<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Tech News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/tech http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usSat, 29 Apr 2017 22:34:15 -0700Sat, 29 Apr 2017 22:34:15 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Millennials Found Most Susceptible to Robocalls and Scams ]]> Sat, 29 Apr 2017 07:41:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_scams0427_1500x845.jpg

A new study finds that it is not the elderly who are most susceptible to scam phone calls, but millennials, who are six times more likely to give away credit card information than any other age group. 

<![CDATA[Starbucks’ App Has Been Overwhelming Some Baristas]]> Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:43:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/511143580-Starbucks-generic.jpg

Starbucks' mobile order and pay system has been bringing some of its busiest locations to a standstill, NBC News reported.

The system lets people order ahead and swoop into a store to pick up their coffee, food or unicorn frappucino. It was so popular in the first quarter of 2017 that store traffic ground to a halt as baristas contended with a wave of orders, prompting some walk-in customers to leave.

In 1,200 Starbucks locations, at least 20 percent of transactions in peak hours came from customers using mobile order and pay, the company said.

So the company has been experimenting with new ways to "more efficiently handle increased demand" from both mobile and walk-in customers during peak hours.

Photo Credit: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Amazon Announces Fashion-Tracking Camera Echo Look]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 10:18:55 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/wcholook_1200x675.jpg

Amazon launched the Echo Look Wednesday, a new device that observes how users dress and offers fashion advice based on algorithms and technology, CNBC reported.

The Echo Look is similar to Alexa, the voice-operated device that plays music, provides weather forecasts, traffic and news updates and more.

The Look takes "full-length photos and short videos" with a computer-generated background blur and stores them in a companion app. Its "Style Check" service "combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists," Amazon says.

The Echo Look will feature all of the other functions of the Echo Dot and standard Echo.

Photo Credit: Amazon]]>
<![CDATA['Shark Tank' Judge and Tech Investor Calls It Quits]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 08:41:24 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/techinvestorfeuerherd.jpg

Chris Sacca, a judge on the television show “Shark Tank” and early investor in tech companies like Twitter and Uber, announced Wednesday that he will be retiring from venture capital and the television show, CNBC reported. 

Sacca wrote Wednesday that he is "hanging up my spurs" after he rediscovered a notebook with entries he had written back in his 20s. In it, the younger Sacca had said he planned to retire at age 40. "In a matter of days, I'm going to be 42 years old," Sacca said. "Two years late." 

"I succeeded at venture capital because, for years, I rarely thought about or spent time on anything else. Anything less than that unmitigated full commitment leaves me feeling frustrated and ineffective," Sacca said. "As you've heard me say on the show, if I'm not all in, I'm out." 

Sacca said he's leaving ABC's "Shark Tank" this season, since he can't do the show while also keeping to his promise to stop investing in new companies, CNBC reported.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for SXSW]]>
<![CDATA[Man Knocks Down Security Robot, Ends Up in Jail]]> Tue, 25 Apr 2017 21:31:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/robot+attack.jpg

In a man-vs.-robot confrontation in California last week, the robot did what it was designed to do, and the intoxicated man ended up in jail, according to Mountain View police.

On April 19 around 8:15 p.m., officers responded to Knightscope headquarters, in the 1000 block of Terra Bella Avenue, on reports of a prowler. Surveillance video provided by the robot maker shows 41-year-old Jason Sylvain moments before police say he intentionally knocked over a 300-pound security robot.

The robot was being tested outside the company offices when it sounded its alarm, and employees ran outside, Knightscope said.

"We found a guy who just knocked over our robot," said company spokesman Stacy Dean Stephens. "He tried to get away, but we detained him and then we got Mountain View police on the phone. The bad guy learned the robot does security. It did what it was designed to do."

When officers arrived, Sylvain appeared confused, had red, glassy eyes and a strong odor of alcohol, police said. He was arrested for prowling and being drunk in public.

Last year, a Knightscope robot made headlines after running over a toddler while working at Stanford Shopping Center. The child suffered minor scrapes and a sore foot.

This time, the robot ended up with a few scratches, but Stephens said, "Everything is fine, none the worse for wear."

Photo Credit: Mountain View PD]]>
<![CDATA[Antivirus Tool Removes Windows Files, Shuts Down Computers]]> Tue, 25 Apr 2017 03:09:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/166323747-computer-generic.jpg

Popular antivirus service Webroot mistakenly labeled key Microsoft Windows system files as threats Monday, causing the misidentified files to be removed and an untold number of PC computers to be shut down, NBC News reported.

Webroot said it had released an update that caused the malfunction, which lasted for about 13 minutes worldwide. As of early Tuesday, Webroot was still working to resolve the problem, according to the company's website.

Tens of thousands of businesses and millions of people at home use Webroot. Some customers took to social media to complain.

Webroot didn't respond to NBC News' request for comment but said on its website that the company "has not been breached and customers are not at risk."

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Inside the Place Where Uber Tries to Make Nice With Its Drivers]]> Mon, 24 Apr 2017 10:54:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/507915262-Uber-Queens-Headquarters.jpg

As Uber's problems pile up — executives resigning, sexual harassment allegations and more — the ridesharing company is doubling down on the driver experience, NBC News reported.

Uber's head of customer support, Janelle Sallenave, took NBC News on an exclusive tour of its newly revamped "Greenlight Hub" for drivers in Queens, across the river from Manhattan. It's "the human side of the technology," she said.

Falling trip prices is one of the biggest complaints on Uber driver forums, the reason why driver Fawzi Kamel confronted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in a now infamous video, just one of the many public relations problems facing the company.

"This is the size and scale of a company that I would say normally takes 30-40 years to develop," Sallenave said. "And we've done it in six. And what that means is we haven't necessarily had the time to sit back and reflect."

Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[MasterCard Rolls Out Cards With Fingerprint Sensor]]> Thu, 20 Apr 2017 08:07:55 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/MasterCard-34123792165_e987246927_o.jpg

MasterCard is testing payment cards with fingerprint sensors in South Africa and hopes to roll it out to the rest of the world by the end of the year, the company said Thursday. 

The technology works in the same way as it does with mobile phone payments: users must have their finger over the sensor when making a purchase. Upon cardholders' registration, their fingerprint is converted to an encrypted digital template. 

Tech experts have said that while using fingerprints is not foolproof, it is a "sensible" use of biometric technology, the BBC reported.

"Whether unlocking a smartphone or shopping online, the fingerprint is helping to deliver additional convenience and security," Ajay Bhalla, president ofenterprise risk and security, said in a press release. "It’s not something that can be taken or replicated and will help our cardholders get on with their lives knowing their payments are protected."

The biometric verification can only be used for in-store purchases. Online and other so-called "card not present" transactions will still require further security measures, according to the BBC. 

Photo Credit: Courtesy MasterCard]]>
<![CDATA[Here's How Some Fortune 500 Companies Are Going Green]]> Thu, 20 Apr 2017 07:02:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/wind+farms+usa.jpg

It's Earth Week, and with much of the world focused on going green, NBC checked in with a few of the nation's most valuable companies to see how they're tackling the issue.

Renewable energy was a major focus among the five companies that outlined their plans for us. Microsoft, for example, has a data center in Wyoming that is powered entirely by wind energy, and the computer giant is committing to running even more of its data centers on renewable energies such as wind, solar or hydropower.

Facebook's data centers get 35 percent of their power from clean, renewable energy sources, the company said. Its data centers are also designed to use 50 percent less water than typical data centers and are entirely cooled with outdoor air.

Its next seven data centers will be completely powered by renewable energy, Facebook said.

Meanwhile, oil company ExxonMobil said its researchers are trying to develop a new source of renewable energy: biofuels made from algae. The company says it could increase energy supplies and also reduce emissions.

Emissions were another focus. Microsoft said it's reduced emissions by 9.5 million metric tons since 2012, and ExxonMobil said a new filter used in a plastic-making process would reduce carbon emissions by 45 million metric tons, as well as making energy costs cheaper worldwide.

Photo Credit: David McNew/Getty Images, File ]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Is Working on Letting You Type With Your Brain]]> Wed, 19 Apr 2017 14:43:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_17108732801091.jpg

Facebook on Wednesday unveiled a research project that will allow people to type using their thoughts, or hear through their skin, NBC News reported.

Such a product could allow the deaf and blind to communicate more easily — or allow everyone else "to type five times faster than you can on a smartphone," according to Regina Dugan, the head of Facebook's Building 8 research.

These efforts raise hard questions related to patient privacy, as any brain-to-text system will essentially read a person's unspoken thoughts.

Dugan, speaking at the company's annual developer conference in San Jose, California, acknowledged some of these issues in her talk, which was laced with terms more akin to a science fiction movie or a conversation among physicists.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Noah Berger]]>
<![CDATA[Zuckerberg: Facebook Has More Work To Do on Safety]]> Tue, 18 Apr 2017 15:57:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/FACEBOOK0418_MP4-149255458523900001.jpg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made his first public comments since the Cleveland murder case, saying that the social media giant has more work to do when it comes to policing disturbing content online and making its online community safer. 

<![CDATA[April the Giraffe YouTube Channel Almost Sets Record]]> Tue, 18 Apr 2017 06:25:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_17105737948344.jpg

The long-awaited arrival of April the giraffe's baby has made Animal Adventure Park the second most live-viewed channel in YouTube's history.

April's livestream had more than 232 million live views and 7.6 billion minutes of live watch time since February, second only to League of Legends eSports, which has been around since 2012, YouTube said on Monday.

The channel had its biggest day on Saturday, with more than 14 million live views. More than 1.2 million viewers were watching the livestream simultaneously on YouTube when April gave birth Saturday morning, making it one of the Top 5 most-watched moments.

The not-yet-named male baby giraffe was running around with its mother within three hours of birth at the private zoo in Harpursville, a village 130 miles northwest of New York City.

Animal Adventure Park owner Jordan Patch said the baby was healthy and April was recovering "perfectly."

April and the baby will be introduced to the public when the park opens for the season next month.

"We're going to see that baby and mom really develop a beautiful bond," Patch said.

The zoo is holding a contest to name the baby, charging $1 per vote, with proceeds being split among wild giraffe conservation efforts, zoo upgrades and support for families of children experiencing unexpected medical expenses.

April's fans can continue to watch mother and baby on livestream now. But eventually, after the baby is weaned, it will move on to be paired with young females at another zoo, where it will produce calves of its own, Patch said.

Photo Credit: Animal Adventure Park via AP
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<![CDATA[Astronaut Brings the Solar System to Earth in 'Miniverse']]> Tue, 18 Apr 2017 12:03:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Miniverse-Hadfield.jpeg

Former Commander of the International Space Station Chris Hadfield speaks with NBC on the importance of space exploration, what being an astronaut taught him about perspective on Earth and why Pluto was kept in the solar system line-up for new space documentary "Miniverse." In it, Hadfield, the first Canadian astronaut to walk in space, hosts astronomers and physicists on a road trip from the tip of Long Island, New York, to California's Santa Monica Pier in a scaled down model of the solar system transposed across the United States. The "Miniverse" documentary airs on new science and technology streaming service CuriosityStream.

Photo Credit: CuriosityStream]]>
<![CDATA[New Green Tech That Could Change the World (at Least a Bit)]]> Tue, 18 Apr 2017 04:22:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tesla-press_solar_roof.jpg

Companies around the world are taking steps to create cleaner, more sustainable ways of living through innovative technologies that might just change everyday activities.

Tesla is no stranger to such technology. The California-based electric automaker also dabbles, with its sister companies, in battery production, hyperfast train travel and rockets, and it's now getting ready to take orders on a new technology: the solar roof.

Several months ago, Tesla announced it developed glass tiles that add a bit of fashionable flair compared to the average shingle, but also allow homeowners to harness the sun's energy. Consumers should be able to place orders this month.

With Earth Week underway, here's a closer look at the tiles, plus six other promising green tech innovations happening around the world.

Solar panels, shrunk down
Tesla's solar tiles aim to create a durable, more stylish option for those seeking to power their homes with solar energy. The goal of the tiles is to create what Tesla calls "the most beautiful and efficient roof ever."

"Would you like a roof that looks better than the normal roof, lasts twice as long, costs less, and by the way, generates electricity?" the company's CEO, Elon Musk, said in November. But even if the roof tiles are more sleek than the average solar panel roof, there's no definite answer on whether the tiles will be better than traditional solar panels when it comes to generating power.

Village-powering solar roads
If solar-gathering roofs aren't hi-tech enough, France unveiled its first solar-powered road in Normandy in December. The idea behind the road, which is made of photovoltaic panels, is to gather enough power to supply a nearby village. Normandy's stretch is part of a promise to install 1,000 km of solar roadways throughout France over the next few years.

It’s not the first of its kind, though. The Netherlands debuted a solar-powered bike path in 2014, called SolaRoad. It generated enough electricity to power a small house for a year, which was better than expected, Forbes reported. 

Pop-in electric bike wheels
Electric bicycles are gaining popularity among the environmentally conscious, but UrbanX's Drop-in Wheel is a lot less expensive than most of the other options out there. That's because it's just a battery-powered wheel that bicyclists can pop into almost any existing bike frame.

But the Drop-in Wheel hasn't hit the market yet — it's the result of a crowdfunding effort on Kickstarter, where it's described as a "60 second solution to convert your traditional bike into an electric bike with a 30 mile range and a 20mph top speed." There are six different wheels for backers to choose from, and the estimated delivery date is this summer.

Methane-detecting Street View cars
You may have seen Google's Street View cars roving the roads, photographing the area for the 3D component of Google maps. But the cars have a new mandate, according to the Washington Post: detecting methane gas.

The greenhouse gas is emitted during the transportation and production of coal, natural gas and oil, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The cars will be equipped with methane sensors to help pick up on spills in the surrounding areas, the Post reported in March. It's unclear when the program is set to start; Google didn't respond to a request for comment.

Baking soda-making coal plants
A coal plant in India is making what could be a major advancement in the fight to find a use for carbon emissions by converting them into baking soda, the Guardian reported in January. The plant, Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals, captures carbon dioxide from its coal-powered boiler and converts it into the household cleaning agent, the plant says.

The inventors of the chemical used to strip carbon, Carbon Clean, say that the new method needs less energy and is less corrosive than current carbon capture and storage chemical amine, according to the Guardian. According to Carbon Clean's website, "Carbon capture is estimated to reduce about 20 percent of the total global greenhouse emissions within the next four decades."

Battery-electric buses 
Buses that run on electricity, rather than gas, are gaining popularity across the United States. In Antelope Valley, California, electric buses with the ability to travel more than 160 miles debuted last year. Nearby Long Beach also recently started integrating similar buses into its fleet of public transit. Even some school buses are going electric.

Electric buses can reduce pollution. Massachusetts and New Jersey are among the states also working toward instituting more electric buses.

The first hybrid boat
Toyota is known for its cars, but now the company is testing out what it says is the first hybrid boats. Like the Prius car, the prototype uses two types of power generators, an engine and an electric motor, according to a company news release.

The electric vehicle mode has the potential to lower emissions and raise fuel efficiency. A feasibility study of the boats is being conducted from July 2018 through March 2021 in Tokyo, Toyota says. Tokyo's Metropolitan Government will provide Toyota with data on the boat's performance, and to verify its convenience and areas of potential improvement. 

Photo Credit: Courtesy Tesla
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<![CDATA[As Cassini Nears the End, Take a Look at 20 Years of Images]]> Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:05:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/246*120/04-15-2017-cassini-35.jpg Launched in 1997 and now finally running low on fuel, Cassini is drawing ever closer to its demise. The spacecraft will duck through the gap between Saturn and its rings 22 times before spiraling out of control and vaporizing in the sky above Saturn this September.

Photo Credit: NASA]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Shuts Down 30K Fake Accounts Tied to France]]> Sat, 15 Apr 2017 01:54:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/facebook-logo2.jpg

Citing deceptive content and misinformation, Facebook has shut down 30,000 fake accounts tied to France ahead of the country's presidential election this month, NBC News reports.

The social media giant revealed ramped up efforts to stop the spread of fake news, hoaxes and spam through fake accounts, which "enabled [the company] to take action" against the French accounts, Facebook said in a statement.

New technology allows the company to recognize "inauthentic accounts more easily by identifying patterns of activity — without assessing the content itself," like detecting "repeated posting of the same content, or an increase in messages sent," according to the statement.

After facing harsh criticism for the lack of intervention for the spread of fake news ahead of the U.S election, which critics said may have helped sway the results in favor of Donald Trump, Facebook upped its efforts in December.

Photo Credit: Sean Gallup, Getty Images (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Virtual Reality Expo Coming to Los Angeles, for Real]]> Fri, 14 Apr 2017 12:31:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/edit1.jpg Virtual reality will take over Los Angeles this weekend as the VRLA Expo brings in all of the industry’s up-and-coming technology to the LA Convention Center.

Photo Credit: Kyle Espeleta Photography]]>
<![CDATA[Tesla Pickup Truck to Debut in September]]> Fri, 21 Apr 2017 06:03:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/elonmusk3.jpg

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the company was planning to introduce a new semi-truck in September, with an electric pickup truck to follow in about 18 to 24 months, NBC News reported.

The big truck was first hinted at last July, when Musk unveiled his "Master Plan, Part Deux." He had previously expressed interest in a pickup several years ago, about the same time Tesla began searching for a site for its Gigafactory battery plant.

"Tesla Semi truck unveil set for September," Musk said on Thursday, the tweet adding, "Team has done an amazing job. Seriously next level."

Exactly how big the truck will be is unclear. A Tesla spokesperson confirmed there would be no additional information beyond what was in the Musk tweets.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Moon Orbiting Saturn Could Sustain Life: NASA]]> Thu, 13 Apr 2017 17:43:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/DIT+OCEAN+WORLDS+THUMB.jpg

A moon orbiting Saturn has all the right ingredients to sustain life. NASA scientists say “Enceladus,” Saturn’s sixth largest moon, could theoretically sustain microbial life, in an exciting development for researchers. (Note: all graphics are artist renderings courtesy of NASA)

<![CDATA[Uber Used Secret Program to Track Lyft Drivers: Report]]> Thu, 13 Apr 2017 14:49:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_16139670373261.jpg

A new report says Uber used a secret program dubbed "Hell" to track Lyft drivers so that the company coud maintain an edge over its biggest competitor. 

Only a small group of Uber employees, including CEO Travis Kalanick, knew about the program, according to a story in the technology trade publication The Information, that cited an anonymous source who wasn't authorized to speak publicly.

Between 2014 and 2016, Uber was able to track how many Lyft drivers were in service, see if they were driving for both ride-hailing services and otherwise stifle competition.

The program was discontinued in early 2016, according to the report.

It's the latest embarrassing revelation for Uber, which has faced a series of executive departures and accusations of sexism and sexual harassment.

A representative for Uber did not respond to messages for comment Thursday. Lyft said in a statement to the publication that "if true, the allegations are very concerning."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Drone Captures Incredible Footage Above Active Volcano]]> Wed, 12 Apr 2017 18:06:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/drone-guatemala.jpg

Scientists at the University of Cambridge and University of Bristol are using drones to capture footage and data above an active volcano in Guatemala.

<![CDATA['Finsta' Instagram's Secret World]]> Fri, 07 Apr 2017 12:03:46 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_finsta0407_1920x1080.jpg

If your teen is on social media, chances are they have an account you don't know about. It's not uncommon for them to have more than one account on the photo-sharing app, often referred to as "finsta".

Photo Credit: NBCNC]]>
<![CDATA[Kids Gaming Site is Breeding Ground for Predators, Mom Warns]]> Fri, 07 Apr 2017 09:17:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/roblox+video+game+warning.jpg

A Louisiana mother is sounding the alarm about a popular online gaming site for kids, telling NBC 4 New York's I-Team she believes her son was "groomed" by a sexual predator who was lurking in the virtual adventure world.

The 8-year-old boy met the alleged predator on Roblox, a gaming community which boasts nearly 50 million users a month. It also allows players to chat with each other, which is how the boy was allegedly targeted.

The mother says the alleged predator portrayed himself as a child in the virtual world, and became “play partners” with her son after repeatedly finding him the same games.

The conversations quickly escalated with questions about the boy’s school, his home address – and then photos.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Google Adds 'Fact-Check' Tool to Search Results]]> Fri, 07 Apr 2017 08:51:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Google+Fact+Check.jpg

Google debuted a fact-checking tool for its search and news results Friday, amid mounting pressure on internet firms to police content it hosts online and criticism the company helps spread misinformation, CNBC reported.

The new functionality adds relevant "fact-check" tags to stories in Google News from services like PolitiFact and Snopes. The tag identifies pieces that had been established to be truthful.

The move follows similar action taken by social networking titan Facebook, which has also taken steps to tackle fake news content including its own fact checking tool which tells users who are about to post a link to an article, whether the claims in the article have been disputed.

Photo Credit: Google]]>
<![CDATA[A 3D Device is Changing the Way Amputees Swim]]> Thu, 06 Apr 2017 11:31:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/the-fin_marine.jpg

A 3D-printed device is helping amputees swim again, "Today" reported.

After losing part of his left leg in Afghanistan, Dan Lasko, a former United States Marine, never thought he'd be able to swim the way he used to — until coming across "The Fin," a 3D-printed device that can be attached to his prosthetic leg, allowing him to swim the way he could before his injury.

Before using The Fin, Lasko would have to take his prosthetic leg off before swimming. Without any good prosthetics, it was easier for him to swim without his. But with The Fin, he's been able to swim so hard that the device slipped off his leg and had to be reattached.

"It's kind of like having my leg back," Lasko said. "As I kick, I can feel the propulsion of the water. It feels very free."

Photo Credit: Courtesy Northwell Health
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<![CDATA[Look for Jupiter at Its Best and Brightest This Weekend]]> Mon, 03 Apr 2017 12:54:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/182*120/PIA00144-orig.jpg Even Jupiter's name carries enormous weight -- the largest planet in our solar system is named after the king of the Roman gods. It's average diameter is about 88,846 miles. By comparison, Earth is a relatively tiny 7,900 miles in diameter. So when the biggest planet on the block is in the neighborhood, or as close as it's going to get at 414 million miles away, sky-gazers take notice. Jupiter makes its closest approach of the year to Earth on Saturday April 8. ]]>