Google Maps can now tell you the exact distance between two points

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Google Maps is making it a whole lot easier to find out exactly how far apart any two (or more) points are on a map. As of yesterday, you can now right click anywhere on Google Maps on the web and choose “measure distance” to bring up a digital ruler that’ll tell you just how far away its final point is. You aren’t confined to the streets either: Maps can measure from any one point to another, be it in the ocean, on a building, or on the other side of the globe. Multiple points can be dropped down too, allowing the ruler to change directions.

Though Google Maps has always given distance measurements when routing directions, those have been confined to whatever paths are along the route. If you wanted to simply measure between two points…

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The Oculus Rift meat puppets are here

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Body swapping is a dream of both science fiction and present-day virtual reality. What would it be like to spend a day as a model, or a rock star, or a child? Designer Yifei Chai wants his Pretender Project to answer that very question. But in the process, he’s learning how hard it can be to condense a collective cultural dream into a real project.

Visit the Royal College of Art to see Chai’s project, and you might be asked to don a pair of Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles and stand in front of a Kinect. Suddenly, you’ll be seeing out of someone else’s eyes — the eyes of your “avatar,” probably Chai. Put your hand up, and an electric current will lift his too. Bend your elbow, and his will follow, clumsily. It’s not just imitation….

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Bitcoin Foundation Hires Lobbying Group To Take The Cryptocurrency To Washington

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Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 1.39.34 PM Today the Bitcoin Foundation announced that it has retained a lobbying group to press its interests in the nations capital.  The selected firm, Thorsen French Advocacy, will “introduce Bitcoin and the foundation to Capitol Hill offices” according to the Foundation. Consider it a sign of the times. Lobbying and political activity has risen among technology companies, as their… Read More

These two guys think cutting things with spoons will be their next viral hit

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Spoons are meant for soup, yogurt, and other foods that, looked at another way, could be considered drinks. But did you know that the spoon can also be used to cut things? In fact, any relatively strong piece of material with a flat side can be used to cut things, and that discovery seems to be the inspiration for Cut Dat Commentary, a four-month-old YouTube channel starring a man in an apron who uses a spoon to cut various foods, such as a cucumber, ghost pepper, or American cheese, on a wooden cutting board.

We never see the man’s face, only his anonymous arms attacking the food. He approaches first with faux precision, then usually just starts hacking. Most of the short videos end with a mangled piece of fruit or vegetable (see the M…

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The leader behind Google’s wildest projects joins Zynga’s board of directors

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Ever since she left DARPA to lead Google’s ATAP group, Regina Dugan has focused on technologies that are both ambitious and impressive. She’s the leader behind the modular phones of Project Ara and the 3D-vision tablets of Project Tango. Now she’s adding another, unexpected line to her resume: member of Zynga’s board of directors.

Zynga has found itself needing some reinvention, and as it approaches the one-year anniversary of naming former Microsoft executive Don Mattrick as CEO, it’s hoping Dugan will help come up with product ideas. Appointments to corporate boards generally don’t make for big changes, but Zynga says that Dugan will be more involved in product decisions as a part of the “product committee.” “I believe we need to…

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Privacy And Religious Groups Condemn NSA Surveillance Of Muslim Americans

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Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 11.42.28 AM Response to a recent report detailing surveillance of Muslim Americans by the United States government has been swift, and negative. Condemnation has piled up from privacy groups, religious organizations alike. Delivering on a long-held promise, journalist Glenn Greenwald today published the names of five prominent Muslim Americans who were under governmental surveillance for years. The… Read More

Googler (And Former DARPA Director) Regina Dugan Joins Zynga’s Board Of Directors

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Regina Dugan Zynga is announcing a new addition to its board of directors — Regina E. Dugan, vice president of engineering and head of the Advanced Technology and Projects group at Google.
In a memo sent to the company’s employees, CEO Don Mattrick said Dugan will be “a true catalyst for creative thinking at Zynga.” As highlighted at the recent Google I/O developer conference… Read More

Experience the shocking power of Britney Spears without Auto-Tune

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Auto-Tune has been embraced by the music industry for its ability to create polished, listenable recordings when an artist lacks the natural talent to hit every note. That’s the nice way of saying it. Engineers also turn to Auto-Tune when dealing with truly wretched “singers.” And they’re using it everywhere. All the time. Pop star Britney Spears became the latest showcase of all that Auto-Tune makes possible this month after an unaltered studio session voice track leaked online. It’s for a song called “Alien” from Spears’ 2013 album Britney Jean. The finished song (with copious amounts of pitch correction) can be heard here. This version sounds nothing like that. Spears, who by now should be a recording studio veteran in every sense, is…

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Burned

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fire It’s hard to write a story without a protagonist, but here goes. In the past week, Tinder’s former VP of Marketing Whitney Wolfe filed a complaint with the California courts claiming that she was sexually harassed and discriminated against at work, stripped of her co-founder title, and pushed out of the company unfairly. The challenge in telling this story, as is very common… Read More

PayPal Makes Good On Its Braintree Acquisition With Launch Of New Developer Tools, The Braintree “v.zero SDK”

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drop in UI Payments gateway Braintree is making its first significant product announcement since its acquisition by PayPal last year, with the launch of a jointly developed Braintree SDK (software development kit) for developers, which now features PayPal integration. The new toolset is being called the “Braintree v.zero SDK” to indicate how it’s been rebuilt from the ground up, and is… Read More

The second ‘Mockingjay’ trailer hints at revolution

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The first half of Mockingjay, the final installment in the Hunger Games series, won’t arrive until November. We’re over a year away from the conclusion. But the filmmakers are already seeding teasers that hint at its biggest idea: that a world exists outside the ruthless government of Panem. Like the first one, this is supposedly an address from President Snow, but something is about to go very wrong. It’s very simple — the video gives away very little about what we’ll actually see in the film. It also keeps up the pretense of being propaganda, sent straight from the sinister Capitol to your screen. Of course, if The Hunger Games has taught us anything, it’s that the line between entertainment, art, and propaganda is finer than we’d like…

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