This Is How You Get Fleeced

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wants to repeal net neutrality classification and just have ISP promise sweetly to keep the Internet open. We can trust them to do that, right? I mean, sure, they've argued all along that they don't want an open Internet, and they stand to make a lot of money if net neutrality dies - without even doing anything! - but if they promise to be nice...totally trustworthy and who needs government protections when Big Business comes to play?


Pretty picture time:

  • Library Land
    • How a Browser Extension Could Shake Up Academic Publishing "When an Unpaywall user lands on the page of a research article, the software scours thousands of institutional repositories, preprint servers, and websites like PubMed Central to see if an open-access copy of the article is available. If it is, users can click a small green tab on the side of the screen to view a PDF." Love it!
    • Library of Congress Digitizes 19th-Century Photos of Black Women Activists "The Library of Congress recently digitized rare 19th-century photographs of African American women active in suffrage, civil rights, temperance, education, reform, and journalism." Awesome!
    • I set a rather...ambitious...reading goal for myself on Goodreads; I need this list: The Little List: 11 Short Books with Big Stories 
    • Cool to Be Kind: Children’s Books That Champion Kindness  "We tell our kids that what goes around comes around. If you want to be treated with kindness, you need to treat others with kindness. We’ve been successful for the most part, but kids make mistakes (who doesn’t?) and need a refresher now and then." We could use a bit more kindness in the world. Check out the list - and maybe pick up one or three for your kids (or yourself, if you need to remember there's some kindness in the world, after all).
  • Health, Science, & Technology
    • As Measles Surges In Europe, Officials Brace For A Rough Year "And the problem isn't just in Europe. Guinea is battling a widespread outbreak, with nearly 3,500 confirmed cases, Doctors Without Borders reports. Nigeria is having an emergency campaign to vaccinate 4 million kids after an outbreak flared up in a region crippled by violence. And Mongolia — which was declared measles-free in 2014 — is still reeling from a massive outbreak nearly 20,000 cases. In other words, 2017 is shaping to be bad year for the measles worldwide, says Dr. Seth Berkley, who leads the nonprofit Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, devoted to vaccinating children worldwide.  There's one big reason why: Vaccine rates around the world have stalled, Berkley says.... 'You don't even need to be in the same room with a sick person to catch measles,' Berkley says. 'If you were to leave a doctor's office and someone came an hour later, that person could catch measles just from the virus left in the air.'"
    • Rich Americans live up to 15 years longer than poor peers, studies find "Increasing inequality means wealthy Americans can now expect to live up to 15 years longer than their poor counterparts.... Researchers said these disparities appear to be worsened by the American health system itself, which relies on for-profit insurance companies, and is the most expensive in the world. Their conclusion? Treat healthcare as a human right." It's almost like single-payer healthcare is good for people! (Actually, it's exactly like that...)
    • The WSJ’s “Phony” Internet Privacy Op-Ed "On March 31st, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed claiming to 'add a few facts' to the discussion over S.J. Res. 34, which undoes Obama-era FCC protections for consumer internet privacy. Unfortunately, the Wall Street Journal’s fact-finding mission is fundamentally marred by inaccuracies of its own." An excellent article - go read it. Go ahead. I'll wait.
    • U.S. Blinks in Clash With Twitter; Drops Order to Unmask Anti-Trump Account  "Customs and Border Protection on Friday withdrew its demand that Twitter unmask the anonymous account, a day after the social media company sued the government to block the summons.... The government’s move defused a potential standoff pitting a presidential administration that has tried to clamp down on leaks against a technology company with a history of defending its users’ First Amendment rights."
  • Randomnesses
    • Why Expertise Matters "By definition, an expert is someone whose learning and experience lets them understand a subject deeper than you or I do (assuming we're not an expert in that subject, too). The weird thing about having to write this essay at all is this: Who would have a problem with that? Doesn't everyone want their brain surgery done by an expert surgeon rather than the guy who fixes their brakes? On the other hand, doesn't everyone want their brakes fixed by an expert auto mechanic rather than a brain surgeon who has never fixed a flat? Every day, all of us entrust our lives to experts from airline pilots to pharmacists. Yet, somehow, we've come to a point where people can put their ignorance on a subject of national importance on display for all to see — and then call it a virtue." 
    • 5 further pitches by the creatives behind that Pepsi ad I love the snark.
      • Related: Hey, Pepsi. Here Are 25 Free Ideas. Take Them. Please. "I’d estimate that Pepsi spent somewhere in the $5–10million range in production on that spot (including talent fees for Ms. Jenner, civil rights activist). It’s also not hard to imagine that there was a $20million media buy associated with the campaign. That means Pepsi effectively flushed $30million down the toilet. What could Pepsi have done with $30million that would’ve been better for their brand? Lots of things! Here are 25 ways that Pepsi could’ve spent that money." Some of these are actually really good ideas; others are snarky. Hurrah!
    • Ice-Age Village in Canada is One of Oldest North American Settlements  "According to the oral tradition of the Heiltsuk Nation, an aboriginal group on British Columbia’s Central Coast, some of their earliest ancestors survived the last ice age by huddling on a strip of land that never froze, even as glaciers covered most of the rest of North America." A neat myth, right? "Now, a team of archaeologists digging on Triquet Island has discovered evidence to back up that legend." Oh. OK, then. 
    • Why people with no religion are projected to decline as a share of the world’s population  "To be clear, the total number of religiously unaffiliated people (which includes atheists, agnostics and those who do not identify with any religion in particular) is expected to rise in absolute terms, from 1.17 billion in 2015 to 1.20 billion in 2060. But this growth is projected to occur at the same time that other religious groups – and the global population overall – are growing even faster."
  • U.S. News
    • Syria gets its own subcategory here: 
      • U.S. strikes Syrian military airfield in first direct assault on Bashar al-Assad’s government "The U.S. military launched 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian military airfield early Friday in the first direct American assault on the government of President Bashar al-Assad since that country’s civil war began nearly six years ago.... It was not immediately clear whether Friday’s assault marked the beginning of a broader campaign against the Assad government."
      • White House has no clear plan for next steps in Syria after missile strike "The White House appeared to back away from wider military involvement in Syria less than 24 hours after launching Tomahawk missiles at one of Bashar al-Assad’s airbases.  The press secretary, Sean Spicer, refused to discuss any next steps – military or diplomatic – by the US in Syria, as the world struggled to understand Trump’s policy toward the grueling civil war.... Trump’s missile barrage suggested a reversal from his previous indifference to Assad’s continued rule; the US president now faces conflicting demands from Congress to escalate militarily – and from Russia to back down.  Humanitarians, meanwhile, are demanding evidence of a strategy to end the conflict peacefully."
      • Russia Says U.S. Broke International Law In Striking Syria, Citing 'Pretext' "Before the U.N. session began, Russia notified the U.S.-led coalition in Syria that it intends to suspend the 'deconfliction channel' that was created to prevent unintentional encounters between U.S. and Russian forces that are operating in the same country." 
      • Was the U.S. Missile Strike on Syria Legal? "Legal experts differ on whether Thursday's cruise missile strike on a Syrian airfield violated U.S. or international law.  But they largely agree that even if it did, there won't be any practical legal consequences."
      • The US warned the Russians ahead of Syria missile strikes Related? Eyewitness says Syrian military anticipated U.S. raid "Syrian military officials appeared to anticipate Thursday night's raid on Syria's Shayrat air base, evacuating personnel and moving equipment ahead of the strike, according to an eyewitness."
    • More immigrants afraid to show up for ICE check-ins  Undocumented immigrants, who have been working with the government to stay in the country with their spouses and children, are now terrified to do so. These are not "bad hombres" - these are business owners, mothers and fathers, who, in many cases, were brought here as children and have lived here long enough to have children of their own. They have nothing to go "back" to - this is their home. These are their communities. And now many are going into hiding. It's a catch-22 - if they go into hiding, they're not checking in like they're supposed to; if they check in, they face deportation, and forced abandonment of their families. '"What would you do?' said longtime immigration attorney Kalman Resnick. 'Go get deported, go to the horrible violence and poverty of much of Central America and Mexico, to horrible instability and no jobs?'"
    • Maryland governor signs fracking ban into law "Maryland is now only the second state in the country to ban fracking, after New York established a similar ban in 2015." Go, Maryland!
      ...[A]nti-fracking advocates celebrated the move as one designed to protect public health and the environment.

      Hogan agreed with that viewpoint when he announced in March that he would support a fracking ban. 

      “The possible environmental risks of fracking simply outweigh any potential benefits,” Hogan said then, calling the bill in the Democratically controlled Legislature an “important initiative to safeguard our environment.”
      He added, “Protecting our clean water supply and our natural resources is critically important to Marylanders, and we simply cannot allow the door to be open for fracking in our state.”


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