The movement to stop the construction of a controversial police training facility in Atlanta gained international attention this past week, after sweeps of forest protest encampments resulted in dozens of arrests, terrorism charges, and the police killing of an activist.
Members of Atlanta’s burgeoning “Stop Cop City” movement were rattled after Georgia state police shot and killed Manuel “Tortuguita” Teran, a 26-year-old queer environmental activist who had joined the protest encampment in Atlanta’s South River Forest. But the activists—some of whom were arrested and are now facing domestic terrorism charges and excessively high bail amounts—are showing no signs of backing down.
Local organizations like Community Movement Builders, a Black-led nonprofit and mutual aid group which has mobilized with Stop Cop City and Defend the Atlanta Forest activists, have described the police’s actions as blatant attempts to derail the movement.
“The high bail amounts and charges are a way to make an example of people so that others see themselves out of the movement,” Jasmine, an organizer with Community Movement Builders, told Motherboard. “Those things are a strategic choice to dissuade people from participating, [and] also to try to bleed resources from the movement. They’re trying to bleed the movement dry.”
Since the summer of 2021, Atlanta’s forest defenders have held camp as part of a widespread local resistance to halt construction of a new state-of-the-art $90 million police training facility, which locals call “Cop City.” The project would raze 85 acres of dense woodland forest to build a massive mock city designed to train police in urban warfare. The plan has been widely opposed by local residents and environmental experts, who say it would cause extreme flooding in areas populated primarily by Black and brown residents.
The shooting occurred last week after Georgia State Patrol and other law enforcement agencies entered the South River Forest to conduct a SWAT operation to clear forest encampments, part of the police’s escalating tactics to stifle the growing movement. Police say Teran refused to exit a tent and shot at the state troopers first—a claim that has been fiercely contested by protesters who knew Teran and were present during the sweep.Forest Defenders march through the streets of Atlanta following a police raid on Dec. 13, 2022. Photo by Jesse Pratt Lopez
That night, community members gathered in Atlanta to mourn and protest Teran’s killing, which has been described by organizers as a tragic culmination of events in Atlanta police repression. In the following days, activists around the globe, from Los Angeles to Lützerath, Germany, have joined Stop Cop City activists in their demands to save the forest, abolish the police, and vindicate Teran’s death, transforming Stop Cop City from a local movement to an international one almost overnight.
Six people were arrested during the forest raid the morning Teran was killed. Fifteen others were arrested late that night during the evening’s protest of solidarity and mourning. Last weekend, four others were arrested during a protest in downtown Atlanta which resulted in property damage of a few businesses and a police car. This resulted in the second wave of domestic terrorism charges mounted against protesters and forest defenders, with five others arrested and charged in December 2022.
In total, the state of Georgia is now planning to prosecute 18 people for domestic terrorism, all of whom are connected to the movement against the police training facility. The activists will also be among the first to be charged under the state’s weighty 2017 domestic terrorism statute, which carries a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison.
Local activists and legal experts have condemned the charges, and called for an independent investigation into the killing of Teran, which includes demands for the release of body cam footage. Atlanta Solidarity Fund, an organization that provides financial and legal resources to those arrested during protest, released a statement calling the domestic terrorism charges a “dangerous precedent, designed to stifle public opposition and scare anyone concerned about police militarization and climate change away from protesting.”
The tactics on display are all-too-familiar, according to Lauren Regan, director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center, a nonprofit legal movement organization that is offering legal representation to Atlanta protesters.
“In my 25 years of experience defending activists, it is unfortunately a recurrent type of state repression when a campaign like this one gains momentum and broad public support,” Regan told Motherboard. “We’ve seen this time and time again. Domestic terrorism statutes, false arrests, high bonds, escalated charges—all of these along with police brutality are things on the state repression menu. And you’re seeing all of them in Atlanta right now.”
Local authorities have also made numerous claims that Atlanta’s forest defense movement, commonly known as Defend the Atlanta Forest, has been named by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as “domestic violent extremists.” However, Regan told Motherboard those claims are false.
“We have heard authorities in Atlanta regularly make statements along the line that the [DHS] has classified the forest defense as a terrorist organization or a violent extremist organization,” says Regan. “That’s not true. We have called and DHS does not classify individual groups. We keep seeing lies being made by government officials in order to attempt to justify this outrageous use of rhetoric against not-uncommon property crimes.”
During a bail hearing for those arrested on Jan. 18, bail was denied for four arrestees while two others were granted bond at the unprecedented cost of $355,000 each, along with bail conditions including ankle monitors and curfews, according to members of Atlanta Solidarity Fund who were present for the hearing. On Jan. 25, DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston recused herself from the investigation that would uncover more details about Teran’s death. Body cam footage has still not been released, with officials saying they did not have badge cams during the raid. Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr is now taking the lead in the domestic terrorism cases.
While activity in the forest has waned since Teran’s killing, organizers have been pivoting to other means of resistance along with redoubling efforts taking place outside of encampments. Activists are demanding that prosecutors drop all charges against protesters and authorize an independent investigation of Teran’s murder, and that city officials cancel the lease for Cop City with the Atlanta Police Foundation, and that corporations involved in Cop City divest from the project. They are also calling for continued national and international support, urging people outside of Atlanta to spread awareness and host events in their own communities to prevent what would be the largest police training facility in the U.S.
Mariah Parker, a local organizer and hip-hop artist, says that the Stop Cop City movement brings together multiple spheres of collective struggles being fought around the world.
“There can be no guessing that with this facility, they will be bringing in folks from police departments from across the country, other armed groups, and state agents around the world,” Parker told Motherboard, detailing how Stop Cop City is no longer just an Atlanta issue. “The money and support coming in [for Cop City] is coming from outside of Georgia. The offense is coming from all over the country. The city and police foundation had been mobilizing national forces, and so are we now, because we have to.”
The operator of Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall is being probed by New York's attorney general over the company's use of facial recognition technology to identify and exclude lawyers from events. AG Letitia James' office said the policy may violate civil rights laws.
Because of the policy, lawyers who work for firms involved in litigation against MSG Entertainment Corp. can be denied entry to shows or sporting events, even when they have no direct involvement in any lawsuits against MSG. A lawyer who is subject to MSG's policy may buy a ticket to an event but be unable to get in because the MSG venues use facial recognition to identify them.
In December, attorney Kelly Conlon was denied entry into Radio City Music Hall in New York when she accompanied her daughter's Girl Scout troop to a Rockettes show. Conlon wasn't personally involved in any lawsuits against MSG but is a lawyer for a firm that "has been involved in personal injury litigation against a restaurant venue now under the umbrella of MSG Entertainment," NBC New York reported.
Dell is reportedly buying cloud orchestration company Cloudify for an estimated $100 million to give its own cloud services biz a shot in the arm and appeal more to organizations investing in DevOps.…
A notorious Canadian neo-Nazi was found guilty of promoting hatred toward Jews for an article on an online hate site that promised "non-stop Nazism everywhere.
Gabriel Sohier Chaput, better known online as “Charles Zeiger,” was found guilty in a Montreal court on Monday. Sohier Chaput, 35, under the Zeiger pseudonym published and edited multiple books that have proven to be disturbingly popular among the current wave of neo-Nazis. In addition, under his online pseudonym, Sohier Chaput wrote hundreds of racist screeds on the online neo-Nazi website, The Daily Stormer. He was one of the first influential figures in the far-right to embrace the neo-Nazi terror cell Atomwaffen, a group that has been connected to a series of murders.
The particular article at the heart of Sohier Chaput’s trial was penned in 2017 under an offensive headline. The short article celebrated a church being postered with stickers that reference a neo-Nazi forum that Zeiger was connected to and warned that “2017 will be the year of action."
The Daily Stormer is a cesspool of articles similar to the one focused upon in the Montreal courtroom. The site has long been considered one of the worst neo-Nazi websites online and has a history of directing harassment toward perceived enemies. At the time his identity became public in 2018, Sohier Chaput as “Charles Zeiger” was the site's second most prolific author.
If you have any information regarding neo-Nazi organizing, the Wolves of Vinland, or Active Clubs we would love to hear from you. Please reach out to Mack Lamoureux via email at email@example.com or DM on Twitter at @macklamoureux for Signal or Wire details.
Sohier Chaput was first outed by reporters at the Montreal Gazette. When the warrant for Sohier Chaput’s arrest was initially issued in 2018, he was described to VICE News as “one of the worst of the worst hate propagandists internationally” by Evan Balgord, the executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network.
Chaput never disputed that he wrote the article but he and his lawyer argued that he was being satirical to make a point about freedom of speech. At times his own lawyer described Sohier Chaput as “repugnant” but argued that his writings are protected as free speech. The judge did not agree with this argument.GABRIEL SOHIER CHAPUT SEEN IN 2017. PHOTO VIA THE SPLC.
“In the final analysis, the court does not retain the hodgepodge of explanations provided by Gabriel Sohier Chaput about his writings,” Quebec Court Judge Manlio Del Negro wrote in his decision, according to the Montreal Gazette. “… (Sohier Chaput) intentionally promoted hatred, through the Daily Stormer platform, against people of the Jewish faith.”
“The evidence in this regard is overwhelming. In closing, allow (myself) to make the following observation: the victims (Jews and other groups) of the Holocaust and also the victims of other genocides perpetrated throughout history, as well as their families deserve to be left in peace. The suffering they have been put through is inexpressible and defies the meaning of humanity.”
Michael Mostyn, the CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, the Jewish organisation that filed the complaints to the police which led to Sohier Chaput’s eventual charges, celebrated the decision.
“Sohier Chaput is a coward who behind the veil of the internet thought he could rile up other haters to his disgusting cause,” said Mostyn. “Today’s decision shows that Canadians and our legal system will not accept such harmful, dangerous and genocidal drivel, all of which aim to resurrect the most vile ideology in world history.”
Sohier Chaput has yet to be sentenced. He faces up to two years in prison.
Have you ever had foreplay that was more like threeplay? Twoplay? Oneplay? Maybe you’re getting zero play, so you can’t comment. Maybe you’re worried about how good your own foreplay is. Well, do I have the article for you. As you may have guessed from the title or my hilarious puns, this piece is all about tips, tricks and how to shag before the actual shagging bit – or as it’s known more formally, foreplay.What is foreplay?
Foreplay is exactly what it says on the tin: the stuff you do be-FORE the PLAY. But don’t think everything you do before you hit the sheets counts as foreplay. Having a dump doesn’t count. Eating a cheese sandwich doesn’t count. Unless, of course, that’s the stuff that gets you off. In which case, it is incredible foreplay.
To get down to the nitty gritty, foreplay is the sensual and sexual actions before full-blown sex that gets you and your partner (or partners) in the mood. Think snogs, caresses, spanks and teases. It’s the warm-up before the big event; getting each other hot and bothered so the big bang doesn’t come too quickly. This hinges, primarily, on you and your partner(s) being good at foreplay. Enter: this guide.Tip 1: Use your imagination
I swear this isn’t a redpilled take, so listen up. There is a great case to be made that foreplay – when foreplay refers to everything but sticking it into a hole – is pretty heteronormative. The idea that sex only begins when penetration occurs and that anything prior (blowies, fingering, rimjobs) is “only” foreplay is a toxic way of making those only participating in non-penetrative sex feel lesser. It also heavily implies that the only “right” sex is that of cis willies entering cis fannies.
You can decide what you want foreplay to be. If you want that to include upside-down blowjobs, go right ahead. (This is my friend Beth’s fave foreplay technique, because you can take a dick further down your throat, plus bonus points for pretending to be Spider-Man.) It also means if you have any specific turn-ons, kinks or fetishes, you can class these as foreplay, too. If you find out what you personally find sexy, foreplay can be anything that gets you hot under the collar.Tip 2: Have fun with it
Just like shagging, a huge mistake in foreplay is taking it too seriously. Use this time to work out what’s fun for you or even, what’s a little torturous for you – if you like being teased, that is. Dan, a 26-year-old researcher, tells me about meeting up with a fuckbuddy to exchange long, lingering erotic massages, only fucking when one of them finally “cracked”. By honing in on the “play” element in foreplay, you’re more likely to have a good time. (Like every foreplay expert in this piece, Dan’s speaking anonymously to spill the beans on his sex life.)
Misha, a 31-year-old artist, also emphasises the importance of taking your time to make the most out of the pre-shagging situation. By rushing into the sex, you can miss out on the finer enjoyments of your intimate moments. “Sometimes dressing up is more exciting than stripping down,” they explain. “Wearing sexy things and feeling the clothes and costumes and all that is vastly more erotic than just being naked and getting straight to it.”Tip 3: Mix it up
While having set ways for getting off makes sense, don’t let your traditional methods of spicing it up hold you back. Getting creative means you and your partner might get more flustered than ever before!
Stuck for ideas? Marketing consultant Nat, 32, detailed the following options for making foreplay funner: “I like applying – really friendly, non-intimidating – sensory deprivation things, like eye masks, headphones, etc,” she says. “These can be a nice way to mix things up, prolong a session, or just focus in on one person.”
You might have your own ideas already brewing when it comes to ideas, but if you’re finding it hard to communicate the foreplay you want to try, psychologist and coach Zoe Mallett recommends making the conversation part of the build-up. “Depending on your style of communication you can write down the things you want to try and swap it with your partner/partners,” she suggests. “You can read them in the same room or when you're apart, but this will give the other people involved a starting idea of what you like and what can be a part of your foreplay.”What happens if I just don’t like foreplay?
Interior designer India tells me that foreplay just isn’t her thing, so bear in mind that taking your time before fucking just might not be your cup of tea – and that’s totally valid, too.
“We never do foreplay! My partner just takes his cock out and shows it to me and we get at it… Or if I want to start the sex, I give him a certain look and go to another room, then he quickly follows,” she explains. “I think it will keep evolving, but I love how sincere and honest getting right to it is. I don’t miss foreplay, but I can always ask if I want it and I’ll get it.”
This is, Mallett confirms, completely natural. “If you don’t like foreplay and are happy to not partake in it, that’s fine. It’s your body; you can decide how you want to pleasure it.” Just like India, however, remember to communicate with whoever you’re getting into bed with – don’t just assume they feel the way that you do.Okay, so how can I find out what kind of foreplay I like?
That said, this is a guide about how to do foreplay and not how to get out of it. If you aren’t into it but want to be, Mallett advises relaxing and taking time to assess what you like and don’t like. This doesn’t have to involve hours of meditation and self-reflection. Personally, I recommend checking out different types of (ethical, please) porn to see what turns you on and what doesn’t, and test it out next time you’re getting it on with someone else.
Unsurprisingly, what you want to do in foreplay is just as personal as what you want to do in sex, so this guide can only take you so far. The best advice a gal can give is get out there and give it a bloody go, otherwise you’re never going to know.
The US House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to advance a bill that would create a task force to improve the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system that was at the heart of the nationwide flight grounding earlier this month.…
Microsoft is working on an overhaul of the File Explorer app in Windows 11, according to a report from Windows Central. The new Explorer will allegedly feature redesigned and more touch-friendly navigation, better photo viewing with larger previews, keyword and color tagging for organizing files, and tighter integration with Microsoft 365 and OneDrive.
An internal mock-up of the new interface shows a new "recommended" section of files alongside the existing areas for pinned and recent files, with large previews of various documents and information about where the files are located (OneDrive, SharePoint, and the local Downloads folder are all listed) and information about recent updates to the files. The new look will also come with "more modern code" under the hood.
The report says Microsoft wants to release the new Explorer before the end of the year. It could be part of this year's annual Windows update in the fall, but Microsoft has taken a "whenever they're ready" approach to releasing new Windows features in the Windows 11 era—it could be released at any time, or never.
Ben Crump, famed for being Black America’s lawyer, is ready to take legal action over the Florida Education Department’s decision to block a college-level high school Black history course.
Crump, who’s represented countless Black families in civil suits against government entities, announced his intentions Wednesday during a press conference in Tallahassee. And he says that if this lawsuit moves forward, he won’t be alone in taking the state to court; he’ll be joined by three students who are also frustrated by the state’s decision.
“We are here to give notice to Gov. [Ron] DeSantis that if he does not negotiate with the College Board to allow AP African American studies to be taught in the classrooms across the state of Florida, these three young people will be the lead plaintiffs in a historic lawsuit,” Attorney Ben Crump said during a press conference in Tallahassee Wednesday.
The announcement comes five days after the state’s education department, which is under the leadership of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’, rejected the College Board’s curriculum for African American studies for allegedly being historically inaccurate and violating the state’s laws on what can be taught in classrooms.
DeSantis and the state Department of Education say their decision to reject the curriculum is due to the state’s recent controversial ban on critical race theory, the rightwing boogeyman which includes teaching historical accountability for systemic racism, and LGBTQ history.
“As submitted, the course is a vehicle for a political agenda that leaves large, ambiguous gaps that can be filled with additional ideological material, which we will not allow,” the department stated in a letter about its decision last week. “As Governor DeSantis has stated, our classrooms will be a place for education, not indoctrination.”
While the state is calling the course a form of indoctrination, critics like Crump are calling it DeSantis’ latest effort to stamp out factual accounts of Black history from its schools.
“We remember what Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black history, said:,” Crump said. “If a race has no history, if a race has no worthwhile traditions that are respected and taught to the youth, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world,” Crump said. .”
“Are we going to let Gov. DeSantis, or anybody, exterminate Black History from the classrooms of Florida?”
Since taking office in 2019, DeSantis has had a significant impact on what is taught in Florida’s schools. Both of his major education bills, the so-called Don’t Say Gay bill and the Individual Freedom Act, (which was first widely known as the ‘Stop W.O.K.E.’ Act), passed with support from conservatives in the state legislature last year.
The College Board, a non-profit body that controls the Advanced Placement program across all states, has since announced that it will go back to the drawing board with the program. The Board tempered concerns over the state’s rejection of their African American studies course, saying in a statement last week that “piloting and revising course frameworks is a standard part of any new AP course, and frameworks often change significantly as a result.”
They are set to present their new take on the curriculum on February 1, the first day of Black History Month.
The OnePlus Pad teaser image. That round camera bump looks just like the OnePlus 11's. [credit: OnePlus ]
OnePlus is scheduled to launch the OnePlus 11 smartphone internationally on February 7, but it looks like a big surprise is coming along with that event: OnePlus' first tablet. On the event teaser page for the US, a new banner image features the upcoming phone and earbuds sitting on a big tablet. On the event's Indian page, there's even a new tab for the "OnePlus Pad" and an extra picture.
In the official pictures, we can see a big round camera bump, which looks just like the one on the OnePlus 11. If you zoom in, you can see there's a single camera lens and an LED flash, but cameras aren't that important on tablets. It's also very green. The other picture shows the sides of the tablet, which appear to be flat aluminum. There's even a big, flat oval on the side of the tablet, which usually signifies a side fingerprint sensor.
We have more than OnePlus' teaser images to look at, though. Just before OnePlus posted the official teaser, OnLeaks (aka Steve Hemmerstoffer) and MySmartPrice released renders, and while OnLeaks has a great track record, we don't even have to guess here—these images have already been proven accurate by OnePlus' teaser. The accompanying report says to expect an 11.6-inch display and a metal unibody chassis.
Chipmaker STMicroelectronics appears to be bucking the industry trend by beating analyst expectations and delivering revenues towards the upper end of guidance, driven by demand from the automotive and industrial segments, the company said.…
If former President Donald Trump decides to use his newly reinstated Facebook and Instagram accounts he will be free to post election conspiracy theories and QAnon content without the likelihood of his account being banned again.
Meta announced on Wednesday its controversial decision to allow Trump back onto the company’s platforms, where his various accounts have tens of millions of followers. Meta banned Trump over two years ago for posting a video to his account during the attack on the Capitol where he boosted wild conspiracy theories, praised violent insurrectionists. The video “contribute[d] to rather than diminish[ing] the risk of ongoing violence,” the company said at the time.
In a blog post, Meta’s president of global affairs Nick Clegg said that Trump’s accounts will be reactivated in the coming weeks, but warned that they would come with “with new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.”
But those guardrails won’t be very restrictive.
Trump will be allowed to continue to share the same baseless claims he has been making about the 2020 election being stolen from him for the last two years, the company told CNN.
When it comes to other controversial topics, like casting doubt on the integrity of the 2024 election or sharing QAnon content, Meta says that it will take some action, but it won’t remove the offending posts or restrict Trump’s ability to post new updates.
Instead it “may” limit who can see the posts or share them, and it “may” prevent Trump from using the company’s advertising products to boost those posts—but only if Trump repeatedly breaches these “guardrails.”
The watered-down restrictions Meta has put in place around Trump’s return has angered many activists who point to his track record in the last two years of sharing dangerous disinformation in TV interviews and on his own Truth Social platform.
“This is a man who used Facebook to incite a deadly insurrection against the United States—and whose behavior has only gotten more dangerous in the years since,” Nicole Gill, co-founder of activist group Accountable Tech, told VICE News in an emailed statement.
“Trump has repeatedly used Truth Social to fuel violence, spread election lies, and promote domestic terrorist organizations like QAnon. Free speech doesn’t guarantee the privilege of a Facebook log-in—especially for someone who tried to overthrow the government.” The FBI designated QAnon as a domestic terror organization in 2019.
Trump has promoted QAnon content hundreds of times on Truth Social since he began posting there last summer, and in the week after the 2022 midterm elections, nearly half of his posts on the platform amplified QAnon-promoting accounts or pushed election misinformation, according to analysis by media watchdog group Media Matters.
“Trump has built a tinderbox of civil unrest. Today, Mark Zuckerberg handed him back the match,” Gill said.
Facebook first banned QAnon back in October 2020 after repeated calls from researchers who track the movement. At the time the company labeled QAnon a “militarized social movement.”
Meta told VICE News that its policy on QAnon means that it “removes pages, groups and Instagram accounts that represent QAnon when we identify them and disable the profiles who admin them,” meaning that simply posting QAnon content is not enough to for a regular user to violate the company’s Community Standards.
The company also claimed that its updated protocols for public figures whose accounts have been reinstated, like Trump, mean they face harsher restrictions on QAnon content, though the company will not go so far as removing the offending content.
While Trump has professed his desire to remain on Truth Social, there is little doubt that he will return to Facebook and Instagram as he begins his campaign for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination in earnest; he has just 5 million followers on Truth Social, compared to a combined 57 million followers on Facebook and Instagram.
Trump has also recently had his Twitter account reinstated but he has yet to post a message to his 87 million followers.
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An asteroid about the size of a moving truck is about to pass within 2,200 miles of the Earth’s surface, making it one of the closest approaches of a space rock to our planet ever recorded, according to NASA.
Asteroid 2023 BU, which is estimated to be anywhere from 11.5 to 28 feet long, will swoop over the southern tip of Chile at 7:27 pm EST on Thursday at an altitude that is well below the orbits of many satellites. The asteroid poses no threat to life on Earth; even if it were on a collision course with our planet—which it is not—it would break apart in the atmosphere, leaving only small meteorites to fall to the surface.
Small asteroids skim within several thousand miles of Earth fairly frequently, and they occasionally do impact and leave scattered remains on our planet. These close encounters affect the asteroids far more than the asteroids affect Earth, as our planet’s gravity tends to fling small rocks into new orbits. After its pass later today, asteroid 2023 BU is expected to be catapulted from its roughly circular orbit of 359 days into a new elongated orbit that will extend its year to 425 days.
Though the asteroid is not hazardous, its discovery and rapid characterization is an example of the sophisticated detection network that scientists have developed to defend Earth from dangerous space objects.
Asteroid 2023 BU was spotted on January 21 by Gennadiy Borisov, an amateur astronomer based in Nauchnyi, Crimea who previously achieved widespread recognition when he discovered the first known interstellar comet in 2019, which now bears his name.
In the days following Borisov’s discovery, several observations of the asteroid were reported to Minor Planet Center, a branch of the International Astronomical Union that monitors small space objects, which confirmed the detection. NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) determined that the asteroid would not hit Earth using its “Scout” computer program, which assesses the risk of impacts.
“Scout quickly ruled out 2023 BU as an impactor, but despite the very few observations, it was nonetheless able to predict that the asteroid would make an extraordinarily close approach with Earth,” said Davide Farnocchia, a navigation engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in a statement. “In fact, this is one of the closest approaches by a known near-Earth object ever recorded.”
Meta will restore Donald Trump's access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts "in the coming weeks" but "with new guardrails in place" to prevent real-world harm, the company said in a blog post yesterday.
Facebook suspended Trump "following his praise for people engaged in violence at the Capitol on January 6, 2021," Meta President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg noted in the blog post. "We then referred that decision to the Oversight Board—an expert body established to be an independent check and balance on our decision-making. The Board upheld the decision but criticized the open-ended nature of the suspension and the lack of clear criteria for when and whether suspended accounts will be restored, directing us to review the matter to determine a more proportionate response."
After the board review, Facebook decided to make Trump's suspension last until at least January 7, 2023. "Now that the time period of the suspension has elapsed, the question is not whether we choose to reinstate Mr. Trump's accounts, but whether there remain such extraordinary circumstances that extending the suspension beyond the original two-year period is justified," Clegg wrote yesterday.
A month after the EU decided to stick a probe into semiconductor manufacturer Broadcom's proposed buy of virtualization juggernaut VMware, the UK has said it will do the same.…
The pardon application for federal simple possession cannabis convictions is still “not yet available” on the Department of Justice’s website, more than three months after President Joe Biden announced the pardons as part of one of the most significant shifts in federal cannabis policy in decades.
Biden said in an October 6 proclamation that he would issue the pardons, and encouraged state governors to follow suit. Department of Justice spokesperson Anthony Coley said at the time that the DOJ would “expeditiously administer the President’s proclamation.”
But 112 days later, the pardon application still hasn’t been posted on the department’s website. “We cannot accept applications or issue certificates of pardon until our official procedures have been announced,” the Department of Justice’s FAQ on Biden’s order says. “We will update this page as soon as we have additional information to provide.”
The White House said in October that “thousands” of people who had been convicted of simple weed possession offenses could be “denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result.” No one is currently in federal prison for such offenses.
The cannabis legalization advocacy group NORML issued a statement Wednesday saying that while the organization is “grateful that President Biden recognizes the failure of marijuana prohibition” and for what the administration had done thus far to change weed policy, the lack of an application is still having real world impacts on people who would otherwise be eligible for a pardon.
“While the White House rightfully cites these pardons as a major accomplishment, those who could benefit from them continue to face undue difficulties obtaining employment, housing, education, and other vital services while these pardon certificates remain unavailable,” NORML political director Morgan Fox said in a statement to VICE News. “Many of the people who are eligible for these pardons have been waiting years for relief. They shouldn’t have to wait any longer.”
Neither the Department of Justice nor the White House responded to a request for comment from VICE News asking why the pardon application had been delayed or when it would be published.
Federal simple cannabis possession convictions have been steadily falling for years, after a massive spike during the Obama administration—from 240 in 2008 to 2,172 in 2014, and back down to 145 in 2021, according to a United States Sentencing Commision report published this month.
But the enforcement of cannabis prohibition has long been known to be racially disproportionate. Black people make up 20 percent of Virginia’s population, but made up nearly 60 percent of defendants in cannabis-related cases between July 2021 and June 2022, after a law legalizing possession of up to an ounce went into effect, the Washington Post found in October. The majority of the Virginia cases are for possession by a person under the age of 21 and distribution, according to the Post. Despite legalizing recreational use, Virginia still has not passed a law to regulate the sale of weed.
As part of the October announcement, Biden also said he’d asked Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra to “initiate the process of reviewing how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.” Becerra said in December that his department “would not be the ones who would be proposing [decriminalization], but we certainly would weigh in on any issue involving decriminalization of any controlled substance,” according to Marijuana Moment.
The House passed a bill last year to legalize recreational weed and another to loosen restrictions on banking for the cannabis industry, but the Senate failed to pass either. There is a glimmer of hope for the banking bill, however. House passage of the banking bill last year had the support of a majority of the Republican caucus at the time—including new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who had long opposed the liberalization of cannabis laws.
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Flying premium from San Francisco to Los Angeles, a common trip for some Californians, could generate 101 kilograms of carbon emissions, or perhaps 142 or even 366 kilograms—depending on what source you search online.
The wide range of estimates stems from what some climate experts view as a growing problem, with Google at the center. More people are trying to factor climate change impacts into life choices such as where to vacation or what to eat. Yet scientists are still debating how to accurately estimate the impacts of many activities, including flying or producing meat. While the math gets sorted out, some industries decry emissions estimates as unfair.
Google has led the way among Big Tech companies in trying to inform users about their potential carbon footprint when traveling, heating their homes, and, as of recently, making dinner. But airlines, cattle ranchers, and other industry groups are pushing back, saying Google’s nudges could hurt their sales. They have demanded—successfully, in the case of airlines—that the search giant rethink how it calculates and presents emissions data.
“Somehow, Dead Space returned.”
The thing is, unlike that space dude, everyone has been waiting for Electronic Arts to realize Dead Space never stopped being a viable playground for unsettling stories and novel gameplay. Revisiting the original game 15 years after its original release—a game that truly does feel 15 years old when you actually go back and watch footage from it—is the safest possible play for testing the waters on Dead Space, but that’s fine. Dead Space still rocks.
Look, The Callisto Protocol was well-meaning. Under the right circumstances, such as late in the evening with a beer, it was even good. But The Callisto Protocol tried really hard to be a modern spin on Dead Space, and what it mostly revealed was how good Dead Space still was. EA Motive has applied what amounts to a light touch to updating Dead Space since it came out more than a decade ago, but it looks like Dead Space (now, with much better lighting) and plays like Dead Space (now, with a better map and transit system to use).
You’ll get to hear Rob and I unpack our thoughts on this updated cosmic horror on Waypoint Radio this week, but in the meantime, after playing the finished game for a few hours, we went back and forth over what we make of the formally silent Isaac Clarke speaking in this one, how haunting the atmosphere of barely-audible whispers feels, and why it remains sick as hell to walk around with a floating fan that you’re prepared to launch at an alien’s feet.
Rob: Now this is more like it, don’t you think?
I didn’t play the original Dead Space until 2016, and then it was on a PC port that was so bad that even the tolerance for half-assed PC controls that I built up throughout the late 2000s was tested. Even then, however, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed a game that I remembered getting respectful but not adoring reviews upon its release. The “CUT OFF THEIR LIMBS” combat that created a mechanical justification for an extreme gore-fest was surprisingly fun and the Ishimura was a rotting industrial hell that had aged well as a setting despite being so clearly a product of its era.
You could look at Dead Space and see a game that was shaped by the technical limitations of the time and was also on the cutting edge of the “dark, brown and gray” aesthetic that signaled games were not just for kids anymore, and you certainly weren’t a kid because you loved bleak murkiness now and not the colorful cartoon worlds of Nintendo.
But Dead Space also came by its look honestly and cleverly: as Isaac Clarke, you were an industrial engineer being sent to work aboard the USG Ishimura, a “planet-cracker” mining ship designed to perform strip mining tasks on a cosmic scale. By the time you get there, the crew is mostly dead and turned into blade-armed zombies called necromorphs, and you try and figure out what happened while battling them in the gloom of the now almost-derelict vessel.
The Ishimura had the power and purpose of the Death Star but the look of a rusting industrial heap. Everything about it was slightly colossal in scale and also impersonal, a far cry from the comparatively dazzling, dense interiors of the Van Buren in System Shock 2. It didn’t feel quite so forced and obvious when you stepped into rooms designed for sprawling combat encounters, with plenty of room for Isaac and his hulking adversaries to lumber around one another. Of course things felt sparse and crude aboard the Ishimura.
Times and graphical capabilities have changed, though. This week, we receive a current generation remake of Dead Space and I both love it and keep having moments where I feel like I need to go back to the original game to see if this is an even more revisionist remake than I can recall. For instance… did the soundtrack always sound like such a terrific riff on Goldsmith’s work on Alien? As I play this game, Alien: Isolation is popping into my head more than Callisto Protocol, which is not really a comparison I remember drawing before and I know it seems absurd because this is game where you are blowing monsters apart in rooms that are festooned with entrails and blood spatters in a way that the chillier, eerier Isolation rarely permits.
Yet in this playthrough everything feels so much more haunted. Was I hearing this many voices before, pitched just on the cusp of becoming comprehensible language? We know from early audio logs that members of the crew were, for weeks, being troubled by profound senses of guilt, traumatic flashbacks, and strange voices from their past. But did we know from the start of the original game that Isaac’s family was destroyed by the Scientology-like church that was pursuing its own agenda aboard the Ishimura, dead in a murder-suicide following multiple failed interventions? Did it feel, before, like Isaac might be battling the projected demons that haunted the crew before their deaths?
There is an early moment where you hear this unholy, gong-like pounding echoing down a hallway and this time it nearly made my heart stop the first time I heard it. I trudged around the corner and came into view of a lost medical patient, eerily framed at the end of the hall by blazing cold floodlights, just mindlessly smashing their head into a wall so hard the Ishimura itself seemed to be ringing. And you know, it completely got to me. I stared at this poor bastard, frozen in horror, for a good ten or fifteen seconds. It’s just good horror game haunted house stuff but was it always this good?
Patrick: Brother, it feels so good to spend half my time walking around, slowly and clumsily, with a razor-sharp fan floating in the air again. This place might be cursed, but Rob, I’m home. This is where I’m supposed to be. (Am I a Unitologist now?) Apologies to the crew that has to deal with all the vents I’ve busted up, but this place is doomed anyway, right?
You’re right to look at this take on Dead Space with confused eyes. We both played The Last of Us update from last year, but that was a game from 2013, and the sequel was only a few years ago. Naughty Dog’s coat of polish looks incredible, but they kept the game mostly alone, and instead pulled the magic trick of making the game match your memories. Dead Space…I haven’t touched the original game since it came out in 2008. (Did Dead Space 3 really come out the same here as The Last of Us? They were only a few months apart!)
Like you, I cannot tell where the original Dead Space ends and this new one begins, which is both a function of distance from the original and a compliment to how slick this one feels. I want to be specific about what I mean by slick, too. I’m not suggesting they’ve cleaned up this dirty, dinged-up ship designed to extract resources—if anything, they’ve yucked it up—but to gesture at how much they’ve successfully evoked all the familiar beats, while making the kinds of tweaks (like a better map) that one would hope from a loving update.
A note: my washer and dryer are near my office. Dead Space is a game frequently dishing out unsettling noises, be it the murmurs of a necromorph crawling around the vents or the Ishimura’s busted equipment coming slowly undone. At one point, I couldn’t tell if Dead Space was making a steady drumbeat of industrial noises that were getting under my nerves, or if I was conflating it with a pair of shoes tumbling in the dryer. During one of the game’s brief quiet moments, I told myself that I “needed a glass of water,” which was merely an excuse to take a break from the game, see if anything was in the dryer (there wasn’t), double check all the doors were locked, and “accidentally” leaving a light on in the room next door, while simultaneously “accidentally” leaving my office door open, letting the light leak in.
In other words, Dead Space is accomplishing a difficult task: it’s scaring me all over again, even though I already know what’s going to happen. Movies don’t do that to me. Except, like you said, I’m not sure I do know what’s going to happen. The encounters feel different, but they might not be? The set pieces feel familiar, but they might be a tad different? Does this version of Dead SpaceI have less goofy environmental graffiti, acknowledging how tacky it feels in 2023, but realizing you can’t get rid of it entirely because it’s part of Dead Space? Or is everything the same and I don’t care?
Intentionally or not, it’s playing with memory and nostalgia in a way that I’m finding thrilling.
But you touch on an important note, one that I’m not yet settled on, albeit I’m only a few chapters into the game. (As of this writing, I’m trying to flip the engines back on, to avoid crashing into the nearby planet.) One of the major decisions made for this remake is to give Isaac Clarke a voice. Visceral Games did give Isaac a voice in Dead Space 2—in fact, it’s the same voice actor continuing the role here—but he’s dead silent in the original game. It’s part of the flavor of Dead Space, and I’m not clear the writing justifies the change here yet.
To be clear, the logic is sound. It feels weird to have Isaac, a silent protagonist who also has a clear emotional motivation for survival, to not speak. My problem, instead, is what he’s saying. I don’t remember how much we knew about Isaac’s history with Unitology in 2008, but man, Issac (and the extended crew) sure are handling how badly things are going on this otherwise routine check-up on the Ishimura pretty well. There’s blood all over the walls and the crew have been turned into monsters? Shrug. Your wife has been spending her free time cracking open the guts of these creatures and trying to understand why everyone onboard is going insane? Eh.
In every instance, Isaac is cool as a cucumber—too cool, imo. The only time my man starts losing it is when his oxygen is almost gone. That worked in the original because the character was portrayed as a brick house. I mean, look at how the man stomps boxes! Does the character, as written, feel like the same person? It’s not taking me out of the story, but there’s a disconnect here I can’t square. I almost feel like they should have ripped the bandaid off entirely and re-cast Isaac; they’re missing some…gravitas?
P.S. Is this where I selfishly admit that while I know the thing to say is that the games industry is crass and cynical about cashing in on things like remakes, the deft touch taken to Dead Space and The Last of Us has me wishing more games were given this treatment?
Rob: Oh boy, Talking Isaac… I think the issue is they have kept a lot of the overall content of these conversations roughly the same, except now there are little spaces where Isaac interjects and people make a point of responding before assigning the next mission. Plus, yes, all of this gets weirder the minute Isaac is talking and responding to stuff. Think about the opening. So both versions open with a really disturbing message from Isaac’s girlfriend Nicole, basically on the verge of tears and sounding like she is thinking about hurling herself out the nearest airlock rather than face what’s happening around her. Originally you cut from that to the tech nerd, Daniels, vaguely talking about the message and then ignoring you as she engages in sparring with the mission commander. Now, Daniels and Isaac strikes up a friendly conversation over the message and your relationship.
But the minute the characters interact with each other about that message, it gets really weird that nobody says something like, “So… does it sound like maybe things are a totally fucked up here?” In fact I would say the message in this new version, which is less garbled and more intact, is even more alarming about the state of affairs aboard the Ishimura!
That sense of disconnection never quite goes away here, like Isaac and his team lead Hammon are on a troubleshooting tech support call in between zombie attacks, and I think more than a performance issue it is just a byproduct of the compromise struck between keeping the story and characterizations broadly intact while also giving Isaac the speaking part he had for the rest of the series.
Still, you know what? In looking this up for the purposes of comparison it hit me that this Dead Space remake looks a lot like how I remember the original game… and the original game looked and sounded nothing like I remembered it. It used what it had to great effect, I certainly remember lots of oppressive, stark shadows and flickering lights, but in old gameplay videos it is really rationing a lot of these effects. The game was more flatly lit than I remember, nowhere near as dripping with atmosphere as I would have said.
This new Dead Space? It’s a really special update of the original. It does not feel like quite as complete a revision as Resident Evil 2, but neither does it hew so closely to the original that is risks becoming underwhelming. I hate to sound like a back of the box quote but it earns it: every single compartment and corridor aboard the Ishimura is so dense with detail and menace that every new area becomes a memorable event in itself.
It does all this without, in my experience, compromising performance. I have played this in the quality mode on PS5 and have not regretted that decision one iota. Movement and aiming are smooth, highlighting how good the combat design is in this game. On the other hand, coming from that PC port I have never had it so good, so my bar is on the floor. I know you tend to be a performance mode guy, so I am curious how you find the controls and combat?
Patrick: I know these new consoles have only been out a few years—and it’s only recently that luck and overpaying stopped factoring into acquiring one—but my kingdom for DLSS on these things! I’m playing in performance mode…and it’s fine. I’m being a snob. The Callisto Protocol was super dark and didn’t emphasize lighting the same way Dead Space does, so I did not really notice the change in resolution. Here, there are so many instances where Isaac is close to the screen, and it’s had me wondering if I could stomach the drop in frame rate.
(I suspect I will stick it out, though. The frame rate bug has gotten me good this gen.)
You’ve nailed it when it comes to the Isaac stuff, though. I, too, recoiled when Isaac’s wife left this distraught message on approach to the Ishimura, and Isaac’s response was wishing they spoke more often than every six months. Poor Isaac, how he must long for the gentle whisper of his traumatized wife sharing sweet nothings about a weaponized space religion!
I’m sure it’s a distressing prospect to revisit a modern classic like Dead Space, especially the way the developers went about it, which was to involve the community from day one and be a relatively open book about their process. But I’m not precious about the past, and having played a decent chunk of the game now, I wish they’d taken some bigger swings when it came to the characterization and dialogue. It’s hard to blame the voice actor in this case, so I take that back.
But this is a lot of talk about the story in a game where, most of the time, you’re running in the dark from screaming monstrosities. Lemme tell you a story about an otherwise normal encounter where I goofed picking up a series of objects to throw, and instead of looking cool and blowing up a bunch of necromorphs, I got skewered and died with an animation that, I must admit, is not nearly as cool and ridiculous as anything in The Callisto Protocol. Upon reloading, I prepped for the encounter by aiming my gun where the first enemy came out the last time—and they didn’t appear. Instead, some fucker dropped from the ceiling and started getting me from behind.
Apparently, Dead Space has a reactive “AI director” of sorts that is tracking players, and it’s able to generate different kinds of enemy encounters. It puts an interesting wrinkle into how I typically play these games, where if I grossly misuse resources in combat, I might purposely die and streamline my process the next go around. Here, though, I can’t count on any of that, because the enemy layout, including the loot drops, aren’t static. This friggin’ rules, because it pushes back on the survival horror strategy of optimized survival. I’m only playing on normal, but I’ve been forced to use a lot more health than I normally would in a game like this, because there’s no guarantee that trying a room again will net a better outcome for me.
What does is keep an element of surprise in the familiar. That’s hard.
The one thing that hasn’t changed is my inability to spend upgrade points on anything that isn’t the basic plasma cutter. I’m trying, I really am, and the game is giving me enough ammo that I don’t feel guilty goofing around with the other weapons I’ve come across (the ripper + pulse rifle), butbutbut I can see the heat damage bonus for the plasma cutter is only a few spaces away, and maybe I’ll be able to shake this dedication once I’ve hopped over there.
Dead Space kicked ass in 2018, and this version kicks ass in 2023. It’s spooky, and it feels good to tear apart ugly dudes. What else is there to say? I hope the same team gets a chance to apply this same treatment for Dead Space 2, though perhaps with the confidence to put more of their own bloody stamp on it. And if that’s a problem, screw it—just let them make their own Dead Space, pull some elements from the sequels, and chart a new path.
So long as we don’t forget about the blood moons. We can’t get rid of the blood moons. Surely you’ve read about the blood moons, Rob? Hey, why are you walking away from me? Brother Rob, have you heard the good word about the blood moons!
School's back in session and the hottest topic is ChatGPT. New York University professors are prohibiting the use of the AI tool in the “academic integrity” sections of their syllabuses, and many students were given an explicit warning from professors on the first day of class not to use the bot to cheat on assignments.
The popular chatbot created by OpenAI, which can be used to generate everything from academic essays to news articles, has led many professors and teachers to be alert when it comes to the possibility that an essay has been plagiarized by a bot.
Jenni Quilter, the Executive Director of the Expository Writing Program and the Assistant Vice Dean of General Education in the College of Arts and Sciences at NYU, told Motherboard that professors are worried about their students using ChatGPT to cheat. Quilter said that both individual school departments and the central university have already provided guidelines to professors on how to handle a situation in which ChatGPT is used without permission.
“The situation has already come up—we had instances of students using ChatGPT in December,” Quilter said. “The repercussions for using ChatGPT without acknowledgment are the same as they would be for any case of academic plagiarism, and range from redoing the assignment to grade deductions and a report lodged with the Dean of that student's college.”
David Levene, who is a professor of Classics and the Chair of the Department of Classics at NYU, told Motherboard that he is keeping a close watch for any ChatGPT-related plagiarism.
“I've included an alert that it is banned unless used with my express permission as part of an assignment, and any use of it counts as plagiarism,” Levene said. “I also told [my students] (which is true) that I ran various essay-prompts through ChatGPT, and the essays it came up with were at best B- standard, and at worst a clear F. So (I told them) if they are hoping to get better than B- for the course, they should avoid it like the plague!”
In a class at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, the professor plainly wrote on the syllabus, “Q: Is using ChatGPT or other AI tools that generate text or content considered plagiarism? A: Yes.”
ChatGPT warnings have not just been limited to essay-based classes either. One macroeconomics syllabus that Motherboard saw said, “The time constraint is purposely tight so you will not have enough time to consult your books, ChatGPT, or other sources, and still complete all the questions on the Quiz. …Students may not communicate with anyone (including ChatGPT) during the 24 hours a Quiz is available.” Using ChatGPT to solve math problems may actually backfire as the app has already been proven to fail at even 6th-grade level math.
The NYU professors’ concerns are not completely unfounded. According to a poll conducted by The Stanford Daily, 17 percent of Stanford students used ChatGPT to assist with their fall quarter assignments and exams.
Since the release of the most recent version of ChatGPT in December, school districts and universities across the country have started to transform academic policies and teaching formats to prevent their students from cheating with the tool.
New York City’s education department was one of the first districts to ban student access to ChatGPT on school networks and devices in early January. The New York Times reported that professors are making changes such as requiring handwritten assignments rather than typed ones, and others are trying to incorporate ChatGPT into lessons, such as by evaluating its responses.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman addressed concerns about cheating and plagiarism in an interview with StrictlyVC, saying that teachers should modify their classrooms around new technology. “We're going to try and do some things in the short term. There may be ways we can help teachers be a little more likely to detect output of a GPT-like system. But honestly, a determined person will get around them," he said. “Generative text is something we all need to adapt to.”
People are already developing methods to quickly spot whether something is AI-generated or not. For example, a computer science student at Princeton built GPTZero, an app that attempts to detect whether or not a body of text was human-written or AI-written.
Turnitin, a plagiarism detection service through which students can submit writing assignments, announced that starting in 2023, it would begin incorporating a new tool that can detect AI-assisted and ChatGPT-generated writing. “It is important to recognize that the presence of AI writing capabilities does not signal the end of original thought or expression if educators set the right parameters and expectations for its use,” the company wrote in a press release. “We encourage you to have these discussions at your institution now and set achievable standards and expectations for your students around the acceptable use of AI-assisted writing tools.”
People love otters, wolves, and deer. Respectively, they’re crafty, intelligent, and majestic. Put them all together on an island, though, and things get unpleasant pretty quickly. These are the findings of a new paper analyzing how a wolf population came to Pleasant Island in Alaska, learned to hunt otters, and, using this unexpected food source, thrived to the point of wiping out the native Sitka black-tailed deer population.
“To the best of our knowledge, the deer population is decimated. We haven't found evidence of deer recolonizing the islands,” Gretchen Roffler, wildlife research biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and an author of the paper, told Ars.Deer diary
The deer have been on Pleasant Island for a long time. The sea otters had also been in the waters off the coast of Alaska until the fur trade killed most of them off by the late 1800s or early 1900s, Roffler said. However, the otters were declared an endangered species, and a population was reintroduced to the area in the 1960s. In the 1980s, they moved into the waters near Pleasant Island and continued to propagate.
Memory safety, a longstanding concern among serious software developers, has finally met with mainstream stardom.…