Trump Super PAC Gets 12-Year-Old Girl To Interview Roy Moore

A Trump-supporting super PAC arranged to have a 12-year-old girl interview Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore for a campaign video.

The girl, Millie March, is well known in the political sphere for her rampant support of Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign, even though she’s not old enough to vote. The super PAC America First Project, a pro-Trump advocacy group founded by former Breitbart staffers, arranged for March talk to Moore for the campaign spot.

“We decided that we were going to bring Millie to Alabama, after everything that’s happened in this Alabama Senate race up until this point,” says America First Project’s Jennifer Lawrence in the video’s preamble to March’s interviews with Moore and his campaign manager, Rich Hobson. Lawrence adds that the group wanted to bring March to Alabama “to show there is a wide range of people who support Roy Moore.“ 

Moore has been accused by one woman of sexual assault when she was a teenager and he was in his 30s, and numerous other women have said he pursued and sexually harassed them when they were teens.


March opens her interview at Alabama GOP headquarters by asking Moore whether he’ll support Trump in building a wall between the United States and Mexico. 

“I think the military can be used down with the border patrol … and stop illegal aliens coming across the border,” Moore answered. He added: If we need to stop it permanently, we build the wall, and I think it would be not an inexpensive way to do it.”

March then asked what Moore believes are “the most important issues to the voters of Alabama.” He replied religious liberty, health care, and taxes.

Multiple women have come forward to accuse Moore of sexually assaulting or harassing them. Leigh Corfman told The Washington Post in November that she was 14 years old when Moore assaulted her. The allegations have led many celebrities and politicians, including some Republicans, to speak out against Moore, and the hashtag, #RightSideOfHistory, encourages voters to not elect Moore.

Moore has repeatedly denied the allegations against him. President Donald Trump, who also has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault and sexual harassment, has endorsed Moore, saying: “Roy Moore denies it. That’s all I can say.”

The special election for the Alabama Senate seat is Tuesday. 

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‘EVIL’: This may be the most MONSTROUS thing Planned Parenthood has EVER tweeted

Over the years, we’ve seen some pretty sick stuff get pushed by Planned Parenthood. This may be the sickest thing yet: The screenshot is there because Planned Parenthood deleted the original tweet. But the post they were promoting is still up.

Danielle Campoamor writes:

Miscarriage and abortion are sisters. Just like my body knew what to do when an abnormal embryo implanted itself in my uterus, my mind knew what to do when a healthy embryo found its way to the soft lining of my uterine wall back when I was 23 years old, in an unhealthy relationship, living paycheck-to-paycheck, unwilling and unable to be a mother. They haven’t always synced up, my body and my mind, but even separately they’ve known what to do at different times in my life. I do not regret my decision to have an abortion.

She goes on to cite late-term “Christian abortionist” Willie Parker:

When I held my son for the very first time, knowing he was a choice I had made, my belief that abortion had been the right decision years earlier only grew stronger. Here he was, a bi-product of my mind and my body finally being on the same page; the end result of me being financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally ready to become a mother. But we, as a culture, have difficulty acknowledging these complexities and accepting a woman’s inalienable right to make her own choices.

As Dr. Willie Parker, a Christian abortion provider put it in Life’s Work: A Moral Argument For Choice:


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Single Women Are Happier Than Society Thinks They Are According To Research

“When you spend some time single, you become confident that you can fulfill your own emotional needs and manage your emotions without the need for anyone to validate your self-worth. This is an exquisite life skill to have that will serve you well throughout your entire life, whether single or with a partner.” – Shahida Arabi, 5 Powerful Healing Benefits of Being Single After Abuse
Ayo Ogunseinde

While it’s wonderful to be in a happy and healthy relationship, the misconception that women who are single cannot thrive or be happy alone is one that needs to be dismantled, pronto. These stigmas only encourage women to get into toxic relationships without taking the time necessary to heal. They place undue pressure on young women to settle just in order to have a partner rather than waiting for one who truly fulfills their needs. They also deter women who are simply happier being single from accepting themselves fully without a sense of guilt or judgment.

Society depicts single women as people who are missing something from their lives. Rarely do single women get the luxury of being seen as freedom-loving, joyful, fulfilled and complex as single men are. Unlike single men who are praised for being lifelong bachelors, single women are usually asked, “Why are you still single?” and instead interrogated about their romantic prospects until the end of time. Their achievements, social networks, passions, hobbies and personalities usually take a backseat to conversations about their relationship status, which is lauded as the end-all, be-all of their lives.

Research, however, suggests that single women are no less fulfilled than those who are coupled. In fact, in some cases, they are happier. Here are the findings:

1. Turns out, single women are happier than they’re stereotyped due to the very nature of what relationships require of them.

Heterosexual single women were found by a new report to be happier than heterosexual single men and were less likely to venture out to find a relationship even while single (Mintel, 2017). The reasons? Despite progress towards equal rights, women still continue to do more emotional labor and domestic labor in relationships. They also tend to have more alternative social networks than men to look towards for support such as healthy friendships.

Being single is less likely to “harm” heterosexual single women in the sense that it might provide some freedom from the emotionally laborious task of being in a relationship – and no matter what, single women know how to utilize their support networks to fulfill their social needs.

2. Single people are more resilient and resourceful due to the fact that they to be.

This is especially true in terms of how they use their solitude. They are much more confident overall in doing solo activities – which allows them to develop a sense of independence that enriches all facets of their lives.

Since they don’t overly rely on anyone else to get any of their needs met, they have a heightened sense of self-determination and are more likely to experience a sense of continuous growth and self-development. Harvard-trained social psychologist Dr. Bella DePaulo (2013) writes:

“We hear all about how single people are supposedly at risk for becoming lonely, but little about the creative, intellectual, and emotional potential of solitude… We are told that single people do not have the  that married people find in their partners, but hear only crickets about the genuine attachment relationships that single people have with the most important people in their lives.

Missing from the stacks of journal articles is any sustained attention to the risks of intensive coupling—investing all of your emotional and relationship stock into just one person, “The One”—or to the resilience offered by the networks of friends and family that so many single people maintain.”

3. It can be just as healthy to be single – literally.

Single women can be just as psychologically and physically healthy, if not more, than their coupled counterparts. In fact, many of the studies on marriage praising its resulting life satisfaction are biased towards emphasizing those who stayed married, rather than those who later divorced or became widowed. People who stayed married actually only had a slight increase in happiness shortly after marriage due to a “honeymoon effect,” which after a few years reverted back to their original level of happiness before the marriage.

Meanwhile, those who got divorced reported increased life satisfaction after the initial despair (presumably due to their exit and healing from a toxic relationship), though they were not as happy as they were prior to getting married in the first place.

The myth of “marital superiority” is clearly one that looks better on paper than in real life. In general, those who were happiest they were married remained that way after marriage – which suggests that marriage itself was not the sole conduit for that joy.

“If you are not already a happy person, don’t count on marriage to transform you into one. If you are already happy, don’t expect marriage to make you even happier…finally, if you are single and happy, do not fret that you will descend into despair if you dare to stay single. That’s not likely either.” – Dr. Bella DePaulo,

In addition, the reported health benefits of marriage that have been lauded are not necessarily due to the marriage itself. DePaulo (2013) points out that marriage gives one access to more than a thousand federal benefits and this advantage leads to better health care. However, research indicates that single women can lead healthy, active lives as well. One Canadian study of more than 11,000 people revealed that lifelong single people had better overall health than married people, while an Australian study of more than 10,000 single women found that they had far less diagnoses of major illnesses, had lower BMIs and were less likely to smoke than married women.

So Now What?

It appears from these findings that it is the social stigma of being single, rather than single itself that is the problem. Since women are socialized to derive their self-worth from their relationship status, many single women can feel affected by societal pressures and judgment to evaluate and compare their lifestyles to their married friends, coming away feeling ‘less than’ even if they love their careers, are financially abundant, and have thriving social lives. This pressure can be so immense that otherwise happily single people may feel coerced into sustaining toxic partnerships that actually make them unhappier long-term, just to achieve a sense of “normalcy” in their societies.

This is especially true in cultures where young women are pressured to get married and marriage is considered an integral part of their social status. Even if they have nourishing, fulfilling lives, single women may feel that this pressure and judgment detracts from their overall sense of joy. They may feel excluded from events and holidays that extol coupledom, or feel shamed by their peers who perpetuate these pressures. However, as this stigma lessens, the possibility of leading a satisfying life regardless of one’s relationship status becomes that much more powerful and accessible. That’s why it’s so important to continue to dismantle the harmful stereotypes of what it means to be single and celebrate singlehood just as much as we celebrate marriage.

Regardless of whether or not someone plans to have a serious relationship in the future, the fact of the matter is, a period of singlehood can be a fruitful time for anyone no matter what their gender. Singlehood is a life-saver in that it grants individuals the creative space to develop their dreams, to explore the world and to build their identity without the interference of another person – something they may not be able to do without as much duress if they do choose to be in a relationship in the future. The ability to be successful, independent and joyful no matter what your relationship status is should be seen as a gift and an asset, not a curse.

Read more of Shahida Arabi’s articles here.

DePaulo, B. (2013, May 08). Are Single People Mentally Stronger? Retrieved August 27, 2017.
DePaulo, B. M. (2007). . New York: St. Martin’s Griffin.
Girme, Y. U., Overall, N. C., Faingataa, S., & Sibley, C. G. (2015). Happily Single.  (2), 122-130. doi:10.1177/1948550615599828
Luhmann, M., Hofmann, W., Eid, M., & Lucas, R. (2011). Supplemental Material for Subjective Well-Being and Adaptation to Life Events: A Meta-Analysis. . doi:10.1037/a0025948.supp
Mintel (2017).  (Rep.). Retrieved here.

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Researchers Publish Bombshell Report That Suggests Sugar Industry Conspiracy

In 1964, a group of researchers published Dietary Fats and Intestinal Thiamine Synthesis in Rats in the journal Nutrition Reviews. It tackled the classic sugar versus fat conundrum that has puzzled dieters for decades: Whats worse for health, sugar or fat?

The researchers divided rats into two groups. One group had diets that were 75 percent fat but no sugar, a sort of rodent Whole Foods regimen. It contrasted with the other group of rats, who had a lower fat countjust 15 percentbut 60 percent sucrose as well. The conclusion the team came to? Rats fed sucrose metabolized it as a carbohydrate and developed thiamine deficiency, often leading to heart failure; more complex carbohydrates helped create a gut bacteria that synthesized thiamine.

That paper got the Sugar Research Foundation interested in understanding the role of the white stuff in our microbiome. The foundationa precursor to todays Sugar Associationasked a group, referred to as Project 259 and led by Dr. W. F. R. Pover at the University of Birmingham, to study the effect of sugar in the gut between 1967 and 1971. It found that rats and guinea pigs given diets higher in sugar led to higher levels of triglycerides than those fed a standard pellet diet of cereal, soybean, and whitefish meals. That led to higher levels of beta-glucoronidase in urine, a now-proven result of bladder cancer. An internal document later described the Project 259 research as one of the first demonstrations of a biological difference between sucrose and starch fed rats. In short: A sugar-heavy diet was connected to heart disease.

But those results never saw the light of day by the now-defunct Sugar Research Foundation, according to a damning new paper published in PLOS Biology from Cristin E. Kearns, Dorie Apollonio, and Stanton A. Glantz. Its the latest in a series of papers Kearns and Glantz have teamed up on investigating the sugar industrys clamping down on research in postwar America, suggesting sugar was guilt-free and a healthier substitute to fat.

Judging by the media and public interest, it basically shows that the sugar industry pretty much behaved the same way the tobacco companies did, Glantz, a professor of medicine and tobacco control expert at the University of California, San Francisco, told The Daily Beast. Glantzs previous work explored the tobacco lobbying industry, with a 2013 paper in Tobacco Control tracing the rise of the Tea Party to tobaccos efforts to align themselves with libertarians through third party groups staunchly opposing taxation and regulation.

While a similar connection between sugar and the government hasnt been found yet, Glantz and Kearns have uncovered evidence over the past few years that shows the sugar industry was heavily involved in muffling research that indicated its product was dangerous to health. Scientific journals followed suit, with even the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine publishing a report that suggested that any linkage between sucrose and coronary heart disease was false, and that sucrose was in fact better than starch. (Pover died a few years ago, according to Kearns.)

Pover and Project 259s original research disappeared for decades, until Glantz and Kearns unearthed it. They suspect that the study was not quite ready for publication and that Pover asked for more funds to ensure accuracy. Theyd been funding it for two years and about $200,000 in todays money, Kearns said. He needed 18 more weeks, but they probably said no.

Even the incomplete results are interesting, Glantz pointed out. The sugar industry proved there were no differences to how sugar calories were metabolized compared to starch calories.

Which is, of course, totally untrueand the latest in a slow but steady unraveling of the industry that pushes soda, high fructose corn syrup, and more in the American diet.

And this isnt even the first time the sugar industry has misrepresented scientific results that would indicate sugar is not as sweet as it might appear. Glantz and Kearns published another industry-rocking report last year in JAMA Internal Medicine that showed the Sugar Research Foundation systematically discounted studies that tied sugar to ill health effects such as cancer, obesity, and heart disease by secretly funding groups in the 1960s and 1970s casting fat as the culprit behind these chronic diseases. The soda industrys denial of sodas connection with obesity and other nutritional studies backed by food giants that suggest candy does not affect a childs weight all fall in the same category.

These guys are not nice, Glantz said. They were distorting the whole process. People would look at you and say you need psychological treatment for daring to suggest that sugar was not as healthy as it was made out to be.

That made Glantzs and Kearns work especially difficult as they waded through old documents that often showcased conflicting results and confusion about the exact effects of sugar on a diet. Kearns is a professor of dentistry at the University of California, San Francisco, and started researching the sugar industry after attending a dental conference about a decade ago. In a session about diabetes and periodontal diseasetwo conditions that are affected by sugar intakeshe noticed that no one was talking about reducing sugar to control them.

The diet advice was to reduce fat and reduce calories, and all the brochures said that, too, Kearns told The Daily Beast. But its not what the research and guidelines say. Im a dentist, and I know: The role of sugar in tooth decay is significant, and its the number one chronic disease in children.

So Kearns teamed up with Glantz, who had made a name for himself uncovering the tobacco industrys stealthy PR campaign during the 1960s and 1970s to distance itself from lung cancer, funding research that downplayed its health effects, and allowed for advertising that glamorized smoking. The two found internal documents that suggested natural alternatives to sugar, such as the sugar beet industry in Colorado in the 1970s, went out of business. Kearns found that odd, along with the demonization of high fructose corn syrup (a corn product) by the sugar industry, and started delving more into the industry.

Glantz, for his part, said there are immediate parallels between the sugar and tobacco industry. The two even shared lobbyists, with several going from tobacco to sugar, explaining the similar PR campaign and philosophy of both. They wanted to stay on top of the science and be ahead of the science, Glantz said. They worked to manipulate the process and prevent a scientific consensus from emerging.

The fact that the sugar industry funded an alternate study to quash scientific results it had itself found to continue an image of being a sensible item to have in a diet is something that heavily contributed to the very modern American obesity, heart disease, and cancer epidemics, but have also repeatedly been shown to be used in marketing campaigns for impoverishedand often, heavily Hispanic and African-Americancommunities. It was what convinced Coca-Cola to use sucrose [instead of high fructose corn syrup], Kearns pointed out. Glantz added that sugar is seen as pure and unadulterated, something that is innocent and not considered a serious vice or health detraction on the levels of smoking: You add sucrose to your coffee. You bake with it. You have snack and beverages in it. Its even in your hamburgers and pizza.

The sugar industry, for their part, released a statement, saying: The article we are discussing is not actually a study, but a perspective: a collection of speculations and assumptions about events that happened nearly five decades ago, conducted by a group of researchers and funded by individuals and organizations that are known critics of the sugar industry. (The report was funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Samuel Lawrence Foundation, the National Cancer Institute, the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute of Health Policy Studies, the UCSF School of Dentistry, and the Nutrition Science Initiative.)

The ubiquity of sugar in our diet, whether we realize it or not, has huge implications not only for our health but also for medical expenses in this country. Glantz and Kearns hope that this most recent paper will pressure the Food and Drug Administration to recommend diets contain less than 10 percent of sugars daily (as of 2011, average sugar consumption hovered in the 15 percent range) and for stricter oversight on nutrition research.

A lot of people, they ask, Why are you looking at this ancient history? Who cares? Glantz said of his work investigating the tobacco and sugar industries and how they funded research. I always say, Trust me, people will care.

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The Shirk Report Volume 451

Welcome to the Shirk Report where you will find 20 funny images, 10 interesting articles and 5 entertaining videos from the last 7 days of sifting. Most images found on Reddit; articles from Facebook, Twitter, and email; videos come from everywhere. Any suggestions? Send a note to


Street math
Parenting level: savage
The Amazon reviews on this $1,500 Swiss Army Knife
Poor Suna
You shall not pass
Every day I’m tumblin’
Always keep your guard up
He has become one with the chair
We’re all stuck in 2017 while this kid out here in 4017
I wonder how many times he’s done this
What is going on here
Meanwhile in Canada
Say no to Max
Cat for scale
I wonder what this tastes like
Until next week


TIME Person of the Year 2017
Portugal’s radical drugs policy is working. Why hasn’t the world copied it?
Volunteering Is the Best Kept Secret for Mental Health
AlphaZero Annihilates World’s Best Chess Bot After Just Four Hours of Practicing
The Return of the Techno-Moral Panic
The False Narrative of Damien Hirst’s Rise and Fall
What You Should Know About Bitcoin’s Ridiculous Surge In Value
Surgical Patients May Be Feeling Pain—and (Mostly) Forgetting It
The World Might Be Better Off Without College for Everyone
Where Millennials Come From

5 VIDEOS + fight for your right

The Reviews Are In: The Weekend is Upon Us

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Mapping the Future: Cartography Stages a Comeback

Cartography is the new code. Increasingly, everything from your takeout delivery to your UberPool route is orchestrated not just by engineers but by cartographers. Between 2007 and 2015, the number of grads earning master’s degrees in cartography increased annually by more than 40 percent on average. And as advanced satellites, digital mapping tools, and open-source geographical software progress, the demand for cartographers is projected to grow nearly 30 percent by 2024.

Modern cartographers are as much data analysts as they are map producers. Flagship GIS systems by software companies like Esri have been democratized by an explosion of open-source alternatives like Carto and MapBox. “We are absolutely inundated with volumes of geospatial data,” says Mike Tischler, director of the US Geological Survey’s National Geospatial Program, “but with no means to effectively use it all.”

Which is why, as tasks from house-hunting to solving public-health crises depend on sophisticated map integration, cartography grads are being snapped up by Silicon Valley. “Ten years ago someone with geospatial expertise may have been siloed from the engineering team,” says Grubhub CTO Maria Belousova. “Today a huge portion of our team works on spatial search and route optimization.” Data-savvy mappers are charting that digital frontier.

This article appears in the November issue. Subscribe now.

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5 Ways Applying For A Job Is Hopelessly Stacked Against You

We have it on good authority that most of our readers are impossibly attractive self-made millionaires, but on the off chance you’ve ever had to look for a job, you’re well aware of what an awful process it is. As annoying as it is to spend hours crafting a flawless resume, only to have it thrown out by a robot because you omitted some vital keyword, it’s all somehow worse than you know. For example …


Criminals Are Forced to Stay Criminals (And Black People Are Assumed To Be Criminals)

A criminal record of any kind is right up there with “quit my last job by shitting on the boss’s desk.” But many employment applications ask about it right upfront, meaning your application might get thrown out before ever being seen by a human. It’s pointless to lie about it, because once the background check comes in, your resume goes right in the garbage anyway. Of course, it is an individual employer’s right to make that judgment call, but it’s also one reason that prisons have revolving doors. Once you commit a crime, you’re all but obligated to commit more, since it’s so hard to make a living honestly. It’s like eating potato chips, but against your will and even worse for your health.

One way governments have tried to end the cycle of criminality is by “banning the box.” These laws prohibit employers from asking applicants whether they have a criminal record on their application — the idea being that learning a name and face will soften employers’ hearts. Obviously, it has not worked out that way. Without an easy way to figure who has a record, employers assume it’s “all the black ones.” One study found that after New Jersey and New York City passed laws “banning the box,” the racial gap in callbacks for interviews went from 7 percent to 45 percent. In a country where white people now get excellent jobs doing what untold numbers of young black people have gone to prison for, we wish we were surprised.


Employers Trap You by Asking About Your Previous Salary

If you ask a recruiter, they’ll tell you that you shouldn’t ever provide a prospective employer with information about your previous salary. That’s because if said previous salary was quite a bit lower than what they normally pay, employers know they can offer you less than they might otherwise. Unfortunately, many employers now ask about your previous or desired salary on applications, and hence won’t even let you submit without shooting yourself in the foot. Asking for previous salaries hurts employees so much that some states, like Massachusetts, have made doing so illegal. They still haven’t done anything about Mark Wahlberg and toll roads, but you know, baby steps.

If you get lowballed early in your career, you’ll likely always be making less than you deserve. Since many raises are percentage-based, one substandard salary could mean you’ll be forever stuck earning less than you should. This obviously hurts women and minorities most, as they are more likely to be paid less than they’re worth to begin with. It doesn’t even help to move to a different company, since they’ll probably ask about your current salary. It’s an infinite ripoff train, and you’re the caboose.


If Your Boss Didn’t Hire You, They Probably Hate You

The seemingly ideal interview situation is one conducted by the candidate’s potential supervisor, as they’ll know best what they need. But this can backfire, because said supervisor may not have final say over the decision. If they recommend against hiring you and you’re hired anyway, you’re in for a circle of Hell you didn’t even know existed. Studies have shown that if an employee ends up working under a supervisor who rejected them, they are almost guaranteed to get a negative yearly review, not to mention a potentially hostile work environment and difficulty getting a good recommendation in the future.

Conversely, if an employee’s supervisor does recommend them to be hired, they’re almost guaranteed to get a positive yearly review. This might be good for the employee, but there’s potential there for a bad employee to continue getting positive reviews because their supervisor is eternally trying to justify hiring them in the first place. It turns out humans are so desperate to be right that they’ll happily accept any number of workplace accidents simply because Fingerless Chad had a nice suit.


Resumes And Credentials Are Easy To Forge

A job hunt usually starts with sending out a resume before you even get a chance to talk to a human. Thus, what that document contains must be impressive if it is to survive the robotic purge of the great applicant sorting machine. That’s where companies like CareerExcuse come in. For only around a hundred smackers, they’ll do anything from impersonate your landlord to forge shell companies, complete with their own receptionists and Google Map entries. Since there’s nothing illegal about lying on your resume, there’s nothing companies can do … other than fire you.

Many employers outsource the checking of references to third parties, which send form letters to the listed references, making it easy for companies like CareerExcuse to rubber-stamp the candidate. Sure, a quick Google search for “Totally Real Corporation Where Kyle Acquired Many Years of Relevant Experience, Inc.” would reveal the fabrication, but that might cut into the HR manager’s busy afternoon of Candy Crush and discriminating against black people. Those who actually did check resumes found that more than half of them contained lies. Have fun competing against that, sucker.


The Standard Job Interview Is Completely Unreliable

Job interviews are the most uniquely humiliating human experience outside of certain webcam productions. You dress up in silly clothes, wait for the receptionist to look up from their game of solitaire long enough to call your name, and then a prospective employer asks you a series of the most inane questions possible within spoken language. But are those questions really pointless?

Yes, they are.

Sorry for the fakeout. They’re totally useless.

The standard interview, wherein an employer asks a series of open-ended questions to gauge whether you’re the “best person for the job,” is in fact a bad way of gaining any useful information about a candidate. Researchers at Michigan State University have over 85 years’ worth of employer data, and they found that the traditional interview model is about as useful as picking employees with a dice roll.

So what truly works? Weirdly enough, those absurd personality tests which ask you to rate the importance of teamwork and other such nonsense are five to ten times more effective at identifying the best candidates. Even if all they’re doing is weeding out the people who aren’t smart enough to lie on them. Probationary employment periods and past performance were also found to be good indicators of employment matches. So there’s another reason to check a candidate’s references. Even Google and other big tech companies that were known for asking particularly ridiculous questions are phasing them out now. We know, we know, you literally just came up with the perfect answer for “If you were an algorithm, what kind would you be?” Sorry. You’ll have to save that for your next date.

Rob Rose is a filthy SJW virtue-signaling leftist from Maryland. Yell at him on Twitter @RobRoseKnows. Eventually he’ll post something on his blog.

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Senate panel seeks ‘all records’ of payouts for lawmakers’ alleged misdeeds

Two members of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics sent a letter Friday to the Office of Compliance requesting all of their records on claims of impropriety, a move that follows a series of allegations against current members of Congress.

The letter, signed by committee Chairman Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Vice Chairman Christopher A. Coons, D-Del., requested “all records” that are “related to any claims of sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, or any other employment practice prohibited by the CAA involving alleged conduct by any current Member, officer, or employee of the Senate.”

According the letter, “sexual harassment or employment discrimination” are not permitted in accordance with federal law and Senate rules.


It also noted the committee’s authority to have access to records and investigate any claims of “improper conduct” that may violate the regulations of the House and Senate and “discipline” those who are found to be out of order.

The CAA, or The Congressional Accountability Act of 1995, “prohibits harassment and discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability.” It also said it “prohibits ‘disparate impact’ on an employee on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or religion, despite appearing neutral in practice,” according to the letter.


The formal request for records comes after a number of lawmakers, including Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., have faced allegations of impropriety.

The Senate and House Ethics Committees have both launched investigations into Franken and Conyers and both men have faced calls for them to step down from their positions.

Franken has been accused by at least five women of inappropriate touching, including a Los Angeles radio personality who claimed he groped her during a 2006 USO tour.

At least three women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Conyers, some of which reportedly happened in the workplace.

In a press conference Friday, Conyer’s attorney, Arnold Reed, said the congressman “will continue to defend himself until the cows come home” but added that he is weighing whether or not to remain in his seat.

Conyers, 88, was admitted to the hospital Thursday for a stress-related illness and Reed said “his health is not the best.” But he added that Conyers will ultimately decide on the future. “It is not going to be Washington,” he said.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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Facebook rolls out AI to detect suicidal posts before theyre reported

This is software to save lives. Facebook’s new “proactive detection” artificial intelligence technology will scan all posts for patterns of suicidal thoughts, and when necessary send mental health resources to the user at risk or their friends, or contact local first-responders. By using AI to flag worrisome posts to human moderators instead of waiting for user reports, Facebook can decrease how long it takes to send help.

Facebook previously tested using AI to detect troubling posts and more prominently surface suicide reporting options to friends in the U.S. Now Facebook is will scour all types of content around the world with this AI, except in the European Union, where General Data Protection Regulation privacy laws on profiling users based on sensitive information complicate the use of this tech.

Facebook also will use AI to prioritize particularly risky or urgent user reports so they’re more quickly addressed by moderators, and tools to instantly surface local language resources and first-responder contact info. It’s also dedicating more moderators to suicide prevention, training them to deal with the cases 24/7, and now has 80 local partners like, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Forefront from which to provide resources to at-risk users and their networks.

“This is about shaving off minutes at every single step of the process, especially in Facebook Live,” says VP of product management Guy Rosen. Over the past month of testing, Facebook has initiated more than 100 “wellness checks” with first-responders visiting affected users. “There have been cases where the first-responder has arrived and the person is still broadcasting.”

The idea of Facebook proactively scanning the content of people’s posts could trigger some dystopian fears about how else the technology could be applied. Facebook didn’t have answers about how it would avoid scanning for political dissent or petty crime, with Rosen merely saying “we have an opportunity to help here so we’re going to invest in that.” There are certainly massive beneficial aspects about the technology, but it’s another space where we have little choice but to hope Facebook doesn’t go too far.

[Update: Facebook’s chief security officer Alex Stamos responded to these concerns with a heartening tweet signaling that Facebook does take seriously responsible use of AI.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the product update in a post today, writing that “In the future, AI will be able to understand more of the subtle nuances of language, and will be able to identify different issues beyond suicide as well, including quickly spotting more kinds of bullying and hate.”

Unfortunately, after TechCrunch asked if there was a way for users to opt out, of having their posts a Facebook spokesperson responded that users cannot opt out. They noted that the feature is designed to enhance user safety, and that support resources offered by Facebook can be quickly dismissed if a user doesn’t want to see them.]

Facebook trained the AI by finding patterns in the words and imagery used in posts that have been manually reported for suicide risk in the past. It also looks for comments like “are you OK?” and “Do you need help?”

“We’ve talked to mental health experts, and one of the best ways to help prevent suicide is for people in need to hear from friends or family that care about them,” Rosen says. “This puts Facebook in a really unique position. We can help connect people who are in distress connect to friends and to organizations that can help them.”

How suicide reporting works on Facebook now

Through the combination of AI, human moderators and crowdsourced reports, Facebook could try to prevent tragedies like when a father killed himself on Facebook Live last month. Live broadcasts in particular have the power to wrongly glorify suicide, hence the necessary new precautions, and also to affect a large audience, as everyone sees the content simultaneously unlike recorded Facebook videos that can be flagged and brought down before they’re viewed by many people.

Now, if someone is expressing thoughts of suicide in any type of Facebook post, Facebook’s AI will both proactively detect it and flag it to prevention-trained human moderators, and make reporting options for viewers more accessible.

When a report comes in, Facebook’s tech can highlight the part of the post or video that matches suicide-risk patterns or that’s receiving concerned comments. That avoids moderators having to skim through a whole video themselves. AI prioritizes users reports as more urgent than other types of content-policy violations, like depicting violence or nudity. Facebook says that these accelerated reports get escalated to local authorities twice as fast as unaccelerated reports.

Mark Zuckerberg gets teary-eyed discussing inequality during his Harvard commencement speech in May

Facebook’s tools then bring up local language resources from its partners, including telephone hotlines for suicide prevention and nearby authorities. The moderator can then contact the responders and try to send them to the at-risk user’s location, surface the mental health resources to the at-risk user themselves or send them to friends who can talk to the user. “One of our goals is to ensure that our team can respond worldwide in any language we support,” says Rosen.

Back in February, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that “There have been terribly tragic events — like suicides, some live streamed — that perhaps could have been prevented if someone had realized what was happening and reported them sooner . . .  Artificial intelligence can help provide a better approach.”

With more than 2 billion users, it’s good to see Facebook stepping up here. Not only has Facebook created a way for users to get in touch with and care for each other. It’s also unfortunately created an unmediated real-time distribution channel in Facebook Live that can appeal to people who want an audience for violence they inflict on themselves or others.

Creating a ubiquitous global communication utility comes with responsibilities beyond those of most tech companies, which Facebook seems to be coming to terms with.

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It’s time to nationalize the internet

Last Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission, led by deregulation zealot Ajit Pai, presented a plan to dismantle net neutrality in America. Not only must we fight to prevent that from happening, we must ensure it can never happen again.

Net neutrality is the principle that all internet data delivered to customers must be treated equally. Net neutrality rules prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from allowing users to see more of some types of content and less of others. Some potential consequences of repealing net neutrality rules include unfair speed and access advantages for large companies and tiered internet packages that further commodify things like streaming video and social media.

While telecom companies insist that government regulation hinders their business, opponents of ending net neutrality view these rules as a bulwark against an internet that would be built solely for the profit of large corporations at the expense of its users. Critics see a future of high-cost internet with add-ons, data caps, and fast lanes that complicate access and eliminate the open internet as we know it.

In the healthcare battle, we have seen how rallying people behind a vision of the future can be more effective than simply fighting to maintain the status quo. While lawmakers have been slow to come around, the majority of Democratic voters now support single-payer healthcare. “Medicare for all” provides a vision for a better future. This makes it easier for healthcare activists to knock on doors and win converts. It gives people something to fight for rather than simply stand against.

The same could be true for net neutrality. Instead of just standing against Pai’s proposals, let’s stand for nationalizing the internet.

In the post-Reagan era in America, we have been conditioned to believe that the government isn’t equipped to handle large-scale projects. Conventional wisdom has been that private industry is better equipped to handle things than the government. Deregulation has been the agenda of baby boomer conservatives. And it has failed. It has failed the environment. It has failed the airline industry. It has failed education. It will fail the internet.

What would a nationalized internet look like? When we talk about nationalizing the internet, the best model to imagine probably isn’t the post office, but electric and water companies. Like these public utilities, internet is piped into your house. Also like water and electric, you need the internet to fully function in the modern world.

So, why shouldn’t the internet be a utility?

The biggest argument against this view is that it would eliminate competition. Competition, free-market types believe, is the key to innovation. Under this system, the job of an ISP is to deliver as fast a connection as possible for as low a price as possible. The problem is, competition among internet providers is a joke.

Currently, many consumers have only one or two options for high-speed broadband providers in their area, if any. Fifty-million households have one choice or fewer. Nearly 40 percent of America’s rural households lack high-speed internet, according to the FCC. As many customers know, those that do have high-speed access are subject to fluctuating bills and varying levels of service.

What exactly is being innovated here? Innovations like smart TVs, mobile hotspots, and smartphones have been transformative for many people’s lives. But these technologies have nothing to do with the delivery of broadband internet.

Writing in Pacific Standard, Rick Paulas described the current ISP situation like this: “nly a few massive companies have been able to compete with one another, and a majority of those competitions have ended in a kind of stalemate where they just end up carving up the marketplace block by block, or building by building, and forcing the residents to either choose their service or choose nothing.”

So, there isn’t much innovation going on. But what proof do we have that the free market drives innovation for ISPs? Jeff Dunn of Business Insider tried to argue for a free market solution but ended up admitting that, as currently constituted, the barrier to entry is so high for an ISP startup that robust competition is impossible. In the Washington Post, Larry Downes claimed that public utilities don’t innovate but declined to name one crucial advancement made by Comcast or its ilk in recent years. A recent New York Times op-ed also failed to articulate what innovations have made the nightmare of Time Warner customer service worth our while.

If there are no particular innovations these conservative commenters can point to, who is to say that an internet paid for and overseen by the government wouldn’t be as good if not better? Couldn’t we just vote out politicians who fail to keep our municipal ISPs on pace to handle our computers and smartphone needs? Perhaps the will of the people will be a more effective means for progress in this sector than corporate innovations.

Again, tens of millions of people in America don’t have high-speed internet. Those people are disproportionately poor and disproportionately rural. Are we to really believe that a child who goes without high-speed internet in their childhood can expect to compete in the global marketplace? Can a child in Appalachia, on a Native American reservation, or living in poverty in the inner city really be expected to achieve their potential if they don’t have quality internet access? What percentage of the jobs have you done have depended upon a working knowledge of the internet? What dream job doesn’t require a strong internet presence?

Wouldn’t universal access to high-speed internet actually increase the intellectual and productive possibilities of our country? Maybe the key to innovation is giving everyone in America an opportunity to innovate.

In fact, some Democrats are moving in this direction. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday announced a $40 billion plan to bring high-speed internet to America’s underserved communities.

“Every rural home is entitled to broadband at the same speed and levels as every urban home,” Schumer said during a town hall meeting in New York’s Livingston County. “In fact, it’s not just rural homes but a lot of suburban homes that are left behind.”

Sign the petitions. Give Ajit Pai a piece of your mind. But, at the same time, let’s look beyond the Trump administration. Let’s look to a vision of the future that we want. Let’s build the groundwork for an America where every child has access to high-speed internet regardless of class, regardless of community.

Let’s nationalize the internet.

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