ‘futuristic tower’ office building in Vancouver [Gallery] appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Racetrack Deaths at Santa Anita Were . . . Not Bad Last Year

Kevin Drum - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 19:29

This has nothing to do with anything at the moment, but I happened to run across the data for horse racing deaths in California this morning. Here are the numbers for Santa Anita racetrack:

Over the past few months I must have read at least a dozen stories about the enormous death toll at Santa Anita this season and the desperate search to figure out what was happening. Not once did I see this chart or anything like it. As near as I can tell, what was happening was: nothing. There were a total of 30 racing and training deaths, which was down from 37 the year before, which was down from 54 the year before that, which was down from 57 the year before that. Fatalities have also been declining relative to the number of starts, as the chart above shows.

So why was there suddenly such a huge fuss this year? And why did virtually no reporting about it include context like this?

More here, including this longer-term chart:

Categories: Politics

Berkeley Becomes First US City To Ban Natural Gas In New Homes

Slashdot - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 19:20
Berkeley has become the first city in the nation to ban the installation of natural gas lines in new homes. The City Council on Tuesday night unanimously voted to ban gas from new low-rise residential buildings starting Jan. 1. The San Francisco Chronicle reports: The natural gas ordinance, introduced by Councilwoman Kate Harrison, requires all new single-family homes, town homes and small apartment buildings to have electric infrastructure. After its passage, Harrison thanked the community and her colleagues "for making Berkeley the first city in California and the United States to prohibit natural gas infrastructure in new buildings." The city will include commercial buildings and larger residential structures as the state moves to develop regulations for those, officials said. The ordinance allocates $273,341 per year for a two-year staff position in the Building and Safety Division within the city's Department of Planning and Development. The employee will be responsible for implementing the ban.

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Categories: Geek

Unc0ver v3.3.3 released with iOS 11-centric exploit fixes

iDownloadBlog - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 18:58

Pwn20wnd on Thursday released unc0ver v3.3.3 with more improvements for the tool's exploit usage on certain iOS 11 devices.
Categories: Geek

I’ve Been To A Mountaintop…

Balloon Juice - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 18:46

Mauna Kea, to be precise — several times.  I’ve shot parts of three films there, all centered on the telescopes atop the highest mountain on the Big Island of Hawai’i.  As you may have noticed, the mountain — and a new telescope — have been in the news lately:

Construction was set to begin this week on a giant telescope on the barren summit of Mauna Kea, a volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, considered the best observatory site in the Northern Hemisphere.

That would be the Thirty Meter Telescope, or TMT, a project that originated with the same team that built the twin ten meter Keck telescopes that were the largest optical telescopes in the world from 1993 to 2009. (They’ve since been pipped by the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), atop the Canary Islands.) Astronomers and designers from Caltech and the University of California system, later joined by other partners set out to build the TMT as one of the next generation of ‘scopes aiming to explore some of the fundamental questions of astronomy, many of which were raised by discoveries made by the current generation of ginormous light buckets. That would be stuff like deeper investigations of the large scale structure of the cosmos, maybe image of planet formation around distant stars, certainly black hole inquiry and much more.

The TMT project was launched with great confidence.  The problems its leaders anticipated were technical: how to construct an light-gathering area and/or an optical pipeline that large that holds its shape, that doesn’t mind temperature shifts, that can be morphed on demand to adjust for turbulence in the air above it and so on, through a whole host of very tricking engineering issues.

But there was never any real doubt about the right place to put this instrument, or of the project’s access to the summit of Mauna Kea, which, after all, already played host to more than a dozen other observatories.  (I know this, because I talked to those in charge of the project at the time of its inception, many of whom had appeared in one or another of my films.)

They were wrong. Last week, after years of delays, some negotiations, and, by now, mistrust and more on the Hawai’ian activist side, the state governor announced that the project had cleared its last hurdles and construction would begin.  This week, protestors blocked the one access road to the summit and the observatories brought their people off the mountain.  At first, law enforcement was on the scene, but there were no direct confrontations.  That changed yesterday:

On Wednesday, that opposition had a new face: About 30 Hawaiian elders were arrested as they blocked a road leading to Mauna Kea’s summit to halt the construction, organizers said. They described an emotional but peaceful scene as the elders, who were sitting under tents on the road, were escorted by police officers to nearby white vans while dozens of other protesters chanted and cried. Some had to be carried.

“We have come to the point in time where enough is enough,” Leilani Kaapuni, one of the elders, said in a phone interview. She said she was arrested for obstruction of a government road but later returned to the blockade. “This mountain is sacred,” she said.

If I had to guess, I’d expect this to end in a loss for the protests. There’s a lot of momentum behind the TMT, and a ton of money involved — and there’s a huge investment in cash and intellectual possibilities in the existing observatories that would probably be lost if the new instrument didn’t make it to the mountain. Money and power talk, so I’d bet the Hawai’ian state authorities will muscle this through — and likely with the support of plenty of citizens of the state (though I’d bet many fewer among those Hawai’ians of original Hawai’ian descent).

Visible protest against the telescopes will be much more difficult if/when the TMT goes in, as the almost all the action of high altitude astronomy now takes place far from its mountain tops.  The Mauna Kea observatories have the headquarters well away from the summit.  Those astronomers doing science with the telescope, if they aren’t looking at a truly remote feed back to their offices back home, get no closer than the cattle town of Waimea, miles away and more than 10,000 feet in vertical distance away from anything a mere observer could break.

Those using the TMT wouldn’t see, that is, the kinds of protests going on now.  And the question of who has power over sacred spaces of interest to the dominant culture will be answered again, in the same way it has been almost every time these conflicts come up.

I should say that I’m an astronomy lover. I find the science that the TMT could do to be fascinating and utterly beautiful.  But man-o-man, have the leaders of that project botched this dispute for years. I do not know how you now get this project i any way that acknowledges and accommodates the claims of the disempowered first residents of the island.  But I do know that failure will have consequences; human goods — which scientific discoveries certainly are — achieved by the destruction of other goods are tainted.

I’ll leave you with the text of an article I wrote for The Boston Globe on this same subject four years ago.  Looking back, I can’t say I’m surprised that the astronomical community didn’t find a way to connect to its opposition.  But I am saddened by that fact.

Images:  Johannes Vermeer, The Astronomerc. 1668

US Air Force file photo, Air Force 1 over Mt. Rushmore, 10 February 2001.

AT 13,796 FEET, Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii is the tallest point in the Pacific Ocean. It’s a confounding place. Like the Grand Canyon, it takes a surprising amount of time simply to believe your eyes. The summit and the valley immediately below the top are barren stretches of red-black rock. It’s hard not to think of Mars.

But then — at least for me, on my first visit in 1991 — the view opens up. Look north across the strait between the Big Island and Maui and there’s Haleakala, the next giant volcano in the chain. To the south, Mauna Kea’s twin, Mauna Loa, bulks across half the sky. West, past the golf courses and beach hotels of the Kohala coast, there’s nothing but the broad Pacific — on a clear day, a   sheet of utterly, impossibly cobalt blue stretching to the edge of the earth.

No mere photograph prepares you for first sight on Mauna Kea. For me, the experience was shot through with two truths: how almost impossibly small each of us is within the natural world — and how utterly interconnected that world is, to itself and to each infinitesimal self peering though it.

Look at the peak rather than from it, though, and the scene shifts. Mauna Kea possesses a unique combination of attributes: usually clear skies, high   altitude, stable air, almost no light pollution. The first astronomical observatory appeared on the mountaintop in 1970, a gleaming white dome visible for miles. In the 45 years since, the near-perfect observing conditions have brought a flock of telescopes to land on and just below the summit ridge, 13 in all, including the two largest optical instruments now in use.

Astronomers are not the only ones to prize Mauna Kea, however. The   mountain is sacred within the native Hawaiian tradition, a home for gods and the junction between the earth and the sky. There are ancient burial sites, and more than 140 shrines have been found so far. To this day, the mountain remains a focus of Hawaiian spiritual practice.

Even so, for most of the last half century, the observatory complex has expanded in the face of only seemingly minor objections from local communities. But Mauna Kea’s proposed 14th telescope has changed all that.

The dispute over the Thirty Meter Telescope — the TMT — has been simmering for some time, but it finally came to wider media attention on   April 2, when a dozen activists were arrested for blocking construction crews below the summit. Work at the building site has since been suspended, and the protest movement has spread, perhaps most significantly, into social media. Last week, Hawaii’s governor endorsed construction of the TMT, with the caveat that 25 percent of the existing telescopes on the site be removed.

Perhaps inevitably, the dispute has been framed as the latest skirmish in the long-running campaign pitting science against religion. That’s a mistake, one that makes it nearly impossible to find a way to speak about what’s at stake in   a way that makes sense to both sides.

FOR THE LAST century, each leap in telescope diameter has generated exceptional discoveries, from finding out that our universe is expanding (and hence has a history and an origin) to the recent revelation — spurred by observations made on the Hubble Space Telescope and the largest land-based optical instruments — that three-quarters of the universe is made of a mysterious phenomenon called dark energy.

The TMT’s builders expect similar discoveries. With a primary mirror that’s nearly 100 feet across, its “light bucket” has nine times the area of the largest optical and near-infrared telescopes now in use. That will throw open a new window into the “dark ages” of the early universe, when the first stars formed. The TMT will track how the cosmos evolved its structure, look into the   mystery of dark matter, pursue giant black holes as far into the past as   possible, study the formation of planets around distant stars, and much more. As the TMT organization puts it, “It is very likely that the scientific impact of TMT will go far beyond what we envision today.”

In the face of such grand ambition, the protests took supporters by surprise. George Johnson, writing in The New York Times after an earlier protest in late 2014, declared that the TMT will be “a triumph in astronomy’s quest to understand the origin of everything,” and that the protesters are indistinguishable from “religious fundamentalists who are still waging skirmishes against science.”

Retired University of California astronomer Sandra Faber was even more blunt. She wrote an e-mail intended to gain support for a petition defending the TMT. A colleague circulated it more widely, which is how this passage became public: “the Thirty-Meter Telescope is in trouble, attacked by a horde of native Hawaiians who are lying about the impact of the project on the mountain. . .”

The use of the words “native” and “horde” had the impact one might expect: Here were senior astronomers, leaders of the field, calling their opponents a mob — with the overtones the word “horde” brings of savagery, the maddened rage of the unenlightened. This was the language of outraged power, to whom opposition is not just an obstacle, but an insult.

Faber and her colleagues have apologized — but plenty of cheerleaders for science agreed with the underlying message: This is a battle between a universal good and the mere belief of a handful of ignorable people. Physicist and storyteller Ben Lillie wrote an influential essay for Slate in which he placed the Hawaiian conflict in the context of historical misdeeds committed by or through science. The comment thread provided its usual glimpse of the id of those who disagreed. Among the more measured responses: “Sacred, schmacred. . . . It’s a big rock with room on top for some cool science stuff.

End of discussion” [ellipsis in the original]. And “At some point common interest has to overrule religious ‘rights.’ ”

To the opponents of the TMT, of course, Mauna Kea is hardly a “big rock.” Within Hawaiian tradition, Mauna Kea contains multitudes. Keolu Fox, a geneticist of Hawaiian descent writes that the mountain “is sacred to the Hawaiian people because it represents the beginning of our oral history.” In traditional Hawaiian society, the summit was forbidden to all but the highest ranks.

Now Mauna Kea serves as a focus and spiritual sanctuary for Hawaiians seeking to preserve and extend their cultural heritage. Ruth Aloua, who   helped block the summit road during a protest in March told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald that “We have an ancestral, a genealogical relationship to this place,” adding “that is what we are protecting.”

SCIENCE IS UNIVERSAL. Its methods, practices, and results are the same everywhere, reproducible anywhere, accessible to anyone. Isaac Newton found that force equals mass times acceleration, and F=ma is as true in Beijing or Capetown as it is in Boston — or atop Mauna Kea.

Science is a good, essential to human well-being. The machine on which I     write this, the fact that nearly all babies born in the United States make it to their 5th birthdays, that the world produces (if it does not always distribute effectively) all the food 7 billion people need to survive — all this and so much more derives from the fact that reason, mathematics, and rigorous experiment confer power over the material world. (As, of course, does the technology of modern war; what people do with knowledge is never an unmixed boon.)

But while a conventional and valid defense of basic science is that we have to do it because that’s where the next generation’s inventions are born, most researchers would argue that there’s more to their calling than useful mastery of nature. Robert Wilson, a physicist and founding director of Fermilab, was once asked if his giant atom smasher would make the United States more secure. No, he told a congressional committee, “It has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to make it worth defending.”

That was a grand way of saying that there are human needs beyond the merely practical. Researchers talk of their hunger for deep answers, or the rewards of elegance and beauty. Here’s Albert Einstein: “Out yonder there was this huge world which exists independently of us human beings. . . . The contemplation   of this world beckoned like a liberation, and I soon noticed that many a man whom I had learned to esteem and to admire had found inner freedom and security in devoted occupation with it.”

ASTRONOMY WAS ONCE supremely practical. Decisions about marriage, the planting of crops, or whether to go to war were all once decided by the stars.

Problems of navigation occupied professional astronomers well into the 19th century. Not any more. None of the deep space telescopes that humankind has placed on mountaintops since the beginning of the 20th century serves any immediately useful function beyond Einstein’s contemplation of this huge world.

Just look at the TMT’s goals: to reach back to the epoch of the first stars, to search for new planets and nascent stellar systems, to dissect the mysteries of exotic forms of matter. None of these have anything to do with the price of eggs. These are fundamental questions. The contemplation of them requires instruments like the TMT. Doing so offers liberation, an escape from the mundane, a kind of transcendence.

If that sounds familiar, it should. That’s the same promise that many forms of religious practice offer. And it’s recognizably similar to what the Mauna Kea protesters say they seek to defend.

I do not make here the old bad argument that religion and science are   basically the same, just two ways of knowing. They’re not. Science creates knowledge of material experience that cannot be produced by any other means. Its measurements, methods, and results are indeed common property as no particular religious commitment can be.

But the TMT dispute shows where the science versus religion trope goes wrong. The Hawaiian protesters haven’t said that Mauna Kea’s telescopes are inherently impious, or that the data they collect is somehow wrong, or that Hawaiian mythology is a better account of the cosmos. Rather, the value, the joy, the need the observatories satisfy may indeed satisfy many, but not those continuing a Hawaiian tradition that allows its heirs to find connection with memory, with history, with nature — to achieve the same transcendence sought by those who find beauty in the measure of the universe.

That is: The TMT defenders and their opponents seek analogous rewards from their presence on Mauna Kea. Their conflict isn’t between the competing worldviews of science and religion, but between desires that are kin to each other — and that require the same physical space.

LANGUAGE MATTERS. Finding a common way to express what’s at stake is   an essential element in any negotiation, in any dispute. Most important, if one side has more power than the other in a conflict, finding a way to make those more powerful hear what the opposing side is saying is both vital and exceptionally difficult.

A personal note: I love astronomy. I have felt joy every time I’ve made it up to Mauna Kea’s observatories. I’m not sure that human beings have ever made more beautiful images than the Hubble Deep Fields. I do hope the TMT   project continues, and that from first light it reveals something unimagined. I once made a film about great observatories called “Cathedrals of the Sky” — and that’s what the TMT is to me, a domed source of wonder, a conduit to Einstein’s huge world, independent of mere individual human concerns.

But as long as those on Team Science assert — and believe — that what they     do is universally valuable, trumping any merely local claim, then the Hawaiian dispute is merely an annoyance to be managed. That’s an argument that   cannot be resolved, cannot end. Should it become possible to hear what the other side wants in the same form as what the astronomical community     values, then there’s something to talk about, and a way to do so. It may     require a bit of uncomfortable modesty from science — it won’t be easy to accept that the beauty of pure research competes with other approaches to connection with the wide world — but the results of speaking a common language may surprise some telescope advocates.

That alone won’t solve the critical question, of course. Hearing — genuinely engaging with the idea — that astronomical observation and spiritual practice on Mauna Kea as are matched responses to the same emotional impulse does not in itself make an argument for or against building the TMT. But seeing it that way it is a key step in the discussion that needs take place now.

Categories: Politics

The Bob Cesca Podcast: Those Pesky Garbage Brain Shit People

Little Green Footballs - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 18:41


Today's program from our podcasting affiliate, The Bob Cesca Show, powered by Billings, Barrett & Bowman, LLC:

Garbage Brain Shit People -- NSFW! Bob is on vacation next week; The Goth Ninjas Jody Hamilton and David TRex Ferguson are here today; Trump's racist rally; Send Her Back; The Red Hats; Jesse Watters latest awfulness; Trump gets polling bump from Republicans; Jeffrey Epstein denied bail; SDNY ends its probe into the Trump Organization's hush money payments; The creepy video of Trump with Epstein; Rand Paul blocked 911 victims fund; With music by Central City; and more!

Categories: Politics

Dropbox Accidentally Installed New File Manager App On Users' Systems

Slashdot - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 18:40
Dropbox said it accidentally exposed a new desktop app experience to some users for a short period of time. While the issue has since been resolved, many users were caught off guard after being silently "upgraded" to this radically different version of Dropbox. Ars Technica reports: This new version of Dropbox wants to be... a file manager? Instead of the minimal sync app, the Dropbox icon now opens a big, multi-panel, blue and white window showing all your Dropbox files. It kind of looks like Slack, if Slack was a file manager. You can now "star" folders as important so they show up in the left panel (again, like a Slack chat room). The middle panel shows your Dropbox files, and the right panel shows a file preview with options for comments and sharing. You can search for files, sort by name or date, and do all the usual file operations like cut, copy, and paste. It's a file manager. A big part of the appeal of Dropbox is (was?) that it's a dead-simple product: it's a folder, in the cloud! Put your stuff in the folder, and it seamlessly gets backed up and synced to all your other computers. Part of using Dropbox means installing the sync app to your computer, and to keep everything fresh and up to date, Dropbox has the ability to silently update this app from time to time. Using this mechanism to silently install a bigger, more bloated, completely different version of the Dropbox app onto people's computers seems... wrong, especially with no notice whatsoever. Updates are one thing, but many users (your author included) feel like there was a lack of consent here. Here's the statement Dropbox issued earlier today: "We recently announced a new desktop app experience that is now currently available in Early Access. Due to an error, some users were accidentally exposed to the new app for a short period of time. The issue has been resolved, though there might be a short lag for some users to see resolution. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused." Developer Marco Arment responded to the statement, tweeting: "'That immensely unpopular change we forced onto all of you yesterday? We only meant to force it on *some* of you. The rest of you weren't supposed to get it forced upon you until later.' Doesn't really fix the problem, does it?"

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Categories: Geek

Data Broker LocationSmart Will Fight Class Action Lawsuit Over Selling AT&T Data

Slashdot - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 18:03
A broker that helped sell AT&T customers' real-time location data says it will fight a class action lawsuit against it. From a report: The broker, called LocationSmart, was involved in a number of data selling and cybersecurity incidents, including selling location data that ended up in the hands of bounty hunters. "LocationSmart will fight this lawsuit because the allegations of wrongdoing are meritless and rest on recycled falsehoods," a LocationSmart spokesperson said in an emailed statement. LocationSmart did not point to any specific part of the lawsuit to support these claims. On Tuesday, activist group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and law firm Pierce Bainbridge filed a class action lawsuit against LocationSmart, another data broker called Zumigo, and telecom giant AT&T. The lawsuit's plaintiffs are three California residents who say they did not consent to AT&T selling their real-time location data through the data brokers. The lawsuit alleges all three companies violated the California Constitutional Right to Privacy, and seeks monetary damages as well as an injunction against AT&T to ensure the deletion of any sold data.

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Categories: Geek

Evening Open Thread

Balloon Juice - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 17:50

My countertops are now installed. The plumber will hook up the sink tomorrow. Then all that remains is that a drawer needs to be cut down a bit to accommodate the cooktop. I think I can get a friend to do that. Whew.

This will appeal to some, maybe not so much to others. But I think it’s kind of cool.

Categories: Politics

Vote #1 On Impeachment Was Significant And Historic

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 17:41
Vote #1 On Impeachment Was Significant And Historic

File under: Dump Trump (ITMFA!) and the Republicans:

The House voted to table—to NOT act upon—a resolution to impeach President Trump, introduced by Rep. Al Green (D-TX).

Green’s resolution would have bypassed impeachment hearings, and 95 Democrats voted to pursue impeachment anywayfar more than have publicly announced their support for launching an impeachment inquiry. That’s a really big jump; and imagine if Green had forced a vote for an inquiry? We’re getting there, believe it or not!

The list of who voted to impeach.

Here’s the thing: I’m an impatient man, but even I realize something. You cannot rush into trickly legal territory without having a plan and strategy. As an object-lesson, we’ve watched Trump bluster into court and ultimately lose (like the Citizenship Question) because he is incapable of thinking it through; he’s barely tactical and absolutely not strategic.

We cannot be like him with the issue of impeachment.

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Categories: Politics

Shep Smith Fact-Checks Trump's Lies About Rally Chant

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 17:38
Shep Smith Fact-Checks Trump's Lies About Rally Chant

Earlier today, Donald Trump was asked specifically about the rallygoers who shouted "Send her back!" as a response to his rant about her and how anti-semitic and America-hating he says she is.

If you could wrap up excrement in a way that would barely cover it, that would be Trump's answer. "I didn't like it," he says. That's a lie. He loved it. But then he lied some more, telling reporters that he "began speaking very quickly."

He didn't. There were 13 full seconds during which the crowd shouted wildly, drunk with the idea of sending the hated Black Muslim Congresswoman back to the country from which she had sought asylum as a child in the United States. They were consumed with it, and he basked in it.

In the video above, we've edited out the replay of his lies about Rep. Omar and his abusive demand that she needs to be more positive about this country. As long as this man is President, she has no reason whatsoever to be positive about much of anything. At any rate, it's a waste of your time and is factless bloviating, so we eliminated it.

Shep Smith and even John Roberts were both excellent at fact-checking and accurately summarizing the racist abusive fck's remarks.

"He said he spoke very quickly," Smith said. "We're going to play it again."

The tape rolls.

"He paused, let them say it at least seven more times, and when they finished, he went again," Smith said. "That's a fact."

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Categories: Politics

Amazon's Most Ambitious Research Project Is a Convenience Store

Slashdot - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 17:27
Amazon has set up 14 Amazon Go stores in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle. They do not have any cash registers so once customers have scanned a screen from a special app on their phone at the entrance, they just grab their items and walk out the door, while Amazon magically charges their credit card. By all accounts, the company intends to open more of these stores in the months and years ahead. Bloomberg Businessweek reports today the kind of investment Amazon has made into these stores -- it is the ecommerce firm's most ambitious research project to date -- but despite that, how these stores are just like 7-Eleven stores, but with more complexity and cost. From the report: From a technological perspective, the Go stores are a marvel -- a succinct demonstration of Amazon's capacity to devote vast resources toward applying the state of the art in artificial intelligence to an everyday problem. They also illustrate the company's tendency to pursue technology for technology's sake (see: the Fire Phone), resulting in a store that offers all the selection of a 7-Eleven, but with more complexity and cost. Scores of cameras pointed at all angles hang from the ceilings to track shoppers as they wander the aisles, while precise scales embedded in the shelves tabulate products down to the gram to figure out which ones have been picked up. Behind the scenes, sophisticated image recognition algorithms decide who took what -- with Amazon workers in offices available to review footage to ensure shoppers are accurately charged. Each store also has a local staff on hand to help people download the Go app, restock shelves, and, in locations with a liquor section, check IDs. Will all this work be worth it? Some Go stores seem almost deserted except for the lunchtime rush. Employees familiar with Amazon's internal projections say the outlets in Chicago, in particular, are falling short of expectations, and the company has had to resort to raffles and giveaways of tote bags and other branded goodies. Yet, as the turbulent history of the project suggests, the Go store isn't so much the culmination of the company's efforts but something closer to an ongoing experiment. And the potential prize -- a big piece of the $12 trillion grocery industry -- is one that Amazon, with its limitless resources and appetite for risk, may be in the best position to claim.

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Categories: Geek

Apparent Arson Attack Devastates Kyoto Animation Anime Studio With Dozens Confirmed Dead

Slashdot - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 16:45
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Several people have been killed after an apparent arson attack gutted a building at Kyoto Animation, one of Japan's most renowned anime studios. NHK reports that 33 people are confirmed dead and many more have been injured. An explosion was heard around the studio at around 10.30AM local time. Police are questioning a man in his 40s who was seen spreading and lighting a gasoline-like liquid in the 1st Studio building, which is said to be where most of Kyoto Animation's mainline production takes place. The Mainichi Shinbun newspaper reports that the man said he started the fire. Kyoto Animation, also known as KyoAni, is best known for series like K-On! and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya, and release standalone feature A Silent Voice in 2016. Netflix picked up the streaming rights to KyoAni's Violet Evergarden series and made it available worldwide last year.

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Categories: Geek

ElevationLab unveils robust ‘FamilyCharger,’ powers five devices incl. Lightning and USB-C

9to5Mac - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 16:41

ElevationLab has released a unique solution for families looking to charge multiple iPhones, iPads, and other devices at once. FamilyCharger offers power for Lightning, USB-C, and microUSB devices in one hearty nine-foot cable with 65W of power. Read on for all the details…


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Categories: Geek

USCIS workers already dealing with immigration paperwork backlog got asked to volunteer for ICE

Daily Kos - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 16:22

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the paper-pushing agency that processes things such as naturalization forms, is swamped, with a backlog that preceded the Trump administration and now has only gotten worse. So naturally, a top USCIS official is stepping up ... to ask USCIS employees to volunteer their time to help Immigration and Customs Enforcement block asylum-seekers at the border.

“The email to staffers, sent Wednesday by USCIS deputy Mark Koumans and obtained by BuzzFeed News, asked employees to volunteer for administrative work in ICE field offices across the country, including processing files that are part of a program forcing immigrants seeking asylum to remain in Mexico as their cases are adjudicated, and supporting public document requests.”

Under the inhumane “Remain in Mexico” policy, the Trump administration has forced thousands of asylum-seekers and their families from the country to wait out their cases, as part of its effort to stomp on the right to asylum. This is terrible policy that’s being challenged in court, and apparently now USCIS wants staffers to ignore their years-old backlog for it. There’s a reason: Under Trump, the agency has become truly radicalized.

In fact, dubiously appointed USCIS head Ken Cuccinelli has been all over the news recently talking up ICE raids, something that has nothing to do with his job, and his subordinates see it. “One USCIS officer ... told BuzzFeed News that Cuccinelli appeared focused on helping ICE with its law enforcement work, rather than adjudicating immigration benefits,” saying, “I am sure [ICE] needs people to help process paperwork and keep track of people. Of course, if they stopped detaining them, separating families, and sending people back to Mexico, you wouldn’t need help.”

Earlier this week, an asylum officer said she would refuse to carry out the Trump administration’s attempted rule change essentially blocking the right to apply for asylum in the U.S. for many Central Americans and others, telling BuzzFeed News that the Asylum Ban 2.0 is “facially illegal”—and she says she’s not alone in her thinking. Other asylum officers at USCIS “think it's racist and illegal.”

Categories: Politics