Blog Rolls

Germany's Far-Right Party Defeated In Closely Watched Mayoral Election

A candidate from beleaguered Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union wins a convincing victory over the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the country's conservative east.

(Image credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

AP report – Spy used AI-generated face to connect with targets

AP – “Katie Jones sure seemed plugged into Washington’s political scene. The 30-something redhead boasted a job at a top think tank and a who’s-who network of pundits and experts, from the centrist Brookings Institution to the right-wing Heritage Foundation. She was connected to a deputy assistant secretary of state, a senior aide to a senator and the economist Paul Winfree, who is being considered for a seat on the Federal Reserve. But Katie Jones doesn’t exist, The Associated Press has determined. Instead, the persona was part of a vast army of phantom profiles lurking on the professional networking site LinkedIn. And several experts contacted by the AP said Jones’ profile picture appeared to have been created by a computer program…”

See also – Test your ability to tell a real face from a fake one at: http://www.whichfaceisreal.com/ and Generate your own deepfake faces at: https://thispersondoesnotexist.com

Categories: Law and Legal

The Beginner’s Guide to Google Docs

How-to-Geek: “If you’re just getting started with Google Docs, its extensive features and add-ons can be a little overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you get started with this powerful alternative to Microsoft Word. What is Google Docs? If you’ve heard of Google Docs before, feel free to skip ahead. If you’ve never heard of it before, here’s a crash course on what you need to know. We’ll go over the basics and get you brushed up with what Google Docs is and how you can get started right away. Google Docs is a free, web-based word processor offered by Google as part of its complete office suite—Google Drive—to compete with Microsoft Office. The other main services included in the cloud-based suite are Sheets (Excel) and Slides (Powerpoint)…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Pompeo Says 'There's No Doubt' Iran Attacked Two Tankers

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledges to guarantee freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil route where the two tankers were hit.

(Image credit: Alex Brandon/AP)

Categories: Just News

Notre Dame Holds 1st Mass Since Fire Devastated The Historic Paris Cathedral

A group of around 30 people wearing hardhats gathered for Mass in the cathedral on Saturday, exactly two months after a severe fire. The service was not open to the public.

(Image credit: Karine Perret/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

Boeing CEO Admits Mistake In 737 MAX Communication

Ahead of Paris Air Show, Dennis Muilenburg concedes his company did not give enough information about a malfunctioning safety light.

(Image credit: Jim Young-Pool/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

U.S. Continues Dominance In Women's World Cup With 3-0 Win Over Chile

They won before a sell-out crowd in Paris on Sunday. It was a gem of a game for the team, which controlled play from the beginning with crisp and precise passes. The win assures the U.S. will advance.

(Image credit: Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

Categories: Just News

FOIA to DOJ Seeking Legal Analysis Used By Treasury to Withhold Tax Return Info from Congress

American Oversight – Trump’s Tax Returns: “According to the Treasury Department, Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s refusal to comply with a House committee’s request for the president’s tax returns is based on a Justice Department legal analysis — even though the IRS issued a memorandum concluding that such documents must be produced unless there is a claim of executive privilege. We’ve asked the Justice and Treasury Departments for records of and communications about that legal analysis for the IRS memo…”

AP – Justice backs Mnuchin’s refusal to turn over Trump’s taxes: “…The 33-page opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel argues that the committee’s chairman, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., wanted to make the president’s tax returns public and because of that plan, the request was not to carry out a legitimate legislative function. But Neal has said the law is clear the information must be released to Congress, the documents were sought to aid a committee investigation into whether the IRS is doing its job properly to audit a sitting president, and obtaining them would be a “necessary piece” of the committee’s work…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How to Improve Your iPhone’s Battery Life

iFixit:  If you’re worried you’re not getting the battery life you should, the battery may just be old. Over time, batteries degrade, leading to lower and lower life after a couple years—meaning you might be able to solve your problem with an inexpensive battery replacement. Apple rates iPhone batteries at 500 charge cycles, or about a year and a half of typical use–more on that in a bit. To check your iPhone’s battery health, you can go into the settings and navigate to Battery > Battery Health. If it’s under 80% or so, it may be time to replace the battery. We wrote a detailed step-by-step guide on how to check your battery health.

While you could take your phone to Apple for a replacement, they’ll charge you at least $50. You can save money by doing it yourself, and it’s much easier than you might think. We photographed straightforward and easy-to-follow guides for every iPhone model. We also sell the parts and tools you’ll need to get the job done for much less than Apple. But you’re nervous. Opening your phone is an endeavor. I feel you! But you’re not in this alone–we’ve got your back. And literally thousands of people have come before you. We get sent success stories every week from community members who’ve replaced their iPhone battery. You got this!…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How librarians, pirates, and funders are liberating the world’s academic research from paywalls

Vox – The war to free science. “The 27,500 scientists who work for the University of California generate 10 percent of all the academic research papers published in the United States. …The University of California decided it doesn’t want scientific knowledge locked behind paywalls, and thinks the cost of academic publishing has gotten out of control. Elsevier owns around 3,000 academic journals, and its articles account for some 18 percent of all the world’s research output. “They’re a monopolist, and they act like a monopolist,” says Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, head of the campus libraries at UC Berkeley and co-chair of the team that negotiated with the publisher. Elsevier makes huge profits on its journals, generating billions of dollars a year for its parent company RELX.

This is a story about more than subscription fees. It’s about how a private industry has come to dominate the institutions of science, and how librarians, academics, and even pirates are trying to regain control. The University of California is not the only institution fighting back. “There are thousands of Davids in this story,” says University of California Davis librarian MacKenzie Smith, who, like so many other librarians around the world, has been pushing for more open access to science. “But only a few big Goliaths.”…

See also the related articles: Louisiana State Univ will terminate comprehensive subscription deal with Elsevier; UC terminates subscriptions with Elsevier in push for open access to publicly funded research; Thousands of scientists run up against Elsevier’s paywall

Categories: Law and Legal

Knowledge Isn’t Neutral: On Radical Librarianship

Teachers & Writers Magazine, Jehan Roberson, May 28, 2019: “That titular truism is one that led many of us to teach, to write, and to examine critically the power held by stewards of “things worth knowing.” At every turn we must question not only the why’s, but the how’s and the who’s. How was this information acquired, and by whom? How did you come to access it? Who gets to decide what you access, what you see and what you don’t? Whose work, whose body is on the line? These and other questions led me to the source from which so much information flows—the library. I met with cataloguer Michelle Chan and metadata librarian Alexandra Provo, colleagues of mine at New York University, where I manage the Hemispheric Digital Video Library (HIDVL). Our discussion attempted to address the above questions and more, and how they inform the obsessively granular and massively important task of cataloguing and organizing library materials. An edited version of that conversation is here…]

See also additional resources:

Categories: Law and Legal

How to Read an Aircraft Seat Map

the Points Guy: “If you’ve checked in online for a flight or selected your seat in advance, you may have been presented with a visual seat map — either allowing you to choose which available seat you would like or showing you where on the plane you will be sitting. Some seat maps are very easy to read because all seats are either the same or very similar. While others are much more complicated because there is a huge difference between the different seats in the cabin. You may already know this, but before we get into the complex seat maps, here are some basics…” [Note – a must read guide to choosing your seating location on a wide variety of carriers.]

Categories: Law and Legal

Killer Apps: Vanishing Messages, Encrypted Communications, and Challenges to FOIA Laws

Daxton R. Stewart, Killer Apps: Vanishing Messages, Encrypted Communications, and Challenges to Freedom of Information Laws When Public Officials “Go Dark”, 10 Case W. Res. J.L. Tech. & Internet [1] (first article) (2019)

“Government officials such as White House staffers and the Missouri governor have been communicating among themselves and leaking to journalists using apps such as Signal and Confide, which allow users to encrypt messages or to make them vanish after they are received. By using these apps, government officials are “going dark” by avoiding detection of their communications in a way that undercuts freedom of information laws. This article explores the challenges presented by government employee use of encrypted and ephemeral messaging apps by examining three policy approaches: (1) banning use of the apps, (2) enhancing existing archiving and record-keeping practices, or (3) legislatively expanding quasi-government body definitions. Each of these approaches will be analyzed as potential ways to manage the threat presented by “killer apps” to open records laws.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Fewer kids are riding and buying bicycles, and the industry is worried

Washington Post: Children’s bicycle manufactures and retailers are bracing for rough times ahead as market research shows fewer kids are riding bikes, while prices for cycling equipment are almost certain to increase because of the Trump Administration’s tariffs on Chinese-made goods. The number of children ages 6 to 17 who rode bicycles regularly — more than 25 times a year — decreased by more than a million from 2014 to 2018, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. That includes both casual rides around the neighborhood and more serious cycling for fitness or competition. And from 2018 to 2019, children’s bicycle sales decreased 7 percent in dollars and 7.5 percent in bikes sold, a drop serious enough that retailers have already goosed prices to make up for lower demand, according to market research firm NPD Group. It’s all caused the American bicycling industry — worth $5.6 billion, according to the National Bicycle Dealers Association — to hunker down in preparation for things to get worse.

The Trump Administration has imposed a 25 percent tariff on $250 billion of Chinese goods, and has threatened to more than double the duties. Those tariffs impact almost every component that goes into a bicycle, from metal frames to fabric seats, plus entire bikes shipped to the U.S. after being assembled in China. Retailers largely pass those costs off to consumers, said Brian Nagel, managing director and research analyst at investment bank Oppenheimer. That could substantially raise the prices of items on the shelves, including bicycle accessories such as helmets, lights and gloves…

Categories: Law and Legal

In Court, Facebook Blames Users for Destroying Their Own Right to Privacy

The Intercept: “In April 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sat before members of both houses of Congress and told them his company respected the privacy of the roughly two billion people who use it. “Privacy” remained largely undefined throughout Zuckerberg’s televised flagellations, but he mentioned the concept more than two dozen times, including when he told the Senate’s Judiciary and Commerce committees, “We have a broader responsibility to protect people’s privacy even beyond” a consent decree from federal privacy regulators, and when he told the House Energy and Commerce Committee, “We believe that everyone around the world deserves good privacy controls.” A year later, Zuckerberg claimed in interviews and essays to have discovered the religion of personal privacy and vowed to rebuild the company in its image.

But only months after Zuckerberg first outlined his “privacy-focused vision for social networking” in a 3,000-word post on the social network he founded, his lawyers were explaining to a California judge that privacy on Facebook is nonexistent. The courtroom debate, first reported by Law360, took place as Facebook tried to scuttle litigation from users upset that their personal data was shared without their knowledge with the consultancy Cambridge Analytica and later with advisers to Donald Trump’s campaign. The full transcript of the proceedings — which has been quoted from only briefly — reveal one of the most stunning examples of corporate doublespeak certainly in Facebook’s history.”..

Categories: Law and Legal

Phoenix Mayor Apologizes After Video Of Police Drawing Gun On Family Over Stolen Doll

Viral footage of the incident captured by bystanders has already prompted an internal police probe, a $10 million civil rights claim and a chorus of fury on social media.

(Image credit: Ross D. Franklin/AP)

Categories: Just News

Millions In Argentina And Uruguay Without Electricity After Power Failure

A massive outage rolled across Argentina and Uruguay, plunging millions into darkness.

(Image credit: MIGUEL ROJO/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

Hong Kong Executive Apologizes As Protests Continue Over Extradition Bill

Chief Executive Carrie Lam says her management of an extradition bill caused "disputes in society." Protesters say they want the bill scrapped and Lam to step down.

(Image credit: Kin Cheung/AP)

Categories: Just News

Justin Bieber's Challenge to Tom Cruise Tops This Week's Internet News Roundup

Wired Top Stories - Sun, 06/16/2019 - 09:00
The pop star later claimed he was kidding—but he still inspired a lot of people with his, um, bravery.
Categories: Just News

Audi Recall, Shifting Alliances, and More Car News This Week

Wired Top Stories - Sun, 06/16/2019 - 09:00
Audi issued a voluntary recall of its E-Tron SUV; self-driving tech startup Aurora broke up with VW and joined up with Fiat Chrysler.
Categories: Just News

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