background preloader


Facebook Twitter

'Our Saturn years' - Cassini-Huygens' epic journey to the ringed planet, told by the people who made it happen. How maths can get you locked up. Image copyright AP Criminals in the US can be given computer-generated "risk scores" that may affect their sentences. But are the secret algorithms behind them really making justice fairer? If you've seen the hit Netflix documentary series Making A Murderer, you'll know the US state of Wisconsin has had its problems delivering fair justice. Now there's another Wisconsin case that's raised questions about how the US justice system works. In the early hours of Monday 11 February 2013, two shots were fired at a house in La Crosse, a small city in the state. Find us on Facebook A witness said the shots came from a car, which police tracked down and chased through the streets of La Crosse until it ended up in a snow bank. One of them was Eric Loomis, who admitted to driving the car but denied involvement in the shooting.

In court, he was sentenced to six years in prison - and this is where the maths comes in. Image copyright Getty Images Compas and software like it is used across the US. Colombia Farc ceasefire: The man who photographed a little-pictured war. Image copyright Jesus Abad Colorado Colombians are deciding whether to sign up to a ceasefire with the Farc rebel group, and put an end to more than 50 years of war.

One photographer - Jesus Abad Colorado Lopez - documented the violence in his images over many years, as his former colleague, the BBC's Juan Carlos Perez Salazar, explains. Strangely, despite the Colombian war's longevity, there are very few defining images recording it. Jesus Abad Colorado Lopez is the photographer who has perhaps best captured the pain of the war over the past 25 years. But this story begins before his birth, with a photo that he didn't take. Find us on Facebook In 1960, his grandparents were living with their family in the town of San Carlos, Antioquia, in the middle of Colombia.

His grandparents were Liberals in a Conservative town. One night the mob came into their house, killing the grandfather and slitting the throat of the smallest child - a little boy. "I think it is more respectful. And offer hope. Ken Livingstone stands by Hitler comments. Ken Livingstone has stood by his recent comments about Hitler, saying he was "not sorry for telling the truth". He said he "regretted" the disruption his comments had caused but "I believe what I said is true". The former London mayor was suspended from the Labour party on Thursday after saying Hitler had supported Zionism in the 1930s. He made the comments while defending Labour MP Naz Shah over accusations she was anti-Semitic.

During an interview on LBC, Mr Livingstone repeatedly refused to apologise for making the comments, saying he was sorry if his views had upset Jewish people but he had simply made a "statement of fact" that had also been made by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "I never regret saying something that is true," he said. "How can I have hurt and offended the Jewish community when the prime minister of Israel said exactly the same thing?

" "If you look at what this is all about, it's not about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party... 'Nazi apologist' A Point of View: Is there still any point collecting books? Image copyright iStock A lifetime of collecting books has left the writer Howard Jacobson with back injuries, a lack of living space and a sense of sheer pointlessness. But he'd do it all over again. I can't remember how old I was when I began collecting second-hand books. I'd like to say eight or nine, but that's because I want to be thought of as bookishly precocious. In fact, going by the purchase dates I bothered to write in the oldest volumes in my collection I can find, I must have been about 12. I'll settle for that. My father wasn't so sure. My mother was a reader and understood my passion, but she too had her objections. "The smell's so bad people have stopped visiting us," my mother complained.

I reminded her that she didn't like people visiting us. In my view this was a lot of fuss about nothing. Image copyright Alamy Anything published as an Oxford World's Classic I had to have. Poetry presented no problems. Image copyright Getty Images I don't of course mean that. A Point of View: Why we should defend the right to be offensive - BBC News. Image copyright iStock Free speech can make for uncomfortable listening, argues Roger Scruton, but it needs to be defended even when it gives offence. To people like me, educated in post-war Britain, free speech has been a firm premise of the British way of life.

As John Stuart Mill expressed the point: "The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error. " That famous statement is not the last word on the question, but it is the first word and was, during my youth, the received opinion of all educated people. All that is now changing. Image copyright ALAMY Image copyright Getty Images. Has America already had a female president? - BBC News. Image copyright ALAMY In a year's time, as the US presidential election nears its climax, it's possible Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic Party's candidate, with a chance of becoming the first female president.

But there was once another woman in the White House who came close to fulfilling this description - Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of America's wartime president Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The Washington press corps became very excited in June 1996 when it emerged that Hillary Clinton had been having imaginary conversations with Eleanor Roosevelt. Reporters portrayed these motivational chats as supernatural seances. Even her husband, Bill Clinton, joked recently that his wife used to "commune" with this previous Democratic first lady who'd died in 1962.

Hillary Clinton has always been at pains to explain in her various memoirs that she was simply looking for comfort from a woman who "inspired and fortified" her. Image copyright AFP Image copyright Getty Images Find out more. Edward Snowden interview: 'Smartphones can be taken over' - BBC News. Smartphone users can do "very little" to stop security services getting "total control" over their devices, US whistleblower Edward Snowden has said.

The former intelligence contractor told the BBC's Panorama that UK intelligence agency GCHQ had the power to hack into phones without their owners' knowledge. Mr Snowden said GCHQ could gain access to a handset by sending it an encrypted text message and use it for such things as taking pictures and listening in. The UK government declined to comment. 'Nosey Smurf' Mr Snowden spoke to Panorama in Moscow, where he fled in 2013 after leaking to the media details of extensive internet and phone surveillance by his former employer, the US National Security Agency (NSA).

He did not suggest that either GCHQ or the NSA were interested in mass-monitoring of citizens' private communications but said both agencies had invested heavily in technology allowing them to hack smartphones. "Nosey Smurf is the 'hot mic' tool. 'Necessary and proportionate'

Andy Burnham: timid Labour would not be up to creating the NHS today | Politics. Andy Burnham will try to tap into the surge in support for Jeremy Corbyn by warning that the modern Labour party has become “frightened of its own shadow” and would lack the courage to create the NHS today. Wading into the debate prompted by Corbyn’s unexpected popularity, Burnham, one of the four leadership candidates, will argue on Tuesday that Labour has abandoned its radical roots.

Speaking to mark the 70th anniversary of the election of Clement Attlee’s government, the shadow health secretary will say: “You would think that would be cause for joyous celebration, but I mark it with a sad realisation that the modern Labour party could not have created the NHS. “It has become frightened by its own shadow and does not have the courage or capacity to do it. It has become a purveyor of retail politics, trading in the devalued currency of policy gimmicks designed to grab a quick headline but which don’t change the world.” Noam Chomsky: Why the Internet Hasn't Freed Our Minds -- Propaganda Continues to Dominate. Three decades ago, Professor Noam Chomsky, who is seen by some as the most brilliant and courageous intellectual alive and by others as an anti-US conspiracy theorist, penned his powerful critique of the Western corporate media in his seminal book Manufacturing Consent, with co-author Edward S Herman.

The book had a profound impact on my perception of the mainstream media in my teenage years, and was crucial in some ways to my decision to start Byline with my co-founder Daniel Tudor. By cutting out the advertiser and political bias of the proprietor, we believed that crowdfunding had the potential to democratise the media landscape and support independent journalism. In “Manufacturing Consent,” Noam Chomsky posits that Western corporate media is structurally bound to “manufacture consent” in the interests of dominant, elite groups in society. As far as we can see, the basic analysis is essentially unchanged.

Noam Chomsky: Well, first of all, I don’t agree with the general statement.