Saturday, December 2, 2017

Your digital privacy rights will be redefined by this Supreme Court case
The FBI arrested the man, Timothy Carpenter, largely based on location data from his cell phone that put him within two miles of the crimes. While those records pieced together an exhaustive picture of Carpenter’s every move over nearly half a year, the feds didn’t need a warrant to obtain them because of a legal theory related to the Fourth Amendment known as the “third-party doctrine.” 
When Carpenter voluntarily turned his cell phone data over to a third party — in this case a cell-phone service provider — he lost any “reasonable expectation of privacy,” the theory goes. And the third-party doctrine doesn’t just apply to cell phone data, but private images, healthcare information, and in some circumstances, even phone calls.

Sunday, October 1, 2017


Shipping containers are flood- and fireproof, making them a great home-building material. Ranging in length from 20 to 30 feet, shipping containers are typically only used for 10 to 15 years, but they can last much longer. It is estimated that there are 24 million empty shipping containers in the world that will not be used for cargo again.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Facebook’s racist ad problems were baked in from the start

ProPublica discovered last Thursday that Facebook’s ad tools could target racists and anti-Semites using the very information those users self-report. That initial report kicked off a series of experiments conducted by news organizations that found that Google’s search engine would not only let you place ads next to search results for hateful rhetoric, but its automated processes would even suggest similar, equally hateful search terms to sell ads against. Twitter was also caught up in the controversy, when its filtering mechanisms failed to prevent ads from targeting “Nazi” and the n-word, an issue the company inexplicably attributed to “a bug we have now fixed.” This week, Instagram converted a journalist’s post about a violent threat she received into an ad that it then served to the journalist’s contacts.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Ton of Scifi Books Are Coming to TV, Including Kurt Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan

Universal has just announced a slate of new genre TV shows, including three new adaptations of fantasy and scifi books. But hidden among those are the first details about Dan Harmon and Evan Katz’s next TV series: Sirens of Titan, an interplanetary epic based on the Kurt Vonnegut novel.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The DIY Girls: How 12 teens invented a solar-powered tent for the homeless

That was the starting point for their invention: a solar-powered tent that folds up into a rollaway backpack. The girls and 10 others from their high school had never done any hands-on engineering work before, but with the help of YouTube, Google, and trial-and-error, they got it done. They hope that one day, their tent will improve the lives of people experiencing homelessness in their community. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Delivery By Drones Instead of Trucks Will Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Delivering packages with drones can reduce carbon dioxide emissions in certain circumstances as compared to truck deliveries, says a new study. Drones tend to have carbon dioxide emissions advantage over trucks when the drones do not have to fly very far to their destinations or when a delivery route has few recipients, said the study to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Transportation Research Part D.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Los Angeles Says It'll Stay In The Paris Climate Agreement It Isn't In

Not because of the sentiment. Climate change presents a real danger to humanity, and it’ll hit the humans who live near oceans first. Los Angeles, where Eric Garcetti is mayor, has a population of over 10 million people, a quarter of California’s humans, and the busiest port in the United States. Sea level rise and pollution matter there.
And it’s not weird because Garcetti was wrong about the politics. President Trump has, as you’ve no doubt read, expressed doubt in the reality of climate change (he’s wrongabout that) and threatened to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement (he could, but it wouldn’t be simple) signed by 200 countries in 2015.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Norwegian publication is adding subscribers like crazy

One of the problems that we face in a new millennium is how to support good journalism. While trying to work out the kinks of digital subscriptions, most online news outlets have had to rely solely on ad revenue.
The problem is that it doesn’t fill the gap left by subscribers and can lead to clickbaity and shoddily written articles. However, there’s still hope.
NiemanLab reported on the success of Norway’s largest local news publisher, Amedia. The company owns 62 local and regional outlets across Norway and has shown promising results in getting people to pay for digital content.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Conversation About Digital Copyright Reform

The European Union is in the process of reforming copyright laws that date back to 2001, as part of a wider strategy to establish a Digital Single Market across the 28 Member States of the bloc, aiming to break down regional barriers to e-commerce.
Earlier this year an agreement was reached on ending geoblocks on travelers’ digital subscriptions by 2018. And EU consumers are set to say adios to mobile roaming fees from this June. So far, so good, you could say.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A VPN can protect your online privacy. But there's a catch.

Your internet service provider can sell your browsing history to the highest bidder.
That's the creepy truth internet users in the US woke up to on Wednesday morning. And it's spurring them to check out tools that can hide their browsing histories and disguise their internet traffic.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Wake Mode Convinced My Child to Go to Bed

iOS/Android: If you didn’t sleep well last night, you’ll be tired today. Duh, right? Wake Mode shows your tiredness as a battery level for your body. For you and me, that’s a cute gimmick. For my seven-year-old, it was a compelling argument for actually going to sleep.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Uber CEO argues with a driver over dropping income

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick hasn't been earning many brownie points with the public lately, and that trend isn't about to stop any time soon. Bloomberg has obtained video of the hard-driving executive getting into an argument with long-serving Uber Black driver Fawzi Kamel over dropping ridesharing fares. When Kamel complains that the overall price is going down and ruining his finances, Kalanick defends cuts as necessary to fend off rivals like Lyft. He disputes that prices on Black in particular are dropping, and quickly gets mad -- he claims that people like like Kamel "don't like to take responsibility for their own shit" and are trying to blame others for their own problems.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Why the Mac is infiltrating the enterprise

Traditionally, the Mac has made up an extremely small sliver of corporate PC purchases, but over the last few quarters, more and more of them have been incorporated into the workplace. And on the heels of this trend was an announcement from the analysts over at Forrester last month: Businesses should start buying Macs for their employees. Or at any rate, they should at least start allowing employees to bring one, even if it’s their own, to work. Specifically, Forrester called the “prohibition” against Apple desktops and laptops on corporate networks outdated and said it needed to be “repealed.” The company’s suggestion was somewhat shocking because of who it was coming from — but not shocking to those who have followed Apple over the years.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Google paces pack in autonomous car race, says California regulator

Alphabet’s self-driving division, Waymo, is far ahead of the competition in the autonomous car race, according to data released by regulators in California. Compared to other autonomous car systems, Waymo’s is more accurate, requires less human intervention (0.2 times per thousand miles) and has logged 30 times more autonomous miles than all competitors combined.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

We Might Live In A Computer Program, But It May Not Matter

These used to be questions that only philosophers worried about. Scientists just got on with figuring out how the world is, and why. But some of the current best guesses about how the world is seem to leave the question hanging over science too.
Several physicists, cosmologists and technologists are now happy to entertain the idea that we are all living inside a gigantic computer simulation, experiencing a Matrix-style virtual world that we mistakenly think is real.