Stop trusting viral videos
By Ian Bogost, The Atlantic
A controversial video of Catholic students clashing with American Indians appeared to tell a simple truth. A second video called that story into question. But neither shows what truly happened.

— It’s tempting to think that the short video at the Lincoln Memorial shows the truth, and then that the longer video revises or corrects that truth. But the truth on film is more complicated: Video can capture narratives that people take as truths, offering evidence that feels incontrovertible. But the fact that those visceral certainties can so easily be called into question offers a good reason to trust video less, rather than more. Good answers just don’t come this fast and this easily.smirk-blur.jpg

Extreme Court says Trump’s military T-ban can stand — for now

Courthouse News Service
— Putting two nationwide injunctions on hold, the Supreme Court said Tuesday that the Trump administration can enforce its military-service restrictions on transgender troops pending appeal.

With Ocasio-Cortez, Americans finally have a politician
who agrees with them about taxes
The Intercept
ocasio-cortez-b2758839b51ef378.jpg— Two prominent political scientists, Martin Gilens at the University of California, Los Angeles and Benjamin Page at Northwestern University, have carefully studied the U.S. political system and demonstrated with charts and tables what most of us believe intuitively: If you don’t have money, you don’t matter. Or as Gilens and Page put it, “Not only do ordinary citizens not have uniquely substantial power over policy decisions; they have little or no independent influence on policy at all. By contrast, economic elites are estimated to have a quite substantial, highly significant, independent impact on policy.”
00 The last 40 years of U.S. tax policy have been the most striking demonstration imaginable of this assertion. Americans have never, in living memory, been averse to higher taxes on the rich. Nonetheless, the top marginal tax rate for the federal income tax plunged during the Reagan administration, from 70 percent to 28 percent, and has since only inched back up to 37 percent.

Americans support immigration of high-skilled workers…
… but many of them are (surprise!) going elsewhere
Pew Research

Creep held Xmas party while kidnapped girl was hidden in bedroom
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
— Of all the coverups and lies Jake Patterson told the world in the past few months, one stands out as especially cruel.
— He held a Christmas Day gathering for family members at “Patterson Retreat,” the former family home that Patterson is accused of turning into a prison for 13-year-old Jayme Closs.
— While the family marked the holiday, the houseguests had no idea that another person was there — the terrified girl Patterson was holding captive, forced to stay hidden under a twin bed,

L.A. teachers agree on deal to end strike … maybe

Brexit no-deal would mean harsh Irish border
The Guardian
…. “once you start talking about checks anywhere near the border, people will start delving into that and all of a sudden we’ll be the government that reintroduced a physical border on the island of Ireland”.

Doctors out at clinic where comatose woman gave birth
CBS News
— Laughable corporate spin: “Once again, we offer an apology and send our deepest sympathy to the client and her family,” Hacienda HealthCare said in a statement. “Hacienda intends to do everything possible to restore its credibility in the eyes of our patients, families, the community and our agency partners at every level.”

Economy is slowing, and China’s dictatorship is worried
Business Line
— “The party is facing long-term and complex tests in terms of maintaining long-term rule, reform and opening-up, a market-driven economy and within the external environment,” Xi said, according to Xinhua.
— The party is facing sharp and serious dangers of a slackness in spirit, lack of ability, distance from the people and being passive and corrupt. This is an overall judgement based on the actual situation.
>>> US cancels trade meeting with China
>>> China vows “action” if elite exec is not freed

US home sales drop to 3-year low

“Kill as many girls as possible”
ABC News
— “All I wanted was to be loved, yet no one cares about me,” he wrote in a Facebook post, according to police. “I’m 27 years old and I’ve never had a girlfriend before and I’m still a virgin, this is why I’m planning on shooting up a public place soon and being the next mass shooter.”

Help! I tried to block Amazon from my life, and found it impossible
By Kashmir Hill, Gizmodo
We also wean our daughter from much of her screen time, which means quality time playing with her or taking her to a playground rather than giving her a “movie treat.” I go running outside rather than doing my three miles on a treadmill watching Netflix. In general, having access to fewer parts of the internet makes me use technology less, which is increasingly my goal in life.
— But cutting out Amazon also means severely limiting my ability to use one of our era’s crucial conversation tools: the language of links.

Secret N. Korean missile base discovered
Stars & Stripes/WaPost
— Days after the White House announced plans for a second nuclear summit between the United States and North Korea, a new think tank report has identified a secret North Korean ballistic missile base about 160 miles northwest of Seoul that is reportedly the headquarters of the country’s strategic missile force.
— The report, released Monday by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the base is one of about 20 undeclared missile operating bases, part of North Korea’s ongoing ballistic missile program. Researchers at the center’s Beyond Parallel project said the latest report provides more evidence that North Korea is not dismantling its weapons facilities.

Why Uber wants to build electric bikes and scooters that drive themselves
Ars Technica
 …  scooters and electric bikes able to drive themselves to the nearest charging station when they got low on power.
— Adding self-driving bikes and scooters could also potentially improve vehicle utilization. Over the course of the day or week, traffic patterns can lead to too many bikes in some areas and too few in others. Some bike-sharing companies send out fleets of vans to move bikes around and ensure that they’re available all over the city. Autonomous bikes could perform this kind of reallocation without human assistance.

“Bikini climber” and social media phenom dies after fall

Wu gained a massive following on social media for documenting her travels, sharing photos of herself on mountaintops in bikinis.

Europe’s plan: Mine ore on the moon, fuel push into space
The Daily Mail
— Regolith is an ore from which it is possible to extract water and oxygen, thus enabling an independent human presence on the Moon to be envisaged, capable of producing the fuel needed for more distant exploratory missions,

Dutch surgeon wins landmark ‘right to be forgotten’ case
> Ruling will ensure doctors no longer judged by Google on fitness to practice, lawyer says

The Guardian
… the district court of Amsterdam subsequently ruled the surgeon had “an interest in not indicating that every time someone enters their full name in Google’s search engine, (almost) immediately the mention of her name appears on the ‘blacklist of doctors’, and this importance adds more weight than the public’s interest in finding this information in this way”.
— The judge said that while the information on the website with reference to the failings of the doctor in 2014 was correct, the pejorative name of the blacklist site suggested she was unfit to treat people, and that was not supported by the disciplinary panel’s findings.


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