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Chance discovery casts new light on origins of polyphonic music

PhD student happens upon fragment in British Library suggesting modern multi-part music evolved earlier than was thought

Martin Freeman takes Middle Earth to 'The Office' in hilarious 'SNL' sketch

This 'Saturday Night Live' sketch perfectly combines Martin Freeman's roles on the British version of 'The Office' and 'The Hobbit' movies.

The Force is with this 'Star Wars'-themed light show - CNET

Music teacher and director Tom BetGeorge has put together a light show set to "Star Wars" tracks. It even includes a little lightsaber action.

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Top News
1
Google goes to court for antitrust claims over Android apps

Google will try to persuade a federal judge in San Jose, California on Thursday that its Android agreements, which requires Samsung and other phone makers to include products like Google Search and Maps as default apps, are not anti-competitive.

2
American Horror Story: Freak Show - "Orphans" Review - IGN

And the rest of the chapter dragged its heels. Like the show often does (especially now that it usually comes with an extra 10 to 15 minutes each week). Flashbacks to Stanley and Maggie's beginnings, along with Elsa recounting the tale of how she reared Pepper (including trading cases of Dr. Pepper for Ma Petite) worked to stretch everything to the max. Also, the shock of seeing Jimmy's hands was a fun twist but you also had to buy that Maggie would take Desiree all the way to the museum to prove her point.

3
Amputee simultaneously controls two prosthetic arms with his mind - CNET

"We expected him to exceed performance compared to what he might achieve with conventional systems, but the speed with which he learned motions and the number of motions he was able to control in such a short period of time was far beyond expectation. What really was amazing, and was another major milestone with MPL control, was his ability to control a combination of motions across both arms at the same time. This was a first for simultaneous bimanual control."

4
Still no stem cells via easy 'STAP' path

The original papers, which Obokata co-authored and published in Nature in January 1, 2 , claimed to provide a way of producing 'pluripotent' stem cells — cells with the ability to develop into almost any cell type in the body — by a much easier route than used by earlier methods, including a technology that won the 2012 physiology Nobel prize. Obokata's technique involved inducing pluripotency in mouse adult cells by subjecting them to stress, such as physical pressure or exposure to acid. The technique was called stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency, or STAP.

5
Why the Sony hack is unlikely to be the work of North Korea.

Everyone seems to be eager to pin the blame for the Sony hack on North Korea. However, I think it’s unlikely. Here’s why:1. The broken English looks deliberately bad and doesn’t exhibit any of the classic comprehension mistakes you actually expect to see in “Konglish”. i.e it reads to me like an English speaker pretending to be bad at writing English. 2. The fact that the code was written on a PC with Korean locale & language actually makes it less likely to be North Korea. Not least because they don’t speak traditional “Korean” in North Korea, they speak their own dialect and traditional Korean is forbidden. This is one of the key things that has made communication with North Korean refugees difficult. I would find the presence of Chinese far more plausible.See here – http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/30/world/asia/30iht-dialect.2644361.html?_r=0 here – http://www.nknews.org/2014/08/north-korean-dialect-as-a-soviet-russian-translation/ and here – http://www.voanews.com/content/a-13-2009-03-16-voa49-68727402/409810.

6
MixRadio and LINE make sweet music - Lumia Conversations

With coverage spanning 31 countries and millions of satisfied customers, MixRadio lets fans listen to music that is personalized just for them, by understanding their unique taste profile to serve up the tunes they will love. MixRadio provides people the opportunity to discover brand new music and rediscover old favourites.

7
Leaked Emails Unveil Snapchat’s Secretive CEO

A batch of leaked emails involving a Snapchat board member show the startup’s rapid rise to be the work of a secretive young entrepreneur with a distaste for Silicon Valley and its conventions.

8
Destiny hot fix tweaks Crota's End raid drops

In Destiny you are a Guardian of the last city on Earth, able to wield incredible power. Explore the ancient ruins of our solar system, from the red dunes of Mars to the lush jungles of Venus. Defeat Earth’s enemies. Discover all that we have lost. Become legend. Destiny delivers an all new way to experience first-person action games. A sweeping adventure set within a bold new universe, featuring an unprecedented combination of cooperative, competitive, public, and community activities seamlessly woven into an expansive, persistent, online world.

9
Box CEO Aaron Levie: From Commodity to ‘Defining Strategy’

Levie : The determination we made three or four years ago was, there’s a window of opportunity where the vast majority of legacy on-premises systems, whether software or hardware, was going to migrate or be disrupted. … If we were going to build one of those next-generation platforms, we would have to show up to all of the major enterprises…as a sophisticated, significant player. … Before GE will put a bit of data on your system in a sanctioned way, they have to see a platform as significant as any other choice from the incumbents.

10
Minecraft: Story Mode game series from Telltale, Mojang

Minecraft: Story Mode - A Telltale Game Series is an episodic, narrative-driven game series based in Minecraft 's blocky world, coming in 2015 to PC, Mac, mobile devices and what Mojang calls "Xbox consoles" and "PlayStation consoles." We've reached out to Telltale for clarification on platforms. The game has an original storyline that is influenced by the choices players make, similar to Telltale's other offerings, Tales from the Borderlands, Game of Thrones, The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead . "Telltale's game series will mix new characters with familiar themes, in an entirely original Minecraft experience, inspired by the Minecraft community and the game that continues to inspire a generation," Telltale writes . Mojang offers a little more detail about its approach to story on its blog: "We're not intending on creating an 'official' story for Steve, or explaining the world of Minecraft in detail. It will be a cool game." Mojang revealed the collaboration with a mini-game called Info Quest 2 (which is fairly adorable). Microsoft completed a $2.5 billion acquisition of Mojang in November.

11
Kidnap Your Friends With Evolve’s Third Monster, Wraith - IGN

Perhaps my favorite part of this extended hands-on session – besides finally getting to test drive the long-secret third Monster – was that I spent the entire time playing by myself. Yes, anything and everything is playable solo, and capable AI will play as the Hunters when playing as the monster, and the other Hunters and Monster if you choose a Hunter (though it’s also worth noting that you can hot-swap into any Hunter on the fly if you’re playing a Hunter in solo mode.

12
How "Serial" Could Bring Big Money To Podcasts (Finally!)

Podcasts are having a moment. Here's how they can attract bigger audiences—and advertisers.

13
Vulnerability announced: update your Git clients

The vulnerability concerns Git and Git-compatible clients that access Git repositories in a case-insensitive or case-normalizing filesystem. An attacker can craft a malicious Git tree that will cause Git to overwrite its own .git/config file when cloning or checking out a repository, leading to arbitrary command execution in the client machine. Git clients running on OS X (HFS+) or any version of Microsoft Windows (NTFS, FAT) are exploitable through this vulnerability. Linux clients are not affected if they run in a case-sensitive filesystem.

14
Gizmodo on Twitter

Oh FFS RT @Gizmodo : Paramount cancels showings of Team America because everyone's a coward: http://gizmo.do/J6g9w04  pic.twitter.com/PrGE9wsrlc

15
New Photos Released From Rosetta Comet Landing Mission | WIRED

SAN FRANCISCO—The Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has released more images of the comet, including the first picture snapped by the Philae lander after its first bounce. The team discussed the images today, here at the American Geophysical Union meeting.

16
Street Fighter 5 to Use Unreal Engine 4 - IGN

Street Fighter V was recently revealed at PSX, where it was said the game will be exclusive to PS4 and PC, with no chance of moving to other consoles. Since then we've seen the reveal of a returning character to the franchise, Charlie Nash.

17
IGN Live Presents: Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta - IGN

Good news everyone! On Friday, December 19 at 1pm PT/4pm ET, 9pm GMT/7am AEST (on 12/20), IGN will have early access to the Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta (hey, that's tomorrow!), and we'll be playing the heck out of it – live. Join IGN's foremost Halo fans and experts, Ryan McCaffrey, Mitch Dyer, and Alfredo Diaz as we dive into all the maps and game modes the initial release of the beta has to offer. We'll also answer your questions live on Twitter (use the hashtag #Halo5). So be sure to bookmark this page!

18
You can now have snowball fights in Grand Theft Auto V

"Be forewarned, those icy little suckers can pack a wallop," the developer says. There are also new weapons and cars to test out, and perhaps most importantly, if you check into the game on Christmas Day there might just be a present waiting for you. The holiday update is far from the only new content coming to GTA Online , though — just a few days ago Rockstar revealed that  online heists are coming early next year .

19
We All Lose When Theater Chains Bow to Sony Hackers

So now we sit by and watch theater chains bow to the threats of some hackers that no one even heard of before November. Apparently they have 10TB of Sony information. So after the “The Interview” leaves theaters they might have a problem with another movie from the studio. Maybe they’ll have issue with a game coming to the PlayStation 4. Hell, they might take offense at Sony artist Meghan Trainor’s song, All About That Bass . Maybe GOP is all about that treble?

20
Minecraft Is Getting A Standalone “Story Mode” In 2015

Telltale is the first and only digital publisher to release interactive episodic content on a monthly schedule. Their award-winning internal development studio is responsible for creating landmark episodic content, including Tales of Monkey Island, the Sam & Max series, Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, and Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventure. Telltale currently develops and publishes …

21
Diagnose your kid's ear infection with your iPhone - CNET

Fortunately for those of us dumb enough to try to diagnose ear infections ourselves, doing so might soon be as simple as taking a video on your smartphone. CellScope has come out with a device called the Oto Home, which is a smartphone attachment for the iPhone that shoots a video of your child's inner ear and sends it to a licensed physician who will give a definitive yea or nay, and a prescription, if needed, by phone or email in as little as two hours.

22
Uber Strikes Deal With Portland to Suspend Service for Three Months

Mayor Hales said he hopes to create rules that would mandate stricter insurance requirements and background checks for drivers who sign up for ridesharing services, and possibly require Uber to provide wheelchair-accessible vehicles to passengers in the city. He said the city might consider regulating Uber’s prices, as it already does for other private cab service. A mayor-appointed task force will make policy recommendations to the city council by April 9.

23
Disabled dog runs for the first time thanks to 3D-printed legs

Derby the dog was born with deformed front legs that left him unable to move faster than a crawl. But now, with the help of a team of orthopedic and 3D-printing experts, he can actually run. Alright, so this is basically a three-minute advertisement for a 3D printing company — but that doesn’t mean it’s not heartwarming (and interesting) as hell.

24
Apple's Cook makes 'substantial' donation for gay rights in U.S. South

(Reuters) - Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook, the highest-profile U.S. business leader to publicly acknowledge being gay, has made a "substantial" donation to a gay rights effort in his native Alabama and two other southern U.S. states, activists said on Thursday.

25
Evolve Open Beta Coming Exclusively to Xbox One - IGN

Things change on January 17, when Xbox One open beta players acquire exclusive access to Evolve's dynamic campaign mode, Evacuation. The mode draws on the full array of maps and modes to create an experience with a loose narrative. When we got to grips with Evacuation during IGN First, we really enjoyed what we played, particularly how it manage to wrangle the game's distinct modes into a compelling experience. You can read more about Evacuation in our preview .

26
12 Million Home Routers Vulnerable to Takeover

More than 12 million devices running an embedded webserver called RomPager are vulnerable to a simple attack that could give a hacker man-in-the-middle position on traffic going to and from home routers from just about every leading manufacturer.

27
Airbnb To Start Collecting Tourist Tax In Amsterdam

The meat of the agreement with the city’s housing and finance departments is on the tax side, with Airbnb taking on the tax collector role, by collecting tourist tax from hosts and remitting it to the city on their behalf. It will begin doing so as of February 2015. This follows  Airbnb beginning to collect and remit transient occupancy taxes in San Francisco  in October. It also collects and remits taxes in Portland.

28
Texas plumber's truck somehow ends up in Syrian civil war

A picture posted on Twitter by the Supporters of the Religion Front — a faction engaged in the ongoing Syrian civil war — shows an enormous gun mounted to the back of a Ford F-250 decorated with the name and number of Mark-1, a plumbing operation in Texas City, Texas. Mark-1 is known better for unclogging toilets than fighting brutal, drawn-out conflicts in the Middle East.

29
LG to show off webOS 2.0 smart TV at CES 2015 - CNET

LG is set to show off an upgraded smart TV at CES 2015, powered by a new version of webOS that offers an "intuitive and convenient" user experience.

30
Duck Hunt Coming to Wii U December 25 - IGN

An NES classic is coming to the Virtual Console on Wii U this month, with a plethora of eShop sales during the wait.

31
Why You Should Be Taking A Nap Right Now

This is a very welcome message and I hope employers are listening. One of the things that drove me to working from home as a requisite of any job was the ability to nap when I needed to. I am simply unwilling to drag myself through half the day at less than full potential. I work 4 hours early in the day, then take a long lunch break which includes a 20 minute walk and a 20 minute nap, and then start back to work around 4pm, and work until about 7 or 8. Works perfectly for me and seems to lead to more client satisfaction as well. Working with a team in many different timezones also helps, since at any given time someone is unreachable and someone will just have become reachable.

32
mikolalysenko/dynamic-forest

Maintains a spanning forest for an arbitrary undirected graph under incremental edge insertions and deletions. Implementation based on the following algorithm:

33
This is the Problem with Startup Growth Metrics

If you’ve ever tried to blind someone else with stats, or if you’ve had to endure startups claiming “500 percent growth” but refusing to tell you how many actual users they have, this one’s for you…

34 Swiftype is hiring!

Swiftype is a growing team of talented search experts, with experiences ranging from machine learning to online commerce. We are looking for self-motivated and resourceful individuals who will work with us to deliver an outstanding product experience.

35
Kim Jong Un Death Scene From ‘The Interview’ Leaked

YouTube on Thursday took down a copy of a leaked clip from the film “The Interview,” which showed a scene in which the Kim Jong Un character is killed.

36
Exclusive: Google aiming to go straight into car with next Android - sources

The move is a major step up from Google's current Android Auto software, which comes with the latest version of its smartphone operating system and requires a phone to be plugged into a compatible car with a built-in screen to access streaming music, maps and other apps. The first such vehicles will debut in 2015.

37
Expect Labs Raises $13M To Give Apps Better Voice Controls

Expect Labs is the creator of the MindMeld API, the first developer platform capable of powering intelligent voice experiences for any app, device or website. Companies use this platform to create voice-driven assistants that understand what users say and automatically find the information they need before they have to type a search query. Expect Labs has been widely recognized as a leader in the field …

38
Deezer Shows you the Lyrics as you Listen to Music

Streaming music service Deezer has added a new feature today that lets you read the lyrics along with songs as you listen to them. While this feature has been available in the past as an add-on to Spotify via the likes of TuneWiki (which shut down last year) and MusiXmatch , this is the first time we’re aware of a service building it in natively.

39
Alleged Uber Rape in Boston After Company Promises Increased Safety

46-year-old Alejandro Done has been held without bail over charges of rape, assault to rape, kidnapping and two counts of assault and battery of a passenger in his cab on Dec 6. Done, who had passed the company’s background check, has pleaded not guilty and will be held until his hearing scheduled for Dec 24.

40
The Verge on Twitter

When you tweet with a location, Twitter stores that location. You can switch location on/off before each Tweet and always have the option to delete your location history. Learn more

41
Engadget on Twitter

The Duck Hunt begins for Wii U owners on Christmas Day http://engt.co/1DQsvqk  pic.twitter.com/HIJnz96ICI

42
Everything you need to know about the Sony hacks

A lot's happened with Sony, The Interview , and North Korea over the last three weeks, and it's been easy to get lost. So we've put together a quick refresher on all the news that's come out since the attacks began. It's been one of the strangest and most befuddling stories of the year, but we've answered the biggest questions below.

43
TNW's Apps of the Year: Reporter Tracks your Habits

Eight times per day, at differing times, my iPhone asks me to fill in a report about what I’m doing. Each time, I log my location, whether I’m working or not and who I’m with. Before I go to sleep, I tell it how many cups of coffee I’ve had that day, and when I wake up I tell it how well I slept.

44
Making sense of the minority police officer experience

Miranda used to patrol the same Brooklyn precinct where unarmed 28-year-old Akai Gurley was shot and killed by an officer in a housing project. He acknowledges that this area, like others surrounding it, suffer from high crime rates, but he and many officers of color support ongoing protests against unaccountable and racist policing. They want tangible changes, such as the Ferguson injunction that temporarily prevented cops from using tear gas on protesters.

45
Open Garden raises $11M as it adds more features to FireChat

Open Garden has built a name for itself with FireChat, an off-grid messaging app taken up by protest movements around the world, and it’s technology hasn’t gone unnoticed by the VC world. On Thursday, it announced it has closed its Series A funding round of $10.8 million, bringing in early investors in Skype, Google as well as the attention of the man who shook up France’s broadband and mobile markets, Xavier Niel .

46
Bebo Has Been Reincarnated as a Crazy Messaging App

Bebo’s messaging app mashes up hashtags, messaging and avatars to create a bizarre stepchild of all three that actually works quite nicely. The very first thing you do is set up your avatar to your liking; no profile pictures here, just avatars.

47
16 Perfect Presents for People Who Work Out of Coffee Shops | WIRED

The whirr of the coffee grinder helps you get your grind on; a sexagintuple vanilla bean mocha Frappuccino sits cooling beside your elbow. All the while, you type away on your laptop. Maybe your barista has been making you the same drink for three years at your local caffeine stop. Maybe you’ve seen the inside of a hundred Starbucks across the country, never visiting the same one twice. Either way, you carry your workspace in a single case, and your definition of “office supplies” rarely includes staplers or paper trays.

48
How to travel with pets this holiday season

For pets, the least stressful option can actually be staying home, among familiar surroundings. If you have a friend or family member to watch your furry companion, be sure to provide them emergency contact information both for you and for your pet's vet. Leave instructions for what to do in case anything terrible happens, and consider leaving a credit card on file with the vet.

49
Ascension: "Night Three" Review - IGN

As for the surge, I thought it was a great way to give the last half-hour a real sense of urgency. (Never underestimate the value of alarms and blinking lights!) Here, we got some of the episodes' finest moments, including Gault and Denninger going back down to the lower levels to get the air systems running again. It was a nice touch having Enzmann explain that the star field outside had been hardwired into Ascension's design, so as not to shatter the illusion. This in turn solely left it up to the crew to save themselves, which helped make the situation feel more dire, despite the fact they weren't actually in space. (Also, those shots of the crew experiencing rain for the first time? Good stuff.)

50
Minecraft maker plans spin-off game

Minecraft maker Mojang is planning a spin-off game based on its hugely popular block-building title.

51 2014: The year in quotes
52 North Korea behind Sony hack
53 Information for the World's Business Leaders
54 Books worth reading this holiday, recommended by Bill Gates, Susan Cain and more...
55 Five tips for managing your money with Mint.com - CNET
56 lhartikk/ArnoldC
57 It's Not Just For Your Brain: Meditating Can Actually Change Your DNA
58 China's JD.com to sell Gap clothing, vying with Alibaba to woo Western brands
59 Does the media have a "duty of care"?
60 The Elf on the Shelf is preparing your child to live in a future police state, professor warns
61 10 best tech companies to work for in 2015
62 The power of believing that you can improve
63 Trinket Everyday Carry Contest
64 Public Perceptions of Privacy and Security in the Post-Snowden Era
65 China must act, but Africa needs to take the lead to stop ivory trade | Paula Kahumbu
66 I spend $11,000 a year on takeout!
67 Journalism’s biggest competitors are things that don’t even look like journalism
68 Hampton Creek Plans For World Food Tech Domination With $90 Million In Series C Funding
69 A call to men
70 Meet the 2015 class of TED Fellows and Senior Fellows
71 Investigation: “Factory Farms” Producing Massive Quantities of Organic Milk and Eggs - Cornucopia Institute
72 The TheTechNewsBlog Daily
73 GameAnalytics Scores $5.5M Series A, Hires Ex-Aol European MD As CEO
74 How E-Commerce Is Finally Disrupting The $600 Billion-A-Year Grocery Industry
75 Seven tips for securing your Facebook account - CNET
76 No theaters, no VOD for 'The Interview'
77 SparkLabs Global Ventures Invests in the UK’s Code Kingdoms and Seoul’s MangoPlate
78 Korean E-Book Platform Ridibooks Raises $8M Series B
79 TeachPitch Helps Educators Around The World Share Learning Resources
80 The best photos of 2014
81 Tastier, Healthier, And Animal-Free: Can Ethan Brown Reinvent Meat?
82 First Round Might Break The Silicon Valley Internets With Annual Holiday Video
83 Steam's Winter Sale Is Live Now, Through January 2nd
84 Curiosity has discovered organic matter on Mars - CNET
85 Developers Hold the Keys to Unlocking the Cloud | WIRED
86 The FBI Used the Web's Favorite Hacking Tool to Unmask Tor Users | WIRED
87 KanaVape, Hemp vaporizer
88 Sony Pictures Employees Now Working In An Office “From Ten Years Ago”
89 To Prove Online-To-Offline Impact, Google Rolls Out "Store Visits" Metric In AdWords
90 Home | Newsletters | MIT Technology Review
91 EyeEm Launches Open Edit, Letting You See How Pros Edit Their Photos
92 WIRED Beta Sign Up | WIRED
93 Social media and the end of gender
94 Sony Pictures hack: the whole story
95 How Headlines Change the Way We Think - The New Yorker
96 'Serial' conclusion leaves podcasters cautiously optimistic about the future
97 Startup Tests Nanobud Touch Sensors | MIT Technology Review