It took Robert Gomez about five months to get his Kaffe coffee grinder to the big leagues in e-commerce: among the first three search results for “coffee grinder” on Amazon.com. Gomez, founder of Atlanta-based consumer goods startup 4Q Brands, said he obsessively refined his photos and description, amassed reviews from happy customers, and paid Amazon $40,000 a month on advertising to boost sales, one of the elements Amazon tells sellers will increase search ranking. Robert Gomez, owner of startup 4Q Brands, in his warehouse in Buford, GA on October 6th, 2021. For more than two years, his coffee grinder had…This story continues at The Next WebOr just read more coverage about: Amazon
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TL;DR: A lifetime subscription to the Rytr AI Writing Tool is on sale for £55.25 as of Oct. 17, saving you 94% on list price.
Rytr is an intuitive, AI-powered writing tool that can create high-quality content for you. All you have to do is feed it some relevant information — like topic, tone, and format — and in return, it will deliver content to fit your needs.
Rytr is easily accessible on any browser (via desktop or mobile). Once you open it up, you’ll choose your use case from over 25 different categories, including emails, Facebook ads, blog text, landing pages, captions, product descriptions, taglines, headlines, and more. Then you’ll choose your tone from over a dozen options, like “convincing,” “casual,” or “appreciative.” Finally, you’ll type in some input text for the topic at hand, choose how many variants you’d like, and click the “Ryte for me” button.
From there, you can edit it as you see fit and truly customize it for your brand — all while feeling confident that it’s SEO-friendly.
With a lifetime subscription, you can generate up to 75,000 characters per month. For a limited time, it’ll only cost you £55.25.£55.25 at the Mashable Shop
Truth, justice and a better tomorrow.
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To the average web surfer, all the technical jargon around VPNs can get pretty overwhelming. Thankfully, understanding how you connect to the internet and how VPNs work is easier than you might think. Read on to learn what your IP address is and how you can hide it using a VPN.
You could go your entire internet life without ever thinking or even knowing about your Internet Protocol (IP) address. That’s because it hangs out in the background with layers of technology on top of it to make the whole web browsing experience more user-friendly.
At any given time you aren’t actually connected directly to the internet. You connect to a network — often a home or office, or sometimes a public network like in a coffee shop — that’s connected to the internet via an internet service provider (ISP).
Most of the time, you connect to the network through a router, which is responsible for assigning private IP addresses to every device on the network.
This helps it route data between devices so the right content is delivered to the right place. The IP address that websites “see” is the public IP address, which is assigned by your ISP and acts as a unique identifier for your entire network. That public IP address contains information such as the ISP it belongs to and the general location of the server you’re connected to, which could be a city or zip code.
What all this means is that when you talk about hiding your IP address, you’re effectively trying to hide the network you’re connected to and all the information attached to it.
Hiding your IP address is shockingly simple: Use a VPN, or virtual private network.
When you connect to a VPN, you send encrypted requests that your ISP forwards to one of your VPN’s servers that will deliver them to their final destination. During this process, the VPN masks your public IP address behind its own so that when your requests arrive, they look like they’re coming from that server instead of from your network.
See Also: We tested popular VPNs to see which was fastest. Here's what we found.
This is good news if you’re looking to access geo-restricted content; just connect to a server in the region you need to be in, and you’re good to go.
Some websites try to block access through VPNs by logging IP addresses known to belong to VPN servers.
If you’ve ever gotten a message like this, you know what I’m talking about.
This might lead you to think you should hide your VPN’s IP address as well, but that isn’t really the answer. Web traffic has to have an IP address connected to it, and traffic that flows through a VPN is no exception.
If you find that the IP address of a particular server is blocked by a website you’re trying to reach, your best options are to choose a different server or try a different VPN service.
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It happens. You dump a load of laundry in the washer, and your AirPods are tucked into the pocket of your favorite pants. Or you’re sitting on the toilet, and you know what happens next.
Electronics meet water, triggering a frantic search for a way to dry them off. Can they be saved? Maybe. Here’s what you can do if your AirPods get wet.
But wait...there are a few important things to clarify first.
In a word, no. No version of AirPods — standard AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max — are waterproof. Charging cases and Smart Cases are not waterproof, either.
It’s a no for the standard AirPods, the AirPods Max, charging cases, and the Smart Case. But there’s a bit of good news for AirPods Pro owners: They are sweat and water resistant, boasting an IPX4 water-resistant rating. That means that AirPods Pro hold up if they get splashed with water from any direction or wet from sweat. But you should know that their water resistance wanes over time. Normal wear can decrease the water resistance of the AirPods Pros.
See Also: The best smart speakers: See where the Amazon Echo Dot, others rank
If your AirPods do get wet, it may be possible to salvage them. As soon as you can, use a soft, dry, lint-free cloth, such as a microfiber cloth, to dry them off. Then, place them in a safe spot to dry. Depending on how wet they were, it might take a day or longer for them to fully dry out. Cases dry best when the lid is open and they are stored upside down.
Before using your AirPods again or storing them away in their charging case, they must be completely dry, Apple warns. Putting wet AirPods into a charging case could cause further damage to the case itself.
Don’t try to speed up the process with a hair dryer or other heat source; the heat could cause more harm to your AirPods.
Some AirPods users claim success using rice or desiccant, in the form of silica gel packets, to suck out any moisture. Silica gel packets are those little packets that say, “Do Not Eat” and are typically found in shoe boxes, vitamin containers, and packaged with electronics to ward off moisture build up. To try to dry your AirPods off in this way, place them in a container with the packets. If you use rice as an alternative, wrap the AirPods in paper towels so an individual grain doesn’t get stuck in the device. Again, it may take a day or more for them to dry out completely.
If they no longer connect to your device or sound off after a couple of days, it’s probably time to call it quits and get a new pair.
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It's been over a year since Rocksteady and Warner Bros. revealed their Suicide Squad game, but now they're finally ready to offer another peek â if not necessarily the one you were expecting. They've released a story trailer for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League that shows the formation of Task Force X and explains why your band of supervillains (Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot and King Shark) has to destroy some of Earth's greatest heroes.
As it turns out, Brainiac has possessed the Justice League and is using heroes to wreak havoc. The Task Force is the first unit to make it into Metropolis alive, as X organizer Amanda Waller explains. It's also clear that Harley and crew aren't exactly eager volunteers, as their heads are "ticking." Superman, Green Lantern and The Flash also get some attention in the trailer, and even The Penguin makes an unusual cameo appearance.
There's unfortunately no gameplay in this trailer, and the developers haven't committed to a more specific release date than "2022" for the PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X/S versions. Even so, this gives you a better idea of what to expect: plenty of witty banter, a world turned on its head and an almost casual approach to violence. The main question is simply whether Rocksteady can build on the reputation from its Batman games and deliver action on par with this teaser footage.
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Sometimes you need a chill down your spine to shake off the doldrums and know you’re alive.
Thrillers are a perfect pairing for this craving. Such suspense-rich movies give us a first-class ticket to journeys wild, winding, and exciting. They allow us to live vicariously through reckless thieves, smirking vigilantes, and brave tough guys who never shrink from a fray. If you're on the search for cinema that will rattle your nerves and leave you breathless, we've got just the thing. Whether you want some new or old, fun or frightening, mind-bending or heart-warming, there’s a perfect pick just for you.
Here are the 10 best thrillers now available on HBO Max.
“M” is the mark of a murderer in this unnerving Fritz Lang classic, which boasts layers of sinister thrills. Released in 1931, this German gem explored the terrors of “stranger danger” way ahead of its time by tracking the crimes of a sneaky child killer. Rather than show kids slaughtered onscreen, Lang employed German Expressionism to imply carnage, thus turning an abandoned balloon into a horrific image. Suspense is wrought not only from the threat that this merciless murderer will strike again, but also from a raging mob's mounting quest for vigilante justice. With wide eyes and an unsettling screen presence, Peter Lorre made his mark with this role of a revolting fiend.
How to watch: M is now streaming on HBO Max.
Like some sci-fi with your thrills? Then, dive into director Terry Gilliam’s 1995 tale of madness, plague, and love. Bruce Willis stars as a prisoner who time-travels from a dystopian future to a doomed past, searching for the source of a virus that wiped out much of humanity. Nothing goes right on these ramshackle missions. So, our befuddled hero desperately seeks help from a bombastic mental patient (an Academy Award-nominated Brad Pitt) and a skeptical yet alluring psychiatrist (Madeleine Stowe). Combatting confounding clues, a shattered psyche, and a yearning to stay in this sun-dappled past, can he save the future before time runs out?
How to watch: Twelve Monkeys is now streaming on HBO Max.
Among Alfred Hitchcock’s most successful and iconic films, this 1959 thriller stars Cary Grant as a Madison Ave ad exec (yep, he’s a Mad Men), whose life is derailed when he’s mistaken for a secret agent. You might recognize the scene where the dapper Grant is chased down in a field by a cropduster airplane. But there’s much, much more to this chilling mistaken identity story, including a spine-tingling climax at a national landmark. The plot's treacherous turns earned screenwriter Ernest Lehman an Oscar nod for Best Original Screenplay. The swaggering charm of Grant and his enchanting co-star Eva Marie Saint helped make this film a big hit. All these decades later, it’s still a stunner.
How to watch: North by Northwest is now streaming on HBO Max.
South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-Wook earned global acclaim for his jaw-dropping Vengence Trilogy, made up of three sensational thrillers: Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), Oldboy (2003), and Lady Vengeance (2005). In his English-language debut in 2013, he brought together an all-star cast for another deliciously devilish tale of twisted love and violence. Following the death of her father, introverted India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) becomes fascinated with her long-estranged uncle (Matthew Goode), which rankles her jealous mother (Nicole Kidman). As their taboo bond grows, terrible family secrets are unearthed, leading to a shocking climax. Wentworth Miller’s sharp screenplay has a diabolical wit that urges dark laughs amid the horror, while Chan-Wook’s gothic aesthetic transforms a brutal world into something hauntingly beautiful.
How to watch: Stoker is now streaming on HBO Max.
No bank robbery movie can compare to Sidney Lumet’s 1975 classic. Based on outrageous real events, Dog Day Afternoon stars Al Pacino as Sonny Wortzik, a neurotic thief who gets in way over his head when he takes a bunch of hostages in a Brooklyn stick-up. The Academy Award-winning screenplay by Frank Pierson ushers audiences into the vault, behind the police barricades, and into the cramped apartments of Sonny’s family, unfurling a complicated but compelling portrait of a contemporary American folk hero. Pacino’s frantic energy and chaotic charisma have us rooting for Sonny, whether he’s mocking the cops, playing to the gawking crowd, or bickering with his distraught mother. The tension is nail-biting. But what makes this film spectacular is the deeply engrained comedy that’s born from the quirky characters, who cuss, clamor, and crack-wise like born-and-raised New Yorkers do.
How to watch: Dog Day Afternoon is now streaming on HBO Max.
With this 2020 release, writer/director Emerald Fennell flips the script on vigilante-centered thrillers, giving audiences a freshly exhilarating and deeply unnerving tale of vengeance. Academy Award-nominee Carey Mulligan stars as the titular anti-heroine, who stalks bars and nightclubs in search of self-proclaimed “nice guys” who are up to no good. Far from a straightforward narrative of eye-for-an-eye, Fennell’s Oscar-winning screenplay delves into a murky moral grey area, exploring complicity in rape culture with a series of harrowing turns. Candy-colored and spiced up with a badass soundtrack, this celebrated yet controversial movie gives a difficult subject a glossy coating that’s meant to entrance, then crumble and crush you.
How to watch: Promising Young Woman is now streaming on HBO Max.
It was the 1992 smash hit heard ‘round the world. Whitney Houston starred as an ultra-famous singer/actress, whose life is being threatened by an anonymous stalker. Kevin Costner co-stars as the titular bodyguard, who has a history in the Secret Service and a hard rule about not getting too close to his clients. However, once he protectively sweeps her away from danger and up in his big strong arms, romance is inevitable and — thanks to the chemistry of its stars — absolutely intoxicating. Mick Jackson directs this romance-laced thriller, which was not only a box office smash but also boasted Houston’s iconic rendition of “I Will Always Love You.'
How to watch: The Bodyguard is now streaming on HBO Max.
Ben Affleck pulls double-duty, serving as director and leading man of this heralded historical thriller from 2012. Inspired by a stranger-than-fiction CIA scheme, Argo follows an imaginative agent (Affleck), who goes undercover as a sci-fi movie producer, so he might rescue Americans from the Iran hostage crisis of 1979. To make the ruse work, he must collaborate with some real Hollywood types, including a snarky make-up artist (John Goodman) and a surly producer (Alan Arkin), both of whom bring spunk and levity to an otherwise pulse-poundingly tense scenario. Critics cheered Affleck’s riveting balance of drama, suspense, and cheeky Hollywood ribbing, and the Academy followed suit, awarding Argo three Oscars, including Best Picture.
How to watch: Argo is now streaming on HBO Max.
Like many a great film noir, this 1941 thriller begins with a hardnosed detective (Humphrey Bogart) and a gorgeous dame in distress (Mary Astor). Based on Dashiell Hammett’s novel, The Maltese Falcon follows private investigator Sam Spade as he seeks not only to solve the mystery of who murdered his business partner, but also the whereabouts of the titular — and hotly sought — statuette. Along the way, he’ll meet suspicious characters, uncover horrid clues, and tango with a femme fatale as dazzling as she is deceitful. Crackling with biting banter, shocking reveals, and old-fashioned star power, John Huston’s directorial debut still hits harder than a shot of whiskey.
How to watch: The Maltese Falcon is now streaming on HBO Max.
Plenty of thrillers center on the male fear of female sexuality, featuring a femme fatale and her deadly allure that can drive men to ruin. Director James Foley turned the tables on this trope with his 1996 offering. Mark Walhberg stars as a sexy but volatile hunk, who falls hard for a teen girl (Reese Witherspoon) and won’t let her go. The fear of the film comes from her father (William Peterson), who worries this guy is up to no good. Yet dear old dad is impotent in his attempts to keep the young lovers apart. While the fear of female sexuality lurks in a father's anxieties about losing his daughter to finding a romantic partner, Foley invites audiences into the girl's perspective by harnessing the Female Gaze on Walhberg and providing a sometimes swooning soundtrack (cue 'Wild Horses'). The allure of this bad boy is so profound that many a fan still recalls a certain rollercoaster scene with a shudder of excitement.
How to watch: Fear is now streaming on HBO Max.
Zachary Levi takes on Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu with a first look at the Shazam sequel.
It's been just over a year since we last saw The Batman, at Warner Bros. 2020 edition of DC FanDome. Now it's time for a new FanDome and a new trailer, and honestly, not a lot has changed.
It's still a dark and moody two-and-a-half minutes set to an appropriately dark and moody remix of Nirvana's classic Nevermind cut, 'Something in the Way She Moves.' And it's still largely focused on showing us how star Robert Pattinson brings this rough-and-tumble take on the DC Comics crimefighter to life.
So what's the 2021 difference? More villains. You won't actually see Paul Dano's face here, but you'll get a clearer sense of how his menacing Riddler factors into the story (especially if you watch both trailers back-to-back). You also probably won't recognize Colin Farrell — he really transformed for this role! — but that's him playing Penguin. We see more of him here, as well.
The biggest beneficiary of the new trailer is Zoë Kravitz. We don't see her full Catwoman get-up in action, but there's plenty of Selina Kyle kicking butt, looking mischievous, and trying to seduce the Bat. The most important thing this trailer does, however, is put all the major pieces in place ahead of the sooner-than-you-think release.
How soon? The Batman arrives in theaters on March 4, 2022.
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If you haven't yet seen The Suicide Squad then you might not be familiar with John Cena's Peacemaker.
Well he's got a spin-off series coming to HBO Max and this first teaser does a great job of selling the idea of a 'douche-y, bro-y Captain America.' That's how The Suicide Squad director James Gunn told Cena to approach the character from the start.
The teaser goes beyond the recently released clip by also introducing more of the team that assembles around Peacemaker in the series. But what you're likely to remember best is Peacemaker sitting with his crew, explaining his theory on 'butt babies.' It's... definitely a bunch of words that aren't biologically accurate in the slightest, but nonetheless make sense given the character doing the talking. It's quite a moment.
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Do you lament EA's dominance of soccer (aka football) games due to its licensing advantages? So does FIFA, apparently. Eurogamernotes that FIFA has issued a statement insisting that soccer gaming and eSports should have more than one party "controlling and exploiting all rights" â a not-so-subtle reference to EA. Accordingly, FIFA is talking to developers, investors and other groups to "widen" its gaming and eSports options.
The organization added this would help "maximize all future opportunities." It also reiterated its commitment to running eSports tournaments under its FIFAe brand.
The statement comes at a crucial moment for both EA and FIFA. EA's current licensing deal expires after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and New York Timessources claim talks have stalled between the two sides. FIFA reportedly wants more than double its current cut from EA (more than $1 billion over four years) while also limiting EA's rights to keep it to video games. EA, meanwhile, is considering new names for its soccer games while supposedly exploring new concepts like arena-based tournaments, NFTs and even highlights for real-world games.
A decision is expected by the end of 2021, according to The Times, but EA is hedging its bets by registering an "EA Sports FC" trademark. EA and FIFA have declined to comment on the talks.
In that context, FIFA's statement may serve as a warning shot â see things our way or miss out on a valuable licensing agreement. While EA's existing clout might help a non-licensed game sell, there's little doubt a generic game would lose players hoping to control MbappÃ© or Messi in real clubs. EA won't necessarily bow to FIFA as a result. It might, however, be more aware of what's at stake if deal negotiations fall apart.
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We love a good photo hunt, and we love it even more when such a hunt can actually be helpful for scientific research.
That's the premise of the 'Walrus from Space' project. This partnership between the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and British Antarctic Survey (BAS) turns to internet people like you and me for help spotting groups of walrus that pop up in satellite photos.
The project, revealed on Thursday, aims to take 'a census of Atlantic walrus and walrus from the Laptev Sea' populations by having an army of citizen scientists pore over satellite imagery in search of the marine mammals. Spotting them in satellite imagery isn't the easiest task since most walrus aren't looking up and saying 'cheese,' but participating actually does serve a helpful purpose.
'Walrus are facing the reality of the climate crisis: their Arctic home is warming almost three times faster than the rest of the world and roughly 13% of summer sea ice is disappearing per decade,' the WWF announcement reads.
'The data collected in this census of Atlantic and Laptev walrus will give scientists a clearer picture of how each population is doing—without disturbing the animals. The data will also help inform management decisions aimed at conservation efforts for the species.'
Getting involved isn't difficult. First, you'll need to head over to the Walrus from Space project website and create an account. (Minimal personal info is required, mainly just an email and password.) Once that's done, you'll need to activate your account by signing in via email. That takes you to a training area where the website demonstrates how the very simple image viewing and editing tools work.
Each satellite image covers a square region measuring 200 meters (roughly 656 feet). Participants have the ability to zoom in several times as well as tweak the brightness, contrast, and sharpness of each image. There's a test after that where you're asked to spot any walrus (or lack thereof) in a series of 20 images.
It's a simple interface where you're just flagging each image by one of three criteria: 'Walrus present' when you can see one or more of the marine mammals; 'No walrus present' when there are none; and 'Poor image' when it's just not possible to see, perhaps because of too much cloud cover or shade that even the image editing tools can't defeat.
There's also a help panel that you can call up at anytime for tips if you've having trouble differentiating walrus from other features of the environment. The panel also answers some basic question, including an explanation of just how helpful it is to have an army of citizen scientists helping with a project like this.
The first phase of the project involves whittling down the mountain of images — roughly 600,000 annually — to only include those where walrus appear. Once that's done, the project will move to 'phrase 2,' when the number of walrus in each image will actually get counted. It sounds like this will be an ongoing process, with the two phases overlapping as more images are collected each year.
This seems like the kind of internet activity that's great for kids and families especially. Poring over satellite imagery in search of walrus can be a fun game that, alongside the necessary context, could help expose younger minds to the importance of science and scientific investigation as a team effort.
Whether it's saving the walrus or anything else, humanity's ongoing battle to stem off the worst impacts of climate change is going to have to be a team effort.
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WhatsApp is the mobile messaging backbone of much of the global population, and all of its users just got an added layer of privacy protection.
On the WhatsApp blog, the Facebook-owned messaging app confirmed that end-to-end encryption for backed up chats in the cloud will roll out 'slowly' to all of its two billion (!) users starting now. This was previously announced in September, but without a specific release date. All you need to do is have the latest version of the WhatsApp mobile app installed to get access to the feature.
Here's how it works: Let's say you're getting a new phone and want to keep some WhatsApp conversations that are stored locally on your current device around for future reference using the iCloud or Google Drive cloud backup that's already available in WhatsApp. Open the Settings menu, find the 'Chat Backup' option in the Chats section, then tap 'End-to-end Encrypted Backup.' You'll be prompted to turn it on, and guided through the process of creating a custom password or a 64-digit key. Hit 'Create' after that and watch the magic happen.
Of course, it's vital that you keep your password or key around so you can use it later. What this feature does is lock that cloud backup behind a layer of security that prevents both WhatsApp and any cloud service from accessing the messages or the key used to unlock them.
This closes a loophole that would have allowed governments to force cloud services to hand over backed up messages, notably in the wake of increased online surveillance laws in India. That country has the largest concentration of WhatsApp users in the world.
As always, if an app gives you the option to enhance privacy, you should probably use it.
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It's short, it's definitely not sweet (but also pretty dang sweet), and it's got Dwayne Johnson flash-frying an armed aggressor down to the bone. This is your first real look at Black Adam.
Fans got their first glimpse of the July 2022 movie in a DC FanDome appearance on Saturday. It's still pretty early for this one, so we didn't get a trailer. Instead. Johnson took to the livestream's virtual stage to set up a very brief clip from early in the film where his titular character demonstrates his powers for the first time.
Soon after, the Black Adam star shared the video on his Twitter feed.
Tweet may have been deleted
The clip comes at the end of the video. The rest introduces the cast, which features a former James Bond in Pierce Brosnan as Dr. Fate, Aldis Hodge as Hawkman, Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone, Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher. Hodge describes Johnson's Black Adam as 'brutal, uncompromising, [and] fueled by the depths of his pain.'
In the comics, Black Adam is villain and anti-hero both, depending on the story being told. He's an ancient Egyptian prince who received his powers from the same Wizard that gave Billy Batson his alter ego identity of Shazam.
The 2022 movie introduces a DC Extended Universe take on the character, reportedly setting up Johnson's Black Adam up as the arch-enemy of Zachary Levi's Shazam. (It's not known if Levi appears in this movie, however.) It's likely, but not confirmed, that Shazam and Black Adam will duke it out in the 2023 Shazam sequel, Shazam! Fury of the Gods.
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On Saturday, Mojang held its annual Minecraft Live fan convention. As in years past, the event saw the studio detail the future of its immensely popular sandbox game. And if you're a fan of Minecraft, the livestream did not disappoint.
The studio kicked off the event with the announcement of The Wild Update. Set to come out sometime in 2022, Mojang promises this latest DLC will change how players explore and interact with the gameâs overworld. The update will introduce an entirely new swamp biome that includes mangroves players can pick fruit from and replant to nurture new plants.
The Deep Dark, which was previously planned for 2021, will now launch instead in 2022 alongside The Wild Update. First announced at Minecraft Live 2020, the DLC adds the Warden, a new enemy character that is one of the gameâs scariest yet. Players who brave the DLC will find special new items only available in the deep dark.
In the meantime, fans can look forward to part two of the Caves and Cliffs update coming out later this year. In the first half of 2021, Mojang made the decision to split the update into two parts due to the complexity of the included features. At Minecraft Live, the studio said that was the right decision, in part because it allowed the team to take into consideration community feedback. As previously announced, the update will include expanded caves and biomes. It will also increase the height and depth limit of worlds.
Mojang hasnât forgotten about Minecraft Dungeons. In December, the studio will introduce a new feature called Seasonal Adventures. Each week, you and your friends will have to chance to take on weekly challenges. As you complete them, youâll earn progress towards a seasonal progression track that unlocks rewards like new skins, pets and emotes. Season One, The Cloudy Climb, will add a new Tower feature and adventure hub for players to explore.
Now is also the perfect time to either try Minecraft for the first time or return to the game after an extended break. On November 2nd, Microsoft will release a Minecraft bundle for Xbox Game Pass on PC. The pack includes both the Bedrock and Java editions of the game, with support for a single MSA log-in across both.
The updates come at a time when Minecraft has never been more popular. Just this past August, Mojang said more than 140 million players logged in to play the game, representing a new milestone for the title. Minecraft Live then was about positioning the game for a future where it continues to grow.
Themed gaming chairs aren't completely new, but this example is rather unusual. According to Windows Central, Microsoft and Mojang have collaborated with Secretlab on a Minecraft chair. The Minecraft Edition Titan Evo 2022 includes the obligatory game logos, but it's also made to look like you're sitting on one of the game's infamous Creepers. That sounds more than a little... creepy, but it might be just what you're looking for if you livestream Minecraft or otherwise want to advertise your fondness for the classic creative title.
And unlike the in-game Creepers, this chair shouldn't explode. This is Secretlab's first special-run chair to use the company's SoftWeave Plus fabric, which promises to blend durability with comfort. You might not have to worry quite so much about spills or tears ruining your gaming throne.
You can pre-order the Minecraft gaming chair today starting at $549 for small and regular versions, and $599 for XL. That's a lot to spend on any chair, especially a special edition â you might want to be sure your love of the game is more than just a short-term fling. If it is, though, the expense might be worthwhile to improve your comfort (and hopefully posture) for those lengthy world-building sessions.
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It’s usually pretty easy to spot a dog with the zoomies, as they run around at full speed, bouncing off walls or furniture in their own version of parkour, with a wide-eyed expression on their face. While “zoomies” may be the most accurate description of the intense burst of energy you just witnessed, the technical…
You may soon be able to give McDonald's plant-based burgers a try. The fast-food chain will offer the McPlant at eight restaurants across the US starting on November 3rd and until supplies last. It's a limited-time trial run for the burger, and it's supposed to help the company figure out how having the item in its menu will impact its kitchen operations.
The burger's patty is made with Beyond Meat plant-based meat. It's supposed to be different from the company's patties offered by Carl's Jr., Del Taco and other fast-food chains, though, because Beyond Meat co-developed it with McDonald's itself. Back when the McPlant was first announced, the fast-food giant said it "delivers [its] iconic taste in a sink-your-teeth-in (and wipe-your-mouth) kind of sandwich. Itâs made with a juicy, plant-based patty and served on a warm, sesame seed bun with all the classic toppings."
While McDonald's didn't mention the exact locations of the stores that will sell the McPlant, it said that they can be found in Irving and Carrollton, Texas, Cedar Falls, Iowa, Jennings and Lake Charles, Louisiana and El Segundo and Manhattan Beach, California. McDonald's is also trialing the burger in other countries, including Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria and the UK. While the McPlant is simply a burger for now, McDonald's previously said that it could represent a whole line of plant-based menu items in the future, including chicken substitutes and breakfast sandwiches.
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Having spent 11 days on the International Space Station (ISS), a Russian film crew will be heading back to Earth this evening, Saturday, October 16.
Earlier in October, pretty much the entirety of Twitch was hacked and leaked onto the internet. Apparently, passwords weren't included, though.
That's what Twitch says, anyway. The streaming site issued an update on Friday in the aftermath of the big hack, saying that user passwords, credit cards, and banking info weren't accessed by the hackers. Those are basically the only things that were left out, as everything from Twitch's entire source code to payout reports for the top Twitch creators from 2019 to the present was laid bare for all to see.
Twitch did say a 'small fraction' of users were impacted by the data that got out there, and the company will contact those people directly.
You'd be forgiven for looking at this and thinking to yourself 'whew, I'm fine!' but that'd be a short-sighted view of things. Sure, your Twitch info may not have gotten compromised this time, but that doesn't mean it won't in the future. Allow us to issue a friendly reminder to 1) change your password anyway and 2) enable two-factor authentication on any website where you store any personal information of any kind. Twitch has a handy support page explaining exactly how to do it.
If you aren't familiar with 2FA, it's the easiest way to protect yourself from hacks like this. As its name suggests, it requires two steps to log into an account instead of just entering a username and password. Usually, this comes in the form of texting a one-time use login code to your mobile phone or using an authentication app. It only adds a few seconds to the login process and can act as a brick wall for nefarious hackers.
Again, you most likely weren't affected by what happened to Twitch a couple weeks ago. But if you take this simple step now, you can protect yourself from being affected the next time.
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Analogue's Pocket handheld won't arrive until late this year, but the company is betting that its software will be worth the wait. TechCrunchnotes the company has detailed AnalogueOS, the platform the Pocket and future Analogue devices will run â and it's pitched as nothing less than the "definitive" OS for retro games, a way to showcase classics that haven't always received the kindest treatment.
Rather than simply play cartridge games, the Pocket and future hardware will tap into a library that provides all the useful data surrounding a game, ranging from box art and publisher data to guides. Pop in a cartridge and you'll learn about that particular version of a game. You might know if you scored a Nintendo World Championship cart or a bootleg, for instance. That database, in turn, will help you browse your library and even create "playlists" to share with fellow nostalgic gamers (who can buy the same cartridges, that is).
AnalogueOS will also track your play time and let you remap controls or enable Bluetooth gamepads. The Pocket will enable save states for cartridge games, which can be helpful if you're trying to recreate a thandheld's original experience.
This approach is meant for a particular variety of retro gamer focused on physical copies and authenticity. It's not as convenient as the digital downloads of, say, the Switch Online Expansion Pack. If it succeeds, though, it could shake up the category. Much of the information for vintage games is scattered across websites, code and even books. Analogue could put all that knowledge in a central location, albeit one limited to the most devoted players.
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This week, we’ve got our regular gadget reviews plus our thoughts on a forthcoming video game. Cherlynn Low strapped on the Apple Watch Series 7 to see how it compares to the previous version and to find out how much of a difference the larger screen makes. Igor Bonifacic tested the 2021 Motorola Edge smartphone and found it offers a lot of high-end features — including a 144Hz display — at a budget-friendly price. Terrence O’Brien played with the effects and inputs on the Roland SP-404MKII and reported that it makes chopping samples more fun. Finally, Jess Conditt sat in the virtual driver’s seat to play Forza Horizon 5, a game she declares a perfect getaway in a time of travel restrictions.
Cherlynn Low acknowledges that the main difference between the Apple Watch Series 7 and the previous model is the larger screen, but she’s adamant that even this small change makes a big impact. The Series 7’s display is 20 percent larger than that of the Series 6, and has significantly smaller bezels. It’s also the first Apple Watch to be IP6X certified for dust resistance, making it more durable. Cherlynn said the larger display made things easier to read and navigate, and the extra screen space made it easier to enter in the right keys and see more of messages.
Apple also debuted some additional watch faces and a full QWERTY keyboard on the Series 7. Cherlynn says the new faces are designed to display more information at once. The full QWERTY keyboard provided more flexibility, but since she only got roughly a 60-percent accuracy rate when tapping on the display, Cherlynn said she still preferred using dictation. Apple still doesn’t offer advanced sleep tracking, though this model will log your respiration rate while you sleep and report back the next morning. If sleep tracking isn’t your main reason for wanting a smartwatch, Cherlynn says the Series 7 will be a satisfying purchase.
Of the various upgrades to the 2021 Motorola Edge, Igor Bonifacic thinks the 6.8-inch LCD 144Hz screen is the stand-out feature. The flat edges made it easier to hold and the improved refresh rate makes the Edge feel smooth and responsive. The screen is vibrant, bright and has support for HDR10, plus Igor says the 19.5:9 aspect ratio works well for scrolling through vertical apps. He also liked the move to a capacitive fingerprint scanner on the side-mounted power button because it made unlocking the phone while wearing a mask significantly easier.
However, there are some tradeoffs for the $550 smartphone, notably the LCD screen, which lacks the power efficiency and deep blacks that OLED can offer. The 144Hz display also produced some slight glitching. In addition, the device’s single speaker produced tinny sound, and he found the ultra-wide camera mediocre. But he did like the battery life, which lasted a whopping two days, and the extended 2-year software support. If you don’t mind a few compromises, Igor says the 2021 Edge is well worth checking out.
Though the new SP-404MKII sampler physically resembles previous versions, Terrence O’Brien says the new OLED screen and 16-pad layout are huge upgrades. The new display can show the actual waveform as it’s being edited, which makes recording and editing samples easier and more fun. And the 16-pad set up is not only more standard, but it also offers users more samples and patterns to make beats. Terrence also preferred the refreshed color scheme of grey and black with muted orange and white accents.
The SP-404MKII has a few more minor upgrades: it’s the first sampler in the line to feature velocity sensitive pads and it has MIDI out as well as MIDI IN connectors. This means the 404 can get hooked up to a PC via USB-C, or be used with external gear. Terrence played around with both the input effects, courtesy of the ¼-inch audio input and headphone jacks, as well as the bus effects and found that chopping samples on the machine is actually enjoyable instead of a chore. The SP-404MKII is also fairly portable: Terrence says it can fit in a bag easily enough and it can be powered with six AA batteries. And it's affordable at $500, which makes it a reasonable purchase even for those who are just looking to dabble in sampling.
Since she couldn’t get behind the wheel of a real-life 2021 Ford Bronco, Jess Conditt did the next best thing: she drove it around the race tracks and lush environments of Forza Horizon 5. Though she only had access to a preview build, she reports back that Horizon 5 is a mellower version of the motorsport game, spread across a fictionalized Mexico and featuring tricked out vehicles including a 2020 Corvette Stingray Coupe and a 1989 Porsche 911 Desert Flyer.
Regardless of which vehicle you choose, Jess says they’re all magical to (virtually) drive. They get window cracks and door dents but are largely indestructible and always land tires-down. She also appreciated the layers of customization within the game, from accessories to creating characters to upgrading vehicles with designs. On the Xbox Series S, the game ran smoothly and looked lovely at 1080p/60fps. Jess says even without ray-tracing, Horizon 5’s distinct biomes, weather and environments were all a treat to view, making it a perfect virtual escape.
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True crime is one of the most popular genres ever. It's also going through a huge identity crisis.
In podcasting especially, the genre is almost exclusively made by women, for women (mostly). Many wildly popular true crime shows even claim to have lofty goals, of preparing folks so they don't become the next victim or of confronting the gender-based traumas of misogynistic violence.
But large swaths of the true crime community ignore the plethora of other systemic issues plaguing America's criminal justice system, namely when it's related to race. The stench of copaganda is all over this all-too-white phenomenon, as podcast hosts simultaneously try to camouflage victim exploitation as something honorable.
With each passing year — especially since the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 — the uglier parts of true crime have become harder to ignore. Enter Celisia Stanton: Wedding photographer, high school debate coach, prison abolitionist, and first-time podcaster.
Truer Crime, which Stanton launched in May, tackles the laundry list of ethical critiques lobbed at the genre — and then some. It covers some of the classic, popular true crime stories, like that of Darlie Routier (the mother convicted of murdering her two sons) and the Jonestown Massacre (with over 900 members of a predominantly Black civil rights group forced to poison themselves by their white leader Jim Jones). But you've never heard them told like this before. On top of that, the podcast even has a TikTok page that's helping to make TrueCrimeTok a less toxic, white-focused space.
In a genre with far too many false narratives, Stanton stands out by revealing the truth of crime in America and getting at the heart of those most victimized by systems that exacerbate the violence.
Editor's Note: This interview was edited for clarity and length.
Celisia Stanton: A few things led me to become a podcaster, or more specifically a true crime podcaster.
One thing was living in Minneapolis. I don't live very far at all from where George Floyd was murdered. The uprisings over the summer of 2020 were obviously impactful to everyone globally, but it especially impacted the local community.
As a full-time wedding photographer, my social media presence was always a big part of the job. I was always told that, as an entrepreneur, you need to keep business and politics very separate. You don't want to run off potential clients and stakes are high when you don't have a guaranteed, regular paycheck.
But I always felt like my whole life was political — as a Black woman, raised by gay parents, living in the Midwest. And I'm a high school debate coach. So everybody who knows me in regular life knows I'm outspoken about my strongly held beliefs on social issues. There was this disconnect between my professional, sanitized persona on social media, and who I am in my personal interactions.
So when George Floyd was murdered, it was an opportunity to put my views out there publicly. A few of my posts online went viral at the time. I started gaining a following, going from about a thousand followers on Instagram to 40,000 in the span of a few months. It was an, uh, interesting situation that happened to multiple people then, when all eyes were on listening to Black folks. There's a lot to say about that moment of interest. But the overwhelmingly positive response to sharing my thoughts and views disproved this idea of not being able to talk about anything publicly.
Another big thing was that after the murder of George Floyd, during the pandemic in the fall of 2020, I was the victim of fraud from a financial adviser who was a Black man I really trusted and thought shared my values. I ended up talking to the FBI and discovered he'd defrauded about 25 clients of millions of dollars for frivolous things like a second million-dollar home, cruises, fancy jewelry. Black men aren't the typical perpetrators of financial crimes at all. So it was really life-altering. People don't think about financial crimes too significantly. We tend to focus on violent crimes, which are obviously awful. But this person stole multiple people's retirement savings. Financial crimes impact people in very tangible, long-term ways.
In the aftermath, I got pretty depressed. Then it was the holiday season, when no one's getting married in Minnesota, so I wasn't able to work. So I started filling that time with listening to lots of true crime while doing puzzles.
Out of all that — the mass consumption of George Floyd's murder, and my own experience as a crime victim — came the idea for my podcast I'd later start Truer Crime.
C.S: No, I definitely was.
Serial was the first podcast that got me into podcasts, which is true for a lot of people. My friend and I re-listened to the whole thing on a trip just so we could talk about it. I was interested in them as a social phenomenon. Then we listened to a bunch of My Favorite Murder. But I never consumed quite as much as I did during that pandemic holiday. It was basically all day.
It was wild because I'd just continue to pause whatever I was listening to and go off on my boyfriend about all my issues with it—and that ended up pushing me to create Truer Crime. After one of these rants, he was like, “Why don't you make a podcast that doesn't do all that?”
One of my main issues was that, as a crime victim who went through the criminal legal system, I had this experience that gave me a critical perspective that true crime podcasts were just missing.
So much true crime pretends to be victim-centered when it isn't. A lot of people seem to think that if you talk about how bad the perpetrator was and talk about how great the victim was and why they didn't deserve it, then it's victim-centered.
But it's also victim-centered to talk about the root causes of why and how these crimes occur, so you can help prevent this sort of thing from happening to future victims. In a real way, not in the way of scaring everybody about crimes that don't actually happen a lot. That's very reactive, and that reactivity is at the root of not only the problem with true crime media, but the criminal legal system itself.
The reason why I call it the criminal legal system is because, in the U.S., it's not actually about obtaining justice.
Then there's some true crime media that is just straight-up disrespectful. In general, true crime media produced by men felt way worse at making jokes — about the victim, even. In general, the blend of comedy in true crime is weird to me.
At the end of the day, everybody likes things that are problematic. It is what it is. I'm not saying you have to be ethically pure. But when we've used TikTok to promote the show and our critiques of true crime, it turned out a lot of people share them. But the comedy one gets pushback with people saying, 'I like comedy with true crime because it helps take some of the horror away from it. It's easier for me to hear it, I'd be too uncomfortable otherwise.' But for me, it's just like, well, yeah. It's supposed to be uncomfortable. These are people's real-life traumas.
One person commented about how a lot of people use humor as a coping mechanism, like when folks of color use side chatter and make jokes during a horror movie to feel better about the uncomfortable, horrific things on-screen — specifically if it has to do with race. But that's a fictional movie. It's also one thing to use humor to deal with your own trauma. I don't understand it as a coping mechanism for some stranger's trauma because you don't have to listen to true crime podcasts. You could cope by disengaging from it entirely.
Then there's that over fixation on crimes that are the least likely to happen.
Being the victim of a crime in general, especially of extremely violent crimes like the murders often covered by true crime media, is pretty rare. There are subsets of the population who are more likely to be victims of those violent crimes. But they're disproportionately Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other folks of color. Yet the primary focus of true crime media is white women.
If you listen to a lot of true crime, you start to believe in this distorted worldview that's not actually the reality. You start to feel like certain people are more likely to be criminals, and certain people are more likely to be victims, and it's not the truth.
The last major issue I had was how nobody ever talked about systems. The stories always seemed to end with, 'Then they found the bad guy,' or 'we didn't find the bad guy, so if you know anything please contact agencies like the police or FBI or whatever so we can serve justice.' Which is really wild to me.
'Never was there discussion about the ways in which the systems of society create the conditions for these crimes to happen.'
If somebody is murdered, finding that perpetrator can sometimes bring the family peace. But I don't know that justice or relief can ever be given to relatives or close friends of the victim of something as violent as murder. There's so many other things at play there that we could address but we obsess over punishing the 'bad guy.' Never was there discussion about the ways in which the systems of society create the conditions for these crimes to happen, or the ways in which punishment of the perpetrators doesn't seem to prevent these events from happening over and over again.
Take policing. If you listen to any true crime podcast, every episode is like, 'Oh well just by chance the police couldn't help — Isn't that so wild?' or 'They botched this — isn't that messed up?' At what point does it stop becoming surprising every time and instead become a pattern of behavior actually embedded into the system? Is there something really wrong here that's worth interrogating more?
But it's always, 'At the end of the day, even though the cops flubbed this one yet again, hopefully there's some good Samaritans out there or some good cops that'll save the day next time.' Which just feels so naive — especially when it happens practically every other episode.
C.S.: Yeah the Season of Justice stuff is really vile to me, just knowing more about how DNA evidence is misused after researching the Josiah Sutton case.
So much of the problem with that type of true crime comes back to exploitation. That's a big thing for me and the show.
With the girlboss-ification that you're talking about: So often, they're searching for a purpose because they don't want to be 'canceled' or problematic. So they'll say stuff like, 'We care about the victims, it's about putting their stories out there' or 'it's about making sure the same doesn't happen to you.' That's a little disingenuous to me.
You all have that same exact mission, but nothing changes. Meanwhile, people are just becoming more desensitized to true crime stories, not even seeing victims as real people. At what point can we admit that's not an actual justification for what you're doing? Because what you're creating is just pure entertainment. And it's monetized, obviously.
That's where the exploitation comes in.
Some victims and families might not be happy having their stories covered by these podcasts. Exposure is important for some folks and families, like in unsolved cases, or to have their family member remembered. But it's even sadder to think about how that's their only option. You either have it covered this way, or not covered at all.
It's a hard thing, including for me, to continuously navigate, to toe that line of exploitation. On some level, all media is entertainment. I'm not gonna deny that my podcast is a piece of entertainment. It's just facts. But how do you make it a net positive for the world, instead of harmful to victims, family members, all that?
You make the real person the center of the stories.
Our first episode on Darlie Routier is one of those very popular true crime cases covered by everyone. So I wanted the challenge of finding something unique to share about it. I was astonished — got really upset, even going through all of the evidence myself and reading what her and her family had to say. There's so much left out to craft her narrative in a way that maximizes entertainment value, to make it a whodunit mystery, good for theories on her guilt or innocence.
But Darlie Routier is currently on death row right now, and she and her entire family have been claiming her innocence for about 25 years. You need to be extremely desensitized to the fact that she's an actual person, that her family members are real people, to the fact that her living son is a real person, to instead only care about swapping theories.
As much as possible, I don't want the people in these cases to just become yet another character in a true crime story. People say all the time that they binged all our episodes. And, OK, that's how people consume content. I did the same thing — like a lot. A couple of the hundreds of episodes I listened to stuck with me, but most didn't because of how coldly it's covered and the way I was consuming it.
I want every episode of Truer Crime to feel impactful.
With Darlie, there was this 911 call she makes the night her two older sons were killed, and it's super famous — a lot of true crime media plays that public access audio to speculate on her tone, what she says wrong, what she should've said, why she's guilty. But when I listened, it just sounded like the most terrible moment in somebody's — in a whole family's life.
I went back and forth on whether using the audio was an invasion of privacy. Long story short, I put a small bit in because it's a big part of her story, and her family and supporters are still trying to recapture the narrative about it to show people the true emotion behind how she sounded. Framing it that way felt like a more positive impact.
C.S.: Those [stories] get labeled political, social justice, or historical. And that's only because of people's framing of what true crime is. Overwhelmingly, true crime is when a white, pretty blonde woman gets murdered by a stranger.
And people are nervous to cover them. If you've already attracted an established audience over the years that's pretty pro-law enforcement, maybe more conservative in their thinking, not just politically but generally — that's a big risk. Even if your audience is a mix of people, since I believe all different types of people consume true crime. But George Floyd or Breonna Taylor could still potentially alienate lots of customers.
It's weird because we're in this phase after the Minneapolis uprising where it's like, 'Oh shoot we have to be 'woke.'' So people are toeing the line by covering cases about Black people, but never a case of someone being murdered by police or anything flagged as political. Others are just scared to talk about these issues, especially since white folks are overwhelmingly the true crime media creators. They fear saying the wrong thing, being critiqued.
When people are critical of the true crime genre, their conclusion is usually that it just shouldn't be consumed. But first off: People aren't going to stop. It's by far one of the most popular podcast genres, with new documentaries and specials on Netflix, Hulu, all the platforms literally every other day. People are fascinated by it. And there's real reasons why: These are important stories.
History gets this special classification as important, while true crime is treated as more frivolous. But they're so often the same. People criticized our Tulsa Race Massacre episode on Truer Crime for being history. But it's also a true crime story, of crimes committed against Black folks in Tulsa. So those true crime stories speak to vital issues within our society.
One of the things that the murder of George Floyd drove home is how stories are crucial to catalyzing movements that inspire change. What happened to George Floyd had happened many times before. Yet it was this particular instance, this sort of perfect sequence of events that led to a global uprising and movement.
If one event can spark that level of outrage, then that means telling stories about injustice is crucial. For me, that means there's a high obligation to create true crime media that has a real purpose.
C.S.: I would never say no. But with everything I cover on the show, I want to make sure I have a unique perspective to offer in the telling of that story. With both being so recent, I think I would need more time to reflect.
We are already planning for Season 2 and Season 3, though, with crimes that are related to George Floyd. Not to his murder, but to the events that transpired.
C.S.: From the beginning, my vision was not to be the social justice podcast. I wanted to be a true crime podcast. That's why we call it Truer Crime, because it gets to the core of what I'm trying to do: I don't want to be outside of the genre. I want to shift the genre.
These stories aren't just extremely important. They also have mass appeal. Tons of people are listening to it, especially women and femme folks. So meet folks exactly where they're at, where they're listening — specifically those who love true crime podcasts. With Truer Crime, I of course want people who are social justice-oriented, who are leftists, activists, abolitionists to listen and like it. But I also wanted people who were also maybe liberals, maybe pretty apolitical, even folks who are a bit more conservative to find something in the show too.
'I don't want to be outside of the genre. I want to shift the genre.'
I want to create a show that doesn't feel like it's lecturing people, telling them what they should believe. Instead, I meet them with a format they're already familiar with, where I can provide evidence for what I say and believe, and why I question. It's a way for people to more comfortably engage with the difficulties around justice, the legal system, crime, criminality — all that.
True crime stories are important because they reveal so much more than just what's directly related to the criminal legal system. Every facet of society impacts the ways we punish people, be it sexism, racism, homophobia, whatever — these systems of how we interact with each other feed into it.
I believe that, if you just add something extra to the food people already love, it'll makes those ideas a lot more consumable.
C.S.: When I was writing the show, Tamir Rice's mom was in the news. She spoke out condemning activists she felt had used her son's story for their own benefit and platform, without engaging with her or supporting her family and their community. I found many of her points valid. Even if those activists didn't feel that's what they were doing, or had a different opinion, or there were nuances to each person she called out — the argument she made was important.
For me, it opened up this question about who owns these stories? If you are the victim or a close family or friend, obviously that story is very personal to you. You feel a connection, a claim, certain ownership over it. But the problem is that stories take on a life of their own. To use Breonna Taylor or George Floyd as an example — their stories are still their families. But with George Floyd especially, they now have zero control over how their loved one's story is now global. Obviously George Floyd as an individual, his personality, who he was — that all still belongs to them. But the story of what happened to him also came to mean something to a lot of other people too. So how do you connect that?
If I'm going to tell these true crime stories, then I'm essentially doing exactly what Tamir Rice's mom critiqued activists for — unless I take special steps to ensure I'm always centering those most directly affected. Given that I'm just one person, it's not always possible for me to get in contact with the victims or family members. But we try a lot. So at the end of each episode, when the listener feels emotionally connected to these individuals and what happened to them, to their community — how can we direct that energy in a way that actually helps them?
With the Jonestown episode, I found all this information on the People's Temple with survivors' contact information. When I reached out, I didn't ask them for an interview, because they'd made plenty of primary sources available to me already.
What I asked instead was: Where would you like us to direct support? They weren't interested in having a conversation, but they did appreciate being asked that. Sometimes, victims' families don't want resources directed to them. In the case of Jonestown, one survivor wanted to write a book and support for that. Another wanted people to donate to the memorial and Black Lives Matter because, ultimately, the People's Temple was a racial justice organization. That's what it meant to many of the folks that were in it.
Adding that piece became a critical part of the story creation process. I found that as I reached out to people to figure out ways to direct support, the story often shifted too.
C.S.: We have to be able to to gain some support financially for the show because it's very expensive, takes a lot of labor, we're a really small team, and I still have a full-time job. Patreon is the number one way to support it financially, with $5 a month getting you different behind-the-scenes and bonus content, like the uncut interview with Carol Batie, the mother of Josiah Sutton.
But the biggest thing that can be done to support the show is to listen and to share it with friends and family.
There's no better platform for getting as much organic reach without needing to spend any money than TikTok. The increase we've had in listeners since making ours is huge. It more than doubled our listens in three weeks, even while we're offseason, not even producing episodes weekly. We had fewer listeners then than do now, which is wild.
But in order to be a show that actually does its mission of shifting the genre — we need so many more people listening.
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Amazon is the Standard Oil of the 21st century. Its business operations and global reach dwarf those of virtually every other company on the planet — and exceed the GDP of more than a few countries — illustrating the vital importance innovation has on the modern economy. In his latest book, The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology is Transforming Business, Politics and Society, author Azeem Azhar examines how the ever-increasing pace of technological progress is impacting, influencing — and often rebuilding — our social, political and economic mores from the ground up.
Excerpted from The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology is Transforming Business, Politics and Society by Azeem Azhar. Copyright © 2021 Azeem Azhar. Printed with permission of the publisher, Diversion Books. All rights reserved.
In 2020, Amazon turned twenty-six years old. Over the previous quarter of a century, the company had transformed shopping. With retail revenues in excess of $213 billion, it was larger than Germany’s Schwarz Gruppe, America’s Costco, and every British retailer. Only America’s Walmart, with more than half a trillion dollars of sales, was bigger. But Amazon was, by this time, far and away the world’s largest online retailer. Its online business was about eight times larger than Walmart’s. Amazon was more than just an online shop, however. Its huge operations in areas such as cloud computing, logistics, media, and hardware added a further $172 billion in sales.
At the heart of Amazon’s success is an annual research and development budget that reached a staggering $36 billion in 2019, and which is used to develop everything from robots to smart home assistants. This sum leaves other companies — and many governments — behind. It is not far off the UK government’s annual budget for research and development. The entire US government’s federal R&D budget for 2018 was only $134 billion.
Amazon spent more on R&D in 2018 than the US National Institutes of Health. Roche, the global pharmaceutical company renowned for its investment in research, spent a mere $12 billion in R&D in 2018. Meanwhile Tesco, the largest retailer in Britain — with annual sales in excess of £50 billion (approximately $70 billion) — had a research lab whose budget was in the “six figures” in 2016.
Perhaps more remarkable is the rate at which Amazon grew this budget. Ten years earlier, Amazon’s research budget was $1.2 billion. Over the course of the next decade, the firm increased its annual R&D budget by about 44 percent every year. As the 2010s went on, Amazon doubled down on its investments in research. In the words of Werner Vogels, the firm’s chief technology officer, if they stopped innovating they “would be out of business in ten to fifteen years.”
In the process, Amazon created a chasm between the old world and the new. The approach of traditional business was to rely on models that succeeded yesterday. They were based on a strategy that tomorrow might be a little different, but not markedly so.
This kind of linear thinking, rooted in the assumption that change takes decades and not months, may have worked in the past—but not anymore. Amazon understood the nature of the Exponential Age. The pace of change was accelerating; the companies that could harness the technologies of the new era would take off. And those that couldn’t keep up would be undone at remarkable speed.
This divergence between the old and the new is one example of what I call the “exponential gap.” On the one hand, there are technologies that develop at an exponential pace—and the companies, institutions, and communities that adapt to or harness those developments. On the other, there are the ideas and norms of the old world. The companies, institutions, and communities that can only adapt at an incremental pace. These get left behind—and fast.
The emergence of this gap is a consequence of exponential technology. Until the early 2010s, most companies assumed the cost of their inputs would remain pretty similar from year to year, perhaps with a nudge for inflation. The raw materials might fluctuate based on commodity markets, but their planning processes, institutionalized in management orthodoxy, could manage such volatility. But in the Exponential Age, one primary input for a company is its ability to process information. One of the main costs to process that data is computation. And the cost of computation didn’t rise each year; it declined rapidly. The underlying dynamics of how companies operate had shifted.
In Chapter 1, we explored how Moore’s Law amounts to a halving of the underlying cost of computation every couple of years. It means that every ten years, the cost of the processing that can be done by a computer will decline by a factor of one hundred. But the implications of this process stretch far beyond our personal laptop use—and far beyond the interests of any one laptop manufacturer.
In general, if an organization needs to do something that uses computation, and that task is too expensive today, it probably won’t be too expensive in a couple of years. For companies, this realization has deep significance. Firms that figured out that the effective price of computation was declining, even if the notional price of what they were buying was staying the same (or even rising), could plan, practice, and experiment with the near future in mind. Even if those futuristic activities were expensive now, they would become affordable soon enough. Organizations that understood this deflation, and planned for it, became well-positioned to take advantage of the Exponential Age.
If Amazon’s early recognition of this trend helped transform it into one of the most valuable companies in history, they were not alone. Many of the new digital giants—from Uber to Alibaba, Spotify to TikTok—took a similar path. And following in their footsteps were firms who understand how these processes apply in other sectors. The bosses at Tesla understood that the prices of electric vehicles might decline on an exponential curve, and launched the electric vehicle revolution. The founders of Impossible Foods understood how the expensive process of precision fermentation (which involves genetically modified microorganisms) would get cheaper and cheaper. Executives at space companies like Spire and Planet Labs understood this process would drive down the cost of putting satellites in orbit. Companies that didn’t adapt to exponential technology shifts, like much of the newspaper publishing industry, didn’t stand a chance.
We can visualize the gap by returning to our now-familiar exponential curve. As we’ve seen, individual technologies develop according to an S-curve, which begins by roughly following an exponential trajectory. And as we’ve seen, it starts off looking a bit humdrum. In those early days, exponential change is distinctly boring, and most people and organizations ignore it. At this point in the curve, the industry producing an exponential technology looks exciting to those in it, but like a backwater to everyone else. But at some point, the line of exponential change crosses that of linear change. Soon it reaches an inflection point. That shift in gear, which is both sudden and subtle, is hard to fathom.
Because, for all the visibility of exponential change, most of the institutions that make up our society follow a linear trajectory. Codified laws and unspoken social norms; legacy companies and NGOs; political systems and intergovernmental bodies—all have only ever known how to adapt incrementally. Stability is an important force within institutions. In fact, it’s built into them.
The gap between our institutions’ capacity to change and our new technologies’ accelerating speed is the defining consequence of our shift into the Exponential Age. On the one side, you have the new behaviors, relationships, and structures that are enabled by exponentially improving technologies, and the products and services built from them. On the other, you have the norms that have evolved or been designed to suit the needs of earlier configurations of technology. The gap leads to extreme tension. In the Exponential Age, this divergence is ongoing—and it is everywhere.
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Elon Musk's meme truck is starting to feel even more like a goof than ever.
Tesla's appears to have removed any pricing and vehicle build info from its Cybertruck website, which Electrek first spotted. This comes a little more than a month after Musk confirmed production on the truck, which looks like if the textures didn't load correctly in the first Halo game, would begin in late 2022 rather than late 2021, as originally planned.
Prior to this development, you could see detailed specs and pricing for the single-motor ($39,900), dual-motor ($49,900), and tri-motor ($69,900) configurations on the Cybertruck webpage. Now, the page is more or less empty aside from some promo images and a video, and a link to pre-order the truck that takes you to...this:
You can still drop $100 on a 'pre-order' of some sort, but the only information on the page right now is some text that says: 'You will be able to complete your configuration as production nears in 2022.' More than a million people had apparently pre-ordered the Cybertruck as of August, when rumblings of production delays first started.
Tesla removing that info from the Cybertruck site doesn't necessarily spell doom for the bulky EV, as it's totally possible and even likely that such a lengthy delay will also have an impact on pricing and/or specs by the end of 2022. Every company that makes anything still deserves some benefit of the doubt with this stuff because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It's mostly noteworthy because Tesla had maintained that information on the site for the two years since Cybertruck was unveiled.
The lesson here is maybe don't spend money to pre-order a concept truck from a company with several years of production and delivery problems under its belt.
Is there anything more relatable to the tech-lovers of the internet than the thrill of tearing open the packaging on the latest, shiniest gadget? NASA and the European Space Agency get it.
On Friday, the Twitter account for Ariane 5, an ESA launch vehicle, shared a series of 'unboxing' photos for the James Webb Space Telescope. For those who might not know, that's the powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, which has been peering into the furthest reaches of space since 1990.
In December, Ariane 5 will carry the new space telescope into orbit where it will bring its fancier optical technology to bear on the same kinds of tasks that Hubble once handled on its own. While it's a big moment for space research, the future satellite has been dogged by controversy due to its connection to Webb, a former NASA administrator who presided over the federal agency in the '50s and '60s when gay and lesbian employees faced discrimination there.
That controversy hasn't slowed down the launch plans, or led to a name change. But the concerns some have voiced continue to loom large as the Dec. 18 launch approaches. One NASA adviser even quit over their dissatisfaction with the agency's handling of naming concerns.
Tweet may have been deleted
Tweet may have been deleted
These photos nonetheless offer a fascinating look behind the scenes at how a massive and wildly expensive piece of space tech like this is transported. At roughly the size of a tractor trailer, the $10 billion satellite isn't exactly the easiest thing to ship.
The James Webb Space Telescope is currently set for its one-way trip to outer space to launch on Dec. 18, 2021. Although construction was completed in 2016, the launch has been delayed multiple times, first for further testing and later as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For now, all indications are that the December launch will proceed as planned, barring any of the usual temporary weather hiccups that often disrupt space launch plans.
It's not just small companies facing Sony's wrath over aftermarket PlayStation 5 faceplates. Dbrand told The Verge it stopped selling its PS5 "Darkplates" after Sony issued a cease-and-desist letter earlier in the year threatening legal action over alleged design and trademark violations. Visit Dbrand's product page now and you'll only see links to news stories and testimonials.
Dbrand isn't going down quietly. In a Reddit thread, the company claimed it was submitting to the "terrorists' demands... for now." It believed customers had the right to modify hardware with third-party components, and speculated that Sony might be clamping down so that it can either sell its own covers or charge licensing fees. The company didn't definitively say it planned to resume sales, but did say it would "talk soon."
Whatever Dbrand's intentions, this takes away a major option (though not your only option) for customizing the PS5. The question is whether or not Sony can completely halt third-party faceplate sales. After all, the faceplates are designed to be easily removable and aren't much more than plastic sheets. Dbrand likened this to replacing a broken F-150 truck bumper with an aftermarket part â you have the right to choose the parts you use for fixes or cosmetic upgrades, and Ford can't sue simply because you're using an unofficial bumper. It won't be surprising if there's an eventual court battle over Sony's policy.
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Disclaimer: This story is not meant to discourage you. Rather, it should serve as a long hard look in the mirror. So you’re enthusiastic about Data Science, you’ve read a couple dozen blog posts and completed a few online classes. Now you’re dreaming of making this your career. After all, it’s the sexiest job of the 21st century, according to Harvard Business Review. But despite your enthusiasm, Data Science might not be for you. At this moment in time, you’re holding too many illusions and false stereotypes. Now, your task is simple: Remove the things that hold you back! And…This story continues at The Next Web
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TLDR: The Mastering Linux and Git Certification Bundle offers insight into the open-source operating system, even if you’ve never touched a line of Linux code before. Everybody knows about Windows and MacOS. But everybody doesn’t know serious computing. While those operating systems may run all the personal PCs you see, the world’s most powerful computers run on the operating system real experts swear by: Linux. In fact, in a check of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers, each and every one of the most primed and masterfully equipped computers running today run on the Linux operating system. You can learn everything…This story continues at The Next Web
One of the more important missions to study the early Solar System is now underway. NASA has launched Lucy, a robotic spacecraft that will be the agency's first to explore the Trojan asteroids trapped near Jupiter's Lagrange points. They're considered "fossils" of planetary formation that will help understand the Solar System's evolution, much as Lucy the australopithecus helped humans understand their ancestors.
The spacecraft detached from a ULA Atlas V rocket about an hour after liftoff, successfully deploying its two 24-foot solar arrays. The vehicle is currently charging its batteries as it begins the first leg of its journey, an orbit around the Sun as it prepares for its first gravity assist around Earth in October 2022.
To call this a long mission would be an understatement. Lucy will return to Earth for another gravity assist in 2024, and won't see any asteroids until it swings by the Donaldjohanson asteroid (near the main asteroid belt) in 2025. The probe first visits its first swarm of Trojan asteroids, ahead of Jupiter, in 2027. It will then make four flybys before visiting Earth for a third gravity assist in 2031. It will finally visit the second swarm of asteroids in 2033.
You won't have to be quite so patient for every asteroid mission, at least. NASA will launch another explorer, Psyche, in 2022. The vehicle will arrive at the metallic asteroid (16) Psyche in 2026 and spend 21 months determining whether it represents the exposed core of an early planet or 'just' unmelted material. Lucy is the more ambitious of the two projects, though, and it may pay extra dividends if it sheds light on how the Solar System came to be.
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This post was originally published in The Conversation.
There is no question that Squid Game has become a global sensation. Since its release, the nine-episode survival drama has topped Netflix's charts in 90 countries and is poised to become the most-watched show in Netflix history.
As the global popularity of the Korean thriller continues to grow, there have been debates over the quality of the English subtitle translation, particularly on social media. Many people who claim to be English-Korean bilinguals argue the translation does not do justice to the brilliantly written stories, clever dialogue and script. Some even argue that if you have watched the show in English, you haven’t really watched it at all.
Spoilers for Squid Game Season 1 follow.
As someone who specialises in English-Korean translation and interpreting, I believe the ongoing debates on the English subtitles of Squid Game are missing some important elements.
Not many people know the difference between translation and interpreting. To put it simply, translation refers to rendering of written texts from one language into another, whereas interpreting refers to spoken language.
Subtitling falls between translation and interpreting, because a subtitler listens to spoken language just as an interpreter does, and translates the oral language into written form for viewers.
Subtitling requires not only bilingual competence but specific skills essential to deliver messages within a limited space on screens. Think about the famous quote by the Oscar-winning director of Parasite, Bong Joon-Ho:
Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.
It is a subtitler’s job to find ways to condense messages into the one-inch-tall slots, no matter how long or complicated the original dialogues are. As you can imagine, subtitling is not easy.
Subtitling becomes even more complicated when cultural factors come into play, because many culture-specific words and concepts are difficult to translate.
“The untranslatable” exists in all cultures, and in the case of the Korean language, words such as aegyo sometimes described as 'performed extreme femininity,' han likened by some to 'a mix of sorrow and sadness accumulated from a series of life experiences,' and jeong described sometimes as 'deep connection and emotional bond that builds over time,' are some of the most well-known concepts that have no direct equivalent in another language. In literature translation, there are ways to deal with the untranslatable through footnotes or annotations, for example.
These strategies, however, do not work for subtitling due to the space constraints, so managing culture-specific elements is perhaps the most challenging aspect of subtitling.
Comparing the Korean language with the English subtitle translation of Squid Game, occasional minor omissions and distortions are apparent — but the overall quality of the translation is, in my opinion, fine.
Most of the controversies seem to centre around the English closed captions, which are very different from the English subtitles on Netflix. The English captions which appear as 'English [CC]' are for people who cannot hear audio, so they include non-verbal descriptions such as the background music and sound effects. Translations in closed captions are, therefore, more concise than subtitles and are limited in terms of meaning delivery.
Despite the good quality of the English translation, a meaning gap inevitably exists between the original Korean and the English subtitles due to the untranslatable.
Perhaps the most significant aspect of the untranslatable in Squid Game relates to '호칭' or 'honorifics,' which Korean people use to refer to each other in conversation.
An age-based hierarchy is a key characteristic of Korean society, and people do not call each other by name unless they are friends of the same age. One of the most common honorifics is '형' (hyung) or 'older brother,' a title a younger brother uses to talk or refer to his older brother. This expression is often also used by non-family members who are close to each other to indicate the degree of mutual friendship.
If you have watched the drama, you might recall Ali, the Pakistani labourer, who came to South Korea to earn money. Ali got to know another participant, Sang Woo, a graduate of Korea's top university, who embezzled a huge amount of money at work and was determined to win the game to get rid of the debt.
As they became close to each other, Sang Woo suggested that Ali call him hyung, instead of '사장님' (sajang-nim) or 'Mr Company President,' one of the first terms that foreign labourers in South Korea pick as a result of spending most of their time at work under often exploitative bosses.
The moment that Sang Woo became Ali's hyung is one of the most humanistic moments in the gory drama. The poignancy of the moment, however, could not be fully delivered due to the absence of an equivalent English form. In the English subtitle, the line 'Call me hyung' was translated as 'Call me Sang Woo.'
When Sang Woo later betrays Ali in the game of marbles, the kinds of emotions experienced by viewers who are able to understand the degree of intimacy attached to hyung compared with those unable to do so may, therefore, be very different.
Scenes like this show, in a powerfully raw form, the cruelty and selfishness of human beings in real life, albeit in a different kind of 'game.'
There are other untranslatable honorifics, such as '오빠' (oppa), which was translated as 'baby,' and '영감님' (yeonggam-nim), which was translated as 'sir.' Close, but not quite the same.
Understanding the honorifics in Squid Game is important to fully capture the bitter aspects of human relationships.
Considering the untranslatable, the recent addition of 26 Korean words to the Oxford English Dictionary is a welcome move. Interestingly, some of these newly added words include common honorifics such as noona, oppa, and unni, and I hope that this paves way for the inclusion of more Korean words in the future.
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While translation and interpreting serve as an important cultural and linguistic bridge, the gap left by the untranslatable can only be filled by genuine understanding of the other culture and language.
Building on Director Bong's message, once you overcome the gap left by the untranslatable, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.
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