Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram was the greatest regulatory failure of the past decade, says Stratechery’s Ben Thompson
- For years, Facebook has argued that it’s a platform: An unbiased technology service for all ideas, brands, media companies and people to distribute their work.
- That’s not really the case, argues Ben Thompson, the founder of the influential tech newsletter Stratechery.
- Thompson presented Thursday at Recode’s annual Code Conference and argued that Facebook and Google, two well-known “platforms,” are actually more like aggregators, an important distinction.
- He also argued that, as an aggregator, Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram, which is one of the best tech acquisitions of all time, was also a massive regulatory failure.
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- Even though her new media company will be funded partially through Civil Coin currency, it’s really more about bringing good journalism to the world.
Donald Trump bolsters 'Russia has kompromat' narrative
- And it's all thanks to Trump's decision to hold a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin - and then practically bow to him.
- The thing about Trump's posture toward Putin isn't just that it's highly controversial and questionable given Russia's 2016 election interference; it's also totally counter to Trump's brand.
- By the end of the day, both Trump and Putin had been asked about the idea that Russia may be blackmailing Trump (Putin addressed it twice, in fact), and two Democratic senators, including Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York, had suggested Putin had something on Trump.
- After not appearing to totally deny that he had something on Trump during their news conference, Putin offered a flatter denial to Fox News' Chris Wallace, saying Trump was of no interest to him given he hadn't launched his political career when he was in Moscow in 2013.
How Data Privacy Blunders and Conspiracy Theories Helped Fuel the 'Techlash'
- Former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris, who founded the non-profit Center for Humane Technology, said that “the technology we create is not neutral.” His argument runs counter to what many tech companies insist—that their services help people stay connected with each other, make their lives easier, and keep them better informed.
- Services like Google’s YouTube “are designed with a goal, to capture human attention,” Harris said, no matter whether it does so in a productive way for its users.
- But that’s not because of ideological concerns or because they believe the media creates so-called “fake news.” Rather, it’s that people don’t trust how news organizations collect and use their personal data, explained Cohen.
- Harris said that it’s a positive sign that companies like Apple (aapl) and Google (goog) have started initiatives intended to educate customers about limiting their use of various services.
Tech Giant Oracle Launches Blockchain Cloud Service Platform
- At the time, Thomas Kurin, Oracle’s president of product development, mentioned how this upcoming platform would be integrated with other existing services.
- The Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service offers its clients a safe environment to build and test their own networks.
- Not just that — users will be able to easily integrate Oracle’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and third-party applications.
- As part of its platform, Oracle offers its clients the chance to program and test smart contracts capable of querying the ledger, as well as join other organizations, or even procure blockchain networks.
- The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric serves as the base for Oracle’s new platform, which hastens the application development process, as well as its setup.
- CargoSmart, Arab Jordan Investment Bank, Certified Origins, Intelipost, Indian Oil, MTO, Nigeria Customs, Neurosoft, Solar Site Design, Sofbang, and TradeFin are some of the global organizations already using the Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service.
A sporting goods manager tackled a man trying to steal a gun. Now he's been fired.
- Tallahassee police say suspect Jason White went into an Academy Sports and Outdoors store on June 29 and asked to see a .40-caliber handgun.
- Crouch said he started chasing the suspect, who he said knocked over another customer while trying to escape.
- Police said White had also tried to steal a backpack and ammunition from the store.
- A search of his vehicle turned up one of two guns allegedly stolen from a pawn shop earlier that same day, they said.
- Crouch said his manager told him to take a few days off to "cool down," but when he called in on July 2, he learned he was suspended indefinitely while the company investigated.
- Crouch's attorney, Ryan Hobbs, told CNN that his client was fired for violating the company's policy against touching customers.
- Crouch said he has gotten several job offers since the firing and is considering his options.
A 5-year-old died from cancer, but not before preparing his own obituary
- My address is: I am a Bulldog!
- These lines mark the beginning of Garrett Michael Matthias' obituary, words he spoke to his parents before losing his battle to a rare form of pediatric cancer.
- In his obituary, he expressed his love for Batman and Thor and his family.
- He hated pants and needles and the illness.
- He was diagnosed with cancer nine months ago and died Friday.
- Garrett planned an imaginative funeral, with five bouncy houses (one for each year of his life), snow cones, and of course, Batman.
- And he wanted fireworks.
- CNN was not able to reach Garrett's parents Thursday.
- They said they will honor his wishes with a symbolic Thor-influenced burial ceremony and fireworks on Saturday.
- Read the full obituary here.
Syrian government forces raise flag in Dara'a, birthplace of the war
- State media said the Syrian troops entered the town of Dara'a on Thursday.
- Under an agreement reached last week with militant groups, the Syrian government said "terrorist groups will hand over heavy and medium weapons," and that those who agree to the accord will be permitted to remain in the area.
- Troops raised the Syrian flag once again over the town of Dara'a, where graffiti taunting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad about the demise of Arab dictators in other countries first sparked the uprising that became the Syrian war.
- For many Syrians, the war began in the town of Dara'a, an agricultural town on the border with Jordan.
- Over seven years later, with millions of Syrians displaced and hundreds of thousands dead, the final push into Dara'a seemingly puts an end to the war as Syrian and Russian forces wrap up a major offensive launched last month.
The future of flight
- Viñals' ambitious, speculative designs seem well suited to the times, when nascent, disruptive technologies are starting to redefine what we can expect from the aviation industry in decades to come.
- The result is an eclectic mix that fits Viñals' vision of a future where different technologies evolve in parallel, each covering a specific market niche.
- Some of his concepts would be fitted with a device to capture and withdraw carbon from the atmosphere and he's even envisioned a laser-fitted aircraft that would be able to pulverize all sorts of man-made debris from space (MKS-1B LSJC Space Debris Cleaner).
- Viñals has been approached by firms and investors active in the field of aerospace innovation with a view to tapping into his creativity and insights and opening up a way for him to make aircraft design a full-time occupation.
'Ghost particle' found in Antarctica provides astronomy breakthrough
- Because cosmic rays have energies up to a hundred million times those of the particles in the Large Hadron Collider, only something spectacularly violent could create them, scientists speculated.
- IceCube monitors the sky and detects about 200 neutrinos per day, but most are low-energy, created when cosmic rays interact with Earth's atmosphere.
- When a neutrino interacts with the nucleus of an atom, it creates a secondary charged particle, producing a cone of blue light that can be detected and mapped by IceCube's light sensor grid and traced back to its source.
- This allowed detections from 18 observatories on Earth and in space to collect data about the neutrino's source across the entire electromagnetic spectrum: high-energy gamma rays, X-rays, visible light and radio waves.
- Researchers were also able to detect a flare of gamma-rays with high energy from the blazar.
On sale in Australia: Avocados as big as your face
- Dubbed "Avozillas" -- these souped-up avocados are about five times bigger than a regular one.
- These enormous avos originally hail from South Africa, but a farming family is growing them in Queensland, reports CNN affiliate 9News.
- If you want to get your hand -- or both hands, they really are big -- on one, these Aussie avos are going for A$12 ($8) each.
- The Groves family have 400 avocado trees on the go, while 2,000 more trees have been planted by another farmer in Bundaberg.
- The biggest avocado the farmers have found so far is 1.8 kilos.
- Groves reassures avocado aficionados that increased size doesn't mean decreased flavor or creaminess.
- Avocados have become a global health craze over the past couple of year and Groves says he hopes people continue to support the avocado industry, whether they're buying the regular or super-size versions.