In Pictures, Palestinians Visit Ravaged Gaza Areas During Cease-Fire by Colin Daileda of Mashable



Israeli officials have reportedly agreed to a four-hour extension of its military’s cease-fire with Hamas, after foreign ministers from seven countries, including France and the United States, urged them to consider lengthening the temporary truce.

The original agreement began Saturday at 8 a.m., local time, during which displaced Gaza residents trekked back to their homes, many of which have been destroyed by Israeli air and rocket strikes since the conflict began in early July

Hamas has also fired a constant stream of rockets into Israel, but the country’s missile defense system — called the Iron Dome — has prevented the majority of those rockets from doing any damage. More than 1,000 Palestinians have died in the fighting, according to the Associated Press, the majority of whom were civilians, many of them children. The Israeli death toll is now 40, including 35 soldiers and two civilians Read more…

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Wii version of Skylanders Trap Team bundled with Wii U download code by Owen S. Good of Polygon – All

The Wii version of Skylanders Trap Team will include a download code for the Wii U version, effectively creating a cross-buy benefit for the toys-to-life game coming soon from Activision.

Skylanders’ official Twitter feed pointed out the bonus on Wednesday, meaning that those who buy the game on Wii won’t have to buy a new set (at $75) if they upgrade to Wii U. Those who have both consoles may wish to consider this even if the Wii U will be the primary option.

Only the software is different; the physical toys and the portal they use are the same for both consoles.

Skylanders Trap Team launches Oct. 5 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One and 3DS. There will be a “Dark Edition” collectors pack that allows…

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This week in the war on workers: The new piecework economy by (Laura Clawson) of Daily Kos Labor

Making dresses for Campbell kids dolls in a dirty tenement. The older boy, about 12 years old, operates the machine when the mother is not using it, and when she is using it, he helps the little ones break the threads. New York City. Circa 1912.

Piecework the old way.

Working in the “gig economy” is supposed to provide flexibility and control over your own life and work, according to its boosters. But, Sarah Jaffe points out:

TaskRabbit, Zaarly, Agent Anything and the other supposedly high-tech companies bill themselves as new and improved takes on the modern working world, but their model actually comes from a much older concept: piecework. It was common in the late 19th and early 20th century that, instead of working in a factory for a wage or a salary, workers sewed or assembled goods at home and were paid by the finished item rather than for their time. The new wave of piecework may look different – working for an individual rather than a big company, working for many different clients instead of just one, and having a website act as a broker (and take 20% off the top) – but it has very similar roots.

This “revolutionary” work built out of Silicon Valley convenience is not really about technological innovation – it’s just the next step in a decades-old trend of fragmenting jobs, isolating workers and driving down wages.

Now, changes at TaskRabbit are taking away the flexibility that’s supposedly the draw of this type of work, and many the “taskers” aren’t happy. What’s more:

… while technology has made it easier for clients to find workers to do low-paying gigs, it has also made it easier for workers to find each other. And despite the competitiveness engendered by the TaskRabbit system, there are multiple groups on Facebook where TaskRabbit workers and users of other “gig economy” apps talk to one another – including at least one that formed specifically in response to the latest changes, and multiple location-based groups.

Continue reading below the fold for more of the week’s labor and education news.

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Mendoza Zoo Rejects Viral ‘Free Arturo’ Petitions, Polar Bear Staying in Argentina by Alex Magdaleno of Mashable



Despite the Internet’s pleas to relocate Arturo — a 28-year-old polar bear living in an Argentinian zoo — from what critics are calling “deplorable conditions,” he may be stuck.

Arturo is too old to move to a different zoo, according to the director of the Mendoza Zoo in Mendoza, Argentina.

The polar bear suffers from ailments associated with old age, and a potential move could be dangerous, as he would have to be sedated, director Pronotto said

“Arturo is close to his caretakers,” he told the Associated Press“We just want everyone to stop bothering the bear.” Polar bears in captivity typically live for about 30 years. Read more…

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‘Batman v Superman’ Teaser: WB Blows Up Comic-Con by Josh Dickey of Mashable



Warner Bros. blew up Hall H early on Saturday, wrapping the venue in giant surround screens and showing a teaser for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice before bringing director Zack Snyder and stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot onstage for a wave.

The teaser — all of 20 seconds or so — showed Affleck in a bulky, armored batsuit with glowing eyes, on a Gotham rooftop in the rain. He lights a bat signal, whose beam illuminates a hovering, angry-looking Superman whose eyes glow red.

SEE ALSO: A Big, Bold Prediction for Marvel’s ‘Expanding’ Cinematic Universe Plans

Batman and Superman to the stage ..#SDCC

— Josh Lincoln Dickey (@NotoriousJLD) July 26, 2014 Read more…

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Watch the entire Halo: Nightfall panel from Comic-Con by Michael McWhertor of Polygon – All

If you didn’t make the journey to San Diego for Comic-Con International this week, but deeply care about the fiction of Halo, you can still catch everything Halo: Nightfall-related from the con.

Panelists at the Halo: Nightfall panel included 343 Industries executive producer Kiki Wolfkill, franchise development director Frank O’Connor, Scott Free Productions president David Zucker and two of the stars of Halo: Nightfall, Mike Colter and Christina Chong. With the assistance of moderator Geoff Keighley, they dive into the background of Nightfall and its ties to Xbox One game Halo 5: Guardians.

During the panel, 343 Industries unveiled the first footage of Halo: Nightfall, which you can watch here.

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BuzzFeed Fires Editor After Twitter Unearths Plagiarized Articles by Adario Strange of Mashable



News website BuzzFeed, reportedly valued at $1 billion, has fired one its high-profile writers over plagiarism.

Following a review of his work, Benny Johnson, the site’s viral politics editors, has been fired, BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith announced in a blog post on Friday night

“After carefully reviewing more than 500 of Benny’s posts, we have found 41 instances of sentences or phrases copied word for word from other sites,” Smith said in a statement on BuzzFeed‘s website. “Benny is a friend, colleague, and, at his best, a creative force, but we had no choice other than letting him go.” Read more…

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