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Oh Good, Someone Found Ancient Plague Genomes

Be right back, have to fashion myself a beak-mask.

Scientists have discovered the oldest plague pathogen genomes yet, which is really cool for archeology and history, but apparently terrible for the future of the human race.

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Another Apple Employee Loses Another iPhone Prototype at Another Bar

So, after an Apple employee lost an iPhone 4 prototype in a bar -- a prototype that wound up in Gizmodo's hands and caused all kinds of trouble -- it appears that at least one Apple employee took the opportunity to not learn his lesson and accordingly lost an iPhone 5 prototype (we think) in a bar, CNET reports. Now as bizarrely coincidental as this sounds, there are a few poetic coincidences we can't draw. It's not the same bar, almost certainly not the same employee and, worst of all, it hasn't resulted in any fun information for us, the unwashed masses.

The phone was apparently lost at a bar in the Mission District of San Francisco, Cave 22. While Apple has been going to all lengths to try and get this thing back, understandably, its current whereabouts are unknown, to us at least. There appears to be a chance that it was sold on Craigslist for a scant $200, in which case, neither party may be aware that what they have is special. If that's the case, either the iPhone 5 is pretty similar to the iPhone 4, the guy who found it was really drunk (or needs to get with the times) or it wasn't actually an iPhone 5 prototype. Still, maybe some interesting information will surface.

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Humans Stop Nature: Pics Surface of Dewatered Niagara Falls

If there's anything I've learned from family vacation, it's the impact of "ooooh, ahhhhhh." Niagara Falls, one of the world's natural wonders, is sometimes regarded as a cheesy tourist spot, but if you've seen it up close, you know it's no Madame Tussaud's (which does happen to be in Niagara Falls, but moving on...). Now Flickr user Russ Glasson has shared some previously unseen pictures of Niagara Falls taken in 1969, when the Falls were dewatered for maintenance. Meaning: They turned off the Niagara Falls. Whoah.

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Coral Reef Made of Fake People

British artist Jason de Caires Taylor used real people to create full casts and then placed them in the ocean off the east coast of Mexico to create a super creepy artificial reef in an attempt to grow coral and attract a marine ecosystem to the Cancun and Isla Mujeres National Marine Park. More pictures after the break.

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Geekolinks: 10/9

Senate Passes Bill to Lower Volume of Commercials

The Senate has passed the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, complete with ironic abbreviation (CALM in caps), a bill which would have the Federal Communications Commission regulate the volume of commercials so they cannot exceed the volume of the television shows they accompany. Though the bill passed the House last December, it is currently awaiting another passing vote from the House, and is then expected to be signed into law by President Obama. The bill would have the FCC create a standard within a year by which commercial volume can be lowered that also adheres to the international standard regarding digital television.

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Geekolinks: 8/29

Blu-Ray Successor Could Have 20x Capacity, Fit 50 Movies on Single Disc

Remember that Blu-ray vs. HD DVD war that happened what feels like ages ago? Well Sony's Blu-ray won, but even if the war were still raging, Sony's upcoming developments would blow them both drastically out of the water. Like, so far out they'd be in a landlocked country. On another planet.

Sony's new technology would allow for readable discs containing 20 times the information held on a current Blu-ray disc. For reference, the new disc can reportedly hold as many as 50 full movies, more if they're short. Or, where we really could see practicality regarding DVD sales is television shows. Instead of a meager 3-6 episodes per disc, full seasons would now fit on a single disc. No more giant boxes and discs getting lost in the sofa.

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San Mateo D.A. Withdraws Gizmodo iPhone Warrant

Just as the dust settles from the iPhone 4 press conference, we are greeted with the news that San Mateo Superior Court Judge Clifford Cretan has granted an application from San Mateo County D.A.'s office to withdraw the warrant to search Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home. You'll recall that in April, Chen claimed to have purchased an iPhone 4 prototype for $5,000 after the smartphone was left at a bar by a poor (ex-)Apple engineer, and controversially had his house raided by California's Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team.

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Sue Sylvester’s Thoughts on the iPhone 4 and Her Time in Singapore [Video]

And just in time for Glee tonight! In case you missed it, Jane Lynch, a.k.a. Sue Sylvester, pretty much blew apart the iPhone and the still-ongoing stolen iPhone debacle yesterday, coming on the heels of the iPhone 4 announcement. Lynch, accompanied by stand-up comedian and performer Kassem G, sent up the dead and not-so-missed Get a Mac commercials with G playing the new iPhone and Lynch playing... herself. To great comedic effect, (although I'm not sure how you get a camera third nipple) proving once again she can be both hilarious and kind of terrifying. Video after the jump!

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Gizmodo Thinks Microsoft Has The Best Position to Bring Our Lives Online

Not Apple, and, oddly enough, not Google, but Microsoft. Gizmodo's article says that while the Kin, Microsoft's "smart" phone aimed at the teenage texter, is not a good product, it contains a bit of software, Studio, that is something greater than the sum of its parts. The networking phone uploads everything created with it (photos, videos, texts, etc.) and displays them simply, beautifully, and chronologically on the internet. This Studio can be accessed from anywhere.
Kin Studio bears all the hallmarks of a pilot program, with a limited scope of ambition—there's no outgoing email or SMS component, nor is it particularly powerful as a photo management tool—as well as a severely limited deployment. If the Kin sells at all, it'll be to a narrow slice of the population. A sample group, basically. This sample group will glimpse the future of Microsoft, and without knowing it, the future of how we use gadgets.

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Five Big Takeaways from Steve Jobs’ D8 Appearance


Last night, All Things Digital kicked off their D8 conference on media and technology. While there will be a number of blue-chip speakers at the event, which runs through Friday, last night's highlight was undoubtedly Steve Jobs, who gave a rare degree of access to journalists present at the event.

Unsurprisingly, All Things D has the event thoroughly covered, with lots of photos, video, and a liveblog of Jobs' event and a Q&A with the Apple chief thereafter. Here are five big takeaways from Jobs' appearance at the event:

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You Can Teach a LittleDog New Tricks [Robots]

Last we saw Boston Dynamics' LittleDog, it wasn't living up to the standard set by its older brother BigDog, either in competence, or in sheer bowel tightening terror.

But the little robot has apparently been doing his montages, because he's navigating those stairs and chest high walls a lot better now. Below is a Boston Dynamics' video demonstrating LittleDog's ability to learn from experience what a good foothold looks like, execute a number of special moves for odd terrains, and utilize their new floating base inverse dynamics controller.

What is that, you ask?

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Gizmodo Editor’s Letter to Apple: Kinda Manipulative

The ongoing mess regarding Apple's lost iPhone and Gizmodo's subsequent complete reveal of it goes on: yesterday, a California judge ordered the affidavit that lead to a warrant to search Jason Chen's home unsealed. This allowed public access to the evidence that Apple used to convince a court that the blogger who posted about their prototype should be looked into.

Among that evidence is an email sent by Gizmodo editor Brian Lam in response to a personal call made by Steve Jobs, asking Gizmodo to give the device back. The email is, well. From Network World:

[Lam] flat out stated that Gizmodo wouldn't return the phone unless Apple sent them something official that they could plaster up on their website. The entire email is pasted below, and while you can draw your own conclusions from Lam's points, it sounds a lot like extortion to me.

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Gizmodo Gets an Unlikely Ally in iPhone-gate: Jon Stewart [Video]

The spat between Gizmodo and Apple over Gizmodo's mysterious acquisition of an iPhone 4G months before its release -- which most lately culminated in a crack force of Apple-advised police raiding Giz editor Jason Chen's home and Gizmodo considering suing the police right back -- has proven to be an endlessly engrossing spectacle for the techies out there, with many, like Daring Fireball's John Gruber, saying Gizmodo and its publisher Gawker Media broke the law and basically deserve whatever they have coming at them.

Well, last night, Gizmodo got a high-profile supporter for the crowd who have no idea who John Gruber is: Jon Stewart. But he didn't exactly fight the good fight:

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Dilbert Takes on Missing iPhone Saga in Web-Exclusive Comic

Haters sometimes accuse Scott Adams' Dilbert of continuing to linger in the '90s bubble that made it famous, but it was as topical -- and bitingly funny -- as ever in a web-exclusive comic Adams posted yesterday to his personal blog. Weighing in on the lost iPhone/Gizmodo saga -- the most recent development of which was a REACT raid on leaked iPhone disassembler and Giz editor Jason Chen's house -- Adams sends beloved Dilbert schlemiel Wally to the beer garden, where he's subject to the thieving of belonging-sellers and the tech bloggers who love them. Adams: "Take a moment to marvel at the fact that I didn't need to add anything to the story as it has been told in the media."

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Gizmodo Editor Jason Chen’s House Raided by Police in iPhone Leak Aftermath

Well, this gives the lie to the theory that Gizmodo's bombshell article about the leaked iPhone 4G a. was an Apple plant and b. would have no legal repercussions. Jason Chen, the Gizmodo editor who authored the piece and took apart the iPhone, which the site claims to have paid $5000 for after an Apple engineer supposedly lost it at a bar, had his house raided by California's Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team, who he says seized four of his computers and two servers, made him stand outside of his own house with his hands on his head, and tried to dredge up the source of the leaked iPhone.

The question is: Will Chen get the legal protection afforded to journalists, whose property cannot be confiscated by search warrant, or are bloggers unprotected?

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5 Reasons Why Zooey Deschanel as Ada Lovelace Is a Terrible Idea (Update: False Alarm!)

It is a point of girl geek pride that the very first computer programmer was one of our own, Lord Byron's daughter Ada Lovelace, who had a fondness for math, foreign languages, and analytical engines. Production Weekly got it all started with the following tweet on the 17th. "Zooey Deschanel in talks to play Ada Lovelace in "Enchantress Of Numbers," Bruce Beresford plans to direct the period drama this fall." Then The Nod got a hold of it. And then Gizmodo. And then every geek boy in the world wet themselves. Because OMGYOUGUYS, it's ZOOEY! Meanwhile, I was busy praying this would never come to be. 5 reasons why Zooey Deschanel as Ada Lovelace is a terrible idea: Update: Whew! It's not happening after all.

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iPhone 4G: Found, Photoed, Taken Apart? What Gizmodo’s iPhone Scoop Means (Update3)

If this is real -- as it very much looks to be -- Gizmodo has gotten themselves a monster of a scoop: After taking some flak this past weekend for not covering Engadget's pics of a rumored iPhone 4G, at 10:00 this morning, Giz surfaced with an insanely detailed post featuring 25 pictures, 3 videos, and scads of analysis of what they say, with an air of definitiveness, is Apple's next iPhone.

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This Week in Things That Aren’t iPads: Nook “Lite” and Nook 2, Dell “Streak” Tablet?

It may interest you to know that Apple has competition in the tablet market, much in the same way that the Kindle has competition in the ereader market, much in the same way that sharks have remoras. Barnes & Noble has announced a number of updates concerning its ereader the Nook, and Engadget has gotten a hold of some leaked pictures and internal Dell announcement of a tablet computer called the Streak, in 7 and 10 inch sizes.

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