Cops can easily get months of location data, appeals court rules
By Cyrus Farivar
A full panel of judges at the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals has now overturned last summer’s notable decision by the standard trio of appellate judges, which had found that police needed a warrant to obtain more than 200 days' worth of cell-site location information (CSLI) for two criminal suspects. The Fourth Circuit relied heavily upon the third-party doctrine, the 1970s-era Supreme Court case holding that there is no privacy interest in data voluntarily given up to a third party like a cell phone provider. That case, known as Smith v. Maryland, is what has provided the legal underpinning for lots of surveillance programs, ranging from local police all the way up to the National Security Agency.
Unlocking the disruptive potential of 3D printers
By Bren Ostergaard
The idea of “printing” components and whole products on-demand has the potential to redefine the way we develop, manufacture, distribute and maintain material goods. It also promises to create an entire new industry that has the potential to disrupt traditional manufacturing. However the technology remains opaque and difficult to use for laypeople--the key obstacle to getting the technology to consumers.
Why Google and Boston Dynamics are Parting Ways
By Danielle Muoio
Google was not happy about video you probably saw featuring Boston Dynamics employees testing out their robots by shoving them this way and that. Despite the robots showing exceptional skill for physical tasks--as well as tolerance for humans--Google entering a consumer market. Likewise the relationship was strained by other requests along Google’s quest to get robots into consumer homes by 2020, like for instance quiet electrification over loud hydraulics or wheeled robots over legged robots.
SUSTAINABILITY & ENVIRONMENT
How to feed 9.7bn people? Startups take on the global food problem
By Nic Fleming
The raw numbers make for daunting reading. One in 10 people out of the current global population of 7.4 billion already goes hungry. Crop yields that soared in the decades after the second world war are flatlining, and the UN predicts there will be 2.3 billion more mouths to feed by 2050. Green shoots of change, however, are starting to emerge, with researchers seeking out possible solutions on the borders between disciplines. The startup and venture capital culture, driving rapid change in other spheres, is gaining a foothold in food and agriculture, and spreading from its stronghold on the US west coast.
Job Losses Expected As Maryland Governor Stuns Solar Industry With Clean Energy Veto
By Samantha Page
For the past 12 years, Maryland has had a highly successful program requiring utilities to use more renewable energy. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s own Dept. of Environment last fall said the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) was creating thousands of jobs and would create billions in economic activity by 2020. In April, the governor signaled his own commitment to clean energy, signing the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act.
Read the full article here.
There are more jobs in renewable energy than in oil, gas, and coal combined
By Heather Smith
A word to the burly coal miners who complained that cutting coal out of our energy mix would take away their jobs when the Climate Action Plan was up for debate. Jobs in solar energy now outnumber jobs in coal mining and the oil and gas industry added together, says a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Read the full article here.
LABOR, TRADE, & ECONOMY
How the Future of Driverless Trucks Will Disrupt the Global Economy
By Shoshanna Delvanthal
Recently, about a dozen trucks from major manufacturers including Volvo, Daimler AG and Volkswagen completed a week of autonomous driving across Europe, to take part in the European Truck Platooning Challenge, organized by the Dutch government as one of biggest events for its 2016 presidency of the European Union. Truck “platooning” involves a few trucks linked wirelessly that autonomously follow one leading truck determining route and speed. The platoon of wireless-linked trucks arrived in Rotterdam, Netherlands, signifying a win for the future of driverless transport with the first ever border-crossing trip of its kind. Trucks arrived from factories as far as Southern Germany and Sweden. The news shed light on the ability of driverless trucks to completely disrupt the economy.
Y Combinator announces basic income pilot experiment in Oakland
By Kate Conger
Y Combinator announced today that it would launch its first basic income experiment in Oakland, CA. The startup accelerator began researching the concept of basic income last fall and will soon start paying salaries. Y Combinator initially said that it wanted to pay basic income to a group of people over a five-year period and study the effects, but now the company has changed course. It will begin the research with a short-term study in Oakland, Y Combinator announced in a blog post: “Our goal will be to prepare for the longer-term study by working on our methods—how to pay people, how to collect data, how to randomly choose a sample, etc.” Depending on how the pilot goes, Y Combinator may continue with the longterm study.
What If Trade Agreements Helped People, Not Corporations?
By David Korten
Opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership is widespread on both sides of the Atlantic. This opposition presents an opportunity to propose international economic agreements that support efforts to meet the livelihood needs of all people in balanced relationship with a living Earth. Existing and proposed trade agreements were negotiated in secret by and for transnational corporations. Each changes the rules to increase the ability of transnational corporations to make decisions once reserved for nations. The results of this radical social experiment are now conclusive. Corporate profits and the people who benefit from them are doing very well. Life is in decline.
GLOBAL CONFLICT & DEVELOPMENT
Ballots and Bullets in the Heat of Mexico’s Drug War
By Paul Imison
In recent years, Tamaulipas has earned a bloody reputation as one of Mexico’s deadliest and most politically opaque states, where information regarding law enforcement and military operations is closely guarded and the media is cowed by threats from organized crime. Tamaulipas is one of 14 Mexican states set to hold local and gubernatorial elections on June 5 and one of five in which the National Electoral Institute, the country’s independent electoral authority, has issued warnings for the possibility of violence and fraud. In many ways, Tamaulipas is a microcosm of the challenges facing Mexico’s troubled democracy, which finally emerged from one-party rule in 2000.
Islamic State bans satellite TV in Iraq’s second-largest city, citing infidel brainwashing
By Hugh Naylor and Mustafa Salim
The Washington Post
First they imposed tough restrictions on Internet usage and cellphone networks in Iraq's second-largest city. Now Islamic State militants appear to be targeting another staple for residents there: television. In a video released Wednesday, the extremist group announced a ban on satellite television in Mosul, which it has controlled since June 2014. The video shows the militants rounding up scores of satellite dishes and receivers and crushing them with steamrollers and sledgehammers.
Uber Just Got the Biggest Private Investment in History From Saudi Fund
By Jack Smith IV
Looking at Uber's brief history of labor violations and the protests, it seems that no press is bad press. Now we know that for Uber, no money is bad money, either. On Wednesday afternoon, Uber announced that it nabbed a $3.5 billion investment from the Saudi Public Investment Fund, the investing arm of the Saudi Arabian government. The Saudi fund will have a share of Uber's ownership—cashing out on Uber if it gets bought or goes public—and the fund's manager will join Uber's board.
Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert Will Save Us From Gay Space Colonies
By Phil Plait
Elections have consequences. You put people in power, and they make laws. What they base those laws on might be their desire for religious oppression, their homophobia, their racism, their desire to please the people who fund them, or their simple desire to seize power and maintain it. In the case of Texas Representative Louie Gohmert, it’s the desire that we not send gay space colonists to continue the human race after some sort of global disaster. Democracy!
Why Virginia's Restoration of Voting Rights Matters
By Jeremy Raff and Vann R. Newkirk II
In April, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe restored voting rights to more than 200,000 people with felony convictions. The provision in the state’s constitution that bans felons from voting stemmed from attempts to prevent African Americans from voting. “The whole genesis of what we’re talking about goes to the core of racism in this country,” McAuliffe says in this short video. “Many African Americans were being arrested early on in the southern states, so predominately African Americans were the ones being charged with felonies.” Atlantic staff writer Vann R. Newkirk II traveled to Richmond, Virginia, to speak with the governor and those directly affected by the order.
Most For-Profit Students Wind Up Worse Off Than If They Had Never Enrolled in the First Place
By Bourree Lam
The for-profit-college industry appears to be facing its moment of reckoning. The closing of Corinthian Colleges in April of last year, once a big player in the industry, left thousands of students in debt and without degrees. In the months since, the Department of Education has forgiven more than $27 million in debt for nearly 3,500 students—many of them former Corinthian students—on the grounds that they were deceived. The Department of Education has also set up an initiative to take action against for-profit colleges engaged in deceptive marketing and recruitment practices.
Read the full article here.