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Facebook may have scrapped talks to buy Houseparty over antitrust concerns

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It was reportedly in discussions final 12 months to purchase Houseparty, a bunch video chat app from the workforce behind Meerkat. Nevertheless, it ended the talks after just a few weeks, in keeping with the New York Occasions. Sources advised the paper Fb in the end determined shopping for one other sizeable participant within the social networking area posed an excessive amount of of an antitrust threat. Epic Video games ultimately purchased Houseparty in June.

The FTC reportedly found paperwork that gave it trigger for concern on the antitrust entrance when it investigated the corporate final 12 months over its privateness practices. Fb in the end agreed to pay an FTC advantageous of $5 billion associated to its privateness points, together with the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The company obtained approval from the Justice Division to start out an antitrust investigation into the corporate earlier this 12 months, the NYT reported. Since then, investigators are mentioned to have contacted a number of founders of corporations Fb has purchased to realize perception into its acquisition strategies. Engadget has contacted Fb for remark.

There have been rising requires Fb to be damaged up, and Elizabeth Warren pledged to do exactly that if she wins the presidential election. Fb spoke out in opposition to such calls for, and as an alternative requested extra oversight.

Nonetheless, Fb is taking some measures that will make it tougher for authorities to separate up its empire. It is meshing collectively the messaging components of Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, whereas it plans to rename the latter pair to provide them extra of a Fb identification.

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Innovation

Last year’s historic floods ruined 20 million acres of farmland

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Flooded field in Percival, Iowa, 10 days after the Missouri River flooded in March 2019
Flooded area in Percival, Iowa, 10 days after the Missouri River flooded in March 2019 (Jason Johnson Iowa NRCS/)

Within the Mississippi River Valley, heavy spring rains devastated 250,000 acres of farmland in 2019, inflicting Governor Phil Bryant to declare the floods a historic catastrophe on par with the notorious 1927 floods that left the area underneath water for months. Within the Texas Panhandle, farmers in contrast the dramatic affect of the rain and flooding to the results they felt from the 2011 drought— the driest yr on report for the state.

South Dakota was hit notably exhausting, experiencing certainly one of its wettest years since 1915. Hotter temperatures which may in any other case have been appropriate for planting gave technique to heavy rains over the summer season which ruined what had been planted. The record-breaking spring rains have been adopted, months later, by record-breaking rainfall in September that worn out what was left of the corn and soy crops, and broken essential roads and infrastructure in rural communities. “It is nearly Biblical on the market,” one farmer instructed UPI.

Based on the US Division of Agriculture, heavy spring rains throughout the nation in 2019 induced practically 20 million acres of farmland to go unplanted. Farmers incurred, collectively, billions of {dollars} in losses, disrupting rural economies throughout the nation in addition to the communities they assist. Final yr was each the second hottest and second wettest yr on report, in accordance with the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Mississippi River, Arkansas River, and Missouri River all flooded in 2019, and every ranked on NOAA’s all-time listing of billion-dollar climate and local weather disasters.

“Usually, rainfall is welcome right here,” Jourdan Bell, a professor and agronomist with Texas A&M’s analysis middle in Amarillo, says. “We’re in a semi-arid atmosphere, with about 15 to 22 inches of rain yearly. However an excessive amount of rain is sort of a double edged sword.”

The cotton crops which might be widespread throughout a lot of the Texas panhandle have a slim planting window, as a result of they have to be planted in late winter or early spring, then harvested earlier than the primary freeze that often happens in October. With the extraordinarily moist and wet spring season this yr, soils have been too waterlogged and compacted to start out planting— and so farmers weren’t in a position to plant early sufficient to keep away from hitting the autumn freeze. “It’s all the time been a local weather of extremes within the Panhandle,” says Bell. “However in recent times, the extremes are extra frequent.”

Flood waters in farm fields, 12 miles north of Council Bluffs, Iowa, on June 24, 2019.
Flood waters in farm fields, 12 miles north of Council Bluffs, Iowa, on June 24, 2019. (Lance Cheung/USDA/)

And which may develop into the brand new regular throughout the US, as local weather change intensifies excessive climate occasions. When the environment heats up, it could possibly maintain extra water vapor. And extra water vapor means extra rain and storms. Even for colder areas of the county, just like the higher Midwest, that may spell hassle; storms often type over the a lot hotter Gulf of Mexico and unleash the downpour as they transfer North. A 2019 research from researchers on the College of Illinois analyzed the USDA’s crop insurance coverage program and located that these extreme rains could be simply as damaging for crops as excessive warmth or drought.

“I used to be stunned that final yr was a lot of an ideal storm,” says Donald Wuebbles, a professor of atmospheric sciences on the College of Illinois, who labored on the 2018 Nationwide Local weather Evaluation, a congressionally mandated report, produced each 4 years by varied authorities businesses and scientists, on local weather change impacts. The situation in 2019 tracked carefully with what Wuebbles and the authors of the report laid out: agricultural manufacturing will probably drop because the climate swings from an excessive amount of rain within the spring to too little in the summertime. Waterlogged soil throughout planting season may stop planting altogether, and the seeds which might be planted may not germinate. Hotter temperatures in the summertime carry extra ailments and pests, and no matter moisture may need been saved within the soil will evaporate as drought creeps in. And as crop manufacturing is impacted, the meals safety of thousands and thousands of People—and thousands and thousands extra throughout the globe who depend on American imports—could possibly be threatened.

“Fashions are instruments to know a system, and if something, they usually are likely to underestimate. That’s the scary factor to me—this may increasingly intensify extra,” Wuebbles says.

The cycle of extremes can be exacerbating current environmental stresses. Within the Texas Panhandle, for instance, the Ogallala Aquifer that feeds a lot of the area is just about impermeable, and recharges so slowly that it may take greater than 6,000 years to refill naturally if it have been depleted. 9 years in the past, in the course of the 2011 drought, the demand for water was decrease, and the aquifer itself held extra water, Bell says. However immediately, as droughts develop into longer and extra intense— and because the demand for water is pushed up by a rising inhabitants— that’s not true. Cotton crops are drought tolerant, however the uncertainty of spring rains, summer season droughts, and fall freezes may require farmers to shift in direction of different crops in an effort to keep worthwhile.

“There shall be a report variety of insurance coverage payouts this yr,” says Jennifer Fahy, the communications director for Farm Assist, a nonprofit that delivers aid assist to farmers throughout the county. “However that certainly not reimburses the whole loss that farmers face.” Some farmers are dealing with multi-year losses—those that saved grain on their land, ready for increased costs as soon as the U.S.’s commerce struggle with China was resolved, misplaced the reserves as effectively, when the floodwaters broken storage services. Farm Assist noticed an unprecedented rise within the variety of emergency help grants it issued this yr—cash that helps farmers hold the lights and warmth on.

However of the farmers that Farm Assist works with, those that have been in a position to implement soil conservation strategies, like rising cowl crops to forestall erosion, have been in a position to bounce again a bit sooner than most. And the Nationwide Local weather Evaluation means that the one approach for many farmers to have the ability to climate the altering local weather is to double down on such sustainable practices: from integrating local weather fashions into planting and harvesting timelines, to high-efficiency irrigation applied sciences, to no-till farming which retains soil moisture and reduces erosion. Sustainable farming may also function a carbon sink, trapping greenhouse gases under the soil whereas concurrently nourishing it. The NCA report additionally recommends insurance policies that assist rural, agricultural communities entry the web—and the plethora of sources and local weather analysis out there—which may empower individuals to face the approaching many years of local weather change.

“We all the time hear that farmers don’t imagine in local weather change,” Fahy says. “However they see these modifications first hand, and [the flooding] has created the area for conversations about resilience.”

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Seven of our best tips for your Sonos system

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Sonos speakerIt is a bit foolish to have a Sonos system you are not utilizing to its fullest.Michał Borowczyk through Unsplash

Should you’ve obtained a number of Sonos audio system at house, you’ve opened up a complete world of high-quality audio streaming, whether or not you’re enjoying tunes out of your laptop computer or different providers like Spotify, Apple Music, or Deezer.

Getting began with a Sonos system is straightforward—the cellular app guides you thru the method of establishing—however you may dig beneath the floor to seek out plenty of extra superior options and different tips that may actually make a distinction in your house sound system.

1. Pair up your Sonos audio system

Sonos app screenshot*”2 Change into 1″ by the Spice Women performs within the background.*David Nield

Should you’ve obtained the cash and the area, you may arrange two Sonos audio system in the identical room as a stereo pair. The set-up course of is seamless and the Sonos app will handle all of the background processing so your tunes are appropriately break up into left and proper panels.

Along with your audio system already arrange within the Sonos app for Android or iOS, faucet Settings, then System, to seek out them. Be certain that each audio system are set as being in the identical room (simply faucet Room in the event that they’re not), then select Create Stereo Pair. The 2 audio system will then seem as one contained in the Sonos app if you’re selecting the place to play your music.

To unpair a few audio system and deal with them as standalone units once more, open the cellular app, then faucet Settings and System, adopted by the speaker pair. Select Separate Stereo Pair to substantiate your selection.

2. Get up to your music

Give your self a reprieve from the beeping of your cellphone or alarm clock by getting your Sonos system to wake you up as an alternative. Within the desktop app, click on Alarms, or select Settings, System, and Alarms within the cellular app.

You’ll get to set a pair parameters in your alarm, too, together with the time and days it goes off, which speaker it makes use of, and what playlist ought to begin up. And if waking as much as music will not be your factor, there’s additionally the choice of utilizing a “Sonos Chime.”

Further settings will allow you to select the amount of the alarm and the way lengthy the audio lasts for earlier than it stops by itself. And don’t fear—you may at all times allow a nap operate in your cellphone if you wish to give your self just a few additional minutes in mattress.

3. Play your music in all places

Sonos app screenshotMake your music observe you round—it will really feel such as you’ve obtained a private soundtrack.David Nield

To vary the place music is enjoying, simply faucet the Room selector button within the Sonos app. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re controlling your music on a cellular machine or a pc: the button will appear like a little bit arrow beneath a rectangle, and might be prominently displayed.

Should you’re taking a break from work and transferring to the kitchen to have dinner, this function helps you to take your music with you by shortly switching playback from one room to the opposite. Simply examine the field for the room you’re transferring into, and faucet or click on Finished to use the adjustments. Should you’re going to be transferring round the home on a regular basis, you can too choose multiple speaker (or all of them without delay), so your music performs in all places.

Within the Sonos apps for Home windows and macOS, there’s a particular button on the Room selector panel labeled Choose All – Celebration Mode. This function could have your tunes streaming to all of your audio system without delay with only one faucet, so that you gained’t need to go checking the containers for every room individually.

4. Customise your audio system to suit their rooms

The platform provides an amazing function referred to as Trueplay, although it’s at the moment solely obtainable by way of the Sonos app for iOS. In an effort to provide the absolute best expertise, Trueplay modifies the output of every speaker so it most closely fits the structure and acoustic properties of the room it’s in.

From the app, faucet Settings, then System. Subsequent, choose a speaker you wish to tune and choose Trueplay Tuning. Observe the directions to make use of your iOS machine and your Sonos audio system to measure the acoustics of the room you’re in, which ought to solely take two or three minutes.

Sonos recommends minimizing all sources of sound throughout tuning, so it’s finest to show off followers or air conditioners. Should you transfer a speaker’s place in a room or add it to or take away it from a stereo pair, run the Trueplay tuning course of once more.

5. Get chatty together with your Sonos audio system

Sonos app screenshotShould you set one speaker with Alexa and the opposite with the Google Assistant, would they begin bickering?David Nield

Should you’ve obtained a Sonos One or a Sonos Beam speaker, you’ll have built-in assist for Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant. To get both service arrange, faucet Settings, Providers, after which Add a Service contained in the Sonos cellular app.

You’ll have to choose one service for every speaker, so when you’ve got two or extra Sonos Beam audio system at house, you may use Alexa in the lounge and the Google Assistant within the bed room, for instance.

One of many most important benefits of doing that is that you could inform Alexa or Google Assistant to play playlists, albums, and particular person tracks utilizing your voice. You too can ask the digital assistants all the same old questions—like about tomorrow’s climate or what yr Nirvana’s “Nevermind” got here out.

6. Save your Sonos playlists

More often than not, you’re in all probability going to be utilizing your Sonos system to queue up playlists you’ve already made in Spotify, Apple Music, or no matter streaming service you employ. Nonetheless, the Sonos app has its personal playlist options which are price exploring.

In your laptop or cellular machine, queue up the songs you wish to save as a playlist within the Sonos app, then click on Save Queue (on desktop) or faucet Queue (on cellular) with the listing on the display screen. Give the playlist a reputation and also you’ll be capable to discover it once more from the Sonos Playlists part of your music library.

It’s a good way of retaining specific music mixes that you simply don’t wish to lose because the queue performs itself by way of. It’s additionally useful when you’ve got Sonos linked to multiple music streaming service, since you may mix tracks and playlists from a number of providers collectively in a single Sonos playlist.

7. Stream immediately out of your laptop computer

ITunes screenshotWhy reinvent the wheel when Apple already has one thing that works completely nicely?David Nield

Sonos makes desktop purchasers for Home windows and macOS, however relating to enjoying your favourite tunes, you don’t actually need to make use of them. Perhaps you like the good playlist performance you get within the Music app for macOS and the iTunes app in Home windows, for instance.

Now that Sonos audio system assist AirPlay 2, you may ship your playlists straight from Music on macOS and iTunes on Home windows. Simply click on on the AirPlay button on the highest toolbar, to the left of the “What’s enjoying” field. So long as your audio system are linked to your Wi-Fi community, they need to present up as an possibility.

The unhealthy information is that when you’ve got a barely older Sonos mannequin, you may not be capable to entry this function. For the second, it’s solely obtainable for newer Sonos audio system with AirPlay 2 assist—which means the Sonos One, the Sonos One SL, the Sonos Beam, the Sonos Playbase, and the second-generation Sonos Play:5 audio system.

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This harpoon-throwing robot is designed to hunt destructive lionfish

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Florida and different states will maintain chipping away on the downside, whether or not or not it’s with robots or different unconventional concepts, to determine a possible eradication methodology. Hunter notes that there’s a wholesome culinary demand for lionfish: As a substitute of holding them in tanks, persons are beginning to put them on their plates. “The worth is within the diet” he says. As soon as its spines are eliminated, the species serves as a flaky grouper-like snack (that you simply would possibly be capable to seize at your native Complete Meals, relying on the place you’re studying this from). At present, it’s priced at as much as $6 a pound, which, Hunter provides, may give fishers an incentive to spend money on a spear-throwing ROV.

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