Since China isn't NULL-terminated, when you walk off the end, you end up in Taiwan.

iOS bug reveals how Apple censors the Taiwanese flag on Chinese iPhones:

The bug came to light when security researcher Patrick Wardle received a message from a Taiwanese friend, reporting that iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger all crashed when she typed the word 'Taiwan' or received a message containing the emoji for the Taiwanese flag.

On an iOS device with CN (China) set as the language/locale, iOS is looking for the Taiwanese flag emoji and then removing it. That code was buggy, which was what caused the crash. [...]

The company has been accused of putting sales ahead of human rights, agreeing to a long-running series of compromises to satisfy the Chinese government. The most controversial of these was moving the iCloud data of Chinese customers to a server run by a state-owned company, reportedly also handing over the encryption keys. Apple has also removed or restricted apps in the country -- including more than 400 VPN apps.

Technical analysis.

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Here comes that Musky Scent again

Elon Musk revealed as one of the largest donors for a House Republican PAC:

Filings show that the Tesla and SpaceX CEO donated $38,900 to the PAC, which is dedicated to keeping Republicans in control of Congress. The PAC raised over $8 million in quarter two, according to filings compiled by ProPublica.

The top donors of the PAC include Sheldon Adelson, the Vegas casino magnate, and Robert McNair, the owner of the NFL's Houston Texans. Although Adelson and McNair's contributions far outweighed Musk's -- Adelson and McNair each gave $371,500 respectively, while Musk gave $33,900 -- Musk was one of the top 50 donors of the PAC. [...]

"Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world," Musk said on Twitter at the time.

One year later, the tech entrepreneur has taken active measures to help the Republican Party maintain Congress. The reports on Musk's political contributions is just another data point marking Musk's nonsense.

The other latest example was Musk's voluntary involvement in the Thailand cave rescue. [...] One of the rescue leaders, Vern Unsworth, ridiculed Musk in a video interview released on Friday.

"It just had absolutely no chance of working. He had no conception of what the cave passage was like... It wouldn't have made it the first fifty meters in the cave. It was just a PR stunt," the rescuer said. "He can stick his submarine where it hurts." [...]

Musk's feud with the cave rescuers resembles the Twitter debate he engaged in after proclaiming he was a socialist. Musk trolled some socialists by explaining his view of socialism, which remarkably sounded a lot like capitalism. [...] for him to refer to himself as a socialist appears to be another troll attempt from one of Twitter's most persistent trolls. (Musk just last week tried to say that "billionaire" has become a derogatory term.)

Musk's donations to the GOP may have catapulted him to all-world troll status.

I know a lot of you temporarily-embarrassed millionaires think he's super cool because, like, wow, rockets, but seriously, fuck this guy.

More trolling, or just cluelessness? He stirs up the fanboys by naming his products after ships from Iain M. Banks, but it's too bad that he fundamentally misunderstood those books:

JR: Many critics and reviewers have claimed that the Culture represents the American Libertarian ideal. Given that this is clearly not the case, how do you characterise the politics of the Culture?

IB: Really? I had no idea. Obviously I haven't read the output of the relevant critics and reviewers. Let's be clear: unless I have profoundly misunderstood its position, I pretty much despise American Libertarianism. Have these people seriously looked at the problems of the world and thought, 'Hmm, what we need here is a bit more selfishness'?... I beg to differ. This is not say that Libertarianism can't represent a progressive force, in the right circumstances, and I don't doubt there will be significant areas where I would agree with Libertarianism. But, really; which bit of not having private property, and the absence of money in the Culture novels, have these people missed? The Culture is hippy commies with hyper-weapons and a deep distrust of both Marketolatry and Greedism. One rests one's case.

It could be that Musk does believe that a post-scarcity society would be awesome -- but there's a really good reason for that. As a billionaire, he already lives in a post-scarcity society. It's just one that admits vanishingly few people as its citizens.

@cstross: Attn @elonmusk -- I knew Iain and I'm pretty sure he'd have trenchant and unkind things to say about your stance on unions, workplace sexual/racial harassment, and socialism in general.

@Richard_Kadrey: Any gazillionaire who calls himself a Banks-inspired utopian anarchist is just a Libertarian who jerks off to Wired.

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I've never seen spammers flying in tight formation before.

And people say the Blue Angels are a waste of $37 million of taxpayer money every year! Pernicious nonsense! It's a valuable Social Assistance Program for highly skilled Targeting Marketing Associates!

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Sir, Your Most Brutal Web Site, Please.

This manifesto is deep, deep, deep into "Old Man Yells At Cloud" territory, but I do like this sentence:

Brutalist Web Design:

By default, a website that uses HTML as intended and has no custom styling will be readable on all screens and devices. Only the act of design can make the content less readable.

Does this mean that eventually people will start calling my web sites "brutalist" instead of "dated"?

Maybe there will be a specific sub-category for green on black. "Your search - Cyber-Brutalist - has about 6 results".

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Today in Landfill Capitalism: Realistic Marketing, Inc.

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DNA Lounge update

DNA Lounge update, wherein the Fifth Annual Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge is upon us.

City Street Orientations

Geoff Boeing:

Each of the cities is represented by a polar histogram (aka rose diagram) depicting how its streets orient. Each bar's direction represents the compass bearings of the streets (in that histogram bin) and its length represents the relative frequency of streets with those bearings. [...]

Most cities' polar histograms similarly tend to cluster in at least a rough, approximate way. But then there are Boston and Charlotte.

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Monsters Are Real: Screeching Centipede Robot

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Facebook touts fight on fake news, but struggles to explain why InfoWars isn't banned

If you work for Facebook, quit.

After a short presentation showcasing Facebook's efforts to fight misinformation, John Hegeman, the head of Facebook's News Feed, and Sara Su, a Facebook product specialist for News Feed, took questions from reporters.

When asked by this reporter how the company could claim it was serious about tackling the problem of misinformation online while simultaneously allowing InfoWars to maintain a page with nearly one million followers on its website, Hegeman said that the company does not "take down false news."

"I guess just for being false that doesn't violate the community standards," Hegeman said, explaining that InfoWars has "not violated something that would result in them being taken down."

Hegeman added, "I think part of the fundamental thing here is that we created Facebook to be a place where different people can have a voice. And different publishers have very different points of view."

While publishers may certainly have a different point of view, InfoWars is no ordinary publisher, and the content it produces does not just offer "different points of view." The media organization is notorious for spreading demonstrably false information and conspiracy theories on a host of issues, including suggesting that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax staged by child actors. Earlier this year, the outlet smeared student survivors of the Parkland shooting with baseless attacks, portraying them in one video as actors.

Even on Wednesday, before and after Facebook defended its decision to allow InfoWars to operate on its website, InfoWars used the social media platform to spread baseless conspiracy theories. In one video posted to Facebook, InfoWars claimed billionaire George Soros wanted to "seize US voting machines." In another post, InfoWars, which has suggested that the September 11 terrorist attacks were an inside job, asked, "Will Trump expose the truth behind 9/11?"

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Popcorn-Driven Robotic Actuators

Mad, Tasty Science.

You can think of unpopped kernels of popcorn as little nuggets of stored mechanical energy, and that energy can be unleashed and transformed into force and motion when the kernel is heated. This is a very useful property, even if it's something that you can only do once, and the fact that popcorn is super cheap and not only biodegradable but also edible are just bonuses.

The "pop" in popcorn happens when enough heat is applied to vaporize the moisture inside the kernel. Over 900 kPa of internal pressure causes the yummy goo inside of the kernel to explode out through the shell, expand, and then dry. Relative to the size of the original kernel, the volume of a popped piece of popcorn has increased by a factor of at least five, although it can be much more, depending on the way the kernel was heated. Because of this variability, the first step in this research was to properly characterize the popcorn, and to do this the researchers, from Cornell's Collective Embodied Intelligence Lab, picked up some Amish Country brand popcorn (chosen for lack of additives or postharvest treatment) in white, medium yellow, and extra small white. They heated each type using hot oil, hot air, microwaves, and direct heating with a nichrome resistance wire. The extra small white kernels, which were the cheapest at US $4.80 per kilogram, also averaged the highest expansion ratio, exploding to 15.7 times their original size when popped in a microwave.

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