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12-11-2018 Cars
McLaren 720S Spider Unveiled To Fight Ferrari 488 Spider

After refreshing its Ultimate Series with the track-focused Senna and the three-seater Speedtail earlier this year, McLaren is now updating the “lower-tier” Super Series by introducing the 720S Spider. We’ve shared a plethora of drag races demonstrating the insane performance of the coupe, and the good news is the droptop version has an identical sprint to 62 mph (100 kph) time of 2.9 seconds. That’s because McLaren has figured out a way to limit the weight penalty commanded by the more complex roof to only 49 kilograms (108 pounds). In other words, the 720S Spider has a dry weight of only 1,332 kg (2,937 lbs) and that makes it 88 kg (194 lbs) lighter “than the dry weight of its closest competitor.” Without giving any names, the folks from Woking are obviously referring to the Ferrari 488 Spider. As far as the sprint to 124 mph (200 kph) is concerned, the 720S Spider is a tad slower than its coupe counterpart, needing 7.9 seconds or a tenth of a second more. With the roof in place, it will max out at a coupe-matching 212 mph (341 kph). Folding in down will lower the velocity to a still mighty impressive 202 mph (325 kph) or just about the same as its rival from Italy. So, how was McLaren able to keep weight in check? By developing a new electrically actuated retractable hardtop. It’s a one-piece carbon fiber roof panel, which takes a mere 11 seconds to lower or raise, thus making it a full six seconds quicker than the 650S Spider’s top. Another improvement over its predecessor is the maximum speed at which the driver can drop the top or raise it – 31 mph (50 kph) compared to the 18.5 mph (30 kph) of the 650S Spider. McLaren goes on to mention the hardtop is quieter in operation up to the point it’s just like the “background noise in a quiet library.” Once the roof is up, the cabin is considerably quieter than the 650S Spider’s interior, so improvements have been made across all areas thanks to the patented RHT. Visibility shouldn't be much of an issue thanks to the glazed flying buttresses, which improve over-the-shoulder visibility by 12 percent compared to the old Super Series Spider model. At an additional cost, the 720S Spider can be equipped with a glazed RHT featuring a carbon fiber frame allowing more light to come through the roof while it’s up. Since the glass is electrochromic, drivers will be able to easily switch between tinted or transparent by simply pressing a button. Motivation comes from the familiar twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine with 710 horsepower and 568 pound-feet (770 Newton-meters) of torque channeled to those 20-inch rear wheels through a seven-speed SSG with selectable Comfort, Sport, and Track modes. As it’s the case with the coupe, McLaren will sell its new convertible in Standard, Performance, and Luxury flavors. A total of 23 colors are available, including this lovely new Belize Blue, plus a fresh Aztec Gold, and a Supernova Silver shade as a nod to the original 12C. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   MSN

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12-11-2018 Science&Technology
Google’s new Pixel 3 XL sale comes right in time for Christmas

Google’s Pixel 3 phones are expensive smartphones, but Google and its partners ran several promotions in the weeks leading to Black Friday, discounting the new phones by several hundreds of dollars. If you weren’t able to take advantage of any of those deals, you’ve got one more shot, although the savings won’t be as significant. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are hardly the most exciting phones of the year. We’ve got phones that look a lot better, as well as phones that are even faster than Google’s new handsets. Not to mention that Google has had to fix several issues with the Pixel 3 phones including a performance issue that was only recently patched up. That said, the new Pixel phones are still the only Android phones to run Google’s version of Pie, and they’ll always be updated to the latest operating system the fastest. On top of that, the Pixel 3 phones feature great cameras that are better than many alternatives out there. The Pixel 3 also packs a low-light photography mode that’s not available on other devices, iPhone included. With all that in mind, you should know the Pixel 3 is going to be $100 cheaper to buy until December 22nd. If you’re going for the Pixel 3 XL instead, then you’ll save $150. All you have to do is head over to the Play Store to take advantage of the new Pixel 3 sale. If you’re shopping for other Google gear this Christmas, you should also know that Google has plenty of other sales on Home, Chromecast, and Nest gadgets, all valid through December 24th: Save $30 on Google Home Save $50 on Google Home Max Save $20 on the Home Hub Save $10 on Chromecast Ultra Save $100 on Home Hub + Nest Indoor Camera Save $100 on Home Hub + Nest Outdoor Camera Save $100 on Home Hub + Nest IQ Indoor Camera Save $100 on Home Hub + Nest IQ Outdoor Camera Save $100 on Home Hub + Learning Thermostat Save $100 on Home Hub + Thermostat E Save $100 on Home Hub + Nest Hello ...

Read Original Article     ON:   BGR

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12-11-2018 Politics
UK government delays Parliament's vote on Brexit

A Brexit vote in U.K. parliament has been delayed by Prime Minister Theresa May, following fears that the British government was headed for an embarrassing defeat. The move was confirmed in a statement by May to lawmakers in the House of Commons on Monday afternoon. May claimed that while there was broad support for her deal, the issue of the Northern Irish backstop remained a concern and she would return to European counterparts to renegotiate the deal. "I will hold emergency talks with EU leaders to discuss possible changes to backstop," May said before adding that Brussels were open to further discussions on the matter. The U.K. leader defended her original proposal saying she was in "no doubt that this is the right Brexit deal." May also warned that those who wanted to promote a second referendum, must "be honest on the risk of dividing the U.K." She then warned those who wanted to leave Europe with no deal, to be equally honest on its impact upon the poorer areas of Britain. The climb-down will be seen as a failure on the government's part to persuade enough lawmakers that the draft Brexit deal with Brussels is the best possible arrangement. At the start of her statement, sterling was at $1.2640 versus the dollar and fell to $1.2563 as she spoke. On the day sterling was lower by 1.2 percent. In response, the leader of the U.K.'s main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said it was clear that the government had "lost control of events and is in disarray." Corbyn added that May was "trying to buy herself one last chance to make a deal" and that if she couldn't then she should resign from her post. In one moment that appears to undermine May's move, the House of Commons Speaker John Bercow told the Commons that any minister could move that the debate be adjourned — giving MPs a chance to vote on whether or not the vote itself should be pulled. Back to the backstop? One contentious element of May's deal is a clause in the withdrawal deal known colloquially as the "Irish backstop." This arrangement would ensure no hard border is erected between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, even if no formal Brexit deal can be reached. It would mean Northern Ireland could stay in the customs union and select parts of the EU's single market, therefore continuing a friction-free border with the Republic of Ireland. But lawmakers from different parties fear that without an agreed time limit, or a unilateral right by the the U.K to the end the clause, it could be used as leverage to keep the whole of the U.K. under EU rules until Brussels decides otherwise. They have said they will continue to oppose May's draft deal with Brussels unless she can either remove the backstop or put a time limit on its effectiveness. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   CNBC

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12-11-2018 Science&Technology
This Is Probably How Samsung's Galaxy S10 Will Avoid the Notch

While it only features mid-range specs, Samsung’s new Galaxy A8s is a noteworthy handset because not only could it give us a preview of what we’ll get on the Galaxy S10, it might also be setting the stage for one of 2019's biggest smartphones trends. Announced today with availability limited to Asia (so far), the Galaxy A8s is Samsung’s first phone to feature the company’s Infinity-O display, which avoids the traditional smartphone notch by punching out a hole for the phone’s front-facing camera in the top-left corner of its screen. It’s an interesting choice because depending on your preferences, having a camera cutout surrounded on all sides by the phone’s display could be either more or less annoying than a simple notch up top. However, since rumors currently suggest that Samsung’s under-screen sensor— which completely hides a selfie camera beneath its display—won’t be ready until 2020, the Infinity-O might be Samsung’s best stopgap until then. If leaks about the Galaxy S10 hold true—which seems likely after Samsung president DJ Koh told CNBC that it was planning on debuting new tech first on mid-range devices—the A8s’ Infinity-O display should be very similar to what Samsung puts on the Galaxy S10. And considering the almost identical looking camera setup used on Huawei’s recently announced Honor View 20, it seems like we’re going to be seeing a lot of phones with hole-punch cameras next year. Other specs for the A8s include a 6.4-inch LCD (not OLED) screen, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor, 6GB or 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and three rear cameras with 24-MP, 5-MP, and 10-MP resolutions. The A8s also sports a rear fingerprint sensor instead of an in-screen sensor like what’s been rumored to appear on the Galaxy S10. In addition to the cutout, another particularly interesting thing about the A8s is a feature it doesn’t have: a headphone jack. By axing the 3.5mm port, the A8s is one of Samsung’s first phones not equipped with a headphone jack, which has become a real point of contention after so many phone makers followed Apple’s lead when it ditched the long-lived feature on the iPhone 7. Thankfully, noted Samsung leaker Ice Universe claims that while the A8s might not have a headphone jack, the presence of a 3.5mm-sized cutout on alleged Galaxy S10 cases indicates that Samsung isn’t quite ready to make the same move on major flagships just yet.

Read Original Article     ON:   Gizmodo

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12-11-2018 Science&Technology
Sony’s PlayStation Classic gets wireless controller support with this adapter

As expected, peripheral maker 8bitdo has fixed one of the biggest issues with Sony’s miniature PlayStation Classic: the lack of wireless controllers. Today, the company announced its latest adapter, a plug-and-play device that instantly gives the PS Classic support for a huge range of controllers. That includes the PS3 and PS4 DualShock controllers, the Switch and Wii U pro controllers, Bluetooth-enabled Xbox controllers, and even the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers. Naturally, the adapter also supports all available 8bitdo retro-style controllers (which tend to be pretty good). The announcement is becoming something of a tradition. 8bitdo previously released wireless controller options for both the NES and SNES Classic, and it has launched a range of useful adapters that do everything from offering wireless GameCube controller support for the Switch to adding Bluetooth options to the original NES. You can even build your own wireless controller with 8bitdo’s $20 DIY kit. Of course, the new adapter won’t fix everything that’s wrong with the PlayStation Classic, like the bare-bones feature list and the questionable lineup of games. But it’ll make grinding through Final Fantasy VII once again much more comfortable. You can preorder the adapter now for $19.99, and shipments are expected to start on December 31st.

Read Original Article     ON:   The Verge

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12-11-2018 General
Elon Musk on 60 Minutes: “I do not respect the SEC”

If anyone thought that Elon Musk had turned over a new leaf following a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over illegally manipulating Tesla's stock price, think again. On Sunday, CBS' 60 Minutes interviewed the Tesla CEO, which gave Musk an opportunity to let the world know exactly what he thinks about SEC. Spoiler alert: not much. As you may recall, this all started in August, when Musk took to Twitter to tell his 23.6 million followers that he had secured funding to return Tesla to private ownership via way of an oblique drug reference. Despite adding "Funding secured," it turned out there was in fact no such commitment. The resulting yo-yo effect on Tesla's stock price led to a deluge of complaints with the SEC from investors both short and long who lost money as a result, and it caused us to question whether or not Musk's presence at Tesla was actually a good thing for the company. In this case, the SEC took action rather rapidly. The South African-born CEO rejected the initial settlement offer, at which point the SEC sued him for fraud. By late September, the case was settled to avoid a trial; both Musk and Tesla were each fined $20 million. There were also several other conditions, including a requirement for Musk to step down as chairman of Tesla's board (he remains CEO) and for Tesla to institute some form of oversight over Musk's tweets to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future. But there were almost immediate signs that Musk had no intention of being told what to do by any federal regulators, particularly not ones he dubbed the "Shortseller Enrichment Commission." Further eyebrows were raised when it was revealed that the new, supposedly independent board chairperson would be Robyn Denholm, the CFO of an Australian telecommunications company; she will remain in Australia for the time being. Following Sunday's interview, there is no longer any need to read between the lines. Musk made it clear that, despite a settlement that requires "mandatory procedures… regarding oversight of communications relating to the Company made in any format, including but not limited to, posts on social media (e.g Twitter)," no one is looking over his shoulder or telling him not to tweet.

Read Original Article     ON:   Ars Technica

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12-11-2018 Politics
Macron to address France after protests see 135,000 on streets

French President Emmanuel Macron was preparing to address the nation Monday after a fourth weekend of violent protests by "Yellow Jacket" protesters. He met with lawmakers, unions and business leaders to hear their concerns following demonstrations that began in struggling provinces and spread to rioting in the capital. Later, he is expected to make a televised address amid criticism that he has failed to act over the crisis triggered by his economic reforms — including a hike in gas taxes which his government last week agreed to postpone. An estimated 10,000 protesters took to the otherwise deserted streets of Paris on Saturday, while a further 125,000 marched in other towns and cities across France, the Interior Ministry said. Nearly 2,000 arrests were made and the violence left 264 people wounded, including 39 police officers. Tens of thousands of police have been deployed in response to the “gilets jaunes” movement, named for the fluorescent safety vests that French motorists must carry in their vehicles. What began as a revolt against the gas tax rises has morphed into a broader rebellion against Macron’s 18-month presidency. A November poll found that his approval rating was as low as 26 percent. France’s finance minister warned that the unrest was spooking tourists and investors and had already knocked 0.1 percentage points off France's GDP this quarter. "Our country is deeply divided,” Bruno Le Maire said. "It is the president's role to unify the country." Earlier, Le Maire promised to help the owners of stores damaged by rioters. He told Euronews that the protests are harming the "attractiveness of France" for business. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said 550 municipal cleaners had helped clear the city’s streets after the turmoil and thanked firefighters for their efforts. France’s retail federation said stores had lost about $1 billion of pre-Christmas sales since the unrest began. Macron was elected on a reformist agenda, having pledged to overhaul the country's generous welfare state, which redistributes wealth across society with high taxes for the rich. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   NBC News

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12-11-2018 Science&Technology
NASA’s Voyager 2 probe has entered interstellar space

NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft has exited the heliosphere -- the plasma bubble created by the sun that encompasses most of our solar system -- and entered interstellar space, making it the second human-made object to do so. Voyager 1 hit this milestone in 2012. NASA said Voyager 2 crossed over the heliopause, the boundary between the heliosphere and interstellar space, on November 5th and the probe is now more than 11 billion miles from Earth. "I think we're all happy and relieved that the Voyager probes have both operated long enough to make it past this milestone," Voyager Project Manager Suzanne Dodd said in a statement. "This is what we've all been waiting for. Now we're looking forward to what we'll be able to learn from having both probes outside the heliopause." NASA announced back in October that it suspected this moment might happen soon. The spacecraft had been detecting increasing amounts of cosmic rays, something Voyager 1 experienced in 2012. But Voyager 2 has something its partner didn't when it left the heliosphere -- a functional Plasma Science Experiment. Voyager 1's stopped working in 1980, but Voyager 2's is still in working order, and it's able to take measurements of the solar wind. On November 5th, Voyager 2 detected a sharp drop in the speed of solar wind particles and since then, it hasn't measured any solar wind flow at all -- strong evidence that it has exited the sun's protective bubble. Three other onboard instruments -- the cosmic ray subsystem, the low energy charged particle probe and the magnetometer -- also recorded data that fit with what would be expected when exiting the heliosphere. Voyager 2 launched in 1977 and is now NASA's longest running mission. Both it and Voyager 1 were initially built for a five-year run and were designed to give us a look at Jupiter and Saturn. But at 41 years, both are still trucking and they're now providing us with a look at what's beyond the heliopause. "Voyager has a very special place for us in our heliophysics fleet," said Nicola Fox, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA. "Our studies start at the sun and extend out to everything the solar wind touches. To have the Voyagers sending back information about the edge of the sun's influence gives us an unprecedented glimpse of truly uncharted territory." Both spacecraft are still technically within the solar system, however. And they will be until they exit the Oort Cloud, a large collection of distant objects that are still affected by the sun's gravity. While it's not known how wide the Oort Cloud really is, scientists estimate that it will take around 300 years for Voyager 2 to reach the inner edge and maybe 30,000 years to exit the outer edge.

Read Original Article     ON:   Engadget

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12-10-2018 Sports
Un monumental River gana la Libertadores a Boca

El partido de los siglos por los siglos, que casi dura un siglo, coronó de forma monumental a River. Gloria infinita para los millonarios tras una noche apoteósica en Madrid, a 10.000 kilómetros de su hogar. Un desgarro histórico para Boca, para el que tardará en amanecer al menos hasta otra hipotética final de Libertadores que le cruce con el irreconciliable vecino. Una rivalidad semejante, tan tremendista desde el paleolítico del fútbol, no deja consuelo a la vista, por más que Boca sume seis Libertadores por cuatro de River. Como era de esperar con una trama que comenzó hace casi un mes, la Copa no tuvo destinatario hasta la prórroga. Todo un thriller a lo argentino que, al menos antes y durante el match acabó en concordia. Ojalá quede acuñado el Tratado de Madrid. Es tal el depósito sentimental de unos y otros, hay tanto en juego en la grada, en los despachos y en las barras que para el césped apenas dejan nada. Sobre el pasto inmaculado de la Monumental Bombonera del Bernabéu, River y Boca se propusieron jugar a no jugar. Mucho pico y pala, los chicos suda que suda como una regadera y un catálogo de cargas, nudos yudocas, cates, atropellos, atascos... Un pique colosal tajantemente prohibido para monaguillos. Y una sufridora: la pelota. Cualquiera pudo ser expulsado por maltrato, por quebrarle los ligamentos en más de una ocasión. Ante la feroz rapiña del fútbol europeo, que no repara en si son parvularios, hasta los totémicos clubes argentinos tienen que apañarse con reclutar a quienes ya han caducado fuera o a quienes destacan como teloneros en su liga. Eso sí, en Madrid, emotividad no faltó en un pulso bravo y bravo, solo sedado con buenos goles. Vaya usted a saber si por un miedo paralizante, por pies dislocados o ambas cosas, el caso es que el encuentro comenzó tan bacheado como un paseo lunar. El balón brincaba de la misma manera que si lo hubieran soltado en ese campo astral. Tan silvestre era el choque que captaba la atención de los neutrales (algunos de los 62.282 espectadores) cuando las pifias eran más categóricas aún que ya las de por sí llamativas. Un muestrario de tachas: un despeje de Pínola en dirección torcida casi sorprende a su camarada Armani, meta de River. En la otra orilla, un destrozo de Magallán al cuero derivó en un córner cerrado por los millonarios con un tiro de Fernández a un anfiteatro. Palacios, en la órbita de Europa, intentaba con poco éxito deshacer cada ovillo en el que se metía cualquier rojiblanco. Boca, que no tiene un Palacios, se encomendaba a Pablo Pérez, futbolista con cicuta en los tacos. Más directo Boca, con más carrete River. Imprecisos los dos. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   El Pais

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12-10-2018 Science&Technology
SpaceX Christmas delivery arrives at space station

A SpaceX delivery full of Christmas goodies arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday, following a slight delay caused by a communication drop-out. The Dragon capsule pulled up at the orbiting lab three days after launching from Cape Canaveral. Commander Alexander Gerst used the space station's big robotic arm to grab the cargo carrier, as the two craft soared 250 miles above the Pacific. It took two tries to get the Dragon close enough for capture. NASA called off the Dragon's first approach because of trouble with the communication network that serves the space station. Equipment failure in New Mexico for NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite system resulted in a temporary loss of communication with the station. For safety, Mission Control ordered the Dragon to back up. It was a successful take two—just an hour-and-a-half late—after NASA switched to another TDRS satellite. The bolted-down Dragon holds everything the station astronauts need for Christmas dinner, as well as mice and worms for science experiments, and more than 5,000 pounds (2,270 kilograms) of station equipment. The holiday food includes smoked turkey, green bean casserole, candied yams, cranberry sauce and fruitcake. There also are shortbread and butter cookies, with tubes of icing for decorating. Three of the space station residents will be on board for Christmas; the other three will return to Earth on Dec. 20. Until then, the station is home to two Americans, two Russians, one Canadian and Gerst, who is German. It is the second space station visit for this recycled Dragon; it was there last year, too. The first-stage booster used in Wednesday's launch is back at port, after landing at sea instead of Cape Canaveral. SpaceX towed the booster to shore for possible future reuse, as well as for an investigation into what went wrong. SpaceX has been making station shipments for NASA since 2012. This is its 16th delivery under contract. Two other supply ships are attached to the space station: One Russian and the other sent by NASA's other commercial shipper, Northrop Grumman. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Phys.org

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12-10-2018 Science&Technology
China Launches Probe Bound For A Historic Exploration Of The Far Side Of The Moon

A Chinese spacecraft is headed toward the moon on a historic mission. The rocket, launched Saturday, is carrying a probe set to make the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon, reports China's state-run Xinhua News Agency. While other spacecraft have previously explored the far side of the moon from afar, the soft-landing will allow for more detailed study of the lunar surface. The probe is expected to touch down in early January. If you're tempted to make a Pink Floyd joke, remember this: "The side of the Moon we do not see from Earth gets just as much sunlight on it as the side we do see. In truth, the only dark side of the Moon is the side that is pointed away from the Sun at any given time," says NASA. Dark or not, exploring the far side of the moon comes with its own challenges. For one, the moon will block direct communication between the probe and researchers on Earth. To get around that, China launched a relay satellite in May that will allow the probe to stay in contact with the scientists. Quoting the China National Space Administration, Xinhua explained the goals of this current mission: The scientific tasks of the Chang'e-4 mission include low-frequency radio astronomical observation, surveying the terrain and landforms, detecting the mineral composition and shallow lunar surface structure, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment on the far side of the moon. Those measurements will be easier to make from the moon because it will act as a giant shield against electromagnetic interference coming from Earth. Smithsonian Magazine reports there will also be a biological aspect to the research — silk worms, eggs and potato seeds are on board for studies about respiration and photosynthesis. If the mission succeeds, China has plans to launch a fifth Chang'e mission next year that would collect samples of the moon's surface and bring them back to Earth.

Read Original Article     ON:   NPR

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12-10-2018 Science&Technology
Amazon Go Cashierless Stores Reportedly Coming To Airports

Reports previously revealed that Amazon Go was expanding to bigger brick-and-mortar stores. Now, it is said that the retail company has far bigger plans for its burgeoning cashierless grocery outlets. According to a new report from Reuters, Amazon is setting on a different area for the next Amazon Go expansion. Airports are apparently the next venue the company wants to conquer. In the future, long-distance travelers may be less inconvenienced by buying snacks before they board their flight. They can just come in, pick up whatever they need, and leave the store. No lining up or anything as the store uses specialized sensors and artificial intelligence to determine what customers pick up and charge them accordingly afterward. Find An Amazon Go Store In Your Local Airport According to reports, Amazon is merely "looking at" bringing the stores to Airports, which means there is no guarantee if it will ever happen. Consider this, though: A report from Bloomberg earlier this year said Amazon is planning to add as many as 3,000 Amazon Go stores by 2021. Amazon Go Expansion Plans The first Amazon Go store opened earlier this January in Seattle and has since expanded to other parts of the city. It is slated to break ground in more areas as well, including Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. Amazon is said to be planning to expand operations to larger stores as well, potentially including Whole Foods outlets that the company acquired a while back for nearly $14 billion. Reuters cites public records and a person familiar with the strategy in its report. It revealed that Amazon reached out to various airports recently, including the Los Angeles International Airport and the San Jose International Airport. "I am looking forward to moving forward with the Amazon Go technology at the airport," San Jose International Airport's information technology manager wrote, following a meeting with Amazon. "I am looking forward to moving forward with the Amazon Go technology at the airport." Both aforementioned airports say there have not been any further discussions with Amazon about the matter, though. If Amazon does manage to integrate its cashierless store concept into airports, that would certainly be a huge boon for travelers who hate long lines. Making sure the system works well in bigger stores is the first step. Amazon Go stores have had trouble keeping up with purchases when there were 20 or more people inside the area at a time — what more in an airport setting?

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Times

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12-06-2018 Security
U.S. Republican campaign emails hacked months before election

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Email accounts for a campaign group supporting Republicans candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives were hacked before this year’s congressional elections, according to a person familiar with the investigation. Hackers used National Republican Congressional Committee credentials to access a “small number” of email accounts at the organization, which is also known as the NRCC, said the person, who was not authorized to discuss details of the attack. NRCC spokesman Ian Prior confirmed the group was the victim of a cyberattack by an unknown party, but disputed that stolen passwords were used. “Upon learning of the intrusion, the NRCC immediately launched an internal investigation and notified the FBI, which is now investigating the matter,” Prior said. The NRCC changed the passwords at its web-based email provider and took steps to prevent similar attacks, said the person, who did not name the email provider. The hackers used techniques that make them difficult to identify and officials have yet to determine whether they were aligned with a foreign government, said a second person familiar with the case. Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike said in a statement that the NRCC asked it in April to investigate “unauthorized access” to the group’s emails. The NRCC had previous hired CrowdStrike to protect the NRCC’s internal corporate network, which was not compromised in the incident, the company said. The news was first reported by Politico, which said the NRCC learned about the attack from a vendor who alerted the committee and its cybersecurity contractor. Senior Republican House leaders, including Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, were not informed, however, until contacted by the news site, Politico said. An FBI spokeswoman declined comment. A senior U.S. Department of Homeland Security official told Reuters on Tuesday the agency had not been informed by the NRCC or FBI of such an attack. During the most recent election cycle, the NRCC raised more than $174 million and spent most of the cash on advertisements trying to help Republicans in difficult races. Concerns about campaign security have heightened since U.S. intelligence agencies concluded last year that Russia orchestrated the hacking of Democratic officials to meddle with the 2016 presidential election. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Russia’s alleged 2016 election meddling, which Moscow denies.

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12-04-2018 Politics
The art of the G-20, by Donald Trump

President Donald Trump said his trade agreement with China was “one of the largest deals ever made.” He dubbed his new accord with Canada and Mexico the “most significant, modern and balanced trade agreement in history.” And he insisted that the world leaders he’s lambasted on the world stage had become great friends. As he crisscrossed Buenos Aires, posing for photos with dignitaries and boasting about his accomplishments, Trump left behind a trail of exaggerations meant to paper over the fractious first half of his term and rebrand himself as a globe-trotting statesman. It’s the Art of the G-20, by Donald Trump. The 45th president is writing his own rulebook on how to claim credit and respect on an international stage where many leaders have looked down on him for years. But just as his famous 1987 book counseled, Trump’s global deal-making was as much about style as substance, with grandiose talk the most important ingredient of all. The president arrived back in Washington on Sunday feeling triumphant, believing his latest international trip to be a resounding success. During his overnight flight on Air Force One, Trump seemed vindicated after dealing with a long buildup of pressure to the summit in Argentina. “It’s an incredible deal,” he told reporters of his agreement with China to temporarily pause new tariffs. “It goes down, certainly — if it happens, it goes down as one of the largest deals ever made.” White House aides had reason to be happy, too. The gaffe-prone president managed to avoid a diplomatic snafu and even canceled a Saturday news conference that could have sent the entire trip off the rails. He laid off Twitter for more than 24 hours until later Sunday afternoon, when he chimed in with good wishes for Hanukkah. But behind the veneer is a more complicated reality. His deal with President Xi Jinping of China was effectively an agreement to continue trying to agree. The president’s critics argue that the new North American trade agreement is little more than NAFTA 1.1. And behind all the smiles, many world leaders still have a strong distaste for Trump. Some hid their disdain better than others. Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom Trump once accused of “ruining Germany,” showed no signs of animosity during a Saturday bilateral meeting with the president in which he called her his “highly respected” friend in front of a crush of reporters and TV cameras. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Politico

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12-03-2018 Science&Technology
US Army Awards Microsoft $480 Million Contract To Use Hololens With Soldiers

Microsoft and the US Army have announced a new contract that will see the latter using the former's mixed-reality smartglasses, Hololens, to train soliders. A bidding war between Microsoft and Magic Leap for a US Army contract to develop AR devices has been raging for quite some time now, but it has finally concluded, and the Xbox parent company has come out on top and with a fancy new contract in hand. The contract -- worth $480 million -- is specifically for the army's Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) program that will require Microsoft to develop prototype Hololens devices that will specifically aid US soldiers in "lethality, mobility, and situational awareness." "There is an operational need for the IVAS capability to regain overmatch against peer and near peer threats, as well as the need for improved training and simulation tools to provide the warfighter with the ability to train and rehearse using the same equipment utilized in actual operations," reads the program's official statment of objectives. “Augmented reality technology will provide troops with more and better information to make decisions," said a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement given to Bloomberg. "This new work extends our longstanding, trusted relationship with the Department of Defense to this new area." Basically, the goal of this program is to create a visor of sorts that can produce a HUD that has features that can help US soldiers in combat. The device would require a specific mixed reality training protocol, and aid in combat by providing information to the solider, such as their heartrate, and by allowing for things like thermal vision. According to the US Army, the program will begin to deal out a limited amount of these new headsets over a 24-month period. This period will essentially serve as a prototype/testing phase before a finished product is rolled out within the US Army by the end of 2020. As you may know, this isn't the first time the US Army has dabbled in this space. It has notable been using VR tech for quite sometime for a variety of purposes. This new contract just further indicates its intention to expand and explore the mixed reality space even more.

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12-03-2018 Politics
Mexico Swears In First Leftist President In 70 Years

President Lopez Obrador encourages Mexicans to “not to buy abroad, but to produce in Mexico what we consume.” Christopher Sherman and Maria Verza MEXICO CITY (AP) — Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took the oath of office Saturday as Mexico’s first leftist president in over 70 years, marking a turning point in one of the world’s most radical experiments in opening markets and privatization. In his first speech to Congress, Lopez Obrador pledged “a peaceful and orderly transition, but one that is deep and radical ... because we will end the corruption and impunity that prevent Mexico’s rebirth.” Mexico long had a closed, state-dominated economy, but since entering the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs in 1986, it has signed more free trade agreements than almost any other country, and privatized almost every corner of the economy except oil and electricity. Now, though, Lopez Obrador talks a talk not heard in Mexico since the 1960s: He wants to build more state-owned oil refineries and encourages Mexicans to “not to buy abroad, but to produce in Mexico what we consume.” Even so, Lopez Obrador has tried to send conciliatory gestures to financial markets, which have been roiled in the weeks before he took office. “I promise, and I’m a man of my word, that the investments of foreign and international investors will be safe, and we will even create conditions that will allow them to get good returns,” he said, “because in Mexico there will be honesty, rule of law, clear rules, economic growth and confidence.” But he also harkened back to his hero, ex-president Lazaro Cardenas, who nationalized the oil industry and redistributed land during his 1934-40 administration. “We are going to govern for everyone, but we are going to give preference to the most impoverished and vulnerable,” Lopez Obrador said. “For the good of all, the poor come first.’” The first foreign dignitaries that Lopez Obrador greeted were U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Ivanka Trump. “I want to say that since July 1, the day I was elected, I have received respectful treatment from President Donald Trump”, Lopez Obrador said. But he faces a challenge with a caravan of thousands of Central American migrants camped out on the border, which Trump had threatened to close to keep them out. Lopez Obrador said he wanted to reach an agreement with the governments and companies in the U.S. and Canada to develop Central America and southern Mexico, so people wouldn’t have to migrate — “to address in that way, and not with coercive measures, the migration phenomenon.” That appeared to be an acknowledgment that Mexico is prepared to house migrants waiting to make asylum claims in the United States in exchange for U.S. development aid. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Huffington Post

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