Cornell students create Quarantine Buddy website to match friends

“You come on any time,” Benkendorf said from Sunrise, Fla. “I’ve got a dog you can play with. I’ve got a spare room. Anytime you need a vacation. If they close you down again, Stacie, you’re welcome.”

Weldon and Benkendorf have never met in-person, but over the past four months they’ve developed a friendship after matching with each other on a website. Quarantine Buddy, founded by two Cornell University students in April, matches people from around the world based on their background and interests, and they meet virtually.

The website has helped more than 50,000 people — spanning all 50 U.S. states and more than 100 countries — build friendships while stuck at home.

“We kind of realized how lonely and isolating this can be for so many people,” said Jordyn Goldzweig, a Quarantine Buddy co-founder. “The pandemic itself really brought out the fact that a lot of people are isolated, and even though we have technology, people aren’t utilizing it to meet other people. We really wanted to do our part.”

In March, Goldzweig and co-founder Sam Brickman left Cornell for their respective New Jersey and New York homes due to the coronavirus outbreak. A few weeks later, the junior computer science majors met with one of their professors, Pam Silverstein, on Zoom. After discussing a project, Silverstein expressed how thankful she was to speak with someone, because she hadn’t left her house in about a week.

Goldzweig and Brickman have worked on multiple projects together, including an application last year called “Zing” that connects classmates. They expanded that idea to assist people in situations such as Silverstein’s.

They spent two all-nighters shaping the website, staying awake on coffee and electronic dance music. They created a survey with nine questions that allows users to customize what they are looking

Disney Plus Reveals GroupWatch Feature So You Can Watch WandaVision With Your Friends

Disney Plus rolled out GroupWatch to US subscribers this week, a feature that allows you to watch any show or movie on the service with friends and family, after rolling out to Canada and New Zealand earlier in September.

Disney Plus GroupWatch works a lot like similar features on other services, like Netflix Party and Amazon Prime Video Watch Party. You and up to 6 other people can sync your screens together to watch a show, sending emoji reactions along with the action in real time. Where GroupWatch stands apart is that you don’t need any extra apps to take advantage of it. Any device that can access Disney+, whether it’s through a website on your computer or an app on a phone or streaming device, can join in for a GroupWatch session.

Here’s how it works:

  • Open up your Disney Plus app or the website and pick out your favorite show. We have lots and lots of suggestions in case you can’t decide.
  • Next to the Play option, you’ll see an icon with three people on it.
  • Tap that icon to get a link that you can send to up to 6 fellow Disney Plus subscribers.
  • Once everyone is in, anyone can start the show.

Right now, interaction is entirely through emoji reactions, though Disney Plus Senior Vice President of Product Management Jerrell B. Jimerson told CNET that a chat option may arrive in the future.

Disney says that GroupWatch will make its way to Europe later this fall.

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If your friends or family have fallen for an internet conspiracy cult, here’s what you should do | QAnon

How do you rescue someone you love from the clutches of an internet conspiracy cult?

Do you maybe tell them that the operator of the “most prominent” website devoted to the unhinged, fact-free QAnon conspiracy theory was recently rumbled as a senior vice-president at Citibank?

According to reports, Jason Gelinas was a “longtime Wall Street IT expert” with a noteworthy professional interest in data mining. He perhaps knew better than most how susceptible people are to advertising when they’re angry and they’re frightened; reports claim he was earning $US3,000 a month from Q-adherents on his Patreon site, and suspected of compiling data on 10 million site visitors willing to believe – without evidence – that a network of Hollywood satanists run vast underground camps where raped children are milked for blood. It’s an unquestioning credulity that would have any marketer salivating.

Alas, the truth has done little to dissuade QAnon believers from the fictions of their conspiracy mythology. Unsurprisingly, the “Pizzagate” conspiracy that was QAnon’s forerunner should have fallen apart when an adherent wielded an assault rifle in a Washington pizzeria because he believed Hillary Clinton and her associates were running a child sex ring in its basement. The gunman found no Clinton, no children and no basement – and yet the themes of the conspiracy endure, and internationally. Yes, we have a QAnon problem in Australia now, too.

The conspiracy is finding ready purchase because those themes are already culturally familiar, sourced from millennia of antisemitic tropes that falsely accuse Jews of drinking the blood of Christian children; it’s no coincidence Jewish identities like George Soros and the Rothschilds are referenced in attacks. The present amplification coincides with the pandemic’s ratcheting up of individual anxiety at the same time it’s obliged people into finding longed-for socialisation on the internet.

FarmVille is leaving Facebook after more than a decade of letting players harvest crops and raise livestock with friends



a group of people standing in front of a building: Player avatars from Zynga's FarmVille 2 are seen on a stairway at the entrance to Zynga headquarters in San Francisco, California April 23, 2013. Robert Galbraith/Reuters


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Player avatars from Zynga’s FarmVille 2 are seen on a stairway at the entrance to Zynga headquarters in San Francisco, California April 23, 2013. Robert Galbraith/Reuters

  • Zynga announced Monday that FarmVille is shutting down on Facebook by the end of the year.
  • The news comes after Facebook announced it would stop supporting games that run on Adobe’s Flash Player by December 31.
  • The farm simulation game launched in 2009 and quickly rose in popularity, drawing millions of online players.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

FarmVille is shutting down on Facebook by the end of the year, Zynga announced Monday.

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The company said the move is due to Adobe’s decision to stop distributing and updating its Flash Player software. Facebook announced in June that it in turn would officially end support for Flash games on December 31, at which point FarmVille users will no longer be able to play the game.

“We’re aware that many of you have been with us since the very beginning, helping to build an incredible global community of players over the years who’ve enjoyed this game just as much as we have,” Zynga said in a blog post. “For that we say thank you.”

Players will be able to make in-app purchases until November 17, per the company. After that date, the game’s payment system will be deactivated.

FarmVille launched in 2009 and quickly rose in popularity, gaining millions of users and turning a nice profit for gaming giant Zynga. The farm simulation game allows users to plant, grow, and harvest crops, and raise livestock, and the company reported it had the most daily active users of any game on Facebook until 2010. But the social network giant made changes to its platform in 2010 that toppled