holiday scams, artificial intelligence, ai, cybercrime
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How AI Plays Santa for Holiday Scammers (Maria)

The author writes, “The end-of-year holiday shopping season has long been a popular time for cyberattacks and online scams targeting retailers and shoppers. Scammers can use ChatGPT and other AI chatbots to speed up the development of their phishing lures to launch even more attacks, experts warn. … But the cybercriminals behind these schemes often aren’t native English speakers, leaving their emails littered with typos and other grammatical errors that consumers can easily detect. With AI chatbots, those grammatical errors can be greatly reduced — making it harder for consumers to detect fraudulent offers.”

‘Thank God They Walked Out’: Oregon’s Partisan Divide Highlights Heightened Animosity in Statehouses (DonkeyHotey)

From Politico: “Ten Oregon Republican senators may face the end of their legislative careers for a six-week legislative walkout aimed at thwarting what they see as a radical Democratic agenda on guns, abortion and transgender health care. The lawmakers are banned from running for reelection for accumulating at least 10 unexcused absences during this year’s legislative session.”

Democrats Introduce Bills to Ban Hedge Funds From Single-Family Housing Market (Russ)

The author writes, “Democratic lawmakers in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have introduced bills in their respective chambers designed to ban hedge funds from participating in the single-family housing market, citing supply and affordability challenges as justification.”

A Son Died, His Parents Tried to Sue. How US Courts Protect Big Pharma (Reader Andrew)

The authors write, “Merck’s best-selling asthma medicine, Singulair, has been linked for years to suicides and psychiatric problems, often in children. But lawsuits over the drug are stymied by one of corporate America’s most effective liability shields: the doctrine of federal preemption.”

Seattle Promised Free College. How’s It Working Out? (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “In 2015, Tennessee became the first state in the nation to promise a free community-college education to every high school graduate, regardless of income or GPA. Students only had to complete four simple paperwork steps, commit to going to school full time and start classes the fall after they graduated. Three years later, Seattle voters passed a $600 million education levy that included $40 million to launch a similar program called Seattle Promise. So far, the results of Seattle’s program are strong.”

How Mounting Demand for Rubber Is Driving Tropical Forest Loss (Laura)

From Yale Environment 360: “The growing market for rubber is a major, but largely overlooked, cause of tropical deforestation, new analysis shows. Most of the rubber goes to produce tires, more than 2 billion a year, and experts warn the transition to electric vehicles could accelerate rubber use.”

Here’s Scientific Proof Your Cat Will Eat Almost Anything (Reader Jim)

From Wired: “Don’t let their fluff fool you: Your cat was built for murder. Felines, no matter how chonky, eepy, or boopable, are remarkably adaptable obligate carnivores, down to eat just about anything that fits in their mouth. Well-intentioned (or … threatening?) gifts of dead birds, rats, and lizards are familiar to outdoor cat owners — even my shockingly uncoordinated indoor cat has killed a spider or two in her day. But an analysis published [yesterday] … reveals that there’s shockingly little that cats don’t eat.”


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