Blog posts


How do tornadoes form? This drone-based project seeks to unravel the secrets of spinning storms

How do tornadoes form? This drone-based project seeks to unravel the secrets of spinning storms

WALNUT, Iowa — A multiyear project in the Great Plains rolled out Monday with hopes of better understanding supercell thunderstorms and the tornadoes they spawn. Led by officials at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, the TORUS project — Targeted Observation by Radars and UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) of Supercells — is deployed until June 16, with a second deployment planned in 2020. Dozens of researchers from multiple academic institutions and the federal government are participating. Researchers said they hope the project will help to improve forecasts for supercells, which are thunderstorms that spin, and the hazards they can produce. “TORUS aims to use the data collected to improve the conceptual model of supercell thunderstorms (the parent storms of the most destructive tornadoes) by exposing how small-scale structures within these storms might lead to tornado formation,” according to the Earth Observing Laboratory at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.
Democratic Congressional Bill Protects Medical Cannabis But Not Broader State Marijuana Laws

Democratic Congressional Bill Protects Medical Cannabis But Not Broader State Marijuana Laws

Medical marijuana states and industrial hemp programs would continue to be protected from federal interference under a wide-ranging congressional spending bill that was released by a House subcommittee on Thursday. This marks the first time that the medical cannabis rider has been included in a base House appropriations bill as introduced, signaling that the chamber’s new Democratic majority is paying closer attention to the issue as standalone marijuana legislation separately makes its way through Congress. Last year, the rider, which has been federal law since 2014, was added during a full Appropriations Committee hearing. Prior to that it had been inserted through floor amendments.
A year after outcry, carriers are finally stopping sale of location data, letters to FCC show

A year after outcry, carriers are finally stopping sale of location data, letters to FCC show

Reports emerged a year ago that all the major cellular carriers in the U.S. were selling location data to third-party companies, which in turn sold them to pretty much anyone willing to pay. New letters published by the FCC  show that despite a year of scrutiny and anger, the carriers have only recently put an end to this practice. We already knew that the carriers, like many large companies, simply could not be trusted. In January it was clear that promises to immediately “shut down,” “terminate” or “take steps to stop” the location-selling side business were, shall we say, on the empty side. Kind of like their assurances that these services were closely monitored — no one seems to have bothered actually checking whether the third-party resellers were obtaining the required consent before sharing location data.
New secret-spilling flaw affects almost every Intel chip since 2011

New secret-spilling flaw affects almost every Intel chip since 2011

Security researchers have found a new class of vulnerabilities in Intel  chips which, if exploited, can be used to steal sensitive information directly from the processor., The bugs are reminiscent of Meltdown and Spectre, which exploited a weakness in speculative execution, an important part of how modern processors work. Speculative execution helps processors predict to a certain degree what an application or operating system might need next and in the near-future, making the app run faster and more efficient. The processor will execute its predictions if they’re needed, or discard them if they’re not. Both Meltdown  and Spectre  leaked sensitive data stored briefly in the processor, including secrets — such as passwords, secret keys and account tokens, and private messages.
Google's Nest takeover could put the squeeze on Alexa and other smart home devices

Google's Nest takeover could put the squeeze on Alexa and other smart home devices

The Amazon Echo and the Nest Learning Thermostat are two of the biggest hit products of the smart home. They've also worked together for years. You can ask Alexa, the voice assistant built into the Echo smart speaker, to change the temperature on your Nest thermostat. After Google I/O, this important smart home connection looks in danger of being cut. Google and Nest have been technically part of the same team since last year, but last week at Google I/O, Nest and the Google smart home team joined into a single brand called Google Nest. In addition to a new product -- the Nest Hub Max -- and a few price cuts, the joined brand also means Google will encourage current Nest customers to merge their previously siloed Nest accounts with Google.
Wild Crypto Market’s Traders Get Something New: FDIC Protection

Wild Crypto Market’s Traders Get Something New: FDIC Protection

The Wild West of cryptocurrency trading is getting something typically associated with the safest of savings accounts: FDIC protection. SFOX, a prime dealer and trading system in the $208 billion crypto market, is partnering with New York-based M.Y. Safra Bank to offer its traders deposit accounts backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. -- the same federal agency that protects bank customers up to $250,000 per financial institution. It’s the first time FDIC-insured accounts will be linked to a crypto prime dealer, according to SFOX, and allows traders to keep funds in accounts under their own names. Most banks don’t allow their customers’ accounts to be linked to cryptocurrency trading. The FDIC insurance protects the cash leg of a crypto trade and doesn’t apply to the Bitcoin, Ether or other digital assets SFOX users buy on the exchange.
Bitcoin climbs back above $7,000 and is now up 90% year to date

Bitcoin climbs back above $7,000 and is now up 90% year to date

Bitcoin has jumped above $7,000, continuing a stunning comeback for the cryptocurrency in 2019. The virtual currency climbed close to $7,600 on Sunday, according to industry website CoinDesk. It’s since pared gains, but is still holding above that $7,000 level. It marks yet another move higher for the world’s most-valuable cryptocurrency, which is now up nearly 90% since the start of the year. That’s despite negative headlines surrounding bitcoin exchange Bitfinex, whose parent company has been hit with a probe in New York, and Binance, which was hacked in a heist that lost more than $40 million in bitcoin.
Chinese video streaming giant iQiyi launches $300 virtual reality headset

Chinese video streaming giant iQiyi launches $300 virtual reality headset

Chinese video entertainment company iQiyi is taking the novel approach of a media platform getting into the hardware business. On Thursday, the Beijing-based firm released a new virtual reality headset, called Qiyu 2S. It’s a more affordable version of its 4K VR integrated headsetthat the company launched last year. CNBC tested out the device, and the immediate takeaway was how light the Qiyu 2S felt. The device is still heavier than a baseball cap, but at 280 grams, or 9.9 ounces, iQiyi’s VR headset doesn’t have any of the heft that other devices do. During the limited test, the peripheral also didn’t induce any feelings of sickness or discomfort. The headset is made by iQiyi subsidiary Qiyu and uses chips from Qualcomm
Apple chargers are getting hit by Trump’s trade war

Apple chargers are getting hit by Trump’s trade war

On Friday, the US raised import taxes to 25 percent on billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese goods, marking the latest escalation in a growing trade war that has raged on for more than a year. When the tariffs were initially announced, many saw them as a negotiating tactic, designed to put pressure on the ongoing trade talks between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. But with Trump now in Washington and cheerleading the new taxes on Twitter, it seems clear that the 25 percent tax will be around for a while. China has already retaliated with additional tariffs on $60 billion worth of US imports to China, including chemicals and frozen produce, raising the real danger of further escalation from the US.
How Facebook plans to boost augmented reality with Spark AR

How Facebook plans to boost augmented reality with Spark AR

More than a billion people have interacted with Facebook’s Spark AR augmented reality platform. But that might mean that we’ve all had cat faces put on our heads in silly messages. Some of us are hoping that the technology will be useful for something more than that silliness. But Facebook is working hard on helping the technology grow up. It has launched its Portal smart camera that lets people hold long-distance video calls in their living rooms. It also extended the Spark AR Studio AR app creation platform to the Windows and Mac platforms. That’s all about making it easier to create AR apps — and hopefully some higher quality apps than the kind we’ve seen so far.


Questions?
Click here to chat with us

_