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APPLE PROVED A PHONE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD IN JUST 10 YEARS

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DETROIT AUTO SHOW: GOOGLE, CAMRY AND THE SHADOW OF TRUMP

CES 2017: MORE, MORE AND YET MORE

48 SPACEWALKING ASTRONAUTS UPGRADE STATION WITH NEW BATTERIES

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ITALY ARRESTS SIBLINGS ACCUSED OF HUGE VIP HACKING CAMPAIGN 08 WAYMO SELF-DRIVING MINIVAN WILL START TEST DRIVES THIS MONTH 26 PROJECT WILL DIGITIZE CATHOLIC RECORDS OF BOSTON ARCHDIOCESE 30 SAMSUNG’S PROFIT JUMPS 50 PERCENT DESPITE GALAXY FIASCO 36 SPY CHIEF SAYS GERMANY NEEDS ABILITY TO COUNTER CYBERATTACKS 46 AMID HACKING FEUD, US HITS RUSSIA WITH NEW SANCTIONS 64 YAHOO TO CHANGE NAME, TRIM BOARD IF VERIZON DEAL GETS DONE 70 VERMONT’S NEW GOVERNOR STICKING WITH RENEWABLE ENERGY GOAL 74 MESSAGING APP SNAPCHAT TO PUT EUROPEAN BASE IN UK 78 ‘HIDDEN FIGURES’ SOARS PAST ‘ROGUE ONE’ TO TOP BOX OFFICE 100 CELLPHONE, WI-FI COVERAGE GOES LIVE AT NYC SUBWAY STATIONS 110 OFFICIALS: FOREIGN GOVERNMENT MAY HAVE BREACHED HEALTH DATA 118 IT’S ALL GOOD: ANY EXERCISE CUTS RISK OF DEATH, STUDY FINDS 136 CHOKED BY MOG, BEIJING CREATES NEW ENVIRONMENTAL POLICE 142 ‘ATMOSPHERIC RIVERS’ WEATHER PHENOMENON SOAKS CALIFORNIA 148

TOP 10 APPS 80 iTUNES REVIEW 84 TOP 10 SONGS 126 TOP 10 ALBUMS 128 TOP 10 MUSIC VIDEOS 130 TOP 10 TV SHOWS 132 TOP 10 BOOKS 134


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ITALY ARRESTS SIBLINGS ACCUSED OF HUGE VIP HACKING CAMPAIGN

Police have arrested a brother-and-sister team suspected of conducting an ambitious, years-long campaign of hacking that targeted thousands of accounts belonging to some of the leading political and business figures in Italy. The motive of the sprawling campaign, which carried Masonic overtones, remains a mystery. But those in the crosshairs included Matteo Renzi when he was Italian premier, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi and much of the cream of Italy’s elite. Image: John Minchillo

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“In the eight months we have been investigating, we haven’t registered any evidence of extortion activity, or attempts to (use hacked data) to obtain influence,” Roberto Di Legami, who directs the Italian national police division that specializes in combatting internet and other communications network crimes, told in a telephone interview Tuesday. Police said that it was an assist from the FBI that helped cracked the “cyberespionage headquarters” and led to Monday’s arrests of Giulio Occhionero, 45, and his 49-year-old sister Francesca Maria Occhionero. They are being kept in isolation in two different jails in Rome, police said. The two live in the Italian capital, where they are reportedly well known in the world of high finance. They also have a legal residence in London, where at one point they registered a securities company, Di Legami said. Prosecutors’ requests for the arrest warrants alleged that the duo tried to hack into Renzi’s personal email twice in June, when he was still premier, and into Draghi’s email account once in June and again in July. A person familiar with the matter said there was no indication any European Central Bank account was successfully breached. The person spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the matter. Italian police were generous with praise for the FBI’s help. Di Legami said the FBI found the servers despite the suspect’s use of the online anonymity tool Tor to mask their electronic movements.

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The FBI did not return a message seeking comment on the nature of its assistance, confirming only that it had helped with the investigation through the U.S. Embassy in Rome. All but one of the servers the Occhioneros allegedly used in their scheme were located in the United States, Di Legami said. He added that, until the Americans hand the servers to Italian investigators, it will not be known if any of the hacking attempts succeeded and if so, what data might have been extracted from the targeted accounts. Police said investigators would be analyzing “an enormous mound of sequestered material” in the United States. The motive for the hacks was unclear, although lines of code in the software - including the English-language string “Pyramid Eye” - suggest a Masonic connection. Giulio Occhionero was a high-ranking member of a Masonic lodge, Di Legami said. An email sent to Giulio Occhionero’s personal address was not immediately returned; a LinkedIn message left with Francesca Maria’s account also was not returned. Other prominent Italians whose accounts allegedly were targeted include Fabrizio Saccomanni, a former Italian economy minister who also served as a top official of Italy’s central bank; a Catholic cardinal holding Vatican posts; Mario Monti, an economist who wrestled with Italy’s financial crisis as premier from 2011 to 2013; former top officials of the Italian tax police squad; and Italian politicians from across the political spectrum. 12

Image: Victor J. Blue


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Politicians expressed relief that a cyber-spy operation had been unmasked and demanded investigators get to the bottom of it. “Everything must be rapidly cleared up, avoiding news leaks,” Debora Serracchiani, a top official with Renzi’s Democratic Party, said. “Certainly, a criminal plan has been uncovered upon which many hypotheses can be made.” The alleged hacking operation came to light as Italian politics already are roiled over Renzi’s stepping down as premier last month after a referendum defeat and maneuvering ahead of likely early elections that could come this year. Ignazio La Russa, a right-wing lawmaker who was among the cyber-spies’ targets, was quoted by the Italian news agency ANSA as saying that he did not feel anguished about information of his that may have been taken. “A member of Parliament must be transparent. If they asked me, I would have given them the info gratis,” La Russa said. La Russa added: “I’d be sorry however, if they spied on my private life, entering in the accounts of my wife or children.” Giulio Occhionero co-founded a boutique Roman investment firm named Westlands Securities SpA, according to his LinkedIn profile and a former employee of the company who didn’t want to be identified in connection with the investigation. Di Legami said investigators think the firm might have been set up largely as a cover for criminal activities, although they found evidence Westland Securities provided legitimate financial advising, including for construction at a southern Italian port, and also had some dealings in stocks and bonds. 14


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Giulio Occhionero was the main force in the duo, drawing on his background as an engineer -- he has a degree in nuclear engineering -- as well as formidable talent as a quantitative analyst, the police official said. Francesca Maria Occhionero, whose LinkedIn page shows she served as Westland Securities’ managing director, mainly helped with support logistics, Di Legami said. Di Legami said the investigators’ big break came when a security manager at a government office dealing with computer security received an email from a law office he didn’t recognize. Alarmed, the manager asked a security firm to trace the IP address. When the IP address didn’t match the one used by the law office, police investigators picked up the trail. Di Legami said the hackers used sophisticated and complex malware and were able to access their victims’ networks for long periods of time, remotely harvesting emails, communications and other documents from targeted computers. In all, the suspects allegedly obtained some 18,000 usernames and nearly 1,800 passwords. The suspects created numerous folders to divide up their targets. Among the more creatively named ones was a folder dubbed “Bros” that included persons who supposedly belong to a Masonic lodge and another folder dubbed POBU - for politicians and business - in which various individuals from high-level politics and business were listed. Investigators moved to have the suspects arrested because of the “concrete danger” they could flee abroad, police said. 16


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DETROIT AUTO SHOW: GOOGLE, CAMRY AND THE SHADOW OF TRUMP

Fresh off a record year for U.S. auto sales, carmakers meet in Detroit next week to show buyers what’s coming next - and ponder their own future under a Trump administration. More than 40 new vehicles will debut at the North American International Auto Show, which is one of the largest shows in the U.S. After record sales of 17.55 million in 2016, U.S. sales of new cars and trucks are expected to cool off a little this year, but demand remains strong. Even if they can count on U.S. buyers, automakers aren’t sure what to make of President-elect Donald Trump. Trump has criticized Ford, General Motors and Toyota for making vehicles in Mexico and exporting them to the U.S. He is threatening a 35-percent border tax, which could throw the industry into disarray. But automakers are also hopeful that Trump will lower corporate taxes and loosen fuel economy standards and other regulations. 19


“It is the year of unknowns,” said Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst with the car-buying site Autotrader.com. Here’s what to look for at the Detroit show, which is open to the public from Jan. 14-22. BIG DEBUTS: New versions of some important products will debut at the show. Toyota will show off the new Camry sedan, which has been the best-selling car in the U.S. since 2002, and Honda will pull the wraps off the new Odyssey minivan. Americans are increasingly favoring SUVs over cars, and automakers are scrambling to meet that demand. GM will have new versions of its popular GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Traverse SUVs. Nissan will show a smaller version of its Rogue SUV, while Volkswagen will have a stretched version of its Tiguan. Even Chinese automaker GAC Group, which doesn’t yet sell vehicles in the U.S., will be showing off an SUV. As usual, there will be some surprises. Kia is teasing a high-performance sports car and Ford - which shocked the show with its GT last year is mum on its plans.

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Image: Paul Sancya

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MOBILITY BUZZ: Seismic changes are coming to the auto industry in the form of car-sharing and self-driving vehicles. Carmakers are trying to get on board. For the first time, a convention dedicated to mobility will run during the auto show press days. Dubbed Automobili-D, the event will feature booths from more than 100 tech startups, auto suppliers and carmakers with innovations like car seats that can sense when you’re drowsy and software that can navigate the car in stop-and-go traffic. Waymo - Google’s self-driving car project - will kick off the event by showing its new autonomous minivan developed with Fiat Chrysler. TRUMP EFFECT: The auto show will be the first time many executives are asked about Donald Trump and whether his threatened border tax will affect their plans to build factories in Mexico. Assembly plants are big investments, costing well over $1 billion, and automakers are unlikely to change course. But Trump’s tough talk is already having some impact. Ford announced earlier this week that it would halt production of a planned Mexico plant. The automaker said falling demand for small cars - not Trump - was the primary reason for the change, and Ford CEO Mark Fields shrugged off the threat of tariffs. But Fields said the move was “a vote of confidence” for Trump, whose promised corporate tax relief could make the U.S. a better place to do business. IF YOU GO: In addition to the 40 debuts, automakers will show more than 750 vehicles at the show, which is held at Cobo Center in Detroit. More than 815,000 people attended last year’s show during the public days.

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WAYMO SELF-DRIVING MINIVAN WILL START TEST DRIVES THIS MONTH

Waymo, Google’s self-driving car division, will start testing its new fleet of minivans on public roads in California and Arizona later this month. The minivans, built in collaboration with Fiat Chrysler, are Chrysler Pacifica hybrids outfitted with Waymo’s own suite of sensors and radar. Waymo and FCA announced their partnership in May. In a speech at the Detroit auto show, CEO John Krafcik revealed that Waymo built the sensors, radar and software for the new minivans itself. Krafcik said the company felt the system would work better if it was developed specifically for self-driving instead of using off-the-shelf parts. 26


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“A single integrated system means that all the different parts of a self-driving car work together seamlessly,” Krafcik said. Waymo also was able to significantly lower the cost of the system, Krafcik said. The rooftop lidar - which uses lasers to give the car a threedimensional picture of the world - cost $75,000 a few years ago. Waymo has brought that cost down by 90 percent and has developed its own short-range and long-range lidar. Waymo’s long-range lidar can see a football helmet two football fields away. Krafcik didn’t say exactly how Waymo lowered the costs. But the announcement could concern suppliers like Velodyne, which makes lidar systems used by Ford Motor Co. and others, and Delphi Corp., which is developing its own autonomous driving system. Stephanie Brinley, an auto analyst for IHS Markit, said Google won’t control the market for self-driving technology, so other suppliers with go ahead with development of their own systems. But some smaller players in the nascent industry are “going to fall away,” she said. Waymo has repeatedly said that it doesn’t plan to build its own cars, but provide self-driving systems to established carmakers, car-sharing services or others. In addition to FCA, Honda Motor Co. recently announced that it’s in talks with Waymo about using its technology in Honda vehicles. Krafcik said Waymo, which has been developing self-driving cars for eight years, expects to reach 3 million miles of test-driving this May.

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PROJECT WILL DIGITIZE CATHOLIC RECORDS OF BOSTON ARCHDIOCESE

Two of Boston’s most venerable institutions are teaming up to create an online database of hundreds of thousands of Roman Catholic Church documents to help people trace their family histories. The New England Historic Genealogical Society and the Archdiocese of Boston on Tuesday announced the project that was first talked about two years ago. It’s the first time a significant number of sacramental records from any U.S. diocese have been digitized on this scale, the organizations said. The plan is to digitize and index records from 1789 to 1900 from all the parishes in the archdiocese, even those that no longer exist. They are about 5,000 volumes to digitize, some as many as 500 pages, said Thomas Lester, the archivist and records manager for the archdiocese. 31


Lester noticed when he first took the job a couple of years ago that the parish sacramental records were among the most frequently referenced. But the downside of that was the wear and tear it caused to already crumbling documents. “Pages are brittle and flaking, bindings are coming unstitched, some are just falling apart,” he said. “Of course we try to restore them, but we can’t do it fast enough. So we looked into scanning all of them, that way if we can’t save the books we can at least save the information.” He talked to Jean Maguire at the genealogical society. Established in 1845, it is the premier national resource for genealogists and family historians and already home to more than 28 million items, including records from other New England churches, said Maguire, the society’s library director. So far, the records from four churches are available online, but they include some of the most significant churches in archdiocese history, including the mother church, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, as well as now-closed Holy Trinity - also known as the German Church - and Our Lady of Victories, the first French parish in Boston. The records already online are available to browse for free. As more are posted, a paid membership to the genealogical society will be required. The records include baptisms, marriages, confirmations, ordinations, first communions and other pivotal life events. 32


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They include important clues to family history. For example, marriage records often include the names of witnesses and baptism records include the names of godparents. The majority of the records are in Latin, but because many Catholic churches were established for a particular immigrant group, some are also in Italian, French, Polish and other languages. “The whole 19th century was a time of waves of immigration to Boston, and this project will make it easier to study that era and for people to trace their family history back to Europe,” Maguire said. Records searchable by name will be available later this year, but it may ultimately take years to complete the project. “We have a lot of parishes to cover,” Maguire said.

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SAMSUNG’S PROFIT JUMPS 50 PERCENT DESPITE GALAXY FIASCO

Samsung Electronics Co. said last week that its profits in the last quarter of 2016 surged 50 percent to the highest level in more than three years, despite the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco. Analysts had expected Samsung’s profits to surge thanks to its mainstay semiconductor business, but the result surpassed even the most optimistic forecasts. The semiconductor division cashed in on strong demand and a tight supply for microchips during the September-December period, likely contributing to more than half of its quarterly earnings. In its earnings preview, Samsung said it posted 9.2 trillion won ($7.8 billion) in operating profit, up from 6.1 trillion won a year earlier. It was the biggest quarterly income since the third quarter of 2013. Analysts polled by FactSet expected a figure of 8 trillion won. Sales fell 1 percent to 53 trillion won ($44.9 billion). The company did not give net profit or breakdown figures for its businesses, which are due later this month. 37


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For the full year, the South Korean tech giant saw a 10 percent gain in its annual income, its best result in three years. “It’s thanks to the improvement in semiconductors and displays on top of favorable foreign exchange rates,” said Kim Young Woo, an analyst at SK Securities. The result is a bright spot for the tech giant that was obliged to do multiple recalls last year of products that included a popular smartphone and a washing machine. The stellar financial results come as Samsung faces an investigation linking it to an influencepeddling scandal that led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. Samsung already has postponed its annual personnel reshuffle, usually announced in December, due to the scandal. Samsung Group faces allegations that Samsung Electronics and its affiliated companies paid money to foundations and a company controlled by a long-time friend of Park’s, Choi Soon-sil, in order to get the government’s backing in a controversial merger of two Samsung affiliates related to Samsung’s fatherto-son leadership succession. It is still unclear why the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones were prone to overheating and catching fire. That prompted two recalls and eventual discontinuation of the flagship product. Tim Baxter, chief operating officer at Samsung’s U.S. business, told reporters at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday that Samsung will share the root cause of the Galaxy Note 7 fires “very soon.” Samsung has been investigating the issue for more than four months. 39


APPLE PROVED A PHONE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD IN JUST 10 YEARS

Few people realized it at the time, but the world shifted fundamentally a decade ago when Steve Jobs pulled the first iPhone from Apple’s bag of technological tricks. “Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything,” Jobs declared as he paced across a San Francisco stage. It obviously wasn’t an empty boast. We all know now that Jobs’“magical product” has reshaped culture, shaken up industries, put computers in billions of pockets and made it possible to do just about anything with a few taps on a screen. Besides its then 3.5-inch touch screen, the first iPhone featured a browser for on-the-go web surfing and built-in apps to check email and get directions. 40


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GOING MOBILE Apple has sold more than 1 billion iPhones since its debut, spawning millions of mobile applications and prodding other technology companies to make similar smartphones that have become like phantom limbs for many of us. We use iPhones and their copycats to instantly share video and pictures with friends and family from almost anywhere. We use them to figure out where we are going. We use them to find the best deals while shopping in stores and to pay for stuff at the checkout stand. We use the phones to a hail ride, to tune instruments, to monitor our health and help find our next jobs. Phones have gotten so smart that they even talk back to us via helpful digital concierges such as the iPhone’s Siri and the recently introduced Assistant on Google’s Pixel phone. “IPhone is an essential part of our customers’ lives, and today more than ever it is redefining the way we communicate, entertain, work and live,” Apple’s current CEO, Tim Cook, boasted in a retrospective that the Cupertino, California, company posted on its website.

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ROADKILL IN ITS WAKE The iPhone’s revolutionary touch screen doomed the BlackBerry, another once-popular internet-connected phone. Mobile phones and their tablet cousins triggered a downturn in personal computer sales that is still unfolding. An estimated 219 million desktop and laptop computers shipped worldwide last year, down from 264 million in 2007, according to the research firm Gartner Inc. Meanwhile, nearly 1.9 billion mobile phones shipped last year, up from 1.15 billion in 2007. All told, Gartner estimates about 5 billion mobile phones are currently in use around the world compared to 1.3 billion PCs. The eroding popularity of PCs spurred shake-ups at powerful tech companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Dell, none of which adapted nimbly to the mobile world unleashed by the iPhone. Then-Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer scoffed at Apple’s glass-and-metal gadget, telling USA Today in April 2007 that “there’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.” Microsoft wound up squandering the $7.6 billion that it spent to buy phone maker Nokia in a futile attempt to catch up to the iPhone. Ballmer stepped down as CEO three years ago and was replaced by Satya Nadella, who introduced versions of Microsoft’s popular Office programs that worked on Apple’s iPad - a tablet based on the iPhone.

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A HUGE HIT ... AND THEN A STALL The iPhone’s success helped make Jobs a revered figure for many, and one whose October 2011 death was mourned around the world. The device has established Apple as the world’s most profitable company with earnings of $45.7 billion on sales of $216 billion during its latest fiscal year. (Prior to the iPhone’s release, Apple posted an annual profit of $2 billion on sales of $19.3 billion.) Its stock-market value is hovering around $635 billion, thanks to a split-adjusted stock price that’s risen by nearly a factor of 10 since the iPhone’s debut. Lately, though, the iPhone appears to be losing some steam. People are keeping older models for longer before upgrading or switching over to competing phones that run on Google’s Android software. Apple suffered its first-ever decline in iPhone sales in its last fiscal year, causing the company to miss its revenue projections and hitting Cook with a 15 percent pay cut . Most smartphones now run on Android, partly because Google gives away the software. That has helped iPhone rivals woo price conscious consumers, especially outside the U.S., with phones that are much cheaper than the iPhone, whose latest models now cost more than $649 to $849. In his statement, though, Cook promised the iPhone is “just getting started. The best is yet to come.”

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SPY CHIEF SAYS GERMANY NEEDS ABILITY TO COUNTER CYBERATTACKS

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The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency says the country needs to be able to return fire during a cyberattack, including the ability to disable equipment that’s being used to target Germany. Hans-Georg Maassen told German news agency dpa in an interview published Tuesday that it’s necessary “for us not just to be purely defensive.” Maassen, who heads the BfV agency, said Germany “needs to be able to attack the enemy in order to stop him from attacking us further.” The BfV is responsible for counter-espionage and doesn’t operate outside Germany, so acquiring offensive electronic warfare capabilities would mark a departure for the agency. Maassen’s boss, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, recently proposed an overhaul of Germany’s security apparatus in response to the threat of terrorism and state-sponsored hacking.

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IMPRESSIVE TVS, LAPTOPS AND DRONES ALL FEATURED

Consumer Electronics Show, which was held from January 5th to 8th in Las Vegas.

As classic sci-fi shows like The Jetsons have demonstrated, many of us have long been convinced of various technologically impressive ways in which people will be living their day-today lives in some distant future. Well, that future probably looked a little less distant at this year’s

Wall-sized TVs, self-driving cars, guard robots and voice-controlled home appliances were all shown off at this year’s event - and, of course, there was plenty for Apple fans to get excited about, too. Here is a good look at many of the highlights.

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THINNESS AND AFFORDABILITY WITH NEW PHONES AND LAPTOPS You’ve likely already garnered the impression that there was no shortage of quirky treats on display behind the walls of the Las Vegas Convention Center. However, new phones and laptops remain obvious gadgets for inclusion at CES, and this year’s outing was no different. Samsung brought the Galaxy S7’s curved metal design and glass rear to refreshed midrange A3, A5 and A7 handsets. Meanwhile, LG updated its - also mid-range - K roster, providing a choice of four different models - the K family’s top model being the 5.3-inch LG K10 running on Android 7.0 Nougat.

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In line with the recently emerged popularity of 2-in-1 devices, a convertible version of Dell’s XPS laptop was announced at CES 2017. The almost bezel-less display makes for an appealingly small 13-inch notebook. Meanwhile, HP unveiled a new EliteBook x360 which, while taking obvious design cues from MacBooks, is claimed to be the thinnest corporate-centric convertible yet, at just 0.59-inch thick. It also comes with a 13.3-inch display, fingerprint scanner and array of buttons intended specifically for use in making conference calls. 54


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Image: The Verge


VIRTUAL REALITY: STILL THE NEXT MAJOR TECH REVOLUTION? Still, however much dedicated tech followers in particular might appreciate these updates, it’s often easier - especially for more casual observers - to be excited by refinements to technologies that are only just beginning to emerge to widespread prominence. After all, that’s often where the more rapid and obvious steps forward are - and there seems good reason to believe that virtual reality could result in the biggest upheaval in tech since the iPhone’s arrival. As Variety has reported, this year’s CES included plenty of booths showing off virtual reality headsets and accessories. Nonetheless, have the dauntingly high price tags of the Oculus or Vive headsets left you convinced that a sophisticated virtual reality experience is going to remain out of your financial reach for years to come? Not if Microsoft has anything to do with it. The company has updated Windows 10 with support for an array of VR headsets that are on the way from third-party manufacturers. These include Lenovo, which used CES to display a Windows-compatible headset that the firm has said will retail for under $400, while offering similar performance to Oculus. Microsoft told TechnoBuffalo that such headgear will be available at various price points. You are unlikely to have to wait for long for these products - contrary to what can be said about the most advanced VR experiences at this year’s CES. Those experiences could still be another year or two away from public availability. An 57


especially notable VR attraction at the event was Global Imagination’s VR Sphere, an oversized glass globe capable of showing 360-degree videos. Featured accessories for use alongside headsets included VR chairs designed for 360-degree swiveling. We can imagine that being a lot of fun to use for particularly actionheavy virtual reality games!

ALLOW US TO DRONE ON ABOUT DRONES Last year, the Federal Aviation Administration permitted drones to be commercially used for inspecting the likes of farms, solar panels and wireless-network towers. As a result, drone manufacturing has flourished as a business - and many results of this could be seen at CES. One example was Yuneec’s H520, an industrial, sensor-packed UAV in an orange shade bringing to mind roadwork signs. There was also the PowerVision PowerRay, an underwater drone intended for use by tech-savvy fishing enthusiasts that incorporates a light for both luring and illuminating fish. One especially wacky machine among the drones at CES, however, was a “selfie drone” called the Hover Camera Passport. Made by Zero Zero Robotics, its 13-megapixel camera allows outdoor selfies to be captured from an even more aerial angle. It’s an imaginative purpose for a drone – and while the new set of Star Wars-branded drones displayed by Propel Toys might have seemed much more inevitable, there’s no denying the marketing power of that sci-fi franchise. These drones are available in the forms of an X-Wing, TIE fighter and Imperial speeder bike. 58


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Image: Ainhoa Delicado


I WANT MY, I WANT MY, I WANT MY QLED TV Samsung showed itself to be a clear leader in TV technology at CES, announcing new smart TVs with panels making use of what the South Korean firm has called ‘QLED’. We are talking about LED-backlit LCD panels here, with the Q standing for ‘quantum’ - a reference to the new kind of quantum dots used for the stunning displays of these 4K UHD TVs, which Samsung has dubbed the Q7, Q8 and Q9 series. These QLED TVs reach 2000 nits peak brightness, according to Samsung, which makes these sets capable of displaying both better contrast and a broader color gamut. Meanwhile, Sony, LG and Panasonic announced new OLED TVs - which, doing away with the backlights of LED sets, show deeper blacks and better color contrast in comparison. However, if you end up buying one, it could be a good idea to pick up a set-top box to go with it. Promising set-top boxes unveiled at CES included the Dish AirTV, which combines streaming and over-the-air broadcast content in a way that won it the accolade for Best Home Theater Product in Engadget’s Best of CES 2017 awards. Also worth mentioning is the Disney Kids TV box, which will be preloaded with films, TV shows and games for children to enjoy.

THE APPLE OF CES’S EYE Of course, if you’re reading this, you’re likely to have more than a few Apple gadgets - and various companies at CES had plenty of new accessories for people like you. MacRumors 61


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has rounded up many of the most exciting of these new products. If, for example, the muchpublicized axing of the dedicated headphone jack has put you off wanting to splash out on an iPhone 7, you can take comfort that Incipio has unveiled a new case that brings it back. While the case has a large chin for accommodating that connector and a Lightning charging port, it remains pleasingly thin. Similarly, if the loss of the familiar MagSafe connector deterred you from purchasing one of the recently revamped MacBook Pro models, you can get one of Griffin’s new BreakSafe cables. The 100W cable in this range is intended for use with the 2016 MacBook Pro and restores breakaway functionality not available with a USB Type-C cable. Meanwhile, for Apple fans using HomeKit to assemble the perfect smart home, NanoLeaf has brought out colorful Aurora lights, each of which you can control via the company’s Aurora app.

WHAT A GREAT CES THIS YEAR! Despite the thorough detail that we have launched into with this article, we have to admit that we have still only scraped the surface of what was shown off in Las Vegas. Indeed, the sheer variety is very much key to the beauty of CES. Taking into account that it could also be some time before some of the products that we have mentioned reach retail availability, it’s clear that tech fans - and even Apple fans in isolation still have a lot to look forward to thanks to CES.

by Benjamin Kerry & Gavin

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AMID HACKING FEUD, US HITS RUSSIA WITH NEW SANCTIONS

The outgoing Obama administration on Monday blacklisted five Russians, including a senior law enforcement official close to President Vladimir Putin, as the two nations’ feud over U.S. election hacking escalated. The founder of WikiLeaks, publisher of the election-related emails, denounced last week’s U.S. intelligence report about the hacking as a “press release.” The economic sanctions against the five Russians are not related to the U.S. intelligence agencies findings, officials said, and instead are connected to a 2012 U.S. law punishing Russian human rights violators. Americans are now banned from doing business with the men and any assets they may have in the United States are now frozen. 64


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Britain blames the two others for the London murder of a former Russian spy. Forty-four Russians have now been subjected to U.S. sanctions under the so-called Magnitsky law, the State Department said. In late December, President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia directly tied to the election accusations, expelling 35 of the country’s diplomats and shutting down Russian retreats in New York and Maryland that the U.S. said were used for intelligence purposes. He also targeted two Russian intelligence services, the GRU and the FSB. The GRU’s chief and three deputies were individually blacklisted, too. Before the new penalties were announced, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday that the Kremlin still believes the U.S. accusations of election hacking had no substance. “They are amateurish and are hardly worthy of the high professional standards of top intelligence agencies,” Peskov said. “We categorically rule out the possibility that Russian officials or official bodies could have been involved. We are tired of such accusations. This is beginning to remind us of a full-fledged witch hunt.” The report accused Russia of hacking into the email accounts of the Democratic National Committee and individual Democrats like Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta. Russia also used state-funded propaganda and paid “trolls” to make nasty comments on social media services, it said, although there was no suggestion such operations affected the actual vote count. 66


Image: Andrew Harnik

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It also explicitly tied Putin to the hackings, calling them the “boldest effort yet” to influence a U.S. election. WikiLeaks founder Assange on Monday brushed aside the allegations. He called the report a politically motivated “press release” that provided no evidence Russian actors gave WikiLeaks hacked material. The report lacked details about how the U.S. learned what it says it knows, such as any intercepted conversations or electronic messages from Russian leaders, including Putin. It also said nothing about specific hacker techniques or digital tools the U.S. may have traced back to Russia in its investigations. A still-classified version of the report was shared late last week with President Barack Obama, Trump and top lawmakers in Congress.

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Image: Alexei Druzhinin


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Image: Noah Berger


YAHOO TO CHANGE NAME, TRIM BOARD IF VERIZON DEAL GETS DONE

Yahoo will adopt a new corporate identity and slash the size of its board if the proposed $4.8 billion sale of its digital services to Verizon Communications goes through. The company plans to change its name to Altaba Inc. after it turns over its email, websites, mobile apps and advertising tools to Verizon. The new name is meant to reflect Yahoo’s transformation into a holding company for investments in China’s e-commerce leader, Alibaba Group, and Yahoo Japan that are worth about more than $40 billion combined. 71


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Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, co-founder David Filo and four other directors currently on the company’s 11-member board will resign after the planned sale to Verizon closes. Verizon is expected to retain Yahoo’s brand under its ownership. But the Verizon deal has been jeopardized by Yahoo’s recent discovery of two computer hacking attacks that stole personal information from more than 1 billion user accounts during two different intrusions that occurred in 2013 and 2014. Verizon is reassessing whether it should renegotiate the sales price or perhaps cancel the deal light of hacking revelations that could trigger a backlash among Yahoo users upset about sensitive personal details being stolen. Yahoo is fighting to keep the deal intact. In the only change that took effect Monday, Yahoo director Eric Brandt became the company’s chairman. He replaces Maynard Webb, who becomes chairman emeritus until the Verizon deal closes. Brandt, the former chief financial officer of chipmaker Broadcom, joined Yahoo’s board 10 months ago. Webb had been Yahoo’s chairman for nearly four years. If the Verizon deal closes, Webb will leave the board along with Mayer, Filo and Eddy Hartenstein, Richard Hill and Jane Shaw.

Image: Laurent Gillieron

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VERMONT’S NEW GOVERNOR STICKING WITH RENEWABLE ENERGY GOAL

Vermont’s new Republican governor said Monday he would stick with his Democratic predecessor’s long-term goal of getting 90 percent of the energy needed in the state from renewable sources by 2050. But Gov. Phil Scott, highlighting the construction of a new solar power project in the parking lot of a Montpelier food cooperative, said he believed new technology would be needed to make it happen. “When you look at projects like this and the way we’ve changed over the last decade in that regard I think it can be accomplished, but we’re going to have to have some help in technology changes,” Scott said. While helping to inaugurate the “Solar Canopy” developed by the Waterbury-based SunCommon, Scott said the business fits in well with the top goal of his new administration, economic development. He said it also creates jobs that keep young people from leaving the state. 75


For several years, Vermont has been working toward some of the most aggressive renewable energy goals in the country. Scott’s predecessor, Democrat Peter Shumlin, set the long-term goal. In his farewell address last week a day before Scott took office, Shumlin said Vermont had the highest per capita number of people working in clean energy jobs in the country. He said the state also had 12 times more solar panels than when he took office and 25 times the wind power. Still, renewable energy projects, be they ridge-top industrial wind turbines or fields full of solar panels, can generate fierce opposition from neighbors. Scott said that while he supports the renewable energy goal, communities should have a larger role in helping determine where they are located. The timber frame “Solar Canopy” erected in the parking lot of the Hunger Mountain Co-op is the first of its kind in the state. The panels are above parking spaces in the store’s lot and SunCommon officials said households and small businesses could use it to install solar over driveways, parking lots, patios or woodpiles. Waterbury-based SunCommon says a solar canopy that covers two parking spaces generates enough solar power for the average Vermont home. Scott said SunCommon, which was founded in 2012 and employs 70 people, has hired many young people and graduates from the state’s colleges and universities. “Companies like SunCommon, and many others who are creating jobs and innovating here in Vermont, are exactly what we need to reach these (economic development) goals,” Scott said. 76


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Image: Patrick T. Fallon


MESSAGING APP SNAPCHAT TO PUT EUROPEAN BASE IN UK

The company behind messaging app Snapchat will place its European base in Britain in a vote of confidence in the economy following the vote to leave the European Union. Los Angeles-based Snap Inc.’s decision runs counter to that of tech giants like Apple and Google, who have chosen lower tax bases like Ireland. It also comes amid public frustration over alleged tax avoidance schemes of multinational corporations. Snap, which has 75 staff members in Britain, will pay U.K. corporation tax on its international profits. Claire Valoti, general manager of Snap Group in the U.K., says that the company believes in the U.K.’s creative industries. Snap has 150 million users a day worldwide and is planning a U.S. stock flotation with a reported valuation of up to $25 billion. 79


#01 – Super Mario Run By Nintendo Co., Ltd. Category: Games / Free Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

#02 – Bitmoji - Your Personal Emoji By Bitstrips Category: Utilities / Free Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

#03 – Messenger By Facebook, Inc. Category: Social Networking / Free Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

#04 – Snapchat By Snap, Inc. Category: Photo & Video / Free Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

#05 – Instagram By Instagram, Inc. Category: Photo & Video / Free Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

#06 – 8 Ball Pool™ By Miniclip.com Category: Games / Free Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

#07 – YouTube By Google, Inc. Category: Photo & Video / Free Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

#08 – Facebook By Facebook, Inc. Category: Social Networking / Free Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

#09 – Netflix By Netflix, Inc. Category: Entertainment / Free Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

#10 – Uber By Uber Technologies, Inc. Category: Travel / Free Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

80


#01 – Microsoft OneNote By Microsoft Corporation Category: Productivity / Free Compatibility: OS X 10.10 or later, 64-bit processor

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#06 – The Unarchiver By Dag Agren Category: Utilities / Free Compatibility: OS X 10.6.0 or later, 64-bit processor

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#08 – Kindle By AMZN Mobile LLC Category: Reference / Free Compatibility: OS X 10.8 or later

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#10 – PDF Reader Pro Free By Chia hsing Su Category: Business / Free Compatibility: OS X 10.7 or later, 64-bit processor

81


#01 – Five Nights at Freddy’s: Sister Location By Scott Cawthon Category: Games / Price: $2.99 Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

#02 – Minecraft: Pocket Edition By Mojang Category: Games / Price: $6.99 Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

#03 – Heads Up! By Warner Bros. Category: Games / Price: $0.99 Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

#04 – Bloons TD 5 By Ninja Kiwi Category: Games / Price: $2.99 Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

#05 – Geometry Dash By RobTop Games AB Category: Games / Price: $1.99 Requires iOS 5.1.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

#06 – Plague Inc. By Ndemic Creations Category: Games / Price: $0.99 Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

#07 – 7 Minute Workout Challenge By Fitness Guide Inc Category: Health & Fitness / Price: $2.99 Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

#08 – MONOPOLY Game By Electronic Arts Category: Games / Price: $0.99 Requires iOS 8.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

#09 – NBA 2K17 By 2K Category: Games / Price: $2.99 Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

#10 – Tabs & Chords by Ultimate Guitar By Ultimate Guitar Category: Music / Price: $2.99 Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

82


#01 – GarageBand By Apple Category: Music / Price: $6.99 Compatibility: OS X 10.10 or later

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#09 – App for WhatsApp By Bastian Roessler Category: Social Networking / Price: $2.79 Compatibility: OS X 10.11 or later, 64-bit processor

#10 – Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 By Adobe Category: Photography / Price: $99.99 Compatibility: OS X 10.10 or later, 64-bit processor

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Trailer

Movies &

TV Shows

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Moonlight The story of a young man trying to find himself and grapple with his own sexuality over the course of three life-defining chapters.

FIVE FACTS: 1. The director Barry Jenkins stated that the three actors who played Chiron never actually met during production. Despite the fact they were all playing the same character, he wanted them to develop their own individual personas. 2. This film is based on an unproduced play by MacArthur Fellow Tarell Alvin McCraney called In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue. 3. The entire film was shot over just 25 days during October and November 2015.

by Barry Jenkins Genre: Drama Released: 2017

4. Naomi Harris, who plays Paula, is the only actress who appears in all three chapters of the film.

54 Ratings

5. Moonlight has been nominated for six Golden Globes, including Best Director and Best Screenplay for Barry Jenkins, as well as Best Motion Picture.

Rotten Tomatoes

98

% 85


86


Moonlight | Middle of The World Official Clip HD | A24

87


Zootopia In the city where any animal can make it big, one bunny joins the police force and strives to prove herself by tackling a case with a scam artist fox.

FIVE FACTS: 1. Before the release of Zootopia, the movie was teased in Big Hero 6, Baymax flying past a poster for the movie near some train tracks. 2. There are exactly 64 different species of animal that make an appearance in this movie. 3. The mayor of Zootopia, Mayor Lionheart, is directly inspired by Mufasa from The Lion King. 4. While researching for the movie in Africa, the director of cinematography layout came face-to-face with a rescued cheetah. The cheetah did not like his camera and attempted to attack him.

by Rich Moore & Byron Howard Genre: Kids & Family Released: 2016 Price: $19.99

3032 Ratings

5. The animation crew wanted to make the animals feel more realistic, so they added debris to their fur.

Trailer

88


Rotten Tomatoes

98

% 89


90


“Assistant Mayor Bellwether”

91


Genre: Pop Released: Apr 23, 2016 13 Songs Price: $17.99

13445 Ratings

Music 92


Lemonade Beyonce Beyonce releases a new album with a more somber tone than her past work. As powerful and independent as she is, Beyonce is coming to her audience and showing them that she is not immune to pain.

‘Lemonade trailer’

FIVE FACTS: 1. The movie iteration of Lemonade features several spoken-word segments, which are adaptations of poems written by SomaliEnglish poet Warsan Shire. 2. Although Beyonce is credited as the writer and producer of every track, Wynter Gordon also helped with the creation of “Sorry”, “Hurt Yourself” and “Daddy Lessons”. 3. The song “Hold Up” has a total of 15 writers credited to it, including Diplo, Ezra Koenig and Father John Misty. This amount of writers is due to the fact the song uses parts of a Soulja Boy song. 4. The song “Don’t Hurt Yourself” samples the Led Zeppelin song “When The Levee Breaks”. 5. Beyonce’s body art in the visual part of her album was designed by Nigerian-born Laolu Senbanjo.

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‘Hold Up’

94


95


A Moon Shaped Pool Radiohead Radiohead return with their ninth album sporting the same haunting beauty that their past work has, showing that they haven’t lost steam even after over 30 years together.

FIVE FACTS: 1. The song “True Love Waits” makes its first appearance on this album after Radiohead had tried to record it for OK Computer (1997), Kid A (2000) and Amnesiac (2001). 2. “Burn the Witch” was first performed live as part of a solo set by Thom Yorke at Latitude Festival in 2009. 3. Radiohead, being the oddity they are, decided to promote the album’s release only one week before it actually came out. 4. “Burn the Witch” was also nominated for a Grammy, and A Moon Shaped Pool has been nominated for Best Alternative Music Album. 5. Despite their past protests against Spotify, Radiohead agreed to have A Moon Shaped Pool appear on the streaming service, after it had been released on Apple Music, Google Play and Tidal.

96


Genre: Alternative, Prog-rock, Art Rock Released: May 08, 2016 11 Songs Price: $10.99 “Burn The Witch” 1883 Ratings

97


“Daydreaming”

98


99


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‘HIDDEN FIGURES’ SOARS PAST ‘ROGUE ONE’ TO TOP BOX OFFICE

With an ongoing taste for space, moviegoers propelled the NASA drama “Hidden Figures” past “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” at the box office. “Hidden Figures,” which tells the true story of three black female mathematicians integral to the early success of the American space program, sold $22.8 million in tickets over the weekend, enough to knock “Rogue One” from the top spot it held for three weeks. The “Star Wars” spinoff finished second with $22 million, according to studio tallies released Monday. “Hidden Figures” opened in limited release over Christmas, but it found its first big chance to reach audiences when it expanded by more than 2,400 locations Friday. 101


The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled by comScore:

1.

“Hidden Figures,” 20th Century Fox, $22,800,057, 2,471 locations, $9,227 average, $25,754,235, 3 weeks.

2.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” Disney, $22,063,570, 4,157 locations, $5,308 average, $477,364,924, 4 weeks.

3.

“Sing,” Universal, $20,712,365, 3,955 locations, $5,237 average, $214,512,010, 3 weeks.

4.

“Underworld: Blood Wars,” Sony, $13,688,751, 3,070 locations, $4,459 average, $13,688,751, 1 week.

5.

“La La Land,” Lionsgate, $10,132,213, 1,515 locations, $6,688 average, $51,788,800, 5 weeks.

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6.

“Passengers,” Sony, $8,816,213, 3,400 locations, $2,593 average, $80,909,256, 3 weeks.

7.

“Why Him?” 20th Century Fox, $6,901,730, 2,904 locations, $2,377 average, $48,961,283, 3 weeks.

8.

“Moana,” Disney, $6,384,485, 2,549 locations, $2,505 average, $225,365,667, 7 weeks.

9.

“Fences,” Paramount, $4,813,606, 2,368 locations, $2,033 average, $40,776,870, 4 weeks.

10.

“Assassin’s Creed,” 20th Century Fox, $4,178,643, 2,642 locations, $1,582 average, $49,884,426, 3 weeks.

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11.

“Manchester By The Sea,” Roadside Attractions, $2,517,794, 1,057 locations, $2,382 average, $33,858,151, 8 weeks.

12.

“A Monster Calls,” Focus Features, $2,080,051, 1,523 locations, $1,366 average, $2,171,543, 3 weeks.

13.

“Lion,” The Weinstein Company, $2,073,433, 600 locations, $3,456 average, $9,866,152, 7 weeks.

14.

“MET Opera: Nabucco (2017),” Fathom Events, $1,940,000, 900 locations, $2,156 average, $1,940,000, 1 week.

15.

“Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them,” Warner Bros., $1,923,459, 1,188 locations, $1,619 average, $229,180,032, 8 weeks.

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16.

“Collateral Beauty,” Warner Bros., $1,291,048, 1,402 locations, $921 average, $29,846,313, 4 weeks.

17.

“Jackie,” Fox Searchlight, $1,048,643, 353 locations, $2,971 average, $9,245,194, 6 weeks.

18.

“Arrival,” Paramount, $865,796, 381 locations, $2,272 average, $94,128,318, 9 weeks.

19.

“Dangal,” UTV Communications, $807,311, 237 locations, $3,406 average, $11,151,900, 3 weeks.

20.

“Office Christmas Party,” Paramount, $802,911, 953 locations, $843 average, $54,065,262, 5 weeks.

Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

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CELLPHONE, WI-FI COVERAGE GOES LIVE AT NYC SUBWAY STATIONS

Cellphone and Wi-Fi coverage is now being provided for commuters at each of New York City’s many underground subway stations, one year ahead of schedule. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office has announced that service for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless customers will be available across the city’s subway system beginning Monday. Early delivery of the service was spurred by Cuomo’s call to accelerate the project and modernize the Metropolitan Transportation Authority at the beginning of last year. MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast says he knows connectivity is a big issue for customers and the transit agency is “thrilled” to launch the vital services so far ahead of schedule. Transit Wireless invested more than $300 million in the project, which comes at no cost to commuters and taxpayers. 110


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SPACEWALKING ASTRONAUTS UPGRADE STATION WITH NEW BATTERIES

Spacewalking astronauts hooked up fancy new batteries on the International Space Station’s sprawling power grid. NASA reported that all three lithium-ion batteries were up and running, a successful start to the space agency’s long-term effort to upgrade the aging solar power system. Before venturing out, Commander Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson got a hand from a robot that took care of most of the grunt work - Dextre, a hulking machine with 11-foot arms. 113


Remotely operating Dextre outside the 250-mile-high lab, flight controllers in Houston spent the past week replacing decade-old, nickel-hydrogen batteries with the new ones. Handling all those batteries - each about half a refrigerator in size - was cumbersome and time-consuming. On Friday, it was up to Kimbrough and Whitson to wire up three of the six new batteries delivered last month in a Japanese cargo capsule. The two made fairly quick work of it. “I’m on a roll, right?” Kimbrough asked Whitson halfway through the job. The two were so far ahead that they tackled some extra work. “I look forward to doing it again,” Kimbrough told Mission Control as the 6 ½-hour spacewalk drew to a close. Kimbrough and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet will plug in three more batteries next

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Friday. NASA expects it will take two to three years to change out all 48 nickel-hydrogen batteries that make up the station’s solar power system. The lithium-ion batteries are so efficient that only 24 will be needed, saving space for other items during supply runs. The batteries store power that is tapped whenever the orbiting outpost is on the nighttime side of Earth. Dextre, the station’s robotic handyman, removed the old batteries and popped in the new ones in a series of maneuvers that began on New Year’s Eve. The robot also loosened bolts on metal attachment plates for the new batteries, saving the spacewalkers even more time. Starting Sunday, Dextre will be back at it, paving the way for next Friday’s spacewalk. NASA’s chief astronaut, Christopher Cassidy, said from Mission Control that sticky bolts


115


often stymie astronauts, so everyone was grateful to turn over the chores to Dextre, short for dexterous. Spacewalks are high-risk activities, NASA managers noted, and so reducing crew time outside is always preferable. Almost as a reminder, Mission Control’s main contact for the spacewalkers was Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, who nearly drowned in 2013 when his helmet flooded with water from his spacesuit’s cooling system. He directed Kimbrough and Whitson’s every move, and praised them for “an awesome job.” Most of the old batteries will be junked along with other station trash in a month, burning up in the atmosphere along with the Japanese supply ship that delivered the new batteries. Whitson now ties the record for most spacewalks by a woman - seven. At 56, she’s the world’s oldest and most experienced spacewoman.

Online: NASA

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OFFICIALS: FOREIGN GOVERNMENT MAY HAVE BREACHED HEALTH DATA

A foreign government may have been behind a cyber breach of health insurance company Anthem Inc. that compromised the records of more than 78 million consumers, investigators said. They declined to identify the hackers or the foreign government. Social Security numbers, birthdates and employment details of customers were accessed in the breach, officials said. Cybersecurity experts say the data could help a foreign government build a profile of people they’re targeting for espionage. 119


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“Intelligence has become a data-mining exercise,” said Avivah Litan, a vice president and security analyst for Gartner Research. “The intelligence officer of 2017 needs a lot of data to find targets and get to the targets that they’re interested in.” Anthem, the nation’s second-largest health insurer, has agreed to make $260 million in improvements to its information security systems as part of a settlement with insurance regulators in most U.S. states and territories. The company will also provide credit protection to consumers whose information was compromised. The insurer is licensed in all 50 states and conducts business under brands including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Unicare, CareMore and Amerigroup. Investigators from the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike identified the attackers with “high confidence” and concluded with “medium confidence” that they were working for a foreign government, according to a report released by California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “We do not have information as to the motive of those that were behind this cyber-attack, but the volume of information and the kind of information taken is very troubling,” Jones said. A finding of high confidence means the information is verified by multiple sources or a single highly reliable source. Medium confidence means the information is open to multiple interpretations or not reliable enough to warrant higher confidence. 121


Federal law enforcement officials requested that Jones not identify the foreign government due to an ongoing investigation, said Madison Voss, a spokeswoman for the insurance department. Previous attacks by that same government have not resulted in personal information being sent to non-governmental entities, CrowdStrike said in its report. Foreign spy agencies amass as much data as possible from various data breaches to identify espionage targets, gain leverage over them and hone their approach, cyber security experts said. For example, a security-conscious engineer at a defense contractor would be more likely to open a nefarious email if it appeared to be from his child’s teacher and referenced her by name, Litan said. “The nation-states that are targeting U.S. companies and U.S. government have taken a big data approach to this information,” said Erik Rasmussen, cyber practice leader for Kroll, a risk-management firm. “They don’t know if this is valuable now, but it might be valuable in five years so they amass it now while they can.” Foreign governments don’t use hacked data to steal identities on a large scale, Rasmussen said, but rogue operatives have on occasion used the data for criminal activity. Investigators say intruders cracked Anthem’s database in February 2014 with a phishing email and evaded multiple layers of security. The hackers eventually gained remote access to at least 90 systems within the Anthem enterprise. California insurance commissioners concluded that shortfalls in Anthem’s security protocols 122


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were typical for a company of its size and declined to issue fines or other punishment. They said the company responded promptly, ejecting the cyber intruders within three days and notifying affected customers. Anthem notified the public and its customers through mail, e-mail, news releases, website postings and state regulators, the report said. A lawsuit filed by customers who say they were affected by the breach paints Anthem as a ripe target for hackers. It says the insurer allowed wide employee access to its database and didn’t train workers on the handling of phishing emails. Anthem discovered the cyber breach a year ago and said it included the records of at least 12 million minors. Anthem spokesman Darrel Ng said the insurer has cooperated with insurance regulators since the breach was discovered. “Anthem takes the security of its information and the personal information of consumers very seriously and is committed to protecting the data of its customers,� Ng said in an emailed statement.

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SHAPE OF YOU

Ed ShEEran

CASTLE ON THE HILL

Ed ShEEran

I DON’T WANNA LIVE FOREVER (FIFTY SHADES DARKER)

ZaYn & TaYlor SwifT

24K MAGIC

Bruno MarS

MERCY

Shawn MEndES

BAD THINGS

MachinE Gun KEllY & caMila caBEllo

THIS TOWN

niall horan

CLOSER (FEAT. HALSEY)

ThE chainSMoKErS

LET ME LOVE YOU (FEAT. JUSTIN BIEBER)

dJ SnaKE

DON’T WANNA KNOW (FEAT. KENDRICK LAMAR)

Maroon 5

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128


LA LA LAND (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK)

VariouS arTiSTS

24K MAGIC

Bruno MarS

NO PLAN - EP

daVid BowiE

NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL A WORKOUT 2017

VariouS arTiSTS

THE SINGLES

Phil collinS

TRAVELLER

chriS STaPlETon

MOANA (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) [DELUXE EDITION]

VariouS arTiSTS

MOANA (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK)

VariouS arTiSTS

SING (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK DELUXE)

VariouS arTiSTS

11 SHORT STORIES OF PAIN & GLORY

droPKicK MurPhYS

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130


FOREVER COUNTRY

arTiSTS of ThEn, now & forEVEr

24K MAGIC

Bruno MarS

HALLELUJAH

PEnTaTonix

CAN’T STOP THE FEELING!

JuSTin TiMBErlaKE

I GOT YOU

BEBE rExha

BLUE AIN’T YOUR COLOR

KEiTh urBan

FREEDOM! ‘90

GEorGE MichaEl

CLOSER (FEAT. HALSEY)

ThE chainSMoKErS

MAY WE ALL (FEAT. TIM MCGRAW)

florida GEorGia linE

DIRTY LAUNDRY

carriE undErwood

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THE LYING DETECTIVE

ShErlocK, SEriES 4

GIFT HORSE

MadaM SEcrETarY, SEaSon 3

CHAR-LOTTA DRAMA

ThE rEal houSEwiVES of aTlanTa, SEaSon 9

THE SIX THATCHERS

ShErlocK, SEriES 4

BE MY GUEST

ElEMEnTarY, SEaSon 5

BORN TO SET IT RIGHT

ThE roYalS, SEaSon 3

PILOT

diVorcE, SEaSon 1

THE BIG BANG

aTlanTa, SEaSon 1

BACK IN BABY’S ARMS

naShVillE, SEaSon 5

GHOSTS OF GEONOSIS, PT. 1

STar warS rEBElS, SEaSon 3

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RING OF FIRE

Brad TaYlor

FULL PACKAGE

laurEn BlaKElY

THE WHISTLER

John GriShaM

CHINA DOLLS

liSa SEE

SAFE BET

Monica MurPhY

JUST FRIENDS

BillY TaYlor

WISHFUL DRINKING

carriE fiShEr

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

Paula hawKinS

MUDWOMAN

JoYcE carol oaTES

LEI CRIME SERIES BOXED SET: BOOKS 1-4

ToBY nEal

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IT’S ALL GOOD: ANY EXERCISE CUTS RISK OF DEATH, STUDY FINDS

Weekend warriors, take a victory lap. People who pack their workouts into one or two sessions a week lower their risk of dying over roughly the next decade nearly as much as people who exercise more often, new research suggests. Even people who get less exercise than recommended have less risk than folks who don’t break a sweat at all. “If someone is completely inactive, the best thing they can do is even getting out and taking a walk,” said Hannah Arem, a health researcher at George Washington University. For people who think they don’t have enough time for small amounts of exercise to matter, the results are “encouraging or perhaps motivating,” she said. She had no role in the study, but wrote a commentary published with the results in JAMA Internal Medicine. Here are some things to know. 137


HOW MUCH EXERCISE DO WE NEED? U.S. and global guidelines call for 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week, ideally spread out so you get some on most days. That’s based on many previous studies suggesting a host of benefits beyond the risk of premature death that this study measured.

HOW THE STUDY WAS DONE Researchers at Loughborough University in England used surveys by trained interviewers on nearly 64,000 adults in England and Scotland from 1994 to 2008. By last year, 8,802 had died. Participants were grouped according to how much exercise they said they got the preceding month: -Inactive (no leisure time exercise), 63 percent. -Regular exercisers (meet the guidelines), 11 percent. -Weekend warriors (get the recommended weekly amount but in one or two sessions), 4 percent. -Insufficiently active (get less than the recommended weekly amount), 22 percent.

RESULTS The risk of dying was about 30 percent lower in weekend warriors and insufficient exercisers versus those who were inactive. Regular exercisers lowered their risk a little more, by 35 percent. Any amount of activity helped cut the risk of dying of heart disease by about 40 percent, compared to being a couch potato. 138


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DOES THIS MEAN THE GUIDELINES ARE BUNK? No, independent experts say. Exercise has many other benefits such as helping to prevent dementia, depression, high blood pressure, unhealthy sleep patterns and diabetes. Some of these effects are short-lived, so exercising more often gives more of them, Arem said. “I don’t know that we’re ready to say, based on this study, that people shouldn’t try to exercise more than that if they can,” said Dr. Daniel Rader, preventive cardiology chief at the University of Pennsylvania. “People who exercise more regularly report that they feel like they have a better quality of life,” among other benefits, he said. Still, the results are “quite fascinating and a bit surprising” on the “dose” of exercise needed for benefit, Rader said. “Even if you only have time to do something once a week, this study would suggest it’s still worth doing.”

CAVEATS TO THE STUDY More than 90 percent of the participants were white, so results may differ in other racial or ethnic groups. Exercise was only assessed at the start of the study and could have changed over time. The biggest limitation is that observational studies like this can only suggest exercise and health risks may be related; they cannot prove the point.

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CHOKED BY MOG, BEIJING CREATES NEW ENVIRONMENTAL POLICE

Officials in Beijing have announced a new environmental police squad to root out illegal burning in the city, the latest government response to the widespread public anger over China’s persistent problems with smog. Beijing’s acting mayor, Cai Qi, said at a meeting Saturday (07) that the force would target openair barbecues, garbage incineration and the burning of wood and other biomass, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency. Cai announced several other measures, including a target of cutting the use of coal by 30 percent in 2017, and shutting down 500 higher-polluting factories and upgrading 2,500 more. About 300,000 high-pollution vehicles will also be restricted from entering the capital starting next month, he said. 143


Beijing and dozens of cities in China spend many winter days under a thick, gray haze, with air pollution levels that routinely exceed World Health Organization guidelines. Last week, more than 20 cities were on “red alert,” the highest warning level in China’s four-tiered system, while Beijing was on the second-highest “orange alert.” Smog is an acutely felt issue in China’s cities, where a red alert can lead to the closure of schools and businesses, flight cancellations, and shutdowns of highways to keep cars off the roads. During a red alert in Beijing last month, authorities banned construction crews from spray-painting and even seized the charcoal grills from some restaurants. But enforcement remains an issue. China’s environmental ministry said during last week’s red alert that its inspection teams found companies resuming production despite a government ban. Many factories remain under severe pressure to meet production targets regardless of air pollution. Cai on Saturday blamed polluting activities like burning garbage or wood on “the result of lax supervision and weak law enforcement.”

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Image: Andy Wong

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But China’s pollution is caused chiefly by its thousands of coal-burning factories and a surplus of older, inefficient vehicles. While it tries to answer the loud public calls to tamp down on pollution, the Communist government is also grappling with an economic slowdown and the challenge of maintaining growth. China is also the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal, and measures like capping production days or shutting down older coal mines run the risk of driving up energy prices and further slowing the economy.

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‘ATMOSPHERIC RIVERS’ WEATHER PHENOMENON SOAKS CALIFORNIA

They’re called “atmospheric rivers” and they can dump massive quantities of Pacific Ocean water on California, carrying it through the air from as far away as Hawaii. Here’s a look at the weather phenomenon that has swelled the state’s rivers, flooded vineyards, dumped snow and rain on the Sierra Nevada and raised the risk of mudslides on hills scorched by last summer’s wildfires.

WHAT IS AN ATMOSPHERIC RIVER? Atmospheric rivers are long and narrow bands of water vapor that form over an ocean and flow through the sky. They occur globally but are especially significant on the West Coast of the United States, where they create 30 percent to 50 percent of annual precipitation and are linked to water supply and problems such as flooding and mudslides, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Formed by winds associated with cyclones, atmospheric rivers typically range from 250 Image: Eric Risberg

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miles to 375 miles in width and move beneath the influencing effects of other weather. Last weekend’s atmospheric river that sent rains pummeling California through Monday interacted with a low pressure system pushed by a cold jet stream from the northern Pacific, said Bill Patzert, a climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “They come at you like a fire hose,” said Patzert. The atmospheric river that hit the state this time first targeted Northern California and then moved south and down the coast to Southern California. Most atmospheric river events are weak. But the powerful ones can transport an amount of water vapor equal to 15 times the average flow of water that flows out of the Mississippi River’s mouth, according to NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN ATMOSPHERIC RIVER REACHES LAND? When the moisture-laden air moves over mountain ranges like the Sierra Nevada along the California-Nevada border, the water vapor rises and cools, becoming heavy precipitation that falls as rain or snow, according to NOAA. While traditional cold winter storms out of the north Pacific build Sierra snowpack vital to the state’s water supply, Patzert said atmospheric rivers tend to be warm. That causes the snow at the highest elevations but rain usually falls on the snowpack at lower elevations. That can quickly prompt melting, runoff and flooding and decrease the snowpack needed to supply California with water. 150


Image: Eric Risberg

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WHAT IS A PINEAPPLE EXPRESS? It is a nickname for an atmospheric river that originates near Hawaii.

WHERE DID THE TERM ATMOSPHERIC RIVER COME FROM? The name came from research published in the 1990s by scientists Yong Zhu and Reginald E. Newell of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

WHAT ABOUT THE DROUGHT? After five years of withering drought, California has had a wet fall and early winter. About 18 percent of the state is now free of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor used to gauge drought conditions across the U.S. and allocate drought relief. The improvement came despite the presence of the weather phenomenon known as La Nina, a cooling of waters in the central and eastern Pacific that is sometimes linked to unusually dry conditions. This La Nina has been so weak that Patzert calls it “La Nada.” The lack of a La Nina influence and the disappearance of high pressure ridges over the West Coast that kept storms away in recent years has opened the door to atmospheric rivers. “Some of these warm storms have actually decreased the snowpack,” said Patzert. “Looking ahead to the spring, summer and fall, all this rain might seem sweet at this point but an awful lot of this is running out through the river systems.” Image: Eric Risberg

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