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Original author: 
Russ Fischer

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I know no one who has emerged unscathed from The Act of Killing. The film might be one of the strangest ever made, as it forces men to confront their actions by recreating them in movie form. But these aren’t just any men — they’re guys like Anwar Congo who, as death squad leaders during the “Thirtieth of September Movement,” staged a coup d’etat in Indonesia in 1965, and then committed genocide through an anti-Communist purge.

Estimates of the death toll vary widely, from 80,000 to one million. By any standard, these are heinous crimes. ”War crimes are declared by the winners,” Anwar Congo says, before happily proclaiming “I’m the winner!”

Today Anwar and other death squad leaders have not been tried as criminals; rather, they hold positions of some social standing. The Act of Killing features their full cooperation. It invites the death squad leaders to recreate their actions as genre movies — westerns, musicals, and so on — and in so doing bring their past back to life. The trailer below shows you some of the effect, and even in this abbreviated form it is deeply chilling.

The Act of Killing hits limited theaters on July 19. Apple has the trailer.

In this chilling and inventive documentary, executive produced by Errol Morris (The Fog Of War) and Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man), the filmmakers examine a country where death squad leaders are celebrated as heroes, challenging them to reenact their real-life mass killings in the style of the American movies they love. The hallucinatory result is a cinematic fever dream, an unsettling journey deep into the imaginations of mass murderers and the shockingly banal regime of corruption and impunity they inhabit. Shaking audiences at the 2012 Toronto and Telluride Film Festivals, The Act of Killing is an unprecedented film and, according to the Los Angeles Times, “could well change how you view the documentary form.”

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Original author: 
Aaron Souppouris

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The Pulitzer Prize winners for breaking news and feature photography have been announced, and all depict scenes from the civil war in Syria. The near-century old journalism prize first began rewarding outstanding photography in the '60s. This year's winners for Breaking News are Rodrigo Abd, Manu Brabo, Narciso Contreras, Khalil Hamra, and Muhammed Muheisen, all for the Associated Press, while freelance photographer Javier Manzano picked up the best Feature Photography prize for his stunning shot, pictured above.

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Original author: 
Dan Goodin

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Tens of thousands of websites, some operated by The Los Angeles Times, Seagate, and other reputable companies, have recently come under the spell of "Darkleech," a mysterious exploitation toolkit that exposes visitors to potent malware attacks.

The ongoing attacks, estimated to have infected 20,000 websites in the past few weeks alone, are significant because of their success in targeting Apache, by far the Internet's most popular Web server software. Once it takes hold, Darkleech injects invisible code into webpages, which in turn surreptitiously opens a connection that exposes visitors to malicious third-party websites, researchers said. Although the attacks have been active since at least August, no one has been able to positively identify the weakness attackers are using to commandeer the Apache-based machines. Vulnerabilities in Plesk, Cpanel, or other software used to administer websites is one possibility, but researchers aren't ruling out the possibility of password cracking, social engineering, or attacks that exploit unknown bugs in frequently used applications and OSes.

Researchers also don't know precisely how many sites have been infected by Darkleech. The server malware employs a sophisticated array of conditions to determine when to inject malicious links into the webpages shown to end users. Visitors using IP addresses belonging to security and hosting firms are passed over, as are people who have recently been attacked or who don't access the pages from specific search queries. The ability of Darkleech to inject unique links on the fly is also hindering research into the elusive infection toolkit.

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Original author: 
Ars Staff

This story was co-produced with NPR.

Imagine filing your income taxes in five minutes—and for free. You'd open up a prefilled return, see what the government thinks you owe, make any needed changes and be done. The miserable annual IRS shuffle, gone.

It's already a reality in Denmark, Sweden, and Spain. The government-prepared return would estimate your taxes using information your employer and bank already send it. Advocates say tens of millions of taxpayers could use such a system each year, saving them a collective $2 billion and 225 million hours in prep costs and time, according to one estimate.

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Photo: JSmithPhoto/Flickr

We’re a nation of fatties, in no small part because we get half as much exercise as we should.

The typical American spends just two hours a week exercising, according to researchers at Penn State and the University of Maryland, even though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults age 18 to 64 get four hours of exercise per week. That could help explain why a separate study by Duke University finds 42 percent of the population could be obese by 2030, adding nearly $550 billion to the nation’s healthcare tab.

Ideally, the CDC says, we should get 2.5 hours of moderate exercise — brisk walking, riding a bike on level ground, that sort of thing — each week. We ought to spend another 75 minutes per week engaging in vigorous activity like running or shooting hoops.

The researchers, who analyzed American Time Use Study data the U.S. Census Bureau gathered from more than 100,000 people nationwide, found teens are the most active, spending about 41 minutes per day exercising. Adults spend about 17 minutes a day, while those 65 and older get roughly 13 minutes of exercise per day.

Walking is the most common activity, with about 5 percent of Americans spending about 53 minutes a week on foot. Among those people regularly breaking a sweat playing a team sport, basketball is the most popular activity. The results are reported in the 2011 edition of Time Use in Australia and United States/Canada Bulletin.

The researchers cited the typical reasons for our inactivity: We’re car-centric, we’re addicted to TV and we’re getting older. But they also say “a lot of physical activities, such as hockey and tennis” can be expensive to participate in and “because of crime, some people are afraid to leave their homes to go out for a walk or run.”

Whatever our reasons, the fact we’re getting far less exercise than we should be is problematic. A Duke University study (.pdf) finds the number of obese Americans will rise, from 36 percent of the adult population to 42 percent by 2030, without serious intervention. That means another 32 million Americans would be obese.

The researchers, appearing this week at the CDC’s “Weight of the Nation” conference in Washington, said the cost of treating the diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses associated with obesity would climb by $550 billion over 20 years.

The good news is the growth of the obesity rate is slowing. The researchers aren’t sure why, according to the Los Angeles Times, but say continued success with current anti-obesity efforts — including public health campaigns to encourage exercise and more-healthful eating — could further flatten the curve.

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