United States

Earth is headed for its second warmest year in recorded history (the record was three years ago)

Data from the U.S. government sure seems to indicate that the Earth is warming (despite what the current leadership may say). Apparently, the globe just experienced the second-hottest October ever recorded and is on track for the second-hottest year to date on record, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Not only are we experiencing a run of hot Octobers (this is the tenth year that temperatures have hit recorded-history highs since 2003 and all five of the highest temperature years were in the past five years), but arctic ice has also shrunk to its lowest extent since satellite records began in 1979. Even as the Trump Administration enacts policies to reverse course on curbing the emissions that seem to be leading to a changing global climate, federa...

Elavon to acquire Sage Pay, a gateway that competes with Stripe, PayPal and Adyen, for $300M

E-commerce continues to gain momentum — a trend we’ll see played out in the next two months of holiday shopping — and with that comes more consolidation. Today, Elavon, the payments company that is a subsidiary of US Bancorp, announced that it will acquire Sage Pay, one of the bigger payment processors in the UK and Ireland serving small and medium businesses. Sage Pay’s owner Sage Group said the deal is being done for £232 million in cash (or $300 million at today’s currency rates). Elavon is active in 10 countries and says it’s the fourth-largest merchant acquirer in Europe, competing against the likes of  Global Payments, Vantiv, FIS, Ingenico, Verifone, Stripe, Chase, MasterCard and Visa. The deal is still subject to regulatory approval (both by the ...

TriNet sent remote workers an email that some thought was a phishing attack

It was the one of the best phishing emails we’ve seen… that wasn’t. Phishing remains one of the most popular attack choices for scammers. Phishing emails are designed to impersonate companies or executives to trick users into turning over sensitive information, typically usernames and passwords, so that scammers can log into online services and steal money or data. But detecting and preventing phishing isn’t just a user problem — it’s a corporate problem too, especially when companies don’t take basic cybersecurity precautions and best practices to hinder scammers from ever getting into a user’s inbox. Enter TriNet, a human resources giant, which this week became the poster child for how how to make a genuine email to its customers look inadvertent...

Ford’s Mustang Mach-E all-electric SUV revealed in leaked photos, prices and configurations

Ford is officially debuting its fully electric crossover SUV on Saturday, November 17 – but we got a look at the new Mach-E (which was just officially named yesterday) a couple of days early. The leak comes from Ford’s own website, as screenshotted for posterity by Jalopnick, and includes photos of most angles of the car, including the interior, as well as pricing and configuration details for the model variants available at launch. The Mach-E will start at $43,895 U.S., before any state or tax incentives are applied (and that turns into $36,395 once you apply the maximum $7,5000 Federal tax credit). The ‘Select’ trim Mach-E as configured at that price gets you 230 EPA-rated miles of range, either AWD or RWD (which presumably alters the price) and a 0-60MPH time in the mi...

Google finishes the install of its private Curie cable, announces Panama branch

Google today announced that it has finished the install and test of its private Curie cable. When it was announced, Curie, which connects the U.S. to Chile, was the company’s third private cable. Since then, it has announced two more, Dunant and Equiano, which will connect the U.S. to Europe and Portugal to South Africa. The 10,500 kilometers long cable will offer a total capacity of 72Tbps and will go online in Q2 of 2020. Right now, Google’s teams are working on connecting the cable to its own network. In addition, Google also today announced that Curie will get a branch to Panama. “Once operational, this branch will enhance connectivity and bandwidth to Central America, and increase our ability to connect to other networks in the region, providing resiliency to our glo...

Eigen nabs $37M to help banks and others parse huge documents using natural language and ‘small data’

One of the bigger trends in enterprise software has been the emergence of startups building tools to make the benefits of artificial intelligence technology more accessible to non-tech companies. Today, one that has built a platform to apply power of machine learning and natural language processing to massive documents of unstructured data has closed a round of funding as it finds strong demand for its approach. Eigen Technologies, a London-based startup whose machine learning engine helps banks and other businesses that need to extract information and insights from large and complex documents like contracts, is today announcing that it has raised $37 million in funding, a Series B that values the company at around $150 million – $180 million. The round was led by Lakestar and Dawn C...

Messaging app Wire confirms $8.2M raise, responds to privacy concerns after moving holding company to the US

Big changes are afoot for Wire, an enterprise-focused end-to-end encrypted messaging app and service that advertises itself as “the most secure collaboration platform”. In February, Wire quietly raised $8.2 million from Morpheus Ventures and others, we’ve confirmed — the first funding amount it has ever disclosed — and alongside that external financing, it moved its holding company in the same month to the US from Luxembourg, a switch that Wire’s CEO Morten Brogger described in an interview as “simple and pragmatic.” He also said that Wire is planning to introduce a freemium tier to its existing consumer service — which itself has half a million users — while working on a larger round of funding to fuel more growth of its enterpri...

Disney+ has already attracted over 10 million subscribers

Disney’s launch of its premium subscription streaming service Disney+ was not without issues – high demand resulted int content not being accessible for hours on its first day of availability. The company cited higher-than-expected demand as a factor, and now we have a rough estimate of the size of that demand – Disney has revealed that it signed up 10 million users since its Tuesday debut. That’s a lot of subscribers in a very short period. To put it in perspective, Netflix recently reported 158 million subscribers, but that’s its total audience after many years of availability, across a broad global market. Disney+ is launching only in a few markets around the world, including the U.S. and Canada, and the Netherlands, while Netflix has grown to cover much of the world. ...

A US federal court finds suspicionless searches of phones at the border is illegal

A federal court in Boston has ruled that the government is not allowed to search travelers’ phones or other electronic devices at the U.S. border without first having reasonable suspicion of a crime. That’s a significant victory for civil liberties advocates, who say the government’s own rules allowing its border agents to search electronic devices at the border without a warrant are unconstitutional. The court said the government’s policies on warrantless searches of devices without reasonable suspicion “violate the Fourth Amendment,” which provides constitutional protections against warrantless searches and seizures. The case was brought by 11 travelers — 10 of whom are U.S. citizens — with support from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electr...

Uber CEO stokes #boycottuber fire with ‘mistakes happen’ comment

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s comments during an interview with Axios — and his subsequent apology — have done more than hand the company’s critics more ammunition in the renewed #boycottUber campaign. (Although, mission accomplished on that front.) They also expose a weakness that if left uncorrected threatens to bring back the toxic culture Khosrowshahi promised he would eliminate when he took over as CEO in 2017. First, a recap. During an interview, Khosrowshahi called the murder of journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia a “serious mistake” and compared it to the death of pedestrian Elaine Herzberg who was struck and killed by Uber’s self-driving car. And then he added, “People make mistakes, it doesn’t mean that they can ne...

Watch live as SpaceX launches 60 Starlink satellites with a thrice-flown Falcon 9 rocket

SpaceX has a big launch coming up this morning from Cape Canaveral in Florida – a Falcon 9 will carry a payload of 60 of its Starlink orbital communications satellites to space at 9:56 AM ET (6:56 AM PT). The Starlink satellites are the first non-test group of SpaceX’s new constellation heading up en masse, with the aim of helping set up a network that will eventually provide global high-speed Internet connectivity. SpaceX has already sent up 62 Starlink satellites in total, across two test batch launches: Two launched in February 2018 from Vandenberg in California, aboard a rocket that was also transporting a satellite called ‘Paz’ for a client, and 60 launched in May of this year, a large test batch that was used to trial ground-based communications, as well as controll...

Banning digital political ads gives extremists a distinct advantage

Jessica Alter Contributor Share on Twitter Jessica Alter is co-founder and chairman of Tech for Campaigns, an organization building the lasting tech and digital arm for Democrats and has helped over 200 campaigns on this front since 2017. Jack Dorsey’s announcement that Twitter will no longer run political ads because “political messages reach should be earned, not bought” has been welcomed as a thoughtful and statesmanlike contrast to Mark Zuckerberg’s and Facebook’s greedy acceptance of “political ads that lie.” While the 240-character policy sounds compelling, it’s both flawed in principle and, I fear, counterproductive in practice.  First: like it or hate it, the U.S. political system is drowning in money. In 2018, a non-presidential year, it is estimated that over $9B was spent on the...

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