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(credit: Sinclair et al, Nature Communications) Twenty years ago this month, Dolly the sheep started her life in a laboratory. She quickly gained farm animal fame as the first successfully cloned mammal. Despite her stardom, Dolly’s life was cut short by an unusually early case of osteoarthritis. Some observers thought she aged too quickly. At just six-and-a-half years old, veterinarians put her down. And with her went a lot of optimism about cloning’s potential. Still, many hopeful scientists hypothesized that her test-tube origins had nothing to do with her tragic fate. And it turns out they were probably right. Kevin Sinclair, a developmental biologist at the University of Nottingham in England, joined his colleagues in putting 13 other cloned sheep, some in their golden years, through a battery of tests. He and his fellow researchers found that the cloned sheep are not only healthy, but they’re aging completely normally. Four of those sheep were cloned from the exact same batch of cells as Dolly. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Epic Games Founder Tim Sweeney (credit: Epic Games) Tim Sweeney doesn't like Windows 10 or Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform, the common development platform that allows developers to create software that can run on Windows on PCs, phones, tablets, HoloLens, and the Xbox. In March he published an op-ed in The Guardian saying that UWP "can, should, must, and will die" because, he claimed, Microsoft could use UWP to create a walled garden, with UWP games not available through competing stores such as Steam. Still apparently concerned with the health of the PC gaming industry, Sweeney is now claiming, through in an interview with the print-only Edge magazine, that Microsoft will use Windows updates to kill Steam. Sweeney's complaints about UWP were technically off-base. His issues are based on the assumption that all UWP apps had to be individually vetted by Microsoft and could only be delivered by the Windows Store. This was somewhat true in Windows 8—apps built using the WinRT platform (the predecessor branding to UWP) could not be trivially sideloaded, as the ability was officially restricted to enterprise users only. But it's not true in Windows 10. Sideloading is enabled by default in Windows 10, and any third party store could download and install UWP-based games in much the same way as they already do for software that uses the Win32 API. Sweeney's Steam concerns are once again driven by UWP: Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The new Google maps before (left) and after (right). Google Maps has announced a new update that tweaks the look of the map and adds a feature that highlights "hotspots" in your area. Google says the new map design is cleaner and easier to read. The company has "removed elements that aren’t absolutely required (like road outlines)" and "improved the typography of street names, points of interest, transit stations, and more" to make the map more readable. Google's more "subtle" visual scheme lets you know what kind of location you're looking at just by the color and even provides a color key. With the map cleaned up, Google is adding a new feature to the base layer of the map. When zoomed out to a sufficient level, clusters of popular points of interest become highlighted in orange. Zoom in and the individual places appear, also highlighted in orange, letting you know how popular they are. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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April 29, Pinewood Studios, UK—Writer/Director/Producer JJ Abrams (top center right) at the cast read-through of Star Wars Episode VII at Pinewood Studios with (clockwise from right) Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Producer Bryan Burk, Lucasfilm President and Producer Kathleen Kennedy, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Andy Serkis, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver, and writer Lawrence Kasdan. (credit: David James) On Tuesday, a UK-based Disney subsidiary pleaded guilty to two criminal charges of failing to protect its employees on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, specifically Harrison Ford, whose leg was broken by a hydraulic door on the Millennium Falcon set. The charges were brought by the UK’s Health and Safety regulator, which sued the Disney subsidiary—called Foodles Production—back in February over the 2014 incident. Ford, then 71, was struck by the Millennium Falcon door and had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital for treatment. A spokesperson for the Health and Safety regulator said in a press release that “the power of the door’s drive system was comparable to the weight of a small car.” Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Sales of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus haven't been as stellar as the 6 and 6 Plus. (credit: Andrew Cunningham) Apple's quarterly profit fell 27 percent in Q3 2016, to $7.80 billion from $10.68 billion a year ago, but the company's shares rose today as the earnings beat analysts' expectations. Quarterly revenue was $42.36 billion, down from $49.60 billion in the year-ago quarter, a drop of 14.6 percent. The third quarter results "reflect stronger customer demand and business performance than we anticipated at the start of the quarter," CEO Tim Cook said. When Apple announced its previous results three months ago, the company said it expected to make between $41 and $43 billion in revenue in the third quarter of fiscal 2016, with profit margins between 37.5 and 38 percent. Actual results were near the top end of the estimates; gross margin was 38 percent. "Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimated that Apple would post earnings of $1.38 a share on revenue of $42.1 billion," The Wall Street Journal reported. Actual earnings per share were $1.42. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Why go to the trouble of playing Pokémon Go when this bot offers to do it for you? Last week, we took a look into the growing world of Pokémon Go hacks that reveal the location of usually hidden Pokémon nearby. Now, a new wave of PC-based Pokémon Go "bots" take the hacking a step further, spoofing locations and automating actions to essentially play the game for you while you sit in the comfort of your own home. There are a number of competing bots out there, from the open source Necrobot to the pre-compiled Pokébuddy to MyGoBot, which recently started charging $4.99 for its automation tool following a three-hour free trial. All of them work on the same basic principles, sending artificial data to the Pokémon Go servers to simulate an extremely efficient, entirely tireless player. The user first provides a latitude and longitude as a starting point (the center of any major city is a good place to start) and some Pokémon Go account credentials to authenticate with the servers. The bot then finds any nearby Pokémon (using those previously discussed mapping functions) and simulates a "walk" to the nearest one by sending spoofed GPS coordinates to the server at appropriate intervals. When the bot gets close enough to a Pokémon, it can use a simple API call to quickly catch it before moving on to the next target. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Sometimes, the fierce competition in the booming crypto ransomware market works in the favor of the victims whose priceless data is held hostage. That appears to be what played out on Tuesday when the criminals behind a package known as "Mischa" published what's purported to be the secret crypto keys for the rival Chimera malware. "Earlier this year we got access to big parts of their deveolpment [sic] system, and included parts of Chimera in our project," the Mischa developers wrote in a message posted to Pastebin. "Additionally we now release about 3500 decryption keys from Chimera." Translation: As if breaking in to the Chimera developers' network and stealing their code wasn't enough of an affront, the competing Mischa gang now claims to have leaked the keys that defang Chimera forever. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Aurich Lawson) One of the many things Steve Jobs was famous for was his refusal to put a license plate on the back of his car, a Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG. Jobs—or someone close to him—spotted a loophole in California DMV regulations allowing six months of grace before a license plate had to be attached to a new car. As a result, the Apple supremo maintained a rolling six-month lease on a series of new SL55 AMGs, replacing one with another just before the grace period ran out. One of the many identical leased Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMGs driven by Steve Jobs. This one was spotted in 2008. Jobs would change cars (always sticking with an identical model) every six months to avoid having to put a license plate on the back. (credit: Leo Prieto/Tomás Pollak @ Flickr) Jobs is no longer with us, but in case any of his disciples were in the habit of copying his phobia of license plates, watch out. On Monday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a new law that does away with the loophole. From 2019, California joins most of the other states in the nation by requiring newly bought cars to be issued temporary license plates. Additionally, the law will create a system to allow car sellers to report details of the sale to the DMV, including the date of sale and the names and addresses of the dealer and purchaser. The bill (AB516) was the work of California Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin and was inspired by the hit-and-run death of Michael Bonanomi. Bonanomi was killed by a car wearing paper dealer plates in 2013, and no one has ever been identified as the driver. "While this law will not bring Michael back, in the future it will go a long way in making sure that an offending vehicle and its driver are easier to identify and bring to justice," Mullin wrote in a statement. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Vizio and LeEco's chairmen shake hands to confirm their deal on Tuesday. (credit: Vizio) At a Los Angeles press conference, TV and sound bar manufacturer Vizio announced that it will be acquired by Chinese electronics firm LeEco for $2 billion. The Tuesday event included a lengthy statement from company founder and CEO William Wang, who recalled the Irvine, California, TV manufacturer's ten-year history before ironically calling the company's success story "an American dream." "I have mixed feelings," Wang admitted before handing the microphone back to Vizio's new owners. "As the owner and father of Vizio, I'm really reluctant to let it go. But as a CEO and chairman, I know this is the right decision to make for my hardworking employees and loyal shareholders." Wang will still be connected to Vizio, however, by becoming chairman and CEO of Inscape, a separate business that will carry Vizio's controversial torch of mining TV viewers' data for advertising and other data-driven services. Wang will be a 51-percent stakeholder in Inscape, with LeEco owning the other 49 percent and licensing Inscape's offerings for Vizio products for 10 years. The deal is still pending regulatory approval, LeEco notes, and the Chinese company may pay an additional $250 million to Vizio and its shareholders based on sales performance in the years to come. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our partners at TechBargains, we have a bunch of great deals to share this week. One of the biggest deals is on a very small item: now you can get a Dell Optiplex 9020 micro desktop with a Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive for just $632. Only slightly bigger than a soda can, this small desktop supports VESA mounting under a table or behind a monitor so you can hide it in your setup for a clean workplace look. The list price for that tiny PC is $799, so you're saving nearly $200 with this deal. Check out the full list of deals below, too. Featured Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: James Workman) On Tuesday, a federal judge in San Francisco gave preliminary approval to a $15 billion settlement proposed by Volkswagen Group and Justice Department lawyers back in June. The settlement would provide for a buyback of all of VW Group’s 2.0L diesel vehicles sold in the US with illegal software on them—that's 475,474 cars—at the price the cars would have fetched before VW Group’s emissions cheating scandal was made public. In addition, lessees would be able to cancel their leases, and both owners and lessees will get an additional $5,100 to $10,000 in compensation. VW and Audi owners whose cars qualify for the buyback will also have the option to refuse the buyback and have the cars fixed so that they comply with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. So far, US air regulators have not approved a fix, but on Tuesday the head of the California Resources Board (CARB), which has played a large role in the regulatory fallout from Volkswagen’s cheating scandal, told a German paper that regulators were very close to approving a fix. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The Moto Z with its 3.5mm headphone dongle. Motorola has clarified the update situation of the Moto Z and Moto G, calling Android's monthly security updates "difficult" and deciding not to commit to them. When we recently reviewed the Moto Z, we said that the device would not be getting Android's monthly security updates. Motorola doesn't make this information officially available anywhere, but when we asked Motorola reps at the Moto Z launch event if the company would commit to the monthly updates, we were flatly told "no." We passed this along in our review, where we called the policy "unacceptable" and "insecure." Motorola later muddied the waters a bit by releasing a statement saying "Moto Z and Moto Z Force will be supported with patches from Android Security Bulletins. They will receive an update shortly after launch with additional patches." Sure, the Android security patches will reach the devices eventually, but this statement didn't assure that they would arrive on time as monthly security updates. We pressed Motorola for more information, and today the company clarified things with this statement: Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Evan Amos) Seven years ago, Jeff Kepner underwent the first double hand transplant in the US. It was a risky but exciting surgical feat that offered the possibility of getting the patient most of his normal life back—the life that was taken away in 1999 when sepsis from a strep throat infection led to the amputation of both hands. But the excitement and possibilities gave way to a grim existence, worse than when he was simply managing with prosthetics, Kepner said. “From day one I have never been able to use my hands,” he told Time. “I can do absolutely nothing. I sit in my chair all day and wear my TV out.” With the prosthetics, he said, he had about 75 percent functionality. With the transplants, that went down to zero percent. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Ddxc) A key guarantee provided by HTTPS encryption is that the addresses of visited websites aren't visible to attackers who may be monitoring an end user's network traffic. Now, researchers have devised an attack that breaks this protection. The attack can be carried out by operators of just about any type of network, including public Wi-Fi networks, which arguably are the places where Web surfers need HTTPS the most. It works by abusing a feature known as WPAD—short for Web Proxy Autodisovery—in a way that exposes certain browser requests to attacker-controlled code. The attacker then gets to see the entire URL of every site the target visits. The exploit works against virtually all browsers and operating systems. It will be demonstrated for the first time at next week's Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas in a talk titled Crippling HTTPS with Unholy PAC. "People rely on HTTPS to secure their communication even when the LAN/Wi-Fi cannot be trusted (think public Wi-Fi/hotels/cafes/airports/restaurants, or compromised LAN in an organization)," Itzik Kotler, cofounder and CTO of security firm SafeBreach and one of the scheduled speakers, wrote in an e-mail. "We show that HTTPS cannot provide security when WPAD is enabled. Therefore, a lot of people are actually exposed to this attack when they engage in browsing via non-trusted networks." Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The BlackBerry DTEK50 As the first-ever Android phone from BlackBerry, the BlackBerry Priv was an interesting experiment. BlackBerry tried to go super-premium with a $700 phone, but the design, build quality, and specs couldn't back up the price tag. Now, BlackBerry is back with its second Android smartphone, the BlackBerry DTEK50. Rather than worry about the design and build quality itself, BlackBerry has taken the TCL Alcatel Idol 4 and given it a new back plate. The result is a $299 "BlackBerry" that features Alcatel's hardware and Blackberry's software. The specs are nearly identical to an Alcatel Idol 4. The DTEK50 has a 5.2-inch, 1080p display (424 PPI), an eight-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon 617 (four 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53s and four 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53), 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage with an SD card, and a 2,610 mAh battery. The rear camera has a 13MP sensor with a dual-LED flash, while the front sports an 8MP sensor. The USB port makes the device seem a tad dated: it still has a MicroUSB port instead of the newer, reversible USB Type C port. The one spec difference we see between the Alcatel Idol 4 and the DTEK50 is that the Idol 4 is clocked a little higher: 1.7GHz versus 1.5GHz. The device has no keyboard—it's just your regular cheap slab phone with dual front-facing speakers. The rear has a new back piece with the all-important BlackBerry logo and almost looks like it's made out of rubber. The Idol 4 did ship with an extra side hardware button, which BlackBerry has turned into its trademark programmable "convenience" key. Other than that, the "Blackberryness" is going to come in the software and security side. Blackberry is promising a secure boot process with a hardware root of trust and "rapid" security patching. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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It’s drizzling as I roll into the south-west London suburb of Surbiton, and every so often the automatic wipers on the Mini John Cooper Works I'm driving spring into life to sweep drops of water from the screen. It’s early, and the town is barely awake yet. But even as the pavements start to fill with Suburbiton commuters bustling between newsagents, big-chain coffee shops, and railway station, one part of the town remains empty and ignored. Yet that’s the place I’ve come here to see. The new generation Mini JCW is named after the man whose vision and no-nonsense organisation created the Cooper racing cars that changed the face of Formula 1 motor racing in the 1950s, and the Mini Coopers that livened up 1960s circuit racing and rallying. So I’ve come to Surbiton—where the Cooper Car Company was based—to find the building that was the original works. From there I’ll head off in search of the greatest of the JCW’s distant ancestors. First, to find the place where it all started. The Mini’s infotainment controller is on the console between the front seats, where the big rotary control is easy to reach and operate. Navigating the main mode buttons nearby is less easy; until you memorise the position of each one, you have to look down to choose between media, radio, phone, and nav. All set, the Mini navigates me precisely through the thick Surbiton traffic to the junction of Hollyfield Road and Ewell Road where the Cooper works stands. And it’s a bit of a disappointment. Read 20 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: SRU.edu) AT&T has agreed to lead an "industry strike force" to limit robocalls, just a couple of months after its CEO claimed there's just about nothing it can do to block unwanted calls. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in May that his company doesn't have "permission" or "the appropriate authority" to block robocalls, even though the Federal Communications Commission clearly stated last year that carriers have the "green light" to offer robocall-blocking services to cell phone users. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last week urged carriers to "offer call-blocking services to their customers now—at no cost to [consumers]," and AT&T has dropped its previous reluctance in response. In a post titled "Answering the call on robocalling," AT&T Senior VP Bob Quinn yesterday said that Stephenson will chair the new "Robocalling Strike Force, the mission of which will be to accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions to abate the proliferation of robocalls and to make recommendations to the FCC on the role government can play in this battle." Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Screen grab of the resuable rocket panel discussion. From left: Dan Dumbacher, Gary Payton, Doug Bradley, Ben Goldnerg and Tom Markusic. (credit: AIAA/LiveStream) The US government and some of its major aerospace contractors have tried to tackle the problem of reusable rockets and spacecraft for several decades, from the DC-X to the space shuttle, with mixed success. Even after spending hundreds of billions of dollars on these technologies in development and flight costs, neither the government nor its traditional aerospace contractors have mastered the art of flying vehicles to space, recovering them, and turning them around for new missions quickly and at low cost. During the last half year, however, both SpaceX and Blue Origin have begun to demonstrate these capabilities. Although much work remains to be done, Blue Origin has already flown a suborbital rocket four times, in relatively short order, with low turnaround costs. And SpaceX has recovered five orbital rockets at land and sea and expects to refly at least one of them later this year. Monday evening in Salt Lake City, some aerospace industry officials sat down to discuss this new development. The panel at an American Institute Of Aeronautics And Astronautics forum on propulsion had a provocative title, “Launch Vehicle Reusability: Holy Grail, Chasing Our Tail, or Somewhere in Between?" Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Getty Images | PRAKASH SINGH) In November of 2014, a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu from Eurasia called H5N2 landed in North America—in a Canadian turkey farm east of Vancouver, to be exact. From there, the virus quickly spread and mutated into new varieties, including H5N1, fanning fears it would vault to humans and cause a deadly pandemic. By March of 2015, it and its kin had swooped into 15 US states, causing 248 outbreaks in domestic birds and $5 billion worth of damages to poultry operations. Then, it vanished. “It’s very good news,” Robert Webster, prominent influenza expert at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, told Ars. He and colleagues published surveillance data in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday that shows the swift and unexpected disappearing act by the noxious germ. But, he added, “it’s a mystery where it went.” Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A concept illustration shared by Eurogamer's Tom Phillips shows how the NX's reported detachable controllers would work. (credit: Tom Phillips / Twitter) As we approach the planned March 2017 launch of Nintendo's still-mysterious NX, a new report adds weight to some earlier rumors that the system will be a standalone portable with the ability to plug into an HDTV. Eurogamer cites "a number of sources" in reporting that the system will have a built-in screen that is "bookended by two controller sections on either side, which can be attached or detached as required." The brains of the portable system can then reportedly be plugged into "a base unit, or dock station" for display and play on an HDTV. Eurogamer's sources suggest the system will be powered by Nvidia's mobile-focused Tegra line of processors. Development kits are reportedly built around the Tegra X1, which powers tablets like the Google Pixel C and Nvidia's Shield Android TV console. That kind of hardware should be capable of decent 1080p HD graphics, but definitely won't be a match for the kind of performance found on the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 (not to mention the upcoming hardware refreshes announced for both of those platforms). On the other hand, the power-sipping Tegra chip should be effective at extending the system's battery life when it's being used as a portable, and should help keep costs for the system relatively low. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: By Petr Pakandl - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1176962) In southern Italy, a plant pathogen called Xylella fastidiosa has been ushering in an agricultural, environmental, and political crisis. The infection is affecting olive trees, which are a critical part of Italian culture and heritage. Containment of this epidemic would require cutting down trees to prevent the spread of the disease. But that recommendation has been met with resistance by the locals, who have produced various conspiracy theories to explain why people are trying to get rid of their trees. If this crisis is not resolved soon, the infection could spread throughout the region and cause serious plant losses in Europe and the Mediterranean, according to a new perspective in Science Magazine. X. fastidiosa is a bacterial species that feeds on the xylem of plants and is spread by insects. In the past, the most severe economic effects of the X. fastidiosa were felt in the US and Brazil. These countries now have control plans that are deployed to reduce the spread of this disease, including reducing the insect population that spreads the disease and removing infected plants from areas with outbreaks. Currently, France has implemented similar procedures in response to the presence of the disease in Italy, but no such actions have been taken in southern Italy. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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While graphics cards with more than 8GB of memory might seem like overkill to gamers, those in the creative industries like VFX and 3D modelling can't get enough of the stuff. After all, VFX studios like MPC often create scenes that require upwards of 64GB per frame to render. The trouble is, even the most capacious graphics card—AMD's FirePro S9170 server GPU—tops out at 32GB GDDR5, and there are steep cost and design issues with adding more. AMD has come up with another solution. Instead of adding more expensive graphics memory, why not let users add their own in the form of M.2 solid state storage? That's the pitch behind the all new Radeon Pro SSG (solid state graphics), which was revealed at the Siggraph computer graphics conference on Monday. The Radeon Pro SSG features two PCIe 3.0 M.2 slots for adding up to 1TB of NAND flash, massively increasing the available frame buffer for high-end rendering work. The SSG will cost you, though: beta developer kits go on sale immediately for a cool $9999 (probably £8000+). Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Jack Johnson (right), is one of the singers in the pop-rap duo "Jack & Jack." (credit: genesiating) As a new way to connect with his fans, Jack Johnson—one half of the pop-rap duo Jack & Jack, not to be confused with the laidback Hawaiian singer-songwriter of the same name—has spent the last month soliciting social media passwords. Using the hashtag #HackedByJohnson, the performer has tweeted at his fans to send him their passwords. (Why he didn’t go for the shorter and catchier #JackHack, we’ll never know.) Then, Johnson posts under his fans’ Twitter accounts, leaving a short personalized message, as them. Here's one example: Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: John W. Iwanski) Illinois has now joined the ever-expanding list of states that require law enforcement officials to explicitly seek court approval before deploying cell-site simulators, which can locate and track a person’s cell phone without their knowledge. On Friday, Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signed the “Citizen Privacy Protection Act” into law, which will take effect on January 1, 2017. The application to the court “must include a description of the nature and capabilities of the cell site simulator device to be used and the manner and method of its deployment, including whether the cell site simulator device will obtain data from non-target communications devices.” The law also requires the “immediate deletion” of non-target data obtained via the cell-site simulator. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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This reporter would be happy with a Manos: The Hands of Fate reprise. Mystery Science Theater 3000 will return with 14 new full-length episodes, all of which will be streamed on Netflix, according to the Hollywood Reporter, reporting from San Diego Comic-Con. The new series will feature Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt, playing mad scientist Kinga Forrester and henchman "Son of TV’s Frank," respectively. Mary Jo Pehl and Bill Corbett, who played Pearl Forrester and Crow T. Robot, will also be joining the revival, and former MST3K writer/actor/director/puppeteer Kevin Murphy will also get in on the action. The series is the result of a 2015 Kickstarter from Joel Hodgson—the MST3K creator set a minimum goal of $2 million to make three full-length episodes, but they surpassed that goal handily, raising $5.7 million. Hodgson will stay onboard as an executive producer of the show and as a writer. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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