Tech News Feed

Oracle Starts Auditing TikTok's Algorithms Amid Security Concerns - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-16 16:15
TikTok parent company's ties to China have sparked concerns about whether the Chinese government accesses US user data.

President Biden signs Inflation Reduction Act to limit climate change

Engadget - Tue, 2022-08-16 16:07

President Joe Biden has signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The sweeping $750 billion legislation includes $369 billion in investments toward climate and clean energy programs. Following months of infighting, House and Senate Democrats passed the bill along party lines last week after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia struck a compromise deal on Biden's Build Better Back framework. According to one estimate by Princeton University’s Zero Lab, the bill could reduce US greenhouse emissions by about 6.3 billion tons through 2032. The $369 billion set aside by the bill represents the most significant investment to combat climate change in US history. 

"This bill is the biggest step forward on climate ever, and it's going to allow us to boldly take additional steps toward meeting all of the climate goals we set out when we ran," Biden said before signing the bill. "It includes ensuring that we create clean energy opportunities in frontline and fenceline communities that have been smothered by the legacy of population and fight environmental injustice that has been going on for so long." 

With the law now in place, US consumers can look forward to up to $7,500 in subsidies for electric SUVs, trucks and vans that cost less than $80,000 and cars under $55,000. The act is also set to provide up to $4,000 for buying a used EV. Both subsidies include an income ceiling that would prevent those who make more than the average American from taking advantage. The law also calls for the creation of a $1.5 billion program to incentivize companies to reduce their methane emissions.   

US Approves Nearly All Tech Exports To China, Data Shows

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-08-16 16:05
The U.S. has identified intensifying technological competition with China as a top national-security threat. But a Commerce Department-led process that reviews U.S. tech exports to the country approves almost all requests and has overseen an increase in sales of some particularly important technologies, according to an analysis of trade data. From a report: Of the U.S.'s total $125 billion in exports to China in 2020, officials required a license for less than half a percent, Commerce Department data shows. Of that fraction, the agency approved 94%, or 2,652, applications for technology exports to China. The figures omit applications "returned without action," meaning their outcomes were uncertain. The result: The U.S. continues to send to China an array of semiconductors, aerospace components, artificial-intelligence technology and other items that could be used to advance Beijing's military interests. The Commerce Department says it is focused on long-term, strategic competition with China and that it makes export-control decisions with its interagency partners in the Defense, State and Energy Departments. Critics say Commerce officials are improperly giving priority to U.S. commercial interests over national security and that an urgent regulatory revamp is necessary to respond to the threat from Beijing. For Steve Coonen, the Pentagon's former top China export-controls analyst, the high rate of approvals for licenses to sell tech with potential military use is evidence of significant policy failure.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

How the New Inflation Reduction Act Could Save You Thousands on Home Energy - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-16 16:03
The bill unlocks thousands of rebates and tax credits for homeowners.

Best Shower Filter for 2022 - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-16 16:00
Use these filters to wash away all the chemicals hiding in your shower water.

Meta's anti-misinformation strategy for the 2022 midterms is mostly a repeat of 2020

Engadget - Tue, 2022-08-16 15:32

Meta has outlined its strategy for combatting misinformation during the 2022 US midterm elections, and they'll mostly sound familiar if you remember the company's 2020 approach. The Facebook and Instagram owner said it will maintain policies and protections "consistent" with the presidential election, including policies barring vote misinformation and linking people to trustworthy information. It will once again ban political ads during the last week of the election campaign. This isn't quite a carbon copy, however, as Meta is fine-tuning its methods in response to lessons learned two years ago.

To start, Meta is "elevating" post comments from local elections officials to make sure reliable polling information surfaces in conversations. The company is also acknowledging concerns that it used info labels too often in 2020 — for the 2022 midterms, it's planning to show labels in a "targeted and strategic way."

Meta's update comes just days after Twitter detailed its midterm strategy, and echoes the philosophy of its social media rival. Both are betting that their 2020 measures were largely adequate, and that it's just a question of refining those systems for 2022.

Whether or not that's true is another matter. In a March 2021 study, advocacy group Avaaz said Meta didn't do enough to stem the flow of misinformation and allowed billions of views for known false content. Whistleblower Frances Haugen also maintains that Meta has generally struggled to fight bogus claims, and it's no secret that Meta had to extend its ban on political ads after the 2020 vote. Facebook didn't catch some false Brazilian election ads, according to Global Witness. Meta won't necessarily deal with serious problems during the midterms, but it's not guaranteed a smooth ride.

New Movies Coming Out in 2022: Biggest New Films Including Marvel, DC, Netflix - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-16 15:31
Knives Out 2, Nope, Black Panther 2 and Avatar 2: It's a big year for blockbusters, even though Madame Web, Mario, Black Adam and The Flash are delayed again.

Google Demos Soda-Fetching Robots

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-08-16 15:25
Alphabet's Google is combining the eyes and arms of physical robots with the knowledge and conversation skills of virtual chatbots to help its employees fetch soda and chips from breakrooms with ease. From a report: The mechanical waiters, shown in action to reporters last week, embody an artificial intelligence breakthrough that paves the way for multipurpose robots as easy to control as ones that perform single, structured tasks such as vacuuming or standing guard. Google robots are not ready for sale. They perform only a few dozen simple actions, and the company has not yet embedded them with the "OK, Google" summoning feature familiar to consumers. While Google says it is pursuing development responsibly, adoption could ultimately stall over concerns such as robots becoming surveillance machines, or being equipped with chat technology that can give offensive responses, as Meta Platforms and others have experienced in recent years. Microsoft and Amazon are pursuing comparable research on robots. "It's going to take a while before we can really have a firm grasp on the direct commercial impact," said Vincent Vanhoucke, senior director for Google's robotics research. When asked to help clean a spill, Google's robot recognizes that grabbing a sponge is a doable and more sensible response than apologizing for creating the mess.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Lyft and Motional's New Electric Robotaxis Now Offering Rides in Las Vegas - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-16 15:24
Interested riders can download the Lyft app to request a ride.

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-16 15:21
2022 brings us Knives Out 2, Avatar 2, a few original movies and more delays. Check out the latest blockbuster release dates.

American Airlines is purchasing 20 of Boom's supersonic Overture jets

Engadget - Tue, 2022-08-16 15:14

One of the world’s largest airlines has placed a big bet on supersonic jet startup Boom. On Tuesday, American Airlines announced that it had recently agreed to buy 20 Overture aircraft from Boom, with the option to purchase an additional 40 planes if all goes well. The deal is one of the strongest shows of support for Boom yet, surpassing the potential 50-jet commitment United Airlines made last year. That’s all for a startup that has yet to build a working passenger jet.

At the start of the year, Boom announced it would build a manufacturing facility at North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad International Airport. The company expects to begin construction on its “Overture Superfactory” later this year, with production to follow in 2024 – though the plant’s first completed jet won’t fly until sometime in 2026. Still, that hasn’t stopped Boom from being bullish about Overture’s prospects. The company envisions the Mach 1.7 jet completing flights between Newark and London in under four hours and San Francisco to Tokyo in approximately six hours. The company also claims Overture will be a “net-zero carbon” aircraft thanks to its ability to fly on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuels.

Pokemon Cards Are Back At McDonald's - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-16 14:55
McDonald's Happy Meals will come with a pack of Pokemon cards until mid-September.

US Warns Against Travel to Three More Nations Due To High Risk of COVID - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-16 14:53
The Philippines, Russia and Nepal now have Level 3 travel advisories in place from the CDC.

Anyone can now cross-post Reels from Instagram to Facebook

Engadget - Tue, 2022-08-16 14:44

Despite some missteps with Instagram, Meta is marching forward with its plan to make Reels a bigger component of its apps in an attempt to better compete with TikTok. It's rolling out several updates to Reels, particularly on Facebook's side. For one thing, everyone can now cross-post Reels from Instagram to Facebook with the tap of a button. Meta suggests that this may help creators to grow their audiences on the apps and monetize their content across both platforms.

In addition, Facebook now offers a way to automatically create Reels using Stories you have already shared. The idea is to help folks create Reels with little additional effort. On top of that, Facebook has gained more Reels remix options, which Meta previously introduced to Instagram. You can now show your video after the original Reel that you're remixing in addition to having the side-by-side option.

Elsewhere, the Add Yours sticker that became popular in Stories is coming to Reels on Instagram and Facebook. The idea is to nudge other users to take part in a trend. If you create your own Add Yours prompt, every Reel that uses the sticker will appear on a dedicated page. The person who created the prompt will be displayed prominently on the page as well. So, if an Add Yours trend takes off and you're behind it, that could help you to grow your audience.

Meanwhile, the Facebook Stars tipping feature will soon be available to all eligible creators on the platform. Creators will also have access to more Reels insights via Creator Studio (with metrics including reach, minutes viewed and average watch time) to help them figure out what content is working for their audiences.

Meta has a long way to go to catch up to TikTok, but perhaps these features will help, especially since engagement with Reels is growing across both platforms. TikTok is gobbling up almost every other social media app's lunch. A recent Pew Research report suggested that 16 percent of US teens "almost constantly" use the app, compared with 10 percent for Instagram and two percent for Facebook. 

Windows 11's Next Big Update Arrives Next Month With Start Menu Folders, New Gestures

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-08-16 14:41
Microsoft is planning to release its next big Windows 11 update, version 22H2, on September 20th. The Verge: Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans tell The Verge Microsoft will roll out Windows 11 22H2 through Windows Update on September 20th, a week after the company's regular Patch Tuesday fixes. Microsoft has been testing Windows 11 22H2 for months, and it will include a number of new improvements, like app folders in the Start menu, drag and drop on the taskbar, and new touch gestures and animations. Microsoft is also adding a new Live Captions accessibility feature with 22H2, which is ideal for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or anyone who wants to caption audio automatically. Similarly, a new Voice Access tool that allows people to control their PCs by using voice commands is part of 22H2. The Task Manager is also being overhauled in Windows 11 22H2, with a new dark mode and a far better layout that includes a new command bar and an efficiency mode to limit apps from consuming resources. Snap Layouts will also be greatly improved in 22H2, making it easier to drag and app to reveal all the layouts you can use to arrange apps. Microsoft is also working on tabs for File Explorer, which will arrive a little later than September 20th.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Singer Turbo Study Cabriolet Is the Porsche 930 Convertible Perfected - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-16 14:39
This customer spec'd their Turbo Study with plaid seats and 510 horsepower.

Rad New Turbo Study Is Singer's First Reimagined Porsche 911 Cabriolet - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-16 14:39
This 964-based restomod is a tribute to Porsche's iconic 930 Turbo.

Adidas’ new solar headphones can also be charged by your bedroom light

Engadget - Tue, 2022-08-16 14:22

Rain or shine, a new pair of solar-powered wireless headphones by Adidas has you covered. The athletic brand teamed up with Zound Industries to make the Adidas RPT-02 SOL on-ear headphones, which can be charged with either natural or artificial light. We were pleasantly surprised by Adidas’ previously-launched RPT-01, which features 40 hours of wireless playback. The newer line has a nearly identical design but promises double the playback time — 80 hours — not to mention the ability to charge at any time of day. It's also made of a combination of recycled plastic and nylon. 

The headband of the RPT-02 SOL is made of a highly flexible light-cell material by Swedish solar tech company Exeger called Powerfoyle. The solar cell material can be screen-printed onto plastic, allowing for a wide variety of applications — everything from walls to cars to consumer electronics. Unlike older types of solar cells that need a strong and constant source of natural light, Powerfoyle can charge in various light conditions. Other companies have made solar-powered headphones before, so the RPT-02 isn't the first with this feature, but they're still relatively uncommon. 

The RPT-02 isn’t waterproof — but is IPX4-rated — so it can handle sweat and splashing from a nearby ocean or lake. The headphones feature built-in controls for changing songs or volume, and there's also an indicator that helps find the best light for charging. And if all else fails, it includes a USB-C port. The RPT-02 SOL retails for $229, and will be available for purchase online on August 23rd.

Biden Admin to Cancel $3.9B in Student Debt for Former ITT Students - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-16 14:02
Approximately 208,000 former students who attended the now-defunct for-profit college will receive full loan discharges.

American Airlines Agrees To Buy 20 Supersonic Planes from Boom

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-08-16 14:02
American Airlines has agreed to purchase 20 supersonic Overture planes from Boom Supersonic, the companies announced Tuesday. From a report: The deal is the second firm order in the last two years for Boom, still years from building its first commercial airplane. United Airlines made a commitment last year to buy 15 Overture jets. "Passengers want flights that are faster, more convenient, more sustainable and that's what Overture delivers," Boom CEO Blake Scholl told CNBC. "Flight times can be as little as half as what we have today, and that works great in networks like American where we can fly Miami to London in less than five hours." Boom says the Overture jet will fly as fast as Mach 1.7, or 1,304 mph, dramatically cutting trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific flight times. For example, a flight from Seattle to Tokyo, which typically takes just over 10 hours, could be completed in six hours in an Overture, according to Boom.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.