Science & Technology

China builds the world's longest high-speed rail as a rail stalls in the U.S.

February 27, 2019

The U.S. and China announced ambitious plans to fund high-speed rail projects backed by government stimulus packages during the financial crisis in 2008. Since then, the length of high-speed rail lines in China has expanded to 18,000 miles, accounting for more than two-thirds of the world's total. That’s five times more than what Japan has built since the 1960s.

How US experts helped China build a DNA surveillance state

February 27, 2019

China has been leaning on American know-how to build a sprawling surveillance program in Xinjiang province, according to the New York Times. Scientists working with Chinese police have been using equipment from Thermo Fisher, a supplier of biotechnology tools in Massachusetts. They also shared genetic survey data with Kenneth Kidd, a geneticist at Yale University. The genetic data was being used to be able to determine, from a blood sample, if someone had Uighur ancestry. Chinese scientists even filed a patent on the idea.

The US government just made clear it’s going after more types of Chinese tech than we thought

February 27, 2019

The brewing technology battle between the U.S. and China isn’t just about 5G telecom equipment Chinese companies want to bring to the U.S. It’s already starting to bleed into other tech categories, as shown in a new letter posted Monday from 11 senators and top officials from the departments of Energy and Homeland Security that called for a ban of Huawei-made solar technology.

FTC launches task force to monitor competition among tech companies

February 27, 2019

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Tuesday announced the launch of a task force aimed at monitoring competition among the country's tech companies. The task force, which will consist of current officials with the FTC's Bureau of Competition including 17 staff attorneys, will work to "identify and investigate potential anticompetitive conduct," the bureau's director, Bruce Hoffman, told reporters.

Microsoft Stands By Its $480 Million Pentagon Contract

February 27, 2019

Microsoft is pressing ahead with a $480 million contract to build augmented reality technology for the Army despite strong backlash inside the company. A group of Microsoft employees on Friday called for the company to back out of a deal to provide tech for the Pentagon’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System program.

Sprint to deploy 5G in four cities in May

February 26, 2019

Sprint has announced that its 5G service will be extended to customers in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Kansas City in May. The coverage will roll out to customers in Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington D.C. in the first half of 2019. Collectively, the nine city launch will make 5G available in 1,000 square miles by June of next year.

Verizon Plans Rollout Of 5G In 30 U.S. Cities In 2019

February 26, 2019

Verizon finally offered some details about its 5G launch this morning: it plans to deploy the next-gen wireless technology in 30 cities by the end of 2019. The carrier didn’t say which cities those would be, how thoroughly 5G would be deployed throughout those cities, or when exactly the launch would begin, but Verizon did say that each launch would include some deployment of super fast millimeter wave radios.

Lina Khan, a Top Antitrust Thinker, in Talks to Join Democratic Staff in the House, Putting Silicon Valley on Alert

February 26, 2019

Lina Khan, who wrote a semi-viral Yale Law Journal article about Amazon, is in talks to join the staff of the congressional panel overseeing antitrust issues, according to people familiar with the plans. Rep. David Cicilline chairs the panel. She comes from a school of antitrust thinkers who have called for breaking up Facebook.

We don't know what a fifth of our genes do - and won’t find out soon

February 25, 2019

We still have no idea what 20 per cent of protein-coding genes are for. What’s more, we have stopped making progress, according to a study looking at what we know about yeast and human proteins. “Basically we really don’t have a clue,” says team leader Valerie Wood at the University of Cambridge.

NASA's photo archives reveal 60 years of space travel

February 25, 2019

WHEN it comes to illustrating humanity’s achievements in space, NASA’s back catalogue is as good as it gets. The images here are all part of a book tracing the agency’s 60 years of existence using more than 400 photographs. The big launches, moon landings, starscapes and Martian panoramas all make the cut, alongside plenty of striking views from behind the scenes, images that give a human scale to NASA’s vast technological endeavours.

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