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LA Police Shootings

Come Monday the Los Angeles Police Department begins its deployment of body cameras for officers. The initial rollout is limited -- only 860 of the proposed 7,000 cameras will hit the streets at first -- and the SWAT team won't get them until sometime after mid-September, according to The Los Angeles Times. The LAPD "doesn't plan on" making the recordings public unless a criminal or civil court case attached to them, though. The American Civil Liberties Union says that this blanket refusal to make all captured video public means that police departments can cherrypick what footage they do choose to distribute and essentially use it as PR for good deeds while keeping less-than-applause-worthy footage out of the limelight. Of course, one way around that would be setting up a YouTube channel like Seattle did, but that brings about its own set of critics.

[Image credit: Associated Press]

Amazon Echo speaker in all its monolithic glory

Amazon's Echo speaker has been fine for playing music and audiobooks so far... unless you live in a household with more than one Amazon user, at which point it just gets messy. That won't be a problem any longer, though: Amazon has added support for multiple accounts, making it easy to play solely from your own collection. You only have to tell it to switch profiles to get your tunes. Simply put, this could be a lifesaver if you're going to share an Echo with roommates or a significant other -- you don't have to create a shared account or risk having someone else pollute your song recommendations.

KENYA-TELECOM-MOBILE

A team of Princeton and Harvard researchers analyzed the phone call records of 15 million users in Kenya -- not to spy on people, but to study the spread of seasonal disease. The team wanted to see if the movement of phone users can predict outbreaks of seasonal diseases like rubella or German measles. So, they used anonymous records from between June 2008 and June 2009, including locations where people made phone calls. They then compared the data to the areas where cases of rubella were reported in the country. The result? Well, it turns out the subjects' movement patterns matched the locations with the highest risk of rubella within that year-long period.

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'Mortal Kombat X'

I hope you weren't counting on playing Mortal Kombat X on your trusty previous-generation console -- you're about to be disappointed. Warner Bros. has cancelled both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the bloody brawler, claiming that neither version would meet the quality "expected of a Mortal Kombat game." It's not certain exactly what went wrong. However, it's clearer than ever that the transition to newer platforms is taking its toll on developers. Getting a game to run on more than two or three platforms isn't easy or cheap, and there isn't much incentive for studios to keep working on legacy support when you're increasingly likely to have a current system in your home.

A group of six people bade the rest of the world farewell on Friday to begin their year-long stay in a cramped dome on Hawaii's Mauna Loa volcano. The French astrobiologist, German physicist and American pilot, architect, doctor/journalist and soil scientist went on a voluntary isolation to simulate a manned mission to the red planet, which could last from one to three years. The team will have to endure living together in a 36-foot-wide, 20-foot-tall abode called HI-SEAS, short for Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation. They do have (tiny) rooms of their own with enough space for a sleeping cot and a desk, but they can only go outside if they're wearing a spacesuit. All six also won't have access to comfort food if they're feeling stressed from their living situation: they have to make do with basic food items like canned tuna and powdered cheese.

BlackBerry Venice in the flesh

BlackBerry's Android-based Venice smartphone isn't just a figment of someone's imagination... at least, if you believe Vietnamese resident Ba Minh Duc. He claims to have photos of the slider in action, complete with its hideaway QWERTY keyboard, 18-megapixel camera and curvy screen. This isn't quite the phone you remember from 3D renders (or the once-teased BlackBerry 10 version), though. BlackBerry appears to have moved the power button to the side, and the body isn't as slender in person as the renders would suggest. This is undoubtedly a work in progress, and it won't be surprising if the Venice design changes more between now and release. Still, this is exciting stuff if you've been yearning for a phone that melds BlackBerry's hardware and services with Android's customization and wider app selection.

2007 Consumer Electronics Show Showcases Latest Tech Products

Remember the heady days of August 2007, when the iPhone had barely reached store shelves and the Nokia N95 was all the rage? The US International Trade Commission sure does. After reviewing an 8-year-long case, the ITC has ruled that Nokia's phones (now Microsoft's) don't infringe on InterDigital patents covering 3G cellular technology. The decision eliminates the possibility of an import ban that would have prevented Microsoft from selling many of its phones in the US, including modern day Lumias. Things very nearly didn't go the company's way -- a judge had ruled in April that Microsoft was using InterDigital's patents, which would have forced the folks in Redmond to pay up.

International Space Station backdropped againts a blue and white Earth.

NASA recently paid Russia $490 million to continue ferrying its astronauts to the ISS, but Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden says "it doesn't have to be this way." In a piece/open letter the space agency's head honcho wrote for Wired, he explains how the Congress is holding back the agency from launching astronauts on US soil. Apparently, if the House of Representatives approved the funding the agency was asking for, then NASA would have already been making the final preparations for a US-based launch.

Britain Wireless Festival Day 2

It's no secret that Apple and Tidal are at each other's throats over music exclusives, but that fight might have reached a new peak. Tidal claims that Apple stopped it from streaming Drake's brief guest appearance at New Orleans' Lil Weezyana Fest on August 28th, presumably due to an exclusivity deal with the Canadian musician. If you take Tidal's word at face value, Apple was an Orwellian tyrant "interfering with artistry." One of the New York Post's tipsters goes so far as to contend that Apple is trying to "dictate" when and where artists can perform, which would be harsh... if it were true.

Mr. Robot - Pilot

Most infosec pros agree that few Hollywood films or TV shows have gotten hacking as "right" as USA's Mr. Robot. The show's creator, Sam Esmail, told Engadget, "The hacker side of it actually was a combination of my frustration with the way hacker culture and tech culture was represented in Hollywood. I thought it was a very inaccurate, forced and cartoonish way of representing that kind of a culture."

Getting hacks and hacking right on Mr. Robot means the tools and techniques pull from work done by security researchers in real life. In fact, it's not uncommon to see hackers tweet that they spotted a colleagues' research on episodes of the show. This is all in large part because it's a TV show about hacking that chooses accuracy over drama. Mr. Robot's technical consult, Michael Bazzell, told Forbes, "We don't need to fake it. ... We want that code to be accurate so that even the most sophisticated hacker or technical person out there will not roll their eyes at a scene."

So while we all wait patiently for Mr. Robot's season one finale, let's take a look back at Mr. Robot's notable hacks and the researchers who made them possible.

Some of the toys we played with as children have grown up along with us and now they pack adult-sized fun. Memorable designs have bubbled up into lifestyle products with smarts, but most offer what we always loved them for: an action-packed thrill. Sure, we can drive real cars now, but that doesn't diminish the urge to drift on a motorized Big Wheel. Skateboards and pogo sticks have powered up over the years, too, and hoverboards can now actually hover. This week we pay tribute to the big kid inside each of us with a lineup of reinvented, rebuilt and improved versions of playtime classics.

[Image: Local Motors]

Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.

Robots Will Steal Our Jobs, But They'll Give Us New Ones
by Cade Metz
Wired

With all the advances in automation and robotic technology, should we be worried that robots will replace us? Well, while they might take some of our jobs, they'll also give us new ones. This piece from Wired offers a look at the future as we learn to live with AI, presenting a strong case that it may not be as dire as the critics predict.

Today on In Case You Missed It, Boeing unveils a drone-destroying laser cannon the size of a travel trunk. Also up, North Korea shows us all how calisthenics are done, a guy makes an ottoman out of mushrooms, and Dartmouth College unleashed a robotic tackling dummy upon its football team.

If you come across any interesting videos, we'd love to see them. Just tweet us with the #ICYMI hashtag @engadget or @mskerryd. And if you just want to heap praise on your handsome guest host, feel free to hit him up @mr_trout.

washington   october 26 ...

The National Security Agency can keep on keeping on with the bulk collection of phone call metadata for a bit longer, sadly. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia killed an injunction that would've ended the previously-ruled-unconstitutional homegrown spying, according to The New York Times. The law won't fully end until November 29th, when the so-called transition period for the agency to swap over to a new style of data collection is over. The latest method? Telcos will hang onto the data and the government snoops will need court orders if they want to get their hands on it. We still have a ways to go before PRISM's effects are fully overturned, it'd seem.

[Image credit: Shutterstock]

Communication / productivity tool Slack is starting to blend in with Windows 10 after its latest update. In version 1.2.0, notifications show up in the desktop OS' Action Center, and clicking them links directly to the appropriate conversation in the app. Many Windows applications never updated to take advantage of new features in Windows 8, or even to become fully compatible with how it worked with hardware like touchscreens, so it's encouraging to see some support.

No, Peter Chou isn't leaving HTC. As the company is gearing up to launch its virtual reality platform (and another flagship phone) later this year, the co-founder has decided to pick up a second role at renowned visual effects company, Digital Domain, to strengthen his company's VR know-how. That's according to a statement from HTC, anyway. For those who don't know, Digital Domain is the digital production house behind movies like Iron Man 3 (seems like HTC just can't get enough of Robert Downey Jr.), Her and Tron: Legacy. It also made animated clips in games including Assassin's Creed Unity, Destiny and Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Chou will officially join the Hong Kong-owned company as an executive director on August 31st, but it'll obviously be a while before we see what this will bring to the HTC Vive.

Cameras that keep an eye on construction sites aren't anything new, but the folks in charge of building the new Sacramento Kings stadium in California are using something a bit more high-tech than usual. Several camera-equipped drones operated by a company called ImageInFlight patrol the site to collect footage, which are then converted into 3D images. These images are run through software developed by a team from the University of Illinois, which compares them to architectural plans and previous images to measure progress. The method makes it easy to see if anything's behind schedule and which group of workers need to be more efficient.

Plumber working under sink in kitchen

Amazon launched a home services directory in 41 cities a few months ago, and now Google is dipping its toe in the water. According to the Wall Street Journal, for those "in and around" San Francisco, searching for terms like lock repair or clogged toilet will bring you a list of prescreened professionals in the area prepared to take care of those problems. As you can see in the screenshot (after the break), we gave it a try with "clean house" and got not only the list with contact info, but a way to send a few interesting parties a request quickly. The key here, is that you never have to leave Google.com for any of that, and the people listed pay for the privilege (plus screening for licenses and background checks) through Google's AdWords Express.

It's been over a month since the New Horizons spacecraft flew as near as possible to Pluto and took the closest photos of the dwarf planet we've ever seen. Now, NASA has decided on its next destination: a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) called 2014 MU69. Since the probe was always meant to go beyond the once-ninth planet from the start, it was loaded with more fuel than needed and equipped with a communications system that works even in the Kuiper region. However, it still took a while for NASA to find an object near enough to explore. It was only when the Hubble telescope discovered KBOs in the probe's flight path in 2014 that the agency found the perfect target.