China is blurring men's earrings on TV

Chinese TV is blurring out the ears of men wearing earrings. From CNN:

It's unclear if Chinese regulators have issued a specific directive barring men from being shown wearing earrings, or whether TV stations are reacting to a shift in what is considered culturally appropriate. Last year, China's media regulator banned TV stations from featuring actors with tattoos. Depictions of "hip hop culture, sub-culture and immoral culture," were also banned according to Chinese state media...

When it comes to television, the country's regulations previously barred programs from airing content that expresses "overt admiration for Western lifestyles," jokes about Chinese traditions or defiles "classic materials..."

The country's censors have also been quick to black out content on LGBT issues. Guidelines released in China in 2016 characterized homosexuality as an "abnormal sexual behavior" unfit for Chinese television, alongside incest, sexual abuse and "perversion."

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Android malware uses accelerometer readings to figure out if it was running on a real phone or in emulation

Malware authors have a problem: they want their software to run aggressively when no one is looking at it, but to shut down entirely if the device it's running on is actually in some malware researcher's lab. Read the rest

Twitch Presents is streaming classic 'Doctor Who' thru most of January

Watch live video from TwitchPresents on www.twitch.tv

I stopped watching Doctor Who after the War Doctor episode. I've never watched again, and I wasn't going to -- I completely lost interest. I just happened across Twitch Presents streaming some old Tom Baker and it is too good to pass up.

K9! Don't overstrain your databanks!

An encore presentation of the Classic Doctor Who Marathon on Twitch begins January 5th at 10AM PT / 6PM GMT!

Event runs from January 5th to January 25th. We'll be broadcasting 11 to 12 hours of new episodes per day (~27 episodes), repeating once so you can catch Doctor Who nearly 24 hours a day, every day with the global Twitch community.

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Great deal on ball-end hex key sets

I've written about ball-end hex keys before. They are much easier to use when clearance is an issue. They fit into sockets at an angle. Tacklife has a great deal on this dual set of metric and US hex keys'. Use code P6GBSRIX for a big discount. Read the rest

Plug in at an NSA charging station

Let me think about that... nope.

(h/t Bob Lord) Read the rest

An archive of Freedom, Paul Robeson and Louis Burnham's radical Harlem newspaper

Freedom, published in Harlem during the Cold War and McCarthy years, was Paul Robeson and Louis Burnham's radical black paper that "ppenly challenged racism, imperialism, colonialism, and political repression and advocated for civil rights, labor rights and world peace"; NYU's Freedom archive holds browsable (but not searchable, alas!) scans of issues with contributions from "W.E.B. Du Bois, Alice Childress and Lorraine Hansberry" and many others. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Japanese company develops artificial meteor showers on demand

A Japanese start-up built a microsatellite that was launched into orbit today. The satellite contains 400 tiny balls that can be released on demand and will burn brightly enough to be seen on Earth as they burn up in the atmosphere.

From Channel NewsAsia:

ALE Co. Ltd (Astro Live Experiences) says it is targeting "the whole world" with its products and plans to build a stockpile of shooting stars in space that can be delivered across the world.

When its two satellites are in orbit, they can be used separately or in tandem, and will be programmed to eject the balls at the right location, speed and direction to put on a show for viewers on the ground.

Tinkering with the ingredients in the balls should mean that it is possible to change the colors they glow, offering the possibility of a multi-colored flotilla of shooting stars.

Each star is expected to shine for several seconds before being completely burned up - well before they fall low enough to pose any danger to anything on Earth.

They would glow brightly enough to be seen even over the light-polluted metropolis of Tokyo, ALE says.

From ALE:

ALE is a Japan-based space entertainment startup that creates shooting stars on demand using microsatellites. Its mission is to contribute to scientific research through entertainment. It was founded in September 2011 by Lena Okajima, a serial entrepreneur with a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Tokyo.

Natural shooting stars occur when dust particles of several millimeters in size enter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn due to plasma emission.

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Organized crime is laundering money through Fortnite's in-game currency

Criminals are using stolen credit cards to buy Fortnite V-bucks, then selling the in-game currency for bitcoin at a discount on the dark web as a way to launder money.

From The Independent:

Discounted V-bucks are being sold in bulk on the dark web – a hidden section of the internet only accessible using specialist software – as well as in smaller quantities on the open web by advertising them on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter.

By posing as potential customers, Sixgill agents uncovered operations being conducted around the globe in Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Arabic and English.

“Criminals are executing carding fraud and getting money in and out of the Fortnite system with relative impunity,” Benjamin Preminger, a senior intelligence analyst at Sixgill, told The Independent.

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The Grand Tour Season 3 is here!

Amazon just sent me a text saying The Grand Tour Season 3 is now available. I'll be back in a few hours! Read the rest

Unsealed court documents reveal that Facebook knew kids were being tricked into spending thousands of dollars on their parents' credit cards

In 2012, Facebook settled a class-action suit with parents who claimed that their kids were being tricked into spending real money on game items, thinking they were spending virtual in-game currency; the parents said that Facebook had structured its system to allow kids to use their parents' credit cards without the parents' intervention, unlike competitors like Google and Apple, who required password re-entries when a card was re-charged for in-game purchases. Read the rest

Why charter schools are the flashpoint for the LA teachers' strike

When teachers from the largest school district in America walked off the job this week, they were not campaigning for wages: rather, they were demanding smaller classes; more librarians, counselors, aides and special-ed teachers; and to rein in the Charter school movement, and that last demand is the key to understanding the whole thing. Read the rest

A megathread of dirty industry secrets that you'll be glad you know even as you wish you didn't

Holly, a Harvard seminarian and activist, invited Twitter users to DM her the dirty secrets of their industries, which she then anonymized and posted in a megathread with more than 600 parts (as of this writing); while many of them are mild or self-evident, many of them are the kind of sphincter-tightening or blood-boiling confessions that you always suspected might be true but hoped like hell were not. Read the rest

Auction for entire series of Supreme skateboard decks expected to hit nearly $1 million

Launched as a NYC skateshop in 1994, streetwear brand Supreme has become a religion for hypbeasts (and the flippers who serve them). Now, a private collector is auctioning off their collection of every single Supreme skate deck ever made, many of which are emblazoned with graphics from esteemed contemporary artists. The lot of 248 skateboard decks along with the Louis Vuitton Boite skateboard trunk with tool kit, trucks, wheels and shoulder strap is expected to bring around $1 million but I bet it goes for much more. From Sotheby's:

Supreme started producing their own skateboards in 1998 and have collaborated with many well-known brands over the last 20 years - most famously with Louis Vuitton. Supreme is also known for their artist collaborations, featuring the likes of George Condo, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Richard Prince, KAWS, Marilyn Minter, Nate Lowman, and Takashi Murakami, among others.

"Own the Entire Supreme Skateboard Collection, Now Open for Bidding" (Sotheby's, thanks Lux Sparks-Pescovitz!)

Decks by Marilyn Minter and Jeff Koons and Louis Vuitton Boite skateboard trunk with accessories:

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Check out this amazing collection of playable spoken word LPs

Here's an incredible collection of digitized historical LPs you can listen to online. A lot of them remind me of podcast episodes, like this record about "big-lie-technique" master Senator Joseph R.McCarthy. This is a browser's treat. Read the rest

Start-up injects old people with the blood of the young

We are in serious bad sci-fi movie territory here.

Ambrosia is a start-up offering "young blood" to people who are not "young." This blood is supposed to make you all awesome again! Like before your blood got all old! Only problem being the scientists who conducted the study say it is dangerous.

Apparently, folks are lining up to get injected with the blood of the young.

Business Insider:

Does young blood hold the keys to a long and healthy life? Startup founder and and Stanford Medical graduate Jesse Karmazin believes it might, so he launched a startup called Ambrosia Medical that fills older people's veins with fresh blood from young donors.

But researchers who study the procedure say it poses major risks for patients, including an elevated risk of developing several serious conditions later in life, such as graft-versus-host disease, which can occur when transfused blood cells attack the patient's own cells, and transfusion-associated lung injury.

Irina and Michael Conboy, two University of California at Berkeley researchers who've published research on young blood transfusions in mice, called Ambrosia's plans "dangerous."

"They quite likely could inflict bodily harm," Irina Conboy told Business Insider.

The Conboys' concern stems from an awareness of what happens in the body when it receives foreign blood from a donor.

"It is well known in the medical community — and this is also the reason we don't do transfusions frequently — that in 50% of patients there are very bad side effects. You are being infused with somebody else's blood and it doesn't match," Conboy said.

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Now EVERYBODY hates the new EU Copyright Directive

Until last spring, everyone wanted to see the new European Copyright Directive pass; then German MEP Axel Voss took over as rapporteur and revived the most extreme, controversial versions of two proposals that had been sidelined long before as the Directive had progressed towards completion. Read the rest

Measles strike the unvaccinated in Washington

Unvaccinated children exposed to the measles are catching and spreading the highly contagious disease in Washington's Clark County, JUST LIKE YOU WOULD EXPECT.

The Oregonian:

A measles outbreak in southwestern Washington state has grown to 16 confirmed cases, and most of the children affected are unimmunized against the disease, officials said Thursday.

A Clark County Public Health release says officials have been tracking the outbreak since Jan. 1. Of the 16 confirmed cases, 13 of the cases are children under the age of 11, officials say.

Only two of the children have an unverified immunization status; the other 14 are unimmunized, officials say.

Clark County has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the state, with more than 22 percent of public school students having not completed their vaccinations, The Oregonian reports, citing state records.

Contagious patients have visited schools and medical facilities, as well as the Portland International Airport and retailers including the Northeast Portland Costco and Ikea stores.

Officials say the disease is highly contagious and can cause fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and rash.

"Measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children. In rare cases, it can be deadly," a Washington State Department of Health fact sheet says.

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