I see no way this could possibly go wrong.

Facebook's new CAPTCHA test: "upload a clear photo of your face".

According to a screenshot of the identity test shared on Twitter on Tuesday and verified by Facebook, the prompt says: "Please upload a photo of yourself that clearly shows your face. We'll check it and then permanently delete it from our servers."

"Just like we probably maybe oughta do with your nudes."

In a statement to WIRED, a Facebook spokesperson said the photo test is intended to "help us catch suspicious activity at various points of interaction on the site, including creating an account, sending Friend requests, setting up ads payments, and creating or editing ads."

The process is automated, including identifying suspicious activity and checking the photo. To determine if the account is authentic, Facebook looks at whether the photo is unique. [...] The company declined to share details to prevent the system from being manipulated.

Facebook rolls out AI to detect suicidal posts before they're reported:

Facebook's new "proactive detection" artificial intelligence technology will scan all posts for patterns of suicidal thoughts, and when necessary send mental health resources to the user at risk or their friends, or contact local first-responders. By using AI to flag worrisome posts to human moderators instead of waiting for user reports, Facebook can decrease how long it takes to send help.

"Artificial intelligence" is what we used to call "grepping for keywords", right? Or does the fact that it's a TECHNOLOGY mean it has twice as many of the cybers?

Facebook previously tested using AI to detect troubling posts and more prominently surface suicide reporting options to friends in the U.S. Now Facebook is will scour all types of content around the world with this AI, except in the European Union, where General Data Protection Regulation privacy laws on profiling users based on sensitive information complicate the use of this tech.

"Complicate". Uh huh.

To paraphrase a friend: It'd be nice if they'd maybe try scanning for Moldovan Troll Farms before they started sending armed thugs to peoples' doors.

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The War on Christmas

MrPaulDuane: "I really did not expect the Suspiria remake to be so edgy."




But the all-time winner is:

unormal:

This place is a message and part of a system of messages, pay attention to it!

Sending this message was important to us.

We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.

This place is not a place of honor.

No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here.

Nothing valued is here.

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"Save $500 on bread this year -- click here!"

"'My math teacher is low-key terrified of all of us,' the tween in my house told us tonight at dinner. And then she explained why."

So, apparently, about a month ago, the tween (who asks to be known to you as Max) decided to start an active, participatory meme amongst the entire seventh grade.

"Save $500 on bread this year -- click here!"

Max, who apparently has unnatural, cult-like leadership qualities, persuaded a core group of friends to whisper this phrase to everyone they saw at school one afternoon. And they complied. All the 40+ 7th graders in her middle school.

How did she come up with this phrase? From the teeming maw of creative chaos that is her brain. It's not a reference to anything. It is purely random. An act of reckless dadaism.

It took about a month for the phrase to achieve complete group saturation. At the end of the month, one of the 7th graders -- Max doesn't know which one -- wrote this phrase down on a piece of paper, and placed it on their math teacher's desk before class one day.

Now, at this point, it's just funny in the normal way. Students decide to confuse their teacher by flaunting an in-joke. Happens all the time, I'm sure. Teachers get used to being mystified by their students.

Max and the other 7th graders come into math class one day, and the teacher puts the note up on the overhead projector.

"Save $500 on bread this year -- click here!"
The children are silent.
The teacher waits. Silence.
He gestures toward the screen. "So...what does this mean?"
The 7th graders burst into laughter.
"No, seriously, one of you needs to explain this," he says.
And the class falls silent. Because... you know. There is no explanation. Except that Max is both random and charismatic and apparently they all do her bidding.

Then.

Then.

Max stands up at her desk. She stands very straight and tall (she demonstrated for me and her mom at the dinner table) and places one hand behind her back.

"Kind of like when you put your hand over your heart for the Pledge of Allegiance," she explains to us.

She then proceeds to read the note from off the overhead projector, in a solemn, declamatory manner.

"SAVE $500 ON BREAD THIS YEAR. CLICK HERE."

And then

then

(and keep in mind, this was, in no way orchestrated in advance)

all the other kids put their hand behind their back.

"At what point, exactly, did they do this?" I ask, when I can breathe again after laughing for approximately 20 minutes.

"As soon as I said 'click here'," says Max.

The students are quiet. Staring at their math teacher. Max is still standing. The teacher stares back. And then, quietly, Max sits back down, and her followers resume normal posture.

"What did your teacher do then?" I ask, breathless with fascination and admiration.

Apparently, he then phoned the front office to apprise them of the situation.

"Why did he call the office??" I ask, baffled.

"So they could call kids to the office and ask them questions."

"...why?"

"Because it could be taken as a threat or some shit? I don't know, my school's weird."

Many adults in school administration see kids as chaotic elements that must be rigidly controlled or else everything will fall to shit. Any "unusual" behavior worries them and makes them act like tyrants.

But here is what is hilarious to me: The principal might ask questions. They might get some kids to tell them that some other kid passed them a note that said "Save $500 on bread this year". But nobody -- nobody -- is going to be able to explain to the administration or the teachers what happened that day. It wasn't planned. At all. Max was improvising the entire time, and the other kids just...followed her lead.

Students passing a note around is normal. Students spontaneously acting on the cue of one of their peers is not normal. Max is not normal. Max is a fucking genius.

Even I might be willing to admit, from a school administration standpoint, that it is slightly...concerning that one 12-year old can effortlessly bend THE ENTIRE SEVENTH GRADE to her will.

But. whispers that's the part of the story they'll NEVER find out about.

No matter what questions they ask, no matter who's willing to talk to them... what are those kids going to say? "Max did a thing, so...we all just did the thing."

They don't know why they did it. MAX doesn't know why they did it. She doesn't know why SHE did it.

Imagine a middle school administrator of average intelligence and no particular creativity, trying to wrap their heads around this situation.

I expect great things from Max.

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Pale Waves

(Much pale. Very wave.)

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Baphomet dons his fearsome "Tree Topper" aspect.

This elaborate goat mask was stolen from the Satanic Temple's Christmas tree:

Organizers with Christmas in the Park confirmed the theft and said that while it was a surprise that the Satanic Temple signed up for a tree, there were no issues with the group or their decorations. All different types of groups were allowed to decorate trees "regardless of whether we have the same beliefs as them or not" and the theft was "unfortunate," said Jason Minsky, executive director of Christmas in the Park.

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Infinitown

SCP-3008: The Infinite Ikea.


"The good thing is: Food stores get restocked every now and then. You won't starve. The bad thing is that the staff tries to kill you as soon as the lights go out."

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Parasitic Endeavours

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This City Hall brought to you by Amazon

"It feels like a dicey moment for the 'civic black hole.' Also known as democracy."

There's rising worry that corporations are taking over America. But after reviewing a slew of the bids by cities and states wooing Amazon's massive second headquarters, I don't think "takeover" quite captures what's going on.

More like "surrender."

Chicago has offered to let Amazon pocket $1.32 billion in income taxes paid by its own workers. This is truly perverse. Called a personal income-tax diversion, the workers must still pay the full taxes, but instead of the state getting the money to use for schools, roads or whatever, Amazon would get to keep it all instead.

"The result is that workers are, in effect, paying taxes to their boss," says a report on the practice from Good Jobs First, a think tank critical of many corporate subsidies. [...]

The most far-reaching offer is from Fresno, California. That city of half a million isn't offering any tax breaks. Instead it has a novel plan to give Amazon special authority over how the company's taxes are spent.

Fresno promises to funnel 85 percent of all taxes and fees generated by Amazon into a special fund. That money would be overseen by a board, half made up of Amazon officers, half from the city. They're supposed to spend the money on housing, roads and parks in and around Amazon. [...]

Is it even legal to give a company direct sway over civic spending like that? When asked about it, Fresno's economic-development director threw the public interest under the bus.

"Rather than the money disappearing into a civic black hole, Amazon would have a say on where it will go," he told the Los Angeles Times. "Not for the fire department on the fringe of town, but to enhance their own investment in Fresno."

You poor fools out on the fringe of town. All this time you've been paying your taxes, thinking it was for the broader public good. Suckers.

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Today in fuckloaf news:

Somnox, the fuckless fuckloaf.

It's a throbbing kidney pillow with "sounds", "affection" and "over-the-air updates" so you can "surveil" and "dox" yourself while you cuddle!

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In Shadow

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