Content Published on: 2022-12-02 00:59:40
Parler grew as a social platform for conservative and far-right voices as a “free speech” alternative to Twitter. It was temporarily taken offline by Amazon Web Services and removed from the App Store and Google Play after being used as a place to plan and coordinate the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
Parler is owned by George Farmer, the husband of Candace Owens and a far-right media influencer. Owens appeared alongside Ye in “White Lives Matter” shirts at the Yeezy fashion show during Paris Fashion Week in September, sparking a backlash.
Ye then started tweeting erratically, culminating with him saying he was going “death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE.” His Twitter account was suspended for this, but later reinstated under the ownership of Elon Musk. Ye has made increasingly antisemitic comments publicly, which prompted businesses like Adidas to terminate their relationships with him.
On Thursday, Ye appeared on Alex Jones’s show Infowars wearing a black mask. During his appearance, alongside white nationalist Nick Fuentes, Ye made a series of explicitly antisemitic comments that seemed to shock even Jones. He discussed his and Fuentes’s controversial recent dinner with Donald Trump and said, “There’s a lot of things I love about Hitler.”
Content Published on: 2022-12-02 05:53:10
Tech billionaire Elon Musk said his Neuralink company is seeking permission to test its brain implant in people soon.
In a “show and tell” presentation livestreamed Wednesday night, Musk said his team is in the process of asking U.S. regulators to allow them to test the device. He said he thinks the company should be able to put the implant in a human brain as part of a clinical trial in about six months, though that timeline is far from certain.
Musk’s Neuralink is one of many groups working on linking brains to computers, efforts aimed at helping treat brain disorders, overcoming brain injuries and other applications.
The field dates back to the 1960s, said Rajesh Rao, co-director of the Center for Neurotechnology at the University of Washington. “But it really took off in the 90s. And more recently we’ve seen lots of advances, especially in the area of communication brain computer interfaces.”
Rao, who watched Musk’s presentation online, said he doesn’t think Neuralink is ahead of the pack in terms of brain-computer interface achievements. “But … they are quite ahead in terms of the actual hardware in the devices,” he said.
The Neuralink device is about the size of a large coin and is designed to be implanted in the skull, with ultra-thin wires going directly into the brain. Musk said the first two applications in people would be restoring vision and helping people with little or no ability to operate their muscles rapidly use digital devices.
He said he also envisions that in someone with a broken neck, signals from the brain could be bridged to Neuralink devices in the spinal cord.
“We’re confident there are no physical limitations to enabling full body functionality,” said Musk, who recently took over Twitter and is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX.
In experiments by other teams, implanted sensors have let paralyzed people use brain signals to operate computers and move robotic arms. In a 2018 study in the journal PLOS ONE, three participants with paralysis below the neck affecting all of their limbs used an experimental brain-computer interface being tested by the consortium BrainGate. The interface records neural activity from a small sensor in the brain to navigate things like email and apps.
A r ecent study in the journal Nature, by scientists at the Swiss research center NeuroRestore, identified a type of neuron activated by electrical stimulation of the spinal cord, allowing nine patients with chronic spinal cord injury to walk again.
Researchers have also been working on brain and machine interfaces for restoring vision. Rao said some companies have developed retinal implants, but Musk’s announcement suggested his team would use signals directly targeting the brain’s visual cortex, an approach that some academic groups are also pursuing, “with limited success.”
Neuralink spokespeople did not immediately respond to an email to the press office. Dr. Jaimie Henderson, a neurosurgery professor at Stanford University who is an adviser for Neuralink, said one way Neuralink is different than some other devices is that it has the ability to reach into deeper layers of the brain. But he added: “There are lots of different systems that have lots of different advantages.”
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
Content Published on: 2022-12-02 00:12:00
It’s not unusual to see packages of bread, crackers, cereals or pasta with a stamp on the front, touting in large letters that they are whole grain. In reality, they may not have much real whole grain in them, a new study suggests.
An analysis of two decades of data on Americans’ diets revealed that people are increasingly choosing whole grain foods, but we’re still not eating enough in our daily diets, Tufts University researchers reported in a study published Wednesday in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
At least half of the grains consumed daily should be whole grains, according to the USDA’s recommendations.
Part of the problem is, people can’t always tell which foods contain a healthier amount of whole grains, previous research has found. That’s likely because — between the Food and Drug Administration, the food industry and research groups and health associations — there are differing definitions of what constitutes a whole grain product, the Tufts researchers noted.
The label on a food item just tells consumers that, by the Whole Grain Council’s definition, each serving has at least 8 grams of whole grain, said study co-author Dr. Fang Fang Zhang, interim chair of the division of nutritional epidemiology and data science at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston. The Whole Grain Council is an industry-sponsored group that “stamps” labels on food packaging.
However, the 8 grams might be only a small percentage of the whole serving and the product might also have a lot of added sugars, Zhang said.
For the FDA to label a food whole grain, 51% of the total weight must be whole grain; the research group Cereals and Grains Association requires 8 grams of whole grain for every 30 grams of a food item; and the American Heart Association calculates the ratio of carbohydrates to fiber in defining a whole grain food.
“Consumers need to be careful when they go shopping for whole grain foods,” said Zhang. “They need to look at the back of the package to check the nutrition facts and to determine whether whole grains are at the top of the ingredient list.
What’s important is the percentage of the total grain in the food that is actually whole grain, Zhang said. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans identifies whole grain foods as those containing 50% or more by weight of the grain- or flour-containing component as whole grain ingredients.
Whole grain foods contain three kernel components.
Consuming whole grain foods is important because they have been linked with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer and heart disease, Zhang said. “If we can continuously improve whole grain consumption in the population, the benefit would be a reduced disease burden,” she added. “And that could save a lot of money on health care.”
To take a closer look at trends in whole grain food consumption, Zhang and her colleagues turned to dietary data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between the years 2003 and 2018. NHANES asks participants to list all foods consumed in a 24-hour period.
For their analysis, Zhang and her colleagues focused on data from 39,755 U.S. adults aged 20 and older. Overall, the amount of whole grain foods consumed increased during the study period.
The only way to know whether a product really is whole grain is to look at the ingredient list, Zhang said.
If a whole grain is at the top, that means the product really can be called whole grain, she said.
The issues addressed in the study need to be more widely known, said Jennifer Cholewka, a metabolic support dietician at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
“People are trying to make healthy choices and in today’s market there are a lot of health buzz words out there,” said Cholewka, who was not involved with the new research.
For example, when a product is described as being made with whole grains, that doesn’t mean it’s 100% whole grains, Cholewka said. “What I tell my patients is to look at the nutrition label and the ingredient list.”
Whole grain foods include:
There are a lot of sources of whole grains that people might not immediately think of, such as popcorn, quinoa, barley and farro, Cholewka said,
Nutritionist Samaneh Farsijani said it was a carefully done study.
“I think it’s a great study, especially since they used the NHANES data,” said Farsijani, an assistant professor in the department of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburg School of Public Health. “The 24-hour food recall is one of the best in terms of precisely assessing food intake.”
Farsijani recommended the USDA Dietary Guidelines’ “MyPlate” explainer as the best way to know how much whole grain needs to be consumed each day.
Linda Carroll is a regular health contributor to NBC News and Reuters Health. She is coauthor of “The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic” and “Out of the Clouds: The Unlikely Horseman and the Unwanted Colt Who Conquered the Sport of Kings.”
Content Published on: 2022-12-01 23:16:07
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Content Published on: 2022-12-01 23:48:07
European Union official Thierry Breton wasted little time before warning Elon Musk, then the new owner of Twitter, that he would be closely scrutinized by EU regulators.
Musk tweeted on Oct. 27, the day he acquired the social media platform, that “the bird is freed” — an indication that he intended to loosen Twitter’s content screening policies. Breton tweeted back the very next day: “In Europe, the bird will fly by our rules.”
Musk would be well-advised to take Breton at his word. The European Union has implemented and enacted rules governing online content much stricter than anything in place in the U.S. The EU also has policies on employment rights that are distinctly more worker-friendly than Musk’s companies have had to comply with here.
There is still huge work ahead.
— EU official Thierry Breton warns Elon Musk that Twitter must comply with its rules
In at least one case, Twitter has been forced to rescind the firing of a European executive because her termination notice didn’t comply with EU standards.
In many respects, Musk has imposed changes on Twitter that are likely to run afoul of EU policies aimed at social media and other companies in the digital space. His hasty firings of as much as half the platform’s workforce reportedly eviscerated its content moderation teams, affecting a responsibility the EU takes very seriously.
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The two most important EU rules relevant to Twitter are its General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which was enacted in 2018, and its Digital Services Act, or DSA, which was enacted this year and goes fully into effect no later than January 2024.
Violations of EU rules could result in Twitter being banned from the European market or facing stiff financial penalties. Although Twitter’s user base is not the largest among social media platforms in Europe, its EU users, taken together, rank as the platform’s third-highest user base in the world, after the U.S. and Japan.
The GDPR imposes stringent standards on the protection and use of personal information that users transmit to businesses. That includes names, email addresses, credit card information, and race, ethnic background, political and religious beliefs and genetic and biometric data.
As recently as Nov. 28, EU regulators imposed a $275-million penalty on Meta Platforms, the parent of Facebook, for a 2021 data breach that allowed personal data of 530 million Facebook users to leak online.
The DSA is more comprehensive. It requires online companies to meet strict standards governing the screening and removal of illegal or misleading content. The companies have to make periodic disclosures of how they moderate content and how they train and support content moderation personnel.
Advertising on social media is also strictly regulated, with targeting based on certain protected categories and deceptive ad formats barred.
Companies designated Very Large Online Platforms, a category that almost certainly includes Twitter, will face even more scrutiny.
They will be subject to regular independent audits of their policies and actions to “mitigate against risks such as disinformation or election manipulation, cyber violence against women, or harms to minors online,” among other issues, the EU says.
Violations could lead to sanctions including bans from the European market and fines of up to 6% of a company’s global revenues.
Even before Musk took over Twitter, his impetuous policy-making raised the hackles of EU officials in Brussels, the EU headquarters, and Ireland, which is the EU’s lead regulator for Twitter because of the company’s nominal European seat in that country.
As early as late April, Breton, the EU’s commissioner for the internal market and a key regulator of digital activities, warned that the company would have to meet EU-imposed “obligations, including moderation, open algorithms, freedom of speech, transparency in rules, [and] obligations to comply with our own rules for hate speech, revenge porn [and] harassment,” the Financial Times reported.
Breton followed up Wednesday in a video call with Musk. In a readout of the call he published early Thursday, he was tactful but uncompromising about Twitter’s responsibilities under the law.
Breton said he was “pleased to hear” that Musk considered the DSA “a sensible approach to implement on a worldwide basis.” But he warned, “there is still huge work ahead, as Twitter will have to implement transparent user policies, significantly reinforce content moderation and protect freedom of speech, tackle disinformation with resolve, and limit targeted advertising.”
Some practices and policies Musk has already implemented would violate the act’s specifications, as Breton laid them out. Online platforms will have to “reinforce content moderation” — that is, the ability to screen out hateful and abusive content, misinformation and disinformation.
Platforms will have to “label hoaxes and disinformation in cooperation with fact-checkers,” Breton said. As recently as Nov. 23, Twitter announced that it would no longer enforce a COVID misinformation policy it has had in place in some form since April 2020. That would appear to breach the EU rule on fact-checking.
Under the old policy, Twitter was committed to removing posts that promoted ineffective or harmful treatments for COVID, such as ingesting bleach or taking medicines such as ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine, question the safety or efficacy of COVID vaccines or cast doubt on such practices as masking and social distancing.
As of September 2022, Twitter had said, it had suspended more than 11,000 accounts and removed nearly 98,000 tweets for violating the policy. Neither Musk nor Twitter has explained why the policy was dropped.
Breton also said that content moderation policies will have to be “applied consistently and based on objective criteria [e.g. not via a poll].”
It’s hard to imagine a more direct shot at Musk. He staged a user poll on Twitter on whether to restore the account of former President Trump, whose Twitter access was revoked after he posted tweets interpreted as inciting more violence after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. Musk restored Trump’s access on Nov. 18 after the informal poll reputedly showed that users favored the action.
On Nov. 24, Musk announced that he would restore most banned accounts after a user poll reputedly endorsed a “general amnesty.”
Before then, Musk had personally ordered some banned right-wing accounts restored, including the account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a veritable geyser of misinformation and noxious rhetoric. Greene promptly used her restored account to hurl a homophobic slur at California State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who is gay, calling him a “communist groomer.”
Musk may already be skating on thin ice with EU regulators. The widespread firings after his takeover and the resignations of key personnel raised questions among Irish regulators about whether Twitter should still be regarded as having Ireland as its European domicile.
The designation made Irish regulatory agencies Twitter’s “one-stop-shop” for EU regulatory issues. If the company loses that designation, it would be subject to oversight by all 27 EU member countries, creating a regulatory morass that would be exceptionally complex and costly.
Musk learned the hard way that scattershot employment practices don’t fly in Europe. In mid-November, the Irish High Court blocked the firing of Sinéad McSweeney, Twitter’s Dublin-based global vice president for public policy.
McSweeney asserted that she had been locked out of Twitter’s technical systems and her Dublin office after she failed to respond to Musk’s Nov. 16 all-hands email ordering all workers to either agree to continuing in an “extremely hardcore” work environment or accept three months of severance.
She said she didn’t respond because the offered severance package didn’t meet her contractual rights. Although she had not resigned, she said, she was treated as if she was no longer employed by Twitter.
The Irish court enjoined Twitter from firing McSweeney, and further blocked the company from indicating to any third party that her employment status had changed.
How Musk’s relations with European regulators will unfold is impossible to predict. A statement posted Nov. 30 on Twitter’s corporate blog asserted that its moderation policies had not changed. The platform’s rescinding of its COVID misinformation policy, as well as language in the statement itself, demonstrated that the promise was false.
According to the statement, its “approach to policy enforcement will rely more heavily on de-amplification of violative content: freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach.”
That suggests that questionable or harmful content will be permitted on the platform, perhaps under conditions that make it harder to find. But such a policy is materially different from Twitter’s prior efforts to actively or proactively block such content. Whether it would comply with the EU’s requirement that online platforms “reinforce content moderation” is doubtful.
American regulators have been overly tolerant of Musk and his tendency to push the envelope on rules. Whether the Securities and Exchange Commission will penalize him for his alleged breaking of the law by failing to disclose his first purchases of Twitter stock this year remains up in the air.
Automobile regulators in California have been inexcusably indulgent toward the autonomous driving system rollouts at Tesla, the electric vehicle company Musk controls, by consistently failing to hold Tesla to the same standards for self-driving technology as it does other robot car developers.
Unlike competitors such as Waymo, Cruise, Argo and Zoox, Tesla allows its program to be tested on public roads by untrained drivers, an obvious hazard to other motorists and pedestrians.
In March 2020, Tesla’s Fremont, Calif., factory continued operating despite an order from Alameda County authorities that it be shut down in compliance with anti-pandemic policies. There were no legal consequences: The county backed down, allowing the Fremont plant to continue operating. The plant emerged as a local hotspot for COVID infections, with more than 400 cases recorded between May and December 2020 among its 10,000 workers.
Will the EU be as indulgent? Probably not. Speculation in Europe holds that the EU intends to make Twitter a test case for its content moderation rules, suggesting that it won’t back down if it expects its rules to have any credibility. He won’t have the flexibility he has in the U.S. to choose which regulations he wishes to honor.
The EU should show other regulators, in the U.S. and abroad, that the way to curb Musk’s willfulness is to stand fast and make him pay for flouting their rules. That approach is long overdue.
Content Published on: 2022-12-01 21:32:43
Billy Porter was a vision in white as he was honored with a plaque on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday, which also commemorated World AIDS Day.
Addressing the crowd assembled steps from Los Angeles’ Pantages Theatre, the Emmy, Grammy and two-time Tony Award winner spoke of the “gratitude” he has — not only for the special honor but for all he’s endured throughout his life.
“I’m just so blessed and so grateful to be here,” Porter, 53, said, fighting back tears.
“James Baldwin said ‘it’s an artist’s job to disturb the peace,’ and as you all know, I take my job very seriously,” he quipped.
Before Hollywood Chamber of Commerce chair Lupita Sanchez Cornejo dedicated the 2,741st star on the landmark attraction and declared “Billy Porter Day” in the city, the “Pose” star’s sister Mary Martha Ford took over the dais to recognize World AIDS Day.
“I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge those that have passed on, those that are currently living with HIV and AIDS and those that are standing on the frontlines, continuing to advocate for the basic civil rights, access to care and elimination of disparities that the community continues to face with this epidemic,” she said, as Porter – who revealed he is HIV positive in 2021 – shouted to the crowd, “that’s my sister” in the background.
Porter, himself, shared how while he’s thankful to his allies, he’s “far more grateful” for his haters.
“I’m grateful for my successes , and I’m far more grateful for my perceived failures,” the “Kinky Boots” star continued.
“And in honor of this World AIDS Day, I’m grateful to stand in front of the world as an out, loud and proud representation of what being Black, queer and HIV positive looks like in 2022.”
Content Published on: 2022-12-02 00:13:41
The rapper formerly known as Kanye West will no longer be acquiring Parler, the alternative social media platform favored by conservatives including some far-right extremists, the company announced on Thursday. West has legally changed his name to Ye.
The decision to abandon the deal was mutual, Parler tweeted.
In a statement, Parler’s parent, Parlement Technologies, said it “has mutually agreed with Ye to terminate the intent of sale of Parler. This decision was made in the interest of both parties in mid-November. Parler will continue to pursue future opportunities for growth and the evolution of the platform for our vibrant community.”
CNN has reached out to a representative for Ye for comment.
Ye’s ongoing business difficulties were a factor in the mutual decision, a person familiar with the matter told CNN.
In recent weeks, Ye has seen a number of lucrative business deals evaporate over his antisemitic remarks. In October, sportswear maker Adidas said it had ended its partnership with Ye. Other partnerships, including with Gap and Balenciaga, have also ended. And earlier this week, Ye claimed on a right-wing podcast that the Internal Revenue Service has frozen several of his accounts over an unpaid tax bill worth $50 million.
Ye’s intent to purchase Parler was first announced in October.
Content Published on: 2022-12-01 23:45:32
A plan to release “thousands” of prisoners was considered during the Covid-19 lockdown, according to Matt Hancock’s diaries.
The details, first reported by the Daily Mail which is serialising the former health secretary’s journals, come as Hancock returns to Westminster after his stint on ITV’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!
The former health secretary, who was one of the key figures in government as the country navigated the pandemic, reveals in his diaries that the ministry of justice proposed to release prisoners amid concerns about the spread of the virus.
In a diary entry on 17 March, he wrote: “A bonkers proposal from the Ministry of Justice to let prisoners out, as they’d be easier to manage if they’re not in prison.
“Yes, really: they actually thought this might be a goer. I was emphasising [my opposition] so hard that all of a sudden my chair could take the strain no longer and ripped, tipping me unceremoniously on to the floor.”’
Later, on 3 April, he wrote: “Officials are still insisting that justice secretary Rob Buckland wants to release thousands of non-violent prisoners to take the pressure off the system. I keep writing ‘NO’ in large letters on submissions asking me to sign this off.
“It’s obvious the public won’t wear it, yet the idea keeps going back and forth on paper.
“After about the third iteration, I called Rob Buckland, who to my astonishment told me he’d been advised that I was the one who wanted to release them.
“Unfortunately, this still wasn’t the end of the matter. Clearly someone in Whitehall still thought it was a good idea and kept pushing it, to the point that the PM asked to talk to us both. I made my views crystal clear.
“We cannot lock up literally everyone in the country except prisoners, who we instead release, I spluttered.”
A ministry of justice spokesperson said: “HMPPS moved to protect the NHS during the pandemic through the limited release of a very small number of low-level, tagged and risk-assessed prisoners just weeks before they were due to leave prison anyway.
“This was successful in avoiding the thousands of prison deaths predicted by Public Health England.”
According to the paper, Hancock wrote in the prologue to the diaries: “I am proud of what we achieved, especially on the vaccine.
“But there is much to learn for the next public health crisis of this kind, which I am sure will happen in my lifetime.”
Content Published on: 2022-12-01 23:23:58
Matt Hancock is set to end his near seven-week break from parliament when the sitting MP appears in the Commons for the first time since his I’m A Celebrity hiatus.
The former health secretary is scheduled to be back in parliament on Friday to debate his dyslexia bill, on the same day his pandemic journals are serialised in the Daily Mail.
The ex-minister last spoke in the Commons on October 17, when he welcomed the “return of an iron-clad fiscal responsibility” under new chancellor Jeremy Hunt.
His re-appearance comes as speculation mounts over whether he will have the Tory whip restored and seek to stand again at the next election.
He is currently sitting as the independent MP for West Suffolk, having been suspended from the Conservative parliamentary party for choosing to head to the Australian jungle at a time when the house was sitting.
The MP is expected to tell parliament that the current approach to dyslexia “must change”.
“It is not only an issue of morality, but also of both social and economic justice,” he will say.
Hancock, who was diagnosed with dyslexia at university, had vowed to use the “incredible platform” offered by I’m A Celebrity to raise awareness of the learning difficulty.
While his jungle jaunt drew criticism from colleagues, including prime minister Rishi Sunak, Hancock has “no intention of standing down or stepping away from politics”, according to his team.
Tory MPs have been given until Monday December 5 to declare their intention to re-run at the next general election, expected to be in 2024.
The second reading of Hancock’s dyslexia screening and teacher training bill is third on Friday’s order paper, meaning it is likely to be heard before the end of business.
Hancock will tell MPs: “So we rightly screen for physical health conditions to provide the support to individuals, so why don’t we screen for neurological conditions, too?
“My bill today would result in every child being screened for dyslexia in primary schools and giving teachers the adequate level of training to be able to teach dyslexic children properly.”
He will call it an “outrage” that “while every teacher is a teacher of a dyslexic child, teachers do not need to be trained to support dyslexic children”.
“This leaves thousands of dyslexic children left in the classroom without the education they need and deserve.”
“It is a scandal that only one in every five dyslexic children leave school identified with their dyslexia. That means 80% of dyslexics go on to further education or into the world of work not knowing that they have a neurological condition, but just thinking they are bad at reading.”
As is normal procedure, other MPs can join the debate and representatives for both the government and opposition will have their say.
Some might take the opportunity to have a dig at Hancock’s TV escapades since it will be their first chance to put their views to him directly in the house.
Content Published on: 2022-12-01 22:41:14