Telling the truth about defects in technology should never, ever, ever be illegal


Congress has never made a law saying, “Corporations should get to decide who gets to publish truthful information about defects in their products,”— and the First Amendment wouldn’t allow such a law — but that hasn’t stopped corporations from conjuring one out of thin air, and then defending it as though it was a natural right they’d had all along. Some background: in 1986, Ronald Reagan, spooked by the Matthew Broderick movie Wargames (true story!) worked with Congress to pass a sweeping cybercrime bill called the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) that was exceedingly sloppily drafted. CFAA makes it a felony to “exceed[]…

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Researchers believe Earth constantly attracts mini-moons


What the hell is going on up in there in space? Just as I was beginning to accept the fact that Pluto isn’t a planet anymore, I find out that Earth has more than one moon. This is unacceptable. A team of scientists recently published research indicating that heavenly bodies in the area of 1-2 meters large (person-sized) sometimes get caught in our Earth’s orbit. Since they’re essentially moons during the period they orbit the planet, researchers have dubbed them ‘mini-moons.’ If you’re thinking what I’m thinking: You’re absolutely correct. According to the research team’s white paper: We refer to…

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Twitch is reportedly making a play for YouTube’s top talent


Rumors this week have surfaced that Twitch is trying to encroach on YouTube’s territory by offering deals to its top stars if they’ll come and stream on Twitch instead. Twitch‘s motivation appears to be hunger for a slice of that sweet YouTube advertising pie. A report from Bloomberg indicates Twitch is making a concerted effort to pull YouTube’s talent for its own site. Bloomberg’s sources name Will Smith, lifestyle vlogger Gigi Gorgeous, and prankster Tanner Braungardt as examples, with only the latter having apparently accepted. Turning them down is no small thing, considering the number Twitch is reportedly guaranteeing them yearly is…

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Developing bionics: How IBM is adapting mind-control for accessibility


What if there was a way to give everyone suffering from conditions like paralysis or Locked-in syndrome the means to operate prosthetic devices and tech gadgets using mind-control? Well, there is – or at least, there will be. IBM Research recently developed an end-to-end proof-of-concept for a method of controlling an off-the-shelf robotic arm with a brain-computer interface built using a take-home EEG monitor. To accomplish this, the researchers developed AI to interpret the data from the EEG monitor as commands for the robotic arm. That may not sound like something that will change everything overnight – and IBM isn’t…

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The island of enchantment hasn’t lost its charm: An entrepreneur’s guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico


Puerto Rico has been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently. From the mayor being arrested on fraud charges, to the the effects of hurricane Maria and the local government being forced to seek a federal bailout for $123 billion in debts. After such a terrible year, many would expect the overall mood on the island to be sombre. But as soon as you set foot outside San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, you’re met with bright colors, wide smiles, and vibrant energy which characterize the “Island of Enchantment” and its friendly, optimistic people. From the taxi driver…

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Librarian blew $89k in city money on free mobile game


I’m consistently amazed by the lengths people will go to for their free-to-play mobile games. In this case, a librarian in Utah managed to blow thousands of dollars on Game of War. According to the Herald Journal, the former librarian, Adam Winger, used city credit cards to fund his digital addiction. He was put on administrative leave sometime last year after he was apparently unable to account for $89,000 of missing funds, and resigned from his position three months later. The credit cards were used to purchase Itunes, Amazon, and Play Store gift cards, which were themselves used to purchase the virtual…

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