Monday, June 24, 2019

Legion's back

Also, unless the email I received is an illusion, I instantly won a lunchbox set here:

FYI, Goldbox deals of the day at Amazon are laptops

Deals include a Chromebook Flip for $279, and $384 off an Alienware gaming laptop.

Ten funny tweets

*More funny tweets.

"The same mechanics that have turned TikTok into this year’s fastest-growing social media app have brought with them a dark side: sexual predation"


One of the most popular kinds of videos from TikTok’s users, who are mostly young and female, are lip-synch videos, where they dance and sing along with their favorite songs. These performances are sometimes sexualized by older men who lurk on the app, sending the young creators explicit messages and, in some cases, remixing the videos and dancing along with them via a TikTok feature called “duet.”

And the platform doesn’t just overlook this kind of conduct, like YouTube — its core mechanics inadvertently facilitate it. Like all social media platforms, TikTok is optimized for engagement, algorithmically steering users to content via a “For You" page that works like if Facebook’s News Feed were curated like Netflix’s landing page. It learns what you like and shows you more and more of it. It also reacts in real time, delivering an endless stream of similar videos, even if you aren’t logged in.

“If some creepy guy just keeps liking videos of younger girls doing similar audios or soundtracks or hashtags, those are going to keep coming up on his ‘For You’ page,” said an 18-year-old user named Liz W., who goes by @bithoeji on the app and spoke on the condition her full last name not be used. “So it's easier for him to find more victims. And I think that's what makes it so easy for predators to come on it and victimize young children.”


To fight this, a DIY effort to police TikTok has emerged, with the women at the heart of the DIY effort collecting allegations and evidence of sexual misconduct, blasting it out across YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter, bagging and tagging the older men trying to prey on them.

Fishery-solar hybrid photovoltaic power station, in Yangzhou, China

Many more photos from the location here. Also:

Cold weather Rey, perhaps?; Limited Run Games release of the NES and Gameboy Star Wars games

Neon Genesis Evangelion toys for every price point

A sampling of Evas and pilots available at the BBTS. These range from $35 to $750.

"The Wild Ride at Babe.Net"

The Cut:

In the spring of 2018, I visited the offices of the millennial/Gen-Z-oriented website, a sunny loft space in Williamsburg, just around the corner from Vice. — now shuttered — was then at the frothy peak of its existence. I made sure to wear my coolest pants.


I would find out later that most of that day had been carefully calibrated to impress me. “You know how a teacher decorates the classroom on parents’ visiting day?” [a writer] said recently, laughing. “It was like that.” The Rihanna poster, the framed enlargements of highly trafficked articles on the wall, even the “What the Fuck is” sign on the archway had all been hung just for my arrival. The U.S. staffers, who shared the office with, had been told to go work at another location for the day.


[The] Editor [], who was in charge of all the writers, told me she gave new writers links to the old Gawker archives to read in order to nail the tone. (Rarely had the new writers, with an average age of approximately 23, heard of Gawker — much less did they know about its fall.)


The next day, Jane went to the office. “The first thing [a female] editor does is lean on the table and goes, ‘Wow, fucking the boss on the second day? Good move,’” she said. “Everyone was looking at me like I was Monica Lewinsky.”


[Employees] who had all been with the company for multiple years and had always operated as a unit in the office, coalesced into an even stronger clique — the last survivors of first-generation Babe. They got matching tattoos — tiny lowercase b’s for Babe — to commemorate their bond to each other and their loyalty to the site.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

"Attempted Coup Leaves Ethiopia’s Army Chief and 3 Senior Officials Dead"


The chief of staff of the Ethiopian Army and at least three other senior officials have been killed in different parts of the country when a general tried to seize control of the northern state of Amhara in an attempted coup, the prime minister’s office said on Sunday.

A spokesman for Ethiopia’s prime minister told The Associated Press that the army chief, Gen. Seare Mekonnen, had been shot dead at his residence in the capital, Addis Ababa, by his bodyguard.


Officials said the coup attempt had been orchestrated by the region’s head of security, Gen. Asamnew Tsige. General Asamnew was released from prison last year, having been granted amnesty for a similar coup attempt, according to media reports.

Regional government officials had been in a meeting to discuss how to rein in the open recruitment of ethnic militias by General Asamnew when the coup attempt began, officials said.

Greedo's curse (Star Wars roundup)

Ten funny tweets

*More funny posts.

"Where Should LucasArts Take Star Wars Video Games?"

Gretchen Felker-Martin has ideas:

Lando’s a great character to dig into because he’s long on charisma and short on backstory, a perfect combination for a dashing rogue to headline a story-driven RPG.


A smug wookiee cat burglar, the rebellious droid L3-37 from 2018’s Solo, a terse, ill-tempered gunman concealing behind a scarred face the secret that he’s a deserter from the one-time Clone Army, and maybe a withered old fortune teller who may or may not be a Sith outcast — it’s not hard to put together a team with plenty of Star Wars lore both fringe and central to dig into.


Even if Fallen Order looks like the most boring possible way to approach the material, the period after Order 66 is ripe for all kinds of violent and exciting storytelling. A first-person action/stealth hybrid with the player in the role of a Force-sensitive assassin tasked with hunting Jedi by the Imperial Inquisition feels much more immediate and visceral, and with creative art direction and more restrained mechanics it could circumvent the over-the-top histrionics and whitebread cast of The Force Unleashed to deal directly with life at the street level. Imagine the Coruscant underworld sequence from the opening of Attack of the Clones, all neon and monolithic art-deco cityscapes, and what it might feel like to navigate that on foot as an agile killer capable of slithering up drain pipes and crawling through vents.