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Mon, 06 Apr 2020
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4% of All Photos Ever Taken Are On Facebook

© Minyanville

So this is why people are intensely creeped out by Facebook's facial-recognition database.

In a historical overview of consumer photography from the Kodak Brownie to Instagram, the photo-sharing site 1000memories' company blog estimated that humans have taken 3.5 trillion pictures so far -- and Facebook's servers host 140 billion of them. That's 4% of all photos taken ... ever.

Pretty incredible for a social network that's only been around since 2003. But it makes sense when you consider just how central Facebook is to online life, and the sheer volume of photos people take today.

With smartphone adoption growing like gangbusters since the iPhone's introduction in 2007, it's increasingly the norm to have a decent camera in your pocket at all times. And with flash memory prices at an all-time low (remember when you had to watch to make sure you wouldn't fill up the 128-megabyte card on your dedicated digital camera?), trends like taking photos of all one's meals have become convenient, if cringe-inducing.


US: Elizabeth Warren Tells It Like it Is: "No One in This Country Got Rich on his Own"

Someone anonymous put together this home-brewed video of Elizabeth Warren speaking at what looks like a supporter's house. It consists of two awesome excerpts: One on how we got into so much debt (two words: George Bush), and one on why libertarians are idiots (that would be my own interpretation of her remarks, by the way. Listen for yourself).

My prediction is if she continues to "Tell It Like It Is", Senator Brown is going to find himself a very ex-Senator, pining for the fjords of 2010, come November, 2012. Go Warren!

Here's my attempt at a transcript (fortunately, the video is short!)


Is this one of America's worst miscarriages of justice?

© Associated Press
Troy Davis, the convicted murderer at the centre of one of the most protracted and controversial death penalty cases in US history
Death row inmate Troy Davis' last-ditch plea rejected

The life of Troy Davis, a convicted murderer at the centre of one of the most protracted and controversial death penalty cases in US history, has entered what is expected to be its final hours, after a panel in Atlanta rejected his last-ditch plea for clemency.

At around 7pm local time (midnight GMT) tomorrow, 42-year-old Davis will be escorted to an execution chamber at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison outside the city of Jackson. He is scheduled to be killed by lethal injection.

The execution comes after Georgia's five-man Board of Pardons spent Monday hearing a plea for his sentence to be commuted. Supporters argue that Davis's conviction for the murder of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail in 1989 was deeply flawed.

The Board heard submissions from several jurors who found Davis guilty but have since changed their mind, along with a selection of key prosecution witnesses who have recanted the evidence they gave at his trial in 1991. A spokesman refused to elaborate on why the board rejected his latest plea, or by what majority the decision was reached.


Gunmen dump 35 bodies on busy street in Mexico

© Reuters
Police and members of a forensic team stand around bodies on a motorway in Boca del Rio, on the outskirts of Veracruz Sept. 20.
Mexico City - Masked gunmen blocked traffic on a busy avenue in a Gulf of Mexico coastal city Tuesday and dumped the bodies of 35 slaying victims as horrified motorists watched, authorities said.

Veracruz state Attorney General Reynaldo Escobar Perez said the bodies were left piled in two trucks and on the ground of an underpass near a shopping mall in the city of Boca del Rio.

Police had identified seven of the victims so far and all had criminal records for murder, drug dealing, kidnapping and extorsion and were linked to organized crime, Escobar said. He didn't say to what group the victims belonged to.

The Gulf and Zetas drug cartels have been locked in a bloody war for control in Veracruz state over the last year.


US: Couple Accused of Stealing Millions Intended for Preschoolers' Meals

© Uli Seit/The New York Times
Joanna Fan, left, and Ziming Shen, center, at federal court in Brooklyn, where he got into a scuffle with Dan Shapiro, a photographer for The New York Post.
A Staten Island couple stole at least $2.5 million in federal funds meant for nutritious meals for preschoolers, prosecutors asserted in a criminal complaint unsealed on Friday.

The complaint accused the couple, Joanna Fan and her husband, Ziming Shen, of siphoning money over five years from accounts at the nonprofit Red Apple Child Development Center preschool chain, of which Ms. Fan, also known as Xiao Ping, is the executive director. The complaint accused the couple of using the money to make mortgage payments on several Manhattan condominiums and to benefit their private business interests, which include Preschool of America Inc., a chain of about a dozen for-profit preschools in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

The couple surrendered to agents of the United States Agriculture Department on Friday morning and were arraigned before Magistrate Judge James Orenstein of United States District Court in Brooklyn. They pleaded not guilty and posted bail of $750,000 each.

The judge restricted their movement to parts of New York and ordered them to surrender their passports.


A Future for Robot Drones: Automated Killing

© Boeing
One afternoon last fall at Fort Benning, Georgia, two model-size planes took off, climbed to 800 and 1,000 feet, and began criss-crossing the military base in search of an orange, green and blue tarp.

The automated, unpiloted planes worked on their own, with no human guidance, no hand on any control.

After 20 minutes, one of the aircraft, carrying a computer that processed images from an onboard camera, zeroed in on the tarp and contacted the second plane, which flew nearby and used its own sensors to examine the colorful object. Then one of the aircraft signaled to an unmanned car on the ground so it could take a final, close-up look.

Target confirmed.

This successful exercise in autonomous robotics could presage the future of the American way of war: a day when drones hunt, identify and kill the enemy based on calculations made by software, not decisions made by humans. Imagine aerial "Terminators," minus beefcake and time travel.


Sinister thought control of the fascist anti smoking lobby

The sinister sounding UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies has produced a report calling for the extension of film censorship.

It demands an 18 Certificate for any film where smoking is portrayed.

The basis for this demand is a survey asking young people whether they smoke or not and which films they have seen.

Smoking movies 1
© Unknown
'The link between smoking in movies and adolescent smoking is robust'. Bridget Jones is one of many famous characters who smoke.
It concludes: 'The link between smoking in movies and adolescent smoking is robust and transcends different cultural contexts. Limiting young people's exposure to movie smoking could have important public health implications.'

It says there is a a 'well-documented association between exposure to movie smoking and trying smoking among the youth in the USA and Germany.'

Comment: Indeed, and stories like this only serve to underscore the lengths to which the anti-smoking fascists will go to see tobacco snuffed out. Oh, and in case you haven't heard, smoking tobacco might actually be beneficial to many people:

Let's All Light Up!

Pestilence, the Great Plague and the Tobacco Cure


LIVE from 'Occupy Wall Street': Talking with an #OccupyWallStreet Organizer

From video clip dated September 19, 2011:
We talk with Justin Wedes (@OccupyWallStNYC on Twitter) of the NYC General Assembly LIVE from Occupy Wall Street. #OccupyWallStreet


One in Five Americans Thinks God Controls the Stock Market

Almighty Dollar?
© Minyanville
Praying to the Almighty dollar.

According to USA Today, "About one in five Americans combine a view of God as actively engaged in daily workings of the world with an economic conservative view that opposes government regulation and champions the free market as a matter of faith."

"They say the invisible hand of the free market is really God at work," sociologist Paul Froese, co-author of the just-released Baylor Religion Survey [PDF], tells the paper. "They think the economy works because God wants it to work. It's a new religious economic idealism."

Froese says this group believes the Bible is the "ultimate truth in the world, and new economic information of cost-benefit analysis is not going to change their mind about how the economy should work."

The study reveals a number of interesting insights. For one, more Americans believe that wealth -- or lack of it -- is predetermined by God.

"In today's United States with high levels of unemployment and vastly expanding wealth inequality, belief in God's plan sustains belief in the fairness of our economic system and our ability to eschew government assistance to stem the tide of our economic woes," write the authors.


Seven Arrested in 'Occupy Wall Street' Protest: Some for Wearing Anonymous Masks

© Flickr
New reports indicate that at least seven individuals have been arrested during Adbusters' ongoing Occupy Wall Street protest, one for wearing the "V" mask used by hacker collective Anonymous.
At least seven individuals have been arrested during Adbusters' ongoing 'Occupy Wall Street' protest, one for wearing the "V" mask used by hacker collective Anonymous.

The arrests were initially reported by Bloomberg. In its report the news agency alleged that by the end of the protest's third day New York City Police had arrested as many as seven individuals.

The exact reasons for the arrests remains vague and conflicting reports have since emerged suggesting different motivations.

According to Bloomberg four protesters were arrested Monday for wearing masks -- New York law forbids more than two individuals wearing masks in a public space at any one time during a protest. The fifth protester was reportedly arrested for jumping a police barrier, while the sixth and seventh were detained for attempting to enter a building used by Bank of America Corp while wearing masks. Bloomberg cited an e-mailed statement from police spokesman Paul Browne as its source.