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Critics say Montana’s TikTok ban is a violation of free speech



ABOUTOn Wednesday, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a first-of-its-kind bill to ban Chinese social media app TikTok in the state. The law, due to take effect in January 2024, was quickly criticized for violating free speech laws.

In a statement, Gianforte’s office called the law an attempt to “protect the personal and private data of Montana residents from being collected by the Chinese Communist Party.” Tech and legal experts say the way the ban is implemented in the coming months could set a precedent for how TikTok, which has more than 150 million U.S. users, is regulated nationwide, especially as state and federal legislatures authorities seek to restrict access to the platform. achieve.

“Now we are seeing a patchwork of efforts to limit [app]Whether it’s restricting access to minors or banning downloads on government devices,” says Courtney Rudsch, a research fellow at the UCLA Institute of Technology, Law, and Policy.

Radsch notes that a complete ban in the state will lead to much more complications. “This will be a watershed moment because it will likely be challenged at the constitutional level.”

How will the ban work?

The new law appears to place the responsibility for regulating usage on app stores and TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, rather than on individual users. Platforms like Google and Apple will have to remove the app from their statewide app stores and could be fined $10,000 for every day they don’t comply. (Google and Apple did not respond to TIME’s request for comment.)

It’s currently unclear how the ban will apply beyond that, or how it will affect users who downloaded the app before January 1st, but experts say enforcing it will be a daunting task. Companies are trying to use a tactic called geofencing to block an app based on the user’s geographic boundaries, but users can easily use a VPN to change their location to a different state.

“It will be difficult to implement it in a way that cannot be bypassed,” says Ramya Krishnan, staff lawyer for the Knight First Amendment Institute.

Will the law survive in court? ?

Legal action against the ban is likely to come. Keegan Medrano, policy director for the ACLU of Montana, said in a May 17 interview. a statement that the Montana legislature “trampled” freedom of speech. “We will never trade our First Amendment rights for cheap political glasses.”

In a statement released on Twitter on Wednesday evening, TikTok said“We want to reassure Montana residents that they can continue to use TikTok to express themselves, earn money, and find community as we continue to work to protect the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana.” TikTok did not respond to TIME’s request for a comment.

“[TikTok] it’s a place where a lot of people say different things. To make this information inaccessible to the people of Montana, and also to prevent Montans from participating in this discourse, the government will have to present very convincing arguments, ”says Anupam Chander, professor of law and technology at Georgetown University.

Any legal action could be very similar to the latest attempt to block TikTok. In 2020, the courts blocked Trump’s order to ban TikTok and the Chinese messaging app WeChat, ruling that the Trump administration failed to demonstrate enough security risk to restrict users’ freedom of speech.

Montana’s ban is based on the idea that the app poses a security risk, but experts say the state has no evidence to support this. “In order to justify the ban, Montana had to show that its privacy and security issues are real and that they cannot be addressed in narrower ways,” says Krishnan. “He didn’t.”

Krishnan adds that banning TikTok would set a dangerous precedent in how we regulate free speech online. “Restricting access to foreign media is something we usually associate with authoritarian regimes,” she says, “and we have to be very careful before giving such powers to our government.”

How does this fit into the broader TikTok ban trend?

Government officials in Montana are justifying the law as a way to combat data collection and misinformation on the platform, a stance that is becoming increasingly common. Congress recently introduced the RESTRICTION Act, which would allow the Secretary of Commerce to ban foreign technology and companies from operating in the US if they pose a threat to national security.

“The real issue here is the need for a national data protection law,” says Radsch, who says unregulated data collection is likely being done by tech companies both in the US and abroad.

The most effective solution would be to adopt legislation to regulate the collection and use of data. “Many things are national security risks of one level or another. We use the Internet all the time, where our day-to-day activities can be stolen by foreign players,” says Chander. “There is the issue of a national security threat, but it’s just important to remember that these risks are everywhere. It’s not just one application or one domain.”

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Getting Into Books: How Musical Chords Hack Your Brain, Awakening Emotions



Johnny Cash damage hits in A major are so different that ring of fire G minor. The tonal dissonance between the chords is, ahem, minor: it’s just that the third note is lowered to a flat. But this change could fundamentally change how the song sounds and how it conveys feelings. In their new book Every Brain Needs Music: The Neuroscience of Making and Listening to MusicDr. Larry S. Sherman, professor of neuroscience at Oregon Health & Science University, and others. Dennis Pleas, professor of music at Warner Pacific University, explores the fascinating interplay between our brains, our instruments, our audiences, and the music they create together.

Columbia University Press

Extracts from Every Brain Needs Music: The Neuroscience of Making and Listening to Music Larry S. Sherman and Dennis Pleas, published by Columbia University Press. Copyright (c) 2023 Columbia University Press. Used by agreement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Minor Fall and Major Rise: Sorting Minor and Major Chords

Another function of areas of the secondary auditory cortex has to do with how we perceive different chords. For example, part of the auditory cortex (superior temporal sulcus) seems to help distinguish between major and minor chords.

Remarkably, from there, major and minor chords are processed by different areas of the brain outside the auditory cortex, where they are assigned an emotional meaning. For example, in Western music, minor keys are perceived as “serious” or “sad” and major keys as “bright” or “happy.” It’s a wonderful reaction when you think about it: two or three notes played together for a short period of time without any other music can make us think “that’s a sad sound” or “that’s a happy sound.” People all over the world have this reaction, although the tones that evoke these emotions vary across cultures. In a study of how the brain responds to consonant chords (marks that sound “good” together, such as middle C and E and G over middle C, as in the opening chord of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” ), the subjects played consonant sounds. or dissonant chords (notes that sound “bad” together) in minor and major keys, and their brains were analyzed using a method called positron emission tomography (state of emergency). This method of measuring brain activity is different from the fMRI studies we discussed earlier. A PET scan, like fMRI, can be used to monitor blood flow in the brain as a measure of brain activity, but it uses tracer molecules that are injected into the subject’s bloodstream. Although the approach is different, many of the caveats we mentioned for fMRI studies also apply to PET studies. However, these authors reported that minor chords activate an area of ​​the brain involved in reward and emotion processing (the right striatum), while major chords cause significant activity in an area important for integrating and making sense of sensory information from various parts of the brain. brain (left middle temporal gyrus). These results suggest the location of pathways in the brain that contribute to feelings of happiness or sadness in response to certain stimuli, such as music.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy (or Sad): How Composers Manipulate Our Emotions

While major and minor chords on their own can evoke “happy” or “sad” emotions, our emotional response to music that combines major and minor chords with a specific tempo, lyric, and melody is more complex. For example, an emotional connection to simple chords can have a significant and dynamic effect on the mood in song lyrics. In some of his lectures on the neuroscience of music, Larry, working with singer, pianist and songwriter Naomi LaViolette, demonstrates this point using Leonard Cohen’s widely known and beloved song “Hallelujah”. Larry introduces the song as an example of how music can influence the meaning of lyrics, and then he plays upbeat ragtime, mostly major chords, while Naomi sings Cohen’s lyrics. The audience laughs, but also finds that the lyrics have much less emotional impact than when they are sung to the original slow music with a few minor chords.

Songwriters use this effect all the time to emphasize the emotional meaning of their lyrics. The study of guitar tablature (a form of notation for guitar notes) has explored the relationship between major and minor chords in conjunction with lyrics and so-called emotional valence: in psychology, emotions considered to have a negative valence include anger and fear, while emotions with a positive valence include joy. The study found that major chords are associated with higher valence lyrics, which is consistent with previous research showing that major chords elicit more positive emotional responses than minor ones. Thus, in Western music, the combination of sad words or phrases with minor chords and joyful words or phrases with major chords is an effective way to manipulate the feelings of the audience. The opposite action can at least confuse the meaning of the words, but it can also bring complexity and beauty to the musical message.

Manipulative composers seem to have been around for a long time. Music was an important part of ancient Greek culture. Although today we read such works as Homer Iliad another Odyssey, these texts were intended to be performed with instrumental accompaniment. The surviving texts of many works include details of the notes, scales, effects, and instruments to be used, and the meter of each piece can be deduced from the poetry (such as Homer’s dactylic hexameter and other epic poems). Armand D’Angour, Professor of Classics at the University of Oxford, has recently recreated the sounds of ancient Greek music using original texts, notation and reproduced instruments such as the aulos, which consists of two pipes with two reeds played simultaneously by one performer Professor D’Angour organized concerts based on some of these lyrics, resurrecting music that hasn’t been heard in over 2,500 years. His work shows that the music then, as now, used major and minor tones and time signatures to emphasize the emotional intent of the lyrics. Simple changes in tones elicited emotional responses in the brains of the ancient Greeks just as they do today, indicating that our recognition of the emotional value of these tones was part of how our brains responded to music in ancient times.

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SpaceX launches Saudi astronauts on private flight to space station



SpaceX’s next private flight to the International Space Station is about to take off

ToMARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer

This combination of photos provided by Axiom Space in 2023 shows the astronauts (from left to right): Peggy Whitson, John Schoffner, Ali al-Karni and Rayana Barnawi. SpaceX’s next private flight to the International Space Station was expected to take off on Sunday, weather and rocket permitting. (Axiom Space via hotspot)

Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida. — SpaceX’s next private flight to the International Space Station was expected to take off on Sunday, weather and rocket permitting.

Passengers include the first Saudi astronauts in decades, as well as a Tennessee businessman who founded his own sports car racing team. They will be led by a retired NASA astronaut who now works for the company that organized the 10-day trip.

This is the second charter flight organized by the Houston company Axiom Space. The company did not say how much the latest tickets cost; he had previously quoted a price per seat of $55 million.

With its Falcon rocket already on the pad, SpaceX aimed for a late Sunday launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. This is the same place where the first astronaut of Saudi Arabia, Prince, took off in 1985.

This time, the Saudi government is represented by Ryan Barnavi, a stem cell researcher who will become the kingdom’s first woman in space, and RAF fighter pilot Ali al-Qarni.

Rounding out the team are John Schoffner, a racing car enthusiast, and Peggy Whitson, who holds the US record for the longest total time spent in space at 665 days.


The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science and Education Media Group. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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