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Military VR programs are working to train soldiers to deal with pressure

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Black Mirror is way ahead of us again. 

Virtual reality training is being developed as a method to equip troops with resilience training before deployment — something a Black Mirror episode toyed with in season three.

Australia’s Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne, has announced $2.2 million for a University of Newcastle project that aims to develop enhanced resilience training for military personnel using VR and biometrics.

The program, which will work in conjunction with the ADF’s existing Battle SMART stress resilience training program, will see neuroscientists designing simulated environments to replicate real-world combat scenarios in VR. Read more…

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Architecture

Large-scale sculptures take over the Australian coastline

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Burger bait. A cavalcade of charging horses. A plastic bubble paradise. They’re all sitting on the coastline of Australia.

Every year, the two-kilometre coastal walk from Sydney’s Bondi Beach to Tamarama becomes an open-air gallery for the celebrated Sculpture by the Sea exhibition, with selected artists invited to install sculptural works along the shoreline for three weeks in spring.

Started in 1997 and now featuring 100 works every year, it’s one of Australia’s most popular, free, annual events, attracting half a million visitors in 2016. Read more…

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Architecture

Sonos One and Alexa is an audio marriage made in heaven

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This sounds amazing.

That’s what I thought when I got all my Sonos speakers playing the late Tom Petty’s Won’t Back Down and the first floor of my home filled with his distinct, Gainesville, Florida, twang. 

I chose that song with my voice and not by speaking to the first-generation Amazon Echo I have in my home, but by speaking directly to the brand new Sonos One smart speaker.

Sonos is just one of an increasing number of third-party partners integrating Amazon’s soon-to-be ubiquitous digital voice assistant Alexa. On the one hand, this seems redundant. Why do I need a Sonos Alexa-enabled speaker when I already have the Amazon Echo to drive what was my two-speaker Sonos system? Read more…

More about Reviews, Mashable Choice, Sonos, Smart Speakers, and Sonos One

Architecture

New Zealanders worry about a ‘chipocalypse’ as potato supply drops

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We don’t want to ever live in a world where there is a “chipocalypse.”

No wonder New Zealanders are concerned at the prospect, as 20 percent of potato crops have been lost due to extended periods of wet weather, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Supermarkets have indicated to the newspaper there might be a shortage in potato crisps, as manufacturers have a smaller cut of potato crops in the country. Normal potato supply won’t return until the new year.

When the chips are down, people are going to freak out — a bit — on social media. Read more…

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Architecture

Larry Flynt offers $10 million if you have information that’ll impeach Trump

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Need some cash and have some dirt on Donald Trump?

You might want to talk to Hustler founder Larry Flynt. The adult magazine mogul is offering $10 million “for information leading to the impeachment and removal from office” of the president.

The full-page ad was published in the Washington Post on Sunday, complete with a toll-free hotline and an email address for readers to send their tips to.

So I decided to do this…let’s see what happenspic.twitter.com/Xpy4qrwHU7

— Larry Flynt (@ImLarryFlynt) October 15, 2017 Read more…

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Architecture

‘SNL’s’ response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal proves that they probably shouldn’t have bothered

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Saturday Night Live was roundly criticized last week for pulling punches on the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal that has rocked Hollywood, allegedly cutting jokes regarding the producer during dress rehearsal because they “fell flat,” according to the New York Times.

Tonight’s weak effort, featuring a roundtable of actresses including Kate McKinnon’s doddering old Debette Goldry, missed the mark, illustrating exactly why it’s so awkward and problematic for an industry to make light of its own dark secrets.

The sketch co-starred Leslie Jones as Viola Davis – “Happy to be here; well, not happy, but, you know, I’m here” – and Cecily Strong as Marion Cotillard – “I’m tiny, French, and pissed off” – and engendered an uncomfortable chuckle from the audience as soon as roundtable host Aidy Bryant announced the subject of sexual harassment in Hollywood. Read more…

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Architecture

Striking images reveal wineries devastated by wildfires

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Remarkable photos reveal how badly California’s wineries have been damaged in wildfires that have burned tens of thousands of acres of wine country since Sunday.

Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa, California is just one of the dozens of wineries that was ravaged by the massive fires. 

In the midst of the blaze, a large plastic wine container melted, releasing a boiling pool of wine, according to SF Gate.

“I saw a pool of wine, and it was flowing lightly down the hill, and as I got close to it, I noticed that it was bubbling,” photographer Josh Edelson told the news outlet. “At first, I didn’t understand it, but then it dawned on me that the ground was hot, and the wine was boiling with all that stuff smoldering around it.” Read more…

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Architecture

Razer’s upcoming smartphone’s specs leak, revealing a gaming powerhouse

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Razer’s new smartphone is only expected to launch on Nov. 1, but the leaks have already begun.

According to Phone Radar, a listing has already appeared on GFXBench titled “Razer Phone“, that could just very well be the phone we’re set to see in a little over two weeks.

According to the listing, the phone will have a 5.7 inch screen with a 2650 x 1440 resolution, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 64 GB of internal storage — all pretty standard stuff for a smartphone, except for one standout. It’ll also come with 8GB of RAM.

Image: gfxbench/screenshot Read more…

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Architecture

Sam Smith pledges thousands of dollars to Australia’s pro-marriage equality campaign

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Now that’s putting money where your mouth is.

UK singer Sam Smith has made a considerable donation to the Australian pro-marriage equality campaign, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. 

The Grammy-winning artist has pledged a third of the expected profits from his January 2018 show at the Sydney Opera House to lobby group Australian Marriage Equality.

Australians are smack bang in the middle of a non-binding, non-compulsory nationwide postal survey asking the question: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” Read more…

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Architecture

Australia, where people pick sharks out of pools

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Australia might have a lot of sharks, but we try not to mess with them.

Not so for Melissa Hatheier from Sydney, Australia, who picked up a one-metre shark from a rock pool and placed it back into the ocean.

The video was posted to the Cronulla Real Estate Facebook page on Tuesday, which is a kind of a weird way to promote houses, but you know what, this is Australia after all.

“Our in house Shark Wrangler Melissa Hatheier wrestling a shark out of Oak Park Rock Pool yesterday morning! Nice work Mel,” reads the Facebook caption. Read more…

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Architecture

‘Rick and Morty’ fans: Szechuan sauce turned us into a ‘Rick and Morty’ joke

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We started out wanting to do nothing more than in-depth taste test of Rick and Morty‘s infamous, discontinued McDonald’s Sezchuan sauce

And, to paraphrase Pickle Rick’s therapist Dr. Wong, we got the impression that Rick and Morty fans valued science. So we conducted the most scientifically rigorous experiment possible.

Our comparative analysis of all the other McNugget sauces came complete with test subjects — courtesy of McDonald’s — and palette cleansers, ensuring the purity of our findings. We sought to answer the question: is a Teriyaki knockoff really worth the 9-season character arc that Rick ranted about in the show’s Season 3 premiere?  Read more…

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Architecture

Stern little Stormtrooper robot uses AR and facial recognition to help you deal with rebel scum

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Want to uphold the First Order and deal with some rebel scum from your own room?

In the same week we’ve seen the new trailer for The Last Jedi, AI and humanoid robotic company UBTECH has released a new Star Wars Stormtrooper robot. It’ll come with an augmented reality app, and can take voice commands, do facial recognition and even sentry patrolling.

The First Order Stormtrooper Robot’s AR app mode is supported by a voice activated command feature so you can issue direct verbal orders to your robot, launch “attacks” and tackle those pesky rebels through the app interface. Read more…

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Architecture

‘The Walking Dead’ will finally cross over with ‘Fear,’ says Robert Kirkman

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Ever since The Walking Dead got its spinoff (aka prequel) series, Fear the Walking Dead, fans and reporters alike have been badgering the producers behind the two shows about the possibility of a crossover — and apparently said badgering has finally paid off.

“There are two Walking Dead shows, I’m not gonna name them… There is one character that is going to go from one show, that I will not name… and appear in the other show, which I will not name,” series creator Robert Kirkman revealed at the show’s New York Comic Con panel. “So what does that mean, because these timelines, how does that work? Are we going to see an interesting backstory of a Walking Dead character showing up in Fear the Walking Dead, or are we going to see a Fear the Walking Dead character show up in The Walking Dead, and see a future version of a character? What’s gonna happen? Is it going to be something completely different than that? Who knows?” Read more…

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Architecture

Google got permission to float its internet-beaming balloons over Puerto Rico

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The FCC has given Google permission to deploy its Project Loon balloons over Puerto Rico. 

Previously, the helium balloons were able to provide LTE coverage to Peru after extreme flooding. But in that case, Google had already partnered with a telecom provider on the ground, which it depended on to beam the signal to the balloons, for disaster relief.

In Puerto Rico, Google’s innovation lab, X, is starting from scratch. It’s unclear if Puerto Rico’s stressed telecom companies even have the resources to partner with Google on this endeavor.

More about Google, Puerto Rico, Project Loon, Hurricane Maria, and Tech

Architecture

This connected tabletop gadget can measure the calories on your plate in 10 seconds flat

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Counting calories from an app can be pretty inaccurate, so this kitchen gadget is set to be a godsend for dieters.

Japanese electronics conglomerate Panasonic just showed off a prototype of its tabletop calorie counter dubbed CaloRieco.

All you have to do is pop a plate of food into the microwave-sized device, press a button on the lid, and 10 seconds later you’ll get an overall calorie count of your meal. Impressively, it’s also able to deliver a breakdown of your meal into carbs, fat and protein — great for people watching their macros. Read more…

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Architecture

Discovery of World War II shipwreck ends a 74-year mystery

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For 74 years, the merchant ship SS Macumba lay lost beneath the depths of the Arafura Sea, off the coast of Australia’s Northern Territory.

It was attacked back in August 1943 by two Japanese aircraft, who scored a direct hit on the ship’s engine room. Three seamen were killed, and survivors were taken aboard an escort. 

The ship was left to sink, and its whereabouts remained unknown for decades.

The SS Macumba.

The SS Macumba.

Image: Marine National Facility

That’s until researchers from the CSIRO aboard the RV Investigator discovered the shipwreck on Wednesday morning, during a survey of the area. Read more…

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Architecture

Solar power beat all other energy sources in 2016, but Trump still wants more coal

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Listening to the Trump administration advocate for reviving coal, one might get the impression that a fossil fuel resurgence is taking place in the U.S. and abroad. 

However, the global statistics tell a far different story about where the world is getting its energy, with unprecedented thresholds crossed by renewable energy technologies like solar and wind power. 

A major new report released Wednesday morning shows that, for the first time ever, 2016 saw solar photovoltaics, or solar PV, take the lead for the fastest electricity capacity growth when compared to any other fuel, beating the net growth in coal. Read more…

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Architecture

Stephen Colbert on gun control after Las Vegas: ‘Doing nothing is cowardice’

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On Monday night, Stephen Colbert opened The Late Show as much of his television compatriots did by addressing the shooting massacre in Las Vegas.

And like his fellow talk show hosts, Colbert also called for something, anything to be done on gun control.

“Terrible things happen in the world. Sometimes like today, where we feel things have risen to a new level. But we cannot accept that as the new normal,” he said.

Colbert also challenged Trump to prove himself as a president “who doesn’t care about how things have always been done in Washington D.C.” Read more…

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Architecture

Balenciaga models wore Crocs on a Paris runway, so you can dust yours off and wear them proudly now

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Crocs (and closet Crocs) fans, it isn’t April Fools’. Fashion house Balenciaga just sent models down the runway in Paris wearing platform Crocs, elevating the polarising squishy foam shoe to new heights — quite literally.

The new, limited edition Crocs will only be sold at Balenciaga stores, and on its website for its spring collection next year.

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 01: A model walks the runway at the Balenciaga Spring Summer 2018 fashion show during Paris Fashion Week on October 1, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Catwalking/Getty Images)

Image: Getty Images

A model walks the runway during the Balenciaga show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2018 on October 1, 2017 in Paris, France.

Image: Getty Images

Here, have a closer look:

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 01: A model walks the runway at the Balenciaga Spring Summer 2018 fashion show during Paris Fashion Week on October 1, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Catwalking/Getty Images)

Image: Getty Images

A model walks the runway during the Balenciaga show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2018 on October 1, 2017 in Paris, France.

Image: Getty Images

Balenciaga’s version of the iconic, often much hated shoe adds a 10cm platform to the base. It also appears to come with Balenciaga-designed shoe charms called Jibbitz, that you plug into the holes on the top surface of the Crocs.  Read more…

More about Fashion, Paris Fashion Week, Balenciaga, Crocs, and Culture