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Andy Campbell
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Entries by Andy Campbell

Talking To Our Computers Is Changing Who We Are

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2016 | 8:42 AM


We're talking to our technology more and more every day. 


On Wednesday, Google introduced its new personal assistant, Google Home, which will listen to your voice and provide information on demand, much like the popular Amazon Echo.


It's just the latest in technology that's always listening...

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These Are The People Missing In The EgyptAir Plane Crash

(0) Comments | Posted May 19, 2016 | 9:59 AM

The names of those on board EgyptAir Flight MS804, which crashed en route from Paris to Cairo on Thursday, are surfacing as friends and family gather at airports...

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How Much Will Google Home Be Watching You?

(0) Comments | Posted May 18, 2016 | 11:18 AM


Google is fighting harder than ever to get into your household.


On Wednesday the company announced its entry into the voice-activated virtual assistant race with Google Home, its answer to the Amazon Echo. Google Home promises to live alongside you wherever you reside, answering your...

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The No-Tipping Policy At Joe's Crab Shack Just Sank

(0) Comments | Posted May 12, 2016 | 4:25 PM


We like tipping our waiters!


In an unprecedented move for a restaurant chain its size, Joe's Crab Shack announced in November that it had dropped tipped wages at 18 of its restaurant locations.


It was an experiment to determine whether customers would be happier not having to...

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Officer Captured After Shooting Spree Leaves 3 Dead In Maryland

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2016 | 12:39 PM

A federal officer is in custody after allegedly shooting three people dead and injuring three others within 24 hours in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, in three separate locations.

Eulalio Tordil, 62, allegedly shot and killed his estranged wife on Thursday evening outside High Point High School in Beltsville,...

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Mother Shot Dead Outside Maryland High School, Allegedly By Estranged Husband Sought (UPDATED)

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2016 | 5:05 PM

UPDATE May 7:  Tordil was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and four firearms violations. 

UPDATE May 6, 3 p.m.: Police took suspect Eulalio Tordil into custody Friday afternoon following two more shootings that left two dead in nearby shopping malls. Tordil...

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Walgreens Broaches Possible Health Benefits Of Medical Marijuana

(0) Comments | Posted April 30, 2016 | 12:26 PM


Walgreens wants to talk about marijuana.


In what appears to be an unprecedented move for a company its size, Walgreens published a discussion of the possible health benefits of medical marijuana on its health and wellness blog this week.


In the post, titled "Clarifying Clinical...

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This All-American Badass Is Now The First Female Infantry Officer

(0) Comments | Posted April 27, 2016 | 12:22 PM


Since the Pentagon opened up all combat roles to women in the military, some men weren't happy about it and wondered whether women would, or could, make it.


Army Capt. Kristen Griest just proved their doubts were unfounded. 


Griest already exceeded expectations when she became...

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People Really Want To Believe That Deputies Let 3 Girls Drown

(0) Comments | Posted April 26, 2016 | 12:21 PM


For a few, brief moments last week, it felt as though we were faced with yet another case of newly-released video catching police in a lie -- but there’s more to the footage and the story.


More than two weeks after three teenage girls fled sheriff's deputies in...

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Ted Cruz Can't Believe Donald Trump Supports Transgender Bathroom Rights

(1) Comments | Posted April 21, 2016 | 1:02 PM

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) doesn't understand why there's backlash over North Carolina's transgender bathroom law, and he's especially confused by GOP presidential candidate opponent Donald Trump's defense of transgender...

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Viral Facebook Post Reminds Dudes Not Every Woman Wants To Talk To Them

(1) Comments | Posted April 21, 2016 | 10:39 AM

One person on Facebook has a message for men who don't understand that a woman's existence in public is not an invitation for male attention. 

"Just leave her alone," Ivan Coyote, a transgender activistwrote in a status on Tuesday.

"She is wearing her headphones AND reading...

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UC Davis Chancellor Apologizes For Trying To Scrub Pepper Spray Incident From Google

(0) Comments | Posted April 20, 2016 | 2:59 PM

The University of California, Davis paid consultants $175,000 to manipulate the school's Google results and remove hits regarding an on-campus officer pepper-spraying a group of students in 2011 -- but the move actually drew attention to the incident, and now the university's chancellor is apologizing.

Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi released a statement and compatible video on Monday, in which she said she was sorry for her role in hiring people to make it harder to find photos, videos and memes of an officer using military-grade pepper spray on students who were sitting on the ground as part of a protest. 

"The university’s identity has been shaken by a series of highly publicized missteps. Some were my own doing. All occurred under my watch. For that, I sincerely apologize," Katehi wrote. "Yes, our Office of Strategic Communications hired outside firms specializing in what is known as 'search engine optimization.' Consultants were brought in after the highly regrettable 2011 incident when campus police used pepper spray on peacefully protesting students."

Those missteps have been a public relations nightmare for the school. The officer involved in the incident became the subject of Internet memes, and the school paid him $38,000 in workers compensation after he received thousands of threats. The university also paid nearly $1 million to 21 students in a settlement.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) said earlier this month that the chancellor should step down, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Students are still calling for Katehi's resignation. Emily Breuninger is one of several students who this week ended a five-week sit-in outside the chancellor's office. They still want Katehi to leave her post and provide proof that none of the consulting fees came out of the student tuition budget or state general fund, Breuninger said. 

"We don’t accept her apology whatsoever," Breuninger told The Huffington Post. "It’s disingenuous, and we don’t accept the explanation for why they did it. We also find it shady that [Katehi] says the money for the consultants didn’t come from government funds or tuition, and we're calling for more information."

UC Davis has increased its communications budget by $1.6 million since 2009, which includes $800,000 for training employees on social media and videography. Katehi wrote that "none of the costs for consultants or the advertising campaign were paid from state General Fund appropriations or student tuition and fees."

"In hindsight, we should have been more careful in reviewing some of the more unrealistic and ridiculous scope-of-work claims in the written proposals of our outside vendors," Katehi wrote. "What might be accepted industry hyperbole in the private public relations world falls far beneath the high standards of a public institution of higher learning."

Tuition is, after all, the crux of the issue. The students who were pepper-sprayed in 2011 were protesting tuition...

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Ted Cruz's Supporters Share His Weird Fixation With Soup, According To Google Trends

(0) Comments | Posted April 20, 2016 | 11:25 AM


By now, you're aware that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is preparing for the apocalypse by hoarding so many cans of Campbell's Chunky Soup that it scares his wife.


New data suggests that his supporters are following suit.


Google Trends numbers show that New Yorkers...

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Utah Declared Pornography A 'Health Crisis.' Utah Is Wrong.

(0) Comments | Posted April 19, 2016 | 11:51 AM

How do you get a governor to sign a resolution declaring pornography a "public health crisis" in your state?

Easy: Liken modern pornography to heroin, throw in a few...

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UC Davis Wants You To Forget About Its Pepper Spray Incident. So Here's The Video.

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2016 | 12:45 PM

University of California Davis spent an exorbitant amount of money to make you forget that one of its officers pepper-sprayed a bunch of students for protesting tuition hikes.

Then the school spent even more to whitewash negative search results about the 2011 incident and the lawsuits and resignations that followed.

Well, Internet, here's what started it all:

The video, photos and memes that resulted were such a public relations nightmare for the school that it paid $175,000 for consultants to scrub its negative search results and improve the reputation of university Chancellor Linda P. B. Katehi, according to expenditure documents obtained by The Sacramento Bee this week.

But that's just a fraction of the millions that UC Davis either paid out or set aside for future problems.

On Nov. 18, 2011, Lt. John Pike and another officer doused seated, unarmed student protesters with military-grade pepper spray for about 15 seconds at point blank range. Pike received 17,000 threatening emails, 10,000 texts and hundreds of letters after the incident, while many called for Katehi's resignation, according to SF Gate. His nonchalance during the incident sparked the "Casually Pepper Spray Everything Cop" meme, with images showing Pike spraying students alongside phrases like, "Don't Mind Me, Just Watering My Hippies."

UC Davis would pay almost $1 million in settlement money to 21 students and their lawyers. It put Pike and former UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza on paid administrative leave for an undisclosed amount of money and time. Then, the university awarded Pike more than $38,000 in workers compensation for "psychiatric injury" he sustained during the fallout.

In all, UC Davis has funneled millions toward its problem. Here's a breakdown:

  • $980,000 — In 2012, a settlement was reached to pay 21 students $30,000 each, pay $250,000 to their lawyers, and set aside an extra $100,000 in case more plaintiffs joined the class action.

  • $175,000 — In 2013, UC Davis hired various consultants to improve the university's search results online and boost its image.

  • $38,055 — Two years after the incident, Lt. Pike was awarded workers compensation for psychiatric damage.

  • $2,540,000 — The Bee found that the university increased its strategic communications budget from $2.93 million in 2009 to $5.47 million in 2015, in part so that the "reputation of the university is fairly portrayed," a spokeswoman told the paper.

  • An unknown amount of money spent while Pike and former police Chief Annette Spicuzza were on paid administrative leave.

A spokeswoman told The Huffington Post: "Most of the growth in the communications budget is tied to raising the visibility of our College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the School of Veterinary Medicine, both rated the best in the nation.

"As part of this overall communications strategy, it is important that the excellent work underway at UC Davis with respect to educating the next generation of students, pursuing groundbreaking research, and providing important services to the State is not lost during a campus crisis, including the crisis that ensued following the extremely regrettable incident when police pepper-sprayed student protesters in 2011."

It continues to spend money today on consulting firms to try and erase the incident and keep Katehi under the radar. Its most recent expenditures include a consultant paid for on March 1, according to The...

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Harvard Alum Says Allowing Women Into Elite Club Could Lead To More Rape

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2016 | 3:25 PM


Sexual assault is a widespread problem at Harvard. But one prominent alum bizarrely argued this week that allowing women to join historically all-male clubs on campus would put them in even more danger.


Charles M. Storey, the graduate club president of The Porcellian, a 225-year-old...

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Powerful Video Reminds Us That Mass Shootings Can Happen Anywhere

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2016 | 9:57 AM

Charleston. Newtown. San Bernardino. Tucson. Aurora.

Before they were the sites of mass shootings, or arenas for politicking and arguing online, they were Anywhere, U.S.A.

Filmmaker AJ Schnack and 20 cinematographers captured those crime scenes as they stand today in his short documentary, "Speaking Is Difficult," published to YouTube on Tuesday.

Each scene is a raw look at towns that were torn apart by violence, suffocated by media and national attention, and then left to rebuild. Schnack juxtaposes the scenes with audio of the 911 calls and gunfire that erupted as each mass shooting began.

It's a sobering reminder that small communities in the United States have faced some of the country's worst violence in the past five years.

"A lot of [the film crews], even though they film stuff all the time, said this was one of the few times that they felt really uncomfortable being in a space and filming, because a lot of [the incidents] were still very fresh." Schnack said in an interview with The Intercept.

"We shot in Oregon, then a couple weeks later, we added -- before we went to Sundance -- San Bernardino and Colorado. They had just happened. ... Then, as the film goes along, since the film goes backwards in time, you reach a point where it’s just back to normal."

 Watch the short film...

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2 Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide At Texas Air Force Base

(0) Comments | Posted April 8, 2016 | 10:34 AM

Two people have been killed in a shooting at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio on Friday, according to the Bexar County Sheriff's office.

"It's over," sheriff's office spokesman James Keith said, noting that authorities were still on the scene.  

Keith said...

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One-Third Of Iraqis Believe America Supports Terrorism

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2016 | 3:58 PM

Nearly 1 in 3 Iraqis believe that America supports terrorism overseas.

It's just one of a handful of damning poll numbers showing waning United States-Iraqi relations as part of a U.S. State Department Inspector General's Office evaluation of the American embassy in Baghdad.

The report, released online last...

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Relative Of Mining Disaster Victims Breaks Down After Coal Boss Is Sentenced

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2016 | 10:25 AM

EMOTIONAL REACTION: Tommy Davis lost three loved ones in the UBB mine...

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