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Twitter will give political candidates a special badge during US midterm elections

Ahead of 2018 U.S. midterm elections, Twitter is taking a visible step to combat the spread of misinformation on its famously chaotic platform. In a blog post this week , the company explained how it would be adding “election labels” to the profiles of candidates running for political office. “Twitter has become the first place voters go to seek accurate information, resources, and breaking news from journalists, political candidates, and elected officials,” the company wrote in its announcement. “We understand the significance of this responsibility and our teams are building new ways for people who use Twitter to identify original sources and authentic information.” These labels feature a small government building icon and text identifying the position a candidate is running for and the state or district where the race is taking place. The label information included in the profile will also appear elsewhere on Twitter, even when tweets are embedded off-site. The labels will start popping up after May 30 and will apply to candidates in state governor races as well as those campaigning for a seat in the Senate or the House of Representatives. Twitter will partner with nonpartisan political nonprofit Ballotpedia to create the candidate labels. In a statement announcing its partnership, Ballotpedia explains how that process will work : Ballotpedia covers all candidates in every upcoming election occurring within the 100 most-populated cities in the U.S., plus all federal and statewide elections, including ballot measures. After each state primary, Ballotpedia will provide Twitter with information on gubernatorial and Congressional candidates who will appear on the November ballot. After receiving consent from each candidate, Twitter will apply the labels to each candidate profile

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Tesla brings on new VP of engineering from Snap

Tesla announced a number of new hires today , including Stuart Bowers, who is joining as VP of engineering. Bowers is joining Tesla from Snap, where he worked as VP of monetization engineering. Other new hires include Neeraj Manrao, who left Apple to become Tesla’s director of energy manufacturing, and Kevin Mukai, who is now director of product engineering at Tesla’s Gigafactory. “We’re excited to welcome a group of such talented people as we continue to ramp Model 3 and accelerate towards a more sustainable future,” Tesla wrote on its blog. “We’ll be announcing more hires in the coming days, so stay tuned.” These new hires come following a couple of departures. In April, Tesla VP of Autopilot Jim Keller left for Intel,  with Pete Bannon serving as Keller’s replacement. Bannon is a former Apple chip engineer who helped design Apple’s A5-AP chips. Earlier this month, Sameer Qureshi left a senior manager Autopilot role at Tesla to lead Lyft’s autonomous driving efforts . Here’s the full list of new hires, via Tesla’s blog: Stuart Bowers is joining as VP of Engineering, responsible for a broad range of Tesla’s software and hardware engineering. Stuart has 12 years of software experience and a background in applied mathematics, and is joining Tesla from Snap. There, he was most recently VP of Monetization Engineering, leading the team with a focus on machine learning and ad infrastructure. Prior to Snap, Stuart was the eighth engineer hired at Facebook’s Seattle office where he worked on data infrastructure and machine learning for search. Neeraj Manrao has joined Tesla as Director of Energy Manufacturing. Neeraj comes from Apple, where he led the technical operations team. Kevin Mukai has started as Director of Production Engineering at Gigafactory. Kevin was most recently at ThinFilm Electronics, where he served as Senior Director of Process Engineering, and before that at SunPower as Director of Process & Equipment Engineering.

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Navy’s F-35 doesn’t have range for real stealth strikes, House report says

Enlarge / Lt Cmdr Chris Tabert, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, pilots Navy F-35C test aircraft CF-02 on Flt 595 for an external GBU-31 flutter and Flying Qualities test flight from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, April 10, 2018. Congress is concerned that the F-35 doesn't have the range to attack "contested" targets without putting carriers in danger. (credit: US Navy) The House Armed Services Committee has sent its report on the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to the floor. And buried in that report are words of caution about the F-35C, the Navy's version of the F-35 Lightning II , also known as the Joint Strike Fighter—and the Navy's whole carrier air capability in general. The reason for that concern is that the F-35C doesn't have the range to conduct long-range strikes without in-flight refueling—and the Navy's tanker planes are not exactly "stealth." The F-35C suffers somewhat from the length of its development cycle. Competition for the Joint Strike Fighter program began in 1993—25 years ago—when the military threats facing the United States were significantly different. In 1993, there was no concern about Chinese "carrier killer" anti-ship ballistic missiles , for example; but in 2010, China introduced the Dongfeng (or Dong-Feng) 21D, an anti-ship ballistic missile with a range of 900 miles and a circular error probability of 20 meters. That's accurate enough, with satellite tracking and terminal guidance, to hit an aircraft carrier far offshore. The F-35C's advertised range is 1,200 nautical miles (roughly 2,200 kilometers), roughly 10 percent longer than that of the F/A-18. But for most strikes, that would require the carriers launching F-35C sorties to be much closer to the coast than falls within the comfort zone. And with advanced air and coastal defense systems—including, for example, the sorts that are popping up on islands in the South China Sea these days—less-than-stealthy tanker planes would give up the whole game. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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EU parliament pushes for Zuckerberg hearing to be live-streamed

There’s confusion about whether a meeting between Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the European Union’s parliament — which is due to take place next Tuesday — will go ahead as planned or not. The meeting was  confirmed by the EU parliament’s president this week, and is the latest stop on Zuckerberg’s contrition tour, following the Cambridge Analytics data misuse story that blew up into a major public scandal in mid March.  However, the discussion with MEPs that Facebook agreed to was due to take place behind closed doors. A private format that’s not only ripe with irony but was also unpalatable to a large number of MEPs. It even drew criticism from some in the EU’s unelected executive body, the European Commission, which further angered parliamentarians. Now, as the FT  reports, MEPs appear to have forced the parliament’s president, Antonio Tajani, to agree to live-streaming the event. Guy Verhofstadt — the leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats group of MEPs, who had said he would boycott the meeting if it took place in private — has also tweeted that a majority of the parliament’s groups have pushed for the event to be streamed online. EP President Tajani forced by five of the eight political groups – representing a majority of MEPs – to open the meeting with #Zuckerberg by webstreaming the hearing. — Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) May 18, 2018 And a Green Group MEP, Sven Giegold, who posted an online petition calling for the meeting not to be held in secret — has also tweeted that there is now a majority among the groups wanting to change the format. At the time of writing, Giegold’s petition has garnered more than 25,000 signatures. Das dürfen wir uns nicht bieten lassen! Die Anhörung von Mark #Zuckerberg im EU-Parlament soll im Geheimen stattfinden. #Facebook verspricht Transparenz, will sich aber der öffentlichen Verantwortung in Europa entziehen. Jetzt Petition unterschreiben: https://t.co/dU3dJixztd pic.twitter.com/hCcxgGHJGC — Sven Giegold (@sven_giegold) May 17, 2018 MEP Claude Moraes, chair of the EU parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) committee — and one of the handful of parliamentarians set to question Zuckerberg (assuming the meeting goes ahead as planned) — told TechCrunch this morning that there were efforts afoot among political group leaders to try to open up the format. Though any changes would clearly depend on Facebook agreeing to them. After speaking to Moraes, we asked Facebook to confirm whether it’s open to Zuckerberg’s meeting being streamed online — say, via a Facebook Live

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Tiny house trend advances into the nano scale

All around the world, hip young people are competing to see who can live in the tiniest, quirkiest, twee-est house. But this one has them all beat. Assembled by a combination of origami and nanometer-precise robot wielding an ion beam, this tiniest of houses measures about 20 micrometers across. For comparison, that’s almost as small as a studio in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It’s from the Femto-ST Institute in France, where the tiny house trend has clearly become an obsession. Really, though, the researchers aren’t just playing around. Assembly of complex structures at this scale is needed in many industries: building a special radiation or biological sensor in place on the tip of an optical fiber could let locations be probed or monitored that were inaccessible before. The house is constructed to show the precision with which the tools the team has developed can operate. The robot that does the assembly, which they call μRobotex, isn’t itself at the nano scale, but operates with an accuracy of as little as 2 nanometers. The operator of μRobotex first laid down a layer of silica on the tip of a cut optical fiber less than the width of a human hair. They then used an ion beam to cut out the shape of the walls and add the windows and doors. By cutting through some places but only scoring in others, physical forces are created that cause the walls to fold upwards and meet. Once they’re in place, μRobotex switches tools and uses a gas injection system to attach those surfaces to each other. Once done, the system even “sputters” a tiled pattern on the roof.

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PayPal confirms it is acquiring Swedish payments company iZettle for $2.2B in an all-cash deal, making it PayPal’s biggest-ever transaction (Ingrid…

Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch : PayPal confirms it is acquiring Swedish payments company iZettle for $2.2B in an all-cash deal, making it PayPal's biggest-ever transaction   —  PayPal is taking its biggest bet yet on point-of-sale transactions, small businesses, and markets outside of the US, as it looks to raise its game against Square …

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A bug in the website of LocationSmart, which sells real-time phone location data, let anyone track people’s locations across North America without…

Zack Whittaker / ZDNet : A bug in the website of LocationSmart, which sells real-time phone location data, let anyone track people's locations across North America without consent   —  The bug allowed one Carnegie Mellon researcher to track anyone's cell phone in real time.  —  A company that collects the real …

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Intel’s Mobileye has started testing 100 self-driving cars in Jerusalem with plans to deploy the fleet in the US and other regions in coming months…

Megan Rose Dickey / TechCrunch : Intel's Mobileye has started testing 100 self-driving cars in Jerusalem with plans to deploy the fleet in the US and other regions in coming months   —  Intel and its subsidiary Mobileye have started testing 100 self-driving cars in Jerusalem.  In the “coming months,” the plan is to deploy …

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Facebook to start testing ads in Stories today in the US, Mexico, and Brazil, says Stories has 150M daily users, defines a user as anyone who watches…

Josh Constine / TechCrunch : Facebook to start testing ads in Stories today in the US, Mexico, and Brazil, says Stories has 150M daily users, defines a user as anyone who watches one story   —  After 14 months of silence since launching, Facebook Stories has finally announced a 150 million daily active user count for its Snapchat Stories clone.

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Facebook to start testing ads in Stories today in the US, Mexico, and Brazil, says Stories has 150M daily users, defines a user as anyone who watches…

Josh Constine / TechCrunch : Facebook to start testing ads in Stories today in the US, Mexico, and Brazil, says Stories has 150M daily users, defines a user as anyone who watches one story   —  After 14 months of silence since launching, Facebook Stories has finally announced a 150 million daily active user count for its Snapchat Stories clone.

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Facebook to start testing ads in Stories today in the US, Mexico, and Brazil, says Stories has 150M daily users, defines a user as anyone who watches…

Josh Constine / TechCrunch : Facebook to start testing ads in Stories today in the US, Mexico, and Brazil, says Stories has 150M daily users, defines a user as anyone who watches one story   —  After 14 months of silence since launching, Facebook Stories has finally announced a 150 million daily active user count for its Snapchat Stories clone.

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