Expedia Starts Accepting Bitcoins

Expedia has decided to take bitcoins for transactions. The travel website is accepting the virtual currency for US hotel bookings and may take it for other services in the future. Market watchers say this could be a significant step toward bitcoin’s mainstream acceptance. Emily Spaven, managing editor of bitcoin news site CoinDesk, told the BBC the move was “brilliant news” that “brings digital currency further into the consciousness of the mainstream.” Expedia plans to use bitcoin exchange Coinbase to process its transactions and will convert its bitcoins into US currency every 24 hours, according to Michael Gulmann, the travel company’s global vice president. This will help eliminate some problems associated with bitcoin’s exchange-rate volatility. (BBC)(Mashable)(Expedia)

EC Announces Probe into Apple’s Tax Agreement with Ireland

The European Commission (EC) is investigating Apple for its tax practices in Ireland. The country reportedly has a complex tax deal with the company that allows Apple to avoid paying all of the taxes for which it would normally be responsible. Apple claims it has not received special treatment from Irish authorities. Company records show its effective tax rate on non-US income in 2013 was 3.7 percent. Ireland’s corporate taxes are typically 12.5 percent.  Apple negotiated a tax payment of less than 2 percent according to US Senate records. The average corporate tax rate in the nations where Apple does business was 24 percent in 2013. The Irish government has said it has not broken any rules. The EC is also investigating Starbucks and Fiat for their tax agreements with the Netherlands and Luxembourg. On the whole, this sort of corporate tax avoidance and evasion has cost the EU cost about 1 trillion euros ($1.4 trillion) a year. Other investigations are pending, according to Bloomberg reports. The US Senate, in a 2013 investigation, accused Ireland of giving preferential tax treatment to Apple that enabled the company to avoid paying billions in taxes. (Reuters)(BBC)(Bloomberg)(The New York Times)

Regional Registry Exhausts IPv4 Addresses

LACNIC, the regional Internet registry for Latin America and the Caribbean, has exhausted its pool of IPv4 Internet addresses. The registry now has roughly 4 million IPv4 addresses available, but all of them are reserved new users. The organization says users in the region need to switch to IPv6, the updated traffic direction protocol that uses 128-bit addresses rather than 32-bit numbers and thus provides many more addresses. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority allocated the last blocks of IPv4 address space to the five regional registries in 2011. The registries for the Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North American regions have already run out of IPv4 addresses, making the registry for Africa the only one that has any left. (SlashDot)(The Register)(Internet Assigned Numbers Authority)(LACNIC)

Academic, Industry Partnership Forms to Bolster Additive Manufacturing

An Ohio-centered partnership promises to support and grow additive manufacturing—various technologies that let users apply material in layers to construct a 3D object from a digital rendering or data—in the region through research and economic development. Rapid Prototype + Manufacturing (rp+m) is moving its research and development arm to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, where the organization’s staff will collaborate with faculty researchers and students on the development of additive manufacturing technologies and on entrepreneurial projects. The Additive Manufacturing Studio in think[box], the university’s high-tech invention center, will house new 3D additive manufacturing equipment, including printers and metal-printing machines. Both rp+m and Case Western Reserve are collaborating with various companies on a project designed to convert a laser hotwire welding technique into a 3D manufacturing process. They are also trying to attracting companies to related R&D partnerships. (EurekAlert)(America Makes)(Case Western Reserve University)

New Technology Analyzes Energy Consumption

The US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has developed a technology tool that promises to lower residential utility bills by analyzing consumers’ energy use. The Citizen Engagement for Energy Efficient Communities (CoNNECT) tool provides energy-consumption monitoring via a Web-based platform. Fiveworx, an energy-efficiency tool vendor, has licensed CoNNECT to help utilities increase participation in power–savings programs and plans to integrate the tool into its intelligence platform. ORNL developed CoNNECT through its Technology Innovation Program, using its Laboratory Directed Research and Development funding. (EurekAlert)(Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

Biomimetic Drone Aids in Package Delivery

Scientists with the University of Cincinnati and AMP Electric Vehicles are working on a drone designed to deliver packages to consumers’ doorsteps. The project’s centerpiece is an autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle, the HorseFly octocopter. Much like horseflies tend to stay near horses, the drone stays near a delivery truck, taking short flights from it to make deliveries. The truck driver loads the drone, which scans the package’s barcode, uses GPS to find the best path to the destination, and then flies there. During the process, the delivery truck continues driving from place to place. Once the drone delivers a package, it returns to the truck to pick up another one or to be wirelessly recharged. The researchers want HorseFly to be safe and resilient, and thus have made much of its critical hardware—including its onboard computers and batteries—redundant. If necessary, humans could take control of a drone and, using its onboard cameras, find a safe landing spot. The project continues as the US Federal Aviation Administration prepares to issue regulations on commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles in 2015. (EurekAlert)(University of Cincinnati)

Chicago Police’s Facial-Recognition Technology Results in First Conviction

The first person that Chicago police arrested based on facial recognition analysis has received a 22-year sentence after being convicted by a judge of armed robbery. Pierre Martin robbed a man of his cell phone at gunpoint while on a Chicago Transit Authority train in February 2013. His image was captured by the transit authority’s surveillance cameras and compared against 4.5 million suspect-booking photos in a Chicago Police Department database. He was in the database because of his arrest record. Martin stole a phone from another man at gunpoint at the same train stop on 28 January 2013, according to prosecutors. Surveillance cameras also captured that robbery. The Chicago police bought its image-identification technology with a $5.4 million grant from the Transportation Security Administration. (SlashDot)(Ars Technica)(Chicago Sun-Times -- 1)(Chicago Sun-Times -- 2)

Study: Cybercrime Costs $445 Billion Worldwide

Cybercrime and economic espionage are costing about $445 billion each year, demonstrating that the problem is a global concern that is not adequately addressed, according to a report conducted by US think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies and funded by security vendor McAfee. In addition to causing these direct costs, the study found, cybercrime can reduce employment in developing countries. The US, China, Japan, and Germany, experienced the greatest losses, mostly the result of intellectual property theft by foreign governments. The theft of personal information resulted in $150 billion in losses. “Net Losses: Estimating the Global Cost of Cybercrime” is available online at www.mcafee.com/us/resources/reports/rp-economic-impact-cybercrime2.pdf.>.(Reuters)(Network World)(Washington Post)(McAfee)

Transparent Material Promising Display Replacement

University of Akron researchers have created a transparent electrode they say could make smartphone displays shatterproof. They placed a transparent layer of electrodes on a polymer surface to produce a tough, flexible material. The film withstood Scotch tape peeling and bending tests. In the latter, the film survived after being bent 1,000 times. The new film is equally transparent but more conductive than conventional phone-screen materials, according to Yu Zhu, assistant professor of polymer science. He said the new material could replace indium tin oxide display coatings, which are brittle and likely to shatter, and are becoming more expensive to make. The researchers are publishing their work in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano. (EurekAlert)(The University of Akron)

Sprint Nearing Purchase of T-Mobile US

Sprint and Deutsche Telecom are concluding a deal that would sell T-Mobile US to its market rival at roughly $40 per share in July. Sprint and T-Mobile are the third- and fourth-largest US wireless carriers, respectively. The companies are working on terms such as the final price, financing, and which of them would pay the termination fee if US regulators block the deal. T-Mobile US is now owned by Deutsche Telekom, which would retain a 15 to 20 percent stake in the new Sprint. This is one of many recently announced mergers within the US telecommunications market. AT&T is courting satellite TV operator DirecTV, and Comcast is trying to buy Time Warner. Market analysts say US government regulators—who rejected a deal between AT&T and T-Mobile US three years ago—may well prevent the Sprint and T-Mobile merger. (Reuters)(Bloomberg)

Showing 51 - 60 of 4,412 results.
Items per Page 10
of 442