Look out, Samsung: Alcatel’s Idol 4S is respectable, affordable and all about VR

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As if Xiaomi and Huawei eating Samsung's lunch in the smartphone market wasn't already enough trouble, now the Korean electronics giant has to worry about Alcatel. Announced at Mobile World Congress in February, Alcatel's finally revealed a release date and U.S. pricing for the Idol 4S, the follow-up to the well-received Idol 3 .  Unlike other smartphones playing in the $300-400 price range (like the OnePlus 3 ), Alcatel is positioning the Idol 4S as more than just a smartphone — it's an experience. Part of that experience is the packaging, which doubles as a VR headset. SEE ALSO: Alcatel's $250 Idol 3 is a Nexus by another name — and that's great Read more... Read more »

Cultural Revolution propaganda posters encouraged patriotism and hygiene

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1971 "Speed Up Agriculture Using Modern Machinery." Image: David Pollack/Corbis via Getty Images Lasting roughly from 1966 to 1976, the Cultural Revolution was a period of enormous societal upheaval in China, as Communist Party leader Mao Zedong sought to restore ideological purity and a revolutionary spirit to the country. The decade was marked by purges and power struggles at the upper echelons of government, and the mobilization of masses of young people to enforce Maoist thought. One of the primary vessels for disseminating instructions and models of behavior was propaganda art. Vivid posters were created to inspire citizens to put forth their labor towards agriculture, industry and national defense, as well as concerns such as hygiene and family planning. Read more... More about Cultural Revolution , Propaganda , History , China , and Retronaut Read more »

HTC Vive announces $10 billion VR Venture Capital Alliance

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 VR technologies are going to be requiring a shit ton of capital as they look to make the crossover from R&D phases to mass market adoption. HTC is certainly looking to do its part to make sure that the headset technologies it is building have a broader ecosystem to fall into. Today, at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, HTC Vive announced a $10 billion initiative to put… Read More Read more »

1943: Harlem through the lens of legendary photographer Gordon Parks

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Image: Gordon Parks/Library of Congress These photos of Harlem were taken by Gordon Parks, a young photographer for the Office of War Information who would go on to become one of the most renowned photographers of the twentieth century. Born in 1912, Parks left home at the age of 15 and bought his first camera in a pawn shop at 25. He made a living as a portrait and glamour photographer in Chicago while simultaneously capturing compassionate images of black life on the city’s South Side. His work on the South Side led to a job in the Farm Security Administration’s famed documentary photography program, and later the OWI Read more... More about New York , History , Harlem , Us World , and Us Read more »

Taylor Swift and other big names join the music industry’s campaign against YouTube

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 The music industry is ramping up its campaign against YouTube. Musicians, including Katy Perry and Billy Joel, sent a petition earlier this year to the U.S. Copyright Office to amend the U.S. Copyright Act. Now there’s an open letter to Congress signed by stars like Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and U2 expressing a similar sentiment. Music labels like BMI, Sony Music and Universal… Read More Read more »

Why Britain is beating the U.S. at financial innovation

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 Legislation allowing ordinary American investors to invest in the shares of startups and small businesses was first introduced in the U.S. Congress in 2011. Despite bipartisan support and the approval of President Obama, it is only now becoming a reality. Read More Read more »

General Michael Hayden on the state of surveillance in America, presidential candidates and more

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 General Michael Hayden is no stranger to government — or to your data. As the former director of the NSA and the CIA, he oversaw controversial surveillance programs and had authority over some of the government’s most closely kept secrets. Since he retired from his post at the CIA in 2009, Hayden has worked with a security consulting firm run by former secretary of the Department… Read More Read more »

5 can’t-miss apps: ‘Disney Crossy Road,’ Hippo Pics, Microsoft Translator and more

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With WhatsApp stepping up its encryption and new developments in Apple's fight with the FBI, you may have missed some of this week's best new apps See also: Congress could force Apple to build an iPhone backdoor with this bill Each weekend, we round up a few of our favorite new and updated apps. This week's list includes Reddit's new app, an app that crowd sources edits for your photos and Microsoft's translator app. Check out the gallery below to see our top picks. If you're looking for more, take a look at our last roundup of can't-miss apps. Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. Read more.. Read more »

Why some Great Depression photos were punched full of holes

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Image: Library of Congress The photos look just like the most famous FSA images of Depression-era America. Laborers with weathered faces stare into the distance, sharecropping families stand on splintered porches and rag-clad children play in the dust But each picture is haunted by a strange black void. It hangs in the sky like an inverted sun, it eclipses a child’s face, it hovers menacingly in the corner of a room. The black hole is the handiwork of Roy Stryker, the director of the FSA’s documentary photography program. He was responsible for hiring photographers such as Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Arthur Rothstein and Gordon Parks and dispatching them across the country to document the struggles of the rural poor. Read more... Read more »