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  1. Comment on Saudi crown prince on Khashoggi murder: ‘Anyone involved is serving jail time’ in ~news

    Miranda Nazzaro “Yes. Anyone. Anyone involved is serving a jail time. You have to face the law. [sic]” Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist for The Washington Post critical of the Saudi government, was...

    Miranda Nazzaro

    • “Yes. Anyone. Anyone involved is serving a jail time. You have to face the law. [sic]”

    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a recent interview insisted “anyone involved” with the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is “serving jail time,” a comment that comes ahead of the five-year anniversary of the murder.

    When asked in a rare interview with Fox News’s Bret Baier about if any individuals are serving time for Khashoggi’s murder, the crown prince said, “Yes. Anyone. Anyone involved is serving a jail time. You have to face the law. [sic]”

    • Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist for The Washington Post critical of the Saudi government, was killed and dismembered in 2018 by a hit squad while inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

    A U.S. intelligence report later determined Salman approved and likely ordered the killing. Crown Prince Mohammed has denied having direct knowledge of the plot against Khashoggi but said in 2019 he accepted responsibility because the attack happened under his leadership.

    • It’s not part of what Saudi Arabia do.”

    When asked by Baier what he would tell U.S. tourists or journalists with safety concerns about visiting his country, the crown prince said, “Well, we take all the legal measurements that any country took, like when America have mistakes in Iraq, they do investigation, trial, etc.”

    “We did that in Saudi Arabia and the case being closed,” he continued. “And also, we try to reform the security system to be sure these kinds of mistakes doesn’t happen again. And we can see in the past five years, nothing of those things happened. It’s not part of what Saudi Arabia do.”

    In 2019, Saudi Arabia sentenced five people to death for Khashoggi’s killing, while three others were given a total of 24 years in prison for covering up the crime and violating other laws.

    • The sentencing drew criticism from several lawmakers at the time, who called the verdict a “farce.”

    During his 2020 presidential campaign, President Biden vowed to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” over the Khashoggi killing but has since softened relations with the crown prince and sought his help to control oil prices and deal with other regional issues.

  2. Comment on 'Shared intelligence' from Five Eyes informed Justin Trudeau's India allegation: US ambassador in ~news

    Rachel Aiello (tap/click to know more...)

    Rachel Aiello

    There was "shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners" that informed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's public allegation of a potential link between the government of India and the murder of a Canadian citizen, United States Ambassador to Canada David Cohen.
    (tap/click to know more...)

    In an exclusive interview on CTV's Question Period with Vassy Kapelos airing on Sunday, Cohen confirmed "there was shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners that helped lead Canada to making the statements that the Prime Minister made."

    On Monday, Trudeau informed the House of Commons in a rare statement on a matter of national security that Canadian intelligence agencies were investigating "credible allegations" that agents of the Indian government were involved in the June death of prominent Canadian Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in B.C.

    In the days since, as diplomatic tensions continue to ratchet up — from Canada reassessing its staffing in India, to India suspending visa services for Canadians — there have been swirling questions about what intelligence is at the centre of this story, who was aware of it, and when.

    While Cohen would not comment on whether the intelligence informing the Canadian government's investigation was both human and surveillance-based, or whether it included signals intelligence of Indian diplomats, the United States envoy to Canada said "there was shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners that helped lead Canada to making the statements that the Prime Minister made."

    Amid reports from CBC and The Associated Press that the intelligence Trudeau was speaking of did not come from Canada alone, and that additional information was provided by an unspecified member of the intelligence-sharing alliance between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Cohen told Kapelos that there was "a lot of communication" between Ottawa and D.C.

    He made this comment while denying a Washington Post report alleging that weeks before Trudeau's bombshell declaration, Ottawa asked its closest allies, including the U.S. to publicly condemn the murder and that overture was rebuffed.

    "Very bluntly, I will say that — and you know me well enough — that I'm not in the habit of commenting on private diplomatic conversations," Cohen said.

    "Look, I will say this was a matter of shared intelligence information," he added. "There was a lot of communication between Canada and the United States about this, and I think that's as far as I'm comfortable going."

    Earlier this week, Trudeau told reporters that officials had been working closely with intelligence agencies since the summer to "make sure that we had solid grounding in understanding what was going on."

    And, after raising the matter directly with allies and India on the sidelines of the G20, Trudeau said he felt that Canadians had the "right to know."

    Speaking more broadly about how the U.S. interprets what has unfolded, and whether there is any hesitancy on the part of U.S. President Joe Biden's government to jump to Canada's defence. Cohen said that the U.S. "takes very seriously these allegations."

    "And, you know, if they prove to be true, it is a potentially very serious breach of the rules-based international order in which we like to function," he said.

    Officials in Washington have said that Biden's concern over the allegations has been expressed to India, and the U.S. has asked India to co-operate in Canada's investigation, according to the ambassador.

    "We think it's very important to get to the bottom of it," Cohen said.

    3 votes
  3. Comment on Text editing on mobile isn’t ok. It’s actually much worse than you think, an invisible problem no one appreciates. in ~comp

    Scott Jenson (tap/click to read more...) Yes, text editing really is a problem Text editing is a hack Start with desktop text editing… …and then poorly copy it The 4 changes mobile made to text...

    Scott Jenson

    Whenever I explain my research at Google into mobile text editing, I’m usually met with blank stares or a slightly hostile “Everyone can edit text on their phones, right? What’s the problem?”

    Text editing on mobile isn’t ok. It’s actually much worse than you think, an invisible problem no one appreciates.
    (tap/click to read more...)

    Yes, text editing really is a problem

    In 2017, while working on Android, I had some questions about text editing and started asking around for existing user studies. I assumed that for something so core to the user experience, we would have at least a few studies. Looking back over seven years of research, I couldn’t find a single one on text editing. I was a bit stunned.

    Text editing on mobile was considered “good enough.” Since people weren’t complaining, there was little motivation to improve it. However, I decided to conduct my own study, and the results were surprising. I gave 10 participants a simple set of text editing tasks, such as deleting an “x” from a string of characters or moving a word to the end of a sentence. Every single person had problems with targeting, using the clipboard and lots and lots of errors.

    I asked the participants about their overall experience editing text on mobile devices. They all expressed frustration, but not so much with messaging or social media apps, where they typically only needed to write short bursts of text. However, when it came to composing more complex text, such as multiple-sentence emails, they often said things like, “I’ll start it on my phone, but if it gets too complex, I’ll just finish it on my laptop.” Even more surprising, over half of the participants said that instead of editing text, it was easier to just select all, delete, and retype, bypassing editing entirely. This is not a sign that things are working well.

    Just to be clear, the problem here isn’t entering text, but with editing it. With better keyboards, voice transcription, and physical keyboards on many tablets, getting text into a device is not the problem it used to be. However, you will always want to edit your words afterwards.

    While my research focused on fixing text editing problems on Android, I want to be clear that iOS, which has some significant differences to Android text editing, still has many of the same problems.

    Text editing is a hack

    Mobile devices were originally designed for consumption. The revolution of flick-scrolling made it easy to move through content. The superpower of mobiles was their on-the-go consumption of videos, photos, social media, and messaging. These are valuable tasks but require little text editing. People forget the original iPhone didn’t even have clipboard support!

    Yet over the last 10 years we’ve heard over and over that it’s only a matter of time before everyone will be using tablets for everything. Apple ran an add a few years ago “What’s a computer?” and in 2013, Google tried a “Tablet Tuesdays” campaign to get it’s workers to use their tablets all day while at work. Tablets continue to sell fairly well but as a desktop replacement, it’s been, let’s just say, less than a resounding success.

    There are likely many reasons, but I would argue that there are a few deep foundational UX problems with tablets that hinders productively. Text editing is one. Another is file handling, something I’ve previous written about if you’re interested. However, before anyone accuses me of being a nostalgic fool, I want to be clear that I am not anti-mobile. How can we actually use our fix our phones and tablets to be as productive and fast as we are on desktop systems?

    Start with desktop text editing…

    Every desktop OS has a mouse cursor that can be moved accurately with a mouse or trackpad, making it easy to click on the exact character you want.

    Selecting text is also quite simple: after clicking down on the mouse, an additional drag of the cursor selects more. Then an EDIT menu with the classic Cut/Copy/Paste commands let you act on your selection. For must faster actions, the command keys X, C, and V made it significantly faster.

    The combination of these three features—an accurate pointer, simple selection, and a menu with command keys—made text editing easy, relatively error-free, and unambiguous.

    …and then poorly copy it

    Given how prevalent desktop UI was when mobile was launched, it’s not surprising that it tried to copy desktop editing. The problem is that there was no mouse pointer and a menu bar with command keys. This meant it had to make significant compromises.

    For example, instead of clicking with a mouse pointer, mobile devices use a finger to tap. This means that placing the text cursor is less accurate. This is well known in UX research as the ‘fat finger‘ problem. This is why user interface guidelines suggest buttons to be fairly tall and wide as bigger targets are easier to hit. However, text characters can’t be made big enough. This usually results in placing the text cursor a bit to the left or right of where you intended.

    The targeting problem has led to a cascade of new interaction mechanisms that technically solve the problem but have unfortunate side effects.

    The 4 changes mobile made to text editing

    1. Text Handles

    Mobile adds a teardrop handle to the bottom of the text cursor. This allows the text cursor to be seen more easily and gives a handle to drag the cursor to the correct position if you miss. This all seems pretty reasonable right?

    Actually, no! This creates our first ambiguity. The text handle is itself a tap target. Unfortunately, so is the text surrounding it. We now have two potential tap targets. When they are far apart, it’s fine. The problem only occurs when I want to tap just to the left or right of the text cursor. In this case, it’s unclear what the user wants: to move the cursor or to tap/drag the handle.

    We saw this in our user testing when users tried to place the text cursor accurately: they would miss by a few characters and tap again to the side but the text handle would take priority and ‘eat the tap’ incorrectly assuming that the user wanted to drag it. On the desktop, if you clicked in the wrong location, you’d just click again to move the cursor, there was no ambiguity. While this isn’t disastrous, it adds friction. Worse, it’s the start of a trend. As we get to the other changes below, this input ambiguity will grow worse.

    iOS doesn’t have a teardrop handle but it’s text cursor still has the same ‘eat the tap’ problem.

    2. Magnifier

    Because the text on mobile devices is so small and the finger is so relatively big, mobile devices added a magnifying glass.

    There are two issues with the magnifier. First, it doesn’t help you very much before you tap to place the cursor, it’s more there to help you correct your mistake. It does this by making it easier to see where you are dragging. Second, It’s visually confusing. By floating above your finger, it creates two visible cursors: the real one under your finger and a duplicate in the magnifier. It’s actually not that bad with very short text fields, but with longer emails, it’s easy to get lost and not be sure where you are in the text.

    Apple’s magnifier is even more chaotic, vanishing in iOS13 and returning in iOS15.

    3. Selecting text

    On desktop, selecting text was a natural extension of mouse clicking by keeping the button down and dragging. With mobile this isn’t possible so there is a completely new gesture, double tap. Wait, there is actually a third gesture long press, which also works. Both do the same thing. Don’t look at me, I didn’t design this….

    However this new gesture causes more friction as decoding a ‘double tap’ must wait a bit to see if another tap is coming, so this usually delays the effect of a single tap. This means the text handle has another way to ‘eat a tap’.

    However selection is still not done as you often want to select more than a single word. To solve this problem, the text cursor handle is at both ends of the selection. This allows you to extend your selection by dragging it at either end. This means selecting a few words is actually a two step process: select a word and then drag the selection handles. This compound set of gestures to edit text, like placing the cursor described above isn’t horrible, but it isn’t nearly as elegant as desktop and definitely adds yet more friction.

    4. Popup menu

    As there is no menu bar with mobile, there needs to be some way to invoke the clipboard commands. This is done in two ways. The first is the most obvious: as soon as there is a text selection, show a menu above the selection. This is visually a bit busy but it doesn’t create any tapping ambiguity. This works fairly well for cut/copy but is more problematic for pasting, which usually doesn’t start with a selection. The solution is a bit hidden: you can bring up this same menu by tapping the text handle. This means users have to learn TWO different gestures to bring up the menu. iOS is nearly the same.

    This problem is made even worse on Android as the text handle actually disappears after 4 seconds of inactivity. The reason for this is that the handle slightly obscures text beneath it. This makes the menu completely unavailable. If you want to bring up the menu, you have to tap again to make the handle appear and then tap the handle a second time. It’s no wonder people are confused.

    This menu-on-handle-tap adds yet another targeting ambiguity. A common problem with trying to place the cursor is that the user accidentally taps the handle which brings up the menu.

    For highly proficient users, this gets even worse as their is no command key equivalents for cut, copy, or paste. Whether you are a beginner or expert, you must use the menu in the exact same way. Imagine if on the desktop, everyone had to use the Edit menu to cut and paste text. This is just lazy design. While we should always take care of novice users first, we shouldn’t ignore proficient users. Part of the unspoken reason desktop clipboard use is so high is the speed in which it can be used. Mobile has none of this.

    How a tap can be misinterpreted

    These extra mobile hacks that shoehorn desktop text editing into the mobile experience are functional, they get the job done, but each one adds another way a tap can be misinterpreted. Each time the user taps one of these actions can occur:

    • place the cursor
    • bring up the menu (if there already is a cursor)
    • start a drag
    • start a double tap
    • start a long press

    If you are very deliberate, these separate actions can be managed. This isn’t a complete train wreck. My point however is that it is fragile. There are just so many ways the user can end up surprised.

    Here are some of the errors I saw in my user testing:

    1. When a user taps, due to the fat finger problem, they miss the location they wanted.

    2. If they tap slightly to the side to place the cursor correctly, they tap the text handle and the menu comes up, confusing them. They are forced to tap away to dismiss the menu and try again.

    3. Instead of getting the menu, their second tap is interpreted as a trivial drag and nothing happens.

    4. If the user attempts a double tap, but taps a bit to the side, or hits the text handle, the OS misunderstands and nothing happens.

    5. The user wants to paste into an empty field and is confused as there is no text cursor and no menu. They must first tap into the empty field to get the cursor and THEN tap the cursor a second time to get the menu.

    6. The user traps to place the cursor but looks up to talk for a second, During this brief pause, the text handle times out and disappears. Looking down they want to tap the handle but don’t see it and are confused. They have to tap again.

    All of this friction starts to add up. Each of these changes, on their own, seem reasonable. However, taken together they add a significant amount of errors and friction to the process. In my study of 10 users, it took 5 attempts on average to place the cursor accurately. We had one user tap 19 times! It’s no longer a surprise why so many of our test users just gave up on text editing, retyping everything instead of actually editing the text.

    Obviously, text editing on mobile is possible as millions do it every day. My point isn’t that “it’s impossible” but a much more subtle “it’s much harder than we think”.

    Many of you will just say “get a grip grandpa, it’s not that bad” and dismiss my concerns. But keep in mind that most text created on mobile is short and low effort, usually messages and social media comments.

    Editing is rarely needed so this friction doesn’t matter so much. I’ve also had many people tell me of students writing entire papers on their phone. That’s right, it’s possible! Lots of people run marathons too, that doesn’t mean everyone is able to.

    If you don’t believe me, please try doing some significant text editing on either Android or iOS. Just use voice input to dictate a quick paragraph and then try to clean it up. Pay attention to how many errors happen and then honestly tell me that it was a simple and easy experience.

    If we want mobile to replace desktop (or at least compete with it), it has to grow beyond these backward looking tap-hacks to something designed specifically for mobile. Instead of poorly copying the desktop, we should lean into the touch experience to create something fluid, clear, and much simpler.

    5 votes
  4. Comment on China climate envoy says phasing out fossil fuels 'unrealistic' in ~enviro

    David Stanway (tap/click to read more) "It is unrealistic to completely phase out fossil fuel energy," said Xie, who will represent China at COP28 this year.

    David Stanway

    The complete phasing-out of fossil fuels is not realistic, China's top climate official said, adding that these climate-warming fuels must continue to play a vital role in maintaining global energy security.
    (tap/click to read more)

    China is the world's biggest consumer of fossil fuels including coal and oil, and its special climate envoy Xie Zhenhua was responding to comments by ambassadors at a forum in Beijing on Thursday ahead of the COP28 climate meeting in Dubai in November. Reuters obtained a copy of text of Xie's speech, and a video recording of the meeting.

    Xie, however, said the intermittent nature of renewable energy and the immaturity of key technologies like energy storage means the world must continue to rely on fossil fuels to safeguard economic growth.

    "It is unrealistic to completely phase out fossil fuel energy," said Xie, who will represent China at COP28 this year.

    He also said he welcomed pledges made to him by his U.S. counterpart John Kerry that a $100 billion annual fund to help developing countries adapt to climate change would soon be made available, adding it was "only a drop in the bucket".

    China has rejected U.S. attempts to treat climate change as a diplomatic "oasis" that can be separated from the broader geopolitical tensions between the two sides, with U.S. trade sanctions on Chinese solar panels still a sore point.

    Xie said protectionism could drive up the price of solar panels by 20-25% and hold back the energy transition, and called on countries not to "politicise" cooperation in new energy.

    He also reiterated China's opposition to the E.U. Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, which will impose carbon tariffs on imports from China and elsewhere.

    2 votes
  5. Comment on Offbeat Fridays – The thread where offbeat headlines become front page news in ~news

    NYC Mayor Announces New NYPD RoboCop That Needs a Cop to Guard It

    NYC Mayor Announces New NYPD RoboCop That Needs a Cop to Guard It

    When asked by a reporter how much the robot cost, Adams said, laughing, “I know you wanted to write about how we’re wasting money, but I’m taking your thunder away. We’re leasing at $9 an hour.” This figure does not include the cost of the human officer who will be guarding the robot.

    The mayor was enthusiastic about the cost-effectiveness of the robot. “I want you guys to be extremely creative in your writing style to say ‘Eric, job well done,’” he told reporters. He then approached the robot for a photo opportunity and held up a hand heart to its left. The robot did not complete the hand heart, because it has no arms.

    6 votes
  6. Comment on Inside Tiktok's real-life frenzies - from riots to false murder accusations in ~tech

    Marianna Spring (tap/click to know more...) People are seeing videos which they wouldn't normally be recommended The Idaho murders - November 2022 The Nicola Bulley case - January 2023 Protests...

    Marianna Spring

    TikTok is driving online frenzies that encourage anti-social behaviour in the real world, a BBC Three investigation reveals.

    Ex-employees say the issue is not being tackled for fear of slowing the growth of the social media app's business.
    (tap/click to know more...)

    People are seeing videos which they wouldn't normally be recommended

    These frenzies - where TikTok drives disproportionate amounts of engagement to some topics - are evidenced by interviews with former staffers, app users and BBC analysis of wider social media data. They have then led to disruption and disorder in everyday life.

    The BBC's investigation found that TikTok's algorithm and design means people are seeing videos which they wouldn't normally be recommended - which, in turn, incentivise them to do unusual things in their own videos on the platform.

    TikTok has previously distanced itself from outbreaks of disorder, such as the threatened looting of London's Oxford Street last month, which politicians blamed on the billion-user app.

    However, the BBC has identified four episodes in recent months where disproportionate engagement on TikTok was connected to harmful behaviour:

    • An online obsession with a murder case in Idaho, USA, that led to innocent people being falsely accused
    • Interference in the police investigation of Nicola Bulley, who went missing in Lancashire, UK
    • School protests involving vandalism spreading across the UK
    • Fanning flames of riots in France, which spread at an unusual intensity and to unexpected locations

    Ex-staffers at TikTok liken these frenzies to "wildfires" and describe them as "dangerous", especially as the app's audience can be young and impressionable.

    A spokesperson for TikTok told the BBC that its "algorithm brings together communities while prioritising safety". It said it recommends different types of content to interrupt repetitive patterns, removes "harmful misinformation" and reduces the reach of videos with unverified information.

    The Idaho murders - November 2022

    I had never heard of Moscow, Idaho, before November last year. My TikTok feed became flooded with details of the murder of four students in their bedrooms while two surviving housemates slept - before the case was widely covered by the media.

    Speculative theories around who committed the murders gripped TikTok, without any evidence to back them up. TikTok users were uniquely obsessed. Videos I found about the case racked up two billion views from November 2022 to August this year, compared to just 80,000 on YouTube.

    Former employees say this is a product of TikTok's design. Users mostly view content through their For You page, a feed of short videos which are selected by an algorithm to appeal to each individual.

    When you post a video on TikTok, it will appear on the feeds of other users who TikTok thinks could be interested in it, rather than just being promoted to your friends and followers as on some other social networks.

    Depending on how users engage with that video, the algorithm might decide to push it to millions more at a speed and scale seemingly greater than on the other social media platforms. Former employees also say that, while most social media users tend to just consume content, TikTok users are much more likely to make and post their own videos.

    Participation is one of TikTok's "number one priorities", according to an internal document from 2021 revealed by Chris Stokel-Walker in his book TikTok Boom. He told the BBC the company wants users "actively invested" in the app.

    That element of participation can be terrifying for people like Jack Showalter, dubbed "hoodie guy" by some TikTokkers and falsely accused of involvement in the Idaho killings. His sister condemned the threats and harassment his family received. "There were so many victims created through internet sleuth videos," she said.

    One TikTokker, Olivia, did not just become gripped by a drama thousands of miles from her home in Florida - she flew for more than six hours and filmed at the scene for a week. At least one of her videos reached 20 million views.

    "I felt this need to go out there and dig for answers and see if I can help out in any way," Olivia told me.

    An experienced content creator who has posted videos on several true crime cases, she also acknowledges that the TikTok content "does much better" when she travels to the scene.

    Olivia did not explicitly level false accusations at people. But she said that unlike traditional news media, she can post controversial claims without confirmation. "I have the power to do that," she said.

    Olivia said the high levels of engagement on TikTok around subjects like the Idaho murders encourages users to create videos. "One video on TikTok could get millions of plays versus if I post the same video on Instagram, it'll get like 200 views. And it's just the algorithm of Tik Tok."

    In December, Bryan Kohberger - a man not previously named by any of the online sleuths - was arrested and later charged with murder.

    The Nicola Bulley case - January 2023

    While Olivia was an experienced social video creator, frenzies can also draw in people who seem never to have posted content like this before - and reward them with huge numbers of views.

    When 45-year-old Nicola Bulley went missing in the small village of St Michael's on Wyre in Lancashire, Heather was one of the people caught up by the way the mystery took over TikTok.

    "When you see it video after video after video of the same content on the same topic, it's very easy to just think, well, I can join in. I'm just another person," Heather told me.

    She posted a video which falsely implied Nicola's best friend, Emma White, had posed as the missing woman, and says it received 3.6 million views within 72 hours.

    Within the first three weeks of her disappearance, I found videos using the hashtag of Nicola Bulley's name had 270 million views on TikTok, compared to far lower numbers I found across the other major social media sites.

    Mainstream media was also blamed for its wall-to-wall coverage of the case, but on TikTok more explicit misinformation spread more quickly.

    The BBC has seen emails Heather received from TikTok encouraging her to keep posting once her speculation had gone viral and applauding her posts as a hit.

    She said the feeling of "empowerment" and "entitlement" from this attention can change people's behaviour.

    Now she said she regrets her part in the frenzy and has deleted her videos.

    Heather never headed to the scene of the disappearance, but many other TikTokkers did. The police criticised the way people were interfering with the case to film social media videos, eventually issuing a dispersal order, which allows officers to remove people from the area to prevent anti-social behaviour.

    Nicola Bulley's body was found on 17 February in the river not far from where she disappeared. An inquest determined her death was due to accidental drowning.

    A spokesperson for TikTok told the BBC that users "naturally" took more of an interest in stories at "moments of national conversation, which are intensified by 24-hour news reporting". They also pointed out that the BBC has posted on TikTok about many stories like this.

    Protests and riots - February 2023 and June 2023

    Events in British schools and on the streets of France have shown how TikTok can help disturbances escalate and spread from place to place.

    In February 2023, a protest about Rainford High School in Merseyside checking the length of girls' skirts was posted on TikTok. Within three days, students at over 60 schools had held and filmed their own version of the protest. After a week, students at over 100 schools had got involved.

    In some cases, they also got out of hand: windows were smashed, trees were set on fire and teachers were assaulted.

    "I feel like what TikTok is enabling people to do now is to take one thing that's viral in one school and transport it to like the whole region and make it a competition about who can up the other schools and make it more extreme," said Jasmine, a former TikTok moderator.

    According to TikTok, most of the videos showed pupils engaging in peaceful demonstrations - but teachers and students I spoke to were concerned about the cumulative effect of all the videos.

    During the school protests, I decided to see what type of content TikTok's algorithm might recommend to an undercover account pretending to belong to a 15-year-old boy with typical interests, such as football.

    After being recommended videos about football and gaming, the fourth video I was shown was from a 25-year-old influencer called Adrian Markovac. As well as promoting self-improvement, some of his videos encourage rebellion against school rules on uniform, homework and asking to go to the toilet, as well as calling teachers offensive names.

    Comments under his videos included some teenagers in the UK saying they had been suspended or excluded from school after following Mr Markovac's advice.

    In an interview with the BBC, Mr Markovac said he encourages young people to "rebel against ridiculous rules", but he said he could not be held responsible for the poor decisions of a minority of viewers.

    A few months after the school protests, riots spread across Paris and the rest of France after the death of 17-year-old Nahel M, who was shot by a police officer, who was later charged with homicide. The French president Emmanuel Macron levelled the blame for the disorder at TikTok and Snapchat.

    But was there another TikTok frenzy at play? Or was the French President just deflecting responsibility?

    The sense of injustice over Nahel's death meant riots began without the influence of social media.

    But the attention I found it received on TikTok was much higher compared to other platforms. I found public videos on Snapchat using Nahel's name with 167,700 views (that doesn't include some which may have been circulated in private chats). On TikTok, public videos using the hashtag racked up 850 million views.

    In one town, Viry-Châtillon, on the outskirts of Paris, videos showed a bus on fire and a ransacked newsagents. Jean-Marie Vilain, the mayor, said demonstrations were rare in the town.

    But what was "incredible and dramatic" in his view was that the riots spread to "the provinces, in cities, in small towns where nothing is happening, where everything is fine" - as far afield as Provence and Guadeloupe.

    "Unfortunately, once the riots started, TikTok became a tool to show, here, this is what I'm capable of doing. Can you do better?" Mr Vilain told me. His claim is backed up by videos I found on TikTok, which became more extreme as the riots went on.

    From speaking to protestors, Mr Vilain also said seeing acts of destruction widely shared on TikTok "became the norm" for some people. TikTok users sharing this content who I messaged said the same.

    'It grew so fast'

    Several former TikTok employees in the US and UK told the BBC that limiting these frenzies of harmful content was not a priority for the social media company, because it could slow down the app's meteoric growth.

    One of them, who I'm calling Lucas, worked in data strategy and analysis at the company. He said TikTok was not equipped to become more than just an app for dance crazes.

    "It grew so fast that they couldn't possibly keep up with or predict every single way the app was going to go," he said.

    "But in terms of dangerous content, at least I never heard of them trying to proactively prevent them from getting big. And in general, they don't want to, they don't want to stand in the way of entertainment growing quickly on their platform."

    TikTok told the BBC it has more than 40,000 "safety professionals" using technology to moderate content, with the "vast majority" of videos with harmful misinformation never receiving a single view.

    "Prioritising safety is not only the right thing to do, it makes business sense," the spokesperson said.

    The company also said it collaborates with academics, law enforcement agencies and other experts to improve its processes.

    Related news

    Police leaders and teachers' unions are warning that TikTok frenzies that encourage anti-social behaviour are putting a strain on public services.

    It comes after the BBC revealed how disproportionate engagement driven by TikTok was linked to disruption.

    The chairwoman of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) has also told the BBC she is "deeply concerned" by the added pressure that interference and anti-social behaviour by TikTok users puts on police.

    The Prime Minister has condemned the way looting and disruption has been organised on social media as "appalling" and "unacceptable".

    Rishi Sunak's comments follow calls by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) for parents to be held accountable for children involved in criminal social media crazes

    Disorder in London's Oxford Street spread last week after online rumours.

    1 vote
  7. Comment on Linux Terminal Emulators Have The Potential Of Being Much Faster in ~comp

    Michael Larabel "Just going to put it out there because I don't intend to do anything with it, but I have created a terminal emulator that is twice as fast as the closest GPU-based renderer I've...

    Michael Larabel

    "Just going to put it out there because I don't intend to do anything with it, but I have created a terminal emulator that is twice as fast as the closest GPU-based renderer I've found (at least on Linux) which was Alacritty."

    Hergert, who is known for his work on GNOME Builder and Sysprof and other GNOME contributions through his employment at Red Hat, tweeted on Friday

    He added part of the reason he was able to make it so far was due to his knowledge from writing a large part of the GTK renderer code and the profiler to guide how to spend the time optimizing the code. And also adding:

    "Instead of continuing Termkit though, I just made a bunch of VTE patches because it's good enough. Console includes those patches here...And yes it updates at frame rate without dropping frames because it only processes what is visible when rendering the next frame. I also found it interesting how the field of contenders all use multiple threads and some even attempt to balance between CPU and scroll performance. Termkit used a single thread, and did both with less resources."

    As for not developing it further, Hergert tweeted:

    "I don't care too much because creating your own terminal is like 20 lines of code these days. People who really care can just create one as easy as configuring an existing one."

    1 vote
  8. Comment on US cities have a staggering problem of Kia and Hyundai thefts. This data shows it. in ~transport

    Aaron Gordon (tap/click to know more...) Cities around the U.S. are facing a staggering new normal when it comes to stolen cars Some nine million vehicles in the U.S. are vulnerable Kia Boys or...

    Aaron Gordon

    Thefts of easy-to-steal Kias and Hyundais are a scourge on American cities. Detailed data from ten cities obtained by Motherboard tells part of the story.
    (tap/click to know more...)

    Cities around the U.S. are facing a staggering new normal when it comes to stolen cars

    Chicago used to have about 850 cars stolen per month. Now, it consistently has more than 2,000, an average of 86 cars stolen every single day. Denver rarely had more than 800 stolen cars in a month before 2021. Now it usually has more than 1,000. Atlanta usually had less than 250 per month before 2022. This year, it has doubled.

    The thefts are centered around two car brands: Kia and Hyundai. The companies sold more than nine million cars over the course of a decade without basic anti-theft technology that makes them trivially simple to steal.

    Some nine million vehicles in the U.S. are vulnerable

    From 2011 to 2021, Kia and Hyundai manufactured many of their cars, including almost all of their lower-end models, without engine immobilizers, a basic anti-theft device that costs about $100 to manufacture into a car and prevents them from being hot-wired. Anti-theft devices are required by law in Canada, but not in the U.S. The rest of the car industry widely adopted immobilizers, and Kia and Hyundai use them in Canada and Europe. But in the U.S, just 26 percent of Kias and Hyundais had immobilizers as late as 2015. In total, some nine million vehicles in the U.S. are vulnerable.

    Kia Boys or Kia Boyz subculture

    This fact, combined with the emergence of a subculture dubbed the Kia Boys or Kia Boyz that turned stealing the cars into sport, has resulted in a stolen car crime wave unlike anything the U.S. has seen in generations. Stolen car rates are not up by 10 percent, or 20 percent, or even 50 percent. In many cities, they are up hundreds of percentage points, Motherboard has found. Rates of stolen Kias and Hyundais in particular are up thousands of percentage points.

    And, so far, according to data obtained by Motherboard via public records requests, efforts by both the manufacturers and police to slow the wave appear to be largely ineffective.

    Equipped with only a screwdriver and a USB cord and watching one or two tutorials, pretty much anyone can steal a Kia or Hyundai without an immobilizer. In several lawsuits filed by U.S. cities against Kia and Hyundai, plaintiffs allege the thefts are mostly done by teenagers, some too young to legally drive, for joyriding, crashing, vandalizing, or in some cases to then commit other crimes.

    Through August 2023, 35 percent of the 19,448 stolen cars in Chicago have been Kias or Hyundais.

    The scale of the Kia and Hyundai theft problem is astounding. In Chicago, during the “old normal” days prior to the summer of 2022, six to eight percent of all stolen cars were Kias or Hyundais, according to data obtained by Motherboard. This was in line with how many Kias and Hyundais were on Chicago’s roads, according to the lawsuit Chicago filed against Kia and Hyundai. Then, in June 2022, the percentage of stolen cars that were Kias and Hyundais edged up to 11 percent. In July, it more than doubled to 25 percent. By November, it had almost doubled again, to 48 percent. Through August 2023, the most recent month for which Motherboard has data, 35 percent of the 19,448 stolen cars in Chicago have been Kias or Hyundais.

    The trend across cities

    The trend of Kias and Hyundais becoming a large proportion of a city’s stolen vehicle fleet is almost universal. In Denver, Kias and Hyundais went from about seven percent of all stolen vehicles in 2020 to an average of 26 percent the two years afterwards. Only 57 Kias and Hyundais were stolen in Denver in July 2020. Two years later, 464 were stolen, a 714 percent increase.

    In Atlanta, a whopping 64 percent of the stolen cars in May 2023 were Kias and Hyundais, up from just six percent a year earlier.

    According to a lawsuit filed by the city of Columbus, attempted annual Hyundai and Kia thefts increased 21,400 percent (from four to 860) in just one year. Actual thefts increased 494 percent. A public records request with Columbus for more detailed data has not yet been fulfilled.

    Even Chicago’s surge can’t compare to what happened in Milwaukee, which is largely cited as the epicenter of the trend. According to a lawsuit filed by the city, Kia-Hyundai thefts increased 2,500 percent in June 2021 versus a year prior. In September of that year, more than 5,100 Kia-Hyundais were stolen, more than two-thirds of all stolen cars in the city. Through mid-2023, Kia-Hyundais still made up 52 percent of all car thefts, although the overall number of stolen cars has declined about 30 percent from its peak.

    Some cities are getting hit harder than others

    Still, there are important differences in how the theft trend is—and isn’t—spreading. Some cities are getting hit harder than others for reasons that aren’t clear. For example, San Diego has had only a modest increase in Kia and Hyundai thefts, relatively speaking, amounting to a couple dozen additional stolen cars a month. The same is true of Fort Worth, Texas and Bakersfield, California. Tulsa wasn’t able to provide Motherboard with any data because their systems are still recovering from a hack that prevents them from tabulating such data, according to Lieutenant Chase Calhoun of the auto theft unit, but he said their most stolen vehicles remain Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado pickups.

    Perhaps the most interesting outlier from the dataset so far is Denver, which saw an early, sustained, and relatively gradual increase in Kia-Hyundai thefts throughout 2020, 2021, and 2022. This is in contrast to most other cities that saw sharp spikes within a period of a few months more indicative of an online fad.

    When Motherboard asked if they had any theories why this was, a spokesperson for the Denver Police Department said, “Anecdotally, we do believe social media videos contributed to the increase in Hyundai and Kia thefts in Denver, but it’s difficult to know the extent of that influence on these crime trends. We also believe the social media videos encouraged young people who wouldn’t otherwise try to steal a car, to do just that.”

    Auto theft is what they call a “keystone crime,”

    If this is true, it would be a problematic development for cities. Some criminologists believe auto theft is what they call a “keystone crime,” which encourages and facilitates other crimes. Local news reports in pretty much every affected city refer to crashes, robberies, and deaths involving stolen Kias and Hyundais. In a court filing, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said that last year, “thefts of Hyundai and Kia vehicles were tied to at least 5 homicides, 13 shootings, 36 robberies, and 265 motor vehicle collisions” and nine people died in reckless driving crashes involving the vehicles, all of which was in Minneapolis alone.

    Videos of these crimes are easy to find on social media. Many of the videos are posted under burner accounts with handles that begin with the city’s area code followed by some version of “Kia Boys”, “Kia Boyz,” “Hyundai Boys,” and so on.

    The vast majority of the hundreds of accounts reviewed by Motherboard have less than a hundred followers, and most of their posts have single or low double-digit likes. Most of the videos show people driving cars, often erratically, swerving repeatedly, accelerating quickly, and otherwise joyriding.

    However, a tutorial from an account with a Fort Worth area code went viral with more than 11,000 likes. And several accounts with Milwaukee and Minneapolis area codes regularly rack up tens of thousands of likes on their posts. Instagram did not respond to a Motherboard request for comment. A TikTok spokesperson said the platform’s community guidelines don’t allow “any violent threats, incitement to violence, or promotion of criminal activities that may harm people, animals, or property” and they encourage users to report potential violations.

    About two million of the nine million vehicles vulnerable to theft cannot receive the software update

    At first, the companies tried to sell an aftermarket anti-theft device through their dealer network for $170 plus labor to install. Starting in February, Kia and Hyundai released software updates the companies say provide an “ignition kill” feature that ought to prevent theft, provided free steering wheel locks, and partnered with AAA insurers because many insurance companies stopped selling policies for the affected vehicles.

    About two million of the nine million vehicles vulnerable to theft cannot receive the software update. As of July, Carfax reported about five million vehicles still remained vulnerable to theft either because they hadn’t gotten the software update or were not eligible. But there have been reports in Buffalo and Washington, D.C. of vehicles with the software update still being stolen.

    However, several cities have experienced a surge in thefts or are maintaining historically high rates of theft well after the software update was released

    Louisville hit a new record of stolen Kias and Hyundais (335) in July, 53 percent of all vehicles stolen in the city. San Diego and Sacramento have also experienced record-high Kia and Hyundai thefts in recent months. So have Fort Worth and Atlanta.

    When asked why the cars keep being stolen in record numbers despite the software update, a Hyundai spokesperson says the company has upgraded “almost a million vehicles” with the software update and “have not seen any confirmed failures of the software. It is working as designed.” After this story was first published, a Kia spokesperson told Motheboard, “We remain confident the software upgrade we developed works to combat the method of theft popularized on social media and further enhance the vehicle’s security by restricting the operation of the ignition system while the vehicle is locked and the alarm system is armed.”

    Data sources

    So far, publicly available data on the Kia and Hyundai thefts has been limited and spotty. To better understand the scale and impact of the Kia and Hyundai thefts, Motherboard asked the police departments for the 100 most populous cities in the U.S. for car theft data and filed public records requests with the cities that either declined to provide it or didn’t respond. So far, Motherboard has received complete data from 10 cities, with additional data from several others. This story also includes data from lawsuits filed by 17 cities against Kia and Hyundai regarding the theft wave. This story will be updated as we receive more data from open records requests.

    12 votes
  9. Comment on Tinder unveils staggering $500-per-month ‘VIP’ subscription tier in ~tech

    Ariel Zilber Bloomberg (paywalled) Tinder Offers $500-a-Month Subscription to Its Most Active Users

    Ariel Zilber

    Tinder has unveiled a $500-per-month exclusive subscription service to the dating app’s most active users who will have access to features including “VIP” search, matching, and conversation.

    Tinder Select, which was initially launched in 2017 as a free-of-charge, invite-only tier geared toward “hotties and celebrities,” will now cost $6,000 a year for its services, according to Bloomberg News.

    The new pay-for-play tier was offered to less than 1% of Tinder users, according to the company.

    We know that there is a subset of highly engaged and active users who prioritize more effective and efficient ways to find connections, and so we engaged in extensive tests and feedback with this audience over the past several months to develop a completely new offering,” Tinder Chief Product Officer Mark Van Ryswyk said.

    In July of last year, Tinder’s parent company, Match Group, acquired The League, an exclusive dating app “with a curated member base focused on matching career-oriented users looking for a serious relationship,” in a deal valued around $30 million.

    The success of The League, which offers a VIP plan that charges $1,000 per week, reportedly inspired Match Group to roll out a new, exclusive tier for “high-intent users” of Tinder.

    Gary Swidler, the president of Match Group, whose portfolio also includes the dating app Hinge as well as sites like OKCupid and, told a business gathering earlier this month that Tinder Select is expected to draw “a relatively tiny amount of new payers.”

    Nonetheless, the company anticipates it will bolster revenue, which has slowed in recent months.

    Match Group said that the number of subscribers to its dating apps have fallen in each of the last three quarters, though average revenue per user has grown on a year-over-year basis, according to Bloomberg News.

    Bloomberg (paywalled) Tinder Offers $500-a-Month Subscription to Its Most Active Users

    5 votes
  10. Comment on Surgeons perform the second ever pig-to-human heart transplant in ~health

    (edited )
    Link Parent
    Would you accept an animal's organ/s to be tranplanted to you if you are facing a similar situation? What would a vegan do? What would a practing Jew/Muslim do? Pig is not kosher/halaal. Though an...

    Would you accept an animal's organ/s to be tranplanted to you if you are facing a similar situation? What would a vegan do?

    What would a practing Jew/Muslim do? Pig is not kosher/halaal. Though an individual has right to accept or reject, should religious values be considered by the individual in a situation like this?

    Also the question of genetic modification of the donor animal. It is not a free range farm animal. Would this be a problem even if we keep aside religious/vegan issues?

    16 votes
  11. Comment on Surgeons perform the second ever pig-to-human heart transplant in ~health

    Grace Wade The heart of a genetically modified pig has been transplanted into a man with heart disease, the second such surgery of its kind “We are once again offering a dying patient a shot at a...

    Grace Wade

    The heart of a genetically modified pig has been transplanted into a man with heart disease, the second such surgery of its kind

    Surgeons have successfully transplanted a genetically modified pig heart into a human for the second time. The recipient, a 58-year-old man with terminal heart disease, is breathing on his own, and his new heart is functioning without any mechanical support.

    “We are once again offering a dying patient a shot at a longer life,”

    On 20 September, Bartley Griffith at the University of Maryland and his colleagues performed the surgery on Lawrence Faucette, who was ineligible for a transplant with a human heart due to a pre-existing vascular disease and complications with internal bleeding. The pig heart transplant was the only option for Faucette, who would have otherwise died from heart failure, according to the surgery team.

    “We are once again offering a dying patient a shot at a longer life,” said Griffith in a statement. “We are hopeful that he will get home soon to enjoy more time with his wife and the rest of his loving family.”

    The first pig-to-human heart transplant occurred in January 2022

    The recipient, David Bennett, died two months later, potentially due to a pig virus called porcine cytomegalovirus. As a result, researchers have developed more sensitive tests to screen donor organs for the virus. Hospital officials told the New York Times those tests were done on the pig heart used in Faucette’s operation.

    The heart Faucette received came from a pig with 10 genetic modifications that reduce the likelihood of rejection

    One of the main concerns with xenotransplantation – the transfer of animal organs to humans – is transplant rejection. This is when the immune system attacks the organ, eventually causing organ failure. The heart Faucette received came from a pig with 10 genetic modifications that reduce the likelihood of rejection. His doctors are also treating him with a novel medication that blocks a protein involved in activating immune responses.

    “This transplant is another remarkable achievement for medicine and humanity,” said Bert O’Malley at the University of Maryland in a statement. “We are immensely proud to have taken another significant leap toward a day when people who need a life-saving organ transplant can get one.”

    Xenotransplantation is a promising solution to the shortage of donor organs

    Nearly 105,000 people in the US are waiting for an organ transplant, and every day 17 of them die, according to the US Health Resources and Services Administration. Researchers in the field are hopeful that the US Food and Drug Administration will approve clinical trials of xenotransplantation within the next few years.

    9 votes