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The NSA's massive surveillance operation is now just a little less massive

29 April, by Colin Daileda[ —]

The NSA's spying program is still vast, but it's now a touch more restricted.

The agency has long collected texts and emails sent to and by Americans if those electronic communications contained the names of folks whom the NSA was conducting surveillance on, but that's no longer the case. 

This, as the New York Times reported Friday, is a significant rollback of a surveillance program that privacy advocates have railed against since a series of NSA spying programs and mechanisms were revealed in 2013. 

The main issue many privacy advocates had: The spying didn't require a warrant and was based on the content of the message rather than the people having the digital conversation.  Read more...

More about Spying, Court, Fisa, Nsa, and Texting

Whoops. Millions of Android phones are wide open to hackers

29 April, by Jack Morse[ —]

All is not well in Google Play

A group of researchers has determined that hundreds of apps in the store have a gaping security hole that potentially allows hackers to implant malware and steal data from millions of Android smartphones. 

According to a paper detailing the alleged flaw, the problem lies within apps that create open ports on cellphones. This is a known and understood problem with computers, but hasn't before been systematically studied in smartphones. The University of Michigan team used a custom tool to scan 24,000 apps and found 410 potentially vulnerable applications — at least one of which has been downloaded millions of times. Read more...

More about Cybersecurity, Hackers, Google, Smartphones, and Android

Solar eclipse stamp changes when you touch it

29 April, by Sasha Lekach[ —]

As if America's first total solar eclipse in decades wasn't cool enough, the U.S. Postal Service is making the North America blackout an event to celebrate forever with a new thermochromic stamp. That's a stamp that changes when you touch it, and we're so into it. 

The new stamp (it goes from a black orb to a full moon with the heat of your finger) celebrates the first eclipse crossing all of North America for the first time since 1918. The big day is Aug. 21 and the stamp will debut on June 20 at an issuing event at the University of Wyoming on the summer solstice. Starting in June you can pre-order the stamps, or you can just wait for them to arrive at post offices starting June 20. Read more...

More about Moon, Sun, Usps, Stamps, and Nasa

Pickle juice soda is here to confuse your tastebuds

29 April, by Brian Koerber[ —]

We promise this is not a sketch from Portlandia.

Pickling things has certainly seen a hipster resurgence in recent years, but we've now reached peak pickle with pickle juice soda.

Grandpa Joe's Candy Shop, a chain of super cute candy stores in Pennsylvania and Ohio, has announced the arrival of Pickle Juice Soda in its stores, and people seem to be equally excited and grossed out. 

"If you're the kind of pickle lover who relishes all things pickled, this is gonna be a really big dill," the store wrote on its Facebook page. Read more...

More about Food, Funny, Pickles, Watercooler, and Watercooler

The Tesla Model 3 dashboard sure looks nice

29 April, by Jack Morse[ —]

Tesla Model 3s have yet to ship to customers, but that doesn't mean they're not already on California roads. 

An observant passerby spotted a blue Model 3 in the wild on April 27 being driven near the company's Palo Alto headquarters and managed to capture photos of the vehicle's interiorAs Teslarati reports, the pics appear to show the final version of the car's dashboard. 

The large digital display located in the center of the dash  calls to mind Tesla CEO Elon Musk's refusal to put a speedometer behind the wheel. 

@nickg_uk No

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 28, 2017

More about Electric Cars, Model 3, Tesla, Elon Musk, and Tech

The best movie shots of all time

29 April, by Rachel Leyco[ —]

We start our series of the Best Shots of All Time by looking at size, breaking down some of the best close ups, mediums, wide shots, and extremes in film history. But it's not all about looking pretty, we dive deep into how and why each type of shot is used.

Visit CineFix for more episodes and movie-related content.

More about Psycho, Lawrence Of Arabia, Raging Bull, The Godfather Pt 2, and The Passion Of Joan Of Arc

This 'Twin Peaks' teaser is exactly what you'd expect from David Lynch

28 April, by Laura Prudom[ —]

The latest teaser for Showtime's Twin Peaks revival definitely lives up to its description. 

The promo takes us to some of the show's most iconic locations — the sheriff's department, RR cafe, and Bang Bang Bar, to name a few — but there's no sign of Kyle MacLachlan's FBI Agent Dale Cooper, or any of the other old (or new) inhabitants of the isolated town. 

The secretive nature of the long-awaited revival should come as no surprise to longtime fans — creators David Lynch and Mark Frost are notoriously spoiler averse, so we'll have to wait until May 21 to see exactly what brings Agent Cooper back to Twin Peaks, Washington. Either way, we're betting it'll be weirdRead more...

More about Showtime, Mark Frost, David Lynch, Twin Peaks, and Entertainment

Amazon wants to make Alexa sound like your human friends

28 April, by Brett Williams[ —]

Alexa is always there for those of us with Amazon's AI-enabled speakers, but when she speaks, sometimes it's hard to tell that she really cares. 

We're not saying we need to all fall in love with our smart assistants, Her-style, but hearing a little bit more warmth in Alexa's automated responses could make the human-AI overlord relationship so much better. Or, you know, just make us more comfortable allowing a sophisticated AI system to learn just about everything there is to know about us.

Fortunately, Amazon has heard our cries for machine validation, and the company is finally giving Alexa the capability to speak like the true AI friend she is. Read more...

More about Github, Alexa Skills, Echo, Amazon Alexa, and Tech

This electric surfboard can move without the waves

28 April, by Michelle Yan[ —]

'Jetfoiler' can fly over water. This surfboard uses hydrofoil, which can lift up the board out of the water when you lean back. It also uses an electric motor to propel yourself. This surfboard can go up to 27 mph. Surf's up! Read more...

More about Real Time Video, Real Time Video, Real Time, Automatic, and Electric Surfboard

Your weekend hate read is this ridiculously dumb New York Times op-ed

28 April, by Jason Abbruzzese[ —]

It didn't take long for the controversial new editorial writer a the New York Times to deliver the goods — the goods in this case being tired and weak excuses for why mainstream media publications should give credence to climate change deniers. 

On Friday afternoon, the Times published  the first column from Bret Stephens, in which he argues "ordinary citizens also have a right to be skeptical of an overweening scientism" in relation to climate change.

While the Times doesn't seem to have any writers extolling the flat earth theory or delving into the issues around chemtrails, it saw fit to recently hire Stephens, a noted conservative writer, best known in the science community for his climate change denialRead more...

More about Global Warming, Science, Business, New York Times, and Climate Change

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