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India Police Kill 4 Rape Suspects Already In Custody

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People celebrate after police shot dead four detained gang-rape and murder suspects in Shadnagar, near Hyderabad, India, on Friday.

Police say the men attacked officers as they were investigating the crime scene and were shot dead in self-defense. Many are celebrating swift, sure justice; others call it an extrajudicial execution.

(Image credit: Sam Panthaky/AFP via Getty Images)

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fxer
11 hours ago
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Bend, Oregon
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This Lego Cybertruck is one even Elon can love

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Lego already debuted its own take on the divisive Tesla Cybertruck design, but theirs was purely for the lols. This Lego Cybertruck, however, submitted to the official Lego Ideas crowdsourcing website, is actually a remarkably faithful representation, and comes complete with fully articulating tailgate and “frunk” (front trunk, for the uninitiated).

The design, by Lego Ideas user BrickinNick, recreates remarkably well the throwback polygonal cyberpunk aesthetic of the actual Cybertruck, and BrickinNick says that it could be adapted to have even more moving parts, including opening passenger doors, a slide-out ramp and maybe even a companion Tesla ATV kit so you can replicate the stage demo in even more detail. This would, of course, mean we absolutely must get a minifig Elon, too — and maybe swappable shattered windows.

Lego Ideas allows anyone to create an account and submit their down design, then the community votes on those submissions. Get enough votes and Lego will consider actually producing said design as a kit. Obviously, when there’s IP from other companies involved it’s not a sure thing, but this campaign already has around 2,000 supporters as of this writing, so it’s doing well in the realm of user support.

Love it or hate it, the Cybertruck does make a pretty great Lego design, so here’s hoping this actually one day becomes a shipping kit.

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fxer
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Bend, Oregon
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Keybase moves to deal with crypto-chat spam as users face scammer onslaught

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All scammers, all the time: my Keybase message inbox.

Enlarge / All scammers, all the time: my Keybase message inbox.

Keybase started off as co-founder and developer Max Krohn's "hobby project"—a way for people to share PGP keys with a simple username-based lookup. Then Chris Coyne (who also was cofounder of OkCupid and SparkNotes) got involved and along came $10.8 million in funding from a group of investors led by Andreesen Horowitz. And then things got increasingly more complicated. Keybase aims to make public-key encryption accessible to everyone, for everything from messaging to file sharing to throwing a few crypto-coins someone's way.

But because of that level of accessibility, Keybase faces a very OkCupid kind of problem: after drawing in people interested in easy public-key crypto-based communications and then drawing in blockchain lovers with its partnership with (and funding from) Stellar.org, Keybase has also drawn in spammers and scammers. And that has brought a host of alerts and messages that have made what was once a fairly clear communications channel into one clogged with unwanted alerts, messages, and other unpleasantry—raising a chorus of complaints in Keybase's open chat channel.

It turns out there's a reason spell check keeps wanting to tell me that Keybase should be spelled "debase."

Full disclosure: I have been a Keybase user for several years, and fellow Ars editor Lee Hutchinson and I had experimented with using Keybase as a potential way of securing some of our workflow. Not needing anyone to host (and therefore own) our data seemed like a good thing. But Lee recently canceled his Keybase account and says he won’t be back because of how annoying it is.

Keybase's leadership is promising to do something to fix the spam problem—or at least make it easier to report and block abusers. In a blog post, Krohn and Coynes wrote, "To be clear, the current spam volume isn't dire, YET. Keybase still works great. But we should act quickly."

But the measures promised by Keybase won't completely eliminate the issue. And Keybase execs have no interest in getting involved with additional steps that they see as censorship. "Keybase is a private company and we do retain our rights to kick people out," the co-founders said in the blog post. "That hammer will not be used because someone is mostly disliked, as long as they're playing nicely on Keybase."

Romancing the scam

Part of the attraction of Keybase is that it allows hassle-free access from the Tor anonymizing network, as well as from VPNs—which makes it harder to track down the source of abusive traffic through the service. But much of the spam traffic is over unobfuscated network connections, and while some of it is coming from Europe and North America, most is coming from Russian and Nigerian IP addresses.

Other platforms have seen the same sort of problem. Romance scammers got their start on instant messaging platforms and quickly moved on to dating apps. Earlier this decade, OkCupid became a den for these scams—where someone (often in Nigeria) poses as someone looking for love, and then moves the conversation toward pleas for financial support, calling cards, or other investments. And as I've reported earlier this year, these and other scams have taken hold on Twitter.

Right now, it's possible (with some navigation) to block someone from messaging you on Keybase and hiding messages they send. But there's no effective way to report them for abuse other than reaching out to administrators directly. And there's no way to completely filter out the requests in the first place, as anyone can create a Keybase account and send a message to you.

Talk to the block

As part of the changes to Keybase being pushed out in an upcoming release, users will now be able to report spam or abusive messages straight from Keybase's chat interface—blocking that user with a click or tap, with the option of reporting the user to Keybase administrators. The report allows for quick classification of the message as spam, harassment, "obscene material," or "other," with a field for additional details. "You'll also be able to send Keybase admins the transcript of your chat—something we obviously don't normally have access to, since Keybase is end-to-end encrypted," Keybase execs explained in their post.

Another measure Keybase calls the "nuclear option" is also in the works. Similar to Twitter's protected account capabilities, it allows users to select a set of rules that determine who can follow or message them—based on whether they’re already connected in some way." These options will create a custom walled-garden experience," the Keybase execs explained. "It won't be necessary for most people -- especially after the blocking features launch -- but it will 100% shut down all unwanted contact."

More fixes are promised in the future. Considering that Keybase already provides ways for people to attest to their identities to provide trust in communications, it would be conceivable that you could filter requests based on the quality and number of those attestations—confirmations made by posting messages to social media accounts, GitHub accounts, and other accounts that are connected to online identity (mine is tied to Twitter, GitHub, Hacker News, Reddit, and a personal domain name as well as my PGP key). Most fraudulent accounts don't bother with anything more than the free Stellar wallet address, and those that do often attach a fake Twitter account.

None of this is going to bring Lee Hutchinson back. "When a tool that I don’t need or think about very often starts spamming me and requires I dig up documentation to make the spamming stop," Lee said, "I’m not going to take time out of my [redacted] day to read the docs and screw around with privacy settings. I’m just going to delete the tool. Which I did."

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fxer
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The Best Baby Formula

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After doing 30 hours of research, including interviewing two pediatricians, a pediatric nutritionist, and a breast milk researcher, reading more than a dozen scientific studies and journal articles, and analyzing the ingredients of 47 formulas, we’ve learned that all formulas made for healthy, full-term infants are safe and nutritionally adequate for normal growth and development from birth through the first year. We recommend Kirkland Signature ProCare Non-GMO Infant Formula, which is the least expensive traditional formula but just as nutritious as name-brand options.

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Plus you can grab a $1.50 🌭 while you’re there
Bend, Oregon
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The Happy Homemaker: 1940

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July 1940. Door County, Wisconsin. "Farm Security Administration rehabilitation borrower and family. The wife made the drapes, the chair covers, and papered the wall herself." Medium format negative by John Vachon for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.
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fxer
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Report: Magic Leap’s early device sales aren’t looking good

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Magic Leap just announced that they’re in the midst of closing a Series E round of funding, but it sounds like they’re going to have to clinch that investment with some pretty troubling sales numbers for their only device on the market.

The Information‘s Alex Heath is reporting that Magic Leap managed to sell just 6,000 units of its $2,300 Magic Leap One headset in its first six months on sale, a figure made worse by CEO Rony Abovitz’s internal claims that he wanted the startup to sell at least one million units of the device in the first year, a goal the report states he was later convinced to rethink — Abovitz later projected the company would sell 100,000 units in the first year.

We reached out to the company for comment.

Given the company’s long much-hyped road to the release of the Magic Leap One, such low early reported sales are anything but encouraging for their ultimate goals of building a pair of augmented reality glasses that can rival the efforts of Apple and Microsoft. There aren’t many sales figures out there being shared for existing AR headsets on the market, but Magic Leap has also raised and spent more than any other startup to release their first device.

The company has now raised around $2.6 billion in venture funding from firms like Google, Alibaba and a slew of other investors. The story also reports that Google — and now Alphabet — CEO Sundar Pichai stepped down from the board and was replaced by another Google executive.

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fxer
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