Thousands of leaked KGB files are now open to the public

See the original posting on The Verge

Over 20 years after being smuggled out of Russia, a trove of KGB documents are being opened up to the public for the first time. The leaked documents include thousands of files and represent what the FBI is said to view as “the most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source.” The documents include KGB information on secret Russian weapons caches, Russian spies, and KGB information on the activities of Pope John Paul II. Known as the Mitrokhin Archive, the files are all available as of today at Churchill College’s Archives Centre.

Continue reading…

BBC told to stop wasting time on climate change deniers and skeptics of proven science

See the original posting on The Verge

Two months ago, John Oliver delivered a bruising critique of the way TV networks handle science coverage. And now an independent progress report from within the BBC seems to agree with his message: climate change deniers and other skeptics of established science deserve less time in front of viewers. “Impartiality in science coverage does not simply lie in reflecting a wide range of views,” reads the report from BBC Trust. In recent years, over 200 BBC staff members have attended workshops designed to help them base editorial decisions around the “due weight” of science-related facts and opinions. “The Trust wishes to emphasize the importance of attempting to establish where the weight of scientific agreement may be found and make that…

Continue reading…

Watch the tense new trailer for David Fincher’s ‘Gone Girl’

See the original posting on The Verge

David Fincher may be the perfect choice for bringing Gillian Flynn’s hit novel Gone Girl to the big screen with all of its tension intact. The film follows Ben Affleck’s character after his wife goes missing, but as the trailer shows, both the viewer and the world grow increasingly suspicious that he may have played a role in her disappearance. Even in the film’s first trailers, Fincher’s penchant for quietly brooding shots is on show, making Gone Girl look like it’s on track to be his next great thriller. It’s scheduled for release on October 3rd.

Continue reading…

A questionable currency exchange may be tearing Dogecoin apart

See the original posting on The Verge

The digital currency Dogecoin and the Reddit community surrounding it are famous for their generosity and lighthearted naturebut The Daily Dot reports that the two may be turning into something quite different. In a long report on the progress of Dogecoin, the Dot notes that trading and value are on the decline. And beyond that, it finds that there appears to be a questionable currency exchange at the center of a growing distrust among the Dogecoin community. Head over to the article for details on how the exchange Moolah has managed to both bring new attention to Dogecoin and contribute to its community’s decline.

Continue reading…

Google Maps tests your geography knowledge with ‘Smarty Pins’ game

See the original posting on The Verge

Google’s engineers want to help you brush up on your geography knowledge. The company has taken its vast Google Maps database and used it to create a new game called Smarty Pins. The concept is extremely simple: Google asks you a random trivia question about a specific city or country, and you’re tasked with dropping a pin on the right spot. Players can pick between six categories that influence the line of questions they’re given. These range from arts and culture to entertainment fodder, and it didn’t take very long before we ran into a stumper.

Each player starts out with 1,000 “miles” which basically serve as your points. Drop the pin down on a right answer quickly and you’ll get bonus miles. But if you’re wrong, Google will look at…

Continue reading…

Washington’s weed shops are open for business

See the original posting on The Verge

The state of Washington this week handed out its first licenses to approved marijuana vendors, nearly two years after voters decriminalized the drug for recreational use. As the Associated Press reports, the state sent emails to the first wave of applicants early Monday morning, telling them they can open for business as early as Tuesday, though the rollout will be limited. A spokesman for Washington’s regulatory agency told the New York Times that only about 20 licenses will be issued during the first phase, including just one store in Seattle, Washington’s largest city.

Continue reading…

TSA blocking uncharged mobile devices from flights at some international airports

See the original posting on The Verge

International travelers will have to make sure they charge all their devices before boarding their flights. In an announcement made Sunday, the TSA now plans on blocking flyers with uncharged phones and electronic devices at certain undisclosed airports in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. In addition to other forms of screening, passengers will need to prove their devices can actually turn on before flying.

According to NBC News, the new security measures are being made in an effort to stop an al Qaeda terror plot aimed at blowing up an airliner. Officials are reportedly concerned that a laptop, smartphone, or tablet might be used as a bomb. Passengers’ shoes will also be scrutinized at checkpoints. It’s assumed that the new…

Continue reading…

‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ on schedule after Harrison Ford injury, two cast members added

See the original posting on The Verge

Good news for Star Wars fans: the seventh film in the series is confirmed to be on track despite a leg injury sustained by Harrison Ford on set last month. On the film’s official blog, creators say that production will take a two week hiatus in August while the shooting schedule is adjusted to accommodate Ford’s injury. According to reports, Ford, 71, broke his leg last month on the door of the Millennium Falcon. In the blog post, producers say that “Harrison is doing well and is looking forward to returning to the set soon.”

In the meantime, principal photography is underway at Pinewood Studios in London after shooting wrapped up on location in Abu Dhabi this past May. Even with the two-week break, the film is still on track for its…

Continue reading…

Google gently tells users to blame ISPs for poor YouTube performance

See the original posting on The Verge

Google is now gently suggesting who users should blame when YouTube videos fail to stream smoothly. A new pop-up bar that reads “Experiencing interruptions? Find out why” is now showing under some YouTube videos when playback gets choppy. Clicking on the bar takes users to Google’s relatively new Video Quality Report page, which provides information on internet service providers, including details on video streaming performance. The page also offers a comparison between other ISPs in your area, and it ranks providers as either “HD Verified,” “Standard Definition,” or “Lower Definition” based on the average performance they achieve on YouTube. Quartz first reported on the new notice featured underneath YouTube videos.

The move is similar…

Continue reading…

Hospitals hope to predict illness by analyzing your spending habits

See the original posting on The Verge

Advertisers aren’t the only ones interested in your spending habits — hospitals and insurance companies are taking note as well. Carolinas HealthCare, which operates hundreds of healthcare facilities from hospitals to nursing homes and care centers throughout North and South Carolina, is purchasing transaction data and other information on its patients to try and get ahead of any medical problems, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

The data, including purchase history and information like car loans, is put through an algorithm that gives a risk score to patients. That score can then be shared with doctors. A representative from Carolinas HealthCare tells the magazine that it plans to start routinely giving those scores to healthcare…

Continue reading…

Super PAC to end all super PACs hits its $5 million funding goal

See the original posting on The Verge

A crowdfunded super PAC designed to end all super PACs has achieved its funding goal. The Mayday PAC raised $5 million from over 50,000 small contributions over the past couple of months. Added to the $5 million matching contribution it’s expecting and the $2 million it pulled in this past May, the political action committee should have the $12 million founder Lawrence Lessig said it’d need to wield influence in five key House races this year.

Lessig, a Harvard professor outspoken against the state of campaign finance in the US, said in a blog post that “this may be this movement’s most incredible moment so far.” He added, “We’ve got lots of ideas about how to make this work. We’ll be testing them and improving them and building lots…

Continue reading…

The Weekender: regarding EDM, exorcisms, and Independence Day

See the original posting on The Verge

Welcome back to The Weekender. Every Saturday morning, The Verge will give you something to do. This is where you’ll get the best of what we’ve written this week, but also a reason to get up and actually do something with your life — even if that something is dreaming of the far off places you might go.

Here’s a collection of some of our favorite pieces that you may have missed, along with a snapshot of the things you should be doing with your days off. Take some time this Fourth of July…

Continue reading…

This is the car you’d drive to explore national parks on Mars

See the original posting on The Verge

Brazilian designer Eduardo Galvani has put together renderings for a concept car he’s dubbed the “Nimbus.” It’s a bulbous, van-like hybrid that evokes the nostalgia we feel for the classic VW Microbus, but lives in a future world where car design is free to be whimsical — if not a little weird.

Galvani also imagined the features and the details of how the van would operate: a rear engine paired with an electric motor, big knobby semi-cross tires, a tablet-based center panel display, and of…

Continue reading…

Alaska’s bear cams are the best live show on the internet

See the original posting on The Verge

For the third consecuritve year, Katmai national park in Alaska will have several live webcams set up to broadcast video of the local brown bears. The bears, and the cameras that track them, have steadily grown in popularity since 2012, when the Annenberg Foundations’s Explore.org group first helped to set them up. As detailed by The Awl, much of that popularity came because nature lovers were able to do more than just watch giant mammals hunt fish — they were able to create a narrative about what was happening.

Continue reading…

Humans prefer an electric shock to being left alone with their thoughts

See the original posting on The Verge

The experiment was simple. All the participants had to do was enter an empty room, sit down, and think for six to 15 minutes. But without a cellphone, a book, or a television screen to stare at, the assignment quickly became too much to handle. In fact, even when individuals were given time to “prepare” for being alone — meaning that they were able to plan what they would think about during their moments of solitude — the participants still “found it hard,” Timothy Wilson, a psychologist at the University of Virginia and lead author of the study, told The Washington Post. “People didn’t like it much.”

Continue reading…

Siri joins Cortana in World Cup predictions

See the original posting on The Verge

Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant has successfully predicted eight World Cup results with 100 percent accuracy so far, but just as the games are getting more difficult to pick, she has fresh competition from Apple’s Siri. While Microsoft added its World Cup predictions to Cortana last weekend, Siri didn’t appear to offer its own estimates on the games in our own testing until later this week. If you now ask Siri variations of who will win a particular game, she offers up some noncommittal responses. “It’s a tossup (if you’ve got a coin, heads says France win, tails says Germany),” is Siri’s France vs. Germany “prediction,” while “I don’t have the line on this one, but Colombia has a better record than Brazil” is the estimate for…

Continue reading…

Amateur Transformers film is more fun than Michael Bay’s

See the original posting on The Verge

Michael Bay might have the multi-million dollar budget, but Harris Loureiro has the ’80s touch. Using toy Transformers, a handful of special effects, and Stan Bush’s iconic power ballad “The Touch,” the YouTube user crafts a surprisingly slick fight scene between Optimus Prime and a fleet of Constructicons. It took Loureiro more than a month to edit the five-minute-long short, after completing filming in September last year. The entire production positively drips nostalgia, which is unsurprising given that the stop-motion animation is dedicated to the series’ old-school fans.

Continue reading…

A 23-foot-tall home-made Transformer is the world’s most intimidating lawn ornament

See the original posting on The Verge

In Wisconsin, an Oldsmobile Alero is more than meets the eye: he’s a 23-foot-tall red robot, and his name is Hardwire.

The Transformer’s creator, George Edgren, says he wasn’t particularly involved with the franchise. “I liked them, but I wasn’t a huge massive fan or anything. It’s not like an ‘I needed to be there on opening night’ kind of deal,” he tells The Verge. But when a friend suggested that he make one of his own, he ultimately took up the challenge. Over the course of a month, he bolted together the giant robot that now stands in his driveway. A longtime metalworker, he was already building and selling lawn art, but this was his biggest hobby project ever. While it’s clearly a Transformer, it’s not trying to fit any kind of…

Continue reading…

1 1,341 1,342 1,343 1,344 1,345 1,347