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    If You Have Ever Smoked, Just Give Up

    Are you now or have you ever been a smoker of the dreaded “tobacky?” Perhaps you gave up the habit long ago, for your health? No matter—you are doomed.

    “What’s that you say?”

    Doomed, I say. Even those of you whose smoking was confined to your wayward youth, and who have long since moved on to alternative addictions such as “green juice,” should be informed of the fact that you will never, ever escape the cold grasp of death, which will be delivered to you—and this is just a guess on my part—as a result of the fact that you once smoked cigarettes, somehow.

    Don’t take it from me, an idiot—take it from a bunch of doctors quoted in this Well story today, all of whom speak very clearly and enunciate properly in order to communicate the message: you are doomed. Did you quit smoking? Great. You are still doomed. Even if your doctor thinks you are healthy now, you probably still have “unrecognized smoking-caused lung disease or impairments.” Even if you think you feel normal now, you probably don’t know that your shitty jogging speed and frequent cases of the sniffles are due in part to your history of smoking!!!!!!!!! Your poor decisions of the past are branded upon you forever, as they should be.

    Is there any hope of redemption from your fate as a decrepit and dying ex-smoker?

    To improve exercise tolerance, patients are encouraged to walk as fast as they can for as long as they can, rest, then walk some more. Most patients find this easiest to do on a treadmill, where speed and incline can be precisely regulated and the results measured. But if such equipment is unavailable or too costly to access, walking indoors or outdoors can be helpful if geared to a specific distance and speed that are gradually increased.

    Walk outside? Ehh. Death isn’t so bad.

    [Photo of a person who will die: Shannon Holman/ Flickr]

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    The Bizarre World of Unsolicited Mark Zuckerberg Fan Art

    Mark Zuckerberg, who made a fortune turning his own social anxieties into a website, is an odd person to fawn over. He’s not a great public speaker. His motivations are questionable. And he copied his fashion sensibilities from a likely sociopath. And yet! Some members of Facebook are enamored with him. So much so that they’ve taken to blanketing his Timeline with their own, lovingly crafted fan art—each Zuck creepier than the last.

    Often, the portraits mimic a particularly popular picture of Zuckerberg, like this one with his wife and his daughter Max. Occasionally, these billionaire boy-man-obsessives will go rogue, and paint the Zuck they see when they close their eyes to dream. In almost every instance, though, users fall over themselves to show Facebook’s CEO just how much they care.

    Without further ado and for your viewing pleasure, I present a Zuckerberg fan art sampling. Please, enjoy.

    On a post from Zuck’s birthday:

    Our special birthday boy received this:

    The Bizarre World of Unsolicited Mark Zuckerberg Fan Art

    Which in all fairness, was almost certainly done using some variety of photo editing software and not by hand. Unlike, say, this shirtless marvel:

    The Bizarre World of Unsolicited Mark Zuckerberg Fan Art

    Also unlike many of the other portraits, this one actually seems to have been posted by its original creator. On her website, the artist, Tumi Sibambo, notes that she made this portrait “during my lunch hours, to thank him for creating such an awesome social media tool.”

    Now, this portrait actually shows up on almost every single one of Zuckerberg’s posts, often coming from a number of different people.

    The Bizarre World of Unsolicited Mark Zuckerberg Fan Art

    The image is usually accompanied by the same message, more or less, making it seem as though it’s been integrated into some collection of Zuck comment bots. Why anyone who isn’t Mark Zuckerberg would spend his time creating an army of Zuck praise bots, however, is beyond me.

    We’ve reached out to Mark Zuckerberg to ask if he has, in fact, created a complex series of bots with the sole purpose of doling out compliments and plastering his own face on his Facebook posts. At the time of publication, Zuckerberg has not yet responded to our request for comment.

    Regardless, it’s the unique, cruder drawings that will always be the more interesting of the bunch. Like this one of Captain Like and the rest of his F-vengers.

    The Bizarre World of Unsolicited Mark Zuckerberg Fan Art

    Friend—I have not a single suggestion. You’ve made something perfect.

    Here, and still on his birthday post, we have a personal favorite of mine, if not simply for the masterwork in the background.

    The Bizarre World of Unsolicited Mark Zuckerberg Fan Art

    Which is Facebook wonderboy Mark Zuckerberg and which is Oscar award-winner (even though The Revenant was garbage) Leonardo DiCaprio? It’s impossible to say for sure.

    On a post from Zuck’s wedding anniversary:

    This, while not hand drawn, is beautiful nonetheless:

    The Bizarre World of Unsolicited Mark Zuckerberg Fan Art

    Same goes for this:

    The Bizarre World of Unsolicited Mark Zuckerberg Fan Art

    On the day he met Selena Gomez in a tiny room:

    Zuck was gifted with this colored pencil creation:

    The Bizarre World of Unsolicited Mark Zuckerberg Fan Art

    Then, on Mother’s Day:

    Mark Zuckerberg received a special collage of sorts:

    The Bizarre World of Unsolicited Mark Zuckerberg Fan Art

    Yet, despite it ostensibly being Priscilla’s special day, Mark was still the belle of the ball.

    The Bizarre World of Unsolicited Mark Zuckerberg Fan Art

    On a post about the Zuckerbergs’ incredibly vague philanthropy initiative:

    A sweet fan, who is apparently very much aware of Zuck’s red-green color blindness, made something even Zuck himself could appreciate:

    The Bizarre World of Unsolicited Mark Zuckerberg Fan Art

    Mark also received this.

    The Bizarre World of Unsolicited Mark Zuckerberg Fan Art

    Which is, truthfully, a very good prank.

    Then, on a post about Facebook’s developer conference, F8:

    The world was bestowed with this:

    The Bizarre World of Unsolicited Mark Zuckerberg Fan Art

    During a recent trip to Barcelona:

    A devoted fan left Mark a little familial surprise.

    The Bizarre World of Unsolicited Mark Zuckerberg Fan Art

    Which then received its own response:

    The Bizarre World of Unsolicited Mark Zuckerberg Fan Art

    Jafar is not wrong.

    Still (and unfortunately for Zuck), it’s not all quite so adulatory.

    The Bizarre World of Unsolicited Mark Zuckerberg Fan Art

    But these instances are relatively few and far between.

    Zuck, for his part, doesn’t seem quite so keen on returning the favor. As far as I can tell, he has yet to comment on a single one of his portraits. But don’t let the filthy rich cherub’s lack of interest discourage you, Zuck artists. Because either way, I appreciate it. And I beg of you—please—never stop.

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    Three Cops and a Businessman Arrested in Connection with NYPD Corruption Investigation
    Photo: AP

    Three high-ranking NYPD officials and a Brooklyn businessman were arrested Monday morning, DNAinfo reports, in connection with the federal municipal corruption investigation, which has ranged from the police department to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign fundraising.

    Those officers arrested include: Deputy Inspector James Grant; Deputy Chief Michael Harrington; and Sgt. David Villanueva. Jeremy Reichberg, who hosted a fundraiser for the mayor’s nonprofit, Campaign for One New York, in 2014 was also arrested.

    Investigators believe Grant provided Reichberg with off-the-books police escorts, and in turn received free trips to Las Vegas, access to a private jet, and sex with prostitutes. Villanueva worked in the gun license bureau, and is suspected of taking bribes.

    The arrests came after Jona Rechnitz, an Upper West Side real estate investor also implicated in the mayoral fundraising investigation, plead guilty to corruption charges and started cooperating with the feds.

    Rechnitz’s cooperation was revealed after the arrest of Norman Seabrook, president of the city’s jail officers’ union, on corruption charges earlier this month.

    The complaint against Seabrook stated that Rechnitz—who was not identified by name, but was later identified by the New York Times—was assisting in that investigation “among other things.” From the Times:

    While the charges being leveled against the police officials were uncovered during one of the half-dozen fund-raising investigations focused on Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, and his inner circle, there has been no suggestion that the mayor himself was involved in the conduct described in the court papers, a criminal complaint charging Deputy Chief Harrington, Deputy Inspector Grant and Mr. Reichberg. The fund-raising investigation and several other inquiries by federal prosecutors, the F.B.I. and other agencies focused on the mayor’s donors and fund-raising were continuing. The scope of the broader fund-raising inquiries remains unclear.

    Police Commissioner William J. Bratton has said the department believes investigators have identified all of the police officials involved in the alleged misconduct, though it is unknown whether the charges on Monday will conclude that line of inquiry by federal prosecutors, F.B.I. agents and Internal Affairs investigators.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, Reichberg and Rechnitz both served on de Blasio’s inauguration committee. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is expected to announce the charges at noon on Monday.

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    Donald Trump Fires Loose Cannon Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski
    Photo: AP

    The war within the Donald Trump campaign has a victor. This morning, as first reported by the New York Times, Trump fired Corey Lewandowski, his rogue campaign manager best known for igniting a days-long controversy earlier this year after allegedly physically assaulting then-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields.

    Trump’s decision to axe Lewandowski is effectively a concession to the Republican establishment that Trump had so effectively and happily usurped during the primary season. But with Trump’s poll numbers hitting a dangerously low ebb, the coup openly planned by the GOP’s assigned chaperones appears to have been successful.

    Donald Trump Fires Loose Cannon Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski

    Lewandowski’s enemies within the campaign aren’t trying to hide their satisfaction either. Tweeted Trump advisor Michael Caputo:

    In a statement, Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks told the Times:

    “The Donald J. Trump Campaign for President, which has set a historic record in the Republican primary having received almost 14 million votes, has today announced that Corey Lewandowski will no longer be working with the campaign,” the campaign spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, said in a statement. “The campaign is grateful to Corey for his hard work and dedication and we wish him the best in the future.”

    Quite... professional of them, isn’t it?

    Update (11 a.m.) The Times’ Maggie Haberman has updated her story to report that Lewandowski’s firing came without warning to the rest of the campaign:

    No one inside the campaign was given any advance warning about the dismissal of Mr. Lewandowski, who was on the campaign’s daily 8:30 a.m. conference call on Monday, according to a person briefed on the developments.

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    Donald Trump's Man on Wall Street Explains Himself
    Photos: AP

    If Donald Trump wants to win the presidency, he’ll need to raise a lot of money. One of the men helping him do that is the hedge fund manager Anthony Scaramucci. We asked him why.

    Scaramucci has long been a player in Republican fundraising. He raised money for Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012, and began this presidential election cycle as Scott Walker’s finance co-chairman. When Walker dropped out, Scaramucci shifted his support to Jeb Bush, and then, finally, to Donald Trump.

    Scaramucci’s political loyalties are closely followed because of the doors he is able to open for candidates. In addition to running his own investment firm, Skybridge, he is one of the most well-connected and public figures in the hedge fund industry, hosting a Fox Business Network show and an annual conference callled SALT that attracts many of the richest money managers in the world. His decision to back Trump was generally seen as a coup for the Trump campaign, which has failed to attract the full backing of the Republican establishment. Tomorrow, Scaramucci is hosting a lavish Trump fundraiser in New York along with “a who’s who of the financial world.”

    We spoke to him last Thursday about policy, politics, and his decision to back Donald Trump.

    Gawker: What’s the scope of your work with the Trump campaign?

    Anthony Scaramucci: I’m a lifelong Republican. I bundled for Governor [Mitt] Romney [in 2012] and other Senatorial candidates, local politicians, etcetera. So in 2016, I always thought I would be a part of whoever the eventual nominee’s was fundraising operation. My role, I don’t want to overstate it, but I see it as someone who can connect the candidate into what I would call non-traditional donors. These are probably newer entrepreneurs, business people who you probably wouldn’t see on the RNC donor list. Maybe not even on the 2012 donor list.

    Gawker: When you say “non-traditional donors,” who are those people? Young people in finance?

    Scaramucci: It could be people from the Young Presidents Organization, it would be people from the Long Island Business Council or Chamber of Commerce. I won the Entrepreneur of the Year Award a few years ago. It would be some of my friends from that network. I think that a good bundler or fundraiser... the real value is, “here’s a brand new person, and I brought them to the table.”

    Gawker: Is it funny that you worked for Romney in 2012, and now you’re working for someone he strongly dislikes?

    Scaramucci: I did use the Game of Thrones analogy—I basically said that it looks like your dad just got slayed by your uncle, and you’re super mad at your uncle for that and probably for other reasons, but he’s controlling the castle now, and so you better figure this out, because the White Walkers, which are basically the zombies in the show, are coming from the North. Winter is coming, and you’ve got to figure it out. A lot of unpredictable things happened in the Republican party, but I think the notion that we’re gonna demonize Donald Trump or we’re gonna mischaracterize him is completely unfair. I would also say that I don’t spend any time demonizing Secretary Clinton. For me this is a battle of ideas, this is a battle of policy...

    When you strip the bark off of Donald Trump, I think he’s a very practical person. I think he’s a very smart person. He’s got an analytical mind. I think he’s tapped into something. His son said he’s the “blue collar billionaire.” I think what he’s tapped into—there’s a tremendous amount of anxiety in the country right now.

    Gawker: When you say this is a battle of ideas: What specific Trump policies do you like?

    Scaramucci: In general, I think what Donald Trump’s message is, is: I’m a very practical, execution-oriented entrepreneur who built a successful business. I’ve demonstrated an ability to go global with my business. I can get along with a lot of different people. There are certain problems in the United States right now born from faulty policy. So what is happening right now is the lower and middle class are being left behind by the globalization and by the global elite. I think that’s basically his message, and Bernie Sanders’ is similar.

    His policy proposals: number one, let’s talk about immigration. I think his rhetoric—and I think he’s been instructed to dial back some of the rhetoric—I also think it could be mischaracterized, some of the rhetoric. As an example, he gives a speech and [The Washington Post says] “Trump calls Obama an accomplice to ISIS.” That wasn’t fair.

    Gawker: He did, though, say Mexicans are rapists, and criminals...

    Scaramucci: I’m not here to defend him on stuff like that. Here’s what I would say about that: I would say that what should be said, like if you cleanse the language—and Milton Friedman said it better than me, so I’ll paraphrase Milton Friedman—that if you’re going to have a welfare state... and I believe that we should have one, I believe the country is rich enough to have a safety net to protect the indigent, what we shouldn’t do is what Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “defining deviancy downward,” where we’re setting up an ecosystem where people can’t aspire to a better life. We should certainly catch them on the way down, but also help them bounce and create lives of great self-determination. And I think self-esteem comes from work. What he should have said was, hey, Milton Friedman said you can’t have a welfare state and an open border. That’s what he should have said. What he should have said is, all I want to do is enforce the laws that are currently on the books...

    If he said it in that way, he would not be the nominee for the Republican party. Because as Donald Trump would say to you if he was sitting right here, he would say to you that he had to knock off 16 opponents, and he had to demonstrate a level of toughness and a level of combativeness to clear the field. His path to the presidency, in my opinion, will be determined by the execution of the next chapter of his strategy.

    Gawker: So you’re predicting he will change his stances from what they were in the primary?

    Scaramucci: I didn’t say he would change his stances, as much as I think the rhetoric and the explanation. If you say to me, we’re going to build a wall and we’re gonna have the Mexicans pay for it, and then I say to you okay, but what we’re really gonna do is we’re gonna enforce the current laws on the books and records. We’re going to do that for two reasons. Number one, it’s better for our society. All we’re asking for is legal immigration. We certainly want immigration and we like immigrants. And he says that he likes Mexicans. You should also know that he has very good relationships with a lot of people in Mexico. He’s got good relationships with people in the Mexican government. There are people sore at him for his rhetoric, there’s no question about that.

    Gawker: But saying “we’re going to build a wall on the border and Mexico is going to pay for it” is a specific policy prescription. He hasn’t backed away from that. It’s not a rhetorical point.

    Scaramucci: I will take the candidate at his word that if he becomes the American president, he will build a wall, and knowing his personality, he’ll probably get Mexico to pay for it... I think what he would say to you is that there has been a symbiotic relationship with Mexico, and that the United States has probably benefited Mexico enormously... when you’re talking about trade—people get very alarmed by him—I think he’s a dealmaker and a negotiator. So what he will do is he will have some level of unpredictability because wants to negotiate. He’s basically saying to people, “I think that everything’s off the table, and let’s start putting things back on the table so that things are a little fairer.”

    Gawker: Do you as a hedge fund manager really believe that potentially the U.S. should get into trade wars, or tariff wars?

    Scaramucci: No, and I don’t think Donald Trump thinks we should get into trade wars. I think what Donald Trump is saying to people is that America has way more leverage at the negotiating table than America has used in the past. And whether you like it or not, the government and trade representatives have made the decision not to use that leverage. And it has had an economic impact on the lower and middle class. Someone could say, what about the costs of goods and services? You can go to the local Walmart and buy things at 15 cents on the dollar. So this is a very complex problem... But what do we know about politics? There’s symbolism in politics. There’s communication in politics. And I think what Donald Trump is saying is, give me the job, and when I get to that job I will figure it out.

    Gawker: Do you think that voters should interpret everything Donald Trump is saying as not being the actual policies he will put in place?

    Scaramucci: I wrote an editorial about this, that was published in the Wall Street Journal. I said that he’s coming at this from the angle of an entrepreneur. So what is being confused as uneven principles or vacillating policy is actually the DNA of adaptability that an entrepreneur has in a situation. I think what he’s basically saying is... that we need more flexibility and we need more out of the box thinking. This is why he’s doing so well, because he’s a non-politician. He’s only gone one year under his belt as a “politician,” but he’s really not a politician. So what is resonating with the people is, wait a minute, this guy’s gonna handle this thing not like these other jokers, that are talking off Teleprompters, that are listening the political consultants, that have to curry favor with all these special interests.

    Gawker: And you’re comfortable with taking Donald Trump at his word and not actually knowing what his policies will end up being?

    Scaramucci: I’m not saying that. He’s gonna have a pro-growth tax policy. His immigration policy is he’s for legal immigration, let’s enforce the laws on the books. He doesn’t want a trade war. He’s for free trade, he just wants fairer trade...

    While some of the top one or two three percent of the country is doing super well, there is a middle part of the country and a lower middle class part of the country that is struggling right now. There are 47 million people on government dependency. You know real wages are down. You know that the unemployment number is not [really] five percent. We both know that.

    Gawker: Do you think that, for example, lowering the top income tax rate to 25%, which is Donald Trump’s proposal, is the best way to help the lower and middle class?

    Scaramucci: Here’s what I know: I know that growth will help the lower and middle class. You get growth in the United States, the rest of the world will grow... What I know is that if you put the right policies in place that will lead to economic growth, society will be better. Let me give you really bad news, and I’m sure people will demonize me for saying this: the rich are always gonna be with us. They will always be with us. There are rich people in Cuba. There are rich people in Venezuela. You pick the policies, and the rich are gonna figure it out. They’re always gonna be rich. What has worked for America is not caring about how the rich are doing, or the politics of envy. What’s worked for America is growth. Growth is the reason why I had a very nice middle class upbringing with parents who never went to college. So we have to figure out a way to create those opportunities.

    On the flipside of that, you’ve got to be very wary of the deficit. You don’t want to blow a hole in the deficit... His plan, it’s a starting point. He’s said that. “Here’s my starting point. I don’t expect to finish where I am.” I think that’s very refreshing.

    Gawker: The Tax Foundation said his plan will raise the deficit by $10 trillion.

    Scaramucci: But his response back to that was, okay, this is my starting point. We don’t want to add $10 trillion to the deficit, so let’s start here. I want growth. How are we gonna intersect everyone’s interests, where we can get more growth?

    Gawker: If we agree economic growth can help the lower and middle classes, and also that we have the most economic inequality since the 1920s, do you think lower and middle class voters should believe that cutting the top income tax rate to 25% is the best policy to help them?

    Scaramucci: I think there’s a package of policies. I think that is one of them. This is the thing that’s going to upset the left. You lower the taxes for the top rate. The left gets super upset, they say “oh my god, now the rich are going to get richer.” But what happens is, by lowering the top rate, you’re motivating people to deploy their capital into the world. As an example, my money is not in a swimming pool in my back yard. My money is tied into this business... You know why I got involved in politics? The government is now a majority partner in my life. I am now a minority partner in my own life. So all my work, my 95 hours of work, worrying about these 70 employees, doing all the work that I’m doing on the charity side—the government is taking north of 50% of my treasure, of my life... You say, oh jeez, let’s take a violin out for Anthony. No violin necessary. I’m just saying, you lower the [tax] rate, you will motivate and incentivize more people to put more capital at risk to create more jobs...

    Left-leaning policies—I’m 52 years old, I’ve been to Cuba, I’ve been to dysfunctional state oriented places—left-leaning policies fail the lower and middle classes. I can tell by your face you disagree with me.

    Gawker: Since the Reagan era, and deregulation and lowering of taxes, inequality has gone up, and real wages have been flat. That’s the result of 35 years of the policies you’re advocating.

    Scaramucci: That’s one way to look at it. I can tell you right now, oh, the weather’s gonna get cold and the leaves are gonna change, and you say “they’re directly connected.” You have to ask yourself, is that the reason? Is that the connection? What I would argue is where we have failed in our policies is on the education side. Where we have failed in our policies is on the immigration side. And where we have failed in our policies is not the Reagan era, but the forward Reagan era. This is a bipartisan indictment.

    Gawker: When Donald Trump says he wants to ban Muslims from coming to America, is that a policy you support?

    Scaramucci: I don’t support that, but let’s talk about what he really said, as opposed to what people are saying that he said. He’s called for a temporary ban. Paul Ryan said that about the Syrian refugees, by the way, after the December shootings in California. So the problem is for the American elite, and for the American elitist politician who’s used to the status quo, the way he is talking has got them all upset. What he is really trying to say is, let’s take a practical approach and look at the problem. What they’re hearing is hatemongering. What the average person in the public is hearing is “Ah, finally we have a non-politician that’s entering this space that’s gonna talk to me like a non-politician.”

    Gawker: I read the statement that he put out. It says we’ll have a ban on Muslim immigration until we “figure things out,” which could be any amount of time.

    Scaramucci: This is what makes a great democracy. He’s either going to win, and we’re gonna have to help him govern—yourself included—because, same thing I’d say about Barack Obama, he’s my president. I want him to do well. Or he’s not gonna win, and the American public will reject him. But you know what? He just knocked over 16 very talented Republicans... The reason why the left is upset, and the reason why Morning Joe, that phony Joe Scarborough—and I told Trump that he’s a phony, he’s obviously a liberal. Joe! Switch the R to a D and let’s get it over with! Stop the hypocrisy. He was praising Trump, praising Trump, “Trump is a disruptive force.” He got the nomination and he’s three hours of hatemongering on Trump in the morning. Okay, no problem. Joe, the truth of the matter is, if you’re in the Republican party and he’s your nominee, be a team player. Let’s help him.

    Ed Koch had the best line: if you agree with me nine out of twelve times, you should vote for me. If you agree with me twelve out of twelve times, you should find a psychiatrist. You’re never gonna find the perfect politician.

    Gawker: So if you help Donald Trump get elected and he bans Muslims from coming to America, and someone who works for you comes in and says “My family can’t come visit me because of this guy you helped elect,” what do you say to them?

    Scaramucci: I’ll make a prediction right now that he will not put a ban on Muslims coming into America. I make a prediction right now, however, that he’s gonna put people on notice that we are going to soundly defeat ISIS. I think he’s gonna put people on notice that radical Islamic fanaticism, which has led to the slaughter of innocents, that there will be a new sheriff in town and a new strategy to eradicate them.

    Gawker: Is there any way for regular people to be able to determine which of the things Donald Trump says he actually plans to do? Because it sounds like your support is predicated on the idea that he won’t do all the things he says.

    Scaramucci: It’s not predicated on that. My thesis is exactly what I wrote in the Wall Street Journal: that this is an entrepreneur. And that this is a person who is making a series of proposals and statements in a brainstorm of activity around what is going to be best for America. And he is going to be an advocate for the lower and middle class, and he is going to be an advocate for all races. Because what you’re gonna find about this guy is he’s not a racist. What you’re gonna find out about this guy is, when I’m riding around on the elevators in Trump Tower, and I’m meeting people who have worked for him for ten, 20, 30 years, of all different ethnic origins—including Muslims—they love the guy!

    Gawker: One of Trump’s big talking points was that he was self-funding his primary campaign and was not accountable to special interests. Now that guys like you are involved, do you think that point is being undermined?

    Scaramucci: What he said was that he will self-fund—and he spent $57 million—that he would self-fund through the primary process. When he got to the end of it, he would go to the Republican National Committee and say, wait a minute, we’ve got to raise the money. Because I will put more of my own money up, but we’re now talking about Senators, the House of Representatives. You’ve got to get the top of the ticket right so that it filters down to the rest of the ticket. Paul Ryan and I agree on this. Mitt Romney is out to lunch on this. You’ve got to get the ticket right, so you can keep the House and Senate.

    Gawker: So in your judgment, Donald Trump is the best leader for America in 2016?

    Scaramucci: You’re giving me two choices. And I’m telling you that Donald Trump is a way better leader than Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump has built a super successful business. He’s an effective organizer. He’s an effective execution-oriented executive. He has the right political personality to get on with people in a way that’ll surprise people. He will cut deals in a way that are more favorable for America than what establishment politicians have done.

    You’re giving me two choices, and I’m choosing Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. I would choose Jesus over Donald Trump, probably. But you’re just giving me two choices.

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    Behold This Glorious Profile of Hope Hicks, Donald Trump's Oddly Quiet 27-Year-Old Press Secretary

    As Donald Trump’s nightmarish campaign winds on and on and on, a few questions keep arising: are we really stupid and/or racist enough to elect this moldering Cheez-It of a man? (Yes.) Is Trump’s hair a costly weave? (Possibly!) And what is the deal with Hope Hicks, Trump’s ostensible press secretary, who is rarely seen, barely talks, and is just 27 years old?

    The always delightful political journalist Olivia Nuzzi, usually of the Daily Beast, explored that last question for GQ. It is a wonderful and perfect piece and it fills us with joy and alarm in equal measure.

    To review: after graduating from wealthy Republican finishing school Southern Methodist University, Hicks went on to do PR for Ivanka Trump’s fashion line. She never worked in politics before joining the Trump circus. She is not listed in the ten highest-paid employees in the campaign (most of whom are men). The only time she’s really made any news herself is for accidentally emailing something to a Politico reporter. Please look at this delightful list of non-facts that Cosmo assembled about her, after she “politely declined” an interview request.

    Similarly, Hicks responded to queries from Nuzzi by arranging the most curious possible interview about herself with the candidate. Nuzzi writes:

    I wanted Hicks to help me understand just how all this had come to pass, how a person who’d never worked in politics had nonetheless become the most improbably important operative in this election. But she declined my request to talk. Instead, she arranged something more surreal: I could talk about her with Donald Trump, in front of her.

    Yes! The media handler for this Buñuel film of a campaign was unwilling or unable to sit for even the most cursory interview about her own role within it. (In his sitdown with Nuzzi, Trump mainly praised Hicks’ ability to take multiple phone calls at once.)

    And yet this reticence on Hicks’ part is perhaps not all that surprising, given that her job seems to be largely... let’s say... ceremonial in nature. For someone who works with the press, Nuzzi points out, she seems largely unconcerned with its function in society or, you know, talking to its members:

    While Hicks is often eager to please, she doesn’t mind upsetting the media and harbors no reverence for the civic duties of a free press. When reporters send her questions, she’s often irked—convinced they’re playing detective merely to irritate the campaign. She’s seemingly unaware that they might just be vetting a potential United States president. Often she doesn’t respond.

    By way of contrast, let’s consider Hillary Clinton’s press secretary Brian Fallon, who tweets often, goes on TV with some regularity, and gets into polite tussles with reporters about whether his candidate is actually making herself available to the press. Meanwhile, here’s a parody Twitter account making fun of Hicks for her penchant for not responding or declining to comment.

    It’s also no particular surprise to learn that charm machine Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s freshly fired campaign manager, was evidently very angry when Hicks considered quitting the campaign to return to the Trump Organization (since it would be non-kosher to work for both). In the remembrance of one Trump political adviser Sam Nunberg, later ousted himself for racist Facebook posts:

    “He made her cry a bunch of times,” Nunberg said. In Nunberg’s telling, Lewandowski said to Hicks, “You made a big fucking mistake; you’re fucking dead to me.” Lewandowski declined to either confirm or correct Nunberg’s recollection. “I don’t recall the specifics of that,” he told me. “I can say definitively that I don’t recall the specific incident that you’re referring to.”

    Lewandowski and Hicks also got into a public screaming argument in May, which honestly makes me like her better.

    Also, this, from her college years, is just really fucking fun:

    Kylie Burchell, Hicks’s lacrosse coach, recalled her as one of the only players to abide by a no-alcohol policy. “I think the girls were annoyed at her a little bit,” she said. “She was trying to be a leader. She was showing by example what to do.” She wasn’t always so earnest, however. In her senior yearbook, she mistakenly attributed the words of Eleanor Roosevelt—“The future belongs to those who believe in the power of their dreams”—to Jimmy Buffett.

    I, for one, am shocked to learn that the only woman in Trump’s inner circle is prized for her ability to be docile, pretty, and very, very quiet. Never would’ve guessed.

    Hicks and Trump, January 2016. Photo via AP

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    Where Is the Footage of Donald Trump Acting Like an Ass on the Set of the The Apprentice?
    Photo: Getty

    Back in September, the Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf called for NBC to release raw footage of Donald Trump on the set of The Apprentice. His reasoning was sound:

    In the interest of giving the public as accurate an understanding as possible of a leading presidential candidate, NBC’s news division should upload all of the raw footage from The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice to the web. Let voters see what Trump was really like while the show was being filmed, for better or worse; let them judge if the hours that they spent with the billionaire left an accurate impression or constituted a false portrayal of someone less presidential than he seemed.

    NBC unsurprisingly did not follow Friedersdorf’s lead, but thanks to Slate we now have a good idea of the sort of stuff NBC is probably hiding, and it sounds illuminating.

    For instance, Donald Trump has claimed many times over that he is not a sexist, even as he answered questions about sexism with more blatant sexism. An ex-Apprentice contractor who spoke with Slate offered that Trump is instead your everyday shitty sexist:

    “He would talk about the female contestants’ bodies a lot from the control room,” recalls one midlevel producer. “We shot in Trump Tower, the control room was on the seventh floor, and he walked in one day and was talking about a contestant, saying, ‘Her breasts were so much bigger at the casting. Maybe she had her period then.’ He knows he’s mic’d and that 30 people are hearing this, but he didn’t care. That’s kind of him. During the campaign, when he was talking about Megyn Kelly, I thought: He’s obsessed with menstruation.”

    Another revealed that Trump, like many a rich person, is actually just a cheapskate. But he’s not one of those rich people (like Warren Buffett) who is proud to be a cheapskate. We know this intuitively, of course—Trump’s entire persona as a politician is a puffed-up version of his actual self, inflated net worth and all. But reading about it in practice fleshes out the Trump character:

    “At a wrap party at the end of one season,” recalls a crew member, “he gave a speech to all the crew. And at the end of it, he rolled out a couple dozen bottles of Dom Pérignon for us to drink. We all applauded. It seemed really generous. I’d never had Dom before. But later we found out from the people on the production side that he’d forced them to pay for that, so his gesture really came out of the show’s budget.”

    These anecdotes tell simple truths about Donald Trump that he has gone to great lengths to obscure. Nonetheless, reading is one thing; seeing is another. Donald Trump can say that these stories are false and inflammatory and irresponsible and the work of a liberal media attempting to cover up for our loser candidate Crooked Hillary.

    But if we had video of Donald Trump’s latent assholery, well, that would be far better. So if you’re a person—maybe a former NBC employee or contractor—who held onto such video in the event that it one day might be useful to the public, please send it to us. We may even pay for it.

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    Rumor: The Trump Kids Kicked Corey Lewandowski Out
    Image: Getty

    The firing of Donald Trump’s incendiary, allegedly abusive campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has been a long time coming. And according to New York Magazine, Lewandowski’s ousting came at the behest of none other than Trump’s three grown children.

    As “one senior Trump staffer briefed on the meeting” told New York Mag, at what was supposed to be just another run-of-the-mill strategy meeting, “things went south for Lewandowski, and he was fired.” This was apparently all part of Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and Donald Trump Jr.s’ master plan.

    How long the siblings had been plotting behind Lewandowski’s back remains unclear, but The New York Times noted that “no one inside the campaign was given any advance warning about the dismissal of Mr. Lewandowski.”

    Trump communications aide and longtime Lewandowski foe, Michael Caputo, is mourning in his own way.

    And just for fun, here’s a picture of the three most beloved Trump children at Donald Trump Jr.’s wedding in 2005.

    Rumor: The Trump Kids Kicked Corey Lewandowski Out
    Image: Getty

    Great hairlines, every one.

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    Are We in For a Dystopian Future of Endless Suburbs and Robot Cars? 
    Photo: Flickr

    If you are exactly like me, you live in a dense urban environment and assume that dense urban environments are the way of the future, and suburbs are dark hellpits full of enormous PetSmart outlets and molly-soaked teens. But perhaps this is incorrect?

    If you are exactly like me, you naturally expect that over time a larger and larger percentage of the population will move to dense urban areas, which are more efficient and more lively and more ecologically sound and which will be, with proper political leadership, more cost-effective, and which are definitely more fly, compared to the suburbs, which have little to offer young people besides a CiCi’s Pizza outlet where the “dessert pizza” never changes. Besides, when you imagine the technological changes that are coming to transportation—driverless cars, which will soon be available to pick up and drop off urban commuters with an ease never seen before, making it more rational than ever not to own a car, thereby making it easier than ever to live in a city with little parking—it is hard to imagine that anything will stop the relentless trend of urbanization.

    But what if those driverless cars have the opposite effect? That is the thesis floated by Christopher Mims today, who argues that the coming age of driverless cars will actually fuel the suburbs, not the cities. More people moving to the suburbs? Seems dumb. Yet he points out:

    • Population density in global cities has been on a slow but steady decline since 1890, correlating to the introduction of more widespread public transportation;
    • Driverless cars will only intensify this dynamic;
    • Most people don’t mind living in suburbs;
    • Even millennials.

    A future of evenly dissipated populations spread thinly out over massive, sprawling suburban webs, a metaphor for the eventual cold death of the universe, enabled by computerized drivers? And you don’t even get the one benefit of living in the suburbs which is being able to trick out your Honda Accord into a lowrider? Okay.

    More room for the rest of us here.

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    Mark Zuckerberg Votes To Keep Peter Thiel On Facebook Board 
    Image: AP

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has decided to keep venture capitalist Peter Thiel on the company’s board of directors.

    Zuckerberg’s decision comes after weeks of controversy over whether it was appropriate for billionaire Thiel, who recently admitted to secretly funding a campaign of third-party lawsuits to bankrupt Gawker Media, Gizmodo’s parent company, to remain on the board of a company that now plays such a powerful role in publishing.

    At Facebook’s annual shareholders meeting today, every board member was up for re-election. The decision was made by shareholder vote, but ultimately fell to Zuckerberg, who controls more than 60 percent of the total voting power on the Facebook board.

    The meeting was also used to give Zuckerberg even more influence over the company he created for the foreseeable future. Board members voted to create a new class of non-voting stock, allowing Zuckerberg to sell shares without having to concede any of his majority voting control.

    Ahead of the vote, Facebook’s leadership was tightlipped about the controversy over Thiel continuing as a member of the company’s board. “Peter did what he did on his own and not as a Facebook board member,” Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg said of Thiel’s decision to fund lawsuits against Gawker Media at the Code Conference earlier this month. “We didn’t know about it, and you should talk to him.”

    [Disclosure: Facebook has launched a program that pays publishers, including the New York Times and Buzzfeed, to produce videos for its Facebook Live tool. Gawker Media, Gizmodo’s parent company, recently joined that program.]

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    The Rumor That Someone Tried To Steal The Zelda: Breath of the Wild E3 Demo
    Illustration: Sam Woolley

    Not long after this year’s E3 showfloor opened up for exhibitors, the internet started gossiping about a hacker who was supposedly trying to pilfer the impressive Zelda: Breath of the Wild demo from right under Nintendo’s nose. For some skeptics, it sounded too incredible to be true.

    How could someone possibly steal a demo from a kiosk that is presumably under a proverbial lock and key? Nevermind the many fans hovering around the demo area, or the Nintendo representatives walking around the booth. This doesn’t exactly look like the ideal place to swing a heist:

    The Rumor That Someone Tried To Steal The Zelda: Breath of the Wild E3 Demo

    Image credit:

    And yet despite all these logistical issues, the idea that the Zelda demo could somehow escape Nintendo’s control is not without precedent. Actually, incidents like that have already happened in the past. In 2004, two people almost got away with stealing a Metal Gear demo from the E3 show floor. Back in 2006, an unfinished Metroid Prime 3 E3 demo prototype found its way online. And in 2011, a Skyward Sword E3 demo was also uploaded to the internet and pirated ahead of the actual launch.

    Since then, the internet has developed a culture of showboating on social media, especially in regards to hacking. Anybody can go online and say that they are did X or they did Y, and it’s often impossible to verify whether or not the boasts are true. Unsurprisingly, once the initial report of a potential hacker trying to steal the Zelda demo made the rounds, there were a number of people on the internet also claiming to attempt it. It is unclear whether or not the initial reported attempt inspired cry-wolf copycats, or if indeed multiple people had the same idea at the same time. Undoubtedly, some people are just bullshitting about trying to nab the Zelda demo.

    Amidst all this, I found that the most famous Nintendo hacker of all, NWPlayer123, kept alleging that the rumors of an attempted Zelda demo heist were actually legit. NWPlayer123 confirmed to me that someone was trying to take the demo from E3, and she knew this because she was somewhat involved from the sidelines. Thing is, NWPlayer123 has a reputation online, and it’s pretty solid. She is known for leaking the info of Splatoon’s DLC before Nintendo announced it, even hacking the game so that Octolings could be playable. She has also datamined Super Smash Bros., along with other Wii U games. So when NWPlayer123 says someone attempted to take the E3 demo, I’m inclined to believe the rumor could be possible.

    The Rumor That Someone Tried To Steal The Zelda: Breath of the Wild E3 Demo

    To be more specific, that someone was allegedly a 17-year-old game developer known for hacking Mario Kart 8. The hacker spoke to me over email, and told me about what he (supposedly) tried to do with the Zelda demo. As proof of his attendance, the hacker shared an image of his lanyard with Kotaku—though really, that could easily be faked. I did however see that the hacker was tweeting about attending E3 before the actual event started, and, in early June, even asked his followers if anybody would be willing to help him distract Nintendo attendants so that he could steal the demo.

    According to the hacker, he didn’t need access to the physical Wii U unit, beyond being able to use the system’s tablet controller. “The Wii U hacking community has tools and resources to grab the game over the network as it is being played,” the hacker said. Sure enough, there is one tool that can be used to copy the data of any software running on a Wii U. Another debugging tool, known as TCP Gecko, can make a Wii U connect to a PC, where the user can then instruct the Wii U to take specific commands. Once a hacker starts “dumping” the data of the Wii U, finishing the job might take a couple of hours over a network.

    During that time, the game itself might slow down, but so long as the hacker stays within network range, the dump could continue to process. As evidence, the hacker shared a video with me where he copied Mario Kart 8 to a computer while continuing to play the game.

    I spoke to TCPGecko’s creator, A.W. Chadwick—who was not involved with the alleged theft attempts—and he told me that, theoretically speaking at least, taking a demo using his software was indeed possible. To do it, someone would need to use an exploit done via the Wii U’s internet browser.

    “The user would navigate to a special webpage which tricks the Wii U into running code not developed by Nintendo (we call this arbitrary code execution (ACE)),” Chadwick said. “Once the user has achieved ACE, they can then cause the Wii U to do almost anything they would like it to.” That anything, he said, could include telling the system to dump its files onto a network.

    Chadwick’s tool was not created for the purpose of stealing software, nor does he endorse this type of usage of his program. “Like most tools however, my tools can be used for both good and bad purposes,” Chadwick said. At the moment, the top Google results for TCP Gecko involve game cheats, or game modification.

    The hacker says that he went into the Zelda booth on day one of E3 and noticed that the Wii Us showcasing the game were not retail units. This immediately put a wrinkle on his plan, because the program he wanted to use was not created to interface with Wii U kiosks, or development units. So, he and a few buddies regrouped and rewrote the program. Timeline-wise, this seems to hold up: a few days ago, the hacker uploaded a modification of the exploit to Github, and the description claims that the program was tweaked to work with development units.

    The Rumor That Someone Tried To Steal The Zelda: Breath of the Wild E3 Demo

    “Having to code stuff last minute was a sort of stressing ideal,” the hacker said. “Mainly [because] you never know how long or how much testing one might need to do before it works, and [there being] a very strict timeframe made the situation worse.”

    The hacker says he returned to the Zelda booth on E3 day two, ready to put his plan into action. As the hacker tells it, the security at the Zelda booth wasn’t that bad, and that the crowds inadvertently helped him cover up that he “enter[ed] and exit[ed] the [configuration tools] in under 30 seconds.” This aspect of the story raises my suspicion a bit, but it’s actually not the thing that poses the biggest logistical problem for a theoretical demo theft. The Wii U’s connection to the internet is the factor that would make or break a heist.

    The hacker says that the units were not originally connected to the internet, which makes sense, considering that would make the Wii U vulnerable to anybody with hacking know-how. However, the hacker says that he used knowledge of leaked Wii U development tools, which are available online, to navigate around a non-retail unit’s restrictions—like the inability to go to the home menu during a demo. The hacker says that he used a specific combination of button presses to enter the Wii U’s system config tool, where he could manipulate the console’s network settings to force the console online. From there, it was just a matter of running the internet browser exploit without getting caught. Easier said than done, especially given the fact that Nintendo was cycling people through its Zelda booth throughout the day

    The Rumor That Someone Tried To Steal The Zelda: Breath of the Wild E3 Demo

    The hacker says he then ran into another snag: TCP Gecko did not copy the right files. The hacker alleges that he was then forced to seek the help of a friend, NWPlayer123, who could perhaps tweak the program. Indeed, the last update to this other program on Github was uploaded just a few days ago, but the hacker says that it was not completed in time to grab Zelda that same day. At that point, the hacker’s window to steal the Zelda demo was closing. With Friday coming up, it would be the last chance he would have to take the Zelda demo.

    The Rumor That Someone Tried To Steal The Zelda: Breath of the Wild E3 Demo

    “Having all the setbacks gave a sort of disappointing but also a sort of thrill like essence feeling, it showed a level of excitement due to the fact we all had to race against the clock,” the hacker said.

    For all of the hacker’s scheming, he says that his final attempt did not go as planned.

    “On Day 3 I...arrived at the convention center at 10:15 am, just 15 minutes after they opened the show floor, but by that time, they already have closed the line to play the demo as it was full,” the hacker said. An anticlimatic end to a heist that would have been legendary. And yet, super convenient, no? The hacker and his pals can gain infamy just for “trying” and spreading the story of their attempt.

    I spoke to a Wii U third party developer, Thomas Hopper, to verify some details about the hacker’s tale. According to Hopper, his development unit does not have any magic key combinations to launch a config tool. However, the Wii U has more than one kind of development unit, and they don’t all work in the exact same way.

    “If you were blocking the home menu in your demo to [the] public on a devkit-light style unit the developer might have a key combination to get access to the home menu or a debug menu,” Hopper speculated. While Hopper remained somewhat skeptical that the hacker’s specific button combination could bring a unit to display configuration tools, he does admit that the hacker’s tale is not entirely out of the question.

    The Rumor That Someone Tried To Steal The Zelda: Breath of the Wild E3 Demo

    “They clearly have had access to a devkit at some point,” Hopper said, after I shared the specifics of what the hacker allegedly attempted. “If you could somehow launch the system config tool you really could reconfigure the network settings.”

    The creator of TCP Gecko agrees that, hypothetically speaking, the hacker’s story does seem believable. “I can’t say for certain it is the case, but it seems quite gut reaction is that there is no reason at a technical level to disbelieve what they’ve posted.”

    The hacker could not share any images or proof that he managed to fiddle with the Wii U kiosks at E3, but I can see that there was back and forth between him and other Wii U hackers on Twitter, where he was asking for help rewriting programs for the Wii U. I can also see that he was publicly troubleshooting some of the issues he came across on Twitter as well. Additionally, other hackers posted updates on their program tweaks around the same timeline that the hacker proposed. If the Zelda heist is a lie, it seems to be a well-coordinated one spanning multiple hackers, some of which are famed for knowing their shit. Maintaining a front like that could have been achieved through simpler terms, like just telling people that they tried and failed. Instead, these people went through the trouble of uploading actual program tweaks that could potentially jeopardize their reputation as ~elite hackerz.~ Reputation is the only thing these hackers have to gain here, really.

    The Goron in the room is this: why go through all this trouble to break the law?

    The hacker’s motivations are arguably mischievous, given that he wanted to pirate the demo so that fans could play it. “It’s an E3 demo and [there is] always unused content to see, not to mention it would be nice to play the game months early before its expected release,” the hacker said. “Even though the end result was negative, I still find it to be completely worth it because why not risk chances in life?”

    Others involved seemed to have more innocent intentions: NWPlayer123 Tweeted that she was only really interested in the music files. Which, sure. Breath of the Wild’s low-key tracks are pretty dope from what I’ve heard so far.

    Kotaku cannot fully confirm whether or not the attempted Zelda heist of 2016 actually happened, and Nintendo told us that they have no comment on the situation. It could be that these hackers are just pulling a fast one on all of us. At the very least, it’s wild to think that thanks to the advances in the Wii U hacking scene, a Zelda heist is even conceivable in the first place.

    Illustration: Sam Woolley.

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    Apple Pulls Ad Agency's Fake Refugee Boat-Spotting App That Doesn't Actually Spot Refugee Boats
    Image: MOAS

    “I Sea” billed itself as an app that would “empower the billions of us with smart devices” to do something about the thousands of migrants that have already drowned in the Mediterranean. For the last few days, Mashable, Reuters, Wired and others chirpily blogged about it, and why not? It sounded so impressive! Wouldn’t you want to “spend your lunch break searching for migrants who might be in need of help”? The app’s slick promo video promised to use “the power of crowdsourcing to help monitor the vast sea, and make the impossible possible.” Sorry, but “I See” did not make the impossible possible, because vile PR stunts rarely do.

    Over Sunday night, at the prodding of @SwiftOnSecurity who called it “feel good bullshit,” technologists began shredding “I Sea.”

    The app pretended to distribute satellite imagery to smartphone users so they can “flag” suspicious ships, in the hope that one of the users might spot boats full of refugees—as if an untrained eye can distinguish between a normal boat and a refugee boat. Instead of sending each user a different piece of the Mediterranean Sea, it sent everyone the same image, along with weather from Libya to trick them into thinking this is somehow live, as the Daily Dot also pointed out. iOS expert and developer Rosnya Keller also discovered that the image is an outdated map from Google Maps. Matt Burke analyzed the application and confirmed that despite the fact that the app could request different imagery, it just loads the same image, one made on the 9th of June, and processed in Photoshop.

    If you make any attempt to actually flag an object and set of coordinates as a boat in need of a rescue, the app demands your name, email, and even passport information, with no privacy policy in sight. The app doesn’t validate these entries, so my “Fuck off” counted as a valid passport. It all feels like a movie set, detailed only on the part that faces the camera, but flat and empty otherwise. Even their slick website’s login page is actually a bit of jQuery to fake login failures.

    Apple Pulls Ad Agency's Fake Refugee Boat-Spotting App That Doesn't Actually Spot Refugee Boats
    Screenshot of “I Sea” app by Peter Yeh

    Earlier today, Apple finally removed the app from the Apple store. It’s insane that until Sunday, no one seems to have bothered checking if the app does anything at all.

    “I Sea” was developed by a Singapore-based Grey Digital advertising firm, in an apparent collaboration with Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), though it’s unclear how much collaboration actually took place. The app was even nominated (and won an award) at the Cannes Lions international advertising awards show in France.

    It is not unusual for advertising firms to collaborate with charities or humanitarian groups. It scores points with clients and it makes the company look “good.” The idea behind “I Sea” itself is plausible. Back in 2014, Tomnod, a part of Colorado based satellite imaging company DigitalGlobe, launched an effort to locate the lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. That is part of what is so offensive about this. The app could work, but Grey Digital chose not to make it functional.

    Rather, its function wasn’t to do anything for anyone except help Grey Digital put an award on their wall. Meanwhile, “I Sea” users were duped into feeling good about themselves by “flagging” “refugee” “boats,” so they don’t have to feel like shit the next time they happen to accidentally glance at a news article.

    Grey Digital, MOAS and Cannes Lion have not responded to a request for comment at this time.

    UPDATE: Grey Digital posted a non-apology saying, in between many things, that the app was “in testing mode,” though the Wired profile suggested testing has already been completed, and there was no reason for an app in testing mode to be in the Apple store, even if it was World Refugee Day. Grey Digital’s statement also doesn’t answer questions like “where do you get your data,” “where does this information go to,” and “how do you expect average people to be able to distinguish between regular ship traffic and migrant boats?”

    UPDATE: The Guardian reports that MOAS (Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station) has released a statement: “We were dismayed to discover that real time images were not being used. We have since discontinued our relationship with Grey for Good and spoken candidly about our disappointment to the media.”

    Peter Yeh is a freelance writer based in New York.

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    Empire Mayonnaise, the Brooklyn artisanal mayonnaise store once parodied in a Saturday Night Live sketch about gentrification, is being forced to move because the neighborhood “has gotten really expensive.” I bet they are so sick of the joke you are making right now.

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    So you’ve probably heard of “Brexit” by now.

    Everything You Need to Know About the “Brexit” Vote, in Equus GIFs

    It’s a big vote that’s about go down in merry ol’ Britain, guv’nor.

    “Britain? You mean like the place from Harry Potter?”

    Everything You Need to Know About the “Brexit” Vote, in Equus GIFs

    Yep! Unfortunately, someone already wrote the Harry Potter GIFs “Brexit” explainer. Fortunately, Britain is also the place from Equus, the 1977 psychosexual drama concerning the brutal and mysterious blinding of six horses in the English countryside.

    “Sounds confusing.”

    Everything You Need to Know About the “Brexit” Vote, in Equus GIFs

    It’s a little confusing! Just like teenage stable boy Alan Strang’s alternately religious and carnal fixation on horses. But it’s also simple! Like the powerful imprint a horse painting made on Strang as a child.

    “I still don’t get it.”

    Everything You Need to Know About the “Brexit” Vote, in Equus GIFs

    Well basically, the United Kingdom is holding a national referendum on Thursday over whether to remain in the European Union and continue enjoying the benefits of lowered barriers to international trade and travel or leave the EU and gain greater control over regulatory, monetary and immigration policy. Right-wing populists have been campaigning hard for withdrawal, playing up the “Islamic hordes” angle, while centrists on the right and left have united under “Remain,” warning of potential economic disaster. You can see it as part of the (disturbingly nativist) pushback to neoliberal policies occurring throughout much of the West right now. As of Monday, betting markets have “Leave” at around 28 percent, according to Business Insider.

    “No, I get the ‘Brexit’ thing. I just don’t understand why you’re using creepy horse GIFs instead of talking to me like an adult.”

    Everything You Need to Know About the “Brexit” Vote, in Equus GIFs

    GIFs are fun!

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    Divided Senate Votes Down Gun Control Measures
    Senator Chris Murphy at a press conference Monday evening. Photo: AP

    On Monday, the U.S. Senate rejected four gun control proposals introduced in the wake of last week’s deadly Orlando shooting, voting roughly along party lines against two measures sponsored by Democrats and two competing measures sponsored by Republicans, The Guardian reports.

    “I’m mortified by today’s vote, but I’m not surprised by it,” said Democrat Chris Murphy, who sponsored one of the amendments and led a nearly 15-hour filibuster last week demanding the vote. “I don’t think democracy allows for this Congress to be so out of step with the American public for long.”

    Among the measures considered on Monday were an amendment introduced by Democrat Dianne Feinstein barring suspected terrorists from buying guns and one by Republican John Cornyn giving prosecutors three days to block such a sale. From the Associated Press:

    Republicans said Feinstein’s proposal gave the government too much power to deny people’s constitutional right to own a gun and noted that the terrorist watch list has mistakenly included some people. Democrats said the three-day window Cornyn’s measure gave prosecutors to prove their case made his plan ineffective.

    Murphy’s rejected proposal would widely expand the requirement for background checks, even to many private gun transactions, leaving few loopholes.

    The defeated plan by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, increased money for the background check system. It also revamped language prohibiting some people with mental health issues from buying a gun, which Democrats claimed would reduce current protections.

    As early as Tuesday, moderate Republican Susan Collins is expected to introduce her own measure, presented as a compromise, barring individuals on the federal no-fly list (which is much shorter than the similarly secretive and flawed terrorist watch list) from buying guns.

    “Theres tremendous interest on both sides of the aisle, I hope that will be having a press conference tomorrow,” Collins told CNN. “We’ll see where we are.”

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    The Trump Campaign's Latest Finance Report Is a Nightmare
    Photo: AP

    Donald Trump’s fundraising gap behind Hillary Clinton has been a standing cause for concern for Republican elders, but the situation was revealed to be even grimmer than previously known Monday night. According to newly filed FEC documents, the Trump campaign ended the month of May with less than $1.3 million on hand, compared to the over $42.4 million held by Clinton.

    During that same month, the Trump campaign raised just $3.1 million in contributions compared to the $19.5 million Hillary for America took in. According to The New York Times, these numbers put Trump at the “worst financial and organizational disadvantage of any major party nominee in recent history.”

    Previously, Trump has bragged about his relatively small (and shrinking) staff, saying “small is good, flexible, save money and number one!” Even with the considerable amount of free press the presumptive Republican nominee attracts, however, it’s unclear how the insurgent Trump campaign will match Clinton’s incoming ad blitz.

    Speaking to The Wall Street Journal earlier this month, leading GOP fundraiser Fred Malek said that Trump’s financial deficit was “huge and not widely understood,” adding, “Unless he’s willing to write a huge personal check, which is unlikely, I believe Trump will have a financial disparity of $300 million to $500 million.”

    It seems likely that the Republican National Committee will end up footing much of the bill without their presumptive nominee’s help: Given a list of 24 “big-name” GOP donors last week, Trump reportedly called three before giving up.

    On the upside, Trump is apparently putting the money he does have left to good use:

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  • 06/21/16--04:26: 139 Days and a Wake Up
  • 139 Days and a Wake Up
    U.S. Attorney General for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara announcing corruption charges yesterday against three high-level NYPD officers. Photo: AP

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    Feds: British Man Planned Trump Assassination Attempt for Nearly a Year
    Photo: AP

    At a Donald Trump rally in Las Vegas this weekend, authorities said, a man approached a police officer to ask how he could go about getting the presumptive Republican nominee’s autograph. He then tried to grab the officer’s weapon, which he allegedly intended to use to shoot Trump, fulfilling an assassination plot he’d been planning for about a year.

    In a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Nevada, 20-year-old Michael Steven Sandford—a British man living in country illegally after overstaying a visa—was charged with an act of violence on restricted grounds. He was denied bail at a hearing on Monday, the Associated Press reports, and has not entered a plea.

    Sanford told Secret Service agents who interviewed him after his arrest that he’d bought also bought a ticket to an upcoming rally in Phoenix, Arizona if he didn’t go through with the plan in Las Vegas. He also told the agents that he expected to be killed during his attempt on Trump’s life.

    Sanford’s assigned public defender, Heather Fraley, said that Sandford appeared mentally competent, Las Vegas Now reports. He hasn’t been diagnosed with a mental illness, but he has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism, and was previously suicidal. He has also been treated for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and anorexia.

    Last week, the complaint alleges, Sanford went to a firing range in Las Vegas to learn how to shoot a gun. He told the Secret Service that if he was released he would attempt to kill Trump again.

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    Palantir's Party Culture: Beer Pong, Office Pranks, and a Bad Case of the Hives
    Illustration by Jim Cooke

    Palantir is one of the most secretive tech firms in Silicon Valley. Its clients include the FBI, the NSA, and the CIA, as well as companies like JPMorgan Chase, Walmart, and Credit Suisse. The 12-year-old big data firm has received $2.7 billion in funding, and at a valuation of $25 billion, it’s considered the fourth most valuable startup in the world behind Uber, Xiaomi, and Airbnb.

    But as Buzzfeed reported last month, Palantir has lost top-tier clients including Coca-Cola, which backed away from a five-year contract in part because the beverage giant had a “difficult” working relationship with Palantir’s young staff. Coke reportedly admitted it needed “to get better at working with millennials.”

    Coke isn’t the only one that had trouble working with Palantir’s fun-loving millennials. Gizmodo has obtained a legal demand letter and internal emails written by a former senior technical writer named Bernie Cohen, who was fired in July of 2009, describing Palantir as a frat-house environment so out of control that he twice had to seek medical treatment from alcohol-related workplace incidents.

    The emails document a series of complaints Cohen lodged in 2009 to Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale and other senior staffers, shortly before he was fired. While some of Cohen’s claims may sound like something out of Office Space, they include allegations that Palantir’s deadly serious work for intelligence agencies, law enforcement, and financial institutions took place in an environment that tolerated office drinking and juvenile behavior.

    Cohen describes how he was injured when he was slammed by a door as an apparently drunk coworker rushed to make his shot in a game of office beer pong. He also says he suffered from hives after an apparent office prank in which another (also apparently drunk) coworker placed dog hair around Cohen’s work station, scattered vinyl gloves across the room, and stole snacks out of his filing cabinet.

    (Peter Thiel, a Palantir cofounder, has admitted to bankrolling lawsuits against Gizmodo’s parent company Gawker Media in an effort to silence the company. Gizmodo began reporting on this story long before Thiel’s vendetta became known.)

    In the emails obtained by Gizmodo, Cohen says the beer pong incident left him with bruises to a piece of cartilage under the sternum and that he suffered weeks of dizziness as a result. He was allergic to dog hair, and the prank allegedly caused what a medical clinic described as the “worst case of hives” they had ever seen.

    A July 1, 2010 letter threatening a lawsuit from Cohen’s attorney James D. Rush, claims that Cohen, who is now 67, was wrongfully terminated, was the “victim of a hostile workplace due to his age,” and that his complaints about on-site drinking parties “did not sit well with co-workers or supervisors.”

    The letter also makes the surprising allegation that Palantir engaged in improper business practices by using both Bloomberg data feeds and software from an IT firm called ANB without the appropriate licenses. Neither Palantir, Bloomberg, nor ANB responded to requests for comment. In the July 2010 letter, Cohen’s attorney states that his client was retaliated against for speaking out about these practices. From the letter:

    Mr Cohen was retaliated against for...complaining about issues such as Palantir’s illegal use of third party copyrighted and trademarked icons and Bloomberg data feeds without adequate licenses. In addition, Mr. Cohen was retaliated against for complaining about the illegal use of open source code without crediting authors, and the illegal use of ANB software development kit without ANB’s authorization.

    According to an email from an operations staffer to Cohen, an internal investigation into the dog hair prank found that the hair most likely belonged to “Bailey,” an Australian Shepherd that was a “regular” on Cohen’s floor. Lonsdale also replied to Cohen via email and said the employee responsible for the prank was drinking “offsite on his own accord” but had been dismissed from the firm for “various reasons.” Lonsdale said the incident was “entirely unacceptable” but also suggested Cohen was overreacting about being hit by a door during office beer pong:

    Frankly, I think that you were exaggerating in anger and making a larger deal in response to what was a legitimate one-off situation here, a situation that we have very promptly acted to address. As you now know, you were incorrect in linking this to Palantir’s drinking policy. However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t be especially careful and use this an excuse to be as smart as possible about all of our safety policies.

    Lonsdale said he hadn’t heard about Cohen being “slightly injured” in the beer pong incident but was “taking this seriously and looking into it.”

    “As you know, we’d already put up signs there—is there anything else you’d recommend?” Lonsdale asked.

    Cohen replied with a litany of health issues he suffered after the beer-pong incident (a doctor, he claimed, recommended that he check his stool for blood to monitor for any internal bleeding). “This was an extremely trying experience,” Cohen wrote, “both emotionally and physically, and I don’t want it to be minimized.”

    Palantir and Lonsdale did not respond to requests for comment.

    Cohen’s attorney demanded $240,000 and 80,000 vested shares of Palantir stock for his client or he would “have no choice but to advise [Cohen] to immediately pursue a lawsuit.” Rush refused to comment but said on a phone call with Gizmodo that the suit was never filed. Cohen did not return multiple requests for comment.

    Palantir prides itself on secrecy—it does, after all handle massive amounts of sensitive data from the world’s biggest companies and, according to CNBC, between 30 and 50 percent of its business is from the public sector. But it hasn’t escaped controversy entirely. Last year, Lonsdale, who is also a partner at venture capital firm 8VC, was accused of rape by a recent Stanford grad he dated as her Stanford mentor. The suit was later dropped.

    Additional reporting by Tommy Craggs

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