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Category: Technology

Google Released Location Data to Measure Lockdown Effectiveness

Tech mammoth Google has shared client area information with governments around the globe, with an end goal to gauge how compelling lockdown and safe house set up arrangements have been. The informational collection, which has likewise been freely distributed, shows area data on billions of clients in 131 countries.

Graphs distributed by the organization show a correlation between a period from February sixteenth to March 29th to a multi week time span prior this year. The organization concentrated on traffic to retail and recreational scenes, stops, train and transport stations, work environments, and supermarkets.

With this data, governments can check whether individuals are complying with cover set up approaches and contrast the viability of these strategies with other wellbeing measures.

This move by Google has naturally raised numerous security concerns given the doubt of area following programming. Giving over these information to governments has goaded certain protection guard dogs. Be that as it may, the organization distributed the meta-level information openly for this precise explanation—to keep away from any equivocalness about what data they shared.

WHICH COUNTRIES HAVE QUARANTINED THE MOST? THE LEAST?

The discoveries were very natural. Traffic rates generally connected with the kind of strategy, the seriousness of the episode in that district, and how severe the measures were.

The nations with the biggest drop in visits to retail and amusement areas were Italy and Spain. Traffic to places like eateries, stores, and cinemas dropped an astounding 94%, which bodes well given that these two nations have been hit hardest by COVID-19.

The littlest drop was in South Korea, with just a 19% tumble off in rush hour gridlock to retail and amusement areas. That is on the grounds that it’s been the nation that has been the best in really easing back the spread because of its utilization of across the board testing and itemized contact following.

Since the coronavirus is mellow to asymptomatic in numerous individuals, it is critical to test everybody, not simply those wiped out enough to go to the hospital. And in light of the fact that the South Korean government rushed to hack up the assets expected to test everybody, their economy has really endured the littlest shot. These information are an extremely convincing contention for governments to test everybody and to move rapidly to do it.

Japan and Sweden, neither of which have forced lockdown rules, saw a 25% drop in business movement while the decrease in rush hour gridlock for the U.S. has been just shy of half with wide swings from the normal relying upon where the infection is generally dynamic.

There are no information on the progressions made in China and Iran, given that Google administrations are obstructed in those districts.

ISSUES REGARDING PRIVACY

Google has said that it is extremely unlikely an individual could be recognized through this informational index, neither by people in general or the administration. The information focuses come distinctly from those clients who have consented to Google’s “Area History” highlight.

Irresistible ailment authorities have requested segment data from the information to all the more successfully target open assistance declarations. Google said it won’t share the crude data, yet indicated that they may have the option to do an in-house segment investigation, which it could share.

Google isn’t the main organization that has been utilizing its in any case inside data to join the battle against the pandemic. Facebook has additionally shared information on their billions of clients with private scientific gatherings. Nonetheless, it has not freely distributed what was shared, prompting more vulnerability about security mishandles.

Quantum Supremacy: How Supercomputers will Enhance Everyday Life

While it seems like the stuff of tragic sci-fi, quantum matchless quality is really an undeniable achievement for a super-PC. It’s accomplished when such a processor can play out an estimation surprisingly fast that would take a typical PC quite a long while. Google as of late guaranteed that its 54-qubit Sycamore processor accomplished quantum incomparability when it broke a figuring in 200 seconds that would have taken the world’s driving super-PCs 10,000 years. Despite the fact that Google’s presentation has been contested by a few, it merits investigating what the genuine uses of such quantum ability could be.

 

Cracking passwords

 

Right now, any programmer or substance attempting to utilize savage power on a scrambled secret word could squander years attempting to obtain entrance. In any case, quantum PCs can possibly increase beast power passage very quickly, killing encryption as we probably am aware it. Then again, quantum PCs would likewise have the option to make much progressively complex types of encryption, eventually making passwords considerably more grounded.

 

Medication design

 

Right now, so as to see the impacts of a medication, researchers must combine the particle and watch its associations with different atoms. This takes a great deal of experimentation time and assets. Be that as it may, quantum PCs could display and run reenactments of medication connections in record time. While this would set aside specialists time and cash, it would likewise spare lives in the log run as the times for testing of life-sparing meds could be forcefully abbreviated – seems like a pandemic must-have.

 

Artificial Intelligence

 

Quantum PC’s capacity to take care of complex issues including robust measures of data very quickly makes certain to reinforce the ascent of man-made consciousness, which should process information at lightning-speed to arrive at its actual potential.

 

Finance

 

Exchanging and hazard evaluation include enormous scope models and reproductions, and quantum PCs can possibly give financial specialists a colossal edge. The Monte Carlo reproduction, for example, which envisions the effect of hazard and vulnerability in a speculation, could be drawn-up in only a couple of moments by a quantum super-PC.

 

Climate Modeling

 

Earth is a perplexing biological system comprised of many littler frameworks. Delineating the communications and synergistic connections between them is a difficult task. This multifaceted nature is the thing that makes it hard for current atmosphere models to be entirely exact. With quantum processing, we could make increasingly exact models that could deal with more factors, which could give us a superior thought of how we can practically slow or invert the impacts of environmental change.

Drones to Deliver Medicine

Having an automaton convey medication appears as though something out of a science fiction film, yet in all honesty, it’s as of now happening today. Given the interest for conveyance drivers in thickly populated zones, remote and rustic networks that need clinical supplies are enduring, which has caused an interest for non-human conveyance strategies.

In October 2019, the FAA affirmed an UPS solicitation to convey medication by means of automatons, a training previously being utilized in the UK, Ireland and Rwanda.

Organizations in the blend

The main two organizations behind automaton conveyances of clinical supplies are Zipline and Medical Drones. Notwithstanding conveying medication, they can convey blood and microbiology examples, for example, semen and societies.

Presently consider the significance that such quick shipment could have for the human services field. Prompt conveyance of medication through automaton could be the contrast among life and demise, especially for the individuals who live far away from emergency clinics. Youth antibodies that decline baby death rates could be promptly accessible to individuals in rustic locales. What’s more, during this pandemic, automatons could be giving without a moment to spare conveyance of test packs, reagents, medication and, possibly one day soon, a COVID-19 antibody.

Changing the retail scene

Yet, it’s not simply the clinical network that has hopped on board the automaton transport. While administrations aren’t accessible presently, Amazon has since quite a while ago arranged the dispatch of “Amazon Prime Air,” an automaton framework that could conveyance a wide range of shipments in select urban communities. In spite of the fact that the main fruitful test conveyance was done in 2016, Amazon’s arrangement has since been waylaid by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Amazon Prime Air can possibly be the second time the organization totally changes customer culture. Envision requesting a telephone case and having an automaton convey it to your entryway inside 30 minutes! That is the sort of quick and productive conveyance strategy Amazon envisions giving to its clients.

While robotization has its drawbacks, such as supplanting human specialists, it could be urgent to raising the personal satisfaction for such a large number of around the globe.

 

The Google team created a supercomputer?

Google researchers say their quantum computer can perform calculations beyond the capabilities of other computers today. This is a long-awaited moment by scientists – reports Financial Times.

The document seen by “FT”, which was briefly published by NASA, confirmed that the processor created by Google was able to perform complex calculations in three minutes and 20 seconds. Similar bills to an ordinary computer would take about 10,000 years.

In this way, scientists have proved that the level of development of quantum computers, which was impossible until recently, has been reached today. According to the Financial Times, for now the system can do only one, extremely complicated calculation and the use of quantum machines to solve practical problems remains a matter of years.

However, Google researchers called their achievement “a milestone towards full-scale quantum computing” while adding that the power of similar machines will increase at an accelerated pace.

The document published by NASA was removed and the company declined to comment on this matter.

Bitcoin scammers found a new tactic on site owners – a threat and a ransom demand

Fraudsters are not sleeping. They are constantly looking for new methods to get free bitcoins.

After trying to sextortion scam they try to scam website owners and webmasters.

Here is a message they sent to webmasters.

Name : [xxxxxxx]

Phone : xxxxxxxxxxx

Email : xxxxx

Message : Hey. Soon your hosting account and your domain [domain name here] will be blocked forever, and you will receive tens of thousands of negative feedback from angry people.

Pay me 0.5 BTC until June 1, 2019.
Otherwise, you will get the reputation of a malicious spammer, your site [domain name here] will be blocked for life and you will be sued for insulting believers. I guarantee this to you.

My bitcoin wallet: 19ckouUP2E22aJR5BPFdf7jP2oNXR3bezL

Here is a list of what you get if you don’t follow my requirements:
+ abuse spamhouse for aggressive web spam
+ tens of thousands of negative reviews about you and your website from angry people for aggressive web and email spam
+ lifetime blocking of your hosting account for aggressive web and email spam
+ lifetime blocking of your domain for aggressive web and email spam
+ Thousands of angry complaints from angry people will come to your mail and messengers for sending you a lot of spam
+ complete destruction of your reputation and loss of clients forever
+ for a full recovery from the damage you need tens of thousands of dollars

All of the above will result in blocking your domain and hosting account for life. The price of your peace of mind is 0.5 BTC.

Do you want this?

If you do not want the above problems, then before June 1, 2019, you need to send me 0.5 BTC to my Bitcoin wallet: 19ckouUP2E22aJR5BPFdf7jP2oNXR3bezL

How do I do all this to get this result:
1. I will send messages to 33 000 000 sites with contact forms with offensive messages with the address of your site, that is, in this situation, you and the spammer and insult people.
And everyone will not care that it is not you.
2. I’ll send messages to 19,000,000 email addresses and very intrusive advertisements for making money and offer a free iPhone with your website address [domain name here] and your contact details.
And then send out abusive messages with the address of your site.
3. I will do aggressive spam on blogs, forums and other sites of your site [domain name here]
After such spam, the spamhouse will turn its attention on you and after several abuses your host will be forced to block your account for life.
Your domain registrar will also block your domain permanently.

All of the above will result in blocking your domain and hosting account for life.
If you do not want to receive thousands of complaints from users and your hosting provider, then pay before June 1, 2019.
The price of your peace of mind is 0.5 BTC.
Otherwise, I will send your site through tens of millions of sites that will lead to the blocking of your site for life and you will lose everything and your reputation as well.
But get a reputation as a malicious spammer.

My bitcoin wallet: 19ckouUP2E22aJR5BPFdf7jP2oNXR3bezL

If you have received this message you can safely ignore, it’s nonsense.

Don’t pay the scammers

 

Sextortion Emails Scam in Chinese

I recently wrote about bitcoin scamSextortion scams are when an attacker sends emails to people stating that their computer is hacked and that the attackers have been recording the screen and webcam as the user visits adult sites. The scammers then blackmail the recipients by stating they will release the videos to friends and family if they do not receive a payment in bitcoins. Scamemrs are trying new ways and sending sextortion emails in Chinese.

This an example:

こんにちは!

私は数ヶ月前にあなたの電子メールとデバイスをクラックしたハッカーです。
あなたが訪問したサイトの1つにパスワードを入力君た。それを傍受しました。

もちろん、それを変更したり、すでに変更したりすることができます。
しかし、それは問題ではありません、私のマルウェアは毎回それを更新しました。

私に連絡したり、私を見つけようとしないでください。それは不可能です。 私はあなたのアカウントからメールをあなたに送ったので、

あなたの電子メールを介して、私はあなたのオペレーションシステムに悪質なコードをアップロードしました。
私は友人、同僚、親戚とのあなたの連絡先のすべてを保存し、インターネットリソースへの訪問の完全な履歴を保存しました。
また、あなたのデバイスにトロイの木馬をインストールしました。

あなたは私の唯一の犠牲者ではない、私は通常、デバイスをブロックし、身代金を求める。
しかし、私は頻繁に訪れる親密なコンテンツのサイトにショックを受けました。

私はあなたの幻想にショックを受けている! 私はこれのようなものを見たことがない!

だから、あなたがサイトで楽しむとき(あなたは私が何を意味するか知っています!)
あなたのカメラのプログラムを使用してスクリーンショットを作成しました。
その後、私はそれらを現在閲覧されているサイトのコンテンツに結合しました。

これらの写真を連絡先に送信すると素晴らしいことがあります。
しかし、あなたがそれを望んでいないと確信しています。

したがって、私は沈黙のためにあなたからの支払いを期待しています。
私は$896が良い価格だと思います!

Bitcoin経由で支払う。
私のBTCウォレット: 1JDi4GbHUzCrrnT7BCYbnsyLyrFpNK7faP

あなたがこれを行う方法を知らない場合 – Googleに「BTCウォレットに送金する方法」を入力します。 難しくない。
指定された金額を受け取ると、妥協しているすべての材料は自動的に破壊されます。私のウイルスはあなた自身のオペレーティングシステムからも削除されます。

私のトロイの木馬は自動アラートを持っています。私はこのメールを読んだ後でメッセージを受け取ります。

私はあなたに支払いのための2日間を与える(正確に48時間)。
これが起こらない場合 – すべてのあなたの連絡先はあなたの暗い秘密の生活からクレイジーショットを取得します!
あなたが妨害しないように、あなたのデバイスはブロックされます(また、48時間後)

ばかなことしないで!
警察や友人はあなたを確実に助けません…

p.s. 私はあなたに将来のアドバイスを与えることができます。 安全でないサイトにはパスワードを入力しないでください。

私はあなたの慎重さを願っています。
お別れ。

 

In English:

Hello!

I am a hacker who cracked your email and devices several months ago.
You entered your password on one of the sites you visited. I intercepted it.

Of course, you can change it or change it already.
But that is not a problem, my malware has updated it every time.

Please do not contact me or try to find me. That is impossible. Since I sent you an email from your account,

Through your e-mail, I uploaded malicious code to your operating system.
I saved all of your contacts with friends, colleagues, relatives and saved a complete history of visits to internet resources.
Also installed Trojan horse on your device.

You are not my only victim, I usually block the device and ask for ransom.
However, I was shocked by the frequently visited intimate content site.

I am shocked by your illusion! I have never seen something like this!

So when you enjoy on the site (you know what I mean!)
I made a screenshot using the program of your camera.
After that, I combined them with the contents of the site currently being viewed.

Sending these photos to your contacts is wonderful.
But I am sure that you do not want it.

Therefore, I am expecting payment from you for silence.
I think $ 896 is a good price!

Pay via Bitcoin.
My BTC wallet: 1JDi4GbHUzCrrnT7BCYbnsyLyrFpNK7faP

If you do not know how to do this – enter “How to transfer money to BTC Wallet” to Google. It is not difficult.
Upon receipt of the specified amount, all compromised materials are automatically destroyed. My virus will also be deleted from your own operating system.

My Trojan has an automatic alert. I will receive a message after reading this mail.

I will give you two days for payment (exactly 48 hours).
If this does not happen – all your contacts will get a crazy shot from your dark secret life!
Your device will be blocked so that you will not interfere (also after 48 hours)

Do not be stupid!
Police and friends will definitely not help you …

p.s. I can give you future advice. Please do not enter password for unsafe sites.

I am wishing for your cautiousness.
Farewell. ”

You should check your email password, ask your hosting company if you email was compromised. Just for sure.

 

No matter what the cheater writes in the mail, how convincing he would – never pay the ransom.

 

You can report scam on bitcoinwhoswho.com/

Scammer bitcoin address – 1JDi4GbHUzCrrnT7BCYbnsyLyrFpNK7faP

 

 

 

 

 

Email hack scam and Bitcoin ransom

Recently I stumbled on email scam. It’s very interesting, because the scammers use bitcoin cryptocurrency. The scammers claim they know the “secrets” and have access to the e-mail account and social media accounts. If you got such an e-mail, you can change the password to the e-mail account and ask (just in case) if there was any break-in to your server.

Below is the content of the email:

“Hello!
I’m a member of an international hacker group.

As you could probably have guessed, your account [email address here] was hacked, because I sent message you from your account.

Now I have access to all your accounts!
For example, your password for [email address here]

Within a period from July 31, 2018 to October 3, 2018, you were infected by the virus we’ve created, through an adult website you’ve visited.
So far, we have access to your messages, social media accounts, and messengers.
Moreover, we’ve gotten full damps of these data.

We are aware of your little and big secrets…yeah, you do have them. We saw and recorded your doings on porn websites. Your tastes are so weird, you know..

But the key thing is that sometimes we recorded you with your webcam, syncing the recordings with what you watched!
I think you are not interested show this video to your friends, relatives, and your intimate one…

Transfer $800 to our Bitcoin wallet: 1F5csJmyf3yJs5s25tZmYKoFXznR452er9
If you don’t know about Bitcoin please input in Google “buy BTC”. It’s really easy.

I guarantee that after that, we’ll erase all your “data” 🙂

A timer will start once you read this message. You have 48 hours to pay the above-mentioned amount.

Your data will be erased once the money are transferred.
If they are not, all your messages and videos recorded will be automatically sent to all your contacts found on your devices at the moment of infection.

You should always think about your security.
We hope this case will teach you to keep secrets.
Take care of yourself.”

It seems that the fraudsters use ignorance of webmaster.  At the beginning, I checked the bitcoin address on this page. It shows: “Scam Alert: This address has been reported as fraudulent (9 times).”

How do you think how many people can be fooled? Please don’t pay these scammers.

 

Two College Degrees Later, I Was Still Picking Kale For Rich People

Mark Nerys for BuzzFeed News

The customer laughing at me over the phone had a voice that sounded green. Green like overpriced avocado toast, bottled chlorophyll, spirulina, eco-friendly laundry detergent, and other “clean” affectations that seem to sum up a lifestyle that’s so natural, organic, and pristine only wealthy women with cold, tony laughs can afford to live it.

I was working for an on-demand grocery shopping and delivery service called Instacart, often referred to as “Uber for groceries.” I was wooed by stories of Instacart’s flexibility, and because I was a freelance writer, I required that kind of freedom. I also liked the idea of working via an app, because in theory, I could do my job without much customer interaction, which is something I’d grown weary of after years in retail. For about 20 hours a week, I worked at Whole Foods Market in Philadelphia shopping for busy people and shut-ins, selecting all of their groceries with the kind of attention and care that hardly anyone uses when shopping for themselves. It was an incredibly intimate job that involved fondling produce to check for bruises and other irregularities, thinking extensively about customers’ meal plans, and intuiting responses for clients who did not want to be contacted about their shopping lists.

I’d first found myself standing in front of a massive, seasonal apple display in the produce section of Whole Foods Market a few weeks before. Graham, the young, officious orientation leader for Instacart, had impressed upon all of us the importance of finding flawless produce — in this case, perfect honeycrisp apples — for our customers. I dismissed several apples with cuts, and a few that were a bit too small for the size specifications preferred by the app. Instacart times their shoppers, and I was getting further and further away from the desired 1.8-minute picking time per item, which would result in lower stats and possibly a lower tip — metrics that factored into my pay and place in the app’s order dispatch algorithm. Occasionally, a customer's hand would stray into my line of vision and I'd watch as an “OK” apple was plucked from the batch without much judgement. I would soon find out that my own judgment was far worse than I’d thought.

The woman who laughed at me was one of these customers with very discerning tastes currently causing me a lot of anxiety. I was looking over all of the items I’d carefully picked out for her when she gargled that curdling laugh, making fun of my flabbergasted response to her curt manner and rude replies to the questions I had asked about her order. For a second, I blamed myself for making the mistake of contacting her to ask a question. As I palmed an overripe Granny Smith, I thought about how similar my rude customer was to the laughing character in the pea-green dress from Toni Morrison’s Sula. (To pass the time, I often listed scenes from black women’s literature that featured grocery or market scenes.) Her laugh inspired another character, Eva Peace, to feel a “liquid trail of hate”; while I certainly didn't hate the customer who ridiculed me, I could relate to Eva's instantaneous recognition of her emotions and the quickness with which she adapted her outlook.

Still standing in the middle of the produce section with my phone against my face — the call over — I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry. With “all my education,” as my family would say, two degrees and the student loans to show for it, I was nonetheless positioned only marginally better off than my grandparents, who ran errands and did other grunt work two generations removed from where I now stood. Activity continued around me, and this glaring manifestation of what it meant to only slightly improve over one’s predecessors was a quiet, personal revelation that somehow moored me and kept me from imploding. I recognized a shared struggle between myself and them, a sort of inheritance. And unlike my grandparents, who had grade school educations and did factory and domestic work, I had options. Or at least, I thought I did.

When I was a kid, I regularly parked myself in front of my great-grandmother’s wood-paneled swivel television that was slowly going bad. In between episodes of her “stories,” aka soap operas, she’d tell some of her own, about working for Jewish families in South Philly during the Depression. Little Mom — that’s what we called her — talked plainly about her revulsion at the dirty work she’d been given and how she’d strung together a number of these small jobs to support my great-aunt Betty and my grandfather, Charles.

The stuff about work usually stayed hidden away, quite like the money she kept folded into a crease in her bosom. When she did tell these stories it seemed like she would almost black out in order to get the details right, listing the indignities she felt working these jobs with a laconic intensity and steady determination: washing the house’s windows inside and out, cleaning the mattresses and box springs, scrubbing the floors on her knees, a lunch of a cheese sandwich and a glass of milk offered by a client that was quickly rejected, getting paid $ 3 a day.

We do the work we have to do, but who wants to be the work we do?

In retrospect, I wonder if she was trying to contain that aspect of her memory so that it would not trouble her every day. We do the work we have to do, but who wants to be the work we do? I now had my own litany of insipid information: How many bananas made up two pounds, the quickest way to check for cracks on all sides of an egg, how many produce bags one needs to properly contain pointy sweet potatoes without ripping them all felt beneath me. I was supposed to be The Writer, not a beat of generational repetition. If, in some future, a granddaughter of mine sat on the living room floor and stared up at me while I remembered my own work, what memory would I have to offer her?

As I bent down to pick up a can of non-GMO chunky tomato bisque soup for a customer, I contemplated what it meant to have a “job.” My family’s work history, like that of many black American families, is one of ingenuity. My grandfather Charlie served in the Korean War, and when he returned to the States he became a longshoreman. He met my grandmother Cissy sometime after that and started a family with her, his second. In the '50s, when they met, my grandmother already had three children with an Italian-American barber who was not ready to commit to her because of the way interracial relationships were viewed at the time. My grandparents had four children together, and my mom is the youngest of that brood.

My grandmother Cissy worked at a storm door factory in Philadelphia for a time, supplementing her income by hosting parlor games like Pitty Pat and Tonk in her home each weekend, and charging each player $ 2 per hand. When she quit the storm door factory, the card games became her main source of income. Then she wrote numbers, or illegal lottery, for the local numbers man. Dream books, the thin, cheap consultation indexes that helped you pick a lottery number that corresponded with a subject from your dreams, were touchstones in all of the women’s kitchens in the neighborhood. My mom, grandmom, and great-grandmother all played their dreams to the numbers man, hoping to come up on a little more money they could use for a hairdo, or trips to Atlantic City, where they pulled levers until their elbows were sore, or for a more pressing issue like bail.

Cissy would hide money all around the house, because she couldn’t open a bank account due to the illegal nature of her work. My mom recalls her hiding money everywhere — in socks, holes in the walls, under mattresses; there were money stashes everywhere but the bank. My grandmother didn’t own that house, on Alder Street between Bainbridge and South, even though she was given the option to at one point from its owner. She rented and rented, and soon took the money, and her family to another home on Marvine Street. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, she lived in an apartment in the Martin Luther King housing projects with my mom.

Sometimes my mom expresses regret that my grandmother never purchased any of the homes she lived in, even though she had the money to do so. The owners of the Alder Street house offered to sell her the house for $ 500, but she declined. Because the job she created for herself was illegal, I think she felt she was unable to purchase the home, fearing inquisitions by tax auditors and police. Now, instead of commiserating with my mom about the lost opportunity, or talking to her about generational wealth disparities, I just listen, because there’s no real answer for that kind of disappointment.

Ever since I can remember, my mom has worked jobs she didn’t quite like. She had dropped out of high school in 11th grade and got her GED when my brother and I were little. At the end of elementary school, my mom worked as a telemarketer, then spent five years as a clerk at various state-owned liquor stores throughout Philadelphia. When I was in high school, she got a job as a front desk associate at a Marriott in downtown Philly. Lateness caused her to lose that job, and another at a Marriott property in Southwest Philly near the airport. After she was first fired, she decided to go back to school to become a diagnostic technician, and she enrolled at the Community College of Philadelphia. I don’t know why she picked that field. She thought for sure that she was finally positioned to have a career and not just a job. Eventually she quit CCP because she couldn’t hold down a decent full-time job and go to school at the same time. Now, when my mom changes jobs, I like to frame these experiences as new adventures, and “fresh starts,” and in some ways they are. Yet, no one I know over 50 has ever started an adventurous job — or at least one that did them any good. My dad’s the perfect example of why that’s true.

My dad wrote short stories and scripts, and moved to New York City to become an actor.

My dad was plucked off of the streets of South Philly by a neighborhood gang when he was young, grabbed by the scruff of his neck by the wrong big dogs. At 16, he was charged with murdering a man, and met his own father for the first time in prison. My paternal grandfather “Doc” had reportedly robbed a bank, truly earning his nickname, a reference to the legendary gunfighter Doc Holliday, and was spending a chunk of years in prison. When my dad got out, he wrote short stories and scripts, and moved to New York City to become an actor. The only fictional work I’ve found of his is a script called The Prince of Thieves, based on a radio play called The Yearning, which aired on college radio in the ‘70s. It’s about two con men who hatch a plan to reform public housing. I only have four pages — one on typewriter paper and the other three handwritten on a yellow legal notepad. Because I’m missing the rest of the script, there are gaps in the story.

Likewise, much of his personal life is a mystery to me. I do know this: When he married my mom and had my younger brother and me, he cut his dreadlocks, his drug habit, and his dreams of a writing career to begin working for the pretzel chain Auntie Anne’s. After a short while, he was promoted to manager, and in 1994, he was selected to open a new franchise in Arlington, Texas. My family moved, and to supplement his income, my dad sold Amway products, or at least tried to — I don’t know if Amway has ever been a successful venture for anyone.

I grew up ashamed of the fact that my dad worked in food service. My mom, who worked the counter for Fashion Fair cosmetics, a beauty line made for women of color, at least had a glamorous association, and beautiful headshots that went with the job. (The beauty section at Dillard’s department store in Dallas was a magic emporium.) But my dad made pretzels for kids to eat in a mall. When I spoke of my dad’s job, I’d get tongue-tied and twisted up, like the elegant motion he used to contort pretzel dough. At the time, it was my observation that while you could dip a pretzel in cheese whiz and get the cinnamon-sugar stuck on your fingertips, you could not cherish or value a pretzel — it wasn’t “real” food. The process of making pretzels, which involved dipping one’s fingers in warm salt water and kneading out dough, was mesmerizing to watch, and fun to do (he let me practice a few times) but didn’t feel like a meaningful skill. I think my dad began to feel the same way at some point, though for a different reason. He was pushing 50, and like the teenaged employees he supervised constantly reminded him, both he and the job were getting old. Then, when we returned to Philly because my grandfather Doc got sick, my dad began to sell drugs.

Weeks before my dad’s murder, he woke up with a start in the middle of the night. He had predicted death in a dream. He also saw skulls in the depressions of two trash bags filled with laundry, which sat in lumps on the loveseat near the bed he shared with my mom. This was the ultimate omen, illuminated in the liminal space that is twilight time. On Christmas Eve 1997, my father’s work caught up with him. He was outside of our house changing a tire in advance of a trip to drop off gifts when my mom, brother, and I heard fireworks below. Afterward, we blamed the lifestyle — the fast money, the decision not to schlep like the average working man — for his downfall.

Perhaps for the women in my family, the existential light bulb that showed profound truths about their lives didn’t click on like the trunk light of an asbestos-dusty Corsica, revealing an interloper in the dark. Or when the blast from a gunman’s barrel flickered in the night, extinguishing my dad’s bright life. I imagine that their intellectual acceptance of the trajectory of their lives did not come from some outside, showy, mano-a-mano understanding of being utterly stuck. It came for them like it came for me, indoors, gradually, though when it finally arrived it did so with a suddenness that felt shocking.

My uncles made use of their options by engaging in street life and an endless cycle of recidivism.

My mom’s jobs contrast with what her mother had done at the same age. Instead of cleaning some white lady’s house, my grandmother Cissy decided to lord over her own. She made money cooking and selling platters to card players in her own house. This was a way for her to do something different than her own mother, who cooked for the rectory of a Catholic church. I see writing as a similarly risky endeavor. I realize that I am more sympathetic to the women in my family, who rebelled against the employment options given to them in ways that were easier to understand, because they didn’t cause other people pain. I’d recently been talking to my mom about one of her brothers who had just been released on parole. My uncles made use of their options by engaging in street life and an endless cycle of recidivism, and I never quite took seriously the idea that the choices they had were shaped by their parents’ jobs. Now the connection feels clearer: My grandmother was a card shark, my grandfather was largely unavailable when it mattered, and my uncles worked with what they were dealt.

While shopping at Whole Foods one day, maybe for sliced cheese that a customer requested be cut a level of thickness described as “the size of five cards stacked together” as the note on the app read, I started drifting off, back to those fictional scenes in grocery stores. Grocery stores have functioned as sites of transformation in novels like Toni Morrison’s Tar Baby, and Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, and given my own experience, I understand why. The domestic association of the market makes it possible for turning points to occur, especially in female characters who are relegated there for various reasons. Shopping is such a personal, intimate experience that takes place in the public sphere. It’s an odd ritual for its mix of the private and social coexisting all at once. It is here that my actual foremothers and my literary ones converge. It occurs to me now that the reason I thought so often of fiction while working is not only because these books provided a convenient distraction from my circumstances and reminded me of my goals. It’s also because in these novels, black people who are employed as farmhands, models, and domestic workers are all conveyed with nuance and emotional depth.

Any misunderstandings I have toward my dad, brothers, certain uncles, and cousins are my own fault, and they’re due to the wariness I feel toward the external fighting they’ve done. I’m worried that, no matter how eloquently I describe the men in my family, or how much space I give them on the page, I’ll flatten my loved ones. I’m concerned that my family’s long-term generational mobility will be compromised, not only by bad choices and capitalism and the prison industrial complex but by my own ambitions, too. I’m scared the project of trying to illustrate how their choices have impacted my own will render them as unconvincingly as the characters in the bootleg films one of my uncles once sold. That, ironically, in showing our lineage of work I’ll have them do labor for me, narrative-wise, that they haven’t signed up for. In spite of my concerns, and with permission, I feel I must write it down. This is my story, too. Where do our stories and those of our predecessors diverge? Do they ever?

I stopped scheduling myself at Instacart after the incident with the laughing customer who mocked me, but I’m still a little afraid that I’ll need to return. Though, after doing this kind of soul-searching, I know I can’t go back to picking groceries for someone else. It’s difficult to pick up where the women in my family left off, to strike a balance between criticizing the actions of the men in my family and holding on to a deep belief that they truly are not what they do for a living, despite how it impacts the quality of our lives, and despite how the frequency of their jail trips builds a convincing argument that they have settled into the roles they try to convince us they’ve outgrown. I think I’m more understanding of their aliases and job-hopping and identity-shifting now. Our national history is rife with examples of black Americans facing exclusion from labor movements, as well as general workforce discrimination. It’s not hard to see how the effects of these policies have trickled down. I see my family’s work history, rendered briefly here, as a particular kind of ingenuity necessary for black Americans.

Despite feeling like my female relatives’ strategies are more relatable, I’ve picked up my dad’s job of writing. When I first read his fragmented screenplay for The Prince of Thieves, I read it as veiled autobiography. Now I’m not so sure. I imagine that my dad writing about con men in his script was a referendum on the kind of job he’d left, and then returned to. Although he didn’t make money as a grifter, I think the fact that he was an actor, hustled illegally, and worked multiple regular jobs connects in ways I hadn’t put together before. Both the writing and acting were concerted efforts to recast himself outside of the roles he’d adopted or had handed to him. For a black man of his generation to embrace the circumstances of his criminality, which prompted him to escape in the first place, had to have been a complicated thing to do. Similarly, I see my writing as both a way into and out of familial traditions. It’s a way to look forward without turning my back. It’s the work I want to own.

BuzzFeed – Tech

10 Revelations From Tim Cook’s Big #AppleVsFBI Interview

In an interview with Time, Apple CEO Tim Cook talked about the company’s stance in a high-stakes battle against the FBI and the Department of Justice over an encrypted iPhone.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

Just days before a courtroom showdown between Apple and the Department of Justice, Time published an interview with Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive. Here are some takeaways worth noting.

“…they started talking to us about how they might sue, or they may put a claim in. But they never told us whether they were going to do it or not. … I think most people here felt like it wouldn't occur, and I felt that if it would occur, I would get a call. And that didn't happen. We found out about it actually from the press, who were being briefed about it in advance of the filing.”

Have you spoken to the President?

“Not about this case.”


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BuzzFeed – Tech

President Obama Makes His Case Against Absolute Encryption At SXSW

AUSTIN, Texas — In an address to the tech community at the South By Southwest Interactive festival Friday, President Obama argued against the complete encryption technology giants like Apple, Facebook, and Google appear to favor.

“It’s fetishizing our phones above every other value, and that can’t be the right answer,” Obama said, referring to arguments that the government should have no entryway into phones.

The remarks were delivered in Austin, Texas, at a time when the FBI is trying to force Apple to unlock an iPhone used by one of San Bernardino terrorists. Apple, backed by a group of high-profile tech companies, has refused, citing the dangers of allowing the government a “backdoor” pathway into its encrypted phones. The FBI is now pursuing the matter in court.

Rich Fury / AP

Despite the ongoing legal action, which Obama would not comment on, the crowd of tech-minded festival-goers welcomed the president warmly, offering loud applause and laughter at his jokes. At one point, Obama listed a number of his accomplishments, ending with the usually derisive: “Thanks Obama.” The crowd roared.

Obama’s argument against absolute encryption hinged on a comparison to searches of homes and traffic stops. When there’s probable cause of a serious crime, he said, law enforcement can obtain a warrant to search a home, go into a bedroom, and “rifle through your underwear to see if there’s any evidence of wrongdoing.”

“We agree on that,” the president continued. “Because we recognize that just like all of our other rights — with speech and religion, etc. — that there are going to be some constraints that we impose in order to make sure that we are safe, secure and living in a civilized society.”

There are reasons to make sure authorities can’t get into private smartphones, Obama acknowledged, adding that the disclosures of Edward Snowden had increased suspicions of the government doing so. But, he added, “there has to be some concession to the need to be able to get into that information somehow.”

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Obama also warned that if the tech community doesn’t help the government now, there could be consequences.

“What you’ll find is that after something really bad happens, the politics of this will swing and it will become sloppy and rushed and it will go through Congress in ways that have not been thought through, and then we will have dangers to our civil liberties because we will have not — the people who understand this best and who care most about privacy and civil liberties, that they’ll sort of disengage, or take a position that is not sustainable for the general public as a whole over time.”

BuzzFeed – Tech

Uber Apologizes For “Imperfect (And Fictitious)” Rebuttal Of A BuzzFeed News Claim

On Monday, Uber walked back a core explanation for the thousands of tickets in its customer support ticket system with the subject “rape.” This change in position comes less than a day after a BuzzFeed News published screenshots from Uber’s Zendesk-based customer support system showing thousands of tickets containing the words rape. Our report led to Uber’s revelation that the company received five claims of rape, and 170 claims of sexual assault directly related to an Uber ride as inbound tickets to its customer service database between December 2012 and August 2015.

Uber responded with a letter signed by three key executives. It directly referenced the Zendesk screenshots, and claimed these were “highly misleading” and contained false matches. It offered three explanations for the prevalence of the word rape in its system. The second of these stated: “Any email address or rider/driver last name that contains the letters R, A, P, E consecutively (for example, Don Draper) are included.”

However, that turned out not to be right. Today, at approximately 1:10 pm Pacific Time, Uber updated its letter with the following:

* An earlier version of this post stated that “ Any email address or rider/driver last name that contains the letters R, A, P, E consecutively (for example, Don Draper) are included. After analyzing the data, we found more than 11,000 rider names and 17,500 rider emails with the letters ‘rape’”.

Zendesk, one of our customer support platforms, contacted us to say that their search tool would not return a name such as “Don Draper” when searching for the word “rape.” However, such a search would (and did) return names that start with the letters R,A,P,E — even if the ticket itself had nothing to do with a claim of rape. We apologize to Zendesk for using an imperfect (and fictitious) example that doesn’t accurately represent their search functionality. This does not impact our analysis of the overall numbers, which was based on a manual review of these tickets rather than a simple keyword search.

The update came following an investigation by BuzzFeed News. Yesterday evening, BuzzFeed contacted Zendesk to specifically ask about its search query capabilities. After failing to get a response, BuzzFeed News called, and stopped by the company's headquarters. Following that visit, Zendesk notified Uber of the error.

Uber's update notes, “we apologize to Zendesk for using an imperfect (and fictitious) example that doesn’t accurately represent their search functionality. “

Prior to the update from Uber, BuzzFeed News had already learned that the Zendesk system did not work in the way Uber claimed in its original statement, and had reached out to Zendesk for confirmation and comment. It is unclear at what point it contacted Uber.

Contact Charlie Warzel (charlie.warzel@buzzfeed.com) if you have additional information about this ongoing story.

BuzzFeed – Tech

Animals Are Taking Selfies At The L.A. Zoo Starting Today

Google Photos is putting cameras with motion sensors in animal pens, and the results are roughly adorable as you’d imagine.

So, Google is getting pretty good at getting animals to take selfies.

So, Google is getting pretty good at getting animals to take selfies.

It's an actual project for the company now, since a promotional campaign with the film Zootopia called for developing animal-friendly cameras and placing them in pens at the LA Zoo.

Google

The cameras work with sensors, so when an animal gets within 18 inches, it takes a picture.

The cameras work with sensors, so when an animal gets within 18 inches, it takes a picture.

Google

The results, so far, are pretty great.

The results, so far, are pretty great.

Google

Giraffes, especially, seem pretty into it.

Giraffes, especially, seem pretty into it.

Google


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BuzzFeed – Tech