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21 Oct 20:39

Mythbusters is coming to an end

by David Pescovitz

Next season of Mythbusters is the last one. The fantastic television series starring our friend Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, and a wonderful cast of makers and explosives, will end after the 14th season, totaling 248 episodes and nearly 3,000 experiments. Congratulations, you guys. It was a fantastic run. You inspired, and will continue to inspire, huge numbers of people of all ages with your curiosity, wonder, and ingenuity.

"I’ve been going through genuine grief,” Adam told Entertainment Weekly. “Even food doesn’t taste as good.”

What will they do next?

Adam: I’m definitely going to do more television, behind and in front of the camera. I love producing this show and figuring out how to structure the episodes. I’m going to jump into the website I’m looking forward to visiting Comic-Con.

Jamie: There’s a scripted show we’re executive producing at CBS that was announced, and that’s exciting. I can’t talk about it yet, but when it comes out it’s going to knock some people’s socks off. As far as me personally, there’s some outside projects I’m starting to ramp up. There’s an Office of Naval Research project. I’m developing some new kinds of robotic firefighting vehicles to help with the massive forest forests we’re dealing with in the West. I’m keeping the M5 [special effects company]. I’m a builder, first and foremost. There are people I have to work with filming [Mythbusters] that are interested in how to build things for the sake of the story rather than what I’m trying to accomplish. I don’t want to sound sour grapes about it, but for a show, you have to tell a story. You present it in a way that’s interesting and easy to follow. But I want to circle back to actually doing build projects where I don’t have a bunch of film people getting in my way and manipulating what’s going on.

20 Aug 18:17

NFL Now available to Apple TV-owning football fanatics

by Edgar Alvarez

We knew that the National Football League's brand new online network would eventually come to the Apple TV. And now it's here. After not being a part of the NFL Now device lineup on launch day, Apple's streaming box is finally adding the video service to its growing channel portfolio. There are no Apple TV-specific features in tow, and therefore you should expect the same type of content as on apps from other platforms -- such as real-time highlights, live press conferences analysis and, with NFL Now Plus, access to the league's NFL Films vault. Don't worry if you're not seeing it on your Apple TV yet, as it's just started rolling out and it may take a little while before you see the app show up. It''ll be there soon, though, scout's honor.

Filed under: Home Entertainment, Internet, HD, Apple


Source: NFL

19 Aug 02:22

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot: ‘Nintendo Customers Don’t Buy Assassin’s Creed’

by Mike Futter

When Assassin’s Creed: Rogue was announced earlier this month, the list of platforms confirmed what some Nintendo fans had been dreading. Ubisoft is stepping back its development on Wii U.

At Gamescom, we had the chance to catch up with company CEO Yves Guillemot to discuss Nintendo, the ticking clock hovering over last-gen, and the potential for an Ubisoft subscription program to match EA Access. We also discussed Early Access, and Ubisoft’s success using the platform on PC.

Guillemot has told us before that he is surprised by how fast consumers are upgrading to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Now, he is even more confident about Ubisoft’s development priorities over the coming year. “What we see is that this year is still fine for the PS3 and 360, but next year because they are selling very quickly, we’ll move to the new hardware,” Guillemot tells us. “After 2015, it will be hard for us to create games for those systems.”  

We’ve witnessed similar shifts in timing from other publishers, and similar comments about the fast pace of consumer upgrading. During that part of our conversation, Guillemot mentioned a three-way competition for consumer spending. We inquired about Ubisoft’s relationship with Nintendo.

“It’s very simple,” Guillemot says. “What we see is that Nintendo customers don’t buy Assassin’s Creed. Last year, we sold in very small numbers.” In fact, across Ubisoft’s portfolio, Nintendo Wii U sales only represent three percent of the total for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014. That’s down a percentage point from the previous year. Wii sales were still strong in the last fiscal year, making up 11 percent of total software sold, with major strength from the Just Dance franchise. (Note: This passage originally asserted that both Nintendo home consoles represent a total of three percent. We have corrected and clarified. We regret the error.) 

Source: Ubisoft Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Report (year ended March 31, 2014)

The company isn’t abandoning Nintendo entirely. Rather, it is simply shifting its focus on the platform. “What we see is that they are very interested in Just Dance, very interested by other kinds of games," Guillemot says. “So what we are trying to do is to focus more on the types of games they are interested in.”

Watch Dogs is the exception to this new rule. Ubisoft has promised the title for Wii U, and as of now, that version is still in the works. “[Watch Dogs] is coming to Wii U,” he assures. “It will be the only mature game we publish on it.”

We also spoke briefly about third-party exclusives, especially in the wake of Microsoft signing with Square-Enix to bring Rise of the Tomb Raider first to Xbox systems. “For Ubisoft, it’s more complex to do that kind of thing, especially on big franchises,” Guillemot says. “You have to make sure your fans can access the games they really want to play. Sometimes they can’t afford to buy different consoles, so [exclusivity] needs to be considered carefully.”

That’s not to say that Ubisoft isn’t willing to explore different business models. The company is keeping a watchful eye on EA’s new Access program on Xbox One, and Guillemot sees benefits beyond the revenue.

“I think it makes the publisher more important in the player’s mind,” he says. “Often, people are only interested in one brand from a publisher, so they don’t look for other brands. When you buy into something like Access, you can try other things for free and discover other things you like. It’s a way to make sure gamers can get more info on what we do and the diversity of our portfolio.”

Guillemot likens the idea of publisher “Access” subscriptions to television channels. “When you look on your console, you have many channels and you want that diversity,” he says. “Instead of saying everything’s in one place, we can say ‘Okay, try these channels: EA, Ubi, Activision.’ 

He sees programs like this as a way to increase diversity and attract new users to the consoles. Interestingly, Ubisoft hasn’t yet signed on with the only platform-level program yet. The company is not included in the PlayStation Now library. “We are still in the process of studying what it can do,” he explains. “We are open to any way that can give players access to our games. It has to work well and be a smooth experience.”

Ubisoft has so far found success in monetizing its back catalog via sales, and digital delivery has helped the company realize savings. However, Guillemot finds benefit in retail, too. 

“The disadvantage [of digital delivery], I would say, is that when you go to a retailer, you have somebody telling you what he feels about the game,” he says. “You can’t always do that online, but when you’re in a store you will have someone you know that played and can tell you more. I feel there’s a very important role played by people in stores who have a better understanding of the games.”

Ubisoft has experimented a bit with Steam’s Early Access model. The company has participated a number of times so far, with Might & Magic X, Mighty Quest for Epic Loot, and Ghost Recon Phantoms (formerly Ghost Recon Online) sold to consumers before full release.

“Early Access is very interesting because you have your customers giving you lots of advice to improve the game,” he explains. There is a downside to the Early Access model, though. “It has a negative impact on marketing, because with so many people playing it, launch is less of an event,” Guillemot says. 

He believes that in order for Early Access to be the right call, developers need to be willing to listen to players. “[Early Access] worked very well at first. But now, there is a mixture of good games and games that were never improved because they didn’t sell enough,” he says. “You have to use Early Access to actually have players and fans help you improve the product. If the game is really improved with the help of those playing, it can be very interesting.”

19 Aug 15:27

Valve Is the Most Desirable Employer in Video Games, Study Finds

Which video game industry company is the most attractive for people looking for a job? According to a recent study, that award goes to Half-Life and Steam company Valve. The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) today published the results of a 2014 survey of more than 2,200 developers, with Valve taking the top spot, above even "my own company." That's right, more people would rather work for Valve than for themselves.

Below are the results of the IGDA's study, which was based on data from the group's annual developer satisfaction survey. Specific criteria was not shared (we have followed up with the IGDA for comment), but it's not hard to see why Valve might be a desirable choice for people breaking into the business or looking for a new opportunity.

Valve is a major player in the industry, but unlike the others listed here (except for "my own company"), Valve is privately owned. This means it is not subject to the same pressures as publicly traded companies; after all, once a company goes public, management is tasked with growing shareholder value. People at Valve also don't have bosses, can take as much vacation time as they want, and desks are on wheels to encourage constant dialogue and collaboration between employees.

You can read more about Valve's unique culture in the company's employee handbook [PDF]. The company's structure has not been universally praised, however. Last summer, former hardware engineer Jeri Ellsworth blasted Valve for feeling "like high school." She also said at the time that, though Valve doesn't have bosses in the traditional sense, there exists a "hidden layer of powerful management."

The most desirable developer or publisher employers, according to the IGDA study:

  1. Valve (Half-Life, Steam, Portal)
  2. My own company
  3. Activision Blizzard (Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Skylanders)
  4. BioWare (Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Star Wars: The Old Republic)
  5. Ubisoft (Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Just Dance)
  6. Current employer
  7. Nintendo (Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong)
  8. Naughty Dog (The Last of Us, Jak & Daxter, Uncharted)
  9. Double Fine (Brutal Legend, Psychonauts, Broken Age)
  10. Bethesda Game Studios (Fallout, The Elder Scrolls)
Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email
19 Aug 18:00

Hands On: Dead Island 2

by Graham Smith

The original Dead Island was buggy, often sexist, sometimes racist, and frequently a chore to play. Then its expandalone Riptide added “offensively marketed” to that list.

Dead Island 2 has a new developer – Spec Ops: The Line’s Yager – and therefore a chance at a fresh start. A chance to take all that ambition and promise and focus on what players actually liked about the original: co-op japes, a sunny open-world, and the ability to weld a battery onto a knife and use it to stabbily electrocute hundreds of undead. I played Dead Island 2 for 24 minutes at Gamescom and the whole approach seems prompted by saying, ‘Hey, let’s do the obvious things, and not do the awful things?’

… [visit site to read more]

19 Aug 18:30

The Witcher's Fourth Act Takes RPGs to the Next Level

by GB Buford

The Witcher's Fourth Act Takes RPGs to the Next Level

If you've played a role-playing game in the last several years, be it Mass Effect or The Elder Scrolls, chances are that most of the game involved people asking you to go places, bop things on the head, and return with items for a reward. Unless you've played The Witcher.


19 Aug 19:00

Build-A-Youth: The Sims 4′s Character Creator Demo

by Alice O'Connor

That's what young people look like nowadays, isn't it?

No matter what’s removed or added or changed or bro-ised with The Sims 4, we can be fairly certain it’ll allow one thing: making goofy-looking folks. But lawks a lummy, Maxis have only gone and released that part for free! The ‘Create A Sim’ character creator has been yanked out of the full game to make a demo (or we can treat it as simply a cool toy for everyone to play with). Nab it from Origin. This came out last week, but we overlooked it in all the fuss and bother of Gamescom. Luckily, pulling silly faces is timeless.

… [visit site to read more]

19 Aug 19:13

Guild Wars 2 plans siege additions for world-vs.-world PvP

by Brianna Royce

Filed under: Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, PvP, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Dev Diaries, Buy-to-Play

As part of its September feature pack rollout, ArenaNet has today discussed the world-vs.-world improvements coming to Guild Wars 2 next month.

Specifically, the team is adding a new Siege Golem Mastery ability line, which renders your character "an unstoppable juggernaut of destruction" with super speed, AoE healing effects, and (of course) an ejection seat to amuse your guildies.

ArenaNet will also add consumable tricks; the first, called a Siege Disabler, is deployed like a grenade and disables weapons and golems and can be purchased with badges and coins rather than karma.

If you aren't into the PvP additions, well, you could always join the folks in Rata Sum protesting the absence of Super Adventure Box. [Thanks, thegirlwiththehair.]

MassivelyGuild Wars 2 plans siege additions for world-vs.-world PvP originally appeared on Massively on Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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19 Aug 19:00

Diablo III Feels Like It Was Made For Next-Gen Consoles

by Yannick LeJacq

Diablo III Feels Like It Was Made For Next-Gen Consoles

It all started with the dodge button. Blizzard added that to Diablo III when bringing it to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2013. Dodging was a great feature, but it wasn't enough to make me switch my allegiance from playing on a PC. Now that Diablo III is out for the PS4 and Xbox One, it's a different story.


19 Aug 19:48

ArcheAge Closed Beta 4 Is This Weekend

by Vendolyn
19 Aug 19:30

A Line Of Statues Based On Kirby Outfits? Oh No.

by Mike Fahey

A Line Of Statues Based On Kirby Outfits? Oh No.

They've done Zelda, they've done Metroid and they've done Mario — what Nintendo properties are left for collectible maker First 4 Figures? How about a line of statues based on the many forms of the magnificent Kirby? This is going to get expensive.


19 Aug 20:04

RuneScape hit with denial-of-service attacks

by Brianna Royce

Filed under: Fantasy, News Items, RuneScape, Browser, Sandbox

Jagex has posted to its official forums the news that both modern RuneScape and its classic servers are in the midst of service disruption attacks. Moderator Tyran explained:
As you may be aware, we're currently experiencing service disruption across both game and web services, this is affecting both RuneScape and Old School RuneScape.

We are aware that RuneScape (as well as other games) are being targeted by attacks which are causing connectivity issues for our players.

We are doing everything we can to mitigate any impact on your gameplay experience - our Systems Team are currently working to improve stability across our core hosting platform to improve the situation.
The studio warns players to avoid high-risk content where items might be lost, but customer service will investigate items already compromised by the outages. A large-scale rollback is not currently planned; Moderator Ronan posted, "Unfortunately, Old School RuneScape does not have the tool required to roll back or to confirm what items were lost by players and so it will not be possible to refund any lost items."

MassivelyRuneScape hit with denial-of-service attacks originally appeared on Massively on Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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19 Aug 20:15

​Battlefield 4 Screenshots Become Stunning Photographs

by Chris Person

​Battlefield 4 Screenshots Become Stunning Photographs

A game that's been modded inside and out is sometimes indistinguishable from the game that was released, and Battlefield 4 is no different.


19 Aug 21:00

A Handy Way to Know When All the Games Come Out

by Evan Narcisse

A Handy Way to Know When All the Games Come Out

Fall is coming, and it's bringing a ton of games for you to enjoy. But maybe you're having a hard time tracking when the titles you're looking forward to are coming out. If that's the case, then the Play Date interactive game release calendar is for you.


18 Aug 16:10

Please Enjoy The ‘Super Mario World’ Theme Song If Yoshi Told The Truth About Mario

by ludditeandroid


Today in “Songs You Didn’t Know Had Lyrics” is the theme from Super Mario World for the SNES. Did you know the fascinating fact that Super Mario World‘s theme originally had lyrics sung by none other than T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas, AKA Yoshi? It’s completely true and totally not something made up for the sake of jokes at Nintendo’s expense.

The video comes from Animation Domination High Definition (ADHD), who are usually disturbing us with “Scientifically Accurate” cartoons about Sonic the Hedgehog, the Cheerios bee, Spongebob Squarepants, Pokémon, ThunderCats, Ninja Turtles, Spider-Man, and Ducktales.

On another note, I forgot how happy it makes me to hear this little chiptune. How can anybody be upset when listening to the Super Mario World theme? Well, anybody other than Yoshi when this happens.

No wonder Yoshi finally snapped.

Via The Awesomer and Tastefully Offensive

Filed under: GammaSquad Tagged: ADHD, Fox, mario, Nintendo, NSFW, PARODY, SNES, Super Mario World, video games, Yoshi
18 Aug 18:17

Remember The High Diving Giraffes?

by Brinke

Well, the Giraffes are back, and they’ve brought their pals. (Pre-Emptive Nuffer Disclaimer: This. Is. Computer. Generated.)

From David R.

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: WHAT IS GOING ON HERE
14 Aug 15:10

Daaaaaamn: Here’s The Mashup Of ‘Star Wars’ And ‘Friday’ The World Needs Now

by ludditeandroid

We just got knocked the f*ck out by how awesome these two videos are. Blake Faucette of Distractotron combined video from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope with audio from Friday to make two-part epic saga Star Wars: A New Friday. Now Ice Cube and Chris Tucker are the Stormtroopers and Tommy “Tiny” Lister is Darth Vader (and suddenly 3,720% more intimidating).

There are so many little details and perfect editing skills we don’t want to spoil, so we’ll just sum them up with a word: Daaaamn.


New Line Cinema

And here’s Part Two:

Via Laughing Squid

Filed under: GammaSquad, Web Culture Tagged: .lol, A NEW HOPE, BLAKE FAUCETTE, CHRIS TUCKER, DISTRACTOTRON, FRIDAY, ice cube, Mashups, Star Wars, STAR WARS: A NEW FRIDAY, TINY LISTER
14 Aug 15:10

'Vape' Is Added to Oxford Dictionaries…Finally

by Tracie Egan Morrissey

'Vape' Is Added to Oxford Dictionaries…Finally

Oxford University Press has updated its dictionaries to include very important words that we use basically every day, like "vape" and "binge-watch."


11 Aug 15:13

Powderful to Powerful: Why “Girl Power” Advertising Works

by Kristine Lyng


Feeling a little defeated today, girl? Well, there’s an ad for that. 

In the last half decade, advertising has evolved. With the growth of online and digital video advertising, the playing field has been leveled in a lot of ways—tiny companies like GoldieBlox can play hardball with giants like Mattel. With that, all types of advertisers have the ability to send powerful messages to its viewers. And, as such, there are some that have chosen to jump on the movement of “fempowerment” advertising. While this concept is nothing new (Dove started its famous “Real Beauty” campaign back in 2004), we’ve certainly seen an uptick in ads focused on the empowerment and equality of women in the last year.                                                 

With the recent, national debut of yet another female empowerment spot, this time from Under Armour, we have tested eight such ads in the last 12 months and now have the opinions of over 2,000 American women on how effective these ads really are. 

The most creatively effective spot also happens to be the longest and one of the more recent ads. Viral sensation “Like A Girl,” from Procter & Gamble brand Always, was awarded a staggering Ace Score of 800 among women. 

Each of the ad’s six Persuasion components (as scored by women) pushed the boundaries of perfection. While the ad’s scores in Likeability and Attention are incredible—helping the ad achieve its 46 million views and viral status—it’s the ad’s scores in Change and Relevance that are a little tougher to achieve and equally as impressive. The Change component scored 28% higher than the 90-day average, indicating that women felt the brand was moving in a new direction. Likewise, the ad has a Relevance score 34% above the 90-day norm, meaning women felt the ad was pertinent to their own lives.

Figure represents female scores only.

Are high female Change and Relevance scores the key to a successful “girl power” ad? Well, that’s certainly one component. The other key to an effective fem-power ad is creating a clear, targeted message. After all, the whole point of this type of ad is to send a message—let women know the brand is behind women crushing stereotypes in favor of female empowerment.

While the message is the driving force behind these types of ads, it can sometimes be lost in translation in the eyes of the consumer. In Always’ “Like A Girl,” an astounding 66% of consumers said that the best thing about the ad was its message. Similarly, “Inspire Her Mind,” which is Verizon’s moving spot and also the second highest rated ad of the bunch, had 51% of respondents indicate the message was the best thing.

On the lower end of the spectrum is Under Armour’s recent delve into female-oriented advertising. The ad, “Never Quit,” scored above the Apparel category norm with women (610); but, as seen in the chart below, consumers weren’t quite in agreement that the message was the best thing. While 31% of consumers chose the message as the best part, many consumers also enjoyed the strong visual scenes and seeing Misty Copeland. Afterall, I think everyone can agree that the scenes of Copeland’s calves and strength are exceptionally powerful.

The disparity among consumers of the best thing about “Never Quit” means some consumers were occupied with other, wonderful elements of the ad which perhaps distracted from the ad’s intended focal point—the message. 

With these ads having such strong, singular messages, one might assume that the brand could easily be lost in communication. Believe it or not, according to our research, it seems consumers are able to identify the brand fairly easily after watching such focused advertisements. Always, Verizon, Cover Girl and Special K each have 80+ percent of consumers correctly naming the ad’s brand post-viewing. This is especially amazing for female-oriented brands like Always and Cover Girl where 50% of consumers (i.e. men) don’t even use or purchase the products for themselves. 

Of course, how well-known the brand is to begin with is still extremely meaningful. After watching GoldieBlox’s viral spot, “Princess Machine,” only about 50% of consumers could accurately name the ad’s brand. Naturally, that is likely more to do with how well-known the brand is to begin with rather than the actual branding in the ad.

The last big question we have been unable to answer, thus far, is whether or not these ads are actually changing the way consumers, women and men, think and feel about themselves and each other. What we’ve seen so far is that women are not yet tired of these messages, which is meaningful in itself. And, in many ways, men aren’t tired of hearing these messages either.

All eight of these spots in the last year have scored above their category norms with women. 

It’s unlikely we’ll see such ads dissipate any time soon—which is a good thing, for brands and consumers. Dove has even made a heartwarming spot celebrating Dads. Dove’s “Calls For Dad” was well-received online and scored an impressive 648 with the general population of consumers. In fact, women actually scored the ad slightly higher than what men scored it. 

Are there other “powderful” ads you’ve seen? We’d love to continue the conversation. Contact us to learn more about how consumers interpreted these ads.

11 Aug 19:00

​How To Always Win At Rock, Paper, Scissors in Divinity: Original Sin

by Kirk Hamilton

​How To Always Win At Rock, Paper, Scissors in Divinity: Original Sin

In Divinity: Original Sin, disagreements are often settled not with steel or spells, but with a game of rock, paper, scissors.


11 Aug 20:00

How To Answer Rude (But Perfectly Legal) Personal Questions At A Job Interview

by Kate Cox

Job interviews are a nerve-wracking experience. And while we’re all prepared to answer, “What’s your biggest weakness?” or “Tell me about a time you made a mistake at work,” most of us aren’t expecting to hear, “Are you planning to become pregnant?” or “Where do you go to church?” or, “What country were your parents born in?” Such incredibly personal questions are often jarring and possible deal-breakers for some applicants. Many people think it’s illegal to be asked these kinds of questions, but in most cases it’s not against the to ask — it’s just illegal to use that information as the deciding factor in whether or not to hire someone. So the next time you’re hunting for a job, here’s what you need to know about what your next boss can and can’t ask you — and what you can do about it if things get weird.

Why are these questions so bad?

The TL;DR Version

• It is legal for a job interviewer to ask about your family, sexuality, age, religion, and other personal issues that aren’t related to the job.

• It is illegal for an employer to use that information to decide whether or not you get the job.

• It’s legal for an employer to discuss whether someone’s disability will prevent them from being able to do the job.

• It’s illegal for the employer to inquire about the nature of that disability.

• If an interviewer’s questions seem to personal, try to determine if they are making small talk or if they are asking a question that is really about the job.

• If it’s just small talk, try to keep your answers friendly and limited to what you’re comfortable discussing.

• If the personal question is really about a work-related issue, try answering by skipping right to the work question.

• You can always respond with “Why do you ask?”

• If an employer doesn’t respect your desire to keep certain things private, ask yourself if that is a company you want to work for.

• If you feel like you have been discriminated against based on these questions, you can file a complaint with the EEOC. You may also want to consider looking into finding a lawyer.

In a perfect universe, all of what’s discussed in a job interview would be small talk that doesn’t matter, doesn’t pry too much and doesn’t cross any personal lines. In the real world, workplace discrimination is still a pernicious problem.

Sometimes employers genuinely and unfairly want to weed out candidates who don’t fit their perceived model (like engineering firms that have been accused of automatically discounting female applicants), but sometimes they simply don’t realize their own biases, like maybe finding someone from their own religion “more trustworthy.”

And if a company chooses to not hire someone — or gives preferential treatment to an applicant — because of their answers to some of these incredibly personal questions, it’ not just rude to the qualified applicants who missed out on the job, it’s potentially super-duper illegal.

What does the law say?

This is where the problem starts. There is no one specific law declaring that “You can’t ask questions about XYZ.” Instead, there is a a patchwork of laws and regulations enacted over time and are enforced on a federal level by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The EEOC oversees employment discrimination claims, including hiring discrimination, against protected classes.

What is a protected class?

Good question, Timmy. Individuals have legal protection against discrimination along certain categorical lines; the groups inside those lines are protected classes. At the federal level, they are race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, and genetic information.

Most of those categories are exactly what they sound like. Sex discrimination includes pregnancy discrimination, age discrimination applies to workers over age 40, and “genetic information” discrimination means a company can’t decline to hire you if, for example, you carry the so-called “breast cancer gene” and might cost them extra in medical benefits someday.

Although there is no federal law protecting LGBT employees from discrimination, the EEOC has held that discriminating against a transgender person on the basis of their gender identity qualifies as sex discrimination, as can discrimination against a lesbian, gay, or bisexual person in some circumstances.

Twenty states provide some protection for employees who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual; seventeen have non-discrimination laws protecting employees based on gender identity. In Tennessee, someone can refuse to hire a gay employee. In Colorado, they can’t.

However, as of just a few weeks ago, no business that has a contract with the federal government is permitted to discriminate against LGBT employees and candidates — and that includes religious organizations with federal contracts.

So it’s illegal for an employer to ask about those things in an interview?


Not even a little bit illegal at all.

With a very few specific exceptions (more about those in a moment), there are no “illegal” interview questions. It is completely, totally, 100% legal for a potential employer to ask you about your status in any protected class except for disability.

So yes, an employer can ask you if you’re married, if you have children, if you plan to have children, if you’re gay, what country you or your parents were born in, and what religion you practice — and countless other personal things that have nothing to do with the job or your possible performance in that job.

However, using any of that information as part of the hiring process is completely illegal. Hiring managers are not permitted, under the law, to decline to hire you because of your status as a member of a protected class.

Because they’re not permitted to use that information to make decisions about your candidacy, most sensible employers will avoid asking in the first place. That way, if they don’t hire you, they have a reasonable defense against accusations of many different kinds of discrimination.

So about those specific exceptions…

Certain businesses are too small to be covered by EEOC rules. If you’re the third or fourth employee a small business has ever hired, you are completely out of luck on discrimination protection.

The other key exception is disability. Under the law, an employer is prohibited from asking job applicants if they have a disability.

They also may not ask about the nature of an “obvious” disability. For example, if a candidate comes in with a hearing aid, a guide dog, or a wheelchair, discussing the nature of that disability is a no-no. (Of course, many disabilities are invisible or hidden from sight.)

However, employers may ask job applicants if they are able to perform the job and how they would perform the job, but the nature of the disability is out of bounds.

For example, if a wheelchair-using candidate interviews for a job as a delivery driver, the employer can ask, “Are you able to drive a van and take packages from the vehicle to clients’ doorsteps?” but the employer may not specifically ask about the applicant’s disability.

What do I do if I don’t feel comfortable answering really personal questions?

Probing, seemingly irrelevant questions might not be illegal, but that doesn’t mean you’ll feel comfortable telling some interviewer personal details about your marriage, kids, religion, or sex life. So what do you do when you think a question crosses the line?

For expert advice, we asked Alison Green of Ask A Manager, who says that the way to handle the situation first depends on exactly what the situation is.

“It’s so tricky, because on the one hand you really don’t want to take an adversarial approach,” she explains. “That’s the fastest way to destroy any rapport you’ve already built up with the interviewer.”

And of course, if you’re at an interview for a job you want, you’re trying to build up a positive relationship and hopefully end up with a great new gig.

First, try not to get thrown off. Keep your cool. Then, Green suggests, tailor your approach to the feeling you’re getting from the asker. Ask yourself whether the question is something you wouldn’t normally discuss, or if it’s only jarring because it’s unexpected from a job interview.

“Are they making conversation, being warm? Then treat it as you would at any other social occasion,” Green advises. Kids and pets are nearly as common to talk about as the weather, after all.

But what if it’s not just small talk?

“If you get the sense that they’re grilling you, that the answers really matter,” Green says you can take a couple of different tactics.

“Try to figure out what it is they’re really getting at,” she suggests. You can even ask them that question directly; in a friendly, conversational, non-adversarial tone try answering their question with one of your own: a casual, “Oh, why do you ask?”

Or, says Green, you can sometimes see clearly what the employer is really concerned about and tackle that head-on instead.

For example, if you believe you’re being asked about future pregnancy plans because they want to know how you’ll handle child-care arrangements, and how it will reflect your availability and reliability, you can skip to answering those concerns instead of getting mired in the personal details of your family planning.

Sometimes it still doesn’t work.

When your efforts to rein in the personal questions don’t succeed, the best you can do in answer politely or deflect gracefully. Unfortunately, if the interviewer gets challenging or hostile about your answers, then the interview is probably not going to end well.

Of course, you’ll have to ask yourself if you would be comfortable working for a company that insists on answers to these probing questions.

What if I believe I’ve been discriminated against because of my answers?

Most of the time, interviewers who ask dumb questions are making thoughtless small talk without thinking through the implications. But sometimes, hiring managers and companies really are big discriminatory jerks.

If an employer has discriminated against you due to your status as a member of a protected class, you can file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.

In some situations, you may also wish to consult an employment lawyer, who can help you understand your particular options better.

Green suggests that employees and job-seekers looking for a reputable employment lawyer should head to the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) website, where they have a searchable directory of lawyers who specifically represent workers and employees in employment law cases.

11 Aug 04:00

Universal Converter Box

Comes with a 50-lb sack of gender changers, and also an add-on device with a voltage selector and a zillion circular center pin DC adapter tips so you can power any of those devices from the 90s.
10 Aug 20:21

New Gaming Mouse Allows You to 3D Print Your Own Buttons

PC Gaming accessories manufacturer Roccat has revealed the Nyth, a modular gaming mouse that allows you to 3D print and attach your own buttons.

Roccat describes the Nyth as an "MMO mouse," but says you could easily transform it into a MOBA or first-person shooter mouse with custom button placement and interchangeable side-parts. Roccat hasn't detailed the process, but presumably you'll be able to design your own buttons and side-parts, or use Roccat's growing list of both via an online file library. Roccat did not share any technical details about the mouse, such as its dots per inch (DPI) or response time.

Roccat also announced a new keyboard, Skelter, which will hold and connect to your smartphone via the company's new Swarm Driver software. Connecting your smartphone will allow you to launch applications from your phone, configure different Roccat devices, and answer calls by pressing a button on your keyboard.

You can find out more about Roccat's new devices on its official website.

How would you modify your mouse to play your favorite PC games? Tell us in the comments below.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg and Google+.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

10 Aug 23:35

Diablo 3 Ultimate Evil Edition Is a 58.4GB Download in Europe, 26.1GB in the US -- Report

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Ultimate Evil Edition for the PlayStation 4 is a 58.4GB download in Europe and a 26.1GB download in the U.S., according to their respective listings on the PlayStation Store.

When Installed on PC, Diablo III and the Reaper of Souls expansion pack take up a little less than 15GB. The 58.4GB download sounds especially large given the fact that the PlayStation 4 comes with a 500GB, though users can replace it with bigger hard drives.

To illustrate just how hefty of a download the European version is, consider that Titanfall was about a 20GB download on PC, and 48GB when installed, due mostly to its uncompressed audio.

The difference between the U.S. and European versions of the game could be due to multiple language audio tracks in the European version, as well as multiple language cutscenes.

Some European commenters on the PlayStation Blog are reporting that preordering the game is queueing up multiple downloads. One is 20.5GB and seems to be just the English version of the game, and another is 37.8GB and seems to contain the European localization, though it's unclear if users can choose which to download.

We've reached out to Activision for comment and will update this story as we receive new information.

Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition launches August 19 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, and PS4. The game contains the main Diablo III game and the Reaper of Souls expansion. As we learned at E3, the PS4 version of the game includes infected from The Last of Us, as well as a special Shadow of the Colossus transmog set.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg and Google+.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

11 Aug 11:06

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition announced, will bundle DLC and improve graphics

by Phil Savage

Sleeping Dogs is a game about an undercover Hong Kong cop, whose conflicted sense of loyalty causes him to grab random civilians and smash their faces repeatedly and psychotically into a pork bun stand. At least, that’s how I played it. The combination of misplaced loyalty and random violence clearly resonated with others, too, as Square Enix have announced a “Definitive Edition”, due out this October. It will not only package up all 24 bits of DLC, but also upgrade the graphics.

“We listened to the fans,” sayeth senior producer Dan Sochan in a press release. “We tuned gameplay, we added to the ambience of Hong Kong, increased audio fidelity and pushed the visuals further than we could on the previous generation of consoles.”

Yes, consoles. As seen with the Metros Redux, publishers are smitten with the idea of re-releasing upgraded versions of recent titles for current generation consoles. In an environment with no backwards compatibility, it sort of makes sense. On PC? Less so. Sleeping Dogs was released in 2012. It still looks pretty good on our platform.

While it will become the obvious choice for those who don’t yet own the original, it’s hard to imagine what price would tempt existing owners. In other words, exactly the same problem that 4A are currently facing with Metro Redux.

It’s a strange situation. What bothers me is that, between pre-order bonuses and “Definitive”-style special editions, those who buy games on or around the actual release date are increasingly being punished for that decision. Bundled DLC was one thing, but an entire polish and upgrade of a game. That’s quite a big improvement to miss out on. That said, maybe the chance to see increased fidelity pork bun crime will ultimately prove irresistible.

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition is out 10 October, on PC, PS4 and Xbox.

The post Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition announced, will bundle DLC and improve graphics appeared first on PC Gamer.

11 Aug 12:30

How to Patch a Hole in Drywall

by Kit Stansley on Workshop, shared by Andy Orin to Lifehacker

How to Patch a Hole in Drywall

If you ever find yourself staring at a hole marring an otherwise perfectly good wall, don't worry. Patching drywall is easier than it looks: you just need the right tools and a few basic principles.


11 Aug 16:10

Square-Enix Tries Out The Episodic Adventure Game Thing With ‘Life Is Strange’

by Nathan Birch


I’m surprised this hasn’t happened sooner. Telltale continues to pile up critical acclaim and cold hard cash with their low-budget episodic adventure games, and yet no major publishers have been willing to descend from their ivory triple-A towers to take a crack at a relatively unexploited market. Until now that is!

Square-Enix have announced that they’re teaming up with Dontnod Entertainment (the guys behind Remember Me) for a new episodic adventure entitled Life is Strange.

The game involves a high school age girl name Max Caulfield returning to her Oregon hometown, only to discover an old classmate has gone missing. Oh, and did I mention Max has the ability to rewind time? She does, and she’s probably going to be using that power to solve some creepy Twin Peaks-esque mysteries. Consider me intrigued.

Here’s a few screenshots…






Square Enix

Life is Strange is coming for every platform under the sun (well, except Wii U of course). More info should be dropping within the week at Gamescom — I’m holding out delusional hope that Dontnod has been hard at work and we actually have something to look forward to in 2014.

Via Square-Enix Blog

Filed under: Gaming, GammaSquad Tagged: DONTNOD ENTERTAINMENT, Life is Strange, Remember Me, square enix, video games
11 Aug 16:42

America's Test Kitchen suggests cooking meat frozen

by Jason Weisberger

Rather than thawing a frozen steak, just add a super cold steak to the pan. Follow the instructions in this video and you'll save a lot of time and have a better meal.

11 Aug 17:30

Elgato's New Video Capture Box Does 1080p At 60 Frames Per Second

by Mike Fahey

Elgato's New Video Capture Box Does 1080p At 60 Frames Per Second

Elgato's Game Capture HD is one of the most widely-used game video capture devices on the market — it's what many of us here at Kotaku used to grab gameplay footage. Today Elgato introduces it's next-generation capture device — the Game Capture HD60, capable of recording 1080p at 60 frames per second.


08 Aug 05:36

Steam Client Beta update allows you to hide games from your library

by Shaun Prescott

A bit reluctant to advertise to the world that you’ve accrued 200+ hours in Leisure Suit Larry? Well never fear, because a new update to Steam’s Client Beta allows you to hide games from your library. In a world of oversharing, the option will no doubt appeal to those prone to guilty pleasures. The option is available in the ‘Set Categories’ menu, and once you’ve selected to hide a title it will appear in a new hidden category.

There are other updates too, including numerous fixes and some tweaks to the user interface. For a full rundown, cast your eyes on the notes below.

Steam Client

- Updated desktop user interface styles, simplifying common controls and navigation elements, and neutralizing overall color palette to align with Steam web pages and Big Picture mode
- Don’t delay content updates for games set to high priority
- Fixed crash if you clicked on a game on the downloads page or clicked the details option in the games grid view


- Add “Hide this game in my library” functionality, accessible from the Set Categories menu. Games that are hidden will not show up in library filters except for a new filter called “Hidden”, which will only appear once at least one game is marked as hidden. Hidden games are still available for play and will still appear on the user’s profile.
- Synchronize selection between main window library views and Small Mode.
- Fix game details panel scrolling to the top during game download/update
- Fix crash when switching from downloads or grid view to details view

In-Home Streaming

- Added hardware accelerated decoding for Mac OS X 10.9 and newer
- Implemented periodic refresh to help repair screen smearing issue with NVIDIA hardware accelerated encoding
- Fixed race condition that could cause streaming connections to fail to connect with a timeout notification


- Removed a noisy log message from GameOverlayRenderer.log

Mac OS X

- Fixed web views not restarting if the underlying helper app crashed

The post Steam Client Beta update allows you to hide games from your library appeared first on PC Gamer.