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May. 22nd, 2017 03:19 pm
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[personal profile] goonies posting in [community profile] addme
NAME: Amber
AGE: 32
INTERESTS & HOBBIES: Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Avengers, The Maze Runner, Teen Wolf, The Flash, The Originals, Supernatural, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Merlin, Glee, NCIS, Criminal Minds, Psych, Xena, Hercules, Buffy, Angel, Charmed, Forensic Files, The Vampire Diaries, Chucky, Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, Horror Movies, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Pirates of the Carribbean, Jurassic Park/World, Back to The Future, Indiana Jones, Halloween, Halloween Displays, Gothic, Victorian, Space, Science, FanClubs, Scrapbooking, Making Graphics, Reading, Photography, Cosplaying and Conventions.

LOOKING FOR: What type of journals are you looking for? People with similar things in common. Anyone that likes photography, conventions, fanclubs and cosplaying.
ANYTHING ELSE?: Anything else you want to mention?
ALSO KNOWN AS: Halliwell on LJ.
[syndicated profile] arstechnica_feed

Posted by Kyle Orland

Enlarge / All those Lawbreakers characters had better be playing on the same platform...

After years of online gaming being strictly segregated by platform, recent months have seen a resurgence in the idea of playing with friends and rivals on different hardware. That includes some hesitant attempts by game makers to cross the PC/console barrier with cross-play between players using a mouse/keyboard and those using handheld controllers, even in first-person shooters.

At least one major developer is not a fan of the emerging trend, though. "We made the decision not to do cross-play, and there are a lot of people with this pipe dream of PC and console cross-play," Lawbreakers lead developer Cliff Bleszinski told PCGamesN while announcing a PS4 port of what was formerly a PC exclusive. "It's like, 'No, be the best console game you can be, or be the best PC game you can be.' Because then you get PC players getting angry that there's aim assist on console, or with balance issues."

The announcement follows on a Eurogamer interview Bleszinski gave a year ago, in which he commented on a then-theoretical console version. "The thing about the controller is it's going to be tricky," he said at the time. "We've played around with the controller a little bit and, thing is, if we get around to doing console ports, I don't want to do cross-play. Some people think that's the holy grail for a lot of games, and I'm like, 'no.' If you have somebody with a keyboard and mouse versus somebody with a controller, I'm sorry, but the person with the keyboard and mouse is going to win nine times out of 10."

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[personal profile] rfmcdonald
Scadding Cabin, a log cabin named after the English immigrant John Scadding who built it in 1794 that happens to be the oldest known surviving house in Toronto, was the final stop on the Ghost Walk held at Exhibition Place. It was a good stop, between the dim of evening outside and the candles inside.

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[syndicated profile] arstechnica_feed

Posted by Ars Staff

Enlarge / Little touches like these, before and after fights, really give the game personality. (credit: NetherRealm Studios)

There’s a lot going on in Injustice 2—maybe more than the game itself can keep track of, at times. But thanks to developer NetherRealm’s ongoing commitment to making the most accessible fighting games this side of Divekick, Injustice 2 is only occasionally overwhelming.

That permissiveness begins with Injustice 2’s single-player campaign, which just might set a new gold standard for such modes in fighting games. Granted, that’s a low bar to clear, and NetherRealm is mostly competing with itself. But the cinematic unfolding of alternate-universe comic-book antics in Injustice 2 is wildly fun in its own right.

In the Injustice-verse, Superman is a villain. The first Injustice ended with the last son of Krypton locked up and awaiting trial for murdering both criminals and “potential” wrongdoers without hearings of their own. Just as Batman and his “no-kill club” allies are returning things to normal, a Superman-level threat invades Earth in the form of Brainiac. The alien machine-man wants the Kryptonian for his own personal collection, and perhaps the only one that can stop the invasion is Superman himself. Punching ensues.

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Posted by Steve Benen

Donald Trump used to think it was "disgraceful" for a powerful person's staff to plead the Fifth. The president probably feels differently today.

A Herpetological Roundup

May. 22nd, 2017 08:07 pm
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Posted by Jonathan Crowe

Brown-snouted Blind Snake (Ramphotyphlops wiedii or nigriscens), November 13, 2015. Photo by Will Brown. Creative Commons Licence.


  1. Known from only a handful of specimens since its discovery in 1937 and feared extinct, the Albany Adder (Bitis albanica) was found alive and well—at least four specimens were—last November, in a South African location that is being kept secret to deter poachers. Because yes, poachers will collect the shit out of these snakes.

  2. The plan to reintroduce Timber Rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) to an island in the Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts has been suspended in the face of local opposition; the Worcester Telegram’s outdoors writer Mark Blazis is disappointed.

  3. Ontario Nature has announced its new and improved Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas app, which isn’t so much an app as it is a mobile website that supports offline data. Anyway, it’s got a field guide and lets you enter species sightings.

  4. Fossil snakes are generally known from their vertebrae, which makes their study a little less exciting to the lay reader than dinosaurs; still, it’s rather exciting that a new extinct species, Zilantophis schuberti, has been described from a fossil found in eastern Tennessee. “Zilantophis bore uniquely broad wing-shaped projections on the sides of its vertebrae. In life, these were likely attachment sites for back muscles. These features are what inspired the name of the new genus, derived from Zilant, a winged serpent in Tatar mythology.” [Journal of Herpetology]

  5. Blind snakes (Scolecophidia) are tiny, secretive and easily overlooked; even so, there’s something of a blind snake renaissance going on, says Andrew Durso. “I recently noticed, much to my surprise, the the number of described species of blindsnakes has doubled in the last 13 years, from 305 in 2004 to 599 today; that’s 16.5% of all snakes! There are certainly many undiscovered species of blindsnakes, so it’s likely that their numbers will continue to grow.”

  6. A fascinating article in The New York Times Magazine from Daniel Engber that looks at the increasing use of the Burmese Python (Python molurus bivitattus) as a laboratory animal, and the possibility that its extraordinary digestive system—which has to flip from inactive to a 50,000-calorie meal all at once—may help find a cure for diabetes.

[syndicated profile] arstechnica_feed

Posted by Sean Gallagher

The launch of a Pukguksong-2 solid-fuel missile from a mobile launcher on May 21 may signal a new level of worries for the US, Japan, and South Korea. (credit: KCNA (North Korean state media))

On Sunday, the North Korean military conducted a second, successful test of the Pukguksong-2, a solid-fuel intermediate range ballistic missile based on a design derived from the country's submarine-launched ballistic missile. While this might seem like just more saber-rattling from Pyongyang's leadership given the relatively continuous chain of test launches since President Donald Trump's inauguration (a total of 10 so far this year), this launch and the launch on May 13 carry a bit more weight.

According to North Korea's government media, Sunday's test shows that the Pukguksong-2 is now ready to be "mass-produced." If true, that development would substantially increase the threat posed by North Korea's missile force—the Pukguksong-2 can be deployed on tracked mobile launchers, and it uses a "cold-launch" system that requires much less preparation time, which provides much less of an opportunity for the US and allies to detect an impending attack. The tracked launchers also increase the potential number of locations from which the missile could be launched. And the range of the missile appears to be greater than originally estimated.

Sunday's missile test was tracked by US Pacific Command. The test missile flew in a high-lofting path from North Korea's west coast across the country and toward Japan, landing in the Sea of Japan. The missile flew approximately 500 kilometers (310 miles) and reached an altitude of about 560 kilometers (about 350 miles). It has an estimated range of 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles) or more. If launched from within North Korea, the missile could potentially strike all of Japan, South Korea, and even US forces in Guam. By comparison, the Pukguksong-1 submarine-launched missile is believed to have a 1,000 kilometer (620 mile) range.

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Posted by Joe Mullin

Historic Harrison County Courthouse, Marshall, Texas. (credit: Joe Mullin)

The US Supreme Court ruled (PDF) today on how to interpret the patent venue laws, and the controversial business of "patent trolling" may never be the same.

In a unanimous decision, the justices held that the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which handles all patent appeals, has been using the wrong standard to decide where a patent lawsuit can be brought. Today's Supreme Court ruling in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods enforces a more strict standard for where cases can be filed. It overturns a looser rule that the Federal Circuit has used since 1990.

The ruling may well signal the demise of the Eastern District of Texas as a favorite venue for patent lawsuits, especially those brought by "patent trolls," which have no business outside of licensing and litigating patents.

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Taking a News Break

May. 22nd, 2017 08:40 pm
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Posted by John Scalzi

The last couple of weeks have been genuinely and literally amazing as far as news goes — so much happened every day, of such importance to the nation, that it’s been hard to keep up or to process it all, or (and this is important) to get into a frame of mind to do a whole lot of work. The very last of these is not great for me, as I have a book due soon.

So this week I’ve decided to go on a news diet; basically, to not go out of my way to read news or to follow it on Twitter or other social media (I’ve also muted the word “Trump” on Twitter, to aid in this project). I’m sure some of it will leak in regardless; I’m just not going to go out of my way to find it. What I’m saying is, I’m going to go ahead and let everyone else be on top of things for a bit while I recalibrate and try to get my work/outrage balance back into whack.

This is, incidentally, something I suggest everyone does from time to time (I mean, if your job doesn’t actually involve writing about the news), especially these days when just the daily dose of news can be overwhelming. Pace yourself, folks. It’s going to be a long haul.


[syndicated profile] arstechnica_feed

Posted by Jim Resnick

Audi

There's a danger with SUVs, but not the kind you might suspect. Should any lingering doubts exist that SUVs have inherited the automotive Earth, chew on this: Audi, the most recent luxury brand to the SUV playpen in the US, now counts 24 percent of all its USA sales from the Q5 column. But that's not dangerous. One other luxury car brand offers a staggering five different SUV models. But even that's not dangerous.

The danger is that, through better suspension (including sophisticated electronics that change to your whim or situational input) and better tires, SUVs are getting closer and closer in performance level to sports sedans. The danger is that even though the SUV already killed the American station wagon market, it's not satisfied. The SUV is coming after the hot sports sedan.

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[syndicated profile] arstechnica_feed

Posted by Dan Goodin

Enlarge (credit: BenGrantham)

For years, Yahoo Mail has exposed a wealth of private user data because it failed to update widely used image-processing software that contained critical vulnerabilities. That's according to a security researcher who warned that other popular services are also likely to be leaking sensitive subscriber secrets.

Chris Evans, the researcher who discovered the vulnerabilities and reported them privately to Yahoo engineers, has dubbed them "Yahoobleed" because the vulnerabilities caused the site to bleed contents stored in server memory. The easy-to-exploit flaws resided in ImageMagick, an image-processing library that's supported by PHP, Ruby, NodeJS, Python, and about a dozen other programming languages. One version of Yahoobleed was the result of Yahoo failing to install a critical patch released in January 2015. A second Yahoobleed vulnerability was the result of a bug that ImageMagick developers fixed only recently after receiving a private report from Evans.

The vulnerability discovered by Evans could be exploited by e-mailing a maliciously manipulated image file to a Yahoo Mail address. After opening the 18-byte file, chunks of Yahoo server memory began leaking to the end user. Evans called this version of the attack "Yahoobleed1." "Yahoobleed2" worked by exploiting the vulnerability fixed in January 2015.

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[personal profile] the_gneech

Bringin' the Awesome! Art and Gaming Streams by The Gneech


In an effort to broaden my reach and find more audience, I have begun doing livestreams of art sessions and of my Overwatch sessions, as well as posting recordings to YouTube. So far I’m still in the earliest stages of figuring it all out, but I’m a pretty quick study and I think I’m getting the hang of it! I will add these feeds to the sidebar links on Gneech.com (which is due for a massive overhaul, actually), but for now here’s a quick list where you can find Gneechy Video Goodness!



These time slots are fairly dependable, although if I’m at a convention or something similar obviously that will have an impact. Besides subscribing for notifications on the respective services, you can also follow me on Twitter for the most reliable updates. I try to Tweet at least an hour before I will start streaming to give people a heads-up.


Thanks for watching! Let’s have some fun!


-The Gneech


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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll




In this fast-playing, low-prep March 2015 Kickstarter triumph, desperate heroes battle strange magic, unhinged cultists, and roaming mobs of undead while humanity's last great empire slides toward oblivion. If you love Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, the Ravenloft and Midnight settings, Joe Abercrombie's The First Law novels, or heavy metal music, get this bargain-priced collection of DRM-free .PDF ebooks and confront the Void That Hungers.
[syndicated profile] arstechnica_feed

Posted by Nathan Mattise

Enlarge / Agent Dale Cooper is very much back. (credit: Suzanne Tenner / Showtime)

Warning: This post contains some spoilers for Twin Peaks: The Return alongside references to details from the original series.

“Is it future, or is it past?”

-Mike (a benign spirit inhabiting a shoe salesman sitting in an extra-dimensional waiting room)

It almost goes without saying that Twin Peaks felt like nothing else on TV back when it debuted on ABC in the early 1990s. Excitingly, the same applies to last night’s premiere of Twin Peaks: The Return on Showtime and Sky Atlantic. A beloved cult-classic has surfaced 25 years later, and it immediately throws both old and new viewers into the deep-end without the slightest hint of a flotation device.

Don't expect any “here’s what happened a quarter-century ago” catch-up sequences. Laura Palmer gets no explanation. Margaret the Log Lady gets no explanation. And the dual Dale Coopers/Red Room/extra-dimensional lodges/otherworldly spirits sure as hell get no explanations. Ostensibly, Twin Peaks: The Return aims to please fans by making such choices, but going into the series blind in 2017 probably doesn’t leave you that far behind, even if it’ll make those Dale Cooper-Red Room sequences extra surreal and obtuse.

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[syndicated profile] arstechnica_feed

Posted by Nate Anderson

Enlarge

The shortlist for board game's biggest international award, the Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year), has just been announced by the German critics' association that awards the prize. The main Spiel des Jahres award is currently reserved for lighter, family-style games, while the more complex Kennerspiel des Jahres honors deeper or more strategic games.

The final decision will be made this summer, but for now, if you're looking for something new to play with friends or family, this list provides a nice starting point.

Ars Cardboard's own recommendations from the list are, in order of complexity, Kingdomino (light), Exit—The Game (light-medium, very puzzle-y), and Terraforming Mars (medium-heavy, thinky).

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[personal profile] ffutures
This is a system I don't know, and probably won't be playing - I'm not really into "Dark Fantasy" or any of the things they mention in the "if you love xxx you'll love this..." bit, and suspect it isn't really my sort of setting:

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/DemonLord

"Shadow of the Demon Lord is designer Robert J. Schwalb's dark fantasy RPG of grim heroism against a cosmic destroyer. In this fast-playing, low-prep March 2015 Kickstarter triumph, desperate heroes battle strange magic, unhinged cultists, and roaming mobs of undead while humanity's last great empire slides toward oblivion. Gamers who love Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, the Ravenloft and Midnight settings, Joe Abercrombie's The First Law novels, or heavy metal music will want this bargain-priced collection of DRM-free .PDF ebooks all about the Void That Hungers.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$98. Customers who pay just US$13.95 get all four titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $44) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete 278-page Shadow of the Demon Lord corebook (retail price $20), the Demon Lord's Companion (retail $10), the Uncertain Faith sourcebook of divine magic (retail $12), and the fine introductory adventure Dark Deeds in Last Hope (retail $2).

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $23.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with five more titles worth an additional $54. What's in these supplements? The titles speak for themselves: Hunger in the Void (retail $12), Tombs of the Desolation (retail $10), A Glorious Death (retail $10), Terrible Beauty (retail $12), and Exquisite Agony (retail $10). Happy gaming!

At least one more title will be added after launch; "When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early.

Shadow of the Demon Lord resources

I think it looks like a reasonable deal, but I'm not going to be delving into it to see if I'm right or wrong. For this one you're on your own...

[syndicated profile] arstechnica_feed

Posted by Annalee Newitz

Trailer for tonight's episode of Year Million. (video link)

If you're interested in where science and technology might take humanity over the next million years, you might want to check out a new series from National Geographic called Year Million. Part science fiction, part speculative commentary, the show explores what could happen to humanity if we actually achieve some of today's scientific moonshots, like extreme longevity, human-equivalent AI, fully immersive VR, and space colonization.

The series' advisers included futurists like George Dvorsky and Michio Kaku, as well as science fiction writers like N.K. Jemisin. Their commentary is interspersed with the story of a family whose members go through all the changes created by technology. Thanks to life extension, they get to live for a million years and see the Earth and humanity utterly transformed.

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[syndicated profile] arstechnica_feed

Posted by Jon Brodkin

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Atypeek)

Two Democratic senators have asked Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to explain why "FCC security personnel reportedly manhandled, threatened, and ejected" a journalist who was trying to ask questions after last week's net neutrality vote.

Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) sent a letter to Pai Friday, one day after CQ Roll Call reporter John Donnelly accused FCC guards of forcing him out of the building when he was trying to talk to Pai and Commissioner Michael O'Rielly.

Udall and Hassan wrote:

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