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When the US Bureau of Industry and Security published how it plans to implement the sections on hacking technologies in a global weapons trade pact called the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) last week, it ignited an online firestorm of meltdowns, freakouts, and vicious infighting within the most respected circles of hacking and computer security. That's because the new rules change the classification of intrusion software and Internet Protocol (IP) network communications surveillance -- setting in motion a legal machine that might see penetration-testing tools, exploits and zero-days criminalized.

Some suggest the new classifications also seem designed to give the US a market advantage over the buying, selling, import and export of certain tools used in cyberwar -- a currently black market, in which the US government is already the biggest player.

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CLIMATE CHANGE, OCEANS RISING

The human race is doomed, and it's all our own fault. With the quantity of carbon in our atmosphere now well beyond the safe limit, it's almost certain the planet's temperature will continue to rise. Climate change is causing natural disasters of biblical proportions; a situation that's only going to get worse as time progresses. We all need to work harder to improve this situation by using less energy and behaving more responsibly. But since some people will never be convinced the Earth's rapidly approaching the end of its humanity-hospitable era, we're now in dire need of alternative options to save us from ourselves. To help get the word out, we've compiled a list of some of the most exciting scientific projects we've seen of late that could, if successful, undo some or all of the damage we've caused.

[Image: Lisa Werner / Alamy]

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This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a list of the best gear for your home. Read the full article at TheSweethome.com

If you need an all-purpose digital kitchen scale for baking, cooking by ratio, or even measuring beans to brew coffee, the Jennings CJ4000 ($26) combines some of the best features we've seen in a scale. It's easy to use and store, comes with an AC adapter to save on batteries, and you can disable the auto-off function so you can take your sweet time mixing or brewing. The Jennings costs only a few dollars more than a bare-bones model, but does something none of them can: it measures in half grams for even better precision.

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A look at two alternatives to those $200 Beats headphones

Thanks to Beats, there's no shortage of $200 headphones on the market. But what about cans coming from folks known for their speakers rather than their rhymes? Given their heritage in the audio space, I had high hopes for both the Klipsch Reference On-Ear Premium headphones as well as Polk's Hinge Wireless Bluetooth cans. At first glance, they're pretty comparable: Both are foldable on-ear models with plush carrying bags and tight iOS/OS X integration. As it turns out, the similarities fell away quickly once I actually put them on my skull.

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The approach of summer might mean it's time to unfurl the Slip N Slide, but there's only so much gaming you can do while flopping around in the water. Yes, you should get outside while the weather's nice, but there are also worlds to explore back in the air-conditioned confines of your home. If that system needs a refresh, or you're still in the process of cobbling together the ideal setup, we've got a list of some must-have gaming consoles, computers and accessories. Items like Astro's A50 wireless headset help keep you in touch with your raiding party, while Antec's Bias Lighting can improve your display's aesthetics. We'll have even more gaming gadgets for our buyer's guide in coming months, but for now you can scroll through the gallery below or head to the full gaming section to see what you're missing.

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The DJs of Silicon Valley who are changing music

Before Silicon Valley had an app for everything, and before the halcyon years preceding the dot-com bubble, Richard Quitevis and Ritche Desuasido were teaming up and making waves in the DJ industry. Disrupting, even. As DJs QBert and Yogafrog, respectively, both came up in the Bay Area mobile DJ scene of the early '80s. In 1996, they formed their own company, Thud Rumble, to help drive their craft forward with affordable gear created by and for DJs. From the early days launching cutting-edge records, to designing mixers for some of the biggest names in music and teaming up with Intel to create low-cost, low-latency instruments, Thud Rumble has had a huge impact on the technology used in the DJ world, all while living in the shadow of larger Silicon Valley companies.

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The attic room is sparsely furnished, with just a bed, a side table and a bookcase made from cheap plywood, shelves sagging from overuse. It's sufficiently cold in here that clouds of vapor peel from my lips, but the location, at least, offers the privacy I need. After balancing my laptop on some books, with the webcam strategically pointed above waist-height, I slide my trousers down and pull out the ominous, black cylinder from a bag. It's a Kiiroo Onyx, a $249 teledildonic device that, the company promises, will enable me to have sex with my significant other (or anyone else) through the internet.

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VR turned me into a movie character -- a tiny, bright yellow firefly. But here's the best part: I got to experience it with someone next to me, both literally and virtually, in a dark room with headsets strapped to our heads. For Oculus Story Studio, arguably the Pixar of virtual reality, this is the first step in making the medium more social. And it's using its short film Lost, introduced earlier this year at Sundance, as a test bed. Still, whether we're talking about a cute movie or a fun game, most VR activities so far have one thing in common: They're solitary experiences. Oculus wants to change that.

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In the early '90s, four odd-looking arcade games appeared at a rented-out store in my local mall. For about seven dollars, anyone could stop in and play three minutes of a new virtual reality game called Dactyl Nightmare. I paid up, put on the massive helmet... and then the game was over before I'd even figured out what I was doing in the blocky, chessboard-like environment. The whole experience left a lot to be desired and I never went back. It certainly wasn't the first VR experience (or the most advanced) made available for public consumption, but it sums up how many felt about the ill-fated, first wave of consumer-facing VR projects: all hype and not enough substance. The times and technology have changed, though, and it's finally time for round two. VR systems are being developed and promoted at a rate that outstrips the previous era, with better graphics and games (and far less queasiness) than ever before. VR, it seems, is just about ready for prime time. So to commemorate its second coming, let's take a look at virtual reality's bumpy road to mainstream recognition.

[Image: AP Photo/Mark Cowan]

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Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson is a collaboration between IBM and the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. Once a week, as part of an ongoing series, we'll be preparing one recipe from the book until we've made all of them. Wish us luck.

Sometimes, the ingredient lists for these Watson recipes read like a Chopped contestant's worst nightmare.

Inside the basket you will find: tart shells, gruyere, sour cream and salmon filets.

Almost any time you mix cheese and fish, you know you're in trouble. (Update: I acknowledge that both tuna melts, and bagels with cream cheese and lox are rare exceptions to this rule.) But, if anyone is capable of taming the culinary cruelty of Watson it would be the brilliant minds at the Institute of Culinary Education, like Florian Pinel and Michael Laiskonis. So, even though the idea of a Scandinavian salmon quiche is a little off-putting, I put my faith in the human interpreters to steer me and my captive taste testers in the right direction.

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