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AltspaceVR is keeping its virtual hangout open

Engadget - 7 hours 50 min ago
AltspaceVR might have just saved its virtual world at the 11th hour, because the company is halting its plans to shut down. According to a new post by the team, AltspaceVR isn't closing down and is going to live on. It's still unclear what's going on...

Scientists Finally Unlock the Recipe For Magic Mushrooms

SlashDot - Tue, 2017-08-15 23:30
An anonymous reader writes: Aside from being a schedule 1 drug, scientists haven't fully understood the chemistry behind how mushrooms produce the chemical psilocybin -- until now. A new study may finally lay the groundwork for a medical-grade psilocybin patients can take. Gizmodo reports: "Living things make molecules through a series of chemical reactions, similar to how car makers produce cars on assembly lines. Enzymes act as the workers/robots, speeding up the reactions by helping put the pieces together. Actually making psilocybin requires mapping the biological factory. A 1968 paper (obviously it was in 1968) offered a proposed order of events leading to a finished psilocybin molecule, by adding radioactive elements and watching what happened to them on the assembly line. The researchers thought that maybe tryptophan, the amino acid everyone wrongly says makes you sleepy, was the first piece, which then went through four successive steps to become the finished product. The new study shows that the 1968 paper got the order wrong, and introduces the responsible genes and enzymes, the workers that do the specific task to get the final product. This time around, mapping the factory required sequencing the genomes of two magic mushroom species, Psilocybe cubensis and Psilocybe cyanescens. Then, the researchers found exactly which genes produce the required enzymes and spliced them into E. coli bacteria. Using those enzymes, they were able to rebuild the factory and create their own psilocybin." The study has been published in the German journal Angewandte Chemie.

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What it takes to chase the total solar eclipse coast to coast - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2017-08-15 22:39
Most people will witness the August 21 eclipse for just a minute or two, if at all. But it is possible to see it for longer, if you can move fast enough.

Now Alexa can do your bidding through Ultimate Ears' speakers

Engadget - Tue, 2017-08-15 22:26
Alexa keeps making its way to non-Amazon devices recently, such as Anker's Dot clone and HTC's U11 phone. Now, it's gracing two more devices with its presence: Ultimate Ears' Boom 2 and Megaboom wireless speakers. Simply press the Bluetooth button an...

9 best shows to watch in a smart home (and 6 we can't stand) - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2017-08-15 22:06
Have a smart device and trying to figure out what to watch? We have the answers, with some tips on shows to avoid on certain devices.

Intel Officially Reveals Post-8th Generation Core Architecture Code Name: Ice Lake, Built On 10nm+

SlashDot - Tue, 2017-08-15 22:05
Intel has confirmed the existence of a new processor family called Ice Lake that will be made on Intel's 10nm+ process. The company published basic information on the Ice Lake architecture on their codename decoder. AnandTech reports: This is an unexpected development as the company has yet to formally detail (let alone launch) the first 10nm Core architecture -- Cannon Lake -- and it's rare these days for Intel to talk more than a generation ahead in CPU architectures. Equally as interesting is the fact that Intel is calling Ice Lake the successor to their upcoming 8th generation Coffee Lake processors, which codename bingo aside, throws some confusion on where the 14nm Coffee Lake and 10nm Cannon Lake will eventually stand. As a refresher, the last few generations of Core have been Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Broadwell, Haswell, Skylake, with Kaby Lake being the latest and was recently released at the top of the year. Kaby Lake is Intel's third Core product produced using a 14nm lithography process, specifically the second-generation '14 PLUS' (or 14+) version of Intel's 14nm process. Working purely on lithographic nomenclature, Intel has three processes on 14nm: 14, 14+, and 14++. As shown to everyone at Intel's Technology Manufacturing Day a couple of months ago, these will be followed by a trio of 10nm processes: 10nm, 10nm+ (10+), and 10++. On the desktop, Core processors will go from 14 to 14+ to 14++, such that we move from Skylake to Kaby Lake to Coffee Lake. On the Laptop side, this goes from 14 to 14+ to 14++/10, such that we move from Skylake to Kaby Lake to Coffee Lake like the desktops, but also that at some time during the Coffee Lake generation, Cannon Lake will also be launched for laptops. The next node for both after this is 10+, which will be helmed by the Ice Lake architecture.

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Toyota Patents Cloaking Device To Make Car Pillars Appear Transparent

SlashDot - Tue, 2017-08-15 21:25
Toyota has patented a cloaking device that aims to make big, chunky car pillars transparent. The "apparatuses and methods for making an object appear transparent" which Toyota just patented uses cleverly placed mirrors to bend light around an object making it visible from the other side. The Drive reports: So you're not really seeing through the pillars, you're seeing around them. This is a much cheaper option than adding more cameras and screens all over the place and much more realistic than Harry Potter's invisibility cloak. The patent was filed with the U.S. patent office by Toyota North America, so if Toyota does go forward with this technology, we can probably expect to see it in cars in the U.S.

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Tech companies urge Supreme Court to protect cell phone privacy - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2017-08-15 20:58
Apple, Facebook, Google and others file a brief arguing that police should have a warrant before accessing users' location data.

SteelSeries' new keyboard ensures you never miss a Discord alert

Engadget - Tue, 2017-08-15 20:46
SteelSeries is known for precision products, claiming its recent mouse has such a high level of tracking that on-screen characters matched its movements on a 1:1 scale, a much-wanted milestone from eSports players. So it's no surprise that the compan...

Amazon Adds 'Instant Pickup Points' In US Brick-And-Mortar Push

SlashDot - Tue, 2017-08-15 20:45
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Amazon is rolling out U.S. pickup points where shoppers can retrieve items immediately after ordering them, shortening delivery times from hours to minutes in its latest move into brick-and-mortar retail. The world's largest online retailer has launched 'Instant Pickup' points around five college campuses, such as the University of California at Berkeley, it said on Tuesday. Amazon has plans to add the program to more sites by the end of the year. Shoppers on Amazon's mobile app can select from several hundred fast-selling items at each location, from snacks and drinks to phone chargers. Amazon employees in a back room then load orders into lockers within two minutes, and customers receive bar codes to access them.

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MoviePass: $10 a month for all the movie tickets you want (update) - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2017-08-15 20:36
The service originally launched in 2011, but you'd be forgiven for not knowing that.

App Developers Should Charge More If They Want People To Buy Subscriptions, Suggests Report

SlashDot - Tue, 2017-08-15 20:05
A new report from Liftoff, a Silicon Valley-based mobile app marketing and retargeting firm, says that subscription-based apps may do better if developers charge a higher price for services, rather than setting prices too low to lure users in initially. The Verge reports: The Liftoff report, which analyzed data gathered between June 2016 and June 2017, categorized app subscriptions into low-cost monthly subs ($0.99 to $7), medium ($7 to $20), and high-cost subs ($20 to $50), while also factoring the cost of acquisition per customer. The company found that apps in the medium price range had the highest conversion rate -- 7.16 percent -- and the lowest cost to acquire a subscriber, at just over $106 dollars. This was five times higher than the rate of people who subscribed to apps when the apps were in the low-cost category. This may partly be because streaming media apps, like Netflix and Spotify, have already conditioned people to pay around $10 a month for services. But it also might be attributable to the sunk cost fallacy, Liftoff says: the "cognitive bias people have that makes them stay the course because they have already spent time or resources on it." The report also examines apps that fulfill "need states," like dating apps or cloud services. These have the potential to offer services that customers are willing to pay for, again and again. But, according to Liftoff, utility apps have a much higher install-to-subscriber rate compared to dating apps. Blame those who eventually find love?

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Intel's second 10-nanometer chip architecture is Ice Lake

Engadget - Tue, 2017-08-15 20:02
Intel still hasn't shipped its first 10-nanometer processors, but that isn't stopping it from teasing the next batch. The company's codename page has revealed Ice Lake, a series of chips built on a "10 nm+" (read: iterated 10nm) process. There's vi...

Neo-Nazi Site The Daily Stormer Moves To Dark Web After Shutdown

SlashDot - Tue, 2017-08-15 19:20
After being shutdown by Google and GoDaddy, prominent neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer has moved their site to the dark web. "The new site is now only available through the Tor network, which allows users to set up their own domains," reports VICE News. "The original site,, is now fully offline." From the report: The homepage, as of Tuesday morning, contained articles that make light of the car ramming attack that claimed the life of 32-year-old Heather Heyer; admonish the "Jew media;" liberally employ various racial epithets; and, in a less offensive post, provided an update on which characters are available on Pokemon Go. In a statement, the site's founder promised to bring his site back online. "The Daily Stormer will be live in internet prison with drug dealers, terrorists and perverts, which is where we've been exiled to, for all time," Andrew Anglin said in a statement sent to VICE News. "We should have a real domain online within 24 hours. If it gets shut down again, people will know we are on the black web."

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Facebook and Reddit ban hate groups in wake of Charlottesville

Engadget - Tue, 2017-08-15 19:16
It's not just domain registrars and game chat services that are cracking down on neo-Nazis in the wake of the racism-fuelled violence in Charlottesville. Facebook and Reddit have both confirmed that they've shut down numerous hate groups in the wake...

Stop what you're doing, Aston Martin and Zagato built a station wagon - Roadshow

CNET News - Tue, 2017-08-15 19:00
Only 28 speedsters and 99 shooting brakes will be built.

This tarantula robot is frightening and, perhaps, useful - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2017-08-15 18:49
Commentary: The creators of the spiderlike HEXA robot say that it can be turned by developers into anything they wish. Oh.

Plants 'Hijacked' To Make Polio Vaccine

SlashDot - Tue, 2017-08-15 18:40
Plants have been "hijacked" to make polio vaccine in a breakthrough with the potential to transform vaccine manufacture, say scientists. From a report: The team at the John Innes Centre, in Norfolk, says the process is cheap, easy and quick. As well as helping eliminate polio, the scientists believe their approach could help the world react to unexpected threats such as Zika virus or Ebola. Experts said the achievement was both impressive and important. The vaccine is an "authentic mimic" of poliovirus called a virus-like particle. Outwardly it looks almost identical to poliovirus but -- like the difference between a mannequin and person -- it is empty on the inside. It has all the features needed to train the immune system, but none of the weapons to cause an infection.

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Blow stuff up and fight evil as ‘Agents of Mayhem’ on console and PC

Engadget - Tue, 2017-08-15 18:33
In the age of online-only Overwatch, you might think to yourself, 'I'd love this hero shooter stuff if it was in a single-player campaign.' You might want a game that had great cartoony art as you blow enemies away. You might want it to be funny and...

D&D's revamped RPG companion site is live

Engadget - Tue, 2017-08-15 18:02
Back in March, Wizards of the Coast announced a new digital toolset for Dungeons & Dragons that would eliminate the agony of paperwork in the pen-and-paper game. Players can still gather around a table and roll their own dice, but the web-based D...