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Hundreds of journalists are sharing their salary information in a spreadsheet

13 November[ —]

I'm in a private Slack with some other media/journalist people, and someone brought up the idea of pay transparency. After all: if you don't know what your colleagues are being paid, it's hard to negotiate for a fair rate. We're all conditioned to believe that our financials should be private, but as far as salaries are concerned, that secrecy only ever tends to work in favor of your employer.

So this particular someone made a Google Form and a corresponding spreadsheet where journalists and other media professionals could anonymously add their salary information. And in barely 24 hours, it's spread to CJR and Bloomberg and even inspired Mike Cernovich to go off on some completely unsubstantiated rant to set off his army of loyal trolls because apparently all journalists are scum and also trustfund babies even though there isn't any proof of that (and I can personally assure you that my personal information is on that list and that my public school teacher mom and print salesman dad are not rolling in the dough).

As of this writing, more than 200 people have responded. On one hand, it is admittedly difficult to verify the claims contained within the data. On the other hand, there's still lots of eye-opening information to glean. Unsurprisingly, there are pay disparities across race and gender; but the same thing happens across geographic location, and work experience. Perhaps the most shocking revelation so far is just the absurd range of income of people working in news media. There are people making $33K in Iowa, who are jealous of those living off of $52K in New York City, plus some surprising outlets that pay remarkably well. And of course, there are a few wild outliers, like the podcast producer making $400K at Vox Media (I don't know who that is, but I have my suspicions).

Granted, there are better ways we could have compiled this list—for maximum accuracy, and to make it easier to verify. But the more data that goes into these things, the easier it is to identify—and thus, target—the individual journalists who have submitted their information. So it's a catch-22. Overall, it's still surprisingly enlightening, and can hopefully inspire some greater conversations about pay parity in the future. If nothing else, it'll help people understand that working in news media really isn't all that glamorous.

You can view the whole spreadsheet here; or, if you work in news media, you can submit your anonymous info here.

Image via cogito ergo imago/Flickr

Threatin, "fake" singer-songwriter you haven't thought about in about a year, now on tour

13 November[ —]

Last November, Jered "Threatin" Eames hired some musicians, booked venues on the strength of inauthentic social media profiles, then played to empty halls and angry proprietors who soon outed the hustle. His viral fame was short lived, but now he's back—for real, this time, at least for certain values of reality—playing to paying customers. Vice sent a critic to a UK gig: "It was as weird as you could imagine," writes Hannah Mylrea.

Jered is clearly an accomplished guitarist (his vocals, less so) and his band for the evening are slick, but due to the complete lack of crowd interaction and Jered’s wannabe rockstar swagger, it makes for an uncomfortable watch, even without all the ridiculous pre-cursors. Clearly too uncomfortable for some, as the crowd noticeably thins out throughout.

After 45-minutes Jered finishes the show by smashing up the stage – ripping down his banners and decapitating the mannequins – and then giving a mock bow before walking off stage. That’s the last the crowd and I see of him.

Ladies and gentlemen, Threatin.

Tiny Islands, an addictive card-based island-drawing game

13 November[ —]

In Tiny Islands, by David King, you're dealt cards that let you "draw" particular landscape features on a grid, with occasional breaks to draw coastlines around the forests, mountains, villages and churches you place. Once you've gotten through the deck, your archipelago is scored based according to rules of proximity and placement. It's simple, frustrating and very addictive, with games over in a few minutes and a better high-score always at hand. I've managed to get in the 60s (check out the hashtag for more)—what about you?

Tickets for HOPE 2020 go on sale tomorrow!

13 November[ —]

Aestetix writes, "Our 13th conference is taking place next summer in a brand new location as you've probably heard. We expect it to be bigger and better than ever with lots more activities and space - all without leaving New York City! Since this is #13, we figured we'd make an initial batch of tickets available on November 13th at precisely 13:13 Eastern Time (that's 1:13 pm for those who don't do 24 hour clocks)."

It's been a rocky time for 2600 Magazine and its venerable Hackers on Planet Earth con -- so unbelievably awesome to see HOPE back in 2020!

Initial Ticket Sales Wednesday! [HOPE/2600]

EFF and ACLU triumph as federal judge rules that warrantless, suspicionless device searches at the border are illegal

13 November[ —]

Back in 2017, EFF, ACLU and ACLU of Massachusetts sued the US government on behalf of 11 travelers whose devices had been subjected to warrantless, suspicionless searches by Customs and Border Protection at the US border.

Now, a federal court in Boston has found in favor of the travelers, affirming that CBP cannot conduct searches of border-crossers' devices without particularized suspicion of illegal contraband.

The judgment has the potential to stem the rising floodtide of warrantless border searches of devices -- up 400% in just three years.

International travelers returning to the United States have reported numerous cases of abusive searches in recent months. While searching through the phone of Zainab Merchant, a plaintiff in the Alasaad case, a border agent knowingly rifled through privileged attorney-client communications. An immigration officer at Boston Logan Airport reportedly searched an incoming Harvard freshman’s cell phone and laptop, reprimanded the student for friends’ social media postings expressing views critical of the U.S. government, and denied the student entry into the country following the search.

Federal Court Rules Suspicionless Searches of Travelers’ Phones and Laptops Unconstitutional [EFF]

There is finally an approved vaccine for Ebola

13 November[ —]

The European Medicines Agency approved a vaccine for the deadly Ebola Virus Disease. The vaccine has already been administered to hundreds of thousands of people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, saving countless lives during an ongoing epidemic there. From Nature:

The decision by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to allow US pharmaceutical company Merck to market its vaccine means that the product can now be stockpiled and, potentially, distributed more widely, in particular in Africa. In 2015, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance — a global health partnership that funds vaccine supplies in low-income countries — told Ebola-vaccine manufacturers that it would commit to purchasing vaccines once they had been approved by a “stringent health authority” such as the EMA...

“This is a vaccine with huge potential,” said Seth Berkley, chief executive of Gavi in Geneva, Switzerland, in a press release after the EMA decision. “It has already been used to protect more than 250,000 people in the DRC and could well make major Ebola outbreaks a thing of the past.”

Image: "Ebola virus virion" by CDC/Cynthia Goldsmith (Public Domain)

Ergonomic JoyCon replacements for the Nintendo Switch make older hands happier

13 November[ —]

I really like these 'ergonomic' JoyCon replacements.

The tiny JoyCons are a pain to hold. These replacements make holding the Switch while you play a lot easier for my carpal tunnel suffering hands.

Everything works like the stock JoyCon, except there is something substantial to hold on to.

Wireless Controller for Switch, BestOff Neon Red Neon Blue Controllers Compatible for Nintendo Switch Console via Amazon

God of Death deployed to enforce railway laws in India

13 November[ —]

In Mumbai, India, the Western Railway deployed a police officer dressed as Yamarāja, a Hindu god of death, to educate commuters about railway safety and enforce the laws. From Zee News:

Railway Ministry's handle warned the people in Hindi, "Do not cross the track in an unauthorised manner, it can be fatal."

"If you cross the track in an unauthorized way, then Yamraj will be standing in front of you," Railway Ministry added.

In 2018, as many as seven people on an average lost their lives on a daily basis due to carelessness in crossing railway tracks illegitimately. At least 1,476 people had lost their lives while crossing the railway tracks while over 650 people died after falling off the trains.

[UPDATED] No one on Twitter knows what to make of this video

13 November[ —]

This is one of the more WTF videos I've seen in a while. It starts with a jack-in-the-box getting tossed off a school(?) bus in New York(?) and ends with one of the greatest reveals since Nicolas Roeg's 1973 psychological thriller, Don't Look Now.

It may very well be staged because it's just too good.

Image: Twitter

[Updated 11/12/19 4:03pm PT] Indeed, it's a skit by Daniel Jean:

Simulation of a sub implosion

12 November[ —]

The Argentine sub San Juan vanished in 2017 and its wreckage was found only months later, but from the search mission's outset rescuers suspected what had happened. The sound of an implosion—"a singular, anomalous, violent, non-nuclear event"—was picked up hours after the vessel's last transmission. If you are horrified by the idea of a huge metal can being suddenly crushed by water pressure, this computer simulation of the San Juan's demise may well rationalize and deepen your conviction never to set foot on a sub.

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