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Picking the best security camera for your needs

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This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commission. Despite what I tell my son, I really don't have eyes in the back of my head. But I do have Wi-Fi security cameras with smartphone apps, which allow me to keep tabs on him, as well as my dog, my car, the front door, and the yard. Picking the right one (or two, or three) depends on what you want to do with it.


Have robots roll your joints and infuse your budder this High Stoner Holiday

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Ugh, when did getting stoned become so much work? Back in my day, there was one kind of weed: whatever strain your dealer had in stock. And there were only three ways to enjoy it: through a perforated apple, rolled up in a crude approximation of a joint, or out of a brass pipe you had a homeless guy buy for you on Haight Street. Now I've got to consider indicas vs sativas, THC vs CBD, and whether I want to smoke, vape, sublimate, eat or drink my weed. It's all getting to be just a bit much.


AI generates non-stop stream of death metal

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There's a limit to the volume of death metal humans can reproduce -- their fingers and vocal chords can only handle so much. Thanks to technology, however, you'll never have to go short. CJ Carr and Zack Zukowski recently launched a YouTube channel that streams a never-ending barrage of death metal generated by AI. Their Dadabots project uses a recurrent neural network to identify patterns in the music, predict the most common elements and reproduce them. The result isn't entirely natural, if simply because it's not limited by the constraints of the human body.


Hitting the Books: How calculus is helping unravel DNA's secrets

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Welcome to Hitting the Books. With less than one in five Americans reading just for fun these days, we've done the hard work for you by scouring the internet for the most interesting, thought provoking books on science and technology we can find and delivering an easily digestible nugget of their stories. Calculus has provided humanity a window into the inner workings of the world around us since the fateful day Isaac Newton got conked by a falling apple. But we've only ever really applied these mathematical tools to our "hard" sciences, like physics or chemistry. Heck, we probably wouldn't have discovered Neptune if not for calculus.


Uber's self-driving unit gets its own CEO and a $1 billion investment

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As Uber finally closes in on its IPO, its self-driving car unit is getting a big cash infusion and some independence. The company announced tonight that Toyota, Denso and Softbank are investing a total of $1 billion in its Advanced Technologies Group (Uber ATG), in a deal that values that part of the company at $7.25 billion. This adds onto Toyota's $500 million investment last year, which the two said would lead to the creation of an autonomous fleet based on Toyota's Sienna minivan. So far, many of the big car companies are teaming up to develop autonomous tech combined with ridesharing angles as it's expected to be a huge market in the next few years. According to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, "The development of automated driving technology will transform transportation as we know it, making our streets safer and our cities more livable. Today's announcement, along with our ongoing OEM and supplier relationships, will help maintain Uber's position at the forefront of that transformation."


Facebook AI turns real people into controllable game characters

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Facebook's AI Research team has created an AI called Vid2Play that can extract playable characters from videos of real people, creating a much higher-tech version of '80s full-motion video (FMV) games like Night Trap. The neural networks can analyze random videos of people doing specific actions, then recreate that character and action in any environment and allow you to control them with a joystick. The team used two neural networks called Pose2Pose and Pose2Frame. First, a video is fed into a Pose2Pose neural network designed for specific types of actions like dancing, tennis or fencing. The system then figures out where the person is compared to the background, and isolates them and their poses.


The best smart doorbell camera

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This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commission. If you want to see who's on the other side of your door without having to get up and look yourself, then the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is the best choice for most everyone. It lets you screen (and record) visitors and keep an eye out for package deliveries. Motion and ring alerts to a smartphone are typically fast, audio and 1080p video are clear, and the Ring 2 can be powered by either standard doorbell wiring or a removable rechargeable battery. The Ring Video Doorbell 2 performs like a cross between a modestly aggressive guard dog and a trusty digital butler. In addition to notifying you--audibly and via smartphone--of activity, it records all motion events to the cloud, letting you view those recordings (as well as live video) on your phone or computer any time. It's also compatible with a good number of smart-home devices, platforms, and monitored security systems. Though video recording and storage require a subscription, the $30 annual fee (a mere 8¢ per day) for 60 days of unlimited video storage is downright cheap compared with the competition. We like the Ring Video Doorbell Pro for all the reasons we like the Ring 2. Additionally, it has a much slimmer and sleeker design that will fit in more doorframes and includes the option for customized motion-detection zones.


Apple may bring Siri Shortcuts and Screen Time to macOS

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Details on what Apple may have in store for the next major versions of its operating systems are trickling out ahead of June's Worldwide Developers Conference. The latest leaks are linked to macOS 10.15, to which Apple could add some iOS features, such as Siri Shortcuts and Screen Time, according to 9to5 Mac. Apple revealed Siri Shortcuts at WWDC last year. It opens up the voice assistant, allowing you to create custom Siri commands for various apps, though you might need to download a Marzipan app (those ported from iPad to Mac) from the Mac App Store to use Shortcuts on your computer. It's a move that makes sense, as it should allow developers to make sure the Shortcuts for their apps still work after they port them to macOS.


Rivian turned down GM investment so it could build EVs for others

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Reports emerged last week that GM would not join Amazon in investing in electric vehicle startup Rivian, and now we have a little more clarity on why talks broke down. It seems GM wanted some exclusivity, but Rivian plans to build vehicles for other companies, as well as release up to six models under its own branding by 2025. Founder RJ Scaringe said Rivian is working on something related to the Amazon investment, but hinted to Bloomberg that it may not be a vehicle. He's open to selling his company's technology (it has developed long-lasting batteries) to other businesses for various products, including stationary batteries. So perhaps Amazon is interested in using Rivian's know-how for something other than vehicles, though it has also invested in a self-driving car startup.


Apple is making it easier to recycle iPhones in the US

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With Earth Day just around the corner, Apple announced it's quadrupling the number of locations US customers can send their iPhones for recycling. The company's recycling robot, Daisy, will now disassemble select iPhones returned to Best Buy stores in the US, KPN retailers in the Netherlands, as well as those recycled at any Apple Store or online through the Apple Trade In program. According to Apple, each of the Daisy robots can disassemble 1.2 million devices per year, or 15 different iPhone models at a rate of 200 per hour. Recovered materials are recycled back into the manufacturing process, and Apple sends the iPhone batteries Daisy removes to select manufacturing sites. There, for the first time, the cobalt is recovered, combined with scrap and used to make new batteries.