News Articles

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop $120 ‘Bio-Frequency Healing’ Sticker Packs Get Shot Down by NASA

From a report: Goop had claimed the costly “Body Vibes” stickers were “made with the same conductive carbon material NASA uses to line space suits so they can monitor an astronaut’s vitals during wear” and because of that were able to “target imbalances” of the human body’s energy frequencies when they get thrown out of whack, reports Gizmodo.

The thing is, NASA confirmed to Gizmodo that they “do not have any conductive carbon material lining the spacesuits” of astronauts.


 

Under Pressure, Western Tech Firms Including Cisco and IBM Bow To Russian Demands To Share Cyber Secrets

Western technology companies, including Cisco, IBM and SAP, are acceding to demands by Moscow for access to closely guarded product security secrets, at a time when Russia has been accused of a growing number of cyber attacks on the West, a Reuters investigation has found.

Russian authorities are asking Western tech companies to allow them to review source code for security products such as firewalls, anti-virus applications and software containing encryption before permitting the products to be imported and sold in the country.

The requests, which have increased since 2014, are ostensibly done to ensure foreign spy agencies have not hidden any “backdoors” that would allow them to burrow into Russian systems.

But those inspections also provide the Russians an opportunity to find vulnerabilities in the products’ source code, instructions that control the basic operations of computer equipment, current and former U.S. officials and security experts said.

In addition to IBM, Cisco and Germany’s SAP, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Co and McAfee have also allowed Russia to conduct source code reviews of their products, according to people familiar with the companies’ interactions with Moscow and Russian regulatory records.


 

Trump Plans To Dismantle Obama-Era ‘Startup Visa’

A regulation from the Obama administration that would have allowed foreign-born entrepreneurs who raise investor cash to build their startups in the U.S. won’t be allowed to go into effect. The Department of Homeland Security will file an official notice to delay the International Entrepreneur Rule for eight months.

The intention is to eliminate the rule entirely, according to sources briefed on the matter who spoke to The Wall Street Journal. The decision isn’t final, and a DHS spokesperson told the WSJ that the department “cannot speculate” on the outcome of the review.

The International Entrepreneur Rule, signed by former President Obama days before he left office in January, doesn’t offer a visa but rather a type of “parole” that would allow immigrants to stay in the U.S. temporarily as long as they meet certain requirements.

In order to qualify, a foreign entrepreneur has to raise at least $250,000 from well-known U.S. investors. The rule grants a stay in the U.S. of 30 months, which can be extended for an additional 30 months. Founders can’t apply for a green card during that time. DHS has estimated about 3,000 entrepreneurs would qualify under the rule.


 

Home Improvement Chains Accused of False Advertising Over Lumber Dimensions

According to Consumerist, an attorney has filed a class-action lawsuit charging Home Depot with deceptive advertising practices by selling lumber products that were falsely advertised and labeled as having product dimensions that were not the actual dimensions of the products sold.

Now granted, this may be news to the novice DIYer, but overall most folks who are purchasing lumber at home improvement stores know that the so-called trade sizes don’t match the actual dimensions of the lumber.

Do retailers need to educate naive consumers about every aspect of the items they sell? (Especially industry quirks such as this)

Furthermore, as the article notes, it’s hard to see how the plaintiffs have been damaged when these building materials are compatible with the construction of the purchaser’s existing buildings. i.e., An “actual” 2×4 would not fit in a wall previously built with standard 2x4s, selling them something as advertised would actually cause the purchaser more trouble in many cases.


 

McDonald’s Hits All-Time High As Wall Street Cheers Replacement of Cashiers With Kiosks

McDonald’s is expected to increase its sales via new digital ordering kiosks that will replace cashiers in 2,500 restaurants. As a result, the company’s shares hit an all-time high, rallying 26 percent this year through Monday. CNBC reports:

Andrew Charles from Cowen cited plans for the restaurant chain to roll out mobile ordering across 14,000 U.S. locations by the end of 2017. The technology upgrades, part of what McDonald’s calls “Experience of the Future,” includes digital ordering kiosks that will be offered in 2,500 restaurants by the end of the year and table delivery.

MCD is cultivating a digital platform through mobile ordering and Experience of the Future (EOTF), an in-store technological overhaul most conspicuous through kiosk ordering and table delivery, Charles wrote in a note to clients Tuesday.

Our analysis suggests efforts should bear fruit in 2018 with a combined 130 bps [basis points] contribution to U.S. comps [comparable sales].” He raised his 2018 U.S. same-store sales growth estimate for the fast-food chain to 3 percent from 2 percent.


 

Stephen Hawking Says He Is Convinced That Humans Need To Leave Earth

Back in May, renowned physicist, Stephen Hawking made yet another doomsday prediction. He said that humanity has 100 years left on Earth, which knocked 900 years off the prediction he made in November 2016, which had given humanity 1,000 years left.

With his new estimate, Hawking suggested the only way to prolong humanity’s existence is for us to find a new home, on another planet (alternative source).

Speaking at the Starmus Festival in Trondheim, Norway on Tuesday, Hawking reiterated his point: “If humanity is to continue for another million years, our future lies in boldly going where no one else has gone before,” he explained, according to the BBC.

Specifically, Hawking said that we should aim for another Moon landing by 2020, and work to build a lunar base in the next 30 years, projects that could help prepare us to send human beings to Mars by 2025.

We are running out of space and the only places to go to are other worlds. It is time to explore other solar systems. Spreading out may be the only thing that saves us from ourselves. I am convinced that humans need to leave Earth, Hawking added.


 

‘Coal King’ Is Suing John Oliver, Time Warner, and HBO

Robert E. Murray, CEO of one of the largest coal mining companies in the US, is suing John Oliver, HBO, and Time Warner for defamation (alternative source) over a comedic report on the status of the coal industry in John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight”.

The report began with the decline of the coal mining industry, Trump’s promises to revive it, and the plight of the workers involved but was also highly critical of the business practices and safety record of Murray Energy Corporation and Robert Murray’s leadership of the company.

When the company was contacted about the piece before airing they responded with a cease and desist letter and threatened to sue. John Oliver continued with the segment anyway, saying “I didn’t really plan for so much of this piece to be about you, but you kinda forced my hand on that one.”


 

With Her Blog Post About Toxic Bro-Culture at Uber, Susan Fowler Proved That One Person Can Make a Difference

It was Lao Tzu who said that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. In the case of complete and utter change reeling through Uber right now, culminating in the resignation of its once untouchable CEO Travis Kalanick.

It turns out that it began with one of the most epic blog posts to be written about what happens when a hot company becomes hostage to its increasingly dysfunctional and toxic behaviors.

It was clear from the moment you read the 3,000-word post by former engineer Susan Fowler about her time at the car-hailing company that nothing was going to be the same.

Titled simply, Reflecting on one very, very strange year at Uber, the essay deftly and surgically laid out the map that the media and others would use to prove to its out-to-lunch board and waffling investors that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick had to go.

In her account, Fowler was neither mean nor self-righteous, although in reading the story that she laid out about her horrible time there, it would have been completely fair for her to have taken that tone.


 

Jack Ma: In 30 Years People Will Work Four Hours a Day and Maybe Four Days a Week

There could be benefits from artificial intelligence, the self-made billionaire, Alibaba chairman Jack Ma said, as people are freed to work less and travel more. From a report:

“I think in the next 30 years, people only work four hours a day and maybe four days a week,” Ma said. “My grandfather worked 16 hours a day in the farmland and [thought he was] very busy. We work eight hours, five days a week and think we are very busy.

He added that if people today are able to visit 30 places, in three decades it will be 300 places. Still, Ma said the rich and poor, the workers and the bosses, will be increasingly defined by data and automation unless governments show more willingness to make hard choices.

The first technology revolution caused World War I, The second technology revolution caused World War II. This is the third technology revolution, he said.


 

If It Uses Electricity, It Will Connect To the Internet: F-Secure’s CRO

According to F-Secure’s Chief Research Officer IoT is unavoidable. If it uses electricity, it will become a computer. If it uses electricity, it will be online. In future, you will only buy IoT appliances, whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not.

F-Secure’s new product to help mitigate data leakage, “Sense”, is a IoT Firewall, combining a traditional firewall with a cloud service and uses concepts including behaviour-based blocking and device reputation to figure out whether you have insecure devices.


 

Trump Promises a Federal Technology Overhaul To Save $1 Trillion

The tech world descended on Washington, D.C. yesterday to attend a tech summit at the White House. According to MIT Technology Review associate editor Jamie Condliffe: Trump suggested he might relax his stance on immigration as a way to get tech leaders to help his cause. You can get the people you want, he told the assembled CEOs.

That sweetener may be a response to a very vocal backlash in the tech world against the administration’s recent travel bans. Trump may hope that his business-friendly stance will offer enough allure: if tech giants scratch his back, he may later deign to scratch theirs.

The report continues: Our goal is to lead a sweeping transformation of the federal government’s technology that will deliver dramatically better services for citizens, said Trump at the start of his meeting with the CEOs, according to the Washington Post. We’re embracing big change, bold thinking, and outsider perspectives.

The headline announcement from the event was Trump’s promise to overhaul creaking government computing infrastructure.

According to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and advisor, there’s much to be done: federal agencies have over 6,000 data centers that could be consolidated, for instance, while the 10 oldest networks in use by the government are all at least 39 years old. The upgrade, said Trump, could save the country $1 trillion over the next 10 years.”


 

It’s Too Hot For Some Planes To Fly In Phoenix

In Phoenix on Tuesday, temperatures were forecast to climb as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit, causing more than 40 American Eagle regional flights out of Phoenix’s international airport to be canceled. NPR reports:

American Airlines said in a statement that the Bombardier CRJ aircraft used on some shorter routes have a maximum operating temperature of 118 degrees.

For bigger jets, the threshold is higher. The carrier says that, for example, Airbus aircraft have a maximum operating temperature of 127 degrees and that for Boeing, it is 126 degrees.

As USA Today reports: Extreme heat affects a plane’s ability to take off. Hot air is less dense than cold air, and the hotter the temperature, the more speed a plane needs to lift off.

A runway might not be long enough to allow a plane to achieve the necessary extra speed. Bianca Hernandez, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tells NPR that Phoenix is seeing an unusually strong high-pressure system, which is causing the soaring temperatures.


 

Driver Killed In a Tesla Crash Using Autopilot Ignored At Least 7 Safety Warnings

U.S. investigators said a driver who was killed while using Tesla’s partially self-driving car ignored repeated warnings to put his hands on the wheel.

In a 538-page report providing new details of the May 2016 crash that killed Ohio resident Joshua Brown in a highway crash in Florida, the National Transportation Safety Board described the scene of the grisly incident and the minutes leading up to it.

The agency, which opened an investigation to explore the possibility that Tesla’s Autopilot system was faulty, said it had drawn “no conclusions about how or why the crash occurred.” The NTSB report appears to deliver no conflicting information.

The agency said the driver was traveling at 74 miles per hour, above the 65 mph limit on the road, when he collided with the truck. The driver used the vehicle’s self-driving system for 37.5 minutes of the 41 minutes of his trip, according to NTSB.

During the time the self-driving system was activated, he had his hands on the wheel for a total of only about half a minute, investigators concluded. NTSB said the driver received seven visual warnings on the instrument panel, which blared “Hold Steering Wheel,” followed by six audible warnings.


 

Tim Cook Told Trump Tech Employees Are ‘Nervous’ About Immigration

Behind the scenes at the White House tech CEO meeting, Apple CEO Tim Cook told President Donald Trump that technology employees are “nervous” about the administration’s approach to immigration, CNBC reports, citing a source familiar with the exchange.

From the report: The source said the president told the CEOs on Monday that the Senate’s health-care bill needs more heart. That would be a second known instance of the president criticizing the GOP plan in private meetings.

To that, the source said, Cook replied that the immigration approach by the administration also needs more heart. Cook cited the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which is under review by the Trump administration.

He also said people in tech and their co-workers were nervous about their status, and added that it would be great if the president could send them a signal.


 

A Third Of the Planet’s Population Is Exposed To Deadly Heatwaves

Nearly a third of the world’s population is now exposed to climatic conditions that produce deadly heatwaves, as the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere makes it “almost inevitable” that vast areas of the planet will face rising fatalities from high temperatures, new research has found.

Climate change has escalated the heatwave risk across the globe, the study states, with nearly half of the world’s population set to suffer periods of deadly heat by the end of the century even if greenhouse gases are radically cut.

For heatwaves, our options are now between bad or terrible, said Camilo Mora, an academic at the University of Hawaii and lead author of the study.

High temperatures are currently baking large swaths of the south-western US, with the National Weather Service (NWS) issuing an excessive heat warning for Phoenix, Arizona, which is set to reach 119F (48.3C) on Monday.

The heat warning extends across much of Arizona and up through the heart of California, with Palm Springs forecast a toasty 116F (46.6C) on Monday and Sacramento set to reach 107F (41.6C).


 

Ethiopia’s Coffee Is the Latest Victim of Climate Change

According to a study published today in Nature Plants, by the end of this century, increasing temperatures could make it impossible to grow coffee in about half of Ethiopia’s coffee-growing regions. That’s because Arabica coffee trees (which are grown in Ethiopia) require pretty mild temperatures to survive, ideally between 59 to 75 degree Fahrenheit.

Climate projections show that Ethiopia will generally become warmer and drier, and that means that 40 to 60 percent of areas where coffee is currently grown won’t be suitable to grow the beans, the study says.

From the report: In fact, climate change is already hurting Ethiopia’s coffee growers: days and nights are already warmer, and the weather is more unpredictable and extreme. Hot days are hotter and rainy days are rainier. That leads to more unpredictable harvests and it hurts the local economy.

Ethiopia is Africa’s biggest coffee producer and the world’s fifth largest coffee exporter, with 15 million Ethiopians living off coffee farming. Climate change risks disrupting the country’s future. But there is a way Ethiopia can brace for its brewing troubles.

The study found that rising temperatures will turn swaths of land at higher elevation into just the right places to grow coffee in the future.

In fact, coffee farming could increase four-fold if plantations are moved uphill, the study says. But to do that, the country needs to prepare: millions of farmers can’t just take their crops and move to land they don’t own. You need careful planning.


 

Offensive Trademarks Must Be Allowed, Rules Supreme Court

In a ruling that could have a broad impact on how the First Amendment is applied in other trademark cases in future, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday threw out a federal prohibition on disparaging trademarks as a constitutional violation in a ruling involving a band called The Slants.

From a report: The opinion in Matal v. Tam means that Simon Tam, lead singer of an Asian-American rock band called “The Slants,” will be able to trademark the name of his band. It’s also relevant to a high-profile case involving the Washington Redskins, who were involved in litigation and at risk of being stripped of their trademark.

The court unanimously held that a law on the books holding that a trademark can’t “disparage… or bring… into contemp[t] or disrepute” any “persons, living or dead,” violates the First Amendment.

Tam headed to federal court years ago after he was unable to obtain a trademark. In 2015, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in Tam’s favor, finding that the so-called “disparagement clause” of trademark law was unconstitutional.


 

Amazon Plans Cuts to Shed Whole Foods’ Pricey Image

When Amazon completes its acquisition of Whole Foods Market, Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos will try to keep the grocer’s reputation for premium fresh foods while cutting prices to shed its “Whole Paycheck” image.

From a report: Amazon expects to reduce headcount and change inventory to lower prices and make Whole Foods competitive with Wal-Mart Stores and other big-box retailers, according to a person with knowledge of the company’s grocery plans.

That included potentially using technology to eliminate cashiers. Amazon, known for its competitive prices, is trying to attract more low, and middle-income shoppers with its grocery push.

The Seattle-based company already offers discounted Amazon Prime memberships for people receiving government assistance and is part of a pilot program to deliver groceries to food-stamp recipients.


 

A Colorado Group Wants To Ban Smartphones For Kids

Colorado officials have cleared the language of a proposed ballot measure that would establish the nation’s first legal limits on buying smartphones for children. Backers of the move to forbid the sale of smartphones to children younger than 13 would now need about 300,000 voter signatures for the proposal to make the 2018 ballot.

The ban would require cellphone retailers to ask customers about the age of the primary user of a smartphone and submit monthly reports to the Colorado Department of Revenue on adhering to the requirement. Retailers who sell a phone for use by a youngster could be fined $500, after a warning.

A Denver-area dad is leading the campaign, a board certified anesthesiologist who says children change when they get a cellphone. They go from being outgoing, energetic, interested in the world and happy, to reclusive. They want to spend all their time in their room. They lose interest in outside activities.


 

Google Fights Bay Area Housing Prices With Pre-Fab Housing

With rental costs skyrocketing and homes out of reach for many, Google has hit on a solution that may help it attract workers to the crushingly expensive Bay Area.

The tech giant plans to buy 300 units of modular housing to serve as temporary employee accommodations on its planned “Bay View” campus at NASA’s Moffett Field, according to a source familiar with the plan.

Experts heralded the move as not only good for Google but as a potential template for others to follow as the high cost of construction combined with expensive real estate make affordable housing hard to come by.

Modular housing has the potential to be “a real game changer” for the Bay Area housing crunch, said Matt Regan, senior vice-president of public policy at the Bay Area Council, a business group of which Google is a member.

The Bay Area boasts many sites suitable for modular rental housing, undeveloped so far largely because the cost of a traditional building is too high for the rent the facilities could generate. With prefab housing costing up to 50 percent less, all of a sudden sites like that become economically feasible to develop, Regan said.


 

Physicists Discover A Possible Break In the Standard Model of Physics

A series of experiments have shown that tau particles have decayed faster than predicted by the standard model. This has been observed at both CERN and SLAC. This suggests that the standard model of particle physics is incomplete and further research is required to understand this new area of physics.

Nature adds: One of the key assumptions of the standard model of particle physics is that the interactions of the charged leptons, namely electrons, muons, and taus, differ only because of their different masses.

Recent studies of B-meson decays involving the higher-mass tau lepton have resulted in observations that challenge lepton universality at the level of four standard deviations. A confirmation of these results would point to new particles or interactions and could have profound implications for our understanding of particle physics.


 

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