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Updated: 1 hour 12 min ago

VR Sports? It Can Be a Billion Dollar Business, Says Intel CEO

Fri, 02/06/2017 - 8:05pm
Ina Fried, reporting for Axios: Intel CEO Brian Krzanich told Axios on Thursday that he sees virtual reality not only changing the face of sports, but also potentially being a multi-billion-dollar business for the chip giant. "I think it can be a couple billion dollar business" he said in an interview after his appearance at Code Conference. "And the reason is this is a whole new feed... things like advertising, the ability to take that data and sell it... we're the only ones who we believe can produce this stuff."

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Hundreds of Walmart Employees Say They've Been Punished For Taking Sick Days

Fri, 02/06/2017 - 7:25pm
A new report from the workers advocacy group A Better Balance alleges that Walmart consistently punishes employees for taking sick days, even if they have proper documentation from doctors. From a report: A Better Balance interviewed and surveyed more than 1,000 Walmart workers about the company's absence control program -- which awards disciplinary "points" for absences regardless of reason -- and found the retail giant to be in violation of multiple laws. "Giving a worker a disciplinary 'point' for being absent due to a disability or for taking care of themselves or a loved one with a serious medical condition is not only unfair," the report reads, "in many instances, it runs afoul of federal, state, and local laws." Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove told the Times that the allegations are false, and that the company "understand[s] that associates may have to miss work on occasion," and that they "have processes in place to assist them." The report's worker testimonials say differently. "I came down with a stomach flu and I had to call in due to vomiting and high fever and got a point cause of being sick," recalls an Illinois employee named Veronica. "I hate the fact we got to worry about getting fired cause we caught the flu."

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Denmark Is Killing Tesla and Other Electric Cars

Fri, 02/06/2017 - 6:47pm
An anonymous shares an article: The electric car has dropped out of favor in the country that pioneered renewable energy. Sales in Denmark of Electrically Chargeable Vehicles (ECV), which include plug-in hybrids, plunged 60.5 percent in the first quarter of the year, compared with the first three months of 2016, according to latest data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA). That contrasts with an increase of nearly 80 percent in neighboring Sweden and an average rise of 30 percent in the European Union. Denmark, a global leader in wind power whose own attempt at an electric car in the early 1980s famously flopped, used to be enthralled with them. Its bicycle-loving people bought 5,298 of them in 2015, more than double the amount sold that year in Italy, which has a population more than 10 times the size of Denmark's. The figures suggest clean-energy vehicles still aren't attractive enough to compete without some form of subsidy. However, it turns out that those phenomenal sales figures had as much to do with convenience as with environmental concerns: electric car dealers were for a long time spared the jaw-dropping import tax of 180 percent that Denmark applies on vehicles fueled by a traditional combustion engine.

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Walmart Is Turning Its Employees Into Delivery Drivers To Compete With Amazon

Fri, 02/06/2017 - 6:06pm
Walmart, which is aggressively investing in e-commerce to better compete with Amazon, is unveiling a new strategy: turning its army of 1.5 million US employees into delivery drivers. From a report: The tactic is being tested at three stores in New Jersey and Arkansas, and designed to shave costs out of the "last mile" of distribution, the most expensive part of getting goods to customers. Under the initiative, store employees will be given the option to deliver packages on their way home after work, in exchange for extra pay. They'll be given an app that allows them to input their routes, and an algorithm will plot the most efficient path. To take part, the employees will have to pass a background and vehicle check.

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After Bomb Threats, FCC Proposes Letting Police Unveil Anonymous Callers

Fri, 02/06/2017 - 5:25pm
Police should be allowed to unmask anonymous callers who have made serious threats over the phone, the Federal Communications Commission has proposed. From a report: The proposal would allow law enforcement, and potentially the person who's been called, to learn the phone number of an anonymous caller if they receive a "serious and imminent" threat that poses "substantial risk to property, life, safety, or health." Specifics are still up in the air. The FCC is asking (PDF), for instance, whether unveiled caller ID information should only be provided to law enforcement officials investigating a threat, to ensure that this exemption isn't abused.

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Trump Misunderstood MIT Climate Research, University Officials Say

Fri, 02/06/2017 - 4:40pm
MIT officials said U.S. President Donald Trump badly misunderstood their research when he cited it on Thursday to justify withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. From a report: Trump announced during a speech at the White House Rose Garden that he had decided to pull out of the landmark climate deal, in part because it would not reduce global temperatures fast enough to have a significant impact. "Even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full, with total compliance from all nations, it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100," Trump said. "Tiny, tiny amount." That claim was attributed to research conducted by MIT, according to White House documents seen by Reuters. The Cambridge, Massaschusetts-based research university published a study in April 2016 titled "How much of a difference will the Paris Agreement make?" showing that if countries abided by their pledges in the deal, global warming would slow by between 0.6 degree and 1.1 degrees Celsius by 2100. "We certainly do not support the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris agreement," said Erwan Monier, a lead researcher at the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, and one of the study's authors. "If we don't do anything, we might shoot over 5 degrees or more and that would be catastrophic," said John Reilly, the co-director of the program, adding that MIT's scientists had had no contact with the White House and were not offered a chance to explain their work.

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EU Commissioner Says No to Bill Gates' Robot Tax Idea

Fri, 02/06/2017 - 4:05pm
Andrus Ansip, the European Commissioner in charge of the Digital Single Market, has said that he does not support Bill Gates' idea of taxing robots that replace human workers. From a report: Microsoft founder Gates made an argument for robots incurring taxes equivalent to that worker's income taxes during an interview in February. "Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed," he said. "If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you'd think that we'd tax the robot at a similar level." But Ansip has made it clear that he is not in favor of a robot tax. Speaking during a CNBC-hosted panel at the Pioneers tech conference in Vienna on Thursday, Ansip said the "aim of taxation is not just (to) collect revenues... but to increase salaries of teachers and police," CNBC reports. "No way. No way," he added, when asked if he would support the tax.

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LG Joins NFC Payment Party With LG Pay

Fri, 02/06/2017 - 3:25pm
An anonymous reader shares a report: Apple and Samsung have been fattening their pockets with digital wallets for years, and now LG wants in. The company rolled out LG Pay in South Korea on Friday, it said in a statement. South Korean users of the LG G6 will be the first to be able to use the service. LG Pay allows users to register up to 10 of their frequently used cards, including credit, membership and transportation cards. To make payment with LG Pay, users tap their phone against a credit card terminal and scan their fingerprint.

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Anti-Aging Start-Up Is Charging Thousands of Dollars for Teen Blood

Fri, 02/06/2017 - 2:40pm
An anonymous reader writes: A startup called Ambrosia is charging about $8,000 a pop for blood transfusions from people under 25, Jesse Karmazin said at Code Conference. Ambrosia, which buys its blood from blood banks, now has about 100 paying customers. Some are Silicon Valley technologists, like Thiel, though Karmazin stressed that tech types aren't Ambrosia's only clients, and that anyone over 35 is eligible for its transfusions. Karmazin was inspired to found Ambrosia after seeing studies researchers had done involving sewing mice together with their veins conjoined. Some aspects of aging, one 2013 study found, could be reversed when older mice get blood from younger ones, but other researchers haven't been able to replicate these results, and the benefits of parabiosis in humans remains unclear. "I think the animal and retrospective data is compelling, and I want this treatment to be available to people," Karmazin told the MIT Technology Review.

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Categories: Science