Category Archives: Educational

Trump Caught Amongst Another Major Lie

By: Jon Greenberg of Politifact

The indictments of 13 Russians detailing how they used Facebook and Twitter to undercut Hillary Clinton and promote President Donald Trump spurred a flurry

of tweets from Trump over the weekend.

“I never said Russia did not meddle in the election,” Trump wrote Feb. 18. “I said ‘it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.’ The Russian ‘hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!”

Trump might want to focus on collusion, but his blanket denial that he ever questioned Russian meddling runs up against his own words.

Early on, Trump treated any mention of Russian interference as an attack on the legitimacy of his victory.

In a May 2017 interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, Trump said “this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.” Trump continued in that interview to say, “It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”

That statement earned him PolitiFact’s 2017 Lie of the Year.

In September 2017, when reports of Russian-backed Facebook ads came out, Trump tweeted, “The Russia hoax continues, now it’s ads on Facebook. What about the totally biased and dishonest Media coverage in favor of Crooked Hillary?”

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UK Millennials Suffer Worst Fall In Income Next To Greece

By: Ben Chu of The Independent

UK millennials have suffered the second-worst falls in their incomes of any of the dozen advanced economies surveyed by a think tank over the past decade.

In a new report, the Resolution Foundation calculates that average real hourly earnings for under-30s in Britain fell 13 per cent between 2007 and 2014.

Only Greece, where real earnings slumped by 25 per cent over the same period as the eurozone country plunged into depression, saw a worst performance for this age group among the dozen advanced economies Resolution analysed in the latest research from its Intergenerational Commission.

British millennials experienced bigger income falls than other crisis-hit southern eurozone states such as Portugal and Italy, where earnings fell 12 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.

Average incomes for Spanish millennials fell by only around 2 per cent.

Resolution also found that the gap between the pay performance of UK millennials and workers aged between 50 and 59 was particularly pronounced, with older UK workers seeing their pay fall by around half the extent of the younger group.

In Italy and France the declines were roughly in line. In Germany, Spain and Italy the older group of workers saw larger pay declines than millennials.

“The pay squeeze has been deeper in the UK than in most other places, and more focused on young people in particular,” said Resolution.

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To Give Or Not To Give 50% of Earth to Wildlife

By : Robin Mckie

The orangutan is one of our planet’s most distinctive and intelligent creatures. It has been observed using primitive tools, such as the branch of a tree, to hunt food, and is capable of complex social behaviour. Orangutans also played a special role in humanity’s own intellectual history when, in the 19th century, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, co-developers of the theory of natural selection, used observations of them to hone their ideas about evolution.

But humanity has not repaid orangutans with kindness. The numbers of these distinctive, red-maned primates are now plummeting thanks to our destruction of their habitats and illegal hunting of the species. Last week, an international study revealed that its population in Borneo, the animal’s last main stronghold, now stands at between 70,000 and 100,000, less than half of what it was in 1995. “I expected to see a fairly steep decline, but I did not anticipate it would be this large,” said one of the study’s co-authors, Serge Wich of Liverpool John Moores University.

For good measure, conservationists say numbers are likely to fall by at least another 45,000 by 2050, thanks to the expansion of palm oil plantations, which are replacing their forest homes. One of Earth’s most spectacular creatures is heading towards oblivion, along with the vaquita dolphin, the Javan rhinoceros, the western lowland gorilla, the Amur leopard and many other species whose numbers are today declining dramatically. All of these are threatened with the fate that has already befallen the Tasmanian tiger, the dodo, the ivory-billed woodpecker and the baiji dolphin – victims of humanity’s urge to kill, exploit and cultivate.

As a result, scientists warn that humanity could soon be left increasingly isolated on a planet bereft of wildlife and inhabited only by ourselves plus domesticated animals and their parasites. This grim scenario will form the background to a key conference – Safeguarding Space for Nature and Securing Our Future – to be held in London on 27-28 February.

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Kentucky Gov Blames Violent Video Games For Shootings

By: Scott Wartman of Enquirer

A day after a former student opened fire at a high school in Parkland, Fla., killing 17 people, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin called for the nation to consider restrictions on violence in video games and movies, not guns.

“We need to have an honest conversation as to what should and should not be allowed in the United States as it relates to the things being put in the hands of our young people,” Bevin said during a stop in Covington on Thursday.

What shouldn’t be put in the hands of young people? Violent video games and movies, Bevin said.

“I’m a big believer in the First Amendment and right to free speech, but there are certain things that are so graphic as it relates to violence, and things that are so pornographic on a whole another front that we allow to pass under the guise of free speech, which arguably are,” Bevin said. “But there is zero redemptive value. There is zero upside to any of this being in the public domain, let alone in the minds and hands and homes of our young people.”

As the school shootings mount, so has pressure on politicians to strengthen gun control laws.

Three weeks earlier in Bevin’s 15-year-old student at a high school in western Kentucky shot and killed two people and wounded 16.

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Who Was The Florida Shooter ?

By: John Schuppe of NBC

The young man charged with killing 17 people at his former Florida high school worried some of his classmates, talking about his guns and sharing pictures of small animals he had shot.

He had a “very disturbing” social media presence and had been expelled from school, officials said, supplying new details on the life of accused shooter, Nikolas Cruz.

Cruz, 19, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the attack Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which he was expelled from last year for disciplinary reasons, officials said. The attack unfolded just before classes were dismissed for the day.

Cruz, who arrived at the scene in an Uber, confessed to the attack, telling investigators he had brought the AR-15 and several loaded magazines stuffed into a backpack and planned to leave them behind in order to blend in with fleeing students, according to a police affidavit. After the shooting, he made it to a Walmart, where he bought a drink, then continued to a McDonald’s, where he sat for a bit, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference Thursday evening. Soon after leaving, Cruz was arrested,

A motive in the shooting remains unclear.

Cruz legally bought the .223 caliber rifle used in the shootings in February 2017 at Sunrise Tactical Supply, a federally licensed gun store in Coral Springs, authorities said.

Cruz’s court-appointed defense lawyer, Broward County Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill, called him “a broken human being” and said he was “mournful, remorseful” and “fully aware of what is going on.”

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Russians Find Clever Way To Remove Snow From Their Yards

By: Adam Robinson of the BBC

Posts on Facebook and Twitter have received thousands of likes, after disgruntled residents took to social media, saying that they tried spray-painting “Navalny” on the city’s deep snow out of frustration at the authorities’ slowness in removing them.

One user said the move prompted immediate reaction and that council workers removed the graffiti “within hours”.

Mr Navalny is Russia’s best-known critic of President Vladimir Putin, and state media never mention him by name. President Putin famously refuses to call Mr Navalny by his name, usually referring to him as “that person” when asked about him.

Moscow has seen huge snowdrifts pile this year, and has experienced some of the

heaviest snowfall in decades.

Tatyana Grigoryeva – a member of a local residents’ group in the city’s Nagorny district – says she was inspired by journalist Mikhail Kozyrev’s suggestion that residents write “Navalny” on unwanted snow if they could not get municipal workers to remove them.

She posted four pictures of Navalny’s name painted on snow, and later took video of two street cleaners scraping away one of the markings from a pavement. Her video has been viewed more than 47,000 times.

In some areas of the city, the snow was not removed, but Ms Grigoryeva said council workers were witnessed merely mixing up the snow to obscure Navalny’s name.

In a post on Facebook she said: “They’ve managed to just mix it up with their shovels. I’ll have to write it again.”

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A.I Recognizes Terrorist Propaganda With 99% Accuracy

By: Kevin Litman-Navarro

The UK-based company ASI Data Science unveiled a machine learning algorithm Wednesday that can identify terrorist propaganda videos with 99 percent accuracy

This development marks one of the first instances of a company successfully using A.I. to flag extremist propaganda. The Islamic State group is notorious for its social media recruiting efforts, and this algorithm could help curtail them.

While the researchers at ASI wouldn’t discuss any technical specifics of the algorithm, it appears to work like other kinds of A.I. recognition software. The algorithm can examine any video and determine the probability that the video is a piece of extremist propaganda. According to the BBC, the algorithm was trained on thousands of hours of terrorist recruiting videos, and it uses characteristics from these videos to assign probability scores.

If a video is marked as very high probability, it is tagged for review by a human content moderator. Because the videos aren’t automatically taken down, any false positive should be caught before the video is wrongfully removed. ASI said that the algorithm could detect up to 94 percent of Islamic State uploads.

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Facebook Loses Millions Of The 25 & Under Market

By: Kurt Wagner & Rani Molla

Facebook is losing young users even quicker than expected, according to new estimates by eMarketer.

The digital measurement firm predicted last year that Facebook would see a 3.4 percent drop in 12- to 17-year-old users in the U.S. in 2017, the first time it had predicted a drop in usage for any age group on Facebook.

The reality: The number of U.S.

Facebook users in the 12- to 17-year-old demographic declined by 9.9 percent in 2017, eMarketer found, or about 1.4 million total users. That’s almost three times the decline expected. There were roughly 12.1 million U.S. Facebook users in the 12- to 17-year-old demographic by the end of the year.

There are likely multiple reasons for the decline. Facebook has been losing its “cool” factor for years, and young people have more options than ever for staying in touch with friends and family. Facebook also serves as a digital record keeper — but many young people don’t seem to care about saving their life online, at least not publicly. That explains why Snapchat and Instagram, which offer features for sharing photos and videos that disappear, are growing in popularity among this demographic.

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Anonymous Website Targeting City Broadband Secretly Operated Bt Telecom

By: Kieren McCarthy of The Register

Cable biz Fidelity Communications has been forced to admit it was behind an astroturfing campaign against a city-run fiber network in America’s Midwest.

The campaign, titled Stop City-Funded Internet, started last month with a website and accompanying social media handles, and has been a persistent critic of efforts by West Plains, Missouri, to expand its homegrown broadband network to include more businesses and even residential customers.

Who exactly is behind the campaign has been the subject of intense interest with the campaign’s main website revealing only that it was funded by “a collection of fiscally conservative Missourians.”

However one enterprising local – videographer Isaac Protiva – was able to uncover the truth: cable company Fidelity Communications, which offers internet access in five states including Missouri, and boasts 115,000 customers. The ISP had paid a marketing outfit based in Arizona to carry out the campaign.

How did he figure it out? The marketing company screwed up when it named materials on stopcityfundedinternet.com. Specifically, two images on the site were spotted revealing Fidelity as a client. Incredibly, one was the site’s main header image, called Fidelity_SCFI_Website_V2.jpg. The second image was on a privacy page, and was hosted on a server called fidelity.dmwebtest.com. Talk about a smoking gun.

The server domain revealed the company behind the campaign was DM Web Dev Group, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, and owned by marketing veterans Martin Lakin and David Ammerman.

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Falcon Heavy Makes History

By: The BBC

The mammoth vehicle – the most powerful since the shuttle system – lifted clear of its pad without incident to soar high over the Atlantic Ocean.

It was billed as a risky test flight in advance of the lift-off.

The SpaceX CEO said the challenges of developing the new rocket meant the chances of a successful first outing might be only 50-50.

“I had this image of just a giant explosion on the pad, a wheel bouncing down the road. But fortunately that’s not what happened,” he told reporters after the event.

With this debut, the Falcon Heavy aims to become the most capable launch vehicle available.

It is designed to deliver a maximum payload to low-Earth orbit of 64 tonnes – the equivalent of putting five London double-decker buses in space.

Such performance is slightly more than double that of the world’s next most powerful rocket, the Delta IV Heavy – but at one third of the cost, says Mr Musk.

For this experimental and uncertain mission, however, he decided on a much smaller and whimsical payload – his old cherry-red Tesla sports car.

A space-suited mannequin was strapped in the driver’s seat, and the radio set to play David Bowie’s classic hit Space Oddity on a loop.

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