Monthly Archives: June 2014

Facebook conducts psychological experiments on unwitting users

Facebook is facing criticism after it emerged it had conducted a psychology experiment on nearly 700,000 users without their knowledge. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-28051930 The test saw Facebook “manipulate” news feeds to control which emotional expressions the users were exposed to. The research was done in collaboration with two US universities to gauge if “exposure to emotions led […]

Immigration update: open borders and illegal checkpoints

This year, volunteers organized, gathering hundreds of signatures and picketing outside the Border Patrol offices in Tucson AZ to try to get illegal checkpoints removed, to no avail. For several months, small groups monitored the busiest of the area’s checkpoints, on Arivaca Road, noting things like the length of the stops, the questions asked and […]

How Gertrude Bell and Great Britain created Iraq in 1916

While claimed by the Iraqis as one of their own, Gertrude Bell, the British diplomat and spy, was an agent for her own country, advancing the interests of the British to secure influence, and oil, in Iraq, and to counter the efforts of Germany to position itself as a beneficiary of the decline of the […]

Google I/O event speakers heckled “Stop Jack Halprin”

During the yearly Google I/O event where the firm to shows off its latest products and plans a woman held up a sign reading “develop a conscience”, while another shouted that the firm was creating “machines that kill people”.  http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-28020654 Google could not be reached for comment about the interruptions. Away from the event, at […]

Supreme Court rules no unwarranted searches of mobile phones

The US Supreme Court has ruled police cannot search the digital contents of mobile phones of those arrested without a warrant. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/26/us/supreme-court-cellphones-search-privacy.html?ref=us&_r=0 The unanimous decision is a win for privacy advocates that argued searching mobiles was an unreasonable intrusion. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his opinion that mobiles “hold for many Americans the privacies […]

Teacher who is suspicious of government involuntarily committed

A  Pound Ridge, NY high school English teacher who allegedly wrote in online conversations with a “medium” that the government was behind the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is suing the district for firing him. http://www.lohud.com/story/news/education/2014/06/16/fox-lane-teacher-fired-newtown-shooting-conspiracy-theories/10598729/  The Bedford school district fired Adam Heller, 35, after a disciplinary hearing on charges brought by schools Superintendent Jere […]

Federal District Court: Warantless surveillance ok, No-fly-list not ok

In two major Federal District Court rulings addressing trade-offs between government powers and individual rights, judges in Oregon on Tuesday upheld a 2008 law permitting warrantless surveillance but struck down a key aspect of the so-called no-fly list that blocks people suspected of terrorism ties from boarding planes. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/25/us/federal-judges-in-oregon-uphold-warrentless-surveillance-strike-down-no-fly-list-provision.html?ref=us&_r=0 The rulings were handed down on […]