A New Graphic Novel Explores How Racism Made Weed Illegal

For the last few years, a wave of legislation has been decriminalizing the recreational use of marijuana all across the United States. Cannabis advocates have long said that it should never have been illegal. The story of how the substance became outlawed in the first place combines willful ignorance, petty careerism,…

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Source: io9 – A New Graphic Novel Explores How Racism Made Weed Illegal

The ASUS Chromebook Flip C434: A Convertible Chromebook with Premium Features

ASUS is certainly not new to Chrome OS-based PCs. But throughout its history with Chromebooks, Chromeboxes, and other Chrome OS devices, the company has positioned them as entry level solutions. However, as Google and some of its partners are experimenting with more premium Chrome OS-powered devices, ASUS cannot stand still. To that end, the company has started to sell its Chromebook Flip C434, a premium Chrome OS 2-in-1.



Source: AnandTech – The ASUS Chromebook Flip C434: A Convertible Chromebook with Premium Features

Syringe 'watch' puts a life-saving allergy shot on your wrist

If you’re prone to serious allergic reactions, carrying an epinephrine shot (such as an EpiPen) could be vital. Those shots are often bulky, though, and there’s a real chance you could lose yours right before you need it. Students at Rice Universit…

Source: Engadget – Syringe ‘watch’ puts a life-saving allergy shot on your wrist

Instagram Hides Like Counts In Leaked Design Prototype

Instagram’s Android code is hiding a design change that hides the number of likes your posts get. “During this test, only the person who shares a post will see the total number of likes it gets,” the company says. TechCrunch reports on the seemingly small design change test and the massive potential impact it’ll have on users’ well-being: Hiding Like counts could reduce herd mentality, where people just Like what’s already got tons of Likes. It could reduce the sense of competition on Instagram, since users won’t compare their own counts with those of more popular friends or superstar creators. And it could encourage creators to post what feels most authentic rather than trying to rack up Likes for everyone to see.

You can see [in a leaked screenshot] on the left that the Instagram feed post lacks a Like count, but still shows a few faces and a name of other people who’ve Liked it. Users are alerted that only they will see their post’s Like counts, and anyone else won’t. Many users delete posts that don’t immediately get “enough” Likes or post to their fake “Finstagram” accounts if they don’t think they’ll be proud of the hearts they collect. Hiding Like counts might get users posting more because they’ll be less self-conscious. It appears there’s no plan to hide follower counts on user profiles, which are the true measure of popularity, but also serve a purpose of distinguishing great content creators and assessing their worth to marketers. Hiding Likes could just put more of a spotlight on follower and comment counts. And even if users don’t see Like counts, they still massively impact the feed’s ranking algorithm, so creators will still have to battle for them to be seen.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Instagram Hides Like Counts In Leaked Design Prototype

Reverse review bomb? AC: Unity draws praise for Notre Dame preservation

The famous cathedral lives on in interactive digital form.

Enlarge / The famous cathedral lives on in interactive digital form.

At this point, we’re actually a little tired of stories about “review bombing,” where various put-upon groups of gamers gather together to leave a flood a negative user reviews, often for issues that have nothing to do with the game itself. But this week’s flood of positive reviews for Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Unity on Steam is a different (and much rarer) story altogether.

The impetus for this reverse review-bomb (Review rocket? Review scaffolding? Review hug?) came earlier this week after the tragic fire in Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral. On Wednesday, Ubisoft announced it would be donating €500,000 to help rebuild the cathedral that’s recreated as a central landmark in Assassin’s Creed Unity. On top of that, the company is giving away free copies of the game on its UPlay platform through April 25 as a way to encourage further donations and in order “to give everyone the chance to experience the majesty and beauty of Notre-Dame the best way we know how.”

“When we created Assassin’s Creed Unity, we developed an even closer connection with this incredible city and its landmarks,” the company wrote this week. “One of the most notable elements of the game was the extraordinary recreation of Notre-Dame… We hope, with this small gesture, we can provide everyone an opportunity to appreciate our virtual homage to this monumental piece of architecture.”

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Source: Ars Technica – Reverse review bomb? AC: Unity draws praise for Notre Dame preservation

The ASRock IMB-1216: Intel’s Whiskey Lake-U Goes Mini-ITX

ASRock has introduced a new Mini-ITX motherboard based on Intel’s Whiskey Lake-U SoCs, which is aimed at embedded applications. The IMB-1216 mainboard is designed for applications like panel PCs, point-of-sales systems, kiosks, and digital signage, but can be used for regular low-power PCs in a Mini-ITX form-factor.



Source: AnandTech – The ASRock IMB-1216: Intel’s Whiskey Lake-U Goes Mini-ITX

Researchers suggest 100 percent renewable energy isn’t very green

In order to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius, we’ll need to rely on renewable energy, electric vehicles (EV) and battery storage. But creating that infrastructure will dramatically increase our need for metals like cobalt and li…

Source: Engadget – Researchers suggest 100 percent renewable energy isn’t very green

New automation features are coming to macOS in Shortcuts—but not for every app

A few examples of "Shortcuts" that can be applied to Siri with iOS 12.

Enlarge / A few examples of “Shortcuts” that can be applied to Siri with iOS 12. (credit: Apple)

According to a report at 9to5mac citing people familiar with Apple’s plans, several iOS features will come to the Mac in macOS 10.15.

First and foremost among these is Shortcuts, the automation application that Apple built out of its acquisition of Workflow. The app, support for which was introduced in iOS 12, allows iPhone and iPad users to define steps for their devices to perform when they deliver certain user-definable Siri voice commands, tap user-created home screen icons, and so on.

Shortcuts is tightly integrated with Siri, and it was positioned by Apple as a way to make Siri much more powerful than it has been previously. Third-party app developers could develop their own Shortcuts and accompanying Siri commands that could be accessed across the operating system.

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Source: Ars Technica – New automation features are coming to macOS in Shortcuts—but not for every app

Striking Photos Capture the Unnatural Transformation of the Amazon Rainforest

There was this moment last year when I was sitting in the quietest place in the U.S. and a plane flew overhead, breaking the cocoon of natural sound. It was the sonic emulation of the world we’re creating, writ large. Humanity has crept into every nook and cranny of the planet, and now we’re being forced to confront…

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Source: Gizmodo – Striking Photos Capture the Unnatural Transformation of the Amazon Rainforest

Scribd's Copyright Robocops Are Automatically Taking Down the Mueller Report

Scribd has become a popular place for people to upload PDF documents to share with the world. But the hosting site’s algorithms aren’t handling the release of the Mueller Report very well, according to a new report from Quartz. Scribd’s robots are flagging the document as a copyrighted work, despite the fact that, as…

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Source: Gizmodo – Scribd’s Copyright Robocops Are Automatically Taking Down the Mueller Report

This little electric car is the coolest thing at the NY Auto Show

As we detailed on Monday, this year’s Shanghai auto show has been the place to be if you want to see car designers’ ideas for future electric cars. But not everyone chose China as the place to reveal their electric concept cars. Genesis thinks the Big Apple is a better place to make an annual statement.

In 2017 it was the GV80, a hydrogen fuel cell EV that was the first clean-sheet design for the new Korean luxury brand and a vehicle that seems a lot more plausible now that we’ve driven Hyundai’s Nexo. Last year, we got the Essentia, an electric hypercar that will almost certainly remain nothing more than a concept. Now, for the third year in a row, Genesis has stolen the New York International Auto Show, this time with the Mint, its take on a small luxury battery EV.

Forget an electric car for the masses, this one is for a niche within a niche: the city dweller who only needs two seats but still wants cargo space, plus the added drama of scissor doors and a leather-lined interior that looks like it belongs in a coachbuilt Bugatti from the 1930s. Admittedly, it’s not the biggest demographic in the world, but I count myself firmly in that camp.

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Source: Ars Technica – This little electric car is the coolest thing at the NY Auto Show

Utah Bans Police From Searching Digital Data Without a Warrant

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Forbes: In a major win for digital privacy, Utah became the first state in the nation to ban warrantless searches of electronic data. Under the Electronic Information or Data Privacy Act (HB 57), state law enforcement can only access someone’s transmitted or stored digital data (including writing, images, and audio) if a court issues a search warrant based on probable cause. Simply put, the act ensures that search engines, email providers, social media, cloud storage, and any other third-party “electronic communications service” or “remote computing service” are fully protected under the Fourth Amendment (and its equivalent in the Utah Constitution).

HB 57 also contains provisions that promote government transparency and accountability. In most cases, once agencies execute a warrant, they must then notify owners within 14 days that their data has been searched. Even more critically, HB 57 will prevent the government from using illegally obtained digital data as evidence in court. In a concession to law enforcement, the act will let police obtain location-tracking information or subscriber data without a warrant if there’s an “imminent risk” of death, serious physical injury, sexual abuse, livestreamed sexual exploitation, kidnapping, or human trafficking. Backed by the ACLU of Utah and the Libertas Institute, the act went through five different substitute versions before it was finally approved — without a single vote against it — last month. HB 57 is slated to take effect in mid-May.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Utah Bans Police From Searching Digital Data Without a Warrant

Surprise! Satellites show that thermometers don’t lie

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Source: Ars Technica – Surprise! Satellites show that thermometers don’t lie

Jane Foster Is Becoming an Asgardian Valkyrie in Her New Marvel Series

During Jane Foster’s time as Thor, Asgardian goddess of thunder, she accomplished a number of things the Odinson never could and proved to the universe that her inherent heroism made her every bit as worthy as anyone who’d ever wielded Mjölnir before. In the time since Jane hung up her cape and helmet, she’s been…

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Source: io9 – Jane Foster Is Becoming an Asgardian Valkyrie in Her New Marvel Series

Christchurch shooting videos are still on Facebook over a month later

Current methods for filtering out terrorist content are still quite limited, and a recent discovery makes that all too clear. Motherboard and the Global Intellectual Property Enforcement Center’s Eric Feinberg have discovered that variants of the Chr…

Source: Engadget – Christchurch shooting videos are still on Facebook over a month later

World of Goo is Epic Game Store’s next freebie—and all PC owners will get HD update

The Goo is back! And free! And updated for existing owners! Everyone wins, we think.

Enlarge / The Goo is back! And free! And updated for existing owners! Everyone wins, we think. (credit: 2DBoy)

As has become a regular occurrence lately, Epic Games announced another solid free video game coming to all of its Epic Games Store (EGS) users, which has so far been an every-two-weeks promo for the relatively new storefront. And again, as has become a regular occurrence, the news came with some confusing crossover with Steam, the mega-ton retailer that EGS is not-so-subtly taking on.

Friday’s announcement confirmed that the award-winning puzzle game World of Goo, which launched in 2008 on PC and the Wii before reaching other platforms, will become an EGS freebie starting May 2. Users will have a two-week window to log in and claim a copy of the game (which currently retails for $10 at Steam and other digital-download storefronts).

Shortly after Epic’s announcement, a PC Gamer report clarified one key detail: this version of World of Goo includes a significant “framework” update with an emphasis on higher resolutions. However, that report didn’t answer if that update was an EGS exclusive—the kind of update that would require the game’s existing fans to log into a second storefront and claim a free copy—or when exactly its Steam equivalent will get the update.

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Source: Ars Technica – World of Goo is Epic Game Store’s next freebie—and all PC owners will get HD update

Porn Regulators Powerless Against Horny British Teens

On Wednesday, the UK government announced that starting July 15, porn providers online would be required to roll out age verification systems on their websites, only allowing those 18 and older to access their content. But one should not underestimate the will of the horny—porn, uh, finds a way, and adult content…

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Source: Gizmodo – Porn Regulators Powerless Against Horny British Teens

Google Will Begin To Block Sign-ins From Embedded Browser Frameworks in June

To fight phishing, Google last year announced it would require users to enable JavaScript during Google Account sign-in so that it could run attack-detecting risk assessments, and this week, the company said it’ll begin to block all sign-ins from embedded browser frameworks like Chromium Embedded Framework starting in June. From a report: For the uninitiated, embedded browser frameworks enable developers to add basic web browsing functionality to their apps, and to use web languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create those apps’ interface (or portions of it). They’re typically cross-platform — Chromium Embedded Framework runs on Linux, Windows, and macOS — and they support a range of language bindings. With the change, Google is specifically targeting man in the middle (MITM) attacks, which it says are particularly difficult to spot from automation platforms like embedded browser frameworks.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Google Will Begin To Block Sign-ins From Embedded Browser Frameworks in June

FBI Refuses to Say Which 'Experts' Inform Its Director's Bad Take on Encryption

Before he was approved to lead the FBI, Christopher Wray met privately with Senator Ron Wyden, easily the sharpest privacy hawk in Congress. The topic of their conversation, one of many Wray would hold with lawmakers during his confirmation process, was encryption. The FBI has long held controversial views on the…

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Source: Gizmodo – FBI Refuses to Say Which ‘Experts’ Inform Its Director’s Bad Take on Encryption

'When They See Us' recreates the story of the Central Park Five

This spring, Netflix will turn the harrowing story of the Central Park Five into a four-part mini-series, When They See Us. The show takes a closer look at the infamous 1989 case, in which five black teens were coerced into confessing to a crime they…

Source: Engadget – ‘When They See Us’ recreates the story of the Central Park Five