Trump Misunderstood MIT Climate Research, University Officials Say

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MIT officials said U.S. President Donald Trump badly misunderstood their research when he cited it on Thursday to justify withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. From a report: Trump announced during a speech at the White House Rose Garden that he had decided to pull out of the landmark climate deal, in part because it would not reduce global temperatures fast enough to have a significant impact. “Even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full, with total compliance from all nations, it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100,” Trump said. “Tiny, tiny amount.” That claim was attributed to research conducted by MIT, according to White House documents seen by Reuters. The Cambridge, Massaschusetts-based research university published a study in April 2016 titled “How much of a difference will the Paris Agreement make?” showing that if countries abided by their pledges in the deal, global warming would slow by between 0.6 degree and 1.1 degrees Celsius by 2100. “We certainly do not support the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris agreement,” said Erwan Monier, a lead researcher at the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, and one of the study’s authors. “If we don’t do anything, we might shoot over 5 degrees or more and that would be catastrophic,” said John Reilly, the co-director of the program, adding that MIT’s scientists had had no contact with the White House and were not offered a chance to explain their work.

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Intel Predicts a $7 Trillion Self-Driving Future Where Over a Million Lives Will Be Part of the ‘Passenger Economy’

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Intel has released a new study that predicts a $7 trillion annual revenue stream from the emerging passenger economy. In the report, Intel says that the companies that don’t prepare for self-driving risk failure or extinction. Additionally, the report finds that over a half a million lives could be saved by self-driving cars over just one decade. The Verge reports: The study, prepared by Strategy Analytics, predicts autonomous vehicles will create a massive economic opportunity that will scale from $800 billion in 2035 (the base year of the study) to $7 trillion by 2050. An estimated 585,000 lives could be saved due to autonomous vehicles between 2035 and 2045, the study predicts. This âoepassenger economy,â as Intel is calling it, includes the value of the products and services derived from fully autonomous vehicles as well as indirect savings such as time. Autonomous technology will drive change across a range of industries, the study predicts, the first green shoots of which will appear in the business-to-business sector. These autonomous vehicles will first appear in developed markets and will reinvent the package delivery and long-haul transportation sectors, says Strategy Analytics president Harvey Cohen, who co-authored the study. This will relieve driver shortages, a chronic problem in the industry, and account for two-thirds of initial projected revenues. One of the bolder predictions is that public transportation as we know it today â” trains, subways, light rails, and buses — will be supplanted, or at least radically changed, by the rise of on-demand autonomous vehicle fleets. The study argues that people will flock to suburbs as population density rises in city centers, pushing commute times higher and âoeoutstripping the ability of public transport infrastructure to fully meet consumer mobility needs.â

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Third Gravitational Wave Detected From Black-Hole Merger 3 Billion Light Years Away

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sycodon quotes a report from The New York Times (Warning: may be paywalled; alternate source): Astronomers said Thursday that they had felt space-time vibrations known as gravitational waves from the merger of a pair of mammoth black holes resulting in a pit of infinitely deep darkness weighing as much as 49 suns, some 3 billion light-years from here. This is the third black-hole smashup that astronomers have detected since they started keeping watch on the cosmos back in September 2015, with LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. All of them are more massive than the black holes that astronomers had previously identified as the remnants of dead stars. The latest detection was made at 10:11 GMT on January 4, and is described in a paper accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters. “The analysis suggests the two black holes that coalesced had starting masses that were just over 31 times and 19 times that of our Sun,” reports BBC. “And when they finally came together, they produced a single object of a little under 49 solar masses. It means the unison radiated a simply colossal quantity of pure energy.”

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Trump Administration Approves Tougher Visa Vetting, Including Social Media Checks

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The Trump administration has rolled out a new questionnaire for U.S. visa applicants worldwide that asks for social media handles for the last five years and biographical information going back 15 years. From a report: The new questions, part of an effort to tighten vetting of would-be visitors to the United States, was approved on May 23 by the Office of Management and Budget despite criticism from a range of education officials and academic groups during a public comment period. Critics argued that the new questions would be overly burdensome, lead to long delays in processing and discourage international students and scientists from coming to the United States. Under the new procedures, consular officials can request all prior passport numbers, five years’ worth of social media handles, email addresses and phone numbers and 15 years of biographical information including addresses, employment and travel history.

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61 Mayors Commit To Adopt, Honor and Uphold Paris Climate Accord After US Pulls Out

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After President Trump announced his intent to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, 61 mayors across the country have pledged to adopt the historic agreement themselves. The group of mayors, who represent 36 million Americans and some of the largest U.S. cities, outlined a plan to align with the other 194 nations that adopted the accord. From a statement provided by the climate mayors: We will continue to lead. We are increasing investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. We will buy and create more demand for electric cars and trucks. We will increase our efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, create a clean energy economy, and stand for environmental justice. And if the President wants to break the promises made to our allies enshrined in the historic Paris Agreement, we’ll build and strengthen relationships around the world to protect the planet from devastating climate risks. The world cannot wait — and neither will we.

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A New Report Finds No Evidence That People Will Work Less Under a Universal Basic Income

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Economists Djavad Salehi-Isfahani and Mohammad H. Mostafavi-Dehzooeifrom for the Economic Research Forum have released a new report on the results of a basic income scheme launched in Iran in 2011. “In 2011, in response to heavy cuts to oil and gas subsidies, Iran implemented a program that guaranteed citizens cash payments of 29 percent of the nation’s median income, which amounts to about $1.50 every day (about $16,000 per year in the U.S.),” reports The Outline. Here are the key findings: The report found no evidence for the idea that people will work less under a universal income, and found that in some cases, like in the service industry, people worked more, expanding their businesses or pursuing more satisfying lines of work. The researchers did find that young people — specifically people in their twenties — worked less, but noted that Iran never had a high level of employment among young people, and that they were likely enrolling in school with the added income. The evidence presented in the paper is compelling, but the anecdotal belief that handing people money will make them lazy is hard to shake. “The findings in this paper do not settle this question,” the report’s authors point out. “What we have accomplished is at the very least to shift the burden of proof on this issue to those who claim cash transfer [sic] make poor people lazy, and to show the need for better data and more research.”

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Tesla Fires Female Engineer Who Alleged Sexual Harassment

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Tesla has fired a female engineer who accused the company of ignoring her complaints of sexual harassment and paying her less than her male counterparts. AJ Vandermeyden, who went public with her discrimination lawsuit against Tesla in February, was dismissed from the company this week. The Guardian reports: Vandermeyden had claimed she was taunted and catcalled by male employees and that Tesla failed to address her complaints about the harassment, unequal pay and discrimination. “It’s shocking in this day and age that this is still a fight we have to have,” she said at the time. In a statement to the Guardian, Tesla confirmed the company had fired Vandermeyden, saying it had thoroughly investigated the employee’s allegations with the help of “a neutral, third-party expert” and concluded her complaints were unmerited. “Despite repeatedly receiving special treatment at the expense of others, Ms Vandermeyden nonetheless chose to pursue a miscarriage of justice by suing Tesla and falsely attacking our company in the press,” a Tesla spokesperson said. “After we carefully considered the facts on multiple occasions and were absolutely convinced that Ms Vandermeyden’s claims were illegitimate, we had no choice but to end her employment at Tesla.”

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Google Unveils Design For 1 Million Squarefoot London Headquarters

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dryriver quotes a report from CNN: Google has released designs for a new 11-story, 1 million-square-foot headquarters in London near King’s Cross railway station, complete with a sprawling, landscaped rooftop garden. The facilities will include a cafe, gym and pool as well as a rooftop track and ground-floor retail spaces, according to the company’s application for permission to build. The campus has been designed by an all-star team that includes Thomas Heatherwick, the British designer behind London’s 2012 Olympic cauldron, and Danish architect Bjarke Ingels’ BIG firm. The two are also collaborating on Google’s Mountain View campus in California. The company currently has a smaller headquarters in the area, along with another nearby building. Google had submitted designs for a new headquarters in 2013, but they were later scrapped. If the new application is approved by Camden Council, construction will start next year.

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China’s Unprecedented Cyber Law Signals Its Intent To Protect a Precious Commodity: Data

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An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: An aggressive new cybersecurity and data protection law in China that goes into effect today will have global ripple effects, and could serve as a model for other governments. But the Chinese government has also left many parts of the law vague — likely an intentional move meant to allow the country to stake out its own sense of “cyber sovereignty” while waiting to see how the U.S., Europe, and others decide to regulate the flow of data across international borders. The new law is a resounding announcement from China that it intends to be a global player in controlling perhaps the most precious commodity of the digital economy: data. It’s hard to know how the law will actually change things because the most controversial aspects of it are so vague. Among them is a requirement that certain companies submit their products to the government for cybersecurity checks, which may even involve reviewing source code. How often it would be required, and how the government will determine which products must be reviewed is unknown. This could come into play as part of China’s broader regulatory push to expand law enforcement’s power to access data during criminal investigations. Another vague directive calls for companies to store certain data within the country’s borders, in the interest of safeguarding sensitive information from espionage or other foreign meddling. The government has delayed the implementation of this change until the end of 2018, however.

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IBM Says Watson Health’s AI Is Getting Really Good at Diagnosing Cancer

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An anonymous reader shares a report: In deciding on cancer treatment, doctors often get together in a “tumor board” to go over the options. IBM’s Watson now sits in on those meetings in a few hospitals, such as in South Korea and India — and it generally makes the same calls that a human expert would. So says IBM in a series of studies it’s presenting this weekend at the ASCO cancer treatment conference in Chicago. “It’s not making a diagnosis. That’s not what we set out to do,” says Andrew Norden of IBM’s Watson Health division. “They will run Watson Oncology in a tumor board and sort of get another external opinion.” Watson’s “concordance rate” — the degree to which it agrees with human doctors — ranged from 73% to 96%, depending on the type of cancer (such as colon cancer) and the particular hospital where the study was done (in India, South Korea, and Thailand).

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Man Sentenced To 180 Days In Jail For Refusing To Give Police His iPhone Passcode

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schwit1 quotes a report from Miami Herald: A Hollywood man must serve 180 days in jail for refusing to give up his iPhone password to police, a Broward judge ruled Tuesday — the latest salvo in intensifying legal battles over law-enforcement access to smartphones. Christopher Wheeler, 41, was taken into custody in a Broward Circuit Court, insisting he had already provided the pass code to police investigating him for child abuse, although the number did not work. “I swear, under oath, I’ve given them the password,” a distraught Wheeler, his hands handcuffed behind his back, told Circuit Judge Michael Rothschild, who earlier in May found the man guilty of contempt of court. As Wheeler was jailed Tuesday, the same issue was unfolding in Miami-Dade for a man accused of extorting a social-media celebrity over stolen sex videos. That man, Wesley Victor, and his girlfriend had been ordered by a judge to produce a passcode to phones suspected of containing text messages showing their collusion in an extortion plot. Victor claimed he didn’t remember the number. He prevailed. On Tuesday, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Charles Johnson ruled that there was no way to prove that Victor actually remembered his passcode, more than 10 months after his initial arrest. Johnson declined to hold the man in contempt of court. Wheeler will eventually be allowed to post bond pending an appeal. If he gives up a working pass code, he’ll be allowed out of jail, Judge Rothschild told him.

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Google Quadruples Top Reward For Hacking Android To $200,000

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Krystalo quotes a report from VentureBeat: Google has paid security researchers millions of dollars since launching its bug bounty program in 2010. The company today expanded its Android Security Rewards program because “no researcher has claimed the top reward for an exploit chain in two years.” Right. Well, the program has only been around for two years — a Google spokesperson confirmed that nobody has ever claimed the top reward. The Android team is making two bug bounty increases today. The reward for a remote exploit chain or exploit leading to TrustZone or Verified Boot compromise has quadrupled from $50,000 to $200,000. The reward for a remote kernel exploit has quintupled from $30,000 to $150,000. Want to make six figures? Just figure out how to hack Android.

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Germany Detects Emissions Cheat Software In Audi Models

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The German government has accused Audi of cheating emissions tests with its top-end models, marking the first time the company has been accused of such wrongdoing in its home country. Reuters reports: The German Transport Ministry said it has asked Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) luxury division to recall around 24,000 A7 and A8 models built between 2009 and 2013, about half of which were sold in Germany. The affected Audi models with so-called Euro-5 emission standards emit about twice the legal limit of nitrogen oxides when the steering wheel is turned more than 15 degrees, the ministry said. It is also the first time that Audi’s top-of-the-line A8 saloon has been implicated in emissions cheating. VW has said to date that the emissions-control software found in its rigged EA 189 diesel engine does not violate European law. The 80,000 3.0-liter vehicles affected by VW’s emissions cheating scandal in the United States included Audi A6, A7 and Q7 models as well as Porsche and VW brand cars. The ministry said it has issued a June 12 deadline for Audi to come up with a comprehensive plan to refit the cars. Ingolstadt-based Audi issued a recall for the 24,000 affected models late on Thursday, some 14,000 of which are registered in Germany, and said software updates will start in July. It will continue to cooperate with Germany’s KBA motor vehicle authority, Audi said.

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A NASA Spacecraft Will Head Straight For the Sun — Farther Than Any Probe Before It

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A US spacecraft will swoop inside the Sun’s corona, its superheated outer atmosphere, on a pathfinding mission to learn more about how stars work. Nasa’s $1.5bn Parker Solar Probe, which will be protected by a shield that can withstand temperatures of 1,400C, will journey within 6m km of the Sun’s surface, seven times closer than any previous spacecraft. From a report: Set to kick off next July, the plan is to plunge the Parker Solar Probe into the Sun’s corona — the hazy bit you can see around the edges of the Sun during a total solar eclipse — to study this phenomenon. The car-sized spacecraft will get closer to the Sun than any other mission ever has. Travelling at the dizzying speed of more than 720,000 kilometres per hour, the probe will eventually come within less than 6.4 million kilometres of the Sun’s surface. We’ve been studying the Sun for thousands of years, and even though we now have remote sensing observatories and spacecraft that examine it in spectacular detail, many questions still remain. The two big ones are: 1. Why is the corona on the outside of the Sun at least 300 times hotter than the surface? 2. Why does the solar wind speed up?

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Qualcomm Announces Quick Charge 4+ Standard That’s 15 Percent Faster Than Quick Charge 4

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An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Just a mere six months after announcing Quick Charge 4, which boosted charging times and safety considerably over its predecessors, Qualcomm is introducing the new Quick Charge 4+ standard. Unlike previous standards, which required a new chipset, 4+ is something device and accessory manufacturers can implement by adding three enhancements to Quick Charge 4-compliant devices:
“Dual Charge,” which is already an option in earlier version of Quick Charge, but is “now more powerful”; “Intelligent Thermal Balancing,” which steers current through whichever of the dual charging pathways is coolest to keep temperatures down; “Advanced Safety Features” to monitor both the phone temperature and the connector temperature to protect against overheating and short-circuit damage. Qualcomm claims devices that implement this standard can get charging times up to 15 percent faster than Quick Charge 4, and will charge up to 30 percent more efficiently — an especially nice perk if you’re charging from a battery pack. Charging will also be up to 3 degrees Celsius (about 5 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler.

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Trump Announces US Withdrawal From Paris Climate Accord

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It’s official. President Donald Trump announced today that the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, following through on a pledge he made during the presidential campaign. Trump said the Paris agreement “front loads costs on American people. In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord but begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States,” the president said. “We are getting out. But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. Trump said that the United States will immediately “cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris accord” and what he said were “draconian financial” and other burdens imposed on the country by the accord. This means that Elon Musk will leave Trump’s Business Advisory Council. On Wednesday, Musk said he did “all he could to advise directly to Trump.” Apple CEO Tim Cook also made a phone call yesterday to Trump in an attempt to change his mind. Twenty-five companies, including Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google, HP, Microsoft, Salesforce, Morgan Stanley, Intel signed on to a letter which was published on the New York Times and Wall Street Journal today arguing in favor of climate pact. Update: Former president Barack Obama said the U.S. “joins a small handful of nations that reject the future.”

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Skype Announces Big Makeover Focused on Messaging and Social Sharing, But Will That Drive Its Popularity?

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Skype on Thursday became the latest app in the growing list of services that are copying features straight from Snapchat. Microsoft-owned service announced a major redesign of its mobile app, which now comes with a feature called “Highlights” that lets users share photos and videos that will only be temporarily visible to their friends. The feature, as you can imagine, carries a strong resemblance to Snapchat’s “Stories,” a format that has been growing in popularity among young audiences. All of Facebook’s consumer-focused services, including Instagram and WhatsApp, also offer a similar feature in their apps. What will be interesting to see in the coming weeks is whether the redesign and the new feature will give Skype a boost among users. Analysts are skeptical. Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research offers a reality-check: Skype is one of those odd products — a fairly sizable communications property owned by a major tech company, and yet one which doesn’t make much money, isn’t growing much, and hasn’t really been focused on either messaging or social communication. […] The new design puts social sharing and messaging much more prominently in the app, but that’s no guarantee that people will actually use those features more or even see Skype as a natural place to do that kind of sharing.

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OneLogin Says Breach Exposed Ability To Decrypt Customer Data

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Reader tsu doh nimh writes: OneLogin, an online service that lets users manage logins to sites and apps from a single platform, says it has suffered a security breach in which customer data was compromised, including the ability to decrypt encrypted data, KrebsOnSecurity reports. “A breach that allowed intruders to decrypt customer data could be extremely damaging for affected customers. After OneLogin customers sign into their account, the service takes care of remembering and supplying the customer’s usernames and passwords for all of their other applications.”

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Movie Studios Are Blaming Rotten Tomatoes For Killing Movies No One Wants To See

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Baywatch were never going to be critical darlings. Both movies led the domestic box office to its worst Memorial Day weekend showing in nearly 20 years. Quartz adds: In the fallout, are Hollywood producers blaming the writers? The actors? Themselves? (Of course not.) No, they are blaming Rotten Tomatoes. They say the movie-review site, which forces critics to assign either a rotten or fresh tomato to each title when submitting reviews, regardless of the nuances of their critiques, poisoned viewers against the films before they were released. “Insiders close to both films blame Rotten Tomatoes, with Pirates 5 and Baywatch respectively earning 32% and 19% Rotten. The critic aggregation site increasingly is slowing down the potential business of popcorn movies. Pirates 5 and Baywatch aren’t built for critics but rather general audiences, and once upon a time these types of films — a family adventure and a raunchy R-rated comedy — were critic-proof. Many of those in the industry severely question how Rotten Tomatoes computes the its ratings, and the fact that these scores run on [the movie-ticket buying site] Fandango (which owns RT) is an even bigger problem,” Deadline reported. […] The site has a separate score that measures audience reception, which it displays next to the critic rating. And quite a few smell what The Rock is cooking — 70% of Baywatch viewers on Rotten Tomatoes said they liked it. But the critic score is what many people look to when deciding whether to spend their hard-earned money at the cinema. Also read: Hollywood Producer Blames Rotten Tomatoes For Convincing People Not To See His Movie.

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Putin Hints At US Election Meddling By ‘Patriotically Minded’ Russians

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Two anonymous readers share a report: Shifting from his previous blanket denials, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said on Thursday that “patriotically minded” private Russian hackers could have been involved in cyberattacks last year to help the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump (Editor’s note: the link could be paywalled; alternative source). While Mr. Putin continued to deny any state role, his comments to reporters in St. Petersburg were a departure from the Kremlin’s previous position: that Russia had played no role whatsoever in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and that, after Mr. Trump’s victory, the country had become the victim of anti-Russia hysteria among crestfallen Democrats. Raising the possibility of attacks by what he portrayed as free-spirited Russian patriots, Mr. Putin said that hackers “are like artists” who choose their targets depending how they feel “when they wake up in the morning.”

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