https://slashdot.org/story/21/02/26/1531258/amazon-rainforest-plots-sold-via-facebook-marketplace-ads?utm_source=rss1.0mainlinkanon&utm_medium=feed preview's
Amazon Rainforest Plots Sold via Facebook Marketplace Ads

Parts of Brazil's Amazon rainforest are being illegally sold on Facebook, the BBC is reporting. From the report: The protected areas include national forests and land reserved for indigenous peoples. Some of the plots listed via Facebook's classified ads service are as large as 1,000 football pitches. Facebook said it was "ready to work with local authorities", but indicated it would not take independent action of its own to halt the trade. "Our commerce policies require buyers and sellers to comply with laws and regulations," the Californian tech firm added. The leader of one of the indigenous communities affected has urged the tech firm to do more. And campaigners have claimed the country's government is unwilling to halt the sales. "The land invaders feel very empowered to the point that they are not ashamed of going on Facebook to make illegal land deals," said Ivaneide Bandeira, head of environmental NGO Kaninde. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2021-02-27 04:45:01
https://tech.slashdot.org/story/21/02/26/2154248/googles-stadia-problem-a-video-game-unit-thats-not-googley-enough?utm_source=rss1.0mainlinkanon&utm_medium=feed preview's
Google's Stadia Problem? A Video Game Unit That's Not Googley Enough

The tech giant likes to test and tweak. Stadia promised to change the industry and failed to deliver. From a report: Google's streaming video game service Stadia had ambitious plans to disrupt the gaming industry, which is dominated by consoles. The tech giant had planned to pack Stadia with original content, announcing two years ago that it was hiring hundreds of game developers and starting studios in Los Angeles and Montreal. But those teams barely had time to get started before they were dismissed earlier this month as Google shut down in-house game development. From the beginning, Google's approach to video games wasn't very Google-like. The Alphabet company tends to launch bare-bones products and test them as they grow. With Stadia, it came out big. Flashy press conferences and ad campaigns promised high-quality games with innovative features playable on Android smartphones or on the TV through Chromecast. Gamers would have access to a library of exclusive titles and well-known favorites like Assassin's Creed without having to dish out $500 for Sony Corp's PlayStation or Microsoft's Xbox. So when Stadia launched in 2019, gamers were expecting the complete package, not the beta model. While the cloud streaming technology was there, playing to Google's strengths, the library of games was underwhelming and many of the promised features nonexistent. Other platforms offer hundreds of games a year, but Stadia offers fewer than 80, according to Mat Piscatella, an analyst at the NPD Group, which tracks video game sales data. Players also didn't like Stadia's business model, which required customers to buy games individually rather than subscribe to an all-you-can-play service a la Netflix or the Xbox's Game Pass. Paying as much as $60 for a single game, for it only to exist on Google's servers rather than on your own PC, seemed a stretch to some. After all the hype, gamers were disappointed. Stadia missed its targets for sales of controllers and monthly active users by hundreds of thousands, according to two people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. A Google spokesperson declined to comment for this story. "I think it would be fair to say the messaging leading up to and around the launch was inconsistent," with the final product, Piscatella says. Further reading: Stadia Leadership Praised Development Studios For 'Great Progress' Just One Week Before Laying Them All Off. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2021-02-27 01:15:01
https://news.slashdot.org/story/21/02/26/2145212/us-drops-digital-tax-demand-opening-door-to-global-deal?utm_source=rss1.0mainlinkanon&utm_medium=feed preview's
US Drops Digital Tax Demand, Opening Door To Global Deal

The U.S. has dropped a key demand in negotiations over digital taxation of technology companies such as Alphabet's Google and Facebook, lifting a barrier that had raised transatlantic trade tensions and prevented an international deal. From a report: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told her counterparts at a virtual meeting of Group of 20 finance officials that the U.S. is no longer calling for a so-called safe harbor rule that would allow U.S. companies to opt out of paying such a tax overseas, according to a Treasury spokeswoman. Yellen said the U.S. will now engage robustly in negotiations on both that issue and on a global minimum tax, the spokeswoman said. The talks between around 140 countries on how to overhaul tax rules stumbled last year when Donald Trump's administration demanded there should be a safe harbor regime. Most other countries said they couldn't accept such optionality on paying tax. "Today we saw a strong tailwind for a fair taxation of the large digital corporations," German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said. "My U.S. colleague Janet Yellen declared today at the G20 finance ministers that the U.S. will join in." There is still some distance to go to get a global deal on digital tax. Beyond the issue of safe harbor, the U.S. and Europe have long been at odds over the scope of any new rules. There are also outstanding issues over the amount of profit to be reallocated to different jurisdictions and how to ensure and enforce tax certainty. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2021-02-26 23:45:01
https://www.universetoday.com/150303/some-earth-life-could-already-survive-on-mars/ preview's
Some Earth Life Could Already Survive on Mars

Mars’ surface is a harsh environment for life.  But life on Earth is notoriously resilient as well.  No one is quite sure yet how microbes from Earth would fare on the Martian surface.  However, the impact of a potential transmigration of microbes to the red planet could be immense.  Not only could it skew any … Continue reading "Some Earth Life Could Already Survive on Mars" The post Some Earth Life Could Already Survive on Mars appeared first on Universe Today.
2021-02-26 23:00:03
https://www.universetoday.com/150300/did-ancient-martian-life-eat-rocks-for-food/ preview's
Did Ancient Martian Life Eat Rocks For Food?

Some lucky astronomers get to work with some of the rarest material in the world.  Real Martian meteorites are extraordinarily rare, but are invaluable in terms of understanding Martian geology. Now, one of the most famous meteorites, nicknamed “Black Beauty”, is helping shed light on a much more speculative area of science: Martian biology. Formally … Continue reading "Did Ancient Martian Life Eat Rocks For Food?" The post Did Ancient Martian Life Eat Rocks For Food? appeared first on Universe Today.
2021-02-26 22:15:03
https://apple.slashdot.org/story/21/02/27/033259/apple-forced-to-add-iphone-and-macbook-repairability-scores-to-comply-with-french-law?utm_source=rss1.0mainlinkanon&utm_medium=feed preview's
Apple Forced To Add iPhone and MacBook Repairability Scores To Comply With French Law

Apple has added iPhone and MacBook repairability scores to its online store in France to comply with a new French law that came into effect this year. From a report: MacGeneration reports that the rating takes into account features like how easily a device can be disassembled and the availability of repair manuals and spare parts. Links to each product's final score, with details for how they were calculated, are available on this support page. The ratings for Apple's products vary between products and generations. Its iPhone 12 lineup all have scores of six out of 10 for example, while the previous year's iPhone 11s are rated lower at between 4.5 and 4.6. The improvement, according to the detailed scoring assessment, is due to the newer iPhones being easier to dismantle than the previous year's models, and spare parts being cheaper compared to the cost of the phone itself. There's less of a spread between the company's different MacBook models, whose scores range from 5.6 to 7. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2021-02-26 22:15:01
https://apple.slashdot.org/story/21/02/26/2248230/apple-mail-and-hidden-tracking-images?utm_source=rss1.0mainlinkanon&utm_medium=feed preview's
Apple Mail and Hidden Tracking Images

John Gruber, writing at DaringFireball: In my piece yesterday about email tracking images ("spy pixels" or "spy trackers"), I complained about the fact that Apple -- a company that rightfully prides itself for its numerous features protecting user privacy -- offers no built-in defenses for email tracking. A slew of readers wrote to argue that Apple Mail does offer such a feature: the option not to load any remote resources at all. It's a setting for Mail on both Mac and iOS, and I know about it -- I've had it enabled for years. But this is a throwing-the-baby-out-with-bath-water approach. What Hey offers -- by default -- is the ability to load regular images automatically, so your messages look "right", but block all known images from tracking sources (which are generally 1 x 1 px invisible GIFs). Typical users are never going to enable Mail's option not to load remote content. It renders nearly all marketing messages and newsletters as weird-looking at best, unreadable at worst. And when you get a message whose images you do want to see, when you tell Mail to load them, it loads all of them -- including trackers. Apple Mail has no knowledge of spy trackers at all, just an all-or-nothing ability to turn off all remote images and load them manually. Mail's "Load remote content in messages" option is a great solution to bandwidth problems -- remember to turn it on the next time you're using Wi-Fi on an airplane, for example. It's a terrible solution to tracking. No one would call it a good solution to tracking if Safari's only defense were an option not to load any images at all until you manually click a button in each tab to load them all. But that's exactly what Apple offers with Mail. "Don't get me started on how predictable this entire privacy disaster was, once we lost the war over whether email messages should be plain text only or could contain embedded HTML. Effectively all email clients are web browsers now, yet don't have any of the privacy protection features actual browsers do," he adds. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2021-02-26 20:30:04
https://arstechnica.com/?p=1745814 preview's
We’ll likely have a 3rd COVID vaccine soon; J&J vaccine clears last hurdle

The vaccine could be authorized as soon as Saturday.
2021-02-26 17:30:03
https://arstechnica.com/?p=1745776 preview's
Hard-coded key vulnerability in Logix PLCs has severity score of 10 out of 10

Critical authentication bypass flaw affects the entire Logix product line.
2021-02-26 16:45:01
https://arstechnica.com/?p=1745503 preview's
TikTok agrees to proposed $92 million settlement in privacy class action

Class members can get compensation, as long as most don't file for it.
2021-02-26 16:15:01