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Amazon Echo Wall Clock gives you a house with a smart clock on its walls - CNET - Reviews - September 20, 2018 - 10:43pm
LEDs on this clock add at-a-glance convenience to your Alexa timers.

Amazon Echo Link Amp takes on Sonos for half the money - CNET - Reviews - September 20, 2018 - 10:28pm
The Echo Link Amp smart sound system lets you add your own speakers in an Alexa-controlled amplifier.

Amazon's third Echo Dot gets a softer look and better sound - CNET - Reviews - September 20, 2018 - 10:25pm
Amazon's most popular smart speaker gets a fabric makeover and a boost in sound quality for the same price.

As coal stalls, Wyoming considers new environmental clean-up rules

Ars Technica - September 20, 2018 - 10:20pm

Enlarge / GILLETTE, Wyo.: A truck loaded with coal is viewed from the Eagle Butte Coal Mine Overlook which is operated by Alpha Coal. The area is a large producer of coal. Gillette uses the moniker of "The Energy Capital of the Nation". (Photo by (credit: Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Wyoming's Land Quality Advisory Board voted to limit so-called "self-bonding" in the state, a practice that allows coal and other mining companies to avoid putting up any collateral to reclaim land when the company is done with the mine. The new proposed rules will go through a public comment period and then need to be signed by the governor of the state to take effect, according to the Casper Star-Tribune.

The board's passage of the proposed rules is somewhat surprising in a coal-heavy state, because it could potentially raise the cost of coal mining in Wyoming for some companies. However, there is political support for more stringent environmental rules after a number of coal companies filed for bankruptcy in recent years. Although no companies ended up abandoning mine cleanup to the state, the specter of hundreds of millions of dollars of cleanup in the event of another coal downturn has left regulators eager to limit how much damage the state could be on the hook for. The five-person advisory board voted 4-1 in favor of limiting self-bonding. The board member who voted against limits to self-bonding works for Peabody Energy, a major coal producer in the state.

The limits wouldn't do away with self-bonding in Wyoming. Instead, to qualify for self-bonding, a coal company would have to have a strong credit-rating and would be expected to run the mine for at least five more years. The Star-Tribune notes that credit ratings for coal firms also factor in the health of the market, so the state of Wyoming wouldn't have to independently evaluate the larger economic risks to a mine going under.

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AmazonBasics Microwave works with Alexa to take your voice commands - CNET - Reviews - September 20, 2018 - 10:20pm
And the $60 microwave will automatically order more when you run out.

Amazon Smart Plug showcases simple setup - CNET - Reviews - September 20, 2018 - 10:01pm
Among a slew of Amazon devices announced Thursday, the Amazon Smart Plug is a $25 way to introduce your dumb devices to Alexa.

Amazon Fire TV Recast DVR streams free over-the-air TV, starts at $230 - CNET - Reviews - September 20, 2018 - 9:57pm
Cord-cutters get a new goody for their antennas, complete with Alexa and no monthly fees.

Ring's redesigned Stick Up Cams want a spot inside your home - CNET - Reviews - September 20, 2018 - 9:48pm
The Ring Stick Up Cam Wired and Stick Up Cam Battery are the first indoor cameras for the Amazon brand.

Cody Wilson reportedly trying to rent an apartment in Taiwan, per local media

Ars Technica - September 20, 2018 - 9:30pm

Enlarge / Cody Wilson (right), the founder of Defense Distributed, spoke to reporters in Austin on August 28. (credit: Nathan Mattise)

After skipping his flight back to the US in the wake of accusations of sexual assault against a minor, Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson attempted to rent an apartment in Taipei this week, according to United Daily News (Chinese, Google Translate), a Chinese-language media outlet based in Taiwan.

That article indicates that Wilson appears to have initially passed himself off as an American student living in the city. But after Wilson seemed to have secured an apartment by making an initial down payment, the rental agency reportedly recognized him and called the authorities. UDN writes that area police and Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau are now trying to again locate Wilson.

On Wednesday, police in Austin, Texas, first announced that they had a warrant out for the arrest of the 3D-printed gun pioneer on that allegation of sexual assault of an underage girl. At a press conference later that afternoon, the Austin Police Department revealed that Wilson’s last known location was Taiwan and that the department was not sure whether Wilson had gone to Taiwan on legitimate business or whether he was expressly trying to flee the United States.

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GPS tracked the land sink under the weight of Hurricane Harvey’s rain

Ars Technica - September 20, 2018 - 9:29pm

Enlarge (credit: US Coast Guard / Flickr)

Shortly after Hurricane Harvey unleashed its flooding on Houston, we wrote about a remarkable observation shared by a scientist on Twitter: the weight of all that floodwater had measurably depressed the Earth’s crust. This week, a more detailed study of that observation was published in the journal Science Advances.

A team of researchers led by Chris Milliner of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory extended its analysis to the weeks after the hurricane and found that the network of sensitive GPS sensors could actually track the volume of floodwater as it receded.

While bedrock is commonly considered representative of concepts like “firm” and “unmovable,” it has some compressibility when the forces are big enough. This “elastic” behavior explains how the land surface around Houston could sag slightly under the weight of Harvey’s prodigious rainfall.

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Top drone: Reaper scores drone kill in air-to-air missile test

Ars Technica - September 20, 2018 - 9:15pm

Enlarge / The MQ-9 Reaper isn't a fighter aircraft. But it could soon be armed to take out other drones, helicopters, or other aircraft, after a successful kill with a heat-seeking missile in a November 2017 test. (credit: US Air Force)

The US Air Force has revealed that an MQ-9 Reaper uncrewed aircraft successfully shot down a smaller drone with a heat-seeking air-to-air missile in a test last November. The details, provided by Col. Julian Cheater, commander of the 432nd Wing, came in an interview with at the Air Force Association's Air, Space, and Cyber Conference in Washington, DC, yesterday.

The Air Force's Air Combat Command has been exploring ways to arm the MQ-9 with air-to-air weapons since 2003. That was when the Air Force was preparing to issue a contract to General Atomics for the uncrewed aircraft, which was known at the time as the Predator-B. Much of the problem has been that the MQ-9, which is flown over a satellite communications link by Air Force operators, lacks the kind of sensors a fighter aircraft would use to track and target other aircraft. Its Lynx multimode radar is a synthetic aperture radar intended for tracking surface targets on land and sea and for providing ground imaging—but not for searching for other aircraft. Its other sensors (other than navigational cameras) were intended for tracking things below as well. And the MQ-9 lacks the sort of electronic-warfare sensors and countermeasures of crewed combat aircraft.

However, the Reaper's Multispectral Targeting System (MTS) has proven to be usable for tracking some types of flying targets. In 2016, the latest version of MTS, the MTS-C, successfully tracked missile launches in a test conducted by the Missile Defense Agency. The MTS-C added long-wave infrared to the short and medium infrared wavelength sensors used in previous versions, allowing the sensor to track "cold body" objects.

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Remember when Apple's FaceTime stopped working years ago? Yeah, that was deliberate

The Register - September 20, 2018 - 8:55pm
Class-action lawsuit over iOS 6 snafu allowed to move ahead

Apple is accused of deliberately shafting people who didn't upgrade their iPhones and iOS, in a class action lawsuit over its FaceTime video-conferencing software.…

Ralph Breaks the Internet tackles modern online life - CNET - News - September 20, 2018 - 8:49pm
A behind-the-scenes look at just how Ralph and Vanellope head to the big (internet) city.

Amazon's Echo devices get redesign on the way to world domination - CNET - News - September 20, 2018 - 8:49pm
An Alexa-powered microwave and wall clock were just the tip of the Alexa iceberg today.

Nissan issues an ABS pump recall for 215,000 cars and SUVs - Roadshow - News - September 20, 2018 - 8:48pm
The affected pump can leak brake fluid onto a circuit board and cause a fire.

Google warns US senators of foreign hackers targeting their Gmail accounts - CNET - News - September 20, 2018 - 8:45pm
The warnings are likely to add to Google’s tough times in Washington.

Amazon's microwave works with Alexa, automatically reorders popcorn - CNET - News - September 20, 2018 - 8:39pm
"Alexa, heat up my Hot Pocket."

Big nutrition research scandal sees 6 more retractions, purging popular diet tips

Ars Technica - September 20, 2018 - 8:39pm

Enlarge / Broken plate with knife and fork on white background. (credit: Getty | PM Images)

Brian Wansink, the Cornell nutrition researcher who was world-renowned for his massively popular, commonsense-style dieting studies before ultimately goingdown in flames in a beefy statistics scandal, has now resigned—with a considerably slimmer publication record.

JAMA’s editorial board retracted six studies co-authored by Wansink from its network of prestigious publications on Wednesday, September 19. The latest retractions bring Wansink’s total retraction count to 13, according to a database compiled by watchdog publication Retraction Watch. Fifteen of Wansink’s other studies have also been formally corrected.

Amid this latest course in the scandal, Buzzfeed reported today that Wansink has resigned from his position at Cornell, effective at the end of the current academic year. The announcement comes a day before Cornell planned to release its findings from an internal investigation into his work.

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Amazon Echo Auto puts Alexa on your dash - Roadshow - News - September 20, 2018 - 8:34pm
The small dash-mounted device brings location-sensitive Alexa functionality to any car for just $50.

Amazon unveils new Ring Stick Up Cam for home security - CNET - News - September 20, 2018 - 8:34pm
The new camera will cost $180.

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