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Midday Open Thread: McDonalds To Release Burger-Scented Candles

Crooks and Liars - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 12:48

Hard to say which was more viral, the McDonald's line of burger scented candles, or the subsequent raunchy jokes about 'meat'-scented bedrooms and Gwynneth Paltrow's hoo ha.

Open thread below...

Categories: Politics

NOAA report shows January was the warmest ever, as Great Lakes suffer rising water and huge waves

Daily Kos - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 12:36

Past years that have had particularly warm weather in January also have one other feature in common—El Niño. The appearance of that strong Pacific current helps push temperatures up across the Americas, and brings up averages around the globe. But on Thursday NOAA published the National Climate Report for January, and it showed two remarkable things. One, as earlier estimates had already hinted, this was the warmest January ever recorded around the globe. The second thing was that this record was reached even while there was no sign of the warming El Niño.

Much of the United States has experienced a winter that is warm, but not so exceptionally warm that it seemed all that unusual. Except it was. Temperatures have averaged 3-6 degrees above average over most of the 48 contiguous states, with areas like Michigan and Minnesota seeing temperatures 10 degrees above average. And if you think it was cold in your neighborhood … you’re wrong.

Categories: Politics

Breach of MGM Hotels' Cloud Server Exposed Data on 10.6 Million People

Slashdot - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 12:34
Personal information from more than 10.6 million people was published online this week, reports ZDNet -- all from people who'd stayed at MGM Resorts hotels (which include the Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, and ARIA): Besides details for regular tourists and travelers, included in the leaked files are also personal and contact details for celebrities, tech CEOs, reporters, government officials, and employees at some of the world's largest tech companies. ZDNet verified the authenticity of the data today, together with a security researcher from Under the Breach, a soon-to-be-launched data breach monitoring service. A spokesperson for MGM Resorts confirmed the incident via email. According to our analysis, the MGM data dump that was shared today contains personal details for 10,683,188 former hotel guests. Included in the leaked files are personal details such as full names, home addresses, phone numbers, emails, and dates of birth... These users now face a higher risk of receiving spear-phishing emails, and being SIM swapped, Under the Breach told ZDNet. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, pop star Justin Bieber, and DHS and TSA officials are some of the big names Under the Breach spotted in the leaked files. While the data appears to be several years old, Irina Nesterovsky, Head of Research at threat intel firm KELA, tells ZDNet that the data has been shared in "hacking forums" since last July. MGM blames the breach on "unauthorized access to a cloud server" last summer -- pointing out that at least no credit card information was stolen, and that they notified all affected customers. But NBC News "spoke to a man with a Secret Service email address who was surprised to learn that he had been hacked. He said MGM never notified him about to breach." MGM told ZDNet that "we take our responsibility to protect guest data very seriously, and we have strengthened and enhanced the security of our network to prevent this from happening again."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Apple’s latest Shot on iPhone video highlights the iPhone 11 Pro’s Ultra Wide lens

9to5Mac - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 12:28

Apple continues to showcase the iPhone 11 Pro camera through its Shot on iPhone series of videos. In a new video today, Apple showcases the Ultra Wide camera capabilities of the device.


The post Apple’s latest Shot on iPhone video highlights the iPhone 11 Pro’s Ultra Wide lens appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Bloomberg Trolls Trump With Giant Billboard On Vegas Strip

Crooks and Liars - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 12:13

I've got to admit, "Donald Trump went broke running a casino" probably has a great deal of resonance on the Vegas Strip. And people who cheat at golf are indeed the lowest of the low.

Source: AFP

Las Vegas (AFP) - Democratic White House hopeful Michael Bloomberg mocked Donald Trump with a giant billboard on the Las Vegas Strip on Friday, fueling their feud as the US president visits the city for a rally.

"Donald Trump lost the popular vote," read one slogan on the world-famous street lined with casinos, while another read "Donald Trump's wall fell over."

The giant digital billboard is just two miles (three kilometers) down the Strip from Trump's own hotel, where the president is staying while in Las Vegas.

Bloomberg is vying for the Democratic nomination to take on Trump at November's election, and has focused his fire on the president rather than candidates from his own party.

Categories: Politics

‘AirPods X Generation’ and other unannounced products appear in Target inventory

iDownloadBlog - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 11:55

Target inventory systems are showing off unannounced Apple products, suggesting an announcement from Apple may be coming soon.
Categories: Geek

Our Lizard Brains Still Reign Supreme

Kevin Drum - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 11:45

From Alex Tabarrok, responding to a study of what patients value in a hospital:¹

I do wish that patients paid more attention to the outputs of sophisticated statistical models when choosing doctors and hospitals, as I think this would improve quality, but mostly they don’t.

Me too, Alex, me too. However, even among my pretty smart friends, I can’t get them to prioritize even a simple time-series chart over their gut feeling of what “must be true.” And even if I do make a tiny bit of headway on some subject or another, if I bring it up again a month later it turns out they’ve completely forgotten everything I said. They’re back to whatever barstool opinion they had before.

We are overclocked primates. It takes intense training to get humans to overcome the constant mutterings of their lizard brains and pay attention instead to quantitative evidence—i.e., to produce scientists—and even among scientists this training works only in a pinch. This is why elections are won by appealing to people’s emotions, not trying to change their view of the facts. We may be proud of our massive prefrontal cortexes, but they’re merely a thin veneer over the billion years of evolution that produced the rest of our brain.

¹Quiet rooms and nice nurses, it turns out.

Categories: Politics

How Artificial Shrimps Could Change the World

Slashdot - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 11:34
Singaporean company Shiok Meats aims to grow artificial shrimp to combat the negative environmental effects associated with farmed shrimp. An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from The Economist: For a long time, beef has been a target of environmentalists because of cattle farming's contribution to global warming. But what about humble shrimp and prawns? They may seem, well, shrimpy when compared with cows, but it turns out the tasty decapods are just as big an environmental problem. The issue is not so much their life cycle: shrimp (as UN statisticians refer to all commonly eaten species collectively) do not belch planet-cooking methane the way cows do. But shrimp farms tend to occupy coastal land that used to be covered in mangroves. Draining mangrove swamps to make way for aquaculture is even more harmful to the atmosphere than felling rainforest to provide pasture for cattle. A study conducted in 2017 by CIFOR, a research institute, found that in both these instances, by far the biggest contribution to the carbon footprint of the resulting beef or shrimp came from the clearing of the land. As a result, CIFOR concluded, a kilo of farmed shrimp was responsible for almost four times the greenhouse-gas emissions of a kilo of beef. Eating a surf-and-turf dinner of prawn cocktail and steak, the study warned, can be more polluting than driving across America in a petrol-fuelled car. All this has given one Singaporean company a brain wave. "Farmed shrimps are often bred in overcrowded conditions and literally swimming in sewage water. We want to disrupt that -- to empower farmers with technology that is cleaner and more efficient," says Sandhya Sriram, one of the founders of Shiok Meats. The firm aims to grow artificial shrimp, much as some Western firms are seeking to create beef without cows. The process involves propagating shrimp cells in a nutrient-rich solution. Ms Sriram likens it to a brewery, disdaining the phrase "lab-grown." Since prawn-meat has a simpler structure than beef, it should be easier to replicate in this way. Moreover, shrimp is eaten in lots of forms and textures: whole, minced, as a paste and so on. The firm is already making shrimp mince which it has tested in Chinese dumplings. It hopes the by-product of the meat-growing can be used as a flavoring for prawn crackers and instant noodles. Eventually it plans to grow curved "whole" shrimp -- without the head and shell, that is. While producing shrimp this way currently costs $5,000 a kilo, Shiok Meats thinks it can bring the price down dramatically by using less rarefied ingredients in its growing solution.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Target inventory system also includes placeholder listings for new Apple TV, iPod touch, and Apple Watch bands

9to5Mac - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 11:32

We aren’t entirely sure what to make of this just yet but Target employees are noticing some interesting listings popping up on their inventory system, seemingly tipping the hat on soon-to-be-announced Apple hardware.

In addition to the ‘AirPods X generation’, 9to5Mac received images showing that there are also dummy entries for ‘Apple TV Gen X’ and ‘Apple Watch Series X’ bands. There’s also listings for ‘Apple iPod Touch X Generation’.


The post Target inventory system also includes placeholder listings for new Apple TV, iPod touch, and Apple Watch bands appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

How far will you go to save our democracy from Donald Trump?

Daily Kos - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 10:59

Have you ever considered what happens when Donald Trump loses in November? One year ago, his former attorney Michael Cohen testified before Congress that Trump would not accept electoral defeat this upcoming election. Sadly, he’s probably right: If there’s one thing Trump has been consistent about, it’s that he narcissistically refuses to accept reality whenever it’s in any way negative toward him. This is why Trump has repeatedly, and ridiculously, insisted that he won the popular vote in 2016. In his very first meeting with Congressional leaders, he told them he won the popular vote because “3 to 5 million people voted illegally, and I’m not even counting California.”

Despite images to the contrary, Trump still refuses to accept that his sparsely attended inauguration was anything except the largest in history. Trump is so mentally incapable of admitting defeat that he literally took a Sharpie marker to an official map rather than admit he got something wrong. Most people found that hilarious, while others thought it pathetic.

I found it dangerous.

Categories: Politics

Playing to Win: Day 3

Balloon Juice - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 10:51

Note for the day:

The first Playing to Win went up on Thursday.  I am putting this up again today so the weekend people can also see it.  I find it inspiring to see what everyone is doing and it’s great to see people answering the questions that come up in these threads.  But this is for you guys, so please speak up about what you want and what works for you.

If you are interested in these posts, feel free to share your thoughts on frequency and times.  Some of the suggestions so far have been M-W-F, Tu-Th, and one or two weekdays + one weekend day.

In the meantime, people have asked for an easy way to find these threads. There is a link in the hamburger (on mobile) that will take you to the whole series, with the latest post on top.  There are links in the sidebar (on computers and tablets in landscape mode).  You can also click on the Playing to Win category that shows up just under the byline at the top of the post.  And if you’re super lazy worn out from all your work canvassing and calling and texting, you can click this link right here.

I have started compiling a list of opportunities and resources that people have shared on the threads so far, and I’ll continue to do that if you guys find that useful.  You’ll find the link to those resources on the Playing to Win page described in the paragraph above.


Let’s try Wednesday and Friday mornings, somewhere close to 9am, and Sunday afternoon.  The Sunday afternoon thread will come after the Garden Chat and before the BGinCHI guest posts on culture, which are always at 5pm.


A couple of our jackals requested a daily political “action” thread, so how about if we try it for a bit and see how that goes?  If you guys think it’s useful, we can keep it up, and if it ends up being more “seemed like a good idea at the time,” then we can let it go.

The goal is a poll-free, spin-free, prognostication-free, media-free, what’s-wrong-with-the-other-candidate-free-zone – a political thread where the focus is on ACTION:  What can be done to help our candidates, and what are we doing to help them, every day?

The hope is that this will help provide inspiration, and encourage action, as an alternative to anger, frustration and despair.

Everyone is free to chime in about what they are doing for their their preferred candidate.  What actions are we taking at Balloon Juice, individually or collectively, to help candidates we believe in?

What might you like to do, if you weren’t stuck on not quite knowing how to go from thinking about doing something to actually doing something?


·  Making calls?

·  Canvassing?

·  Writing postcards?

·  Texting for your candidate?

·  Donating?

·  Registering people to vote?

·  Giving people rides to the polls to vote?

·  Can you bring food and drinks to campaign offices in your area?

·  Are you an election judge?

·  A poll watcher?

·  Can you put together a bullet list of what you like about YOUR preferred candidate?

·  Are you available to go to a battleground state to work on a campaign, but can’t afford transportation?

·  Do you have frequent flyer miles that could buy that person a ticket to a battleground state?

·  If you live in a battleground state, could you host a volunteer who could stay at your house?

·  Do you have a great informational article about YOUR preferred candidate?  Share it!

·  If you have campaign connections, can you connect interested jackals with that campaign?

·  Are you an organizer of a postcard-writing campaign who could help other BJ peeps get started?

What else are you doing?

Tell us what actions you’ve taken today, whether it’s calling or donating or canvassing or writing postcards or talking to someone about your candidate, or anything else that’s on that list.  Or even something that isn’t!

Forget the other candidates.  Tell us what you LIKE about your candidate.

Share your worries or concerns about canvassing or other activities.  What’s holding you back?

If Playing to Win appeals to you, what else would you want to see in this space?

The post Playing to Win: Day 3 appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Categories: Politics

'Ring' Upgrades Privacy Settings After Accusations It Shares Data With Facebook and Google

Slashdot - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 10:34
Amazon's Ring doorbell cameras just added two new privacy and security features "amid rising scrutiny on the company," reports The Hill, including "a second layer of authentication by requiring users to enter a one-time code shared via email or SMS when they try to log in to see the feed from their cameras starting this week... "Until recently the company did not notify users when their accounts had been logged in to, meaning that hackers could have accessed camera feeds without owners being aware." But CBS News reports that the changes appeared "two weeks after a study showed the company shares customers' personal information with Facebook, Google and other parties without users' consent." In late January, an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) study found the company regularly shares user data with Facebook, including that of Ring users who don't have accounts on the social media platform... EFF claims the company shares a lot of other user data, including people's names, email addresses, when the doorbell app was being used, the number of devices a user has, model numbers of devices, user's unique internet addresses and more. Such information could allow third parties to know when Ring users are at home or away, and potentially target them with advertising for services based on that info... The change will let Ring users block the company from sharing most, but not all, of their data. A company spokesperson said people will be able to opt out of those sharing agreements "where applicable." The spokesperson declined to clarify what "where applicable" might mean. Evan Greer, deputy director of digital rights organization Fight for the Future, shared a skeptical response with The Hill. "No amount of security updates will change the fact that these devices are enabling a nationwide, for-profit, surveillance empire. Amazon Ring is fundamentally incompatible with democracy and human rights."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

COVID-19 continues to skyrocket in South Korea as CDC issues a sobering warning

Daily Kos - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 10:24

The total number of active COVID-19 cases around the world has dropped by over 6,000 cases in the last week. That’s unabashedly good news. Unfortunately, that reflects nothing except that health officials in China’s Hubei province have wrangled the epicenter of the outbreak to the extent that the number of recoveries is now handly outpacing the number of new cases. If that news was happening in a vacuum, it might be time to relax a bit and look toward a point, not so many months in the future, when this epidemic was genuinely under control.

But what’s happening in China is no longer the single point of concern about 2019-novel coronavirus. Until just a few days ago, it was possible to look at cases outside China and see them as a handful of cases, most of them returning travelers who had been infected in China. It was also easy to believe that health services around the world were on top of these cases. That is no longer true. With a continued explosion of cases in South Korea, an outbreak in Italy, and an unknown reservoir of disease lurking in Iran, the CDC is now warning that COVID-19 represents "a tremendous public health threat” that could become pandemic.

Categories: Politics

Unannounced ‘AirPods X Generation’ reportedly appear in Target inventory systems for $399

9to5Mac - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 10:22

Several reports have suggested that Apple is planning to release new over-ear headphones during the first half of this year, likely to complement the rest of its AirPods lineup. Now, YouTuber Jon Prosser has shared an image on Twitter claiming to show new Apple headphones in Target’s inventory system.


The post Unannounced ‘AirPods X Generation’ reportedly appear in Target inventory systems for $399 appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Our new Director of National Intelligence didn't mention he was a shill for a corrupt oligarch

Daily Kos - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 10:20

Richard Grenell, the incompetent buffoon and erstwhile Twitter troll who Donald Trump selected this week to oversee our entire National Intelligence apparatus, previously worked as a paid consultant for a corrupt Moldovan oligarch, and authored multiple articles for mainstream rightwing media outlets the either defended that oligarch or placed him in a more favorable light. According to reporting by ProPublica, he did this without telling anyone about his work for that oligarch, in potential violation of a federal anti-corruption statute.

President Donald Trump’s new acting intelligence director, Richard Grenell, used to do consulting work on behalf of an Eastern European oligarch who is now a fugitive and was recently barred from entering the U.S. under anti-corruption sanctions imposed last month by the State Department.

In 2016, Grenell wrote several articles defending the oligarch, a Moldovan politician named Vladimir Plahotniuc, but did not disclose that he was being paid, according to records and interviews. Grenell also did not register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which generally requires people to disclose work in the U.S. on behalf of foreign politicians.

For the record, FARA is the same statute that a certain federal prisoner named Paul Manafort was convicted of violating.

Categories: Politics

How to get Cydia running alongside Sileo on checkra1n

iDownloadBlog - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 10:05

You can now install Cydia alongside Sileo on your checkra1n device. In this tutorial, we show you how it’s done.
Categories: Geek

Wait, The Press Actually Thinks Barr's Going To Stand Up To Trump?

Crooks and Liars - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 10:03

Published With Permission of Press Run. Subscribe here.

Stressing that a "standoff" between Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr had "intensified" in recent days, the Beltway press spent this week whipping itself into a mini-frenzy, suggesting some sort of dramatic showdown was looming on the horizon. This is the kind of purposefully naïve news coverage that helps normalize Trump's dangerous behavior. It also propagates the myth that Republicans like Barr are actually concerned by Trump's destructive ways.

The modest public jousting between the two men this week came after Trump eviscerated the Department of Justice with lots of shouty tweets. Trump's furious that his former adviser Roger Stone is now facing more than three years in prison after being convicted of felonies in connection to the 2016 election.

read more

Categories: Politics

Trump Is Running The Government With Unqualified Temps To Keep His Quasi-Dictatorial Power

Crooks and Liars - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 10:03

Impeached president Donald Trump has replaced the former acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire with another acting truly atrocious selection who will also only be in the job as an acting DNI. That's because he is so bad and so unqualified for the job that he couldn't be confirmed even by Mitch McConnell's Republicans. That and Trump just likes to have unqualified temps who are loyal only to him running things.

A Washington Post analysis highlights the churn in Trump's administration, and the fact that there hasn't been a permanent DNI in more than six months. According to the Post, "Trump has kept acting officials in charge of top agencies and departments so much that they've accounted for 1 out of every 9 days in those positions." That means that in the 22 cabinet-level jobs there have been so many acting officials that they've served a combined 2,736 days, which amounts to seven years. That means that in three years' time, Trump "has had acting officials serve more than three times as much as did [President] Obama" did in eight years.

read more

Categories: Politics

Anderson Cooper Calls 'Bullshit' On Blagojavich's 'Alternative Universe Of Facts'

Crooks and Liars - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 09:30

Trump issued Rod Blagojevich clemency this week — one of a number of outrageous abuses of his pardoning power — in a move that many interpret as a harbinger of even more grotesque pardons to come.

Blagojevich, in turn, appeared on Anderson Cooper's show Friday evening to whine about having been treated unfairly by prosecutors, going so far as to frame it as an experience that gave him empathy with Black and Latinos who are "oversentenced" in the criminal justice system. Yeah, how many of THEM are getting presidential pardons, Blago?

Not only was Cooper not having it, he told Blagojevich he should have done something about that when he "mattered" — as in, when he was GOVERNOR of a state that was oversentencing and Black and brown people. Finally, Cooper was so disgusted, he called Blago's entire framing of his story "bullshit."

read more

Categories: Politics

Sileo Team launches Diatrus’ Cydia fork, permitting Cydia & Sileo on the same device

iDownloadBlog - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 09:09

The Sileo Team has officially met the jailbreak community in the middle, allowing checkra1n jailbreak users to have both Cydia and Sileo on the same device.
Categories: Geek