Weekly Mozilla News Beat, October 2, 2020
A Wholesome Moment
Being a good dad means joining your kid for play time — even when mud is involved. Watch as the daughter invites her dad into the mud, the dad stares directly into the camera and then proceeds to splash around with his young one. Sir, you are a real one.
A...Less Wholesome Moment
Animal antics ensued when five parrots at a British wildlife park were moved out of view after they started swearing at visitors. We feel you, parrots. It’s been that kind of year.
Headline: Great Lakes
Two years ago scientists detected the possibility of water within Mars — a huge lake 19 miles in diameter beneath its south pole. Newer tests show us that those previous findings are even more likely to be true, with multiple sources of water potentially nearby.
Help Save The Planet
New research out of the journal Global Environmental Change notes that, 30 years from now, we could bring energy use down to 1960 levels (and still live comfortably) using tech that already exists — even if the population triples like it’s expected to.
Struggling with false posts plaguing your news feed? Recode’s written a comprehensive guide on protecting yourself from falling prey to misinformation and disinformation on your timeline.
Old McDonald Had* A Farm
Wow, remember Facebook games? Before the social network was known for destroying democracy, millions of users tended to virtual farms in between liking photos and sending their crushes memes. Now, after 11 years, Farmville is finally closing its barn doors.
Smart Home Revolt
Researchers at Avast discovered a worrisome vulnerability in the internet-connected coffee maker space. They reverse-engineered Smarter’s coffee machine, and were able to turn on the burner, spin the bean grinder and even demand ransom. Watch out for this one during the robot apocalypse.
Nonpartisan advocacy group RepresentUs released two deepfake videos, where actors + software impersonated Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin. The message: the U.S. doesn’t need us to undermine the election, others might.
Virtually Left Behind
Not all remote learning is created equal. Take the story of Shemar, an elementary school student in Baltimore whose lack of computer, internet and proper support system put him at a disadvantage when lessons went virtual. Shemar’s story is all too common this pandemic.
Housing Law Dilemma
Blurb: Algorithms have long determined what shows up in our social feeds and search results. Now they decide who gets to live where. A report from The Markup tosses racial bias into the mix: when complaints of discrimination surface, who’s at fault? The landlord or the software?
Experts worry that the U.S. may not be ready for the next big hack-and-leak — when bad actors dig up dirt on a presidential candidate and use the information to discredit them or distract from something else in the news. The worst may be yet to come.
“Stand back and Standby”
When Trump was asked to denounce white supremacy, he instead told groups like the Proud Boys to “stand back and standby.” After his comment, Proud Boys saw a spike in group-joins on Telegram — the app they use to gather after their suspension from Facebook and Twitter in 2018.
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