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The Israel Internet of Things (IoT) Innovations and i3 Equity Partners consortium established an investment vehicle with an initial sum of $20 million at Tel Aviv University to develop IoT technologies, the university said on Thursday. The consortium is comprised of GE Ventures, HNA EcoTech, Microsoft Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures and Tata.

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An uncrewed Russian spacecraft meant to resupply the International Space Station appears to have suffered a malfunction shortly after launch today. Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, tweeted that it lost communication with the spacecraft 383 seconds into the flight. The third stage of the Soyuz rocket, which helps propel the cargo ship to its final orbit, reportedly shut down “earlier than planned” according to NASA’s live broadcast of the mission.

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In one of the biggest takedowns to date, police across the globe have smashed a massive criminal network providing online services including malware attacks that infected half a million computers worldwide, Europol said Thursday. Known as "Avalanche", the criminal network "was used as a delivery platform to launch and manage mass global malware attacks and money mule recruiting campaigns," Europe's policing agency said in a statement.

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The wearables market may be in for an interesting shakeup this holiday season. According to a new report from The Information , Fitbit is close to finalizing a deal that would see the company acquire Pebble "for a small amount." DON'T MISS:  This is why your iPhone 7’s battery might die in a year While specific details of what appears to be an inevitable deal remain somewhat hazy, three sources purporting to be familiar with Fitbit's plans relay that the company is primarily interested in Pebble's intellectual property and that the Pebble brand itself will eventually be phased out. Corroborating this impetus for this rumored acquisition, the Financial Times notes : Fitbit’s main interest is in Pebble’s software platform, PebbleOS, which has one of the largest app catalogues of any wearable device and can be paired with both iPhones and Android devices. While many of Pebble’s employees are expected to join Fitbit to maintain its existing products, manufacturing of its smartwatches is unlikely to continue for long after the acquisition. As to the monetary aspect of the deal, the Times  suggests that Pebble would be happy with a purchase price in the $200 million range. That figure, however, may be exceedingly optimistic. To this point, a source familiar with the pending acquisition  told TechCrunch that the final purchase price will be much lower, likely falling somewhere between 324 and $40 million. While it will certainly be interesting to see how this all plays out, one of the larger takeaways here is that the tech landscape is never steady or predictable. Indeed, it wasn't all that long ago that Pebble broke its own Kickstarter record when its Pebble Time smartwatch received $10.5 million in funding from more than 48,000 backers after just 48 hours. After one week, the Pebble Time had raised nearly $13.4 million in pledges. That notwithstanding, Pebble over the past few months appeared to lose considerable momentum in an increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace. In fact, the writing was arguably on the wall as far back as March of this year when Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky told Tech Insider that the company was planning to lay off approximately 25% of its workforce.

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By Kristina Cooke MENLO PARK, Calif. (Reuters) - Facebook Inc is working on automatically flagging offensive material in live video streams, building on a growing effort to use artificial intelligence to monitor content, said Joaquin Candela, the company’s director of applied machine learning. Facebook has historically relied mostly on users to report offensive posts, which are then checked by Facebook employees against company "community standards." Decisions on especially thorny content issues that might require policy changes are made by top executives at the company. Candela told reporters that Facebook increasingly was using artificial intelligence to find offensive material.

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Annapurna Pictures — a film production company behind the likes of Her, Zero Dark Thirty, Spring Breakers, and more recently Sausage Party — is expanding beyond movies with a new video game publishing arm. Called Annapurna Interactive, the division will be focused on “developing personal, emotional, and original games that push the boundaries of interactive content and encourage artists to bring new visions to the medium,” according to the company. The first two games to be released under the new label will be the haunting adventure What Remains of Edith Finch from Giant Sparrow, the studio behind The Unfinished Swan, and a mysterious puzzle game called Gorogoa from Jason Roberts.

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The ninth episode of Westworld was everything fans asked for. There are multiple timelines! Bernard was built in Arnold’s image! The center of the maze is an elevator to Arnold’s lab! Weeks of speculation, finally validated! Maybe the cottage industry built atop Westworld spoiled the fun.

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The market for biometric vehicle access systems is expected to reach $855 million by 2021. Here's what the rise of biometrics could mean for your car and your enterprise.

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Late yesterday it was reported by The Information that Fitbit is close to buying wearable startup Pebble, news that has since been independently confirmed by The Verge. While it ultimately might not be as good of a deal as Pebble would have hoped for, there are a lot of reasons why a Pebble-Fitbit deal makes sense.

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A man in France was sentenced to two years in prison this week for repeatedly visiting pro-ISIS websites, even though there is no indication that he planned to stage a terrorist attack. The 32-year-old, whose name has not been released, was convicted by a court in the department of Ardèche on Tuesday under a new law that has drawn scorn from civil liberties groups.

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You know that iPhone 6s battery issue that we’ve been discussing recently? It turns out there might be two separate iPhone battery problems, and they’re affecting a variety of devices, not just the iPhone 6s. DON’T MISS: This is why your iPhone 7’s battery might die in a year Apple has acknowledged that some iPhone 6s units may switch off with plenty of battery juice left to go and it’s offering a free battery replacement program. The program was unveiled soon after a Chinese watchdog announced an investigation into the matter. According to Quartz , the China Consumers Association said on Wednesday that Apple needs to take further measures, as the battery problem affects other iPhone versions, including the iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus. Furthermore, it appears that even battery replacements might shut down unexpectedly, according to a Chinese customer who already received a new iPhone 6s battery. However, this is just one person’s experience. As Business Insider points out, It’s unclear at this time whether the whole battery problem is caused by Apple’s recent iOS 10.1.1 update. After the October update, iPhone users have been complaining of random shutdowns even when there’s plenty of battery life to go. The problem affects a variety of iPhones, not just the iPhone 6s. If it’s indeed a software issue, then it should probably be fixed in an upcoming update. However, Apple has not acknowledged this particular issue — that’s assuming it’s something entirely different than the problem Apple is fixing in its iPhone 6s battery replacement program. https://twitter.com/tfadell/status/804232051595640833 Even former Apple employee Tony Fadell took to Twitter to express his issues with the new Phone battery woes. https://twitter.com/tfadell/status/804215290871607296 Earlier this year, battery problems — the exploding kind — brought down one of the best handsets of the year. The iPhone’s battery might not explode, but Apple’s got an emerging Batterygate on its hands.

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Amazon wants to be the one streaming service you’ll ever need, Netflix Originals be damned. Starting today, Amazon Prime members can subscribe to stream HBO and Cinemax series via Amazon Channels, the e-commerce giant’s cable-like TV offering. The HBO package costs $14.99 per month for unlimited streaming access, the same cost of an HBO Now subscription, while the Cinemax package costs $9.99 per month.

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B&O Play introduced a new pair of wireless, noise-canceling headphones today called the Beoplay H9. The H9 and its predecessor, the H8, are both wireless and noise-canceling, but the H9 fits over the ear, unlike the on-ear H8. The H9 has fewer color options than the H8, which is slightly disappointing.

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PARIS (AP) — Europol says five key suspects have been arrested in connection with a massive operation aimed at knocking out a cybercrime group accused of inflicting hundreds of millions of euros in losses worldwide.

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Despite the ongoing safety concerns that still plague Tesla's Autopilot software, it's easy to forget that the Tesla Model S and Model X are some of the safest vehicles on the road today. Indeed, when the first incarnation of the Model S was tested by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2013, it scored a 5-star safety rating across every single category. As a result, the Model S attained a level of safety certification that only 1% of all tested vehicles receive. DON'T MISS: Apple will pay you zero money to trade in your Apple Watch The Model S in particular is a 4,800 pound fortress of a car, expertly designed and engineered to absorb crushing collisions and protect the lives of its passengers. Just a few months ago, for example, we got wind of a Tesla Model S that got into an accident and flew 82 feet in the air before violently crashing back down to earth. The car was practically totaled, but all five passengers managed to escape the incident with non-life threatening injuries. More recently, a Model S owner who got into an accident on Germany's Autobahn survived after his car crashed into an 18-wheeler at a high speed. Originally reported by the German language site Badische Neueste Nachrichten ( via Electrek ), the driver reportedly suffered serious injuries but was well enough to walk away from the car without any help. If you take a look at the scene of the crash (pictured above), it's truly remarkable that the driver was able to walk away to safety under his own volition. The circumstances that led to the crash still remain somewhat murky, but there's no evidence at this point that would suggest that Tesla's Autopilot software played a role in this particular incident. As a final point, the photo below is from the aforementioned crash that saw a Model S fly 82 feet through the air. The fact that anyone survived this is, once again, a testament to Tesla's incredible engineering.

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Back from a week off, Walt and Nilay catch up and discuss Walt’s latest column on Facebook elaborate on how they should step up to tackle the fake news problem that plagues the platform. We love your feedback on the topics of the show and suggestions on how to make our show better and more fun — you can tweet at Walt at @waltmossberg and Nilay at @reckless. And of course, we'd love it if you subscribed in iTunes (here's the direct RSS feed, if you like), along with The Verge's other great podcasts like What's Tech, and The Vergecast. ...

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eSports, ranging from drone racing to professional video game tournaments, are predicted by some to generate more revenue than current professional sports leagues. Here's what you need to know about eSports, and why they're relevant for IT leaders.

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You take care of your smartphone, right? You use it in a protective case that protects it from bumps and falls, and you may even use a screen protector to avoid shattering its panel. It turns out all of this might not be enough, as you can now buy The Phone Bed, a solid-wood resting spot for smartphones as well as tablets.Image: Thrive Global

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Europol announces 5 arrests in 'unprecedented' operation against 'Avalanche' cybercrime group.

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Earlier this year, Keri Arthur released City of Light, which introduced readers to a futuristic fantasy world in which otherworldly creatures intruded into our own. Set after radical belters bombard Earth, the balance of power in the solar system has shifted. The crew of the Rocinante are dispatched to the Free Navy’s stronghold at the end of the solar system, where they find that their problems might be dwarfed by more cosmic ones.

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Republic Wireless has quietly been making waves in the wireless world for a few years, offering low-cost phone plans backed by a combination of Wi-Fi calling and Sprint's and T-Mobile's networks. The package includes unlimited calls and texts and 1GB of data for the Moto Z Play ($349) and the Huawei Ascend 5W ($129). After that, 1GB of cellular data will cost you just $20 per month, but Republic Wireless offers several other tiers that you can jump to.

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We've known for some time that Apple has an army of sensor-packed vehicles doing its best to keep its Maps app up to date, but a new report claims that the company's ambitions are taking it skyward. Bloomberg says Apple is hard at work on a fleet of drones that will monitor road changes and allow for more rapid Maps updates. Apple has already obtained an exemption from the FAA that gives the company clearance to "operate an unmanned aircraft system to conduct data collection, photography, and videography," the report states. Citing unnamed sources, the report also claims that Apple is building up a team of experts to oversee the drone effort. TOO HOT:  Samsung will make the Galaxy Note 7 virtually unusable in Australia It's worth noting that due to current commercial drone restrictions, Apple won't simply be able to send a team of automated drones out into the wild; Guidelines limit drone use by requiring that licensed operators be in control of the crafts at all times, and that they remain within eyeshot. Drones are also prohibited from entering airspace above buildings or highly populated areas due to risk of failure and crashes. Bloomberg 's report also suggests that Apple plans to launch an indoor mapping feature in Maps that will help users find their way through large interior spaces like airports, and that the company acquired Indoor.io and WiFiSlam to build it. If accurate, these new efforts to improve Maps could give it a bump in its fight against stalwart navigation app Google Maps, which has remained the go-to for smartphone users on both iOS and Android. Apple's launch of Maps was a historic stumble for the company, and one that it's never really bounced back from. New functionality and more accurate, up-to-date data could change that.

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The largest U.S. solar panel installer is moving into Florida's residential market after the state's voters last month rejected a utility-backed ballot measure that critics said would make going solar ...

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For the last few weeks, some iCloud users have been experiencing an uptick in spammy Calendar invites to fake events and things like Ray-Ban sales and Ugg discounts. In a statement made to iMore yesterday, Apple commented that it is aware of the issue and is working to address it.

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SpaceX reportedly has a date for the first Falcon 9 rocket launch since September’s launchpad explosion. Iridium Communications Inc. announced today that SpaceX plans to launch 10 small satellites into orbit for the company at 3:36PM ET on December 16th. The launch would take place from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, though SpaceX is still awaiting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

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