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Industry & Technology

Electric scooters are invading. Bird's CEO leads the charge - CNET - News - 31 min 2 sec ago
Travis VanderZanden says scooters should ease traffic and be fun. But lawmakers from Santa Monica to San Francisco say they're creating sidewalk detritus and are a public nuisance.

Valve acquires Firewatch developer Campo Santo

Ars Technica - 50 min 52 sec ago

Enlarge / A lookout tower stands over the mountains in Firewatch.

Valve has acquired Campo Santo, known for the outdoor exploration game Firewatch, the developer announced late Saturday. The 12-person team will relocate to Valve's Bellevue, Washington headquarters as it continues work on In the Valley of the Gods, a search for treasure in an Egyptian desert.

"In Valve we found a group of folks who, to their core, feel the same way about the work that they do (this, you may be surprised to learn, doesn’t happen every day)," Campo Santo wrote in its announcement post. "In us, they found a group with unique experience and valuable, diverse perspectives. It quickly became an obvious match."

Campo Santo went on to say that the decision came after "a series of long conversations" about values and "how, when you get right down to it, we, as human beings, are hard-limited by the time we have left when it comes to making the things we care about and believe in."

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NASA’s new planet finder is in space. Now what?

Ars Technica - 1 hour 50 min ago

Trevor Mahlmann

Most everyone reading this story will probably know that a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched on Wednesday carrying a NASA spacecraft into orbit—the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite—that will further the space agency's mission of searching for exoplanets.

Less well known is the TESS spacecraft's clever orbit, which will enable an on-a-budget but robust science mission of searching for planets transiting in front of nearby stars. This "lunar resonant" orbit, which has never been used by a spacecraft, will allow TESS to both observe nearby stars and transmit data back to Earth with a minimal energy expenditure. (The useful lifetime of a spacecraft is often determined by its amount of onboard propellant).

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Jeremy Hunt threatens social media with new child-protection laws

BBC Technology News - 2 hours 16 min ago
The health secretary wants action from the sites on underage use, bullying and screen-time limits.

Experts say Tesla has repeated car industry mistakes from the 1980s

Ars Technica - 2 hours 21 min ago

Tesla Factory in Fremont, California, 2016. (credit: Maurizio Pesce / Flickr)

Production had been halted for much of last week in Tesla's car factory in Fremont, California, and its battery factory near Clark, Nevada. In a Tuesday note to employees, CEO Elon Musk said that the pause was necessary to lay the groundwork for higher production levels in the coming weeks. Musk said he wants all parts of the company ready to prepare 6,000 Model 3 cars per week by the end of June, triple the rate Tesla has achieved in the recent weeks.

The announcement caps a nine-month period of turmoil that Musk has described as "production hell" as Tesla has struggled to ramp up production of the Model 3.

Tesla had high hopes for its Model 3 production efforts. In 2016, Musk hired Audi executive Peter Hochholdinger to plan the manufacturing process, and Business Insider described his plans in late 2016: "Hochholdinger's view is that robots could be a much bigger factor in auto production than they are currently, largely because many components are designed to be assembled by humans, not machines."

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Tripping over electric scooters? Here’s how they work (FAQ) - CNET - News - 3 hours 51 min ago
Our irreverent guide to the vehicles that may soon litter your sidewalk.

Is Ford's new F-150 diesel worth the price of admission? - Roadshow - News - 3 hours 51 min ago
How does Ford's new diesel V6 stack up to its EcoBoost stablemates?

Don't be like me and take your phone for granted - CNET - News - 3 hours 51 min ago
Commentary: It took a car breaking down on a California highway to trigger a newfound appreciation for those little computers in our pockets.

This is what the Pixel 2 looks like under a macro lens - CNET - News - 4 hours 51 min ago
Get an eyeload of where the glass meets the metal in the Pixel 2's unusual design.

My epic supercar superphone European road trip - CNET - News - 5 hours 51 min ago
I matched the Galaxy S9 Plus with an astonishing McLaren 570GT for a journey across Europe to see how well Samsung's latest flagship phone can photograph a once in a lifetime road trip.

The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu, season 2: What you need to know - CNET - News - April 21, 2018 - 8:36pm
This season, a pregnant Offred will be at the center of the dark drama. The show will travel to Canada and also set scenes in the dreaded radioactive Colonies.

AT&T, Verizon face DOJ investigation for allegedly trying to lock eSIMs

Ars Technica - April 21, 2018 - 8:13pm

Enlarge / Apple Watch Series 3, with eSIM technology for connecting to cellular networks. (credit: Apple)

AT&T and Verizon are being investigated by the Department of Justice (DOJ) over whether they colluded in order to prevent customers from easily switching carriers.

The antitrust investigation, reported by The New York Times yesterday, relates to the eSIM (embedded SIM) technology that is used instead of regular SIM cards in cellular-capable Apple Watches and other devices such as the Google Pixel 2. eSIMs are supposed to let customers switch carriers without changing to a different SIM card or device, but AT&T and Verizon are accused of "try[ing] to establish standards that would allow them to lock a device to their network even if it had eSIM technology," the Times report said.

The DOJ began investigating about five months ago after complaints from Apple and an unidentified wireless carrier, the article said.

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Drool over Marvel Comics’ rarest original art, costumes at new museum exhibit

Ars Technica - April 21, 2018 - 7:50pm

SEATTLE—As the Marvel Cinematic Universe expands to every movie theater in the world, the MoPOP Museum of Pop Culture (formerly Experience Music Project) swoops in this week with an exhibit that reminds fans where the heck these costumed heroes came from: the comics pages.

Marvel Universe of Super Heroes, a massive, two-story exhibit, began its world-premiere run in Seattle on Saturday with a mix of incredible historical context and Marvel's strange, narrow focus within the MCU. The very good news, as seen in the first gallery, is that the Marvel (which began life in 1939 as Timely Publications) is represented by way of a ton of original production art.

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High-end audio extravaganza rocks Chicago - CNET - News - April 21, 2018 - 7:17pm
The Audiophiliac lends an ear to the goings on at Axpona.

Apple is now replacing batteries for cheaper MacBook Pro laptops - CNET - News - April 21, 2018 - 7:13pm
Certain MacBook Pro laptops without the Touch Bar are eligible.

Why this headphone website's year-long return policy is crazy good - CNET - News - April 21, 2018 - 6:17pm
It's kind of hard to believe, but has the best return policy we've ever seen.

Facebook's new data policy: Answers to your privacy questions - CNET - News - April 21, 2018 - 5:27pm
We read through it since you probably won't.

A paranoid's guide to the internet - CNET - News - April 21, 2018 - 3:44pm
Are you a savvy surfer, or trapped in a mental underground bunker of your own making?

Earth Day Lyrid meteor shower is already underway - CNET - News - April 21, 2018 - 3:36pm
One of the oldest skywatching traditions on Earth is underway and set to peak this weekend. So lay back, relax and look up at the sky.

White House reportedly exploring wartime rule to help coal, nuclear

Ars Technica - April 21, 2018 - 3:00pm

(credit: Kym Farnik)

According to reports from Bloomberg and E&E News, the Trump Administration has been exploring another way to help coal and nuclear generators: the Defense Production Act of 1950.

The Act was passed under President Truman. Motivated by the Korean War, it allows the president broad authority to boost US industries that are considered a priority for national security. On Thursday, E&E News cited sources that said "an interagency process is underway" at the White House to examine possible application of the act to the energy industry. The goal would be to give some form of preference to coal and nuclear plants that are struggling to compete with cheap natural gas.

Third time's the charm?

This appears to be the third attempt to use policy to keep coal and nuclear operators afloat. The main focus is coal generators, which Trump promised to rescue during his campaign. Although Trump's campaign rhetoric often blamed environmental regulations, the problem has been economic more than regulatory; cheap natural gas has been the biggest threat to coal and nuclear.

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