Facebook Rolls Out News Feed Change That Blocks Watchdogs from Gathering Data – The Markup:

The Markup has found evidence that Facebook is adding changes to its website code that foils automated data collection of news feed posts—a technique that groups like NYU’s Ad Observatory, The Markup, and other researchers and journalists use to audit what’s happening on the platform on a large scale.

The changes, which attach junk code to HTML features meant to improve accessibility for visually impaired users, also impact browser-based ad blocking services on the platform. The new code risks damaging the user experience for people who are visually impaired, a group that has struggled to use the platform in the past.

Being the DRI of Your Career – Accidentally in Code:

What does it mean to be the DRI of your career? To me, 5 things:

Expect less from your job and more from your career.
Learn from feedback.
Own your professional development.
Distinguish what your employer rents versus what they buy.
Build your support system.

90’s Computer Book Covers – Imgur:

So many of these I haandled, if not read…

Opinion | The Limits of My Empathy for Covid Deniers – The New York Times:

Like many people, I am finding it hard to muster the empathy these stories try to elicit because other images are so fresh in my mind. The maskless rallies, the red-faced anti-maskers screaming at grocery store workers, the protesters hurling invectives at the schoolteachers who are begging for masks so that schoolchildren can return to school — those images fill me and crowd out my empathy.

AI movie posters

September 17, 2021

AI movie posters:

AI movie posters
Each of these images was generated by AI based on a brief text description of a movie. Can you guess the movie from the image?

2021 Photomicrography Competition | Nikon’s Small World:

Macro-photography, at it’s best, reveals the alien landscapes right in front of our eyes in enlightening ways… Every one of the winners here does exactly that.

via – kottke.org

The Old Last-Minute Hardware Design Switcheroo:

My suspicion is that, given how much Apple has been trying to flush-out leaks, that these were designs with A/B access internally to see which things made it to the press…

Killian Bell, writing at Cult of Mac:

Apple Watch Series 7 is not the upgrade most of us expected to see
from Tuesday’s Apple event. The new model doesn’t sport the big
design refresh multiple sources said was coming. It doesn’t even
pack a new chip.

Is this the upgrade Apple wanted to deliver this year? Or is it
a last-minute substitution that Cupertino had to settle on
because the refresh it really wanted to deliver just wasn’t
ready to roll out?

Based on the evidence, we’re going to say it’s the latter.

The only way this could be funnier is if Bell included the theory that perhaps Apple changed the hardware at the last minute because the flat-edge designs leaked.

This is not how hardware works. These designs are set long in advance. In fact, from what I’ve heard, the flat-edge watch designs might be legitimate leaks, but they’re next year’s designs. That’s how far in advance Apple works on hardware — they were already in the advanced stages of designing the 2022 Apple Watches months ago. (Aesthetically, I am not sold on a flat-edge design for the watch. The round edges are iconic and organic.)

You can argue that Series 7 is a marginal upgrade over Series 6, but with an all-new screen (brighter and bigger), all-new crystal (more durable), and 33 percent faster charging, there are upgrades, and none of them could be slapped together.

Former Blizzard Developer and ArenaNet, Undead Labs Founder: “We Need Unionization” – IGN:

I wish things like this were better covered in real-time rather than being a retrospective… I think if more of us realized how toxic Blizz was already starting to be way back when, it could have been steered to better outcomes.

“The Activision Blizzard disclosures this week have left me disgusted and repulsed — but not at all surprised,” Strain writes. “I joined a very early stage Blizzard as a game programmer in 1996 when there were several dozen employees.”

Strain recounts how in 1998 “after a cataclysmic meeting with one of the founders over our objections to dismembered and impaled female body parts in the beta version of Diablo, my wife and I began planning to leave Blizzard. Ultimately, I joined with a few like-minded colleagues and moved a thousand miles away from the Blizzard sphere of influence to start an independent studio.”

In the years since I switched from smoking to vaping, I have noticed significant improvements in my health. I breath easier when walking, for example.

The people trying to destroy vaping as a replacement to smoking are going to create a new generation of smokers… And if I can’t have access to the kind of nicotine salts that have replaced my smoking, I’ll likely go back to smoking.

FDA decision Thursday could reshape vaping industy:


E-Cigarette vaporizer components and products are displayed at Smoke and Gift Shop on June 25, 2019 in San Francisco, California.
E-Cigarette vaporizer components and products are displayed at Smoke and Gift Shop on June 25, 2019 in San Francisco, Calif.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

A monumental set of decisions is expected Thursday from the Food and Drug Administration that could reshape the tobacco industry for years to come by limiting, or altogether blocking, the sale of millions of e-cigarette products.

Though the FDA has long regulated the marketing and sale of traditional tobacco products like cigarettes, the agency had long not required the same scrutiny of vapes, allowing a market to flourish.

Now, more than 6 percent of American adults — and one in five high school students — say they vape. The industry has ballooned to more than $6 billion in size, led by the industry giant Juul, which controls about 40 percent of the market.

The imminent decisions by the FDA could impact almost all of that. About 6.5 million products made by more than 500 companies are under evaluation about whether they are "appropriate for the protection of public health."

If the agency finds that they are not, companies could be required to pull their products — including rechargeable vape pens, disposable e-cigarettes and the liquids that fill them — from the market.

"I'm guessing that the decisions over the next couple of days will result in a fundamental change in the e-cigarette market," said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The FDA is looking closely at the health effects of e-cigarettes

E-cigarette companies, including Juul, argue that their products are safer than traditional tobacco products like cigarettes.

Though vaping allows users to avoid some of the harmful carcinogens caused by smoking traditional cigarettes, studies have found that e-cigarettes are still harmful.

Inhaling the vaporized oil introduces harmful chemicals into the lungs, including vitamin E acetate. Dozens of people have died in recent years from vaping complications in the U.S., and thousands more have been hospitalized.

Additionally, virtually all e-cigarette products contain nicotine, some in very high levels — including Juul's 5% pods, each of which contains as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes. Nicotine affects prenatal and adolescent brain development, making it dangerous for both teenagers and pregnant people to vape.

"If any e-cigarette could actually help a smoker quit, they would apply to be a drug through other pathways that the FDA [has], and they would demonstrate that they are safe and effective in helping smokers quit," said Erika Sward of the American Lung Association, which has advocated for the denial of all applications to the FDA for any flavored tobacco product.

"Instead, what we've seen is another generation of kids addicted and a whole situation where we have millions of smokers — who might otherwise try to end their addiction — try to use this product," she said.

The FDA's decisions are due Thursday, but it's not clear yet what they'll decide

In 2019, a federal judge ordered e-cigarette manufacturers to submit applications to the FDA by 2020. Their products would be allowed to remain on the market for one year while the agency reviewed them. That year-long deadline is up Thursday.

The agency may not respond to every application by Thursday’s deadline. It has said it will prioritize based on market share, meaning companies like like Juul, along with British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands, which respectively own the brands Vype and blu, may face decisions as soon as Thursday.

Possibilities range from a major crackdown on virtually all vape products to a more targeted approach, perhaps blocking the sale of flavored products or disposable e-cigarettes, or creating marketing rules similar to those that govern traditional cigarettes.

"If they approve any of these, they definitely will have restrictions on both marketing and some of the product design that will be [intended] to reduce youth initiation and use," said Kathleen Hoke, a professor of public health law at the University of Maryland.

Last month, the agency made its first set of marketing denials for some 55,000 flavored vape products from three companies, ordering them to pull their products from the market. It has also denied applications for companies marketing flavors designed to appeal to kids such as Apple Crumble and Cinnamon Toast Cereal.

Regulators said the applications from its first set of denials "lacked sufficient evidence" that any benefit to adult smokers outweighed "the public health threat posed by the well-documented, alarming levels of youth use of such products."

Some researchers worry that a major crackdown on Juul and other manufacturers will simply send teenagers reaching for traditional cigarettes instead.

"I think it would be a public health disaster," said Dr. Michael Siegel, a researcher at Tufts University who studies youth tobacco and alcohol use. "Vaping is not causing a culture of smoking. It's actually replacing that culture."

Youth smoking rates have fallen dramatically in recent years as vaping has exploded in popularity. But other researchers are skeptical the trend would reverse.

"Whether those people chose to choose to go back to a cigarette that tastes like a cigarette or a vape product that tastes like a cigarette, I think is anyone's guess," said Hoke.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The right to bear arms!

September 2, 2021

The right to bear arms!:
Just look at those guns. This is certainly what the founding fathers intended.