US Defense Budget, Idaho Wines, Twitter, More: Thursday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, October 12, 2023


Forecast International: Forecast International’s U.S. Defense Budget Spotlight. “Forecast International has launched a free U.S. Defense Budget Spotlight dashboard to provide a glimpse into the FY24 congressional budget cycle and reveal how defense committee proposals will impact Pentagon spending…. The president’s FY24 request was released in March, over a month behind schedule, and lawmakers spent the summer putting their initial spin on the administration’s spending plans. The dashboard can be used to compare the congressional proposals with the administration’s request.”

Idaho Business Review: Which wines pair best with travel? New website helps answer the question. “Planning to take a wine-centric trip? Or would you like to embark on a few wine tastings while getting away? Either way, the Idaho Wine Commission’s newly unveiled website should be able to help wine lovers get the most cabernet for their cash. The commission’s new website includes an interactive map showcasing each of Idaho’s six wine regions.”


WIRED: Elon Musk Is Shitposting His Way Through the Israel-Hamas War. “Instead of tackling the dangerous disinformation problem on his platform, Musk instead spent yesterday night into this morning continuing to spread disinformation about the conflict, conversing with a known QAnon promoter, boosting anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, and laughing at a video detailing how transphobic content on X can get you new followers.”

Gizmodo: So Far, AI Is a Money Pit That Isn’t Paying Off. “Silicon Valley has bet big on generative AI but it’s not totally clear whether that bet will pay off. A new report from the Wall Street Journal claims that, despite the endless hype around large language models and the automated platforms they power, tech companies are struggling to turn a profit when it comes to AI.”

Washington Post: Graphic war videos go viral, testing social media’s rules. “In deciding what posts to take down during a war, social media companies have to weigh their interest in shielding users from violent, hateful and misleading content against the goals of allowing free expression, including newsworthy material and potential evidence of war crimes, said Evelyn Douek, an assistant professor at Stanford Law School. And they often have to make those calls under time pressure, without full information.” The link is to a gift article so you should be able to read it without a paywall.


Rest of World: Why thousands of young Chinese people use a pink dinosaur as their alias. “[Emily] Yuan is just one of tens of thousands of Chinese social media users who have adopted momo the pink dinosaur as their online alias, as a way to speak more freely, evade harassment, and protect their privacy. Today, you can find momos in all corners of the Chinese internet — from Douban forums on youth unemployment to Xiaohongshu posts recommending New York restaurants to Weibo threads discussing new TV shows. Douban’s momo group has over 11,000 members, while Xiaohongshu has over 10,000 users named momo, according to Chinese social media analytics site NewRank.”

Variety: Google Will Drop Claim That YouTube TV Is ‘$600 Less Than Cable’ After Charter Complaint to Advertising Board. “Google said it will no longer claim that YouTube TV is ‘$600 less than cable’ in its advertising, after an industry ad-review board found the assertion was potentially misleading.”


ZDNet: Google Cloud, AWS, and Cloudflare report largest DDoS attacks ever. “Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks may be one of the least sophisticated types of cyberattacks but they can do real damage. Now Google and other top cloud companies are reporting new records for the largest DDoS attacks ever.”

BBC: How a chatbot encouraged a man who wanted to kill the Queen. “The case of Jaswant Singh Chail has shone a light on the latest generation of artificial intelligence-powered chatbots. On Thursday, 21-year-old Chail was given a nine-year sentence for breaking into Windsor Castle with a crossbow and declaring he wanted to kill the Queen. Chail’s trial heard that, prior to his arrest on Christmas Day 2021, he had exchanged more than 5,000 messages with an online companion he’d named Sarai, and had created through the Replika app.”


US Federal Trade Commission: FTC proposes junk fee rule to put a stop to bogus and hidden charges. “In November 2022, the FTC published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking asking for your input about unfair or deceptive practices relating to fees. We received 12,000 comments from consumers, businesses, law enforcers, and others. Based on what you told us – as well as experience gained from decades of litigation challenging junk fees – the FTC is considering a proposed Rule on Unfair or Deceptive Fees and we’re asking for your comments again.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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