What stories have caught your interest this morning? Make your recommendations in the comments, and tomorrow we’ll include (with credit, obviously) a selection in this daily post.
The “GamerGate” controversy remains hugely polarising, and brands are being sucked in to the morass.
Notably Intel and Adobe, who both faced pressure from GamerGate supporters to cut their ties with specific websites, and whose seemingly-supportive response was then attacked by critics of the virulent misogynistic side of GamerGate.
Now trade site AdAge has dug a little deeper into how brands are viewing the controversy, which makes for interesting reading whatever your stance.
“Even if Gamergater calls for advertiser boycotts don’t push marketers to withdraw ads, marketers are still seeing their in-boxes and phones exploding with rage. And with budget-planning season for 2015 underway, those publishers causing advertisers grief could easily be left off plans,” it explains.
The article quotes one publishing sales executive complaining “advertisers don’t know what the fuck this is” before noting the risks to brands if they take decisions over advertising without, to borrow that phrase, knowing what the f*** this is.
“This is the conundrum brands are in: Every GamerGate gripe – even if legitimate – will be linked to the vile elements of the group. So giving in is seen as siding with the worst elements of it. So far, those not responding are in better shape than those who have.”
Is that true? Should brands be remaining above this particular fray, or should they be engaging with the debate – if not the abuse and harassment? Can brands play a role in lifting the tone of GamerGate, or do they risk fuelling its worst elements?
Can advertisers pulling their spending (or threatening to) in order to sway editorial policy ever be compatible with a movement calling for “ethics in games journalism”? And what should Adobe and Intel be doing next, now they’ve got involved in GamerGate rather than not responding?
The comments thread is open for your thoughts. Meanwhile, here are some other technology talking points from the weekend:
Stephen Hawking is on Facebook >> Facebook
Besides posting his ALS ice bucket challenge, he’s talking space race, pigeons and Richard Dawkins:
I greatly enjoyed the STARMUS festival. It is a combination of science and rock music, both of which I love. I was interested in the talks by the astronauts and why the Soviet Union didn’t beat Neil Armstrong to the Moon. I will have to read the transcript, because I didn’t understand the translation. I enjoyed hearing how Bob Wilson eliminated pigeons, they thought the microwave background was caused by pigeon droppings, and Richard Dawkins on alien life. Some people say I’m an alien myself, with my robot voice.
“And the universe of Facebook just became a lot brighter,” replied one fan, amid an outpouring of genuine affection and respect. We’re looking forward to finding out what Game of Thrones cast member he is…
This man just sold Ebola.com for $200,000 >> The Verge
Timing is clearly everything in the domain speculation world. Chris Welch:
Just a few weeks ago, businessman Jon Schultz was hoping to capitalize on news headlines around the globe and wanted to sell the Ebola.com domain for around $150,000. He’s managed to rake in even more than that. After buying Ebola.com for $13,500 in 2008, Schultz’s Blue String Ventures just flipped the domain for $200,000. According to this SEC filing, the buyer is a Russian company called Weed Growth Fund, which is paying $50,000 in cash and handing over 19,192 shares it holds in another pot-focused company, Cannabis Sativa. Those are valued at around $164,000. Based in Nevada, Cannabis Sativa is led by two-term New Mexico governor Gary Johnson and aims to grow its business by marketing marijuana products for recreational and medical use as legalization becomes more common around the world. Only a few days ago, Johnson said, “We actually believe we have efficacy with regard to treating Ebola.”
Well, at least you’ll feel more relaxed about the situation. Possibly.
The Physics of the Hendo Hoverboard
The physics for levitation is all there. You just need to work on the engineering to get a hoverboard to work…. Ok, so the physics for this type of hoverboard seems possible. Looking at other sites talking about this online, I am fairly certain it’s real. One last physics note: I’m really not sure if a hoverboard powered by electromagnetic repulsion would be frictionless. I suspect there would be some type of electromagnetic drag as the coil moved over the metal surface – but I could be wrong.
Actual science? There’s no place for that in modern crowdfunding campaigns…
Apple’s Porn Policy >> Medium
When I asked how Apple was naughty, one of our developers said, “they sent us a picture of a guy masturbating.” Fucking what???? Apple, the company that created the iPod, Apple? “Yup.” It turns out Apple thought the best way to tell us our app could be used to surf porn was to surf for porn using our app. Then send us some pictures and say take a look at these! Except they said, “Please see the attached screenshot for more information.” So with no warning… CLICK — Well hello there handsome!
Well, they do say a picture tells a thousand words. Serious response: you can use Apple’s own Safari app to find this kind of imagery. Slightly-more-flippant thought: If pictures of penis-in-hand men are unwanted on the App Store, has anyone warned Tinder?
Looksery Launches A Video Chatting App That Makes You Look More Attractive >> TechCrunch
Want to look more attractive on video? Or just different? Earlier this year, a company calledLooksery popped up on Kickstarter to raise crowdfunding for a new kind of mobile video chat application that allows users to look more attractive on video using special effects that can remove blemishes, let you change your eye color, slim your face, and more. The app, which is live as of today on the iTunes App Store, also lets you transform your face into an avatar for a bit of fun, too… you can chat as a panda, a gecko, a grumpy cat, a zombie, a monster or even a flaming skull.
The problem with this sort of thing comes when you meet up IRL with the person you’ve been video-chatting with, and they realise your face isn’t what it seemed. “You’re not even a TINY bit like a panda!”
Over to you…
Give your views on the stories above, and make your own recommendation for reading material today. The comments section is open for your suggestions.