“When whole communities like East L.A. are algorithmically scraped for pre-crime suspects, data is destiny, says Saba. ‘These are systemic processes. When people are constantly harassed in a gang context, it pushes them to join.’…

…’These cases are perfect examples of how databases filled with unverified information that is often false can destroy people’s lives,’ says his attorney, Vanessa del Valle of Northwestern University’s MacArthur Justice Center.”

—Peter Waldman, Lizette Chapman, and Jordan Robertson. “Palantir Knows Everything About You.” Bloomberg. April 19, 2018.

Nothing says small government conservatism like a surveillance state powered by dirty unverified data, black box algorithms, and an artificial intelligence that works for someone that believes death is optional and who takes ten years to destroy an organization for reporting on his sexual orientation. Hard to articulate how safe this makes me feel knowing this is going on in the background with next to no transparency or oversight.

Find that depressing? Try a Pre-Crime Comic.

The Waiting Game | ProPublica

“Based on the real case files of five asylum seekers from five countries and interviews with the medical and legal professionals who evaluate and represent them, The Waiting Game is an experimental news game that lets you walk in the shoes of an asylum seeker, from the moment they choose to come to the United States to the final decision in the cases before an immigration judge.”

The Waiting Game

Ornery Crackers

“Dreamers make the best drivers, always. They are not afraid of unknown routes, they do not complain about bumps in the road, and they like the feel of the machine roaring down the dark highways. They seldom if ever get lost because wherever they find themselves is part of what they were seeking…

…They [presumably most people] want to know what can be known but they do not want to know what can’t be known. They want anecdotes, little intimacies, clues to habits and dress, pieces of the True Beer Can or True Old Pickup Truck. But they do not want to know who he really was, that core part each of us carries that others can only guess at and never really comprehend or possess — that we ourselves cannot fully understand. The most important part of a person remains unknown even to the person, the fire that from time to time causes a life to become a conflagration. Where the light comes from and why.”

—Charles Bowden. “The Red Caddy.” April 2018.

Heimat ist da, wo man schwätzt wie mar. Loved this excerpt. I love ornery cracker territory, a spiritual homeland if there ever was one.

To Hug, or Not to Hug?

“It became easier to say what I meant when other people gave voice to my feelings.

National Book Award finalist and Guggenheim Fellow Roxane Gay doesn’t like to be hugged. “So many people tried to hug me and seemed upset when I said no. I don’t like hugging strangers. I don’t even hug my friends,” she wrote in a tweet that echoed a sentiment elaborated in a chapter about “bodies and boundaries” in her book Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body.

Sex-advice columnist and activist Dan Savage doesn’t like to be hugged. “I don’t like to hug people,” Savage wrote in a blog post. “But I do a job — I give sex advice to strangers at a safe remove — that makes a lot of people want to hug me. People I don’t know. (For the record: hugging strangers makes me physically uncomfortable. I don’t just find it unpleasant, I find it unnerving.)”

Me, too.”

—Emily Weinstein. “To Hug, or Not to Hug.” April 2018.

Project Implicit

“Project Implicit is a non-profit organization and international collaboration between researchers who are interested in implicit social cognition – thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control. The goal of the organization is to educate the public about hidden biases and to provide a ‘virtual laboratory’ for collecting data on the Internet.”

You can take the tests of Project Implicit at their website.