The Brazilian government will not accept money offered by the G7 group of leading economic powers to fight fires raging in the Amazon rainforest (BBC News). It gave no reason for turning down the $22 million (£18m) fund – a pittance given the global importance of the Amazon and the vast wealth of the G7 nations – but Brazil’s leadership has indicated that it resents foreign interference in what it regards as purely internal affairs.
Brazil denies that its forest fires represent a major crisis, although its president, Jair Bolsonaro, authorised military fire-fighting action following an international outcry. Scientists say there’s no doubt that the fires are the result of deliberate deforestation and Bolsonaro’s anti-environmentalist attitudes are widely regarded as encouraging illegal forest burning.
YouTube users in Hong Kong are now being shown info bars that note when a video is funded by a state government (TechCrunch). Launched in the wake of a Chinese state propaganda campaign against protests in Hong Kong, it’s the first time the feature has appeared in the region, although it began rolling out in early 2018 in the United States, with labels informing viewers that “RT is funded in whole or in part by the Russian government” and “BBC is a British public broadcast service”. The information panel is listed as available in ten other countries, including the UK, but doesn’t universally appear.
A new messaging app for close friends on Instagram is reportedly being tested internally at Facebook (The Verge). Threads is described as a companion app to Instagram that, as well as text, photos and videos, also allows users to share data such as their location, speed, and battery life with their most intimate contacts. Instagram declined to comment, but the app is thought to be Facebook’s latest attempt to break into rival Snapchat’s youth market.
Donald Trump. Emmanuel Macron. Boris Johnson. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) (WIRED). What do these people have in common? They all have used the online platform NationBuilder to organise political campaigns. In recent years, the technology developed by the Los Angeles-based company has become de rigueur for every politician hoping to start a grassroots movement, and piggyback on it to victory.
Coming out today, Control, a new third-person action-adventure game from Remedy Entertainment, the creators of cult classics including Max Payne, draws inspiration from the SCP Foundation wiki – a vast collaborative fiction project written by hundreds of contributors (WIRED).
The website is full of hundreds of crowd-sourced entries about objects and strange entities that violate natural law. Entries, which are written in the deadpan style of police reports, include SCP-2598, a large yellow underwing moth that only communicates in American Morse code or SCP-087, an endless, pitch black platform staircase where a distressed child can be heard calling for help. Some entries are nightmare fuel, while others are good for a quick laugh.