❤️ Fresh Insights for a Better Life

Month: March 2018 (Page 3 of 14)

Every Facebook app collected users’ personal data, without even trying

Ian Bogost, The Atlantic:

I made a satirical social game called Cow Clicker. Players clicked a cute cow, which mooed and scored a “click.” Six hours later, they could do so again. They could also invite friends’ cows to their pasture, buy virtual cows with real money, compete for status, click to send a real cow to the developing world from Oxfam, outsource clicks to their toddlers with a mobile app, and much more. It became strangely popular, until eventually, I shut the whole thing down in a bovine rapture—the “cowpocalypse.” It’s kind of a complicated story.

But one worth revisiting today, in the context of the scandal over Facebook’s sanctioning of user-data exfiltration via its application platform. It’s not just that abusing the Facebook platform for deliberately nefarious ends was easy to do (it was). But worse, in those days, it was hard to avoid extracting private data, for years even, without even trying. I did it with a silly cow game.

Arnaud Beltrame: ‘He fell a hero:’ French gendarme who replaced hostages dies

The Guardian:

The French gendarme who was shot after he swapped places with several people being held by a terrorist gunman has died.

The interior minister, Gérard Collomb, announced the death of Lt ColArnaud Beltrame shortly before 6am (French time) on Saturday.

“We will never forget his heroism, his bravery, his sacrifice. With a heavy heart, I send the support of the entire country to his family, friends and colleagues of the gendarmerie of the Aude,” Collomb tweeted.


Arnaud Beltrame: France lauds policeman who swapped with hostage – BBC

‘He saved lives’: Arnaud Beltrame, police officer who traded places with a hostage, to be honored by France – Washington Post

Remington, the oldest gun maker in the United States, files for bankruptcy protection

Remington, which has been around since 1816, makes the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, the gun used in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Connecticut in 2012 that killed 20 first-graders and six educators. The AR-15 is the gun used to kill 17 people at a Parkland, Fla., high school on Valentine’s Day. The AR-15 was developed as a weapon of war to kill as many people as quickly as possible. It’s the reason it’s the choice of many mass-shooters.


Remington Outdoors, which also owns gun manufacturers including Marlin and Bushmaster, says sales in 2017 were just over $600 million, down more than 30 percent from 2016.

Stowaway stink bugs slow down New Zealand car imports.

8,000 vehicles in February were rejected after bug infestations were discovered on shipments from Japan.

Financial Times:

The Ministry for Primary Industries, the body tasked with protecting New Zealand’s biosecurity, said in February it had introduced new measure to reduce the risk of brown marmorated stink bugs from arriving in machinery and vehicles from Japan.

All vehicles will now have to undergo inspection before leaving Japan.

“The move is the result of an unprecedented spike in the number of stink bugs arriving at the border from Japan in bulk carriers,” MPI said, adding that three bulk carriers were directed to leave New Zealand “due to excessive contamination”.


Stink bugs threaten New Zealand car imports – BBC

The unassuming village of Charlo, New Brunswick has became home to one of the best cross-country skiing and biathlon venues in Canada


The club is garnering attention this week as host of the 2018 Canadian Biathlon Championships, but Les Aventuriers aren’t new to the national spotlight. The club has been hosting provincial, regional and national competitions for decades.

The unassuming community has slowly and steadily built the course from scratch for more than 40 years into a renowned facility with millions worth of infrastructure, and its origins are as modest as they come.

“It was a group of people there who just wanted to cross-country ski,” Levesque said. “And that’s how it started.”

Daredevil blasts off in homemade steam-powered rocket

A self-taught rocket enthusiast, who believes the Earth is flat, has launched himself about 570 metres (1870 feet) into the air in his homemade rocket, before a hard landing that left him slightly bruised. Mad’ Mike Hughes hopes to prove that Earth is shaped “like a Frisbee.”

Sanya Burgess, Sky News:

A daredevil inventor who believes the Earth is flat blasted himself around 570 metres (1,875ft) into the air in a rocket before landing with a bump.

‘Mad’ Mike Hughes, 61, a US limo driver from California, was slightly injured when his steam-powered rocket launch ended with a hard landing in the Mojave Desert on Saturday.

“This thing wants to kill you 10 different ways,” said Mr Hughes.


An amateur rocket-maker finally launched himself off Earth. Now to prove it’s flat … – The Washington Post

Flat-Earther self-taught rocket man finally launches in California desert

Canadian Mario Rigby walked 12,000 km, over more than 2 years, from Cape Town, South Africa to Cairo, Egypt

Donovan Vincent, Toronto Star:

He contracted malaria, dodged bullets with government soldiers in a war zone and was jailed for several days near a small village because police didn’t believe him when he explained who he was.

Adventure traveller Mario Rigby also tested the limits of his physical and emotional stamina when he trekked 12,000 kilometres northward across eight African countries for two years, by foot and kayak. He started in late 2015 and finished in February, taking an eastern route from South Africa to Egypt.

Africa, he says is a place that has been depicted by the West only as dangerous, violent and beset by poverty.



Mario Rigby on Twitter


The Best of the Best Countries in the World

The Best of the Best, according to U.S. News & World Report:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Canada
  3. Germany
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Japan
  6. Sweden
  7. Australia
  8. United States
  9. France
  10. Netherlands
  11. Denmark
  12. Norway
  13. New Zealand
  14. Finland
  15. Italy
  16. Singapore
  17. Austria
  18. Luxembourg
  19. Spain
  20. China


Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler:

There’s a “best of” list for nearly everything—the best countries for expats, the best places to go in 2018, the best pizza in Italy (you’re welcome). Now, U.S. News & World Report has released a veritable best-of-the-best list, with its annual “Best Countries” index. This study is no joke: They evaluated 80 countries and surveyed 21,000 people from four regions (the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East and Africa); places were graded 65 different ways, for how well they rank in “citizenship,” “cultural influence,” “education,” “heritage,” “power,” “quality of life,” to name a few. Here, the ten best countries in the world, and what they’re, well, best for. Counting down… This gallery was originally published in 2016. It has been updated with new results.

Road Trip: The Natchez Trace Parkway

A 444-mile drive through 10,000 years of history

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a recreational road and scenic drive through three American states. It roughly follows the “Old Natchez Trace” a historic travel corridor used by American Indians, “Kaintucks,” European settlers, slave traders, soldiers, and future presidents. Today, people can enjoy not only a scenic drive but also hiking, biking, horseback riding, and camping along the parkway.

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