News That Matters

Technology

Dog-like robot opens door in mesmerizing viral video

Dog-like robot opens door in mesmerizing viral video

Technology
“Good boy, Buddy,” is typical praise for a pet, but in this case, Buddy is a well-mannered, four-legged robot that both opens a door and holds it open for another robot. The video titled, “Hey Buddy, Can You Give me a Hand?” by robotics company Boston Dynamics has gotten over 1 million views on YouTube. It features their latest work -- a dog-like robot that opens a door in a mesmerizing maneuver. The video shows one yellow robot walking up to and surveying a door before an identical robot with an arm extending from its back steps into frame. The arm has a claw that functions as a hand and opens the door. The robot continues to prop the door open for itself and the other robot to walk through before letting it close behind them. Boston Dynamics' calls this robot the SpotMini, which is
Gates turns attention toward poverty, growing inequity in US

Gates turns attention toward poverty, growing inequity in US

Technology
Bill and Melinda Gates, as the world's top philanthropists, are rethinking their work in America as they confront what they consider their unsatisfactory track record on schools, the country's growing inequity and a president they disagree with more than any other. In an interview with The Associated Press, the couple said they're concerned about President Donald Trump's "America first" worldview. They've made known their differences with the president and his party on issues including foreign aid, taxes and protections for immigrant youth in the country illegally. And they said they're now digging into the layers of U.S. poverty that they haven't been deeply involved with at the national level, including employment, race, housing, mental health, incarceration and substance abuse. "We are...
Satellites show warming is accelerating sea level rise

Satellites show warming is accelerating sea level rise

Technology
Melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are speeding up the already fast pace of sea level rise, new satellite research shows. At the current rate, the world's oceans on average will be at least 2 feet (61 centimeters) higher by the end of the century compared to today, according to researchers who published in Monday's Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences. Sea level rise is caused by warming of the ocean and melting from glaciers and ice sheets. The research, based on 25 years of satellite data, shows that pace has quickened, mainly from the melting of massive ice sheets. It confirms scientists' computer simulations and is in line with predictions from the United Nations, which releases regular climate change reports. "It's a big deal" because the projected sea level ...
Bitcoin energy use in Iceland set to overtake homes, says local firm

Bitcoin energy use in Iceland set to overtake homes, says local firm

Technology
Iceland is facing an "exponential" rise in Bitcoin mining that is gobbling up power resources, a spokesman for Icelandic energy firm HS Orka has said.This year, electricity use at Bitcoin mining data centres is likely to exceed that of all Iceland's homes, according to Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson.He said many potential customers were keen to get in on the act."If all these projects are realised, we won't have enough energy for it," he told the BBC.Mr Sigurbergsson's calculations were first reported by the Associated Press.Iceland has a small population, of around 340,000 people.But in recent years it has seen a marked increase in the number of new data centres, often built by firms wishing to tout green credentials. Nearly 100% of energy in Iceland comes from renewable sources.Bitcoin mini...
Energy riches fuel bitcoin craze for speculation-shy Iceland

Energy riches fuel bitcoin craze for speculation-shy Iceland

Technology
Iceland is expected to use more energy "mining" bitcoins and other virtual currencies this year than it uses to power its homes. With massive amounts of electricity needed to run the computers that create bitcoins, large virtual currency companies have established a base in the North Atlantic island nation blessed with an abundance of renewable energy. The new industry's relatively sudden growth prompted lawmaker Smari McCarthy of Iceland's Pirate Party to suggest taxing the profits of bitcoin mines. The initiative is likely to be well received by Icelanders, who are skeptical of speculative financial ventures after the country's catastrophic 2008 banking crash. "Under normal circumstances, companies that are creating value in Iceland pay a certain amount of tax to the government," McCart...