writes: Gogle Maps has announced its first vertical Street View, giving people the opportunity to virtually climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
"People around the world will now be able to virtually experience the unique act of ascending a 3,000-foot cliff by going on a self-directed, vertical climb," the Mountain View, Calif., company said. "Climbers" can make their way up the Nose route and part of the Dawn Wall.
To collect the imagery for Google Maps, the company worked with photographers and partnered with climbers Lynn Hill, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell.Link to Original Source
writes: In what could prove to be a ruling with serious implications for the on-demand economy, the California Labor Commission has ruled that an Uber driver should be classified as an employee, not an independent contractor.
The ruling, made in March, came to light after Uber filed an appeal Tuesday evening. The ruling ordered the company to reimburse Barbara Ann Berwick, a former Uber driver, $4,152.20 in expenses and other costs for the period when Ms. Berwick worked as a driver.
Uber has long positioned itself as a “logistics company,” an app that drivers and passengers use merely to facilitate private transactions, and not a transportation fleet with tens of thousands of employee drivers. The company argued it did not exert any control over the hours its drivers worked and did not require drivers to complete a minimum number of trips, according to the court filing.
But the Labor Commission cited many instances in which it said Uber acted more like an employer. The ruling noted that Uber provided drivers with phones and had a policy of deactivating its app if drivers were inactive for 180 days.Link to Original Source
writes: The U.S. government agency that collects personnel information for federal employees said on Thursday a cybersecurity breach had compromised the data of about 4 million current and former federal employees.
U.S. officials suspect the cyber attack originated in China, according to media reports.
The Office of Personnel Management detected new malicious activity affecting its information systems in April and the Department of Homeland Security said it concluded at the beginning of May that the agency's data had been compromised.Link to Original Source
writes: Four people who cheered — allegedly excessively — for their loved ones at a high school graduation ceremony in Senatobia, Mississippi, say they've now been slapped with an excessive punishment.
Two weeks after watching her niece walk across the stage at Senatobia High School's graduation ceremony on May 21, Ursula Miller received a warrant for her arrest for disturbing the peace.
"I just called her name out. 'Lakaydra,' Just like that," Miller told CNN affiliate WREG.
Now, Miller said, she has to appear in court or could face at least a $500 fine.Link to Original Source
writes: Ross W. Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road, a notorious online marketplace for the sale of heroin, cocaine, LSD and other illegal drugs, was sentenced to life in prison on Friday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.
Mr. Ulbricht, 31, was sentenced by the judge, Katherine B. Forrest, for his role as what prosecutors described as “the kingpin of a worldwide digital drug-trafficking enterprise.”
Mr. Ulbricht had faced a minimum of 20 years in prison on one of the counts for which he was convicted. In handing down a much longer sentence, Judge Forrest told Mr. Urlbricht that “what you did in connection with Silk Road was terribly destructive to our social fabric.”
Mr. Ulbricht’s high-tech drug bazaar was novel and full of intrigue, operating in a hidden part of the Internet known as the dark web, which allowed deals to be made anonymously and out of the reach of law enforcement. In Silk Road’s nearly three years of operation, over 1.5 million transactions were carried out on the website involving several thousand seller accounts and more than 100,000 buyer accounts, the authorities have said.Link to Original Source
writes: Lyudmila Savchuk says lawsuit will shed light on secretive practice of paying people to post political comments online. The Moscow Times reports.
A former Russian internet “troll” hired to promote political views online is suing her ex-employer in an attempt to draw attention to the country’s “information war” , a news report said on Friday.
The grounds for the lawsuit filed by Lyudmila Savchuk, which is expected to be heard by a St Petersburg city court next month, is the employer’s failure to provide any labour contract or other paperwork supporting her hiring and eventual dismissal, Kommersant reported.
Savchuk said she was fired after speaking to the media about her employer, Internet Research, which she described as part of Russia’s “troll factory”.
Internet Research is reported to be linked to another company with a similar name, Internet Research Agency, which in the spring merged with a firm called New Technologies, whose official registration documents identify it as a construction company.
“The ‘troll factory’ operates based on very weird schemes, but all those firms are connected to each other, even though they are separate legal entities,” Savchuk was quoted as saying.Link to Original Source
writes: A Quebec man plans to fight the $120 ticket and four demerit points he got for using his Apple Watch while driving.
Jeffrey Macesin said he was using his smartwatch to change songs when a provincial officer pulled him over on a road near Pincourt, Que.
Macesin said he was confused about why the officer’s flashing lights were on.
The officer then charged him under the section of the Quebec Highway Safety Code that says “no person may, while driving a road vehicle, use a hand-held device that includes a telephone function.”
Macesin disputes that an Apple Watch counts as a “hand-held.”
“It’s on my wrist,” he said. “That's where it gets really controversial.”
Traffic lawyer Avi Levy agreed the law isn’t clear.
“It was just a question of time before we actually got a case like this,” Levy said.
“I'm not convinced that the Apple Watch itself is a phone,” he added. “It's rather a Bluetooth device that communicates the telephone signal from the phone and it has been established under the law that you are allowed to use Bluetooth devices.”Link to Original Source
writes: GoPro is moving into virtual reality with the announcement of a 16-camera, 360-degree array that can capture stereoscopic and spherical video. But this early model is too big to wear on your head.
The rig, meant to be mounted on a tripod, has yet to be priced. It will support 16 of GoPro’s Hero4 cameras to record 360-degree video that can be used for virtual reality. It comes integrated with software from Kolor, the virtual reality company GoPro acquired last month, which stitches and synchronizes the recorded footage. GoPro introduced the camera at Google’s developer conference on Thursday.
“What people don’t know is we’re already the de facto capture device for capturing virtual reality content today,” said C.J. Prober, the head of GoPro’s software and services division. “GoPro cameras weren’t designed for virtual reality capture purposes, but the quality and the content they enabled just made them a natural choice.”Link to Original Source
writes: General Motors Co. plans to offer both Google Inc.’s Android Auto and Apple Inc.’s CarPlay software in most of its Chevrolet vehicles, signaling that no mobile operating system dominates the auto industry yet.
An icon embedded in the center screen of Chevrolet vehicles will allow occupants to link cellphones via either Android Auto or CarPlay in the majority of its 2016 vehicle portfolio. The revamped Chevrolet Cruze, due out next month, will be the first to offer the feature, which will still be routed through the auto maker’s MyLink in-car infotainment system.
After initially offering their own telematics software or investing to develop exclusive technology, auto makers now are allowing consumers to link via mobile software provided by others, rather than favoring one system over another. Each gives users access to everything from maps to music.
Hyundai Motor Co., became the first auto maker to offer Android Auto on one of its production vehicles. The auto maker announced on Tuesday the system is available on the 2015 Sonata sedan. It is also working to add CarPlay. Ford Motor Co., meanwhile, also intends to offer both CarPlay and Android by the end of 2016, it has said.
Chevy’s seven-inch screen MyLink system will offer both on the early 2016 models including the Spark, Malibu, Camaro, Camaro Convertible and Silverado. The eight-inch version will be compatible only with Apple CarPlay at the beginning of the 2016 model year with Android Auto to be offered later.Link to Original Source
writes: Charter Communications Inc struck a $56 billion deal to buy Time Warner Cable Inc, seeking to combine the third and second largest U.S. cable operators to better compete against market leader Comcast Corp.
The Federal Communications Commission immediately served notice that it would closely scrutinize the deal, focusing not only on absence of harm but benefits to the public.
Charter, in which Malone-chaired Liberty Broadband Corp owns about 26 percent, is offering about $195.71 in cash-and-stock for each Time Warner Cable share, based on Charter's closing price on May 20.
Including debt, the deal values Time Warner Cable at $78.7 billion.
A key area of regulatory concern would be competition in broadband Internet.
A merger of Charter and Time Warner Cable, with other related deals, would create a company that controls more than 20 percent of the U.S. broadband market, according to research firm MoffettNathanson.
"Regulatory approval is no longer a given but we expect this is highly probable and greater than Comcast-Time Warner," Macquarie Research analyst Amy Yong wrote in a note.
Comcast walked away last month from a deal to buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, citing regulatory concerns.Link to Original Source
writes: According to a new study out in the journal PLOS ONE, caffeine intake is linked to reduced odds of having erectile dysfunction (ED) in men who drink the equivalent of two to three cups of coffee per day. Among the lifestyle factors that are known to put a man at risk of ED – poor diet, physical inactivity, smoking, and alcohol consumptions – caffeine has not been of the biggest candidates. But the new study suggests that like other areas of physical and mental health, ED may be another beneficiary of caffeine’s fascinating benefits. Since erectile function, and dysfunction, is in some ways an extension of cardiovascular health – and caffeine is known to help heart health in certain ways – the idea that it could also help ED may not be so surprising. But for men who are devout coffee drinkers, the results may come as good news.Link to Original Source
writes: Worried about Google snooping on your Web browsing or email? That may be the least of the Internet giant's intrusions if this patent for sensor-packed dolls and toys ever gets put to use in your kids' room. Filed in 2012 but just published Thursday, the patent describes "interactive electronics that support social cues." In other words, toys that watch and listen.
The illustration above pretty much says it all, but the truth is Google isn't likely to start putting out teddy bear snooping devices any time soon. The point, in fact, isn't surveillance but allowing kids to control their music or movies without having to invoke an invisible Siri or navigate a TV interface. Children can just grab the smart toy, say "play 'My Little Pony'!" and it'll do the rest. Think of it like a 21st-century Teddy Ruxpin.
Put like that it's not so creepy — might even be useful. But an illustration of a stuffed rabbit with cameras for eyes is naturally going to alarm people. In the meantime, there are already camera-equipped dolls and toys that kids can talk to and interact with, if you're not troubled by the idea. Of course, you'll have to tear them away from that smartphone or tablet first.Link to Original Source
writes: Erik Sorto was shot in the back 13 years ago and paralyzed from the neck down. Yet recently the father of two lifted a bottle of beer to his lips and gave himself a drink, even though he can’t move his arms or legs.
Mr. Sorto, 34, picked up his drink with a robotic arm controlled by his thoughts. Two silicon chips in his brain read his intentions and channeled them via wires to the prosthetic arm on a nearby table. The team that developed the experimental implant, led by researchers at the California Institute of Technology, reported their work Thursday in the journal Science.
“That was amazing,” Mr. Sorto said. “I was waiting for that for 13 years, to drink a beer by myself.”
Mr. Sorto’s neural implant is the latest in a series of prosthetic devices that promise one day to restore smooth, almost natural movement to those who have lost the use of their limbs through disease or injury, by tapping directly into the signals generated by the brain.
For years, laboratories at Brown University, Duke University and Caltech, among others, have experimented with brain-controlled prosthetics. Those devices include wireless implants able to relay rudimentary mental commands, mind-controlled robotic leg braces, and sensors that add a sense of touch to robotic hands. In 2012, University of Pittsburgh researchers demonstrated a brain implant that allowed a paralyzed woman to feed herself a chocolate bar using a robot arm.Link to Original Source
writes: Authorities searched a Maryland home overnight in the investigation of a deadly mansion murder, going through the trash and removing bags of evidence — but in the end it was a piece of pizza crust that could lead to the suspect's arrest.
Daron Dylon Wint, 34, was identified on Wednesday as the key suspect in the quadruple slaying and arson attack in Northwest, a section of Washington, D.C. A court issued an arrest warrant for Wint with “murder one while armed,” authorities said.
Two sources familiar with the case told ABC News that DNA found on the crust of a Domino's pizza that had been delivered to the house led authorities to identify Wint as the suspect.Link to Original Source
writes: Lower legal threshold and wider availability of electronic information cited in report on greater use of Section 215
The Federal Bureau of Investigation used a controversial section of the Patriot Act to gather information more than 50 times in a three-year period, according to a new internal review released as Congress debates whether to let the law expire.
The FBI’s use of Section 215 of the Patriot Act “continues to expand,” according to the report released Thursday by the Justice Department’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz. The expansion is in part because the legal threshold for its use has been lowered and because society’s use of the Internet has also “expanded the quantity and quality of electronic information available to the FBI,’’ the report states.
Section 215 authorizes the government to collect “tangible things” such as business records with an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
The types of information sought with such orders range from “hard copy reproductions of business ledgers and receipts to gigabytes of metadata and other electronic information,’’ the report found. The FBI has been “broadening the scope of materials sought in applications,’’ in part because they are not limited to requesting information only about suspects.
The FBI uses Section 215, the report said, “in investigations of groups comprised of unknown members and to obtain information in bulk concerning persons who are not the subjects of or associated with any FBI investigation.’’Link to Original Source