Burbankers! There's a Save Magnolia Park meeting on August 13th at Geeky Tees

The parade of evictions and rent hikes in Burbank's lovely, independent-dominated Magnolia Park retail district is up for debate: the Save Magnolia Park coalition is having a public meeting on Aug 13th at Geeky Tees (2120 W Magnolia Blvd) at 7PM (alas, I'll be in Edinburgh, but I'm there in spirit!). Read the rest

Kill sticky headers: a bookmarklet to get rid of the web's static blobs

Alisdair McDiarmid's Kill Sticky Headers bookmarklet banishes all fixed-position CSS elements, like navigation bars, cookie consent popups, email list subscription solicitations, and so on -- these are an annoyance at best and an accessibility problem at worst; if you have low vision like me and habitually scale up the type on the pages you browse, these elements grow to completely eclipse the type, making you choose between eyestrain and access. Drag this Kill Sticky to your toolbar and click it whenever you want to get rid of these annoyances. Read the rest

Defective Comcast security exposes 26.5m customers' partial Social Security Numbers and addresses

Comcast Xfininty's login page had an easily found bug that allowed anyone to gain access to the partial Social Security Numbers and partial home addresses of over 26.5 million customers. Read the rest

What should go in an IoT safety-rating sticker?

Now that Consumer Reports is explicitly factoring privacy and security into its tech reviews, we're making some progress to calling out the terrible state of affairs that turned the strange dream of an Internet of Things into a nightmare we call the Internet of Shit. Read the rest

Facebook throws an extra $10m at Zuck's personal security

Zuckerberg -- who says privacy isn't a value that's important to most people any more -- owns the four houses on either side of his Silicon Valley house so that no one can use them as a perch to spy on him; he bought 100 acres around his Hawai'ain beach house, suing native Hawai'ians to force them to sell to him, so that he could have a buffer between him and the world. Read the rest

Young doctors revolt, force AMA to consider backing single-payer healthcare for the first time

Millennial doctors are killing predatory health-care capitalism! Read the rest

Leaked Facebook memo reveals "psychological trick" developed to entice high-school students to sign on

In October 2017, Facebook bought the startup TBH, whose product was an enormously successful polling app aimed at high-school students; as part of TBH's integration into the company, they circulated memos detailing the "psychological trick" they developed to maximize their penetration into high-schools and suggested ways this could be adapted for use by Facebook itself. Read the rest

Former Obama trade official teams up with Trump to create highly profitable TB epidemics in poor countries

When Josh Black quit his job as Obama's director for U.N. and Multilateral Affairs after the 2016 election (citing "growing disillusionment"), he found a sweet job as Associate Vice President for International Advocacy at Phrma, the global lobbying group for the pharmaceutical industry, which meant that he still got to work at the UN, but now he'd be advocating for giant, rapacious corporations that hold peoples' lives hostage to their profits! (speaking as a former NGO observer at the World Intellectual Property Organization from the era of the Access to Medicines treaty, Phrma are effectively public health war criminals). Read the rest

UK regulators ban lies in ISP ads, advertised speeds drop by 41%

The UK Committees of Advertising Practice changed the rules for ISP advertising: where once the ISPs could advertise speeds of "Up to" some incredibly high number so long as 10% of customers ever achieved that speed, now ISPs can only advertise a speed promise if 51% of their customers attain that speed at all times. Read the rest

Consumer Reports now evaluates products' security and privacy

Consumer Reports is arguably America's most trusted source of product reviews -- published by Consumers Union, a venerable nonprofit with a deserved reputation for scrupulous care and neutrality -- and for years it has been wrestling with how to address privacy and cybersecurity in modern products (disclosure: I have advised them some on this). Read the rest

We're going to be eating bugs really soon now, again

Whether or not you've ever chosen to eat insects, you've eaten insects, or parts of them, in the grains, legumes, fruits and nuts you've consumed (not to mention the occasional inhaled kamikaze mosquito). Read the rest

Buskers are the only performers making money at the Edinburgh Fringe. Here's how.

So. You're trudging down the Royal Mile taking it all in. The World's largest festival of the performing arts, and in such a beautiful city, too. Detestably young actors with a dream in their heart and Starbucks in their veins approach from every angle, lunging flyers at you like fencers thrusting a blade. You dodge, parry, apologise and avoid – priding yourself on your fringe street savvy. But then your attention is piqued by a noise. The unmistakable sound of genuine spontaneous fun. Your lizard brain makes you perk up like a meerkat, on the balls of your feet, trying to get a look at what might be occurring ahead. There's a crowd. Could be anything. Could be something. You add yourself to their number, pushing in a little. Someone's doing something. Looks like you missed whatever amazing feat caused the crowd to erupt like that, but lets stick around to see what happens next, right?

The UK's largest estate agency is on the verge of bankruptcy

Countrywide is the UK's largest property agents (they own estate agencies like Hamptons International, Bairstow Eves and Bridgfords), with 900 locations and 10,000 employees, and they're selling off shares at fire-sale prices in a desperate bid to raise £140 million to service their massive debts; the sum is 300% of the company's market cap, their shares are down 60% on the news, and the company blames plummeting London prices and Brexit jitters for their misfortunes. Read the rest

Apple is world's first publicly traded company worth $1tn

A 3 percent climb in share price made Apple the world's first trillion-dollar publicly-traded company.

Apple’s ascent from the brink of bankruptcy to the world’s most valuable public company has been a business tour de force, marked by rapid innovation, a series of smash-hit products and the creation of a sophisticated, globe-spanning supply chain that keeps costs down while producing enormous volumes of cutting-edge devices.

That ascent has also been marked by controversy, tragedy and challenges. Apple’s aggressive use of outside manufacturers in China, for example, has led to criticism that it is taking advantage of poorly paid workers in other countries and robbing Americans of good manufacturing jobs. The company faces numerous questions about how it can continue to grow.

Gas giant Saudi Aramco has twice Apple's revenues and is valued at up to $2tn. But you can't buy yourself a chunk of it—not yet, anyway. Read the rest

Bidding opens for the right to bring an original cast video of Hamilton to screens

When Lin-Manuel Miranda left the cast of Hamilton in 2016, the production created an archival video of the original cast performance, saying that he had "no idea" what they'd do with the footage, "Throwing it in a vault at Gringotts for a bit probly." Read the rest

Leaked documents reveal Google's plan to create a censored search engine for the Chinese market

Project Dragonfly is a secret Google plan to create an Android-based search tool (early versions were called "Maotai" and "Longfei") for use in China (where Google is currently blocked), in collaboration with the Chinese government, where search results related to human rights, democracy, protest, religion and other "sensitive" topics will be censored. Read the rest

California home-buyers are increasingly reliant on parental gifts to afford their down-payments

California's housing bubble has pushed prices so high (the median Californian home sells for double the national average) that, in some cities, 48% of first-time buyers could only afford to purchase their homes because their parents gave them the downpayment. Read the rest

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