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Trial Of Online Drug Marketplace Silk Road Founder Ross Ulbricht Begins

Despite Ross Ulbricht's emotional plea for leniency in court today, Judge Katherine Forrest has sentenced him to life in prison. He was facing a minimum of 20 years up to the maximum life sentence after he was found guilty of money laundering, narcotics trafficking and drug hacking. Under the pseudonym "Dread Pirate Roberts," Ulbricht was the czar of Silk Road, an online drug marketplace that netted him an $18 million fortune. It was anonymized by the Tor network and used Bitcoins to hide transactions.

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Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson is a collaboration between IBM and the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. Once a week, as part of an ongoing series, we'll be preparing one recipe from the book until we've made all of them. Wish us luck.

Another week, another quiche. I can't say I went into this one with high hopes after last week's funky salmon number. But, at least there is no fish here. Instead you've got a dash of south-east Asian flavors, some asparagus and a buttery, flaky crust. This is pretty much a variation on the formula that produced Watson's biggest success, the turmeric paella -- combine the flavors of one region, with the presentation of another, and voilà! The Swiss-Thai asparagus quiche puts the flavors Thailand (and a hint of Greece) in an open-top custard pastry often associated with French cuisine. And once again, IBM's cognitive computing efforts succeed in pushing its human chef interpreters to make something unique.

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Hackers are getting more brazen and passwords are becoming huge of a pain as we keep signing up for services. Password managers help ease the pain of dealing with security over multiple sites and services, but for the most part, our computing lives are open to anyone with even marginal hacking skills. Google thinks it can fix that with Project Vault, a secure device that plugs into any system both desktop or mobile that supports microSD. The device runs its own ultra-secure operating system that's partitioned from the rest of the host device with 4GB of storage for your most sensitive data.

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Panasonic has been a huge proponent of 4K-ready cameras, starting with the Lumix GH4 and LX100. A few days ago, the Lumix G7 joined that group. The recently introduced Micro Four Thirds camera features a 16-megapixel Digital Live MOS sensor, an ISO range of up to 25,600 and a quad-core CPU for speedy image processing. But here's the one thing it does best: 4K. More specifically, I'm talking about Panasonic's 4K Photo feature, which lets you extract high-resolution pictures from 4K, 30 fps videos and save them at an 8-megapixel equivalent. This is particularly useful when you shoot moving subjects, as you're able to record a 4K video (roughly up to 30 minutes), choose whatever frame you want from it and save that to the camera's SD card. Is it cheating? Perhaps, but it works perfectly.

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It seems like a decent of chunk of Google's big news today deals with its partnerships. The search giant is already teaming up with Levi's to explore the realm of smart Jacquard clothes, and now Google has confirmed that it's been working with Qualcomm to build its Project Tango world-sensing cameras into the chipmaker's reference phone designs. Those Tango-phones will be seeded developers and devices makers for now, and thanks to the arcane decisions that ultimately define a company's device-making strategy, we might not ever actually see a consumer-ready Tango phone. Still, Google's long-term ambitions are pretty clear: It'd like to get these Tango devices into our pockets en masse, and a closer relationship with one of the world's biggest mobile chipmakers is a great way to do it.

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Gesture-based system are usually attached to video game consoles like the Microsoft Kinect or your computer like the Leap Motion. Google's ATAP team figured that the smaller form factor of the smartwatch segment needed its own finger-waving way to control the devices without having to reply on the smartphone. It's Project Soli replaces the physical controls of smartwatches with your hands using radar to capture your movements.

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Remember Path, the social network for keeping in touch with your closest friends and family? Unless you live in Indonesia, probably not. And that's part of the reason why it ended selling its social networking apps to Daum Kakao, the Korean parent company of the messaging app KakaoTalk. Path was founded five years ago with a more intimate and well-designed take on social networking, and it snagged 10 million users in that time. But aside from some initial pickup in tech centers like San Francisco and New York City, most of its growth ended up being in Latin America and Southeast Asia (more than half of its users are based in Indonesia). Specifically, Daum Kakao is picking up the core Path app and Path Talk, a standalone chat app it launched last year. Path the company will live on with its animated GIF app Kong, and it likely has some other projects in the works too.

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When the US Bureau of Industry and Security published how it plans to implement the sections on hacking technologies in a global weapons trade pact called the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) last week, it ignited an online firestorm of meltdowns, freakouts, and vicious infighting within the most respected circles of hacking and computer security. That's because the new rules change the classification of intrusion software and Internet Protocol (IP) network communications surveillance -- setting in motion a legal machine that might see penetration-testing tools, exploits and zero-days criminalized.

Some suggest the new classifications also seem designed to give the US a market advantage over the buying, selling, import and export of certain tools used in cyberwar -- a currently black market, in which the US government is already the biggest player.

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Remember when we said yesterday that Google's Project Jacquard would lead to the advent of touch-friendly pants? Well, we were more right than we thought: During the Google ATAP address here at Google I/O 2015, Technical Program Lead Ivan Poupyrev confirmed that the search giant is teaming up with Levi's to help bridge the gap between Jacquard's technically complex fabrics and the seemingly arcane world of fashion. "We think about Jacquard as a raw material that will make computation a part of the language which apparel designers and textile designers and fashion designers speak," he said. "We want digital to be just the same thing as quality of yarn or colors used," referring to how fundamental these sorts of connected considerations should be.

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CLIMATE CHANGE, OCEANS RISING

The human race is doomed, and it's all our own fault. With the quantity of carbon in our atmosphere now well beyond the safe limit, it's almost certain the planet's temperature will continue to rise. Climate change is causing natural disasters of biblical proportions; a situation that's only going to get worse as time progresses. We all need to work harder to improve this situation by using less energy and behaving more responsibly. But since some people will never be convinced the Earth's rapidly approaching the end of its humanity-hospitable era, we're now in dire need of alternative options to save us from ourselves. To help get the word out, we've compiled a list of some of the most exciting scientific projects we've seen of late that could, if successful, undo some or all of the damage we've caused.

[Image: Lisa Werner / Alamy]

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