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05-06-2016 Science&Technology
Apple’s Siri is About to get Schooled by its Creators New AI, Viv

The Washington Post reports that the creators of Apple’s Siri have made a far more advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI). Meet Viv, the AI powered assistant that can help users with almost any command conveyed to it. Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer are the inventors of Viv and also Siri, before it was acquired by Apple in 2010.

The publication got a firsthand demo of the technology and it’s nothing short of impressive. The Viv can order a Pizza for you and also ask you what kind of toppings you’d like. The team of engineers gave all their orders and a delicious piping Pizza was delivered in 40 minutes. The entire process did not require any typing, Google searches, or any other app.

Silicon Valley is quickly moving towards harnessing the power of AI for daily lives. The use of immense amount of data will power smart homes, cars, and other devices. We may even see a future without smartphones, where AI controls every aspect of users’ lives.

Companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon are collectively trying to shove each other aside to have a really powerful AI infrastructure. Subsequently, the only two companies that have changed the landscape of the AI revolution are Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s AI powered world. While others slowly catch up, Apple’s Siri is still one of the least developed AI, seen so far. Interestingly enough, Facebook and Google have already tried to buy out Viv, while CEO Mark Zuckerberg is an investor in the company as well.

The report refers to how smartphones have limited the way we use the Internet and all other services. The creators of Viv have partnered with 50 companies that will let the AI use their data to offer results to users. This will subsequently allow for an experience, where users don’t have to touch their phones to complete an order. The Viv AI will be open-source, something CEO Steve Jobs was not a fan of, which may also have led to Siri being closed off. As per the report, Siri was also able to go through an entire Pizza order when it was a standalone app. Those partnerships were dissolved when Apple acquired the company.

An example of an open-source AI is Amazon’s Alexa that lives in the cylindrical Echo speaker. The Alexa experience is free from any use of the smartphone, and the company has also allowed third party businesses and companies to integrate their products with the smart assistant. The space for AI dominance is something that all tech companies are rushing to secure a place in.

Whatever the case, if Viv manages to make its way into a smartphone that has no apps, but just the AI assistant, then we may see a future that was depicted in the movie “Her”. For now, Siri needs to up its game if it intends to compete with any of the aforementioned smart digital assistants.

Source: Bidness Etc

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05-06-2016 Science&Technology
Anonymous Attacks The Bank Of Greece As It Begins A 30-Day Hacking Campaign Against Worldwide Banks

An anonymous Greek official confirmed on May 4 that Greece's central bank was the victim of a cyberattack on May 3. According to the source, the attack lasted "several minutes" and targeted the bank's security systems.

The group Anonymous, an activist hacking organization, is responsible for the cybersecurity breach. In a YouTube video, Anonymous had previously warned that it would soon begin a 30-day campaign called "OpIcarus — Shut Down the Banks" against central banks around the world.

"The time has come to send the wings of their empire ablaze," Anonymous stated. "Take your weapons and aim them at the global banking cartel."

Other banks that are being targeted are located in the U.S., UK, China, Iran and Pakistan. The Bank of Greece is still working to fully resolve the issues created by Anonymous for its customers. A Denial-of-Service Attack, or DDoS attack, can affect everything from mobile banking to PC banking.

In a previous video, Anonymous stated that it will specifically target New York Stock Exchange and Bank of England as well.

"They feel comfortable in their ivory towers built on the broken backs of laborers of the world," the group said. "It is time to show the world the true power and the true face of the faceless."

While the Greek bank hacking made headlines, the anonymous official who confirmed the attack said that the "only thing affected by the DDoS" was the institution's website. Time has yet to tell whether Anonymous' attacks will be more severe on other banks.

Anonymous members who intend to carry out Operation Icarus will allegedly utilize a Low Orbit Ion Cannon to simultaneously launch DDoS attacks. LOIC allows hackers to inundate servers with heavy network traffic. The OpIcarus Facebook page lists approximately 60 financial institutions that will be targeted as a part of the campaign.

Anonymous was formed back in 2003, and it is an international-wide group. Its members and supporters are known for sporting Guy Fawkes masks. The group has been implicated in a number of movements, including Occupy Wall Street, WikiLeaks and the Arab Spring. In April, Anonymous made headlines for hacking a Ku Klux Klan website.

Source: Tech Times

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05-06-2016 Politics
Why Hillary Clinton isn't pushing Bernie Sanders to exit race

(CNN)Hillary Clinton is itching to take on Donald Trump in a one-on-one contest for the White House -- but she isn't pushing Bernie Sanders off the stage yet. Democrats close to Clinton and the man who could become a top surrogate -- President Barack Obama -- insist they won't pressure the Vermont senator to leave. That reluctance is based on fear inside the Democratic establishment that such a move would make it more difficult to unite the party later this year. Clinton needs the excited supporters that have rallied around Sanders and hopes treating the senator's campaign respectfully will make them more likely to back her against Trump. Clinton has already started to make overtures to Sanders' supporters -- pledging to support them even if they don't support her -- and campaign aides have said those will continue in the coming weeks. Clinton on Wednesday told CNN's Anderson Cooper said she isn't pushing Sanders to hurry up. Sanders can't win with pledged delegates, but aides hope he can push Clinton out

"I'm not calling myself that (the presumptive nominee)," Clinton said. "I know there are some contests ahead and I respect Sen. Sanders and whatever choices he's making. And I have a lot of empathy about this, Anderson. You know, I ran to the very end in 2008." Obama's White House agrees there's no rush. "The key here is unifying the party," said one Democrat familiar with the White House's thinking. "So with that in mind, we are being careful to let the process play through and provide the space for there to be a unifying moment for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders." Clinton: America can't take a chance on "loose cannon" Trump The Democratic contest may march on but the party's infrastructure is already preparing for a Clinton nomination and the former secretary of state is starting to put general election plans into place. While Sanders will continue to campaign across the country -- including planned stops in West Virginia on Thursday -- pledging to fight until the convention, Clinton's aides said this week that she will pursue a two-prong strategy for the coming weeks: Campaign in every upcoming primary while also making trips to general election battleground states. That strategy, though, has not quelled the nerves of Democrats across the country, who are worried that without any GOP rivals, Trump will now turn his entire focus to Clinton, possibly defining her early and hurting efforts to rehabilitate her already dinged image.

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Source: CNN

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05-06-2016 Science&Technology
Roost Introduces New Smart Smoke Alarms That Could Give Nest Protect A Run For Its Money

Roost goes beyond the smart battery, taking the wraps off two smart smoke alarms that can notify the owner via their phone when they detect danger.

Straight off the bat, the RSA-200 can sense smoke and fire, while the relatively superior RSA-400 can detect those two substances plus carbon monoxide and natural gas to boot.

The pair is fitted with the Wi-Fi-enabled 9-volt Roost Smart Battery, a nifty concoction that turns any "dumb" smoke detector into a smart cookie, giving it the function to alert the user through their handset.

Even though that setup might be enough for some already, each of the two new devices not only detects more types of hazards all in one package, but they also catch wind of them faster. That's all thanks to the Universal Smoke Sensing Technology, a system that takes advantage of a microprocessor to sense "fast flaming" and "slow smoldering" fires. According to Roost, it's up to 87 percent faster compared to the current brood of alarms.

What's more, low-battery chirps are also out of the picture, as they can send out a push notification weeks ahead before they completely run out of juice, just like the case with the Roost Smart Battery. It's also worth mentioning that the battery can keep the lights on for five years, and a replacement only costs a paltry $15.

Meanwhile, Nest Protect has been rocking the competition for quite some time now, but it's not exactly the most affordable smart smoke alarm out in the market, holding customers back by $99.

With that said, the Roost RSA-200 comes with a $59.99 price tag, and the RSA-400 is available at $79.99. They're still more expensive than the standard detectors that go between $10 and $30, but at any rate, they're slightly below the Nest Protect price point.

The Roost Smart Smoke Alarms are up for preorder now, and they're expected to be shipped out sometime in June.

Source: Tech Times

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05-06-2016 Politics
Justice Orders Brazilian Lawmaker Behind Rousseff’s Impeachment to Step Down

RIO DE JANEIRO — A Brazilian Supreme Court justice ruled on Thursday that the powerful lawmaker who orchestrated the effort to impeach President Dilma Rousseff must step down as he faces graft charges, ratcheting up tensions in the country.

And in a further blow to Brazil’s scandal-plagued political establishment, Vice President Michel Temer, the man preparing to take control of the government from Ms. Rousseff, was found guilty of violating limits on campaign financing, a ruling that makes him ineligible to run for elected office for eight years.

The rulings are not expected to save Ms. Rousseff from being removed from office, with support for her ouster remaining strong in the Senate, which is preparing to vote next week on whether to remove her from office and put her on trial over claims of budgetary manipulation. But the decisions reflect the potential for greater political turmoil in the country.

The ruling by Justice Teori Zavascki came amid growing fears about the power wielded by the lawmaker, Eduardo Cunha, the speaker of the lower house of Congress, who has fended off charges of taking as much as $40 million in bribes while overseeing the vote in April to impeach Ms. Rousseff in the Chamber of Deputies.

The effort to remove Mr. Cunha, an evangelical Christian radio commentator, sidelines a top political opponent of Ms. Rousseff after much of the damage against her in the lower house had already been carried out.

Both Mr. Cunha and Mr. Temer can appeal the rulings against them. But a spokesman for Mr. Temer said that the vice president would not appeal, opting instead to pay a fine of about $23,000. (Mr. Temer, 75, has already signaled that if he were to become president, he would not run for re-election.)

In the lower house, attention now shifts to Waldir Maranhão, an obscure ally of Mr. Cunha who could take over as speaker. Like Mr. Cunha, Mr. Maranhão is also under investigation on graft charges, raising the possibility that the Supreme Court could also order him to step down.

The legal clouds around Mr. Cunha and Mr. Temer point to concerns over the legitimacy of a potential government led by their centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, which recently broke an alliance with Ms. Rousseff’s leftist Workers’ Party to seek her impeachment.

While prosecutors have determined that Mr. Temer will not face an investigation over testimony implicating him in the colossal graft scandal engulfing Petrobras, the national oil company, various politicians identified as potential ministers in Mr. Temer’s cabinet are battling their own corruption cases.

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Source: The New York Times

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05-06-2016 Environment
New evacuations around fire-struck Fort McMurray in energy heartland

A massive wildfire near Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, that has grown to five times its initial size has spread south, forcing more evacuations on Thursday after 88,000 people fled the city in the nation's energy heartland.

The weather forecast has called for cooler temperatures and possible rain, offering hope that controlling the blaze could become easier.Map of the Fort McMurray fire - (

Late Wednesday, flames fanned south from Fort McMurray, the main city in Canada's oil sands region. Officials issued mandatory evacuation orders for the Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates and Fort McMurray First Nation communities, located about 50 km (31 miles) south of the battered city.

Officials on the scene were forced to evacuate a make-shift emergency operations center for the second time in less than a day.

Authorities said there had been no known casualties from the blaze itself, but fatalities were reported in at least one vehicle crash along the evacuation route.

Thousands bunked down for the night on Wednesday in arenas, hockey rinks and oil work camps that were often short of fuel and food.

Fire also threatened the airport, and web cam images showed black smoke engulfing the area late Wednesday evening. Officials confirmed that a hotel north of the main terminal had caught fire, but as the sun rose on Thursday new images of the airport showed no obvious damage.

Major oil sands facilities were not in the path of the flames, but companies' efforts to help employees and evacuees and protect pipelines affected production and helped boost the price of crude.

Austrian consultancy JBC Energy estimated that some 500,000 barrels per day of capacity was offline. [O/R]

Hot, dry, windy weather has made the massive wildfire all but impossible to control. The entire city of Fort McMurray was ordered to evacuate on Tuesday, and some 1,600 structures have been destroyed, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said on Wednesday.

Temperatures hit 31 degrees Celsius (88°F) on Wednesday. But on Thursday morning, Environment Canada forecast a high of 19 degrees Celsius (66°F) with a 30 percent chance of rain. The average high in the area is 15 degrees Celsius.

A government forecast map of potential fire intensity still showed some areas around Fort McMurray at class 6, the highest level.

In the early hours of the evacuation on Tuesday, fire blocked the only route south to major cities, so thousands of evacuees drove north, where there are oil sands facilities but few major settlements, and no route out except back through the burning city.

Late Wednesday, the regional government fielded questions on Twitter from frightened evacuees north of the city, asking when they would be able to drive south, and whether areas north of the city were safe.

"We haven't forgotten about you and you're safe," said the government on Twitter.

Source: Reuters

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05-06-2016 Business
Ford invests $182 million in Silicon Valley tech firm

DETROIT — Ford said Thursday it is investing $182 million in Pivotal, a Silicon Valley-based software development company, to gain access to cutting edge software development expertise that the automaker admits it would struggle to develop on its own.

Ford’s investment is part of a $253 million financing package for Pivotal that also includes funding from Microsoft, GE, EMC and VMware.

The Dearborn, Mich., automaker's investment in the Silicon Valley developer is the latest in a string of partnerships and acquisitions announced recently between Detroit automakers and Silicon Valley Technology companies, including a deal between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Google that emerged earlier this week.

The growing number of tie-ups between the automakers and the tech companies underscores a rapid pace of collaboration as the two industries jointly develop autonomous vehicles, more advanced in-car entertainment and mobility services.

Pivotal CEO Rob Mee said Microsoft’s investment is in response to a number of its customers, including Ford, who want a closer relationship between Pivotal Cloud Foundry, a cloud computing platform, and Azure, Microsoft’s Azure public cloud business.

"Pivotal is the fastest growing modern cloud platform in the market,” Microsoft Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie said in a statement.

Ford CEO Mark Fields said the automaker wants its software engineers to work side-by-side with Pivotal developers and learn from the Silicon Valley company.

"This is going to really provide us with the opportunity to provide our customers with a lot of cloud-based services, and do it in a way that we can acquire the skills by having this partnership ... at speeds that we wouldn’t have been able to do on our own," Fields told the Detroit Free Press.

Ford's software engineers are adept at creating software to manage and control engines, transmissions and braking and other automotive hardware but said the automaker needs to be able to quickly develop software used by consumers, Fields said.

Fields first visited Pivotal's offices about 2 ½ years ago and was impressed with the company's innovative culture and willingness to share technology with its customers and partners.

At the time, Ford was in the early stages of developing FordPass, a free service that allows customers to access features of their vehicle from a smartphone and to reserve parking, pay for transportation costs and pay bills.

That visit brought the automaker and Pivotal together and led to the development of FordPass. That relationship grows deeper after Thursday's investment.

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Source: Usa Today

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05-06-2016 Business
Pinterest Acquires Mobile Advertising Startup URX

Pinterest, the popular image-discovery site, has announced the acquisition of URX, the mobile advertising startup. 15 people from URX have joined the partnerships, engineering, and the product management team at Pinterest. The company said that they would not be taking any of URX’s assets or technology but the deal is primarily for talent. Reports indicate that things were heading downtown at URX and the previous months had seen layoffs. Pinterest declined to comment saying that it would not disclose the terms of the deal. A person familiar with the deal said that it mostly comprised of stocks. According to an official blog post, John Milinovich, the Co-Founder and Chief Executive of URX will join Pinterest as the product manager. Prior to starting URX, Milinovich was a part of the Google Analytics team and helped roll out the Google offers coupon service. The URX team is equipped with the expertise to match user intent with results. This expertise has intrigued Pinterest as it strives to build a “discovery engine”. The URX employees after joining Pinterest will work on discovery and search which focuses on deciphering the data behind each pin; mostly the rich pins.

Founded in 2013, San Francisco-based URX emerged when deep linking technology (which connects mobile apps to specified points) was getting increased attention. The company’s ad-tech team could teach computers how to understand the content which people check on their phones and make appropriate recommendations. Pinterest now wants the URX team to put their talent towards teaching Pinterest’s computers which of the pins it should be showing to over 100 million individuals who use the Pinterest service every month. Pinterest is focused on creating relevant and useful experiences to help users discover ideas and bring the ideas to life. The hires from URX have been announced after Pinterest acquired Hike Labs, a small two-person startup. Pinterest is interested in gaining the expertise of Hike Lab’s Co-Founders Mike Demers and Jason Shellen. Shellen who was the CEO at Hike Labs will join Pinterest as the Product Manager and Demers as the Engineer. The founders can lend their experience as Pinterest focuses on its discovery engine.

Silbermann wants to create personalized catalogue Further, at a Harvard Business School Association event in Redwood City, the Chief Executive Officer of Pinterest, Ben Silbermann, said that he wants to build the ultimate personalized catalogue which is curated by those the Pinterest users trust, and which helps the users navigate daily life. This is his vision for the six-year old startup which has been valued at $11 billion during the last round of funding. Silbermann added that other things will work out automatically, if the team focused on building a catalog which the users find useful. At the event, Silbermann took the stage for a Q&A session with the general partner of Benchmark Scott Belsky who is also an early Pinterest investor.

Source: Martech Advisor

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05-04-2016 Cars
Google, Fiat Chrysler to collaborate on self-driving minivans

Alphabet's Google Self-Driving Car Project has teamed with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to work directly for the first time with an automaker on developing autonomous vehicles.

Under a deal announced Tuesday, Google said it plans to more than double its fleet of self-driving vehicles with the addition initially of about 100 new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans.

The Internet company said it hopes that the first few minivans will be on the road by year end.

In a market that was increasingly appearing as one in which Google and other tech companies would take on the traditional automakers, the deal between Google and FCA involves a collaboration between engineering teams that Google said “will help both teams better understand how to create a fully self-driving car that can take you from A to B with the touch of a button.”

Google did not disclose the financial terms of the deal or whether it could lead to a long-term partnership.

Automakers have separately tried to develop or acquire their own self-driving technologies, a market in which Fiat Chrysler was seen to be a laggard. General Motors, for example, said in March it was acquiring Cruise Automation to add the autonomous vehicle technology startup's software talent and rapid development capability to accelerate GM’s own development of self-driving technology.

Google and Fiat Chrysler said the engineering responsibilities for the self-driving minivans will be shared based on each company's respective expertise. FCA will design its minivans to make it easier for Google to install its self-driving systems, including the computers running the software, and the sensors that enable the car to monitor its surroundings on the road.

The minivan also gives Google an opportunity to try out its technology on a larger vehicle that could be easier for passengers to enter and exit, with features like hands-free sliding doors, Google said.

“Collaborations like these are an important part of realizing the potential of self-driving technology to improve road safety and make transportation more accessible for millions of people,” Google said in a blog post. Part of the engineering teams of both companies will be located at a facility in southeastern Michigan.

The self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans will be tested by Google's self-driving car team first on its private test track in California before they are operated on public roads.

Google's self-driving cars are currently being tested in four U.S. cities, including Mountain View in California, Austin in Texas, Kirkland in Washington, and Phoenix in Arizona, and its test vehicles have driven on their own over 1.5 million miles (2.4 million kilometers) on public roads.

Source: Pc World

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05-04-2016 Politics
It's Donald Trump's GOP After Ted Cruz Drops Out

INDIANAPOLIS — In a result that once seemed unthinkable to many Republicans, Donald Trump became the likely GOP nominee on Tuesday as top rival Senator Ted Cruz withdrew from the race.

"We are going to win again and we are going to win again bigly," a confident Trump declared from Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday.

Trump cut a swath through a 17-person GOP field while spreading outrageous fringe conspiracy theories about Muslims, Mexicans, and African Americans, threatening violence against protesters, and leveling misogynist attacks against his female critics.

He will now represent the party of Abraham Lincoln in the general election despite little connection to any leg of the party's traditional trio of social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, and national security conservatives. Implausibly, he will now lead all three groups against Hillary Clinton.

Trump won by discovering a primal desire among GOP voters for a swaggering populist who would buck orthodoxy on trade, protect entitlements, build a border wall, deport all undocumented immigrants, and implement an "America First" foreign policy that demanded allies pay for U.S. protection or go it alone.

Millions of supporters, distrustful of their party's leaders, rallied behind him as a unique figure whose personal fortune enabled him to spurn donors and say what he wanted with impunity.

He was as ruthless in attacking his Republican opponents as anyone else. With a nod toward party unity, however, he pivoted Tuesday from attacking Cruz, who he had nicknamed "Lyin' Ted," to calling him a "tough, smart guy" and "one hell of a competitor" with an "amazing future."

Trump graciously acknowledged Cruz's "whole beautiful family," which presumably included the wife whose looks he had mocked on Twitter and the father who he had insinuated just hours earlier was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Trump's speech came shortly after Cruz, halfway across the state, told dejected supporters that he was ending his campaign.

"From the beginning, I've said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory," Cruz said. "Tonight, I'm sorry to say, it appears that path has been foreclosed."

Cruz made no mention of the opponent who he had told Americans that same morning was "utterly amoral," a "pathological liar," a "bully" and a "narcissist" after Trump's attack on his father. Instead, Cruz offered a flowery tribute to Ronald Reagan and conservatism that sounded like a stump speech for a future campaign.

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Source: NBC News

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05-04-2016 Environment
Canadian wildfire forces evacuation order for entire city

The Canadian province of Alberta raced to evacuate the entire population of Fort McMurray where an uncontrolled wildfire was taking hold in the heart of the country's oil sands region, with dry winds forecast for Wednesday that could fuel the blaze.

Alberta appealed for military help to battle the fire and airlift people from the smoke-filled city after authorities issued a mandatory evacuation order for 80,000, but officials said army and air force assistance would take two days to arrive.

About 44,000 people were estimated to be on the roads, fleeing the city, while approximately 8,000 had reached an evacuation center outside Fort McMurray, officials said.

"Right now, we have fire burning within the city," Chief Darby Allen of Fort McMurray's fire department told reporters. "It is impacting communities as we speak. Homes are on fire as we speak."

The 2,650-hectare (6,540-acre) fire, which was discovered on Sunday, shifted aggressively with the wind on Tuesday to breach city limits. The blaze closed off the main southern exit from the city, Highway 93, prompting many residents to head north towards the oil sands camps.

The southern route eventually reopened but traffic was quickly gridlocked in both directions. Gas stations throughout the area were out of fuel and police were patrolling the highway with gas cans.

"This is the biggest evacuation we have seen in the history of the province," Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said at a news conference, adding that there were no known casualties.

"We need to find more camps. We have secured spaces for about 6,000 people. We know we need to find more and that work is under way," Notley said.

Alberta is much drier than normal for this time of year, strengthening prospects for a long and expensive wildfire season, in the wake of a mild winter with lower-than-average snowfall and a warm spring.

Authorities expect increased winds on Wednesday that will make it harder to fight the fire.

"Tomorrow is expected to be a more intense burning day," said Bruce Mayer, assistant deputy minister of Alberta's Forestry Division.

Suncor Energy, whose oil sands operations are closest to the city, said its main plant, 25 km (16 miles) north of Fort McMurray, was safe, but it was reducing crude production in the region to allow employees and families to get to safety.

Suncor said evacuees were welcome at its Firebag oil sands facility, while Canadian Natural Resources Ltd said it was working to ensure any affected CNRL workers and their families could use its camps.

Shell Canada also said it would open its oil sands camp to evacuees and was looking to use its airstrip to fly out non-essential staff and accommodate displaced residents.

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Source: Reuters

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05-04-2016 Environment
Global Warming Is Starving West Coast Waters of Oxygen

Just west of Los Angeles, decimated populations of spiny rockfish rummage for prey among bush-like corals. Cold currents from deep valleys wash nutrients between the Channel Islands, fertilizing plants that are eaten by fish. The fish are eaten by dolphins and pelicans and served with fries to diners watching ocean sunsets from Venice Beach.

Rockfish populations that crashed off the southern Californian coast in the 1990s have been protected by fishing rules and marine parks. But climate change is making a natural threat to the fish even worse.

As atmospheric pollution warms the planet and its seas, oxygen levels are declining in the oceans, making it harder for the bottom-dwelling fish to breathe.

Ocean warming is projected to continue reducing oxygen levels in some hotspots that are naturally low in oxygen, such as the eastern Pacific Ocean. The oxygen declines in coastal waters like California’s threaten to create invisible chemical barriers, boxing vulnerable wildlife into smaller territories. “The importance of oxygen loss has been underestimated or overlooked by ocean scientists,” said Lisa Levin, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography professor who is helping to pioneer research into the problem.

Levin’s lab published a study last week revealing the heavy influence of oxygen levels on the biodiversity of worms, mollusks and other creatures that live in West Coast mud, which are eaten by rockfish and other marine predators.

As oceans warm, fish and other sea animals need more oxygen, yet the sea water they breathe holds less of it. Ocean circulation changes caused by global warming can also reduce oxygen levels below the ocean’s surface, where it’s absorbed from the atmosphere.

That’s jeopardizing fisheries already afflicted by overfishing, wetland losses, water pollution, ocean warming and ocean acidification.

“For some things that can’t move, it’s going to kill them,” Levin said. “For things that can swim away, it’s going to shrink their habitat.”

Oxygen levels can be highly variable, and scientists are still trying to untangle the role climate change may have played in declining West Coast oxygen levels since the 1980s, some of which coincided with local ocean cooling.

Scripps and federal government scientists calculated in 2010 that the oxygen declines could reduce cowcod habitat in protected Southern California Bight areas by 18 percent by the 2020s, if trends continued.

“Ocean warming and ocean acidification have had much more attention,” Levin said. “The people who have been studying changes in oxygen didn’t raise the issue about global declines until probably eight years ago, and haven’t focused on communicating to the media, to the public, everywhere it needs to go.”

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Source: Weather

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04-26-2016 Politics
Ted Cruz, John Kasich join forces to stop Donald Trump

(CNN)Ted Cruz and John Kasich are joining forces in a last-ditch effort to deny Donald Trump the Republican presidential nomination.

Within minutes of each other, the pair issued statements late Sunday saying they will divide their efforts in upcoming contests with Cruz focusing on Indiana and Kasich devoting his efforts to Oregon and New Mexico. The strategy -- something the two campaigns have been working on for weeks -- is aimed at blocking Trump from gaining the 1,237 delegates necessary to claim to GOP nomination this summer.

The extraordinary moves reflect the national strength Trump has shown and the inability of Republicans who oppose the New York billionaire to come together to stop him. Dividing up some of the remaining primary states by putting forward one strong alternative to Trump in each could be enough to take away delegates and curb Trump's run to the nomination. "This is a nationwide campaign and we're making a decision where to focus our time, energy and resources," Cruz told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham on Monday. "We are now focused very, very heavily on the state of Indiana. It is significant that John Kasich is pulling out of Indiana and allowing us to go directly head to head with Donald Trump."

Kasich said Monday despite the agreement, he still wants Indiana voters to support him. "They ought to vote for me," he said during a gaggle with reporters at a Philadelphia diner. "I'm not campaigning in Indiana and he's not campaigning in these other states, that's all. It's not a big deal," Kasich said. Trump is the only candidate who can realistically get a first-ballot victory -- there's no mathematical path for Cruz or Kasich to clinch the nomination heading into the convention. The billionaire is poised for a strong performance Tuesday, when Republicans in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island head to the polls.

Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe said in a statement the Texas senator will focus on the May 3 Indiana primary. He called Trump at top of the GOP ticket "a sure disaster." He added: "To ensure that we nominate a Republican who can unify the Republican Party and win in November, our campaign will focus its time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear the path for Gov. Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico."

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Source: CNN

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04-26-2016 Science&Technology
The Play Store Is Coming To Chrome OS, Complete With All The Android Apps You Could Ever Want

In 2014, Google brought a few Android apps to Chrome OS - at first it was a trickle, and then more and more came, until an astounding 29 apps were available. Google then released ARC Welder, a tool that allowed developers to port their apps without Google's involvement. But Android apps on Chrome OS have always felt like they didn't really belong on Chrome. Now, Google might be about to change that.

According to reddit user /u/TheWiseYoda, there is a setting in Chrome OS v51 (which is currently available through the developer channel) which says "Enable Android Apps to run on your Chromebook." In and of itself, that's not really saying anything - Android apps have been on Chrome OS for a while. This option quickly disappeared, meaning /u/TheWiseYoda could not tick it to see what happened.

However, others had better luck and were able to enable the setting. They found that it brings up a window with "Google Play store now on your Chromebook." It also says users can choose from "over a million apps to install and use on your Chromebook." Like the earlier checkbox, this window automatically closes pretty quickly, but the information is there for all to see.

Pretty cool, huh? Could this be the big Google I/O news this year? We'll have to wait and see, but it certainly looks promising.

Source: Android Police

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04-26-2016 Science&Technology
Screaming woman hints at the true potential of virtual reality

Virtual reality is a piece of tech that although drastically updated and re-introduced to the masses in 2016, probably won’t take-off properly for another year or two. It faces a few issues that will take time to overcome, namely cost and experiences.

Virtual reality at the level of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive is expensive, but that cost will come down as the kit gets cheaper to make and more people buy it. The lack of engaging experiences is simply down to the tech being so new and developers getting to grips with how best to use it.

The video below shows us the potential VR has to provoke a very emotional response, and although simple, it’s very encouraging for the future.

I admit I laughed a lot watching that video. She is genuinely scared because of the situation she has been placed in. With the headset and headphones on, her world is the dark world filled with zombies trying to attack her, and she accepts it completely.

For experienced gamers, such a setup would form a basic stimulation at best. It may be enjoyable depending on how the gameplay varies after the first wave of zombies, but it’s nothing mind blowing. However, such experiences will get made and will provoke the same response as this woman showed.

Virtual reality will have its Doom moment, but I expect it will come in more than one form catering to very different audiences. Sure, VR is highly focused on gaming right now as it makes sense to help with adoption, but the breadth of experiences available is much larger and to a much wider age range.

If anyone is interested in experiencing this relentless zombie shooting experience, then check out The Brookhaven Experiments, which will be available to play in June.

Source: Geek

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04-25-2016 Cars
Is this the city car of the future? Shell reveals bizarre bug eyed vehicle with a flip up front

n about 50 years, three quarters of the world is expected to live in cities, while the number of cars on the road will double.

While most manufacturers are developing electric solutions, unsurprisingly Shell has designed a vehicle that they say 'is intended to inspire thinking about maximizing personal mobility, while minimizing energy use'. Shell's city concept car uses a third less energy compared to the average, as it gets 107 miles per gallon and is only 1.5m high, 2.5m long and 1.3m wide – making parking in the city a breeze.

Last year, well-known car designer Gordon Murray revealed his collaboration with former engine specialist Osamu Goto and oil company Shell, called 'Project M.' 'We decided to build a car from scratch, a practical solution to driving in modern cities,' said Murray. 'The car is now here, it works and its performance is incredible.' This car of the future is based around the concept of 'co-engineering -- the body, powertrain, and lubricants are all designed to work with each other. 'You could build this car and drive it for around 100,000 kilometres before consuming the same energy it takes to make a typical SUV,' says engineer Bob Mainwaring, Shell's Technology Manager for Innovation, who is leading the project. Electric, low-carbon biofuels or hydrogen powered cars are going to play a major role in the transportation industry of the future, but experts say we still need to develop more efficient combustion engines using petrol and diesel if we want to combat climate change. 'We wanted to see what kind of an impact we could have if we really pushed the boundaries of what combustion engine cars can do today,' says Mainwaring. The concept car maxes out at speeds of 110 kilometers per hour, but rides like a dream at 50 to 70 kilometers per hour.

Shell has conducted independent tests that show it will only use 2.6 liters of petrol on a 100 kilometer drive, while coasting at a steady 70km/h. The car also proved to give off a quarter fewer CO2 emissions than the average hybrid cars. Shell used low-cost, recycled carbon fiber for the car's body, which reduced the weight to 550 kilograms and cut energy used to manufacture it by 45 percent compared to a city car that is on the market.

'We decided to build a car from scratch, a practical solution to driving in modern cities.'

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Source: Daily Mail

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