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Category: Trump Dump

Alternative Facts, or better, Relative Truths

I know about danah boyd from her former blog, and from her book, “It’s complicated“. She’s on Twitter.

On Backchannel she’s writing about the internal mechanisms of Gamergate-type personalities, and how their own insecurities make them aggressive, a very interesting read.

My first breakthrough came when I started studying bullying—when I started reading studies about why punitive approaches to meanness and cruelty backfire. It’s so easy to hate those who are hateful, and so hard to be empathetic to where they’re coming from. This made me double down on an ethnographic mindset that requires that you step away from your assumptions and try to understand the perspective of people who think and act differently than you do. I’m realizing more and more how desperately this perspective is needed as I watch researchers and advocates, politicians and everyday people judge others from their vantage point without taking a moment to understand why a particular logic might unfold.

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European Parliament ends visa-free travel for Americans

The Independent reports:

The European Parliament has voted to end visa-free travel for Americans within the EU.

It comes after the US failed to agree visa-free travel for citizens of five EU countries – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania – as part of a reciprocity agreement. US citizens can normally travel to all countries in the bloc without a visa.

The ban, if it comes, affects all Americas, not just Redneckistanis. Will it come? It depends:

Following the committee’s vote, the Commission must act to suspend the visa waiver for Americans, but the European Parliament or the Council of the European Union may object.

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Turns out, people don’t like traveling to Nazi America…

A report by Frommer’s states that

Experts across the travel industry are warning that masses of tourists are being scared away from visiting the United States, and the loss of tourism jobs could be devastating.

So far, the observed drop is about 7%, and is not limited to travel from Muslim countries:

Apparently, an attack on one group of tourists is regarded as an assault on all

the report continues. Affected are business travel as well as  leisure travel, and the projected losses for this year are in the billions of USD and in the thousands of jobs.

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USAgile Testing Days – canceled

USAgile Testing Days canceled

USAgile Testing days in Boston are canceled:

Sadly, we have to inform you that we decided to cancel the conference due to the current political situation in the USA. Our hearts are bleeding, but we believe it is the right thing to do. The Agile Testing Days (ATDs) stand for diversity, openness, respect and support the observance of human rights. We despise any sort of hostility or harassment.

The behavior of the current US Government Authority is unacceptable for us and against our values and views. As international organizers we also aim at a diverse and international conference crowd – audience and speakers alike. Many people of the community are expressing their concerns, and even speakers are withdrawing from their attendance now.

All of them feel unconfident about the next months and are unsure of potential problems when entering the country, including us as organizers.

I am waiting for their announcement of an alternate Venue in Cancun.

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Seizure of Cellphone content during US immigration checks

US Customs and Border Patrol have forced a NASA engineer to give up the passcode to his cellphone, and presumably copied and inspected the device, The Atlantic reports.

If you are traveling into the US, you are well advised to take blank dummy devices with you, which do not contain any work or personal data on them. Resetting a personal device prior to travel may not be enough in all cases, residual data may exist in the flash (Chromebook and Nexus “Powerwash” reset might be).

Not traveling into the US might be even smarter.

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FBI Rap Back

Wikipedia knows:

The [Chinese] Social Credit System is a proposed Chinese government initiative for developing a national reputation system. It has been reported to be intended to assign a “social credit” rating to every citizen based on government data regarding their economic and social status.

Xinhuanet has reported that the plan for the system “focuses on credit in four areas, including administrative affairs, commercial activities, social behavior, and the judicial system.”

The system has been an inspiration for the Black Mirror episode Nosedive, and US newspapers such as The Economost have been condemning it as Digital Totalitarian State.

Meanwhile The Intercepts reports on the FBI Rap Back program (““Rap” is an acronym for Record of Arrest and Prosecution; “Back” is short for background.”), which will implement exactly this:

What the program counts as “triggering events” differs depending on how subscribers configure their systems. In Missouri, where public school teachers are entered into the program, a police captain told a local paper that scanning fingerprints triggers the release of closed records, including charges that are not prosecuted and judicial decisions that result in dismissals or not guilty findings. […]

Lynch said it’s possible that employees could be fired for an arrest where they were exercising their First Amendment rights: filming public officials, attending protests, blocking streets. “It’s unclear if an employer that takes action based on the arrest would know the arrest is tied to First Amendment protected activity.”

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The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (4)

Jean-Baptiste Quéru looks at US Manufacturing vs Trade in this Google plus article:

Here’s what I read in it, at a high level:

  • The US didn’t lose manufacturing to trade, since manufacturing went up after trade agreements were signed in 1994 and 2001.
  • US workers didn’t lose jobs to immigrants, since that would typically result in an increase in the workforce (more workers, paid less, individually less productive). Instead, the jobs truly disappeared.

He concludes that trade agreements increase trade, increase revenue, which is then invested into manufacturing automation, which leads to a drop in employment.

His analysis is based on data shown in this report from the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington based neoconservative think tank.

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