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Amazon's redesigned Echo Buds offer improved noise cancellation for $120

Engadget

Amazon's Echo Buds were successful in offering an AirPods alternative to people who prefer Alexa to Siri. Hands-free access to the assistant worked well, the earbuds were affordable at $130 and the company offered a decent amount of customization. However, the first-gen model didn't sound great, battery life was short and Bose-powered Active Noise Reduction (ANR) wasn't as powerful as true active noise cancellation (ANC). Today, Amazon is introducing a redesigned second-gen version of the Echo Buds that are cheaper, smaller and address all the key flaws from the initial release. The main feature of the all-new Echo Buds is still hands-free access to Alexa.


Amazon unveils smaller, lighter Echo Buds starting at $120

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Amazon is releasing a revamped version of its wireless Echo Buds that are lighter, smaller, and feature a redesigned case for wireless charging. The tech giant unveiled its next-generation Echo Buds on Wednesday. The wireless earbuds will be available in either black or glacier white, and will sell for $119.99 for a version with wired charging or $139.99 for one with wireless charging. For a limited time, both sets of earbuds will go for $99.99 and $119.99, They will also include six free months of Amazon Music Unlimited and Audible Plus (customers must be eligible for a free trial).


The Communities That Live Captioning Leaves Behind

Slate

During our synagogue's Zoom services last week, my family and I found ourselves giggling when we should have been serious. Auto-captions were turned on, and they kept botching the rabbi's Hebrew-laced English. Mourner's Kaddish (memorial prayer) was transcribed as mourner Scottish, and refua shlema (wish for a "full recovery") became with flu wash Emma. Some of the transcriptions bordered on offensive, like when Torah became terrorism and yasher koach (great job!) became wish a cough. We weren't relying on the captions and could laugh at these mistakes.


Amazon's new Echo Buds offer active noise cancellation on the cheap

Mashable

Amazon's Echo Buds didn't impress us much in 2019, to paraphrase Shania Twain. Now, the empire that Jeff Bezos built is back with a second attempt at in-house wireless earbuds slated for this spring. And they might be what we were looking for the first time around. The new Echo Buds address perhaps the biggest problem with the bulky first-gen model right away, with a slightly different form factor that Amazon says is 20 percent smaller. The stem's size has been reduced to hopefully improve in-ear comfort and the formerly glossy black exterior panel is now matte.


IRCAI official launch as a virtual conference, 2021

VideoLectures.NET

IRCAI is the result of a long tradition of Slovenian research in AI and a number of large-scale partnerships across several decades over a number of European networks of excellence and almost a decade of activities with UNESCO. It exists within an ecosystem of AI players, across different research departments at the Jozef Stefan Institute, non-profits such as the Knowledge 4 All Foundation and a number of start-ups between London and Ljubljana. Its mission is to cover the vertical from research, to implementation and policy input showcasing unbiased, rigorous, and comprehensive dialogue for policymakers, researchers, journalists, executives, and the general public to develop a deeper understanding of the complex field of AI.


Is there a market for an Apple TV/HomePod Frankenstein?

ZDNet

Would you buy an Apple TV/HomePod Frankenstein device? According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple has one in the works. "The company is working on a product that would combine an Apple TV set-top box with a HomePod speaker and include a camera for video conferencing through a connected TV and other smart-home functions, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters." Read more: Who do I pay to get the'phone' removed from my iPhone? Never one to underestimate Apple's ability to take an idea that, on the face of it, seems stupid and irrational and turn it into a multibillion-dollar craze, but this feels a bit weird even for Apple.


'Crocodile tears' are surprisingly similar to our own

National Geographic

Most of us think of tears as a human phenomenon, part of the complex fabric of human emotion. But they're not just for crying: All vertebrates, even reptiles and birds, have tears, which are critical for maintaining healthy eyesight. Now, a new study, published this week in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science, reveals that non-human animals' tears are not so different from our own. The chemical similarities are so great, in fact, that the composition of other species' tears--and how they're adapted to their environments--may provide insights into better treatments for human eye disease. Previously, scientists had studied closely only the tears of a handful of mammals, including humans, dogs, horses, camels, and monkeys.


NASA's Mars helicopter gets ready to make history

National Geographic

NASA is nearly ready to attempt the first flight on another planet. The space agency's small helicopter, called Ingenuity, has been deposited in a flat area on Mars, and it is running through a series of final tests before it tries to lift into the thin Martian air. Ingenuity's first flight was originally slated for April 11, but the mission hit a snag during a pre-flight test. While trying to spin the helicopter's rotors at full speed without leaving the ground, Ingenuity's onboard computer ended the test early. NASA says the helicopter is safe and communicating with Earth.


The Secret of Musical Genius - Overheard at National Geographic

National Geographic

Mozart wowed audiences as a child. The Beatles blew away Ed Sullivan. Beyonce hypnotized Super Bowl crowds. The world has been enthralled by those we call musical geniuses. But what defines a musical genius? And how does society recognize it? We probe these questions as we examine the life and career of Aretha Franklin, a transformational figure in American music, and the rise of a young prodigy, Keedron Bryant. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard. Want more? Watch the Genius: Aretha, a series about Aretha’s life, now streaming on Hulu. And check out the magazine piece about her and this journey through the career of the Queen of Soul.  Immerse yourself in the genius of Aretha Franklin and her music with this playlist https://lnk.to/ArethaGenius!NGE. Available on Spotify and Apple Music. And of course, check out the song that made Keedron viral and the opera performance that cemented Aretha’s genius.


'Black Mirror' Episode Comes To Life With NYPD Robot Dogs, Internet Terrified

International Business Times

The internet is terrified of the New York Police Department's newest "canine" on unit: Digidog, a robo-dog that the Netflix series "Black Mirror" warned of. After a video went viral of Digidog in action, the internet started comparing it to Series 4 Episode 5, "Metalhead," where human society is no longer in existence and has been overrun by robot dogs. Some fear that this new invention could eventually turn into something negative. It was first deployed in February when men were being held hostage in a Bronx apartment and the robot was able to see how safe it was and if it was safe for the police to enter, the New York Times reported. The creators of Digidog, Boston Dynamics, explained that these devices won't be used as a weapon, but a political art collective has shared a few examples of how easy it is for things to go downhill fast, including a handful of Muslim Americans being killed by drones, according to the Guardian.