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As Amazon Fires Become Global Crisis, Brazil’s President Reverses Course

NY Times - 13 hours 17 min ago
After days of downplaying the fires raging across the Amazon, President Bolsonaro orders the military to step in. But it’s not clear that will be enough.

2 Former Houston Police Officers Charged in Connection With Fatal Raid

NY Times - 13 hours 37 min ago
Prosecutors said the officers fabricated information to obtain a warrant for the raid, in which a man and a woman were killed.

Our favorite gaming studios, expos, museum exhibits—in a photo blowout

Ars - 13 hours 38 min ago

When we publish galleries dedicated to gaming exhibitions, events, and landmarks, it's not a way to put off writing work. For one, we have to write all of the freaking captions (and also try to make some of them equal parts funny and informative). There's also the matter of a bunch of trained writers doubling as professional photographers while finding ourselves overstimulated by the coolest video games old and new. Hey. It's a living.

But while the work of shooting, editing, touching up, and publishing these collections is more involved than they might look, we love making them. There's something to be said about basking in the glow of an expertly crafted gaming-event gallery. I liken it to the digital equivalent of a freshly mowed yard. There's a certain, I dunno, majesty to it. At least, without the whole "sunlight" thing.

Thus, to conclude our dedicated Ars Gaming Week event, we invite you to bask in years of our digital yard work, all taken from our favorite gaming-related events.

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A Mexican and an American crossed the border on a high wire

CNN - 13 hours 41 min ago
As politicians on Capitol Hill clashed over immigration, Corbin Kunst had a different struggle ahead of him: successfully crossing the Mexico-US border hundreds of feet in the air.

Tracking online hate groups reveals why they’re resilient to bans

Ars - 14 hours 23 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | NurPhoto )

Social networks have struggled to figure out how to handle issues like threats of violence and the presence of hate groups on their platforms. But a new study suggests that attempts to limit the latter run up against a serious problem: the networks formed by hate group members are remarkably resilient, and they will migrate from network to network, keeping and sometimes expanding their connections in the process. The study does offer a few suggestions for how to limit the impact of these groups, but many of the suggestions will require the intervention of actual humans, rather than the algorithms most social networks favor.

Finding the "hate highways"

The work, done by researchers at George Washington and Miami Universities, focused on networks of racist groups, centered on the US' KKK. To do this, the researchers tracked the presence of racist groups on two major social networks: Facebook and a Russia-based network called VKontakte. The researchers crafted an automated system that could identify interest groups that shared links with each other. It would chart these connections iteratively, continuing until the process simply re-identified previously known groups. The system tracked links to other social sites like Instagram, but it doesn't iterate within those sites.

The authors confirmed this worked by performing a similar analysis manually. Satisfied, the team then tracked daily changes for an extended period of 2018. Through this, they identified more than 768 nodes formed by members of the white supremacy movement. Other nodes were identified, but these tended to be things like pornography or illicit materials, so they were ignored for this study.

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Episode 1: The Fight for a True Democracy

NY Times - 14 hours 32 min ago
America was founded on the ideal of democracy. Black people fought to make it one.

Opinion: America has failed our female veterans. Here's how we can fix it

CNN - 14 hours 33 min ago
Transitioning from military to civilian life can be daunting for those who have served in uniform. But military women, especially, face unique obstacles during this transition.

Book publishers sue Audible to stop new speech-to-text feature

Ars - 14 hours 44 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Audible)

Seven of the nation's top book publishers sued Amazon subsidiary Audible on Friday, asking federal courts to block the company from releasing a new feature called Audible Captions that's due out next month. The technology does exactly what it sounds like: display text captions on the screen of your phone or tablet as the corresponding words are read in the audio file.

The publishers argue that this is straight-up copyright infringement. In their view, the law gives them the right to control the distribution of their books in different formats. Audio is a different format from text, they reason, so Audible needs a separate license.

This would be a slam-dunk argument if Audible were generating PDFs of entire books and distributing them to customers alongside the audio files. But what Audible is actually doing is subtly different—in a way that could provide the company with firm legal ground to stand on.

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Indian opposition leaders travel to Kashmir as government urges them to stay away

CNN - 14 hours 51 min ago
A group of Indian opposition party leaders who had traveled from New Delhi to Indian-controlled Kashmir on Saturday were refused entry into the regional capital on Saturday.

Spacecraft with humanoid robot fails to dock

CNN - 15 hours 8 min ago
A spacecraft carrying Russia's humanoid robot failed to dock with the International Space Station on Saturday morning, Russian state news agencies reported.

Analysis: The dangerous new twist on the US-China trade war will heap ominous pressure on the global economy

CNN - 15 hours 10 min ago
The dangerous new twist in the tariff war between the United States and China will heap ominous pressure on the global economy at a moment when it is already struggling in the undertow of their trade superpower showdown.

'Good Morning America' co-anchor apologizes for criticizing Prince George's ballet lessons

CNN - 15 hours 13 min ago
"Good Morning America" co-anchor Lara Spencer has apologized after she was accused of making a sexist and stereotypical comment about one of Prince George's favorite pastimes.

Why people keep falling for viral hoaxes

Ars - 15 hours 24 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Thomas Trutschel/Getty Images)

The Internet is dark and full of terrible sources of information. Sometimes it seems like every day brings a new one to the list. There are the toxic conspiracy theories, deepfakes, and fake news mills. And then there are good old-fashioned Internet hoaxes. You know the ones—the sort of fear-mongering, copypasta-esquewarnings that came in the form of cryptically bolded email chains a decade ago, and today dot the social media feeds of your friends and relatives.

In comparison to the targeted disinformation campaigns that have dominated headlines in recent years, social media hoaxes seem almost quaint. Aw, we used to get duped by all-caps chain texts that claimed we would end up cursed if we didn’t forward it to five of our friends!

That is, at least, until you realize that they’re somehow still around.

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World Leaders’ G7 Expectations: A Nice Chat, Some Good Wine, No Unity With Trump

NY Times - 15 hours 24 min ago
America’s closest allies meet this weekend and have all but given up on producing the kind of consensus about global issues that has been the summit’s hallmark for decades.
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