posted about 14 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
VRBNO POD PRADEDEM, Czech Republic (Reuters) - After struggling one night to get chains on his tyres on a snowy mountain, Czech businessman Petr Gross decided he needed to come up with something that did the job better. So over the next three years he developed a new device at the back of the car parts factory he runs in the east of the Czech Republic. The result is a mechanized system that fits over the wheel like a hubcap and can be fitted before a journey. ...

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posted about 14 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
Earlier today , the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a detailed report absolving Tesla of fault in a May 2016 crash. That incident saw a Tesla under the control of semi-autonomous Autopilot software run into the side of a truck trailer, which subsequently saw critics freak out about the unsafe deployment of beta software to the nation's roads. Not only did the NHTSA report absolve Tesla of any blame in the accident, but analysis and testing of the Autopilot system found that across Tesla's fleet, the deployment of Autopilot reduced accidents by around 40 percent. Sorry, humans: we're all bad at driving, and even the first generation of trial software is better at paying attention than your brain on Red Bull. The NHTSA took mileage and airbag deployment data from Tesla and conducted an analysis to see how Autosteer affected the number of accidents that Tesla vehicles were involved in. This isn't looking at the number of deaths per miles driven with Autopilot -- that number is still around one in 250 million -- but rather, how many total accidents vehicles equipped with Autosteer were involved with. The agency found that Teslas without Autosteer crashed an average of 1.3 times per million miles driven, compared with 0.8 per million miles for vehicles equipped with Autosteer. That shows that just having Autosteer available on a car -- not necessarily enabled at the time of crash -- reduced crash rates by about 40 percent. That's a truly staggering improvement. To put that in perspective, deaths per million miles driven (data on just crashes is difficult to come by) dropped by about 40 percent from 1960 to 2000. In that time, we saw the introduction of seatbelts, antilock brakes, crumple zones, all sorts of improvements to highways, better driver education, a crackdown on drink-driving, airbags, and vehicle crash testing. Tesla has managed to match those innovations in the space of two years with a couple of cameras and a forwards-facing radar. Autopilot isn't perfect, but practical testing by the NHTSA in collision scenarios, and an analysis of the data, shows that it's probably better than having a human take the wheel.

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posted about 14 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
Under the Obama administration, NASA has had a dynamic eight years. NASA’s Juno spacecraft put itself into orbit around Jupiter, while the New Horizons mission flew by Pluto, marking the first time the tiny world had ever been explored. All the while, the space agency has maintained a steady human presence in lower Earth orbit, and plans to extend operations of the International Space Station until 2024.

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posted about 14 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
Call and text anyone, anywhere

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posted about 14 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
Like most of its competitors, General Motors is betting hard on autonomous cars being the future of transportation. Today, Kyle Vogt, the head of the self-driving startup Cruise Automation that was recently acquired by GM for a reported $1 billion, tweeted dash camera footage of what’s described as a recent test of its self-driving car on the streets of San Francisco.

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posted about 15 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
We've already established that the narrative from certain tech blogs ahead of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus launch last year was ridiculous; Apple's new smartphones are anything but "boring." The company's latest iPhone lineup might look a great deal like the iPhones that came before them — and the iPhones that Apple released in 2014, as well. Inside, however, these new handsets are different beasts entirely. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are the most powerful smartphones in the world by a landslide , and they feature displays that one expert has called " visually indistinguishable from perfect ." They're water-resistant, they have great battery life compared to rival models, and they have some of the best cameras in the business. According to a new report issued by a reputable market research firm, however, Apple's latest iPhones haven't drawn Android users away from Google-powered phones anywhere near as much as previous iPhones have. Chicago-based Consumer Intelligence Research Partners on Thursday released its quarterly report on iPhone sales trends, and the firm's findings for the December quarter were mixed. On the plus side, CIRP's digging determined that the flagship iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus accounted for a higher percentage of iPhone sales during the holiday quarter than their predecessors did in the year-ago quarter. According to CIRP, 72% of all iPhone sales in the US were iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus models. Meanwhile, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus accounted for roughly 68% of iPhone sales in the December quarter a year earlier. CIRP found that 40% of all iPhones sold in the US market were iPhone 7 models, while an estimated 32% where the larger and pricier iPhone 7 Plus. “In the first full quarter of availability, the flagship iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models accounted for a slightly higher percentage of iPhone sales than the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus did last year,” CIRP cofounder Josh Lowitz said. “The entry level iPhone SE had a smaller share of sales than the similarly positioned 5S did a year ago, and the most expensive iPhone 7 Plus garnered a larger share than the 6S Plus did in the same quarter a year ago. The shift to newer, more expensive phones suggests that Apple could see an uptick in average selling price for iPhones, at least based on US market dynamics.” CIRP's research suggests that 16% of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus buyers upgraded from either an iPhone 6s or an 6s Plus, while 37% upgraded from an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. The firm found that only 15% switched from an Android phone to an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus in the December quarter, which is down sharply from the estimated 29% who switched from an Android phone to the iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus in the same quarter a year earlier. “The new 7 and 7 Plus models attracted mostly loyal iPhone owners, rather than Android owners,” Lowitz's partner and cofounder Mike Levin said. “Only 15% of 7 and 7 Plus buyers switched from an Android phone, consistent with the 14% of iPhone 6S and 6S Plus that came from Android in the same quarter last year. This continues the trend of new iPhone models attracting mostly repeat iPhone buyers. The lower-priced, one year-old models, attract a higher percentage of Android switchers, but on a smaller base. Interestingly, the entry-level iPhone SE has a very small Android switcher constituency, but is somewhat effective in attracting first-time smartphone buyers.” Of note, CIRP's findings are based on a survey of only 500 Apple customers. While Apple never reports iPhone sales mix, some of the research firm's past estimates have been in line with several Wall Street analysts' estimates, while others have varied substantially.

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posted about 15 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
Windows customers who have subscriptions through the Cloud Solution Provider program can now upgrade their Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs to Windows 10 for no cost.

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posted about 15 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
Let's be honest: Tesla doesn't really need to make its cars go any faster. After all, it's not as if Tesla owners are lamenting the fact that a handful of multi-million dollar supercars can go from 0-60 MPH just a few tenths of a second faster than a top of the line Model S. That of course has never stopped Elon Musk and co. from attempting to turn the Model S into an unrivaled speed demon. This past August, Tesla unveiled the Model S P100 D, a car that can go from 0-60 in 2.5 seconds flat. Upon its introduction, Elon Musk boasted that it was the fastest production car on the planet. Elon Musk, though, is a notorious glutton for speed and performance, which is to say that Tesla engineers quickly got to work on ways to make the already jaw-dropping 2.5 0-60 time even more impressive. To this point, Tesla last week released an over the air update that manged to make Tesla's flagship Model S even faster. Musk even took to Twitter where he hinted that a 0-60 time of just 2.34 seconds might even be possible. https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/819609111801139200?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw Just one week later, we finally have our first legit video -- from the adventurous folks on YouTube's Tesla Racing Channel -- which showcases the Tesla Model S P100D in "Ludicrous+" mode going from 0-60 at breakneck speed. While the Model S didn't hit 2.34 seconds, it did manage to post a time of 2.38 seconds. You can check out video of the Model S P100 D putting in work via the video below. All the more impressive is that Tesla managed to make the car faster solely via a software update. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUAZcD0gqDg Lastly, and for those who have an unquenchable thirst for speed, you can check out a list of the world's fastest cars over here .

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posted about 15 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
Email encryption is a necessity, yet the masses still aren't adopting the technology. Jack Wallen offers a solution to this urgent security problem.

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posted about 15 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
A Dog’s Purpose should be a heartwarming comedy debuting this January about a dog who finds his purpose. He's reincarnated time and time again over the years, and he has to find his owner each time for a touching reunion. But the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has called for a boycott of the movie following the release of a video showing a dog seemingly being abused on set. The video, released by TMZ on Wednesday, was recorded in November 2015 and shows a German Shepherd being forced into the turbulent water during filming. “PETA is calling on dog lovers to boycott the film in order to send the message that dogs and other animals should be treated humanely, not as movie props,” the group said. PETA said the dogs used in the film were provided by Birds & Animals Unlimited, a company that PETA has complained about before. Recently, PETA told the U.S. Department of Agriculture that the animals from BAU were being mistreated. They’re reportedly forced to sleep outdoors and live in unsanitary conditions. Amblin Partners, Universal Pictures and others involved with the movie including a producer, a director and Josh Gad who voices the dog, have since commented on the matter, Variety reports . “ A Dog’s Purpose , produced by Amblin Entertainment and distributed by Universal Pictures, is a celebration of the special connection between humans and their dogs,” the two companies said. “And in the spirit of this relationship, the Amblin production team followed rigorous protocols to foster an ethical and safe environment for the animals. “While we continue to review the circumstances shown in the edited footage, Amblin is confident that great care and concern was shown for the German Shepherd Hercules, as well as for all of the other dogs featured throughout the production of the film. There were several days of rehearsal of the water scenes to ensure Hercules was comfortable with all of the stunts. On the day of the shoot, ‪Hercules did not want to perform the stunt portrayed on the tape, so the Amblin production team did not proceed with filming that shot. “Hercules is happy and healthy,” the statement concluded. “Had I been on the set, this would have never happened,” producer Gavin Polone told Variety . “This movie got made because of how I feel about animals. So this happened 15 months ago and should have been investigated immediately. It’s unconscionable that someone waited a year and three months to call attention to this.” “I am very disturbed by the video released today from the set of my film"  A Dog’s Purpose , director Lasse Hallstrom said. “I did not witness these actions, which are unacceptable and would never happen with my knowledge. We were all committed to providing a loving, respectful and safe environment for all the animals in the film. I have been promised that a thorough investigation into this situation is underway and that any wrongdoing will be reported and punished.” Gad posted his response on Twitter: https://twitter.com/joshgad/status/821874003254120449

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posted about 16 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
The US Transportation Department on Thursday closed its investigation into a fatal crash involving a Tesla car on autopilot, saying no defects were found in the system, including the emergency braking feature. No "safety-related defect" was identified in the crash in May of last year on a Florida highway, Bryan Thomas, spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, told reporters. The NHTSA also looked at dozens of other non-fatal crashes that happened when the autopilot feature was in use in Teslas, including the Model S involved in the fatal crash, Thomas told reporters in a conference call.

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posted about 16 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
Are you wealthy? If so, then you can afford to spend an extra $130 and buy Apple AirPods right now on Amazon . Of course if you're not rich, you'll have to order them on Apple's website and wait six weeks for them to be delivered, or you can keep checking your local stores and cross your fingers. If you're angry that you can't get your hands on Apple's hot new truly wireless earbuds now, we've got something that might help tide you over while you wait. Check out the BTK-M12 Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Earphones , which are on sale on Amazon right now for just $14 if you use the coupon code I4RDFIJC . Some highlights from the product page: [Bluetooth 4.1 Technology]: Adopt latest Bluetooth 4.1 technology,with A2DP and APT-X headset, compatible with iPhone 6S 6 plus 5 5S 4S iPad, Samsung Galaxy S6 S5, LG G4 G3 and other bluetooth devices. Easy and fast pairing. [CVC 6.0 Noise Reduction]: Bluetooth Headphones built-in HD Mic with CVC6.0 noise cancellation,ensure Hi-Fi Stereo Music Sound and Strong Signal,let you get high quality and clear voice in noisy environment like inside a gym and running on the road. [Comfort and stylish wearing]: Thanks to its flexible ear hooks secure fit ear buds, the Wireless In-Ear Headphone are comfortable to wear, perfectly fit and remain stable in your ears while you are doing your favorite exercises. Also, it is lightweight and perfectly matches with any of your favorite outfits. This Stereo wireless over ear headphone is suitable for running, climbing, dancing, jogging, driving, skating, camping, fishing and any other indoor or outdoor sport activity. [Long Battery Life]: Bluetooth Earphones built-in high-capability rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery, about 5.5-6 hours talking/playing time, less than 2 hours charging time, 300 hours standby with a single charge ,provide you less time charging and more time for running. [1-to-2 Multipoint Connection]: Bluetooth headphone allows pairing with two mobile devices simultaneously. Support iphone/ipad battery indication on status bar.

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posted about 16 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
The Tesla driver killed in a crash while the Autopilot system was activated last year would have seen the tractor trailer for at least seven seconds prior to impact, according to the NHTSA investigation of the accident. The NHTSA investigation report called seven seconds a “period of extended distraction,” and noted that similar crashes generally had a “much shorter time” available for both the system and driver to detect and respond to a pending collision, usually less than three seconds.

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posted about 16 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration will be taking place Friday, January 20th in Washington, D.C., and Trump himself has already boasted about how fantastic the musical lineup is going to be for the pre-inauguration concert. The event is typically packed with high-profile artists who graciously accepted the opportunity to perform at such an important event, but this year things are a bit different. With such a personality as divisive as Trump, many of the artists who were originally rumored or even confirmed to be performing at the event have since backed out. Here's the rundown. Elton John The Rocket Man himself was expected to take the stage at Trump's event, and his appearance has been brought up on multiple occasions by members of Trump's own circle, but John has since crushed any notion that he would be there. In fact, when he discovered his songs were being used at Trump rallies he was furious, saying that Trump should have asked "Ted fucking Nugent" to provide music. Andrea Bocelli The circumstances around how classical singer Bocelli was axed from the guest list are messy, with Trump's team insisting that the President-elect declined Bocelli's offer to sing, and conflicting reports stating that Bocelli was the one that backed out because he was "getting too much heat." Either way, he won't be there. Garth Brooks Originally, country superstar Garth Brooks said he'd be willing to perform at Trump's swearing-in, noting that he felt it would be his duty if asked. Two weeks later, Brooks was much less open to the idea, stating that he'd prefer to "sit this one out," according to The Wrap . Rebecca Ferguson Originally it seemed like Ferguson's appearance at the event was a done deal, but things got more complicated when she reportedly insisted on playing the song "Strange Fruit," despite Trump's team insisting she perform something different. "Strange Fruit" is an anti-racism song from the 1930s that was used during protests against the lynching of African-Americans. David Foster  Trump's team reportedly approached Foster, who has over a dozen Grammys, to perform, but "respectfully declined" when he feared backlash. Foster, who runs the David Foster Foundation charity, decided to avoid ruffling any feathers on either side of the isle by declining the invitation. Celine Dion Rumors swirled that Trump supporter and Las Vegas hotel mogul Steve Wynn was pulling some strings with Dion to perform at Trump's swearing-in. Wynn later denied those rumors, but Dion shot down the possibility that she would perform if asked, just for good measure. Moby Yet another artist who was approached directly by Trump's circle, Moby initially said he would perform at the event, but he had one big requirement: Trump releasing his tax returns. As you can imagine, that didn't go over so well, and he will not appear at the inauguration. Charlotte Church Well... https://twitter.com/charlottechurch/status/818766435703025664 Vince Neil The Motley Crue singer claimed he was booked to perform at the event well in advance of the actual election, and that it didn't matter who won. Days after the actual election took place, Neil invitation was rescinded, and he will not appear. "I guess there is more politics in bands playing than I thought there was," he told TMZ.  

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posted about 16 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
Navigational devices for bikes are nothing new, but Beeline is a different kind of bike GPS. The Bluetooth device doesn’t give riders a direct route to their desired location, but instead points them in the right direction with an approximation of how far they have left to travel. Beeline sounds exciting because designing your own adventure is apparently the dream for a renegade biker, but I still don’t totally understand how riders will get where they want to go.

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posted about 16 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
The four-person operation, which quietly launched a Kickstarter campaign last week, says it wants to connect prospective parents with adoptable children. Adoptly co-founder Alex Nawrocki insists the company is authentic. “The adoption industry at large is a little bit underserved by the tech industry.

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posted about 16 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
You may know The Lawnmower Man as “that movie everyone brings up when someone mentions virtual reality, after The Matrix and before Ready Player One.” You might also remember it as a seminal depiction of the technology as a kind of low-poly dream world generator, as imagined during the height of the ‘90s VR boom. The point is, it’s both a thematically obvious choice for an adaptation and a fantastically weird movie infused with the tech and aesthetics of its decade.

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posted about 16 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
If you were anxious to get your hands on a new Apple device this spring, you might be out of luck. Speaking with  Digitimes , supply chain sources say that Apple might not be ready to launch its new iPad models until the second half of the year, despite earlier claims that they would arrive as early as March. According to the Digitimes report, Apple is indeed prepping three new iPads for 2017: an affordable 9.7-inch model, a pricier 10.5-inch model and an upgraded 12.9-inch iPad Pro. While the 9.7-inch iPad is expected to enter production this quarter, mass production won't begin on the other two models until the second quarter. There's a chance Apple won't even announce the new tablets until the fall. Along with the extended release timeline, the sources also say that Apple is considering replacing the 9.7-inch iPad with the 10.5-inch iPad, bumping the next 9.7-inch model down to an entry-level device targeting the education sector. Furthermore, Apple is reportedly planning to get components for the next 9.7-inch model from secondary suppliers and will use LED displays from Seoul Semiconductor instead of Nichia. Finally, the sources claim that both the 10.5-inch iPad and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will feature Apple's new A10X processor. No word about an edgeless display, but many of the other details regarding the next set of iPads  are beginning to line up. That said, if the announcement of new iPads really is several months away, it might be some time before we can start to get a clear picture of Apple's plans for the iPad in 2017.

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posted about 16 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
Tesla knew its customers were likely going to misuse its semi-autonomous Autopilot system, and tested all the ways that could happen, according to a government report released today on the fatal accident last year in Florida. “It appears that over the course of researching and developing Autopilot, Tesla considered the possibility that drivers could misuse the system in a variety of ways, including those identified above — i.e., through mode confusion, distracted driving, and use of the system outside preferred environments and conditions,” the report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reads. “The potential for driver misuse was evaluated as part of Tesla’s design process and solutions were tested, validated, and incorporated into the wide release of the product,” the report states.

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posted about 17 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
Just in time for his inauguration, London-based fintech firm Trading.co.uk is launching an app that will generate trading alerts for shares based on comments made on social media by Donald Trump. Comments earlier this week on China moved the dollar and a pair of December tweets sent the share prices of Lockheed Martin and Boeing spiraling lower. Trading.co.uk chief Gareth Mann said the Trump signal generator used artificial intelligence technology to differentiate between tweets or other messages that, for example, just mention Boeing and those liable to move markets.

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posted about 17 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
Tesla’s crash rate dropped 40 percent after the electric carmaker installed its semi-autonomous Autopilot software, government regulators reported today. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just released its report on the May 2016 fatal accident involving a Tesla Model S. Within the document, the government reports that the number of crashes dropped dramatically after Tesla introduced Autopilot in 2015, a fact that would seem to bolster the company’s claims about the safety of semi-autonomous features in its vehicles.

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posted about 17 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
Expectations can lead to audiences walking into theaters with their minds already made up, or with their hearts invested in the film they’ve imagined in advance. In that sense, it’s hard to think of any filmmaker that’s struggled more with expectations than M. Night Shyamalan.

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posted about 17 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has closed its six-month-old investigation into the fatal crash of a Tesla Model S , which was being driven by the Autopilot system when it collided with a truck last May. The NHTSA will not seek a recall of Tesla's vehicles, and the report said that the agency's examination "did not identify any defects in the design or performance of the Automatic Emergency Braking or Autopilot systems." The crash occurred on a highway in Florida on May 7th last year. The Tesla was being driven a few miles per hour over the speed limit in the left lane of a two-way highway, when a truck with a trailer turned across both lanes towards an exit. The Tesla's radar and cameras failed to pick up the trailer, and the Tesla drove directly into the side of it, killing the driver. Since the accident, Tesla has updated its semi-autonomous Autopilot feature to force drivers to be more hands-on, and treat it like a driving aid rather than an actual Autopilot. Despite the name, Tesla says that Autopilot is still a beta feature that requires drivers to monitor the road just like normal.New Tesla cars also have an updated version of the Autopilot with more sensors, which should prevent a similar accident from happening again. Despite the one fatal crash, Autopilot is statistically safer than human drivers. According to Tesla, Autopiloted vehicles have driven over 200 million miles by this point, with just one fatality. The average for human-driven vehicles is one fatality every 94 million miles, although the numbers are probably skewed a little, as a Tesla is safer than the average car in a crash, and the majority of Autopiloted miles will be driven on divided highways, which are safer than regular roads.

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posted about 17 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
If you haven’t played a Yakuza game before, you might be picturing something along the lines of Grand Theft Auto, only set in modern-day Japan. Yakuza 0’s rendition of 1980s Japan is like an arcade disguised as a city. At the outset you’ll control Kiryu, a low-ranking yakuza in Tokyo, who early on finds himself framed for a murder he didn’t commit.

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posted about 17 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
The Gorillaz have been promising a return to form for nearly a year, but with Donald Trump about to claim the White House, the group saw fit to finally release new music. Titled “Hallelujah Money,” the track, released through UPROXX, takes aim at the president-elect’s love of money and power, which both come at the expense of people. The track and video both feature London poet and musician Benjamin Clementine, whose artistry has earned him comparisons to Nina Simone and Leonard Cohen.

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