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Alex Laird
Leader • Software Creator • Visionary • Learner • [he/him] Engineer @ Twilio
Leader • Software Creator • Visionary • Learner • [he/him] Engineer @ Twilio


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And it's not just the #SBC. Most #Evangelical churches would say the same, and it's deeply troubling.

People are especially chatty, laughing and high-fiving passing strangers. The breeze has an aromatic freshness to it. There's just something in the air.

Must be the weather.


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In honor of #Starbucks planned #RacialBiasTraining, this needs to make the rounds again.

Also, can we maybe just close America on that day and all of us piggy back on that training?


The UN and Oxford Research Group estimate that over 11,000 children have been killed in the conflict in #Syria (latest data from 2014), and UNICEF estimates an additional 400 children have been arrested and tortured in Syrian prisons.

In total, over 500,000 people have been killed in the #SyrianCivilWar since it began in 2011, or roughly 200 people every day.

Remind me again why #ChemicalWeapons use was ever our red line? #Congress, where are you?

I’m really curious what #MichaelCohen wants us to believe his business model is.

Consider this: when Netflix started in 1999, its recommendation engine was powered by staff—humans would perused your viewing history and curate a list of other titles you might also like. Advertising pre-machine learning was similarly done.

Now, these processes are fully automated, generated using algorithms based on thousands of data points. While services like #Netflix, #Facebook, and #Amazon (as well as big box stores like #Target) are certainly gathering considerably more data on you than ever before, it’s also worth noting that far less humans than ever before are actually looking at any individuals’ data.

It's important to recognize the distinction between increased data collection and decreased #privacy. The two are not always correlated, at least not in the simplistic ways people often assume.

#Zuckerberg #Congress

More civilians were killed in #Syria’s #ChemicalWeaponsAttack last week (at least 25 killed, 500 injured) than have been allowed into the U.S. in the last year (11).

While the loudest argument against accepting #refugees is that of purported terrorist infiltration, given that doesn’t actually pan out statistically, the most common case made is that they present an undue fiscal burden. So, let’s talk about that in light of the cost of air strikes.

-- Cost of Yesterday's #AirStrike --

According to the Pentagon, 105 missiles were launched against Syria yesterday, 78 of which were fired by the U.S.—59 #Tomahawk (from three U.S. destroyers and one #submarine) and 19 #JASSM (from two U.S. bombers)—I'm only including the cost of the U.S.'s role in this strike.

Tomahawks cost an estimated $1.8M per missile and JASSMs cost an estimated $1.2M per missile, which means the total cost of these missiles would be around $129M. This is only the cost of procurement, so it says nothing of maintenance or usage cost (estimates suggest firing a single missile from a #destroyer can cost several hundred thousand dollars, but I'm not going to include this in the final cost as we can't narrow it down further than that).

The operating cost of the two #B1Lancer bombers, which were likely deployed to Al Uldeid US air base earlier this month, is about $57,000/hr.

The operating cost for the U.S. destroyers and submarine are harder to come by, but we do know that they were the #USSMonterey, #USSLaboon, #USSHiggins, and #USSJohnWarner, and together they enlist more than 850 personnel. The largest of the fleet, the #USSMonterey, has a top speed of 37.4 mph and consumes more than 1,000 gallons of fuel per hour. Given we can't narrow this down to a reliable cost estimate, I'm also not going to include it in the final figure.

What this tells us is that, conservatively, this air strike cost the U.S. alone more than $129M, not including the significant operating costs of ships and planes, personnel wages (which would have also included hours if not days leading up to the hour long strike), etc.

-- Cost of Relocating Refugees --

So, what would it have cost us to relocate the 525 refugees killed and injured in the chemical attack last week? According to the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative organization, the average cost to relocate a Middle Eastern refugee is $64,370 over five years, so an estimated $6.7M in the first year for all of victims of the chemical attack. For the estimated one day cost of our air strike, we could have relocated more than 11,076 Syrian refugees for a year—the cost is even less if the U.S. worked to sponsor asylum seekers into other countries as well.

Here's my point: we are lying to ourselves and others when we claim we aren't granting asylum to refugees for fiscal reasons. We unilaterally authorized a far more expensive air strike (the second authorized by President Trump, and the Obama administration also carried out similar strikes), involved ourselves in another country's civil war, and likely escalated the conflict further (meaning our involvement and air strikes will likely continue). I'm not necessarily saying the strikes themselves were bad (though there is still the question of whether or not chemical weapons were actually used last week). I'm merely trying to illustrate the inconsistency between our insistence that it's not our responsibility to help refugees fleeing war torn regions while we're actively bombing their country and involving ourselves in their military conflicts at the same time—cost is clearly not what is keeping us from quickly accepting those who need our aid the most.

-- Sources --

Bombing another country out of compassion seems a bit disingenuous after we’ve rejected their refugees by the thousands.

"You have zero privacy anywhere. Get over it.” #ScottMcNealy, CEO of #SunMicrosystems in 1999.

To suggest that the companies consuming our data haven’t been telling us of this since the tech boom began is more than a little disingenuous. The real problem is we (and especially our lawmakers) have hardly listened or pushed back in any way.

#Zuckerberg #Facebook #Congress

#SenatorDuncan: “In the essence of time, conservatives are the ones that raise the awareness that their content has been pulled. I don’t see the same awareness being raised by liberal organizations, liberal candidates, or liberal policy statements.”

Then, with all due respect, sir, the problem appears to be that you are only bothering to listen to one set of voices. Black, LGBT, and other minority groups, as well as liberal organizations, are also constantly raising awareness of their content being unfairly pulled from #Facebook.

#Zuckerberg #Congress
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