How to Pre-Order Both of Nintendo’s Labo Kits

Nintendo has sold a lot of Switches in the last year thanks to the console’s unique ability to play games on a TV and on the go, but also thanks to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. Though they came from 30+ year-old franchises, both games helped millions fall in love with them all over again.

In 2018, Nintendo is setting its sights in a direction it hasn’t aimed at before: the do-it yourself crowd. Nintendo Labo are a series of experiences for Switch that let you (or your kids) build cardboard objects and play games with them. Robots, fishing poles, pianos… there’s a lot to build and try here. Unlike other Switch games, the fun is in the cardboard, so if you want one when they hit shelves April 20, consider pre-ordering. Thanks to our friends at TechBargains, we have handy pre-order links for both Labo bundles Nintendo is selling, and what you’ll get for your money.

Nintendo Labo Toy-Con Variety Kit – $70

Pre-Order on Amazon or GameStop

From the looks of it, you should read more

Why Aren’t There More Smart Americans?

As research for his latest novel, The Quantum Spy, Washington Post reporter David Ignatius spoke with some of the world’s leading experts on quantum computing, which led him to believe that we may see a working quantum computer in the next five years.

“Initially what I would hear back from technologists was, ‘it’s fascinating if it works,’ and I hear more now ‘fascinating when it works,’” Ignatius says in Episode 291 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “There’s a sense that these problems probably can be solved.”

The downside is that a quantum computer would be the cyber warfare equivalent of a nuclear bomb, which means the US government is often reluctant to let foreign scientists work on the most promising research. It’s a system that can slow down progress due the lack of ‘smart Americans,’ as one character in the book puts it.

“The number of American citizens who can do very high-end research who also can easily get security clearances is limited,” read more

Space Photos of the Week: *You* Just Try to Snap a Pic at 100,000 MPH

Say hello to Jupiter’s south pole! The Juno spacecraft snapped this photo during its tenth orbit around the planet, all while speeding at over 100,000 miles per hour. The cyclones and storms in this image are highlighted in false color, and while they might appear lovely and small—they’re not! Some of these storms are bigger than entire continents on Earth.

What is this alien landscape? This is Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. A hotbed (coldbed, really) of alien chemistry, this moon is covered with lakes and rivers—but not like we have here on Earth. Titan is covered in lakes mixed with methane, ethane, and nitrogen, which is what we see here in this image of Titan’s second largest lake, Ligeia Mare.

Are you gobsmacked? Believe it or not, this is Jupiter, the same planet whose south pole we just flew under. In this mind-blowing photo, Jupiter’s famous bands are on full display. Textures in the cloud tops highlight the depths of the storms—some that go many miles below read more

Android Malware, Free Speech, and More Security News This Week

This week, Hawaii reeled after an emergency text alert about an impending nuclear missile attack triggered panic—and then turned out to be a false alarm. Researchers provided more details about the sophisticated Triton malware that targets industrial control systems and impacted a real-world plant last year.

The anti-fascist far-left movement known as Antifa gets some of its intelligence from a computer scientist named Megan Squire, who disseminates valuable and controversial information. Officials looking to support and further law enforcement initiatives are using the clever catchphrase “responsible encryption” in an attempt to gingerly avoid debate while describing the need for backdoors into protected data. Algorithms meant to analyze crime trends and predict read more

USC’s New Class Shows It’s All in on Patents

What’s the secret to success that every aspiring entrepreneur has learned from watching the smash hit reality-TV show Shark Tank?

“Unless you have a patent or some proprietary technology,” Shark Tank host Robert Herjavec has said time and time again to contestants, “you’re gonna be in trouble.”

After which he invariably announces, “I’m out!”

To be sure, patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets — collectively, intellectual property (IP) — are not the only requirements for business success. But there is no denying that the intellectual property rights to an innovation — and knowing how to leverage them — are vital to getting funded by venture investors.

Nor is there any doubt that IP plays a pivotal role in powering today’s knowledge economy, where intangible assets such as IP represent more than 80 percent of the market value of all publicly traded companies. Indeed, intellectual-property-intensive read more

Trump’s First Year in Office: The Lasting Impacts on Tech

As a candidate for president, Donald J. Trump scarcely mentioned the word “tech.” One year since he took the oath of office, that hasn’t changed much. And yet just a year in, the Trump administration has shaped policy in ways that will radically alter the country’s long-term ability to innovate—and often not for the better.

Trump’s public relationship with tech titans has eroded, thanks to his positions on immigration, climate change, and more, despite attempts to build up goodwill during his transition to the White House. Meanwhile, the ranks of tech talent within the administration have shrunk, with top positions like chief technology officer at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, left wide open. Senior advisor and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner did launch the so-called Office of American Innovation, but the tiny shop’s primary focus is modernizing government, not enabling innovation across the country.

Considering all this, it might read more

AI Beat Humans at Reading! Maybe Not

News spread Monday of a remarkable breakthrough in artificial intelligence. Microsoft and Chinese retailer Alibaba independently announced that they had made software that matched or outperformed humans on a reading-comprehension test devised at Stanford. Microsoft called it a “major milestone.” Media coverage amplified the claims, with Newsweek estimating “millions of jobs at risk.”

Those jobs seem safe for a while. Closer examination of the tech giants’ claims suggests their software hasn’t yet drawn level with humans, even within the narrow confines of the test used.

The companies’ based their boasts on scores for human performance provided by Stanford. But researchers who built the Stanford test, and other experts in the field, say that benchmark isn’t a good measure of how a native English speaker would score on the test. It was calculated in a way that favors machines over humans. A Microsoft researcher involved in the project says “people are still much better read more

For Contraception, Natural Cycles’ Guess Is as Good as Yours

Last year, a small Swedish startup made waves with what it called the world’s first form of “digital contraception.” The company’s product, a smartphone app called Natural Cycles, pairs with a thermometer to track women’s basal temperature every day, then uses that data to make predictions about ovulation. Rather than curbing ovulation, like an oral contraceptive, Natural Cycles gives women either a red light or a green light on unprotected sex depending on when they’re most likely to be ovulating. The app promised a 21st-century update to contraception—one that used algorithms, not hormones; one that lived on an iPhone, not inside of a woman’s body.

That promise is now under investigation, after a hospital in Stockholm reported last week that 37 out of 668 women seeking abortions since September had used Natural Cycles as their primary form of contraception.

That’s just one hospital, in one city. The app reportedly counts over half a million read more

Facebook’s Latest Fix for Fake News: Ask Users What They Trust

Mark Zuckerberg promised to spend 2018 fixing Facebook. Last week, he addressed Facebook making you feel bad. Now he’s onto fake news.

Late Friday, Facebook buried another major announcement at the end of the week: How to make sure that users see high-quality news on Facebook. Facebook’s solution? Let its users decide what to trust. On the difficult problem of fixing fake news, Zuckerberg took the path with the least responsibility for Facebook, but described it as the most objective.

“We could try to make that decision ourselves, but that’s not something we’re comfortable with,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page. “We considered asking outside experts, which would take the decision out of our hands but would likely not solve the objectivity problem. We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective.”

The vetting process will happen through Facebook’s read more

Lil Uzi Vert and the Rest of Soundcloud Rap Will Continue to Dominate Music in 2018

Lil Uzi Vert once told me he wanted to be a rockstar. On a June day in 2016, under a slab of sapphire sky, I followed him from New Jersey into the thick of Manhattan. In our time together—I was writing a profile of the then-22-year-old—he remained strikingly walled off, especially for an artist on the precipice of fame. He wasn’t a rapper per se, he assured me numerous times, or at least didn’t operate like one by traditional standards; his creative singularity, he said, skewed more towards impulse and cracking vulnerability.

Aughts-era rap was often built on narratives of excess and indestructibility, but Uzi was interested in its inverse, the finite. He cited the influences of Marilyn Manson, Paramore, Wiz Khalifa. Life, he believed, was meant to be lived—recklessly, riotously, at full-throttle speed—because it could all end as quick as it began. In the months since that conversation, Uzi has become an avatar for a new wave of rap, pop music’s most dominant genre—and read more