Amid warnings about nuclear arms and President Donald Trump's fiery rhetoric, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has moved its Doomsday Clock ahead a half-minute, setting the clock to two-and-a-half minutes before midnight. The virtual clock, which represents how close humanity is to nuclear destruction and other existential threats, is now closer to midnight than it's been since the 1950s, when Cold War tensions prompted experts to set the clock to just two minutes before the hour. SM
Scientists just reset the Doomsday Clock: It’s now the closest it’s been to midnight since the 1950s
McDonald’s figures it will try fresh beef for a change
The fast-food giant said today it will start using fresh beef in lieu of its usual frozen patties for its staple Quarter Pounder hamburgers. The change will take place some time in 2018 at most McDonald's locations, per the AP. With consumers increasingly gravitating toward fresh ingredients, the change is McDonald's latest attempt to position itself as, if not a healthy option, at least a less-processed one. Read more about it here. CZ
Google finally brings its Calendar app to the iPad
iPad users rejoice! The search giant's popular Calendar app is finally on Apple's tablet, the company announced in a blog post. Highlights of the new app include:
• Smart scheduling: "Calendar suggests meeting times and available rooms based on your team's availability and room preferences."
• Goal targeting: "Add a goal and Calendar will intelligently schedule time for it so you can stick to it."
Calendar for iPad is a free download.
Image: Google MG
Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin just won an eminent aeronautics award
Bezos's company has won the 2016 Collier Trophy for its New Shepard rocket, reports Engadget. The award is presented by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) and goes to the "greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America." Specifically, the NAA said Blue Origin won "for successfully demonstrating rocket booster reusability with the New Shepard human spaceflight vehicle through five successful test flights of a single booster and engine, all of which performed powered vertical landings on Earth."MG
A genius is selling his browser history before his ISP can
Now that House Republicans have repealed Obama's internet privacy rules, your ISP can sell any information about you that it wants. One guy, however, thought that wasn't fair, reports TNW. Petter Rudwall decided to list his browsing history on eBay so he could profit from it, too. On the listing, Rudwall writes:
It's now time to sell this, before anyone else does it. The fact that the Congress has passed a resolution on this triggered my "you'll never catch me alive"-nerve and voila!—an opportunity to buy a unique collection of internet unfolded.
Update: The listing has been removed. MG
Watch Peggy Whitson break the record for most spacewalks by a female astronaut
Another 3D printing startup bites the dust: Sources say SOLS quietly shut down operations last year
A press release earlier this month announced that the wellness company Aetrex Worldwide Inc. acquired the 3D printing footwear startup SOLS, but sources tell us that's not the full story. According to multiple people with direct knowledge, SOLS had essentially been closed for months before the acquisition took place.
In January of last year, TechCrunch reported that SOLS laid off 20% of its workforce. The company then tried to raise a round of funding to keep it afloat, sources say, but was unable to do so. It turns out, SOLS laid off most of its company last June and some time after that shut down all production of its 3D-printed insoles, according to sources. In the following months, the company was essentially dead, although a core team attempted to sell off its proprietary technology. That appears to be what happened with the Aetrex acquisition.
To date, SOLS has raised $23.7 million in venture funding.
UPDATE: I reached out to founder Kegan Schouwenburg for comment, asking about each of the points alleged above. She wrote the following statement:
In June we shifted directions to focus on partnerships with shoe brands like RYKA, and began developing a new product SIZERIGHT that leveraged our proprietary technology to tackle shoe fit for online shoppers. We realigned the team to meet new needs which resulted in both reductions and hiring.
The product was enthusiastically received by our beta partners, one of which ended up acquiring us before we brought it to market.
Photo: courtesy of SOLS CGW
RIP Diapers.com, Soap.com, and Wag.com—Amazon is shutting down Quidsi
Six years after purchasing the competing online retailer for $545 million, Amazon is shuttering Quidsi, citing struggles to make the unit profitable. The decision will affect about 263 jobs in New Jersey, where the company is based, according to Bloomberg. Quidsi is the owner of Diapers.com, Soap.com, Wag.com, BeautyBar.com, Casa.com, and YoYo.com. Its founder, Marc Lore, begrudgingly sold to Amazon amid a pricing war. He went on to found Jet.com and sold that to Walmart, where he now runs e-commerce. Read more from Bloomberg here.
The glaring economy: These U.S. cities have the most jobs in solar
Finally, a jobs report that looks on the sunny side. The Solar Foundation has new data on the areas of the country that had the most jobs in the solar industry last year. California is a leader in the field, with over 100,000 solar jobs last year, but Rhode Island actually had the most solar jobs per capita. The chart below shows the top 10 metro areas and their growth compared to 2015. The data is part of the foundation's latest "Solar Jobs Census" report. Read the whole thing here.
You can now open your Samsung phone with your face
With the launch of the Galaxy S8, Samsung has introduced facial recognition as a biometric feature for safeguarding your phone. I'm at the event in NYC where they just showed off the feature. To open your S8, you hold the phone's front-facing camera up to your face and wait for it to recognize you and navigate to the home screen. If the actual experience is anything like the presentation, this should happen instantly.
Samsung glossed over its battery issues at the Galaxy S8 launch event
"It has been a challenging year for Samsung," said D.J. Koh, Samsung's president of mobile communications, at the top of Samsung's Galaxy S8 debut event today. No doubt, Koh is referring to the Samsung S7 exploding battery disaster and subsequent recall. He said this last year was full of lessons that have helped Samsung tackle product design in a fresh way.
But when it came time to talk battery, the event's speakers seemed to gloss over its past woes. SVP of Product Justin Denison noted vaguely that safety is incredibly important to the company, adding that they've updated their testing to an eight-point system—beyond what regulators require. What I'd like to know is, what exactly is different? How do we know this new battery isn't going to explode in our hands? It would have been nice to see them sweeping up the mess rather than stepping over it. RR
Are you seeing a mysterious rocket ship icon in your Facebook news feed?
Facebook has apparently been testing a new feature that would let users experience an alternate news feed—one that draws from content beyond their own networks. TechCrunch reported on the experiment earlier today, noting how some users had spotted a "rocket ship" icon in their mobile apps that took them to the alternate feed. Read more about it here.CZ
The first full trailer for Luc Besson’s “Valerian” is as wild as you’d expect
Luc Besson has loved the Valerian and Laureline comics since he was a kid. Now, after wearing its influence on his sleeve in The Fifth Element, the French director has finally brought his first love to the screen. And it looks like an eye-popping mix of Star Wars (the comics pre-date George Lucas's space opera by more than a decade, and the influence is obvious), Avatar, Guardians of the Galaxy, and, as Besson himself described it, "Mr. and Mrs. Smith in space." Whew. After you watch the trailer below, read all about how Luc went about bringing his passion project to the screen.