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Watch this gigantic, terrifying iceberg slowly move toward a tiny Greenland village - CNET
It only weighs 11 million tons. No big deal.

Source: CNET News | 16 Jul 2018 | 1:57 am

Best Amazon Prime Day 2018 deals: Video games and gaming - CNET
Come back at noon PT, 3 p.m. ET for a list of top deals.

Source: CNET News | 16 Jul 2018 | 1:00 am

Bruce Willis: 'Die Hard is not a Christmas movie' - CNET
"It's a god damn Bruce Willis movie."

Source: CNET News | 16 Jul 2018 | 12:50 am

Rolls-Royce wants to build a flying taxi - CNET
And I want to ride in that taxi.

Source: CNET News | 16 Jul 2018 | 12:30 am

Amazon Prime Day 2018 deals: Phones and accessories - CNET
Upcoming deals on Huawei, Honor and Moto phones have already been announced.

Source: CNET News | 15 Jul 2018 | 11:44 pm

Fortnite L dance during World Cup final excites fans - CNET
Epic Games' battle royale game crosses over to the World Cup final between France and Croatia.

Source: CNET News | 15 Jul 2018 | 11:12 pm

Best Amazon Prime Day 2018 deals: Kitchen and appliances - CNET
Come back at noon PT, 3 p.m. ET for a list of top deals.

Source: CNET News | 15 Jul 2018 | 10:00 pm

Amazon Prime Day 2018: Every game Twitch is giving away for free - CNET
Tyranny, Broken Age, Metal Slug 3 and more can be yours with Twitch Prime.

Source: CNET News | 15 Jul 2018 | 9:53 pm

Best Amazon Prime Day 2018 deals: Smartwatches and fitness trackers - CNET
Come back at noon PT, 3 p.m. ET for a list of top deals on wearable devices.

Source: CNET News | 15 Jul 2018 | 9:42 pm

Best Amazon Prime Day 2018 deals: Headphones, audio and speakers - CNET
While you wait for Prime Day to start, here are 3 great audio deals under $50 you can get right now.

Source: CNET News | 15 Jul 2018 | 9:33 pm

After indictment, Russian hackers’ lives “changed forever,” ex-ambassador says

Enlarge / US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (C) holds a news conference at the Department of Justice July 13, 2018 in Washington, DC. Rosenstein announced indictments against 12 Russian intelligence agents for hacking computers used by the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Clinton campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and other organizations. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

On Friday, the Office of the Special Counsel handed down an indictment of several Russian intelligence officers that federal authorities say were critical in the operation to sway the 2016 presidential election.

Given that the United States lacks an extradition treaty with Russia and that the defendants are unlikely to have many Stateside assets, what meaningful effect does going through the motions of a prosecution have?

Experts say that there are a few primary objectives to this type of indictment: first and foremost, the indictment is likely to make the defendants' lives harder if they ever want to leave Russia. Countries that do have an extradition treaty with the United States will now be on notice in case any of these guys show up. A secondary objective is to alert both the American public and the Russian government just how much the Special Counsel knows.

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Source: Ars Technica | 15 Jul 2018 | 10:00 am

The downfall of Theranos, from the journalist who made it happen

Enlarge (credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Over the last few years, the failed biomedical startup Theranos has become synonymous with some of the worst aspects of Silicon Valley. Through a combination of hubris, mendacity, and paranoid secrecy, the company fooled investors and the press into thinking it had created a nearly magical medical tricorder, earning a "unicorn" valuation of $9 billion before the whole endeavor was revealed to be smoke and mirrors.

Much ink has been spilled documenting Theranos' rise and then fall—but the most important work has arguably been that of Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou. And Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, his recent book on the subject, is as good a retelling of that tale as any we could hope for. So good, in fact, that I devoured it in a single sitting.

The man who made it happen

More than anyone else, Carreyrou deserves credit for pulling the wool from so many credulous eyes regarding Theranos and its founder, Elizabeth Holmes. Outlets like Fortune and Wired were writing hagiographic puff pieces about this precocious college dropout and her plan to save the world; Carreyrou was pointing out inconvenient facts, like the company's inability to accurately conduct most of the hundreds of blood tests it claimed to have revolutionized. He credits pathologist Adam Clapper—who wrote the now-defunct Pathology Blawg—for tipping him off that something wasn't entirely right.

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Source: Ars Technica | 15 Jul 2018 | 9:00 am

A look at Chrome’s new tab design

Chrome is getting a major redesign soon, and this week new changes have started to land in the Chrome's nightly "Canary" build. Google is launching a new version of Material Design across its products, called the "Google Material Theme," and after debuting in Android P and Gmail.com, it's starting to roll out across other Google's major products. On Chrome, this means major changes to the tab and address bar. Remember, this is just a nightly build, so things could change before the stable release. But these changes line up well with previous Chrome redesign documents.

The first thing you'll notice is the tab bar. Tabs now have a rectangular shape with rounded corners instead of the trapezoidal shape of the current design. Tab separation has also undergone a lot of changes. With a single tab open, you won't see a distinct tab shape at all. The current tab is always white, and in single-tab mode, the background of the tab bar is white too so everything blends together. I like the general idea here: if you aren't using multiple tabs, there's no need to show all the tab-separation cruft.

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Source: Ars Technica | 14 Jul 2018 | 1:30 pm

Altiplano review: A brain-tickling board game about… alpacas

Enlarge

Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com.

Altiplano—or, as it is affectionately known 'round these parts, “the llama game”—displays a hobby in rude creative health. As you’d expect from noted German designer Reiner Stockhausen, the game is a formidable packet of innovative interlocking systems, confidently presented, and (once you wrap your head around the strategy) a tough but engrossing mental challenge.

This might look, on the surface, like a game for kids. Its mascot is, after all a goofy, boggle-eyed llama alpaca (llama?) with a pronounced underbite; the animal also appears as an elaborate in-game standee denoting the first player. The bold colors and vibrant illustrations, however, belie a game of real depth and complexity—perhaps a bit too much complexity for some.

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Source: Ars Technica | 14 Jul 2018 | 10:00 am

Faster and farther: Bulls Cross E8 electric bike review

Enlarge (credit: Eric Bangeman)

As the managing editor of Ars Technica, one of my duties is to monitor the daily torrent of news tips and PR emails. The overwhelming majority of them is deleted after a glance, and the news tips and story ideas are passed along to the appropriate writer. Sometimes a product announcement will catch my eye, and I will follow up. Once in a blue moon, I'll say, "please send me one so that I may review it." And that's how I ended up riding an electric bike around the Chicago suburbs for two weeks.

I'm one of the hardcore cyclists at Ars, along with Jay Timmer and his new-as-of-last-fall road bike as well as copyeditor Kerry Staurseth. I love cycling, and it was a major factor in my dropping 120lb over a 12-month period starting in the summer of 2009. My daily rider/errand-runner is a 1998 Gary Fisher Marlin mountain bike. For longer rides, I use my 2009 Trek XO2 cyclecross bike. I've made a few modifications to it, including removing the bumpy cyclecross tires and swapping out the front 46-tooth chainring for a 50-tooth one. I went with a cross bike over a road bike because I'm still a Clydesdale, and I like the slightly longer wheelbase of a cross bike. I've also briefly owned a 2011 Trek Madone 5.9, which I sold not long after I bought it due to severely screwing up my right knee.

But electric bicycles—e-bikes—are new territory for me. Broadly speaking, there are two basic options in e-bike land: power-on-demand and pedal-assist. With the former, the rider can control the speed with a throttle instead of just pedaling. Think moped but with an electric motor instead of internal combustion. Pedal-assist, by contrast, requires the rider to do some of the work. The electric motor won't engage unless the rider is pedaling.

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Source: Ars Technica | 14 Jul 2018 | 8:40 am

A years-old, one-letter typo led to Aliens: Colonial Marines‘ weird AI

Enlarge / Want Aliens: Colonial Marines to better resemble this 'shopped image? Just remove one letter! (credit: Gearbox / Sega)

History may never be kind to Aliens: Colonial Marines, but the present tense isn't looking so good for the lawsuit- and complaint-ridden Gearbox game, either. This week brought to our attention one of the weirdest coding typos we've ever seen in a game—which has apparently been hidden inside of A:CM's PC version since its 2013 launch.

The first-person shooter returned to gaming's zeitgeist this week thanks to a 90-percent discount at gaming site Fanatical, which brings its asking price down to $3. (Buying the PC version outright from Steam currently costs the full $30 price.) This sale led one fan to plead with members of the popular gaming forum ResetERA to consider the game as a decent cheap-fun option, especially due to a 712MB fan-made patch at moddb.com that addresses many of the game's graphical and gameplay glitches.

Tether vs. teather

Upon researching this patch, ResetERA readers noticed something in the moddb.com notes that somehow escaped the gaming community at large in October 2017: the discovery of a one-letter typo in A:CM's INI files. As moddb.com user jamesdickinson963 pointed out last year, the game's "PecanEngine.ini" file references a "tether" system in assigning AI commands to the series' infamous monsters (which I'll call "xenomorphs" for brevity's sake, even though that term isn't necessarily the right one). However, one of its two mentions of the term "tether" is misspelled as "teather."

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Source: Ars Technica | 13 Jul 2018 | 10:30 pm

Joss Whedon will return to sci-fi TV with HBO’s The Nevers

Enlarge / Joss Whedon, courtesy of HBO. (credit: HBO)

Joss Whedon, the creator of acclaimed TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, has been announced as showrunner for a new HBO series titled The Nevers.

The Friday announcement confirms Whedon as "executive producer, showrunner, writer, and director" for his first-ever non-network TV series, following his RECENT executive producer and co-creator duties on the ongoing series Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. HBO describes the show as "an epic science-fiction drama about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities," and its statement makes no bones about Whedon's legacy by claiming it "follows in the footsteps of Buffy."

HBO did not announce a release window, actors, or other principal members of the cast and crew.

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Source: Ars Technica | 13 Jul 2018 | 7:27 pm

Alaska’s last two Blockbusters are shutting down, leaving one in US

On Thursday, Blockbuster Alaska announced that the rental chain's last two Alaskan stores will shut down on Monday, with liquidation sales to follow. The news means that only one Blockbuster store will remain in the United States, in Bend, Oregon.

"We hope to see you at our stores during the closing, even if it’s just to say 'Hello,'" the final two shops' managers posted in a Facebook announcement on Thursday. "What a great time to build your media library and share some Blockbuster memories with us."

In its report, the Anchorage Daily News confirmed with Border Entertainment, a Texas-based holding company that operated all of Alaska's Blockbuster stores, that closure plans had been in the works since before the end of 2017. At that time, Border decided to stop renewing any Blockbuster store leases, resulting in a series of closures across the state over the past nine months.

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Source: Ars Technica | 13 Jul 2018 | 2:25 pm

Open offices are as bad as they seem—they reduce face-to-face time by 70%

Enlarge / Looks like someone has a case of the Mondays. (credit: Getty | Ian Nicholson)

Tearing down walls and cubicles in offices may actually build up more barriers to productivity and collaboration, according to a new study.

Employees at two Fortune 500 multinational companies saw face-to-face interaction time drop by about 70 percent, the use of email increase between 22 percent and 56 percent, and productivity slip after their traditional office spaces were converted to open floor plans—that is, ones without walls or cubicles that ostensibly create barriers to interaction. The findings, published recently in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, suggest that removing physical dividers may, in fact, make it harder for employers to foster collaboration and collective intelligence among their employees.

Many companies have waged a so-called “war on walls” to try to create such vibrant workspaces, the authors Ethan Bernstein and Stephen Turban of Harvard wrote. But, “what they often get—as captured by a steady stream of news articles professing the death of the open office—is an open expanse of proximal employees choosing to isolate themselves as best they can (e.g. by wearing large headphones) while appearing to be as busy as possible (since everyone can see them).”

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Source: Ars Technica | 13 Jul 2018 | 2:08 pm

Smart TVs are invading privacy and should be investigated, senators say

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | moodboard)

Two Democratic US senators have asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate privacy problems related to Internet-connected televisions.

"Many Internet-connected smart TVs are equipped with sophisticated technologies that can track the content users are watching and then use that information to tailor and deliver targeted advertisements to consumers," Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wrote in a letter yesterday to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons. "Regrettably, smart TV users may not be aware of the extent to which their televisions are collecting sensitive information about their viewing habits."

The letter asked the FTC to "launch an investigation into the privacy policies and practices of smart TV manufacturers." When contacted by Ars, an FTC spokesperson confirmed that the agency received the letter from Markey and Blumenthal, but the FTC offered no further comment.

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Source: Ars Technica | 13 Jul 2018 | 1:55 pm