Headlines 

Dogs working from home during coronavirus crisis? There’s an Instagram account for that

@DogsWorkingFromHome made its first post during the onset of the coronavirus crisis, and already has hundreds of submissions An errant ear appearing in the bottom right corner of the screen. A blur of fur flashing in the background, followed by a crash. The chance to check out our colleagues pets during video conferences can be a voyeuristic joy for workers stuck at home during the novel coronavirus pandemic. It took Mark Polchleb, a brand manager from Melbourne, just one day to realise that experience deserved its own home online. I…

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Facebook to remove misleading Trump ‘census’ ads

Presidents re-election campaign had sponsored misleading ads, which actually linked to Republican fundraising site Facebook has announced it will remove a series of misleading ads from Donald Trumps re-election campaign. The Trump Make America Great Committee posted 2,000 iterations of an ad this week, asking users to respond to the Official Congressional District Census. Instead of information at the Census Bureau, however, the posts linked to a once-in-a-decade event that seeks to count every person in the country, with drastic consequences for resource allocation and government representation nationwide. Trumps campaign…

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Susan Fowler: When the time came to blow the whistle on Uber, I was ready

The former Uber engineer has written a memoir about exposing the companys systemic sexism she hopes it will help other women in the industry Before Susan Fowler was a whistleblower she was a violinist, and before she was a violinist she fed fruit flies to spiders that were milked for their venom at a small Arizona business known as Spider Pharm. In February 2017, Fowler was thrown into the public eye after she published a damning blogpost exposing the toxic sexism she experienced working as a software engineer at Uber.…

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Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 review: still sleek, just no longer unique

USB-C, faster processors and new design options continue to keep Microsofts Windows 10 laptop near the top of the pile Microsofts top-quality laptop is now in its third generation, with new ports, new processors and a slight redesign, with the option to ditch the unique Alcantara for plain old aluminium. The 999 and up Surface Laptop 3 is Microsofts vision of what a traditional laptop should be. For the most part thats the same as everyone else, with traditional aluminium body, glass-covered screen and hinge that does not rotate all…

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From renewables to Netflix: the 15 super-trends that defined the 2010s

It was the decade of austerity, fracking, populism and internet lies. But not everything about the 2010s was terrible The plastics backlash Garbage, including plastic waste, is seen at the beach in Costa del Este, Panama City. Photograph: Luis Acosta/AFP via Getty Images It was once the height of metropolitan chic: the dash into Starbucks for a skinny decaf caramel latte en route for work, the takeaway cup a mark of upward mobility. Those were the days of Sex and the City, when the culture of doing everything on the…

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Odds and Ends 

MIT develops a way for autonomous delivery robots to find your front door

Researchers at MIT have developed a new method of navigation for robots that could be very useful for the range of companies working on autonomous last-mile delivery. In short, the team has worked out how a robot can figure out the location of a front door, without being provided a specific map in advance. Most last-mile autonomous delivery robots today, including the “wheeled cooler”-style variety that was pioneered by Starship and has since been adopted by a number of other companies, including Postmates, basically meet customers at the curb. Mapping…

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Headlines 

How our home delivery habit reshaped the world

The long read: The great trick of online retail has been to get us to shop more and think less about how our purchases reach our homes A decade ago, the British department-store chain John Lewis built itself a long warehouse, painted in gradations of sky blue. The shed, as it is called in the industry, cost 100m and covered 650,000 sq ft. Windsor Castle could easily fit inside it. John Lewis named the shed Magna Park 1, after the site where it stands: a logistics campus of warehouses, roads,…

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‘Your throat hurts. Your brain hurts’: the secret life of the audiobook star

As the business booms, narrators talk tricky accents, lonely shifts and tackling 100 pages a day The author Bill Bryson is sitting before a lectern in Audibles London headquarters, narrating his latest book, a disquisition on human biology called The Body: A Guide For Occupants. Seen through the window of the recording booth, Brysons face is largely obscured by the microphone in front of him, but his voice is clear and measured. On the other side of the glass, Brysons producer follows the text on an iPad, adding cryptic marks…

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Facebook confirms bug grants access to iPhone users’ cameras

A worrying system bug has been allowing app to access cameras as users scroll through their feed A system bug has been allowing Facebook to access iPhone cameras as users scroll through their feed, the company confirmed on Tuesday. Twitter user Joshua Maddux also noticed the glitch earlier in the month, one calling it a little worrying. Facebook confirmed the bug in the latest version of the iOS app on Tuesday. A spokesman said the issue would cause the Facebook app to navigate to the camera screen adjacent to News…

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Sri Lankans sound alarm over Facebook fake news ahead of election

Facebooks decision to allow politicians to promote content already rated false by factcheckers has been widely condemned Sri Lankan civil society groups are sounding alarms about Facebooks policies in advance of the countrys 16 November presidential election, with warnings that the companys controversial decision to allow politicians to advertise misinformation is inappropriate and incendiary to boot. Sanjana Hattotuwa, a senior researcher for the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), on 7 November published Sunday Times of Sri Lanka. Desphapriya also said he was not satisfied with Facebooks record on removing questionable…

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Facebook’s ‘free speech’ claims don’t work when democracy is crumbling | Julia Carrie Wong

What do Zuckerbergs bromides about American values mean to Facebook users in Kashmir or the Philippines? When Facebook wrote to Joe Bidens campaign to say it would not back down from its decision to exempt politicians from its ban on advertising false statements, it was not Mark Zuckerberg or Sheryl Sandberg who signed op-ed in USA Today this week. Fundamentally we believe that, in a democracy, its better to let voters make their own decisions, not companies like Facebook. Amid all this attention, Harbaths the goes, Harbath is a Trojan…

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Gods gift: how to look like Chris Hemsworth

More than 1 million people have already downloaded Chris Hemsworths fitness app. Why? Is it because they too want to look like a Norse demi-god, asks Alex Moshakis The actor Chris Hemsworth Hollywood leading man, make-believe Thor employs a small army of fitness professionals to maintain peak condition. There is the personal trainer he has known since he was eight, and the nutritionist and the Pilates coach and the yoga coach and the meditation guru. Even Hemsworths stunt double is part of the gang. Collectively the army is known as…

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Amazon profits drop sharply amid big spending to speed package delivery

Quarterly profits down to $2.1bn from $2.9bn a year earlier as US politicians focus greater scrutiny on Amazons business practices Amazons profits slid 26% in the last quarter as the company poured money into free shipping and its cloud storage business. While the companys revenues rose sharply, up 24% to $70bn for the quarter or more than $23bn a month, its profits fell to $2.1bn down from $2.9bn from a year earlier. The financial miss comes as Amazon is facing greater scrutiny from Washington, with politicians from both sides calling…

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The Dominos pizza checker is just the beginning workplace surveillance is coming for you | Arwa Mahdawi

The company, which uses a smart scanner to analyse whether food has been made correctly, is far from the only business to use tech to track workers, writes Arwa Mahdawi Hello? Is that Dominos? I would like a large cheese pizza with an ominous side of surveillance, please. Earlier this year, Dominos, the worldwide purveyor of mediocre pizza, introduced a snazzy tool called om Pizza Checker to its Australia and New Zealand locations. According to its website, in-store cameras use advanced machine learning, artificial intelligence and sensor technology to identify…

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Headlines 

I left Russia to escape Putins assault on reason. Now I fear the UK is on the same path | Peter Pomarentsev

We need to develop a more collaborative political discourse, built on facts, not spin Nothing is true and everything is possible. That was my one-line attempt to sum up the politics and propaganda that enveloped Russia at the start of the 21st century. It was a world where politicians no longer cared whether they were caught lying; where old ideologies were dead and conspiracy thinking had become the new way to explain the world; where all the old political categories (socialist and liberal, conservative and communist) seemed utterly meaningless and…

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