• The Cyborgoisie Issue
    The Cyborgoisie Issue
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    Bad News

    DNA Dating, American Homelessness, and Silicon Valley's Political Agenda

    At Mask HQ, we've been playing Robyn and Röyksopp's mini-album Do It Again all summer. Check out their video, which is a dramatic depiction of celebration in the face of oppression.

    If you've been watching Homeland, you'll be happy to know that a first look at the 4th season has been released. From the looks of it, Carrie is no longer pregnant, is stationed in Pakistan, and continuously getting in trouble. It will be curious to see what they make of the show without some of the core characters.

    Yesterday marked the bloodiest day in Israel's 14-day attack of Palestine, with a record number or deaths.

    France, with some of Europe’s largest Muslim and Jewish populations, made the news this weekend as the first country to ban anti-Israel demonstrations. People took to the streets regardless. On Saturday, thousands of people marched in cities across France to protest violence in Gaza. In Paris, the protests were especially ungovernable, with fire barricades and clashes with riot police.

    Meanwhile in Turkey, protestors occupied the Israeli Embassy.

    If a nuclear war ensued, it would be followed by a 20-year-long winter and worldwide famine, according to computer models developed by researchers in Colorado.

    Once again, a confirmation of what we already knew: since 9/11, the FBI pushed numerous Muslims to plot terrorist attacks, suggesting it, paying for it, and so on.

    Sidewalks in Washington D.C. are being split up into two lanes: lettering indicates that one side is for "No cellphones", the other one for "Cellphones" — "Walk at your own risk." The signage is temporary, however, and was put there by the National Geographic as part of the film “Mind Over Masses”. But who knows, this might become a thing.

    The Guardian published an interview with Edward Snowden, a year after he blew the whistle.

    A new dating site, Singldout.com, matches users based on their DNA. Users mail them a DNA sample (by spitting in a test tube). This is then diagnoed for two genetic markers — one for how people handle positive and negative emotions, and the other relates to the genes influencing the person's immune system — and the result is displayed on their profile. The “science” behind it all claims that there is a strong correlation between people in long-term relationships showing different versions of these genes and immune systems. Thanks, but no thanks.

    Los Angeles has not seen an earthquake of more than magnitude 7.5 since 1680, and seismologists say such a mega-quake is long overdue. There were five earthquakes of more than magnitude 4.0 in the first four months of this year, which increases the likelihood of a really big one. “It's an inevitability. ... We know everything but the time.”

    Between 2006 and 2010, teachers at Parks Middle School in Atlanta, GA fiddled with the students' standardized test answers to ensure that the school met federal achievement standards. As a result of No Child Left Behind guidelines, Parks had been classified as a “school in need of improvement” five years in a row, and receiving the classification a sixth time could've meant that the school would close. The teachers eventually got caught and lost their jobs, but this New Yorker article tells their story of being forced to comply with federal standards and tests and guidelines that did not help their students, and doing what they had to to be able to keep teaching the only way they knew worked.

    By the way, The New Yorker relaunched their website today, and has made their entire online archive free-for-all for the rest of the summer.

    One of the most terrifying aspects of the rise of Big Data is perhaps its promise to enable combating crime by preventing it in real time, instead of solving crime after it has happened — if you haven't seen Minority Report, this is what it's all about, and the technology is already available. As Google and other private tech companies collaborate with other indutries to infuse more and more things with the ability to record and track everything, the question arises if the “algorithmic regulation” this enables will replace government regulation. According to The Guardian, if “Silicon Valley has a political programme, this is it.”

    It's getting harder and harder to be homeless in the United States. National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty has surveyed 187 cities and reports that cities across the country are passing laws that are practically making it illegal to be homeless. At the same time, there's less low-income housing now than at any other year since 2001.

    The advocacy group’s report found that laws placing restrictions on loitering, begging, sitting and lying down in public have increased nationwide since 2009. Eighteen percent of cities now ban sleeping in public and 42 percent of cities ban sleeping in vehicles.

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