Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News

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Friday, February 02, 2018

The Dow dropped 650 points, or 2.5%, on Friday despite a strong jobs report that showed wage growth is finally starting to pick up. That's great news for workers, but it reinforced investors' concern about inflation and the bond market. The sell-off knocked the Dow well below 26,000. Both the Dow and S&P 500 are on track for their biggest weekly drops since early 2016 -- nearly 4% each.
"We've got a smorgasbord of negativity," said Ken Odeluga, market analyst with City Index in London. "It's been pretty nervous all week." Political turmoil is adding to the uncertainty. Market analysts pointed to the clash between the Trump administration and the FBI as another concern.
"There looks like a breakdown of the institutions in our country," said Ian Winer, head of equities at Wedbush Securities. "No matter what side you're on, that's not good." read more

Saturday, January 13, 2018

President Donald Trump confirmed late Thursday that he canceled a trip to London next month to help open the new U.S. Embassy there, saying he did not support the project and that former President Barack Obama crafted a "bad deal" to see it built. "Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for 'peanuts,' only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars," Trump tweeted, before continuing: "Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!" The process to move the embassy actually started during President George W. Bush's tenure. read more

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Sex robots could be hijacked by hackers and used to cause harm or even kill people, a cybersecurity expert has warned. Artificial intelligence researchers have consistently warned of the security risks posed by internet-connected robots, with hundreds recently calling on governments to ban weaponized robots. The latest warning comes from a cybersecurity expert who made the prophecy to several U.K. newspapers. "Hackers can hack into a robot or a robotic device and have full control of the connections, arms, legs and other attached tools like in some cases knives or welding devices," Nicholas Patterson, a cybersecurity lecturer at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, told the Star. read more


I like to think most (but not all) of the regular contributors to the DR are fairly savvy and unlikely to be easily manipulated by such shenanigans. But there are millions of Americans -- including some members of my own family and acquaintances of mine on Facebook -- who are amazingly gullible and will post stuff that is clearly false. Sometimes it will be satire that they take at face value. Other times the information is from a fake news source, which can be easily proven as fake if you just spend five minutes exploring it. Still other times, it's paranoid whack-job garbage from Alex Jones-level sources.

Fake news is here to stay, and the social media echo chamber subjects each of us to attempted manipulation of the facts. The only protection is to be skeptical of everything you read. Don't rely on a single source for news. Don't believe anything Breitbart, Fox News or right-wing radio gas bags say. Don't put all your trust in the far left sources either. Don't even bet the farm on tried-and-true mainstream sources. Consider motive: How will this particular news item benefit the individual or organization publishing it? If it sounds too neat and tidy in support of your beliefs, be wary.

Clearly there's a problem here. Data harvesting for political purposes is fraught with danger, and something Facebook has claimed it tries to prevent. I manage social media for several organizations, and I can tell you, there are mechanisms in place that make it difficult for a guy like me to collect data on my followers. The Cambridge Analytical system is a way around those mechanisms. More detail here: www.theguardian.com

Re-targeting ads based on search terms is not the same as crafting individualized profiles on specific users. And this article talks about tying social media data to voter rolls. Yikes. We need to push back.

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