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THE APPLE CAR: INNOVATION MEETS MOBILITY
GET READY TO BUILD! HANDS-ON TOYS THAT TEACH ARE HOT
BRITISH PRIME MINISTER TO PLEDGE INVESTMENT INTO R&D
44 SPACE STATION RECEIVES OLDEST FEMALE ASTRONAUT, BIT OF MARS
WHY FINGERS MAKE HANDY, IF NOT FOOLPROOF, DIGITAL KEYS 08 GOV’T WANTS PHONE MAKERS TO LOCK OUT MOST APPS FOR DRIVERS 28 APPLE ABANDONS DEVELOPMENT OF WIRELESS ROUTERS 32 GOOGLE DISAPPOINTED BY SOUTH KOREAN REFUSAL ON MAPPING DATA 38 DAVE CHAPPELLE TO UNLEASH 3 NETFLIX COMEDY SPECIALS IN 2017 48 FACEBOOK FIXING FAKE NEWS PROBLEM WITH CEO AT TRADE SUMMIT 68 VOLKSWAGEN BETS ON NEW TECHNOLOGY TO BOUNCE BACK FROM CRISIS 76 EU PLANS CENTER TO COMBAT HYBRID WARFARE IN FINLAND 82 LIFELOCK SOARING BEFORE THE OPENING BELL ON $2.3B DEAL 84 BOX OFFICE TOP 20: ‘FANTASTIC BEASTS’ SUMMONS $74.4 MILLION 106 TODAY’S ENERGY SYSTEM COULD BLOW PARIS CLIMATE GOALS 122 SWEAT IT OUT! SKIN PATCH AIMS TO TEST SWEAT FOR HEALTH 132 BEST WEATHER SATELLITE EVER BUILT ROCKETS INTO SPACE 150 6 VIRTUAL REALITY EXPERIENCES THAT DON’T COST TOO MUCH 156 GET USED TO HEAT RECORDS; STUDY PREDICTS FAR MORE IN FUTURE 168
TOP 10 APPS 86 iTUNES REVIEW 90 TOP 10 SONGS 140 TOP 10 ALBUMS 142 TOP 10 MUSIC VIDEOS 144 TOP 10 TV SHOWS 146 TOP 10 BOOKS 148
WHY FINGERS MAKE HANDY, IF NOT FOOLPROOF, DIGITAL KEYS
It sounds like a great idea: Forget passwords, and instead lock your phone or computer with your fingerprint. It’s a convenient form of security - though it’s also perhaps not as safe as you’d think. In their rush to do away with problematic passwords, Apple, Microsoft and other tech companies are nudging consumers to use their own fingerprints, faces and eyes as digital keys. Smartphones and other devices increasingly feature scanners that can verify your identity via these “biometric” signatures in order to unlock a gadget, sign into web accounts and authorize electronic payments. But there are drawbacks: Hackers could still steal your fingerprint - or its digital representation. 9
Police may have broader legal powers to make you unlock your phone. And so-called “biometric” systems are so convenient they could lull users into a false sense of security. “We may expect too much from biometrics. No security systems are perfect,” said Anil Jain, a computer science professor at Michigan State University who helped police unlock a smartphone by using a digitally enhanced ink copy of the owner’s fingerprints.
BYPASSING THE PASSWORD Biometric security seems like a natural solution to well-known problems with passwords. Far too many people choose weak and easily-guessed passwords like “123456” or “password.” Many others reuse a single password across online accounts, all of which could be hacked if the password is compromised. And of course some use no password at all when they can get away with it, as many phones allow. As electronic sensors and microprocessors have grown cheaper and more powerful, gadget makers have started adding biometric sensors to familiar products. Apple’s iPhone 5S, launched in 2013, introduced fingerprint scanners to a mass audience, and rival phone makers quickly followed suit. Microsoft built biometric capabilities into the latest version of its Windows 10 software, so you can unlock your PC by briefly looking at the screen. Samsung is now touting an iris-scanning system in its latest Galaxy Note devices. All those systems are based on the notion that each user’s fingerprint - or face, or iris - is unique. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be reproduced. 11
LIFTING PRINTS, FAKING FACES Jain, the Michigan State researcher, proved that earlier this year when a local police department asked for help unlocking a fingerprint-protected Samsung phone. The phone’s owner was dead, but police had the owner’s fingerprints on file. Jain and two associates made a digital copy of the prints, enhanced them and then printed them out with special ink that mimics the conductive properties of human skin. “We tried the right thumb and it worked right away,” Jain said. Researchers at the University of North Carolina, meanwhile, fooled some commercial facedetection systems by using photos they found on the social media accounts of test subjects. They used the photos to create a threedimensional image, enhanced with virtual reality algorithms. The spoof didn’t work every time, and the researchers found it could be foiled by cameras with infrared sensors. (The Microsoft face-recognition system uses infrared-capable cameras for extra precision.) But some experts believe any biometric system can be cracked with sufficient determination. All it takes are simulated images of a person’s fingerprint, face or even iris pattern. And if someone manages that, you can’t exactly change your fingerprint or facial features as you would a stolen password. To make such theft more difficult, biometricequipped phones and computers typically encrypt fingerprints and similar data and store them locally, not in the “cloud” where hackers might lift them from company servers. But many biometrics can be found elsewhere. 12
You might easily leave your fingerprint on a drinking glass, for instance. Or it might be stored in a different database; Jain pointed to the 2015 computer breach at federal Office of Personnel Management, which compromised the files - including fingerprints - of millions of federal employees.
COMPELLED TO UNLOCK Most crooks won’t go to that much trouble. But some experts have voiced a different concern - that biometrics could undermine important legal rights. U.S. courts have ruled that authorities can’t legally require individuals to give up their passwords, since the Fifth Amendment says you can’t be forced to testify or provide incriminating information against yourself. In the last two years, however, judges in Virginia and Texas have ordered individuals to unlock their phones with their fingerprints. There’s a legal distinction between something you know, like a password, and something you possess, like a physical key or a fingerprint, said Marcia Hofmann, a San Francisco attorney who specializes in privacy and computer security. While you can’t be forced to reveal the combination of a safe, she noted, the Supreme Court has said you can be required to turn over a physical key to unlock a door. “Getting your thumb print or iris scan is not the same as making you speak,” agreed Orin Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University. “In practice it’s another way of getting access to the computer, but through a very different means.” 14
The issue hasn’t been tested yet in higher courts, though it’s likely just a matter of time. Even with vulnerabilities, some analysts say the convenience of biometric locks is a plus - not least because it may give the password-averse another easy option to secure their devices. “It’s bringing secure authentication to the masses,” said Joseph Lorenzo Hall, a tech policy expert at the nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology. Others say the best approach would combine biometric systems with other protections, such as a strong password or PIN. “It’s good to see biometrics being used more, because it adds another factor for security,” said Jain. “But using multiple security measures is the best defense.” 17
GET READY TO BUILD! HANDS-ON TOYS THAT TEACH ARE HOT
Toys that teach aren’t a new thing, but a growing number are calling for kids to build with blocks, circuits or everyday items before reaching for a tablet screen. Play is how kids learn about the world around them, whether it’s a toddler throwing a ball or teens playing video games. It’s about seeing how things work and what happens when they do something. And over the years, toys have gotten more high tech to keep screen-obsessed children engaged with such play. But there’s growing worry among parents and educators that toys are moving too far in that direction. Educational toys that have a math and science bent - marketed under the umbrella of STEM - are now trying to get back to the basics: less screen time, more hands-on activities. “When kids use their hands, your outcomes are much higher,” said Pramod Sharma, CEO of one such toy company, Osmo. “It’s very different than if they’re just staring at a screen watching TV.” 19
With Osmo, kids learn everything from spelling to coding not by touching a screen, but by snapping together magnetic blocks. A screen is still part of it; an image is beamed onto an iPad through its camera. But the idea is to have kids learn first with their hands, then see their creation move to the screen.
LEARN BY BUILDING Educators agree that whether you’re talking about a toddler playing with blocks, or a teen building a computer from scratch, the act of putting something together helps educational concepts sink in. “The way the world comes to us is actually through tactile activities, so tactile toys where we build stuff are incredible helpful,” said Karen Sobel-Lojeski, who studies the effects of technology on children’s brain development at Stony Brook University on Long Island, New York. Bloxels attempts to bridge the physical and the digital. Kids build their own video games by putting plastic blocks in a special tray, instead of writing out code. Using a phone or tablet’s camera, an app transforms the shapes created with the blocks into digital characters and scenery.
Makey Makey, a startup founded by a pair of MIT students, asks kids to come up with their own electronic creations by combining software, circuits and everyday items like bananas and doughnuts.
GOOD, BUT POPULAR? Sobel-Lojeski said toys are most educational when kids can learn how things work by building. But Juli Lennett, a toy industry analyst at NPD, said such toys are rarely on kids’ wish lists. On the other hand, tech toys that have subtle educational value, but aren’t specifically marketed as such, can be strong sellers. Lennett cites Fisher-Price’s Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar, which introduces basic coding concepts by letting preschoolers assemble segments that each tells the caterpillar to do something different, such as “turn left” or “play sound.”
“I’m not sure that kids are asking for it, or that their parents just want their kids to go to Harvard, but it’s definitely one of the top-selling toys this holiday,” Lennett said. Tracy Achinger, a former automotive engineer in Shelby Township, Michigan, said her 8-yearold son got interested in coding after starting computer programing classes this year. So for Christmas, she’s buying him an Ozobot, a golf ball-sized robot that kids can program by drawing different colored lines or using a kidfriendly, block-based programing language.
TECH HAS ITS LIMITS Achinger’s 3-year-old son will be getting an iPad this year. She said she isn’t against screen time, but believes parents need to keep an eye on what their kids are watching and playing. She said her older son has been playing creative games such as “Minecraft” for a few years. “We try to keep it educational,” Achinger said. “I really think those kinds of games get their imaginations going as they create their own worlds.” The American Academy of Pediatrics recently revised its guidelines to shift the emphasis away from banning screen time and toward balancing high-quality content with non-screen activities. That doesn’t mean every toy with a screen is educational. Barbie has her own smart home in the form of the voice-activated and Wi-Ficonnected Hello Dreamhouse. And new versions of Elmo, Furby and the Cabbage Patch Kids have apps, which Lennett said are often more about branding than learning.
Sobel-Lojeski said slapping an app on a previously low-tech toy can backfire. Instead of letting the child imagine how a particular toy would talk or behave, the app fills in those holes. “It cuts the child off from play that is much more important for development,” she said. Some of the drive for tech in toys comes from parents who believe that the younger their kids are exposed to technology, the more prepared they will be for a lucrative career someday. But Sobel-Lojeski said Albert Einstein came up with breakthroughs without ever touching a computer, let alone tech toys at a young age. “We can easily be tricked into thinking that all this stuff is going to make our kids more intelligent or better scientists and that’s just not true,” she said.
RESIST THE SCREEN Companies that make computers for kids also see the value in a construction element. Kano shows kids how to build their own computers in a kid-friendly storybook format. Kano co-founder Alex Klein said he had to resist suggestions to just put Kano into app form and skip the computer construction all together. He said the act of building a computer was key because it “created a huge sense of energy and momentum for what followed on screen.” But Klein said screens aren’t going away anytime soon. “You can’t compete with screens with kids,” he said. “So, for us it’s not about trying to push against what this next generation thinks is good or likes. It’s about providing a new angle on it that’s more creative.” 25
GOVâ€™T WANTS PHONE MAKERS TO LOCK OUT MOST APPS FOR DRIVERS
The government wants smartphone makers to lock out most apps when the phone is being used by someone driving a car. The voluntary guidelines unveiled Wednesday are designed to reduce crashes caused by drivers distracted by phones. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also wants automakers to make infotainment systems easy to pair with smartphones. Drivers could still make calls but the phones and automaker systems would lock out the ability to enter text. Internet browsing, video not related to driving, text from books, and photos also would be locked out. Navigation systems would be permitted, but with guidelines on how to avoid driver distraction. Fatal crashes caused by distracted drivers are on the rise, and thatâ€™s contributing to a spike in traffic deaths during the past two years. The government says 3,477, or about 10 percent, of 28
Image: Jae C. Hong
the more than 35,000 traffic fatalities last year involved distracted drivers. That’s up 8.8 percent over 2014. Traffic deaths spiked 10.4 percent in the first six months of this year and rose 7.2 percent last year, after years of declines. “With driver distraction one of the factors behind the rise of traffic fatalities, we are committed to working with the industry to ensure that mobile devices are designed to keep drivers’ eyes where they belong -on the road,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said in a statement. Automakers already are moving this direction, with many offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that pair smartphones to car touch screens and allow limited use of the phone apps. NHTSA wants phone makers to develop technology that can determine if someone is driving a car and then disable most of the apps. But at present, that technology doesn’t exist. In its absence, the agency wants phones to have a “driver mode” that would be activated by the smartphone user. General Motors, for instance, has the Apple and Android pairing system in about 40 models worldwide. Already, it prevents use of many phone functions that could cause distraction, spokesman Vijay Iyer said. The system, he said, won’t let drivers type a text message, but it does allow text by voice. “The fundamental direction is to keep your hands on the wheel, eyes on the road and minimize distraction and offer up other means of interaction, primarily voice,” he said. NHTSA will take public comment for 60 days before deciding whether to put the guidelines in place. Unlike a federal government rule, auto and cellphone makers don’t have to obey the guidelines. 30
APPLE ABANDONS DEVELOPMENT OF WIRELESS ROUTERS
Apple Inc. has disbanded its division that develops wireless routers, another move to try to sharpen the company’s focus on consumer products that generate the bulk of its revenue, according to people familiar with the matter. Apple began shutting down the wireless router team over the past year, dispersing engineers to other product development groups, including the one handling the Apple TV, said the people, who asked not to be named because the decision hasn’t been publicly announced. Apple hasn’t refreshed its routers since 2013 following years of frequent updates to match new standards from the wireless industry. The decision to disband the team indicates the company isn’t currently pushing forward with new versions of its routers. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the company’s plans. 33
Routers are access points that connect laptops, iPhones and other devices to the web without a cable. Apple currently sells three wireless routers, the AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time capsule. The Time capsule doubles as a backup storage hard drive for Mac computers. The products, which cost $99, $199, and $299, respectively, make up a small slice of Apple’s revenue and are part of Apple’s “other products” category on its financial statements. The category, which includes the Apple Watch and Apple TV, generated $11.1 billion in fiscal 2016, or about 5 percent of total sales. Apple shares rose 0.9 percent to $111.07 at 11:03 a.m. in New York Monday. They gained 4.6 percent this year through Friday. Exiting the router business could make Apple’s product ecosystem less sticky. Some features of the AirPort routers, including wireless music playback, require an Apple device like an iPhone or Mac computer. If the company no longer sells wireless routers, some may have a reason to use other phones and PCs.
The core of the technology in routers comes from chipmakers such as Broadcom Ltd. that advance Wi-Fi technology through developing the fundamental components. While router makers can differentiate the design of their products, the number of antennas and the software that controls them, they reliant on advances first made by chipmakers to be able to offer new, higher-performing models. Appleâ€™s AirPorts have historically lagged behind those of companies such as D-Link Corp., Netgear Inc. and Belkin International Inc., which have rushed to adopt new standards. Apple, which has charged more for its routers, has focused more on integrating control of its devices into its computer operating system and industrial design. The companyâ€™s decision to leave the business may be a boon for other wireless router makers. Earlier this year, Apple stopped making its own external monitors and in October introduced a new strategy by selling new high-resolution screens for professional users with LG Electronics Inc.
GOOGLE DISAPPOINTED BY SOUTH KOREAN REFUSAL ON MAPPING DATA
South Korea rejected a request by Google to use local mapping data in the company’s global maps service in a long-awaited ruling last Friday that had divided the country for months. The company said it was disappointed by the decision, which the land ministry said was based on concerns over national security. “We’re disappointed by this decision. We’ve always taken security concerns very seriously and will continue to provide useful map services in compliance with Korea’s current map data export regulation,” Taj Meadows, a Google spokesperson, said in a statement. The South Korean government said the risks outweighed benefits from exporting the country’s mapping data to Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc. 39
South Korea, facing the overt threat of rival North Korea, bars exporting local mapping data to foreign companies that do not operate domestic data servers. Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., handles its maps service at data centers outside South Korea. The restrictions have limited the usefulness of Google Maps within South Korea, since the app cannot offer driving or walking directions. The government had proposed granting permission to Google to use local mapping data for Google Maps if the company would blur sensitive information on South Korean military facilities on its satellite map. “Our position from the start was that if it deletes security facilities, we would allow exporting (the local mapping data),” said Kim Tong-il, an official at the land ministry. “Google’s position is that it won’t delete those. The question was whether we would allow that regardless.” South Korea has been divided over the issue since Google filed its request in June. The government extended an August deadline to this month, highlighting disagreements between government ministries. The long-time deliberation reflects growing support for Google within some government ministries that are trying to promote tourism and local firms’ overseas businesses. One of the biggest inconveniences that foreign tourists run into in South Korea, which has some of the fastest and cheapest internet access in the world, is the lack of an online mapping service with navigation and directions in foreign languages.
Image: Ahn Young-joon
Some local businesses and consumers opposed giving Google full access to the local mapping data, saying it would be unfair to local companies that operate local data servers to support their map services. They said Google should build data centers in South Korea instead of seeking an exemption from the rules. Google said earlier that restricting Google Maps in South Korea would be an inconvenience for foreigners visiting the host country of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in 2018. It also argued that restrictions on exporting the local mapping data could hinder efforts of companies to roll out global services using locations data and will deprive local consumers of cutting-edge services.
BRITISH PRIME MINISTER TO PLEDGE INVESTMENT INTO R&D
British Prime Minister Theresa May offered business leaders a trade-off Monday, pledging more investment in science and technology while insisting that the benefits of private enterprise must be more evenly spread around the country. May warned those attending the Confederation of British Industry conference that business has been undermined by a limited few who have damaged the reputation of many. Whether fair or not, she said things had to change. â€œWhen a small minority of businesses and business figures appear to game the system and work to a different set of rules, we have to recognize that the social contract between business and society fails - and the reputation of business as a whole is undermined,â€? she said. The comments were offered as part of a grand bargain of sorts, in which May promised support and investment in the rocky days ahead as the country prepares to leave the European Union. They acknowledged a nation still suffering from the impact of the 2008 financial crisis - one from which many households have not recovered. 44
Image: Carl Court
She pledged more investment in research and development, hoping to make the country a leader in science and technology. As part of that effort, May declared that Britain will commit to investing an extra 2 billion pounds a year ($2.4 billion) by 2020 in research and development in hopes of putting the country at the cuttingedge of science and technology. The goal is to help fuel the economy at a time when Britain is leaving the EU following the referendum in June. But she also suggested she might slash corporate taxes, matching promises made by Donald Trump to cut rates during his successful campaign to become president of the United States. She said her goal was for Britain to have the lowest corporate tax rates among the Group of 20 countries. The rate now stands at 20 percent and is expected to fall to 17 percent by 2020. Trump has promised a tax rate of 15 percent. “Now we want to go further, and look at how we can make our support even more effective because my aim is not simply for the U.K. to have the lowest corporate tax rate in the G20, but also a tax system that is profoundly pro-innovation,” she told business leaders. The investment in science is set to be the first step in May’s industrial strategy, which is “not about propping up failing industries or picking winners, but creating the conditions where winners can emerge and grow.” May also stressed that she will “always believe in business,” even as she insisted that those benefits must be more widely spread around the country. 47
DAVE CHAPPELLE TO UNLEASH 3 NETFLIX COMEDY SPECIALS IN 2017
Comedian Dave Chappelle is headed back to TV with his first concert specials in a dozen years - a trio of specials to be released on Netflix simultaneously in 2017. No exact date was given by Netflix, which said one of the specials is being produced exclusively for the network. Two additional never-beforeseen specials “come directly from Chappelle’s personal comedy vault,” Netflix said. Chappelle’s comedy career includes movie roles in “The Nutty Professor,”‘’Con Air” and “Blue Streak.” In 2003, he achieved heightened fame and critical acclaim as mastermind of his Comedy Central sketch series, “Chappelle’s Show,” until his abrupt exit in its third season. Earlier this month, he made his hosting debut on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” mixing one-liners with serious jabs at race relations and politics. 48
Image: Larry Marano
As far as can be gleaned about a project that has never been officially confirmed, there appears to have been a major shift in Apple’s automotive ambitions this year. While, apparently, the company was once working on its own electric car and even mulling the acquisition of an established carmaker, it has since turned its focus more towards driving software. Nonetheless, there remain ways in which Apple’s car project could evolve to help turn the automotive industry on its head.
A CHANGE OF DIRECTION FOR APPLE’S CAR PROJECT In October, Bloomberg reported that Apple’s car team had come under new leadership – that of veteran Apple executive Bob Mansfield, who has implemented a more flexible strategy for the team going forward. In short, work on an electric car has been put on hold in favor of making a software platform for autonomous vehicles. This is intended to allow Apple the later choice of either partnering with existing automakers or returning to in-house car development. However, there’s no reason to assume that Apple doesn’t remain confident about the influence it could come to exert in the automotive space. In October 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook predicted “massive change … not just evolutionary change” for this industry in the approaching years. He explained that, in his view, “software becomes an increasingly important part of the car of the future”, and that “autonomous driving becomes much more important.” 52
AUTOMOTIVE INNOVATIONS THAT ARE NOW EMERGING There are many signs that a major upheaval is already taking hold. Forbes has declared Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors one of the earliest innovators in self-driving technology – pointing out that, while the company’s vehicles have not yet become fully autonomous, Tesla’s Autopilot System is the most sophisticated of its kind on today’s roads. Tesla also continues to enhance this technology through its use of real-world data sourced from in-use Tesla vehicles. We are also beginning to see autonomous buses hit the road. One example is Local Motors’ Olli, a prototype, 12-passenger, fully electric bus that has been tested to a limited extent in the United States and Berlin. Pilot programs for Olli will be expanded next year. Also, in January, an electric driverless shuttle bus, the WePod, was trialed on public roads in the Netherlands. There are various reasons why the further development of self-driving technology is desirable and for that matter, inevitable. Sahar Danesh, an Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) principal policy adviser for transport, has pointed out that, as autonomous vehicles record surrounding goings-on in detail, this collected data can help to improve the safety of future autonomous transport. Danesh cited reduced congestion and lower emissions as other long-term benefits of this form of transport.
Image: Rich Riggins/Feature Photo Service for IBM
Tesla Model 3
The Goodyear Eagle-360 concept tire
HOW MATERIALS CAN HELP CHANGE THINGS, TOO An increasing number of car manufacturers are likely to turn to advanced materials in their efforts to mass-produce electric vehicles for a broader customer base. Writing for Live Science, New York University professor Nikhil Gupta and researcher Steven Zeltmann turned their attentions to carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites. Otherwise known as carbonfiber laminates, these have been declared “the next-generation materials for making cars lighter, more fuel efficient and safer.” Carbon laminate owes its extreme strength and stiffness to its woven layers of almost pure carbon fibers that a hardened plastic, like epoxy resin, bonds together. Carbon laminates are especially notable for their lightness, with densities of only about 1.3 to 1.5 grams per cubic centimeter. While the making of carbon laminates can be expensive, specialized carbon laminate manufacturers could achieve this at a relatively low cost. The material could then appear in more electric vehicles, the percharge driving range of which is extremely weight-sensitive. As electric cars become more financially palatable, more of these cars could also come with tires rather different to those to which we are accustomed. Earlier this year, Goodyear shared a new wheel concept, called ‘Eagle-360’, for which tyres would be spherical, allowing for more flexible movement of the vehicle. The tire manufacturer said that the car’s body would be suspended above these wheels through magnetic force; however, the firm has 59
also noted that it is not actually developing these tiresâ€Ś or at least, not yet.
CARPLAY: ANOTHER TANTALIZING GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE So, as you get behind the wheel of an autonomous car, perhaps about 10 years from now, what could you realistically expect from the in-car interface? You can get a lot of clues from what Apple is already offering. Numerous cars now support Appleâ€™s CarPlay, whereby various iPhone apps and functions can be accessed from the dashboard. Making calls, sending text messages, listening to music, referring to digital maps, looking up calendar events and more can be done through CarPlay, which can be extensively navigated through the delivery of voice commands to Siri. While this use of Siri enables you to call upon CarPlay without being distracted from the road, in-car systems with touch screens also allow for touch-based input. As the availability of CarPlay, which was first announced in 2013, relies heavily on automakers and third-party hardware vendors taking the initiative to support it, it still cannot be used with many cars currently on the road. There therefore remains abundant unrealized potential for growth.
A LIVING ROOM ON WHEELS So, how could car makers build upon the kind of features that CarPlay already offers? You might laugh when we suggest that some vehicles could come with what feels like an entire living room inside, but some companies are genuinely moving in that direction. At the Las Vegas-based 60
CES in January, Rinspeed will show its Oasis concept vehicle, which will boast a living space with an armchair, sideboard and TV. Meanwhile, Daimler is working on what it calls the “Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot”. This is a semi-autonomous city bus that, using cameras, radar systems and GPS, can recognize traffic lights, safety negotiate junctions, spot obstacles, autonomously brake and utilise other functions. The bus is also notable for its passenger compartment with designer seats, ceiling lighting and large monitors capable of showing information and entertainment.
THE INFLUENCE OF VEHICLE HIRE FIRMS LIKE UBER Right now, you might consider your car to one of your most personal possessions. However, could ride hire services like Uber be encouraging a future in which each vehicle is shared with a wider variety of people? Musk has outlined Tesla’s plan to provide a “shared fleet” and Uberlike mobile app to this end. Musk has explained that, at some future point, you could “add your car to the Tesla shared fleet just by tapping a button on the Tesla phone app and have it generate income for you while you’re at work or on vacation.” As Forbes observes, turning your car into an income-generating asset in this way could greatly lower how much it would cost you to own a Tesla car, as most cars are used by their owners for a mere 5% to 10% of each day. All of this is before we even take into account the possibility that firms like Uber could shortly 62
Image: Daimler AG
start deploying drones for getting people around. The Ehang 184, which its Chinese maker has called the world’s first autonomous helicopter drone, can carry one human at a time to a location pre-specified through Google Maps. Should passenger drones like these become commonplace, they could help to reduce congestion on the roads.
A CAR WITH APPLE’S UNIQUE STAMP AND INFLUENCE According to Bloomberg, abilities that Apple has considered giving its electric car include recognizing the driver’s fingerprint and navigating autonomously. The company’s experience with Touch ID technology and the Apple Maps software could help it to implement both, while Apple reportedly also wishes to use iCloud for the storage of driver data. The Apple car project’s future is uncertain, but should the Cupertino firm succeed in seamlessly bringing together such elements and many more, we wouldn’t rule out Apple going on to take complete leadership of the car industry.
by Benjamin Kerry & Gavin
Image: Fabian Kirchbauer
FACEBOOK FIXING FAKE NEWS PROBLEM WITH CEO AT TRADE SUMMIT
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg urged world leaders meeting in Peru on Saturday to help get more people online to improve global living standards while separately announcing new measures to cut down on fake news stories on the social network that some suggest could have helped sway the U.S. presidential election. The Facebook founder took on the role of an evangelist for â€œconnectivityâ€? as he spoke at an Asian-Pacific trade summit, lamenting that half the world has no access to the online world and is being deprived of its economic potential as well as advances in science, education and medicine. He urged leaders to work with his company and others to close that gap. 68
Image: Esteban Felix
“If we can connect the 4 billion people who aren’t connected we can lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty,” Zuckerberg said as he addressed business and government leaders at the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum. But as he was promoting the benefits of the online world in the speech, he took to his Facebook page to address one of the downsides of the internet: the rapid dissemination of bogus news stories on social networks. Zuckerberg said in a post late Friday that his company was taking measures to curb what he said was a “relatively small” percentage of deliberately false stories. The measures include developing new tools to detect and classify “misinformation” and to make it easier for users to report the material. He said the company also is looking into the possibility of working with established factchecking organizations to evaluate content and into the feasibility of warning labels for stories flagged as false. Critics have complained that a surge of fake news stories on Facebook may have swayed some voters to back President-elect Donald Trump. The company said on Monday that it was clarifying its advertising policy to emphasize that it won’t display ads - thus cutting revenue - for sites that run information that is “illegal, misleading or deceptive, which includes fake news.” That followed a similar step by Google, which acknowledged that it had let a false article about the election results slip into its list of recommended news stories. 70
Image: Esteban Felix
“The bottom line is: we take misinformation seriously,” the Facebook CEO said in his post. “Our goal is to connect people with the stories they find most meaningful, and we know people want accurate information. Zuckerberg’s comments came after President Barack Obama, who is also attending the APEC summit, and others have been sharply critical of the spread of fake news online. In a news conference Thursday in Berlin, Obama called bogus stories disseminated on Facebook and other social media platforms a threat to democracy. The president decried “an age where there’s so much active misinformation and it’s packaged very well and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or you turn on your television.” Zuckerberg called the problem “complex, both technically and philosophically.” It is also sensitive issue for a company that does not want to censor content such as legitimate political satire that some people find offensive. Facebook sees itself not as a traditional publisher, but as a facilitator of global communication. It was that lofty vision of the company that was on display as Zuckerberg spoke at the APEC forum. He described Facebook efforts in artificial intelligence programs that could lead to advancements in medicine and education, as well as a high-altitude solar-powered drone, still in the development stage, to provide online access to places with none. He also described a program to work with local operators around the world to provide free basic internet.
Image: Mariana Bazo
“We can’t afford to leave anyone behind,” he said. The Facebook CEO said that investment in such infrastructure is necessary to address the gap between rich and poor that has become a source of rising anxiety. “As we are learning this year in election after election, even if globalization might grow the overall pie of prosperity, it also creates inequality,” he said. “It helps some people and it hurts others.” Investing in “connectivity,” he said, can address some of the consequences of globalization. “We can disconnect, risk less prosperity and hope jobs that are lost come back. Or we can connect more, try to do more great things, try to work on even greater prosperity and then work to aggressively share that prosperity with everyone.”
VOLKSWAGEN BETS ON NEW TECHNOLOGY TO BOUNCE BACK FROM CRISIS
Volkswagen’s namesake brand hopes to bounce back from its diesel emissions scandal with a broad restructuring that will mean more batterypowered cars, digital services such as ridesharing, and more SUVs for the U.S. market. Herbert Diess, the head of the Volkswagen division, unveiled the company’s Transform 2025 plan at a news conference Tuesday, saying that “in the coming years, we will fundamentally change Volkswagen. Only a few things will remain as they are.” The plan foresees a major shift in focus toward investments in electric-car technology and in software to enable new ways of using and sharing cars. The Volkswagen division alone expects to sell a million electric vehicles a year by 2025. Including the company’s other brands, such as SEAT and Skoda, the Volkswagen Group expects to sell up to 3 million electrics by then. 76
Image: Yuya Shino
Diess said the company would also “massively step up” its capacity to develop software, aiming to create industry-leading programs and hardware systems for digitally connected and autonomous cars by 2025. Another element of the plan is increasing sales in the U.S. by introducing products that are more appropriate for the market, such as more SUVs and larger cars. This year, Volkswagen-badged cars have only 1.8 percent of the U.S. market through October, badly lagging competitors such as General Motors, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota. Diess also said the company would start making electric vehicles in the U.S. by 2021. Currently Volkswagen makes Passat sedans at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. “For years, a concept for success in the U.S. has been lacking,” Diess said at the company headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany. “Sometimes we have not been on the bandwagon with new market trends.” He said regional managers would get “more local responsibility” to make decisions and meet local conditions. The plan for the Volkswagen brand follows Friday’s announcement that the division would eliminate 30,000 jobs, of which 23,000 in Germany, and create 9,000 new positions focused on new technologies.
Image: Ronny Hartmann
Diess said the company aims to raise profit margins on sales to 6 percent by 2025, from just 2 percent in 2015. Profitability at the Volkswagen brand has lagged due to its higher cost base, the result of a strong role for employee representatives. They have half the board seats, and are generally supported by the government of Lower Saxony, which holds a stake in the company. Partly as a result, Volkswagen Group makes most of its profits from its luxury brands Audi and Porsche. The company struck a deal with its workforce, which agreed to the job reductions through voluntary means such as early retirement over a period of years. In return, employees won a commitment to locate new technology development and manufacturing in Germany. Volkswagen has agreed to pay $15 billion under a settlement with U.S. authorities and car owners over cars equipped with software that turned off emissions controls under normal driving conditions. The scandal has served as a spur for the company to shake up its management culture and address longstanding issues such as the cost question in Germany. Electric cars remain only a small fraction of the global market. Yet major automakers are investing heavily in battery power vehicles as they position themselves for a time when increasing range and falling costs tip the balance and make consumers more interested. Along with electric vehicles, automakers are working on vehicles that take over more and more functions from the drivers, and on new ways of using and owning cars such as app-based ridesharing and carsharing. 80
EU PLANS CENTER TO COMBAT HYBRID WARFARE IN FINLAND
Finnish officials say the European Union is planning to set up a hybrid threat center in Finland to combat a growing number of cyberattacks and hybrid warfare, including disinformation and false news sent over social media sites. Jori Arvonen, a government official in charge EU affairs, said Monday that the United States and 10 EU countries - including Germany, France, Britain, the Baltic countries, and Sweden - are taking part in the venture which was agreed upon last week in Helsinki. The agency will work closely with the EUâ€™s foreign affairs council and NATO, which has several cyber centers. Arvonen says recent reports indicate that neighboring Russia and extremist groups have maintained a hybrid influence in Finland. A final decision on the center is expected next spring. 83
LIFELOCK SOARING BEFORE THE OPENING BELL ON $2.3B DEAL
Shares of LifeLock are surging before the opening bell after the identity and fraud protection services company agreed to be acquired for $2.3 billion by the security software maker Symantec. Symantec said over the weekend that the deal will allow it to bolster its cyber defense technology. Symantec Corp., based in Mountain View, California, will pay $24 for each share of LifeLock Inc. Thatâ€™s a 15.7 percent premium to its closing price of $20.75 Friday. The deal is targeted to close in the first quarter of 2017, but still requires the approval of LifeLock shareholders. Shares of LifeLock, based in Tempe, Arizona, are up 14.2 percent to $23.70 Monday in premarket trading. 84
#01 – Messenger By Facebook, Inc. Category: Social Networking Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
#02 – Instagram By Instagram, Inc. Category: Photo & Video Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
#03 – YouTube By Google, Inc. Category: Photo & Video Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
#04 – Snapchat By Snapchat, Inc. Category: Photo & Video Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
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#06 – Design Home By Crowdstar Inc Category: Games Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
#07 – Bitmoji - Your Personal Emoji By Bitstrips Category: Utilities Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
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#09 – Amazon App: shop, scan, compare, and read reviews By AMZN Mobile LLC Category: Shopping Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
#10 – Google Maps - Navigation & Transit By Google, Inc. Category: Navigation Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
#01 – The Unarchiver By Microsoft Corporation Category: Utilities Compatibility: OS X 10.6.0 or later, 64-bit processor
#02 – Xcode By Apple Category: Developer Tools Compatibility: OS X 10.11 or later
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Mac OS X 87
#01 – Minecraft: Pocket Edition By Mojang Category: Games / Price: $6.99 Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
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Mac OS X 89
by Chris Renaud Genre: Kids & Family Released: 2016 Price: $19.99
The Secret Life of Pets Max is a rescued terrier with a loving owner and a lively social life with his fellow pets. However, his happy life is turned upside down with the arrival of a mongrel named Duke.
FIVE FACTS: 1. The Secret Life of Pets has an all-star cast of recognizable names, featuring Louis C.K., Dana Carvey, Kevin Hart, Albert Brooks and Steve Coogan. 2. The music for the film was produced by Academy Award-winning composer Alexandre Desplat, the visionary behind the scores of The Kingâ€™s Speech and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. 3. The film is filled with subtle Easter eggs, including a poster for the studioâ€™s newest film, Sing, on the back of one of the buses. 4. This film marks the first time the controversial comedian Louis C.K. has lent his voice to a character in a movie. 5. There are a few nods to other movies by Illumination Entertainment, such as Mel the Pug dressing up as a minion from Despicable Me.
Promo Clip - The Best Of Snowball
Yoga Hosers Two best friends, both named Colleen, find themselves fighting an ancient evil presence that rises from underneath Canadian soil to stop it ruining their chances of going to a Grade 12 party.
FIVE FACTS: 1. Yoga Hosers was written and directed by Kevin Smith, the creator of such ‘90s classics as Clerks, Mallrats and Dogma. 2. Smith not only wrote and directed this movie, but also played all of the monsters in it, which forced him to shave his face so that he could wear the prosthetics properly. 3. The film stars Harley Quinn Smith (Kevin Smith’s daughter) and Lily-Rose Depp (Johnny Depp’s daughter), who have both been friends since kindergarten. 4. Yoga Hosers was originally slated to carry an R-rating for some sexual content, but Smith had a PG-13 rating in mind while working on it. After an appeal against the decision, the rating was brought down. 5. Eagle-eyed viewers might notice that the moles on Guy’s face (Johnny Depp) change in nearly every shot.
by Kevin Smith Genre: Comedy Released: 2016 Price: $12.99
Hunter and Gordon Visit the Colleens at work
Genre: R&B, Soul Released: Nov 25, 2016 18 Songs Price: $13.99
1425 Ratings “Starboy”
Starboy The Weeknd The long-awaited album from The Weeknd has dropped, named after the amazing collaboration single with Daft Punk, “Starboy”.
FIVE FACTS: 1. The Weeknd’s real name is Abel Tesfaye and he hails from Toronto, Canada. 2. Starboy features several big names. Daft Punk collaborated on the eponymous single, but the album also has contributions from Kendrick Lamar and Lana Del Rey. 3. The Weeknd’s music is inspired by the Ethiopian music with which he grew up. Notable inspirations of his include Aster Aweke, Tilahun Gessesse and Mahmoud Ahmed. 4. His stage name is spelt without the ‘e’ near the end due to copyright issues, as there already exists a Canadian band called ‘The Weekend’. 5. Despite his popularity and loyal fanbase, The Weeknd is often reluctant to do interviews, claiming that he is boring to talk to.
This Girl’s In Love (A Bacharach & David Songbook) Rumer Rumer lends her beautiful voice to the works of Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, covering some of their classics in her own enchanting and distinctive way.
FIVE FACTS: 1. Rumer’s real name is Sarah Joyce and she was born in Pakistan. 2. Her love of Bacharach brought her in contact with his former musical director, Rob Shirakbari, who she ended up marrying in Arkansas. 3. Rumer’s other influences include British musicians Elton John and Jools Holland. 4. She has performed on the British TV show Later with Jools Holland. 5. She also gave a performance at the White House in a special concert dedicated to the works of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, broadcast on PBS in 2012.
Genre: Alternative, Rock Released: Nov 25, 2016 12 Songs Price: $11.99
“What The World Needs Now Is Love”
“Walk On By”
BOX OFFICE TOP 20: ‘FANTASTIC BEASTS’ SUMMONS $74.4 MILLION
Kicking off a five-film franchise spun off from the Harry Potter universe, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” debuted to a healthy $74.4 million this weekend. The $180 million production benefited from lingering Harry Potter goodwill, but failed to reach the heights of those films in its first weekend. The J.K Rowling creation unseated “Doctor Strange” from its two-week run at No. 1. “Strange” still managed to pull in $17.8 million, bringing its domestic total to $181.6 million. The strength of the top five films, including holdovers “Trolls,”‘’Arrival” and “Almost Christmas” left little room for the other new openers, like the R-rated high school dramedy “The Edge of Seventeen,” which debuted outside of the top 10 with $4.8 million and the factbased boxing drama “Bleed for This,” which took in $2.4 million. Meanwhile, Ang Lee’s technologically ambitious wartime drama “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” bombed in its expansion, earning only $901,062 from 1,176 locations for an abysmal $766 per screen average. 107
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 Monday by comScore:
“Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them,” Warner Bros., $74,403,387, 4,144 locations, $17,954 average, $74,403,387, 1 week.
“Doctor Strange,” Disney, $17,761,060, 3,694 locations, $4,808 average, $181,627,937, 3 weeks.
“Trolls,” 20th Century Fox, $17,448,673, 3,945 locations, $4,423 average, $116,163,206, 3 weeks.
“Arrival,” Paramount, $12,138,671, 2,335 locations, $5,199 average, $43,709,470, 2 weeks.
“Almost Christmas,” Universal, $7,256,950, 2,379 locations, $3,050 average, $25,637,690, 2 weeks.
“Hacksaw Ridge,” Lionsgate, $6,666,920, 2,883 locations, $2,312 average, $42,771,212, 3 weeks.
“The Edge Of Seventeen,” STX Entertainment, $4,754,215, 1,945 locations, $2,444 average, $4,754,215, 1 week.
“Bleed For This,” Open Road, $2,366,810, 1,549 locations, $1,528 average, $2,366,810, 1 week.
“The Accountant,” Warner Bros., $2,156,421, 1,423 locations, $1,515 average, $81,293,439, 6 weeks.
“Shut In,” EuropaCorp, $1,605,648, 2,006 locations, $800 average, $6,042,293, 2 weeks.
“Moonlight,” A24, $1,488,740, 650 locations, $2,290 average, $6,644,790, 5 weeks.
“Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween,” Lionsgate, $1,141,538, 1,171 locations, $975 average, $72,134,359, 5 weeks.
“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,” Paramount, $988,286, 1,110 locations, $890 average, $56,657,471, 5 weeks.
“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” Sony, $901,062, 1,176 locations, $766 average, $1,057,673, 2 weeks.
“Loving,” Focus Features, $869,430, 137 locations, $6,346 average, $1,752,518, 3 weeks.
“Inferno,” Sony, $664,301, 770 locations, $863 average, $33,397,774, 4 weeks.
“The Girl On The Train,” Universal, $588,440, 492 locations, $1,196 average, $74,469,545, 7 weeks.
“Nocturnal Animals,” Focus Features, $492,648, 37 locations, $13,315 average, $492,648, 1 week.
“Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children,” 20th Century Fox, $375,818, 464 locations, $810 average, $85,763,459, 8 weeks.
“Ouija: Origin Of Evil,” Universal, $303,855, 381 locations, $798 average, $34,904,885, 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.
Image: Dmitri Lovetsky
SPACE STATION RECEIVES OLDEST FEMALE ASTRONAUT, BIT OF MARS
The International Space Station gained three new residents Saturday, including the oldest and most experienced woman to orbit the world. A bit of Mars also arrived, courtesy of a Frenchman who brought along a small piece of a Mars meteorite. Launched from Kazakhstan, the Russian Soyuz capsule docked at the 250-mile-high outpost just an hour or two before NASA launched a weather satellite from Florida. The Soyuz delivered NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy. They joined three men already on board, one American and two Russians. This is the third space station mission for Whitson, who at 56 is older than each of her crewmates. 117
She already holds the record for most time in space for a woman: nearly 400 days during her various missions. By the time she returns next spring, she should break the record for any American, man or woman. “We could not be more proud,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told Whitson once she entered the space station. He joined the new crew’s family and friends at Russia’s Mission Control outside Moscow to welcome the newcomers on board. “I’m really happy to be here,” Whitson replied. A biochemist by training, Whitson will celebrate her 57th birthday at the orbiting lab in February. Until Thursday, no woman older than 55 had flown in space. Pesquet, meanwhile, is making his first spaceflight and Novitskiy his second. Before rocketing away, Pesquet told reporters he was taking up a piece of a Mars meteorite to illustrate the necessary union between human and robotic explorers. He intends to bring the stone back with him to Earth in six months. It then will launch aboard a Mars rover and return to its home planet. “So it’s going to be the most experienced space traveler there is in the world,” Pesquet said Wednesday at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. “The idea is to show that space exploration is just the whole ... we’re not competing against robotic exploration, we’re all working together. What we do on the (space station) is just one step on that road to exploration.” Sunday marks the 18th anniversary of the launch of the first space station piece. It’s now 118
Image: Dmitri Lovetsky
as big as a football field, with a mass of 1 million pounds and eight miles of electrical wiring. Whitson and company represent its 50th fulltime expedition. “So we can celebrate the station’s birthday today,” said Sergei Krikalev, a cosmonaut-turnedspace official who spoke from the Russian control center. “Good luck.” Online: NASA
Image: Ruben Neugebauer
TODAY’S ENERGY SYSTEM COULD BLOW PARIS CLIMATE GOALS
Amid whiffs of chemicals and the electric hum of transformers, Kraftwerk Jaenschwalde rises like an ash-colored fortress over a landscape disfigured by decades of open-pit coal mining. The communist-era colossus in eastern Germany is one of Europe’s dirtiest power plants, belching 24 million tons of climate-warming carbon dioxide into the air every year. It could have been closed for good when former owner Vattenfall, a Swedish utility, decided to get rid of its coal assets in Germany to reduce its carbon footprint. But as local officials point out, the lignite industry employs thousands in this region and together with hard coal accounts for more than 40 percent of Germany’s power production. “This is the reason why you can’t shut down a coal mine or power plant from one day to another,” plant spokesman Thoralf Schirmer says. 123
That the fight against climate change ran into that cold hard reality here in the heart of Europe - the world’s climate leader - shows how challenging it’s going to be to keep the global temperature rise “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, as agreed in last year’s Paris emissions pact. A growing body of evidence suggests that the power plants, buildings, cars, trucks, ships and planes in use today are likely to emit enough CO2 over their lifetime for the world to miss that target. Coal plants alone could blow the carbon budget for 1.5 degrees C of warming, the lower threshold also mentioned in the agreement, unless they are shut down early. “For 1.5 degrees we would have to start retiring things like crazy and we wouldn’t be able to build anything new,” says University of California, Irvine, scientist Steven Davis. “Two degrees is starting to look equally bleak.” That hasn’t quite sunk in amid the fanfare surrounding the Paris Agreement, which entered into force with record pace. Temperatures have already risen by about 1 degree C since the industrial revolution, when countries started burning fossil fuels for energy. In 2010 Davis and others estimated that the world’s existing energy infrastructure had locked in 496 billion tons of CO2 emissions if left to operate for their expected lifetime. By 2013, as hundreds of additional power plants had come online in Asia, the number rose to 729 billion tons. “By my latest calculations, we’re close to 800 billion tons now,” Davis says. 124
Image: Michael Sohn
That’s roughly what’s remaining of the so-called carbon budget for 2 degrees, according to recent estimates based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest assessment. That budget is significantly lower for 1.5 degrees. Joeri Rogelj of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria, estimated that it’s 150 billion tons or somewhat higher, while researchers at the Climate Interactive group said it’s about 210 billion tons. There is uncertainty surrounding the estimates partly because it’s unclear exactly how sensitive the climate system is to increases in atmospheric CO2 levels. Davis’ research shows that, assuming an average lifespan of 40 years, the world’s coalfired power plants will emit 280 billion tons of CO2, exceeding the budget for 1.5 degrees. And that doesn’t even count the hundreds more that are under construction or on the drawing board, primarily in China and other Asian countries. “Those things wouldn’t be able to operate over their normal 30, 40 year lifespan,” says Davis. “Instead they’d need to be closed down after 10 or 15 years. And so it’s a matter of paying for that. That’s a lot of life in those power plants that we’d basically have to throw away.” This is happening in some places like the United States where coal plants are being shut down because of competition from natural gas, which is cheaper and has lower emissions. But not fast enough to meet the goals of 126
Image: Michael Sohn
the Paris Agreement, as globally more coal plants are built every year than are retired, according to a report this year by environmental groups CoalSwarm, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club. The report said there are 7,273 operating coal plants around the world this year, with 719 under construction and more than 1,000 in the planning stages. At U.N. climate talks in Morocco this week, governments and clean energy advocates noted that the world’s transition toward a low-carbon economy is well underway, with renewable sources like wind and solar expanding quickly. But global energy demand is also growing, meaning renewables are adding power capacity rather than replacing existing capacity from fossil fuels, said Glen Peters of the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo. “There is a bit of displacement going on in U.S. and in China,” he said. “But for emissions to go down you need to not build any more fossil (fuel) infrastructure. And to go down faster you would have to close down existing infrastructure.” Very few of the scientific projections count on countries retiring fossil fuels fast enough to meet the Paris targets. Instead they assume the world will find a way to suck vast quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere in the latter half of the century. The story of Jaenschwalde helps explain why. When Vattenfall, which is owned by the Swedish government, decided to offload its coal plants 129
and mines in Germany, it came under pressure from environmentalists to decommission them instead. But that would have been “financially burdensome,” says Vattenfall CEO Magnus Hall. “So we decided to divest it,” he says, adding that what to do with them is a question for the German government and people. Environmental groups protested the sale of the mines and plants to Czech investors, saying this just means their carbon footprint is passed on to someone else. But there was no appetite among German decision-makers for closing down the lignite industry, which employs 8,000 people in the eastern Lausitz region bordering Poland. The new Czech owners are considering expanding the mines, saying Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear power means the demand for lignite power “will remain stable.” That’s encouraging to Schirmer, a bookish man with a purple scarf. On the other side of the border, he says, Poland is planning to open new lignite mines, meaning Germany could end up importing electricity generated from Polish coal if it shuts down its own mines. He agrees that Germany needs to go “100 percent renewables,” but that’s still “a long way away” because until energy storage makes a quantum leap, coal power will be needed on days when there’s no wind or sunshine. “It wouldn’t be wise to sink the ship,” he says, “before you even have seen land.”
SWEAT IT OUT! SKIN PATCH AIMS TO TEST SWEAT FOR HEALTH
Breaking a sweat? Researchers are creating a skin patch that can test those droplets while people exercise and beam results to their smartphones, possibly a new way to track health and fitness. The experimental gadget goes well beyond activity monitors like the Fitbit. A little larger than a quarter, itâ€™s almost like a tiny lab stuck to the skin - and a study published Wednesday found it worked on sweaty bicyclists, sticking even during a long-distance race in Arizona. If you think of perspiration as just a drippy nuisance, think again. 133
“Sweat has biochemical components within it that tell us a lot about physiological health,” said John A. Rogers, who directs Northwestern University’s Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics and led the new research. Today’s wearable technology helps people track their calories, activity and heart rate. A wearable biosensor would be “radically different,” Rogers said. For simple fitness purposes, it could give an early warning that it’s time to replenish electrolytes before someone starts to feel dehydrated. But eventually with additional research, Rogers envisions more sophisticated use of such devices, such as real-time monitoring of how the body adjusts during military training, or even to screen people for diseases such as diabetes or cystic fibrosis. Rogers, who did much of the research while at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has long worked to develop electronic devices that can stretch and twist with the body. The skin-like sweat patch adds a capability called microfluidics, capturing and analyzing tiny amounts of body fluid. How it works: Stick the patch on the skin and start moving. Tiny channels collect perspiration and route it to different compartments where it interacts with chemicals that change color to reflect sweat loss, the perspiration’s acidity level, and concentrations of chloride, glucose and lactate. Together, those measurements can indicate such things as hydration levels or electrolyte loss. Hold a smartphone over the patch, and an app takes a picture of the colors and interprets what they mean. 135
In two studies reported Wednesday, Rogers’ team stuck patches to the arms and backs of 21 healthy volunteers. Nine rode exercise bikes in a gym to compare the sweat patches’ performance with the decidedly lower-tech method of sweat-testing used today - taping on absorbent pads and carting the resulting wet samples to a laboratory. For a more realworld test, the other 12 bicyclists wore the patches while competing in a long-distance outdoor race in Tucson. The patches stayed in place and worked even in the challenging outdoor race, and the patches’ biochemical test results agreed with the indoor bikers’ conventional sweat tests, the researchers reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
“It seems really practical,” said Stanford University chemical engineering professor Zhenan Bao, who also researches novel biomedical materials but wasn’t involved with the sweat patch. By simply looking at a color change, “such a patch allows people to now have an opportunity to understand their health and how it changes depending on activities.” It’s a growing field: Other research groups around the country, including some of Bao’s colleagues, are pursuing wearable biosensors. Rogers’ sweat patches are designed for onetime use over a few hours. While Wednesday’s studies used an early version that analyzed sweat just once during the exercise, he’s now testing a design capable of multiple measurements over time.
DONâ€™T WANNA KNOW (FEAT. KENDRICK LAMAR)
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NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL MUSIC!, VOL. 60
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THAT’S CHRISTMAS TO ME
DUST MY SHOULDERS OFF
SLUMBER PARTY FEAT. TINASHE
porTer roBinson & Madeon
HALLELUJAH (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
arTisTs of Then, now & foreVer
CHANTAJE (FEAT. MALUMA)
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BEST WEATHER SATELLITE EVER BUILT ROCKETS INTO SPACE
The most advanced weather satellite ever built rocketed into space Saturday night, part of an $11 billion effort to revolutionize forecasting and save lives. This new GOES-R spacecraft will track U.S. weather as never before: hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, volcanic ash clouds, wildfires, lightning storms, even solar flares. Indeed, about 50 TV meteorologists from around the country converged on the launch site - including NBC’s Al Roker - along with 8,000 space program workers and guests. “What’s so exciting is that we’re going to be getting more data, more often, much more detailed, higher resolution,” Roker said. In the case of tornadoes, “if we can give people another 10, 15, 20 minutes, we’re talking about lives being saved.” 151
Think superhero speed and accuracy for forecasting. Super high-definition TV, versus black-and-white. “Really a quantum leap above any satellite NOAA has ever flown,” said Stephen Volz, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s director of satellites. “For the American public, that will mean faster, more accurate weather forecasts and warnings,” Volz said earlier in the week. “That also will mean more lives saved and better environmental intelligence” for government officials responsible for hurricane and other evacuations. Airline passengers also stand to benefit, as do rocket launch teams. Improved forecasting will help pilots avoid bad weather and help rocket scientists know when to call off a launch. NASA declared success 3 1/2 hours after liftoff, following separation from the upper stage. The first in a series of four high-tech satellites, GOES-R hitched a ride on an unmanned Atlas V rocket, delayed an hour by rocket and other problems. NOAA teamed up with NASA for the mission. The satellite - valued by NOAA at $1 billion - is aiming for a 22,300-mile-high equatorial orbit. There, it will join three aging spacecraft with 40-year-old technology, and become known as GOES-16. After months of testing, this newest satellite will take over for one of the older ones. The second satellite in the series will follow in 2018. All told, the series should stretch to 2036. GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite. The first was launched in 1975. 153
GOES-R’s premier imager - one of six science instruments - will offer three times as many channels as the existing system, four times the resolution and five times the scan speed, said NOAA program director Greg Mandt. A similar imager is also flying on a Japanese weather satellite. Typically, it will churn out full images of the Western Hemisphere every 15 minutes and the continental United States every five minutes. Specific storm regions will be updated every 30 seconds. Forecasters will get pictures “like they’ve never seen before,” Mandt promised. A first-of-its-kind lightning mapper, meanwhile, will take 500 snapshots a second. This next-generation GOES program - $11 billion in all - includes four satellites, an extensive land system of satellite dishes and other equipment, and new methods for crunching the massive, nonstop stream of expected data. Hurricane Matthew, interestingly enough, delayed the launch by a couple weeks. As the hurricane bore down on Florida in early October, launch preps were put on hold. Matthew stayed far enough offshore to cause minimal damage to Cape Canaveral, despite some early forecasts that suggested a direct strike.
Online: NOAA NASA 154
6 VIRTUAL REALITY EXPERIENCES THAT DON’T COST TOO MUCH
Virtual reality, what’s up with that? If you are curious about this highly buzzed high-tech form of entertainment but don’t feel like plunking down $1,000 or more on sophisticated hardware, just visit one of a slew of amusementpark-type rides popping up around the world. These experiences let you shoot aliens while riding a real-life roller coaster , cook a meal with a Japanese heartthrob or cozy up to players and cheerleaders at a baseball game. One day, home VR systems will likely be common enough to make VR destinations unnecessary, just as video-game arcades are now rare. For now, though, these public attractions offer your best chance at giving you a taste of VR.
ROLLING WITH VR At Six Flags theme parks in the U.S., the price of regular admission - roughly $50 - gives you access to a roller coaster redone with virtual reality overlaid on top. 156
At Magic Mountain near Los Angeles, that means strapping on a Samsung Gear VR headset to battle virtual alien invaders while in real life you’re hurtling around a 40-year-old track of twisted steel. You don’t steer or aim really, but you can look around the world as your ship blasts aliens in foreign spaceships. It’s a mind-blowing experience that combines a fictional futuristic setting with actual sensations you can get only from having your body tossed around. Check it out: youtu.be/d-uKEC1JWDk. Pro tip: Go around twice, once with the headset on and once without, and decide for yourself which scares you more. Six Flags’ Magic Mountain
VIRTUAL HEARTTHROB Fans of Japanese heartthrob actor Kento Yamazaki have to pinch themselves to keep from kissing him when he leans in with lazy machismo at a virtual-reality event in Tokyo. In one restaurant scene presented by Fuji TV on Sony’s PlayStation VR headgear, you’ve just cooked a pasta dish. Yamazaki, a squeeze from the hit TV show “When There is Someone You Love,” condescendingly but lovingly tells you it could use a squeeze of lemon. He then brings the pasta-wrapped fork to your mouth. Cue melted hearts. In another scene, you are side by side with him on a balcony, looking up at the moon and stars. It’s hokey and predictable, but a must-feel outing for fans.
The experience was part of a summer festival that cost 2,000 yen (about $18). Though you missed this one, Fuji TV is already planning others and has demonstrated VR dating with a TV show announcer. Odaiba summer park (in Japanese)
WHO ARE YOU GOING TO CALL? Madame Tussaud’s Ghostbusters. Experience what it’s like to be a Ghostbuster who zaps ghosts. A $55 ticket gives museum goers entry to the 15-minute VR experience, too (normal admission is about $30). Strap on a “proton pack” - a cleverly hidden VR computer - like Ghostbusters wear in the eponymous movies. Then grab a particle thrower, wear a VR headset and start blasting ghosts. Up to three people can go through the experience together. Through the headset, your friends become (white, male) avatars of Ghostbusters. A dingy New York apartment is soon teeming with ghosts. Firing your particle thrower wraps a stream of protons around them, just like in the movie. After entering a dim elevator, Slimer rushes toward you, and before you know it, you’ve been slimed. And as you and your teammates vanquish the Stay Puft marshmallow man, the smell of burnt marshmallow hangs in the air. Ghostbusters in New York
PLAY BALL With 10 VR cameras near first and third bases, fans of the KT Wiz baseball team can get up close to the players and cheerleaders. The technology isn’t perfect. The camera placements don’t make you feel as though you’re on the mound, while fuzzy resolution masks which way the ball is headed and makes the scoreboard difficult to see. And a transmission delay means seeing plays on the Samsung Gear VR some 15 seconds after everyone else around you. “It was good to see the players close,” said Choi Eun-young, 40, clad in a Wiz uniform and black wizard hat. “But baseball games are the best when you come in person.” It’s worth a try, though, if you want to experience South Korean baseball’s festive culture and see the live K-pop dance upclose. Baseball in Korea is the equivalent of a live outdoor concert; cheerleaders perform to K-pop songs on stage, and the rest of the stadium becomes a giant picnic with family and friends. There’s no charge beyond the regular admission to the game, which starts at 10,000 won (about $8.50). But the experience is by invitation only and is meant for local, Koreanspeaking fans. KT Corp., which owns the team, selects four or five families based on their messages about why they want a seat there. Though the baseball season is over, KT says VR will likely return next year. KT Wiz site (in Korean)
NOT IF YOU’RE AFRAID OF HEIGHTS ... You can display your virtual courage in Tokyo by rescuing a mewling cat perched on a wooden plank that balances from the edge of a skyscraper. Walking out on the plank includes one heartstopping moment where the wood appears to bend slightly beneath your feet with the virtual sky stretching in all directions. Some participants were so freaked out they got on their hands and knees - for real - to keep going. A fuzzy object that feels like a dead dog gets placed in your hands if you make it to the end. That’s the extent of the illusion. If you’re not convinced, you may feel like dropping the thing into the virtual abyss below. The cat rescue is one of eight VR experiences created by game-maker Bandai Namco for HTC’s Vive headset. Another entails shooting flying robotic spaceships with a manga-like female character as your co-pilot. Each experience in VR Zone: Project I Can cost 700 yen (about $6.30) to 1,000 yen ($9). This one’s over, but expect more like it to come. Tokyo’s VR Zone (in Japanese)
TAKING A DIVE At London’s Natural History Museum, visitors can travel beneath the waves and explore the breathtaking Great Barrier Reef through virtual reality. The museum’s reef dive VR experience sits headset wearers next to British nature broadcaster Sir David Attenborough in a stateof-the-art submersible as it slowly descends to the ocean floor off the coast of Australia. There are vibrant coral reefs, darting fish and silhouetted scuba divers against the blue ocean. Museum officials say they aren’t worried these experiences might one day replace traditional museums. “We see this as a real opportunity to show specimens in a new way, and we don’t see it as replacing the amazing immersive experience you have when you come,” says Celena Bretton, the museum’s digital media strategy manager. The 15-minute David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef Dive experience costs 6.50 British pounds ($8). The museum admission is free. London reef dive
Image: Cheoh Wee Keat
GET USED TO HEAT RECORDS; STUDY PREDICTS FAR MORE IN FUTURE
The United States is already setting twice as many daily heat records as cold records, but a new study predicts that will get a lot more lopsided as man-made climate change worsens. Under normal conditions, without extra heattrapping gases from human activity, the nation should set about the same number of hot and cold records over the course of several years. But that’s not happening and it’s steadily getting worse, scientists said. If and when the nation warms another 4.5 degrees (2.5 degrees Celsius), expect there to be around 15 heat records for every cold one, the new study in Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencespredicts. That warming can be as early as 50 years from now if greenhouse gas emissions - from the burning of coal, oil and gas - continue at their recent pace or a century away if carbon pollution 169
slows down, said study lead author Gerald Meehl, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research . “This climate is on a trajectory that goes somewhere we’ve never been. And records are a very easy measure of that,” said study co-author Claudia Tebaldi, who’s also at the atmospheric center in Boulder, Colorado. They used records from the nation’s weather stations for their statistical calculations. After an earlier study in 2009, Meehl and Tebaldi looked further in the past and into the future. In the Dust Bowl hot 1930s, there were 1.1 hot records for every cold. After a couple decades of more cold records and an even one-to-one ratio in the 1980s, the number of high heat marks left cold in the dust. So far in the 2010s there have been 2.2 hot records for every cold, including six hot records for every cold this year, Meehl said. Looking at records is important because people don’t feel shifts in average temperature, but they do notice shifts in extremes like this, Meehl said. “These results are not surprising,” University of Georgia meteorology professor Marshall Shepherd said in an email. “And it further points to the notion that ‘extremes’ not averages get our attention. In life we get alarmed when we have a fever, not when our temperature is near the 98.6 average. We are setting Earth on course for high fever events to be quite common.”
Online: Journal 171
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