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Tag: policy (Page 1 of 194)

Uber self-driving car hits and kills pedestrian

Enlarge (credit: Dllu)

An Uber self-driving car in Tempe, Arizona has struck and killed a pedestrian, according to local TV news station KNXV.

"The Uber vehicle was reportedly driving early Monday when a woman walking outside of the crosswalk was struck," KNXV reports. "The woman was taken to the hospital where she died from her injuries."

Tempe Police say the car was in self-driving mode, according to the news channel's report. There was a safety driver behind the wheel of the car.

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Mini turbines, robot farmers, and more: On the show floor at the ARPA-E summit

Enlarge / A crop monitoring robot: Like a Roomba, but with more sensors and responsibility. (credit: Megan Geuss)

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD—Last week's ARPA-E summit was full of big ideas about the future of energy, and nowhere was that more evident than on the summit's show floor. In the basement of the sprawling Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center, dozens of academic institutions and companies set up booths to show off what they had been working on with their grant money.

From cars to recycling to electricity-generating turbines to biofuels, the warehouse temporarily turned into a montage of early-stage ideas. Most importantly, it also showed off the breadth of ARPA-E's work: though the Department of Energy's early-stage grant program has at times been cast as an accelerator for renewable energy exclusively, ARPA-E projects span a variety of fuels and even include some non-energy projects whose application could save industry a significant amount of energy.

Flip through the gallery below to see what we mean.

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Ether plunges after SEC says “dozens” of ICO investigations underway

Enlarge (credit: BTC Keychain)

The price of ether, the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network, has fallen below $500 for the first time this year. The decline comes days after a senior official from the Securities and Exchange Commission acknowledged that the agency had "dozens" of open investigations into initial coin offerings. The price of ether has fallen 19 percent in the last 24 hours, from $580 to $470.

“We’re doing obviously a lot in the crypto space, and we’re seeing a lot in the crypto space,” said Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC's Enforcement Division, at a conference on Thursday. “We are very active, and I would just expect to see more and more."

The SEC's decision to aggressively police cryptocurrency offerings is particularly significant for the Ethereum community because many new cryptocurrency offerings are built on top of the Ethereum platform. People creating a new token on the Ethereum blockchain need to buy ether, the currency used to pay for Ethereum transactions. So if aggressive SEC enforcement ends the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) boom—which seems to be cooling anyway—it would remove a major factor that pushed ether's value upward during 2017.

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Apple’s App Store mysteriously went dark in Iran yesterday

Enlarge / Tehran, the capital city of Iran. (credit: A.Davey via Creative Commons)

Yesterday, users in Iran lost access to Apple's App Store. When users attempted to connect or download apps, they received a message saying that the App Store was "unavailable in the country or region" in which they resided. The cessation of services began around noon GMT yesterday, and services resumed around 5:00am GMT this morning, according to social media posts and sources who spoke with Bleeping Computer. A virtual private network (VPN) could still reach the App Store normally.

Media coverage and social media posts were quick to speculate that the store's downtime was an Apple-imposed ban driven by US economic sanctions against Iran, as Apple is based in the US. However, we are not yet aware of evidence to support this. An accidental outage is also possible, as is a block imposed by Iran's government—Iran has previously blocked the Google Play store, though that block was later lifted. Apple has not responded to our requests for clarification.

Because of US sanctions, Apple has no formal presence or operation in Iran, and its App Store is not officially supported there. The company does not sell phones there, nor does it work with any vendors that do. It nevertheless had an 11-percent market share in the country as of last year, as Iranians have purchased millions of iPhones smuggled in from other countries. Iranian app developers have published apps to the App Store for use by Iranian iPhone owners.

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New York power companies can now charge Bitcoin miners more

Enlarge / Cryptocurrency mining in operation. (credit: Getty Images)

On Wednesday, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) ruled that municipal power companies could charge higher electricity rates to cryptocurrency miners who try to benefit from the state's abundance of cheap hydroelectric power.

Over the years, Bitcoin's soaring price has drawn entrepreneurs to mining. Bitcoin mining enterprises have become massive endeavors, consuming megawatts of power on some grids. To minimize the cost of that considerable power draw, mining companies have tried to site their operations in towns with cheap electricity, both in the US and around the world. In the US, regions with the cheapest energy tend to be small towns with hydroelectric power. (Politico recently wrote extensively about the Bitcoin mining boom in Washington state's mid-Columbia valley, a hotspot for cheap hydro.)

But mining booms in small US towns are not always met with approval. A group of 36 municipal power authorities in northern and western New York petitioned the PSC for permission to raise electricity rates for cryptocurrency miners because their excessive power use has been taxing very small local grids and causing rates to rise for other customers.

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