Facebook's crackdown on publishers feeds has sites paying celebs to repost


Facebook -- which accounts for as much as 75% of the traffic to popular websites -- tweaked its algorithm to downrank those same publishers, who had been engaged in an arms-race to dominate Facebook users' feeds through techniques intended to gain high rank in Facebook's secret scoring system. Read the rest

Trolling Trump with an Arabic billboard


The billboard went up in Dearborn, MI, which has a large number of Arabic speakers, and reads "Donald Trump, he can't read this, but he is afraid of it" (a riff on the bags printed with "This text has no other purpose than to terrify those who are afraid of the Arabic language"). Read the rest

Stormtrooper decanter


The Stormtrooper Decanter is on back-order, but you can pre-order one from the next batch for £22 -- it's based on Andrew Ainsworth's original movie helmet moulds from 1976, and will provide endless opportunities to point to lowball glasses and say things like "aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper drink?" (via Bonnie Burton) Read the rest

Yesterday's internet-destroying outages were caused by "amateurish" IoT malware


Some of the internet's most popular, well-defended services -- including Twitter -- were knocked offline yesterday by a massive denial-of-service attack that security experts are blaming on botnets made from thousands of hacked embedded systems in Internet of Things devices like home security cameras and video recorders. Read the rest

Tory minister's filibuster kills Turing's law and pardons for 65,000 persecuted gay men


Conservative justice minister Sam Gyimah staged a sucessful filibuster during the Parliamentary debate over "Turing's law", which would make the 65,000 men convicted of "gross indecency" under various UK anti-sodomy laws eligible for pardons, clearing their criminal records. Read the rest

Using Machine Learning to synthesize images that look NSFW but aren't


Yahoo has released a machine-learning model called open_nsfw that is designed to distinguish not-safe-for-work images from worksafe ones. By tweaking the model and combining it with places-CNN, MIT's scene-recognition model, Gabriel Goh created a bunch of machine-generated scenes that score high for both models -- things that aren't porn, but look porny. Read the rest

At long last, America's racist, crazy tough-on-crime prosecutors are losing elections


Historically, being an elected prosecutor was a sweet gig: operating with "unchecked power and no transparency," you generally got to run unopposed for re-election, and on the rare instances in which someone did dare to run against the incumbent, the incumbent usually won. Read the rest

Fidget toys to disperse your nervous energy


I dote on fidget gadgets -- soothing gizmos intended to give your hands something to keep busy with, like modern worry-beads -- and while you can't buy Chris Bathgate's amazing machined sliders, and the Fidget Cube Kickstarter just closed, there's still Thinkgeek's new Jumbo Noah Fidget Toy, which looks like a lot of fun and "features two interlocking rings that are also connected together with five links on each ring. The center link is larger and has a colored rubber band that rolls back and forth like a treadmill." Read the rest

Wizard Rock the Vote: help the Harry Potter Alliance get out the vote


The amazing Harry Potter Alliance (previously) -- who harness fandom for social good -- are raising funds for their Wizard Rock the Vote campaign, to get new voters into the polling booth this election. Read the rest

Reviving an Ann Arbor Ambassador 60 terminal


JWZ documents his adventures in bringing a 1982/3 vintage Ann Arbor Ambassador 60 terminal (a rare portrait-orientation terminal) back into service -- fitting it with a Raspberry Pi and a new power-supply and getting it to boot its beautiful green-screen. Read the rest

Hillary Clinton campaign fundraising tool: auto-donate every time Trump tweets


The Troll Trump campaign has a simple, ingenious mechanic: it lets you pledge a small donation every time Trump posts a new tweet, meaning that the more Trump loses his temper and posts enraged tweetstorms, the more he raises for his arch-rival. (via /.) Read the rest

ACLU asks court to reveal 23 secret surveillance laws


The ACLU and the Yale Law School Media Freedom Clinic have filed a motion demanding the release of 23 judgments from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a secret, closed courtroom that evaluates surveillance requests from America's spy agencies. Read the rest

Montana judge unrepentant after sentencing man to 60 days for repeatedly raping his own 12 year old daughter


District Judge John McKeon sentenced an unnamed man to 60 days in prison plus a suspended 30-year prison sentence (which he will avoid if he completes a sex-offender treatment program and other parole conditions) after the man pleaded guilty to repeatedly raping his own daughter, who was 12 years old at the time. Read the rest

Turkish court fines bystander/tourist who sued police for shooting out his eye


Shavkatbek Saipov was vacationing in Turkey in 2013 when he was hit in the eye by a teargas cannister fired by police during the brutal crackdown on the Occupy Gezi protests; he lost the eye and sued the Turkish police. Read the rest

By stealing from innocents, Chicago PD amassed tens of millions in a secret black budget for surveillance gear


Since 2009, the Chicago Police Department has seized $72M worth of property from people who were not convicted of any crime, through the discredited civil forfeiture process, keeping $48M worth of the gains (the rest went to the Cook County prosecutor's office and the Illinois State Police) in an off-the-books, unreported slush fund that it used to buy secret surveillance gear. Read the rest

Better Business Bureau yanks Wells Fargo's accreditation


The scandal-haunted bank has been de-accredited by the Better Business Bureau, a punishment meted out to companies that violate the BBB Standards of Trust, which include "tell the truth," "build trust," "honor promises" and "embody integrity." (via Reddit) Read the rest

Grass sprouted in worn Persian rugs


Austrian artist Martin Roth created an installation of grass sprouted in worn Persian rugs at the UK's Korean Cultural Centre; the grass sprouts, dies, and ruins the rugs. In between, the room looks and (apparently) smells amazing. Read the rest

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