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Snowden!
July 18, 2014
Handout/Getty Images

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden recently gave an interview to The Guardian in which he held court on a wide array of issues surrounding the surveillance state. He also gave some insight into what it's like to have the world's digital communications at your fingertips — including nude pictures, which he says are treated as "fringe benefits" of being a spy.

You've got young enlisted guys, 18 to 22. They've suddenly thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility, where they now have access to all of your private records. Now, in the course of their daily work, they stumble across something that is completely unrelated to their work in any sort of necessary sense. For example: an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation, but they're extremely attractive. So what do they do? They turn around in their chair, and they show their coworker. And their coworker says, "Oh, hey, that's great. Send that to Bill down the way." And then Bill sends it to George, George sends it to Tom, and sooner or later, this person's whole life has been seen by all of these other people. It's never reported. Nobody ever knows about it, because the auditing of these systems is incredibly weak. [The Guardian]

The moral of the story: don't send pictures of yourself having sex into the ether. But you knew that already. Right? (h/t BoingBoing) Ryu Spaeth

Europe's Migration Crisis
6:07 a.m. ET

On Friday, Austrian police raised the number of dead bodies found Thursday inside a refrigerated truck outside Vienna to 71, including eight women, three children, and one infant. At least some of the dead were migrants from Syria, and all of them likely suffocated to death, said Hans Peter Doskozil, the police chief in Austria's eastern Burgenland province. Hungarian police detained seven suspects overnight, he added, and arrested three of them: two Bulgarians and one suspect with Hungarian identity papers.

The grisly discovery was made as European Union leaders were meeting in Vienna to discuss the largest wave of migration in Europe since World War II. The summit concluded without any decisions and amid protestations from Serbia and Macedonia that other EU countries aren't doing enough to help the influx of migrants who have started entering Europe through the Balkans. Peter Weber

Crime and punishment
5:06 a.m. ET
Erika Santelices/AFP/Getty Images

The Vatican said that Jozef Wesolowski, a defrocked former archbishop and Holy See ambassador to the Dominican Republic, was found dead in his room at the Vatican early Friday. Wesolowski, born in Poland, had been scheduled to stand trial last month at a Vatican court to face sex abuse and child pornography charges related to his time in the Dominican Republic. The trial — the first Vatican civil trial for sex abuse — was postponed after Wesolowski fell ill.

Wesolowski's death appears to be from natural causes, the Vatican said, but the church prosecutor has ordered an autopsy for later today. Peter Weber

last night on late night
4:29 a.m. ET

The 2016 presidential race is already saltier than normal, thanks mostly to Donald Trump. But Trump's copious insults are safe for work and family-friendly publications. In this week's installment of "Unnecessary Censorship," Jimmy Kimmel Live uses its well-placed [bleeps] to make Trump's bragging, Ted Cruz's thoughts on political correctness, the Jeb Bush campaign's plans, and a fan of President Obama all sound more vulgar than they were. It's a long way until the first vote is cast, so a hat-tip to Team Kimmel for making the ride that much more enjoyable. Peter Weber

Trump Fever
3:46 a.m. ET

"Ordinarily, people running for president tell us what they will do if they win," said Jimmy Kimmel on Thursday's Kimmel Live. Donald Trump? Not so much. "Apart from his plan to build a wall to keep the Mexicans out, we know absolutely nothing about what he is planning to do as president." To highlight Trump's "much broader approach," the Kimmel crew came up with an ad for Trump, and it is comically, perhaps sadly, plausible. Example: "Donald Trump: A man with a vision for America. Not a specific vision, a great vision, the best vision." You can watch the rest below. Peter Weber

Squares
3:26 a.m. ET

Haters of square photos, your long nightmare is over. On Thursday, Instagram announced that users of its iOS and Android apps will finally be able to post photos and videos in landscape and portrait orientations.

Love the squares? Don't worry. "Square format has been and always will be part of who we are," Instagram said in a blog post. "That said, the visual story you're trying to tell should always come first, and we want to make it simple and fun for you to share moments just the way you want to." You can download the new versions of Instagram, with the new format button, right now.

Why could you only share square photos earlier? "The story we've heard is it looked beautiful, and it looked really nice in feed when they were mocking it up," Ashley Yuki, the Instagram Product Manager who pushed through the new options, tells TechCrunch. Now you know. Peter Weber

Your Daily Science Lesson
2:55 a.m. ET

Starting about 542 million years ago, a huge diversity of new animals appeared in the Earth's oceans, continuing over a 20 million year stretch known as the Cambrian Period. "The Cambrian explosion was really biology's Big Bang," Andrew Parker, a professor of life science at London's Natural History Museum, tells The Economist in the video below. "Life literally exploded." And nobody is quite sure why.

In just under 11 minutes, The Economist provides a crash course on the Cambrian explosion, talking to Parker and two other experts in the field, trying out different theories: A sharp increase in oxygen levels in the water, new nutrients from melting glaciers, evolutionary innovation in nervous systems and vision, the rise of more capable predators, perhaps some catastrophic explosion that wiped out the shell-less creatures who lived before. But "from the human point of view," The Economist notes, "the significance of the Cambrian explosion is that homo sapiens wouldn't be here if it hadn't happened." If you're curious, watch the video below. Peter Weber

a date with destiny
2:11 a.m. ET

In Idaho, investigators are still on the hunt for an enamored teen who used a cliffside to ask a girl on a date.

Sometime in May, the unknown vandal scribbled, "Destiny, Prom?" in huge letters on the Black Cliffs climbing area outside of Boise. Destiny may have thought this was a sweet gesture, but the authorities aren't swooning. "Whoever did this did a lot of damage aesthetically and culturally," Patrick Orr, spokesman for the Ada County Sheriff's Office, told KBOI.

Deputies decided to try to nab the mysterious vandal by finding Destiny. They have interviewed over a dozen girls with the name and checked a few leads, but none have panned out. Investigators say they are hopeful that with school being back in session, they'll get a break in the case. If the enigmatic delinquent is ever found, they could face a misdemeanor charge of injury by graffiti, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Destiny, if you're reading this, turn him in. Vandal, if you're reading this, Google "ways to ask a girl to prom without destroying nature in the process." Catherine Garcia

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