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Wildfires create worst air quality in San Francisco Bay Area

Wildfires create worst air quality in San Francisco Bay Area

Technology
The region has endured days of choking smoke since the fires began Sunday night and claimed at least 31 lives and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. The smoke cast a dull haze over San Francisco's scenic skyline, and poor visibility has led to numerous flight delays and cancellations at the city's airport. Air quality in most of the region Thursday and Friday was as bad as smog-choked Beijing, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. "We have unprecedented levels of smoke and particles in the air that we normally don't see," said Ralph Borrmann, a spokesman for the district. He called it the worst air quality ever recorded in many parts of the Bay Area. Since Wednesday, about 15 percent of flights in and out of San Francisco International Airport experienced de...
Criminals worry as dark net markets disappear

Criminals worry as dark net markets disappear

Technology
Four of the largest criminal marketplaces on the dark net were unreachable on Friday, prompting speculation about police activity.All four marketplaces - the Dream Market, the Trade Route, the Tochka Free Market and the creatively named Wall Street Market - allowed anonymous users to trade illicit goods in cryptocurrencies.It is not unusual for such marketplaces to disappear with their customers' cash, which they often hold as an escrow service, but the fact that the four largest have vanished simultaneously has provoked interest.Users of dark net discussion forums on the open web have warned that the sites could be targeted by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack - a way of forcing websites offline."Whether or not it's law enforcement carrying out the attacks is another question,...
Branson's Virgin Group invests in Hyperloop One

Branson's Virgin Group invests in Hyperloop One

Technology
The Virgin investment group has taken an undisclosed stake in Hyperloop One, one of several companies trying to create a pod-based transport system.The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.Virgin's founder, Sir Richard Branson, is joining the Los Angeles-based firm's board as part of the deal, and it is rebranding itself as Virgin Hyperloop One.One expert suggested the tie-up would help raise the company's profile."This is unproven technology and there's a long way to go before it ever finds itself in use in the real world," commented Prof David Bailey from Aston Business School."But this deal will certainly help in terms of marketing and potentially attract further investors to come into the operation."Hyperloop One recently tested a prototype pod in the Nevada desert, which reached ...
Volcanic eruption in Japan spreads ash in 4 cities, towns

Volcanic eruption in Japan spreads ash in 4 cities, towns

Technology
A volcano in southwestern Japan is erupting for the first time in six years, spewing ash over nearby farms, cities and towns. Japanese broadcaster TBS showed elementary school students wearing helmets and masks Thursday on the way to their school at the foot of the Shinmoedake volcano. Residents also described hearing rumbles from the volcano and ash fell in at least four cities and towns in Miyazaki prefecture. Street cleaners swept ash from city streets, and farmers used leaf blowers to clear the growing piles of ash from the tops of their plastic greenhouses. The volcano on the border of Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures started erupting Wednesday for the first time in six years. On Thursday, an ash plume rose 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) from the crater, the Japan Meteorological Agency ...
Apple's Tim Cook prefers augmented reality to VR

Apple's Tim Cook prefers augmented reality to VR

Technology
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceApple's chief executive has suggested he is not very enthusiastic about virtual reality.Tim Cook said that he felt that the technology could isolate users and voiced a preference for augmented reality instead.AR involves mixing graphics and real-world views together rather than solely filling a person's view with computer-generated images.One expert suggested Mr Cook's view was becoming more popular in tech circles.Mr Cook expressed his opinion at an event hosted by the University of Oxford, in response to a student's question about what technologies would prove transformative."I'm incredibly excited by AR because I can see uses for it everywhere," Mr Cook replied."I can see uses for it in education, in consumers, in entertainment, in sports. I c...