Author Archives: Brittany Hillen


Amazon tipped in multi-year ebook deal with Simon & Schuster

Amazon tipped in multi-year ebook deal with Simon & Schuster

Amazon's negotiations with publishing companies don't often go smoothly (nor has it always gone smoothly with videos), something that has been demonstrated by the months of tussles between it and Hachette. At the heart of the matter are ebooks, and Amazon's desire to price them low -- something it has hailed as a benefit to authors, using numbers to back up its claims. Though the battle with Hachette is still ongoing, sources have cropped up saying it has struck a deal with Simon and Schuster.

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Forget the needle pill: researchers focus on vibrating syringes

Forget the needle pill: researchers focus on vibrating syringes

Many people have an intense fear of being jabbed with needles, a phobia that compels some to avoid vaccinations and other necessary injections. A lot of research has been underway on this seemingly simple problem, with the goal being a future where injections are no longer painful. The most interesting solution so far is the needle pill developed by MIT researchers -- a capsule adorned with micro-needles that jabs one's internals painlessly. The idea of swallowing a cluster of needles might form its own phobia for some, however, and so enters the vibrating syringe.

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Government halts funding for research that creates superbugs

Government halts funding for research that creates superbugs

Concern about so-called super bugs -- mutated viruses and bacteria resistant to treatment -- is exceptionally high. The Centers for Disease Control issued a report last year, for example, warning about the threat superbugs pose and potential ramifications if certain actions aren't taken. It is for these reasons the deliberate creation of mutated viruses for research purposes (gain of function research) has been highly controversial, a controversy the US government has stoked by announcing a temporary halt to its funding of such studies.

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Former dictator’s Call of Duty lawsuit heats up: creative freedom at stake

Former dictator’s Call of Duty lawsuit heats up: creative freedom at stake

The alternate history genre is a popular one, and has been around for as long as humans have been making up stories. Historical figures and events are often used in fictional works that take a creative license when it comes to storylines and depictions. Abraham Lincoln, for example, was never a vampire hunter, but that didn't stop a movie about that idea from being created. This type of creative freedom could be at risk, however, if a former dictator's lawsuit against Activision over his portrayal in Call of Duty: Black Ops II succeeds.

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Anonabox Kickstarter cancelled following criticism

Anonabox Kickstarter cancelled following criticism

The Internet can be a feral place, and to tame it a bit came Anonabox, a device that launched on Kickstarter promising the security of Tor in a tiny plug-and-play package. Popularity grew quickly and the campaign saw an ample number of pledges, but in the light of that fame came scrutiny from many individuals who quickly spotted problems and became quite vocal about them. That criticism reached a feverish pitch, and has now lead to Kickstarter cancelling the project.

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Google’s latest anti-piracy efforts: download suggestions, demoted rankings

Google’s latest anti-piracy efforts: download suggestions, demoted rankings

Google has been active in helping combat the issue of piracy, and as such has tried various methods to deter users away from copyright-infringing sources to legitimate download websites. Last year Google published a report called "How Google Fights Piracy", which detailed the methods with which it was trifling and what users could expect as a result. That report has now been updated to encompass the changes that have taken place since its first publication, and among those changes is the addition of a large legit downloads suggestion box.

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Florida rules police need warrant to nab cell location data

Florida rules police need warrant to nab cell location data

Your everyday devices, particularly smartphones, betray aspects of your privacy in many ways, not the least of which is transmitting location information that law enforcement, among others, has regularly used in the pursuit of suspects. Such activity has caused vast outcries about privacy concerns and rights violations, something Florida has taken to heart. In a recent ruling, the state's Supreme Court has decided that police must get a warrant before using cell tower data to get location information on individuals.

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New Retina iMac teardown reveals moderate repairability

New Retina iMac teardown reveals moderate repairability

Apple took the wraps off its new iMac with 5K Retina display yesterday, and now a single day later the handy folks over at iFixit have already cracked it open (gently) to see what lies beneath its alluring surface. The question was posed: will the new ultra-high-resolution display make the new iMac's repairability more troublesome? The end result reveals a lot of favorable points for the machine, but there are a couple big hassles that knocked the final score down a few notches.

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3D printed Iron Man prosthetic arm includes LED thruster

3D printed Iron Man prosthetic arm includes LED thruster

It's possibly the coolest prosthetic in existence, and it is made specifically for kids: a 3D-printed Iron Man glove that lets wearers channel their inner superhero. It is the latest beautiful example of creations being born from 3D-printing technologies, and though it isn't available on the mass scale (yet, at least), it can be ordered by those who need it from the designer Pat Starace. Best of all, the design isn't static -- the prosthetic includes a working LED palm thruster, among other things.

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Maisie Williams talks about possible The Last of Us role

Maisie Williams talks about possible The Last of Us role

This past summer, a teaser poster for a theatrical rendition of The Last of Us was released at the San Diego Comic Con, and in it we got a glimpse of an unknown girl. It was during an SDCC panel that Maisie Williams -- best known for playing Arya Stark in Game of Thrones -- was revealed as being a contender for playing Ellie. Though the movie is still a long way off and details about it are slight, Williams recently confirmed that talks took place, and went into some details about what went down.

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