Artemis 1 ready for next Tuesday #1623



Artemis 1 appears to finally have its leaks fixed and will potentially be able to launch on its third attempt next Tuesday. We will see if our US tax dollars can get this beast off the pad and into space. If so, NASA can redeem itself after being made look like fools the past month or so.

It’s time to consider becoming a GNC Podcast Insider. Contribute $2, $5, $10, $15, $20, $25 a month or make a one time donation. You can also boost the show V4V and have your boost read live; the easiest way to support the podcast is through the Fountain Podcast App.

Subscribe to the Newsletter.
Join the Chat @ GeekNews.Chat
Email Todd or follow him on Facebook.
Like and Follow Geek News Central Facebook Page.
New Geek Central Discord Channel
Download the Audio Show File

Support my Show Sponsor: 5 Best Godaddy Promo Codes
30% Off on GoDaddy Products & Services cjcgeek30
$4.99 GoDaddy coupon for a New or Transferred .com domain cjcgeek99
$1.99 a month Economy Hosting with a free domain name. Promo Code: cjcgeek1h
$2.99 a month Managed WordPress Hosting with free Domain name. Promo Code: cjcgeek1w
Support the show by becoming a Geek News Central Insider

 

Continue reading Artemis 1 ready for next Tuesday #1623


DHS Provides Grants To Investigate Radicalization



The Department of Homeland Security has awarded a $699,763 grant to terrorism and security researchers to study the cross section of extremism and gaming, Vice reported. That may sound strange, at first, but it is part of a program that The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has started.

The DHS Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program (TVTP) provides funding for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, nonprofits, and institutions of higher education with funds to establish or enhance capabilities to prevent targeted violence and terrorism. Developing local prevention capabilities is a key element of Goal 3 of the Strategic Framework to Counter Terrorism and Targeted Violence. The TVTP Grant Program provides assistance to implement that goal and develops innovative solutions to prevent terrorism and targeted violence.

You can find a list on the DHS website that shows which groups were given grants to fight extremism and terrorism. One of them is the United States Esports Association.

“The present project is an out-of-school (OST) program for college students that comprises leadership, activism, and development components in relation to competitive video gaming and esports. The leadership component focuses on character-building and development of grit and rigor in students’ academic, personal, and professional lives. The development component focuses on workforce development activities, including skills training and experiential learning with on-the-job and projects-based activities.

The present project achieves resilience to radicalization within local communities and online by leveraging young people’s participation in esports as well as their self-drive and aspirations for success as vehicles for developing, integrating, and delivering a TVTP framework particular to their unique risk profile. As esports grows in cultural impact, comorbid risk factors must be addressed early before bad form sets in. Esports’ immense sociocultural diversity opens the door for malign state and non state actors to radicalize our young people, especially through esports washing by authoritarian regimes. The present project, therefore, is a comprehensive hedge against the emergence of esports-based TVT throughout the United States by matching TVIP efforts to lifespan development and cultural interests”

There is also a grant for The Children’s Hospital Corporation. The goal here is to equip and empower four local school districts to be able to better identify and help youth at risk for radicalization to violence or targeted violence and terrorism. This will be done through the establishment of school-based threat assessment teams (TATs), increasing awareness of signs of violence risk, facilitating referral pathways to the school-based TATs, and supporting robust assessment, management and intervention of referred youth through coordination and connection with Massachusetts Area Prevention (MAP) Program at Boston Children’s Hospital.

A grant was given to onePULSE Foundation, which was created to memorialize the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016 to ensure Pulse’s legacy of love, acceptance and hope is never lost. Since this attack, onePULSE has been increasing societal awareness of the shooting, and stretching the boundaries on controversial topics and increasing dialogue around the LGBTQ+ community and resilience. onePULSE Academy is the education arm of onePULSE, whose purpose is to promote acceptance and inclusion through innovation, reflective, experiential learning methods. onePULSE aims to positively impact social change at the individual, group, and community levels.

Those are just a few of the groups who received grants from the DHS. You can read about more of them on the DHS website. Personally, I think that this is a really great way to prevent kids and young adults to become radicalized. Sometimes, all it takes to prevent a young person from going down that road is for good people to give them a more positive, healthy, way to live their lives.


EVGA Stops Making Video Cards



EVGA, a titan in the PC component space, is getting out of the graphics card game, The Verge reported. The company posted in its community forum, saying it won’t be making next-generation Nvidia graphics cards but will continue to sell and support “the existing current generation products.” The Verge also reported that Gamers Nexus stated that EVGA doesn’t currently have plans to make AMD or Intel graphics cards.

More specifically, EVGA wrote the following:

“Hi all,

You may have heard some news regarding the next generation of products from EVGA. Please see below for a message on future products and services:

EVGA will not carry the next generation graphics cards.

EVGA will continue to support the existing current generation products

EVGA will continue to provide the current generation products.

EVGA is committed to our customers and will continue to offer sales and support on the current lineup. Also, EVGA would like to say thank you to our great community for the many years of support and enthusiasm for EVGA graphics cards.”

Kotaku reported that EVGA, one of the most prominent third-party PC graphics card manufacturers, and a favorite brand among PC gamers for quality parts and reliable warranties backed by solid customer service, is terminating its longtime relationship with Nvidia. What’s more, the company reportedly said that it won’t be pursuing partnerships with competing silicon giants like AMD or Intel, either. It seems EVGA is just done with GPUs.

ArsTechnica reported that EVGA’s graphics cards have exclusively used Nvidia GPUs since its founding in 1999, and according to Gamers Nexus, GeForce sales represent 80 percent of EVGAs revenue, making this a momentous and arguably company-endangering change. But EVGA CEO Andrew Han told Gamers Nexus that the decision was about “principle” rather than financials – Han complained about a lack of communication from Nvidia about new products, including information about pricing and availability.

According to ArsTechnica, Nvidia’s pricing strategy was apparently another sore point for EVGA. Nvidia’s first-party Founders Edition cards could often undercut the pricing of cards offered by EVGA and other vendors, forcing them to either lower prices or lose sales as a result.

For more information, you can watch the YouTube video by Gamers Nexus and/or the YouTube video by JayzTwoCents. Those of you who want to pick up some of the remaining EVGA graphics cards might want to do that as soon as possible. It certainly looks like the company is absolutely done making video cards.


Parler Pivots To “Uncancelable” Cloud Services



On Friday, Parler announced that it was entering the internet infrastructure industry in order to provide new “uncancelable” cloud services for online business, The Verge reported.

According to The Verge, in a Friday press release, Parler announced it was restructuring; the new venture, called Parliament Technologies, will provide new internet infrastructure services for businesses it says are at risk of being forced off the internet. With $16 million in new Series B funding, the company purchased Dynascale, a California-based cloud services company that touts more than $30 million in annual revenue and 50,000 square feet of data space.

“We are entering a new era as Parliament Technologies, one that goes far beyond the boundaries of a free speech social media platform,” said Parliament Technologies CEO George Farmer. “We believe that Parliament Technologies will power the future. And the future is uncancelable.”

To me, the word “uncancelable” is one that is typically used by people who tend to put a lot of hashtags in their Twitter bio that signify that they are fans of the former President Donald Trump. Once in a while, a famous (or formerly famous) celebrity complains about being “canceled”. As such, it appears that Dynascale and Parliament Technologies are aiming to attract that specific group of people.

The Verge also reported that Parler had more than 4 million people signed up for the app during the 2022 presidential election, but the company struggled to maintain those numbers. Sensor Tower app data shows that the app had fewer than 7,000 downloads last month.

TechCrunch reported that Parler topped App Store charts in early January 2021 after Twitter and Facebook banned President Trump for inciting violence at the U.S. Capitol. But that success was short lived – Apple and Google removed the app from their respective software stores after drawing a line between Parler and the January 6 violence. Amazon also pulled its web hosting, a trifecta of consequences that clearly made an impact on the company, even after it returned to tech giants’ good graces.

According to TechCrunch, Apple reinstated Parler in April 2021 after the app promised to moderate additional content on iOS, bringing it into compliance with the company’s standards. Google only allowed the app back into the Play Store earlier this month, indicating that Parler adjusted the Android app to meet the company’s requirements for “robust” moderation.

Gizmodo reported that Parler also announced that it received $16 million in Series B funding, and has accrued $56 million in funds to date. Which is what enabled Parler to purchase Dynascale, and its 50,000 square feet of server space.

Gizmodo also pointed out that other far-right, often hate and conspiracy-filled websites tend to get booted from mainstream hosting, only to reemerge elsewhere. According to Gizmodo, Kiwi Farms, an offshoot of 4chan and hate speech hotbed, was pushed from a series of web hosts to its new home with VanwaTech. The neo-Nazi site, Daily Stormer, was kicked off of GoDaddy and Google after the Charlottesville white supremacist rally in 2017. And conspiracy theorist Alex Jones had his content banned from multiple large platforms.

All of this points to the obvious conclusion that nothing is truly “uncancelable”. Parliament Technologies obtained a lot of money to buy Dynascale. Perhaps the social media site thinks it is protected because it bought its own internet infrastructure service. That could, potentially, keep the site online. But, it won’t matter if Parler is unable to attract a large enough amount of users to compete with the other alternatives to Twitter. It could still crash and burn.


Court Upholds Texas Social-Media Law On Web Censorship



A federal court upheld the validity of a Texas social media law that companies like Meta Platforms Inc. and Twitter Inc. say will prevent them from blocking hate speech and extremism, Bloomberg reported. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Friday lifted a lower court injunction that had blocked the legislation from taking effect.

According to Bloomberg, the Texas law bars social media platforms with more than 50 million users from discriminating on the basis of viewpoint. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and other Republicans argue the legislation is needed to protect conservative voices from being silenced. But tech groups say the measure unconstitutionally bars platforms from removing neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan screeds or Russian propaganda about its invasion of Ukraine.

The majority opinion was written by Judge Andrew Oldham, who was nominated to the bench by President Donald Trump. Judge Edith Jones, a nominee of President Ronald Regan, agreed with Oldham. Judge Leslie Southwick, a nominee of President George W. Bush, partly dissented with the majority.

Bloomberg also reported that critics of the law said it will wreak havoc on social media platforms by removing their ability to moderate and remove content that falls outside user guidelines. It would also allow Texas residents to sue platforms if posts are removed by claiming that their content is being censored.

The Washington Post reported the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld a controversial Texas social media law that bars companies from removing posts based on a person’s political ideology, overturning a lower court’s decision to block the law and likely setting up a Supreme Court showdown of the future of online speech.

According to The Washington Post, the ruling could have wide-ranging effects on the future of tech regulation, giving fresh ammunition to conservative politicians who have alleged that major tech companies are silencing their political speech. The Washington Post also reported that the decision diverges from precedent and recent rulings from the 11th Circuit and other courts, and tech industry groups are likely to appeal.

An appeal of the decision, The Washington Post wrote, could force the Supreme Court, where conservatives have a majority, to weigh in on internet regulation, which has become an increasingly politicized issue since the 2016 election. Liberals have called for new limits on the companies that would block the proliferation of harmful content and misinformation on the platforms, and conservatives have argued that the companies have gone too far in policing their sites, especially after the companies’ 2021 decision to ban Trump following the January 6 attacks on the Capitol.

Politico reported that NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel Carl Szabo said in a statement that his organization plans to appeal: “We remain convinced that when the U.S. Supreme Court hears one of our cases, it will uphold the First Amendment rights of websites, platforms, and apps.

According to Politico, CCIA President Matt Schruers said, “We strongly disagree with the court’s decision. Forcing private companies to give equal treatment to all viewpoints on their platforms places foreign propaganda and extremism on equal footing with decent Internet users, and places Americans at risk.”

Personally, I think the court’s decision is going to immediately result in the meanest people on social media ramping up posts in which they spread misinformation about minorities and trans people. Now is an excellent time to make your social media accounts private.


Snap Introduces Fresh Features For Fall



Snapchat introduced new features to help keep conversations with friends fresh, fast, and easy to find! Here is what to expect:

Snap’s new Lock Screen Widgets, available now with iOS 16, keeps conversations with your bestie saved right to your lock screen so you can start chats with one tap. With this new tool, you can save yourself the scrolling when you want to start Snapping, keeping visual conversations with the Snapchat camera right at your fingertips.

Widgets aren’t the only thing customizing your screen this Fall: New Chat Shortcuts at the top of our chat tab will make it easy to do things like spot unread Snaps and Chats from friends, see missed calls, and reply to stories. Our Shortcuts will also remind you if you owe a reply and show you when birthdays are coming up, so you never miss someone’s special day or leave a friend on read.

We are also introducing new tools like Question Stickers so you can AMA-all-day from your Snapchat Story, plus (and just in time for back to school) we’re making Snapchat for Web available to all! Head to https://web.snapchat.com to keep conversations with friends going from any device.

These new features are available now, or coming soon so keep an eye out and your app up to date.

Engadget reported that Snapchat for Web is finally available for all the messaging app’s users worldwide. It could be the better choice for users who have a lot of typing to do and messages to send, since they’ll be looking at a bigger screen and have access to a real keyboard.

According to Engadget, the web interface is pretty basic, but it can also be used to send photos and to make audio and video calls. A company spokesperson previously told Engadget that video calling has become more popular among its users recently. Giving users access to the feature on the web could lead to longer video calls. The spokesperson also told that Snap could bring more of its core features to the web interface if there’s enough demand for them.

Social Media Today reported that initially, only Snapchat+ users could use the web version, which enables users to send messages, conduct video chats and voice calls – basically all the central connection elements of the app will now be available via your desktop PC.

Snapchat for Web also enables you to use Snap Lenses for video calls.

According to Social Media Today, the expanded availability will make it easier for people to keep in touch with their friends via Snap, in more ways, which could be particularly beneficial for the increasing cohort of people that are working from home. Which, as its audience gets older, is becoming a bigger consideration for Snap, and the expanded web version is, in some ways, an acknowledgement of this, as it looks to align with audience shifts.

Unfortunately, Snapchat for Web is incompatible with Safari. Mac users will have to use Firefox or Google Chrome to access that feature.


U.S. Justice Department Announced Digital Asset Coordinator Network



The U.S. Department of Justice announced significant actions regarding digital assets, including the public release of its report, pursuant to the President’s March 9 Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets, on The Role of Law Enforcement in Detecting, Investigating, and Prosecuting Criminal Activity Related to Digital Assets; and the establishment of the nationwide Digital Asset Coordinator (DAC) Network, in furtherance of the department’s efforts to combat the growing threat posed by the illicit use of digital assets to the American public.

“As digital assets play a growing role in our global financial system, we must work in tandem with departments and agencies across government to prevent and disrupt the exploration of these technologies to facilitate crime and undermine our national security,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The efforts announced today reflect the commitment of the Justice Department and our law enforcement and regulatory partners to advancing the responsible development of digital assets, protecting the public from criminal actors, and meeting the unique challenges these technologies pose.”

The White House released a FACT SHEET regarding cryptocurrency. From the Fact Sheet:

…Digital assets pose meaningful risks for consumers, investors, and businesses. Prices of this assets can be highly volatile: the current global market capitalization cryptocurrencies is approximately one-third of its November 2021 peak. Still, sellers mislead consumers about digital assets features and expected returns, and non-compliance with applicable laws and regulations remains widespread. One study found that almost a quarter of digital coin offerings had disclosure or transparency problems – like plagiarized documents or false promises of guaranteed returns. Outright fraud, scams, and theft in digital asset markets are on the rise: according to FBI statistics, reported monetary losses from digital asset scams were nearly 600 percent higher than in 2021 than the year before…

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Justice Department has tapped more than 150 federal prosecutors across the country to bolster law enforcement’s efforts to combat the rise in crime linked to the use of cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, officials said.

According to The Wall Street Journal, The Digital Asset Coordinators Network is intended to designate subject-matter experts in U.S. attorneys’ offices on the complex and technical and legal complications posed by cryptocurrency cases, the officials said.

Regulators, lawmakers and law-enforcement officials have said some cryptocurrency platforms afford users anonymity that helps them to launder criminal proceeds, finance terrorism, or engage in public corruption. Sanctions and other tools have been deployed with more frequency in recent months, but criminal prosecutors remain a key part of the administration’s strategy to police against bad actors, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Personally, I can see why it is necessary for the federal government to crack down on cryptocurrency, especially since it has been used in frauds, scams, and theft. It will be interesting to see how effective The Digital Asset Coordinators Network will be on cracking down on cryptocurrency.