Weekly Rewind: Twitter outage, robot takeover, brain scanning implants

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In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. So much news goes on, in fact, that it’s almost impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of the top 10 tech stories from the second week of January. Everything from winter-driving tips to how robots will take over the economy — it’s all here.

5 winter-driving tips to survive the slippery, snowy streets

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The ball has officially come down in Times Square, and that means the holiday season has finally concluded. However, although the time for presents and awkward family get-togethers may be over, the effects of winter are still very much in play. Don’t get us wrong, we love snowball fights and ice skating as much as anyone, but the conditions can prove treacherous if you’re on the road. Here are 5 tips for winter driving to keep you safe.

Read the full story here.

Scientists create tiny brain-scanning implants that dissolve completely after use

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Brain activity is an important part of medical testing and diagnostics, but it isn’t always easy to measure. Complicated rigs and expensive machinery make ongoing brain monitoring unrealistic and inconvenient. On the other hand, temporary tech implants that record data while in the brain require added rounds of surgery to both implant and remove the tech. That’s why a team of neurosurgeons are developing tiny implant technology that can record brain activity for short periods of time, and then dissolve completely into the organic matter they are monitoring.

Read the full story here.

You can only count on four of your Facebook friends in rough times

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Relationships are complicated, and the digital edge doesn’t make them any less so. Today, people share their secrets, heartbreaks, and triumphs with loved ones through social media more than they do in person. It’s also easier to add a “friend” to your social network, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the term “friend” means the same thing as it did in the pre-Facebook era. One researcher says that no matter how many friends you have online, you can only rely on about four in times of crisis.

Read the full story here.

Explore a Salvador Dalí masterpiece in virtual reality

You can now appreciate the work of Salvador Dalí in what may be the way the artist truly intended: by way of virtual reality. On January 23, the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, will introduce a VR experience that takes audiences into the Spanish creative’s famed 1935 painting Archeological Reminiscence of Millet’s “Angelus.” Allowing viewers to see Dalí’s work like never before, museum visitors will be able to actually move about inside a three-dimensional interpretation of the artist’s masterpiece.

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Before robots get smarter, they must learn to say ‘no’

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Whether it’s your smartphone keeping track of your favorite takeaway restaurants, or your Web browser keeping tabs on which websites you visit most often, there’s probably a piece of technology in your home that’s learning about you. As computers transform from tools to assistants over the coming years, the learning needs of the technology we use on a daily basis are going to grow exponentially. These services will be more sophisticated and reach much further than today — but they’re going to have to get a lot smarter before they do.

Read the full story here.

Next page: 5 more tech stories you might have missed this week

GE’s new oven made me a pizza in 2 minutes, and it was delicious

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We got all the important details on GE’s new $9,900 Monogram Pizza Oven on Monday, but in the name of journalistic integrity, it seemed absolutely necessary to consume as much pizza from it as possible. On Tuesday, I answered the call of duty. After hours at the Monogram booth in the Las Vegas Convention Center, GE fired up its furnace and let me get up close and personal.

Read the full story here.

Dramatic SpaceX video shows Falcon 9 rocket land, topple over, and explode

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It comes down gently enough. And the all-crucial touchdown at least looks perfect. But straight after landing, it’s abundantly clear that all is not well. The Falcon 9 rocket ever so slowly starts leaning to one side before toppling over and exploding in a ball of flames. SpaceX’s third try at landing a rocket on a floating barge ended in failure again on Sunday after a problem with one of its landing legs.

Read the full story here.

Robots expected to replace some five million jobs by 2020

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2020 is shaping up to be a big year for us: The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that “more than half of the nation’s children are expected to be part of a minority race or ethnic group;” LG plans to have tripled its solar panel production by then; there’ll be another Olympic Games; and, oh yeah, robots will apparently take over some five million jobs. It’s the latest in a series of figures economists have released projecting the impact that AI systems and machines will have on the human workforce.

Read the full story here.

WhatsApp goes free, says $1 annual charge was a barrier for some users

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WhatsApp founder Jan Koum has announced the messaging service will remove the $1 annual charge, making the app completely free to use. At the DLD Conference, Koum said that the charge prevents a lot of people from using the service, especially those without access to a credit or debit card. The annual charge also wasn’t very popular, according to Koum, with users worried the payment might be for naught if WhatsApp discontinues the service.

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Twitter users experiencing outages worldwide on both the Web and mobile apps

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Companies everywhere will likely see increased bursts of productivity from certain employees today, seemingly at random. The reason? Twitter is currently experiencing sporadic outages worldwide. The outages seemed to begin at the beginning of the workday in Europe, with users first noticing issues around 9 a.m. GMT. The vast majority of the outages seemed to be concentrated in Europe, but reports of trouble reaching Twitter came from across the globe. We can confirm minor issues reaching the site in New York, which currently seem to have been resolved.

Read the full story here.

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