One year later: kids smart-watches are still a privacy and security dumpster fire

A year ago, the Norwegian Consumer Council commissioned a study into kids' smart watches, finding that they were incredibly negligent when it came to security and incredible greedy when it came to surveillance: a deadly combination that meant that these devices were sucking up tons of sensitive data on kids' lives and then leaving it lying around for anyone to take. Read the rest

Kickstarting the Makerphone: an open-source hardware phone kit, programmable with python and Scratch

Circuitmess's fully funded Makerphone kickstarter is raising money to produce open source hardware smartphone kits to teach kids (and grownups) everything from soldering to programming. Read the rest

Apple's new parental control: Daily Stormer is in, sex-ed is out

The new parental controls in Ios 12 have all the same problems that all parental controls have: they overblock legit material (with a bias for sex-ed, especially sex-ed targeted at girls and queer kids, including Teen Vogue) and underblock all kinds of other material (neo-Nazi publications like The Daily Stormer and Reddit's pornographic /r/Gonewild are not blocked). Read the rest

Kindergarten and first grade football team holding a gun raffle

A kindergarten and first grade football time in Morrow, Ohio is holding a gun raffle to raise travel money for tournaments. They've already sold 500 tickets. The winners, 21 years or older, will receive either a handgun or HM Guardian F5 Elite. Apparently, gun raffles to support kids sports and schools isn't uncommon. From WLWT:

Gina Pennycuff is a mother and a substitute teacher. She happened to be working when she got a Facebook message about the gun raffle.

"It was disturbing to me because gun raffles for a youth organization just doesn't mix," she said.

She shared the flyer on Facebook and the comment section took off, some in favor and some opposed...

"I can't imagine being a parent of a kindergartener and them worrying and doing lockdown drills, but them also knowing they're raffling off guns," she said.

"Youth football team gun raffle sparks debate" (Thanks, Charles Pescovitz!) Read the rest

Pop culture characters organized by color

French illustrator Linda Bouderbala did a fun exercise where she gathered some of her favorite characters from geek and pop culture and organized them by color. Read the rest

Scientists raising baby corals plan to plant over one million by 2021

Raising baby corals is a labor-intensive process that requires gathering the babies at the moment the corals spawn in the wild. Scientists compete with fish that feast on the babies, netting the gametes and planulae, then caring for them in a lab until they can be planted on the ocean floor. Read the rest

Listen to this funky electromechanical lithophone

Jay Harrison shared this delightful lithophone cover of Vulfpeck's "It Gets Funkier III" at the Parabola Arts Centre as part of Cheltenham Music Festival. Read the rest

Scientists print robotic flippers based on sea lions

Most aquatic animals propel themselves with a tail or fluke, so roboticists have long been interested in the remarkable speeds possible by mimicking sea lion propulsion with front flippers. Read the rest

The Mars Curiosity Rover's wheels are as thin as credit cards

Brian McManus looks at the engineering challenges behind the Curiosity's thin aluminum wheels, which are sustaining significant damage on the Martian surface. Read the rest

Austistic boy hates being in photos, mom lets him wear T-Rex suit for family pics

Photographer and mom Samantha, aka Roaming Magnolias, shared this incredible gallery of photos on Reddit/IMGUR today. One of her sons is autistic and hates being photographed. His sibling does not mind it. Mom's creative parenting solution, and some amazing images, below. Read the rest

Awe-inspiring timelapse of galaxies sparkling in the skies

Adrien Manduit (previously) returns with a breathtaking timelapse of galaxies as viewed from Teneriffe. Read the rest

Hypnotic video of 3D-printed plant forms undulating underwater

Hydrophytes are 3D-printed multimaterial forms that explore the possibilities for engineered plants of the future. Read the rest

Relax with this gorgeous 360 VR surfing video

The Anatomy of Surf rides along with surfing legend Ian Walsh as he describes the sensations of surfing, set to footage of some beautiful waves. Read the rest

Fascinating overview of how firefighters fight wildfires

Wildfires are a natural part of many ecosystems, though more and more are human-caused. Wendover Productions takes a look at how firefighters work to minimize the spread of wildfires in grueling and dangerous conditions. Read the rest

Middle school cop who arrested seventh graders "to prove a point" may yet face consequences

In 2013, Deputy Luis Ortiz was the "school resource officer" at Etiwanda Intermediate in San Bernardino County, California, when he arrested a group of 12- and 13-year-old girls, cuffing them and taking them to jail in a police vehicle; at the time and afterward, Ortiz said he arrested them "to prove a point" because he felt they were "unresponsive and disrespectful" and in his belief, introducing them to the criminal justice system would make them "mature a lot faster." Read the rest

A wayward narwhal got adopted by a pod of beluga whales

A unicorn of the sea somehow ended up separated from other narwhals. Luckily, the lost narwhal was welcomed into a pod of beluga whales, where they were spotted frolicking in the St. Lawrence River. Read the rest

OK, here's a great explainer on the origins of the word "OK"

Because of its ubiquity, the landscape is littered with proposed etymologies of the term "OK." This nice explainer clarifies the murky origins of one of the most widely spoken words in the world. Read the rest

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