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Google announced Monday that it’s launching a beta for a new Android feature called Live Transcribe, which can accurately create written captions from speech on the fly. It’s an accessibility-focused project made to help people with hearing loss communicate without making special arrangements or purchasing expensive equipment.
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Art, as we all know, is about following a set number of rules handed to you by another person. In the latest New York Magazine cover story, art critic Jerry Saltz lists 33 steps to becoming a great artist, and what’s interesting is how many don’ts he’s willing to hand out. His refreshingly specific tips are all, at some level, optional. And that is why they’re useful, if you’re trying to be more creative.
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You should listen to more than one history podcast. But if you’ve got to pick just one, pick In Our Time, the venerable BBC radio show and podcast that covers a different topic each episode. It’s your best opportunity to learn a little bit about a lot of things. And it’s the best way to figure out what parts of history really interest you, for further learning.
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Screenshot: Lifehacker Are you using Google effectively as possible? If you’re just entering words into the search field without using these totally basic but totally essential tricks to improve your results, you’re missing out. We like to think of ourselves as Google ninjas at Lifehacker, but even we need a reminder of these crucial shortcuts now and then.
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Google’s done more than almost any other company to bring virtual reality to the masses, from making cheap Cardboard headsets to giving the public easy ways to create and share 360-degree photos. Now the company is giving VR fans another way to dive in with a new tool called Tour Creator.

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The past year has led to lots of accusations of “fake news” and effort from most of us to verify what we’re reading is true before believing it. A new app is attempting to bridge the gap between finding news and verifying its authenticity by using AI and human verification.

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Screenshot: Paramount Pictures This week the statistical news site FiveThirtyEight released the most ambitious actor career analysis in its “Hollywood Taxonomy” series, examining the five types of Nicolas Cage Movies. Up to now, the site broke each actor’s work down to three or four types. But Nicolas Cage’s work is so famously all over the place that CollegeHumor made a sketch about his frustrated agent. His performances vary so widely that Community spent a whole Abed B-plot on it, climaxing with the performance below. So FiveThirtyEight said fuck everything, we’re doing five types.
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Later this year, Stockton, a city in California with a 25% poverty rate, will conduct an unusual experiment: Roughly 100 of its citizens will receive $500 a month for 12-18 months, with no work requirements and no strings attached. Researchers likely will regularly assess the recipients’ health, childcare arrangements, education, and general well-being in order to measure how this kind of financial leg up affects quality of life. The grant, from the Economic Security Project, is a privately funded experiment in “universal basic income,” a policy idea crafted from the premise that every citizen should receive a regular stipend from the government to cover their basic needs.
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The last few weeks have been huge for data privacy—thanks to companies like Facebook and Grindr for their issues, companies like Apple that have tried to push the topic closer to the forefront of their customers’ minds, and larger regulatory moves like the European Union’s upcoming enforcement of its GDPR.
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If you’re learning CSS, or you want a friendly introduction to some of its terms and concepts, try 30 Seconds of CSS. Each entry on this site shows a different bit of code, demonstrates the result, and explains how each part of the code works. Here are some entries you’ll understand even if you’re not a designer or developer:
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The Disconnect, a new magazine featuring short stories, articles, and poetry, is online-only. But you can’t actually read it while you’re online. The webzine hides behind a warning notice until you disconnect your phone or computer from the internet. (The whole zine loads as soon as you visit one page.) “This is not a Luddite rallying cry against modernity,” says editor Chris Bolin. It’s “an experiment-in-progress.”

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Author and essayist Ursula K. Le Guin died yesterday at the age of 88, after completing an overwhelming number of novels, essays, short stories, and books of poetry. (When you visit her website, the list of major titles is three pages long.)
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Apple’s ARKit for iOS 11 makes it relatively easy for developers to take advantage of the company’s augmented reality features, and gives consumers the opportunity to interact with a virtual world layered over your actual environment. Augmented reality games are certainly the flashiest way to demonstrate its many uses, but some of the best augmented reality apps aren’t games at all. These AR tools for iOS empower you with the tools you need to establish some sense of order in your home, plan for the future (in terms of what couch you’re going to buy this spring), and get started on some home improvement projects without lifting a hammer.

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When you go on a trip, you usually want to stay somewhere central, with easy access to a few local destinations: a conference center, a few restaurants, a fun neighborhood. You can’t just eyeball a map. Travel times depend on more than just distance; they rely on street layout, highways, and public transit. You could test each travel time on Google Maps, but sometimes you just want to see one big map of everywhere you can go in an hour. For that, try TravelTime Maps.

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