Augmented reality, where stuff is visually superimposed on the real world using special glasses or whatever, is often touted as a more convincing and likely future than, say, everyone ending up in some kind of VR entertainment matrix hooked up to nutrition and shitting tubes. Sadly, AR will be even worse, at least if it resemble Keiichi Matsuda's hellish Hyper-Reality. Read the rest
Adrienne Lafrance reports on largely futile efforts to make the Internet "safe for women". It's not just that law enforcement doesn't take it seriously, even after "real world" consequences such as swatting, violence and bomb threats. They're so ignorant of the Internet they don't even know what they're looking at when you show it to them. Even when you're a member of congress... Read the rest
Later this year we plan to change how Chromium hints to websites about the presence of Flash Player, by changing the default response of Navigator.plugins and Navigator.mimeTypes. If a site offers an HTML5 experience, this change will make that the primary experience. We will continue to ship Flash Player with Chrome, and if a site truly requires Flash, a prompt will appear at the top of the page when the user first visits that site, giving them the option of allowing it to run for that site (see the proposal for the mock-ups).
As usual, there are exceptions, starting with an official list of exempted Flash-serving domains. Can you guess what they are?
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YouTube.com Facebook.com Yahoo.com VK.com Live.com Yandex.ru OK.ru Twitch.tv Amazon.com Mail.ru
The Chinese government's comment army generates nearly half a billion comments a year on apps and social networks, doing all it can to sway opinion in favor of the party. The vast message-managing operation spans the globe, reports Paul Mozur.
The common belief that they are paid 50 cents per post leads people in China to call them the Fifty Cent Party.
A new study says those people are closer to the government than previously thought.
The study, from researchers at Harvard University, says the legions of online commenters are not all freelancers paid by the post. In fact, it says that most are government employees, preaching the principles of the Chinese Communist Party on social media while carrying out their jobs in the local tax bureau or at a county government office.
The key technique is distraction — don't rebut, change the subject — all driven by a growing belief among authorities that direct censorship is too crude and obvious. Read the rest
Pavlok is a wristband that one can use to deliver mild electric shocks to oneself, an experiment in Pavlovian self-conditioning. Intelligent Environments is a UK firm that has invented a "platform" to link it to your bank account, so it can shock you when you spend money.
No bank has yet announced that it will be offering the Interact IoT (Internet of Things) platform to customers but Intelligent Environments lists several British banks as clients for its existing online banking platforms.
Chief executive David Webber told the BBC the idea was about consumer choice.
"This is about reacting to changes in your financial well-being," he said.
A perfectly British combination of nannying, shame and unintended consequences. Read the rest
Lured by the internet's pervasive insistence that it represents a superior, more comfortable typing experience, I recently went back to an old-timey mechanical keyboard. This was a mistake. I am now a hamfisted ASCII jazz disaster. Read the rest
Behold the Clan Trump, God's gift to women. Ivanka Trump, daughter of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, is speaking out on reports that her father is occasionally less than chivalrous with the ladies.
"I found it to be pretty disturbing based on the facts as I know them, and obviously I very much know them, both in the capacity as a daughter and in the capacity as an executive who's worked alongside him at this company for a decade," Trump told CBS' Norah O'Donnell. ... "It's largely been discredited, since most of the time when stories are inaccurate, they're not discredited. In this case, they went so far. They had a strong thesis and created facts to reinforce it, and I think that narrative has been played out now, and there's backlash in that regard," she said.
Come November, her fantasy world will be your reality. Read the rest
When German chancellor Angela Merkel allowed the prosecution of a comedian who had insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, some thought it was strategic: that by doing so, it exposed the country's ancient ban on insulting heads of state to broad legal scrutiny.
A court in Hamburg, however, has now banned most of the insulting poem from being read in public there, further rattling those worried about free speech in Germany.
In Tuesday's ruling the court found that "Erdogan does not have to put up with the expression of certain passages in view of their outrageous content attacking (his) honour."
The court found that such material overstepped the boundaries of decency in attacking the Turkish leader.
[Comedian Jan] Boehmermann has indicated his poem was a response to Ankara's decision to summon Germany's ambassador to protest a satirical song broadcast on German TV which lampooned Erdogan in far tamer language.
This line, from the court, really sums up the problem: "Through the poem’s reference to racist prejudice and religious slander as well as sexual habits, the verses in question go beyond what the petitioner [Erdogan] can be expected to tolerate.”
"Germany's Ai Weiei," Boehmermann's clever self-appellation, has a good ring to it, but is surely inaccurate. How often does China interpret its laws for the tolerance of a foreign head of state? Read the rest
The company formerly known as Siemens Healthcare, as august and sterile as they come in the German healthcare business, is being rebranded as "Healthineers" in advance of a public stock offering. At best, it's cringe humor, right down to the Teletubbies-style dance music (above, described by the Financial Times as "writhing spandex horror") from the launch event. Read the rest
Foundations of the Curtain Theater, where Shakespeare performed early in his stage career, were uncovered by developers in Shoreditch, London. And they come with a surprise: they're rectangular, not the expected oval shape.
“There is going to have to be a certain amount of revision of the chapter on The Curtain in my book,” Bowsher said. “It now seems clear that the playhouse was a conversion of an earlier tenement – essentially a block of flats – and was later converted back into a tenement again.
“There’s been a lot of scholarly argument about the shape of Tudor theatres, but the evidence from actors is that it made no difference to the performance of the plays, you could ask them to stand on a chair and they’d just get on and do it.”
The Curtain was first found in 2012, and plans for a Shakespeare museum unveiled shortly thereafter, with the ruins encased under a huge transparent glass stage. Other finds on the site include a green eggcup, a broken comb, and a report of a cutpurse's arrest. Read the rest
The wife of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would like to assure voters that he is not Hitler. Politico's Nick Gass reports on Melania Trump's campaign intervention.
“We know the truth. He’s not Hitler. He wants to help America. He wants to unite people," the prospective first lady said in an interview with DuJour magazine published Tuesday, when asked about comedian Louis C.K.'s lengthy letter to fans in March in which he proclaimed that the Manhattan reality-star-turned-politician "is Hitler."
At the same time, Trump added that it is possible her husband "needs to say it in a softer way," noting that with respect to his call to ban Muslims from entering the United States, it's only "temporary."
The statement follows Heidi Cruz's insistence that husband Ted was not the infamous Zodiac killer, whose late-1960s reign of terror coincided approximately with his birth, in a region he has never inhabited. Read the rest
This Spokane mother of 12 is sick of Target's WICKED pro-Sodomite agenda. Come for the speech, stay for "God's judgment is coming on this nation... and Target!" Read the rest