Bleats

Russia Is Backing Up The Teachers Who Told You That Wikipedia Is Unreliable

Nyet.

Ah Wikipedia, where on earth would I be without you? I definitely wouldn’t have passed most of the assessments that have come my way throughout life, that’s for sure. Despite that, we can now add all of Russia to the giant pile of teachers and professors who are telling everyone it’s unreliable.

My entire academic career

Vladimir Putin, the world leader who puts out an official annual calendar full of pictures of himself, has told a conference about the Russian language that:

“As for Wikipedia … it’s better to replace it with the new Big Russian Encyclopaedia in electronic form. At least that will be reliable information, presented in a good, modern way.”

A whole calendar of this, every year

Russia have had problems with Wikipedia before. They went as far as banning the site from the country back in 2015 over an article about charas, an Indian form of hashish. Apparently the article about the drug contained forbidden information, but the attempt to ban the entirety of Wikipedia over it didn’t go down well, and it was restored within 24 hours. 

As with anything Russia has ever done, it’s go big or go home. Only two months ago, there was an announcement that a law had been drafted with plans to spend 1.7 billion Russian ruble to actually go through with making this Russian Wikipedia between 2020-2022. So it looks like they’re really going to give it a crack.

More worryingly than any of this though, last Friday a new law came into effect that means the Russian government can disconnect entire parts of the globe from being able to be seen by Russians using the internet.

This just got a lot less fun

If they really wanted to, they could entirely isolate Russia from the rest of the world’s internet. Authorities reckon it’s a defence in case of an external attack, but everybody else sees it more as a way to censor information.

If the government ever actually decided to use this new law, then Wikipedia is the least of the Russian people’s worries.

All I Want In Life Is Seth Meyers' "Skip Trump Joke" Button

skip, skip, skip...

It’s not often that comedians come up with really good ideas. I can’t blame them, their job is to make fun of everyone else’s bad ideas, not come up with their own. Seth Meyers may have bucked that trend though, because I can absolutely get behind a “skip Trump joke” button. 

Me when I realise I don’t actually have to listen to these jokes

You know how some genius at Netflix created the “skip intro” button? Perfect for when you’ve ended the last episode of whatever you were watching on a cliffhanger and can’t wait another second to find out what happened. It’s brilliant. This is the same concept, except during Meyers’ upcoming Netflix special, you’ll be able to hit it whenever he starts on a joke that’s going to wind up with a Donald Trump related punchline. 

In an interview, Meyers said that the whole thing was a bit of a joke in and of itself, and he didn’t really think people would use it. “I think, look, sometimes at a fancy restaurant they’ll put parsley on your plate and you’ll think, well, that’s a nice touch, but you’re not going to eat the parsley.”

Please, no more, I beg you…

Speaking as that weirdo who usually does eat the parsley (am I not meant to?), I would almost certainly use the damn button. People are increasingly burned out by politics and political jokes, and honestly, who can blame us? Frankly, I think it would be nice to extend it beyond the realms of Netflix.

Don’t want to hear a political joke on Seth Meyers’ show? Skip Trump joke button.

Listening to your least favourite uncle talk about how he’s no Trump supporter, but damn he makes some good points? Skip Trump joke button.

Had a long day and the latest news about what the US Government has been up to is going to tip you over the edge? Skip Trump joke button. 

I don’t want to hear it!

In fairness, if you’re tuning in to Seth Meyers’ show, you should probably expect him to be making fun of Donald Trump. Seth was one of the people who got up and roasted Trump back during the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner, and some people reckon that being mocked by Meyers that night was the reason Trump decided to run for President in the first place.

Maybe if Donald had his own Skip Trump joke button that night, we wouldn’t need one now.

Could The Alexa By Your Bed Help Solve A Murder?

Alexa, call the police.

Home assistants and smart speakers are popping up in more and more homes, helping us out with the mundane and not so mundane aspects of life. Falling into the not so mundane category, Florida police are using audio from two Amazon Alexa devices to try and solve a murder case

Not the witness you’d expect

The case involves a woman, Silvia Galva, who was killed after a domestic dispute ended with her being impaled through the chest with a wooden spear. Her boyfriend, Adam Crespo, has pleaded not guilty to second degree murder, and says that her death was an accident after he pulled her off the bed and she landed on the spear. 

There wasn’t anybody else in the room at the time, but police are hoping that the two Alexa devices near by will serve as a witness. Their theory is that if at some point during the domestic dispute, a wake word was said, then one or both of the devices may have recorded the fight and tell police whether this case is actually a murder or not. 

Just after someone thought of using the Alexa, probably

Amazon was contacted to see what they thought about all this, and a representative made a statement that said Amazon “does not disclose customer information in response to government demands unless we’re required to do so to comply with a legally valid and binding order.”

Yeah ok, makes sense

Basically they’re not going to hand over audio unless they’re legally obliged to. It’s a solid rule to follow, but one that they may have to look at more and more often. We’ve already seen cases of smart home assistants helping out in crimes before this one. Most recently audio from an Alexa was used in solving a double murder in New Hampshire, and a domestic violence incident in New Mexico

The Silvia Galva case is still ongoing, and will be definitely one to keep an eye on. However this particular case turns out, it almost certainly won’t be the last time we see a headline that involves the words “Alexa” and “murder”.

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