The latest headlines from Wired, Slashdot, The Register and TechCrunch.

Targeting oil demo may have been training exercise for snoops, it is feared

For the past year or so, protesters in North Dakota, America, have been trying to prevent an oil pipeline from being built through Native Americans’ sacred land.…

These blokes spent two years studying and warning retail giants of fraud danger

Gift cards' lousy security makes it easy for crooks to spend marks' money, researchers said Tuesday night.…

Roomba biz hopes to ink deals with Amazon et al

Analysis Roomba maker iRobot recorded soaring sales and banked rising profits in the three months to July, according to figures revealed on Tuesday.…

 Tencent, Asia’s highest-valued tech company, has continued to invest in India after it backed online education service BYJU’s. The startup that includes the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Sequoia among its investors. The size of the investment has not been disclosed, but a source close to the deal told TechCrunch that it values BYJU’s around the $800 million mark. Tencent… Read More
 Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg might not be able to agree about much when it comes to AI these days, but the pair do seem to see the same potential in Vicarious, a startup applying unsupervised learning techniques to robots. Musk and Zuckerberg were two of the early backers of Vicarious. The startup announced that it raised an additional $50 million in financing this morning (via… Read More
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Google and a leading nuclear fusion company have developed a new computer algorithm which has significantly speeded up experiments on plasmas, the ultra-hot balls of gas at the heart of the energy technology. Tri Alpha Energy, which is backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, has raised over $500 million in investment. It has worked with Google Research to create what they call the Optometrist algorithm. This enables high-powered computation to be...

Move your data or lose it by August 24th or lose it, then ask if this would happen on-prem

We all know cloud is evolving fast, but IBM's just given us the downside of that speed: a service it switched on in December 2015 will be switched off in August 2017.…

Facebook is apparently working on its own smart speaker and has acquired digital rights management company Source3, SoftBank could bet billions on Uber, Duolingo raises $25 million and more. All this on Crunch Report. Read More
 Beijing-based Momenta announced this morning that it raised a $46 million Series B round led by NIO Capital, Sequoia Capital China and Hillhouse Capital. Momenta produces self-driving car software that applies deep learning to mapping, path planning and object recognition problems. Shunwei Capital, Sinovation Ventures, Unity Ventures and Daimler also participated in the round. Quite a few U.S. Read More

It woz the switches and the cloud wot done it – sales of both soared

Juniper Networks has turned in a solid second quarter, reporting growth in revenue and profitability.…

A new study published Tuesday in the journal American Medical Association found that 110 out of 111 brains of those who played in the NFL had degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). NPR reports: In the study, researchers examined the brains of 202 deceased former football players at all levels. Nearly 88 percent of all the brains, 177, had CTE. Three of 14 who had played only in high school had CTE, 48 of 53 college players, 9 of 14 semiprofessional players, and 7 of 8 Canadian...

Facebook uses it for AR apparently. What? That's a positive? Our bad

Qualcomm's decided to open up its year-old AI, by making its Neural Processing Engine (NPE) available to all.…

 As moviemaking becomes as much a science as an art, the moviemakers need to ever-better ways to gauge audience reactions. Did they enjoy it? How much… exactly? At minute 42? A system from Caltech and Disney Research uses a facial expression tracking neural network to learn and predict how members of the audience react, perhaps setting the stage for a new generation of Nielsen ratings. Read More
According to Variety, AT&T's pay-TV business has lost a record 351,000 traditional video customers in the second quarter, with the internet-delivered DirecTV Now service failing to fully offset the losses. From the report: In Q2, historically a seasonally weak period for the pay-TV business, DirecTV's U.S. satellite division lost 156,000 customers sequentially, dropping to 20.86 million, compared with a gain of 342,000 in the year-earlier quarter. AT&T's U-verse lost 195,000 subs in the quarter...

Confused? We can explain

What should govern the behavior of huge multinationals like Google: the law Google makes for itself, or the laws that people make?…

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bleeping Computer: Chinese authorities in the province of Xinjiang are forcing locals of the Uyghur Muslim minority to install an app on their phones that will allow the government to scan their device for "terrorist propaganda," local media reports. In reality, the app creates MD5 hashes for the user's files and matches them against a database of known terrorist content. The app also makes copies of the user's Weibo and WeChat databases and uploads it to a...

NVMe gives you the speed and reach cloud needs

Promo Cloud computing has raised the bar for all organisations. Users now expect to be able to spin up big workloads and that those applications will be able to go fast with big quantities of data, on-premises and off.…

According to the Wall Street Journal, Toyota is in production engineering for a solid state battery, which uses a solid electrolyte instead of the conventional semi-liquid version used in today's lithium-ion batteries. The company said it aims to put the new tech in production electric vehicles as early as 2020. TechCrunch reports: The improved battery technology would make it possible to create smaller, more lightweight lithium-ion batteries for use in EVs, that could also potentially boost the total...
 Spin, the bike-sharing service that lets you pick up and drop off a bike anywhere in a city, is coming to South San Francisco. The company’s dockless bike-sharing service made its debut in Seattle last week, and is now spinning its way down south to the Bay Area. Read More
 Artificial intelligence-focused investment funds are a dime a dozen these days. Everyone knows there’s money to be made from AI, but to capture value, good VCs know they need to back products and not technologies. This has left a bit of a void in the space. AI Grant aims to bankroll science projects for the heck of it to give untraditional candidates a shot at solving big problems. Read More

Ryzen gets desktops back in the black

AMD wasn't able to turn a profit this quarter, but analysts are bullish on the chipmaker's solid Ryzen CPU sales.…

New submitter flote shares a report from The Guardian: Sperm counts among men have more than halved in the last 40 years, research suggests, although the drivers behind the decline remain unclear. The latest findings reveal that between 1973 and 2011, the concentration of sperm in the ejaculate of men in western countries has fallen by an average of 1.4% a year, leading to an overall drop of just over 52%. The study, published in the journal Human Reproduction Update by an international team of researchers...
 Ever since the first Legendary Pokémon (read: ultra strong, ultra rare Pokémon that require groups of 10-20 players to capture) appeared in Pokémon Go shortly after the upset that was Go Fest, one thing has remained unclear: were the Legendaries here to stay? Niantic had multiple in-game events/bonuses running in parallel with scheduled ending times, and no one seemed to know if these… Read More

But it might be hard to persuade the government

When nbn™', the entity building and operating Australia's national broadband network, decided to revise its backhaul price book back in June and the the move was rightly welcomed. But the topic remains so controversial CEO Bill Morrow has flagged further possible changes.…

Cool stuff but no breakthrough (yet)

Analysis Google and Tri Alpha Energy, a Californian energy company, say they have come up with an algorithm that appears to help scientists generate hotter plasma more efficiently for nuclear fusion experiments. Keyword: experiments.…

 Human: Oh sweet bot, tell us a story! A nice story! About a very wise human who worked his whole life to save everybody in the world from having to spend time manually tagging their friends in digital photos — and made a magic machine that did it for them instead! Read More
 It’s a years-long trend with no end in sight: venture firms are raising record amounts, owing to growing and sustained fascination from endowments, pension funds, family offices and others who see the sweeping, tech-driven changes all around — from self-driving cars, to new plant-based foods, to far more targeted drugs — and want to be part of that evolution. The latest… Read More

Move over, Mayweather and McGregor

The American spectator sport that is net neutrality has just got its own Rumble in the Jungle.…

Cloudflare is not happy with the RIAA's efforts to hold the company liable for pirate websites on its network. From a report: Representing various major record labels, the RIAA filed a lawsuit against MP3Skull in 2015. Last year a Florida federal court sided with the RIAA, awarding the labels more than $22 million in damages. In addition, it issued a permanent injunction which allowed the RIAA to take over the site's domain names. Despite the multi-million dollar verdict, MP3Skull continued to operate using...
 When the ridesharing industry emerged in 2007, few would have believed it would grow into the cash-eating behemoth it is today. Dozens of companies, in hundreds of markets, have garnered just over $47 billion in equity and debt investment. To put that into perspective, we’ve put together a list of 10 things you could have bought instead. Read More

Trust the hookers, don’t trust the Wi-Fi

DEF CON 25 Businesses in Las Vegas are locking down their systems as hackers fly into the fetid hell of Sin City for a trio of security conferences.…

 It looks like ICOs, shorthand for initial coin offerings, are about to undergo a lot more scrutiny. The SEC has concluded that the digital currencies will be regulated as securities, meaning unregistered offerings could be subject to criminal punishment. The decision was announced on Tuesday. This is a blow to many startups who had been using ICOs as an alternative way to raise capital.… Read More
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Companies in the United States, Germany, Japan, and other countries are racing to develop self-driving cars. But India's top transportation regulator says that those cars won't be welcome on Indian streets any time soon. "We won't allow driverless cars in India," said Nitin Gadkari, India's minister for Road Transport, Highways, and Shipping, according to the Hindustan Times. "I am very clear on this. We won't allow any technology that takes away jobs...
Motorola has announced a new flagship smartphone that will be available on every major U.S. carrier. Some of the noteworthy specifications include a nearly indestructible screen and dual rear-facing camera sensors. The Verge reports: The Moto Z2 Force is the closest thing to a flagship phone that Motorola has released this year, and it's got all the hardware specs to show for it: inside is Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. It runs Android 7.1 with a promised upgrade to...
 Blue Apron announced several changes at the executive level today, including co-founder Matthew Wadiak stepping down from the COO role to become a senior advisor. Wadiak’s changing role comes after a painful IPO for the meal kit delivery service, which first had to reduce its original IPO price and has since seen a significant drop in its share price. Read More
No, for real this time.
DirecTV Now event DirecTV Now, AT&T’s live TV service aimed at cord cutters, has now reached nearly 500,000 subscribers in only 7 months after launch, the company announced today as part of its Q2 2017 earnings release. That uptick comes from the addition of 152,000 subscribers this past quarter, and is up from the 200,000 the company had reported in January, following its first month of… Read More

IT titans dragged toward court by class-action sueballs

The two offshoots of Hewlett Packard are being sued in the US for allegedly discriminating against African Americans and older workers.…

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Apple CEO Tim Cook has committed to build three big manufacturing plants in the U.S., a surprising statement that would help fulfill his administration's economic goal of reviving American manufacturing. From a report: Apple CEO Tim Cook called Trump to share that the iPhone-maker would do more manufacturing domestically, Trump told WSJ. "I spoke to [Mr. Cook], he's promised me three big plants -- big, big, big," Trump was quoted as saying. Apple has already said...
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