A lot can happen in a week when it comes to tech. The constant onslaught of news makes it nigh impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of this week’s top tech stories, from the best products of 2017 to the latest in the Amazon vs. YouTube battle — it’s all here.
In 2017, the future was looking up. Literally. From Elon Musk’s feverish Mars talk to Cassini’s kamikaze dive into Saturn, to the sun-swallowing eclipse that enraptured half the United States, humans spent 2017 looking skyward for inspiration. But life back on Earth yielded plenty of impressive marvels of the technological variety, if you were paying attention.
From building the Deep Blue computer that beat Garry Kasparov at chess to the Watson artificial intelligence (A.I.) that won Jeopardy, IBM has been responsible for some high-profile public demonstrations of A.I. in action. Its latest showcase is less high concept, but potentially far more transformative — applying machine learning technology to the subject of organic chemistry.
As described in a new research paper, the A.I. chemist is able to predict chemical reactions in a way that could be incredibly important for fields like drug discovery. To do this, it uses a highly detailed data set of knowledge on 395,496 different reactions taken from thousands of research papers published over the years.
If you wanted to watch the trailer for Natalie Portman’s upcoming sci-fi movie Annihilation, you would probably go to YouTube. You might even ask Alexa to pull it up on your Amazon Echo Show. But not so fast — Google and Amazon aren’t playing together, as playing YouTube videos on the Echo Show apparently violates Google’s terms of service.
Despite a recent workaround that allowed Echo Show users to continue accessing YouTube by going to the web browser, it looks like Google is now pulling its video service for good. And more importantly, the platform is also disappearing from Amazon’s Fire TV.
Facebook may be social media, but in 2017, the network was also a place for support. On Tuesday, December 5, Facebook released its annual year in review report, where women’s issues, tragedies, and natural disasters were among the most popular topics on the social network over the last year. Unlike previous years that generated a top 10 list of topics, Facebook divided the 2017 report into three categories for posts, Crisis Response, and events.
The moments over the last year that generated the most Facebook discussion was topped off by International Women’s Day. For Facebook users, this day generated the most discussion in 2017.
The shock and awe of Westworld has only just begun. With season 1 of the hit sci-fi series behind us and season 2 on the way, there is so much more that’s sure to play out beyond the show’s Western-themed adventure park. We’re ready to head back now, but the upcoming 10 episodes won’t start airing until spring 2018, with an official premiere date still pending.
The second season will continue the often-twisted, always-intriguing story inspired by novelist Michael Crichton’s 1973 film of the same name. Season 2 will return viewers to the complex fantasy sci-fi world that features artificially intelligent robots who, as it turns out, don’t always do their job of letting the human guests fulfill their fantasies.
As a whole, the 2017 LA Auto Show felt risk-averse. The show floor was largely populated with mild refreshes, crossovers, and SUVs, none of which raised our pulse above the level of a brisk walk. What’s more, most of the eye-catching stuff had already been revealed at previous events, but just seeing the Mercedes-AMG Project One in metal made it a trip worth taking.
Despite the show’s tepid atmosphere, there were more than a few highlights to take away. Here are our favorites.
Comcast’s new xFi Advanced Gateway is now available to all Xfinity broadband markets, the company announced on Wednesday. According to a blog written by Comcast’s Fraser Stirling, this new all-in-one device reportedly supports wireless speeds of more than 1.5 gigabits per second in the Comcast labs. It also includes an 8×8 antenna setup, meaning your connected device must have eight incoming and eight outgoing antennas to support the reported 1.5Gbps speeds.
In reality, promoted wireless speeds which are theoretical in nature, never translate into real-world speeds. Many factors come into play, including the channel width, local radio interference, neighboring networks, and more. Stirling says the new gateway sports an additional 160MHz channel width, which means there’s more air space for sending data back and forth from devices. Modern routers and gateways typically include 20MHz, 40MHz, and 80MHz channel widths.
After months of anticipation, luxury sports car manufacturer Lamborghini finally unveiled its Urus SUV. Packed with the company’s first production turbocharged engine — a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 that puts down 650 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque — the Lamborghini Urus is nothing short of an automotive monster. Unsurprisingly, all of this engineering comes at a cost — $200,000, to be exact.
This ungodly sum of cash got us to thinking, instead of buying this big car how could one just as easily, irrationally, and conspicuously blow this much cash? Here are the most investment-savvy ways to burn nearly a quarter of a million clams. Period.
As recently as the 2000s, solar-powered homes were a rare thing to see. But with tax incentives motivating homeowners and increasing fears about climate change, more people have gone solar, and solar panels have become a common sight on the tops of homes around the country. Installing solar panels is a great way to live a little greener, as they can decrease the carbon footprint of your household by about 35,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
In addition to going green, there are also many other benefits of solar panels, such as reducing your energy bill and earning tax credits. But the prospect can be a little daunting, what with all the technical jargon, the installation process, and the different panel types to choose from. But once you break the whole thing down into steps, it will feel a lot more manageable. Here’s a guide on how to go solar-powered in your home.
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