Threads is Hanging on by a Thread
I mean, kinda. They still have a lot of users, but Meta's Twitter (X?) competitor Threads is already down by more than half their userbase.
This should really not be a surprise. A lot of noise was made about Threads having incredible signup numbers, but signups don't really mean anything for an app like Threads. It was built on top of an existing userbase. Consider it instead to be a standalone app version of what otherwise could have been a new tab in Instagram. "Signups" on threads just means "people who already were on Instagram who followed the link to check out Threads."
So now its a matter of staying power. Threads is probably never gonna whole-ass die (until they inevitably just roll it up into Instagram proper as a new post / feed type), but I'm yet to be convinced that it'll be the new "default place to Post Things Online." I honestly think standard Instagram is that place at the moment, really.
Attempted Coup in Niger is Getting Wild
The country of Niger is currently going through an attempted military coup as forces surrounded the office of the president and took him captive. Protestors and coup supporters are signaling strong sentiment of alliance with Russia and rejection of a history of western influence and colonization, especially from France and the United States.
The situation is super messy and unclear, and the coup itself seems to have sparked at least in part from a conflict between the commander of their Presidential Guard and the president himself.
This situation is actively developing and we don't really know where things go from here. The US has hesitated on calling it a "coup," and I am no legal expert but uh, armed forces taking the president captive seems pretty coup-y.
Notably, Niger receives billions in developmental aid every year, while also being used as a proxy for fighting "enemies of the west" in the region.
Geopolitics are uh… messy. And as a reminder, you're going to see a lot of strong situation spinning from western states. Remember: the situation is infinitely more complex for the people who actually live there, and this is going to cause a ruckus for western powers because this destabilizes what is essentially a regional stronghold. So there uh… a few echoes of history around this one.
The Breach is Coming From Inside the House
The Pentagon got got by its own people. A rogue internal engineer at Arnold air force base in Tennessee stole a bunch of communications and radio equipment.
Upon searching the engineer's home, they found $90,000 worth of equipment, as well as USB drives with hella stuff the Pentagon would prefer you to not have, such as administrator keys and a computer running private radio communications software.
The warrant paints a helluva picture of this dude. According to information collected in the warrant, he…
…sold radios and radio equipment, worked odd hours, was arrogant, frequently lied, displayed inappropriate workplace behavior and sexual harassment, had financial problems, and possessed [classified] equipment
SEEMS LIKE A COOL COOL GUY.
Bonus military intelligence story: the US gov is kinda freakin' out right now as they say they've identified Chinese malware in critical defense and energy systems and don't know the extent of what it can do.
The CEO of OpenAI Wants to Collect Your Biometric Data for Use in Cryptocurrency
…but in reality he's just collecting a bunch of biometrics from exploited people in poorer countries who don't understand what the project is.
Sam Altman, they CEO of OpenAI (makers of ChatGPT) has a side project: WorldCoin, a cryptocurrency concept that essentially asks "what if we made a cryptocurrency where each person scans their biometrics to verify who they are and then gets to keep some of the crypto". Now, that may sound like it makes sense in the worlds most vacuum-iest vacuum, but thinking about it for any length of time (notably, a thing that tech billionaire CEOs do not do) will quickly wash away any sense of good-idea-ery.
But when has a bad idea ever stopped a tech bro? Especially a tech bro focused on trying to fix the world with cryptocurrency? Literally never once, so now the company behind WorldCoin (called "Tools for Humanity" because of course it is), has been going around countries that have large populations living in poverty with poor legal protection and telling them they're giving out money to people in exchange for scanning their biometrics.
They have a literal orb that collects your body's data. For their crypto project. Because that is a TOOL FOR HUMANITY.
The concept of this project requires collecting a tooooon of human data, and now they can talk about how quickly they onboarded hundreds of thousands of people. Meanwhile, there are already black market sales of people's iris scans; scans which are supposed to be 1:1 with a person. But nope, just buy the iris scan of a random person in a random country who didn't know what this weird orb thing was, and then use that to further enrich yourself in the pyramid scheme that is cryptocurrency.
Fucking hell. The tech sector made a pretty decent cell phone that one time and now every day we have to have some game changing concept to "disrupt the market" or we're all gonna die from lack of economics or something.
On This day…
On this day in 1715, eleven ships were lost in a hurricane off the coast of Florida while carrying hoards of treasure back to Spain.
Pirates, privateers and sailors of all types would go on to salvage lost treasures from the deep. Coins from the sunken ships still can be found washed shore to this day.
Oh, also this event was the opening scene of Assassins Creed: Black Flag, which is objectively the best Assassins Creed game.
Here's the Weather
- Elon Musk put up a giant flashing "X" sign on top of the Twitter/X building without a permit, pointed at windows of a residential building
- Carlee Russell, the woman at the center of a false kidnapping case, is being charged and investigated
- Trader Joes has recalled three items in a week, including their Fully Cooked Falafel citing that it "may contain rocks"
- After beefing with and then forcibly removing moderators from popular subreddits, Reddit is now asking for more moderators
- NASA is launching NASA+, a streaming service with free space-related content
- Taylor Swift's concerts in Seattle had so much dancing it registered as seismic activity. The stadium she played at has previously generated registered seismic activity from massive crowds
- Turns out if we could cut out road rage, car emissions would be less bad. Not good, just less bad
- If you're getting hype about Path of Exile 2, it is apparently so big that its going to be a standalone game rather than an update
- Moscow was hit by another drone strike the night before they planned a military parade