NewsQuirks 317

Curses, Foiled Again Richard Burgos, a police officer from Worcester, Mass., was vacationing in Rochester, N.Y., when he walked outside his hotel and bumped into Jose Garcia, who he recognized as wanted in Worcester on drug and weapons charges. Burgos collared the fugitive after a brief chase. Philadelphia police identified Joseph Saunders, 39, as their chief suspect in a dozen bank robberies last summer after he left his wallet with identification at the last bank robbed. After a man quietly held up a teller at a bank in Santa Rosa, Calif., last October, he was walking out of the bank when loan officers Steve Sanders and Harry Coffey noticed he was wearing what Sanders described as "a cheesy, Halloween-like fake beard." Suspicious, they followed him to a parking garage and alerted authorities, who nabbed the suspect. A man in Stockton, Calif., robbed a department store cashier and stole a tourist's car to make his getaway. Police had no trouble identifying Omhar Leyva, 24, as their suspect because he appeared on a videotape by a local television cable company that was filming a commercial outside the store.Sportsmanship in the Nineties Police in Raytown, Mo., charged James Aldridge, 39, with threatening his son's baseball coach because he didn't like the position the boy was playing. Witnesses said when the coach of the 7-year-old and 8-year-old players wouldn't heed the father's persistent requests to move his son to an infield position, Aldridge kicked off his shoes and crouched in a martial-arts stance, then threatened the coach with a metal bat. Finally, police reported, he went to his car and returned with a gun tucked in his waistband. A bench-clearing brawl delayed a minor league baseball game between the Winston-Salem Warthogs and Durham Bulls for 32 minutes. Ten players were ejected, and one was hospitalized after being knocked unconscious and losing several teeth. The donnybrook occurred on "Strike Out Domestic Violence" night. In upstate New York, Hamilton College president Eugene M. Tobin banned spectators from the school's hockey game against Hobart College after fans delayed a previous game against Wesleyan University 10 minutes by littering the ice with hundreds of pieces of fruit, live mice, a dead squirrel, fish, a kielbasa and an inflatable doll when Hamilton scored a goal. Hamilton supporters traditionally pelt the opposing goalie with tennis balls whenever their team scores the first goal in its home hockey opener. Not only did fans escalate the assault against Wesleyan, but they also added a second bombardment because Hamilton's first goal came only 12 seconds into the game. Late-arriving fans who missed it lobbed more debris onto the ice after the Continentals scored again. During Greenhill High School's homecoming game against Oakridge High last October, the Texas school tried to jam appearances by its marching band, drill team, cheerleaders and homecoming court into the allotted 30 minutes after letting each senior player have his picture taken with his parents. When officials told Greenhill coach Malcolm Walker that halftime was over, even though the show was barely half over, the school decided to let everybody perform and face the consequences. After a 58-minute half-time, the Hornets, who led 21-0, were given 46 delay-of-game penalties, totaling 230 yards. Even so, Greenhill won, 43-7.Overcoming Objectivity During the final three minutes of a Texas high school regional semifinal game, Plano East rallied from a 41-17 deficit to take a 44-41 lead, only to see Tyler John Tyler run back a kickoff with 11 seconds left to win, 48-44. The exciting finish drove the television announcers wild. When Plano East recovered one of three onside kicks, for instance, Denny Garver screamed, "They got it again! They got it again! This is unbelievable. Good gosh A'mighty, Joe Friday. Somebody give me something! I'm gonna die!" Someone else in the commented, "I think I just wet my britches. On the final play, when Tyler returned the kickoff 97 yards for the win, guest commentator Mike Zaffuto groaned, "Oh no! Oh no! Oh no! Oh my gosh, no! Come on! No! No! Gosh. God bless those kids. I am sick. I want to throw up."Stiffed During a special draft this spring of players from the Canadian Football Team's defunct Las Vegas team, Ottawa's Rough Riders selected a dead man. "I don't know how it happened," Rough Riders coach Jim Gilstrap said after learning that defensive end Derrell Robertson had died following an auto accident late last year. "The league didn't know until we told them. And we didn't know until a week ago, when we couldn't find him."One for the Record Books When Montgomery County, Md., accused Rodolfo Ovido Gutierrez, 24, of killing his girlfriend by stabbing her 199 times with an icepick, prosecutor James Trusty noted that the number of stab wounds set a new state record for a homicide victim.Pungent Collateral A small branch of the Cariplo bank outside Cremona, Italy, uses a warehouse behind the bank as a vault for its primary assets: 45,000 wheels of Grana Padana cheese. The cheese is security for loans. "Every one of these is worth 500,000 lira ($315)," says Primo Cominetti, who oversees the cheese. "And they can't be touched by the owner until the bank gives us permission." The cheese must age for 12 to 18 months before it is ready for market. Since most farmers cannot afford to tie up their capital for so long, they deposit their cheese with the bank in exchange for a certificate good for a loan. The farmer gets about 70 percent of its wholesale value. The remaining 30 percent is interest on the loan and the cost of caring for the cheese. Indeed, the warehouse offers such good service that some dairies pay the bank to age their cheese there without taking out a loan.Compiled by Roland Sweet from the nation's press. Send clippings, citing source and date, to POB 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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