Tech
Enlarge / A virtual plague spreads from a virtual China in Plague Inc.

Plague Inc. maker Ndemic Creations says the game has been removed from sale on the iOS App Store in China because the relevant authorities say it “includes content that is illegal in China as determined by the Cyberspace Administration of China.”

The popular game—which asks players to shepherd a virus' deadly spread around the world—has been available on the Chinese App Store for years without issue. Ndemic says it's "not clear to us if this removal is linked to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that China is facing," but it certainly seems like the most likely proximate cause.

"This situation is completely out of our control," Ndemic writes. "We are working very hard to try and find a way to get the game back in the hands of Chinese players—we dont want to give up on you—however, as a tiny independent games studio in the UK, the odds are stacked against us. Our immediate priority is to try and make contact with the Cyberspace Administration of China to understand their concerns and work with them to find a resolution."

Plague Inc. saw a spike in popularity in China and other countries following initial reports of the coronavirus outbreak. In the wake of that surge, Ndemic issued a statement last month urging players not to treat the game as a "scientific model" for the spread of any disease. Reports of new coronavirus cases are now larger outside of China than within the country, where the outbreak has been in decline since February 2.

World events aside, Plague Inc. also received an early December "Fake News" update that added "a radically different scenario which lets you create your very own Fake News story and deceive the world with it," according to the game's public patch notes. Industry analyst Daniel Ahmad notes on Twitter that China has in the past restricted games that "harm the public ethics, disrupt social order, or undermine social stability," including titles that contain "false information."

China has a long history of placing restrictions on mobile apps sold in the country, pulling everything from communication and Read More – Source

Tech
Enlarge / Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding foreign influence operations' use of their social media platforms on September 5, 2018.Drew Angerer | Getty Images

If you're feeling extremely cynical about social media's preparedness for the rest of the madcap 2020 election season, you're in good company: A whopping three-quarters of Americans don't expect Facebook, Twitter, or other large platforms to handle this year any better than they handled 2016.

That finding comes from the Pew Research Center, which polled Americans about their confidence in tech platforms to prevent "misuse" in the current election cycle. A large majority of respondents think platforms should prevent misuse that could influence the election, but very few think they actually will.

Overall, only 25 percent of respondents said they were very or somewhat confident in tech platforms' ability to prevent that kind of misuse, Pew found. Meanwhile, 74 percent reported being not too confident or not at all confident that services would be able to do so. The responses were extremely similar across both Republican-leaning and Democratic-leaning respondents.

A similar number, 78 percent, said technology companies have a responsibility to prevent their platforms from being misused. Here, Pew did find fairly significant differences in response—not by political affiliation or belief, but instead by age. While less than three-quarters of respondents under age 50 felt the platforms needed to step up responsibility, a striking 88 percent of seniors over age 65 replied that social media services have a duty to prevent abuse.

Younger respondents were also the most likely to think that platforms could or would do something about it: 31 percent of those ages 18-29 said they were confident in tech firms to prevent election-influencing misuse. That number dropped to 26 percent among those ages 30-49, 24 percent among those ages 50-64, and only 20 percent among respondents over 65.

The 2020 trenches

We are, at long last, actually shambling through the primary election season, with Super Tuesday landing in less than a week. The trouble with 2020, though, has been known since the curtain closed on the troubled 2016 election cycle. And the challenges are both foreign and domestic.

Russia's use of social media to influence the outcome of the 2016 election is by now extremely well-documented and well-known. A report (PDF) from the Senate Intelligence Committee rounded up and outlined the methods that Russia's Internet Research Agency (IRA) used to launch "an information warfare campaign designed to spread disinformation and societal division in the United States," including planted fake news, carefully targeted ads, bot armies, and other tactics. The IRA used, and uses, several different platforms, including Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit, but its primary vehicles for outreach are Facebook and Instagram.

In an attempt to mitigate the harm social media can do during election season, Twitter updated its election integrity policy in April and moved to ban all political advertising from candidates starting last November. Google a short time later tightened its rules on false claims and microtargeting in political advertising.

Facebook, however, is taking a different approach. The globe-spanning social network has repeatedly said its standards do not apply to politicians, and political ads can be full of lies without falling afoul of Facebook's rules. There are nominally some limits—attempting to suppress voter turnout or census participation, for example, will get your ad kicked off the service. But attempts to consistently enforce that twisting and dotted line are not going well. In lieu of prohibiting deliberately misleading content, Facebook has said the onus is on users to simply try to see less of it.

Facebook does work regularly to remove what it terms "coordinated Read More – Source

Tech

Shot by Sean Dacanay, edited by Jeremy Smolik. Click here for transcript.

When you hear the name Crash Bandicoot, you probably think of it as Sony's platformy, mascoty answer to Mario and Sonic. Before getting the full Sony marketing treatment, though, the game was developer Naughty Dog's first attempt at programming a 3D platform game for Sony's brand-new PlayStation. And developing the game in 1994 and 1995—well before the release of Super Mario 64—involved some real technical and game design challenges.

In our latest War Stories video, coder Andy Gavin walks us through a number of the tricks he used to overcome some of those challenges. Those include an advanced virtual memory swapping technique that divided massive (for the time) levels into 64KB chunks. Those chunks could be loaded independently from the slow (but high-capacity) CD drive into the scant 2MB of fast system RAM only when they were needed for Crash's immediate, on-screen environment.

The result allowed for "20 to 30 times" the level of detail of a contemporary game like Tomb Raider, which really shows when you look at the game's environments. Similar dynamic memory management techniques are now pretty standard in open-world video games, and they all owe a debt of gratitude to Gavin's work on Crash Bandicoot as a proof of concept.

  • Behind the scenes at the video shoot with Crash Bandicoot creator Andy Gavin.
  • A camera-operator's-eye-view of the shooting process.
  • Our Crash set, sans Andy.
  • Revel in Ars Creative Director Aurich Lawson's latest glorious Ars logo photochop!

Squeezing memory for stretchy animation

Getting expressive, stretchy Warner Bros.-style animation was also a priority for Gavin and partner Jason Rubin—so much so that Crash himself used up 600 Read More – Source

Australia

Meteoric Resources NL (ASX:MEI) has intersected a high-grade gold shoot below the current Juruena resource as part of the companys maiden drilling program across its Brazilian portfolio.

Drill hole JUDD022 targeted the southern high‐grade gold shoot at the Dona Maria deposit intersecting 4.4 metres at 13.5 g/t gold from 300 metres including 2 metres at 27.3 g/t gold from 302 metres.

Meteoric managing director Dr Andrew Tunks said: “This fantastic result from JUDD022 caps a remarkable maiden drilling campaign by Meteoric at Juruena which commenced with one of the best drill results in the World in 2019 of 20.6 metres at 94.9 g/t gold from 97 metres and was followed by some further stunning results during the campaign.

“To my mind, this final result is the best of the bunch as it confirms the high grade is open at depth, providing us with a host of immediate drill targets to substantially grow the Juruena resource.

“It really is only the beginning of the road for Juruena and I cant wait to get the drill rigs turning again and see just how wide and deep the high grade mineralisation at Dona Maria extends.

“In technical terms, the results from JUDD022 confirm the interpreted continuity and steep southerly plunge of the southern high‐grade ore shoot at Dona Maria.

“JUDD022 intercepted the mineralised zone approximately 30 metres below the current Mineral Resource model and conclusively shows the mineralisation is still strong below that depth.

“We expect to commence drilling early in Q2, with the exact date dependent on the cessation of the current wet season.”

Juruena resource

The latest round of results highlights the confirmation of a high‐grade ore shoot at Dona Maria and the potential for Tomate to provide additional ounces to the Juruena resource which currently stands at 1.2 million tonnes at 6.3 g/t gold for 261,000 ounces.

MetRead More – Source

Australia

Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE) received a further boost for its growth plans with strong investor demand for its share purchase plan (SPP) and placement.

The companys $1.5 million SPP has been oversubscribed having secured some $2.1 million while a private placement to sophisticated and professional investors has raised a total of about $3.37.

Lake is now considering upsizing the SPP to accommodate the increased demand from shareholders, with such funding to help speed the companys development plans.

The strong investor support will facilitate the development of sustainable and scalable direct extraction technology at Lakes flagship Kachi Lithium Brine Project in Argentina.

The technology developed by Lakes partner, Lilac Solutions has received backing from a fund led by Bill Gates and other global business heavyweights and offers a potential sustainable solution for the lithium brines industry.

Lake managing director Steve Promnitz said: “The strong investor support is extremely encouraging, particularly amid current market conditions, and I would like to sincerely thank both our new and existing investors for your commitment.

“Lake has some huge milestones Read More – Source

Australia

Cardinal Resources Ltd (ASX:CDV) has been granted water extract permits for its Namdini Gold Project in Ghana, West Africa.

The permits allow Cardinal to extract raw water from:

  • The White Volta River for mining and processing purposes; and
  • Boreholes located within the Mining License area for mine construction and development purposes.

Cardinals chief operating officer Dave Anthony said: “These key permits will enable Cardinal to support the development and operation of the Namdini Gold Project.

“These permits allow for all year‐round water extraction from the White Volta River, as well as boreholes located on the project site.”

CEO and managing director Archie Koimtsidis added: “We are extremely grateful to the Water Resources Commission of Ghana and all involved for the approval of our Water Use Permits and ongoing water licences.

Namdini rapidly moving into development phase

“We are enthused with the granting of these critical permits as they are essential to the Namdini Project.

“With these approvals in place, there is clear demonstration of continued support for the project development from the Ghana Government.

“The Namdini Gold Project is rapidly and successfully moving into its development phase.”

Feasibility study based on US$1,350 per ounce gold

Notably, Namdinis feasibility study ascribed a post-tax net present value (NPV) of USD$590 million and an IRR of 33.2% for the proRead More – Source

Australia

S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) (ASX:XJO) futures are down around 3% heading into Friday as markets have one of their worst weeks since the GFC.

The S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) closed at 2,978.76, −137.63 or down 4.42% and the Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ: .IXIC) closed at 8,566.48, −414.29 or down 4.61%.

Gold is trading slightly lower US$1,641 per ounce, still down from its highs earlier this week of around US$1,690 per ounce.

Crude Oil WTI has been crushed another 5% lower to US$46.21 per barrel putting extra pressure on producers such as Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL).

The AUD is up 0.5% overnight off its 10-year lows versus the USD to 65.8 cents.

[VIDEO] Morning Report – Coronavirus concerns see US stocks dive once more https://t.co/aOZTTzd6Nc Read More – Source

Sports

NEW YORK: Peloton Interactive Inc has settled a lawsuit in which a music publishing trade group and 14 of its members accused the maker of stationary bicycles of streaming more than 2,400 songs without permission in its workout videos.

In a joint statement on Thursday, Peloton and the National Music Publishers' Association said they have also entered a collaboration agreement to "further optimize" Peloton's processes for music licensing. Other terms were not disclosed.

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The trade group had been suing Peloton for more than US$300 million, accusing it of copyright infringement for using songs it controlled without first getting required licenses.

Among the works covered were songs by Adele, Beyonce, Ariana Grande, John Legend, Maroon 5, Meek Mill and Taylor Swift, and classics such as The Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There," Ray Charles' "Georgia On My Mind" and The Who's "I Can See For Miles."

The settlement was announced four weeks after a Manhattan federal judge dismissed Peloton's antitrust counterclaim accusing the trade group of disrupting its licensing negotiations with individual publishers.

In Thursday's statement, Peloton's head of music, Paul DeGooyer, said it was important to ensure that songwriters "are, and continue to be, fairly compensated."

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Sports

MANCHESTER, England: The tight and unpredictable battle for Champions League places provides Everton and Manchester United with some extra motivation for their Premier League clash at Goodison Park on Sunday (Mar 1).

The top three places in the table look secure for Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester City, but the fourth spot, currently occupied by Chelsea, remains tantalisingly within reach for several clubs including Carlo Ancelotti's Everton and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United.

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Adding to the intrigue, Manchester City's two-year UEFA ban from European football, which they are appealing, could allow fifth place to claim a spot in the continent's premier club competition.

United are currently fifth, just three points behind Chelsea, and although Everton are 11th, they could reduce the gap to United to just two points with a victory.

Everton's Brazilian forward Richarlison says that the Champions League was a definite target for the team and remains so despite Sunday's 3-2 defeat at Arsenal.

"Since the start of the season, our objective has been to qualify for the Champions League,” he told the Liverpool Echo.

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