posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
In the past few months, Elon Musk has very publicly and rather abruptly embarked on a project to build tunnels to solve LA's traffic problem. It's a very Musk solution to a very real problem, and about the kind of thing you would expect from a real-life Tony Stark. But suspend reality and put on your tinfoil hat for a second, and consider the rather terrifying idea that it could all be an elaborate cover for Musk's ultimate fallout shelter. A new  Bloomberg  profile on Musk's subterranean ambitions lays out the timeline of this new project in detail, but here's the short version: back in December, Musk tweeted about traffic problems in LA, and how he might start a tunneling enterprise -- the "Boring Company" -- to do something about it. https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/810156881662590981 Since then, Musk has started experimenting, mostly by digging a big hole in the parking lot of the SpaceX headquarters in LA. The plan for the hole is to turn it into an experimental tunnel, which will somehow let Musk design a world-leading tunneling machine. That, in turn, will enable digging multi-story tunnels under LA, solving the traffic problems and simultaneously making Musk even more money. It's a far-fetched concept from an engineering standpoint -- Musk is just assuming that one outside look can disrupt generations of tunneling experience -- but given what he's achieved thus far, you can probably give him the benefit of the doubt here. But what's more interesting, from an /r/conspiracy perspective, are the lingering questions about what Musk is doing and where he's doing them. First, there's the hole and its location. From the photos in  Bloomberg , you can see that there's no tunnel thus far, just a big hole in the ground. Granted, this is how most tunneling projects start, but it would also be a good entrance shaft for a nuclear fallout shelter. That gets more convincing when you think about location. Musk said that his choice of the SpaceX parking lot was to make things easy regarding permits. But digging an experimental tunnel in the middle of a city really doesn't seem like such a good idea. As soon as Musk gets to the edge of his property, he'll need permits on permits, and careful planning to avoid any of the subterranean infrastructure that already exists. Building in a city also limits the space available on the surface, which hampers construction. Surely, it would be easier for him to buy a piece of nearby desert -- or even use a part of Tesla's gargantuan Gigafactory -- where he can safely experiment in the middle of nowhere? Of course, a fallout shelter out in the desert would be less convenient and useful for Musk than one within walking distance of his desk. Then there's the question of timing. Musk started this project in December, just as SpaceX was ramping up for a major year of launches, and Tesla was prepping for a make-or-break car to come to market. It's a bad time to be starting another moonshot, and strange when you consider that Musk gave away his Hyperloop idea for free because he was too busy to see in through. But you know what did happen in fall 2016? Donald Trump took the presidency, causing our collective chances of apocalypse to get that little bit bigger. Musk is in a better position than most to know this, since he's met with Trump multiple times and serves on his economic advisory board. So, if Trump is really poised to start WW3, Musk is better-informed (and better-prepared?) than most. There's one other part about the  Bloomberg  interview that seems off: Musk's vision of the future. His justification for tunneling is that it's the only way to solve the problem of congestion in cities. In the long term, he might be right, but it seems like a strange observation given Musk's other companies. Tesla is at the forefront of developing autonomous cars, which are widely predicted to completely change urban transportation. The current model of car ownership, with vehicles being owned by individuals and only being used for a few hours a day, is due to change. Instead, an Uber-on-steroids is meant to happen, which should drastically decrease the number of vehicles on the road. Add that to autonomous cars that can drive faster, closer, and don't need to stop for intersections, and the total capacity of our roads could increase dramatically, all without having to dig obscenely expensive tunnels. Yes, this is all a dumb conspiracy theory that has zero evidence and is almost certainly false. But it's also worth remembering that billionaires building secretive underground shelters is not a conspiracy theory, but rather a well-reported reality. Sure, Musk is probably building a tunnel and not a real-life  Fallout: Shelter . But if you were a billionaire engineering genius with concerns about the stability of western civilization and access to unlimited resources, a tunneling project sure would be a good cover.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — An eccentric laboratory spun out of Google believes it has discovered a way to bring remote parts of the world online more quickly with a smaller fleet of internet-beaming balloons than it previously thought.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Maven, General Motors’ year-old car-sharing service, is adding over 100 all-electric Chevy Bolts to its fleet in Los Angeles, the company announced today. It’s not a surprise, because according to GM, Maven has been doing gangbusters in LA: since launching in October 2016, Maven has seen an average of 56 percent member growth month-over-month. Since its launch 13 months ago, Maven has grown to 17 cities in the US and Canada, and added 24,000 members who have made 27,500 reservations.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
SEATTLE (AP) — A story shared widely on social media falsely attributes to Bill Gates a tweet saying Donald Trump would be regarded as "one of the greatest presidents," like Ronald Reagan.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
It’s fresh, weird, and even disturbing, with Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley using every trick and tool in his war chest to trouble his main character, and challenge viewers in the process. In the series’ excellent second episode, David, a powerful but thoroughly unhinged mutant who can theoretically alter reality, has escaped his government captors with the help of his girlfriend Syd (Rachel Keller) and other powerful mutants. Led by telepathic therapist Dr. Melanie Bird (Fargo’s Jean Smart), the group takes him a new facility called Summerland, where they recruit him to help them win a war against… it’s not clear what yet.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Regardless of where you live, you probably have a really good idea of what sections of your city, neighborhood, or rolling rural hills offer good cellular reception. Driving through a well-known "dead spot" is like venturing through an invisible barrier into a dangerous land, and unless your carrier upgrades their hardware in the area — which is often a rarity — a bad coverage area isn't going to suddenly become awesome overnight. AT&T just tested something that could change that, and it has four arms and propellers. After first announcing its drone program in July of last year , AT&T has been working on building what it calls "flying COWs." COW stands for "cell on wings," and although the drone doesn't actually have any wings, what it does have is the power to reshape AT&T's network by enhancing coverage in any area it is deployed. The drone is packed with technology that you normally only find in an actual cellular tower, but unlike a stationary antenna it can be sent anywhere it's needed. After months of work, the company performed its initial test flight outside Atlanta today. The massive drone started up, took off and hovered for a bit, and then landed. It might not look all that impressive at first, but what the drone is capable of is actually pretty awesome. According to AT&T, a single one of the flying cell towers can provide coverage for 40 square miles, and since it's tethered to a vehicle-based ground station it is continuously powered and never needs to land to be recharged. However, before you go dreaming of a world where these fancy drones fill in all the patchy coverage anomalies in your neighborhood you should know that these powerful cell boosters are likely to be deployed in only the most crucial cases of network downtime. AT&T plans on using them to restore communications in areas affected by natural disasters and to provide extra coverage at popular venues like concerts and sporting events, where the sheer number of people can cause headaches.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
By Conor Humphries DUBLIN (Reuters) - Facebook said on Thursday a legal challenge against the way it transfers EU user data to the United States was "deeply flawed" and should not be referred to the EU's top court because ample privacy protections were already in place. The challenge by the Irish data regulator is the latest to question whether methods used by large tech firms such as Google and Apple to transfer data gives EU consumers sufficient protection from U.S. surveillance. The issue of data privacy came to the fore after revelations in 2013 from former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden of mass U.S. surveillance caused political outrage in Europe Facebook says the case could lead to a breakdown in transatlantic data transfers that could knock EU economic output by up to 1.3 percent.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Apple design guru Jony Ive might not share the stage with other execs during product introductions anymore, but he almost always stars in videos that explain the designs behind a new iPhone, MacBook, or other Apple products. That’s why many comedians have taken to YouTube to come up with hilarious fake iPhone commercials that mimic the promotional videos Apple makes with Ive. But McDonald’s may have just beaten everyone when it comes to trolling Apple. Not only did the fast food chain come out with a commercial that’s based on an Ive clip, but the video actually promotes a new McDonald’s product, the Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdrawal. If that’s too complicated, then you can refer to it simply as STRAW. But make no mistake, the McDonald’s STRAW isn’t your average straw. No, it’s much more than that. It’s a device conceived so a restaurant patron can simultaneously enjoy tastes of two different beverages at the same time. Okay, it’s a straw made specifically for the Chocolate Shamrock Shake, so that you can suck both flavors at the same time rather than switching between chocolate and mint. The device is definitely ingenious, and it does deserve recognition. Maybe it’s not an iPhone-grade innovation, a device “so revolutionary, it changes everything,” but it’s close, as McDonald’s explains in its video. The trolling at Apple’s expense, right down to the British accent and the overuse of superlatives, is perfect. What’s also hilarious is that McDonald’s makes sure that the viewer understands this is a real product, not just a clever way to laugh at a company that’s not even a McDonald’s competitor. The STRAW is quite impressive itself, and you’ll be able to find it soon at McDonald’s locations across the country. Check out McDonald's clip below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zc7hmqrGyPE

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Culturally savvy members of Congress have finally figured out how to move their political messages beyond the quiet broadcasts of C-SPAN: if you meme them, they will spread. In accordance with regular procedure, members of Congress are allowed to deliver one-minute speeches before daily legislative business, as a means to add remarks or issues to the Congressional record. During a recent session, Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) took the floor equipped with a “Trump Things” sign and a speech inspired by Netflix’s retro horror series Stranger Things.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
By Joseph White DETROIT (Reuters) - United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams said on Thursday the union is contacting workers at Silicon Valley electric car maker Tesla Inc , and plans to boost efforts to convince U.S. consumers not to buy vehicles built in other countries, including those sold by the Detroit automakers. The UAW leader also used a meeting with reporters to praise President Donald Trump for calling on companies to produce more products in the United States, and promising to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Google Fiber could be headed for a clearer direction under new boss Gregory McCray.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Amazon had a bunch of big sales in place ahead of Valentine's Day, but one of them wasn't very well thought-out. The sale offered good discounts on all of Fitbit's latest fitness trackers, which certainly isn't a bad thing. In context, however, the last thing you want to do is give your Valentine a gift that suggests he or she might need to get in shape. The good news is that Valentine's Day is over, but Amazon's big Fitbit sale is still going strong. That's right, it's not too late to score deep discounts on the Fitbit Flex 2 , the Fitbit Alta , the Fitbit Charge 2 and the Fitbit Blaze . Fitbit Flex 2 Track steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes. Comes with both small and large size band Ultra-thin, removable tracker hides in bands, pendants and bangles Swim-proof for tracking swimming, life-proof for wear in the ocean, shower, pool and beyond SmartTrack automatically recognizes select workouts and records them to your Fitbit app; Get call and text notifications on your wrist with unique vibration patterns and color-coded LED lights Automatically track how long and how well you sleep, and set a silent alarm to wake with a small vibration; LED display lights up to show progress toward your daily goal Fitbit Alta Alta syncs automatically and wirelessly to computers and 200+ leading iOS, Android and Windows devices using Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology. Syncing to computers requires Internet connection and USB port. Syncing to mobile devices requires Bluetooth and Internet connection. Syncing range: 20 feet Water Resistance: Alta is sweat, rain, splash proof. You can wear Alta in the shower, but we recommend rinsing and drying it afterwards because it's best for your skin if the band stays clean and dry. Battery life: lasts up to 5 days. Radio transceiver: Bluetooth 4.0 Warning: Do not use if you have a pacemaker or other internal, or implanted medical device. Not intended for use by children under 13. Always consult your physician. Slippery when wet We recommend charging your device every few days to ensure you are always tracking. Charge time: One to two hours Syncs with Windows Vista and later, Mac OS X 10.6 and up, iPhone 4S and later, iPad 3 gen. and later, and leading Android and Windows devices Fitbit Charge 2 PurePulse continuous, automatic wrist-based heart rate tracking to better measure calorie burn all day Maximize your workouts using simplified heart rate zones (Fat Burn, Cardio and Peak) See call, text & calendar notifications on the OLED display; Automatically track how long and how well you sleep and wake with a silent vibrating alarm Get a better understanding of your fitness level and see how you can improve over time with a personalized Cardio Fitness Score; Use Connected GPS during run mode to see real-time stats like pace and distance on your wrist Track all-day activity like steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed and active minutes;Find moments of calm throughout your day with personalized guided breathing sessions based on your heart rate Fitbit Blaze Fitbit Blaze syncs automatically and wirelessly to 200+ leading iOS, Android and Windows devices using Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology. Syncing to computers requires Internet connection and USB port. Syncing to mobile devices requires Bluetooth and Internet connection. Syncing range: 20 feet Water Resistance: Fitbit Blaze is sweat, rain and splash proof, but is not swim proof. We recommend taking it off before showering, as it’s best for your skin if the band stays dry and clean. Battery life: lasts up to 5 days. Radio transceiver: Bluetooth 4.0 Warning: Do not use if you have a pacemaker or other internal, or implanted medical device. Not intended for use by children under 13. Always consult your physician. Slippery when wet We recommend charging your device every few days to ensure you are always tracking. Charge time: One to two hours Syncs with Windows Vista and later, Mac OS X 10.6 and up, iPhone 4S and later, iPad 3 gen. and later, and leading Android and Windows devices

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
European lawmakers called on Thursday for EU-wide legislation to regulate the rise of robots, including an ethical framework for their development and deployment and the establishment of liability for the actions of robots including self-driving cars. The resolution is a recommendation to the bloc's executive, the European Commission, which the Commission is not obliged to follow but must give reasons if it chooses not to. "The IFR believes that the idea to introduce a robot tax would have had a very negative impact on competitiveness and employment," said the Frankfurt-based International Federation of Robotics.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
"Ok Google, order paper towels." Google wants in Amazon Echo's shopping territory.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
If you’ve ever wanted to get plastic surgery based on the opinion of people from the internet, a new study is here to help. The study, published this week in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, supposedly reveals the most attractive lip dimensions (for white women) so that plastic surgeons can achieve “optimal aesthetic outcomes.” Now, it’s true that people focus on lip shape a lot — as The Weeknd reminds us, hot girls have “lips like Angelina.” And it makes sense that someone going to the trouble of getting plastic surgery wants to get the most bang for her buck. Next, they did the same thing with faces that differed in upper lip to lower lip ratio, or how thin the upper lip is compared to the lower lip.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
If you serve up your websites with Apache, you might want to prevent the server from listing subdirectories. Here are two simple tricks for securing your Apache server.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Who has the best unlimited wireless plan? That depends.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Dell’s XPS 13 is one of the best laptops on the market. This year, though, Dell is changing things up a bit with an all-new model: The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. Yes, Dell has turned the XPS 13 into a hybrid laptop-tablet thanks to a new 360-degree-hinged display.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
By Julia Fioretti BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union data privacy watchdogs will seek assurances from U.S. authorities that a move by U.S. President Donald Trump to crack down on illegal immigration will not undermine a transatlantic pact protecting the privacy of Europeans' data. European concerns have been raised by an executive order signed by Trump on Jan. 25 aiming to toughen enforcement of U.S. immigration law. The order directs U.S. agencies to "exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information." The exemption of foreigners from the U.S. law governing how federal agencies collect and use information about people has stoked worries across the Atlantic about the new administration's approach to privacy and its impact on cross-border data flows.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Buying a budget notebook is a dangerous game. If you only have a few hundred bucks to spend you're more than likely going to end up with a bloated, underpowered machine pumped full of bogus crapware, abysmal battery life, and a screen that has a lower resolution than your smartphone. With all that in mind, I gave Chuwi's Lapbook 14.1 a whirl, and while it won't be competing with my MacBook Pro for on-the-go computing supremacy, I will happily report that it is an exception to the rule of ultra-cheap laptops being ultra-crappy. In case the name isn't familiar, Chuwi is a Chinese manufacturer that has been dabbling in budget tablets and 2-in-1s for a while now. It's one of several Chinese companies that are attempting to break into western markets with extremely affordable hardware that punches above its price point. The company's prior efforts have been met with an impressive amount of praise, and the upcoming Hi13 Windows 10 2-in-1 is expected to compete with Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 when it comes to bang for your buck. The Lapbook 14.1 is new to Chuwi's lineup, and it's an extremely interesting device. It's quite thin, with a wedge shape (when closed) that is 9mm at its thinnest and 20mm at its thickest. It's covered in a sturdy white plastic that manages to feel on the premium side of things, with black keys and a thin 8mm black display bezel. Overall the design feels vaguely like a plastic MacBook Air, though nobody is likely to mistake this for an Apple product. That's not necessarily a bad thing, and the flat white lid and case produce a clean look that is definitely pleasing to the eye. For connectivity, the notebook has two USB ports, one of which is USB 3.0, along with a headphone jack, micro HDMI port, and MicroSD card slot for storage expansion. The power source plugs into the upper right of the keyboard, like a MacBook, and it, too, is all white. The full sized keyboard feels extremely solid and has generous key travel, which is rare among ultra-thin laptops. Additional functions like volume control are handled via a function key toggle and the F-keys. There's no dedicated buttons for any of the hardware functions with the exception of the power button which is situated above the Backspace key. The 1080p IPS display is another plus for the device. It's sharp and bright, and very responsive. It looks fantastic in motion — I watched Mad Max: Fury Road on it from start to finish — and the glossy finish helps keep colors crisp and blacks black. However, when the screen is dark I did notice some backlight bleeding, particularly at the bottom edge of the display, which served to remind me that I was indeed using a sub-$300 laptop. Still, it's an impressive looking display. Then there's the touchpad. You'll notice that much of this review is positive and that's because I think the Lapbook 14.1 is a solid little PC, especially for the money, but if there's one thing about the computer I would change it would be the trackpad. Its bumpy plastic texture, while off-putting, is functional, but there's a huge problem with the trackpad's drivers — specifically, there aren't any drivers. The trackpad is recognized by Windows 10 as a default mouse rather than a trackpad, so none of the normal trackpad options (like disabling it while typing) are available. Thus, every time I went to type on the keyboard and rested my palms on the edge of the trackpad, the mouse would react, clicking on random things or deleting everything I had just typed. It is a frustrating oversight that I hope can be corrected with a software update down the line, but as it stands now the trackpad is lacking. Maybe I just have big hands. Packed inside the Lapbook 14.1 is a 7th generation Intel Celeron processor with a clock speed of 1.1GHz, 4GB of memory, and 64GB of internal storage. Those are modest specs no matter what way you slice it, but it manages to provide snappy app response and fluid web browsing even with dozens of tabs open. Multitasking various apps is a bit of a crapshoot, however, and you shouldn't expect to run anything too intense — like video editing or even Photoshop — without experiencing some lag. Watching an HD movie, on the other hand — or even streaming that movie via screen capture to a smart TV or Chromecast — is easy peasy. You can even use this little white laptop to play some games, though you'll be best served sticking to less demanding titles like League of Legends and shouldn't expect to achieve playable framerates on anything that's graphically taxing. Even CS:GO is a bit of a stretch for these low-end specs, and in my experience the computer got quite toasty when being pushed to its absolute limits. Anyone who has taken a chance on a cheap laptop knows that battery life is usually a huge mark against them, but the Lapbook 14.1 somehow avoided that curse as well. Inside is a 9,000mAh battery that will give you north of 10 hours of battery life. Moreover, it recharges to full in just over an hour. Both of those figures are way better than you should expect from a notebook this cheap. In closing, I have to admit that the last thing I thought I'd be doing is writing a recommendation of this particular laptop. These Chinese "grey market" electronics are always tough to gauge, and jumping for one is usually a lesson in severe disappointment. It's like buying the generic version of your favorite cereal; most of the time you just wished you'd have bought the name you recognized. Chuwi is proving itself to be different, and (trackpad woes aside) the new Lapbook is a pretty fantastic example of that. If you're looking for a full-fledged Windows 10 notebook to carry out basic to intermediate tasks and don't want to wreck your wallet, it's a solid option. The LapBook 14.1 retails for around $299, though you can find it for as cheap as $239 . Even at that higher price point it's a pretty good deal, and if you manage to snag it for less than that it's just icing on the cake.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
At first glance, eSight’s headsets look a lot like any other VR or AR gear out there. The latest version, the eSight 3, is a lighter and cheaper version than the company’s previous models, but they all work on the same principles. It’s a fully portable device, with roughly six hours of battery life that’s controlled using an attached remote.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
VIENNA (AP) — A Viennese cafe owner has a message for customers who dawdle over drinks while charging their cellphones: Pay up.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
PewDiePie apologized today for making anti-Semitic jokes that he now says “went too far” and which led to him losing major deals with Disney and YouTube. “I'm sorry for the words that I used as I know they offended people, and I admit that the joke itself went too far,” he says in a video, titled “My Response,” that he uploaded to YouTube this afternoon.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
The app is called Song Sleuth.

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posted 11 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Microsoft originally revealed its plans to support Apple’s new Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro back in October, and now it’s rolling out updates to Office for Mac to enable Touch Bar support. While Microsoft began previewing the support earlier this month with beta testers, everyone using Office for Mac can now get the latest updates for the Touch Bar support. Microsoft is adding Touch Bar support to each Office for Mac app.

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