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The Rock-afire Explosion

Remember Showbiz Pizza Place? In the 80's, Showbiz franchise restaurants competed with Chuck E. Cheese's, offering animatronic robot rock, an arcade, and (perhaps only incidentally) pizza. The most memorable aspect of the entertainment experience was the Rock-afire Explosion, a full animatronic band that played in sync to hits of the day, employing surprisingly detailed movements and choreography. Although Showbiz Pizza was ultimately taken over by rival Chuck E. Cheese's, some complete Rock-afire Explosion bands still remain in private hands, and a subculture has grown up around their continued use. Rock-afire choreographers are still programming the bands, with amazing results.

Now, filmmaker Brett Whitcomb is producing a documentary on the Rock-afire Explosion's history and current reinvigoration. The film is set for release this fall, and the newly released trailer is below. Featuring Rock-afire Explosion choreographers like Chris Thrash, this promises to be an awesome experience for kids of all ages.

See also: Showbiz Pizza fan site, more on Chuck E. Cheese, more Rock-afire choreographed songs, and the Rock-afire movie's homepage (be sure to befriend/become a fan of the movie on Myspace or Facebook!).

(Via Pop Candy.)

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Google Maps Is Getting a Makeover With More Icons and Colors
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Prepare to get used to some big changes to your Google Maps app. The tech giant announced in a blog post that it’s changing the tool’s design to better highlight information that’s relevant to your journey.

The first update can be seen when switching between modes of transportation. If you’re driving from your home to work, for example, Maps will show you gas stations along your route, but switch to public transit and train stations will pop up instead.

The app’s color scheme has also been given a makeover. All points of interest (POI) that appear on the map are now color-coded. Looking for the nearest restaurant? Food and drink POI are orange. Need some retail therapy? Shopping icons are blue. Hospitals (pink), churches (gray), outdoor spaces (green), and more are included in the new system.

Within the larger categories, Google has introduced dozens of specialized icons to indicate subcategories. Banks are marked with a dollar sign, cafes with a coffee cup, etc.

“The world is an ever-evolving place,” Google Maps product manager Liz Hunt wrote in the blog post. “Now, we’re updating Google Maps with a new look that better reflects your world, right now.”

This overhaul is the latest way Google Maps is evolving to make life more convenient for its users. In the past year, the app has rolled out features that allow you to locate your parked car and to check how crowded attractions are at certain times. The new design changes will start appearing over the next few weeks.

Phones with maps app open.
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Color key for Google Maps.
Google

Icons for Google Maps.
Google
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Facebook Just Made It Easier to Tell the Difference Between Fake News and Real Reporting
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On Facebook, fake news stories "reporting" international conflicts over Toblerones can appear alongside fact-checked journalism from trustworthy outlets. This leads to some bogus stories racking up thousands of shares while real news stories are deemed "fake" by those who disagree with them. With its latest news feature, Facebook aims to make the distinction between factual and fictional posts clearer.

As The Verge reports, articles shared on Facebook will now display a "trust indicator" icon. Clicking on it reveals information about the publisher of the piece, including their ethics statement, corrections policy, fact-checking process, ownership structures, and masthead. By providing that context, Facebook hopes that more users will make better decisions about which news outlets to trust and which to disregard.

The social media network is launching the feature with a handful of publishers and plans to open it up to more down the road. But unless it becomes mandatory for all media pages, it won't be the end of Facebook's fake news problem: Phony sites and real publishers that leave this information blank will still look the same in the eyes of some readers. Additionally, the feature only works when people go out of their way to check it, so it requires users to be skeptical in the first place.

If you want to avoid the fake news in your feed, looking for trust indicators is a good place to start. To further sharpen your BS-detecting skills, try adopting the CRAAP system: The American Library Association has been using it to spot sketchy sources since before the Facebook era.

[h/t The Verge]

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