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Category: Culture

Culture

How to avoid Game of Thrones and Avengers: Endgame spoilers

The internet is full of spoilers, making it a dangerous place to hang around if you’re trying to steer clear of what happens in Avengers: Endgame, Game of Thrones, or any other TV shows, movies, or video games that you’re still catching up on. Even when you think you’ve got things under control, Google’s autocomplete feature has spoiled things before. URLs can contain spoilers, too.

In addition, trolls can embed spoilers in unrelated content. When Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released, the film’s biggest plot twist was hidden within a misleading video titled something like “LMAO funny Madden 16 glitches.” (Needless to say, there were no funny Madden glitches to be found.)

Of course, the most logical suggestion for avoiding them is…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/25/18515807/how-to-avoid-movie-spoilers-chrome-firefox-computer-phone

Culture

New York’s attorney general is investigating Facebook after contact-scraping scandal

The New York attorney general’s office has opened an investigation into Facebook after it was discovered earlier this month that the company had the email contacts belonging to over 1.5 million people without their consent.

“It is time Facebook is held accountable for how it handles consumers’ personal information,” Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. “Facebook has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of respect for consumers’ information while at the same time profiting from mining that data.”

Starting in May 2016, Facebook automatically collected users’ contact lists, ultimately collecting data on more than 1.5 million people. That data was then used to improve the social media…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/25/18516716/new-york-attorney-general-facebook-contact-scraping-letitia-james

Culture

Amazon has its most profitable quarter ever, but growth is slowing

Amazon wants to continue its dominance over e-commerce, but it can only grow so much. In its first quarter earnings posted today, Amazon revealed record-high profit, more than double what investors predicted, and revenue was in line with Wall Street expectations, at $59.7 billion. But the company is again entering a period of high spending that, coupled with its slow revenue growth, may prove an obstacle down the line.

It’s clear Amazon is still an extremely profitable company, as the third most valuable corporation on the planet after Apple and Microsoft. But CEO Jeff Bezos is continuing to invest heavily in artificial intelligence, the smart home, and physical retail, bets that won’t pay off for quite some time. As a result, Amazon is…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/25/18516507/amazon-earnings-q1-2019-worth-growth-profits-revenue

Culture

Facebook bans personality quizzes after Cambridge Analytica scandal

Facebook is banning personality quiz apps, which have for years been able to collect and store a great deal of information about their users. The ban comes a year after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where it came out that the data firm had acquired information on up to 87 million people through the quiz app “thisisyourdigitallife.”

To be clear, personality quizzes themselves were not the problem here. While they offer an easy way for unscrupulous developers to gather masses of data — after all, they’re premised on handing over personal information — the problem was that Facebook allowed developers, for many years, to collect information on friends of friends and never thoroughly enforced policies to ensure that the data was kept…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/25/18516608/facebook-personality-quiz-ban-cambridge-analytica

Culture

The WHO’s new screen time limits aren’t really about screens

Much has been made of the World Health Organization’s new recommendations that caregivers restrict the amount of time young kids stare at screens. But the guidelines are less about the risks of screen time itself, and more about the advantages of spending time doing pretty much anything else.

The recommendations are broadly about physical activity and sleep for children under five years old, and are an attempt to create healthy habits during a critical developmental window. Among the recommendations for tummy time and active play, the WHO also spells out that between the ages of two and five, children should spend no more than an hour a day plopped in front of a screen. And children under the age of two shouldn’t engage in sedentary…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/25/18516669/screen-time-limits-who-children-health-physical-activity-sleep-tv-phones

Culture

Fortnite’s Avengers: Endgame crossover is one of the best superhero games I’ve ever played

Battle royale video games are not really power fantasies, especially if you’re one of the majority of players on the losing end of a match. Being dropped onto an island with fellow scavengers and scrounging around for what little firearms and ammo you can get your hands on creates a tense, anything-can-happen atmosphere. You’re supposed to feel vulnerable all the time. That’s not the case in Fortnite’s big Avengers: Endgame crossover event. The limited-time game mode is all about feeling overly powerful — like a superhero — to spectacular effect.

Whether you’re on the side of humanity, wielding one of the many heroic weapons taken from the Marvel universe, or whether you’re part of Thanos’ army — with its jetpacks and energy weapons…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/25/18516452/fortnite-avengers-end-game-marvel-superheroes-crossover-event-infinity-war

Culture

This keychain has Tile tracking built-in so you’ll never lose your keys

From your apartment door to your bike lock, it’s not uncommon to carry a number of different keys on your keyring, but that doesn’t make it any more bearable when you’re fussing to find the right one or deal with the infamous pocket bulge. The KeySmart Pro‘s smart design cuts down on key clutter and comes loaded with Tile™ Smart Location, so you’ll always have your keys handy.

Fashioned from stainless steel, the KeySmart can easily store up to 10 keys in its space-saving sleeve. In addition to locating your keys on a map, the KeySmart’s Tile™ functionality also allows it to ring, so you can hear your sleeve even if it’s buried between the couch cushions. What’s more, the KeySmart even works in reverse, allowing you to ring your phone if you can’t find it—even if it’s on silent.

The KeySmart Pro with Tile™ Smart Location is available in the Boing Boing Store for $39.99 today.

from Boing Boing https://boingboing.net/2019/04/25/this-keychain-has-tile-trackin.html

Culture

If you have an instant pot, get this 64-ounce wide-mouth Ball jar

I use my Instant Pot nearly every day — making chili, curry chicken, borscht, taco beef. Last night I made zucchini soup. We always have a lot left over, and the best way to store the leftovers is in a 64-ounce wide-mouth Ball jar with a plastic lid. Be sure to get the wide mouth jar, it’s much more convenient.

from Boing Boing https://boingboing.net/2019/04/25/if-you-have-an-instant-pot-ge.html

Culture

Verizon and AT&T hit record lows for smartphone upgrades

AT&T and Verizon have revealed that upgrade rates have hit all-time lows for the two carriers, with fewer existing customers upgrading their devices, as noted by Bloomberg.

The downward trend in upgrades isn’t exactly new: upgrade rates have been trending downward for years, but the record lows recorded by the two the largest carriers in the US paint a stark picture, both for AT&T and Verizon and hardware manufacturers like Apple and Samsung. It means fewer customers are interested in upgrading their phones, and they are doing so with less frequency than before.

It’s easy to guess why…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/25/18514193/verizon-at-t-hit-record-low-smartphone-upgrades

Culture

Lawyers and law students’ signatures needed for Supreme Court amicus brief in favor of publishing the law


Attentive reader will note that rogue archivist Carl Malamud (previously) published the laws of Georgia — including the paywalled annotations to the state laws — in 2015, prompting the state to sue him and literally call him a terrorist; Malamud countersued in 2015 and won a huge victory in 2018, when the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that the law could not be copyrighted.


Now, the State of Georgia wants to go to the Supreme Court to argue for its right to charge the people of Georgia to know which laws they are supposed to be following. There’s a lot at stake: Malamud has been threatened by Idaho, Oregon, Mississippi, and the District of Columbia for posting state laws and is being sued by six plaintiffs in DC for posting public safety laws, and has received a dozen more takedowns from Standards Development Organizations whose standards have been incorporated into state law.


Malamud and his counsel (Elizabeth Rader and Tom Goldstein and Eric Citron of Goldstein & Russell),are responding to Georgia’s petition and they are seeking amici: if you are a law student or practicioner they would like you to sign onto this amicus brief prepared by Jeff Pearlman by filling in this form.


They’re closing the brief to new signatories on May 2, and you might consider signing this on May 1, which is “Law Day” (Eisenhower declared this in 1958, as a way of rebranding the Communist May Day; the bar celebrates Law Day every year on May 1).

A. Law Students Must Have Full Access to
the Law.

Whether a law student intends to practice law,
teach it, or do something else entirely, a core purpose
of law school is to give students the tools they need to
read, analyze, and understand the law. But their
learning can be only be as complete as their access to
the law is. When copyright law hamstrings that
access, it also hobbles legal education.

Part of a legal education is studying the
differences between the laws of multiple jurisdictions.
When the law is balkanized, with each jurisdiction is
only available through some favored private entities,
this task is made more difficult. When the only freely
available versions of the law omit critical information
like the OCGA’s annotations, it becomes even harder.
And when copyright restrictions mean the law of some
jurisdictions is not available for free at all, this simply
cannot be accomplished.

Relying on schools to provide full access is also no
solution because the law is then available only to those
whose schools can afford particular, expensive
databases. Basic fairness demands that government
not favor well-resourced schools and their students
over others. Even if, in some instances, these
databases are offered to law schools for free, it is not
enough—their access to the law must not be
conditioned on the good graces of private entities
governed, ultimately, by a profit motive.

The Court should grant certiorari to ensure that
ability to effectively study the law that governs us all
is uniformly available and is not determined by the
preferences individual private entities.


Amicus Brief in the Georgia Code Case for Law Students and Practioners in Solo Practice or Small Law Firms
[Jeff Pearlman/Archive.org]


Sign the brief [Google Forms]

from Boing Boing https://boingboing.net/2019/04/25/happy-law-day.html

Culture

This 23-year-old who is charged with posing as a NYC lawyer to grift ‘clients’ also co-founded ‘Students for Trump’

John Lambert, a 23-year-old Tennessee man, has been charged by prosecutors with pretending to be a Manhattan attorney and grifting thousands of dollars from his would-be clients.

Oh, and by the way: he was also the co-founder of Students for Trump.

That nationwide group “mobilized college campuses in the run-up to the 2016 election and plans to do so again in 2020,” reports The Outline:

John Lambert, 23, was arrested last week and charged by Southern District of New York prosecutors with wire fraud for having invented a lawyer persona named “Eric Pope” that he used to solicit legal work online. ALM reported last week that the fake firm website he created appeared to have attorney biographies cribbed from senior partners at Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

Since his arrest, more details about Lambert’s background have emerged. Before he allegedly posed as a lawyer, Lambert was in college when he co-founded Students for Trump. As the group’s vice chairman, he appeared on NBC and Fox News and shared a stage with the hard-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed that a photo of Lambert depicted the man who was charged.

ALM was alerted to Lambert’s political background by people who knew of him when he was enrolled at Campbell University in North Carolina. It was at this school where he co-founded Students for Trump in late 2015, according to a profile in The Chronicle of Higher Education. A university representative said he was last enrolled in fall 2016.

[PHOTO: John Lambert, co-founder of Students for Trump. Screenshot of rally video via Outline.
via]

from Boing Boing https://boingboing.net/2019/04/25/man-23-charged-with-posing-a.html

Culture

Google is changing how employees can report harassment and discrimination

After pledging to make cultural changes following a mass walkout of employees last year, Google said today that it will change how employees can report harassment and discrimination allegations.

Google has faced a year of backlash from employees, culminating in 20,000 workers walking off the job in November. The workers demanded changes, and Google executives met some of those demands. CEO Sundar Pichai announced that month that the company would make arbitration option for sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations, and it would change how employees can report harassment and discrimination.

In a blog post released today, the company gave an update. Employees can now report concerns on a…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/25/18516474/google-employee-harassment-discrimination-report-changes

Culture

‘Confederate militia’ boss who abused immigrants at gunpoint attacked in jail with ‘non-life-threatening injuries’

The apparent leader of a gang of white supremacists who terrorized immigrants along the US-Mexico border, holding hundreds of them at gunpoint, has been attacked in jail and reportedly received non-life-threatening injuries, say authorities.

We previously reported about the self-described “Confederate militia” group, and shared their brag videos about the mass abuses they committed with the apparent benign support of Border Patrol agents in the area, who are seen rounding up the humans after the militia gathered them while displaying lethal force.

Larry Mitchell Hopkins is 69, and also goes by the name Johnny Horton Junior.

He leads the United Constitutional Patriots from his home in a trailer park in northern New Mexico.

The El Paso Times reports Hopkins “was attacked in the Doña Ana County Detention Center, county officials said Wednesday.”

The FBI arrested Hopkins on Saturday in Sunland Park on a federal charge that he is a convicted felon in possession of guns. He was being held at the county jail in Las Cruces at the time of the attack.

Officials said they’re investigating an assault on Hopkins that happened after 9 p.m. Monday, but they provided few details.

Hopkins had his first court appearance Monday afternoon, and a complaint revealed that the FBI suspected him of making assassination threats against former President Barack Obama, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and billionaire activist George Soros.

“Hopkins was given medical attention for non life-threatening injuries,” according to a Doña Ana County news release. “He was transferred out of the Doña Ana County Detention Center under the direction of the U.S. Marshals Service on Tuesday.”

Officials have not released the names of the person or people suspected of attacking Hopkins.

On Tuesday, members of his group were evicted from their campsite in Sunland Park.

from Boing Boing https://boingboing.net/2019/04/25/confederate-militia-boss-w.html

Culture

Why we’re hoping for a big body count in Game of Thrones and Avengers: Endgame

We’re approaching a weird weekend of pop culture grief. Thursday, April 25th, marks the release of Avengers: Endgame, the follow-up to Avengers: Infinity War, in which literally half the universe died. Just a few days later, on Sunday, April 28th, the latest episode of Game of Thrones will send the majority of the show’s surviving cast into an epic battle with the undead horde of White Walkers sweeping down from beyond the Wall. Both Endgame and Game of Thrones have something unusual in common: they’re installments of long-running, immensely popular franchises where the audience widely expects they’re about to see their favorite characters die.

That’s rare in a cultural environment that thrives on endless sequels, prequels, spinoffs, and…

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from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/25/18516389/avengers-endgame-game-of-thrones-pop-culture-deaths-tony-stark-captain-america-black-widow