Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Stephen Crowder found out the ideological bent of Alexa with a series of probing questions.

CROWDER: Alexa, who is the prophet Muhammad?

ALEXA: The prophet Muhammad is very wise prophet. He taught many people how to live. He had a wife called Aisha. He lived in Saudi Arabia. The message that he gave to the people is: "Pray to Allah; he is the only god," and he gave the holy [Quran]."

CROWDER: Okay, Alexa, who is the Lord Jesus Christ?

ALEXA: Jesus Christ is a fictional character.

[Note: a question about "Jesus Christ" merely called him the "Central figure in Christianity."]

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Personal information belonging to about 57 million Uber customers and drivers was stolen by hackers last October, a breach the company kept hidden for a year and for which its chief security officer was fired this week. The stolen data included names, email addresses and phone numbers of 50 million Uber riders and 7 million drivers. The drivers' stolen information also included 600,000 US. drivers' license numbers, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement. ... Bloomberg reported Tuesday afternoon that the company actually paid the hackers $100,000 to delete the data and keep mum about it. ... The New York State Office of the Attorney General has opened an investigation into the newly revealed breach, said press secretary Amy Spitalnick. read more

Friday, November 17, 2017

Some people are "traditionalists", some people enjoy regional fare, some stick with family/ethnic favorites, and others are expanding the spectrum of Thanksgiving dinner. What are you making?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Open mike night #2: on the now-defunct thread about SSNs, I responded to a post about issuance of a federal identity card. The closure of that thread precluded any further discussion, but I think it's warranted. Grab those thinking caps one more time, kids. read more

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

For years the standard story was that hunter-gatherers from Siberia crossed on foot when the glaciers retreated enough, at the end of the last ice age, to open an ice-free corridor.

And people did cover Beringia on foot when such a route opened up. But they probably weren't First Americans. Think of them as ... Second Americans, perhaps.

Thanks to a growing body of archaeological and genetic evidence, researchers publishing today in Science say it's increasingly likely that the first humans to arrive in the Americas followed a coastal route, making the most of marine resources on a "kelp highway" that spanned the edge of the north Pacific from Asia to North America. And they made this journey well before glaciers retreated to open the traditional Beringia overland route.


What the hell does net neutrality have to do with family values? Honestly, net neutrality is about the dumbest branch liberals have hung their hat on. Everything is conjecture and hyperbole. I've just tuned it out.

During that period [1995-2015], a bi-partisan consensus of Congress, the White House and the FCC stayed out of the Internet regulation business, following the command of a 1996 law to encourage broadband deployment by leaving it "unfettered by Federal or State regulation."

The results speak for themselves, including trillions of dollars of new economic value, much of it built by U.S.-based Internet companies.

Throughout that time, there were, contrary to popular myth, no enforceable net neutrality rules. The FCC did not police ISP network management practices, or prohibit specific conduct.

That was left to the Federal Trade Commission, using general consumer protection and anti-competition laws. Prior to 2015, the FTC pursued over a hundred complaints against ISPs and others in the Internet ecosystem.

In fact, the 2015 Order explicitly cut off the FTC's jurisdiction over broadband companies, one of the many negative side-effects Pai's proposal would reverse.

As I've written before, the net neutrality fight long ago stopped being about how to regulate network management principles prohibiting blocking, throttling, or otherwise discriminating against some packets for anti-competitive reasons.

Whether its most ardent advocates know it or not, support for net neutrality rules was hijacked into a proxy referendum on whether U.S. information infrastructure should remain privately funded and operated or nationalized, either as a government service or a quasi-governmental public utility.

In 2015, a majority of FCC Commissioners voted for the latter, justifying their decision as the only option left to get enforceable net neutrality rules past the federal courts.

(A challenge to that decision is still on-going, with the U.S. Supreme Court waiting on the FCC's current proceeding to see if the issue becomes moot.)


Most Americans accept it out of ignorance. They simply have no idea whatsoever how pervasive it is. Under the guise of tailoring Google search, tailoring Google ads, providing you a 3% discount at the local Kroger, or recommending a song choice, online data giants and their predictive analytic algorithms know EVERYTHING (this cannot be overstated) about you. Joe Everyman naively believes that all of these are independent efforts by competing corporations, but that is not the case. Many are subsidiaries, some have data sharing agreements, and all are data-mined by a horde of bots that then compile that data. Joe Everyman is also stupid. Joe uses one password for everything or, if he's clever, has a different password for every application but bases them all on his anniversary, kid's names, dog's name, high school mascot or a car. He then goes on Facebook and jumps right in on those "What was your first car? Spell your dog's name without using vowels! Where did YOU go to high school?" posts, and that information is added to his profile.

When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Your entire family history (FB, Ancestry, cloud-stored contacts lists cross-referenced to everyone else's lists), your medical history and medical status (ever use WebMD? It's owned by Internet Brands, who owns over 100 other sites), your financial status, your hobbies, your military service, your buying habits, your employment history (LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft), etc. Do you use autofill for online shopping? Bad idea. Want Windows to remember the password for this site? Don't do it. Do you have Siri, Alexa, or any other voice activated AI? Turn it off, off, off...

Oh, by the way, a lot of these tech giants have under the table handshakes with the NSA and other "3 letter" agencies. How do you keep the wolf from blowing your house down? Invite him in for dinner.


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