Author Archives: Brittany Hillen


Rare Fire Rainbow appears over Isle of Palms, SC

Rare Fire Rainbow appears over Isle of Palms, SC

On Sunday, South Carolina became the canvas for a rare "fire rainbow", which is a rainbow that, in this case, twisted upward in the sky and formed what appeared to be a pair of wings. The phenomenon happened at Isle of Palms, and isn’t something you’re likely to see too often. It is rare enough, in fact, that many viewers were baffled by the sight, but a quick look at the tweets filling Twitter reveals they found it pleasant regardless.

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Google data center loses data after lightning strikes

Google data center loses data after lightning strikes

One of Google's data centers located in Belgium has lost some data after being pummeled with four lightning strikes. Unfortunately, this is said to have resulted in some Google users permanently losing access to some of their data, though Google has since managed to access some of the discs that were damaged. This affects the Google Computer Engine (GCE) service, but at this time it isn’t known which clients lost data as a result, nor the nature of the data that was nuked. Google has reassured users that while serious, the data loss was also very minimal, permanently affecting only 0.000001% of the disk space.

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YouTube Space studio is coming to India

YouTube Space studio is coming to India

Google announced today that Mumbai, India will be counted among the few select cities laying claim to a YouTube Space studio. YouTube Spaces have already been launched in LA, London, Tokyo, New York City, Sao Paulo, and Berlin, with the first one having been launched in 2012. Thousands of YouTube creators have visited the YouTube Spaces, according to Google, and it’ll likely see those numbers increase more rapidly with this latest launch.

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Macy’s dressing room tablets deliver clothes via chutes

Macy’s dressing room tablets deliver clothes via chutes

Amazon is chomping up a growing number of consumers, and other retailers — particularly those of the brick-and-mortar sort — are feeling the pressure. Macy’s is trying out new methods to retain customers, and one of those methods is putting tablets in dressing rooms. The idea is that while anyone can buy something online, they can’t try it out over the Internet to see how it looks before buying...meaning that, at least for now, physical retail stores still have an edge, and they're doing everything they can to keep it.

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Urban grime ‘breathes’ pollution when exposed to sunlight

Urban grime ‘breathes’ pollution when exposed to sunlight

Urban grime ‘breathes’ pollution back into the environment when exposed to sunlight, according to researchers. Grime, in this case, is the slurry of chemicals pumped into the air from common city trappings: car tail pipes, house chimneys, factories, and more. These chemicals build up on surfaces, forming a distinct dark “grime” over time. This grime has been known to absorb pollution out of the atmosphere, but according to a study conducted in Germany, it can also release some nitrogen pollution back into the environment.

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Skype for Android update brings custom ringtones

Skype for Android update brings custom ringtones

Skype for Android has received a new update, bringing it to version 5.10. The update is relatively small, at least as far as apps go, but it does bring a couple of welcomed features, the most important for many users likely being personalized ringtones. With this, Skype users are able to set custom ringtones for contacts, making it possible to know who is calling without pulling out your phone or tablet and taking a look.

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Researchers: hummingbirds drink using ‘tiny pumps’

Researchers: hummingbirds drink using ‘tiny pumps’

The hummingbirds that show up around your porch to drink up proffered sugary water are, as you know, zippy little birds. It’s hard to see anything more than their quick darting around, but thanks to slow motion video we’ve been given a look at what we’ve been missing. Much like cats, hummingbirds drink using their tongue, but rather than lapping it up, they use their tongue as a type of tiny pump that works very, very fast.

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Netflix users reclaim 140 hours others spend watching TV ads

Netflix users reclaim 140 hours others spend watching TV ads

Discussions of cord-cutting usually touch on the financial and less-limited aspects of eschewing traditional television. The latter of those two talking points are less relevant today as networks embrace on-demand and live streaming, but there's another aspect of ditching cable that, well, cable can't compete with: the lack of advertisements. Some video streaming services like Hulu still have commercials, but others like Netflix don't, and those who use Netflix are regaining a significant number of hours otherwise spent watching TV commercials.

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Target pens settlement agreement with Visa over 2013 security breach

Target pens settlement agreement with Visa over 2013 security breach

The big data breach that affected Target in 2013 is still hurting the company, this time to the tune of $67 million. The retailer has struck a deal with financial institutions that were affected by the breach; the settlement is made with Visa on behalf of those institutions, and a deal akin to this one is said to be the works with MasterCard. The data breach, which unfortunately happened during the holiday shopping season, left about 40 million MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards exposed to fraud — it was one of the worst security lapses affecting a big-name retailer in years.

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ZTE Warp Elite budget Android phone hits Boost Mobile

ZTE Warp Elite budget Android phone hits Boost Mobile

ZTE has a new budget smartphone, the ZTE Warp Elite. The Warp Elite has launched through Boost Mobile, where it is priced at $180 USD. Unlike many budget phones, the ZTE Warp Elite features a large 5.5 inch display and other specs that are — at least in relation to the phone's price tag — fairly notable. This includes a 13 megapixel rear camera and the use of Android Lollipop 5.1, an atypically large battery, and a sleek, non-cheesy design.

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Infinix HOT 2 phone kicks off Android One in Africa

Infinix HOT 2 phone kicks off Android One in Africa

The Android One program, which was introduced about a year ago in India, has expanded into Africa, Google has announced. Half a dozen African countries have been added to the Android One roster. Google cites an Internet Society study that indicates 23 percent of Africa’s mobile phone will be online by the end of 2015. The Android One program will help this along, says Google, with the introduction of the HOT 2 phone in six regions.

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Warner Bros. to revive Scooby Doo in 2018 with animated movie

Warner Bros. to revive Scooby Doo in 2018 with animated movie

Scooby Doo has been the subject of a couple awful live-action movies, and hopefully we won't be seeing any more of those. Some nicely done animated movies would be nice, though, and Warner Bros. apparently feels the same way -- it will be bringing back Scooby Doo in animated form starting in 2018, when it has a movie planned for launch. Rumbles about the project first surfaced back in 2013, but the rumored writer and producers at that time are no longer in play.

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