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Aston Martin On Tuesday morning, the second vehicle in Aston Martin's new "Second Century" plan was revealed to the world. The new Vantage sports car is a modern replacement for the company's best-selling model of all time. Powered by a 503hp 4.0L twin-turbo V8, it's a lighter, more-focused vehicle than the related DB11, which first saw daylight in 2016. The Vantage is the company's entry-level car—although this is Aston Martin we're talking about, so "entry-level" means $150,000. It'll be some time before we get to drive the new Vantage. But just based on these photographs, plus my experience of the new DB11—by a quirk of fate, you'll be able to read about that vehicle tomorrow—the Vantage will almost certainly justify that price tag. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / A Texas flag flies at half mast during prayer services at the La Vernia High School Football stadium to grieve the victims killed at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. (credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images) Texas authorities have recently gotten formal permission from a state judge to search the deceased Sutherland Springs shooter’s seized iPhone SE and LG candybar-style phone. In addition, the Texas Rangers have also submitted a formal request to Apple in order to access Devin Patrick Kelley’s iCloud data. On November 7, Kelley shot and killed 26 people and wounded 20 others when he opened fire during a service at a church approximately 35 miles southeast of San Antonio. According to court documents published for the first time by the San Antonio Express-News on Monday, Texas Rangers got a warrant approved to search the two devices on November 9. The newspaper also reported that four e-mail accounts are known to be associated with Kelley: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected] Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / During the Ordovician, life was literally great. Multicellular plants and animals diversified and moved into ecological niches throughout the globe. This is probably what it was like on a typical Ordovician day, hanging out with cephalopods, crinoids, and coral at the edge of a supercontinent that covered the South Pole. I think a colony of graptolites is floating in the distance. (credit: Fritz Geller-Grimm) Over half a billion years ago, during the Cambrian geological period, life on Earth started to get a lot more interesting. Thanks to the rise in free oxygen generated mostly by photosynthesizing algae, lifeforms could draw much more energy out of the environment. That meant the rise of multicellularity and the beginnings of a world full of the macro-sized plants and animals we know and love. That moment, full of weird-ass animals like Anomalocaris, is called the Cambrian Explosion. The Cambrian Explosion gets a lot of play because it was the first time multicellular creatures ruled the planet. What few people (other than geologists and paleontologists) realize is that there was an even crazier time for early life. It came during the Ordovician period, right after the Cambrian came to a close 485 million years ago. The Ordovician Radiation, also called the Great Ordovician Diversification Event (GOBE), saw a quadrupling of diversity at the genus level (that's the category one step above species). Life also started occupying new ecological niches, clinging to plants floating in the ocean's water column and burrowing deep into the seabed. Like the Cambrian, the Ordovician was a period when all of life still existed underwater. Most of the continents had formed a supercontinent called Gondwana over the south pole, creating the largest tropical coastline in our planet's history. (There were no polar ice caps during this period.) The warm coastal waters surrounding Gondwana were perfect for new kinds of animals, like brachiopods, crinoids, ostracodes, cephalopods, corals, and bryozoans. Plus, everybody's favorite Cambrian animal, the trilobite, diversified like crazy and moved into many new habitats during this time. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / AT&T will own a bunch of new media properties if it is allowed to buy Time Warner. (credit: Aurich Lawson) The Trump administration's Department of Justice (DOJ) today filed a lawsuit to block AT&T's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Inc. AT&T has been the nation's largest pay-TV company since it acquired DirecTV in 2015. Acquiring Time Warner and its stable of popular TV programming would give the company too much control over programming and distribution, the DOJ said. Together, AT&T and Time Warner would attempt to impede competition from online video distributors and raise prices on rivals that want access to Time Warner programming, the DOJ alleged. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Steven Englehardt) If you have the uncomfortable sense someone is looking over your shoulder as you surf the Web, you're not being paranoid. A new study finds hundreds of sites—including microsoft.com, adobe.com, and godaddy.com—employ scripts that record visitors' keystrokes, mouse movements, and scrolling behavior in real time, even before the input is submitted or is later deleted. Session replay scripts are provided by third-party analytics services that are designed to help site operators better understand how visitors interact with their Web properties and identify specific pages that are confusing or broken. As their name implies, the scripts allow the operators to re-enact individual browsing sessions. Each click, input, and scroll can be recorded and later played back. A study published last week reported that 482 of the 50,000 most trafficked websites employ such scripts, usually with no clear disclosure. It's not always easy to detect sites that employ such scripts. The actual number is almost certainly much higher, particularly among sites outside the top 50,000 that were studied. Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(video link) These days, your typical science-fiction or fantasy movie is performed by casts of human actors—and even bigger casts of programmers. VFX (visual effects) are so crucial that there's now an entire genre of acting devoted to dealing with creatures and environments the actors never see. In some cases, the actors' entire bodies are transformed by digital effects. Others have intense, emotional scenes with tennis balls and traffic cones that are the placeholders for what will eventually become monsters or dramatic vistas. We wanted to know how actors have adapted to a world where CGI reigns supreme. So last summer at San Diego Comic-con, we asked actors (and one director) to tell how they integrated VFX into their everyday experiences on set. You can see their responses in the video above. Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / An artist’s impression of the oddly shaped interstellar asteroid `Oumuamua. (credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser) Since mid-October, the astronomy community has been buzzing about what might be our Solar System’s first confirmed interstellar visitor. An automated telescope spotted an object that appeared as if it had been dropped on the Solar System from above, an angle that suggests it arrived from elsewhere. Now, a team of astronomers has rushed out a paper that describes the object's odd properties and gives it the name “1I/2017 U1 ‘Oumuamua.” In Hawaiian, ‘Oumuamua roughly means “first messenger,” and the 1I indicates that it’s the first interstellar object. ‘Oumuamua was first spotted on October 19 by the Pan-STARRS1 automated telescope system. Pan-STARRS1 turned out to have captured images of the object the day previously, but the automated analysis software hadn’t identified it. Further images over the next few days allowed researchers to refine its travel through our Solar System, confirming that ‘Oumuamua was making the most extreme approach toward the inner Solar System of any object we’ve ever seen. In essence, it appeared to have been dropped onto the Solar System from above, plunging between the Sun and the orbit of Mercury. It was also moving extremely quickly. The Solar System was formed from a flattened disk of material, and all of the planets orbit roughly in the plane of that disk. Smaller objects, like dwarf planets and comets, may take somewhat more erratic approaches with orbits tilted out of that plane, but they still roughly aligned with it. We had literally never seen anything like ‘Oumuamua. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge Twenty-two years ago, Microsoft Windows took a big leap forward with Windows 95. Most would say that Windows 95 was significant for its addition of the Start button, or the merging of MS-DOS and Windows, or plug and play. Maybe they were wrong; maybe it was the screensavers that mattered the most. That's what Screensaver Subterfuge, an indie game made by Cahoots Malone, posits. The game is freely available on itch.io for Windows, macOS, and Linux, and it was previously reported on by Motherboard. It takes the assets (they were extracted directly from ssmaze.scr) from Windows 95's iconic 3D Maze screensaver—the one that endlessly wanders a maze of brick walls in first-person perspective—and turns it into a very goofy cyberpunk hacking game. The conceit is that the mazes are actually the tunnels through which truly valuable corporate data travels. You're a young hacker on a mission to stop your dystopian world from turning into a slightly different kind of dystopian world—this is according to the game's hilariously bad narration that includes '90s hype lines such as, "Cyberspace has never looked so three dimensional! The geniuses at Microsoft have done it again!" Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Arthurgwain L. Marquez US Navy P-8 Poseidon patrol planes have joined an international search for the Argentine Armada submarine San Juan, and the Navy has prepared submarine rescue vehicles and four uncrewed underwater vehicles (UUVs) to assist in the search as well. The Argentine sub has been missing in the Argentine Sea, and the subsequent search is entering its fifth day. One Naval P-8 arrived in Argentina over the weekend, and another is arriving today. Additional rescue systems are now on their way, including a NATO submarine rescue system. Thus far, rough weather and high seas have been hindering the search, and hopes for the missing crew are fading. Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / This is the pipeline pumping station for the Keystone operations in Steele City, Nebraska. Steele City is a strategic location for the Keystone Pipeline projects. (credit: Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Image) On Monday, the Nebraska Public Service Commission issued its final order (PDF) on the fate of energy company TransCanada’s controversial Keystone XL pipeline. The commission conditionally approved the pipeline, but it ordered the pipeline to be moved east of Nebraska’s ecologically sensitive Sandhills region. The condition sets up a hurdle for TransCanada—now the company needs to seek the approval of different local landowners, according to The Washington Post. Still, the approval likely means Keystone XL will be able to deliver tar sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada to refineries in Texas in the near future. Reuters called the Nebraska approval "the last big regulatory obstacle" to the completion of the pipeline. The pipeline, which was proposed in 2008, has become a political football in a partisan world. In 2015, the Obama administration’s State Department denied approval for a large section of the pipeline, saying that it wouldn’t meaningfully contribute to the US economy, and already-low US gas prices wouldn’t be affected by the influx of Canadian oil. After the Trump administration took over, the new president signed an executive order reversing the Obama administration’s 2015 decision and its 2016 decision to rescind approval for the also-controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge In the immediate wake of last week's surprise announcement that EA and developer DICE were temporarily removing microtransactions from Star Wars: Battlefront II, VentureBeat reported that no less than Disney CEO Bob Iger called EA CEO Andrew Wilson to discuss the roiling controversy over the in-game purchases. Subsequent reporting from The Wall Street Journal now suggests Disney did put pressure on the game publisher to fix things, though not necessarily at the CEO level. According to an unnamed "person familiar with the matter" who spoke to the Journal, Disney executives were "upset at how online outrage over the costs of gaining access to popular characters such as Luke Skywalker reflected on their marquee property." While Iger was concerned about this perception, it was Disney Head of Consumer Products and Interactive Media Jimmy Pitaro who sent EA a message expressing those concerns, according to the report. EA acquired the lucrative exclusive rights to publish Star Wars-based games in 2013, a year after Disney purchased Lucasfilm for $4 billion. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Daniel Spiess) Verizon and the National Football League are in talks to sign another streaming rights deal. According to a Bloomberg report, the wireless provider and the NFL are close to finalizing a new deal that would let Verizon stream games to Internet-connected TVs, tablets, and phones. Verizon's previous deal only allowed it to stream games to devices with screens that are 7-inches or smaller, so the new deal would open up NFL games to Verizon customers who primarily consume TV content on smart TVs, tablets, and other large devices. According to people familiar with the matter, Verizon would also lose exclusive rights to air games on mobile devices as part of the deal. That means that while Verizon customers would have more device options for watching football, it may not be the only one to stream NFL games. Other wireless providers or streaming TV providers, such as Sling TV or DirecTV Now, may be able to strike their own deals with the NFL and provide streamed games to their subscribers through their own apps. Verizon will have rights to deliver the NFL's Thursday night games, "among others." The NFL has divided up broadcasting rights among several companies, including Verizon and DirecTV. Amazon outbid Twitter for the rights to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games for the 2017 season, but only Prime members can watch them online. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Sixty-one-year-old US citizen Shirley Wilford hops the border to buy prescription drugs in a pharmacy in Hemmingford, Canada. (credit: Getty | Darren McCollester) Late last month, the Food and Drug Administration raided nine stores in Central Florida that help customers illegally order affordable prescription drugs from verified pharmacies overseas, particularly those in Canada, according to a report by Kaiser Health News. The agency sent in criminal investigation agents with search warrants for computer files and any paperwork related to sales of foreign drugs. The agents also took files on customers and the stores’ financial records. They left behind a letter for store owners to sign, acknowledging that the practice of importing foreign medicines is illegal. Although none of the stores has closed due to the activity, the owners are spooked by the turn of events—and puzzled by the timing. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Uber) Uber has signed a deal with Volvo for 24,000 XC90 sport-utility vehicles for delivery between 2019 and 2021. With this deal—worth about $1 billion—Uber is essentially betting the company on a self-driving future. It's a big, risky bet for Uber, which lost $2.8 billion in 2016 and is locked in a legal battle with Waymo over self-driving technology that could cost it more than $1 billion. When Recode's Johana Bhuiyan talked to company insiders about Uber's self-driving car project in March, she found that "many think it is at a technological standstill and plagued by significant internal tension." Around the same time, Uber temporarily suspended public testing of its driverless cars after one of its cars collided with another car and flipped over on its side. The company says another driver was at fault in the incident, and it has since resumed testing. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Valentina Palladino) Jawbone may have switched gears to medical devices but there are some Up fitness trackers still out there. Those who use the Up4, Jawbone's most advanced tracker and one of the last it debuted before pulling out of the consumer-wearable market, won't be able to use its NFC payment feature for much longer. American Express customers who paired a card with their device are receiving notices that the partnership will end on January 31, 2018; the Up4 will no longer be able to make payments using American Express cards after that date. The notice states that American Express will automatically disconnect the paired American Express card from the Up4 device on February 1, 2018, if not done so by the user beforehand. To disconnect your American Express card before the cutoff date, go to the Amex Payments section of the Up4 app, tap "Manage," and then tap "Disconnect." American Express will be issuing a $10 credit to these accounts once the partnership officially ends. Jawbone had a partnership with American Express that allowed Up4 users to pair an Amex account with the device to use with contactless payment readers. It worked well when the Up4 first debuted back in 2015, but it was relatively limited because users could only pair an American Express card to the device. Other contactless payment systems, including the new Fitbit Pay on the $300 Ionic smartwatch, allow for more than one connected credit card or bank per account. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Ford Drop the word "exoskeleton" into conversation, and you typically conjure up images from Aliens, or Iron Man foiling whoever it is he's supposed to foil with augmented power. Fanciful as that may seem, exoskeletons are finding their way into everyday manufacturing. But they're not being used to perform "feats of strength." Reality is more mundane—and much more repetitive. Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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ULA The Delta II rocket first launched in 1989, making it the oldest US orbital launch system still flying today. However, the heritage of this launch system is much older still. The Delta II rocket's first stage is derivative of the Thor intermediate range ballistic missile—the first operational ballistic missile used by the United States Air Force in the 1950s. Thus, the Delta II rocket can trace its roots to the beginning of US rocketry. But now the end is near for the Delta II rocket. For United Launch Alliance, it is costly to keep supply lines open for the medium-lift rocket (three to six tons to low-Earth orbit) that has flown just three times since 2012. On Saturday morning, the Delta II made its penultimate launch by carrying the first Joint Polar Satellite System spacecraft into orbit for NASA and NOAA. The flight occurred from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Google) In another consolidation move in the semiconductor industry, chipmaker Marvell Technology announced it will acquire competitor Cavium Inc. for approximately $6 billion. It's estimated that the combined company will generate about $3.4 billion in annual revenue. Bermuda-based Marvell makes semiconductors for data-storage devices while California-based Cavium produces communications and networking chips. The deal better positions Marvell to compete with bigger rivals, including Intel and Broadcom, in a semiconductor industry that has changed a lot over the past couple years as companies buy out rivals. "This is an exciting combination of two very complementary companies that together equal more than the sum of their parts,” Marvell's President and Chief Executive Officer Matt Murphy wrote in a statement. "This combination expands and diversifies our revenue base and end markets, and enables us to deliver a broader set of differentiated solutions to our customers." Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Ron Amadeo After launching the OnePlus 5 earlier this year, OnePlus is back with an end-of-year upgrade for the device. The OnePlus 5T takes a winning formula—high-end specs with a low price tag and a metal body—and reworks the front of the phone to dedicate as much space as possible to the screen. This device has a new screen, a new button layout, a new fingerprint reader, and a new camera setup. It almost feel like a totally new device. We liked the OnePlus 5 from earlier in the year, but, with the more modern design, OnePlus has fixed OnePlus 5's biggest downside. The result is something that is extremely compelling—a $500 phone that makes you question exactly why you'd give $800 to those other OEMs when this has nearly everything the more expensive phones have. Read 51 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / A man wears a face mask as he takes part in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2017 in New Delhi on November 19, 2017. (credit: Getty | SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP) Despite extremely dangerous levels of air pollution smothering Delhi and creating “gas chamber” conditions, thousands took to the streets to run a half marathon Sunday. Most ran without masks that would filter out harmful pollution. In recent weeks, air pollution measurements around the sprawling megacity have been off the charts, hitting levels around 30 times those considered safe by the World Health Organization. Authorities blamed the toxic smog on seasonal crop burns in nearby areas as well as calm winds and the usual emissions from vehicles and industry. Exasperated doctors explained that it was harmful to merely walk around in the smog, let alone run. The thick pollution can spark asthma attacks, lung and heart damage, and sudden cardiac arrest, they warned. And they implored race organizers and authorities to cancel or postpone the event, which has been long set for November 19. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Sam Machkovech) Find me a critic who would recommend any company's first-ever earbuds priced at $159, and I will find you that critic's sordid history of wire-transfer scams on Craigslist. Headphones and earbuds have to cater to so many tricky, subjective variables: various ear fits, sound preferences, and desired features. Nobody gets that right the first time, and even for longtime companies, one fan's treasure is another audiophile's trash. Google isn't the company to buck this trend. Its Pixel Buds arrive as an admittedly ambitious entry to the sector, with promises of pristine sound quality and Google Assistant-fueled superpowers. And as Google's first-ever entry to the earbud world, they're not all that terrible. Some of their features range from compelling to downright cool. But between this price point, inconsistent sound quality, underwhelming voice-assistant features, and glaring use issues, I have to wonder how long Google actually weighed and tested what it was about to launch, as opposed to rushing its own answer to Apple's AirPods. Read 41 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A map of the area on the northern Russian steppes where the sacrificial dogs were found. The Krasnosamarskoe settlement was a tiny ritual center, part of the larger Indo-European Srubnaya culture in the late Bronze Age. (credit: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology) 4,000 years ago in the northern steppes of Eurasia, in the shadow of the Ural Mountains, a tiny settlement stood on a natural terrace overlooking the Samara River. In the late twentieth century, a group of archaeologists excavated the remains of two or three structures that once stood here, surrounded by green fields where sheep and cattle grazed. But the researchers quickly discovered this was no ordinary settlement. Unusual burials and the charred remains of almost fifty dogs suggested this place was a ritual center for at least 100 years. Hartwick College anthropologist David Anthony and his colleagues have excavated for several years at the site, called Krasnosamarskoe, and have wondered since that time what kind of rituals would have left this particular set of remains behind. Anthony and his Hartwick College colleague Dorcas Brown offer some ideas in a paper published recently in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. The people who lived at Krasnosamarskoe were part of an Indo-European cultural group called Srubnaya, with Bronze Age technology. The Srubnaya lived in settlements year-round, but were not farmers. They kept animals, hunted for wild game, and gathered plants to eat opportunistically. Like many Indo-European peoples, they did not have what modern people would call an organized religion. But as Krasnosamarskoe demonstrates, they certainly had beliefs that were highly spiritual and symbolic. And they engaged in ritualistic practices over many generations. Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Morgan Marquis-Boire, then a security researcher at the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs’ Citizen Lab, seen here on July 24, 2012. (credit: Jacob Kepler/Bloomberg via Getty Images) A well-known computer security researcher, Morgan Marquis-Boire, has been publicly accused of sexual assault. On Sunday, The Verge published a report saying that it had spoken with 10 women across North America and Marquis-Boire's home country of New Zealand who say that they were assaulted by him in episodes going back years. A woman that The Verge gave the pseudonym "Lila," provided The Verge with "both a chat log and a PGP signed and encrypted e-mail from Morgan Marquis-Boire. In the e-mail, he apologizes at great length for a terrible but unspecified wrong. And in the chat log, he explicitly confesses to raping and beating her in the hotel room in Toronto, and also confesses to raping multiple women in New Zealand and Australia." Read 29 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Kaitlin Myers, a shopper for Instacart, studies her smartphone as she shopped for a customer at Whole Foods in Denver. Myers received a grocery list for a shopper and then completed the shopping on Tuesday, October 28, 2014. (credit: Denver Post Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon) OAKLAND, Calif.—Seated at a dimly-lit bar, a gregarious man dressed in a scarf and beanie of his favorite local sports team, explained to Ars last week why he and some of his fellow Instacart shoppers plan on not working this Sunday and Monday. "We’re going to sign up for shifts and then when it’s time, if I’m working from 10am to 1pm on [November 19], the first order, I’m going to decline it, not accept the batch," he said, using Instacart’s term for multiple pickups at a single retail location. "They’ll kick us off and we’ll continue to do that until they kick us off [for the day]." The man, who goes by Ike, declined to let Ars use his full name for fear of reprisal—he also doesn’t want unwanted scrutiny from his colleagues at his full-time public sector job. Read 48 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Kyle Orland At this point, I don't have much patience for the argument that eSports fans should stop watching other people play video games and just play those games themselves. For one, it's an argument that few people make about spectator sports like basketball and football, where the skill difference between a pro and a novice is roughly the same as in eSports. For another, the thrill of watching a competitor at the top of his or her game is entirely distinct (and better in some ways) from competing yourself. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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