More Explosions in Austin Area, Police Suspect “Serial Bomber”; Maryland High School Shooting Stopped by School Officer; Self-Driving Uber Vehicle Fatally Strikes Pedestrian; Controversy Over Cambridge Analytica Using Data from Millions of Facebook Users; Illinois School for the Deaf Mourns Death of Student; Major Pipe Leak Causes North Carolina Deaf School to Cancel One Day of Classes; Deaf Bing: In Honor of Axel
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Tuesday, March 20.
I want to thank you all for providing positive comments and support for me and my family as we grieve the loss of our German Shepherd dog, Axel. We’ll miss him forever, and those who have lost a beloved pet knows the feeling.
Life goes on. Ready for news?
There was a fourth explosion in the Austin, TX area on Sunday night at a residential area, then another, fifth explosion today just after midnight at a FedEX facility near San Antonio.
The one on Sunday night was placed by a fence with a tripwire attached to it.
Two men, aged 22 and 23, were riding/walking with their bicycles when they hit the wire, triggering the explosion. Both were seriously injured (one of them had nails embedded in his knees) — but both will survive.
The one this morning was in a package that was mailed from someone in Austin to an address in Austin. It exploded when it was on a conveyor belt, causing one worker to have a concussion.
Austin police and federal agents (FBI, ATF) think there could be a serial bomber, linking it to three other explosions this month that has killed two people, Anthony House and Draylen Mason, and injured two others.
The first three explosions were in packages placed at the front door of people’s homes in East/North Austin, but the recent two were different types of bombs and in different places, which shows the bomber has a high level of knowledge of making bombs and is unpredictable.
Police are warning people in Austin to be on the lookout for any suspicious packages, to not open them and call 911. They also said if you’re out on the streets and notice something out of place, such as a backpack lying on a sidewalk, to not approach it and call 911.
There is a reward of at least $115,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible.
This has given Austin residents (including me) some stress and concerns. Just today the father of Toj Mora, the Daily Moth editor, saw a bomb squad respond to a scene two blocks away from his home. It doesn’t seem like an explosion, but maybe someone called 911 on a suspicious package.
Hope police and federal officers can catch the person(s) responsible as soon as possible.
There was a shooting at the Great Mills High School in south Maryland this morning before classes started. .
The shooter was a male student, Austin Rollins (17) who, with a handgun, shot at a 16-year old female student, who is in critical but stable condition. A bullet also hit a 14-year old boy, who is in stable condition.
The school had a resource officer, Blaine Gaskill, who immediately responded by shooting at him in a hallway. The student shot back at him. The shooter died on scene, while the officer was uninjured.
It is not clear if the shooter died from the officer’s gunshot or if he killed himself.
A sheriff said the shooter and the female student had a previous relationship.
The school was placed on lockdown with students moving to another high school to reunify with family/guardians.
Last week, students from that high school were one of the many that walked out to demand action on school shootings.
It’s terrible to see another school shooting in the news. But this time around, we see that the school officer was able to respond and effectively stop the student before he caused more harm.
On Sunday night, a self-driving Uber vehicle struck and killed a 49-year old woman, Elaine H. as she was walking across a street with her bicycle, outside of a crosswalk. This was in Tempe, Arizona.
The Uber vehicle was a Volvo with various sensors on it to drive itself. It had an operator behind the wheel, and at the time of the impact, the vehicle was driving itself, at 40 mph.
The driver is identified as Rafaela V. News broke today that she is a felon who had prison time for attempted armed robbery. So it’s added to the controversy surrounding Uber.
Uber has suspended self-driving tests in four cities: Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto.
There is now a police investigation and an investigation from the NTSB National Transportation Safety Board.
The Mayor of Tempe, Mark Mitchell, tweeted a statement saying this was tragic and that he agrees with Uber’s decision to stop testing for now. He said he has supported Uber’s testing because it provides transportation options for disabled people and seniors, and that in the past, Uber has obeyed all traffic laws.
Arizona is a state that has embraced self-driving vehicles with light regulations, and there are several other companies doing self-driving car testings there, some with “robot” cars that don’t have a human operator in it.
This incident will bring more questions and concerns on how to make sure this is safe.
Photo of Vasquez from crimeonline.com: http://www.crimeonline.com/2018/03/20/woman-behind-self-driving-uber-that-struck-killed-pedestrian-was-felon-who-served-time-for-armed-robbery-report/
There is a lot of controversy with a company named Cambridge Analytica and how it influenced the 2016 elections and the Brexit vote by harvesting information from 50 million Facebook profiles, without people’s permission.
In 2014, a UK professor, Aleksandr Kogan, developed an app that was designed to collect data from Facebook users by having people take a personality quiz.
About 270,000 people used the app. However, the app also secretly collected data from the participants friends list as well, to obtain 50 million people’s information.
At that time, it was common for apps and games to collect data like this but Facebook has since changed this and limited their access.
Facebook said when they learned of what Kogan’s app had done, they deleted the app and demanded that Kogan delete the data collected.
However, one person leaked proof that the data was never deleted and was actually sold to a company called Cambridge Analytica and its parent company in the U.K., SCL Group.
The whistleblower is a former employee of this company, Christopher Wylie.
Wylie’s former boss was Stephen Bannon (who was the CEO of Donald Trump’s campaign) and the company itself was funded by a billionaire, Robert Mercer, who has donated millions to Republican political candidates.
Wylie stated that the company used the data from Facebook to influence the US presidential election and the Brexit campaign by connecting users’ profiles, preferences, “Likes,” with other information to figure out how to draw voters.
There is also evidence that shows that the Russian government funded Kogan’s research on social media.
Both the US and the UK are investigating this. It’s impacted Facebook’s stock price value, with it dropping over 7%, and many are criticizing Facebook for not doing enough to protect users’ privacy.
The leak from Cambridge Analytica connects Trump, Brexit, Russia, and Facebook.
Cambridge Analytica has denied the leaks and have said they have done nothing wrong.
But today their CEO, Alexander Nix, was suspended by the board for comments he made in an undercover interview by a UK media company.
Nix bragged that his firm helped Donald Trump win and said his company not only did data analysis, but also for other worldwide elections, would set up “traps” by sending women to “catch” political candidates doing inappropriate things on video.
There is a lot more information from the links below, you can also see a in-depth interview with Wylie - it has captions.
[Correction: The video states the parent company of Cambridge Analytica is SLC, but it is actually SCL.]
[CC] The Cambridge Analytica exposé: everything you need to know: https://youtu.be/Q91nvbJSmS4
[CC] Full Interview with Christopher Wylie: https://youtu.be/FXdYSQ6nu-M
On Friday, a high school student at the Illinois School for the Deaf was found dead in her dorm room at 7 a.m. It appears to be a suicide.
The student was identified as Janie Strange by her older sister, Jordan, who posted a message on Facebook on Friday.
“This doesn’t feel real, and I really wish it wasn’t. I feel sick to my stomach but I want to let the world know rather than let rumors swirl. A lot of people know that my sister has struggled with depression since my dad died in 2014, and unfortunately she decided to end that struggle in a devastating and irreversible way today. My beautiful baby sister died today at the age of 17. There is no love like the love of a sister, and Janie I will miss you and love you every day for the rest of my life.”
Very sad. On the ISD website, it has a statement. Here it is:
“We are sad to announce the death of a student at the Illinois School for the Deaf and an investigation is underway. Our thoughts are with the student’s family and friends during this difficult time and we ask that you respect their privacy. Additional counselors are on school grounds to provide support to staff and students.”
This is obviously a very difficult time for the school and for the girl’s family and friends.
If you are struggling with depression or are having thoughts of suicide, or know of someone else who is going through it, you can text 741-741 to be connected to a volunteer counselor. Additionally, you should not hesitate to talk with a counselor or a mental health specialist, and seek out the support you need.
The North Carolina School for the Deaf was closed yesterday because of a major pipe leak at the school’s main building on Sunday.
This was on local news. The article said a pipe in the attic broke, spilling 500 to 1,000 gallons of water through the fourth and third floors, causing ceiling panel damage.
Police showed up due to an alarm, which is how they found the leak and alerted staff.
Staff were able to turn off the pipe and had to replace 232 ceiling tiles and some drywall. There were nobody inside at the time. The impacted areas were students’ dorm rooms.
At least 19 people, some from outside companies, worked to clean up with wet vacs and carpet extractors, as well as using fans and dehumidifiers, and was able to dry it up within four hours.
School administrators said students are able to come back to their dorm rooms yesterday, but for those who rooms were damaged, will be temporarily relocated to other dorms.
Dorm students were able to go back last night and the school was open today.
The head of the maintenance department said this was an anomaly, that he is confident about the school’s piping system.
Deaf Bing: In Honor of Axel
I want to do today’s Deaf Bing in honor of my dog, Axel, who passed away yesterday. I noticed he was on several previous Deaf Bings, so here is a compilation of videos.
[Series of Videos]
I think for Deaf people, our dogs are a mix of pets and service animals, with their ability to hear the door and as protection by alerting us if there is someone around.
They also don’t care about our “deaf” voices and love us for who we are, and they can understand ASL if you train them.
If you have a pet, be it a dog, a cat, or a bird, or some other animal, take the time to hug them, kiss them, and let them know how much they mean to you.
That’s all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!