science
Astrophysicist Gets Magnets Stuck in His Nose While Trying to Invent Face-Touching Alarm

Men on the forefront of scientific discovery do not fear risking life and limb, be it drinking the vomit of a sick man or dosing themselves with LSD. One astrophysicist followed in their footsteps in the name of covid-19 health research and ended up with magnets up his nose, at risk of a horrifying and violent death. He is okay. Read More >>

covid 19
U.S. Coronavirus Cases Now Highest in the World

The United States now leads the world in the number of confirmed cases of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus now devastating the globe. Read More >>

history
Reddit’s Imaginary Maps Show Us It Could Always Be Worse

We’ve all mapped out some mental image of the world we live in, and it’s not great. Whatever our doomscape looks like, though, we can probably agree that it still beats a medieval patchwork of theocratic states after an unspecified Event, a zombie-colonised Britain, and a Pacific Northwest after the US state of Oregon has fallen into the sea. Read More >>

coronavirus
Everything In Its Place: The Internet Is Diagramming Our Anxiety

Memes’ basic function is to identify where we stand in relation to the world, and according to the largest-followed meme accounts, a significant portion of the population is currently relating to quarantine fatigue in the six faces of Kanye, Khaleesi smoking a cigarette, cats hanging out windows, a shopping cart full of wine, and Ben Affleck. That’s the “ME RN” crowd, and we talked about them last week. But another contingent dissects anxiety and maps out our isolation-rattled psyche with quieter reflection. This is what artful cartographers and illustrators do best, and mass solitude has added new dimensions to existing oeuvres charting solitude and anxiety, with contemplation on the new trappings of the fortunate (canned goods, roommates, health), or on the absurdity of trying to make sense of it all. Read More >>

gaming
Don’t Build a Game in Dreams Just Yet

Creators who took a chance on Dreams, the new PlayStation platform which provides the tools for the time-consuming labour of constructing a video game, have long been asking when they’ll be able to take their work off of Dreams and, say, sell it. The answer is: not anytime soon. Read More >>

youtube
YouTube Decides to Allow Some Creators to Monetise Coronavirus Content

NewsTubers, rejoice: YouTube has reversed course and decided to allow select creators to monetise coronavirus content. Previously, any video mentioning the word had their ads removed, per YouTube’s “sensitive content” policy which categorised the coronavirus as a global health crisis (in league with natural disasters, tragic events, and terrorist acts). The move infuriated creators who argued that the decision to demonetise the topic would lead to a chilling effect. Tech reviewer Linus Sebastian, for example, managed to dodge the algorithm in a video about the coronavirus’s impact on manufacturing by flashing “coronavirus” headlines and alluding to “events” in China. While Linus Tech Tips talks about tech, you can imagine this would ding an independent news commentator. Read More >>

robots
Arnold Schwarzenegger Sues Creator of Nightmarish Robot Lookalike for £7.8 Million, and Wouldn’t You?

The Russian robotics company Promobot – makers of the touchscreen coronavirus robot – piqued horrified curiosity at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show with an animatronic Terminator-era Arnold Schwarzenegger. Rat king in form, robot slave in function, Promobot promises that “‘Arnold Schwarzenegger’ will meet your guests, turn on the light and turn the kettle on.” (It will not do these things manually, since it doesn’t have arms; it is more like a twitchy reanimated head that’s been equipped with a voice assistant and a tablet.) According to Input magazine, Promobot was marketing its victim for $25,000 (£19,385). Read More >>

youtube
YouTube Demonetises ‘Coronavirus’, Prompting Creators to Tiptoe Around Certain Recent Events

YouTube creators from gaming commentators to Perez Hilton have been raising hell over the past month after realising that the platform is demonetising any content mentioning the coronavirus. Read More >>

surveillance
Swiss Government Files Criminal Complaint Over CIA’s Decades-Long Global Encryption Racket

As US senators and tech companies scream their fears of Chinese spyware (TikTok) and state-funded telecoms (Huawei) from the rooftops, the US is being called to face up to its own penchant for planetary surveillance. Announced Sunday, a Swiss government agency has filed a criminal complaint against US and German intelligence entities for pushing spyware on over 120 other countries. This follows a joint investigation by the Washington Post, German public broadcaster ZDF, and Swiss broadcaster SRF, which revealed that the CIA and the German intelligence agency BDN had been selling encryption devices through a Swiss company Crypto AG for half a century, with “rigged systems” for less friendly countries. Read More >>

cryptocurrency
Steven Seagal to Pay Over £256,000 to the US Securities and Exchange Commission for Promoting Bitcoiin. Yes, Bitcoiin

Zen master goblin Steven Seagal, last seen promoting a straight-to-DVD action flick for fans such as Vladimir Putin – and also in sexual abuse allegations – has agreed to pay the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) a total of $330,448.76 (£256,395.19) for failing to disclose the details of his financial relationship with the intriguingly-named cryptocurrency “Bitcoiin2Gen.” Some called it a pyramid scheme. Some called it a fraud. According to the SEC, Seagal called it a don’t-miss opportunity, leading up to B2G’s initial coin offering (ICO). Incidentally, as he encouraged followers to get in on B2G, he neglected to mention to the SEC that he was promised $250,000 (£194,000) in cash and $750,000 (£582,000) worth of coiin. Read More >>

apple
Apple Might Let You Change Your Default Apps, Other Giants Could Finally Get a Fair Shake

Potentially yielding some bitterly-contested ground, Apple is thinking about allowing its users to replace their default essential apps like Safari, Mail, and Apple Music with third-party apps, Bloomberg reports. [Muted golf clap.] This comes less than a year after the US Supreme Court paved the way for app-related antitrust lawsuits, ruling that iPhone users in America could sue Apple for using its App Store monopoly to drive up prices with its 30 per cent commission on sales. Read More >>

technology
Inside the Bowling Alley’s Mechanical Heart With the Guy Who Keeps It Beating

The narrow hallway behind the bowling lanes looks like a miniature factory, rows of well-oiled pipes and pulleys facing boxes and boxes of jewellery-sized parts. On a freezing January evening, the machinery’s caretaker moves down the line with a clipboard, taking his monthly inventory of backup parts. Read More >>

patreon
Patreon is Putting Up Money for Projects Now, But it Expects a Return

Patreon, the beloved subscription platform whose independent media creators would really like it to stay the course, is following what seems to be the inevitable trajectory of online payment processors and giving out small loans – in this case, cash advances for upcoming projects. This may be getting into hairy don’t-mix-friends-with-business territory for a company which is built on goodwill (namely, a relatively liberal 90 per cent payout of all revenues to creators). But, as Patreon business owners know, everybody needs to get paid, and Patreon is a business. Read More >>

scams
Influencer Offering ‘Legal’ Money in Insta Stories Arrested for Not-So-Legal £1.15 Million Scam

A 22-year-old YouTuber and Instagram personality in the US advertising “legal” money for “serious ppl only” with “no scams!” turned out to be a scammer, allegedly. Nothing is real. Read More >>

privacy
Social Media Post Mocking a Dementia Patient Doesn’t Violate Patient Privacy Law, Court Rules

A nurse’s aide is legally in the clear after posting a hatefully-captioned photo of an Alzheimer’s patient at a nursing home. After the patient’s husband William Furlow sued for personal injury, the State of Minnesota Court of Appeals in the U.S. has ruled that posting an image of a patient does not qualify as sharing private health records. The selfie, taken in a mirror with the patient in the background, announces: “This little shit just pulled the fire alarm and now I had to call 911!!! Woohoo". Read More >>