After Microsoft moves its servers back to the USA, German state's privacy commissioner advises schools not to use Office 365

After the Snowden revelations, US-based Big Tech companies raced to reassure their non-US customers that the NSA wasn't raiding their cloud-based data, moving servers inside their customers' borders and (theoretically) out of reach of the NSA; then came the Cloud Act (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act), in which the US government claimed the right to seize data held on overseas servers and the companies began consolidating their servers back in the USA. (more…)

Kids crayon-colored thousands of frames to help animate this music video

What a cool idea! Here's a music video for a cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" that over 2100 kids contributed to, by coloring with crayons.

Colossal:

An animated music video for Meg Myers’ cover of a Kate Bush song brings kid’s coloring books to life. Director Jo Roy first filmed Myers on a green screen, performing the crawling, climbing, and flying shown in the music video (see behind-the-scenes below). Then, each of the 3,202 frames was printed off as a black and white coloring book page. Elementary school-aged children from ten schools and an art program in the U.S. and Canada colored the pages however they wanted, with a provided crayon color palette.

(Colossal)

That next cocktail could burn you – literally

I spent a long time in Mexico this past winter. My wife and I traveled to Play Del Carmen and stayed there for months while she completed some rigourous scuba instructor training. While she was in the water, which was most days, I stayed ashore to write, drink and nosh. Many a chilled beverage was had on beach front patios (I was there for the WiFi, honest.) I squeezed lemons and limes into my drinks. They were amazingly fresh--like nothing I'd ever had up north. Apparently, I dodged a number of bullets.

From The CBC:

On a sunny day in June, Amber Prepchuk spent an afternoon by the lake making margaritas for a group of friends. The following morning she ended up with much more than she bargained for — a painful side effect entirely unrelated to tequila.

"I can handle pain, but I woke the next morning and I was in pain. I was crying my eyes out." she told CBC's Radio Active. "I was covered in little blisters."

Amber Prepchuk... learned the hard way the meaning of 'margarita burn,' when she juiced limes in the sun and the next morning woke up with blisters all over her hands.

 

Margarita burn. Never heard the tell of that. So, I looked it up. Oh my stars and garters.

Margarita burn, better known as margarita photodermatitis, is a condition which occurs in folks who are exposed to a photo-sensitizing agent (lime juice, for example,) and ultraviolet light (ye olde sunlight.) According to Wikipedia, those dinged by Margarita burn will notice the first symptoms of the ailment within 24 hours of exposure to the photo-sensitizing agent that they came into contact with and ultraviolet light. It'll feel like a tingle and then, a burn. The skin in the afflicted area turns dark and can, in extreme cases, can even turn black. You'll enjoy incredibly painful blisters of the sort one might see with a second or third-degree burn. I mean look at this shit:

The scars and discoloration from a bout of margarita burn can last for months or even years before they start to fade. All because you wanted a damn lime in your drink.

Cocktails aren't for the timid, friends.

Images via Pixnio and Wikipedia

Ditch iCloud and Dropbox with this amazing cloud storage deal

When it comes to storage, you've typically got a couple of options: Keep those priceless pics and videos on your phone or laptop (then lose them when either breaks down), or cough up hundreds every year for a decent Dropbox account or another cloud service like iCloud.

Trust us, you're not the only one asking how cloud storage can so ubiquitous and so expensive at the same time. Turns out it doesn't have to be because Degoo has an affordable middle path.

This service packs more backup space than Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive combined, and you can access it easily. Files can be shared via email or link, and the automatic file change detection means modified files will be saved and up to date. Everything you backup on Degoo is protected behind 256-bit AES encryption, and there's a variety of plans available. The important thing they have in common: They're all lifetime access; pay once and never get charged or pestered again. Check out the offers below:

Like Amazon, Google sends voice assistant recordings to contractors for transcription, including recordings made inadvertently

After Bloomberg revealed that Amazon secretly sent recordings from Alexa to subcontractors all over the world in order to improve its speech-recognition systems, a whistleblower leaked recordings from Google Home to investigative reporters from VRT, revealing that Google, too, was sending audio clips from its voice assistant technology to pieceworkers through the Crowdsource app. (more…)

"It's easy to play the Nazi card"

This video from Bohemian Browser Ballett on Germany's public broadcaster Funk is absolutely genius: a comic dialogue between a literal uniformed Nazi officer outraged that someone had the temerity to call him a Nazi: "Just because someone doesn't share mainstream opinion it doesn't mean he's a Nazi. Maybe I'm a concerned citizen who is afraid of foreign domination!" (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign maintains a page of anti-endorsements: denunciations from billionaire ghouls and their enablers

Bernie Sanders wants you to know who hates him: billionaire sociopaths like Andrew Pudzer, Kenneth Lagone ("This is the antichrist!"), Lowell McAdam ("contemptible"), Lloyd Blankfein ("dangerous"); Alan Greenspan; Third Way ("an existential threat"), Bernard Marcus ("the enemy"), and more! (via /r/LateStageCapitalism)

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta defends giving sex predator Jeffrey Epstein the plea deal of the century

When Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta was a federal prosecutor in 2008 he gave sex predator Jeffrey Epstein a joke of a plea deal on sex crime charges. Epstein was given a 13-month prison sentence, but the billionaire spent most of the time in his plush office. He never faced federal charges. Now that Epstein has been arrested on additional charges of sickening sex crimes against children, people are asking Acosta why the hell he let Epstein off the hook the first time around by giving him a secret deal that a federal judge ruled had violated the victims' rights. At a press conference, Acosta answered that question by telling reporters that he did the best he could, that times have changed since 2008, and that the victims weren't cooperative enough. He concluded his statement by lavishing fulsome praise on President Trump.

CBS News White House correspondent Paula Reid, a former federal prosecutor, said Acosta's defense is bogus. "They had potentially dozens of witnesses they could have used to push this case forward," she said.

Image: YouTube/CBS News

PAC for private prison giant that builds ICE 'detention centers' gave money to these 50 lawmakers

“GEO is one of the biggest players in the for-profit prison industry, with 69 correctional and detention facilities in the United States with about 75,000 beds,” reports The Dallas News.

Florida-based GEO operates ICE detention centers all over Texas, and in other states, and it has donated money to more than 50 lawmakers in the current election cycle. Most of the lucky recipients are, surprise!, Trump-aligned Republicans. (more…)

Elizabeth Warren wants to force companies to warn investors about their risks from climate change

Public companies are legally required to disclose their risks to investors, but it's a rare company that incorporates climate change into those mandatory disclosures; under a new presidential campaign platform proposal from Elizabeth Warren (disclosure: I am a donor to both Warren and Sanders's campaigns), the SEC would require public companies to incorporate two kinds of climate risk in their warnings: first, the risks of an out-of-control climate (fires, floods, etc); and second, the risks from the a transition to clean energy (collapsing fossil fuel prices). The idea is to accelerate divestiture from climate-destroying industries like oil and fracking, and to spur investors to favor companies with a plan to mitigate the effects of climate chaos on their operations.

AOC and Greta Thunberg talk tactics and hope

Congresswoman and force of nature Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and student activist and force of nature Greta "Extinction Rebellion" Thunberg conducted a videoconference to meet one another and talk tactics for saving the world from dying in its own waste-gases; the wide-ranging conversation touched on the unique power and problems of being a young activist; the problem of holding up Nordic countries as paragons of climate virtue; winning the fight over climate denialism; the true nature of leadership; keeping motivated in the face of desperation and crushing setbacks, and the tipping point we're living through. (more…)

Fur industry paid protesters to attend California and New York hearings on a fur ban

When California's legislature opened hearings on a proposed ban on fur sales, they met with stiff opposition: Andrew Aguero, who described himself as a Native American student said that it was "people from a privileged culture are telling people of my culture that our culture is inhumane" (the bill exempted traditional indigenous uses of fur from the ban); they also heard from Andrew DiGiovanna, another student who said he opposed the bill on environmental grounds; Edwin Lombard said it was “an affront to the African-American community" who used furs to "show we could overcome barriers" like redlining. (more…)

Subway tunnel heat-exchangers could heat and cool thousands of nearby apartments

In Numerical investigation of the convection heat transfer driven by airflows in underground tunnels (Sci-Hub mirror), a group of engineers from L'Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology propose that low-cost heat-exchangers placed in subway tunnels could be used to heat and cool homes essentially for free (the system would last 50-100 years, and the pumps would need replacing every 25 years). (more…)

Robotic nursing aide wins over both skeptical nurses and their patients

Diligent Robotics's Moxi is a robot created by Andrea Thomaz (a former robotics professor at UT Austin and Georgia Tech's Socially Intelligent Machines Lab) and Vivian Chu (one of Thomaz's former grad students); they funded by a National Science Foundation grant to create a robotic nursing aide that is designed to do routine, non-human-interaction chores for nurses with a minimum of effort from nurses. (more…)

Chase customers have ONE MONTH left to opt out of binding arbitration

Ten years ago, Chase was forced to withdraw the binding arbitration clauses in its credit card agreements as part of a settlement in a class-action suit (the company was accused of conspiring with other banks to force all credit-card customers to accept binding arbitration) (one of the things binding arbitration does is deprive you of your right to join class-action suits!). Last May, the company stealthily reintroduced the clauses, and gave customers until August 7 to notify the company in writing if they do not agree to binding arbitration. You have ONE MONTH LEFT to opt out. (more…)

An academic pollster explains why she thinks any Democratic nominee will win the presidency in 2020

Rachel Bitecofer, a political scientist at Christopher Newport University's Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy has developed a US election prediction model that performed very well in the 2018 midterms; she has since refined it based on the results of the election and she says can predict elections a long way off, regardless of who the nominee is. (more…)

Easy subway access predicts the resilience of New Yorkers' friendships

In Social Connectedness in Urban Areas (Sci-Hub mirror), a group of business and public policy researchers from Facebook, NYU and Princeton study anonymized, fine-grained location data from Facebook users who did not disable their location history, and find that the likelihood that New Yorkers will remain friends is well correlated with the ease of commuting between their respective homes on public transit. (more…)

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