Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

Tracking Dorian, Walmart Gun Sales & Facial Recognition

All the news you need in 10 min:

Today’s episode is brought to you by M.M.LaFleur.

Story Summaries

All the news stories mentioned in today's episode are listed with links below, so you can spend as much -- or as little -- time as you want perusing the latest happenings...

Hurricane Dorian: Hurricane Dorian is heading up the Florida coast today toward Georgia and South Carolina. The Category 2 storm is expected to hug the coastline as it moves up the Atlantic, which could still mean damaging winds and flooding for the next few days. Disney World closed all of its parks yesterday, and Disney announced a $1 million donation to help with relief efforts in the Bahamas. Dorian already left behind major devastation in the Bahamas. Rescuers are still trying to save people, and they expect the death toll to go up.
Read more: ABC News, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, AP, The Hill

U.S. Manufacturing: The monthly survey that measures U.S. manufacturing found the sector fell to its worst reading since early 2016. Economists believe it’s mostly because factories are feeling the effects of the trade war with China. The new report and trade war worries sent stocks falling yesterday. Remember: more tariffs from both the U.S. and China went into effect on Sunday.
Read more: NBC News, WSJ, Bloomberg

Walmart Gun Sales: Walmart just announced stricter policies on gun and ammunition sales. The company will stop selling “short barrel rifle ammunition,” which can be used in assault-style guns and some hunting rifles. Walmart is also going to stop selling handguns and handgun ammunition. America's largest retailer also says it doesn’t want people to openly carry guns in its stores anymore, even where state law says it’s allowed. The NRA called the move “shameful” and said the company was caving to the pressure of anti-gun elites, but Walmart says it’s trying to do what’s best for both law-abiding gun owners and employees/customers who have safety concerns.
Read more: WSJ, NYT, CNN, The Hill

Flavored E-Cig Ban: Michigan just became the first state in the country to ban flavored e-cigarettes. The ban, which includes retail stores and online sales, will last for at least the next six months before going up for renewal. The ban impacts vaping products that use sweet and minty flavors, but tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes are still allowed. Michigan’s governor says she took action to ban the flavored products after the state’s health department called youth vaping a public health emergency.
Read more: The Washington Post

Face Recognition: Facebook is already using facial recognition software to automatically suggest photo tagging, but the company says it'll no longer use it as the default. Users will have to opt-in instead. Facebook says it's ensuring all users have the option to say 'yes' or 'no' to the "Face Recognition" setting. This comes after users in Illinois sued Facebook for collecting biometric data. Facebook says the change isn’t a direct response to the legal issues.
Read more: Facebook, Consumer Reports, Quartz, Reuters, The Hill

Zao App: A new face-swapping app is letting users see what it might look like to star in their favorite movies, but it’s also causing privacy concerns. Chinese app Zao is letting users put their faces into scenes from popular media by uploading a picture of themselves. That said, experts looked at Zao’s privacy policy and found that the makers of the app can basically do whatever they want with users’ photos once uploaded. The app is only available in China right now, but it's very popular and could expand its reach in the future.
Read more: The Verge, CBS News

Android 10: Google’s new Android 10 operating system is now available on Pixel phones. It will offer stricter privacy controls, a new “focus mode” for disabling distracting apps, simpler notification controls, better family controls and a new dark theme. Another major feature is live caption, which allows users to get real-time captioning on any video on their phone.
Read more: CNET, The Verge, Business Insider

Wrist ID?: Apple just got the okay on a few patents for the Apple Watch. The company is testing a new sensor on the band that would use skin texture to identify who is wearing it (similar to the fingerprint or face ID on iPhones, but for your wrist). For now, it's just a patent. We'll see if it turns into a real product for sale.
Read more: TechCrunch, 9to5mac

NFL + TikTok: The NFL is teaming up with the app TikTok to launch its own account and marketing campaign. The NFL will use the popular video-sharing app to post highlights, sideline moments and behind-the-scenes footage in the hopes of getting younger people to start watching more football. By the way: the NFL’s 100th season kicks off tomorrow.
Read more: Engadget, CNBC