Educational CyberPlayGround, Inc. NetHappenings and K12Newsletters 6.2.19

Educational CyberPlayGround, Inc. NetHappenings and K12Newsletters 6.2.19

SCIENCE  – STEM

  • Find a School – Discover the right school for your child.

  • The history of sign language

  • The contemporary Icelandic belief in elves explained

  • Anatomy of a Perfect Album: On Joni Mitchell’s Blue

  • Joel Bernstein lifetime achievement award for photography

  • Virality Is Dead

  • David Epstein on the Genius of the Self-Taught Musician

  • Personas of a Rock ‘N’ Roll Icon

  • 737 MAX Disaster fatal consequences

  • US Customs Facial Recognition Photos Data Breach

  • Why airport face scans are a privacy trap

  • GPS Degraded Across Much of US

  • Online Spreadsheet Discloses Museum Workers’ Salaries

Find a School – Discover the right school for your child.
Find and compare K12 Schools and School Districts in the USA and Territories.  https://k12playground.com/

ARTS – STEAM

The history of sign language
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/archaeology-and-history/magazine/2019/05-06/creation-of-sign-language/

Anatomy of a Perfect Album: On Joni Mitchell’s Blue
“ONLY A PHASE, THESE DARK CAFÉ DAYS.”
https://lithub.com/anatomy-of-a-perfect-album-on-joni-mitchells-blue/
Mitchell starts the record right off with wanderlust, her first words: I am on a lonely road and I am traveling, traveling, traveling, traveling, amplifying the feeling later: I am on a lonely road and I am traveling / Looking for the key to set me free. By boat, plane, foot, and ice skate, her whims and fancies take her to a Greek island, Paris (she doesn’t like it there), Spain, Las Vegas, maybe Amsterdam and Rome, and return home to her Ithaca, which is California. You hear Mitchell’s original Canadian-ness when she lands on the word “sorrow” as “soe-row” on “Little Green,” a poignant 1967 song, revived for this recording, from the perspective of a young single mother, also in the reverent way she intones the Canadian national anthem, “O Canada,” in the middle of “A Case of You.”

Friend  JOEL BERNSTEIN Musician / Photographer / Writer / Archivist  Compilation of Photographs – all the album covers you know
2018 IPHF FEATURES PROFILE ON JOEL FOR HIS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD [ friend during junior high / high school times ]
https://www.edu-cyberpg.com/Ringleaders/joel.html

Images of rock legends from Laurel Canyon
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6OXzsUQWpg

Virality Is Dead
I’m an independent concert promoter going on 40 years now. My clients are now only a few, and I work them nationwide. Without question, Facebook “boosted posts” are quietly putting radio and print out of business in terms of how to get the word out on a cost-effective basis. And you don’t really need virality anymore in order to promote an artist or event.
I’m not talking Facebook “ads,” but “boosted posts.” Users see these posts from the artist’s page in their newsfeeds and can share them organically, unlike “ads,” which cannot be shared. I used to spend thousands of dollars breaking a show with print ads and radio. I won’t mention the act or the market, but recently I spent $1000 on a print ad in a major metropolitan market and… in a literal example of the old saying… “Did 10 tickets.” That’s right. I sold exactly 10 tickets, not even covering the cost of the ad. I spent a fraction of that amount on boosted Facebook posts and did 500 tickets. And you wonder how the Russians spent only $100k on Facebook and turned an entire election in 2016? ~ Brian Martin”
https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Investors-say-promoter-owes-them-2-million-3242597.php

David Epstein on the Genius of the Self-Taught Musician
https://lithub.com/david-epstein-on-the-genius-of-the-self-taught-musician/

What David Bowie Borrowed From William Burroughs On the Shifting Personas of a Rock ‘N’ Roll Icon
https://lithub.com/what-david-bowie-borrowed-from-william-burroughs/

Online Spreadsheet Discloses Museum Workers’ Salaries
http://www.artnews.com/2019/05/31/google-spreadsheet-museum-workers-disclose-salaries/
In another sign of increasing demand for transparency at art institutions across the world, museum workers have begun making public their salary rates via a Google Spreadsheet document that began circulating on Friday morning. Titled Art/Museum Salary Transparency 2019, the document allows users to add information about the terms of their employment and their rates of pay at some of the biggest museums in the world.

Folklore: The contemporary Icelandic belief in elves explained
http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20181217-the-elusive-hidden-people-of-iceland

Overview of the ArtPlace/DAISA initiative (download a copy of the report) here: https://www.artplaceamerica.org/agriculture-food
The report argues that “integrating artistic and cultural practices with food and agriculture enables a creative and inclusive process and ensures community members see their identities, histories, and interests reflected in the work.” ~ Clifford Murphy – Folk & Traditional Arts Director | Multidisciplinary Arts National Endowment for the Arts

SCIENCE  – STEM

Don’t smile for surveillance: Why airport face scans are a privacy trap
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/06/10/your-face-is-now-your-boarding-pass-thats-problem/

How Boeing’s Bean-Counters Courted the 737 MAX Disaster Just when the smallest jet should have been replaced with a new model, the company fell into tight-fisted hands—with fatal consequences. https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-boeing-bean-counters-courted-the-737-max-disaster

US Customs And Border Protection’s Database Of Traveler Facial Recognition Photos Was Stolen In A Data Breach
“CBP learned that a subcontractor … transferred copies of license plate images and traveler images collected by CBP to the subcontractor’s company network. The subcontractor’s network was subsequently compromised by a malicious cyber-attack.” https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/daveyalba/the-us-governments-database-of-traveler-photos-has-been

GPS Degraded Across Much of US
Blog Editor’s Note: Even as a Presidential Advisory Board was discussing GPS as “the Gold Standard” for satellite-based navigation last week, the system may have been operating in a degraded mode.
On Sunday the Federal Aviation Administration held a teleconference to discuss the issue that seems to have persisted for several days.  While not “failing,” GPS signal quality seems to have degraded and this is impacting some equipment and services. Specifically, the aviation safety Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast system has been impacted across much of the United States. FAA has posted the following map depicting the areas impacted:
These problems have delayed and cancelled flights, possibly by the thousands. The FAA seems to have addressed some of this problem by issuing waivers for some aircraft to fly without operable ADS-B safety systems, as long as they stay on pre-planned routes and below 28,000 ft altitude.
Speculation on some on-line forums point to specific manufactures’ equipment and aircraft that are primarily effected. Previous degradation in GPS signal quality, such as the SVN-23 caused problem in January 2016, have shown that equipment from different vendors react differently to the problem. Some are unaffected, some go offline, and some just perform poorly.
The January 2016 SVN-23 degradation caused much of the nation’s ADS-B system to be unavailable for much of the day. Other receivers and systems were impacted also. Cellular networks, first responder systems, digital broadcast, and numerous other systems were impacted.
Watchstanders at the US Coast Guard Navigation Center seemed unaware of the problem early Monday morning, but promised to investigate and respond.
https://rntfnd.org/2019/06/10/gps-degraded-across-much-of-us-ads-b-impacted/

 

Facebook Responds to Global Coalition’s Demand That Users Get a Say in Content Removal Decisions

This Business Insider article was originally published May 13, 2010

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his company are suddenly facing a big new round of scrutiny and criticism about their cavalier attitude toward user privacy. An early instant messenger exchange Mark had with a college friend won’t help put these concerns to rest.

According to SAI sources, the following exchange is between a 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg and a friend shortly after Mark launched The Facebook in his dorm room:

Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuck: Just ask.
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don’t know why.

Zuck: They “trust me”
Zuck: Dumb fucks.

#deletefacebook

#DeleteFacebook your info is breached again and again and again and again and again

https://www.businessinsider.com/well-these-new-zuckerberg-ims-wont-help-facebooks-privacy-problems-2010-5

Mercer, Zuckerberg, Sandberg, Page, Brinn, Dorsey Handmaidens to Authoritarism

Esteemed Reporter Carole Cadwalla takes down piece of shit Mark Zuckerberg at TedTalk

Years of Mark Zuckerberg’s old Facebook posts have vanished. The company says it ‘mistakenly deleted’ them.

Zuckerberg reportedly has a secret escape chute beneath his conference room

#Zuckerberg is a liar and the Congress is paid to Ignore this

A withering verdict: MPs report on Zuckerberg, Russia and Cambridge Analytica

 

EFF and more than 100 civil society organizations across the globe wrote directly to Mark Zuckerberg recently demanding greater transparency and accountability for Facebook content moderation practices. A key step, we told Facebook, is implementation of a robust appeals process giving all users the power to challenge and reverse the platform’s content removal decisions.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/12/facebook-responds-global-coalitions-demand-users-get-say-content-removal-decisions

 

Media bias “electable”, “authentic”, “likable” against #women on the 2020 campaign

Media bias against women on the 2020 campaign trail is already starting to ramp up, @jess_mc explains

Media bias against women, #electable, #likeable, #authentic

we like #uncorruptable #women

Elizabeth Warren is likable, authentic, and electable plus she is  #uncorruptable look at her policy plans.

Reparations by Jonathan Weiss Esq.

Reparations

If the Democrats run a campaign for Presidency featuring an endorsement of reparations to current Blacks for the horrors of slavery and the inhuman aftermath, they will likely lose. The furor and backlash over bussing (which is some cases entailed busses not passing by nearer white schools) will seem minor by comparison.

Unfortunately, it may be too late. Its revival is due to the Reverend Al Sharpton (the title reportedly self bestowed when he was in 5th grade and he does not appear to have a flock) who now is positioned publicly so liberals, at least, have to kiss his ring and accept his urging of “reparations” without definitions or categories. He came to prominence for his advocacy of what turned out to be the Tamara Brawley racial abuse hoax, his racial divisiveness with the fire in Freddy’s Pizza, and demonstrations and a boycott against a Korean grocer. He parlayed this fame into an organization, a TV show, and many public and media appearances. This fame does not prove his seeking endorsement of “reparations” is right.

Some past reparations have been both justified and possible. Jews, after the Holocaust. received payments for the atrocities perpetuated and genocide. The United States disgraced itself, well before Guantamo (with no reparation foreseeable) by placing thousands of Japanese in concentration camps after imposing curfews first. The Supreme Court upheld this outrage (based in parts on purposeful lies by the Department of Justice). Over forty years later, Congress voted some recompense. (Disclosure. As part of the Board of the Asian American Legal Defense fund, I participated in the advocacy for this partial redress. I was gratified to me Fred Korematsu.)

If current American reparations were possible the first group to receive them should be the Natives or Native Americans or Indians or Native Indians. They were massacred, driven from their lands, enslaved, pushed on death marches, had treaties broken, still have treaties broken, sacred land denied or degraded, receive unequal treatment even when displaced from the land with which they identify (and maintained, it appears, with ecological wisdom) into cities. (About Oakland, see “Very, Very” by Terry Orange.) Their oppression and exclusion is such that they have not produced the famous American leaders and artists as have the oppressed Blacks – with contributing cultural identity – from Frederic Douglas to Booker T. Washington to Malcolm X. and others (Martin Luther King, Jr. has his holiday. ) Music from Scott Joplin, to the classical composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk (partially Jewish) to Jelly Roll Morton and the explosion of jazz; then rythmn and blues, rock and roll, hip hop, break dancing, and rap. Tap is one of the great dance forms. Literature: the whole Harlem renaissance, Ralph Ellison. Lankford Hughes, Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes, etc. These are major American achievements. The history of sports has been transformed with integration. The one famous Indian athlete Jim Thorpe was half Irish.

Let us affirm that after slavery came racial discrimination and brutality with Jim Crow. Lynching, torturing, treating workers like slaves except for the shining ten years of Reconstruction (often misrepresented in histories- “carpetbaggers” – movies, etc/) with many Black legislators State and Federal and voting rights – which are still being curtailed by racists. Even now we observe clear segregation, discrimination, and inequality. Besides some new laws (e.g. repeal current war on drugs with unequal incarceration, voting rights protection etc.) with proper enforcement, how would “reparations” be properly effectuated?

The Liberians present a particular problem. They were sent from slavery to their own African country. Now, here in the wrong “immigration status”, they are sometimes deported as not being Americans. What are they owed?

To whom?: Many of those identified and identifying as Black have very mixed “racial ancestry.”(Little noted is how the enslaved Indians and Blacks were thrown together so that a large number of Black families have Indians in their family tree.) Should there be a DNA test – at what percentage (the drop of blood theory is an old racist construct)?

What about those descended from people that were always free and demonstrably so?

What about recent arrivals of Africans and those from the Caribbean with black ancestors , some of whom may be been slaves?

Should there be an income or status limit?

From whom: Would there be an attempt to derive money from those who enslaved, including other Africans, sold the suffering, including Arabs, the descendants of the owners of slave ships or just Americans? Which Americans? Refugees and immigrants or their descendants who arrived after the Civil War, end of the outrageous doctrine of “Separate but Equal” or after the Civil Rights Act? What about those who devoted their careers to Civil Rights? Do they get a pass?

Affirmative action is a type of reparation. Certainly it redresses historical exclusion. But, the difficult ethical question of why punish innocent contemporaries arises.

“Reparations” has moral reverberations. But, because of time (if only reconstruction had lasted! – maybe with its promise of 40 acres and a mule) the practical factors militate against it being a policy rather than a slogan. Most certainly, it should not distract people of good will from dealing with the horrendous continuing mistreatment of Native Americans.

King of the Dudes, What is Battle of the Bros all duded up?

King of the Dudes

Other words such as dude also emerged in the Five Points, said Cassidy.

Dud in old Irish, appearing in the Irish-English dictionary by Father Patrick Dineen published in 1927, means “dolt, a numbskull, a rubbernecker; a mopish, shy, foolish-looking fellow”, he said. In the Five Points, says Cassidy, richer classes would come for the booze and the girls, and the working-class Irish used to look at them with their monocles and top hats and derogatorily called them “dud”.

1888 Evander Berry Wall a New York Socialite was dubbed
“King of the Dudes.”
New York American newspaper “Battle of the Dudes”. The New York Journal-American was a daily newspaper published in New York City from 1937 to 1966.
dude

This version of the word is still in occasional use in American slang, as in the phrase “all duded up” for getting dressed in fancy clothes.
He inherited $2 million before the age of 22.  He went bankrupt in 1899 and  declared that “New York had become fit only for businessmen” and left for Paris in 1912. He used bespoke shirtmaker Charvet, where Wall had his signature “spread eagle” collar shirts and cravats custom-made for himself and his dog. Wall always dined at the Ritz with his dog, whose collars and ties were made by Charvet in the same style and fabric as his master’s. When he died, he left only $12,608, having “squandered nearly every cent on pleasure.”

Learn about Irish American Vernacular English
How the Irish Invented Slang
Subtitle: The Secret Language of the Crossroads
by Professor Dan Cassidy

How the Irish Invented American Gambling Slang into Irish American Vernacular English.

What Does Boogie Mean?
The Linguist is taking notes. 1941 Ball of Fire – Billy Wilder, Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyk.

Slang is words that takes off his coat, spits on it’s hands and gets to work!

Giniker – Irish American Vernacular English: The Sunday Times Ireland July 9th 2006

IT SOUNDS like a load of bunkum, or in this case buanchumadh, but according to an American academic the Irish language has been a huge influence on American slang.

The Sanas (Irish Etymology) of Faro, Poker and the Secret Flash Words for the Brotherhood of American Gamblers. By DANIEL CASSIDY 5/13/06

Remember in 1859 Philadelphia is the 4th largest city in the WORLD.

“There’s A Sucker (Sách úr, fresh new “fat cat”) Born Every Minute.” See etymology of Bunk and Dude both are Irish.

The Sanas (Irish Etymology) of Faro, Poker and the Secret Flash Words for the Brotherhood of American Gamblers. By DANIEL CASSIDY 5/13/06

“Language is a virus from outer space.” – William S. Burroughs BEAT generation

Irish American Vernacular English words traced, found, and borrowed into Standard American English.

Karen Ellis Guest Lecturer
Honoring the work of Scholar Peter Tamony and The Sanas, the Etymology of Jazz and Dan Cassidy

Dudes: NYT News Desk 1942

dude

Well dressed in 1902 

The best-dressed American in Europe, the King of the Dudes. He was reported to possess 285 pairs of pants, 5,000 custom-tailored neckties. It was rumored that he changed his ties six times a day. His conduct was motivated by a great principle: find out what suits you and always wear it. Berry Wall usually wore capes and coats of horse-blanket plaid, high horse-collars cinched with lush Ascot cravats.

Donald Trump advisor/confidante Roger J Stone Jr with wife Nydia at the Inauguration. #Dandy #Style Roger Stone is primarily known as a political consultant, but he also serves as the men’s fashion correspondent for the Daily Caller. #1 DUDE The Dapper Don

Panicked Wall Street Bros Wonder: What Is Business-Casual??

Goldman Sachs bank execs Panicked Wall Street Bros Wonder: What Is Business-Casual???

Patter for Three-Card Monte – thanks to Whit Haydn School for Scoundrels

Who Killed Society by Cleveland Amory

DHS, FBI say election systems in all 50 states were targeted in 2016

DUDE Trump’s Justice Department OKs Trading with the Enemy
Trading with the Enemy Act  George Bush’s grandfather, the late US senator DUDE Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany. Files in the US National Archives shows Prescott Bush – how did we get here was a director  involved with…

Thorstein Veblen, the greatest American thinker you probably never heard of, predicted the rise of a Gilded Business Man and the demolition of democracy. The man who saw this coming a century ago

Louis the 14th thought “The State” was a person. HIM!

DUDE Trump’s money came from his grandfather another DUDE WHO owned a general store and whore house.

Donald Trump’s money originally came from his grandfather Friedrich Trump a German immigrant, who ran a whore house /restaurant – bar, in British Columbia.
Buried in a ghost town in Canada’s subarctic are the roots of the family fortune that paved Donald Trump’s path to prominence.

Guthrie reworked his signature Dust Bowl ballad “I Ain’t Got No Home” into a blistering broadside against his landlord: BEACH HAVEN AIN’T MY HOME (aka. “Old Man Trump”) Words by Woody Guthrie

Nov. 8 election that Eric had asked if American Hat Co. could make a custom hat for his father. Soon after, the manufacturer was at work getting measurements ready as well as the materials befitting the president of the United States.
“It morphed into now we’re making hats for Eric, for Don Jr. and for Mike Pence as well,” Mundee said.
Mundee said the Trump family requested a light-colored hat versus black, so the manufacturer went with a silverish tone. The material is a mixture of beaver belly fur and mink, making the hat soft as silk. The crown, or top of the hat, is done in a cattleman’s style. He said this specific style of hat is widely known as the finest in the cowboy market.
And it’s not just the material that American Hat Co. uses that puts their stamp on the product. It’s also the gold foil stamp on the inside band that also illustrates its quality, as well as the Keith Maddox mark of “KM” on the brim of the hat. The hat retails for about $2,800.

FIND A #JOB: Cybersecurity talent gaps exist across the country.

Resources for High School Students Interested in Cyber Security

Summer Camps are a great introduction to cyber security.
Online Courses are the next step to growing knowledge and experience, while at the same time learn more about a potential career path.

Hackathons are the playground for testing how far you’ve come.

Many internship programs available to exact academic paths/interest. Generally speaking, cyber security degree seeking students may pursue positions at the CIA in STEM, Clandestine, Analysis, or Enterprise and Support Roles.

Must apply senior year in high school. Rigorous application process includes polygraph, mental health evaluation, financial need, background checks, high academic marks, abstinence from drugs, and more. Successful applicants will be provided a salary as well as have tuition covered up to a certain price. Successful applicants will work at the CIA in summers and continue to work for the CIA after graduation.

Meet the Terabytches: Fergus students prep for cyber security competition
‘We’re like the biggest collective knowledge in a girls’ team,’ Emily Younghans says

MOST Inexpensive Colleges With the Highest Graduation Rate

NEED A #JOB: https://www.cyberseek.org/heatmap.html

TOP CYBERSECURITY JOB TITLES
  • Cyber Security Engineer
  • Cyber Security Analyst
  • Network Engineer / Architect
  • Cyber Security Manager / Administrator
  • Systems Engineer
  • Software Developer / Engineer
  • Systems Administrator
  • Vulnerability Analyst / Penetration Tester
  • Cyber Security Consultant

11 federal agencies help start Cybersecurity Talent Initiative

11 federal agencies help start Cybersecurity Talent Initiative

How the FBI Conceals Its Payments to Confidential Sources

https://theintercept.com/2017/01/31/how-the-fbi-conceals-its-payments-to-confidential-sources/

A classified policy guide creates opportunities for agents to disguise payments as reimbursements or offer informants a cut of seized assets.

For the first time, we can now point to an internal government document that provides the framework for how informants are paid.

The FBI’s Confidential Human Source Policy Guide, a nearly 200-page manual classified secret and obtained by The Intercept, describes how payments to FBI informants are accounted for and authorized and how these payments can quickly become serious money.

The picture that emerges is of an approach that borrows some of the sophistication of modern banking. The bureau has devised a variety of ways to pay informants, including directly, before or after trial; via reimbursements; and through a cut of asset forfeitures.

A special agent-in-charge has the authority to pay each of his office’s informants up to $100,000 per fiscal year. However, informants may earn substantially more as long as each additional $100,000 is approved by successively higher levels within the bureau. With deputy director approval, according to the policy guide, an informant may earn more than $500,000 per year.

In addition to compensation, an informant may be eligible for 25 percent of the net value of any property forfeited as a result of the investigation, up to $500,000 per asset, according to the guide. This can be a particularly lucrative benefit for drug informants, whose cases sometimes result in the forfeiture of planes, boats, cars, and real estate.

<snip>

The Man Who Saw Trump Coming a Century Ago

Thorstein Veblen, the greatest American thinker you probably never heard of, predicted the rise of a Gilded Business Man and the demolition of democracy.

The Man Who Saw Trump Coming a Century Ago

Veblen got his initial job, teaching political economy at a salary of $520 a year, in 1890 when the University of Chicago first opened its doors. Back in the days before SATs and admissions scandals, that school was founded and funded by John D. Rockefeller, the classic robber baron of Standard Oil. (Think of him as the Mark Zuckerberg of his day.)

from the beginning, Thorstein Veblen was there, prepared to focus his mind on Rockefeller and his cronies, the cream of the upper class and the most ruthless profiteers behind that Gilded Age. He was already asking questions that deserve to be raised again in the 1% world of 2019. How had such a conspicuous lordly class developed in America? What purpose did it serve? What did the members of the leisure class actually do with their time and money? And why did so many of the ruthlessly over-worked, under-paid lower classes tolerate such a peculiar, lopsided social arrangement in which they were so clearly the losers?

Why Poverty Is Like a Disease By Christian H. Cooper April 20, 2017

This science challenges us to re-evaluate a cornerstone of American mythology, and of our social policies for the poor: the bootstrap.

The story of the self-made, inspirational individual transcending his or her circumstances by sweat and hard work. A pillar of the framework of meritocracy, where rewards are supposedly justly distributed to those who deserve them most.
What kind of a bootstrap or merit-based game can we be left with if poverty cripples the contestants? Especially if it has intergenerational effects? The uglier converse of the bootstrap hypothesis—that those who fail to transcend their circumstances deserve them—makes even less sense in the face of the grim biology of poverty. When the firing gun goes off, the poor are well behind the start line. Despite my success, I certainly was.

Why Poverty Is Like a Disease

Christian H. Cooper April 20, 2017

http://nautil.us/issue/47/consciousness/why-poverty-is-like-a-disease

Emerging science is putting the lie to American meritocracy.

On paper alone you would never guess that I grew up poor and hungry.

My most recent annual salary was over $700,000. I am a Truman National Security Fellow and a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations. My publisher has just released my latest book series on quantitative finance in worldwide distribution.

None of it feels like enough though. I feel as though I am wired for a permanent state of flight or fight, waiting for the other shoe to drop, or the metaphorical week when I don’t eat. I’ve chosen not to have children, partly because—despite any success—I still don’t feel I have a safety net. I have a huge minimum checking account balance in mind before I would ever consider having children. If you knew me personally, you might get glimpses of stress, self-doubt, anxiety, and depression. And you might hear about Tennessee.

Meet anyone from Tennessee and they will never say they are from “just” Tennessee. They’ll add a prefix: East, West, or Middle. My early life was in East Tennessee, in an Appalachian town called Rockwood. I was the eldest of four children with a household income that couldn’t support one. Every Pentecostal church in the surrounding hillbilly heroin country smelled the same: a sweaty mix of cheap cleaner and even cheaper anointing oil, with just a hint of forsaken hope. One of those forsaken churches was effectively my childhood home, and my school.

Class was a single room of 20 people running from kindergarten through twelfth grade, part of an unaccredited school practicing what’s called

Accelerated Christian Education. We were given booklets to read to ourselves, by ourselves. We scored our own homework. There were no lectures, and I did not have a teacher. Once in a while the preacher’s wife would hand out a test. We weren’t allowed to do anything. There were no movies, and no music. Years would pass with no distinguishing features, no events. There was barely any socializing.

On top of it all, I spent a lot of my time pondering basic questions. Where will my next meal come from? Will I have electricity tomorrow? I became intimately acquainted with the embarrassment of my mom trying to hide our food stamps at the grocery store checkout. I remember panic setting in as early as age 8, at the prospect of a perpetual uncertainty about everything in life, from food to clothes to education. I knew that the life I was living couldn’t be normal. Something was wrong with the tiny microcosm I was born into. I just wasn’t sure what it was.

As an adult I thought I’d figured that out. I’d always thought my upbringing had made me wary and cautious, in a “lessons learned” kind of way. Over the past decades, though, that narrative has evolved. We’ve learned that the stresses associated with poverty have the potential to change our biology in ways we hadn’t imagined. It can reduce the surface area of your brain, shorten your telomeres and lifespan, increase your chances of obesity, and make you more likely to take outsized risks.

Now, new evidence is emerging suggesting the changes can go even deeper—to how our bodies assemble themselves, shifting the proportions of types of cells that they are made from, and maybe even how our genetic code is expressed, playing with it like a Rubik’s cube thrown into a running washing machine. If this science holds up, it means that poverty is more than just a socioeconomic condition. It is a collection of related symptoms that are preventable, treatable—and even inheritable. In other words, the effects of poverty begin to look very much like the symptoms of a disease.

That word—disease—carries a stigma with it. By using it here, I don’t mean that the poor are (that I am) inferior or compromised. I mean that the poor are afflicted, and told by the rest of the world that their condition is a necessary, temporary, and even positive part of modern capitalism. We tell the poor that they have the chance to escape if they just work hard enough; that we are all equally invested in a system that doles out rewards and punishments in equal measure. We point at the rare rags-to-riches stories like my own, which seem to play into the standard meritocracy template.

But merit has little to do with how I got out.

[snip]

Who you are as a person is not just defined by your DNA, but by which parts of it your epigenome permits to be expressed.

Autocracy loves confusion but what about 1st ammendment rights?

By Cory Doctorow
Nov 27 2018
<https://boingboing.net/2018/11/27/autocracy-loves-confusion.html>

The same disinformation campaigns that epitomize the divisions in US society — beliefs in voter fraud, vaccine conspiracies, and racist conspiracies about migrants, George Soros and Black Lives Matter, to name a few — are a source of strength for autocracies like Russia, where the lack of a consensus on which groups and views are real and which are manufactured by the state strengthens the hand of Putin and his clutch of oligarchs.

In a new Harvard Berkman Center paper, Common -Knowledge Attacks on Democracy, political scientist Henry Farrell (previously and security expert Bruce Schneier (previously) team up to explore this subject by using information security techniques, and come to a very plausible-seeming explanation and a set of policy recommendations to address the issue.

Farrell and Schneier start by exploring the failures of both national security and information security paradigms to come to grips with the issue: Cold War-style national security is oriented around Cold War ideas like “offense–defense balance, conventional deterrence theory, and deterrence by denial,” none of which are very useful for thinking about disinformation attacks; meanwhile, information security limits itself to thinking about “servers and individual networks” and not “the consequences of attacks for the broader fabric of democratic societies.”

Despite these limits, the authors say that there is a way to use the tools of information security to unpick these kinds of “information attacks” on democracies: treat “the entire polity as an information system with associated attack surfaces and threat models” — that is, to think about the democracy itself as the thing to be defended, rather than networks or computers.

From there, they revisit the different disinformation styles of various autocracies and autocratic movements, particularly the Russian style of sowing doubt about what truth is and where it can be found (infamously, Russia’s leading political strategist admits that he secretly funds some opposition groups, but won’t say which ones, leaving everyone to wonder whether a given group is genuine or manufactured — there’s some excellent scholarship contrasting this with the style used by the Chinese state and also with techniques used by authoritarian insurgents inside of democracies, like Milo Yiannopoulos).

In the paper’s framework, the stability of autocrats’ power requires that the public not know how other people feel — for there to be constant confusion about which institutions, groups and views are genuine and which ones are conspiracies, frauds, or power-grabs. Once members of the public discover how many of their neighbors agree that the ruling autocracy is garbage, they are emboldened to rise up against it. Tunisia’s dictatorship was stable so long as the law banning dissent could be enforced, but the lack of enforcement on Facebook allowed Tunisians to gain insight into their neighbors’ discontent, leading to the collapse of the regime.

By contrast, democracies rely on good knowledge about the views of other people, most notably embodied by things like free and fair elections, where citizens get a sense of their neighbors’ views, and are thus motivated to find solutions that they know will be widely viewed as legitimate and will therefore be sustainable.

So when information attacks against democracies sow doubt about the genuineness of movements and views — when Soros is accused of funding left-wing movements, when Koch Industries’ name is all over the funding sources of right-wing think-tanks, when politicians depend on big money, and when Facebook ads and its engagement algorithm pushes people to hoaxes and conspiracies — it weakens democracy in exactly the same way that it strengthens autocracy. Without a sense of which political views are genuine and which are disinformation, all debate degenerates into people calling each other shills or bots, and never arriving at compromises with the stamp of broad legitimacy.

It’s not a coincidence that the right’s political playbook is so intertwined with this kind of disinformation and weakening of democracy.

A widely held belief on the political right is that the most important “freedom” is private property rights, and since rich people are always outnumbered by poor people, subscribers to this ideology hold that “freedom is incompatible with democracy,” because in a fair vote, the majority 99% will vote to redistribute the fortunes of the minority 1%. In this conception, the rich are the only “oppressed minority” who can’t be defended by democracy.

This gives rise to the right’s belief in natural hierarchies, which are sorted out by markets, with the best people rising to the top (Boris Johnson: “As many as 16 per cent of our species have an IQ below 85, while about 2 per cent have an IQ above 130. The harder you shake the pack, the easier it will be for some cornflakes to get to the top.”).

The right’s position, fundamentally, is that the “best” people should boss everyone else around for their own good:

kings should boss around commoners (monarchists); slavers should boss around enslaved people (white nationalists); husbands should boss around wives and kids (Dominionists); America should boss around the world (imperialists); and rich people should boss around workers (capitalists).

[snip]

How fighting political disinformation could collide with the First Amendment

By Deanna Paul <behind paywall>
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/03/30/how-fighting-political-disinformation-could-collide-with-first-amendment/