The YouTube channel Nerdwriter1 digs into the phenomenon of schadenfreude (“the pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune”) and what it can tell us about human psychology and the rise of Donald Trump. Read the rest
When United CEO Oscar Munoz lied about Dr David Dao, slandering the passenger that was beaten unconscious as a direct result of his employees enacting the policies he put in place, he was acting in the knowledge that he would shortly be elevated to the Chairmanship of United's board of directors. Read the rest
In 2012, Google rolled out Certificate Transparency, a clever system to spot corrupt "Certificate Authorities," the entities who hand out the cryptographic certificates that secure the web. If Certificate Authorities fail to do their jobs, they put the entire electronic realm in danger -- bad certificates could allow anything from eavesdropping on financial transactions to spoofing industrial control systems into accepting malicious software updates. Read the rest
The National Policy Institute is Richard Spencer's white nationalist group, registered with the IRS as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, which can receive tax-free contributions from donors. Read the rest
Google is suing Uber, alleging that the company recruited a former Google exec who had secretly offered to give them access to trade-secrets from Google's self-driving car project. Read the rest
It seems there isn't a demographic that justifies stocking Ivanka Trump's "Trump Home" items -- they've now been removed from high-end retailer Nordstrom's, mid-range retailer Sears, and low-end retailer Kmart. They've also been removed from TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Neiman Marcus. Read the rest
Caught on dashcam: a gentleman driving in the parking lane was annoyed with the parked cars blocking his right-of-way and honked his horn before swerving left and cutting off another driver (with a dashcam). When the gentleman was pulled over by the police, he said some bad words at the dashcam owner as he drove past him. Read the rest
Is there anything more fun that watching gloating showboaters get their comeuppance just a few seconds after they erroneously celebrate a victory? Read the rest
Rightscorp, the copyright trolls whose business-model was convincing ISPs to freeze their customers' Internet access in response to unsubstantiated copyright accusations, and then ransom those connections back for $20 each, will be out of money by the end of this quarter. Read the rest
Chelsea Clinton's husband Marc Mezvinsky is a Goldman Sachs alumnus; in 2014, he founded Hellenic Opportunity, a hedge fund that raised $25M to bet on distressed assets from Greece's collapsed economy, wagering that the country's investors would force it to make deeper cuts to finance payments on the debts. Read the rest
Cixin Liu's "Three Body Problem" is the first-ever translation to win Best Novel; meanwhile, the uprecedented effort to put together an organized slate of science fiction that appealed to sexist (Sad Puppies) and misogynist/white supremacist (Rabid Puppies) and homophobic (both) orthodoxy to sweep the Hugos was a flop. Read the rest
Noel Lee says he invented the headphones that are marketed by Beats by Dr. Dre. In May 2014, Apple paid $3 billion to buy Beats by Dr. Dre.
Dr. Dre and music producer Jimmy Iovine got most of the proceeds of the sale and Lee got $0
Dr. Dre and music producer Jimmy Iovine got most of the proceeds of the sale and Lee got $0. Now Lee is suing for at least $150 million. Lee is the founder of Monster Cable, a company with an obnoxious reputation for threatening to sue any company that uses the word "Monster." I can't help feeling a bit of schadenfreude towards Lee, who has made many people miserable by hitting them with time- and money-wasting legal threats. Read the rest
After less than four months, the San Francisco Chronicle has torn down its paywall, saying little about what led to the decision. I presume that the signup numbers were very very low, and that the drop in ad-views was sufficiently alarming that it made management reconsider. Read the rest
After a reign of terror lasting nearly two decades, the patent troll Eolas has been brought low. Its bullshit patent on "interactive features" of the Web -- which was filed six years after Tim Berners-Lee actually invented the stuff it laid claim to -- was used to suck millions out of companies from Microsoft to Yahoo and Amazon. A judge has ruled what everyone knew -- the patents were without merit and the lawsuits were just money-spinners for "inventors" whose only product was litigation. Good riddance, Eolas, and see you in Hell.
Under Doyle's conception of his own invention, practically any modern website owed him royalties. Playing a video online or rotating an image on a shopping website were "interactive" features that infringed his patents.
And unlike many "patent trolls" who simply settle for settlements just under the cost of litigation, Doyle's company had the chops, the lawyers, and the early filing date needed to extract tens of millions of dollars from the accused companies.
Eolas had kept filing lawsuits even after its trial loss, with cases against Disney, ESPN, ABC, Facebook, and Wal-Mart on hold awaiting the outcome of this appeal; those are all but doomed. Those lawsuits had asserted the two invalidated patents as well as two new ones, but the two newer patents both incorporate Eolas' first patent.
The Web’s longest nightmare ends: Eolas patents are dead on appeal [Joe Mullin/Ars Technica] Read the rest