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07-26-2017 Science&Technology
Tech company workers agree to have microchips implanted into their hands

Some workers at a company in Wisconsin will soon be getting microchips in order to enter the office, log into computers and even buy a snack or two with just a swipe of the hand.

Todd Westby, the CEO of tech company Three Square Market, told ABC News today that of the 80 employees at the company's River Falls headquarters, more than 50 had agreed to get implants. Westby said, however, that participation was not required.

The microchip uses RFID -- radio frequency identification -- technology and was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2004. It is the size of a grain of rice and will be placed between the thumb and forefinger.

Westby said that when his team was initially approached with the idea, there was some reluctance mixed with excitement.

But, after more details were released and conversations were had, the majority of managers were on board and opted to partner with BioHax International to get the microchips.

Westby said the chip is not a GPS, does not allow for tracking workers and does not require passwords.

"There's really nothing to hack in it because it is encrypted just like credit cards are. ... The chances of hacking into it are almost nonexistent because it's not connected to the internet," he said. "The only way for somebody to get connectivity to it is to basically chop off your hand."

Three Square Market is footing the bill for the microchips, which cost $300 each, and licensed piercers will be handling the implantations on Aug. 1. Westby also said that if workers change their minds, the microchip can be removed as if taking out a splinter.

He said his wife, young adult children and others would also be getting the microchip next week.

Critics today warned that there could be dangers in how the company planned to store, use and protect workers' information.

Adam Levin, chairman and founder of CyberScout, which provides identity protection and data risk services, said he would not put a microchip in his body.

"Many things start off with the best of intentions but sometimes intentions turn," Levin said. "We've survived thousands of years as a species without being microchipped, is there any particular need to do it now? ... Everyone has a decision to make; that is, how much privacy and security are they willing to trade for convenience?"

Jowan Osterlund of BioHax, which is partnering with Three Square Market, said implanting people was the next step for electronics.

"I'm certain that this will be the natural way to add another dimension to our everyday life," Osterlund told The Associated Press.

Read Original Article     ON:   ABC News

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07-26-2017 Politics
McCain's return, heavy with drama for "Obamacare" repeal

At the twilight of a storied career and battling a brain tumor, Sen. John McCain stands poised to deliver for his party and his president on the issue that's defined the GOP for the past seven years.

It's a situation heavy with drama and symbolism. The 80-year-old Arizona senator will return to Washington just days after a cancer diagnosis, to cast what could be the deciding vote Tuesday to open debate on legislation to repeal and replace "Obamacare."

McCain himself campaigned heavily on the "Obamacare" repeal issue last year as he won re-election to a sixth and almost certainly final Senate term. And there could be sweet revenge in defying cancer to undo the signature legislation of the man who beat him for the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama.

The Arizona senator would also deliver a key victory to President Donald Trump, despite emerging as one of the president's most outspoken GOP critics on Capitol Hill. During last year's campaign Trump shockingly ridiculed McCain over his years as a POW during the Vietnam War.

And the situation was eerily reminiscent of a similar scenario involving McCain's good friend, the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, who returned to the Senate in July 2008 while battling brain cancer to vote on Medicare legislation, his dramatic entry in the chamber eliciting cheers and applause. Kennedy died of cancer in August 2009.

The possibility of McCain returning had been discussed around the Capitol on Monday, yet the press release from his office late in the day came as a surprise. Nor did it guarantee success on Tuesday's vote for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is managing a balky GOP caucus with almost no room for error in the closely divided Senate.

"Senator McCain looks forward to returning to the United States Senate tomorrow to continue working on important legislation, including health care reform, the National Defense Authorization Act, and new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea," his office said.

McCain has not been overly enthusiastic about the GOP health bill or the partisan process through which it's emerged. After an earlier version was poised to fail, he called on McConnell to reopen the process with a bipartisan approach, advice the majority leader ignored.

But McCain's best friend in the Senate Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and other colleagues who've spoken with McCain of late, say he's been itching to get back to the Senate, impatient to return to work. And he's expected to support McConnell and Trump and vote to move forward with the GOP health bill.

"I have a feeling if there's any way he can be back he'll be here, whether or not his doctors like it, knowing John," Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said earlier Monday.

And sure enough, he will.

Read Original Article     ON:   ABC News

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07-26-2017 Politics
Trump to Boy Scouts: 'We could use some more loyalty'

CNN)President Donald Trump turned a Boy Scouts event into a campaign-style rally Monday, starting off by saying he'd put aside the "fake news" and other issues in Washington while addressing the Boy Scouts of America 2017 National Scout Jamboree.

"I said, who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts?" Trump said.

Trump went on to dive into politics anyway -- blasting the media, pushing for the repeal of Obamacare and making a pointed remark about "loyalty."

Listing off the virtues of Boy Scouts at the West Virginia speech, Trump said: "As the scout law says, a scout is trustworthy, loyal," Trump said, before adding, "We could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that."

Trump's comments came the same day he called Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was in the Boy Scouts, "beleaguered" in a tweet expressing his frustration over the ongoing Russia investigations.

At the event, Trump also warmly recalled his victory against Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.

"Do you remember that famous night on television, November 8?" Trump asked.

He told the Scouts that Republicans had a tremendous disadvantage in the Electoral College and that the popular vote, which he lost to Clinton, "is much easier." He went on to tell the Scouts his victory was "an unbelievable tribute to you and all of the other millions and millions of people that came out and voted for Make America Great Again."

The Boy Scouts of America issued a statement in response to Trump's appearance on Monday, clarifying that the Scouts did not endorse Trump nor did the group support a particular "position, product, service, political candidate or philosophy," and that the group simply always extends invitations to sitting presidents.

It concluded, "the sitting US president serves as the BSA's honorary president. It is our longstanding custom to invite the US president to the National Jamboree."

Trump said many of his advisers were Boy Scouts, as were 10 of his Cabinet members. "Can you believe that? 10," Trump said.

Two of those former Boy Scouts and now-Cabinet members, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, joined Trump onstage. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who made it to Eagle Scout and was the group's president from 2010-2012, addressed the jamboree Friday.

Trump said several times the media would downplay the size of the audience at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, which the Boy Scouts in a news release prior to the event said they anticipated would be more than 40,000 people.

Read Original Article     ON:   CNN

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07-26-2017 Science&Technology
Alphabet adds to cash pile despite higher costs, antitrust fine

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc reported a 21 percent jump in quarterly revenue on Monday, maintaining a growth rate that is rarely seen among companies its size and suggesting the big sales gains enjoyed recently by the other Internet firms are not done yet.

Alphabet, the owner of Google and YouTube, said it made $3.5 billion in net income on sales of $26 billion. The profit would have been much larger but for a record $2.7 billion European Union antitrust fine.

Still, the company noted that costs were rising faster than sales and warned that expenses would remain high as more searches shift to mobile devices.

The squeeze on expected future profit appeared to weigh on Alphabet's share price, which fell about 3 percent to $967 after the bell. Shares had closed up in regular trading and have gained 26 percent for the year.

Alphabet's cost of revenue, a measure of how much money the company must spend to keep its platforms running before added costs such as research, rose 28 percent, well above the growth in revenue itself.

The rising costs, including what Google pays to drive traffic to its search engine, hurt operating margins more than most people had expected, said Doug Kass, president of Seabreeze Partners Management.

"This could be problematic going forward," Kass said.

Alphabet Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat, asked about margins during a conference call with analysts, said the company was focused on getting bigger.

"As we've often said, we're focused on revenue and operating income dollar growth and not on operating margins," she said.

Increasing costs, Porat added, are a result of more money going into high-growth products that she said would create value for shareholders.

With its latest profits, Alphabet reported $15.7 billion in cash and cash equivalents, and another $79 billion in marketable securities.

Alphabet and social media rival Facebook Inc, which together dominate the online ad market, compete for advertising dollars.

This year, Google is expected to have $73.75 billion in net digital ad revenue worldwide while Facebook is expected to take in $36.29 billion, according to research firm eMarketer. Together they will have about 49 percent of the market, eMarketer said.

Facebook is due to report earnings on Wednesday.

The technology sector has led a big rally in U.S. stocks. The S&P 500 information technology index is up 23.1 percent this year, compared with a 10.4 percent rise in the S&P 500.

Antitrust risk has shadowed Google for years, and antitrust enforcers in the European Union last month fined Google 2.42 billion euro ($2.7 billion) for favoring its own shopping service. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Reuters

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07-26-2017 Science&Technology
Microsoft Monday: Goodbye Microsoft Paint, GLAS Smart Thermostat, LinkedIn App For Windows 10

Microsoft Monday is a weekly column that focuses on updates in regards to the Redmond giant. This week, Microsoft Monday includes details about Paint being phased out, an upcoming smart thermostat powered by Cortana, a new partnership with Baidu, the LinkedIn app for Windows 10, the financial results for the fiscal fourth quarter and much more!

Goodbye Microsoft Paint

It’s the end of an era. Microsoft has added Microsoft Paint as the list of features in the “removed and deprecated” list for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (known as Autumn Creators Update in certain regions) coming this fall. Microsoft first introduced the world to Microsoft Paint 32 years ago in 1985 as part of Windows 1.0.

There is a chance that Microsoft Paint will be in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, but Microsoft will no longer actively update the graphic editing software. And Microsoft has not specified when exactly the graphic editing software would be removed.

As a replacement for the original Microsoft Paint software, Microsoft released Paint 3D in October. Paint 3D allows users to share their work online.

Another application that is being removed in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is Outlook Express.

Microsoft Joins The Smart Thermostat Game Market

Microsoft has partnered with Johnson Controls to launch a smart thermostat product called GLAS. Johnson Controls is known for creating the first electric room thermostat.

The GLAS smart thermostat will run on the Windows 10 IoT core operating system. And the GLAS smart thermostat is going to have a translucent touchscreen that supports Cortana voice commands so you do not have to talk to your phone or a smart speaker to adjust the temperature. Plus the GLAS device will be able to detect the presence of users in the room and detect air quality indoors and outdoors.

Microsoft To Provide Azure Cloud Services At A Global Scale For Baidu’s Self-Driving Project

Microsoft and Baidu have announced a partnership in regards to the adoption of autonomous driving worldwide. Microsoft is already a member of Baidu's Apollo alliance and will provide a global scale with the Azure cloud outside of China going forward.

Apollo is an open platform that was announced in April with over 50 partners including TomTom, Bosch and Continental. In the announcement, Microsoft cited a study by McKinsey that stated up to 15% of new cars sold in 2030 will be fully autonomous -- thus making Apollo essential for the autonomous vehicle industry. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Forbes

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07-26-2017 Cars
Meet the Fastest Ford Mustang Ever

Ford has set a new company record.

The automaker said Monday its new 2018 Ford Mustang GT is its fastest version ever with the ability to travel 60 miles per hour in under four seconds.

The new GT model will have a redesigned 5.0-liter V8 engine that produces 460 horsepower 420 pounds of torque, as well as a 10-speed automatic transmission. Together, and when set in "drag strip" mode—one of five driver-selectable modes available for 2018—the GT can hit that 0-60 in under four seconds milestone.

Sure, it's not as fast as a Tesla, but it still beats out other high-profile sports cars, including the Porsche 911 Carrera, according to Ford.

Carl Widmann, Mustang chief engineer, breaks down how this works.

"Typically, when you shift gears, you give up time,” Widmann said in a statement. “In Drag Strip mode, the engine torque doesn’t drop when you’re shifting. You get peak engine torque and horsepower straight through thanks to our new Ford-built 10-speed transmission.”

Consumers who opt for the standard 2018 Mustang haven't been left out. The new model is equipped a with a EcoBoost 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine that generates 310 horsepower and 350 feet of torque. The company dropped the 3.7-liter V6 and has said that the new 4-cylinder version provides more torque and fuel efficiency than its predecessor.

Buyers who upgrade to the performance package and the 10-speed automatic will be able to travel from 0 to 60 mph in under five seconds.The Ford Mustang might be one of the smaller brands, in terms of annual sales, compared to its flagship F-Series. But it's long history with the company makes it one of its more recognizable brands. In other words, these kinds of improvements matter.

Read Original Article     ON:   Fortune

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07-26-2017 Science&Technology
Does Google think octopus is a dessert?

Alright, Google. We need to have a serious talk. For months, the greater technology community has been waiting on tenterhooks to find out the name of Android O. Will it be Oreo? Oatmeal Cookie? Orange Sorbet? Some other “O” dessert?

But now, you’ve gone and stuck this image in the Easter egg section of the latest Android O developer preview, replacing the original placeholder Easter egg that traditionally has been there to keep the real name of the OS a secret. This is clearly an intentional move, given that the earlier Android O previews would only show the “O” logo on a space background.

Thus, the cartoon Android octopus begs a serious question: does Google think octopus is a dessert?

Now, octopus is certainly a food, enjoyed by millions as a delicacy around the world. It can be served as part of sushi, fried, or prepared in any number of ways. But the overwhelming consensus of the culinary world would indicate that it’s not a dessert! The closest thing we can find to a dessert version of octopus is a Trolli octopus gummy, but Google’s Easter egg seems to lack the multi-colored hues that the candy treat is known for.

It’s possible the folks at Mountain View are simply confused. Or maybe Android is switching away from dessert nicknames entirely. Perhaps the entire thing is an elaborate troll designed to drive the denizens of the internet mad! Is the black-and-white color scheme meant to serve as a visual placeholder for an Oreo cookie? We need answers!

Update: Shortly after this post went live, my colleague Natt Garun made the shocking connection that Android O is also Android version 8.0. Octopi are known for having eight legs. What exactly this means for the mascot of Android O is as yet unclear.

The final version of Android O — whatever it ends up being called — is expected to release sometime later this summer.

Read Original Article     ON:   The Verge

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07-26-2017 Science&Technology
Moon's interior may contain water, Brown University scientists say

(CNN)There may be water -- a good bit of it -- deep inside the moon, scientists at Brown University say.

By analyzing satellite images, the scientists found evidence of water trapped in "glass beads" in ancient ash and rocks that volcanoes spewed across the surface of the moon, said Ralph Milliken, lead author of the new research, published in Nature Geoscience, and an associate professor in Brown's Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences.

"The fact that nearly all of them (the volcanic deposits) exhibit signatures of water suggests ... that the bulk interior of the moon is wet," he said in a news release.

This finding might be a boon for future missions to the moon because water could potentially be extracted from the volcanic deposits, Milliken told CNN.

Though the volcanic glass beads don't contain much water -- maybe a few hundred parts per million -- there's a great deal of the volcanic material to work with, Millliken told CNN. Some fields of this volcanic refuse cover thousands of square kilometers and may be several kilometers deep, he said.

"It's more water than previously recognized," he said.

Volcanic glass beads

Previous findings of water on the moon didn't appear to come from indigenous sources, Milliken said.

In 2009, NASA announced it had found water on the moon. One ton of the moon's surface might yield 32 ounces, NASA scientists said.

Scientists speculated those crystals might have been created by solar winds that interacted with hydrogen at high altitudes, Milliken said. There are also small amounts of frozen water at the moon's poles, he said.

Scientists believed the moon was dry when the Apollo missions started in the 1960s. That thinking changed in 2008 when volcanic glass beads brought back by the Apollo 15 and 17 missions of 1971 and 1972 were found to contain tiny crystalline formations that contained water, the Brown news release said.

But nobody knew if those Apollo samples represented the whole moon or just unusual spots on an otherwise dry surface, Milliken said.

Scientists at Brown took another look at images of the moon's surface retrieved from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper, an imaging spectrometer that flew aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter in 2008.

These images showed materials never examined by the Apollo missioins. After developing a "thermal correction" that separated the readings of reflected light and heat, scientists were able to collect data showing evidence of the glass beads in nearly all the volcanic deposits spread across the moon, Brown said.

"The distribution of these water-rich deposits is the key thing," Milliken said in the news release. "They're spread across the surface, which tells us that the water found in the Apollo samples isn't a one-off."

The study was funded by NASA.

Read Original Article     ON:   CNN

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07-25-2017 Politics
Sean Spicer's choice: Boost the Donald Trump brand or rebuild his own?

No tears for poor Sean Spicer, who finally resigned as White House press secretary after a series of humiliations that are too numerous to count.

He’ll be fine. That’s how it goes in the Washington bubble or, as some call it, the swamp.

A politician or political operative is caught in a sex scandal, forced to resign over ethics charges, fired for incompetence, convicted of corruption or leaves office in some ignominious fashion — and instead of slinking away, they prosper. Agents and bookers come after them with lucrative book deals, speaking engagements and jobs as political pundits on cable news.

It’s likely Spicer will be offered all three, and is on his way to becoming a multi-millionaire if he plays his cards right. His biggest decision: Move forward as a Trump booster and apologist or try to regain the integrity and respect he previously held as communications director for the Republican National Committee?

Trump critics failing their own ethics tests

Trump is playing health care games with lives. Where are the grown-ups?

There’s no shame or conflict of interest too big to preclude a lucrative future in Washington.


Own a home? Forget social security (and do this)

Republican Newt Gingrich was forced to resign as Speaker of the House in 1998, after being dogged by a long-running ethics problem while in Congress that assured he would not be re-elected as speaker. Gingrich paid a fine of $300,000 and admitted he "engaged in conduct that did not reflect creditably on the House of Representatives." Gingrich’s infidelity, while simultaneously demanding President Clinton resign over his affair with an intern, was classic Washington hypocrisy.

But today, Gingrich is a de facto Trump spokesperson appearing on Fox News and quoted often as a kind of éminence grise in newspapers. And his wife, Callista Gingrich, the woman he had an affair with for six years while he was Speaker and married, has been appointed ambassador to the Vatican.

Another who has done well is former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, fired by Trump in June 2016 after various controversies that included a misdemeanor battery charge (later dropped) for grabbing a reporter’s arm. CNN quickly scarfed him up for a paying gig, but that didn’t last. He’s now working for the conservative One America News Network and reportedly shopping a book.

Spicer quit after six months and one day because he disagreed vehemently with President Trump’s decision to make wealthy hedge fund financier, Anthony Scaramucci, White House communications director. Trump ignored Spicer’s concerns that Scaramucci would add to an already-chaotic press office, not reduce it. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Usa Today

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07-25-2017 Politics
North Korea Missile Threat ‘Unlikely,’ But Hawaii Prepares


Hawaii is the first state to prepare the public for the possibility of a ballistic missile strike from North Korea.

The state’s Emergency Management Agency on Friday announced a public education campaign about what to do. Hawaii lawmakers have been urging emergency management officials to update Cold War-era plans for coping with a nuclear attack as North Korea develops nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that can reach the islands.

Starting in November, Hawaii will begin monthly tests of an “attack-warning” siren the state hasn’t heard since the end of the Cold War in the 1980s. The wailing siren will be tested on the first working day of each month, after a test of an “attention-alert” steady tone siren with which residents are familiar.

Informational brochures, along with TV, radio and internet announcements will help educate the public about the new siren sound and provide preparedness guidance.

15 minutes of warning

Because it would take a missile 15 minutes — maybe 20 minutes — to arrive, the instructions to the public are simple: “Get inside, stay inside and stay tuned,” said Vern Miyagi, agency administrator. “You will not have time to pick up your family and go to a shelter and all that kind of stuff. ... It has to be automatic.”

He stressed that his agency is simply trying to stay ahead of a “very unlikely” scenario, but it’s a possibility that Hawaii can’t ignore.

Strategic military outpost

Hawaii is an important strategic outpost for the U.S. military. The island of Oahu is home to the U.S. Pacific Command, the military’s headquarters for the Asia-Pacific region. It also hosts dozens of Navy ships at Pearl Harbor and is a key base for the Air Force, Army and Marine Corps.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority supports preparing for disasters, but it is concerned that misinformation about bracing for a North Korea attack could scare travelers from visiting the islands, spokeswoman Charlene Chan said in a statement.

“The effect of such a downturn would ultimately be felt by residents who rely on tourism’s success for their livelihood,” she said.

With that in mind, Miyagi reiterated, “Hawaii is still safe.”

Disaster preparedness

Hawaii residents, who already face hazards including from tsunami and hurricanes, are familiar with disaster preparedness. Because it’s currently hurricane season, residents should already have an emergency kit that includes 14-days of food and water.

“It also works for this type of scenario,” Lt. Col. Charles Anthony, spokesman for the Hawaii State Department of Defense.

Hawaii officials surveyed 28 U.S. states and cities about what they’re doing for the North Korea threat. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Voa News

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07-25-2017 Science&Technology
Samsung 'Confirms' Galaxy Note 8 Is Massive

Samsung is clearly excited about its (eye wateringly expensive) Galaxy Note 8. Earlier this month the company ‘accidentally’ leaked it and now Samsung has gone a step further and officially promoted its massive size and new design…

This details came this week when the company sent out official press launch invites for its latest and, arguably, most important smartphone to date. But more importantly Samsung chose to give away two of the handset’s biggest talking points.

#1 Mega Size

Multiple leaks from credible sources have shown the Galaxy Note 8 will be the largest premium smartphone Samsung has ever made sporting a whopping 6.3-inch, 19.5:9 aspect ratio display. Now Samsung’s official catchphrase for the event is: “Do Bigger Things”.

It’s a nice pun given the Galaxy Note range’s famous stylus driven focus on productivity (the stylus is also highlighted in the invite), but it is also clearly a way for Samsung to prepare people for a display size that may initially seem off-putting.

This is a smart move because of reason number two…

#2 All New Design

While a 6.3-inch smartphone is obviously a big device, what will minimise its footprint is switching the range to the almost bezel-less Infinity Display used in the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus. In fact this allowed Samsung to enlarge the Galaxy S8 Plus to 6.2-inches and keep it (just about) usable in one hand (with one still-stupid exception).

Furthermore the Galaxy Note 8 invite repeats the trick Samsung used with the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus whereby the silhouette shown was the outline of the phone and its minimal bezels. Extrapolating this image, my regular collaborator Benjamin Geskin was able to compare the Galaxy Note 8 (right) with the Galaxy S8 (left) and Galaxy S8 Plus (middle).

Yes the Galaxy Note 8 is one big phone. But it is also a phone with slightly more squared bezels, a potential last minute design alternation which leaked in detail earlier this week.

Price Barrier

Of course the problem Samsung faces is convincing users to pay an asking price which is expected to start from $1,100. Some help will come from Apple, which is dramatically hiking the iPhone 8’s price as well. As such when you also throw in Google’s gorgeous Pixel 2 XL, 2017 is likely to finish with three of the most impressive smartphones ever made.

But the question remains: have handset makers finally asked too much? We won’t have to wait much longer to find out…

Read Original Article     ON:   Forbes

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07-25-2017 Cars
On-demand taxis could go driverless, thanks to Lyft

US ride-share startup Lyft on Friday dedicated a new team focused on speeding up its effort to create a self-driving vehicle platform, which would be open to use by other companies.

The San Francisco based company earlier this year announced what it billed as the world’s first open self-driving platform, inviting car manufacturers and rival autonomous navigation systems to plug into the network.

“In the years ahead, we will continue to bring the world’s leading automotive and technology companies onto this single platform to serve a nationwide passenger network,” Lyft vice president of engineering and former Google executive Luc Vincent said in an online post.

“We aren’t thinking of our self-driving division as a side project; it’s core to our business.”

Lyft is devoting an in-house division to self-driving technology, according to Vincent.

The team will be based in a Silicon Valley facility called “Level 5 Engineering Center” and its ranks will grow in coming months, the company said.

New luxury lifestyle features on-demand access, rather than ownership

Lyft operates in 350 cities in the US, and plans to run its own self-driving cars on the network, which partners will be free to use and learn from.

“Because we’re doing all of this on an open platform, it won’t just enhance Lyft’s self-driving system,” Vincent said.

“It will accelerate our partners’ efforts, too.”

Driverless future

Lyft announced last month that it would begin testing autonomous ridesharing in Boston under a partnership with the technology startup nuTonomy.

The two companies will collaborate to research “all aspects of ensuring a passenger’s comfort and safety” in self-driving vehicles, a joint statement about the alliance said.

Lyft’s move follows a similar effort by Uber, which has been using autonomous vehicles in a test programme in some US cities.

Private jet charters now available on demand

Earlier this year, Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Google parent Alphabet, reached an agreement with Lyft to test self-driving car technology, according to the companies.

Waymo and Lyft are allies against ridesharing giant Uber, which is racing to develop its own self-driving vehicles.

“We’re looking forward to working with Lyft to explore new self-driving products that will make our roads safer and transportation more accessible,” a Waymo spokesman told AFP at the time.

Waymo and Uber are currently engaged in a bitter legal dispute.

In February Waymo filed a lawsuit claiming that a former manager took technical data when he left to launch a competing venture that was later acquired by Uber. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   SCMP

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07-20-2017 Science&Technology
Touring Mars: Cool Data Visualization Lets You Visit the Red Planet

Have you ever wished you could go to Mars without taking on the long-term commitment and risks associated with spaceflight? Now you can explore the surface of Mars without leaving the comfort of planet Earth, thanks to troves of imagery from NASA spacecraft and a cool data-visualization software called OpenSpace.

With OpenSpace, you can fly over Martian mountaintops and swoop through the deep canyons of Valles Marineris with the highest-resolution views from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), creating sort of a Google Earth for Mars. And that's just the beginning; the makers of OpenSpace said they aim to ultimately map the entire known universe with dynamic and interactive visualizations created from real scientific data.

Using data and images from the Context Camera (CTX) on MRO and the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, researchers have already mapped 90 percent of the Red Planet's surface down to a resolution of about 20 feet (6 meters) per pixel. Incorporating high-resolution images from the spacecraft's HiRISE camera (High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment), OpenSpace has allowed researchers to image parts of Mars down to a resolution of about 25 centimeters (10 inches) per pixel. That's 24 times sharper than before. [Latest Photos from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter]

NASA and SpaceX have used HiRISE to look at potential landing sites for upcoming robotic missions like the Mars 2020 rover and Red Dragon sample-return mission, because the camera can resolve details in the terrain and determine whether it's safe for a rover to touch down and drive around there. When HiRISE isn't looking at landing sites, scientists use it to study other aspects of the Martian surface.

Since MRO arrived at the Red Planet 11 years ago, HiRISE has taken more than 4,500 stereo images of the Martian surface. The U.S. Geological Survey has so far gotten around to processing only about 380 of these images to incorporate them into a map of the Martian terrain.

That's where OpenSpace comes in. In a partnership with the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and Linköping University in Sweden, researchers and student interns have been working to turn loads of data into stunning, interactive visualizations. "We have figured out the technique where we can do that ourselves with a massive photogrammetry tool kit called the NASA Ames Stereo Pipeline," Carter Emmart, the director of the astrovisualization program at the museum and creative lead of OpenSpace, told ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Space

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07-19-2017 Science&Technology
Astronomers Detect Mysterious Signals From Red Dwarf Star 11 Light-Years Away From Planet Earth

Astronomers who were studying red dwarf stars with planets using the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico have reported detecting strange signals emanating from a small and dim star located about 11 light-years from Earth.

Signals From Red Dwarf Star Ross 128

The radio signals, which were picked up on May 12 using the Arecibo radio telescope, appear to come from the red dwarf star called Ross 128. The star, which is about 2,800 times dimmer than the solar system's sun is not yet confirmed to have any planets.

Astrobiologist Abel Mendez, from the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, said that the bizarre, "almost periodic" signals were picked up during the observation of the star that lasted 10 minutes.

The SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) group is aware of the mysterious signals. SETI Institute astronomer Seth Shostak said that the Allen Telescope Array in California may be used to check the signals. Nonetheless, he said that these are likely terrestrial interference.

"The chances are high that they're terrestrial interference, in fact. That's really always been the case," Shostak said.

Are The Signals From Intelligent Alien Life?

The idea of alien life usually crops up whenever scientists detect bizarre or unexplainable signals from space. Some scientists, for instance, considered the possibility that the dimming of the Tabby's star could be explained by an alien megastructure orbiting around it.

Mendez thinks it is unlikely that the newly detected signals from Ross 128 is due to intelligent extraterrestrial life but noted that this possibility cannot yet be ruled out.

Possible Explanations

The astronomer said that the signals could be explained by something that humans have put in space, such as a satellite that passed overhead. Another possible explanation for the signal is a stellar flare, an outburst of energy from the surface of the star. Flares from the sun emit powerful radio signals that can disrupt satellites and communications on Earth.

"We do not know the origin of these signals but there are three main possible explanations: they could be (1) emissions from Ross 128 similar to Type II solar flares, (2) emissions from another object in the field of view of Ross 128, or just (3) burst from a high orbit satellite," Mendez wrote.

Astronomers said that each of these three possible explanations for the signals has problems so further observations will be conducted in the hopes that these could shed light on the nature of the radio emissions.

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07-18-2017 Science&Technology
Elon Musk: Artificial Intelligence Is Society's 'Biggest Risk'

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Artificial intelligence is the "biggest risk that we face as a civilization" Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said Saturday, speaking to state leaders on the last day of the National Governors Association summer meeting.

The business magnate participated in a question and answer session with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, the incoming chair of the National Governors Association, whose initiative explores how state leaders can prepare for and benefit from innovative technologies.

Musk made his stance clear that governors must address artificial intelligence proactively, or it will be too late. Without proper regulations in place, he warned, industries will become completely autonomous, posing a threat not only to jobs but to the nation's safety. He said the government "doesn't have insight" into AI yet but, when they do, "I think people will be very afraid, as they should be."

Robots can complete tasks faster and more efficiently than humans, but even more dangerous is the fact that they could "start a war by doing fake news and spoofing email accounts and fake information, and just by manipulating information," Musk told the audience.

Responding to Musk's somber warnings, the governors were eager for advice on how to defend their states.

The entrepreneur said state legislators should start by forming a regulatory committee, whose first task would be to develop a full understanding of AI.

He stressed the importance of forming regulations to prevent companies from building their artificial intelligence to keep up with competitors who are doing the same.

"If your competitor is rushing to build AI and you don't, it will crush you, " Musk said.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, who has worked to reduce and eliminate these regulations, expressed concern over upsetting the balance between regulation and entrepreneurship.

Though some companies will threaten to relocate to China, or to a country with more lenient regulatory policies, Musk says they won't follow through in doing so unless the state policies are "really overbearing."

During a lighter portion of the session, Musk also made some major predictions about the future of cars. He said he guesses that in 10 years, more than half of all new vehicle production in the U.S. will be electric and that nearly all cars produced will be autonomous. But with some older cars on the road, it will take longer for the entire U.S. fleet to become autonomous.

In 20 years, Musk said he expects all cars on the road to be autonomous, adding that having a steering wheel "will be like having a horse." ...

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07-17-2017 Sports
Joe Rogan: Mayweather Was Rattled During McGregor Face-Offs

CONOR MCGREGOR is currently winning his war of words with Floyd Mayweather.

Earlier this week, McGregor and Mayweather took part in an international press tour to promote their multi-million-pound boxing match, which takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 26.

As expected, the two biggest names in combat sports threw several verbal jabs at one another, much to the delight of their respective set of fans.

The trash talk reached a whole nother level on Wednesday evening at Budweiser Stage in Toronto, the venue for the tour’s second press conference.

A fired up McGregor, who was fuming at Showtime for cutting his mic during his speech at the Los Angeles event, roasted Mayweather on a whole host of topics.

Never one to hold back, McGregor slammed his upcoming opponent for his current financial woes and his alleged inability to read.

Mayweather tried his best to get one up on ‘The Notorious’, repeatedly calling him a ‘b**ch’ and an ‘eejit’.

The former five-weight world champion’s taunts weren’t well received by the crowd and he resorted to shouting, ‘I’m the best, I’m the best.’

McGregor mocks Mayweather's strip club in trash talk

UFC commentator Joe Rogan has been keeping a close eye on the verbal battles between McGregor and Mayweather and believes the latter has been shaken to the core.

“Conor’s hilarious, man,” he said during a recent episode of his Joe Rogan Experience podcast. “He’s f***ing hilarious.

“He’s laughing and having a great time and Floyd seemed a little rattled by how confident this guy is when they were going face to face and standing off with each other."

Rogan might have given McGregor the nod for the mental warfare side of the fight but is sticking to his belief that the reigning UFC lightweight champion faces an almighty task to become the first man in history to beat 'Money' Mayweather.

"The thing about Floyd is I think you have an idea of what you can do to him until you get into the ring with him, and then you realise how good he is,” he added.

“His defense is just on another level, he’s just in a completely different zone all by himself.

"His movement, the way he figures out what you’re gonna do, the way he processes your movement and throws it into his boxing computer and before you know it he’s catching you before you even know what you’re doing. He’s just a wizard when it comes to boxing.” ...

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Top 150 World Newspapers (*)

No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country
1 The New York Times / United States 2 The Guardian / United Kingdom 3 The Daily Mail / United Kingdom 4 China Daily / China
5 The Washington Post / United States 6 The Telegraph / United Kingdom 7 The Wall Street Journal / United States 8 USA Today / United States
9 The Times of India / India 10 The Independent / United Kingdom 11 Los Angeles Times / United States 12 El País / Spain
13 Financial Times / United Kingdom 14 The People's Daily / China 15 United Daily News / China 16 The Economic Daily / China
17 Le Monde / France 18 Daily Mirror / United Kingdom 19 El Mundo / Spain 20 Daily News / United States
21 La Repubblica / Italy 22 Bild / Germany 23 Le Figaro / France 24 The Sydney Morning Herald / Australia
25 Houston Chronicle / United States 26 Hürriyet / Turkey 27 Chicago Tribune / United States 28 The Examiner / United States
29 New York Post / United States 30 Asahi Shimbun / Japan 31 Corriere della Sera / Italy 32 The Economic Times / India
33 Milliyet Gazetesi / Turkey 34 Marca / Spain 35 Liberty Times / Taiwan 36 Die Welt / Germany
37 The Globe and Mail / Canada 38 Nihon Keizai Shimbun / Japan 39 The Hollywood Reporter / United States 40 Sabah / Turkey
41 The Christian Science Monitor / United States 42 Daily Express / United Kingdom 43 Kompas / Indonesia 44 The Indian Express / India
45 Yomiuri Shimbun / Japan 46 Gazeta Wyborcza / Poland 47 The Hindu / India 48 The Toronto Star / Canada
49 The Sun / United Kingdom 50 The Age / Australia 51 The Boston Globe / United States 52 Philippine Daily Inquirer / Philippines
53 Süddeutsche Zeitung / Germany 54 The Washington Times / United States 55 Clarín / Argentina 56 Chosun Ilbo / Japan
57 Die Zeit / Germany 58 The Onion / United States 59 Metro / United Kingdom 60 ABC / Spain
61 The Seattle Times / United States 62 The Times / United Kingdom 63 La Gazzetta dello Sport / Italy 64 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Germany
65 The Hill / United States 66 Dainik Bhaskar / India 67 The Philadelphia Inquirer / United States 68 The Oregonian / United States
69 The Dong-a Ilbo / Korea 70 La Nación / Argentina 71 The Hindustan Times / India 72 San Jose Mercury News / United States
73 The Dallas Morning News / United States 74 AS / Spain 75 The Australian / Australia 76 Star Tribune / United States
77 Qingdao News / China 78 The Jerusalem Post / Israel 79 The Plain Dealer / United States 80 L'Equipe / France
81 Komsomolskaya Pravda / Russia 82 The Denver Post / United States 83 Mladá fronta Dnes / Czech Republic 84 Libération / France
85 O Globo / Brazil 86 Aftonbladet / Sweden 87 The Japan Times / Japan 88 Business Standard / India
89 Le Nouvel Observateur / France 90 Kommersant / Russia 91 Le Parisien / France 92 The New Zealand Herald / New Zealand
93 Detroit Free Press / United States 94 Newsday / United States 95 The Baltimore Sun / United States 96 National Post / Canada
97 Il Sole 24 Ore / Italy 98 The Miami Herald / United States 99 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / United States 100 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / United States
101 The Irish Independent / Ireland 102 South China Morning Post / Hong Kong SAR 103 The Irish Times / Ireland 104 The Star Online / Malaysia
105 De Telegraaf / Netherlands 106 Dawn / Pakistan 107 Der Standaard / Austria 108 The Sacramento Bee / United States
109 20 Minutos / Spain 110 Mainichi Shimbun / Japan 111 Rossiyskaya Gazeta / Russia 112 Apple Daily / Taiwan
113 DNA - Daily News & Analysis / India 114 La Stampa / Italy 115 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / United States 116 20 Minutes / France
117 La Vanguardia / Spain 118 Evening Standard / United Kingdom 119 China Times / Taiwan 120 The Straits Times / Singapore
121 Orlando Sentinel / United States 122 Der Tagesspiegel / Germany 123 South Florida Sun-Sentinel / United States 124 Verdens Gang / Norway
125 Argumenti i Fakti / Russia 126 Boston Herald / United States 127 Infobae / Argentina 128 Dagbladet / Norway
129 Independent Online / South Africa 130 The New York Observer / United States 131 Yeni Safak / Turkey 132 Seattle Post-Intelligencer / United States
133 The Kansas City Star / United States 134 Al-Ahram / Egypt 135 The Scotsman / United Kingdom 136 Nikkan Sports / Japan
137 Deseret News / United States 138 Herald Sun / Australia 139 The Vancouver Sun / Canada 140 Yang Cheng Wan Bao / China
141 Les Échos / France 142 Gulf News / United Arab Emirates 143 Yedioth Aharonot / Israel 144 Sports Nippon / Japan
145 The Orange County Register / United States 146 Expressen / Sweden 147 St. Louis Post-Dispatch / United States 148 / Russia
149 Handelsblatt / Germany 150 The Daily Telegraph / Australia

(*) Selected by 4International Media & Newspapers

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