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Industry & Technology

Arizona superintendent fails in last attempt to limit evolution teaching

Ars Technica - 1 hour 5 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Steven Brewer / Flickr)

Earlier this year, we covered an attempt by Arizona's superintendent of Public Instruction to alter the state's science education standards. Superintendent Diane Douglas seemingly directed her staff to edit a set of standards prepared by educators so that numerous mentions of the word "evolution" were eliminated. Climate change was later diminished in a similar manner.

But since that time, the news has been almost uniformly good. Superintendent Douglas lost in a primary election to a fellow Republican, her edits to the school standards were rejected by the state school board, and a last-ditch effort to swap in educational guidelines from a religious college wasn't even given serious consideration.

As we noted in our earlier coverage, Douglas has in the past suggested that schools teach intelligent design, which is the idea that life arose and diversified due to the intervention of an intelligent agent rather than evolution. It's an idea that was generated for religious purposes, and its teaching has been ruled an imposition of religion by the courts. She has also misunderstood the status of a scientific theory in suggesting that it reflected the idea that our knowledge of evolution is uncertain. These beliefs seem to have motivated her intervention into the science standards.

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Apple iPhone XR review: The best iPhone value in years - CNET - Reviews - 1 hour 11 min ago
If you're buying a new iPhone, this should be your starting point.

HP updates Spectre x360 2-in-1s with webcam privacy switch, more battery life

Ars Technica - 1 hour 11 min ago


HP's premium convertibles have consistently won over our hearts for the past couple of years. Now, the company is updating both the 13-inch and 15-inch Spectre x360 machines with more security features, more powerful CPU and GPU options, and an edgier design.

Let's start with the Spectre x360 13: the fourth generation of the 13-inch two-in-one is slightly thinner and lighter than the previous model, now measuring 14.5mm thick and weighing 2.9 pounds. The now-faceted edges complement the jewelry-like gold finish, and the back corners near the hinge have a new angled design. HP made use of the angled corners by sticking an extra USB-C port on one of them. Whether open or closed, the Spectre x360 13 can connect to peripherals or charge via that extra USB-C port.

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Apple's Peloton patent connects moving self-driving cars to boost efficiency - Roadshow - News - 1 hour 31 min ago
Peloton would allow vehicles to connect physically to one another and share battery power for more efficient travel.

Facebook's Messenger makeover focuses on simplicity - CNET - News - 1 hour 31 min ago
The messaging app, which counts more than 1.3 billion users, is cutting down on the number of tabs, adding a "dark mode" and other seemingly modernizing features.

Science: Broke brats glued to the web while silk-stocking scions have better things to do

The Register - 1 hour 36 min ago
Oh, and many of the stereotypes of Gen Z are wrong

A new survey of teenagers reveals that children from poorer households use the internet more than those from richer homes, upending a common assumption about our online lives.…

Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018) review: Small upgrades sweeten the deal just a bit - CNET - Reviews - 1 hour 37 min ago
The latest HD 8 isn't much of an upgrade over last year's model, but the "always-ready" hands-free Alexa feature is a nice addition to what remains the best tablet value.

A look at 3200 Phaethon: A big, bizarre, blue asteroid we plan to visit - CNET - News - 1 hour 40 min ago
New research suggests the "rock comet" is weirder than previously thought.

Google Play is upgrading previously purchased movies to 4K for free - CNET - News - 1 hour 45 min ago
4K movies on Google's platform now cost less, too

Electrify America will juice up the Ohio Turnpike for the first time - Roadshow - News - 1 hour 53 min ago
The chargers will be at service plazas, so you don't need to leave the turnpike to charge.

FCC gives 5G and Wi-Fi a boost as you gobble up wireless - CNET - News - 1 hour 53 min ago
But not everyone is happy about it.

OnePlus 6T: Every detail and rumor so far - CNET - News - 2 hours 7 min ago
It'll definitely have an in-display fingerprint scanner -- and we know lots more.

RIP Charles Wang: Computer Associates cofounder dies aged 74

The Register - 2 hours 9 min ago
Cancer claims life of the poster child for computing excess

Charles Wang, the cofounder of Computer Associates – latterly CA Technologies – has died of lung cancer at the age of 74, an attorney representing his family has confirmed.…

MoviePass could be spun off into a separate public company - CNET - News - 2 hours 10 min ago
It's been a turbulent year for the movie-ticket subscription service.

Memo to Microsoft: Windows 10 is broken, and the fixes can't wait

The Register - 2 hours 11 min ago
Three urgent changes Redmond must make to stop the QA crisis

Comment Windows isn't working – and Microsoft urgently needs to change how it develops the platform, and jettison three filthy practices it has acquired in recent years.…

Inventor Simone Giertz wants you to give yourself a gold star every day - CNET - News - 2 hours 23 min ago
This is used to enforce a habit -- exercise, yoga, meditation, flossing, writing or even putting your phone away at dinner.

DRM for chargers? Google Pixel 3 locks fast Qi charging to certified chargers [Update]

Ars Technica - 2 hours 38 min ago

Enlarge / The Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 3. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Google's Pixel 3 smartphone is shipping out to the masses, and people hoping to take advantage of the new Qi wireless charging capabilities have run into a big surprise. For some unexplained reason, Google is locking out third-party Qi chargers from reaching the highest charging speeds on the Pixel 3. Third-party chargers are capped to a pokey 5W charging speed. If you want 10 watts of wireless charging, Google hopes you will invest in its outrageously priced Pixel Stand, which is $79.

Android Police reports that a reader purchased an Anker wireless charger for their Pixel 3, and, after noticing the slow charging speed, this person contacted the company. Anker confirmed that something screwy was going on with Google's charging support, saying "Pixel sets a limitation for third-party charging accessories and we are afraid that even our fast wireless charger can only provide 5W for these 2x devices."

Normally we would chalk this up to some kind of bug, but apparently Google told Android Police that this was on purpose. The site doesn't have a direct quote, but it writes that, after reaching out to Google PR, it was "told that the Pixel 3 would charge at 10W on the Pixel Stand [and that] due to a 'secure handshake' being established that third-party chargers would indeed be limited to 5W." We've asked Google why it is doing this and will update this article if we hear back, but it's hard to imagine a justification for this.

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Ford, Avis Budget will bring connectivity to over 35,000 rental cars - Roadshow - News - 2 hours 41 min ago
It won't magically unlock with your phone, but it could make parts of the rental process easier to handle.

Oculus reconfirms “future version of Rift” amid PC cancellation rumors

Ars Technica - 2 hours 46 min ago

Enlarge / An Oculus Rift photo montage from Oculus Connect. (credit: Kyle Orland)

Oculus has reaffirmed it's working on a new version of its PC-based Rift hardware. That affirmation follows a report from TechCrunch suggesting the cancellation of the "Rift 2" was behind the sudden departure of Oculus co-founder and former CEO Brendan Iribe, announced just yesterday.

Iribe, who stepped down as CEO to help lead Oculus' PC/Rift division in late 2016, announced his departure from the company on Facebook Monday. Iribe said he was "deeply proud and grateful for" the work he'd done with Oculus and that "although we're still far from delivering the magical smart glasses we all dream about, now they are nearly within our reach." That said, leaving the company "will be the first real break I've taken in over 20 years," he wrote. "It's time to recharge, reflect, and be creative."

The TechCrunch report, though, cites an unnamed source "close to the matter" in saying Iribe had actually grown frustrated with "fundamentally different views on the future of Oculus that grew deeper over time" and was concerned about a "race to the bottom" in terms of performance. That suggests Iribe may not have been happy with the increased focus on the recently announced Oculus Quest, a $400 standalone headset powered by a mobile system-on-a-chip.

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OnePlus 6T may have leaked on German retail website - CNET - News - 2 hours 52 min ago
The listing seems to confirm a slightly higher price and certain specs.

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