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Here are 15 privacy settings you should change from defaults, from Linkedin to cellphones to smart TVs

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The Washington Post rounds up 15 privacy defaults that no one in their right mind would want to leave as-is, and provides direct links to change 'em (hilariously and predictably, Verizon/Oath/Yahoo's privacy settings dashboard times out when you try to load it) -- once you're done with that, go back and follow his links to unfuck the privacy defaults for Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and #DeleteFacebook. (via Reddit)

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Frozen Bubble Formations and Shards of Snow Captured in Alaska’s Swamps and Ponds by Ryota Kajita

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Japanese photographer Ryota Kajita has captured the strange ice patterns of Alaska’s interior swamps and ponds for the last eight years as a part of his Ice Formations series. The ephemeral structures look like fanciful desserts discovered in the wild, with frozen shavings lightly dusting the formations’ edges.

“Photography enables me to pay attention to those moments and subjects, take time to observe them and help me to understand my surroundings more intimately,” Ryota tells Colossal. “Through photographs, nature reveals its subtle beauty to me. In the Ice Formations series, I hope to share these transient and small creations of nature with others.”

Images from the series are included in a group exhibition at the Mt. Rokko Photographeric Garden through July 30, 2018. You can see more of the Alaska-based photographer’s explorations on Facebook and Instagram.

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The last day has come! Here is my final #mermay post, it's the colored-in version of my Gibson-girl-inspired mermaid sketch from a few weeks ago. Did you guys enjoy mermay?🧜 . . . #artistsoninstagram #ipadproart #procreate #loish #mermay2018

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The last day has come! Here is my final #mermay post, it's the colored-in version of my Gibson-girl-inspired mermaid sketch from a few weeks ago. Did you guys enjoy mermay?🧜 . . . #artistsoninstagram #ipadproart #procreate #loish #mermay2018

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Raccoon climbs up side of skyscraper as world watches with baited breath, then is captured and released to wild

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A raccoon in Minnesota got its 15 minutes of fame after climbing up the side of a skyscraper Tuesday. The world watched online as the adorable little trash panda scaled more than 25 stories of St. Paul's UBS building.

The New York Times:

It all started when maintenance workers at an office tower in downtown St. Paul, Minn., found the raccoon curled up on a ledge on Tuesday afternoon. After it was roused, the creature took off — and scaled the side of the building. An audience gathered on the street below — and on Twitter — to watch the hourslong attempt to stop it. While some cheered for the animal, others warned that they were vicious.

“Do not be fooled by their attempts to be cute,” one user wrote. “This building climbing scheme was just part of their nefarious plot to take over the world. Stay vigilant!”

Officials managed to bait and trap the raccoon, and they released it into the wild.

Earlier, though, the outcome was far from certain.

NPR:

The raccoon was spotted more than 20 stories above street level, in a downtown escapade that our colleagues at Minnesota Public Radio tracked closely — it was, after all, just across the street from them, giving them front-row seats as the animal avoided death and capture with equal aplomb.

Dubbed the #mprraccoon on Twitter, the raccoon drew thousands of breathless observers as it scampered, scaled and explored its unlikely high-rise habitat. Its occasional naps were followed closely, analyzed for clues about its mental state, hopes and dreams.

https://twitter.com/bigeps/status/1006803853185036290

Wildlife Management Services safely caught the critter by luring it with cat food early on Wednesday morning. https://twitter.com/ubs_plaza/status/1006876321346211840?

Then someone made this video, set to the Mission Impossible theme, of the day's dramatic events. https://twitter.com/alicialewisKARE/status/1006827600277397504

Suzanne MacDonald, a raccoon behavior expert at York University in Toronto, suggests that the #mprraccoon made the unwise climb due to poor impulse control:

"Raccoons don't think ahead very much, so raccoons don't have very good impulse control," she said, admitting she could barely sleep she was so worried about the animal. "I don't think the raccoon realized when it started climbing what it was in for."

The raccoon's journey echoes that of other people. CNN:

This animal drama may seem trivial, but the emotion and attention it aroused carry lessons for us in America today. For many other small creatures are now in the midst of journeys they never expected to take, which are unlikely to have the good outcome of #MPRraccoon's. I am thinking of the children of migrant families who in the last month, in accordance with a new policy of President Donald Trump's administration, have been forcibly separated from all that is familiar to them, who are on their own journeys of survival, too terrified to fully rest, and often too young to understand what is happening to them and why.
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The UN's top free speech expert just denounced the new EU copyright plan as a "potential violation of international human rights law"

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David Kaye (previously) is the UN's Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression; he just released a detailed report on the catastrophic free speech implications of Article 13, the EU's proposed copyright rule that would make sites filter everything their users post to check for copyright violations. (more…)

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Gifted clarinetist's prestigious scholarship sabotaged by ex-girlfriend

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Eric Abramovitz is a gifted musician, who can currently be found fulfilling the role of associate principal/E flat clarinetist at the Toronto Symphony: a position that thousands of musicians around the world would kill for. Back in 2014, he applied for another position that these same musicians would think kill-worthy, too: a placement with the Colburn Conservatory as a student. The conservatory is insanely hard to get into – only two students are accepted a year. When Abramovitz received an email from the Conservatory that denied him a spot with them, along with the scholarship he had applied for, he was gutted like a fish: music was his life and being able to study under renowned clarinet instructor Yehuda Gilad was a dream that was so close to coming true. To have it snatched away? Ouch.

But here’s the thing: Abramovitz was accepted into the program, scholarship and all. His girlfriend at the time, fellow musician Jennifer Lee, didn’t want him to leave her to further his education. So, she did what any young sociopath in love would do: she accessed his email account and deleted the acceptance message from the Colburn Conservatory. Next, she opened up a fake Gmail account in Yehuda Gilad’s name and used it to write to Abramovitz, saying, more or less, "tough shit, keep playing music, but you won't being doing it at the Colburn School." Pretending to be Gilad, Lee offered her sweet baboo the chance to attend one of Gilead’s other classes at the University of Southern California, knowing full well that he would not be able to afford the tuition required to do so.

But that didn’t stop Abramovitz from studying under Yehuda Gilad.

A few months later, he auditioned for a program that would give him access to the teacher of his dreams. By that time, he’d broken up with Lee, and was ready to go where ever his career as a musician would take him. Abramovitz was accepted into the program. Upon finally meeting Gilad, he asked him why he had been rejected by the Colburn Conservatory.

From The National Post:

"It was at his second audition before Gilad, in which they had a brief and strange interaction, when Gilad said, 'Why did you reject me?' "It was a fair question. As Abramovitz put it, 'You don't reject him.' But having done nothing of the sort, Abramovitz asked in return, 'Why did you reject me?'

"They could not sort it out then and there, but over time, the wonder lingered. Another student of Gilad's asked him about it. Eventually, Abramovitz forwarded the fake [rejection] email to Gilad, who replied: 'I've never seen that in my life.'

"'That's when I knew that something underhanded was afoot,' Abramovitz said. One day in 2015, he and a friend set about trying to gain access to the fake email account, and because Abramovitz and Lee once shared a computer, he knew one of her passwords, which he tried.

"'Miraculously, it logged right in,' he said. Her email was listed as the recovery email, her phone was the recovery phone. 'We felt like Sherlock Holmes.'"

Holy shit.

So, flash forward to the present: Abramovitz sued his ex-girlfirend, who didn’t bother to turn up in court to defend herself (honestly though, would you?) over the loss of his scholarship and the emotional torment that she had put him through. The judge presiding over the case awarded Abramovitz $260,000 USD in damages, which translates into $350,000 Canadian.

From NPR:

A judge in Ontario concluded that he lost at least that much, between the scholarship money he missed out on and the delay to his musical career. The judge added an additional $25,000 Canadian as punishment for "morally reprehensible conduct" and another $25,000 in damages for "the incompensable personal loss suffered by Mr Abramovitz by having a closely held personal dream snatched from him by a person he trusted."

So yeah: change your email passwords frequently and be careful of who you provide access to your account. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCobEQI-OBs

Image via MaxPixel

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