A wrenching and beautifully argued essay by Virginia Eubanks describes the inevitable consequences of letting secret, unaccountable algorithms decide who is eligible for welfare. Read the rest
Ben E. King, solo artist and leader of the Drifters, died yesterday. He was 76. Read the rest
Electric car maker Tesla Motors is introducing battery systems for homeowners, businesses and utilities. Read the rest
Debbie Harry in her best outfit ever sings Blondie's worst song ever* and sneaks in an anti nuke message at the 2:23 mark.
*But still good! Read the rest
Russell Stansfield of Manchester, England, who was busted stealing coins from a parking meter and admitted to similar previous offenses, is now legally banned from vending machines. He's not permitted to use food or beverage vending machines, pay phones (unless he's calling emergency services), or hang around public transport ticket machines after he buys his ticket.
“It’s just weird if I’m honest, there are so many things I can’t do," Stansfield told the Manchester Evening News. “If I’m at the hospital for hours for example I can’t buy any food from the machines... I think I might be the only person in the country with this bizarre restriction, maybe even the world.” Read the rest
Nature is awesome. Read the rest
The “entity” was maneuvering a Kia Spectra last February. “The rearview mirror, I think, has a reptilian staring back at my camera as I take a pic from my car,” says the eyewitness. Read the rest
Not known for its rigorous enforcement of intellectual property rules, Russia is beefing up its efforts to tackle "internet piracy."
A law, first introduced in 2013 to target pirated movies and shows, is now being extended to "cover sites that share links to pirated music, books and software," reports the BBC.
"This development will mean that the systematic violation of intellectual property rights will result in sites providing access to stolen content being blocked forever," State Duma Deputy Speaker Sergei Zheleznyak told Russian Media.
Critics, however, suspect the expansion has more to do with increasing state control over the 'net than aiding civil enforcement. The details of implementation also remain unclear.
"…the theory is that intermediaries (ISPs and webhosts) can be ordered by the Court to permanently block websites that continually host or provide access to infringing content," writes Andy at Torrentfreak.
"At least at this early stage it appears to be the kind of system U.S. copyright holders are pushing for elsewhere, one in which content that is taken down, stays down." Read the rest
The music-sharing service is calling it quits. It apologized for how it did business and said the shutdown is part of a settlement with record companies.
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Dear music fans,
Today we are shutting down Grooveshark.
We started out nearly ten years ago with the goal of helping fans share and discover music. But despite best of intentions, we made very serious mistakes. We failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service.
That was wrong. We apologize. Without reservation.
As part of a settlement agreement with the major record companies, we have agreed to cease operations immediately, wipe clean all the record companies' copyrighted works and hand over ownership of this website, our mobile apps and intellectual property, including our patents and copyrights.
At that time of our launch, few music services provided the experience we wanted to offer — and think you deserve. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case. There are now hundreds of fan friendly, affordable services available for you to choose from, including Spotify, Deezer, Google Play, Beats Music, Rhapsody and Rdio, among many others.
If you love music and respect the artists, songwriters and everyone else who makes great music possible, use a licensed service that compensates artists and other rights holders. You can find out more about the many great services available where you live here: http://whymusicmatters.com/find-music.
It has been a privilege getting to know so many of you and enjoying great music together. Thank you for being such passionate fans.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control report that a woman in Liberia is suspected of having contracted Ebola through sexual intercourse.
After falling ill in Monrovia, the 44-year-old victim was found to have only one link to the often-fatal disease: unprotected vaginal intercourse with a survivor.
"Published reports from previous outbreaks have demonstrated Ebola survivors can continue to harbor virus in immunologically privileged sites for a period of time after convalescence," the CDC's Athalia Christie wrote. "Ebola virus has been isolated from semen as long as 82 days after symptom onset and viral RNA has been detected in semen up to 101 days after symptom onset."
It cautioned that it is not possible to "definitively ascribe" Ebola infection to sexual contact, but recommends that contact with the semen of male Ebola survivors be avoided until more information of its infectiousness is known. Male survivors should always use condoms, the CDC recommends.
The Ebola outbreak has diminished over the past few months, according to the report. Read the rest