A popular messaging app inspired Times Square’s latest tourist trap

In Japan and South Korea, the messaging service Line is king. But it's almost unknown in North America, let alone the rest of the West. That leaves people this side of the international dateline unaware of a phenomenon that's arguably more beloved than Line itself: the service's adorable animal mascots. Last week, Line Friends -- a standalone company dedicated to promoting the characters -- opened a storefront in New York's Times Square, its 73rd brick-and-mortar location worldwide and the first in America. But the shop isn't just an expansion into the US market. By planting itself in one of the most tourist-trafficked areas in the world, Line Friends hopes travelers will peek inside -- and take some of the cute characters back to their home country.

Read the full article on Engadget's website.

The U.S. Government’s long road to adopting the cloud

On December 9th, 2010, U.S. Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra told his government peers that they would never work the same way again. Nearly two years after President Obama signed a pair of executive orders on his first day in office promising a new era of government transparency and disclosure, Kundra gave a presentation reinforcing a new “Cloud First” policy that sought to harness the increasingly powerful remote processing model to hew down bloat and increase efficiency...

Full article on Increment's website.

Truly intelligent enemies could change the face of gaming

Live, die, repeat -- the tagline for the 2014 science-fiction film Edge of Tomorrow -- describes its protagonist, who "respawned" every time he died in the real world. Critics noted that the conceit resembled the cyclical experience of playing a video game, in which dying resets a staged arrangement of obstacles. Often these are enemies, and the most common way they're surpassed is by the player violently dispatching them. Some games have kept this as cartoonish as Mario jumping on a Goomba's head, but others strive for vivid action and more-lifelike foes to pit the player against. But we know what enemies look like today -- how will we treat them in the games to come?

Full article on Engadget's website.

Rickard Nordin, Sweden's 'Hearthstone'-Streaming Politician

Many countries don't offer pro game players the same ease of travel as traditional athletes, leading lawmakers to continue debating just how much the state should support the local video game scene. Such is the case with Sweden, but national Parliament member Rickard Nordin is rallying his peers to embrace the financial and cultural benefits eSports can bring, and he's reaching out to fans (near and far) on a platform fitting his mission...

Full article on Engadget's website.

In Poetry and Hip-Hop, George ‘G’ Yamazawa Found His Self

George "G" Yamazawa is spending most of his spring on the road, traveling from show to show at college campuses across the country. His tour is rigorous, hitting 19 cities in 12 states in April alone.

But despite releasing his first hip-hop EP in February, the crowds aren't coming to see him rap. The 25-year-old Yamazawa is an award-winning slam poet who has performed his spoken word across the United States, Europe, and Dubai...

Full article on NBC Asian America's website.

How America's Biggest Cities Make Sense Of Their Data

Want to know what the state of Connecticut has spent money on in almost real-time? Or maybe you’d find visualizations for the White House’s recently released 2017 federal budget useful. Maybe you’d be into seeing health reports for every restaurant entry on Yelp, instead.

Socrata, creator of custom data systems for civic departments and federal agencies, is the company behind those possibilities...

Full article on Fast Company's website.

“Feel Bad About Us”: Alex Garland Talks About The Real Questions Behind “Ex Machina” And Artificial Intelligence

Alex Garland’s screenplays (28 Days LaterSunshineNever Let Me GoDredd) confront audiences with body horror that is often visceral, sometimes existential, but always carefully written to flip filmgoers’ questions back on themselves. Garland’s latest script and his directorial debut, Ex Machina, is a science thriller asking the ultimate question about humans and our technology–namely, when will our technology become human?

Full article on Fast Company's website.