internet freedom, coronavirus crisis, digital surveillance
The author writes, “Governments around the world have seized on the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to expand digital surveillance and harvest more data on their citizens, according to a report out Wednesday from Freedom House, a democracy and human rights research group. Privacy advocates have warned since early in the pandemic that the tech behind efforts to conduct contact tracing and enforce quarantines and other public safety protocols could be abused and made permanent.” Photo credit: The National Guard / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Strangest Election Scenario Runs Through Georgia ; Scientists Hope to Make Contact With Parallel Universe in Days ; and More Picks 10/15

The Strangest Election Scenario Runs Through Georgia (Dan)

From Wired: “Election officials, journalists, and even Facebook have been busy preparing Americans for the likelihood of having to wait days or weeks after November 3 to know who won the presidency. Remarkably, the fate of another branch of government could take even longer to be settled. There’s a small but real possibility that the country won’t know which party controls the Senate until January. The reason? Georgia.”

Police in California Disproportionately Cite Black People for Minor Infractions (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Police in Los Angeles and other major cities across California issue citations to Black residents for minor infractions such as loitering, drinking in public and sleeping on the street at far higher rates than white residents, according to a new study. … In L.A., Black residents — who represent less than 10% of the city’s population and about 38% of its homeless population — were 3.8 times more likely than white residents to be cited for a non-traffic infraction, receiving 30% of all citations issued by the Los Angeles Police Department between 2017 and 2019, the study found.”

Germany to Provide Coronavirus Relief Aid to Holocaust Survivors (Dana)

From Deutsche Welle: “Germany has agreed to pay more than $662 million in aid to Holocaust survivors struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, the Claims Conference, an organization that negotiates compensation for Holocaust victims with the German government, said Wednesday. The aid is intended for the poorest Holocaust survivors, who will receive two payments of $1,400 over the next two years. … The Claims Conference estimates that approximately 240,000 survivors will be eligible for the payments, with most of the recipients residing in Israel, North America, the former Soviet Union, and Western Europe.”

New Super-Enzyme Eats Plastic Bottles Six Times Faster (Dana)

The author writes, “The super-enzyme, derived from bacteria that naturally evolved the ability to eat plastic, enables the full recycling of the bottles. … Plastic pollution has contaminated the whole planet, from the Arctic to the deepest oceans, and people are now known to consume and breathe microplastic particles. It is currently very difficult to break down plastic bottles into their chemical constituents in order to make new ones from old, meaning more new plastic is being created from oil each year.

Scientists at Large Hadron Collider Hope to Make Contact With Parallel Universe in Days (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “The staggeringly complex LHC ‘atom smasher’ at the CERN centre in Geneva, Switzerland, will be fired up to its highest energy levels ever in a bid to detect — or even create — miniature black holes. If successful a completely new universe will be revealed — rewriting not only the physics books but the philosophy books too. It is even possible that gravity from our own universe may ‘leak’ into this parallel universe, scientists at the LHC say.”

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