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Posted by on in Gizmodo

The Best of Gizmodo This Week

The Ashley Madison hack dominated tech headlines again this week, and we analyzed the leaked data to expose an interesting and sad twist to that story. That and more favorites from this week below.

The Best of Gizmodo This Week

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DARPA wants to transform airplanes into drone carriers. Last year, the agency invited technical ideas and business expertise to help create a reusable airborne system. Today, it announced the launch of the Gremlins program that's designed to make that air-recoverable unmanned system a reality. According to Dan Patt, program manager at DARPA, the "goal is to conduct a compelling proof-of-concept flight demonstration that could employ intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and other modular, non-kinetic payloads in a robust, responsive and affordable manner."

Bots that could be deployed and recovered mid-air are expected to boost the military's operational flexibility and drive mission costs lower. As per the DARPA statement, the program aspires to launch gremlins or swarm bots from large aircrafts such as bombers or transport aircrafts after some modest modifications. When those planes are out of range, the bots will be launched from smaller, more accessible fixed-wing platforms. After completing their mission, the gremlins will be retrieved by a C-130 transport aircraft and brought home, where they will be prepped for their next mission within the next 24 hours. Overall, Gremlins will have an expected lifetime of 20 flights.

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Claptrap gets a makeover in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. The lovable-but-annoying robot will likely make an appearance in a just-announced Lionsgate "Borderlands" movie.

2K

Get ready to embark on an epic journey to Pandora, travelers. Lionsgate announced on Friday that it's working on a movie based on the beloved Borderlands sci-fi first-person shooter video game series from Gearbox Software and Take-Two Interactive Software's 2K label.

The film will be produced by Marvel Studios founder Avi Arad and his son Ari, and will be a so-called tent-pole picture for Lionsgate Studios. Tent-pole status means Lionsgate is expecting the Borderlands film to be a major financial success, with likely follow-up films and heavy marketing and merchandising pushes when the movie eventually launches.

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"The RS-25 engine fires up for a 535-second test August 27, 2015 at NASA's Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. This is the final in a series of seven tests for the development engine, which will provide NASA engineers critical data on the engine controller unit and inlet pressure conditions," NASA writes.

On Thursday, NASA completed an initial developmental test series using an RS-25 engine of the sort that will drive NASA's next-generation launch vehicle, the Space Launch System (SLS).

NASA's SLS is a successor to the Space Shuttle program and the shuttered Constellation Project. In development since 2011, the SLS is slated to make its first flight in 2018 and will carry astronauts and cargo on missions from Low-Earth Orbit jaunts to deeper space exploration, including Mars missions.

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A deleted Amazon page for the upcoming Huawei Watch may add to evidence that Google is planning to make the Android Wear platform compatible with iOS devices.

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The listing claimed that the Huawei Watch will ship Sept. 2, and be compatible not just with "most devices" running Android 4.3 or later but also iOS 8.2, according to The Verge. The wording leaves open the possibility of pairing with an iPad or iPod touch, although that would be of limited usefulness even on 4G-equipped iPads.Previous rumors have pointed to Google working on iOS support for many months, but a device shipping with the technology as soon as Sept. 2 would come as a surprise announcement. The Amazon listing was presumably a mistake, whether in terms of its quoted release date, iOS compatibility, or being posted too early.To bridge the gap between platforms, Google could release a companion iOS app capable of pushing notifications and Google Now cards to a watch, as well as processing voice commands. Some functions might be dependent on having other Google apps installed as well, such as Gmail.Android Wear devices have sold relatively slowly, especially in light of Apple Watch estimates, but could gain a much larger audience if they were suddenly compatible with both major smartphone platforms. The Apple Watch is so far iPhone-exclusive, with no signs that an Android app is in the works.
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This Week On The TC Gadgets Podcast: CarPlay, Booze, And Keyboards | TechCrunch image
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Why Is Apple Doing This?

There’s not just one simple reason behind Apple’s decision to enable content blocking in iOS 9.

For starters, the company has actually advocated for consumer privacy more so than its competitors, who tend to monetize by allowing advertisers to leverage user data for targeting purposes.

At at recent event, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated that Apple doesn’t want users’ data, nor does it think there has to be a trade-off between security and user privacy.

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boeing-silent-strike

Two summers ago, we showed you an awesome Nerf sentry gun that could track opponents and nail them with foam darts. Today, we’ve got the military equivalent: a laser turret that can down a drone in seconds.

Boeing calls it Silent Strike, and they label it as a directed energy weapon. More precisely, it’s a 2 kilowatt laser, the little brother to Boeing’s “death ray on wheels,” which straps a 10 kilowatt laser on to the back of an armored transport. Engineer Isaac Neil likens the systems’ attack to “a welding torch being put on a target, but from hundreds of meters away.”

This new version is much, much more portable than the 10kW behemoth. Silent Strike breaks down into four separate components, each of which can be transported by two soldiers — or, perhaps one day, on the back of one of Boston Dynamics’ robotic quadrupeds.

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The Retailers Who Share Their Best Coupon Codes on Facebook

There are tons of sites for finding online coupon codes, but if you want exclusive coupons that aren’t on popular coupon websites, head to the retailer’s Facebook page—at least for these 29 retailers.

Kyle James of Rather Be Shopping searched over 2,000 popular retailer’s Facebook pages looking for coupon codes, but found that the majority didn’t share coupons on their pages. 29 of them, however, did, and some of these coupons were only available on Facebook.

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The man born Abel Tesfaye began his career as a mystery. His first mixtape, House of Balloons, was released for free on his website in March of 2011. The tape was as gritty and dark as Tesfaye’s voice was angelic, its sex appeal came with a sidelong threat of violence. The combination was arresting; every corner of the music world perked up its ears. MTV called it the best album of the year. It got a co-sign from Drake. In the months that followed, he released two more free mixtapes, Thursday and Echoes of Silence, both of which dug even deeper into Tesfaye’s seedy, confessional world. Curiosity about who, exactly, The Weeknd was skyrocketed, fueled by Tesfaye’s initial refusal to give any press interviews or even show his face.

Eventually, of course, the mystery ended. By the time The Weeknd’s first studio album, Kiss Land, came out in the fall of 2013, he had signed to a major label (Republic) and formed his own imprint (XO). He performed at Drake’s OVO fest. The blank space in our popular imagining of him was replaced with Tesfaye’s now-iconic towering hair.

the-weeknd the-weeknd

But Tesfaye still hadn’t quite reached pop star status, in part because he always seemed to intentionally quarantine himself on the darkest fringes of R&B. That changes with Beauty Behind the Madness, his second studio album, out today. The Weeknd is definitively a pop star now. The album’s first single, "Can’t Feel My Face," landed him in the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time ever. One listen to the song — plus the fact that hit-single-factory Max Martin produced it — makes it clear that this was The Weeknd’s plan all along. "Can’t Feel My Face" has an actual hook (The Weeknd usually settles for a post-coital whimper), and Tesfaye’s normally subdued vocals gallop through the song like he’s panting for airplay. The song made its live debut at Apple's WWDC in June, surrounded by men talking about the future of music who probably didn’t know who he was in 2011.

Anonymity to ubiquity

So the mystery is gone. But the initial lure of The Weeknd was the way he (and his music) lurked in the shadows. When he was still anonymous, Tesfaye created a persona: a man who stays at the club 'til it closes and then some, but never dances. A man who lives in a world populated by dozens of dead-eyed women who can match him pound for pound when it comes to drug use, but only when they’re not trying to fuck him. He’s strange and solitary, but he’s almost never alone. The Weeknd is a character actor — he plays villains, tortured souls, and guys who sleep 'til noon in luxury hotel rooms, and he does it with a deranged sincerity. He sings about sex with blunt anatomical correctness and describes drugs like they’re medicine. All Tesfaye’s vices were out there for all to see, with very little in the way of justification. But on Beauty Behind the Madness, fueled by his newfound popularity, The Weeknd tries to convince us the world he’s lived in for years is more complex than we originally thought.

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Nanoengineers (yes, that's a thing) from UC San Diego have created microscopic fish powered by hydrogen peroxide that use magnets to steer themselves. Here's how they can help keep us healthy.
Citizen Data Scientists: 7 Ways To Harness Talent

Citizen Data Scientists: 7 Ways To Harness Talent

(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

They might be the best fish you put into your body since Pepperidge Farms made rainbow cheddar goldfish. They're microscopic robot fish that are 3D-printed and used to remove toxins from your body or deliver medicine. And they're real.

Nanoengineers (yes, that's a thing) from UC San Diego have created microscopic fish powered by hydrogen peroxide that use magnets to steer themselves. They are among the first microrobots made from more than one material, and they have a complex shape and design. Most previous designs have been cylindrical or spherical in nature and had difficulty propelling themselves.

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There have been rumors for months that various elements of the legacy recording industry were gearing up to sue SoundCloud, the super popular and useful audio hosting site (we use it to host the Techdirt Podcast). In the last year or so, SoundCloud has been ramping up its efforts to appear super responsive to takedown requests, leading to ridiculous situations including the takedowns of public domain material, or of officially uploaded material. The company has also been completely ridiculous about fair use, telling users that it doesn't recognize it, since it's only a US concept.

As always, it appears that appeasing copyright extremists never gets you very far in the long run. The rumors for months are that, as with pretty much every other successful internet music-related service, the legacy players come asking for huge chunks of equity if you don't want to get sued. They basically demand companies bleed themselves dry, or be forced to be bled dry by a lawsuit. And now the lawsuits are starting. First up is not actually a record label, but PRS, the rather infamous UK music collection society that just recently told its members that it was keeping more of the money it collected, in order to funnel it into lawsuits. This is the same PRS that is so desperate to collect more money that it has gone after a woman who played music to her horses, a woman who sang to herself while stocking grocery store shelves and against a charity for daring to have children sing Christmas carols without paying up.

That lovely organization is now suing SoundCloud:

Our aim is always to license services when they use our members’ music. It has been a difficult decision to begin legal action against SoundCloud but one we firmly believe is in the best, long-term interests of our membership. This is because it is important we establish the principle that a licence is required when services make available music to users. We have asked SoundCloud numerous times to recognise their responsibilities to take a licence to stop the infringement of our members’ copyrights but so far our requests have not been met. Therefore we now have no choice but to pursue the issue through the courts.
PRS itself notes that SoundCloud is arguing that its service in the UK is protected by EU safe harbors as a host of content, rather than the publisher, but PRS isn't buying it. SoundCloud, in its response, notes that this follows a pattern of the recording industry to sue internet services as a negotiating tactic. As noted over at Music Ally:
“It is regrettable that PRS appears to be following this course of action in the midst of an active commercial negotiation with SoundCloud. We believe this approach does not serve the best interests of any of the parties involved, in particular the members of the PRS, many of whom are active users of our platform and who rely on it to share their work and communicate with their fanbase,” said a spokesperson.

“SoundCloud is a platform by creators, for creators. No one in the world is doing more to enable creators to build and connect with their audience while protecting the rights of creators, including PRS members. We are working hard to create a platform where all creators can be paid for their work, and already have deals in place with thousands of copyright owners, including record labels, publishers and independent artists.”

This is one of those fights where it's unlikely that there will be any winners, other than the lawyers. SoundCloud will eventually probably just pay up, and continue to make its platform less and less useful. And PRS may get a little bit more money in the short term at the expense of long term support of the platforms musicians need to embrace in this modern internet era.
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Windows 10 desktop

MICROSOFT HAS released another new build of Windows 10 for enthusiastic and intrepid members of the Insider programme.

Build 10532 follows hot on the heels of 10525, such is the nature of the Fast Ring of the Insider programme. You may recall that 10525 introduced some incompatibilities with Google Chrome, and as such demonstrated that the potential for borkage is always there when you're beta testing.

But for every cloud, there is a silver lining and Insiders also get to test the latest new features that are yet to hit the stable Windows 10 'as-a-service' build.

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$79.00
End Date: Monday Aug-31-2015 8:24:22 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $79.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
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Posted by on in Slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: Boeing has successfully tested a new weapon system that tracks unmanned aircraft and shoots them down with a laser. The system is surprisingly small — it can be transported in a few medium-sized boxes, and two techs can set it up in minutes. The laser needs just a few seconds of continuous to set a drone aflame, and the tracking gimbal is precise enough to target specific parts of a drone. "Want to zap the tail so it crashes and then you can go retrieve the mostly intact drone and see who is trying to spy on you? Can do. Think it's carrying explosives and you want to completely destroy it? No problem." The laser is controlled with custom targeting software that runs on a laptop, with help from an Xbox 360 controller. Boeing expects the laser system to be ready for sale in the next year or two.
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The shotgun home has been a fixture of New Orleans since the 1830s. The modest structure, so named because one could, if so inclined, fire a bullet clean through without hitting anything, first housed immigrant workers. It soon became the most common type of house in the lowest-lying areas of a city entirely below sea level. When the flood that followed Hurricane Katrina washed away great swaths of the city, it destroyed many of them.

Although distinctive, the shotgun home has never embodied New Orleanian glamour and history like the neoclassical plantation homes of the Garden District. They are simple, understated homes, with one room leading into another and the pint-sized dimensions of a subway car. “These were people who lived on the docks, and they were poor families,” Mac Ball, a local architect, says of those who lived in them. They were never more than cheap houses for people who couldn’t afford the craftsman bungalows, ranchburgers, and other styles that came in and out of style.

But 10 years after Katrina, a funny thing is happening in New Orleans: The shotgun is, improbably, popular. “They’re just popping up like daisies all over town,” Ball says.

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Jet.com may have the lowest prices on the Web, but a lot of people who visit the site still don’t realize it.

That is something CEO Marc Lore acknowledged when asked about confusion among people who hear about Jet.com’s low prices but don’t see them displayed clearly when they visit a Jet.com product page.

“Believe me, we have this discussion every single day,” Lore said in an interview Thursday evening. “We keep tweaking the [user experience] to make it more clear and are bringing in research groups. But you’re right, it’s still frustrating to [some].”

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OpenOffice was the first big, mainstream free software competitor to Microsoft Office, and because of that, it still has mainstream name recognition—which is a problem.

Developers have almost all moved to LibreOffice, the spiritual successor to OpenOffice. But OpenOffice continues to be operated as its own project, seeing little development and only drawing potential LibreOffice users to a defunct piece of software.

Why do both exist?

Yes, there are two big open-source office suites. Blame Oracle. Sun controlled the OpenOffice.org project, and Oracle acquired control of it when it purchased Sun back in 2010.

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time 

Could I get a few minutes of your time? My thoughts have been pondering this incredible life that we all have been blessed with and I need your unbiased energy for a few minutes. You see I think a lot and what I think about most is the value of time that we all have. I self study the masters of physics, such as Einstein, Planck, Heisenberg, Schrödinger, and the list goes on. I also delve into quantum physics and the effects and applications of time travel.

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2015-08-28 13:12:56 UTC

Girl, Justin Bieber has no idea what you're talking about.

The pop tart turned grown-up terror just released a moody lyric video for his next single, "What Do You Mean" — a track about a flighty lover who just can't decide whether she wants Biebs or wants him to go away. Think Katy Perry's "Hot N Cold," if it were a thoughtful EDM-lite song with less comprehensible lyrics. ("You're so indecisive of what I"m saying," Bieber croons. Wait... what?)

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