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When Google released the Pixel last year, it was taking a stand. No longer would Google hardware be tainted with the brands and logos of other companies, even if behind the scenes, Google still needed help from those same companies to actually build its phones. And despite designs that were almost offensively ugly, a lack of standard flagship features such as water-resistance and expandable storage, and massive supply chain problems that made it hard to actually buy one months after its initial release, there were bright spots like the Pixel's excellent HDR photo mode and an untainted Android experience.

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Donald Trump's appointment of former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as chief of the Environmental Protection Agency this year drew eyebrows, because Pruitt had made his career as a longstanding legal opponent of the EPA and a prominent climate change sceptic. Since he's been put in charge of the agency, Pruitt has allegedly made plans to water down federal scientific research on the climate, deflected from the issue during natural disasters, and cut loose hundreds of employees in a deregulation push.

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In the lead up to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China this month -- a major changing of the guard which will see widespread retirements among senior leaders -- the country's censors have been cracking down on everything from an unnerving sex doll-sharing company to even milquetoast criticism of the government in the media. Now, popular Chinese social media app WeChat has begun restricting how its users can use the platform in an effort to offset its potential use in protests.

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"Ticketed spectators watched anatomists slice into the distended bellies of decomposing corpses, parts gushing forth not only human blood but also fetid pus. The lilting but incongruous notes of a flute sometimes accompanied the macabre demonstration. Public dissections were theatrical performances," writes Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris in her new book The Butchering Art, available October 17th. The science and medical historian chronicles the gruesome horrors of an era before antisepsis -- when speed was prized over precision -- and the pioneering discoveries of Joseph Lister, known as the "father of modern surgery." Lister's antiseptic methods meant that injuries like a compound fracture no longer called for amputation.

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Volvo is generally a bit of a sedate, safe company, but its Polestar cars like the S60 are performance-oriented, refined road-going machines. Polestar is being spun off into a standalone brand, and its first car is a 450kW hybrid-electric monster with a boatload of torque.

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Netflix and Marvel made the right decision a few weeks ago when the companies decided to cancel The Punisher panel at New York Comic Con in the wake of the October 1 shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and 489 others wounded. The timing would have been beyond offensive, which raises the question: When can they release their show about a superhero who shoots people?