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Matt’s Favorites: New Astronauts, Emotional New Sims, And More

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Dude, that ginger Sim does NOT look happy.

Dude, that ginger Sim does NOT look happy.

mattroush Matt Roush
Matt Roush joined WWJ Newsradio 950 in September 2001 to spearhead the...
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So what’s the latest and greatest in the ever-changing world of high technology? Well, how about checking these out….

* First of all, here are links to today’s nifty newly added events and the Tech Report Page 2.

* NASA introduced eight new astronaut candidates to the public Tuesday, four women and four men who initially will focus on space station operations before possible assignments to future missions to the moon, near-Earth asteroids or, eventually, Mars.

* “The Sims” are getting in touch with their feelings. The fourth edition of Maxis’ successful life-simulating game will include more emotional versions of the virtual people whose lives and homes players can manipulate. This time around, “The Sims 4″ producer Lyndsay Pearson said the developers have focused on crafting more believable Sims who can perform multiple actions – like walking and talking – at once.

* If you lock yourself out of your General Motors car, but have a Windows Phone in your pocket, good news: You can now use your phone to get back in your vehicle.

* When a company contacts you about a potential loss of your personal data to hackers, you may be left wondering what information was stolen and the potential consequences. Here’s a good place to start your reaction.

* Now here’s a great use for drones — a Canadian town is using them to chase away those awful geese that clog up our cities. (I personally think people should start eating them again, which used to keep their population in check, but now that everybody sees what they eat — essentially, garbage and poop — nobody will eat them.)

* Here’s the remarkable story of the management of a former Soviet nuclear test site in Kazakhstan, nicknamed Plutonium Mountain.

* Here’s an aggressive prediction: By 2035, 100 million or so self-driving cars will be sold per year. Let’s see, that year, I’ll be 78, and might not be such a good driver any more. Sounds good.

* A rare 16th-century scientific artifact called an astrolabe, used in astronomical measurements, that has been missing from a Swedish museum for a decade has been recovered and will be returned this week, the London-based Art Loss Register says.

* We do a little better in astronomy these days. Astronomers recently captured a close-up image of material jetting away from a newborn star. Taken with the Atacama Large Millimenter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile, the image shows a glowing mass, called Herbig-Haro 46/47, that formed when the materials collided with gas and dust.

* Your personal stew of settings changes, add-ons, and other customizations can sometimes weigh down your browser, which is why Google has introduced a reset button in the latest build of Chrome stable.

* Netflix will be streaming art-house heavyweight films alongside Disney superhero blockbusters before any other pay-TV services in a few years. The company unveiled a deal Tuesday to be the exclusive U.S. subscription TV provider to stream first-run movies from the Weinstein Co. starting in 2016.

* Amazon and Conde Nast have kicked off a new service designed to help people manage their print and digital magazine subscriptions. Using the new “All Access” service, Conde Nast readers can now buy and renew their subscriptions through Amazon using their Amazon accounts, the publisher said Tuesday.

* Citing concerns about privacy and government surveillance, Pamela Jones is shutting down her site Groklaw, which for years took on what she and vocal fans saw as wrongheaded legal action in the tech domain. “There is now no shield from forced exposure,” Jones said in final blog post Tuesday. Groklaw depended on collaboration over e-mail, “and there is now no private way, evidently, to collaborate.”

* With Apple expected to unveil an updated iPhone next month, you might be looking for ways to recycle or reuse your older Apple products. As CNET’s Kara Tsuboi shows us, there’s a way to turn used iPhone and iPads into a do-it-yourself home security system.

* Last time CNet freelancer Tim Hornyak was at Singapore’s Changi Airport, he says, “I was waiting for my flight by relaxing at the swimming pool and sipping a Singapore Sling. I really didn’t want to leave. Brimming with gorgeous tropical plants and stress-busting recliners, with an easy rail link to downtown, Changi is the most heavenly airport I’ve ever been to. It’s almost a vacation unto itself, and makes some world air hubs feel like, well, hell.” Now, it’s adding yet another futuristic pleasure dome with three-story waterfall and more relaxation spaces.

* Amazon and Conde Nast have kicked off a new service designed to help people manage their print and digital magazine subscriptions. Using the new “All Access” service, Conde Nast readers can now buy and renew their subscriptions through Amazon using their Amazon accounts, the publisher said Tuesday.

*  The slow and steady march towards real-life graphical performance in video games appears to be quickening its pace. Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz in an interview published on Tuesday, Quantic Dream CEO David Cage said that as developers get more comfortable developing titles for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, gamers can expect titles that can nearly match real life.

* Also, Microsoft released a list of Xbox One launch day game titles on Tuesday at Gamescom. The tech giant originally announced its next-generation video game console in May. The Xbox One will go on sale in November for $499.99. The console’s new features will include: voice command, cloud integration, universal gestures and the familiar Xbox Live home screen.

* And sSony announced Tuesday at Gamescom that the PlayStation 4 will go on sale on Nov. 15. The electronics giant initially announced the video game console in February and revealed its new design at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June.

* Alexander Niculescu, a psychiatrist at Indiana University in Indianapolis, and his colleagues say they have found six biomarkers in human blood that can identify people at risk of committing suicide. Their work is published in Molecular Psychiatry.

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