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Kroger Launches Autonomous Grocery Delivery Service In Arizona
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

Residents of Scottsdale, Arizona will be able to receive autonomous grocery deliveries from Kroger-owned Fry's Food Stores. The technology required to make this all possible is supplied by Nuro, a self-driving vehicle startup founded by two veterans of Google's self-driving car project. Ars Technica reports: Kroger says that deliveries will have a flat $5.95 delivery fee, and customers can schedule same-day or next-day deliveries. Initially, the deliveries will be made by Nuro's fleet of modified Toyota Priuses with a safety driver behind the wheel. But Kroger expects to start using Nuro's production model -- which doesn't even have space for a driver -- this fall. That vehicle, known as the R1, is significantly smaller and lighter than a conventional passenger car. When we talked to Nuro cofounder Dave Ferguson back in May, he argued that the R1's design had significant safety benefits. A smaller, lighter vehicle would do less damage if it ever ran into something. The vehicle's maximum speed of 25 miles per hour also makes serious injuries less likely. And the fact that the car is dramatically narrower than a traditional car gives it significant safety benefits, Ferguson argued.

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Google Employees Protest Secret Work On Censored Search Engine For China
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

According to The New York Times, "Hundreds of Google employees, upset at the company's decision to secretly build a censored version of its search engine for China, have signed a letter demanding more transparency to understand the ethical consequences of their work (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source)." In the letter, the employees wrote that the project and Google's apparent willingness to abide by China's censorship requirements "raise urgent moral and ethical issues." They added, "Currently we do not have the information required to make ethically-informed decisions about our work, our projects, and our employment." From the report: The letter is circulating on Google's internal communication systems and is signed by about 1,000 employees, according to two people familiar with the document, who were not authorized to speak publicly. The letter also called on Google to allow employees to participate in ethical reviews of the company's products, to appoint external representatives to ensure transparency and to publish an ethical assessment of controversial projects. The document referred to the situation as a "code yellow," a process used in engineering to address critical problems that impact several teams.

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FDA Approves First Generic Version of EpiPen
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

An anonymous reader quotes a report from ABC News: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first generic version of the EpiPen and EpiPen Jr auto injector for the emergency treatment of allergic reactions. The approval is part of the FDA's "longstanding commitment" to providing access to low-cost generic alternatives, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. It is unclear how much the generic product -- manufactured by Teva Pharmaceuticals -- will cost. In August 2016, Mylan Pharmaceuticals was criticized for raising the price of a two-pack of EpiPens to $600. The price of two EpiPens was about $100 in 2009. The brand name version is by far the most popular epinephrine auto-injector on the market. "This approval means patients living with severe allergies who require constant access to life-saving epinephrine should have a lower-cost option, as well as another approved product to help protect against potential drug shortages," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a statement.

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Twitter's Relationship With Third-Party Apps is Messy -- But It's Not Over
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

It's a day that developers of some of the most high-profile Twitter third-party apps have dreaded, though it's one they've long-known was coming: Twitter is finally shutting off some of the developer tools that popular apps like Tweetbot and Twitterific have heavily relied on. From a report: With the change, many third-party Twitter apps will lose some functionality, like the ability to instantly refresh users' Twitter feeds and send push notifications. It won't make these apps unusable -- in some cases the apps' users may not even immediately notice the changes -- but it's a drastic enough change that developers have mounted a public campaign against the decision. Now, Twitter is finally weighing in on the changes, after months of publicly declining to comment on the state of third-party Twitter clients. The verdict, unsurprisingly, is complicated. The company is adamant that its goal isn't to single out these developers. The company is retiring these APIs out of necessity, it says, as it's no longer feasible to support them."We are sunsetting very old, legacy software that we don't have an ability to keep supporting for practical reasons," says Ian Caims, group product manager at Twitter. At the same time, though, the company has also made a conscious decision not to create new APIs with the same functionality. Here's how Twitter's senior director of product management Rob Johnson explains the move: "It is now time to make the hard decision to end support for these legacy APIs -- acknowledging that some aspects of these apps would be degraded as a result. Today, we are facing technical and business constraints we can't ignore. The User Streams and Site Streams APIs that serve core functions of many of these clients have been in a 'beta' state for more than 9 years, and are built on a technology stack we no longer support.

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A Paper Posted Last Month Claims To Have Achieved Superconductivity at Room Temperature, But Other Physicists Say the Data May Be Incorrect
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

dmoberhaus writes: Last month, two Indian physicists posted a paper to arxiv claiming to have demonstrated superconductivity at room temperature. If this paper is legitimate, it would represent a breakthrough in a problem that has existed for superconductivity for 100 years. Understandably, the paper shook the physics world, but when researchers started digging into the data they noticed something wasn't quite right -- the noise patterns in two independent measurements exactly correlated, which is basically impossible in a random system. The Indian researchers have doubled down on their data, and things only got weirder from there. This is a look inside what could be the biggest drama to happen in physics in nearly a decade.

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