This week, of course, provided a glorious example of how technology companies have normalized being indifferent to consent: Apple ‘gifting’ each user with a U2 album downloaded into iTunes. At least one of my friends reported that he had wireless synching of his phone disabled; Apple overrode his express preferences in order to add the album to his music collection. The expected ‘surprise and delight’ was really more like ‘surprise and delete’. I suspect that the strong negative response (in some quarters, at least) had less to do with a dislike of U2 and everything to do with the album as a metonym for this widespread culture of nonconsensual behaviour in technology.
Consent-challenging approaches offer potential competitive benefits. Deceptive links capture clicks – so the linking site gets paid. Harvesting of emails through automatic opt-in aids in marketing and lead generation. While the actual corporate gain from not allowing unsubscribes is likely minimal – users who want to opt out are generally not good conversion targets – individuals and departments with quotas to meet will cheer the artificial boost to their mailing list size.
Some rivalries will never die — chocolate vs peanut butter, Yankees vs Red Sox, and iPhone vs Android, just to name a few. With the announcement of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, many Android users took to the Internet to loudly exclaim how underwhelmed they were by the devices. Its new features were things they’d already had for years, except for all the ones that weren’t, of course. Rivalries are fun, but the musings of voices on the Internet aren’t nearly as important as the voices of the buying public. And when you compare the launch numbers of various Samsung Galaxy S phones to the iPhone 6 and earlier iPhones, there’s absolutely no competition.
And still the overall market share of Android is higher. I think it’s because people who get an iPhone make a conscious choice to do so, and (most) people who get an android do so because they walk into a store and tell the sales rep they want “a phone”. They will make calls, use facebook, make a selfie, and that’s it. They never download an app unless recommended by a friend (“get snapchat!”), and just use the phone as a phone and are very happy with it.
This is the story told to me by a 14-year-old Yazidi girl I’ll call “Narin,” currently staying in northern Iraqi Kurdistan. I am a Kurdish journalist with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia who covers northern Iraq as a freelancer for several international news outlets. I heard about Narin’s tale through a Yazidi friend who knew her. Aside from translating from Kurdish and excerpting her story in collaboration with Washington Post editors, the only things I changed are all the names, at Narin’s request, to protect her and other victims from reprisal; many of her relatives are still in captivity.
Oh, Kanye. The acclaimed rapper/self-described Steve Jobs/newly minted Kardashian, who once rapped, “They tryna put me on the schoolbus with the space for the wheelchair,” halted a concert on Friday night after discovering that several audience members weren’t standing up to honor their Lord and Savior.
The setting was the Qantas Credit Union Arena in Sydney, Australia, and West reportedly announced, “I can’t do this song. I can’t do this show until everybody stand up… Unless you got a handicap pass and you get special parking and shit. ‘Imma see you if you ain’t standing up, believe me, I’m very good at that.” Then came the foot-in-mouth moment. Most of the fans got up and boogied, but soon West spotted a pair of concertgoers who’d remained in their seats, and refused to continue the show until they stood up and danced like the rest. One of those two singled-out fans raised a prosthetic limb, thereby proving that she did in fact “get special parking and shit,” to which West replied, “Okay, you fine.”
West then homed in on Fan No. 2, who was still seated. He stopped performing the tune “The Good Life” and declared, “This is the longest I’ve had to wait to do a song, it’s unbelievable.” The crowd was reportedly trying to clue Kanye in to his epic blunder, with the entire section making wheelchair signals with their arms. But to no avail. West sent his bulky bodyguard Pascal Duvier into the crowd to confirm that the seated fan was, in fact, in a wheelchair. When it was confirmed, West said, “He is in a wheelchair? It’s fine!”
Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against a man charged in the shooting death of a veteran Killeen police officer.
Marvin Louis Guy, 49, has been indicted for capital murder in the shooting death of police Detective Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie, 47, and is named in indictments charging three counts of attempted capital murder, as well.
During a hearing Thursday, Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza said he’ll seek the death penalty.
The charges stem from a shooting, which occurred as officers served a so-called no-knock search warrant just after 5:30 a.m. May 9 at 1104 Circle M Dr. Apt. 3 in Killeen.
Dinwiddie later died in the intensive care unit of Baylor Scott & White Hospital.
Denton, who was shot in the femur, underwent surgery and was later released from Scott & White.
Two other officers were hit by gunfire, but were spared injury by their protective gear.
The story carefully avoids mentioning no drugs were found. Oh, and it has a picture of MArvin – guess his race without looking.
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According to a new report from The Financial Times, Apple stands to make quite a bit of money from its payments service. Banks and payment networks will be forking over 0.15 percent of each purchase to Apple, which equates to 15 cents out of a $100 purchase.
They are also paying hard cash for the privilege of being involved: 15 cents of a $100 purchase will go to the iPhone maker, according to two people familiar with the terms of the agreement, which are not public. That is an unprecedented deal, giving Apple a share of the payments’ economics that rivals such as Google do not get for their services
According to bank executives, Apple was able to negotiate with so many partners and receive choice deals because the industry didn’t see anything threatening in Apple Pay. One executive suggested that Apple’s payment model continued to put banks “at the centre of payments.” Apple may also have been able to negotiate better deals due to the tight security it has in place for Apple Pay. Payments will be made via NFC with a one-time token, and also secured with a Touch ID fingerprint.
The mother of slain American journalist James Foley said she wasn’t necessarily surprised that the U.S. government threatened her family with prosecution should they raise money to pay her son’s ransom, but she was astounded by how such a devastating message was delivered.
“I was surprised there was so little compassion,” Diane Foley told ABC News today of the three separate warnings she said U.S. officials gave the family about the illegality of paying ransom to the terror group ISIS. “It just made me realize that these people talking to us had no idea what it was like to be the family of someone abducted… I’m sure [the U.S. official] didn’t mean it the way he said it, but we were between a rock and a hard place. We were told we could do nothing… meanwhile our son was being beaten and tortured every day.”
Earlier this week five current and former officials with direct knowledge of the Foley case confirmed the alleged threats were made.
“It was an utterly idiotic thing to do that came across as if [the U.S. official] had the compassion of an anvil,” said a former official who has advised the family.
That’s an insult to anvils everywhere.
The U.S. Department of Defense has given Northwestern State University and the University of Louisiana-Monroe police departments 12 M-16 weapons each, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The two Louisiana schools are part of a larger group of 117 college and universities that acquired military equipment from the Defense Department.
“Campus police departments have used [a federal] program to obtain military equipment as mundane as men’s trousers (Yale University) and as serious as a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle (Ohio State University),” wrote Dan Bauman for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The schools didn’t have to pay a lot for the equipment. The defense department practically gives it away. Due to the winding down of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military has a lot of surplus gear lying around, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The U.S. government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day in 2008 if it failed to comply with a broad demand to hand over user communications — a request the company believed was unconstitutional — according to court documents unsealed Thursday that illuminate how federal officials forced American tech companies to participate in the National Security Agency’s controversial PRISM program.
The documents, roughly 1,500 pages worth, outline a secret and ultimately unsuccessful legal battle by Yahoo to resist the government’s demands. The company’s loss required Yahoo to become one of the first to begin providing information to PRISM, a program that gave the NSA extensive access to records of online communications by users of Yahoo and other U.S.-based technology firms.
The ruling by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review became a key moment in the development of PRISM, helping government officials to convince other Silicon Valley companies that unprecedented data demands had been tested in the courts and found constitutionally sound. Eventually, most major U.S. tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Apple and AOL, complied. Microsoft had joined earlier, before the ruling, NSA documents have shown.
“Just two hours ago, allied air forces began an attack on military targets in Iraq and Kuwait.”
—President George H. W. Bush
January 16, 1991
“Good evening. Earlier today, I ordered America’s armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq.”
—President Bill Clinton
December 16, 1998
“My fellow citizens. At this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.”
—President George W. Bush
March 19, 2003
“My fellow Americans. Tonight, I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.”
—President Barack Obama
September 10, 2014
Every American President in the past quarter century has now gone on television during prime time to tell the nation and the world that he has decided to bomb Iraq.
Sergio Urrego, 16, killed himself after Catholic school’s administrators persecuted the teenager by making his relationship with another young man public then accused him of sexual harassment.
Sergio’s mother, Alba Reyes, has just recently opened up to the media about her son’s suicide in order to clear his name.
Reyes said her nightmare began in May when a teacher at Gimnasio Castillo Campestre school in the Colombian capital Bogotá saw a photo of Sergio kissing his boyfriend of a month and a half on his cellphone. After confiscating the phone, both boys were sent to the school psychologist.
The boyfriend was then forced by the school to tell his parents about his sexuality and was quickly withdrawn from the school.
The Catholic school refused to release Urrego’s academic results and blocked his transfer to another school. He was continuously suspended from classes, send to visit the psychologist, and accused of sexual harassment.
Unable to cope with the betrayal and harassment at the hands of school administrators, Urrego sent his friends goodbye messages and then jumped from the Titán Plaza shopping center on the morning of 4 August. He passed away three hours later at a local hospital.
Dear Catholic Leadership – actions speak louder than words, and the fact that you haven’t at the very least taken away the “Catholic” accreditation from this school leaves me no choice but to conclude you condone this shit.
His statement might alarm many people.
But Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg told DW that he and his colleagues are losing hope for Sierra Leone and Liberia, two of the countries worst hit by the recent Ebola epidemic.
“The right time to get this epidemic under control in these countries has been missed,” he said. That time was May and June. “Now it is too late.”
Schmidt-Chanasit expects the virus will “burn itself out” in this part of the world.
With other words: It will more or less infect everybody and half of the population – in total about five million people – could die.
What happened in New York 13 years ago deranged a nation that was almost begging to be deranged. The Soviet Union was gone. Grenada, Panama, the First Gulf War, the Balkans, in all these places where we made war, we had what were essentially walkover victories. We had no geopolitical enemies, no country strangling our trade, or impressing our seamen, or bombing our Pacific fleet, or pointing nuclear missiles at our cities any more. Then the planes hit the towers, and the towers came down, and we had an enemy again. We declared war on a tactic. We declared war on “terror.” The concept was so patently absurd that dozens of other absurdities naturally flowed from it, the most glaring of which was the preposterous and mendacious case made for our invasion and occupation of Iraq. We jumped at shadows, heard voices in our heads, ducked and covered and lost our minds, and there were people in positions of power who were happy to oblige us for their own political and economic benefit. Then, we elected a new president, and the new president extricated us from the occupation of Iraq, and from whatever the hell we were doing in Afghanistan, which primarily seemed to be keeping the people who live there from slaughtering each other. But the war on the tactic never ended because it cannot end. You cannot defeat “terror,” because it has too many allies, some of them in your own government. It is embedded in the political culture now as deeply as the Cold War ever was — and that is not an accident, either. War against someone, war against something, somewhere, anywhere, is one of the last unifying elements in a country that was encouraged by both its declared antagonists, and by far too many people within its own government, to become deranged
But the point here is that yesterday Apple launched the most significant innovation in payments since the credit card itself. Few people have noticed and that includes the market that took Apple stock on its traditional, post-announcement, plunge.