Sean Hannity Has a Long, Shady History of Deceptively Editing Videos

The Fox News’ host latest attack on CNN is part of a much broader pattern.

On December 11, Fox News host Sean Hannity aired an edited quote from CNN analyst Paul Callan regarding Wikileaks and Donald Trump Jr. in order to label CNN as “fake news.” This is not the first time Hannity has deceptively edited clips to attack his perceived opponents.

During his December 11 show, Hannity aired a portion of a CNN segment about the network’s report that claimed that during the presidential campaign, Trump Jr. received an email providing website and login information for Hillary Clinton’s hacked campaign emails from Wikileaks. CNN later corrected some parts of its initial report. As reported by Mediaite, Hannity aired a part of the CNN segment on the report that implied Callan said Trump Jr. violated federal and New York state laws. But Callan’s full comment shows that he was speaking hypothetically, and actually said there was not enough evidence for a criminal case against Donald Trump Jr.

Hannity has a history of airing deceptively edited video clips to go after his perceived enemies. In 2011, CNN host Anderson Cooper called him out for clipping Cooper’s words out of context to make his straightforward report on former diplomat Joseph Wilson seem like an attack against the administration of former President George W. Bush. In that same episode, Hannity also deceptively edited clips from journalist Katie Couric and former CBS correspondent Mike Wallace.

Hannity also aired deceptive edits to attack then-President Barack Obama. In 2010, now-Fox host Howard Kurtz criticized Hannity for cropping an Obama speech, making it seem like Obama said that he was raising taxes  when he was actually saying that the Bush administration had planned for the tax increase to occur after Bush left office.  A year before that, Hannity aired clips from a Fox News interview with Obama, editing out specific lines in order to make it seem as if Obama had not acknowledged the role U.S. presidents played in lifting the Iron Curtain. Hannity’s deceptive edits and misrepresentations of Obama’s comments were part of his extensive anti-Obama, conservative disinformation campaign during Obama’s presidency.

In addition to clipping videos to fit his narrative agenda, Hannity has also promoted deceptively edited videos from discredited and fringe sources like James O’Keefe’s ACORN videos, Center for Medical Progress’ false attacks against Planned Parenthood, and filmmaker Ami Horowitz’s anti-Islam YouTube stunt. Hannity’s history of pushing disinformation and conspiracy theories has led to an exodus of advertisers from his Fox News program, adding to a significant drop in the network’s ad revenue. Media Matters has continued to urge Hannity’s advertisers to reconsider funding Hannity’s brand of disinformation and extremism, warning that his volatility makes him a business risk.

 

 

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A Guide To Better Google Search Techniques

A web search engine is a software system that is designed to search for information on the World Wide Web. The search results are generally presented in a line of results often referred to as search engine results pages (SERPs). The information may be a mix of web pages, images, and other types of files.
The Internet is so full of information that it’s nearly impossible to check its limits. That’s why, search engines were developed to maintain a search-able database of the web’s content. People employ the use of search engines to look up for information on the web.
Google Search, commonly referred to as Google Web Search or simply Google, is a web search engine developed by Google. It is the most-used search engine on the World Wide Web, handling more than three billion searches each day. You type in the query, and the search engine provides you with the search results. In most cases you’re satisfied but sometimes, you’re not. This is where learning the proper techniques to type in your search query comes in handy

Why The Need To Learn Proper Search Techniques?
Everyone including students, researchers, writers, etc. requires information, and they use search engines for that very reason. People spend most of their time continuously looking for the right information because they’re not aware of the proper search techniques. Learning and using good search techniques will help you in the following ways:
  • Better search results
  • Saves your time

How To Use Google.com

Google is a smart and intelligent search engine with many exciting features. But not all the features are rolled out instantly for all versions. Google.com is always first to get feature updates, and then updates are provided in versions specific to different countries such as google.co.uk, google.co.in, or google.sh.
Google’s version for your country might not support all the search techniques described below. That’s why, it’s suggested to use google.com to avail maximum benefits of the search features and techniques.
 Note: Typing google.com automatically redirects you to its version for your country, but you can override this behavior by going to www.google.com/ncr.

Basic Search Techniques

1. Keep It Simple

Keep your search simple and web-friendly. Start by entering one or two words, and gradually adding relevant or important words, if you’re unsatisfied with the results. Less is more for a search engine; meaning the less words you query for, the more results the search engine provides as output.
For example:
Query: [who is the prime minister of India]
Better query: [prime minister of India]

2. Order Of Keywords

Select the right keywords to make your search. Search results completely depend on the given keywords, and if keywords are chosen wisely, then results are more efficient.
Put yourself in the shoes of the author, and think of what words he/she would use to write/describe what you’re trying to find. If you’re looking for a phrase or quote, then keep the order of the words as accurate as possible to get the optimum search results.

3. Skip Unnecessary Parts

Google is smart enough to handle most of your typos, and other things that could just be ignored. That’s why you should skip those things in your query to save time.
You should not worry about the following when writing a search query:
  • Spelling
  • Cases (uppercase or lowercase)
  • Punctuation (dot, question mark, exclamation mark, and more)
  • Special characters (plus, minus, brackets, and more)

4. Social Search

Google is really good at handling searches related to people and social networks. You can search for people and their social profiles using:
+[profile-name]
By adding a ‘+’ before a profile-name, you can search for Google+ profiles and pages.
#[word]
Using the ‘#’ before a word enables you to search for hashtags in Google+, Twitter, and more social networks.
For example: [#privacy]
@[person-name]
You can search for social accounts associated with a person’s name by putting the ‘@’ sign before his/her name.
For example: [@rocky jagtiani]

5. Get Sunrise And Sunset Times

You can use Google to get sunrise and sunset times for many cities of the world. Type your search query in the format of [sunrise place-name] or [sunrise zip-code] to get the sunrise time for the specified location. For sunset times, just substitute the words as per the following style of [sunset place-name] or [sunset zip-code].
For example:
  • [sunrise chembur] 
  • [sunset pune]

Advanced Search techniques

You can use the Google Advanced Search form for a more convenient search

6. Synonym Search:

You can use the synonym search feature to tell Google to even search for synonyms of a specified word in the search query. This is helpful for when you want to search for a word and all its similar words without having to spend time looking for them individually.
Using the tilde symbol (~) before a word tells Google to search for the words and its synonyms too. Type your search query in the format of [~synonymWord otherWords] to search for the word and its synonyms in a single search.

7. Search For Numbers In A Range

You can tell Google to search within a range of numbers, such as dates, prices, and measurements. Using two periods (dots) between two numbers makes Google search within that number range and skip other results.
Using two periods after a number indicates a lower minimum (number..) while putting it before the number indicates a higher maximum (..number). Type your search query in the format of [firstNumber..secondNumber otherWords] to search between a specified lower and upper bounds.

8. Search Using File Types

You can tell Google to search for a specified type of file for your query. Using filetype operators before a type of file tells Google to search only for specified file types and skip other files. Type your search query in the format of [filetype:type otherWords] to search for a specific file type.
For example: [filetype:pdf free java tutorial]

Want to learn Data Analytics?

Dungeons & Dragons today

Dungeons & Dragons is over 40 years old, and I have been playing it for over 35 years. So what is the most surprising aspect of D&D today for me is how popular the game has become suddenly. A streamlined 5th edition and good use of social media, including celebrity support, has moved D&D into the main stream. People now actually watch other people play D&D on Twitch, and not just when it is Vin Diesel or Wil Wheaton. “D&D player on Twitch / YouTube” is now actually a method to become “internet famous”.

I liked 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons. It is a great combination of role-playing game with a balanced tactical combat game for experienced players. But it is not a suitable game for a mass market, it is far too complicated for that. The much less balanced, much quicker, much easier 5th edition is far more suitable for mass popularity.

It also helped that the makers of Dungeons & Dragons stopped shooting themselves in the foot with their internet policy. In the early days of the internet, TSR was notorious for going after fans putting D&D-related materials on the internet. It took a change of owner in 1997 to Wizards of the Coast and then Hasbro in 1999 to get the company to realize that fans on the internet are free advertising. With a game that is hard to explain to somebody who has never played it, a Twitch / Youtube video of interesting people like Chris Perkins running a game with Acquisitions Incorporated at PAX might actually be superior advertising to anything else.

The only people somewhat unhappy by the current popularity of D&D are the makers and fans of Pathfinder. Pathfinder had shoved D&D off the throne of top pen & paper roleplaying game for several years during 4th edition, only to be left in the dust by 5th edition. Now they are planning a comeback with Pathfinder second edition, with a playtest starting in August.

Amazon readying huge Digital Day 2017 discounts on Wonder Woman, WWE 2K18, and more

Amazon has announced that Digital Day will once again threaten our wallets in a final end of year sale chock full of huge savings. The second annual Digital Day is scheduled for December 29th and Amazon says it will be offering over 5,000 deals on movies, TV shows, apps, eBooks, and mobile games.

If you missed out on the first Digital Day sale last year, think of it like Prime Day but exclusively for digital items. As the name suggests, the biggest deals will last for just 24 hours, although some will go live as early as December 26th. You can sign up here to stay up to date with all of the offers, or you can follow #DigitalDay on social media.

Amazon has provided a sneak peek at some of the headline deals which include 60% off the fantastic live-action Wonder Woman movie on Amazon Video, 33% off video games like Sonic Forces, Civilization VI, NBA 2K18, and WWE 2K18, and up to 75% off on Kindle best-selling books like The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye, The Silent Corner, and Modern Romance.

Here are some of the rest of the Digital Day deals set to drop in just over a week, plucked straight from an Amazon press release:

  • $10 Amazon.com credit when you subscribe to HBO NOW on Amazon
  • Save 25% off $49.99 Lapis bundle for Final Fantasy Brave Exvius
  • Save 50% off all in-game items for Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Save up to 80% off in-game items for Playrix games
  • Save up to 75% off ROBLOX New Year’s Eve themed wearables
  • Save up to 80% off best-selling Marvel graphic novels like Civil War II, House of M, World War Hulk, and Star Wars
  • Three free audiobooks when you sign up for an Audible trial
  • 25% or more off PC software like Rosetta Stone and Adobe Creative Cloud Photography
    First 3 months free in Daily Burn streaming workouts

Digital Day bargains can be purchased via Amazon’s online store, the Amazon App and the Amazon Appstore (exclusively on Android). We’ll be keeping an eye out for any other great Digital Day deals, so be sure to watch this space for updates.

Land of Livia

For the last two weeks I have been playing Land of Livia. Overall that took me maybe an hour, which pretty much tells you the most important thing you need to know about the game: It uses real time as a game element. And no, you can’t speed that up with microtransactions, there aren’t any. The prelude chapter is free, and then the first chapter costs just €4.49. But you need to be at ease with the slow flow to enjoy it.

Land of Livia is a role-playing game with not much in the way of graphics. Your main activity is going on quests, which nets you gold and equipment, which increases your three main stats. Your level depends on your highest stat. Each quest has a success chance based on the corresponding stat, and just requires you to wait up to 1 hour in real time. If you choose a quest that is comparatively difficult, your chance to succeed is low, but if you should succeed the reward is comparatively more valuable to you. Apart from going on quests, you can move, spend money listening in taverns to find new locations, or play mini-games to improve gems or discover lore. Overall you follow a main story, but there are side-stories as well, so it isn’t completely linear.

I tried to play this on my iPad, but somehow my typical tablet use wasn’t a good fit with the pace of the game. Then I started playing on my iPhone instead, with a silent notification every time a quest finished, and that worked much better. But of course sometimes I don’t notice, or I am in a situation where I can’t pull out my phone to make a move. So progress is rather slow. Might not be for everybody. However, as the game is free to try, I can only recommend you check it out for yourself.

12 Most Insane Rules From the Biggest Neo-Nazi Website on the Internet

White supremacist style guides are…different.

The Daily Stormer is an online hub for racists, white nationalists, anti-Semites, neo-Nazis, and other assorted angry white men. It’s run by Andrew Anglin, who’s been in hiding for months avoiding an SPLC lawsuit charging stochastic terrorism against a Jewish woman in Montana. (Even underground, Anglin has managed to pull in a healthy sum in donations from supporters.) Among the confirmed readers of Anglin’s site are Dylann Roof, who in 2015 murdered nine black parishioners in a South Carolina church, and James Harris Jackson, who murdered a black man in New York City using a sword last March.

HuffPost writer Ashley Feinberg recently got a bit more insight behind the curtain of Anglin’s operation via the site’s 17-page style guide for contributing writers. The document lays out a few standard rules and protocols, from good HTML practices to proper grammar dictates, as well as a few rules that apply only to racist bloggers. The guide is packed with writerly advice on how to promote Anglin’s goals, which begin with expanding readership and end with an all-out race war. The key, per Anglin, is to maintain the site’s veneer of “non-ironic Nazism masquerading as ironic Nazism.”

Here are 12 of the most insane pieces of advice from the biggest neo-Nazi website on the internet.

1. Always blame the Jews.

Anglin writes that the Daily Stormer is “designed to spread the message of nationalism and anti-Semitism to the masses.” To that end, he notes that authors’ “prime directive” is singular: “Always Blame the Jews for Everything.”

“As Hitler says, people will become confused and disheartened if they feel there are multiple enemies. As such, all enemies should be combined into one enemy, which is the Jews. This is pretty much objectively true anyway, but we want to leave out any and all nuance. So no blaming Enlightenment thought, pathological altruism, technology/urbanization, etc. just blame Jews for everything.”

Anglin goes on to assert that Jews should be blamed “for the behavior of other nonwhites” as well as white women. “Women should be attacked, but there should always be mention that if it wasn’t for the Jews, they would be acting normally.”

2. Go easy on the swear words, heavy on the racial slurs.

Contributors are discouraged from “an overuse of profanity” which “can come across as goofy.” But Anglin recommends liberal use of racial epithets, and even offers a helpful list of specific “allowed and advisable” slurs.

•Negro/Negroid
•Monkey
•Ape
•Spic
•Wetback
•Beaner
•Beanperson
•Kike
•Yid
•Sheeny
•Christ-killer
•Haji
•Sandperson
•Paki (can be used for non-Pakistani Moslems, especially Arabs, because that’s funny)
•Muzzie
•Chink
•Gook
•Zipperhead
And others

Anglin adds that while the n-word is also cool, it “shouldn’t be used constantly.” Let spontaneity be your guide, he seems to suggest. Keep people guessing about what new and disgusting way you’ll express your racist self!

3. Demean women, gays, black folks and, of course, the Jews every chance you get.

Anglin shares that “[f]*ggots can be called all the words for f*ggot,” though scatological references are frowned upon. He gives a specific list of words recommended for describing women, and the word “woman” doesn’t appear on it once. Instead, it features “slut,” “whore,” “bitch,” “harlot,” “trollop,” “slag,” and “skag.”

This is yet another moment when Anglin slips in a reminder to writers to shoehorn in more anti-Semitism amidst the misogyny. “Whenever writing about women,” Anglin requests, “make sure to follow the prime directive and blame Jew feminism for their behavior.”

4. But also, be sure to keep things fun and funny so people want to join the…clan!

The most insidious aspect of Anglin’s style guide is its repeated insistence on a stealth recruitment strategy that relies on humor and lightheartedness to get young white readers excited about white nationalism. He repeatedly admonishes writers to cool it with the super angry racist diatribes that might scare newbies off. Instead, he suggests, authors should infuse their racism with lots of jokes, like the hipster racism of Vice circa 2003. (Ironically, in this same document, Anglin trashes Vice co-founder and hipster-racism aficionado Gavin McInnes as a “bottomless bucket of lulz.”)

“While racial slurs are allowed/recommended, not every reference to non-white should not be a slur and their use should be based on the tone of the article. Generally, when using racial slurs, it should come across as half-joking—like a racist joke that everyone laughs at because it’s true. This follows the generally light tone of the site.”

Here’s the key, though: “It should not come across as genuine raging vitriol. That is a turnoff to the overwhelming majority of people.”

Anglin reaffirms that the goal is to lure new readers, and potential new adherents to the alt-right’s racist agenda, above all. And the way to do that is by dressing the message up in internet memes and provocative jokes, and then to drive the (racist) point home over and over again.

“[T]hough we do mean to keep readers who are already in the know informed and entertained, it should always be considered that the target audience is people who are just becoming aware of this type of thinking,” Anglin writes. “The goal is to continually repeat the same points, over and over and over and over again. The reader is at first drawn in by curiosity or the naughty humor, and is slowly awakened to reality by repeatedly reading the same points.”

You know how you can end up knowing the words to a song you hate if you hear it enough on the radio? Repetition works. And Anglin’s betting that his writers can beat the audience over the head with their message until it’s gotten inside their heads.

5. Again, avoid overt hatred, despite the fact that it’s precisely what you’re peddling.

“Most people are not comfortable with material that comes across as vitriolic, raging, non-ironic hatred,” Anglin restates in another section of the document. “The unindoctrinated should not be able to tell if we are joking or not. There should also be a conscious awareness of mocking stereotypes of hateful racists. I usually think of this as self deprecating humor—I am a racist making fun of stereotype of racists, because I don’t take myself super-seriously.”

He adds, “There should be a conscious agenda to dehumanize the enemy, to the point where people are ready to laugh at their deaths. So it isn’t clear that we are doing this—as that would be a turnoff to most normal people—we rely on lulz.”

To put a very fine, super ugly point on it: “This is obviously a ploy and I actually do want to gas kikes. But that’s neither here nor there.”

6. Quote liberally from mainstream media sources to borrow their validity and authority.

Anglin urges writers to recycle “large parts” from articles in mainstream news outlets as a way to siphon legitimacy toward his own site. The idea is to do a good enough job of combining verifiable facts with nonsense racist propaganda that the two start to blend together.

“Being able to see the mainstream source quoted allows us to co-opt the perceived authority of the mainstream media,” Anglin writes, “and not look like one of those sites we are all probably familiar with where you are never certain if what they are saying has been confirmed.”

7. Note the media outlets covertly helping us do our dirty work.

While suggesting that writers find concise versions of real news stories to incorporate into their posts, Anglin notes that two news outlets seems to share a similar worldview.

“RT and Breitbart have the benefit of being closer to our own spin on many issues,” Anglin writes, “meaning….they are more likely to include points of interest.”

8. Take inspiration from—who else?—Adolf Hitler!

A quote from Anglin, without commentary: “The basic propaganda doctrine of the site is based on Hitler’s doctrine of war propaganda outlined in Mein Kampf, Volume I, Chapter VI. If you have not read this, please do so immediately.”

9. By all means, stir up the anger and rage of violent racist readers, but do it in a way that ensures we can feign innocence in court.

As he notes in a section titled “Violence,” Anglin is well aware that “It’s illegal to promote violence on the internet.” But as someone holding out hope that the U.S. will break out into a wide-scale race war, he’s dedicated to surreptitiously urging violent attacks by his racist followers en masse.

If you’re writing about some enemy Jew/feminist/etc., link their social media accounts,” Anglin advises writers for his site. “Twitter especially. We’ve gotten press attention before when I didn’t even call for someone to be trolled but just linked them and people went and did it.”

He also suggests that “it’s totally important to normalize the acceptance of violence as an eventuality/inevitability.” So murderous racists like Dylann Roof and Anders Breivik are hailed as heroes using language so over-the-top it borders on comical.

“This is great because people think you must be joking,” Anglin cynically notes. “But there is a part of their brain that doesn’t think that…[E]ven when a person can say to themselves ‘this is ridiculous,’ they are still affected by it on an emotional level. Whether they like it or not.”

10. Use popular culture as a vehicle for the white nationalist message.

People like what they know, and so Anglin aims to replicate recognizable and widely known media to engage readers in a way they understand. Early on in the style guide, Anglin admits that the Daily Stormer “is in many ways modeled off of successful liberal blogs such as Gawker.” (Anglin has reportedly previously cited Vice and Infowars.) He recommends writers fill their posts with “pop culture gifs of the style that Buzzfeed uses.”

But beyond just mirroring cultural digital ephemera, Anglin suggests that writers subvert—or rather, “hijack”—popular memes to give them a racist twist.

“Cultural references and attachment of entertainment culture to Nazi concepts have the psychological purpose of removing it from the void of weirdness that it would naturally exist in, due to the way it has been dealt with by the culture thus far, and making it a part of the reader’s world. Through this method we are also able to use the existing culture to transmit our own ideas and agenda.”

The site got lots of attention when it dubbed Taylor Swift an “Aryan Goddess” and suggested the singer is “a secret Nazi.” (For the record, Swift tried to sue a blogger who essentially demanded she disavow the alt-right, at least until the ACLU intervened on the blogger’s behalf. Conversely, Swift has never threatened to sue an actual white nationalist for claiming she supports their cause.)

Anglin also notes he turned 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” into an anti-immigrant song, because racists are lazy, garbage culture vultures who steal black people’s stuff while complaining about the browning of America.  

11. There’s no such thing as bad press.

Remember how stoked the alt-right was when presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gave a speech about how awful they were? That’s because you can’t shame a movement bereft of morals and principles from jump. Also, because the alt-right’s unofficial motto is “there’s no such thing as bad press.”

“We should always be on the lookout for any opportunity to grab media attention,” Anglin affirms. “It’s all good. No matter what.”

12. Even the payment system is a ‘jokey’ homage to Hitler.

Feinberg found that neo-Nazi hacker Andrew Auernheimer, who also serves as systems administrator for the Daily Stormer, recently shared this information with a group of prospective contributors: “[O]kay basically, it works like this, you can write articles, if we dont like them you can put them on your own blog or whatever, if we accept them for publication we will pay you $14.88.”

1488 is a popular number among white supremacists and other garden-variety racists. Fourteen is a reference to the “14 words,” a racist slogan favored by white nationalists and the like. Two eights—the eighth letter of the alphabet—stands for HH, as in Heil Hitler. (During the 2016 presidential election, a PBS docu-special happened to catch an enthusiastic Trump supporter’s gigantic “88” hand tattoo.)

 

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Uber Stole Trade Secrets, Bribed Foreign Officials and Spied on Rivals, Filing Says

Documents by former Uber security manager details company’s alleged ‘unethical, unlawful’ practices amid legal battle with self-driving car company Waymo.

Uber allegedly engaged in a range of “unethical and unlawful intelligence collections”, including the theft of competitive trade secrets, bribery of foreign officials and spying on competitors and politicians, according to an explosive legal document published on Friday.

It’s the latest chapter in the discovery process for the company’s messy legal squabble with Waymo, Google’s driverless car spin-off, which has accused Uber of stealing trade secrets.

The details were outlined in a 37-page demand letter filed by the ex-Uber security manager Richard Jacobs, who left the company earlier this year. The document paints a picture of a team of employees dedicated to spying on rivals and “impeding” legal investigations into the company.

Jacobs alleges that when he raised concerns over the techniques being used, he was given a poor performance review and demoted as “pure retaliation” for refusing to buy into the culture of “achieving business goals through illegal conduct even though equally aggressive legal means were available”.

He had sent the letter to Uber’s in-house counsel with his allegations about possible criminal activity carried out by the special group in May this year, threatening to sue the company. Uber did not provide the letter to Waymo as part of legal discovery before the trial started.

An Uber spokeswoman said in a statement: “While we haven’t substantiated all the claims in this letter – and, importantly, any related to Waymo – our new leadership has made clear that going forward we will compete honestly and fairly, on the strength of our ideas and technology.”

Jacobs worked at the ride-hailing company from March 2016 until April 2017. After his attorney sent the demand letter to Uber outlining potentially criminal activities within Uber’s “strategic services group” and “marketplace analytics” teams, he and Uber reached a $4.5m settlement. This included a non-disparagement clause and a one-year consulting contract to help Uber “root out bad behaviour”, Jacobs said when he testified in federal court last month.

The letter alleges, among other things, that Uber planned to use certain hardware devices and software to conceal the creation and destruction of corporate records so they “would never be subject to legal discovery”. Such records would, the letter states, “implicate ongoing discovery disputes such as those in Uber’s litigation with Waymo”.

The letter also outlines a range of intrusive techniques that Uber allegedly used to extract intelligence from politicians, regulators, competitors, taxi organisations and activists.

Uber’s intelligence team allegedly infiltrated private event spaces at hotel and conference facilities that a group of competing executives used during their stay. Jacobs claimed that Uber recorded and observed private conversations among the executives including their real-time reactions to the news that Uber would receive $3.4bn from the Saudi government.

Live updates, photos and videos were then allegedly transmitted back to the “War Room” at Uber’s headquarters, where the company’s former CEO, Travis Kalanick, along with other members of Uber’s executive team, could observe.

Uber operatives also impersonated taxi drivers, Jacobs said, to infiltrate private Facebook groups and WhatsApp groups of opponents.

Matthew Umhofer, an attorney representing four members of Uber’s security team mentioned in the letter, added: “The competitive information gathering that was done at the explicit request of management was unremarkable and no different than what’s done by law-abiding companies across the country and Uber’s own competitors.”

Umhofer also described the letter as “character assassination for cash” and said that Jacobs “is nothing more than a failed Uber employee who underperformed and got demoted, and then retaliated against his supervisors”.

During his testimony last month, Jacobs repudiated some of the allegations made in his demand letter, saying that he had only reviewed it for 20 minutes before his lawyer had sent it. Among those was the allegation that “Uber used the marketplace analytics team to steal trade secrets at least from Waymo in the United States”. Jacobs said that the team primarily worked overseas, but in the US had researched “protest and threat groups targeting Uber”.

Waymo sued Uber in February, alleging that the ride-hail company’s acquisition of the self-driving startup Otto, founded by the former Waymo employee Anthony Levandowski, was actually a scheme to acquire secrets stolen from Waymo.

The federal judge William Alsup, who is overseeing the trade secrets case, was only alerted to the existence of the explosive demand letter by federal prosecutors on 22 November in a separate letter in which they confirmed that there was an open criminal investigation into Uber. “You should have come clean with this long ago,” he subsequently told Uber’s lawyers in court.

Because such a key piece of evidence had been withheld, Alsup delayed the start of the trial.

“If even half of what’s in that letter is true, it would be a huge injustice to force Waymo to go to trial” as scheduled, he said.

At the time, a spokeswoman for Waymo called the new evidence “significant and troubling” and welcomed the trial delay as an “opportunity to fully investigate this new, highly relevant information”.

But an Uber spokeswoman, Chelsea Kohler, said in a statement then: “None of the testimony today changes the merits of the case. Jacobs himself said on the stand today that he was not aware of any Waymo trade secrets being stolen.”

Uber maintained that it did not withhold information because the letter was outside of Waymo’s discovery demands. The special master, a court official helping out with the trial, did not agree, concluding in a report filed on Friday that “Uber should have produced” the Jacobs demand letter in response to Waymo’s discovery requests.

 

 

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Don’t Listen to the New York Times—Birth Control Isn’t Dangerous

Headlines and hype can leave women wondering what’s true and what’s not.

Last week, the New York Times ran an article about a Danish study examining birth control and breast cancer. The headlines were alarming, but the actual level of risk was less so: After examining millions of bits of data, the researchers found one extra case of cancer for every 7,690 women using the Pill for a year. Not terribly newsworthy. That represented an increase of 20 percent, but, as Mia Gaudet, an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society, told NPR, “A 20 percent increase of a very small number is still a very small number.”

Is the link real? Probably. Doctors have long noted a detectable association between breast cancer and reproductive hormones including estrogen and progestins. Should you stop taking your pills or swap out your hormonal IUD for a hormone-free copper one? Probably not—not if you want to be as healthy as possible and save parenthood for when you feel ready.

According to Dr. Daniel Grossman at the University of California, “The breast cancer risk is only part of the story. We also know that hormonal contraception protects against several other cancers, while also sharply reducing the risk of dying during pregnancy. Studies that have looked at all causes of death find lower mortality among pill users compared to other women.”

Which birth control is best for you depends on a bunch of factors because each contraceptive has its own profile of pros and cons, likelihood of actually working as birth control, potential side effects, and for some methods, bonus health benefits.

Here are a few facts that might help you decide which birth control method is for you.

  • Contraceptives differ wildly in terms of how well they work for real-world couples. Unless you are a perfect person, forget what you’ve heard about the Pill being 98 percent effective or the rhythm method being just as good when either is used perfectly. In other words, skip the “perfect use” statistics and look instead at how well different methods work for normal people. In the real world, natural family planning methods based on episodic abstinence are at the bottom of the reliability pyramid; about a quarter of couples using these methods get pregnant each year. 
  • (Yes, that’s 1 in 4, and despite what they told you in middle school, pledging full-on abstinence works even less well.) At the top of the reliability pyramid are the “get it and forget it methods”—IUDs and implants that have an annual pregnancy rate of less than 1 in 500. In between abstinence and implants lie hormonal methods like the Pill, patch and ring; and below them on the reliability scale lie barriers like condoms and diaphragms. Most couples find it hard to use an everyday or every-time contraceptive method perfectly, so couples relying on the pill or barrier methods end up facing a surprise pregnancy with surprising frequency: 1 in 11 each year on the Pill; 1 in 6 with condoms. If you’d strongly prefer not having to choose between an unexpected abortion and an unexpected kid, which method you choose is a big deal.
  • Only condoms and female condoms protect against sexually transmitted infections. Because of how they work—by getting your body to seal off the opening to the uterus—hormonal IUDs may offer some protection against pelvic infections. Intermittent abstinence methods like the rhythm method reduce opportunities for transmitting infections. And a ring that protects against HIV and other viruses is in clinical trials. But condoms are the only thing that provides substantial protection against most STIs. So, even if you choose something that works, say, 100 times better for pregnancy prevention, it’s still smart to “double Dutch” with condoms whenever STIs might be a risk.
  • Net-net, hormonal birth control methods give some protection against cancers. The same methods that appear to slightly increase breast cancer risk also appear to slightly decrease the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers and possibly cancer of the gastrointestinal tract. In other words, if your method of choice is the Pill, patch, ring, or hormonal IUDs, your total cancer risk is likely lower than it would have been with a non-hormonal birth control method or none at all. A list of other bonus health benefits including cancer protection by method can be found here.
  • No one method is right for all women. Women with a history of breast cancer should actually not use hormonal birth control methods; in fact, post-chemo medications like Tamoxifen work by suppressing related hormones below their natural level. Other health conditions like diabetes or heart disease can also rule out some methods for some women. And lastly, no medication is 100 percent risk-free; there are people among us who have life-threatening reactions to milk or peanut butter or other substances that contribute to quality of life for most of us. The same is true for synthetic hormones. Even when that is not the case, nuisance side effects can be real and miserable, and it’s not possible to know who will get hit with what except by trial and error. Our differences also dictate which bonus health benefits a woman might select. My daughters love their hormonal IUDs because they like having lighter, less frequent periods, but because of migraines I use a copper IUD. A friend with severe monthly cramps and bleeding found that the implant worked best to reduce her symptoms even though hormonal IUDs are most often prescribed for this purpose. Women who want the bonus benefit of reducing acne often choose pills containing estrogen; women with endometriosis often choose a method that suppresses menstrual cycling. You don’t have to remember all of this. Good teamwork between your health care provider and you means that he or she brings to the table medical expertise, including expertise about how different birth control methods work. You bring expertise on your priorities and what has and hasn’t worked for you in the past. Never forget: It’s your body and your life, and your provider is your paid consultant.
  • Not using contraception or using less effective methods carries a different set of health and mental health risks. Having a baby-capable reproductive system is complicated, and it carries a package of inherent risks. In the United States, about 800 women each year die from complications of pregnancy and childbearing (that is one pregnant woman in 5780), and tens of thousands are left with short-term or permanent health impacts. Mental health can be affected by the pregnancy process itself or with the subsequent challenges of raising kids under adverse circumstances. For a woman who wants a child, these risks are well worth it; but about half of pregnancies, including those that created health problems, were unsought. Being able to delay or limit pregnancy and bring kids into the world with a parenthood partner you love when you feel ready has huge health benefits.

Birth control isn’t perfect, and hopefully the options available to our daughters (and sons!) will be better than those available today. But we have options that our mothers and grandmothers could only have dreamed of. An array of reliable methods means that there’s at least one excellent choice for most women.

So why must we deal with repeated cycles of media-driven panic that leave us doubting ourselves and our birth control choices, or worse—anxiously avoiding the topic until we face a pregnancy scare? Unfortunately, drug companies have burned trust by trivializing or denying medication problems when they do occur. That can leave us all feeling vigilant and primed to suspect greed-driven cover-ups. In the case of contraception, they also burned trust by testing early, high-dose contraceptives on poor women, many of them black, which created a deep wariness that persists to this day. But even when pharma and regulatory agencies are doing their jobs well and serving the public interest, several other groups have reason to exploit that mistrust—and in particular to hype any side effect or risk that might be associated with birth control.

Topping the list are anti-contraception bishops and cultural conservatives who would rather see women in more traditional roles with less sexual autonomy. These folks have now rolled out a massive anti-family-planning campaign in Africa to scare women away from birth control, a campaign framed around anti-colonialism and purported health risks. (The very worst are priests who have told African parishioners that condoms cause HIV.) This campaign spills over in the U.S. because it was founded, honed and funded here.

Then there is a whole legal sector whose revenues depend on “bad birth control” class action suits. This sector, which came into being in the 1970s, has more advertising options and dollars than do public health advocates who are trying to get out solid, unbiased information about family planning options. Their scary ads dominate the airwaves in some areas of the country and for some women are the primary source of information about birth control.

Alternative medicine advocates go out of their way to tout the upsides of natural products and the downsides of mainstream evidence-based medicine, including contraceptives. Most of the time this advocacy is benign, even if the alternative approach doesn’t rely on controlled research. But when it comes to sexual health that isn’t necessarily the case. Our bodies are optimized to produce the maximum number of surviving offspring who live to reproduce, not to maximize our own health and longevity—or even theirs. Nature’s way, as celebrity cases like the Duggars remind us, means lots of babies—with women’s lives structured around them.

But what about the New York Times? Because of how media traffic works, opinion writers and even trained journalists are under constant pressure to find the most provocative angles on any given topic. With competition for ad revenues driving competition for click count, that pressure is only growing. Social media increasingly operate as “outrage generators,” and traditional news outlets often compete by printing what’s most alarming rather than stories that land in the solid center of what’s real. The New York Times has experienced a surge in paid subscriptions from people who would prefer a different set of journalistic priorities, but that doesn’t make them immune from these pressures. Until the consuming public at large wearies of hype, we all need to be mindful of the ways these dynamics are pulling us off balance.

The centering point of reproductive health is this: Women, children, and even men do best when people are able to decide whether, when, and with whom to bring a child into the world—when parents are able to build resources like education and financial stability and then form families with co-parents of their choosing when the time feels right. Modern contraceptives can help them do this, and when freely chosen by each person according to their needs and goals, can pay dividends in health and well-being. That is awe inspiring if you think about it; and someday, when we all regain our equilibrium, it may again be newsworthy.

 

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USDA Gives in to Big ‘Organic’ Poultry, Moves to Withdraw New Animal Welfare Rules

The Obama-era rules were meant to establish stronger, more enforceable animal welfare requirements for certified organic producers.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) formally proposed withdrawing a set of rules finalized at the end of the Obama administration that establish stronger, more enforceable animal welfare requirements for certified organic producers.

The rules, titled the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule, are the product of more than a decade of collaboration and coordination among the organic community, including consumers, farmers, veterinarians, environmentalists and animal welfare groups. Unfortunately, a few large-scale egg producers fear the new rules will expose their less-than-organic practices and put pressure on USDA and Congress to stop the rule.

“The new rules are vital for protecting animal welfare, organic consumers, and the thousands of farmers that opt-in to organic certification,” said Cameron Harsh, senior manager for Organic & Animal Policy at the Center for Food Safety.

The rules, which have been delayed from implementation three separate times since being finalized in January 2017, provide needed clarity on organic animal care, including prohibiting several painful alterations. In particular, the rules require all animals to have real access to the outdoors, which must include contact with soil and vegetation, and outline minimum spacing requirements for poultry. This is, in fact, what consumers already expect from the organic poultry and eggs they buy in stores. But the largest poultry producers have so far been able to consider small, cement, fenced-in areas as outdoor access and have not been required to abide by specific spacing limitations.

“The rules would hold all certified producers to the high standard of animal care that consumers expect and that the drafters of the organic law intended. If they are withdrawn, the steadily growing organic market and consumer trust in the organic seal will be at risk,” added Harsh.

Center for Food Safety has submitted extensive comments in support of the rules. While the rules are not perfect, they are a substantial step toward ensuring all organic animals are provided a consistent level of care. The small but vocal opposition against the rules have misrepresented the realities of the rules in order to continue business-as-usual.

The proposal to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule is open for public comment until Jan. 17, 2018.

 

 

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What are Injection attacks : SQL Injection over MySQL

What is SQL Injection?

sqlinjection

SQL Injection is an injection attack wherein an attacker can execute malicious SQL statements that control a web application’s database server. Since an SQL Injection vulnerability could possibly affect any website or web application that makes use of an SQL-based database, the vulnerability is one of the oldest, most prevalent and most dangerous of web application vulnerabilities. SQL Injection can also be used to add, modify and delete records in a database, affecting data integrity. SQL Injection can provide an attacker with unauthorized access to sensitive data including, customer data, personally identifiable information (PII), trade secrets, intellectual property and other sensitive information.

Types of SQL Injection Attacks

  • Code injection:- Adding more SQL statements to an SQL statement in an attempt to obtain access rights or some sensitive information is termed as code injection. This is type of SQL injection attack take advantage of some kind of bug that appears in the computer system due to invalid data processing.
  • Function call injection:- In this attacker inserts a call. The attacker may also get permission for making system calls through function call injection.
  • SQL Manipulation:- If an application directly passes login credentials database, its prone to an SQL injection attack through SQL manipulation for e.g. We can take addition of a certain condition to the WHERE CLAUSE in an SQL query. This may skip the authentication procedure, and thus may give access to all activities that user can perform.

SQL Injection Implementation

Lets see how SQL Injection is performed  with following example
Consider following SQL Statement

$username=$_POST["username"];
statement = "SELECT * FROM users WHERE name = '" + $userName + "';"

In above Statement user input is not filtered for escape characters and it directly passed into an SQL statement. This SQL statement display records of specified username from users table. However if usename variable is crafted in a specific way by an attacker, the SQL statement may do more than the code author intended.
For Example
If usename is set as $username=’ OR ‘1’=’1 then the Above SQL statement become

SELECT * FROM users WHERE name = '' OR '1'='1';

If  this SQL statement is used in authentication procedure then it will return data of every users rather than one specific user as code intended because ‘1’=’1′ is always true.

Preventing SQL Injection

Above example is Incorrectly filtered escape characters SQL Injection attack. We can handle all escape characters smartly in scripting languages. The MySQL provides the function called mysql_real_escape_string() to escape input characters that are special MySQL Keywords

$username = mysql_real_escape_string($_POST['username']);  
statement = "SELECT * FROM users WHERE name = '" + $userName + "';"

There are other functions for many database types in PHP such as pg_escape_string() for PostgreSQL. The function addslashes(string $str) works for escaping characters, and is used especially for querying on databases that do not have escaping functions in PHP. It returns a string with backslashes before characters that need to be quoted in database queries, etc.

Risk associated with SQL injection attacks

Privilege Escalation performance:- A malicious person can take advantage of the flaws pre

sent in a database by upgrading the access levels of an individual who is not authorised for higher level roles.
Remote commands execution:- SQL injection attacks can be used to execute commands remoter the attackers may execute arbitrary commands on a database.
Authentication bypass:- manipulation of SQL statements may result in by passing the authentication process thereby providing the attacker with access to database.
Database Fingerprint:- Determining the type of database being used at backend may help attacker in quenching database specific attacks through SQL injection, the attackers may determine database that an organization user.
Denial of services in an SQL injection attack, the database service can be flooded with requested by attacker. There’re, it would state rejecting the requests of segments users.

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