Australia Energy, DuckDuckGo, Meltdown/Spectre, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, January 24, 2018


Renew Economy: Australian solar database – 161 projects, and 19GW of capacity. “RenewEconomy and consultancy Sunwiz are proud to announce the commencement of a new service tracking Australian solar farms that will bring you all the information you need to understand the outlook for Australian solar farms. We will be bringing you regular updates within our newsletters, with full details on each individual project available for service subscribers.”


TechCrunch: DuckDuckGo adds tracker blocking to help curb the wider surveillance web. “Some major product news from veteran anti-tracking search engine DuckDuckGo: Today it’s launched revamped mobile apps and browser extensions that bake in a tracker blocker for third party sites, and include a suite of other privacy features intended to help users keep surfing privately as they navigate around the web.”

BetaNews: Intel tells customers to stop installing Meltdown/Spectre patches due to ‘unpredictable’ reboot issues. “The fallout from the Meltdown and Spectre bugs continues to plague Intel. The company has been hit with lawsuits, users complained about performance drops, and some users found that their computers were rendered unbootable. For people with Broadwell and Haswell chips, there was a problem with random reboots, and as a result of this — some two weeks down the line — Intel is now advising people to stop installing its patches.”

The Next Web: Snapchat adds ability to share (certain) Stories with people who don’t use Snapchat. “Stories are a huge part of Snapchat, and now the company is making it easier to share them with people who don’t have the app. Not every story can be shared outside the app. The feature only works for Official Stories, unpartnered Our Stories, and Search Stories.”


Imagining America: Climate Change and the Stories We Tell: The Making of a Collaborative Digital Archive in Rural Maine. “Climate change is one of the most important issues facing humanity. But the very nature of this phenomenon—the physical and temporal scale at which it plays out, the specificity of the scientific language often used to describe it, and the complex set of interests already shaping this discourse—make it a difficult phenomenon to discuss. Scientific papers about climate change tend to be jargon-heavy and largely incomprehensible to the general public. Meanwhile, apocalyptic narratives like those popularized in film and fiction often foster fear, despondency, and withdrawal from the civic sphere (Swyngedouw 2010). Journalistic attempts to cover the topic in a newsworthy manner often end up sounding repetitive, as each month leads to the shattering of yet another climate-related record. Finally, climate change is a deeply polarizing issue, with ‘believers’ and ‘nonbelievers’ often splitting along party lines (Stoknes 2015). The question remains: How can we communicate ongoing environmental transformations in a manner that is engaging and factually accurate, urgent and memorable, pointed and capable of speaking to people of varied political persuasions?”

Mashable: Why Twitter’s future just got even darker. “Feelings of alarm spread via tweets Tuesday morning after news broke that Anthony Noto would be leaving his role as chief operating officer of Twitter and joining financial tech company SoFi as CEO. For Noto, the new gig is a lucrative opportunity and lines up with his skill set. The 49-year-old — who spent nearly a decade at Goldman Sachs, then served as the National Football League’s chief financial officer, and spent the last three and a half years at Twitter — can shape the direction of a young startup valued at billions and effectively disrupting the massive financial-services industry.”


Ars Technica: Here’s why the epidemic of malicious ads grew so much worse last year. “Last year brought a surge of sketchy online ads to the Internet that tried to trick viewers into installing malicious software. Even credit reporting service Equifax was caught redirecting its website visitors to a fake Flash installer just a few weeks after reports of a data breach affecting as many as 145.5 million US consumers. Now, researchers have uncovered one of the forces driving that spike-a consortium of 28 fake ad agencies.”

The Telegraph: Digital versions of Fire and Fury riddled with malware. “Pirated copies of Michael Wolf’s tell-all Trump novel may be granting hackers access to readers PCs, potentially leaving them vulnerable to banking and identity fraud.”

Wired: Tinder’s Lack Of Encryption Lets Strangers Spy On Your Swipes. “IN 2018, YOU’D be forgiven for assuming that any sensitive app encrypts its connection from your phone to the cloud, so that the stranger two tables away at the coffee shop can’t pull your secrets off the local Wi-Fi. That goes double for apps as personal as online dating services. But if you assumed that basic privacy protection for the world’s most popular dating app, you’d be mistaken: As one application security company has found, Tinder’s mobile apps still lack the standard encryption necessary to keep your photos, swipes, and matches hidden from snoops.”


ZDNet: Fake news fallout: Cascading collapse in trust for social media platforms, search and governements. “Facebook, Google and Twitter’s failure to deal with the damaging effects of fake news has created a broad distrust in social media platforms, search engines and news applications reports the Edelman Trust Barometer 2018 — a survey of more than 33,000 people in 28 countries. But trust in journalism has improved greatly and there is now a wide divide between peoples’ low regard for media platforms and their much improved respect for journalists and journalism.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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