понедељак, 07. октобар 2013.

African Elephant, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo


A female African elephant (Loxodonta africana) curls her trunk at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado. Sartore photographed the elephant as part of his Photo Ark project, through which he is documenting thousands of rare species. "Half of all the species on Earth could be headed irreversibly toward extinction by 2100. Not if I can help it," Sartore says. "That's the idea behind the Photo Ark: getting the public to look these creatures in the eye, then care enough to save them while there's still time."

Red Pandas, Lincoln Children's Zoo


Twin three-month-old red pandas (Ailurus fulgens fulgens) huddle together at the Lincoln Children's Zoo. Sartore photographed the pair as part of his Photo Ark project, through which he is documenting thousands of rare species. "Half of all the species on Earth could be headed irreversibly toward extinction by 2100. Not if I can help it," Sartore says. "That's the idea behind the Photo Ark: getting the public to look these creatures in the eye, then care enough to save them while there's still time." Learn more about the Photo Ark and see more pictures from the project.

A snap by Chaiyi Lin, a designer who actually works for the company.


It may seem ironic that an app originally conceived of for sexting is now inspiring intricate paintings and social commentary, but the idea of using constraints to boost creativity is not new. "The more art is controlled, limited, worked over, the more it is free," composer Igor Stravinsky wrote in his book about writing music. The same goes for app art, apparently.

A snap by Abel, the mysterious artist-friend of Nerdist writer Becca Gleason.


Like Instagram prints and Twitter poetry, Snapchat is the latest social network to accidentally produce a new genre of art. The app's rudimentary drawing tool isn't built for serious work; it allows users to doodle over a photo or video in basic colors, a cute gimmick that lets you draw a mustache on your boss or send a selfie of yourself wearing a party hat on your birthday. But now even the popular Facebook page "Snapchat's Funniest Screenshots" is starting to include some artful snaps among the sex jokes and pictures of cats.

The rise of the surprisingly beautiful Snapchart art movement


Snapchat is designed to be ephemeral — that's why it purposefully destroys your messages seconds after they're received. Recently, however, some users have been saving their snaps and circulating them on the web. Why? Because they're masterpieces. There's James McKenna, whose sardonic depictions of subway commuters as characters like "punk rock dad" and "Asian angel of the Q train" earned him the title of "Snapchat king" from BuzzFeed. There's the pseudonymous Snapchat Artist, a 21-year-old college student who draws celebrity portraits and recreates famous paintings like "Girl with the Pearl Earring," all on an iPhone 4. There's the mysterious Abel, friend of Nerdist writer Becca Gleason, who does not post his snaps online but draws such impressive, comic-booklike scenes that Gleason felt compelled to save and publish them.

French regulator moves forward with sanctions after Google refuses to alter privacy policy


European regulators have long been displeased with Google's revised privacy policy that went into effect in 2012, and now a French watchdog is moving forward with sanctions today after the internet company failed to address privacy concerns. The Paris-based Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL) said today in a statement that Google "has not complied with the requests laid down in the enforcement notice," and the chair of the commission will "designate a rapporteur for the purpose of initiating a formal procedure for imposing sanctions" — setting off what may be a months-long process. Google faces a maximum fine of €150,000 (about $198,300) for its first offense, but a source tells The Wall Street Journal that the agency is investigating whether it has the power to treat every French Google user as a separate infraction, multiplying that maximum fine by many times. The CNIL completed its original investigation of Google's privacy practices in October 2012, requesting that the company heed the agency's recommendations to alter its policies. The privacy policy in question combined several dozen separate policies under one umbrella, allowing Google to take advantage of user data from its multiple different services at once. The CNIL, which led the investigation for the European Union, said that the combination of the policies violated the "fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject," adding that Google should be more transparent about its policies and request permission from its users, among other recommendations. Regulator says combined policy violates "fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject." After Google failed to take action, it was left to regulators across European Union member nations to decide how to punish the company. That led France in June to give Google a three month deadline to make changes. That deadline passed today. The CNIL says that Google contacted the agency yesterday to say that it believes its services are not covered by the French Data Protection Act. The UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands are all conducting similar investigations that could lead to fines. Ultimately, however, the regulators have little power to meaningfully punish Google, which represents a large, foreign internet company that wields great influence abroad. In the works is a new privacy law backed by the European Union would allow for punishments up to two percent of Google's international revenue.Google, for its part, has repeatedly said that "Our privacy policy respects European law" and "we have engaged fully with the authorities involved throughout this process, and we’ll continue to do so going forward."

Microsoft received over 37,000 requests for user data during the first six months of 2013


Microsoft received 37,196 global requests for user data from law enforcement agencies during the first six months of 2013. The company revealed the figure today in its second Law Enforcement Requests Report. (Its first came in March amid controversy over the US government's comprehensive surveillance tactics.) The requests, which factor in all Microsoft services including Skype, involved a total of 66,539 accounts. "As with the 2012 report this new data shows that across our services only a tiny fraction of accounts, less that 0.01 percent are ever affected by law enforcement requests for customer data," the company says. But like last year, a vast majority of those inquiries came from the United States. To that end, Microsoft is continuing its push for the government to let it reveal more specifics on national security orders and other requests from US intelligence agencies. Like last time, national security letters (NSLs) are combined in an aggregate volume. "It is clear that the continued lack of transparency makes it very difficult for the community — including the global community — to have an informed debate about the balance between investigating crimes, keeping communities safe, and personal privacy." If the current rate of requests continues, Microsoft should end the year with a total resembling that of last year, when it saw 75,378 requests.