March 3, 2020
Today is a blockbuster of a political day for the Democrat party. Today’s voting results will impact the Democrat party and reverberate for the next 4 to 8 years. It will be fascinating to see which octogenarian the party will select. At Daily Pnut we find the African-American vote to be very important not just because they comprise a healthy number of Democrats but for two other main reasons.
First, they comprise an important demographic that carries forward a belief and vision of the American dream despite their centuries long suffering at the hands of other Americans. Arguably no one group (except for American Indians) has suffered more for the American dream and yet also supports it. If they can persevere, believe, and live the American dream, then it proves that the American dream can be accessible to all.
Secondly, if one was to examine their voting record through the years, one could argue that as a group, their votes often would have led to a better result for Americans as a whole. The recent past indicates that currently their perspective on American values and leadership is aligned with what would be best for the majority of Americans. We will be observing today’s results with great interest.
Additional video: Yes, we know that no group is a monolith: Key & Peele – Black Republicans.
“We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” ― Malcolm X
I Can See Clearly Now Your Privacy Is Gone
Clearview AI, a facial recognition company used by a plethora of institutions including police departments, ICE, Macy’s, Walmart, and the FBI has come under massive scrutiny by the public. Clearview openly claims that their service “is not a surveillance system and is not built like one.” A public message made by the company stated that “Clearview helps to identify child molesters, murderers, suspected terrorists, and other dangerous people quickly, accurately, and reliably to keep our families and communities safe.”
How does the company identify said felons and criminals were left unstated, however. Clearview has been building an extremely large database of photos of ordinary U.S. citizens, and has made that database searchable for the thousands of clients to whom it has already sold the technology. A new law enacted in California, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), states that any citizen living in California may request that Clearview stop gathering information on them as well as see what data has already been compiled in the database.
A probe by Vice reporters found that Clearview had images of them from as far back as 2004 and as current as last year, taken from a range of social media accounts and sites. Riana Pfefferkorn, associate director of surveillance and cybersecurity at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society said that, “You may have forgotten about the photos you uploaded to a then-popular social media site ten or fifteen years ago… but Clearview hasn’t.”
Riana also said, “A lot of data about individuals can quickly become ‘stale’ and thus low-value by those seeking to monetize it. Jobs, salaries, addresses, phone numbers, those all change. But photos are different: your face doesn’t go stale.” According to the CCPA, Clearview plans to share all photos in their database with law enforcement, security, and anti-human trafficking professionals. Clearview representatives have not yet responded to questions asking how many requests the company has received, or how many records it has deleted under applicable laws. (Vice) Additional read: How to Dox Yourself on the Internet (NYT, $)
The Economy Goes Under The Weather
- Economies across the globe are struggling to deal with COVID-19 – which has ravaged supply chains and closed down public areas, stores, and schools in multiple countries. Stock markets in Europe, Asia, and North America have hit low points, and the United States is facing a potential recession.
- The core of the economic problem emerging from coronavirus is a “supply shock” – a reduction in the economy’s capacity to make things – which largely stems from companies in China that have shut down because their workers are quarantined.
- American and European companies which rely on Chinese suppliers might begin facing shortages of key goods in the weeks ahead.
- As the virus continues to spread, the economic ramifications will only continue to grow, as seen in countries such as Italy, where outbreaks of the virus have disrupted daily life, slowed down tourism, and emptied and restaurants and stores as people seek to avoid exposure. (NYT, $)
- Global shares extend rebound on policy easing hopes, eye G7 for cues (Reuters)
- Key Missteps at the CDC Have Set Back Its Ability to Detect the Potential Spread of Coronavirus (ProPublica)
- Coronavirus: Washington state at center of US outbreak as 18 cases confirmed (Guardian)
- Coronavirus deaths rise to six in Seattle area as U.S. pushes for more testing (Reuters)
- ‘To hell and back’: my three weeks suffering from coronavirus (Guardian)
- Surfaces? Sneezes? Sex? How the Coronavirus Can and Cannot Spread (NYT, $)
Additional World News
- Why are Turkey and Syria fighting? The latest offensive, explained. (Vox)
- The Verge Tech Survey 2020: how people feel about Apple, Google, Facebook, and more (The Verge)
- The New Authoritarianism (Atlantic, $)
- How did British Indians become so prominent in the Conservative party? | Neha Shah (Guardian)
- How the Indian Government Watched Delhi Burn (New Yorker, $) & What Happened in Delhi Was a Pogrom (Atlantic, $)
Oh Snap, There Goes School Lunch
- The Trump administration is zeroing in on making reductions in federal benefit programs, from Medicare to Social Security, food stamps to school lunches. With regard to food, two pending rule changes could mean hundreds of thousands of children will lose access to free school meals.
- The administration wants to tighten states’ standards for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps. It believes some households are getting benefits they don’t deserve.
- Last July, US Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, proposed forcing states to tighten SNAP enrollment standards so that only the ‘truly needy’ would get benefits. But by the USDA’s own estimate, more than three million people would lose their food stamps.
- And while one advocate of the changes told a congressional oversight committee that no child would lose their school lunch eligibility, by the government’s own estimate the change could push 942,000 eligible children out of the lunch program, at least temporarily. The administration also wants to stiffen the nation’s public charge rule, requiring aspiring citizens to prove they won’t rely on public assistance, including SNAP. (NPR)
Marc Piscotty via Getty Images
The Right To Just Grin And Bear It
- Everyone knows the second amendment, “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” However, for years and years there has been a debate as to the definition of the second amendment and what exactly were the original intentions of the authors.
- In more recent years, researchers have developed a useful tool called “corpus linguistics” which allows them to search millions of documents to see how words were used during certain periods. Unfortunately for anyone looking to get some answers, the odd wording of the second amendment makes this practice difficult.
- In 2008, Justice Antonin Scalia declared that the second amendment was referring to the personal ownership of a firearm, while Justice John Paul Stevens believed it referred to militia service. Using corpus linguistics, The Atlantic was able to discover that several documents that date back to the creation of the second amendment use the words “bear arms” to refer to militia service. However after conducting a few more tests, The Atlantic concluded that while both Justices were not completely correct in their assumptions, Scalia was more accurate in his opinion. (The Atlantic)
Additional USA News
- Moderate Democrats close ranks as Buttigieg, Klobuchar endorse Biden (Retuers)
- Texas closes hundreds of polling sites, making it harder for minorities to vote (Guardian)
- Judge Says Ken Cuccinelli Was Appointed Unlawfully To Top Immigration Post (NPR)
- Supreme Court to Hear Obamacare Appeal (NYT, $)
Sometimes You Just Gotta Stop And Hear The Roses
- The hustle and bustle of everyday life can be overwhelming sometimes. From the pinging cell phones and sniffling passengers to the constant buzzes of Twitter notifications and keyboard clicking, it just never stops. The sense of quiet once heralded as golden was all but a fever dream in today’s high-tech society.
- A World Health Organization report in 2011 estimated that in Western Europe alone, traffic noise results in the annual loss of “at least one million healthy years of life.”
- Millions of people suffer from various chronic diseases which stem from the non-stop noises surrounding them in their daily lives. The world’s new-age solution for the new-age problem – silent retreats.
- From silent spas to “silent drivers” for Uber rides, therapists specializing in dealing with noise pollution, and new noise-cancelling technologies, the world is slowly attempting to adapt to a world where peace and quiet has become a luxury. (Guardian)
- Why we need to be more emotional to save the world (BBC) & William Gibson on the apocalypse: “it’s been happening for at least 100 years” (New Statesman)
- The war on food waste is a waste of time (The Outline) & 50 simple ways to make your life greener (Guardian)
- How to read a very long book (Vox) & How the humanities became the new enemy within (Guardian)
- When It’s This Easy at the Top, It’s Harder for Everyone Else (NYT, $)
- Why slowing your breathing helps you relax (BBC)
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU