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100,000 Christmas lights programmed to themes from 'Star Wars'

YouTube user Tom BetGeorge programmed his Christmas lights to 'Star Wars' themes for a good cause.

The biggest memes of 2014, made cuter by Marnie the Dog

Instagram superstar Marnie the Dog models 13 of the biggest memes from 2014.

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Top News
1
Your smartphone is changing the way your fingers work

Your smartphone is changing more than just your habits -- it's changing the way your hands work, too. Swiss researchers have discovered that activity in the brain's cortex associated with index fingers and thumbs is enhanced directly in proportion to how often you use your phone's touchscreen. That area of your mind will light up if you message your friends all week, but it'll fade the longer you spend away from your device. People with basic cellphones don't see this, according to the scientists. This suggests that repetitive smartphone use is altering your sensory processing, and that your brain is perceiving your digits in a different way. Whether or not that's a good thing is still up in the air, but it shows that you don't have to be in a profession driven by hand dexterity (such as music) to see a shift in how your brain and fingers work together.

2
Dell P2715Q review

We didn’t need much time to realize Dell’s P2715Q is a very special display. Its IPS panel offers wide viewing angles, strong color and deep blacks. Throw in the sharpness of 4K on a 27-inch panel (which translates to 163 pixels per inch) and you’ve the formula for a spectacular experience.

3
Gizmodo 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

4
The five worst console games of 2014

2014 may have been the worst year yet for bad console games -- they're practically extinct at this point. Sure, many of this year's games were divisive, or flawed, or buggy, but few were outright terrible. Ballooning budgets force AAA games to maintain some degree of quality control (well, mostly ), and even the indies have gotten their act together, producing modestly scoped, reasonably priced games that aren't all that upsetting even when they disappoint. As a lover of trash, I'm troubled. Fortunately, a few truly awful games rose to the top of the garbage heap to sparkle as gleaming, irredeemable turds. I'm glad to have played these games, but I think we, as an industry, can do better. Let's vow to release more bad games in 2015. And not just bad games for Duck Dynasty fans, either - let's make bad games that all of us can enjoy. >>The five worst console games of 2014<<

5
Merry Christmas! The NSA's gift is a list of all the times it wrongly spied on you

If you want to release something no one will pay attention to, what time's better than Christmas Eve? At least, that appeared to be the National Security Agency's thinking. Last night, the NSA released reports detailing all the times they've illegally spied on American citizens. Ho ho ho!

6
Solid state drives outlast their PC hosts, and then some

The two remaining, the other HyperX and the 840 Pro, have far exceeded 2PB of data, and to date both drives seem relatively healthy. Since, however, it seems that today’s SSDs will easily outlive their PC hosts by hundreds, even thousands of years, at this point, the winner seems irrelevant. If you’ve been around to remember how fragile some of the early HDDs were, and how often they failed, these results will seem a breath of fresh air.

7
Suit over Facebook’s practice of scanning users’ messages to go forward

The court responded to this request by pursuing an extraordinarily rare course of action: it read Facebook's entire terms of service. And, in this case, their vague language—typically used to provide broad immunity—became a liability: "[the document] does not establish that users consented to the scanning of their messages for advertising purposes, and in fact, makes no mention of 'messages' whatsoever." Thus, the plaintiffs may have had reason to expect that their messages would remain private. And, although the practice may have been discontinued, the plaintiffs allege that Facebook could start scanning messages again whenever it wanted to.

8
What Cities Would Look Like if Lit Only by the Stars | WIRED

Carl Sagan once said anything shining in the night sky does so because of distant nuclear fusion. The physics involved are awesome, and so too are the billions and billions of stars seen from here on Earth. But with every passing day, increasing light and air pollution from growing cities diminishes our ability to observe the cosmos.

9
The Fermi Paradox - Wait But Why

I am guessing there are very few of those 500 that would actually lie on purpose.. so I believe that they believe they did see something amazing.. but I don’t think ANY of them were little green men or aliens from another world… In summary they did witness some amazing things, just none of them were piloted by alien spacecraft (a mix of explainable/rare occurrences that do happen naturally) … In summary I think most of these people could pass a lie detector test (maybe 10% could not, or made up some stuff.. ) Anyhow.. I believe they believe.. I just understand the laws of physics enough to know that it is ridiculous to think green men are flying in our airspace from different galaxies. Takes too long to get here and although wormholes and warp drives are cool ideas (even moving time/space around us) they are (for now) just in the movies and so ridiculously unlikely, I don’t believe them yet. I think it is early in the total history of the Universe… we assume 13.7 billion years is a long time, but that only looks from the starting point of the Big bang… what if we (humans on earth) are a few billion years early.

10
The power of believing that you can improve

Carol Dweck researches “growth mindset” — the idea that we can grow our brain's capacity to learn and to solve problems. In this talk, she describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it … or have you just not solved it yet? A great introduction to this influential field.

11
9 GIFs That Explain Responsive Design Brilliantly

Can't tell a responsive website from a merely adaptive one? These GIFs courtesy of Froont will turn you into a pedant in no time.

12
Flow, the secret to happiness

Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi asks, "What makes a life worth living?" Noting that money cannot make us happy, he looks to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of "flow."

13
The power of vulnerability

Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.

14
This Map Shows Where America Loves 'Butts' More Than 'Boobs'

Americans appear to prefer "butts" to "boobs" when searching for "straight," woman-with-man pornography on the popular websites Pornhub and Youporn.

15
Google Opens Its Cloud to Crack the Genetic Code of Autism | WIRED

Google has spent the past decade-and-a-half perfecting the science of recognizing patterns in the chaos of information on the web. Now it’s applying that expertise to searching for clues to the genetic causes of autism in the vast sea of data contained in the human genome.

16
The 20 most popular TED Talks of all time

Are schools killing creativity? What makes a great leader? How can I find happiness? These 20 talks are the ones that you and your fellow TED fans just can't stop sharing.

17
One more reason to get a good night’s sleep

The brain uses a quarter of the body's entire energy supply, yet only accounts for about two percent of the body's mass. So how does this unique organ receive and, perhaps more importantly, rid itself of vital nutrients? New research suggests it has to do with sleep.

18
The Giant Methane Monster That Can Wipe Out the Human Race

That's because methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and there are trillions of tons of it embedded in a kind of ice slurry called methane hydrate or methane clathrate crystals in the Arctic and in the seas around the continental shelves all around the world.

19
'The Interview': Where the movie is playing on Christmas Day

is a leading source for news, information and resources for the Connected Generation. Mashable reports on the importance of digital innovation and how it empowers and inspires people around the world. Mashable's record 40 million unique visitors worldwide and 20 million social media followers are one of the most influential and engaged online communities. Founded in 2005, Mashable is headquartered in New York City with an office in San Francisco.

20
A kinder, gentler philosophy of success

Alain de Botton examines our ideas of success and failure — and questions the assumptions underlying these two judgments. Is success always earned? Is failure? He makes an eloquent, witty case to move beyond snobbery to find true pleasure in our work.

21
Secrets Of The Most Productive People

"My day is always insane—and the 'typical' day doesn't exist. Out of the five days of the week, one day I'm at Yahoo, two or three days I'm at Bobbi, and one day I work remotely—that could be anywhere. This is really a secret of my success: I carve out personal time for myself. It's exercise. It's going to the grocery store so I can choose my own food for my family. It's travel. Those are very helpful for me to recharge myself and rethink everything: How can I do things ­better? One of the things I'm trying to do is not be a multitasker. But last night, I took a hot bath to relax, and I got in there, and I realized I didn't have anything to read. I didn't know what to do."

22
A tool to fix one of the most dangerous moments in surgery

Surgeons are required every day to puncture human skin before procedures — with the risk of damaging what's on the other side. In a fascinating talk, find out how mechanical engineer Nikolai Begg is using physics to update an important medical device, called the trocar, and improve one of the most dangerous moments in many common surgeries.

23
Why You Should Redesign Your Office For Introverts

"Introverts like being around people, [but] they want to do a deep dive in their work," Cain says. "[They want to] focus, get in a state of flow, with deep thoughts." In an open workspace, you’re subject to interruption, such as a tap on the shoulder, which breaks your concentration, Cain notes. Having a workspace that allows introverts to go into a private, quiet room is a social signal, letting others know the person doesn’t wish to be interrupted, she says.

24
What Happened When We Created Daily Lists Of Our Successes

"We have built in a habit of setting an alarm in the morning to wake up, but hardly anyone thinks about setting a reminder to start preparing for bed at night," Hanna explains. "Creating a bedtime prep-time routine that includes healthy brain habits like gratitude and listing accomplishments for the day can focus our mental energy on things that are positive, preparing the brain and body for a more restful night's sleep and a more productive day ahead."

25
15 stand-out photobombs of 2014

Thanks to a bit of help from British royalty like Elizabeth II and Benedict Cumberbatch, the art of ruining a photograph by injecting yourself somewhere into the frame lives on for another year.

26
14 innovations that improved the world in 2014

Juliano Pinto, a 29-year-old paraplegic man, gave the first kick of the World Cup in June with the help of a mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton. Created by a team led by Miguel Nicolelis, a professor at Duke University, the invention uses electrodes to convert brain waves into physical movements.

27
Spectacular real virgin births

So the stress of captivity may not be what triggers such an extreme mode of reproduction. What’s more, wild male pit-viper snakes are plentiful. So the females don’t have virgin births simply because they have no other choice.

28
The World's Largest Starbucks Is The Willy Wonka Factory Of Coffee

In the sort of tasteful spectacle you'd come to expect from a brand monolith like Starbucks, two coffee bars, a shop, a standalone restaurant, a two-story library with 200 books, and a factory all fit under one roof in a caffeinated wonderland sitting at the top of Seattle’s swank Capitol Hill district. This giant new flagship store is the largest Starbucks ever built. It’s also a production plant where the company will roast its "small batch" Reserve line for the entire world. That's a projected 1.4 million pounds of coffee to be roasted and packaged a year, all while the public is free to watch, sip coffee brewed by the most eager and informed Starbucks baristas I've ever met, and interrupt the guy manning the roaster to ask him a question. It's as much a meticulously groomed peek inside Starbucks's global roasting and distribution system as it is an advertisement for Starbucks itself.

29
Watch a kangaroo punch a drone out of the sky - CNET

One drone operator found this out the hard way, filming Eastern grey kangaroos in Australia's Hunter Valley. When the drone flies too close to a doe and her joey, she goes into full mother-rage protective mode, jumping up to bash the copter out of the sky.

30
Strange answers to the psychopath test

Is there a definitive line that divides crazy from sane? With a hair-raising delivery, Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test, illuminates the gray areas between the two. (With live-mixed sound by Julian Treasure and animation by Evan Grant.)

31
Riding in Audi's 150MPH self-driving RS 7, the anti-Google car

The second half of the feedback loop is focused on the passenger. The RS 7 is fitted with seven full-frame cameras and three microphones, which record reactions to the experience and the track. The purpose of this system is to give Audi a wealth of data on how regular humans (i.e., me and others invited to Ascari) react to being driven around by an autonomous race car. While Audi and Kram/Weisshaar will examine the data for months to come, there's a more immediate benefit to the camera setup: It's also used to provide participants with a personalized video hours after the drive to share on social media. This acts as a kind of "video postcard," helping my friends to see how stupid I look in an autonomous car, and Audi to get some free promotion for its research.

32
REVEALED: The Demographic Trends For Every Social Network

BII The demographics of who's on what social network are shifting — older social networks are reaching maturity, while newer social messaging apps are gaining younger users fast.

33
Inside the secret lab where Amazon is designing the future of reading

Early on, Audible faced skepticism that listening should be considered as worthy a pastime as reading, or whether listening to a book should count as "reading" at all. Katz became practiced at recounting the history of literature — which began, of course, not with the written word but with oral tradition. "Reading is nothing more than the memorialization of what was thousands of years of rich oral culture," he says. Katz will remind you that the Greeks were deeply critical of the written word, which they worried would destroy our ability to memorize texts. And he notes that American literature was born out of the unique rhythms of our speech, which were first captured by writers like Mark Twain and Stephen Crane. "Great writing ought to get into people’s brains," Katz says. "And how it gets there shouldn’t be a matter of religiosity."

34
Your body is my canvas

Alexa Meade takes an innovative approach to art. Not for her a life of sketching and stretching canvases. Instead, she selects a topic and then paints it—literally. She covers everything in a scene—people, chairs, food, you name it—in a mask of paint that mimics what's below it. In this eye-opening talk Meade shows off photographs of some of the more outlandish results, and shares a new project involving people, paint and milk.

35
Exactly How Much And How Often You Should Be Drinking Coffee

For many of us, it may be hard to imagine how to get through our day without our daily cup of coffee. While caffeine’s stimulant effects will vary from person to person depending on a number of factors including body mass index, medication use, and existing health conditions such as anxiety disorders; knowing how much caffeine you consume daily can be the key to optimizing its positive benefits, heightening your concentration and mental alertness when you need it and decreasing it when it’s time to rest.

36
Spacecraft Snaps Stunning X-Ray Portrait Of The Sun

NuSTAR may have been built to observe black holes and other objects in deep space, but NASA's supersensitive space telescope can also do a bang-up job of imaging the sun. Just have a look at this glorious new photo released by the space agency on Dec. 22.

37
40 Free Resources Every Designer Should Know

Ever wondered where designers get their resources to help them succeed with a project? Here is a list of great resources including sites, PSD. files, actions, UI elements, mock ups, et cetera. Best of all, they are totally free and available for you to download.

38
People are unwrapping drones for Christmas and it's not going so well

Thanks to the massive rise in of consumer drones, one of the most popular items under the tree this year is likely to have four rotors and a camera. The FAA even released a video this week that proposes best practices to help people "stay off the naughty list" as they play with their airborne gifts.

39
The extreme weather and climate events of 2014 in 13 photos

Extreme rainfall associated with the seasonal South Asian Monsoon caused rivers to overflow their banks in mid-October in northwest India and parts of Pakistan, killing more than 320 people and displacing tens of thousands from the Himalayan region of Kashmir and eastern Pakistan. The floods were not as deadly as 2010 floods in a similar area, but the rainfall amounts were comparable, according to scientists.

40
A garden in my apartment

Britta Riley wanted to grow her own food (in her tiny apartment). So she and her friends developed a system for growing plants in discarded plastic bottles — researching, testing and tweaking the system using social media, trying many variations at once and quickly arriving at the optimal system. Call it distributed DIY. And the results? Delicious. (Filmed at TEDxManhattan .)

41
The TheTechNewsBlog Daily

The TheTechNewsBlog Daily, by TheTechNewsBlog: updated automatically with a curated selection of articles, blog posts, videos and photos.

42
Hubble Sweeps a Messy Star Factory

The observations used to make this image were taken using Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys, and span the ultraviolet, visible, and infrared parts of the spectrum. A scattering of other bright galaxies can be seen across the frame, including the bright golden oval that could, due to a trick of perspective, be mistaken as part of Markarian 209 but is in fact a background galaxy.

43
Borrow These 5 Smart Startup Habits To Maximize Your Productivity

We'd add: do checklist! It increases the productivity (once it's done, you don't need to re-think the task), reduces the bus factor (if you can't do it, give somebody else from your team a try) and what's even more important - forces you to think if the way you are doing something is the best/most efficient way. Here you have an example: https://netguru.co/blog/posts/...

44
Mindfulness Mitigates Biases You May Not Know You Have - HBR

The mindful group showed less implicit racial and age bias than did the control group, and this was, in part, due to a reduction in the automatic activation of negative associations (i.e., black-bad, old-bad). This confirmed older research that mindfulness makes one less reliant on previously established associations. But the researchers were surprised to also find that the mindful group was less able to see differences between the faces than the control group, which seems to suggest that when you’re less likely to automatically associate black and old with “bad,” race and age are also less detectable.

45
The Interview is now available online: $6 to rent, $15 to own

It has always been Sony’s intention to have a national platform on which to release this film. With that in mind, we reached out to Google, Microsoft and other partners last Wednesday, December 17th, when it became clear our initial release plans were not possible. We are pleased we can now join with our partners to offer the film nation-wide today.

46
Your elusive creative genius

Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius. It's a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.

47
Counterintuitive career advice

You know how to write a resume and ask for a promotion. These talks go beyond the basics, offering insightful advice on how to think about our work lives.

48
The odds of sharing a birthday with Jesus and your brother

As a Jewish Christmas baby who shares a birthday with her brother, I've experienced this series of events more than one can count. It turns out, being born on a holiday is rare, possibly because mothers schedule cesarean sections to avoid it. According to research published in the New York Times , between 1969 to 1988, the birthrate was...

49
Open the Book, Put Down the Tablet at Bedtime

For the study, published Monday in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 12 healthy adults spent two weeks in a sleep lab, reading on either an iPad or a printed book for four hours before bedtime for five consecutive evenings. Then they switched, so that each participant was tested with both methods. The devices were set to maximum brightness. Bedtime, with all lights out, was enforced at 10 p.m.

50
The most memorable brand wins and fails of 2014

is a leading source for news, information and resources for the Connected Generation. Mashable reports on the importance of digital innovation and how it empowers and inspires people around the world. Mashable's record 40 million unique visitors worldwide and 20 million social media followers are one of the most influential and engaged online communities. Founded in 2005, Mashable is headquartered in New York City with an office in San Francisco.

51 PlayStation Network, Xbox Live offline due to attacks
52 The best apps for your new Windows PC
53 Life's third act
54 Cuba's classic cars reveal a history of mechanical ingenuity
55 NASA wants to build a floating city above the clouds of Venus - CNET
56 The Scablands: A scarred landscape as strange as fiction
57 My Week With Alfred, A $25 Personal Butler
58 13 of the Most Amazing Things Discovered in Space This Year | WIRED
59 Here's Every Time Stephen Colbert Broke Character
60 Wanderers: 3D-printed spacewear for medieval Arab astronauts - CNET
61 'Jerk Face Typewriter' is the ultimate Scrooge in your life
62 How We Trick Our Brains Into Feeling Productive
63 How Apple got its polish back in 2014 - CNET
64 As work gets more complex, 6 rules to simplify
65 Engadget on Twitter
66 You can now have snowball fights in Grand Theft Auto V
67 MOOCs Aren’t Revolutionizing College, but They’re Not a Failure | MIT Technology Review
68 The Enterprise In 2015
69 A Bitcoin Battle Is Brewing
70 The 18 Best Infographics Of 2014
71 Feats of memory anyone can do
72 Singapore Plans Driverless Vehicles, But You’ll Have to Share | MIT Technology Review
73 The Secret Behind Making A Successful Career Change
74 Assassination Investor - GTA 5 Wiki Guide - IGN
75 How To Make To-Do Lists Better, Faster, And More Fun
76 Ikea's Quest To Design The Perfect All-Purpose Chair
77 Jerry Seinfeld On The Perfection Of The Coffee Meeting
78 The best mobile games of 2014
79 Disrupting The Pink Aisle: The Rise Of Empowering Toys For Girls
80 The Interview Is A Pirate Hit With 200k Downloads (Updated) | TorrentFreak
81 The single biggest health threat women face
82 A visual tour of the Creation Museum
83 The FAA explains how to 'stay off the naughty list' with your new drone
84 If North Korea Did Hack Sony, It's a Whole New Kind of Cyberterrorism | WIRED
85 How to Set Up and Get to Know Your New PC, Mac, Android, or iPhone
86 Superhero showdown: Which comic book rumble was the real Battle of the Century?
87 Man wins eggnog chugging contest, ends up hospitalized
88 The best games for your new console
89 11 Christmas confessions from people who can't wait for Dec. 26
90 7 critical things to do immediately with a new PC
91 The best games for your new Android phone or tablet
92 Take a Tour of the Most Radioactive Places on Earth
93 5 Difficult Conversations Managers Hate To Have
94 A Minimalist Nativity Set Made Of Wood Blocks
95 Meet Jeremy Cowart, A Photographer Who Snaps The Homeless With A High-Tech Light Ring And Cellphone
96 PlayStation Network And Xbox Live Are Down, And The Notorious Hacker Gang 'Lizard Squad' Is Taking Credit
97 Why movies look weird at 48fps, and games are better at 60fps, and the uncanny valley…