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Donald Trump Can’t Even Pardon a Damn Turkey Without Mentioning Barack Obama

Posted on November 22nd, 2017 at 14:44 by John Sinteur in category: News


As many of you know, I have been very active in overturning a number of executive actions by my predecessor. However, I have been informed by the White House counsel’s office that Tater and Tot’s pardons cannot, under any circumstances, be revoked.

I recognize that there’s, like a 90 percent chance that this particular reference is a joke, even if Donald Trump’s obsession with Barack Obama is 100 percent real. In any event, it’s great fun to imagine how that dialogue might have played out.

DONALD TRUMP [excitedly rushing into office]: Hey! Hey, Don!
DON McGAHN [startled]: Uh, what’s going on, boss?
TRUMP: Can I revoke He Who Shall Not Be Named’s pardons of the last two turkeys?
McGAHN: [laughs politely]
TRUMP [frowning]: What? What’s funny?
McGAHN [blushing]: Oh, uh… Wait, are you serious?
TRUMP [growing visibly annoyed]: Why would I joke about something like that?
McGAHN [sweating a little]: Sir, respectfully, I don’t know if you’ve been following the news lately, but our legal team here is kind of busy with some very important stuff right now!

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Google collects Android users’ locations even when location services are disabled

Posted on November 22nd, 2017 at 14:38 by John Sinteur in category: News


Many people realize that smartphones track their locations. But what if you actively turn off location services, haven’t used any apps, and haven’t even inserted a carrier SIM card?

Even if you take all of those precautions, phones running Android software gather data about your location and send it back to Google when they’re connected to the internet, a Quartz investigation has revealed.

Since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers—even when location services are disabled—and sending that data back to Google. The result is that Google, the unit of Alphabet behind Android, has access to data about individuals’ locations and their movements that go far beyond a reasonable consumer expectation of privacy.

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UTF8 domains

Posted on November 22nd, 2017 at 13:46 by John Sinteur in category: News

It’s crazy that `example.com⧸foo.zip` is a valid domain (punycode `example.xn--comfoo-kx4d.zip`)

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How a half-educated tech elite delivered us into chaos

Posted on November 22nd, 2017 at 0:02 by John Sinteur in category: News


One of the biggest puzzles about our current predicament with fake news and the weaponisation of social media is why the folks who built this technology are so taken aback by what has happened. Exhibit A is the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, whose political education I recently chronicled. But he’s not alone. In fact I’d say he is quite representative of many of the biggest movers and shakers in the tech world. We have a burgeoning genre of “OMG, what have we done?” angst coming from former Facebook and Google employees who have begun to realise that the cool stuff they worked on might have had, well, antisocial consequences.

Put simply, what Google and Facebook have built is a pair of amazingly sophisticated, computer-driven engines for extracting users’ personal information and data trails, refining them for sale to advertisers in high-speed data-trading auctions that are entirely unregulated and opaque to everyone except the companies themselves.

The purpose of this infrastructure was to enable companies to target people with carefully customised commercial messages and, as far as we know, they are pretty good at that. (Though some advertisers are beginning to wonder if these systems are quite as good as Google and Facebook claim.) And in doing this, Zuckerberg, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and co wrote themselves licences to print money and build insanely profitable companies.

It never seems to have occurred to them that their advertising engines could also be used to deliver precisely targeted ideological and political messages to voters. Hence the obvious question: how could such smart people be so stupid?

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