Microsoft invented Google Earth in the 90s then totally blew it The Earth fit inside a 45-foot by 25-foot Compaq computer in an office building in suburban Seattle. As the East Coast woke up Monday mornings, it would roar to life. "The temperature in the room would go up 5 to 6 degrees, things would start banging around," Tom Barclay, the man tasked by Microsoft with putting the Earth inside a database, remembers. "You'd really marvel at it." Vice

Windows 3.1 is still alive, and it just killed a French airport A computer glitch that brought the Paris airport of Orly to a standstill Saturday has been traced back to the airport's "prehistoric" operating system. In an article published Wednesday, French satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné (which often writes serious stories, such as this one) said the computer failure had affected a system known as DECOR, which is used by air traffic controllers to communicate weather information to pilots. Vice

Marc Andreessen sold 73 percent of his Facebook stock in the last two weeks Facebook board member Marc Andreessen is padding his wallet ahead of the holiday shopping season. Andreessen, an early Facebook investor and board member since 2008, has sold over 1.5 million shares of Facebook stock in the past two weeks at a value of roughly $160 million, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Since Oct. 30, Andreessen has offloaded more than 73 percent of his total ownership in the company, and 90 percent of his class A shares... Recode

What's next for Rocket League? You can see most blockbuster games coming from a mile off: they're teased for years in brief trailers at E3, before the inevitable multiplayer beta to ramp up the hype and the eventual launch. But as we found out in an exclusive interview this week, that was not the case with Rocket League, the surprise PS4 and PC hit that involves little more than driving rocket powered cars into a big football and trying to knock it into a goal. Redbull

Huawei shows off fast-recharging battery Huawei has developed a prototype smartphone battery that can be recharged to half its capacity in just five minutes. The battery is based on the same lithium ion chemistry used in cellphone batteries today but gets its advantage from atoms of graphite bonded to the anode, Huawei said on Friday at an industry conference in Japan. That change means faster charging but not at the expense of usage life or a sacrifice in the amount of energy that can be stored in each battery, it said. Computerworld

Death by a thousand likes: How Facebook and Twitter are killing the open web Here's one way to understand the symbiotic relationship between publications and platforms in the digital age. Publications depend on advertising dollars to keep producing content, so they need to hold readers' attention. Big platforms like Facebook and Twitter already have plenty of attention, but they need vast quantities of content to fill up their news feeds. It seems natural, then, that publications have started relying on platforms to drive readership. Quartz

What's in a name? Ages and names predict the valence of social interactions in a massive online game Multi-player online battle arena games (MOBAs) are large virtual environments requiring complex problem-solving and social interaction. We asked whether these games generate psychologically interesting data about the players themselves. Specifically, we asked whether user names, which are chosen by players outside of the game itself, predicted in-game behaviour. ScienceDirect

Feeding the robot chef Is 2015 the pivotal year for robot chefs, the year when it's started to look realistically possible? When Moley announced its robotic kitchen back in April, the media jumped on the story as a promising glimpse into the future. Could robot chefs really have arrived? As robotics' professionals, we're understandably skeptical about such news stories - since the 1960s we've heard that robot servants are coming. Robohub

Playing Fallout 4 with charisma, luck, and nothing else Two armed thugs are demanding a woman repay a perceived debt. She's refusing, and they are threatening her. That's when my new Fallout 4 character, Chuck B. Lucky, strolls up and points his pistol at the two goons while desperately hoping he won't have to use it. Chuck doesn't have a problem with killing, it's just that he's terrible at it. When I created Chuck, I put all his points into Charisma and Luck, maxing out those two SPECIAL stats. I've also limited him to perks from those two stats, meaning I've got precious little in the way of combat skills. PC Gamer

Flyer-fighters! Firemen in Dubai are to be issued with jetpacks It was either this, or a consignment of very long ladders. Dubai has moved to protect its forest of skyscrapers - which includes the world's tallest, the 2,700ft Burj Khalifa – by ordering jetpacks for its firefighters. The city's Directorate of Civil Defence has ordered 20 of the $200,000 machines, made by New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company, plus two simulators for training. The Daily Mail

Shocking new way to get the salt out As the availability of clean, potable water becomes an increasingly urgent issue in many parts of the world, researchers are searching for new ways to treat salty, brackish or contaminated water to make it usable. Now a team at MIT has come up with an innovative approach that, unlike most traditional desalination systems, does not separate ions or water molecules with filters, which can become clogged, or boiling, which consumes great amounts of energy. MIT

Complete guide to Surface Book After years of dabbling in tablets, Microsoft's Surface team has finally unleashed the ultimate laptop, Surface Book. I've switched to using this device as my full-time PC at home and on the go, and this guide-a complete collection of all of my how-to articles about Surface Book---can help you do the same. More soon! I will keep this guide updated as I write more Surface Book content. Paul Thurrott

How one company is bringing old video games back from the dead With a gruff tone, Stephen Kick is describing an unexpected phone call from one of his sci-fi heroes. Kick had been trying to license the rights for I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream – not Ellison's famous short story from 1967, but the largely overlooked PC game from 1995. Fast Company

BlackBerry Priv review: Android fixes the OS, but the hardware can't compete "BlackBerry is still around?"That's the most common reaction I get when I show people the "Priv," BlackBerry's first Android phone. It's hard to believe the original iPhone came out more than eight years ago, but only now would we say BlackBerry has something that might compete in the modern smartphone era. Ars Technica

Edward Snowden explains how to reclaim your privacy Last month, I met Edward Snowden in a hotel in central Moscow, just blocks away from Red Square. It was the first time we'd met in person; he first emailed me nearly two years earlier, and we eventually created an encrypted channel to journalists Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, to whom Snowden would disclose overreaching mass surveillance by the National Security Agency and its British equivalent, GCHQ. The Intercept (also Did the FBI pay a university to attack Tor users?)

Freeciv founded 20 years ago today! The Freeciv project was founded on November 14 1995, by Peter Joachim Unold, Claus Leth Gregersen and Allan Ove Kjeldbjerg. The three Danish students created this open source strategy game while studying computer science at Aarhus University. Today, 20 years later we have interviewed the founders of the project to find out about the early history of Freeciv. Freeciv