Daily Archives: March 25, 2018

Profs warn that ‘commitment to empirical science’ hurts women

  • A recent academic journal article claims that “meritocratic ideology” and “depoliticized” classroom environments contribute to a sense of exclusion and isolation among female students.
  • The professors argue that the emphasis on “meritocracy,” “individualism,” and “technical prowess” in engineering all contribute to a “masculine culture” that marginalizes women.

Four professors are warning that the “hegemony of meritocratic ideology” and other manifestations of “masculine culture” in engineering courses are detrimental to women.

Led by Carroll Serron, who teaches at the University of California-Irvine, the March 1 study contends that the sense of exclusion and isolation felt by female engineering students is exacerbated by the overwhelming “meritocratic ideology” in the field.

Source: Profs warn that ‘commitment to empirical science’ hurts women

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William Shatner Says He’s ‘Not Planning on Dying’ and Slams Facebook After Ad Suggests He Died

William Shatner has not beamed up to the great beyond.

The Star Trek actor, 86, took to Twitter on Wednesday to dispel rumors that he had died, and called out Facebook for supporting an advertisement that seemed to suggest he had passed away.

His response came shortly after a Twitter user alerted him that a company called Avocet Retail Sales had sponsored a Facebook ad mourning his supposed death. “@WilliamShatner I thought you might want to know you’re dead,” the user wrote, along with a screenshot of the ad.

Less than a half hour later, Shatner posted his own message calling out the social media company for spreading the phony news. “Hey @facebook isn’t this your messenger app? What’s up with you allowing this Acocet Retail Sales ad to pass your muster? Thought you were doing something about this?” he wrote.

Source: William Shatner Says He’s ‘Not Planning on Dying’ and Slams Facebook After Ad Suggests He Died

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Facebook Can STILL TRACK YOU Even If You Delete Your Account

Facebook’s latest scandals involving Cambridge Analytica and Barack Obama’s campaign team allowed to break the user rules is prompting many to ponder whether deleting their Facebook account is the right move. But Facebook can still track you even if you delete your account.By connecting your Facebook profile to a third-party app, you’re typically also granting that app permission to access your data. You can check which apps your Facebook account is sharing data with by clicking here.That includes your name, profile picture, cover photo, gender, networks, username and user ID.

These apps can also access your friends list and any other public data. Once the outside parties have access to your data, they can then use it to track different types of activity.Many popular apps such as Instagram, Spotify, Airbnb, and Tinder can be connected to your Facebook account. Just weeks ago, for example, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe bragged that the company stores “an enormous amount of information” about users, and even tracks where they go after the movie has ended. MoviePass is also among the many apps that can be connected to your Facebook. And that’s just the beginning.

Source: Facebook Can STILL TRACK YOU Even If You Delete Your Account

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Facebook’s Role in Data Misuse Sets Off Storms on Two Continents 

Facebook on Sunday faced a backlash about how it protects user data, as American and British lawmakers demanded that it explain how a political data firm with links to President Trump’s 2016 campaign was able to harvest private information from more than 50 million Facebook profiles without the social network’s alerting users.Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, went so far as to press for Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, to appear before the panel to explain what the social network knew about the misuse of its data “to target political advertising and manipulate voters.”The calls for greater scrutiny followed reports on Saturday in The New York Times and The Observer of London that Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm founded by Stephen K. Bannon and Robert Mercer, the wealthy Republican donor, had used the Facebook data to develop methods that it claimed could identify the personalities of individual American voters and influence their behavior. The firm’s so-called psychographic modeling underpinned its work for the Trump campaign in 2016, though many have questioned the effectiveness of its techniques.

continue https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/18/us/cambridge-analytica-facebook-privacy-data.html

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Amnesty International says Twitter’s toxic culture is failing women

Amnesty International says that Twitter is failing to prevent online abuse and protect women’s rights, following a 16-month research project into women’s experiences on social media platforms.The human rights group says that their findings show Twitter has not taken adequate steps to address and prevent toxic content directed toward women, including death threats, rape threats, and racist, transphobic, and homophobic abuse. In addition, Amnesty says that when Twitter does enforce a response to abuse, it’s inconsistent. Oftentimes, reports aren’t addressed at all, leaving the abusive content on the platform. One UK journalist told Amnesty that out of 100 abusive tweets she reported, Twitter only removed two.Amnesty International has been researching Twitter and online abuse toward women since December 2016. Its newest survey, which included over 1,100 British women, revealed that only 9 percent believe Twitter is doing enough to stop violence and abuse against women, and 78 percent believe they can’t express an opinion on Twitter without receiving violent threats or abuse.

Source: Amnesty International says Twitter’s toxic culture is failing women – The Verge

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Monterey County Teacher Accidentally Fires Gun, Injures Student During Safety Lesson 

Dennis Alexander, who is Seaside City’s mayor pro tem and a reserve officer with the Sand City Police Department, was teaching a lesson at Seaside High School in Seaside, California when he pointed his gun into the ceiling and accidentally fired it, said Abdul Pridgen, the city’s police chief.A 17-year-old student was injured by a bullet fragment or by debris that fell off the ceiling, Pridgen said.The student’s injuries appeared superficial and were not life threatening, police said.Alexander has been placed on administrative leave from his teaching job, a spokesperson with the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District said.“I think a lot of questions on parents’ minds are, why a teacher would be pointing a loaded firearm at the ceiling in front of students,” Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh told CNN affiliate KSBW. “Clearly in this incident protocols were not followed.”

Source: Monterey County Teacher Accidentally Fires Gun, Injures Student During Safety Lesson | KTLA

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Science Finds Once Again That Violent Video Games Don’t Turn People Into Rage Monsters

A new study published this week in Nature journal Molecular Psychology provides a well-timed rebuttal to the weary trope—occasionally alluded to by President Trump and others in the wake of mass shootings—that violent video games are causing real-life mayhem.German researchers recruited three groups of typically non-gaming, healthy volunteers, 77 in total, for their study. Each group was given a battery of questionnaires and personality assessments right at the start. Then, for the next two months, one group was told to play a daily 30 minutes of Grand Theft Auto V—the latest installment of the series that features more than 30 different weapons to wreak havoc with—while another was instructed to instead play the non-violent Sims 3. The last group, serving as the control, was simply told to come back two months later for a second round of identical tests, which the other two groups did as well. Each group was finally given a third round of tests two months after that.Within the groups, the researchers found no significant difference in the volunteers’ level of aggression before and after they started gaming. The same was true of their empathy, impulse control, level of anxiety and depression, among other things. And there were no noticeable differences between the groups themselves.

Source: Science Finds Once Again That Violent Video Games Don’t Turn People Into Rage Monsters

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If Facebook controls your mind, so do a lot of other tech companies

Can Facebook’s algorithms control our population and politics? Yes, and it is uniquely bad, says François Chollet, an artificial intelligence researcher at Google and author of the well-known machine learning library Keras. But in hyping up the power of AI, he is underestimating how hard it is to change our minds, and the distinction he makes between Facebook and other tech companies is weak.In a widely shared Twitter thread, Chollet argues that Facebook is capable of “mass population control” on the political level, and its AI doesn’t even need to be that sophisticated.

This is possible, he argues, because our lives are increasingly lived online, and that gives Facebook massive power to guide what we see. Our “static” brains are vulnerable to being influenced, and there’s no way to fight it. AI is getting smarter, and the world hasn’t ended yet because we’re still bad at AI. Chollet is specifically singling out Facebook — and not his employer, Google, Amazon, or Apple — because of its history of experiments, its “morally bankrupt leadership,” and because he believes it is uniquely embedded in our social lives. (More on this later.)

Source: If Facebook controls your mind, so do a lot of other tech companies – The Verge

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