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Tag: wikileaks


by cloudier

What Makes Online Content Viral?

Importantly, however, our findings also reveal that virality is driven by more than just valence. Sadness, anger, and anxiety are all negative emotions, but while sadder content is less viral, content that evokes more anxiety or anger is actually more viral. These findings are consistent with our hypothesis about how arousal shapes social transmission. Positive and negative emotions characterized by activation or arousal (i.e., awe, anxiety, and anger) are positively linked to virality, while emotions characterized by deactivation (i.e., sadness) are negatively linked to virality. More broadly, our results suggest that while external drivers of attention (e.g., being prominently featured) shape what becomes viral, content characteristics are of similar importance (see Figure 2). For example, a one-standard deviation increase in the amount of anger an article evokes increases the odds that it will make the most e-mailed list by 34% (Table 4, Model 4). This increase is equivalent to spending an additional 2.9 hours as the lead story on the New York Times website

Drowning doesn’t look like drowning

How did this captain know, from fifty feet away, what the father couldn’t recognize from just ten? Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew knows what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life.

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i herped so much that i derped

by cloudier

A few months ago two friends and I decided to do something interesting. We live in a relatively small town. Not tiny, but small. On OkCupid we saw about 30 women from here, but they would not respond often. So we decided to create 50 fake accounts, all of them beautiful women that would divert attention. We meticulously constructed the profiles to look authentic. Then came the day to set everything in motion. My two friends operated the 50 accounts while I found the prettiest (real) woman I could and after a while decided to hit on her.

It worked. With everyone, particularly the hunks, occupied with fake women I secured a date with a woman who was most certainly out of my league. Two dates. Sex. Still seeing her, but wouldn’t want her or anyone else to know about how I got her.

I’m planning on automating this with some coding in the future so it will scale for when I’m in a small city or something.

To the ones questioning the morality of it I guess I’ll jokingly say all is fair in love and war!

[related: I am my own OKCupid wingman]

I have the urge to declare my sanity and justify my actions, but I assume I’ll never be able to convince anyone that this was the right decision. Maybe it’s true that anyone who does this is insane by definition, but I can at least explain my reasoning. I considered not writing any of this because of how personal it is, but I like tying up loose ends and don’t want people to wonder why I did this. Since I’ve never spoken to anyone about what happened to me, people would likely draw the wrong conclusions.

My first memories as a child are of being raped, repeatedly. This has affected every aspect of my life. This darkness, which is the only way I can describe it, has followed me like a fog, but at times intensified and overwhelmed me, usually triggered by a distinct situation. In kindergarten I couldn’t use the bathroom and would stand petrified whenever I needed to, which started a trend of awkward and unexplained social behavior. The damage that was done to my body still prevents me from using the bathroom normally, but now it’s less of a physical impediment than a daily reminder of what was done to me.

I’d also like to address my family, if you can call them that. I despise everything they stand for and I truly hate them, in a non-emotional, dispassionate and what I believe is a healthy way. The world will be a better place when they’re dead—one with less hatred and intolerance.

If you’re unfamiliar with the situation, my parents are fundamentalist Christians who kicked me out of their house and cut me off financially when I was 19 because I refused to attend seven hours of church a week.

They live in a black and white reality they’ve constructed for themselves. They partition the world into good and evil and survive by hating everything they fear or misunderstand and calling it love. They don’t understand that good and decent people exist all around us, “saved” or not, and that evil and cruel people occupy a large percentage of their church. They take advantage of people looking for hope by teaching them to practice the same hatred they practice.

A random example:

“I am personally convinced that if a Muslim truly believes and obeys the Koran, he will be a terrorist.” – George Zeller, August 24, 2010.

If you choose to follow a religion where, for example, devout Catholics who are trying to be good people are all going to Hell but child molestors go to Heaven (as long as they were “saved” at some point), that’s your choice, but it’s fucked up. Maybe a God who operates by those rules does exist. If so, fuck Him.

Their church was always more important than the members of their family and they happily sacrificed whatever necessary in order to satisfy their contrived beliefs about who they should be.

Wow. That gave me insight into the emotional damage that child molestation victims sustain as well as how religion affects their healing process. I have no sympathy for pedophiles now – before reading this letter, I did not understand that being molested as a child affects your ability emotionally connect and be intimate with another person in an extremely invasive manner.
However, this doesn’t change my stance on the internet filter. A greater understanding of sexual fetishism would enable better prevention of fetishes which are intrinsically exploitative. The payoff from an inefficient and easily circumvented filter is not worth the cost.
  • salon: Joe Lieberman emulates Chinese dictators – Great commentary on Wikileaks, Cablegate etc. – it shines light on the relationship between US corporations and politicians and the state of journalism in America, which gives context to the goal of Wikileaks. It sounds almost like a conspiracy theory, which is quite terrifying. It is an easily digestible read.

Talking Points Memo — in an article headlined: “How Lieberman Got Amazon To Drop Wikileaks” — detailed that Lieberman’s “staffers . . .called Amazon to ask about it, and left questions with a press secretary including, ‘Are there plans to take the site down?'” Shortly thereafter, “Amazon called them back . . . to say they had kicked Wikileaks off.”  Lieberman’s spokeswoman said: “Sen. Lieberman hopes that the Amazon case will send the message to other companies that might host Wikileaks that it would be irresponsible to host the site.”

That Joe Lieberman is abusing his position as Homeland Security Chairman to thuggishly dictate to private companies which websites they should and should not host — and, more important, what you can and cannot read on the Internet — is one of the most pernicious acts by a U.S. Senator in quite some time.   Josh Marshall wrote yesterday:  “When I’d heard that Amazon had agreed to host Wikileaks I was frankly surprised given all the fish a big corporation like Amazon has to fry with the federal government.”  That’s true of all large corporations that own media outlets — every one — and that is one big reason why they’re so servile to U.S. Government interests and easily manipulated by those in political power.  That’s precisely the dynamic Lieberman was exploiting with his menacing little phone call to Amazon (in essence:  Hi, this is the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee calling; you’re going to be taking down that WikiLeaks site right away, right?).  Amazon, of course, did what they were told.

Note that Lieberman here is desperate to prevent American citizens — not The Terrorists — from reading the WikiLeaks documents which shed light on what the U.S. Government is doing.  His concern is domestic consumption.  By his own account, he did this to “send a message to other companies that might host WikiLeaks” not to do so.  No matter what you think of WikiLeaks, they have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime; Lieberman literally wants to dictate — unilaterally — what you can and cannot read on the Internet, to prevent Americans from accessing documents that much of the rest of the world is freely reading.

The Internet, of course, is rendering decrepit would-be petty tyrants like Lieberman impotent and obsolete:  WikiLeaks moved its website to a Swedish server and was accessible again within hours.  But any attempt by political officials to start blocking Americans’ access to political content on the Internet ought to provoke serious uproar and unrest. If the Tea Party movement and the Right generally were even minimally genuine in their ostensible beliefs, few things would trigger more intense objections than a political official trying to dictate to private actors which political content they should allow on the Internet (instead, you have Newt Gingrich demanding that Assange be declared an “enemy combatant” and Sarah Palin calling for his murder).  Remember, though — as The Post told us today — it’s “authoritarian governments and tightly controlled media in China and across the Arab Middle East” which are trying to prevent citizens from learning about the WikiLeaks documents.

Then we have this equally revealing passage from the Post article:

In many Arab countries, the mainstream media have largely avoided reporting on the sensitive contents of the cables, including accounts of Arab leaders drinking alcohol and siding with Israel in advocating a U.S. military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

I genuinely laughed aloud when I read that.  Does anyone think that “the mainstream media” in the U.S. has reported much “on the sensitive contents of the cables” specifically or the WikiLeaks war documents generally?  I don’t mean salacious gossip or David-Sanger/Michael-Gordan-type Government-serving fear-mongering about America’s “enemies”  (Iran is operating in Iraq!!Iran is being armed by North Korea!!Arab dictators want Iran attacked!!).  I mean documents that reflect badly on what the U.S. Government is doing in the world.

Overwhelmingly, the reaction of establishment media figures has been to scorn these disclosures as somehow being both a Grave Threat and Nothing New.  Watch this short segment I did yesterday on MSNBC with Jonathan Capehart of TheWashington Post Editorial Page and former GOP Congresswoman Susan Molinari.  Technical difficulties impeded my participation, but what’s important is not really what I said, but what they said.  Two notes about it:  (1) Capehart, who calls himself a “journalist,” could not be more contemptuous of WikiLeaks as it shines a light on the U.S. government, and (2) the snickering and disdain toward Assange from Capehart and Molinari are indistinguishable — totally interchangeable — because there is no distinction between how most American “journalists” and how standard politicians think about those who are actually providing adversarial checks on U.S. political power; media and political figures are in the same undifferentiated class. (continued…)

Ladies and gentlemen, these people set — they opened the doors, they gave us the right, and today, ladies and gentlemen, in our cities and public schools we have 50% drop out. In our own neighborhood, we have men in prison. No longer is a person embarrassed because they’re pregnant without a husband. No longer is a boy considered an embarrassment if he tries to run away from being the father of the unmarried child
Ladies and gentlemen, the lower economic and lower middle economic people are not holding their end in this deal. In the neighborhood that most of us grew up in, parenting is not going on. In the old days, you couldn’t hooky school because every drawn shade was an eye. And before your mother got off the bus and to the house, she knew exactly where you had gone, who had gone into the house, and where you got on whatever you had one and where you got it from. Parents don’t know that today.

mer du japon

by cloudier

brb; being a chrome extension junkie (for three days).

by cloudier

This article puts you in an asylum seeker’s shoes in a stunning way. Although we should definitely accept more refugees into our country, this shouldn’t be done without some planning. I guess the first priority of supporters is to change the public opinion that refugees should be turned away.

On 30 November the Attorney-General’s Department referred the matter relating to the publishing of United States (US) embassy cables containing classified information on the WikiLeaks website to the Australian Federal Police.

The AFP examined material relevant to potential Australian offences to determine whether an official investigation was warranted.

The AFP has completed its evaluation of the material available and has not established the existence of any criminal offences where Australia would have jurisdiction.


Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story.

The thing I got out of this talk was the difference between the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere. Taylor likens the right hemisphere to a parallel processor and the left hemisphere to a serial processor: The right processes aspects of your environment simultaneously, for example sound, light and movement. The left makes you feel like an individual and is concerned with the past and future, for example it will remind you to pick up bananas on the way home. When Taylor recounts her stroke, she switches between personalities. Her stroke affected the left hemisphere, so she was constantly switching between her normal self and a very spiritual and holistic self.

I saw a variant on mrflip’s post title recently. It was in a discussion pointing out the massive proliferation of phrases such as ‘I, for one, welcome our new X overlords’ on the internet. (For those who don’t recognize, it is a Simpsons® quote). There are lots of phrases like this that people have tweaked and put on their weblogs or in the entertainment section of the newspaper. Examples include ‘X is the new black’ and ‘Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor not a X.’ Well, some language nerds decided to give the phenomenon a name: snowclone.

The first systematic study of the VT effect employed British sailors as subjects (Warren, 1961a). Stimuli were prepared by recording single vocal statements which were then spliced to form a loop of tape. Each loop was played back and rerecorded on a conventional reel to give a sitmulus which could be played for 3 minutes. […]

The subject listened to the repeated stimulus through headphones, tapping on the table and calling out what he heard as soon as he could […]

An example of one subject’s responses to […] TRESS, played loudly and clearly for 3 minutes is as follows (all responses listed in the order reported): “stress, dress, stress, dress, Jewish, Joyce, dress, Jewess, Jewish, dress, floris, florist, Joyce, dress, stress, dress, purse.”

If homosexuality is OK, why is incest wrong? Well, they are firstly very different types of issues. Homosexuality is entirely natural – for example, in Ancient Greek it was acceptable and it is rampant in the animal kingdom. Inbreeding has a high chance of producing unfit offspring (children who have disabilities), so incest is naturally prevented (through the Westermarck effect).

One point the article raises is that incest was banned because inbreeding produces unfit offspring. The article states that this can easily be circumvented through sterilisation (e.g. a vasectomy) or gay sex (which…doesn’t result in babies). Using this reason to ban incest is also unfair since there are other groups who have a significant chance of producing unfit offspring. Older women are allowed to have sex, even though they have a higher chance of producing children who suffer from Down Syndrome. Those who suffer from heritable diseases are also allowed to have sex, even though they may produce children who may also end up suffering from that disease. Even if you find incest icky, this doesn’t mean you’re allowed to raise double standards in a mostly unrelated issue. (Okay, so that’s assuming that you agree with current accepted views on eugenics. Sorry if you don’t.)

This article claims that incest should be banned because it confuses and potentially destroys family relationships. By this logic, alcoholism, gambling, high-commitment jobs and divorce should also be banned, because they can also confuse and destroy family relationships. Note how all of these can actually benefit those involved if used correctly – this includes incest. For example, alcohol can be consumed by healthy adults without those people becoming addicted to drinking. Similarly, two people related by blood can have healthy, consensual sex.

It is definitely true that in a relationship between a parent and child can easily become abusive, since while the child is dependent on the parent for survival the child is usually not emotionally and mentally equipped to deal with abusive relationships, especially one where the parent can easily blackmail the child. However, this shouldn’t stop adults who happen to be blood-related from having consensual sex especially since the issue is addressed in child sex abuse laws – it’s like saying, because homosexual relationships may be abusive, we should ban all homosexual relationships, whether or not they are abusive.

Also, that (via) link is one of the most interesting discussions on reddit I have read in a while.

Over the years, Russell had at least 14 known aliases. During his escapes he masqueraded as a judge, a physician, a police officer and a handyman, among others.

On May 21, 1993, Russell escaped from Harris County Jail in HoustonTexas, wearing civilian clothes he had obtained. Afterward he fabricated bogus credentials and obtained a job as CFO of North American Medical Management. He proceeded to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars from the company. In 1995, his crimes were discovered, and Russell was imprisoned for insurance fraudand again placed in Harris County Jail, where he met future lover Phillip Morris.

In 1996, while in Harris County Jail (Texas), Russell impersonated a judge and ordered his own bond decreased from $900,000 to $45,000, which he paid, securing his own release. He was arrested ten days later in Florida, and was subsequently transported back to Texas. That same year he began participating in art classes provided by the prison. Each time he attended a session, he stole a greenMagic Marker and hid it under his bed. Eventually, he had enough markers to dye his white prison uniform green. Since all the medical professionals in the prison wore green uniforms, Russell was able to walk out of the prison disguised as a doctor.

In 1998, he was again at the Harris County Jail, serving a 45-year sentence for stealing $800,000 from North American Medical Management, that manages physicians’ finances, plus 20 years for the previous escape. He later managed to have Phillip Morris transferred to the Dallas County Jail and tried to have him released.

It was while in prison that Russell began to plot his most daring escape. In the prison library, Russell read extensively on HIV and AIDS. He began taking laxatives to mimic the symptoms of AIDS, and used a prison typewriter to forge a medical document stating that he suffered from the disease, and used it to convince doctors of his “condition” on February 24. He fooled the prison doctor into believing that a ‘special needs parole’ to a Houston hospital had been authorized on March 13. Once free, Russell posed as a doctor and informed the prison staff via telephone that Russell had died from AIDS.[2]

On March 20, 1998, Russell posed as a Virginia millionaire in an attempt to legitimise a $75,000 loan from NationsBank in Dallas. When bank officials became suspicious and alerted the police, Russell feigned a heart attack and was transported to a hospital. While in hospital, Russell was placed under guard by FBI agents. However, Russell managed to impersonate an FBI agent on hiscellular phone and convinced those guarding him to leave. He was then able to leave the hospital unimpeded.[2]

When traveling towards Fort Lauderdale he was detained by a state trooper for reckless driving. When back up arrived, Russell was able to impersonate the state trooper. Back up then fatally wounded the initial state trooper leaving Russel with a gun, badge, and cop car. He then used the police vehicle to cause noise disturbances in middle class neighborhoods at the middle of the night.

On April 5, 1998, Russell was again arrested in Fort Lauderdale while walking to his car. He was again shipped back to Texas and tried, receiving a 144-year prison sentence.[citation needed]

As of 2010 Russell, Texas Department of Criminal Justice# 00760259,[3][4] is located in the Michael Unit.[5] Due to cumulative crimes, his maximum sentence date is to July 12, 2140.[3]