Wanna get into Harvard? Just ask your parents to donate a building.

A batch of internal Harvard admission-related emails have come into the public domain as part of a lawsuit alleging that Harvard discriminates against Asian applicants, and they reveal that the admissions process is tilted in favor of members of families who are major donors to Harvard. Read the rest

Palantir may IPO at valuation of up to $41 billion

The highly secretive Silicon Valley-based data company Palantir is reported to be considering an initial public offering. Read the rest

Helm: A home network email server appliance to redecentralize the web

Helm is a startup making a $500 home gadget that replaces Gmail and Google Calendar, letting you control your own email and coordination; its founders have deep information security backgrounds, and plan to make money by charging an annual $100 management fee. Read the rest

Compression could be machine learning's "killer app"

Pete Warden (previously) writes persuasively that machine learning companies could make a ton of money by turning to data-compression: for example, ML systems could convert your speech to text, then back into speech using a high-fidelity facsimile of your voice at the other end, saving enormous amounts of bandwidth in between. Read the rest

Slaves - including children - make the bricks for Cambodia's housing bubble

Two bedroom apartments in Phnom Penh start at $260,000 -- equivalent to 2,000 years' worth of average annual wages for Cambodia's workers. Read the rest

Anaheim's living wage ballot measure pits big corporate donors against union money

Disney is Anaheim's largest employer and the city is something of a company town, with Disney exerting massive influence on the city government and engaging in strong-arm tactics to suppress media reports of the dirtiest of its deals, whereby the city financed much of the company's building projects and expansions while extending massive tax breaks. Read the rest

Incoherence, multiplied: Sony announces nebulous "blockchain for DRM"

Sony -- whose most notorious DRM foray infected millions of computers with malware -- has announced an incoherent plan to use blockchain to make DRM work, somehow. Read the rest

Epson is teaching the internet not to install security updates

More on the story of how Epson tricked its customers into installing a fake "update" to their printers so that they would stop accepting third-party and refilled ink cartridges: not only does this force Epson customers to pay more for ink, but it puts everyone on the internet at risk, by teaching people not to update their devices. Read the rest

China's panicked upper middle class are easy picking for offshore real estate scams

The combination of Chinese anti-corruption reforms and currency controls has China's storied "middle class" (a nebulously defined category whose size and wealth are the subject of multiple, conflicting accounts) scrambling for ways to get their money out of the country and to establish bolt holes to escape to, should the situation suddenly worsen. Read the rest

Canada Pension Plan is long on US private prisons and immigrant detention centers

Robbo sez, "As a Canadian in my later years I benefit from my monthly Canada Pension Plan payments. As a Canadian and a human being I am disgusted that CPP holds stock in Geo Group and CoreCivic, companies who operate for-profit prisons and immigrant detention centres. As MP Charlie Angus (NDP) sez: 'Quite frankly, if they’re going to be investing in private prisons, weapons manufacturers and tobacco companies, why aren’t they investing in narco gangs?' They better clean this shit up - and fast." Read the rest

Blame Big Data for CVS's endless miles of receipts

Buy a single item at CVS and you can end up with a 4'-6'-long ribbon of register tape, a kind of orgy of coupons and come-ons. Read the rest

USPS says Amazon should pay 9-12% more for shipping, after Trump criticizes USPS for not charging Amazon more

The United States Postal Service (USPS) wants to raise the fees it charges Amazon.com and other internet commerce shippers by 9 to 12 percent. This comes just months after President Donald Trump criticized the USPS, saying it gives Amazon too good of a deal. Read the rest

Leak shows Google lied when it claimed it wasn't near launching its censored Chinese search tool

When Google employees discovered last August to their horror that the company had been secretly working on a censored search engine ("Project Dragonfly) for use in China, the company assured them that this was only an early-stage prototype and nowhere near launching. Read the rest

Company tries four-day work-week, discovers only upsides

Perpetual Guardian is a 250-person New Zealand investment company specialized in trusts, wills and estate planning; this March and April, the company experimented with a four-day work-week, and based on independent academic assessment of the program, they've decided to make it permanent. Read the rest

Dystopia watch: American schools are installing anti-shooter smoke cannons and bulletproof doors

America has a gun problem: the proliferation of guns in American homes has led to a largely silent epidemic of accidental shootings, intimate partner murders, and suicides. Read the rest

Facebook's new product: every-room cameras for your home

Facebook's newest product is "Portal," a home camera intended to follow you from room to room while you videoconference. Read the rest

Facebook's top lobbyist threw Kavanaugh a victory celebration in his home

When Facebook hired Joel Kaplan to serve as Vice President for US Public Policy, who could have predicted that he would turn out to be a far-right partisan who would embarrass the company by throwing a victory bash for a serial rapist on the occasion of his being handed a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court? Read the rest

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