Hey, Maybe Don't Send Your DNA Samples to a Tech Company
Genetic analysis company 23andMe has suffered a massive user data breach, with hackers claiming they've stolen millions of user's generic information, and seemingly are targeting Jews and other ethic minorities.
This is literally a bunch of data mapping peoples personal identification to their generic profile: it is a dream for anyone who wishes to seek out and harm specific ethnicities, and it is now up for sale to any buyer, after millions of people thought it'd be cool and good to trust a big website with managing their genetic data.
Here is my plea, as a person who has spent half of his life working in consumer technology: whenever you make an account on a website, ask yourself what all this website should need to know. Does it need your real name? Does it need your real email? Does it need your real phone number?
Many email platforms such as Fastmail can generate one-off email addresses for use on websites to help reduce the impact if your data is breached. Google Voice can be used to make free, alternative phone number. Your real name should almost never be used outside of the context of official accounts.
You may not think you have anything to hide, but it's not always about hiding nefarious stuff. Your family, friends and anyone else whose information can be derived from yours, as well as stuff you probably actually would rather not have sold to random other people are still worth protecting.
Gavin Newsom Kills the Vibe
California governor Gavin Newsom has vetoed a bill that reached his desk which would have decriminalized natural hallucinogens (think "magic mushrooms"), citing that it needs more rules around it.
California should immediately begin work to set up regulated treatment guidelines – replete with dosing information, therapeutic guidelines, rules to prevent against exploitation during guided treatments, and medical clearance of no underlying psychoses. Unfortunately, this bill would decriminalize possession prior to these guidelines going into place, and I cannot sign it.
His argument is essentially that if the hallucinogens are for medical purposes, the medical guidelines must be set before decriminalizing possession. Let's just totally ignore the absolute farce that is the "medical-only cannabis use" approach that was totally necessary and made a lot of sense. Instead, let's continue to wrap up literal plants in regulation so we can make it easier to find a new thing to use to throw people in jail.
This Last Time, At Bandcamp
The future of Bandcamp, the popular online music marketplace, is up in the air right now after being sold off by Epic Games to a music licensing platform called Songtradr.
However, the sale hasn't quite been what you may expect. Bandcamp was sold. But uh, not the staff, apparently.
Employees at Bandcamp noted that after the sale of the website, many of them had been cut off from critical systems which allowed them to actually do their work. For a while, the site was just kinda online without oversight, as the future of the employee's tenure was totally up in the air. Some just kinda received after-hours emails being like "oh by the way, you probably don't have a job anymore," while Songtradr executives reassured employees by saying "don't worry, we will keep Bandcamp artist-friendly," while not answering questions about employment.
Epic purchased Bandcamp in just March of 2022.
Weird, UBI Works
The Denver Basic Income Project has issued an Interim Report six months in to an ongoing experiment to try out Universal Basic Income in the city of Denver, Colorado.
The Denver Basic Income Project is running a mutli-group experiment with different payment plans for each group to research the impacts of Universal Basic Income for people in need. The results so far are promising, with a large reduction in folks sleeping in tents, as well as many participants being able to pay debts, secure housing and more.
Payment plans range from a large, multi-thousand up-front stipend with smaller recurring payments, to $1,000 a month, to a small $50 per month to help collect control data and measure the difference in impact.
Other states and local municipalities have been experimenting with UBI as a potential path forward to help address rampant homelessness and poverty in their areas. It's almost like a great way to help people without means is to give them some means.
On This day…
On this day in 1799, the HMS Lutine sank during a storm while carrying about £1,200,000 worth of silver and gold.
Many attempts at salvaging both parts of the ship and chunks of the cargo were made over the following years, with mixed success. Much of the loot remains scattered and lost to the sea due to shoddy storage containers and, well, being at the bottom of the ocean.
Here's the Weather
- Amazon's Alexa was found to be claiming the 2020 US Presidential election was stolen, citing right-wing-specific websites as its sources
- Related, Mike Lindell (the MyPillow guy) is saying he is out of money and can't pay his legal bills regarding the 2020 election lawsuits he stirred up
- Robert F Kennedy is likely going to leave the Democrats as his bid for the presidency continues on despite his rampant involvement in conspiracy and anti-vax theories
- Some dude has been charged with stalking after routinely flying a small plane over a woman's home for years, sometimes lobbing tomatoes out the window while doing so
- Meta's new relationship-oriented chat AI will kink shame you
- Fashion company Prada will be taking part in the design of space suits for astronauts in an upcoming 2025 moon mission