facial recognition, ethics, regulation, effectiveness
The author writes, “The arrests and charges in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill insurrection made clear the power of facial recognition, even as efforts to restrict the technology are growing. With dozens of companies selling the ability to identify people from pictures of their faces — and no clear federal regulation governing the process — facial recognition is seeping into the US, raising major questions about ethics and effectiveness.” Photo credit: Pxhere

Hundreds of Meatpacking Workers Died From COVID-19 ; Homicide Cases in Texas Are Going Unsolved; and More Picks 2/16

After Hundreds of Meatpacking Workers Died From COVID-19, Congress Wants Answers (Reader Steve)

From ProPublica: “A key congressional panel launched an investigation … into the wave of COVID-19 infections that killed hundreds of workers at meatpacking plants nationwide last year and highlighted longstanding hazards in the industry. Since the start of the pandemic, the meat industry has struggled to contain the virus in its facilities, and plants in Iowa, South Dakota and Kansas have endured some of the biggest workplace outbreaks in the country. The meat companies’ employees, many of them immigrants and refugees, slice pig bellies or cut up chicken carcasses in close quarters. Many of them don’t speak English and aren’t granted paid sick leave. To date, more than 50,000 meatpacking workers have been infected and at least 250 have died, according to a ProPublica tally.”

Homicide Cases in Texas Are Going Unsolved, Leaving Serial Killers Free to Murder Again (Dana)

From the Texas Observer: “The backlog of cold murder cases keeps growing nationwide because police departments, including in Dallas, are solving a lower percentage of homicide cases than ever before, according to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In prior decades, police in urban centers often solved as much as 70 percent of murder cases, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports. But by the 2000s, many metro departments regularly solved, or ‘cleared,’ 60 percent or less of cases. Clearance rates refer to the numbers of cases cleared by arrests, deaths of suspects, or other means compared with the total number of murders reported in the same calendar year. Homicide clearance rates have continued to fall in the 2010s.”

COVID-19 Lockdowns Temporarily Raised Global Temperatures (Mili)

The author writes, “The lockdowns and reduced societal activity related to the COVID-19 pandemic affected emissions of pollutants in ways that slightly warmed the planet for several months last year, according to new research. The counterintuitive finding highlights the influence of airborne particles, or aerosols, that block incoming sunlight.”

New Zealand Maori Leader Ejected From Parliament for Refusing to Wear ‘Colonial Noose’ (Dan)

The author writes, “A New Zealand Maori leader who was ejected from parliament this week for refusing to wear a necktie in the chamber said forcing him to a Western dress code was a breach of his rights and an attempt to suppress indigenous culture.”

Dante’s Descendant Wants to Overturn the Poet’s 1302 Corruption Conviction (Dana)

The author writes, “Seven hundred years [after he was sentenced], one of Dante’s descendants — astrophysicist Sperello di Serego Alighieri — is pushing to have the poet pardoned. As Marco Gasperetti reports for Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Alighieri and Florentine law professor Alessandro Traversi are planning to host a May conference that will examine whether Dante’s conviction can be overturned. Italian penal code states that court judgments are subject to revision if new evidence of innocence is presented, regardless of how much time has passed since the original conviction.”


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