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These pre-owned video games are all 'buy 2, get 2 free' at GameStop


TL;DR: As of May 26, GameStop is running a "buy two, get two free" deal on pre-owned video games valued at $9.99 and under. As many of us remain inside to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the fact that the weather is now getting all warm and summer-y sort of feels like a personal insult. Fortunately, GameStop just came through with an amazing deal on video games to keep us occupied (and safe inside) for the foreseeable future: For a limited time, all pre-owned games for Xbox, Playstation, and Nintendo systems valued at $9.99 and under are buy two, get two free. Plus, you can opt for free same-day pickup at one of the retailer's nearby brick-and-mortar stores by just by placing your order by 6 p.m. local time. This exclusive deal includes hundreds of popular games from the last decade and a half, from the original Red Dead Redemption (released in 2010) to Horizon: Zero Dawn (one of our favorite games of 2017) to Monster Hunter: World and Call of Duty: WWII, both from 2018.

'Minecraft Dungeons' aims to be more than 'baby's first Diablo'


The simple pitch for Minecraft Dungeons goes something like this: Two great games play great together. If you're a fan of Minecraft but haven't heard about Dungeons, an explanation is in order. The camera hangs overhead, giving you a wide view of the terrain as you smash and plunder your way to ever-more-powerful heights. The reality falls pretty close to that, too. If you've ever played Diablo, its sequels, or any of the games like them (such as Torchlight or Titan Quest), you'll feel right at home.

Google Assistant can now use your voice to verify purchases


Making purchases with your voice is convenient, but it's far from secure. Google is attempting to change that when using Assistant by introducing an optional voice verification test. As The Verge reports, the new security feature relies on Google Assistant's Voice Match and it's being rolled out slowly as part of a limited pilot program to test how well it works with smart speakers and smart displays. The Voice Match training feature was updated recently to include phrases so that Assistant could more accurately determine who is issuing commands. With better accuracy, Google clearly feels Voice Match is good enough to now act as an extra layer of security.

Virtual Minecraft protest demands Microsoft address the game’s sexual predator problem


"Sexual predators are hunting kids on Minecraft," the sign says. "Minecraft is ignoring 120,000 parents asking them to keep kids safe," reads the other side of the sign. While these may read like billboard signs you'd read on the side of the road, you won't come across them in real life. The signs are found in the game Minecraft. This is a virtual protest, after all, put together by the national parents organization, ParentsTogether.

Amazon in talks to buy autonomous vehicle startup Zoox

The Japan Times Inc. is in talks to buy driverless vehicle startup Zoox Inc., according to a person familiar with the matter, a deal that would accelerate the e-commerce giant's automation efforts. "Zoox has been receiving interest in a strategic transaction from multiple parties and has been working with Qatalyst Partners to evaluate such interest," the startup said. It declined to comment on Amazon's interest. A spokeswoman for Amazon declined to comment. Zoox had outsized ambition and financial backing.

How do we protect planets from biological cross-contamination?

Stanford Engineering

In Michael Crichton's 1969 novel The Andromeda Strain, a deadly alien microbe hitches a ride to Earth aboard a downed military satellite and scientists must race to contain it. While fictional, the plot explores a very real and longstanding concern shared by NASA and world governments: that spacefaring humans, or our robotic emissaries, may unwittingly contaminate Earth with extraterrestrial life or else biologically pollute other planets we visit. It's an old fear that's taken on a new relevance in the era of COVID-19, said Scott Hubbard, an adjunct professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University. "I have heard from some colleagues in the human spaceflight area that they can see how, in the current environment, the general public could become more concerned about bringing back some alien microbe, virus or contamination," said Hubbard, who is also the former director of NASA Ames and the first Mars program director. Hubbard is a co-author of a new report published last month by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine that reviews recent findings and recommendations related to "planetary protection" or "planetary quarantine" -- the safeguarding of Earth and other worlds from biological cross-contamination.

A New Class of AI Ethics

CMU School of Computer Science

There is a growing consensus that artificial intelligence ethics instruction is critical, and must extend beyond computer sciences courses. Ethics and technology have always been tightly interwoven, but as artificial intelligence (AI) marches forward and impacts society in new and novel ways, the stakes--and repercussions--are growing. "There is potential for (AI) to be used in ways that society disapproves of," observes David S. Touretzky, a research professor in the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University. One idea that's gaining momentum is AI ethics instruction in schools. Groups such as AI4K12 and the MIT Media Lab have begun to study the issue and develop AI learning frameworks for K-12 students.

em The Vast of Night /em Is Like a UFO Movie Directed by a Very Talented Alien


Orson Welles, who knew a thing or two about making movies, reportedly remarked after touring the RKO lot that it was "the biggest electric train set any boy ever had." And yet it is rare to see a feature film that communicates any of that delight, any of the sheer fun of playing around with the possibilities the medium offers. The Vast of Night, the debut feature from director Andrew Patterson and screenwriters James Montague and Craig W. Sanger, arriving on Amazon Prime on May 29, is one of the exceptions: Every scene has been staged and shot with intelligence, intent, inventiveness, and a sense of play. To watch it is to get excited about the billions of different ways you can combine sound and moving images to tell a story. That is not to say that you'll necessarily be astounded by the story The Vast of Night is telling.

Coronavirus: Isolation and Aspiration


Why has Japan been less affected by the global pandemic than the United States? One theory suggests that the Japanese language has weakly aspirated consonants compared with English. Which might mean that Japanese people are less likely to "spray" while speaking and therefore less likely to transmit the virus. John looks at the linguistic evidence.

France's New Online Hate Speech Law Is Fundamentally Flawed


The solution to online hate speech seems so simple: Delete harmful content, rinse, repeat. But David Kaye, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, and the U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of expression, says that while laws to regulate hate speech might seem promising, they often aren't that effective--and, perhaps worse, they can set dangerous precedents. This is why France's new social media law, which follows in Germany's footsteps, is controversial across the political spectrum there and abroad. On May 13, France passed "Lutte contre la haine sur internet" ("Fighting hate on the internet"), a law that requires social media platforms to rapidly take down hateful content. Comments that are discriminatory--based on race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and religion--or sexually abusive have to be removed within 24 hours of being flagged by users.