eBay and Airbnb will end mandatory arbitration for sexual harassment claims

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eBay and Airbnb will both allow sexual harassment victims to take their cases to court, rather than requiring private arbitration, the companies told BuzzFeed. They’re the latest companies to drop forced arbitration clauses for sexual misconduct, following Facebook and Google — which promised changes after a massive employee protest. Several other companies told BuzzFeed that they did not have such clauses, and two others — Slack and Tesla — declined to comment.

Airbnb issued a detailed statement about the change, which applies to discrimination claims as well as sexual harassment. “We are a company who believes that in the 21st Century it is important to continually consider and reconsider the best ways to support our employees and...

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All of the Stan Lee cameos from Marvel movies, and why we love them

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Stan Lee is the godfather of modern comics, and his death at age 95, although extremely sad, is a chance to celebrate exactly how much he gave to the world of pop culture. Today, the internet has been flooded with eulogies of his work, life, and his immense impact on comics and film. Many fans fondly recalled the cameos that Lee regularly made in Marvel films over the years, including the pre-Disney Marvel movies, the new Sony Spider-Man Universe, and, of course, the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It’s an Easter egg that never fails to prompt cheers, but it also inspired one of the most powerful moments I’ve ever experienced in a movie theater.

It’s rare to witness the personal effect that an icon like Lee has on people. It’s easy to gauge...

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Comcast should be investigated for antitrust violations, say small cable companies

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An industry group wants antitrust regulators to investigate whether Comcast-NBCUniversal is abusing its power to hurt smaller television and internet service providers. The American Cable Association (ACA), which represents over 700 small and medium-sized cable operators, has asked US Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim to “immediately” open an investigation into Comcast’s practices. Comcast denied that the claims have merit, and the Justice Department hasn’t publicly responded. But the ACA has found a potential supporter in President Donald Trump — who tweeted about its claims this afternoon.

The ACA claims Comcast has a uniquely powerful hold on the US cable industry because it controls a large chunk of “must have” programming...

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Updated patent hints at PS4 controller with a touchscreen

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Sony’s PlayStation controllers have largely gone unchanged in the 20-plus years that the console family has been around — after all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But a recently published update to Sony’s PlayStation controller patent hints at an interesting potential addition that would replace the DualShock 4’s touch-sensitive control pad with a full-fledged touchscreen, via DualShockers.

Sony has flirted with interactive controllers before — the current LED light bar on the existing PS4 controller with colors that change to react to whatever is going on in the game is a good example — but a touchscreen could provide even more opportunities for interactive feedback, letting Sony do things like display in-game stats, a mini-map, or...

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eBay’s pre-Black Friday deals include AirPods, Red Dead Redemption 2, and a Fitbit

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This year, eBay is back at it again trying to outdo traditional retailers like Target and Macy’s with its “Better than Black Friday” deals. The deals, which last through the week and end on Sunday, include Apple and Samsung products as well as jewelry and toys.

eBay has selected dozens of items offered by rival retailers including Costco, BJ’s Wholesale, Kohl’s, and listed them on its site at slight discounts, often around $20 off. eBay is offering free shipping on all the deals, and if you spot a better deal on a competitor’s website for an item you’ve already purchased on eBay, you’ll be able to ask for compensation. You’ll just need to contact customer service within 48 hours after making a purchase on eBay to get a coupon of 110...

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Facebook will allow French regulators to monitor content moderation processes

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Earlier today, French president Emmanuel Macron announced that regulators from France will be allowed to study Facebook and its attempts to moderate hate speech on its platform, which will give French officials significant access into how the company vets offensive content.

In 2019, French regulators will be given access to Facebook’s content policies and how the company removes posts that may discriminate against or target minority groups or others based on gender, sexuality, or religion.

“It is in that context significant and welcome that the French government and Facebook are going to announce a new initiative,” Facebook’s vice president for global affairs and communications, Nick Clegg, said today. “That model of co-regulation of the...

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James Woods has turned his Twitter feed into a ‘bulletin board’ for missing California wildfire evacuees

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As unprecedented wildfires have torn across California over the past week — devastating hundreds of thousands of acres, displacing hundreds of thousands of residents, and killing at least 31 people — plenty of celebrities, including those who have been evacuated, have been tweeting links and encouraging their followers to donate to relief efforts. But in an unexpected turn, the celeb doing perhaps the most online legwork for victims of the three fires has been conservative actor James Woods.

Known on the platform for his deeply combative political screeds, Woods has turned his Twitter feed into a signal-boosting “bulletin board” for victims, their families, and facilities and organizations offering help, tweeting virtually nonstop since...

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Netflix updated its app to resolve an early annoyance with Apple’s new iPad Pro

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Netflix today released an update for its iOS app that adds full support for Apple’s latest iPad Pro tablets. The devices went on sale last Wednesday, and early buyers quickly discovered something that flew under the radar in a lot of press reviews: you can expect to see many apps with black bars surrounding them, which detracts from the new “all-screen” (but definitely not edge-to-edge) design of these iPads.

The issue is more pronounced on the 11-inch iPad Pro because it features a different screen aspect ratio than the 10.5 inch model it replaces. Very few apps are optimized for the new display size, so it’s worth knowing that you’re in for a waiting game if you’re planning to purchase one of the new models. It’s a minor frustration...

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Newegg’s Black Friday deals include discounts on PC components, TVs, and smart home products

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Newegg’s Black Friday ad is out, and it has a pretty robust selection of deals on TVs like LG’s OLED, smart home products including the Nest Thermostat and Indoor Camera, and PC gaming components like motherboards, GPUs, and Intel i7 processors.

Most of Newegg’s deals begin on November 19th at 12PM ET, more deals will kick in on November 22nd (Thanksgiving), and a few select deals will only be available on November 23rd (Black Friday). You won’t have to stand in line for these deals since Newegg is an online-only store, so you can attempt to grab your preferred deal once the clock hits midnight (PT).

Newegg is the latest company to release its Black Friday ad early, following Best Buy, Amazon, Target, and Walmart, so check out the...

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Google’s Gboard now guesses what GIFs and stickers you want to send

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Google is now using AI to suggest relevant GIFs, emoji, and stickers you can put in your conversation if you’re using Gboard. As you’re typing, a GIF icon might appear on the top left corner of Gboard. By tapping on it, you’ll be able to pull up Google’s suggestions for you.

It’s not as clever as it sounds, though. Google claims Gboard is using AI to scour thousands of emoji and stickers for the right ones, but it’s mainly going off of the keywords you use. So say you mention a birthday or a dance, Gboard would find the relevant stickers and GIFs to reflect that. Apple’s iOS Keyboard already does a similar thing: it will suggest an emoji when you type a word, and if you type “happy birthday,” mini fireworks will go off across your...

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Nintendo is shutting down streaming video for the Wii in January 2019

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You soon won’t be able to watch Stranger Things on your Nintendo Wii. Netflix emailed users saying that Nintendo will be shutting down all video streaming services for the console after January 31st, 2019.

Netflix’s notification indicated that Nintendo will suspend all streaming services for the device, and that presumably means that Amazon Prime and Hulu also won’t be able to be used on the console. It makes a bit of sense, given the age of the device — the Wii was sold between 2005 and 2011, before streaming video really took off with consumers, and before services like Hulu and Amazon Prime were launched.

The closure comes in conjunction with Nintendo’s announcement that it would be closing down the Wii Shop Channel, its portal to...

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We’re charmed by these tech products, reimagined for a simpler time

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I’m a millennial, so of course I miss the mid-2000s and 1990s out of nostalgia. VHS tapes! Remember those! A freelance art and creative director named Tom Le French seemingly likes thinking about earlier days, too. He published a few images of what he imagines modern tech companies would have released decades ago. Facebook could have created its own pager, while Instagram would have a branded camera, for instance.

There’s something charming about these mega-corportations’ names on a simpler product. No algorithms, no politics — just a gadget that does a simple task well. If nothing else, they’re also pretty to admire. Enjoy these images and think of more relaxing times. You can check out the full collection on Le French’s website here.

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Gotta catch ‘em all: all the updates for Pokémon Let’s Go

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Coming November 16th
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Supreme and Chris Cunningham have released an Aphex Twin-inspired collection

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Visual artist Chris Cunningham has collaborated with New York clothing and accessory brand Supreme for a capsule collection based upon “Rubber Johnny,” the iconic and unsettling video he created with Aphex Twin in 2005.

Cunningham is probably best known for video work with electronic artist Aphex Twin — which also includes the music videos for “Windowlicker” and “Come to Daddy” — but has also worked with artists and brands like Madonna, Björk, PlayStation, and Gucci to create art installations, short videos, ads, and more.

The collection includes a hooded sweatshirt with a still of the “Rubber Johnny” Chihuahua, a T-shirt with a still of the Chihuahua, and a second T-shirt with six panes of various stills from the video. All the items...

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Teaching robots body language offers common ground for humans and machines

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Anyone who’s been up close and personal with an industrial robot will tell you that these machines have an uncanny, almost unsettling presence. Rationally you know that they’re programmed automatons, but when they start moving — huge metal arms swishing through the air with inhuman precision and speed — some primeval part of your brain lights up like a switchboard and calls start pouring in.

“Danger, danger!” they say. “You need to get the fuck away from this predator now.”

Madeline Gannon is someone who delights in this discrepancy. She’s an artist, coder, and designer who, for the past few years, has been exploring how humans relate to robots; programming machines that react to our presence and that use mechanical body language of...

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League of Legends’ virtual K-pop band is helping the game attract a whole new audience

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This week, Riot Games tapped into three things the internet loves: K-pop bands, women kicking ass, and augmented reality. The K/DA music video for “POP/STARS” reimagines four of the murderous champions of League of Legends as internationally acclaimed artists back with their latest single. In addition to releasing a music video, Riot also brought the virtual band onstage using AR. They performed next to the actual singers at the 2018 Worlds Finals opening ceremony, the conclusion to an annual month-long battle between e-sports teams hailing from the US, Europe, and Asia.

The band started as Riot’s way of building hype for Worlds and getting players to buy in-game cosmetics for the four champions, Ahri, Akali, Evelynn, and Kai’Sa. But it...

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eBay will now let you book home installation and assembly services

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eBay has partnered with three companies to allow customers to book home installation or assembly services for items like televisions, furniture, bikes, and other things that need to be put together, right from the product page.

Various product pages for applicable items now list an option for customers to select assembly and installation services from one of three companies: Handy, InstallerNet, and Porch. The feature allows them to add the services to the purchase, much like you would add on a protection plan. Once you’ve completed your purchase of your item and the services, the applicable company will get in touch to set up an appointment.

In a statement to TechCrunch, eBay Vice President of Merchandising Alyssa Steele says that the...

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Resynth turns making music into a puzzle game

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It can be difficult to find time to finish a video game, especially if you only have a few hours a week to play. In our biweekly column Short Play we suggest video games that can be started and finished in a weekend.

At first blush, Resynth doesn’t make a lot of sense. Looking at screenshots or GIFs reveals a strange array of squares, some seemingly marked by Xs, arrows, or different colors. But once you see — and hear — the game in motion, it starts to make sense. Resynth is designed to look like a music sequencer, and solving the game’s puzzles is akin to making music.

At its core, Resynth is a push block-style game, a type of logic puzzle that appears frequently in the Professor Layton series and other adventure games. In them, you...

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I want to buy this YA trilogy about gene-hacking for every teen I know

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Young adult science fiction can be hit or miss. Each genre tag is a challenge by itself; with science fiction, unless you’re already a scientist, you have to be able to speak the technical language to be taken seriously. With YA, the task is the same, just inverted — if your characters are young, you must inhabit the headspace of a teenager without coming off as an Tryhard Old™. YA sci-fi, then, is akin to walking a razor’s edge authority-wise: be brilliant and naïve simultaneously, or risk losing your audience from the jump.

Portland-based author Emily Suvada walks this line better than any YA author I’ve read with her in-progress trilogy, the second book of which, This Cruel Design, was published last month. Along with its predecessor,...

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Xbox chief admits Microsoft has ‘a ton of work to do on Windows’ for PC gamers

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Microsoft’s Windows operating system is the go-to for PC gamers, but some aspects of Windows 10 have fallen short. One of the biggest criticisms is the Microsoft Store (Windows Store), that offers games and apps in a one-click install. Microsoft publishes all of its first-party games through the store, and PC gamers are forced to buy these games exclusively from the store.

Unfortunately, some games come with odd restrictions that you wouldn’t typically see in regular desktop PC games. These range from not supporting overlays from apps like Fraps or Discord, to no Nvidia Shadowplay support in some titles, and even no sound when you alt-tab out of a game in some Microsoft Store games. The download and install procedure for Microsoft Store...

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