Daily Archives: April 5, 2018

Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy !

Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy !

Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy !

Aleberobello, Puglia, Italy !

Aleberobello, Puglia, Italy !

Aleberobello, Puglia, Italy !

Japan. Nara’s deer continue their summertime tradition of commandeering one of the city’s streets via: http://bit.ly/2bYMeO2

Japan. Nara’s deer continue their summertime tradition of commandeering one of the city’s streets

via: http://bit.ly/2bYMeO2

Twitter: 1 million accounts suspended for ‘terrorism promotion’ | AFP.com

Twitter: 1 million accounts suspended for ‘terrorism promotion’

5 Apr 2018

Twitter says more than one million accounts have been suspended since 2015 for “promotion of terrorism”
Twitter said Thursday it has suspended over one million accounts for “promotion of terrorism” since 2015, claiming its efforts have begun to make the platform “an undesirable place” to call for violence.

In its latest transparency report, Twitter said it suspended 274,460 accounts between July and December 2017 “for violations related to the promotion of terrorism.”

The figure is down 8.4 percent from the previous reporting period and is the second consecutive decline, a Twitter statement said.

“We continue to see the positive, significant impact of years of hard work making our site an undesirable place for those seeking to promote terrorism, resulting in this type of activity increasingly shifting away from Twitter,” said the statement from the messaging platform’s public policy team.

Twitter has faced pressure from governments around the world to crack down on jihadists and others calling for violent attacks, while at the same time maintaining an open platform for free speech.

In the latest six-month reporting period, Twitter said 93 percent of the suspended accounts were “flagged by internal, proprietary tools,” and that 74 percent were cut off before their first tweet.

It said government reports of violations related to the promotion of terrorism represent less than 0.2 percent of all suspensions in the period.

Twitter also used the report to express concerns about what it called “legal threats to freedom of expression” online in countries around the world.

“With the passage of new legislation and ongoing regulatory discussions taking place around the world about the future of public discourse online, we are seeing a potential chilling effect with regards to freedom of expression,” the report said.

It cited a Human Rights Watch report suggesting that “governments around the world (are) increasingly look to restrict online speech by forcing social media companies to act as their censors.”

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Facebook ramps up announcements on data protection efforts Audrey Schomer 8m 8 BI Intelligence


Facebook ramps up announcements on data protection efforts
Audrey Schomer 8m 8
BI Intelligence
This story was delivered to BI Intelligence “Digital Media Briefing” subscribers hours before appearing on Business Insider. To be the first to know, please click here.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will reportedly testify in a hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11, focused on Facebook’s use and protection of user data, The Wall Street Journal confirmed.

This will be Zuckerberg’s first public testimony before US lawmakers. Since last week, the CEO has given interviews to a handful of news outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, Wired, Recode, and Vox.

The company has announced a slew of adjustments it’s making or planning to make, including by launching data privacy features or fixes, purging bad actors, and attempting to curb the spread of disinformation. Ahead of Zuckerberg’s appearance next Wednesday, such announcements seem likely to continue streaming out of company leadership.

The hearing is likely to mirror the first set of tech hearings that took place last fall with legal representatives from companies that included Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Lawmakers then present were alarmed and disappointed at the apparent inability of these platforms to self-regulate. Facing a similar set of government officials, and as the founder and head of his company, Zuckerberg will need to be prepared to respond, not just with platitudes promising self-betterment, but with meaningful actions that the company has taken and will continue to take to ensure that users’ data is protected and that it will do what it can and must to weed out bad actors.

Facebook has already issued two statements this week, announcing two new steps the company is taking to that end:

It removed inauthentic accounts and pages that were operated by the Internet Research Agency (IRA), per a blog post by Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos. The IRA is the Russian agency that the tech company determined was pushing out manipulative content and ads on the platform in the months ahead of the US presidential election. Zuckerberg also highlighted the efforts on his page. In its latest purge, the company has removed 70 Facebook accounts, 65 Instagram accounts, and 138 Facebook pages. Facebook has already banned hundreds of IRA accounts, and says it expects to find more, which it will also remove. In addition to an overall agenda to purify its platforms of bad-actor-led activity, Facebook also said it wants to improve transparency with users by giving them an access point through the Help Center that will show users what the IRA did.
Facebook is rolling out a feature in the US that aims to give users more context about articles they see in News Feed, per a company blog post. The feature places an “About this Article” button next to news items that appear in News Feed, writes Engadget. When users click the button, they’ll see that publisher’s Wikipedia page and a data snapshot revealing how many times the article has been shared. The feature aims to help users become more skeptical and savvy consumers of news by giving them useful contextual information to help determine whether a source is legitimate and credible.
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Facebook hits the brakes on creepy project to access your patient data from hospitals BRYAN CLARK — 2 HOURS AGO

Facebook hits the brakes on creepy project to access your patient data from hospitals

Facebook has been in recent talks with several high profile US hospitals in an attempt to glean anonymized patient data for a now-defunct project. The company aimed to collect obscured personal details — including illness and prescription info — in an attempt to match it with user data it collected by the social network. The goal, reportedly, was to help hospitals figure out which patients might need special care or treatment, according to CNBC.

The news comes amid growing concerns that the social network isn’t taking the steps needed to secure its users from over-zealous third parties — and often from Facebook itself.

For some, the knowledge that Facebook planned to anonymize this data will be enough. Others will undoubtedly question whether a plan that sought to obtain obscured patient data to couple with information it already collects would be enough to protect their anonymity.

Just yesterday CEO Mark Zuckerberg hosted a live Q&A session with reporters where he revealed, among other things, that the company had unknowingly allowed Cambridge Analytica — a data insights firm — to collect user information on some 87 million users, a majority of which didn’t install or consent to the app that scraped their profiles. Worse, he later revealed that all 2.2 billion users should operate under the assumption that their data had been scraped on the social network at some point or another.

For now though, the project appears to have been back burnered while the company attempts to navigate the fallout of a string of recent scandals.

A Facebook representative told TNW:

The medical industry has long understood that there are general health benefits to having a close-knit circle of family and friends. But deeper research into this link is needed to help medical professionals develop specific treatment and intervention plans that take social connection into account.

With this in mind, last year Facebook began discussions with leading medical institutions, including the American College of Cardiology and the Stanford University School of Medicine, to explore whether scientific research using anonymized Facebook data could help the medical community advance our understanding in this area. This work has not progressed past the planning phase, and we have not received, shared, or analyzed anyone’s data.

Last month we decided that we should pause these discussions so we can focus on other important work, including doing a better job of protecting people’s data and being clearer with them about how that data is used in our products and services.
Questions remain on why Facebook would need this data in the first place.

If Apple’s newfound interest in monitoring health and tracking fitness is the goal, there’s an important distinction to be made: Apple stores all of this information on the device, not in the cloud. It’s not accessible to anyone at Apple, or third-parties that find loopholes in an API.

According to Interim CEO of the American College of Cardiology, Cathleen C. Gates, the project was an effort to improve health by researching ways social media can aid in the prevention of heart disease. She told TNW:

It is well-known that many things factor into a person’s heart health—from genetics to lifestyle to the quality of their medical care. For the first time in history, people are sharing information about themselves online in ways that may help determine how to improve their health. As part of its mission to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health, the American College of Cardiology has been engaged in discussions with Facebook around the use of anonymized Facebook data, coupled with anonymized ACC data, to further scientific research on the ways social media can aid in the prevention and treatment of heart disease—the #1 cause of death in the world. This partnership is in the very early phases as we work on both sides to ensure privacy, transparency and scientific rigor. No data has been shared between any parties.
Medical professionals have, for decades, understood the link between general health and those with close-knit groups of friends and family members. A source at Facebook who is familiar with the project told TNW that it was an attempt to better understand the ties between this level of social connectedness and general health in an attempt for doctors to better develop intervention options or treatment plans for their patients. Still, you have to wonder what Facebook hoped to find outside of what we already know on a topic that has been researched ad nauseam.

Furthermore, would anyone willingly hand over this level of access to a company that’s already won the war for your mind?

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On the Mindless Menace of Violence


“On the Mindless Menace of Violence” is a speech given by United States Senator and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy. He delivered it in front of the City Club of Cleveland at the Sheraton-Cleveland Hotel on April 5, 1968, the day after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. With the speech, Kennedy sought to counter the King-related riots and disorder emerging in various cities, and address the growing problem of violence in American society.

Senator Robert F. Kennedy, pictured campaigning for president in 1968

Senator Robert F. Kennedy, pictured campaigning for president in 1968

On April 4, King, a prominent African-American civil rights leader, was assassinated. Race riots subsequently broke out across the United States. After delivering an improvised speech on the matter in Indianapolis, Kennedy withdrew to the hotel he was staying in and suspended his presidential campaign. Community leaders convinced him to keep a single engagement before the City Club of Cleveland. Doing away with his prepared remarks, Kennedy’s speechwriters worked early into the morning of April 5 to craft a response to the assassination. Kennedy reviewed and revised the draft en route to Cleveland. Speaking for only ten minutes, Kennedy outlined his view on violence in American society before a crowd of 2,200. He criticized both the rioters and the white establishment who, from his perspective, were responsible for the deterioration of social conditions in the United States. He proposed no specific solutions to the internal division and conflict, but urged the audience to seek common ground and try to cooperate with other Americans.

Kennedy’s speech received much less attention than his famous remarks in Indianapolis and was largely forgotten by the news media. However, several of his aides considered it to be among his finest orations. Journalist Jack Newfield was of the opinion that the address was a suitable epitaph for the senator, who was assassinated two months later.


Martin Luther King Jr., whose death greatly upset civil rights activists and led to a wave of riots across the United States
On April 4, 1968, African-American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by a sniper in Memphis, Tennessee. United States Senator Robert F. Kennedy was traveling to Indianapolis to promote his presidential campaign when he heard the news. He delivered a brief, improvised speech on the matter before suspending all of his campaign activities and withdrawing to his room at the Marott Hotel. After several phone conversations with African-American community leaders, he decided to speak out against the violent backlash to the assassination and carry on with a scheduled appearance before the City Club of Cleveland.[2] His aides concurred that this was the best course of action, and agreed that he should shortly thereafter go to Washington, D.C., and remain there until King could be buried.[3] Kennedy also spoke over the phone with Coretta Scott King, King’s widow, in Atlanta. At her request, Kennedy directed aide Frank Mankiewicz to arrange for a plane to retrieve King’s body. Since most air carriers were wary of taking up such a task, a plane was chartered from one of Kennedy’s friends. John Lewis and Earl Graves, among others, were dispatched to assist Coretta Scott King.[4][5] Kennedy also had three additional phone lines installed at the King residence to handle the influx of incoming calls while his staff established a phone bank at West Hunter Baptist Church in Atlanta for the King family’s use.[4]

That night at the Marott Hotel, Kennedy hosted a meeting with 14 local black leaders. The meeting had been arranged before the assassination by aide James Tolan and took place in Tolan’s room.[6] The group had debated among themselves as to whether they should hold the meeting. Kennedy eventually arrived, and the conversation quickly became heated as leaders accused him of being an unreliable member of “the white establishment.” He lost his temper, saying, “I don’t need all this aggravation. I could sit next to my swimming pool. You know, God’s been good to me and I really don’t need anything. But I just feel that if He’s been that good, I should try to put something back in. And you all call yourselves leaders and you’ve been moaning and groaning about personal problems. You haven’t once talked about your own people.” The meeting ended with most attendees pledging their support to Kennedy’s campaign.[7] One of them later acknowledged that Kennedy was “completely sympathetic and understanding”.[8]

The intensity of the King assassination riots greatly troubled Kennedy and moved him to deliver the speech.
Kennedy then restlessly wandered around the hotel, checking in on his staff. When asked if King’s murder had reminded him of the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy, his brother, Kennedy replied, “Well, that. But it makes me wonder what they might do to me too.”[9] He told speechwriter Jeff Greenfield, “You know, the death of Martin Luther King isn’t the worse thing that ever happened in the world.” Greenfield later said, “I could not for the life of me understand that callousness until, of course, I realized he had been thinking of the death of his brother.”[8]

Meanwhile, in their room, Greenfield and fellow speechwriter Adam Walinsky worked on a formal response to the King assassination with assistance over the phone from Ted Sorenson in New York City.[2][10][b] Sorenson’s memory differed in that he recalled receiving a call from Kennedy at his home in Washington D.C, rather than New York, on the night of April 4. Kennedy asked for Sorenson’s thoughts on a speech being prepared for his appearance in Cleveland and said he would call back within the hour. Sorenson, mindful of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, quickly began writing notes on scrap pieces of paper. When Kennedy called back, Sorenson dictated what he had produced and the senator transcribed it.[1] Mankiewicz later recalled being “occasionally” involved in the drafting process.[3]

At about 02:30 on April 5, Kennedy discovered Walinsky asleep over his typewriter and Greenfield passed out on his bed.[9] Kennedy pulled a blanket over Greenfield, who awoke and said, “You aren’t so ruthless after all.” Kennedy responded, “Don’t tell anyone.”[13] Later in the morning, Walinsky and Greenfield inserted Sorenson’s contributions and finished the speech (mostly the work of Walinsky[3]).[2]

The Marott Hotel, where the speech was drafted by Kennedy’s aides
Meanwhile, Kennedy sat down for an interview with entertainer Jack Paar. The senator was in a grave mood; when asked how he thought the White House might accommodate a family as large as his, he responded, “Do you think that is going to be my biggest problem?” When Paar more seriously asked if jobs would solve the problems of urban ghettos, Kennedy replied that while job opportunity was important, it needed to be accompanied by “compassion for one’s fellow human beings.” Paar then asked, “What did you think when you heard that Dr. King had been assassinated?” Kennedy answered, “That more and more people are turning to violence. And in the last analysis it’s going to destroy our country.”[9]

During the flight to Cleveland Kennedy reviewed and considerably revised his speech.[3][14] The plane arrived 90 minutes late.[15] A planned motorcade from Hopkins International Airport was canceled out of respect for King.[16] Instead, the senator rode into the city in an open white convertible. An aide from a phone-equipped vehicle waved down his car and informed him that police believed a sniper might be hiding in a church steeple across from the hotel where he was to give the speech. Bill Barry, Kennedy’s bodyguard, recommended that the senator wait alongside the road while he would drive ahead to investigate. Kennedy angrily dismissed the suggestion, saying, “No. We’ll never stop for that kind of threat.”[17] Kennedy passed through a crowd of approximately 10,000 people in Public Square that had gathered for a memorial service for King. He had been scheduled to speak there as well but canceled the event.[15]

The speech

The Sheraton-Cleveland Hotel, the venue for Kennedy’s speech
Kennedy’s appearance had been anticipated; in the week leading up to the address, the City Club sold over 1,400 tickets for people wishing to attend the luncheon event at the Sheraton-Cleveland Hotel. Local channels 3 and 5 interrupted their coverage of the King assassination to televise Kennedy’s speech. It was delivered before approximately 2,200 members of the City Club of Cleveland (most rich and white) and lasted only for 10 minutes. Kennedy spoke quietly and solemnly,[12][17] incorporating tragic themes.[18]

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
On the Mindless Menace of Violence
Kennedy opens by dismissing his own political position and ambition as a presidential candidate and emphasizing the situation at hand,[19] saying,

“ This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity to speak briefly to you about this mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives. ”
This statement sets the tone of the speech.[20] The senator then develops a notion of “violence” using strong, emotional language.[21] He notes that violence afflicted all Americans, regardless of race.[17] He proceeds to allude to King’s death and to highlight the meaninglessness of violence, asking,[22]

“ Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by his assassin’s bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero, and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of the people. ”
By saying this, Kennedy is admonishing people not to riot in wake of King’s death[23] and in effect equating their actions to that of the civil rights leader’s assassin.[17] After quoting Abraham Lincoln, he portrays the American public as a people increasingly succumbing to its violent tendencies that undermine its national ideals.[18] He argues that all deaths degrade American society,[24] thereby assuming an uncompromising stance that any and all acts of violence are unacceptable.[25]

Kennedy describes how the United States was becoming increasingly tolerant of violence,[26] from the acceptance of news reports on the Vietnam War,[27] to the frequency of killing in movies and television shows,[28] to insufficient gun control.[29] He also criticizes double standards on foreign and domestic policy, arguing that some Americans support nonviolence abroad but not within the United States while others who denounce riots are responsible for the conditions that had led to them.[30][31] The statement leads into his next comment, observing that some Americans “look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies.”[32] He then criticizes government and private establishment:[33]

“ For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is a slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.
This is the breaking of a man’s spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all.

Even in the 1960s, such words were radical and potentially controversial.[33] Kennedy proceeds to caution that when society tried to “teach” people to hate one another or that an individual is a “lesser man” (alluding to racially prejudiced rhetoric common of other public figures), the likelihood of cooperation decreases while the possibility for violent confrontation increases.[34]

Kennedy lists no specific programs or proposals to address the problems at hand,[19] as he believed there was no single solution that would bring an end to violence.[35] Still, the senator asserts that if nothing were done, violence in the United States would persist.[36] He voices his hope that it could be stopped if people work together to bring about change.[37][38] As Kennedy approaches the end of his speech, his words become more forceful and hopeful.[39] He finishes with an allusion to Lincoln’s second inaugural address:[18]

“ Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanish it with a program, nor with a resolution. But we can perhaps remember—even if only for a time—that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life, that they seek—as do we—nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can. Surely this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our hearts brothers and countrymen once again. ”
Several women were reportedly in tears by the time Kennedy finished. The audience gave him a standing ovation.[40] While The Plain Dealer, Cleveland’s major daily newspaper, praised the speech as “timeless” and devoted a significant amount of coverage to it, Kennedy’s remarks received relatively little national media attention.[41]

Today’s Holiday: Merrie Monarch Festival

Today’s Holiday:
Merrie Monarch Festival

The Merrie Monarch Festival is a week of festivities in Hilo honoring Hawaii’s King David Kalakaua (1836-1891), who reigned from 1874 to 1891, and gave the United States exclusive rights to maintain a naval station at Pearl Harbor. The week’s events, starting on Easter, close with the world’s largest hula competition on the last three nights. The top hula schools (hula halau) compete in ancient and modern hula. More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Today’s Birthday: Louis Spohr, “The Forgotten Master” (1784)

Today’s Birthday:
Louis Spohr, “The Forgotten Master” (1784)

A highly respected German composer and violinist in the 19th century, Spohr has been largely neglected since then. After touring Europe, he became kapellmeister—leader of the orchestra—in Kassel, Germany, in 1822 and remained there for the rest of his life, eventually directing all of the city’s music. Highly prolific, he wrote 15 violin concertos, nine symphonies, and many operas. In 1857, what accident put an end to Spohr’s violin playing? More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Quote of the Day: George Eliot

Quote of the Day:
George Eliot

Human feeling is like the mighty rivers that bless the earth: it does not wait for beauty—it flows with resistless force and brings beauty with it.

More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

This Day in History: “Who Shot Phil?” Episode of EastEnders Airs (2001)

This Day in History:
“Who Shot Phil?” Episode of EastEnders Airs (2001)

After five weeks of speculation and frenzied betting, Phil Mitchell’s would-be assassin was finally revealed in a much-hyped episode of EastEnders, one of the longest running and most popular soap operas in the UK. Nearly 20 million people tuned in to watch the culmination of the “Who shot Phil?” storyline, causing the UK’s third-largest power surge on record until that time. What major sporting event was postponed to accommodate the special episode’s extended running time? More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Article of the Day: Wendigos

Article of the Day:

The wendigo of Algonquian mythology is a malevolent, cannibalistic spirit into which humans can transform or which can possess humans. Those who have indulged in cannibalism or succumbed to greed are thought to be particularly susceptible. It is said that whenever wendigos eat someone, they grow larger in proportion to the meal they have just had. Thus, though wendigos are constantly gorging themselves, they remain emaciated from starvation and are never full. What is windigo psychosis? More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Idiom of the Day: marry above (one’s) station

Idiom of the Day:
marry above (one’s) station

To marry someone who is of a higher social class or standing than oneself. Watch the video…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Word of the Day: heinous

Word of the Day:

Definition: (adjective) Grossly wicked or reprehensible; abominable.
Synonyms: flagitious
Usage: Abusing an animal is a heinous act.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch