Missions in Ingress for Android

Ingress certainly has a following among augmented reality gamers, but its relative lack of direction can be intimidating -- especially if you're a newcomer. Where do you go first? As of today, you'll (usually) have an easy answer. Google's Niantic Labs has added user-created missions to the game that give you an incentive to get moving. Effectively, they're walking tours with objectives. You're usually asked to hack portals or solve puzzles at each stop, with the promise of special medals at the end. Each mission includes both average completion times and ratings, so you'll likely know in advance whether or not a given adventure is worth the effort.

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There's really only one way to properly celebrate Colonel's Day: a collection of fried chicken-themed accessories to show your pride. That's just what KFC Japan is doing as part of a Twitter promotional campaign. Lucky winners will be treated to the likes of an over-sized chicken leg iPhone case, a keyboard that's adorned with various pieces of chicken and both a USB drive and mouse that each showcase rather drumstick-like appearances. For the less tech savvy, there's chicken leg Ostrich Pillow-like headwear for comfy napping and a set of earrings to let everyone know what your favorite food is. The whole lot is quite ridiculous really, but don't take my word for it, take a gander at the entire collection in the gallery that follows.

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ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - MARCH  14, 2014: Google Corporation Building sign.

Statistics don't lie: If you're working at a Silicon Valley tech company, you're probably a guy. It's a big problem -- most corporate-diversity reports show a male-dominated industry, and colleges are struggling to find new ways to enroll women in computer science and technology programs. It's not just a matter of attracting minorities to technology, however. Google says part of the problem is in our mind: a shared, unconscious bias that not only affects the makeup of Silicon Valley's workforce, but also affects what markets technology company's products reach.

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By now you may have heard about a new bug found in the Bash shell. And unless you're a programmer or security expert, you're probably wondering if you should really worry. The short answer is: Don't panic, but you should definitely learn more about it, because you may be in contact with vulnerable devices.

This bug, baptized "Shellshock" by Security Researchers, affects the Unix command shell "Bash," which happens to be one of the most common applications in those systems. That includes any machine running Mac OS X or Linux. The "shell" or "command prompt" is a piece of software that allows a computer to interact with the outside (you) by interpreting text. This vulnerability affects the shell known as Bash (Bourne Again SHell), which is installed not only on computers, but also on many devices (smart locks, cameras, storage and multimedia appliances, etc.) that use a subset of Linux.

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Favela Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rocinha is the largest and most well-known favela in Brazil.  Built on a steep hillside

To the Brazilian government, favelas, often referred to as "the slums," don't portray an image they're willing to share with the world. So much so, in fact, that during the past World Cup some favela residents were reportedly being forced to leave their homes behind, as Brazil officials were looking to polish areas surrounding the stadiums playing host to the most watched sporting event on the planet. In Rio de Janeiro, favelas make up roughly a quarter of the population, yet somehow they aren't often found city maps, either physical or online. To help with the latter, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google and Microsoft have begun mapping Rio's favelas, albeit both companies are doing so in separate initiatives.

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Annual Oktoberfest Beer Tasting

New top-level domains have been popping up on the regular for quite a while, and now there's an option for breweries and other suds-focused operations. Starting today, .beer is an option for those looking lock down a new web address thanks to registry outfit Minds + Machines. In fact, US-based Elysian Brewing Company and Bear Republic Brewing Company have already opted in. If you'll recall, .london, .nyc, .scot and many more options are already available as a part of ICANN's internet naming overhaul. Sadly, ilove.beer has been snatched up.

[Photo credit: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images]

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MIT's deep learning algorithm checks out a neighborhood

Us humans are normally good at making quick judgments about neighborhoods. We can figure out whether we're safe, or if we're likely to find a certain store. Computers haven't had such an easy time of it, but that's changing now that MIT researchers have created a deep learning algorithm that sizes up neighborhoods roughly as well as humans. The code correlates what it sees in millions of Google Street View images with crime rates and points of interest; it can tell what a sketchy part of town looks like, or what you're likely to see near a McDonald's (taxis and police vans, apparently).

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When Hermann von Helmholtz designed what was essentially the world's first electric keyboard, he didn't do out of a need to lay down crunchy riffs on the shores of the Rhine. What he needed was a way to generate tones and mix timbres in a bid to better understand the musicality and substance of vowel sounds. He ultimately came up with a series of electrically activated tuning forks hooked up to brass resonators, and now you can try to own one of your every own... assuming you've got between at least $20,000 burning a hole in your pocket. This particular unit -- hewn of wood and keys whittled from African ivory -- wasn't made by Helmholtz himself, but it is one of the few remaining examples of such 19th century tech still in existence. To hear auction broker Bonhams tell the tale, there's just one other floating around the United States (another seems to be in safe hands at the University of Toronto). Intrigued? The Helmholtz synthesizer will go up for auction in New York come late October along with a slew of other scientific curios from back in the day.

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Want to check out Destiny's strike missions and raids but haven't shelled out for a PlayStation Plus membership yet? Well, perhaps you can rally a few similarly-leveled buddies this weekend and give The Devil's Lair or Vault of Glass a shot on PlayStation 4 -- even if they're in Europe. Starting this Friday at 3:01 a.m. Eastern / 12:01 a.m. Pacific, you'll have a chance at taking out Sepiks Prime with a little help from your friends in developer Bungie's latest shooter, gratis. Sony's PlayStation Network has grown by leaps and bounds since the PS3 days, and the outfit wants to show it off. If Destiny isn't your game, as Joystiq writes, you can take any multiplayer title online until the free promotion ends Sunday at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. We hear that Battlefield 4 is finally working, too, but if you aren't into the whole pew-pew thing, there's always FIFA 15. Regardless of what you play, there's almost never a bad reason to spend a weekend on the couch enjoying the great indoors.

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By now, you've likely heard a thing or two about the new iPhones' flexibility, and Apple has offered a word on the matter. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Cupertino-based outfit only received nine complaints of bent devices and that the damage occurring due to regular use is "extremely rare." It also maintains that both the new iPhone 6 and its larger sibling went through durability testing to ensure they'd stand up to daily use. Of course, the interwebs have been littered with videos of folks purposely trying to flex their mobile wares in far from "normal" conditions. Unfortunately, there's no word on if tight trousers are in fact to blame.

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