Facebook ‘quality news’ prioritization may result in ‘bias & won’t change quality’

Facebook is now planning to change the way it presents news to the users by introducing a ranking system aimed at defining what it deems “quality news.”

“We are, for the first time in the history of Facebook, taking a step to try to define what quality news looks like… I think we would agree that not all news is created equal, and this is a big step for us to begin thinking about that,” Facebook’s Head of News Partnerships Campbell Brown told the Recode Code Media conference in California on February 12.

The world’s biggest social network says its fight will help make it a more credible source for getting information and that it will prioritize the way it handles stories to prevent fake news. Co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said earlier that the company is going to rely on a user survey to help to determine which sources are “trustworthy.”

RT spoke to internet law expert and social solicitor Yair Cohen, who thinks that social media companies aren’t revealing the real criteria of a filter.

RT: The Facebook news head said news isn’t created equal. Who should decide what’s quality among all the quantity of stories?

Yair Cohen: The original idea was that the Facebook users will decide what quality is and what is not quality. Now, it seems that Facebook wants to make this decision. I think that Facebook is clearly concerned about governments taking over, moderating and removing content from its own platform. So, Facebook has decided to take the initiative and moderate its own content.
…Currently, Facebook has got approximately 7,000 individuals who are responsible for creating policies for Facebook, policing those policies and then making a decision what content should be viewed by users, what content shouldn’t be viewed by users. But these 7,000 are not operating within any form of transparency. Nobody really knows what they are doing and I think this is quite dangerous.

RT: When we look at fake news or quality news, what criteria can be used to create a ranking system?

YC: It is a subjective issue, the most important thing is that people will know what criteria is being used… I just came back from a conference in California, it was the first conference of its kind where the leaders of the largest social media companies got together to speak for the first time publicly about how they moderate and remove content. And it was very clear that the whole process is being done in secret. There is no published criteria. And the reason they say they don’t publish the criteria – they don’t want people to manipulate the content. So, the whole process is very highly secretive. Provided we know what the criterion is, then we can judge for ourselves whether it is right for Facebook or for any other organization to remove content or not. But as long as we don’t know about it, it seems to me pretty much totalitarian, this whole regime.       

RT: This ranking system in essence could be called biased if a single group is making all the decisions, would you agree?

YC: I certainly agree with that. It is a very small group which is not accountable to anyone, all the decisions are being made in secret, the algorithm is secretive. There is going to be artificial intelligence, there is going to be some machine-generated content removal, but quite a lot of decisions still will be made by a human. We don’t really know who these people are. I think it is highly dangerous that… a very small group of people will decide perhaps, that it is in their view, or in people’s interest to promote a political party, they might have their own bias towards what is bias and what is not bias.  

RT: Can this new initiative really help eliminate fake news?

YC: I think this initiative is really designed by the social media companies to try and prevent government intervention in the content removal process. It will certainly not affect the quality, so to speak, of any news.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/news/418896-facebook-quality-news-bias/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

UK university blocks ‘politically incorrect’ research into sex change reversal

transgender flag

    

A UK university that blocked research into the negative effects and possible regrets after sex change surgery told RT the proposal was refused because of its methodology rather than the sensitivity of the transgender topic.

James Caspian, a psychotherapist working with transgender people, wanted to write a thesis on “detransition” of transgender people back to their original sex as part of his master’s degree at Bath Spa University. While the school originally accepted his proposal on the controversial topic in 2015, the university’s ethics committee, apparently fearing a backlash from the LGBT community, rejected his research deeming it to be “potentially politically incorrect.”

The scientific community insists that further research must be done on people who reverse gender reassignment. “This is a completely new topic and I’m sure that we have plenty of persons who passed the whole transition who showed any type of regret. We have to research this more and more with only one aim – to prevent a mistake by following these persons before surgery,” Miroslav Djordjevic, a surgeon specializing in sex reassignment operations from the University of Belgrade, told RT.

Feeling trapped in the wrong body is sometimes deep-rooted in childhood trauma rather than any genetic disorder or psychiatric condition. Walt Heyer, who went from being a man to being a woman, before going back to male form, is also certain that more research is needed into “detransition” of transgender people. Heyer even consulted Caspian on his personal ordeal in dealing with his reversed decision on being a woman.

“James [Caspian] is on the right track. I think it is political, Heyer told RT. “This whole transgender thing is built purely on feelings. There is absolutely no objective proof … no medical proof … and there is no proof that anyone benefits from the surgery over the long term.”

“There are a vast number of people who are detransitioning because they regret having changed their gender. They [university] are fearful of the truth coming out and this is their way of preventing research from being done,” Heyer told RT. “They really don’t want the truth … they are afraid of the GLBT which are so powerful that they will probably overwhelm the university.”

Caspian maintains that his research is important to the wellbeing of members of the transgender community. The psychotherapist started a crowdfunding campaign online to raise £50,000 to take the university to court for a Judicial Review. So far Caspian has received nearly £14,000 in donations from fellow academics and trans people who support his work.

“I challenged Bath Spa University’s recent refusal to allow me to research people who reverse gender reassignment, fundamentally on the basis that it might attract unpleasant comments on social media, despite having initially given me permission to do almost identical research,” Caspian writes on his donation page.

Originally Caspian wanted to file a lawsuit but instead filed an appeal in 2016 to continue with his research, having found evidence which suggested that a growing number of individuals regretted their gender reassignment. That appeal was once again rejected by the university after a full internal investigation into a complaint.

The university cited privacy concerns in rejecting the research proposal after RT reached out for a comment. In their ruling the university noted that the Office for the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education can still approve the topic after reviewing the complaint. OIA is an independent body set up to review student complaints against universities in England and Wales.

“Mr Caspian’s research proposal was not refused on the grounds of topic, but on the methodological approach,” Bath Spa University told RT in a statement. “The University was not convinced the approach would guarantee the anonymity of his participants and the confidentiality of data.”

Heyer, however, believes that Caspian’s research would only help people find themselves and save them from unnecessary surgery and a feeling of regret. “I have found out in my many years of working with transgender people that there is a groundswell of people detransitioning … people who after five, seven, twelve, fifteen and even twenty years they want to retransition back,” calling their original gender change “foolish” and “totally unnecessary.”

“This whole thing is just total foolishness and you want your life back. You want to live in reality and not in some surgically made transgender life,” Heyer explained. “You transition back and you take on a life of reality and you are much happier having done that.”

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/376938-UK-university-blocks-politically-incorrect-research-into-sex-change-reversal

Trump Has Forced the Deep State to Change Their Tactics

We are witnessing Civil War II unfold. The lines of battle have not clearly been drawn and thousands if not millions are not yet dying. But make no mistake about it, the country is polarized and the point of no return has been reached.

This article will summarize and provide a point of reference in order to help the reader understand how this present civil war and how it is playing out.

The plan to destroy America from the top-down was predicated on the notion that the Democrats would control the Presidency. The top-down approach is the most effective in initiating a civil war against America and her traditions (eg the Constitution).

Before the election of Donald Trump, the Deep State had grown to such a proportion that government was effectively under the control of many of the Obama appointees that had infected the White House and various cabinets for the previous 8 years. Had Hillary been elected, the government would have been controlled from the top-down. Before the end of Hillary’s first term as President, the Supreme Court would have been Democratic for decades to come. The Presidency would would have come under control of Clinton and America would have never recovered.

As President, Clinton would have come to control much of the military. She would have given the United Nations Peacekeeperss access to the country. She would have enforced her self-proclaimed “no-fly” zone in Syria that this war monger unveiled in Debate#2 that would have led to World War III.  Clinton would have continued Obama’s form of socialist economics that was bankrupting the country and its middle class.

Chaos would have ensued under a Clinton Presidency. People would have predictably taken to the streets and gun confiscation laws would have been enacted. Social media would have completely shut down the Independent Media. And most importantly, dissidents would have been hauled off to re-education camps to never be heard from again.

Under a Clinton presidency, the chaos of the country would have reached such a crisis, that we would have seen the UN blue helmets going house to house to look for guns. Many of the UN soldiers would have been Chinese and Russian. Effectively, America would have been conquered and Hillary would have been installed as the puppet leader.

Under a Clinton presidency, MS-13 would have carried out their mandate and would have begun the poliical assassinations of key law enforcement and political figures which is what MS-13 already does for the drug cartels and their terrorist allies.

Under a Clinton Presidency, the chaos and the responding UN occupation of key American cities would have reached a crisis point. American soldiers would be forced to decide who they were going to serve. This is what Jade Helm 16 was about when the drill advertised for crisis actors who would play the role of  disaffected former American military troops that would be playing the role of guerilla chieftains. The Jade Helm planners knew that American soldiers would one day face off against the UN. This would have been the stage for the purge of middle America, the Constitution and the viability of the American economy. This would have been the real civil war.

As I have said before, the Bilderberg decided that Obama would be the eighth inning set up man and Clinton would have been the closer as it related to taking down the country. But something happened on the way to America’s planned demise, the American voters got off the floor, just like in the movie Rocky I, and said, “Yo Adrian, we need to vote for Trump” and America’s planned execution was delayed.

In the present moment, America is living on borrowed time. However, much of the country has seen the benefits of a free-market President. Black unemployment rates are the lowest that they have ever been. Overall unemployment is at a 45 year low.  Jobs are staying in America, Americans are being hired and bonuses are being given. The Deep State cannot allow these gains to continue, because Trump is winning over many of the apathetic Americans who previously could have cared less about politics.

Because America’s CEO positon, the Presidency, is controlled by an American, the top-down plan to conquer America has morphed to a bottom-up civil war based upon the use of guerilla war strategies which are employing domestic terror strategies. The strategies will stay in place until the Deep State’s political arm, the Democratic Pary, recaptures the White House.

Most of the Deep State’s bottom-up approach does not involve a major loss of life yet. The plan is progressive, and make no mistake about it, the actions fo the Deep State will turn as violent as it has to in order to regain control of the country. And if you think this article is an endorsement of the Republicans, think again. The Republicans have discovered that there is temporary political capital in being loyal to the country and its ideals. However, this new found Republican idealism is temporary and will only remain in place so long as this approach draws political donations and votes.

Although it is true that the Deep State controls all of the major media, Hollywood, various social institutions such the NFL, the schools etc., the Deep State does not enjoy a numerical population advantage when it comes to dividing the American people between the conservatives and liberals. I would estimate that 50% of the country is loyal to the cause of freedom to various degrees. And I would estimate that 10% are dedicated to the overthrow of America in its present form, with the remaining 40% not caring either way. At least they will not care until people start dying and there is not enough food to go around. It is interesting to see how a crisis makes people choose.

Who are the foot soldiers of the bottom-up approach to overthrowing America? They are the media with their incessant attacks upon Christianity, the family and our legal institutions. They are the social justice warriors, with MSM backing, that attack every aspect of the family (ie there are 97 genders and words like mankind, mom, dad, etc., are now forbidden).

Before Obama left office he signed off on using the UN as a police force in America. The bottom-up plan is to generate so much domestic chaos that the country is taken over by the UN. In this instance, the country would be made a protectorate of the United Nations. If you are wondering why I would believe in the protectorate approach, look at the CALEXIT movement, headed by Eric Holder. Their plan is to be a protectorate of the United Nations after leaving the US. Don’t forget about the Cook County Commissioners who proclaimed through the Chicago local media that they could not trust the National Guard to stem the gun violence in Chicago and they were going to bring  in the United Nations to restore law and order. The Deep State has tipped their hand with their prior actions. Make no mistake about it,, this is martial law.

President Trump has been able to push back this planned take-over through the release of the memos. His popularity is rising, the American people are beginning to see through the Deep State charade.

As of now, the Deep State has not become overly violent. However, there is an intramural violence between the Deep State and American loyalists in government. The attempted assassination of Rep. Steve Scalise for daring to expose their child-sex-trafficking rings. Also, the attack upon the GOP laden train was no accident and of course the Clinton trail of bodies continues to grow.

The major goal of Deep State subversive activities is to keep the country in chaos until such time as they can recapture control of the active and public portion of the government. Then the top-down take-over of America will resume.

Mark my words, if Trump’s populism continues to gain a foothold and spread (Trump’s approval rating has climbed to 49%), we will enter a new phase of the globalist take-over. America will witness a series of false flag attacks like the world has never seen.  North Korea, or Iran will be framed and the pretext for the ultimate distraction will be set into motion and World War III will commence. Welcome to the civil war, but that is not the worst news. The worst news for many people is the fact that they are going to be forced to decide who they will support.

 

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Climate intervention strategies pushed by climate change alarmists may COLLAPSE the entire Amazon rainforest, warn scientists


Image: Climate intervention strategies pushed by climate change alarmists may COLLAPSE the entire Amazon rainforest, warn scientists

(Natural News)
Proponents of solar geoengineering believe that blanketing our sky with aerosols will save the planet, reducing sunlight levels and stopping the warming that has whipped many climate change alarmists into such a frenzy. As the debate continues over the finer points of global warming, there is one thing that scientists are pretty sure of: Artificially cooling the planet using solar geoengineering would have serious repercussions for our planet if it were to suddenly come to a stop.

The idea behind geoengineering is to spray sulfur dioxide into our atmosphere using airplanes. The clouds it forms would theoretically reflect sunlight back into space and offset any rises in global temperature, much like what happens with volcanic eruptions. Indeed, it was inspired by the fact that the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 in the Philippines, which blasted 15 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, was the only act in recent years to make a dent in the rise of global warming. It’s believed to be responsible for cooling global temperatures by as much as 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit in the two years following the blast.

Imitating this action, the theory goes, would help keep rising temperatures in check. Even if such as solution were ever put into place, however, scientists are warning that it would be too dangerous to ever stop it.

That’s because intentionally cooling the earth would mask the additional warming greenhouse gases produce. In a study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, researchers used computer models to envision what might happen if geoengineering brought about climate cooling and also what might occur if it were to suddenly stop. They used a scenario where planes would spray five million tons of the sulfur dioxide annually into the Earth’s upper atmosphere at the equator for the course of 50 years. Under their model, the sulfuric acid cloud would be evenly distributed between the Southern and Northern Hemisphere.

They found that should geoengineering come to a grinding halt for whatever reason, a very rapid warming would take place. Some areas would see temperature hikes at rates that are two to four times faster than the historical average.

Animals and plants would have to migrate to new areas, which would fragment ecosystems and drive some species toward extinction. Tropical forest fires would rise as rain is reduced across Northern Europe, Asia and the Amazon. Species would have to travel in one direction in order to maintain the levels of precipitation they were used to while going in another one to find the temperatures they have grown accustomed to. This would place areas rich in biodiversity, such as the Amazon basin and tropical oceans, at tremendous risk.

Impossible to rule out someone abruptly stopping geoengineering

Although it wouldn’t be in anyone’s best interest to stop it once it did get underway, there is no guaranteeing that all parties with the power to stop it would act appropriately.

The study’s co-author, Alan Robock, said: “If geoengineering ever stopped abruptly, it would be devastating, so you would have to be sure that it could be stopped gradually, and it is easy to think of scenarios that would prevent that.”

According to the Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance Initiative’s Janos Pasztor, it’s not implausible to believe that a particular country, group of countries, or even a wealthy individual could one day decide to deploy solar engineering, creating the type of quick start and stop that would put so much of the planet at risk. The plan to pump the atmosphere with aerosols, it seems, is far too risky to be the answer that so many people want to believe that it is.

Follow more news on geoengineering at Geoengineering.news.

Sources for this article include:

Science.News

USAToday.com

Futurism.com

TechnologyReview.com

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Source Article from http://www.naturalnews.com/2018-02-06-climate-intervention-strategies-pushed-by-climate-change-alarmists-may-collapse-the-entire-amazon-rainforest.html

Ending pollution requires a change of attitudes

By Graham Peebles

Pollution has become an everyday affair. It is a murderous way of life which, according to a report published in The Lancet, is responsible for the deaths of at least nine million people every year. The air we breathe is poisoned, the streams, rivers, lakes and oceans are filthy — some more, some less — the land littered with waste, the soil toxic. Neglect, complacency and exploitation characterise the attitude of governments, corporations and far too many individuals towards the life of the planet, and its rich interwoven ecological systems.

The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, which is yet another cry for urgent collective action, found that pollution is responsible for a range of diseases which “kill one in every six people around the world”. This figure, while shocking, is probably a good deal higher because “the impact of many pollutants is poorly understood.” The landmark study establishes that we have reached the point when “deaths attributed to pollution are triple those from Aids, malaria and tuberculosis combined”.

Our selfish materialistic way of life is having a devastating impact on all forms of life. Unless there is a major shift in attitudes, the number of people dying of pollution will increase, contamination of the oceans will increase, deforestation and desertification will continue, and the steady destruction of all that is beautiful and naturally given will intensify. Until one day it will be too late.

Plastic oceans, poisoned air

Even climate change deniers cannot blame the natural environment for the plastic islands that litter the oceans, or the poisoned water and contaminated air. Pollution results from human activity, it “endangers the stability of the Earth’s support systems and threatens the continuing survival of human societies”. A sense of intense, life-threatening urgency needs to be engendered, particularly among the governments and populations of those countries that are, and have historically been, the major polluters — the industrialised nations of the World.

Although China has now overtaken the USA in producing the highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions, David G. Victor, a longtime scholar of climate politics at the University of California, argues that the US (which has 5 per cent of the world’s population but produces 30 per cent of the world’s waste), “with its love of big cars, big houses and blasting air-conditioners, has contributed more than any other country to the atmospheric carbon dioxide that is scorching the plane… In cumulative terms, we [the US] certainly own this problem more than anybody else does.”

Russia and India follow the USA as emitters of the most greenhouse gases; then comes Japan, Germany, Iran and Saudi Arabia, which the World Economic Forum relates, has “on a per-country average, the most toxic air in the world”. Australia, Canada and Brazil should also be included among the principle polluters. As Brazil’s economy has grown, so have the quantities of poisonous gas emissions, their effect made worse by deforestation of vast areas of the Amazon rainforests.

Indonesia, too, warrants our attention. This small country (3 per cent of the global population) in the middle of the South Seas is a major polluter: it has the third largest expanse of tropical forest after the Amazon and Congo, and is cutting down trees at the highest rate on the planet; it produces approximately 5 per cent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, is the second-largest contributor to marine plastic pollution after China and has some of the dirtiest water in southeast Asia  – only a third of the population having access to clean drinking water. 

China also has a problem with polluted water; IBT report that “Government analysis found that more than 80 per cent of the water from its wells was not safe to drink… while about 60 per cent of its groundwater overall was of poor or extremely poor quality”. Water pollution has reached serious levels in America as well: according to the Water Quality Project, 32 per cent of bays, 40 per cent of the country’s rivers and 46 per cent of its lakes are “too polluted for fishing, swimming or aquatic life”. The Mississippi River, which is among the most polluted rivers in the world, “carries an estimated 1.5 million metric tonnes of nitrogen pollution into the Gulf of Mexico every year. The resulting pollution is the cause of a coastal dead zone the size of Massachusetts every summer.”

Polluted rivers result in contaminated oceans; chemical fertilisers, detergents, oil, sewage, pesticides and plastic waste flow into the sea from inland waterways. Some pollutants sit on the surface of the ocean, many collect on the seabed where they are ingested by small marine organisms and introduced into the global food chain. The shocking condition of the seas was highlighted recently in the BBC production Blue Planet II. In a sequence that moved many to tears, an Albatross, having been at sea for weeks looking for food, was filmed feeding its chicks with bits of plastic collected from the surface of the ocean. 

Recent research has identified 10 rivers as the source of 90 per cent of the plastics in the oceans. Deutsche Welle reports that all of them run through densely populated areas where waste collection or recycling infrastructure is inadequate. Three of these filthy tributaries are in China, four more run through China, two — the Nile and the Niger (regularly the scene of oil spills) — are in Africa. The list is completed by the Holy Ganges in India, which serves as rubbish dump (almost 80 per cent of urban waste is thrown into the river), utility room, bathroom, burial chamber and sacred temple.

Plastic waste is produced everywhere, but five Asian countries produce 60 per cent of the global total, currently 300 million tonnes (only 10 per cent is recycled): China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. If nothing changes it’s predicted that by 2025 plastic consumption in Asia alone could increase by 80 per cent to over 200 million tonnes, and global consumption could reach 400 million tonnes. Greenpeace estimates that roughly 10 per cent of all plastic ends up in the oceans where it is thought to kill over a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals.

The statistics around pollution are numerous, shocking and all too depressing. Here’s a taste: 

  • 5,000 people die every day through drinking unclean water. 
  • About 80 per cent of landfill items could be recycled.
  • 65 per cent of deaths in Asia and 25 per cent of deaths in India are due to air pollution. 
  • Chronic obstructive respiratory disease (caused by burning fossil fuels indoors) is responsible for the death of more than 1 million people annually.
  • Over 3 million children under five die annually from environmental factors.
  • Worldwide, 13,000-15,000 pieces of plastic are dumped into the ocean every day. 
  • At least two-thirds of the world’s fish stocks suffer from plastic ingestion
  • For every 1 million tonnes of oil shipped, approximately 1 tonne is wasted through spillage.
  • A million plastic bottles are sold worldwide every minute; forecast to increase by 20 per cent by 2021.
  • Around 1,000 children die in India annually due to diseases caused by polluted water. 
  • There are more than 500 million cars in the world; there could be 1 billion by 2030. 
  • Shoppers worldwide use approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags annually. This translates to about a million bags every minute, and the number is rising.

Criminal neglect

Pollution and the environmental catastrophe more broadly is the result of insatiable consumerism, selfishness and individual and collective irresponsibility. It flows from a materialistic approach to living, rooted in desire and an unjust economic system that demands unbridled consumerism for its survival. Ideologically rooted corporate governments imprisoned in nationalism and obsessed with short-term economic growth feed the system and the most important issue of the time is relegated to an afterthought, rarely spoken about by politicians who seem to believe that limitless development and mass consumerism is of greater importance than the health of the planet.

Designing policies that will clean up the air, the seas and rivers, and will preserve forests and farmland, should be the priority for all governments around the world, particularly in the industrialised nations, which have been responsible for producing the majority of the filth and for cultivating the consumer culture that is perpetuating the crisis. But while governments need to take a leading role to stop pollution, individuals, all of us, need to change the way we think and how we live. It is imperative we consume less and that decisions regarding purchases should be made firstly with environmental considerations in mind. Sufficiency and simplicity of living need to replace abundance, complacency and indulgence.

This demands a major shift in attitudes, not in 25 years, not in a year, but now. As Pope Francis rightly states in his groundbreaking papal letter, “Care for Our Common Home”, “Our efforts at [environmental] education will be inadequate and ineffectual unless we strive to promote a new way of thinking about human beings, life, society and our relationship with nature. Otherwise, the paradigm of consumerism will continue to advance, with the help of the media and the highly effective workings of the market.” 

The “market”, aided by the media, is not concerned by such liberal considerations as the welfare of the planet and the health of human beings; it is a blind monster with a compulsion for profit, and if the ecological networks within which we live are to be purified and healing is to take place it needs to be rejected totally. A new way of thinking is required that moves away from divisive selfish ways to inclusive, socially and environmentally responsible behaviour based on a recognition that the environment we live in is not separate from us and that we all have a duty to care for it. This requires a fundamental change of attitudes.

“If we want to bring about deep change, we need to realise that certain mindsets really do influence our behaviour.” And, while there are many exceptions to this, the prevailing, carefully cultivated mindset is a materialistic, self-centred one in which responsibility is passed to someone else, usually a government. It is a mindset that has been conditioned virtually from birth by the motivating mechanism of reward and punishment. This crude tool encourages deceit, undermines humanity’s essential goodness and relies on the stimulation of materialistic, hedonistic desire – the very thing that is fuelling the environmental crisis – for its success. It is a method that may well work with corporations and to a limited degree with individuals, but a more potent and cleaner way to change the behaviour of the population at large is the way of awareness: awareness that we are brothers and sisters of one humanity, that cooperation, not competition, is an inherent aspect of our nature and that that we are all responsible for the world in which we live. It’s up to us, each and every one of us, to consciously live in an environmentally responsible manner – no matter the cost or inconvenience, and to begin to repair the terrible damage we have done and continue to do to the natural world.

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Source Article from http://www.redressonline.com/2018/02/ending-pollution-requires-a-change-of-attitudes/

Climate change is a disaster for the millennials, an inconvenience for the boomers

This is a series where I take my lectures presented as adjunct professor teaching sustainable design at Ryerson University School of Interior Design in Toronto and distill them down to a sort of Pecha Kucha slideshow distilling the content down to the essentials.

When I teach sustainable design, I start with the basics, the problems we are trying to solve, and of course, the biggest one is climate change and the importance of reducing our consumption of fossil fuels. It is surprisingly hard; my students are in the third year of their course, happily ignoring what many of us keep saying is the biggest issue of our time. Over the last decade, I have actually seen a decline in interest in sustainable design when I look at their end-of-year work; it is barely on their radars. Denial has become so pervasive that I have had to spend as much time saying “really, this is happening!” as I am explaining the basics of rising temperatures.

But this year is different.

Source Article from https://www.treehugger.com/slideshows/environmental-policy/if-young-people-dont-act-climate-change-then-we-are-real-trouble-again/

Judge denies transgender student’s request to change in girls’ locker room

transgender gender neutral restroom

    

An Illinois judge denied a transgender student’s request Thursday to change clothes with female students in the girls’ locker room at a public high school.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which represents Nova Maday, a biologically male student at Palatine’s Township High School District 211, had petitioned a trial court last year, arguing the student should be treated like other females and not be forced to change clothes behind a curtain.

But on Thursday, Judge Thomas Allen rejected the request, leaving the ACLU to consult with its client on how to move forward with the case.

“Clearly, we are disappointed in this decision. We continue to believe that the school is wrong to discriminate against our client. There is no exception under our nondiscrimination laws that allows a school to treat transgender students differently because of lack of understanding or discomfort about transgender people,” said John Knight, LGBTQ policy director at the ACLU.

“To me, this is a simple question – am I going to be treated just like any other girl in my school. All I want is to be accepted by my school for who I am – a girl – and be able to take gym and use the locker room to change clothes like the other girls in my class,” the student said after the judge’s decision.


Comment: The question is, should society accept that a boy is really a girl because he says so?

The ACLU had cited the Illinois Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination, in its argument. But Kellie Fiedorek, an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), said that’s a “baseless” claim.

“That law specifically allows facilities like locker rooms to be reserved for girls, whose desire for privacy is both important and understandable, particularly in the post-Weinstein era,” said Ms. Fiedorek, referencing disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. Dozens of women came forward last year, alleging Mr. Weinstein sexually assaulted them.

ADF, along with the Thomas More Society, represented a group of concerned parents and students who intervened in the ACLU’s lawsuit.

Schools should never be forced to give male students unrestricted access to areas where girls are changing clothes. Claiming a female gender identity doesn’t change that,” said Thomas Brejcha, chief counsel at the Thomas More Society.

ADF’s press release noted the transgender student continues to have access to the female locker room, but is required to change behind a curtain.

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/375464-Judge-denies-transgender-students-request-to-change-in-girls-locker-room

WATCH: Comedian Shreds Media’s Regime Change Talking Points in Under a Minute

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(ZH) This could well be one of the most epic less-than-60-second devastating take-down of just about every mainstream media lie on Syria… In case you missed it, an entire panel of guests revolted against well-known conservative commentator S.E. Cupp’s demands that the US “do something” to remove the Assad government during a segment on her CNN HLN show late last week, but it was a comedian that delivered the final death blow, calling Cupp’s recycled regime change talking points “insane”.  

Cupp has for years argued that “US inaction” is to blame for Syria’s woes and has been a consistent and prominent voice on the right calling for increased and more direct military action in the Syrian war – even as top US officials and Pentagon and intelligence insiders have since been very blunt in stating the obvious that only al-Qaeda and ISIS would fill the vacuum should the Assad government be removed by military force.


S.E. Cupp: “Isn’t it time to do something in Syria in a full-throated way?”

During a recent Syria panel discussion on “SE Cupp Unfiltered,” she revisited the idea of regime change, posing the question for the panel: “isn’t it time to do something in Syria in a full-throated way?”

For hawks like Cupp, nothing is ever enough apparently, even as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has pledged that US forces will occupy… remain in Syria for an indefinite amount of time to support proxy SDF forces on the ground, primarily to “counter Iran” while seeking “political transition” in Damascus.

She introduced the segment with a heatedly emotional appeal to her guest panelists, pleading we “must do something” because “500,000 people died while we did nothing” and arguing that “ignoring all of this… the chemical weapons, ISIS, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Iran, Russia… it just gets worse”. Cupp later answered her own question, saying that solving the crisis “is completely possible if you get rid of Assad“.

But the panel wasn’t buying it. In a rare moment for mainstream network television, the entire group of panelists revolted with each commentator getting more blunt in their pushback against Cupp than the last – until finally stand-up comedian and libertarian commentator Dave Smith apparently couldn’t take Cupp’s smug clichéd and recycled talking points anymore.

Smith – though not some usual think tank blowhard that frequents such foreign policy debate panels – expertly schooled Cupp and dismantled her every assumption, demonstrating that it has been precisely US action in the region that has fueled the crisis in Syria, starting with the 2003 invasion of Iraq and continuing with the CIA program to arm the anti-Assad insurgency in SyriaAnd he did it all in under 60 seconds.

“…The most ridiculous plan that I’ve heard yet… This is insane… ISIS rose because we overthrew Saddam Hussein and then we armed ISIS,” Smith said.

Watch the full clip below (stand-up comic Dave Smith comes in at the 1:55 mark): 

Smith’s epic diatribe met with no resistance. He said:

“Regime change has been an absolute nightmare everywhere that we’ve had it. And the idea that we’re going to go into a civil war and take both sides out is of all of these wars the most ridiculous plan that I’ve heard yet.

And as far as standing back while hundreds of thousands of people die – no one seems to have a problem with doing that in Yemen right now because it’s not the regime that we want to overthrow, it’s the regime we support doing it.

This is insane! ISIS did not rise because we pulled out of Iraq because of a bad decision – we pulled out on Bush’s timeline because we had to because the government of Iraq was no longer going to protect our troops against war crimes.

ISIS rose because we overthrew Saddam Hussein and then we armed ISIS. We need to not intervene in this part of the world – it’s an immoral war, it’s an illegal war. Syria has not attacked America. We have no legitimate reason for our defense to be there, and this is exactly what Obama promised not to do, and what Trump promised not to do.”

Apparently, S.E. Cupp couldn’t come up with any better response other than to half-heartedly say, “I disagree”… before quickly ending the segment.

Source Article from http://thefreethoughtproject.com/comedian-syria-talking-points/

Human: An Incredible Documentary That Will Change The Way You Look At Yourself



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“To succeed in your professional life isn’t that hard, but to succeed in your personal life is a lot harder. To really be a human is a lot harder. We forget about that.” – Yann Arthus-Bertand, director of the film Human

Sometimes there comes along a documentary that is so profound, so moving, that you want to shout out to the whole world that they must see it.

Just-released Human is one of those unforgettable documentaries that has the power to change an enormous amount of people. It may even have the ability to change how governments treat their citizens.

Directed by French born Yann Arthus-Bertand, a well-known and incredible photographer, journalist, and reporter (as well as an avid environmentalist), Human is a stunning visual feast for the eyes and has a powerful impact on the soul.

Arthus, who is also known for directing another equally stunning documentary, Home (which was viewed by a whopping 600 million people), is back with another masterpiece that showcases something that has never been done before.

Synopsis

Throughout the filming of Human, Arthus and his team of 16 journalists interviewed 2020 people from 60 different countries, asking each person the same 40 questions, covering many subjects such as family, love, religion, ambition, and failure.

They asked questions like:

“What is the toughest trial you have faced? What did you learn from it?”

“When was the last time you said ‘I love you’ to your parents?” and “What is love to you?”

“What are your thoughts on homosexuality, the destruction of the environment and the cost of war?”

“What was it like growing up in your country?”

“Why is humanity making the same mistakes?”

The answers often surprised the journalists and frequently took the conversation to unexpected places.

They even interviewed freedom fighters, death row inmates, farmers in Mali, and war veterans who have seen life in a very different context than have most of us.

Countless Moving Moments

Of the countless moving moments in the film, I personally found the scene right at the beginning to be the most touching.  Leonard — a man who is in prison in the US for murdering a woman and her child — speaks of his abusive childhood and how his father would often beat him and say things like,  “I did this because I love you,” and “This hurts me more than it hurts you.”

Leonard grew up, not surprisingly, with hate in his heart – and a very warped idea of what ‘love’ is. He then ended up committing this truly horrific act.

He was sentenced to prison and strangely, only discovered what ‘love’ meant after he came across a woman named Agnes who forgave him for what he did. And she was the mother and grandmother of the two victims.

This is what Leonard said:

“By all rights, she should hate me, but instead, she gave me love, and she taught me what it was.”

The variety of people interviewed, from so many different countries, shows you the scale of the world’s common concerns, yet also gives you inspiration that the majority of people want the same things — to live in peace and harmony with each other, for governments to treat us well, and to have that connectedness that is so important. The film also showcases just how hard some people have it in this world and makes you appreciate your own life much more.

The movie also shows some of the most beautiful moving images of our earth, deserts, mountains, and landscapes, all alongside a stunning soundtrack.

I promise you, you won’t be the same after you watch this film!

Watch the trailer below!

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“I am one man among seven billion others. For the past 40 years, I have been photographing our planet and its human diversity, and I have the feeling that humanity is not making any progress. We can’t always manage to live together.
Why is that? I didn’t look for an answer in statistics or analysis, but in man himself.”

Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Here is a link to the full film on YouTube, which has been released for free by the producers of Human.

Check out the film’s website here.

Human facebook group


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