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Gender: Male
Hometown: Northern VA
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 10:34 AM
Number of posts: 39,254

Journal Archives

Twitter kills pro-Saudi "botnet" spreading Khashoggi disinformation tweets

Twitter today pulled down a disinfo bot network that was amplifying pro-Saudi talking points about disappeared journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who is presumed to have been tortured and killed on orders of the government of Saudi Arabia.

NBC reports that Twitter became aware of the crisis Thursday, when an NBC News reporter presented the social media firm with “evidence of coordinated activity” in the form of “a spreadsheet of hundreds of accounts that tweeted and retweeted the same pro-Saudi government tweets at the same time.”

More at:


Listening to the Milwaukee broadcast of the game, I heard an Anti-Scott Walker ad. They were

talking about his use of a state plane, and I assumed it would be about misusing State moneys, but the truth was much funnier. He flies because nobody can use the roads.

Wisconsin's roads and bridges are deteriorating quickly since Walker keeps cutting taxes, so the group STOP (Safe Transportation Over Poltics) has remained pot-holes to "Scott-Holes." Their website attempts to documents all the scott-holes in the state.

Some examples of Scott-holes:
Look at this gem on Highway 131 in Crawford county…this will cause a front end alignment! Nice job Mr. Walker for taking 90 million out of the DOT fund for your Foxconn donors so we can’t fix this!! Maybe I should call Domino’s???

This Scotthole was right next to our house all last summer:/ I think the only reason they fixed it was because it filled with rainwater & neighbor kids were playing in it like a pool.

Many, many more at

This school once had a reputation for violence. Here's how that changed.

How does a school change its violent culture? What kind of work must adults and students do for it to become a place where students feel safe and can learn?

This post tells the story of a school that found a way to dramatically remake its culture. It is William C. Hinkley High School in Aurora, Colo., which is a winner in the latest round of the Schools of Opportunity project, which recognizes public high schools that work to close opportunity gaps by creating learning environments that reach every student.

Hinkley High used “restorative justice,” a concept that has developed over the past 35 years as an alternative to traditional disciplinary and criminal justice systems in and out of school. While its critics say it is simply a way to be easy on offenders, it is far more than that.


In practice, it means that the harm done is repaired and the perpetrator takes responsibility, and that the best way to repair the harm is for all stakeholders to be involved.

More by Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post at

Another victim of Trumpy's trade war with China: Rethink Robotics

Last Wednesday Rethink Robotics, a major player in the collaborative robotics world, closed up shop abruptly. The company’s robots Baxter and Sawyer were easily recognizable to any engineer, thanks to their big eyes and distinct red exteriors. But while the robots were major standouts, they weren’t selling. As reported by the Boston Globe, sales were down for both robots, and the company was trying to sell the company quickly and quietly. According to Rethink’s chief executive, Scott Eckert, the company had been running low on cash and at the very last minute, a potential buyer backed out.

Rethink Robotics was founded in 2008 by Rodney Brooks, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-founder of iRobot. Most everyone in the robotics space knew of Rethink Robotics. The company’s robots were some of the first cobots on the market, easily recognizable, and further distinguished by their programming ease. Each had a heads-up display that allowed the user to interact with the robot on the spot—no need to connect with a computer or a pendant device.

Rethink’s trouble sparked when a specialized order for a China distributor fell through. The company had designed and specialized robots for the Chinese market and were suddenly left with extra inventory that couldn’t be sold. However, the cobot market has also become crowded over the last few years. The major robotic vendors have entered the game including Kuka, Fanuc, and ABB. Each has their own version of a cobot and the companies have a longstanding pedigree in the automation world.

More at: https://www.machinedesign.com/motion-control/fond-farewell-rethink-robotics?NL=MACD-001&Issue=MACD-001_20181012_MACD-001_594&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_2_b&utm_rid=CPG05000002209975&utm_campaign=20627&utm_medium=email&elq2=a7ffb488d9d04aa8a69133f03caaf328

PS. If you haven't heard the term, Cobot before is a collaborative robot. It is used to assist humans doing work, such as, holding heavy parts, handing tools, and parts to speed work.

Author works as a janitor. She just won a prestigious literary prize from the university she cleans

Trinity College Dublin presented Caitriona Lally last week with the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, one of Ireland’s most prestigious literary honors. The prize committee praised her book, “Eggshells,” as “a work of impressive imaginative reach, witty, subtle and occasionally endearingly unpredictable.”

For the past 3½ years, Lally has worked as a janitor at the college.

The day the call came from the prize committee, Lally was so shocked and the experience felt so out of context, she asked the person who told her she had won the award to please explain it again.

More by Allison Klein of the Washington Post at:


Google Doodle today honors my childhood hero, Roberto Clemente

Roberto Clemente's legacy as one of baseball's greatest players is matched only by the memory of the selfless sacrifice he made trying to help others in need.

The son of a sugar cane worker in Puerto Rico, Clemente showed athletic promise at an early age, joining the Puerto Rican amateur league in 1952 at the age of 16 and signing a minor league contract with a Brooklyn Dodgers affiliate two years later. In July 1954, Clemente's first home run in North America resulted in an extra-innings walk-off win for the triple-A Montreal Royals.

SNIP (his baseball records)

Hall of Fame numbers, for certain. But it's also for Clemente's humanitarian efforts that Google, in the spirit of Hispanic Heritage Month, dedicated its Doodle on Friday to the first Latin American player enshrined in Cooperstown. Clemente spent much of his off-season involved in charity work, delivering baseball equipment and food to those in need in Latin American and Caribbean countries. After a 6.3 earthquake killed thousands and caused widespread damage to Nicaragua on Dec. 23, 1972, Clemente began arranging emergency relief flights to deliver aid to survivors.

After learning that the aid packages were being diverted by corrupt government officials, Clemente decided to accompany a New Year's Eve flight to ensure the supplies were delivered to earthquake victims. But the plane, with a history of mechanical problems and overloaded by more than two tons, suffered an engine failure and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean immediately after takeoff. The body of the pilot was found a few days after the crash, but the bodies of Clemente and three others who were on the DC-7 were never recovered. He was 38.


Cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz thinks that deportation is the answer

The Nobel Peace Prize 2018 winners brought attention to sexual abuse in conflicts

At a time of growing global awareness about injustices against women, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday to two people who have brought attention to the most extreme forms of violence they can face: a Congolese surgeon who treats victims of wartime rape and an activist who was a sexual slave of the Islamic State.

In recognizing Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, the Norwegian Nobel Committee for the first time has devoted its award to the abuse of women in conflict zones — what some experts say has been an underappreciated aspect of war.

Mukwege has treated grievous injuries in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country that one U.N. official once called the rape capital of the world. Murad is among thousands of Iraqi Yazidis who have been treated as sexual property by the Islamic State, and since her escape she has become perhaps the most outspoken among them, campaigning to bring the militants to justice for war crimes.

More by the Washington Post's Chico Harlan at:

Neurosurgeon stitches up stuffed bear at young patient's request: 'How could I say no?'

Daniel McNeely is a pediatric neurosurgeon, so he’s used to fielding questions from nervous parents and patients.

But it was a first for him when an 8-year-old patient had a specific request as the child was being wheeled to surgery while clutching his stuffed animal: My bear is ripped. Please stitch him up.

McNeely, who works at IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, assured the boy he would, and he took the task seriously. After McNeely performed surgery on the boy’s brain, he placed the bear on a table, put on blue gloves and used leftover stitches from the child’s surgery to repair an underarm tear on the bear, which is named Little Baby.

More by Allison Klein at the Washington Post:

Homeless children often do not celebrate birthdays. This woman is changing that, one party at a time

Megs Yunn was helping an 11-year-old named Beverly with her reading homework at an after-school club in Pittsburgh when the girl said something so shocking that it brought tears to Yunn’s eyes.

Yunn, who was director of volunteer programs at a local college at the time, was trying to explain to Beverly the meaning of the word “accustomed.” Yunn used it in a sentence, asking Beverly: “At birthday parties, people are accustomed to eating what?”

The girl, whose family struggled financially, was silent for a moment. “Miss Megs,” she said in a soft voice, “I’ve never had a birthday party or eaten a slice of birthday cake.”

Yunn later told The Washington Post that it had never occurred to her before that some kids do not have birthday parties. “I was stunned — it knocked the wind out of me,” said the 33-year-old mother of four. Yunn sobbed in her car on the drive home thinking about the parties she had thrown for her children and her own birthday parties as a child. Then Yunn decided she needed to do something for Beverly and other children living in poverty or in shelters who have never felt the excitement and joy of a birthday party.

More by the Washington Post's Cathy Free at:

PS: 2.5 million homeless children in the US.
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