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Canadian Influencer Megha Thakur Dies “Suddenly and Unexpectedly” at Age 21
Source: Megha Thakur/Instagram
Kanye West says he likes Hitler
The controversial rapper urged people to “stop dissing Nazis”
Melbourne man charged with murder after family member finds womans body
A Melbourne man has faced court over the death of a woman at a home in the city's north.Joe Lo Bianco, 52, was charged with murder on Thursday after a family member discovered the body of a 51-year-old woman inside a home on Brickworks Lane, Northcote, just before 8pm on Wednesday.Prosecutors asked for the woman's name to be removed from court documents during the brief appearance on Friday.READ MORE: Aged care home apologises after Melbourne woman severely bruisedLo Bianco, who is in custody for the first time, is due to face Melbourne Magistrates Court again for a committal mention on April 14, 2023.Police requested a longer than usual period to serve a brief of evidence on him, saying a pathology report is expected to take at least 12 weeks.CCTV is also expected form part of the evidence, the magistrate heard. ]]>
Former FTX CEO – Sam BankmanFried – Admits FTX Didn’t Buy Bitcoin for Clients – Just Took Their Money (VIDEO)
How protesters dodge Chinas massive censorship machine
Videos of hundreds protesting in Shanghai started to appear on WeChat on Saturday night. Showing chants about removing COVID-19 restrictions and demanding freedom, they would stay up only a few minutes before being censored.Elliot Wang, a 26-year-old in Beijing, was amazed.READ MORE: Numerous devices found after Ukrainian Embassy blast in SpainI started refreshing constantly, and saving videos, and taking screenshots of what I could before it got censored, Wang, who only agreed to be quoted using his English name, in fear of government retaliation, said. A lot of my friends were sharing the videos of the protests in Shanghai. I shared them too, but they would get taken down quickly.That Wang was able to glimpse the extraordinary outpouring of grievances highlights the cat-and-mouse game that goes on between millions of Chinese internet users and the country's gargantuan censorship machine.Chinese authorities maintain a tight grip on the country's internet via a complex, multi-layered censorship operation that blocks access to almost all foreign news and social media, and blocks topics and keywords considered politically sensitive or detrimental to the Chinese Communist Party's rule. Videos of or calls to protest are usually deleted immediately.But images of protests began to spread on WeChat, a ubiquitous Chinese social networking platform used by over 1 billion, in the wake of a deadly fire November 24 in the north-western city of Urumqi. Many suspected that lockdown measures prevented residents from escaping the flames, something the government denies.READ MORE: Uvalde school shooting survivors file $39b lawsuit against policeThe sheer number of unhappy Chinese users who took to the Chinese internet to express their frustration, together with the methods they used to evade censors, led to a brief period of time in which government censors were overwhelmed, according to Han Rongbin, an associate professor at the University of Georgia's International Affairs department.It takes censors some time to study what is happening and to add that to their portfolio in terms of censorship, so it's a learning process for the government on how to conduct censorship effectively, Han said.In 2020, the death from COVID-19 of Li Wenliang, a doctor who was arrested for allegedly spreading rumours following an attempt to alert others about a SARS-like virus, sparked widespread outrage and an outpouring of anger against the Chinese censorship system. Users posted criticism for hours before censors moved to delete posts.As censors took down posts related to the fire, Chinese internet users often used humour and metaphor to spread critical messages.READ MORE: Christchurch terrorist claims he pleaded guilty due to 'torture'Chinese netizens have always been very creative because every idea used successfully once will be discovered by censors the next time, Liu Lipeng, a censor-turned-critic of China's censorship practices, said. Chinese users started posting images of blank sheets of white paper, said Liu, in a silent reminder of words they weren't allowed to post.Others posted sarcastic messages like Good good good sure sure sure right right right yes yes yes, or used Chinese homonyms to evoke calls for President Xi Jinping to resign, such as shrimp moss, which sounds like the words for step down, and banana peel, which has the same initials as Xi's name.But within days, censors moved to contain images of white paper. They would have used a range of tools, said Chauncey Jung, a policy analyst who previously worked for several Chinese internet companies based in Beijing.Most content censorship is not done by the state, Jung said, but outsourced to content moderation operations at private social media platforms, who use a mix of humans and AI. Some censored posts are not deleted, but may be made visible only to the author, or removed from search results. In some cases, posts with sensitive key phrases may be published after review.A search on Weibo on Thursday for the term white paper mostly turned up posts that were critical of the protests, with no images of a single sheet of blank paper, or of people holding white papers at protests.It's possible to access the global internet from China by using virtual private networks that disguise internet traffic, but these systems are illegal and many Chinese internet users access only the domestic internet. Wang does not use a VPN.I think I can say for all the mainlanders in my generation that we are really excited, Wang said.But we're also really disappointed because we can't do anything. … They just keep censoring, keep deleting, and even releasing fake accounts to praise the cops.But the system works well enough to stop many users from ever seeing them. When protests broke out across China over the weekend, Carmen Ou, who lives in Beijing, initially didn't notice.Ou learned of the protests only later, after using a VPN service to access Instagram.I tried looking at my feed on WeChat, but there was no mention of any protests, she said.If not for a VPN and access to Instagram, I might not have found out that such a monumental event had taken place.Han, the international affairs professor, said censorship doesn't have to be perfect to be effective.Censorship might be functioning to prevent a big enough size of the population from accessing the critical information to be mobilised, he said.China's opaque approach to tamping down the spread of online dissent also makes it difficult to distinguish government campaigns from ordinary spam.Searching Twitter using the Chinese words for Shanghai or other Chinese cities reveals protest videos, but also a near-constant flood of new posts showing racy photos of young women. Some researchers proposed that a state-backed campaign could be seeking to drown out news of the protests with not safe for work content.A preliminary analysis by the Stanford Internet Observatory found lots of spam but no compelling evidence that it was specifically intended to suppress information or dissent, said Stanford data architect David Thiel.I'd be sceptical of anyone claiming clear evidence of government attribution, Thiel said in an email.Twitter searches for more specific protest-related terms, such as Urumqi Middle Road, Shanghai, produced mainly posts related to the protests.Israeli data analysis firm Cyabra and another research group that shared analysis with the AP said it was hard to distinguish between a deliberate attempt to drown out protest information sought by the Chinese diaspora and a run-of-the-mill commercial spam campaign.Twitter didn't respond to a request for comment. It hasn't answered media inquiries since billionaire Elon Musk took over the platform in late October and cut back much of its workforce, including many of those tasked with moderating spam and other content.Musk often tweets about how he's enacting or enforcing new Twitter content rules but hasn't commented on the recent protests in China. ]]>
German finance ministry rejects call to solve military crisis – media
The finance ministry said lack of funding was not the cause of the sluggish availability of ammunition
‘The Mandalorian’ Season 3 will premiere on March 1
Disney announced today The Mandalorian’s long-awaited third season will debut on March 1st on Disney+. The company had previously said that the third season would debut in February, so fans will have to wait a little longer than expected to see the upcoming season.
Facebook failed to stop test ads from threatening midterm election workers
Meta's election integrity efforts on Facebook may not have been as robust as claimed. Researchers at New York University's Cybersecurity for Democracy and the watchdog Global Witness have revealed that Facebook's automatic moderation system approved 15 out of 20 test ads threatening election workers ahead of last month's US midterms. The experiments were based on real threats and used clear language that was potentially easy to catch. In some cases, the social network even allowed ads after the wrong changes were made — the research team just had to remove profanity and fix spelling to get past initial rejections.The investigators also tested TikTok and YouTube. Both services stopped all threats and banned the test accounts. In an earlier experiment before Brazil's election, Facebook and YouTube allowed all election misinformation sent during an initial pass, although Facebook rejected up to 50 percent in follow-up submissions.In a statement to Engadget, a spokesperson said the ads were a small sample that didn't represent what users saw on platforms like Facebook. The company maintained that its ability to counter election threats exceeds that of rivals, but only backed the claim by pointing to quotes that illustrated the amount of resources committed to stopping violent threats, not the effectiveness of those resources.The ads wouldn't have done damage, as the experimenters had the power to pull them before they went live. Still, the incident highlights the limitations of Meta's partial dependence on AI moderation to fight misinformation and hate speech. While the system helps Meta's human moderators cope with large amounts of content, it also risks greenlighting ads that might not be caught until they're visible to the public. That could not only let threats flourish, but invite fines from the UK and other countries that plan to penalize companies which don't quickly remove extremist content. ]]>
The UN committee against torture has found Australia still has work to do
New York seeks handson leader in antirat fight
Hate rats? Are you a “somewhat bloodthirsty” New Yorker with excellent communication skills and “a general aura of badassery”? Then you might have what it takes to be the city's new rat tsar.Mayor Eric Adams’ administration posted a job listing this week seeking someone to lead the city's long-running battle against rats.The official job title is “director of rodent mitigation,” although it was promptly dubbed the rat tsar. Salary range is $176,000 to $250,000.READ MORE: 'Rodent infestation' forces closure of New York Mexican fast food chain“The ideal candidate is highly motivated and somewhat bloodthirsty, determined to look at all solutions from various angles, including improving operational efficiency, data collection, technology innovation, trash management, and wholesale slaughter,” reads that ad.The posting is whimsical, but the job is daunting.New York City leaders have been trying to control the rodent population for generations, with mixed results.READ MORE: Starving cannibal rats swarm deserted US streets in lockdownSightings of rats in parks, sidewalks and other places in the city have recently increased.City rats have survived a multimillion-dollar effort under former Mayor Bill de Blasio that focused on more trash pickups and better housing inspections in targeted neighbourhoods.The city also launched a program to use dry ice to suffocate rats in their hiding spots.Adams, when he was borough president of Brooklyn, once demonstrated a trap that used a bucket filled with a toxic soup to drown rats lured by the scent of food.READ MORE: Russian public support for Ukraine war crumblesNow, the Adams' administration is looking for a top rat bureaucrat to become the public face of the city's eradication and education efforts.“Cunning, voracious, and prolific, New York City’s rats are legendary for their survival skills, but they don’t run this city – we do,” claimed the posting.Applicants are expected to have a crafty sense of humour and “to lead from the front, using hands-on techniques to exterminate rodents with authority and efficiency.” ]]>
Chris Dawson handed 24 year jail term for wifes murder
The judge dismissed his lawyers' argument that media coverage served as extra punishment, saying Dawson was the author of his own misfortunes. ]]>
Epic Games’ app that turns photos into 3D models now available on iOS
Epic Games released RealityScan for iOS today. The free app, previously available in a closed beta, lets anyone scan real-world objects with their phone and turn them into high-fidelity 3D models.The app is the fruit of Epic’s purchase of Capturing Reality, a company specializing in photogrammetry software. Like the company’s desktop software, RealityScan combines 2D images to make seamless 3D assets for games and other virtual environments. The idea is to enable game developers and other creatives to scan real-world objects at any time and any place for their projects. (If the metaverse ever takes off, you can imagine tools like this becoming essential.)The scanning process begins with signing into your Epic Games account and taking at least 20 photos of an object from all sides. As you move your phone around, a real-time quality map shows how well you’ve covered it: green denotes well-covered areas, yellow could use more attention and red needs the most additional photos. It visualizes the places from which you’ve snapped each picture as something akin to little Polaroids floating around your item.Epic GamesThe app uploads and automatically aligns the images in the cloud as you take the photos. You can preview the model through the camera view and switch between the quality map and an in-progress, full-color render. When you want to crop it, it pops up 3D handles for you to drag around, ensuring it captures only the item, not the floor beneath it or background objects.The process works best with simple items captured in even, indirect lighting (reflective or wet surfaces won’t capture well). It also appears to work best with larger objects, as my attempt to capture a small Mr. T action figure resulted in something that looks more like a pointillistic painting than a usable model.Once you’re happy with the capture, you can export it to Sketchfab (a 3D asset platform Epic bought last year), where you can use it for 3D, virtual reality and augmented reality projects. Optionally, if you’ve captured something unique, you could try to sell your 3D model. Game developers needing a specific item for a virtual environment are the most logical audience here.RealityScan is available today as a free download for iOS and iPadOS on the App Store. Earlier this year, Epic said an Android version would arrive later in the year, although the company is running short on time to meet that deadline. ]]>
Medibank could face multimilliondollar fine over hack
Health insurer Medibank could face a multi-million-dollar fine after a hack that left customers' data exposed to criminals.A government investigation has begun into whether the health insurer took reasonable steps to protect its customers' data.Fines of up to $2.2 million per violation are on the table.READ MORE: Landmark IR reforms pass Senate on way to becoming lawIt comes after the purported hackers yesterday posted a vast amount of the stolen data.In what they have claimed to be their final update, the hacker updated their dark web forum yesterday morning with a simple message.Happy Cyber Security Day!!!, they said.Added folder full. Case closed.The folder included 6.4 gigabytes of data, compared to previous hacker releases of less than one megabyte.But it was less than what Medibank believes was stolen from its system.READ MORE: Numerous devices found after Ukrainian Embassy blast in SpainMedibank's response for customers remains comprehensive, with health and wellbeing support lines, mental health support and specialised teams to support any customer who receives scams or threats.All Medibank customers are advised to remain hyper-vigilant to scams via SMS, phone and email.They're urged to not pay any ransom or engage with any scammer claiming to have their information. Instead, they should be reported to Scamwatch.gov.au ]]>
Chris Dawson facing decades in jail
Almost 40 years after killing his wife Lynette and disposing of her body, Sydney schoolteacher Chris Dawson will be sentenced to what could be decades in jail.Justice Ian Harrison is set to conclude a four-decade-long wait for Lynette's family on Friday, handing down his sentence on the convicted wife-killer in the NSW Supreme Court.The decision comes more than 13 weeks after the judge found the 74-year-old guilty of murder and three weeks after his brother-in-law called him a conniving monster during a sentence hearing.READ MORE: Landmark IR reforms pass Senate on way to becoming lawDawson was found guilty of murdering his wife in January 1982 to have an unfettered relationship with a high school student who was also his babysitter, known as JC.During the sentence hearing, crown prosecutor Craig Everson SC said Dawson had planned a deliberate and conscious act of domestic violence with an intention to kill.He said a crime of very great heinousness required a term of life imprisonment.READ MORE: Family preparing for the worst as pregnant Perth mum fights for lifeDawson's lawyer Greg Walsh disputed claims the crime was at the high end in terms of objective seriousness.Walsh said the former Newtown Jets rugby league player had already suffered under the most constant and egregious publicity for four decades.His health was also deteriorating, the court heard, with Dawson showing signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain condition often experienced by those who play contact sports.Dawson has filed an appeal of his conviction. ]]>
Lehrmann retrial abandoned because of a significant and unacceptable risk to Brittany Higgins life
The plan for a second trial of Bruce Lehrmann has been dropped after expert medical advice warned it posed a “significant and unacceptable risk” to Brittany Higgins’ life.
Monarch delivers its first robot tractor
Monarch Tractor this morning announced the delivery of its first MK-V unit. The “smart tractor” is electric and what the Bay Area-based company refers to as “driver optional” (terms like “autonomous” and “self-driving” come with their own unique baggage). We’ll just refer to it as a “robot tractor” from here on.
Kim Jong Un wants North Korea to be a nuclear superpower – the real risk is a regional arms race
The recent claim by Kim Jong Un that North Korea plans to develop the world’s most powerful nuclear force may well have been more bravado than credible threat. But that doesn’t mean it can be ignored.
Now AI can outmaneuver you at both Stratego and Diplomacy
While artificial intelligence long ago surpassed human capability in Chess, and more recently Go — and let us not forget Doom — other more complex board games still present a challenge to computer systems. Until very recently, Stratego and Diplomacy were two of those games, but now AI has become table-flipping good at the former and passably human at the latter.
Fifty years ago, the new Whitlam government removed the luxury sales tax on the pill. It changed Australian womens lives
Tesla offers $3,750 discount for Model 3, Model Y deliveries in December
Tesla is offering Model 3 and Model Y buyers in the U.S. a $3,750 credit if they have their vehicle delivered in December 2022, according to an update on the company’s inventory page and several posts on Reddit.
Boundary Layer pivots from container ships to hydrofoiling personal watercraft
Boundary Layer, which was gunning for local air freight, and announced a slew of launch partners earlier this year, today announced a shift in strategy, with some high-performance foiling personal watercraft. Think low-flying SeaDoo, and you’ve got the right idea.
To da moon: Emm aims to innovate on the menstrual cup
Menstrual cups (sometimes known as “moon cups”) have been around since the 1930s, and it’s been a bloody long period since we’ve seen much innovation in that category. Emm just closed a $1 million round of funding to add some smarts. The company adds an applicator and an app tracking feature to help keep an eye on things.