Writing Ivy League Admission Essays for Wealthy Chinese

Working as a black market college admissions essay writer

#School

Mon, September 1st, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

There is some serious cash to be made by writing Ivy League admission essays for the sons and daughters of wealthy Chinese, most of which "communicate primarily through emojis" but can't "write meaningful sentences."

Once I started ghostwriting essays, I quickly went from making $8.50 an hour as a waitress to making $2,000 in two weeks. In one admissions cycle, I wrote over a hundred essays and earned enough money to pay my bills for the rest of the year, pay off my car loan, and—as a treat for my hardworking hands—receive $150 Japanese manicures on a biweekly basis.

Each ghostwriting session starts with a daylong interview. I pry into every intimate corner of a client’s life: her family history, financial background, and childhood secrets. Then I try to pinpoint one relatable thread of pain or humanity, which I can make the focal point of an essay attached…

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Toronto's Fan Expo Canada

Went in for Patrick Stewart, Came Out Disappointed

#Events

Mon, September 1st, 2014 11:00 by Leo N. ARTICLE

With Sir Patrick Stewart attending Toronto's Fan Expo Canada, it only made sense for a handful of us to head over and get our photos taken with the famous actor. We soon discovered this was impossible.

For the unitiated (honestly, who are you?), the Fan Expo is a place where nerds of every genre -- from Dr. Who all the way to obscure comic books only the most hardcore will know -- congregate to show off their costumes, meet their favourite actors and buy overly priced paraphernalia often found cheaper online. Not recognizing most of what I saw, I was actually quite surprised of just how out of touch with the fantasy world I am.

Among the merchants who lack customer service and are solely interested in selling as much of their ware as possible to the legion of unsuspecting nerds, there are gems: make-up artists, bona fide…

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Somebody: Half-App, Half-Human

#Internet

Sun, August 31st, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

Somebody is a messaging app that relies on strangers for the final delivery. It's quirky, and very possibly unreliable, but I like the idea.

When you send your friend a message through Somebody, it goes — not to your friend — but to the Somebody user nearest your friend. This person (likely a stranger) delivers the message verbally, acting as your stand-in. The most high-tech part of Somebody is not in the phone, it’s in the users who dare to deliver a message to a stranger. Half-app / half-human, Somebody is a far-reaching public art project that incites performance and twists our love of avatars and outsourcing — every relationship becomes a three-way. The antithesis of the utilitarian efficiency that tech promises, here, finally, is an app that makes us nervous, giddy, and alert to the people around us.

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The Psychological Impact on the Daily Exposure to Bad News Reported by the Media

#Health

Sun, August 31st, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

While a "steady diet of bad news" won't give you "PTSD, anxiety, or depression," being bombarded with sensational negativity from the media about the state of our world will give you a "burgeoning sense of helplessness."

[...] The average San Antonian doesn’t know much about what’s going on in New York (and vice versa), let alone the Middle East, and therefore has to rely on shortcuts: What did I see on the news most recently? What’s the general impression I get when I turn on CNN? “As soon as you get out of your zone, most of your information’s from the news,” McNaughton-Cassill said, “and the news by definition covers the extreme things.”

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For Back-to-School Teenagers, a New Phone Better Than New Clothes

#Childhood

Sat, August 30th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

With "texting on a dated smartphone" considered worse than wearing last year's clothes, many apparel retailers are feeling the pinch as back-to-school teenagers prefer having a new smartphone over new clothes.

“Clothes aren’t as important to me,” said Olivia D’Amico, a 16-year-old from New York, as she shopped at Hollister with her sister and a friend. “Half the time I don’t really buy any brands. I just bought a pair of fake Doc Martens because I don’t really care.”

She probably spends more on technology because she likes to “stay connected,” she said.

“It’s definitely more exciting for a lot of teenagers to have a new phone that can do lots of cool stuff than clothing,” said Nicole Myers, 19, a model in New York who emerged from an Apple store on Monday with a new iPhone that cost about $200. “A phone keeps you much more entertained. It’s…

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Renouncing U.S. Citizenship Fees Quadrupled

#Politics

Sat, August 30th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Global News reports on a U.S. State Department decision to raise the cost of renouncing U.S. citizenship. While the hike — which saw an increase from $450 to $2,350 — is not meant as a deterrent, "the waiting list to renounce U.S. citizenship at the Toronto consulate stretched into late January of 2015." The fee increase takes effect September 6th.

The backlog swelled after Ottawa signed a deal obliging Canadian banks to give the personal information of American clients to the IRS.

But the memo suggests the State Department expects applications to drop after the fee is implemented: to about 2,700 from the current 3,000 a year.

“We can’t speculate on the reasons potential renunciants choose to renounce citizenship,” a department spokesperson said in an email. “We can’t speculate on whether the backlog for renunciation appointments will ease” as a result of the fee increase.”

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"One thing sits at the heart of what many consider a surveillance state within the US today."

Executive Order 12333

#Privacy

Fri, August 29th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

Issued in 1981 under the Ronald Reagan administration, Executive Order 12333 allows intelligence agencies to have "incredible leeway" when "seeping up vast quantities of Americans' data." It is this order, argue whistleblowers, that is "the heart of the problem" of today's surveillance state.

“This program was started at least back in 2001 and has expanded to between 80 and 100 tap points on the fiber optic lines in the lower 48 states,” he said by e-mail. “Most of these fiber optic tap points are not on the East or West coast. This means that the primary target of this collection is domestic... Most collection of US domestic communications and data is done under EO 12333, section 2.3 paragraph C in the Upstream program. They claim, near as I can tell, that all domestic collection is incidental. That’s, of course, the vast majority of data.”

Specifically, that subsection allows…

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Graph Illustrates the Typical American Workday

#Data

Fri, August 29th, 2014 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

NPR looks at the American Time Use Survey, an annual study by the U.S. government that tracks how people spend their days. The graphs show workers grouped by occupation and where they are at any given hour of the day.

The conventional workday remains pretty strong. The majority of people are at work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a small break in the middle of the day for lunch.

The graph shows that construction workers take the lunch hour the most seriously, with the largest drop in workers at noon (as measured from peak to midday trough).

Not surprisingly, servers and cooks have a schedule that's essentially the opposite of all other occupations. Their hours peak during lunch and hold steady well into the evening.

Also, The Washington Post has every week of our life, in a chart, from birth to death.

It’s hard…

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Russians Want to Know if They Are at War

"Russian independent media this week reported on secret funerals held for several soldiers in northwestern Russia, citing mourners who said they were killed in Ukraine."

#War

Fri, August 29th, 2014 15:34 by capnasty NEWS

When a mother recognised her son as one of the Russian paratroopers captured in Ukraine, Russians have started asking where their soldiers are and if the country is at war.

One mother, Olga Pochtoyeva, says when she approached officials with photos on the social media site Vkontakte that appeared to show her son had been taken prisoner in Ukraine, her claims were dismissed as “provocations.”

“We showed them [these pictures] and they didn’t believe it,” she says. “It’s Photoshop, they told us. I’m sorry, I’d never mistake my son’s eyebrows for Photoshop.”

The paratroopers, who have been paraded in front of cameras by Ukrainian authorities at least three times, are only the most public face of Russian military involvement.

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You Can't Smell Your Own Home

#Administrative

Fri, August 29th, 2014 12:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to New York Magazine, we are unable to smell our own home, even when it smells like a "high school boys’ locker room," due to "nose-blindness." Reportedly, once our brain determines that the smell is non-threatening, "the receptors in your nose sort of switch off."

Is there anything you can do to “refocus” your brain, so it does pick up those environmental odors?
This phenomenon is known as sensory adaptation, and it’s something we experience most intensely with smells. “That’s not as true for any other sensory experience,” Dalton said. The closest comparison, she says, is hearing. If you’re working near a construction site, for example, you can tune out the noise after a while. “But if I ask you, ‘Do you hear that?’ you can refocus that part of your brain. That’s not so true with odor,” Dalton said.

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"Why fertilising the ocean with iron is not such a crazy idea."

Geoengineering climate change

#Environment

Fri, August 29th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

On aeon, a fabulous article on marine biologist Victor Smetacek, who plans on reversing the effects of climate change by providing plankton cells with the nutrients they need so that they can proliferate. Here's why:

[...] Much of the oxygen we breathe comes from just one species of cyanobacteria, Prochlorococcus. This species was not even discovered until the 1980s: it is so tiny that millions can fit into a single drop of water and no one had produced a sieve small enough to catch it. The oxygen made by these tiny marine plants dwarfs that produced by the Amazon rainforest and the rest of the world’s woodlands combined. By taking in CO2 and exhaling oxygen, these tiny creatures serve as the planet’s lungs, whose steady breathing is limited only by nutrition. Just as land plants need nitrogen, phosphorus and other elements to thrive, missing nutrients restrain planktons’ growth. Add…

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Google's Drone Delivery Service

Project Wing from Google X

#Google World Domination

Fri, August 29th, 2014 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Atlantic reports that Google has spent the last two years developing drones which "can deliver products across a city in a minute or two." From the style of the delivery, described below, it seems like "Google is getting serious about sending packages flying through the air on tiny drones."

A man named Neil Parfitt is standing in a field on a cattle ranch outside Warwick, Australia. A white vehicle appears above the trees, a tiny plane a bit bigger than a seagull. It glides towards Parfitt, pitches upwards to a vertical position, and hovers near him, a couple hundred feet in the air. From its belly, a package comes tumbling downward, connected by a thin line to the vehicle itself. Right before the delivery hits the ground, it slows, hitting the earth with a tap. The delivery slows, almost imperceptibly, just before it hits the ground, hardly kicking…

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Live Map of the War in Ukraine

#UkraineUnderAttack

#War

Thu, August 28th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

This live map by @liveuamap chronicles the crisis in Ukraine, showcasing both conflicts and peace protests. If it wasn't sidelined by the events and news prompting the movement and status of the map's pieces, it would almost seem like a game of Risk.

Liveuamap.com is Map&Feed News platform. Our mission is to tell about crisis in Ukraine all over the world. We gather information from open sources and put it on the map in format of Reds-vs-Blues conflict.

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How Not to Buy a 3D Printer

#Opinion

Thu, August 28th, 2014 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

On the chopmeister's website, a guide on what to look for when buying 3D printers and definitely what you should steer clear of.

As with any emerging technology, it didn't take long for people to start inventing catchphrases, wrapping completely trivial features into mysterious techno babble, and generally exploiting everything they can think of to sway a non-suspecting onlooker into buying their product.

There's ample proof of this on almost any 3d printer product page on the web. If I could take a random sample of those product pages, it would probably take hours to find one which doesn't have any such stuff.

Time to call bullshit!

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There Are Plastic Islands in the Pacific Ocean You Can Walk On

#Environment

Thu, August 28th, 2014 12:00 by capnasty NEWS

The New York Times' Charles J. Moore just returned from a six-week trip from The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. He reports that the amount of plastic floating in the area has greatly increased to the point where there are actual plastic islands you can walk on.

The deleterious consequences of humanity’s “plastic footprint” are many, some known and some yet to be discovered. We know that plastics biodegrade exceptionally slowly, breaking into tiny fragments in a centuries-long process. We know that plastic debris entangles and slowly kills millions of sea creatures; that hundreds of species mistake plastics for their natural food, ingesting toxicants that cause liver and stomach abnormalities in fish and birds, often choking them to death. We know that one of the main bait fish in the ocean, the lantern fish, eats copious quantities of plastic fragments, threatening their future as a nutritious food source to the…

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Stop Calling Yourself an Evangelist

You're no Kawasaki

#Opinion

Fri, August 15th, 2014 11:00 by Lord Lansdowne ARTICLE

I'm often surprised how often I meet someone who has the word "evangelist" in their title. Seriously? It's 2014, are you guys still calling yourself that? C'mon.

Calling yourself an evangelist may have seemed clever half a decade ago. Even I, the first time I heard it, thought it was pretty cool. But now a days I keep meeting you guys. Are we all this boring and unoriginal? That's depressing.

Imagine everyone you met had a title of Ninja. "Hey, this is so-and-so and he's our 'Chief Ninja.'" After a while, you'd be sick and tired of ninjas.

No, I get it. It's a real job. It's a real title. I get what an evangelist does: they rally the masses. They build up the brand. They sway public opinion. You know who did this really well? Apple's Guy Kawasaki. Twice. Look at how a once-laughable brand now has…

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Children Are Learning that Siri, Not Their Parents, Is Most Readily Available to Answer Their Questions

#Childhood

Thu, August 21st, 2014 12:00 by Le Brunette Smurfette NEWS

Jane Scott of The Washington Post notes on a growing trend by parents who prioritise time using their smartphone rather than interact with their children. In response, children as early as 2 have learnt that when they have a question, "Siri, and not Dad, is most readily available with an answer."

Consider the results of a March study by researchers from Boston Medical Center who carefully observed caregivers and children at fast-food restaurants. Out of 55 caregivers, 40 used their mobile devices, and their absorption was such that their "primary engagement was with the device, rather than the child." In many cases, the caregivers expressed irritation when the children tried to get their attention. One observer watched a woman push a small boy away as he took her face in his hands in an attempt to get her to look up from her tablet.

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"In many American cities, you can now get just about anything delivered, at the touch of a smartphone button, within an hour."

#Workplace

Sun, August 17th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

In her series about the instant gratification economy, ReCode's Liz Gannes looks at the variety of delivery services accessible via smartphone that are emerging and the people that work for them. Among her examples, Instacart, which provides personalised grocery shopping on your behalf, or Munchery which promises to deliver meals created by the best chefs in town.

it can be too easy to forget that people make “instant” happen. And, generally, these people are not a traditionally stable workforce. They are instead a flexible and scalable network of workers — “fractional employees” — that tap in and tap out as needed, and as suits them.

It’s estimated that more than 100,000 of these jobs have been created, especially due to the largest on-demand mobile services: The ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft, whose drivers provide alternatives to taxis and other forms of transportation.

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Omote: Real-Time Face Tracking and Projection Mapping

#Technology

Mon, August 25th, 2014 12:00 by capnasty NEWS

Omote, a system capable of real-time face tracking and projection mapping, can follow a face and on-the-spot project an image on it, whether an effect or just makeup. The end result is remarkably realistic.

Project Omote is a collaboration between Japanese projection mapping specialist Nobumichi Asai, makeup artist Hiroto Kuwahara and French digital image engineer Paul Lacroix.

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"Searching Ferguson on Twitter not only yields results of speculations about the truth, but the truth itself."

#Crime

Thu, August 14th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

As a result of the shooting death of Michael Brown, a teenage boy who was killed by a Ferguson police officer, large crowds have gathered in solidarity and remembrance. The response of the police department has been to shut down the airspace, arrest journalists and overwhelm the area with "phalanxes of officers, armed with dogs and military equipment." Quartz's Sierra Mannie argues that with traditional media barely reporting on the issue, the only way to get a clear understanding of what's going on appears to be Twitter.

Though I usually get my news from a variety of sources, including Facebook and Twitter, this is the first time that I’ve felt that the internet alone is my most, no my only, suitable option for knowing the entirety of a story. Relying solely on television for news of Michael Brown’s death yields disparaging results. News reports from Ferguson…

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Sea Plankton Found on ISS Surface

#Space

Fri, August 22nd, 2014 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

The ITAR-TASS news agency reports that samples from "illuminators and the ISS surface" has found traces of sea plankton, showing that despite factors of space flight, "such as zero gravity, temperature conditions and hard cosmic radiation, [...] these organisms can even develop."

Microorganisms could be found on the ISS surface thanks to high-precision equipment. “Results of the experiment are absolutely unique. We have found traces of sea plankton and microscopic particles on the illuminator surface. This should be studied further,” chief of the Russian ISS orbital mission Vladimir Solovyev said.

He noted that it was not quite clear how these microscopic particles could have appeared on the surface of the space station.

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Instagram Releases Hyperlapse Video for iPhone

#Technology

Wed, August 27th, 2014 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

Hyperlapse, a system that turns shaky timelapses into smooth playing videos, is now an app released by the Instagram team. It is currently only available for iPhone, but there is talk of an Android release.

[...] Instagram is lifting the veil on Hyperlapse, one of the company’s first apps outside of Instagram itself. Using clever algorithm processing, the app makes it easy to use your phone to create tracking shots and fast, time-lapse videos that look as if they’re shot by Scorsese or Michael Mann. What was once only possible with a Steadicam or a $15,000 tracking rig is now possible on your iPhone, for free. (Instagram hopes to develop an Android version soon, but that will require changes to the camera and gyroscope APIs on Android phones.) And that’s all thanks to some clever engineering and an…

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Why We Use [X] to Close Windows

#Computers

Fri, August 15th, 2014 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

On Medium, Lauren Archer explains the history behind using [x] to close windows in our graphical user interfaces. A fascinating look at the evolution, but also peculiar how certain aspects -- the concept of the window itself, for example -- has actually not changed that much for decades.

Clicking on [x] to close a feature has become an instinctual part of using a computer and a standard in web and software design. Although it may seem like the ubiquitous [x] has always been a part of Graphical User Interfaces (GUI), a quick jaunt through the history of GUIs reveals that this actually isn’t the case.

So where and when did the [x] first enter into the UI lexicon?

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3D Printed Sugar

#Food

Sun, August 17th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

3D Systems, a company which designs and manufactures 3D printers, has put together a gallery on the sugar lab showcasing what its printers, the Chefjet and the Cubify, can do with sugar. The above photo, impressive as it is, barely compares to the ones that follow.

The Sugar Lab at 3D Systems is where 3D printing meets the sweet satisfaction of sugar. 3D printing represents a paradigm shift for confections, transforming sugar into a dimensional, structural medium. Making possible architectural, intricate and utterly customized sweets--from sculptural, ornate cake toppers to personalized sugar cubes to sweeten your coffee, and everything imaginable in between. 3D Systems is bringing the power of 3D printing to the genre of sweets with its ChefJet 3D printers for confections. Check out our gallery to see more of what's possible!

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Humans Need Not Apply

What automation will mean for human labour

#Robots

Wed, August 13th, 2014 22:23 by capnasty NEWS

CGP Grey has this fascinating video titled Humans Need Not Apply that explains what the growth of automation means to humans. As one example cited in the video, much like the motorcar replaced the horse, the self driving car -- or autos -- will put about 70 million people out of work.

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The Woman that Gives Fatal Fellatio

"A kind of academic approach to sucking dick"

#Sex

Fri, August 15th, 2014 12:00 by capnasty NEWS

In this Vice interview, we meet Chicago-based Auntie Angel, a.k.a. Denise Walker, a sexpert and nail technician and the author of fellatio technique videos. Walker, who claims that her blowjob techniques are capable of killing a man, is clearly able to see the importance of taking sex seriously and avoid falling victim of monotony.

You make quite a specific sound when you’re doing it. What’s that about?
The sound effect is over-the-top, I know. Me watching porn and talking to ladies, I realized that everyone’s making pretty much the same standard oohs and aaahs. I wanted to do something that was so out-of-the-box that he would never forget you until the day he died. He would just keel over and in his last breaths he’s still gonna remember that sound. If he doesn’t like it, you can communicate about it. If…

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"Meeting nonviolent protests with a militarized response is really a bad idea."

#Opinion

Sat, August 16th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

With protests for the killing of Mike Brown spreading across 90 U.S. cities, New York Magazine's Jesse Singal cites the "weapons effect", which suggests that "the more you fill the environment with stimuli that are associated with violence, the more likely violence is to occur."

“Military equipment is used against an enemy,” said Haberfeld. “So if you give the same equipment to local police, by default you create an environment in which the public is perceived as an enemy.” On the other side of these confrontations, this could have a negative effect on protesters. “We live in a democratic country, and we believe that this is our right to go out and exercise the right to [free speech],” she said. “And when you go out there and exercise that right and suddenly you are faced with soldiers — even though these are not soldiers,…

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Edward Snowden May Possibly Be One of Many Leakers

Some of the leaked documents appear to come from another unidentified source

#Privacy

Thu, August 14th, 2014 22:08 by capnasty NEWS

Wired's James Bamford has an extensive look at Edward Snowden's life, the reasons for doing what he's done and how his actions "will continue to haunt the US." More interestingly, after reviewing the cache of secret documents made available, Bamford and others seems to believe that "another whistle-blower is releasing secret documents to the media."

[...] in March 2012, Snowden moved again for Dell, this time to a massive bunker in Hawaii where he became the lead technologist for the information-sharing office, focusing on technical issues. Inside the “tunnel,” a dank, chilly, 250,000-square-foot pit that was once a torpedo storage facility, Snowden’s concerns over the NSA’s capabilities and lack of oversight grew with each passing day. Among the discoveries that most shocked him was learning that the agency was regularly passing raw private communications—content as well as metadata—to Israeli intelligence. Usually information like this would be “minimized,” a process…

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GIF YouTube

#Video

Sat, August 16th, 2014 22:00 by capnasty NEWS

The GIF YouTube website does exactly one thing: make animated GIFs from YouTube videos quick eand easily. To access the site from any YouTube video you're watching, just add the word gif in the URL.

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Body-Worn Cameras Reduce Police Officers' Use of Force

#Crime

Wed, August 13th, 2014 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

After the chokehold death of 43-year-old Eric Garner at the hands of the NYPD, which was caught on video and ruled a homicide, civil libertarians have called for more, not less, surveillance in order to maintain "a form of checks and balances against police power."

The most cited study of the effects of body-worn cameras on policing is Cambridge University’s examination of the police department in Rialto, California. After cameras were introduced in February 2012, officers’ use of force dropped 59%, and complaints against officers plummeted by 88%.

“When you know you’re being watched you behave a little better. That’s just human nature,” Rialto police chief Tony Farrar told the Guardian at the time. The Rialto Department has become the poster-child for early adoption, as metro agencies in San Diego, Los Angeles and Fort Worth begin pilot programs or deploy the technology.

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