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Member since: Fri Jan 26, 2018, 02:50 PM
Number of posts: 19,729

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What Does Donald Trump Have to Say to the Parkland Parent Lori Alhadeff?

By John Cassidy

On Thursday evening, the people of Parkland, Florida, held a candlelight vigil for the victims of Wednesday’s gun massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Before the vigil began, one of the bereaved parents, Lori Alhadeff, the mother of Alyssa Alhadeff, a vibrant, soccer-playing ninth grader who was one of the seventeen people shot dead by Nikolas Cruz, made a remarkable and impassioned plea on CNN.

If you haven’t yet seen the video of the network’s on-the-spot interview with Alhadeff, brace yourself. It is very harrowing. But for anybody who gives a damn about this country it should be required viewing.

“How, how do we allow a gunman to come into our children’s school?” Alhadeff began, clutching a microphone in one hand and looking directly into the camera. “What security is there? There’s no metal detectors. The gunman—a crazy person—just walks right into the school, knocks down the window of my child’s door and starts shooting. Shooting her. And killing her.”


If I were the head of a major media organization, I would ask my staff to put a simple question to every member of Congress, and to Donald Trump, too. “How do you respond to Lori Alhadeff?”


Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Fri Feb 16, 2018, 06:27 PM (3 replies)

The #MeToo Movement Is Coming to the Ballot Box This Month

There are eight upcoming special elections to replace disgraced men. Many of the candidates are women.

Tim Murphy
Feb. 12, 2018

On Monday, Minnesota voters will go to the polls for the 16th and 17th special elections of 2018. One district is suburban and leans Democratic; the other is rural and heavily Republican. But both races have one big thing in common: They were triggered by male lawmakers stepping down after allegations of sexual misconduct.

Over the past seven months, at least 14 state and national lawmakers have resigned or announced they will soon retire in the wake of sexual misconduct scandals that are roiling legislatures from California to Maine to Washington, DC. The result is a frenzy of special elections—and a mini-wave of women running to fill those seats. Of the eight impending special elections to replace disgraced male state legislators, Democrats are fielding women candidates in seven of them. (The lone exception: next week’s state house race in Mississippi, where all four candidates in the non-partisan primary are men.)


Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Mon Feb 12, 2018, 11:16 AM (2 replies)

Crisis of Misinformation

He Predicted The 2016 Fake News Crisis. Now He's Worried About An Information Apocalypse.

“What happens when anyone can make it appear as if anything has happened, regardless of whether or not it did?" technologist Aviv Ovadya warns.

In mid-2016, Aviv Ovadya realized there was something fundamentally wrong with the internet — so wrong that he abandoned his work and sounded an alarm. A few weeks before the 2016 election, he presented his concerns to technologists in San Francisco’s Bay Area and warned of an impending crisis of misinformation in a presentation he titled “Infocalypse.”


And much in the way that foreign-sponsored, targeted misinformation campaigns didn't feel like a plausible near-term threat until we realized that it was already happening, Ovadya cautions that fast-developing tools powered by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and augmented reality tech could be hijacked and used by bad actors to imitate humans and wage an information war.

And we’re closer than one might think to a potential “Infocalypse.” Already available tools for audio and video manipulation have begun to look like a potential fake news Manhattan Project. In the murky corners of the internet, people have begun using machine learning algorithms and open-source software to easily create pornographic videos that realistically superimpose the faces of celebrities — or anyone for that matter — on the adult actors’ bodies. At institutions like Stanford, technologists have built programs that that combine and mix recorded video footage with real-time face tracking to manipulate video. Similarly, at the University of Washington computer scientists successfully built a program capable of “turning audio clips into a realistic, lip-synced video of the person speaking those words.” As proof of concept, both the teams manipulated broadcast video to make world leaders appear to say things they never actually said.


“You don't need to create the fake video for this tech to have a serious impact. You just point to the fact that the tech exists and you can impugn the integrity of the stuff that’s real.”


Charlie Warzel
Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Mon Feb 12, 2018, 03:52 AM (9 replies)


There's a thread -- https://www.democraticunderground.com/100210216281 -- that has provided me with some much needed laughter amid so much teeth-gritting news. It made me think of the following (posted here so as not to clutter that other thread):


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

-- Rudyard Kipling

Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Sun Feb 11, 2018, 09:56 AM (2 replies)
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