The Daily Populous

Wednesday October 3rd, 2018 morning edition

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In California, bots will need to identify themselves thanks to a new bill just signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The measure bans automated accounts from pretending to be real people in order to "incentivize a purchase or sale of goods or services in a commercial transaction or to influence a vote in an election," effective July 1, 2019.

Automated accounts will still be able to interact with users, but they will have to disclose that they are not, in fact, humans, according to NBC.

Bots were a big problem during the 2016 election and something platforms like Twitter have been trying to combat.

But many of these bot campaigns originate overseas—particularly in Russia, according to US officials—so it's unlikely a California law will deter foreign actors from unleashing their bots.

The bot bill, meanwhile, was somewhat overshadowed by the net neutrality legislation Gov. Brown signed this week.

It basically adopts the now-defunct Obama-era internet regulations and applies them to California, which prompted a lawsuit from the Trump administration. »

The Rise of Netflix Competitors Has Pushed Consumers Back Toward Piracy

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A new study shows that after years of declines, BitTorrent usage and piracy is on the rise again.

But there’s another interesting tidbit buried in the firm’s report: after years of steady decline, BitTorrent usage is once again growing.

Back in 2011, Sandvine stated that BitTorrent accounted for 52.01% of upstream traffic on fixed broadband networks in North America. »

Biologists Finally Solve Mystery of Why Elephants Have Wrinkled Skin

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If you focus directly on the skin of an African elephant, you can transport yourself far away from the 11-foot-tall beast.

But as a new study in Nature Communications shows, those cracks aren’t there because the elephant is in need of a whole lot of lotion.

Using microscopy and computer modeling, they explain that the skin is not a mess of wrinkles but rather an important pattern of intricate cracks that make it possible for animals to stay cool and protect themselves from parasites. »