EU authorities demand changes from Facebook, Google, Twitter

BRUSSELS, (REUTERS): Social media companies Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc and Twitter Inc will have to amend their terms of service for European users within a month or face the risk of fines, a European Commission official said on Friday. U.S. technology companies have faced tight scrutiny in Europe for the way they do business, from privacy to how quickly they remove illegal or threatening content. The Commission and European consumer protection authorities will “take action to make sure..

SpaceX scrubs rocket launch in Florida due to high winds

(REUTERS): Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, on Tuesday delayed the launch of a rocket set to carry a commercial communications satellite into orbit, because of high winds at its Florida launch site. Wind gusts of up to 25 mph (40 kph) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida forced SpaceX to scrub the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket that was to have put into orbit EchoStar XXIII, a commercial communications satellite for EchoStar Corporation, the privately owned company said on..

Facebook Wins German Case vs Syrian Refugee Over Selfie With Angela Merkel

GERMANY, (AFP): Facebook clinched victory on Tuesday in a German court case brought by a Syrian refugee whose selfie with Chancellor Angela Merkel had made him the target of racist trolls. The court ruled that the US social media giant was not obliged to actively search out and delete defamatory posts, like those that had falsely linked the claimant to Islamist attacks and violent crimes. Anas Modamani, 19, had sought an injunction demanding that the company, represented by Facebook Ireland..

Star Wars’ Tatooine-Like Two-Star System Found 1,000 Light Years Away

PARIS, (AFP): Astronomers on Monday said they had found hints of a planetary system closely resembling that of Tatooine, the home of Star Wars jedi Luke Skywalker, orbiting a duo of suns. The evidence came in the form of seemingly rocky debris orbiting two stars, a white dwarf and a brown dwarf, in a system called SDSS 1557 some 1,000 light years away. The "debris appears to be rocky and suggests that terrestrial planets like Tatooine.... might exist in the system," said a statement from..

Astronomers find 7 Earth-size planets where life may be possible

CAPE CANAVERAL, (REUTERS): Astronomers have found a nearby solar system with seven Earth-sized planets, three of which circle their parent star at the right distance for liquid surface water, raising the prospect of life, research published on Wednesday showed. The star, known as TRAPPIST-1, is a small, dim celestial body in the constellation Aquarius. It is located about 40 light years away from Earth. Researchers said the proximity of the system, combined with the proportionally large size..

Launch of SpaceX Falcon rocket aborted seconds before liftoff

CAPE CANAVERAL, (REUTERS): SpaceX called off the planned launch of a Falcon 9 rocket from a historic launchpad in Florida seconds before liftoff on Saturday to investigate a potential problem with the steering system in the upper stage of the booster. The flight, the first for the company from a launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center once used for NASA’s space shuttle program, was rescheduled for 9:38 a.m. local time (1438 GMT) on Sunday. The rocket will carry a cargo ship bound for the..

Mars Had Water In The Recent Past: Study

LONDON, (REUTERS): Researchers have discovered a patch of land in an ancient valley near Mars' equator that appears to have been flooded by water in the not-too-distant past. The scientists believe that the findings, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, offer a prime target to begin searching for past life forms on the Red Planet. "On Earth, desert dunefields are periodically flooded by water in areas of fluctuating groundwater, and where lakes, rivers and coasts are found in..

Bill Gates Opens Account In Chinese Social Media

BEIJING, (PTI): Microsoft founder Bill Gates has opened his account on China's social media Wechat and posted a 30-second video in Mandarin. In his first post on the social networking app, the American billionaire and philanthropist said hello in Chinese and said he would "share about the people I meet, books I'm reading and what I'm learning". The video, posted on February 11, has already been viewed more than 100,000 times and received over 10,000 likes, state-run China Daily reported. He..

Free WiFi service soon on Mt Everest

KATHMANDU: Mount Everest and Annapurna areas will have free WiFi service from next month – facilitating better connectivity for mountaineers from the highest point on earth. Digambar Jha, chairman of state-run Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), said the NTA plans to set up free WiFi zones along Lukla-Everest Base Camp and Annapurna areas. This will make availability of free WiFi service in by far the highest point as Everest base camp is located 5,360m from the sea level and the..

Wikipedia Editors Ban ‘Unreliable’ Daily Mail As Source

LONDON, (AFP): Wikipedia editors have voted to ban the use of articles from British tabloid The Daily Mail and its globally popular website as sources, calling them "unreliable", according to a statement. English-language editors of the online encyclopaedia cited the newspaper's "reputation for poor fact-checking, sensationalism, and flat-out fabrication", said the statement posted on Wikipedia Wednesday. The vote means the tabloid's use as a reference should be "generally prohibited", it..

Twitter Takes More Steps To Clamp Down Abuse And Hate

NEW YORK, (AP): Twitter is broadening its campaign to clamp down on hate speech and abuse. The company said Tuesday that it has begun identifying people who have been banned for abusive behavior and will stop them from creating new accounts. It is also creating a 'safe search' feature that removes tweets with potentially sensitive content and tweets from blocked and muted accounts from search results. The tweets will still exist on Twitter if people look for them, but won't appear in general..

Apple, Google, Facebook Go To Court To Fight Donald Trump’s Immigration Ban

SAN FRANSISCO, (REUTERS): Several technology giants, including Apple, Google and Microsoft, banded together on Sunday to file a legal brief opposing President Donald Trump's temporary immigration ban, arguing that it "inflicts significant harm on American business." The brief, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, included other top tech firms including Facebook, Twitter and Intel, as well as non-tech companies such as Levi Strauss and Chobani. In all nearly 100 firms,..

Whoosh! Swish! Meet Bat Bot, the new flying batlike drone

WASHINGTON, (AP): Holy drone, Batman! Mechanical masterminds have spawned the Bat Bot, a soaring, sweeping and diving robot that may eventually fly circles around other drones. Because it mimics the unique and more flexible way bats fly, this 3-ounce prototype could do a better and safer job getting into disaster sites and scoping out construction zones than bulky drones with spinning rotors, said the three authors of a study released Wednesday in the journal Science Robotics. For example, it..

NASA unveils spaceship hatch 50 years after fatal Apollo 1 fire

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA, (REUTERS): NASA on Friday marked the 50th anniversary of its moon program’s fatal Apollo launchpad fire with the first public display of the scorched hatch that trapped three astronauts inside their spaceship during a routine pre-launch test. NASA astronauts Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee died when thick smoke filled the crew module of the Apollo 1 capsule on January 27, 1967, in what was the first deadly accident in the space agency’s..

Nuclear ‘Doomsday Clock’ ticks closest to midnight in 64 years

WASHINGTON, (REUTERS): Atomic scientists reset their symbolic “Doomsday Clock” to its closest time to midnight in 64 years on Thursday, saying the world was closer to catastrophe due to threats such as nuclear weapons, climate change and Donald Trump’s election as US president. The timepiece, devised by the Chicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and displayed on its website, is widely viewed as an indicator of the world’s vulnerability to disaster. Its hands were moved to two..

Scientists: Moon over the hill at 4.51 billion years old

CAPE CANAVERAL, (AP): It turns out the moon is older than many scientists suspected: a ripe 4.51 billion years old. That’s the newest estimate, thanks to rocks and soil collected by the Apollo 14 moonwalkers in 1971. A research team reported Wednesday that the moon formed within 60 million years of the birth of the solar system. Previous estimates ranged within 100 million years, all the way out to 200 million years after the solar system’s creation, not quite 4.6 billion years ago. The..

Twitter China head Kathy Chen leaves company

NEW YORK, (REUTERS): Twitter Inc executive Kathy Chen, who courted potential Chinese advertisers for the social media platform, announced her departure from the company in a tweet on Saturday. “Now that the Twitter APAC team is working directly with Chinese advertisers, this is the right time for me to leave the company,” she wrote. Twitter grew its Greater China advertiser base nearly 400 percent over the past two years, she wrote, making it one of the company’s fastest growing revenue..

China plans to land probes on far side of moon, Mars by 2020

BEIJING, (AP): China vowed Tuesday to speed up the development of its space industry as it set out its plans to become the first country to soft land a probe on the far side of the moon, by around 2018, and launch its first Mars probe by 2020. “To explore the vast cosmos, develop the space industry and build China into a space power is a dream we pursue unremittingly,” read a white paper setting out the country’s space strategy for the next five years. It says China aims to use space for..

Bite the dust – meek dinosaur lost its teeth as it hit adulthood

WASHINGTON, (REUTERS): A modest little dinosaur that scampered across northwestern China 160 million years ago boasted a unique trait not seen in any other dinosaur or other prehistoric creature yet unearthed: it was born with teeth but became toothless by adulthood. Scientists on Thursday said fossils of 19 individuals of a dinosaur called Limusaurus, ranging in age from under a year to 10 years, showed that juveniles had small, sharp teeth but adults developed a toothless beak. This cluster..

Google, Cuba sign allowing faster access to company’s data

HAVANA, (AP): Google and the Cuban government signed a deal Monday allowing the internet giant to provide faster access to its data by installing servers on the island that will store much of the company’s most popular content. Storing Google data in Cuba eliminates the long distances that signals must travel from the island through Venezuela to the nearest Google server. More than a half century after cutting virtually all economic ties with Cuba, the US has no direct data link to the..

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