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Ether plunges after SEC says “dozens” of ICO investigations underway

Ars Technica - 58 min 57 sec ago

Enlarge (credit: BTC Keychain)

The price of ether, the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network, has fallen below $500 for the first time this year. The decline comes days after a senior official from the Securities and Exchange Commission acknowledged that the agency had "dozens" of open investigations into initial coin offerings. The price of ether has fallen 19 percent in the last 24 hours, from $580 to $470.

“We’re doing obviously a lot in the crypto space, and we’re seeing a lot in the crypto space,” said Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC's Enforcement Division, at a conference on Thursday. “We are very active, and I would just expect to see more and more."

The SEC's decision to aggressively police cryptocurrency offerings is particularly significant for the Ethereum community because many new cryptocurrency offerings are built on top of the Ethereum platform. People creating a new token on the Ethereum blockchain need to buy ether, the currency used to pay for Ethereum transactions. So if aggressive SEC enforcement ends the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) boom—which seems to be cooling anyway—it would remove a major factor that pushed ether's value upward during 2017.

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'Black Panther' star Chadwick Boseman will host 'SNL' - CNET - News - 1 hour 21 min ago
Live, from Wakanda, it's King T'Challa, hosting the comedy show in April with rapper Cardi B as the musical guest.

Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and Trump: What you need to know - CNET - News - 1 hour 29 min ago
The world's largest social network is at the center of an international scandal involving voter data, the 2016 US presidential election and Brexit.

Unstable climate forced early humans to be more social and creative

Ars Technica - 1 hour 58 min ago

Enlarge / images from the prehistoric site of Olorgesailie, Kenya (credit: Human Origins Program, Smithsonian)

Three new studies suggest that early humans in East Africa started doing much more complex things—making more sophisticated tools, trading with neighboring groups for better stone, and maybe even using symbols to communicate—in order to survive rapid climate shifts 320,000 ago. Those findings may support the theory that bigger social networks, more complicated tool-making technology, and symbolic thinking helped drive early humans to evolve larger brains by the Middle Pleistocene, around 200,000 years ago.

But that kind of development doesn't just happen. Brains are expensive organs to maintain, in terms of the energy required to keep them nourished and oxygenated, and that size upgrade would have come at a cost. To succeed, bigger brains would have to offer enough of a survival advantage to outweigh the extra burdens they entail.

For that to be the case, humans' ability to survive and reproduce would have to depend on the things we might need such a big brain for, like communicating with lots of other humans in more complex ways or making and using more complex tools. That's why many paleoanthropologists have suggested that the kinds of cultural developments we see in Middle Stone Age sites in East Africa could have been responsible. Cultural development, in other words, drove the physical evolution of our brains in a really major way.

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People’s Republic of Desire film review: Yes, Black Mirror is already here

Ars Technica - 2 hours 58 min ago

Enlarge (credit: ITVS)

AUSTIN, Texas—If you've ever asked yourself how long a Black Mirror episode might take to turn into real life, the new documentary People's Republic of Desire has an answer: roughly four years.

Really, the best way to describe this feature-length look at Chinese Internet streamers is to point to the British series' first-season episode "Fifteen Million Merits," which aired in 2011 and starred Get Out's Daniel Kaluuya. The episode imagined a future, Internet-driven popularity contest that tore people's lives apart. According to the filmmakers behind People's Republic of Desire, that episode's level of life-bending insanity had already unfolded in China by 2015, fueled largely by the millions-strong video-sharing site YY. And the results aren't pretty.

The result, with its millimeter-range focus on major YY personalities, deservedly won this week's South by Southwest jury prize for best documentary. Though it leaves some questions and topics unexplored, People's Republic of Desire still delivers a fascinating, character-driven story that Internet fans in the West should pay particular heed to—especially as live-streaming services develop and mature on our side of the Pacific.

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VR headsets have become the new arthouse—the best of SXSW’s fantastic VR festival

Ars Technica - 3 hours 59 min ago

After roughly three years of commercial viability, virtual reality seems to have excelled within a different realm than the one I typically wonder about: the film festival. Events like Sundance, Tribeca, and South By Southwest already overflow with weird, not-quite-accessible films about real-world drama, emotions, and nonsensical stories. And today, the only venue that fits those works better than arthouse theaters, quite frankly, is the ornate, vision-filling VR headset.

But filmmakers aren't just descending onto hardware like HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Samsung GearVR in a boring, flash-in-the-pan manner. At SXSW 2018 in particular, they're finally exhibiting a proficiency in two equally important extremes: what VR can sell that normal films cannot, and what VR must compromise or let go of for the sake of a better film experience.

I went eyes-on with nearly two dozen VR experiences at SXSW 2018, and I'll be honest, some of them were rough. Some filmmakers still think that a 360-degree video that forces viewers to crane their neck and hunt around for content is a good idea (geez, please stop making those). Others packed far too much visual noise or too many unnecessary interactions into a 3D world that never answered the important question of why its content and message was better in VR than on a flat screen.

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Audi announces A9 E-tron sedan, a big four-door Model S fighter - Roadshow - News - 3 hours 59 min ago
The German firm is throwing caution to the wind and putting it all on EVs, it seems as it has just announced yet another electric project with the A9 E-Tron.

Trump's Call to Start a Space Force Tops This Week's Internet News Roundup

Wired - 3 hours 59 min ago
Last week, President Trump advocated for a military corps "like the Army and the Navy, but for space."

Facebook confirms Cambridge Analytica stole its data; it’s a plot claims former director

The Register - 4 hours 10 min ago
50 million profiles leaked and ‘politically weaponized’ against US voters

Analysis Facebook has “suspended” any business with Cambridge Analytica and its holding company following claims by CA’s former director that the social media ad slinger’s data was purloined and used for political dirty tricks.…

Facebook confirms Cambridge Analytica stole its data; it’s a plot claims former director

The Register - 4 hours 10 min ago
50 million profiles leaked and ‘politically weaponized’ against US voters

Analysis Facebook has “suspended” any business with Cambridge Analytica and its holding company following claims by CA’s former director that the social media ad slinger’s data was purloined and used for political dirty tricks.…

One writer's long overdue adventure with mechanical keyboards - CNET - News - 4 hours 59 min ago
Commentary: Time spent with loud, clicky keyboards from Das and Lofree had CNET editor Roger Cheng's fingers flying and keys singing with joy.

How to Regram Photos on Instagram

Wired - 4 hours 59 min ago
Instagram doesn't make it easy, but that doesn't mean you can't do it.

Dell Latitude 7390 2-in-1 review - CNET - Reviews - 5 hours 59 min ago
Dressed in a nice black suit, this business PC is a sound choice for frequent travelers who depend on data privacy.

Dayton Audio MK402 review - CNET - Reviews - 5 hours 59 min ago
At a street price of $69, the Dayton Audio MK402s bookshelf speakers are supremely hard to beat

Brainless Embryos Suggest Bioelectricity Guides Growth

Wired - 5 hours 59 min ago
Researchers are building a case that long before the nervous system works, the brain sends crucial bioelectric signals to guide the growth of embryonic tissues.

Meltdown, Spectre, and the Costs of Unchecked Innovation

Wired - 5 hours 59 min ago
Spectre fixes forced browsers to break the compatibility covenant of the web. Other unchecked technologies could cause even deeper damage.

3 Rules for Designing Primo Virtual Reality

Wired - 11 hours 34 min ago
VR is coming, but it’s not right for every kind of experience. Here are three rules to create by.

What does the inside of your knee sound like?

BBC Technology News - 15 hours 20 min ago
A team at the Georgia Institute of Technology is developing a stethoscope for your knees.

Trump campaign data firm accused of harvesting Facebook data

BBC Technology News - March 17, 2018 - 10:55pm
A US attorney general is investigating reports that millions of Facebook profiles were accessed.

Data of 50M Facebook users obtained by Trump-linked firm - CNET - News - March 17, 2018 - 9:51pm
Voter profiling firm Cambridge Analytica got hold of the data without the consent of Facebook's users, say reports by The New York Times and the UK's Observer and Guardian papers.

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