EVE Online has a god named Bob


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It started with a joke. Or more accurately, a bizarre jeer.

“Early on, [members of the EVE Online corporation Adhocracy] started taunting the lower classes saying Bob is going to smite you if you’re not participating in our gameplay style. And it started to take,” declares the man only introduced to me as Proc Diadochu. His manner is warm and effusive, his smile open even when discussing the virtual death of dozens.

It’s Sunday on the last day of EVE Fanfest, an annual convention dedicated to CCP Games’ sci-fi sandbox MMO EVE Online, and we’re talking about god. Specifically, a god named Bob. According to Diadochu, Bob presides over the game’s wormholes, unstable space anomalies connecting two disparate star systems. He’s a vicious…

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How Blizzard is taking on gaming’s hottest genre


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     “It’s like <em>Smash Bros.</em>,” my teammate muses between <em>Heroes of the Storm</em> matches. “Except with <em>DotA</em>. And fan service. And ...”

He hesitates. “And silliness.”

Blizzard has been long overdue for a foray into the fiefdom of Defense of the Ancient-esque titles, an offshoot of real-time strategy games that sees two five-person teams fighting down three lanes to be the first to overrun the other’s base. (Otherwise known as MOBAs, short for multiplayer online battle arena.) Heroes of the Storm is the company’s big attempt to take on the massive successes of League of Legends and Dota 2, titles that command huge, rapt audiences, making them among the most popular — and lucrative — games in the world. The irony is that the company was…

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Elon Musk’s space agency is hiring a farmer


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Hot on the heels of the recent Star Wars teaser, SpaceX is announcing that it is looking to hire a farmer in McGregor, Texas. To qualify, potential applicants must have a minimum of 10 years of experience, comprehensive knowledge of John Deere agricultural equipment, no fear of enclosed spaces, and the ability to work at least 50 hours a week. Unfortunately, nothing has been said about terraforming on Mars, never mind moisture farming on Tatooine.

Agriculture speculates that SpaceX’s decision to hire an agronomist is rooted in budgetary concerns rather than an interest in interplanetary colonization. The state allows companies to request exemptions from sales taxes by purchasing agricultural  equipment. Land used for farming purposes is…

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Horizontal, cableless elevators to enter testing in 2016


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German tech company ThyssenKrupp envisions a future where self-propelled elevators can travel both horizontally and vertically along skyscrapers. Using linear motor technology similar to those seen in maglev — magnetic levitation — trains, the MULTI elevator system is billed as the first of its kind to operate without cables.

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Netflix’s December line-up comes early this year


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Beginning December 1st, Netflix Instant subscribers will be able to enjoy a fresh crop of movies and television shows. Decider recently published a catalog of the anticipated titles. Two of the most enticing names in this repository of entertainment options are arguably comedy Anchorman 2 and The Wolf of Wall Street, the Academy Award-winning black comedy inspired by debauched stockbroker Jordan Belfort. Social media sweetheart Sharknado 2: The Second One will also be available, along with short-film-turned-feature-length horror film Oculus, which pivots about an antique mirror.

Although most of the titles originate from the 2000s, the list also includes 1999 blockbuster success American Beauty and the 1999 remake of Neil Simon’s The…

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You can now buy an unlocked Amazon Fire Phone for $199


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Amazon is clearly trying to recover from the lacklustre performance of its flagship Fire Phone. Featuring a 2.2GHz processor and a 13-megapixel camera, the unlocked 32GB model now costs $199, a far cry from the original $649 price tag. Every purchase will still come with unlimited cloud storage for images taken with the Fire Phone and a full year of membership to Prime, valued at $99.

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Chromecast expands to include Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and more


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Chromecast users are going to be spoiled for choice with the addition of seven new apps. Fans of humor both coarse and sophisticated will be able to find entertainment with Comedy Central, which features programs like The Daily Show and South Park. Meanwhile younger audiences can select between Sesame Street Go and Nickelodeon. For a more age-agnostic experience, there is Epix, ENCORE Play, and the South Asian-centric YuppTV to choose from. Finally, TuneIn will be providing access to over 100,000 radio stations.

The news comes less than two weeks after Google announced the inclusion of entertainment channels Showtime Anytime and Starz, along with family-friendly video games like Scrabble Blitz and Wheel of Fortune.

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Apple’s virtual reality ambitions tipped in new job listing


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While third party developers work on transforming iPads into imitation Oculus headsets, Apple is searching for a virtual reality app engineer. As spotted by Mashable, the company recently put up a job listing that foreshadows some interesting possibilities.

On top of meeting the usual list of criteria, would-be applicants are required to be experienced in virtual reality and augmented reality development. The lucky hire will reportedly be creating “high performance apps that integrate with virtual reality systems for prototyping and user testing.” Apple has been quietly applying for patents related to head-mounted displays since 2006, and was most recently granted one for a multi-purpose goggle system. The job posting suggests that…

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Black Friday 2014: The best deals in comic books


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Fans of more literary pursuits won’t be left in the cold this Black Friday. Those looking to inflate their digital stash of comic books may be pleased to learn that two major publishers will be offering major discounts for some of their most acclaimed works.

DARK HORSE

The publishing outfit will be celebrating Black Friday with the release of six MegaBundles. Priced at $99.99 each, the collections include:

  • Star Wars MegaBundles – You can pick either 200 digital Star Wars comics or all the Star Wars Omnibus.
  • Whedonverse Megabundle – This Joss Whedon-specific selection includes Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity, and even Dr. Horrible.
  • Mignola MegabundleHellboy, B.R.P.D, and Witchfinder are all up for grabs here.
  • REHverse…
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Luxury brands are going after imitation smartwatch faces


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Big name brands are trying to cull the Internet’s crop of imitation luxury watchfaces for wearables like the Moto 360. According to TorrentFreak, companies like Armani, Michael Kors, Tissot, and Omega have been disseminating cease-and-desist notices to websites and individuals hosting digital likenesses of their work, and providing as little as 24 hours to comply.

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Universal acquires Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs biopic


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Rumors of Universal Pictures taking over Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs biopic have proven true. A studio spokesperson confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that a deal has been reached less than a week after Sony Pictures dropped the movie. Rights to the project were reportedly priced at over $30 million.

Slumdog Millionaire’s Danny Boyle will be serving as director, while Michael Fassbender has been attached to star in the film. Both Seth Rogen and Jessica Chastain are reportedly likely to join the cast, with the former in line to play Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and the latter potentially taking on the role of Steve Jobs’ daughter. The film is based on Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography and was in development in Sony Pictures for…

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The internet fixes Barbie’s ‘I Can Be a Computer Engineer’ picture book


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I Can Be a Computer Engineer, you could have been so right. You could have stoked the flames of technologically minded ambition in starry-eyed little girls, helped nurse entire generations of bad-ass hacker dames. Instead, you became a nest of twee images and sexist drivel. If you had shins, I’d kick them.

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‘Smart Pipe’ is every bad startup in one delightful parody


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“Your anus is the key to your future,” trumpets a bespectacled man at the end of the fake Smart Pipe infomercial. This phantasmagorical episode is the latest in Adult Swim’s delightful parody series, which was responsible for last week’s viral hit, “Too Many Cooks.”

It opens with a snappily dressed man introducing us to one of the hottest “disrupt” technologies in town, a pipe capable of reading and interpreting your fecal matter. From there, things only get more surreal. The 11-minute video quickly descends into a riot of buzzwords, pompous expositions, and even an encounter with an alleged paedophile. What really sells the clip, however, is its sly takedown of the technology industry’s worst sins, including the sales of customer data…

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Check out these beautiful posters for sequels that were never made


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The seminal Cowboy Bebop is widely regarded as one of the best anime series of all time, with BBC comparing the movie spin-off to landmark titles like Ghost in the Shell and Spirited Away. Despite its popularity, only one feature film was ever released. But artist Nimit Malavia’s stunning, butterfly-limned design provides an idea for what the sequel’s movie poster could have looked like.

Malavia’s masterpiece is just one of the many being shown at iam8bit’s art exhibit in Los Angeles, which…

Continue reading…

‘Vape’ named word of the year ahead of ‘bae’ and ‘normcore’


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Vape is officially Oxford Dictionaries‘ international Word of the Year, beating contenders like bae, slacktivism, indyref, contacless, and normcore. According to the recent announcement, usage of the word has more than doubled since 2013 in tandem with the growing prevalence of vaporizers, which many believe to be a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes. Oxford Dictionaries‘ editorial director Judy Pearsall attributes the popularity of the term to recent debates about e-cigarettes and their adoption by celebrities like musician Aaron David Ross. Vape joins an illustrious circle, which includes the likes of ‘Selfie’ and GIF.

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You can send URLs through Twitter’s direct messages again


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Twitter users can once again share URLs over direct messages (DM), as spotted by The Next Web and confirmed by The Verge. For over a year, the micro-blogging service’s support page contained a message stating that the company was restructuring backend elements of their messaging system, resulting in a possible inability to DM links.

This appears to be just the first in a series of planned updates. Last week, the company said it would be rolling out the ability to share and discuss Tweets “natively and privately” via direct messages, an area where the company has long lagged behind competitors. Pinterest, for example, allows its users to not only share URLs but also send profiles and engage in group chats with up to 10 people.

<a href="http://www.theverge.com/2014/11/18/7239119/twitter-url-messaging">Continue reading&hellip;</a>

Walmart’s Black Friday sales include $329 Xbox One bundle, $648 Vizio 65-inch TV, and discounted iPads


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Like the other big retail outfits, Walmart will be participating in the consumeristic orgy of Black Friday. Instead of restricting their bargain bonanza to a single day, Walmart will be hosting a five-day sale beginning Thanksgiving morning and ending on Cyber Monday, which falls on December 1st.

Walmart will also be reintroducing what it calls its 1-Hour Guarantee. On November 27th, customers who buy selected items between 6pm and 7pm will be able to either leave with it the same day, or receive their purchase before Christmas. The 1-Hour Guarantee is applicable for these products:

  • 50″ Class LED HDTV for $218 ($180 savings)
  • Vizio 65″ Class Smart LED HDTV for $648 ($350 savings)
  • Apple iPad Mini 16GB with Wi-Fi for $199 with a $30…
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Watch Tokyo transform into an exotic playground for the fast and furious


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GoPro cameras have been used for everything from documenting a lion’s eye perspective of the hunt to recording the view from a quadrocopter. Now, the company has put together a gorgeous nine-minute vignette starring Tokyo’s custom vehicle scene.

The video is the second episode in the HERO4: The Adventure of Life in 4K series, which uses GoPro’s latest sports camera Hero4 exclusively. Delivered as a mini-documentary of sorts, it offers a glimpse into the local street racing culture, and its stunning armament of customized supercars and sports bikes. Interspaced with these glittering images of nocturnal Tokyo are personal stories from those embroiled in this high-speed world, told between luxurious shots of the city itself. The HERO4: The…

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Apple faces US lawsuit for iMessage’s role in text message disruption


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Apple must face a class-action lawsuit alleging that the company failed to disclose that the use of iMessage and Messages would result in undelivered messages if an iPhone user switched to a non-Apple device. US District Judge Lucy Koh gave the go-ahead for plaintiff Adrienne Moore to “allege that Apple’s intentional acts have caused an ‘actual breach or disruption of the contractual relationship.'”

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Chromecast gets Starz, Showtime Anytime, and family-friendly video games


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Google has announced that the Chromecast app line-up will include family-friendly video games and two new entertainment channels. Classic titles such as Wheel of Fortune, Scrabble Blitz, and Monopoly Dash are being made available, along with dance and trivia games like Big Web Quiz, which utilizes Google’s Knowledge Graph to generate questions. Apps can be downloaded from Google Play or the iOS App Store allowing phones and tablets to be used as controllers for Chromecast’s library of games, removing the need for extraneous peripherals. The actual game board will be displayed on the TV. Those who prefer more sedentary entertainment can opt for videos from Showtime Anytime and Starz.

In a bid to lure new subscribers, Google is also…

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