For teens, Facebook is ‘dead and buried’

Is that parroting dead?

(Credit: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

We come here not to praise it, but to bury it.

This seemed to be the attitude of teen respondents in a study that probed their deeper feelings about society’s most important subject: Facebook.

This study was part of a larger piece of research funded by the European Union. It revealed that there was an increasing disunion between teens and the now slightly wrinkly social network.

In a blog post that reads as less of a lament than a tortured eulogy, Daniel Miller, professor of Material Culture at University College, London used these words: “What we’ve learned from working with 16-18 year olds in the UK is that Facebook is not just on the slide, it is basically dead and buried.”

What could be the problem? Could this be an example similar to research earlier this year that described Facebook as “old” in the eyes of the fresh-faced and feckless?

The word professor Miller used to encapsulate these teens’ feelings was “embarrassed.” Yes, it appears that Facebook has reached the level of sheer shame.

The psychology has changed. Where once it would be teens rushing to Facebook to cha… [Read more]

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Monopoly rises from the grave with ‘Walking Dead’ edition

(Credit: Hasbro)

We can’t even remember the last time we (or anyone we know) sat down for a rousing game of Monopoly. Could our interest be brought back from the dead?

Hasbro certainly has been trying, with various themed editions of the game over the last decade or two. The latest ties in to one of the most popular shows on TV: AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” based on the comic by Robert Kirkman. It’s basically the same Monopoly, more or less, featuring art by Kirkman and zombie-themed chance cards — and, of course, locations from the series.

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Instead of buying houses and hotels to make your property more valuable, though, you buy walls and guard towers to fortify it against attack.

The player pieces are themed for items in the comic: Michonne’s katana (dibs!); Rick’s hat; Negan’s barbed-wire-wrapped baseball bat, Lucille; Dale’s 1973 D-27C Winnebago Chieftain RV; a telephone; and a bucket of limbs.

The game can be picked up for $ 39.99 from ThinkGeek and… [Read more]

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Walking Dead publisher drops DRM

The webcomic "Scatterlands" is now available in a digital collection from Image Comics.

(Credit: Image Comics)

The publisher of the Walking Dead, Saga, Witchblade, and the Savage Dragon announced on Tuesday that it’s closing the book on digital rights management. New books from Image Comics are now available for digital download from its online store without DRM.

Readers can purchase new books from in several platform-agnostic formats: PDF, EPUB, CBR, and CBZ. Previous publishing agreements haven’t changed, so people who prefer to buy from proprietary apps such as Comixology, Amazon, and Apple will still be able to do so.

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Ron Richards, Image Comics’ marketing honcho, told the comics news site ComicBookResources that the DRM-free books would benefit comics creators the most. “There’s no cut for Co… [Read more]

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Scientists briefly revive extinct frog from dead cells

Rheobatrachus silus frog with a baby in its mouth.

(Credit: D. Sarille)

The Rheobatrachus silus frog has been extinct since 1983. This unusual Australian creature was known for swallowing its eggs and then releasing the young from its mouth. That’s way too awesome to just let the animal be resigned to the biological history books.

Australian researchers have spent five years conducting experiments using somatic-cell nuclear transfer, a technique for creating a cloned embryo. Appropriately enough, it’s called the Lazarus Project. The scientists took donor eggs from a related frog and replaced the nuclei with dead nuclei from the extinct frog. Some of the eggs then began to grow.

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I would love to say the results were a brood of happy, hopping baby frogs, but it didn’t quite get th… [Read more]

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The dock is dead: Best wireless speakers for the iPhone

Bluetooth speakers, AirPlay speakers, Sonos, and Apple TV are some of the excellent — and totally wireless — alternatives to old-school speaker docks, which don't work with the iPhone 5.

Sarah Tew/CNET)

Since Apple’s iPhone 5 became official on September 12, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster for tech enthusiasts. There have been plenty of highs — It’s so light! It’s got 4G! Beautiful screen! — but they’ve been tempered with some disappointing lows, too. On the software side, Apple’s decision to move to a Google-free maps app has been the biggest sticking point. On the hardware front, there’s still grumbling about the death of the venerable 30-pin dock port, which has been a mainstay of iPhone (and iPod) design since the early days.

For many, the transition from 30-pin to Lightning has meant an express trip through the … [Read more]

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Robot worm laughs off your attempts to squash it dead

Hammer time: Meshworm's soft body can absorb crushing blows without damage.

Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET)

From snakes to fish to cheetahs, we’ve seen a veritable Noah’s Ark of biomimetic robots in recent years, and now researchers have turned to the lowly earthworm for inspiration.

Meshworm is a squishy, sluglike droid that stretches and squeezes its artificial muscles to move forward. This peristalsis is similar to how worms travel and how your guts move food around.

Researchers at Harvard University, MIT, and Seoul National University say Meshworm could squeeze its way into tight spaces and over uneven terrain. Natch, the research is funded by DARPA, so there are potential military apps. Robo-slug spies, perhaps?

The crawler could also have medical applications, such as implants, endoscopes, and prosthetics.

But one of its most remarkable features is that it can take quite a beating. As seen in the video below, researchers stepped on it and even took a hammer to it, but Meshworm inched away unscathed.

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