Google admits it tracks users' location after they turn off location history

A few days ago, the AP, working with Princeton University, demonstrated that Google tracked the location of users even after they disabled location tracking on their devices. Today they admitted it, reports the AP.

It has now "clarified" its tracking policy; pray they do not "clarify" it further.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Google has revised a help page that erroneously described how its "Location History" setting works, clarifying for users that it still tracks their location even if they turn the setting off. On Monday, an Associated Press investigation revealed that several Google apps and websites store user location even if users have turned off Location History. Google has not changed that practice. But its help page now states: "This setting does not affect other location services on your device."

Business Insider's Sean Wolfe describes how to disable location tracking completely on iPhone and Android. What a headache.

Holographic "digital wife" now on sale for $1352

Gatebox's Boku no Yome (“My Wife”) has been released in mass production for 150,000 yen (US$1,352). The holographic character stands about 8 inches tall and talks to her husband from behind a cylindrical plastic barrier. In addition to the upfront cost for Boku no Yome, husbands must pay a subscription fee of 1,500 yen (US$13.52) per month to keep their wife from getting outdated.

Image: Gatebox

Stephen Colbert teaches a millennial how to use a payphone

Many people under the age of 30 have never used a landline, let alone a payphone. Stephen Colbert took a random young person from his audience outside and taught her how to use a payphone for the first time. After spraying the phone with disinfectant and handing her some quarters ("Have you ever seen these before? They're like Venmo you can touch.") Colbert gives her step-by-step instructions. Unfortunately she doesn't know any phone numbers, so Colbert tells her to call the number of the pizza parlor right next to the phone. Then Colbert has her call an operator and whispers into her ear what to say.

1,000 Googlers sign petition opposing Google's plan to launch a censored Chinese search engine

Over 1,000 Google employees have signed a petition urging senior management to reconsider the company's plan to launch a censored Chinese search product (codename: Dragonfly), a revolt that's been in the works since the news broke; the employees demand transparency about the project and point out that it violates the Association of Computing Machinery's code of ethics.

Chicago police data reveals how dirty cops spread corruption like a disease

In 2009, after a successful public records lawsuit, the Invisible Institute received data on complaints against Chicago Police Department officers since 1988 -- the complaints often list multiple officers, and by tracing the social graph of dirty cops over time, The Intercept's Rob Arthur was able to show how corruption spread like a contagion, from senior officers to junior ones, teaching bad practices ranging from brutality to falsifying evidence to torture to racism to plotting to murder whistleblowing cops. (more…)

Problem cop in Polk County exposed by own bodycam

Polk County, Iowa—Des Moines—is 4.84% black and 88.34% white. But a community group there claims that of one police officer's 282 traffic stops and bookings, 100% of the drivers were black and 0 percent white. So this dashcam footage of one of his stops there was no surprise to the locals.

Montray Little was pulled over by officers Kyle Thies and Natalie Heinemann despite video showing no obvious traffic violations. Little and his passenger, Jared Clinton, are accused of having drugs in the car and acting like they have a weapon as well. Little is handcuffed and Clinton is taken out of the car while they and the vehicle are searched. No drugs or weapons were found. Police did find an open bottle of alcohol which they had the men dump out.

Kyle Thies is the problem officer: "Can I be honest with you? It smells like marijuana in the car and I can see shake on the ground and your buddy's giving me the idea that he's got a gun. That's what I think. I dunno, just he way you're holding yourself, that's why I'm nervous."

Georgia police taser an 87-year-old woman who was cutting dandelions with a knife

My grandmother used to make dandelion wine, which is probably why an 87-year-old woman named Martha Al-Bishara was in the lawn of a Boys and Girls Club in Georgia, cutting and collecting the dandelion plants. Police confronted Al-Bishara after an employee called police to complain that she was in the yard, "looking around for vegetation to cut down or something." Police arrived and told Al-Bishara to drop the knife, but she didn't speak English so she didn't drop the knife. One of the officers pulled out his own pocket knife and dropped it on the grass to show her what he wanted her to do. When she didn't comply to the pantomime, an officer shot her with a taser, even though she had remained calm the entire time and showed no signs of agitation. They charged her with criminal trespass and obstructing an officer. Watch video here.

"An 87-year-old woman with a knife still has the ability to hurt an officer," Chatsworth Police Chief Josh Etheridge told reporters.

The incident feels just like an episode of Mayberry RFD, except Sheriff Talyor would have not used a taser and would have helped Al-Bishar collect dandelions before driving her to his place for lunch with Opie and Aunt Bea.

[via NBC News]

Trump: "Maybe hate is what we need if we're going to get something done"

Here's a montage of Trump's hateful, racist remarks through out the years.

"Maybe hate is what we need if we're going to get something done." "I have absolutely no compassion." "A well-educated black has a tremendous advantage over a well-educated white." "If I were starting off today, I'd love to be a well educated black because I believe they really do have an actual advantage." And that's just in the first part of the video. Nothing new here, but still shocking that he sits in the White House.

Via ThinkProgress

Billionaire making a bid for Democratic Florida Governor nomination invested millions in Puerto Rican debt

Jeff Greene is a billionaire who made his fortune shorting subprime real-estate while Floridians were facing mass evictions; now he's hoping to be the Democratic candidate for Governor of Florida and his financial disclosures reveal a raft of extremely toxic investments, including millions in Puerto Rican debt (Florida is full of Puerto Rican refugees who had to flee their homes after debt-holders starved the state of infrastructure money so it could neither defend itself against hurricanes, nor rebuild in their wake), Argentinian debt (another go-to for vulture capitalists), and "oil and gas stocks Exxon, Hess, Kinder Morgan, and Apache." (more…)

Targeting vulnerable GOP Senator: don't confirm Kavanaugh or we'll give tons of money to your opponent

Ady Barkan's Be a Hero campaign has made an offer to vulnerable Republican Senator Susan Collins [Maine]: confirm Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court and we'll give all of our fundraised dollars to your Democratic opponent in the 2020 election; block Kavanaugh and we'll give the money back to our donors. They're looking for $20.20 pledges (I gave). (Image: Joe Ravi, CC-BY-SA)

Public library director embezzled $89,000 to play Game of War

Game of War is a universally panned online "game" with a simple strategy -- the more money you spend, the better you do. Adam Winger (38), the director of the North Logan City library in Utah, was absolutely killing it in Game of War, but his reign of glorious virtual victory was overturned by real life adversaries, who put him on trial for stealing $89,000 in public funds to pay for in-game assets. He was found guilty, sentenced to 30 days in jail and 100 hours of community service, and ordered to pay restitution of $78,000.

[via Kotaku]

Image: Shutterstock/Alan Poulson Photography

Elizabeth Warren wants to save capitalism from itself

President Elizabeth Warren (2020-2028) has proposed the Accountable Capitalism Act, which will subject US corporations with $1B/year or more in revenue to the "German model" of corporate governance, in which workers get board-seats and financial decisionmaking must take into consideration the impact that decisions will have on "stakeholders" including workers, investors, suppliers, retailers, and residents near plants or facilities. (more…)

Which bridge in your state is the most dangerous?

America's infrastructure is close to hitting rock bottom. In fact, infrastructure as a whole in the US received an embarrassing D+ on the American Society of Civil Engineers latest Infrastructure Report Card. And when talking specifically about bridges, the grade was a C+. Way to go, Congress.

According to Business Insider, "Every state has at least one structurally deficient bridge, which the US Department of Transportation (DOT) defines as when one or more key bridge components (e.g. the deck, superstructure, or substructure) is in 'poor' condition."

And the Auto Insurance Center says that "tens of thousands of bridges across the country are currently falling apart." Great. So which of these over 10,000 crumbling US bridges are in the worst condition? The Auto Insurance Center put out a list, which includes the worst bridge in every state, including Washington D.C. Here is a sample from the list:

Arizona I-17 over 19th Avenue in Maricopa County
California I-110 over Dominguez Channel in Los Angeles
Colorado I-70 ML over Havana St Railroad in Denver
Florida Fuller Warren Bridge in Duval County
New York Route I-278 over Relief in Richmond County
Washington DC Anacostia Freeway over Suitland Parkway Southeast

For an easy way to read the full list, check it out at Business Insider.

Image by Payton Chung from Chicago, USA - 105 freeway @ Harbor?, CC BY 2.0, Link

Why were people thinner in the 1970s?

On July 26, Guardian columnist George Monbiot tweeted a photo of people on Brighton Beach in 1976, with the comment:

In this photo, from 1976, almost everyone is what we would now call slim. So what has happened? A sudden loss of willpower, as some rightwing journos claim? No. An obesogenic environment created by junk food manufacturers and their advertisers.

As you can see, lively Twitter discussion ensued. Monbiot did some research into people's dietary and exercise habits, then and now. He found that people actually ate more in the 1970s than they do now. Manual laborers are heavier today than they were in the 1970s. Kids move around as much today as they did 50 years ago.

"So what has happened?" asks Monbiot? His answer: lots more sugar.

The light begins to dawn when you look at the nutrition figures in more detail. Yes, we ate more in 1976, but differently. Today, we buy half as much fresh milk per person, but five times more yoghurt, three times more ice cream and – wait for it – 39 times as many dairy desserts. We buy half as many eggs as in 1976, but a third more breakfast cereals and twice the cereal snacks; half the total potatoes, but three times the crisps. While our direct purchases of sugar have sharply declined, the sugar we consume in drinks and confectionery is likely to have rocketed (there are purchase numbers only from 1992, at which point they were rising rapidly. Perhaps, as we consumed just 9kcal a day in the form of drinks in 1976, no one thought the numbers were worth collecting.) In other words, the opportunities to load our food with sugar have boomed. As some experts have long proposed, this seems to be the issue.

The shift has not happened by accident. As Jacques Peretti argued in his film The Men Who Made Us Fat, food companies have invested heavily in designing products that use sugar to bypass our natural appetite control mechanisms, and in packaging and promoting these products to break down what remains of our defences, including through the use of subliminal scents. They employ an army of food scientists and psychologists to trick us into eating more than we need, while their advertisers use the latest findings in neuroscience to overcome our resistance.

Image: Evan-Amos - Own work, CC0, Link

Laser cutters and 3D printers revive century-old a magic lantern show of Erewhon at the Edinburgh Fringe

James Coutts writes, "Indiana University Victorian Studies PhD candidate Mary Borgo Ton assembled an international group of artists/makers, a media archaeologist, laser cutters and 3D printers to create magic lantern slides that have not been made in 100 years for a show running in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe called Erewhon: "An antique magic lantern projector, an iPhone and a live musical score shine a new light on Samuel Butler’s classic sci-fi novel. A Victorian explorer discovers a colony of refugees; time travellers from the 21st century escaping their dependence on its technology. This delightful neo-historical head-scratcher playfully welds future, past and present into a glittering bracelet of time." (more…)

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