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Disney Plus finally understands how fans want to watch Marvel movies

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My biggest complaint about Disney Plus for the longest time was that it didn’t seem to understand how people (read: me) want to watch movies. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a perfect example.

When Disney Plus launched, the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies weren’t exactly organized. There were rows for featured titles, movies, and TV shows, but everything was kind of strewn together. Almost every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie you wanted was here — you just had to spend a minute finding it. Now, however, it looks like Disney has changed around the Marvel section a tad to make it, well, make sense.

In the screenshot below (taken from a Disney Plus US account), the Marvel films are separated into their specific phases, and then there’s an additional row for people who want to watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe in order as the events occur within the universe timeline. (There are some arguable inaccuracies in the Timeline Order row, but that’s for another blog post.)

There’s another row for Marvel Legacy Movies (that’s your X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises that aren’t part of Disney’s MCU) as well as rows for legacy animated shows like Spider-Man, Iron Man, and The Incredible Hulk. Organization! A layout that makes sense. It’s unclear how new this design change is, but folks on the Disney Plus subreddit are celebrating it now. The Verge reached out to Disney to see how new the design change is, but didn’t hear back by the time the story was published.

Streaming services, as a blend of technology and entertainment, need both to create good experiences for subscribers. That means not only bringing as much content to a platform as possible and ensuring said platform runs, but also understanding how people are likely to watch what’s there. Disney Plus works well, and there are a ton of movies and TV shows, but it always seemed like Disney never quite understood how people might browse its dedicated hubs. For example, there still aren’t individual rows for each Star Wars trilogy — although that may be an issue with Disney Plus rows seemingly needing at least four titles per row.

From a totally anecdotal place, I’m someone who rewatches Marvel movies constantly. Since this whole quarantine situation started, I’ve rewatched the entire MCU thrice. Not once, not twice, but thrice. (Feel free to mock me, I get it.) Having it all laid out perfectly by phases or timeline order makes those marathons easier. It also, however, makes it easier to revisit certain phases. Want to check out the MCU by the time it gets really cosmic? That’s Phase 3! You can skip over all the other movies and just dive into Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, and Captain Marvel.

Look, I spend way too much time, quite frankly, thinking about how streaming platforms can be designed better. Netflix introduced a shuffle button (although, it still has a few kinks — let me shuffle episodes of a specific show, not just random movies and TV shows you have on your service, Netflix!) and is testing a feature that will let people marathon shows without interruption. I’m still waiting on Netflix to give me a way to make GIFs while streaming on my laptop. Hulu rolled out a simpler interface on some devices that makes it much more user-friendly. Amazon Prime Video, one of the worst streaming service user interfaces I’ve ever used, will hopefully also change… and soon.

The key to success in the streaming world is keeping attention. Part of that puzzle is content, and part of it is a service that doesn’t go down every five minutes — but part of it is understanding why people are using your platform and how. And after close to a year of existing, it seems like Disney finally understands how we want to watch Marvel movies.

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A first look at Mercedes-Benz’ most affordable EV — its escooter

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This article was originally published by Steve Schaefer on Clean Fleet Report, a publication that gives its readers the information they need to move to cars and trucks with best fuel economy, including electric cars, fuel cells, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and advanced diesel and gasoline engines.

Mercedes-Benz has introduced a new electric vehicle that should be affordable for almost everyone. The eScooter rides on two wheels, carries one person and, with a 500-watt (half a kW) motor and a 280-watt-hour battery, should be good for around 15 miles of range. It charges up in a few hours, so topping off the battery overnight at home or during the day at the office should be a snap.

[Read: What audience intelligence data tells us about the 2020 US presidential election]

This scooter can carry you or be carried

The e-scooter market is filled with choices–see the Electric Scooter Guide for the vast array. But sporting one from the fashionable German luxury car brand would certainly let you stand out on urban streets—if anyone noticed the M-B emblem on the upright. In all-black, the escooter has a stealth quality about it and, while handsome, doesn’t break any new ground in design, although it folds and unfolds very elegantly with a few quick gestures.

Mercedes-Benz developed the escooter with Metro Mobility Systems AG, a Swiss manufacturer of small electrical transportation modules. Metro Mobility Systems also offers the extremely cute two-passenger Microlino, which is exactly what an Isetta would be if it were designed today.

Scooter specs

The escooter is limited to about 12 miles per hour, so it won’t pack many thrills, but with a weight under 30 pounds, it should be ideal for last mile commuting and neighborhood errands, like any good scooter. Mercedes-Benz says it will offer Bluetooth and a charger for your trunk, so you can juice it up while it’s stashed there.

Riders communicate with the escooter via the associated Micro app. Snap your mobile phone into the bracket on the bike and you can view a “mini dashboard” of information on speed, distance, travel time and amount of remaining battery charge. You can also adjust certain scooter features, such as driving mode, from the app.

The suggestion is to have fun

Scooters can take a beating, but this one appears to be strong and sturdy, and the company claims it should last for 3,000 miles of scooting.

The escooter will debut in Germany, so if you’re reading this in the United States, sorry–you’ll have to wait (perhaps forever). Pricing and availability in Germany—or elsewhere—hasn’t been announced yet, but high-quality e-scooters can run in the thousands of dollars, so I’d expect the escooter to retail with a four-figure price tag.

Check out their YouTube video for a peek at the escooter, preceded by some contextual marketing content about Mercedes-Benz’s overall vehicle electrification efforts. If and when a Mercedes-Benz escooter makes it to the United States, I’ll eagerly test it and fill you in.

You can follow Clean Fleet Report on Twitter and Facebook


SHIFT is brought to you by Polestar. It’s time to accelerate the shift to sustainable mobility. That is why Polestar combines electric driving with cutting-edge design and thrilling performance. Find out how.

Published October 25, 2020 — 10:00 UTC

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How VR is used by psychologists to profile your personality

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Virtual reality (VR) has the power to take us out of our surroundings and transport us to far-off lands. From a quick round of golf, to fighting monsters or going for a skydive, all of this can be achieved from the comfort of your home.

But it’s not just gamers who love VR and see its potential. VR is used a lot in psychology research to investigate areas such as social anxiety, moral decision-making and emotional responses. And in our new research we used VR to explore how people respond emotionally to a potential threat.

We knew from earlier work that being high up in VR provokes strong feelings of fear and anxiety. So we asked participants to walk across a grid of ice blocks suspended 200 meters above a snowy alpine valley.

[Read: What audience intelligence data tells us about the 2020 US presidential election]

We found that as we increased the precariousness of the ice block path, participants’ behavior became more cautious and considered – as you would expect. But we also found that how people behave in virtual reality can provide clear evidence of their personality. In that we were able to pinpoint participants with a certain personality trait based on the way they behaved in the VR scenario.

While this may be an interesting finding, it obviously raises concerns in terms of people’s data. As technology companies could profile people’s personality via their VR interactions and then use this information to target advertising, for example. And this clearly raises concerns about how data collected through VR platforms can be used.

Virtual fall

As part of our study, we used head-mounted VR displays and handheld controllers, but we also attached sensors to people’s feet. These sensors allowed participants to test out a block before stepping onto it with both feet.

As participants made their way across the ice, some blocks would crack and change colour when participants stepped onto them with one foot or both feet. As the experiment progressed, the number of crack blocks increased.

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We also included a few fall blocks. These treacherous blocks were identical to crack blocks until activated with both feet, when they shattered and participants experienced a short but uncomfortable virtual fall.

We found that as we increased the number of crack and fall blocks, participants’ behavior became more cautious and considered. We saw a lot more testing with one foot to identify and avoid the cracks and more time spent considering the next move.

But this tendency towards risk-averse behavior was more pronounced for participants with a higher level of a personality trait called neuroticism. People with high neuroticism are more sensitive to negative stimuli and potential threat.

Personality and privacy

We had participants complete a personality scale before performing the study. We specifically looked at neuroticism, as this measures the extent to which each person is likely to experience negative emotions such as anxiety and fear. And we found that participants with higher levels of neuroticism could be identified in our sample based on their behavior. These people did more testing with one foot and spent longer standing on “safe” solid blocks when the threat was high.

Neuroticism is one of the five major personality traits most commonly used to profile people. These traits are normally assessed by a self-report questionnaire, but can also be assessed based on behavior – as demonstrated in our experiment.

Our findings show how users of VR could have their personality profiled in a virtual world. This approach, where private traits are predicted based on implicit monitoring of digital behavior, was demonstrated with a dataset derived from Facebook likes back in 2013. This paved the way for controversial commercial applications and the Cambridge Analytica scandal – when psychological profiles of users were allegedly harvested and sold to political campaigns. And our work demonstrates how the same approach could be applied to users of commercial VR headsets, which raises major concerns for people’s privacy.

Users should know if their data is being tracked, whether historical records are kept, whether data can be traced to individual accounts, along with what the data is used for and who it can be shared with. After all, we wouldn’t settle for anything less if such a comprehensive level of surveillance could be achieved in the real world.The Conversation


This article is republished from The Conversation by Stephen Fairclough, Professor of Psychophysiology in the School of Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee dies at 78

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Samsung Electronics has announced the death of its chairman, Lee Kun-hee. The company says he died on October 25th with family including his son, vice-chairman Lee Jae-yong, at his side. He was 78.

A cause of death was not given, but Lee had been incapacitated for many years after suffering a heart attack in 2014, causing him to withdraw from public life. Jae-yong, also known as Jay Y. Lee, has been widely assumed to take over upon his father’s passing and has been viewed as the de facto leader in recent years.

Lee Kun-hee was a controversial figure who played a huge part in pushing Samsung from a cheap TV and appliances maker to one of the most powerful technology brands in the world. He became the richest man in South Korea, with the Samsung group contributing around a fifth of the country’s GDP. In its statement, Samsung says that Lee’s declaration of “new management” in 1993 was “the motivating driver of the company’s vision to deliver the best technology to help advance global society.”

Lee also often found himself in legal trouble. He was convicted of bribing President Roh Tae-woo through a slush fund in 1995, and of tax evasion and embezzlement in 2008, but was pardoned twice. The second pardon came in 2009 and was made “so that Lee could take back his place at the International Olympic Committee and form a better situation for the 2018 Olympics to take place in Pyongchang,” South Korea’s justice minister said at the time.

Lee’s passing will reignite inevitable speculation over the succession process. While Lee Jae-yong has long been groomed to become chairman, he’s had legal issues of his own since his father’s incapacitation, spending almost a year in jail for his role in the corruption scandal that brought down former South Korean president Park Geun-hye. South Korean law also means that anyone assuming Lee’s assets will face paying several billion dollars in inheritance tax, which might force them to reduce their stake in the company.

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