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Man hacks Alexa device with talking fish, hilarity ensues

A man has given Alexa, Amazon’s virtual personal assistant device, a hilarious makeover.

Developer and instructor Brian Kane hooked up Alexa with a Big Mouth Billy Bass talking fish figure. When Kane says the usual prompt, “Alexa,” the fish’s head turns. When he asks, “What’s the weather,” the fish’s lips move as Alexa provides the weather report.

the futurePosted by Brian Kane on Thursday, October 27, 2016

>> Read more trending stories  

While the video has generated a lot of chuckles, it was created for a serious science project.

“This was made as an in-class demo on rapid prototyping for my new artificial intelligence design course at Rhode Island School of Design in the industrial design department. We're looking at AI through the lens of artists and designers, to make new experiences for people that are engaging emotionally,” Kane wrote in a message on his Facebook page.

so by now many of you have seen the fish video :)  here's the story:this was made as an in-class demo on rapid...Posted by Brian Kane on Sunday, November 6, 2016

Self-driving truck makes 120-mile trek, delivers beer

Otto and Anheuser-Busch announced Tuesday that the two companies have completed the world’s first commercial shipment by self-driving truck.

<iframe width="390" height="219" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Qb0Kzb3haK8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

>> Watch the video here

Otto’s self-driving truck hauled a fully loaded trailer of Budweiser beer more than 120 miles on I-25 from Fort Collins, Colorado, through Denver, to Colorado Springs.

A professional truck driver was in the vehicle for the entire route, monitoring the delivery from the sleeper berth as the truck completed the route entirely on its own, without any driver intervention.

>> Read more trending stories

The load originated at Anheuser-Busch’s facility in Loveland, Colorado, and departed for its journey from the Fort Collins, Colorado, weigh station.

This milestone marks the first time in history that a self-driving vehicle has shipped commercial cargo, making it a landmark achievement for self-driving technology, the state of Colorado and the transportation industry, according to Anheuser-Busch.

iOS 10 released today; more Siri, new iMessage, photo, music features

The newest version of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS 10, is available for download Tuesday with an impressive list of upgrades.

The free download will give Apple device owners a host of new features including the addition of popular virtual assistant Siri in most every app, and an Apple map system that offers traffic alerts and alternative routes.

Perhaps the most talked-about addition comes in iMessages where you can now send “Tapback” reactions, add larger emojis and use “emojification” in which the app looks at what you have written and allows you to substitute emojis for certain words.

>> Got a question about the news? See our explainers here  

The news app has been redesigned for easier reading, and Apple Pay is now online and easier to use.

Here are some other upgrades included in the download:

  • Apple Photos now has face recognition as well as smart grouping for location, topics and other categories. The new system is called “Memories,” and it will be done automatically.

  • Look for more 3D-touch enabled apps

  • Apple Music has been overhauled. It is easier to get to and edit. It’s easier to control what goes into your music library. You can also get lyrics.

  • Notifications have changed. You no longer have to open the app to reply,  just tap on the notification to launch the app. It’s easier to  clear all notifications now, too.

  • A new setting for your lockscreen lets you set your phone to light up when you lift it. 

  • The Control Centre has two panels now. The first shows the same quick controls, the second shows music, the app that’s playing, volume and playback controls. There  is also a drop-down to select the output device.

  • A new app call Home lets you turn on lights and unlock doors when you are away from home.

  • In iMessages, “Invisible ink” allows you to send a message or photo that remains hidden, then is revealed when the recipient swipes it.

The iOS 10 update is available for the iPhone 5 and newer,  iPad mini 2 and newer, iPad 4 and the sixth generation iPod touch.

Click here for more on what’s new and to download iOS 10.

Apple iPhone 7 has two cameras, a faster processor and no headphone jack

It’s reveal day at Apple as the company is expected to introduce the iPhone 7 to the world.

The next generation of the smartphone is rumored to have some cool new features while losing a couple of the old ones.

A major change is said to be the disappearance of an earbud jack. The move, some think, is a signal of the company’s new commitment to wireless communication.

Here’s what we expect from the announcement today:

When: The event is set for 10 a.m. local time in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. That's 1 p.m. ET.

What: While Apple has not said what will happen, plenty of other people have guessed. Citing “leaks” about what will be revealed, tech bloggers say look for the new iPhone to be presented, along with a possible look at a new Apple Watch. (For some rumors about  what the phone will do and new features for the watch, click here.)

How can I watch: You can tune into a live stream of the event on Apple’s website

When can I get the phone: The phone will likely hit retail stores on Sept.16 or 23.

How much does it cost: The price of the iPhone 7 is rumored to start at $649.

Live updates from the Apple event

<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/apple-iphone-7-event-updates/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/apple-iphone-7-event-updates.js?header=none&amp;border=false"></script>[View the story "Apple iPhone 7 event updates" on Storify]

New Earth-like planet found orbiting nearby star

A new planet has been discovered that may be Earth-like, and it's really, really close. If we're ever going to look for life outside our solar system, this is probably where we'll start. Here's what scientists say about it.

>> Watch the video from Newsy

The planet might have liquid water, which is crucial to life as we know it. It's in the habitable zone, that sweet spot where it's neither too hot nor too cold to have water on its surface.

The planet orbits the closest-known star to ours, Proxima Centauri, which is about 4.25 light years away. It's in the southern sky, but it's too dim to see with the naked eye.

Four light years is nothing in space terms, but it's still too far to travel to any time soon. Our most pie-in-the-sky technology would still take decades to carry a probe there.

If we do ever travel there, it should feel somewhat familiar. The planet is about the same size as Earth, meaning gravity would be close to what we're used to. But its days and nights would be strange. It circles its sun every 11 days.

>> Read more trending stories

It's tempting to get excited about an Earth-like planet that couldn't be any closer, but there are some big unknowns. It's not clear yet whether the planet has an atmosphere or a magnetic field. Without those, the odds of finding life are pretty much zero.

Luckily, we don't have to wait too long to learn more. NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is set to launch in 2018, and it will be able to look for an atmosphere. And Stephen Hawking is supporting a plan to send a probe to nearby Alpha Centauri.

Extremely rare 2,500-pound T. rex skull arrives at Seattle museum

An extremely rare 2,500-pound Tyrannosaurus rex skull discovered by Seattle paleontologists arrived at the Burke Museum Thursday.

>> Read more trending stories

Burke paleontologists found the fossil remains of the 66.3-million-year-old dinosaur -- including the 4-foot-long, 2,500-pound skull, as well as lower jaw bones, vertebrae, ribs and teeth -- in the Hell Creek Formation in northern Montana.

The area is world-famous for its fossil dinosaur sites.

A team of more than 45 people helped excavate the T. rex over a month this summer. They first found large fossilized vertebrae that indicated that they belonged to a carnivorous dinosaur.

Before they could excavate the fossils, the team first needed to remove about 20 tons of rock from the hillside, so they could create a ledge at the level of the fossils. The difficult task took a team of eight to 10 people nearly two weeks of continuous digging with jackhammers, axes and shovels.

Once the ledge was in place, they switched to smaller hand tools and uncovered more bones. The skull was found several feet away.

"The combination of the skull features, the size of the bones, and the honeycomb-like appearance of the bones tell us this is a T. rex," said Burke Museum Adjunct Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology and University of Washington associate biology professor Dr. Greg Wilson.  "This was a very exciting moment for us."

So far, about 20 percent of a full skeleton has been excavated and scientists say there's likely more to discover.

The T. rex is the first major specimen in Washington.

The skull is one of only 15 reasonably complete T. rex skulls ever discovered.

The massive skull, which is encased in plaster for protection, was moved with a forklift from a flatbed truck to the Burke Museum loading dock.

The public can see the plaster-covered T. rex skull, along with other T. rex fossils and paleontology field tools, in a lobby display at the Burke Museum -- the Washington State Museum of Natural History and Culture -- beginning Saturday, August 20, through Sunday, October 2, 2016. 

Self-driving Uber cars to debut in Pittsburgh

A handful of self-driving Uber cars will ferry passengers around Pittsburgh starting this month. 

The semi-autonomous cars will pick up customers and -- since the technology is still in testing -- those who try it will get the ride for free. 

The fleet consists of a modified version of a Volvo XC90. A driver will be in the front seat with their hands on the wheel so they can take over if anything goes wrong, and an engineer will be in the passenger seat to take notes on the drive. 

Testing the technology with real customers is a big step toward Uber's aim of a completely driverless service. 

CEO Travis Kalanick said cutting the driver out of the equation could potentially make the service much cheaper for riders -- possibly even cheaper than a private car. 

Right now, however, self-driving cars are still under intense scrutiny. As of yet, there aren't any fully autonomous vehicles on the road. 

Tesla has started to roll out limited autopilot features, but a deadly crash involving its autopilot mode has regulators investigating its safety

Google's autonomous car has also had a few accidents, but none of them were serious -- likely because the car is capped at 25 miles per hour. 

Uber and Volvo just announced a partnership to develop a completely autonomous car by 2021, but it's not clear when they plan to roll out a driverless ride-hailing service.

What will the iPhone 7 have? Here are a few rumors

With the upcoming release of Apple’s next version of the iPhone in September, rumors are swirling about what the newest device will feature.

One rumor which has been hanging around since the first of the year is that the new smartphone – iPhone 7, probably – will have wireless earbuds, thanks to a Bluetooth radio chip.

Forbes reported that the Bluetooth chip, said to have a long battery life, is based on technology developed by Passif Semiconductor,  a startup company that Apple recently purchased.

Another possible feature of the iPhone 7 could be a larger battery than the iPhone 6s has.

Other possible features include a dual-camera on the “Plus” version, in addition to an improved camera on the smaller version; a Force Touch Home button; and 32/128/256GB storage tiers, according to IBTimes.com.

Click here for the full story from IBTimes.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 things to know now: Olympics begin; father charged in twins deaths; Facebook vs. clickbait

Medley Story ID: 3425925

 

1. Not ransom: In a press conference Thursday, President Barack Obama strongly denied that a $400 million cash payment made to Iran in January was ransom in exchange for the release of four Americans detained in that country. "This wasn't some nefarious deal," Obama said during a press conference at the Pentagon.  The payment was a part of restitution the U.S. is making in a 40-year dispute over a military equipment deal that took place before the Islamic revolution in 1979, the president said.

2. Olympics are here: Get ready for some serious sports action as the 2016 Summer Olympic Games get under way from Rio de Janeiro. The opening ceremonies are set for 8 p.m. ET (with a preview beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET). Swimmer Michael Phelps will be carrying the flag for the United States in the Parade of Nations.

3. MH370 pilot: Officials in Malaysia have, for the first time, acknowledged that a pilot on Malaysia Airlines Flight  370 used a flight simulator kept in his home to plot a course that took a plane to the southern Indian Ocean – the place authorities believe the flight disappeared. Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah used a flight simulator to plot the course, officials say, but they also noted that there were thousands of courses plotted on the simulator and that they have no evidence that proves Zaharie deliberately flew the plane into the Indian Ocean. The flight  was on route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it disappeared with 239  people on board.

4. Father arrested: A Georgia father was arrested Thursday after his twin 15-month-old daughters died after being left in a hot car. Asa North was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of reckless conduct after the children were pronounced dead at a Carrollton, Ga., hospital. Police say that when they arrived, North had the girls in the pool of the apartment complex where  they lived, trying to cool them off.

5. Young whites aren’t Hillary fans: In a new poll, young, white Americans say they believe that Hillary Clinton lied about her email account and intentionally broke the law when she set up a private email server in her New York home. In a new GenFoward poll of Americans 18-30, found that both Clinton and Donald Trump have high negative numbers with young people. In the survey, people of color were more likely to give Clinton the benefit of the doubt in the email scandal.

And one more

Facebook says it intends to reduce the  number of “clickbait” headlines you will see in the site’s news feed. The headlines  leave out important information in order to get the reader to “click” onto the story to find out what it is about. This change comes a little more than an month after Facebook announced it would prioritize posts from friends and family over those from publishers or companies. 

In case you missed it

First solar-powered plane makes it around the world with no fuel

Video includes clips from Solar Impulse. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

A solar plane attempting to fly around the world just completed a successful mission.

"If this works, of course, everybody can do it on the ground to make a cleaner world," one of the pilots said in a Solar Impulse video.

<iframe width="390" height="219" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bMQN8N1OvbY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Solar Impulse's voyage started in March 2015, and a little more than a year later, the plane landed back where it first took off in Abu Dhabi. 

The record-setting flight is an important development in the exploration of solar energy, but there have been some challenges along the way. The trip was stalled in Hawaii last summer after the plane's batteries overheated.

>> Read more trending stories

In the last leg of the trip, there were concerns about how extreme heat in the Middle East could affect the plane.

Before the landing, Solar Impulse's final pilot said in a statement: "I'm excited to come so close to the goal, but unfortunately, there are still so many people we have to motivate before having a world running on the same clean technologies."

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