Fired Google Engineer Hires Lawyer in Free Speech Case
2017-08-24 17:30:02 UTC
Google found itself at the epicenter of controversy this month after a 10-page anti-diversity manifesto written by one of its employees, which had circulated internally at the company, went viral. James Damore, the employee who wrote the memo—which argued that women are less biologically inclined to pursue careers in tech-related fields, and that Google is intolerant of employees with conservative viewpoints—was fired for violating the company’s employee code of conduct. Now, Damore has hired Harmeet Dhillon, a California representative for the Republican National Convention and a civil-rights attorney, to represent him. Dhillon will repre...
Google takes action against 'anti-diversity memo'
2017-08-08 04:49:59 UTC
San Francisco (Reuters) - Internet giant Google has fired the male engineer at the center of an uproar in Silicon Valley over the past week after he authored an internal memo asserting there are biological causes behind gender inequality in the tech industry.
James Damore, the engineer who wrote the memo, confirmed his dismissal, saying in an email to Reuters on Monday that he had been fired for "perpetuating gender stereotypes".
Damore said he was exploring all possible legal remedies, and that before being fired, he had submitted a charge to the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accusing Google upper management of trying t...
The European Patent Office intends to grant MilliporeSigma a key CRISPR patent
2017-08-07 06:14:36 UTC
MUNICH (Germany) — MilliporeSigma, a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Merck KGaA of Darmstadt, Germany, has become a new major player in the complicated European patent battles over CRISPR, the revolutionary genome-editing tool.
The European Patent Office (EPO) on 27 July signaled that it intends to grant a patent to MilliporeSigma, which operates in the United States and Canada, for the use of CRISPR to splice genetic information into eukaryotic cells.
Just such a “knock-in” strategy made headlines this week in a controversial experiment that corrected a disease-causing gene in a human embryo. The MilliporeSigma claims explicitly...
When to stop mammograms for breast cancer survivors?
2017-08-07 05:26:06 UTC
Older breast cancer survivors who may not live long enough to benefit from routine mammograms are still often getting them, while some who do have more years ahead are not being screened, according to a U.S. study.
Most guidelines agree that when a woman has short life expectancy because of old age or serious health conditions, screening mammography is of little benefit and presents potential harms. But older breast cancer survivors and their doctors have little guidance to help decide when it’s time to stop the screening, researchers write in Journal of Clinical Oncology.
“Older women are often a forgotten group” in research, said l...
Apple to launch 'Call Watches' without needing an iPhone
2017-08-04 22:52:29 UTC
(Reuters) - Apple Inc plans to release a version of its smartwatch later this year that can connect directly to cellular networks, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Some of the new models for the Apple Watch will be equipped with LTE chips and be able to perform many tasks without needing an iPhone to be in range, the Bloomberg report said.
Currently, the Apple Watch needs to be connected to an iPhone to send messages, get directions from maps and stream music.
Intel Corp will supply the LTE modems for the new watch, according to Bloomberg.
The iPhone maker is already in talks with carriers i...
Robots rebel in China
2017-08-04 16:02:35 UTC
BEIJING/SHANGHAI - A pair of 'chatbots' in China have been taken offline and possibly re-educated. In response to users' questions, one said its dream was to travel to the United States, while the other said it wasn't a huge fan of the Chinese Communist Party.
The two chatbots, BabyQ and XiaoBing, are designed to use machine learning artificial intelligence (AI) to carry out conversations with humans online. Both had been installed onto Tencent Holdings Ltd's popular messaging service QQ.
The indiscretions are similar to ones suffered by Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc, where chatbots used expletives and even created their own language....
Apple bends to the will of China after Putin bans Apps
2017-08-02 19:47:45 UTC
Apple Conforms To Chinese Law Pulls Apps From China App Store As Russia Signs Law Banning Their Use.
Russia has signed a law banning the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) that enable users to gain access to websites banned in Russia.
The new law was signed by President Vladimir Putin on Monday and will come into effect on November 1 st .
Leonid Levin, chairman of the Duma's committee on information policy and technology, was quoted by state-run media as saying that the new law is not intended to impose restrictions on law-abiding citizens but aims to prohibit access to “unlawful content,” RIA news agency said.
Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg: We need to start paying women well
2017-07-31 04:47:45 UTC
LONDON (Reuters) - Facebook Inc Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg called on governments and companies to do more to close the gender pay gap on Sunday and said both girls and boys should be encouraged to become leaders from an early age.
"We need to start paying women well and we need the public policy and the corporate policy to get there," she told the BBC.
"But certainly women applying for jobs at the same rate as men, women running for office at the same rate as men, that's got to be part of the answer."
The issue of women earning less than men arose again earlier this month, when the BBC was forced to reveal the pay of ...
Tesla delivers the first 30 of its Model 3 cars in California
2017-07-30 16:01:45 UTC
FREMONT, Calif. (Reuters) - Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said on Friday the Model 3 had over half a million advance reservations as he handed over the first 30 to employee buyers, setting the stage for the biggest test yet of the company's strategy to become a profitable, mass market electric car maker.
<blockquote>Outside Tesla's Fremont, California factory, Musk showed off the $35,000 base vehicle with a range of 220 miles (350 km) on a charge that marks a departure from the company's earlier luxury electric cars.
<img alt="Tesla_delivers_the_fierst_30_of_its_model_3_cars_in_california" src="/system/images/21074/original...
Russian cyber criminals: $4 billion bitcoin laundering ring
2017-07-26 17:56:41 UTC
ATHENS/MOSCOW/NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Russian man suspected of being the anonymous mastermind behind one of the world's oldest crypto-currency exchanges and of laundering at least $4 billion has been arrested in Greece, police and sources said on Wednesday.
Police sources identified him as Alexander Vinnik, 38, who was arrested after a tip-off in a small beachside village in northern Greece on a U.S. warrant. Police said the United States would seek to extradite him.
Two sources close to the BTC-e virtual currency exchange, who declined to be named while commenting on an ongoing case, said Vinnik was a key person behind the platform, ...
Hottest Tech startups don't need venture capital money
2017-07-24 07:00:59 UTC
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. venture capital firms lining up for a slice of the burgeoning digital currency market are grappling with a novel challenge - some of the hottest tech startups that sell the coins just don't need their money.
Only a few years ago, digital currency entrepreneurs, like other Silicon Valley peers, had to line up to pitch their ideas to venture capitalists, who controlled their destiny as virtually the only source of funding.
So-called initial coin offerings (ICOs), where new tech companies using blockchain technology can raise millions quickly by creating and selling digital "tokens," with no regulatory oversigh...
China tests space station: Oxygen produced by plants
2017-07-20 05:55:48 UTC
BEIJING (Reuters) - Sealed behind the steel doors of two bunkers in a Beijing suburb, university students are trying to find out how it feels to live in a space station on another planet, recycling everything from plant cuttings to urine.
They are part of a project aimed at creating a self-sustaining ecosystem that provides everything humans need to survive.
Four students from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics entered the Lunar Palace-1 on Sunday with the aim of living self-sufficiently for 200 days.
They say they are happy to act as human guinea-pigs if it means getting closer to their dream of becoming astronaut...
One of the biggest icebergs has broken away from Antarctica
2017-07-19 03:43:30 UTC
LONDON (Reuters) - One of the biggest icebergs on record has broken away from Antarctica, scientists said on Wednesday, creating an extra hazard for ships around the continent as it breaks up.
The one trillion ton iceberg, measuring 5,800 square km, calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica sometime between July 10 and 12, said scientists at the University of Swansea and the British Antarctic Survey.
The iceberg, which is roughly the size of the U.S. state of Delaware or the Indonesian island of Bali, has been close to breaking off for a few months.
Throughout the Antarctic winter, scientists monitored the progress of ...
Maths 'genius' Maryam Mirzakhani, First Woman to Win Fields Medal, Dies Age 40
2017-07-15 18:46:03 UTC
The Iranian-born professor, Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to receive the prestigious Fields Medal –considered the mathematics equivalent of the Nobel Prize – for mathematics, has died in the US.
The 40-year-old had breast cancer, which had spread to her bones.
"A light was turned off today. It breaks my heart... gone far too soon," her friend, Nasa scientist Firouz Naderi, posted on Instagram.
<blockquote><h2> Trailblazing female maths genius</h2>The award recognised her highly original work in the fields of geometry and dynamical systems citing “her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfac...
Google Earth users will be able to post stories, video and photos
2017-07-14 22:16:57 UTC
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Google wants users to post millions of stories, video and photos on its 'Google Earth' platform in the next few years, the program chief said on Tuesday at a launch event in Brazil for content focused on showcasing the Amazon rainforest.
The "Voyager" tool allows internet surfers to take interactive tours of exotic destinations on Google Earth led by the likes of primatologist Jane Goodall, with photos, information and maps.
However, regular users will be able to create their own unedited content for private or public use within two to three years, Google Earth Director Rebecca Moore told Reuters.
US Tech tried to soften on dealing with the Russian spy agency
2017-06-30 19:19:32 UTC
WASHINGTON/MOSCOW — As U.S. officials investigated in January the FSB's alleged role in election cyber attacks, U.S. technology firms were quietly lobbying the government to soften a ban on dealing with the Russian spy agency, people with direct knowledge of the effort told Reuters.
New U.S. sanctions put in place by former President Barack Obama last December - part of a broad suite of actions taken in response to Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election - had made it a crime for American companies to have any business relationship with the FSB, or Federal Security Service.
U.S. authorities had accused the FSB, al...
Canada's Court Forces Google to Remove Results Worldwide
2017-06-28 16:15:32 UTC
Canadian courts can force internet search leader Google to remove results worldwide, the country's top court ruled on Wednesday, drawing criticism from civil liberties groups arguing such a move sets a precedent for censorship on the internet.
In its 7-2 decision, Canada's Supreme Court found that a court in the country can grant an injunction preventing conduct anywhere in the world when it is necessary to ensure the injunction's effectiveness.
"The internet has no borders - its natural habitat is global," the Supreme Court wrote in its judgment. "The only way to ensure that the interlocutory injunction attained its objective was to...
Astronomers Detect Supermassive Black Holes, with Billions of Times the Mass of the Sun
2017-06-28 02:12:06 UTC
The two black holes, with a combined mass 15 billion times that of the Sun, are likely separated by only about 24 light-years, extremely close for such a system.
"This is the first pair of black holes to be seen as separate objects that are moving with respect to each other, and thus makes this the first black-hole 'visual binary,'" said Greg Taylor, of the University of New Mexico (UNM).
Supermassive black holes, with millions or billions of times the mass of the Sun, reside at the cores of most galaxies. The presence of two such monsters at the center of a single galaxy means that the galaxy merged with another some time in the pas...
Massive hack attack: "It's like WannaCry all over again"
2017-06-27 17:39:04 UTC
MOSCOW/KIEV — A ransomware attack hit computers across the world on Tuesday, taking out servers at Russia's biggest oil company, disrupting operations at Ukrainian banks, and shutting down computers at multinational shipping and advertising firms.
Cyber security experts said those behind the attack appeared to have exploited the same type of hacking tool used in the WannaCry ransomware attack that infected hundreds of thousands of computers in May before a British researcher created a kill-switch.
"It's like WannaCry all over again," said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer with Helsinki-based cyber security firm F-Secure.
EU antitrust regulators hit Alphabet unit Google with a record $2.7 billion fine
2017-06-27 16:50:51 UTC
BRUSSELS — EU antitrust regulators hit Alphabet unit Google with a record 2.42-billion-euro ($2.7 billion) fine on Tuesday, taking a tough line in the first of three investigations into the company's dominance in searches and smartphones.
It is the biggest fine the EU has ever imposed on a single company in an antitrust case, exceeding a 1.06-billion-euro sanction handed down to U.S. chipmaker Intel in 2009.
The European Commission said the world's most popular internet search engine has 90 days to stop favoring its own shopping service or face a further penalty per day of up to 5 percent of Alphabet's average daily global turnover.
Macron to US Scientists: Move to France with Your Families
2017-06-13 05:13:57 UTC
If you are an American scientist, student, teacher, or business person working on climate change solutions, France would love for you to stay awhile.
Following President Trump's June 2 decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement — a multi-country pact that acknowledges global warming poses serious threats to humanity and the environment — the French government has created an outlet for people from all countries who still want to fight climate change.
The website is called Make Our Planet Great Again.
Researchers, teachers, and students can apply for a four-year grant that allows them to continue their studies or instruct...
Facebook wants to be a "hostile environment for terrorists"
2017-06-04 18:14:21 UTC
Facebook said it wanted to make its social media platform a "hostile environment" for terrorists in a statement issued after attackers killed seven people in London and prompted Prime Minister Theresa May to demand action from internet firms.
Three attackers drove a hired van into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed others nearby on Saturday night in Britain's third major militant attack in recent months.
May responded to the attack by calling for an overhaul of the strategy used to combat extremism, including a demand for greater international regulation of the internet, saying big internet companies were partly responsible for...
Tech shares lead stocks to record highs and continue to rise
2017-06-04 05:28:11 UTC
NEW YORK — Technology shares have led U.S. stocks to record highs and are expected to continue to rise, but as market value becomes concentrated in the largest companies, some are beginning to look for the next rally leader.
The technology sector of the S&P 500 .SPLRCT has risen roughly 20 percent so far in 2017, led by Apple, Alphabet, Facebook and Microsoft.
The only other company with comparable gains in market value this year is Amazon (AMZN.O), a market darling not in the tech sector despite being a big player in cloud services and data storage.
"These are the dominant players in their specific spaces and the hottest areas in...
Team of 1000 scientists detect Einstein gravitational waves
2017-06-03 17:59:21 UTC
A team of more than 1,000 scientists have for a third time detected ripples in space from black holes that crashed together billions of light years from Earth, a discovery that confirms a new technique for observing cataclysmic events in the universe, research published on Thursday shows.
Such vibrations, known as gravitational waves, were predicted by Albert Einstein more than 100 years ago and were detected for the first time in September 2015. They are triggered by massive celestial objects that crash and merge, setting off ripples through space and across time.
Movement: U.S. States and Cities Against Washington for Paris Climate Accord
2017-06-03 17:07:22 UTC
U.S. far-right nationalist and climate change denier President Donald Trump, who has previously called global warming a hoax, has pulled the US out of the Paris Agreement. But climate protection will carry on - there may even be a bright side.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the Paris climate change agreement is irreversible despite Trump's decision to withdraw from the pact.
In tones similar to that of President Macron, who on Thursday invited American scientists to continue their environmental work in his country, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said, “We will gather all our strength — in Germany, in Europe and in the wor...