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CardMunch founder returns with HiHello, a new app aiming to replace business cards

A new app called HiHello is taking aim at business cards. While plenty of apps in the past have tried to kill the business card , they never achieved critical mass. Mainly, this is because most required that both parties — the business card holder and recipient — have their app installed. HiHello is different. Instead of forcing everyone to download its app, it simply generates a QR code that can be scanned by anyone with a modern smartphone. HiHello specifically takes advantage of the fact that today’s smartphones now have QR code readers built in — users no longer need to download a separate QR code scanner app to exchange information over this format. On iPhone, you can use the native iOS Camera app to scan QR codes. And on Android, Google Lens (a part of Google Assistant)  offers similar functionality. (Although this should really be in its camera, too, ahem .) What this means is that when a HiHello user wants to share their contact information with another person, all they need to do is have the recipient scan the QR code the HiHello app generates. The recipient doesn’t have to download or install anything, and is able to quickly save the contact information right into their phone’s address book.

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Study ties Facebook engagement to attacks on refugees

A study of circumstances and demographics attendant on attacks against refugees and immigrants in Germany has shown that Facebook use appears to be deeply linked with the frequency of violent acts. Far from being mere trolling or isolated expressions of controversial political opinions, spikes in anti-refugee posts were predictive of violent crimes against those groups. The study was conducted by Karsten Müller and Carlo Schwarz of the University of Warwick . Their theory was that if country-wide waves of “right wing anti-refugee sentiment” result in subsequent waves of actual crime, these waves would travel the way any others do, via TV, word of mouth, radio and, of course, social media. Now, if the anti-refugee rhetoric spreads via social media, then we can expect more crimes to occur in areas where there is more social media use, right? And specifically, areas where there is more activity among anti-refugee groups would see the most. To test this theory, Müller and Schwarz used activity on a pair of major Facebook pages in Germany to measure social media use in general and specific to right-wing groups. For right-wing activity they looked at the page of the “Alternative for Germany” party, the most popular anti-immigration political faction in the country and one that does not attempt to control the conduct on its threads. As a measure of overall Facebook use, they used Nutella’s popular public German page. With hundreds of thousands of posts and comments broken down by area, the researchers were able to identify overall patterns of social media use, and then isolate anti-refugee sentiment within that.

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Why the next CryptoKitties mania won’t be about collectables

Kyle Wood Contributor Kyle Wood is senior counsel in Perkins Coie’s Blockchain Technology & Digital Currency industry group in the Dallas office. Taylor Lindman Contributor Taylor Lindman is an associate in Perkins Coie’s New York office focusing on fintech, distributed ledger technology, payments and finance matters. In recent months, the CryptoKitties fad that had users buying and selling tens of thousands of dollars of blockchain-based collectable cats has settled down considerably. That is not to say that CryptoKitties hasn’t spawned numerous copycats (see CryptoPuppies, CryptoCountries and many more). Unfortunately, the immense popularity of CryptoKitties is unlikely to be repeated, at least not by clones hoping to cash in on the novelty of blockchain-based crypto collectables. The legacy of CryptoKitties is still in development, but most can agree that the project raised awareness (and attracted development talent) to new uses for blockchain tokens. In particular, CryptoKitties introduced many to the concept of non-fungible tokens, or “NFTs,” which might impact more than the world of cryptocurrencies. NFTs are unique blockchain tokens that can be transferred to other people, similar to cryptocurrencies (e.g. Bitcoin and Ethereum), but they ordinarily cannot be replaced by another token of equal value — this is because each NFT has its own unique token identifier (and often, associated reference metadata). Today, most NFTs are used in blockchain-based collectible games; however, use cases of NFTs are only just beginning to be explored. This article briefly discusses the origin of NFTs, explores several flavors of NFTs in the blockchain ecosystem and highlights some potential legal hurdles facing NFT developers. Collectible origins The physical collectible trade emerged in the 1860s with the first baseball trading cards. Since that time, physical collectibles have dominated the collectible market. Ownership of physical collectibles is straightforward: When a collector buys a physical collectible, the collector has complete ownership and can sell or trade the collectible at will

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On Tesla’s path to privatization, Morgan Stanley halts equity coverage of electric automaker

Morgan Stanley is no longer providing equity coverage on Tesla’s stock, the second firm to drop its stock rating on the electric automaker since CEO Elon Musk announced plans via Twitter to take the company private . Tesla declined to comment. Morgan Stanley could not be reached for comment to explain why it dropped Tesla. However, some speculate that the brokerage firm could be playing some role in Tesla’s plan to become a private company. Morgan Stanley’s website no longer shows a stock rating or target price on Tesla.  Tesla stock was previously rated at “equal weight.” The move, which was reported by Bloomberg , caused Tesla shares to rise Tuesday. Shares closed at $321.90, about 3.6 percent higher than its opening price. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, a longtime bull of Tesla, had a $291 price target on the company. In his last research note on August 7, Jonas explained Morgan Stanley placed an equal weight rating on the company because it supports a near fair value and “not a more attractive investment on a risk-adjusted basis than the average stock under our NA coverage.” Last week, Goldman Sachs Group dropped its Tesla rating and price target, although it gave an explanation for the move. The company is stepping in to advise Musk and the Tesla board on taking the company private. Musk’s tweet August 13 provided more details, including that the company is working with Silver Lake and Goldman Sachs as advisors. The company has hired Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Munger, Tolles & Olson as legal advisors. I’m excited to work with Silver Lake and Goldman Sachs as financial advisors, plus Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Munger, Tolles & Olson as legal advisors, on the proposal to take Tesla private — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 14, 2018 Musk first floated the idea of taking Tesla private at $420 a share on August 7 via a tweet that prompted the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate .

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Elkrem is a blockchain dev board for tinkerers

Creators of the 1Sheeld , a tool designed to connect smartphones to Arduino boards, have created something even more interesting. Their latest product, the Elkrem , is a smart kit for creating blockchain IoT devices and they have raised $250,000 from Endure Capital and Consensys to build the project. The founders are Amr Saleh and Islam Mustafa launched the 1Sheeld at TechCrunch Disrupt 2013 and sold tens of thousands of units in 120 countries. Now they’re building a new tool based entirely on blockchain. “Elkrem is a Blockchain hardware development board. It allows Blockchain developers to integrate Dapps with hardware prototypes in an easy way without having deep knowledge in hardware development, and also allows electrical engineers and hardware developers to connect Blockchain to their hardware projects without having deep knowledge of how the Blockchain works,” said Saleh. “So they both can trigger actuators through smart contracts and log sensors data to smart contracts as well.” The board is similar to an Arduino and has two processors, storage, and WiFi model. One processor runs a specialized Linux variant with interfaces to Ethereum, IPFS, Swarm, Whisper, Bitcoin, Status.im, and others. The other processor can do anything else you throw at it. “Our edge is faster development, faster prototyping and faster go to market,” said Saleh. “The board allows you to send private, decentralized IoT messages using peer-to-peer communication” What does all this mean? Basically it’s a little board that makes it far easier to manage your Blockchain efforts. It uses a library called Koyn to let you accept payments in Bitcoin with a single line of code and they even built a few cool projects including a Bitcoin-enabled candy machine and an electrical outlet that you can rent with Bitcoins. The team plans to go live on Kickstarter later this year.

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The Palette 2 lets any 3D printer output color

The Mosaic Manufacturing Palette 2 – an upgrade the original Palette – is a self-contained system for full color 3D printing. It works by cutting and splicing multiple filament colors and then feeding them through as the object is printed. The system uses a unique and internal cutter called the Splice Core that measures and cuts filament as it prints, ensuring the incoming filament can change colors quickly and easily. The printer can out items in four colors and it can print any amount of any color. It extrudes excess color into a little object called a tower, allowing it to print as much or as little of a color as necessary. It also has automatic runout detection which lets you print larger objects over a longer period. It works with a number of current 3D printers and the printers require no real updates to use the Palette or its more robust brother, the Pro. A new piece of software called Canvas allows users to plan their color prints and send the instructions to both the Palette and the printer for printing. The Palette 2 costs $449 while the Pro costs $699. The Pro lets you print faster than the Palette 2. It’s a very clever hack – instead of making the printer do all the work you instead make the filament do the work. Because it is a self-contained system you can use the Palette with nearly any printer although the team is working on native support for many popular printers. They are able to print lots of interesting stuff including 3D printed phone case models, rubbery watch bands using stretchable materials, and even educational objects. Most impressive

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Facebook is removing over 5,000 ad targeting options to prevent discriminatory ads

Facebook announced this morning it’s making a change to how its ad targeting system works in order to tackle the misuse of its platform to discriminate and exclude audiences based on factors like ethnicity and religion. The company says it’s now removing over 5,000 ad targeting options that could have been misused to place discriminatory ads across its platform. The news comes shortly after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) filed a new complaint against Facebook that accuses it of helping landlords and home sellers violate the Fair Housing Act. It says that Facebook’s ad settings disregard the law by allowing advertisers to target certain demographics. “When Facebook uses the vast amount of personal data it collects to help advertisers to discriminate, it’s the same as slamming the door in someone’s face,” Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Anna María Farías had said in a statement issued by the department. Facebook responded by saying this practice was prohibited in its advertising policies and that it would continue to work with HUD to address its complaints. Today, the company says that it will remove over 5,000 targeting options which have the potential for misuse. “While these options have been used in legitimate ways to reach people interested in a certain product or service, we think minimizing the risk of abuse is more important,” the company explained in a blog post. Facebook didn’t provide a list of the options being removed, but noted they related to attributes such as religion and ethnicity. It also said that it would roll out a new certification to U.S

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Full PUBG Xbox One Release Confirmed For September 4th – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo Full PUBG Xbox One Release Confirmed For September 4th Ubergizmo Microsoft today confirmed that PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds or PUBG will be graduating from the Xbox Game Preview program next month. The Full ProductRelease (1.0) of PUBG will take place on September 4th, 2018. This marks the conclusion of the ... and more »

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Apple could release an updated MacBook Air

According to a report from Bloomberg , Apple has been working on multiple new Macs. In particular, Apple could be planning to release a new entry-level laptop to replace the aging MacBook Air. This isn’t the first rumor about a MacBook Air refresh. While Apple has released a 12-inch retina MacBook, it’s not nearly as cheap as the MacBook Air. It’s also not as versatile as it only has a single USB Type-C port. And yet, the MacBook Air is arguably Apple’s most popular laptop design in recent years. Many MacBook Air users are still using their trusty device as there isn’t a clear replacement in the lineup right now. According to Bloomberg, the updated MacBook Air could get a retina display. Other details are still unclear. After Apple updated the MacBook Air in March 2015, the company neglected the laptop for a while. It received an update in June 2017, but it was such a minor update that it looked like the MacBook Air was on life support

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Facebook assigns you a fake-news-flagging trustworthiness score

A new way to attack Facebook is to fraudulently report a news story as false in hopes of reducing its visibility, either because someone wants to censor it or just doesn’t agree with it. Sometimes known as “brigading,” a concerted effort by trolls to flag a piece of content can reduce its visibility. Facebook now sends stories reported as false to third-party fact checkers, and these purposefully inaccurate reports can clog the already-overcrowded queues that fact checkers struggle to worth through. That’s why Facebook gives users a trustworthiness score ranging from 0 to 1 depend on the reliability of their flags of false news,  The Washington Post reports. If they flag something as false news but fact checkers verify it as true, that could hurt their score and reduce how heavily Facebook factors in their future flagging.  If users consistently report false news that’s indeed proven to be false, their score improves and Facebook will trust their future flagging more. Facebook’s News Feed product manager Tessa Lyons confirmed the scoring system exists. There’s currently no way to see your own or someone else’s trustworthiness score. And other signals are used to compute the score as well, though Facebook won’t reveal them for fear of trolls gaming the system. Friend-ranking scores This isn’t the only way Facebook ranks users, though. It assigns you a shifting score of affinity toward each of your friends that determines how frequently you see them in the News Feed. This “friend-ranking” score is essentially a measure of graph distance from you to someone else. If you like a ton of someone’s posts, get tagged in photos with them, search for them, view their profile, communicate with them, have lots of mutual friends, are in the same Groups and have similar biographical characteristics like location and age, your score toward them is lower and you’ll see more of them in your feed. However, they have a different score for you depending on their behavior, so constantly viewing someone else’s profile won’t make you show up in their feed more if they don’t reciprocate the interest. I first reported on these friend scores almost exactly seven years ago, and you can still view them for yourself using this browser bookmarklet built by Jeremy Keeshin. Visit this site , drag the “Facebook Friends Rankings” link into your desktop browser’s bookmark bar, open Facebook while logged in, and tap the bookmarklet to reveal the Friend Ranking scores of your friends

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23andMe’s ancestry tools are getting better for people of color

23andMe is beefing up its African, East Asian and Native American ancestry capabilities — something it has sorely lacked. Specifically, 23andMe has added to its database 12 new regions across Africa and East Asia. When I first tried 23andMe a few years ago, it told me I was 71 percent West African, which tells me next to nothing about which countries the bulk of my ancestry comes from. Well, that’s all changing — though, I already received the information from Ancestry — with 23andMe’s latest product update. “Key to this update is really the availability of more data from around the world, specifically in Africa and Asia,” 23andMe Senior Product Manager Robin Smith told TechCrunch. “It’s possible through certain initiatives, like the African Genetics Project and Global Genetics Project .” Before, 23andMe only provided three subgroups in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. Now, there are eight additional subgroups in the area, as well as four additional populations in East Asia. Here are the 12 additional populations on 23andMe: Southern East African Congolese Coastal West African Ethiopian & Eritrean Senegambian & Guinean Nigerian Somali Sudanese Chinese Dai . Vietnamese  Filipino . Indonesian, Thai, Khmer & Myanma 23andMe first launched in 2007, but it’s taken a long time to collect the data needed to provide a more comprehensive genealogical view to certain populations. Roughly 75 percent of 23andMe’s customers are of European descent, 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki said at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017

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10 startups that caught our eye from Y Combinator S18 Demo Day 1

From new wearables that detect breast cancer to creating the industrial supply chain for the meat replacement industry, the latest crop of Y Combinator companies showcased the breadth of entrepreneurial innovation that encapsulates the waning days of 2018. While the entire batch of 63 companies was impressive, a few in particular caught our eye. So take a look below at our picks for some of the hits from this year’s summer cohort of companies. Oxygen Breaking freelancers from the month-to-month boom-and-bust payment cycles that bind them, Oxygen provides working capital loans to freelancers who can go months without getting a paycheck. The company is more than willing to work with a group of borrowers who collectively make $1.4 trillion in 1099 income annually and who are locked out of loans. Oxygen offers flat-fee access to credit and free mobile banking, all while using machine learning to determine credit worthiness. Freelance workers of the world unite, indeed! Why we liked it: Opening a new market in the lending space is a multi-billion-dollar opportunity for the company that gets it right. Higia By monitoring thermal patterns inside a breast, the startup  Higia  hopes it can offer women a better, non-invasive method to detect breast cancer. The company’s wearable device, called EVA, can be placed under any sports bra, and offers a new way to fill the gaps that current screening techniques aren’t addressing — things like early breast cancer detection in women with high breast density. The company has already pre-sold 5,000 units in Mexico and will begin shipping them in the fall of 2018. Aiming for accurate and immediate risk assessments, Higia will release its device for $299, focusing on the U.S. market at first and moving forward with clinical trials at Stanford. Read more about Higia here. Why we liked it: A new diagnostic tool in the battle against breast cancer that clocks in at a reasonable price point for consumers could be a huge win for investors and the world. C16 Biosciences C16 Biosciences  is aiming to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the globe with their lab-grown palm oil, an alternative to a product that is found in a truly massive amount of goods.

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Foundries.io promises standardized open source IoT device security

IoT devices currently lack a standard way of applying security. It leaves consumers, whether business or individuals, left to wonder if their devices are secure and up-to-date. Foundries.io , a company that launched today, wants to change that by offering a standard way to secure devices and deliver updates over the air. “Our mission is solving the problem of IoT and embedded space where there is no standardized core platform like Android for phones,” Foundries.io CEO George Grey explained. What Foundries has created is an open and secure solution that saves everyone from creating their own and reinventing the wheel every time. Grey says Foundries’ approach is not only secure, it provides a long-term solution to the device update problem by providing a way to deliver updates over the air in an automated manner on any device from tiny sensors to smart thermostats to autonomous cars. He says this approach will allow manufacturers to apply security patches in a similar way that Apple applies regular updates to iOS. “Manufacturers can continuously make sure their devices can be updated with the latest software to fix security flaws or Zero Day flaws,” he said. The company offers two solutions, depending on the size and complexity of your device. The Zephyr RTOS microPlatform is designed for smaller, less complex devices. For those that are more complex, Foundries offers a version of Linux called the Linux OE microPlatform. Diagram: Foundries.io Grey claims that these platforms free manufacturers to build secure devices without having to hire a team of security experts. But he says the real beauty of the product is that the more people who use it, the more secure it will get, as more and more test it against their products in a virtuous cycle.

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