Introducing FitBigot! – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

Introducing FitBigot! – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

Are you looking for a device to count the number of backward steps we’ve taken as individuals and as a society? Well, look no further: FitBigot’s new line of regression trackers will keep you comfortably aware of how far we haven’t come.

By measuring your heart rate, sleep patterns, microaggressions, regular-sized aggressions, sexist Slack messages, and drunken racial slurs, FitBigot measures how closely you resemble a Confederate soldier, or if you’re motivated, an editor at the National Review.

Each day FitBigot will provide recommendations on how you can better drag us back to a time before minorities and women received the right to vote. Let’s say you spend happy hour with some coworkers and completely ignore the sensible ideas of one of your female subordinates. Your device will credit you for your chauvinism and likely suggest that you attribute her ideas to Jake, the new intern, or one of the bar’s busboys. With FitBigot, you can always regress harder.

Once FitBigot gets to know your brand of atavistic tendencies, it will create personalized regression workouts proven to narrow your mind faster than you can reread Atlas Shrugged. Climate Change denier? FitBigot will have you railing against other so-called scientific “facts” on all social media platforms (but mostly Facebook), starting with the theory of evolution and ending with whatever you think is the biggest threat to a strictly biblical interpretation of our universe.

If you wear your tracker to sleep, it will analyze any subconscious stirrings and calculate your R.E.M — a proprietary FitBigot statistic that tallies the dreams in which you join a Rural Evening Militia.

What’s more, we made FitBigot fun for the whole family by including a hyper-competitive Adventure Mode. Adventures are challenging regressive activities like telling the next Muslim you see to “go back to Syria,” with bonus points awarded if said Muslim is actually Sikh and from New Jersey.

FitBigot comes equipped with over 200 years of battery life; you’ll only have to recharge after you help restore our planet to one that’s even more perfect for you, people who look like you, and those who recognize your obvious supremacy. Remember, FitBigot is apolitical, so you’re bound to find one that’s right for the kind of nostalgia porn you’re into — as long as you’re a white person. Speaking of white, the FitBigot will be available in two colorways: pre-suffrage alabaster, and post-Bannon ivory.

Using the companion iOS and Android FitBigot Community app, you can check out the leaderboards to see how you stack up against other like-minded users, including but not limited to several Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, your very intolerant brother-in-law, and the President of the United States. What could be more satisfying than seeing your name above the leader of the free world’s?1 Nothing, that’s what.

Buy your FitBigot today and keep tomorrow from ever happening!


Monologue: Lois Lane Explains White Male Privilege to Superman – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

Monologue: Lois Lane Explains White Male Privilege to Superman – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

You walked into the Daily Planet with a résumé listing only the name of your high school and a weekend job helping out your dad as a “farm hand.” Perry White offered you a job as a full-time reporter on the spot.

I went to a four-year university and was managing editor of the school paper when it won a Pacemaker award, and I had to interview with Perry three times. It wasn’t until I handed him a story I wrote on spec detailing an underground dog-fighting ring run by a powerful Metropolis alderman, one that I went undercover for two months to break, that he agreed to give me a three-week tryout.

After a while, watching you with newspaper ink stains on your face, bumbling your way around the halls of the Daily Planet, constantly spilling hot coffee on yourself, I felt sorry for you. Maybe I had been unfair. So I worked hard on myself. I spoke to a therapist, took up meditation. At last, I found I was able to stop resenting you and just accept you as a sweet, wholesome guy. You couldn’t help it if you were a dopey hack reporter.

Then, when the mine explosion happened last month, I watched as Superman arrived to save workers from under the collapsed mine. I cheered along with everyone else in the office. The next morning, you — Clark Kent — miraculously have a front-page story so detailed it could only have been written by someone who witnessed the event firsthand.

“You saved us, Superman,” the chubby one shouted. Another, less chubby but still out of shape Chileen (sic) miner said, “I apologize if we smell, Superman. We were down the mineshaft for quite a while.” Superman thought that yes, they did stink, but he was too polite to agree. Superman momentarily fought off a sneeze. That’s how dusty these Chillenes (sic) are he thought, dusty enough to tangle with my super nose.

Also, there are other sections where you literally slip back and forth between the tense of the first and third person.

Suddenly, it’s all right there for me, the barefaced truth. You are Superman. Your story with poor grammar and weak sentence structure is on the front page, and my piece on Lex Luthor’s corrupt Presidential campaign, one that I spent eight weeks fact-checking and verifying as staffers kept popping up murdered, is relegated to below the fold on page four.

I chose this career because it allows me some independence. I can work a story like no one else, mine those details for the big picture, and knock a powerful company, politician, or special interest on its ass… but sorry, I can’t fly! I can’t simply turn on my super hearing and listen in on a conversation between hired goons. I can’t dangle thugs from the side of a building, drop them, and then fly quickly to catch them before they hit the ground and repeat the process until they give me the vital information I need for my report. If I want to get a story on nuclear arms trafficking, I have to find a source willing to go on the record, risking their life. My God, do you know how many people I’ve lost, people who trusted me, who put their lives on the line because they believed in something greater than themselves? I don’t sleep at night thinking about all of those I’ve lost.

Look, no one is saying you’re not a hero, Clark. You certainly are. But you benefit directly from the advantages you have been given by a patriarchal society that values a white male voice above a woman’s, and also from the Earth’s Sun from which you derive all your extraordinary powers. And I have much more to worry about than some green, glowing rock. I’m the same bad-ass bitch, glasses on or glasses off.

35 Years Of American Death | FiveThirtyEight

35 Years Of American Death | FiveThirtyEight

Researchers have long argued that where we live can help predict how we die. But how much our location affects our health is harder to say, because death certificates, the primary source for mortality data, are not always complete. They frequently contain what public health experts call “garbage codes”: vague or generic causes of death that are listed when the specific cause is unknown. Garbage codes make it difficult to track the toll of a disease over time or to look for geographical patterns in how people die. The data shown in the map above represents one research group’s effort to fill in these gaps.

That group — the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation — designed a statistical model that uses demographic and epidemiological data to assign more specific causes of death to the records containing garbage codes in the National Vital Statistics System, which gathers death records (and other information such as births) from state and local jurisdictions into a national database. The institute also age-standardized the data so that places with larger populations of older people, who die at higher rates, do not have inflated numbers. The result is a set of more complete estimates of mortality across the country, one revealing regional and local variations in causes of death.

Such regional trends are evident in the list of the 20 counties or parishes with the highest mortality rates. Rural Appalachia stands out; nine counties in Kentucky and three in West Virginia make the list. Rising cancer rates and increased deaths from substance abuse in Appalachia have kept mortality rates high there, even while overall mortality rates in the U.S. have gone down. After Appalachia, the region that features most heavily is the Dakotas. All of the counties in North and South Dakota in the top 20 (Buffalo, Oglala Lakota and Todd counties in South Dakota and Sioux County in North Dakota) are entirely or almost entirely made up of American Indian reservation lands. American Indian populations have historically suffered from poor health outcomes and challenges in health care access, contributing to high mortality rates.

Still, some outliers are simply anomalies. The county with the highest overall estimated mortality rate in 2014 was Union County, Florida. Union stands out from its neighbors in North Florida for a particular reason: It’s home to the Union Correctional Institution and the Florida Department of Corrections Reception and Medical Center, which provides inpatient medical care for state prisoners across Florida. These prisoners artificially raise Union County’s mortality rate.

As for the counties with the lowest mortality rates, 18 out of 20 fall west of the Mississippi. Colorado appears most often on the list, with six counties, including the three healthiest: Summit, Pitkin and Eagle. These counties lie adjacent to each other west of Denver, among the peaks of the Rocky Mountains. Many ski resorts and recreational areas fall within their borders.

Many of the counties with the lowest mortality rates are sparsely populated (the other two counties in the top five, Billings County in North Dakota and Hinsdale County in Colorado, both feature large swaths of federally protected land and in the 2010 census had fewer than 1,000 people), and others are particularly wealthy. Fairfax County, Virginia, and Los Alamos County, New Mexico, both had median household incomes above $100,000 in 2015.

Differing mortality rates between counties is only part of the story this data tells — we can also use it to determine how common a cause of death is. While rates for each cause vary significantly across the U.S., overall, Americans are much more likely to die from some causes than others.

The causes of death are ranked from most to least common in the table above. They range widely in impact: Cardiovascular diseases, the largest cause of death, resulted in about 250 deaths per 100,000 people in 2014, while there were fewer than 0.1 deaths per 100,000 from neglected tropical diseases. But the most recent mortality rate is only part of the story for any given cause of death. Deaths from cardiovascular disease in the U.S. have declined steadily since 1980, while deaths from other causes, such as neurological disorders (which include diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia) and mental and substance abuse disorders, have risen significantly. On the chart, the trend lines show which causes are on the rise and which are declining.

A note about these estimates

While accounting for “garbage codes” gives a clearer picture of mortality in the U.S., these estimates come with some uncertainty. For counties with very small populations or causes with few deaths, such as “forces of nature, war and legal intervention,” the uncertainty is greater. The impacts of Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast in 2005 are obvious on the map, for example, but slightly higher rates also seem to spread across the country that year. An event as catastrophic as Hurricane Katrina can create a kind of ripple of mortality as people flee the disaster (resulting in a strain on resources elsewhere) or if people from other places happen to be in harm’s way at the time of the event (since deaths are counted in the county where people lived rather than where they died). But the slightly higher rates across the country are at least in part a side effect of the model, which sees such a dramatic rise in deaths in one place (the Gulf Coast) as an indication that otherwise similar places should also have higher mortality rates for that cause of death. The full data set for all causes of death, including uncertainty ranges, is available on the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation website.

The institute’s data was also affected by changing administrative boundaries. In order to maintain consistency, counties that were newly split apart during these 35 years were kept intact in the analysis. This is most noticeable in Virginia, where many cities are administratively independent from counties but have the same mortality rates as the county surrounding them because they were evaluated together.


The cause of death categories in this project were developed by the institute for the Global Burden of Disease Study. They are mutually exclusive; no cause of death falls into more than one category. We will update the map above as the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation releases more detailed data for each category (data on individual cancers is already available). All causes of death included in this project are listed below.

Cardiovascular diseases: rheumatic heart disease; ischemic heart disease; cerebrovascular disease; hypertensive heart disease; cardiomyopathy and myocarditis; atrial fibrillation and flutter; aortic aneurysm; peripheral vascular disease; endocarditis; other cardiovascular and circulatory diseases

Cancer: esophageal cancer; stomach cancer; liver cancer; larynx cancer; tracheal, bronchus and lung cancer; breast cancer; cervical cancer; uterine cancer; prostate cancer; colon and rectal cancer; lip and oral cavity cancer; nasopharynx cancer; other pharynx cancers; gallbladder and biliary tract cancer; pancreatic cancer; malignant skin melanoma; non-melanoma skin cancer; ovarian cancer; testicular cancer; kidney cancer; bladder cancer; brain and nervous system cancer; thyroid cancer; mesothelioma; Hodgkin lymphoma; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; multiple myeloma; leukemia; other cancers

Neurological disorders: Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias; Parkinson’s disease; epilepsy; multiple sclerosis; motor neuron disease; other neurological disorders

Diabetes, blood and endocrine diseases: diabetes mellitus; acute glomerulonephritis; chronic kidney disease; urinary diseases; gynecological diseases; hemoglobinopathies and hemolytic anemias; endocrine; metabolic, blood and immune disorders

Chronic respiratory diseases: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; pneumoconiosis; asthma; interstitial lung disease and pulmonary sarcoidosis; other chronic respiratory diseases

Self-harm and interpersonal violence

Unintentional injuries: falls; drowning; fire, heat and hot substances; poisonings; exposure to mechanical forces; adverse effects of medical treatment; animal contact; foreign body; other unintentional injuries; environmental heat and cold exposure

Cirrhosis and other chronic liver diseases

Digestive diseases: Peptic ulcer disease; gastritis and duodenitis; appendicitis; paralytic ileus and intestinal obstruction; inguinal, femoral and abdominal hernia; inflammatory bowel disease; vascular intestinal disorders; gallbladder and biliary diseases; pancreatitis; other digestive diseases

Transport injuries: road injuries; other transport injuries

Mental and substance use disorders: schizophrenia; alcohol use disorders; drug use disorders; eating disorders

Other non-infectious diseases: congenital anomalies; skin and subcutaneous diseases; sudden infant death syndrome

Neonatal disorders: neonatal preterm birth complications; neonatal encephalopathy due to birth asphyxia and trauma; neonatal sepsis and other neonatal infections; hemolytic disease and other neonatal jaundice; other neonatal disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders: rheumatoid arthritis; other musculoskeletal disorders

HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis

Other infectious diseases: sexually transmitted diseases excluding HIV; hepatitis; other infectious diseases

Nutritional deficiencies: protein-energy malnutrition; iodine deficiency; iron deficiency anemia; other nutritional deficiencies

Maternal disorders: maternal hemorrhage; maternal sepsis and other maternal infections; maternal hypertensive disorders; maternal obstructed labor and uterine rupture; maternal abortion, miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy; indirect maternal deaths; late maternal deaths; other maternal disorders; maternal deaths aggravated by HIV/AIDS

Forces of nature, war and legal intervention

Neglected tropical diseases and malaria: malaria; Chagas disease; leishmaniasis; African trypanosomiasis; schistosomiasis; cysticercosis; cystic echinococcosis; dengue; yellow fever; rabies; intestinal nematode infections; other neglected tropical diseases; Ebola

[Go to the web page for an interactive map to see mortality rates for different causes over time across the country by county.]

The Irish Constellation – The New Yorker

The Irish Constellation – The New Yorker

Now that everybody’s confessing everything, I’m ready to confess that, until about five years ago, I was under the impression that the constellation Orion was the constellation O’Ryan. I thought of it as the Irish constellation, sort of the way that actors refer to “Macbeth” as “the Scottish play.” Had I never seen “Orion” in print? I had, in fact, but I suppose I thought it was pronounced “oar-e-un.” I thought it was some other constellation that had nothing to do with the constellation people were referring to when they pointed to the sky and said what I heard as “Do you see O’Ryan’s Belt?” This is not so crazy. I know somebody who, not having been read to much when he was a child, grew up thinking that “Pat the Bunny” was a book about a bunny named Pat. These things happen.

My customary answer to the question about whether I could see the belt, by the way, was “No.” I have been called a constellation denier. I don’t accept the term. Like many people who are called climate-change deniers—say, the people in our government who are now in charge of doing something about climate change—I prefer to say that the jury is still out. There may be definable clusters of stars up there which can be seen from Earth as constellations, or there may not be. If there are, I can’t make them out. When somebody asks me if I can see Orion’s Belt, I sometimes vary a simple “No” with something like “No, but if you look a bit to the left I think you can see Penelope’s Pants Suit.”

It was during one of those Penelope’s Pants Suit occasions that the misapprehension I’d been under was revealed to me. When asked if I could see the belt, I said, after shaking my head, “I always pictured an Irish guy wearing suspenders instead of a belt, anyway.”

“What Irish guy are you talking about?” my companion said.

I’d rather not relate the rest of the conversation. It still stings.

Before that revelation, how did I imagine a constellation had come to be named O’Ryan? I hadn’t given it much thought, but when I discovered a list of the eighty-eight recognized constellations that was compiled, in 1922, by the International Astronomical Union, I came up with a couple of ways it might have happened. It’s certainly within the realm of possibility that the people in charge of the meeting at which that list was adopted operated the way they would have operated as commissioners in New York’s City Hall. According to the New York way of keeping the peace, if you cancel alternate-side-of-the-street parking regulations on Yom Kippur, because Orthodox Jews are prohibited from driving on that day, then, fair being fair, you also cancel the regulations on the Feast of the Assumption, and on Greek Orthodox Holy Thursday, and, eventually, on Eid al-Adha. So someone could have stood up in the meeting of astronomers and said, “How come the Italians are the only ones with a constellation? Canes Venatici sounds like the newly elected mayor of Salerno.” At which point, the chairman starts handing out constellations to the Greeks (Camelopardalis) and the Spaniards (Dorado) and, eventually, the Irish.

But it’s difficult to picture astronomers as New York pols. And I don’t think an astronomer would quietly slip his girlfriend’s name onto a constellation—although I must say that the presence on the list of a constellation named Norma gives me pause.

It also may have been that constellations are sometimes named for the astronomers who discovered them, the way a medical researcher’s name is sometimes attached to the disease he managed to isolate. There’s one name on the list that supports this supposition. As I imagine it, the most distinguished astronomer at the meeting is Professor Szczepański, of the University of Lodz. It’s agreed to name a constellation he discovered for him—although, since there is some concern that his surname is too difficult to spell, they use his first name. Thus, the constellation Leo.

After Professor Szczepański’s graceful acceptance speech, a vote is about to be taken on a list of eighty-seven constellations. But a voice is heard from the back of the room: “Sure, and there’s one more.” The speaker is a small man with a striking resemblance to the Irish character actor Barry Fitzgerald. (As it happens, Fitzgerald was only half Irish and was born William Shields. But if you need to imagine a stage Irishman who starts sentences with “Sure, and” or “Begorra,” he’s your guy.) The comment is met with skepticism, but then the astronomers look up to where the Barry Fitzgerald character is pointing. (The meetings, for obvious reasons, are always held outdoors, at night.) For a while, nobody can make it out.

Then Leo Szczepański says, “I think I can see someone pointing.”

“Begorra,” the Fitzgerald look-alike says. “It’s me uncle telling that gob-shite Callahan to keep his sheep on his side of the feckin’ fence.”

“And what is your uncle’s name?” Professor Szczepański asks.

“Sure and begorra, it’s O’Ryan.”

List: 10 Sociopathic Traits to Nurture in Your Child for Huge Success – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

List: 10 Sociopathic Traits to Nurture in Your Child for Huge Success – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

How many times have you told your little one that he or she could be president of the United States someday? Translate that sentiment into reality. By following these parenting tips, you can ensure that he or she will have the skills and temperament to amass great wealth, connect with influential people world-wide, and eventually become the most powerful man, or less likely, woman in the world.

1. Parasitic Lifestyle

Babies are nothing but parasites, literally living off your teat. It takes lots of work to feed, diaper, and wipe their asses a hundred times a day, but keep at it well into their twenties and thirties. Their parasitic talents take decades to mature. With persistence, your little tike’s neediness will transform into the psychic ability to drain the energy from a room full of people, or a nation, leaving them floundering like fish starving for water.

2. Superficial Charm

When little Suzy hugs your neck, says in her sweetest voice that you’re the best mommy in the world, and begs to eat cookies for breakfast all in the same breath, praise her manipulative nature. Encourage her to keep honing her charms. Give her some tips on the fine skill of seduction: wearing low cut tops, tight fitting dresses, and lots of lip gloss. Today it’s a cookie, 40 years from now, the presidency.

3. Impulsivity

How many times has your three-year-old woken you at 2 AM screaming, “I want to watch TV now!” Instead of scolding Billy, hand him the remote, a bucket of popcorn, and a Mountain Dew as a reward for his impulsivity. This is where many middle class families fail to raise future billionaires because they teach delayed gratification. Such a loser move. Impulsivity is essential to enabling him to pounce on, and exploit lucrative opportunities at play dates and beyond.

4. Grandiose Self Image

By age four your Katie will engage in elaborate make-believe stories, claiming herself queen of the castle (formally your house), and you the jester. Play along. Not only is make-believe an important developmental stage, but if she plans on becoming president someday, she needs to think big and like a despot.

5. Pathological Lying

Has your five-year-old ever said, “No, I didn’t paint the dog blue,” while shaking her blue jazz hands at you. Wonderful! Tell her that lying is a necessary skill for succeeding in kindergarten and Senate hearings. If she can conquer this skill, she can conquer the world.

6. Poor Behavior Control

Poor behavior control comes naturally to your impulsive seven-year-old car thief. Who knew he could even drive? Wrap your arm around Tommy and tell him how proud you are for showing leadership skills so young.

7. Failure to Accept Responsibility

When the cops show up and Tommy blames the neighbor for stealing the car, recognize that this as a teachable moment. Have a heart to heart about his actions and how being convicted of grand larceny will cost the neighbor his job, house, and wife. There’s no greater father-son bonding moment than sharing a good laugh about another person’s misfortunes.

8. Promiscuous Sexual Behavior

Talking to your tweens about sex is a squeamish topic for most parents, but promoting promiscuity can be fun. Celebrate Jill’s ninth birthday with a boy/girl sleep over party. Teach them fun games like Spin the Bottle and Seven Minutes in Heaven. Make sure not to supervise. Promiscuity is an important pillar of success: seduce your way to the top, or blackmail your way there. Who cares how you get there, just get there.

9. Lack of Empathy

When ten-year-old Jimmy locks his five-year-old sister in a dark closet while giving voice to the torture and beheading of her Barbie village, your first instinct might be to call a shrink. Put the phone down. Empathy is a wonderful trait for nuns, veterinarians, and therapists, but it is sure to lead Jimmy into poverty. Caring about the feelings of others who have less than you or nothing at all, will lead him to join the Peace Corps or try to save the world by inventing a pocket water filtration system. If you want a winner on your hands, nurture his inner savage.

10. Sensitive to Criticism

No teen wants to hear your voice — especially when criticizing her poor judgment for hitch hiking to California during finals. Hey, Zoe made it back alive, didn’t she? Apologize for upsetting her and speaking without permission. Vow never to do it again. Her tolerance for criticism will narrow to zilch while her need for non-stop flattery from a world-wide audience will grow exponentially.

By nurturing these ten traits in your child, you are ensuring their future success whether it’s in business, reality TV, or ascending to the White house throne.

Release Form for Leading Subjects in Investigative Podcasts – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

Release Form for Leading Subjects in Investigative Podcasts – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

I hereby grant Producer the right to use my name, likeness, voice, and interview. I further grant the right to reproduce or edit materials however Producer sees fit, knowing full well this will be my sole legacy on Earth.

I assert I am one of the following: a suspected murderer, a misunderstood genius, an unapologetic racist, a defensive cop, a man with a funny name, a red herring, a mystic whose religious beliefs will appear droll to an educated, liberal audience, a co-producer who threw themselves into the story unnecessarily.

I acknowledge that my life, which I once held as a unique experience, will now be repurposed and punned in sub-Reddit groups and fan discussion spin-off podcasts.

If deceased, I allow Producer to dig up the sexual ghosts from my past, including but not limited to my former crushes, lovers, one-night stands, and hopefully, BDSM fetishists, whether the material uncovered by Producer is relevant or not.

If imprisoned, I grant Producer the right to broadcast that automated inmate message to drive home the sadness of my life.

I understand that Producer may need to sleep on my couch over the course of the many years it takes to complete the story on a public radio budget. On said house visits, I agree to patiently listen to Producer’s forced metaphor comparing the murder being investigated to the death of the relationship Producer is fleeing in New York for this assignment.

I will not laugh when Producer records sound of shoes crunching on frost-covered crabgrass for the purpose of scene-setting Foley.

I authorize Producer to conduct any stake-out or retracing of timelines deemed necessary, instead of going through proper law enforcement or legal defense channels, which would result, without a doubt, in less-good tape.

I acknowledge that Producer will take one keepsake from home such as a coin, framed photograph, yearbook, dried up flowers, funny coaster with my life motto printed on it, or hidden gold to remember me, his journalistic muse.

I will render all promotional services upon release of show, assuming I’m alive and not missing, including Slate interviews, late-night talk show appearances, and voiceover animation gigs up to and until Producer deems my participation not necessary and/or a distraction from Producer’s own rising star.

In public appearances, I will defend Producer against the primary backlash and also the backlash that follows the post-backlash return to grace.

Above all else, I ascertain that I have enough backstory, hidden quirks, and poetic musings to stretch my story to a minimum of six, but preferably, eight-episode season in perpetuity.

First Map-Based Car Navigation System Debuted 14 Years Before GPS – IEEE – The Institute

First Map-Based Car Navigation System Debuted 14 Years Before GPS – IEEE – The Institute

With smartphones and built-in GPS, many drivers now take in-car navigation for granted. But Honda developed a navigation system in 1981—14 years before GPS was fully operational. The company’s Electro Gyrocator [above] was the world’s first map-based automotive navigation system.

The system has been named an IEEE Milestone. Administered by the IEEE History Center and supported by donors, the milestone program recognizes outstanding technical developments around the world.

Sold as an option for the 1981 Honda Accord and Honda Vigor vehicles, the Electro Gyrocator was based on inertial navigation technology using gyro and mileage sensors.

The vehicle’s location was represented by a moving dot on a 15-centimeter cathode-ray-tube display, with transparent road-map sheets overlaying the screen to show the driver where the car was on the road. The CRT display was mounted on the dashboard.

The route was displayed on the green screen; the vehicle position (a large round mark) and vehicle direction (a cross) were displayed at the edge.

Honda developed a number of devices to make the Electro Gyrocator work, including a gyroscope that had two wires in a stream of circulating helium. When the vehicle moved straight ahead, helium hit both wires equally, keeping them at the same temperature. When the vehicle turned, the flow of helium deviated to produce a temperature difference between the two wires. An onboard computer could detect that difference and translate it into directional information. Engineers at Honda designed and built the computer as well as its operating system.

Using the data plus mileage data from a sensor attached to the transmission, the 16-bit computer calculated the car’s position and direction of travel, with brief intervals between calculations. Calculated results were written in a data table, enabling the display to enlarge, reduce, and rotate pictures of traveled courses shown on the screen at the touch of a button.

At the time, it was impractical for the onboard computer to store all the data needed for digitized maps, so Honda worked with a mapmaker to produce transparent overlays for the system. When the route traveled reached the edge of a map overlay, the driver or passenger could switch it out for another. Inertial navigation is not as accurate as GPS, but the driver could manually adjust the map’s position and angle, and the position of the dot, to keep the dot on the map.

The helium gas-rate gyroscope and other technologies developed for the Gyrocator led to several patents. In addition, IEEE Member Tsuneo Takahashi, a researcher at Honda during the system’s development, received the 2013 IEEE Medal for Environmental and Safety Technologies “for pioneering the development of navigation technology in automobiles.”

The Electro Gyrocator was offered as an upgrade for late-1981 models. The feature cost US $2,746 (more than $7,000 in today’s money)—almost a quarter of the car’s total price.

The Honda Electro Gyrocator was honored on 2 March during a ceremony at the Honda Collection Hall, in Motegi, Japan. A plaque mounted in an exhibition room reads:

The world’s first map-based automotive navigation system, ‘Honda Electro Gyrocator,’ was released in 1981. This system was based on inertial navigation technology using mileage and gyro sensors. It pioneered the on-board display of the destination path of a moving vehicle on overlaying transparent road-map sheets, and contributed to the advancement of automotive navigation systems.

This app exposes the white-collar criminals all around you

This app exposes the white-collar criminals all around you

Looking through the glossy lens of the New York Police Department’s crime tracking data, compiled in Compstat 2.0, you’d think that the denizens of Wall Street were model citizens. Sure, there are a few scuffles in the past month, some petty pilfering at the corner stores. But no sweeping fraud, no tax evasion, no market manipulation, insider trading, counterfeiting or employment discrimination.

To see the real criminality on Wall Street, you have to look through another lens entirely.

A new app and website called White Collar Crime Risk Zones, which goes by the initials WCCRZ, shows exactly what neighborhoods are chock full of financial criminals, how much damage they’re doing and even what they might look like. Using data from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a team of technologists affiliated with the left-wing magazine New Inquiry created the open-source tool so that anyone can put a face on the labyrinthian world of white collar crime hidden in their own home town.

The app was created in the image of so-called “predictive policing” apps — the new spectrum of apps and tools used by police to map out where crime is likely to occur so that police chiefs know what neighborhoods to patrol. Because these systems are informed by historical data about where police are already sensing crime and arresting offenders, any biases in police behavior, including racial biases, are affirmed and amplified by these crime-predicting algorithms.

“The truth is that all of those systems use biased data sets and reinforce precisely the biases that they emerge from,” Sam Lavigne, a technologist and the New Inquiry’s special projects editor who helped develop WCCRZ, said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “And that the police departments making use of those systems work behind a veil of objectivity.”

So the WCCRZ team, which included Lavigne, the New Inquiry publisher Francis Tseng and data scientist Brian Clifton, built out a “Most Likely Suspect” feature, scraping the LinkedIn profiles of top executives in that area to come up with a facial average. The app slaps a new face on crime: a thousand algorithmically generated, grinning white fraudsters.

It may not be the face of crime trotted out on the evening news, but that’s the point. The app reframes the common cultural code for criminality — typically black, poor and uneducated — around corporations and neighborhoods that more accurately reflect where crime happens and who’s committing it.

Many apps have done more harm than good when it comes to crime and poverty. Silicon Valley-style founders have spilled thousands of lines of code creating apps that warn users of the shady neighborhoods in their cities — apps like SketchFactor, which came under fire for dressing up racial paranoia behind a sleek user interface.

“Those aren’t shady neighborhoods, those are neighborhoods where people live,” Lavigne said. “The shady neighborhoods are where no one lives and all of this financial crime is happening. What’s going on there is pretty shady.”

So WCCRZ notices when users enter one of these shady financial districts and sends a push notification, telling them to be on high alert for financial crime. White collar crime may not strike from a dark alley — as the urban paradigm teaches people to expect from criminal neighborhoods — but the notification serves as a reminder that broken windows aren’t the only way of knowing that criminal activity is afoot.


Predicting Financial Crime: Augmenting the Predictive Policing Arsenal

Webroot flags Windows as malware, creates chaos for customers

Webroot flags Windows as malware, creates chaos for customers

A Webroot antivirus signature update, which was supposedly live for only 13 minutes yesterday afternoon, flagged crucial Windows system files as malicious, causing chaos and 15 pages of customer complaints so far.

The havoc began after Webroot flagged some Windows system files as the malware Win32.Trojan.Gen and moved key system files to quarantine. As legit files were shuffled around, thousands upon thousands of Webroot customers experienced OS errors or crashed Windows systems.

Individuals with home editions, as well as managed service providers (MSP) running business editions, took to Twitter and Webroot forums to express their displeasure. Tier one customer support personnel probably wanted to tear their hair out.

At the same time that Windows was flagged as malicious, Webroot started blocking access to valid websites such as Facebook and Bloomberg.

After the bad detection rule was live for 13 minutes, anonymous security tweeter SwiftOnSecurity said a Webroot system kill switch kicked in to stop the anomalous detections. Even though files signed by Microsoft had been moved, there were enough Windows files left to allow systems to boot and to restore quarantined files.

Webroot, which has previously claimed that it has about 3 million customers, proposed a false positive fix for small business customers, but many MSPs left unhappy replies. For example, one MSP commenter asked, “How am I supposed to do this across 3 GSM’s with over 3 thousand client sites?”

Another claimed, “As a MSP with over 5600 active licenses, your proposed resolution of manually releasing files from quarantine is a no go.”

At one point yesterday, Webroot started replying to Twitter users with the promise of an upcoming fix, as well as a link to a ransomware presentation. Whether or not that inspired Twitter user Bob Ripley, he tweeted:

@Webroot I seem to have installed a nasty Ransomware app. It’s called Webroot. They already have my money, should I contact the FBI?

— Bob Ripley (@M5_Driver) April 24, 2017

This morning, Webroot issued the following statement:

On April 24, Webroot experienced a technical issue affecting some business and consumer customers. A folder that is a known target for malware was incorrectly classified as bad, and Facebook was classified as a phishing site. The Facebook issue was corrected, and the Webroot team is in the process of creating a comprehensive fix for the false positive issue. In the meantime, small business customers and consumers can follow instructions posted in the Webroot Community to address the issue.

Webroot was not breached, and customers are not at risk. Legitimate malicious files are being identified and blocked as normal. We are dedicated to resolving the issue and will provide updates as they are available in the Community.

For some, a “we’re sorry” won’t cut it. One commenter in the Webroot thread claimed, “My technicians, project managers, and developers have been up all night on this and they still have not slept.”

This is not the first time this year that a Webroot update caused systems to crash. In February, a faulty update caused the dreaded Blue Screen of Death for some customers. After the latest fiasco that is currently still not fully resolved for all MSPs, some customers are claiming on Twitter that they’ve had enough and are kicking Webroot to the curb. Depending upon how much money they have wrapped up in Webroot as a “smarter cybersecurity” solution, and how many are actual customers instead of trolls, the growls may just be a result of frustration and aggravation.

If you know anyone adversely affected by Webroot’s temporarily-issued bad rule, then it might be a good time to steer clear of them or to buy them a drink after their present nightmare ends.