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UFO fan spots Jabba the Hutt in NASA Mars rover image - CNET - News - 2 hours 13 min ago
A NASA Curiosity rover view of Mars reveals a comical rock formation resembling Jabba the Hutt from Star Wars.

How blind players succeed at sports video games they’ve never seen

Ars Technica - 2 hours 13 min ago

As you watch this video, close your eyes and imagine playing the game.

SAN FRANCISCO—Blind people might not seem like a natural audience for most video games since they can’t experience the “video” part that’s a definitional piece of the experience. At a fascinating Game Developers Conference Presentation this week, though, EA Sports Accessibility Lead Karen Stevens talked about how she discovered a significant, existing base of blind players in EA's games and how the company is moving to serve it.

The process began when Stevens received an email from a blind gamer complaining that changes to the kick-power meter in Madden NFL were making the latest version of the game impossible for them to play. Reaching out to other blind gamers through the forums on, Stevens found plenty of players figuring out their way through UFC, NHL, and even Need for Speed games without being able to see the menus or action on-screen.

“We already had an audience; they were just struggling,” Stevens said. “We were ignoring part of our audience.”

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Should you be paranoid around Amazon's Alexa? - CNET - News - 2 hours 14 min ago
Nine questions you've had about Alexa but were too afraid to ask.

Have you deleted your Facebook? The pros and cons (The 3:59, Ep. 373) - CNET - News - 2 hours 25 min ago
On today's episode, we talk about the massive call on social media to delete Facebook and why many aren't following it. Also, cybersecurity for elections.

Aston Martin returns to F1, plans 'core' mid-engine production car in 2021 - Roadshow - News - 2 hours 28 min ago
A partnership with Red Bull Racing means the Aston Martin name will appear on an F1 car for the first time in 59 years -- and that's just the beginning of the automaker's plans.

Twitter CEO says bitcoin will rule the world by 2028 - CNET - News - 2 hours 28 min ago
Despite digital currencies barely being used to buy and sell things, Jack Dorsey believes bitcoin will be the "single currency" on the planet within the next 10 years.

MIT's robotic fish swims in the ocean, fits in at 'school' - CNET - News - 2 hours 41 min ago
"SoFi" is a soft robotic fish with a fish-eye lens (of course) that can explore where few other robots or humans can, and without spooking the locals.

MIT Unleashes a Hypnotic Robot Fish to Help Save the Oceans

Wired - 2 hours 41 min ago
Researchers detail the evolution of the world’s strangest fish, and describe how it could be a potentially powerful tool for scientists to study ocean life.

Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg mercilessly mocked by Stephen Colbert - CNET - News - 2 hours 49 min ago
Commentary: Cambridge Analytica doesn't escape the late-night host's scorn either, as Colbert can't help marveling at the mess.

Report: Google is buying innovative camera startup Lytro for $40 million

Ars Technica - 2 hours 51 min ago


A report from TechCrunch claims that Google is going to buy the camera company Lytro for "around 40 million dollars." Lytro is best known for creating an innovative "Light field camera," but the company has lately pivoted to professional camera technology for filmmaking and capturing VR video.

You might remember the first Lytro camera, which came in a crazy "tube" form factor with a lens at one end and a 1.5-inch touchscreen on the other. The tube was full of lenses and a special "Light Field Sensor" that would capture images as light-field data rather than a grid of pixels. The benefit was that you could just take a picture without worrying about the focus, and you could later selectively focus the image however you wanted. The downside is that you needed a much denser CMOS sensor to capture a high megapixel image. In 2012, when the camera came out, Lytro could compute all this light-field data down to only a 1MP image.

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Dodge Viper plant to house historic vehicle collection, meeting space - Roadshow - News - 2 hours 54 min ago
The Conner Avenue Assembly Plant has been dormant since the Viper ceased production last year, but it won't stay that way for long as nearly 100,000 square-feet of the plant have been set aside as a private museum and corporate meeting facility.

Volkswagen bringing Arteon R-Line to New York - Roadshow - News - 2 hours 58 min ago
The sporty-looking Arteon will go on sale in the US this fall.

Facebook 'lost sight' of data accessed by apps, insider tells MPs

BBC Technology News - 3 hours 4 min ago
Sandy Parakilas tells MPs the site did not have adequate ways of detecting data misuse by app developers.

AMD has fixes coming for its 13 chip vulnerabilities - CNET - News - 3 hours 12 min ago
The chipmaker says the patches will arrive within a few weeks and AMD device owners shouldn’t worry about the reported flaws.

Unreal Engine + $150,000 GPU = Amazing, real-time raytraced Star Wars

Ars Technica - 3 hours 21 min ago

SAN FRANCISCO—In the computer graphics community this week, companies from Nvidia to Microsoft have been stressing just how important real-time raytracing will be to making games look more movie-like in the near future. Epic Games used a striking demo at a Game Developers Conference keynote presentation this morning to show just how much better raytracing can make real-time, interactive graphics look with top-of-the-line hardware right now.

The Star Wars "Reflections" demo, made with the cooperation of Industrial Light and Magic, showed two extremely realistic-looking and talkative Stormtroopers clamming up in an elevator when the shiny Captain Phasma pops in. Running on what Epic still refers to as “experimental code” (planned to be introduced to Unreal Engine for production later this year) the raytracing in the demo allows background elements like the guns and the opening elevator doors to reflect accurately off Phasma’s mirror-like armor in real time. These are the kinds of effects that Epic CTO Kim Libreri highlights they’ve “never been able to do before [with rasterized graphics].”

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Facebook Privacy Settings: A Complete Guide to Making Your Account More Secure

Wired - 3 hours 31 min ago
Despite the repeated privacy lapses, Facebook offers a fairly robust set of tools to control who knows what about you.

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