provinceorstate:new jersey

  • Russian biologist plans more CRISPR-edited babies
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01770-x

    Je n’ai pas réussi à extraire une simple partie de ce texte, tant l’ensemble me semble complètement hors-jeu. Je partage l’avis de l’auteur de l’article : la folie et l’hubris scientifiques se serrent la main dans le dos de l’humanité. Choisir de surcroit des femmes en difficulté (HIV positive) est bien dans la lignée machiste d’une science qui impose plus qu’elle ne propose.

    La guerre internationale à la réputation, la course à « être le premier » (ici le masculin s’impose), la science sans conscience ne peuvent que provoquer ce genre de dérives. Il faudra réfléchir à une « slow science » et à un réel partage des découvertes, qui permettrait de prendre le temps du recul, et qui pourrait associer la société civile (ici au sens de celle qui n’est pas engagée dans la guerre des sciences).

    The proposal follows a Chinese scientist who claimed to have created twins from edited embryos last year.
    David Cyranoski

    Denis Rebrikov

    Molecular biologist Denis Rebrikov is planning controversial gene-editing experiments in HIV-positive women.

    A Russian scientist says he is planning to produce gene-edited babies, an act that would make him only the second person known to have done this. It would also fly in the face of the scientific consensus that such experiments should be banned until an international ethical framework has agreed on the circumstances and safety measures that would justify them.

    Molecular biologist Denis Rebrikov has told Nature he is considering implanting gene-edited embryos into women, possibly before the end of the year if he can get approval by then. Chinese scientist He Jiankui prompted an international outcry when he announced last November that he had made the world’s first gene-edited babies — twin girls.

    The experiment will target the same gene, called CCR5, that He did, but Rebrikov claims his technique will offer greater benefits, pose fewer risks and be more ethically justifiable and acceptable to the public. Rebrikov plans to disable the gene, which encodes a protein that allows HIV to enter cells, in embryos that will be implanted into HIV-positive mothers, reducing the risk of them passing on the virus to the baby in utero. By contrast, He modified the gene in embryos created from fathers with HIV, which many geneticists said provided little clinical benefit because the risk of a father passing on HIV to his children is minimal.

    Rebrikov heads a genome-editing laboratory at Russia’s largest fertility clinic, the Kulakov National Medical Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology in Moscow and is a researcher at the Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, also in Moscow.

    According to Rebrikov he already has an agreement with an HIV centre in the city to recruit women infected with HIV who want to take part in the experiment.

    But scientists and bioethicists contacted by Nature are troubled by Rebrikov’s plans.

    “The technology is not ready,” says Jennifer Doudna, a University of California Berkeley molecular biologist who pioneered the CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing system that Rebrikov plans to use. “It is not surprising, but it is very disappointing and unsettling.”

    Alta Charo, a researcher in bioethics and law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison says Rebrikov’s plans are not an ethical use of the technology. “It is irresponsible to proceed with this protocol at this time,” adds Charo, who sits on a World Health Organization committee that is formulating ethical governance policies for human genome editing.
    Rules and regulations

    Implanting gene-edited embryos is banned in many countries. Russia has a law that prohibits genetic engineering in most circumstances, but it is unclear whether or how the rules would be enforced in relation to gene editing in an embryo. And Russia’s regulations on assisted reproduction do not explicitly refer to gene editing, according to a 2017 analysis of such regulations in a range of countries. (The law in China is also ambiguous: in 2003, the health ministry banned genetically modifying human embryos for reproduction but the ban carried no penalties and He’s legal status was and still is not clear).

    Rebrikov expects the health ministry to clarify the rules on the clinical use of gene-editing of embryos in the next nine months. Rebrikov says he feels a sense of urgency to help women with HIV, and is tempted to proceed with his experiments even before Russia hashes out regulations.

    To reduce the chance he would be punished for the experiments, Rebrikov plans to first seek approval from three government agencies, including the health ministry. That could take anywhere from one month to two years, he says.

    Konstantin Severinov, a molecular geneticist who recently helped the government design a funding program for gene-editing research, says such approvals might be difficult. Russia’s powerful Orthodox church opposes gene editing, says Severinov, who splits his time between Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey, and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology near Moscow.

    Before any scientist attempts to implant gene-edited embryos into women there needs to be a transparent, open debate about the scientific feasibility and ethical permissibility, says geneticist George Daley at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, who also heard about Rebrikov’s plans from Nature.

    One reason that gene-edited embryos have created a huge global debate is that, if allowed to grow into babies, the edits can be passed on to future generations — a far-reaching intervention known as altering the germ line. Researchers agree that the technology might, one day, help to eliminate genetic diseases such as sickle-cell anaemia and cystic fibrosis, but much more testing is needed before it is used in the alteration of human beings.

    In the wake of He’s announcement, many scientists renewed calls for an international moratorium on germline editing. Although that has yet to happen, the World Health Organization, the US National Academy of Sciences, the UK’s Royal Society and other prominent organizations have all discussed how to stop unethical and dangerous uses — often defined as ones that pose unnecessary or excessive risk — of genome editing in humans.
    HIV-positive mothers

    Although He was widely criticized for conducting his experiments using sperm from HIV-positive fathers, his argument was that he just wanted to protect people against ever getting the infection. But scientists and ethicists countered that there are other ways to decrease the risk of infection, such as contraceptives. There are also reasonable alternatives, such as drugs, for preventing maternal transmission of HIV, says Charo.

    Rebrikov agrees, and so plans to implant embryos only into a subset of HIV-positive mothers who do not respond to standard anti-HIV drugs. Their risk of transmitting the infection to the child is higher. If editing successfully disables the CCR5 gene, that risk would be greatly reduced, Rebrikov says. “This is a clinical situation which calls for this type of therapy,” he says.

    Most scientists say there is no justification for editing the CCR5 gene in embryos, even so, because the risks don’t outweigh the benefits. Even if the therapy goes as planned, and both copies of the CCR5 gene in cells are disabled, there is still a chance that such babies could become infected with HIV. The cell-surface protein encoded by CCR5 is thought to be the gateway for some 90% of HIV infections, but getting rid of it won’t affect other routes of HIV infection. There are still many unknowns about the safety of gene editing in embryos, says Gaetan Burgio at the Australian National University in Canberra. And what are the benefits of editing this gene, he asks. “I don’t see them.”
    Hitting the target

    There are also concerns about the safety of gene editing in embryos more generally. Rebrikov claims that his experiment — which, like He’s, will use the CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing tool — will be safe.

    One big concern with He’s experiment — and with gene-editing in embryos more generally — is that CRISPR-Cas9 can cause unintended ‘off-target’ mutations away from the target gene, and that these could be dangerous if they, for instance, switched off a tumour-suppressor gene. But Rebrikov says that he is developing a technique that can ensure that there are no ‘off-target’ mutations; he plans to post preliminary findings online within a month, possibly on bioRxiv or in a peer-reviewed journal.

    Scientists contacted by Nature were sceptical that such assurances could be made about off-target mutations, or about another known challenge of using CRISPR-Cas 9 — so-called ‘on-target mutations’, in which the correct gene is edited, but not in the way intended.

    Rebrikov writes, in a paper published last year in the Bulletin of the RSMU, of which he is the editor in chief, that his technique disables both copies of the CCR5 gene (by deleting a section of 32 bases) more than 50% of the time. He says publishing in this journal was not a conflict of interest because reviewers and editors are blinded to a paper’s authors.

    But Doudna is sceptical of those results. “The data I have seen say it’s not that easy to control the way the DNA repair works.” Burgio, too, thinks that the edits probably led to other deletions or insertions that are difficult to detect, as is often the case with gene editing.

    Misplaced edits could mean that the gene isn’t properly disabled, and so the cell is still accessible to HIV, or that the mutated gene could function in a completely different and unpredictable way. “It can be a real mess,” says Burgio.

    What’s more, the unmutated CCR5 has many functions that are not yet well understood, but which offer some benefits, say scientists critical of Rebrikov’s plans. For instance, it seems to offer some protection against major complications following infection by the West Nile virus or influenza. “We know a lot about its [CCR5’s] role in HIV entry [to cells], but we don’t know much about its other effects,” says Burgio. A study published last week also suggested that people without a working copy of CCR5 might have a shortened lifespan.

    Rebrikov understands that if he proceeds with his experiment before Russia’s updated regulations are in place, he might be considered a second He Jiankui. But he says he would only do so if he’s sure of the safety of the procedure. “I think I’m crazy enough to do it,” he says.

    Nature 570, 145-146 (2019)
    doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-01770-x

  • Hazel Bryan Massery (l’étudiante blanche qui insulte) Elizabeth Eckford (l’étudiante noire qui est seule ou presque au milieu d’une foule hostile).

    Elizabeth Eckford assise sur un banc en attendant le bus, est rejointe par un journaliste qui lui dit « ne pleure pas, ils ne méritent pas tes larmes ».

    https://damianogirona.wordpress.com/caucasian-2/hazel-bryan

    was on September 4th, 1957, when the “Little Rock Nine” Crisis happened. On that day nine African American students enrolled in Little Rock Central High School, although at first the students were prevented from entering the school. This was because at the time Little Rock Central High School was originally a racially segregated school. So, as the students began to approach the school, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus stood in front of the doors and would not let the African American students in. It was not until President Dwight D. Eisenhower intervened, by placing the Arkansas National Guard under federal control and ordering them to escort and protect the students as they entered school, that they were finally allowed in. As the African American students made their way to the school white people were parading around them in protest, constantly harassing them, screaming and throwing things at the African American students.

    –—

    Hazel Massery - Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazel_Massery

    Hazel Bryan Massery (born c. 1941) was a student at Little Rock Central High School during the Civil Rights Movement. She was depicted in an iconic photograph that showed her shouting at Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine, during the school integration crisis. In her later life, she sought to make amends for her behavior, briefly becoming friends with Eckford.

    –—

    A Diversity Deficit in New Jersey Schools - As public school segregation increases, what are the consequences ?
    https://www.nj7citizensforchange.org/a_diversity_deficit_in_new_jersey_schools

    As public school segregation increases, what are the consequences?

    According to a study published last year by the UCLA Civil Rights Project, nearly 50 percent of African-American students in New Jersey attend schools where less than 10 percent of the student body is white. And the typical white student attends a public school in which two-thirds of the population is Caucasian.

    Racial segregation is not a problem that exists only in the past. Despite widely documented progress in U.S. history to limit racism, studies suggest that segregation is still an issue in today’s world. Especially right here in the schools of New Jersey.

    –—

    Little Rock 1957 : l’histoire d’Elizabeth Eckford, lycéenne noire dans un lycée blanc - YouTube
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHttKu8JmRU

    –—

    HARDtalk Elizabeth Eckford - YouTube
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNLDRZhA6s0

    In September 1957, nine African American students, including Elizabeth Eckford, entered the all-white Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, thereby breaking the racial segregation barrier in US schools for the first time. They became known as the Little Rock Nine. Two years earlier the US Supreme Court had ruled segregation in schools to be unconstitutional. The first time Elizabeth Eckford tried to enter Little Rock Central High she was turned away, and the image of her surrounded by a hostile crowd of local white people is one of the most famous photographs of the American civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 60s. Stephen Sackur is at her family home in Little Rock and asks if she regrets her central role in a famous chapter of recent American history.

    –—

    Elizabeth Eckford : la ségrégation, le pardon et le refus de la manipulation
    https://www.nofi.media/2016/10/elizabeth-eckford-segregation-pardon/31105

    #droits_civique #états-unis #racisme

  • Confessions of a Comma Queen | The New Yorker
    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/23/holy-writ

    Then I was allowed to work on the copydesk. It changed the way I read prose—I was paid to find mistakes, and it was a long time before I could once again read for pleasure. I spontaneously copy-edited everything I laid eyes on. I had a paperback edition of Faulkner’s “The Hamlet” that was so riddled with typos that it almost ruined Flem Snopes for me. But, as I relaxed on the copydesk, I was sometimes even able to enjoy myself. There were writers who weren’t very good and yet were impossible to improve, like figure skaters who hit all the technical marks but have a limited artistic appeal and sport unflattering costumes. There were competent writers on interesting subjects who were just careless enough in their spelling and punctuation to keep a girl occupied. And there were writers whose prose came in so highly polished that I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to read them: John Updike, Pauline Kael, Mark Singer, Ian Frazier! In a way, these were the hardest, because the prose lulled me into complacency. They transcended the office of the copy editor. It was hard to stay alert for opportunities to meddle in an immaculate manuscript, yet if you missed something you couldn’t use that as an excuse. The only thing to do was style the spelling, and even that could be fraught. Oliver Sacks turned out to be attached to the spelling of “sulphur” and “sulphuric” that he remembered from his chemistry experiments as a boy. (The New Yorker spells it less romantically: “sulfur,” “sulfuric.”)

    When Pauline Kael typed “prevert” instead of “pervert,” she meant “prevert” (unless she was reviewing something by Jacques Prévert). Luckily, she was kind, and if you changed it she would just change it back and stet it without upbraiding you. Kael revised up until closing, and though we lackeys resented writers who kept changing “doughnut” to “coffee cake” then back to “doughnut” and then “coffee cake” again, because it meant more work for us, Kael’s changes were always improvements. She approached me once with a proof in her hand. She couldn’t figure out how to fix something, and I was the only one around. She knew me from chatting in the ladies’ room on the eighteenth floor. I looked at the proof and made a suggestion, and she was delighted. “You helped me!” she gasped.

    I was on the copydesk when John McPhee’s pieces on geology were set up. I tried to keep my head. There was not much to do. McPhee was like John Updike, in that he turned in immaculate copy. Really, all I had to do was read. I’d heard that McPhee compared his manuscript with the galleys, so anything The New Yorker did he noticed. I just looked up words in the dictionary to check the spelling (which was invariably correct, but I had to check) and determined whether compound words were hyphenated, whether hyphenated words should be closed up or printed as two words, or whether I should stet the hyphen. It was my province to capitalize the “i” in Interstate 80, hyphenate I-80, and lowercase “the interstate.”

    That was more than thirty years ago. And it has now been more than twenty years since I became a page O.K.’er—a position that exists only at The New Yorker, where you query-proofread pieces and manage them, with the editor, the author, a fact checker, and a second proofreader, until they go to press. An editor once called us prose goddesses; another job description might be comma queen. Except for writing, I have never seriously considered doing anything else.

    One of the things I like about my job is that it draws on the entire person: not just your knowledge of grammar and punctuation and usage and foreign languages and literature but also your experience of travel, gardening, shipping, singing, plumbing, Catholicism, Midwesternism, mozzarella, the A train, New Jersey. And in turn it feeds you more experience. The popular image of the copy editor is of someone who favors rigid consistency. I don’t usually think of myself that way. But, when pressed, I do find I have strong views about commas.

    #Comma_queen #Edition #Relecture

  • Hollywood Froze Out the Founding Mother of Cinema | JSTOR Daily
    https://daily.jstor.org/hollywood-froze-out-the-founding-mother-of-cinema

    Alice Guy (1873-1968) was the first woman film director. She worked for French film pioneer Leon Gaumont as a secretary in 1896 before she moved into production. Guy was bored, however, by Gaumont’s films, essentially very short documentaries expressing the novelty of the moving image: street scenes, marching troops, trains arriving at stations.

    As historian Susan Hayward tells it, Gaumont was more interested in the technology than what it could produce. “Guy found the repetitiveness [of his films] irksome and decided she could do something better. She submitted a couple of short comedies to Gaumont and he gave her the go-ahead (almost absent-mindedly, according to Guy),” writes Hayward.

    Guy may very well have been the only female movie-maker for the next decade, during which she directed or produced hundreds of films ranging from one to thirty minutes in length. As “film-maker, artistic director and studio and location sets manager all rolled into one” in the days before the multi-reel feature length film, Guy was a key figure in the birth of the fiction film, the form that eventually trumped documentaries the world over. Hayward lists Guy’s innovations: using scripts; having rehearsals; stressing “natural” performances; deploying trick photography; shooting in studio and on location; and, beginning in 1900, experimenting with sound (Gaumont’s Chronophone synchronized phonograph and film).
    Lobby card for the silent film The Pit and the Pendulum directed by Alice Guy-Blaché, 1913
    Lobby card for the silent film The Pit and the Pendulum directed by Alice Guy-Blaché, 1913 via Wikimedia Commons

    In 1907, Guy resigned from Gaumont’s production company and married fellow Gaumont employee Herbert Blaché. Generally known afterwards as Alice Guy-Blaché, she journeyed with her husband to New York City. In 1910 the Blachés started their own company, Solax, with Alice as director general. They did well enough to have a new studio built in Fort Lee, New Jersey in 1911.

    Solax had two strong years, then both Blachés worked for hire into the teens. In 1914, Guy-Blaché wrote, “it has long been a source of wonder to me that many women have not seized upon the wonderful opportunity offered to them by the motion picture art… Of all the arts there is probably none in which they can make such splendid use of talents so much more natural to a woman than to a man and so necessary to its perfection.” And yet, when the couple arrived in Hollywood in 1918, they found few opportunities for women behind the camera.

    Karen Ward Mahar, in her analysis of the “rise and fall of the woman filmmaker” between 1896 and 1928, argues that the consolidating industry forced women out of behind-the-camera jobs because it gendered those occupations as male. Sex-typing of work in Hollywood would end up allowing for woman screenwriters and continuity workers (a.k.a. “script girls”), but little else—besides, obviously, the women on-screen.

    Understanding how filmmaking became masculinized is particularly important with regard to Hollywood, because those who create American movies wield immense cultural power. Once women were excluded from that power in the 1920s, they did not reappear in significant numbers until the 1970s.

    Mahar notes that Guy-Blaché had been “regularly singled out between 1910 and 1913 as one of the guiding lights of the industry.” Hollywood, however, was not interested in Madame Blaché’s light. Mahar also writes, “women needed male partners to gain access to all the necessary segments of the industry.” She notes that Guy-Blaché had experienced this while running Solax with her husband—despite being in a position of leadership, she was not welcome at distributor’s meetings, “because, as her husband alleged, her presence would embarrass the men.

    Alice Guy-Blaché split up with her husband in 1920 and returned to France in 1922. She never made another movie.

    #historicisation #cinéma #femmes

  • My $0.02 on Is Worse Better ?
    https://hackernoon.com/my-0-02-on-is-worse-better-e240784ed6a7?source=rss----3a8144eabfe3---4

    There is a famous long-running discussion in software engineering that goes under the title “Worse is Better”. I’ve never gotten my two cents in, so I thought I’d talk about it a bit here. This is also an opportunity to try to apply the perspective from my experience with software development at Microsoft.This discussion was first framed by Richard Gabriel. He characterized the two different approaches as the “MIT” vs. the “New Jersey” approach. These labels came from the approach taken by the Common Lisp and Scheme groups out of MIT and the contrasting Unix approach coming out of Bell Labs in New Jersey. I found the discussion especially interesting because I did 4 internships at Bell Labs while getting my BS and MS at MIT. So I managed to cross over both schools of thought. Of course, Unix (...)

    #software-development #software-thoughts #software-essays #programming #worse-is-better

  • How Do You Recover After Millions Have Watched You Overdose? - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/11/us/overdoses-youtube-opioids-drugs.html

    The first time Kelmae Hemphill watched herself overdose, she sobbed. There she was in a shaky video filmed by her own heroin dealer, sprawled out on a New Jersey road while a stranger pounded on her chest. “Come on, girl,” someone pleaded.

    Ms. Hemphill’s 11-year drug addiction, her criminal record, her struggles as a mother — they were now everybody’s business, splashed across the news and social media with a new genre of American horror film: the overdose video.

    As opioid deaths have soared in recent years, police departments and strangers with cameras have started posting raw, uncensored images of drug users passed out with needles in their arms and babies in the back seats of their cars. The videos rack up millions of views and unleash avalanches of outrage. Then some other viral moment comes along, and the country clicks away.

    But life is never the same for the people whose bleakest, most humiliating moments now live online forever. In interviews with The New York Times, they talked — some for the very first time — about the versions of themselves captured in the videos.

    “Why bother saving her?” asked one YouTube commenter. “I would’ve let her die,” said another. Angry Facebook messages arrived months, even years, later, when strangers stumbled across the videos.

    Addiction experts say the videos are doing little else than publicly shaming drug users, and the blunt horror of the images may actually increase the stigma against them. Users themselves disagree on whether the humiliation helped them clean up their lives.

    “We’re showing you this video of them at the worst, most humiliating moment of their life,” said Daniel Raymond, deputy director of policy and planning at the Harm Reduction Coalition, an advocacy group. “The intent is not to help these people. The intent is to use them as an object lesson by scapegoating them.”

    Mandy McGowan, 38, knows that. She was the mother unconscious in that video, the woman who became known as the “Dollar Store Junkie.” But she said the video showed only a few terrible frames of a complicated life.

    As a child, she said, she was sexually molested. She survived relationships with men who beat her. She barely graduated from high school.

    She said her addiction to opioids began after she had neck surgery in 2006 for a condition that causes spasms and intense pain. Her neurologist prescribed a menu of strong painkillers including OxyContin, Percocet and fentanyl patches.

    As a teenager, Ms. McGowan had smoked marijuana and taken mushrooms and ecstasy. But she always steered clear of heroin, she said, thinking it was for junkies, for people living in alleys. But her friends were using it, and over the last decade, she sometimes joined them.

    She tried to break her habit by buying Suboxone — a medication used to treat addiction — on the street. But the Suboxone often ran out, and she turned to heroin to tide her over.

    On Sept. 18, 2016, a friend came to Ms. McGowan’s house in Salem, N.H., and offered her a hit of fentanyl, a deadly synthetic painkiller 50 times more potent than heroin. They sniffed a line and drove to the Family Dollar across the state line in Lawrence, where Ms. McGowan collapsed with her daughter beside her. At least two people in the store recorded the scene on their cellphones.

    Medics revived her and took her to the hospital, where child welfare officials took custody of her daughter, and the police charged Ms. McGowan with child neglect and endangerment. (She eventually pleaded guilty to both and was sentenced to probation.) Two days later, the video of her overdose was published by The Eagle-Tribune and was also released by the Lawrence police.

    The video played in a loop on the local news, and vaulted onto CNN and Fox News, ricocheting across the web.

    “For someone already dealing with her own demons, she now has to deal with public opinion, too,” said Matt Ganem, the executive director of the Banyan Treatment Center, about 15 miles north of Boston, which gave Ms. McGowan six months of free treatment after being contacted by intermediaries. “You’re a spectacle. Everyone is watching.”

    Ms. McGowan had only seen snippets of the video on the news. But two months later, she watched the whole thing. She felt sick with regret.

    “I see it, and I’m like, I was a piece of freaking [expletive],” she said. “That was me in active use. It’s not who I am today.”

    But she also wondered: Why didn’t anyone help her daughter? She was furious that bystanders seemed to feel they had license to gawk and record instead of comforting her screaming child.

    She writes letters to her two teenage sons, who live with her former husband in New Hampshire. Her daughter, now 4, lives with the girl’s uncle. Ms. McGowan knows she will probably not regain custody, but hopes to develop a relationship with her and supplant the image embedded in her own mind of the sobbing girl in the pink pajamas.

    “I know if I do the right thing, I can be involved in her life,” Ms. McGowan said. “It’s going to be a long road for me. You don’t just get clean and your life is suddenly all put back together.”

    Still, the video lives on, popping up online almost constantly.

    Ms. McGowan is bracing herself for the day when her daughter sees it, when her daughter lashes out at her for it, when she throws it back in her mother’s face when Ms. McGowan tries to warn her not to use drugs.

    “That video is PTSD for my children,” she said. “The questions are going to come as my daughter gets older. And I have to be prepared for it. I did this. And it cost me my children.”

    #Opioides #Vidéos #Médias_sociaux #Addiction #Traitements

  • Amazon robot sets off bear repellant, putting 24 workers in hospital
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/dec/06/24-us-amazon-workers-hospitalised-after-robot-sets-off-bear-repellent

    Accident in New Jersey puts new focus on retailer’s warehouse working conditions Twenty-four employees at an Amazon warehouse in New Jersey were taken to hospital after a robot accidentally punctured a can of bear repellant. The 255g can containing concentrated capsaicin, a compound in chilli peppers, was punctured by an automated machine after it fell off a shelf, according to local media. The incident happened on Wednesday at a warehouse in Robbinsville, New Jersey, on the outskirts of (...)

    #Amazon #robotique #travail

    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/f933cb4f0052dd60aeff0cf8c7bc42faa65ad779/0_0_3444_2066/master/3444.jpg

  • New Bill Would Make Cash-Free Businesses Illegal
    http://www.grubstreet.com/2018/11/new-bill-would-make-cash-free-businesses-restaurants-illegal.html

    Tomorrow, New York city councilmember Ritchie J. Torres will formally introduce legislation that could ban so-called cashless businesses from operating in New York City. Like lawmakers in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New Jersey, Torres, who represents the 15th Council District in the central Bronx, believes that cash-free establishments are discriminatory by design. If his bill is passed, any business that refuses to accept #cash will face fines — a move that would impact the many cash-free restaurants, coffee shops, and cafés that have recently emerged across New York City. On the eve of announcing his bill, Grub Street talked to him about the racism and classism that he believes are at the heart of the so called “cashless revolution.”

    #guerre_aux_pauvres

  • Are Jared and Ivanka Good for the Jews? - The New York Times

    Jewish communities stand more divided than ever on whether to embrace or denounce Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

    By Amy Chozick and Hannah Seligson
    Nov. 17, 2018

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/17/style/ivanka-trump-jared-kushner.html

    On election night in Beverly Hills, Jason Blum, the hot shot horror-movie producer, was accepting an award at the Israel Film Festival. The polls in a string of midterm contests were closing, and Mr. Blum, a vocal critic of President Trump, was talking about how much was at stake.

    “The past two years have been hard for all of us who cherish the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of this country,” Mr. Blum said.

    That’s when the crowd of mostly Jewish producers and power brokers started to chant, “We like Trump!” An Israeli man stepped onto the stage to try to pull Mr. Blum away from the microphone as the crowd at the Saban Theater Steve Tisch Cinema Center cheered.

    “As you can see from this auditorium, it’s the end of civil discourse,” Mr. Blum said, as security rushed the stage to help him. “Thanks to our president, anti-Semitism is on the rise.”
    ADVERTISEMENT
    In the weeks after a gunman killed 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, in one of the most horrific acts of anti-Semitism in years, debates about the president’s role in stoking extremism have roiled American Jews — and forced an uncomfortable reckoning between Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and his daughter and son-in-law’s Jewish faith.
    Rabbi Jeffrey Myers greets Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump near the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
    Credit
    Doug Mills/The New York Times

    Image

    Rabbi Jeffrey Myers greets Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump near the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times
    Rabbis and Jewish leaders have raged on Twitter and in op-eds, in sermons and over shabbat dinners, over how to reconcile the paradox of Jared Kushner, the descendant of Holocaust survivors, and Ivanka Trump, who converted to Judaism to marry Mr. Kushner.

    To some Jews, the couple serves as a bulwark pushing the Trump administration toward pro-Israel policies, most notably the decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. To many others, they are the wolves in sheep’s clothing, allowing Mr. Trump to brush aside criticism that his words have fueled the uptick in violent attacks against Jews.

    “For Jews who are deeply opposed to Donald Trump and truly believe he is an anti-Semite, it’s deeply problematic that he’s got a Jewish son-in-law and daughter. How can that be?” said Dr. Jonathan D. Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University.
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    Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump serve as senior advisers in the White House. At a time when Judaism is under assault — the F.B.I. said this week that anti-Semitic attacks have increased in each of the last three years — they are unabashedly Orthodox, observing shabbat each week, walking to an Orthodox Chabad shul near their Kalorama home in Washington, D.C., dropping their children off at Jewish day school and hanging mezuzas on the doors of their West Wing offices.

    After the Pittsburgh attack, Mr. Kushner played a key role in Mr. Trump (eventually) decrying “the scourge of anti-Semitism.” And Mr. Kushner helped arrange the president’s visit to the Squirrel Hill synagogue, including inviting Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States to accompany them. There, in Pittsburgh, thousands marched to protest what one organizer described as the insult of the Mr. Trump’s visit.
    Arabella Kushner lights the menorah as her parents look on during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House in 2017.
    Credit
    Olivier Douliery/Getty Images

    Image

    Arabella Kushner lights the menorah as her parents look on during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House in 2017.CreditOlivier Douliery/Getty Images
    The White House has referenced Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump’s religion to dismiss accusations that Mr. Trump’s rhetoric has emboldened anti-Semites. “The president is the grandfather of several Jewish grandchildren,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, told reporters.

    Using the couple in this way has unnerved many Jews who oppose the president and say Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump violated the sacred, if sometimes unspoken, communal code that mandates Jews take care of each other during times of struggle. “I’m more offended by Jared than I am by President Trump,” said Eric Reimer, a lawyer in New York who was on Mr. Kushner’s trivia team at The Frisch School, a modern Orthodox yeshiva in New Jersey that they both attended.

    “We, as Jews, are forced to grapple with the fact that Jared and his wife are Jewish, but Jared is participating in acts of Chillul Hashem,” said Mr. Reimer, using the Hebrew term for when a Jew behaves immorally while in the presence of others.
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    For Mr. Reimer, who hasn’t spoken to Mr. Kushner since high school, one of those incidents was the administration’s Muslim ban, which prompted members of the Frisch community to sign an open letter to Mr. Kushner imploring him “to exercise the influence and access you have to annals of power to ensure others don’t suffer the same fate as millions of our co-religionists.”

    Leah Pisar, president of the Aladdin Project, a Paris-based group that works to counter Holocaust denial, and whose late father, Samuel Pisar, escaped Auschwitz and advised John F. Kennedy, said she found it “inconceivable that Jared could stay affiliated with the administration after Pittsburgh” and called Mr. Kushner the president’s “fig leaf.”

    Those kinds of accusations are anathema to other Jews, particularly a subset of Orthodox Jews who accused liberal Jews of politicizing the Pittsburgh attack and who say that any policies that would weaken Israel are the ultimate act of anti-Semitism.
    Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem in May.
    Credit
    Sebastian Scheiner/Associated Press

    Image

    Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem in May.CreditSebastian Scheiner/Associated Press
    “Jared and Ivanka are one of us as traditional Jews who care deeply about Israel,” said Ronn Torossian, a New York publicist whose children attend the Ramaz School, the same Upper East Side yeshiva where Mr. Kushner’s eldest daughter Arabella was once enrolled. “I look at them as part of our extended family.”

    Even some Jews who dislike Mr. Trump’s policies and recoil at his political style may feel a reluctance to criticize the country’s most prominent Orthodox Jewish couple, grappling with the age-old question that has haunted the Jewish psyche for generations: Yes, but is it good for the Jews?
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    To that end, even as liberal New York Jews suggest the couple would be snubbed when they eventually return to the city, many in the Orthodox community would likely embrace them. “They certainly won’t be banned, but I don’t think most synagogues would give them an aliyah,” said Ethan Tucker, a rabbi and president of the Hadar yeshiva in New York, referring to the relatively limited honor of being called to make a blessing before and after the reading of the Torah. (Mr. Tucker is also the stepson of Joe Lieberman, the first Jewish candidate to run on a major party ticket in the U.S.) “I don’t think people generally honor people they feel were accomplices to politics and policies they abhor,” Mr. Tucker said.

    Haskel Lookstein, who serves as rabbi emeritus of the Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, the modern Orthodox synagogue on the Upper East Side that Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump attended, wrote in an open letter to Mr. Trump that he was “deeply troubled” by the president saying “You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides,” in response to the white nationalist riots in Charlottesville, Va.

    When reached last week to comment about the president’s daughter and son-in-law days after the Pittsburgh attack, Mr. Lookstein said simply, “I love them and that’s one of the reasons I don’t talk about them.”

    Talk to enough Jews about Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump, and you begin to realize that the couple has become a sort of Rorschach test, with defenders and detractors seeing what they want to see as it relates to larger rifts about Jewish identity.

    “It’s not about Jared and Ivanka,” said Matthew Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “People look at them through the prism of their own worldviews.”
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    From left to right on front row, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sara Netanyahu, Mr. Kushner, Ms. Trump, and the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
    Credit
    Sebastian Scheiner/Associated Press

    Image

    From left to right on front row, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sara Netanyahu, Mr. Kushner, Ms. Trump, and the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.CreditSebastian Scheiner/Associated Press
    Those worldviews are rapidly changing. One in five American Jews now describes themselves as having no religion and identifying as Jews based only on ancestry, ethnicity or culture, according to Pew. By contrast, in the 1950s, 93 percent of American Jews identified as Jews based on religion.
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    As Jews retreat from membership to reform synagogues, historically made up of political liberals who were at the forefront of the fight for Civil Rights and other progressive issues, Chabad-Lubavitch, the Orthodox Hasidic group with which Mr. Kushner is affiliated, has become a rapidly-growing Jewish movement. The growth of Chabad correlates with fierce divisions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a small but growing contingent of American Jews who prioritize Israel above any other political or social issue.

    Mr. Kushner, in particular, has become a sort of proxy for these larger schisms about faith and Israel, according to Jewish experts. “There is a great deal of anxiety around the coming of the Orthodox,” said Dr. Sarna, the Brandeis professor. “Jared in every way — his Orthodoxy, his Chabad ties, his views on Israel — symbolizes those changes.”

    Mr. Kushner is the scion of wealthy real-estate developers and his family has donated millions of dollars to the Jewish community, including through a foundation that gives to settlements in the West Bank. Mr. Kushner influenced the Trump administration’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy, to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, and to shutter a Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington.

    “You’d be hard pressed to find a better supporter of Israel than Donald Trump and Jared plays a role in that,” said Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush. Mr. Kushner is currently working on a Middle East peace plan expected to be rolled out in the coming months.

    Haim Saban, an entertainment magnate and pro-Israel Democrat, is optimistic about Mr. Kushner’s efforts. He said in an interview from his hotel in Israel that although he disagrees with some of Mr. Trump’s policies, “Jared and by extension the president understand the importance of the relationship between the U.S. and Israel on multiple levels — security, intelligence, but most of all, shared values.”
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    That embrace has only exacerbated tensions with secular Jews who overwhelmingly vote Democratic and oppose Mr. Trump. According to a 2018 survey by the American Jewish Committee, 41 percent of Jews said they strongly disagree with Mr. Trump’s handling of U.S.-Israeli relations and 71 percent had an overall unfavorable opinion of Mr. Trump. (In response to questions for this story, a White House press aide referred reporters to an Ami magazine poll of 263 Orthodox Jews in the tristate area published in August. Eighty-two percent said they would vote for President Trump in 2020.)

    “To wave a flag and say ‘Oh, he’s obviously pro-Jewish because he moved the embassy’ just absolutely ignores what we know to be a deeply alarming rise of anti-Semitism and all sorts of dog-whistling and enabling of the alt-right,” said Andy Bachman, a prominent progressive rabbi in New York.
    President Trump praying at the Western Wall.
    Credit
    Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

    Image

    President Trump praying at the Western Wall.CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times
    In September, Mr. Kushner and his top advisers, Jason D. Greenblatt and Avi Berkowitz, hosted a private dinner at the Pierre Hotel on the Upper East Side. Over a kosher meal, Mr. Kushner, aware of concerns within the Jewish community that Israel policy had become an overly partisan issue, fielded the advice of a range of Jewish leaders, including hedge-fund billionaire and Republican donor Paul Singer and Mr. Saban, to craft his Middle East peace plan. “He called and said ’I’ll bring 10 Republicans and you bring 10 Democrats,’” Mr. Saban said.

    The undertaking will only bring more kvetching about Mr. Kushner. Indeed, some of Mr. Trump’s most ardent Jewish supporters have already expressed their displeasure at any deal that would require Israel to give up land.

    “I’m not happy with Jared promoting a peace deal that’s sending a message that we’re ready to ignore the horrors of the Palestinian regime,” said Morton A. Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America and a friend of Republican megadonor Sheldon G. Adelson.

    “But …” Mr. Klein added, as if self-aware of how other Jews will view his position, “I am a fanatical, pro-Israel Zionist.”
    Amy Chozick is a New York-based writer-at-large and a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine, writing about the personalities and power struggles in business, politics and media.

  • All the president’s men: what to make of Trump’s bizarre new painting | Hannah Jane Parkinson | Opinion | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/15/president-trump-new-painting-white-house-republican

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words, unless it’s a shredded Banksy, obviously, which is worth around £1m. But how to put a value on the majestic artwork Donald Trump was revealed to have gracing the wall outside the Oval Office, as eagle-eyed viewers of 60 Minutes spotted?

    So far, we know of two other “artworks” that Trump has: that Photoshopped picture of his inauguration crowd (dude, let it go), and the electoral college map. It is no wonder Trump wanted to spruce the place up in his own way, given that he referred to the White House as “a dump”. I still cackle at this, given its sheer, disparaging rudeness – like how when Location, Location, Location’s Phil shows a couple around a three-bedroom semi with a north-facing garden, Kirstie mugs to the camera and draws an imaginary knife across her throat.

    #on_est_en_2018 #allégorie #images #propagande #représentation

  • With Greed and Cynicism, #Big_Tech is Fueling Inequalities in America
    https://mondaynote.com/with-greed-and-cynicism-big-tech-is-fueling-inequalities-in-america-b836

    Let’s put this in perspective. In 2017, Amazon collected $5.6 billion in profit, but paid zero federal taxes, thanks to multiples tax schemes. Even better, since 2008, Amazon paid $1.4 billion in taxes when Walmart paid $64 billion. Not only Amazon does not have enough with an effective tax rate of 11 percent for the last five years, but it wants more from American cities widely known for their crumbling infrastructure. New Jersey is ready to cough up $7 billion in tax advantage (think about it next time you drive west of New York City).

    From a pure accounting perspective, this is the equivalent to having taxpayers subsidizing Amazon’s shareholders. Compared to that, the Robber Barons are like Mother Theresa.

    En français le sujet est abordé dans cette émission de Arte à partir de la cinquième minute,

    Les patrons des #GAFAM : rois du monde ? – Le Topo – Tous les internets – ARTE - YouTube
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vBvMnE9cx0

    #inégalités

  • Grandmother on oxygen dies after PSE&G cuts off her power, grieving family says | NJ.com
    https://www.nj.com/essex/index.ssf/2018/07/grandmother_on_oxygen_dies_after_pseg_cuts_off_her.html

    A 68-year-old Newark woman in hospice care, who depended on oxygen to survive, died last week after PSE&G turned off her electric because of an overdue bill, her grieving family said Sunday.

    Linda Daniels was in her Shephard Avenue home with her family for hours after her oxygen tank powered by electricity and air-conditioning stopped working about 10 a.m. Thursday. She died at 4:23 p.m. of heart failure, her family said.

    Pour ceux et celles qui ne lisent pas l’anglais, je résume grossièrement la situation : la vieille dame devait de l’argent depuis un moment à la compagnie PSE&G. Elle a fini par payer mais 2 jours après, ils ont quand même coupé l’électricité pour défaut de paiement un jour où la chaleur était extrême. La dame en question avait une aide respiratoire grâce à un appareil qui fonctionnait à l’électricité. Elle est morte étouffée malgré les appels répétés de la famille à la compagnie pendant la journée. Les faits se sont passés ) Newark aux États-Unis.

    #privatisation #pauvreté #capitalisme #libéralisme_économique

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Message to the Democratic Party | The New Yorker
    https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/alexandria-ocasio-cortezs-message-to-the-democratic-party

    After winning the Democratic primary in New York’s Fourteenth Congressional District, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is now a national political figure. On Wednesday, she made a series of media appearances, including spots on CNN and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Later in the day, Stephen Colbert hailed her win, joking that when he was twenty-eight he got his first can opener. On Thursday, she appeared on Colbert’s show, and an article in the Times described her as “an instant political rock star.”

    Ocasio-Cortez deserves all the attention she’s getting, but it’s important not to focus only on her personal traits: her age, her gender, her ethnicity, and her inspiring life story. As she pointed out in her post-victory interviews, she ran on a platform that transcended these things. “Our campaign was focussed on just a laser-focussed message of economic, social, and racial dignity for working-class Americans, especially those in Queens and the Bronx,” she told Mika Brzezinski, of “Morning Joe.”

    Listen to the speeches of Senator Sherrod Brown, of Ohio; or of Stacey Abrams, who is running for governor in Georgia; or of Beto O’Rourke, who is challenging Ted Cruz in Texas; or of Conor Lamb, who won a special election in western Pennsylvania earlier this year; or of Mikie Sherrill, a former Navy pilot who recently won the Democratic primary in New Jersey’s Republican-held Eleventh Congressional District. To be sure, these Democrats are attacking Trump and talking about immigration and the Supreme Court. But their main focus is on promoting social and economic empowerment for people living in their districts.

    That is the traditional Democratic Party message, and it is one that never grows old. Every so often, however, it needs to be renewed and adapted to new circumstances. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just demonstrated how to do this.

    #Politique_USA

  • Working Anywhere, Working Everywhere
    https://hackernoon.com/working-anywhere-working-everywhere-adf365fe13b5?source=rss----3a8144eab

    Finding flow at work even while always on the move.In 1971, Programmer Ray Tomlinson pinged the first email from his computer to an adjacent one in his Cambridge Massachusetts lab. Two years later, Motorola employee Martin Cooper called New Jersey from Manhattan on the first mobile phone. Work has never been the same since then.When Jerusalem became the first Wi-Fi enabled city in 2004 — the lofty idea of working from anywhere with a reliable web connection became real. We’re all mobile workers now. OK, so maybe just a portion of the planet’s 5.1 billion mobile users are. The point is that there’s lots of us. We punch words out on paper thin laptops from swanky Toronto coffee shops to meet deadlines for clients in Tokyo. We push pixels or polish code in our Medellin makerspaces for remote (...)

    #life-hacking #future-of-work #remote-working #future #productivity

  • While Israel is busy blaming the children, women, and men of the Gaza strip for getting themselves massacred, while it’s trying to enjoy Eurovision; let’s take a look at the latest reports on its arms trade.

    In March, reports came in that Israel is the 7th largest arms exporter in the world. An astounding statistic to anyone aware that Israel is the size of New Jersey, competing with the likes of the USA and Russia. That said, Israel has been one of the top 10 arms traders since the 80’s.

    This particular article, coming in while Israel is busy sniping thousands of Palestinians in the #GreatReturnMarch, tells of a 40% increase in arms sales in the past two years, when Israel’s arms exports jumped from $6.5 to over $9 billion dollars a year.

    Yes, “field testing” your killing machines on real, live, actual human beings pays, in this market. Israel shoots the indigenous Palestinians trying to return home, so you can shoot your immigrants with confidence:

    "Ben-Baruch said the defense establishment sees Europe as a significant target for defense transactions, mainly in terms of “border defenses, the consequences of immigration and all aspects of terrorism.”

    But before we throw our hands up in despair and start believing the lie that civilians have no say on the arms market, let’s remember that technology doesn’t necessarily have to be weaponised:

    "Ben-Baruch said. “It’s not simple to compete with European countries in Europe and win. It’s a half-billion-dollar project. This brings about cooperation between various government ministries – such as economy and energy and water. From a security project we end up with additional cooperative ventures.”

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israel-s-defense-export-sales-exceed-record-9-billion-1.6052046

  • Health Insurers Spend $158K to Make Sure ’Blue Wave’ Is Against Medicare for All
    https://gritpost.com/health-insurers-medicare-for-all

    In the current cycle, big health insurers have quietly donated more than $150,000 to Democrats opposed to #Medicare for All legislation.

    One of the internal battles raging within the Democratic Party is whether or not the party should embrace the Medicare for All bill authored by Senator Bernie #Sanders (I-Vermont). Big-name Democrats with possible presidential ambitions like Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), Kamala Harris (D-California), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) have co-sponsored the bill, but notably, 11 Senate Democrats up for re-election this year have not.

    If passed, Sanders’ Medicare for All bill would allow Americans to have the option of buying into the Medicare program typically only available to retirees. Medicare is one of the most popular government programs, with 77 percent of Americans saying they viewed the program as “very important” in 2015. A Pew survey from June of 2017 found that 60 percent of respondents felt that providing healthcare should be the responsibility of the government.

    ##santé #Etats-Unis #corruption_légale #acheter_les_lois #assurance

  • Religious group infiltration
    https://diasp.eu/p/7008700

    Religious group infiltration

    https://stallman.org/archives/2018-jan-apr.html#9_April_2018_%28Religious_group_infiltration%29

    The New York City thug department has made an agreement not to infiltrate religious groups in New Jersey any more.

    It had already made an agreement not to do this in New York any more.

    It is noteworthy that infiltrating Muslim groups provided zero information about any terrorist plans. Surveillance of large groups of people in their innocent community activities in the hope of catching a few criminals among them is fundamentally stupid and undermines the bonds of society.

  • Emails show UAE-linked effort against Tillerson - BBC News
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43281519

    The BBC has obtained leaked emails that show a lobbying effort to get US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sacked for failing to support the United Arab Emirates against regional rival Qatar.
    Major Trump fundraiser and UAE-linked businessman Elliott Broidy met Mr Trump in October 2017 and urged him to sack Mr Tillerson, the emails reveal.
    In other emails, he calls the top US diplomat “a tower of Jello”, “weak” and says he “needs to be slammed”.
    Mr Broidy says Qatar hacked his emails.
    “We have reason to believe this hack was sponsored and carried out by registered and unregistered agents of Qatar seeking to punish Mr Broidy for his strong opposition to state-sponsored terrorism,” a spokesman for the businessman said.
    He said some of the emails “may have been altered” but did not elaborate.
    Saudi Arabia, UAE and a number of Arab countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in June 2017 over its alleged support for terrorism, a claim which it denies. The unprecedented move was seen as a major split between powerful Gulf countries, who are also close US allies.
    Qatari royal ’held against will’ in UAE
    Nations silent on Tillerson Qatar blockade plea
    The BBC has asked the Qatar embassy in Washington for a response to the accusations.
    Mr Broidy’s defence company Circinus has hundreds of millions of dollars worth of contracts with the UAE, according to the New York Times newspaper.
    He had recently returned from the UAE when he met Mr Trump at the White House in October.
    What did the emails say?
    According to a memorandum he prepared of the meeting, Mr Broidy urged continued support of US allies the UAE and Saudi Arabia and advised Mr Trump against getting involved in last year’s row with Qatar.
    Mr Broidy called Qatar “a television station with a country” - alluding to broadcaster Al Jazeera - and said it was doing “nothing positive”, according to the emails.
    He said he touted a regional counter-terrorism force being set up by the UAE that his company was involved with, and suggested that the US president “sit down” with Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and a top UAE military commander.
    “I offered that MBZ [the crown prince] is available to come to the US very soon and preferred a quiet meeting in New York or New Jersey. President Trump agreed that a meeting with MBZ was a good idea,” Mr Broidy wrote in an email.
    He also said he advised the president on Mr Tillerson - who was “performing poorly and should be fired at a politically convenient time”.
    Mr Tillerson had criticised the blockade of Qatar and called for it to be eased, in comments that contrasted with Mr Trump’s support for the move.
    Mr Tillerson spent most of the first year in his position embattled and weakened.
    Last autumn, in a rare move for the soft-spoken secretary, the state department held a press conference in which Mr Tillerson pushed back against reports he had called the president “a moron”.
    Who did Mr Broidy email?
    He emailed a detailed account of his meeting with the president to George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman with decades of experience serving as an interlocutor between the Middle East and Washington.
    Sources familiar with the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election and possible links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, tell the BBC that Mr Nader has become a person of interest and has been questioned in recent weeks.
    Investigators questioned Mr Nader and other witnesses on whether there were any efforts by the Emiratis to buy political influence by directing money to Mr Trump’s presidential campaign, according to a New York Times report.

    What else was in the leaked emails?
    Mr Broidy also detailed a separate sit-down with Mr Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, according to the emails.
    After Mr Broidy criticised Qatar extensively to Mr Kushner, “Jared’s demeanour was very passive and pleasant but he seemed to not want to engage on this issue,” he wrote to Mr Nader.
    Kushner Companies - owned by the family of Jared Kushner - is reported to have in April 2017 sought financing from Qatar for its flagship property at 666 5th Avenue, New York.
    However, Mr Kushner has maintained that he has had no role in his family’s business since joining the White House last year.
    Has anyone else claimed to have been hacked?
    UAE ambassador to Washington Yousef al-Otaiba - who in diplomatic circles is known as the most effective and influential ambassador in Washington - has himself been a recent victim of email hacking.
    It’s well known in Washington that Mr Otaiba and Mr Kushner have enjoyed close relationship.
    Industry experts looking at both hacks have drawn comparisons between the two, showing reason to suspect links to Qatar.
    “This is rinse and repeat on Otaiba,” a source familiar with the hack told the BBC.
    The UAE has also been known to use similar tactics, and was accused of hacking Qatari government websites prior to the blockade, according to the FBI.

  • America’s ‘Liberalism’ and Other Inhumane Styles of Governance At Home and Internationally | Global #Justice in the 21st Century
    https://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2018/02/25/americas-liberalism-other-inhumane-styles-of-governance-at-ho

    In American political discourse the word ‘#liberal’ denotes someone who is [..,] rabidly anti-Trump, but considered Sanders either an unrealistic or undesirable alternative to Clinton, and currently hopes for that the 2020 presidential contender will be chosen from familiar, seasoned sources, which means Joe Biden, or if not, then Sherrod Brown or Corey Booker (Senators from Ohio and New Jersey). This kind of ‘liberal’ thinking scoffs at the idea of Oprah or Michelle Obama as credible candidates supposedly because they lack political experience, but actually because they do not project an identity associated with the Democratic Party organizational nexus. Such liberals support Israel, despite some misgivings about the expansion of settlements and Netanyahu’s style of leadership, and continue to believe that America occupies the high moral ground in international relations due to its support of ‘human rights’ (as understood as limited to social and political rights) and its constitutionalism and relatively open society at home.

    #Etats-Unis

  • Pour celles et ceux qui adorent les mystères autour des #nouvelles_technologies (escroqueries de haut vol, bugs mystérieux, surveillance) et surtout la résolution de ces mystères, un #podcast parfait : Reply all (produit par #Gimlet_Media)
    https://gimletmedia.com/show/reply-all/all

    Un épisode parmi d’autres : « The Case of the Phantom Caller »
    https://gimletmedia.com/episode/104-case-phantom-caller
    (tiens, l’occasion de découvrir que @koantig a également repéré cette émission !)

    A woman in New Jersey is getting strange phone calls to her office from unknown numbers. Every time she picks up, she finds herself eavesdropping on the life of a different stranger. Unsure what else to do, she calls in Super Tech Support. Further Reading The FCC consumer complaint center. FBI internet crime complaint center….

    http://traffic.megaphone.fm/GLT1161019055.mp3

    C’est présenté sous forme d’enquête en direct. Si vous appréciez le format, alors plongez également dans Heavyweight, toujours chez Gimlet Media, où le producteur enquête sur des affaires non résolues, mais qui relèvent de l’intime.
    https://gimletmedia.com/show/heavyweight/all

    Deux exemples :

    « Isabel »
    https://gimletmedia.com/episode/14-isabel

    In 1999, an old suitcase was found abandoned on a Brooklyn street corner. The suitcase contained 5 years worth of love letters between a young man and young woman. In this episode, Jonathan tries to track them down.

    http://traffic.megaphone.fm/GLT7778633911.mp3

    et « Gregor »
    https://gimletmedia.com/episode/2-gregor

    20 years ago, Gregor lent some CDs to a musician friend. The CDs helped make him a famous rockstar. Now, Gregor would like some recognition. But mostly, he wants his CDs back.

    http://traffic.megaphone.fm/GLT1741636493.mp3

    #audio #création_sonore

  • What Happens When We Let Tech Care For Our Aging Parents | WIRED
    https://www.wired.com/story/digital-puppy-seniors-nursing-homes

    Arlyn Anderson grasped her father’s hand and presented him with the choice. “A nursing home would be safer, Dad,” she told him, relaying the doctors’ advice. “It’s risky to live here alone—”

    “No way,” Jim interjected. He frowned at his daughter, his brow furrowed under a lop of white hair. At 91, he wanted to remain in the woodsy Minnesota cottage he and his wife had built on the shore of Lake Minnetonka, where she had died in his arms just a year before. His pontoon—which he insisted he could still navigate just fine—bobbed out front.

    Arlyn had moved from California back to Minnesota two decades earlier to be near her aging parents. Now, in 2013, she was fiftysomething, working as a personal coach, and finding that her father’s decline was all-consuming.

    Her father—an inventor, pilot, sailor, and general Mr. Fix-It; “a genius,” Arlyn says—started experiencing bouts of paranoia in his mid-eighties, a sign of Alzheimer’s. The disease had progressed, often causing his thoughts to vanish mid-sentence. But Jim would rather risk living alone than be cloistered in an institution, he told Arlyn and her older sister, Layney. A nursing home certainly wasn’t what Arlyn wanted for him either. But the daily churn of diapers and cleanups, the carousel of in-home aides, and the compounding financial strain (she had already taken out a reverse mortgage on Jim’s cottage to pay the caretakers) forced her to consider the possibility.

    Jim, slouched in his recliner, was determined to stay at home. “No way,” he repeated to his daughter, defiant. Her eyes welled up and she hugged him. “OK, Dad.” Arlyn’s house was a 40-minute drive from the cottage, and for months she had been relying on a patchwork of technology to keep tabs on her dad. She set an open laptop on the counter so she could chat with him on Skype. She installed two cameras, one in his kitchen and another in his bedroom, so she could check whether the caregiver had arrived, or God forbid, if her dad had fallen. So when she read in the newspaper about a new digi­tal eldercare service called CareCoach a few weeks after broaching the subject of the nursing home, it piqued her interest. For about $200 a month, a human-powered avatar would be available to watch over a homebound person 24 hours a day; Arlyn paid that same amount for just nine hours of in-home help. She signed up immediately.

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    A Google Nexus tablet arrived in the mail a week later. When Arlyn plugged it in, an animated German shepherd appeared onscreen, standing at attention on a digitized lawn. The brown dog looked cutesy and cartoonish, with a bubblegum-pink tongue and round, blue eyes.

    She and Layney visited their dad later that week, tablet in hand. Following the instructions, Arlyn uploaded dozens of pictures to the service’s online portal: images of family members, Jim’s boat, and some of his inventions, like a computer terminal known as the Teleray and a seismic surveillance system used to detect footsteps during the Vietnam War. The setup complete, Arlyn clutched the tablet, summoning the nerve to introduce her dad to the dog. Her initial instinct that the service could be the perfect companion for a former technologist had splintered into needling doubts. Was she tricking him? Infantilizing him?

    Tired of her sister’s waffling, Layney finally snatched the tablet and presented it to their dad, who was sitting in his armchair. “Here, Dad, we got you this.” The dog blinked its saucer eyes and then, in Google’s female text-to-speech voice, started to talk. Before Alzheimer’s had taken hold, Jim would have wanted to know exactly how the service worked. But in recent months he’d come to believe that TV characters were interacting with him: A show’s villain had shot a gun at him, he said; Katie Couric was his friend. When faced with an onscreen character that actually was talking to him, Jim readily chatted back.

    Jim named his dog Pony. Arlyn perched the tablet upright on a table in Jim’s living room, where he could see it from the couch or his recliner. Within a week Jim and Pony had settled into a routine, exchanging pleasantries several times a day. Every 15 minutes or so Pony would wake up and look for Jim, calling his name if he was out of view. Sometimes Jim would “pet” the sleeping dog onscreen with his finger to rustle her awake. His touch would send an instantaneous alert to the human caretaker behind the avatar, prompting the CareCoach worker to launch the tablet’s audio and video stream. “How are you, Jim?” Pony would chirp. The dog reminded him which of his daughters or in-person caretakers would be visiting that day to do the tasks that an onscreen dog couldn’t: prepare meals, change Jim’s sheets, drive him to a senior center. “We’ll wait together,” Pony would say. Often she’d read poetry aloud, discuss the news, or watch TV with him. “You look handsome, Jim!” Pony remarked after watching him shave with his electric razor. “You look pretty,” he replied. Sometimes Pony would hold up a photo of Jim’s daughters or his inventions between her paws, prompting him to talk about his past. The dog complimented Jim’s red sweater and cheered him on when he struggled to buckle his watch in the morning. He reciprocated by petting the screen with his index finger, sending hearts floating up from the dog’s head. “I love you, Jim!” Pony told him a month after they first met—something CareCoach operators often tell the people they are monitoring. Jim turned to Arlyn and gloated, “She does! She thinks I’m real good!”

    About 1,500 miles south of Lake Minnetonka, in Monterrey, Mexico, Rodrigo Rochin opens his laptop in his home office and logs in to the CareCoach dashboard to make his rounds. He talks baseball with a New Jersey man watching the Yankees; chats with a woman in South Carolina who calls him Peanut (she places a cookie in front of her tablet for him to “eat”); and greets Jim, one of his regulars, who sips coffee while looking out over a lake.

    Rodrigo is 35 years old, the son of a surgeon. He’s a fan of the Spurs and the Cowboys, a former international business student, and a bit of an introvert, happy to retreat into his sparsely decorated home office each morning. He grew up crossing the border to attend school in McAllen, Texas, honing the English that he now uses to chat with elderly people in the United States. Rodrigo found CareCoach on an online freelancing platform and was hired in December 2012 as one of the company’s earliest contractors, role-playing 36 hours a week as one of the service’s avatars.

    After watching her dad interact with Pony, Arlyn’s reservations about outsourcing her father’s companionship vanished.

    In person, Rodrigo is soft-spoken, with wire spectacles and a beard. He lives with his wife and two basset hounds, Bob and Cleo, in Nuevo León’s capital city. But the people on the other side of the screen don’t know that. They don’t know his name—or, in the case of those like Jim who have dementia, that he even exists. It’s his job to be invisible. If Rodrigo’s clients ask where he’s from, he might say MIT (the CareCoach software was created by two graduates of the school), but if anyone asks where their pet actually is, he replies in character: “Here with you.”

    Rodrigo is one of a dozen CareCoach employees in Latin America and the Philippines. The contractors check on the service’s seniors through the tablet’s camera a few times an hour. (When they do, the dog or cat avatar they embody appears to wake up.) To talk, they type into the dashboard and their words are voiced robotically through the tablet, designed to give their charges the impression that they’re chatting with a friendly pet. Like all the CareCoach workers, Rodrigo keeps meticulous notes on the people he watches over so he can coordinate their care with other workers and deepen his relationship with them over time—this person likes to listen to Adele, this one prefers Elvis, this woman likes to hear Bible verses while she cooks. In one client’s file, he wrote a note explaining that the correct response to “See you later, alligator” is “After a while, crocodile.” These logs are all available to the customer’s social workers or adult children, wherever they may live. Arlyn started checking Pony’s log between visits with her dad several times a week. “Jim says I’m a really nice person,” reads one early entry made during the Minnesota winter. “I told Jim that he was my best friend. I am so happy.”

    After watching her dad interact with Pony, Arlyn’s reservations about outsourcing her father’s companionship vanished. Having Pony there eased her anxiety about leaving Jim alone, and the virtual dog’s small talk lightened the mood.

    Pony was not only assisting Jim’s human caretakers but also inadvertently keeping an eye on them. Months before, in broken sentences, Jim had complained to Arlyn that his in-home aide had called him a bastard. Arlyn, desperate for help and unsure of her father’s recollection, gave her a second chance. Three weeks after arriving in the house, Pony woke up to see the same caretaker, impatient. “Come on, Jim!” the aide yelled. “Hurry up!” Alarmed, Pony asked why she was screaming and checked to see if Jim was OK. The pet—actually, Rodrigo—later reported the aide’s behavior to CareCoach’s CEO, Victor Wang, who emailed Arlyn about the incident. (The caretaker knew there was a human watching her through the tablet, Arlyn says, but may not have known the extent of the person’s contact with Jim’s family behind the scenes.) Arlyn fired the short-tempered aide and started searching for a replacement. Pony watched as she and Jim conducted the interviews and approved of the person Arlyn hired. “I got to meet her,” the pet wrote. “She seems really nice.”

    Pony—friend and guard dog—would stay.
    Grant Cornett

    Victor Wang grew up feeding his Tama­got­chis and coding choose-your-own-­adventure games in QBasic on the family PC. His parents moved from Taiwan to suburban Vancouver, British Columbia, when Wang was a year old, and his grandmother, whom he called Lao Lao in Mandarin, would frequently call from Taiwan. After her husband died, Lao Lao would often tell Wang’s mom that she was lonely, pleading with her daughter to come to Taiwan to live with her. As she grew older, she threatened suicide. When Wang was 11, his mother moved back home for two years to care for her. He thinks of that time as the honey-­sandwich years, the food his overwhelmed father packed him each day for lunch. Wang missed his mother, he says, but adds, “I was never raised to be particularly expressive of my emotions.”

    At 17, Wang left home to study mechanical engineering at the University of British Columbia. He joined the Canadian Army Reserve, serving as an engineer on a maintenance platoon while working on his undergraduate degree. But he scrapped his military future when, at 22, he was admitted to MIT’s master’s program in mechanical engineering. Wang wrote his dissertation on human-machine interaction, studying a robotic arm maneuvered by astronauts on the International Space Station. He was particularly intrigued by the prospect of harnessing tech to perform tasks from a distance: At an MIT entrepreneurship competition, he pitched the idea of training workers in India to remotely operate the buffers that sweep US factory floors.

    In 2011, when he was 24, his grandmother was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, a disease that affects the areas of the brain associated with memory and movement. On Skype calls from his MIT apartment, Wang watched as his grandmother grew increasingly debilitated. After one call, a thought struck him: If he could tap remote labor to sweep far-off floors, why not use it to comfort Lao Lao and others like her?

    Wang started researching the looming caretaker shortage in the US—between 2010 and 2030, the population of those older than 80 is projected to rise 79 percent, but the number of family caregivers available is expected to increase just 1 percent.

    In 2012 Wang recruited his cofounder, a fellow MIT student working on her computer science doctorate named Shuo Deng, to build CareCoach’s technology. They agreed that AI speech technology was too rudimentary for an avatar capable of spontaneous conversation tailored to subtle mood and behavioral cues. For that, they would need humans.

    Older people like Jim often don’t speak clearly or linearly, and those with dementia can’t be expected to troubleshoot a machine that misunderstands. “When you match someone not fully coherent with a device that’s not fully coherent, it’s a recipe for disaster,” Wang says. Pony, on the other hand, was an expert at deciphering Jim’s needs. Once, Pony noticed that Jim was holding onto furniture for support, as if he were dizzy. The pet persuaded him to sit down, then called Arlyn. Deng figures it’ll take about 20 years for AI to be able to master that kind of personal interaction and recognition. That said, the CareCoach system is already deploying some automated abilities. Five years ago, when Jim was introduced to Pony, the offshore workers behind the camera had to type every response; today CareCoach’s software creates roughly one out of every five sentences the pet speaks. Wang aims to standardize care by having the software manage more of the patients’ regular reminders—prodding them to take their medicine, urging them to eat well and stay hydrated. CareCoach workers are part free­wheeling raconteurs, part human natural-­language processors, listening to and deciphering their charges’ speech patterns or nudging the person back on track if they veer off topic. The company recently began recording conversations to better train its software in senior speech recognition.

    CareCoach found its first customer in December 2012, and in 2014 Wang moved from Massachusetts to Silicon Valley, renting a tiny office space on a lusterless stretch of Millbrae near the San Francisco airport. Four employees congregate in one room with a view of the parking lot, while Wang and his wife, Brittany, a program manager he met at a gerontology conference, work in the foyer. Eight tablets with sleeping pets onscreen are lined up for testing before being shipped to their respective seniors. The avatars inhale and exhale, lending an eerie sense of life to their digital kennel.

    CareCoach conveys the perceptiveness and emotional intelligence of the humans powering it but masquerades as an animated app.

    Wang spends much of his time on the road, touting his product’s health benefits at medical conferences and in hospital executive suites. Onstage at a gerontology summit in San Francisco last summer, he deftly impersonated the strained, raspy voice of an elderly man talking to a CareCoach pet while Brittany stealthily cued the replies from her laptop in the audience. The company’s tablets are used by hospitals and health plans across Massachusetts, California, New York, South Carolina, Florida, and Washington state. Between corporate and individual customers, CareCoach’s avatars have interacted with hundreds of users in the US. “The goal,” Wang says, “is not to have a little family business that just breaks even.”

    The fastest growth would come through hospital units and health plans specializing in high-need and elderly patients, and he makes the argument that his avatars cut health care costs. (A private room in a nursing home can run more than $7,500 a month.) Preliminary research has been promising, though limited. In a study conducted by Pace University at a Manhattan housing project and a Queens hospital, CareCoach’s avatars were found to reduce subjects’ loneliness, delirium, and falls. A health provider in Massachusetts was able to replace a man’s 11 weekly in-home nurse visits with a CareCoach tablet, which diligently reminded him to take his medications. (The man told nurses that the pet’s nagging reminded him of having his wife back in the house. “It’s kind of like a complaint, but he loves it at the same time,” the project’s lead says.) Still, the feelings aren’t always so cordial: In the Pace University study, some aggravated seniors with dementia lashed out and hit the tablet. In response, the onscreen pet sheds tears and tries to calm the person.

    More troubling, perhaps, were the people who grew too fiercely attached to their digi­tal pets. At the conclusion of a University of Washington CareCoach pilot study, one woman became so distraught at the thought of parting with her avatar that she signed up for the service, paying the fee herself. (The company gave her a reduced rate.) A user in Massachusetts told her caretakers she’d cancel an upcoming vacation to Maine unless her digital cat could come along.

    We’re still in the infancy of understanding the complexities of aging humans’ relationship with technology. Sherry Turkle, a professor of social studies, science, and technology at MIT and a frequent critic of tech that replaces human communication, described interactions between elderly people and robotic babies, dogs, and seals in her 2011 book, Alone Together. She came to view roboticized eldercare as a cop-out, one that would ultimately degrade human connection. “This kind of app—in all of its slickness and all its ‘what could possibly be wrong with it?’ mentality—is making us forget what we really know about what makes older people feel sustained,” she says: caring, interpersonal relationships. The question is whether an attentive avatar makes a comparable substitute. Turkle sees it as a last resort. “The assumption is that it’s always cheaper and easier to build an app than to have a conversation,” she says. “We allow technologists to propose the unthinkable and convince us the unthinkable is actually the inevitable.”

    But for many families, providing long-term in-person care is simply unsustainable. The average family caregiver has a job outside the home and spends about 20 hours a week caring for a parent, according to AARP. Nearly two-thirds of such caregivers are women. Among eldercare experts, there’s a resignation that the demographics of an aging America will make technological solutions unavoidable. The number of those older than 65 with a disability is projected to rise from 11 million to 18 million from 2010 to 2030. Given the option, having a digital companion may be preferable to being alone. Early research shows that lonely and vulnerable elders like Jim seem content to communicate with robots. Joseph Coughlin, director of MIT’s AgeLab, is pragmatic. “I would always prefer the human touch over a robot,” he says. “But if there’s no human available, I would take high tech in lieu of high touch.”

    CareCoach is a disorienting amalgam of both. The service conveys the perceptiveness and emotional intelligence of the humans powering it but masquerades as an animated app. If a person is incapable of consenting to CareCoach’s monitoring, then someone must do so on their behalf. But the more disconcerting issue is how cognizant these seniors are of being watched over by strangers. Wang considers his product “a trade-off between utility and privacy.” His workers are trained to duck out during baths and clothing changes.

    Some CareCoach users insist on greater control. A woman in Washington state, for example, put a piece of tape over her CareCoach tablet’s camera to dictate when she could be viewed. Other customers like Jim, who are suffering from Alzheimer’s or other diseases, might not realize they are being watched. Once, when he was temporarily placed in a rehabilitation clinic after a fall, a nurse tending to him asked Arlyn what made the avatar work. “You mean there’s someone overseas looking at us?” she yelped, within earshot of Jim. (Arlyn isn’t sure whether her dad remembered the incident later.) By default, the app explains to patients that someone is surveilling them when it’s first introduced. But the family members of personal users, like Arlyn, can make their own call.

    Arlyn quickly stopped worrying about whether she was deceiving her dad. Telling Jim about the human on the other side of the screen “would have blown the whole charm of it,” she says. Her mother had Alzheimer’s as well, and Arlyn had learned how to navigate the disease: Make her mom feel safe; don’t confuse her with details she’d have trouble understanding. The same went for her dad. “Once they stop asking,” Arlyn says, “I don’t think they need to know anymore.” At the time, Youa Vang, one of Jim’s regular in-­person caretakers, didn’t comprehend the truth about Pony either. “I thought it was like Siri,” she said when told later that it was a human in Mexico who had watched Jim and typed in the words Pony spoke. She chuckled. “If I knew someone was there, I may have been a little more creeped out.”

    Even CareCoach users like Arlyn who are completely aware of the person on the other end of the dashboard tend to experience the avatar as something between human, pet, and machine—what some roboticists call a third ontological category. The care­takers seem to blur that line too: One day Pony told Jim that she dreamed she could turn into a real health aide, almost like Pinoc­chio wishing to be a real boy.

    Most of CareCoach’s 12 contractors reside in the Philippines, Venezuela, or Mexico. To undercut the cost of in-person help, Wang posts English-language ads on freelancing job sites where foreign workers advertise rates as low as $2 an hour. Though he won’t disclose his workers’ hourly wages, Wang claims the company bases its salaries on factors such as what a registered nurse would make in the CareCoach employee’s home country, their language proficiencies, and the cost of their internet connection.

    The growing network includes people like Jill Paragas, a CareCoach worker who lives in a subdivision on Luzon island in the Philippines. Paragas is 35 years old and a college graduate. She earns about the same being an avatar as she did in her former call center job, where she consoled Americans irate about credit card charges. (“They wanted to, like, burn the company down or kill me,” she says with a mirthful laugh.) She works nights to coincide with the US daytime, typing messages to seniors while her 6-year-old son sleeps nearby.

    Even when Jim grew stubborn or paranoid with his daughters, he always viewed Pony as a friend.

    Before hiring her, Wang interviewed Paragas via video, then vetted her with an international criminal background check. He gives all applicants a personality test for certain traits: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. As part of the CareCoach training program, Paragas earned certifications in delirium and dementia care from the Alzheimer’s Association, trained in US health care ethics and privacy, and learned strategies for counseling those with addictions. All this, Wang says, “so we don’t get anyone who’s, like, crazy.” CareCoach hires only about 1 percent of its applicants.

    Paragas understands that this is a complicated business. She’s befuddled by the absence of family members around her aging clients. “In my culture, we really love to take care of our parents,” she says. “That’s why I’m like, ‘She is already old, why is she alone?’ ” Paragas has no doubt that, for some people, she’s their most significant daily relationship. Some of her charges tell her that they couldn’t live without her. Even when Jim grew stubborn or paranoid with his daughters, he always viewed Pony as a friend. Arlyn quickly realized that she had gained a valuable ally.
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    1/7Jim Anderson and his wife, Dorothy, in the living room of their home in St. Louis Park, Minnesota in the ’70s. Their house was modeled after an early American Pennsylvania farmhouse.Courtesy Arlyn Anderson
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    As time went on, the father, daughter, and family pet grew closer. When the snow finally melted, Arlyn carried the tablet to the picnic table on the patio so they could eat lunch overlooking the lake. Even as Jim’s speech became increasingly stunted, Pony could coax him to talk about his past, recounting fishing trips or how he built the house to face the sun so it would be warmer in winter. When Arlyn took her dad around the lake in her sailboat, Jim brought Pony along. (“I saw mostly sky,” Rodrigo recalls.)

    One day, while Jim and Arlyn were sitting on the cottage’s paisley couch, Pony held up a photograph of Jim’s wife, Dorothy, between her paws. It had been more than a year since his wife’s death, and Jim hardly mentioned her anymore; he struggled to form coherent sentences. That day, though, he gazed at the photo fondly. “I still love her,” he declared. Arlyn rubbed his shoulder, clasping her hand over her mouth to stifle tears. “I am getting emotional too,” Pony said. Then Jim leaned toward the picture of his deceased wife and petted her face with his finger, the same way he would to awaken a sleeping Pony.

    When Arlyn first signed up for the service, she hadn’t anticipated that she would end up loving—yes, loving, she says, in the sincerest sense of the word—the avatar as well. She taught Pony to say “Yeah, sure, you betcha” and “don’t-cha know” like a Minnesotan, which made her laugh even more than her dad. When Arlyn collapsed onto the couch after a long day of caretaking, Pony piped up from her perch on the table:

    “Arnie, how are you?”

    Alone, Arlyn petted the screen—the way Pony nuzzled her finger was weirdly therapeutic—and told the pet how hard it was to watch her dad lose his identity.

    “I’m here for you,” Pony said. “I love you, Arnie.”

    When she recalls her own attachment to the dog, Arlyn insists her connection wouldn’t have developed if Pony was simply high-functioning AI. “You could feel Pony’s heart,” she says. But she preferred to think of Pony as her father did—a friendly pet—rather than a person on the other end of a webcam. “Even though that person probably had a relationship to me,” she says, “I had a relationship with the avatar.”

    Still, she sometimes wonders about the person on the other side of the screen. She sits up straight and rests her hand over her heart. “This is completely vulnerable, but my thought is: Did Pony really care about me and my dad?” She tears up, then laughs ruefully at herself, knowing how weird it all sounds. “Did this really happen? Was it really a relationship, or were they just playing solitaire and typing cute things?” She sighs. “But it seemed like they cared.”

    When Jim turned 92 that August, as friends belted out “Happy Birthday” around the dinner table, Pony spoke the lyrics along with them. Jim blew out the single candle on his cake. “I wish you good health, Jim,” Pony said, “and many more birthdays to come.”

    In Monterrey, Mexico, when Rodrigo talks about his unusual job, his friends ask if he’s ever lost a client. His reply: Yes.

    In early March 2014, Jim fell and hit his head on his way to the bathroom. A caretaker sleeping over that night found him and called an ambulance, and Pony woke up when the paramedics arrived. The dog told them Jim’s date of birth and offered to call his daughters as they carried him out on a stretcher.

    Jim was checked into a hospital, then into the nursing home he’d so wanted to avoid. The Wi-Fi there was spotty, which made it difficult for Jim and Pony to connect. Nurses would often turn Jim’s tablet to face the wall. The CareCoach logs from those months chronicle a series of communication misfires. “I miss Jim a lot,” Pony wrote. “I hope he is doing good all the time.” One day, in a rare moment of connectivity, Pony suggested he and Jim go sailing that summer, just like the good old days. “That sounds good,” Jim said.
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    That July, in an email from Wang, Rodrigo learned that Jim had died in his sleep. Sitting before his laptop, Rodrigo bowed his head and recited a silent Lord’s Prayer for Jim, in Spanish. He prayed that his friend would be accepted into heaven. “I know it’s going to sound weird, but I had a certain friendship with him,” he says. “I felt like I actually met him. I feel like I’ve met them.” In the year and a half that he had known them, Arlyn and Jim talked to him regularly. Jim had taken Rodrigo on a sailboat ride. Rodrigo had read him poetry and learned about his rich past. They had celebrated birthdays and holidays together as family. As Pony, Rodrigo had said “Yeah, sure, you betcha” countless times.

    That day, for weeks afterward, and even now when a senior will do something that reminds him of Jim, Rodrigo says he feels a pang. “I still care about them,” he says. After her dad’s death, Arlyn emailed Victor Wang to say she wanted to honor the workers for their care. Wang forwarded her email to Rodrigo and the rest of Pony’s team. On July 29, 2014, Arlyn carried Pony to Jim’s funeral, placing the tablet facing forward on the pew beside her. She invited any workers behind Pony who wanted to attend to log in.

    A year later, Arlyn finally deleted the CareCoach service from the tablet—it felt like a kind of second burial. She still sighs, “Pony!” when the voice of her old friend gives her directions as she drives around Minneapolis, reincarnated in Google Maps.

    After saying his prayer for Jim, Rodrigo heaved a sigh and logged in to the CareCoach dashboard to make his rounds. He ducked into living rooms, kitchens, and hospital rooms around the United States—seeing if all was well, seeing if anybody needed to talk.

  • Interview de Richard Falk publié ce mois ci, alors qu’elle avait été réalisée à la Fête de l’Huma en septembre :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/632452

    Richard Falk : « Nétanyahou évolue vers une démocratie non libérale »
    Hélène Sallon, Le Monde, le 24 novembre 2017
    http://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2017/11/24/richard-falk-netanyahou-evolue-vers-une-democratie-non-liberale_5219860_3210

    Selon l’ancien rapporteur spécial de l’ONU dans les territoires palestiniens, auteur d’un rapport très controversé, le premier ministre israélien cherche à instaurer un système de domination « soft », plutôt que de permettre la création d’un Etat palestinien.

    La publication, en mars 2017, par la Commission économique et sociale des Nations unies pour l’Asie occidentale (ESCWA en anglais), d’un rapport, « Les pratiques israéliennes envers le peuple palestinien et la question de l’apartheid », dénonçant le « régime d’apartheid » imposé par Israël au peuple palestinien, avait provoqué la polémique au sein de l’ONU. A la suite des critiques des ambassadeurs américain et israélien, son secrétaire général, Antonio Guterres, a demandé le retrait du rapport du site Web de l’ESCWA. Sa secrétaire exécutive, Rima Khalaf, a démissionné en signe de protestation, soutenue par les 18 gouvernements arabes qui composent l’ESCWA.

    Richard Falk, professeur américain de droit international à l’université de Princeton (New Jersey) et ancien rapporteur spécial des Nations unies sur la situation des droits de l’homme dans les territoires palestiniens occupés (2008-2014), coauteur de ce rapport, revient sur ses conclusions et la polémique qu’elles ont suscitée.

    Pourquoi comparer la politique d’Israël à l’égard des Palestiniens et l’apartheid en Afrique du Sud ?

    Le conflit israélo-palestinien est présenté comme un conflit territorial, dont le cœur de la dispute serait la fin de l’occupation. Or la querelle relève davantage d’un conflit entre deux peuples que d’un conflit de territoire. Tant que les deux peuples n’auront pas un statut égal, la paix ne sera pas établie. La formule pertinente est la fin de l’apartheid. Cela s’applique aux territoires occupés, mais aussi à la façon dont tout le peuple palestinien – réfugiés et citoyens d’Israël compris – sont administrés.

    Le terme d’apartheid a été utilisé par des responsables politiques en Israël. Le premier ministre David Ben Gourion avait prévenu, en 1949, que si le problème de la Palestine n’était pas résolu, Israël deviendrait un régime d’apartheid. Les anciens premiers ministres Ehoud Olmert et Ehoud Barak ont également utilisé ce terme, alors que son usage à l’étranger est dénoncé comme relevant d’un discours incendiaire.

    Comment justifier cette comparaison d’un point de vue juridique ?

    La définition juridique de l’apartheid est la domination d’une race sur une autre, pour maintenir une structure de contrôle, par des actes inhumains.

    Au départ, le mouvement sioniste voulait établir un foyer juif, mais l’Etat d’Israël a été fondé sur l’inégalité entre les juifs et les Palestiniens. Le défi sioniste était plus grand que celui du régime d’apartheid en Afrique du Sud : il entendait fonder un Etat à la fois juif et démocratique. Il fallait donc trouver un équilibre démographique. Depuis 1947, c’est-à-dire depuis l’expulsion de 750 000 Palestiniens et le refus de tout droit à leurs descendants, la politique israélienne vise à empêcher une majorité palestinienne, vue comme une menace, une « bombe démographique ».

    Cette préoccupation n’était pas présente en Afrique du Sud, où n’existait pas l’ambition démocratique : chaque peuple devait se développer séparément. Israël suit une autre approche, qui est la politique de fragmentation et de division des Palestiniens par le refus du droit au retour, le contrôle militaire des différents territoires conquis après 1967 et d’autres tactiques envers la minorité palestinienne d’Israël.

    L’aspect le plus problématique est que des juifs peuvent venir du monde entier, alors que des Palestiniens réfugiés à l’extérieur sont exclus. L’apartheid [en Israël] fonctionne sur un système de contrôle : occupation coercitive depuis cinquante ans, usage excessif de la force, tactiques administratives et punition collective pour faire de l’Etat juif une réalité immuable.

    Votre rapport a été vilipendé par Israël et les Etats-Unis, le secrétariat général des Nations unies s’en est désolidarisé et d’autres gouvernements ont jugé cette comparaison excessive…

    C’est une question de jugement et d’interprétation. Si on se place du point de vue des victimes, il est difficile d’y voir une comparaison excessive. J’ai vécu cette souffrance en visitant les camps palestiniens pendant six ans comme rapporteur de l’ONU. J’ai trouvé chez ces gens une patience extraordinaire et une disposition à parvenir à un compromis.

    En Israël, le sentiment qu’un compromis n’est plus nécessaire et que seul compte le rêve de l’Israël biblique va croissant. Les Israéliens veulent que les Palestiniens renoncent à un Etat en échange de droits économiques et de la paix. Le premier ministre Benyamin Nétanyahou veut maintenir ce statu quo ambigu : obtenir une paix relative tout en agrandissant les colonies. Le choix entre être juif ou démocratique doit être fait. Tout va dans le sens d’un choix en faveur d’un Etat juif, mais non démocratique. M. Nétanyahou évolue vers une démocratie non libérale.

    La comparaison avec l’apartheid en Afrique du Sud n’a-t-elle pas pour effet d’empêcher le débat ?

    Ceux qui soutiennent Israël sont réticents à s’engager dans un débat, car cela donne du crédit à ces accusations. Il n’y a aucun argument substantiel pour contrer nos conclusions. La question demeure : comment faire pour que ces deux peuples vivent ensemble dans une paix réelle ? Il faut mettre fin au système d’inégalité et s’attaquer à la structure de domination. L’expérience de l’Afrique du Sud est pertinente car son leadership (blanc) a dû recalculer son intérêt et libérer Nelson Mandela pour s’engager sur la voie d’une Constitution démocratique et la fin de l’apartheid.

    Israël voudrait passer à un système de domination « soft » , plutôt que de permettre la création d’un Etat palestinien. Or ce serait aussi une bonne chose pour le peuple juif que de sortir de ce système de domination. Il faut impliquer la partie dominante pour qu’elle accepte l’illégalité de cette inégalité.

    Au bout de soixante ans, la lutte palestinienne a-t-elle encore un avenir ?

    Le scénario d’Israël consiste à faire croire que sa force et les développements régionaux sont tels que la lutte palestinienne est une cause perdue. Ce raisonnement fonctionne auprès des gouvernements. Ils ignorent cependant l’influence croissante des sociétés civiles au détriment des Etats. C’est pourquoi Israël cible surtout l’agenda des activistes. Ce qui l’inquiète n’est plus la lutte armée, mais la campagne « Boycott, désinvestissement, sanctions » (BDS) qu’il cherche à délégitimer. C’est une guerre de légitimité qui se joue : qui va remporter la bataille de l’opinion ? De ce point de vue, les Palestiniens sont en train de gagner. Tous les mouvements de décolonisation ont gagné contre les armées. De leur côté, les Etats-Unis, comme Israël, n’arrivent pas à penser hors du cadre militaire. Or, ces cinquante dernières années, les conflits militaires ont souvent été gagnés par la partie la plus faible…

    Le Hamas s’est engagé dans une réconciliation avec le Fatah, pensez-vous qu’il a changé ?

    Je pense que le Hamas est sérieux dans sa volonté de parvenir à un cessez-le-feu de long terme avec Israël. Après les élections de 2006, il a ouvert des canaux de discussion avec les Etats-Unis pour parvenir à des accords. Il n’a pas abandonné l’idée d’une Palestine unifiée dans sa charte, mais il a abandonné le ton antisémite. Reste des éléments qui peuvent être vus par Israël comme une menace existentielle. Israël veut garder le Hamas dans la catégorie « terroriste ».

    L’abandon de la lutte armée par les Palestiniens pour la voie diplomatique est-il le bon choix ?

    Oui. En menant des attaques terroristes, c’est la force d’Israël qui est éprouvée alors que sa faiblesse réside dans la dimension morale et juridique du conflit. L’erreur des Palestiniens a été de ne pas le faire prendre cette voie dès après les accords d’Oslo.

    Vous répétez que les Nations unies ont échoué à résoudre le conflit israélo-palestinien. A quoi sert l’ONU ?

    L’ONU est très importante dans la guerre de légitimité. Elle détient l’autorité pour distinguer le bien du mal, le légitime de l’illégitime. En cela, elle continue à être importante. Mais elle ne peut pas modifier les comportements. Les Nations unies sont trop faibles pour exercer une pression indépendante hors d’un consensus géopolitique. En ce qui concerne le conflit israélo-palestinien, l’ONU, comme l’Europe, a un rôle mineur.

    Etes-vous favorable à ce que les Etats-Unis jouent le rôle moteur dans les pourparlers de paix ?

    La géopolitique a poussé les Palestiniens à accepter les Américains comme médiateurs alors qu’ils ne sont pas un intermédiaire équitable. Si vous avez une lutte entre deux parties, voulez-vous que l’allié le plus proche de l’un des camps soit le médiateur de ce conflit ? Les Palestiniens sont naïfs : ils ont accepté le processus d’Oslo, alors qu’il n’incluait même pas le droit à l’autodétermination.

    Une solution diplomatique peut-elle encore être trouvée ?

    M. Nétanyahou ne veut pas d’un accord. Il faut convaincre l’opinion publique israélienne que la paix est possible et souhaitable. Il faut créer les conditions pour l’égalité, abandonner les structures qui maintiennent l’inégalité et l’idée d’un Etat juif – ce qui ne signifie pas l’abandon de l’idée d’un foyer juif.

    Vous soutenez la campagne BDS. Pour quelles raisons ?

    Pour modifier le climat politique, il faut modifier le climat diplomatique. L’ancien président américain Barack Obama était en train d’évoluer à la fin de son mandat. L’Europe a un rôle à jouer. Avec Donald Trump, il n’y a aucune raison de penser qu’Israël se sentira pressé d’offrir quelque chose aux Palestiniens. Le seul débat en Israël est : doit-on formaliser notre contrôle sur la Cisjordanie et Gaza, ou rester dans ce statu quo ?

    Je soutiens toute initiative non violente exerçant une pression sur le leadership israélien pour se conformer au droit international et évoluer vers une solution pacifique. La campagne BDS est un instrument efficace de pression dans une guerre de légitimité. Il y avait eu une campagne BDS très soutenue contre le régime sud-africain. Ses initiateurs n’ont jamais été attaqués comme le sont aujourd’hui ceux qui la mènent pour les Palestiniens. Le débat suscité en Israël confirme la menace que représente ce genre d’initiatives. Cela fonctionne déjà au point qu’Israël a tenté de délégitimer cette campagne en la taxant d’antisémitisme.

    #Palestine #Richard_Falk #ONU #apartheid #BDS

  • Un incroyable système d’espionnage des internautes mis au jour - Le Temps

    https://www.letemps.ch/economie/2017/11/23/un-incroyable-systeme-despionnage-internautes-mis-jour

    Ce ne sont sans doute ni la NSA ni des pirates informatiques russes ou nord-coréens qui sont les plus curieux de la vie privée des internautes. Il s’agit plutôt de multinationales bien établies telles Microsoft, Samsung ou encore Spotify. Il y a quelques jours, des chercheurs de l’Université de Princeton (New Jersey) ont publié une étude montrant comment ces entreprises espionnaient en détail le comportement des internautes qui visitent leurs pages web – certaines ont abandonné cette pratique ces derniers jours. Via des systèmes perfectionnés, elles parviennent à enregistrer intégralement les mouvements de souris, les frappes sur le clavier et la navigation entre les pages.

    #contrôle #big_brother #surveillandce