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A deep dive into the race to preserve our digital heritage

15 December[ —]

Science Friday's beautiful "File Not Found" series looks at the thorny questions of digital preservation: finding surviving copies of data, preserving the media it is recorded upon, finding working equipment to read that media, finding working software to decode the information once it's read, clearing the rights to archive it, and maintaining safe, long term archives -- all while being mindful of privacy and other equities. (more…)


Trump gives ugly speech saying legal immigrants come from a "bin"

15 December[ —]

In a speech to graduates of the FBI Academy, Trump talked about calling on Congress to end "chain migration" and "visa lottery," and compared legal immigrants to trash.

"You think the countries [are] givin' us their best people? No. What kind of system is that? They come in by a lottery. They give us their worst people. They put 'em in a bin...really the worst of the worst. 'Congratulations, you're going to the United States.' What a system," he said in part of his speech.

According to Vox:

Donald Trump thinks immigrants are trash, metaphorically speaking.

Not just unauthorized immigrants. Legal immigrants — specifically, those who come to the US on “diversity visas,” after being selected in a lottery for residents of countries that are underrepresented in the US immigration system as a whole.

It’s not surprising that Trump is wrong on the facts — people selected in the visa lottery go through exactly as much screening as any other would-be immigrant to the United States, and the governments of their countries are not deliberately “picking” them to immigrate.

The fact that he spent part of a speech to graduates of the FBI Academy denigrating people who have followed US law is, for better or worse, only slightly more so. Trump’s speeches to law enforcement are often his most unguarded and rip-roaring. They’re the speeches in his official capacity that feel closest to the speeches he delivers at rallies — as if he sees law enforcement officers as part of his base, as close to him as his staunchest supporters.


Documenting the laughable lies the FCC told at the hearing where it killed Net Neutrality

15 December[ —]

The FCC is only allowed to change existing policies if they can show evidence of some change in facts, so at yesterday's bomb-threat haunted hearing to destroy Net Neutrality, Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and his Republican colleagues made a pro-forma recitation of the reasons justifying his extreme actions. (more…)


Motherboard announces a neutral, meshing community ISP based at Vice's Brooklyn headquarters

15 December[ —]

Motherboard -- an imprint of Vice -- has announced that it will build a community ISP branching off its Brooklyn headquarters, built on meshing wireless protocols, and connected to the internet via high-speed fiber lines terminating at a network exchange. (more…)


After priest/child rape scandal, Australian Archbishop says he'll ask the Pope to allow priests to have sex

15 December[ —]

As a Royal Commission in Australia wraps up its investigation into decades of rape by priests (especially rape of children), and decades of Church officials obstructing investigation into the rape, Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart says he'll ask the Pope to change the rules so that celibacy for priests is voluntary, not mandatory. (more…)


Thank you for being a friend

15 December[ —]

All of you.


UPS loses man's inheritance check of nearly $700,000, offers $32 compensation

15 December[ —]

UPS was supposed to deliver an inheritance check for $664,850 (846,650 Canadian dollars) to a man whose father died. The check never arrived. When UPS lost it, they decided $32 was fair compensation.

According to Fortune:

Lorette Taylor’s father had died and left his children a large chunk of cash, which Taylor, as executor, had to divide between herself and two siblings. When she tried to do so in February, her bank—TD Canada Trust—said it was best to send her brother and sister bank drafts (similar to personal checks, but considered more secure as they are guaranteed by the bank instead of by the person issuing them).

One of the drafts, in the order of 846,650 Canadian dollars ($664,850), was destined for her brother, Louis Paul Hebert, who hired UPS to ship it to his local store, 270 miles away from the family lawyer. The package never arrived.

Ten months later, the Ontario family complained to the media that all UPS had offered by way of compensation was $32, representing the mailing costs. According to CBC News’s report, TD Canada Trust refused to reimburse Taylor the money unless she agreed to refund the bank if someone found and cashed in the lost draft. It wanted her house to be the security for the agreement.

It wasn't until the news went viral that TD Canada Trust backed down from the collateral demand and sent a new bank draft.

And it wasn't until the news went viral that both UPS and TD Canada Trust suddenly became humble.

“While UPS’ service is excellent in our industry, we are unfortunately not perfect,” UPS said. You could say that again.

And TD Canada "Trust": “It’s clear to us we didn’t get this right along the way and that there was more we could have done to come to a resolution faster.” Mm-hmm.

Image: Qualle


Comcast has been planning to ditch Net Neutrality principles for months

15 December[ —]

In defending his vote to dismantle Net Neuratlity rules, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai insisted that not much would change for consumers; ISPs would voluntarily refrain from degrading internet service.

Michael Powell, president of the telecom lobbyist N.C.T.A., wrote that the good ol' invisible hand of the free market would ensure that the principles of net neutrality would still be adhered to: "Degrading the internet, blocking speech and trampling what consumers now have come to expect would not be profitable, and the public backlash would be unbearable. Economic self-interest and the pursuit of profits tilts decidedly toward an open internet."

Never mind that ISPs often act as local monopolies, immune to competition, and have already been convicted of breaching Net Neutrality on a huge scale, multiple times, affecting 100 million Americans while it was illegal to do so.

Of course, ISPs have actually been planning to toss Net Neutrality principles out the window once the rules were revoked, for months.

While Net Neutrality rules were firmly in place, Comcast had this pledge on its website for years, and as late as April 25, 2017 (according to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine):

On April 26, Ajit Pai announced a vote the start the process of eliminating Net Neutrality rules.

On April 27, Comcast somehow had a change of heart regarding its fidelity to Net Neutrality principles, and its website's commitments were suddenly missing a few key promises (see the date in the upper right corner). Those promises are still absent from its website today.

Where is the invisible hand of the free market, preventing Comcast from staying faithful to net neutrality? Nowhere to be seen.

See Ars Technica, h/t Jon Henshaw


Watch: Cyclist finds nearly dead puppy, works frantically to bring it back to life

15 December[ —]

This puppy looked so far gone, I don't think most people would have thought they could bring it back to life. But the determined, resourceful cyclist who found the pup did everything right, including cutting off the bottom of a water bottle and then using it as a tube to breath air into the puppy's mouth. The incredible rescue in this video is hard to watch, but seems to have a happy ending – I only wish we could find out how the puppy is doing now.


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