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If you want Google’s revamped Photos app to be a complete surprise, look away now: Android Police has got some authentic-looking screenshots showing off the new software as well as some details about how it works. We’re expecting Google to launch the new product at some point during Google I/O later this week.

As you would expect from Google, search plays a prominent role in the new apps: Your photos get automatically tagged with their contents, so you can run a quick search for “dog” or “beach” and get back all the matching images without having to label them all yourself. Like the current app integrated into Google+, the new one lets you back up photos at a reduced size (which doesn’t count against your space quota) or at their original resolutions (which does).

Related: Google continues to shift away from Google+, Photos going solo

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Google's offices in Brussels

If you've ever thought that "what was your first pet's name?" is a lousy way to keep intruders from resetting your password, you now have some evidence to back up your suspicions. Google has published research showing that security questions aren't that secure at all. In many cases, your answers are straightforward enough that attackers stand a decent chance of getting them right in 10 guesses or less. And you probably don't want to use bogus answers to throw people off the scent, either. Many of those who try this strategy use common words and make it easier for someone to get in.

So what's the alternative, then? Google doesn't think that multiple security questions would help, since that increases the chances that you'll forget at least one answer and lock yourself out. Instead, websites are better off using SMS-based reset codes, alternate email addresses and other methods that someone can't crack with a good guess. Thankfully, big sites like Google already do this -- the big challenge is getting your favorite store or social network to follow suit.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Virginia Mayo]

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Posted by on in PCWorld

BlackBerry plans to lay off an unspecified number of staff in its devices unit, as it attempts to make that business profitable, while expanding in other areas.

The smartphone company in Waterloo, Ontario, said in a statement over the weekend that it had decided to consolidate its device software, hardware and applications business, “impacting a number of employees around the world.”

The company said that as it moves into the next stage of its turnaround, it aims to reallocate resources in ways that will “best enable us to capitalize on growth opportunities while driving toward sustainable profitability across all facets of our business.”

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ford-my-energi-lifestyle.jpgFord has been promoting its MyEnergi Lifestyle program at CES Asia in Shanghai this week. CNET

Ford has announced a massive push in its sustainability agenda with the launch of the MyEnergi Lifestyle pilot program for China, aiming to increase take-up of renewable energy sources and efficient vehicles while reducing power bills by as much as 60 percent for Chinese families.

The automotive company has joined forces with Chinese-owned appliance manufacturer Haier -- as well as local solar power company Trina Solar and electric vehicle charging company Delta Electronics -- to roll out the initiative in Beijing and Shanghai. While the MyEnergi program has been in pilot stages in the United States since 2013, the move marks a major shift into the mainstream for Ford's energy-efficiency program.

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I just learned that the fines for illegal activity paid by banks since the economic collapse have totaled more than a quarter trillion dollars which is more than the entire economy of Greece. And that number is from 2014, before the $13 billion from Citi and the recent $5 billion for the banks involved in the price-fixing scandal.

Coincidence?

One of the traders for those banks, who was part of a collusion group that called itself (I'm not making this up), "The Cabal", said, in an email to the group, "If you're not cheating, you're not trying." That's $5 billion in fines for activity that made them hundreds of billions of dollars and bonuses.

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A female gorilla has died at Melbourne Zoo after a young male gorilla attacked her in an "unprecedented" show of aggression.

The 33-year-old female, named Julia, was the victim of the assault from 13-year-old Silverback male, Otana, on Friday. Staff monitoring the male noticed he had been showing an unexpected level of aggression towards Julia, before she retreated to a cave for the evening.

On Saturday, Julia was transferred to the vet for an examination, but her condition could not be stabilised. Head vet Michael Lynch told Seven News Julia had significant muscle damage caused by biting and hitting.

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There was a lot of funding news this week, including sports, digital commerce, payments, health, office chat and yet another multibillion dollar-valuation for a startup. Here’s what went down:

The digital payments startup Stripe is in the middle of raising an undisclosed amount of money as part of a round that will value the company at $5 billion. Less than a year ago, the company raised $70 million at $3.5 billion. The cloud software company MuleSoft scored $128 million in a round led by Salesforce Ventures, setting MuleSoft’s value at $1.5 billion. Obvious Ventures, the venture capital firm started by Twitter and Medium founder Ev Williams, raised $123 million for its first fund, according to an SEC filing earlier this week. The cloud software company Twilio is partnering with its backers, Bessemer Venture Partners, DFJ and Redpoint Ventures, to start a $50 million fund to invest in companies developing on Twilio’s platform. Payment processing company WePay raised $40 million in a funding round led by FTV Capital, with the Japanese digital commerce firm Rakuten and existing investors Highland Capital Partners, August Capital, Continental Investors and Ignition Partners also participating (Fortune). Switch, a Google Ventures-backed business communications company run by ex-Googlers, raised $35 million in a round led by the Singaporean VC Amasia, with existing investors Google Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz participating alongside newcomers SoftBank and Workbench Ventures (Forbes). The Canadian clean energy company General Fusion raised $27 million in a new investment round led by the Malaysian government’s sovereign wealth fund, Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Business in Vancouver). Samsara, a wireless sensor maker founded by two guys who sold their last company to Cisco for $1.2 billion, raised $25 million in Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. Marc Andreessen is joining the Samsara board (Wall Street Journal). DIY content and commerce company Brit + Co. raised $23 million in funding, and an SEC filing reveals that Intel Capital VP Lisa Lambert has been named a new board member (Fortune). Berkshire Hathaway and GE invested $22.5 million in EVolution Networks, an Israeli company that makes energy management technology for businesses (Bloomberg). Fuze, a cloud-based conferencing software maker, raised $20 million in new funding and acquired the workplace collaboration service LiveMinutes for an undisclosed sum (Silicon Valley Business Journal). The health insurance shopping companion Stride Health raised $13 million in a new round led by Venrock, with participation from Fidelity Biosciences and NEA (MobiHealthNews). Viral content publisher The Mighty raised $2.5 million in an investment round led by Upfront Ventures (VentureBeat). Mitoo, a social network for amateur athletes, raised $1.5 million in funding led by Dave Morin’s Slow Ventures (VentureBeat).

 

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When you’ve mastered the art of persuasion, it’s easy to get people to do what you want. This video goes over six of the science-backed shortcuts you can use to start influencing others.

Whether you want your voice to be more heard, or you’re just trying to get someone to like you a little more, persuasion is a skill that can be valuable in almost every aspect of life. The six principles—reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, liking, and consensus—are all based on the research of Dr. Robert Cialdini and his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. The video is a few years old, but the drawings and narration do a great job of explaining the basics. You may not be a master manipulator after watching it, but you will get a few great tips and have a better grasp of how persuasion really works.

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A Rare Glimpse Into the Eye of Typhoon Dolphin

To remote sensing scientists, peering directly into the eye of a tropical storm is like hitting a hole in one. That’s exactly what NASA’s CloudSat satellite did on May 16th, completing a stunning overpass of Typhoon Dolphin as the category 4 storm churned across the west Pacific.

Image: NASA Earth Observatory

CloudSat, which comprises part of NASA’s Earth-orbiting observatory, sends pulses of microwave energy through our planet’s atmosphere, some of which is reflected back to the spacecraft. Conceptually, CloudSat is similar to another tool we looked at last week, RapidScat, which NASA uses for mapping wind speed and direction. The strength of the signal CloudSat receives is related to the amount of ice or water in a cloud, while the time delay can be used to calculate the distance between the cloud and the Earth’s surface.

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Editor’s Note: Josh McFarland is the co-founder and former chief executive officer of TellApart. Stacey Ngo is a communications manager at Greylock Partners and is managing their greymatter series of interviews with portfolio company executives.

On the heels of its acquisition by Twitter, TellApart chief executive Josh McFarland tells Greylock Partners how he grew the company from $7M to $100M in revenue.

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Astronauts aboard the International Space Station don't need to flick on the TV to help them fall asleep at night. They can just look out the window. This weekend, Commander Terry Virts, who's been aboard the station since November, gave us Earthbound folk a look at just what we're missing. A video posted to his Twitter account shows the absolutely surreal view from aboard ISS as it hurtles around the Earth at roughly 17,000 mph. As the stars slip below the horizon, they meet the rapidly-moving lights from the surface. It's utterly stupendous.

No words to add to this night view. pic.twitter.com/mZUSv9RvVP

— Terry W. Virts (@AstroTerry) May 24, 2015

Commander Virts and his Expedition 43 crew welcomed astronauts Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko aboard ISS back in late March, when the two began their record-breaking, year-long trip in space.

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Space-Saving Furniture for Small Rooms | Digital Trends
Home > Home > Short of space? Make room for transformable…

We have all felt the desire, or need, to manage our living space. Whether that be wanting to open up more livable area in a small room or create an understated sense of compact organization, finding functional, attractive furniture that that doesn’t crowd the room can be tricky. That said, here are five pieces of space-saving furniture that will open up your rooms and allow you to look cool at the same time. The extra functionality may cost a pretty penny, but it’s a small price to way for maximizing your living area and your piece of mind. After all, hidden ironing boards only go so far.

Related: 7 insane pieces of transforming furniture that make Optimus Prime look lame

Collapsible Dining Table

SpanGatelegTableBlackSHS15_16x9

What if you could take one of the largest pieces of furniture in your home, the dining room table, and make it easily movable and collapsible? This table from Span Black does exactly that. It can seat up to four people — six if you squeeze — taking up just shy of 5½ feet of space when open. But once you’ve finished with dinner, the table quickly collapses to a mere 9½ inches, allowing you to easily store it in a closet, behind the couch, or along an adjacent wall. And if you pair it with a nice set of folding chairs, you’ll have yourself an entire dining room set that breaks down in a matter of seconds.

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Instagram from one Mr. Steele

Instagram's photographic social feed isn't as novel as it once was, and you may be tempted to stop using it if you're overwhelmed by that never-ending stream of square pictures. How is the company supposed to keep you coming back for more? Though regular email blasts, apparently. TechCrunch has confirmed that Instagram is now sending "Highlights," email digests that showcase some of the better photos from those you follow. While this see-what-you're-missing strategy isn't new (Facebook and Twitter have done this for a while), it acknowledges that only some of Instagram's 300 million users are active shutterbugs -- this could help you remember the service and catch photos that would otherwise slip under the radar. Yes, the highlights are ultimately meant to get you viewing more ads, but they may be useful if you'd rather not spend every day wading through an image stream.

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Enlarge / Charging up the P85D at a Supercharger station.

Lee Hutchinson

In its December 1997 issue, Road & Track published the first US road test of the otherworldly McLaren F1. The issue became one of the most famous in R&T’s history due to the 12+ page review of a car with which the stateside automotive press hadn’t yet had a chance to spend a few days of unchaperoned time. I can still remember the awe I felt learning daily-driver details about the famous 240mph Lamborghini destroyer. The review, done with a privately owned F1 on loan to the magazine, contained superlative after superlative; I remember reading with wide eyes about how the F1’s 627bhp BMW-built V-12 could rocket the car from 60 miles per hour to 160 miles per hour in the time it took to pour a glass of water.

"Surely," I thought as I read and re-read the review with the fervor that only a teenage boy could have for the hottest of hot cars, "I’ll go my whole life and never get the chance to drive anything even remotely that fast."

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Spaces Manages Chrome Windows, Saves Tab Layouts For Later

Chrome: The person who invented browser tabs was obviously a genius, but it left us with the problem of managing multiple open tabs. Spaces makes it easier by allowing you to save and jump between open windows of various tabs.

The extension will show you a list of all the open Chrome windows you have at a time, show you which tabs you have open in each one, and quickly jump between them. Perhaps best of all, you can open a few tabs in a window, give the space a name, and then you can quickly open them later. This is particularly handy when you have a few tabs you need for a given task, but don’t want to keep them open all the time.

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When law enforcement abuses citizens, some people choose to focus on any aspects of the citizen's behaviour that might have brought on the abuse. One such example happened this week when a woman was tazed by border patrol agents and a commenter accused her of asking for it, prompting JamesF to win most insightful this week with a reversed version of the comment:

Its so easy to just blame the civilian. If the cops would have just acted within the bounds of the law, she wouldn't have been tazed. They were confrontational, aggressive and generally behaved like asses.

Meanwhile, the FBI disappointed everyone this week by accusing the world's cybersecurity experts of being either uninformed or unfair on the subject of encryption, since "their letter contains no acknowledgment that there are societal costs to universal encryption". Ninja won second place for insightful with a thoughtful and sad response:

And pervasive surveillance has zero cost in his mind, it seems. I've seen and talked to people like him. They don't give a fuck about rights and the well-being of others as long as their narrow view of what is right is implemented. I've been in discussions with people that advocate dictatorships are good because people are too ignorant to be left free and allowed to choose things and otherwise live without some totalitarian ruling them. And I don't mean some crazy ass out there, oh no. One of them was in his 25's, about to become a father and is generally a good person. This is scary. He may actually be genuinely 'depressed' even if it's a consequence of his total ignorance of how encryption works. This is scary. And it's even scarier when you think that people have been trying to explain those types about encryption and why a 'golden key' destroys it for a while now and he simply refuses to learn. As I said, he is not alone out there.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start by looping back to the story about border patrol for an anonymous response to the idea that their victim's nervous behaviour was the problem:

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Posted by on in Slashdot
HughPickens.com writes: ABC News reports that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has released a list of English-language material recovered during the raid the killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan in 2011 including one document dubbed "Instructions to Applicants," that would not be entirely out of place for an entry-level position at any American company – except for questions like the one about the applicant's willingness to blow themselves up. The questionnaire includes basic personal details, family history, marital status, and education level. It asks that applicants "answer the required information accurately and truthfully" and, "Please write clearly and legibly." Questions include: Is the applicant expert in chemistry, communications or any other field? Do they have a family member in the government who would cooperate with al Qaeda? Have they received any military training? Finally, it asks what the would-be jihadist would like to accomplish and, "Do you wish to execute a suicide operation?" For the final question, the application asks would-be killers that if they were to become martyrs, who should al Qaeda contact?

The corporate tone of the application is jarringly amusing, writes Amanda Taub, but it also hints at a larger truth: a terrorist organization like al-Qaeda is a large bureaucratic organization, albeit one in the "business" of mass-murdering innocent people. Jon Sopel, the North American editor from BBC News, joked that the application "looks like it has been written by someone who has spent too long working for Deloitte or Accenture, but bureaucracy exists in every walk of life – so why not on the path to violent jihad?"

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Editorial

Apple frequently introduces new technologies and features in a singular new product, then gradually brings them to other devices in its ecosystem, making for a more coherent user experience. With the recent launch of the Apple Watch, the company has begun offering smarter and more contextually aware locations — something we'd like to see on the rest of the company's platforms.

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The Apple Watch must be tethered to an iPhone to fully function, and Apple takes full advantage of this with tight integration between the two devices. Perhaps the best example of this comes from notification alerts.

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Single-Site Wristed Needle Driver da vinci surger

Vintners beware, there’s a new robot out there that can stitch grapes back together! Won’t somebody please think about the wine?

Oh, wait, this is the latest in miniature robotic surgery methods from da Vinci Surgery, and it’s actually fascinating to watch. As you can see in the video below, the claw-like hands are used not just to lay a small piece of grape skin back on the piece of fruit, but to then use sutures to sew it back in place.

While the video shows off what the Single-Site Wristed Needle Driver can do, it also notes that the piece of equipment is pending FDA 510(k) clearance and does not yet have a CE mark. The disclosure at the end of clip states that the Single-Site instruments can be used for hysterectomies and the removal of ovaries and gallbladders.

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