Numbers on the Border: The immigration stats President Trump didn’t talk about this week

Something remarkable happened in the White House this week, as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met with President Trump to talk about border security amid their standoff over the federal budget. Yes, it was a spectacle, but more interesting for our purposes was President Trump’s attempt to ground the debate in numbers, making a case for a border wall by citing a reduction in “illegal traffic” in locations where he said the approach has been effective in blocking unauthorized immigration. “A lot of the wall is built. It’s been very effective,” he said. “I asked for a couple of notes on that. If you… Read More

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Nobody Dies in Longyearbyen

“There are several things about Longyearbyen that may seem ‘strange’ to visitors,” warns the Norwegian city’s tourist board. One of the northernmost settlements in the world, Longyearbyen, which is on the island of Svalbard, is home to 2,100 residents from almost 50 countries—most of whom weren’t born there. “This is not a place people spend their entire lives or where families are continued through generations,” the Longyearbyen website continues. “People have generally come and gone … The history of Svalbard is rich in tragic events, and graves are the most common relics of culture.” But for more than 70 years, not a single person has been buried in Longyearbyen. That’s… Read More

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Amazon adds NBA League Pass to Prime video lineup as tech giant continues sports push

Amazon added to its growing library of live sports programming with the addition of NBA League Pass to Prime Video Channels. The NBA’s live streaming product is now available on Amazon’s video platform for Prime members who also subscribe to NBA League Pass ($28.99/month or $169 for a season) that provides access to live out-of-market regular season games for all NBA teams. The games will stream much like they do on the other 19 platforms where NBA League Pass is available. But those using Fire TV devices will have access to Prime Video’s X-Ray feature that shows fans team stats and player information while they watch. Variety reported that this… Read More

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Geek of the Week: Gerard Medioni is a man on the Go, turning Amazon’s retail concept into a reality

Gerard Medioni. (Photo courtesy of Gerard Medioni) Amazon had a vision. Gerard Medioni had a computer vision. Together, there’s apparently no stopping the tech giant and the computer scientist who serves as director of research for Amazon Go, the company’s off-and-running cashier-less store idea. Medioni, who is our latest Geek of the Week, has been a professor at the University of Southern California for 35 years, and previously chaired USC’s Computer Science department. While he still teaches at the school, his world (and location) changed when he joined Amazon in 2014 to work on Amazon Go. “In collaboration with an incredible team, I helped turn the concept into reality, with… Read More

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Retro software softwear: Microsoft shows off a Windows 95 ‘ugly sweater’ and fans want it now

(@Windows Photo via Twitter) What if a so-called “ugly sweater” is actually just the type of throwback apparel that people would want to wear? Microsoft’s official Windows Twitter feed is finding that out after baiting followers with the giveaway of a Windows 95 sweater. The custom “softwear” from the software giant features the old logo for the program, pixelating across the front of a white and blue sweater in all of its red, green, blue and yellow glory. The Windows team — with 6.2 million followers — promised to give a few away to lucky fans, and as of Friday morning, 6,000 people had replied to the tweet. Check out… Read More

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Global commodity trade logistics management software startup Intelage raises $2.3M

John Han. (Intelage Photos) After running his own commodities trade and marketing firm for 15 years, John Han knew all about the inefficiencies that plagued stakeholders across the global commodity industry. Now he’s turning those observations into a new startup that just raised investment from two VC firms. Seattle-area startup Intelage has reeled in a $2.3 million seed round from Ignition Partners and GoAhead Ventures. The year-old company plans to grow its 5-person team and continue building out its software that helps customers manage their commodities businesses. Han said the global trade industry is rife with manual and antiquated methodologies. Intelage provides tools that speed up and automate various parts… Read More

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Home security company Canary sued for alleged bait-and-switch tactic over $10/month fee

The Canary All-in-One home security camera. (Canary Photo) In 2016, tech industry veteran Jeff Reifman needed a security system for his Portland condo. After much searching, he eventually purchased the All-in-One home security system from New York-based Canary on Jet.com, in part because it didn’t have any additional monthly costs for features. A little over a year later, Canary decided to move some previously free features behind a $10 per month paywall, according to a proposed class action lawsuit filed by Reifman and other Canary customers. The suit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in New York, claims the company deceived customers with offers of free features, and later… Read More

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An Augmented Reality

Denise was already late, even before her augmented-reality glasses decided to perform another endless system update. Updating… Updating… She drummed her fingers on the steering wheel of her car. She could not afford to be late for her first appointment of the day. Being late meant being rushed, and a rushed pitch would almost always turn into a failed pitch. She’d been emphatically reminded of that at her last performance review. She’d also been reminded that she needed to fail a lot less, if she wanted to keep her job. Update complete. Please restart to initiate Pharmanalysis v8.5 for DataPoint View Glasses. She could not afford to be late. But… Read More

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Spacesuits for Spiders

Recently, a user of an online forum for science-fiction writing posed an intriguing question to the rest of the community. In the user’s imaginary world, spiders rule the planet. The arachnids have grown intelligent enough to build a space-faring empire, and they need spacesuits to travel into space. So, then: “How to design a spacesuit for an arachnid?” The inquiry made me giggle. It reminded me of those silly thought experiments involving animals and garments, like the long-running debate over how a dog would wear pants. I scrolled down, anticipating some funny responses. But there was none of that. The people on this forum were serious, and they were serious… Read More

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NASA orbiter spots InSight lander (and its junked hardware) on Mars’ surface

NASA’s InSight lander (at center, with its two solar arrays), its heat shield (at right) and its parachute (at left) were imaged on Dec. 6 and 11 by the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Click on the image for a larger version. (NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona Photo) Two weeks after NASA’s InSight lander touched down on Mars, its precise location on Elysium Planitia has been pinpointed, thanks to pictures from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. And it’s not just the car-sized lander: The orbiter even identified the sites where the spacecraft’s heat shield as well as its backshell and attached parachute ended up. In today’s mission… Read More

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