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The Android game Galaxy On Fire running on the Chromebook Pixel. (credit: Google) MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.—It's really happening. Android apps are coming to Chrome OS. And it's not just a small subset of apps; the entire Google Play Store is coming to Chrome OS. More than 1.5 million apps will come to a platform that before today was "just a browser," and Android and Chrome OS take yet another step closer together. In advance of the show, we were able to sit down with members of the Chrome OS team and get a better idea of exactly what Chrome OS users are in for. The goal is an "It just works" solution, with zero effort from developers required to get their Android app up and running. Notifications and in-line replies should all work. Android apps live in native Chrome OS windows, making them look like part of the OS. Chrome OS has picked up some Android tricks too—sharing and intent systems should work fine, even from one type of app or website to another. Google is aiming for a unified, seamless user experience. Starting in early June, developer channel builds of Chrome OS will see a pop-up message allowing them to opt-in to Google Play and Android app compatibility. This will roll out to touch-enabled Chromebooks first in the "M53 Dev" version, with support for non-touch devices coming soon after. We were told a full-scale rollout to the Chrome OS stable channel should happen sometime in September or October. Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Sean Gallagher The Stiletto crouches pierside at National Harbor. Forty feet wide and 80 feet long, the Stiletto is nearly three times the size of a World War II PT boat yet less than a third of the weight. Its pentamaran design makes it capable of handling (and plowing through) pretty much anything short of a gale—though turning head-on into the waves can be brutal. 13 more images in gallery .related-stories { display: none !important; } NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.—At this week's Navy League Sea-Air-Space exposition here, an annual seapower conference and trade show for the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard, Ars got a chance to board and tour the Stiletto—a prototype boat built for the Navy in 2006 that has become the military's on-call floating laboratory for rapid research and development of new sensors, weapons systems, and communications. With a carbon fiber hull, the Stiletto is light enough (45 tons, unloaded) to be craned onto a cargo ship for transport—but can itself carry 20 tons of cargo and tear through most sea states at high speeds. Now operating from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek near Norfolk, Virginia, the Stiletto was originally intended to be part of a new Navy combat concept—groups of small, highly networked boats carrying sensors and weapons and working as a group to take on enemies in coastal, river, and shallow ocean waters. Built with special operations in mind, the Stiletto has a stealthy profile and a unique pentamaran hull that essentially acts as a surface effect hull at high speeds, allowing the craft to rise out of the water and reach speeds of 60 knots (69 miles an hour, or 110 kilometers per hour). After being used in several exercises in the mid-2000s, the Stiletto was deployed to the Caribbean for counter-narcotics operations in 2008 with a joint Navy-Coast Guard team. Since then, it has served as a "maritime demonstration craft" operated by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock, Combatant Craft Division—but funded directly by the Department of Defense's Office of Research, Test, Development and Evaluation (RDT&E). (Full disclosure: my last tour of service in the Navy was with "special boats", so the Stiletto is my 1990 self's technological dream.) Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Eric Constantineau) Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and other like-minded senators have come out forcefully against the pending change to federal judicial rules that would expand judges’ ability to authorize remote access hacking of criminal suspects’ devices. On Thursday, Wyden submitted a bill that aims to stop the proposed amendments to Rule 41 dead in its tracks. The entire bill is one sentence long: “The proposed amendments to rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which are set forth in the order entered by the Supreme Court of the United States on April 28, 2016, shall not take effect.” For now, the bill is co-sponsored by two other Democrats, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.). A companion bill is expected in the House of Representatives. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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I dunno, looks like a game to me... The creator of a game about a Palestinian child struggling to survive with her family in the 2014 Gaza strip says the title has been rejected from the games section of the iOS App Store because, as he puts it, "it has a political statement." Liyla and the Shadows of War is currently listed on Google Play as an Adventure game, and it includes "challenging decision, events and puzzles awaiting for you [sic]" according to its online press kit. But Palestinian creator Rasheed Abueideh tweeted a rejection message in which Apple said the game was "not appropriate in the games category" and that it would be "more appropriate to categorize your app in News or Reference for example." The rejection didn't go into detail about where Apple draws the line between "Games" and "News," but Apple's App Store Review guidelines have laid out the company's thinking since 2010: "We view Apps different than books or songs, which we do not curate. If you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song, or create a medical app." Those same guidelines also lay out a vague "I'll know it when I see it" standard for when content goes "over the line" in ways not specifically prohibited by the guidelines (Apple has yet to respond to a request for comment from Ars). Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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NEW YORK, NY - MAY 21: Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page speaks during a news conference at the Google offices on May 21, 2012 in New York City. Google announced today that it will allocate 22,000 square feet of space in its New York headquarters to CornellNYC Tech while the university completes its new campus on Roosevelt Island. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) (credit: Getty Images) SAN FRANCISCO—Alphabet CEO Larry Page testified in federal court this morning, saying that he never considered getting permission to use Java APIs because they were "free and open." The CEO of Alphabet, Google's parent company, spoke in a soft staccato and was hard to understand at times. (Page suffers from a condition that affects his vocal chords.) But Page spoke to the jury for about a half-hour, answering a lightning-fast round of accusatory questions from Oracle attorney Peter Bicks. His testimony comes in the final hours of the Oracle v. Google trial. The lawsuit began when Oracle sued Google in 2010 over its use of 37 Java APIs, which Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems. In 2012, a judge ruled that APIs can't be copyrighted at all, but an appeals court disagreed. Now, unless a jury finds that Google's use of APIs was "fair use," Oracle may seek up to $9 billion in damages. Read 48 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / The Huawei Watch running Android Wear 2.0. (credit: Andrew Cunningham) Yesterday Google put out the first developer previews of Android Wear 2.0, the single biggest update that the software has gotten since it was originally released in 2014—two Google I/Os ago. The developer preview builds, which only work on two more recent (and expensive) Wear watches and the Android emulator, won’t suddenly convince smartwatch haters that the devices have merit. But Wear 2.0 tweaks Google’s smartwatch platform in some intelligent ways while opening new doors for developers. Here’s what the preview is like running on the Huawei Watch. New look and feel The original release of Android Wear existed mostly as a wrist-bound notification delivery system. Notification cards would alert you to their presence by obscuring part of the watch face and hanging out there until you had dismissed them. Wear 2.0 is still notification-focused, but it delivers them in a way that’s less disruptive to your newly useful, complication-equipped watch face. Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / OWC's Aura drive for newer MacBook Airs and Pros. (credit: Andrew Cunningham) If you're looking for a capacity upgrade for a recent MacBook Pro or Air, you could do worse than OWC's Aura SSDs. The drives come in 480GB and 1TB capacities, and even though they aren't always as fast as original Apple drives, they're fast enough, and they offer capacities beyond what Apple offers on some models. The major caveat that we discovered in our review of the products is that the drives didn't support Boot Camp, making it impossible to install Windows or other operating systems on the drives. Those disheartened by that news will be happy to know that OWC has just released a Boot Camp Enabler tool for the Aura drives and a few of its other aftermarket Mac SSDs that allows the Boot Camp Assistant tool to work just as it normally does. Once Windows is installed, the enabler tool can be uninstalled without affecting the Windows partition. OWC will sell you a 480GB drive for $348 and a 1TB drive for $595. An upgrade kit that includes tools and an external USB enclosure for the original Apple drive costs around $50 extra. The drives are compatible with 2013, 2014, and 2015 MacBook Airs and Retina MacBook Pros. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court prepares to hear oral arguments in the case on January 8. Some teenagers successfully lobby for access to the family car on a Friday night. Others successfully sue governments about not doing enough about greenhouse gas emissions. Aided by the Conservation Law Foundation and the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance, four teens won a case before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Tuesday that will force the state to follow through on its greenhouse gas emissions goals. The state’s 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act pledged to reduce emissions to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, but the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) never created any emissions regulations to make that happen. The lawsuit argued that the 2008 legislation required the DEP to actually do something, while the state said it interpreted the law to mean it would merely need to define numbers that would be consistent with the goal. The Supreme Judicial Court overturned a lower court’s decision, telling the DEP that it is not free to interpret the law that way. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Google Earth) The linear chains of islands running across the Pacific Ocean aren’t improbable coincidences of orderliness—they’re the product of hot towers of mantle rock punching volcanic holes through a tectonic plate sliding overhead. But if you follow the Hawaiian chain back to where the older seamounts no longer rise above the waves, you find a sharp dogleg, as you can see above. We haven't had a satisfactory explanation for this sudden turn. One idea was that, given a stationary mantle hotspot, the tectonic plate must have changed direction at one point in time. This theory has never been entirely satisfactory, however—not least because the Louisville seamount chain in the South Pacific sports a gentler kink. We still have a lot to figure out about how mantle hotspot plumes work, but we do know that the Hawaii and Louisville plumes go all the way down to the deepest part of the Earth’s mantle. Plumes like these are rooted near the edges of unusual, lumpy regions of rock at the base of the mantle beneath the Pacific (as well as Africa). These structures are known as large low-shear-velocity provinces—for lack of any reasonable alternative, we’ll grit our teeth and refer to them as LLSVPs. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Concept art for NASA's flyby mission to Europa. (credit: NASA) Planetary scientists have identified Jupiter's icy moon of Europa as one of their top targets for exploration, believing that its warm interior oceans may well harbor life. A new study published just this week, authored by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, found that conditions in the oceans on Europa may indeed be Earth-like and capable of harboring life. Despite the wishes of the planetary science community to further investigate Europa, NASA has been wary of mounting such a mission because of the high cost—well above $1 billion. Additionally, planetary science hasn't been a priority in President Obama's NASA budgets, and the space agency has preferred to focus most of its robotic solar system exploration on Mars. The red planet is easier to reach, and NASA says it wants to explore Mars further to enable future human missions. Congress has been more interested in planetary science, however. And in particular, the chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over NASA's budget, John Culberson (R-Texas), has fancied Europa. Even when NASA wasn't asking for Europa funds, the congressman was funneling money to the scientists at the California-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Between the 2013 and 2016 fiscal years, NASA requested just $45 million in Europa funding, but Congress appropriated $395 million. For fiscal year 2017, NASA requested $49.6 million in Europa funding, but a House appropriations bill released this week by Culberson's committee proposes $260 million for mission planning and development. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Eric Norris) A federal judge in Tacoma, Washington has put himself in a Catch 22: ruling a man charged with possessing child pornography has the right to review malware source code while also acknowledging that the government has a right to keep it secret. "The resolution of Defendant’s Third Motion to Compel Discovery places this matter in an unusual position: the defendant has the right to review the full NIT code, but the government does not have to produce it," US District Judge Robert Bryan wrote on Wednesday. "Thus, we reach the question of sanctions: What should be done about it when, under these facts, the defense has a justifiable need for information in the hands of the government, but the government has a justifiable right not to turn the information over to the defense?" In this case, the defense wants prosecutors to disclose the full source code of the NIT, or network investigative technique—a piece of government-created malware that compromised Tor and exposed users of a Tor-only child porn site. The Department of Justice did so in a related case in Nebraska, United States v. Cottom, but a DOJ spokesman now says this case, United States v. Michaud, and Cottom are entirely different cases and have no bearing on one another. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The interface of the main screen. That center portion is basically the Android Auto interface. 10 more images in gallery .related-stories { display: none !important; } MOUNTAIN VIEW, California—Google has a full car infotainment operating system on display at I/O. We've long heard rumors of such a project and have spotted references to "Android Automotive" in Google's compatibility documents, but a car-focused version of Android is now quietly sitting in the back corner of Google I/O. Previous forms of Google automotive computing came in the form of Android Auto, which was a casted interface that was beamed from a phone to a car screen. The car still ran some kind of host operating system, but that OS would move out of the way and let the Android phone use the built-in display like an external monitor. In contrast, this is a full operating system that runs directly on the car hardware. The car version of Android doesn't really have a launch date, or even a special name—"cars" are now just a supported form factor in Android N. Google is demoing the OS in a Maserati Quattroporte, which it says it loaded up with Android without involvement from the car manufacturer. Inside, the Maserati runs a Snapdragon 820 with a 4K display in the center console. There is also a gauge cluster display that Android can control. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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To outsiders, the Star Ocean series can be impenetrable, even downright adverse. Without digging into optional content, Star Ocean can easily take 100 hours to complete, while its many cut scenes—sometimes as much as 10 hours in a single game—are as confusing as they are long. Fans love it. But for Shuichi Kobayashi, producer of the upcoming Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness (known simply as Star Ocean 5), wildly sprawling narratives and content for content's sake just won't cut it any more. Star Ocean 5 is on a different path, one where even RPG newcomers can give it a try—and Kobayashi, visiting London on his first trip outside of his native Japan, knows just how to make it happen. "The audience for games these days is made up with a lot of people that don't have that kind of time to spend with a single game," Kobayashi explains, "and they are put off by a game that asks them to put in 100 hours to get to the end and see everything. Because of that we deliberately made the pacing a lot faster than Star Ocean has seen in the past and that can make the game seem shorter, but maybe that is not what some of the core fans wanted." Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Theranos CEO and founder, Elizabeth Holmes (credit: NBC Today) After federal regulators threatened to revoke Theranos’ license to perform blood tests and ban its CEO and COO from the industry altogether, the company reportedly issued tens of thousands of corrections to blood tests it performed. Theranos has also voided all of the 2014 and 2015 results reported from its once-famed Edison blood testing machines, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Edison machines, which were said to be able to perform more than 200 medical tests with just a few drops of blood, were key to the young biotech company earning a whopping $9 billion valuation in 2014. Yet, in the wake of reports that the machines were inaccurate and unreliable and that employees were unqualified and failing to follow proper protocols and fix problems, the company acknowledged that it had completely stopped using the devices in June 2015. Instead, the company performed its blood tests—890,000 blood tests a year, according to records—on standard lab equipment. The corrections and voided results mean that clinics and doctor’s offices are receiving stacks of notifications. One such doctor’s office, a family practitioner in a suburb of Phoenix, told the WSJ that it received 20 corrected reports a few weeks ago. One of those corrected reports was for a patient who the doctor had sent straight to the emergency room upon receiving her Theranos results in late 2014. The corrected report shows the patient had normal results. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Joi Ito) If you've ever wondered how Google defines the term "backrub," then look no further than its search engine for the answer, where we're told that it's "a brief massage of a person's back and shoulders." For many of the complainants in the long-running European Commission competition case against Google's alleged Web search monopoly abuse, that pithy definition goes a long way to explaining their experience of the multinational's vast online estate. For those among you who don't know your Google history, the search engine started out with the curious name of BackRub at Stanford 20 years ago, until, that is, its servers greedily gobbled their way through the university's bandwidth, and it was time for the cofounders to shift up a gear. A year earlier, in 1995, the planets had aligned when Larry met Sergey at the famous Californian university for the first time. The two men eventually created an algorithm—dubbed PageRank after Larry Page—that recognised links from important sources, while penalising links that were less relevant. Their BackRub search tool sorted results by relevance, and only looked for words in page titles. The end result was a search engine that appeared to be far superior to the competition of the time, such as Alta Vista. Read 110 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Here it is, the logo you've been waiting for. Today at the Upfronts, where networks tease shows coming next season, CBS offered a shiny glimpse of the worlds where its new Star Trek series will take us in January 2017. All we see here is the new logo for the show—the first new Trek series in over a decade—and a few VFX shots of cool planets. It almost has the feel of the Doctor Who credits sequence, with its kinetic ride through spacetime. So what do we know about this series? Basically, nothing. This trailer does confirm that we'll have "new crews," which was something many had suspected but had not yet been confirmed. So don't expect the Seven of Nine spinoff we were all hoping for. One of the items that's omitted in that list of new things is "ships," so it's possible we'll be getting another Enterprise crew from a previously unexplored time period. Though this trailer is kind of weaksauce, you have to be somewhat forgiving, since the show hasn't even started shooting yet. The good news is that Nicholas Meyer (who wrote and directed Wrath of Khan) is in the writing room, and smartypants Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies) is the showrunner. The bad news is that the show's pilot will air on CBS, but all subsequent episodes will only be available on CBS streaming. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Prof. Adam Jaffe's staff photo from Brandeis University. (credit: Brandeis University) SAN FRANCISCO—An economist hired by Oracle was sworn in and took the stand in federal court today, opining that Google's use of Java APIs in Android shouldn't be considered "fair use." The testimony by Adam Jaffe wrapped up day eight of the Oracle v. Google trial, a legal dispute that began in 2010 when Oracle sued Google's use of the 37 Java APIs, which Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems. In 2012, a judge ruled that APIs can't be copyrighted at all, but an appeals court disagreed. Now Oracle may seek up to $9 billion in damages. If Google hadn't copied the 37 Java APIs in question, Android "very likely would not have been as successful," Jaffe opined. He also believed that Java was "poised to enjoy continued success" in the mobile space, a point also made earlier today by former Sun licensing executives. Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Getty Images) SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.—Lawyers for Oracle Corporation summoned a hostile witness to the stand today here in federal court, revealing what they surely hope will be a "smoking gun" e-mail in their copyright infringement case against Google. One big problem: the writer of that e-mail, Stefano Mazzocchi, didn't work for Google at the time. Mazzocchi is one of three people who created the Apache Harmony program, which Google leaned on heavily when it created its Android mobile operating system. The case began in 2010, when Oracle, which acquired Java when it purchased Sun Microsystems, sued Google for using Java APIs in Android. In 2012, a judge ruled that APIs can't be copyrighted at all, but an appeals court disagreed. At the jury trial now underway, Oracle may seek up to $9 billion in damages, while Google is arguing that its use of the 37 APIs constitutes "fair use." Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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An official Nintendo restaurant? We'd be down, if only to see more bento boxes as cool as this one made by a fan. (credit: Miki Yoshihito) Nintendo's most recent fiscal-year disclosure made headlines for announcing a release window for the new "Nintendo NX" console and yet another Zelda game delay, but it also included news of serious corporate restructuring. The short version: Nintendo will soon involve a supervisory committee in making top-level executive decisions. The company has begun rolling out more details about how that restructuring will work, and in doing so, Nintendo's Japanese arm has tipped its hand about possible new business plans. A Tuesday announcement included the company's amended articles of incorporation, expected to be approved by shareholders this June, and it included three new entries in its "business engagement" list: restaurants, medical and health devices, and "computer software." Longtime Nintendo followers will recognize the second of those three entries, as Nintendo has publicly announced, then recanted, both a heart rate monitor (the Wii Vitality Sensor) and a sleep-tracking system. Meanwhile, a Nintendo-themed restaurant seems like a simple-enough expansion for a company that already operates physical businesses such as the Nintendo Store—though, clearly, we'd love to see an official Nintendo diner—and a pun-filled menu. (Kirby cream puffs, Sausage "Link"s, Moo Moo Meadows burgers, and on and on...) Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Getty Images | Joe Klamar/AFP) It's no secret that we're fans of using the racetrack to improve road car technology here at Ars. It's also no secret that we believe the discipline of endurance racing (Le Mans and the like) to have far more relevance to making our road cars better than Formula 1. But it would be incorrect to say that no such tech transfer happens within the ultra-specialized world of F1. And a perfect example of that is a clever engine development being used by Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari that's pushing the envelope of energy efficiency. It's called turbulent jet ignition (TJI), and not only does it do wonders for fuel efficiency, it also results in a cleaner exhaust. As you probably know, gasoline engines combust fuel with air within each cylinder, and that combustion moves the pistons—and therefore the crankshaft, powering the car. But most of the energy released during combustion is wasted as heat. In fact, the average road car engine wastes between 70 to 75 percent, meaning its thermal efficiency is around 25 to 30 percent. That comes down to the way that the fuel combusts after it's injected into the cylinder, which normally happens around the center of the cylinder by the spark plug (the bit that ignites the mixture). If you can control ignition so that it happens more homogeneously throughout the cylinder, with more air per given amount of fuel (i.e. a leaner burn), less energy is wasted as heat and more of it is converted to work. But this process can be improved. Take Toyota's latest generation of Prius hybrids, for example. These cars use what's known as an Atkinson-cycle (most engines work via the Otto-cycle). The current Prius engine is supposed to have a thermal efficiency of 40 percent, which is quite an achievement. But there are other options, too, like a technology that's already used in some road cars called direct injection. Rather than traditional fuel injection, which squirts fuel into the engine upstream of the cylinder in the intake port (the bit that the air gets sucked through on its way from the outside of the car into the engine), direct injection uses a high-pressure system to add the fuel into the cylinder itself. This makes it possible to more accurately control the fuel-air mix, whether that's to achieve a stoichiometric air-fuel ratio (14.7:1) or even an ultra-lean mix (useful when cruising with the engine under a light load). Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. (credit: FCC) BOSTON—Federal Communications Commission Tom Wheeler may be Public Enemy #1 in the cable industry, but he's quite happy with his Comcast service. "I am a happy Comcast subscriber in Washington, DC," Wheeler said today at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association's (NCTA) annual conference in Boston. Wheeler said he also a "happy Atlantic Broadband subscriber in Oxford, Maryland," where he and his wife have another house. Wheeler made the comments on stage in a Q&A with C-SPAN Senior Executive Producer Peter Slen, who asked about Wheeler's TV service. Wheeler may be a rarity, as Comcast routinely posts some of the worst customer satisfaction scores in the lowest-rated industry measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). But despite his Comcastic experience and the fact that he used to be the cable industry's chief lobbyist, the FCC chairman has repeatedly clashed with his former industry. Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: vozach1234) Proud and happy moments in our lives become cherished memories, kept in relatively crisp condition in our noggins for the occasional uplifting retrieval. But memories of not so pleasant events, such as a moment of weakness when we cheated on a math test or snuck a candy bar from a store, may get roughed up in our brains, perhaps to the point where we can’t clearly recall them anymore, according to a new study. Collecting data from a series of nine experiments involving 2,109 participants, researchers suggest that our brains actively blur and junk memories of our own misdeeds to help avoid dissonance between our actions and moral values. This mental hazing, the researchers hypothesize in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, helps us maintain a positive moral self-image and sidestep distress. “Because morality is such a fundamental part of human existence, people have a strong incentive to view themselves and be viewed by others as moral individuals,” the authors write. But with lying, cheating, and stealing being common occurrences, the use of unethical amnesia "can explain why ordinary, good people repeatedly engage in unethical behavior and also how they distance themselves from such behavior over time.” Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Parkmerced) Uber has announced a partnership with Parkmerced, an expanding townhome and apartment complex adjacent to San Francisco State University, which gives new residents who don't have cars a monthly $100 stipend as a way to encourage “car-free living.” Residents must use at least $30 of the subsidy toward Uber rides, and they’ll pay a flat fee of $5 to travel from the residence to the nearby BART and MUNI stops. The remaining $70 will be auto-loaded to a Clipper Card, which can be used on nearly all of the Bay Area’s transit systems. The subsidy will last for the duration of the lease, up to two years. “The immediate benefits to residents will be to decrease or eliminate the need for private car ownership, facilitate a more efficient commute, reduce transportation costs, and minimize the need for parking,” Rob Rosania, founder of Maximus Real Estate Partners, the developer of Parkmerced, said in a statement. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Flickr user Scott Jones) Intelligent design, the argument that life is so complex that it must have needed a sophisticated designer, was formulated to get around court rulings that banned creationism from being taught in science classes. For a while, there was an effort to get intelligent design into schools, but that came crashing down after a court case in Dover, Pennsylvania, recognized it as inherently religious. That court case is now more than a decade old, and it looks like some school districts have a short memory. Zack Kopplin, an activist who has tracked attempts to sneak religious teachings into science classrooms, found a bit of sneaking going on in Youngstown, Ohio. There, a document hosted by the city schools includes a lesson plan that openly endorses intelligent design and suggests the students should be taught that there's a scientific controversy between it and evolution. The document focuses on the "Diversity of Life" and is a bizarre mix of normal science and promotion of intelligent design. Most of the first page, for example, is taken up by evolution standards that have language that echoes that of the Next Generation Science Standards. But the discussion is preceded by a statement that's straight out of the "teach the controversy" approach: "The students examine the content of evolution and intelligent design and consider the merits and flaws of both sides of the argument." In fact, elsewhere in the document, teachers are told to host a debate where students take turns arguing for evolution and intelligent design. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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It's not the first time that Google has been sued for its search rankings, but it's among the first in which the company's First Amendment defense is failing. For the moment, a federal judge in Florida is allowing a search-censorship lawsuit to proceed against Google. Search engine optimization company E-ventures Worldwide claims (PDF) that Google wrongfully removed hundreds of its websites from Google search. E-ventures claims that it did not breach any of Google's terms of service but instead was hit in September 2014 because of "economic" and "anti-competitive" reasons. According to the ruling (PDF) by US District Judge John Steele of Florida: While a claim based upon Google’s PageRanks or order of websites on Google’s search results may be barred by the First Amendment, plaintiff has not based its claims on the PageRanks or order assigned to its websites. Rather, plaintiff is alleging that as a result of its pages being removed from Google’s search results, Google falsely stated that e-ventures’ websites failed to comply with Google’s policies. Google is in fact defending on the basis that e-ventures’ websites were removed due to e-ventures’ failure to comply with Google’s policies. The Court finds that this speech is capable of being proven true or false since one can determine whether e-ventures did in fact violate Google’s policies. This makes this case distinguishable from the PageRanks situation. Therefore, this case does not involve protected pure opinion speech, and the First Amendment does not bar the claims as pled in the Second Amended Complaint. Essentially, E-ventures is claiming that because its business focuses on getting websites higher rankings in Google's unpaid search listings, Google removed it and its affiliates so that companies will instead pay Google for higher rankings. "Google hopes that third parties read Google's publications and pay Google to be ranked higher in Google's search results," E-ventures said. "E-ventures hopes that third parties read E-ventures' publications and pay a SEO provider instead of Google to achieve the same result. In sum, Google has an anti-competitive, economic motivation to eliminate the visibility of E-ventures' websites on its search engine." Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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