Swedish law will let you write off the money you spend fixing things rather than trashing them

Two men working in a Bicycle repair shop, with tools of the trade.

In Sweden a legislative proposal will let repair shops will charge lower sales-tax, and allow people who repair their appliances and bicycles be to write off their expenditures. Read the rest

There’s no pumpkin in “100% canned pumpkin”


Pumpkin is too watery and stringy to can, and the USDA has an exceptionally loosey-goosey definition of "pumpkin," which allows manufacturers to can various winter squash varieties (including one that Libby's specially bred to substitute for pumpkin) and call it "100% pumpkin." Read the rest

How many Wells Fargo employees were fired for NOT committing fraud?


When Wells Fargo fired 5,300 employees for opening 2,000,000 accounts in its customers name (stealing their cash and trashing their credit scores in the process), it wanted us all to know that it had cleaned house, because this was just 5,300 people who, without any help from senior management, all happened to coincidentally engage in the same fraud. Read the rest

Twitter is in takeover talks with Google, Salesforce.com, and other potential buyers

Jack Dorsey, chairman of Twitter and CEO of Square REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Salesforce.com and Google are two of the technology giants who have expressed interest in a possible buyout of the struggling social media firm Twitter, according to various reports.

Reuters describes today's news leak as “the start of what is likely to be a slow-rolling auction of the high-profile but money-losing social media company.”

CNBC reported the Twitter sale talks rumors, citing anonymous sources. Twitter is in talks with companies including Google/Alphabet, and may receive a formal bid from them soon. Citing an anonymous source, Reuters says Salesforce.com is also pursuing Twitter.


Twitter and Alphabet Inc, Google's parent company did not respond to a request for comment. Salesforce declined to comment. Verizon, another company mentioned in media reports on Friday as a possible suitor, said it did not comment on M&A rumors but that it had not submitted a bid for the company.

From Mike Isaac et al, at the New York Times:

Twitter, based in San Francisco, is talking with Salesforce.com, Google and others about a possible takeover of the company, people briefed on the discussions said on Friday. The talks are in the early stages, these people said, with no guarantee that a deal will be reached. In particular, Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, is resistant to selling to some of the potential acquirers, they said.

Twitter is also weighing a possible revamping that could involve divestitures and layoffs, the people said. Two divisions that Twitter is considering divesting itself of are Vine, the mobile six-second video service, and MoPub, a mobile advertising business, they said.

Read the rest

Notorious copyright troll sentenced to 20 weeks' prison time for beating Uber driver


Robert Croucher owns Hatton & Berkeley, a firm that sent "speculative invoices" to people it accused of illegally downloading the Robert Redford movie "The Company You Keep" -- letters so egregious that Lord Lucas described the company as "scammers" and the letters as "extortion," urging Britons to "put them in the bin." Read the rest

Your tax dollars subsidized $125m executive bonus for Wells Fargo exec who led massive fraud


Normally, companies that give "performance pay" to their execs can only write off the first $1M: but when Wells Fargo gave $125M to Carrie Tolstedt (shown above receiving American Banker's 2010 award for being "the most powerful woman in banking") as she "retired" after overseeing a 5-year period in which Wells Fargo's top brass were aware that their employees were opening 2 million fake accounts in their customers' names, Wells structured the payment as a "bonus," meaning that the company took a $78 million off its taxes, pocketing $27m in savings. Read the rest

Wells Fargo fired the whistleblowers who reported massive fraud, and that's a crime


CNN Money has found multiple whistleblowers from Wells Fargo who were willing to go on the record and report that they were fired in retaliation for coming forward to report the massive fraud in which Wells Fargo employees opened up 2,000,000 fake accounts in their customers' names, raiding their real accounts to open them, then racking up fees and penalties, and trashing their customers' credit ratings. Read the rest

Not just Yemen: Canadian cyberarms dealer Netsweeper also helped censor the net in Bahrain


Netsweeper is a litigious cyberarms dealer that threatened to sue the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab when its researchers outed the company for its work in helping Yemen's despotic regime censor the internet; later, the company dropped its lawsuit. Read the rest

Free trade lowers prices -- but not on things poor people need (and it pushes up housing prices)


Part of the economic argument for free trade deals is that they benefit workers by producing cheaper goods -- even if you lose your manufacturing job, you can buy stuff a lot cheaper with the next job you get. Read the rest

Jigsaw: "wildly ambitious" Google spin-out aimed at tackling "surveillance, extremist indoctrination, censorship"

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Technologists have a dismal pattern: when it comes to engineering challenges ("build a global-scale comms platform") they rub their hands together with excitement; when it comes to the social challenges implied by the engineering ones ("do something about trolls") they throw their hands up and declare the problem to be too hard to solve. Read the rest

HP detonates its timebomb: printers stop accepting third party ink en masse


On September 13, owners of HP OfficeJet, OfficeJet Pro and OfficeJet Pro X began contacting third-party ink vendors by the thousand, reporting that their HP printers no longer accepted third-party ink. Read the rest

US religion is worth $1.2T/year, more than America's 10 biggest tech companies, combined


The largely tax-free religion industry is one of the biggest in America, worth $1.2 trillion/year, a number that includes religious "healthcare facilities, schools, daycare and charities; media; businesses with faith backgrounds; the kosher and halal food markets; social and philanthropic programmes; and staff and overheads for congregations." Read the rest

Republican election officials block restrictions on foreign spending in US elections


Once I got my green card this year, I was allowed to make the same campaign contributions as any US citizen: $2700 per candidate. But thanks to the three Republican members of the Federal Election Commission, who refused to even allow an agenda item to begin discussions to commence planning for limits on wholly-foreign-owned corporations making unlimited donations to super PACs, offshore oligarchs living abroad can go on spending tens of millions to influence the outcome of US elections. Read the rest

Criminal entrepreneurship in Mexico's high-tech drug cartels


Dr Rodrigo Nieto-Gomez is a research professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, studying "criminal entrepreneurship" in drug cartels, who beat Amazon to using drones for delivery by years, use modified potato guns to shoot cocaine and marijuana bundles over border fences, and represent the "true libertarian, Ayn Rand capitalism." Read the rest

What technologists can do about climate change

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Bret Victor complained on Twitter that technologists were wasting their imaginations, energy and talent on things that wouldn't matter after climate change reduced the world to a drowned cinder; his followers pushed back and asked what they, as technologists, could do about climate change. Read the rest

In a leaked "weaponized information" catalog, Indian cyberarms dealer offers blackest-ever SEO


In 2014, an Indian company called Aglaya brought a 20-page brochure to ISS World (AKA the Wiretappers' Ball -- the annual trade fair where governments shop for surveillance technology): the brochure laid out the company's offerings, which ranged from mobile malware for Ios and Android to a unique "Weaponized Information" selection that combined denial-of-service with disinformation to "discredit a target" online. Read the rest

Class action suit: smart sex toys spy on their owners and transmit their masturbation habits


An anonymous woman has filed a class action suit against Standard Innovation, a company that makes We-Vibe "smart" sex toys that record exactly how their owners masturbate and transmit detailed dossiers, along with personally identifying information, back to the company. Read the rest

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