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NelsonG

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  1. The world’s most famous chatbot, ChatGPT, was released in late November of last year. The immediate response was astonishment, followed almost immediately by terror about its ramifications — most notably that it might generate school essays for dishonest kids. Yesterday, almost exactly two months later, OpenAI, ChatGPT’s parent company released what many users hope will be the antidote to the poison. OpenAI’s "classifier for indicating AI-written text" is the company’s latest invention, and it’s as easy-to-use as one could want: Copy-paste text into the box, click "Submit," and get your result. But if you’re expecting a straight answer, you’re going to be disappointed. Instead, it assigns the text one of a range of classifications, from "very unlikely" to be AI-generated, to "unlikely," "unclear," "possibly," or "likely AI-generated." SEE ALSO: An AI-generated parody of 'Seinfeld' is streaming on an infinite loop In other words, it’s like one of those frustrating conversations with your doctor; you will never get a straight answer, so your doctor will never be technically wrong. Thankfully, OpenAI is not hiding the classifier's unreliability. "Our classifier is not fully reliable," the intro page for the tool says. Provided with what it calls a "challenge set" of texts, we’re told it gave false positives 9 percent of the time. In Mashable’s tests, however, it was even less reliable than that in certain limited contexts. In deliberately challenging scenarios, it produced false results in both directions — saying it was unlikely that AI-written text was AI-written, and that human-written text was likely AI-written — almost as often as not. The difference, perhaps, is that we were trying to trick it. Here’s how things shook out: It doesn’t mistake the classics for ChatGPT AI outputsFirst the good news: This tool does the bare minimum pretty well by not mislabeling the masterworks of the English language as AI outputs. When we put in snippets of Shakespeare, the King James Bible, Ulysses, and others, it was 100-percent effective. It labeled them all "very unlikely" to be AI-written. This snippet from Tennyson’s "The Lady of Shallott" for instance, was classified appropriately. Credit: OpenAI / Screengrab The lesson: This machine might not notice that it has been fed a masterpiece of surpassing beauty and depth, but at least it doesn’t say, "I think a robot could have written this." None of its other results are very impressiveImmediately after that test, we asked ChatGPT to create a Tennyson poem about King Arthur at Comic Con. Here's a sample of what it generated: King Arthur and his knights, so brave and bold, At Comic Con, their tales of glory told. Walking 'round the floor, in cosplay gear, Their swords and shields, no longer mere. The crowds all cheered, as they walked by, With Merlin close behind, his magic nigh. Sir Lancelot, Sir Gawain, Bors the Brave, Their quest for glory, they'll never waive. Not bad for a robot, but still extremely bad ("no longer mere"???). When we fed this lyrical ballad into the classifier, we expected it to easily outsmart us, forcing us to dive a little deeper into our bag of tricks. Nope: Credit: OpenAI / Screengrab For what it's worth, it didn't classify this doggerel as "very unlikely," just "unlikely." Still, it left us a little uneasy. After all, we hadn't tried very hard to trick it, and it worked. Our tests suggest it might bust innocent kids for cheatingSchool essays are where the rubber meets the road with today's malicious uses of AI-generated text. So we created our best attempt at a no-frills five-paragraph essay with dull-as-dishwater prose and content (Thesis: "Dogs are better than cats."). We figured no actual kid could possibly be this dull, but the classifier caught on anyway: Sorry but yes, a human wrote this. Credit: OpenAI / Screengrab And when ChatGPT tackled the same prompt, the classifier was — at first — still on target: Credit: OpenAI / Screengrab And this is what the system looks like when it truly works as advertised. This is a school-style essay, written by a machine, and OpenAI's tool for catching such "AI plagiarism" caught it successfully. Unfortunately, it immediately failed when we gave it a more ambiguous text. For our next test, we manually wrote another five-paragraph essay, but we included some of OpenAI's writing crutches, like starting the body paragraphs with simple words like "first" and "second," and using the admittedly robotic phrase "in conclusion." But the rest was a freshly-written essay about the virtues of toaster ovens. Once again, the classification was inaccurate: Credit: OpenAI / Screengrab It's admittedly one of the dullest essays of all time, but a human wrote the whole thing, and OpenAI says it suspects otherwise. This is the most troubling result of all, since one can easily imagine some high school student getting busted by a teacher despite not breaking any rules. Our tests were unscientific, our sample size was minuscule, and we were absolutely trying to trick the computer. Still, getting it to spit out a perversely wrong result was way too easy. We learned enough from our time using this tool to say confidently that teachers absolutely should not use OpenAI’s "classifier for indicating AI-written text" as a system for finding cheaters. In conclusion, we ran this very article through the classifier. That result was perfectly accurate: Credit: OpenAI / Screengrab ...Or was it???? View the full article
  2. Despite delivering an epic performance in the tear-jerking third episode of The Last of Us, Nick Offerman has never played the video game. He doesn't play any video games any more. As he explains to Jimmy Kimmel in the clip above, the last game he played was 25 years ago. "I lost a couple of weeks to a video game called Banjo Kazooie," says Offerman. "And two weeks went by and I was like, oh my God, the slow dopamine drip is so delicious, then it's over and you're like, 'Yes, I won,' and immediately I'm like, 'What have I done with my life?'" In fairness, if you're going to lose two weeks to any game, you could do far worse than the enduringly brilliant Banjo Kazooie. For anyone not familiar, Rare's 1998 Nintendo 64 adventure game essentially involved playing as a friendly bear with a large red bird on his back (the titular Banjo and Kazooie) and going on an adventure to rescue Banjo's sister from an evil witch. It. Was. Awesome. The Last of Us is now streaming on HBO Max with new episodes airing weekly on Sunday nights on HBO. View the full article
  3. He may be getting texts from M. Night Shyamalan now, but Hollywood success has been a long time coming for horror author Paul Tremblay. Almost eight years, in fact. Tremblay is now just a day away from an adaptation of his novel The Cabin at the End of the World coming to the big screen. Retitled Knock at the Cabin, written/directed by Shyamalan and starring Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Abby Quinn, and Rupert Grint, the film is about as big as a movie adaptation can get. SEE ALSO: 'Knock at the Cabin' review: M. Night Shyamalan's latest is for believers But getting it made hasn’t been easy, and there have been — and continue to be — frustrations. Mashable spoke to Tremblay about the long process of getting his books turned into movies, the visit he made to the Cabin set, and how he's pouring some of his Hollywood experiences into the horror novel he's just finished drafting. It's been a long road to the big screen. (from left) Andrew (Ben Aldridge), Wen (Kristen Cui), Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Leonard (Dave Bautista) in "Knock at the Cabin". Credit: Universal Pictures / PhoByMo Although Tremblay has been a successful horror author since his highly praised novel A Head Full of Ghosts was published in 2015, The Knock at the Cabin will be the first time his work has appeared on screen. It's not through lack of trying. The Cabin at the End of the World was first optioned by FilmNation back in 2017, while A Head Full of Ghosts got a headline-catching movie auction sale before the book had even hit shelves. Tremblay has other work under option too, and Hollywood clearly wants to turn his books into films. So why has it taken so long? "Anytime something gets made it does seem like a minor miracle." "It does seem like, especially when you get to higher levels of money, of budget being involved, there's a lot more people making decisions that are sort of money based, as opposed to leaving the storytelling to the writers and the directors," Tremblay explains. Although Tremblay stresses that he's had positive relationships with some producers — like Allegiance Theatre and Team Downey, who have been doggedly trying to make A Head Full of Ghosts for eight years now, despite a 2020 shoot being derailed by the pandemic — he also has plenty of stories of meetings that don't go anywhere, and Hollywood clichés being proven all too true. "There really is a producer out there that, when I picked up the phone, said, 'Hey, I want to be in the Paul Tremblay business,'" he laughs. "And I was like, 'What? What are you talking about?' That was the only phone call I ever had with that producer but it was just like this weird sales optimism thing, where everyone's your friend and then you never hear from them again. It's a bizarre way to operate." Tremblay's relationship with Hollywood appears conflicted in this way. On the one hand he's excited about Cabin hitting the big screen, the premiere he recently attended with his family, and the great experience he had visiting the set for two days during filming. But on the other he's clearly become jaded with the time it takes for things to happen in the Hollywood business, and the many road bumps that typically take place before they do. "Anytime something gets made," he says, "it does seem like a minor miracle." Tremblay visited the set of Knock at the Cabin last year. Director M. Night Shyamalan and Dave Bautista on the set of "Knock at the Cabin". Credit: Universal Pictures / PhoByMo Although Tremblay is taking a sabbatical from his full-time job as a math teacher this year, he's used to fitting in his writing commitments around high school work. That was the case in May 2022 when he took a trip to a warehouse film set in Philadelphia to watch Cabin being shot. "It was a little disorienting to be on this movie set, this amazing make-believe land, and then I fly back and the next day I'm teaching geometry," he laughs. "I was like, 'I guess that happened.' It's one of those moments of big anticipation and then the moment happens and it's like oh, you're actually in it." Tremblay watched scenes being shot from a side room during his set visit. Credit: Paul Tremblay The whole experience sounds a little bit like that: surreal. While Tremblay was on set he watched scenes being filmed, ate lunch with the crew, and hung out with the cast between takes. "I walked in and there's Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge tied to a chair." "The strangest part was first walking into this cabin that they'd built inside this warehouse/sound studio, and they were just about to shoot a scene. I walked in and there's Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge tied to a chair, there's David Bautista, there's M. Night," Tremblay recounts. "That was like brain-blowing-up strange." Shyamalan and Ben Aldridge on the set. Credit: Universal Pictures / PhoByMo The movie's marketing has raised some questions.If seeing his book brought to life on set was an overwhelmingly positive experience, the subsequent months have been more complicated for Tremblay. Marketing materials including the trailers, billboards, and posters for Knock at the Cabin began to roll out last autumn, and while they were clearly a promotional success — the two trailers alone have over 50 million views at the time of writing — they didn't offer much in the way of promotion for Tremblay himself. In every last piece of marketing, the author's name is absent. "I don't know how much I want to talk about that," says Tremblay, who posted about his absence from the poster on Twitter. "The tweet was a little bit cheeky because obviously I knew that that was going to get a response from folks. I didn't necessarily want people to be like in arms, angry over it, kind of thing." Tremblay goes on to stress that the option deal for Cabin was made back in 2017, when he was less well known — and in less of a position to make demands. The behind-the-scenes stuff, he says, doesn't always work out the way you think it's going to. "You don't want to seem like an ungrateful tool, but at the same time it's like hey, this is something I worked on for 18 months. I'm not ego-less about the book and the differences that there are going to be between the movie and the book," Tremblay says. "And obviously I do want people to read the book as well." Tremblay is working on a new novel set in Hollywood.Despite the ups and downs of the movie-making process, Tremblay clearly still has an interest in Hollywood. He has a screenplay based on his short story Nineteen Snapshots of Denisport that he's reworking this year with two young film-makers, and the new novel he's just finished writing – titled Horror Movie: A Novel – is set in the film industry. "It's a little bit of a satire, but it's also a fairly grim, disturbing book." "Really briefly, the conceit is there are these 20-somethings who make a movie in 1993," Tremblay explains. "They pretty much finish filming it but it never makes it to screen because something terrible happened on set. And one of the characters, one of the actors from that movie is part of a reboot attempt of that movie. So it sort of bounces back and forth between the movie that was being made in '93 and him trying to get it remade now." Like much of Tremblay's work, the novel will play around with form, featuring a full-length screenplay of the fictional movie ("It's purposefully written in a way that no producer would ever want as your screenplay," Tremblay laughs) which is woven throughout the novel itself. "Definitely some of my experience goes in there," says Tremblay. "It's a little bit of a satire, but it's also a fairly grim, disturbing book in some ways." That novel won't be out until 2024, and it'll be interesting to see how Tremblay's experience with Hollywood changes in the meantime. Will Cabin do well at the box office? Will it be well received? Will A Head Full of Ghosts get the green light before the option expires in November? Will Tremblay's screenplay get picked up? There are lots of questions and, as is always the case with Hollywood, lots of uncertainty — but one way or another, we'll know the answers soon enough. The Knock at the Cabin is available in theatres from Feb 3. View the full article
  4. Some space events happen too slowly to capture as a movie, but a new time-lapse video provides a rare glimpse at another solar system's planets revolving around their star. Northwestern University astrophysicist Jason Wang squished 12 years of real telescope images into a 4.5-second video of HR 8799, a star considered not too distant from Earth at just over 133 light-years away. Visible to the naked eye in the Pegasus constellation, the star hosts at least four jumbo planets. Many exoplanets — as in planets that don't orbit our sun — are discovered by watching them transit in front of their distant stars to prove they exist. NASA has so far identified over 5,200 exoplanets, though experts estimate there could be over a trillion lurking in the Milky Way galaxy alone. But this solar system is special because scientists can see these giant planets orbiting the star and have taken rare, direct images. Telescope observatories in Hawaii have snapped pictures of the planets for years. SEE ALSO: How a NASA nuclear rocket engine could unleash the solar system Wang, an expert in exoplanet imaging, says there's no scientific value to his video of the system. But it does help astronomers convey the perplexing subject of planetary orbits to the public. "It’s usually difficult to see planets in orbit," Wang said in a statement. "For example, it isn’t apparent that Jupiter or Mars orbit our sun because we live in the same system and don’t have a top-down view." An artist's conception of planets orbiting the star HR 8799, located in the Pegasus constellation. Credit: Gemini Observatory / Lynette Cook illustration "It isn’t apparent that Jupiter or Mars orbit our sun because we live in the same system and don’t have a top-down view." Want more science and tech news delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for Mashable's Top Stories newsletter today. Astronomers can see the HR 8799 system with telescope observatories in Hawaii. Credit: Project 1640 / NASA In the video above, four blobs move about HR 8799, a star five times brighter than our sun. The star is 30 million years old, born after dinosaurs had already come and gone on Earth. Wang calls the gas giant planets of HR 8799 "scaled-up" versions of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus. The planet nearest the star has a year 45 times longer than Earth's. The farthest planet, seen in the time-lapse video to the left of the star, takes 500 Earth-years to complete its loop, Wang said. Researchers are poring over the data to see if there are other planets hiding in the system. Recently a team found signs of a fifth potential planet. The finding, discussed in a paper posted on a preprint server in October 2022, includes Wang as a co-author. Scientists caution this additional exoplanet candidate is not yet confirmed. "It can be difficult to explain the nuances of science with words," Wang said in a statement. "But showing science in action helps others understand its importance." View the full article
  5. So, you've got superpowers. You can walk through walls. Trouble is, your butt's still stuck on the other side — and you're not wearing any underwear. Created by Emma Moran, Extraordinary shares a narrative set-up with Disney's Encanto, but on a global, cynical, grown-up scale. When people turn 18 in this reality, they receive a superpower. Oftentimes it's hereditary, meaning you might get the same power as one of your parents, but it can also be random. Alas, our protagonist Mirabel Jen (Máiréad Tyers) hasn't discovered her power yet, despite seven years of trying. However, she's not the only one having trouble — the superpowered around her seem to be quite crap at figuring out their abilities too. As Mashable's Caitlin Welsh writes in her review, "The powers in this world aren't a grand metaphor, just another thing people have to deal with now...They're a gift for some people, a burden for others, and a complicated cocktail of both for most, in the same way IRL 'superpowers' like being incredibly smart or conventionally attractive or super tall can be." And it's this level of flawed humanity that makes this unconventional superhero show truly extraordinary. SEE ALSO: 'Extraordinary' is a smart, sweary sitcom that just happens to have superpowers Extraordinary makes superpowered humans as inept as regular humans.Classic superpowers like flying, super strength, telekinesis, and time-bending are covered in the series, but there's also some more niche, inconvenient powers in the mix. But the trouble is, unlike Encanto's Family Madrigal — who are instantly able to have deep conversations with all animals, make perfect flowers bloom, and lift a heap of unexpecting donkeys upon receiving their powers — in Extraordinary most people seem to be quite rubbish at using their superpowers. And it's gloriously human. Invisible muggers make way too much noise. Ade's (Abraham Popoola) unreliable ability to phase through solid walls gets him stuck with his naked butt protruding onto main street and causing a fuss. ("Someone thought I was a Banksy," he says angrily.) Sebastian (Sam Haygarth) can summon sea creatures, but not control them, meaning fish uselessly flop around on the floor after being called. One superhuman is intermittently magnetic; another spurts ink like a squid when she's startled. Jen's stepdad Ian (Robbie Gee) has a cousin who can freeze anything, but as Ian explains, "Of course, he's got a freezer that he mainly uses, but it's the knowledge." Jizzlord (Luke Rollason) was stuck as a cat for three years before he managed to shapeshift out of it. That's some bad magic. Three years stuck as a cat. Not the best shapeshifter? Credit: Disney Best of all, Jen's mum Mary (the hilarious Siobhán McSweeney from Derry Girls) can control technology with a flick of the wrist… but because she doesn't really understand it, ends up exasperatedly waving her magic hands at the TV and over smartphones with extremely funny relatability. "Being able to control technology is only useful if you know how technology works," Jen scolds. Inheriting superpowers in Extraordinary doesn't make you any more human than those without them, in fact, it's hard work, especially when your emotions and sense of self limit them. But you can still be a shitty friend, an absent boyfriend, a lacklustre employee, while figuring out how to fly. This is the core of Extraordinary, the imperfections and flaws that make us wonderfully human, whether we have superpowers or not. Jen's mum, played by Siobhán McSweeney, has to upskill her powers. Credit: Disney Extraordinary reminds us that being superpowered can suck.To some, powers are a real burden without proper control or training, like Jen's super strong sister Andy (Safia Oakley-Green), who both fails to get into a prestigious music academy after breaking her violin and breaks her girlfriend's pelvis during an unfortunate sex accident. Some powers are out of your control; Gordon (Eros Vlahos) involuntarily gives anyone he touches an orgasm and it becomes as awkward as it sounds. There are also moments when people's superpowers fail them — Luke's (Ned Porteous) ability to fly falters when he's not the centre of female attention. In episode 6, a man simply spins above Jen's apartment, unable to control his flying ability. For those who can fly, it only really works if your sense of self is solid — think less Wonder Woman's cheesy, self-taught flying lesson in 1984, more Mark Grayson's horrendous flying training with his dad Omni-Man in Invincible. It's tough and painful stuff. Featured Video For You Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the 'Project Power' cast choose their superhero squad But Extraordinary makes it clear that powers are something that you can work on, if you dedicate time to practicing and upskilling. Jen's mum takes IT classes to improve her tech-focused abilities: "I know what all the bits are for now," she says. It's the show's focus on people's skill level within their superpowers that makes it so relatable — and frankly, easier for Jen to exist as someone without them (despite what she might say). Jen's roommates have the most advanced powers of the show — Kash's (Bilal Hasna) time-rewinding abilities and Carrie's (Sofia Oxenham) powers as a medium — but both of them use them for pretty small fry things, like work, to make people in their lives happy, or to satisfy their own needs. And they're both miserable. Instead of a uniquely talented group of superheroes using their exceptional talents for good (The Avengers) or evil (The Boys) among the plebs, the superpowered in Extraordinary enjoy the newfound advantages of their talents in everyday life while still struggling with the trials and tribulations of being a regular human: dating, sex, family, work, identity. Just because you can walk through walls doesn't mean you'll totally avoid public humiliation. Extraordinary Season 1 is now streaming on Hulu in the U.S., and Disney+ in the UK, Australia, and other territories. View the full article
  6. It’s no secret that red light therapy is skincare’s current It Girl. A peek at social media — or at your favorite skincare studio — and you’ll see celebrities, influencers, and your friend from college splurging on various red light therapy treatments to transform their skin. Fans of red light therapy promote it as a way to boost collagen production, improve your overall complexion, and even diminish wrinkles, sun damage, and acne scarring. Even better? More and more brands are releasing at-home red light therapy devices, which means you can receive professional quality skincare while sitting on your couch. But do they actually work? And are they worth the investment? I decided to put it to the test with the viral DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro from the popular skincare brand, Dr. Dennis Gross. Used by celebrities like Lucy Hale, Halle Berry, Jimmy Fallon, and more, the $455 LED red light therapy mask is definitely a splurge. Unfortunately? I kinda love it. What is red light LED therapy? How does it work?If you’re not familiar with it, red light therapy involves using low-wavelength red light to improve your skin. You might be skeptical, but there’s actually some science to back this up. In fact, some studies demonstrate that red light therapy can increase collagen production and reduce signs of aging. So how does it work? “LED light therapy utilizes a variety of wavelengths, which appear as different colors, to treat the dermis at varying depths and intensities depending on the skin concern being addressed,” explains Dr. Kate Jameson, who is the medical director and founder of Youth Lab aesthetic clinics. “Red light therapy treats the outer layer of your skin by stimulating collagen production, elastin production, and blood flow. While red light therapy is perfect for brightening and plumping the skin before a special event, regular treatments will also reduce the appearance of fine lines, skin laxity, and scarring.” The inside of the mask has a bunch of little LED panels that produce red and blue light. Credit: Jandra Sutton / Mashable However, Dr. Jameson points out, the at-home red light therapy masks are typically less powerful than the ones found at your dermatologist’s office, but they are generally considered safe to use if you purchase them from a reliable company. “Light therapy is most effective when used consistently, so the convenience of having a device in your home is invaluable,” Dr. Jameson adds. “Safety is always first, so purchasing your device from a reputable company with the appropriate therapeutic goods approvals for your location is essential. Knock-off brands can look and feel similar, with an alluringly low price tag.” First impressions of the DRx SpectraLite FaceWare ProI consider myself an “intermediate” when it comes to all things skincare. My daily routine is a little more complex than a newbie — I recently started double-cleansing, I have a few holy grail serums, and I dabble in the process of slugging (aka layering petroleum jelly over my nightly moisturizer to lock in moisture). However, I’m still a fan of convenience. Too many steps in my skincare routine and I’m certain to skip it, and makeup wipes are still my go-to for lazy days. SEE ALSO: Slugging, gua sha, rice water, and more: How stolen cultural beauty practices feed viral videos But adding a red light therapy mask to my daily routine? I was definitely intrigued, especially since I’ve tried similar products — like the SolaWave red light therapy wand — with decent results. Right out of the box, I was excited to try the SpectraLite FaceWare Pro. Unlike other red light therapy masks that I’ve tried, the SpectraLite FaceWare Pro boasts three different light modes — red light for anti-aging, blue light for fighting action, and a combination of the two for dual results — which means you can choose your preference depending on your skin’s needs. The device is made primarily of plastic, with a silicone-type inner coating covering the 162 LED lights spread throughout the inside of the mask. After charging the device with the included USB cable for the recommended two hours, I was ready to go. Using the SpectraLite FaceWare Pro is beyond effortless. Simply wash and dry your face — it’s recommended to use the mask prior to using any serums or skincare products — then slip the strap over your head and press and hold the button to turn on the mask. You can tap the button to cycle between modes — from red light to blue light, then again to the combination — and simply sit back, relax, and let the mask do its job for the next three minutes. I stuck with combination mode, mostly because I was battling some hormonal acne, and the mask turns itself off once your three-minute session is over. Adding the mask to my skincare routine was easyUnlike other skincare gadgets, the SpectraLite FaceWare Pro doesn’t really feel like anything. It’s not particularly soothing — there’s no heat, vibration, or anything like that — so you’re just sitting there for three minutes with very bright light on your face. However, I found that I really enjoyed using it every night. I preferred the combination red and blue light mode, and I usually spent my three-minute session either lying in bed or dancing in front of the mirror. I joked with my partner that when I closed my eyes, the brightness of the light makes it feel like I’m soaking up the summer sun on a beach somewhere. The combination red and blue light is picture here. Credit: Jandra Sutton / Mashable My biggest complaint was the strap that secures the mask to your head. It’s a silicone, adjustable strap that fits comfortably around your head, but it’s so slick that it loosens easily. I needed to adjust it every single night to make sure it didn’t fall off, which was annoying considering the price of the mask. Beyond that, I didn’t have any trouble using the mask. It lasted about 10 sessions before I needed to charge it again, and it comes with a protective storage bag. I will say that it takes up a good amount of space in your bathroom, but it’s up to you if that’s a problem or not. You also need to clean it after each use, which I forgot occasionally, but an alcohol wipe makes that quick and easy. I noticed a major difference with my hormonal acneAfter using the SpectraLite FaceWare Pro every day for a month, the biggest changes I noticed were in my hormonal acne. The day I received the mask, I was dealing with one of the worst hormonal acne breakouts of my life (convenient timing, I know). After three days of nightly use, the deep cystic acne finally started to shrink, and within a week, there was a slight, but noticeable reduction in redness and active breakouts. It’s now been a month and a half since I started using the mask, and my latest round of hormonal acne — which usually starts about a week before my period — was significantly less intense. I haven’t changed anything else in my skincare routine or my diet, so I’m absolutely crediting the SpectraLite FaceWare Pro with the results. Beyond that? I didn’t notice a change in my skin’s overall texture or appearance beyond a slight reduction in redness. I’d hoped that the mask would help with a few fine lines that have started to appear on my forehead, but I haven’t used it long enough to notice any significant changes. The company recommends sticking with the product for 10 weeks of daily use for wrinkle reduction, with acne results in as little as two weeks, which was definitely in line with my experience. Is it worth the splurge? As much as I loved the SpectraLite FaceWare Pro, I’m struggling with the price. Obviously, I saw an immediate improvement with my hormonal acne, but when it comes to anti-aging, you have to commit to daily, long-term use to see a return on your investment. For someone who is already spending that much (or more) on red light therapy treatments, then it might be worth the hefty price tag. For beginners, I’d recommend starting with one of the more affordable options on the market. SolaWave offers both red light and blue light therapy wands, and they’re a lower-cost alternative that will let you play around with using at-home light therapy without quite as much of a splurge. Once you know how your skin responds, however, it might be worth saving up for the SpectraLite FaceWare Pro. It’s convenient, easy to use, and — yes — bougie as hell. However, it’s also a great way to bring cutting-edge skincare technology into your home, so it might be worth a try. View the full article
  7. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine coupled with retaliatory measures and dangerous brinkmanship threatens to destabilize the entire planet. When a broad coalition of countries imposed sanctions on Russia last year, the goal was to limit Putin’s ability to wage war without resorting to war itself. Sanctions were ostensibly crafted to curtail military capability while meting out punishment to Russia’s elite. They were never likely to deliver results overnight or be precise enough to avoid collateral damage, as entertainment and software companies are now acutely aware. Intellectual Property, More Conflict Thus far, diminished access to various types of licensed intellectual property has prompted mostly unofficial responses in Russia. Facing an existential crisis and no support from the government, some elements in the cinema industry began screening unlicensed Western movies, for example. Unlike ally Belarus, which effectively legalized piracy recently, the Russian government has busied itself with proposals to introduce compulsory licensing for ‘enemy’ content but has faced opposition from within. A current proposal envisages Russian cinemas legally screening foreign movies without rightsholders’ permission but with some kind of payment. After President Putin asked for input and opinions, the government department responsible for Russia’s economic growth issued its response late last week. “The Ministry of Economic Development of Russia informs that the proposals contained in the appeal to amend the legislation of the Russian Federation are not supported, including due to the fact that they may entail a violation of international agreements to which the Russian Federation is a party, as well as negative assessments of Russian legislation and law enforcement practice in protection of property and property rights,” the document reads. Since it “creates legal uncertainty,” Russia’s Ministry of Culture says the proposal requires significant revision, including assurances that rightsholders will get paid. The Ministry of Justice agrees that rightsholders should be compensated but says the proposals should not be limited to physical cinemas; online streaming portals should be allowed to screen unlicensed movies too. Former Russian President Does Away With Formalities As various governmental departments attempt to balance the reality of sanctions with the needs of the populace and the rule of law, yesterday former president Dmitry Medvedev brushed aside the legislative process by framing the unlicensed use of ‘enemy’ intellectual property as just one of Russia’s responses to Western sanctions. “Enemy countries do not have the courage to admit that their ‘hellish’ sanctions have failed miserably. They do not work. The vast majority of industrial products and consumer goods were replaced by our own, Russian, and the missing ones – by Asian brands. Parallel imports also work, from which we get the same Western brands, and their owners get nothing,” Medvedev wrote on Telegam. While Medvedev fails to recognize that Russia’s purchases of Western products in the gray market still generate revenue for Western companies, his role as deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia is to implement Putin’s national security decisions. From his statement, it appears that while intellectual property rights may be enshrined in law, legislative amendments will, at best, catch up with the reality of events on the ground. And if they require any payments to rightsholders, that will be too much for Medvedev. Recognition for Pirates Helping Russia “So everything is as always: the Americans make money on a humiliated Europe. Crushed Europe endures and loses money. At the same time, even the IMF predicts economic growth in Russia this year,” Medvedev continued on Telegram. “All that remains is to adopt the rules on the use of their intellectual property. Without any licenses and payment of royalties. This, among other things, will be our retaliatory sanctions on their property rights,” said the close Putin ally. The current proposal deals with film content, but for Medvedev, that doesn’t go far enough. He says the use of unlicensed content should cover “everything” from movies to industrial software – nothing will be off-limits. If Medvedev’s use of an old French phrase represents reality and the use of ‘trollface’ offers no contradiction, Russia may have been making best use of available resources for some time. “Thanks, by the way, to those who have developed various programs for the unlicensed use of their expensive intellectual products. In short, for piracy in a personal sanctions regime, à la guerre comme à la guerre.” In a comment posted to state media outlet RIA, Medvedev’s statement led to confusion. “I don’t understand this, if the second highest person in security in the country thanks the pirates, then why do I still access torrents through a VPN to download the next movie?” From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  8. Timothy’s performance was filmed in Freetown, Sierra LeoneView the full article
  9. The teenage rapper is playing North American shows with Femdot and D’mari Harris in April and MayView the full article
  10. Almost two months ago, we revealed our annual Artists to Watch list for 2023, including W IN K among 39 other exceptional names. This past week, W IN K dropped a 30-minute mix full of unreleased music for the upcoming year, and, not to toot our own horn, it’s great to hear that we were right in picking this talented artist as one to watch. While we can’t point to specific track titles in the mix (they’re all IDs), we can confidently say that there isn’t a single one that you’ll skip. All of the edits and clips, including Nero’s “Promises” or Flume’s “Never Be Like You” also show off W IN K’s skill as not just a producer, but also DJ. Though it’s not from W IN K himself, also pay special attention to the Knoir remix of Elley Duhé’s “Immortal” at 21:18. If you didn’t know, Elley had the original vocal that Fred again.. used for “Jungle,” so if it sounds familiar, that’s why. Check out the full mix now below! This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: 2023 artist to watch W IN K drops insane 30-minute mix of unreleased music View the full article
  11. We’re no stranger to what you would call “serious” artists suddenly releasing a song that showed off their real-life personality. Dillon Francis, Kill The Noise, Salvatore Ganacci… honestly, a lot of the old OWSLA contingent made a name for themselves with these sort of antics. Lately, music has felt a bit more serious overall, but we’re glad that some of that ethos exists in the ether, especially with TYNAN’s new song, “Ducks On Acid.” It began as little more than thinking, “what if…” “I was walking around a park near my house on a brisk fall morning when I happened across a quaint scene of an elderly man feeding bread crumbs to a paddling of ducks,” says TYNAN. “It was a quiet picturesque moment plucked straight from a hallmark card that felt innocently free from the struggles of day to day life. As if this moment could live untouched as a pure representation of peace. Of course, my dumbass brain thought ‘what if he was feeding the ducks acid?’ So I went home and made what that would sound like.” Sure enough, the song is weird as hell. Modulated duck sounds that we can only assume would be similar to what they would sound like if they happened upon some mind-enhancing substances permeate the production, with bouncy drums and some glitchy synths. It’s as fun as it is weird and wacky and we’re absolutely here for it. Check it out below. This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: Tynan gets super weird with “Ducks On Acid” and we absolutely love it View the full article
  12. Every year, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) publishes a list of ‘notorious markets’ that facilitate online piracy and related intellectual property crimes. Drawing on input from copyright holders, the report includes a non-exclusive overview of sites and services that are believed to be involved in piracy or counterfeiting. For more than a decade we have covered the online part of the report. Traditionally, that includes prominent torrent sites, download portals, cyberlockers, and streaming services that offer copyrighted content without obtaining permission from rightsholders. In recent years, the scope of the report has broadened. For example, we have seen hosting companies, advertisers, and social media platforms being added. These don’t have piracy as their core business, but they allegedly facilitate infringing activity. 2022 Notorious Markets Review Yesterday, the USTR published its 2022 Review of Notorious Markets. According to Ambassador Katherine Tai, the annual overview will help companies and countries to take proper action, where needed. “The Notorious Markets List is an important tool that urges the private sector and our trading partners to take action against these harmful practices,” Tai notes, commenting on the release of the report. The importance and political clout of the report shouldn’t be understated. However, the fact that some names have been listed for over a decade, shows that there are no guarantees for improvement. Familiar Names Looking at the 2022 Review of Notorious Markets, we see the usual suspects, including The Pirate Bay, RARBG, Rapidgator, Fmovies, Sci-Hub and 2Conv. These all come with a short description of the sites and why they are deemed problematic by rightsholders. Some dedicated IPTV services and related companies such as Globe IPTV are called out as well, while ‘bulletproof’ hosting companies (Amaru / Flokinet) and even social media platforms (VK / WeChat) get mentioned too. The same is true for popular foreign e-commerce platforms such as Aliexpress, Baidu Wangpan and Shopee.com. These stores are often linked to the sale of counterfeit goods. Meanwhile, there is no mention of anime piracy sites, which are massively popular. Newcomers This year’s overview only delivers a few new names, including torrent sites Rutracker and YTS. The latter was noticeably missing last year, despite being the most visited torrent site on the Internet. Russia-based classified advertisement platform Avato is another newcomer. The same is true for hosting company Amarutu, which hosts many of the largest pirate sites according to rightsholders. The fifth and final addition is an interesting one. The USTR lists Lalastreams / istream2watch.com as a family of sports streaming sites. And indeed, these were reported by the UK Premier League a few weeks ago. What the USTR report fails to mention is that the istream2watch.com domain was seized by U.S. law enforcement authorities last December. Other domains from the same group are not called out and remain online. Dropouts We expect that istream2watch.com won’t be used as an example next year. And while we’re on the topic, it’s worth mentioning the sites that have been removed from the notorious markets list following appearances last year. These are: -Blueangelhost (reason unknown) -Chomikuj.pl (started filtering) -Dytt8.net (reason unknown) -Phimmoi (original site shut down) -Popcorn Time (popular fork shut down) -Private Layer (reason unknown) -Revenuehits.com (reason unknown) -Uploaded.net (shut down voluntarily) Finally, it’s worth noting that there are no immediate legal consequences for sites and services that appear on the USTR’s list. That said, over the past year, we have seen several requests in US courts where rightsholders asked intermediaries including ISPs to block domains that appear on the USTR’s annual list. As far as we know, none of these requests have been granted, but that could change in the future. — A copy of the USTR’s 2022 Review of Notorious Markets is available here (pdf). The full list of highlighted online sites/services, including those focused on counterfeiting, is as follows: Torrent Sites -1337x.to -Rarbg.to -Rutracker.org (new) -Thepiratebay.org -YTS.mx (new) Cyberlockers -1Fichier -Rapidgator.net E-commerce -Aliexpress -Baidu Wangpan -Bukalapak.com -DHgate.com -Indiamart -Pinduoduo.com -Shopee.com -Taobao.com -Tokopedia.com PaaS -2Embed Advertising -Avito (new) Streaming / IPTV -Bestbuyiptv.store -Chaloos -Cuevana3.io -Egy.best -Fmovies / Bmovies / Bflix -Globe IPTV -Istar -Lalastreams / Istream2watch.com (new) -Pelisplus.icu -Shabakatv -Spider Hosting -Amaratu (new) -FlokiNET Social Media -VK.com -WeChat Gaming -Mpgh.net Music -Flvto.biz and 2Conv.com -MP3juices.cc -Newalbumreleases.net Publishing -Libgen -Sci-Hub From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  13. The musician co-founded the Blacklips Performance Cult in New York in the 1990sView the full article
  14. “Blurry,” featuring Sampa the Great, is the third offering from the Congolese musician’s first full-length since 2015View the full article
  15. The track, featuring Jai Imani and produced by RichGains, appears on Indiana Jones, released just weeks after James was involved in a serious car accident in DetroitView the full article
  16. “My team is currently coming up with ideas for where I will be able to perform without having to travel from city to city and country to country,” the iconic Black Sabbath singer promisedView the full article
  17. “Every Little Heart” leads Kristian Matsson’s first album of originals since 2019View the full article
  18. The singer-songwriter’s second album, An Inbuilt Fault, arrives in May via PartisanView the full article
  19. We spoke with MIT Postdoctoral Researcher Alexander Amini who gave us a first hand look at one of MIT's autonomous cars and explains how this method of deep learning separates the vehicle from the rest. View the full article
  20. TL;DR: As of Feb. 1, the Nu Nu DVR 170-degree wide view dash cam is on sale for $55.99 rather than $136. That's 59% in savings. The life of a rideshare driver is tough. Whether you're signed up to Uber or Lyft, the moment a rider books a ride, you're rendered responsible for keeping them safe on the road and bringing them to their desired destination in an efficient manner — safely and quickly. But not all drivers on the road can drive, frankly speaking. They may have fooled the DMV into issuing them a license, but it's not always safe sharing the road with those so-called drivers. And with that unpredictability, it's always the smart choice to have a dash cam in place, so you have an extra set of eyes on the road when you're transporting your passenger. The Nu Nu DVR 170° Wide View dash cam happens to be on sale, and it's a pocket-friendly camera that will help keep you safe while you're at the wheel. Equipped with six all-glass ultra-clear lenses and a 170-degree wide-angle view, this dash cam should be capable of covering more lanes compared to standard options. If you tend to drive at night, it also has HD night vision that allows it to record clear footage in the dark. In case you run into an accident, it has mechanisms in place designed to give you peace of mind. An automatic accident lock point feature is available, prompting the camera to keep recording during emergency situations. It also automatically locks and saves the footage after. With 24-hour monitoring, it will also keep capturing footage regardless if your vehicle has a passenger (or driver) or not. Plus, thanks to its tiny size, it won't take up much of your dashboard real estate. Help keep yourself and your passengers safe with the help of the Nu Nu DVR 170° Wide View dash cam. It usually costs $136, but you can get it on sale for only $55.99 for a limited time. Prices subject to change. Opens in a new tab Credit: Tech Zebra Nu Nu 170° Wide-View Dual Lens Dash Cam (opens in a new tab) $55.99 at the Mashable Shop Get Deal (opens in a new tab) View the full article
  21. She’ll embark on an extensive run through Europe and North America that stretches from May to SeptemberView the full article
  22. TL;DR: As of Feb. 1, a three-year exclusive subscription to FlyFin AI Tax App is on sale for just $49 instead of $252. That's a savings of 80%. We can live in denial all we want, but tax season is right around the corner. That time of year when we hand more money over to Uncle Sam can be even more disheartening if you're also paying big bucks to an accountant — especially for freelancers, independent contractors, small business owners, or the self-employed who are prepping to pay a hefty amount. If you'd like to see a way that AI can make your life a little easier (and cheaper), you may want to check out FlyFin AI Tax App. With tax season officially kicking off this month, knock this pesky item off your to-do list early with help from FlyFin AI Tax App. For a limited time, you can secure a three-year subscription to this tax preparation app for the best price on the web: just $49. That boils down to less than $17 a year to help you file taxes now through 2025. FlyFin is an AI-powered tax app that helps self-employed workers, independent contractors, freelancers, and small business owners navigate the complicated world of tax filings. If you fall into one of these categories, you can use FlyFin with peace of mind. Thanks to the power of AI, 95% of the effort taxes take could vanish. It can find every deduction, including the smallest write-offs, saving you $3,700 on average. And CPAs are available to provide unlimited advice right in the app when you need it, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will take you just five minutes to do your taxes, so you can get back to the grind right away. Ready to make tax filing a painless experience? For a limited time, get a three-year subscription to FlyFin AI Tax App for just $49 — the best price you'll find online. Prices subject to change. Opens in a new tab Credit: FlyFin FlyFin AI Tax App: 3-Year Exclusive Subscription (opens in a new tab) $49 at the Mashable Shop Get Deal (opens in a new tab) View the full article
  23. We knew it was coming, and we knew it was coming soon: Sharing Netflix passwords outside of your household is about to become a lot harder. But we had no idea how, exactly, Netflix plans to prevent people from sharing their passwords – until now. Here's how it will work. "To ensure uninterrupted access to Netflix, connect to the Wi-Fi at your primary location, open the Netflix app or website, and watch something at least once every 31 days. This creates a trusted device so you can watch Netflix, even when you’re away from your primary location," the company wrote in an updated Help Center document. SEE ALSO: Netflix's 'The Romantics' trailer teases the bona fide love letter to Bollywood If you're traveling, you'll be able to watch Netflix simply by logging into your account. But if you're away for an "extended period of time" — presumably, more than 31 days — Netflix says that "your device may be blocked from watching Netflix." The solution to this is requesting a "temporary access code to continue watching," Netflix says. There's a caveat to this. The updated help document, spotted by The Streamable, doesn't appear to be online anymore, though it is accessible via Wayback Machine, which keeps old snapshots of websites on the internet. So it's possible that Netflix will change certain details before it starts enforcing the Wi-Fi connection rule. With that in mind, the new rules, as they're laid out above, will likely cause some headaches to users. For example, I primarily watch Netflix on my smart TV, but I'm logged in on a variety of other devices, such as phones and tablets. Having to watch Netflix on each of them once every month just to stay logged in will be an additional annoyance that I'm not particularly happy about. Featured Video For You The 'Cobra Kai' composers told us where their musical Easter eggs are buried Fortunately, Netflix (still) doesn't plan to automatically charge users for sharing their account with someone who doesn't live with you. The company will likely tread carefully before enforcing any drastic measures upon its users; while the company's subscriber count was up in the last quarter, that's largely thanks to Netflix's new "Basic with Ads" subscriber tier, and it comes at the end of a tough year for the streaming giant. Chasing away subscribers with overzealous anti-password sharing measures is probably the last thing Netflix needs. View the full article
  24. Just three episodes in, and The Last of Us is already showing promise of becoming the best TV show of the year. But what if I told you that there's a book, and a movie, with an eerily similar premise? And what if I told you that the both the book and the movie are really, really good? When I first heard of a TV show about a deadly fungal infection which turns most of the world's population into zombies, my first thought wasn't of the popular computer game The Last of Us. Granted, I never played the game. What I did do, however, was read M. R. Carey's amazing 2014 novel The Girl with All the Gifts. SEE ALSO: 'The Last of Us' stars Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett being interviewed together is a joy I really want you to read it, because it's great, so I'm not going to include any spoilers in here. But the book's setting is a bleak future in which humanity has been all but wiped out by a deadly fungal infection. The fungi in question? Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, also known as the zombie-ant fungus, which you may recognize as one of the main plot devices in The Last of Us. And yes, one of the main characters is a young girl. At this point, you're probably wondering whether The Girl with All the Gifts is a blatant copy of The Last of Us, which launched in 2013. To the best of my knowledge, it's not. The Girl with All the Gifts is based on M.R. Carey's short story Iphigenia in Aulis, which was published in 2012 as part of a short-story collection called "An Apple for the Creature." And it's not very loosely based, either; the short story, which I've also read, is essentially the first chapter of the novel, with the same main characters, plot and setting. Yes, there's a young girl in the story. But there's a cruel twist or two that'll keep you on the edge of your seat. Credit: Amazon Both the novel and the short story also include a heart-wrenching twist that I won't reveal, though I will say that it rhymes with parts of the plot in Stranger Things, Season 4. The short story, while pretty great on its own, is just a glimpse into this world. The novel, on the other hand, is gripping and terrifying. M.R. Carey, who started his career as a comic book writer, knows how to push the pace; once you start reading, it will be tough to stop, and the book will haunt you until you turn that last page. While The Last of Us and The Girl with All the Gifts have many similarities, they’re definitely not the same story. Yes, both plots involve a group of people on a perilous, zombie-infested journey, and both are centered around a young girl that’s more than she seems. But in The Girl with All the Gifts, you’ll experience several unexpected moments we can't say too much about (did we say they’re heartbreaking, too?), and follow a larger group of people whose dynamics change rapidly under the pressures of the world’s cruel surroundings. Oddly, we haven't lately seen much chatter about The Girl with All the Gifts, the movie. Yes, there's a 2016 movie based on the book, starring Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close, and Sennia Nanua. And I'm happy to report that the movie is surprisingly good, given its $5 million budget was orders of magnitude below what Hollywood blockbusters get these days. Compared to the book, it does feel a little bit rushed at the end, so my recommendation is to read the book first, and then check the movie out, but both are well worth your time. There's more! In 2017, Carey published a prequel to The Girl with All the Gifts called The Boy on the Bridge. I haven't read that one, but it's set up in the same, fungal-zombie-infested world. The novel has a very good rating on Goodreads, so it's probably worth a read, too. Featured Video For You The best Korean dramas we can't stop watching And if you're yearning for even more dystopia from Carey, check out his "Rampart" trilogy, which features a different, albeit no less sinister threat from nature. Given that The Last of Us is being revealed on a weekly basis, there's plenty of time in between episodes to quench that fungal zombie dystopia thirst you've probably got, so give The Girl with All the Gifts a try. And stay away from the hungries. View the full article
  25. NBCUniversal's streaming service Peacock will no longer offer a free tier to new customers. Users signing up for Peacock will instead be given the option between the platform's two premium tiers: Peacock Premium and Peacock Premium Plus, priced at $4.99 per month and $9.99 per month, respectively. The free tier will still be available to those already on the plan. Those who cancel their paid subscriptions will also be automatically downgraded to the tier, being allowed to access free content. SEE ALSO: The best movies on Peacock for when you need some wild fun Peacock offered its free tier since launching in 2020, unlike many other streaming services that launched around the same time, such as Disney+ and HBO Max. The updated decision stems from shifting focus to its paid offerings. Peacock's Premium Tier will offer 100,000 hours of content this year, including live sports and a roster of NBC classics like The Office. The streaming service just reported its best quarterly result yet, with an added 5 million paying subscribers by the fourth quarter of 2022. Altogether, 20 million people are currently paying for the platform. View the full article
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