Archie McPhee, sellers of curios, realized that any PayPal transaction containing the word "tardigrade" — that being the name of the adorable tiny space-surviving creatures they sell ornaments of — would be blocked.
"We've contacted them and they told us we should just stop using the word tardigrade," Archie McPhee wrote on Twitter. — Read the rest
Brandi Campbell is a sex worker, specifically a stripper. Since 2016, she's also run a blog for Stripper Labor Rights, that includes resources for other sex workers who want to protect themselves from exploitative labor issues.
In 2018, Campbell had been working at the Centerfold Club in Columbus, Ohio. — Read the rest
Motherboard has an interesting new piece about musical copyright law, and the fact that there are only so many musical sequences using half-step frequencies possible. What happens when they're all used up, and the copyright trolls take everyone to court for any song that even remotely resembles another one, just by virtue of the fact that it relies on the same music theory? — Read the rest
A family in DeSoto County, Mississippi, bought a Ring security camera so they could keep an eye on their three young girls in their bedroom. Four days later, they learned that a hacker had broken into the camera and subjected their children to continuous bedroom surveillance, taunting the children through the camera's built-in speaker.
We knew it was a matter of time before someone tested Facebook's claim they won't remove so-called 'deepfakes,' aka convincingly real faked videos like that recently viral clip of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, edited to appear 'drunk'.
Amazon's Ring doorbells are surveillance devices that conduct round-the-clock video surveillance of your neighborhood, automatically flagging "suspicious" faces and bombarding you and your neighbors with alerts using an app called "Neighbors"; it's a marriage of Amazon's Internet of Things platform with its "Rekognition" facial recognition tool, which it has marketed aggressively to cities, law enforcement, ICE, businesses and everyday customers as a security measure that can help ID bad guys, despite the absence of a database identifying which faces belong to good people and which faces belong to bad people.
"What I saw before the darkness" shows a human face created by a generative adversarial network, next to the neural memory map representing it. Neurons are removed, and as they go the face loses detail, becomes vague, and finally decays to something that may speak ill of the machine and the mankind that made it. — Read the rest
Anti-porn troll Chris Sevier (previously) has built his career by convincing grandstanding Republican state lawmakers to introduce doomed, unconstitutional porn-tax laws that would require in-state ISPs to implement default-on censorship of "adult sites" (or, more specifically, "sites appearing an an arbitrary, unaccountable secret blacklist of allegedly adult material") and then charge $20/subscriber to turn off the filters.
When Tumblr announced its plan to purge "female-presenting nipples from its service, the volunteer Archive Team leapt into action, working furiously to preserve years of material before Tumblr tore a huge hole in the internet's historical record.
The new parental controls in Ios 12 have all the same problems that all parental controls have: they overblock legit material (with a bias for sex-ed, especially sex-ed targeted at girls and queer kids, including Teen Vogue) and underblock all kinds of other material (neo-Nazi publications like The Daily Stormer and Reddit's pornographic /r/Gonewild are not blocked).
The internet is perpetually amused and fascinated by the crazy, corkscrewing duck penis, but commonsense dictates that if fella ducks have crazy willies, then lady ducks will have equally amazing hoo-hahs.
Agalmatophilia, a sexual attraction to dolls and other human figures, is nothing new: people have been attracted to and humping dolls for as long as there have been locks on doors – not that the practice needs to be kept a secret. — Read the rest
Twenty years ago, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted patent number 6,368,268: "Method and device for interactive virtual control of sexual aids using digital computer networks," a minor classic of a majorly fucked-up genre, the bullshit tech patent that simply adds "with a computer" to some absolutely obvious and existing technology or technique.
Because Venmo defaults to making all payments public, privacy researcher Hang Do Thi Duc was able to download and analyze 208,000,000 transactions, whose notes and other metadata revealed a wealth of personal, compromising information, including drug deals and breakups.
Yesterday, I wrote about the way that tech-sector concentration was making it nearly impossible for Russia to block the encrypted messaging service Telegram: because Telegram can serve its traffic through giant cloud providers like Amazon, Russia can only block Telegram by blocking everyone else who uses Amazon.
Reddit has shut down /r/deepfakes, the subreddit where people collaborate to produce incredibly disturbing faceswapped pornography that uses machine-learning to put the faces of famous people who aren't pornography performers onto the bodies of people having sex in pornographic videos.
Late last year, a redditor called Deepfakes gained notoriety for the extremely convincing face-swap porn videos he was making, in which the faces of mainstream Hollywood actors and rockstars were convincingly overlaid on the bodies of performers in pornography.
The Solano County Sheriff's Office wants to spend $2M on a network of vehicle surveillance cameras, a program it calls "Project Skynet."
Digital artist Rens de Boer traveled to the island of Fuerteventura a couple times this year and took photos of rocks to "test equipment, workflows and develop new content."
Samantha Cole of Motherboard writes:
It took him five days to photograph and capture the landscapes he wanted to render, and another several weeks to rebuild them in video game making tool Unreal Engine with a process called photogrammetry, which works by compiling a host of images taken from various angles and using them to create realistic depth…
Graphic card maker Nvidia provided de Boer with the GPUs that rendered these photorealistic rocks, two Geforce 1080 Tis, to be exact…
The last time we wrote about the Casio F-91W digital watch, it was to note the odd connection between the timepiece and suicide bombing, but that's not the only extraordinary activity pursued by aficionados of the watch: they also love to mod 'em.