In a highly illegal practice, breaking several national and state laws against jailing people over private debts, thousands of people are being kidnapped and caged after being turned over to collection agencies.
An estimated 77 million Americans have a debt that has been transferred to a private collection agency. Thousands have ended up in jail over debts as small as $28, with African-Americans and Hispanics the most affected.
The findings come from a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) spanning 26 states and Puerto Rico, published on Wednesday. The practice violates many US state and federal laws, which prohibit the jailing of debtors.
In one case cited in the report, a disabled woman who wears a prosthetic leg was shackled by her waist and feet by two armed US marshals before being put in jail overnight.
“They had a warrant for my arrest and I asked them for what, he didn’t say what it was for. He said, ‘He’ll tell you later,’” said Tracie Mozie of Dickinson, Texas.
Law enforcement officials had entered Mozie’s bedroom to arrest her over a $1,500 federal student loan she took out in 1986 to pay for truck-driving school. The loan had mushroomed to $13,000 with interest and fees. Monzie was unable to pay because she is unemployed and lives on disability benefits.
The ACLU examined more than 1,000 cases in which civil court judges issued arrest warrants for debtors. In some instances the amounts were as small as $28. Letters were sent over bounced checks as low as $2, the ACLU found.
The report is the first ever to analyze the cooperation between courts and the private debt collection industry across the US, according to the ACLU. Private debt collectors use the criminal justice system to try to compel repayments, even when the debts are disputed or when the debtor cannot repay. More than 6,000 debt collection firms operate in the United States, collecting billions of dollars each year.
Following their arrest, debtors may remain in jail for several days until they can pay the bail. In some cases, the ACLU found some people were locked up for as long as two weeks.
This practice violates the many state and federal laws as well as international human rights standards that prohibit the jailing of debtors.
The report finds that the long-term consequences of arrests for both courts and people can be profound and scarring. Arrest warrants can be entered into background check databases which mean they can jeopardize future employment, housing applications, education, and access to security clearances.
In one case in Maryland, an elderly couple were jailed because they did not appear at a district court hearing for which they had never been served notice. Isaac, 83, and his wife Doris owed $2,342.76 to their homeowners’ association and $450 in attorney’s fees. They had never been served with notice of the hearing, which had itself been scheduled because they failed to appear at a post-judgment proceeding for which they also had never been served. While in detention, Isaac began vomiting blood and became non-responsive, according to the report.
While debtors’ prisons were outlawed by Congress almost two hundred years ago, in reality the practice seems to live on.
Did you know that some people use Snapchat to post pictures of themselves? Weird, right? We thought it was only meant for cute dogs, too.
Whether we’re trying to troll them, flatter them, or simply catch them off guard, dogs always seem to know when the camera’s on them – and usually, they act accordingly. Any seasoned Snapchat pro, however, knows that getting the pics is only half the battle; for true Snapchat success, your caption game has to be on point as well. Here at Bored Panda, we have a refined palette for dog Snapchats (see here, here and here), so we truly believe we’ve selected the best of the best once again.
Scroll down to enjoy them all yourself, and be sure to vote for the ones that made you bark with laughter.
“We choose to examine a phenomenon which is impossible, absolutely impossible, to explain in any classical way, and which has in it the heart of quantum mechanics. In reality, it contains the only mystery.”
– Richard Feynman, a Nobel laureate of the twentieth century (Radin, Dean. Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences In A Quantum Reality. New York, Paraview Pocket Books, 2006.)
The concept of “time” is a weird one, and the world of quantum physics is even weirder. There is no shortage of observed phenomena that defy our understanding of logic, bringing into play thoughts, feelings, emotions — consciousness itself — and a post-materialist view of the universe. This fact is no better illustrated than by the classic double slit experiment, which has been used by physicists to explore the role of consciousness in shaping/affecting physical reality. The dominant role of a physical material (Newtonian) universe was dropped the second quantum mechanics entered into the equation and shook up the very foundation of science, as it continues to do today.
“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulating consciousness.”
– Max Planck, theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918
There is another groundbreaking experiment that has tremendous implications for understanding the nature of our reality, and more specifically, the nature of what we call “time.”
It’s known as the “delayed-choice” experiment, or “quantum eraser,” and it can be considered a modified version of the double slit experiment.
To understand the delayed choice experiment, you have to understand the quantum double slit experiment.
Tiny bits of matter (photons, electrons, or any atomic-sized object) are shot toward a screen that has two slits in it. On the other side of the screen, a video camera records where each photon lands. When scientists close one slit, the camera will show us an expected pattern, as seen in the video below. But when both slits are opened, an “interference pattern” emerges — they begin to act like waves. This doesn’t mean that atomic objects are observed as a wave (even though they recently have been observed as a wave), they just act that way. It means that each photon individually goes through both slits at the same time and interferes with itself, but it also goes through one slit, and it goes through the other. Furthermore, it goes through neither of them. The single piece of matter becomes a “wave” of potentials, expressing itself in the form of multiple possibilities, and this is why we get the interference pattern.
How can a single piece of matter exist and express itself in multiple states, without any physical properties, until it is “measured” or “observed”? Furthermore, how does it choose which path, out of multiple possibilities, it will take?
Then, when an “observer” decides to measure and look at which slit the piece of matter goes through, the “wave” of potential paths collapses into one single path. The particle goes from becoming a “wave” of potentials and turns into one particle taking a single route. It’s as if the particle knows it’s being watched. The observer has some sort of effect on the behaviour of the particle.
You can view a visual demonstration/explanation of the double slit experiment here.
This quantum uncertainty is defined as the ability, “according to the quantum mechanic laws that govern subatomic affairs, of a particle like an electron to exist in a murky state of possibility — to be anywhere, everywhere or nowhere at all — until clicked into substantiality by a laboratory detector or an eyeball.”
According to physicist Andrew Truscott, lead researcher from a study published by the Australian National University, the experiment suggests that “reality does not exist unless we are looking at it.” It suggests that we are living in a holographic-type of universe. (source)
“Broadly speaking, although there are some differences, I think Buddhist philosophy and Quantum Mechanics can shake hands on their view of the world. We can see in these great examples the fruits of human thinking. Regardless of the admiration we feel for these great thinkers, we should not lose sight of the fact that they were human beings just as we are.”
For a long time, science and spirituality were considered to be opposing views, creating this polarization of both subjects. You were either a “Man of God” or a “Man of Science,” with no middle ground. However, we’re now observing a merging of both science and spirituality through quantum physics and the study of consciousness, shattering old thought patterns and putting an end to the previous “tug of war” between the two subjects.
Quantum physics is verifying what Buddhists and other spiritual practitioners have been saying for years, helping people to accept their inherent spiritual nature all around the world. We are fundamentally connected to everything around us, and science is finally proving that. Nevertheless, there’s still a lingering dualistic air surrounding science and spirituality: You have religious people denying scientific facts and scientists identifying themselves as self-proclaimed Atheists. However, we’re simultaneously seeing a merging of the two, and it’s truly beautiful.
Many prominent religious figures and scientists have recognized the interconnectedness between spirituality and the scientific community, including the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama has spoken out on numerous occasions about the similarities between quantum physics and spirituality. In fact, he even attended a conference on quantum physics and delivered a speech on the subject.
The Dalai Lama Attends Conference on Quantum Physics and Madhyamaka Philosophical View
In November 2015, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, attended a two-day conference on quantum physics and Madhyamaka philosophy in New Delhi. Madhyamaka translates to “one who holds to the middle” or “the middle way” and belongs to the Mahayana school of thought in Buddhism, which was developed by the Indian Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna during the second century.
The conference explored a variety of topics relating to human consciousness, science, and Buddhism and included a panel of experts, physicists, and monastic scholars. The Dalai Lama was one of the speakers, and according to him, reconciling science and religious philosophies may be essential to the future of our species.
“I hope conferences like this can address two purposes: extending our knowledge and improving our view of reality so we can better tackle our disturbing emotions,” the Dalai Lama said. “Early in my lifetime, science was employed to further material and economic development. Later in the 20th century, scientists began to see that peace of mind is important for physical health and well-being… As a result of combining warm-heartedness with intelligence, I hope we’ll be better equipped to contribute to humanity’s well-being.”
The Dalai Lama also explained how he first came into studying quantum physics:
When I was about 19 or 20 I developed a curiosity about science that had begun with an interest in mechanical things and how they worked. In China in 1954/5 I met Mao Zedong several times. Once he commended me for having a scientific mind, adding that religion was poison, perhaps presuming that this would appeal so someone who was ‘scientific minded’. After coming to India as a refugee I had many opportunities to meet people from many different walks of life, scientists among them. 30 years ago I began a series of dialogues focusing on cosmology, neurobiology, physics, including Quantum Physics, and psychology. These discussions have been largely of mutual benefit. Scientists have learned more about the mind and emotions, while we have gained a subtler explanation of matter.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of this quote is the fact that the Dalai Lama interpreted Zedong’s harsh words against religion as being somewhat appealing to someone with a “scientific mind.” This speaks to the belief system of science and religion being polar opposites. If you were a scientist, it was almost a social norm to make fun of religion, and vice versa, and that still remains true today.
About 15-20 years ago at some meeting, the Indian physicist Raja Ramanna told me that he had been reading Nagarjuna and that he’d been amazed to find that much of what he had to say corresponded to what he understood of quantum physics. A year ago at Presidency College in Kolkata the Vice-Chancellor Prof S Bhattacharya mentioned that according to quantum physics nothing exists objectively, which again struck me as corresponding to Chittamatrin and Madhyamaka views, particularly Nagarjuna’s contention that things only exist by way of designation.
Facial recognition cameras are being used to spy on everyone.
Facial recognition cameras identify marathon runners in real-time
AnyVision claims their facial recognition technology can detect, track and recognize any person of interest with more than 99% accuracy. Their video also claims they can identify marathon runners in real-time.
Soon nowhere will be safe from law enforcement’s prying eyes.
Hey, remember that dog-like robot, SpotMini, that Boston Dynamics showed off last week, the one that opened a door for its robot friend? Well, the company just dropped a new video starring the canine contraption. In this week’s episode, a human with a hockey stick does everything in his power to stop the robot from opening the door, including tugging on the machine, which struggles in an … unsettling manner. But the ambush doesn’t work. The dogbot wins and gets through the door anyway.
The most subtle detail here is also the most impressive: The robot is doing almost all of this autonomously, at least according to the video’s description. Boston Dynamics is a notoriously tight-lipped company, so just the few sentences it provided with this clip is a relative gold mine. That information describes how a human handler drove the bot up to the door, then commanded it to proceed. The rest you can see for yourself. As SpotMini grips the handle and the human tries to shut the door, it braces itself and tugs harder—all on its own. As the human grabs a tether on its back and pulls it back violently, the robot stammers and wobbles and breaks free—still, of its own algorithmic volition.
The robot is able to correct for extreme forces, all the while handling a relatively precise task. Boston Dynamics is, as it says in the title of the video, “testing robustness.” That is, a robot’s ability to deal with our crap. It’s hard as hell to get a robot to not fall on its face, much less fight off a human and go about its business as if nothing happened.
Now, we can’t be sure just how autonomous SpotMini is. A human could still be controlling it with a joystick from afar. But could a robot really do this all on its own? “I think it probably is, because actually teleoperating a robot to behave that way is pretty challenging,” says Noah Ready-Campbell, founder and CEO of Built Robotics. “It’s extremely impressive, no doubt.”
But this idea of a “green” oil company producing “clean” fossil fuels is one that I would call a dangerous myth. Such myths obscure the irreconcilability between burning fossil fuels and environmental protection – yet they continue to be perpetuated to the detriment of our planet.
Myth 1: Climate change can be solved with the same thinking that created it
Measures put in place now to address climate change must be sustainable in the long run. A hasty, sticking plaster approach based on quick fixes and repurposed ideas will not suffice. Yet this is precisely what some fossil fuel companies intend to do. To address climate change, major oil and gas companies are mostly doing what they have historically excelled at – more technology, more efficiency, and producing more fossil fuels.
But like the irresponsible gambler that cannot stop doubling down during a losing streak, the industry’s bet on more, more, more only means more ecological destruction. Irrespective of how efficient fossil fuel production becomes, that the industry’s core product can be 100% environmentally sustainable is an illusion.
Myth 2: Climate change won’t spell the end of the fossil fuel industry
According to a recent report, climate change is one factor among several that has resulted in the end of big oil’s golden years – a time when oil was plenty, money quick, and the men at the top celebrated as cowboy capitalists.
Now, to ensure we do not surpass the dangerous 2°C threshold, we must realise that there is simply no place for “producers” of fossil fuels. After all, as scientists, financial experts, and activists have warned, if we want to avoid dangerous climate change, the proven reserves of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies cannot be consumed.
Myth 3: Renewables investment means oil companies are seriously tackling climate change
Big oil companies’ green investments only produce tiny reductions in their overall greenhouse gas emissions. BP calls these effects “real sustainable reductions” – but they accounted for only 0.3% of their total emissions reductions in 2016, 0.1% in 2015, 0.1% in 2014, and so on.
Myth 4: Hard climate regulation is not an option
One of the oil industry’s biggest fears regarding climate change is regulation. It is of such importance that BP recently hinted at big oil’s exodus from the EU if climate regulation took effect. Let’s be clear, we are talking about “command-and-control” regulation here, such as pollution limits, and not business-friendly tools such as carbon pricing or market-based quota systems.
There are many commercial reasons why the fossil fuel industry would prefer the latter over the former. Notably, regulation may result in a direct impact on the bottom line of fossil fuel companies given incurred costs. But climate regulation is – in combination with market-based mechanisms – required to address climate change. This is a widely accepted proposition advocated by mainstream economists, NGOs and most governments.
Myth 5: Without cheap fossil fuels, the developing world will stop
Total’s ex-CEO, the late Christoph de Margerie, once remarked: “Without access to energy, there is no development.” Although this is probably true, that this energy must come from fossil fuels is not. Consider, for example, how for 300 days last year Costa Rica relied entirely on renewable energy for its electricity needs. Even China, the world’s biggest polluter, is simultaneously the biggest investor in domestic renewables projects.
As the World Bank has highlighted, in contrast to big oil’s claims about producing more fossil fuels to end poverty, the sad truth is that by burning even the current fossil fuel stockpile, climate change will place millions of people back into poverty. The UN concurs, signalling that climate change will result in reduced crop yields, more waterborne diseases, higher food prices and greater civil unrest in developing parts of the world.
Myth 6: Big oil must be involved in climate policy-making
Fossil fuel companies insist that their involvement in climate policy-making is necessary, so much so that they have become part of the wallpaper at international environmental conferences. This neglects that fossil fuels are, in fact, a pretty large part of the problem. Big oil attends international environmental conferences for two reasons: lobbying and self-promotion.
Myth 7: Nature can and must be “tamed” to address climate change
If you mess with mother nature, she bites back. As scientists reiterate, natural systems are complex, unpredictable, and even hostile when disrupted. Climate change is a prime example. Small changes in the chemical makeup of the atmosphere may have drastic implications for Earth’s inhabitants.
Fossil fuel companies reject that natural systems are fragile – as evidenced by their expansive operations in ecologically vulnerable areas such as the Arctic. The “wild” aspect of nature is considered something to be controlled and dominated. This myth merely serves as a way to boost egos. As independent scientist James Lovelock wrote, “The idea that humans are yet intelligent enough to serve as stewards of the Earth is among the most hubristic ever.”