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21 Jun 13:01

Artist Makes Everyday Objects Completely Unusable

by Tomas

Switzerland-born Italian artist Giuseppe Colarusso has a strange fetish for making everyday objects totally unusable. Each of the objects in Colarusso’s pictures are strange, and more than being useless, they would even cause you problems if applied in everyday life: from Egyptian hieroglyphs on a keyboard to a square rolling-pin, or an ordinary hammer with an electrical plug to a table tennis racket with a whole in the middle.

It sometimes takes time to understand what you’re seeing and what’s the catch, and that way every pictures becomes a bit of a puzzle to solve.

“With these images I try to smile and think,” says Colarusso. Looks like his imagination is way out of the box!

Website: giuseppecolarusso.it (via ufunk)

..Or Extremely Useful Like This All-in-one Spray Can

Or These Coffee Cans

Artist Makes Everyday Objects Completely Unusable originally appeared on Bored Panda on June 21, 2013.

  1. oversized-objects-romulo-celdran-thumb45 Oversized Everyday Household Objects
  2. things-with-faces-thumb45 26 Faces in Everyday Objects
  3. food-art-sarah-illenberger-thumb45 Creative Food Art by Sarah Illenberger
  4. anamorphic-portrait-bernard-pras-thumb45 Massive Optical Illusion Made of Recycled Objects
23 May 03:05

Photo



18 May 20:43

A computer student LOVES using Windows 10 on a new 2015 MacBook (MSFT)

by Julie Bort
Maxim Bange

Nice piece :-)

Alex King

Alex King, a computer science student at Pacific Northwest bought the 2015 12-inch MacBook about a month ago.

He likes to play Windows PC games so he promptly loaded Windows 8.1 on it using a feature called Bootcamp, which lets a Mac switch back and forth between Windows and OS X.

A few days ago, he thought, what the heck? He'd try the as yet-unfinished preview version of Windows 10, and surprise!

He found the user interface in Windows 10 often worked faster and smoother on the Mac than OS X.

He writes:

Here's the real kicker: it's fast. It's smooth. It renders at 60FPS unless you have a lot going on. It's unequivocally better than performance on OS X, further leading me to believe that Apple really needs to overhaul how animations are done.

... So maybe it's ironic that in some regards, the new MacBook runs Windows 10 (a prerelease version, at that) better than it runs OS X. But it's a testament to two things: Apple's fantastic MacBook hardware, which is forward-thinking yet surprisingly agile; and Microsoft's excellent Windows software ...

To be fair, King did have to do some doctoring before he got Windows 10 to work perfectly on the Mac.

For instance, he had to install some special trackpad software (he recommends Trackpad++) and re-run the installation of drivers (a step that Microsoft recommended he skip during the initial installation). He documented the process in detail on his blog.

And, also to be fair, he found that the unfinished Windows 10 software did have some bugs:

Windows 10 is still very much beta software, and sometimes it has slowdowns that don’t seem otherwise characteristic of its performance.

But all told, he was so delighted with how well Windows 10 worked on the new Mac, he heartily recommends it:

I'm excited to keep Windows 10 installed on this machine, both now as a preview, and later once the final version is installed. Even hardened OS X diehards owe it to themselves to give it a try.

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NOW WATCH: Here's how Floyd Mayweather spends his millions








14 May 18:49

edwardspoonhands: treblesketch-abscond: Wait no stop One time...





















edwardspoonhands:

treblesketch-abscond:

Wait no stop

One time I forgot what mirrors were called so, instead, said “Face Window.”

Raw toast gets me every time.

14 May 15:11

Things in space don’t behave like you expect (bi-stable...



Things in space don’t behave like you expect (bi-stable intermediate moments of inertia).

27 Apr 19:51

Why this man is teaching people how to write malware for Macs

by Natasha Bertrand and Michael B Kelley

unnamed

Patrick Wardles says that he "drinks the Apple juice."

At the same time, the director of research at Synack, Inc. recently gave a presentation at the elite Infiltrate hacking conference in Miami Beach detailing "exactly how to practically create elegant, bad@ss OS X malware."

So why would a professional hacker who says he loves Apple want to design damaging code that could corrupt some of his most beloved products?

"OS X malware is already an unfortunate reality," Wardle told Business Insider. "By revealing methods that adversaries are likely already using — and illustrating how these techniques can trivially bypass Apple and 3rd-party security products — we can hopefully encourage open dialogue and ideally improve the situation to become more secure."

When asked why Apple has not done more to address these security issues itself, Wardle replied that Apple may simply be resting on its laurels since Apple products are more secure by default and the company is not losing any money yet.

"One well-known anti-virus vendor I spoke to recently said that while the Windows version of their anti-virus product has built-in problem-solving capabilities, their OS X version does not yet," Wardle said. "They were quick to point out that this is because current OS X malware is not as advanced as Windows malware, so they didn’t really see the need."

Wardle believes this ad-hoc approach to detecting Apple malware is misguided, however, as there are likely advanced OS X security holes out there that just haven't been found yet.

"My hope is to show how easy it is to create more advanced OS X malware to prod us along toward better security," Wardle said. He did just that at the recent RSA Security Conference in San Francisco.

.@patrickwardle wrote his own malware to see if a variety of anti-malware could detect it — they all #failed #RSAC pic.twitter.com/yrUKiSg7YE

— Dan Reshef (@dreshef) April 23, 2015

Less safe than most think

Many people love their Apple products because they believe they are immune to the kinds of viruses that have long plagued Windows. To a certain extent, that is true — there haven't been any major OS X worms (while Windows has been hit with several). But Wardle argues that's not entirely accurate.

unnamed 1"Just because you have a Mac computer doesn’t mean you are any more secure than your Windows counterparts," he said.

"You should still always strive to adhere to standard security practices — i.e., keep your computer updated and don’t download or run software from untrusted sources."

Wardle claims that Apple's past attempts to fix its various security holes were not advanced enough.

On his way home from Infiltrate, Wardle realized he could bypass Apple's fix for a vulnerability known as "rootpipe" and get the highest levels of privileges even on a fully patched OS X computer.

"Yes they patched rootpipe, but I was able to side-step their patch," he explained. "Similarly, I was able to bypass Gatekeeper [an anti-malware feature of the OS X operating system] and build a downloadable image that contained unsigned code which would allow the unsigned code to run, even though Gatekeeper is designed to prevent this."

Wardle reports security issues to Apple every time he encounters one, and he believes they are actively working to remedy the situation and patch the flaws.

'I don't want the Chinese to hack me'

Beyond problems that require a fix from Apple, Wardle discusses another issue: "Legitimate functionality of the OS can be abused by a local attacker/malware to be more stealthy/elegant/effective."

Detailing that issue is important so that governments and companies are aware of more sophisticated attackers.

"This [Wardle's] type of exploit research is vital to advancing the science of both offense and defense," security expert Dave Aitel, CEO of Immunity, Inc., told Business Insider at Infiltrate.

"Most of the time companies only become aware of serious or complex vulnerabilities through the research community, while at the same it’s likely that nation-states have already detected these same vulnerabilities — China, Russia, US and other big countries have large offensive research teams and capabilities."

For Wardle, it comes down to: "I don't want the Chinese to hack me."

chinese hackers china cyberProtecting again hacker using legitimate code is tricky because "it’s not really Apple’s fault when legitimate things get abused" and "‘fixing’ them would likely break a lot of legitimate code," Wardle said.

"Once an attacker has gotten access on your computer or installed malware, you’ve gotta assume its game over," Wardle said. "If attacker’s were a little more stealthy and abused legitimate features of the OS more, their malware would be harder to detect."

Consequently, the best thing Apple could do is make some broader security improvements that would make it harder to abuse OS features.

"For example, the OS could say, ‘if you’re an Apple signed process, I'm not going to allow you to load any unsigned dynamic libraries," Wardle said, referring to the digital 'libraries' that hold files for apps on Macs.

Wardle says he is striving to be a part of the solution while also pointing out the problems. At RSA, he released some free security tools of his own.

"These are simply the tools I run on my personal Mac to help keep it secure, and I figured I should share," Wardle said. "People seem to be responding positively so far — we're almost at 10,000 cumulative downloads."

Check out Wardle's Infiltrate presentation >

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23 Apr 09:13

Microsoft is bringing Solitaire back to Windows 10

by Tom Warren

Despite admitting games like Solitaire, Minesweeper, and Hearts "have a devoted following," Microsoft chose to remove them from Windows 8. While overhauled and modern versions were available in the Windows Store, there’s nothing quite as nostalgic as navigating to Start > Programs> Accessories > Games, and finding the classic Windows games. Microsoft is now bringing back Solitaire as a built-in game on Windows 10. It’s the same modern version from Windows 8, but you no longer have to search around the Windows Store to find it and play.

It’s a similar decision to the return of the Start Menu, bringing back features Windows users are familiar with. Only Solitaire is back as a built-in app so far, and that may even change by the time...

Continue reading…

10 Apr 14:08

Three models made a must-watch video that's blowing up on Facebook with over 200 million views and counting

by Taylor Lorenz

Australian comedy group SketchShe's "Bohemian Carsody" video raked in over 20 million views on YouTube, and now the trio of models slash stand up comics have returned with a new hit. 

Their latest video, "Mime Through Time," features the three girls decked up in period-style outfits as they sing songs from throughout the past 75 years. 

Sketchshe
They belt out tunes by everyone from Britney Spears to the Beatles, and even strip down naked for their final act.
 
SketchsheThe video has already proved a smash hit. It currently has over 19 million views on YouTube and hundreds of millions more on Facebook.
 

SketchsheIt's an impressive feat considering the three women only joined forces in December. Shae-Lee Shackleford,28, Lana Kington, 25, Madison Lloyd,27, are all members of the same modeling agency and became fast friends.

SketchSheThey decided to get together and film the hilarious videos in Shackleford's father's driveway and had no idea the enormous attention they would receive. 

'The fact that we've had people writing to us from around the world... I don't think there's been a country or continent that hasn't reached out and written to us to say they loved it," Shackleford tells the Daily Mail.

SketchsheHowever, despite international attention and a Los Angeles press tour, their filming methods are still very DIY. "The first time we had a bra in the car so we taped the iPhone to it and propped it up that way, but this time we upgraded to a block of wood, but it's still very dodgy," Shackleford says.

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NOW WATCH: Why 16 million fans are obsessed with this 24-year-old from Hawaii doing impersonations on YouTube








12 Apr 01:42

This 2-year-old disc jockey is becoming a phenomenon in South Africa

by Amanda Macias and Associated Press

dj aj toddler south africa

At first it seems like a fluke — a 2-year-old playing with the knobs and buttons of a sophisticated music system. Yet, the pint size boy is in control of the beat of the bass-heavy house music. He is South Africa's youngest disc jockey, DJ AJ.

At a shopping mall appearance, a crowd gathers around the young boy as he bops his head to the beat, his large headphones slipping off. Adults whip out their cellphones to capture the moment while children just stare.

dj aj toddler south africaOratilwe Hlongwane is still learning to put together words but the toddler is already able to select and play music from a laptop and has become a viral phenomenon on South Africa's social media.

His mother, Refiloe Marumo, credits his father's decision to buy an iPad for his then unborn son.

Glen Hlongwane planned to download educational apps to speed up his child's education.

Hlongwane, a gymnastics coach and aspiring DJ, also downloaded a disc jockeying app for himself.

At about a year old, DJ AJ learned how to manipulate the gadget. Not satisfied with number recognition games, he began to fiddle with his father's DJ app.

"Whatever he was doing with the mixer, turning the knobs, the timing of him doing what he was doing was like so good and he knew where the effect button was and he was fading in and fading out," his father told CCTV Africa.

The parents were blown away when their son, still in diapers, repeated what he had learned on the app on actual DJ equipment, playing with sound effects and bouncing between songs. A cellphone video of him playing went viral and now DJ AJ has nearly 25,000 Facebook fans.

south african toddler djHis newfound fame has brought special appearances and sponsorship deals many older DJs dream of.

But celebrity has also brought some criticism as some accused his parents of abuse and profiting from their child's precocious ability.

"I'm not going to exploit my kid," said his father. DJ AJ's parents will not allow him to play in clubs or at parties.

dj south africaHlongwane and Marumo are adamant that they will not force their son to be a DJ when he grows up, but say they believe his affinity for electronic equipment will probably decide his future.

Hongwane said: "I can see a future Bill Gates here."

Here is a video of DJ AJ:

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NOW WATCH: This is what happens to your brain and body when you check your phone before bed








07 Apr 12:56

Microsoft Lumia 640 arriveert in de eerste Nederlandse winkels

by info@gsmhelpdesk.nl (Tim Wijkman)
De begin maart tijdens het Mobile World Congress gepresenteerde Microsoft Lumia 640 is vandaag gearriveerd in de eerste Nederlandse winkels. De smartphone biedt een ongekend goede prijs / functionaliteitverhouding.
22 Mar 18:27

The one important thing everybody needs to understand about Google

by Matt Rosoff

Larry Page Google

A lot of people think Google Search is like a map: An objective guide to the best and most important material on the internet.

It's not.

Google Search is the most important product of a very wealthy and successful for-profit company. And Google will use this product to further its own commercial ends. 

This became clearer than ever this week when the Wall Street Journal uncovered an internal FTC report saying that Google was illegally using material from other web sites, like TripAdvisor and Amazon, directly in its search results.

When those companies complained, Google threatened to remove them entirely from the search listings.

The FTC report suggested suing Google for antitrust, but Google made some changes to its practices — importantly, it let companies opt out of letting Google show their content directly in search results — and the FTC commissioners voted to drop the investigation in 2013. 

But it's an interesting and rare insight into how Google actually works, versus how you might think it works.

Google's challenge with search

First of all, for all we hear about self-driving cars and Internet balloons and Android and YouTube, search is still Google's most important business today. By far.

In 2014, Google booked $45 billion in advertising revenue from its own sites, out of $66 billion total.

The company won't break out how much of that is first-party ad revenue is Google Search versus other products, but by all accounts it's the vast majority — Google's only other massively popular web site, YouTube, reportedly booked "only" $4 billion last year. This is why the people who work on search and search ads at Google are still considered rock stars at the company, according to many people who work there.

Google actually has a very tough set of technical and business challenges with search. It has to make Google Search as useful as possible, otherwise people will stop using Google and turn to alternatives – not just Microsoft's Bing, which has struggled to gain market share despite being perfectly good on most kinds of searches, but alternatives like Amazon for product search or Yelp for restaurant search. This risk is higher with smartphones, where people are increasingly using apps on their smartphones rather than a search engine in their computer's web browser.

Sometimes, Google has a legitimate case that its own products offer better answers than the web at large — there's no reason to force users to click to another web site to answer a question like "Who's the president of Albania?" 

At the same time, Google wants people to use its other products, where it also sells ads.

The end result of this difficult balancing act? In general, Google is taking more and more information that it provides itself and putting it at the top of its search results. 

This graphic shows the difference between Google search results in 2008 (left) and 2012 (right).

Google Search Results Pages in 2008 versus 2012

Google has used other tricks over the years, too, like putting Google users' reviews ahead of reviews from third-party sites like TripAdvisor (as long as the person searching was signed in to Google).

google yelp

A lot of competitors, particularly Yelp, have been complaining about these kinds of tactics for a long time. While US officials have so far stopped short of formally calling Google Search a monopoly or filing formal charges in this area, it now looks like Europe will soon file charges.

Why shouldn't Google do whatever it wants with search?

Is this fair? Do we need really governments to monitor and control Google's search results?

It's sort of like when Microsoft was being investigated by the US Department of Justice for bundling its own web browser, Internet Explorer, with Windows. Steve Ballmer reportedly said during the trial that Microsoft should be allowed to bundle a ham sandwich with Windows — after all, Windows was a Microsoft product, not some kind of public utility.

That was true until the antitrust case went to trial and a judge found in 2000 that Microsoft Windows was a monopoly product, and that Microsoft had used that monopoly power to exclude competitors. The precise legal reasoning is more complicated — antitrust is complicated — but the basic takeaway here is that governments can rule that certain products are so important, and so dominant, that they're no longer exclusively under the control of the company that creates them.

The Microsoft case eventually went through appeals and the company suffered fewer restrictions than the first judge, Thomas Jackson, originally imposed. But his "findings of fact" were really important: They paved the way for dozens of antitrust lawsuits by US state attorneys general and private companies like Sun, RealNetworks, and IBM. Microsoft had to pay billions in settlements before the fallout receded.

This is what Google desperately wants to avoid. If a government body issues a formal legal ruling that Google Search is an anticompetitive monopoly that needs to be regulated, it opens the floodgates.

google google search

Just remember what Google is

Regardless of whether Google faces new charges, the thing to keep in mind is that Google is a for-profit company. Its products have to be good, otherwise nobody will use them. But they also serve the larger business goals of the company.

Android isn't just a mobile operating system that Google decided to give away to anybody who wanted to use it. It's also a way for Google to make sure that nobody else dominates mobile browsing, where they might be tempted to guide people away from Google's search engine and ads.

Chrome isn't just an attempt to build a faster, better web browser. It also gives you lots of ways to search Google, plus offers many subtle encouragements to stay signed into Google services at all time (if you want those personalized bookmarks on top of your Chrome browser, you need to be signed in), which in turn helps Google target search results and ads just for you.

Every Google product should be viewed through this lens. Last week's revelations make this clearer than ever.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 14 things you didn't know your iPhone headphones could do








12 Feb 19:00

The 20 best board games of 2014, finalists from Board Game Geek

by Charlie Hall

The community at BoardGameGeek.com, known hobby games tastemakers, have announced this year's nominees for board game of the year. If you're a fan of the hobby, or interested in learning more, this is a great place to start.

BoardGameGeek is a massively popular gaming resource and online community, made up of board and hobby games fans. Every year the community votes on the Golden Geek Awards, celebrating the best games of the year in many categories, broadly including board games, role-playing games and video games. This year's board game of the year category is crowded, with 20 nominees.

Alchemists - A strategy game for 2-4 players where each takes the role of a "budding alchemist" trying to discover the secrets of their "mystical...

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24 Jul 20:24

Here's What Comes After Generation Z

by Christina Sterbenz

kid with iPhone

You've heard all about Millennials or Generation Y, the tech-savvy youngsters who were born in the 1980s and came of age around the turn of the millenium.

And retail strategists are already paying attention to Generation Z, the post-1990s generation that doesn't remember a world before the tech boom.

But what comes after Z? Clearly someone didn't think this through, but now an answer is emerging.

Futurist, demographer, and TEDx speaker Mark McCrindle is leading the campaign to call anyone born after 2010 a part of Generation Alpha.

Alpha kids will grow up with iPads in hand and never live without a smartphone and the ability to transfer a thought online in seconds. These massive technological changes, among others, make Generation Alpha the most transformative generation ever, according to McCrindle.

"In the past, the individual had no power, really," McCrindle says. "Now, the individual has great control of their lives through being able to leverage this world. Technology, in a sense, transformed the expectations of our interactions."

Coining "Generation Alpha"

It all started when McCrindle and his team started wondering what comes after Z.

In 2005, McCrindle's group ran a national survey in Australia asking respondents to think up potential names themselves. "Alpha" emerged and seemed like a natural fit, considering science disciplines, such as meteorology, often move to the Greek alphabet after exhausting the Roman alphabet or Arabic numerals.

While possibilities like Gen Tech, Digital Natives, and Net Gen have been posed, many have unofficially dubbed the group "Generation Alpha." McCrindle, for one, hopes it sticks.

Everyone under the age of 5 falls into the Alpha category, as does anyone born in the next 15 years, what McCrindle considers the usual span of a generation. Unlike previous generations, which have used technology, Alphas will spend the bulk of their formative years completely immersed in it.

"Even new technologies have been transformed," McCrindle says. "It's not just email — it's instant messaging. It's not just sharing a document online — it's a Prezzi or a YouTube video."

A Demographic Shift

Shifts in global population will also affect Generation Alpha's experience. For example, as early as 2028, India could surpass China as the most populous country in the world, according to United Nation's recent data.

"Generational labeling has been a Western phenomenon," McCrindle says. Consider Baby Boomers, named for those born in the U.S. during the post-World War II "baby boom." And "teenager," a term coined in the mid-20th century.

Such labels are a much newer concept in developing countries, which may lag behind in both population and technology, creating less variety between generations. 

In Generation Alpha's time, however, "India and China will become the center of gravity," McCrindle notes. Countries who have experienced less development until recently will naturally experience a more pronounced generation gap with Alpha.

With better technology and more people to fuel its growth, children in these countries will trade some of their traditional, Eastern values for more tech-savvy and global ideas, McCrindle explains. 

The Biggest Leap Ever

This new climate of connectivity makes the leap from Gen Z to Alpha the largest in history, according to McCrindle — even bigger than than from Baby Boomers to Gen X, who experienced the invention of computers. 

For Baby Boomers, the newest computers were still mechanical and manual. They required effort and knowledge of programs to use. "But what we have with social media is a shift from the auditory and visual to the kinesthetic process," McCrindle explains. "The platform may stay the same, but it's gone from a computer with a keyboard to one with a touchscreen."

Alphas will also interact for the first time with these technologies at much younger ages than any other generation. Now, many teenagers don't wear watches because they use their cell phones for telling time, McCrindle notes. Imagine what Alphas will or won't wear or do because of their attachment to tech.

"They don't think about these technologies as tools," McCrindle says. "They integrate them singularly into their lives."

SEE ALSO: 15 Facts About Millennials And The Economy Everyone In Business Should Know

Join the conversation about this story »








08 Aug 09:43

iPhone 6 Clone Passed Off as Real Product to Street-Goers in Prank Video [iOS Blog]

by MacRumors

While Apple next-generation iPhone is still over a month away from being announced, a number of clones from various companies have hit the market to try and capitalize on customer anticipation. In a video posted to his channel, YouTuber Jonathan Morrison took Goophone’s “i6″ clone to Hollywood Boulevard to see if people would see the Android-based device as a real iPhone 6.


Individuals were told that the clone was the iPhone 6 and came with a number of new features, including an eight-day battery life, an “A10″ processor, and a high-resolution 8K sapphire display with 3D capabilities. Most people in fact believed those features, with one man proclaiming the phone felt “super fast” and another saying that the display “looked much clearer” than the display on his iPhone 5s.

At one point, a young individual in a crowd asks “How many milliamps does it have?” Morrison replies with “7,000″, causing the person to respond “How does that fit in there?!” Others were also told about additional features, with one woman believing that the phone’s photos were too high of a resolution for its screen, and a man in awe over the claimed “26-core” processor.

After being asked about Apple’s efforts in comparison to Samsung’s, one man even claims that the device is “really great” and that Apple has “caught up with this one.” Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel pulled a similar prank on Hollywood Boulevard last month, with his team showing pedestrians a $20 Casio watch and claiming it to be Apple’s long-awaited iWatch.







The post iPhone 6 Clone Passed Off as Real Product to Street-Goers in Prank Video [iOS Blog] appeared first on AIVAnet.

15 Jul 14:06

Chrome Is Ruining Your Windows Laptop Battery (GOOG)

by Dylan Love

Screen Shot 2014 07 15 at 9.59.33 AM

Ian Morris writes on Forbes that Windows users who prefer Google's Chrome web browser are inadvertently ruining their computer batteries. The problem lies in what's called a "system clock tick rate."

By default, a Windows PC tick rate is set to 15.625 milliseconds, meaning the processor "wakes up" and looks for work to do about 64 times per second. But running Chrome resets the tick rate to 1 millisecond — the processor is now up and looking for work 1,000 times per second.

Here's how Morris explains what this is all about:

What is a clock tick anyway, and why does it matter? In an OS like Windows, events are often set to run at intervals. To save power, the processor sleeps when nothing needs attention, and wakes at predefined intervals. This interval is what Chrome adjusts in Windows, so reducing it to 1.000ms means that the system is waking far more often than at 15.625ms. In fact, at 1.000ms the processor is waking 1000 times per second. The default, of 15.625ms means the processor wakes just 64 times per second to check on events that need attention.

According to Microsoft, such a drastic change in system clock tick rate can increase power demands by up to 25%, and your laptop battery is left carrying that burden. And because a tick rate is universal, it only takes one application messing with it (Chrome) to affect it system-wide.

Surprisingly, little ol' Internet Explorer is savvy enough to adapt its tick rate. Casual browsing inside of IE that's full of idle time will leave the rate unaffected at 15.625 milliseconds. Start playing a video on YouTube and it will adjust the rate to 1 millisecond for smooth media playback. By contrast, Chrome on Windows sets the rate up high and leaves it there until you close the browser.

The only real "solution" to this problem for now is to close Chrome and adopt another browser. Internet Explorer and Firefox do not have this problem.

Morris calls for those who want Google to doing something about it to "star" the issue in the company's bug tracking system. Click here, then click on the star at the left to light it up.

Screen_Shot_2014 07 15_at_9_54_03_AM

 

SEE ALSO: Boston Dynamics's Robot Dogs Are Already Training With The US Marine Corps

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08 Jul 12:35

PS4 fails to impact Japanese console market

by Emily Gera

PlayStation 4 consoles made a minimal impact on Japan's console market, according to data released by Tokyo-based magazine Enterbrain and translated by consultant Dr. Serkan Toto.

The Sony console, which launched in Japan in February following its release in the West, saw revenue of 706.3 million yen during the first half of 2014 — only a slight increase from the 663.9 million yen earned during the first half of 2013.

According to data from Media Create, the PlayStation 4 has failed to sell more than 10,000 units in a single week in over two months in Japan. This places the console behind both Wii U and PlayStation Vita in popularity.


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07 Jul 11:12

Command & Conquer multiplayer is saved following GameSpy shutdown

by Emily Gera

Fans of the Command & Conquer series have launched a new multiplayer server for a number of games in the strategy franchise following the shuttering of GameSpy's servers earlier in the year.

C&C: Online is a free emulation of the original GameSpy servers for the Command & Conquer games affected by GameSpy's closure. This includes Command & Conquer: Generals, Command & Conquer: Zero Hour, Command & Conquer 3, Command & Conquer: Kane's Wrath and Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3.

Those interested can sign up for free by registering with Revora.

Fifty titles from Electronic Arts, including those from the Command & Conquer series, were affected by the termination of GameSpy's hosting service.

GameSpy Technology, a service that provides...

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07 Jul 10:39

A new Kinect for Windows is coming, and this is why you should care

by Tom Warren

Microsoft’s second Kinect for Windows sensor is arriving on July 15th for $199, and it’s aiming to take things even further away from gaming. While Kinect’s early usage was boosted by the Xbox 360, developers haven’t enthusiastically supported Kinect on the Xbox platform ever since. Instead, Kinect has become extremely popular with Windows developers. The latest Kinect for Windows sensor takes the same form as the Xbox One’s version and it’s practically the same. Compared to the previous version, it now features a higher fidelity sensor with a 1080p camera, a larger field of view, and better skeletal tracking.

Developers have been calling out for reduced latency and improved finger tracking, and Microsoft has largely answered those...

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03 Jul 11:24

The Web We Lost

Update: A few months after this piece was published, I was invited by Harvard's Berkman Center to speak about this topic in more detail. Though the final talk is an hour long, it offers much more insight into the topic, and I hope you'll give it a look.

The tech industry and its press have treated the rise of billion-scale social networks and ubiquitous smartphone apps as an unadulterated win for regular people, a triumph of usability and empowerment. They seldom talk about what we've lost along the way in this transition, and I find that younger folks may not even know how the web used to be.

So here's a few glimpses of a web that's mostly faded away:

  • Five years ago, most social photos were uploaded to Flickr, where they could be tagged by humans or even by apps and services, using machine tags. Images were easily discoverable on the public web using simple RSS feeds. And the photos people uploaded could easily be licensed under permissive licenses like those provided by Creative Commons, allowing remixing and reuse in all manner of creative ways by artists, businesses, and individuals.
  • A decade ago, Technorati let you search most of the social web in real-time (though the search tended to be awful slow in presenting results), with tags that worked as hashtags do on Twitter today. You could find the sites that had linked to your content with a simple search, and find out who was talking about a topic regardless of what tools or platforms they were using to publish their thoughts. At the time, this was so exciting that when Technorati failed to keep up with the growth of the blogosphere, people were so disappointed that even the usually-circumspect Jason Kottke flamed the site for letting him down. At the first blush of its early success, though, Technorati elicited effusive praise from the likes of John Gruber:
[Y]ou could, in theory, write software to examine the source code of a few hundred thousand weblogs, and create a database of the links between these weblogs. If your software was clever enough, it could refresh its information every few hours, adding new links to the database nearly in real time. This is, in fact, exactly what Dave Sifry has created with his amazing Technorati. At this writing, Technorati is watching over 375,000 weblogs, and has tracked over 38 million links. If you haven’t played with Technorati, you’re missing out.
  • Ten years ago, you could allow people to post links on your site, or to show a list of links which were driving inbound traffic to your site. Because Google hadn't yet broadly introduced AdWords and AdSense, links weren't about generating revenue, they were just a tool for expression or editorializing. The web was an interesting and different place before links got monetized, but by 2007 it was clear that Google had changed the web forever, and for the worse, by corrupting links.
  • In 2003, if you introduced a single-sign-in service that was run by a company, even if you documented the protocol and encouraged others to clone the service, you'd be described as introducing a tracking system worthy of the PATRIOT act. There was such distrust of consistent authentication services that even Microsoft had to give up on their attempts to create such a sign-in. Though their user experience was not as simple as today's ubiquitous ability to sign in with Facebook or Twitter, the TypeKey service introduced then had much more restrictive terms of service about sharing data. And almost every system which provided identity to users allowed for pseudonyms, respecting the need that people have to not always use their legal names.
  • In the early part of this century, if you made a service that let users create or share content, the expectation was that they could easily download a full-fidelity copy of their data, or import that data into other competitive services, with no restrictions. Vendors spent years working on interoperability around data exchange purely for the benefit of their users, despite theoretically lowering the barrier to entry for competitors.
  • In the early days of the social web, there was a broad expectation that regular people might own their own identities by having their own websites, instead of being dependent on a few big sites to host their online identity. In this vision, you would own your own domain name and have complete control over its contents, rather than having a handle tacked on to the end of a huge company's site. This was a sensible reaction to the realization that big sites rise and fall in popularity, but that regular people need an identity that persists longer than those sites do.
  • Five years ago, if you wanted to show content from one site or app on your own site or app, you could use a simple, documented format to do so, without requiring a business-development deal or contractual agreement between the sites. Thus, user experiences weren't subject to the vagaries of the political battles between different companies, but instead were consistently based on the extensible architecture of the web itself.
  • A dozen years ago, when people wanted to support publishing tools that epitomized all of these traits, they'd crowd-fund the costs of the servers and technology needed to support them, even though things cost a lot more in that era before cloud computing and cheap bandwidth. Their peers in the technology world, though ostensibly competitors, would even contribute to those efforts.

This isn't our web today. We've lost key features that we used to rely on, and worse, we've abandoned core values that used to be fundamental to the web world. To the credit of today's social networks, they've brought in hundreds of millions of new participants to these networks, and they've certainly made a small number of people rich.

But they haven't shown the web itself the respect and care it deserves, as a medium which has enabled them to succeed. And they've now narrowed the possibilites of the web for an entire generation of users who don't realize how much more innovative and meaningful their experience could be.

Back To The Future

When you see interesting data mash-ups today, they are often still using Flickr photos because Instagram's meager metadata sucks, and the app is only reluctantly on the web at all. We get excuses about why we can't search for old tweets or our own relevant Facebook content, though we got more comprehensive results from a Technorati search that was cobbled together on the feeble software platforms of its era. We get bullshit turf battles like Tumblr not being able to find your Twitter friends or Facebook not letting Instagram photos show up on Twitter because of giant companies pursuing their agendas instead of collaborating in a way that would serve users. And we get a generation of entrepreneurs encouraged to make more narrow-minded, web-hostile products like these because it continues to make a small number of wealthy people even more wealthy, instead of letting lots of people build innovative new opportunities for themselves on top of the web itself.

We'll fix these things; I don't worry about that. The technology industry, like all industries, follows cycles, and the pendulum is swinging back to the broad, empowering philosophies that underpinned the early social web. But we're going to face a big challenge with re-educating a billion people about what the web means, akin to the years we spent as everyone moved off of AOL a decade ago, teaching them that there was so much more to the experience of the Internet than what they know.

This isn't some standard polemic about "those stupid walled-garden networks are bad!" I know that Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and LinkedIn and the rest are great sites, and they give their users a lot of value. They're amazing achievements, from a pure software perspective. But they're based on a few assumptions that aren't necessarily correct. The primary fallacy that underpins many of their mistakes is that user flexibility and control necessarily lead to a user experience complexity that hurts growth. And the second, more grave fallacy, is the thinking that exerting extreme control over users is the best way to maximize the profitability and sustainability of their networks.

The first step to disabusing them of this notion is for the people creating the next generation of social applications to learn a little bit of history, to know your shit, whether that's about Twitter's business model or Google's social features or anything else. We have to know what's been tried and failed, what good ideas were simply ahead of their time, and what opportunities have been lost in the current generation of dominant social networks.

So what did I miss? What else have we lost on the social web?

A follow-up: How we rebuild the web we lost.

27 Jun 23:30

Practicing immoral behavior in a game may make you more morally sensitive, study says

by Samit Sarkar

The conventional wisdom about violent video games is that playing them can desensitize you to the violence in question, leaving you less able to care about those immoral acts in the future. New research indicates that the exact opposite may be true.

A study led by Matthew Grizzard (photo below), assistant professor in the department of communication at the University at Buffalo, reaffirmed previous research saying that committing immoral acts in games can cause players to feel guilt. Moreover, the study found that players would become more sensitive to the specific moral codes that they violated while playing — and according to Grizzard and his co-authors, that may eventually lead players to practice prosocial behavior (that is,...

Continue reading…

26 Jun 22:06

These Photoshopped Portraits Show How People Define Beauty In 19 Different Countries

by Aaron Taube

Original

In an effort to get a glimpse of how the world thinks about beauty, the journalist Esther Honig sent out a photo of herself to graphic designers in more than 20 countries.

Their task: to edit the photo to make Honig look "beautiful" — however the designer defined the term.

The results are telling. Each photo represents the personal and cultural beauty standards of the designer, with the American editor giving Honig bright blue eyes and long hair, and the Israeli designer darkening her eyes and skin.

You can read more about the project at Honig's website. Click below to see photos from the 19 different countries she's posted so far.

Here's Honig's original photo.



And here's how she was photoshopped in Argentina.



Bangladesh



See the rest of the story at Business Insider






26 Jun 09:47

The world must build more nuclear power plants to halt climate change

by Rich McCormick

Nuclear power plants aren't being built fast enough for the world to hit important carbon emissions targets, according to the International Energy Agency. A lack of trust in nuclear technology, coupled with the global economic downturn that began in 2008, has resulted in a slowdown of construction and a plateau of the world's nuclear energy capacity.

Continue reading…

27 May 19:52

Russia's Aircraft Carrier Crossed Into A NATO Member State's Territory With Total Impunity

by Jeremy Bender

russia ship Admiral Kuznetsov

On May 8, Russia's only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, passed through the Netherlands' exclusive economic zone. Although the Dutch Navy had spotted the Kuznetsov days earlier, it was unable to provide an escort for the Russian warship as it passed through their territorial waters, David Cenciotti wrote for Medium

Just as it is common practice for NATO air forces to scramble and intercept intruding aircraft, non-NATO vessels are supposed to be escorted as they pass through a member state's territorial waters. 

Ultimately, the Dutch Coast Guard resorted to deploying a Dornier-228 aircraft to shadow the Russians through the Netherlands' territory. But the aircraft lacks the equipment necessary for comprehensive electronic or photographic intelligence gathering. 

Since 2002, the Dutch have retired their entire fleet of dedicated patrol aircraft. The Royal Netherlands Navy has also shrank due to years of military budget cuts. 

This failure of the Dutch to escort a Russian ship through its own territory underscores a wider failing within Europe to maintain a state of military readiness. NATO members are meant to spend at least 2% of their GDP every year on defense spending, although only four member states reached that goal in 2013. 

NATO military spending

Defense spending throughout much of Europe has steadily fallen over the past two decades, partly because of the U.S.'s treaty-bound protection of its European allies. And the end of the Cold War convinced European states that a period of peace was at hand. 

The average defense spending of European NATO members fell from 2.5% of GDP between 1990 to 1994 to only 1.6% of GDP by 2013. In comparison, the U.S.'s defense spending remains over the NATO minimum at 4.1% of GDP. 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has insisted that NATO members began to make credible commitments to increase their defense spending over the next five years. 

SEE ALSO: NATO's secretary general tells Europe to stop relying on the US and provide its own defense

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24 May 13:59

Europeans Have Started Speaking ‘Globish,' A Kind Of Global English

by The Economist

flags EU Parliament

What language does Europe speak? France has lost its battle for French. Europeans now overwhelmingly opt for English. The Eurovision song contest, won this month by an Austrian cross-dresser, is mostly English-speaking, even if the votes are translated into French.

The European Union conducts ever more business in English. Interpreters sometimes feel they are speaking to themselves.

Last year Germany's president, Joachim Gauck, argued for an English-speaking Europe: national languages would be cherished for spirituality and poetry alongside "a workable English for all of life's situations and all age groups".

Some detect a European form of global English (globish): a patois with English physiognomy, cross-dressed with continental cadences and syntax, a train of EU institutional jargon and sequins of linguistic false friends (mostly French).

In Brussels "to assist" means to be present, not to help; "to control" means to check, rather than to exercise power; "adequate" means appropriate or suitable, rather than (barely) sufficient; and mass nouns are countable, such as advices, informations and aids. "Anglo-Saxon" is not a historical term referring to Germanic tribes in Britain, but a political insult followed by "capitalism" or even "press".

Ordinary Europeans got a first taste of Euro-globish in the televised debates among leading contenders for the European election on May 22nd-25th. The idea of the main European political groups picking "Spitzenkandidaten" to become the president of the European Commission is a novelty (and has created Brussels's first German neologism in years). It is meant to close the democratic deficit, stir excitement, arrest the fall in turnout and check the rise of anti-EU parties.

In contrast with popular music, though, Euro-globish has a long way to go before it dominates electoral politics. Of the five Spitzenkandidaten debating in Brussels on May 15th, Alexis Tsipras, champion of a far-left alliance, insisted on speaking Greek.

Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg's standard-bearer for the Christian Democrats, chose French. The three others gamely abided by the request to speak English: two Germans, Martin Schulz and Ska Keller from the Social Democrats and Greens, respectively, and a Belgian, Guy Verhofstadt, for the Liberals.


As they replied to the Italian moderator's questions about growth, austerity, the euro, economic integration, free trade with America and much else, the politicians showed remarkable fortitude in trying to reach out to voters in what was often their second language.

And spare a thought for the viewers who, for the most part, were not native English-speakers (many broadcasters provided simultaneous interpretation). Inevitably, it made for a stiff and stilted exchange.

The candidates were uninspiring and hard to tell apart in their desire for "more Europe".

But language barriers added to a sense of strange remoteness. Europhiles are pleased that the final debate stimulated more than 100,000 messages on Twitter.

But contrast that with the 5m tweets around the Eurovision contest, and it is plain that European-level democracy has not gripped the public.

Politics is surely best conducted in the vernacular.

John Stuart Mill, for one, thought multilingual democracy a nonsense because "the united public opinion, necessary to the working of a representative government, cannot exist."

EU languages parliamentYet, as Switzerland shows, a country can have more than one vernacular.

In theory that might work for Europe. Mr Schulz and Mr Juncker got more prime-time attention when they debated separately on French and German TV in the local tongue.

However, even the finest polyglot would struggle to reach voters in 24 official languages.

Philippe Van Parijs, a professor at Louvain University, argues that European-level democracy does not require a homogenous culture, or ethnos; a common political community, or demos, needs only a lingua franca. Was Nelson Mandela less democratic for speaking English in multi-ethnic and multilingual South Africa?

English is spreading fast, with more than 40% of young Europeans claiming to be able to speak it in some form. The answer to Europe's democratic deficit, says Mr Van Parijs, is to accelerate the process so that English is not just the language of an elite but also the means for poorer Europeans to be heard.

An approximate version of English, with a limited vocabulary of just a few hundred words, would suffice.

Yet European politics remains firmly national.

There is often a gap between the Spitzenkandidaten and the national parties they supposedly represent. The Christian Democrat, Social Democratic and Liberal Spitzenkandidaten may believe in Eurobonds, but their German colleagues do not.

Mr Schulz was told by Britain's Labour Party not to show his face there. Mr Juncker has no real ally from his European People's Party in Britain (the Tories left in 2009) and the wrong sort in Italy (Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia is waging an embarrassing anti-German campaign).

And The English Problem

The experiment with Spitzenkandidaten will probably end badly. If one of them wins, it will be seen as a power-grab by MEPs to take from elected national leaders the right to choose who runs the commission; if they all fail, the EU-wide democratic contest will look a sham.

It also poses a dilemma for the British prime minister, David Cameron. He finds all the Spitzenkandidaten unacceptably federalist (Britain vetoed Mr Verhofstadt's bid for the commission in 2004). But he cannot block anybody alone.

Several leaders, including Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, have more or less endorsed Spitzenkandidaten, and few have criticised the idea openly. If Mr Cameron is isolated and an arch-federalist is chosen, that will increase the risk that Britain may leave. How strange if Europe were to become an English-speaking union without its largest English-speaking country.

Click here to subscribe to The Economist.

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16 May 18:05

Why One Of New York's Best Instagrammers Deleted The App For Good

by Caroline Moss

In December, WNYC named Taylor Lorenz one of the 16 best New Yorkers to follow on Instagram.

The recognition was well deserved. Taylor takes beautiful photos that really capture NYC. Like this one.

Taylor Instagram

Lorenz, Head of Social Media at The Daily Mail (and disclosure, close friend of the author of this post), announced she deleted the app off her phone today:

Taylor Twitter

People were not happy to hear it.

Twitter Taylor

Lorenz explained in various tweets that it had to do with the now-defunct broad Explorer tab, which Instagram recently swapped out for a more tight-knit community feel, showing you photos your friends and friends of friends have been liking.

Business Insider reached out to Lorenz for the full explanation on why Instagram's changes forced Lorenz to clear it off her phone.

Here was what she said:

The Explore tab was basically what I loved about Instagram the most. It used to be called the "Popular page" and when Instagram was really small, you actually had a chance of getting [your photos featured] on it. Some of my favorite NYC Instagrammers had pics featured on it in the beginning, and it's basically how I found a whole community on Instagram.

As the platform began to grow, the Popular page turned into the Explore tab. And it was less about local Instagram people and more about celebrities, Russian socialites, Australian YouTubers, landscape photographers who always went crazy with editing, but it was still my primary tool to discover new people and photos.

When I would go on Instagram, I'd spend 20% of my time scrolling through my own feed of people I follow and 80% trolling the Explorer tab, finding cool photos, and awesome communities, like Cheerlebrities.

With the new update, 90% of my Explorer tab is just photos my friends have liked or commented on. It's like, they're giving you a photo from a friend of a friend that your other friend has engaged with.

It feels like the app has closed in on itself and I can't find all the random cool people/photos that I could there before. It seemed like Instagram was creating the communities for you instead of letting you find your own.

It's pointless to me. I checked out the Explorer tab for the last few weeks, and there are fewer and fewer cool things, and I got bored.

When we asked Lorenz if she thought she'd ever add the app back onto her phone, she told us she'd consider it if they developed a better discovery tool. 

"I like what Vine has done in terms of categories," she added, speaking to Twitter's 6-second video platform, "I like Vine a lot."

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14 May 14:06

An Apple Employee Admits That iPhones Often Won't Deliver Texts If You Switch To Android (AAPL)

by Jim Edwards

Apple Android

For years, Apple has said very little about persistent rumors that its iPhone text messaging system in some way discriminates against Android users, either by delivering messages to them late or not delivering them at all.

Now an Apple customer support employee has admitted to Lifehacker's Adam Pash that, in fact, "a lot" of users have this problem: If you switch from an iPhone to an Android, iMessage won't deliver texts from iPhone users to your new Android phone.

There is no fix in sight, Pash says he was told. (At Business Insider, I've had a version of this problem firsthand: My iPhone colleagues get my texts immediately; those on Android seem to get them later, up to a few minutes behind.)

The issue was raised earlier this year by The New York Times, Mashable and Fast Company. The latter went so far as to allege, "Apple is punishing you for ditching your iPhone by cutting you off from your friends, and they want to make it feel like you need to be on an Apple device to talk to the people you care about."

We spoke to Apple recently and it pointed us to this customer support page which instructs users how to turn off iMessage so that other iPhones don't continue to try to deliver messages to your disused iMessage address. The technical issue here is that iMessage is not the same as a regular mobile phone text. It's a separate, different system. Texts get "stuck" briefly or permanently inside iMessage when they're directed to someone who has switched their number to an Android phone because they're trying to find your old, inactive iMessage address.

Apple's customer support was initially useless when Pash called for help. Pash writes:

Apple Support: “Can you try deleting the contact from your new iPhone and re-adding it?”

Me: “I can’t tell everyone I know to delete and re-add me as a contact.”

Eventually, the service rep admitted there was a problem. Pash writes:

  • This is a problem a lot of people are facing.
  • The engineering team is working on it but is apparently clueless as to how to fix it.
  • There are no reliable solutions right now — for some people the standard fixes work immediately; many others are in my boat.

This is, apparently, a key admission from Apple. Previously the company had advised people to actively switch off iMessage before disposing of their old iPhone in favor of an Android. Its help page hints at how long the Android text issue lasts, too:

If you want to transfer your SIM card or phone number to a device that doesn't support iMessage

Go to Settings > Messages and turn off iMessage if you plan to transfer your SIM card or phone number from an iPhone to a device that doesn't support iMessage. If you don't, other iOS devices might continue to try to send you messages using iMessage, instead of using SMS or MMS, for up to 45 days.

We asked Apple for further comment but did not immediately get a response.

SEE ALSO: Here's A Chart That Really Does Show Android Is For Poor People

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13 May 11:36

Syrians Will Soon Make Up One-Fourth Of Lebanon [MAPS]

by Michael Kelley

Screen Shot 2014 05 13 at 6.55.36 AM

More than one million Syrians — including 520,000 children — are now living in neighboring Lebanon as a result of civil war. And the UN is still registering one person each minute.

Nine million people out of a population of 27 million have been displaced by the war, which has killed at least 150,000 people, and Lebanon has bore the brunt of the 2.5 million who fled the country.

“The influx of a million refugees would be massive in any country. For Lebanon, a small nation beset by internal difficulties, the impact is staggering,” United Nations high commissioner António Guterres said in a statement recently. Lebanon's population is about 4.4 million.

This deluge of humanity has overwhelmed Lebanon's schools and public services, strained its economy, and stoked the sectarian and political tensions that continue to fuel the war in Syria.

Here another look at Lebanon as of April 30, 2014:

Screen Shot 2014 05 13 at 7.05.49 AM

Here's a look at how fast the refugee crisis overtook Lebanon:

Syrian Refugees Lebanon

They came from areas that saw heavy fighting, i.e., all over:

Syrian Refugees Lebanon

SEE ALSO: This Is Syria's Third Largest City [PHOTOS]

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09 May 00:52

Nobel-Prize Winning Economists: The War On Drugs Is A Catastrophic 'Billion-Dollar Failure'

by Paul Szoldra

colombia drug war

Five Nobel-Prize winning economists have signed onto an academic report published Tuesday in the London School of Economics calling for an end to the "war on drugs," calling it a "global failure."

The report, titled "Ending the Drug Wars," points to a failure to stem the flow of drugs around the world in addition to other negative effects, including violence in Afghanistan and Latin America, the explosion of drug-related incarceration in the United States, and an HIV epidemic in Russia, Al Jazeera reports.

Far from winning the fight, the report says the United Nations' "one-size-fits-all approach" has instead created a $300 billion black market.

"It is time to end the 'war on drugs' and massively redirect resources towards effective evidence-based policies underpinned by rigorous economic analysis," the authors write in the forward of the report. "The pursuit of a militarized and enforcement-led global 'war on drugs' strategy has produced enormous negative outcomes and collateral damage."

Signatories include Nobel Prize winners Kenneth Arrow (1972), Christopher Pissarides (2010), Thomas Schelling (2005) Vernon Smith (2002) and Oliver Williamson (2009), as well as George Shultz, former Secretary of State under President Reagan, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and former NATO and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

Among recommendations offered to the U.S. specifically, Ernest Drucker writes that mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders should be ended and blanket amnesty should be offered for drug offenders already behind bars.

"The rapid rise in incarceration in the U.S. and several other countries ... " Drucker writes, has "impacted those imprisoned but also their families and communities."

While it does call for an end to the "war," the report does not call for legalization of all drugs — instead the authors ask for "rigorously monitored" experiments with legalization with a focus on public health and a minimization of the illegal drug trade as keys to solving the problem.

You can read the full report here >

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03 May 23:26

Here's How A Bunch Of Firemen Created A Viral Image That Ended Up Fooling The Internet

by Caroline Moss

If you spent any time on the Internet over the last few months, there's a chance you saw this photo of firemen who had found a fool-proof way to lay a hose over train tracks.

Firehose and Train Tracks 685x513

The photo went viral, being shared all over Twitter and Facebook. According to RailRoadFan.com, this "smart trick" caused a train to derail.

Railroad

Insane, right?

Not quite. The photo was actually a joke.

Firefighter Tom Bongaerts from Belgium took the photo at the beginning of April, posting it to Facebook:

train shares

The caption says something like: "Fire early this morning. Our hoses are still protected from the train!"

But that track was down that week for repairs. Those in town — presumably Tom's Facebook friends — knew that the photo was created and posted for laughs. There was no chance a train would be coming.

But soon, hundreds of people were sharing the photo on Facebook, adding their own commentary:

share gif

People who didn't know Tom or about the defunct train track began to see the photo, and, in disbelief, share the photo themselves.

After his picture was shared hundreds of times, it eventually became separated from its original source and its sarcastic caption.

Train

People believed it was real. Stories — like the one about how a train derailed — began going viral as well. 

Several days later, after tons of tweets, shares, and email forwards in lots of languages, he wrote a follow up post explaining what happened:

Train

It says:

Hey, this past week our funny photo went viral throughout the whole world. Thousands of shares and likes in many different countries!

Once and for all: The picture was taken in Belgium, in a small village called Bornem. After a minor intervention, we had some time left near the railway to make this picture. Since there were no trains running at all for a week due to maintenance works, we can state that our joke was a real success! 

A good reminder: Everything on the internet is a hoax.

[H/T Twenty Two Words]

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01 May 21:15

Microsoft’s decision to patch Windows XP is a mistake

by Peter Bright
Aurich Lawson

Microsoft officially ended support of the twelve-and-a-half-year-old Windows XP operating system a few weeks ago. Except it apparently didn't, because the company has included Windows XP in its off-cycle patch to fix an Internet Explorer zero-day that's receiving some amount of in-the-wild exploitation. The unsupported operating system is, in fact, being supported.

Explaining its actions, Microsoft says that this patch is an "exception" because of the "proximity to the end of support for Windows XP."

The decision to release this patch is a mistake, and the rationale for doing so is inadequate.

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