Samsung set to announce Galaxy Note 4 at September 3rd event

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Samsung’s sent out invites for what it’s calling “Episode 2” of Unpacked, an event it plans to hold in three cities — Berlin, Beijing, and New York — simultaneously on September 3rd. The tagline is “Ready? Note the date!” a not-so-subtle hint at another installment in Samsung’s Galaxy Note line. The Galaxy Note 3 was unveiled at IFA Berlin last year, with the Note 2 the year before. The same is expected for the Galaxy Note 4 at this press conference, which Samsung plans to stream live on its YouTube channel. Samsung’s last Unpacked event was back in February at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It brought the Galaxy S5 smartphone, Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches, as well as the Gear Fit.

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Undocumented immigrants are using Facebook to find ways across the US border

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Helping someone illegally cross into the US may sound like a low-tech job, but a big part of it is increasingly going digital. According to Reuters, the smugglers who help Central Americans make their way into the US — often known as “coyotes” — are starting to find their clients online, particularly thanks to word of mouth over social networks. To that same end, people looking to cross into the US have begun going online to locate coyotes who can help them, asking around for people who have had success.

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21st Century Fox ends its $80 billion bid to buy Time Warner

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The blockbuster media merger of the summer is reportedly dead in the water. Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox had offered $80 billion for rival Time Warner, a move that would have consolidated a number of major news, film, and television holdings. Today Murdoch announced the deal was off, stating that, “Time Warner management and its board refused to engage with us to explore an offer which was highly compelling.”

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US officials say someone else is leaking documents in the wake of Snowden

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Almost a year since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaked information was first revealed to the world, US officials today confirmed to CNN a new leaker is responsible for providing additional secret documents to The Intercept. The Intercept is an investigative website cofounded by Glenn Greenwald, the reporter to whom Snowden entrusted the bulk of his documents, and it has recently been publishing a series on the inner workings of the US government’s terror watch list. Just today, The Intercept published a new article based on leaked information indicating that 40 percent of the 680,000 total people listed on the watch list have “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.”

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Ricky Gervais will return as David Brent from ‘The Office’ in a new movie

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Ricky Gervais will once again portray David Brent, the painfully awkward middle-manager from The Office, in a full-length movie set to enter production next year. Life on the Road catches up with Brent 15 years after the conclusion of the BBC2 show that launched Gervais to global stardom and inspired a successful American adaptation. “He’s a sales rep now, selling cleaning products up and down the country, but has never really give up on his dream of being a rock star,” BBC Films announced today in a press release.

There are many similarities between the hard-to-watch David Brent persona and Michael Scott on NBC’s version of The Office, though the US character never really shared Brent’s affinity for rock and roll. But apparently “Free…

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The internet doesn’t care about security

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One of the most trusted companies on the internet has been owned by a teen.

We learned this morning that Paypal’s two-factor authentication setup has a fairly major hole in it, detailed here. The researcher who found it, a 17-year-old who has done impressive work spotting vulnerabilities in Australian government sites, first reported the bug to Paypal back in June, but after two months of radio silence, he went public.

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Rise of the adorable machines

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There’s a robot making its way across Canada right now. It’s not very advanced — just a Nexus tablet attached to an Arduino, really. Yet it’s already made its way from Halifax to Toronto in about a week, and stands a good chance of making it to British Columbia before long. That’s because its most powerful feature is its cuteness.

HitchBot was designed by Professors David Harris Smith and Frauke Zeller to see how humans would interact with a robot in an unstructured real-world setting. Zeller…

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Apple’s next iPhone could be announced September 9th

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There have been rumors, and more rumors, and hints, and then a bunch of other rumors, and on September 9th we might have answers. Re/code reports that Apple will hold an event that Tuesday to announce the next line of iPhones, which we expect to include at least one, and probably two, new models. They’ll have bigger screens, new processors, maybe new materials, and even more.

September 9th is a favorite day for Apple. In 2008, it unveiled a new lineup of iPods on that day; in 2009, it had its “It’s Only Rock and Roll” event. There’s lots of history on the date for Apple, for its music in particular – of course, it’s all tea leaves, but the company does have a history of making cryptic statements with every aspect of its events.

The…

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Yelp’s original plan for getting recommendations was insane

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On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, our friends at Eater have published a long history of how Yelp turned into the recommendation behemoth it is today. It’s all worth a read, but the best part is the description from the I, Cringely blog of the way Yelp’s first iteration helped you find the best places and services:

Here’s how Yelp! works. Go to the web site (it’s in this week’s links, but I’ll just bet you can guess the URL without even looking) and sign up for the service. Tell it what you are looking for (a plumber), put the need in some context (for my broken Jacuzzi bathtub) and give it a location (Charleston, SC). Then Yelp! expects you to tell it the e-mail addresses of a couple people whom you would contact with the…

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The summer’s most stylish game is made of infographics

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Video game levels are dangerous: Mario has to deal with lava-spewing pits, while Solid Snake slips through heavily guarded enemy buildings in Metal Gear Solid. Metrico for the PS Vita, on the other hand, puts you in a world made of something much more mundane: infographics. The game asks you to navigate puzzles made of bar graphs and pie charts. It’s not the most obvious inspiration for a game, but it works. “It is all about communication in composition,” Geert Nellen, one-third of Dutch game studio Digital Dreams, says of infographic design, “which makes it perfect for games.” And despite its seemingly strange concept, Metrico is an impossibly stylish and uniquely challenging experience.

Metrico looks and controls like a traditional…

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Today, a billionaire paid $100 million for a Get Out of Jail Free card

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Bernie Ecclestone is an exceptionally wealthy man who until recently will have been familiar to Formula 1 racing fans and quite unimportant to the rest of the world. Only what he did today should make him a figure of global notoriety: Ecclestone paid $100 million to have a German court dismiss corruption charges raised against him that could have resulted in a 10-year prison sentence. No wonder he’s laughing.

The prosecutors in the case decided to accept Ecclestone’s settlement offer on account of his advanced age and the anticipated difficulty of obtaining a conviction. This is in spite of the fact that Ecclestone admits to having paid millions of dollars to a German banker that has already been successfully prosecuted and is currently…

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Gmail now recognizes email addresses with accented or non-Latin characters

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Gmail says it wants to make email more global, and today it’s taking a first step: Gmail now recognizes email addresses containing accented or non-Latin characters. You can’t create accounts with those same characters yet — Google says it’s working to get there — but Gmail users can now send to and receive emails from these addresses without issue. Google’s approach, which will also be implemented in Google Calendar soon, is based on an email standard created by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in 2012.

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The US Army wants to replace gross rations with 3D-printed food

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The US Army could one day have its own very own version of the Star Trek replicator. Researchers at the Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center in Massachusetts are currently investigating ways that 3D printers could be used to create meals and rations for soldiers. “It could reduce costs because it could eventually be used to print food on demand,” food technologist Mary Scerra tells Army Technology Magazine. “For example, you would like a sandwich, where I would like ravioli. You would print what you want and eliminate wasted food.”

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Here’s what a 3D-printed saxophone sounds like

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Can you make a 3D-printed saxophone that’s a fraction as heavy as a “normal” one but sounds, to the untrained ear, virtually the same? Yes. I mean, you probably couldn’t, but luthier Olaf Diegel has done exactly that. Diegel took a break from making high-end 3D-printed guitars and tried his hand at the complex key structure of an alto saxophone, producing a prototype that’s made almost entirely of printed plastic. It requires a bigger, better printer than most consumers will ever own, and Diegel’s still working on integrating 3D-printed springs instead of metal ones. As he admits, there are already plastic injection-molded saxophones. But that doesn’t make this anything less than an impressive feat, and it opens up a world of new design…

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There’s a pill that prevents HIV — why are only gay men talking about it?

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A few months ago, the CDC recommended Truvada, the HIV prevention pill, to anyone at risk of infection. The Verge and other media outlets — including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Slate — covered the news in a big way, because it meant that government officials were not only urging doctors to prescribe the drug to queer men or individuals whose partners have HIV, but to anyone at risk — including sex workers, heterosexuals, and transfolk. Yet many reporters, myself included, failed to discuss how revolutionary this drug is for one particular, and substantial, segment of the US population: women.

Uncomfortable because of “the imbalance of power between men and women”

“The idea of women protecting themselves from HIV…

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People’s Uber is your ticket to a non-profit cab ride in Beijing

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Uber’s UberX service lets pretty much anyone with a car make money as an amateur cab driver, but what if they don’t actually want to get paid? Uber is now launching a ridesharing service in Beijing that allows drivers to offer rides without charging for any more than they’re spending on gas or other fees and maintenance. The service is called People’s Uber, and it works just like the traditional Uber service: riders use the app to request a ride, and drivers use the app to find passengers.

While drivers may be interested in People’s Uber as a way to help improve local transit in their own small way, Uber’s motivation for it is a bit less clear. The new service won’t be bringing in any profit for Uber, but presumably any use of the Uber…

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Famed stem cell researcher commits suicide in wake of scandal

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One of the researchers involved in the highly disputed stem cell papers that were retracted from the journal Nature in July died yesterday, reports to the The Wall Street Journal. According to the police, Yoshiki Sasai, a famed biologist and deputy director of the Riken Center for Developmental Biology in Japan, hanged himself.

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Jack White has the best-selling vinyl record in 20 years

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With his latest album, Lazaretto, Jack White wanted to prove there was still life in vinyl records. And it turns out he was right: the album is the best-selling vinyl in two decades. According to Billboard, the album has sold 60,000 units to date on vinyl, the biggest single-year vinyl sales since Pearl Jam released Vitalogy in 1994. The number also represents a quarter of all Lazaretto sales, with the album selling a total of 238,000 units across all platforms.

Of course, Lazaretto is far from a standard vinyl release, as White and Third Man Records have produced an album with an assortment of unique features for music nerds. Dubbed an Ultra LP, the album features tracks hidden under the center label, a locked outer grove so that one…

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Samsung enforces only 30 percent of its ‘zero tolerance’ policy on child labor

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Earlier this summer, Samsung reacted swiftly to the discovery of unlawful hiring of child workers at one of its Chinese factories by suspending business with the offending supplier, Dongguan Shinyang Electronics. Following further investigation by local authorities, reports Reuters, the Korean company now says that the illegal underage workers were employed by a subcontractor to the Dongguan supplier rather than the factory operator itself. Technically, therefore, the fault is thought to reside in the third-party firm and Samsung is resuming production at the Dongguan factory from today.

As a measure of its disapproval for the lapse in oversight, Samsung is reducing its orders to Dongguan by 30 percent. Though that’s touted as upholding…

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