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Industry & Technology

TV from the sun

BBC Technology News - 58 min 17 sec ago
Households without mains electricity in rural areas of Kenya can now receive solar-powered satellite TV.

It's official: Ejit – sorry – Ajit Pai is new FCC boss

The Register - 1 hour 6 min ago
We can all look forward to hearing lots more about how great he is

US President Donald Trump has formally designated current commissioner of the US Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, as its new chairman.…

Original “patent troll” law firm is shutting down

Ars Technica - 1 hour 12 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Alan Levine/Flickr)

The Chicago law firm that became synonymous with "patent troll"-type litigation is shutting down, following the death of founding partner Raymond Niro.

The remaining partners of the Niro Law Firm are shuttering the firm, according to a report in Crain's Chicago Business. A core group, including Niro's son Dean Niro, will launch a new firm called Vitale Vickrey Niro & Gasey.

"We wanted a new start," said Paul Vickrey, who became Niro Law's managing partner after Ray Niro passed away in September of last year. "The Niro firm has been synonymous with patent litigation, and a group of us wanted a new firm with a broader focus."

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Microsoft mulls cutting UK datacenter investment amid Brexit concerns

Ars Technica - 1 hour 23 min ago

Enlarge / Datacenters are mostly filled with racks of computers and network cables. (credit: Sean Ellis)

Microsoft UK hosted an online event to discuss the impact of the UK's likely departure from the European Union on the tech industry. The event was spotted by OnMSFT.

The company currently has two large datacenters in the UK, and it is expanding these in response to vigorous demand for cloud services. But Brexit could throw a spanner in the works. Owen Larter, Microsoft's UK Government Affairs Manager, said that if import tariffs were imposed on the UK—one likely consequence of the UK leaving the EU's single market and customs union—then the company would have to reconsider.

Larter said that the company's servers are built both in China and Eastern Europe. Presently, the devices assembled within the EU incur no tariffs on being brought into the UK. But, if that changes and significant import tariffs are imposed on those machines, Larter said the firm might instead build out its European datacenters to avoid those extra costs.

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Western Union coughs up $586m for turning a blind eye to fraudsters

The Register - 1 hour 23 min ago
Helping internet scammers proved profitable, for a while

Western Union will forfeit more than half a billion dollars after admitting it broke money laundering laws.…

Resident Evil 7 Biohazard review - CNET - Reviews - 1 hour 29 min ago
An excellent survival horror experience, Resident Evil 7 honors the legacy of the series and breathes new life into a genre that's been seriously underserviced in recent years.

Digital Rights Activists Hail Trump’s Death Blow Against TPP

Wired - 1 hour 33 min ago
But they worry about what future deals will mean for privacy and access. The post Digital Rights Activists Hail Trump's Death Blow Against TPP appeared first on WIRED.

11 videos shot by drones from around the world - CNET - News - 1 hour 40 min ago
Check out a few of my favorite aerial videos from Instagram to see what drones can do on the move.

White House adds 'Skype' seats in press briefings - CNET - News - 1 hour 41 min ago
Four virtual seats will be available for reporters located outside the nation's capital to ask questions of Team Trump.

Cisco's WebEx Chrome plugin will execute evil code, install malware via secret 'magic URL'

The Register - 1 hour 44 min ago
Just get rid of it – bin it now

Malicious websites can remotely execute commands on Windows systems that have Cisco WebEx's Chrome extension installed. About 20 million people actively use this broken software.…

CDC abruptly cancels conference on health effects of climate change

Ars Technica - 1 hour 44 min ago

Enlarge (credit: CDC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention abruptly and quietly canceled a scientific conference on climate change and health. According to E&E News reports, the conference was originally scheduled for February.

The conference had been in the works for months, and it was intended to bring experts and stakeholders together to discuss the latest evidence of and solutions to health risks posed by climate change. But according to E&E, the CDC suddenly canceled the summit shortly after Donald Trump’s election. The agency notified speakers and participants in a terse email. The agency gave no explanation. The email noted that the summit may be rescheduled for later in the year.

Former CDC officials and conference speakers were quick to draw political connections. They noted that President Trump has called climate change a “hoax” and has vowed to dismantle “harmful and unnecessary” climate change policies.

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Last time the Earth was this warm, sea level was a whole lot higher

Ars Technica - 1 hour 47 min ago

Enlarge (credit: NASA/NordForsk)

The Earth's climate system moves slowly, since the atmosphere and oceans take time to reach new equilibria. As a result, there are some questions about the climate where it's much easier to provide an answer for a thousand years from now than it is for, say, the next hundred years. When we look at past changes in sea level, for example, the planet’s ice may take thousands of years to come to equilibrium. But we can use those views of the past as a preview of what's in store for us.

During the previous break between glacial periods, about 120,000 years ago, sea level was around six to nine meters (20 to 30 feet) higher than it is today, as the cycles in Earth’s orbit that drive the “ice ages” were in a particularly warm phase then. But working out precisely how warm that world was compared to the present day has been difficult. Have we already reached that temperature because of human-driven warming, or are we still a few degrees off from that? Estimates based on natural climate records have differed, which makes it hard to say how much sea level rise we’re committing ourselves to.

A group of researchers led by Jeremy Hoffman at Oregon State University compiled a large array of temperature records from seafloor sediment cores around the world to calculate the best possible average.

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Sprint Takes Tidal Stake to Ward Off Threats from All Sides

Wired - 1 hour 51 min ago
Telcos want to buy up content companies to hedge against multiple assaults on their traditional business models. The post Sprint Takes Tidal Stake to Ward Off Threats from All Sides appeared first on WIRED.

Yahoo says Verizon buyout delayed but still on - CNET - News - 1 hour 55 min ago
Marissa Mayer says Verizon's deal for Yahoo has been pushed into the second quarter. Meanwhile, the company's earnings show it may go out on a high note.

2017 Subaru BRZ Release Date, Price and Specs - Roadshow - Reviews - 1 hour 58 min ago
Performance Package hardware make one of the best driver's cars even better.

What links macOS, iOS, Safari, tvOS, watchOS? They all need patching

The Register - January 23, 2017 - 11:54pm
Apple squashes a bunch of security bugs, so get installing

Apple has emitted a set of software security updates for all of its major operating systems.…

No kidding! Amazon's Alexa no longer tells Trump jokes - CNET - News - January 23, 2017 - 11:49pm
Amazon's virtual assistant says it doesn't know any jokes about President Donald Trump.

5 biggest takeaways from Samsung's Note 7 battery fire announcement - CNET - News - January 23, 2017 - 11:38pm
Including what this means for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8 phones.

Clever “copilot” controller mode launches in latest Xbox guide update

Ars Technica - January 23, 2017 - 11:28pm

Enlarge / Want to use more than one controller on the same profile? The new "copilot" mode on Xbox One will let you do just that. (credit: Sam Machkovech)

Microsoft pushed a new testing version of its Xbox One guide interface to "Insider" members on Monday, and it brings two intriguing changes: an overhaul to what happens when you tap the "Xbox button" and a very unique "copilot" option for controller use.

The former, previewed by Xbox Program Manager Scott Henson, shows off a slightly faster jump between tapping the button and having a floating menu appear. The new default floating menu makes it easier for players to jump back to the home screen, and it additionally offers a shorter path to the home screen's primary options: opening the "games and apps" collection; picking recently played games; and picking from "pinned" games and apps. (Next to all of those is a super-quick path to playing, pausing, and seeking through your personal music collection, should you enjoy Xbox One's custom-soundtrack functionality.)

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Mental “vaccine” protects both parties from plague of fake news and lies

Ars Technica - January 23, 2017 - 11:22pm

Enlarge (credit: Getty | BSIP)

National outbreaks of fake news and partisan “disinformation” have convinced many Americans to doubt scientific consensus—such as the near-unanimous agreement among experts that human-caused climate change is real and a global threat and that vaccines are safe, effective, and live-saving.

While respectable media outlets are scrambling to fact-check and refute such “merchants of doubt,” a group of researchers, led by a psychologist at Cambridge, think they can stamp out the viral spread of fake news and lies just like we stamp out every other infectious disease—with vaccinations.

Their ‘mental inoculation’ works under the same principal as actual innoculations—that is, exposure to a weakened version or fragment of some nasty contagion can allow a person to recognize and develop immunity to future threats. In their study, the researchers found that they could effectively ‘vaccinate’ Americans from climate change misinformation by presenting them with information on the scientific consensus alongside a pre-emptive caution that some politically motivated groups are spreading lies about that consensus.

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