Shared posts

18 Sep 12:43

TikTok and WeChat will be banned from US app stores on Sunday

by Steve Dent

TikTok and WeChat will be banned from US app stores starting on Sunday, September 20th, the US Department of Commerce (DoC) has announced. The Chinese-owned apps from Tencent and ByteDance will not only be banned from the iOS App Store and Google’s Play Store on Sunday, but companies will be barred from hosting them in the US starting on November 12th.

The move was taken “at the President’s direction,” according to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “Today’s actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party,” he said in a statement. “The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the US.”

The app ban has come despite a possible partnership between Oracle and ByteDance. Yesterday, Trump said that he didn’t like that deal, according to Bloomberg, while adding that he was “not prepared to sign off on anything.”

The DoC’s wording makes clear that it wants the apps to disappear in the US. It has not only banned the apps, code and updates, but any payments associated with WeChat. By November 12th, it will also prohibit:

Any provision of internet hosting services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the U.S.;

Any provision of content delivery network services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the U.S.;

Any provision directly contracted or arranged internet transit or peering services enabling the function or optimization of the mobile application within the U.S.;

Any utilization of the mobile application’s constituent code, functions, or services in the functioning of software or services developed and/or accessible within the U.S.

All of that means that the White House is trying to leave no loopholes that would allow access to the app. And since it dropped the news on Friday, with the ban going effect Sunday, ByteDance and its partners will have little to no time to attempt to delay or reverse the decision. It will also force hosting services to react quickly to remove the app, given the November 12th deadline.

TikTok has 100 million users in the US, while WeChat has 19 million daily active users, according to Reuters. The order doesn’t prevent companies from hosting WeChat and TikTok outside the US, not does it affect other Tencent games and apps.

“We disagree with the decision from the Commerce Department, and are disappointed that it stands to block new app downloads from Sunday and ban use of the TikTok app in the US from November 12,” a TikTok spokesperson explained to Engadget. “Our community of 100 million US users love TikTok because it's a home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection, and we’re committed to protecting their privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform.”

The spokesperson also detailed what the company has done in an effort to appease the White House.

“In our proposal to the US Administration, we've already committed to unprecedented levels of additional transparency and accountability well beyond what other apps are willing to do, including third-party audits, verification of code security, and US government oversight of US data security,” the spokesperson said. “Further, an American technology provider would be responsible for maintaining and operating the TikTok network in the US, which would include all services and data serving US consumers. We will continue to challenge the unjust executive order, which was enacted without due process and threatens to deprive the American people and small businesses across the US of a significant platform for both a voice and livelihoods."

Update 10:48AM ET: This post has been updated with a statement from TikTok. It has also been updated to make clear that US companies will be barred from hosting TikTok and WeChat starting on November 12th.

18 Sep 11:42

Distance, Heart, Fondness

this is a diesel sweeties comic strip

We should do an emotionally distant hang!

17 Sep 22:52

Sally Brings 'Widespread' Flash Floods To Inland Areas After Causing Havoc On Coast

by Bill Chappell
An aerial photo shows mass flooding in West Pensacola near the Bayou Grove and Mulworth neighborhoods in Florida. The area was hit hard by Hurricane Sally, which continues to cause flooding threats.

"Widespread flash flooding and minor to moderate river flooding is likely" in parts of Georgia and South Carolina, forecasters say. A new potential storm is also being tracked in the Gulf of Mexico.

(Image credit: Bryan Tarnowski /for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

17 Sep 22:46

What’s The Chance That Trump Loses The Popular Vote But Wins The Election Again?

by Nathaniel Rakich

Motion Graphics by Michael Tabb

Elections analyst Nathaniel Rakich takes a look at our presidential forecast and asks what weird (and not-so-weird) scenarios could shake out in the 2020 election.

17 Sep 22:39


by Cassandra Calin

Is this episode a cop-out strategy? Potentially. Perhaps.

17 Sep 22:38

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Dream


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Eventually the wolf just loses interest.

Today's News:
17 Sep 14:12

After The Plague

The Black Death was one of the worst catastrophes to ever hit humanity. But it also helped upend feudal hierarchies, redistribute wealth, and make daily life better for a lot of medieval Europeans.
17 Sep 13:12

The list of retracted COVID-19 papers is up to 33

by Adam Marcus
To the list of COVID-19 papers that have been retracted so far, add this:  The Korean Journal of Anesthesiology has retracted an article it published last month on ventilating COVID patients because it was nearly identical to one that had appeared in a different journal three months earlier.  The offending article, “Noninvasive versus invasive ventilation: … Continue reading The list of retracted COVID-19 papers is up to 33
17 Sep 13:00

Barr Blasts His Own Prosecutors: 'All Power Is Vested In The Attorney General'

by Carrie Johnson
U.S. Attorney General William Barr, seen here in Phoenix on Sept. 10, called his colleagues at the Justice Department a "permanent bureaucracy" in a speech Wednesday.

In remarks Wednesday, the attorney general also said restrictions imposed during the coronavirus are "the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history" since slavery.

(Image credit: Bob Christie/AP)

17 Sep 03:59

I’m Moving to Ohio!

by Brian Herzog

I don't know if anyone still has this blog in their feeds, but this news seemed post-worthy: I was recently hired to be the Assistant Director of the Tuscarawas County Public Library in Ohio!

Of course, it's mixed news. I've been at the Chelmsford Library in Massachusetts for 15 years, and it's a great place to be. When I became Assistant Director here about four years ago, I pretty much stopped blogging because most of what I did involved confidential staff or patron interactions, or far less interesting (to read about) vendor and contractor interactions. Still busy, just not with funny reference questions.

The new position will be similar to what I've been doing, but for a county system instead of a medium-sized town library. I'm really looking forward to it. The other bonus is that I'll be just a couple hours from my family, instead of eleven hours.

My last day in Chelmsford is October 2nd, and first day in Tuscarawas is November 2nd. In between, I need to pack up, move to Ohio, find a new place to live, etc. Should be fun.

If anyone is interested in working at Chelmsford, the job is posted on the MBLC job board. It really is a great job.

17 Sep 03:57

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Genie


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I'm always surprised genie movies aren't just 2 hours of working over possible loopholes.

Today's News:
17 Sep 03:54

'I Trust Vaccines. I Trust Scientists. But I Don't Trust Donald Trump,' Biden Says

by Sam Gringlas
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks about coronavirus vaccines after a briefing with public health experts in Wilmington, Del., on Wednesday.

In remarks, Joe Biden details his plan to distribute a vaccine for the coronavirus, which he said must be based solely on science.

(Image credit: Patrick Semansky/AP)

16 Sep 12:58

Springer Nature journal takes eight months to retract paper after US government misconduct finding

by Adam Marcus
A Springer Nature journal waited eight months to retract a paper flagged by the Office of Research Integrity for containing fabricated data — a delay the publisher blames on “staff changes and human error.” The 2014 article in Neuropsychopharmacology by Alexander Neumeister included “falsified and/or fabricated research methods and results,” according to the findings of … Continue reading Springer Nature journal takes eight months to retract paper after US government misconduct finding
16 Sep 12:57

Comic for 2020.09.16

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic
15 Sep 17:32

S.D.'s Attorney General Fatally Strikes Man With Car, Says He Thought He Hit A Deer

by Brakkton Booker
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg speaks in Sioux Falls, S.D., in February 2014. Ravnsborg struck and killed a pedestrian Saturday night.

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg struck and killed a 55-year-old man on a rural stretch of road Saturday night. State authorities are investigating.

(Image credit: Dirk Lammers/AP)

15 Sep 09:06

Comic for 2020.09.15

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic
15 Sep 09:04


by (JerryMaguire)
15 Sep 01:22

Comic for 2020.09.13

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic
15 Sep 01:22

Comic for 2020.09.14

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic
14 Sep 23:10

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Love


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The good news is comics are also fake.

Today's News:
14 Sep 23:09

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Phosphine


Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Also known as VD for Venereans Detected!

Today's News:
14 Sep 23:09

Social Calibration Is So 2019

this is a diesel sweeties comic strip

There's one sure-fire way to make the world less depressing, and that's to fully reject objective reality.

14 Sep 20:53

Evidence of Alien Life

Both too cautious AND not cautious enough: "I'm skeptical that those are aliens, so I'm going to try pulling off their masks."
14 Sep 20:52

The Wise Man on the Mountain

Description: a man is climbing a mountain, he reaches a wise man at the top.

Man: \
14 Sep 20:44

Awkward Zombie - Study Aid


New comic!

Today's News:

If you wanted to live, you should have hired a tutor.

14 Sep 02:10

Oregon Officials Warn False Antifa Rumors Waste Precious Resources For Fires

by Conrad Wilson
Oregon firefighters put out embers in Mill City, Ore., on Sept. 10, 2020, as they battle the Santiam Fire. As fires ravage the Pacific Northwest, fear and rumors have taken hold on social media.

Despite rumors circulating on social media, law enforcement officials say they have seen no evidence of people affiliated with antifa or other political groups starting fires.

(Image credit: Kathryn Elsesser/AFP via Getty Images)

13 Sep 13:41

The Texanist: Do Texans Have a Beef With Alberta, Canada?

by David Courtney
texanistQ: Hi! My husband and I are contemplating a move to Texas, maybe just outside of San Antonio. Our plan was to buy some land and start a business there when we retired, but, well, I’ve been hearing some rather disconcerting things about the attitude toward Albertans from native Texans and it really breaks my heart. I’ve heard that Albertans are not being welcomed and are in fact being given the cold shoulder when they decide to visit. Out of all the regions in Canada, northern Alberta is most like Texas in both attitude and friendliness, which is why we chose Texas as our retirement state of choice. Is what I’m hearing true or are these perhaps just nasty rumors? Chris S., Whitecourt, Alberta, Canada…View Original Post

The post The Texanist: Do Texans Have a Beef With Alberta, Canada? appeared first on Texas Monthly.

12 Sep 18:52

Space startup Astra's first orbital rocket launch ends prematurely

by Jon Fingas

The relatively small private rocket industry just got a little larger, if not quite in the way its new entrant hoped. The American startup Astra conducted a brief first orbital launch attempt (via TechCrunch) late on September 11th, with a successful liftoff but quickly losing its Rocket 3.1 test machine during the first-stage engine burn. The guidance system induced “slight oscillation,” Astra said, leading the team to cut the engines during the first-stage burn.

The result was somewhat dramatic, as you can see in the video from Jennifer Culton below. The rocket slammed into the ground not very far from its launchpad near Kodiak, Alaska.

Astra stressed that it didn’t expect to reach orbit with its first rocket. It anticipated three flights before reaching that milestone. The mission still ended sooner than expected, though, and the company positioned the premature end as a chance to collect “valuable experience” and flight data. It remained confident that could can reach orbit as planned.

The follow-up Rocket 3.2 vehicle is already complete, and you should see a launch sometime after Astra spends “several weeks” poring over flight data.

The Alameda-based firm is effectively a competitor to Rocket Lab, with a similar goal of launching payloads into orbit at less cost than usual. To some extent, it’s already successful — Rocket 3.1 took off with a launch system deployed by just six people in under a week. While that won’t necessarily be true of future launches, it shows that you don’t always need extensive ground crews.

12 Sep 16:08

In Tuscany, Renaissance-Era Wine Windows Are Made For Social Distancing

by Sylvia Poggioli
A girl walks past a buchetta del vino, a small window to serve wine, typical in Florence.

Tuscany's wine windows, each 12 inches high and 8 inches wide, were indispensable during a 17th century plague. They've became useful again during the coronavirus pandemic — even after lockdown ended.

(Image credit: Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images)

12 Sep 15:59

Weekend reads: Questions about Russian COVID-19 vaccine data; a p-value pledge; why one author removed her name from a paper

by Ivan Oransky
Before we present this week’s Weekend Reads, a question: Do you enjoy our weekly roundup? If so, we could really use your help. Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work? Thanks in advance. The week at Retraction Watch featured: An Elsevier book chapter that claims COVID-19 came from space; … Continue reading Weekend reads: Questions about Russian COVID-19 vaccine data; a p-value pledge; why one author removed her name from a paper