Source: Google News | US military sees spike in sexual assault reports
Drivers have to anticipate a lot of things on the road, but a gigantic duck isn’t usually one of them.
But unfortunately, commuters in the great plains had to contend with Quacky last week.
Twitter user Marc R. Wallace captured video of an enormous inflatable duck that rolled down the streets of Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday. Its name was Quacky. It wore some pretty sweet sunglasses.
Apparently, it was supposed to be a part of the 11th Annual Duck Derby fundraiser hosted by the Youth Emergency Shelter and Services of Iowa until one of its tethers broke and it got away. The huge balloon tumbled its way through two blocks on a city street. Quacky didn’t hurt anyone, but did impress many. Read more…
“It is time for me to move on . . . I’m taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology, such as collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars and playing ultimate frisbee,” WhatsApp co-founder, CEO and Facebook board member Jan Koum wrote today. The announcement followed shortly after The Washington Post reported that Koum would leave due to disagreements with Facebook management about WhatsApp user data privacy and weakened encryption. Koum obscured that motive in his note that says, “I’ll still be cheering WhatsApp on – just from the outside.”
The move comes 3.5 years after WhatsApp’s acquisition, meaning Koum may have vested much of his stock and have fewer financial incentives to stay. It’s currently unclear what will happen to Koum’s Facebook board seat that WashPo says he’ll vacate, or who will replace him as WhatsApp’s CEO.
One possible candidate for the CEO role would be WhatsApp business executive Neeraj Arora, a former Google corporate development manager who’s been with WhatsApp since 2011 — well before the Facebook acquisition. A source described him as the #4 at WhatsApp.
Koum sold WhatsApp to Facebook in 2014 for a jaw-dropping $19 billion. But since then it’s more than tripled its user count to 1.5 billion, making the price to turn messaging into a one-horse race seem like a steal. But at the time, Koum and co-founder Brian Acton were assured that WhatsApp wouldn’t have to run ads or merge its data with Facebook’s. So were regulators in Europe, where WhatsApp is most popular.
A year and a half later, though, Facebook pressured WhatsApp to change its terms of service and give users’ phone numbers to its parent company. That let Facebook target those users with more precise advertising, such as by letting businesses upload lists of phone numbers to hit those people with promotions. Facebook was eventually fined $122 million by the European Union in 2017 — a paltry sum for a company earning more than $4 billion in profit per quarter.
But the perceived invasion of WhatsApp user privacy drove a wedge between Koum and the parent company well before the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke. A source confirms that Koum had been considering leaving for a year. Acton left Facebook in November, and has publicly supported the #DeleteFacebook movement since.
WashPo writes that Koum was also angered by Facebook executives pushing for a weakening of WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption in order to facilitate its new WhatsApp For Business program. It’s possible that letting multiple team members from a business all interact with its WhatsApp account could be incompatible with strong encryption. Facebook plans to finally make money off WhatsApp by offering bonus services to big companies like airlines, e-commerce sites and banks that want to conduct commerce over the chat app.
Koum was heavily critical of advertising in apps, once telling Forbes that “Dealing with ads is depressing . . . You don’t make anyone’s life better by making advertisements work better.” He vowed to keep them out of WhatsApp. But over the past year, Facebook has rolled out display ads in the Messenger inbox. Without Koum around, Facebook might push to expand those obtrusive ads to WhatsApp as well.
The high-profile departure comes at a vulnerable time for Facebook, with its big F8 developer conference starting tomorrow despite Facebook simultaneously shutting down parts of its dev platform as penance for the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Meanwhile, Google is trying to fix its fragmented messaging strategy, ditching apps like Allo to focus on a mobile carrier-backed alternative to SMS it’s building into Android Messages.
While the News Feed made Facebook rich, it also made it the villain. Messaging has become its strongest suit thanks to the dual dominance of Messenger and WhatsApp. Considering many users surely don’t even realize WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, Koum’s departure over policy concerns isn’t likely to change that. But it’s one more point in what’s becoming a thick line connecting Facebook’s business ambitions to its cavalier approach to privacy.
You can read Koum’s full post below.
Source: Tech Crunch Mobiles | WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum quits Facebook due to privacy intrusions
NeuroDigital collaborated with Prague’s National Gallery to create Touching Masterpieces, giving people who are blind a cool VR experience where they can “see” the art through touch. The haptic gloves vibrate to make the wearer feel as though they’re feeling a 3D object. Read more…
Source: Mashable | These VR gloves allow people who are blind to "see" art for the first time
In the 1950s, Los Angeles residents raised signs protesting the region’s filthy air. One woman’s sign, at an anti-smog committee meeting in 1954, mocked that Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Valley had been transformed into the inhospitable “Death Valley.”
Largely due to car pollution, many American cities had indeed become ridden with highly visible air pollution, or smog, which grew worse over the next few decades until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created, along with the Clean Air Act, in 1970. The Clean Air Act, backed up by EPA enforcement, was strengthened in the decades that followed. Read more…
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by headphone companies suckering you into buying their cheap headphones, just to have them break a month later. (*Raises hand*)
We all know the tease that is spending $20 rather than $200 on headphones, but how much money are you really saving if you’re constantly replacing them? Even if they don’t break, they’re still not staying in your ear or blocking noise to save your life.
It’s time to ditch your crappy headphones once and for all and finally invest in a pair that you can rely on. Multiple pairs of headphones from Bose are up to $50 off on Amazon. Read more…
Source: Mashable | Multiple pairs of really nice Bose headphones are up to off on Amazon
You never realize just how large dolphins are till one of them body-slams you.
Andrew Hill, an Australian paddleboarder, came face-to-face (er, body-to-body?) with a dolphin while boarding off the coast of Gracetown, West Australia.
The moment was captured by photographer Lucas Englert, the man behind surfing Instagram account lubricatedsurf. Englert was getting ready to film some surfers when he caught footage of Hill’s encounter with the small pod of dolphins.
Donald Trump’s Twitter account has, once again, gotten him in some hot water, which should shock absolutely no one.
Trump is facing another Twitter-related lawsuit, but this time it’s for defamation and — in a twist that only the best screenwriter could whip up — the plaintiff is adult film star Stormy Daniels (whose real name is Stephanie Clifford).
Daniels filed the lawsuit on Monday. It centers on an tweet from April 18 in which Trump addressed her claim she was threatened to stay quiet about her affair with Trump. He specifically called out the sketch of
Tom Brady the man who allegedly threatened her as a “con job.” Read more…
Source: Mashable | Stormy Daniels is suing Trump for defamation over a tweet
It’s not a college graduation until your grandmother is squealing for help and your father is chasing a giant beast of death across a field.
Students at Pepperdine University were victimized by not one but two pelicans this weekend, when the birds invaded their graduation ceremony and demanded to walk across the stage. No one seems to have been harmed, and the birds don’t seemed to have tried too hard to ruin the affair. But that didn’t stop the crowd from reacting as if they were in a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.
Security had to step in and sequester the two birds, who did not look happy about it. The pelicans were not offered diplomas, despite their best efforts and in keeping with university tradition. Read more…
Source: Google News | Trump's pick to lead ICE, who touted surge in immigration arrests, steps down