Last week in cyberpunk, civil unrest went viral, took a dive into an inventor’s brain, and were told to wait before we’re able to leap a building in a single bound.
White Nationalists Rally in Virginia
Rightist groups like alt-right Republicans, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and an assortment of White supremacists from across the country gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia for two separate events that were immediately met with counter-protesters.
August 11, at 8 p.m., white nationalist darling and punchable face Richard Spencer, led a march of about 250 torch-wielding white males, and considerably fewer women, to the Nameless Field on the University of Virginia campus. Their formation and unison chants of Nazi slogans such as “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us” indicate a strategic effort for an unplanned event. They were quickly confronted by a few dozen students from the university who tried to match the voices of hundreds with counter chants before the scene descended into violence and police responded.
The “Unite the Right” rally began Saturday morning in Emancipation Park, and this time the gaggle of mostly unarmed White supremacists that gathered at the university the night before arrived with shields, clubs, and automatic firearms. Counter-protesters, who had received permits from the city to occupy the park as well, included students, residents, Black Lives Matter, civil rights groups, and religious organizations. Antifa was also in attendance, bringing their own assortment of improvised weapons.
Like the night before, chants turned to confrontations and eventually spiraled out of control into violent clashes. What differed was the size of both crowds and the “Unite the Right’s” organizers inability or unwillingness to keep to the agreed-upon protest route. According to Charlottesville Police Chief Al S. Thomas Jr., who knew there’d be two demonstrations at the park that Saturday, “Unite the Right” members failed to keep to their designated entrance and purposefully crossed over to the counter-protester’s area, which initiated the disparate fights that bled throughout the park.
Before noon, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency as the violent clashes were too numerous for police to contain. State troopers Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Berke M.M. Bates died in a helicopter crash while covering the scene below, and one Unite the Right member drove his car into a group of counter-protesters on 4th Street, injuring 19 and killing Heather Heyer, a paralegal and long-time activist.
Spotify Pulls White Supremacist Music From its Service
Following violence in Charlottesville, public anger against White supremacists has reached new highs. Spotify seems to be receptive to the outcry and is now actively pulling artists connected to White supremacy. While Spotify has yet to publish an official list of the bands it has blocked thus far they’ve stated that “Illegal content or material that favors hatred or incites violence against race, religion, sexuality or the like is not tolerated by us.”
Moving forward, Spotify has stated that it will be looking into implementing new measures that will proactively block such music from passing initial submission to the streaming service.
Matthew Prince Calls Neo-Nazis Assholes, Terminates Their Website
Streaming services pulling songs is one thing, but web hosts are going a step further. Cloudflare has relaxed its neutral stance on content and decided to shutdown the neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer.
In an interview with Gizmodo, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince said “This was my decision. This is not Cloudflare’s general policy now, going forward.” Prince further clarified his decision to terminate the site with an internal email that preceded a more thorough blog post on the importance for hosts to remain neutral with respect to the sites they service.
So why silence neo-Nazis using his company to host their site? In addition to calling White supremacists as a group “assholes,” it seems Prince did not appreciate the association The Daily Stormer was making with Cloudflare: “The Daily Stormer site was bragging on their bulletin boards about how Cloudflare was one of them and that is the opposite of everything we believe. That was the tipping point for me.”
Ukrainian Malware Coder Cooperating With FBI
“Profexer” made a name for himself selling malware on the dark web, but soon after the 2016 US elections he suddenly went silent. It was in January that 17 US intelligence agencies made public their consensus that Russia had been behind the DNC hacks of last summer. Included in this reveal was the discovery of malware that originated in Ukraine.
According to a report from the New York Times, Profexer removed himself from the dark web after learning that malware he coded was cited in connection with the DNC hacks. He turned himself in to Ukrainian police earlier this year, and now is reportedly a witness for the FBI in its investigation into Russian hacking.
“I don’t know what will happen,” Profexer told his online community before surrendering himself, “It won’t be pleasant. But I’m still alive.”
At this time it’s unclear if Profexer had knowingly worked for Russian intelligence, allied hacker group Fancy Bear, Cozy Bear, or how they got possession of his malware.
Ukrainian officials have declined to identify Profexer to reporters.
Thai Activist Jailed After Sharing King’s Facebook Page
Student activist Jatupat Boonpattaraksa has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison after sharing a link to King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s Facebook profile. The profile, identified by reporters with BBC Thai, falls under criticism of the Monarchy, which put Boonpattaraksa in direct violation of Thailand’s lese-majeste laws. After months battling the charge in court, he pled guilty this week to avoid a potential 15-year sentence if convicted at trial.
UPS is Training Drivers in VR
While many businesses are looking for ways to ditch human drivers in favor of autonomous vehicles, UPS sees the future in VR. Starting in September, UPS will begin training its student drivers with an HTC Vive headset and a simulation that presents several road hazards they may have to deal with while on the job. This replaces the company’s current use of touchscreen devices in their driving schools. Depending on the success of this pilot program, UPS plans on expanding VR training to other departments.
HBO Hacked Again, Accidentally Leaks Game of Thrones Episode
HBO can’t get a break.
The ongoing extortion from hackers, who are in possession of unaired shows, scripts, proprietary tools, and personal credentials, was made worse this week when HBO’s social media accounts were compromised by security group OurMine. This Saudi hacker group claims they aren’t malicious, which seems to be consistent with their activity, but their method of advertising involves compromising social media accounts of high profile people and business websites to advertise their security services.
If they keep to their previous methods HBO has potentially nothing to fear from OurMine, but for a company trying to reassure its employees and customers who’ve handed over their credit card information and email this isn’t a good look. And to complicate matters further, HBO Nordic and HBO España published episode six of Game of Thrones ahead of its regularly scheduled Sunday night premiere and is all over torrent sites.
Peter Dinklage Drops Into a Dead Man’s Head in Rememory
If this feels familiar, that’s because it should. Rememory, which may remind some of the Robin Williams film Cutter, though this is presented as much more intense, first made the rounds at Sundance but now it’s ready for full release. In this film Peter Dinklage solves a murder where all the clues are hidden in people’s memories.
Set in a near-future America, Rememory follows the death of a famed inventor (Martin Donovan) in the wake of his creation of a machine that can allow users to extract and view memories. Claiming to be tasked by the inventor’s wife (Julia Ormond), a mysterious man played by Peter Dinklage steals the machine in order to use it to hunt down the inventor’s killer, re-experiencing the lives of those closest to him through the machine.
Cyberpunk Short Films
The Aussie brothers behind the zombie indie Wyrmwood turn their attention towards ghosts taking over smartphones. DAEMONRUNNER is a Ghostbusters what-if powered by rain, steam, and clunky machinery. It’s visceral, gory, and moves far too fast to write anything more about it other than you should stop reading and watch it now.
Escape From North Korea
Since it’s 2017, of course, someone’s come up with the idea to take ’80s nostalgia and fear of nuclear war to make a mashup of old movies and improbable scenarios. Escape from North Korea envisions the far off future of 30 years ago when the US’s last ninja and the President’s daughter must escape the high-tech nation and its Supreme Leader. The Kickstarter campaign for this short film is still in the early stages but the presentation gives you an idea of the big ideas Key Thing Pictures has in mind. The official synopsis is:
In a distant 1980’s future, America’s Last Ninja and the President’s Daughter must Escape from a hyper-advanced North Korea.
This 30 minute onslaught on your senses is inspired by the wacky imagination of the 80’s. It pays homage to films like Escape from New York, Big Trouble in Little China, and Game of Death.
It’s wall to wall action with the Ninja facing off against genetically-enhanced super-soldiers, kung fu masters, monstrous beasts, and of course the Supreme Leader. Parodying several classics, this adventure packs some nostalgic punches wrapped together with some brand new kicks!
The plot follows Russell Kang, the last of the American Ninja Task force. The President of the United States has sent him deep behind cyber-punk, enemy lines into North Korea. There lies the most deadly and advanced weaponry in the world. The Supreme Leader has the President’s Daughter held captive at the top of the Ryugyong tower. In homage to The Game of Death, our hero must battle a different adversary on each level from bottom to top. If successful, only then will he reach the President’s Daughter who proves she’s more than just a damsel in distress. Together they team up to face off against the most powerful opponent of them all, The Supreme Leader.
You can find the Kickstarter here.
David Hayter and John Carpenter
The man behind Naked and Solid Snake, David Hayter, spoke at the Manchester MCM Comic con this week where he revealed that he’s started production on a new series with film legend John Carpenter. While there aren’t many details to share, you can hear his excitement when it comes to working with Carpenter, a director that hasn’t been behind the camera in about seven years.
Cyberpunk Video Games
Crackdown 3 Pushed Back to 2018
If Terry Crews shouted you into excitement over Crackdown 3, you may want to conserve your energy. Microsoft has announced that its futuristic supercop simulator has been delayed from this November to Q1 2018. In a statement to Polygon, Microsoft representatives said they “want to make sure to deliver the right game, with the right quality, and at the right time. Crackdown 3 is a hugely ambitious game and we want to ensure we deliver the right experiences all the way through every part of the game, whether that’s campaign, co-op multiplayer or our competitive multiplayer mode, Wrecking Zone.”
This isn’t the first time Crackdown 3 has been delayed. When it was first announced in 2014 the game was slated for an early 2016 release, and now that it’s delayed there are questions over what the Xbox One X will have to offer when it launches this holiday season.
The Division 1.7 Update
If our real dystopia has got you down, remember there’s still fun to be had in a near-apocalyptic pandemic. Tom Clancy’s The Division received its 1.7 update this week, bringing new customization, combat, and tactical options and refinement to the game. But the real standout in this update is a modifier affecting all of Manhattan. The Global Events system aims to bring new events each month that will influence the entire map as agents hunt for unique gear.
Full patch notes can be read here.
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