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Apple's iOS 13 Just Launched But iOS 13.1, iPadOS Arrive Next Week
Apple's latest iPhone software, iOS 13, is now available -- but on Tuesday, you'll already be able to download the first update, iOS 13.1. And you'll be able to revitalize your iPad with Apple's software created for its tablets. From a report: Apple may be best known for its hardware, but it's really the seamless integration of its devices with its software that's set it apart from rivals. The company's ability to control every aspect of its products -- something that began when Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple in 1976 -- has been key in making Apple the most powerful company in tech. The company's mobile software, iOS, gets revamped every year and launches when its latest phones hit the market. Starting Tuesday, you'll also be able to download the first update to the software, as well as the new iPadOS software tailored for Apple's tablets. iOS 13 brings a dedicated dark mode, a new swipe keyboard and a revamped Photos app (complete with video editing tools). iOS 13.1 will bring bug fixes and will let you share your ETA with friends and family members through Apple Maps. Siri shortcuts can be added to automations, and you can set up triggers to run any shortcut automatically.

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How the Internet Archive is Waging War on Misinformation
San Francisco-based non-profit is archiving billions of web pages in a bid to preserve web history. From a report: Since the 2016 US election, as fears about the power of fake news have intensified, the archive has stepped up its efforts to combat misinformation. At a time when false and ultra-partisan content is rapidly created and spread, and social media pages are constantly updated, the importance of having an unalterable record of who said what, when has been magnified. "We're trying to put in a layer of accountability," said founder Brewster Kahle. Mr Kahle founded the archive, which now employs more than 100 staff and costs $18m a year to run, because he feared that what was appearing on the internet was not being saved and catalogued in the same way as newspapers and books. The organisation is funded through donations, grants and the fees it charges third parties that request specific digitisation services. So far, the archive has catalogued 330bn web pages, 20m books and texts, 8.5m audio and video recordings, 3m images and 200,000 software programs. The most popular, public websites are prioritised, as are those that are commonly linked to. Some information is free to access, some is loaned out (if copyright laws apply) and some is only available to researchers. Curled up in a chair in his office after lunch, Mr Kahle lamented the combined impact of misinformation and how difficult it can be for ordinary people to access reliable sources of facts. "We're bringing up a generation that turns to their screens, without a library of information accessible via screens," said Mr Kahle. Some have taken advantage of this "new information system", he argued -- and the result is "Trump and Brexit." Having a free online library is crucial, said Mr Kahle, since "[the public is] just learning from whateverâ...âis easily available."

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Downloading Stays Legal, No Site Blocking, Swiss Copyright Law Says
From a report: Switzerland's National Council has passed amendments aimed at modernizing the country's copyright law to make it more fit for the digital age. While services that host pirate sites or distribute content can expect a tougher ride moving forward, users will still be able to download pirate content for personal use. Furthermore, Swiss Internet service providers will not be required to prevent their customers accessing pirate sites.

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Amazon's 'Climate Pledge' Commits To Net Zero Carbon Emissions By 2040 and 100% Renewables by 2030
In Washington today, Amazon announced a series of initiatives and issued call for companies to reduce their carbon emissions ten years ahead of the goals set forth in the Paris Agreement as part of sweeping effort to reduce its own environmental footprint. From a report: "We're done being in the middle of the herd on this issue -- we've decided to use our size and scale to make a difference," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and chief executive, in a statement. "If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon -- which delivers more than 10 billion items a year -- can meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early, then any company can." Bezos' statement comes as employees at his own company and others across the tech industry plan for a walkout on Friday to protest inaction on climate change from their employers. Amazon's initiatives include an order for 100,000 delivery vehicles to Rivian, a company in which Amazon has previously invested $440 million.

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Philippines Declares New Polio Outbreak After 19 Years
twocows writes: Philippine health officials declared a polio outbreak in the country on Thursday, nearly two decades after the World Health Organization declared it to be free of the highly contagious and potentially deadly disease. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said at a news conference that authorities have confirmed at least one case of polio in a 3-year-old girl in southern Lanao del Sur province and detected the polio virus in sewage in Manila and in waterways in the southern Davao region. Those findings are enough to declare an outbreak of the crippling disease in a previously polio-free country like the Philippines, he said. The World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund expressed deep concern over polio's reemergence in the country and said they would support the government in immunizing children, who are the most susceptible, and strengthening surveillance. "As long as one single child remains infected, children across the country and even beyond are at risk of contracting polio," UNICEF Philippines representative Oyun Dendevnorov said. WHO and UNICEF said in a joint statement the polio outbreak in the Philippines is concerning because it is caused by vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2.

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India Tells Tech Firms To Protect User Privacy, Prevent Abuse
Technology firms must protect user privacy and prevent abuse of their platforms, India's IT minister said on Thursday, speaking as the government draws up a data privacy law and seeks to push companies to store more data locally. From a report: Federal Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said he wanted Indians to have access to more technology platforms but said this should not undermine user privacy. "I have only one caveat -- it must be safe and secure, it must safeguard the privacy rights of the individual and you must make extra efforts that people don't abuse the system," Prasad told industry executives at a gathering organized by Alphabet's Google in New Delhi. India's 1.3 billion people and their massive consumption of mobile data has turned it into a key growth market for U.S. technology giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon. India has already forced foreign payment firms such as Mastercard and Visa to store data locally.

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Huawei's Flagship Mate 30 Pro Has Impressive Specs But No Google
The Mate 30 series of smartphones from Huawei is now official, starting with the Mate 30 Pro and the Mate 30. From a report: The announcement of Mate 30 series comes at a difficult time for Huawei, whose presence on the USA's entity list prevents US companies from doing business with the Chinese firm. Google said last month that these phones won't ship with Google's apps and services, nor will they come with the Play Store pre-installed, which is how most Android users outside of China download their apps. Huawei's response to the problem has been to nurture its own ecosystem of apps that are available through the Huawei App Gallery. The company announced that rather than shipping with Google's services pre-installed, the Mate 30 Series would instead ship with the Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) Core, which it claims is already integrated with over 45,000 apps. The company announced that it was investing $1 billion into its software ecosystem with an investment that would be split across a development fund, a user growth fund, and a marketing fund. Here's what happens when you attempt to sideload an app developed by Google.

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Solar and Wind Power So Cheap They're Outgrowing Subsidies
For years, wind and solar power were derided as boondoggles. They were too expensive, the argument went, to build without government handouts. Today, renewable energy is so cheap that the handouts they once needed are disappearing. From a report: On sun-drenched fields across Spain and Italy, developers are building solar farms without subsidies or tax-breaks, betting they can profit without them. In China, the government plans to stop financially supporting new wind farms. And in the U.S., developers are signing shorter sales contracts, opting to depend on competitive markets for revenue once the agreements expire. The developments have profound implications for the push to phase out fossil fuels and slow the onset of climate change. Electricity generation and heating account for 25% of global greenhouse gases. As wind and solar demonstrate they can compete on their own against coal- and natural gas-fired plants, the economic and political arguments in favor of carbon-free power become harder and harder to refute. "The training wheels are off," said Joe Osha, an equity analyst at JMP Securities. "Prices have declined enough for both solar and wind that there's a path toward continued deployment in a post-subsidy world."

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Google is Bringing Its AI Assistant Service To People Without Internet Access
An anonymous reader shares a report: Google Assistant, the digital assistant from the global search giant, is available to users through their smartphones, laptops, and smart speakers. Earlier this year, the company partnered with KaiOS to bring Assistant to some feature phones with internet access. Now Google is going a step further: Bringing its virtual assistant to people who have the most basic cellphone with no internet access. It's starting this program in India. At an event in New Delhi on Thursday, the company announced a 24x7 telephone line that anyone in India on Vodafone and Idea telecom networks (or Vodafone-Idea telecom network; as Vodafone owns Idea) could dial to have their questions answered. The company said it tested the phone line service with thousands of users across Lucknow and Kanpur before making it generally available. Users will be able to dial 000-800-9191-000 and they won't be charged for the call or the service. Manuel Bronstein, a VP at Google, said through this program the company is hoping to reach hundreds of millions of users in India who currently don't have access to smartphones or internet.

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'Personal Carbon Sequestration' Device Uses Algae To Remove CO2 From the Air
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fast Company: In the future, your office might have an extra appliance next to the copy machine and the refrigerator: an algae bioreactor. Designed to fit inside offices and eventually sit on the rooftops throughout cities, it can capture as much carbon from the atmosphere as an acre of trees. And there's an initial prototype already at work. Inside the bioreactor, algae does the work. "What's amazing about algae is it's really cheap and it's easy to grow -- the core things it needs are sunlight, CO2, and water," says Ben Lamm, CEO and founder of Hypergiant Industries, an AI-focused tech company that developed a prototype of the device, called the Eos Bioreactor. Because algae grows much more quickly than trees, it can also sequester carbon more quickly; the company estimates that the device, which optimizes the algae's ability to capture CO2, can sequester around two tons of carbon out of the air each year. The first version of the device, which is currently in operation, is three-by-three-by-seven feet. It's a closed system that works indoors, connecting with an HVAC system to reduce CO2 levels inside and release cleaner air. The closed system also makes it possible for the team to study how algae grows -- with sensors monitoring everything from light and heat and pH to the speed of growth and oxygen output -- and how the system can be tweaked to work best in different conditions outside on rooftops. "With the first generation Eos, we have precise control of every aspect of the algae's environment and life cycle," he says. "It's a photobioreactor, but it's also an experimentation platform. We'll be using this platform to better understand the environment that best suits biomass production under controlled circumstances, so that we can better understand how to design reactors for the variety of environmental conditions we're going to encounter in the wild." The team behind the device says they're working on mobile apps that can monitor and run the bioreactors autonomously. It's also "working on DIY plans that it will release next year so people can build the bioreactors at home," the report mentions.

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AT&T Explores Parting Ways With DirecTV
According to The Wall Street Journal, AT&T is exploring parting with its DirecTV unit as customers are leaving the service in droves. From the report: The telecom giant has considered various options, including a spinoff of DirecTV into a separate public company and a combination of DirecTV's assets with Dish Network, its satellite-TV rival, the people said. AT&T may ultimately decide to keep DirecTV in the fold. Despite the satellite service's struggles, as consumers drop their TV connections, it still contributes a sizable volume of cash flow and customer accounts to its parent. AT&T acquired DirecTV in 2015 for $49 billion. The company's shrinking satellite business is under a microscope after activist investor Elliott Management Corp. disclosed a $3.2 billion stake in AT&T last week and released a report pushing for strategic changes. Elliott has told investors that AT&T should unload DirecTV, The Wall Street Journal has previously reported. Jettisoning DirecTV would be an about-face for Mr. Stephenson, who billed the acquisition of the company as a bold move to diversify beyond the wireless phone business and tap into a growing media industry. The deal made AT&T the largest distributor of pay TV channels, ahead of Comcast. DirecTV is now part of an entertainment and consumer wireline unit that made up 27% of AT&T's $173.3 billion 2018 revenue. For Mr. Stephenson, who has helmed AT&T for 12 years, parting ways with DirecTV would be an acknowledgment that a major cornerstone of his diversification strategy hasn't gone as planned. It also adds pressure for AT&T to deliver on the promise of the Time Warner deal. Mr. Stephenson has signaled he is prepared to step down as CEO as soon as next year, the Journal reported last week. The Journal goes on to say that AT&T may ultimately decide to keep DirecTV because of "AT&T's towering net debt load, which stood at more than $160 billion earlier this year. The cash generated by the pay-TV giant has helped pay down that debt and fueled other investments in the rest of the company." "Any spinoff of DirecTV would be unlikely until mid-2020 at the earliest, five years after the deal closed, to make it a tax-efficient transaction for AT&T," the report adds.

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Navy Confirms Existence of UFOs Seen In Leaked Footage
A Navy official has confirmed that recently released videos of unidentified flying objects are real, but that the footage was not authorized to be released to the public in the first place. From a report: Joseph Gradisher, the spokesman for the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, confirmed to TIME that three widely-shared videos captured "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena." Gradisher initially confirmed this in a statement to "The Black Vault" a website dedicated to declassified government documents. "The Navy designates the objects contained in these videos as unidentified aerial phenomena," Gradisher told the site. He tells TIME that he was "surprised" by the press coverage surrounding his statement to the site, particularly around his classification of the incursions as "unidentifiable," but says that he hopes that leads to UAP's being "de-stigmatized." "The reason why I'm talking about it is to drive home the seriousness of this issue," Gradisher says. "The more I talk, the more our aviators and all services are more willing to come forward." Gradisher would not speculate as to what the unidentified objects seen in the videos were, but did say they are usually proved to be mundane objects like drones -- not alien spacecraft. "The frequency of incursions have increased since the advents of drones and quadcopters," he says. The three videos of UFOs were published by the New York Times and "To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science," a self-described "public benefit corporation" co-founded by Tom DeLonge, best known as the vocalist and guitarist for the rock band, Blink-182.

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Research Finds Black Carbon Breathed By Mothers Can Cross Into Unborn Children
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Air pollution particles have been found on the fetal side of placentas, indicating that unborn babies are directly exposed to the black carbon produced by motor traffic and fuel burning. The research is the first study to show the placental barrier can be penetrated by particles breathed in by the mother. It found thousands of the tiny particles per cubic millimeter of tissue in every placenta analyzed. The link between exposure to dirty air and increased miscarriages, premature births and low birth weights is well established. The research suggests the particles themselves may be the cause, not solely the inflammatory response the pollution produces in mothers. The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, examined 25 placentas from non-smoking women in the town of Hasselt. It has particle pollution levels well below the EU limit, although above the WHO limit. Researchers used a laser technique to detect the black carbon particles, which have a unique light fingerprint. In each case, they found nanoparticles on the fetal side of the placenta and the number correlated with air pollution levels experienced by the mothers. There was an average of 20,000 nanoparticles per cubic millimeter in the placentas of mothers who lived near main roads. For those further away, the average was 10,000 per cubic millimeter. They also examined placentas from miscarriages and found the particles were present even in 12-week-old fetuses.

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C-Section Babies Have More Potentially Infectious Gut Bacteria
Scientists from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, UCL, the University of Birmingham and their collaborators discovered that whereas vaginally born babies got most of their gut bacteria from their mother, babies born via caesarean did not, and instead had more bacteria associated with hospital environments in their guts. Science Daily reports: The exact role of the baby's gut bacteria is unclear and it isn't known if these differences at birth will have any effect on later health. The researchers found the differences in gut bacteria between vaginally born and caesarean delivered babies largely evened out by 1 year old, but large follow-up studies are needed to determine if the early differences influence health outcomes. Experts from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists say that these findings should not deter women from having a caesarean birth. Published in Nature today, this largest ever study of neonatal microbiomes also revealed that the microbiome of vaginally delivered newborns did not come from the mother's vaginal bacteria, but from the mother's gut. This calls into question the controversial practice of swabbing babies born via caesarean with mother's vaginal bacteria. Understanding how the birth process impacts on the baby's microbiome will enable future research into bacterial therapies.

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AI Can't Protect Us From Deepfakes, Argues New Report
A new report from Data and Society raises doubts about automated solutions to deceptively altered videos, including machine learning-altered videos called deepfakes. Authors Britt Paris and Joan Donovan argue that deepfakes, while new, are part of a long history of media manipulation -- one that requires both a social and a technical fix. Relying on AI could actually make things worse by concentrating more data and power in the hands of private corporations. The Verge reports: As Paris and Donovan see it, deepfakes are unlikely to be fixed by technology alone. "The relationship between media and truth has never been stable," the report reads. In the 1850s when judges began allowing photographic evidence in court, people mistrusted the new technology and preferred witness testimony and written records. By the 1990s, media companies were complicit in misrepresenting events by selectively editing out images from evening broadcasts. In the Gulf War, reporters constructed a conflict between evenly matched opponents by failing to show the starkly uneven death toll between U.S. and Iraqi forces. "These images were real images," the report says. "What was manipulative was how they were contextualized, interpreted, and broadcast around the clock on cable television." Today, deepfakes have taken manipulation even further by allowing people to manipulate videos and images using machine learning, with results that are almost impossible to detect with the human eye. Now, the report says, "anyone with a public social media profile is fair game to be faked." Once the fakes exist, they can go viral on social media in a matter of seconds. [...] Paris worries AI-driven content filters and other technical fixes could cause real harm. "They make things better for some but could make things worse for others," she says. "Designing new technical models creates openings for companies to capture all sorts of images and create a repository of online life."

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