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Cities around US offer billions in tax breaks to be Amazon’s HQ2

Ars Technica - 1 hour 14 min ago

Enlarge / Amazon's campus in South Lake Union, Seattle. (credit: Joel Rogers / Getty Images)

Cities around the country are pulling out all the stops to entice Amazon to set up its second headquarters in their area.

The online retail giant is taking proposals from around North America, and today's the deadline. Some of the proposals include massive tax breaks, while other cities are trying out humorous gimmicks to get the company's attention.

New Jersey has offered the biggest tax incentives, consisting of up to $7 billion in state and local tax rebates if Amazon locates in Newark and hires the 50,000 workers it has said it would. The company has also promised $5 billion in spending on construction of the headquarters. The New Jersey offer, announced Monday, is $2 billion more than what Republican Governor Chris Christie and the Democratic-led New Jersey legislature agreed to last month.

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Japan finds long, deep tunnel on the Moon

The Register - 1 hour 15 min ago
With fewer meteors, lower radiation and better weather, this is a nice place for a colony

Japan's lunar orbiter has found a long, deep tunnel under the Moon's surface.…

IBM broke its cloud by letting three domain names expire

The Register - 2 hours 15 min ago
Hang on? Isn't Big Blue betting the company on a clever cloud? Yup. It is. Sigh

Back in September, IBM was left red-faced when its global load balancer and reverse DNS services fell over for 21 hours.…

Klipsch offers up premium powered floorstanders, the R-28PFs - CNET - News - 2 hours 47 min ago
Klipsch has debuted two new sets of powered speakers -- the R-28PF floorstanders and the R-14PM powered monitors -- which offer digital connections and Bluetooth.

Twitter now has a timeline to go after bullies and trolls - CNET - News - 2 hours 59 min ago
For the first time, the social network makes its safety calendar public. Now you can see when it plans to enforce rules against abusive behavior.

Facebook tackles race hate problem head on with programming tool

The Register - 3 hours 2 min ago
Clashing threads put in their place by RacerD

In Facebook's advertising business, a race condition might be construed as an ethnic descriptor used to prevent purchased ads from being displayed to a particular racial group.…

Facebook is struggling to meet the burden of securing itself, security chief says

Ars Technica - 3 hours 24 min ago

Enlarge / Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos. (credit: Dave Maass)

Facebook is Struggling to live up to the responsibility it faces for adequately securing the vast amount of personal information it amasses, the social network's top security executive said in a leaked phone call with company employees.

"The threats that we are facing have increased significantly and the quality of the adversaries that we are facing," Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said during a taped call, which was reported Thursday by ZDNet. "Both technically and from a cultural perspective, I don't feel like we have caught up with our responsibility."

He continued:

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The Mac Mini is 3 years old...since it was last updated (Apple Byte Extra Crunchy Podcast, Ep. 106) - CNET - News - 3 hours 52 min ago
Tim Cook responds to a customer about the future of the Mac Mini, and the latest iPhone X updates.

Will Ferrell bitingly mocks how much devices control us - CNET - News - 3 hours 56 min ago
Commentary: In new ads for the nonprofit Common Sense Media, Ferrell is a phone-addled dad whose family feels he's gone AWOL.

Scientists investigate why crows are so playful

Ars Technica - 3 hours 58 min ago

Enlarge / A New Caledonian crow uses a serrated leaf edge to pull grubs out of a hole in a log. (credit: Mark Sibley)

Crows share an interesting set of behaviors with humans: they like to play, and they often use tools. We know that humans play to learn. When toddlers knock over a pile of blocks, they're developing the ability to build and measure objects in the real world. The question is, do crows play for the same reason? An international team of cognitive scientists played with some crows to find out. What they discovered gives us a new understanding of crow consciousness, but it still leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

Lund University cognitive science researcher Megan Lambert and her colleagues designed three experiments to figure out whether there's a relationship between crow play and their ability to use tools to solve puzzles. It's well-documented that wild New Caledonian crows make a variety of tools, from hooked sticks to specially-prepared leaf edges, to pull insects out of hard-to-reach spots in trees. But crows have also been observed doing all kinds of weird things with tools, often for what seems like the pursuit of fun.

A crow sleds down a roof using a plastic lid.

In the YouTube video above, you can see a crow in Russia using a plastic lid to sled down a snowy roof. Researchers call these shenanigans "unrewarded object exploration." The crow doesn't get a "reward" because nothing about this activity aids its survival. Its only reward is the fun of sliding down a roof. But maybe, Lambert and her colleagues speculated, this type of seemingly goofy activity might actually lead to better tool use later on. The bird is learning about slipperiness, after all, and we even see it figuring out that it can't slide on the roof unless there's enough snow underneath the lid.

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The global shop

BBC Technology News - 4 hours 4 min ago
Online retailers have a shop window to the world, but how do you handle all those payments?

Mobile companies overcharging customers after contracts end

BBC Technology News - 4 hours 8 min ago
The UK government said the firms needed to inform customers when they had paid for their handsets.

Apple Cook roasted for Chinese app takeaway

The Register - 4 hours 24 min ago
Cruz missile targets iPhone head honcho for pulling software from shelves at Middle KIngdom's behest

A pair of senior US Senators are calling out Apple CEO Tim Cook for what they call "enabling the Chinese government's censorship and surveillance of the internet."…

Deep inside a gold mine with the researcher who found the 'Devil Worm' - CNET - News - 4 hours 47 min ago
If we can find life two miles underground, we might be able to find it on Mars.

Apple's Chicago riverfront store is its latest statement piece - CNET - News - October 19, 2017 - 10:55pm
The glass structure seemingly flows from the downtown area to the Chicago River. It's meant to be the best representation of Apple's "Town Square" vibe.

Samsung DV7750 dryer review - CNET - Reviews - October 19, 2017 - 10:52pm
Spend less cash, time doing laundry with this Samsung dryer.

Hate to break it to you, but billions of people can see Uranus tonight

The Register - October 19, 2017 - 10:51pm
Some may even glimpse the ring

Attention, inhabitants of the northern hemisphere of our fragile home world. You're about to get one of the best peeks at Uranus in years – because the strange alien planet will reach opposition with the Sun and be at the closest point in its orbit to Earth.…

Lyft gets $1B investment, led by Alphabet - CNET - News - October 19, 2017 - 10:33pm
The ride-hailing company's valuation is now at $11 billion, which could help fuel its quest to beat rival Uber.

Axon wants you (yes, you!) to submit photos, videos to police

Ars Technica - October 19, 2017 - 10:29pm

Enlarge / An officer demonstrates Axon Citizen, a new Web portal to submit data to police. (credit: Axon)

Axon, the company formerly known as Taser, either wants to encourage helpful citizens or snitches—depending on how you feel about talking to police—to come forward.

On Thursday, the company announced "Axon Citizen," a new "public safety portal" that lets civilians submit text, video, and audio files directly to participating law enforcement agencies that use its cloud storage service,

The company, which already is the largest provider of body-worn cameras and associated storage to American law enforcement agencies, said in a press release that submitted data "goes straight into, so community members do not need to hand their phones over to police. The direct upload to eliminates any need for officers to download, print, and transfer data to a USB drive and physically place it inside an evidence locker at the agency."

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Amazon Echo (2017) Release Date, Price and Specs - CNET - Reviews - October 19, 2017 - 10:28pm
Here's everything you need to know about the 2017 version of the Amazon Echo.

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