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Culture

The Senate will hold a hearing next month on Facebook’s Libra currency

On Wednesday, the Senate Banking Committee announced it will be holding a hearing next month to question witnesses over Facebook’s new cryptocurrency initiative, Libra.

The hearing, entitled “Examining Facebook’s Proposed Digital Currency and Data Privacy Considerations,” is set for July 16th, but the committee has yet to nail down who will be testifying. The plans come shortly after Facebook formally announced its new cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem, Libra. Facebook’s plan was met with harsh criticism from lawmakers, as well as calls for investigation into the potential consumer risks.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is the top Democrat on the committee and was one of the first lawmakers to question Facebook’s new product. “Facebook…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/19/18691937/facebook-libra-crypto-currency-blockchain-senate-finance-committee-july-16

Culture

YouTube facing investigation from federal government over inability to protect children

YouTube’s ongoing problems surrounding content that involves children has led to an investigation from the federal government, according to a new Washington Post report.

The Federal Trade Commission is said to be investigating YouTube’s data collection practices and failure to protect children, according to the Post. The investigation is reported to be in its late stages and was brought about after complaints from consumer groups and privacy advocates. The investigation also follows numerous reports and investigations from publications over the last several months demonstrating how YouTube’s autoplay and recommendation feature allows predators to take advantage of content on the platform featuring children. A spokesperson for the FTC…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/19/18691780/youtube-children-content-ftc-investigation-kids-app-predator-privacy

Culture

New web app brings the Marvel movies to their logical endpoint: a literal bible

Fans really love the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Arguably, the movies are almost a religion to some dedicated adherents, who worship their idols through intensive movie marathons and arguing about the films online. But what if they actually were a religion, with the text of the movies turned into a form of scripture? Well, then you’d get the MCU Bible, a project created by developer Sean Lennaerts that turns every single line of dialogue from the 22 films in the MCU into a literal bible.

The web app arranges the MCU dialogue as books of scripture, with each movie as its own book. Instead of assigning chapter and verse numbers for each line of dialogue, the MCU Bible features timestamps where each line can be found in the movie. The…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/tldr/2019/6/19/18691490/marvel-movies-mcu-bible-web-app-quotes-dialogue

Culture

Samsung auto-email signature accidentally reveals scripted government news story

Details about the death of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi have been conspicuously absent from news reports. Despite being the first democratically elected Egyptian president, news outlets have scrubbed that information from stories of his demise in what appears to be a government-mandated description sent out to press.

As noted by Mada Masr, a majority of newspapers published the same 42-word story sent to editors as a directive via WhatsApp. In the case of at least one outlet, a news anchor did that a little too well. In the clip below, the anchor can be heard wrapping her report with “sent from a Samsung device.”

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/19/18691729/samsung-auto-email-signature-mohamed-morsi-death-egypt-details

Culture

How to generate virtual online IDs to prevent spam, scams, and phishing attacks

So many cybersecurity vulnerabilities exist on the internet nowadays that giving out your email address or phone number when signing up for a service is akin to giving someone your full name on the first date. Recently, a string of SIM swapping hacks have occurred; attacks in which hackers take control of your account by stealing your phone number, claiming ownership of it through your mobile carrier, and using it to bypass text message-based two-factor authentication.

As attacks like these become more common, it’s worth taking extra precautions when locking down your personal contact information. Apple will begin to implement a new authentication system for iOS users when it launches Sign in with Apple later this fall. But until then…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/19/18691401/virtual-id-random-security-protection-email-phone-credit-cards-how-to-generate

Culture

Fortnite superstar Ninja and DJ Marshmello are headlining a gaming and music festival in Las Vegas

The next big act for Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, the Fortnite star and Twitch streamer, is headlining a music festival. Well, to be clear, it’s both a music and a gaming festival, a unique hybrid experience dubbed Metarama in Las Vegas. The event, which revealed its lineup this morning, is being put together by C3 Presents, the massive and experienced organization behind Chicago’s Lollapalooza and its various international editions, as well as Texas’ Austin City Limits festival. The website describes it as “a first-of-its-kind festival experience where the worlds of gaming, live music, e-sports, comedy, streaming, cosplay, and more collide.”

Ninja is the big act on the bill alongside his friend, superstar DJ and electronic music producer…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/19/18691659/metarama-gaming-music-festival-ninja-marshmello-lineup-announce-pricing

Culture

All Best Buy stores can now repair your Apple devices

This morning, Apple announced that Best Buy now offers authorized repairs on its products at each and every one of the retailer’s stores. This gives consumers an important alternative to visiting their nearest Apple store — if there even is one — for service on an iPhone or Mac. Repairs are done with genuine Apple parts and are fully backed by the company, just as if Apple had done the work itself.

Best Buy has offered Apple repairs at many locations for some time now, but the completed expansion brings that number up to nearly 1,000 stores. “Best Buy’s Geek Squad has nearly 7,600 newly Apple-certified technicians ready to make same-day iPhone repairs or to service other Apple products,” Apple said in a press release. There are Best Buy…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/19/18691649/best-buy-apple-iphone-mac-ipad-repairs-all-stores

Culture

Paper-towel dispenser with a EULA prohibiting rival brands of paper


John Overholt from Harvard’s Houghton Library spotted a paper towel dispenser whose prominent EULA prohibits refilling it with non-Tork brands of towels, with Tork vowing to “enforce its rights under applicable laws and agreements.”


This is basically the plot of Unauthorized Bread, the first story in my new book Radicalized, where toasters use vision-systems to verify that their users are not trying to toast non-manufacturer-compliant bread.


However, there is a difference between products like this stupid paper towel dispenser and other products that try to bind their customers to buying only certain brands of consumables. If you put someone else’s paper towels in this towel dispenser, Tork would have to prove that you had violated a contract with them (for example, you might be a tenant in a commercial building whose landlord had promised Tork only to use its towels, but you never made that promise, and depending on your lease, your landlord may or may not be able to force you to honor its agreements).

But with digital products, all that the manufacturer has to do is add a “technical protection measure” (that is DRM) that checks to ensure that you’re using the product in ways that benefit the manufacturer’s shareholders (even if that makes the product worse for your purposes). Because breaking the DRM is illegal, and because “trafficking in DRM-breaking tools” is also illegal, you’re not allowed to defeat that measure, even if it works really poorly and is easy to bypass.


Thank Section 1201 of 1998’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act for this absurdity: though the law stipulates that the “technical protection measure” has to control access to a “copyrighted work” that won’t help you — even though paper towels are not copyrighted, the software that checks which brand of paper towel you’re using is.


This has allowed manufacturers to expand DMCA 1201 into a system of private law, where thwarting their commercial plans constitutes “Felony Contempt of Business Model” (and DMCA 1201 provides for 5 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for a first offense of trafficking in circumvention devices).

from Boing Boing https://boingboing.net/2019/06/19/towelette-app-stores.html

Culture

Multilingual “red cards” to help immigrants assert their rights during ICE shakedowns

The Immigrant Resource Legal Center offers multilingual, printable templates for “red cards”: bust cards adapted for use by immigrants being targeted by ICE squads.



Donald Trump launched his 2020 re-election campaign by promising a roundup of 11,000,000 people, even as he has handed millions to Beltway Bandits to build and operate concentration camps on US soil. These could not be more timely.

They’re available in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Hmong, Spanish and Vietnamese. They read “I do not wish to speak to you, answer your questions, or sign or hand you any documents based on my 5th Amendment rights under the United States Constitution.I do not give you permission to enter my home based on my 4th Amendment rights under the United States Constitution unless you have a warrant to enter, signed by a judge or magistrate with my name on it that you slide under the door. I do not give you permission to search any of my belongings based on my 4th Amendment rights.These cards are available to citizens and non-citizens alike.”

The the reverse they say:


You have constitutional rights

• Do not open the door if an immigration officer knocks on your door.

• Do not answer any questions if the immigration officer attempts to speak with you. You have the right to remain silent. You do not need to give your name to the immigration officer. If you are at work, ask the immigration officer if you are free to leave and if the officer says yes, leave. You have the right to speak with an attorney.

• Give this card to the immigration officer. Do not open the door.


The cards can be downloaded and printed at home, or ordered in lots of 250 from a union print shop.


(via Wil Wheaton)

from Boing Boing https://boingboing.net/2019/06/19/know-your-rights-2.html

Culture

Avengers: Endgame is returning to theaters with a new post-credits scene

Avengers: Endgame is finally getting an official post-credits scene, with a limited-time rerelease in theaters this weekend.

Marvel Studios co-president Kevin Feige told Screen Rant that a new version of Endgame will appear in theaters that has a couple of additional scenes not in the original. Feige said if people “stay and watch the movie, after the credits, there’ll be a deleted scene, a little tribute, and a few surprises.”

The description suggests that Endgame’s additional materials won’t be akin to the quick post-credit scenes Marvel fans are accustomed to. Feige didn’t provide any additional details, but told Screen Rant the rerelease would roll into theaters “next weekend.” That’s one week before Spider-Man: Far From Home comes…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/19/18691624/avengers-endgame-post-credits-scene-rerelease-spider-man-far-from-home-avatar

Culture

Little league parents don’t like child umpire’s call, so they beat each other

On a nice afternoon in Lakewood, Colorado, parents attending their seven-year-old children’s baseball game decided that the best way to deal with a controversial call made by the 13-year-old umpire was to storm the field, scream, and hit one another.

From Deadspin:

Lakewood (Colo.) Police handed out issued four citations for disorderly conduct, and are still seeking suspects for potentially more serious charges, after 15–20 grown-ups got into a big ol’ brawl in the middle of a 7-year-olds’ baseball game this weekend.

The cause of the fight? According to police, one parent was upset with calls made by the game’s 13-year-old umpire. Things devolved quickly, and in a really depressing moment at around four seconds of the video, you can see the children in the field fleeing for safety.

In the background, you can hear a woman making a personal request to Jesus Christ to stop the brawl. The video ends before we can see whether or not the son of God arrived and intervened.

from Boing Boing https://boingboing.net/2019/06/19/little-league-parents-dont-l.html

Culture

NASA’s future Moon rocket will probably be delayed and over budget yet again: audit

An artistic rendering of the Space Launch System

The giant rocket that NASA is building to send astronauts to the Moon will likely be delayed and over budget — yet again. That’s according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, which reviewed the hardware NASA has been developing for deep space human exploration. The report, originally leaked to The Washington Post, is the latest in a long string of reviews that have identified schedule problems and cost overruns with the rocket’s development program.

For most of the last decade, NASA has been developing two key vehicles to carry humans beyond Earth orbit. One is the Space Launch System, or SLS, a massive rocket capable of sending people to the vicinity of the lunar surface. The other is a crew capsule called Orion,…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/19/18691230/nasa-space-launch-system-orion-artemis-moon-human-exploration

Culture

Journey creator’s new game is designed ‘to battle against the human nature’

Journey creator Jenova Chen is drawn to making positive game experiences. Thatgamecompany’s latest title, Sky: Children of the Light, is an exploration into altruism and kindness, wrapped up in a beautiful mobile experience.

But just as Journey made Chen eager to create something players could share with their less video game-inclined friends, Sky has taught him an important lesson as well: people sort of suck.

“We also have to make sure the social dynamics don’t become hostile,” Chen says. “We want this to be a friendly experience … we designed so many things to battle against the human nature, to keep this world friendly.”

Journey, released in 2012, was an instant hit among critics, who praised its gorgeous world and innovative…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/19/18678504/journey-jenova-chen-sky-children-of-the-light-e3-2019

Culture

How to replace Google’s Trips app

Google’s travel app Trips is shutting down on August 5th, ceding its territory to apps such as TripIt and RoadTrippers. It’s unfortunate; Trips was a handy app for travelers, offering a quick and easy way to track your travel plans, find your saved places, and explore unfamiliar territory. You could also download your information to the app so that it would be accessible offline, very handy when you are overseas and using a temporary data plan.

Google has created a page describing all the various methods you can use to replace the features of the soon-to-be-gone Trips app. What follows are some of Google’s suggestions, with a bit of extra commentary to help you get at least some of the same functionality:

  • You can use Google Maps to find…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/19/18691504/how-to-replace-google-trips-app-traveling-maps

Culture

Hundreds of iconic music videos are being remastered in HD on YouTube

Universal Music Group and YouTube have teamed up to remaster iconic music videos from standard definition to HD. The partnership will result in more than 100 music videos from artists like Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga, and Lionel Richie receiving a significant upgrade in visual quality. The two companies are working to bring that number up to 1,000 videos by the end of 2020.

These HD videos will replace the original versions on YouTube and YouTube Music, but will maintain the same URLs, view counts, and likes as before. You’ll know it’s an updated video if there’s a #Remastered label and “Remastered in HD!” in the description. Many of these videos weren’t shot in HD, but the remastering will still make things noticeably clearer than before.

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/19/18691481/youtube-universal-music-videos-group-hd-remaster-umg