Thursday, May 21, 2015

Boondoggle HQ: The $25 Million Building in Afghanistan Nobody Needed

This is a story about how the U.S. military built a lavish headquarters in Afghanistan that wasn’t needed, wasn’t wanted and wasn’t ever used at a cost to American taxpayers of at least $25 million.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Delta's awesome safety video is loaded with memes

Delta premiered the "Internetest safety video on the Internet" Wednesday morning and it's already making waves for all of its outrageous pop culture references. It's pretty safe to say that this video has it all, from Screaming Goat to Double Rainbow Guy to Nyan Cat.

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California forced to respond after new oil spill

The US Coast Guard and various environmental groups have begun cleanup efforts in the Santa Barbara area after an oil pipeline ruptured yesterday morning. The line, owned by Plains All American Pipeline, contaminated a 4-mile stretch from El Refugio State Beach to El Capitan State Beach with more than 20,000 gallons (500 barrels worth) of crude oil before the leak was stopped in the afternoon.

The cause of the rupture is still unknown, but a representative for Plains All American also told NBC News that the pipeline was inspected in the last two weeks. Officials evacuated Refugio State Beach shortly after the leak was discovered.

PHOTOS: Broken pipeline leaks thousands of gallons of oil onto coastline near Santa Barbara h...

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Robotic news writers are faster, but not necessarily better

Robotic news editors promise to save the trouble of picking and writing news stories (and might put people like me out of work), but are they really ready to replace human writers? Yes and no, if you ask NPR. The outlet held a showdown between Automa...
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California oil spill estimates grow as slick spreads across 9 miles

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Slicks of oil that spilled into California coastal waters from an onshore pipeline spanned a total of 9 miles Wednesday, and a company official said the line was operating at full capacity when it broke, suggesting much more oil escaped than initially estimated.

The oil that spilled Tuesday off southern Santa Barbara County formed two slicks, said Coast Guard Capt. Jennifer Williams, one of two federal response coordinators.

Before a morning flyover, the oil was estimated to span 4 miles of ocean.

The spill from a Plains All American Pipeline LP pipe was initially estimated at 21,000 gallons, but officials were not relying on that. Read more...

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Google's latest experiment brings new superpowers to Chrome browsers

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Google's latest experiment might be the coolest Chrome extension we've seen yet.

Tone, the company's newest homegrown browser add-on, uses sound to quickly share URLs with anyone nearby. The extension is available now in Chrome's web store and can be used by any Chrome user, regardless of what type of computer they have.

In order for the extension to work, it must be installed on at least two computers that are close enough to be "within earshot" of each other and each machine must have its volume turned on. Once the tab you want to share with your neighbors is open, click on the extension in your browser's toolbar, wait for the series of beeps, and the link will be shared to all nearby computers via a Chrome notification. Read more...

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Google turned millions of public photos into timelapses showing how Earth changes

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This is a brilliant way to use the millions of free public domain images that are just sitting around.

Researchers at the University of Washington and Google created more than 10,000 timelapse videos using millions of free photos available online.

The team analyzed 86 million photos from social sites, including Flickr and Picasa, and grouped them into landmarks. Then they sorted them by date and "warped" individual photos onto one viewpoint, retouched them a little, and created a stop-motion video showing how a particular landmark has changed over time Read more...

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Chinese tech giant Xiaomi quietly invades the U.S. with online store

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Xiaomi, the third-largest smartphone maker in the world, has finally come stateside.

But rather than selling smartphones, which are the company's bread and butter, Xiaomi opted instead to open an online store on Monday that sells accessories including headphones, external battery packs and a fitness/sleep tracker, all of which aren't up for grabs yet but are marked as "coming soon."

Prices start at $13.99 for an external battery, which Xiaomi says has enough juice to charge an iPhone 5S four-and-a-half times, and caps off at a pair of $79 headphones. Read more...

More about Tech, Gadgets, Mobile, Hugo Barra, and Xiaomi
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Sunday, May 17, 2015

YotaPhone 2 gets whiter, cheaper and Lollipopier

The YotaPhone 2, with AMOLED on the front and E Ink on the back, is already quite a striking handset thanks to its dual-screen design. Though not striking enough, apparently, or at least not as openly eccentric as the new, white version of the device...
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A Chinese Company Bets on an Ukrainian Cargo Plane

The Antonov 178 flies off for the first time, and China's Beijing A-Star Airspace and Technology Corporation wants to build them in China.
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