<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Tech News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usSun, 26 Jun 2016 10:18:06 -0700Sun, 26 Jun 2016 10:18:06 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[House Dems Stream Sit-In]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 04:15:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Periscope-GettyImages-473860588.jpg

The shot wasn’t always steady, and sometimes people got in the way.

Such are the perils of recording video on a cellphone.

Streaming media conveyed House Democrats' message to the masses when C-SPAN cameras were turned off during a 25-hour sit-in seeking to force a vote on gun control.

Democrats have Bay Area technology to thank. Periscope and Facebook Live were put into play when the mics on the House floor were switched off. Millions of people watched, commented and encouraged the men and women of the House, who said they appreciate the support.

"I thought, well, there’s an app for that," said Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, whose Periscope stream lasted for hours.

Fellow California House member Rep. Jackie Speier said, "For 25 hours we were streaming video to outlets across the country."

Scott streams on Twitter and Periscope: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Robo Dog Does Dishes, Plays Fetch]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 03:13:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/robot9.jpg

A new robotic pup does a lot of things real dogs are known for — it plays fetch, hides under the dinner table and even cleans up dirty dishes — only without the slobber.

Boston Dynamics, a Massachusetts-based robotics company, unveiled the SpotMini robotic dog in a YouTube video on Thursday.

The mechanical canine looks like a cross between a dog and giraffe, weighs about 55 pounds and, according to Boston Dynamics, is one of the quietest the company has ever built.

Boston Dynamics' larger Spot robot made headlines in February when the company posted footage of an interaction between the robot and a tiny terrier.

In the latest video, SpotMini can be seen performing a variety of tasks, including fetching a soda for a person, playing keep-away with the same drink and loading dishes into the dishwasher.

The pup also climbs stairs and slips on a banana peel at one point. But the video shows the robot is able to quickly right itself.

According to Gizmodo, SpotMini can be taught to perform tasks autonomously, like a real dog.

The only downside? It doesn't look like you can adopt one of these robotic Rovers.



Photo Credit: Boston Dynamics
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<![CDATA[LA First to Try Waze's Difficult Intersections Feature ]]> Mon, 20 Jun 2016 17:43:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/waze2.jpg

Navigation app Waze has created a new routing feature aimed at make driving in Los Angeles a little less stressful.

The app's difficult intersections feature is designed to calculate the best spossible route in an attempt to bypass a crowded or tricky intersection when it's possible to do so, even if it makes the drive a bit longer.

That includes hard-to-make left turns where there's no traffic light to help drivers.

"The goal of the feature is to reduce the amount of these intersections, not completely eliminate them," Waze said in a blog post.

Waze's local map editors researched area traffic patterns and conducted polls to identify which intersections cause Angelenos the most pain at given times of the day and provide alternate solutions, the company said.

The difficult intersections feature is by default enabled for LA drivers. Anyone who prefers not to use it can disable it in the settings.

For now, the feature is available to the Los Angeles area. It'll be expand to New Orleans and later roll out globally.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Uber, Lyft Threaten to Leave Chi.]]> Fri, 17 Jun 2016 15:53:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Uber-X-Generic.jpg

Uber and Lyft are threatening to leave Chicago if a rideshare ordinance that was unanimously approved Friday by a joint City Council committee passes the full council next week.

"It would make true ridesharing impossible," Chelsea Wilson, a Lyft spokeswoman, said in a statement following the committee vote. "Because of this, we will be forced to cease operations in Chicago if this ordinance becomes law.”

The Ridesharing Reform Ordinance, which passed out of a joint Transportation and License Committee on Friday, would require drivers to obtain restricted public chauffeur licenses. This includes protections like fingerprinted background checks, drug testing and city debt checks.

The ordinance will now move to the full City Council for a vote.

The ridesharing industry has pushed back against fingerprinted background checks, physical exams and drug tests for all their Chicago drivers. Companies warned against what could happen to the industry if the ordinance ultimately passes.

Wilson said the ordinance "forces part-time Lyft drivers into an onerous, outdated model, requiring hundreds of dollars in fees just to share a seat in their car."

Chicago's City Council has argued that the ordinance would level the playing field between rideshare services and the city's struggling taxi industry. A similar ordinance passed in Austin last month, and both companies pulled out of the city.

Ald. Anthony Beale, the Chicago ordinance's sponsor, praised the legislation Friday and called on fellow lawmakers to approve the measure.

“I applaud the committee for sending the message that rideshare company drivers need to follow the same rules as other for-hire drivers to ensure public safety,” Beale said in a statement. “Now it’s up to my colleagues to enact the ordinance to make sure our ridesharing services are safe and accountable.”

Uber Chicago General Manager Marco McCottry noted Uber already operates under Chicago guidelines that require criminal background checks for drivers and vehicle safety checks. He said "costly and complicated barriers for drivers" would prevent them from becoming drivers, taking away affordable rides in the city.

"We love Chicago," McCottry said in a statement. "But the ordinance that advanced today would eliminate ridesharing as we know it here."

"There is no need to harm one industry to help another," he said. "We continue to urge aldermen to reject this ordinance and instead modernize taxi's rules to make life easier for their drivers."

An Uber petition to keep the company in Chicago has received over 100,000 signatures.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Hacker Floods ISIS Twitter Accounts With LGBT Messages]]> Fri, 17 Jun 2016 14:44:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-180483176.jpg

A hacker associated with Anonymous has gained control of what had been pro-ISIS Twitter accounts, according to NBC News. 

The hacker, who goes by the name WauchulaGhost, took control of the accounts and flooded them with gay porn and rainbow flags and sent fake “coming out” tweets after suggestions that the mass shooting in Orlando was inspired by ISIS. 

"These attacks are getting too close to home," the hacker, who didn't share any identifying information, told NBC News in an email interview. "Social media isn't doing enough to keep this virus off the internet. It was just a little something to let all know there are people here willing to stand up and defend those who can not."

WauchulaGhost told NBC News that it takes about 60 seconds to hack into a Twitter account.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Are We There Yet? Juno to Rendezvous With Jupiter]]> Fri, 17 Jun 2016 04:11:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/06-16-2016-jupiter-juno-nasa.jpg

A NASA spacecraft is on track to rendezvous with Jupiter after a nearly five-year journey.

The space agency said Thursday the encounter between Juno and Jupiter will occur on July 4. That's when Juno will fire its main engine to slow down and slip into orbit around the biggest planet in the solar system.

Juno launched from Cape Canaveral in August 2011 on a long and increasingly strange trip that will put the orbiter through a harrowing approach to Jupiter. NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California even produced a Hollywood-style trailer to illustrate the perils that await.

The spacecraft will fire its main engine to slow down, then move into place to begin its orbit around the fifth planet from the sun.

It will be a delicate, precisely calculated celestial dance.

"It's a one-shot deal," mission chief scientist Scott Bolton from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, said Thursday. "Everything is riding on it."

Once in place, Juno will begin circling Jupiter's poles and peering through clouds to study how the planet formed and evolved. Unlike Earth, which is a rocky planet, Jupiter is a gas giant made up mostly of hydrogen and helium.

"Jupiter is a planet on steroids," Bolton said. "Everything about it is extreme."

Previous missions to Jupiter have relied on nuclear power sources this far out from the sun. Juno is unique because it has solar panels that are designed to face the sun during most of the mission.

It will orbit the planet for 20 months — that's 37 times around — before ending its mission in February 2018. After all that, the orbiter will simply burn up as it soars toward the planet's surface. 

Juno's instruments are protected from radiation by a titanium vault. It also is equipped with a camera, which should provide stunning views if previous missions are any indication. 

Previous Jupiter visits showed its signature Great Red Spot, a long-lived storm, and its many moons.  The Galileo mission dropped a probe on the planet's surface and conducted 14 years of exploration. 

But many questions remain, such as whether Jupiter has a solid core and how much oxygen and water are present. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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<![CDATA[Tim Cook Reacts to Fla. Shooting]]> Tue, 21 Jun 2016 10:59:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-539895888.jpg

Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed the massacre in Orlando and asked for a moment of silence Monday at the tech giant's annual developer's conference.

Cook spoke to the crowd Monday at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco during the weeklong Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, where the company touted its new line of smart watches and TV features. 

Cook wrote at length about being gay in a 2014 op-ed, and on Monday celebrated the multiculturalism of Apple’s own Cupertino-based workforce.

"At Apple, we celebrate our diversity. We know that it makes us stronger and moves everyone forward," Cook told the audience, saying the massacre of at least 49 people at a gay nightclub Sunday was a "senseless, unconscionable act of terrorism and hate, aimed at dividing and destroying."

He called for silence, and as the audience hushed for a moment in the dark theater, Cook wiped a tear from his eye.

Having diversity in the world, Cook said Monday, “makes us stronger and moves everyone forward.”

Since Cook came out to the public, he's supported several LGBT causes, including last year when he lent his name to an anti-discrimination bill in his native state of Alabama

Last spring, under Cook's leadership, Apple announced it was giving $50 million to nonprofits to recruit a more diverse tech workforce. Most recently, in March, Cook and other tech leaders signed letters of disapproval to the North Carolina's governor over a state law derided by the Department of Justice for limiting legal protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New Elements Named After Japan, Moscow, Tennessee]]> Wed, 08 Jun 2016 14:17:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/PeriodicTable-AP_16160694814924.jpg

Four new names are going to be added to the periodic table of elements, according to NBC News.

Three of the new elements will honor Moscow, Japan and Tennessee. The fourth is named for Russian physicist Yuri Oganessian. The names were recommended Wednesday by an international scientific group. 

Joining the table will be Moscovium, with the symbol Mc for element 115; tennessine, symbol Ts for element 117; Nihonium, symbol Nh for element 113; and Oganesson, symbol Og for element 118. 

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, which rules on chemical element names, presented its proposal for public review. The public comment period will end on Nov. 8.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Reporting Outages for Some of Its Services]]> Thu, 02 Jun 2016 16:32:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/184*120/apple-10-GettyImages-532737516_master.jpg

Some of Apple's core services came back online Thursday evening after an outage that affected the App store and some functions of iCloud, CNBC reported.

Starting between 3 and 4 p.m. ET, services like Apple TV, Find my iPhone, Mail Drop, and iTunes in the Cloud also were unavailable for some users.

Apple said it was aware of the issue and was investigating.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Neighbors of Airbnb Houses Now Free to Complain]]> Tue, 31 May 2016 19:47:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/airbnb-stock-image-airbnb-generic.jpg

Airbnb provides the opportunity for guests to rate hosts, and vice versa. Now, neighbors of Airbnb listings can chime in.

Coined "Airbnb and your neighborhood," neighbors next to Airbnb houses can express their concerns or complaints directly to the company, according to the Airbnb blog.

Neighbors are free to rant about noise, parties, trash or other disturbances. Any submissions will be anonymous, according to Airbnb.

"We’ll treat each case seriously and ensure that we give hosts and their neighbors the opportunity to resolve concerns themselves, whenever possible," Airbnb said on its blog.

Once a complaint is submitted, Airbnb will verify the email address and create a case number, according to the blog. The company promises to follow up within five days and says it will suspend or kick out Airbnb hosts who repeatedly ignore the rules.

That was something that could have been helpful to Donald Garner, of Los Altos, whose neighbor's Airbnb rental became a repeated "party pad" for hundreds of teenagers.

"It wasn't the first time," Gardner said about the parties. "It was the third weekend in a row."

Los Altos police Chief Tuck Younis said on that third occasion, about 300 teenagers had rented the house, and when officers arrived, the partiers scattered throughout the neighborhood, causing damage.

That Airbnb rental was taken off the website the day after an NBC Bay Area story aired about it last summer.

It remains empty, and neighbors aren't sure what it will be used for.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Why Not Use Streaming Technology for Aircraft Data? ]]> Sun, 29 May 2016 14:27:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/VoiceRecorderAircraft-GettyImages-461475586%281%29.jpg

The use of black boxes to record critical flight data is striking many experts as antiquated, even though technology exists to stream information from an aircraft to a ground computer, according to NBC News. 

The system doesn’t continuously send data to ground-based computers, but activates in the event of an abnormal occurrence, sending data to the airline to analyze. The airline can then apply corrective action. 

The streaming devices are similar to the hardware used in black boxes on aircraft for decades. In the event of a plane crash, the data transmitted can help searchers pinpoint a specific search location. 

The technology hasn’t been widely adopted, mainly because of the cost. FLYHT Aerospace Solutions, a Canadian company, provides an on-demand black box at about $100,000 per plane.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Zuckerberg to Raze, Replace Four Homes]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 19:40:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_690435554351.jpg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is creating more space around his Palo Alto home.

The billionaire and his wife, Priscilla Chan, plan on razing four homes surrounding his property on Hamilton Avenue and Edgewood Drive and replacing them with smaller ones, according to an application submitted to the city last week and plans posted Monday.

Zuckerberg paid $30 million for the homes in 2013, well over the market rate, because he was concerned about privacy, according to The Mercury News.

The couple filed the application to demolish the existing homes and build new ones that would be 20 percent smaller.

The Crescent Park neighborhood association says it understands the couple's need for privacy, but it worries about how they will use the surrounding properties.

"Is he gonna use them to house guests?" said Norman Beamer, president of the Crescent Park Neighborhood Association. "Is he going to sell them to ordinary families so they'll have a home to live in? Is he going to house employees there?"

A letter from the property managers dated May 16 was distributed to neighbors informing them of the application, The Mercury News said.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[SpaceX Postpones Rocket Launch, Attempted Landing]]> Thu, 26 May 2016 17:48:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_40364550147.jpg

SpaceX postponed the satellite launch of a rocket that would attempt to land on a ship at sea for a third time Thursday, NBC News reported.

The launch was postponed until Friday, because of a “tiny glitch in the upper stage engine actuator," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted

The Thaicom-8 commercial communications satellite will lift off atop SpaceX’s two-stage Falcon 9 rocket. After the rocket’s two stages separate, the second one will carry Thaicom-8 to orbit. The first one will come back and try to land on one of SpaceX’s two drone ships stationed off the Florida coast.

"As with other missions going to geostationary orbits, the first-stage will be subject to extreme velocities and re-entry heating, making a successful landing," SpaceX wrote in a statement. 

The landings are part of SpaceX’s effort to develop usable rockets.



Photo Credit: SpaceX via AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighters' Drone Use Grows]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 15:32:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/2016-05-25-drone.jpg

As firefighters braved the smoke and flames from the ground and rooftops, a small object soared above their heads Wednesday morning, trying to assist their efforts as a five-alarm fire ripped through a Santa Clara, California, strip mall.

The drone was sent up by the Santa Clara Fire Department volunteers to try to pinpoint how to best fight the blaze, which affected about a dozen small shops and restaurants in the Koreatown mall.

The use of drones by fire departments and police agencies has grown across the country from Connecticut to Spokane, Washington, though there are some controversies and hurdles surrounding their use.

"It's not a perfect application for every fire," Santa Clara Fire Chief Bill Kelly told NBC Bay Area. "But a view from that vantage point helps us figure out tactical methods, like where to put the hose stream."

Kelly said the quality of the hobbyist drone isn't all that great, and the video doesn't provide deep thermal images. "But it was useful today," he said. "It gives you a bird's eye view."

Santa Clara police began using an amateur drone a year ago, and nearby Menlo Park has been using them, too. Coincidentally, Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman announced on Wednesday that his fire agency was the first in Northern California to be authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones. His department will be using three drones: the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+, the DJI Inspire One and the DJI Phantom 4 that use thermal imaging, visual tracking of moving objects, collision avoidance and other high-tech features. It took the Menlo Park Fire Department more than two years to be approved through an "onerous" procedural process, Schapelhouman said.

There are basically two types of drones — ones used by hobbyists and ones used by the military, explained CalFire spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff. And there are a few types in between, including commercial-style drones used for crop spraying and making movies.

CalFire does not own either of the types, she said. Rather, the state agency borrows U.S. Forest Service-owned, military-grade drones that can fly above 10,000 feet to document how large fires have spread, find hot spots and survey damage. The California National Guard in 2013 operated the MQ-1 "Predator" over the Rim Fire in Yosemite National Park to stream real-time video down to the command post.

At this point, CalFire is doing some research into whether a non-military-grade drone, which flies more directly over the scene, would be of practical use, Tolmachoff said, noting their use is gaining in popularity with local departments, such as Santa Clara.

While the images could be helpful, Tolmachoff said, there are challenges with using drones, too. The small aircraft can get in the way of large firefighting helicopters dousing the fires with buckets of water.

For example, a private drone hindered CalFire efforts in June 2014 as firefighters were fighting a fire in the Sierra Nevada foothills, and a hobby drone prevented CalFire from launching air tankers during the San Bernardino wildfire last July.

Coordinating between the drone and the helicopter — so that they don't crash into each other — would be a large effort. "One of those drones could bring down a chopper," Tolmachoff said.

Any kind of technology has advantages and disadvantages, said DroneLife.com editor-in-chief Frank Schroth, who nevertheless added that he is a staunch drone advocate.

Flying drones takes skill and practice, he said, and shouldn't be taken lightly, just as a driver wouldn't get behind the wheel without lessons and a license.

Schroth compared drones today to smart phones 15 years ago - there is a lot of room for growth and improvement.

"There is plenty of room for abuse," he said. "But as with anything, it has the potential to do a lot of good."

]]>
<![CDATA[New Prosthetic Arm Offers Life-Like Touch]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 16:12:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_prostheticarm0523_1920x1080.jpg A unique, thought-controlled prosthetic arm developed in part by the Hanger Clinic in Gig Harbor, Washington, uses the the body's nerve signals to control movement.]]> <![CDATA[Airbnb Slapped With Suit for Discrimination, Violation of Civil Rights]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 17:00:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AIRBNB5.jpg

Airbnb was slapped with a proposed class action in a Washington D.C. federal court Tuesday for allegedly violating the fair housing act and the civil rights of its African-American users.

The complaint alleges that 25-year-old Gregory Seldon was denied accommodation in Philadelphia in March 2015 because of his race. Seldon is filing the class action on behalf of all users who may have been discriminated on the basis of race.

Seldon claims he was looking for housing while planning a weekend getaway with friends, and decided to use Airbnb as a cost-effective housing alternative. He connected to Airbnb using his Facebook login, so it displayed his profile picture, race, education and age to the site's host agents.

He claims an Airbnb host rejected his initial application but subsequently accepted the same application when Seldon re-applied using profiles imitating white men, one under the name "Jessie" and another under the name "Todd."

This is hardly the first time Airbnb has been accused of not doing enough to combat discrimination on its platform.

The hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack went viral earlier this year, with people flocking to Twitter to share stories about discrimination they felt while using the site. A Harvard study published two years ago also found that people with "distinctly African-American sounding names" were less likely to have their applications on the site accepted than their white counterparts.

Airbnb has repeatedly denied that it condones racism on its site. The company's anti-discrimination policy states that ""content that promotes discrimination, bigotry, racism, hatred, harassment or harm against any individual or group, and we require all users to comply with local laws and regulations."

]]>
<![CDATA[LinkedIn: Millions May Be Affected by New Data Leak]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 14:57:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/linkedin+logo.jpg

LinkedIn is aware of a set of over 100 million users' data that may have been released online by a hacker, the social media network said Wednesday.

The password and email data that have apparently been released came to the company's attention Tuesday, Chief Information Security Officer Cory Scott wrote in a blog post. It appears the data was taken during a known security breach in 2012, after which the company required any users they believed were affected to reset their passwords.

"We are taking immediate steps to invalidate the passwords of the accounts impacted, and we will contact those members to reset their passwords," Scott said Wednesday.

The stolen passwords were hashed, a form of encryption, LinkedIn says.

In the wake of its initial 2012 hack, which LinkedIn believed resulted in 6.5 million hashed passwords being leaked, it added an extra layer of protection called "salting."

Motherboard reports that the hacker, who goes by the name "Peace," listed 117 million emails and passwords on a hard-to-access web marketplace for the equivalent of about $2,200. A search engine for paid hacked data also told the news agency that it acquired the data, providing a sample of almost one million credentials and claiming to have hacked nearly all of them.

LinkedIn suggests that users enable two-step verification (which sends a text or email to a person who's logging in from an unrecognized device) and strong passwords.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Shuttle Fuel Tank Arrives for Final Leg of Journey]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 16:55:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/05-18-2016-shuttle-tank-et94.JPG

The lone remaining external fuel tank from NASA's space shuttle program arrived early Wednesday in Marina del Rey for the final leg of its journey to the California Science Center.

The rust-colored tank, aka ET-94, was transported on a barge during a month-long sea voyage from a NASA assembly plant in New Orleans. The 15-story, 32 1/2-ton tank was never used and will become part of the Science Center's display that features the retired Endeavour space shuttle — which made its own celebrated trip on Los Angeles' streets to Exposition Park after a spectacular Southern California flyover on the back of a jumbo jet.

ET-94 began its journey to Los Angeles on April 10 when it was pulled out of NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana. Two days later, it was tugged into the Gulf of Mexico to begin a sea voyage that took it through the Panama Canal.

The transport crew made headlines during the trip when crew members helped rescue four people who abandoned a sinking sportfishing boat off Baja, California.

A tugboat pulled ET-94 out of San Diego waters Tuesday morning, and the barge floated out of the fog and toward the dock around 6 a.m. Wednesday in Marina Del Rey.

"I think this is awesome, couldn't wait to get down here this morning," said resident Dean Reutter.

The tank will remain at the marina until about midnight Saturday, when it is scheduled to begin a slow, 12-mile journey to the Science Center that will likely continue into Saturday night.

The caravan will travel — at about 5 mph — down Lincoln and Culver boulevards, to Westchester Parkway, then through Inglewood on Arbor Vitae Street to La Brea Avenue, past the Forum, and north on Vermont Avenue to the museum. It will be joined to Endeavour and, eventually, two booster rockets at the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.

"This will be the only place in the world where a whole space shuttle stack with real hardware will be available," said Science Center President Jeffrey N. Rudolph.

The shuttle stack will be available for viewing next week.

The external tanks, which provided the shuttles with the propellants needed to enter space, were designed to detach from the shuttles and disintegrate as they plummeted back to Earth. ET-94 is actually made up of three tanks: one for oxygen, another for hydrogen and a third collar-like intertank that connects the two others.

The external tank also provided structural support for the shuttles and booster rockets when they were upright on the launch pad.

The ET's skin was coated with polyisocyanurate foam, which protected the tank from heat and helped maintain the proper temperature for the propellants it contained. Its job was done about 8 1/2 minutes after launch when it was jettisoned from the shuttle.

Most of the tank disintegrated in the atmosphere; the rest splashed into the ocean.

NASA used three types of external tanks for the space shuttle program: standard weight, more advanced lightweight tanks and super lightweight tanks. ET-94 is considered a lightweight tank, commonly used throughout the 1990s.

ET-94 was delivered to NASA in January 2001 and, although it was never used in flight, investigators looking into the 2003 Columbia disaster examined the tank in search of possible problems that might have led to the re-entry break-up that killed seven crew members. The team dissected foam coating from parts of the tank, which explains why there are pieces of foam missing from ET-94.

The tank will be restored before it joins Endeavour on display.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Exec on Losing Husband]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 11:45:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/CAL+GRADUATION+-+14400209.jpg

Commencement speeches usually strike a celebratory tone, but Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg went against the grain Saturday while addressing UC Berkeley grads and spoke publicly for the first time about the tragic death of her husband.

"His death was sudden and unexpected," Sandberg said. "For many months afterward, and at many times since, I was swallowed up in the deep fog of grief — what I think of as the void — an emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, and constricts your ability to think or even to breathe."

Sandberg’s husband, Survey Monkey CEO Dave Goldberg, died of a cardiac arrhythmia while the couple was vacationing in Mexico in May of 2015.

During the speech, the “Lean In” author told students about how the sudden loss affected her, and how she came out of that grief with a stronger sense of self.

"I learned about the depths of sadness and the brutality of loss," she said. "But I also learned that when life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again."

She said she hopes students will take her words to heart and acknowledged that they too will face immense challenges.

"When the challenges come, I hope you remember that anchored deep within you is the ability to learn and grow. You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it."

She continued: "It is the hard days — the times that challenge you to your very core — that will determine who you are," she said. "You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive.”



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[WordPress to Offer .Blog Domain Extensions ]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 13:29:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LaptopTyping-GettyImages-500231363.jpg

Website hosting service WordPress.com will offer .blog domain extensions for Internet users later this year, NBC News reports.

The domains will be up for grabs this year. Anyone interested can sign up to get notified when they’re available to the public. 

"With a top-level domain like .blog, you can get a name that truly matches your identity," WordPress.com said in its statement. 

Registration prices for the .blog domains haven’t been finalized yet, but they will be in “standard range for new top-level domains with some premium pricing for higher-value names,” the company said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images – File]]>
<![CDATA[Yahoo Working With Congress After Ransomware Attacks Reported on House]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 04:10:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/YAHOO_AP_1603102305581417.jpg

A recent attack from "ransomware" to the House of Representatives prompted Congress to work with Yahoo on security issues, NBC News reported.

The House Information Security Office advised representatives late last month that it had blocked access to its networks from Yahoo Mail accounts because of the attacks, the business and tech site Fast Company first reported last week.

The attacks used web-based services like Yahoo Mail and Gmail, the IT office said in a memo to members, but "the primary focus appears to be through Yahoo Mail at this time." There was no immediate indication that the attacks extended to the Senate.

According to the memo, the attack uses a social engineering and phishing strategy by generating an email that appears to be from a trusted source. The email includes an attached .ZIP file that, when clicked, injects code that encrypts all files on the recipient's computer — including files shared with other users.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Hyperloop Technology Unveiled]]> Wed, 11 May 2016 20:09:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Hyperloop_Technology_Unveiled_1200x675_684013123736.jpg Hyperloop One's uber-fast transportation technology was tested in the desert near Las Vegas, giving viewers a preview of the possible future of transit. Mekahlo Medina reports for the NBC4 News at 5 & 6 p.m. on May 11, 2016.]]> <![CDATA[Elon Musk Sleeps at Tesla Factory 'Quite Frequently' ]]> Tue, 10 May 2016 02:09:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_540376079789.jpg

If you’re ever wondering where the CEO of Tesla is in the middle of the night, he’s most likely sleeping — inside the Tesla factory.

To ensure that all production targets are being met — Tesla hopes to produce 500,000 cars a year by 2018 — Musk has a sleeping bag in a conference room right next to where the cars are being manufactured.

"I'm personally spending an enormous amount of time on the production line," the billionaire tech icon said to analysts over a conference call after Tesla released its first quarter earnings results last week, Mashable reported.

Old habits die hard, because this isn’t the first time the ambitious exec calls his workplace a second home.

"Almost every day, I'd come in at seven thirty or eight a.m., and he'd be asleep right there on that bag," one former colleague recalled. "Maybe he showered on the weekends, I don't know."

Tesla held a job fair over the weekend to fill hundreds of positions at its Fremont factory following skyrocketing demand for its high-priced, eco-friendly cars.

But skeptics question whether Tesla can meet customer demand. So far, sales for its Model S has been strong, the Model X is still something of a question mark, and orders for the Model 3 were through the roof .



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Father and Son Create Kid-Friendly Smartphone Plan]]> Tue, 10 May 2016 13:21:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/knbc-ty-stokols.jpg

Eight-year-old Ty Stokols didn't think it was fair his friends couldn't text him, so he's been working to fix that. Ty and his father Stephen Stokols, CEO of FreedomPop, have designed a kid safe smartphone plan that protects kids, but still lets them play online.

The deal uses a $29.99 Motorola E powered by FreedomPop, an internet and mobile phone service provider based in Los Angeles. The phone is included in FreedomPop's kids pack, which receives 500 megabytes of data, 200 minutes of calling and 500 text per month for free. For $10 extra the device comes with parental controls like text monitoring, location tracking, site blocking and more.

Ty initially proposed the idea to his father so he could engage more with his friends outside of class.

"I wanted to text and play games with my friends, but they didn't have phones because their parents didn't trust them [on the Internet]," Ty said.

Through their research, the two found that parents weren't letting their children use mobile devices due to online dangers. Ty said he wanted to help solve the issue.

"I asked my dad if he could block the sites that their parents didn't trust," Ty said.

According to Stokols, Ty helped research what could be done.

"He actually started digging in and finding solutions, and so we realized we could come up with a kid phone," Stokols said.

They collaboratively adapted Ty's initial proposal and began working toward creating a more kid-friendly mobile device.

Stokols said parents were already looking for an alternative.

"It not only tuned out that it was good idea and he was validating real demand ... but it also turned out when we looked at it from a distributer perspective and some of the macro perspective, it was validated that people actually wanted this," Stokols said.

The FreedomPop kid pack plan is now for sale online at freedompop.com.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>