This isn't right

Apr. 28th, 2017 09:42 am
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[personal profile] amycooper
One of the professors at the college is having her students do a genealogy project for class which is coming due soon - or rather it appears that they all have to present what they find in class and some have already and some have not.  The have nots are finishing up now.

And there is somethings deeply flawed with this assignment. 

First off, students are told that they must trace their ancestry back to their arrival to America.  This makes it pretty damn easy for our first and second and heck third generation Americans.  A little harder for others.  But you know who's really struggling?  A number of our African American students.  Slaves weren't exactly recorded in the census with the best of accuracy, you know?

Students are also told they need to have and answer to-in the class presentation-lots of personal information.  Like: why didn't you include a picture of you with your grandmother?  Why don't you keep in touch with your father?  Etc.

More to the point, we had a student in the library (who we know pretty well because she does work study) freaking out because her father abused her, she has no contact with him (he's legally not allowed to have contact with her) and she does not want to discuss it in class.  She's trying her hardest to craft her presentation so that she won't get any questions.  She's in a position where she's trying to talk about her abuser in her classroom as if she wasn't abused by him and everything is a-okay between them to try to avoid any questions.  And she feels like she has too because she states that one of her other classmates ended up having to talk about her father's affair (and resulting half-sister) when she obviously didn't want to and another got probed onto why her mother wasn't working which lead to why her mother was in jail.

This is deeply wrong.

One of the other librarians has plans to go the VP of Academics about it. 

(no subject)

Apr. 28th, 2017 08:32 am
nestra: A picture of New Orleans (home)
[personal profile] nestra
Fetch
by Tony Hoagland

Who knew that the sweetest pleasure of my fifty-eighth year
would turn out to be my friendship with the dog?

That his trembling, bowlegged bliss at seeing me stand there with the leash
would give me a feeling I had sought throughout my life?

Now I understand those old ladies walking
their Chihuahuas in the dusk, plastic bag wrapped around one hand,

content with a companionship that, whatever
else you think of it, is totally reliable.

And in the evening, at cocktail hour,
I think tenderly of them

in all of those apartments on the fourteenth floor
holding out a little hotdog on a toothpick

to bestow a luxury on a friend
who knows more about uncomplicated pleasure

than any famous lobbyist for the mortal condition.
These barricades and bulwarks against human loneliness,

they used to fill me with disdain,
but that was before I found out my metaphysical needs
                                        could be so easily met

by the wet gaze of a brown-and-white retriever
with a slight infection of the outer ear
                             and a tail like a windshield wiper.

I did not guess that love would be returned to me
as simply as a stick returned when it was thrown

again and again and again—
in fact, I still don’t exactly comprehend.

What could that possibly have to teach me
about being human?


"Fetch" by Tony Hoagland from Application for Release from the Dream.
© Graywolf Press, 2015.
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Posted by Laura Hazard Owen

The growing stream of reporting on and data about fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and news literacy is hard to keep up with. This weekly roundup offers the highlights of what you might have missed.

“Something that Facebook has never done: ignoring the likes and dislikes of its users.” I really liked this recent BuzzFeed essay, “Donald Trump And America’s National Nervous Breakdown: Unlocking your phone these days is a nightmare,” in which Katherine Miller writes: “There’s so much discordant noise that just making out each individual thing and tracking its journey through the news cycle requires enormous effort. It’s tough to get your bearings.”

I thought about this piece when I was trying to decide how to cover Facebook’s zillion tiny ongoing announcements and initiatives to track fake news: It’s hard to keep them all straight, to remember which are fully new and which are just incremental, and to recognize which are actual shifts in the company’s previous stated positions.

Farhad Manjoo tracked some of those shifts in this week’s New York Times Magazine cover story, “Can Facebook Fix Its Own Worst Bug?” for which he interviewed Mark Zuckerberg multiple times. From the piece:

But the solution to the broader misinformation dilemma — the pervasive climate of rumor, propaganda and conspiracy theories that Facebook has inadvertently incubated — may require something that Facebook has never done: ignoring the likes and dislikes of its users. Facebook believes the pope-endorses-Trump type of made-up news stories are only a tiny minority of pieces that appear in News Feed; they account for a fraction of 1 percent of the posts, according to [Adam Mosseri, VP in charge of News Feed]. The question the company faces now is whether the misinformation problem resembles clickbait at all, and whether its solutions will align as neatly with Facebook’s worldview. Facebook’s entire project, when it comes to news, rests on the assumption that people’s individual preferences ultimately coincide with the public good, and that if it doesn’t appear that way at first, you’re not delving deeply enough into the data. By contrast, decades of social-science research shows that most of us simply prefer stuff that feels true to our worldview even if it isn’t true at all and that the mining of all those preference signals is likely to lead us deeper into bubbles rather than out of them.

On Thursday, Facebook released a white paper outlining some new ways in which the company has “[expanded] our security focus from traditional abusive behavior, such as account hacking, malware, spam, and financial scams, to include more subtle and insidious forms of misuse, including attempts to manipulate civic discourse and deceive people.” One thing the paper focuses on is “false amplification.”

“False amplifier accounts manifest differently around the globe and within regions,” the authors write. But “in the long term, these inauthentic networks and accounts may drown out valid stories and even deter people from engaging at all.” Among other things, this may include “fake account creation, sometimes en masse”; “coordinated ‘likes’ or reactions”; and

Creation of Groups or Pages with the specific intent to spread sensationalistic or heavily biased news or headlines, often distorting facts to fit a narrative. Sometimes these Pages include legitimate and unrelated content, ostensibly to deflect from their real purpose.

This stuff is coordinated by real people, Facebook says — not bots.

We have observed that most false amplification in the context of information operations is not driven by automated processes, but by coordinated people who are dedicated to operating inauthentic accounts. We have observed many actions by fake account operators that could only be performed by people with language skills and a basic knowledge of the political situation in the target countries, suggesting a higher level of coordination and forethought. Some of the lower-skilled actors may even provide content guidance and outlines to their false amplifiers, which can give the impression of automation.

The authors say that the reach of false amplification efforts during the 2016 U.S. election was “statistically very small compared to overall engagement on political issues.” It also says that it’s taken action against more than 30,000 fake accounts in France. (There’s more about Facebook and the French election here.)

“People were really shellshocked.” Google’s “Project Owl”, announced this week, aims to get offensive and/or false content out of AutoComplete and Featured Snippets. Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan:

‘Problematic searches’ is a term I’ve been giving to a situations where Google is coping with the consequences of the ‘post-truth’ world. People are increasingly producing content that reaffirms a particular world view or opinion regardless of actual facts. In addition, people are searching in enough volume for rumors, urban myths, slurs or derogatory topics that they’re influencing the search suggestions that Google offers in offensive and possibly dangerous ways…they pose an entirely new quality problem for Google.

Problematic searches make up only a fraction of Google’s overall search stream, but bring the company a huge amount of terrible press. “It feels like a small problem,” Google Fellow Pandu Nayak told Sullivan. “People [at Google] were really shellshocked [by the bad press]…It was a significant problem, and it’s one that we had, I guess, not appreciated before.”

Also, see Sullivan’s big piece from earlier this month: “A deep look at Google’s biggest-ever search quality crisis.” (Meanwhile, Klint Finley at Wired wonders whether Google should really be trying to provide “one true answer” in the first place.)

While we’re talking about “significant” levels of things… A Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics poll of 2,654 Americans ages 18–29 found that, on average, they believe that a whopping 48.5 percent of the news in their Facebook feed is fake:

And “Republicans believe there is more (56%) ‘fake news’ in their feed, compared to Democrats (42%) and Independents (51%).”

This is kind of nuts. Back to Farhad Manjoo’s piece at the top of this post: Facebook believes that the fraction of the news in its News Feed that is fake is “a fraction of 1 percent.” But back to BuzzFeed’s Miller: “Trying to find your way under the crush — to determine the truth amid the complexities of protocols, regulations, legislation, ideology, anonymous sources, conflicting reports, denials, public statements, his tweets — it’s too much. We can’t live like that!”

Illustration from L.M. Glackens’ The Yellow Press (1910) via The Public Domain Review.

Just One Thing (28 April 2017)

Apr. 28th, 2017 02:04 pm
nanila: me (Default)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] awesomeers
It's challenge time!

Comment with Just One Thing you've accomplished in the last 24 hours or so. It doesn't have to be a hard thing, or even a thing that you think is particularly awesome. Just a thing that you did.

Feel free to share more than one thing if you're feeling particularly accomplished!

Extra credit: find someone in the comments and give them props for what they achieved!

Nothing is too big, too small, too strange or too cryptic. And in case you'd rather do this in private, anonymous comments are screened. I will only unscreen if you ask me to.

Go!
mithborien: (Default)
[personal profile] mithborien
Does anyone have any recommendations for converting/extracting .mkv files for vidding purposes when MKVExtract and MKVCleaner have failed you?

Specifically I have .mkv files of the Bluray seasons of Agent Carter but my normal method of extracting the video using MKVExtract isn't working.
sparowe: (Glory)
[personal profile] sparowe

A Deposit of Power

 
Today's MP3

Many Christians view their conversion something like a car wash. You go in a filthy clunker, and you come out with your sins washed away—a cleansed clunker. But conversion is more than a removal of sin. It is a deposit of power! It is as if a brand-new Ferrari engine was mounted in your frame. God removed the old motor that was caked, cracked, and broken with rebellion and evil; and he replaced it with a humming, roaring version of himself.

The Apostle Paul described it as being “a new creation, old things have passed away; behold all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). You are fully equipped. Do you need more energy? You have it. More kindness? It’s yours. Hebrews 13:21 promises that God will equip you with all you need for doing His will. Just press the gas pedal. God has given you everything you need for living a godly life!

From Glory Days

(no subject)

Apr. 28th, 2017 08:52 am
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Yesterday was my last OT appointment, and it was shorter than my scheduled time because we'd covered everything on my list by forty minutes in. I got advice on a couple of things that are not currently problems but were big issues when my hands were at their worst. I thought I'd ask just in case they're ever issues again.

Blue Cab seems to be doing a better job of running the A-Ride than Yellow Cab ever did. Every pick up was within five minutes of the start of the scheduled time (they set a half an hour window), and the cabbies were all friendly. The policy has changed from the drivers having no obligation to help passengers reach the cab to them being required to provide assistance from door to door if it's needed. They're not allowed to go inside, but they're not dumping mobility impaired passengers in awkward places.

Today, I have what might be my last PT appointment but also might not. I rather suspect not. My current intention is to take a cab there and the bus back. I think that I'll take the inbound #23 and transfer to the outbound #22. The stop for the #22 is about 2/3 the distance from the house as the stop for the #23 and doesn't require climbing a steep hill to get home. It'll add about half an hour to my trip, but as long as things don't change, I think I can handle that.

I had anxiety issues yesterday afternoon and evening that I couldn't explain except that maybe I felt guilty for not managing to fit in all of my PT exercises. Some of those require lying on the floor, and I didn't want to do them within an hour or so after eating and really couldn't do them while the cleaning lady was here. I probably could have fit them in after she left and before dinner, but by then, I was having reflux issues that made lying down very unappealing. I did do most of the exercises that I could do sitting or standing, though.

I woke this morning with a headache, but food and caffeine seem to have gotten rid of it. I haven't done any of my PT yet because I want to have all of my energy for going out. I'm still very tired and kind of groggy. I don't think more food will help, and I don't have time to make more tea or coffee. I know there's a coffee kiosk somewhere in Taubman (or there used to be), but I don't want to do the walking required to see if I'm remembering correctly. Plus, there's no guarantee that more caffeine would do anything but make me need many visits to the bathroom which would be pretty inconvenient during an hour long PT appointment.

The GSA at Cordelia's school is doing a reading of I Am Jazz for the 4-8th grades today. It's a picture book, so the reading shouldn't take too long. They'll have a panel discussion afterwards. Cordelia's really looking forward to it. She'll be reading the book. I'm not sure if she'll be part of the panel or not. I don't know if any of the kids are out as trans, but with forty to eighty kids in each grade and nine grades, there's pretty sure to be a kid or three somewhere in the school who is trans even if they're not out. My guess is that the reason for having only 4th through 8th is a combination of space limitations and the attention span for the panel discussion and probably also that explanations that suit five year olds aren't going to work for thirteen year olds. That last probably could be dealt with by an experienced presenter, but this is all kids ages eleven to fourteen who've never done anything of the sort before.

*whistles*

Apr. 28th, 2017 11:47 am
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[personal profile] ceb
Just posted off my first Pay It Forward present (ref: http://ceb.dreamwidth.org/257205.html). [personal profile] venta look out!
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Posted by shadowkeeper

There are few things that give Yuri pleasure—the taste of accomplishment like cinnamon sugar on the back of his tongue after landing a quad; having a comeback so cutting that he practically draws blood; that soft murrf a cat makes when it decides it trusts him; the little green screenshot arrow appearing next to Otabek’s name in Snapchat—but they all pale in comparison to whenever the Russian hockey team visits the rink.
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Posted by carnadosa

I have had this on my mind for days, someone please help:

Why are dogs dogs?

I mean, how do we see a pug and then a husky and understand that both are dogs? I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a picture of a breed of dog I hadn’t seen before and wondered what animal it was.
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Posted by mklutz

Hidden under Mr Graves’ smart shirtsleeves is an enchanted tattoo of the wampus: a talisman for strength and a reminder of Ilvermorny. It rages and pounces and prowls. Credence is fixated with it.

Twitter

Apr. 28th, 2017 11:02 am
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Posted by jessedavidson

“Chief Justice Roberts seemed shocked. ‘Oh, come on,’ he said.”

Extraordinary argument & reaction from the justice…

Twitter

Apr. 28th, 2017 11:02 am
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Posted by cincodemaygirl

RT @pilasaci: IKEA respond to Balenciaga's $2,145 rendition of their $0.90 Frakta bag

Twitter

Apr. 28th, 2017 11:02 am
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Posted by jleedev

Never thought I'd have to say "authors, don't respond to bad reviews with threats of black magic"

But here we are

Not Yet

Apr. 28th, 2017 07:44 am
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Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Every now and then I am reminded, with a shock, that the world isn't what it used to be for many people with intellectual disabilities. Over the last few days I've been reading posts from or chatting with some people with disabilities that I met a long time ago. These are all people who I met at conferences or who had attended my trainings, or who had been introduced to me by their staff at some point or another.

We've connected now on Facebook and I follow their posts and, on occasion we catch up by messaging each other. This is such a normalized behaviour for me now that I don't think about it much. There's a lot of people who I interact with in this way. I don't automatically break these connections down into categories of people ... they are people I know.

But sometimes, when things happen fast, I do notice. I notice not the disability in particular but the life the person with the disability is living. I notice the engagement that people have in their world or with others in their community. I notice that they are caught up in life, in the best way possible. I think this is noticeable to me because I grew up in a world without disabled people in it. I began work in an institution because community services didn't exist or if they did they were in their infancy. No one could have imagined what was coming down the pike, no one knew that freedom was on its way.

I notice casual comments about going off to choir.

I notice pictures of quilts made that are on display in an exhibit.

I notice the announcement of being in a new relationship.

I notice countdowns to vacations to Spain.

I notice pictures, very funny pictures, from pub nights.

I notice pictures taken at family events.

As life is what life is, not all the posts are about things being done or people being met, there are also posts that speak of the human condition and of what it is to be living a real life, no longer under the forced protection of us, the others.

I notice painful breakups, love betrayed.

I notice jobs lost or jobs not got.

I notice loneliness.

I notice sad comments about being bullied.

I notice grief at family who aren't family.

I read through these, comment or like when necessary, chat when appropriate, but mostly I am bear witness to the fact that people with intellectual disabilities, who given freedom, live it. Freedom has it's joys and freedom has it painful moments, but freedom's opposite is captivity. And while captivity would have all the pain of freedom but none of it's joys.

There are people with disabilities who still live captive. Who still hear keys jingle in every pocket but their own. I am reminded, when I notice the lives lived by those with intellectual disabilities that I am connected with, that not everyone yet has the opportunity for freedom.

Our work isn't done.

Because there's someone, somewhere, captive who, given freedom would make a chocolate cake for the bake table at their community bazaar. Someone, somewhere in captivity isn't meeting a new boyfriend today at the chippy shop. Someone, somewhere, waits, to experience the highs and lows of freedom.

Our work isn't done.

The lives that people with intellectual disabilities claim, when free, shouldn't fill us with a kind of desultory sense of satisfaction and a sense that we're done now.

We're not.No
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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Genetic map showing how dog breeds are related provides a wealth of information about their origins.


A new family tree of dogs containing more than 160 breeds reveals the hidden history of man’s best friend, and even shows how studying canine genomes might help with research into human disease.
In a study published on 25 April in Cell Reports, scientists examined the genomes of 1,346 dogs to create one of the most diverse maps produced so far tracing the relationship between breeds1. The map shows the types of dog that people crossed to create modern breeds and reveals that canines bred to perform similar functions, such as working and herding dogs, don't necessarily share the same origins. The analysis even hints at an ancient type of dog that could have come over to the Americas with people thousands of years before Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World.
The new work could come as a surprise to owners and breeders who are familiar with how dogs are grouped into categories. “You would think that all working dogs or all herding dogs are related, but that isn’t the case,” says Heidi Parker, a biologist at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, and a study author.
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