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2
Dec

Best Kid-proof Cases for Amazon Fire Tablets


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What’s the best Amazon Fire case for kids? The one that keeps it in one piece!

Tablets are basically half glass, and the Amazon Fire is our top pick for kids. But you’ll still want to protect it properly so that the little ones can use it to their heart’s content without constantly worrying about them destroying it.

Here are some of the best kid-proof cases for your Amazon Fire tablet.

  • Fintie Casebot Honey Comb Series
  • Topsky heavy duty case
  • Avawo convertible handle stand
  • Tinkle One EVA case
  • EpicGadget hybrid case
  • Amazon FreeTime

Fintie Casebot Honey Comb Series

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Bouncy, durable, flexible silicone is totally the way to go if you have kids who can’t wait to get their sticky mitts all over your Amazon Fire.

The honeycomb design helps to disperse the force of impact, so that your Fire stays in one piece when dropped from a short height. It wraps around the front of your tablet to protect the bezel and create a bumper between your screen and whatever your kid happens to lay it down on.

Comes in 10 colors and only fits the 2015 7-inch Fire.

See at Amazon

Topsky heavy duty case

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These Topsky cases are made of polycarbonate and flexible silicone, so that they’re easy for your child to hold and durable enough to withstand playtime, even if playtime means playing with your Fire tablet instead of on it.

The kickstand is perfect to help you set up your tablet for the little ones when they want to watch cartoons or play games.

Comes in seven colors and fits the 7-inch Fire tablet (2015).

See at Amazon

Avawo convertible handle stand

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Tablets can be awkward for the kidlets to hold onto without dropping, so having a case with a handle made for little hands is perfect.

The handle folds into a convenient stand, and the case is thick and made with heavy duty EVA foam, which protects your Fire tablet from drops and the odd toss.

Comes in purple, green, red, or black and fits the 2015 (5th generation) Fire tablet only.

See at Amazon

Tinkle One EVA case

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EVA foam is where it’s at for shock-proof cases that help kid-proof your Amazon Fire tablet. It’s wipeable with a damp cloth and durable enough to survive short drops.

That being said, drops shouldn’t be common, since the case is designed with little hands in mind, and it comes in six fun colors (well, five and black) to appease even the most discerning of toddlers.

Fits the 7-inch Amazon Fire tablet (2015).

See at Amazon

EpicGadget hybrid case

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EpicGadget’s hybrid case is shock-proof and provides great drop protection, thanks to its flexible silicone and hard polycarbonate makeup.

The vertical kickstand lets you stand your Amazon Fire tablet upright or horizontally, so your young’uns can watch cartoons or play games hands-free.

The color combinations are fun and bright, and you can count on the silicone to be grippy and easy to clean.

Fits the 7-inch Amazon Fire tablet.

See at Amazon

Amazon FreeTime

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Amazon’s own FreeTime case is totally designed with kids in mind, with a shape meant for little hands, reinforced corners for extra drop protection, fun colors, and made from a material that’s kid-safe and easy to clean.

All the buttons and ports are easily accessible for adults and children alike, and raised bumps on the inside help to further disperse impact.

Fits the 7-inch Amazon Fire tablet (2015).

See at Amazon

What’s on your Fire?

Do you have an awesome go-to case to make sure your kids don’t destroy your Amazon Fire tablet? Let us know in the comments below!

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2
Dec

USB-C is changing the world for the better, but it’s still not safe enough


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There’s still a lot to do in order to ensure USB-C is safe for everyone.

For the most part, techy folks seem to have figured out USB-C. They mostly know you can’t just order the cheapest thing on sale at Amazon, are reasonably aware of the dangers associated with using bad cables, and there are consumer advocates out there pushing every day for better cables and more awareness. The beginnings of a safe ecosystem of cables is something that could potentially happen with this level of awareness, and that’s great. It sucks that we have collectively suffered through over a year of accidentally damaged hardware through potentially life-threatening cables — even one made by Apple — to get there, but forward momentum is always a good thing.

So what happens next? With Lenovo’s Moto Z, Google’s Pixel, and Apple’s MacBooks being scooped up all around the world right now there are orders of magnitude more people using USB-C cables every week. That means people who aren’t the knowledgeable techy few are browsing Amazon for spare or replacement cables, which requires some real solutions very soon.

The road so far

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Most people don’t fully understand why USB-C is so dangerous compared to the previous iterations of phone and tablet charging cables, and it’s not hard to guess why. Micro-USB cables can be purchased in bulk for basically nothing, and users are conditioned to “just throw it out and grab a new one” when a cable doesn’t behave. Take a look at any technical support guide for connecting something to your PC via USB and close to the top of every troubleshooting list is something about trying another cable. We’ve been conditioned to accept that sometimes bad cables happen in a batch, so you just grab another one.

It’s not just bad cables, some of the companies making our phones aren’t playing by the rules either.

USB-C is capable of transmitting significantly more data and several times more power than your average Micro-USB or Lightning cable, and that’s where we run into problems. A shoddy USB-C cable can destroy equipment in an instant, because they’re designed to be a lot more complicated. These are supposed to be cables with tiny computers inside to help regulate things like power and data transfer, but in the early days several manufacturers were caught taking their regular Micro-USB cable design and just swapping the tip out for that new oval port design. With nothing to tell the brick plugged in to your wall how much power to send, everything can go wrong.

It’s not just bad cables; some of the companies making our phones aren’t playing by the rules, either. USB-C has its own form of rapid charging capabilities, which makes it possible to boost laptops and phones quickly. Proprietary charging methods, like Qualcomm’s Quick Charge system, aren’t compatible with the USB-C spec that exists right now. That hasn’t stopped Qualcomm or their phone making partners from doing their own thing in order to make USB-C and Quick Charge both happen on the same phone, which has the potential to cause very serious problems for users buying those bargain cables online. Instead of following the guidelines for USB-C, these third parties would rather boast a feature that isn’t actually better than what you already get with USB-C rapid charging. This should change with the next version of the spec, but many people will be left in the lurch.

We have several manufacturers now who have either developed a reputation for quality cables or corrected their cables after being called out for not meeting spec, and that’s great. Unfortunately, virtually none of these companies are testing every cable they manufacture, so the potential for a flawed product to reach a user is higher than it should be. In most of these cases, the worst that could happen is that the phone doesn’t charge or send data as quickly as it could. In more extreme cases, phones and laptops could be in very real danger of permanent damage.

What should happen next?

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There are several ways USB-C could move forward to become something safe for everyone to use, but it’s going to require some changes on behalf of cable manufacturers and users alike. Since asking users to consult their closest electrical engineer to ensure a cable they found in the clearance bin at Wal-Mart isn’t a viable option, most of what happens first is going to be on the cable manufacturers or the people that allow them to sell. It’s not safe for manufacturers to deliver USB-C cables the same way Micro-USB cables have been sold over the last 10 years. It’s important, too, for consumers to know that each cable is as capable as the last, that it can power your laptop and quickly move 4K video from your phone. These cables are doing more than any single cable like it has done before, and with that extra work comes the need for extra care in their manufacturing.

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A lot of this comes down to testing at the factory level, and until recently there wasn’t a great way to do that at scale. Recently, I spoke with Gil Ben-Dov, CEO of Total Phase, whose Advanced Cable Tester is designed to address a lot of the per-cable concerns consumers are faced with today. The testing unit is designed to test for continuity, shorts, E-Marker accuracy, signal integrity, with results achieved in less than 15 seconds. This kind of testing unit gives manufacturers the ability to rapidly ensure entire batches of cables are safe and functional in ways most cables aren’t ever tested before being shipped out to consumers.

Gil had some other ideas for how consumers might move forward. One possible way to address this is through certification, some kind of governing body willing to say “these cables are the ones to buy” after a set of guidelines have been met by the manufacturer. Those guidelines would need to be more rigid than what currently exists from UL, but the same basic idea could apply. A branding or sticker that let consumers know these are worthy, all-purpose USB-C cables that work in every environment.

The safety branding also needs to be enforced by retailers, which is a problem that has led to several serious issues over the last couple of years. It can’t be enough for a company to show Amazon a picture of the UL logo stamped on a battery casing, because it turns out there’s no magic involved in creating those markings. Any shady company can claim certification for their product and sell a quick batch of something for what appears to be next to nothing and make a profit. Retailers need to know they are selling cables that work as well.

And so, we wait…

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If every part of this process is focused on delivering something that is safe for consumers, it’s possible a standard format could emerge quickly that becomes the default way USB-C is handled for the future. This isn’t just good for consumers, according to Gil Ben-Dov: manufacturers are eager for a solution that decreases return requests. Many cable manufacturers are looking for a way to step away from the potential brand damage associated with having USB-C cables fail spectacularly, and a certification that claims their hardware is safe can give early adopters an important bump in a crowded market.

It wasn’t all that long ago I referred to USB-C as the Wild West, and in a lot of ways it could still be seen that way. The potential for harm to your hardware isn’t likely to ever be completely removed, but there are tools in place that didn’t exist even six months ago to help make this the stable ecosystem it probably should have been before these ports were put in things and sold to everyone.

2
Dec

First look: Android 7.0 Nougat on OnePlus 3 + 3T


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Android 7.0 + OxygenOS 4.0 update adds software tweaks from the OnePlus 3T, along with small visual refresh and new Nougat features.

OnePlus recently released its first Android 7.0 beta build for the OnePlus 3, bringing the phone up to the latest (stable) version of the Android, while also including features from OxygenOS 3.5 on the OnePlus 3T. Because the OnePlus 3 and 3T are set to remain on the same software track going forwards, the experience on the OnePlus 3T should be the same when the update arrives for both phones later this month.

So what’s new? If you’ve already been using OxygenOS 3.5 — either in community build form on the 3, or as a stable build on the 3T, many features will already be familiar. (For example, the redesigned home screen launcher and updated widget shelf.)

But there are also plenty of other changes, both big and small.

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First, the most obvious changes: Android 7.0 brings a completely redesigned notification area, together with revamped notifications, inline reply support, split-screen multi-window and a new double-tap shortcut for switching between the last two apps. OnePlus was already working towards Nougat-style quick settings in OxygenOS 3.5, and so there isn’t much of a visual change compared to the OnePlus 3T’s quick settings menu.

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More: What’s new in Android 7.0 Nougat

And the Settings menu has been redesigned to bring it in line with Android 7.0, with a slide-out navigation area allowing you to jump between settings panes. (Elsewhere in the Settings app, it’s now possible to customize which icons appear in the status bar, though for some reason the unsightly NFC and VoLTE graphics aren’t included in this list.)

There’s a subtle hint of Google Pixel about OnePlus’s tweaked color scheme.

There’s a subtle hint of Google Pixel to OnePlus’s updated interface as well. The quick settings area gets new blue accent colors, and these can also be seen in the quick settings area and other menu toggles throughout the UI.

Nougat also brings built-in display (DPI) scaling, making it easier to see more (or less) on screen at a time. There are five different scaling levels — the default “medium” level is the same as on Marshmallow, while the second-smallest “small” level basically mirrors the scaling of the Pixel. (Text, menus and graphics shrink down a little to allow more on screen.) The OnePlus 3’s UI has always been a little oversized, so this is a welcome change.

DPI scaling also affects the OnePlus launcher — “small” and “smallest” give you five icons per row, while the others stick with the default four.

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Speaking of the launcher, the OxygenOS 4.0 home screen setup brings across all the features of the OnePlus 3T, while also introducing a handful of additional tweaks. The persistent Google search bar has gone away, replaced with a standard widget. (This also gives you more space for your own widgets, since disabling the search bar would previously just leave a section of dead space up top.)

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A new, optional simplified home screen setup gets rid of some of the clutter.

And interestingly, an optional new “simplified layout” gives you an alternative to the standard app drawer-based home screen. There’s simple scrolling panel of icons, with a basic clock widget up top. Your main home screen panel houses your favorite nine (or twelve, depending on scaling) apps, while the rest live off on the right. Widgets are confined to the widget shelf, and there’s a new tool for rearranging apps into groups or folders.

You can switch between the normal home screen layout and simplified view at any time.

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In other areas, OxygenOS 4.0 continues where 3.5 left off, with a similar basic feature set, and the lightning-fast performance we’ve come to expect from these phones. That there’s not a mountain of new stuff to see in the OnePlus 3 Nougat update is a testament to the company’s software strategy — layering meaningful features on top of Android without getting in the way. For many of us here at AC, the most important change is DPI scaling — being able to scale down and see more on screen is a breath of fresh air.

The OxygenOS 4.0 beta, based on Android 7.0 Nougat, is now available for the OnePlus 3. The OnePlus 3T isn’t included in the beta, but will get the final Nougat update around the same time as its predecessor. From then on, OnePlus promises simuntaneous updates for both phones.

OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T

  • OnePlus 3 review: Finally, all grown up
  • The OnePlus 3T is official
  • OnePlus 3 specs
  • OnePlus 3T vs. OnePlus 3: What’s the difference?
  • Latest OnePlus 3 news
  • Discuss OnePlus 3 in the forums

OnePlus

Android Nougat

  • Android 7.0 Nougat: Everything you need to know
  • Will my phone get Android Nougat?
  • Google Pixel + Pixel XL review
  • All Android Nougat news
  • How to manually update your Nexus or Pixel
  • Join the Discussion

2
Dec

For less than $100, you can start taking 360-degree photos with LG 360 CAM


If you’re interested in giving 360-degree photography a go, this deal on the LG 360 CAM will let you get started for just under $100. For $99, you can start capturing the world around you with the 360 CAM’s dual fisheye 206-degree lens. And if you’re up for experimenting with video, the LG 360 CAM will let you record at 2560 x 1280 resolution with 5.1-channel surround sound.

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At a discount from its usual $199, this deal offers a relatively affordable way to jump into the world of 360-degree cameras. If you’re at all on the fence, also be sure to give our review a look to see if the LG 360 CAM is for you.

See at DailySteals

2
Dec

Facebook exec says it has ‘a responsibility’ to fight fake news


After a barrage of criticism over fake news stories on Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that over 99 percent of content on the site was authentic. Zuckerberg has since backed off that sentiment slightly, admitting that fake news is indeed a major issue for the company. At Harvard’s Campaign Managers Conference this week, the company’s vice president of communications and public policy had more to say on the topic.

“For so long, we had resisted having standards about whether something’s newsworthy because we did not consider ourselves a service that was predominantly for the distribution of news,” explained Facebook’s Elliot Schrage. “And that was wrong.”

Schrage’s comments came during a panel discussion about the role of media during the 2016 US presidential election. “Until this election, our focus was on helping people share,” he said. “This election forced us to question whether we have a role in assessing the validity of content people share. And I have to tell you all — that’s a pretty damn scary role to play.”

Of course, policing content then raises issues of censorship and Facebook doesn’t know how it should proceed just yet. The company has already announced it plans to give users easier ways to report hoaxes, develop better detection before links even hit the News Feed and cutting ad revenue to “misleading, illegal and deceptive” sites. According to a recent BuzzFeed report, Facebook employees have unofficially taken on the task of battling the fake news problem as well.

“We have a responsibility here,” Schrage said. “I think we recognize that. This has been a learning for us.”

Schrage explained that Facebook isn’t interested in hiring human editors who decide what hits the News Feed. The company already changed course from having employees choose trending topics in favor of an algorithm-based approach. Even after the switch, Facebook is still dealing with fake stories popping up there. Another report claimed editors were knowingly suppressing conservative links, an allegation which Facebook later denied.

So, how does Mr. Schrage propose Facebook alleviate the problem? First, he said that the tools that allow users to report fake news are “not well-done” and need an overhaul. He also hinted at potential solutions that seek to change user behavior rather than pulling content that’s shared from certain sites. Schrage called it a “think before you share” program, and it sounds a bit like an awareness campaign that could be ignored by a large portion of the site’s billions of users.

“We’re in the business of giving users the power to share,” Schrage said. “Part of that is helping them share thoughtfully and responsibly, and consume thoughtfully and responsibly.” As Vox notes, merely passing the responsibility to users is a similar approach to that of Twitter on the topic of abuse. And that course of action isn’t doing much to reassure people using the service.

Source: Vox

2
Dec

This new White House app lets you see 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in AR


Sick of Pokemon Go and looking for a new augmented reality experience to try?

Well, if you have a dollar bill, you can give the White House’s new 1600 app a go. Following the success of Niantic Labs’ smash hit this past summer, the White House has released an app that allows anyone with a smartphone or tablet and a $1 bill to take a 3D-interactive tour of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the US President’s official residence. Just point your camera at the bill, and the White House will be constructed on top of it.

  • 12 augmented-reality apps to try right now

“President Obama has used traditional events and new technology to open up the doors of the White House to more Americans than ever before,” wrote White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest in a blog post. “That’s why we teamed up with the White House Historical Association and Nexus Studios to create this augmented reality experience – to educate and inspire Americans to learn all about what the People’s House stands for.”

When you use the app, you’ll hear narration from Earnest, along with visuals of a Minecraft-style White House cycling through the seasons and various ceremonial events, such as the White House Easter Egg Roll. You can even tap parts of the White House to unlock “Easter eggs”.

The app is free to download. It’s available now for iOS and Android devices.

Thanks, Obama.

2
Dec

UNSHACKLED.com – No Strings Mobile, the guys who help you save big by splitting your phone and SIM contracts


We all own a smartphone, but some of us choose to sign up to a lengthy contract with a network provider, while others may choose to buy their phone outright and add a SIM-only plan. With regular mobile retailers, you’re usually required to pay a large upfront payment and then be faced with high monthly bills for a tariff that’s not always good enough. Buying SIM-free is the better option, but until recently you faced a hefty lump sum to pay upfront for the phone, with most of the flagships now costing well over £500 – that’s not the kind of money everyone has readily available.

UNSHACKLED.com is a new retailer that wants to rip up the rule book by combining the two methods to give you the best possible choice of phones and the widest choice of SIM-tariffs out there, so that you can control the costs of your monthly payments and keep the freedom to change whenever you want.

With UNSHACKLED.com, all of the phones are completely unlocked and SIM-free. You choose any phone you want, including all the major flagships: Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the Google Pixel. You can either buy these outright or you can choose how much of an upfront payment you’d like to make.The upfront payment can be as little as £19 or more if you have an old phone you want to trade-in.

The rest of the amount you pay for the phone is spread out over 24 months to mimic the set up of traditional phone contracts and give customers the kind of payment structure they’re familiar with. However, what’s completely novel is the ability to finish paying off the phone whenever you like, so if you wanted to pay a big chunk off at any time, or sell the phone on so you could upgrade to a new handset, there’s no penalties for doing so. This is a massive shift away from the early termination fees found in traditional phone contracts and allows you full control over when you change phones.

Once you’ve chosen your phone, you can then pick whichever SIM you like. All 16 of the UK mobile network providers are covered, including big names such as EE and Three as well as other perhaps less well-known ones such as The Peoples Operator and LIFE Mobile. As a fully independent retailer, they don’t need to push you towards a particular ‘top deal’ of the week to hit commission targets, they’re just there to help you choose the plan that works best for you.

You can choose whether you want a 1 month rolling SIM contract or a 12 month fixed contract. With the 1 month, you’re able to change your tariff every monthshould you find you’re not using all your minutes, or you need more data, for example. There’s handy guides on the site for calculating how much data you actually need to buy, so you don’t end up paying for more data than you need, or being charged for going over your data allowances, two of the main reasons monthly phone bills cost more than they should.

There’s also a free service available called MobileWatch, where you can sign up to get alerts if a better deal comes along for you. They compare the deal you’re on to what’s new on the market, let you know when there’s something cheaper available and help you switch over to the new plan without any hassle.

Unlike their competitors, UNSHACKLED.com isn’t tied down to any particular networks, it’s literally unshackled from them. This means you have the freedom to choose a phone and tariff that’s perfectly suited for you and what you need, not just suited to what a network provider wants to sell you. And before you think this is just another start-up, the team behind UNSHACKLED.com has a combined 96 years of experience working in the mobile industry, putting all that expertise into building a better, more customer-focused way to buy your mobile.

2
Dec

Pros and cons: Our quick verdict on the new MacBook Pro


Good news: Apple finally revamped the MacBook Pro, after sticking with the same design for more than four years. The bad news: It’s not quite the notebook we at Engadget had been waiting for. Though the refreshed MBP ushers in a series of improvements — faster SSDs, a thinner and lighter design, a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, brighter screen, more robust audio — loyal Mac fans will also probably have to make some changes to the way they work. For starters, there are no full-sized USB ports here, and no SD card reader. That last point will sting for any of the “pros” who use capture devices to record lots of photo, video and audio files. As for the USB ports, get ready to use a dongle if you typically connect an external monitor or even external storage drive.

Perhaps the biggest change, though, is the addition of the Touch Bar, which replaces the traditional Function buttons (even the Escape key) with a touch strip whose shortcuts change depending on the app you’re using. Though Apple has released an SDK to developers, so far most of the apps that support it are from Apple itself. So far, then, the use cases are fairly limited and superficial in nature. Meanwhile, you can no longer just press a button to adjust the volume or brightness. (Get used to a series of taps and swipes, which is simply less efficient.) Also, in our testing, the Siri icon that now sits above the Delete key frequently got in the way. Grr.

If the Touch Bar sounds annoying, the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro comes without it for $1,299, and has longer battery life. The problem is, you get two USB-C ports instead of four, and you forfeit the Touch ID sensor, which is one of our favorite things about the new MBP. If you want Touch ID, though, be prepared to spend at least $1,799 (yikes) and, you know, come to terms with the Touch Bar. Basically, then, there’s lots to like here, and we suspect many of you who have been holding out for a new MacBook Pro will buy this. It’s a shame, though: The laptop we really wanted is more a mashup of last year’s model and this year’s.

2
Dec

The House Science Committee is retweeting bad science


The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology was roundly criticized for retweeting an opinion-laced, misleading Breitbart News story on climate change. Titled “Global temperatures plunge. Icy silence from climate alarmists,” it noted that global temperatures were down a record amount, seemingly defying recent trends of rapidly rising temperatures. However, scientists criticized the article (and its source, The Daily Mail) as being inaccurate and misleading, which led Bernie Sanders to reply, “Where’d you get your PhD? Trump University?”

Where’d you get your PhD? Trump University? https://t.co/P5Ez5fVEwD

— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 1, 2016

It’s not clear who actually retweeted the report. As security analyst Richard Westmoreland noted, however, the Chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, Lamar Smith, has written articles for Breitbart, including an (inaccurate) climate-denying one.

The original Daily Mail article, which cited a NASA report, claimed that El Nino was responsible for earlier temperature increases, “suggesting [the] rise may not be down to man-made emissions,” the sub-headline stated. The site also claimed that NASA said there was a “hiatus” in global warming, a favorite argument of global warming deniers.

As scientist Karen James points out on Facebook, though, NASA didn’t say that at all. Rather, it pointed out that surface temperature decreases were absorbed by the ocean, and that global temperature rises have neither slowed nor paused. She also notes that the cooling caused by La Nina (following warmer El Nino weather) is not news to scientists — they’ve already known for awhile that 2017 would likely be cooler than 2016.

False news & false facts put us all in danger… https://t.co/8hy6haEPaL

— US Rep E.B.Johnson (@RepEBJ) December 1, 2016

Scientists take a longer view when it comes to climate science, and here’s what they are sure of. Summer of 2016 was the hottest on record, and we’ve had 382 months in a row hotter than the 20th century mean temperature. (The last month below that average was December, 1984.) Also, Arctic temperatures have been much hotter than usual, and the region has lost enough ice to cover an area spanning Washington State to New Mexico. That has alarmed many climate scientists, who believe that global temperature rises may actually be much worse than thought.

Breitbart has previously published stories like “Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy,” and “Bill Kristol: Republican spoiler, renegade Jew.” The fact that it mixed opinion with no original reporting and cited UK gossip site The Daily Mail, which distorted legitimate NASA research, was a bridge too far for US Representative E.B. Johnson. Also a member of the Science, Space and Tech Committee, she tweeted that “false news & false facts put us all in danger.”

Via: Bernie Sanders (Twitter)

Source: Science, Space and Tech Committee (Twitter)

2
Dec

Intel and Amazon team up to help developers build Alexa devices


At this week’s Amazon Web Services conference re:Invent, the online retailer revealed two smart home initiatives that are getting a big hand from Intel. First, Intel built a reference design for a smart speaker that employs the Alexa virtual assistant to help with tasks. The device is meant to encourage other companies to make their own gadgets with Amazon’s voice tech and the Intel platform. Developers and manufacturers will be able to get their hands on the reference device during the first quarter of 2017.

Second, Intel brought Alexa voice controls to its Smart Home Hub, including wrangling smart devices, asking questions and more. In other words, Intel is helping developers build connected home products that can be controlled primarily through voice commands in addition to your phone, computer or tablet. Alexa already has some smart home skills through Echo, like controlling Logitech’s Harmony Hub. The virtual assistant also went to work on LG’s SmarThinQ hub, but it doesn’t help with any household tech there.

“With voice as the central interface, customers have an even more natural way to manage the hundreds of tasks they experience every day,” said Alex content marketing manager Ted Karczewski in a blog post.

Intel making a bigger push into the smart home is no surprise. Earlier this year, the company formed an alliance with Microsoft and Samsung to help all of that connected gear in your house talk to each other. Intel also announced a new chip for the IoT industry back in October, following years of investment in the area and its own platform for the smart devices.

Source: Intel, Amazon

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