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06.07.16 | 1:40 pm

Here’s how Bernie Sanders could pull off the (almost) impossible and win

When the AP announced that Hillary Clinton had amassed enough delegates to win the nomination, the Sanders campaign lashed out that it was a "rush to judgment." And his staff has a point—there is indeed a super-slim path to victory for Sanders:

• With 1,812 pledged delegates, Clinton is relying on the 571 superdelegates who are siding with her to reach the magic number of 2,383 needed to clinch the nomination.

• Sanders, who has 1,521 pledged delegates but only 48 superdelegates, would have to pick up the vast majority of the 806 delegates at stake in tonight's primaries in California, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana and convince many of her superdelegates to switch sides and vote for him at the convention in July. It's not impossible but…

[Photo: ABC/ Ida Mae Astute]

09.30.16 | 34 minutes ago

The horrifying story behind the battery that powers your smartphone 

A disturbing deep dive by the Washington Post today traces the pipeline of cobalt from underground mines in Congo to manufacturing centers in Asia, where the mineral is used as an ingredient in the lithium batteries that power mobile devices and laptops.   

An estimated 100,000 miners, including children, work in punishing and dangerous conditions to excavate the material, the Post found investigation found, which may end up powering devices and computers made by the world's biggest brands, including Apple and Samsung. Congo is the source of 60% of the world's cobalt. The Post, to its credit, did not shy away from asking Amazon—owned by current Post owner Jeff Bezos—about the source of cobalt that powers its Kindle devices. The company did not respond to direct questions, but said it conducts audits to make sure its manufacturing partners comply with its policies. 

Read the Post's full investigation here.  

09.30.16 | an hour ago

The man leading Hillary Clinton’s get-out-the-vote effort is a Silicon Valley CEO

Donnie Fowler, the founder and CEO of Dogpatch Strategies, a consulting firm that works with tech firms, has been picked by the Democratic National Committee with leading the effort to get voters to the polls for Hillary Clinton on November 8. He told Politico that the main difference between the campaigns is that Donald Trump is great at marketing but lacks a sales team—"nobody to go to the voter and make the sale. And Hillary has a very deep and sophisticated sales team."

Of course, Fowler is not such a strange choice given his pedigree—he's the son of longtime DNC chairman Don Fowler and he's worked on plenty of presidential campaigns going back to Al Gore's failed effort in 2000.

09.30.16 | 2 hours ago

Yahoo hack not directly “state-sponsored,” says security firm

According to Arizona-based security firm InfoArmor, the recently reported massive Yahoo hack wasn't directly carried by state-sponsored hackers but by a commercial group that sold the data both to a government-sponsored buyer and to spammers.

The organization, which InfoArmor calls Group E, is a "group of professional blackhats from Eastern Europe," the company says. The group hasn't made the data available on darknet marketplaces, despite claims on some forums to offer Yahoo data for sale, according to InfoArmor. 

09.30.16 | 4 hours ago

Morning intel: Microsoft zeroes in on AI, FCC expands scope of emergency alerts

• The Rosetta spacecraft ended its pursuit of Comet 67P today, when it landed on the comet after a mission spanning 12 years. Read more and check out the images Rosetta snapped.

• Microsoft is restructuring to bulk up its AI research: The company is combining its research group with the division responsible for Bing and Cortana, creating a 5,000-person team focused on artificial intelligence research. 

• Yesterday, the FCC put off voting on a proposal to make set-top boxes optional. But one thing the FCC did vote in favor of was to increase the length of emergency alerts to 360 characters, as well as include photos and phone numbers (and, later this year, embedded links). 

• Volvo is setting up a self-driving car R&D center in Silicon Valley, where it will station 70 engineers, according to BuzzFeed News.

• Google's suite of enterprise apps—Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive—will now be referred to as the G Suite. Google is also introducing enterprise-focused updates like Team Drives, a collaborative take on Google Drive.

• Following the NJ Transit train crash yesterday—which killed one person and injured about 100—New Jersey's Hoboken station is still not operational. The cause of the crash is still unclear, though officials are not reporting any more fatalities. 

09.30.16 | 8:32 am

In China, ride-sharing wars spill over into bicycles

Competition in China's ride-sharing market has been fierce, so fierce that Uber gave up its battle with homegrown rival Didi Chuxing in August. Now the battle for urban transportation in China is expanding from cars to bicycles as investors plow a combined $200 million into Beijing-based bike-sharing services oFo and Mobike. 

Didi Chuxing backs oFo, which recently raised $100 million-plus and is now valued at more than $500 million. Mobike, also coming off a $100 million round, has raised funding from traditional investors, including Asian-focused private equity firm Hillhouse Capital, which also backs Airbnb.

09.30.16 | 8:03 am

After 12 years of chasing it, Rosetta crash-lands on a comet

The Rosetta spacecraft crash-landed on a comet after 12 years of chasing it across the universe, said the European Space Agency today. When Rosetta landed, scientists at the control center in Germany embraced and clapped, reports Reuters. And ESA director general Jan Woerner expressed his appreciation on Twitter:

Here's the video:

And here's the sequence of images captured by Rosetta just before it landed, via the ESA:

09.30.16 | 7:15 am

More trouble on the horizon in Europe for WhatsApp in the wake of its flip-flop on sharing data

Earlier this week, officials in Hamburg ordered Facebook to stop collecting data on WhatsApp users in Germany in the wake of the messaging app's controversial decision to change its mind and start sharing such data with Facebook.

Now the U.K.'s data protection watchdog seems poised to take action, reports TechCrunch. In an interview with BBC's PM program on Radio 4 on Thursday, information commissioner Elizabeth Denham said her office is probing the data-sharing arrangement after hearing from lots of angry WhatsApp users: "There's a lot of anger out there. And again it goes back to promises, commitment, fairness, and transparency. We have launched an investigation into the data sharing, remembering that in 2014 when Facebook bought WhatsApp there was a commitment made that between the two companies they would not share information."

09.30.16 | 7:04 am

Report: The next iPhones could feature OLED screens

The rumors could be true about the next iPhone, dubbed iPhone 8, looking radically different. To date, all iPhones use LCD display technology but the next one could feature OLED displays, according to a Bloomberg report that Apple is in negotiations with Sharp to produce organic LED displays for its next line of smartphones. For non-device geeks, OLED is superior to LCD in that it has better contrast ratios due to its lack of a backlight and much less power drain. Currently, the only Apple device to use the technology is the Apple Watch, notes 9to5Mac

09.30.16 | 6:42 am

To protect endangered species, rangers are applying the technology used in online poker

Protecting endangered species from poachers has been a losing battle in recent years—the number of African elephants plummeted by 20% between 2006 and 2015 due to a increase in ivory poaching—so  conservationists and researchers are turning to some high-tech tools to help them. They are using artificial intelligence and game theory algorithms used in online poker to help track down poachers. 

"We're trying to predict future poacher attacks or where poachers may strike next based on what we have observed in the past on our patrols," Milind Tambe from the University of Southern California, whose team is developing technology dubbed the Protection Assistant for Wildlife Security (PAWS), tells Reuters.

09.30.16 | 6:21 am

Blue Origin will test its “crew escape” system during its rocket launch next week

Blue Origin, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos's commercial spaceflight company, will test its "crew escape" system during the next launch of its New Shepard rocket on October 4 at 10:50 a.m. (EST), which will be live-streamed on its site. "A solid rocket motor fires for two seconds, quickly separating the crew capsule away from the booster," says the narrator in a video describing the procedure, reports "Once away, the capsule enters a standard descent profile, deploying drogue and main parachutes before coasting down to a landing." 

Below is the New Shepard capsule containing its in-flight escape motor:

[Image: Blue Origin]

09.30.16 | 12:03 am

Marc Andreessen says he feels “50 pounds lighter” since quitting Twitter last week

Venture capital investor Marc Andreessen, who abruptly quit Twitter last week, says that he feels "50 pounds lighter" and "free as a bird" since quitting the platform last week. He was talking at the Strictly VC event in Palo Alto when he made the remarks, reports TechCrunch. The investor also defended his firm Andreessen Horowitz's track record, though admitting that even "the best venture capitalists in the world still strike out most of the time. That's just the nature of the beast."

09.29.16 | 6:54 pm

Evening intel: Robot babysitters, AOL does something right, a mansplainer apologizes

• Meet iPal, a three-foot-tall humanoid robot designed to look after children ages three to eight for several hours unsupervised.

• AOL's new email app, Alto, has several surprisingly handy features, the most notable of which is the Dashboard, which picks out flights, calendar events, hotel bookings, shipments, and more.

• The WSJ contributor who advised women in tech to hide their genders online as a way of combating sexism has apologized after a day of backlash.  

• The British fashion brand Asos is the center of a scathing BuzzFeed exposé that accuses the company of mistreating its warehouse workers. 

• The FCC has temporarily backed down from a plan to force cable companies to "unlock" their set-top boxes, and Comcast couldn't be happier.