Science & Technology

Google reportedly scored tax breaks using secret shell companies

February 17, 2019

Google used shell companies and subsidiaries to hide its involvement in expansion plans that yielded millions of dollars in tax breaks, according to a report by The Washington Post on Friday, casting light on how tech companies cut deals with local governments. When the search giant planned to build a data center in Midlothian, Texas, Google used a subsidiary called Sharka LLC, The Post reported. Other subsidiaries Google set up for development projects include Jet Stream LLC and Questa LLC.

Trump science adviser calls for more collaboration between industry and government

February 17, 2019

Kelvin Droegemeier, newly minted science adviser to US President Donald Trump, wants industry to take a larger role in funding research, with the ultimate goal of ushering in a “second golden era” of US science. Collaboration between the public and private sectors, as well as reducing regulatory burdens, would be key to maintaining America as a dominant global force in science, the meteorologist said on 15 February, in his first public address since taking office last month.

US science agencies set for budget boost in deal to avert government shutdown

February 15, 2019

With less than two days to go before the US government runs out of money, lawmakers in Congress are scrambling to pass a budget deal that would give small increases to NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and many other science agencies. The Senate and the House of Representatives approved the legislation on 14 February -- clearing the way for President Donald Trump to sign it before the 15 February deadline to avert a government shutdown.

How Google and Facebook Spawned Surveillance Capitalism

February 15, 2019

“Surveillance capitalism has taken human experience, specifically private human experience, and unilaterally claimed it as something to be bought and sold in the marketplace,” Dr. Zuboff told me during a visit to The Times’s office. “This new kind of marketplace trades in behavioral futures. It’s like a form of derivative. But it’s about us.”

Top US Navy admiral slams $500mn railgun project as a 'case study' in failed innovation

February 14, 2019

“I would say that railgun is kind of the case study that would say ‘This is how innovation maybe shouldn‘t happen,‘” the chief of naval operations, Adm. John Richardson,  the Atlantic Council. “It‘s been around, I think, for about 15 years, maybe 20. So ‘rapid’ doesn‘t come to mind when you’re talking about timeframes like that.”

Trump's executive order on AI, explained

February 14, 2019

The “American AI Initiative” comes at a time when the US is competing fiercely with China and other countries to better develop AI technology -- which has wide-reaching applications, from the military to the health sector. The Chinese government released its own sweeping AI plan nearly two years ago and has committed tens of billions of dollars in spending toward developing it. The US, so far, has put out some research reports on the state of AI but has lacked any federal-level national policy agenda.

NASA is saying goodbye to its Opportunity rover on Mars after eight months of radio silence

February 14, 2019

NASA is finally saying goodbye to its Opportunity rover on Mars after spending nearly a year trying to reestablish communication with the silent robot. A team of engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) sent one final radio command to the rover last night but did not receive a response. Now, NASA will stop trying to communicate with Opportunity, effectively bringing the rover’s 15-year mission on Mars to an end.

Google will spend $13 billion on U.S. real estate in 2019, expanding into Nevada, Ohio, Texas and Nebraska

February 14, 2019

Google's massive footprint is only getting bigger in 2019. CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post on Wednesday that the company is building new data centers and offices and expanding several key locations across the U.S., spending $13 billion this year.

Former U.S. Air Force sergeant charged with spying for Iran

February 14, 2019

A former U.S. Air Force counterintelligence agent who defected to Iran has been charged with spying for the regime, revealing the identity of a U.S. intelligence officer and helping target her former colleagues, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.

Pentagon says China, Russia developing satellite-killing lasers

February 13, 2019

China and Russia are likely building high-powered lasers that can shoot down US satellites, according to a new Pentagon report. Both countries are developing an arsenal of anti-satellite weaponry including missiles, cyber attacks, and "directed energy weapons," according to the US Defense Intelligence Agency.

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