In his dystopian novel Splinterlands, John Feffer looks ahead to life on planet earth in the year 2050. The signs of societal breakdown in the not-so-distant future, if we look, are already apparent in our world today. Feffer follows them to their logical conclusion. The climate is at war with the human species and every other species. The European Union, overrun with climate refugees, has disintegrated. China and Russia have folded in on themselves, as has the United States, where fractious and violent militias and gangs battle over diminishing resources.
For years people have noticed a funny thing about Facebook's ubiquitous Like button. It has been sending data to Facebook tracking the sites you visit. Each time details of the tracking were revealed, Facebook promised that it wasn't using the data for any commercial purposes. No longer. Last week, Facebook announced it will start using its Like button and similar tools to track people across the Internet for advertising purposes. Here is the long history of the revelations and Facebook's denials: Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg introduces the "transformative" Like button… April 21, 2010 – Facebook introduces the "Like" button in 2010 at its F8 developer conference. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg declares that it will be "the most transformative thing we've ever done for the Web."
The maker of a drone that fires pepper spray bullets says it has received its first order for the machine. South Africa-based Desert Wolf told the BBC it had secured the sale of 25 units to a mining company after showing off the tech at a trade show. It is marketing the device as a "riot control copter" that can tackle crowds "without endangering the lives of security staff". But the International Trade Union Confederation is horrified by the idea. "This is a deeply disturbing and repugnant development and we are convinced that any reasonable government will move quickly to stop the deployment of advanced battlefield technology on workers or indeed the public involved in legitimate protests and demonstrations," said spokesman Tim Noonan. He added that the ITUC would now try to identify which company had ordered the drones.