AT&T, Verizon join UK firms pulling ads from Google, YouTube over hate-group, terrorist content

❝ The U.K. advertising backlash against Google is spreading to the United States. Mobile carriers AT&T and Verizon, Enterprise car rental and pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline are among the major ad buyers acting to distance their brands from the offensive and extremist content that saturates YouTube.

Following an eruption of brand association concerns in the U.K. that prompted the Guardian newspaper, European mobile carrier O2, British Royal Mail, Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, Transport For London, the BBC, Domino’s Pizza, Hyundai Kia, McDonald’s, L’Oreal, Toyota and Volkswagen to pull ads from Google and/or YouTube specifically, a series of global brands have also jumped to pull their ads in America.


Do your online shopping with Aryan purity

❝ AT&T is pulling all advertisement from Google apart from paid search placement, a move that affects not only YouTube but millions of other websites that participate in Google’s ad network…

A spokesperson for Verizon said it was also pulling ads, noting that “Verizon is one of the largest advertisers in the world, and one of the most respected brands. We…blah, blah, blah.”

❝ Google declined to comment on the pulled ads, but offered a statement “we’ve begun an extensive review of our advertising policies and have made a public commitment to put in place changes that give brands more control over where their ads appear…”…

❝ The original investigation by The Times detailed why brands are concerned, noting that Google’s algorithms placed ads for Mercedes E-Class “next to an ISIL video praising jihad that has been viewed more than 115,000 times.”…

Hey. Google’s coders are at least as talented as the geeks working for the Russian GRU and the US NSA. They can come up with algorithms that search folks out by the color of their pubic hair and how many toes they wish they had. I find it unlikely or even difficult for Google to be put-off by the size of the task needed to change the situation they’ve wandered into.

No doubt profit-optimization got them there. It had better work to motivate solutions, now.

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Trump disses a poll that doesn’t exist

❝ On the grand scale of Things President Trump Says That Are Inaccurate or Misleading, a tweet Monday morning about a poll from CNN rates fairly low. It’s hardly at the level of Trump’s false assertion that millions of votes were cast illegally, for example, or his untrue claim that his predecessor tapped the phones at Trump Tower. But it is notably Trumpian for a few simple reasons.

1. It was disparaging a poll that he once cited as accurate.

2. It was apparently a response to something he saw on TV.

3. It was about TV ratings.

4. It was wrong.

❝ Trump’s tweet:

❝ This appears to have come in response to discussion on CNN’s “New Day” program about 10 minutes before Trump’s commentary. Anchor Poppy Harlow mentioned a daily tracking poll of Trump’s approval, which on Saturday hit a new low of 37 percent. She pointed out, accurately, that Trump still has strong support from his base, and the conversation quickly moved on.

That tracking poll, though, isn’t from CNN. It was from Gallup. CNN was simply reporting on it, as Harlow noted after Trump’s tweet…

❝ The last part of Trump’s tweet on Monday, though, isn’t about polls, it’s about Nielsen ratings…

It’s a very social-media thing to do, to misinterpret something someone says and then try to insult them as deeply as you can. Perhaps it’s not terribly presidential — but it is very Trump.

Though many reasonable folks have pointed out that Trump has the semantical sense of a sixth-grader – we need a few news anchors noting that he has the emotional maturity to match.

Google braces for questions while big-name firms pull advertising

❝ Google executives are bracing for a two-pronged inquisition from the advertising industry and the government over the company’s plans to stop ads being placed next to extremist material.

A slew of big-name companies, advertising firms and government departments have either pulled their adverts from Google and its YouTube video site or are considering whether to do so, with media giant Sky, telecoms group Vodafone and a trio of banks adding their names to a growing list over the weekend…

❝ The ads help fund payments to the people who post the videos, with every 1,000 clicks worth about £6. Experts estimate this could have been worth £250,000 to extremists.

❝ Leading advertising agencies have been quick to react, with French marketing firm Havas, whose clients include O2 and Royal Mail, pulling its adverts late last week. Publicis, the world’s third-largest advertising firm, said it was reviewing its relationship with Google and YouTube.

The world’s largest advertising firm WPP, via its media-buying division GroupM, has stopped short of cancelling ads but has written to major clients asking them how they wish to proceed…

❝ While Google is yet to reveal what it plans to do, it is understood that advertisers will be told that they may not be making enough use of existing tools and it will offer to provide advice on how companies can better use these.

However, Google is also expected to take a wider look at how ads are placed, including whether it has put enough checks and balances in place to avoid unfortunate juxtapositions.

Advertisers paying for primo placement certainly should be able to determine who shelters in their shadow.

“Homo sapiens as we know them will disappear in a century or so”

What is the biggest misconception humanity has about itself?

Maybe it is that by gaining more power over the world, over the environment, we will be able to make ourselves happier and more satisfied with life. Looking again from a perspective of thousands of years, we have gained enormous power over the world and it doesn’t seem to make people significantly more satisfied than in the stone age…

Will humans always find ways to hate each other, or do you lean more towards Steven Pinker’s view that society is much less violent than it used to be, and that this trend is set to continue?

I tend to agree with Steven Pinker. We now live in the most peaceful era in history. There is definitely still violence – I live in the Middle East so I know this perfectly well. But, comparatively, there is less violence than ever before in history. Today more people die from eating too much than from human violence, which is really an amazing achievement. We can’t be certain about the future but some changes make this trend seem robust. First of all, there is the threat of nuclear war which was perhaps the chief reason for the decline of war since 1945, and this threat is still there. And secondly, you have the change in the nature of the economy – that the economy switched from being a material-based economy to the knowledge-based economy.

Questions asked of Yuval Noah Harari. His answers.

I suggest you read this article. I suggest you read his books.

Think about your own answers.

National Parks Require Restoration

The National Park System protects more than 400 natural, historic, cultural, and recreational sites in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories.

In 2016, as the National Park Service (NPS) celebrates its 100th anniversary, many of these cherished places are showing signs of age: crumbling roads and bridges; neglected historic buildings; eroding trails; and deteriorating electrical, water, and sewage systems. Decades of congressional underfunding, combined with the inherent challenges of maintaining aging infrastructure and diverse properties, has led to an estimated $12 billion backlog of deferred maintenance projects, and the price tag for addressing high-priority assets is nearly $2.4 billion.

The NPS needs reliable resources to satisfy its congressional mandate to protect and conserve these scenic, natural, and historic places in perpetuity. Parks with poorly maintained infrastructure or closed facilities can detract from visitors’ experiences—and from spending in the gateway communities, many of which depend on park-related revenue. In 2015, NPS sites recorded 307 million visits, and park guests spent almost $17 billion in nearby cities and towns. That spending supported 295,300 jobs and contributed $32 billion in economic activity nationwide.

The NPS needs guaranteed annual funding to address its maintenance needs so that future generations can enjoy and learn from our national treasures.

With a substantial number of our Congress-critters considering themselves well above the rest of us – economically, socially, culturally – there is little surprise at the trend for decades of offering short shrift to essential costs of maintaining our national park system. After all, with pundits, politicians and, now, a president accustomed to gilt-edged resort life and recreation, there isn’t motivation for them to care about the rest of us enjoying our nation’s natural beauty as key to recreation.

By the same token, ain’t a lot of reasons for the rest of us to re-elect these useless corporate class pimps.

“It tastes like chicken” — only grown in a lab

❝ If you find yourself torn between cravings and ethical concerns every time you tuck into a chicken nugget, there might soon be a way you can have your meat and eat it too. Memphis Meats has just served up chicken and duck meat cultivated in a lab from poultry cells, meaning no animals were harmed in the making of the meal.

❝ Along with the ethical issues of animal cruelty that surround a carnivorous diet, feeding, breeding and keeping livestock for food has an enormous environmental impact. The animals burp more greenhouse gases into the air than all modes of human transport, and require large swathes of land to be cleared, not to mention all the food, water, and care they need. Studies show that growing meat in a lab setting could go a long way towards solving those problems.

❝ …On the menu from Memphis Meats is southern fried chicken and duck a l’orange, which the company says is the first time poultry has been cultivated in the lab. Rather than raise and slaughter animals, the company simply takes muscle cells from animals without harming them and grows them in vats, in a process Memphis likens to brewing beer.

❝ “It is thrilling to introduce the first chicken and duck that didn’t require raising animals,” says Uma Valeti, CEO of Memphis Meats. “This is a historic moment for the clean meat movement. Chicken and duck are at the center of the table in so many cultures around the world, but the way conventional poultry is raised creates huge problems for the environment, animal welfare, and human health. It is also inefficient. We aim to produce meat in a better way, so that it is delicious, affordable and sustainable.”

❝ Again, the meal was probably prohibitively expensive, but reducing the cost of production is one of Memphis Meats’ main priorities, along with improving the taste, texture and nutritional value of the meat. If all goes to plan, the company has set a target of 2021 to finally serve up this clean meat to consumers.

Yes, I would wait in line to try this. Albeit a short line. I hate lines.

I love chicken.

Clowns writing Trump’s scripts are as ignorant as he is


Nigerian Muslim poet Albasheer Adam Alhassan – at present a bank manager 🙂

The world has learned to take things US president Donald Trump says with a pinch of salt and in celebration of a day more synonymous with pints of beers and shamrocks, president Trump delivered another one of his odd gaffes.

In a St. Patrick’s Day reception with Enda Kenny, the Irish prime minister, Trump quoted words from what he appeared to believe was an Irish proverb.

“As we stand together with our Irish friends, I’m reminded of that proverb–and this is a good one, this is one I like. I’ve heard it for many, many years and I love it,” Trump said. “Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue, but never forget to remember those that have stuck by you,” Trump said, uncharacteristically reading from a script.

But it turns out, the “Irish proverb” is in fact part of a poem titled “Remember to forget” written by Albashir Adam Alhassan, a Nigerian poet. The gaffe may have been missed by prime minister Kenny, but it wasn’t missed by Twitter users.

RTFA for some of the chortles over Trump’s latest dull normal incompetence. Frankly, that the poet in question turns out to be Muslim is stone awesome. Being quoted by an anti-Muslim bigot is even better.

Our country’s new Attorney General is a Reefer Madness ignoranus

Marijuana users and heroin addicts are basically the same, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday in Richmond, Virginia.

“I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana — so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful,” said Sessions. He went on to call for a revival of hardline ’80s- and ‘90s-style “educating people and telling them the terrible truth about drugs.”

❝ For someone on a bar stool arguing with his friends, this would be a stupid but harmless “hot take.” But for the top law enforcement official in a nation of 320 million people, it’s a malicious string of lies intended to justify dangerous policies.

❝ Sessions’ mockery of the idea that marijuana could help people struggling with opiate addiction is especially frustrating to Steve Miller, who retired as a sergeant after 18 years on a suburban Detroit police force and now works as a private investigator at a lawfirm specializing in medical marijuana cases.

“He’s out of reality in that statement. Marijuana has proven to be very beneficial medically for people. And there are studies coming out now showing it is helping people get off their opiate and heroin addictions, and showing it helps kick alcohol addiction as well,” Miller, one of many law enforcement professionals who advocates to end marijuana prohibition, told ThinkProgress. “I don’t know where his medical training comes from that he makes these statements.”

❝ The idea that routine marijuana use is a “life-wrecking dependency…only slightly less awful” than heroin addiction is also medically absurd. Once chemically dependent upon heroin, the human body will tear itself apart if forcibly deprived of the drug. A heroin addict pursuing her next hit or pill is fleeing hours and hours of vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle pain. Someone deprived of their nightly joint might be a little cranky, a little on edge, a little less hungry the next day when they get up and go to work…

❝ Miller…is familiar with the kind of intractable mythologizing of marijuana that the United States Attorney General is reviving today…“Some people are more comfortable believing the lies they have been told by their government for 80 years. You can blast people with science as much as you want, but they just don’t want to believe it,” he said.

“He’s entitled to his feelings. But don’t push that agenda on a public where 71 percent think it should be legal.”

Sessions is representative of the backwards-looking, hardly ever-thinking populism that ranges from Right to Left. Most of the big numbers for that sort of rejoicing in ignorance occupy the Right. Witness the dedicated-to-ignorance brigade that marches from demographics about to be screwed to the economic wall of budget cuts for everything from education to meteorology, science to food safety.

Ignorance ain’t bliss when your kith and kin are threatened. Advancements prohibited by tiny-minded bigots are simply removed from folks’ lives before they can be adopted. Won’t make folks any healthier.