Netflix says it is finally adding offline playback

Netflix says it is finally adding offline playback

FINALLY. Netflix is letting us save shows to watch offline.

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Decades after Chernobyl disaster, engineers slide high-tech shelter over reactor

Decades after Chernobyl disaster, engineers slide high-tech shelter over reactor

On Tuesday, officials from all over the world gathered about a football field away from the Chernobyl disaster site in Ukraine. They were there to celebrate the final placement of a massive, high-tech shelter over reactor 4, which exploded in April 1986. The shelter, called the New Safe Confinement (NSC), is a feat of engineering. Because it was too dangerous to assemble the NSC over the original shelter that was built in the weeks after the explosion, the NSC was instead built at a distance and moved…

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NTP: the rebirth of ailing, failing core network infrastructure

NTP: the rebirth of ailing, failing core network infrastructure

Network Time Protocol is how the computers you depend on know what time it is (this is critical to network operations, cryptography, and many other critical functions); NTP software was, until recently, stored in a proprietary format on a computer that no one had the password for (and which had not been updated in a decade), and maintained almost entirely by one person.

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Facebook Messenger launches Instant Games

Facebook Messenger launches Instant Games

Bored while you wait for someone to text back? Now you can challenge friends for high scores on Facebook Messenger’s new Instant Games, like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Words With Friends Frenzy. Available right from your message threads, they load in seconds since they’re built on the HTML5 mobile web standard, rather than having to be downloaded like clunky native apps.

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We Asked 8,500 Internet Commenters Why They Do What They Do

We Asked 8,500 Internet Commenters Why They Do What They Do

Only a small subset of readers ever comment. What compels them to take the time to weigh in? To learn more about the reasons that people comment, Christie Aschwanden collected data from two sources — an analysis of the comments here at FiveThirtyEight and a survey of more than 8,500 people. What she learned shifted her views about commenters and offered some interesting insights into the hive mind.

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Meet ALVINN, the self-driving car from 1989

Meet ALVINN, the self-driving car from 1989

In 1989, the Berlin Wall began to fall, the World Wide Web made its debut, Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” topped the charts, and in Pittsburgh, a retrofitted Army ambulance called ALVINN was driving around Carnegie Mellon University without any human intervention. Self-driving cars may seem like a very recent technological phenomenon, but researchers and engineers have been building vehicles that can drive themselves for over three decades. Research on computer controlled vehicles began at Carnegie Mellon in 1984 and…

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Who is the Genius Behind Merriam-Webster’s Social Media?

Who is the Genius Behind Merriam-Webster’s Social Media?

In case you hadn’t noticed, Merriam-Webster’s Twitter game is strong—topical, funny, smart, and informative while also being relentlessly irreverent. Not what you’d necessarily expect from the social media account of a dictionary. (This is putting aside the fact that we now generally expect things like dictionaries to have social media accounts, of course.) But if you were ever a nerd who thought of the dictionary as your best friend (just me?)—well, this is sort of like that dictionary has finally come to life and loves you back and also tweets about words all the time.

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