News & Information

International Criminal Court, Tik Tok Activism, Hacker for Hire

Top of Mind with Julie Rose
  • Jun 24, 2020 8:00 pm
  • 1:44:26

Trump Administration Threatens International Criminal Court (0:32) Guest: Eric Jensen, JD, Professor of International Law, Brigham Young University President Trump, last week, issued an executive order threatening to sanction any people or organizations that cooperate with the International Criminal Court. If the President follows through with the threat, it could mean financial and legal trouble for Americans who work for – or with – the International Criminal Court. It could also be problem for the court’s own finances. What Are Trump’s Opportunity Zones? (21:29) Guest: Brady Meixell, Research Analyst, The Urban Institute  As the coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matters protests draw the nation’s attention to inequalities facing black Americans, the Trump Administration is looking to extend a program it created to lure investment into impoverished minority neighborhoods that previous Presidents might have called “the ghetto.” Today, they’re dubbed Opportunity Zones and the 2017 tax reform created incentives to attract new investment. A DNA Barcode on a Head of Lettuce? New Advances in Tracking Foodborne Illnesses (37:05) Guest: Michael Springer, Associate Professor of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School Foodborne illnesses like E. Coli and Salmonella make 43 million Americans sick every year and kill thousands of people. When a cluster of infections pops up, pathologists race to track down the source and stop distribution of the contaminated food. But sometimes it takes a while to pinpoint the culprit, so we end up with a situation like we had in 2018 where all romaine lettuce was pulled from stores and restaurants until the experts could figure out exactly where the E. Coli was coming from that made hundreds of people sick. Researchers at Harvard are working on a way to put DNA “barcodes” on fresh produce so a contaminated item could be quickly traced right back to the processing plant or farm it came from. Tik Tok Activism (52:41) Guest: David Meyer, Professor of Sociology in the School of Social Sciences, University of California-Irvine Thousands teenaged TikTok users and Korean pop fans claim to have reserved tickets to President Trump’s rally in Tulsa last weekend with no intention of attending. That may have contributed to a much smaller turnout than the Trump campaign hoped. Campaign staff had bragged more than a million people had RSVPed. In the end only 6,000 people showed up, driving days of media reports about how President Trump may be losing his base. The campaign, in turn, blamed the media for depressing turnout at the rally. But here’s the question we’re interested in – is this TikTok mobilization the birth of new form of political activism for young people – many of whom aren’t even old enough to vote? Inside Hacking-For-Hire: An Illegal Industry on the Rise (1:08:50) Guest: John Scott-Railton, Senior Researcher, Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto's Munk School There’s new evidence of a growing hacker-for-hire industry. Are you a company looking to silence critics? Hire a hacker to find embarrassing information on those critics. Do you need some dirt to defeat a political opponent? Same could work if you’re a spouse looking for an edge in messy divorce proceedings. A cybersecurity watchdog group based at the University of Toronto just published an extensive report about one company based in India suspected to be a massive hack-for-hire operation. How to Read an Ancient Scroll Turned to Charcoal by a Volcano (1:29:59) Guest: Roger Macfarlane, Professor of Classical Studies, Brigham Young University When Mount Vesuvius erupted in the year 79 AD, it buried Pompeii in hot gas and ash – you’ve heard of that Italian village, I’m sure. But the volcano also entombed a seaside village nearby that held a huge collection of papyrus scrolls. The scrolls carbonized instantly in their rolled-up form. How do you read an ancient scroll that’s been turned into a solid piece of charcoal?