Young people can't remember how much more wildlife there used to be

Found on New Scientist on Wednesday, 11 December 2019
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Walking in England’s New Forest in 1892, butterfly collector S. G. Castle Russell encountered such numbers of the insects that they “were so thick that I could hardly see ahead”. On another occasion, he “captured a hundred purple hairstreaks” with two sweeps of his net.

The alternative is people losing connections to wildlife and the will to care about stopping its loss, she says. “If we don’t learn about nature from an early age, and we don’t go and experience it and recognise species, then [our collective amnesia] could just get worse and worse.”

People don't go outside as much as they used to; and when they do, it's mostly for their entertainment only with barely any attention for nature itself.

NHS gives Amazon free use of health data under Alexa advice deal

Found on The Guardian on Tuesday, 10 December 2019
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The material, which excludes patient data, could allow the multinational technology company to make, advertise and sell its own products.

An NHS spokesperson said: “No patient data is being provided to this company by the NHS, which takes data privacy extremely seriously and has put appropriate safeguards in place to ensure information is used correctly.”

For now. First you start with a little step where you can assure that no personal data is handed over, to make people accept such a headline. In another step, you add patient data and the outcry will be small because most people will mix it up with what happened before.

Verizon reportedly blocks archivists from Yahoo Groups days before deletion

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 09 December 2019
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An ad-hoc group scrambling to archive as much content as possible from Yahoo Groups ahead of the site's final demise next week is running into trouble as more than a hundred volunteer archivists say Yahoo's parent company, Verizon, has banned their accounts.

The Verizon representative said the 128 volunteers from, who joined groups with the intent of archiving them, were banned for violating the Verizon Media terms of service and would not be able to have their accounts reinstated.

The Organization for Transformative Works—the nonprofit best known for running the decade-old, Hugo-winning fanfiction site Archive of Our Own—has joined the chorus calling on Verizon to postpone the deletion date by six months, until May 14, 2020, in order to allow volunteers to archive more material.

Yahoo could do a nice PR move and just hand over the archives to the team, instead of kicking them out for trying to preserve information.

Magic Leap’s early device sales aren’t looking good

Found on Techcrunch on Sunday, 08 December 2019
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The Information‘s Alex Heath is reporting that Magic Leap managed to sell just 6,000 units of its $2,300 Magic Leap One headset in its first six months on sale, a figure made worse by CEO Rony Abovitz’s internal claims that he wanted the startup to sell at least one million units of the device in the first year.

The company has now raised around $2.6 billion in venture funding from firms like Google, Alibaba and a slew of other investors.

Not even $14 million earned for $2.6 billion invested. Solid business structure.

Social media platforms leave 95% of reported fake accounts up, study finds

Found on Ars Technica on Saturday, 07 December 2019
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About a month after buying all that engagement, the research team looked at the status of all those fake accounts and found that about 80 percent were still active. So they reported a sample selection of those accounts to the platforms as fraudulent. Then came the most damning statistic: three weeks after being reported as fake, 95 percent of the fake accounts were still active.

Why should they remove them? It only reduces the number of total accounts they can go advertising with.

The Curse of Outdated DRM Claims Another Victim, 'Tron: Evolution'

Found on Vice on Friday, 06 December 2019
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Tron: Evolution, a tie-in game for the 2010 Tron: Legacy film , used SecurRom, a form of digital rights management (DRM), and publisher Disney hasn’t paid its bill. This means Disney can no longer authenticate purchases and "unlock" copies of the game that people bought but haven't used yet.

Often, the people most affected by DRM are people who purchase the game legitimately and experience performance issues tied to the extra software running or, as is the case with Tron: Evolution, suddenly can’t play the game at all.

That's why piracy is still ongoing. If you pay for a software you are only borrowing (since you do not really own the copy), then you have to deal with every problem the company throws at you. It's up to consumers to avoid such software.

TikTok curbed reach for people with disabilities

Found on Netzpolitik on Thursday, 05 December 2019
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TikTok, the fast-growing social network from China, has used unusual measures to protect supposedly vulnerable users. The platform instructed its moderators to mark videos of people with disabilities and limit their reach. Queer and fat people also ended up on a list of „special users“.

Moderators were instructed to mark people with disabilities as „Risk 4“. This means that a video is only visible in the country where it was uploaded.

It's a bit of a twisted view to assume that healthy and pretty looking people cannot be bullied. Even more weird is the assumption that limiting a video to a country would stop bullying. Some might call that virtual euthanasia.

Instagram demands date of birth from new members

Found on BBC News on Wednesday, 04 December 2019
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Asking for a date of birth would help the company to avoid targeting ads for age-restricted products at children, the Reuters news agency reported.

"Asking for this information will help prevent underage people from joining Instagram, help us keep young people safer and enable more age-appropriate experiences overall," the company said in a blog post.

Of course nobody has ever lied on the Internet when signing up for something essentially useless. It's just snakeoil in an attempt to evade possible lawsuits.

'Grinch bots' are here to ruin your holiday shopping

Found on NBC News on Tuesday, 03 December 2019
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Up to 97 percent of all online traffic to retailer login pages this holiday shopping week comes from bots, largely operated by organized gangs of cybercriminals, according to estimates by cybersecurity firm Radware.

The bots fill out online forms and navigate retail sites faster than a real person can, and try to swiftly purchase limited supply gifts before you’ve even filled up your cart. The items are then sold for a higher price on third-party sites.

On a normal shopping day, humans outnumber bots on login pages by two to one. On the days leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, bots outnumber humans by 20 to 1.

Capitalism at its finest. The holiday season has turned into nothing but a compulsive consumerism.

DC Comics Comes Under Fire for Deleting Batman Poster That Sparked Chinese Backlash

Found on Variety on Monday, 02 December 2019
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The artwork depicts Batman throwing a Molotov cocktail against a backdrop of hot-pink words spelling out the new comic book’s tagline, “the future is young.” It was posted on DC Comics’ Twitter and Instagram accounts; both platforms are blocked in mainland China.

In the meantime, DC Comics’ Instagram has been flooded with criticism from people who support the Hong Kong protests or are angry that the company appears to have given in to Chinese political pressure.

“So now Batman loves money more than justice?” asked one commenter.

So now DC Comics joins the hall of shame along with Apple and Blizzard by bending over for China.