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Topics - ravenscape

1
Politics and Current Events / The Unjust Bench
I wasn't sure where to put this study, so it gets its own thread.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/28/us/politics/black-defendants-women-prison-terms-study.html

Quote
WASHINGTON -- Judges appointed by Republican presidents gave longer sentences to black defendants and shorter ones to women than judges appointed by Democrats, according to a new study that analyzed data on more than half a million defendants.

"Republican-appointed judges sentence black defendants to three more months than similar nonblacks and female defendants to two fewer months than similar males compared to Democratic-appointed judges," the study found, adding, "These differences cannot be explained by other judge characteristics and grow substantially larger when judges are granted more discretion."

The study was conducted by two professors at Harvard Law School, Alma Cohen and Crystal S. Yang. They examined the sentencing practices of about 1,400 federal trial judges over more than 15 years, relying on information from the Federal Judicial Center, the United States Sentencing Commission and the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.
2
This article is about the history of police infiltration of leftist groups in the UK, but we see enough in US news to know it happens in the US, too, and has been happening for years.

https://jacobinmag.com/2018/04/uk-infiltration-secret-police-mi5-special-branch-undercover
4
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/19/upshot/race-class-white-and-black-men.html?smid=tw-share

The disparity, even for black boys raised by wealthy parents, is stark. The chances of falling multiple income levels as an adult are comparatively huge.

Quote
Even when children grow up next to each other with parents who earn similar incomes, black boys fare worse than white boys in 99 percent of America. And the gaps only worsen in the kind of neighborhoods that promise low poverty and good schools.

Interestingly, there's no such huge disparity between white and black women.

The biggest predictor of future economic success for poor black boys is a demographic presence of fathers - not in the household, but in the community.  I wonder how much that reflects lower incarceration rates for black men in those particular neighborhoods.
5
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/miami-pedestrian-bridge-collapses-trapping-unknown-number-people-n857011

The bridge was meant to more safely connect Florida International University with the community on the other side of the expressway.

The bridge was installed on Saturday.  The construction method was...novel.
6
Politics and Current Events / Suspicious envelopes
First Donald Jr's wife, now a military base.  11 were ill, and 3 were hospitalized.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/27/politics/joint-base-myer-suspicious-letter/index.html

Quote
The law enforcement official said the text of the letter contained derogatory, at time unintelligible and ranting language, and was addressed to a commanding officer at the base. Investigators are still determining what relationship, if any, the sender had with the base.
The spokesperson for the Arlington Country Fire Department said that the incident response is being scaled back, however, the investigation remains ongoing.

A corporal, gunnery sergeant and a colonel all exhibited symptoms of a burning sensation on their hands and face, according to Specialist Nicholas Hodges who spoke to CNN from the base.

One individual had a nose bleed.

It is unclear at this time whether the letter was opened and who exactly handled it.

The incident occurred in the 1 p.m. hour in building 29, known as Henderson Hall, where Marines and civilians work.

Suspicious envelopes have apparently become a thing.
7
http://money.cnn.com/2018/02/14/technology/huawei-intelligence-chiefs/index.html

Quote
U.S. intelligence agencies issued a stern warning to Americans: Do not buy smartphones made by Chinese tech companies Huawei or ZTE.
Top officials from the CIA, NSA, FBI and the Defense Intelligence Agency testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee that the Chinese smartphone makers posed a security threat to American customers.

Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas asked the group to raise their hands if they would recommend private American citizens use products or services made by Apple competitor Huawei or smartphone maker ZTE. None of them did.
8
Wherein the author reflects on the squeamish disconfort some carnivorous players experience when playing Monster Hunter: World.

https://www.theguardian.com/games/2018/feb/12/vegetarianism-violent-video-games-monster-hunter-world

Shadows of the Colossus sounds like a really fun game. :/
9
Mafia / Norton's Empire: Day 5
A body has washed up on the shore near the Ferry Building sometime in the middle of the night.  When news spreads of the pathetic remains of the youg women (woman?  she was just a child!) who died sometime early this morning, you thought it was suicide at first.  Who could blame the poor child after the shock of losing her beloved Emperor last night?   It was a shock to everyone.

But, the livid bruises on her neck and arms tell a different story - one of struggle.  Of murder.

Magicziggy was

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The Emperor and his Little Countess are both dead, along with many other of the notable and not-so-notable, but the Empire lives on.

Resolute, you walk to City Hall.

You may elect another mayor if you wish.

Alive

borealis
Spruce
Y.B
rachmarie

Dead
Testy Calibrate, 1-shot co-commuter
teeming brown mass 1-shot loyal bread vendor
MikeS, 1-shot ascetic bus driver
divagreen, 2-shot amnesiac motion detector
timewave - 2-shot jailkeeper
laughing dog - 2-shot watcher
deadlokd - loud inventor
Nostrum - love note messenger
Magicziggy - Day 1 beloved sex worker


Day 5 begins!

Nightfall will be on Wednesday, Midnight US Eastern Time (Thursday, 5 AM GMT)
10
Mafia / Norton's Empire: Day 4
This morning, you decide to take the scenic route to City Hall, and head north into the city-within-a-city known as Chinatown.  The shopkeepers are busy receiving deliveries and sweeping the walkways in front of their shops.  Colorful silks, woks, figurines, spices, teas, books, jewelry, chickens, ducks, and a million exotic aromas assault your senses as you dodge delivery wagons and weave through the streets.

Above the street level shops are apartments and businesses, one on top of another, many with balconies overhanging the street.

Ahead of you, a small crowd has gathered. Most of them are staring at a figure in red and black silk sprawled in the street.  A few of the crowd look upward at the hysterically crying old woman on the balcony of the brothel high above the street.

You look down at the figure in the street.  She is...was...a beautiful woman. Beside her outstretched hand are a few baubles and toys, the sorts of baubles to be found in nearly all the shops lining the street. 

You realize the fallen woman, deadlokd, was

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Nostrum is your mayor.

Alive

borealis
nostrum
Magicziggy
Spruce
Y.B
rachmarie

Dead
Testy Calibrate, 1-shot co-commuter
teeming brown mass 1-shot loyal bread vendor
MikeS, 1-shot ascetic bus driver
divagreen, 2-shot amnesiac motion detector
timewave - 2-shot jailkeeper
laughing dog - 2-shot watcher
deadlokd - loud inventor

Day 1 begins!

Nightfall will be on Tuesday, 7 AM US Eastern Time (Tuesday, Noon GMT)
11
Mafia / Norton's Empire: Day 3
After ablutions and breakfast, you set out to City Hall on this bright and sunny Autumn morning.  On your way, you notice a knot of people in the middle of the street.  A dellivery cart driver is shaking his fist and demanding they get out of the way, but he's ignored.

You join the group, noticing they've left an open space in the center of the crowd.  Well, not exactly open.  A gentleman dressed in white lies face down in the street, a half-smoked cigar smoldering on the ground beside him.  A blue whisp of smoke curls upward into the air.

A colorful hand-pushed street cart is overturned in the middle of the street.  Dogs and pigeons are in a frenzy around it, snapping down huge hunks of baguettes.  One dog stops to sniff the the pool of blood forming under the head of a young man lying in the dust a few feet away from the broken cart.

You realize it's divagreen.  She was

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

A man comes tearing out of the Telegraph office, shouting "This is shocking news!  The entire US Congress is dissolved!  Every single one of the scoundrels was run through with a sword last night.  It will be months - maybe years! - before a full Congress is seated again.  Washington, DC is in a panic!"

Timewave was:

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

You shiver a little.  Playing at Empire has been a diverting sport.  Suddenly, it doesn't feel so much like a game.

Nostrum is your mayor.

Alive

timewave
borealis
nostrum
Magicziggy
Spruce
Y.B
laughing dog
Deadlokd
rachmarie

Dead
Testy Calibrate, 1-shot co-commuter
teeming brown mass 1-shot loyal bread vendor
MikeS, 1-shot ascetic bus driver
divagreen, 2-shot amnesiac motion detector
timewave - 2-shot jailkeeper

Day 1 begins!

Nightfall will be on Sunday, 7 PM US Eastern Time (Monday,, Monday, Midnight GMT)
12
Mafia / Norton's Empire: Day 2
As you walk to City Hall this morning, a strange sight meets your eyes.

A colorful hand-pushed street cart is overturned in the middle of the street.  Dogs and pigeons are in a frenzy around it, snapping down huge hunks of baguettes.  One dog stops to sniff the the pool of blood forming under the head of a young man lying in the dust a few feet away from the broken cart.

You realize it's teeming brown mass.  He was

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Nostrum is your mayor.

Alive

timewave
borealis
nostrum
Magicziggy
Spruce
MikeS
Y.B
laughing dog
Deadlokd
rachmarie
divagreen

Dead
Testy Calibrate, 1-shot co-commuter
teeming brown mass 1-shot loyal bread vendor

Day 1 begins!

Nightfall will be on Saturday, 7 AM US Eastern Time (Saturday, Noon GMT)
13
Mafia / Norton's Empire: Day 1


At the peremptory request of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the past nine years and ten months of San Francisco, California, declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these U.S., and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in the Musical Hall of this city on the 1st day of February next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity.


Players
timewave
borealis
nostrum
teeming brown mass
Magicziggy
Spruce
MikeS
Y.B
Testy Calibrate
laughing dog
Deadlokd
rachmarie
divagreen

Day 1 Begins!

Nightfall is at Noon US Eastern TIme (8 PM GMT) Wednesday, February 1
14
Mafia / The Imperial Salon, San Francisco, circa 1859


The "usual" rules apply:

1. Do not talk about this game outside the thread, unless your role PM allows you to do so.
2. Do not quote your role PM or any other PM's sent by me in the game thread. This includes screenshots.
3. Do not edit or delete your own or anyone else's posts.
4. Do not use tiny font or otherwise hard-to-read text.
5. Do not use any ciphers or codes to encrypt in plain sight.
6. To vote, type "##VOTE <Player Name>##" in bold text.  If you choose to elect a mayor, use the same format, but make the font blue as well as bold.
7. This is a timed game.  Whoever has the most votes at nightfall will be lynched unless some other game mechanic takes precedence.
8. Players who do not post enough in my judgment will be subbed out or godkilled at my discretion.

Day 1 will be 48-ish hours long.  Night 1 will be 12 hours long.  All subsequent days will be 24 hours long, and all subsequent nights will be 12 hours long.

I reserve the right to add to this list of rules and make other on-the-fly changes to the game.  I don't anticipate doing either.
15
Politics and Current Events / Brownbeck Resigns
GOP finally had enough and gave him a ceremonial thing to get him out of the way.

16
Probably should have been tracking this shit in an omnibus thread all along.

http://www.businessinsider.com/senate-extends-fisa-section-702-warrantless-surveillance-bill-2018-1

This passed 65-34.  That's an unacceptable number of Democrats voting for warrantless searches of US citizens' phone calls and emails.
17
Which would be better?

Which is more likely?

Raven's odds are currently 65% on shutdown.
18
You know what to do.
19
Quote
Genetic analysis of 11,500-year-old DNA from an infant found at the Upward Sun River archaeological site in Interior Alaska is evidence of a previously unknown population of ancient people in North America. The researchers - whose findings were published January 3, 2018 in the journal Nature - have named the new group "Ancient Beringians."

Nature Article for those who have access: https://www.nature.com/articles/nature25173

Popsci article for the rest of us: http://earthsky.org/human-world/newly-discovered-ancient-americans

And an essay by Professor Ben Potter, a lead scientist on the study.  https://sites.google.com/a/alaska.edu/dr-ben-a-potter/ancient-beringians

Cool pictures:




21
Good article.  I can so relate to the sense that some weeks are months long.  The stress of staying informed, involved and aware of all the insanity that we have no control over right now is overwhelming sometimes.

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/thigh-high-politics-2017-is-over-now-what

Quote
You're probably angry, too. And likely also frustrated, and sad, and so tired you could burst into tears at any given moment. Hours feel like days, and last week was approximately seven months ago. The Trump administration is bombarding the country with so much cruelty and incompetence that simply following the news for a day carries the stress of anywhere from five to seven major breakups.

Keeping track of national political headlines can be a Sisyphean task, as we respond to each new emergency, regularly questioning what is and isn't "normal" based on the metric of an ever-shifting status quo. Indeed, keeping your eye on the ball has become a task best suited for Argus Panoptes, the mythological beast whose hundred eyes would probably still lose track of a few tertiary developments in the Russia investigation. Sometimes simply staying up to speed is an accomplishment. And yet we must.

This is what is required of us now, but really, it was required of us all along. Democracy was always intended to be a dynamic process fueled by active civic engagement. Perhaps the one optimistic take on this godforsaken year is that we've begun to recall that the American project is not a historical accomplishment to be celebrated but instead an ongoing process of figuring out how we ought to live together.

In the several decades since November 8, 2016, we have begun to reinterrogate the meaning of lowercase-d democratic citizenship. Propelled by the necessity of feeling some type of way about Trump, we are a nation newly engaged in the stuff of participatory democracy. This was set off with the bright flare of the Women's March, which, with estimates of between 3 million and 5 million participants in this country, was "likely the largest single-day demonstration in recorded U.S. history," according to The Washington Post. Since then, we've settled into a national habit of regularly contacting elected officials, which began the week following the inauguration. In just the first week of February, the Senate received as many as 1.5 million calls per day, according to the office of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Lots more at the link above.
22
When it's all said and done, is this a tax cut or tax increase for you?

On the off chance that we're not looking at the final version, or you learn more about how the bill affects you personally, you can change your vote in this poll.
23


https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/12/11/569838295/explosion-reported-in-new-york-city-triggering-evacuations-in-subway

Suspect is from Bangladesh.  The detonation caused burns on the suspect's hands and abdomen and gave two victims headaches/ringing ears.

24
Judge Alex Kozinski, former chief judge of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Yes that 9th circuit.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/prominent-appeals-court-judge-alex-kozinski-accused-of-sexual-misconduct/2017/12/08/1763e2b8-d913-11e7-a841-2066faf731ef_story.html?tidr=a_breakingnews

Quote
As a judge, Kozinski has addressed the topic of sexual harassment in important ways. In 1991, he joined an opinion that decided such cases should be judged from the perspective of the victims, using what was then called the "reasonable woman" standard. The opinion, written by then-Judge Robert R. Beezer, noted pointedly, "Conduct that many men consider unobjectionable may offend many women."

Beezer died in 2012. Kozinski himself wrote about sexual harassment in 1992, commenting on how legal remedies could come with unforeseen consequences.

He wrote that men "must be aware of the boundaries of propriety and learn to stay well within them," while women "must be vigilant of their rights, but must also have some forgiveness for human foibles: misplaced humor, misunderstanding, or just plain stupidity."

He acknowledged, though, that the problem of harassment was a real one.

"But who knew, who understood, that it was quite so pervasive," Kozinski wrote. "Apparently most women did, while most men did not. It was the best-kept secret of modern times."

What an utter slimeball :(

That's all the 9th circuit needs - a Trump appointed appeals court judge.
25
Mafia / Omelas: Day 4
A child of nine or ten sits at
the edge of the crowd, alone, playing on a wooden flute. People pause to listen, and they smile,
but they do not speak to him, for he never ceases playing and never sees them, his dark eyes
wholly rapt in the sweet, thin magic of the tune.

He finishes, and slowly lowers his hands holding the wooden flute.

As if that little private silence were the signal, all at once a trumpet sounds from the
pavilion near the starting line: imperious, melancholy, piercing

As if awakened by the trumpet, the crowd moves onward to the Green.  The child with the flute stays seated on the wall.  He holds the flute like it has suddenly become a strange object, fingers exploring the keys and eyes taking in every detail of it's construction.

Abruptly, he stands and places the flute gently down on the wall.  Without a backward glance, he walks slowly northward, eyes fixed on the mountains beyond the hills

teeming brown mass was a


Spoiler (click to show/hide)


In Omelas
1. ksen
2. borealis
4. Y.B
5. Nostrum
7. divagreen
12. laughingdog
13. nesb
14. MikeS

Departed
11. rachmarie, Horse Rider,
9. Magicziggy, Brewer
8. timewave, Drooz merchant
10. gib, Farmer
6. TestyCalibrate, Horse Rider
3. teeming brown mass, Flautist

Day 4 Begins!

Nightfall is at Noon US Eastern TIme (8 PM GMT) Saturday, December 9