Here’s a very fun, funny and informative video By Tom Reimann from cracked, on conspiracy theories.
I’m pimping my own blog here, but I think you’ll see it’s for a good reason. Our least favorite Internet troll posted a prime example last week of how he panders to white racist scum to get their clicks (= money).
The subject of Chuck C. Johnson’s latest Award Winning Journamalism is a smear of two African-American men: one a judge and the other a criminal. No facts are in evidence. Only innuendo.
Really, there are no surprises here for watchers of the Chuck C. Johnson/GotNews juggernaut, but his recent GotSmear of Louisville Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens takes the cake for lurid race-based clickbait.
Here’s the screaming GNDC headline:
EXCLUSIVE: Corrupt Black Judge Lets Black Thug Out of Prison Because White Victim’s Toddler Is ‘Racist’ #OluStevens
The headline bears little resemblance to what actually happened.
Wherefore art thou art wrong? Let me count the ways:
1. The judge is not corrupt, and Johnson offers no proof.
2. The “black thug” was sentenced to five years’ probation, not freedom.
3. The judge did not say the toddler was racist.
4. The man got probation because he had no prior arrests for violent crimes.
Four lies in one headline! Quite a feat.
More at GotNwes.com.
Johnson in the same blog post also manages to imply a black judge could not possibly afford a ritzy home, and that he shouldn’t live in a ritzy white neighborhood, because reasons.
Then, since the man who was sentenced to probation had no real history of “thuggery,” Johnson posts social media photos of the guy posing with guns and lists a series of charges — not fines or sentences — including speeding and driving without a license.
Also (ironically) libel and slander.
Why bother with all this? Since Johnson has zero proof the judge is corrupt, and the criminal in this case has a short nothingburger of a rap sheet, we can only presume Johnson wants bigots to visit his site and boost his ad revenues.
It’s not like he’s ever done this before.
Updated 9:55pm Well even if unwittingly she made a difference. Peace starts with the intent to stop fighting. She made us all want to stop fighting.
Sağırlı tells the BBC that the photo shows a girl named Hudea who was four years old when he met her in a refugee camp in Syria in December 2014.
“I was using a telephoto lens, and she thought it was a weapon,” Sağırlı is quoted as saying. “İ realised she was terrified after I took it, and looked at the picture, because she bit her lips and raised her hands. Normally kids run away, hide their faces or smile when they see a camera.”
The photograph was first published in a Turkish newspaper back in January. Although it went viral in Turkey at the time, it took several months for the powerful image to make its way around the world.
As if the various bills discriminating against people under color of religion weren’t bad enough, a new threat to photography and it’s freedom of expression is underway in Arkansas. From The Online Photographer, the best photo blog out there, comes this:
Your freedoms are under direct assault in Arkansas.
“SB-79 would require still and motion photographers to get explicit written consent to include any individual’s likeness—not just celebrities but anyone—in a photograph that is used for virtually any purpose within the state of Arkansas except those uses specifically exempted as Fair Use within the bill.
“The implications of this bill are staggering. For example, an image showing recognizable people posted to the Internet for a use that would not require written consent anywhere else in the world could leave you open to a lawsuit just because someone in Arkansas could view it online.”
A bill well worth opposing, as the ASMP, MPAA, DMLA, NPPA and other photographers’ associations are doing. But wouldn’t it be nicer if State governments weren’t stuffed with dimwits to begin with? I’d better not say any more.
The article goes on simply to link to this page describing SB 79 .
When journalist Chai Jing released her documentary on China’s air pollution, she probably could not have dreamed that her message would resonate so widely while boosting the share prices of so many “environmentally friendly” companies.
On Monday, more than a dozen stocks in the fields of pollutant treatment, air quality monitoring and green technology saw huge gains, with several rising 10% and reaching the daily trading limit.
Among the biggest winners were Sail Hero, a producer of pollutant monitors, Top Resource Conservation Engineering, a renewable energy equipment provider, LongKing Environmental, a maker of desulfurization facilities for boilers and furnaces, and Create Technology & Science, a producer of industrial and corporate air purifiers.
The catalyst for the buying frenzy was a 104-minute long documentary going into details of the history, causes and impact of China’s smog. An independent production by well-known reporter Chai Jing, “Beneath the Dome” was released online over the weekend, and by Monday morning had more than 100 million cumulative views.
More at forbes.com
Chai is a former news reporter and anchor for China Central Television (CCTV). Believing her daughter’s benign tumor (in utero) was caused by China’s pollution, she spent more than 1 million RMB ($167,000) of her own money to produce a low key, but powerful documentary called “Beneath the Dome” (穹顶之下). *
In one segment, Chai asks a little girl in Shanxi province — probably the most polluted of China’s 23 provinces — if she had ever seen stars in the sky. The girl said no. Blue sky? Maybe once, sort of blue. White clouds? Never.
Chai ran the documentary past government officials in Beijing before releasing it on China’s versions of YouTube for free viewing over the weekend. On youku.com alone, it’s been viewed more than 3 million times
Environmentalists hope that public pressure resulting from the film will induce local regulators to enforce China’s existing anti-pollution laws, rather than ignore them to promote faster economic development.
* The Chinese title can also be translated as “Under the Dome,” which is also the title of a science fiction TV series in the USA.
The violence and crisis in eastern Ukraine has deepened in recent weeks, despite ceasefires.
But where diplomacy has failed, students from both countries have stepped in. YouTube videos are being filmed and uploaded by students in both countries, exchanging frank views.
More at m.bbc.com
This image has gone viral in the last week on Twitter, Facebook and countless aggregator websites, with this same accompanying story.
Chinese Imams Forced to Dance
URUMQI - In another crackdown on religious freedoms, China has forced the imams of eastern Muslim majority district of Xinjiang to dance in the street, and swear to an oath that they will not teach religion to children as well telling them that prayer is harmful to the soul.
During the incident, reported by World Bulletin on Monday, February 9, Muslim imams were forced to brandish the slogan that “our income comes from the CKP not from Allah”.
State Chinese news said the imams were gathering in a square in the name of civilization where they were forced to dance and chant out slogans in support of the state.
The slogans included statements glorifying the state over religion such as ‘peace of the country gives peace to the soul’.
They also gave speeches telling youth to stay away from mosques, and that the prayer was harmful to their health, encouraging them to dance instead.
Female teachers were instructed to teach children to stay away from religious education and made to swear an oath that they will keep children away from religion.
As with many viral Internet news items, this alarming report has some truth in it, and a lot of exaggeration.
I wanted to find the original source of the photo, which carries the watermark of the Xinjiang branch of the Chinese state media agency, Xinhuanet. Even using Google Image search, it look me quite a bit of time, given the hundreds of times the photo has been reproduced across the Internet. In addition, Chinese websites commonly copy each other’s content (especially items from the state propaganda office), so wading through the Chinese results took some time too.
Here are two publications of the photo from local media. The Xinhuanet impression is probably the original. The Shule County government website carries the same image. Click through the slideshows to find the dancing imams.
In any event, the image of the “dancing imams” comes from Shule County, near Kashgar, in Xinjiang Province. Most of the people living in this area in the far west of China — including the men in the photo — are Uighur Muslims. There has been unrest and violence between UIghurs and members of the Han majority group living in Xinjiang and elsewhere.
So, what about the dancing? As the state media report explains, the men were participating in a local dance contest organized to foster camaraderie and friendship. The banner in the background reads “故士安宁,心神安定” (gushi anning, xinshen anding) “With peace, there is stability.”
My Uighur friends assure me, however, that pious Uighur men, especially imams, would not dance in public willingly, so the report that they were forced into it is credible. They were not dancing in the street, however, nor were they the only group dancing. It was part of a community-wide performance held in a public square.
Whether they had to chant the slogan “our income comes from the CKP not from Allah,” however, I can’t verify yet. Since the men were dancing to the pop tune, “Xiao PingGuo” (Little Apple), which has its own lyrics, if the men had to do any chanting, it would have had to have been before or after their dance routine.
As @rachel_tln at Foreign Policy reports, government officials organized these dance performances last month all across western Xinjiang. Teams — some including hundreds of members — had to line-dance to “Xiao PingGuo,” which has been described as the Chinese “Macarena.”
Besides the men pictured above, described in state media as the “religious team,” there were also dance teams of children, villagers (men and women), and women alone. There were also performances by drum teams, comedians, dancers and others, depending on location.
This image may support the allegation that Uighurs were forced to wave Chinese flags during their dancing. The woman in the foreground in the “villagers team” looks less than happy dancing with flags clenched in her teeth.
It was yet another example of the Communist Chinese compulsion of staging elaborate public performances to build community, and not coincidentally, present a cheerful, harmonious face to the outside world.
Bread and circuses, as it were.
How were the imams coerced into performing? At this point all I can only suggest it was a kind of “mandatory option,” as my high school music teacher once put it. Sure, you can say no, but there will be unpleasant consequences if you refuse.
Every Chinese citizen has to pledge loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party and promise to maintain a “harmonious society.” When someone does something displeasing to local party officials, or to the bigwigs in Beijing, they can lose their jobs, be fined, arrested or detained, be publicly humiliated, or be tried and imprisoned for crimes against the state.
In addition, Chinese bigwigs expect prompt compliance with their directives, no matter how inconvenient or difficult it may be for other people.
The event in Shule was not the only Little Apple contest in Xinjiang. Foreign Policy links to this one in Kashgar city on the square in front of the Id Kah Mosque. This gala was even bigger than the one in Shule County.
These public performances are part of the government’s efforts to quell extremism in Xinjiang, where separatist groups have become real threats to the “harmonious society” favored by the CCP. The idea, one supposes, is that keeping Uighurs busy preparing for entertainment galas will lessen the possibility they will join extremist factions.
I have my doubts, as these big galas are PITAs and may only aggravate latent hostility.
As for the viral story’s allegations that Uighurs’ religious freedoms are being violated, including prohibition of religious education and prayer, I’m doubtful, but only somewhat.
The Chinese are trying to quash Muslim extremism, so it’s possible the prohibitions are only against extremist actions. On the other hand, my Uighur friends tell me of routine harassment by Han officials — most government offocials in Xinjiang are Han and/or are not native to the province — and there have been rules in some towns prohibiting young men from growing beards and women from wearing face veils, all in the name of fighting terrorism.
Islam is one of the religions formally recognized in China, and Muslims are free to worship in state-approved mosques. There are two relatively large Muslim minority groups, the Hui and the Uighurs. The Hui predominantly descend from ethnic Chinese who converted to Islam centuries ago, and for the most part, the Hui co-exist quite peacefully with the Han majority.
Uighurs, in contrast, are of Turkic descent and have resisted assimilation into the majority Chinese culture. They have their own language and customs — they typically do not celebrate the Chinese New Year, for example — and have more in common with their neighbors to the west than to the Beijing government in the east.
The Party, for its part, does not trust groups that do not bow to its power, and that includes Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims, and pro-democracy protesters, artists and writers. So any unrest in Xinjiang or elsewhere has been answered quickly and violently by the People’s Liberation Army. Reports of these altercations are quickly scrubbed from social media in China, and Chinese residents only hear about them (if at all) from foreign media. Controlling the Party’s narrative of a “harmonious society” is one reason why China has blocked Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, The New York Times, and other foreign media since PLA soldiers were recorded beating Tibetan monks in 2009
So, is the Chinese government telling Uighurs they can’t teach the Quran and prayers to children? And is the government forcing Uighurs to pledge allegiance to the Party, and not to Allah? It’s certainly possible, but proving it is another story.
Over and over, those of us who work on the internet are told, “Don’t feed the trolls. Don’t talk back. It’s what they want.” But is that true? Does ignoring trolls actually stop trolling? Can somebody show me concrete numbers on that? Anecdotally, I’ve ignored far more trolls than I’ve “fed”, and my inbox hasn’t become any quieter. When I speak my mind and receive a howling hurricane of abuse in return, it doesn’t feel like a plea for my attention - it feels like a demand for my silence.
And some trolls are explicit about it. “If you can’t handle it, get off the internet.” That’s a persistent refrain my colleagues and I hear when we confront our harassers. But why? Why don’t YOU get off the internet? Why should I have to rearrange my life - and change careers, essentially - because you wet your pants every time a woman talks?
My friends say, “Just don’t read the comments.” But just the other day, for instance, I got a tweet that said, “May your bloodied head rest on the edge of an Isis blade.” Colleagues and friends of mine have had their phone numbers and addresses published online (a harassment tactic known as “doxing”) and had trolls show up at their public events or threaten mass shootings. So if we don’t keep an eye on what people are saying, how do we know when a line has been crossed and law enforcement should be involved? (Not that the police have any clue how to deal with online harassment anyway - or much interest in trying.)
Social media companies say, “Just report any abuse and move on. We’re handling it.” So I do that. But reporting abuse is a tedious, labour-intensive process that can eat up half my working day. In any case, most of my reports are rejected. And once any troll is blocked (or even if they’re suspended), they can just make a new account and start all over again.
Gogo Inflight Internet seems to believe that they are justified in performing a man-in-the-middle attack on their users. Adrienne Porter Felt, an engineer that is a part of the Google Chrome security team, discovered while on a flight that she was being served SSL certificates from Gogo when she was requesting Google sites. Looking at the issuer of the certificate, rather than being issued by Google, it was being issued by Gogo.
This presents itself as an extremely unacceptable action by Gogo which serves in-flight internet to a number of different national and international airlines, including Aeromexico, American Airlines, Air Canada, Japan Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, among many others.
Earlier this year, it was revealed through the FCC that Gogo partnered with government officials to produce “capabilities to accommodate law enforcement interests” that go beyond those outlined under federal law. It mentioned how it worked closely with law enforcement and directly baked spyware into their service. If that wasn’t bad enough, based on this revelation, Gogo is now intentionally attacking its users’ browsing sessions to remove any line of defense that a user may have, and based on their history, it cannot be trusted that it is being done for any legitimate reason.
Maybe your a bit upset that we don’t have hover boards or flying cars, but at least we have the internet. Adrienne LaFrance talks about the differences the 2015 predicted in the second Back to Future Movie, verses the real 2015.
Enough with the flying cars and Hoverboards already. There’s way more to the future than a few cool ways to zip from one place to the next. I know this because the future, finally, is upon us.
Yes, 2015 is the year Marty McFly visits in Back to the Future II. I’ve been counting down to this moment since the film came out in 1989. Although only a small fraction of the story is actually set in the year 2015—which was still 30 years away from the 1985 present of the story—it’s chockablock with technological predictions about what life would be like today. Many of which (sort of) came true.
But the biggest twin advances filmmakers didn’t see coming: mobile Internet technology and the on-demand, personalized culture that formed around it. As a result, the version of 2015 in Back to the Future II will forever seem stuck in the past.
I want to thank Mary at Skepchicks for alerting me to this story