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Classics prof reflects on legacy of Spartacus

Brock News - Mon, 2020-02-10 16:49

MEDIA RELEASE: 10 February 2020 – R0027

Of all the films he appeared in, Kirk Douglas, who passed away last week at the age of 103, was perhaps best known for his starring role in the 1960 film Spartacus.

Although Douglas was a controversial figure — including serious sexual misconduct allegations that came to light later in his life — Spartacus is seen as an important film that dealt with significant contemporary issues.

“The film was pivotal to 20th century history of confronting injustice and oppression,” says Katharine von Stackelberg, Associate Professor with the Department of Classics at Brock. “People keep thinking slavery is just something that belongs to the past, but as I emphasize in the slavery module of my introduction to Roman civilization course, slavery is very much a present and ongoing issue.”

The study of Classics and ancient history encourages students to engage with current social justice issues, she says.

A 2017 UN report on slavery estimates that 40 million people worldwide are commodified and trafficked as forced labour and forced sex workers.

Spartacus is based on real historical events. The Third Servile War was the last in a series of slave revolts in the Roman Republic. Begun in 73 BCE by a group of seventy escaped slave gladiators, the revolt swelled to 120,000 men, women and children over two years. After it was crushed by Roman military forces under Crassus in 71 BC, more than 6,000 of the slaves were crucified along the Appian Way, leading from Rome to southern Italy.

Howard Fast wrote the novel on which the film is based while in jail for refusing to testify before the House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC). The film parallels American history and the civil rights movement, including the fight to end segregation and promoting the equality of African-Americans.

Spartacus was an enormously controversial film,” says von Stackelberg. “The book on which it was based was banned during the McCarthy era because the resistance of slaves to masters was understood to promote Communism.”

The movie’s climatic scene, where each recaptured slave claims to be Spartacus and thereby share his fate, dramatized the solidarity of those who were blacklisted as Communist sympathizers because they refused to implicate others.

“The film protested against HUAC censorship and oppression by employing artists, writers, actors and technicians who had been blacklisted for many years,” says von Stackelberg. “It was credited with effectively ending the Hollywood blacklist and has been recognized as providing social commentary on the Civil Rights Movement in its treatment of women, African-Americans, and same-sex relationships. “The actual Spartacan uprising was also followed by a period of increasingly progressive legislation in the Roman Empire, so Ancient History is closer to the present than we think,” says von Stackelberg.

Katharine von Stackelberg, Associate Professor with the Department of Classics at Brock University, is available for interviews.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio. 

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The best CPUs for gaming

PC World - Mon, 2020-02-10 11:32

Buying a processor for a gaming rig isn’t as hard as it used to be. Now that AMD’s Ryzen and Intel’s 9th-gen Core CPUs come with more performance and cores than ever before, it’s hard to buy a stinker these days—especially because most games favor graphics firepower over CPU oomph. All that said, there are specific chips that stand out from the horde as the best gaming CPUs due to their price, performance, or nifty extras.

Best CPU for gaming cheat sheet

Our quick-hit recommendations:

  • Best gaming CPU for most people: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
  • Best budget gaming CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3200G
  • Best high-end gaming CPU: Intel Core i9-9900KSRemove non-product link

Whether you’re on a budget or willing to pay for sheer face-melting speed, these are the best CPUs for gaming PCs that you can buy.

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Getting started with 2FA: Secure your accounts now or regret it later!

Mac World - Mon, 2020-02-10 07:15

Millions of users have their online accounts compromised every day. Password lists are traded on the dark web, and bad actors use automated processes to try them against lots of accounts and services. Sophisticated phishing attacks attempt to trick you into giving away your password (or the info necessary to reset it) by posing as legitimate services or customer support.

Obviously, the best defense against this sort of thing is to have a different, strong, hard-to-guess password for every single account you own. A good password manager like 1Password, LastPass, or Dashlane is a key component in managing that.

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Acer Swift 5 review: A small miracle

PC World - Mon, 2020-02-10 06:30

There are tiny laptops and then there are tiny laptops. Even now, when thin-and-lightweight everything is the norm, I’m still sometimes surprised by just how thin-and-lightweight we’re talking. Such is the case with the new Acer Swift 5, which is officially billed as “the lightest 14-inch clamshell notebook that offers the option for dedicated Nvidia GeForce graphics.”

A bit convoluted, but I think what Acer’s trying to say is it’s really damn light. The Swift 5 is a full-size(ish) laptop that weighs less than some tablet hybrids. That’s impressive—though unless weight is the only feature you care about, the Swift 5 can feel limiting in other regards. Let’s dig in.

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SnipTag review: Mac photo auto-crop, metadata utility barely makes the cut

Mac World - Mon, 2020-02-10 06:15

Aside from convenience, the great thing about using an iPhone as your primary camera is the sheer quantity of metadata captured with each image. In addition to date and time, you’ll always know where photos were taken, not to mention ISO, exposure, and other settings.

But what about pictures taken prior to the advent of digital photography? Scanned prints, negatives, and slides get embedded with the current date and time, and have no knowledge of where or how those photos were originally taken.

App Initio Limited

SnipTag is two apps in one: auto cropping for scanned photos, and metadata tagging to make those images easier to find.

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Flume Smart Water Monitor review: Smarter than your average leak detector

Mac World - Mon, 2020-02-10 06:00
Flume is a smart leak detector that will save you money—even if it never detects a leak.

Amazon Echo Studio vs. Google Home Max: Battle of the high-end smart speakers

Mac World - Mon, 2020-02-10 06:00
One is more musical, but the other makes a better smart home controller. Which attribute is most important to you?

Best water leak detectors for smart homes

Mac World - Mon, 2020-02-10 06:00
Fires can be devastating, but water damage is a far more common risk. These smart devices will alert you if your home springs a leak, so you can take action quickly.

Threadripper 3990X review roundup: AMD's 64-core CPU can play Crysis, but it's not for everyone

PC World - Mon, 2020-02-10 06:00

AMD’s 64-core CPU officially went on sale Friday, and early reviews of AMD’s flagship high-end desktop processor give the chip very high marks—assuming you can make use of it.

And provided you can afford it! Newegg is selling the new Threadripper 3990X for $3,989.99, which is a penny below its MSRP of $3,990. Anything below MSRP on a new CPU launch is rare for Newegg. If you’d rather get that brick-and-mortar experience, Microcenter has it in stores and online at the chip’s $3,990 list price.

To read this article in full, please click here

Flume Smart Water Monitor review: Smarter than your average leak detector

PC World - Mon, 2020-02-10 06:00
Flume is a smart leak detector that will save you money—even if it never detects a leak.

Amazon Echo Studio vs. Google Home Max: Battle of the high-end smart speakers

PC World - Mon, 2020-02-10 06:00
One is more musical, but the other makes a better smart home controller. Which attribute is most important to you?

Best water leak detectors for smart homes

PC World - Mon, 2020-02-10 06:00
Fires can be devastating, but water damage is a far more common risk. These smart devices will alert you if your home springs a leak, so you can take action quickly.

Samsung outs its new folding Galaxy flip phone in a surprising Oscar ad

PC World - Sun, 2020-02-09 20:54

The first Unpacked event of 2020 doesn't kick off for another 36 hours, but Samsung is too excited to keep quiet. In a surprise TV ad rolling moments after Brad Pitt won his first Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, Samsung took the wraps off its next folding phone.

The whimsical 15-second ad was set to French swing song Comic Strip by Serge Gainsbourg and features numerous shots of the new phone opening and closing. We didn't learn much that we didn't already know, though we did get to see the tint front display in action., so we know for sure you'll be able to answer or dismiss incoming calls. We also got a clear look at the dual camera, as well as the phone's purple or black.

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Why 2020's a rare perfect time to dig into your video game backlog

PC World - Sat, 2020-02-08 08:00

It happened all at once, or at least that’s how it felt. On January 1 when we published our preview of 2020’s video game releases, a bounty of riches seemed just over the horizon. A month later, that horizon’s receded into the distance. Cyberpunk 2077? September. That Avengers game Crystal Dynamics is working on? Also September. Dying Light 2? No idea.

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‘Charrua Soccer’ impressions: Soccer for people who think they don’t like soccer

Mac World - Fri, 2020-02-07 18:00

Charrua Soccer isn’t the first soccer (or, ahem, football) game on Apple Arcade, but it is the first to hold my attention. The original one was Sociable Soccer, which was a tad too realistic and a tad too tough to control for my tastes. I’m not much of a sports guy in the first place, so I was expecting that Charrua Soccer might also bound into foul territory for my tastes for different reasons.

But it only took around half an hour for me to realize that Charrua Soccer was scoring a goal. It’s wonderfully easy to play and pick up with either the touchscreen controls or a gamepad—even for Americans like me who haven’t given much thought to soccer since middle school. It only takes around a minute to learn the business of passing the ball to another player, holding down the button to kick harder, or even how to steal balls from other players and do a “bicycle kick” across the field.

To read this article in full, please click here

Apple Arcade: 'Charrua Soccer' out now

Mac World - Fri, 2020-02-07 11:21

Apple’s new Apple Arcade subscription-based gaming service is finally here. It’s basically Apple’s way of helping customers sort through the chaff in the App Store, as the highly curated service features premium games that are untainted by in-app purchases and ads. If all goes well, it could elevate the perception of mobile gaming in general.

Got questions? We've got plenty of answers. 

Updated 2/7/20: Added Charrua Soccer to the list of available games. 

To read this article in full, please click here

The Full Nerd ep. 124: Why Nvidia's GeForce Now rocks, Z490 and B550 motherboard rumors

PC World - Fri, 2020-02-07 11:04

In this episode of The Full Nerd, Gordon Mah UngBrad ChacosAlaina Yee, Adam Patrick Murray, and special guest Leif Johnson geek out over gaming from the cloud.

Yes, Nvidia’s GeForce Now game-streaming service is finally launching out of beta three long years after its reveal, and Brad says it obliterates Google’s Stadia. Leif took GeForce Now for a whirl for Macworld, and he says it’s as good as Mac gaming’s ever going to get. Adam’s been playing with it too. We explain what you need to know about Nvidia’s kick-ass, dirt-cheap new service, while Gordon wonders where cloud gaming fits in around slaying noobs on local hardware.

To read this article in full, please click here

Folder sharing brings iCloud Drive closer to Dropbox, but there’s work left to do

Mac World - Fri, 2020-02-07 07:15

Last year, Dropbox revised its terms so that free accounts, like mine, could only sync data with up to three devices. As someone who owns an iPhone, iPad, iMac, and MacBook Air, I was a bit put out by this change: I kept all my important files in Dropbox and relied on its syncing magic to have access to that data no matter which device I was using.

This wasn’t my first frustration with Dropbox, which has started focusing more on enterprise software rather than its core functionality of document sync. So I decided to bite the bullet and make the switch, moving to iCloud Drive for all my cloud storage needs.

Overall, the transition has been largely smooth, but it has put into relief a few places where iCloud Drive currently just can’t match Dropbox. One of those features, the ability to share folders, looks to finally be arriving in iOS 13.4, the beta of which was released this week. But before I’m finally able to kick Dropbox to the curb, there are a few more tweaks that iCloud Drive needs.

To read this article in full, please click here

Oculus Link review: This $80 cable is worth every penny to turn Quest into a Rift rival

PC World - Fri, 2020-02-07 06:30

When we wrote about the Oculus Link beta in November, I called it a “hardware hack.” Exciting, yes, but definitely not elegant. Link allowed you to turn your standalone Oculus Quest headset into a PC-ready Oculus Rift equivalent, as promised. But the only cables ready for the initial software rollout were off-the-shelf Anker cables. They were short, stiff, and worst of all stuck straight out of the side of the Quest like an arrow.

It was a tragedy waiting to happen. One good yank, and you might destroy your Quest forever. Or at least that’s how it felt.

To read this article in full, please click here

Plantronics RIG 700HD review: It improves on its predecessor, but perhaps not enough

PC World - Fri, 2020-02-07 06:30

“Plantronics” is no more—at least in theory. Having acquired Polycom in 2018, Plantronics took the opportunity a few months back to ditch its old name and rebrand as “Poly.” Why’d they change it? I can’t say. I guess someone liked it better that way.

But, uh...apparently the folks who designed this headset’s packaging didn’t get the memo: The box touts this as the Plantronics RIG 700HD, a follow-up (sort of) to the RIG 800LX we reviewed a few years ago. Slightly more durable, slightly cheaper, and I’d say, slightly better.

To read this article in full, please click here

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