Apple, Facebook, Twitter and more say they won’t help Trump build a registry of Muslim-Americans

Twitter was the first big tech company to say it would refuse to hand over data to help the United States government build a registry President-elect Donald Trump has described that would be used specifically to track Muslim-Americans…

As of Friday, companies including Facebook, Apple, Google, IBM, Uber and Microsoft have all chimed in to likewise refuse to hand over data to help build a database that would profile Muslim-Americans…

❝ Trump’s potential plan to create a registry of Muslim-Americans was a topic that surfaced repeatedly on the campaign trail. And, unlike many of Trump’s campaign promises, this one may actually be on the table. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a member of Trump’s transition team, said that after the election, Trump’s policy advisers began discussing a proposal to build the registry…

❝ Trump has promised to be heavy on surveillance, which has long required the cooperation of technology companies that collect user data to provide services and sell ads. Companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google get so many requests for user data from the government and law enforcement that they voluntarily publish regular transparency reports to detail, in broad figures, how these requests are made and fulfilled…

❝ Twitter, the one major tech company noticeably absent from Trump’s tech summit, has long had an anti-surveillance rule. Earlier this year, Twitter shut off access to at least two different companies that were providing surveillance services to U.S. law enforcement efforts.

Nice to see a number of money-making geeks still care about constitutional freedoms. Even even a few that our elected officials in Congress and the White House haven’t gotten round to explicitly codifying. Like privacy.

GM intends to be first out the door with mass-produced autonomous cars


Click to enlargeAll-electric BOLT without autonomous guidance hardware

❝ General Motors will tap into Michigan’s new self-driving car law and Chevy Bolt production to become the first automaker to mass-produce autonomous vehicles.

GM CEO Mary Barra yesterday said the automaker will “immediately” begin testing self-driving Bolts on public roads near the GM Technical Center in the Detroit area. The company expects the first self-driving Bolts to begin rolling off its assembly line in January.

❝ While the automaker already began testing about 40 self-driving Bolts in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Ariz., the Michigan test runs will be much larger, according to Doug Parks, GM’s vice president of autonomous technology and vehicle execution.

GM will be utilizing Michigan’s broad and liberal autonomous vehicle policy – and its severe weather conditions…

A week ago, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation that allows automakers and technology partners to develop, test, and sell autonomous vehicles in the state. That policy goes farther than what other states have enacted – allowing for steering wheels and brake pedals to be removed, permission for companies to offer ride-hailing services with autonomous vehicles, and sales to consumers of self-driving cars that have passed testing and certification.

❝ Autonomous Bolts will be assembled at GM’s plant in Orion Township, Mich. That’s where non-autonomous all-electric Bolts are already being built, along with the Chevy Sonic subcompact car. GM workers will be adding to some of the Bolts cameras, sensors, Lidar, and other autonomous technology that will be tested out…

The GM CEO declined to state when autonomous Bolts will be available for sale to the public. The company did say earlier this year that self-driving Bolts will be used for ride-hailing services through its partnership with Lyft within a few years.

❝ As for non-autonomous Bolts, Chevy dealers began selling them in California and Oregon this week. GM said it will be expanding the market to New York, Massachusetts, and Virginia in early 2017. The Bolt will be sold nationwide around the middle of the year.

This is coming at the American driving public faster than anyone might have imagined. Let’s hear it for fast, cheap CPUs and hotshot coders.

Scientists fear U.S. climate data might vanish under Trump


Rick Perry’s clown show called for prayer to stop wildfires

❝ Alarmed that decades of crucial climate measurements could vanish under a hostile Trump administration, scientists have begun a feverish attempt to copy reams of government data onto independent servers in hopes of safeguarding it from any political interference.

The efforts include a “guerrilla archiving” event in Toronto, where experts will copy irreplaceable public data, meetings at the University of Pennsylvania focused on how to download as much federal data as possible in the coming weeks, and a collaboration of scientists and database experts who are compiling an online site to harbor scientific information…

❝ In recent weeks, President-elect Donald Trump has nominated a growing list of Cabinet members who have questioned the overwhelming scientific consensus around global warming. His transition team at the Department of Energy has asked agency officials for names of employees and contractors who have participated in international climate talks and worked on the scientific basis for Obama administration-era regulations of carbon emissions. One Trump adviser suggested that NASA no longer should conduct climate research and instead should focus on space exploration…

❝ Those moves have stoked fears among the scientific community that Trump, who has called the notion of man-made climate change “a hoax” and vowed to reverse environmental policies put in place by President Obama, could try to alter or dismantle parts of the federal government’s repository of data on everything from rising sea levels to the number of wildfires in the country.

RTFA for useful discussion. The threat level isn’t uniformly accepted – but, damned near no one trusts Trump and his political pimps to refrain from destroying data, research and study his dimbulb brigade doesn’t approve.

No — that’s not tinsel wrapped around the Xmas tree

❝ It’s no partridge in a pear tree but a Melbourne woman got a seasonal surprise when she found a tiger snake entwined among the tinsel on her Christmas tree.

The Frankston woman discovered the snake in her tree on Sunday morning and called in professional snake catcher Barry Goldsmith.

“It’s one of the more different ones, but we find them in all sorts of places,” Goldsmith said. “Tiger snakes are very good climbers.”

❝ With the warmer weather, snakes are more active, but people should leave them alone and not try to kill them, Goldsmith said. “It’s dangerous, it’s illegal, and it’s cruel.”

Eeoouugh!

Thanks, Honeyman – I think