Motherboardhttps://motherboard.vice.com/en_usRSS feed for https://motherboard.vice.comenWed, 16 Jan 2019 21:51:02 +0000<![CDATA[Famously Huge Great White Shark, ‘Deep Blue,’ Feasts on Dead Sperm Whale in Hawaii]]>https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/vba5wb/famously-huge-great-white-shark-deep-blue-feasts-on-dead-sperm-whale-in-hawaiiWed, 16 Jan 2019 21:51:02 +0000A decaying sperm whale carcass has been floating in Hawaiian waters since Thursday, drawing in schools of hungry tiger sharks. But compared to the scene’s newest visitors, they look positively puny.

On Sunday, divers spotted a famously huge great white shark named “Deep Blue” feeding on the whale near Oahu. The rare sighting was reported by HawaiiNewsNow based on footage shot by local divers.

“If you asked me a few days ago what the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in Hawaiian waters the answer probably would be pretty different,” freediver Kimberly Jeffries, who first saw the shark, wrote on Facebook.

“If you asked me yesterday the answer would be freediving with Deep Blue, a great white, the largest ever documented, who was last seen in 2013 in Mexico,” Jeffries added.

In a Facebook post, fellow diver Mark Mohler said at least three great whites were visible, and that Deep Blue could only be seen on Sunday.

"Based on photos I can confirm there have been three distinct females recorded over the past few days," Jeffries told Motherboard in an email.

Deep Blue became an icon several years ago during Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, though her remarkable size and age—roughly 20 feet long and 50 years old, according to many media reports—are up for debate.

Her sensational reputation as the “biggest” shark on record can be attributed to a 2014 Shark Week episode (shot in 2013) in which Mauricio Hoyos Padilla, director of the shark nonprofit Pelagios-Kakunjá, and others filmed the large female near Mexico’s Guadalupe Island. In 2015, Padilla wrote on Facebook that she was “the biggest white shark ever seen in front of the cages in Guadalupe Island,” which somehow became “the largest great white shark ever caught on film.”

Deep Blue is indeed very large, but shark researchers can’t say for sure that she’s the largest.

“I lead the white shark research project at Guadalupe Island and first documented Deep Blue in 1999, 20 years ago,” Michael Domeier, president and executive director of the Marine Conservation Science Institute, told Motherboard in an email.

“The claim that she is the largest white shark in the world is just a Discovery Channel gimmick,” Domeier added. “Deep Blue has never been measured, so how could anyone make that statement?” (He cited another huge shark approaching Hawaii named “Murphy Jean,” described as “massively girthy/fat.”)

As for Deep Blue’s age, Domeier said we can only estimate.

“Deep Blue was an adult when we first encountered her 20 years ago,” Domeier said. “So she is likely at least 40 years old, possibly older. Unfortunately the only way to accurately age a white shark is to kill it and look at the rings on the vertebrae, but no mystery is worth solving at that price!”

The shark’s measurements were similarly questioned by George Burgess, director emeritus at the Florida of Natural History’s Florida Program for Shark Research.

“It’s a big girl,” Burgess told Motherboard over the phone. “Looks like maybe 18 feet. Hyperbole is part of Shark Week so you gotta be worried about some of the facts.”

So is the shark in Hawaii really Deep Blue? Domeier and divers say yes.

Mohler wrote on Facebook that the identity of Deep Blue was confirmed “with the white shark authority, SharkPix.com,” a repository of shark photos managed by hobbyist wildlife photographer George Probst who works with researchers to ID great whites.

Great whites possess unique pigment patterns that are commonly used to identify them.

“The line of demarcation between the white color on the underside and the grey color on the upper side is like a fingerprint,” he explained. “We particularly look at the pattern of demarcation near the gills, the pelvic fins and the caudal fin (tail).”

Great whites are a rare sight in Hawaii, but they’re not unheard of; their presence is even documented in Native Hawaiian ceremonial objects. Satellite tracking data suggests that most originate near California and Mexico, and that female sharks will roam the deep while pregnant before returning to the coast to give birth.

Domeier theorized that Deep Blue may be one of these pregnant sharks. “She has likely been at sea since the late fall of 2017, [for the gestation period,]” he speculated. “She will give birth to 8 to 12 pups this spring, and then return to Guadalupe Island in the fall to mate and start the cycle over again.”

Burgess agreed that she could be pregnant. Or perhaps Deep Blue’s belly is simply a food gut. Maybe she’s “fartin’ like mad,” he added.

Read more: We Now Know Why Great White Sharks Gather in a Mysterious Ocean Void

On Saturday, local and federal authorities towed the sperm whale 15 miles offshore after it drifted onto a reef. People have been asked to stay away from the carcass. Signs now warn beachgoers that “whale material” could be in the area.

Both Domeier and Burgess discouraged thrillseekers from diving with the sharks.

“Most of the time, that shark won’t turn around and bite you,” Burgess said.

“But when it does, you’ll end up as a statistic on the International Shark Attack File, and the news headline won’t be ‘Stupid human dies chasing a 20 foot shark,’” Burgess added. “It will be ‘Shark kills human,’ and that activity is very bad for conservation efforts.”

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vba5wbSarah EmersonEmanuel MaibergConservationhawaiisharksGreat WhiteOahuPacific Oceandeep bluesperm whalegreat white sharkdead whaleshark sighting
<![CDATA[YouTuber Builds Cursed DIY Dual-Screen ‘Laptop’]]>https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/d3baqa/youtuber-builds-cursed-diy-dual-screen-laptopWed, 16 Jan 2019 19:11:43 +0000 Dual screens are pretty standard in the world of PC Gaming, where folks use one screen to pwn noobs and another to watch the Joe Rogan Experience. That’s just the way it is.

PC gamers on the go—and with a healthy amount of disposable income—can lug around fancy gaming laptops, but have a hard time bringing dual screens outside the house. Until now.

First spotted by Hackaday, YouTuber “Anitomicals C” has cobbled together a portable gaming rig that is, quite literally, all monitors. His machine is an impressive and impractical bit of craftsmanship—a monstrous proof of concept not meant for actual use.

“I saw the MacBook Pro with the function keytouch bar and wondered, ‘what if we took that and stretched that across the entire keyboard?’” Anitomicals C explained in his video describing the project.. “You lose the keyboard and trackpad, but you get two screens.”

The final machine is a chunky portable desktop with two stripped down 14-inch LCD monitors. Anitomicals C notes that he couldn’t cram a mouse and keyboard into the set-up, so he has to plug them into the motherboard, leaving the internals exposed.

The rig contains two SSDs, 32 gigs of ram, a Ryzen 1700x, and a GTX 1080 mini so it can keep up with all the latest games. It also weighed 22 pounds.

“I wouldn’t recommend building one....just holding one like this tires my hands ou—maybe because I don’t gym.”Anitomicals C said in the video. “If you pull this out at a Starbucks, people are going to think that you’re crazy.”

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d3baqaMatthew GaultJordan PearsonYouTubeDIYdual screen laptopdiy laptopanitomicals c
<![CDATA[Climate Change-Driven Heat Wave Killed a Third of a Bat Population in Two Days]]>https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/59vn8k/climate-change-driven-heat-wave-killed-a-third-of-a-bat-population-in-two-daysWed, 16 Jan 2019 18:29:21 +0000 Almost one third of a bat population in eastern Australia was killed over the course of just two days of November of 2018, when a heat wave in eastern Australia devastated the Queensland region and temperatures were as high as 108 degrees Fahrenheit. Climate change makes heat waves like this one disproportionately more likely.

An estimated 23,000 to 30,000 spectacled flying fox bats perished during the heat wave, which lasted from November 26 to 27, according to the BBC. Some media reports alleged that once the temperatures exceeded 104 degrees Fahrenheit, bats literally started falling out of trees. David White, a wildlife rescuer from Australia, told the BBC that the event was "totally depressing.”

Justin Welbergen from Australia’s Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment told Australian outlet ABC.net that the event was likely the second-largest mass die-off for the species, which have been listed as “vulnerable” in the country since 1999. In 2014, as many as 100,000 spectacled flying fox bats died, also during a heat wave.

The late-November Australian heat wave also caused more than 80 intense brush fires, and coincided with a series of dust storms that swept across the Queensland region. It’s worth noting that desertification—the process of places becoming more dusty, dry, and desert-like over time—is exacerbated by climate change.

Climate change makes monster heat waves like this one disproportionately more likely. When the air gets hotter, it’s able to hold more water, and humid air makes heat waves more likely. Australia specifically, which is already prone to heat waves, is vulnerable to "more frequent, hotter, and longer" heat waves.

Heat waves also pose a major threat to human lives.It’s difficult to account for the number of human deaths during a heat wave, since experiencing extreme heat can exacerbate pre-existing medical problems in vulnerable populations and contribute to death. For instance, a study found that many of the human deaths associated with the 2009 Australian heat wave occurred in people with heart disease that also lived alone.

Australia is currently in the midst of yet another heat wave, and temperatures are expected to reach or exceed 113 degrees Fahrenheit in the most vulnerable areas of the continent.

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59vn8kCaroline HaskinsEmanuel Maibergclimate changebats
<![CDATA[Researchers Create Perfect Blood Vessels in a Petri Dish for the First Time]]>https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/pa579z/researchers-create-perfect-blood-vessels-in-a-petri-dish-for-the-first-timeWed, 16 Jan 2019 18:19:54 +0000A team of researchers has managed to grow “perfect” human blood vessels in a Petri dish and a non-human animal for the first time.

As detailed in a study published Tuesday in Nature, organoids—biomasses grown from stem cells that mimic human organs—were grown after researchers identified an important pathway that prevents changes to blood vessels, a major cause of death in diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

“Being able to build human blood vessels as organoids from stem cells is a game changer,” Josef Penninger, director of the Life Sciences Institute at the University of British Columbia and lead author of the study, said in a statement. “Every single organ in our body is linked with the circulatory system [so] this could potentially allow researchers to unravel the causes and treatments for a variety of vascular diseases.”

After growing the blood vessels in a Petri dish, Penninger and his colleagues also transplanted the vascular organoids into live mice. As they discovered, the organoids developed into fully functional blood vessels, which demonstrated for the first time that vascular organoids could be grown in another species.

Blood vessels in people with diabetes will often thicken in such a way that it prevents the effective delivery of oxygen and nutrients through the body, and, over time, can lead to serious problems such as kidney failure, strokes, and heart attacks.

Read More: Lab-Grown Mini-Brains Spontaneously Produced ‘Human Like’ Brain Waves for the First Time

To test the effectiveness of the organoids as a stand-in for diseased blood vessels, the researchers put the organoids in an environment meant to simulate what it would be like to have diabetes. The blood vessels in the Petri dish responded just like they would in a diabetic human.

“Our organoids resemble human capillaries to a great extent, even on a molecular level,” Reiner Wimmer, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Molecular Biotechnology, said in a statement. “We can now use them to study blood vessel diseases directly on human tissue.”

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pa579zDaniel OberhausNatasha Grzincicpetri dishuniversity of british columbiaDiabetesstem cellsOrganoidsJosef PenningerLife Sciences Institutevascular disease
<![CDATA[Why the People Responsible for US Nukes Tweeted a Veiled Threat on New Year’s Eve]]>https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/zmdj9e/why-the-people-responsible-for-us-nukes-tweeted-a-veiled-threat-on-new-years-eveWed, 16 Jan 2019 17:49:52 +0000 We’ve all made bad tweets, but the consequences for those tweets don’t usually threaten life on the planet.

Tweeting out a thinly-veiled threat to drop a nuclear bomb isn’t a typical gaffe, but that’s what US Strategic Command (Stratcom)—a joint military command responsible for strategic deterrence, missile defense, and nuclear operations—did via its official Twitter account on New Year’s Eve. Stratcom deleted the tweet a few hours later, but not before I saved it.

It’s posted below:

A slickly-produced video embedded in the tweet showed a B-2 Bomber—a stealth jet capable of dropping a nuke—dropping bombs overlaid with the word “LETHAL.” Some followers were horrified by the agency in charge of of the nuclear triad—America’s intercontinental ballistic missiles, strategic bombers, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles—tweeting veiled threats on New Year’s Eve, and Stratcom pulled the tweet and issued an apology.

“This post, which has since been deleted, was part of our Year in Review series meant to feature our command priorities: strategic deterrence, decisive response and combat-ready force,” a Stratcom spokesperson told The Washington Post. The spokesperson explained that the video was a repost from earlier in the year showing off a conventional pair of Massive Ordnance Penetrators at a US test range.

Mistakes happen, but the tweet begs the question, why is US Strategic Command tweeting in the first place and what’s the point of such organizations running social media accounts?

Social media is a powerful modern tool for communication and a weapon of war on the battlefield. Activists use it to organize, and governments use it spread both information and propaganda. Most government agencies, including US military groups, maintain some form of social media presence.

According to Stratcom’s 2018 Communication Strategy handbook, social media is “a [public affairs] function that helps fulfill the command’s obligation to publicly communicate with global audiences.”

"The US should present itself as a responsible possessor of our nuclear capabilities”

Martin Pfeiffer, a PhD candidate at the University of New Mexico and an expert in the anthropology of nuclear war, obtained a copy of Stratcom’s Communication Strategy handbook via a Freedom of Information Act request.

“I accept that Stratcom will use [social media] and other channels to advocate for certain interests and to engage in activities designed to shape public opinion about nuclear weapons...and call it 'public education,’” Pfeiffer told me in a Twitter direct message. “I would prefer—in an ideal world—a much more restricted set of activities focused on transparency, discussing Stratcom activities, etc.”

According to the handbook, Stratcom sees social media as an important part of its communication strategy. “Communication with the American public and international audiences builds public trust and understanding of the command’s contribution to national security,” the handbook explained. “And contributes to deterring adversary action, assures allies, helps shape the operation and informational environment, and helps define the future of the force.”

According to the handbook, Stratcom’s Twitter audience “consists of media, academics, detractors, and the general public. The focus of effort will be on breaking events, amplifying key points from USSTRATCOM leadership speeches, engagements, and continuing discussions on 21st century strategic deterrence. Twitter Live stream when applicable and appropriate. General tone for posting to the page will be professional and no-nonsense.”

Despite the directive to have a “professional” tone on Twitter, the nuclear agency sometimes makes off-color remarks. In April, 2018, it tweeted a cartoon implying that its B-2 bombers are more deadly than masked killer Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th. The cartoon is clearly a joke that is arguably in poor taste. To most civilians, this may seem like small stuff, but Stratcom is in charge of nuclear deterrence. It’s a serious military operation with of the most important jobs on the planet and foreign governments, many of them unfriendly, are always watching.

Jokes and provocations aside, Stratcom has amplified factual errors before. In November of, 2017, Stratcom shared an article that included the false detail that B-1 bombers are capable of deploying nuclear weapons. Pfeiffer said that inaccurate information may change how a foreign country views US capabilities.

According to Pfeiffer, poorly timed Tweets could be used as justification for escalating tensions in a time of crisis. It may seem ridiculous now, but experts who study North Korea’s nuclear capabilities think that a few bad tweets could lead to a nuclear standoff or even war.

“The US should present itself as a responsible possessor of our nuclear capabilities,” Pfeiffer said. “Comparing ourselves to Jason from Friday the 13th is counterproductive.”

Nukes are serious business, Pfeiffer said, and nobody is left better off when military agencies make light of that responsibility. “Rather than educating the public on the horrifying and awesome potential of US military capabilities, including nuclear,” Pfeiffer said, “it approaches #NukePorn where we symbolically jerk off about how we can end life as we know it on the planet on a whim.”

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zmdj9eMatthew GaultJordan PearsonEmanuel MaibergwarTwitterSocial MediaNuclear Weaponsnukesstratcom
<![CDATA[We Are Living in the Begging Economy]]>https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/a3m59p/we-are-living-in-the-begging-economyWed, 16 Jan 2019 17:42:00 +0000As the government shutdown nears the end of its fourth week, 1,500 GoFundMe pages have been created by furloughed government employees looking for financial help.

In Davis, California, a family of four with another baby on the way living off the single income of a biologist with the United States Geological survey asked for $4,000 on GoFundMe to keep the lights on, and were humbled that they were able to raise more than $8,000. The New York Times highlighted the plight of 20-year-old sophomore Cartonise Lawson-Wilson, who's unable to submit the paperwork required for a grant that will cover her tuition at the University of Michigan-Dearborn because the Internal Revenue Service is closed. At the time of writing, her GoFundMe campaign has raised $2,866 out of her goal of $7,512.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help. There's also nothing wrong with giving money to people who need it. If you can afford it, and want to, please donate to whatever GoFundMe campaign you’d like. If you’re an eccentric and generous millionaire, go ahead and fund all of them. Maybe it will make your day more interesting. We’ll probably write a blog about you if you do. But know this: while it is nice and arguably good that an internet platform like GoFundMe is making it easier for people in need to ask for and receive donations, the fact that a government shutdown drove 1,500 people in one of the richest countries in the world to publicly beg for money in order to survive should make you sick to your stomach.

We can survive this way, yes, it's true. A furloughed government employee with nothing but crushing debt to their name can beg for a few bucks on their Ko-fi account and buy lunch. The problem is that an increasing number of us have to rely on begging because all other, better, more dignified alternatives have been taken from us.

Our social order is maintained by a series of ongoing negotiations and compromises. We give something up, we get something in return. Ronald Reagan busted America's unions, but some of us get free soda at work now. Our wages have been stagnant for decades, but a Netflix subscription, filled to the brim with all the 4K entertainment that will fit into your brain is only $13.99 a month—wait, no, it's $15.99 now, but still worth it! Life expectancy in the US is going down for the first time in half a century, but you can fuck literally whoever you want in virtual reality thanks to consumer-grade headsets, robotic fleshlights, and deep learning-powered fake porn. An increasing number of Americans don't have traditional, salaried, full-time jobs with retirement plans. But that's okay because 35 percent of the total US workforce (and 50 percent of millennials) is freelancing. Going freelance is easier than ever thanks to gig economy platforms like Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, and Fiverr. These are the compromises foisted upon us by powerful corporations and the politicians they own.

Having a gig in the gig economy is like having a normal job but without any of the benefits. Being freelance is like having a job without any of the benefits and sometimes you don't get paid for the work that you do. The uptick in GoFundMe pages as a result of the shutdown shows what could come after the gig economy, a natural next step in the total and utter debasement of the working class in the service of technocapitalism: The begging economy.

In this new paradigm, workers still have to work, but they don't get paid at all. Instead, they beg for money on social media. It's like replying to your viral Tweet with a link to your Soundcloud, only if you don't go viral you have to ration your insulin (one third of GoFundMe's campaigns are already for medical costs). This has been the case for many government employees for the entire duration of the shutdown, including the TSA employees who are supposedly there to prevent the next 9/11. It’ll be the case for the thousands more starting soon, so the Interior Department can continue to sell oil and gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Come to work, do your critical, high stakes job for literally no money, go home, open a GoFundMe, and beg other people—many of whom are in the same predicament, for enough money to pay rent, pay the bills, and buy food. How long are we going to put up with this pilot begging economy program? It depends. What is Netflix going to cost next year?

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a3m59pEmanuel MaibergJason KoeblerGoFundMegig economygovernment shutdown
<![CDATA[The First Plants to Grow on the Moon Are Already Dead]]>https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/9k4ejy/the-first-plants-to-grow-on-the-moon-are-already-deadWed, 16 Jan 2019 16:50:31 +0000 One day after China announced it grew the first plants on the Moon, the fledgling plants have been pronounced dead. Rest in peace, lunar sprouts.

On Tuesday, China's space program said that cotton seeds had germinated in a biosphere carried to the Moon by the nation’s Chang’e-4 lunar lander. By Wednesday, mission leads had broken the news that the plants perished as the lunar night fell over the probe’s landing site.

The Sunday arrival of the lunar night, which lasts 14 days, deprived the plants of sunlight. During a lunar night, temperatures can plummet as low as −170°C (−274°F). Meanwhile, daytime temperatures on the Moon can reach a sweltering 127°C (260°F). These massive fluctuations are one of the main obstacles encountered by lunar explorers.

The remaining seeds and fruit fly eggs contained in the mission’s biosphere are not likely to be viable after two weeks of light deprivation and freezing temperatures. According to China’s National Space Administration, they will decompose and remain sealed to avoid contaminating the lunar surface.

Chang’e-4 went into sleep mode on Sunday to prepare for the harsh night. The lander will rely on a radioisotope heat unit (RHU) to stay warm until sunlight returns in late January. The mission’s rover Yutu 2, which rolled off a ramp to the lunar surface on January 3, is also dependent on an RHU during the cold spell.

Chang’e-4 is the first spacecraft ever to land on the far side of the Moon, which is commonly mistaken for the “dark” side of the Moon. Though the far side is always angled away from Earth, it is not always angled away from the Sun. Both lunar faces experience roughly 14 days of daylight and 14 days of darkness in a regular lunar cycle.

Chang-e-4’s biosphere may have only survived for a brief week, but it still made history as the first garden planted at the surface of an alien world.

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9k4ejyBecky FerreiraNatasha GrzincicchinaMoonplantsbiosphereYutu roversproutscottonFar Side Of The Moonlunar explorationChang'e-4Moon gardenlunar night
<![CDATA[Literally Get Fucked by a 'Star Citizen' With This Fan-Made Dildo]]>https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/3k9xe9/star-citizen-xian-penis-dildo-redditWed, 16 Jan 2019 16:47:30 +0000In Star Citizen, a yet-to-be released, ambitious multiplayer space simulation game developed by Cloud Imperium Games, there exists a race of reptile-like people called the Xi’an. They’re a sentient, ancient species of bi-pedals, according to the game’s Wiki; a calculating, reserved, polite civilization. They look kind of like the Michael Bay version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

And thanks to one fan, we now have a detailed, non-canonical representation of their dicks.

Redditor u/StarDildos fabricated a sex toy in the shape of what he imagines a Xi’an penis looks like—a greenish, ridged member that’s hollow at the tip. It’s reminiscent of an ovipositor—a sex toy that deposit jelly eggs into your orifice of choice.

The monotony of commercially-available dildos, combined with high prices, inspired StarDildos to make their own. He decided that he could make almost anything they imagined, at home—for a lot less than buying a custom or niche-interest dildo online, which can range from $50 to over $100.

“The initial results were very poor and some looked like deformed slugs,” he said. “After several attempts I finally had success, something that looked similar to what I had in my mind.”

At this point the weirdness of seeing a turtle-alien reproductive organ may be wearing off, and you’re wondering (like I was), What is the process of making a DIY custom alien dick, or any dick, at home? StarDildos walked me through the process of fabricating the toy from original vision to functional sex toy:

  1. Model the shape of the toy out of Monster Clay, an oil-based sculpting clay that’s used in movie costume prosthetics.
  2. Make a negative impression cast of the clay model from plaster of Paris—a method they admit isn’t ideal because the cast is single-use, but silicone is expensive and we’re on uncharted territory here—for the silicone of the dildo itself to be poured into it. When the plaster is dried, remove the clay.
  3. Mix up your medium: A two-part silicone that’s safe for sex toy use. Add a pigment to the mix, and leave it in for as long as possible before it hardens too much to pour; about an hour. “This method isn’t perfect and will leave some bubbles,” StarDildos said.
  4. Pour the silicone into the cast carefully up from the centre of the mould: “This is to avoid bubbles on the surface of the toy.”
  5. Let it sit for 12 hours to cure, then remove your new alien penis from the mold.

He took this process a step further and painted the finished dildo with small amounts of silicone mixed with yellow and green pigment.

“The end result is mostly what I envisaged and I am quite pleased with how it looks,” he said. “Given the feedback I have received from this, I think I will make some more, from different races in the game.” So we have that to look forward to. They also made a new subreddit for this purpose, r/StarDildos, which hopefully will be full of Star Citizen schlongs in the future. Right now, it’s just Xi’an.

StarDildos said he's not planning on selling these. For now, much like Star Citizen, the Xi’an dildo is a very interesting and ambitious project the follow on the internet, but one that we can't all experience as intended.

I’ve reached out to Cloud Imperium Games for comment on whether this dick is considered canon, and will update if I hear back.

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3k9xe9Samantha ColeEmanuel MaibergGamingsex toysdildosstar citizen
<![CDATA[Don’t Boycott Razors Because of an Ad, Boycott Them For the Planet]]>https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/7xy5jg/dont-boycott-razors-because-of-an-ad-boycott-them-for-the-planetWed, 16 Jan 2019 16:34:10 +0000 On Monday, Gillette debuted a new ad campaigning calling out toxic masculinity and encouraging their customers to do more to fight it. This ad evidently made a lot of people (mostly men) angry, and they are now calling for a boycott of Gillette products. But while a well-intentioned ad is a silly reason to stop using Gillette products, there’s actually a really good reason why we should all boycott disposable razors: they’re wasteful and wind up choking our oceans.

Disposable razors are one of the most prolific forms of plastic pollution. Even the cartridge-style razors, where you only replace the razor head, are wasteful because the razor heads are made and packaged with plastic. A disposable razor head can last up to five weeks, according to Gillette itself. Considering 163 million Americans say they use disposable razors, that’s more than 1 billion razors being tossed every year in the US, even if some people aren’t replacing their razors as often as they should. It’s yet another contribution to the mountain of plastic that Americans throw out every year, much of which winds up in our oceans, and even our food.

The thing is, the solution to this problem predates disposable razors: safety razors. These are the sturdy, reusable razors you might have seen your grandpa use at one point. The only part you replace is the metal razor blade itself, which is recyclable. Tons of companies are coming out with new, lightweight designs for safety razors, so you don’t have to feel like you’re using an antique.

It’s one of the easiest swaps you can make to reduce the amount of plastic waste you produce, and it can have a big impact. So consider boycotting your disposable razor habit all together—because #saveourplanet is a way cooler hashtag to base your purchasing decisions on than #notallmen.

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7xy5jgKaleigh RogersNatasha Grzincicpollutionplasticclimate changeoceansadvertisementsGilletteplastic pollution
<![CDATA[Bugs on Epic Games Site Allowed Hackers to Login to Any ‘Fortnite’ Player’s Account]]>https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/vba5nb/fornite-login-hack-epic-games-websiteWed, 16 Jan 2019 15:57:20 +0000Cybercriminals could have hacked into any Fortnite player’s account by taking advantage of a series of flaws on the video game maker’s website, according to new research.

Researchers from cybersecurity firm Check Point found that they could redirect traffic from Epic Games’s main login page—accounts.epicgames.com—to another page on the company’s website. There, they could then steal login tokens, a sort of digital key that allows Fortnite players to login with their accounts on other services such as Facebook, PlayStationNetwork, Xbox Live, Nintendo, and Google+.

The first step in an attack like this would be to trick a Fornite player to click on a malicious link, according to Check Point’s research published on Wednesday.

Got a tip? You can contact this reporter securely on Signal at +1 917 257 1382, OTR chat at lorenzofb@jabber.ccc.de, or email lorenzofb@vice.com

Once the target clicked on the link, the hackers could force the service that provided the login—be it Facebook or Xbox Live—to resend the login token to an old and vulnerable Epic Games subdomain dedicated to Unreal Tournament statistics. That page, which is now offline, contained two vulnerabilities that are often found in websites: an SQL Injection (or SQLi), and a Cross-Site Scripting (or XSS), according to Check Point researchers.

These bugs allowed the researchers to steal the victim’s login token and log into the videogame at them. The researchers made a proof-of-concept video to explain the hack.

The makers of the popular online video game appeared to confirm Check Point’s research.

The company did not immediately respond to Motherboard’s request for comment. In a statement to Wired , an Epic Games spokesperson said: “We thank Check Point for bringing this to our attention. As always, we encourage players to protect their accounts by not re-using passwords and using strong passwords, and not sharing account information with others.” Check Point wrote in an email that Epic Games has fixed the vulnerabilities.

This is another example of a high profile attack that takes advantage of Single sign-on (SSO), a method that allows users to login into websites and services using their credentials from other sites and services. Last year, Facebook disclosed a data breach where hackers accessed the personal information of 30 million people taking advantage of a series of bugs on the social networks’ web servers.

We don’t know if any malicious hackers found the flaws on Epic Games websites and took advantage of them before Check Point alerted the video game company. A Check Point spokesperson said in an email that “it doesn’t appear that the vulnerability was exploited prior to the patch being made.”

Listen to CYBER, Motherboard’s new weekly podcast about hacking and cybersecurity.

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vba5nbLorenzo Franceschi-BicchieraiJason KoeblerHackingcybersecurityVideo GameshackersbugsEpic GamesInfosecvulnerabilitiesinformation securityInternet InsecurityXSSSQL injectionFortnite