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Earth

San Diego To Run 100 Percent On Renewable Energy By 2035 (outerplaces.com) 15

The city of San Diego has announced a bold new plan to run completely on renewable energy by 2035. While the city already produces the second largest electrical output from solar energy in the U.S., the new plan further details a way to cope with the changing climate. It plans to reduce 50% of the greenhouse gas emission by 2035, as well as create new jobs through the manufacturing and installation of solar panels. "San Diego is a leader in innovation and sustainability," the Climate Action Plan reads. "By striking a sensible balance between protecting our environment and growing our economy, San Diego can support clean technology, renewable energy, and economic growth." San Diego joins San Francisco, Sydney, and Vancouver in its effort to run entirely on renewable energy.
United Kingdom

'Boaty McBoatface' Polar Ship Named After Attenborough Despite Less Votes (bbc.com) 65

The UK's 200 Million Euro polar research ship won't be called Boaty McBoatface. Instead, the new ship will be called RRS (Royal Research Ship) Sir David Attenborough. The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) had originally planned to name the new ship via an online poll. In all fairness, RRS Sir David Attenborough did pick up a few votes, though in terms of popularity nothing came close to Boaty McBoatface (it earned over 124,000 votes). "We want a name that lasts longer than a social-media news cycle and reflects the serious nature of the science it will be doing," said Jo Johnson, the U.K. Science minister. BBC reports: While the polar ship itself will not be named Boaty McBoatface, one of its remotely operated sub-sea vehicles will be named Boaty in recognition of the vote. James Hand, who first suggested the flippant moniker, said he was pleased the name would "live on."
Youtube

YouTube: Our Primetime Audience Is Bigger Than the Top 10 TV Shows Combined (theverge.com) 24

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki: "Today, I'm happy to announce that on mobile alone YouTube now reaches more 18-49-year-olds than any network -- broadcast or cable. In fact, we reach more 18-49-year-olds during primetime than the top 10 TV shows combined. At a time when TV networks are losing audiences, YouTube is growing in every region and across every screen." Ben Popper, writing for The Verge: Those numbers are a bit vague. We don't know exactly how many people are watching, or whether any individual channel comes close to matching the reach of network TV programming. Most importantly, that doesn't break out what percentage of the audience is watching Google Preferred content, the pre-approved brand-safe stuff that nets big ad dollars, versus the long tail of cat videos and home movies that have steadily dwindling value. Still, it seemed clear that YouTube's clout was not lost on the agencies handling big budgets. Wojcicki used her time on stage to announce that Interpublic Group, one of the world's largest ad holding companies, planned to shift $250 million from traditional TV networks to YouTube over the next year.
Science

Scientists Reveal How We Can Forget On Purpose 18

An anonymous reader writes: When people say, "Forget you heard that," they don't usually mean literally. But it turns out that you can stop yourself from remembering, at least on a small scale. People can intentionally forget memories by changing how they think about the context those memories were made in, scientists reported this week in the journal Psychonomic Bulletin and Review. In the experiment, people studied a random list of words while viewing pictures of landscapes such as beaches or forests. They were then instructed to either remember or forget those words. The scientists then used an fMRI to track brain activity related to the outdoor scenes they'd planted as context for the word memories. They saw that people who'd been ordered to forget thought less about the context. The better people were at wiping nature-related thoughts from their minds, the fewer words they could later recall from their list.
Security

Lenovo Patches Serious Flaw In Pre-Installed Support Tool (csoonline.com) 14

Reader itwbennett writes: Lenovo has made available a patch for the vulnerability in its Lenovo Solution Center, a support tool which comes pre-installed on many Lenovo laptops and desktops. The vulnerability could allow attackers to execute code with system privileges and take over computers. Users should automatically be prompted to update LSC when they open the application, but in case they aren't, they should download the latest version (3.3.002) manually from Lenovo's website. This is not the first time such a vulnerability has been found and fixed in LSC. In fact, Lenovo updated an old advisory for flaws reported in December with information about the new vulnerability, making it somewhat hard to spot.
Facebook

Facebook's Newest Privacy Problem: 'Faceprint' Data (cnet.com) 60

Katie Collins, reporting for CNET: Facebook knows you so well these days that it can recognize you just by seeing your face. You may not have a problem with this, but that doesn't mean it's all good in the eyes of the law. The social network lost the first round of a lawsuit on Thursday in which it is accused of "unlawfully" storing biometric data mined from people's photographs. The company was seeking to have the suit dismissed, but a federal judge in California rejected the request. Facebook taps into its photo-tagging system to build up a geometric representation of people's faces to create something called a faceprint for each of its users. Faceprints are then used to suggest tags for people when new photos are uploaded to the network. One could argue that the clue is in the name, but many Facebook users probably don't know that they agree to having data about their face stored when they sign up.
Transportation

Solar Planes Aren't the Green Future Of Air Travel (vox.com) 170

An anonymous reader writes: By any standard, the Solar Impulse 2 is a marvel of engineering. This solar-powered plane didn't use a drop of kerosene on its epic trip across the Pacific Ocean. It's a real testament to how far solar technology has advanced. Unfortunately, for anyone hoping that we'll all be puttering around in solar planes soon -- well, that's pretty unlikely. From a Vox report, "Consider: The Solar Impulse 2 features 17,000 solar cells crammed onto its jumbo jet "size wings, along with four lithium-polymer batteries to store electricity for nighttime. Yet that's still only enough power to carry 2 tons of weight, including a single passenger, at a top speed of just 43 miles per hour. By contrast, a Boeing 747-400 running on jet fuel can transport some 400 people at a time, at top speeds of 570 miles per hour. Unless we see some truly shocking advances in module efficiency, it'll be impossible to cram enough solar panels onto a 747's wings to lift that much weight -- some 370 tons in all. Nor is it enough to load up on batteries charged by solar on the ground, since that would add even more weight to the plane, vastly increasing the energy needed for takeoff. A gallon of jet fuel packs about 15 to 30 times as much energy as a lithium-ion battery of similar weight. That fundamental difference in energy density is a big reason we're unlikely to see large commercial airliners powered by batteries fill the skies."
Google

Google-Backed Yieldify Has Acquired IP From 'World's Biggest Patent Troll' (theregister.co.uk) 56

An anonymous reader cites an article on The Register: Yieldify, the Google-backed startup accused of stealing code from British adtech company Bounce Exchange, has been making some unusual friends. Yieldify has acquired an ancient web patent from III Holdings which was first filed in 2007. III Holdings is better known as Inside Intellectual Ventures, co-founded by Nathan Myhrvold. It has been dubbed "the most hated company in tech" and "the world's biggest patent troll." IIV is a "NPE" (non-practicising entity), which gathers up patents and seeks to unlock their value through selling on or licensing the IP. This has been backed up by litigation, such as Samsung, a recipient of one of III's sueballs. In a court filing made last week, Yieldify made a request for declaratory judgement in its ongoing case versus Bounce Exchange, citing the IIV patent. Also from the report: Clearly, patent trolls are unacceptable when they're trolling you, but become strategically useful when you can troll back.
Games

The World Video Game Hall of Fame 2016 Inductess 48

Reader Dave Knott writes: The World Video Game Hall Of Fame has announced its inductees for the year 2016, the second group of games to be so honoured since the award's inception in 2015. The Hall Of Fame "recognizes individual electronic games of all types -- arcade, console, computer, handheld, and mobile -- that have enjoyed popularity over a sustained period and have exerted influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general". This year's six inductees are: Grand Theft Auto III, The Legend of Zelda, The Oregon Trail, The Sims, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Space Invaders.The Sydney Morning Herald has more details.
Google

Google's AI Is Devouring Romance Novels (cbsnews.com) 94

An anonymous reader writes: Google engineers have been feeding text from steamy romance novels to an artificial intelligence (AI) engine in order to give Google's technology -- like its mobile app -- the ability to produce more human, conversational text, BuzzFeed News reports. The company's researchers been able to get the AI to write out full sentences that would resemble those in the typical romance novel. Why do these particular books make such good language teachers? Romance novels follow a very predictable narrative blueprint -- the names may change from book to book, but the essential story formula is familiar. The idea is that Google's AI can easily cull through this material to find patterns within the sentences to get a broader comprehension of language as a whole.The AI has been fed with more than 2,500 novels.
Security

Huge Number Of Sites Imperiled By Critical Image-Processing Vulnerability (arstechnica.com) 90

Dan Goodin, reporting for Ars Technica: A large number of websites are vulnerable to a simple attack that allows hackers to execute malicious code hidden inside booby-trapped images. The vulnerability resides in ImageMagick, a widely used image-processing library that's supported by PHP, Ruby, NodeJS, Python, and about a dozen other languages. Many social media and blogging sites, as well as a large number of content management systems, directly or indirectly rely on ImageMagick-based processing so they can resize images uploaded by end users. According to developer and security researcher Ryan Huber, ImageMagick suffers from a vulnerability that allows malformed images to force a Web server to execute code of an attacker's choosing. Websites that use ImageMagick and allow users to upload images are at risk of attacks that could completely compromise their security. "The exploit is trivial, so we expect it to be available within hours of this post," Huber wrote in a blog post. He went on to say: "We have collectively determined that these vulnerabilities are available to individuals other than the person(s) who discovered them. An unknowable number of people having access to these vulnerabilities makes this a critical issue for everyone using this software."
Power

Elon Musk: 'We Need a Revolt Against the Fossil Fuel Industry' (theguardian.com) 407

An anonymous reader writes: Tesla's chief executive Elon Musk has accused politicians of bowing to the "unrelenting and enormous" lobbying power of the fossil fuel industry, warning that a global "revolt" may be needed to accelerate the transition to more sustainable energy and transport systems. Speaking at the World Energy Innovation Forum at the Tesla Factory in California, Musk claimed that traditional vehicles and energy sources will continue to hold a competitive edge against greener alternatives due to the vast amounts of subsidies they receive. The solution to this energy dilemma, Musk says, is to introduce a price on carbon by defining a tax rate on greenhouse gas emissions or the carbon content of fossil fuels. "The fundamental issue with fossil fuels is that every use comes with a subsidy," Musk said. "Every gasoline car on the road has a subsidy, and the right way to address that is with a carbon tax. Politicians take the easy path of providing subsidies to electric vehicles, which aren't equal to the applied subsidies of gasoline vehicles. It weakens the economic forcing function to transition to sustainable transport and energy."
Movies

Netflix Enables Streaming Quality Control To Reign In Mobile Data Usage (hothardware.com) 63

MojoKid writes from a report on HotHardware: Netflix wants to put users in control of their mobile data usage when it comes to its iOS and Android apps. Up until today, Netflix held all the cards and adjusted video quality settings on its end (and how much cellular data was consumed) when users were on a cellular connection. Now, Netflix is opening up user-selectable settings that allow you to sip data (at the expense of video quality of course) or gulp it down if you're one of the few with an unlimited data plan. Making the adjustment is as simple as navigating to App Settings and then selecting Cellular Data Usage. From there, you will be able to select from Automatic (Default), Low, Medium, High, or Unlimited options. If you're on a Wi-Fi connection, these quality settings are disabled altogether.
Patents

Judge Rodney Gilstrap Sees A Quarter Of The Nation's Patent Cases (vice.com) 77

derekmead quotes a report from Motherboard: Since taking the bench in 2011 -- moving literally across the street from his law office into the district courthouse -- Judge Rodney Gilstrap has become one of the most influential patent litigation judges in the country. In 2015, there were 5,819 new patent cases filed in the US; 1,686 of those ended up in front of Judge Gilstrap. That's more than a quarter of all cases in the country; twice as many as the next most active patent judge. This busy patent docket didn't blossom overnight, and it's not some strange coincidence. Due to some unique rules around intellectual property filings, patent holders can often file their lawsuits at any district court in the country, even if neither the plaintiff nor the defendant is based there. By introducing a list of standing court orders and local regulations, the Eastern District of Texas (and, in particular, Gilstrap's division of Marshall) has become the court of choice for many plaintiffs, especially non-practicing entities, often referred to as patent trolls.
Earth

GoPro Footage Gives You A Rocket's-Eye View Of Spaceflight (gizmag.com) 77

Eloking quotes a report from Gizmag: Action cameras have been strapped to dogs, chainsaw-wielding drones and everything in between, but there's a new benchmark for homegrown heroes and their action-cam videos courtesy of UP Aerospace. Having strapped a GoPro HERO 4 to the outside of its SpaceLoft-10 sounding rocket, the company launched it into the thermosphere, gathering some footage that's simply out of this world along the way. The footage is incredible and begs the question: how did they fasten the cameras to a rocket traveling at 3,796 mph? You can watch the footage here on YouTube.

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