Toy demands that kids catch crickets and stuff them into an electronic car

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The Bug Racer is Mattel's $50 electronic "science" car toy that requires that you fill a sensor cavity with up to six crickets; the toy measures the crickets' movement in the cavity and uses them to guide the car's movements (though the car will reverse when it hits an obstacle, regardless of the crickets' movement). Read the rest

Marriott removing desks from its hotel rooms "because Millennials"

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Yahoo sport columnist Dan Wetzel checked into a Marriott, something he does a lot, and was bewildered to discover that his room didn't have a desk. When he called down to the reception, he discovered that the whole chain was gradually removing its desks, because some consultants told them that Millennials like to chill on couches with their phones, not sit at desks like square-ass Old People. Read the rest

Harvard Business School: Talented assholes are more trouble than they're worth

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In Toxic Workers , a new Harvard Business School working paper, Michael Housman and Dylan Minor look at the paradox of "superstar" workers who outperform their colleagues by 2:1 or more, but who are "toxic" -- awful to work with and be around. Read the rest

Every time there's a mass shooting, gun execs & investors gloat about future earnings

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The Intercept reviewed the earnings calls for gun manufacturers, retailers and distributors from the past several years' worth of investor filings, and found a sad and predictable pattern: every mass shooting in America is followed by hand-rubbing glee from the gun profiteers, who cynically plan campaigns to capitalize on trauma and fear by selling lots more firearms. Read the rest

The TPP's ban on source-code disclosure requirements: bad news for information security

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The secretly negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership is 2,000 pages' worth of regulatory favors for various industries, but one that stands out as particularly egregious is the ban on rules requiring source-code disclosure. Read the rest

Lyft forms global team with Asian ride-hailing rivals to try and kick Uber's ass

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“The anti-Uber global alliance of ride-hailing companies has now officially taken shape,” writes Mike Isaac at the New York Times.

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Ifixit repair kits: everything you need to fix everything

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Ifixit produce open repair guides for everything imaginable, in a variety of languages, and help sustain a global community of independent repairers who divert electronics from e-waste dumps and keep poor and marginalized people connected to their work, school and families. Read the rest

Ironically, modern surveillance states are baffled by people who change countries

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Scott Smith and his family moved from the USA to the Netherlands and discovered that despite living in the most heavily surveilled moment in human history, neither his old country nor his new one can figure out how to relate to them. Read the rest

Vtech breach dumps 4.8m families' information, toy security is to blame

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Vtech is a ubiquitous Hong Kong-based electronic toy company whose kiddy tablets and other devices are designed to work with its cloud service, which requires parents to set up accounts for their kids. 4.8 million of those accounts just breached, leaking a huge amount of potentially compromising information, from kids' birthdays and home addresses to parents passwords and password hints. Read the rest

What the 1980s would have made of the $5 Raspberry Pi

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The new Raspberry Pi Zero is a $5 general purpose computer, manufactured in Wales, with more power than a 1980s personal computer. Read the rest

Uh-oh: Cox Cable's insurer won't back them in court against BMG Music

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BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music. has been trying to enlist Cox Cable as an accomplice in a copyright trolling scheme, demanding that the company pass on copyright infringement notices that accuse users of downloading music and order them to pay large sums of music or face punishing lawsuits. Read the rest

Party like it's 1998: UK government bans ripping CDs -- again

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In 2014, Britain strode boldly into the late 20th century, finally legalising "private copying" -- ripping CDs, taping LPs, recording TV shows, backing up your ebooks and games -- but now it's thought better of the move. Read the rest

AIDS-drug-gouging hedge-douche reneges on promise to cut prices for Daraprim

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Martin Shkreli, the hedge-fund douche-bro who hiked the price of an off-patent drug used by AIDS and cancer patients from $13.50 to $750, then promised to lower the prices after becoming the Most Hated Man on the Internet did no such thing, because he is a liar. Read the rest

Leaked recording: pollution lobbyists discuss exploiting Syrian refugee crisis

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A leaked recording made of a conference call hosted by the Edison Electric Institute, which lobbies for the power industry, reveals lobbyists for high pollution companies talking about how they can exploit the Syrian refugee crisis to get a rider inserted into a pending bill that would kill the EPA's Waters of the United States rule, which protects America's waterways from pollution. Read the rest

Dell apologizes for preinstalling bogus root-certificate on computers

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Yesterday, Dell was advising customers not to try to uninstall the bogus root certificate it had snuck onto their Windows machine, which would allow attackers to undetectably impersonate their work intranets, bank sites, or Google mail. Today, they apologized and offered an uninstaller -- even as we've learned that at least one SCADA controller was compromised by the bad cert, and that Dell has snuck even more bogus certs onto some of its machines. Read the rest

Shamrock shake: Pfizer's Irish "unpatriotic loophole" ducks US taxes

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Pfizer's used a tax-dodge called a "reverse-inversion" to sell itself to a much smaller, Irish pharma company, moving its corporate nationality to Ireland at the stroke of a pen. Read the rest

US cops seized more through asset forfeiture in 2014 than US criminals stole through burglary

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US police seized $4.5 billion through civil asset forfeiture (through which police can take money and valuables away from citizens without charging anyone with any crimes) in 2014; in the same period, the FBI estimates that burglars accounted for $3.9B in property losses.

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