Saving the Rainforest with Old Cell Phones

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Rainforests have some of the most complicated soundscapes on the planet. In this dense noise of insects, primates, birds, and everything else that moves in the forest, how can you detect the sounds of illegal logging? The old cell phone you have sitting in your desk drawer may have the answer. How do you go about saving the rainforest with old cell phones? After a visit to the rainforests of Borneo, physicist and engineer Topher White was struck by the sounds of the forest. In particular, he noises he couldn’t…

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Phishing Makes It Easy To Hijack Accounts

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Cyber-thieves grab almost 250,000 valid log-in names and passwords for Google accounts every week, suggests research. The study by Google and UC Berkeley looked at the ways email and other accounts get hijacked. It used 12 months of log-in and account data found on websites and criminal forums or which had been harvested by hacking tools. Google said the research helped secure accounts by showing how people fell victim to scammers and hackers. During the 12 months studying the underground markets, the researchers identified more than 788,000 credentials stolen via…

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Eco-friendly bitcoin competitor Chia, Invented

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A bitcoin transaction wastes as much electricity as it takes to power an American home for a week, and legendary coder Bram Cohen wants to fix that. Considering he invented the ubiquitous peer-to-peer file transfer protocol BitTorrent, you should take him seriously. Cohen has just started a new company called Chia Network that will launch a cryptocurrency based on proofs of time and storage rather than bitcoin’s electricity-burning proofs of work. Essentially, Chia will harness cheap and abundant unused storage space on hard drives to verify its blockchain. “The idea…

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Uber confirms SoftBank has agreed to invest billions

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The long-anticipated SoftBank Group investment into Uber has been agreed upon, confirms a spokesperson. “We’ve entered into an agreement with a consortium led by SoftBank and Dragoneer on a potential investment. We believe this agreement is a strong vote of confidence in Uber’s long-term potential. Upon closing, it will help fuel our investments in technology and our continued expansion at home and abroad, while strengthening our corporate governance.” Uber has not yet elaborated on plans, but we’ve been told that it includes a $1 billion investment in the company at the…

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Reinvention of the alarm clock in the age of smartphones

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The alarm clock has existed in a weird place since the advent of the smartphone — after all, why have a separate device on your nightstand for telling the time or waking you up in the morning when your phone already does that? That hasn’t stopped companies from trying to reinvent the alarm clock for the connected era, and Circa, a new Kickstarter project from Circa Labs, seems like one of the nicer attempts at the idea. Unlike some of the other smart alarm clocks out there, Circa doesn’t include…

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