California Wants to Limit Storage of Smart Speaker Recordings

California Wants to Limit Storage of Smart Speaker Recordings

first_img California lawmakers introduced a bill that would limit how manufacturers of smart speakers and digital assistants collect recordings.The Anti-Eavesdropping Act, which cleared its first committee this week, prohibits saving, storing, or sharing of audio recordings without explicit consent from the user.“Recent revelations about how certain companies have staff that listen in to private conversations via connected smart speakers further shows why this bill is necessary to protect privacy in the home,” Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo), the bill’s author, said in a statement published by The Mercury News.Bloomberg last month shocked no one with the news that thousands of Amazon employees around the world listen in on Echo owners’ conversations (allegedly to improve the technology).More troubling is the fact that workers can also access location information of Alexa users and look up their home or office address.The California bill—introduced in February by Cunningham—defines “smart speaker devices” as a wireless speaker and voice command device with an integrated virtual assistant “that offers interactive actions and hands-free activation.”Should the legislation pass, it would severely handicap services like Amazon’s Alexa, Siri from Apple, and Google Assistant (among a handful of others).“We’re monitoring this developing legislation,” a Google spokeswoman told Geek in an emailed statement. “That said, we believe that the combination of strong and balanced regulations, with products that are designed with privacy in mind, will help provide individuals with confidence that they’re in control of their personal information.”As Digital Trends pointed out, California is not the first state to try to limit digital eavesdropping: Illinois previously attempted to pass a similar law, which Google and Amazon lobbied against.More on Geek.com:Stop Ignoring Your Smart Speaker’s Privacy FunctionsUK Gov’t Uses Alexa, Google Assistant to Dispense InfoAmazon Accidentally Sent 1,700 Alexa Recordings to a Random Person9 Times Your Smart Speaker Got WeirdEditor’s note: This article was updated on May 7 with comment from Google. Easily Assign Tasks With Google AssistantGoogle Defends Letting Humans Listen to Virtual Assistant Queries Stay on targetlast_img read more

Emilia Clarke: Next ‘Game of Thrones’ Fight Will Be Bigger Than Winterfell

Emilia Clarke: Next ‘Game of Thrones’ Fight Will Be Bigger Than Winterfell

first_imgStay on target ‘Game of Thrones’ Targaryen Prequel Series Is Reportedly Coming to HBO‘Game of Thrones’ Star Kit Harington Joins Marvel’s &#… Game of Thrones’ last season is in full swing, and the “Battle of Winterfell” left many fans in shock, as they watched a long fight between Iron Throne contenders and White Walkers. But, the power struggle is not over yet: According to Emilia Clarke, one of the last episodes will be bigger than Season 8, Episode 3’s deadly showdown.On Wednesday night, Clarke spoke with Jimmy Kimmel on Jimmy Kimmel Live! about filming the final season of Game of Thrones and what audiences might expect for the last three episodes.“Episode five is bigger,” Clarke told Kimmel. “Episode five is—I mean, four and five and six, they’re all insane, but like…find the biggest TV you can.”It’s likely that Episode 4 could be a transition episode, where the surviving heroes will form a plan of attack against Euron Greyjoy and Cersei Lannister, who are building up the ultimate fleet, as shown in the Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 4 preview trailer. From what Clarke said though, fans might need to prepare themselves for what’s to come on Episode 5 and Episode 6.The “Battle of Winterfell” wasn’t a typical TV fight though: Season 8, Episode 3 required 55 nights of shooting and 750 people, according to Clarke. The episode, which featured multiple fight scenes between many characters and the Night King’s death, was the longest battle sequence created in TV history, Vox reported.Even though Season 8, Episode 5 is two weeks away, Clarke is making everyone stay on the edge of their seats for now. In the meantime, Season 8, Episode 4 could give fans a better understanding of how some of Westeros plans to take down Cersei Lannister, who will be the “last war” following the “Battle of Winterfell” aftermath.Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 4 will premiere on Sunday, May 5 at 9 p.m. EST on HBO.<em><strong>More on Geek.com:</strong></em>&nbsp;</p><p>More on Geek.com:First Look: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 4 Photos ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 4 Preview: One Last War to Win‘Game of Thrones’ Stars Say Goodbye to ‘Battle of Winterfell’ Fallen Heroeslast_img read more

‘Mortal Kombat 11’ Kharacter Guide: Kitana

‘Mortal Kombat 11’ Kharacter Guide: Kitana

first_imgWho Are They?Kitana is the good and fair Princess of Edenia. Or rather she was until the fantasy realm was violently conquered by the villainous forces of Outworld. She then spent much of her life as the unwittingly “adopted” desert assassin daughter of the brutal emperor Shao Kahn, where her DNA was even stolen to create a monster clone “sister” Mileena. But Outworld’s struggle against Earthrealm in Mortal Kombat gives Kitana an opportunity for revenge against her “father.”Kombat KhronologyKitana was one of the major new characters in Mortal Kombat 2, giving the game more female representation beyond just Sonya Blade. And since then she’s remained one of the game’s most prominent female characters, the mold other fantasy women characters diverge from. She’s also become a bit of a love interest for Liu Kang in later games, with Mortal Kombat 11 especially playing up their bond both in the past and in the present as evil zombies.Koolest KustomizationsKitana’s face gets one of the better upgrades thanks to Mortal Kombat 11 now rendering the characters more like real people. So I go with her human form versus her rotting corpse form. As for moves, Kitana’s main gimmick is slicing foes with razor sharp fan blades. So I go for death by a thousand cuts with moves that increase how many fans I can throw out at once or summon around myself for a protective barrier.How Gross Is The Fatality?Kitana’s regal grace doesn’t make her fatality any less gruesome. She just doesn’t get her own hands dirty. Instead, she cut you open and uses her fans to summon a tornado that pulls your entrails out like a gory force of nature. Takes my breath (and everything else) away. Mortal Kombat 11 is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch. For more, read our spine-ripping impressions of the game as a whole, learn more about Mortal Kombat’s history with the government, and check out our character guide for the much less violent fighting game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.View as: One Page Slides1/271. Read Our Full Mortal Kombat 11 ReviewRead Johnny Cage’s Guide2. Read Sub-Zero’s Guide3. Read Erron Black’s Guide4. Read Scorpion’s Guide5. Read Liu Kang’s Guide6. Read Raiden Guide7. Read Kitana’s Guide8. Read Kung Lao’s Guide9. Read Cetrion’s Guide10. Read Jade’s Guide11. Read Kotal Kahn’s Guide12. Read Skarlet’s Guide13. Read Noob Saibot’s Guide14. Read Geras’ Guide15. Read Baraka’s Guide16. Read Jax’s Guide17. Read Jacqui Briggs’ Guide18. Read Frost’s Guide19. Read D’Vorah’s Guide20. Read Kabal’s Guide21. Read Kano’s Guide22. Read Cassie Cage’s Guide23. Read Shao Kahn’s Guide24. Read Kollector’s Guide25. Read Sonya Blade’s Guide26. Read Shang Tsung’s Guide27. Read Nightwolf’s Guide Stay on target There have been eleven main Mortal Kombat games. Can you believe it? The 90s were that long ago. Since then the fighting game has become a gory institution as colorful ninjas and sorcerers and special forces agents collide to rip each others’ guts out in wacky martial arts tournaments.But in the past decade Mortal Kombat has gone from just a recognizable violent fighting game to a really good recognizable violent fighting game. And the recently released Mortal Kombat 11 brings the reboot trilogy home with a story mode stretching across all of history and new ways for customizing characters to your liking, with different skills and gear to make the accessible mechanics even more varied and deep.Expensive cutscenes and ancillary (arguably exploitative) side content aren’t worth anything though if your fighting game doesn’t have a solid roster. Fortunately, Mortal Kombat 11 gives you a diverse cast of kombatants on which to unleash your bloodlust. And we’re taking a look at every single one of them. Today’s fighter: Kitana. Joker and The Terminator Cross Over Into ‘Mortal Kombat 11’‘Mortal Kombat 11’ Kharacter Guide: Nightwolf last_img read more

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 Premiere Sets New Guinness World Record

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 Premiere Sets New Guinness World Record

first_img ‘Game of Thrones’ Targaryen Prequel Series Is Reportedly Coming to HBO‘Game of Thrones’ Star Kit Harington Joins Marvel’s &#… Stay on target Game of Thrones is in its last season, however, the show is climbing the ranks when it comes to global demand: On the day of the series’ Season 8 premiere, the global demand exceeded the global premiere demand of every other TV show, for any season across all platforms and markets under measurement.Parrot Analytics, a firm that focuses on global audience demand measurement, collaborated with Guinness World Records to chart Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere’s demand and officially declared it as the most in-demand TV premiere, Deadline reported.Who will take the Iron Throne? Millions couldn’t wait to find out as @GameOfThrones comes to the final season https://t.co/ytVqQso5mY— GuinnessWorldRecords (@GWR) May 3, 2019The firm’s methodology claims to leverage real-time, platform-agnostic, and global TV demand measurements. Parrot Analytics and Guinness World Records analyzed global demand for all series openers from April 2015 to April 14, 2019, the date of the Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere, to calculate the ranking.“Game of Thrones amassed a per capita global audience demand of 25.46 on 14th of April 2019, its Season 8 premiere day. Compared to its per capita global demand of 24.74 on the day of its Season 7 premiere, the latest and final season has premiered 2.9 percent higher globally,” Samuel Stadler, VP of marketing at Parrot Analytics, told Deadline in a press statement. “Premiere day demand has been particularly strong in the United States, United Kingdom, and France.”Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 1, which highlighted Winterfell preparing for a battle with the Night King’s Army, generated millions of viewers, said a Guinness World Records press release. HBO confirmed that 17.4 million people streamed the episode on their subscription TV services, and their HBO GO and HBO NOW streaming apps, within 24 hours of the Season 8 premiere.“It comes as no surprise. Game of Thrones has its fans tightly clenched in its dragon-like grip, and excitement for this final series has seen phenomenal engagement across every platform,” Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief at Guinness World Records, said in the press release. “It has broken records since it first aired – for its viewership figures, Emmy wins, and even its status as the most pirated TV show! It looks like it’s going to continue breaking records right up to the final, undoubtedly devastating episode.”More on Geek.com:First Look: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 4 Photos‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 4 Preview: One Last War to WinEmilia Clarke: Next ‘Game of Thrones’ Fight Will Be Bigger Than Winterfelllast_img read more

No MBA Debt: Get This Complete MBA Course for Under $15

No MBA Debt: Get This Complete MBA Course for Under $15

first_img This $500 SEO Tool Is Only $24 TodayThis Easy-to-Fly LED Drone Performs Acrobatic Moves An Entire MBA in 1 Course – $14.99See Deal Few college credentials are as weighty as a Masters in Business Administration. But most MBA programs cost thousands and take years to complete, putting it out of many peoples’ reach. That’s what makes An Entire MBA in One Course a great alternative, especially when you can get in for just $14.99.Facilitated by award-winning business school professor Chris Haroun, this course teaches students the same skills they’d learn in an MBA program. They’ll discover best practices for launching a business, find out how to create financial models, and even learn how to get investors via an IPO. No, they won’t earn an actual MBA certificate, but they’ll be better equipped for professional success.If you’ve always wanted an MBA but didn’t have the time or money to invest in a college education, this course may be just the ticket. It’s delivered online so you can set your own schedule, the content is compatible with all desktop computers and mobile devices, and you’ll enjoy lifetime access so you can take as long as you want to complete it.Don’t let a lack of time and money keep you from achieving your dreams. Learn how to start a business and make it successful with An Entire MBA in One Course, normally $200, and now discounted by over 90 percent to just $14.99 for a limited time. Like this deal? Check out Vault — you’ll get four premium tools, including NordVPN and Dashlane, to supercharge your online security. Enter code VAULTONE to try it out for just $1! Stay on targetlast_img read more

Watch: Italy’s Mount Etna Volcano Erupts, Spews Lava Into Night Sky

Watch: Italy’s Mount Etna Volcano Erupts, Spews Lava Into Night Sky

first_img Italy’s Mount Etna launched streams of lava into the night sky in the early hours Friday.The volcano, located on the east coast of Sicily, began erupting at 3 a.m. local time following an increase in seismic activity over the last week.The eruptions sent rivers of smoking red lava streaming down its southeastern slope. The smoke did not affect nearby Catania airport and flight continued as normal, according to reports.Boris Behncke, from Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), posted a series of photos on Twitter of lava taken from nearby towns. He said the eruption on Thursday night is considered a “subterminal eruption,” meaning it is occurring close to the summit craters, generally at an elevation of around 2900-3000 meters (9,514-9,842 feet).Scenes of #Etna‘s new, sub-terminal eruption, during the night of 30-31 May 2019, seen from Santa Venerina, Fiumefreddo and (last photo) Tremestieri Etneo. “Sub-terminal” means the eruption is occurring close to the summit craters, generally at around 2900-3000 m elevation pic.twitter.com/6uBXJTShkV— Boris Behncke (@etnaboris) May 31, 2019According to the INGV, the nascent eruption began on the night of May 29. Starting off by producing a thick column of ash rising from the New Southeast Crater, it gave way on May 30 to a far more lava-heavy display in the area, featuring two fissures blenching out lava.The northern lava flow extended toward the northern wall of the Valle del Bove and subsequently turned eastward, reaching a maximum distance of about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) on the morning of May 31, at an estimated altitude of about 6,075 feet (2,050 meters).New eruption near the summit of #Etna: two eruptive fissures have opened early on 30 May 2019 on the northeastern and south-southeastern sides of the New Southeast Crater, producing modest Strombolian activity and little lava flows. View from Tremestieri Etneo pic.twitter.com/Htl90nUYbL— Boris Behncke (@etnaboris) May 30, 2019Mount Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe at two-and-a-half times the next largest, Mount Vesuvius.Fissures in the 10,912 feet-tall peak can flare into action several times a year, although the last major eruption was in 1992.More on Geek.com:Watch: Mexico’s Popocatépetl Volcano Explodes in One of Largest Eruptions in YearsWatch Bali Volcano Spew Ash 18,000 Feet Into the Air in Incredible Timelapse Video35 Incredible Images of Earth’s Mountains and Volcanoes From Space Man Critically Injured After Falling Down Volcano on HoneymoonAstronauts Capture Incredible Photo of Volcanic Eruption From Space Stay on targetlast_img read more

Hubble Detects Luminous Elliptical Galaxy in Space

Hubble Detects Luminous Elliptical Galaxy in Space

first_imgStay on target The Hubble Space Telescope’s Messier catalog shows some of the most breathtaking objects that can be observed from our planet’s Northern Hemisphere, including a bright elliptical galaxy that might be a newborn star hub.Known as NGC 4621 (Messier 59), this galaxy is featured in the deep-sky objects catalog put together by French comet-hunter Charles Messier in the 18th century, however, Johann Gottfried Koehler, a German astronomer, is credited for finding the galaxy right before Messier listed it in 1779, said a NASA press release.According to modern observations, Messier 59 is classified as an elliptical galaxy, one of the three main types of galaxies including irregulars and spirals. Out of the trio, ellipticals tend to be the oldest and filled with ancient, red stars that show little signs of new star formation. Unlike other elliptical galaxies, Messier 59 might be on a whole new level: Astronomers say the galaxy shows signs of star formation, since there are some newborn stars that are present in a disk near the heart of Messier 59.Do you follow trends — or do you break them?This galaxy — Messier 59 — is an elliptical galaxy. Ellipticals tend to be full of old, red stars. Messier 59, however, breaks this trend, w/ some newborn stars residing near the core in this @NASAHubble image: https://t.co/mTvKMZpb5g pic.twitter.com/Tlpfu0ijt0— NASA (@NASA) June 2, 2019Messier 59 is positioned roughly 50 million light-years away from Earth and it’s located in the 2,000-strong Virgo cluster of galaxies in the constellation of Virgo. At the center of Messier 59, there’s a supermassive black hole, which is around 270 million times as big as the sun. According to NASA, the best time of year to spot it is in May, even though there isn’t much of a detail difference between observing it with smaller or larger telescopes.More on Geek.com:NASA Fits 265,000 Galaxies Into Single ‘Hubble Legacy Field’ ImageHubble Spots Stunning Spiral Galaxy 30 Million Light-Years AwayNew Hubble Measurements Confirm Universe Is Expanding at a Faster Rate Watch: Here’s What It’s Like to Fly Through the Orion NebulaHubble Spots Stunning Spiral Galaxy 30 Million Light-Years Away last_img read more

Orphaned Otter Dies After Eating Human Food at Tennessee Park

Orphaned Otter Dies After Eating Human Food at Tennessee Park

first_img“As a reminder, feeding the animals at Bays Mountain Park is strictly prohibited for exactly this reason. Human food is often intolerable and, in this case, even harmful to our animals,” Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium wrote on Facebook. “Please follow all posted park rules, including the signs that say not to feed the animals.” Stay on target Otto, an orphaned otter, has died after guests threw human food into his enclosure at a Tennessee park.On Thursday, Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium in Kingsport, Tennessee, announced that it was transporting Otto to an animal hospital after he accidentally ate food that was thrown into his enclosure, USA Today reported. According to Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium’s Facebook post, Otto’s body couldn’t digest the food the guests gave him and unfortunately, he fell ill and passed away from the incident. Watch: Dolphin Leaps Feet Away From Unsuspecting SurferWatch: Deep-Sea Octopus ‘Billows Like a Circus Tent’ In 2017, Otto first joined the park as a 9-month-old baby after he stayed at a rehabilitation facility in North Carolina. The North Carolina-based center looked after Otto and his sister after their parents died in a flood.“Otto was beloved by park staff and guests alike,” Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium said in the post. “A cheerful creature, he could often be found swimming or playing with toys in his pool, even when it was snowing outside.”More on Geek.com:Charlie, the Oldest Living Southern Sea Otter, Dies at Age 22Massive, 11-Foot Alligator ‘Breaks Into Home’ at 3 A.M. in FloridaRare, Venomous Snake Hitches a Ride on Couple’s Kayak Paddlelast_img read more

‘Game of Thrones’ Fans Raise More Than $125K for Casts’ Charities

‘Game of Thrones’ Fans Raise More Than $125K for Casts’ Charities

first_imgStay on target “Bloody hell, I am one very lucky lady to have such kind, generous, shining spirited fans who are raising money for my charity @sameyouorg. Elle Elaria and your Reddit page where you have raised almost £38,000 [approximately $48,000] has made my day, week, month, year, decade, and I couldn’t think of a more beautiful way to wave goodbye to the mother of dragons than with this step towards making brain injury sufferers feel less alone,” Clarke wrote on Instagram. “YOU ARE MY HEROS. I am the one who should be bending the knee to you.”The Redditor also spoke with BuzzFeed after she found Clarke’s personal thank you to her and the subreddit page: “She didn’t need to do that. She could have just casually reposted it with a quick written comment, but she took the time to film a heartfelt thank you,” she said. “Iconic. My only regret is not having a more embarrassing username for her to shout out.”More on Geek.com:Sophie Turner Shocked By ‘Game of Thrones’ Spoiler in Season 1 Poster‘Game of Thrones’ Star Says Twist Ending Was George R.R. Martin’s Idea ‘Game of Thrones: Beyond the Wall’ Is a VR Westeros Adventure After Game of Thrones’ series finale aired on May 19, fans have donated more than $125,000 to charities to thank the series’ beloved cast, including Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington.Over the past nine days, a fundraising campaign created to honor Clarke, who played Daenerys Targaryen on the show, has raised more than $101,000 for her charity SameYou, BuzzFeed News reported. On Friday, another campaign made for Harington (Jon Snow), generated more than $25,000 for Mencap, a charity that he is an ambassador for, in less than 24 hours.Photo Credit: r/freefolk / RedditThe charity donation idea stemmed from r/freefolk, an active community of Game of Thrones fanatics which was also the source for the viral petition to re-do Season 8. Three days after Game of Thrones’ last episode premiered on HBO, Redditor elle_elaria shared a link to SameYou, a brain injury rehabilitation charity founded by Clarke, that she started raising money for.According to the campaign’s description, it was “a gesture of love and support from the fandom to the entire cast & crew — but also particularly to the woman who poured her very soul into her character, who delivered passionate speeches in High Valyrian and Dothraki in between questioning her very mortality and inspired so many of us with her resilience.”Clarke caught wind of the campaign on Thursday, which raised approximately $48,000 at that time. In a sweet Instagram post, Clarke thanked the Redditor personally and the other members of the subreddit for donating to SameYou.center_img ‘Game of Thrones’ Targaryen Prequel Series Is Reportedly Coming to HBO‘Game of Thrones’ Star Kit Harington Joins Marvel’s &#… last_img read more

Amazon to Showcase Small Businesses in UK Pop-Up Shops

Amazon to Showcase Small Businesses in UK Pop-Up Shops

first_imgStay on target Amazon is opening 10 brick-and-mortar shops across the UK in an effort to promote small businesses.The tech titan partnered with Enterprise Nation, Direct Line for Business, and Square to launch a new program aimed at boosting small-brand growth, in-store and online.A year-long pilot will enable more than 100 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to sell directly on the high street via Clicks and Mortar pop-ups.The first location opened today on St. Mary’s Gate in central Manchester, with more coming soon to the Midlands, Yorkshire, and across South East England, as well as Scotland and Wales.Each store will stock a range of brands—everything from homeware, health, and beauty products to food, drink, and electronics. That includes foldable Swifty Scooters for adults, leather Torro Cases for electronic devices, and Altr for Men skincare products.“The up-and-coming brands have all built successful online businesses and now want to explore physical retail for the first time,” according to a company press release.Amazon is not usually associated with small biz owners. In fact, it’s often treated as a big bad—a giant carelessly stomping on anything in its path.But the firm has been working with independent sellers for nearly 20 years, boasting tens of thousands of UK-based small businesses trading their goods on Amazon’s global sites.“Small businesses are one of our most important customer groups, and we’re thrilled to work with Enterprise Nation to design a comprehensive package to help entrepreneurs across the UK grow their businesses, both in-store and online,” Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager for Amazon, said in a statement.With that in mind, the company announced a new £1 million ($1.3 million) fund to train 150-plus workers through a mix of in-work, online, and classroom coaching.The so-called “apprenticeships” last 15 to 18 months, and are open exclusively to any brand-owning SME registered in England that currently sells on Amazon and has a turnover of less than £1 million.“From giving up-and-coming online British brands the chance to experience physical retail, to funding the training of full-time apprenticeships and helping to increase SME exports,” Gurr said, “Amazon is committed to supporting the growth of small businesses—helping them boost the economy and create jobs across the UK.”More on Geek.com:Amazon’s Automatic Packing Machines Could Replace 1,300 JobsAmazon Key Now Delivers to Ford, Lincoln VehiclesDrunk Shoppers Blow $48B Annually—Mostly on Amazon Amazon Employees Join Sept. 20 Global Climate WalkoutGeek Pick: Amazon Smart Plug Puts Alexa in Your Walls last_img read more

Watch: Deputy Saves Sleeping Couple From Rattlesnake

Watch: Deputy Saves Sleeping Couple From Rattlesnake

first_imgStay on target Watch: 13-Foot ‘Queen of the Pythons’ Lays Massive Clutch of…200-Pound Python Named ‘Ginormica’ Could Reach World-Record Size A couple sleeping on the ground escaped what could have been a very dangerous situation when a quick-thinking Tennessee deputy got them out of the path of a rattlesnake.Maury County Sheriff Rowland said the deputy was responding to a suspicious persons call when he found a couple sleeping next to a rattlesnake. The deputy noticed the snake immediately.center_img The deputy “started to approach, he sees that it is a rather large rattlesnake. And of course, he stays very calm and as he approaches the folks, the snake is kind of slithering away,” Rowland said.Before the situation escalated, the deputy was able to direct the couple to safety.In a video shared Friday on the Maury County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page, the deputy can be heard waking the couple and then giving careful instructions. “Don’t move… Roll toward me,” the deputy instructed the couple.The man stood up didn’t exactly “roll,” though. He stood up and bolted.Fortunately, the rattlesnake didn’t strike.“So many life lessons to be learned in this video,” the Maury County Sheriff’s Department said on the Facebook post.“They didn’t follow it just exactly right, but fortunately it worked out,” said Rowland.Rattlesnakes are common in Tennessee. Of Tennessee’s 32 snakes, only four are venomous. The Timber Rattlesnake is is the largest, and the most dangerous, of the four venomous snakes in Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Timber rattlesnakes, which occur across the state, kill prey by a venomous bite, in which the venom is injected by fangs located in the snake mouth.More on Geek.com:Rare, Venomous Snake Hitches a Ride on Kayak Paddle in MichiganSnake Pops Out of Toilet, Bites Florida Man (On the Arm)Anaconda Gets Pregnant Without a Male, Has ‘Virgin Birth’ at Aquariumlast_img read more

Irresponsible Video Game Predictions for E3 2019

Irresponsible Video Game Predictions for E3 2019

first_img Are you actually excited for E3 this year? Normally, that would be an easy “Yes!” After all, E3 is that special time of the year when everyone in the whole video game industry gathers to show off its future toys. That includes the public now, too. But even with the extra attendees, something about the energy of this year’s upcoming show just feels… lower. Fewer folks are going. Bigger games are being shown off outside of the event. And really we’re just stuck in a bit of a limbo since no one is quite ready to talk about the next-generation Xbox, PlayStation 5, or even the upgraded Nintendo Switch that are all clearly in the works.Still, we expect to see plenty of awesome video game announcements at E3 2019. And here are some predictions, along with some rumors and leaks, about what those announcements will be.NintendoNintendo will still deny the existence of a Switch mini but seeing portable-friendly games like Pokemon, Fire Emblem, Luigi’s Mansion, Animal Crossing, and an actual remake of a Game Boy Zelda game all back to back will pretty much give it away.Super Mario Maker 2 is already shaping up great (aside from a weird lack of online co-op with friends) but the last-minute reveal of a new theme will put it over the top for the June Launch. And that theme will be Super Mario… Odyssey!Animal Crossing just barely makes its 2019 release window by launching in December. But the wait will be worth it when we see not just how big these new towns are but their intimacy as well. Politics are back, baby!Another surprising Microsoft game will wind up on Switch whether it’s Ori, Rare Replay, or the Halo Master Chief Collection.Now that 64GB cards are about to be a thing, even more surprising ports will wind up on Switch including, finally, Grand Theft Auto V.Retro Studios gets its old projects off its plate, Metroid Prime Trilogy HD and Star Fox Grand Prix, before fully committing to Metroid Prime 4.Pikmin 3 is our last Wii U port for a good long time. Retail listing leaks have already pointed to the existence of a new Contra, Witcher 3 on Switch, some kind of roller derby battle game from Ubisoft, Watch Dogs Legion set in London where you control strangers, a Darksiders reboot, and a post-Activision Destiny 2 expansion set on the moon.Square Enix’s Marvel’s Avengers project looks so much like Destiny/Anthem but for superheroes that it just raises hype for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3.At Bethesda, Fallout 76 gets a massive overhaul on the level of Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn, but Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6 hibernate until they can be fully introduced for next-gen. Doom Eternal makes this easier to swallow.Ubisoft’s next Nintendo collaboration is a Mario+Rabbids sequel with more Mario RPG elements alongside the tactics gameplay. Fire Emblem but for Mario.EA finally makes a Star Wars game that doesn’t break any laws.Cyberpunk 2077 steals the show yet again.Half-Life 3 is a Playdate exclusive. Watch: Marvel and Square Enix’s ‘Avengers’ Gameplay Still Creeps Us OutPlay These E3 2019 Video Games Right Now Third-Party SonyWhile many games shown off at E3 will wind up on PlayStation 4 (and probably the PlayStation 5) Sony itself has already said it won’t be attending the show this year. We already made our guesses as to why that’s happening. So Death Stranding, Ghost of Tsushima, and Last of Us 2 all being no-shows isn’t a prediction, it’s a fact. Hopefully Knack 3 somehow slips under the cracks though.For more on what to expect at E3 2019 check out this feature on our sister site PCMag.com Stay on target MicrosoftA Microsoft character will appear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and we really hope it’s Master Chief.A new Battletoads is still a bad idea.Halo Infinite will be a barely disguised launch title for the next Xbox.Xbox cloud gaming will be better received in the wake of Google Stadia.No one will talk about the recent Sony/Microsoft partnership.In gratitude for Microsoft getting behind the original Titanfall, Xbox will get some kind of exclusive content in Apex Legends season two.There’s a new Forza.Final Fantasy VII remake appears on this stage just to mess with Sony.last_img read more

U.S. Visa Applicants Now Required to Provide Social Media Details

U.S. Visa Applicants Now Required to Provide Social Media Details

first_img The U.S. State Department now requires most visa applicants to submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses, and phone numbers.As reported by the Associated Press, this change is a “vast” expansion of President Trump’s enhanced screening of potential immigrants and visitors.It will affect some 15 million foreigners applying for entry to the US each year.“National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications,” according to a government statement published by the AP.“Every prospective traveler and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening,” the State Department continued. “We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening process to protect U.S. citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.”Previously, so-called “social media identifiers” were sought only from a handful of people IDed as a potential threat—folks who traveled to areas controlled by terrorist organizations, for instance.Now, virtually all applicants for immigrant and nonimmigrant visas must provide their personal details, allowing the U.S. government to snoop into their past in the name of justice.Collecting additional information “will strengthen our process for vetting these applicants and confirming their identity,” the AP reported.First proposed in March 2018, the new rules are estimated to impact millions of applicants, including those who want to come to the US for business or education.Fresh forms list a number of social media platforms and require candidates to provide any account names they’ve had on them over the last five years; applicants can also volunteer information about social networks not listed.Visa hopefuls are also being asked for five years of telephone numbers, email addresses, and international travel and deportation status, as well as whether any family members have been involved in terrorist activities.Only those applying for certain diplomatic and official visa types are exempt from these conditions, the AP said.The American Civil Liberties Union in January sued the federal government to gain information on its social media surveillance—specifically Trump’s controversial “extreme vetting” immigration policy.More on Geek.com:Sri Lanka Temporarily Blocks Social Media Following Terror AttacksUK Proposes Stricter Child Safety Rules for Social MediaStudy: Social Media Sites Can Predict Behavior Even If You Don’t Use Them Stay on target 11-Year-Old Gets ‘Scammed’ Into Paying $4K for TikTok InfluencerFacebook Reportedly Considers Hiding ‘Like’ Counts last_img read more

Growing ‘Alien’ Exoplanets Circle Distant Star in New Astronomy Image

Growing ‘Alien’ Exoplanets Circle Distant Star in New Astronomy Image

first_img NASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This WeekendHubble Captures Saturn’s ‘Phonograph Record’ Ring System Stay on target Astronomers have captured an image of two “alien” exoplanets circling PDS 70, a young star that is located about 370 light-years from Earth, according to a new study.PDS 70 is the only second multi-planet system to be photographed following a four-planet system that was orbiting the star HR 8799, Space.com reported. Unlike HR 8799, PDS 70’s planets are not fully developed yet and still growing by carving out a wide gap within a planet-forming disk that surrounds the sun-like star, said a NASA press release. The study, which was recently published in the journal Nature Astronomy, suggests that forming planets can be responsible for some of the disk gaps astronomers have spotted in PDS 70 and other young star systems.“With facilities like ALMA, Hubble [Space Telescope], or large ground-based optical telescopes with adaptive optics, we see disks with rings and gaps all over,” Julien Girard of the Space Telescope Science Institute said in the press release. “The open question has been, are there planets there? In this case, the answer is yes.”According to the study, PDS 70 is roughly 6 million years old and it’s slightly smaller than our sun. The young star is surrounded by a disk of dust and gas with a big gap extending from approximately 1.9 to 3.8 billion miles.Exoplanets PDS 70 b and c. (Photo Credit: ESO / S. Haffert-Leiden Observatory)PDS 70 b, the innermost planet that was first spotted in 2018, is placed within the disk gap about two billion miles from its star and it could weigh from 4 to 17 times as much as Jupiter. PDS 70 c, a newly discovered planet, is near the outer edge of the disk gap roughly 3.3 billion miles from the star and it’s not as massive as PDS 70 b. The inner planet (PDS 70 b) circles the star twice in the time it takes the outer planet (PDS 70 c) to orbit around one time.PDS 70 c was detected from the ground with the European Southern Observatory’s (ESA’s) Very Large Telescope (VLT)’s MUSE spectrograph. Astronomers on the team were very surprised to find the second planet while using a new observing mode developed to study galaxies and star clusters.Our team is excited to present the first evidence for a circumplanetary disc (CPD)! CPDs are discs of gas and dust believed to surround giant planets (e.g. Jupiter) when they are born, and be the birthplace of their moons. Our results suggest newborn planet PDS 70 b has a CPD! pic.twitter.com/8ph2RdQrhx— Valentin Christiaens (@Valentin__C) June 4, 2019“This new observing mode was developed to study galaxies and star clusters at higher spatial resolution,” said Sebastiaan Haffert of Leiden Observatory. “But this new mode also makes it suitable for exoplanet imaging, which was not the original science driver for the MUSE instrument.”NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope might be able to study this “planet nursery” and other planet systems with a similar observation technique in the future. This would allow scientists to measure the density of gas and the temperature within the disk, which would improve their understanding of the formation of gas giant planets.More on Geek.com:NASA’s Planet Hunter Finds First Earth-Sized ExoplanetAstronomers Observe ‘Super-Jupiter’ Exoplanet for First TimeKepler’s First Exoplanet Candidate Confirmed, 10 Years Laterlast_img read more

Experimental Spotify Stations App Launches in US

Experimental Spotify Stations App Launches in US

first_imgStay on target Spotify’s experimental listening app Stations is now available in the US.Introduced in Australia earlier this year, the Pandora knock-off is free to download for iOS and Android.“With the world’s music at your fingertips, finding the right thing to play can feel like a challenge,” according to an app-store description. “Stations gets you to music instantly—no searching or typing needed.”Like the long-running Internet radio service it apes, Spotify Stations relies on user feedback—in the form of a thumbs up or thumbs down—to create personalized playlists.Easily tune your stations by adding or removing artists.Since moving to the UK and losing access to my curated Pandora channels, I’ve learned to lean on Spotify’s pre-generated playlists and artist radio stations for effortless listening.But there is only so far “similar to Elton John” can take you.Spotify’s stand-alone radio app is now available in the US (via Spotify Stations)Open Stations for instantaneous tunes—occasionally disrupted by advertisements for free users; premium subscribers can enjoy an ad-free experience, while skipping an unlimited number of tracks, Billboard revealed.The platform, which requires a Spotify account, also incorporates popular features like Discover Weekly, Release Radar, and Favorites.“At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of experiments to create better listening experiences for our users,” a company spokesperson told Geek in an email.“Some of those tests end up paving the way for our broader user experience and others serve only as an important [lesson],” the statement continued. “Spotify Stations is one of those tests.”Another experiment, reported this week by The Verge, involves the creation of podcast playlists (another Pandora dupe): Citing a source close to the company, the tech blog tipped curated episode suggestions around specific genres.Five playlists themed around comedy, true crime, “geek culture,” “walking (motivational),” and mindfulness are rolling out to a handful of users in North America, South America, the UK, and Spotify HQ Sweden.“It’s unclear how the curators are choosing the episodes,” The Verge said, wondering if they’re working from network deals or picking personal recommendations.“This test aims to make it easier for users to discover new podcasts while giving creators another mechanism to connect with new fans,” according to Spotify. “We have no further information to share at this time.”More on Geek.com:This Device Lets You Play Your Spotify Music Without a PhoneSpotify Is Testing a New Feature That Will Let You Block Music ArtistsBuild Spotify Playlists With Friends in MessengerEditor’s note: This article was updated at 7:05 a.m. ET with comment from Spotify. Spotify’s Rise to Power Dramatized in TV Mini-SeriesDisney Soundtracks Now Live in Special Spotify Hub last_img read more

Watch: Bubbles Move Around and ‘Gurgle’ in Gel-Like Water at ISS

Watch: Bubbles Move Around and ‘Gurgle’ in Gel-Like Water at ISS

first_img Launchpad Blaze Postpones JAXA’s Cargo Ship Launch to ISSISS Astronauts Study What Happens to Concrete Mixed in Space Stay on target A lack of gravity could cause objects to act funky in space, and a recent video from Canadian Space Agency (CSA) cosmonaut David Saint-Jacques demonstrates how bubbles and water can behave differently when they are away from Earth.Shaking a plastic bag filled with water will generate a couple of tiny air bubbles, which head to the top of the bag, but if you do the same task in space, these bubbles act weird. Saint-Jacques’ footage captured different-sized air bubbles moving and gurgling around a bag with a gel-like substance, which is actually some H20, Space.com reported. With the air bubbles, scientists can better understand how items could change in zero gravity environments.“Odd behaviour of air bubbles in water in the absence of the effects of gravity.” – @Astro_DavidS#DareToExploreVideo: CSA/NASA pic.twitter.com/p3g1myuIua— CanadianSpaceAgency (@csa_asc) June 1, 2019Water has this bizarre “disguise” in space due to a lack of gravity. On our planet, air doesn’t weigh as much as water and this causes it to rise upward and break apart through water droplets. At the Space Station though, these air bubbles like to “hang out” in water because there isn’t a force holding the water below them.Saint-Jacques is scheduled to return to Earth on June 24, until then, he will take part in a couple of other experiments, including setting up the Bio-Analyzer, a Canadian technology that can quickly test blood, saliva, urine, and other body fluids, and finalizing the Bio-Monitor, a Canadian smart shirt system that can easily measure astronauts’ vital signs at the Space Station.More on Geek.com:Growing ‘Alien’ Exoplanets Circle Distant Star in New Astronomy Image‘Double Asteroid’ Speeding By Earth at 43,000 MPH Captured in PhotoStunning Images of a Sunset on Earth Captured From Spacelast_img read more

‘Dark Phoenix’ Ranked as the Worst ‘X-Men’ Movie on Rotten Tomatoes

‘Dark Phoenix’ Ranked as the Worst ‘X-Men’ Movie on Rotten Tomatoes

first_imgStay on target Dark Phoenix, the latest X-Men film about mutant Jean Grey, is debuting in theaters on June 7. However, days before Dark Phoenix’s premiere, some critics are not happy with the movie’s plot and it has received the worst Rotten Tomatoes score out of all the X-Men franchise films so far.On Tuesday, Rotten Tomatoes’ website showed a disappointing 21 percent “Tomatometer” rating for Dark Phoenix. Even though audience score ratings are not available yet, critics sounded off on the movie, stating that “we’ve all seen this before,” and “there’s way too much darkness, and not enough quicksilver wit.” Despite having a strong talented cast, including Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, and Jessica Chastain, Dark Phoenix’s storyline did not delight some critics.So far, 66 critics’ reviews have been reported on Dark Phoenix, and most of them tear the film apart. Compared to other X-Men movies, such as X-Men: Apocalypse (47 percent “Tomatometer” score) and X-Men: The Last Stand (58 percent “Tomatometer” score), Dark Phoenix has the worst ranking by far in the franchise, ComicBook.com noted.The movie, which tells the story of Jean Grey, a mutant who is hit by an unexplainable cosmic force that gives her uncontrollable powers, could be the end of the X-Men family. While Grey struggles to handle these changes, her X-Men squad has to work together to protect her and themselves from further harm.Some critics might not be raving about Dark Phoenix, however, fans have not ranked the movie yet. It will be interesting to see what they think about Jean Grey’s tale and how she could alter the fate of her fellow X-Men superheroes.<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>More on Geek.com:Final ‘Dark Phoenix’ Trailer Kills Fox’s X-Men Universe11 ‘X-Men’ Storylines That Would Make Great MoviesThe Most Marvelous X-Men Toys Watch These Movies Before ‘Dark Phoenix’11 ‘X-Men’ Storylines That Would Make Great Movies last_img read more

These Are the Games You Should Check Out in June 2019

These Are the Games You Should Check Out in June 2019

first_imgStay on target Sorry, You Can’t Date Keanu Reeves in ‘Cyberpunk 2077”Star Wars Pinball’ Has Your Favorite Brand in Ball Form June isn’t exactly brimming with many big titles but it is a better month than May. The big releases on this list are obviously Super Mario Maker 2, Judgement, and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night for the pure fact they’re entirely new games. The rest of this list comprises of remakes and remasters. If you’re already played these games, then it’s a bummer. However, if you’ve never tried them, now is a good as time as any to dive in.Super Mario Maker 2Platform: Nintendo SwitchRelease date: June 28Many Wii U games have found a renewed life on Nintendo Switch. Many (myself included) expected a port of Super Mario Maker since that is one of the best games on the system. Instead of a port, Nintendo went and developed a full-on sequel, appropriately called Super Mario Maker 2. Like the original, players can create their very own Super Mario Bros. stages and share them with others. That last point is a big part of the reason for the series’ popularity. It is very cool seeing how creative the player base can get. I’m never good with these create-whatever-the-hell-you-want type of games so I’ll just play other people’s levels and curse them for being so difficult.Pre-order Super Mario Maker 2 on AmazonJudgmentPlatform: PlayStation 4Release date: June 25We’ve seen a number of Yakuza titles released in the West this generation but things have slowed down in 2019. Thankfully, the same developers are delivering a new IP called Judgment. Like Yakuza, you go around fictionalized Japanese cities and towns beating the crap out of thugs and partaking in all manner of strange mini-games. The big difference is you play as a cop instead of a criminal. On top of brawling, you’ll have to inspect crime scenes for clues and question citizens in order to further your investigations. Like I said, there’s not a new Yakuza game this year, so Judgement will fill that void.Pre-order Judgment on AmazonBloodstained: Ritual of the NightPlatforms: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox OneRelease date: June 18Koji Igarashi has been developing Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night for what seems like ages, so it’s awesome to see the game actually releasing. In case you don’t know, Igarashi was in charge of Castlevania games like Symphony of the Night. Since Konami (at the time) didn’t want to make an old-school Castlevania entry, he decided to form an independent studio and develop a game in that style. I’ve played numerous Bloodstained demos over the years so I’m very excited to have the finished product in my grubby hands. I expect I’ll sink many hours into Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night this summer.Pre-order Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night on AmazonCrash Team Racing Nitro-FueledPlatforms: PS4, Switch, Xbox OneRelease date: June 21Crash Bandicoot returned to the gaming landscape two years ago with Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Since that game performed so well, it’s no surprise to see Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled get the HD spit n’ polish. Like N. Sane Trilogy, Nitro-Fueled features completely redone character and environmental models along with high-res textures. It has all of the tracks from the original title, along with some from Crash Nitro Kart and Crash Tag Team Racing. I personally never got into the Crash games back in the day, though I did enjoy N. Sane Trilogy (until it became frustratingly difficult). I’ll probably skip Nitro-Fueled, but if you’re into kart racing games, you should dig this one.Pre-order Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled on AmazonThe Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IIPlatform: PlayStation 4Release date: June 4The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel released on PS4 back in April and its sequel drops this month. How is that possible? Because both titles are ports of PS3/PS Vita games. The Legend of Heroes is one of those JRPG franchises I’ve heard of but never got around to playing. From what friends who are fans tell me, the games feature deep turn-based RPG mechanics and an even deeper lore. I’m not sure how I feel about sinking a million hours into a JRPG these days, but the series does look intriguing. If you’re into the genre, it might be a good time to check out Trails of Cold Steel II (along with its predecessor) to pass the long summer months.Buy The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II on AmazonOctopath TravellerPlatform: PCRelease date: June 7Formerly a Nintendo Switch exclusive, Square-Enix’s Octopath Traveler makes its way to PC this month. If you’ve already played this then you won’t find any new content in this package. It’s essentially a straight port of the original but with higher resolutions. That’s both good and bad, depending on who you ask. Though I initially loved Octopath Traveller, the endless grinding eventually burned me out. I don’t usually mind grinding in RPGs, but this one took it to a whole other level. But if you don’t mind spending endless hours leveling up characters then you’re going to have a good time with this one.Pre-order Octopath Traveller on Humble StoreHeavy RainPlatform: PCRelease date: June 24Speaking about console exclusives coming to PC, Quantic Dreams’ Heavy Rain is making its own journey to the Epic Games Store. Like Octopath Traveller, this is a pretty faithful port of the original. Of course, this edition sports higher-res textures and a smoother frame rate. Some folks (understandably) aren’t fans of Quantic Dreams’ titles, but I’ve always enjoyed them even when they get super cheesy. Heavy Rain was my first introduction to the studios’ work so it’ll be interesting to revisit this one. Maybe this time I won’t become as annoyed when they reveal the killer’s identity. I also look forward to seeing all the various mods the community will no doubt conjure up. On second thought, maybe I don’t want to see that.Pre-order Heavy Rain on the Epic Games StoreMore on Geek.com:Irresponsible Video Game Predictions for E3 2019‘Game of Thrones: Beyond The Wall’ Is a VR Westeros Adventure‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’ Trailer Steps Out of the Shadowslast_img read more

Amazon’s Prime Air Drone Will Make Same-Day Deliveries

Amazon’s Prime Air Drone Will Make Same-Day Deliveries

first_imgStay on target Amazon Employees Join Sept. 20 Global Climate WalkoutGeek Pick: Amazon Smart Plug Puts Alexa in Your Walls Amazon this week expanded its free one-day shipping service, promising to deliver last-minute products to Prime members the very next day.But what if you need sunscreen and beach towels now?The company on Wednesday unveiled its latest Prime Air drone: A fully electric device that can fly up to 15 miles and deliver lightweight packages to customers in less than 30 minutes.“Our newest drone design includes advances in efficiency, stability, and, most importantly, in safety,” Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, wrote in a blog.Wilke introduced the next-gen UAV at Amazon’s first re:MARS conference—a new global AI event examining machine learning, automation, robotics, and space.Boasting a hybrid design, the Prime Air drone makes vertical takeoffs and landings like a helicopter, while being efficient and aerodynamic like an airplane.It is controlled with six degrees of freedom—more than the standard four—for added stability (particularly handy when operating in gusty wind conditions).“We know customers will only feel comfortable receiving drone deliveries if they know the system is incredibly safe,” Wilke said. “So we’re building a drone that isn’t just safe, but independently safe, using the latest artificial intelligence technologies.”Amazon’s drone doesn’t simply rely on communications systems for situational awareness. Using diverse sensors and advanced algorithms, the aircraft can detect (and dodge) static objects like a chimney, as well as moving objects like a paraglider or helicopter.Upon descent, it leans on embedded stereo vision and artificial intelligence to identify a clear location for landing. Amazon even invented computer-vision techniques to help drones recognize and avoid clotheslines, telephone wires, or electrical wires.“We’re also thrilled about the potential environmental impact,” Wilke wrote.Prime Air is one of the company’s sustainability initiatives to help achieve Shipment Zero—a vision to make all Amazon shipments net zero carbon. In February, the e-retailer announced a short-term goal to reach 50 percent by 2030.“Today, most of us run to the store because we need an item now. With a service like Prime Air, we’ll be able to order from home and stay home,” the blog said. “This saves tremendously on fuel usage and reduces emissions.”Watch: Boston Dynamics Robot Is Now a Warehouse Worker<br />More on Geek.com:FAA Greenlights Google Wing Drone Deliveries in USDHL Kicks Off Regular Autonomous Drone Deliveries in ChinaUPS to Transport Medical Samples Via Dronelast_img read more

Spotify Lands Deal With Obamas to Produce Exclusive Podcasts

Spotify Lands Deal With Obamas to Produce Exclusive Podcasts

first_imgStay on target Spotify’s Rise to Power Dramatized in TV Mini-SeriesDisney Soundtracks Now Live in Special Spotify Hub The Obamas are throwing their hats into the podcast ring. The former first couple have signed a deal with Spotify to produce a series of podcasts exclusively for the streaming platform.The Spotify pact is similar to the Obamas’ multi-year production deal with Netflix to produce TV shows and films.Under the multi-year deal between Spotify and Higher Ground Productions, the Obamas’ production company, Barack and Michelle Obama are set to develop, produce, and lend their voices to select podcasts on a wide range of topics.“Lend their voices” means the former president and first lady will sometimes be heard on the new podcasts — but their primary role will be in the development and production phases.The agreement is with Higher Ground Audio, a new division of the Higher Ground production company, that will be working on the Obamas’ podcast projects..@Spotify and @BarackObama & @MichelleObama’s Higher Ground announce partnership to produce podcasts. https://t.co/gdge9i5L6z pic.twitter.com/yTf3O1JNzH— Spotify News (@SpotifyNews) June 6, 2019The podcasts produced by the Obamas will be exclusive to Spotify and will be distributed worldwide to the platform’s paid and ad-supported user base. The deal is seen as part of a broader push by Spotify to make a bigger splash in the podcasting space.“We’ve always believed in the value of entertaining, thought-provoking conversation,” President Obama said in a statement provided by Spotify. “It helps us build connections with each other and open ourselves up to new ideas. We’re excited about Higher Ground Audio because podcasts offer an extraordinary opportunity to foster productive dialogue, make people smile and make people think, and, hopefully, bring us all a little closer together.”Neither Spotify or Higher Ground Productions disclosed details on specific podcast projects the Obamas may be planning. According to Spotify, the programming will encompass “a diverse slate of original podcasts.”“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to amplify voices that are too often ignored or silenced altogether, and through Spotify, we can share those stories with the world,” said Michelle Obama. “Our hope is that through compelling, inspirational storytelling, Higher Ground Audio will not only produce engaging podcasts, but help people connect emotionally and open up their minds — and their hearts.”During his time in the White House, President Obama has been known to create music playlists for the White House Spotify, including a playlist of his favorite songs for the summer.Spotify, a digital music service with millions of songs, has grown its paid subscriber rolls by 32 percent in the first quarter of 2019 — reaching 100 million Premium customers.The company has acquired several podcasting companies this year, including producer Gimlet Media and services provider Anchor FM Inc. In March, Spotify also acquired Parcast, a scripted-entertainment podcast studio.Watch: Spotify Premium Now Has 100 Million Global UsersMore on Geek.com:Obamas’ Production Company Reveals Upcoming Netflix ContentExperimental Spotify Stations App Launches in USSpotify Is Testing a New Feature That Will Let You Block Music Artistslast_img read more