The internet's edge routers are all so different. What if we unified them with software?

The Register - Fri, 08/26/2022 - 03:32
Wouldn't it be nice to have the features you want, rather than accept whatever's bundled by suppliers

Systems Approach  Edge routers have been an essential part of the internet for decades, connecting access networks – enterprise LANs, mobile and broadband networks – to the global backbone.…

Categories: Tech News

Audi will build F1 engines, entering the sport in 2026

ARS Technica - Fri, 08/26/2022 - 03:00
Rear half of Audi F1 show car

Enlarge / In a subtle troll at its rival, Audi says this will be the first F1 engine built in Germany for more than a decade. (credit: Audi)

Audi will race in Formula 1 in 2026 with engines built at its Audi Sport factory in Neustadt, Germany. After years of rumors, Friday's announcement was not entirely unexpected; in May then-volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess confirmed it would enter the sport in four years when the next set of engine regulations come into effect.

VW Group will actually fund two F1 programs, one with Audi and second with Porsche, which is in the process of acquiring a 50-percent stake in Red Bull Technologies. The Porsche announcement was supposed to take place at Red Bull's home race in Austria in July, but the sport only ratified the 2026 engine rules in mid-August.

That deal may still need some i's dotted and t's crossed, but with the new rules now confirmed, Audi has taken the opportunity of this week's Belgian Grand Prix to reveal its show car, and to formally launch its F1 effort.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Categories: Tech News

Doctor gave patients the wrong test results due to 'printer problems'

The Register - Fri, 08/26/2022 - 02:31
The diagnosis? Ignorance is bliss, but educating users is hell

On Call  If it's Friday – and we have no reason to believe it is not – then it must be time for another instalment of On-Call, The Register's weekly tale of techies who rise above the trivial troubles that colleagues demand be addressed with undue haste.…

Categories: Tech News

Police Just Made Australia’s ‘Largest Ever Meth Seizure’

Motherboard (Vice) - Fri, 08/26/2022 - 00:11

More than 1.8 tonnes of methylamphetamine has been intercepted at the Australian border, in what police are calling the nation’s largest ever seizure of the drug. 

The first shipment was detected in July, after border force officers examined a number of sea cargo containers that had arrived in Sydney’s Port Botany from the United Arab Emirates and found, hidden within palettes of marble stone slabs, 748 kilograms of meth. The second shipment was seized last week, after officers conducted further inspections of containers that had arrived at Port Botany and uncovered an additional 1,060 kilograms of the illicit substance, smuggled using the same marble stone method.

The collective street value of the drugs is estimated to be more than $1.1 billion USD.

Following the initial seizure, officers executed search warrants across Sydney’s western suburbs last week and arrested and charged three men aged 24, 26, and 34. While no charges have been laid in relation to the second seizure, which was announced by New South Wales Police on Friday, Detective Chief Superintendent John Watson said authorities were continuing to investigate the activities of the syndicate behind the smuggling operations. Further arrests, he added, were not being ruled out.

“We will allege this syndicate was extremely well connected in several corners of the globe,” Watson said in a statement. “The audacity of these individuals to think they could import such vast quantities of harmful drugs into Australia is astounding. Let’s be clear: this is the largest seizure of methylamphetamine at the Australian border and therefore a massive blow to organised criminals.”

NSW Police also announced a separate drug seizure on Friday, after officers discovered 161 kilograms of methylamphetamine and 30 kilograms of cocaine behind the headlights of a vintage Bentley. X-rays identified anomalies inside the Bentley S2, which was shipped into Port Botany from Canada. Three men, aged 20, 23, and 25, were arrested in relation to the incident.

Follow Gavin Butler on Twitter.

Categories: Tech News

Forget 5G wireless, SpaceX and T-Mobile want to offer Zero-G coverage

ARS Technica - Thu, 08/25/2022 - 20:40
T-Mobile's Mike Sievert and SpaceX's Elon Musk appear on stage at Starbase Thursday evening.

Enlarge / T-Mobile's Mike Sievert and SpaceX's Elon Musk appear on stage at Starbase Thursday evening.

BOCA CHICA, Texas—SpaceX and T-Mobile announced an ambitious plan on Thursday evening to provide ubiquitous connectivity to anyone with a cell phone from space.

The project would pair SpaceX's Starlink satellite technology with the second largest wireless carrier in the United States, T-Mobile US, and its mid-band spectrum, mobile network, and large customer base.

Delivering space-to-ground internet to mobile phones will require SpaceX to finalize development of its second generation of Starlink satellites. These will be significantly larger than the current ones, which have a mass of about 295 kg. SpaceX founder and chief engineer Elon Musk said project could enter "beta service" before the end of 2023.

Read 20 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Categories: Tech News

Google Maps, search results to point women to actual abortion providers

The Register - Thu, 08/25/2022 - 17:25
And not the fake ones that just try to change their minds

Google search results and Maps will clearly label healthcare clinics that provide abortion services, reducing the chances that women in crisis will be misdirected to "clinics" that don't in fact offer healthcare.…

Categories: Tech News

Google says there's no Waze forward, carpool app axed

The Register - Thu, 08/25/2022 - 16:50
Navigation tool still alive ... for now

Google is shutting down its Waze carpooling service apparently due to poor demand from workers commuting into the office – although road traffic has bounced back to levels from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. …

Categories: Tech News

Twilio, Cloudflare just two of 135 orgs targeted by Oktapus phishing campaign

The Register - Thu, 08/25/2022 - 15:57
This, this is what we mean by a sophisticated cyberattack

Criminals behind the cyberattacks on Twilio and Cloudflare earlier this month had cast a much wider net in their phishing expedition, targeting as many as 135 organizations — primarily IT, software development and cloud services providers based in the US.…

Categories: Tech News

An herbal remedy caused the death of CA congressman’s wife

ARS Technica - Thu, 08/25/2022 - 15:21
Tom McClintock speaks to reporters with his wife Lori after participating in a debate at California State University, Sacramento September 24, 2003 in Sacramento, California.

Enlarge / Tom McClintock speaks to reporters with his wife Lori after participating in a debate at California State University, Sacramento September 24, 2003 in Sacramento, California. (credit: Getty | Justin Sullivan)

A garden-variety herbal remedy led to the abrupt and untimely death of Lori McClintock, the 61-year-old wife of US Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), according to a report from Kaiser Health News, which recently obtained documents from the coroner, the autopsy reports, as well as the amended death certificate.

Tom McClintock, who represents a district in Northern California, found his wife unresponsive at their home in Elk Grove on December 15, 2021, after he returned from Washington, DC. The coroner's report indicated that she had complained of an "upset stomach" the day before her death, but McClintock said that his wife was otherwise fine. He said she was "counting down the days to Christmas," wrapping presents, planning a family Christmas, and had recently joined a gym.

According to the coroner's documents, Lori McClintock's death resulted from "adverse effects of white mulberry leaf ingestion." Ingestion of the tree leaves caused gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines) that led to dehydration, which caused her death. The coroner's documents noted that McClintock's body had elevated levels of nitrogen, sodium, and creatinine, which independent pathologists confirmed to KHN were signs of dehydration. The cause of death listed on her death certificate was updated from "pending" to an accident.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Categories: Tech News

This TikTok-Viral Ice Roller Saves Me From Puffy Hangover Face

Motherboard (Vice) - Thu, 08/25/2022 - 15:12

I guess you could say I have a sensitive body. Literally anything will make me bloated: a bowl of oatmeal (WTF), chips, bread, alcohol; a carby, salty meal; all my favorite foods. I just can’t win. If I consume these things before bed, forget it, the bloat goes straight to my face. I suppose it’s because I’m in a laying down position, but who knows? I’m not an expert in bloat (what a strange statement). It mostly comes for me after my weekend escapades, when most of the consumption of spicy margaritas, rum and Cokes, and pickle-back shots take place. And, with that comes the drunk snacks aftermath of salty carbs. Not a great combo for avoiding bloat, although delicious. 

The morning comes around, and regret ensues once a hangover sets in. Waking up to a not-so-hot, puffy-as-hell look in the mirror is a lucid nightmare I didn’t ask for. I have enough bad dreams during my REM sleep, so I would really appreciate a break upon awakening, but the sodium truly comes for me. There are ways I can soothe my skin when it comes to breakouts, oiliness, and redness—this Kiehl’s face mask brought me peace in that area of my life—but hangover bloating is impervious to fancy skincare products and can legit ruin my day. I’m seething just thinking about it. Nausea is one thing, but I will not tolerate facial bloat. 

Through the powers of the internet, I have found the help I need—thanks to ice rolling, which is truly a morning-after lifesaver. And my weapon of choice against post-salty-snacky-drinky-face is the cult-fave Esarora Ice Roller.

This ice roller is a cold, plastic rolling pin for your face, to get straight to the point. You pop the roller in the fridge to make it frosty, then retrieve it in the morning when you need to de-puff. Just roll it all over your face for a massaging effect better than any masseuse in the Lower East Side. Just as a foam roller can help smooth and release tension in our muscles after a workout, the cooling effects of ice rolling promote lymphatic circulation, calms skin, and can sculpt the jawline. 

I've heard great things about cold therapy, or “facial icing”, in its more extreme form. It’s been shown to reduce puffiness and brighten complexions, while also being a massive trend on TikTok—shocker. The low temperature causes blood to rush to the surface of the skin, which makes the magic happen. (I also love any excuse to massage my face at any given moment, hungover or not.) This specific ice roller has a 4.6 star-rating on Amazon and over 18,000 reviews—so, out the gates, it’s hard not to trust it. The reviews didn’t lie. The powers of this thing remind me of those of acupuncture, sans the terrifying needles. I’ve been using it every morning when I wake up looking like a blowfish, and it undoes the damage from a night-long bender of booze at the club or a salty, carb-rich meal. I roll it straight down my face to my neck and diagonally to get the blood flowing, and in just a few minutes, I recognize myself again and feel like a chiseled Greek god. It’s also worth mentioning that it feels absolutely slappin’ after a sweaty workout, or a scorcher of a day. Thank you sweet baby Jesus for allowing this ice roller and I to find each other. 

There are other uses for the roller besides just banishing bloat-face. One reviewer also said it has helped with their migraines. “I love this ice roller so much. I struggle with very bad headaches, and every single time I use the ice roller on my forehead and leave it there for a bit, it goes away so fast. It cools my face and helps with tightness and puffiness. Best purchase,” the reviewer gushed on Amazon. So if you get hangover headaches, this roller could do double duty with making you both look and feel better. It’s also great to calm any breakout redness if you're a pimple popper and can’t keep your mitts off your skin. I know it’s satisfying, but resist the temptation. 

TD;LR: Come to your senses, people, and cop one of these ice rollers for just 15 bucks instead of slapping down grocery money on ritzy face massages. There will be no facial bloat in this house. 

Crack open a cold one, and get rollin’. 

The Esarora Ice Roller is available for purchase at Amazon.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter

Categories: Tech News

Heroku to delete inactive accounts, shut down free tier

The Register - Thu, 08/25/2022 - 14:46
Move over, GitLab, this purge begins in October

Heroku, Saleforce's platform-as-a-service biz, on Thursday said it will discontinue its free container and database offerings, and will purge inactive accounts because of ongoing abuse.…

Categories: Tech News

The Best Deals This Week, From Brooklinen Sheets to Cult-Fave Crocs

Motherboard (Vice) - Thu, 08/25/2022 - 14:34

Wake up! It’s time to party! Why? Because it’s the weekly day of the deals, ladies and gents. We get it—it’s not quite the same as getting lit on the weekend while someone passes you the Courvoisier, but it still deserves celebration because we love saving smackeroonies. There’s nothing quite like the serotonin high we get when we find a stellar price on seriously covetable stuff, especially when some of our ride-or-die faves are on sale. 

Last week, we scouted out deals so hard the Girl Scouts were shaking in their boots: We found sales on select Hoka models for running like a champ, early Labor Day sales on Nolah mattresses, and silky pillowcases for waking up with Rapunzel-like hair. This week, we’ve got fan-favorite Crocs, abstract decor, luxe Brooklinen bedding, and top-notch tablets to help fill your pre-Labor Day shopping carts. Hop in lads and lassies, we’re taking a trip to Flavor Savings Town. 

The best Amazon deals right now

We love a good iPad, but the Fire HD 10 tablet also deserves top marks, especially with its 33% off sale. In addition to offering a speedy, high-def browsing experience when you peruse OnlyFans (or whatever app floats your boat), it can also make calls, operate for 12 hours on a single charge, and offers 64 gigabytes of storage. It also boasts Alexa connectivity so you can say “Alexa, join my Zoom call” when you’re too lazy to get off the couch. It’s absolutely one of the best tablets you can score for under 100 bucks.

If you plan on zipping off on a spontaneous vacation before the end of summer, having a good set of luggage is essential—especially one that is 37% off. This three-piece luggage set is hardshell and has smooth, silent, 360-degree spinning wheels, so you can haul ass glide through the airport with ease while keeping your prized possessions safe. Additional features include a TSA-approved lock and interior mesh zip pockets for maximum organization.

You want your teeth to be clean, cared for, and pearly white, and so does your makeout partner dentist. In order to avoid getting a mouthful of sass during your next visit, cop the Sonic Electric Toothbrush at 60% off. It’s rechargeable, comes with eight brush head refills,  and has five modes, three intensity levels, and a timer, plus a single charge lasts for 60 days.

Dyson’s Labor Day Event

The miraculous devices Dyson dreams up never fail to wow us. If a vacuum has been on your wishlist, you can now save up to $200 on select models through September 10. The V7 Advanced has us whipped with its lightweight body and detangling motorbar that spins while powerfully sucking up grime for maximum clean up. There’s a limited quantity available for this price, so get your arse movin’ to score one.

Brooklinen’s Surprise Savings Event

New bedding is always on our radar, since we both enjoy Architectural Digest home tours and like to get freaky in the sheets. If you’re due for a personal upgrade (please throw out that stained set), the bedding masters at Brooklinen have your back with 15% off sitewide. Our pick for our next sleepover? The Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle,made out of long staple cotton with a 480 thread count and a silky finish. The bundle comes with one flat sheet, one fitted sheet, four pillowcases, and one duvet cover. Your sneaky link will thank you.

Crocs’ end-of-summer sale

The people (our staff included) love Crocs so much that they customize them like their life depends on it. There are tons of amazing lewks to be had in Crocs’ farewell-to-summer sale, with certain styles going for over 50% off. The ultra-popular Classic Clog can be scored in select colors for 30% off. This iconic stomper is mad light, waterproof, and offers a ton of support with its foam ankle strap. Slip these literal clouds on your feet and enjoy these last beach days.

Finnish Design Shop’s chic minimalist decor

If the changing seasons make you feel like getting in touch with your inner interior designer, you’re in luck. Save up to $1,000 when you spend $6,500 on beautifully designed modern decor and furniture through August 29 using the code SAVE-1000. The Putki Table Lamp is a luxe option that was designed by Matti Klenell for Sweden’s National Museum in Stockholm—quite fancy indeed. Or, swipe right on this Flowerpot Table Lamp in Kelly green to brighten up even the most depressing at-home office space.

Caraway’s ongoing deals

In case you’re worried you missed Caraway’s bangin’ sale last week, good news: You’re not too late. Their beloved nonstick cookware and bakeware sets are still $150 off. The 4.8-star rated Cookware Set comes with a 10.5-inch frying pan, a three-quart saucepan, a 4.5-quart sauté pan, and a 6.5-quart Dutch oven. Pass us the butter, cause we’re about to sear a steak. The bakeware set has a whopping 11 pieces for all your saved Pinterest recipes (even those cringe “slutty brownies”—don’t worry, we’re not judging you). 

 Catch ya next week.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.

Categories: Tech News

California to phase out internal combustion vehicles by 2035

The Register - Thu, 08/25/2022 - 14:10
Air board votes unanimously to approve wind down of gas guzzlers

There's a popular adage that "as California goes, so goes the nation."…

Categories: Tech News

‘The Least Safe Day’: Rollout of Gun Detecting AI Scanners in Schools Has Been a ‘Cluster,’ Emails Show

Motherboard (Vice) - Thu, 08/25/2022 - 14:04

On March 22, Jennifer Dean, the principal of Mallard Creek High School in Charlotte, NC emailed members of her staff to tell them about a new security system being installed. Made by a Massachusetts-based company called Evolv Technology, the system claims to use artificial intelligence to detect guns and other concealed weapons by scanning people as they enter a building. 

“I am excited about the new equipment and our scanning process, which will become another layer of safety support for our school,” Dean wrote in an email announcing the scanners’ installation at Mallard Creek High. “We have the unique opportunity, through the use of these scanners, to proactively screen for weapons everyday and to deter people from bringing weapons on our campus.”

Evolv has been especially bullish in marketing its new tech. Its CEO has made multiple media appearances in the wake of the deadly shootings in Uvalde, Tex., and Buffalo, NY, in which he implied that its system could have prevented the tragedies. Schools have been key among its customers, which also include sports stadiums and other large venues across the country.

The principal's email—one of almost 2,000 released to Motherboard as part of a public records request with the school district—aligned with what Evolv Technology says about its security system. On its website, the company describes the technology as an “AI-based weapons screening system” that will allow people to “move quickly through security checkpoints at a seamless pace, knowing they’re well-protected everywhere inside your venue.” The company also repeatedly boasts its “line-free” system requires “no stopping,” emptying of pockets, or removing the contents of bags, and that fewer security staff are needed than with traditional metal detectors. 

Evolv has offered little evidence supporting claims of its system’s effectiveness in meeting these objectives, and schools have encountered problems with the scanners confusing laptops and other everyday items with guns. There is currently no peer-reviewed research demonstrating AI-based weapons detection systems are effective at preventing shootings.

Sign up for Motherboard’s daily newsletter for a regular dose of our original reporting, plus behind-the-scenes content about our biggest stories.

But the documents obtained by Motherboard provide a more detailed look into how Evolv scanners are actually deployed and the problems they actually face. On the ground, the reality of deploying Evolv scanners is very different than marketing materials suggest. Some school administrators are reporting that the scanners have caused “chaos”—failing to detect common handguns at commonly-used sensitivity settings, mistaking everyday school items for deadly weapons, and failing to deliver on the company’s promise of frictionless school security.

“Today was probably the least safe day,” one principal observed the day scanners were deployed at her school, because the machines were triggering false alarms and requiring manual searches on “almost every child as they walked through” monopolizing the attention of safety officers who would otherwise be monitoring the halls and other entrances.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg School District (CMS) purchased the Evolv scanners because it had a gun problem. Twenty-three guns were found among its 180 campuses with more than 140,000 students in the first four months of the school year before the scanners were purchased. The Evolv scanners were one of the measures identified by the district’s Student Safety and Well Being workgroup, according to a January 2 email from the school district’s chief of police Melissa Mangum. The school district quickly agreed to pay $4.9 million for a service subscription to put scanners at its 21 high schools for a four-year period.

The school district publicly boasted that the scanners were a success because the number of guns found on campus dropped to seven in January through June. However, that number had already been dropping. In reality, it was far from such a resounding success story, according to emails obtained by Motherboard through the public records request. Among the findings:

  • There is no evidence in the thousands of emails the district ever sought more information on how the scanners actually work, and administrators ignored evidence that they do not detect weapons with perfect reliability. For instance, before the contract was signed, another school district informed CMS they were able to get a Glock pistol through the machines without detection at the sensitivity setting they use daily.
  • Marketing and sales staff from Evolv were regularly looped into email threads on how to respond to media inquiries and staff concerns
  • Despite promises of “line-free” and seamless scanning, the rollout was, in the words of one principal, “a cluster” (as in short for “clusterfuck”). “Currently, the reality is that ‘weapons of mass instruction’ set off almost every child as they walked through,” the principal said. 
  • Security experts consulted by the district after the botched rollout warned the school system there is “no magic to any of these” proposed fixes and the easiest thing to do would be to tell students to “get there earlier.”
  • The statistical evidence that Evolv’s scanners made schools safer is weak. During the 2021-22 school year, 30 guns were found on the school’s campuses by means other than Evolv scanners, compared to one detected by the scanners. A decline in guns found on campus began months before Evolv scanners were implemented, suggesting other measures such as an anonymous tip system through a smartphone app were more effective. 
  • After the Uvalde shooting, several concerned parents emailed the school district to ask what is being done to keep kids safe. The chair of the board of education responded, telling parents “A body scanner would not have stopped what happened at the school in Uvalde (or Marjorie Stoneman Douglas HS, or Sandy Hook Elementary).” But in an email template later designed for responding to such inquiries, the district’s communications team did not include this fact and instead listed the body scanners as a preventative measure against mass shootings. Security experts broadly believe body scanners and metal detectors do not prevent mass shootings, a fact Evolv conceded when asked directly. 

A spokesperson for Charlotte Mecklenburg School District  disputed that the scanners have been expensive security theater. “Staff and students have responded to the installation of the body scanners in an overwhelmingly positive manner,” said CMS spokesperson Cassie Fambro. “Students and staff report feeling safer, not just because of the scanners alone, but because of the multilayered approach to security that includes but is not limited to, locked exterior doors, camera systems, entry systems with camera/speaker, [and] the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System.”

After Motherboard sent Evolv a detailed list of questions for this story, Evolv Chief Marketing Officer Dana Loof responded with a written statement: “As a policy, we do not comment on our customer's implementation of Evolv, nor their security protocols. There are many factors that go into physical security—i.e., keeping weapons out of places they shouldn’t be—including technology, people, and processes, which all must be working together in order to be effective in mitigating a threat. Advanced weapons detection systems are a completely new experience for most schools deploying them and present unique security challenges. To make sure they have every bit of information necessary to create a safer environment, we are completely transparent with our customers and security professionals when it comes to our system—how the technology works, what the limitations may be, and what they need to account for. Our customers test our products and talk to other customers—many of them independently—before making the decision to move forward.”

Both Evolv and CMS declined to discuss details about how the security system works, the sensitivity settings it uses, and what objects can and can’t get through at various settings. Fambro refused to do so out of “an abundance of caution for student safety.” Evolv’s spokesperson went even further, claiming without explanation that merely reporting on the scanners or how they work endangers students.

“Our note to you, as a reporter doing your job: by publicly communicating detailed information on sensitivity settings, protocols and processes puts students and educators at risk and endangers lives,” said Evolv Chief Marketing Officer Dana Loof, in a statement sent to Motherboard. 

Overall, the emails and additional reporting by Motherboard show significant growing pains for a company that has quickly expanded into major venues across the country such as NFL stadiums, world-class museums and concert halls, as well as public places such as hospitals and schools. Despite Evolv’s lofty public rhetoric, the emails and accompanying documents reveal a fundamental tension in Evolv’s strategy between security and convenience, one that it is not clear will ever be fully solved or can even get better. 

“These emails reveal how deceptive and misleading Evolv is,” was the view of Donald Maye, a security researcher with the firm IPVM who has been actively investigating Evolv’s systems for months. “How I see it is: Evolv’s marketing paints a picture that fundamentally clashes with the reality on the ground.”

On January 24, a purchasing agent for the school district, spoke to a student services officer in the Spartanburg, SC school district which has used Evolv scanners since 2019, seeking to find out more about the Evolv scanners. The reference was not exactly a glowing one.

Answering the question of “Do you feel these are effective in identifying firearms and knives, and if applicable potential bombs?,” the purchasing agent recorded that Spartansburg “have not found any weapons with their systems. He states that it is not foolproof, but feels it is enough of a deterrent that it keeps students from attempting to bring them in.” 

However, in a test, the school district had to increase the sensitivity setting on the machines “to level D” (“A” being the least sensitive and “F” being the most) in order to detect a Glock pistol. Initially, the district had been using setting B, “but are now using C.” 

In other words, the school district is using a setting on the machines that did not detect one of the most common handguns in the country. It is possible the scanners never found handguns because they acted as a deterrent or because no student brought one during this period, but it is also possible it never found any because the school district was using a setting that would not detect them. “When they have a security alert, they will have the level up to D,” the document says, although it is not explained what a security alert is or how it is triggered.

Screen Shot 2022-08-25 at 3.26.52 PM.pngScreenshot: Youtube

Why Spartansburg would use a lower sensitivity setting than required to detect a common handgun at all is explained in the next question, “Are you receiving annoyance alerts for items like keys and phones?” The answer, in a word, was yes.

Although phones and keys—menaces to traditional metal detectors—do not set off Evolv scanners, Spartansburg did report “3-ring binders do hit it a lot. Laptops will hit.” The school also reported that about 25 percent of students have to be searched manually using the “C” setting—the one that doesn’t detect a Glock pistol. Turning up the sensitivity setting would require even more students to be manually searched. 

This information—which would seem to at the very least raise questions about Evolv’s marketing and public statements—was passed on to Mangum and Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Chief Operations Officer Brian Schultz. It is not clear from the emails if anyone else was made aware of it, but Schultz, Mangum, and five principals from CMS high schools visited Spartanburg on February 2 to see the scanners in action, although by then the contract to buy the scanners was already being finalized. 

Fambro, the CMS spokesperson, declined to discuss what sensitivity setting the district uses, but said, “we were fully informed that the systems will alert on objects that are not firearms such as water bottles, eyeglass cases, umbrellas, some 3-ring binders, and some Chromebooks and laptops” and was willing to accept this “short-term inconvenience to increase school safety.”

In fact, the school district was working on its messaging on how great the scanners are before they had even received Spartanburg’s feedback. Eleven days prior, Schultz emailed Evolv’s salesperson, Kyle Correll, and cc’ed the district's communications department about crafting a PR strategy around the rollout. 

“As we get nearer to the purchase of the Evolv Express Systems,” Schultz wrote, “I want to be sure we are prepared with the potential questions from staff, community and media that we will potentially receive.” He asked for “additional information regarding other districts (Spartanburg and more) and organizations (Panthers, Disney, etc)”—referring to the Carolina Panthers, which use Evolv scanners at its stadium and, according to Correll, Chief Mangum has a “great relationship” with two of their security officials. Schultz then specifically wrote that the school was requesting the information from Evolv “so the Communications Team can begin developing our own messaging based off the implementation, use, and success of the technology/system implemented in various locations around the country.”

“Great meeting you as well,” the Evolv salesperson replied an hour and a half later. “I tagged our Director of Customer Marketing as well that’s been involved with customer success and content. We’ll get you all the necessary info to help you on your end.” In future materials presented to the school board and parents, the school used information provided by Evolv, not the feedback it received from Spartanburg itself.

Despite red flags suggesting the technology may not function as promised, the district completed the purchase of scanners for 21 schools, rolling them out in phases, beginning with seven high schools in March.

In the media, CMS said it learned from the lessons of the Phase I rollout and the system was a success. “Our team is very confident that the lessons that we learn as part of phase one implementation will help guide us with the future rollout of this initiative," said Superintendent Earnest Winston in early April. 

But a month later, it was clear that hadn’t happened.

“The scanners were a cluster today,” Ardrey Kell High School principal Jamie Brooks wrote to two assistant principals and Police Chief Mangum on May 2. The rest of the email detailed how various school-related items—which Brooks calls “weapons of mass instruction”—were setting off the scanners almost constantly: 

It took all 10 people to even come close to managing the chaos at the one entrance (they are supposed to eventually be at other entrances)...we do not have the manpower for this. We must have another CSA [school security] to help search these bags. Currently, the reality is that ‘weapons of mass instruction’ set off almost every child as they walk through. If you have multiple binders or spiral notebooks in your bag then it lights up and we must search. The solve I was given was literally to ask kids not to bring so many binders. Seriously? So again…weapons of mass instruction at [Ardrey Kell] are going to cause chaos everyday :) Today was probably the least safe day at AK as all hands were at the front doors instead of monitoring kids throughout the building. Brian Schultz was here today so he witnessed it first-hand.

In her response, Mangum confirmed that other schools experienced “the notebook issues” as well and they are “reviewing and will be testing other components that may enhance the scanning process with the laptops and the notebooks,” although it is unclear what this was referring to and no such process or components are mentioned again in other emails. 

Screen Shot 2022-08-25 at 4.38.43 PM.pngScreenshot: Public records released to Motherboard.

A week later, school board member Sean Strain emailed interim superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh asking for “an update on the rollout of the scanners,” linking to a Facebook post showing massive lines outside Providence High School. 

“This is what it looked like at Providence this morning—and seemingly every morning—with the new protocols in place,” Strain wrote. “Many reports of alerting on binders, which begs the question as to whether the scanners can be adjusted to accommodate and still reliably detect larger/thicker metal objects such as guns and knives.”

Screen Shot 2022-08-25 at 4.40.05 PM.pngScreenshot: Public records released to Motherboard

This was an astute observation by Strain, as he intuited exactly the tradeoff that Spartanburg schools experienced with their own testing: Turning up the sensitivity to reliably detect guns also mistakes everyday school items as weapons, but turning the sensitivity down to provide the convenience Evolv markets as its main advantage over traditional metal detectors misses real threats. It is also a tradeoff Maye at IPVM has documented as well

Evolv’s manual instructs customers to adjust the sensitivity setting to find the right balance between nuisance alarms and actual weapons detection, an instruction that fundamentally concedes the system cannot reliably do both detect weapons and have a tolerable level of nuisance alarms, posing much the same trade-off traditional metal detectors do. 

“All visits and input from the Evolv team indicate that it takes about 2 full weeks to fully implement,” Schultz replied to Strain, a timeline that matches the general perception that customers and visitors adjust to Evolv’s limitations and not the other way around. 

It was not just Evolv’s own team that was saying this, but outside experts as well. On May 26, Greg Abbott, director of security solutions at Paragon Systems, volunteered advice on how to deal with the long lines as part of a discussion with Charlotte Executive Leadership Council Security Task Force.

“There is no magic to any of these,” Abbott warned, after having talked to teams at Universal Studios and the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The recommendations: “Having teachers or staff acting in a customer service capacity” to communicate the process, “Create visuals to demonstrate the process,” “Create a separate entrance for staff” (he apparently did not know staff do not have to go through the scanners), and, the “unpopular but easiest” solution, tell students to “get there earlier.”

Screen Shot 2022-08-25 at 4.41.39 PM.pngScreenshot: Public records released to Motherboard

In her email response to the principal at Ardrey Kell, Mangum also acknowledged the need to hire more security staff to aid with the searches—the exact opposite of what Evolv promises in its sales pitch. 53 security guards were approved by the board and they planned to add more, but wanted “realistically, another CSA will probably not be available for [Ardrey Kell High School] until the new school year.” This acknowledgment that the scanners require more people to implement undermines one of Evolv’s key marketing promises.

Evolv defended its system by telling Motherboard that participating customers in the Evolv Insights program, which the company says accounts for about 30 percent of its users, have collectively detected 30,000 guns and 27,000 knives through the first six months of 2022, statistics it has also cited in press releases. Roughly speaking, this would equate to approximately 90 guns found per scanner, a startling statistic considering many of Evolv’s customers are museums, entertainment and sports venues, theme parks, and other major venues that have long conducted thorough security checks and patrons are well aware guns are not allowed inside.

When asked about the problems instituting the Evolv system, Fambro said the May 2 email was from the first day the school used the new scanners, and that afterwards “the students and staff improved the effectiveness of the process as Evolv representatives continued to work with school staff to reduce the number of searches as a result of alerts.” Motherboard then asked if part of this process was reducing the sensitivity setting and, if so, what sensitivity setting CMS changed it to. Fambro declined to comment, citing student safety concerns. But she did say the school bought an additional scanner to “improve the efficiency of ensuring our students can arrive to class on time and ready to learn.”

“What I have observed and experienced in the other schools we must adjust [sic] to every circumstance until we find the best solution,” Chief Mangum told Brooks in an email on May 2. “I know it can be frustrating, but as we saw at [another school] today (firearm discovered during the scanning), the system works.”

The case Mangum referred to was the only time an Evolv scanner in a CMS school detected a gun at any of the 21 schools to date, and has been repeatedly trotted out as evidence that, as Mangum put it, “the system works.” 

This incident has been referred to repeatedly by Evolv CEO Peter George, including during an earnings call on May 11. “Our Evolv Express platform was able to identify a student who attempted to enter the District’s Berry Academy of Technology with a fully loaded handgun,” George said. “The student was stopped and arrested and thankfully a potential tragedy was avoided.” And in an August 11 press release, the company said, “In the past few months alone, two incidents have taken place where Evolv Express systems prevented a loaded gun from entering a hospital and a school where, in each case, it was believed there was intent to do harm and law enforcement was engaged.” Motherboard asked Evolv if they were referring to the incident at CMS, but Evolv did not respond to that question. Motherboard could not find any publicly reported incidents from other school districts of Evolv detectors involved in a gun being found on a school campus.

The company’s comments clearly imply the student was entering the school to commit a mass shooting and Evolv’s technology stopped it. But that’s not what the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department told Motherboard. 

“There is no information to suggest the student planned on using the firearm or made any threats,” a spokesperson for the department told Motherboard.

George is a frequent interviewee following mass shootings, and in each interview he toes the line between clearly implying Evolv can help prevent mass shootings without ever actually saying so. 

“Could our system have stopped it?” George told the Washington Post following the Buffalo supermarket shooting. “I don’t know. But I think we could democratize security so that someone planning on hurting people can’t easily go into an unsuspecting place.” And after Uvalde, George said something similar at an investor conference: “A lot of people asked me the question after what’s happened in Uvalde, would we have stopped that? The answer is when somebody goes through our system and they have a concealed weapon or an open carry weapon, we're gonna find it, period. We won't miss it.” 

This, of course, is not necessarily true, as Spartanburg’s own testing showed when they were able to pass through the scanners with a Glock pistol undetected. 

The emails obtained by Motherboard also discuss an incident at Julius L. Chambers High School in which a student posted a picture of himself holding a gun inside a school restroom. Publicly, the school district said “there is no evidence that any gun has made it past a weapon detector” because the date of the photo was unknown, an argument Fambro, the CMS spokesperson, says the district stands by. But, privately in emails to the communications staff, Chief Mangum stated that the incident “occurred approx. 2 weeks before the picture was posted” in May 2022—months after Evolv’s systems were installed at the school. Fambro said she did so “simply because that’s what the student in question reported.” The police report lists the date and time of the incident as between May 2 at 7:30 a.m. to May 19 at 3:45 p.m. The police did not respond to a Motherboard inquiry specifically asking if any metadata from the photo indicated when it was taken. 

Maye, of IPVM, says it is also inaccurate to imply Evolv’s scanners—or any other type of gun detection system—can play a role in stopping mass shootings for the simple and obvious reason that Evolv scanners at CMS schools are for detecting concealed weapons. Anyone walking into a school with guns with the intention of committing mass murder does not care if anyone knows they have guns or not. The Uvalde shooter was detected by officials at the school before he entered the building; the shooter began firing his gun before even entering the school.

It is also a point Evolv’s competitor, PatriotOne, has stated clearly in its own marketing materials. “For example, a weapons scanner at the entryway can detect people bringing weapons into a building, but it is ineffective against an individual with malicious and specific intent – this attacker will walk right through an entry scanning system,” it wrote in a blog post specifically about school security.

After George’s many public statements, Maye asked Evolv directly if the company thinks its product can prevent mass shootings. A spokesperson replied, “We have never stated that Evolv could have made a difference in Uvalde.”

Following the Uvalde shooting, CMS received a number of emails from worried parents. A typical one, from a mother of two elementary school students, expressed a concern of “the lack of security in our elementary schools. I am aware that metal detectors are being installed in high schools, however, with the recent horrific news, it is beyond evident that these shootings are not restricted to high schools. I plead with you all to consider installing them in ALL CMS schools.”

The chair of the board of education, Elyse Dashew, responded to this note by admitting that the Evolv scanners would not have prevented the recent mass shootings. “Regarding your question about the body scanners in our high schools—these are newly installed and so far they seem to be working well,” Dashew wrote. “A body scanner would not have stopped what happened at the school in Uvalde, however (or Marjorie Stoneman Douglas HS, or Sandy Hook Elementary).” 

But the school district’s communications team took a different approach. A day later, it created its own template for “the response that I am providing to citizens who email regarding school safety issues,” as Schultz wrote. 

The template has a list of 13 “efforts” in place. One of them is “Body scanners at our large comprehensive high schools.” The template does not include any disclaimer—as in Dashew’s email or Evolv’s own admission—that says body scanners and metal detectors do not prevent mass shootings. 

When asked about this by Motherboard, Fambro said, “While we cannot speak to those specific tragedies and what transpired in those respective schools, we can attest to CMS’ commitment to do everything in our power to protect our 141,0000 students using a variety of tools, procedures, and protocols. The Evolv system is designed to identify concealed weapons on individuals entering our schools. However, the layers of security measures we have are in place to protect staff and students from many different types of threats.” 

In the weeks rounding out the 2021-2022 academic school year, there were other signs Evolv’s technology wasn’t quite as seamless as promised. On June 7, one of the tablets where the scan results are displayed was dropped and it broke. Evolv bills customers on an annual subscription rather than allowing customers to buy the scanners outright. That subscription, as CMS learned, does not include the cost of replacing tablets. It charged CMS $2,100 for a new one, double the cost of a top-of-the-line iPad Pro. The company also said it had to stop by each school individually to program a software update manually rather than via the internet like most software updates are issued. 

Motherboard asked Evolv about both of these incidents, but Evolv’s response did not address them. 

CMS had repeated reliability issues with the scanners not working. On May 4, an assistant principal at Rocky River High School emailed Schultz to inform him that on “two separate mornings” their Evolv scanner could not function properly due to a series of error messages. On May 17, the principal of North Mecklenburg High School also emailed Schultz with similar news that one of their scanners wasn’t working. “We are operating our single scanner at the auditorium. We are not able to accommodate moving all of our students through that single scanner entry,” the principal wrote. Evolv had to replace a part on the scanner and a technician fixed it two days later.

Despite these issues, the school district steadfastly defended the purchase in public statements and to Motherboard. In contrast to the complaints made in the emails, Schultz and members of the district’s communications team sometimes went out of their way to emphasize the scanner’s supposed effectiveness. 

“They work as a preventative tool as well as a prohibitive tool; students and staff know the scanners work,” Schultz said in a prepared statement responding to a media inquiry. “The scanners have been utilized successfully but are still new to all schools.”

In putting together “some talking points” for the interim superintendent, a member of the communications staff wrote, “The last gun at Harding was found in a student book bag by an administrator—do we know if the student ditched the book bag to avoid going through the scanner? I’m trying to make the point that the scanners work and that students are aware of that, if I can truthfully make that connection.”


But Maye says this instance has little if anything to do with Evolv or its technology. “A human detected the gun, not Evolv’s technology,” Maye told Motherboard. “In this case, if Evolv’s metal detector had been unplugged, it would have been the same outcome.”

There is no mention in the school district’s talking points for the superintendent of the times the scanners haven’t worked, of the student who got into the school bathroom with a gun despite the scanners being in place, the technical difficulties with the scanners, or the long line/entry issues.

Nevertheless, the school district not only decided to continue using the scanners, but to expand their use. This coming school year, CMS will use Evolv scanners at all middle schools, including kindergarten through 8th Grade campuses at an additional cost of $9.9 million for a four-year subscription

“Similar to the high school rollout during the last school year,” said Chief Equity and School Performance Officer Kondra Rattley in a July 7 email, “this effort demonstrates our commitment to providing a secure school environment where students can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.”

The documents responding to Motherboard’s public records request can be found here.

Categories: Tech News

US government to make all research it funds open access on publication

ARS Technica - Thu, 08/25/2022 - 14:02
Alondra Nelson, President Joe Biden's pick for OSTP Deputy Director for Science and Society, speaks during an announcement on January 16, 2021, at the Queen theater in Wilmington, Delaware.

Enlarge / Alondra Nelson, President Joe Biden's pick for OSTP Deputy Director for Science and Society, speaks during an announcement on January 16, 2021, at the Queen theater in Wilmington, Delaware. (credit: Getty Images)

Many federal policy changes are well known before they are announced. Hints in speeches, leaks, and early access to reporters at major publications all serve to pave the ground for the eventual confirmation. But on Thursday, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) dropped a big one that seemed to take everyone by surprise. Starting in 2026, any scientific publication that receives federal funding will need to be openly accessible on the day it's published.

The move has the potential to further shake up the scientific publishing industry, which has already adopted preprint archives, similar mandates from other funding organizations, and greatly expanded access to publications during the pandemic.

The change was announced by Alondra Nelson, acting head of the OSTP (a permanent Director is in the process of Senate confirmation). The formal policy is laid out in an accompanying memorandum.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Categories: Tech News

LastPass source code, blueprints stolen by intruder

The Register - Thu, 08/25/2022 - 14:02
Your passwords are still safe, biz says

Internal source code and documents have been stolen from LastPass by a cyber-thief.…

Categories: Tech News

Daily Horoscope: August 26, 2022

Motherboard (Vice) - Thu, 08/25/2022 - 14:00

The moon in Leo opposes Saturn in Aquarius at 2:55 AM, which could inspire some grumpy attitudes, but this is a fine time to consider our limits and boundaries, and set new standards. The moon enters grounded, thoughtful earth sign Virgo at 8:25 PM, finding us in the mood to be helpful, get organized, or enjoy nature.

All times ET.

Stay in the cosmic loop with the VICE horoscopes newsletter. Get horoscopes straight to your inbox when you sign up here!

Aries glyph Aries: March 20, 2022 - April 19, 2022

The moon enters Virgo today, illuminating the sector of your chart that rules your daily routine and rituals and encouraging you to get reorganized and consider your daily habits. How would you like to adjust your schedule?

Taurus glyphs Taurus: April 19, 2022 - May 20, 2022

The moon enters fellow earth sign Virgo today, illuminating the romance and creativity sector of your chart. Make time to have fun and celebrate life, and spend time with the people you enjoy the most!

Gemini glyph Gemini: May 20, 2022 - June 21, 2022

Your focus may turn to home and family today as the moon enters Virgo. It’s a lovely time to energetically cleanse your space: Open the windows and get some fresh air, change your sheets, and donate items you no longer need.

Cancer glyph Cancer: June 21, 2022 - July 22, 2022

The moon enters thoughtful earth sign Virgo today, activating the communication sector of your chart. New information could come your way or a new discussion may begin. A busy energy flows in your neighborhood.

Leo glyph Leo: July 22, 2022 - August 22, 2022

Your focus can turn to money today as the moon enters earth sign Virgo. This could be a great time to reorganize your budget, reflect on your financial goals, or consider your relationship with money, shopping, or your belongings. What does comfort mean to you?

Virgo glyph Virgo: August 22, 2022 - September 22, 2022

The moon enters your sign today, Virgo! A new beginning is on the way. What sort of fresh start would you like in your life? Make time to nourish yourself emotionally and physically. Connect with nature, or spend time with the people you love most.

Libra glyph Libra: September 22, 2022 - October 23, 2022

The moon enters Virgo today, illuminating a mysterious sector of your chart. This is a powerful time to connect with your spirituality and intuition, and generally to step away from your busy routine and escape from your everyday worries. 

Scorpio glyph Scorpio: October 23, 2022 - November 22, 2022

The moon enters Virgo today, lighting up the friendship sector of your chart. You may be connecting with a new community at this time! The moon in Virgo also encourages you to reflect on your wishes for the future.

Sagittarius glyph Sagittarius: November 22, 2022 - December 21, 2022

The moon in Virgo can find you focused on your career today, Sagittarius. Themes like success and legacy may be on your mind. You might be getting plenty of attention at this time!

Capricorn glyph Capricorn: December 21, 2021 - January 19, 2022

The moon enters fellow earth sign Virgo today, illuminating the sector of your chart that rules adventure and opportunity. A new journey could be beginning. You may be sharing a big idea or learning about something inspiring at this time!

Aquarius glyphs Aquarius: January 19, 2022 - February 18, 2022

The moon enters Virgo today, which could find you and your partners having discussions about money or other shared resources. You may be taking a new approach to your bills or other financial matters at this time, too.

Pisces glyph Pisces: February 18, 2022 - March 20, 2022

The moon enters your opposite sign Virgo today, activating the relationship sector of your chart! New connections—or deeper connections with established partners—can form. It’s an exciting time to connect!

Categories: Tech News

US plans to open up government-funded science research papers to all

The Register - Thu, 08/25/2022 - 13:50
Remembering Aaron Swartz

Fourteen years after the late Aaron Swartz published his Guerilla Open Access Manifesto calling for the liberation of publicly funded scientific literature, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has called for taxpayer-funded research to be made available to the public at no cost.…

Categories: Tech News

The Coolest New Drops This Week, From Carhartt WIP to Moncler x Clarks

Motherboard (Vice) - Thu, 08/25/2022 - 13:42

Cruel, cruel summer, why must you love us and leave us? We were just starting to tackle how to dress for this humidity, and now? A chill in the air? Leaves turning? How could you? WE LOVED YOU. It’s cool, we’re cool. Just a little heated that our steamy fling is coming to an end—and we all know what that means. Cuffing season. Yes, babes, grab your beanie and skateboard and get ready to cozy up with your new squeeze—or your new vibrating stroker, whichever you manage to lock down first [wink].

If you missed the best new drops and collabs of last week, here’s a refresher: We tickled your almost-fall-fancy with a fresh delivery of Hoka’s newest trail-running sneaker (excellent for all those autumnal hikes you’re about to take), MUD/WTR’s new Mushroom Boost blend that will give you a flu-season immunity boost, and Fly by Jing’s newest Xtra Spicy Chili Crisp, which will keep you warm even when summer’s heat has fully left us.

This week, we’re bringing you even more juicy drops to transition you gently into the land of 5 p.m. sunsets—like La Colombe’s new iced PSL in a can; harvest-themed Boochcraft flavors; and an absolutely want-everything collaboration between Carhartt WIP and Small Talk Studio. Clarks teamed up with Moncler for the dreamy, cozy desert boots you’ll want to sport from now till next spring (that orange shearling is fuego). Finally, because it’s not over till they pry our summer Fridays from our cold, pumpkin-spiced hands, we also have whipped-cream sunscreen and an SPF-inspired ice cream to help you bid adieu to summer in sun-protected style. Oooweee, we’ve got chills thinking about wearing layers again! Read on for the best new products of the week.

Clarks x Moncler

The new Clarks x Moncler collection is the marrying of two classic brands which really bring out the best in one another—we are straight losing our shit over the collab’s new shearling chukka boots. Whether you’re more of a classic cream guy or like to spice up your winter whites with a dollop of spicy sauce, à la these steezy orange wool Wallabees, either pair are perfect for flexing on all those other so called “hypebeasts”.

Vacation’s whipped-cream sunscreen

Yes, you read that right. Not only is Vacation’s new Classic Whip presented in a delightfully playful Reddi Wip-like can'; it’s also SPF 30, vegan, and reef-friendly. It also maintains the brand’s signature coconut, banana, pineapple, and orange blossom scent reminiscent of the utterly delicious (yet probably toxic) sunscreens of the 80s—with decidedly modern ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, and aloe vera. All pre-order sales (slated to ship 8/29) include a free air freshener in that intoxicating scent. The absolute sunscreen of our dreams is making our nostalgic Jessica Simpson Dessert fantasies come true.

Supergoop x Sunscoop Ice Cream

There’s nothing like toasting the end of summer with a treat that embodies the season. Our favorite ethereal Supergoop! SPF, Glowscreen, is the inspiration behind this plant-based, allergen-friendly ice cream flavor. It even has pearl powder for a shimmery finish, just like its sunscreen cousin. Sunscoop’s ice cream is also made with passion fruit, vanilla, ginger, and turmeric, which gives it not only a delicious, tropical-creamsicle flavor, but also its signature sunny hue, and it contains no added sugar. So, it’s basically like having a smoothie for dessert—meaning yes, you can eat the entire carton in one sitting.

Carhartt WIP x Small Talk Studio

We haven’t been this excited about a collab since we found out Supreme was making a Beanie Baby. Seriously, if you haven’t heard of Small Talk Studio, let us put you on. Artist and Small Talk creator Nick Williams started out with one-of-a-kind bespoke pieces that he hand-drew, painted, and embroidered. While he still makes incredibly detailed custom-pieces, this collab with Carhartt WIP brings his talent to the masses—cop a piece of wearable art before they’re sold out.

Boochcraft’s new fall flavors

What screams “autumnal harvest” louder than apples, and pomegranates? When you turn them into alcohol and use them to tailgate. Boochcraft’s newest brews are an homage to the crisp weather, with two tart flavors. Orange pomegranate contains beets, red wine vinegar, and rosemary that drinks like a switchel, and the brand describes the apple jasmine drink as a “liquid slice of apple pie.” Yum.

La Colombe’s PSL in a can

When you’re ready to be completely rugged up and ready to stomp some extra-crunchy leaves, but the thermostat still reads 85, you need an iced pumpkin spice latte in a can for grab-and-go convenience—because this time you WILL be the first person in line at Aime Leon Doré, and no East Villain will stand in your way. The tasty seasonal bev is available in both classic and oat milk, because sometimes you’re feeling an alt-milk, and sometimes you're not.

Don’t forget to dry-clean your favorite sweaters in time for the first chill, pals!

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.

Categories: Tech News

Mark Zuckerberg Tells Joe Rogan That Running Facebook Sucks, Metaverse Is Better

Motherboard (Vice) - Thu, 08/25/2022 - 13:19

On Thursday, two men famous for running gigantic platforms that host disinformation and conspiracies talked together on a podcast.

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta and the man behind Facebook, and Joe Rogan talked for close to three hours in a wide-ranging conversation on Rogan’s podcast that focused on virtual reality, social media censorship, and the politics of a divided America. In the middle of the conversation, during a moment when the pair were discussing disinformation, Zuckerberg claimed Meta spent $5 billion last year on combating disinformation and other “defensive” work at the company.

“I think we spend $5 billion a year…on all this community integrity work,” he said.

The pair spent much of the first half of the podcast talking up Zuckerberg’s focus on VR and the so-called metaverse; Facebook’s particular corporatized version of which has been roundly criticized and jeered at recently. Zuckerberg’s vision for his metaverse not only seemed fanciful, but hinted troublingly at the picture of a CEO running towards something that seems easier than Facebook’s quagmire of politics and content moderation.

Zuckerberg claimed that VR had a penetration rate “on par with Playstation or Xbox” and imagined a future where people wore their headsets at the coffee shop. He also said that many physical objects in the real world will one day be replaced by holograms. “We could deal hologram cards to each other and we could play poker and you could have a poker night where some of your friends are there and some of them could be holograms,” he said.

Much has been written about Facebook’s pivot to VR and whether it’s a good idea or not, as well as why it was done in the first place. Zuckerberg didn’t offer much substance on this topic, but he heavily implied that running Facebook—with all of the serious, world-impacting decisions around moderation that entails—just isn’t all that fun. 

“You wake up in the morning, look at my phone, get like a million messages…it’s usually not good,” Zuckerberg said, in one of the most human moments of the conversation. “It’s almost like everyday you wake up and you’re punched in the stomach.”

Facebook has come to mean so many things to so many different people. It’s a window into the lives of our families, a way to keep up with friends, a place for memes, and also a toxic stew of hate speech, extremism, and bizarre advertisements. Zuckerberg is, ultimately, responsible for it all.

“These are values questions, around what do you value more? Those are super tricky questions. Part of what I’ve struggled with around this is… I didn’t get into this to basically judge those things. I got into this to design technology that helps people connect,” Zuckerberg said.

The metaverse, he explained, fits the bill. “You can probably tell when we spent the first hour talking about the metaverse and the future of building this whole technology roadmap to give people this realistic sense of presence, it’s like, that's what I’m here to do,” he said.

Unfortunately for Zuckerberg in this regard, the VR metaverse is going to need just as much moderation as Facebook. For example, there have been instances of sexual harassment in Meta’s VR platform, which prompted the company to implement a “personal boundary” zone

Halfway through the episode, Rogan began to ask questions about disinformation, algorithms, and what he views as Zuckerberg’s responsibility to the world. “It’s such an immense responsibility,” Rogan said. “And the fact that it’s a private company…troubles some people. You have this ability to control the flow of information and that’s never existed before…you’re controlling the signal of three plus billion people. That is so astounding to even say.”

“I don’t exactly look at it the way that you said,” Zuckerberg said. “I view our job as empowering people to express what they want and get the content that they want.” He then explained that any time they’ve tried to exert more control, people notice and run to the competition.

Zuckerberg then dithered and said that the power of the market is what drives Facebook. He also, repeatedly throughout the conversation, said that he didn’t get into this business to make people angry. He wants, he said, to empower people. 

Rogan then asked Zuckerberg why the U.S. is so divided, where Zuckerberg again defaulted to deflecting responsibility. “I think there’s probably a media environment issue that predates the internet,” said the man who has made billions of dollars pushing that media into people’s brains. “If some of the news is so far left and some of it is so far right, there’s all this talk of filter bubbles on the internet, but even predating this, going back to the 70s or 80s, when Fox News and these other media organizations were established, that’s had a long term effect and people have studied that.” 

He then said that binaries are so prevalent in the U.S. because of the two party system and the open primaries would help smooth things out. “A lot of people want to point to social media as being the primary cause of this, but when you look at how polarization has been rising in the US since before the internet, that makes it very unlikely that social media is the prime mover here,” he said.

Extreme political division in the U.S. absolutely predates social media, but it has accelerated that division. Social scientists, mathematicians, and others have studied the influence of sites like Facebook on the electorate and they’ve all come to the same conclusion: it profits from polarization.

All in all, Zuckerberg’s Rogan appearance was rather tame but painted the picture of someone eager to deflect responsibility; if things keep going the way they are, then Meta’s metaverse is going to have just as many problems as Facebook. 

Categories: Tech News