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The Internet

Drudge Generates More News Traffic Than Social Media 216

tcd004 writes "A report released today by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism shows that the Drudge Report is a far more important driver of online news traffic than Facebook or Twitter. In fact, for the top 25 news websites, Twitter barely registers as a source of traffic. The report hits on several other interesting findings about news behavior."
Republicans

Republicans Create Rider To Stop Net Neutrality 528

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF writes "Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) submitted a rider yesterday to a bill on military and veterans' construction projects. The rider would, 'prohibit the FCC from using any appropriated funds to adopt, implement or otherwise litigate any network neutrality based rules, protocols or standards.' It is co-signed by six other Republican senators. We all knew this was coming after the last election removed most of the vocal supporters of net neutrality and supplanted them with pro-corporate Republicans."
Image

Given Truth, the Misinformed Believe Lies More Screenshot-sm 961

SharpFang writes "In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that misinformed people, particularly political partisans, rarely changed their minds when exposed to corrected facts in news stories. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger."
Earth

Virginia AG Probing Michael Mann For Fraud 617

eldavojohn writes "Republican Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has requested receipts and research documents relating to nearly half a million dollars in state taxpayer money used to conduct climate change research at the University of Virginia while under direction of Michael Mann, originator of the famous 2001 IPCC Hockey Stick graph depicting rapid climate change. Mann appears to be a prime target for Cuccinelli — who has also requested hearings with the EPA to contest the grounds of their carbon dioxide studies. Mann's expenditures of taxpayer money may become problematic if Cuccinelli finds violations of Virginia's Fraud Against Taxpayers Act. Cuccinelli has been active in pushing conservative views in the past, including an effort to remove the titillating mammary from the beloved Great Seal of Virginia. No end in sight for the politicizing of the science and research surrounding climate change."
Businesses

Arizona "Papers, Please" Law May Hit Tech Workers 1590

dcblogs writes "H-1B workers and foreign students may think twice about attending school or working in Arizona as a result of the state's new immigration law. If a police officer has a 'reasonable suspicion' about the immigration status of someone, the officer may ask to see proof of legal status. Federal immigration law requires all non-US citizens, including H-1B workers, to carry documentation, but 'no state until Arizona has made it a crime to not have that paperwork on your person,' said immigration lawyer Sarah Hawk. It means that an H-1B holder risks detention every time they make a 7-11 run if they don't have their papers, or if their paperwork is out of date because US immigration authorities are behind in processing (which condition does not make them illegal). The potential tech backlash over the law may have begun yesterday with a call by San Francisco City Atty. Dennis Herrera 'to adopt and implement a sweeping boycott of the State of Arizona and Arizona-based businesses.'"
Education

Texas Textbooks Battle Is Actually an American War 1252

ideonexus writes "I've been lackadaisical when it comes to following stories about Texas schoolboard attempts to slip creationism into biology textbooks, dismissing the stories as just 'dumbass Texans,' but what I didn't realize is that Texas schoolbooks set the standard for the rest of the country. And it's not just Creationism that this Christian coalition is attempting to bring into schoolbooks, but a full frontal assault on history, politics, and the humanities that exploits the fact that final decisions are being made by a school board completely academically unqualified to make informed evaluations of the changes these lobbyists propose. This evangelical lobby has successfully had references to the American Constitution as a 'living document,' as textbooks have defined it since the 1950s, removed in favor of an 'enduring Constitution' not subject to change, as well as attempting to over-emphasize the role Christianity played in the founding of America. The leaders of these efforts outright admit they are attempting to redefine the way our children understand the political landscape so that, when they grow up, they will have preconceived notions of the American political system that favor their evangelical Christian goals."
The Almighty Buck

Virtual Money For Real Lobbying 85

ogaraf writes "Silicon Alley Insider is reporting that health-insurance industry group 'Get Health Reform Right' paid Facebook users with virtual currency to be used in Facebook games in exchange for lobbying their Congressional Rep. 'Instead of asking the gamers to try a product the way Netflix would, "Get Health Reform Right" requires gamers to take a survey, which, upon completion, automatically sends the following email to their Congressional Rep: "I am concerned a new government plan could cause me to lose the employer coverage I have today. More government bureaucracy will only create more problems, not solve the ones we have."'" Relatedly, Trailrunner7 illustrates growing concern over realistic spammer profiles in social networking sites and their potential to wreak havoc, especially if these two methods were combined. "Many spammers now have large staffs of people working on nothing but building out completely fake personas for non-existent users on social networking sites and blog networks. The spammers use these personas to create accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Blogspot and other sites that have high levels of user interaction."
Government

In MN, Massive Police Raids On Suspected Protestors 961

X0563511 alerts us to events in Minneapolis and St. Paul in advance of the Republican convention (which has been put on hold because of Hurricane Gustav). Local police backed by the FBI raided a number of homes and public buildings and confiscated computers and other material. From Salon.com: "Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff's department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than 'fire code violations,' and early this morning, the Sheriff's department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying. Jane Hamsher and I were at two of those homes this morning — one which had just been raided and one which was in the process of being raided." Here is local reporting from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: "Aided by informants planted in protest groups, authorities raided at least six buildings across St. Paul and Minneapolis to stop an 'anarchist' plan to disrupt this week's Republican National Convention. From Friday night through Saturday afternoon, officers surrounded houses, broke down doors, handcuffed scores of people and confiscated suspected tools of civil disobedience ... A St. Paul City Council member described it as excessive, while activists, many of whom were detained and then released without charges, called it intimidation designed to quash free speech."
Education

Genetic Glitch May Prevent Kids From Learning From Their Mistakes 500

jamie pointed out an interesting piece being featured in Newsweek that claims a "genetic glitch" may prevent some kids from learning from their mistakes to the same degree as others. "If there is one thing experts on child development agree on, it is that kids learn best when they are allowed to make mistakes and feel the consequences. So Mom and Dad hold back as their toddler tries again and again to cram a round peg into a square hole. [...] But not, it seems, all kids. In about 30 percent, the coils of their DNA carry a glitch, one that leaves their brains with few dopamine receptors, molecules that act as docking ports for one of the neurochemicals that carry our thoughts and emotions. A paucity of dopamine receptors is linked to an inability to avoid self-destructive behavior such as illicit drug use. But the effects spill beyond such extremes. Children with the genetic variant are unable to learn from mistakes. No matter how many tests they blow by partying the night before, the lesson just doesn't sink in."
Republicans

Not All the DOJ Missing Emails Are Missing 656

Hylas sends us to Democracy Now for a newscast on the missing emails, an interview with investigative journalist Greg Palast. Here's Palast talking about the fired US attorney from New Mexico, David Iglesias: "Iglesias believes the real reasons for the firings are in what are called the missing emails, emails sent by the [White House political advisor Karl] Rove team using Republican Party campaign computers, which Rove claims can't be retrieved. But not all the missing emails are missing. We have 500 of them. Apparently the Rove team misaddressed their emails, and late one night they all ended up in our inboxes in our offices in New York City." This story has had zero play in the US media; it's been being carried on the BBC.

Republican Robocall Pretexting Campaign 674

WCityMike writes, "In 53 Congressional campaigns across the country, including the Pennsylvania 6th, the Connecticut 4th, the North Carolina 11th, the New Hampshire 2nd, and the Illinois 6th and 8th (and possibly all races), the National Republican Congressional Committee is conducting a $2.1 million campaign to make it appear as if Democrats are spamming callers with telemarketing calls. The NRCC hired Conquest Communications Group to conduct a massive nationwide robocalling campaign with calls specifically scripted to appear as if they're coming from the Democratic candidate — in violation of FCC regulations on such 'robocalls,' which requires the identity of the caller to be stated at the beginning of the message [47 CFR 64.1200(b)(1)]. The call begins with 'Hello. I'm calling with information about,' and then says the name of the Democratic candidate. There is then a pause; if the recipient hangs up here, they will receive repeated calls back with the same message, potentially up to 18 times or more (according to one callee). If the callee doesn't hang up, they hear a smear message from the machine about the Democratic candidate. The NRCC thinks the legality of the calls is, conveniently, a 'complicated legal question that's not going to get adjudicated this weekend.'" Update 20:47 GMT by SM: Thankfully we all learned how to deal with these folks last week.

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