Josh Harkinson

Josh Harkinson

Reporter

Born in Texas and based in San Francisco, Josh covers tech, labor, drug policy, and the environment.

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After Girl Expelled From High School and Charged Over Lesbian Relationship, Anonymous Goes on the Offensive

| Mon May 20, 2013 4:14 PM EDT
Kaitlyn Hunt

When Florida high school student Kaitlyn Hunt was a senior in high school, she began dating a 15-year-old teammate on her school's girls' basketball team.* Kaitlyn's parents say the parents of the 15-year-old never complained to them about the (consensual) relationship. But halfway through the school year, the younger girl's parents had her arrested. She was charged with a felony—"lewd and lascivious battery of a child 12-16 years old." The girl's parents also succeeded in getting her expelled from school by appealing to the school board after the school and a judge refused to grant their request, according to Kaitlyn's mother, Kelly Hunt Smith.

"That is absolutely ludicrous," Smith wrote on Facebook last Friday in a widely shared plea for help. "We need justice in this situation, not to feed into these parents' hates and insanity."

Enter Anonymous, the global hacker collective, which recently has raised eyebrows by pursuing justice for rape victims. In this case, some of the same Anonymous members are rallying behind a girl they feel has been wrongly accused of sexual misconduct. On Saturday, they launched the twitter hashtag #OPJustice4Kaitlyn, and a press release that begins: "Greetings, Bigots."

"The truth is, Kaitlyn Hunt is a bright young girl who was involved in a consensual, same-sex relationship while both she and her partner were minors," reads the release.* "She has a big future ahead of her and there are people, thousands of people in fact, that have no intention of allowing you to ruin it with your rotten selective enforcement."

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Poverty Flees to the Suburbs

| Mon May 20, 2013 11:38 AM EDT

Poor residents in cities and suburbs, 1970 - 2010 (millions)

Brookings Institution analysis and ACS data

Suburbs such as Highland Park (Detroit), Carol Stream (Chicago), and Forest Park (Atlanta) once stood for escape from the hard times of the inner city. Now their deceptively bucolic names conceal a national epidemic of suburban poverty. According to a report released today by the Brookings Institution, the suburban poor now far outnumber the rural and urban poor: Their ranks grew by 64 percent during the aughts to 16.4 million—a rate of increase more than twice that seen in America's cities.

What's going on here? Well, for one, Ward and June Cleaver's house wasn't exactly built to last. And as retiring baby boomers downsize and young millennials flock to hip inner cities, not that many people want to live in a half-century-old suburban tract home—except people with no other options.

Could Federal Seizure Be the Beginning of the End for Bitcoin?

| Tue May 14, 2013 8:03 PM EDT

In what may be the first move toward a federal shutdown of the wildly popular online currency known as Bitcoin, the Department of Homeland Security today issued an order that has restricted the transfer of funds in and out of Mt. Gox, the Bitcoin exchange that handles some 60 percent of the transactions.

A creation of bank-fearing techies, Bitcoins are now worth more than $1 billion, and consumer interest has been skyrocketing. For more background, read our Bitcoin explainer.

Pot Breathalyzer Is Still a Police Pipe Dream

| Mon May 6, 2013 6:00 AM EDT
The SensAbues marijuana breath test.

As 4:20 threatens to become as popular as happy hour, police are scrambling to figure out a reliable way to make sure that the dude who's zoning out in the Taco Bell drive-thru isn't too stoned to drive. The problem is, roadside breathalyzer tests administered to drunks don't work for pot smokers, forcing cops to take suspected stoners into the station for a blood test. Now the Swedish company SensAbues is offering something of a fix. A study published in the Journal of Breath Research last week found that its proprietary breath-testing device can detect recent use of a wide range of drugs, including prescription meds, cocaine, and marijuana.

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