North America Government


Amazon Employees To Jeff Bezos: Stop Selling Facial Recognition Tech To ICE

International Business Times

Amazon's operation has grown well beyond merely delivering items to people's homes. Jeff Bezos's massive corporation is now involved in everything from grocery shopping to fashion, but the recent revelation that Amazon technology assists law enforcement is a bridge too far for some employees. A group of Amazon employees (referred to as Amazonians) penned a letter to Bezos on Thursday asking the billionaire CEO to halt the sale of facial recognition technology to law enforcement agencies, The Hill reported. The software, called Amazon Web Services Rekognition, has been linked to government agencies like the controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. The letter cited the United States government's history of injustice towards minorities in calling for Amazon to stop assisting ICE.


Pakistan Taliban Chief Who Shot Malala Killed In US Drone Strike

International Business Times

Mullah Fazlullah, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader, accused of shooting activist Malala Yousafzai was killed by a United States drone strike June 13 close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a U.S. military official confirmed to Voice of America. "U.S. forces conducted a counterterrorism strike June 13 in Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which targeted a senior leader of a designated terrorist organization," army Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan said. He was reportedly traveling in a vehicle with four other commanders when the strike took place, Pakistani daily the Express Tribune reported. "A US drone strike in Afghanistan's northeastern Kunar province has killed the leader of the TTP," Mohammad Radmanish, Afghanistan's Ministry of Defense spokesperson, told CNN. "US Forces-Afghanistan and NATO-led Resolute Support forces continue to adhere to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan's unilateral ceasefire with the Afghan Taliban, announced by ... Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, which began on the 27th day of Ramadan," a statement from U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said claiming the strike did not put the ceasefire order by President Ashraf Ghani into risk, CNN reported. "As previously stated, the ceasefire does not include US counterterrorism efforts against IS-K, al Qaeda, and other regional and international terrorist groups, or the inherent right of US and international forces to defend ourselves if attacked," the statement added.


Rules-Based Trade Made The World Rich, Trump's Policies May Make It Poorer

International Business Times

Nations sell goods and services to each other because this exchange is generally mutually beneficial. It's easy to understand that Iceland should not be growing its own oranges, given its climate. Instead, Iceland should buy oranges from Spain, which can grow them more cheaply, and sell Spaniards fish, which are abundant in its waters. That's why the explosion in free trade since the first bilateral deal was penned between Britain and France in the mid-1800s has generated unprecedented wealth and prosperity for the vast majority of the world's population. Hundreds of trade agreements later, the United States and several other countries established an international rules-based trading system after World War II.


NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover Starts Analyzing Drilled Rocks After Year-Long Break

International Business Times

After more than a year, NASA's Curiosity rover has successfully delivered rock powder extracted from the Martian surface to one of its two onboard labs, regaining the critical ability to analyze surface samples on the red planet. The deployment of the lab on May 31 marks a major milestone for the agency, which has worked extremely hard to fix Curiosity's drilling and sample analysis capabilities. The technology-rigged rover's original drilling mechanism suffered a number of issues in 2016 and lost its upward and downward movement by the end of that year. The problem kept the robotic vehicle from extracting and analyzing Martian rock samples and severely affected the mission. However, the team of scientists at NASA worked on a percussive method called feed extended drilling, wherein the force of rover's extended robotic arm is used to push the drill forward into the rock in a freestyle manner.


Here Is IBM's Blueprint For Winning The AI Race

International Business Times

One of the cornerstones of International Business Machines' (NYSE:IBM) ongoing transformation is cognitive computing, which encompasses artificial intelligence and other related technologies. IBM is a business that serves other businesses, and its approach to artificial intelligence (AI) stays true to its purpose. IBM Watson, the company's well-known AI system, is being used in industries like healthcare and financial services to augment the skills of professionals in those fields. The long-term potential of the technology is immense. This article originally appeared in the Motley Fool. IBM has made a bet that cognitive computing will be a big part of its future.


Traces Of Ancient Martian Life Could Be Hidden In Iron-Rich Rocks

International Business Times

For years, astronomers have been working to determine if Mars, the planet companies like SpaceX hope to colonize, ever had any primitive form of life. We already know the red planet had water in its early days, but was there a time when it had all necessary conditions to support microbial life? NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) believe the answer to this question could be hidden in the Martian surface and are planning missions to delve into it. They hope studying the planet's surface could reveal vital clues or traces of past life, but the task comes with a major challenge -- the selection of prime mission targets. Robotic rovers cannot scour the entire planet and scientists have to pick which sites could have been the most suitable ones to host life several billion years ago.


NASA' Urban Air Mobility Plan Is Transport Goal For The Future

International Business Times

Science fiction movies (think, for instance, "Blade Runner") often depict cities of the future where the sky is a maze of invisible roads, chock-a-bloc with aerial vehicles that sometimes drive themselves. But unless you have been living like a hermit, cut off from the world, you would know that sort of a scenario is not entirely in the realm of fiction any more. While companies like Tesla, Uber and Waymo (among many others) have already been testing cars that drive themselves, there are others, including Airbus, Boeing and Toyota, who are working on flying cars. Even NASA is onboard with this vision for the future, and has an Urban Air Mobility (UAM) research team working toward this goal, which the agency calls "a safe and efficient air transportation system where everything from small package delivery drones to passenger-carrying air taxis operate over populated areas, from small towns to the largest cities." While a lot more research needs to be done to create the necessary technology that is both safe and efficient, not to mention the framing of rules and regulations to govern its use, it is certainly not just a pipedream.


Cotton In Space? ISS Experiments To Optimize Fiber Growth On Earth

International Business Times

Space makes an excellent hub for testing scientific theories and conducting a wide range of experiments. We have already sent human sperm and Budweiser barley seeds to the International Space Station (ISS) and now, the next thing flying towards orbit will be cotton! In a bid to optimize cotton farming on Earth, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the organization managing ISS' U.S. National Lab under NASA's authority, will be sending three sophisticated cotton projects to the space station. These experiments, selected through a competition called the Cotton Sustainability Challenge, will primarily focus on improving cotton production without using as much water as currently required. As part of the effort, each of the three projects will get in-orbit access to the U.S. National Laboratory and hardware implementation assistance to go ahead with the main mission.


Google-Branded Android TV Dongle With Google Assistant Spotted In FCC Filing

International Business Times

A recently published FCC filing shows a Google-branded HDMI dongle that's running Android TV. The device is listed with the model number "SN5B6AD" and it is described as a "4K ATV Stick." The mysterious device is listed as being manufactured by "Shenzen SEI Robotics Co. Ltd." The dongle itself features Google's signature "G" logo and it's accompanied by its own remote. The device appears to have a design that closely resembles a next-generation Chromecast, but it's running the Android TV operating system.


Government Fuel Economy Standards For Cars And Trucks Have Worked

International Business Times

U.S. cars are twice as fuel-efficient today as they were 40 years ago. Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards are a major reason why. These standards are in the news because the Trump administration plans to scale back increases scheduled under President Barack Obama that require automakers to double fuel economy by 2025. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt now says that this standard is too high. This announcement has rightfully sparked debate – not just about narrow costs and benefits of fuel economy standards, but also over the U.S. role in shaping a global industry that faces a trio of radical transformations via electrification, self-driving cars and ride-sharing.