Mystery Nokia handset appears in leaked photos, could be Lumia 830

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Microsoft is currently preparing at least three new Windows Phone 8.1 devices for release this year, including a 4.7-inch mid-range “Superman” handset, a low-end “Rock” device, and its “McLaren” flagship Windows Phone with the new 3D Touch features. Leaked photos posted to popular Chinese microblogging site Weibo suggest there could be another Windows Phone 8.1 handset on the way, which may fill the mid-range gap and replace the Lumia 820. The mysterious device appears to use an aluminum frame with a polycarbonate back, a construction both the Lumia 925 and Lumia 930 use. WPDang speculates that this could be the Nokia Lumia 830.

The rear of this unknown Lumia also includes a large and flat camera housing, suggesting that it won’t…

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Facebook conducted hundreds of psychological experiments with few boundaries: WSJ

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Facebook has come under fire this week for a controversial experiment it performed on 689,000 of its users in 2012. The experiment, in which it promoted either positive or negative comments in a percentage of its users’ news feeds, was orchestrated by the company’s Data Science team. The team, founded in 2007, is made up of around 30 doctors, scientists, and ex-academics who The Wall Street Journal reports have been able to conduct hundreds of tests on Facebook’s 1.3 billion users with few boundaries or limitations.

The Wall Street Journal describes one such test, in which thousands of Facebook users received a message from the company. The message said the affected users were to be blocked from the social network because Facebook…

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Microsoft’s smartwatch is reportedly a fitness band with smartphone notifications

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Microsoft’s smartwatch has long been rumored as a device that competes with Android Wear, Samsung’s Gear watches, and any future hardware from Apple, but it might not take the form of a watch. Windows watcher Paul Thurrott reports that Microsoft’s smartwatch will actually be a fitness wristband with multiple sensors designed to track steps, calories burned, and heart rate. Thurrott’s report matches similar recent rumors of a Microsoft smartwatch that continuously measures heart rate through the day and night.

Images in a recent patent filing from Microsoft could offer an early glimpse at where the company is heading with its fitness band. The patent filing from May includes hardware that resembles a fitness band with icons for running…

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‘Reading Rainbow’ will come to Android after closing Kickstarter at over $5.4 million

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LeVar Burton’s Kickstarter campaign to bring Reading Rainbow to more platforms and to thousands of classrooms for free closed today with funding of over $5.4 million — not including the additional $1 million that Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane plans to donate. Having hit its ambitious $5 million stretch goal, Burton’s company will now be bringing Reading Rainbow to Android as well as the Xbox, PlayStation, Apple TV, and Roku. Originally, Burton had only announced plans to bring Reading Rainbow to the web. Reading Rainbow‘s campaign estimates that the web portion should be ready by next May.

Some of the additional funding is also going toward giving schools free access to Reading Rainbow‘s website and apps. Burton plans to provide…

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LG is the first smartphone maker to join Google’s Open Automotive Alliance

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“Android Everywhere” was the theme of Google I/O this year, and one of the new frontiers the company is tackling is the car. That’s not a brand-new focus, however — back at CES, Google announced the Open Automotive Alliance, its attempt at getting both automakers and technology companies on the same page. The latest company to join up with the alliance is LG — while a number of companies like Panasonic and Nvidia sit alongside automakers like Audi and Honda, LG marks the first handset maker to put its weight behind Google’s initiative.

Google hasn’t yet released details on what specific handsets will work with Android Auto — but it seems like a safe bet that LG’s future smartphones will work with the new system. And if the company keeps…

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Thirty genetic tests later, Bigfoot still doesn’t exist

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For all of the grainy video footage, Bigfoot has never been revealed as anything more than a resilient hoax, and a new study only provides more evidence for the complete lack of evidence: after genetically testing 30 hair samples attributed to Bigfoot by museums and amateur hunters, a team of scientists was unable to match the samples to a new species, as USA Today reports. There were bears; there were dogs; there was a porcupine. But no Bigfoot, no yeti, no sasquatch.

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Sheryl Sandberg apologizes for Facebook’s News Feed experiment: ‘we never meant to upset you’

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Facebook has come under fire in the last few days after it was revealed the company had altered the news feeds of nearly 700,000 users in a psychological experiment. The scientists behind the experiment quickly put together an apology and explained the tests Facebook ran, but now one of the company’s top executives is speaking out about the project. COO Sheryl Sandberg called the experiment “poorly timed” and went on to apologize, reports The Wall Street Journal. “This was part of ongoing research companies do to test different products, and that was what it was; it was poorly communicated,” said Sandberg. “And for that communication we apologize. We never meant to upset you.”

During the one-week experiment, which took place in 2012,…

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Scientists taught a computer to detect future teen binge drinkers

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When it comes to drug and alcohol abuse, the best interventions are those implemented as early as possible. That’s why researchers are increasingly focused on determining which risk factors spur behaviors like binge drinking and alcohol addiction, as well as how they interact. But integrating all that information accurately hasn’t always been easy. Now, a study published today in Nature describes how researchers “taught” a computer to weigh the risk factors associated with teenage binge drinking using data from 14-year-olds. And the results, says lead study author and cognitive neuroscientist Robert Whelan, are promising: the computer was able to predict future adolescent binge drinkers with “70 percent accuracy.”

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Watch the trailer for the final season of ‘The Killing’

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Netflix is giving fans a first look at the fourth and final season of The Killing. It’s been a winding road for the brooding crime series. AMC cancelled it after its second season, then reconsidered and partnered with Netflix, where the show had been a hit. Netflix paid AMC a premium to let viewers stream it earlier than they normally could — a deal that gave AMC enough cash to bring it back for a third season. After that, it was canceled once again, before Netflix itself picked up the show as an original series.

Now, The Killing’s final season hits Netflix on August 1st with a six-episode arc. From what can be gleaned in the new trailer — besides the show’s characteristic melancholy and shots of Seattle vistas — detectives Stephen…

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These apps might trick you into finally backing up your photos

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Someday, perhaps soon, you’re going to drop your phone in the toilet. You’ll be pretty upset when you realize how much it’s going to cost you to replace it. What might take longer to remember is how many photos, videos, and screenshots you lost. The insane text your cousin sent you when he was high, the selfie you took at Cape Canaveral, the last photo you took of your dog before he passed away: all potentially lost.

The solution is to make sure those photos are backed up somewhere in the cloud, preferably automatically. There are several existing services that can do it, but they’re alternately annoying and complicated — and so all too often just don’t get used. But two companies think they have found a way to get consumers to actually…

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Amazon refuses to settle with FTC over in-app purchases, says it’s ready for legal fight

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Amazon won’t submit to the FTC’s demands over in-app purchases made by children. Yesterday, the company sent this letter to the FTC warning that it’s prepared to engage the commission in a courtroom fight over the issue. Bowing to the FTC’s wishes would require Amazon to pay significant fines and reach a settlement modeled after the one Apple announced earlier this year. In January, CEO Tim Cook said his company decided against “a long and distracting legal fight” with the FTC, instead choosing to pay out a total of $32.5 million to 37,000 customers who claimed that their kids had made in-app purchases without permission. Apple also put in place new App Store safeguards that require explicit parental consent when buying virtual goods.

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‘Deliver Us From Evil’ review

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Considering how slapped-together and shoddy some horror movies seem, it’s always a bit remarkable to encounter one that takes itself seriously and aspires to more than just a few cheap scares. That doesn’t make them good, though. Deliver Us From Evil is the latest fright film from director Scott Derrickson, who came onto the scene nine years ago with The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and most recently delivered the underrated Sinister. (In between, he directed the god-awful remake of The Day the…

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Target asks its customers to kindly not shop while armed with guns

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Target is the latest US business that’s politely asking gun-rights activists to keep their firearms out of its stores. CEO John Mulligan today published an open letter on the “complex issue” of open carry laws, which have come under focus in recent months thanks to brazen, audacious demonstrations by Open Carry Texas. The group’s members have carried assault rifles into restaurants, stores, and other public settings. Their antics and images from the events have infuriated gun control advocates across the country, and even drawn scorn from the NRA — though only briefly. Now, like Starbucks and Chipotle before it, Target is discouraging customers from walking through its shopping aisles with a loaded gun in tow. “Bringing firearms to…

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Pablo Escobar’s very happy hippos

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There are hippos in Colombia, thanks to the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar. BBC News‘ William Kremer writes that the cocaine trafficker once built himself a zoo filled with exotic wildlife. Following Escobar’s death, his animals were relocated across the country — all except the hippos. There had initially only been four, but the creature’s numbers have swelled up to 50, and possibly many more have escaped and are now flourishing in Colombia’s tropical climate. The article also examines the various attempts that have been made to contend with these “living, breathing metaphors for Escobar’s place in Colombia’s national psyche.”

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Microsoft seeks Office for Android testers as it readies tablet version

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Microsoft may have released a basic Office app for Android phones almost a year ago, but the company is now building a suite designed specifically for Android tablets. The upcoming release, expected later this year, will join Microsoft’s Office for iPad version as the second major tablet-focused push for the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the company is currently preparing a private beta test for the Office Android tablet version, and is accepting participants through a special pre-release program. Companies and individuals can register their interest in testing pre-release versions of Office over at Microsoft’s SharePoint site.

Office for Android tablets is expected to include a…

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Congress quietly removes annual reporting requirement for paid travel

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Congress has been criticized for many things in recent months — fumbling on immigration reform, failing to pass basic bills for state services, leaving the longterm unemployed without help — you name it. Now you can add obscuring details of who’s paying for lawmakers’ travel to the list. As first observed by National Journal, the House Ethics Committee — which is in charge of establishing the rules by which Congress operates — quietly removed a requirement to list “sponsored travel” on their annual financial disclosure forms. Sponsored travel refers to those trips lawmakers take that are paid for by groups outside Congress, often agenda-based or lobbying organizations. The trips have a tendency to be lavish and extend to lawmakers’…

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T-Mobile launching Nokia’s Lumia 635 with Windows Phone 8.1 on July 5th

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T-Mobile will be the first major US carrier to release a Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone. The company is launching Nokia’s Lumia 635 this Saturday, July 5th. But you’ll only be able to buy it from the Home Shopping Network on that date, and only with a prepaid Simple Choice plan. T-Mobile has apparently thought it best to stagger the phone’s release; the following week on July 9th, Nokia’s colorful, inexpensive device will go on sale at the carrier’s website for $0 down and 24 monthly payments of $7 (totaling $168) on all postpaid Simple Choice plans. It’ll then head to T-Mobile stores beginning July 16th for a “promotional price” of $99, and MetroPCS will carry the Lumia 635 as of July 18th. The Lumia 635 offers a slight step up from the…

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FAA will likely miss 2015 deadline to let companies fly drones, report says

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The Federal Aviation Administration likely won’t be ready to let commercial drones take to the skies in September 2015, despite a recent law directing it to do so, a government audit has found. The report, released last week by the Department of Transportation’s inspector general’s office, found that the FAA is “significantly behind schedule” and that there are still “significant technological, regulatory, and management barriers” preventing the FAA from integrating drones into the national airspace.

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On the man trying to treat cancer with scorpion venom

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Cancer research has seen a boom in the last several months. From modifying the measles virus to fight cancer cells to blowing up malignant cells with new drugs, multiple exciting avenues of treatment are currently being evaluated. Brain cancer researcher Jim Olson wants to add to this body of research, but what he proffers is pretty radical. In order to better isolate malignant cells when patients are under the knife, Olson wants doctors to rely on what he calls Tumor Paint, a fluorescent compound based on the venom from the deadly deathstalker scorpion. Read the whole story at Wired.

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