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Tag Archives: natasha-lomas

Apple defends decision not to remove InfoWars’ app

Apple has commented on its decision to continue to allow conspiracy theorist profiteer InfoWars to live stream video podcasts via an app in its App Store, despite removing links to all but one of Alex Jones’ podcast content from its iTunes and podcast apps  earlier this week . At the time Apple said the podcasts had violated its community standards, emphasizing that it “does not tolerate hate speech”, and saying: “We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions.” Yet the InfoWars app allows iOS users to live stream the same content Apple just pulled from iTunes. In a statement given to BuzzFeed News  Apple explains its decision not to pull InfoWars app’ — saying: We strongly support all points of view being represented on the App Store, as long as the apps are respectful to users with differing opinions, and follow our clear guidelines, ensuring the App Store is a safe marketplace for all. We continue to monitor apps for violations of our guidelines and if we find content that violates our guidelines and is harmful to users we will remove those apps from the store as we have done previously. Multiple tech platforms have moved to close to door or limit Jones’ reach on their platforms in recent weeks, including Google, which shuttered his YouTube channel , and Facebook , which removed a series of videos and banned Jones’ personal account for 30 days as well as issuing the InfoWars page with a warning strike. Spotify , Pinterest, LinkedIn, MailChimp and others have also taken action. Although  Twitter has not  banned or otherwise censured Jones — despite InfoWars’ continued presence on its platform threatening CEO Jack Dorsey’s claimed push to want to improve conversational health on his platform. Snapchat is also merely monitoring Jones’ continued presence on its platform. In an unsurprising twist, the additional exposure Jones/InfoWars has gained as a result of news coverage of the various platform bans appears to have given his apps some passing uplift… Well, the bans were great for Infowars app downloads. It’s the No. 4 news app in Apple’s App Store today, ranking above all mainstream news organizations

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Here’s Twitter’s position on Alex Jones (and hate-peddling anti-truthers) — hint: It’s a fudge

The number of tech platforms taking action against Alex Jones, the far right InfoWars conspiracy theorist and hate speech preacher, has been rising in recent weeks — with bans or partial bans including from Google, Apple and Facebook. However, as we noted earlier , Twitter is not among them. Although it has banned known hate peddlers before. Jones continues to be allowed a presence on Twitter’s platform — and is using his  verified Twitter account to scream about being censored all over the mainstream place, hyperventilating at one point in the past 16 hours that ‘censoring Alex Jones is censoring everyone’ — because, and I quote, “we’re all Alex Jones now”. (Fact check: No, we’re not… And, Alex, if you’re reading this, we suggest you take heart from the ideas in this  Onion article  and find a spot in your local park.) We asked Twitter why it has not banned Jones outright, given that its own rules service proscribe hate speech and hateful conduct… Abuse:  You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. We consider abusive behavior an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice. Hateful conduct:  You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease. Read more about our  hateful conduct policy . Add to that, CEO Jack Dorsey has made it his high profile mission of late to (try to)  improve conversational health on the platform. So it seems fair to wonder how Twitter continuing to enable a peddler of toxic lies and hate is going to achieve that? While Twitter would not provide a statement about Jones’ continued presence on its platform, a spokesman told us that InfoWars and Jones’ personal account are not in violation of Twitter (or Periscope’s) ToS . At least not yet. Though he pointed out it could of course take action in the future — i.e

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What can we learn from the Dixons data breach that blew up after disclosure

European consumer electronics retailer Dixons Carphone’s apologetic admission yesterday that a 2017 data breach was in fact  considerably worse than it first reported  suggests disclosures of major breaches could get a bit more messy — at least under the early reign of the region’s tough new data protection framework, GDPR — as organizations scramble to comply with requirements to communicate serious breaches “without undue delay”. Although, to be clear, it’s not the regulation that’s the problem. Dixons’ handling of this particular security incident has come in for sharp criticism — and is most certainly not a textbook example of how to proceed. Dixons Carphone disclosed a breach of 5.9M payment cards and 1.2M customer records in mid June , saying it had discovered the unauthorized access to its systems during a security review. However this week the company revised upwards the number of customer records affected — to around 10M. The breach itself occurred sometime last year. “They are clearly concerned about regulatory enforcement but they seem completely unprepared to handle customer reactions. With privacy and security awareness increasing exponentially, it will not be long before we see customer churn, reputational damage, and further decrease in the value of the business as a result of such a poor response to a very large breach,” says Enza Iannopollo, a security expert at the analyst Forrester, responding to Dixon’s revised report of the security incident in a statement yesterday.  The ballooning size of the Dixons breach is interesting in light of Europe’s strict new data protection regulation, which put the onus on data controllers to disclose breaches rapidly.  Rather than — as has all-too-often been the case — sitting like broody hens waiting for the most opportune corporate moment to hatch a confession, yet leaving their users in the dark in the meanwhile, unwittingly shouldering all the risk. In the case of this Dixons 2017 breach (NB: it’s  not the only breach the Group has suffered ), it’s not yet clear whether the EU’s new regulation will apply (given the incident was publicly disclosed after GDPR had come into force); or whether it will fall under the UK’s prior data protection regime — given the hack itself occurred prior to May 25, when GDPR came into force. A spokesperson for the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) told us: “Our investigation has not yet concluded which data protection law applies in this case — DPA98 or the GDPR.” While the UK’s Data Protection Act 1998 encouraged data controllers to disclose serious data breaches, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (transposed into national law in the UK via the DPA 2018 ) goes much further, putting in place a universal obligation to report serious breaches of personal data within 72 hours of becoming aware of an incident. And of course this means not just personal data that’s been actually confirmed as lost or stolen but also when a security incident entails the risk of unauthorized access to customer data. The exception to ‘undue delay within 72 hours’ is where a personal data breach is “unlikely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons”. Which, while it’s clear that not every breach will require disclosure (say for example if personal data was robustly encrypted a company may deem it unnecessary to disclose a breach), is a caveat that still sets a pretty low disclosure bar. At least where a breach entails a risk of personal information being extracted from compromised data. (Which is yet another reason why strong encryption is good for everyone.) Certainly, any companies discovering a breach that puts their customers at risk, and which took place on or after May 25, 2018, but which then decide to ‘do an Uber’ — i.e. sit on it for the best part of a year  before ‘fessing up — will put themselves squarely in EU regulators’ crosshairs for an equally major penalty.

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Sorry guys, even Elon Musk can’t fix MoviePass…

Well, Elon Musk sure had a good run at fixing the world’s pressing problems. Stuff like climate change — with those fancy electric sports cars, built in a fancy tent . Or those fancy  solar roof tiles . ( Fancy rockets aren’t really a ‘fix’ at this point but he’s thinking about the extraterrestrial future of humanity, okay.) There was also that kid-sized sub he hastily put together this summer to try and save boys trapped in a cave in Thailand (that endeavor didn’t end so great for Musk though). He’s even offered to fix Flint’s polluted water. But it appears that even a (very) well-greased God Complex knows its limits. Because the problem that Musk himself has said is too big for Musk himself to fix is, well, cash-strapped MoviePass . At least that’s what Musk said to BuzzFeed reporter Samir Mezrahi via twitter…. Finally, a task too big for @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/zrl0aZmiXL — Alex Kantrowitz (@Kantrowitz) July 31, 2018 So, sorry movie lovers. Musk and his billions might have been your only hope — i.e. against price rises and being forced to see shit films because there are fewer tickets on movies you actually want to see.

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PSA: Drone flight restrictions are in force in the UK from today

Consumers using drones in the UK have new safety restrictions they must obey from today, with a change to the law prohibiting drones from being flown above 400ft or within 1km of an airport boundary. Anyone caught flouting the new restrictions could be charged with recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or a person in an aircraft — which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison or an unlimited fine, or both. The safety restrictions were announced by the government in May , and have been brought in via an amendment the 2016 Air Navigation Order. They’re a stop-gap because the government has also been working on a full drone bill — which was originally slated for Spring but has been delayed. However the height and airport flight restrictions for drones were pushed forward, given the clear safety risks — after a year-on-year increase in reports of drone incidents involving aircraft. The  Civil Aviation Authority  has today published research to coincide with the new laws, saying it’s found widespread support among the public for safety regulations for drones. Commenting in a statement, the regulator’s assistant director Jonathan Nicholson said: “Drones are here to stay, not only as a recreational pastime, but as a vital tool in many industries — from agriculture to blue-light services — so increasing public trust through safe drone flying is crucial.” “As recreational drone use becomes increasingly widespread across the UK it is heartening to see that awareness of the Dronecode has also continued to rise — a clear sign that most drone users take their responsibility seriously and are a credit to the community,” he added, referring to the (informal) set of rules developed by the body to promote safe use of consumer drones — ahead of the government legislating. Additional measures the government has confirmed it will legislate for — announced  last summer  — include a requirement for owners of drones weighing 250 grams or more to register with the CAA, and for drone pilots to take an online safety test. The CAA says these additional requirements will be enforced from November 30, 2019 — with more information on the registration scheme set to follow next year. For now, though, UK drone owners just need to make sure they’re not flying too high or too close to airports. Earlier this month it emerged the government is considering age restrictions on drone use  too. Though it remains to be seen whether or not those proposals will make it into the future drone bill.

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Computer vision researchers build an AI benchmark app for Android phones

A group of computer vision researchers from ETH Zurich want to do their bit to enhance AI development on smartphones. To wit: They’ve created a benchmark system for assessing the performance of several major neural network architectures used for common AI tasks. They’re hoping it will be useful to other AI researchers but also to chipmakers (by helping them get competitive insights); Android developers (to see how fast their AI models will run on different devices); and, well, to phone nerds — such as by showing whether or not a particular device contains the necessary drivers for AI accelerators. (And, therefore, whether or not they should believe a company’s marketing messages.) The app, called AI Benchmark , is available for download on Google Play and can run on any device with Android 4.1 or higher — generating a score the researchers describe as a “final verdict” of the device’s AI performance. AI tasks being assessed by their benchmark system include image classification, face recognition, image deblurring, image super-resolution, photo enhancement or segmentation. They are even testing some algorithms used in autonomous driving systems, though there’s not really any practical purpose for doing that at this point. Not yet anyway. (Looking down the road, the researchers say it’s not clear what hardware platform will be used for autonomous driving — and they suggest it’s “quite possible” mobile processors will, in future, become fast enough to be used for this task. So they’re at least prepped for that possibility.) The app also includes visualizations of the algorithms’ output to help users assess the results and get a feel for the current state-of-the-art in various AI fields. The researchers hope their score will become a universally accepted metric — similar to DxOMark that is used for evaluating camera performance — and all algorithms included in the benchmark are open source. The current ranking of different smartphones and mobile processors is available on the project’s webpage

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British Airways shows everyone how not to GDPR

Let’s all take a minute to appreciate the view in the British Airways social media cockpit, where staffers at the coalface of the airline’s Twitter account have presided over a wildly unusual ‘interpretation’ of Europe’s new data protection rules. One that, er, suggests quite the opposite of GDPR compliance… Given the company’s social media staff have been caught encouraging customers to post personal data such as their address and passport number into a public forum — and here’s the anti-privacy cherry! — claiming it’s necessary for GDPR compliance! Insert your own facepalm of choice… So British Airways is asking for people's personal data over social media "to comply with GDPR", and some people are even replying directly in the public feed. uwotm8 pic.twitter.com/yUvCQ5Gti9 — Mustafa Al-Bassam (@musalbas) July 16, 2018 Mustafa Al-Bassam , the UCL information security PhD student who flagged the company’s social media fail in the above Twitter thread has since filed his own data protection complaint against British Airways — after finding its check-in page was leaking his personal data to a bunch of third parties for ad targeting purposes. Now that could be okay — say if the company asked for and gained consent for sharing his data . Or if it had another valid legal basis for collecting data, i.e. other than consent. Though it’s pretty hard to imagine what might legally justify an airline sharing paying customers’ personal information and travel data with advertisers without their express consent… Well, Al-Bassam says he was not asked for consent to share his information with advertisers. And if you’re processing data by consent — as British Airways’ privacy policy appears to suggest is what the company thinks it’s doing here — then GDPR does in fact require you to actually ask for and actually  obtain  consent first. tl;dr: Consent by default is not consent. So again the company appears to be suffering from some form of regulatory delusion syndrome where whatever it thinks GDPR compliance means is what GDPR compliance means.

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Glovo gets $134M to beef up its on-demand delivery business

Spanish startup Glovo , whose platform lets app users summon a gig economy worker to shop on their behalf, be it for a takeaway burger or a multi-bag supermarket shop, has bagged a €115 million (~$134M) Series C round of funding.  Spanish press are reporting the round values Glovo’s business at more than €300M. The lead investors in the Series C are Rakuten, Seaya and Cathay, which had also invested in its Series B. Also investing is AmRest — a publicly listed restaurant operator in Central Europe — as well as European funds Idinvest Partners and GR Capital, plus some other minor investments. AmRest controls more than 1,650 restaurants in more than 16 countries — with brands such as KFC, La Tagliatella, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Burger King, Blue Frog and KABB under its belt. So the strategic opportunities it’s spying to ply fast food fans with on-demand food at the tap of an app button are clear. Glovo raised a €30M Series B last October . The startup was founded in Barcelona in 2015, and its delivery riders — with the distinctive yellow box bags strapped to their backs — are a common sight around the city, often to be spotted clustering in expectant groups at the entrance to McDonald’s and other fast food outlets. The startup says the new funding will be put towards optimizing its platform and tech resources to improve the service to riders, users and associated stores. Specifically, it’s planning to increase its tech team by adding more than 100 engineers in the coming months — saying it wants to become what it dubs “the most relevant technology hub in Southern Europe”. It also plans to use the funds to fuel its momentum, noting it’s opened up six countries and 20 cities around the world in just three months. Its regions of focus are Latin America and EMEA areas (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), and its app is available in 61 cities in 17 countries in all at this stage

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EU’s Google Android antitrust decision incoming…

A decision in a long running EU antitrust probe of Google’s Android OS is due to land shortly. European Commission officials are trailing a press conference with competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager — to announce an “antitrust decision” at 1pm CET, with a link to watch the event streamed live. Press conference with Commissioner @vestager today at 13h00 CET on an antitrust decision – follow it live here: https://t.co/cN0JhSI5Yw — Ricardo Cardoso (@RCardosoEU) July 18, 2018 Bloomberg is reporting the EU’s fine for Android will be in the region of $5BN — which would be the largest ever antitrust penalty handed down by the Commission. The case focuses on whether Google has abused its market dominance and crowded out rivals by taking steps to ensure its own-brand apps and services are pre-loaded on Android devices. In April,  Reuters reported on a 2016 document it had reviewed which said the Commission planned to levy a large fine against Google and would also order the company to stop giving revenue-sharing payments to smartphone makers to pre-install only Google Search. Reuters also reported then that Google would be ordered to stop requiring its own Chrome browser and other apps to be installed alongside Google’s Play store. The Commission will confirm the full details of its Android decision in the next few hours. Stay tuned for more as we get it… 

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WeWork takes meat off the menu as part of environmental policy drive

WeWork, the co-working startup that’s valued at ~$20 billion and has some 200,000 members across 200 locations globally plus nearly 6,000 staff of its own, will no long allow employees to expense meat. It will also no longer serve meat at company events. The policy shift is intended to reduce the business’ environmental impact. The new internal policy was reported on Friday by Bloomberg  which obtained a company memo in which co-founder Miguel McKelvey revealed the policy, writing: “New research indicates that avoiding meat is one of the biggest things an individual can do to reduce their personal environmental impact — even more than switching to a hybrid car.” So Elon Musk take note. A WeWork spokeswoman confirmed the new policy to us — which specifically removes red meat, poultry and pork from company menus and expenses policy. Though she emphasized that the company is not prohibiting WeWork staff or members from bringing in meat-based meals they’ve paid for themselves. Members are also still free to host their own events at WeWork locations and serve meat they’ve paid for themselves. The policy only applies to food purchased (or paid for) by WeWork itself. The spokeswoman also confirmed that fish is not covered in the meat-free initiative. The internal memo announcing the meat-free policy is embedded below: Global Team, One thing that inspires me most about WeWork is our ability to effect positive change. Our team, united together, has no limit when solving any problem. That’s the Power of We

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Reminder: Other people’s lives are not fodder for your feeds

#PlaneBae You should cringe when you read that hashtag. Because it’s a reminder that people are being socially engineered by technology platforms to objectify and spy on each other for voyeuristic pleasure and profit. The short version of the story attached to the cringeworthy hashtag is this: Earlier this month an individual, called Rosey Blair, spent all the hours of a plane flight using her smartphone and social media feeds to invade the privacy of her seat neighbors — publicly gossiping about the lives of two strangers. Her speculation was set against a backdrop of rearview creepshots, with a few barely there scribbles added to blot out actual facial features. Even as an entire privacy invading narrative was being spun unknowingly around them. #PlanePrivacyInvasion would be a more fitting hashtag. Or #MoralVacuumAt35000ft And yet our youthful surveillance society started with a far loftier idea associated with it: Citizen journalism. Once we’re all armed with powerful smartphones and ubiquitously fast Internet there will be no limits to the genuinely important reportage that will flow, we were told. There will be no way for the powerful to withhold the truth from the people. At least that was the nirvana we were sold. What did we get? Something that looks much closer to mass manipulation

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Goodwall gets $10.8M to expand its ‘LinkedIn for students’

Goodwall , a US-focused student and graduate professional network which aims to connect young people with college and employment opportunities, has closed a $10.8 million Series A funding raise. The round was led by Randstad Innovation Fund , a strategic corporate VC fund that focuses on recruitment, and Swiss private equity firm Manixer. Additional investors include Francis Clivaz, Zurich Cantonal Bank and Verve Capital Partners. The 2014 founded startup says it will be using the new funding to grow the professional network, which has a core demographic of 14-24 year-olds, and more than one million members at this stage. “Our main initiative with this round of funding is hiring new talent in New York to support our expansion,” says  Taha Bawa, co-founder and CEO . “The funding will be used to grow our product team to provide better features for our two demographics: Highschool and college students. We are growing our sales team as well, to handle the demand that enterprises have shown in our talent.” “The United States is our current focus and will continue to be the focus throughout 2018. We will be growing with our students and serving them in college,” he adds. “ We intend to widen the appeal to the college/post-grad segment by focusing on driving value in terms of being found easily (via a mobile-first experience) by the companies that are interesting to them, whether they be startups or larger companies, for internships or first jobs. Beyond this, as with high school students, we will provide current college students the ability to connect and support each other.” Goodwall’s business model is based on generating  revenue from colleges and enterprises looking to recruit students on the platform.  For its target young people, the pull is an online platform where they can connect with fellow students and try to get ahead by showcasing their skills and experience, networking, and learning about education and employment opportunities. Goodwall says it matches its college student and graduate users to employers for job and internship opportunities, while its high school students get connected to colleges and scholarships. The startup is competing with traditional college and larger job boards but Bawa argues that its matching process offers an advantage to employers because it’s screening candidates so they get more relevant applications, rather than scores of irrelevant ones which they then have to sift themselves. The platform generally offers employers a way to source, connect and engage with a pool of motivated students and graduates — with employers able to pay Goodwall to get their brand in front of the types of students or recruits they’re looking for. “The typical Goodwall user is an English speaking, aspirational go-getter that is either college-bound or in college,” says Bawa. “Goodwall does not aim to only serve the 1% in terms of grades and achievements, though we have many students in this category, from Robotics Fairs winners to Olympic Champions

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Hold for the drop: Twitter to purge locked accounts from follower metrics

Twitter is making a major change aimed at cleaning up the spammy legacy of its platform. This week it will globally purge accounts it has previously locked (i.e. after suspecting them of being spammy) — by removing the accounts from users’ follower metrics. Which in plain language means Twitter users with lots of followers are likely to see their follower counts take a noticeable hit in the coming days. So hold tight for the drop. Late last month  Twitter flagged smaller changes to follower counts, also as part of a series of platform-purging anti-spam measures — warning users they might see their counts fluctuate more as counts had been switched to being displayed in near real-time (in that case to try to prevent spambots and follow scams artificially inflating account metrics). But the global purge of locked accounts from user account metrics looks like it’s going to be a rather bigger deal, putting some major dents in certain high profile users’ follower counts — and some major dents in celeb egos. Hence Twitter has blogged again. “ Follower counts are a visible feature, and we want everyone to have confidence that the numbers are meaningful and accurate,” writes Twitter’s Vijaya Gadde,  legal, policy and trust & safety lead, flagging the latest change. “Most people will see a change of four followers or fewer; others with larger follower counts will experience a more significant drop.” It will certainly be interesting to see whether the change substantially dents Twitter follower counts of high profiles users — such as Katy Perry  (109,609,073 Twitter followers at the time of writing)  Donald Trump  (53,379,873); Taylor Swift (85,566,010);  Elon Musk (22,329,075); and Beyoncé (15,303,191), to name a few of the platform’s most followed users. Check back in a week to see how their follower counts look. “We understand this may be hard for some, but we believe accuracy and transparency make Twitter a more trusted service for public conversation,” adds Gadde. Twitter is also warning that while “the most significant changes” will happen in the next few days, users’ follower counts “may continue to change more regularly as part of our ongoing work to proactively identify and challenge problematic accounts”.

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The Nudge is a planner app packaged as an SMS subscription service

How do you fix digital information overload and the resulting life-attention deficit that’s apparently afflicting smartphone owners everywhere — and even leading  some very large tech giants to unbox “ digital wellness ” tools lately? San Francisco-based startup  The Nudge  reckons the answer to getting millennials to spend less time sucked into screens, and more time out and about actually doing  things, is — you guessed it — another technology service! Albeit one that delivers inspirational plan ideas for stuff to do in your free time, delivered via the traditional text message conduit of SMS. The sibling duo behind the startup, John and Sarah Peterson, have bagged $540,000 in pre-seed funding for their text planner idea, after running a year-long public beta of the service in San Francisco. The investment is led by seed-stage VC firm NextView Ventures, with Sequoia’s scout fund also participating. Peterson says the idea to send plans via SMS evolved out of his earlier (and first) startup, called Livday: Also a planner app for friends to share their favorite ideas for weekend hikes and so on. But being just another app meant having to compete for attention with noisy social content, so the siblings hit on the idea of using SMS — as a sort of artisanal reversion of current state consumer tech — to “find a way to rise above the noise,” as they put it. Or, well, attempt to circumvent app notification fatigue/mute buttons. As is often the case in fashion-led consumer tech, old ways can get polished up to feel shiny and new again once whatever displaced them has lost enough sheen to start to look old. The Nudge has garnered around 10,000 active weekly users at this point, launching out of its year-long public beta. Peterson describes the typical user as “an active millennial woman,” with the community skewing 70 percent female at this point. For the active user metric the team defines an active user as someone who is reading and engaging with the text messages they’re sending — either by clicking a link or replying. They further claim to have signed up 5 percent of San Francisco’s millennials to their lifestyle “nudges.” “While our new rebrand has a somewhat feminine aesthetic it’s interesting that we initially were targeting men. It just really resonated with millennial women,” says Peterson. “They need this because taking  the  initiative is  the  essential yet hardest part of living our lives to  the  fullest, and that’s what we give them,” he adds. “A  nudge

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Musk’s mini sub “not practical” for Thai cave boys rescue

Billionaire SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted at the weekend  to say he was working with cave experts to build a mini submarine out of rocket parts that he thought could help a rescue effort to free 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped for weeks in a flooded underground cave complex in Thailand. In the last few minutes, it’s just been confirmed that an eleventh boy has been brought out of the cave complex by the divers. However Musk’s unasked for experimental ‘escape pod’ device has not been involved in the rescue mission — after being deemed impractical for conditions in the caves. The Guardian  reports the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation, Narongsak Osatanakorn, telling reporters today: “Although Musk’s technology is good and sophisticated it’s not practical for this mission.” The complex rescue mission to extract the football team has been ongoing for several days, with an international team of rescue divers leading each boy individually out of the cave complex, fitted with a full-face scuba mask and carrying a supply of oxygen so they can pass through kilometers of tapering tunnels flooded with monsoon rains. Musk himself apparently flew to Thailand, posting a video from inside one of the caves to his Instagram account… Just got back from Cave 3 A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on Jul 9, 2018 at 2:43pm PDT Despite Musk’s escape pod idea proving impractical for the rescue effort, AFP reports that a spokesman for Thailand’s military junta thanked the billionaire for his offer of assistance and for taking a personal interest in the operation. Spokesman for Thai junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha thanks @elonmusk for his offer of help over trapped cave boys (though you kinda get the feeling the subtext is, thanks, but we got this) pic.twitter.com/qMORj3df51 — Jerome Taylor (@JeromeTaylor) July 10, 2018 Musk tweeted earlier to say he would leave the sub in Thailand “in case it may be useful in the future”.

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