How I, Tonya’s effects crew captured the film’s impossible skating shot

Film audiences are used to seeing impossible things on-screen. Computer-generated creatures and digital alterations of images are so commonplace that watching a dragon fly through an arctic wasteland to incinerate a zombie army in Game of Thrones is more notable for its narrative importance than for the sheer thrilling impossibility of the image.

But even in the current digital wonderland of Hollywood, one shot in I, Tonya stands out. Craig Gillespie’s surprisingly funny, sympathetic, Oscar-nominated biopic about disgraced Olympic skater Tonya Harding spends some time building up the impressive athleticism of Harding’s competitive skating routines — particularly her execution of the triple axel, a notoriously difficult spin.

Harding…

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It’s not easy to opt out of the Strava heat map that’s revealing secret locations

Over the weekend, news broke that data from the fitness-tracking app Strava was revealing information on clandestine locations. The data was anonymized, but the map was so detailed that it revealed paths on military bases.

While broadcasting your whereabouts is a bad security policy, users likely weren’t aware that their information would be available in this much detail. A scroll through the Strava app also shows it takes some dedicated digging to find the opt-out for the heat map specifically, in a frustrating move for people who are vigilant about tracking.

Strava, which lets users show off their running and cycling routes, offers privacy control options, as similar location-tracking apps do. But the company has been criticized in…

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Facebook says it will begin putting more local news into the News Feed

Facebook will begin prioritizing the placement of local news in the News Feed, the company said today. The move means that you’re more likely to see stories from your local newspaper or television station. While the changes are currently limited to the United States, Facebook plans to introduce them globally.

Facebook said it considers publishers “local” if their links tend to be shared “by readers in a tight geographic area.” “People consistently tell us they want to see more local news on Facebook,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post. “Local news helps us understand the issues that matter in our communities and affect our lives.”

The move is the latest in a series of significant changes to the News Feed introduced since the beginning…

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China denies claims it built backdoors into African Union’s headquarters for spying

The African Union, a coalition of 55 countries established in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has reportedly been a victim of state-sponsored espionage after an investigation from French newspaper Le Monde revealed China was using the computers in a new building’s IT division to spy on its continental neighbors.

China was able to do this because it financed and built the new building itself to act as the African Union’s new headquarters and gifted it under false pretenses of cordial partnership, Le Monde reports. The spying has reportedly been happening since 2012 when the building opened in downtown Addis Ababa. The backdoor into the African Union’s computer systems was first discovered in January 2017, when engineers in the IT division noticed…

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5 ROI-boosting tips for producing conversion-driven AdWords copy


I’ve seen many advertising techniques come in and out of favor in the e-commerce world, but one tactic has remained consistently popular: AdWords. But while AdWords can be extremely effective, it can also prove quite costly if you don’t know what you’re doing. In 2017, P&G cut $100 million from its digital marketing budget because they weren’t getting the desired results from their campaigns. While there may have been multiple factors keeping their ads from being effective, I’ve found that most small businesses that don’t get good AdWords results often have the same root problem. Bad copy. Just like in…

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Amazon’s Super Bowl teaser hints at new voices for Alexa


Amazon released a teaser for its upcoming Super Bowl ad today. It’s less than 30 seconds, but presents an important question: What happens if Alexa catches a cold and loses her voice? Who replaces her? Just watch: It’s possible that the full ad will just be a skit featuring some famous personality for a promotional tie-in. But maybe, just maybe, Amazon will allow you to add custom Alexa voices. It’s also notable the ad says there are replacements, plural. While custom voices would be unique among the the big voice assistants – not counting different languages/genders – it’s not unprecedented.…

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Watch a 10-foot-tall giant Lego brick get built out of 133,000 smaller Lego bricks

The Lego brick celebrated its 60th anniversary over the weekend. To celebrate, Lego put together a massive, 10-foot-tall, 133,000-piece version of the iconic building block, which the company filmed in an incredibly satisfying time-lapse video.

Lego says it took 350 hours for its “Master Builders” to construct, which is pretty impressive considering the size and scale of the build. For reference, the largest Lego set available to consumers is the 7,541-piece Millennium Falcon that was released late last year. (It costs $800.) Scaling that up would make the giant brick roughly $14,109 worth of Lego. (That’s assuming the company ever sold it as a set, which seems highly unlikely.)

Watching the video is also an interesting…

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The Super Blue Blood Moon is coming — but there won’t be blood, and it won’t be blue

On Wednesday morning, a very wordy lunar event will take over the night sky: the “Super Blue Blood Moon.” Yes, really. So what do all those adjectives mean exactly? The short explanation is that this is an eclipse of the full Moon that happens to have really good timing.

For a longer explanation, we’ll need to analyze each word. Let’s start with the end and work our way backward:

Moon

You know what the Moon is.

Blood

The term “Blood Moon” is used to describe a total lunar eclipse, because it causes the Moon to turn a dark reddish color. This happens whenever the Earth passes directly between the Sun and the Moon, and the Moon falls into our planet’s shadow, or umbra. The Moon doesn’t go completely dark, though: the Sun’s light still…

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Sorry Snapchat, it’s time to say goodbye


I’ve been a Snapchat power user for the past four years. But, because Instagram has won my heart, I’m saying goodbye to the little ghost taking up 460 MB on my phone. I first heard of Snapchat’s controversial disappearing messages back in December 2013. I was skeptical of the concept, but at the same time, intrigued. So naturally, I went to the App Store and downloaded the app. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but because of its billing as the “next big thing,” I still had high expectations. When I opened the obnoxiously yellow, mysterious app for the first…

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Americans are saving energy because fewer people go outside

Americans are saving energy because they don’t go outside as much anymore, researchers say. It’s a plus for the environment, though in another light (no pun intended), it’s just sad.

In 2012, Americans spent an extra eight days at home compared to 2003, according to the American Time Use Surveys. Being at home means using more energy by keeping the lights on and watching TV. But it also means less travel, and it means that fewer people are outside operating offices and stores. So overall in 2012, we saved 1,700 trillion British thermal units (BTU) of heat, or 1.8 percent of the national total, according to an analysis published today in the journal Joule. That’s about how much energy Kentucky produced in all of 2015.

Specifically in…

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