Shared posts

19 Aug 19:50

Plans leak showing Google’s YouTube streaming plan called ‘Music Key’

by Dan Bartram
youtube-logo

YouTube has been rumoured for a while to be exploring the music streaming business and it looks like plans for Google to make such a service happen have leaked early. Due to be called YouTube Music Key, the service is set to be aligned with a renamed Google Play Music Key, and will cost the... Read more »

The post Plans leak showing Google’s YouTube streaming plan called ‘Music Key’ appeared first on AndroidGuys.

19 Aug 19:18

Manul – the Cat that Time Forgot

by RJ Evans
Have you ever wanted to take a trip through time to see what animals looked like millions of years ago? When it comes to cats there is little or no need.  This beautiful specimen is a Manul, otherwise known as Pallas’s Cat.  About twelve million years ago it was one of the first two modern cats to evolve and it hasn’t changed since. The other species, Martelli’s Cat, is extinct so what you are looking at here is a unique window in to the past of modern cats.

Although the Manul is only the size of the domestic cat, reaching about 26 inches in length its appearance makes it appear somewhat larger.  It is stocky and has very lengthy, thick fur, which gives it, perhaps to human eyes, an unintentional appearance of feline rotundity.  Yet although it appears stout and somewhat ungainly it has a natural elegance and poise – exactly what you would expect from the genus Felis in other words.  Plus it can certainly look after itself in a fight!

The main reason for its survival throughout the ages has been its isolation. In the wild it lives on the Asian steppes at substantial heights – up to 13,000 feet.  Based in India, Pakistan, western China and Mongolia as well as Afghanistan and Turkemistan, it has even been discovered recently in the wilds of the Sayan region of Siberia. In these places it prefers rocky areas, semidesert and barren hillsides.  In other words places where we are less likely to live – but even having said that you will no doubt be able to hazard a guess which species is the Manul’s greatest enemy.

Take a close look at the eyes of the Manul.  Do you see a difference between it and the domestic cat? That’s right, the pupils of the Manul are round, not slit-like.  Proportionally too, the legs are smaller than cats we know and they can’t run anywhere near as quickly.  As for the ears, well, when you actually can catch sight of them they are very low and much further apart than you would see in a domestic cat.

It also has a much shorter face than other cats, which makes its face look flattened.  Some people, when they see their first Manus mistakenly believe that it is a monkey because of its facial appearance and bulky looking frame.  It is easier to see why, from some angles.

The Manus has not been studied a great deal in the wild, where it is classified as near threatened.  This is because it is distributed very patchily throughout its territory, not to mention the fact it is still hunted despite protection orders made by the various governments who create human law in its range. Before it was legally protected tens of thousands of Manuls were hunted and killed each year, mostly for their fur.

It is thought that the cat hunts mostly at dawn and dusk where it will feed on small rodents and birds. Ambush and stalking are their favorite methods of conducting a hunt and although they tend to shelter in abandoned burrows in the day they have been seen basking in the sun. In other words, behaviorally they are much like the domesticated moggy that we know and love.

The Manul is a solitary creature and individuals do not tend to meet purposefully when it is outside the breeding season and will avoid the company of others of its kind where possible. When it is threatened it raises and quivers the upper lip, Elvis like, revealing a large canine tooth.

When breeding does happen the male has to get in quickly as oestrus usually only lasts just under two days. It usually births up to six kittens, very rarely a single one, and it is believed that the size of its litters reflect the high rate of mortality the infant cats can expect. Yet they are expected to be able to hunt at sixteen weeks and are very much on their own and independent by six months. Although their life expectancy in the wild is unknown in captivity they have lived to over eleven years.

Don’t rush to your local pet store, however.  The Manul does not domesticate and even if it did they are incredibly hard to breed in captivity with many kittens dying.  This is thought to be because in the wild, due to its isolation, the cat’s immune system did not have a need to develop and so when they come in contact with us and other species, this under-developed immune system lets them down.

Yet as a living, breathing glimpse in to twelve million years of feline history these amazing animals are irreplaceable. Unique is a word which, in this day and age, is mightily overused. Yet these cats are quite simply just that – unique.

18 Aug 21:08

Octopus-Inspired Adaptive Camouflage

This octopus-inspired adaptive camouflage is pretty bad ass. Comments
19 Aug 11:21

Microsoft's Azure cloud restored after suffering a major outage

by Chris Merriman
Microsoft's Azure cloud restored after suffering a major outage

Website backends fail


15 Aug 14:30

1,024 Robots Self-Assemble Into Any Shape You Want

by Francie Diep

photo of Kilobots arranged into a rectangle
At Your Service
Michael Rubenstein, Harvard University

How does one charge 1,000 robots? It would be a pain to plug them all in individually. Luckily, there's an easier way with Kilobots. These little robots have round bodies about the diameter of a quarter, with a metal spring on top and three thin metal legs. To charge them, you push them -- 10 at a time -- against a long charging rack. They all charge at once, as long as each has its spring top and two of its legs touching the rack. "It's kind of like a bumper car charging system," says Mike Rubenstein, who uses a long stick to corral his Kilobots.

Rubenstein is an engineer at Harvard University and a member of the team that invented Kilobots (kilo meaning 1,000). The Harvard team began building simple, cheap robots more than three years ago, with the idea that the machines could be part of a cooperative swarm. They thought about issues such as how to charge a lot of them at once. Now, the engineers have improved the hardware and written software that allows them to send a single command out to 1,024 Kilobots; and in response, the little bots will start shuffling into place to form any solid shape researchers request:

It's kinda creepy, until you realize it takes the robots 12 hours to make a shape. So they have their limitations.

That's not to downplay Rubenstein and his team's accomplishment. This is the first time anybody has been able to direct so many programmable robots at once. "They're definitely on a point on the frontier where nobody else is," Kevin Lynch, an engineer at Northwestern University who studies cooperative robots, tells Popular Science. Previous efforts used somewhere around 100 robots.

The Harvard work is part of a hot field in robotics. Basically, everyone in this field is trying to develop systems in which a large number of robots work together to accomplish a goal ("Robot swarm" is the popular term). The robots should be able to do so in response to just a few commands sent by one person. After that, the robots' own basic algorithms need to be able to dictate how they should act individually to get the big job done. It's maximum robot power with minimum human input.

Lynch offers an idea for what a cooperative robot system could do in the future. What if a person could send a single command to a fleet of drones to search a collapsed building for survivors? The drones could all enter at once, then use their algorithms to decide when to split up, to check different rooms, and to track which rooms have been checked already.

photos of Kilobots self-assembled into K, star and wrench shapes
Kilobots Gathered in Programmed Shapes
Michael Rubenstein, Harvard University

The challenge in building such systems is that there's a limit to how complex each robot can be. For one thing, they must be cheap enough that someone could afford to own hundreds or thousands of them. The Kilobots cost about $14 in parts. Their only sensors are infrared ones that calculate the distance between themselves and their neighbors. That's why the robots always march at the edge of the group, as you can see in the video. They're keeping close to others because if they wander too far, they're blind, unable to see their surroundings or calculate their positions.

Yet swarm robots must also be able to create sophisticated larger effects with their own simple capabilities. "It's an interesting question of how do you go from a desired function -- like if you want them to flock in a particular way or form a particular shape -- how do you go from that to individual rules?" Rubenstein says. Coming up with those rules for the Kilobots, including rules for glitches such as a bot's motor failing, was a major part of the research effort.

Although the Kilobots' shapely 12-hour dances seem far from practical applications, Rubenstein says they could be a step toward robots that self-assemble into specialized shapes when needed. That kind of capability is especially of interest for doing projects in space. Engineers could send up parts of a larger satellite, for example, and count on the pieces to assemble themselves once they've been released into orbit. (Like Ikea furniture, but in space.) The smaller parts could be easier and cheaper to rocket into space than one large satellite.

Lynch adds that the Harvard work is basic research meant to push the field. "You can't say well what it's going to do for me tomorrow in a factory or how am I going to make money on this?" he says. "They're asking new questions that are important."

Rubenstein and his colleagues published their work yesterday in the journal Science.








15 Aug 13:45

This Pill Can Stop HIV

by Breanna Draxler

Truvada Pills
The drug that could end the HIV pandemic is already here. Branded Truvada, this pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) prevents HIV infection by blocking the virus’s ability to replicate. “It’s a big deal,” says Robert Grant, a leading HIV/AIDS investigator at the University of California, San Francisco. “It’s an opportunity for uninfected people to proactively protect themselves.” 

Approximately 50,000 Americans will develop HIV this year. But since Truvada was approved as a PrEP in 2012, only 10,000 patients—or two percent of the 500,000 Americans identified as “high risk” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—have gotten a prescription for it.

Critics have vocalized concerns about side effects. “People have memories of what it was like to be treated with very high doses of drugs in the 1980s,” Grant says. “That lingers on even though HIV medication is much safer than it used to be.” In fact, Truvada has been used to help treat HIV for a decade. But, as with birth control in the 1960s, the concept of a pill regimen for safer sex was stigmatized, triggering a backlash against so-called “Truvada whores.”

So in May, the CDC laid out clear clinical guidelines: High-risk patients should take a daily pill and get an HIV test every three months. Truvada should supplement, not replace, condoms. Results from a 2012 trial showed that when participants took the pill every day, their risk of developing HIV was cut by 92 percent.

Some still balk at paying for preventative medication, though Truvada is covered by insurance. “Price is always an issue,” says Anthony S. Fauci, an immunologist at the National Institutes of Health. “But if you look at the cost of treatment when someone gets infected, it dwarfs the cost of prevention.” 

The next step is coming up with streamlined delivery methods, says Dawn Smith, an epidemiologist at the CDC. A weekly pill or monthly injection could minimize the hassle. And perhaps the stigma, too.

The History Of Safer Sex (The Short Version)

1939: Condoms, issued to soldiers in WWII, gain social ​acceptance.

1960: Oral birth control, a.k.a. “the pill,” hits the market.

1965: A landmark case expands access to contraceptives.

1981: The New York Times runs a story on “rare cancer” in homosexuals.

1984: Scientists identify human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

1993: Hollywood explores the homophobia surrounding HIV and AIDS in Philadelphia.

1994: AIDS becomes the number one cause of death for Americans 25 to 44.

1996: Time magazine names HIV/AIDS researcher David Ho its “Man of the Year.”

2004: Truvada gets FDA approval for treatment of HIV and AIDS.

2013: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launches a competition for a better condom.

2014: Pill-takers proudly wear #TruvadaWhore T-shirts.

This article originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of Popular Science.








15 Aug 15:30

Extreme Rainfall Is The New Normal, And We're Not Ready For It

by Emily Gertz

Detroit Flood.
On August 11, more than 4 inches of rain fell on Detroit in less than a day. Drivers abandoned their cars as many metro area highways turned into lakes.

Six weeks worth of rain fell on greater Detroit on Monday, much of it during afternoon rush hour. Local drainage systems quickly topped out, and the deluge transformed highways into lakes studded with hundreds of stranded drivers and submerged cars. Flooded roads and highways in greater Detroit began to reopen on Wednesday, two days after the storm, according to The Wall Street Journal, but the cleanup and repair is likely to take months.

The flooding came about, most directly, due to very high humidity on Monday combined with a low pressure system from the southwest. The resulting storms moved so slowly (sometimes even reforming after initially raining themselves out) that the rain was concentrated across a small geographic area.

This is weather common to tropical regions of the world, not temperate Michigan. But it's in line with the National Climate Assessment, which found that over the past six decades incidents of extreme precipitation have increased across the continental U.S. due to human-propelled climate change. Rising temperatures increase the evaporation of water into vapor, and warmer air can take on greater amounts of water vapor than cooler. When all that vapor finally condenses into rain (or snow), there's more of it to dump onto the communities below.

This new normal of extreme precipitation is hitting Northeastern states the hardest, followed by the upper Midwest, as this map from Climate Central shows:

Map of heavy rainfall increase across the USA, 2014
Extreme Precipitation in US Increasing
Data from the latest National Climate Assessment shows that brief, heavy downpours are increasing across the United States, with the Northeastern and Upper Midwestern states hardest hit.

 

There's another thing that's changed since the 1950s: the built environment. There is a lot more of it.

Officially Monday's rainfall in Detroit totaled 4.57 inches (some areas saw up to 6 inches), just missing the one-day rainfall record of 4.75 inches set in 1925. “But as bad as that Prohibition-era deluge must have been,” wrote WXYZ's Chris Edwards, “it fell on a city with a lot less paved area than we have now.”

The large amount of pavement in Detroit, or any large urban area, allows less rainfall to soak into the ground and creates more runoff during intense storms. So when considering how the metro area has changed since 1925, this may have been the most serious flooding event ever recorded in Detroit.

Much of U.S. highway system was planned and built in the mid-20th century with historical rain and snow conditions in mind. Now these same systems are decades-old, under-maintained, and failing under the new normal we've created of extreme precipitation.

Much of Detroit's infrastructure is due for major renovation, replacement, or re-imagining. While many civic leaders and engineering visionaries imagine a bright future for the Motor City, in the present the city's near-bankruptcy has meant tens of millions of dollars in neglected maintenance on basic urban necessities like water mains, as Michigan Radio reported in February. 

But it's unfair to single out Detroit. Failing infrastructure and flash flooding are big problems are big problems across the U.S.

A day after the Michigan floods, these factors came together again in Tuesday's torrential downpours along the East Coast. A low pressure storm system crawling up the mid-Atlantic seaboard dropped several inches of rainfall within 24 hours on communities from Maryland to New York. A near-record 6.3 inches of rain fell at Baltimore-Washington International Airport –  trumped only by the amount of rain that fell during a 1933 hurricane, Climate Central reports. Some parts of greater Baltimore saw over 10 inches of rain before the storms moved off.

Flooded parking lot at BWI Airport
Baltimore Flooding
Sudden heavy rains swamped parts of the Baltimore area on August 12, including this parking lot at BWI Airport.

By 9:30 am Wednesday, the system was moving over the New York City metro area. Long Island recorded 13.26 inches of rainfall in less than a day, according to the National Weather Service, breaking the New York state record set during Hurricane Irene in 2011. Severe roadway flooding trapped many drivers, and cut off parts of eastern Long Island from the rest of the state. 

A flooded parking lot at LIRR Islip station due to periods of heavy rain during morning rush hour on Wednesday, August 13, 2014.
Flooding on Long Island
On August 13, 2014, torrential early morning rainfall flooded roads and highways in Long Island, New York, turning this parking lot at the Long Island Rail Road station in Islip into a lake. Water quickly rose in many areas, closing roads and highways and breaking the state's record for rainfall in a 24-hour period.
MTA

By Wednesday night the storm system was hoving over southeastern Maine. Over 4 inches of rain fell on Portland between 9 and 11pm; by midnight the deluge officially hit a record-setting 6.44 inches, according to the Portland Press Herald. (By some unofficial weather radar estimates, it topped 8 inches.) Thousands lost power as streets and basements flooded all over southeastern Maine.

And just so the U.S. heartland doesn't feel left out, this video of flash-flooding in Kearney, Nebraska shows a 9-foot-high wall of storm water breaking through tall glass doors to engulf a hospital dining room:

Kearny historically has averaged barely two inches of precipitation per month. But from Friday into Saturday, as nearly 4 inches of rain poured down on Kearney over just a few hours, spurring floods that "overwhelmed the city's storm sewer system and broke through the two-story ground-to-ceiling windows of the dinining room at Good Samaritan's Central Cafe," reported the Omaha World-Herald. "The hospital basement flooded, and there was water damage in other portions of the main building."

On Facebook the hospital expressed relief that no one was injured in the flash flood:

It’s hard to put into words exactly what Saturday’s conditions were like and just how seriously our facility was impacted. And to say that we’re emotional about the whole situation is a bit of an understatement. This security camera footage is just a glimpse into the series of events that unfolded Saturday.








18 Aug 13:20

Violinist fiddles with a smart bow to help his brain surgery

by Jon Fingas
It's common for brain surgery patients to stay awake. That's how surgeons know everything is going smoothly, after all. When concert violinist Roger Frisch started suffering from tremors that are only a problem when he's playing, however, Mayo Clinic...
18 Aug 07:49

McLaren unveils stunning P1 GTR

by Daljinder Nagra







16 Aug 05:06

Jaguar Lightweight E-Type revealed in full

by Daljinder Nagra







15 Aug 19:08

Bill Gates ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Bill Gates takes the ALS ice bucket challenge like a boss. +1 for the funny face he makes when the ice water hits. Comments
15 Aug 21:08

Facebook Court Ruling of the Day

Ummm, someone ain't getting laid tonight. A court in Naples has ordered a woman to take down photos posted on Facebook from her honeymoon after her husband complained that he did not give his permission for her to post them. She may even have to pay damages. Comments
16 Aug 15:08

Parents Going To Jail for Playing WoW Instead Of Feeding Kids

There is such a thing of loving a game to much to the point of it being criminal. A man and his wife have found that to be their reality when they received a combined total of eight years behind bars for neglect and child abuse after playing Wow 'obsessively'. KTLA reports that the couple, arrested last year, plead guilty to "two felony counts of child abuse, two misdemeanor counts of false imprisonment" and "one misdemeanor count of contributing to delinquency of a minor". Comments
15 Aug 17:00

The death of the original jumbo jet, Boeing's 747-400

by Zach Honig
Later this month, Cathay Pacific's 747 will fly from San Francisco to Hong Kong for the very last time. It's a story we're hearing from nearly every airline still flying the most recognizable passenger jet in aviation history -- rising fuel costs are...
18 Aug 11:00

This Bluetooth padlock will open for you and whomever you deem worthy

by Richard Lai
The plain old padlock is getting rather dull, but add Bluetooth to it unlocks (pun intended) a whole new level of possibilities. As the name suggests, this waterproof Noke smart padlock by Fuz Designs doesn't come with any physical keys; instead, you...
15 Aug 15:46

merryweatherblue: I took my little brother (who falls on the...

by aishiterushit








merryweatherblue:

I took my little brother (who falls on the autism spectrum) to see Guardians of the Galaxy and after this scene he lit up like a Christmas tree and screamed “He’s like me! He can’t do metaphors!” And for the rest of the film my brother stared at Drax in a state of rapture. 

So for the last 6 days I have heard my brother repeatedly quote all of the Drax lines from the movie verbatim (one of his talents), begin studying vocabulary test words, and tell everyone he knows that people with autism can also be superheroes.

Now I am not saying that Drax the Destroyer is, or was ever, intended to be autistic. All I am saying is that it warmed my heart to see my brother have an opportunity to identify himself with a character known for his strength, badassness, and honor. And that is pretty damn awesome. 

So while I adored Guardians of the Galaxy as a great fun loving film with cool characters I can do nothing but thank Marvel Studios and Dave Bautista for finally bringing a superhero to the screen that my little brother can relate to.

15 Aug 08:13

Premier League tells fans to stop posting GIFs and Vines of goals

by Matt Brian
Roumen.ganeff

Amazing crap

After becoming the go-to network to upload replays of goals scored during the recent World Cup, Vine could soon become the subject of a domestic copyright clampdown. With the new season commencing tomorrow, the Premier League has told the BBC that...
14 Aug 06:33

[via]



[via]

14 Aug 19:32

As your kid grows, this bike will transform to fit them

by Billy Steele
Like clothes, children tend to outgrow bikes pretty quickly. But what if there was a way to buy one and have it convert to fit a growing kid? Well, that's just what designer Andreas Bhend has done with the Miilo bike. What starts has a simple scoot...
13 Aug 13:08

Murderer asked Siri where to hide the body

Roumen.ganeff

Siri is smart

by Paul Cooper
Pedro Bravo killed his roommate, Chritian Aguilar, and then asked Siri "I need to hide my roommate."







13 Aug 16:15

Edward Snowden Reveals NSA's MonsterMind Program

by Kelsey D. Atherton

NSA's Utah Data Center
A view of Monstermind's physical lair, photographed from an Electronic Frontier Foundation airship
Parker Higgins, Electronic Frontier Foundation

In the high desert near Bluffdale, Utah, there lurks a creature made entirely of zeroes and ones. Called "MonsterMind", the project is an automated cyber weapon, perched atop the data flows into the National Security Agency's Mission Data Repository. According to recent revelations from former government contractor and NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Monstermind is both tremendously powerful and easily fooled. Here's the skinny on the biggest revelation from Wired's recent profile of Snowden. Author James Bamford writes:

The massive surveillance effort was bad enough, but Snowden was even more disturbed to discover a new, Strangelovian cyberwarfare program in the works, codenamed MonsterMind. The program, disclosed here for the first time, would automate the process of hunting for the beginnings of a foreign cyberattack. Software would constantly be on the lookout for traffic patterns indicating known or suspected attacks. When it detected an attack, MonsterMind would automatically block it from entering the country—a “kill” in cyber terminology.

Programs like this had existed for decades, but MonsterMind software would add a unique new capability: Instead of simply detecting and killing the malware at the point of entry, MonsterMind would automatically fire back, with no human involvement. That's a problem, Snowden says, because the initial attacks are often routed through computers in innocent third countries. “These attacks can be spoofed,” he says. “You could have someone sitting in China, for example, making it appear that one of these attacks is originating in Russia. And then we end up shooting back at a Russian hospital. What happens next?”

As described, MonsterMind is a brute force approach to covert cyber war embodied in one program. In order to function, it scans a huge amount of electronic communication, all passing through the 247 acre facility, and looks for attacks. That's the scary part. The dumb part is how it automatically decides where to strike back. Spoofing, as Snowden mentioned, is a relatively simple technique for hiding where an attack comes from. It's the online equivalent of throwing a pebble to distract the prison guard while the plucky protagonist runs away. 

Bamford describes this attack as Strangelovian, in reference to the Stanley Kubrick film about nuclear war. In the film, the Soviets develop a nuclear deterrent system that automatically attacks America if Russia gets hit first. The deterrent fails in part because the Americans didn't know about it, and the film ends with a montage of nuclear explosions, as an accidental American first strike triggers the apocalypse. The automatic strike-back mechanism and obscurity of Monstermind resemble this device, but the stakes are at least an order of magnitude less severe than all-out nuclear war.

Cyber attacks at present are mostly the theft of private data or bank information, with the occasional rare instance of actual industrial sabotage breaking a machine. None of this makes an automated strike-back system great, but it's still a far cry from the world-ending threat of thermonuclear war.

Read this and other revelations, including one about a contractor router that broke Syria's internet, at Wired.

The Bomb That Ends The World, Dr. Strangelove
Still image from Stanley Kubrick's Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb.
Stanley Kubrick







14 Aug 12:03

Michael J Fox teams with Intel to use big data and wearables in Parkinson's research

by Lee Bell
Michael J Fox teams with Intel to use big data and wearables in Parkinson's research

Aim to track patient data and improve treatment


13 Aug 07:59

Bruce Dickinson - To Start His Own Airline

by LeChron James
As if <a href=/bands/band.php?band_id=60&bandname=Iron+Maiden>Iron Maiden</a> frontman Bruce Dickinson isn't busy enough, he's decided to take his love of flying to the next level by starting his own small airline. Bruce Dickinson has spent his life singing in the legendary band <a href=/bands/band.php?band_id=60&bandname=Iron+Maiden>Iron Maiden</a>. Now, the frontman is working on an altogether different type of metal: airplanes. <a href="/events/news_comments.php?news_id=24175>Read more...</a>
14 Aug 09:22

Bang & Olufsen BeoVision Avant TV Review

by John Archer
B&O's first 4K TV is a thing of beauty
13 Aug 11:43

New super-fast USB cables won't mind which way you plug them in

by Steve Dent
The reversible USB Type-C standard has now been finalized, which should save the world untold man-hours in mis-plugging. Roughly the size of a current micro-USB Type-B connector, it uses matching rows of contacts on the top and bottom so that you can...
13 Aug 13:47

British Airways adding cat videos to its roster of in-flight entertainment

by Daniel Cooper
In the newspaper trade, August is traditionally known as silly season, for its lack of serious news. The latest company to indulge in some silly-season silliness is British Airways, which has learned that looking at pictures of kittens causes...
12 Aug 12:44

Rise of the Tomb Raider will be an Xbox One exclusive

by Ozzie Mejia
Roumen.ganeff

complete crap. I will not bu a Xbox for it.

Tomb Raider fans got a huge shock during Microsoft's Gamescom media briefing when they learned that not only would Rise of the Tomb Raider come out during holiday 2015, but it would also be exclusive to Xbox One.

Crystal Dynamics' Head of Product Development Darrell Gallagher took the stage to make the bombshell announcement. Tomb Raider was a highly-acclaimed reboot across a number of platforms, making the decision to go console-exclusive a bit of a curious one for Square Enix. It's not curious for Microsoft, though. They just landed a heavy-hitting exclusive for themselves.

As far as why Rise of the Tomb Raider is an exclusive to Xbox One, Gallagher explained in a tumblr post shortly after the news was revealed:

"Dear Tomb Raider Community,

As you may have seen, we've just announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider, coming Holiday 2015, is exclusively on Xbox. We consider all of you to be the lifeblood of Tomb Raider and the work we do at Crystal. I'd like to give you some insight into this decision, and why we feel this is the very best thing for the Tomb Raider sequel we're creating at the studio.

Tomb Raider in 2013 was a success due in large part to your continued support. Our goal has always been to deliver something truly special with Rise of the Tomb Raider. Today's announcement with Microsoft is one step to help us put Tomb Raider on top of action adventure gaming. Our friends at Microsoft have always seen huge potential in Tomb Raider and have believed in our vision since our first unveil with them on their stage at E3 2011. We know they will get behind this game more than any support we have had from them in the past - we believe this will be a step to really forging the Tomb Raider brand as one of the biggest in gaming, with the help, belief and backing of a major partner like Microsoft.

This doesn't mean that we're walking away from our fans who only play on PlayStation or on PC. Those are great systems, with great partners, and amazing communities. We have Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris coming to those platforms this December, and Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition is available on PS4.

We know that there are probably many more questions and concerns. Please do send them to us, and we'll answer to the best of our ability. Meanwhile we're going all out to try and make something truly special - the most ambitious Tomb Raider game ever built.

Thanks,

Darrell Gallagher, Crystal Dynamics Head of Studios

(Besides, this doesn't rule out a Definitive Edition of the game for PS4 and PC down the road, now does it?)

09 Aug 18:08

'Guardians of the Galaxy' Facts and Trivia...





















'Guardians of the Galaxy' Facts and Trivia [callmeforge]

Previously: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' vs. 'The LEGO Movie'

11 Aug 19:00

In Soviet Russia, Accent Speaks You

Pizza | Bronx, NY, USA

(The phone rings.)

Cashier: “Hello, [Name] Pizza… Oh, f***, not again.”

(She hangs up. A few customers come and go, and the phone rings again.)

Cashier: “Hello, [Name] Piz— f*** this!”

Customer: “Hey, lady, problem with the phone?”

Cashier: “Some sicko keeps calling from a blocked number and making creepy comments.”

Customer: “Hang on. I gotta go find my friend.”

(He pays and leaves… and comes back with a 6’8″ NYPD cop.)

Cop: *with a minor Russian accent* “I hear you’re having a problem with a caller?”

Customer: “No, no. Do the accent! Make it f***in’ scary!”

Cop: *in a deeper voice with a thick accent* “Excuse me. I hear you have problem with caller?”

(The cashier explains. The cop orders a slice of pizza and he and his friend sit and chat for a few minutes. Then the phone rings.)

Cashier: “It’s a blocked number!”

Cop: *on the phone, with the accent* “Hello…. You are thinking my body is what? I am thinking your body probably very fragile. Very easy to— Oh, he hung up.”

(They stare at the phone a few minutes.)

Customer: “Problem solved?”

Cashier: *to customer* “So… is your buddy there single?”

Cop: *in accent* “Boris have many women. All are love him!”

Customer: “You’re married and your name isn’t Boris!”

Cop: “Boris is name of accent. Has life of its own.”

12 Aug 11:00

Goat Simulator makes big bucks with 'almost 1 million' sales

by Sinan Kubba
Of all the many "simulator" games, Goat Simulator stands out as one of the silliest and craziest to catch heat. That's reflected by the game's sales to date of "almost 1 million," as announced by Coffee Stain Studio's Armin Ibrisagic at GDC Europe...