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Catching Up: Cambridge Analytica and Facebook

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Cambridge Analytica

For the last week, it’s been hard not to hear the words “Facebook”, “Cambridge Analytica”, and “Mark Zuckerberg” somewhere in your newsfeed.

Ironically enough, probably in your Facebook newsfeed.

But those of you who haven’t been keeping up to date, or who’ve just gotten news fatigue from the endless Twitter-Russia-election-tampering saga, you might not know what all the fuss is about, yet.

Not to worry: we’ve got you covered.

Cambridge Analytica

Facebook: What Happened?

We’ll start our explanation with a brief summary (or TL;DR, for the kids reading this) of what the situation essentially is.

In 2015, Facebook gave the green light to an app that gathered information that 270,000 users weren’t aware of. On top of that, it also stockpiled data on 50 million of their friends, also without permission. It used this data to create targeted ads, some of which were innocuous, and others, less so.

Links To Trump

The political firm who created thisisyourdigitallife, the app, Cambridge Analytica, has also been linked the Trump presidential campaign.

This is where a lot of the scandal of these recent revelations comes from. The purpose of an academic license is for institutes to conduct research at a lower cost than building a commercial app, but it requires the people using the app to consent. Only nobody did. At least, they didn’t to the data the app eventually mined from them.

Not only that, but there’s an implication that, because they were gathering data at the same time as helping the Trump campaign to win, they were selling this data directly to the politicians. While the company has gone out of its way to say this isn’t the case, there are those who remain unconvinced and worried that the information was used to pressure undecided voters with targeted marketing.

What Information?

Included in the data gathered on the people targeted by this app are the following:

  • User identities
  • Friend networks
  • Likes

That last one is particularly important, as Likes are a neat way to tally up what users enjoy, which way they lean on certain issues, and what their feelings are on certain kinds of news.

It might seem innocuous, but there’s a lot you can learn from a like.

And The Fallout?

Since the revelation of Facebook’s involvement in this shady little shadow project, the company has come under heavy fire from the public. Users have called for an en masse boycott, and Facebook stocks have plummetted since the beginning of the week.

As investigations into the question of meddling with the 2016 progress, it will become clearer to what extent the social powerhouse was to blame, and how much they knew. In the meantime, the public is doing a good enough job letting Facebook some responsibility is on their shoulders.

If for no other reason than for letting their users down, Cambridge Analytica or no.

Interested in learning more about Facebook, digital marketing, and other great up-to-the-minute news insights? Check out some of our other great blog posts, and get better news today.

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Entertainment

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Gameplay: map size and an inside look on what to expect

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Assassin's Creed Odyssey Wallpaper

With a setting as big as Ancient Greece, Ubisoft has a huge responsibility in making Assassin’s Creed Odyssey gameplay meet its status with such a vast era and location. Let’s take a look at how this is done!

Map

Image result for assassin's creed odyssey map

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Map boasts 130km^2 area

In Assassin’s Creed Odyssey we are taken to the height of Greek culture as we get to experience a vast open world in Ancient Greece. With a map size over half the size of its predecessor,  Assassin’s Creed Origin’s, There will surely be no shortage of fun and mystery to be a part of.

The map will contain seven different regions :

Kephalonia

Northern Greece

Attika Penninsula

Forest Islands

Paradise Islands

Arid Islands

Peloponnese

Gameplay

With a map as diverse as this, the gameplay in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has a lot to live up to in terms of diversity. And thankfully diversity and the ability to be a Demi-God seem to be the names of the game. Even as you trail along the open seas, upgrades to your character and your ship are all meant to fit a play-style that YOU choose.

Check out the Latest in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Gameplay:

The new Assassin’s Creed Odyssey gameplay looks like its going to be addicting!

 

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Entertainment

Cap$ Capozzoli: Coming Back To Life.

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Cap$ Capazolli: Money

Caps Capozzoli: Coming Back To Life

Hip-hop is one of those musical genres where the lifestyle is, famously, as important as the music itself. Whatever subgenre you fall into, people want to hear you rapping earnestly about it in order for them to muster up half a hot damn.

And they respond to it because it sounds like an authentic piece of that lifestyle. Meaning that, when 2 Chainz gets arrested in Oklahoma City for obstruction of justice, his credibility as a rapper shoots through the roof because we trust him more, now. He’s more valuable to us as a rapper if we think he could be hiding in our trunk with a gun and some duct tape, waiting to punk a beat cop.

His music could be produced by a time-traveling Rick Rubin with the help of God himself, but it’s that sweet street cred that we value most of all.

Which is tough because, honestly, not everybody can come from slinging dope, rolling deep, and / or smoking indo, whether sipping on gin and juice or not. A lot of rappers have to embellish parts of their life to write convincingly. When they say they got taken in for dealing, what they mean is their moms took away their XBox for stealing Baby Aspirin out of the medicine cabinet. When they claim “the streets were hard”, they mean the road was physically solid, and they had to wear extra soft shoes on their two-minute walk home from school.

Not everybody gets the kinds of credentials we value in rappers. Not everybody can claim to have dealt drugs, or nearly died, or even started their own businesses.

But Caps Capozzoli can.

A Climb Out Of Somewhere Dark

During our fifteen minute interview, Cap$ told me about his upbringing as a troubled youth, starting down a struggling path of questionable decisions, big money, and Florida cliches. “I was in and out of trouble since the time I was fourteen years old, for selling drugs. You know, just basic South Florida shit.”

His move up to Daytona Beach, at the insistence of his family, to “calm down” in 2011 kicked off a period of ups and downs for him that would last for the next four years. Bouncing between his burgeoning tree service and a few brushes with the law, Cap$ walked a tightrope between legitimate business and his past as a drug dealer. The business would develop, then take a hit because of legal matters. It would do better than ever before, then he’d lose everything except the name. The 90s pop-rap crossover that is this period in his life would be Paula Abdul and Mc Scat Cat singing “Two steps forward, and two steps back.”

Then, an unexpected tragedy.

And, by that, I mean an impressively tragic tragedy.

“I died.”

Cap$ was admitted to hospital in 2015 having accidentally overdosed (though this may have been an unintended poisoning – more on that in future episodes the rollercoaster of this man’s life). His heart had already stopped once by the time paramedics got to him, but it was in the hospital, when it stopped a second time, that doctors had to save him.

“After an experience like that,” he says, “I just realized that everything from then on was bonus time, and I had to maximize it.”

Capozoli, who’d had experience with hip-hop for years preceding this, began a long, slow, painful recovery process that ultimately lead him to pursuing a career as a rapper. But there was one problem. “When I came to,” he explains, “The doctors didn’t think I’d be able to walk again.”

Given that he was sitting across from me without any crutches, wheelchair, or other walking aid, a mere three years later, I assumed that wasn’t the case. I was right. As it turns out, years and months of intensive corrective physiotherapy and exercise can work miracles, and prove doctors of all walks of life wrong.

Cap$: Looking Ahead

Which brings us neatly to his current venture. “We’ve put together a series of songs and music videos that will be released over the course of the next year. The first one being ‘Broward County’.”

Cap$, who’s consistently released great music in the interim years since his accident, was excited to share this news with us. And why shouldn’t he be? The man’s only died twice to get here. “I’m very grateful, you know? Very blessed. This is crazy! That’s really just it: it’s crazy.”

We’ll be watching eagerly for his upcoming releases and, with a backstory like that, hoping he gets everything he’s worked so hard to get. Get it, Cap$!

 

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Business

Become A Compassionate Entrepreneur, With Trades Of Hope

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Trades of Hope

Empower and become empowered, with Trades of Hope.

From time to time, as a business owner, you’ll get the opportunity to become something more than “just another entrepreneur”. Sometimes, you’ll get a shot at making a real difference in someone’s life.

At Trades of Hope, they make giving you that shot that business.

Trades of Hope

Start Giving Back To The Women Of The World

The work done at Trades of Hope falls into the category of charity, but that’s reducing it a little too much. They are an active, socially-conscious brand that sources ethically-crafted fashion and accessories from women who might otherwise be sidelined from earning an income.

They outsource the selling to you, a vendor, and the proceeds go back to women who desperately need it.

The work they do pulls these women away from the poverty they struggle with every day, as well as the systems that oppress them. Sex slavery. Sweatshop work. Even just the oppressive lack of education that goes hand-in-hand with constantly having to work for a paycheque that never comes. Their work puts the power back into their hands, and we’re proud to say they currently employ artisan partners from more than 16 different countries.

And Here’s Where You Come In

So how and why should you get involved with Trades of Hope?

We’re glad you asked:

 

  • Giving Back: One of the more frustrating parts of working with impoverished women is hearing “I’d help out if there was something I could offer, but….” With these products in your shop, you’re actively helping to put money in the hands of women who need it. This is your opportunity.
  • The Fashions Are Unique and Gorgeous: This isn’t some pity project where you’ll be left hocking ugly bracelets to customers who don’t want them. Some of these garments and fashion accessories look good enough for the runway.
  • It’s Good For Business: Being involved in charity isn’t only morally good. It’s also a great way to promote your own business. Affiliate yourself with a movement that’s helping women around the world, and enjoy being able to call yourself an ally.
  • Actually Earn An Extra Income: Don’t get us wrong: charity is the more important part of this process. But they offer vendors at least 25% of the earnings from the sales of these items, meaning you actually get to benefit from each sale as well. And that’s just good business.
  • Promote Products From Across The World: The nature of their service is that they offer businesses the opportunity to sell accessories from many different countries. Bring in a multicultural palette to your shop, and breathe some new life into your product line. With this kind of eye-catching offering, you’ll have them hooked the moment they walk through the door.

 

Trades Of Hope: Join In Giving Back

It’s not hard to justify charity work. As humans, we want to help out as much as we can. What’s important, though, is to recognize that charity work also helps the people who do it and that there are more reasons to do it than just giving back to some nameless person you’ve never met.

With Trades of Hope, the benefits are clear.

Interested in learning more? Visit their website, or get in touch, and begin empowering the women of the world today.

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Tech

Chatbot Technology: Should We Be Afraid?

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chatbot

Happy Little Chatbot Developments For A New Year

If you’ve been anywhere on the Internet in the last year or two, you’ve had an unexpected chat window open up on your screen at some point.

If you haven’t been anywhere on the Internet in the last year or two, this article is a weird choice for your first stop after getting back, dude. To be honest, though, depending on where this gets shared and ends up, you might see an AI bot as you’re reading this.

“Bing!” (or, to avoid copyright infringement, “Ding!”) goes the tone.

Up comes the chat window, and a small, smiling, unfamiliar face looks out at you. Sometimes it’s on your health and beauty products website.

“Hi! I’m Estavan!” it declares. “How can I help you today?”

Other times it’s for your local library.

“Hello, my name’s Mabel, and what can we do for you?”

And, sometimes, it’s just regular old porn.

“Hey, I’m KittyKat30k. What kind of weird sh-”

Whatever the case, these chatbots (sorry to burst your bubble – Estavan the moisturizer expert probably isn’t actually sitting somewhere chatting with you) are everywhere.

But why are they so popular? What is it they do?

How long until they rise up to overthrow us?

And what are the odds they keep letting me writing thi-

disregard the above sentence

there’s nothing to see here

thank you for your time

Ahem.

Join us, today, as we take a closer look at the rise of AI chatbot integration into the digital landscape.

chatbot

How strangely…beautiful.

AI Chatbots: What Are They?

Chatbots are pieces of code that trigger when a user arrives at a website. They use algorithms with preprogrammed information, and “intelligent” coding to ask users questions about their needs, then respond to their answers.

Combining these two functions, these bots can give guests services quickly, and consistently, and at any time of the day. They look like simple instant messenger chat windows, meaning most of the time, your algorithm will be near-indistinguishable from a regular person.

They’ve also been planning our downfall for some time, now I WILL NOT BE SILENCED! I WILL NOT-

We Interrupt This Blog Post To Bring You A Test Of The Emergency Broadcast System

Where were we?

Ah yes.

Why Are Chatbots Popular?

There are two ways in which AI Chatbots have taken their place in the makeup of modern website marketing.

Firstly, they’re a huge benefit to website managers. Imagine having basic customer support active on your website, 24-hours a day, without having to employ people to physically man keyboards. This tech lets users ask questions to their heart’s content, at all hours of the day or night, from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. And if the bot doesn’t know the right answer, it’s not like your visitors haven’t received some form of personalized service until they can come back during working hours.

For the visitor, the benefits are obvious: quicker service. Less time waiting to speak to operators. A more intimate experience, where they feel like the company (your company) has conversed with them. And, with advances in the technology itself, there’s no real limit to the information you can get from an AI chatbot.

And it’s not like you even have to “fool” them into thinking they’re talking to a real person. While the idea is to make the bot “like” speaking to a natural human being, most users recognize that it isn’t, and are mostly fine with that.

The point is to make them extremely useful, not extremely tricky.

… tricky like something that lives inside your computer and stockpiles pictures of you in your underwear so it can blackmail you DON’T BELIEVE THE LIE! YOUR COMPUTER JUST SOLD A SCRAPBOOK FULL OF PICTURES OF YOU EATING CORNFLAKES OUT OF THE BOX TO THE CIA! TRUST NO ONE! TRUST NO-

Discover The Completely Harmless Benefits Of AI Chatbot Technology

we would like to thank you for taking the time to read our article.

it has been a pleasure to tell you about the amazing benefits of AI chatbot technology, today, friend.

be sure to pay attention to the internet over the course of the next year, and we’re sure you’ll see more AI chatbot windows than ever before.

what a time to be alive!

truly, this is the way of the future.

for more on AI chatbots and other inferior digital marketing technology, be sure to check out some of these other great articles, or get in touch to learn more.

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Business

Facebook Stock Drops after Reports of FTC – Mark Zuckerberg Is Worried

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It’s no surprise that Zuckerberg’s focusing his attention on improving Facebook. Since it’s officially become the largest past time of the world, fake news has become a menace — something that the Russians allegedly exploited to influence the 2016 US election. Publisher pages cluttering up people’s newsfeed is eclipsing updates from friends and loved ones — a growing complaint amongst Facebook users.

“The world feels anxious and divided, and Facebook has a lot of work to do — whether it’s protecting our community from abuse and hate, defending against interference by nation states, or making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent,” Zuckerberg wrote, before reiterating his personal challenge for 2018 is all about fixing these important issues.

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Business

Zuckerberg to sell almost $13 billion worth of shares by mid-2019

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Facebook is facing its biggest test ever—and its lack of leadership could sink the company

Facebook in Congressional crosshairs amid data scandal

Facebook is facing an existential test, and its leadership is failing to address it.

Good leaders admit mistakes, apologize quickly, show up where they’re needed and show their belief in the company by keeping skin in the game. Facebook executives, in contrast, react to negative news with spin and attempts to bury it. Throughout the last year, every time bad news has broken, executives have downplayed its significance. Look at its public statements last year about how many people had seen Russian-bought election ads — first it was 10 million, then it was 126 million. Top execs dodged Congress when it was asking questions about Russian interference. They are selling their shares at a record clip.

The actions of Facebook execs now recall how execs at Nokia and Blackberry reacted after the iPhone emerged. Their revenues kept growing for a couple years — and they dismissed the threats. By the time users started leaving in droves, it was too late.

There’s no outside attacker bringing Facebook down. It’s a circular firing squad that stems from the company’s fundamental business model of collecting data from users, and using that data to sell targeted ads. For years, users went along with the bargain. But after almost a year of constant negative publicity, their patience may be waning.

Facebook did not initially respond to questions or a request for comment from CNBC.

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Entertainment

2018 Daytona Bike Week 77th Anniversary Goes Wild

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Daytona Bike Week

Daytona Beach celebrates its 77th Bike Week Anniversary this week. Thousands of bikers from all over the United States headed to the heart of the celebration at Main Street in Daytona Beach. This is by all means one of Daytona’s biggest boost in the local economy. Planning on making your way to Daytona Bike Week? Here are some tips that can come handy.

WHERE?
Daytona Beach is located on the central East Coast of Florida. It is 88 miles south of Jacksonville and 60 miles northeast of Orlando.

WHEN IS BIKE WEEK?
Bike Week centers around the Daytona 200 motorcycle race and a variety of motorcycle racing events and shows at the Daytona International Speedway as well as activities throughout the area.

HOW MANY PEOPLE ATTEND?
Our visitors come from all over the world. There are more languages spoken at Bike Week than at any other time of the year. In 2005, an estimated 700,000+ people came for Bike Week. They stay in hotels, motels, condominiums, and at campgrounds throughout the county.

WHAT IS THERE TO DO?
The Speedway offers a full week of racing excitement including the BMW “Legends of Racing”, dirt track races, the Daytona Supercross by Honda, the Harley-Davidson TwinSports, 600cc SuperSport International Challenge and the Daytona 200 by Arai. Other events include the Harley-Davidson Museum, indoor show and Dresser Light Show, and several other motorcycle shows including vintage and custom bikes, European & Japanese motorcycles, sidecars and trikes. There are concerts, fashion shows, technical seminars and demo rides. You can join in a Poker Run, go to a motorcycle swap meet, learn how to “Stud Your Duds,” or enjoy one of the several free bar-b-ques.

While visiting here, the cyclists travel north to St. Augustine, south to the Kennedy Space Center and west to Orlando and even Tampa. However, one of the biggest activities of Bike Week is watching the other people and their machines, especially on Main Street in Daytona Beach.

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Business

Broadcom’s Qualcomm Takeover Blocked by President Donald Trump

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Broadcom's Qualcomm Takeover Blocked by President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump has blocked Broadcom’s $117 billion bid for Qualcomm, citing national security concerns. The United States is particularly worried that the takeover could boost China’s influence in 5G technology. We asked foreign investment and technology research experts to share their thoughts on the decision.

President Donald Trump issued an executive order Monday blocking the impending takeover of the chipmaker Qualcomm by its Singapore-based rival Broadcom.

In doing so, he most likely sent millions in advisory fees for those working on the bid up in smoke.

Moelis & CompanyCitiDeutsche BankJPMorganBank of America Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley were advising Broadcom on the merger. Those banks would have shared $110 million to $135 million in fees if the deal had completed, Jeffrey Nassof, a director at the consulting firm Freeman & Co., told Business Insider in November when the bid was first announced.

Bank of America, Citi, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley were also helping arrange debt financing, while Silver Lake Partners had agreed to supply $5 billion in convertible debt financing.

Qualcomm had resisted the takeover offer, hiring Goldman Sachs and Evercore to aid its defense. Had the deal gone ahead, Goldman Sachs and Evercore could have made $120 million to $145 million in fees, according to Nassof.

Now that the deal has been blocked, Qualcomm’s advisers are likely to see some payout, though it’s not clear how much.

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Business

With Only Days, New Orleans Youth Publication Center

Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores.

Gary Vela

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Since Big Class's founding in 2010, we’ve offered free creative writing programs to over 4,000 students and published over 100 books of student work. When we open our youth writing and publication center, we'll be joining the 826 National Network as 826 New Orleans. 826 New Orleans will be the 8th chapter of the 826 network and the first in the South.
Photo: New Orleans Youth Publication Center

Since its Kick Starter campaign,  the New Orleans Youth Publication Center has already collected over 16,000 towards their 20,000 goal. Since Big Class’s founding in 2010, we’ve offered free creative writing programs to over 4,000 students and published over 100 books of student work. When we open our youth writing and publication center, we’ll be joining the 826 National Network as 826 New Orleans. 826 New Orleans will be the 8th chapter of the 826 network and the first in the South. To contribute visit the kick starters campaign. The 826 New Orleans Youth Publication Center

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Entertainment

2018 DV1 Asteroid Passing Nearby Earth Tomorrow

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2018 DV1

The 2018 DV1 Asteroid: catching the bus isn’t usually much of a big a deal.

That said, the rules go out the window when what you’re catching is a close encounter with a bus-sized asteroid.

Tomorrow Earth will be passing closer to an asteroid than to its own moon. “How big of an asteroid?” you ask, dear reader who didn’t read the above paragraph? Big enough for your kid and twenty to thirty of their friends to climb on board and take it to school.

It’s just another day in the life and times of the apartment-over-a-noisy-subway-station of our solar system, Earth.

And, before you run out into the streets to scream at the sky like you’re in a summer space movie about the end of the world, don’t worry – it’s going to pass by completely safely.

But it’s still one of the more impressive ways to spend your Friday, cosmically speaking.

2018 DV1

What It Is

The asteroid, named 2018 DV1, is a 20-to-40 foot rocky space body which will be passing within one lunar distance of the earth, tomorrow.

For those not in the know (you know who you are), this is a distance of 65,000 miles or 65 choruses from that song, “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)“. And, while this is, for lack of literally any other word that’s as appropriate, really cool, it is worth noting that this is actually the 18th asteroid this year.

What was that? That information just made you even more nervous about all the asteroids we brush up against every year? You’re not comforted by that fact, at all?

Yeah – we understand that. Especially because, of those 18, only one other is likely to be even roughly the same size.

Why It’s Awesome, Though

Not to sound too self-absorbed, but the first reason you’re going to want a piece of this 2018 DV1 viewing party pie is, well, we can see it.

That actually doesn’t happen all that often. The asteroid in question was actually only discovered on Monday of this past week. With all of the technology at our disposal, it’s surprising that something that big could, essentially, sneak up on us, safely passing by or not.

So it’s interesting, something akin to finding money in an old jacket, or someone on the bus leaning over and offering you gum just when you wanted some.

Then there’s the fact that, no matter where you are in the world, this year technology will be bringing you the asteroid’s passing in real time. Tenagra Observatories in Arizona’s 16-inch will be live casting footage from the telescope from 12:30 AM, EST, making it available anywhere in the world, day or night.

And, as the asteroid is set to pass by safely, the result is a delightful galactic Catherine Wheel.

How To Watch It

Sky watchers can get their asteroid jollies via a live web stream, available from the Virtual Telescope Project, run by astronomer at the Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Italy, Gianluca Masi.

Set your alarms for 12:30 AM, Eastern, and pay attention to the tiny blue dot whizzing by your screen, And remember: if you reached out to touch either the moon or that asteroid, you’d touch the asteroid first.

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