Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have donated a total of $1 million to a campaign attempting to get Initiative 594 passed in Washington State.
Initiative 594 is a “universal background check” initiative that would require background checks on private gun sales. Currently in Washington State, as in most states in the country, no background check is required when a gun transaction occurs between two individuals.
The donation was made to The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a group that is seeking to campaign heavily in order to see the initiative pass.
So far, the group has raised just over $6 million, with the majority of donations being made by multi-millionaires and billionaires including Bill and Melinda Gates, Microsoft’s former CEO Steve Balmer (who just bought the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion), entrepreneur Nick Hanauer, Seattle multi-millionaire Ann P. Wyckoff, Microsoft’s former president Jon Shirley and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Michael Bloomberg also indirectly donated $30,000 through his Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization. Those individuals account for $3.61 million in donations to the campaign according to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission. Only $54,392.19 of the group’s donations are considered ...
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Fortunately all of America's problems appear to be solved, and the government is swimming in cash, because a million federal dollars have been poured into what the Washington Free Beacon describes as "an online database that will track 'misinformation' and hate speech on Twitter."
The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” and what it considers “false and misleading ideas,” with a major focus on political activity online.
The “Truthy” database, created by researchers at Indiana University, is designed to “detect political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution.”
The university has received $919,917 so far for the project.
“The project stands to benefit both the research community and the public significantly,” the grant states. “Our data will be made available via [application programming interfaces] APIs and include information on meme propagation networks, statistical data, and relevant user and content features.”
“The open-source platform we develop will be made publicly available and will be extensible to ever more research areas as a greater preponderance of human activities are replicated online,” it continues. “Additionally, we will create a web service open to the public for monitoring trends, bursts, and suspicious memes.”
“This service could mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate,” the grant said.
Worried that this system might be corrupted into a partisan political tool? Why, that's as silly as worrying that someone might turn a unit of the Internal Revenue Service into a partisan voter-suppression hit machine! You'll be relieved to know that the project's lead investigator is a scrupulously fair-minded and non-partisan fellow who supports "President
Barack Obama's Organizing for Action, MoveOn.org, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Amnesty International, and True Majority."
The government-funded researchers hope that the public will use their tool in the future to report on other Twitter users.
“Truthy uses a sophisticated combination of ...
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
More Epic Fail: