How the Space Station Became a Base to Launch Humanity’s Future

from NYTs For the International Space Station, Leroy Chiao was, in a sense, there before the beginning. In October 2000, he was one of seven astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery, which brought pieces of the nascent space station to orbit. Construction had begun a couple of years earlier. But no one was living there yet. Much of the work on Dr. Chiao’s flight was done outside the space station, during spacewalks. But the astronauts also got to go inside briefly. “It had that new-car smell,” Dr. Chiao recalled. It was a runt of a space station then. The habitable […]

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Zoom Finally Has End-to-End Encryption.

from Wired ZOOM HAS GONE from startup to verb in record time, by now the de facto video call service for work-from-home meetings and cross-country happy hours alike. But while there was already plenty you could do to keep your Zoom sessions private and secure, the startup has until now lacked the most important ingredient in a truly safe online interaction: end-to-end encryption. Here’s how to use it, now that you can, and why in many cases you may not actually want to. It’s been a long road to get here. This spring, as Zoom rode the pandemic to video […]

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What Happens When China Leads the World

from The Atlantic What kind of superpower will China be? That’s the question of the 21st century. According to American leaders such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, China will bea rapacious authoritarian nightmare, intent on destroying democracy itself. Beijing, needless to say, doesn’t quite agree. Fortunately for those of us seeking answers to this question, China was a major power for long stretches of history, and the foreign policies and practices of its great dynasties can offer us insights into how modern Chinese leaders may wield their widening power now and in the future. Of course, Chinese society today […]

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Dear Congress: Platform Accountability Should Not Threaten Online Expression

from ACLU Tomorrow, the Senate Commerce Committee is holding a hearing entitled “Does Section 230 Enable Big Tech Bad Behavior?” This is just the latest attempt by Congress and the Trump administration to amend, reinterpret, or eliminate Section 230, a key provision of federal law that generally ensures online platforms, including social media, can’t be held liable for the speech and content their users post on these platforms. This law means Yelp can’t be held legally responsible every time one of its users posts a false negative review. The Bed Bug Registry doesn’t have to visit every hotel with a […]

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Boston Dynamics’ Robots Won’t Take Our Jobs … Yet

from Wired IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO talk about Boston Dynamics robots without acknowledging two things: They’re a marvel of modern engineering, and their agility can be incredibly unnerving. A 46-second video of Spot the robot “dog” opening a door has more than 56 million views on YouTube. Atlas, the company’s headless humanoid robot, can go for a jog or do parkour. And just last week, the company released new footage of Spot the robot recharging on its own. (If it sounds like a Black Mirror episode, well, that’s because it sort of is.) But even as many observers joke about a […]

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The Top 10 Communication Lessons An Entrepreneur Can Learn

from Forbes Every successful business leader needs to know how to communicate effectively. Both written and verbal communication skills are crucial if you want to build and maintain strong relationships with your employees, customers and partners. These essential communications insights are often learned throughout an entrepreneur’s journey, and sometimes they can come to you through unexpected career situations. That’s why we asked the members of Young Entrepreneur Council to share the best communication lessons they’ve learned during their careers so far. Here are their top 10 lessons and why each was so impactful. More here.

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Big Business vs. Small Business

from Seth’s Blog Small companies create almost all the jobs. They are the insurgents, the agents of change. Big companies are a backbone, reliable providers of goods and services. Big companies operate at a scale that most of us can’t even imagine. The two points of view often conflict. And each can learn from the other. Net neutrality is an argument between freedom of innovation by small business vs. control from big business. Campaign finance reform is an argument against big companies and their leaders buying the outcomes of elections. It’s not always about capitalism vs. the alternative. It’s often […]

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Hiring Remotely Is The New Reality. Here’s How To Do It With Speed

from Fast Company In some ways, growing businesses are akin to children: They will go through periods of rapid and transformative growth spurts. Short times of accelerated sales and growing customer bases are often accompanied by growing pains, during which the business must get accustomed to a new pace. While these periods are exciting, as they are typically a sign of success, it is also extremely challenging because that success will only last as long as you’re able to adequately support it. During such periods of growth, an expanded team is a critical component to sustaining and supporting new demand. […]

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Study Shows Which Messengers Leak Your Data, Drain Your Battery, And More

from ars technica Link previews are a ubiquitous feature found in just about every chat and messaging app, and with good reason. They make online conversations easier by providing images and text associated with the file that’s being linked. Unfortunately, they can also leak our sensitive data, consume our limited bandwidth, drain our batteries, and, in one case, expose links in chats that are supposed to be end-to-end encrypted. Among the worst offenders, according to research published on Monday, were messengers from Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Line. More about that shortly. First a brief discussion of previews. More here.

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Amy Coney Barrett’s Judicial Philosophy Doesn’t Hold Up to Scrutiny

from The Atlantic During her confirmation hearings, Amy Coney Barrett argued that the judicial philosophy known as “originalism” should guide judges in their interpretation and application of constitutional principles. Most famously associated with the late Justice Antonin Scalia (for whom Judge Barrett clerked), this idea sounds simple and sensible: In determining what the Constitution permits, a judge must first look to the plain meaning of the text, and if that isn’t clear, then apply what was in the minds of the 55 men who wrote it in 1787. Period. Anything else is “judicial lawmaking.” In some cases, interpreting the Constitution […]

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A 2.5 Gigapixel Image of the Orion Constellation

from Kottke Amateur astronomer Matt Harbison has been working for the past five years on capturing a detailed image of the Orion constellation. He recently completed the project and the result is this 2.5 gigapixel photo mosaic composed of 12,816 individual photos. From PetaPixel, which has a good writeup of the project, a taste of the challenges involved with constructing this image: Even after all the images were shot and each panel completed, the finished image did not come together smoothly. “I began in 2015 on a Mac Pro with 2 Xeon Processors and 64GB of RAM. This machine was […]

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New Report on Police Decryption Capabilities

from Schneier on Security There is a new report on police decryption capabilities: specifically, mobile device forensic tools (MDFTs). Short summary: it’s not just the FBI that can do it. This report documents the widespread adoption of MDFTs by law enforcement in the United States. Based on 110 public records requests to state and local law enforcement agencies across the country, our research documents more than 2,000 agencies that have purchased these tools, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. We found that state and local law enforcement agencies have performed hundreds of thousands of cellphone extractions since […]

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How Climate Change Could Impact Your Home Value

from US News IN 2018, THE FEDERAL Emergency Management Agency announced that it would be updating New York City’s flood maps as a result of rising sea levels and shifting climate change forecasts. After all, in New York City, it’s been estimated that approximately 80 percent of the property owners who have experienced flood damage since the maps were last updated in 1983 didn’t have flood insurance. If you live in an area that has been plagued by floods, fires or beach erosion, or if you are concerned because 2014 to 2018 were the warmest years on record, you may […]

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Taking Back Our Privacy

from The New Yorker Walking down Abbot Kinney Boulevard, the retail strip in Venice, California, can feel like scrolling through Instagram. One afternoon this July, people sat at outdoor tables beneath drooping strings of fairy lights, sipping cocktails and spearing colorful, modestly dressed salads. The line for Salt & Straw, a venture-funded, “chef-driven” ice-cream shop, stretched up the block, and athleisure-clad twentysomethings photographed themselves eating waffle cones, fabric masks pulled down around their chins like turkey wattles. A month earlier, Abbot Kinney had become a central gathering place for protesters during the mass demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism. […]

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Keep an Eye on Taiwan

from The Atlantic Taiwan is one of those flash points that has never flashed. The dispute over the island’s fate has had the potential to erupt into conflict between China and the United States for decades. But the feared Chinese invasion has never come. The situation has remained deadlocked for so long that Taiwan’s quandary often drifts into the background of Asian affairs, overshadowed by seemingly more-pressing concerns, such as North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and inflamed tensions between India and Pakistan in Kashmir. Not now. With an erratic President Donald Trump distracted by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as his […]

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House Lawmakers Condemn Big Tech’s ‘Monopoly Power’ and Urge Their Breakups

from NYTs House lawmakers who spent the last 16 months investigating the practices of the world’s largest technology companies said on Tuesday that Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google had exercised and abused their monopoly power and called for the most sweeping changes to antitrust laws in half a century. In a 449-page report that was presented by the House Judiciary Committee’s Democratic leadership, lawmakers said the four companies had turned from “scrappy” start-ups into “the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons.” The lawmakers said the companies had abused their dominant positions, […]

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The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Revealing The Regressive Business Model Of College Sports

from Brookings This year’s college football season is shaping up to be vastly different than any other in history. While games are being played, crowds are exceptionally limited or nonexistent. Furthermore, there are simply fewer games—and there is no guarantee of a complete season for any school. The combination of these factors is costing universities tens of millions of dollars and upending the underlying business model of college sports. Universities across the country have already responded by ending many low-revenue sports. This has led to widespread lamentations about the decreased opportunities for intercollegiate athletes who play sports that cannot support […]

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Twitter Abruptly Changes Hacked-Materials Policy After Blocking Biden Story

from ars technica Twitter has changed its policy on sharing hacked materials after facing criticism of its decision to block users from tweeting links to a New York Post article that contained Hunter Biden emails allegedly retrieved from a computer left at a repair shop. On Wednesday, Twitter said it blocked links to the Post story because it included private information and violated Twitter’s hacked materials policy, which prohibits sharing links to or images of hacked content. But on late Thursday night, Twitter legal executive Vijaya Gadde wrote in a thread that the company has “decided to make changes to […]

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How To Improve Your Working From Home Game With These Hacks

from Forbes Working from home for the last eight months has certainly created its share of challenges for me as an entrepreneur and I’m willing to bet that I’m not alone. It took me a short while to get myself and my team situated, and, thanks to their adaptability and dedication, we were able to flex to our new reality and demands rather easily. As the months of working remotely wore on, I decided to begin adapting my home office to better meet my needs on a more sustained basis. I did a lot of research and was pleasantly surprised […]

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The Power Of Community And The Trap Of Opt-Out

from Seth’s Blog In Colonial America, they had private fire departments. If you didn’t voluntarily pay your dues, the firemen wouldn’t put out a fire–they’d watch your house burn and make sure it didn’t spread to your neighbor’s house. [or this!] While this is a vivid way to ensure that everyone pays their dues, it’s such an inefficient way to support the fire department that it was replaced with the smarter alternative: a smaller tax on everyone, automatically collected. Even if a few manage to avoid paying their share, the blanket protection, which also leads to fire inspectors and building […]

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