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Huawei Mate 20 Pro Review: Hands-On – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo Huawei Mate 20 Pro Review: Hands-On Ubergizmo Note: This initial “hands-on” review of the new Huawei Mate 20 Pro is based on the time we spent with pre-release devices. We will update this page with our full review, based on tests and measurements as this device goes through the Ubergizmo Lab. and more »

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At what point do we admit that geoengineering is an option?

In 1883, Krakatoa erupted , spewing volcanic ash and gas into the stratosphere, making clouds more reflective and cooling the entire planet by roughly 1° C that year. In 2018, the UN reported that human activity has already raised Earth’s temperature by 1°, and if we don’t do something drastic soon, the results will be catastrophic. The optimal solution is staring us in the face, of course; reduce carbon emissions. Unfortunately this optimal solution is politically untenable and extremely expensive. A decade ago McKinsey estimated it would cost $1 trillion just to halve the growth of carbon emissions … in India alone. That’s still less than the cost of doing nothing — estimated at $20 trillion by Nature , which doesn’t include its toll on human lives — but it’s a cost which seems to make the necessary political decisions impossible. The analysts … concluded that it was just human nature and you couldn’t fix it, and so they went for a quick cheap technical fix Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash There is another option. The root problem we face is not carbon concentrations but atmospheric temperature. There are other negative side effects of carbon emissions, like ocean acidification, but the temperature is the big one. We already know how to cool the planet without reducing carbon. The solution is so simple it’s almost laughable: just make our clouds a little more reflective , so they reflect more of the sun’s light, and thus reduce our heat. Volcanoes like Krakatoa do it all the time : When Mount Tambora erupted in Indonesia in 1815 and spewed sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, farmers in New England recorded a summer so chilly that their fields frosted over in July.

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How several fact-checking sites around the world approach harassment and death threats following partnerships with Facebook to stem misinformation…

Daniel Funke / Poynter : How several fact-checking sites around the world approach harassment and death threats following partnerships with Facebook to stem misinformation   —  The PDF file is 299 pages long.  It has a table of contents, infographics and a statement of intent.  And it has extensive details …

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After Math: What could go wrong?

It's been a week of risk in the tech world, and I don't just mean Elon Musk's recent Twitter-on-acid experiment. Best Buy is wagering $800 million on a company that teaches your grandparents how gadgets work, Saint Louis University is peppering its d...

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What the hell is the deal with Tether?

It was a simple concept: a cryptocurrency whose units were always and constantly worth exactly one dollar, because they were backed by dollars held in a bank. Voila: dollars with the powers of crypto, such as the ability to quickly and permissionlessly transfer an arbitrary amount … and, er, a certain lack of pesky regulations. Now there are $2.7 billion worth of Tether in circulation, and they are anything but simple. (Euro Tether also exist but they’re a rounding error.) Who created Tether? The same people behind the exchange BitFinex, with whom Tether shares a CEO, a CFO, and ( until recently ) a Chief Strategy Officer. That much we can be fairly confident about. But everything else about this money is shrouded in a deep fog of mystery tinged with misconduct. Who buys Tether? It’s hard to say; you can trade USD for them at a couple of crypto exchanges, notably Kraken in addition to the BitFinex exchange, but I haven’t been able to find any recent public examples of anyone, institution or person, actually buying newly issued Tethers from Bitfinex. So who provides the US dollars which are said to back all newly issued Tether? It’s very hard to say. Who audits them, to ensure those dollars are there? Well — actually — nobody, despite their web site ‘s assurances that their reserve holdings are “subject to frequent professional audits” and “ Our reserve account is regularly audited .” But they “ dissolved ” their relationship with their first auditors, Friedman LLP, without an audit ever being completed, and the “proof of funds” “ transparency update ” so prominent on their home page stresses it “should not be construed as the results of an audit.” Do we have any reason to believe those dollars actually exist? Well, yes. The fact their “transparency report” is not an audit makes it very limited, questionable evidence, in my book … but it’s some evidence nonetheless

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Twitter company email addresses why it’s #BreakingMyTwitter

It’s hard to be a fan of Twitter right now. The company is sticking up for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, when nearly all other platforms have given him the boot , it’s overrun with bots, and now it’s breaking users’ favorite third-party Twitter clients like Tweetbot and Twitterific  by shutting off APIs these apps relied on. Worse still, is that Twitter isn’t taking full responsibility for its decisions. In a company email it shared today, Twitter cited “technical and business constraints” that it can no longer ignore as being the reason behind the APIs’ shutdown. It said the clients relied on “legacy technology” that was still in a “beta state” after more than 9 years, and had to be killed “out of operational necessity.” This reads like passing the buck. Big time. It’s not as if there’s some other mysterious force that maintains Twitter’s API platform, and now poor ol’ Twitter is forced to shut down old technology because there’s simply no other recourse. No. Twitter, in fact, is the one responsible for its User Streams and Site Streams APIs – the APIs that serve the core functions of these now deprecated third-party Twitter clients. Twitter is the reason these APIs have been stuck in a beta state for nearly a decade. Twitter is the one that decided not to invest in supporting those legacy APIs, or shift them over to its new API platform

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Spotify is falling behind on lyrics and voice

Spotify’s lack of full lyrics support and its minimal attention to voice are beginning to become problems for the streaming service. The company has been so focused on the development of its personalization technology and programming its playlists, it has overlooked key features that its competitors – including Apple, Google, and Amazon – today offer and are now capitalizing on. For example, in the updated version of Apple Music rolling out this fall with iOS 12, users won’t just have access to lyrics in the app as before, they will also be able to perform searches by lyrics instead of only by the artist, album, or song title. And Apple Music is actually playing catch up with Amazon on this front. Amazon Music, which has quietly grown to become the third largest music streaming service , allows users to view the lyrics as songs play , and ties that to its Alexa voice platform. Amazon Music users with an Alexa device can also search for songs by lyrics just by saying  “play the song that goes…” . The company has been offering this capability  for close to two years . While it had originally been one of Alexa’s hidden gems,  today asking Alexa to pull up a song by its lyrics is considered a standard feature. Though Google has lagged behind Apple, Spotify and Amazon in music, its clever Google Assistant is capable of search-by-lyrics , too. And as an added perk, it can also work like Shazam to identify a song that’s playing nearby. With the rise of voice-based computing, features like asking for songs with verbal commands or querying databases of lyrics by voice are now expected features

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Anonymous deals with its QAnon branding problem

When you're a notorious hacking entity like Anonymous, and a pro-Trump conspiracy cult (QAnon) steals your branding (while claiming you're the impostor), the obvious thing to do is declare cyberwar. That's exactly what Anonymous did this past week in...

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