Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Tennessee police to perform "no refusal" blood-draw DUI checkpoints this Labor Day -

Low-wage Facebook contractor leaks secret censorship list -

Low-wage Facebook contractor leaks secret censorship list - 

A secret list curated by social network giant Facebook was published online recently after an employee for one of the company’s third-world contractors, upset at his poor working conditions and meager wage, decided to fight back.

The document reveals exactly what Facebook’s censorship brigade looks for on the social network, which boasts over 850 million users spanning the globe.

Referred to internally as the “bible,” the list prioritizes deletion of materials pertaining to Holocaust denial, graphic nudity, depictions of any sexual fetish, racial slurs and bullying — all of which are unsurprising — but a few of the other entries are raising eyebrows.

Namely, female nipples or even the impressions of nipples under clothing are unacceptable to Facebook censors, whereas male nipples are fine. Images of breast feeding, too, are forbidden if they show an exposed nipple. “Crushed heads” and mutilated limbs are also fine, so long as the person posting such images does not express delight and no internal organs are visible. The list specifically says that on this point, no exceptions would be made for news media.

Also verboten: images of bodily fluids, including ear wax and pus; dead animals; advocacy of violence; advocacy of eating disorders; racial jokes where “the humor is not evident”; and “any photoshopped images of people, whether negative, positive or neutral”; “pixelated or black-barred content showing nudity or sexual activity”; “digital/cartoon nudity”; and images of drunk or sleeping people with “things drawn on their faces.”

All that aside, images depicting marijuana use are fine, unless an individual appears to be growing, buying or selling the drug. “Art nudity” is okay, and so are videos of schoolyard fights — unless the video was posted with the intent to humiliate another user.

The list’s disclosure by gossip blog Gawker marks the first time that the public has been given a glimpse at the inner-workings of the planet’s largest social network.

Facebook has long been criticized by free speech activists for barring images of breast feeding and deleting accounts created by Palestinian resistance groups, but since it is a private company, Facebook is allowed to obstruct virtually any content it wishes.

The list also shines a light on Facebook’s darker underbelly: how it uses third-world laborers to police first-world content.

Amine Derkaoui, the 21-year-old Moroccan who leaked the document, claimed he was hired by a firm Facebook uses to outsource content policing, only to be paid $1 an hour for his efforts.

“They are just exploiting the third world,” he told Gawker.

Facebook’s media relations department did not respond to a request for comment.

Facebook’s application for an initial public offering (IPO) on the U.S. stock markets was valued earlier this month at somewhere between $75 billion and $100 billion, making it the largest IPO request ever. Shares in the company are expected to go up for sale later this year. Facebook said it made over $3.71 billion in 2011, largely from advertising fees.


Air National Guard Accidentally Drops 'Practice' Bomb Into Bar Parking Lot... -

Air National Guard Accidentally Drops 'Practice' Bomb Into Bar Parking Lot... - 

A freak accident in the skies over Maryland’s Eastern Shore. A military plane drops a “practice” bomb into a Queen Anne’s County parking lot, narrowly missing cars and people.

The National Guard now admits—it could have been a disaster.

Monique Griego has the eyewitness accounts.

The practice bomb was part of a training exercise. But when it fell from the sky, patrons had no idea what it was or where it came from.

A run of the mill Thursday night at Darlene’s Tavern in Sudlersville—interrupted by a sudden impact.

“It is crazy. I never would have thought this,” said Lena Hartlove, co-owner.

Just after 9 p.m., surveillance video shows stunned patrons looking on as gray smoke billows from the parking lot.

“There was debris all over everybody’s vehicles and everything,” said Hartlove.

“We seen the big hole. And it was about two and a half feet deep and about two foot wide,” co-owner Darlene Hurley said.

Owner Darlene Hurley called police. Soon, the bomb squad was digging and she couldn’t believe what they found.

“They dug it they came to end of the bomb… the four little prongs,” she said.

That’s right—a bomb. But the Maryland National Guard soon confirmed it was a fake one.

“There was nothing on it that was explosive. It had metal fins. That’s pretty much it,” said Lt. Col. Charles S. Kohler, Md. National Guard.

The hole the bomb made has already been covered up. But according to military leaders, before it crash landed in the parking lot, it was on a jet on its way back from a training exercise out of Air National Guard base in Middle River.

“This was a night-time mission where they were dropping ordnances on a range. And unfortunately, this incident occurred,” said Kohler.

“I was just thanking God it wasn’t closer to the bar because there were people sitting up at the picnic tables when this happened,” Hartlove said.

But with the danger gone, the bomb is still the buzz around the small town.

“The bomb squad told us we should rename the bar the ‘Bulls-eye.’ It’s just non-stop,” said Hurley.

Military leaders say the pilots involved in the training exercise were extremely experienced,. And once they realized there may have been a malfunction, they avoided any densely populated areas.

The National Guard also says it’s still investigating what happened, but a mechanical malfunction may be to blame.

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To pee or not to pee: Women sell positive pregnancy tests on Craigslist for $25 each -

To pee or not to pee: Women sell positive pregnancy tests on Craigslist for $25 each - 

A number of women across the country have listed their positive pregnancy tests for sale on Craigslist. 
One expectant mother in the Buffalo, New York area is selling her used sticks for $25 each, The Daily Dot reports. 
Another New Jersey mom writes: 'Wanna get your boyfriend to finally pop the question? Play a trick on mom, dad or one of your friends? 

Scrolling through the site, there appears to be no shortage of sellers- and many are aware that their customers could be using the tests for dubious reasons. 
'I'm pregnant and will sell you my positive pregnancy test for $20,' one woman on Manhattan's Lower East Side writes. 'I don't care what you need them for.' 

One Los Angeles woman offers to buy a pregnancy test for $20 'to make a video on teen pregnancy' for her local boys and girls club, which commenters point out seems suspect. 
Another Dallas-based buyer is motivated by revenge, because after five years and two children with her ex-boyfriend, he came home and told her that he got his receptionist pregnant. 
'We had been trying for another [baby]' she writes. 
'He texted and said he isn't sure who he wants to be with and I think I handled it well for what a cheating lying dog he is. I would like the last laugh out of this. I will give some girl $40.'


First papal 'selfie' goes viral... -

First papal 'selfie' goes viral... - 

Pope Francis has broken protocol once again, appearing with a puzzled look on his face in a "selfie" photo taken with a group of teenagers visiting the Vatican.

The picture appeared on the Facebook page of one of the youngsters, who used it as his profile picture, and was going viral on social media on Saturday.

The picture comes in the same week that the Oxford English Dictionary included the word "selfie" to denote a self-taken photograph on a smartphone.

The young believers were part of a church group from northern Italy who met with the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics on Wednesday and were seen going up to him afterwards to take their photo.

"There is no marketing behind these actions. The pope clearly likes being with people while his predecessor liked being with books," said Beppe Severgnini, columnist for the Corriere della Sera daily.

The 76-year-old pope, Latin America's first pontiff, has repeatedly broken with Vatican tradition since being elected in March, including regularly picking up the phone and calling ordinary people who write to him.

The photo prompted bemused reactions on Twitter, with one user saying "Now I've seen everything" and another quipping: "It's the end of the world as we know it."

Read more -