US Census, personal data, confidentiality, privacy
The author writes, “Census Bureau statisticians disclosed at a virtual conference last week that over the next three years they will work toward developing a method to create ‘synthetic data’ for files on individuals and homes that already are devoid of personalized information. ... Census Bureau statisticians said more privacy protections are needed as technological innovations magnify the threat of people being identified through their survey answers, which are confidential.” Photo credit: MBK (Marjie) / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Another Victim of the Floyd Killing: The Right to Protest ; How the ‘Culture War’ Could Break Democracy ; and More Picks 5/28

PICKS are stories from many sources, selected by our editors or recommended by our readers because they are important, surprising, troubling, enlightening, inspiring, or amusing. They appear on our site and in our daily newsletter. Please send suggested articles, videos, podcasts, etc. to

Another Victim of the Floyd Killing: The Right to Protest (Reader Steve)

From the Los Angeles Times: “On a night in mid-December 1773, a group of about 60 men who had disguised themselves as Native Americans boarded three merchant ships at a Boston wharf and dumped dozens of chests of imported tea into the cold dark waters — an act of civil disobedience that damaged private property in protest against government tax policies. Conservatives these days hail that moment; in fact, a faction on the right a few years ago co-opted the name Tea Party as its own. Yet conservative state legislators across the country have been behaving less like the revolutionary rebels for whom they express admiration and more like British colonial overlords by introducing, and in some states passing, dozens of laws aimed at curtailing the fundamental right to public protest.”

How Five People in Minneapolis Experienced the Cataclysm of George Floyd’s Killing — and What They Did Next. (Dan)

From Sahan Journal: “After the murder of George Floyd, many people took to the streets and called for dramatic changes to a racist police system. We talked to five people about how their lives unfolded in the months that followed. Some changed jobs, some got sick, some kept going to George Floyd Square. Here are their reflections on a most consequential year.”

How the ‘Culture War’ Could Break Democracy (Sean)

The author writes, “Thirty years ago, sociologist James Davison Hunter popularized the concept of culture war. Today, he sees a culture war that’s gotten worse — and that spells trouble for the future of the American experiment.”

US Denounces Syrian Presidential Election (Nick)

The author writes, “The U.S. State Department has denounced Syria’s presidential election on Tuesday as neither ‘free nor fair’ one day before voters are set to head to the polls across the beleaguered nation. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in concert with foreign ministers of the U.K., Italy, Germany and France, said in a statement that Wednesday’s Syrian elections were deemed ‘fraudulent’ because they were being held outside of UN supervision.”

Why Amazon Is Paying Nearly $9 Billion for MGM and James Bond (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “Big tech companies have been eyeing big media companies for years — but they’ve never gotten together before. Now it’s finally, probably happening: Amazon is getting ready to pay $9 billion for MGM Holdings, the Hollywood studio that brings you James Bond and a smattering of other stuff, like the Pink Panther movies and The Handmaid’s Tale TV show. Which leads to some questions. Why now? Why Amazon? Why MGM? And, just as important: Will regulators let it happen? Short answers here: The media world is consolidating and there aren’t many targets left for a would-be acquirer.” 

The 60-Year-Old Scientific Screwup That Helped COVID Kill (Dana)

From Wired: “All pandemic long, scientists brawled over how the virus spreads. Droplets! No, aerosols! At the heart of the fight was a teensy error with huge consequences.”


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