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Anti-Defamation League and Pepe the Frog's Creator Are Teaming Up To Save Pepe From Hate-Symbol Status ( 376

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Business Insider: Matt Furie, the creator of the widely known "Pepe the Frog" meme, is joining forces with the Anti-Defamation League to reclaim the symbol from the alt-right and make it a "force for good," according to a press release. Furie and the ADL plan to start a social-media campaign by creating "a series of positive Pepe memes and messages" and promoting them with the hashtag #SavePepe, according to the release. The ADL declared "Pepe the Frog" to be a hate symbol in late September. "It's completely insane that Pepe has been labeled a symbol of hate, and that racists and anti-Semites are using a once peaceful frog-dude from my comic book as an icon of hate," Furie said in a column for Time magazine. While fiercely condemning the "racist and fringe groups" that use Pepe to propagate divisive views, Furie said Pepe was meant to "celebrate peace, togetherness, and fun." The meme, which originated from a 2005 cartoon, has been hijacked by the alt-right movement in the past several months. Members of the movement have used the meme to convey often racist and anti-Semitic messages. The messages prompted the ADL to add Pepe to its "Hate on Display" database, which documents anti-Semitic hate symbols. According to the ADL's press release on the #SavePepe campaign, Furie will speak at its "Never Is Now" summit against anti-Semitism on November 17 in New York City. The panel will focus specifically on online hate campaigns. Furie published a new Pepe cartoon on Monday detailing his "alt-right election nightmare," which depicts a sad Pepe morphing into a frog that resembles Donald Trump and then a monster. Pepe appears trapped in the mouth of the monster. The next panel depicts a nuclear explosion. Pepe then awakes and hides under his mattress.

Comment Re:Fascinating .... (Score 1) 308

Or alternatively, Ecuador simply decided that Assange's political beliefs and ambitions no longer align with their own. Whatever you may think about Trump, he is not exactly preaching love and peace towards that particular part of the world.

If a regime offers you sanctuary because you are politically convenient for them, you really should ask yourself what happens the moment you become politically inconvenient.

Comment Clinton, Podesta, Putin and Trump (Score 4, Insightful) 432

A few points on this alleged story:

1. The Clinton campaign desperately trying to distract attention away from Hillary's fundamental dishonesty.
2. Maybe the story is true, and the Clinton campaign hires people with the security acumen of a burned-out toaster.
3. Buzzfeed? Really?
4. Maybe they figure if they keep yelling "Trump is a Putin pawn!" enough we'll ignore the fact that Podesta is a registered lobbyist for Putin's bank.

There's one candidate in this race who has a proven record of taking money for favors from Russian sources, and it isn't Trump.


When Mercedes-Benz Starts Selling Self-Driving Cars, It Will Prioritize Driver's Safety Over Pedestrian's ( 365

From a report on Inverse: When Mercedes-Benz starts selling self-driving cars, it will choose to prioritize driver safety over pedestrians', a company manager has confirmed. The ethical conundrum of how A.I.-powered machines should act in life-or-death situations has received more scrutiny as driverless cars become a reality, but the car manufacturer believes that it's safer to save the life you have greater control over. "You could sacrifice the car. You could, but then the people you've saved initially, you don't know what happens to them after that in situations that are often very complex, so you save the ones you know you can save," said Christoph von Hugo, Mercedes' manager of driver assistance systems. "If you know you can save at least one person, at least save that one. Save the one in the car. This moral question of whom to save: 99 percent of our engineering work is to prevent these situations from happening at all. We are working so our cars don't drive into situations where that could happen and [will] drive away from potential situations where those decisions have to be made."As long as they are better at driving and safety than humans, it is a progress, in my opinion.

Comment Anita Sarkeesian: Destroyer of Shareholder Value (Score 1, Insightful) 313

It seems that Twitter's stock price has nosedived precipitously since appointing radical Social Justice Warrior Anita Sarkeesian to their newly formed “Trust and Safety Council.” Since then, Twitter has:

* Banned Robert Stacey McCain
* Banned Milo Yiannopoulos, AKA @Nero, permanently
* Suspended Instapundit
* Shadowbanned Anna Maria Perez
* Forced James O'Keefe to renove a Tweet and perform a spite reset

And after having damaged their brand and destroyed billions worth of shareholder value, lo and behold, no one wants to buy them! Gee, turns out that alienating half your user base at the behest of a tiny cadre of radical feminists is a lousy business strategy...


No One Wants To Buy Twitter ( 313

At one point, it seemed that many were interested in purchasing the micro-blogging social platform (which now calls itself a news service) Twitter, but its fate is quickly drying up. Salesforce (which couldn't buy LinkedIn) showed the most interest in Twitter, but this week its CEO Marc Benioff said his company has "walked away" from making a bid to buy it. The Verge sums up the situation: If you're keeping track, that's now... pretty much everyone who's said they're not interested in buying Twitter. Neither Google nor Disney plan to bid on Twitter, despite reports saying both were interested. Recode says that Apple is likely also out of the picture. And Verizon immediately dismissed speculation that it was considering a bid. Facebook is also said to be uninterested, according to CNBC. And while Microsoft's name has been tossed around, no one seems to think the acquisition would make any sense for an increasingly enterprise-focused company.The situation is so bad that as soon as the news of Salesforce withdrawing its name from the bidding race broke, its stock quickly went up by 6 percent, while Twitter's stock registered a 6 percent drop.

Submission + - "Clinton Is Not the Tech Privacy Candidate. Not Your Privacy Anyway." (

Nova Express writes: The lengths Hillary Clinton has gone to in order to protect her own tech privacy are well documented. Protecting the tech privacy of ordinary American privacy? Not so much. "Amid the dump of hacked emails from Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta are bits and pieces of discussion that help indicate her mindset on citizen privacy and the use of encryption to protect data." When asked to come out for privacy, the Clinton campaign demurred. "When a top politician appears to take an uninvolved stance in a conflict between the executive branch and private citizens or companies, don't mistake it as neutrality. It's deference to authority. As a candidate running to be in charge of the executive branch, 'staying out of it' is really approval for the Department of Justice to push the issue to see what would happen."

Comment Re:Correlation to age (Score 2) 326

Sorry, I might not have been clear enough about what this scheme was and who was on it. To be clear, this was not "a few hours temporary work" for "experienced and qualified professionals". This was full time work, on a 6 month contract, for young people from "disadvantaged" backgrounds. What "disadvantaged" meant was "school drop-outs with chaotic lives and, in most cases, some incidences of minor criminal activity (though no theft or fraud)". The work paid reasonably well for entry-level work (as much as some of my graduate friends had in their first jobs).

It was, if I recall, 75% funded by the taxpayer; so effectively, 75% of the direct and indirect employment costs were not picked up by my employer. We met the remaining costs and, as part of the deal, agreed to offer permanent appointments to a reasonable number of people who had a satisfactory record at the end of their 6 months. We were participating in this in good faith and in the year I was acting as a mentor, we had a target to get a 50% retention rate.

In reality, across all three years, the retention rate was 0%. Not one person successfully completed 6 months and almost half didn't finish the first week. When they deigned to come into the office, they would generally describe their career aspirations as "professional footballer" or "rapper". A couple of the more honest ones would say "benefits", as this was in the days when you could more or less permanently stay on quite generous unemployment benefits in the UK (it's much harder these days). In so far as this was a distraction for looking for a "real job", the "real job" they were after was unemployment.

The Government funding for this particular scheme largely dried up before the 2010 election (as finding firms to participate got harder and harder).

Comment Correlation to age (Score 4, Interesting) 326

This is purely anecdotal, but my experience is that there isn't so much a generational correlation to work ethic as there is an age-based one. Which is to say, a person's work ethic can vary significantly over the course of their adult life.

What I've seen in my own workplace is new entrants (whether at graduate or non-graduate level) entering the organisation but generally (and of course there are outliers) without making a full commitment to it and, particularly in the case of graduate entrants, trying to keep their student lifestyle running for a few more years. Over time, usually by the late 20s, this transitions into a much stronger work ethic; more time spent in the office and more "commitment" to the organisation. Eventually, somewhere usually in the 50s, this lapses into a degree of burnout. Now, all of the above is a huge generalisation and based on personal experiences only, but I've seen a couple of generations go through that cycle now.

Of course, there's a far bigger correlation between work ethic and social class. Behaviours liked to worth ethic, such as the ability to focus on deferred reward have a strong hereditary component, whether based on biology, culture or both. Again, there are exceptions, but this is where I've seen the strongest correlation. In the mid-2000s (at the height of the UK's New Labour touchy-feely period) I worked for an employer which took part in a Government-subsidised scheme to give placements to "disadvantaged" young people. This was actually a pretty cushy detail; the pay for those brought in through the scheme wasn't huge, but it was significantly above the minimum wage (almost £10/hour) and the work was white-collar administrative. Moreover, there was an expectation in place that if you did well, you would be able to turn it into a full-time job (this was in the land of silly-money before the big crash, when the UK economy appeared to be in full boom). Hell, there wasn't even much of a dress code beyond "use your common sense and don't wear anything that would actively harm our reputation".

I was involved with this scheme for three consecutive years, once as a mentor and twice as one of the "lucky" managers "given" one of the apprentices (yes, there was a degree of corporate arm-twisting). Across all three years, with an intake of 8-10 people per year, not a single one stuck with it for more than 2 months. The simple basics of being expected to get into the office at a sane time (we had a flexitime-within-reason system), to come into the office every working day and to follow the instructions of a manager once in the office were too much for the participants.


Google Research Promotes Equality In Machine Learning, Doesn't Mention Age 149

An anonymous reader writes: New research from Google Brain examines the problem of 'prejudice by inference' in supervised learning -- the syndrome by which 'fairness through unawareness' can fail; for example, when the information that a loan applicant is female is not included in the data set, but gender can be inferred from other data factors which are included, such as whether the applicant is a single parent. Since 82% of single parents are female, there is a high probability that the applicant is female. The proposed framework shifts the cost of poor predictions to the decision-maker, who is responsible for investing in the accuracy of their prediction systems. Though Google Brain's proposals aim to reduce or eliminate inadvertent prejudice on the basis of race, religion or gender, it is interesting to note that it makes no mention of age prejudice -- currently a subject of some interest to Google.

Climate Change Doubled the Size of Forest Fires In Western US, Says Study ( 191

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TIME: Man-made climate change has doubled the total area burned by forest fires in the Western U.S. in the past three decades, according to new research. Damage from forest fires has risen dramatically in recent decades, with the total acres burned in the U.S. rising from 2.9 million in 1985 to 10.1 million in 2015, according to National Interagency Fire Center data. Suppression costs paid by the federal government now top $2 billion. Now a new study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has found that a significant portion of the increase in land burned by forest fires can be attributed to man-made climate change. Other factors are also at play, including natural climate shifts and a change in how humans use land, but man-made climate change has had the biggest impact. That trend will likely continue as temperatures keep rising, researchers said. Climate change contributes to forest fires in a number of ways. Fires kill off trees and other plants that eventually dry and act as the fuel to feed massive wildfires. Global warming also increases the likelihood of the dry, warm weather in which wildfires can thrive. Average temperatures in the Western U.S. rose by 2.5 degree Fahrenheit since 1970, outpacing temperature rise elsewhere on the globe, according to the research.

Comment Science Fiction is busy destroying itself (Score 3, Informative) 252

Due to the Social Justice Warrior influx, the genre's awards are no longer given on merit, but rather on meeting the proper criteria of political, ethnic and gender correctness.

If you question this turn of events, expect to find yourself expelled from Worldcon for voicing anti-Social Justice Warrior thoughts.

Before the SJW invasion, the Hugo Award used to mean something, and the best of science fiction was gaining increased literary respect. Neither of those are true anymore.

And if SF awards have become meaningless, this designation applies doubly to literary awards. Quick, name the last ten winners of the National Book Award for Fiction. Outside a small circle of literary devotees, no one knows or cares.

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