The Surprising Benefits of Talking to Strangers

By Joe Keohane at The Atlantic:

[Psychologist Gillian Sandstrom] was raised in Canada by extroverts who loved talking with strangers. One day, Sandstrom, who had always considered herself an introvert, realized that she always looked down when she walked along the street. “I thought, Well, that’s dumb,” she says. So she started holding eye contact with people and found that it actually felt pretty good. Before long, she was talking with strangers too. She was surprised at how easy and fun it was. Once, on the subway, she saw a woman holding a box of elaborately decorated cupcakes and asked about them. “I don’t know how the conversation got there, but she taught me that humans can ride ostriches,” Sandstrom says. “That was just a delightful conversation. I wanted to do it again.”

Cory Doctorow: Scammers sell social media banning services to griefers and charge victims hundreds of times more to get un-banned. Also: Facebook’s official disinformation research portal is a bad joke, especially compared with the independent Ad Obervatory, which the company wants to destroy.

First person pleads guilty to assaulting officer during Capitol riot

By Erin Doherty at Axios:

A New Jersey man on Friday became the first person to plead guilty to assaulting a law enforcement officer during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Scott Fairlamb’s attorneys say prosecutors will ask for a sentence of 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 years for the Jan. 6 riots, in which he participated in assaulting a police officer. “A video showed Fairlamb holding a collapsible baton and shouting, ‘What [do] patriots do? We f—— disarm them and then we storm the f—— Capitol!'”

3.5-4.5 years seems like a light sentence, but all he did was participate in an assault on the US Capitol with a goal of murdering the Vice President and Speaker of the House and overturning election results. Good thing for him he didn’t do anything super-serious, like paying with a possibly counterfeit $20 bill or selling loose cigarettes.