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10 Jan 12:20

Florida Woman Had Her Entire Driveway Stolen

by Collin Woodard

If you leave things in your yard, you shouldn’t be surprised if they get stolen. People are opportunistic, and if they see your kid’s bike sitting there unsecured, they may decide it’s a perfect opportunity to give it to their kid. Heck, sometimes even entire cars get stolen out of driveways. It sucks, but it happens.…

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04 Jan 17:55

This kid just became the first person to beat NES Tetris

by Lawrence Bonk

Tetris is one of the most popular and enduring video games of all time, with versions on just about every console, computer and gadget. Many of these iterations have endings baked into story modes and the like, but the original endless mode was considered unbeatable by humans, until now. A 13-year-old boy has become the first person to ‘beat’ the NES version of Tetris, 34 years after it originally released back in 1989, as announced by YouTuber aGameScout.

The reason we put ‘beat’ in quotes is due to the nature of the achievement. Oklahoma teenager Willis Gibson, also known as Blue Scuti on YouTube, didn’t access an authorized ending, as there isn’t one. Instead, he played the game so perfectly for so long that it forced a kill screen that crashed the game. These kill screens are usually caused by an overflow error that occurs when you speed the game up so much that the software can’t keep up.

The teen achieved this feat after 38 minutes of gameplay and captured the moment on video. He’s the first person to do this, but not the first, uh, entity. An AI program called StackRabbit forced a kill screen with the NES Tetris back in 2021. Score one for the humans!

This was done by incorporating a gameplay style called the rolling technique, which has players glide their fingers along the bottom of an NES controller and use that momentum to roll the controller into the other hand. When done correctly, you can hit the D-pad up to 20 times per second. The method revolutionized competitive Tetris play a couple of years back. Prior to this achievement, the 13-year-old had already broken the game’s high score record, level achieved record and the total number of lines cleared by using the rolling technique.

Gibson, aka Blue Scudi, told another YouTuber that he’s dedicating the achievement to his late father, who recently passed away in December. He also said that the gameplay session was so frantic that he couldn’t feel his fingers afterwards.

Achieving the mythical kill screen is something of a rite of passage for old-school games. If you’ve seen the documentary King of Kong, involving the arcade cabinet Donkey Kong, you know just how competitive it can be to snag those bragging rights. Players have hit the kill screen on Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Duck Hunt, and many others.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/this-kid-just-became-the-first-person-to-beat-nes-tetris-191557002.html?src=rss
24 Dec 22:13

Netflix’s Blue Eye Samurai Is a Bloody Masterpiece

by Emma Stefansky

Early last month, and with minimal fanfare, Netflix released all eight episodes of the first season of the animated action series Blue Eye Samurai. Following a sudden and almost entirely organic rise in popularity, the show was renewed for a second season. Even the rock-star video-game designer Hideo Kojima was posting about it. Blue Eye Samurai is more than worth the hype: It deserves to be counted among the best shows of the year. The series takes the trappings of a heroic action-adventure and turns them on their head, crafting a bloody, emotional drama that is riveting from the very first frame.

Created by Michael Green (who co-wrote Logan and Blade Runner 2049) and Amber Noizumi, the show follows Mizu, a half-white, half-Japanese woman who stalks the countryside of Edo-period Japan, passing as a man in a wide hat and hiding her blue eyes behind tinted glasses. In the 17th century, the ruling Tokugawa shogunate closed its borders to the outside world and outlawed the presence of foreigners, the first episode explains. Mizu’s blue-eyed appearance is living evidence of the foreigners’ influence, seen by others as a physical defect of possible supernatural or demonic origin. She searches for four white men who secretly remain in Japan, manipulating trade and politics from inside their hidden fortresses.

Though Mizu (voiced by Maya Erskine) would much prefer to travel alone, she picks up a few stragglers along the way: Ringo (Masi Oka), a large, friendly, handless cook who dreams of becoming a warrior like Mizu; Akemi (Brenda Song), the daughter of an ambitious lord, who rebels against her father’s plans of marrying her off to build his own power; and Taigen (Darren Barnet), an accomplished dojo champion who vows to duel Mizu to the death after she humiliates him in combat. The white man Mizu hunts in Season 1, an Irishman named Abijah Fowler (Kenneth Branagh), is working alongside the merchant Heiji Shindo (Randall Park) to upend the ruling powers of Japan by illegally smuggling in a devastating Western weapon.

[Read: The 15 best shows of 2023]

If that sounds like the setup to a Game of Thrones spin-off, Blue Eye Samurai definitely has that vibe: sweeping in scope and intimate in detail, set in a period of technological and social upheaval, when the ancient traditions of honorable combat are being eroded by jealous warmongering. Green and Noizumi have cited Akira Kurosawa’s films and Clint Eastwood’s Dollars trilogy as influences, as well as a much more personal connection: Noizumi got the idea after the birth of her and Green’s daughter, who is also mixed-race with blue eyes.

To say that the show is so good that you forget it’s not live-action would be an insult to the stunning animation, every frame of which is carefully choreographed and colored. The series uses the hybrid-animation style that other Netflix shows (Arcane, The Dragon Prince) have experimented with before, but never has it looked as good as it does here. Inspired by the studied opulence and detail of Japanese murals, Blue Eye Samurai keeps to a spare color palette of whites, blacks, blues, and reds, appropriate for its tales of snow, fire, and blood. A scene where two characters anticipate each other’s movements during a duel is made to look like an ink-wash painting in motion. A later episode emulates the style of a Bunraku puppet show to dramatize another character’s tragic backstory. The style leaves plenty of room for realism, though: When any unfortunate background character gets sliced through the middle, you watch his guts plop out.

[Read: What the sexual violence of Game of Thrones begot]

The subject matter is mature not just in content—most episodes feature either nudity or theatrical blood spatter, or both—but also in theme, deftly pulling together ideas about honor, female empowerment, and the necessity of violence, while weaving in appropriate historical context. Mizu straddles many divides. The opposing relations between white Europeans and native Japanese manifest in her dual race. The gender she is and the gender she pretends to be often directly contradict each other. As a female bushi, she hews close to traditional samurai values while directly contradicting the core tenet that true warriors have always been, and must always be, male. (It’s also worth noting that, although the characters of the time wouldn’t have the same language for it that we do now, the show has left plenty of room for a nonbinary reading of Mizu’s gender, which often goes unspecified.)

Mizu is not an archetypal girlboss, and neither is Akemi, though both of them, as well as other, more minor female characters, learn what it means to use their gender as a weapon and a tool. A show in which a woman disguises herself as a man in order to be taken seriously—or spoken to at all—Blue Eye Samurai analyzes the thorny relationships between men and women. Multiple episodes take place within a brothel, where sex is a job and also a way to wield power and influence. To navigate a world dominated by men, anyone who is not a man (or, in Ringo’s case, not an able-bodied man) must learn how to play the game better than the men can.

Blue Eye Samurai also interrogates the cost of violence, and the psychological toll of a life dedicated to the killing of one’s enemies. The show toes the line between stylish action scenes where characters perform one-armed handstands to dodge attacks and sober moments where the wounds, both physical and mental, are visible. Mizu often feels doomed to succumb to the demonic influence her blue eyes betray, trapped in the void between who she is and who she wishes she could be. Blue Eye Samurai finds its footing in the push-pull between opposing forces, the gray area between identities—a balancing act on an edge as sharp as a knife.

13 Dec 11:20

Researchers fuse lab-grown human brain tissue with electronics

by Will Shanklin

In a story ripped from the opening scenes of a sci-fi horror movie, scientists have bridged a critical gap between the biological and electronic. The study, published in Nature Electronics (summarized in Nature), details a “hybrid biocomputer” combining lab-grown human brain tissue with conventional circuits and AI. Dubbed Brainoware, the system learned to identify voices with 78 percent accuracy. It could one day lead to silicon microchips fused with neurons.

Brainoware combines brain organoids — stem-cell-derived clusters of human cells morphed into neuron-filled “mini-brains” — with conventional electronic circuits. To make it, researchers placed “a single organoid onto a plate containing thousands of electrodes to connect the brain to electric circuits.” The circuits, speaking to the brain organoid, “translate the information they want to input into a pattern of electric pulses.”

The brain tissue then learns and communicates with the technology. A sensor in the electronic array detects the mini-brain’s response, which a trained machine-learning algorithm decodes. In other words, with the help of AI, the neurons and electronics merge into a single (extremely basic, for now) problem-solving biomachine.

The researchers taught the computer-brain system to recognize human voices. They trained Brainoware on 240 recordings of eight people speaking, “translating the audio into electric to deliver to the organoid.” The organic part reacted differently to each voice while generating a pattern of neural activity AI learned to understand. Brainoware learned to identify the voices with 78 percent accuracy.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 15: Fadi Jacob, a visiting graduate student from Johns Hopkins University, dissects a a glioblastoma brain tumor at the University of Pennsylvania Clinical Research Building in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 15, 2018.  The tumor, which came straight from post-op will be dissected into hundreds of small pieces that will be used to grow tumor organdies. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Human brain organoids
The Washington Post via Getty Images

The team views the work as more proof of concept than something with near-term practical use. Although previous studies showed two-dimensional neuron cell cultures could do similar things, this is the first trial run using a trained three-dimensional lump of human brain cells. It could point to a future of biological computing, where the “speed and efficiency of human brains” spark a superpowered AI. (What could go wrong?)

Arti Ahluwalia, a biomedical engineer at Italy’s University of Pisa, sees the technology shedding more light on the human brain. Since brain organoids can duplicate the nervous system’s control center in ways simple cell cultures can’t, the researcher views Brainoware (and the further advances it could spawn) as helping model and study neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s. “That’s where the promise is; using these to one day hopefully replace animal models of the brain,” Ahluwalia told Nature.

Challenges for the bizarre proto-cyborg tech include keeping the organoids alive, especially when moving to the more complex areas where scientists eventually want to deploy them. The brain cells must grow in an incubator, which could become more challenging with bigger organoids. The next steps include working to learn how brain organoids adapt to more complex tasks and engineering them for greater stability and reliability.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/researchers-fuse-lab-grown-human-brain-tissue-with-electronics-175507932.html?src=rss
23 Nov 01:29

Self-proclaimed 'gay furry hackers' breach nuclear lab

by Katie Malone

The nuclear research hub Idaho National Laboratory (INL) confirmed that it fell victim to a data breach on Tuesday. SiegedSec, a group of self-proclaimed "gay furry hackers," took responsibility for the attack and claimed they accessed sensitive employee data like social security numbers, home addresses and more.

"We're willing to make a deal with INL. If they research creating irl catgirls we will take down this post," SiegedSec wrote in a post announcing the leak on Monday. 

The hacktivist group SiegedSec conducted a high profile attack on NATO last month, leaking internal documents as a retaliation against those countries for their attacks on human rights. The group commonly attacks government and affiliated organizations for political reasons, like targeting state governments for passing anti-trans legislation earlier this year.

A spokesperson confirmed the breach to Engadget on Wednesday. "On Monday, Nov. 20, Idaho National Laboratory determined that it was the target of a cybersecurity data breach in a federally approved vendor system outside the lab that supports INL cloud Human Resources services. INL has taken immediate action to protect employee data," an INL spokesperson said. The lab said it has reached out to authorities for help on how to proceed as it determines how to handle the breach. 

INL works as a Department of Energy affiliate researching nuclear reactors, among other projects like sustainable energy. It employs more than 5,000 people. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/self-proclaimed-gay-furry-hackers-breach-nuclear-lab-152034192.html?src=rss
17 Nov 01:12

AI is starting to outperform meteorologists

by Malak Saleh

A machine learning-based weather prediction program developed by DeepMind researchers called “GraphCast” can predict weather variables over the span of 10 days, in under one minute. In a report, scientists highlight that GraphCast has outperformed traditional weather pattern prediction technologies at a 90% verification rate.

The AI-powered weather prediction program works by taking in “the two most recent states of Earth’s weather,” which includes the variables from the time of the test and six hours prior. Using that data, GraphCast can predict what the state of the weather will be in six hours. 

In practice, AI has already showcased its applicability in the real world. The tool predicted the landfall of Hurricane Lee in Long Island 10 days before it happened, while the traditional weather prediction technologies being used by meteorologists at the time lagged behind. Forecasts made by standard weather simulations can take longer because traditionally, models have to account for complicated physics and fluid dynamics to make accurate predictions.

Not only does the weather prediction algorithm outperform traditional technologies to forecast weather patterns in terms of pace and scale, GraphCast can also predict severe weather events, which includes tropical cyclones and waves of extreme temperatures over regions. And because the algorithm can be re-trained with recent data, scientists believe that the tool will only get better at predicting oscillations in weather patterns that coincide with grander changes that align with climate change.

Soon, GraphCast, or at least the basis of the AI algorithm that powers its predictions, might pop up into more mainstream services. According to Wired, Google might be exploring how to integrate GraphCast into its products. The call for better storm modeling has already paved a path for supercomputers in the space. The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) says it has been working to develop models that will provide more accurate readings on when severe weather events might occur and importantly, the intensity forecasts for hurricanes.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/ai-is-starting-to-outperform-meteorologists-173616631.html?src=rss
13 Nov 12:02

Terminator is back with a new anime series coming to Netflix

by Cheyenne MacDonald

Netflix is giving the Terminator franchise the anime treatment in a new series that’s set to hit the streaming platform “soon.” The company dropped the first teaser for Terminator: The Anime Series this weekend during its Geeked Week event. Details so far are scant, but we do know it’ll be produced by Production IG, the Japanese animation studio behind the original Ghost in the Shell movie and spinoff TV series.

Terminator: The Anime Series will take us back to August 1997, when the Skynet AI becomes self-aware and turns against humans. While there is no information on the cast just yet, Variety reports the series will feature entirely new characters. 

Also on board as executive producers are Skydance and Project Power writer Mattson Tomlin, who will be the series’ writer and showrunner. Netflix hasn’t announced a release date yet or shown any preview scenes, so here’s hoping we get an expanded trailer soon. The Terminator franchise has had quite a few installments, not all of them good, but going back to the beginning could be just the refresh it needs.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/terminator-is-back-with-a-new-anime-series-coming-to-netflix-154925265.html?src=rss
08 Nov 21:58

Nintendo confirms a live-action Legend of Zelda movie is really happening

by Nathan Ingraham

It's been rumored for years, but Nintendo still managed to surprise us with a late-day announcement: a live-action film based on The Legend of Zelda is in the works, directed by Wes Ball. Ball's most recent films are the Maze Runner series, the latest of which was released in 2018. Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto is producing the film along with Avi Arad, who has produced or executive produced loads of Marvel movies over the last decade-plus.

Surprisingly, the film is being co-financed by Nintendo and none other than Sony Pictures Entertainment. You know, part of the same company that owns PlayStation. Nintendo was quick to point out that it is financing more than 50 percent of the film, but that Sony Pictures Entertainment will be the the theatrical distributor.

Aside from that, there's no other detail besides this tweet from Miyamoto: 

Miyamoto goes on to say that they have officially started development on the film with Nintendo "heavily involved" in the production. He also notes that it'll "take time" before its completion but that he hopes fans look forward to seeing it.

Way back in 2015, we heard rumors from the Wall Street Journal that Nintendo and Netflix were making a live-action Zelda show, but that never came together (and there's a pretty weird story around why). But the success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie was perhaps the last thing Nintendo needed to make this project a reality. And while there's plenty of time for things to go wrong between now and the movie hitting theaters, this Zelda fan is cautiously excited about the prospect of another classic Nintendo franchise making its way to the big screen.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/nintendo-is-making-a-live-action-legend-of-zelda-movie-221618064.html?src=rss
17 Oct 11:42

Disney is making a live-action Gargoyles show with James Wan

by Mariella Moon

Disney its turning Gargoyles, its animated cult classic from the 90s, into a live-action TV series for its streaming service. It's also teaming up with two of the most well-known names in horror films today to make it happen. According to The Hollywood Reporter, James Wan's Atomic Monster production company and Gary Dauberman are in the early stages of developing a live-action Gargoyles for Disney+. You may know James Wan as the creator of The Conjuring franchise and as co-creator of the Saw and Insidious franchises, in addition to directing Aquaman. Dauberman, a frequent Wan collaborator who had written the Annabelle movies, will serve as showrunner, writer and executive producer.

Gargoyles ran for three seasons from 1994 to 1997. It was more complex and darker in tone than your typical Disney cartoon and revolved around a clan of "gargoyles," species of nocturnal creatures that turn to stone during the day, along with police officer Elisa Maza. The clan used to live in a castle in Scotland before they were betrayed by humans and were cursed to be frozen in stone. A thousand years later, the gargoyles wake up in New York City and choose to serve as its protectors at night. 

Of course, whether a live action Gargoyles is a good thing or a bad thing depends on how you liked Disney's remakes so far. We could only hope that Dauberman and Wan's company could do the show justice, especially since it will mostly likely use a lot of CGI to stay true to the source material. Disney has been getting a lot of flak over its use of CGI lately, which critics consider visually unappealing and subpar, including in movies like The Little Mermaid and Marvel's Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/disney-is-making-a-live-action-gargoyles-show-with-james-wan-100025832.html?src=rss
12 Oct 21:06

Coin flips don’t appear to have 50/50 odds after all

by Will Shanklin

Conventional wisdom about coin flips may have been turned on its head. A global team of researchers investigating the statistical and physical nuances of coin tosses worldwide concluded (via Phys.org) that a coin is 50.8% likely to land on the same side it started on, altering one of society’s most traditional assumptions about random decision-making that dates back at least to the Roman Empire.

The team appeared to validate a smaller-scale 2007 study by Stanford mathematician Persi Diaconis, which suggested a slight bias (about 51 percent) toward the side it started on. The authors of the new paper conducted 350,757 flips, using different coins from 46 global currencies to eliminate a heads-tail bias between coin designs. (They also used a variety of people to rule out individuals with biased flipping techniques corrupting the results.) Regardless of the coin type, the same-side outcome could be predicted at 0.508, which rounds up perfectly to Diaconis’ “about 51 percent” prediction from 16 years ago.

The researchers found no evidence of a heads-tail bias when excluding its starting position from the data. In other words, if you pay no attention to which side the coin is on pre-flip, the odds of the outcome are equally likely to be heads or tails. 

PHI02:SPORT-NFL:PHILADELPHIA,PENNSYLVANIA,3DEC98 - NFL referee Bernie Kukar (C) flips the coin at the start of the December 3 NFL game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the St. Louis Rams. The NFL instituted new rules for the coin toss following a controversial call in the November 26 game between the Detroit Lions and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Back judge Bill Leavy looks on from behind, as Eagles fan Mike Jenelli (34) looks on.

BKS
Reuters Photographer / reuters

Coin flippers in the study selected their starting position randomly (or according to an algorithm), flipped the coin, caught it in their hand and recorded the landing position. (If they flipped it over in their palm before revealing it, the opposite side it started on had 50.8% odds.) All participants videotaped and uploaded recordings of their flips to simplify collection and coding errors. “Our data therefore provide strong evidence that when some (but not all) people flip a fair coin, it tends to land on the same side it started,” the authors wrote.

The paper notes there was a high degree of variability between coin flippers. “Some people appear to have little or no same-side bias, whereas others do display a same-side bias, albeit to a varying degree.” But taken on the whole, it leads to those 50.8% odds favoring the starting side. 

The findings could even lead to (slight) financial gains. The researchers say that if you bet $1 on 1,000 separate coin flips, always betting on the side it starts on (and catching the coin rather than letting it roll on a surface or flipping it over in your palm), you’d make a $19 profit. The authors note that this is better odds than a casino’s built-in advantage for six-deck blackjack against a high-level player. They suggest that anyone making a high-stakes decision based on a coin flip would be wise to conceal its starting position.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/coin-flips-dont-appear-to-have-5050-odds-after-all-171556415.html?src=rss
08 Oct 22:56

The Talos Principle 2 is the ideal blend of puzzle and story

by Jessica Conditt

Ancient, vine-draped monuments and towering obelisks protrude from the forest floor, connected by a maze of stone paths and one hyper-speed transit capsule. Statues loom among the monoliths: hooded human figures and mythological beasts surrounded by saintly geometry in gold and turquoise. I’m running down an overgrown platform by the water, sun radiating off the side of my face, trying to find the next puzzle. I take a sharp turn, the shadows shift and my silhouette is suddenly projected in front of me: waist on a slim pivot, hip joints jutting out, sticklike arms. I remember I’m made of metal and wires, and for a brief moment, I’m surprised. I forgot — I’m a robot.

The Talos Principle 2 reintroduces a post-apocalyptic world filled with the puzzles and dreams society left behind, and populates it with a race of machines who simultaneously worship humans and consider themselves to be the natural evolution of humanity. The game’s first quarter, which spans roughly seven hours, offers a beautiful and immersive playground of puzzle solving and philosophical inquiry, and it feels both grander and more cohesive than the original Talos Principle. That game came out in 2014 and featured a lone robot in an AI-powered testing ground. The sequel features an entire society of sentient machines. It also has lots of laser-powered, logic-based spatial puzzles, of course.

The Talos Principle 2
Croteam

The Talos Principle 2 is set in a futuristic society of robots, and you’re the 1,000th machine to come off the line. There’s debate among the citizens about whether you should be the final addition to the group, as one of its founders once dictated, and your presence unlocks a new prophecy tied to a mysterious island. Elohim, the AI antagonist of the first game, has calmed down significantly and acts as a caretaker to the robots, gently guiding their sleep cycles with a booming voice.

Each robot has its own personality, and it doesn’t take long for these machines to feel fully human, despite their lack of meat and bones. Developers at Croteam took the time to build out backstories and individual points-of-view for each supporting character, and their conversations and arguments flow seamlessly. The Talos Principle 2 features full voice acting and branching dialogue trees with multiple meaningful responses for players to choose from. It’s not uncommon to see six to eight options in conversations, presenting discrete approaches to heavy prompts about faith, doubt, consciousness, life, death and love. This is a game for curious minds, and the dialogue system supports this with rich character development and high-quality conversational writing.

The Talos Principle 2
Croteam

This robot society provides the narrative framework for actual gameplay. On the mysterious, prophesied island players encounter a series of puzzles hidden among humanity’s ruins, much like in the original game. The structures on the island are widespread and vast, but navigation is intuitive, thanks to subtle environmental cues, a compass with waypoints and directions from the other robots on the expedition team. This time around, you’re not alone (no offense, Elohim).

The puzzles themselves are devilish. They start simply, prompting players to divert laser beams into portals of the same color using connector rods, jammers, blocks, pressure pads and fans. As players progress through the riddle rooms, the game introduces new tools, like a drill that can create holes in some walls and an inverter that reverses the laser color, adding unexpected complexity to the puzzles. It’s my firm belief that the best puzzles in video games are ones that appear simple, but have a single, incredibly tricky solution buried beneath layers of almost-there answers. Nothing beats that breakthrough feeling when the entire room suddenly makes sense, the lasers align, and all the right doors slide open. The beginning hours of The Talos Principle 2 effortlessly capture this sensation, again and again.

Tetrominoes are back in the sequel, and they’re big. Not only metaphorically (the robots often theorize about the shapes’ supposed purpose), but also in physical size. I made literal bridges out of building-sized tetrominoes, swapping out pieces and rotating them on a grand scale. While this segment wasn’t particularly challenging, it was satisfying in a new kind of way.

The Talos Principle 2
Croteam

In its first quarter, The Talos Principle 2 reproduces the brilliance of the original game and adds to this foundation, expanding its world narratively and mechanically. Philosophical conversations are no longer siloed in read-only terminals, though there are still datasets scattered around the map. The story’s main prompts are instead integrated into gameplay via deep, player-driven conversations with NPCs, and even a little bit of light gossip. The Talos Principle 2 has secrets to discover, personalities to explore and questions to answer — and that’s all on top of being a uniquely fantastic (and optimistic) sci-fi puzzle game.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-talos-principle-2-is-the-ideal-blend-of-puzzle-and-story-150009663.html?src=rss
06 Sep 22:38

Flight Forced To Turn Around Because Passenger 'Had Diarrhea All The Way Through The Airplane'

by Collin Woodard
Chisulo.a

No really, I love flying.

A few months ago, an Air France passenger reportedly found diarrhea and blood under his seat and ended up having to clean it up himself. And since it was a full flight, there were no open seats to switch to. That’s absolutely disgusting, but somehow, it pales in comparison to the latest airplane diarrhea story. Then…

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24 Aug 17:12

Amazon's Fallout series will arrive on Prime Video in 2024

by Mariella Moon

Amazon is still working on a Fallout TV series — and we'll finally find out next year whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. The company has revealed that the Fallout TV show will premiere on Prime Video sometime in 2024, over three years after it first announced that it was developing an adaptation of the franchise with the creators of Westworld. According to GameSpot, Bethesda's Todd Howard and Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer presented a short teaser of the upcoming series at Gamescom's Xbox booth. 

The brief clip reportedly showed a nuclear explosion near a city resembling Los Angeles, characters crossing a wasteland and a woman emerging from one of Fallout's Vaults. And, as you can see above, Prime Video shared an image confirming LA to be the site for Vault 33. In October last year, Amazon's Prime Video X account posted a photo of characters wearing Vault 33 suits, and before that, a few behind-the-scenes images for Vault 32 leaked online

When the series was first announced, Bethesda said it had been looking for ways to adapt the Fallout games into a movie or a TV show over the past decade. The adaptation that it eventually approved, written and developed by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, will take on a "serious and harsh" tone but will also feature "ironic humor" and "B-movie nuclear fantasies."

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/amazons-fallout-series-will-arrive-on-prime-video-in-2024-053029884.html?src=rss
18 Aug 18:02

Fans are adapting 'Twin Peaks' into a PS1-style adventure game, and there's a demo

by Lawrence Bonk

You may have watched the original run of Twin Peaks so many times that you exclaim “damn fine coffee” each and every time you grab a cup, but have you ever played the story through the eyes of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper? You’ll soon be able to do just that via the magic of video games. A small French developer called Blue Rose Team has been prepping Twin Peaks: Into the Night for a while now, and it just dropped a demo of the fan-made game.

The graphics are retro and decidedly PS1-flavored, which makes sense given how the show premiered in 1990. The gameplay looks to be full of exploration, complete with conversations with the town’s many oddball residents, though there’s a survival horror element reminiscent of the original Resident Evil titles. This is also an appropriate design choice, as the show pits Agent Cooper against foes both physical and supernatural. You should expect appearances from the infamous one-armed man, the chaos agent Bob, nefarious former FBI agent Windom Earle and, of course, plenty of owls.

Beyond gameplay, there looks to be an array of video cutscenes culled from the show itself. The demo, released Tuesday, chronicles events from season one, in which Cooper arrives in Twin Peaks and begins unraveling the murder case of local teen Laura Palmer. The demo is filled with the kind of idiosyncratic quirks and metaphysical horror elements that made the OG show such a hit back in the day.

The creators have announced that the game will be free when it launches, so that should clear up any potential legal hurdles moving forward. David Lynch is busy doing his daily weather reports on YouTube or whatever, so he won’t complain, but ABC and Warner Bros. aren’t quite as chill as the filmmaker/painter/meditation enthusiast.

There’s no official release date, but the demo should keep you busy for a while. Oddly, this will be the very first Twin Peaks video game adaptation, though there’s a short VR experience. Despite never being officially adapted, the show has inspired plenty of games, from the Alan Wake series to a little-known title called The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. It also goes without saying that Twin Peaks: Into the Night doesn’t delve into the events of Showtime’s Twin Peaks: The Return, so don’t expect to control Jim Belushi.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/fans-are-adapting-twin-peaks-into-a-ps1-style-adventure-game-and-theres-a-demo-163643462.html?src=rss
24 Jul 21:48

Cocaine Sharks Are A New Reason To Be Terrified Of Florida

by Collin Woodard

These days, the list of reasons to stay out of Florida feels like it grows longer by the minute. But even if you take politics and stifling summer heat out of the equation (as hard as that may be), there are still plenty of reasons to be afraid of Georgia’s dingleberry. Florida Man and Florida Woman could be lurking…

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08 Jul 12:12

Canadian judge rules the thumbs up emoji counts as a contract agreement

by Lawrence Bonk

A Canadian judge has ruled that the popular “thumbs-up” emoji not only can be used as a contract agreement, but is just as valid as an actual signature. The Saskatchewan-based judge made the ruling on the grounds that the courts must adapt to the “new reality” of how people communicate, as originally reported by The Guardian.

The case involved a grain buyer sending out a mass text to drum up clients and a farmer agreeing to sell 86 tons of flax for around $13 per bushel. The buyer texted a contract agreement to the farmer and asked for the farmer to “confirm” receiving the contract. He issued a thumb’s up emoji as receipt of the document, but backed out of the deal after flax prices increased.

The buyer sued the farmer, arguing that the thumb’s up represented more than just receipt of the contract. It represented an agreement to the conditions of the contract, and a judge agreed, ordering the farmer to cough up nearly $62,000, likely causing a string of puke emojis.

The farmer, Chris Achter, said in an affidavit that he “did not have time to review” the contract and the thumb’s up was just acknowledgment of receipt. Justice Timothy Keene relied on Dictionary.com’s definition of the emoji which notes the image is used to “express assent, approval, or encouragement in digital communications, especially in Western cultures,” ultimately siding with the grain buyer.

“This court readily acknowledges that a 👍 emoji is a non-traditional means to ‘sign’ a document but nevertheless under these circumstances this was a valid way to convey the two purposes of a ‘signature’,” Justice Keene wrote.

The defense argued that giving this type of power to an emoji would open the “floodgates” to enhanced interpretations of other emojis. While the justice dismissed this line of reasoning, anyone who regularly texts the LOL emoji without actually laughing out loud is likely quaking in their boots right now.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/canadian-judge-rules-the-thumbs-up-emoji-counts-as-a-contract-agreement-190026176.html?src=rss
29 Jun 14:22

I consider myself a patient person, but 'The Password Game' might break me

by Igor Bonifacic

It’s Wednesday, which means it’s the perfect time to waste away a few minutes attempting to solve the internet’s latest obsession. If you’re on Twitter, you may have noticed some chatter about The Password Game, a browser experience that will test your creativity, patience and sanity.

Ostensibly, the goal of the game is to create a password no one hacker could possibly crack, and the experience starts out simple enough. “Your password must be at least 5 characters,” states rule one, while rule four asks that all the digits in your password add up to 25. Then, things start to become progressively more unhinged. Rule seven demands you include a Roman numeral, only for rule nine to then tell that you need a handful of Roman numerals that equal 35 when multiplied. Eventually, your password will also need to reference today’s Wordle and the current phase of the moon written as an emoji. Oh, and at one point a clock is added to the game in the form of a caterpillar you must keep alive. Don't ask. Some of the demands are so esoteric Google’s autocomplete feature has started to adapt to them.

“There are rules in this game that ensure I will never see the pearly gates,” wrote Neal Agarwal, the creator of The Password Game. Agarwal’s Twitter mentions are full of people cursing him for creating such a devious challenge. Some, however, have managed to get to the end. “I can’t believe people are actually beating the Password Game,” Agarwal wrote on Wednesday. “The human spirit is strong.” As for me, I’m scrubbing it out here at rule 15, trying to avoid doing some tricky math. But I promise you, I will succeed, even if it kills me or that damn caterpillar. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/i-consider-myself-a-patient-person-but-the-password-game-might-break-me-174555782.html?src=rss
03 Jun 09:34

Man allegedly used a Nintendo ‘Duck Hunt’ gun to rob convenience store

by Lawrence Bonk

Police have arrested a South Carolina man after he allegedly robbed a convenience store armed with a Nintendo light gun primarily used in the 1980s to play Duck Hunt, Hogan’s Alley and Gumshoe, as originally announced by York County deputies. The 25-year-old suspect allegedly made away with $300 in cash after donning a mask, wig, hoodie sweatshirt and the aforementioned Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Zapper gun accessory.

Police allege the suspect waved the fake gun at a clerk and demanded money from the cash register. Authorities found him down the street in a Dollar General parking lot with the fake pistol in his pants. The original 1984 accessory is famously bright orange and gray, but authorities say the suspect spray-painted his black, likely so it would resemble a functional firearm. The York County Sheriff’s Department released an image of the doctored gaming accessory on its Twitter account.

The original light gun accessory, called the Zapper, shipped with the NES and used an internal optical sensor to translate trigger presses to on-screen action. The primary use was Duck Hunt, though it worked with a handful of titles throughout the console’s lifespan.

Using a fake gun to commit a crime is no joke and has been a serious issue for decades. A 1990 study conducted by Congress found that fake guns were used in more than 15 percent of robberies. It’s worth noting that in most parts of the country, using a fake gun to commit a crime carries similar penalties to that of a real firearm, as the threat of danger is very real to victims. After all, these toy or replica guns look nearly identical to the real thing. To that end, New York State recently passed legislation banning toy guns unless they are clearly fake, such as those painted with bright colors.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/man-allegedly-used-a-nintendo-duck-hunt-gun-to-rob-convenience-store-182657571.html?src=rss
29 May 20:20

10191 Arrakeen Sandworm: The Jalopnik First Ride

by Steve DaSilva

If you’ve ever ventured to Arrakis, you’ve heard the whispers: Sandworms, the Maker, maybe you’e even heard of Shai-Hulud. You likely know them as an existential threat, the kind of enemy you can’t hope to kill, but also as an ecological necessity — their existence brings forth the Spice Melange, on which our survival…

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20 May 09:04

Killer Whales Are Attacking Boats And Seem To Be Teaching The Skill To Others

by Erin Marquis

Orcas are attacking small boats in the waters around Spain and Morocco. The reason isn’t clear but let’s be real: Humans have had it coming for a long time.

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20 May 08:51

'Futurama' returns July 24th as a Hulu original after a 10-year hiatus

by Peter Cao

Hulu has a bit of "good news" for Futurama fans. The streaming provider announced on Twitter today that Bender and the gang (yes, John DiMaggio will be reprising his role as Bender) will return for season eight on July 24th. After the eighth season’s announcement in early 2022, DiMaggio said in a tweet that he would not be returning to the show after a pay disagreement with Disney and Hulu, though he quickly changed course. Series creator Matt Groening and producer David X. Cohen are returning to lead Futurama once again.

As reported by Variety, the eighth season will consist of two parts, with an initial run of 10 episodes. The new season airs on Mondays, on a weekly basis on Hulu. Notably, this is the second time (or fourth time, depending on who’s asking) the show has been brought back, and the first time the show will be airing first on a streaming platform. Hulu did not announce an air date for part two, which will include an additional 10 episodes.

Futurama originally debuted in 1999, with the first four seasons airing on Fox. The show then had a new home on Comedy Central, which aired seasons six and seven, which ended in 2013. The so-called "fifth season", which was also under Comedy Central, was a series of four movies that were eventually split into short-length episodes. Now, after being canceled and renewed several times by several cable networks, the next season lives on in the streaming world nearly 10 years after the last season had aired.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/futurama-returns-july-24th-as-a-hulu-original-after-a-10-year-hiatus-203316031.html?src=rss
02 May 18:32

Uber Eats Driver Gets One-Star Review for Refusing to Deliver Meth

by Collin Woodard

Recently, a drug dealer near Sydney, Australia, tried out an innovative method of delivering drugs to customers: Uber Eats. And on its face, it seemed so simple. Customers could order their drugs, the driver would show up to deliver the package and the dealer would get paid through the app. Except it didn’t quite work…

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28 Apr 18:15

Watch FortNine Break Down (Almost) Every Motorcycle Engine Layout

by Steve DaSilva

When it comes to cars, the differences between engine layouts are pretty simple. Unless you’re buying a Subaru or Porsche, you’ve got your inlines and your Vs, all with a cylinder count that really matters less than their displacement. But in cars, you’re isolated — thousands of pounds of metal and rubber insulate you…

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01 Apr 11:10

Twitter’s recommendation algorithm is now on GitHub

by Karissa Bell

Nearly a year after Elon Musk first floated the idea of making Twitter’s recommendation algorithm public, the company has posted the source code for its recommendation algorithm on GitHub. In a Twitter Space discussing the move, Musk said he hoped users would be able to find potential “issues” in the code and help make it better.

“Our initial release of the so-called algorithm is going to be quite embarrassing and people are gonna find a lot of mistakes but we're going to fix them very quickly,” Musk said.

Notably, the code released Friday only deals with how tweets are shown in Twitter's "For You" feed. The company didn't release the underlying code for its search algorithm or how content is displayed on other parts of Twitter, though Musk said the company would "for sure" open-source the search algorithm as well.

In a blog post outlining how Twitter’s recommendations work, the company explained the various steps of the algorithm, including ranking and filtering. But Twitter users have already been finding interesting details in the code itself. For example, Jane Manchun Wong noted that “Twitter’s algorithm specifically labels whether the Tweet author is Elon Musk.” That may offer yet another explanation for why Musk’s tweets appear so often. Wong also noted that the algorithm has labels indicating whether the tweet author is a “power user” as well as whether they are a Republican or Democrat.

When asked about that aspect of the algorithm in the Twitter Space, Musk said “I agree that shouldn’t be there … it definitely shouldn't be dividing people into Republicans and Democrats, that makes no sense.” A Twitter engineer later followed up to clarify that the categories were only for “stat tracking purposes and it has nothing to do with the algorithm.” He said the labels are meant “to make sure we don't bias towards one group versus another one” though he didn’t address why Musk had his own category.

“But isn’t it weird that you have four categories and one of them is Elon,” the questioner responded. “I think it’s weird,” Musk said. “This was the first time I’m learning this.” The Twitter engineer didn’t directly respond with an explanation. The Twitter Space ended less than a minute later. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/twitters-recommendation-algorithm-is-now-on-github-200511112.html?src=rss
16 Mar 15:09

The 'BlackBerry' trailer looks funnier than you'd expect

by Devindra Hardawar

When we learned that a BlackBerry movie was in the works last year, we had no idea it would be something close to a comedy. But judging from the the trailer released today, it's aiming to be a far lighter story than other recent films about tech, like The Social Network and Steve Jobs. The BlackBerry movie stars Jay Baruchel (How to Train Your Dragon, Goon) and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's Glenn Howerton as Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, the former co-CEOs of the Canadian firm Research in Motion. They're not exactly household names, but they both played a huge role in the history of mobile communications. Without the BlackBerry's success, the iPhone may have never happened.

Judging from the trailer, the film will cover everything from the origins of BlackBerry as a crazy idea between a few college students (director Matt Johnson also co-stars as RIM co-founder Douglas Fregin), to its ignominious end as it failed to keep up with the iPhone and Android smartphones. It's a classic innovator's dilemma tale: RIM revolutionized the way we communicated by tapping into early cellular networks, but it failed to see the potential of touchscreen smartphones that didn't need physical keyboards.

BlackBerry is based on the 2015 book Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry, which was written by Globe and Mail reporters Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/blackberry-movie-trailer-jay-baruchel-191747935.html?src=rss
14 Mar 21:05

'System Shock' remake should finally hit PC on May 30th

by Kris Holt

The long-awaited System Shock remake at last has a precise release date, but it's one that marks yet another delay. Publisher Prime Matter previously planned to release the game sometime this month. "We had hoped to bring the game to market by the end of March, but that turned out to be just beyond our reach; we are after all merely human (unlike Shodan!)," it said.

Now, the game is scheduled to hit Steam, GOG and the Epic Games Store on May 30th. It will cost $40. Early buyers will get a copy of System Shock 2: Enhanced Edition at no extra cost when Nightdive Studios' port of that game arrives.

However, there's more disappointing news for those who've been waiting for the System Shock remake to come to consoles. It will land on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S sometime after May. Prime Matter says it will reveal more details when they become available.

The remake of the 1994 first-person RPG has been a long time coming. Nightdive first announced it in 2015 and we got our first look at it the following year. In early 2021, the studio said System Shock would arrive that summer, which obviously didn't come to pass.

According to Prime Matter, the latest version will retain the gameplay of the influential original game while upgrading the visuals, audio, controls and interface. Nightdive is overhauling the hacking feature and introducing fresh enemies, while the revamped combat includes a dismemberment system. You can check out a slice of System Shock now, as there's a PC demo available.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/system-shock-remake-should-finally-hit-pc-on-may-30th-171056087.html?src=rss
06 Feb 18:41

You Want a Sports Car Because You're Worried Your Penis Is Small, Psychologists Confirm

by Elizabeth Blackstock

Pretty much anyone who knows what a car is has probably heard some version of the “compensation” joke: The bigger your truck, or the faster and more expensive your vehicle, the smaller your penis. Researchers at University College London, though, have reason to believe there might actually be some truth behind the

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20 Jan 11:35

'Tron 3' may finally be happening with Jared Leto

by Kris Holt

It's been over 12 years since Tron: Legacy debuted and those who've been longing for a third entry in the classic sci-fi series may have wished for it on a monkey's paw. Tron: Ares, as the film may be called, could start filming this August with Jared Leto, ol' Morbius himself, reportedly set to star. Joachim Rønning (Maleficent: Mistress of Evil and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) is in talks to direct, according to Deadline.

As Variety notes, Leto first signed on back in 2017, but Disney has had a third movie on the backburner since long before then. Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski (who went on to make Top Gun: Maverick) said in an interview that he wrote and storyboarded a sequel "that takes place on the internet with Yahoo and Google and all those sites." Kosinski said he was close to moving forward with it in 2015 but suggested Disney "pulled the plug" as it had bigger, Marvel- and Star Wars-sized fish to focus on.

This time around, Tron: Ares could finally be happening. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that Daft Punk will return to deliver another banger of a score. The iconic duo split up in 2021.

14 Dec 00:54

Passengers Kicked Off Flight for Saying 'Penis' Think Penalty Too Stiff

by Erin Marquis

Flight attendants kicked three passengers off of a flight at Flint Bishop International Airport Monday night, with two of them ejected for referring to a certain part of sexual anatomy, they say.

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14 Dec 00:49

Scientists achieve fusion ignition, a major milestone in clean energy production

by Jon Fingas

Scientists have just crossed one of the most important thresholds in the quest for fusion energy. A team at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has created the first known fusion reaction with a net energy gain — that is, it produced more energy than it consumed and resulted in ignition. The researchers achieved the feat on December 5th, when they used 192 lasers at the National Ignition Facility to blast a cylinder containing frozen hydrogen surrounded by diamond.

The reaction, which generated a flurry of X-rays, struck a fuel pellet of deuterium and tritium with 2.05 megajoules of energy. That, in turn, led to a wave of neutron particles and 3.15 megajoules of output. That gain was 'only' equivalent to about 1.5lbs of TNT, but that was enough to meet the criteria for fusion ignition.

The development has been a long time coming. The National Ignition Facility started work in 2009, but it wasn't until 2014 that the installation's laser-based fusion technology produced a meaningful volume of energy. Progress accelerated in the past year, however. Lawrence Livermore generated a much larger amount of energy in a test last August, producing an output equivalent to 70 percent of the energy needed to perform the reaction. An attempt in September generated 1.2 megajoules using the 2.05-megajoule blast.

The lab and the Energy Department are quick to caution that "many" advancements are still necessary before fusion reactors are practical enough to power homes. During a presentation, scientists said they needed to improve the number of reactions per minute, simplify the process and otherwise make it easily repeatable. The net energy gain also doesn't include the entire system required to run the laser systems. And of course, the developers need to improve scaling — a reactor would have to power enough households to justify its existence.

The National Ignition Facility also isn't intended as a generator research program. It's using fusion to test and maintain the US nuclear arsenal. Other organizations and companies will need to cooperate on civilian uses.

The Energy Department is in the midst of rebooting a coordinated fusion power effort, however. During the event, officials also noted that a functional plant wasn't as far off as you might think. While they didn't commit to a timeframe, they said it was less than the 50 or 60 years they might have predicted in the past. You might see the first commercial fusion reactor in your lifetime, to put it another way.

The technology could be vital to limiting global warming and otherwise fighting climate change. While renewable energy sources like solar and wind power are more eco-friendly than coal, they don't always meet demand and can require large amounts of land. Solar also isn't as effective in regions where sunlight can be limited. Sufficiently powerful fusion reactors could achieve the dream of clean powerplants that have enough capacity to serve large populations without the radioactive waste of nuclear facilities.