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Yahoo Hacking
Yahoo finally acknowledged what many feared all along: the massive attack on its network in 2014 which allowed hackers to steal data from half a billion users may have been "state sponsored."

Last 22 September, Yahoo said its investigation concluded that "certain user account information was stolen" and that the attack came from "what it believes is a state-sponsored actor." The breach was confirmed by Yahoo months after reports of a major hack.

"Based on the ongoing investigation, Yahoo believes that information associated with at least 500 million user accounts was stolen," a statement from the US internet giant in what is likely the largest-ever breach from a single organization.

"Yahoo is working closely with law enforcement on this matter."

The comments come after a report earlier this year quoting a security researcher saying some 200 million accounts may have been accessed and that hacked data was being offered for sale online.

Yahoo said the stolen information may have included names, email address, birth dates, and scrambled passwords, along with encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers that could help hackers break into victims’ other online accounts.

While there is no official record of the largest breaches, many analysts have called the Myspace hack revealed earlier this year as the largest to date, with 360 million users affected.

Computer security analyst Graham Cluley said the stolen Yahoo data "could be useful ammunition for any hacker attempting to break into Yahoo accounts, or interested in exploring whether users might have used the same security questions/answers to protect themselves elsewhere on the web."

He noted that while Yahoo said that it believes the hack was state-sponsored, the company provided no details regarding what makes them think that is the case.

"If I had to break the bad news that my company had been hacked ... I would feel much happier saying that the attackers were 'state-sponsored,'" rather than teen hackers, Cluley said in a blog post.

It appeared that looted data did not include unprotected passwords or information associated with payments or bank accounts, the Silicon Valley company said.


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The Two Coreys
Rumors is that a tabloid will soon reveal one of Hollywood's most recognizable faces as a gay child rapist. Shocking? Yes. Surprising? Hardly. Because former child stars have been talking about this for years, but the liberals don't want to offend their miscreant supporters.

It was a horrifying moment in one of TV's most oddly compelling reality shows when, on "The Two Coreys," Corey Haim broke down revealing he was raped as a kid. After Haim's 2010 death, Corey Feldman elaborated that his friend was raped by a Hollywood bigwig at just 11 years old.

Feldman has been discussing the sick environment of Hollywood child sexual abuse for years, even detailing the abuse both he and Haim suffered in his memoir, Coreyography. Most recently, last spring he told The Hollywood Reporter about parties for preteen actors where predators groom their next victims, and said that he and Haim had attended many. And he's not the only one speaking out.

Elijah Wood said he was protected from such predators because his mother would not allow him to attend the parties, and although he later denied firsthand knowledge of rampant sex abuse in the industry, he gave some very telling quotes to the Sunday Times.

"Clearly something major was going on in Hollywood. It was all organized. There are a lot of vipers in this industry, people who only have their own interests in mind," he said.

"There is darkness in the underbelly. If you can imagine it, it's probably happened."

Even Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie Oleson on "Little House on the Prairie," said the abuse was an open secret in Hollywood.

"I literally heard that they were 'passed around,'" she told Fox News in 2011. "The word was that they were given drugs and being used for sex. It was awful — these were kids, they weren't 18 yet. There were all sorts of stories about everyone from their, quote, 'set guardians' on down that these two had been sexually abused and were totally being corrupted in every possible way."

Feldman himself said that Haim was raped by someone who is still a huge name in Hollywood, and that his own abusers are still working in the industry — but he is too afraid to name names because of what he calls a very real chance of retribution, legal or otherwise.

"I believe that Haim's (gay) rapist was probably connected to something bigger and that is probably how he has remained protected for all these years," Feldman said in the 2016 THR interview. "This person uses intimidation and threats as a way to keep people quiet. And all these men were all friends. Ask anybody in our group of kids at that time: They were passing us back and forth to each other.

"I would love to name names. I'd love to be the first to do it," he continued. "But unfortunately California — conveniently enough — has a statute of limitations that prevents that from happening.

"If I were to go and mention anybody's name, I would be the one that would be in legal problems and I'm the one that would be sued."

But now someone might finally be stepping up to the plate to name and shame the alleged abuser. RadarOnline says they've been investigating for four years and have the name of the gay predator: an A-list star who is the "kingpin of a child sex ring."

And while they are not revealing the name — probably due to that same threat of lawsuit Feldman fears — they say one of Haim's closest confidantes is preparing to tell all, and has been offered a primetime TV special to do so.

"Corey was afraid Hollywood would ostracize him. He was a big star but this man was bigger. He said, ‘No one would ever believe me!‘" a source told Radar.

"It was ugly. To me, Corey was this innocent little Toronto kid. But these men chewed him up and spat him out.

"By exposing the sick and twisted double lives of Haim's abuser and the likes of Bill Cosby, the veil of secrecy that has protected these creeps will be shattered," added the insider. "Their enablers will be exposed. The truth must be told."

Haim — and the countless others who have been victimized — may finally see justice of some sort, and maybe he can finally rest in peace.


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Google Pixel
After iPhone 7 and Galaxy Note 7, only one more major smartphone is expected this year. Google's 2016 Nexus devices that will not have Nexus branding are still in the works and should launch next month. New reports indicate the Pixel and Pixel XL may be the fastest Android phones in town, but there's also some bad news in store.

The Pixel (Sailfish) and Pixel XL (Marlin) might be the only Android handsets to ship with the updated Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor on board in the US. The news comes from Android Police’s David Ruddock, who took to Twitter to explain Google's thinking behind the Pixel line.

"By the way, as far as I can tell, the Pixels will by the first US devices with Snapdragon 821 by a long shot. No one else is using it," he said.

"Pixel phones will have exclusive Google support, exclusive software features, and exclusive financing options," he also noted. "Google is going for it."

"So, if you're the person who wanted Google to 'really get out there and market their phones,' you may finally see your wish granted," Ruddock added.

As for prices, Google "is getting out of the 'cheap phone' business at this point," he said. "This one is more hearsay: price point being thrown around for Pixel XL is US$ 649. Not clear if that's 32GB or 128GB."

But these aren't the only Pixel leaks for today. AndroidPure has a Google Pixel XL leak as well. The phone, complete with its ugly rear design, was shown in what appears to be a case leak. The images were posted on Weibo initially, showing a phone that's similar to what a few have seen in other leaks. And yes, there's Google branding on the back, rather than Nexus.


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Americans Not Tech Savvy
Even if it was the Americans who have given birth to the Internet, it does not mean that they are also good at using technology to solve problems.

A new report finds U.S. workers rank dead last among 18 industrial countries when it comes to "problem solving in technology-rich environments," or using digital technology to evaluate information and perform practical tasks. The consequences of that emerging competitive disadvantage is energizing the volatile undercurrent of this year’s presidential race, some observers say.

If the problem-solving deficit is bad, the reasons for it may be worse, said Stephen Provasnik, the U.S. technical adviser for the International Assessment for Adult Competency: flagging literacy and numeracy skills, which are the fundamental tools needed to score well on the survey.

"When you look at this data it suggests the trends we’ve discerned over the last 20 years are continuing and if anything they are gaining momentum," said Joseph Fuller, a Harvard Business School professor who studies competitiveness.

The results build off a global survey conducted in 2012 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. To better compare the skills of younger and older adults and the unemployed, researchers did additional surveys in 2014. The countries that scored the highest on the problem-solving with technology criteria were Japan, Finland, Sweden and Norway. Poland scored second to last, just above the U.S.

One stark revelation is that about four-fifths of unemployed Americans cannot figure out a rudimentary problem in which they have to spot an error when data is transferred from a two-column spreadsheet to a bar graph. And Americans are far less adept at dealing with numbers than the average of their global peers.

"This is the only country in the world where it’s OK to say 'I'm not good at math,'" said Mr. Provasnik. "That’s just not acceptable in a place like Japan."

When the original study by the OECD was published in 2013, then-Secretary of Education Arne Duncan didn’t pull his punches. "These findings should concern us all," he said. "They show our education system hasn't done enough to help Americans compete—or position our country to lead—in a global economy that demands increasingly higher skills."

Americans with the most cerebral jobs—those that demanded high levels of literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills—fared the best against the rest of the world in the earlier tests. The potential problem lies in the growing complexity of traditional middle-class jobs in fields like manufacturing and health care. Workers unable to grow in those jobs will lose their positions or face stagnant wages.

The new report does nothing to dispel that gloom. Data on 16- to 34-year-olds, for instance, found even workers with college degrees and graduate or professional degrees don’t stack up favorably against their international peers with similar education levels. Fewer of these most-educated Americans perform at the highest levels on tests of numeracy and problem solving with technology.

"Just because you're a digital native, doesn’t mean you're tech savvy," said Linda Rosen, chief executive of Change the Equation, a privately funded nonprofit that advocates for technological literacy in schools.Marc Tuck, president and CEO of the National Center for Education and the Economy, a not-for-profit educational research organization, says the U.S.’s weak standing in labor skills shown in the report offer a blueprint to understanding the current political climate.

"American workers, once the best educated in the world, are now among the least well-educated, in the industrialized world," Mr. Tuck said in a statement. "That has economic consequences and those economic consequences are now turning into political consequences" as voters head to the polls this presidential election year.

In the 1970s, the U.S. had the most educated workforce in the world. Since 2000, the skills and knowledge of U.S. high-school graduates have stagnated while those of other countries have increased rapidly. That failure to adapt means global employers can get cheaper, better educated labor in many other countries.

"The only way we can compete and live well in this country is if people in other parts of the world want what we have to sell them and we can only get there if we have a population that is very well educated and well trained," Mr. Tucker said. "If people with the same skills are willing to work harder and charge less, that’s where the jobs are going to go."


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Bryan Cranston and the Blue Ranger
Actor Bryan Cranston is known for his legendary performance on the series "Breaking Bad" after it earned him numerous awards in the process. Of course, Cranston wasn't always known for such dramatic, chilling work ... such as his comic performance on "Malcolm in the Middle." But are you aware that he was also part of the superhero series "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers?"

Cranston's Power Rangers past was brought several times already during interviews with folks like Jay Leno and Stephen Colbert. In in 2009, while interviewing Cranston and Vince Gilligan for "Breaking Bad's" second season, Eric Goldman asked Cranston about Power Rangers, after seeing the credit on IMDB.

This is his answer:

"One of my jobs as a young actor starting out was voiceover. I also did dubbing. A lot of dubbing and a lot of voiceover. So foreign films would come in and I'd go in. One of the places that did a lot of that was Saban Entertainment. And they would take movies and then cartoons from all over the world and we'd go and do the English dub. And the Power Rangers came in and I did some voices for that. I had already been there for a number of years, just as a freelance guy coming in and coming out. And it paid like US$ 50.00 an hour, which was fantastic. And you'd work two, three hours at least a day. So I had been there for awhile already and then the Power Rangers came in."
In the iterview, Cranston revealed an interesting trivia. He told Goldman that, "They actually named one of the Power Rangers after me. The Blue Power Ranger's last name is Cranston."

Yes, that's right, the reason the original Blue Ranger is named Billy Cranston is because of the man we'd come to know as Walter White and Heisenberg.

The amusing thing is that, Cranston is not really impressed by the character. "He's the fey one, that's the problem," he added.

David Yost, who came out as gay in 2010, played the original blue ranger in the 1993 "Power Rangers" series as well as the feature film, which was released in 1995.


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