United States

Waseda's newly elected president aims to make university a top-notch global draw for scholars

The Japan Times

Perhaps he won the presidency thanks to his specialized knowledge of voting behavior and public opinion, or maybe it was his casual tweets in conversations with students, his use of mocking buzzwords or his adoption of slang used by his pupils. Whatever the case, 67-year-old Aiji Tanaka assumed the presidency of Tokyo's Waseda University last month, becoming the institution's first leader selected from the political science and economics department over the past 50 years. Tanaka envisions raising Waseda into the ranks of the world's top schools, with clear measures he says must be "effective first, and then efficient." Tanaka said he intends to boost the university into the top 30 to 40 institutions worldwide. "To be a top university in the world, serious determination and commitment are necessary. That was the first thing I thought of when becoming president," said Tanaka.

Showbox back online but free movie and TV streaming app could endanger people who try to use it

The Independent

Showbox, a mysterious app that allows people to watch new films and TV shows for free, is back after a strange outage. But the circumstances around that return is largely unknown, and anyone trying to use the popular app might be endangering themselves and their computer. Showbox is a hugely popular app that allows for a Netflix-like experience but includes apparently torrented versions of new movies and TV shows. More specifically, there appears to be a number of versions of the app, all of which present themselves as the legitimate app. The service stopped working recently, prompting concerns that the service might have been taken down entirely – but it seems to have emerged once again.

Waymo's Self-Driving Launch, and More This Week in Cars


This week, the WIRED Transportation team highlighted (as we often do) a few exciting developments in self-driving cars. The Senate is finally considering self-driving car legislation, and might finalize it before the end of the year. An autonomous vehicle shuttle company bagged some new government contracts, and will open its six-seaters to members of the general public this month. Waymo, the putative leader in the space, finally launched its self-driving car service in metro Phoenix, Arizona. And then there were some asterisks.

Waymo launches nation's first commercial self-driving taxi service in Arizona


On the chilly October day the New York City subway opened in 1904, the marvel of engineering and grit was greeted with horns, steam sirens and stations overrun by thousands of revelers. "Fast Trains in Tubes," blared one headline. On Wednesday, 114 years later in sun-swept Arizona, the launch of the 21st-century equivalent came in a blog post and an email invitation. Google offshoot Waymo announced it is launching the nation's first commercial self-driving taxi service in this and other Phoenix suburbs. The 24/7 service, dubbed Waymo One, will let customers summon self-driving minivans by a smartphone app, a la Uber or Lyft.

Secret Service to test facial recognition tech around White House


A crowd gathers in front of the White House this past June. It looks like facial recognition tech may be used around the White House. The Secret Service plans to test a system in and around the official residence of the president of the United States, the American Civil Liberties Union said in a Tuesday blog post. The ACLU pointed to a document published last week by the Department of Homeland Security (PDF). According to the document, the Secret Service wants to see if facial recognition technology can help it identify known individuals entering the White House.

Uber Lays Groundwork for IPO

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

The S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission puts Uber neck-and-neck with Lyft. Both planned IPOs are shaping up to be among the biggest in a spate of offerings aimed for 2019. Lyft said Thursday it had filed its S-1, and people familiar with the matter have said it is aiming to debut in March or April. Uber's filing indicates it could go public as soon as the first quarter, as The Wall Street Journal reported in October. That would be sooner than many observers had expected.

Technologist Vivienne Ming: 'AI is a human right'

The Guardian

There is a surefire way to make Vivienne Ming flinch. It is a reaction she has to the bullish claims that big tech firms like to make. As federal investigations hit Facebook and global protests plague Google, the mantra remains. Artificial intelligence will make all our lives better. All can be solved with AI.

New Class of Metamaterials Changes Physical Properties in Seconds

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

Metamaterials seem like a technology out of science fiction. Because of the way these materials affect electromagnetic phenomena and physical attributes of materials, they can render objects invisible, leaving the observer in disbelief. While invisibility cloaks are a gee-whiz application, metamaterials now offer real-world commercial applications such as new antenna technologies for mobile phones. To get to the point where metamaterials are not just a curiosity, but also a viable commercial technology, they have had to evolve a new set of tricks . One example is the work of a team of researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the University of California San Diego (UCSD).

O2 down compensation: Free credit and airtime package revealed for users after day without service

The Independent

O2 has revealed the compensation package it will offer to customers hit by its data outage. Both pay monthly and pay as you go customers will receive free time after they were left entirely without data for a whole day. Pay monthly customers will be given two free days on their contract. And pay as you go customers will get 10 per cent of their credit for free. "We're very sorry about yesterday's data issue," an O2 spokesperson said.

O2 down compensation scams spread across internet as people try to get money back for 4G outage

The Independent

Customers frustrated by the O2 hack are now being tricked into scams as they search for ways to get their money back. Police say that scammers are taking advantage of angry users in an attempt to dupe them into getting themselves in trouble. It comes as false rumours spread across the web about the vast sums of money people might be able to claim. All the same, O2 really is offering compensation. But it is vastly less than the scams suggest.