The Download

What's up in emerging technology

Yesterday Proterra's electric bus keeps going and going.

Giant Mining Trucks and Buses Are Smashing Electric Vehicle Records

Size now appears to be no barrier to building competent vehicles without internal combustion engines. Big battery-powered electric vehicles like trucks once seemed fanciful, because their large masses need a lot of energy to shift and diesel fuel is… Read more

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  • Proterra
Pi's new technology is claimed to charge a phone from 12 inches.

Wireless Gadget Charging Just Got a Range Boost

Your phone could soon get juiced over the air from a foot away. That's thanks to the work of a new startup called Pi. Founded by two MIT graduates, it has developed a wireless charger that uses a honed version of inductive charging to send power further… Read more

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  • Pi
There may be more climate breathing room than we thought.

Just 1.5 °C of Global Warming May Be Achievable After All

We may yet be able to meet the most ambitious of goals from the Paris climate pact. A new study published in Nature Geoscience claims that we have overestimated the planet's warming to date. Newly updated models that form part of the research suggest… Read more

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  • Thomas Hafeneth | Unsplash

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September 18, 2017

A Pair of AIs Have Become Very Good at Guessing Your Passwords

Two neural networks can guess a quarter of the passwords in use on a website. At least that's according to new research by a team from the Stevens Institute of Technology, who have built a so-called generative adversarial network that can make educated… Read more

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  • Jamie Condliffe

Google’s New Mobile Payment System Sends Money via Sound

The company's new digital payment app, called Tez, allows people in India to use a phone to pay for goods in physical stores and online, or make payments to other bank accounts. It’s different from the (already incredibly popular) Indian service PayTM… Read more

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  • Google
Is Trump wavering over the Paris climate deal?

Might America Stay in the Paris Climate Pact After All?

Some members of Trump’s administration appear not to be ruling it out. Over the weekend, off the back of a climate meeting in Montreal, secretary of state Rex Tillerson told CBS that the government is “open to finding … conditions where we can remain… Read more

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  • Veeterzy | Unsplash
September 15, 2017 Internet connections vary dramatically around the world

The UN Says the Global Digital Divide Could Become a Yawning Chasm

More than 52 percent of people on the planet still don't have Internet access. Men outnumber women as Web users in every region of the world. And there remain massive disparities in connection speeds in different countries. These are just some of the… Read more

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  • Yuttana Koedpradit

A Carbon-Fiber Cage Could Crash-Proof Drone Delivery

For those worried about the fragility of the items shipped through the air, there may be a solution. Researchers at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland have developed a giant carbon-fiber cage that sits around a drone to protect… Read more

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  • EPFL
Facebook still has a hate problem

Facebook’s Anti-Semitic Ad-Targeting Disaster

Turns out Facebook will let you focus advertising at people with some horrible worldviews. An investigation by ProPublica published Thursday revealed that the company’s advertising platform allows people to send ads specifically to people who list topics… Read more

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  • Hamza Butt | Sole Treadmill
September 14, 2017 The Daimler eCanter

Electric Trucks Are Finally Hitting American Roads

"The game has started." So says Daimler Trucks Asia chief Mark Llistosella, more than a little ominously, in an interview with Reuters. He’s referring to the fact that electric trucks, once thought absurd, are finally taking to the roads.

Daimler has… Read more

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  • Daimler AG