Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Apr 14, 2016 Investigating the algorithms that govern our lives
QUOTE: Venkatasubramanian is a computer science professor at the University of Utah. He’s someone who thinks about algorithmic fairness, ever since he read a short story by Cory Doctorow published in 2006, called “Human Readable.” The story takes place in a future world, similar to ours, but in which all national infrastructure (traffic, email, the media, etc.) is run by “centralized emergent networks,” modeled after ant colonies. Or in other words: a network of algorithms. The plot revolves around two lovers: a network engineer who is certain the system is incorruptible, and a lawyer who knows it’s already been corrupted. “It got me thinking,” says Venkatasubramanian. “What happens if we live in a world that is totally driven by algorithms?”
Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) Nov 26, 2015 One concept will dominate the Paris climate talks, and it has nothing to do with the climate
QUOTE: concept is “differentiation.” But we all call it fairness. Developed countries have benefitted from emitting unlimited carbon until quite recently, reaping the economic rewards. Now, countries like India want to lift millions out of poverty. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to emit as much as their predecessors on the path to prosperity?
Quartz Oct 09, 2015 Companies Lie. Some Get Away With It.
QUOTE: a large corporation had once tasked him with shutting down a major division, but had also instructed him to deny that he was there for that purpose. If asked by anyone -- workers, suppliers, customers -- whether the division would close, he was to say no. Not refuse to comment. Actually lie.
Bloomberg View Jul 21, 2015 The Myth of the Ethical Shopper We're still trying to eliminate sweatshops and child labor by buying right. But that's not how the world works in 2015.
QUOTE: ...for a while there, it worked. The major apparel companies adopted codes of conduct, first banning just the most egregious stuff—workers under 16, forced overtime—then expanding to health and safety, environmental protection and social investment....I spoke with more than 30 company reps, factory auditors and researchers and read dozens of studies describing what has happened in those sweatshops since they became a cultural fixation three decades ago. All these sources led me to the same conclusion: Boycotts have failed. Our clothes are being made in ways that advocacy campaigns can’t affect and in places they can’t reach. So how are we going to stop sweatshops now?
Huffington Post May 06, 2015 The retirement debate: Stay at the bench, or make way for the next generation: When and how to exit research has become a charged issue in science.
QUOTE: Out of concern that this greying scientific workforce is limiting the availability of grants and jobs for young scientists, the NIH this year proposed a solution: an 'emeritus' award to encourage senior scientists to wind down their research and hand projects over to junior faculty members. It was met with overwhelming disapproval....The issues faced by older scientists can vary dramatically by country...
Nature Mar 05, 2015 Companies Turn Tables on Human Rights Lawyers
QUOTE: mounting difficulties facing a small group of plaintiffs’ lawyers who have carved out a niche suing multinational corporations on charges that they violated human rights overseas. The biggest setback for this kind of litigation came two years ago when the Supreme Court sharply limited the use of an obscure law adopted in 1789, the Alien Tort Statute, to bring international claims in American courts. Meanwhile, a number of controversies involving Mr. Collingsworth and other lawyers have cast a shadow over the field and made it possible for companies to mount counterattacks.
New York Times Aug 14, 2014 Founder Of One Laptop Per Child: Maybe Net Neutrality Isn’t Such A Good Idea After All
QUOTE: What we need, then, is some kind of middle ground, Negroponte suggests — but he also doesn’t quite suggest where that might be. Instead, he likens available bandwidth to a limited natural physical resource. If it’s immoral to use up all of the air, or water, or oil on frivolous things, is it perhaps also immoral to use up the internet?
Consumerist Jun 15, 2014 The True Cost of Hidden Money A Piketty Protégé’s Theory on Tax Havens (Op-Ed)
QUOTE: ...$7.6 trillion — 8 percent of the world’s personal financial wealth — is stashed in tax havens. If all of this illegally hidden money were properly recorded and taxed, global tax revenues would grow by more than $200 billion a year, he believes. And these numbers do not include much larger corporate tax avoidance, which usually follows the letter but hardly the spirit of the law. According to Mr. Zucman’s calculations, 20 percent of all corporate profits in the United States are shifted offshore
New York Times May 29, 2014 Why US companies can earn $51 billion in the Cayman Islands even though its GDP is only $3 billion
QUOTE: The foreign subsidiaries of US corporations made $94 billion in Bermuda in 2010, the latest year we have data for. That’s incredible work, since only $6 billion of goods and services were produced on the island that year. What does that tell us? It tells us that something fishy is going on.
Quartz Feb 02, 2014 PSA: Missed Call From A Mystery Number? Be Careful.
QUOTE: But this is the first time I’ve seen them boil it down to a simple missed call. It plays on the ubiquity of smartphones, and that… no one really calls each other anymore....How To Avoid Gettin’ Scammed:
TechCrunch Dec 27, 2013 How Worried Should We Be About the Alleged RSA-NSA Scheming?
QUOTE: If the NSA sabotaged a secure random number generator in a widely used commercial library, it used an extremely blunt instrument....There’s far more at stake here than NSA’s reputation or RSA’s and other U.S. business interests, however. We urgently need NSA and RSA to come clean with the public so we can begin to unravel the damage that’s been done to the basic mechanisms of trust in our online world.
Wired Dec 19, 2013 The Nazi Art Theft Crisis in Europe
QUOTE: For decades, the keepers of Nazi-looted art have been biding their time until various statutes of limitations lapsed. They have hidden behind archaic laws that complicate the return of looted works of art to their rightful owners—or have simply refused to investigate red flags....However, our hyper-viral media landscape has revealed the shenanigans of the art world to a larger and less tolerant audience
Time Magazine Dec 16, 2013 Glaxo Says It Will Stop Paying Doctors to Promote Drugs
QUOTE: The British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will no longer pay doctors to promote its products and will stop tying compensation of sales representatives to the number of prescriptions doctors write, its chief executive said Monday, effectively ending two common industry practices that critics have long assailed as troublesome conflicts of interest.
New York Times Dec 13, 2013 Twitter Reverses Privacy Change in Response to User Complaints
QUOTE: Before, a blocked user could not interact with the person who blocked them, and could tell that they had been blocked. Under the short-lived change, blocked users would not know they had been blocked. They could view and send tweets to the person who blocked them, but those tweets would have been invisible to that person.
New York Times Nov 20, 2013 For Some, Paying Sales Commissions No Longer Makes Sense
QUOTE: The proponents of ditching commissions believe they foster negative behaviors, such as focusing on an individual’s profit over the company’s, emphasizing short-term outcomes and encouraging unproductive competition among sales representatives.
New York Times Nov 16, 2013 Growing Clamor About Inequities of Climate Crisis
QUOTE: From the time a scientific consensus emerged that human activity was changing the climate, it has been understood that the nations that contributed least to the problem would be hurt the most. Now, even as the possible consequences of climate change have surged — from the typhoons that have raked the Philippines and India this year to the droughts in Africa, to rising sea levels that threaten to submerge entire island nations — no consensus has emerged over how to rectify what many call “climate injustice.”
New York Times Nov 15, 2013 Japan Backs Off From Emissions Targets, Citing Fukushima Disaster
QUOTE: Japan took a major step back on Friday from earlier pledges to slash its greenhouse gas emissions, saying a shutdown of its nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima disaster had made previous targets unattainable. The announcement cast a shadow over international talks underway in Warsaw aimed at fashioning a new global pact to address the threats of a changing climate.
New York Times Oct 28, 2013 Mozilla sheds a light(beam) on Web privacy: Lightbeam plug-in for Firefox shows who's watching when you log into your favorite sites, encourages users to anonymously submit tracking data
QUOTE: [Lightbeam for Firefox] add-on shows, graphically, how the sites you visit interact with other sites -- and how tracking information may be gathered in the process, often from multiple sites at once without your knowledge.
InfoWorld Oct 11, 2013 Google to Sell Users’ Endorsements
QUOTE: Google on Friday announced that it would soon be able to show users’ names, photos, ratings and comments in ads across the Web, endorsing marketers’ products. Facebook already runs similar endorsement ads. But on Thursday it, too, took a step to show personal information more broadly by changing its search settings to make it harder for users to hide from other people trying to find them on the social network.
New York Times Oct 10, 2013 Rabbis plotted to kidnap husbands, force divorces, FBI says
QUOTE: A group of rabbis face kidnapping charges after allegedly arranging assaults of Orthodox Jewish husbands to persuade them to grant divorces to their wives, authorities said Thursday....Their goal? To obtain "gets," a document that Jewish law requires a husband to present to his wife in order to be issued a divorce, the complaint says.
CNN (Cable News Network) Sep 24, 2013 Don't get blind-sided by hidden travel fees
QUOTE: That cheap rate on the screen rarely includes all fees. Without the help of a knowledgeable travel agent or a resource like NerdWallet that compares fees for a given airline route, it's challenging to calculate your total cost. Hotels, cruises and especially airlines like this model because fees have allowed them to stay profitable while slashing their base prices to appear competitive.
CNN/Money Magazine Sep 20, 2013 Fukushima Forever
QUOTE: Fukushima is just the latest episode in a dangerous dance with radiation that has been going on for 68 years. Since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945 we have repeatedly let loose plutonium and other radioactive substances on our planet, and authorities have repeatedly denied or trivialized their dangers. The authorities include national governments (the U.S., Japan, the Soviet Union/ Russia, England, France and Germany); the worldwide nuclear power industry; and some scientists both in and outside of these governments and the nuclear power industry. Denials and trivialization have continued with Fukushima.
Huffington Post Jul 30, 2013 Car hacking scientists agree to delay paper that could unlock Porsches University of Birmingham and Dutch university say they will respect injunction from High Court to stop paper that could detail ho
QUOTE: The University of Birmingham says it will defer any publication of an academic paper which reveals secret codes to bypass the security on top-end cars including Porsches and Bentleys following a high court injunction....The Guardian's article has prompted a massive debate about the balancing interests of industry and those of scientists, a debate that has infected all sectors ranging from medicine to car manufacturing.
Guardian Unlimited Jun 23, 2013 Anger mounts after Facebook's 'shadow profiles' leak in bug
QUOTE: Facebook said Friday it fixed a bug that exposed contact info for over six million accounts. The admission revealed its 'shadow profile' data collection activities, and users are furious.
ZDnet May 28, 2013 WHO calls Middle Eastern virus, MERS, ‘threat to the entire world’ as death toll rises: The SARS-like virus has so far killed 24 people, more than half of those diagnosed.
QUOTE: ...the WHO says that more than half of the people who have been diagnosed with MERS have died. The organization said that 24 of 44 confirmed MERS cases have ended in death. In a move that might complicate finding a vaccine, Dutch scientists have taken the unusual step of patenting the killer virus.
New York Daily News May 01, 2013 Cellphone Thefts Grow, but the Industry Looks the Other Way
QUOTE: new nationwide database for stolen cellphones, which tracks a phone’s unique identifying number to prevent it from being activated, theoretically discouraging thefts. But police officials say the database has not helped....Some law enforcement authorities, though, say there is a bigger issue — that carriers and handset makers have little incentive to fix the problem.
New York Times Mar 08, 2013 Skype's Been Hijacked in China, and Microsoft Is O.K. With It
QUOTE: a conflict between Microsoft’s advocacy of privacy rights and its role in surveillance....When Internet users in China try to access Skype.com, they’re diverted to the TOM-Skype site. While the Chinese version bears the blue Skype logo—and provides services for online phone calls and text chats—it’s a modified version of the program found elsewhere in the world. The surveillance feature in TOM-Skype conducts the monitoring directly on a user’s computer...
BusinessWeek Feb 20, 2013 Trial Offers Rare Look at Work of Hezbollah in Europe
QUOTE: less than two weeks after he was taken into custody, a bomb blew up alongside a bus at the airport in Burgas, Bulgaria, killing five Israeli tourists and the Bulgarian driver — an attack similar to the one he seemed to be planning, experts say, and one that the Bulgarian authorities later tied to Hezbollah.....significance for the European Union, which has thus far resisted following Washington’s lead in declaring the group a terrorist organization.
New York Times Feb 04, 2013 Match-fixing threatens 'integrity of football in Europe'
QUOTE: Recent match-fixing scandals have centered on South Korea and South Africa, but Europol believes the highest levels of the game are now no longer safe with alleged corruption in two Champions League matches discovered, including one played in England, with 680 games in all being probed across the globe. "This is the work of a suspected organized crime syndicate based in Asia and operated with criminal networks around Europe,"
CNN (Cable News Network) Jan 03, 2013 Was The FTC Too Easy On Google? Too Hard? FTC will not take action on search practices
QUOTE: the FTC finally made an announcement regarding its investigation of Google for alleged anticompetitive conduct. The investigation is now closed. The Commission will not be pursing antitrust litigation, and Google escaped without fines, and will make some minor voluntary changes regarding its search business.... Google has agreed to change some of the business practices to resolve the FTC’s concerns including those related to patents and what the FTC alls its “misuse of patent protection to prevent competition.”
WebProNews Dec 28, 2012 Creativity Springs From Careful Copying (Part 2)
QUOTE: Record companies, book publishers, movie studios and other media corporations are caught up in efforts to equate all copying of their works with theft. In fact, if we genuinely want to promote creativity, we must encourage copying. The idea that people copy because they lack creativity is powerfully harmful, and it runs counter to the history of copyright.
Bloomberg News Nov 30, 2012 Does Google the Link Lister Equal Google the Publisher?
QUOTE: s Google a publisher? Or is Google simply a displayer of links? Are these two things the same?...An Australian high court has found Google liable for libelous content tying a man to organized crime. Of course, Google didn’t create the article that made the references, it simply provided a link to it within its search results.
WebProNews Sep 13, 2012 Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital
QUOTE: the hypocrisy at the heart of Mitt Romney. Everyone knows that he is fantastically rich, having scored great success, the legend goes, as a "turnaround specialist," a shrewd financial operator who revived moribund companies as a high-priced consultant for a storied Wall Street private equity firm. But what most voters don't know is the way Mitt Romney actually made his fortune: by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back.... Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth.
Rolling Stone Aug 31, 2012 The Evolution of Fairness
QUOTE: A multimedia investigation asks: Can examining how inequality began in a hunter-gatherer society teach us how to fairly share the costs and consequences of how we use diminishing natural resources?
Pacific Standard Aug 01, 2012 Where the Money Lives
QUOTE: For all Mitt Romney’s touting of his business record, when it comes to his own money the Republican nominee is remarkably shy about disclosing numbers and investments. Nicholas Shaxson delves into the murky world of offshore finance, revealing loopholes that allow the very wealthy to skirt tax laws, and investigating just how much of Romney’s fortune (with $30 million in Bain Capital funds in the Cayman Islands alone?) looks pretty strange for a presidential candidate.
Vanity Fair Aug 01, 2012 Saudi women going to Games is a sham
QUOTE: Saudi women in general are denied the right to practice sports. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that prevents girls from taking part in sports in government schools.
CNN (Cable News Network) Jul 26, 2012 The Real Problem With Offshore Tax Havens
QUOTE: one doesn’t necessarily have to fly to the Channel Islands with a bag of cash to stash ill-gotten gains or evade the taxman anymore. The past 30 years have seen the evolution of a mainstream financial system that is global in scope and that through secrecy and complexity has enabled itself to profit handsomely off of the tax evasion of the world’s richest citizens.
Time Magazine Jul 21, 2012 £13tn: hoard hidden from taxman by global elite • Study estimates staggering size of offshore economy • Private banks help wealthiest to move cash into havens
QUOTE: "The problem here is that the assets of these countries are held by a small number of wealthy individuals while the debts are shouldered by the ordinary people of these countries through their governments," the report says
Guardian Unlimited Jul 14, 2012 This global financial fraud and its gatekeepers: The media's 'bad apple' thesis no longer works. We're seeing systemic corruption in banking – and systemic collusion
QUOTE: The notion that the entire global financial system is riddled with systemic fraud – and that key players in the gatekeeper roles, both in finance and in government, including regulatory bodies, know it and choose to quietly sustain this reality – is one that would have only recently seemed like the frenzied hypothesis of tinhat-wearers, but this week's headlines make such a conclusion, sadly, inevitable.
Guardian Unlimited Jun 23, 2012 Gene Sharp: A dictator's worst nightmare
QUOTE: political scientist Gene Sharp....Now 84, the American academic has dedicated most of his life to the study of the bold, some might say reckless, idea that nonviolence -- rather than violence -- is the most effective way of overthrowing corrupt, repressive regimes.
CNN (Cable News Network) May 23, 2012 Law of the Sea Treaty Is Found on Capitol Hill, Again
QUOTE: Thirty years after it was signed in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the United Nations treaty that governs the world’s oceans is undergoing one of its periodic resurrections in Congress... The Senate has never ratified the treaty...its opponents — a handful of conservative Republicans who view it as an infringement on American sovereignty...
New York Times May 17, 2012 Eduardo Saverin's tax-free global citizenship: Must we tolerate this new global elite of the super-rich and mega-corporations dodging tax obligations in any one country?
QUOTE: It's pointless to suggest to the Apples and Severins of our world that they would never have achieved such heights of prosperity had it not been for, among many other things, America's economic and legal systems (among other benefits they've enjoyed)... But why should the Apples and Severins care, when as "global citizens", they can work the system and get more of what they want?
Guardian Unlimited Apr 28, 2012 Buy Your Own Drone! Now Only $300 Online: We don’t need to imagine the future anymore.... In the dystopian reality of 2012, the drone can ruin your life in ways you never imagined.
QUOTE: independent data suggest that U.S. drones have killed hundreds of women and children. That should be no surprise, since the CIA is using the same forms of intelligence that landed 779 people in Guantánamo Bay, more than 80 percent of whom were subsequently shown not to be terrible terrorists. The intel the agency relies on is purchased by offering bounties to people who would sell their own grandmothers for half the price.
The Daily Beast Apr 26, 2012 Not just Wal-Mart: Dozens of U.S. companies face bribery charges
QUOTE: Deere, Disney, Hewlett-Packard, Qualcom and many others are also under investigation for violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
CNN (Cable News Network) Apr 26, 2012 Teacher who was fired after fertility treatments sues diocese
QUOTE: ...Herx's case bears some of the hallmarks of the case of Cheryl Perich, a former teacher who was fired from a religious school in Michigan after taking a medical leave of absence in 2004. At issue was whether the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to hiring and firing decisions involving "ministerial employees," such as teachers who teach secular subjects. The U.S. Supreme Court decided that Perich -- who taught secular subjects along with a religion class -- was considered a "minister" and could in fact be fired based on church doctrine.
CNN (Cable News Network) Mar 28, 2012 News Corp in fresh storm
QUOTE: The emails, said to be from the hard drive of a former head of security at NDS, a former News Corp subsidiary, appear to show that the company paid computer hackers to work with its "operational security" unit....The Australian Financial Review claimed that NDS's activities in Australia in 1999 caused millions of dollars of damage to Mr Murdoch's rivals in the country's nascent pay-TV market. The business models of Austar, Optus and Foxtel were all damaged by a wave of high-tech piracy at that time.
CNN (Cable News Network) Mar 28, 2012 The reason I'm helping Chris Hedges' lawsuit against the NDAA: By placing journalists in jeopardy for reporting on 'terrorists', the Homeland Battlefield Bill has had a chilling effect on media work
QUOTE: I believe part of my job involves meeting with, discussing ideas with, and publishing stories about persons and groups who have, or are under threat of being, labeled a terrorist or terrorist group. My understanding of the [NDAA] bill, however, has forced me to decline to meet with certain newsworthy individuals, and groups of people, for fear that my communications with them and publishing articles on these individuals could be considered to be providing material support to a terrorist or terrorist organization.
Guardian Unlimited Mar 19, 2012 A Drumbeat on Profit Takers
QUOTE: Their joint crusade, stated repeatedly in editorials for the journal and since expanded in books and dozens of articles in the lay press, is against for-profit medicine, especially its ancillary profit centers of commercial insurance and drug manufacture — in Dr. Relman’s words, “the people who are making a zillion bucks out of the commercial exploitation of medicine.”
New York Times Mar 15, 2012 A Meter So Expensive, It Creates Parking Spots
QUOTE: ...San Francisco is trying to shorten the hunt with an ambitious experiment that aims to make sure that there is always at least one empty parking spot available on every block that has meters. The program, which uses new technology and the law of supply and demand, raises the price of parking on the city’s most crowded blocks and lowers it on its emptiest blocks....acknowledged that the program was “complicated on the social equity level.”
New York Times Mar 14, 2012 Domain seizures for copyright infringement likely to go global
QUOTE: Efforts to take down websites for copyright infringement are likely to move beyond U.S.-based registries, with ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) promising to more closely cooperate with global law enforcement agencies and governments.
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