A suburban Philadelphia school district is agreeing to pay $610,000 to settle two lawsuits brought by students who were victims of a webcam spying scandal in which high school-issued laptops secretly snapped thousands of pictures of pupils.
Prosecutors and the FBI opened an inquiry following a February privacy lawsuit accusing administrators of spying on students with webcams on the 2,300 district-issued MacBooks. The lawyers who filed lawsuits on behalf of two students acquired evidence in pretrial proceedings showing that the district secretly snapped thousands of webcam images of students, including pictures of youths at home, in bed or even “partially dressed.”
The original suit was based on a claim by Robbins, a sophomore at the time, that school officials reprimanded him for “improper behavior” based on photos the computer secretly took of the boy at home last fall. One picture shows him asleep at home last October.
That “behavior” turned out to be pill popping. The family said their son was eating Mike and Ike candy, his lawyer claimed.
In all, about 400 photos were taken of Robbins. The tracking software on Hasan’s computer snapped as many as 469 photographs and 543 screenshots of the former senior.
“This weekend also brought allegations that Warner Bros. had hired Kevin Smith to write a fake screenplay for the 2016 tentpole Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, with the express intent of leaking it online as a decoy to draw spoiler-hunters away from any legitimate news. If that’s true, it’s a genius move: at the very least, an official-looking red-herring screenplay would cause enough confusion to prevent any genuine leaks from spreading too far.”—
“Flashbulb memories are clear episodic memories of unique and highly emotional events. People remembering where they were or what they were doing when they first heard the news of President Kennedy’s assassination or of 9/11 are examples of flashbulb memories.”—Memory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“But let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?
“We rich people have been falsely persuaded by our schooling and the affirmation of society, and have convinced ourselves, that we are the main job creators. It’s simply not true. There can never be enough super-rich Americans to power a great economy. I earn about 1,000 times the median American annually, but I don’t buy thousands of times more stuff. My family purchased three cars over the past few years, not 3,000. I buy a few pairs of pants and a few shirts a year, just like most American men. I bought two pairs of the fancy wool pants I am wearing as I write, what my partner Mike calls my “manager pants.” I guess I could have bought 1,000 pairs. But why would I? Instead, I sock my extra money away in savings, where it doesn’t do the country much good.”—
“Perhaps the problem with Yo isn’t what makes it stupid—its attempt to formalize the meta-communication common to online life—but what makes it gross: the need to contain all human activity within the logics of tech startups. The need to expect something from every idea, even the stupid ones, to feel that they deserve attention, users, data, and, inevitably, payout. Perhaps this is the greatest meta-communicative message of today’s technology scene. And it might not be inaccurate to summarize that message with a singular, guttural “yo.””—Yo - Ian Bogost - The Atlantic
“10. Not sure how we’d do this or what would be in it, but the idea is that the first time you view the GIF, it’s not funny at all and is very confusing. None of the pieces seem to fit together. You can’t discern the whole image. But the second time you view it, it becomes very funny. Your laughter is sudden, irrepressible and hard to explain. You feel liberated and even cruel. The third time, however—and for reasons just as obscure to you—the GIF makes you terribly sad. During the third iteration, you desperately want to cry, but you feel that doing so would ruin something fleeting.”—16 Incredible GIFs We Would Make If We Knew How | ClickHole – Because all content deserves to go viral
“Every age has a theory of rising and falling, of growth and decay, of bloom and wilt: a theory of nature. Every age also has a theory about the past and the present, of what was and what is, a notion of time: a theory of history. Theories of history used to be supernatural: the divine ruled time; the hand of God, a special providence, lay behind the fall of each sparrow. If the present differed from the past, it was usually worse: supernatural theories of history tend to involve decline, a fall from grace, the loss of God’s favor, corruption. Beginning in the eighteenth century, as the intellectual historian Dorothy Ross once pointed out, theories of history became secular; then they started something new—historicism, the idea “that all events in historical time can be explained by prior events in historical time.” Things began looking up. First, there was that, then there was this, and this is better than that. The eighteenth century embraced the idea of progress; the nineteenth century had evolution; the twentieth century had growth and then innovation. Our era has disruption, which, despite its futurism, is atavistic. It’s a theory of history founded on a profound anxiety about financial collapse, an apocalyptic fear of global devastation, and shaky evidence.”—
I’ve been cloudy for six months. This New Yorker article by Jill Lepore is the first thing I’ve encountered that cut through all that, and maybe it’s not just my own haziness it’s counteracting.
I’m still too dopey to really make it all the way through this essay with a careful eye. And maybe it’s just cause I’ve been so flattened for a while, but I don’t remember anyone else writing about tech, business, or most anything else, with the same beauty and precision.
I first came across Jill Lepore’s writing when researching luck — she’d written a lot about the original Game of Life. But this, reading this, after sharing Clayton Christensen’s private plane from Canada a few months ago, made me feel like she’s looking under rocks that other people have mistaken for monuments. And man, wait until you see what’s under those.
“When considering the significance of this point of beginning, a 1987 inquiry into the tuition problem threw up its hands. “Nobody knows why tuition increases lagged behind consumer prices in the 1970s and jumped ahead in the 1980s,” according to an Associated Press summary. But in retrospect I think the answer is obvious. It happened then because these things are all related: deregulation, tax cuts, de-unionization and outrageous tuition inflation are all part of the same historical turn. I acknowledge that, on the surface, this is not an obvious connection: The Reagan administration was always hostile to universities and loved to bemoan the tuition spiral; what’s more, over the period in question, the universities themselves embraced a hyper-leftist public image that helped them distract attention from the catastrophe they have visited upon the nation’s young.
But if we think of these things as part of a larger ideological shift, they all start to make sense. Universities were capable of doing in the ’70s what they did in the ’80s (and still are doing today), but maybe they didn’t do it then because Americans thought of universities in a different light in those days.
What I mean to say is that the tuition price spiral is part of the larger history of inequality, just as is the ever-rising price of Andy Warhol paintings, or the ever-growing size of the McMansion, or the ever-weightier catalogs issued by Restoration Hardware—and, of course, the never-increasing wages of American workers. As the rewards that can potentially be won by members of the white-collar class have gone from meh (in the egalitarian 1970s) to Neronian (today), it feels natural that the entrance fee for membership in that class should have escalated in a corresponding manner. The iron logic of inequality works the other way as well: Although a college degree doesn’t necessarily guarantee a life of splendor, not having one pretty much makes a life of poorly compensated toil a sure thing. Finding ourselves on the receiving end of inequality is a fate we will pay virtually any price to avoid, and our system of higher ed exists to set and extract that price.”—
I don’t love everything Thomas Frank writes, but man, every single person should take the time to read this full article. Because take away access to college from the parts of America that used to be able to engage it one way or another, and you won’t believe what happens next.
“It’s estimated that up to 800,000 eggs cross the border every year and while there have yet to be any reported fatalities, it’s only a matter of time before a child chokes on a tiny house with googly eyes or a pen shaped like a ski.”—
“So number one, Reading Rainbow was not cancelled because it was not effective. Reading Rainbow was the most used television resource in our nation’s classroom. In 2009, it was [cancelled] due to No Child Left Behind. That government policy made a choice between teaching the rudiments of reading and fostering a love of reading. So the idea that I am trying to somehow revive a failed endeavor is bullshit. That’s right. I said it. Bullshit.”—LeVar Burton (via afrometaphysics)