China’s first high-resolution satellite captured these 10 incredible images

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Back in April 2013, China launched its first satellite with high-resolution imaging capabilities up into space. That satellite made some news today when the country’s space agency said that authorities had used its imagery to detect illegal border crossings and even to bust marijuana farmers. The imagery is pretty impressive, and China presented a good look at it just over a week ago, releasing 10 detailed images that it’s taken since launch.

The satellite, Gaofen-1, is the first of several…

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California’s smartphone kill switch bill has been signed into law

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A bill that requires all smartphones manufactured after July 1st, 2015 to include anti-theft measures if sold in the state of California was signed into law today. California governor Jerry Brown signed the bill, which was introduced back in February, and finally cleared the State assembly two weeks ago. Its aim is to make phones a less attractive target for thieves by requiring built-in tools that let consumers remotely lock, wipe, and disable the devices.

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TiVo minus TV: testing the cable box for cord cutters

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“There is an important service update available for your TiVo box. This update should take less than an hour, and the DVR will restart twice.”

Oh, this is bringing back memories! The notorious TiVo boot sequence. Turning on a TiVo for the first time is invariably a negative experience, because you are thrust into a Kafkaesque universe where each completed update or boot sequence is immediately greeted by another. Minutes, sometimes hours can pass before you can actually use the box for the…

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Republicans and Democrats are fighting over who loves Uber more

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You may not recognize the name David Plouffe offhand, but as President Obama’s former campaign manager, he was instrumental in winning control of the White House twice in the 2008 and 2012 elections, respectively. As of last week, Plouffe, a longtime Democratic Party operative, aligned himself with a very different powerhouse: Uber, the disruptive transportation company that’s clashed with local governments and cab drivers over the past few years as its spread around the world and racked up a reported $17 billion valuation. Uber hired Plouffe as its senior vice president of policy and strategy, a clear sign the company is getting more serious about political battles in Washington and beyond.

But that’s why it’s funny that today, Reince…

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How Amazon quietly built a gaming empire

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According to multiple reports, Amazon is acquiring video game streaming service Twitch. It may seem like a surprising move — especially given Google’s reported interest — but Amazon seems intent on building a gaming empire. It started quietly in 2008, but the company’s ambitions became more clear earlier this year with the launch of the Fire TV, a device that doubles as a game console. Twitch could just be one more piece of the puzzle.

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Google releases Slides app for iPhone and iPad

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There’s no dominant productivity suite for smartphones or tablets just yet, but Google’s been trying to build one. Today, Google is rounding out that suite of apps with the release of a Slides app for the iPhone and iPad, giving owners of those devices a direct way to edit their slideshow presentations on mobile — something that previously wasn’t available. A Slides app was also released for Android earlier this summer, following up the release of apps for Docs and Sheets on both platforms back in April.

While much of this functionality was previously available within the Google Drive app, breaking the services out into separate apps allows Google put its logo in more places around a person’s phone or tablet. Beyond that, turning these…

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Motorola’s upcoming Skip will help track your missing phone and lost keys

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Just in time for the launch of its Moto X successor, Motorola also seems to be preparing a new revision of Skip. The tiny accessory first debuted last year alongside the Moto X and, with the help of NFC, let owners bypass the phone’s lockscreen entirely and “skip” the monotonous task of thumbing in a passcode or pattern. This year, it looks like Motorola is aiming to make Skip a bit more useful so it won’t become a forgotten toss-in like its predecessor.

According to new filings at the FCC (first spotted by Droid Life), the second-gen Skip will quickly get you right to your phone’s home screen whenever the two devices are in close proximity — just like the first model. But this one will also help you find a misplaced phone….

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Our 14 favorite ‘Simpsons’ celebrity cameos

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In the 25 years since The Simpsons premiered, over 300 actors have appeared as themselves on the show (it’s reportedly 644 in total if you’re talking about guest actors). Showing up in Springfield has become almost as common to actors’ resumes as appearing on Law & Order. While this list can certainly go on for much longer, here are 14 of our favorite celebrity guest appearances on The Simpsons.

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California’s early warning system beat Napa earthquake by 10 seconds

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Ten seconds before the shaking started early Sunday morning, an experimental warning system in a UC Berkeley lab sounded an alarm, counting down to the impending earthquake. It was the biggest test yet for a promising earthquake alert system that remains stuck in budgetary limbo.

The warning works by outrunning earthquake

The system works by leapfrogging the earthquake. Sensors near fault lines detect the first sign of an earthquake — the faster moving but less destructive P-waves — calculate the severity of the quake, and broadcast a warning before the more destructive S-waves arrive. That means that areas near the fault in Napa wouldn’t have gotten any warning, but the Bay Area could have received several seconds notice. Depending on…

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China is busting pot farmers from space

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A Chinese satellite has detected the largest illegal marijuana plantation in the country’s history, Reuters reports, citing state-run media. The original announcement was reportedly made by China’s space agency, which did not detail the specific size of the field, but noted that it had been spotted in Jilin and Inner Mongolia, in the northeast corner of the country. The state-run China News Service reports that a number of other fields were spotted in neighboring provinces.

China’s space agency is said to have been detailing the various ways that a new satellite is being used for security, including spotting illegal border crossings. Using satellite imagery for the purposes of law enforcement isn’t new — a man in Oregon was busted with…

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Amazon, not YouTube, reportedly buying Twitch for over $1 billion

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Twitch is getting bought, but it’s not YouTube and Google that are doing the buying. Amazon has agreed to buy the massively popular video game streaming website for over $1 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. The announcement is surprising in light of recent reports that suggested YouTube and Twitch had already reached a $1 billion buyout agreement to bring Twitch’s platform and massive community under the Google umbrella. News that Amazon and Twitch were in late talks about a deal was first reported by The Information.

Before today’s curve, a pairing between YouTube and Twitch made a lot of sense. Many gamers upload highlights, impressive level playthroughs, and other content to YouTube. But there’s no mistaking the fact…

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Vince Gilligan talks ‘Better Call Saul’ in new teaser

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It’s been almost a year since Breaking Bad went off the air, but fortunately, it won’t be long before one of its best characters is back. AMC has been starting to tease its spin-off, Better Call Saul, and a brief new preview finds the show’s two creators, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, discussing what we should expect from it. The information isn’t entirely new if you’ve been paying close attention to their discussions over the past year, but it’s the longest look that AMC has given us yet. “How do you become Saul Goodman,” Gould asks. “What kind of problem do you have that becoming Saul Goodman solves it?” It’s a very good question, and it’s one that’ll have a lot of Breaking Bad fans tuning in for more from the wonderfully sleazy…

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Millennials won’t stop taking selfies on top of tall buildings

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Do you know where your Millennial is? If not, you may want to look up. Teens and 20-somethings have made headlines around the world recently for scaling tall buildings in order to take selfies. Yes, this risky fad has been going strong for a few years now, but the latest incidents highlight the fact that it’s not going away anytime soon, especially with Instagram and YouTube fame at stake.

On Sunday, police in New York arrested 24-year-old Yaroslav Kolchin after he climbed to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge, as CBS New York reported. Kolchin was seen taking selfies with his iPhone, according to reports. The incident follows on the heels of a pair of German artists claiming responsibility for ascending the bridge to swap the large…

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This is what happens when The Expendables stop killing people and start selling beer

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Jean-Claude Van Damme, perhaps best loved for his star turn in 1994’s Street Fighter, is on a tear with brands lately. Last year, he found his way into two viral campaigns — one for GoDaddy and another for Volvo — that involved him doing some truly impressive splits. This time around, Coors Light tapped the Muscles from Brussels for their latest spot and had him throw on a wig ripped right out of Hard Target and build a bar out of a mountaintop.

The commercial, complete with ’80s action movie theme music, is actually a followup to a team-up Coors Light did with Van Damme in 2011. Back then, he merely made snow angels and thought deep thoughts about his tight jeans. Now, he’s doing flying kicks through walls of ice.

If Van Damme can’t…

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An African doctor who received the experimental anti-Ebola drug ZMapp has died

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Despite having recently received a dose of the experimental anti-ebola drug ZMapp, a Liberian doctor died on Sunday, reports Front Page Africa and the BBC. Abraham Borbor was an internist and one of three African physicians who were injected with ZMapp in mid-August. The news casts a shadow over last week’s announcement that the two Americans who have been treated with the drug on US soil were released from the hospital last week.

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Watch robots terraform an alien world in this wordless short film

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What would a terraforming machine look like? This short film imagines the process as a robotic ballet, in which a painstakingly detailed spacecraft gathers resources and reassembles itself to transform a Mars-like desert into a jungle. The spacecraft itself is inspired by the Mars rover, but incorporates biological touches like bug wings and larval sacs. New Zealand animator Richard Mans worked for seven years to make the film, including post-production work from Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital.

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US Open ball boys are Ralph Lauren’s lab rats

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When the US Open tennis tournament begins today in New York, most eyes will be glued to marquee players like Roger Federer, Serena Williams, and Novak Djokovic. But as aces and forehands rocket across the net at Arthur Ashe Stadium, executives at Ralph Lauren will be focused on the court’s periphery, where some ball boys will be wearing new, technology-enhanced shirts to monitor their biometric data.

As the New York Times reports, this year’s US Open marks the debut of Ralph Lauren’s new Polo Tech shirt — a black, nylon tee equipped with sensors to track the vital signs of every ball boy. Created as part of a venture with OMsignal, the shirt looks unassuming at first glance: black, tight, and splashed with the company’s classic polo…

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LG to sell world’s first 4K OLED TVs next month for over $11,000

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LG is continuing to push OLED TV technology with the announcement that it’ll be the first company in the world to ship 4K models. 65-inch and 77-inch 4K OLED sets will be available for pre-order in South Korea this week; the Associated Press reports that the smaller model will retail for 12 million won ($11,766) and ship in September, but it’s unclear when the larger set will go on sale or for how much. The TVs run on LG’s relaunched webOS platform.

OLED technology, which promises images with higher contrast and deeper blacks than LCD and even plasma sets, has taken a long time to make a splash in the mainstream TV industry. 4K OLED TVs were first announced and shown off by Sony and Panasonic at CES 2013, but LG is now the first to…

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