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Trump issues new tariffs on imported washers and solar panels - CNET - News - 57 min 33 sec ago
Along with Chinese-made solar panels, the announcement singles out Samsung and LG as "substantial causes of serious injury" against US manufacturers.

Montana becomes the first state to implement net neutrality - CNET - News - 1 hour 4 min ago
Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock signs executive order requiring ISPs with state contracts to treat all content equally.

Trump puts 30% tariff on imported solar cells and modules

Ars Technica - 1 hour 8 min ago

Enlarge / Long Island solar farm. (credit: Brookhaven National Lab)

On Monday afternoon, the Trump administration released a fact sheet (PDF) detailing new tariffs on imports, including a tariff schedule for solar cells and modules starting at 30 percent.

The solar tariff determination had been tensely anticipated by the US solar industry, with manufacturers arguing that cheap imports from Asia have harmed their businesses. Solar installers, financiers, and sales people, however, argue that cheap imports have created a bigger boom in employment than manufacturing ever could.

The news is likely a blow to the wider solar industry, although it's not entirely unexpected. Trump has been vocal about his preference for tariffs and has shown little desire to extend a hand out to the solar industry, which is often seen as a competitor with fossil fuels. When the International Trade Commission (ITC) voted in favor of imposing tariffs on solar imports in September, the trade association Solar Energy Industries of America (SEIA) prepared for the worst.

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Australian Senate vote-counting-ware contract a complete shambles

The Register - 1 hour 10 min ago
Auditor says the right people were elected - probably - despite security & other messes

The Australian Electoral Commission's (AEC's) handling of the nation's 2016 election was deeply flawed, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has found.…

Making tools gives crows a big food boost

Ars Technica - 1 hour 33 min ago

Enlarge / A crow gets to work manufacturing a tool. (credit: Jolyon Troscianko)

Tool use among animals isn't common, but it is spread widely across our evolutionary tree. Critters from sea otters to cephalopods have been observed using tools in the wild. In most of these instances, however, the animal is simply using something that's found in its environment, rather than crafting a tool specifically for a task. Tool crafting has mostly been seen among primates.

Mostly, but not entirely. One major exception is the New Caledonian crow. To extract food from holes and crevices, these birds use twigs or stems that are found in their environment without modification. In other environments, however, they'll remove branches from plants and carefully strip parts of the plant to leave behind a hooked stick. The behavior takes over a minute, and the crows will typically carry the tool with them when they explore new sites, and they will sometimes store it for future use.

Understanding how this complex behavior came about in crows requires us to understand the evolutionary advantages that might be had from a good tool. A group of researchers, mostly from the University of St. Andrews, has now done just that: the researchers have quantified how tool manufacture influences food harvesting. The results show that the use of bird-crafted tools can increase food extraction by up to 12 times the rate the crows could achieve by using unmodified sticks.

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Murdoch to Zuckerberg: Cough up cash, nerd

The Register - January 22, 2018 - 11:59pm
Here comes the great defender of journalism – and he wants Facebook to pay for news

News Corp executive chairman and internationally despised publisher Rupert Murdoch has waded into the fake news debate – and demanded that internet giants pay journalists for their work.…

Google spending beaucoup bucks on expansion in France - CNET - News - January 22, 2018 - 11:45pm
An AI research center, a bigger Paris headquarters and four Google Hubs to teach digital literacy are all in the works.

SpaceX gets good news from the Air Force on the Zuma mission

Ars Technica - January 22, 2018 - 11:29pm

Enlarge / The launch of Zuma was pretty, but the aftermath has been anything but. (credit: SpaceX)

A little more than two weeks have passed since the apparent loss of the highly classified Zuma mission. Since then, SpaceX has publicly and privately stated that its Falcon 9 rocket performed nominally throughout the flight—with both its first and second stages firing as anticipated.

Now, the US Air Force seems to be backing the rocket company up. "Based on the data available, our team did not identify any information that would change SpaceX's Falcon 9 certification status," Lieutenant General John Thompson, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, told Bloomberg News. This qualified conclusion came after a preliminary review of data from the Zuma launch. That's according to Thompson, who said the Air Force will continue to review data from all launches.

However tentative, this statement buttresses the efforts by SpaceX to say that, from its perspective, the mission was a success. The statement also adds to the concerns of Northrop Grumman, which built the Zuma payload and the adapter that connected it to the Falcon 9 rocket. Northrop Grumman was also responsible for separating after the second stage of the Zuma rocket reached space. The aerospace veteran has yet to publicly comment on specifics of the Zuma mission since the launch.

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Intel halts some chip patches as the fixes cause problems - CNET - News - January 22, 2018 - 11:23pm
The chipmaker's updates were meant to fix the Meltdown and Spectre design flaws, but have been causing computers to unexpectedly reboot.

Who needs prestige? Netflix ends year on a 'Bright' note - CNET - News - January 22, 2018 - 11:06pm
Oscar nominations may be right around the corner, but Netflix is happy to celebrate its brutally reviewed "Bright" as it reports a surge in subscriber growth.

How quantum dots could challenge OLED for best TV picture - CNET - News - January 22, 2018 - 11:05pm
It won't happen this year, but when Samsung figures out how to make quantum dot TVs without depending on decades-old LCD technology, watch out LG.

'WHAT THE F*CK IS GOING ON?' Linus Torvalds explodes at Intel spinning Spectre fix as a security feature

The Register - January 22, 2018 - 10:58pm
Patches slammed as 'complete and utter garbage' as Chipzilla U-turns on microcode

Intel's fix for Spectre variant 2 – the branch target injection design flaw affecting most of its processor chips – is not to fix it.…

Rupert Murdoch to Facebook: Pay us for our stories - CNET - News - January 22, 2018 - 10:43pm
News Corp. exec issues statement proposing licensing deal between news organizations and online media platforms.

Sorry, FCC: Montana is enforcing net neutrality with new executive order

Ars Technica - January 22, 2018 - 10:40pm

Enlarge / Montana Governor Steve Bullock. (credit: Getty Images | William Campbell )

Montana will require Internet service providers to follow net neutrality principles in order to receive state government contracts.

Governor Steve Bullock, a Democrat, today signed an executive order imposing that requirement beginning July 1, 2018.

"There has been a lot of talk around the country about how to respond to the recent decision by Federal Communications Commission to repeal net neutrality rules, which keep the Internet free and open," Bullock said. "It's time to actually do something about it. This is a simple step states can take to preserve and protect net neutrality. We can't wait for folks in Washington, DC, to come to their senses and reinstate these rules."

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Emme Hall checks out Ford's hottest from Detroit Auto Show - Roadshow - News - January 22, 2018 - 10:19pm
We sent our most truck-obsessed reporter to see what Ford gave us at this year's North American International Auto Show.

First phone with in-screen fingerprint scanner sells Jan. 24 - CNET - News - January 22, 2018 - 10:12pm
The Vivo phone we saw earlier this month is real, but it could be hard to get.

Windows VR headsets now available with deep discounts

Ars Technica - January 22, 2018 - 10:10pm

Enlarge / An array of Windows Mixed Reality headsets. (credit: Microsoft)

With its Windows VR headsets, Microsoft wanted to make it simpler and cheaper to get into PC-based virtual reality.

But perhaps not quite this cheap. Most of the Windows VR headsets on the market are now available on Amazon in the US for around 50 percent off; for as little as $200, you can get a headset complete with a pair of motion controllers that will run Windows Mixed Reality software and which has beta quality support for SteamVR titles, too.

When it first announced the products, Microsoft promised its headsets would cost around $300-500, compared to the $600 or more for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Since then, both the Rift and the Vive have some big price cuts of their own, and while the Windows VR devices do still retain the pricing edge, the difference is much less pronounced than it once was. For the moment, the Windows hardware retains one advantage—it doesn't need base stations to track movement because all the tracking is handled in the headset itself, which makes installation and setup substantially easier. But this benefit, too, is set to disappear in the near term, as this style of tracking is going to become the norm.

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Facebook grows a conscience, admits it corroded democracy

The Register - January 22, 2018 - 9:56pm
Mr Zuckerberg, are we the baddies?

Facebook has admitted it was "far too slow" to recognize that its systems were being used to "spread misinformation and corrode democracy."…

Waymo pits its tech against Hotlanta's notoriously tough traffic - Roadshow - News - January 22, 2018 - 9:55pm
Self-driving car firm Waymo expands its testing to the bustling metropolis of Atlanta, Georgia.

Smartphone nose-hair trimmer mows your nostrils on the go - CNET - News - January 22, 2018 - 9:51pm
The world may not be ready for a smartphone nose-hair trimmer, but thanks to Japanese retailer Thanko, it's going to have to deal with one.

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