Jennifer Lawrence, please keep your butt off our ancestors | J Kehaulani Kauanui4 hours ago
The actor built illuminate of sitting on sacred rocks in Hawaii during a Hunger Games shoot. But were not laughing
How do you define sacred? One simple answer: its something you keep your butt off. Jennifer Lawrence get that memo, but decided to disregard it. In a recent interview she remembers her butt-scratchin on sacred stones while shooting Hunger Game in Hawaii. They were, to her mind, a useful tool to alleviate her of itchiness.
In specific comments, which she made on a recent episode of the BBCs Graham Norton Show this week, she says: There were sacred stones I dunno, they were ancestors, who knows they were sacred. She goes on to say: Youre not supposed to sit on them, because youre not supposed to expose your genitalia to them. But she did. I, however, was in a wetsuit for this whole shoot oh my god, they were so good for butt itchines!
She knew this was a gross culture breach that much is clear but Lawrence decided to go ahead and desecrate the rocks anyway.
A phaku( stone) can be sacred for a number of reasons. In some examples it is because it may be the physical show of a deity or ancestor. In other occurrences, it may have to do with the purpose of the boulder such as birthing stones imbued with mana( spiritual power) of the chiefs. None of these things mattered to Lawrence.
Lawrences story shores up a long line of Hollywood productions that have taunted traditional Hawaiian spiritual faith. As scholar Lisa Kahaleole Hall notes in an essay titled: Hawaiian at Heart and other fictions, Hawaii 5-0 and Magnum PI in the 1970 s and 80 s and Survivor today, set the stage for this attitude. Meanwhile, cable programming on Nick at Nite has introduced a whole new generation to the secret kahuna curse raised when the Brady Bunch went to Hawaii.
This has to do with the kitsch-factor that continues to beset Kanaka Maoli indigenous Hawaiians and Hawaii. As Hall puts it: This has significant political implications, because by making Hawaiianness seem ridiculous, kitsch functions to undermine sovereignty struggles in a very fundamental style. A culture without dignity cannot be conceived of as having sovereign rights, and the repeated marketing of kitsch Hawaiian-ness leads to non-Hawaiians misunderstanding and degradation of Hawaiian culture and history.
Also, the retelling of this story for amusement value stimulates Hawaiians and our ancestors the butt of her gag. Consider her reply when the pkahu which she describes as a giant boulder was dislodged and supposedly virtually killed the sound technician on the set when it rolled down the mountain. As she tells it: All the Hawaiians were like, Oh my God, its the curse. And Im in the corner going, Im your curse. I wedged it loose with my ass.
It is high time that people realize that despite the unbridled colonial violence of modernity, for many indigenous individual and peoples, the sacred persists in our 21 st century world. Mni Wiconi( Water is life in Lakota) is the banner for many of the indigenous individuals, tribal nations and other collectives working to protect sacred water, the source threatened by DAPL. They have brought their understandings of the sacred into the mainstream though there is still much work to do.
Settler colonialism has historically deemed non-Christian concepts of the sacred as a form of barbarian superstition. This thinking persists today. Thats why we who are indigenous must assert and claim our monarch and spiritual connections to our respective deities and ancestral realms regardless of others laughter and dismissal. In the mean time, Lawrence should learn to scratch herself some other way.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
Showing Both Sides: ABC Is Balancing Out Roseannes Pro-Trump Politics By Airing A Scene After Every Episode Where Donald Trump Drowns In The Conner Family Bathtub4 hours ago
Though ABC’s Roseanne reboot is a bona fide ratings success, the indicate has become a lightning rod for controversy, with Roseanne Barr’s right-wing notions drawing ire from the left and praise from conservatives in equal measure. Now, the primetime network is taking major steps to make sure the prove caters to viewers on both ends of the political spectrum: ABC is balancing out Roseanne ’s pro-Trump opinions by airing a scene after every episode where Donald Trump drowns in the Conner family bathtub.
Finally, a Tv show that both Democrats and Republicans alike can find something to like about!
Starting with next week’s Roseanne , each episode’s shutting credits will be followed by a short clip of President Trump flailing face-down in the Conners’ bathtub until he is completely motionless, a change that ABC hopes will counterbalance Roseanne Barr’s endorsement of Trump policies throughout the rest of the present. The studio audience’s reaction to seeing President Trump drown in a working-class family’s bathroom will be a mixture of applause and booing, an additional measure intended to guarantee that both liberal and conservative positions are represented on the show.
“Our programming is meant to be enjoyed by viewers of all political persuasions, so by adding a recurring segment where President Trump dies in 4 inches of bath water, we hope that Roseanne is regarded as fair, balanced, and entertaining to everyone, ” told Channing Dungey, President of ABC Television, in a press release announcing the news. “Our nation is more divided than ever before, and that’s why we’re striving to create a show that brings people together, whether they’re tuning in to watch Roseanne Conner rip into her sister’s liberal faiths or to watch her husband, Dan, screaming after he walks into the bathroom and detects President Trump’s waterlogged corpse mutely floating in his bathtub.”
Wow. Time will tell whether having President Trump drown in the Connor’s bathtub in a new way every single week will incentivize more left-leaning spectators to tune in, but in such polarized hours, it’s a noble move on ABC’s part either way. Other TV networks better take note, because ABC is bridging the divide between liberals and conservatives, and they’re build it appear easy, too!
Read more: www.clickhole.com
An Atheist Gave A ‘Prayer’ At A City Council Meeting, And The World Didn’t CollapseYesterday
Last week, members of the city council of Waterloo, Iowa, listened respectfully as an atheist offered them guidance according to his sincerely held notions. Then they proceeded with business as usual.
It was a historic occasion for Justin Scott, a is part of the Cedar Valley Atheists who made headlines earlier this year by confronting presidential candidates about their religion on the campaign trail. In February, Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart reinstated a policy of opening weekly council sessions with prayer. Though those messages have typically been religious in nature, the mayor invited Scott to deliver the city’s first-ever secular invocation.
“Let this chamber deliberate with the understanding that not everyone in the room shares the same values, the same life experiences, or same religious beliefs, ” said Scott. “These changes can help to enrich these governmental tasks, but only when they aren’t used to limit or censor free speech, disparage or treat certain groups as second-class citizens, or promote religious belief over non-belief or one religious belief over all the others.”
( Read Scott’s entire invocation below .)
The issue of legislative prayer has sparked contentious debate over the past year, as public officials have refused atheists the opportunity to partake in this aspect of civic life. The Supreme Court has ruled that prayer in government sessions does not were in violation of the separation of church and nation, so long as policies are nondiscriminatory. And while members of the secular community say this ruling entails it’s unconstitutional to bar them from giving invocations, some leaders are doing just that.
Last week, the nonprofit Freedom From Religion Foundation sued the chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives for blocking Dan Barker, the group’s co-president, from serving as a guest chaplain. Barker claims to have fulfilled the House chaplain’s requirements, but was denied because “hes having” “announced his atheism publicly.”
In Arizona , nonbelievers both in and out of government have similarly faced pushback in their attempts to participate in official the procedures that their foes say are explicitly forums for religious expression.
Scott told HuffPost he was expecting more resistance when he appeared at the city council last week, but instead got a relatively warm reception.( Though as the Friendly Atheist blog points out, one citizen later spoke out against letting an atheist to speak during “prayer” time .) The mayor was cordial in coordinating his invocation, Scott said, and agreed to follow up by proclaiming May 5 as a Day of Reason. The National Day of Prayer was recognise on the same day.
When Scott finished his address to lawmakers, there was no flame or brimstone. Instead, the mayor simply proceeded with the Pledge of Allegiance. In fact, the lack of controversy surrounding Scott’s presentation could speak to the debate among many atheists who say they want to be included in these ceremonies for the purposes of unity , not to divide or denigrate religion.
But while Scott recently wrote an op-ed characterizing his invocation as a small victory for nonbelievers in his community, he told HuffPost there’s still a long way to go. Nearly one-quarter of Americans now place themselves in the broad masses of the category of religion “nones” — those who are religiously unaffiliated or don’t believe in God — and despite their growing prominence, many people who identify with these views are still fighting for acceptance.
A recent Pew survey found that atheism was the most significant political liability among a range of possible traits — a trend borne out by the fact that there is not a single avowed atheist currently serving in Congress. This distrust extends beyond politics, with polling regularly showing that many Americans have negative opinions toward atheists in general.
“I can’t imagine being a 15 -year-old atheist in 2016, ” told Scott. “I don’t believe the country is getting more religious, but I suppose those who are religious are getting louder and they’re beating the drum louder and harder, and they’re trying to make it so that you’re either with us or against us.”
Scott wants atheists to continue speaking out publicly in order to depict other nonbelievers and those who may be questioning religion that there’s a place for them in society and in politics. While some religious politicians may insure Scott’s endeavors as a challenge to their beliefs, he says he’s only encouraging them to lead in a way that represents all of their constituents , not just those with whom they share a faith.
“I just didn’t want people to look back at my invocation and say, ‘Wow, that guy was an asshole, employing a bully pulpit to get this message across, ‘” he told HuffPost. “I feel like that would be ironic because a lot of atheists complain that there are church leaders who use their position to dictate government, politics, who to vote for and things like that. I wanted it to be a little critical, but I wanted it to be critical in the sense that each individual in that chamber has the ability to choose how they come to a decision. And at the end of the day, I’m just saying we can overcome more with reason instead of religion.”
Read a full transcript of Scott’s statements below :
I want to start off by only thanking you for this opportunity to hopefully offer an inspirational are beginning to your session tonight and do so from a minority point of view.
My name is Justin Scott. I am a proud atheist here in Waterloo. I stand before you all humbly representing the Cedar Valley Atheists, the Eastern Iowa Atheists, and the growing and vibrant secular community across Waterloo and the country of Iowa.
The secular community is made up of atheists, Agnostic, Humanists, secularists and skeptics predicated on community without the aid of the supernatural. It is also committed to defending and strengthening the separation of church and nation while promoting positive non-theism and critical reasoning. Irrespective of the label they identify with, these are happy, compassionate, and productive members of national societies, and I am proud to be representing them in this chamber tonight.
Let me begin. Tonight, as our elected official work to induce the best decisions for the city of Waterloo and the residents that call it home, instead of closing our eyes and bowing our heads in prayer, let us instead maintain focused on the serious issues that our city government faces. And as our elected officials take on these issues head on in their thankless postures, let us all espouse the indelible terms of some of the most influential freethinkers, past and present, starting with one of the leading astronomers of our time, Dr. Carl Sagan.
And I quote: “Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious.” End quote.
Regardless of the issues that get deliberated by this body tonight and in the future, regardless of its accomplishments and shortcomings, it’s with the sentiment of Dr. Sagan’s comment that this chamber should conduct its business tonight and going forward. Each of us in here and across this city is precious no citizen is more important than any other.
Let this chamber keep in intellect that with every yay or nay election, precious lives of Waterloo citizens will be affected. While coming to their decisions, this chamber should rely exclusively on reason, observation and experience, or, as Robert Ingersoll, “the Great Agnostic” of the mid-1 800 s, referred to as the “holy trinity of science.”
Let this chamber deliberate with the understanding that not everyone in the room shares the same values, the same life experiences, or same religious beliefs. These changes can help to enrich these governmental chores, but only when they aren’t used to limit or censor free speech, disparage or treat certain groups as second-class citizens, or promote religious belief over non-belief or one religious belief over all the others.
Let this chamber keep in intellect that in every circumstance the minority standpoint is just as valuable as the majority one. The their entitlements and dignity of all Waterloo citizens should be respected regardless of their race, gender identity, sexuality, religious belief, or lack thereof, for the future and wellbeing of our large city is enriched only when its diversity is embraced and equality for all is held as a guiding principle.
With that told, I appeal to this chamber to follow one of the many tenets of Humanism that reads, “We are concerned with procuring justice and fairness in society and with removing discrimination and intolerance.”
Let this chamber never be borne in mind that even though their beliefs often inspire their decisions, many decisions have real world implications so they should never be made in haste. Every decision attained in this chamber should be an expression of the results of informed reason, investigation, and skepticism. As the 18 th-century philosopher David Hume reminds us, “Reason is, and ought merely to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.”
Let this chamber never simply give in to the status quo as it can be a dangerous way of thinking and has historically been on the wrong side of history. Oftentimes the status quo is the result of cherished notions and an unwillingness to let go of those faiths, even for only a moment or for the sake of bending the arc of the moral universe towards justice.
Cherished notions have helped fuel the perceived superiority of the white man which droves millions of Native Americans off their native land. The status quo is what allowed African Americans to be counted as merely 3/5 ths of a person in the country they helped build and make. It’s what kept the voices of millions of women out of the voting booth. It’s what maintained our LGBT brothers and sisters from being treated with the dignity they deserve. And it’s what is currently keeping atheists and non-theists from being viewed as equals to everyone else in American society.
Just as you’ve greeted an atheist to take part in this invocation process for the first time, you are encouraged to build on tonight to construct your government even more open and accessible to more people which will help make it as inclusive as possible.
Open your limbs to other Waterloo citizens living in the shadows of a certain minority group together we truly will achieve more and the experience will be much more rewarding.
In closing, I’d like to leave you with a suppose from Thomas Paine, founding father of the United States and English-American political activist: “The world is my country, all mankind are my friends, and to do good is my religion.”
Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com
Frankly, I Don’t Want To Change MyselfYesterday
I don’t want to change who I am.
I ultimately like who I am. I don’t want to change any of it to please anyone. I don’t want to stop being nice so people can leave me alone. I don’t want to start playing games so I can be more attractive.
I don’t want to wear a mask that doesn’t fit me. I don’t want to play a role that isn’t mine .
Because I can be that person people want to me to be. I can be distant, aloof, manipulative and disingenuous but I’m selecting not to. I’m choosing to be me. I’m choosing to let my supposes flow freely and my terms come out unfiltered. I’m choosing to let my heart guide me and my intuition to lead the way.
I’d instead be myself and lose than lose myself to win .
I’d rather demonstrate to the world who I am and people could either take it or leave it. I refuse to change the proportions I love about myself. I refuse to let people destroy what took me years to build. I refuse to let people build me detest what took me years to love and accept. I refuse to mold myself into what someone wants me to be or who my father wanted me to be or who my boss believes I should be.
But what about who I want to be? What about the person I want to become? What about attracting like-minded people who like to be nice, kind, open and genuine? What about being someone who automatically rejects manipulative and shady people? Why do I have to give up all that? Why do I have to change all the parts of me that are working? All the parts of me that are appreciated and loved by the right people. All the dearest parts of me that I can’t let go.
I don’t want to change myself. It’s not international crimes to bide true to yourself. It’s not a crime to be a little stubborn with your character when people assault it. It’s not a crime to be “the worlds biggest” person or the kinder person or members of the public who cares more. It’s not international crimes to embrace who you are.
Sometimes I feel like it’s going to be my saving grace. I feel like it’s going to bring me closer to the right people. I feel like it’s going to set me apart from everyone when it comes to the things that are entail for me .
I don’t want to change myself simply because person disagrees or someone thinks I’d be more attractive if I cared a little less. I want to fight for who I am until the day I die. I want to fight for my heart. My belief. My impressions. My passion. My ideas. My words. My habits. My faith.
I don’t want to change myself right now. I want to fall in love with it the way I want someone to fall in love with me. I want to hold each part of it so tightly and never let go the style I want to be held. I want to be, for myself, people can’t be for me.
The beauty of art can counter Islamophobia- but it won’t be easy2 days ago
A Qatari-funded Arab and Islamic art museum is opening in New York to challenge delusions but has the US already made up its mind?
What kind of Islamic art has the power to open American hearts and intellects, at a time when Donald Trump has relaunched his attempt to ban entry from several Muslim-majority nations?
In May, a new Institute of Arab and Islamic Art, set up by Qatars Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Al-Thani, will open in downtown Manhattan. The timing is not accidental. Al-Thani is trying to humanise Islam and broaden perceptions of it in the US. He hopes the institute will not only showcase the breadth of art and culture from the Arab and Islamic worlds, but also challenge certain stereotypes and misconceptions that hinder cross-cultural appreciation, he told the Art Newspaper.
Some hope, you may say. The depth of prejudice flaunted by Trump( and apparently shared by many of his voters) is so aggressive in its refusal to engage with a complex world that it seems unlikely to be healed by a little bit of Islamic art in New York. Surely thats the wrong location, anyway the hearts and intellects that need opening are barely those of Manhattanites who voted Hillary.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
We Talked To ISIS Citizens: What You Won’t Hear In The News2 days ago
High School Students Send Racist Message With T-Shirts3 days ago
What should have been a fun photo shoot at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix turned ugly when several students used the letters on their T-shirts to spell out a racist term.
The roughly three dozen daughters in the original photo lined up in T-shirts each with a single letter or asterisk to spell out BEST* YOU’VE* EVER* SEEN* CLASS* OF* 2016:
— TylerBaldwin (@ tylerbaldwin) January 22, 2016
But six of students got together and decided to spell out a new word 😛 TAGEND
“I was shocked, ” freshman Jaden Phillips told the The Arizona Republic. “I didn’t expect that, white girls saying the N word.”
“I didn’t think it was funny at all, I thought it was very, very offensive, ” student Dejah Brightly told the paper.
District officials promised discipline.
“The event that took place today at Desert Vista will not be tolerated, ” Tempe Union Superintendent Kenneth R. Baca said in a statement. “It is unacceptable for any racial slur to be used regardless of intent. We need to understand that words matter. I can assure you the appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.”
While there are reports that the girls have been suspended for five days, different districts suggested otherwise.
Calling the disciplinary action “ongoing, ” the district wrote on Twitter: “We can’t be specific about the discipline, but can assure you it’s not what’s been reported.”
Some people want the district to come down hard on the girls as well as the administration. A petition on Change.org calling for the students to be expelled and principal Christine Barela to be fired garnered more than 35,000 signatures in two days.
As the tale induces national headlines, students have rallied to the defense of their school. The Desert Vista Black Student Union took to Twitter to say the incident doesn’t reflect the school’s culture 😛 TAGEND
The incident that occurred today at Desert Vista High School does not reflect the beliefs of the student body! pic.twitter.com/ WkOQpkqtaN
— DV BSU (@ dvhs_bsu) January 22, 2016
The organization is holding a session on Monday afternoon .
In addition, the school’s basketball coach shared an image depicting the team locking limbs, with the hashtag #talkitout.
— Tony Darden (@ CoachTDarden) January 23, 2016
But there were also the reporting of increased tensions at the school, and extra police were brought in for security.
ABC 15, for instance, captured footage of a shoving match that broke out at the school.
“Yeah it’s a bad, derogatory word and you never know it offends but it’s not that big of a deal to me, ” told a student, who appears to be black in the mosaicked video. He was then interrupted by a white student who stepped in front of the camera in an attempt to stop the interview 😛 TAGEND
— Lauren Vargas (@ LaurenABC1 5) January 23, 2016
Barela, the school’s principal, sent an email to mothers telling she shared the “outrage” and “disappointment” over the photo.
“We want to make it crystal clear those actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated at Desert Vista. Those actions do not represent who we are as a campus, ” Barela wrote. “While we don’t discuss individual discipline, we can tell you that in addition, the obvious need for sensitivity train will be addressed.”
Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com
The Repercussions Of Social Media Stalking Your Tinder Matches Before A Date3 days ago
I was created on the ideathat every date you go on is something like the movies. You fulfill at a coffee shop or a bookstore, and you get each others number.
Then, you go on a candlelit dinner date, where the guy is a gentleman and pulls your chair out for you. You guys talk, giggle and have SUCH a good time that, all of a sudden, youre wedded with children and have a golden retriever named Bailey or something.
Well, therefore welcomed 2017, where everyone and their mother has Tinder.( Yes, Ive seen this happen .)
Nothing is more terrifying and thrilling than going out with someone who swiped right on you based on your seems, and, of course, its only natural to want to get to knowsomeone more in depth before you risk your life trying to meet them.
So, you stalk their Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and by the time youre on your date, you know where he works, what restaurant hes lately been to, and the names of all his friends.
We are a generation interested in knowledge, and thats obviously OKwhen it comes to just trying tomake sure you feel safe before you go on a date.
But when you rely on their social media pages to create a personality, thats when theproblems begin.
Here are some reasons it might be good to just go with the flow and figure out who someone is in person instead of creeping on their social media accounts.
1. People Lie On Social Media
Theres a shocker.
Im so sorry to let you knowthatnot everyone is truthful with what they put on the internet. Iknow too many people who will post or tell things online only to seem cooler.
Its impossible to correctly judge or know someone just by looking at their Instagram or Twitter, so its best towait andsee if you have real-life chemistry before deciding whether or not your date is the right match for you.
2. YouMight Find Something You Dont Want To See
Whether yousee somethingthat changes your perception of the person or persons, like used to identify about a huge change in your notions, or youre freaked out by the number of Shrek memes they posted in the span of a day, it can be a huge disappointment and ruin your date before it even starts.
You let those annoying memes or politically heavy status get in the way of ensure who your dateis as a person not a social media page.You become judge-y, closed-minded and preoccupied withthings this person might have a reasonable explain for.
3. You Become More Focused On The Idea Of A Person Than The Actual Person
I cannot count on one hand the amount of hours Ive been on a date with someone from Tinder and learned theywere nothing like what they were on social media.
Of course, I assumed my date would be this amazing person who would take me hiking and out to cute, little cafe, like his paintings indicated. But instead, he was just a douche who wanted to have sex in a parking lot.
I, like many others, generated an illusion of someone based onan internet interaction. Ithought thepersonality they indicated on theirsocial feedswould be exactly how they werein real life, merely to find out Iwas wrong.
Get to know someone in person. Then, you wont be disappointed.
4. You Will Unavoidably Start Comparing Yourself To Their Ex
Ah, the old, Wait, am I as pretty as his ex? thought process has probably been around since the dinosaurs, and its something that continues to plague our existence.
Its just best to avoid this comparison game when youre trying to meet person new. After all, their relationship objective for a reason, so theres no need to be better than someone whos already out of the running.
So whats a cautious, interested, and curious girl to do when shes fulfilling a stranger and has easy access to their online profiles?
Obviously, a little digital diligence can save you from some kind of disaster date( e.g. the guy has a girlfriend, serious ties to organized crime, is a misogynist/ playboy, or even an ax assassin ). Butthen, you dont get thatexciting, suspenseful, mysterious feeling that comes with meeting person for the first time.
How do you not kill the mystery? Well, only try to enjoy yourself when you two meet one-on-one. Dont let the little telephone that rules our lives get in the way of having real chemistry with someone. You never know whom youre missing out on.
And as that old clich goes, you should never judge a book by its cover-up or by its social media feeds.
Don’t worry about AI running bad- the minds behind it are the hazard | John Naughton4 days ago
Killer robots remain a thing of futuristic nightmare. The real menace from artificial intelligence is far more immediate
As the science fiction novelist William Gibson famously find:” The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed .” I wish people would pay more attention to that adage whenever the subject of artificial intelligence( AI) comes up. Public discourse about it invariably focuses on the threat( or promise, depending on your point of view) of “superintelligent” machines, ie ones that display human-level general intelligence, even though such devices have been 20 to 50 years away ever since we first started worrying about them. The likelihood( or mirage) of such machines still remains a remote prospect, a phase made by the leading AI researcher Andrew Ng, who said that he worries about superintelligence in the same route that he frets about overpopulation on Mars.
That seems about right to me. If one were a conspiracy theorist, one might ask if our obsession with a highly speculative future has been intentionally orchestrated to divert attention from the fact- pace Mr Gibson- that lower-level but exceedingly powerful AI is already here and playing an ever-expanding role in shaping our economies, societies and politics. This technology is a combination of machine learning and big data and it’s everywhere, controlled and deployed by a handful of powerful corporations, with occasional walk-on components assigned to national security agencies.
These corporations consider this version of “weak” AI as the biggest thing since sliced bread. The CEO of Google burbles about” AI everywhere” in his company’s offerings. Same goes for the other digital giants. In the face of this hype onslaught, it takes a certain amount of heroism to stand up and ask awkward topics. If this stuff is so powerful, then surely we ought to be looking at how it is being used, asking whether it’s legal, ethical and good for society- and thinking about what will happen when it gets into the hands of people who are even worse than the folks who run the big tech firms. Because it will.
Fortunately, there are scholars who have started to ask these awkward topics. There are, for example, the researchers who work at AI Now, a research institute at New York University focused on the social implications of AI. Their 2017 report attains interesting reading. Last week assured the publication of more in the same vein- a new critique of the technology by 26 experts from six major universities, plus a number of independent thinktanks and NGOs.
Its title- The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention and Mitigation- tells it all. The report fills a serious gap in our thinking about this stuff. We’ve heard the hype, corporate and governmental, about the wonderful things AI can supposedly do and we’ve begun to pay attention to the unintentional downsides of legitimate applications of the technology. Now the time has come to pay attention to the really malign things bad actors could do with it.
The report looks at three main “domains” in which we can expect problems. One is digital security. The utilize of AI to automate chores involved in carrying out cyber-attacks will alleviate the existing trade-off between the scale and efficacy of attacks. We can also expect assaults that exploit human vulnerabilities( for example, through the use of speech synthesis for impersonation ), existing software vulnerabilities( through automated hacking) or the vulnerabilities of legitimate AI systems( through corruption of the data rivers on which machine learning depends ).
A second threat domain is physical security- assaults with dronings and autonomous weapons systems.( Think v2. 0 of the hobbyist dronings that Isis deployed, but this time with face-recognition technology on board .) We can also expect new various kinds of attacks that subvert physical systems- causing autonomous vehicles to accident, say- or ones deploying physical systems that would be impossible to remotely control from a distance: a thousand-strong swarm of micro-drones, for example.
Finally, there’s what the authors call” political security”- using AI to automate tasks involved in surveillance, persuasion( creating targeted propaganda) and misrepresentation( eg, manipulating videos ). We can also expect new kinds of attack based on machine-learning’s capability to infer human behaviours, moods and beliefs from available data. This technology will obviously be welcomed by authoritarian countries, but it will also further undermine the capacities of republics to sustain truthful public debates. The bots and fake Facebook accounts that currently pollute our public sphere will look awfully amateurish in a couple of years.
The report is available as a free download and is worth read in full. If it were about the dangers of future or speculative technologies, then it might be reasonable to reject it as academic scare-mongering. The alarming thing is most of the problematic capabilities that its authors envisage are already available and in many cases are currently embedded in many of the networked services that we use every day. William Gibson was right: the future has already arrived.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
The Unhealthiest State in America Has the Best Vaccination Rate5 days ago
In October, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention( CDC) released its state-by-state comparison of immunization rates among kindergartners for the 2016 -1 7 school year, one state shone above the rest–Mississippi, where rates for childhood vaccines were 99.4 percentage for each of the vaccines evaluated.
For context, every country had high immunization rates, with none dipping below 84 percentage. But Mississippi was a surprise leader in vaccinations. Between 2012 and 2014, the nation ranked dead last in overall health rankings. Mississippi’s efficiency at immunizing its infants is therefore puzzling: How did a country with the worst overall health in the nation score the best vaccination rates?
The answer can be found in a single event that occurred on Dec. 19, 1979.
In the late 1970 s, 6-year-old Chad Brown was denied entryway to the first grade because his father, Dr. Charles Brown, had chosen not to vaccinate him. Dr. Brown, a chiropractor from Houston, Mississippi, was a strong opponent of inoculations. Brown sued Joe Stone, who represented the Houston Municipal School District. The occurrence, known as Brown v. Stone , ran its style up to the Mississippi Supreme Court, representing a rare moment in U.S. jurisprudence where parental responsibilities trumped parental rights.
When Charles Brown chose not to immunize his son, residents of Mississippi were allowed to exempt their children from vaccination based on their religious beliefs. The religious belief ordinance , among other things, that” a certification of religious exemption may be offered on behalf of a child by an officer of a church of a recognise denomination .” Not all religions qualified. The faith ordinance also stated that the” certification shall certify that parents or protectors of the child are bona fide members of a recognise denomination whose religious teaches require reliance on prayer or spiritual the ways and means of mending .” In other words: faith healers. Charles Brown was a member of the Church of Christ, which did not specifically prohibit the use of modern medications, including vaccines.
Brown argued that the Mississippi code was unconstitutional because it infringed the First Amendment, which prevented” Congress from making any law regarding the establishment of religion or proscribing the free exercise of religion .” Brown claimed that his personal religious beliefs caused him to repudiate vaccines–even if the Church of Christ didn’t share his views–and that Mississippi’s religion exemption statute had placed one organized religion( faith healers) above another( non-faith healers ). He argued that by forcing him to join a different religious group to exempt his son from inoculations, the nation of Mississippi had made a law that prohibited his free exercise of religion.
Brown and his lawyers were confident that they would win the case. But it didn’t work out that style. Instead of focusing on the First Amendment as expected, Mississippi Supreme Court justices focused on the 14 th Amendment, which states in part that no U.S. citizen” shall be denied equal protection under the law .” In other words, if a parent harbors a religious belief that contradicts a basic renter of modern medication, and that notion puts the child in harm’s way, the state has a right to protect the child from the irresponsible acts of the parent.
In Brown v. Stone , the Mississippi justices argued that all mothers have a duty to” provide the child with food, clothing, and shelter and to protect the child from preventable exposure to danger, disease, and mortality .” Further, they argued that this duty takes precedence over a religious belief that is denying that duty.
Mississippi justices took one more step, arguing that parents claiming a religion exemption to vaccination were making a decision for other children as well. The justices argued that if they granted Charles Brown the exception that he tried, it” would discriminate against the great majority of children whose parents have no such religious convictions[ and] expose[ these other children] to the hazard of associating in school with children exempted under the religious exemption …”
In 1979, the country of Mississippi argued that children whose mothers hold ill-founded and potentially dangerous beliefs–whether shawl in the robe of religion or not–shouldn’t be afforded less protection under the law. In essence, they argued that although mothers can determine how a child lives, they can’t determine whether the child has the right to a life unhindered by preventable diseases.
Today, 47 states have religious exemptions to vaccination. Using religion as an excuse to perform a profoundly unreligious act, parents in these states have the right to allow their children to catch and transmit potentially life-threatening infections. Our country would do well to follow the state that stood up for its children in 1979.
Read more: www.thedailybeast.com