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For those who want to watch the world burn, there’s Geostorm

This is probably how Geostorm came about: at some point a year or two ago, a bunch of Warner Bros. executives were sitting in front of a dartboard marked “big American concerns,” trying to decide what their next disaster film should be about besides digital tsunamis and improbably exploding buildings. On the dartboard: terrorism, climate change, natural disasters, worldwide political conflict, the Democrats, the Republicans, Donald Trump, isolationism, globalism, hackers and identity theft, technological changes, scientific overreach, family tensions, and adorable kids getting separated from their beloved doggos. “How many darts do we throw?” asked one exec. “Eh, this seems like a lot of work,” said another, to cover up the fact that he...

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Alphabet’s Project Loon deploys LTE balloons in Puerto Rico

Alphabet’s Project Loon has officially deployed its LTE balloons to Puerto Rico, the team announced this afternoon. In a blog penned by Project Loon head Alastair Westgarth, the company says it’s working with the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Aviation Authority, FEMA, and other cellular spectrum and aviation authorities to bring connectivity to parts of the island still suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Loon’s official LTE partner for the initiative is AT&T, which is helping Loon use its fleet of stratospheric helium balloons to bring functions like text messaging and minor web browsing access to Puerto Rico residents who have LTE-equipped smartphones.

“We’ve never deployed Project Loon connectivity from...

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Nokia’s retro 3310 3G is coming to the US for $60 on October 29th

The 3G version of Nokia’s resurrected 3310 was announced in September as theoretically working in the US, unlike the 2G version released earlier this year. But at the time HMD Global, which owns the rights to Nokia phones, didn’t say when (or even if) the 3310 3G would be coming to the US.

Now, we know the answer to both of those questions: the phone is available for preorder starting today at Best Buy for $59.99, with the phone set to release on October 29th. If you’re thinking about picking one up, be aware that it should work on AT&T and T-Mobile because both are GSM networks, but it won’t work with Verizon and Sprint’s CDMA ones.

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Apple sued by Japanese company that owns Animoji trademark

A Japanese company, which owns the trademark for “Animoji” in the US, is suing Apple for using the word to name its iPhone X feature.

The Tokyo-based company, Emonster, filed the suit on Wednesday in US federal court, saying, “Apple made the conscious decision to try to pilfer the name for itself.” The company’s CEO, Enrique Bonansea, is a US citizen living in Japan.

Emonster’s Animoji app on iOS, which shares the same name as Apple’s iPhone X feature.

Emonster owns an iOS app called Animoji that launched in 2014, which lets people send emoji that are animated in a loop like GIFs. The app asks you to compose the message kind of like how you would format a line of code in Python or Javascript, with parentheses and...

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A Silent Voice shows why Kyoto Animation is one of the top animation s

Kyoto Animation’s work isn’t quite like anyone else’s. The style of its animation and storytelling separate the studio from the majority of other Japanese companies. It’s known for high production values compared to its contemporaries; Kyoto’s smooth, intricate animation is used for both subtle and spectacular sequences while having very stylized, but realistically detailed backgrounds.

Kyoto Animation (often abbreviated KyoAni) gets more distinctive results than most studios in part because unlike in much of the Japanese animation industry, its animators are salaried employees. Japanese animation studios typically hire most of their artists as freelancers and pay them a rate for each frame they produce. That incentives speed over...

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Razer made a webcam with a selfie light for streamers

Razer launched two new products today for streamers: the Razer Seiren X portable microphone and the Razer Kiyo webcam with a selfie light. These two products are Razer's latest attempt to become the popular choice for microphones and webcams, which people normally don't go to it for.

The Razer Kiyo webcam comes with an adjustable ring light with twelve white LEDs, which you can control to twelve levels of brightness. It has a four-megapixel camera that can record up to 1080p at 30 fps or 720p at 60 fps, and it’s compatible with popular streaming tools XSplit and Open Broadcaster Software. The Kiyo comes with a 1.5 meter braided cable terminating in a USB 2.0 connection. It’ll sell for $99.99.

The webcam looks good in theory, but it faces...

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YouTube Red greenlights a Tinder-themed romantic comedy series called

YouTube Red just greenlit a scripted comedy series about Tinder, Deadline reports. Swipe Right, written by and starring Carly Craig (Role Models), is about a mother and her two daughters navigating app-based dating in different ways.

Swipe Right is inspired by Craig’s real life, according to Deadline. She plays a woman who, frustrated with still being single on her 35th birthday, decides to go on dates with all of her 252 Tinder matches. Her younger sister is bored of being married and wants to start looking for romantic alternatives, while her recently widowed mother also decides to try online dating.

YouTube Red has greenlit several other scripted series recently, including an e-sports comedy from Dan Harmon and a drama series...

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One Video: Family Don’t Matter by Young Thug

Every week, a slew of new music videos hits the web. Watching them at your desk is not time theft because you deserve it; think of it as a nice reward for surviving another work week. But what if you don’t have time to watch every video — maybe you have a deadline, a hungry pet, or other grown-up concerns. In consideration of your schedule, Lizzie and Kaitlyn bring you a series called One Video. Each week we’ll tell you “one video” you need to watch, why, and for how long.

This week’s video: “Family Don’t Matter” by Young Thug ft. Millie Go Lightly

Lizzie: This week, like every week now, has lasted an entire calendar year, except with way fewer music videos than you might expect in that time frame. Taylor Swift dropped another lyric vid,...

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The movement to regulate Facebook is attracting powerful new allies

This week, a bipartisan group of US senators took the first steps toward regulating online political advertising in a manner similar to the way the government already regulates these ads in traditional media. Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Mark Warner (VA), joined by Republican Sen. John McCain (AZ), say their Honest Ads Act will protect against foreign interference in elections by requiring platforms like Facebook to make details about ads’ buyers, pricing, and targeting publicly available.

Advocates cheered the move, which they said represented a long-overdue step to apply the same standards of transparency and fairness to online ads that have long been the norm for print, radio, and television. At the same time, the bill’s...

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This headless robotic cat pillow will wag its way into your heart

Do you enjoy the sensation of petting a cat or dog, but hate the unconditional love and the fact that they have heads and limbs? Japanese company Yukai Engineering has unveiled the solution to this classic conundrum with Qoobo: a soft, round cushion with a robotic tail that reacts to strokes, just as a loving pet would.

“Tails: a communication tool that doesn’t require words,” the demo video begins. It goes on to show everyone who might find peace with the “cushion-tailed therapy robot”: young people living alone in immaculate apartments, children, the elderly. The process to healing is easy: just give it a good pat and watch the cushion’s tail wag softly in response. It’ll also wag and curl the tail on its own, via an accelerometer in...

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