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Top Stories for the Week of December 12, 2018

  • Episode 586
  • December 12, 2018

Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday December 12, 2018


Google's parent company, Alphabet, will test its drone delivery service in Finland next year.

Google's parent company, Alphabet, will test its drone delivery service in Finland next year.

Helsinki will be the first European location for Wing, which has been testing drones in Australia.

Its aircraft will deliver packages weighing up to 1.5kg within minutes of an order being placed.

Several companies, including Wing and Amazon, are developing drone delivery services but they have spent years in development without launching.

In December 2013, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos predicted his company's Prime Air delivery service would launch within five years.

However, its service is still in development.

Wing said its drones had made 55,000 journeys in Australia, delivering items such as medicine, coffee and household goods.

It said it had chosen Finland for its European trial because Finnish people were "renowned for being early-adopters of new technologies".

It has invited them to share what products they would like to see delivered by drone, with suggestions including breakfast, lunch, painkillers and household essentials.

Customers will be able to place an order using a smartphone app and the drone delivery will be offered free of charge during the trial period.

For drone delivery services to be viable, the technology giants must show that their drones are safe and reliable.

Critics also question whether the public will want noisy drones delivering goods in towns and cities.

But Wing says drone delivery is "safer, faster and more environmentally friendly than ground delivery".

Wing is part of Alphabet's "Other Bets" division, which includes self-driving car project Waymo and internet-delivery-balloon-maker Loon.

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


Microsoft Edge is Dead. Seriously. Microsoft is building its own Chromium browser to replace the default on Windows 10.

Microsoft Edge is Dead. Seriously. Microsoft is building its own Chromium browser to replace the default on Windows 10.

The software giant first introduced its Edge browser three years ago, with a redesign to replace Internet Explorer and modernize the default browsing experience to compete with Chrome and others. While the modern look and feel has paid off for Edge, the underlying browser engine (EdgeHTML) has struggled to keep up with Chromium.

Microsoft is finally giving up and moving its default Windows 10 browser to Chromium.

Apparently there has been a growing frustration inside Microsoft thanks to Edge’s web compatibility issues, and businesses and consumers have been pushing the company to improve things.

Chrome is now the most popular browser across all devices, thanks to Android’s popularity and the rise of Chrome on PCs and Macs. Web developers have been favoring its rendering engine to optimize their sites. Google has also been creating Chrome-only web services, simply because its often the first to adopt emerging web technologies as its engineers contribute to many web standards.

Microsoft’s rendering engine has fallen behind as a result, and the company is finally ready to admit this. There were signs Microsoft was about to adopt Chromium onto Windows, as the company’s engineers have been working with Google to support a version of Chrome on an ARM-powered Windows operating system.

Adopting Chromium as the default rendering engine for Windows 10 will end Microsoft’s hostility towards Chrome. Microsoft has regularly pushed notifications to Windows 10 users to attempt to convince them not to use Chrome, and Microsoft pulled Google’s Chrome installer from the Windows Store, because it apparently violated store policies.

Source: www.theverge.com

Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson


Google is Expediting the Closure of Google+ After Another Security Bug

Google is Expediting the Closure of Google+ After Another Security Bug

We knew Google+ was shutting down but Google has announced they are expediting this process since a new security bug was discovered with the Google+ API. 52.5 million users in connection with a Google+ API potentially had their name, email address, occupation, age and other information stolen in this latest breach.

Google is moving up the closure of the consumer Google+ to April 2019 and closing down all the Google+ APIs in the next 90 days.

Google says, "We want to give users ample opportunity to transition off of consumer Google+, and over the coming months, we will continue to provide users with additional information, including ways they can safely and securely download and migrate their data."

Yet another Google service to add to the graveyard. Check out killedbygoogle.com for the full list.

Source: www.seroundtable.com

Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson


For the second time in history, a human-made object has reached the space between the stars.

For the second time in history, a human-made object has reached the space between the stars.

NASA’s Voyager 2 probe now has exited the heliosphere – the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by the Sun.

Comparing data from different instruments aboard the trailblazing spacecraft, mission scientists determined the probe crossed the outer edge of the heliosphere on Nov. 5. This boundary, called the heliopause, is where the tenuous, hot solar wind meets the cold, dense interstellar medium. Its twin, Voyager 1, crossed this boundary in 2012, but Voyager 2 carries a working instrument that will provide first-of-its-kind observations of the nature of this gateway into interstellar space.

Voyager 2 now is slightly more than 11 billion miles from Earth. Mission operators can still communicate with Voyager 2 as it enters this new phase of its journey, but information – moving at the speed of light – takes about 16.5 hours to travel from the spacecraft to Earth. By comparison, light traveling from the Sun takes about eight minutes to reach Earth.

Together, the two Voyagers provide a detailed glimpse of how our heliosphere interacts with the constant interstellar wind flowing from beyond. Their observations complement data from NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX), a mission that is remotely sensing that boundary. NASA also is preparing an additional mission – the upcoming Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP), due to launch in 2024 – to capitalize on the Voyagers’ observations.

While the probes have left the heliosphere, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 have not yet left the solar system, and won’t be leaving anytime soon. The boundary of the solar system is considered to be beyond the outer edge of the Oort Cloud, a collection of small objects that are still under the influence of the Sun’s gravity. The width of the Oort Cloud is not known precisely, but it is estimated to begin at about 1,000 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun and to extend to about 100,000 AU. One AU is the distance from the Sun to Earth. It will take about 300 years for Voyager 2 to reach the inner edge of the Oort Cloud and possibly 30,000 years to fly beyond it.

Voyager 2 launched in 1977, 16 days before Voyager 1, and both have traveled well beyond their original destinations. The spacecraft were built to last five years and conduct close-up studies of Jupiter and Saturn. However, as the mission continued, additional flybys of the two outermost giant planets, Uranus and Neptune, proved possible. As the spacecraft flew across the solar system, remote-control reprogramming was used to endow the Voyagers with greater capabilities than they possessed when they left Earth. Their two-planet mission became a four-planet mission. Their five-year lifespans have stretched to 41 years, making Voyager 2 NASA’s longest running mission.

Source: www.nasa.gov

Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson


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