Category Archives: News and Views

Why the Wikileaks CIA dump was the most damaging one yet | TechCrunch

It’s impossible to keep up with the nonstop news coverage and multiple storylines around the recent Wikileaks CIA dump. The initial Vault 7 data drop led to Assange’s press conference about “helping” private companies patch vulnerabilities, all while fear started to spread around the intelligence community listening in to our internet-connected Samsung TVs and Apple products at home, and Cisco disclosing that its routers and Internet switches had been hacked.

Most recently, CIA Director Mike Pompeo criticized WikiLeaks in his first public address since being confirmed, calling the organization a “non-state hostile intelligence service.” Pompeo makes an undeniable point about the far-reaching consequences of a leak such as this one — which, speaking from an intelligence perspective, is likely the most frightening yet.

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Google, the world’s top advertising company, is building an ad blocker for Chrome | Mashable

Google, the internet’s biggest advertising company, may be building an ad blocker.

The search giant plans to roll out a feature in the next mobile version of its Chrome browser that would filter out certain types of ads, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday,

Such a tool seems at odds with the company’s primary revenue source, but Google thinks that it could actually deter people from resorting to other blockers in the long run, according to the report.

By targeting only the most disruptive ad formats — pop-ups, interstitials, and autoplay videos, for instance — the hope is that less people will be driven to third-party software. Google already ostensibly bans many of these types of ads anyway.

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Barbie out of fashion as Mattel slumps | BBC News

Barbie sales fell 13% in the first quarter, adding to a much worse-than-expected slump for Mattel, the world’s largest toy company.

It was the second consecutive quarter of falling sales for the doll, which has been a key part of the firm’s product range for almost six decades.

Mattel said sales dropped by 15.4% to $735m (£574m) for the three months to 31 March.

That was the biggest slide since 2009 and short of the $801m forecast.

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Bill O’Reilly Exits Fox After Sexual Harassment Scandal | Bloomberg

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, the network’s most valuable host, is leaving in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal that caused dozens of advertisers to flee his top-rated show.

21st Century Fox Inc., parent of the most-watched cable network, announced his exit in a one-sentence statement Wednesday. “After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”

O’Reilly is the channel’s top draw and has been the most recognizable face of Fox News for much of its 21 years, meaning his exit will test viewer loyalty. Up to now, the network has successfully weathered the loss of key figures including founder Roger Ailes, who was also accused of sexual harassment. Another top network personality, Megyn Kelly, left for NBC in January.

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Now WeWork Wants To Build Out Your Office And Run It For You | Fast Company

At a time when more traditional businesses are scrambling to adopt the efficiencies of leaner startups, help is on the way. WeWork is currently in the research phase of a new initiative through which it will revamp companies’ offices for them, remaking them in WeWork’s image and arming them with office-management technology and a cultural attaché.

Chief product officer David Fano and head of product research Joshua Emig unveiled the infant project at a breakfast event today inside a glossy wood-walled WeWork in lower Manhattan. They discussed how they’re planning to move WeWork beyond co-working spaces to help big companies manage their own offices. Initially these on-site services will only be for large companies with 50,000 to 60,000 square feet and at least 1,000 employees. The new offerings would include everything from building out interiors to managing guests, booking conference rooms, coordinating events, analyzing office data on space usage, and providing a human community manager to instill WeWork philosophies.

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Prosecutors move to toss more than 21,000 tainted drug cases | ABC News

Prosecutors moved to throw out more than 21,000 drug convictions on Tuesday, five years after a chemist at the state drug lab was caught tampering with evidence and falsifying tests.

The state’s highest court had ordered district attorneys in seven counties to produce lists by Tuesday indicating how many of approximately 24,000 cases involving Annie Dookhan they would be unable or unwilling to prosecute if the defendants were granted new trials.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts said Tuesday night that 21,587 cases had been recommended for dismissal. It said that would be the largest dismissal of criminal convictions in U.S. history.

The cases would be formally dismissed by court action, expected Thursday, the ACLU said.

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Boeing Layoffs Will Affect Hundreds of Engineers | Fortune.com

Boeing Co warned employees on Monday it planned another round of involuntary layoffs that would affect hundreds of engineers at its commercial airplanes unit, according to a source and a memo seen by Reuters.

The latest job cuts followed a prior involuntary reduction of 245 workers set for May 19 as the company responded to increasing competition and slowing aircraft sales.

The additional layoffs are due to start June 23, according to the memo from John Hamilton, vice president of engineering at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

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Google Disabled Burger King’s Ad Hijacking Google Home, but BK Got Around That Too | Adweek

Burger King’s latest ad stunt—in which a TV spot was designed to hijack people’s Google Home devices by saying “OK, Google” and asking about the Whopper—turned into a game of cat and mouse on Wednesday, as Google blocked the ad from triggering the devices and BK quickly devised a workaround.

The saga began at noon Wednesday, as BK rolled out the 15-second spot on YouTube. In it, an actor playing a BK employee says to the camera, “OK, Google, what is the Whopper burger?” This triggered Google Homes in viewers’ houses to rattle off the first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry about the Whopper.

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New networking trends kill golf courses and restaurants | Business Insider

America’s business leaders are rethinking how they network.

Gone are the days when execs both young and more veteran had the time to spend hours at a boozy lunch or on the golf course. Taking its place are a whole new set of networking activities — think “sweatworking” on a run or at a SoulCycle class, or going on a cultural retreat with business associates.

Leading the charge is a new generation of business leaders who value efficiency and multi-tasking more than ever before. Rather than devote a large chunk of time to a formal activity they wouldn’t necessarily enjoy otherwise, many execs are seeing the value in combining their hobbies with their business.

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California Overcame 1/100 Odds to Beat Its Epic Drought | WIRED

Never tell California the odds. Not only has the state recovered from its record-breaking drought, it did so in record time. According to a new NOAA study looking at 445 years of climate data, California had a 1 percent chance of breaking the drought in just two years.

You remember the drought, right? Between 2012 to 2015, California’s epic dry spell—its worst in recorded history—depleted reservoirs, melted mountain snow, and forced farmers and cities to recklessly suck up groundwater reserves. Things got so dire that, in 2014, governor Jerry Brown signed a state of emergency curtailing water use for cities and official business. Then came 2016’s El Niño, then 2017’s commute-clogging, weekend-ruining, and infrastructure-crippling onslaught of storms. These two years of successive soaking prompted Brown, barely a week ago, to announce that the state’s drought emergency had ended.

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