Web host Hostinger says data breach may affect 14 million customers

    Summary
    Hostinger said it has reset user passwords as a “precautionary measure” after it detected unauthorized access to a database containing information on millions of its customers. The breach is said to have happened on Thursday. The company said in a blog post it received an alert that one of its servers was improperly accessed. Using an access token found on the server, which can give access to systems without needing a username or a password, the hacker gained further access to the company’s systems, including an API database containing customer usernames, email addresses, and scrambled passwords. It’s not known which kind of hashing algorithm was used. Depending on the algorithm used, an attacker may be able to unscramble user passwords. Hostinger said the API database stored about 14 million customers records. The company has more than 29 million customers on its books. “We have restricted the vulnerable system, and such access is no longer available,” said Daugirdas Jankus, Hostinger’s chief marketing officer. “We are in contact with the respective authorities,” said Jankus. [image: hostinger] An email from Hostinger explaining the data breach. (Image: supplied) News of the breach broke overnight. According to the company’s status page, affected customers have already received an email to reset their passwords. The company said that financial data was not compromised, nor was customer website files or data affected. But one customer who was affected by the breach accused the company of being potentially “misleading” about the scope of the breach. A chat log seen by TechCrunch shows a customer support representative telling the customer it was “correct” that customers’ financial data can be retrieved by the API but that the company does “not store any payment data.” Hostinger uses multiple payment processors, the representative told the customer, but did not name them. “They say they do not store payment details locally, but they have an API that can pull this information from the payment processor and the attacker had access to it,” the customer told TechCrunch. We’ve reached out to Hostinger for more, but a spokesperson didn’t immediately comment when reached by TechCrunch. *Related stories:* - MoviePass exposed thousands of unencrypted customer card numbers - StockX was hacked, exposing millions of customers’ data - Slack resets user passwords after 2015 data breach - Capital One breach also hit other major companies, say researchers - An exposed password let a hacker access internal Comodo files - Security lapse exposed weak points on Honda’s internal network

    Original Content podcast: Netflix’s ‘Red Sea Diving Resort’ awkwardly mixes fiction and reality

    Summary
    “The Red Sea Diving Resort,” a new film on Netflix, is based on the true story of Mossad agents who took over an abandoned holiday resort in Sudan to smuggle Jewish Ethiopian refugees out of the country. As we explain in the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, the film feels like it’s made in the “Argo” mold, fashioning a political thriller out of a too-crazy-for-fiction events. But it’s not as well-made as “Argo,” while struggling with the same challenges — mixing serious and comedic tones, and balancing real-world politics with blockbuster thrills. The balance feels particularly awkward with “Captain America” actor Chris Evans playing the Mossad agent leading the operation. He’s not bad in the role, but there’s not much substance or complexity to it, and his presence underlines the feeling that we’re watching a Hollywood fantasy. The film also skimps on providing any broader political context. Maybe it deserves credit for not holding the audience’s hand, but as a result, all we know who the good guys are and who the bad guys. Meanwhile, none of the refugees — not even Kabede, who’s played by Michael K. Williams of “The Wire” — fully emerges a three-dimensional character. Before our review, we discuss the apparent end of Disney and Sony’s agreement making Spider-Man part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, news that prompted outrage and petitions from unhappy fans. You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!) And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down: 0:00 Intro 2:25 Spider-Man news 14:37 “Red Sea Diving Resort” review 37:02 “Red Sea Diving Resort” spoiler discussion

    The risks of amoral A.I.

    Summary
    Kyle Dent Contributor Kyle Dent is a Research Area Manager for PARC, a Xerox Company, focused on the interplay between people and technology. He also leads the ethics review committee at PARC. Artificial intelligence is now being used to make decisions about lives, livelihoods, and interactions in the real world in ways that pose real risks to people. We were all skeptics once. Not that long ago, conventional wisdom held that machine intelligence showed great promise, but it was always just a few years away. Today there is absolute faith that the future has arrived. It’s not that surprising with cars that (sometimes and under certain conditions) drive themselves and software that beats humans at games like chess and Go. You can’t blame people for being impressed. But board games, even complicated ones, are a far cry from the messiness and uncertainty of real-life, and autonomous cars still aren’t actually sharing the road with us (at least not without some catastrophic failures). AI is being used in a surprising number of applications, making judgments about job performance, hiring, loans, and criminal justice among many others. Most people are not aware of the potential risks in these judgments. They should be. There is a general feeling that technology is inherently neutral — even among many of those developing AI solutions. But AI developers make decisions and choose tradeoffs that affect outcomes. Developers are embedding ethical choices within the technology but without thinking about their decisions in those terms. These tradeoffs are usually technical and subtle, and the downstream implications are not always obvious at the point the decisions are made. The fatal Uber accident in Tempe, Arizona, is a (not-subtle) but good illustrative example that makes it easy to see how it happens. The autonomous vehicle system actually detected the pedestrian in time to stop but the developers had tweaked the emergency braking system in favor of not braking too much, balancing a tradeoff between jerky driving and safety. The Uber developers opted for the more commercially viable choice. Eventually autonomous driving technology will improve to a point that allows for both safety and smooth driving, but will we put autonomous cars on the road before that happens? Profit interests are pushing hard to get them on the road immediately. Uber in fatal crash detected pedestrian but had emergency braking disabled Physical risks pose an obvious danger, but there has been real harm from automated decision-making systems as well. AI does, in fact, have the potential to benefit the world. Ideally, we mitigate for the downsides in order to get the benefits with minimal harm. A significant risk is that we advance the use of AI technology at the cost of reducing individual human rights. We’re already seeing that happen. One important example is that the right to appeal judicial decisions is weakened when AI tools are involved. In many other cases, individuals don’t even know that a choice not to hire, promote, or extend a loan to them was informed by a statistical algorithm. *Buyer Beware* Buyers of the technology are at a disadvantage when they know so much less about it than the sellers do. For the most part decision makers are not equipped to evaluate intelligent systems. In economic terms, there is an information asymmetry that puts AI developers in a more powerful position over those who might use it. (Side note: the subjects of AI decisions generally have no power at all.) The nature of AI is that you simply trust (or not) the decisions it makes. You can’t ask technology why it decided something or if it considered other alternatives or suggest hypotheticals to explore variations on the question you asked. Given the current trust in technology, vendors’ promises about a cheaper and faster way to get the job done can be very enticing. So far, we as a society have not had a way to assess the value of algorithms against the costs they impose on society. There has been very little public discussion even when government entities decide to adopt new AI solutions. Worse than that, information about the data used for training the system plus its weighting schemes, model selection, and other choices vendors make while developing the software are deemed trade secrets and therefore not available for discussion. Image via Getty Images / sorbetto The Yale Journal of Law and Technology published a paper by Robert Brauneis and Ellen P. Goodman where they describe their efforts to test the transparency around government adoption of data analytics tools for predictive algorithms. They filed forty-two open records requests to various public agencies about their use of decision-making support tools. Their “specific goal was to assess whether open records processes would enable citizens to discover what policy judgments these algorithms embody and to evaluate their utility and fairness”. Nearly all of the agencies involved were either unwilling or unable to provide information that could lead to an understanding of how the algorithms worked to decide citizens’ fates. Government record-keeping was one of the biggest problems, but companies’ aggressive trade secret and confidentiality claims were also a significant factor. Using data-driven risk assessment tools can be useful especially in cases identifying low-risk individuals who can benefit from reduced prison sentences. Reduced or waived sentences alleviate stresses on the prison system and benefit the individuals, their families, and communities as well. Despite the possible upsides, if these tools interfere with Constitutional rights to due process, they are not worth the risk. All of us have the right to question the accuracy and relevance of information used in judicial proceedings and in many other situations as well. Unfortunately for the citizens of Wisconsin, the argument that a company’s profit interest outweighs a defendant’s right to due process was affirmed by that state’s supreme court in 2016. *Fairness is in the Eye of the Beholder* Of course, human judgment is biased too. Indeed, professional cultures have had to evolve to address it. Judges for example, strive to separate their prejudices from their judgments, and there are processes to challenge the fairness of judicial decisions. In the United States, the 1968 Fair Housing Act was passed to ensure that real-estate professionals conduct their business without discriminating against clients. Technology companies do not have such a culture. Recent news has shown just the opposite. For individual AI developers, the focus is on getting the algorithms correct with high accuracy for whatever definition of accuracy they assume in their modeling. I recently listened to a podcast where the conversation wondered whether talk about bias in AI wasn’t holding machines to a different standard than humans—seeming to suggest that machines were being put at a disadvantage in some imagined competition with humans. As true technology believers, the host and guest eventually concluded that once AI researchers have solved the machine bias problem, we’ll have a new, even better standard for humans to live up to, and at that point the machines can teach humans how to avoid bias. The implication is that there is an objective answer out there, and while we humans have struggled to find it, the machines can show us the way. The truth is that in many cases there are contradictory notions about what it means to be fair. A handful of research papers have come out in the past couple of years that tackle the question of fairness from a statistical and mathematical point-of-view. One of the papers, for example, formalizes some basic criteria to determine if a decision is fair. In their formalization, in most situations, differing ideas about what it means to be fair are not just different but actually incompatible. A single objective solution that can be called fair simply doesn’t exist, making it impossible for statistically trained machines to answer these questions. Considered in this light, a conversation about machines giving human beings lessons in fairness sounds more like theater of the absurd than a purported thoughtful conversation about the issues involved. Image courtesy of TechCrunch/Bryce Durbin When there are questions of bias, a discussion is necessary. What it means to be fair in contexts like criminal sentencing, granting loans, job and college opportunities, for example, have not been settled and unfortunately contain political elements. We’re being asked to join in an illusion that artificial intelligence can somehow de-politicize these issues. The fact is, the technology embodies a particular stance, but we don’t know what it is. Technologists with their heads down focused on algorithms are determining important structural issues and making policy choices. This removes the collective conversation and cuts off input from other points-of-view. Sociologists, historians, political scientists, and above all stakeholders within the community would have a lot to contribute to the debate. Applying AI for these tricky problems paints a veneer of science that tries to dole out apolitical solutions to difficult questions. *Who Will Watch the (AI) Watchers?* One major driver of the current trend to adopt AI solutions is that the negative externalities from the use of AI are not borne by the companies developing it. Typically, we address this situation with government regulation. Industrial pollution, for example, is restricted because it creates a future cost to society. We also use regulation to protect individuals in situations where they may come to harm. Both of these potential negative consequences exist in our current uses of AI. For self-driving cars, there are already regulatory bodies involved, so we can expect a public dialog about when and in what ways AI driven vehicles can be used. What about the other uses of AI? Currently, except for some action by New York City, there is exactly zero regulation around the use of AI. The most basic assurances of algorithmic accountability are not guaranteed for either users of technology or the subjects of automated decision making. [image: GettyImages 823303786] Image via Getty Images / nadia_bormotova Unfortunately, we can’t leave it to companies to police themselves. Facebook’s slogan, “Move fast and break things” has been retired, but the mindset and the culture persist throughout Silicon Valley. An attitude of doing what you think is best and apologizing later continues to dominate. This has apparently been effective when building systems to upsell consumers or connect riders with drivers. It becomes completely unacceptable when you make decisions affecting people’s lives. Even if well-intentioned, the researchers and developers writing the code don’t have the training or, at the risk of offending some wonderful colleagues, the inclination to think about these issues. I’ve seen firsthand too many researchers who demonstrate a surprising nonchalance about the human impact. I recently attended an innovation conference just outside of Silicon Valley. One of the presentations included a doctored video of a very famous person delivering a speech that never actually took place. The manipulation of the video was completely imperceptible. When the researcher was asked about the implications of deceptive technology, she was dismissive of the question. Her answer was essentially, “I make the technology and then leave those questions to the social scientists to work out.” This is just one of the worst examples I’ve seen from many researchers who don’t have these issues on their radars. I suppose that requiring computer scientists to double major in moral philosophy isn’t practical, but the lack of concern is striking. Recently we learned that Amazon abandoned an in-house technology that they had been testing to select the best resumes from among their applicants. Amazon discovered that the system they created developed a preference for male candidates, in effect, penalizing women who applied. In this case, Amazon was sufficiently motivated to ensure their own technology was working as effectively as possible, but will other companies be as vigilant? As a matter of fact, Reuters reports that other companies are blithely moving ahead with AI for hiring. A third-party vendor selling such technology actually has no incentive to test that it’s not biased unless customers demand it, and as I mentioned, decision makers are mostly not in a position to have that conversation. Again, human bias plays a part in hiring too. But companies can and should deal with that. With machine learning, they can’t be sure what discriminatory features the system might learn. Absent the market forces, unless companies are compelled to be transparent about the development and their use of opaque technology in domains where fairness matters, it’s not going to happen. Accountability and transparency are paramount to safely using AI in real-world applications. Regulations could require access to basic information about the technology. Since no solution is completely accurate, the regulation should allow adopters to understand the effects of errors. Are errors relatively minor or major? Uber’s use of AI killed a pedestrian. How bad is the worst-case scenario in other applications? How are algorithms trained? What data was used for training and how was it assessed to determine its fitness for the intended purpose? Does it truly represent the people under consideration? Does it contain biases? Only by having access to this kind of information can stakeholders make informed decisions about appropriate risks and tradeoffs. At this point, we might have to face the fact that our current uses of AI are getting ahead of its capabilities and that using it safely requires a lot more thought than it’s getting now.

    Crypto means cryptotheology

    Summary
    Cryptocurrencies are a religion as much as they are a technology. They almost have to be, given their adherents’ gargantuan ambition of fundamentally changing how the world works. This means they attract charlatans, lunatics, frauds, and false prophets, and furious battles are waged over doctrinal hairspliitting; but it also means they inspire intransigent beliefs which can, and do, unify many thousands of wildly different people across continents and time zones. This occurred to me while I was rereading Gibbon’s *Decline and Fall*, as one does, and in particular its depictions of the early days of the Christian faith: But whatever difference of opinion might subsist between the Orthodox [church], the Ebionites, and the Gnostics, concerning the divinity or the obligation of the Mosaic law, they were all equally animated by the same exclusive zeal; and by the same abhorrence for idolatry ..,. the established religions of Paganism were seen by the primitive Christians in a much more odious and formidable light. It was the universal sentiment both of the church and of heretics, that the daemons were the authors, the patrons, and the objects of idolatry. For *Orthodox church, Ebionites, and Gnostics*, you can read perhaps, “Bitcoin maximalists”, “Blockchain not bitcoin,” and “Ethereum maximalists.” They disagree bitterly, but one view they all share is a disdain verging and frequently exceeding contempt for fiat currencies, untokenized assets, and most other aspects of money and finance as they are currently constructed. Instead they share a deep belief in the superiority, and inevitable supremacy, very different world. The superstitious observances of public or private rites were carelessly practised, from education and habit, by the followers of the established religion. But as often as they occurred, they afforded the Christians an opportunity of declaring and confirming their zealous opposition. By these frequent protestations their attachment to the faith was continually fortified; and in proportion to the increase of zeal, they combated with the more ardor and success in the holy war, which they had undertaken against the empire of the demons. I think few will disagree that, similarly, many cryptocurrency devotees seek out and seize every “opportunity of declaring and confirming their zealous opposition” to government money, central banks, rival maximalists, and other features of the monetary, financial, and/or centralized status quo. The careless Polytheist, assailed by new and unexpected terrors, against which neither his priests nor his philosophers could afford him any certain protection, was very frequently terrified and subdued by the menace of eternal tortures. His fears might assist the progress of his faith and reason; and if he could once persuade himself to suspect that the Christian religion might possibly be true, it became an easy task to convince him that it was the safest and most prudent party that he could possibly embrace. Similarly I don’t think it’s controversial to note that prophecies of the hyperinflation and collapse of national currencies, the downfall of central banks and fractional reserve banking in general, etc., are not unheard of among some of the … edgier … cryptocurrency people. One might even refer to the notion of “preaching the gospel” of deflationary, censorship-resistant cryptocurrency, sometimes in the hopes of scaring everyone who hears this doomsaying into buying some Bitcoin as a hedge. Of course the religious parallels do not end with Gibbon. Cryptocurrencies were given to us not by a known, living, breathing, flawed human being, but by a pseudonymous verging-on-mythical quasi-demigod. (Cf eg “Satoshi’s Vision.”) Mythically speaking, that’s easily analogized to Prometheus granting humanity fire, or Moses bringing the stone tablets down from Mount Sinai. They have real and false prophets. There’s even a “Bitcoin Jesus.” And all promise a better world tomorrow, while demanding sacrifices and inconveniences today. My tongue is obviously in cheek here — but I’m not *entirely* unserious. Of course all money is ultimately backed by faith (cf “full faith and credit.”) But this is I think unquestionably more true of cryptocurrencies, especially because, a decade on from their creation, they have failed — so far! — to transform the world to a degree anything like their proclaimed potential. Bitcoin itself is apparently going from strength to strength, as can be seen in its increasing dominance of total cryptocurrency market capitalization, but it’s still beyond tiny compared to the rest of the financial world. Its total trading volume as I write this is roughly ~$15 billion per day, which admittedly sounds like a lot, but compared to the $5.1 *trillion* a day for the forex market as a whole, it’s roughly one-quarter of one percent. More importantly, Bitcoin continues to technically iterate (although I’ve grown skeptical about Lightning, which it seems to me will always suffer from all the end-user inconveniences of prepaid credit cards, with few balancing advantages) and has hovered near or above $10,000 in value for months now. But the uncertainties and investigations regarding Tether remain a threatening cloud on its horizon. As for other cryptocurrencies, though — well, these are complex times. Ethereum, the best-known and perhaps most interesting, has gone from a wave of DAO excitement shortly after its launch, which faltered, to a wave of ICO madness and “fat protocol” DApps (decentralized applications), which also faltered, to the latest wave and watchword, “DeFi” aka decentralized finance. This essentially aims to reinvent all of Wall Street and the City of London on the blockchain(s), in the long term. Meanwhile, the technical underpinnings that would allow Ethereum to scale to Wall Street size, known as “Ethereum 2.0,” remain more notional than real. I’m a big fan of Ethereum (my own pet crypto project is built on it) and I don’t think DeFi is doomed to failure … but under the circumstances I can understand skepticism creeping in among those who are not true believers. There are plenty of other technically interesting cryptocurrency initiatives: from privacy coins such as ZCash, Monero, and Grin, to the use of Tezos by Brazil’s fifth largest bank for security tokens (again, DeFi), to the growth and stabilization of Cosmos’s “internet of blockchains,” to Blockstack’s total-app-installs graph beginning to look a little more exponential than linear, albeit with still-tiny y-axis numbers. However, I think it’s also fair to say that now that cryptocurrencies are no longer new, unknown, and fascinating, interest among both individuals and enterprises who are *not* true believers has waned considerably. The cultural whiplash one experiences when transitioning from a conference full of people convinced they are building a new technology that will transform the fundamental order of the world, to outsiders (even technical outsiders) remarking “oh, is that still a thing?” is increasingly sharp. That was probably true of the Christians after they ceased to be new and interesting, though, and in the end the Christians conquered the most powerful empire in the world from within. I am definitely not prophesying the same outcome here. I continue to think cryptocurrencies will remain a financial alternative, albeit a very significant and important one, used only by a few percent of people. But I *am* saying that seeming increasingly distant from the external consensus reality, being driven by intransigent and sometimes bewildering faith as much as rational analysis, and ongoing associations with a cloud of crazy scandal and hangers-on snake-oil salespeople — all of which would be catastrophic signs for, say, a traditional new startup — can actually be indicators of the *strength*, not weakness, of a strange new religion. Something to bear in mind as we move into the second decade of cryptocurrencies.

    Week in Review: Google rips out its sweet tooth

    Summary
    Hey. This is Week-in-Review, where I give a heavy amount of analysis and/or rambling thoughts on one story while scouring the rest of the hundreds of stories that emerged on TechCrunch this week to surface my favorites for your reading pleasure. Last week, I talked about Snap’s bizarre decision to keep pursuing hardware without really changing their overarching strategy. ------------------------------ The big story Google isn’t so sweet these days. The company’s beloved naming scheme of alphabetizing sugary things dies with Android Pie. The company announced this week that they’re dumping the dessert scheme for a much more boring option. The new Android will be Android 10. Google has been one of those companies that has always liked to keep its quirkiness at the forefront of its brand. Multi-colored logos and bikes and hats with spinners and Nooglers and nap pods might have been the fringe elements of a Google employee’s first week on the job, but that’s what the company’s branding still evoked for a lot of people. The company’s more whimsical elements have realistically always been removed from the real world of its business interests, but at this point, the company may only be able to take away from the quirkiness of its brand, Google is just something different now. Rebrands always grab attention, and the companies always make broad, sweeping statements about the deep meaning about what the new logo or font or name mean to the mission of the product at hand. With Android 10, Google says that their chief concern was promoting the universality of the operating system’s branding. [W]e’ve heard feedback over the years that the names weren’t always understood by everyone in the global community. For example, L and R are not distinguishable when spoken in some languages. So when some people heard us say Android Lollipop out loud, it wasn’t intuitively clear that it referred to the version after KitKat. It’s even harder for new Android users, who are unfamiliar with the naming convention, to understand if their phone is running the latest version. We also know that pies are not a dessert in some places, and that marshmallows, while delicious, are not a popular treat in many parts of the world. There’s certainly room to question whether this decision has more to do with the fact that there aren’t too many desserts starting with the letter Q that immediately come to mind, or that Google marketing has decided to sanitize the Android brand with a corporate wash. Send me feedback on Twitter @lucasmtny or email lucas@techcrunch.com On to the rest of the week’s news. [image: Apple Card available today card on iPhoneXs screen 082019] Trends of the week Here are a few big news items from big companies, with green links to all the sweet, sweet added context: - *Apple’s credit card goes wide* The Apple Card might be the prettiest credit card in the wild, but as the iPhone-aligned credit card starts shipping to customers, we’ll find out soon whether its extra features are enough to take down more popular millennial cards. Read more about it here. - *Overstock’s CEO resigns amid bizarre “deep state” revelations * Libertarian tech CEOs are often a special kind of eccentric, but Overstock’s Patrick Byrne set a new bar for strange with his revelation that he had gotten sucked into a Trump-Russia scandal under the guise of helping unearth Hillary Clinton’s secrets. I don’t really understand it, and it seems he understood even less, but it cost him his job. Read more here. - *Now, even the scooters are autonomous *Segway seems to believe that it’s revolutionized the world of transportation a few times now, but its latest product is just a bit over-teched. The Segway Kickscooter T60 adds autonomous driving capabilities to the city electric scooter, but it doesn’t use them quite the way you might think. Read more here. [image: Facebook Currency Hearing] Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call GAFA Gaffes How did the top tech companies screw up this week? This clearly needs its own section, in order of badness: 1. *States looking to take on tech giants themselves:* [States to launch antitrust investigation into big tech companies, reports say] 2. *Facebook keeps learning more about how much it knew about CA: *[Facebook really doesn’t want you to read these emails] 3. *Not really a gaffe, but just embarrassing for Apple Card:* [Apple warns against storing Apple Card near leather or denim] Extra Crunch Our premium subscription service had another week of interesting deep dives. My colleagues and I made our way to Y Combinator Demo Days this week where we screened the 160+ startups pitching and picked some favorites from both days.. The best 11 startups from YC Demo Days (Day 1) “Eighty-four startups presented (read the full run-through of every company plus some early analysis here) and after chatting with investors, batch founders and of course, debating amongst ourselves, we’ve nailed down the 11 most promising startups to present during Day 1…” The top 12 startups from YC Demo Days (Day 2) “After two days of founders tirelessly pitching, we’ve reached the end of YC’s Summer 2019 Demo Days. TechCrunch witnessed more than 160 on-the-record startup pitches coming out of Y Combinator, spanning healthcare, B2B services, augmented reality and life-extending. Here are our favorites from Day 2…” Here are some of our other top reads this week for premium subscribers. This week, we published a some analysis on the latest YC class and also dug deep into the perks new employees get at some top companies. - *YC is doubling down in these investments in its latest batch* - *How Dropbox, Nike, Salesforce, MailChimp, Google and Pepsi welcome their new hires* Sign up for more newsletters in your inbox (including this one) here.

    10 new trailers you should watch this week

    Summary
    Photo: Warner Bros. I was excited to watch *Cold War*, the new film from *Ida* director Paweł Pawlikowski, now that it’s streaming on Amazon. Like *Ida*, *Cold War* is shot in gorgeous black and white and has a zoomed-in focus on the oppression felt by an individual during war. *Cold War* jumps forward again and again so we can see the isolating effects over time, which is a really neat way to structure a movie that’s trying to show the impact of a seemingly endless standoff. It effectively turns into a series of connected shorts, showing various blips in a couple’s life. What I found even more confusing was the relationship that it depicted. It’s torn apart and trampled again and again by war, then brought together again by a passion that’s never clearly developed.... Continue reading…

    This wireless charging pad might do two-thirds of what AirPower promised

    Summary
    Image: Zens It’s been nearly five months since one of the all-time great Friday news dumps: On March 29th, Apple abruptly canceled the AirPower wireless charging mat that would supposedly be able to charge your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods simultaneously no matter where you placed them. But wireless charging firm Zens is betting it can do some of what Apple couldn’t by introducing the Zens Liberty. Zens claims the Liberty uses a set of 16 overlapping wireless charging coils to let you charge your Qi-compatible devices from any spot on the mat — just like AirPower was supposed to, though AirPower was rumored to have 21 to 24 coils. The Zens Liberty can charge two devices at once, unlike AirPower’s planned three, but it charges each at 15 watts,... Continue reading…

    The Black Widow trailer is full of back-to-back brutal fights

    Summary
    Image: Marvel The *Black Widow* movie is finally happening, and Marvel Studios co-president Kevin Feige brought an exclusive trailer to Disney’s D23 Expo, to prove it. Like the new *Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker *trailer, the *Black Widow* trailer hasn’t been posted online yet, but here’s what it looks like. Feige debuted the trailer during Marvel’s segment of Disney’s big Studios panel. It opens with a montage of footage collected from various Marvel movies, including *The Avengers,* *Avengers: Endgame**, *and *Captain America: Civil War*. It sets up Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow as a two-timing spy, relying on conversations between Tony Stark and Romanoff in *Civil War. * After the *Avengers* footage, the trailer travels to Budapest, which Clint Barton (Hawkeye)... Continue reading…

    Black Panther 2 is coming out in May 2022

    Summary
    [image: black-panther-still] In the Studios panel at D23, Marvel Studios co-president Kevin Feige confirmed that *Black Panther 2* has been scheduled for release on May 6, 2022. Director Ryan Coogler said the team is “taking their time with it” in order to get it right. That places *Black Panther 2 *directly between some of Marvel’s new franchises, like *The Eternals*, and other series installments, like *Thor: Love and Thunder *and *Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. * If San Diego Comic-Con was Marvel Studios’ way of ushering in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney’s biennial trade show D23 was a reminder that sequels to important movies are still coming. Unlike *Star Wars*, which is taking a theatrical break after lackluster box office and critical... Continue reading…

    New Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer has Rey wielding a red double lightsaber

    Summary
    *Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker* will conclude the current *Star Wars* trilogy, and a new trailer showcased at Disney’s D23 Expo teases what that end looks like. Although Disney hasn’t made the trailer public, we can give you a brief description of what happened since we were there. The trailer opens with footage from all nine *Star Wars* films. A voiceover declares that there have been “a thousand generations, but this is your fight.” Rey, Poe, and Finn are preparing for the biggest fight of their life. Battleships tear through the skies, as Rey and Kylo Ren meet in the middle of a war-torn planet, ready to fight. The best bit of all? Rey is wielding a red, double-sided lightsaber. Leaks will probably show up online — they always do — but... Continue reading…

    Volvo's Polestar engineered XC60 is fast, but still reserved

    Summary
    The Banff area in Canada is spellbinding. The mountains, the lakes, the spires of rock formations jutting towards the heavens don't seem real. But also, no human could create something this beautiful. It's also the best and worst place to drive the V...

    Australia will block domains with extremist material during terror attacks

    Summary
    Australia's quest to fight online extremism will soon involve temporary but far-reaching bans. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that the country will block internet domains hosting extremist material in the middle of terrorist attacks and...

    Netflix thriller 'Clickbait' will explore the dark side of social networks

    Summary
    Netflix isn't leaning solely on Black Mirror to comment on the perils of the digital age. The company has snapped up Clickbait, a thriller series that will tackle both the dangers of social networking and the ever-growing gap between our real and on...

    Dota 2' champions won more money than top Wimbledon players

    Summary
    It's not just Fortnite champs who are making conventional sports players seem underpaid. OG has won Valve's The International Dota 2 tournament for the second year in a row (the first time any team has won back-to-back), pulling in a record-setting...

    Razer's largest store yet opens in Las Vegas on September 7th

    Summary
    Soon, you won't have to make a pilgrimage to San Francisco if you're determined to visit a Razer store in the US. The gaming giant is opening its largest store yet, and just its second in the US, at The LINQ Promenade in Las Vegas on September 7th....

    Marvel official posters unfurl at D23: Black Widow, WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier - CNET

    Summary
    Black Widow's is probably one of the coolest superhero posters full stop.

    Jupiter's five new moons get names, but no Moony McMoonface - CNET

    Summary
    Surprisingly, asking Twitter to name newly discovered moons does not end in disaster.

    NASA astronaut accused of space crime refutes allegations - CNET

    Summary
    Anne McClain is accused of identity theft and accessing private financial records from the International Space Station.

    Nathan Fillion may be joining James Gunn's The Suicide Squad - CNET

    Summary
    The actor and the director are good friends, but there's no official confirmation. Yet.

    FTC, AT&T settle 2014 data-throttling lawsuit - CNET

    Summary
    Suit accused the carrier of deceiving unlimited-data customers when it slowed their connection speeds.

    Plant cells signal between each other to agree on what time it is

    Summary
    Anyone who has travelled across multiple time zones and suffered jet lag will understand just how powerful our biological clocks are. In fact, every cell in the human body has its own molecular clock, which is capable of generating a daily rise and fall in the number of many proteins the body produces over a 24-hour cycle. The brain contains a master clock that keeps the rest of the body in sync, using light signals from the eyes to keep in time with environment. Plants have similar circadian rhythms that help them tell the time of day, preparing plants for… This story continues at The Next Web

    Google’s betting on SMS 2.0 to get its messaging groove back

    Summary
    Google’s gotten a lot of grief for its messaging strategy, and rightly so. While Facebook and Apple have seen their messaging platforms become indispensable to users and businesses alike, Google has launched a litany of apps whose pithy names (Buzz, Wave, Allo, Hangouts, and the list goes on) couldn’t save them from the dustbin of chat history. But lately it seems like the search giant has got its messaging groove back. Getting to RC-yes By now you’re probably familiar with RCS, the new telecom standard that’s supposed to rescue old fashioned text messaging from the flip-phone era. RCS stands for… This story continues at The Next Web

    What the hell does the telephoto lens on your phone do?

    Summary
    Welcome to TNW Basics, a collection of tips, guides, and advice on how to easily get the most out of your gadgets, apps, and other stuff. The days when your phone had a single camera on it are gone. Nowadays, it’s common to have several of them on the rear of a device, or, if you’re Nokia, many, many more. Thing is… why? What are they all there for? What do they do? Well, we’re here to answer that question. We’ve already looked at a time-of-flight (ToF) camera, but today we’re pondering something else commonly found on the back of your phone:… This story continues at The Next Web

    CHEAP: AirPods for $145? HOOK THEM UP TO MY VEINS

    Summary
    Welcome to CHEAP, our series about things that are good, but most of all, cheap. CHEAP! What? Huh? You don’t have a pair of true wireless earbuds? And… what’s that? You own an iPhone too? Damn. Well, you’re in luck, because the latest AirPods are currently on offer. Indeed, rather than paying $160 — like they are on Apple’s own site — you can now get them for a more reasonable $145. Generally, Apple doesn’t reduce even its old products by much, so if you’ve been on a hunt for a pair of the newest AirPods, this is a pretty good deal.… This story continues at The Next Web

    Beat the average price on this bundle and get these Microsoft Office courses

    Summary
    Since you’ll likely be crafting PowerPoint presentations wherever you’re working in 2032, you might as well be up to speed now with the training in the Essential Microsoft Office 2019 Bundle. It’s extra attractive since you can get it for any price you want to pay.

    The *Jeopardy!* Master is Making a Better Trivia Game

    Summary
    Ken Jennings is teaming up with the creator of *Magic* to launch *Half-Truth*, a game that will "make you feel smart when you play."

    Razer Blade Pro 17 Review: The Best Large Gaming Laptop

    Summary
    Razer's latest 17-inch laptop offers desktop-grade gaming performance in a weighty but portable package.

    While You Were Offline: Who Wants to See Sean Spicer’s Samba?

    Summary
    Not us, and not Tom Bergeron!

    Bugatti's Centodieci, VW's Electric Dune Buggy, and More Cars News

    Summary
    Plus, an inside look at Netflix’s crazy new car show and Ford’s plan to gather data from college scooter riders.

    A Single Math Model Explains Many Mysteries of Vision

    Summary
    The first anatomically correct model of the visual cortex seeks to capture how the brain sees the world.

    World of Warcraft Classic: Hit game goes back to basics

    Summary
    The hit video game is now offering players a "classic" version - with some modern enhancements.

    Inside the selfie factory for influencers

    Summary
    A pop-up shop in west London lets people fill their social media pages with colourful selfies.

    Airport security: 3D baggage scanners could end liquid restrictions

    Summary
    Airports must introduce 3D baggage screening before the end of 2022, the government announces.

    Instagram influencers: Have we stopped believing?

    Summary
    Instagrammer Tiffany Mitchell has been forced to deny faking a road crash for likes.

    Nintendo Switch: Exchange deal is fake news

    Summary
    Rumours online that gamers could swap their Switch for an updated version turns out to be untrue

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