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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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Remember AlphaGo, the first artificial intelligence to defeat a grandmaster at Go? Well, the program just got a major upgrade, and it can now teach itself how to dominate the game without any human intervention. But get this: In a tournament that pitted AI against AI, this juiced-up version, called AlphaGo Zero, defeated the regular AlphaGo by a whopping 100 games to 0, signifying a major advance in the field.

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The largest mud volcano eruption has been raging in Indonesia since May 29, 2006. At its peak, 180,000 cubic meters of mud flowed daily from a site near a heavily populated region of Java, Indonesia -- enough mud to completely fill the Empire State Building every six days. Almost 60,000 villagers have fled since then, and it's still spewing 80,000 cubic meters per day.

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Researchers from Sweden made headlines last week after claiming to have found the Arabic characters for "Allah" and "Ali" woven into Viking burial costumes. The discovery suggested a more intimate cultural relationship between the Vikings and the Arab world, but some experts are now questioning key assertions made by the Swedish researchers.

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The Los Angeles Police Department approved a test program to deploy drones alongside its officers on Tuesday, with the Police Commission voting 3-1 to roll out a year-long "small Unmanned Aerial System" program.

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In recent years, superbugs have become one of the biggest threats to modern human health. At present, the CDC estimates that some 23,000 people die every year from multidrug-resistant infections in the United States. The threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to global health is big enough that this year the World Health Organisation for the first time published a list of the 12 superbugs that pose the greatest threat to humans.

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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.