US Congress edits Wikipedia often

144747085Members of the United States House of Representatives and Senate — or, more likely, their interns and aides — spend an awful lot of time editing Wikipedia entries. Not just entries about themselves, either: the list ranges from autobiographical changes to this crucial edit involving President Barack Obama shaking hands with a minotaur. We’ll spare you the obvious, “so that’s what the United States Congress spends its time on!” joke (or was that it?), and jump right to the credit. A new Twitter account named “congressedits,” set up by self-described “web developer/armchair activist” Ed Summers, scans for Wikipedia edits across a variety of IP addresses associated with Congress. Summers got the idea from a similar robot in the United Kingdom. Other versions have since sprouted in Canada and Sweden. ~Source: Engadget

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Untouched Britney Spears Track – Yuck

9251536_600x338This might not be the first time we’ve heard a Britney Spears track without any Auto-Tune enhancement, but it doesn’t mean it makes us cringe any less this time around.

On July 2, the unedited vocal version of Spears’ track “Alien,” off of her most recent album, “Britney Jean,” leaked. As the video picked up steam, track producer William Orbit posted a statement Monday, July 7, explaining that the track is a vocal warm-up session, not Spears’ final take.

“I’d like to affirm that ANY singer when first at the mic at the start of a long session can make a multitude of vocalisations in order to get warmed up,” Orbit wrote. “Warming up is essential if you’re a pro, as it is with a runner doing stretches, and it takes a while to do properly. I’ve heard all manner of sounds emitted during warm-ups. The point is that it is not supposed to be shared with millions of listeners.

“A generous singer will put something down the mic to help the engineer get their systems warmed up and at the right level, maybe whilst having a cup of herb tea and checking through lyrics before the session really kicks off. It’s not expected to be a ‘take.’”~Source: HuffingtonPost

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RocketSkates, Hell Ya!

ACTON_R-6

Let’s nip your enthusiasm right in the bud: No, these motorized skates you see above aren’t actually powered by rockets. Now hold on, don’t close the browser tab just yet. Just launched on Kickstarter, Acton’s RocketSkates do have a rather misleading name. But they’re actually quite the improvement over the Spnkix, the company’s previous effort at a pair of motorized skates (which, incidentally, unceremoniously crashed our podcast stage during CES 2013). Unlike the Spnkix, the RocketSkates are about six pounds lighter, have four hub motors instead of two, are 15 percent smaller and can zoom up to 12 miles per hour. Oh, and most notably, the RocketSkates don’t require a remote to operate. That’s right; just like regular skates, these motorized puppies can let you zip around the sidewalk completely hands-free… ~Source: Engadget

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Unbreakable iPhone 6 Screen Broke

Screen_Shot_2014-07-11_at_10.00.15Earlier this week, YouTuber Marques Brownlee got a hold of what appeared to be the screen and frontplate of the forthcoming iPhone 6 and subjected it to a variety of extreme stress tests. The screen—made of new, scratch-resistant sapphire glass—held up admirably. It was stood on, bent, attacked with keys and even stabbed, without so much as a scratch appearing.

The only explanation Brownlee offered for how we came into possession of the new 4.7-inch screen was “it’s 2014; everything leaks”—a maxim proved by Steve Hemmerstoffer’s YouTube channel, which has uploaded a Chinese-language video showing the same screen being subjected to even more outrageous tests. ~Source: DailyDot

 

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Lamborghini Clips Woman

gastown-grand-prix-collisionA woman, who was clipped by a Lamborghini pace car during the finish of the women’s event at the Gastown Grand Prix cycling race on Wednesday night in downtown Vancouver, has been released from hospital.

The woman, who was a race official, appeared to be unaware of the car coming up rapidly behind her as she ran out to apparently cross the race course.

Volunteer race commissionaire Gloria Bordon was taken away in an ambulance with minor injuries. The car’s mirror was knocked off the vehicle’s passenger side.

On Thursday race officials confirmed she had been released from hospital and was resting.

The Gastown Grand Prix is one of nine bike races that make up B.C. Superweek, a 10-day series of pro and amateur cycling events currently underway around Metro Vancouver. ~Source: CBC

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Apple TV Falling Behind in Sales

Apple_TV_Third_Gen_Official_WideJust months after Google took a commanding 2-to-1 lead in tablet unit sales, new data has emerged indicating that Apple’s streaming video device, the Apple TV, was passed by not one, but two of its rivals last year.

I. Google, Roku Outsell Apple Nearly 2-to-1, Each

Parks Associates , a market research firm specializing in residential service analysis, has compiled sales numbers from 2013, examining the top sellers in the streaming video device market (i.e. streaming video USB sticks, set-top boxes).

According to its estimates the sales breakdown was:
- 3.8m Roku, Inc. set-top boxes
- 3.8m Google Chromecast
- 2m Apple TV

~Source: DailyTech

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MSI’s GT70 Dominator Gaming Laptop

SONY DSCIt seems like just yesterday we reviewed MSI’s beastly GT70 Dominator gaming laptop. Indeed, that was only a month ago, but it seems MSI has already moved on: The company is now showing off the GT72, a redesigned version with a slightly thinner profile, an improved cooling system and a less dorky aesthetic. We’ll get to that last bit in a minute, but first: the fans. MSI apparently took a lot of flak for the GT70′s single-fan setup. Not effective enough, according to some hardcore users. Well, in case that wasn’t heavy-duty enough for you, MSI has stepped up to two fans, with the vents taking up pretty much the entire bottom side of the notebook (have a look at the photo after the break if you don’t believe us). Only time (and review-testing) will tell if the new setup is quieter, but MSI says if nothing else the heat management should be better this time around. Source: ~Engadget

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US ISPs Disconnecting File Sharers

wpid-CAM00152.jpgRightscorp, a prominent piracy monitoring firm that works with Warner Bros. and other copyright holders, claims that 140 U.S. ISPs are actively disconnecting repeat copyright infringers. While these numbers sound rather impressive, there’s a lot more to the story.

For more than a decade copyright holders have been sending ISPs takedown notices to alert account holders that their connections are being used to share copyrighted material.

These notices are traditionally nothing more than a warning, hoping to scare file-sharers into giving up their habit. However, anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp has been very active in trying to make the consequences more serious.

The company monitors BitTorrent networks for people who download titles owned by the copyright holders they work for, and then approaches these alleged pirates via their Internet providers. The ISPs are asked to forward Rightscorp’s settlement demands to the alleged infringer, which is usually around $20 per shared file.

The settlement approach is a bigger stick than the standard warnings and according to Rightscorp it’s superior to the six-strikes scheme. And there’s more. The company also wants Internet providers to disconnect subscribers whose accounts are repeatedly found sharing copyrighted works. Source: TorrentFreak

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The Scenic Route Via GPS

2014-05-31 16.49.16Often the shortest route between two places involves some grey, eight-lane expanse of Interstate that’s about as thrilling to drive as it was to pave. Resourceful road-trippers have learned to make use of the avoid highways feature, but that’s always a crapshoot. Sometimes you get a scenic country road, sometimes you get trapped in strip mall hell. But researchers at Yahoo Labs have figured out how to measure the “beauty” of a route using an algorithm. “The goal of this work is to automatically suggest routes that are not only short but also emotionally pleasant,” which might be especially important to pedestrians looking to avoid grim over passes and busy intersections. The work started by crowdsourcing opinions about images harvested from Street View and Geograph for locations throughout London. The locations that were deemed to be more beautiful by users were then plotted on a map and used as waypoints to provide directions. The resulting routes were on average only 12 percent longer than the shortest path to a destination, but 30 test subject all agreed the results were more pleasing, aesthetically.

Obviously the this method won’t work for every location around the globe, so the researchers are now working on an automated method that relies on Flickr. The group started by looking at 5 million photos of the same locations that were deemed most beautiful in their initial experiment. They found out that the number of photos of a location and the amount of positive comments generally correlated with its rated beauty. So the team put its method to the test in Boston. Most of the 54 test subjects agreed that the automatically generated “scenic route” was more beautiful than the shorter alternative… Source: Engadget

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Read This Before You Sell Your Smartphone

SmartphoneShockDoes factory-resetting your smartphone delete all your embarrassing photos? Many people who resell or pass on their used smartphones use the built-in factory-reset feature to delete their personal info. But many studies, most recently by Prague-based security company Avast, have shown that a factory reset may not be enough.

In this study, Avast’s experts bought 20 Android smartphones on eBay, some rooted and some not, which on the surface appeared to have been wiped of data and restored to factory settings. But by using some simple digital forensics tools, the experts were able to unearth everything from anime porn to nude selfies to sensitive financial data on these supposedly clean phones.

None of the phones were entirely clean, Avast told Tom’s Guide. Among the 20 phones, the researchers collected 40,000 locally stored photos, including more than 1,500 photos of children, more than 750 photos of partially or entirely nude women and more than 250 photos of partially or entirely nude men.

The phones also contained records of more than 1,000 Google searches, more than 750 emails and text messages, more than 250 contact names and email addresses, and one completed loan application. Four of the 20 phones could be traced back to their original owner by name… ~Source: TomsHardware

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