Asus announces ZenWatch 2, bringing a digital crown and a choice of sizes to Android Wear

The only way for Computex, Asia’s foremost tech exhibition, to get going is with a deluge of announcements from local powerhouse Asus, and this year’s show is no different. The headline new device from Asus is the ZenWatch 2, its second Android Wear smartwatch, which appears to borrow a great deal from the Apple Watch, both in its form and new functionality.

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Author: Vlad Savov

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The Patriot Act's broadest surveillance powers will expire at midnight tonight

Central portions of the Patriot Act are set to expire at midnight tonight, after a late-night Senate vote failed to extend the provisions. Those portions include Section 215, which applies to business records requests and has been used to justify the bulk collection of American phone and internet records.

Tonight’s session was a second chance for the Senate, after the chamber failed to pass the USA Freedom Act last Friday, putting portions of the legal basis for US surveillance in jeopardy. The Freedom Act passed cloture with 77 votes, and is likely to pass through the Senate later this week, but an ongoing filibuster from Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) meant the Senate was unable to pass the bill before the scheduled sunset of Patriot Act…

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Author: Russell Brandom

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Nvidia's new flagship GTX 980 Ti card is all about 4K and VR gaming

Taiwan’s annual Computex convention kicks off this week, and that means that Nvidia has some new goodies to show off. Nvidia’s latest flagship GPU is here, and it’s called the GeForce GTX 980 Ti. As you can tell from the name, it’s supposed to be a beefier version of the prior flagship, the GTX 980. But the specs suggest it might be a nice way to enjoy some of the Titan X’s massive power without paying up for that flagship.

This time around, it looks like Nvidia is pumping up the 4K performance of its latest and greatest. According to the company’s own benchmarks, the Maxwell-based GPU can run games like Battlefield 4 and Shadow of Mordor in 4K at max settings while keeping framerates well over 30FPS. GTA V at “very high” settings came…

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Author: Dante D’Orazio

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US police have killed hundreds this year, but the FBI still doesn’t keep count

In the first five months of 2015, US police forces fatally shot at least 385 people, The Washington Post reports. That’s more than two people per day, and more than double the amount of police killings on record for the last decade. But this doesn’t necessarily mean police are killing more people than they ever have, rather it’s indicative of the FBI’s known failure to keep a reliable, comprehensive database of police killings nationwide.

Jim Bueermann, a former police chief and president of the Police Foundation told the Post that police killings in the US are “grossly underreported.” “We are never going to reduce the number of police shootings if we don’t begin to accurately track this information,” he said.

Police killings are…

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Author: Lizzie Plaugic

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Apple wants Drake and Pharrell to DJ its new music service, says the New York Post

Apple is trying to land Drake, David Guetta, and Pharrell as guest DJs for its revamped iTunes Radio, according to a report in the New York Post. While the rumors haven’t been confirmed, the addition of these musicians to the iTunes Radio team would ramp up the streaming service’s building starpower, which currently includes popular BBC Radio 1 host Zane Lowe.

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Author: Lizzie Plaugic

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Tesla loses fight with dealers to sell its cars in Texas

Tesla doesn’t just make unique cars — it has a pretty unique way of selling them, too. The company handles sales directly, meaning there are no dealerships. And as you might expect, powerful auto dealers across the United States are not a fan of that business model. Unfortunately for CEO Elon Musk, it appears he’s just lost a political battle in Texas over the right to sell Teslas there.

The Texas State Legislature has failed to vote on two separate bills that would have allowed the electric car company to sell its cars directly to customers. The bills were designed to bypass an older, dealer-backed law on the books that prohibits manufacturers from direct sales. Such laws exist in a number of states, such as West Virginia, Arizona,…

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Author: Dante D’Orazio

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Mad Max before and after shots show what’s real and what's fake

Much has been made of the incredible practical stunts used in Mad Max: Fury Road, but the final product that hit movie screens is the result of combing those stunning special effects with some deft visual effects. Now, thanks to Fxguide, we can see just where the reality ends and the CGI begins. The site has obtained original before and after shots from Warner Bros. that show how the visual effects worked in conjunction with all of the real-life stunts shot for the movie.

As you can see, the CGI work primarily served to enhance what was shot on camera — extra vehicles and people are composited in to the sides of some shots, while other CGI work adds depth to the frame in other scenes. And since much of the film was shot in the flat…

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Author: Dante D’Orazio

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China will begin phasing out its ivory industry in an effort to fight poaching

For the first time ever, China has committed to phasing out its legal ivory industry, The Guardian reports. At an event this past week, workers destroyed 662kg of confiscated ivory in a symbolic gesture of the country’s commitment to fighting African elephant poaching. China hopes to eventually end the domestic manufacturing and sale of ivory in the country.

“We will strictly control ivory processing and trade until the commercial processing and sale of ivory and its products are eventually halted,” Zhao Shucong, head of China’s State Forestry Administration, reportedly said at the event.

China hasn’t laid out a timeline yet

This move follows China’s decision earlier this year to impose a one-year ban on ivory imports in an effort to…

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Author: Lizzie Plaugic

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