Category Archives: Politics

Researchers in U.S., U.K. measure volume of automated tweets, find that bots may have contributed to, even tipped, elections.

Bloomberg: Twitter Bots Helped Trump and Brexit Win, Economic Study Says.

“Twitter bots may have altered the outcome of two of the world’s most consequential elections in recent years, according to an economic study.

Automated tweeting played a small but potentially decisive role in the 2016 Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s presidential victory, the National Bureau of Economic Research working paper showed this month. Their rough calculations suggest bots added 1.76 percentage point to the pro-“leave” vote share as Britain weighed whether to remain in the European Union, and may explain 3.23 percentage points of the actual vote for Trump in the U.S. presidential race.

“Our results suggest that, given narrow margins of victories in each vote, bots’ effect was likely marginal but possibly large enough to affect the outcomes,””

Link via MetaFilter.

“When the actions of the parents, neighbors, and school fail, there remains one last backstop: The state.”

The Atlantic: The Futility of Trying to Prevent More School Shootings in America. “As long as there is easy access to guns, there’s no way parents, teachers, and other specialists can thwart every violent teenager.”

“Details are only beginning to emerge about the gunman, and now it seems he kept his plans to himself, described in his personal journal. This would be unusual. In many of the other 21 (by CNN’s count) school shootings this year, there were clues to what would come to pass, to varying degrees. Typically, someone—a parent, a classmate, a teacher, a neighbor—had a hunch as to what would happen. Sometimes it was clear the child was mentally ill. Sometimes he had overtly displayed psychopathic traits. Sometimes other students steered clear of that particular boy at lunch in the hallway, because he was just plain scary. As Mary Ellen O’Toole, a retired FBI agent who’s an expert on school shootings, notes: “They never come out of the blue.”

If the clues were there, couldn’t these teens have been stopped? Faced with a dangerous child, families, schools, and police can do their utmost, and their utmost frequently staves off tragedy. But events like this point to a discomforting reality: Even though many potentially violent children can be treated and do get better, it’s impossible to ensure that every dangerous child will be reached. And, in the end, there’s not much that anyone can do to stop a determined shooter, aside from preventing him from getting a gun in the first place.”

“Point a gun at someone, and you’ll have 10 pointing right back at you, and that’s how we like it.”

The Washington Post: Gun violence’s distant echo. “After school shootings, a teenager challenges the gun culture in her conservative Wyoming town.”

“Alan had rarely heard anything described as liberal in northeast Wyoming, and now he listened as the disc jockey explained how 10 Campbell County High School students had marched downtown the previous afternoon to demand tighter gun laws. They said they wanted mandatory background checks on all gun purchases. They said they wanted to build a gun-control movement in solidarity with survivors of a shooting in Parkland, Fla., and tens of thousands of other teenagers protesting across the country.
[…]
“They should be expelled,” Alan remembered joking to his co-worker, once the radio switched back to classic rock and they turned onto the highway toward Gillette. “That bleeding-heart nonsense might fly in New York or D.C., but in Wyoming? That’s treason.”
[…]
He parked at a ramshackle house on the outskirts of town, where the newspaper waited at the kitchen table. On the front page he noticed a story about the gun protest, the first that anyone could remember in Gillette. “A Walkout for Change,” the headline read. Above that was a picture of several students marching, and there in the midst of them, holding a protest sign, was his 16-year-old daughter, Moriah.”

“Weet U waarom de Duitse Weermachtsmeisjes in Nederland zijn?”

Deutsche Welle: Unbekannte Passagen in Anne Franks Tagebuch entdeckt. “Vor Jahrzehnten hat das jüdische Mädchen zwei Seiten ihres Tagebuchs dicht verklebt: Darauf hatte Anne Frank anzügliche Witze und ihre Gedanken über Sexualität notiert. Jetzt konnten Experten die Zeilen entziffern.”

“Am 28. September 1942 schrieb Anne Frank in ihr rotkariertes Tagebuch: “Auf Seite 78 habe ich geschmiert.” Daher nutze sie den Platz jetzt für “derbe Witze”. Ein Beispiel: “Wissen Sie, wozu die deutschen Wehrmachtsmädchen in den Niederlanden sind? Als Matratzen für die Soldaten.”

Waren diese Passagen dem jungen Mädchen peinlich? Immerhin hat sie Seite 78 und 79 des Tagesbuchs mit braunem Packpapier verklebt, um sie vor neugierigen Augen zu verbergen. Mit digitaler Fototechnik hat das Niederländische Institut für Kriegsdokumentation (NIOD) sie jetzt 70 Jahre nach Veröffentlichung des Tagebuchs lesbar gemacht. “Wer die entdeckten Passagen liest, kann ein Lächeln nicht unterdrücken”, sagte NIOD-Direktor Frank van Vree. “Die ‘schmutzigen’ Witze sind Klassiker unter den heranwachsenden Kindern.””

Business Insider: Researchers uncovered 2 pages of ‘dirty jokes’ in Anne Frank’s diary.

“Anne Frank wrote a number of dirty jokes about prostitution and told of her thoughts on sex in hidden pages of her diary, researchers have revealed.

The young Jewish teenager’s diary, written when she was in hiding from the Nazis, became world-famous when it was published after her death and at the end of the war.

Two hidden pages, reportedly covered with gummed brown paper to hide her risqué writing from her family, have now been read by researchers.

The entries, uncovered using new imaging techniques, were written on 28 September 1942, not long after the 13-year-old Anne went into hiding in Amsterdam.”

RTL Nieuws: De moppen van Anne Frank: complete tekst ‘nieuwe’ pagina’s dagboek.

“Twee afgeplakte bladzijden uit het dagboek van Anne Frank zijn ontcijferd door de Anne Frank Stichting. De pagina’s waren al langer bekend, maar tot nu toe was het niet mogelijk om de tekst op de afgeplakte bladzijden 78 en 79 te lezen.

Dankzij nieuwe digitale technieken is daar verandering in gekomen. De pagina’s bevatten drie schuine moppen – zulke anekdotes komen ook elders in het dagboek wel voor – én Annes kijk op seksuele voorlichting. Dit is de letterlijke tekst:”

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“As a queer black woman, I’m among the last people anyone expects to see on a through-hike. But nature is a place I’ve always belonged.”

Outside: Going it alone. By Rahawa Haile, April 11, 2017.

“What happens when an African American woman decides to solo-hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine during a summer of bitter political upheaval? Everything you can imagine, from scary moments of racism to new friendships to soaring epiphanies about the timeless value of America’s most storied trekking route.”

Buzzfeed: How Black Books Lit My Way Along The Appalachian Trail. By Rahawa Haile, February 2, 2017.

“I can confirm that one does not walk 2,000 miles across the face of this country as a black woman without building up an incredible sense of self.”

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