Bundesliga is the latest soccer league to use video referees

Of course, the idea here is to eliminate potentially major mistakes in officiating, especially those when the action happens very quickly. And as you might expect, the VAR system was called upon its first Bundesliga match in a penalty situation between Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen.

Opponents of the tech argue that it will slow the pace of the matches, but FIFA technical director Marco Van Basten argues otherwise.”Football will remain the same,” he said earlier this year. “But we’re working so that through the video assistants it will become more honest. All that we want is that the result at the end of a game is achieved in a regular manner.”


Historic moment as the new #Videoassist is called upon for the first time to award @FCBayernEN‘s penalty. #FCBB04 pic.twitter.com/MBbI1n3PP8

— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) August 18, 2017

Different leagues may employ VAR differently, but Bundesliga will only apply it in four specific situations. Those are limited to irregularities in goal decisions (foul, handball and offside), penalties, red cards and any time there’s mistaken identity over a yellow or red card. This is the same criteria MLS uses to decide when the video assistant referee can intervene in a match. The debut of the tech this month in MLS was the result of nearly three years of testing, which began back in 2014. What’s more, FIFA also plans to use the system during the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/18/bundesliga-video-assistant-referees/

Fisker’s luxury EV will debut in January at CES 2018

Fisker Inc. started taking pre-orders for the EMotion in June, but the car isn’t scheduled to ship until 2019. It’s priced at $129,000 and the company is said to be working on a more affordable version priced around $34,000 that aims to take on the Tesla Model 3. That model is expected to hit the market sometime in 2020.

In regards to being labeled a “Tesla killer,” Fisker told TheStreet, “I don’t think anyone is out to kill anybody. Tesla doesn’t really have a competitor. It doesn’t look like one is going to emerge. I think it’s time to move to a next level of this technology and I believe that we have come up with some real breakthroughs.”

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/18/fisker-luxury-ev-debut-january-ces-2018/

Google mobile search shows 6-second video previews

Notably, this feature isn’t available on desktop right now (or, for that matter, iOS). Google tells our TechCrunch colleagues that it’s due to the company’s mobile focus. We’d add that mobile users are the ones likely to appreciate it most. Video dominates your phone screen in a way it doesn’t on your PC, and you’d likely rather not hop back and forth between screens and apps until you find the video you wanted. It won’t be surprising if the feature becomes ubiquitous across Google’s search pages, though, as just about everyone can benefit from a quick look at the video they’re about to watch.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/18/google-mobile-search-video-previews/

Google figured out how to flawlessly remove stock-photo watermarks

The trick is to take lots of images — we’re talking hundreds or thousands of photos — with the same watermark and use software to detect repeating structures. With enough examples, the watermark becomes the signal and all of the photos become noise. The watermark pattern can then be removed in totality from the image without reducing the quality of the image itself.

However, along with its method of seamlessly lifting watermarks, Google also provides a way to counteract it. Changing the watermark’s position on the images randomly for each photo doesn’t stop the software from doing its thing, nor does changing how opaque the watermark is. But randomly warping the mark just slightly for each image does prevent the program from removing it in full.

Google figured out how to flawlessly remove stock-photo watermarks

Google says it’s definitely possible that someone will find a way around the warping method in the future, but these methods and the use of randomization could be helpful to photography and stock image communities.

Image: Google

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/18/google-flawlessly-remove-stock-photo-watermarks/

Play as David Beckham in his prime in ‘PES 2018’

Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer franchise always vies with EA Sports’ FIFA series for the year’s best football game. To get an edge over its competitor, Konami packed new features into this year’s edition — along with licensing some celebrity athletes to include in your squad. While champion sprinter Usain Bolt was an odd choice to include in the game, the next addition to PES 2018 is a no-brainer: The legendary David Beckham.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/18/play-as-david-beckham-in-his-prime-in-pes-2018/

China’s online court heard its first case today

The whole process from beginning to end is done through the internet. The judge presiding over the cases is stationed in a Hangzhou-based courtroom where members of the public can watch a projection of the video feed. A computer program transcribes the trial. Anyone wanting to submit a case can file all required petitions and necessary documents online where they can also pay any fees. Court notifications are delivered online and anyone without a computer can use terminals made available at the courthouse.

China isn’t the only country looking into online hearings. Canada recently launched an online tribunal for small claims disputes and the UK just began an online court pilot program. “The internet court breaks geographic boundaries and greatly saves time in traditional hearings,” said Wang Jiangqiao, the online court’s vice president.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/18/chinas-online-court-first-case/

Facebook opens up its Craigslist-like section to retailers

Some new items that will be available through Marketplace are cars from local dealerships, real estate listings, ticket sales and products from professional retailers. Facebook already hosts ticket sale and shopping pages, but now these will be under the Marketplace umbrella. Once the company gets a better idea of what Facebook users are looking for, it will boost those sorts of offerings.

Facebook launched Marketplace last year as move on eBay and Craigslist and tweaked the forum in May to make it easier to find and post items with expanded and easier to sort through categories. Marketplace was also expanded to over a dozen additional countries earlier this month.

While product offerings will be expanded, Facebook is still staying away from managing payments. “Eventually, we could go in a number of different directions [with payments],” Liu told Recode. “But right now we’re really trying to figure out, ‘how do you actually drive engagement between people and businesses, people and other people locally?’ That’s how we really think about the product.”

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/18/facebook-craigslist-like-marketplace-retailers/

Porn site offers to revive ‘Sense 8’ for a third season

xHamster vice president Alex Hawkins writes that his company gets “more visitors daily than the New York Times, ESPN or the Daily Mail.” Hawkins also notes that xHamster has “the eyeballs, and the revenue” to produce the series, promising that xHamster would allow the team a full production budget free of competition from other shows. Further, he says, “we know that a series about polymorphous perversity is a hard sell for a mainstream network like Netflix.” Now there’s an understatement.

While Sense8 isn’t only about non-normative, multi-partnered sexuality, the series does spend an equal amount of time on human beings who have sexual desires, something many other televisions shows that purport to tell our stories could learn from. Even xHamster knows it is “an unlikely home,” but Hawkins is undeterred. “…five years ago, people laughed at the idea of Netflix producing original series,” he writes. “We think that our time, like yours, has come.”

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/18/porn-site-offers-to-revive-sense-8-third-season/

Options for neo-Nazis on the internet are starting to shrink

It wasn’t the post-election spike in hate crimes that turned the tide. It wasn’t the 1000+ hate incidents against minorities within the first month after the election, or the 86% rise in anti-Semitic hate incidents within the last quarter — which the Southern Poverty Law Center attributes to Trump’s emboldening of hate groups.

Nor was it the murders of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, or other men of color whose lives were denigrated and deaths have been mocked and celebrated in posts on sites (and social media groups) such as Daily Stormer since at least 2014.

The event to finally move the needle for internet companies doing business with hate groups was the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia. More specifically, the tipping point came when neo-Nazi-Republican website/group Daily Stormer ran an attention-grabbing post denigrating the victim.

Options for neo-Nazis on the internet are starting to shrink

Compared to the black men listed above, Daily Stormer went light on Heyer, but it was no less repulsive. This makes sense for them because she’s white; Daily Stormer didn’t call her mother a “stupid ape” (Michael Brown, 2014), or say a hero “put down [a] rabid dog” (Tamir Rice, 2017), nor could they call it a “chimpout” (Freddie Gray, 2016).

Ms. Heyer’s awful turn in Daily Stormer’s spotlight just happened to be the thing notoriously skeezy web host, GoDaddy, found to be one bridge too far. As the week unfolded, the same would be evident for Google, YouTube, Twitter, Sendgrid, Zoho, Cloudflare, PayPal, Apple Pay, Discord, Reddit, Spotify, and Facebook.

It began Monday when GoDaddy booted the site from its hosting service, citing a Terms violation.

The rest was a domino effect of companies finally sorta-admitting they’re part of a serious problem. And, entertainingly, hackers making life hell for the online presence of neo-Nazi-Republicans. Which feels good, and is fun to laugh at.

Yet the decision of web providers yanking services and ejecting Nazi scumbags is apparently a controversial and unprecedented issue. It would appear that until now, like Trump, internet companies like Facebook and Cloudflare have not shared the instinctive moral revulsion most Americans, Europeans, and British feel toward white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Their reaction is not unlike Sheriff Bell in No Country For Old Men, whose character hallmark is first-time astonishment that such vileness could exist in a person. While the rest of us have been pursued in a slow-motion nightmare from these people in large part thanks to their internet services all along.

First, let’s roll back to this week’s plot developments. After getting GoDaddy’s boot, Daily Stormer unsuccessfully tried to re-host at Google, which ejected the site after just two hours. Google then terminated the site’s YouTube channel. According to the EFF, “Google also placed the dailystormer.com domain on “Client Hold”, which means that Daily Stormer’s owner cannot activate, use or move the domain to another service.” They added that “it’s unclear whether this is for a limited amount of time, or whether Google has decided to effectively take ownership of the dailystormer.com domain permanently.”

Chat and VOIP app Discord joined the eviction party next, widening the net and shutting down several neo-Nazi servers and accounts. Then email newsletter service Sendgrid and SaaS suite provider Zoho, who confirmed to press they’d terminated services to Daily Stormer. Surprisingly, Reddit was next at bat. The company told press it was actively banning subreddits linked to far-right extremists, though only confirmed it had banned r/Physical_Removal, which openly advocated violence.

Options for neo-Nazis on the internet are starting to shrink

To everyone’s shock, Facebook actually did something that may barely impact its lucrative active daily user numbers: It banned eight hate group pages (including one called Genuine Donald Trump).

According to CNET, Facebook also “removed Charlottesville’s Unite the Right event page over the weekend, and is currently removing all links to an article at The Daily Stormer that attacked Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer, unless they explicitly condemn the source material.” One individual had his profiles removed by both Facebook and Instagram, former IT guy and prominent white nationalist Christopher Cantwell, who has been labeled an extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

It should be noted that press has simultaneously noted that hate groups and white supremacist memes “thrive, even in wide open, public communities” on Facebook. Don’t worry, it’s still a clean, well-lit place for fascism: Facebook still defends Holocaust denial as free speech as its policy, despite the fact that it is illegal in 16 countries because it is linked to violence against Jews.

That was a hell of a Tuesday. By Wednesday Spotify finally moved to remove a slew of white-supremacist artists that were flagged three years ago by the Southern Poverty Law Center as racist “hate bands.” An article on Digital Music News from Monday called “I Just Found 27 White Supremacist Hate bands On Spotify” apparently prompted the removals.

Developer platform Twilio also announced it was adding “an explicit prohibition of hate speech” into its Acceptable Use Policy. Apple and PayPal started disabling payment support from some, but not all “websites selling white nationalist and Nazi apparel.” PayPal got explicit about it. Squarespace said it would be dropping white supremacist sites from its hosting service, but declined to say which ones.

Wednesday also saw the final support beam, Daily Stormer’s staunch DDoS protector Cloudflare throwing in the towel. The service announced it would no longer do business with the site because Daily Stormer had bragged that Cloudflare supported its mission. That made Cloudflare’s CEO Matthew Prince change his mind about hosting them.

Prince’s statement said, “Our terms of service reserve the right for us to terminate users of our network at our sole discretion. The tipping point for us making this decision was that the team behind Daily Stormer made the claim that we were secretly supporters of their ideology.”

Groups who want to spew vileness and incite violence but want to keep their Cloudflare account, take note: Loose lips sink ships, and all that.

Or maybe just don’t be a Nazi

By the time Cloudflare dumped them, Daily Stormer had moved to a .onion address then a .ru (Russian top-level domain) URL, while also trying to move its Facebook following to Russian Facebook clone VK. The Verge noted that at time of publishing the beleaguered Nazi-Republican site’s VK page had “only 88 followers.” Thursday saw even the .ru domain suspended when the Russian government’s media regulator said it needed to review the site’s “extremist content.”

From the moment images of Charlottesville hit Twitter, Anonymous and associates activated faster than the internet’s notoriously racist and diversity-challenged powerhouse corporate darlings. It’s no surprise; this wing of hacktivism hates racists with a historic passion and loves to act on it.

Anonymous was knocking various neo-Nazi and KKK sites offline Sunday night and continues as we publish this column; the #OpDomesticTerrorism hashtag on Twitter charts the activities. They pwned single and multiple fascist and Nazi sites, the Daily Stormer BBS, and other bits and pieces, as well as directing anger at the city of Charlottesville. This carnage isn’t letting up anytime soon.

The internet’s rejection and ejection of neo-Nazi and white supremacy sites this week has tensions high about issues of speech, on top of tensions being at a breaking point with fascist viewpoints, their enticements to violence, and their backing in the White House.

The problem is that the same companies we’re cheering at to take a bite out of Nazi privilege and access are the same companies whose takedown and censorship processes are muddy — which is what gives them play to censor people they simply don’t want on their services. Like people who work in the sex industry, and LGBT people, who are most often silenced at the censorship end of these policies. One need only read the news over the past several years to see that legitimate voices get silenced online far more than those of aging skinheads and young Nazis.

But there’s a huge difference between talking about sex or questioning corruption in a democracy, and saying that the Holocaust wasn’t real or advocating race war.

It’s of course made worse that they’ve done nothing about it until now, and that content policies are unclear, hypocritical, and unevenly enforced (or left to user reports, which are always abused).

But it all leads to where we are now.

Internet companies like Facebook have been pretending to hold themselves to a country-level bar of “free speech” when we know it’s only ever been about the bottom line, because all the while they’re censoring other topics at the behest of governments or to save face for top-tier users (like Donald Trump). So until now, no businesses were being called out on accountability, or put to the real test of “it’s a business so they can actually do as they please, right to refuse service to anyone, etc.”

It’s definitely fuel for the neo-Nazi fires, because they see themselves as persecuted. Right now they’re crying oppression, that their “free speech” is impinged upon. Poor Nazi: Facebook kicked you off? You lost your Instagram? PayPal won’t do business with you? Don’t cry “free speech” for me, Argentina. Welcome to the world of the rest of us, especially sex workers, adult performers, LGBT people, and all of us who write about, talk about, make art about or anything else having to do with sex.

Options for neo-Nazis on the internet are starting to shrink

Interestingly, this week, three local ACLU chapters of California have all broken rank with ACLU National saying categorically “White supremacist violence is not free speech.” Holocaust denial is illegal in 16 countries for a reason: That it inspires violence against Jews. And yes, those arguing to keep it alive — like Facebook — say it is a matter of free speech.

But to what end is “free speech” justifiable for a company?


White supremacist violence is not free speech. https://t.co/PSgvd9iXiH

— ACLU of Northern CA (@ACLU_NorCal) August 16, 2017

Nazis getting kicked to the online curb isn’t the end of free speech or the beginning of a slippery slope. It was kind of the whole point of World War II.

Images: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters (Charlottesville / Heyer memorial); Roberto Baldwin/AOL (Reddit); Carlo Allegri / Reuters (WWII veterans)

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/18/options-for-neo-nazis-on-the-internet-are-shrinking/

TCL limits its budget-friendly 4K smart TV to one size

When we picked TCL’s P-Series Roku 4K Smart TV for our Buyer’s and Back to School Guides, we noted a perfectly good television with an “extra-bright screen, good contrast and accurate colors” — a steal for $650. The Wirecutter named it “The Best 4K TV on a Budget,” and CNET loved it. At the time, the TV was also available at a more budget and space-friendly $500, 50-inch model as well as a higher-end 65-inch display for $1000. Now the company is apparently dropping the smaller and larger sizes and will only make the 55-inch version of this budget TV.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/18/tcl-limits-budget-friendly-4k-smart-tv-one-size/