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Tesla owner attempts Autopilot defense during DUI stop

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Enlarge (credit: California Highway Patrol)

A San Francisco Tesla owner has learned the hard way that Tesla's Autopilot feature does not excuse getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. On Saturday, January 13, police discovered a man in his Tesla vehicle on the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that "the man had apparently passed out in the stopped car while stuck in the flow of busy bridge traffic at 5:30pm, according to the California Highway Patrol."

When police woke the man up, he assured officers that everything was fine because the car was "on autopilot." No one was injured in the incident, and the California Highway Patrol made a snarky tweet about it:

Needless to say, other Tesla owners—and people who own competing systems like Cadillac's Super Cruise—should not follow this guy's example. No cars on the market right now have fully driverless technology available. Autopilot, Supercruise, and other products are driver assistance products—they're designed to operate with an attentive human driver as a backup. Driving drunk using one of these systems is just as illegal as driving drunk in a conventional car.

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I can’t stop looking at this wonderfully bad Google Photos panorama stitch

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Most times, technology fails and we get frustrated. Sometimes, technology fails in a spectacularly adorable way. Such is the case with this Google Photos panorama image that the software automatically stitched together for Reddit user MalletsDarker, which placed a photo of his friend majestically behind two different photos of snow and trees.

MalletsDarker shared the source images that Google Photos had combined together as a panorama, a feature that the software will automatically offer to you if it notices the images were taken near one another. He took three pictures: one with two friends, one of the snowy landscape, and one of the trees in a distance. In the photo of his friend, Google Photos managed to wipe out one person in the shot, artfully cropping her from the helmet down and replacing her with more trees and snow. The end result is reminiscent of Screaming Cowboy, Canadian edition.

By all technical accounts, this is a Very Bad Generated image given that the software completely missed in the proportion and object recognition departments, but the final product is still unintentionally wonderful. I say this while looking over to my Google Photos app, which just offered me a Year In Review video full of selfies where I am mostly cropped out of the frame.

Google Photos auto-panorama doesn’t always work out this fantastically. As other Redditors have shared in the original thread, results could always turn out more nightmarish than awe-inspiring.

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Lifeguard drone completes world-first ocean rescue

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Australia's 'Little Ripper' drone has saved a pair of swimmers caught in rough seas in what's thought to be a world-first rescue operation. Lifeguards were busy testing the UAV off Lennox Head as part of New South Wales' $250,000 shark-spotting strat...
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Amazon names 20 “finalist” cities in its new headquarters beauty pageant

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Enlarge / And the finalists are... (credit: Amazon)

This morning, Amazon posted its list of candidates under serious consideration for the company's second headquarters—a campus that the company expects to invest over $5 billion to build and which will eventually house as many as 50,000 Amazon employees.

"It will be a full equal to our current campus in Seattle," a company spokesperson wrote in the announcement. "In addition to Amazon’s direct hiring and investment, construction and ongoing operation of Amazon HQ2 is expected to create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community."

That level of promised economic impact has drawn many state and local governments to craft proposals that would give Amazon rich packages of concessions—in many cases, proposals that have been kept secret from the taxpayers. A total of 238 proposals were submitted by local governments to Amazon after the company announced its continent-wide search for a second home.

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Apple rejects app that claims to detect net neutrality violations

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Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Brian A. Jackson)

An iPhone application that attempts to detect whether ISPs are throttling online services was rejected by Apple when its developer tried to get it into the company's App Store.

David Choffnes, a Northeastern University professor who researches distributed systems and networking, built an app called "Wehe" that tests the speeds of YouTube, Amazon, NBCSports, Netflix, Skype, Spotify, and Vimeo. Abnormally low speed results for one or more of those services might, in theory, provide evidence that your mobile carrier is throttling a service.

But as Motherboard reported today, Apple refused to let the app into the iPhone App Store, telling him that "your app has no direct benefits to the user." Motherboard was able to test a beta version of the app using Apple's TestFlight platform and provided this screenshot of the application in action:

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Tim Cook on iPhone Battery Controversy: 'Maybe We Should've Been Clearer'

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While visiting the Apple data center located in Reno, Nevada this afternoon, Apple CEO Tim Cook did a quick interview with Rebecca Jarvis of ABC News, where he discussed Apple's economic announcements and touched on the ongoing controversy over power management features in older iPhones.

According to Cook, when the power management features were first introduced in iOS 10.2.1, Apple did explain what was going on, but following the controversy, he believes Apple should have been clearer.


The company did indeed mention that the shutdown issue was caused by uneven power delivery and explained that its power management system had been tweaked, but there was no clear notice that it could cause devices to operate more slowly. Cook says Apple "deeply apologizes" to customers who thought Apple had other motivations.
About a year ago, we released some code that essentially what it does... is all batteries age over time and they become unhealthy at a point in time and an unhealthy battery has a probability that it will create an unexpected restart.

When we did put it out, we did say what it was, but I don't think a lot of people were paying attention and maybe we should have been clearer as well. And so we deeply apologize for anybody that thinks we had some other kind of motivation.
Much of the rest of the interview focused on the announcements that Apple made today. The company plans to repatriate much of its $250 billion in overseas cash thanks to a change in U.S. tax policy, which will result in Apple paying $38 billion in taxes. Along with the tax bill, investments, the creation of a new campus, and more, Apple believes it will directly contribute $350 billion to the U.S. economy over the next five years, along with 20,000 new jobs.

When asked about whether Apple would have been able to make these announcements without the tax policy changes, Cook said there are "large parts" of the announcement that are "the result of the tax reform" and "large parts" that Apple "would have done in any situation." He went on to explain that the corporate part of the recent tax bill has the potential to bring a faster growing economy.
There are two parts of the tax bill. There's a corporate piece and an individual piece. I do believe the corporate side will result in job creation and a faster growing economy.
When asked about whether Apple would introduce a cheaper iPhone, Cook said it was unlikely, telling Jarvis that "the phone costs what the innovation inside of it costs."


The final bit of the interview touched on where Apple might open its new campus, which was announced by the company earlier today. Cook said details will be shared later in the year, but it won't be in Texas or California, where Apple already has campuses in Austin and Cupertino, respectively.


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