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 • NASA and SpaceX Are Studying a Hubble Telescope Boost Adding 15 To 20 Years of Life
    NASA announced Thursday that it plans to study the possibility of using SpaceX's Crew Dragon vehicle to boost the aging Hubble Space Telescope into a higher orbit. Ars Technica reports: The federal agency has signed a "Space Act Agreement" with SpaceX to conduct a six-month study to determine the practicability of Dragon docking with the 32-year-old telescope and boosting it into a higher orbit. The study is not exclusive meaning that other companies can propose similar concepts with alternative rockets and spacecraft. [...] Among the questions the new Hubble study will answer is the cost of such a mission and its technical feasibility. The principal goal is to boost Hubble's altitude from its current level of 535 km to 600 km the same altitude it was at when first launched in 1990. Since the fifth and final servicing mission in 2009 Hubble has slowly been losing altitude and this process is expected to accelerate as the telescope gets lower. The telescope's project manager Patrick Crouse said during a teleconference with reporters that in absence of a re-boost mission NASA might have to launch a propulsion module to the telescope by the end of the 2020s. This would ensure Hubble makes a controlled reentry into Earth's atmosphere and lands in the Pacific Ocean. A Dragon mission to boost Hubble's altitude could add 15 or even 20 years of orbital lifetime Crouse said. The study will also look at potential servicing options although nothing like the detailed instrument replacements and major upgrades performed during Hubble servicing missions with NASA's space shuttle. Rather engineers from NASA and SpaceX will assess the feasibility of replacing the gyroscopes that control the pointing of the telescope. Only three of the spacecraft's six gyroscopes remain in working order. read more >>

 • NYPD Considers Using Encryption To Block Public From Radio Scanner Broadcasts
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: The NYPD says it wants to reimagine its current police communication system and transition to encrypted messages by 2024 according to a recent amNY report confirmed by Gizmodo. While law enforcement has spent years fighting to make encryption less accessible for everyday people police think they need a little more privacy. Critics worry a turn towards encryption by law enforcement could reduce transparency hamstring the news media and potentially jeopardize the safety of protestors looking to stay a step ahead. According to amNY the NYPD's new plan would allow law enforcement officers discretion on whether or not to publicly disclose newsworthy incidents. That means the NYPD essentially would get to dictate the truth unchallenged in a number of potentially sensitive local stories. The report suggests police are floating the idea of letting members of the news media monitor certain radio transmissions through an NYPD-controlled mobile app. There's a catch though. According to the report the app would send radio information with a delay. Users may also have to pay a subscription fee to use the service the paper said. The NYPD confirmed its planning a "systems upgrade" in the coming years in an email to Gizmodo. "The NYPD is undergoing a systems upgrade that is underway and that will be complete after 2024" a spokesperson for the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information said. "This infrastructure upgrade allows the NYPD to transmit in either an encrypted or non-encrypted format" the NYPD said. "Some parts of the city have had the necessary equipment installed and the Department will begin testing the technology in these areas later this year. We are currently evaluating encryption best practices and will communicate new policies and procedures as we roll out this upgraded technology." The spokesperson claimed the department intends to listen to and consider the needs of the news media during the transition process."The entire public safety news coverage system depends on scanners and if scanners and scanner traffic are no longer available to newsrooms then news reporting about crime fire -- it's going to be very hit or miss" CaliforniansAware General Counsel Terry Francke told the Reporters Committee in a blog post. "Cutting off the media from getting emergency transmissions represents the clearest regression of the NYPD policy of transparency in its history" New York Press Photographers Association President Bruce Cotler said in an interview with amNY. "We believe shutting down radio transmissions is a danger to the public and to the right of the public to know about important events." Gizmodo notes that New York joins a growing list of cities considering encrypting radio communications. "Denver Baltimore Virginia Beach Sioux City Iowa and Racine Wisconsin have all moved to implement the technology in recent years." read more >>

 • Elon Musk Unveils Prototype of Humanoid Optimus Robot
    Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed a prototype of a humanoid robot that he said utilizes the company's AI software as well as the sensors that power its advanced driver assist features. The Verge reports: The robot was showcased at Tesla's AI Day and reps said it features the same technology used to enable the Full Self-Driving beta in Tesla's cars. According to Musk it can do more than what has been shown but "the first time it walked without a tether was tonight on stage." Musk said they're targeting a price of "probably less than $20000." The back doors of the stage open to reveal a deconstructed Optimus that walked forward and did a "raise the roof" dance move. Musk would admit after the motion that they wanted to keep it safe and not make too many moves on stage and have it "fall flat on its face." "It'll be a fundamental transformation for civilization as we know it." said Musk. Afterward the company showed a few video clips of the robot doing other tasks like picking up boxes. Then Tesla's team brought out another prototype that has its body fully assembled but not fully functional. [...] Future applications could include cooking gardening or even "catgirl" sex partners Musk has said while also claiming that production could start as soon as next year. Musk says the robot is "the most important product development we're doing this year" predicting that it will have the potential to be "more significant than the vehicle business over time." Musk first announced the "Tesla Bot" at last year's AI Day. read more >>

 • SF To Feds: Cruise Driverless Cars Keep Blocking Our Roads
    After years of lobbying the state to increase regulations on autonomous vehicles San Francisco officials are taking their case to the feds. San Francisco Examiner reports: The directors of The City's two main transportation agencies outlined their concerns about Cruise's driverless cars in a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding Cruise's application to deploy a custom-built autonomous vehicle. In it San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Authority Director Jeffrey Tumlin and San Francisco County Transportation Authority Director Tilly Chang provide a comprehensive overview of disruptive and unsafe incidents that they say Cruise cars precipitated. The letter sent on Sept. 21 comes as Cruise's driverless cars continue to stop in the middle of San Francisco's streets for extended periods of time often in groups blocking traffic until they can be remotely restarted or manually retrieved by Cruise staff. Over the past week there were at least four such incidents including one that delayed a couple of KRON4 reporters. The City's letter to NHTSA provides specific data on these incidents. Between May 29 and Sept. 5 of this year 28 incidents of stopped Cruise cars blocking traffic were reported to 911. The City identified an additional 20 such incidents reported on social media over that time period which does not include the events of the past week. The City estimates that these figures represent "a fraction of actual travel lane road failures" since most of these events take place late at night when Cruise offers its driverless ride-hailing service and when few other people are on the streets. In light of these concerns The City requests several new regulations on autonomous vehicles from NHTSA. San Francisco's letter is in response to a petition by General Motors Cruise's parent company to manufacture and commercially deploy a custom-built autonomous vehicle called the Cruise Origin. It would be roughly the size of an SUV but with no obvious front and back and no driver's seat or steering wheel. In their letter on behalf of the entire city government Tumlin and Chang stress that they "neither support nor oppose the Petition but document safety hazards and street capacity issues raised by the operation of the Cruise AV on San Francisco streets." They go on to call for several specific regulations they would like to see imposed on Cruise and Ford's Argo AI another company seeking to build and deploy a fully autonomous vehicle. Those recommendations include stringent data reporting requirements and incident reports limiting the geographic area and the number of vehicles that can be deployed in San Francisco and enabling first responders to manually turn off the vehicles. "Safety is the guiding principle of everything we do" Cruise said in a statement regarding these incidents. "That means if our cars encounter a situation where they aren't able to safely proceed they turn on their hazard lights and we either get them operating again or pick them up as quickly as possible. This could be because of a mechanical issue like a flat tire a road condition or a technical problem. We're working to minimize how often this happens and apologize to any other impacted drivers." read more >>

 • Two-Year Internet Outage In Ethiopia Continues
    Zecharias Zelalem writes via Reuters: Few have been spared the effects of a nearly two-year internet and phone shutdown in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region which has been cut off since fighting erupted between Tigrayan rebels and government forces in November 2020. The conflict resumed last month after a months-long humanitarian truce dashing hopes for communications to be restored. Even the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who hails from Tigray said he had been unable to reach his relatives back home or send them money. "I don't know even who is dead or who is alive" Tedros told a recent news conference in London. As fighting continues in Tigray and elsewhere in Ethiopia the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says shutdowns are needed to curb violence but critics accuse authorities of using the internet as a weapon of war. "Access to communications and other basic services and most importantly humanitarian assistance is explicitly used as a bargaining chip by the Ethiopian government" said Goitom Gebreluel a political analyst specialising in Horn of Africa affairs. "It is used as leverage against both Tigray and the international community." In Ethiopia sporadic internet and phone blackouts have been used as "a weapon to control and censor information" the group said making it difficult for journalists and activists to document alleged rights crimes and for aid to be delivered. In Tigray's regional capital Mekelle emergency workarounds such as satellite phones have become a vital tool for aid agency operations. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also maintains a satellite phone service for local residents -- giving them a way to get a message to loved ones. So far this year the ICRC has facilitated some 116000 phone calls and oral messages "between family members separated by conflict and violence" said spokesperson Alyona Synenko. With almost half of the region's six million people in severe need of food the shutdown as well as road blockades have hampered humanitarian aid deliveries according to the U.N. World Food Program. The lack of mobile phone networks has also "crippled both the emergency and regular health monitoring systems" a WHO spokesperson said in emailed remarks. The only way to communicate is "via paper reports that need to be delivered by hand. All meetings have to be held in person." read more >>

 • House Democrats Debut New Bill To Limit US Police Use of Facial Recognition
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Dubbed the Facial Recognition Act the bill would compel law enforcement to obtain a judge-authorized warrant before using facial recognition. By adding the warrant requirement law enforcement would first have to show a court it has probable cause that a person has committed a serious crime rather than allowing largely unrestricted use of facial recognition under the existing legal regime. The bill also puts other limits on what law enforcement can use facial recognition for such as immigration enforcement or peaceful protests or using a facial recognition match as the sole basis for establishing probable cause for someone's arrest. If passed the bill would also require law enforcement to annually test and audit their facial recognition systems and provide detailed reports of how facial recognition systems are used in prosecutions. It would also require police departments and agencies to purge databases of photos of children who were subsequently released without charge whose charges were dismissed or were acquitted. [...] The bill has so far received glowing support from privacy advocates rights groups and law enforcement-adjacent groups and organizations alike. Woodrow Hartzog a law professor at Boston University praised the bill for strengthening baseline rules and protections across the U.S. "without preempting more stringent limitations elsewhere." read more >>

 • Games Are Starting To Require a Phone Number To Play
    According to Polyon players will be required to link a phone number to their Battle.net accounts if they want to play Overwatch 2. "The same two-factor step called SMS Protect will also be used on all Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 accounts when that game launches and new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare accounts" the report adds. From the report: Blizzard Entertainment announced SMS Protect and other safety measures ahead of Overwatch 2's release. Blizzard said it implemented these controls because it wanted to "protect the integrity of gameplay and promote positive behavior in Overwatch 2." Overwatch 2 is free to play unlike its predecessor. Without SMS Protect Blizzard reasoned that there is no barrier to toxic players or trolls creating a new account if an existing one is sanctioned. SMS Protect therefore ties that account to something valuable -- in this case a player's mobile phone. SMS Protect is a security feature that has two purposes: to keep players accountable for what Blizzard calls "disruptive behavior" and to protect accounts if they're hacked. It requires all Overwatch 2 players to attach a unique phone number to their account. Blizzard said SMS Protect will target cheaters and harassers; if an account is banned it'll be harder for them to return to Overwatch 2. You can't just enter any old phone number -- you actually have to have access to a phone receiving texts to that number to get into your account. Overwatch 2 lead software engineer Bill Warnecke told Forbes that even if accounts are no longer tied to Overwatch's box price -- because the game is now free-to-play -- Blizzard still wants players to make an "investment" in upholding a safe game. "The key idea behind SMS Protect is to have an investment on behalf of the owner of that account and add some limitations or restrictions behind how you might have an account" Warnecke said. "There's no exclusions or kind of loopholes around the system." The report notes that Blizzard has refunded one player after they contacted customer support and said they didn't have a mobile phone but it's unclear if this policy will apply more broadly. read more >>

 • Roku Will Now Work With Nielsen To Track Cross-Media Viewership
    Today Nielsen announced that Roku plans to enable four-screen measurement across desktop mobile connected TV and traditional TV. This is the first time Roku will use the digital methodology Nielsen One the data measurement firm's cross-media measurement tool which launches in December. TechCrunch reports: With Nielsen's forthcoming tool the firm claims that the company is on track to provide a consistent and comparable cross-media solution. Nielsen also claims that with Nielsen One marketers running ads with Roku are guaranteed duplicate copies of repeating data are eliminated. "Marketers can now better evaluate CTV inventory's unique reach and frequency in conjunction with their entire Roku buy in a comparable and comprehensive manner and advertisers can reduce waste and help ensure that relevant ads are delivered to the right audiences across devices. This release brings us one step closer to providing comparable and deduplicated metrics across screens with Nielsen One" said Kim Gilberti SVP Product Management Nielsen in a statement. The data measurement firm wrote in today's announcement that its relationship with Roku dates back to 2016 when Roku allowed its marketers to measure campaigns with Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings measurement. Nielsen announced Nielsen One in 2020. Earlier this year it was revealed that YouTube would be the first media company to try the new tool. Roku is the second company to enable cross-media measurement. read more >>

 • Coroner Lists Instagram Algorithm As Contributing Cause of UK Teen's Death
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: In a London court this week coroner Andrew Walker had the difficult task of assessing a question that child safety advocates have been asking for years: How responsible is social media for the content algorithms feed to minors? The case before Walker involved a 14-year-old named Molly Russell who took her life in 2017 after she viewed thousands of posts on platforms like Instagram and Pinterest promoting self-harm. At one point during the inquest Walker described the content that Russell liked or saved in the days ahead of her death as so disturbing the coroner said in court that he found it "almost impossible to watch." Today Walker concluded that Russell's death couldn't be ruled a suicide Bloomberg reports. Instead he described her cause of death as "an act of self-harm whilst suffering from depression and the negative effects of online content." Bloomberg reported that Walker came to this decision based on Russell's "prolific" use of Instagram -- liking sharing or saving 16300 posts in six months before her death -- and Pinterest -- 5793 pins over the same amount of time -- combined with how the platforms catered content to contribute to Russell's depressive state. "The platforms operated in such a way using algorithms as to result in some circumstances of binge periods of images video clips and text" which "romanticized acts of self-harm" and "sought to isolate and discourage discussion with those who may have been able to help" Walker said. Following Walker's ruling Russell's family issued a statement provided to Ars calling it a landmark decision and saying that the court didn't even review the most disturbing content that Molly encountered. "This past fortnight has been particularly painful for our family" the Russell family's statement reads. "We're missing Molly more agonizingly than usual but we hope that the scrutiny this case has received will help prevent similar deaths encouraged by the disturbing content that is still to this day available on social media platforms including those run by Meta." Bloomberg reports that the family's lawyer Oliver Sanders has requested that Walker "send instructions on how to prevent this happening again to Pinterest Meta the UK government and the communications regulator." In their statement the family pushed UK regulators to quickly pass and enforce the UK Online Safety Bill which The New York Times reported could institute "new safeguards for younger users worldwide." Meta and Pinterest took different approaches to defend their policies. "Pinterest apologized saying it didn't have the technology it currently has to more effectively moderate content that Molly was exposed to" reports Ars. "But Meta's head of health and well-being Elizabeth Lagone frustrated the family by telling the court that the content Molly viewed was considered 'safe' by Meta's standards." "We have heard a senior Meta executive describe this deadly stream of content the platform's algorithms pushed to Molly as 'SAFE' and not contravening the platform's policies" the Russell family wrote in their statement. "If this demented trail of life-sucking content was safe my daughter Molly would probably still be alive." Russells' statement continued: "For the first time today tech platforms have been formally held responsible for the death of a child. In the future we as a family hope that any other social media companies called upon to assist an inquest follow the example of Pinterest who have taken steps to learn lessons and have engaged sincerely and respectfully with the inquest process." Pinterest told Ars that it is "committed to making ongoing improvements to help ensure that the platform is safe for everyone" and internally "the Coroner's report will be considered with care." Since Molly's death Pinterest said it has taken steps to improve content moderation including blocking more than 25000 self-harm related search terms and since 2019 has combined "human moderation with automated machine learning technologies to reduce policy-violating content on the platform." read more >>

 • Ubisoft Will Help Jilted Stadia Users Transfer Their Purchases To PC
    Stadia Google's ill-fated attempt at a cloud gaming service will shut down in January. Players will be refunded for all their hardware and software purchases except for Stadia Pro subscriptions. As it turns out some folks will be able to keep playing certain games elsewhere. Ubisoft will help people who bought its titles on Stadia to transfer their purchases to PC. From a report: "While Stadia will shut down on January 18th 2023 we're happy to share that we're currently working to bring the games you own on Stadia to PC through Ubisoft Connect" Ubisoft senior corporate communications manager Jessica Roache told The Verge. "We'll have more to share regarding specific details as well as the impact for Ubisoft subscribers at a later date." Google has already shut down the Stadia store so if you were thinking of buying an Ubisoft game getting a refund then gaining access to the PC version for free you're out of luck. Ubisoft hasn't revealed when it will offer Stadia players access to their games on Ubisoft Connect. It also hasn't confirmed whether Stadians will be able to transfer their save data over to PC. That said the Ubisoft subscription service includes a cloud save feature so hopefully the company can figure out a way to maintain players' progress if they switch to a PC version. read more >>

coming soon...

Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce:

 • More Than Money: Philly Chamber Reports on 10 Key Practices to Retain Young Talent
    The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia Shares Recommendations Based on 18-Month Research Initiative With Greater Philadelphia boasting top-tier education institutions excellent quality of life a thriving job market and the fastest-growing millennial population in the nation the talent here is more abundant than ever. But as expectations in the modern workplace continue to evolve […] >> read more or comment

 • Member Perspective: Uva Coles
    Guest Commentator: Uva Coles Vice President Institutional Advancement & Strategic Partnerships Peirce College @PeirceCollege How can employers leverage their resources for community involvement in distressed neighborhoods? How does this improve Philadelphia’s economic and civic life? The conversation is changing.  Just a few years ago I found myself in meeting after meeting discussing Philadelphia’s economic disconnects […] >> read more or comment

 • Mayor Jim Kenney’s Third Annual Address to the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia
    On February 6 2018 Mayor Jim Kenney addressed over 1700 members of the business community in his annual speech at the Mayoral Luncheon. Read his full remarks below: Thank you John for the introduction and for inviting me to be here today. I want to recognize Chamber President & CEO Rob Wonderling and this year’s […] >> read more or comment

 • 6 ways to team up with Philly’s schools
    On Monday January 29 2018 the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia hosted Roadmap for Growth: Exploring Business Engagement in Philadelphia’s Schools. It was a crowded room at Girard College that night with more than 200 business education and civic leaders with passionate ideas. Read on for a few takeaways from our education issue forum. […] >> read more or comment

 • CEO Council for Growth features iBreastExam’s health care breakthrough in Philadelphia region
    Hand-held breast cancer scanner highlights journey from university lab to marketplace PHILADELPHIA — A great innovation requires many things for it to work — the right idea with the perfect development team bringing it to life. It also requires funding. For the team behind the iBreastExam a hand-held breast cancer screening tool that last piece […] >> read more or comment

 • Congrats to the Philadelphia Eagles
    The Philadelphia Eagles have been esteemed Chamber members since 1947. With a relationship spanning over 70 years the Chamber values the Eagles’ commitment to the Greater Philadelphia business community. From their participation as a host company for Future Ready where they help teach Philadelphia middle school students about future career opportunities to their President Don […] >> read more or comment

 • Members of Congress Advocate for Northeast Corridor Funding
    Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen Ranking Member Lowey Chairman Diaz-Balart and Ranking Member Price: On behalf of commuters and community stakeholders who rely on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) we respectfully request that any final Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 appropriations legislation include robust funding for the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair a federally authorized grant program […] >> read more or comment

 • Energy Storage Advances Energy Systems and Consumption
    Submitted by: Holly White Marketing and Communications Specialist RETTEW A field covered in solar panels or a mountain ridge dotted with giant windmills have become more commonplace in today’s world. But did you know combined with battery storage systems they can save even more costs and help regulate energy supply for businesses and municipalities? Fluctuations in […] >> read more or comment

 • A New Year …and a New Leadership Role?
    Submitted by: Sharlene Goldfischer Owner and Principal Quintessence Coaching In many ways moving into a new leadership role is akin to welcoming a new year….looking back from where we came coupled with a futuristic view anticipation of the great opportunities that lie ahead and to maybe starting anew  formulating and setting plans into motion and perhaps […] >> read more or comment

 • Member Perspective: Maggie March
    Guest Commentator: Maggie March Philadelphia Director Arena Strategies Why is it important that employers encourage young professionals to pursue mentorship opportunities and how does this help them retain talent? Employers need to encourage young professionals to participate in a mentorship program for many reasons. Mentoring is an invaluable part of professional development that will ultimately […] >> read more or comment

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