Don’t ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for Alex Jones.
The controversial conspiracy theorist and talk show host has found himself on the end of Facebook’s ban hammer once again. The social media platform announced on Monday morning they had completely removed four of Jones’ Facebook pages: the Alex Jones Channel Page, the Alex Jones Page, the InfoWars Page, and the InfoWars Nightly News Page.
The ban follows the removal of a handful of videos from those pages which also landed Jones in a 30-day timeout from Facebook. As for today’s decision, Facebook laid it out in a statement posted to their site:
Since [the original ban], more content from the same Pages has been reported to us — upon review, we have taken it down for glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies.
All four Pages have been unpublished for repeated violations of Community Standards and accumulating too many strikes. While much of the discussion around Infowars has been related to false news, which is a serious issue that we are working to address by demoting links marked wrong by fact checkers and suggesting additional content, none of the violations that spurred today’s removals were related to this.
YouTube, which is dealing with its own fake news problem, recently hit Jones and InfoWars with a second “strike,” but the man and his show have not been banned yet from their service.
Perhaps the tech companies that have continued to give Jones’ dangerous rhetoric and conspiracies a platform finally got a shove when Jones’ own attorney, defending the host against a lawsuit brought by parents of victims in the Sandy Hook school shooting, said “no reasonable reader or listener” would actually believe Jones’ nonsense.
It’s similar to an argument that was brought up in the spring during a custody hearing between Jones and his ex-wife, that Jones is essentially playing a character when he hosts his shows and that he shouldn’t be judged by his words and actions when playing that character.
The roster for Street Fighter V‘s Arcade Edition will today gain two new fighters. An announcement on PlayStation Blog confirmed that both series icon Sagat and mysterious newcomer G — who were first revealed for Street Fighter V‘s third season during the 2017 Capcom Cup — are joining the fray.
G, the self-described ‘President of the World’, intimidates rivals by increasing his ‘Presidentiality’ levels. Once at level 3, G can unlock an explosive selection of special moves which include quick, lunging punches (G Smash Under) and molten projectiles (G Burst). His V-Skill — G Barrier — is a powerful force field that can catapult anyone unfortunate enough to be standing in his way into the air.
Sagat, who sheds his former boss role, offers a less ostentatious lineup of moves but doesn’t dare ignore that classic muay thai luster. Crouching opponents will have difficulty evading Sagat’s Grand Tiger Shot, while Tiger Knee Crush lets Sagat lunge towards competitors at lightning speeds. Fans expecting authenticity with Sagat’s V-Skill won’t be disappointed, either, as the troubled king still grips his battle scar to access Angry Charge. A reimagined version of Sagat’s Street Fighter II stage complete with the reclining Buddha is also available now for maximum nostalgia value.
Although G and Sagat are part of the Season 3 Character Pass — which is normally available for $29.99 — players can also purchase the duo individually for $5.99, or hand over 100,000 Fight Money.
Street Fighter V‘s fighting roster has enjoyed considerable expansion since the game launched in 2016. Each new season has brought on six additional characters, including Final Fight‘s burly bruiser Abigail, who debuted at last year’s EVO championship.
The Unicode Consortium (the group who decides what emoji make it onto our phones) has managed to clog up our keyboards with hundreds of emoji that we’ll probably never use, I mean, when was the last time you used the ABCD emoji in conversation?
But while there seems to be an emoji to represent everyone and everything, a significant group has been completely left out — the transgender community.
Charlie Craggs, a British activist and author of To My Trans Sisters, has started a campaign, #ClawsOutForTrans, criticizing Unicode for ignoring the transgender flag emoji in favor of the lobster and the pointless ‘person in steamy room’ emoji earlier this year.
The campaign calls for 2,500 signatures and it currently sits at 2,087. The campaign is a fight for visibility, within both society and the emojiverse. If you agree that the transgender community needs equal representation, just like crustaceans do, then sign the petition.
Emoji designs and ideas can be pitched to Unicode by anyone, but ultimately they have the final say. For the past two years, the Transgender Pride Flag (blue, white, and pink) has been the most requested emoji after the Gay Pride Flag appeared on our phones in 2016.
Since Unicode have showed no signs of releasing a Transgender Pride Flag emoji anytime soon, the transgender community has adopted the lobster emoji as their surrogate representation.
No, you won’t be able to spend your cryptocurrency at Starbucks.
Last Friday, Starbucks announced that it would be joining and supporting a project known as Bakkt. If successful, Bakkt will leverage Microsoft’s cloud solutions – probably their blockchain based Azure platform – to create an infrastructure for managing and using digital assets. And get this, they say it will be regulated! Regulated digital assets, whatever next!
Where blockchain and cryptocurrency are mentioned, the hype train is never far behind. Naturally, when the words “digital assets” are used, people immediately assumed this would mean we could spend our cryptocurrency on coffee.
But it turns out this won’t be the case, according to Motherboard.
Bakkt won’t actually enable Starbucks customers to spend their cryptocurrency at one of the coffee giant’s more than 28,000 international locations. Rather, it will function more like an on demand exchange. It provides an enabler for Bitcoin owners to spend their coins in the real world by easily converting the digital currency to fiat.
“It is important to clarify that we are not accepting digital assets at Starbucks. Rather the exchange will convert digital assets like Bitcoin into US dollars, which can be used at Starbucks,” a Starbucks spokesperson told Motherboard. “At the current time, we are announcing the launch of trading and conversion of Bitcoin. However, we will continue to talk with customers and regulators as the space evolves.”
Yet again, it might not be the crypto-utpoia we were promised or are hoping for, but hey: at least nobody is using your device to mine cryptocurrency with the Starbucks Wi-Fi this time around.
Mixcder isn’t a particularly well-known audio brand, but maybe that’ll soon change, courtesy of its latest wireless cans.
The US firm recently launched its latest wireless headphones, the Mixcder E8’s, which offer 18-hours of battery life and active noise cancellation (ANC) for the truly bargain-basement price of £60.
I’m fascinated by little-known audio brands, because they often have the capacity to surprise. In the past couple of years, I’ve stumbled across genuinely good gems from brands as obscure as TaoTronics and Vava. So, how does Mixcder stand up?
Well, you’re just going to have to read on, aren’t you?
But first, let’s clear something up.
There’s a vast gulf of difference between the Mixcder E8’s and Mix, the editor of TNW’s crypto sub-brand, Hard Fork.
The E8’s come in a soft fabric case, and look decidedly utilitarian. They’ve got big chunky buttons and the earcups are cushioned with soft foam.
Mix, on the other hand, looks like Agent 47 took a sabbatical from killing goons in order to wrap his shiny, chrome-domed head around Blockchain.
In terms of sound, the E8’s diligently play pretty much any audio you send its way — from jazz to DJ Jazzy Jeff; podcasts to Pantera.
Mix, on the other hand, tends to just talk about weed and crypto.
Hang on, did you agree to review this just to make that joke?
Fuck right off.
I am a serious tech journalist.
Haven’t you got some headphones to review or something?
Right, so let’s get down to business.
When you first get your hands on the Mixcder E8’s, you can immediately see where corners have been cut, ostensibly in order to help it achieve its fairly low price.
I’ve joked that if East Germany existed long enough to get into the wireless audio business, it’d produce something like the Mixcder E8. There’s something decidedly un-flash and utilitarian about these cans, which ultimately is a bit of a blessing and a curse.
Adorning the rim of the earcups are a mélange of buttons, all distinctly chunky and square. On the plus side, they’re also supremely clickable, making it easy for you to adjust volume or activate ANC while on the move. I like that.
Speaking of the earcups, it’s worth pointing out that they’re weirdly comfortable. They’re wide, and constructed out of a soft memory foam, and you can easily forget you’re wearing them, making the Mixcder E8’s ideal for long listening sessions and Netflix binges. That’s nothing short of miraculous when you consider how bulky they are.
On the downside, they do get a bit sweaty. And by a bit sweaty, I mean that if you wear them in the middle of a heatwave, they’re liable to end up smelling like the inside of Tyson Fury’s boxing gloves.
One frustration I had with the Mixcder E8 is they don’t fold particularly well. Although they’re sufficiently rugged to be thrown into a backpack, they do take up a fair bit of space, whch is something most travellers will be wary of.
That said, if you choose to use the included carry case, it’s a bit of a moot point, as, in terms of dimensions, it’s roughly on par with what you’ll see with other brands. The carry case included with the Anker Soundcore Space NC’s is roughly the same size as the Mixcder E8’s, for example.
Inside the carry case, you’ll find the usual assorted gubbins. This includes an instruction manual, microUSB cable, and a 3.5mm audio cable.
The latter comes in pretty handy. The Mixcder E8 can run for 18 hours wirelessly, but this already respectable battery life stretches to 40 hours when using a cable.This improved longevity is welcome on long flights, or during times when you don’t want to break from listening to charge your cans.
That nicely brings me on to the Mixcder’s ANC capabilities. When it comes to filtering out outside noise, these do a fairly decent job. For example, I recently flew across Europe in an antiquated Boeing 737, and it managed to filter out the throbbing hum from the plane’s aged, wheezing engines.
That said, it copes less well with higher frequencies. If you buy these hoping to filter out the noise from your co-worker’s expensive mechanical keyboard, prepare to be disappointed.
Words and music
So, here’s the most important part: how does the Mixcder E8 stand up from a pure audio perspective?
Eh, for £60 they’re alright, I guess. There are some glaring flaws, but given the price point, they’re forgivable.
One of the tracks I used to evaluate these cans was Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, from her 2014 album 1989. Compared to the rest of Swift’s repertoire, Shake It Off is pretty stripped down, even though it represented a major departure from her usual Country-tinged fare.
The song opens with a punchy drumbeat provided by Swedish producer Shellback, who effortlessly blends cymballs and bass drums. This is accompanied by an unequivocally catchy brass hook.
Although the E8’s did a decent job at reproducing the lower notes, it unfortunately didn’t quite follow through in the highs-and-mids.
I observed the same profile in tracks like Smells Like Teen Spirit, from Seattle’s grunge legends, Nirvana. Although the bassline was clear and punchy, even at higher decibels, everything else felt fairly flat and sterile.
It’s worth noting that activating ANC has a discernible influence on the levels of tracks. In addition to filtering outside noise, it also emphasizes the highs-and-mids. This doesn’t always sound good.
The Mixcder E8 packs a microphone that allows you to place phone calls hands-free. I haven’t really got any criticisms here. In my experience of using the cans, the recipient was always able to clearly discern what I was saying.
The Mixcder E8 is a bit of a mixed bag (pun intended), but there’s a fair bit I actually liked. To recap:
It’s cheap as chips
Decent battery life
Solid bass performance
Good call quality
ANC that does a decent job of filtering out ambient noise.
That said, there were a fair few letdowns. The most significant ones are below:
Mid-to-high performance blows.
ANC struggles to filter out higher pitches
It’s ugly as sin.
Despite that, I’d still recommend it. Despite its many warts, the Mixcder E8 represents solid value for money. That said, there’s stiff competition within its price bracket, particularly from insurgent brands like Taotronics and Anker. Both companies have released compelling ANC-equipped headsets in recent months, which we reviewed and loved.
With this in mind, before you drop down your hard-earned cash for the E8’s, I’d strongly encourage you to check out the competition.
You can grab the Mixcder E8’s on Amazon in the UK. It’s also available to purchase in Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. Alas, the E8’s aren’t currently available on Amazon US. If you’re based in the States and are tempted to import a pair, remember to factor customs duties into the overall price.
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