Category Archives: News and Views

Theresa May survives confidence vote of Tory MPs | BBC News

Prime Minister Theresa May has won a vote of confidence in her leadership of the Conservative Party by 200 to 117.

After securing 63% of the total vote, she is now immune from a leadership challenge for a year.

Speaking in Downing Street, she vowed to deliver the Brexit “people voted for” but said she had listened to the concerns of MPs who voted against her.

Her supporters urged the party to move on but critics said losing the support of a third of MPs was “devastating”.

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Congress Blew Its Hearing With Google CEO Sundar Pichai | WIRED

ON TUESDAY, THE House Judiciary Committee had the opportunity to question one of the most powerful people on the planet—Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, the company that filters all the world’s information. And they blew it.

Over the course of three and a half hours, the members of the committee staked out opposite sides of a partisan battle over whether Google search and other products are biased against conservatives. Republican members largely criticized the company for burying conservative websites in search results and amplifying criticism of conservative policies—accusations that Google has repeatedly denied. Democrats only poured fuel on the fire by spending their allotted five minutes helping Pichai shoot down those trumped-up claims, which are hard to prove either way thanks to the company’s black box algorithms. The rhetorical tennis match left precious little time for committee members to explore in any detail the urgent questions around Google’s interest in building a censored search engine for China, the company’s bulk data collection practices, its recent security breaches, or issues related to competition and antitrust regulation.

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Here’s how Lyft envisions self-driving cars communicating with pedestrians | TechCrunch

The question of how self-driving cars will interact and communicate with humans is one that has come up before, but the answer is still up in the air. Google has been looking into this at least since 2012, and earlier this year, Uber filed a patent for using flashing lights and sounds to talk to pedestrians. Now, the United States Patent Office has granted Lyft with a patent for what it describes as an autonomous vehicle notification system.

Lyft’s solution entails developing a predetermined message to display on the most visible car window. In one example, each window includes a projector, a see-through screen or another display device to communicate the message.

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Google to kill Google+ early after exposing personal data of more than 50 million | Mashable

Google will end the consumer version of its ill-fated social network Google+ in April, four months earlier than expected, after finding another security issue impacting more than 50 million people.

In a blog post Monday, Google said that a November software update caused the Google+ API to inadvertently make users’ personal information viewable to developers, even if they had opted to keep their details private. The bug was addressed after six days, and users’ passwords and financial data were not impacted, according to the company.

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10,400 Verizon workers quit their jobs. That’s a good sign for the economy | CNN

A lot of people want to quit their jobs at Verizon, and that’s a really good sign for the economy.

In a drive to cut costs and shift investments as it rolls out 5G service, the company announced on Monday that 10,400 management employees had accepted voluntary buyout deals, out of 44,000 who were eligible.

That might have been partially due to the fact that the terms of severance were generous, at three weeks of pay for each year of service, capped at 60 weeks.

But it’s likely there’s a larger factor at play: The unemployment rate is now 3.7%, compared to 5.8% when Verizon last offered buyouts, meaning those workers figure they have a good chance of taking the money and finding another job.

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Why Are Toronto Residents Suspicious About City’s Smart Project | Digital Trends

It is touted as a unique opportunity to build a smart city within a major city, literally from the ground up. Environmental remediation, new infrastructure, digital electrification plans, new-age mobility options — the whole shebang.

If only people would stop complaining about privacy issues.

Up in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, there’s been much ado about what will happen to all the data that the future Sidewalk Toronto project will generate. The focus of the debate has been, predictably, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) whose Sidewalk Labs is the primary partner in the project. And yet, for all the sturm und drang about personal information, not a single spade-full of dirt has been spilled yet.

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Facebook Portal review: Good video chat, but better for business | Mashable

Are you ready for Facebook to have a physical, semi-permanent presence in your home? That’s the central question you’ll need to consider before you invest in the company’s new Portal or Portal+ speaker.

The pair of speakers, Facebook’s first non-VR hardware product, come at a time when trust in the social network is at an all-time low. The company is reeling from scandal after scandal, and is still facing tough questions about users’ privacy.

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Why it’s difficult for Netflix and ‘Friends’ to go on a break | CNN

New York (CNN Business)”Friends” will be there for you on Netflix through 2019, but the minor internet meltdown over a rumor that the show was leaving goes to the heart of the biggest question about Netflix’s short-term future: What happens if and when its competitors pull their most popular content from Netflix to make it exclusive to their own streaming services?

One show might not make a difference, but Disney and WarnerMedia, both of which are launching streaming services next year, hold the key to a huge trove of content that lives on Netflix. WarnerMedia’s “Gilmore Girls” and “The West Wing” and Disney’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” for instance, all had big fanbases when they lived on their respective networks and are now big draws for Netflix.

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The World’s Largest Ocean Cleanup Has Officially Begun | Forbes

Ambitious dreams have now become a reality as the Ocean Cleanup deploys its $20 million system designed to clean up the 1.8 trillion pieces of trash floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Check out another Forbes piece on how Ocean Cleanup aims to reuse and recycle the ocean plastic.

The floating boom system was deployed on Saturday from San Francisco Bay and will undergo several weeks of testing before being hauled into action. The system was designed by the nonprofit Ocean Cleanup, which was founded in 2013 by 18-year-old Dutch inventor Boyan Slat. Their mission is to develop “advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.”

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Restaurant and cafe chains giving out ‘dangerous’ allergy advice | BBC News

Leading restaurant and coffee shop chains are giving out incorrect allergy advice, BBC Watchdog Live has found.

Posing as customers with food allergies, journalists secretly filmed staff at Frankie & Benny’s, Pizza Hut, Nandos, Pizza Express, Starbucks and Costa.

The journalists asked staff whether dishes contained any of the 14 major allergens.

Five out of the 30 outlets visited gave the reporters incorrect information.

The unclear and incorrect advice could have caused anyone with a genuine allergy to have a potentially life-threatening reaction.

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