As drought- and wind-driven wildfires have become more dangerous across the American West in recent years, firefighters have tried to become smarter in how they prepare. They're using new technology and better positioning of resources in a bid to keep small blazes from erupting into mega-fires like the ones that torched a record 4% of California last year, or the nation's biggest wildfire this year that has charred a section of Oregon half the size of Rhode Island. There have been 730 more wildfires in California so far this year than last, an increase of about 16%. But nearly triple the area has burned -- 470 square miles. Catching fires more quickly gives firefighters a better chance of keeping them small.
Netflix has hired veteran video game executive Mike Verdu, signaling the video streaming service is poised to expand into another fertile field of entertainment. Verdu's addition as Netflix's vice president of game development, confirmed Thursday, comes as the company seeks to sustain the momentum it gathered last year when people turned to the video streaming service to get through lockdowns imposed during the pandemic. Netflix wound up adding 37 million worldwide subscribers last year, by far the largest annual gain in its history. But the landscape has changed dramatically now that the easing pandemic has allowed people to return to a semblance of their normal lives. The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits has reached its lowest level since the pandemic struck last year, further evidence that the U.S. economy and job market are quickly rebounding from the pandemic recession.
Investments in housing, transit and job training emerged as top priorities for the Bay State as it recovers from the pandemic, according to a future of work report released by the Baker Administration. "The changing ways of working may shift what we think of as the'center of gravity' here in Massachusetts away from the urban core and toward the rest of the state," Baker said at a Tuesday morning press conference at the Tufts Launchpad location for BioLabs in Boston, a recipient of a Baker administration Workforce Training Fund Program grant. The report estimates that Massachusetts will need to produce 125,000 to 200,000 housing units by 2030, a $1 billion investment, with a focus on aiding homeownership among communities of color. Baker also announced $240 million in funding for workforce training programs. The report says up to 400,000 people may need to change occupations over the next decade to keep up with workplace trends.
An unopened copy of Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda that was made in 1987 has sold at auction for $870,000. Heritage Auctions in Dallas said the video game sold Friday. The auction house said it was a rare version that was created during a limited production run that took place during a few months in late 1987. The Legend of Zelda is a popular fantasy adventure game that was first released in 1986. "The Legend of Zelda marks the beginning of one of the most important sagas in gaming; its historical significance can't be understated … it is a true collector's piece," Valarie McLeckie, Heritage's video game specialist, said in a statement.
Two astronauts on Sunday made the first spacewalk outside China's new orbital station to set up cameras and other equipment using a 50-foot-long robotic arm. Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo were shown by state TV climbing out of the airlock as Earth rolled past below them. The third crew member, commander Nie Haisheng, stayed inside. Liu and Tang spent nearly seven hours outside the station, the Chinese space agency said. The astronauts arrived June 17 for a three-month mission aboard China's third orbital station, part of an ambitious space program that landed a robot rover on Mars in May.
U.S. troops in eastern Syria came under rocket attack Monday, with no reported casualties, one day after U.S. Air Force planes carried out airstrikes near the Iraq-Syria border against what the Pentagon said were facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups to support drone strikes inside Iraq. Iraq's military condemned the U.S. airstrikes, and the militia groups called for revenge against the United States. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the militias were using the facilities to launch unmanned aerial vehicle attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq. It was the second time the administration has taken military action in the region since Biden took over earlier this year. There was no indication that Sunday's attacks were meant as the start of a wider, sustained U.S. air campaign in the border region.
The U.S. military, under the direction of President Joe Biden, carried out airstrikes against what it said were "facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups" near the border between Iraq and Syria, drawing condemnation from Iraq's military and calls for revenge by the militias. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the militias were using the facilities to launch unmanned aerial vehicle attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq. It was the second time the Biden administration has taken military action in the region since he took over earlier this year. Kirby said the U.S. military targeted three operational and weapons storage facilities on Sunday night -- two in Syria and one in Iraq. He described the airstrikes as "defensive," saying they were launched in response to the attacks by militias.
Facial recognition is facing a showdown in Congress. U.S. Sens. Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren are joined by U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley in reintroducing legislation to tamp down on the government's use of biometric technology, which includes facial recognition. Executive Director of ACLU Massachusetts Kate Ruane said people shouldn't worry "that government agencies are keeping tabs on their every movement." The bill would, under almost any circumstance, make it illegal for any federal agent or official to "acquire, possess, access or use" any biometric surveillance system. This includes facial recognition, voice recognition, gait recognition and "other immutable characteristic(s)," according to the bill.
Newport, R.I., is renowned for its elegance, charm, beauty and history. Now there's a new hotel for visitors eager to take it all in. Newport, as much as it is a place full of the fancy and fabulous, can also be a perfect spot for a kicked back, sea soaked and super fun escape. From big rooms that let in lots of sun to the bright pops of artwork throughout, the nods to the sea, a fabulous restaurant and bar and, of course, a great pool area, the Wayfinder makes for a great escape. My husband and I used it as our home base for a recent weekend.
Boston Calling is bringing in some of the biggest names in rock and roll -- including Rage Against the Machine and the Foo Fighters -- to headline the music festival when it returns in 2022 after being canceled twice due to the coronavirus pandemic. The acclaimed three-day music festival will return to Allston next Memorial Day, giving top billing to the iconic rock band and a lineup that includes more than 60 performers. An additional headliner will be revealed in the coming months. Eager fans can purchase a limited number of early bird three-day tickets on sale now by visiting bostoncalling.com. Foo Fighters and Rage Against the Machine were both set to headline the 2020 edition of Boston Calling before the festival was canceled due to the pandemic.