Jennifer Granick - CIS Director of Civil Liberties

The most interesting thing about Black Hat 2015 keynote speaker Jennifer Granick isn't her gender -- though she appears against a backdrop of historically male keynotes. It's that Granick is director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. She previously held the same position at the Electronic Frontier Foundation -- and is known for defending some of the more notorious criminal hackers around, including Kevin Poulsen, Aaron Swartz, Jerome Heckenkamp and the hackers in the Diebold Election Systems case. Being the keynote speaker at the Black Hat conference means she's about to go front and center with the very organizations and government entities her clients have hacked. Granick is joining a colorful catalog of former keynoters who tend to represent the interests of the international cybersecurity conference's corporate-enterprise and government attendees.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Does the world need another point-and-shoot camera? Sony seems to think so. Despite an influx of smartphones that have put sophisticated imaging features in people's pockets, the company is still keen on improving its flagship compact shooter, the RX100. The latest model, introduced last month, looks to match the accomplishments of those that came before it: being the best point-and-shoot on the market. This time around, though, Sony's RX100 IV comes with a higher price tag: It's now $950, up from $800 on the last-gen model. But you get what you pay for, meaning a mix of top-of-the-line specs with a slim body that can fit in even the skinniest of jeans.

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Engadget - Philip Palermo - Logitech G29

While gamers are still waiting for any official word on a PlayStation 4 entry in the venerable Gran Turismo series, there's still plenty of racing to be done on Sony's current-gen console. The recent release of Project Cars and the steady maturation of Driveclub (following its botched launch) are just two examples of the PS4's racing options. Into this growing genre comes Logitech with its $400 G29 Driving Force Racing Wheel -- the latest in its long-running G series of steering wheel controllers. While owners of the older (and non-PS4-compatible) G27 wheel may be disappointed that the company has opted to replace it, Logitech's latest entry (released alongside an Xbox One-focused sibling called the G920) could be worth the sizable asking price.

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It's that dreaded time of year when lazy summer days with their open invitation to sandals, surf and shirtlessness begin to give way to the crispness of fall, hoodies and the back-to-school doldrums. Ah, but there's hope on the horizon: You can always buy things to forget the scheduled machinery of life. And, oh, have we got some selections for you -- no matter your budget.

First up, our picks for the most cost-conscious of the back-to-school set.

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Already immersing yourself in Windows 10? Trying to block out the not-so-favorable memories of Windows 8? Good for you. This week involved a new smartphone from a new challenger, and several new smartphone from a once-dominant player. And we don't mean Nokia, which was busy dipping its toes into the world of VR cameras. Because of course.

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If anything's kept pace with how video games have changed over the years, it's how we interact with them. Our biggest touchpoint with virtual worlds is the gamepad and -- akin to how games themselves have evolved from simple 2D affairs into 100-hour-long labyrinths in three dimensions -- controllers have changed to accommodate that. What you'll find in the gallery below is a comprehensive look at gamepads from the past 30-plus years of gaming, including high points and missteps alike.

[Image: Adafruit Industries/Flickr]

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Are you ready for lab-made hamburgers, bug-filled protein bars and 3D-printed cuisine? With the Earth's population rapidly approaching 8 billion and the race to keep up with food demand intensifying, industries have begun to drain essential resources and adversely affect the environment. Thanks to some scientific know-how, we're finding new ways to bypass those issues while still bringing natural and nutritious food to the table. In honor of that quest, we've gathered an assortment of forward-thinking products and projects that aim to alleviate the environmental impact of feeding the world and help kickstart a farming future for our space-faring progeny.

[Images: David Parry / PA Wire (Cultured Beef); Chloe Rutzerveld (Edible Growth); 3D Systems (ChefJet)]

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Japan's ridiculous robot hotel is actually serious business

"My name is Yoshiyuki Kawazoe. This is my hotel." The University of Tokyo's associate professor of architecture gestures behind himself to a flat, two-story building that doesn't really look like a hotel. "Two-hundred people were involved in making this happen," he says. "Experts in environmental design, engineering, architecture, robotics and construction ... it's their hotel." The "Hen-na Hotel" will go down in tourist guides as the robot hotel, but there's more being invested in here than just talking robots: The minds behind it hope the facility will change the world of low-cost hotels -- and save the world. (Well, at least a little.)

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If you've ever spent time in the company of young children watching colorful and cartoony TV shows geared to their innocence -- say something on Sprout or Nick Jr. -- then you'll know what it is to live in the world of Henry. The computer-animated virtual reality short about a lonely hedgehog is only the second to come from Oculus VR's newly founded Story Studio, an innovation lab of sorts for VR. But whereas most recent gaming- and entertainment-focused VR works have relied on cheap thrills, suspense and fear to dazzle viewers, Henry instead engages with empathy.

"That was the big question for me: How are people going to connect with him?" says director Ramiro Lopez Dau of Henry's emotional bent. "So we came up with this character who has an obvious problem: He wants to hug people and he's super spiky. So that was the connection because everyone deserves a friend. And Henry doesn't have a flaw. He's just like that; he's a hedgehog. ... So it's more about, okay, there's some meaning here. You will find someone who will accept you for who you are, which is a very universal message. ... There's going to be a very strong point to feel empathy for this guy."

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Developers Dave Proctor and Alex Rushdy of 13AM Games are in the middle of an impassioned conversation about the Wii U and independent development.

"I think the industry is getting into a habit of unsustainably large development, where it's like, 'Ugh, of course the Wii U can't run Assassin's Creed Unity,'" Proctor says.

Rushdy cuts in, "Nothing can run Assassin's Creed Unity."

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GERMANY MOBILE PHONE ANNIVERSARY

Since 1984 Motorola has trotted out some of the most iconic and memorable mobile designs in the industry. Whether it's the StarTAC, RAZR V3 or the original Droid, Motorola consistently offers something unique through design. It even allows you to make the final call on color schemes with its more recent devices so you can create a gadget that's truly one of a kind. As the company is poised to make its next big reveal tomorrow, let's take a look at some of those notable handsets that span four decades of mobile phones.

[Image: AP Photo/Christof Stache]

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Everyone has a Windows upgrade horror story. For me, it was an XP installation that inexplicably crashed halfway through the upgrade process, somehow corrupting my hard drive at the same time. And with Windows 10 launching on July 29th, it's hard to avoid the traumatic flashbacks to past Windows releases. But fret not. Windows 10, it turns out, offers the smoothest Windows upgrade process ever. It's remarkable for just how unremarkable the entire endeavor actually is. Still, there are a few things you should know before taking the plunge.

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