Pope Francis Condemns Climate Change Skeptics
2017-09-11 21:25:58 UTC
ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) - Pope Francis said the recent spate of hurricanes should prompt people to understand that humanity will “go down” if it does not address climate change and history will judge those who deny the science on its causes.
“If we don’t turn back, we will go down,” Francis told reporters on Sunday on the plane returning from Colombia. Francis strongly backed the 2015 Paris agreement on reducing global warming, from which the United States withdrew this year.
Francis spoke as hurricane Irma pounded central Florida as it carved through the state with high winds, storm surges and torrential rains that left mil...
This Weather is Not Normal
2017-09-07 17:23:06 UTC
The days leading up to Hurricane Harvey’s landfall in Texas last week were some of the most nerve-wracking in meteorological history. Forecasters watched helplessly as a true monster storm—one that would eventually become the most extreme rain event in recorded American history—moved toward Houston, the country’s fourth-largest city. They gave the most dire warnings they could, developing new colors for maps to show unprecedented intensity, and using more hyperbolic language than ever before. But there was no avoiding the mass devastation. Homes were destroyed. At least 60 people died. The flooding has not even fully receded, and now forec...
Lyft to Offer Self-Driving Cars in San Francisco Area
2017-09-07 16:37:26 UTC
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A self-driving car will soon be one ride option available from Lyft in the San Francisco Bay Area, as the ride-services company ramps up its efforts to become a serious player in autonomous vehicle technology.
Lyft said on Thursday that self-driving cars will soon be dispatched to certain passengers who request a ride through the app in the area. The cars will come from Drive.ai, a Mountain View, California, startup that builds software to turn cars into autonomous vehicles.
It is the latest in a string of partnerships between Lyft and an autonomous car company, but it is the one with t...
Melting Permafrost Unlocks Carbon, Disease
2017-09-06 16:58:53 UTC
The consequences of climate change are perhaps most weirdly expressed in the Arctic.
A recent <a href="https://www.vox.com/2017/9/6/16062174/permafrost-melting" >article by Brian Resnick of Vox.com</a> explores the changes to Arctic permafrost, which has potentially far reaching consequences.
Consulting with Robert Max Holmes, a scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center, Resnick identifies several impacts. The most critical is carbon. The permafrost locks in massive amounts of partially decomposed plant matter.
For tens of thousands of years, permafros...
Bitcoin Derived Blockchain Used in Car Sharing
2017-08-30 14:53:09 UTC
DETROIT (Reuters) - The technology underpinning the cryptocurrency bitcoin is migrating to the auto industry and vehicle sharing.
Accounting and consulting firm EY, part of Ernst & Young Global Ltd, said on Wednesday it was launching a blockchain based system that will enable companies or groups of individuals to more easily share ownership of vehicles and access to cars and trucks. EY could deploy the system, called Tesseract, in a test with an unnamed partner within the next quarter, EY partner John Simlett told Reuters in an interview.
The concept of sharing the use of vehicles is not new to the auto industry, but the use of block...
Global warming worsened the impact of Hurricane Harvey
2017-08-29 07:27:35 UTC
<blockquote>Will global warming lead to more storms like Harvey?
There are essentially two global warming mechanisms at play here, according to climatologist Michael E. Mann. First, sea levels in the Houston region have risen by more than half a foot over the past few decades due to global warming. That obviously makes it much more likely for an area to flood.
The second — and more complicated — factor is the amount of moisture in the air. As Mann explained, the rising temperatures in the region add up to 1°C to 1.5°C higher temperatures than average a few decades ago. Based on the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, Mann calculated that ...
Samsung Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee sentenced for five years
2017-08-25 07:18:22 UTC
SEOUL (Reuters) - A South Korean court jailed Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee for five years on Friday.
The Seoul Central District Court was delivering its verdict on charges against Lee, 49, ranging from bribery to perjury in a scandal that led to the ouster in March of the then president, Park Geun-hye.
The billionaire Lee and heir to one of the world’s biggest corporate empires, who denied wrongdoing, has been in detention since February.
One of his lawyers, Song Wu-cheol, said Lee would appeal the lower court ruling.
“The entire verdict is unacceptable,” Song said, adding that he was confident his client’s inno...
Whole Foods' Competitors Fear Amazon Price Cuts
2017-08-25 06:36:18 UTC
(Reuters) - Amazon said it will cut prices on a range of popular goods as it completes its acquisition of Whole Foods Market, sending shares of rival grocers tumbling on fears that brutal market share battles will intensify.
Amazon’s $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods, which will be completed on Monday, has been hanging over a brick-and-mortar retail sector unsure of how to respond to the world’s biggest online retailer.
Shares of Kroger Co, the biggest U.S. supermarket operator, closed down 8 percent, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the biggest U.S. food seller, closed down 2 percent.
Amazon also said it will start selling Whole Fo...
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...