Weekend Thoughts - 2.11.17

Image  by  Tom Conger , courtesy of  Creative Commons  licensing.

Image by Tom Conger, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Happy Saturday y'all! Below, I have rounded up some things for you to think about this weekend:

1. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spent $1 billion in 2013 on "behavioral detection" training for its agents to more effectively spot potential terrorists by keeping an eye out for a list of "tells" that included things like "a bobbing Adam's apple", "arriving late", "trembling", "yawning", and "being in disguise". The ACLU sued the agency to force it to reveal its internal documents on the program, and even the Government Accounting Office claimed that it was psuedoscience. This week, the ACLU's lawsuit has resulted in a ton of documents confirming that the TSA intentionally racially profiles and otherwise harasses people while using "behavioral detection" as an excuse for doing so. This, combined with the fact that the acting director of the TSA was reassigned in 2015 after agents failed to detect explosives and weapons 95% of the time begs the question—are we really benefitting enough from this security theater that we should allow the agency to continue, or would we be better off shutting them down altogether?

2. Wikipedia has decided to ban the Daily Mail as a source for the encyclopedia's articles in all but "exceptional circumstances" due to the publication's repeated unreliability. Wikipedia's editors cite "Daily Mail's reputation for poor fact checking, sensationalism and flat-out fabrication" as reasons for not allowing its articles to be used as sources for the site's articles. As someone who reads the Daily Mail fairly regularly to find examples of how mainstream media covers the topic of psychedelics inaccurately, I can definitely agree that most of the articles I read seem are more on the side of "tabloid" than "legitimate news". In my opinion, Wikipedia is making the right move here.

That's all for this week's edition of Weekend Thoughts. Until next week, keep thinking wilder.