Boring Company’s underground Loop now runs to the Las Vegas Strip

The walk from the Las Vegas Convention Center to Tacos El Gordo may only be seven-tenths of a mile but under the blazing sun of a Nevada winter, the trip can seem an eternity. Lucky for us Al Pastor enthusiasts, this traditional CES taco trek is now far more convenient as the Boring Company and Resorts World Las Vegas announced the official opening of the latest Loop station at Las Vegas Convention Center. 

This spur off of the Boring Company’s existing Loop network (which runs underneath the North and South halls of the LVCC) connects the convention center directly to a sister station underneath the World Resorts property on the other side of South Las Vegas Blvd. Boring expects the trip between the two to take just a few minutes — assuming nothing goes wrong — and plans to eventually expand the underground vehicle network to more than 55 stops along the Strip. 

“Today marks a monumental moment not only for our resort, but for Las Vegas,” Scott Sibella, president of Resorts World Las Vegas, said in a Thursday press relea. “Our passenger station will make a visit to our resort from the Las Vegas Convention Center easier than ever, and eventually connect us to key destinations throughout the city.”     

The Boring Company began work on the initial $47 million tunnels running under the LVCC back in 2019, completed excavation the following May, and opened for service — because of course it did — on April 20th, 2022. In October, 2021 Las Vegas approved the Boring Company’s plans to expand its Loop network to encompass more than 29 miles of tunnel. That figure grew to 34 miles in June, 2022 to include stations at Harry Reid International Airport and Allegiant Stadium following approval from the Clark County Commissioners. However, despite Boring CEO Elon Musk’s claims of superior passenger capacity — up to 4,400 people every hour! — the system so far has only managed to move around 575 people in that time.

via Engadget

June 30, 2022 at 03:06PM

Google Password Manager Just Got So Many Sweet New Features

There are few tools I use as often as Google Password Manager, the built-in password locker you’ll find for autofill settings in Android and iOS, as well as in Chrome. It saves an enormous amount of time during daily activities that often involve signing-in to a service or website or app. Today, Google announced a ton of stuff coming to it that should make it even more awesome.

First, Google is giving Password Manager a “simplified and unified management experience that’s the same in Chrome and Android settings.” Gone are the days of opening in autofill and then in Chrome and wondering why things have shuffled around. Password Manager will soon just look the same everywhere.

Second, Google is expanding their flagging of compromised credentials from Chrome to Android. Now, on Android, you’ll get warnings when Google recognizes weak or re-used passwords. If warned, you should be able to quickly fix them – another new addition to Android. And actually, Google says they are expanding compromised password warnings to all Chrome users on Android, Chrome OS, iOS, Windows, MacOS and Linux.

Google Password Manager

More fun for Google Password Manager:

  • Manual password adding: Google is adding the ability to manually add passwords on all platforms.
  • Multiple password grouping: Google says that if you have multiple passwords for the same sites or apps, they’ll now automatically group them.
  • Home screen shortcut: If you use Password Manager frequently, you may want a shortcut to it and you can now add that to your Android home screens.
  • iOS password generation: Google is going to let you generate passwords for iOS apps when you set Chrome as your autofill provider(!).
  • Touch-to-Login on Chrome for Android: Google’s Touch-to-Login feature is now in Chrome on Android as a way to tap a button at the bottom of your screen and quickly login to a site.

All of these new features should begin rolling out now, so be on the lookout for the new experiences.

As someone who relies heavily on Google Password Manager, all I can say is, thank you, Google.

Read the original post: Google Password Manager Just Got So Many Sweet New Features

via Droid Life: A Droid Community Blog

June 30, 2022 at 01:03PM

German court: SUV driver must pay more than a car for running red light

BERLIN — A German court has ruled that a driver should pay more than the usual fine for running a red light because he was driving a sports utility vehicle. The verdict dated June 3 could set a precedent for similar cases.

In its ruling, published Wednesday, the Frankfurt court ordered the driver to pay 350 euros ($365), almost twice the regular fine of $200 for running a red light. It also imposed a one-month driving ban.

The court argued that the shape of the SUV, with its high, box-like hood, meant the driving infraction posed a greater risk to pedestrians than if the defendant had driven a smaller car. It also took into account the defendant’s previous driving convictions.

The verdict can be appealed.

via Autoblog

June 29, 2022 at 05:38PM

Venus Aerospace unveils its new dart-like Mach 9 hypersonic plane design

Hypersonic technology is all the rage right now, though the specific concepts and applications are hardly anything new. However, that’s not stopping the mad rush of aerospace firms from attempting to inject hypersonic capabilities into everything from missiles to airplanes to space planes and beyond.

Even Hollywood recently dipped its toes into the super-speed game by enlisting Lockheed Martin’s legendary Skunk Works to help develop their fictional hypersonic jet for the “Top Gun: Maverick” blockbuster.

Ambitious startup Venus Aerospace recently joined the growing crowd of firms attempting to achieve hypersonic flight when they unveiled their revolutionary “Stargazer” concept vehicle at the UP.Summit (opens in new tab) in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Formed in 2017, the UP.Summit is an exclusive, invitation-only gathering that lures a wide range of corporate CEOs, innovative startup founders, visionary investors, and deep-pocket capital allocators with over $1 trillion in potential funding assets on tap. 

Related: Stratolaunch reveals its first hypersonic design for high-altitude flights

The “Stargazer,” is the Houston, Texas-based company’s first conceptual hypersonic vehicle out of the gate and its futuristic needle-nosed shape is certainly a radical departure from most passenger aircraft.

“Stargazer” was imagined as a next-generation Mach 9 hypersonic drone as well as a Mach 9 crewed aircraft, and both variants are hypothetically capable of taking a quick spin around Earth in about one hour. Hypersonic planes of this nature would take off from a conventional airport at subsonic speeds before streaking into the wild blue yonder to just the edge of outer space (170,000 feet, or 51,816 meters) while in hypersonic mode.

The aircraft’s proposed dimensions are 100 feet (30.5 m) wide by 150 feet (46 m) long when an actual physical mockup is constructed. The “Stargazer” will tip the scales at 150,000 pounds (68,039 kilograms) and have room to seat a maximum of 12 passengers.

Venus Aerospace was founded just two years ago by Sarah “Sassie” Duggleby and Dr. Andrew Duggleby. Their main goal for this sleek craft that could hypothetically reach velocities of nearly 7,000 mph (11,000 kph) is to whisk ticket-holders to their destinations in record-breaking time while being also seriously eco-friendly.

An artist’s depiction of Venus Aerospace’s Stargazer, a hypersonic plane. (Image credit: Venus Aerospace)

This new aerospace player has already obtained $33 million in private investor funding, which includes major venture capitalist investments, and an additional $1 million in government cash. Venus has also bolstered their balance sheet by recently announcing $20 million more raised in a Series A offering led by Prime Movers Lab, a venture capital firm that invests in breakthrough scientific startups. 

Details as to the type of environmentally-conscious fuel the “Stargazer” will guzzle has not been revealed yet as the hypersonic craft is still in the early stages of conception, nor have certain questions over noise pollution been answered.

“We worked with NASA at the Johnson Space Center and were able to access the information from the sonic boom testing from the space shuttle program,” Duggleby said in a Flying interview (opens in new tab). “We determined that at altitude and speed flying you will not be able to hear us — we will be flying at 170,000 feet at Mach 9.”

With an optimistic game plan underway, Venus has already developed and built a technology demonstration engine and has conducted pivotal tests inside hypersonic wind tunnels and propulsion labs around the country. The company hopes to start subsonic and supersonic drone testing next year.

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via Space

June 28, 2022 at 05:13AM

New Raspberry Pi Pico Adds WiFi, And Possibly Bluetooth

The Raspberry Pi foundation just announced a new lineup of boards in the Raspberry Pi Pico family. The Raspberry Pi Pico W is the headliner here. It takes the immensely popular Pico that they launched last year and adds WiFi capabilities to it! This does increase the price a tiny bit from the original $4 up to about $6. They have an order page up and available, but the links look like they’re still being updated at the resellers.

Another interesting thing to note, is that it looks like this board will probably be getting bluetooth capabilites in the future as the wireless chip has it built in already, just not yet enabled.

Eagle-eyed readers of datasheets will notice that CYW43439 supports both Bluetooth Classic and Bluetooth Low-Energy: we have not enabled Bluetooth on Pico W at launch, but may do so in the future.

Pico H

Along with the Pico, they’re also releasing the Pico H, and Pico WH, which come with pre-populated headers.

Check out their announcement for further information and a peek into some software information.

via MAKE

June 30, 2022 at 08:23AM

Spam Alert: Google Asks Feds for Permission to Flood Inboxes With Campaign Emails

After years of grumbling from Republicans in Congress, Google has requested that the Federal Election Commission allow a pilot program in which political campaign emails would be exempt from spam filtering.

The new program would allow emails from “authorized candidate committees, political party committees and leadership political action committees registered with the FEC,” to bypass Gmail’s spam categorization system, the filing read. That is, as long as those messages don’t violate the platform’s other rules around phishing, malware, or illegal activity.

Google seems to be trying to get ahead of a proposed bill. South Dakota Sen. John Thune and 25 other Republican legislators introduced a bill on June 16 aiming to make it “unlawful for an operator of an email service to use a filtering algorithm to apply a label to an email sent to an email account from a political campaign unless the owner or use of the account took action to apply such a label.”

Instead of being screened by Gmail’s spam filter, all qualifying political emails from would instead go directly to users’ inboxes. From there, users would get a “prominent” nudge to either keep receiving emails from the same sender, or to opt out, according to the filing.

The FEC filing was first obtained by Axios. In an emailed statement to Gizmodo, Google spokesperson, José Castañeda, confirmed the company’s FEC request and wrote:

We want Gmail to provide a great experience for all of our users, including minimizing unwanted email, but we do not filter emails based on political affiliation. We recently asked the FEC to authorize a pilot program that may help improve inboxing rates for political bulk senders and provide more transparency into email deliverability, while still letting users protect their inboxes by unsubscribing or labeling emails as spam. We look forward to exploring new ways to provide the best possible Gmail experience.

G/O Media may get a commission

The pending pilot policy comes after years of contention between the company and Republicans in Congress over the alleged political bias of Gmail spam filters.

Back in 2020, Florida Rep. Greg Steube showed up at a congressional hearing about tech monopolies to complain that his parents weren’t seeing his campaign emails. “Suddenly, I get elected to Congress, and I’m now up here in Washington, D.C., and my parents, who have a Gmail account, aren’t getting my campaign emails,” Steube claimed. “Why is this only happening to Republicans?,” he asked.

More recently, a March study from North Carolina State University’s computer science department added fuel to the fire. The study researchers found that campaign and fundraising emails from conservative groups and candidates more frequently went to Gmail users’ spam folders in the lead up to the 2020 election than those from liberal or left-leaning sources. The researchers found the opposite trend among the inboxes of Yahoo and Outlook users.

GOP politicians, like Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson, interpreted the study to mean that conservative campaigns were being intentionally and unfairly targeted by Google.

However, the researchers specifically wrote in that study that their observations don’t mean Google was intentionally poisoning its spam filter with politics. Instead, they suggested the observed bias could be the result of how Google and others weighs past user behavior in their analysis of what is and isn’t spam. In other words: conservative emails likely went to spam more often because Gmail users had previously marked similar emails from similar sources as spam.

Google has also repeatedly reaffirmed this. In May, the company’s chief legal officer, Kent Walker, met with republican senators and told them that there is no bias in how Gmail manages spam.

“Mail classifications automatically change to match users’ preferences and actions. For example, users can unmark spam, move messages to a different category, or switch categories on or off. Over time, classifications change according to these corrections,” said Google in an explanation of its classification system.

In another statement to Mashable, a Google spokesperson further said that, “political affiliation has absolutely no bearing on mail classifications in Gmail and we’ve debunked this suggestion, which has surfaced periodically from across the political spectrum, for many years.”

It’s also possible that right wing politicians have been hurting their own chances for main inbox exposure through spammy tactics. Donald Trump has even gotten flack from within his own party for his campaign’ hyper-aggressive, misleading fundraising emails. Yet, despite the above, conservative politicians have pushed forward with their anti-spam crusade.

Republican lawmakers have taken to Twitter to voice their support for the bill. “I’m working to hold Big Tech accountable,” tweeted Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst. Rep. Kevin McCarthy from California wrote, “Big Tech has proven itself a bad actor. Time to fight back.” Thune himself posted that Gmail spam filtering is, “unacceptable & anti-democratic.”

Google’s efforts may not be enough for republicans. “Consumers want a long-term transparent fix, which is what Senator Thune’s bill would provide,” a spokesperson for the senator told to the Washington Post.

Meanwhile, Democrats have a different view. “It’s sad that instead of simply stopping sending spam emails, Republicans engaged in a bad-faith pressure campaign,” said Daniel Wessel, a Democratic National Committee spokesperson, to the Post. “And it’s even more unfortunate that Google bought it.”

via Gizmodo

June 28, 2022 at 05:33PM

The Supreme Court Just Ruled Against the Planet

The Supreme Court at sunset.
Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta (AP)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in West Virginia vs. EPA in favor of plaintiffs who argued that the Environmental Protection Agency does not have the power to regulate carbon dioxide from power plants—the country’s second-largest source of CO2 emissions—without input from Congress.

The ruling almost completely disrupts any major plans to fight climate change at the federal level in the U.S., and is likely to have wide-ranging implications for federal agencies looking to protect public health under bedrock laws like the Clean Air Act. It also signals how the court is likely to rule in other environmentally damaging cases in the pipeline.

The court’s decision follows a series of major policy reversals, including a devastating rollback on abortion rights, by one of the most conservative Supreme Courts in history, created by a dark-money network powered by pro-polluter interests. And it isn’t done wreaking havoc on public health just yet.

What is West Virginia vs. EPA?

This case is a strange one for a lot of reasons, and it’s been a winding road of confusing legal moves to get to today’s catastrophic decision. The host of plaintiffs, which include several attorneys general from Republican states and two coal companies, essentially brought a preemptive case against the Biden administration’s EPA as it worked on its own rule to replace the Obama administration’s 2015 Clean Power Plan.

The Clean Power Plan, which proposed to reduce emissions from the power sector by setting reduction targets that states would have needed to meet, never actually went into effect; it was tied up in conservative court challenges for years (including one led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who is leading this current challenge) before being ultimately repealed by the Trump administration in 2018. Complicating matters even further, in 2021, during the waning days of the Trump administration, a federal judge repealed the rejection of the Clean Power Plan as well as Trump’s weak replacement for the policy.

Even weirder still, the Biden administration actually hasn’t introduced its replacement policy yet—there’s currently no EPA regulation of the power sector actively on the books. Usually, Supreme Court cases are based around an actual policy or piece of regulation that is in play, but this case is based on the idea of what the agency is able to do under the Clean Air Act. The fact that the conservative Court took up this case against a theoretical policy and ruled in favor of the plaintiffs signals that it is more willing to take an active hand in dismantling federal agencies’ ability to regulate than the role the judicial branch would normally play.

“This is a Court that’s now taking on a series of precedents like we’ve never seen a Court do, really, in our lifetime,” said Lisa Graves, who served in the U.S. Department of Justice and now runs True North Research, a public policy watchdog group. “For this Court to try to take away the EPA’s power, it’s not inside baseball—it’s a dramatic departure from federal policy, from legal precedent.”

Why is the court’s ruling important?

The decision technically places the responsibility for regulating emissions from the power sector into the hands of the legislative branch. In a well-functioning democracy, Congress would be able to pass laws that would then direct the EPA to regulate emissions and pollution through specific mechanisms. But as anyone who has been paying any attention at all to the state of national U.S. politics can tell you, climate action in Congress has been dead in the water for the past decade or more. This, experts say, was a core part of the plan of the special interests that brought this case forward.

“The Court is not naïve,” Graves said. “The majority knows that Republicans have blocked in Congress every major significant effort to mitigate climate change in the past few decades. They know that some of the same forces that are behind the amicus briefs [in this case] have been able to thwart Congress’s ability to craft new laws to address this.”

And the interests lining up behind this case are powerful. The amicus briefs filed in support of the plaintiffs’ position read like a who’s who in organizations that have fought tooth and nail for polluters, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has been a force in spreading climate denial, and the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, an advocacy group founded by the billionaire Koch brothers, arguably two of the most powerful pro-oil and gas political funders—and spreaders of climate denial—in recent decades. Charles Koch himself, Graves said, was a notable driving force in creating the conditions for this case, as well as other cases that could be teed up before this court. Many of the judges currently sitting on the court were nominated thanks to campaigns funded by some of the same pro-pollution donors behind this case. And this landmark ruling may be just the beginning of their attempts to give even more freebies to polluters.

“This case represents a victory for right-wing infrastructure that has been funded by Koch and other anonymous donors to try and strip away the power of our federal agencies to regulate industries, like Koch industries, the oil and gas industry, and more,” Graves said.

Editor’s note: This is a breaking news story, and will be updated as news develops. 

via Gizmodo

June 30, 2022 at 09:15AM