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09-28-2016 Politics
Trump says he may hit ‘harder’ in next debate; Clinton hammers back with web spot

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Donald Trump on Tuesday insisted that Hillary Clinton did not get under his skin during their first debate and suggested he may “hit her harder” in their next encounter by raising the subject of former President Bill Clinton’s infidelities.

“I really eased up because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings,” Trump said on Fox News, saying he would have brought up “the many affairs that Bill Clinton had,” but held back because the Clintons’ daughter Chelsea was in the audience.

“I didn’t think it was worth the shot,” he said. “I didn’t think it was nice.”

But such a strategy could further open Trump to blows from Clinton over his personal life, including comments seen as deeply degrading to women.

After spending much of Monday night on the defensive, the GOP presidential nominee maintained that his rival did not unnerve him. “No, not at all,” he said. “I didn’t see it that way.”

But he allowed that he was irritated “at the end, maybe” when Clinton brought Trump’s treatment of Alicia Machado, a woman from Venezuela who was crowned the 1996 Miss Universe at age 19.

“She was the worst we ever had,” Trump said on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends”, adding: “She gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem.”

The Clinton campaign, meanwhile, moved quickly to capi­tal­ize on the issue, releasing a web video featuring Machado, who said Trump called her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping.”

The ad also features footage from the 1990s of Trump saying in an interview that Machado went from 117 or 118 pounds to 160 or 170 and commenting: “So this is somebody that likes to eat.”

Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, Clinton’s running mate, told “CBS This Morning” that the night showed Trump can be “easily rattled.”

“That was very, very apparent throughout the debate,” he said. “And the longer the debate went on, the more apparent that was.”

The clash came at a critical juncture in the campaign. With six weeks until Election Day, and with voters in some states already starting to cast ballots, polls show Clinton’s summer lead has all but evaporated. Trump is effectively tied in many of the battleground states where Clinton had enjoyed comfortable leads.

For his part, Trump said he was pleased with the points he made on immigration, trade and jobs in the first half hour of the debate. He gave his Democratic rival a “C plus” when asked to grade her performance, but declined to grade himself, saying: “I know I did better than Hillary.”



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Source: Washington Post

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09-28-2016 Science&Technology
Things you didn’t know about Amazon’s Alexa

With industry praise like “A Perfect 10” (ZDNet) and “Love at first sight” (Re/code), it’s no surprise Amazon Echo ($179) is one of the “must have” devices in your home.

This cylindrical-shaped, cloud-connected speaker sits in a room, such as a kitchen or bedroom, and you simply use your voice to ask a question or give a command. Using the wake word “Alexa,” a sensitive microphone picks up the request and dishes up the info you want in a human-like voice.

Also supported on other products like Amazon Tap ($129), Echo Dot ($49), and Fire TV ($99), there are hundreds of things you can ask of your virtual assistant, such as “Alexa, play songs from the ’80s,” or “What’s the score of the New England game?” or “What’s the square root of 8,100,” and so on.

Here is a look at five lesser-known Alexa “Skills” as they’re called — third-party add-ons — that enhance your experience even further.

No strings attached.

For guitar players like USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham, your Alexa device can now help you tune your instrument. In the Skills menu, search Guitar Tuner. Then, on any Alexa-powered device, say something like “Alexa, ask Guitar Tuner to tune my guitar.” This will start a series of tones, starting on the low E string and going up A, D, G, B, and ending on the high E. Match your tone and you’re ready to rock.

Bank on it.

You can now use your Alexa device to ask about or conduct transactions tied to your bank account, credit card, mortgage payments and auto loans. With the Capital One Skill, you can ask “When’s my credit card payment due?,” “Pay my credit card bill,” “How much money is in my checking account?,” “Make a mortgage payment,” or “How much more until my car is paid off?” If you’ve got housemates and want to ensure this is secure, you can use the optional personal key or PIN, to access your account.

Driver diagnostics.

You might know you can order an Uber using your voice, but what about your own wheels? If you’re a car enthusiast, ask Alexa for updates on your car through the Mojio Skill, which allows you to locate your vehicle, track driving habits and distance driven, view engine status, and gauge fuel levels. Simply install the 3G- and GPS-powered Mojio device ($149) into any car’s On-Board Diagnostic (OBD-II) port, which is standard in all cars from 1996 onward. The price includes one year of service.

That’s the ticket.

Want to play the lottery, but hate choosing the numbers? Why not ask Alexa to generate your Powerball numbers at random, and get the latest results with the Powerball Number Generator Skill. Simply say, “Alexa, ask Powerball Helper for a good selection for Powerball” or “Alexa, ask Powerball Helper, what should my lottery numbers be?”



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Source: Poughkeepsie Journal

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09-28-2016 Science&Technology
German Regulator Orders Facebook to Stop Collecting WhatsApp User Data

BERLIN—A German privacy watchdog has ordered Facebook Inc. to stop collecting user data from its messenger subsidiary WhatsApp, the latest clash between European privacy authorities and the social-network company.

Hamburg’s commissioner for data protection, Johannes Caspar, said user-data exchange between the two services infringed German data-protection law after WhatsApp changed its data-sharing terms last month. The Federation of German Consumer Organizations sent WhatsApp a similar warning earlier this month.

A Facebook spokeswoman said, “We will appeal this order and we will work with the Hamburg [authority] in an effort to address their questions and resolve any concerns.”

Facebook complied with EU data-protection law, she said.

Mr. Caspar said Facebook reneged on a pledge it made on acquiring WhatsApp in 2014, when it said the services would keep user data separate. His office’s order, Mr. Caspar said, protected the data of roughly 35 million WhatsApp users in Germany.

WhatsApp has notified existing users of the change and given them the opportunity to opt out. In Mr. Caspar’s view, however, Facebook is an independent entity that also has to ask the permission of WhatsApp users.

“It has to be their decision whether they want to connect their accounts with Facebook,” he said. “Facebook must ask their permission in advance (but) this did not happen.”

In Germany, Mr. Caspar’s office oversees Facebook’s privacy practices because the company has its national office in Hamburg. His order forbids Facebook from collecting and storing data of German WhatsApp users and requires the company to delete data it has already received.

WhatsApp’s plan to share user information with Facebook immediately raised concerns among privacy regulators in Europe when it was announced last month. The Article 29 Working Party, a body representing the European Union’s 28 national data-protection authorities, at the time said its members were scrutinizing the WhatsApp change of terms “with great vigilance.”

The change of terms is just one in a series of concerns about Facebook’s data policies. France threatened the company with fines if it didn’t change how it handled data, and Germany’s Federal Cartel Office earlier this year began an investigation into whether Facebook abused its dominance as a social network to harvest personal information.

According to Mr. Caspar, people who don’t use WhatsApp or Facebook were also at risk of having their details collected should WhatsApp forward data that it collected from users’ address books of external contacts.



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Source: The Wall Street Journal

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09-28-2016 Science&Technology
Kano’s latest DIY tech kits let you assemble your own camera and speaker

DIY computer-maker Kano is moving into the internet of things. The British startup has announced a new Kickstarter campaign for a trio of gadgets designed to let children (and adults) build their own speakers, cameras, and pixelated LED displays. Fancy making your own motion-sensitive security camera? Or a speaker that farts every time your favorite team scores? It’s possible — and easier than you think. "The original Kano in 2013 was all about making your own computer, coding your own art, apps, and games," Alex Klein, Kano’s CEO and co-founder, tells The Verge. "But this time it’s about taking you back into the physical world. Step by step you make a device. You learn how it works. We want to make computing physical again!"

Klein demonstrates this at Kano’s London offices, showing how the new kits are put together. Like the first Kano, they arrive in parts and are assembled without tools in a matter of minutes. (This doesn’t teach any practical skills, but encourages the proper mindset: that electronics are there to be taken apart and put together.) In news that might dishearten some fans, the modules are no longer powered by the Raspberry Pi but custom-built chipsets, which Klein says is for cost reasons (MSRP for the kits is $129). But as with all of the company's previous products, the design is still open and inviting, with simple modules, bold colors, and easy-to-follow manuals.

Klein walks me through a couple of projects, first assembling the camera and then slotting a motion sensor into the top. He brings up the company’s coding software, Kano Code, and starts inputting instructions. "It’s now possible," he says, "because of the rise of low cost chipsets and abundant, connected computing, to have the powers it would have taken you two computer scientist degrees in the past to absorb."

Kano Code is a simple drag-and-drop environment, with a library of predefined actions that appear as jigsaw pieces. There are lots of If-This-Then-That-style commands available, and users simply slot together the code on-screen. So for Klein's first demo, he just drops in the pieces for: When [App Starts] + Microphone volume goes over [90] Then [take picture]. I clap my hands in front of the camera. It takes my picture.

It’s deceptively simple software. Although on the surface it’s just drag and drop, the underlying code is built on Javascript. Users can look inside each puzzle piece to view and tweak the specific instructions, and by the time the new kits are ready to ship (around the holidays) it'll be possible to design your own modules, creating a library of actions.



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Source: The Verge

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09-28-2016 Science&Technology
Pixel And Pixel XL Official Color Options To Include 'Very Silver' 'Quite Black' And 'Really Bl

A new report provides some more details regarding Google's upcoming Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. The color options for the handsets will officially be called, 'Quite Black', 'Very Silver' and 'Really Blue'.

Google is planning to announce two new smartphones that will go head to head with Apple's new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The Pixel and Pixel XL will become the first handsets under the company's Pixel brand and will be manufactured by HTC. Google is set to unveil the devices at a press event on Oct. 4.

While LG's new V20 will be the first smartphone to ship in the U.S. with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, Google will launch the Pixel and Pixel XL with a newer build of the OS, Android 7.1 Nougat more specifically.

The design of Google's Pixel handset was recently shown off in a 360-degree video, which provided a look at the device from all angles. Shortly after that video appeared, images of the larger Pixel XL leaked and showed the phablet would be offered in at least two color choices, black and white. A new report reveals a third color option is in the cards, as well as what are reportedly the official names for the colors Google will offer.

David Ruddock, who has a good track record of reporting unannounced smartphone details, posted on his Twitter page that Google is expected to offer the Pixel and Pixel XL in choice of 'Very Silver', 'Quite Black' and 'Really Blue.'

The Google Pixel is expected to feature a 5.2-5.3-inch 1920 x 1080 Full HD display, while the Pixel XL will boast a 5.5-inch 2,560 x 1,440 Quad HD display and run Android 7.1 Nougat. The handsets will both reportedly be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4 GB of RAM and internal storage capacities are said to include 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB options.

The Pixel and Pixel XL will reportedly use a 12-megapixel rear camera with phase detection, autofocus, dual-LED flash and 8-megapixel front-facing camera for video chat and selfies. The smartphones will include a fingerprint scanner on the rear of the case and USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer.

While there hasn't been any mention of a solid release date for the Pixel and Pixel XL, Google is believed to be planning to make the smartphones available for preorder shortly after the devices are revealed, and to ship them before the end of October. As always, we'll keep you posted on any additional Pixel and Pixel XL details.

Source: Tech Times

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09-28-2016 Environment
US likely to fall short of emissions goal

Unless we do more, the U.S. will likely miss the emissions target aimed for in the landmark Paris Climate Agreement last year, says a new study released Monday.

Cutting the emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane from power plants and other sources is key to reducing the impacts of man-made climate change.

Even if all current and proposed emission reduction plans are enacted, the U.S. will still fall short by anywhere from 300 million to as many as 1.5 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, the study found.

"We will likely fall short without additional policies," said lead author Jeffrey Greenblatt of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The additional policies include President Obama’s proposed Clean Power Plan — which would trim carbon emissions from coal power plants and other sources — would be a big step in the right direction, Greenblatt said. The plan, however, faces a potentially lengthy court challenge from 28 states and scores of companies and industry groups that begins Tuesday.

Obama formally entered the U.S. into the Paris Agreement earlier this month, which commits the country to reducing emissions by 26 to 28% of 2005 levels by 2025.

The study comes at a key point in U.S. climate policy. Obama has said the U.S. should be a global leader in fighting climate change — a promise that Hillary Clinton wants to continue but one that Donald Trump would likely shun.

Additionally, if Trump is elected, he said he will repeal the Clean Power Plan.

Karl Hausker, a policy analyst at the World Resources Institute who was not involved in the study, said its methodology and findings are credible. He said the next president will have to continue the policies begun by President Obama.

Though the study that came out Monday is solely focused on U.S. emissions, its author said the U.S. is key player in the global fight against climate change.

"It's true that other nations collectively emit much more than the U.S., but we are one of the world's biggest emitters, right behind China," said Greenblatt. "So reducing our emissions will have a material effect on global totals," he said. "Perhaps more important, however, is that our efforts to reduce emissions can motivate other countries to set similarly ambitious targets."

The study appeared in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature Climate Change.

Source: Usa Today

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09-28-2016 Science&Technology
Elon Musk has a lot to prove at today’s Mars colonization announcement

Elon Musk will present the world with SpaceX’s plans for Mars colonization today in Guadalajara, Mexico — what should be the victorious presentation of a dream project. But he doesn’t have the money to get to Mars alone. So today he must either announce a substantial financial partner or woo one, in the face of a very recent SpaceX rocket explosion.

Ambitious space projects are glamorous, but this event isn’t really for you and me. (We are useful only insofar as we provide politicians with evidence of public enthusiasm.) This isn’t a phone, or a new app, or new headphones — it’s not a consumer product at all. Rockets are far too expensive; space colonies are more expensive still. If Musk doesn’t announce financial backing, it means the presentation is meant to convince someone — probably NASA — to fund him. But this is an extraordinarily awkward time to try to win over money, since one of his rockets blew up earlier this month.

Musk’s SpaceX has relied on being a low-cost, reliable alternative to other aerospace companies, like the United Launch Alliance. SpaceX’s biggest customer is NASA, and the company is set to shuttle astronauts to the ISS in late 2017 or early 2018. But here’s the rub: Musk is announcing his Mars plans well before he’s successfully launched a single human being to space, and immediately in the wake of a launch-pad accident. He has an unnervingly ambitious schedule for the first human mission to Mars, he’s said nothing about how much it will cost or who’s paying, and there’s been no mention of any partnerships with space agencies or suppliers for material.

The goal of Musk’s speech today, then, is to show current and future customers — especially NASA — that he’s for real. It may also be to woo potential partners for a Mars mission. Neither ESA nor Roscosmos have hinted at any Mars interest, though it’s theoretically possible one or both agencies might decide on a collaborative mission. But their budgets are a fraction the size of NASA’s. So absent any funding announcement today, there’s one agency that Musk needs to win over, and it already has its own Mars plans. Musk has already announced an ambitious schedule that he almost certainly won’t stick to, in order to create the political pressure needed to force NASA’s funding. Without NASA or some other deep-pocketed benefactor, he’s sunk.

There are three things he must show in his presentation: that he can meet deadlines; that his rockets are reliable; and that Mars, not the Moon, should be our goal.



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Source: The Verge

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09-28-2016 Science&Technology
Lenovo Layoffs Cut Deeper Into Moto: 1,000 New Job Cuts

The Moto workforce keeps shrinking under Lenovo, with another thousand job cuts hitting the Motorola Mobility division.

According to the company, the layoffs affect less than 2 percent of employees worldwide, as the company has 55,000 workers. Most job cuts will impact the mobile phone division.

Droid-Life was the first to report on the new round of layoffs, but Lenovo later confirmed the news to both Droid-Life and The Verge.

"The majority of the positions being eliminated are part of the ongoing strategic integration between Lenovo and its Motorola smartphone business as the company further aligns its organization and streamlines its product portfolio to best compete in the global smartphone market," says the company.

The latest round of layoffs follows the massive job cuts from last year, when Lenovo slashed 3,200 jobs across the company. Lenovo has been trying to properly integrate Motorola ever since the acquisition, but it still has a way to go before settling things down.

Back in May, Lenovo acknowledged that it had failed to integrate Motorola as it should have, as the efforts of the integration did not meet its expectations. The cost of the integration affected Lenovo's performance on the Chinese and North American markets and the company has been trying to rebound.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that it's now laying off another thousand employees from the Moto division, Lenovo says that it still plans to keep the Motorola Mobility headquarters in Chicago. This dismisses previous speculation that Lenovo would shift the remaining staff from Chicago to North Carolina.

It remains to be seen whether the new batch of layoffs will manage to sail Lenovo and Motorola through smoother waters, as the companies face some stiff competition on the mobile market.

A number of innovative and attractive Moto smartphones have hit the scene recently, but the company is not as competitive as it used to be in Motorola's glory days.

Most recently, Motorola tried to convince Apple fanboys that its Moto Z rocking modular extensions called Moto Mods is better than Apple's iPhone 7. Even in its glory days, however, Motorola never attracted the long lines on launch days like Apple did each time it released a new product.

Lenovo's current "strategic integration" of Motorola's smartphone business aims to drive growth and streamline its device lineup so it can better compete on the global smartphone market, but it remains to be seen whether it will make it.

The company adds that the new job cuts were not an easy decision, but they're a necessary step toward ensuring profitable growth in the long run, across all divisions and businesses.

Source: Tech Times

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09-27-2016 Science&Technology
Elon Musk just unveiled a critical piece of his plan to save humanity by colonizing Mars

Tech billionaire Elon Musk is convinced we must colonize Mars with a million people if the humanity is to survive long-term.

To that effect in 2008, he almost went broke funding SpaceX — his then-new aerospace company — to keep developing next-generation rockets.

And on Tuesday, at a challenging moment in the 14-year-old company's history, Musk plans to unveil his grand vision: To turn Mars into a "backup drive" and save humanity.

The big announcement is scheduled for Tuesday during the 67th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico. (Watch it live at the end of this post.)

But ahead of that highly anticipated speech, Musk shared on Twitter early Monday morning the first photo of his "Interplanetary Transport System" (ITS) — a powerful rocket engine dubbed Raptor:

Elon Musk ? @elonmusk SpaceX propulsion just achieved first firing of the Raptor interplanetary transport engine 2:18 AM - 26 Sep 2016 5,005 5,005 Retweets 11,598 11,598 likes

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/780275236922994688/photo/1

A rocket engine to get to Mars This isn't the first the world has heard about the Raptor engine, but it's definitely the first photo we've ever seen of it spitting out fire.

The image shows a static fire test, which is when a cone-shaped rocket engine is hooked up to a fuel source, ignited, and pushed to the limits to measure its performance.

The Raptor's fuel is almost certainly methane burned with liquid oxygen, based on SpaceX's prior intimations about its Mars rocket system. (Which was previously called the "Mars Colonial Transporter", or MCT, and before that a self-descriptive "Big F***ing Rocket", or BFR.)

Musk shared a few of the Raptor's test-firing details on Monday morning as well, including a beautiful image. "Production Raptor goal is specific impulse of 382 seconds and thrust of 3 MN (~310 metric tons) at 300 bar," Musk wrote on Twitter.

Elon Musk ? @elonmusk SpaceX propulsion just achieved first firing of the Raptor interplanetary transport engine pic.twitter.com/vRleyJvBkx Follow Elon Musk ? @elonmusk Mach diamonds pic.twitter.com/TCX7ZGFnN0 2:32 AM - 26 Sep 2016

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/780278836860628992/photo/1

How does a Raptor engine compare to the Merlin engines used to power SpaceX's signature Falcon 9 rocket — the kind it uses to deliver supplies to the International Space Station?

"Chamber pressure is almost 3X Merlin, so engine is about the same size for a given area ratio," Musk wrote on Twitter.

This means the Raptor, which can spit out about 675,000 pounds of thrust, is roughly three times more powerful than the Falcon 9's Merlin engines, each of which can push with a force of about 200,000 pounds.



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Source: Business Insider

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09-27-2016 Science&Technology
Europa changed how we saw the solar system

On Monday, NASA is set to hold a press conference about some “surprising activity” on Jupiter’s icy moon of Europa. There’s no indication as to what that activity might be, other than it involves the Hubble Space Telescope, but it’s garnering more than one 2010 reference around the internet. Europa has always been a fascinating world that has challenged our view of the nature of the solar system.

First Glimpse

Europa was discovered by accident. Galileo Galilei turned his telescope to observe Jupiter on January 7th, 1610, when he made a startling discovery: the planet was accompanied by four small objects, and over the next several nights, he determined that these objects orbited the planet. He wasn’t alone in this observation: a German astronomer named Simon Marius spotted the same points of light the night on the night of the 6th and gave each object their present names: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.

The discovery of these moons was a major advance in the understanding of how the solar system worked. Galileo realized that Jupiter was the center of an orbital system, which contradicted the teachings of the day. David A. Weintraub wrote about Galilelo in his book Is Pluto A Planet: A Historical Journey through the Solar System, “The motion of the Medicean stars around Jupiter demonstrat[ed] that Aristotle was wrong about the Earth being the only center of motion in the universe.”

The discovery placed Galileo in opposition to the Catholic Church, which deemed his research and findings heresy. He was admonished in 1616, and later interrogated and forced to recant. In 1634, he was placed under house arrest for the remainder of his life.

But the existence of these new worlds was impossible to suppress, and other astronomers began their own observations. In 1892, American astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard discovered Amalthea, a fifth satellite orbiting Jupiter, but it would be decades before astronomers got their next good look at the Jovian system.

Exploration

While much of the world’s attention towards space programs was directed to the Apollo program in the 1960s, NASA scientists set their sights on other destinations in the solar system. Scientists determined that by using the gravity of other planets, they could send probes further out into the solar system more efficiently than if they used a direct shot.

In 1966, NASA engineers Gary Flandro and Roger Bourke proposed the ‘Grand Tour’ mission and in 1970 received $13 million in funding from Congress. But time was running out. Calculations showed that there was a narrowing window of opportunity to send a probe out to the furthest reaches of the solar system.



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Source: The Verge

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09-27-2016 Health
Some cities are taking another look at LED lighting after AMA warning

If people are sleepless in Seattle, it may not be only because they have broken hearts.

The American Medical Association issued a warning in June that high-intensity LED streetlights — such as those in Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, Houston and elsewhere — emit unseen blue light that can disturb sleep rhythms and possibly increase the risk of serious health conditions, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. The AMA also cautioned that those light-emitting-diode lights can impair nighttime driving vision.

Similar concerns have been raised over the past few years, but the AMA report adds credence to the issue and is likely to prompt cities and states to reevaluate the intensity of LED lights they install.

Nearly 13 percent of area/roadway lighting is now LED, according to a report prepared last year for the Department of Energy, and many communities that haven’t yet made the switch plan to do so. LEDs are up to 50 percent more energy-efficient than the yellow-orange high-pressure sodium lights they typically replace. They last for 15 to 20 years, instead of two to five. And unlike sodium lights, the LEDs spread illumination evenly.

Some cities say the health concerns are not convincing enough to override the benefits of the first-generation bright LED lights that they installed in the past three to eight years. New York is one of them, although it has responded to resident complaints by replacing the high-intensity, white LED bulbs with a lower-intensity bulb that the AMA considers safe.

Scott Thomsen, a spokesman for Seattle City Lights, which is responsible for the city’s exterior illumination, dismissed the health concerns about bright-white LED lights, noting that they emit less of the problematic blue wavelengths than most computers and televisions.

After a year and a half of discussion and sampling, Lake Worth, Fla., is replacing its sodium streetlights with about 4,150 LED lights with an amber glow. “We found a color that made sense for the health of our city, and we’re proud of the choice we’ve made,” Michael Bornstein, the city manager, said.

Mark Hartman, Phoenix’s chief sustainability officer, said the city might go with a mix of the intense lights for major intersections and ballpark areas that need very bright light and a softer light for residential areas. He said the city would consider the health arguments, although he too mentioned the glow from computers and televisions. “Nobody says don’t watch television or use your computer after 9 p.m. because of blue lights,” he said.



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Source: Washington Post

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09-27-2016 Cars
Smart Unveils ForTwo Car Lineup With Electric Drive Options For 2017

Smart will break ground in the automotive industry next year, as the manufacturer aims to be the first brand to holster both an electric drive and a gas-powered option in all its models.

The urban car auto builder will be offering EV variants of its ForTwo, ForTwo Cabrio and Forfour in 2017. The vehicles will be crafted on a 'from-scratch' Smart Electric Drive platform, which relies on the know-how of Mercedes-Benz and Renault-Nissan.

The latest electric vehicle from Smart, the next year's ForTwo electric drive will first show up at the Paris motor show, which is scheduled to start on Oct 1. at 10 a.m. and end on Oct. 16 at 8 p.m.

The EV ForTwo will be on sale in the United States in spring 2017, with a convertible variant in tow for the summer.

Smart's leader, Annette Winkler, thinks the upcoming tiny car is perfect for the urban environment, and points out that the electric drive makes it "a little bit more perfect."

She goes on to add that the full lineup of the brand, namely ForTwo, Cabrio and Forfour, will soon get EV capabilities, as well. This should virtually make Smart the only automaker which offers its customers a full model range in both electric power or internal-combustion.

Other car manufacturers have high ambitions for next year, as well. General Motors, for example, announced in 2015 that it plans to roll out a 200-mile range EV in 2017.

Smart ForTwo 2017 Specs The first 2017 Smart car will be packing an 80 horse power EV motor which outputs 118 lb-ft of force, giving it a 19 percent increase over the existing model. The top speed is of 81 mph, but the real kicker comes from the autonomy of the vehicle.

Smart ForTwo will have a 99-mile range, with a full recharge taking only 2.5 hours. This gives it an edge over its predecessor as well, as the former vehicle in the line took twice as long to get its power source to 100 percent.

The company also makes possible for users to check up on charging levels via an app, which also allows them to adjust the climate control during the car's charging.

Smart touts that the newest EV in the line will feature "agile and lively" driving characteristics," with a possible turning circle of 22.8-foot.

Alongside the basic mode of the transmission, drivers can tap into an eco mode that throttles the top speed and adjusts the electricity recuperation level under braking to maximum.

We are looking forward to seeing the Smart ForTwo 2017 at the upcoming Paris auto show, and we will be among the first to report on the carmaker's developments.

Source: Tech Times

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09-21-2016 General
Suspected bomber Ahmad Rahami charged with attempted murder while investigators examine his friends,

Federal prosecutors weighed additional charges Tuesday linked to the bombings in New York and New Jersey, even as investigators sifted through surveillance video and other clues seeking to determine whether the lone suspect — now in a New Jersey hospital bed — had wider links in plotting the attacks.

A day after a shootout with police that ended in the arrest of 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, there were no signs that the probe had expanded to other possible suspects or groups.

But authorities made clear that there was still significant ground to cover in learning how the one-time college student built the makeshift explosives and planned the targets in Manhattan and a beach town in New Jersey on Saturday.

“Now that we have this suspect in custody, the investigation can focus on other aspects, such as whether this individual acted alone and what his motivations may have been,” said New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill.

O’Neill said that as part of the effort to determine if Rahami worked alone, investigators were going to pore over his networks, examining his friends, family, records, social media and phones.

Among the pieces being analyzed were video from New York and electronic toll records that showed a car Rahami had driven in the past traveled from from New Jersey to Manhattan and back on Saturday, the Associated Press reported, citing officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss an ongoing case.

Prosecutors in New Jersey charged Rahami, a naturalized U.S. citizen and Afghanistan native, with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. He is also expected to face federal charges. It was not clear Tuesday whether Rahami had an attorney or had many any statements to investigators.

On Tuesday morning, O’Neill said that Rahami was in “critical but stable” condition after being shot multiple times during the gun battle with police a day earlier. As a result, police have not been able to speak with him yet while he needed medical treatment, O’Neill said in an interview on “CBS This Morning.”

FBI agents were still trying “to make sure we completely understand Rahami’s social network,” William Sweeney Jr., assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York division, said at a Monday news conference. The case is “still very much alive,” added O’Neill.



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Source: Washington Post

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09-20-2016 General
New York bombing: Investigators search for suspects, motive

New York (CNN)A day after a bombing injured 29 people in a New York City neighborhood, surveillance videos show the same man near the site of the explosion and another location where a pressure-cooker device was found four blocks away, multiple local and federal law enforcement sources told CNN.

Saturday's explosion shook New York City's Chelsea neighborhood, packed with restaurants, subway stations, shops, businesses and art galleries, and sent panicked people scrambling for cover. Police continued to scour the area on Sunday for clues about who was responsible for the explosion and a motive. A few blocks away from the blast site and shortly after the explosion occurred, investigators found one possible lead: a pressure cooker, with dark-colored wiring sticking out, connected by silver duct tape to what appears to be a cellphone, officials said. Surveillance videos from Saturday shows the same man near both sites, multiple sources told CNN.

3 attacks on US soil By Sunday morning, 26 people who had been admitted to hospitals were released as city officials appealed to the public for help in finding those responsible. Authorities cordoned off the street where the explosion occurred, south of Midtown in western Manhattan. The blast occurred on the same day an explosion went off near a Marine Corps charity run in New Jersey and a man stabbed nine people at a Minnesota mall, leaving many across the country on edge. Authorities are investigating all three incidents as possible terror acts.

The Department of Homeland Security is actively monitoring and participating in the investigations in New York and New Jersey. Investigators found similarities between the explosives used in both states, according to multiple law enforcement officials, but authorities said they have not concluded the incidents are linked. "We do not have any specific evidence of a connection, but that will continue to be considered," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "We're not taking any options off the table." In New York, law enforcement officials and the mayor said that without knowing who's responsible or what the motive was, it's too soon to call the Saturday bombing a terror attack. "We know it was a very serious incident, but we have a lot more work to do to be able to say what kind of motivation was behind this," de Blasio told reporters Sunday. "Was it a political motivation? Was it a personal motivation? We do not know that yet."



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Source: CNN

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09-19-2016 Science&Technology
Samsung Unloads Tech Shares as Galaxy Note 7 Recall Starts to Burn

As it grapples with a massive global smartphone recall that is estimated to cost more than $1 billion, Samsung Electronics Co. is moving swiftly to sell stakes in other technology companies to raise cash.

The world’s biggest smartphone maker said Sunday it has sold shares in computer-drive maker Seagate Technology PLC, chip maker Rambus Inc., Dutch semiconductor-equipment maker ASML Holding NV and Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp. The divestments come as Samsung said this month it would recall 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones globally after reports of the phones catching fire. While Samsung didn’t disclose how much it would raise from the share sales, any cash generated from the sale would help it pay down ballooning costs from the smartphone industry’s biggest recall to date.

Under the guiding hand of heir apparent Lee Jae-yong, Samsung has been moving to shed noncore assets to raise cash as the company seeks to expand into other areas including biopharmaceuticals.

Over the past decade, Samsung has used its massive manufacturing scale to expand into smartphones, televisions and components such as displays and semiconductors. But top executives believe that those markets are no longer able to generate the huge growth returns Samsung has seen in the past. In the smartphone market, Samsung is currently facing Chinese and Indian upstarts that are offering high-spec phones at cheaper prices. Meanwhile, Apple Inc. on Friday launched its newest iPhone, matching Samsung’s waterproof and advanced camera phones.

In a statement Sunday, the South Korea-based tech giant said it sold off its entire 4.2% stake in Seagate Technology and its whole 4.5% stake in Rambus, both based in California. Samsung also confirmed the previously reported sales of half of its 2.9% stake in ASML Holding and its full 0.7% stake in Sharp.

A person familiar with the stake sale told The Wall Street Journal last week Samsung was selling about half of its stake in ASML for €606 million ($676 million). Samsung’s stakes in Rambus, Seagate and Sharp were valued at more than $500 million combined, based on Friday’s closing prices.

The latest divestment aims to “focus on core business” sectors by streamlining its investment assets, Samsung said in the statement. It noted Samsung’s business cooperation with those firms would remain intact, despite the share disposals.

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Source: The Wall Street Journal

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09-19-2016 Science&Technology
Google Chrome Beta For Android Now Lets You Play YouTube In The Background

Google released version 53 of its Chrome browser just a couple of days ago for Mac, Windows and Linux, but mobile users on Android need not worry. The company has a special place in its heart for its mobile OS - in fact, the Google Chrome Beta for Android version 54 is now available.

With version 54, Google introduced a handful of updates to Chrome Beta. The new version introduces a handful of features that include background video and playback and a redesigned new tab page, among others.

Playing Videos In The Background Among the features that are packed in the said beta version, background video playback is perhaps the most significant.

In older iterations of Chrome, including version 53, videos will get paused once a new app is opened or after switching to the home screen. In version 54 beta, the videos will still get paused automatically but Android users are provided with an option to resume them via a media notification. Audio from the video will continuously be heard while using other apps.

This new feature works with mobile web and will detect pages running in the background. Users will receive the same notification when playing videos on video-hosting and video-sharing sites such as YouTube via mobile web.

Audio streams, on the other hand, are handled differently. Even when opening another app or switching to the home screen, the tracks will continue playing.

Note that the ability to play videos in the background used to be native to YouTube Red, a paid subscription service. Hence, there's a chance that this feature will be removed once Chrome for Android version 54 gets released.

Below is a video demonstration of this new feature. Hat tip to 9TO5Google for surfacing the demo.

Redesigned New Tab Page While the Google logo, search bar and frequently viewed pages remain untouched, the redesigned new tab page no longer shows the Bookmarks and the Recent Tabs shortcuts. Both will now have to be accessed through a drop-down menu at the upper right of the UI.

Google also added a recommendations section, which Android Police describes as something akin to what Google Now offers.

"Interestingly, none of the articles were recommended to me through Google Now, so they don't seem to draw data from the same source," comments Android Police.

Aside from the two that are detailed, version 54 also brings Broadcast API and Custom Elements V1 for developers.

Before installing Chrome Beta for Android, bear in mind that this app is Google's testing dummy for new features and as such, it can be a little rough around the edges.

Source: Tech Times

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1 The New York Times / United States 2 The Guardian / United Kingdom 3 The Daily Mail / United Kingdom 4 The Wall Street Journal / United States
5 The Washington Post / United States 6 The People's Daily / China 7 The Daily Telegraph / United Kingdom 8 USA Today / United States
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21 Chicago Tribune / United States 22 Le Monde / France 23 Marca / Spain 24 Hürriyet / Turkey
25 Die Welt / Germany 26 Asahi Shimbun / Japan 27 The Sun / United Kingdom 28 New York Post / United States
29 The Age / Australia 30 Gazeta Wyborcza / Poland 31 The Philadelphia Inquirer / United States 32 The Washington Times / United States
33 Die Zeit / Germany 34 Yomiuri Shimbun / Japan 35 The New Zealand Herald / New Zealand 36 The Onion / United States
37 Milliyet Gazetesi / Turkey 38 Il Sole 24 Ore / Italy 39 The Chicago Sun-Times / United States 40 Al-Ahram / Egypt
41 Le Figaro / France 42 Süddeutsche Zeitung / Germany 43 The Hindu / India 44 Houston Chronicle / United States
45 The Seattle Times / United States 46 Libération / France 47 The Globe and Mail / Canada 48 De Standaard / Belgium
49 The Irish Times / Ireland 50 The Toronto Star / Canada 51 Le Nouvel Observateur / France 52 Mercury News / United States
53 The Australian / Australia 54 The Denver Post / United States 55 The Christian Science Monitor / United States 56 The Dong-a Ilbo / Korea
57 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / United States 58 Aftonbladet / Sweden 59 Kommersant / Russia 60 Bangkok Post / Thailand
61 Star Tribune / United States 62 The Hollywood Reporter / United States 63 Daily Mirror / United Kingdom 64 Dawn / Pakistan
65 El Universal / Mexico 66 The Miami Herald / United States 67 Mladá fronta Dnes / Czech Republic 68 DNA - Daily News & Analysis / India
69 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / United States 70 Sports Nippon / Japan 71 L'Equipe / France 72 Die Presse / Austria
73 Detroit Free Press / United States 74 Neue Zürcher Zeitung / Switzerland 75 Clarín / Argentina 76 Chosun Ilbo / Japan
77 The Sacramento Bee / United States 78 China Daily / China 79 Nihon Keizai Shimbun / Japan 80 AS / Spain
81 The Baltimore Sun / United States 82 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Germany 83 La Gazzetta dello Sport / Italy 84 Mainichi Shimbun / Japan
85 Boston Herald / United States 86 The Dallas Morning News / United States 87 The Times / United Kingdom 88 Newsday / United States
89 Orlando Sentinel / United States 90 St. Louis Post-Dispatch / United States 91 Taipei Times / Taiwan 92 The Hindustan Times / India
93 The Economic Times / India 94 Kompas / Indonesia 95 The Observer / United Kingdom 96 Jornal de Notícias / Portugal
97 South Florida Sun-Sentinel / United States 98 ABC / Spain 99 Le Soir / Belgium 100 The Kansas City Star / United States

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