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Michael Jordan Jokes 6 NBA Titles More Impressive Than Westbrook, Harden Streaks

Michael Jordan is impressed by the individual streaks James Harden and Russell Westbrook are in the midst of, but he still values the ultimate team accomplishment above everything else...
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Elliott to start outdoor game for Flyers instead of Hart
Brian Elliott to start Stadium Series outdoor game for Flyers over rookie Carter Hart        
USATODAY - News Top Stories
ELEAGUE FIFA 19 FUT Champions Cup Friday Results and Top Highlights
The 2019 ELEAGUE FUT Champions Cup February kicked off Friday with Swiss-style tournament play for top FIFA 19 players on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One...
bleacherreport.com
Celtics vs. Bucks L2M Report Confirms 3 Missed Calls on Game's Final Play
The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Boston Celtics, 98-97, on Thursday night but not without controversy. The NBA 's Last Two Minute Report released on Friday outlined three non-calls on the final play with 3...
bleacherreport.com
Dragon aces final NASA review, now set for test flight on March 2
"We expect to learn some things."
Ars Technica
NASA gives SpaceX the okay to launch new passenger spacecraft on uncrewed test flight
It’s official: the first uncrewed flight of SpaceX’s new passenger capsule, the Crew Dragon, is set to launch on March 2nd out of Cape Canaveral, Florida. Both NASA and SpaceX agreed to move forward with the flight today after doing a full day of reviews, determining that the vehicle was ready to see space and travel to the International Space Station. If the capsule successfully makes it to orbit, SpaceX will be one crucial step closer to putting the first humans on board its spacecraft. This flight, called Demonstration Mission-1, or DM-1, is a major milestone for NASA’s Commercial Crew program, an initiative to send NASA astronauts to the International Space Station aboard private vehicles. Since the Shuttle program ended, NASA has relied on Russia to ferry its astronauts to and from low Earth orbit — an expensive arrangement that limited the types of missions NASA could run. But soon, US astronauts could be launching on US-made vehicles once again, as NASA did during the Space Shuttle era. For the program, both SpaceX and rival company Boeing, have been developing new capsules to transport NASA astronauts to and from low Earth orbit. NASA wants the two companies to send these vehicles to space first, empty, before putting people on board. Boeing’s vehicle, the CST-100 Starliner, is set to fly uncrewed for the first time this April. But SpaceX’s Crew Dragon has been at Cape Canaveral since December, ready to fly. SpaceX even tested out the engines on the Falcon 9 rocket it plans to use to carry the capsule to orbit. The company just needed NASA’s approval to make it happen. SpaceX is just a week away from the big flight NASA tentatively set the March 2nd date a few weeks ago, and now that the okay has been given, SpaceX is just a week away from the big flight. The capsule is set to fly at 2:48AM ET from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida — an early morning launch time dictated by the International Space Station’s position in orbit. If the Crew Dragon gets off the ground then, it’ll stay in orbit until early morning on Sunday and then attempt to automatically dock with the space station. It will then remain at the ISS for a week before detaching early Friday morning and returning to Earth to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean near Florida. Image: SpaceX SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket with the first Crew Dragon capsule on board The flight is a short one compared to the months-long missions that a crewed spacecraft might be expected to complete. But it will hopefully provide both NASA and SpaceX with critical data about how the Crew Dragon holds up in space — and whether or not it is ready to carry passengers. “This vehicle, inside, has a lot of instrumentation,” Kathy Lueders, said during a press conference at Kennedy Space Center today. “We’re getting a lot of imagery of the vehicle as it’s coming back.” The capsule will be weighted similarly to how a Crew Dragon will be when it has astronauts on board, and it will also be carrying a test dummy, suited up in one of SpaceX’s custom flight suits. Representatives for NASA stressed that they are still taking this test very seriously, even though it’s short. The Crew Dragon will be arriving at the International Space Station, which currently has three people on board, and NASA wants to make sure those crew members aren’t in any danger when the capsule gets there. “It’s a test flight, but it’s more than a test flight,” Bill Gerstenmaier, the associate administrator for NASA’s human spaceflight program, said during a press conference. “It’s a mission to the International space Station.” “it’s more than a test flight.” In fact, NASA’s international partner Roscosmos expressed some concern about the Crew Dragon’s software that it uses when it approaches the International Space Station. However, Gerstenmaier says he plans to follow up with Roscosmos this week to make sure they are on board with the procedure. “I don’t think it’ll be a problem once we go through the details of why it’s safe, and we can explain to them the details of why we’re moving forward,” he said. However, Gerstenmaier noted that the flight does still carry some risk, as this will be the first launch of this particular vehicle. “I fully expect we’re going to learn something on this flight,” he said. “I guarantee everything will not work exactly right, and that’s cool. That’s exactly what we want to do.” Image: SpaceX SpaceX’s Crew Dragon inside the company’s hangar at Cape Canaveral DM-1 will also provide NASA and SpaceX with the opportunity to evaluate some systems on Crew Dragon that are still not quite ready yet to support passenger flights. One of these is the capsule’s parachutes, which are used to lower the capsule gently into the water when it returns from space. SpaceX says it has done 17 tests on the parachute systems so far, but NASA is still in the process of certifying the hardware for future crewed missions. If DM-1 doesn’t happen on March 2nd, NASA has the option to fly either on March 5th, the 8th, or the 9th. Those days work best, as it will allow Crew Dragon to return to Earth during the daytime, giving NASA a better view of the parachutes. If DM-1 is somehow delayed past the 9th, then it will have to wait a little bit longer as there is an upcoming Russian Soyuz mission that will take precedence — one that is carrying up a new crew. “I will tell you, I’m ready to fly now.” After this test flight is complete, SpaceX is then set to do another flight test with the Crew Dragon in April, one that will try out the vehicle’s emergency abort system. This failsafe feature is meant to be used in case something goes drastically wrong with the rocket during flight and the Crew Dragon needs to get to safety. During the test, thrusters embedded in the hull of the Crew Dragon will fire, carrying the capsule away from the rocket. It’s a procedure similar to the emergency abort system aboard Russia’s Soyuz rocket, which saved two astronauts during a botched flight in October. If that test goes well, it may finally be time for the first crew to board the Crew Dragon. When that crewed flight will occur is still undecided — a recent report from Reuters noted that there are still a lot of technical items that NASA needs to review first before the agency will let astronauts fly on either Boeing or SpaceX’s vehicles. And NASA admitted today that the Crew Dragon, in its current form, is not ready yet for crewed missions. But the uncrewed flight test will at least pave the way for that first crewed flight to happen. “I will tell you, I’m ready to fly now,” Lueders said.
The Verge
Sunscreen Regulations Haven’t Aged Well
So now, the FDA announced proposals to update the process for regulating sun protection products.
WIRED
Trump says he's inclined to extend China trade deadline and meet Xi soon
President Donald Trump said on Friday there was "a very good chance" the United States would strike a deal with China to end their trade war and that he was inclined to extend his March 1 tariff deadline and meet soon with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
REUTERS
Gadget Lab Podcast: Samsung’s Foldable Phone Future
Samsung revealed not one, not two, but five new smartphones this week – including a folding phone. Axios’s Ina Fried joins on this week’s Gadget Lab podcast.
WIRED
Britain in the Crazed Brexit Vortex
The land of milk and honey promised by the Vote Leave campaign in 2016 has turned into a nightmare.
NYT > Home Page
Kraft Tests How Much Costs Can Be Cut as Tastes Change
The reputations of some of the world’s most powerful investors rest on whether they can get consumers excited again about Kraft macaroni and cheese.
The New York Times
'We’re talking tens of millions of dollars': Sex spas are big business, investigator says
Large parts of the investigation into what officials say are illicit spas and paid-sex operations represent new territory for law enforcement.        
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Digital Trends Live: Oscar visual effects, digital distractions, and more
On episode 72 of Digital Trends Live, we discussed news including the discovery that Google's Nest Secure has a hidden microphone, and welcomed author Brian Solis to the show to talk about his latest book. The post Digital Trends Live: Oscar visual effects, digital distractions, and more appeared first on Digital Trends.
Digital Trends | Technology News and Product Reviews
Stolen Tesla leads police on chase after owner finds it with Tesla app
Criminals might want to think twice before stealing Tesla.  A man led police on a chase through Riverside, California, after stealing a Tesla from a parking garage. The moment the Tesla was moved from its parking spot, the owner knew that his car was on the move and that he wasn't driving it, according to local news reports. The Tesla owner informed the police, who eventually arrested the suspect.  SEE ALSO: Tesla's fart mode is a real gem This was a shining moment for the Tesla app. Not only does it serve as a key, but it tracks the car's location, charge level, and can also control the interior climate.  Read more...More about Tesla, Car Theft, Apps And Software, Tracking App, and Tech
Mashable
Black dog disappears in white snow playing fetch
A winter storm dumped record-breaking amounts of snow in Arizona, causing problems for some people, but delighting a black dog who romped in the heavy, white snow. (Feb. 22)        
1 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
WGC-Mexico Championship 2019: Dustin Johnson Leads After Strong Round 2
Dustin Johnson surged into the lead at the WGC-Mexico Championship on Friday after shooting a four-under 67 in the second round to hold a two-stroke lead over Rory McIlroy and Matt Kuchar...
1 h
bleacherreport.com
An Emergency for the G.O.P.
The Constitution or The Donald? Why is this such a hard choice for congressional Republicans?
1 h
NYT > Home Page
Sony slowly rolls out its 2019 lineup of enormous TVs, with pricing to match
Like the slowly retreating glacier that is the winter of 2019, new TV prices are beginning to be uncovered. Sony is the latest company to reveal what we'll have to pay, but so far, only one model has shown up. The post Sony slowly rolls out its 2019 lineup of enormous TVs, with pricing to match appeared first on Digital Trends.
1 h
Digital Trends | Technology News and Product Reviews
How to watch Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 press conference
It is widely believed that Microsoft's WMC conference will be the stage for the unveiling of the next generation of its HoloLens mixed reality headset. We have the live stream right here. The post How to watch Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 press conference appeared first on Digital Trends.
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Digital Trends | Technology News and Product Reviews
Mike Leach to Teach Insurgent Warfare and Football Strategies Seminar at WSU
Washington State University head football coach Mike Leach is taking his talents to the classroom. The university announced Friday, according to The Athletic's Chris Vannini , ...
1 h
bleacherreport.com
WGC-Mexico Championship: Dustin Johnson leads by two at halfway
Dustin Johnson leads by two at the WGC-Mexico Championship, with Rory McIlroy and Matt Kuchar sharing second place.
1 h
BBC Sport - Sport
Johnson builds 2-shot lead in Mexico as Woods rallies
Johnson bogey-free and in charge at Mexico Championship with 2-shot lead, as Woods gets back in the game        
1 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Jake of all trades: Indians counting on new arrival Bauers
Indians hoping new arrival Bauers can offset loss of run producers in lineup        
2 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Michael Avenatti: Girl on video listed in R. Kelly charges
Attorney Michael Avenatti says a 14-year-old girl seen with R. Kelly on a video Avenatti turned over to prosecutors is among four victims in a newly released indictment charging the singer with aggravated sexual abuse. (Feb. 22)         
2 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Amazon delivers a sale on Sony wireless noise-canceling headphones
Among the most popular noise-canceling wireless headphone brands are Sony, Beats by Dre, Sennheiser, and Bose, but they can all be expensive. Amazon is discounting Sony's WH-CH700N wireless headphones now. Pick up a great pair of noise-canceling headphones and save. The post Amazon delivers a sale on Sony wireless noise-canceling headphones appeared first on Digital Trends.
2 h
Digital Trends | Technology News and Product Reviews
What's playing at this California theater? Donald Trump protests (and some movies, too)
Allen Michaan, owner of the Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland, uses his movie marquee to protest Trump. "This is my contribution to the resistance," he says.        
2 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Luka Doncic Ruled Out vs. Nuggets with Ankle Injury; Listed as Day-to-Day
Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic is out for Friday night's game against the Denver Nuggets due to an ankle injury. According to The Athletic's Tim Cato , the 19-year-old is considered day-to-day...
2 h
bleacherreport.com
Ric Flair Celebrates Surprise 70th Birthday Party with Chris Jericho, More Stars
WWE Hall of Famer Nature Boy Ric Flair was surprised with a 70th birthday celebration in Atlanta on Friday, and a star-studded group of guests were in attendance...
2 h
bleacherreport.com
Anti-Trump marquee in Calif. is known for political expression
Grand Lake Theatre owner Allen Michaan uses his theater marquee to express his political views. His marquee has attracted a national audience.        
2 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Trump's border wall prototypes in San Diego to be removed
Eight border wall prototypes built in San Diego in late 2017 will be removed to make way for secondary fencing, Customs and Border Protection said.        
2 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Rain delays NHRA Arizona Nationals
Rain washed out all but a few runs in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park        
2 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Fact check: President Donald Trump's habit of inflating trade deficits
President Donald Trump skews the U.S. global trade picture by completely discounting the service trade. Here's why.        
2 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Piatek scores again as AC Milan beats Empoli 3-0 in Serie A
Krzysztof Piatek helped AC Milan to a 3-0 win over relegation-threatened Empoli in Serie A         
2 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Manchester City 'made banned £200,000 Jadon Sancho agent payment'
Manchester City made a banned payment of £200,000 to Jadon Sancho's agent when the England winger was 14 years old, according to Der Spiegel.
2 h
BBC Sport - Sport
Japanese safety video teaches cats the rules of the road
As a species, we've done a pretty bang up job making the rest of the planet incredibly dangerous for other animals. Ask any badger and they'll tell you, "humans are the worst." Roadways are particularly treacherous to the rest of the animal kingdom....
2 h
Engadget | Technology News, Advice and Features
Oscars Provide Stage for Participant Media’s Comeback Story
The film and television company, which focuses on issues-oriented entertainment, has 17 nominations, just a couple of years after laying off half its staff.
2 h
The New York Times
Lakers Rumors: Lonzo Ball Ankle Injury Timeline Extended Because of Bone Bruise
Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball suffered a Grade 3 ankle sprain against the Houston Rockets on January 19 and has been out ever since...
2 h
bleacherreport.com
England in West Indies: Hosts claim dramatic 26-run victory
West Indies produce an inspired fightback to claim a thrilling 26-run victory over England and level the one-day series at 1-1.
2 h
BBC Sport - Sport
Michael Cohen, Robert Kraft, R. Kelly: Your Friday Evening Briefing
Here’s what you need to know at the end of the day.
2 h
NYT > Home Page
Karl-Anthony Towns Ruled out vs. Knicks with Concussion from Car Crash
Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns will not play Friday against the New York Knicks , as T'Wolves head coach Ryan Saunders told ESPN's Ian Begley that Towns is in concussion protocol...
2 h
bleacherreport.com
Trump to Nominate Kelly Knight Craft as U.N. Ambassador
The president announced the selection days after Heather Nauert, his choice to succeed Nikki R. Haley in the position, withdrew from consideration.
2 h
NYT > Home Page
Apple is prioritizing AR — and that’s a good thing
When harnessed for the public good, not simply frivolous enhancements to the gaming world, AR has the potential to usher in transformative progress.
2 h
VentureBeat | Tech News That Matters
Laura Loomer protested her permanent ban at Twitter NYC (again)
Laura Loomer protested at the Twitter building in New York a second time It was a cold and overcast Wednesday in New York when Laura Loomer returned to Twitter’s New York City headquarters to protest. Last November, the right wing activist and provocateur handcuffed herself to the building, calling for Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to unban her and remove other people she believed had violated Twitter’s terms of service. “We’re posting in real life,” Loomer tells me that day. “I’ve been banned on Twitter, and so here I am.” Loomer was permanently suspended from Twitter at the end of November 2018; according to BuzzFeed News, the ban came after she “tweeted a series of anti-Muslim falsehoods about Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee who is one of two Muslim women elected to Congress.” At the time, Loomer had more than a quarter of a million followers, and was known for “consistently [misidentifying] suspects during breaking news situations and, during the midterm elections, [spreading] hoaxes about voter fraud.” The crowd assembled around Loomer for her second protest was a motley crew, a rotating group made up of between 15 and 25 people, many of them livestreaming, there to complain about what they felt was unfair censorship on the social network. Adrienna DiCioccio, the event’s co-organizer, told me as much. “When you go online, and you’re trying to search things, and you get errors like 404 or 451, that means censorship. That means you’re not allowed to find information that you are truly looking for,” she said. (A 404 error means that a server could not find the requested page; a 451 error means something has been taken down for legal reasons.) “We’re posting in real life” DiCioccio continued: “So when we go on platforms that we agree to by contract with TOS terms, and a company is not, you know, complying with their terms? That is a problem. And that’s why we’re here. We are here to show people truly what’s going on behind the algorithms, behind active, active user, you know, active daily users things that are going on. Basically, we. Want. Free. Speech.” She conceded that users should be banned if they break a website’s terms of service. “You know when 2 Live Crew was banned in the ’90s when they were trying to sing? ‘We live in America. We should not be banned in the USA for what we’re trying to say.’ Do you get what I’m saying?” (The rappers in 2 Live Crew were arrested and tried on obscenity charges in the early 1990s, which was overturned by a federal judge after a years-long First Amendment battle over sexually explicit lyrics from their seminal album As Nasty As They Wanna Be.) There were at least three megaphones, which were passed around like a bong, and people took turns shouting at the brick Twitter building, which did not reply. “Social media companies like Twitter and Facebook get to decide whether or not you get pertinent information about national security issues in your country,” Loomer yelled. “If your congresswoman is a Sharia advocate and is advocating for ISIS terrorists, don’t you think ought to know about it without having that information silenced and banned on social media?” She claimed Dorsey had lied to Congress in his testimony last September — where he said that that the company doesn’t use political ideology to make decisions — and said that he should be locked up, as lying to Congress is a crime. (There is no evidence Dorsey lied.) Asked about the protest, a Twitter spokesperson said that “Twitter was founded on freedom of expression and we welcome the public to express their views. We apply the Twitter Rules impartially and not based on ideology.” Loomer went on: “Who is Jack Dorsey protecting? Who are the social media companies protecting when they ban people for reporting facts about Islamic Jihad and sharia in America? Who? Who are they protecting? Islamic terrorists, that’s who they’re protecting.” She continued: “And so when I handcuffed myself many people, mocked me, and they said that it was ridiculous that I was talking about Sharia law when I handcuffed myself, and I was talking about how these companies are upholding Sharia by banning people. Did you know that Twitter is now sending —” And here she paused, dropping her voice to a normal level. “This one is losing battery, I think,” she said to an associate, about her loudspeaker. “Let me use the louder one.” The building remained silent. Afterward, Loomer texted me to say that the event had trended online. There is no record that was actually the case. In 2016, Milo Yiannopoulos lost his Twitter verification; the former Breitbart writer and right-wing darling had apparently run afoul of the company’s internal rules, and, at the time, Twitter declined to comment on the move. (One executive, who said he wasn’t speaking for the company, implied that it may have been because Yiannopoulos had said someone deserved to be harassed.) Yiannopolous was banned permanently from Twitter later that year, after he incited a racist, targeted harassment campaign against the actress Leslie Jones, who was then starring in the Ghostbusters reboot. It was the start of the narrative that Twitter and other social media companies were biased against conservatives, which has since morphed into a belief that these platforms are somehow discriminatory; the companies involved rarely explain what specific action has violated a specific rule. Twitter didn’t tell Loomer why she was banned This January, the technology writer John Herrman published a piece about how platform secrecy enables tech paranoia: “Everything that takes place within the platform kingdoms is enabled by systems we’re told must be kept private in order to function,” he wrote. “We’re living in worlds governed by trade secrets. No wonder they’re making us all paranoid.” Twitter didn’t tell Loomer why she was banned, which has contributed to her feeling that conservatives have been censored online. DiCioccio, the co-organizer, told me she’d tried to do something about it. “I just tried getting an app developed because Twitter is censoring accounts, shadow banning, et cetera, you know what I’m saying? Followers are going down. Views are going down,” she says. “So I was talking to an app developer trying to get something that would contradict their algorithms. But you know, this private company that says they’re not socialist and they’re not trying to make a bias have APIs up where nobody can make an app and even try to go against that.” (APIs, otherwise known as application programming interfaces, are a suite of tools used by developers to make applications; it wasn’t immediately clear what DiCioccio was trying to say.) Many people at Wednesday’s protest felt similarly frustrated, which revealed that they either had not read the terms of service they agreed to and were banned for violating them, or that they lacked the technical knowledge to understand how platforms are moderated. It seemed like they’d all been suspended, at least briefly — one man shouted his account had been temporarily disabled because of he’d tweeted “stance that the Y chromosome determines sex,” which if true would violate Twitter’s policy against hate speech — but what they all had in common was a set of politics. The gathering had the feeling of an amateur support group, at times; at others, it was a debate club. (Loomer told me later she had been involved in college debate, which explains both the vibe and her insistent way of arguing. At press time, I wasn’t able to confirm with her alma mater whether that was true or not.) A podcaster who went by Brad Chadford and his cameraman had come down from Boston, as token liberals to debate Loomer and her group. “I think when these companies like Twitter and Facebook start, they never like conceived that this would eventually become a problem,” he said, referring to the politics that spring up around social media bans. “Where we have a disagreement — me and Adrienna and Laura and all these people that organize this stuff — is that they think that they’re just being targeted because they’re conservatives. I think it’s just kind of like an... inept management that’s going on at Twitter that’s actually causing the problem,” he said. “I just don’t ascribe, like, a nefarious motivation to it, and they do, you know, because they’re fucking crazy.” If Twitter considers itself a public utility, then how can it ban anyone? “I came out here for the protest, obviously,” said Craig Brittain, the ex-revenge porn purveyor who is suing Twitter and who is a former 2018 Senate candidate. He’d flown in from Arizona to take part in Loomer’s action, and said he was also planning to run for Senate again in 2020. “I’ve had members of my staff banned from Twitter when Twitter established a world leaders policy that was supposed to guarantee to protect all candidates, world leaders, and agencies from being blocked or prohibited from spreading their message and reaching their voters and constituents on social media.” (Twitter’s world leaders policy does, in fact, exist; it does not, however, appear to extend to candidates, because they are not world leaders.) Earlier in the day, Brittain had taken up one of the loudspeakers and expounded on a theory of why Twitter had become successful — a sort of alternate history. “What happened was they went from 57,000 members to over 3 million members in three months after President Barack Obama won the election of 2008 because John McCain at the time was ill-equipped to handle social media,” Brittain told the assembled crowd, who didn’t seem to be paying that much attention. “After that, the valuation of the company skyrocketed as a direct result of Barack Obama’s activity with the company. This resulted in multiple town halls and official government events scheduled with Jack Dorsey in which there were numerous press photos and handshakes, and all sorts of events, government money spent, taxpayer dollars invested in the company. And what happened is between 2007 and 2011 the company went from a $3 million valuation to a $23 billion valuation.” (None of this is true. Twitter was worth $35 million near the end of 2007, when it raised its Series B round of funding that October; by the summer of 2011, that had jumped to $9.25 billion, after a Series G.) “Where did the money come from?” Brittain asked. “The money came from the taxpayers. It came from the politicians and government officials and suddenly wanted a piece of this emerging platform,” Brittain said, as a kind of trump card, before he got to his larger point. “Now at the time Dick Costolo was the CEO. And the big statement that he made in 2009 was that Twitter is a public utility. Like water, or electricity. Jack Dorsey would echo that sentiment in the New Yorker in 2011” — it was 2013 — “and again in 2013 in an interview with The New York Times.” (I couldn’t find the Times piece in question, though they wrote a lot about Dorsey in 2013.) What he meant to say: if Twitter considers itself a public utility, then how can it ban anyone? “That’s how bad censorship is,” Brittain continued. “When you can have your water or electricity on in a day just by paying the bill. But you can’t get your Twitter account back. You can’t get your Facebook account back. You can’t get your YouTube account back.” But nobody pays for Twitter, or Facebook, or YouTube. Online, in this metaphor, the utilities are Internet Service Providers. Donald Trump’s FCC has done away with net neutrality, which means that now ISPs are legally allowed to discriminate against traffic to certain sites, like, say, Twitter, or Netflix. Similarly, social platforms operate under their own terms and conditions, even though they undergird much of the infrastructure of modern life. The confusion about what platforms are and the role they play in society extended across the crowd; it was hard for people to separate a platform’s actions — moderating users — from what it means to be deplatformed in an increasingly digital world. “My life has become extremely hard,” said Loomer. “I am banned on Twitter. I’m banned on Uber. I’m banned on Lyft. I’m banned on Venmo. I’m banned on GoFundMe. I’m banned on PayPal. I’m banned on Uber Eats. I can’t even order a sandwich. I now had access suspended from my online Chase banking yesterday,” she continued, the last of which was impossible to verify. While there are non-digital equivalents for most of these services (aside from crowdfunding, as chain letters that request money are illegal), there might not be in the future; as an example, modern cities across the globe have started to go cashless, which means those locked out of the banking system for whatever reason will be further excluded from mainstream society. It’s not hard to imagine a future where you can authenticate yourself in physical space with an online profile, one where if you don’t have a presence you don’t, technically speaking, exist. (By way of analogy: If you match on a dating app, and you Google the person and they don’t appear to have an online trail, how likely are you to still go on the date?) Loomer told me she lost 90 percent of her income after she was banned from PayPal, where she solicited donations, and has claimed she’s since gone into $40,000 of credit card debt. Newsweek confirmed the cancellation, and PayPal provided them with a statement. “PayPal works to ensure that our platform and services are not used for purposes that run counter to our core values,” a spokesperson toldthe magazine. “Our decision and actions are values-based, not political.” Loomer lost 90 percent of her income after she was banned from PayPal To Loomer, PayPal only wrote that they were terminating her account “pursuant to PayPal’s User Agreement,” which says that PayPal can delete your account for any reason and at any time. In an Instagram post about her ban from PayPal, Loomer reacted. “Essentially I can’t even exist in society because the actual Nazis in tech and on the left constantly ban me because I post facts,” she wrote. “How am I supposed to pay my bills? I can’t get a regular job because I have been accused of being a Nazi. Am I supposed to be homeless? I guess these people won’t be happy until I reach a breaking point and just die.” Existentialism aside, there’s one plausible explanation for why PayPal might have banned Loomer from its service: her fervent islamophobia. PayPal’s user agreement stipulates that you may not use your account to “to display, upload, modify, publish, distribute, disseminate, transmit, update or share any information” that “[i]s grossly harmful, harassing, blasphemous defamatory, obscene, pornographic, paedophilic, libellous, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically objectionable, disparaging, relating or encouraging money laundering or gambling, or otherwise unlawful in any manner whatever,” it reads. Presumably “hateful” covers religious bigotry. Loomer was banned from both Uber and Lyft in November 2017 after she posted a series of anti-Muslim tweets in which she tagged both companies. “Someone needs to create a non Islamic form of Uber or Lyft because I never want to support another Islamic immigrant driver,” she tweeted. NBC News reported that the tweet was “the beginning of a daylong anti-Islamic social media attack that blamed all Muslims for ISIS terrorism,” and she was banned permanently from both services later that day. In her words, they were the first services to really ban her. “There have been multiple instances of Muslims being hired by Uber and Lyft — raping women, killing women. There was a Muslim Uber driver who killed a woman because her dress was too short. So he raped her and killed her,” she tells me at Wednesday’s protest, before claiming that a Muslim Uber driver had kicker her out of a car on Rosh Hashanah, an important Jewish religious celebration. She continued to inveigh against people who are Muslim, generally, until I interrupted her. Do you think the drivers represent the company? “Well, the CEO of Uber is a Muslim. So yeah, I do,” she says. “Why would I want to get a car with an Islamic immigrant when Uber and Lyft aren’t doing background checks, and they have a documented history of hiring ISIS terrorists? It freaks me out,” she says. “And then when I look at Islam as an ideology, and I see that it calls for the killing of Jews, and then Uber doesn’t do anything when a Muslim driver kicks me out for being Jewish. It freaks me out!” At the protest, the only person Loomer expressed empathy for was herself. “You’re never going to know what it’s like to not be able to make money. You’re never going to know what it’s like to wake up one morning and have 90 percent of your income gone,” she says. “You’re never going to know what it’s like to, you know, be told that you deserve to not exist online simply because of your politics.” “How would you feel if the roles were reversed and all the executives were Republicans and they were like, ‘You know what I don’t like this guy. I don’t like his politics I’m just going to ban him. And I’m going to ban him from banking. And I’m gonna make his life very hard and when he’s walking around and taking cabs I’m going to deactivate his credit card so that you’re stranded with no money,’” she says. “How would you feel if the roles were reversed?” It’s the American way that private companies are allowed to do anything they want to, short of breaking the law. (And even then, as in the 2008 financial crisis, breaking the law doesn’t have so many consequences if the company you’re a part of is ensconced in American society.) If a social network decides to remove a person from its platform, for any reason, there’s no legal recourse, because nothing illegal has happened; and moreover, once you sign a terms of service agreement, regardless of whether you read it in full or not, you have agreed to abide by the rules of the place. When a bartender bans you from their establishment, you’re done. That’s it. By entering you agree to obey the rules of the place, even if you think they’re silly. In that sense, the difference between a bar and Twitter or Uber or Paypal is negligible (although bars don’t yet sell your personal drinking data). In another, however, they couldn’t be more different: social media companies are inextricably part of the fabric of modern society, and getting banned means being excluded from a larger and larger sector of society. But that’s hard to explain on a cold New York City sidewalk, when the forecast promises snow. It started coming down in earnest around noon, four or so hours into Loomer’s protest. The building didn’t shiver, and it had nothing to say.
2 h
The Verge
Gould understands speculation about possible Chicago return
Kicker Robbie Gould understands the speculation about a possible return to the Chicago Bears        
2 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Verizon trials Stitch Fix-like mystery box service to sell gadgets
Verizon has launched a mystery box service that delivers gadgets to customers’ homes, lets them try the gadgets for two weeks, and then charges them for what they choose not to return. The service, called Tech Pack, was announced today through emails sent out to select customers. Verizon is limiting how many people can sign up to start and expects to run out of slots by the end of the weekend. The service works like Stitch Fix or any number of other mystery box delivery services. When signing up, you take a short quiz about what kind of things you like, and Verizon uses that information to choose which gadgets it’ll send you. Verizon will mail out a box of three tech products every so often, and you can keep or return as many as you’d like. If you don’t return a product within 14 days, you’ll be charged for it. Discounts are given if you buy multiple products Verizon says customers can expect to receive gadgets like a Google Home Mini, a Mophie battery pack, Canary’s Flex camera, LG’s Tone Pro neckbuds, Ryze’s Tello Mini Drone, and a Belkin car charger. You won’t know what you’re getting until the box arrives. Once you’ve received them, Verizon says you’ll get free demos, tutorials, and tech support while you try them out. The boxes include a prepaid shipping label for returns. There’s no subscription fee to sign up. Verizon wouldn’t tell us the exact prices it’ll be charging for the gadgets, but a spokesperson indicated they would be similar to what Verizon already sells them for. Customers will get discounts on the products based on how many they keep from each box. For now, Verizon isn’t saying how often boxes will be delivered. Most mystery box services deliver products on a monthly basis, but Verizon says Tech Pack is a “trial” and that it’s still exploring how often to send stuff out. The service is meant to give customers a way to test out gadgets before committing to them. But it also seems like a potentially very expensive twist on a mystery box. Canary’s Flex camera sells for $180 through Verizon, which is a lot of money to decide to spend because a product suddenly showed up at your house. Verizon also sells Google’s Home Mini sells for $50, which would be a bad price to pay since it’s constantly on sale for closer to $30.
3 h
The Verge
Trump announces Kelly Knight Craft as UN ambassador pick
President Donald Trump announced on Friday he was nominating Kelly Knight Craft as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.        
3 h
USATODAY - News Top Stories
YouTube pulls ads from anti-vax conspiracy videos
YouTube has removed ads from videos that promote anti-vaccination content, citing a ban on “dangerous and harmful” material. BuzzFeed News reported the news this afternoon, saying YouTube had confirmed the decision after the publication contacted seven companies who were unaware that their advertisements were running on anti-vaccination videos. It’s the latest of several ways YouTube has recently restricted conspiracy theories and other objectionable material on its platform. BuzzFeed reports that the demonetized accounts include anti-vaccination channels LarryCook333 and VAXXED TV, as well as “alternative medicine” channel iHealthTube. The three channels have a total of roughly 473,000 subscribers. “We have strict policies that govern what videos we allow ads to appear on, and videos that promote anti-vaccination content are a violation of those policies,” a spokesperson said. YouTube already adds Wikipedia article links to some searches that are likely to show anti-vaccination content, attempting to counteract misinformation. YouTube is trying to restrict the spread of conspiracy videos At least one company BuzzFeed contacted, vitamin seller Vitacost, said it had already pulled ads over a separate controversy involving child predators communicating on YouTube — an issue that YouTube has spent the past few days scrambling to fix. “We had strict rules to prevent our ads from serving on sensitive content and they were not effective as promised,” it told BuzzFeed. Last month, YouTube said it would limit the reach of videos featuring conspiracy theories in general, responding to concerns that its recommendation algorithm pushed users down extreme ideological paths. A recent study of “flat earth” believers, for instance, found that nearly all its 30 subjects had been recommended flat earth content after watching videos about other types of conspiracies. YouTube has had some difficulty distinguishing “harmful” conspiratorial misinformation from programs intended for entertainment, but advocating against vaccines poses clear public health risks. US Representative Adam Schiff recently sent Facebook and YouTube’s parent company Google a letter raising concerns about vaccine-related misinformation, and Facebook is reportedly exploring new options to limit it. The image board site Pinterest, meanwhile, simply stopped returning results for searches about vaccination — saying it was “better not to serve those results than to lead people down what is like a recommendation rabbit hole.”
3 h
The Verge
UPDATE 2-Brazil judge suspends Embraer-Boeing tie-up negotiations -court document
A Brazilian judge on Friday suspended negotiations for the tie-up of Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer SA and Boeing Co, according to a court document.
3 h
REUTERS
CORRECTED-Microsoft workers demand it drop $480 mln U.S. Army contract
Several Microsoft Corp employees on Friday demanded that the company cancel a $480 million hardware contract with the U.S. Army and stop developing "any and all weapons technologies."
3 h
REUTERS