National Geographic visits Alameda’s Crab Cove Visitor Center

ALAMEDA – School kids on field trips are often the ones stopping by Crab Cove Visitor Center at Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach. But in late August it was National Geographic Society photographer Joel Sartore who was visiting the place that the East Bay Regional Park District boasts is home to the world’s most diverse captive collection of native California freshwater fish. Sarore leads the National Geographic Society’s Photo Ark, a project to document every species on Earth living in captivity. Assisted by Josh Porter, a park district resource analyst, and Supervising Naturalist James Wilson, Sartore photographed 46 species of California fish and crustaceans in the center’s aquarium lab.… Read More

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Amazon adds Alexa voice control to Music app as it takes on Apple and Spotify

(GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser) Amazon is bringing Alexa to its Music app as it tries to challenge Spotify and Apple, leaders in the streaming music industry. The Seattle tech giant announced Tuesday that Alexa, Amazon’s voice-controlled virtual assistant, will now be available on the Amazon Music streaming app for iOS and Android in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Austria. Users will be able to control playback and request songs with Alexa. It activates via the push-to-talk function on the bottom right area of the app. They can also request Alexa to recite the weather, news and sports scores, but there is no access to Alexa Skills. Amazon customers are… Read More

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Blue Origin announces satellite launch deal with Thai telecon startup Mu Space

Blue Origin, the space venture founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, announced yet another agreement to launch a telecommunications satellite with its next-generation New Glenn rocket in the 2020s. The latest customer is Mu Space Corp., a Thai startup that unveiled its plans for terrestrial and satellite-based broadband data services (plus space tourism) in the Asia-Pacific region just last month. “We have entered into an agreement with Mu Space on a future launch of a geostationary satellite aboard New Glenn early in the next decade,” Blue Origin President Rob Meyerson said today at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia. Meyerson didn’t go into the financial details during his presentation.… Read More

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New Seattle mayor vows to participate in regional response to Amazon’s HQ2 ‘jolt’

Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess. (Seattle.gov Photo) Today, Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess reiterated the city’s plans to respond to Amazon’s search for a second North American headquarters, with King County leading the charge. He pledged to “respond to this Amazon challenge in partnership with King County” during a speech outlining his proposed 2018 budget before the Seattle City Council Monday. Burgess stressed that Seattle is participating in a regional response to Amazon’s request for proposals. In other words, the pitch could include a facility in a neighboring city, rather than in Seattle proper. Previously: Can Seattle handle more Amazon? How the tech giant’s first hometown could pursue its second HQ If… Read More

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Gates Foundation sues software developer, claiming it billed $2.8M and built ‘nothing of value in return’

(Flickr Creative Commons Photo / Nam-ho Park) The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation filed a lawsuit against a California-based software company today, alleging that the company failed to deliver on its promise to build a new software platform despite billing the Gates Foundation $2.8 million for the work. The Gates Foundation is suing Saama Technologies on claims of fraud, breach of contract, violations of the Washington state Consumer Protection Act and more. In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Western Washington, the Foundation alleges it “received nothing of value” from Saama, that the company overstated its expertise and hid past problems delivering on projects. GeekWire has contacted Saama… Read More

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Could Twitter ban Trump for violating its terms of service? Company forced to explain why it hasn’t

(Flickr / Gage Skidmore) President Trump had a busy weekend on Twitter, as usual. No real surprise there, but the language in at least one of his tweets generated enough user backlash to force the company to respond publicly on Monday about how its terms of service are applied. When he wasn’t mad at NFL players for taking a knee during National Anthem protests, the president was busy escalating the rhetoric with North Korea and that country’s leader Kim Jung-un. Saturday night he essentially threatened to bomb the country out of existence. Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man,… Read More

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Groundwater in Santa Clara County now back to pre-drought levels

Santa Clara County’s groundwater basins — critical sources of water that provide nearly half the drinking water every year for 2 million Silicon Valley residents — fell by up to 60 feet during the state’s recent historic drought due to heavy pumping. But now the vast underground formations of sand and clay saturated with water have already filled back up to the levels where they were before the drought started in 2011, a welcome trend that experts say is largely from heavy winter rains and strict water conservation rules during the drought that eased pumping. Monitoring wells run by the Santa Clara Valley Water District first picked up the recovery.… Read More

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Ethereum co-founder and Mark Cuban participate in Unikrn’s custom-built initial coin offering

Unikrn CEO Rahul Sood. (Unikrn Photo) Some big names are participating in Unikrn’s unique initial coin offering. The Seattle startup launched an initial coin offering, or ICO, this past Friday and has already raised $25 million, Unikrn CEO Rahul Sood told GeekWire. Unikrn is selling virtual tokens called UnikoinGold that can be used on its platform to bet on esports matches. Those tokens can be exchanged for other major cryptocurrencies, such as ethereum and bitcoin, which can then be exchanged for U.S. dollars. UnikoinGold is based on the ethereum blockchain, which is similar to Bitcoin, the largest digital currency that was trading up more than 7 percent on Monday despite… Read More

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Amazon Web Services plans Middle East operating region as cloud computing goes global

Amazon Web Services plans to open a cloud region in Bahrain by early 2019. (Wikimedia Photo/ By Wadiia (Own work) CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons By 2019, there will be Amazon Web Services data centers in just about every corner of the world following Monday’s announcement that the public cloud leader plans to set up shop in Bahrain. There will be a total of three availability zones — distinct locations inside an operating region that help ensure redundancy — within the Bahrain region when it launches in early 2019, bringing the total number of AWS regions to 17. When demand for cloud services becomes too strong to ignore in… Read More

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White House commits $200M per year for K-12 computer science education

Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi. (Code.org Photo) Today, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum directing Education Secretary Betsy Devos to improve K-12 computer science education. The memo asks the Department of Education to devote at least $200 million per year in grants toward “high-quality STEM education with a particular focus on computer science,” according to a press briefing Monday. Trump is also asking the department to explore administrative actions that will increase the focus on computer science in existing K-12 and higher education programs. Code.org, a Seattle non-profit that advocates for K-12 computer science education, is calling the announcement a victory. “This federal commitment along with the continuing generous support of… Read More

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