<![CDATA[NECN - Tech News]]>Copyright 2018https://www.necn.com/news/tech http://media.necn.com/designimages/clear.gif NECN https://www.necn.comen-usMon, 19 Mar 2018 03:02:18 -0400Mon, 19 Mar 2018 03:02:18 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Mass. AG Investigating Facebook, Cambridge Analytica]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 23:32:52 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-577700812.jpg

Massachusetts' attorney general is launching an investigation into the data-analysis firm that worked for President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, which is facing allegations it kept inappropriately obtained user information after telling Facebook the company had deleted it.

Maura Healey announced the probe Saturday afternoon.

"Massachusetts residents deserve answers immediately from Facebook and Cambridge Analytica," Healey tweeted. "We are launching an investigation."

Facebook announced Friday that they had suspended the accounts of Strategic Communication Laboratories, including the company's political data firm, Cambridge Analytica, after a University of Cambridge psychology professor passed on an app's data that used a Facebook Login to SCL and Cambridge Analytica.

The app, "thisisyourdigitallife," reportedly provided a personality test, and presented itself on social media as "a research app used by psychologists." It was downloaded by about 270,000 people, according to Facebook, and allowed the psychology professor, Dr. Aleksandr Kogan, access to data such as location, pages they had liked, and even access to who their friends were, if their friends had lower privacy settings.

Kogan allegedly then passed along the data to SCL/Cambridge Analytica and Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies.

Although Facebook did not release how many user profiles were affected, the New York Times reports that Cambridge Analytica ultimately amassed data from more than 50 million profiles as a result of the data provided by Kogan.

Cambridge Analytica reportedly told Facebook it had destroyed the data in 2015, but Facebook said it recently received reports that not all the data had been deleted.

"We are moving aggressively to determine the accuracy of these claims," Facebook VP & Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewal wrote online. "If true, this is another unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments they made."

Grewal said SCL/Cambridge Analytica, Kogan and Wylie may face legal action, in addition to having their accounts suspended.

Cambridge Analytica denied wrongdoing in a series of tweets online.

"Reality Check: Cambridge Analytica uses client and commercially and publicly available data; we don't use or hold any Facebook data," the firm said. "CA did not use any Facebook data for the 2016 Trump campaign."

Facebook has faced controversy as a result of the company's response to the 2016 election, including around the influence of Russian-bought ads.

Meanwhile, Cambridge Analytica is facing scrutiny, including how it's funded by the family of billionaire donor Robert Mercer, who supported Trump's campaign and the campaigns of other conservative candidates.

The data-analytics firm has also been brought up a few times in the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including when its CEO said in November that the company reached out to WikiLeaks' Julian Assange during the campaign in an attempt to obtain emails in connection with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign. Cambridge Analytica has denied involvement in Russian election interference.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How Stephen Hawking Survived With ALS for 55 Years]]> Thu, 15 Mar 2018 17:01:45 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Steven-Hawking.jpg

Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with ALS in 1963 at 21 years old and survived for over five decades before dying at the age of 76 on Wednesday. So how was Hawking able to live so long with the crippling and debilitating condition?

Experts say his wealth, mental attitude, and level of care played a huge part, NBC News reported. 

Hawking was able to receive around-the-clock medical care from a wife who gave up her career ambitions to attend to him as well as a team of nurses. He also made a good amount of income from his books like "A Brief History of Time" that helped him pay for the care and equipment that kept him alive. He was able to fund his 24-hour nursing care through grants from several foundations.  

Hawkings also had a positive mental attitude, set on living for a long time and doing as much as possible. “When you are faced with the possibility of an early death, it makes you realize that life is worth living and that there are a lot of things you want to do,” Hawking was quoted saying. 

Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Williamson/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[America's Largest eSports Stadium to Open in Texas]]> Thu, 15 Mar 2018 09:55:03 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/193*120/Esports+Stadium+Arlington+Exterior.jpg

If there was ever a competition to determine which city is truly the "sports and entertainment capital of the world," Arlington, Texas, would certainly be a contender.

The third largest city in North Texas is already home to AT&T Stadium, Globe Life Park, Six Flags Over Texas, and the College Park Center (home of UTA athletics and the Dallas Wings). And the $1.1 billion Globe Life Field is set to open in 2020, elevating Arlington's status in that realm even further.

On Wednesday, city leaders announced that yet another new stadium is coming — one that will serve as a permanent home for one of the most rapidly growing sectors in all of sports entertainment: video gaming.

Arlington is partnering with Esports Venues to open the 100,000-square-foot, 1,000-seat eSports Stadium Artington in the city's existing Arlington Convention Center. The new venue will be the largest eSports stadium in the U.S., the city of Arlington said in a statement.

"We are creating the most unique and technologically advanced space available," said Ron Price, President and CEO of the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The stadium, set to open in the fall, would host local, national and international eSports competitions. The popularity of competitive video gaming is growing at an exponential pace. In 2017, the industry was valued at $493 million, and it is expected to surge to $1.5 billion by 2020.

Even Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has gotten caught up in the craze. In November, he became the part owner of an eSports team.

"Being on the forefront of new ideas and setting trends is in our DNA," said Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams. “eSports Stadium Arlington will further cement our city’s status as a national and international tourist destination. Players and fans will come here for the tournaments and they’ll stay even longer to experience everything Arlington has to offer.”

Texas already has a growing competitive gaming community. Christian Gross heads the University of Texas Arlington eSports team. He's watched gaming turn into a high-stakes spectator sport. And Dallas even has its own professional team now: the Dallas Fuel.

"These people are not playing to have a good time," Gross said. "They're playing to become better, to be the best in their field."

Under the new agreement, the City of Arlington and Esports Venues will jointly invest $10 million in the renovation project. Esports Venues will then lease the space from the city for 10 years, with an option for a 10-year renewal.

The City expects its renovation and equipment costs to be repaid through annual lease payments, plus event revenue and stadium naming rights.

"My first thought was, do we get to use virtual money to pay for it?" said Faith Bussey, President of Citizens for a Better Arlington.

The organization fought against the new Rangers stadium before it was approved. Now Bussey is preparing for battle again.

"Especially at the local level, most people don't have any idea what's going on. They don't know what their city councilman and mayors are up to, and they don't know where their money is being spent," Bussey said. "I know there are other things we could be spending our money on, better, more wisely."

But supporters argue now is the time to get into a quickly-growing game.

"We’re already such a large entertainment capital for Texas as a whole and the nation, I think this is only going to take us one step further," said Gross.

In addition to competition event space, the venue will also host gaming, retail and social spaces, as well as a broadcast studio and team training areas.

NBC5's Alice Barr contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: City of Arlington ]]>
<![CDATA[Pi Day Spotlights One of Math's Most Seductive Numbers]]> Wed, 14 Mar 2018 11:02:07 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/92133811-Pi-Day.jpg

It may seem irrational to some, but we celebrate the number pi (π) every year on March 14, since 3/14 represent the first three digits of pi's decimal expansion.

NBC News reports that pi is more than just a good excuse to eat pie in the middle of March. It characterizes the perfect circle in a Platonic world, because it represents the constant ratio of the circumference to the diameter.

But it does more than that, too. Pi is part of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and a formula that prices risk.

It's captured the popular imagination with its irrationality, which means it can't be represented as a fraction. A computer calculated pi down to the 22,459,157,718,361st decimal place, while Rajveer Meena from India has a Guinness Book world record for reciting 70,000 of those decimal places.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[SXSW Festival Tackles Tech Industry's Serious Issues]]> Tue, 13 Mar 2018 22:06:30 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/sxsw-file.jpg

The annual South by Southwest festival draws tech innovators from around the world to Austin, Texas, to showcase cutting edge products, network with potential investors and party with celebrities at exclusive events.

But this year, NBC News reported, more serious issues have dominated the conversation at a festival that in previous years made headlines for its quirkiness and innovation.

Technology platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Google, have been under fire for the roles they played in helping amplify the voices of bots and trolls.

In particular Twitter — a platform that first took off at South by Southwest more than a decade ago — has been among the companies most widely criticized for allowing harassment to flourish on its platform.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Musk Projects Mars Spaceship Ready for Short Trips in 2019]]> Mon, 12 Mar 2018 09:45:21 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/elonmuskteslawala_1200x675.jpg

Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk spoke Sunday about the timeline for sending a space vehicle to Mars, CNBC reported. 

Musk told the audience at the South by Southwest festival held in Austin, Texas, that the milestone for sending a space vehicle to Mars is as early as next year. The venture, announced in 2017, aims to send a cargo mission to the Red Planet by 2022. SpaceX's ultimate objective is to plant the seeds to put a human colony on Mars.

A flight on SpaceX's BFR rocket system could cost in the $5 to $6 million range. 

The billionaire told the audience that "we are building the first Mars, or interplanetary ship, and I think well be able to short trips, flights by first half of next year."

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Mark Brake]]>
<![CDATA[The History of Daylight Saving Time]]> Fri, 09 Mar 2018 16:24:21 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAT+DAYLIGHT+SAVING+TIME+THUMB.jpg

Every spring we set our clocks forward an hour — but why? Before you spring forward this weekend, learn the real story behind Daylight Saving Time.

<![CDATA[Elon Musk Sides With Trump on Trade With China]]> Thu, 08 Mar 2018 22:16:36 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/elonmuskchinatrade_1200x675.jpg

The auto executive Elon Musk tweeted that China puts a 25 percent import duty on American cars while the U.S. import duty is only 2.5 percent for Chinese cars, CNBC reported.

Musk added American car companies are not "allowed to own even 50% of their own factory" in China but Chinese auto firms can own their companies in the U.S, CNBC reported.

President Trump has rattled allies across the globe and raised questions at home about whether his tariff on industrial products could affect the American economy.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Scott Olson]]>
<![CDATA[This Is Why Alexa Was Creepily, Spontaneously Laughing]]> Thu, 08 Mar 2018 10:47:57 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/AdobeStock_158536083-amazon-echo-alexa.jpg

Since February, Amazon Echo users have been reporting that Alexa, its virtual personal assistant, has been breaking into laughter unprompted, NBC News reported.

People have been posting videos of childlike laughter coming from their devices. "Lying in bed about to fall asleep when Alexa on my Amazon Echo Dot lets out a very loud and creepy laugh... there's a good chance I get murdered tonight," @GavinHightower tweeted last month.

On Wednesday, Amazon said it was working on the issue, and later revealed what was going on.

"In rare circumstances, Alexa can mistakenly hear the phrase 'Alexa, laugh,'" Nate Michel, a spokesman for Amazon, told NBC News, explaining what the company was doing to fix it.

Photo Credit: Adobe]]>
<![CDATA[Google Maps Adds Disney Parks to Street View]]> Tue, 06 Mar 2018 14:32:16 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Magic+Kingdom+Google+Street+View.png

Google announced Tuesday that it’s popular Street View feature now covers 11 Disney-operated theme parks from California to Florida.

Some of the destinations in Tuesday’s launch includes Disney Animal Kingdom, Disney Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney Springs, California Adventure, Disneyland Park, Downtown Disney, Disney Hollywood Studios, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks, and ESPN Wide World of Sports.

Visitors can now explore Disney parks ahead of their trip with self-guided tours and better plan their time at one of the crowded parks. Or, take a trip down memory lane and relive that magical Disney vacation.

Google used its Street View Trekker, a 360-degree camera mounted on a backpack, to capture images through walkways and structures. 

"We’re all about new fantastic points of view. Today, Street View is going the distance, from California to Florida, to make Disney part of your world,” said Google Street View Program Manager Deanna Yick, in a blog post announcing the launch. "Be our guest at 11 Disney Parks, and with Street View, anything your heart desires will come to you — castles, rides, attractions to infinity and beyond."

To access the new Street View virtual tour, simply search for one of the 11 Disney parks, and once you’ve zoomed in on the area, drag the yellow pegman icon on the lower right corner of your map screen onto an area that becomes highlighted in blue. From there, you’ll be able to pan around and check out the imagery in 360-degrees.

Here is full list of parks and attractions: 

Disney Animal Kingdom Park (Orlando, Florida)

Disney Magic Kingdom Park (Orlando, Florida)

Epcot (Orlando, Florida)

Disney Springs – Dining, Retail Locations (Florida)

California Adventures (California)

Disneyland Park (California)

Downtown Disney – Dining, Retail Locations (California)

Disney Hollywood Studios (Orlando Florida)

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park (Orlando Florida)

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park (Orlando Florida)

ESPN Wide World of Sports (Orlando Florida)

Photo Credit: Google Street View
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<![CDATA[Girl Scouts Fight Cybercrime With New Cybersecurity Badges]]> Mon, 05 Mar 2018 08:49:11 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/AP_17205817956249.jpg

Girl Scouts aren't just about camping, crafting and cooking — they're now taking on cybercrime, too, NBC News reported.

A new curriculum is being rolled out that will eventually provide girls with the chance to earn 18 cybersecurity badges.

"It's going to just make them feel empowered that 'I can go and do anything,'" said Rinki Sethi, senior director of information security at Palo Alto Networks, which created the curriculum.

Troop 32749 in Alameda, California, is already learning the basics of coding and computer networking, and a Girl Scout named Delaney said it made her feel "very special" to be helping people who could get hurt.

Photo Credit: Patrick Semansky/AP, File
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<![CDATA[Amazon's Alexa Is 'Having Trouble Understanding Right Now']]> Fri, 02 Mar 2018 14:36:47 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/AdobeStock_158536083-amazon-echo-alexa.jpg

Alexa? Are you there?

Amazon Echo devices weren't working across the country Friday in what appeared to be an Alexa-related outage.

Some users who posed questions to the voice-activated and internet-connected personal assistants were being told the devices weren't working, with phrases like, "Sorry, I'm having trouble understanding right now. Please try a little later."

The website DownDetector, which tracks web outages, noted a spike in problems with the Alexa service starting at 9:39 a.m. ET. The number of reports dropped dramatically around 2:00 p.m. ET. 

NBC has reached out to Amazon to inquire about the possible outage.

Celebrities like Cardi B and Anthony Hopkins haven't started taking over for Alexa in real time, as Amazon's Super Bowl ad proposed.

Photo Credit: Adobe]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Says It Won't Separate News Feed After All]]> Thu, 01 Mar 2018 15:06:44 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/AP_16303028414326.jpg

Facebook announced Thursday that it won't be splitting the News Feed into two after all, CNBC reported.

The social media site said it was ending testing of the change, which would have pushed publisher content onto a second feed away from posts by family and friends. 

"People don't want two separate feeds," Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed, said in a blog post. "In surveys, people told us they were less satisfied with the posts they were seeing, and having two separate feeds didn't actually help them connect more with friends and family."

Users in the six test markets — Bolivia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Serbia, Slovakia and Sri Lanka — reported separating the feed made it harder to find important information, Mosseri said.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File]]>
<![CDATA[Music Streaming Service Spotify Files to Go Public]]> Wed, 28 Feb 2018 16:23:52 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/901831708-spotify.jpg

Streaming service Spotify announced Wednesday its plan to go public, CNBC reported.

The company will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker name SPOT. According to the company, shares have traded as high as $132.50 on private markets, which would give the company a valuation over $23 billion based on ordinary shares outstanding as of Feb. 22.

Spotify is the leader in streaming music services globally, with the company reporting 71 million paying subscribers and more than 159 million monthly active listeners (MAUs) as of December 2017. It is available in 61 countries and territories. Its closest competitor, Apple Music, is far behind at 36 million subscribers.

The company reported revenue of $2.37 billion in 2015, $3.6 billion in 2016 and $4.99 billion in 2017, according to its F1. (This is based on current euro to dollar conversion value.) It said paid subscribers are growing at a rate of 46 percent year-over-year, while MAUs are increasing at 29 percent year-over-year. The company posted a loss of $1.5 billion in 2017.

Photo Credit: Chesnot/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[YouTube Has a Conspiracy Video Problem]]> Mon, 26 Feb 2018 19:38:40 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/youtube9.jpg

After the recent mass shooting in a Parkland, Florida, high school, videos spreading outlandish conspiracy theories began appearing on YouTube.

Videos posited that the student victims of the shooting were hired “crisis actors” who’d fabricated their experiences for money, attention or political reasons, as NBC News reported. The content-hosting platform even promoted the smear videos via its Up Next feature, which suggests related videos, and one video was  featured in YouTube’s "trending" section and gained more than 200,000 views.

How the suggested content algorithm works is a YouTube secret, much like the algorithms that drive Google’s search (Google also owns YouTube) and Facebook’s news feed.

Misinformation researcher Jonathan Albright wrote in a Medium post that he was surprised that the network of monetized conspiracy videos appears to grow in the wake of major tragic events like school shootings.

The platform did not respond to request for comment from NBC News.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[LUKE Arm: New Prosthesis Technology Helps Veterans, Others]]> Thu, 22 Feb 2018 20:35:35 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/New_Prosthesis_Technology_Helps_Veterans.jpg

New technology displayed in New Hampshire Thursday could bring a new sense of normalcy to people who have lost limbs.

Next Step Bionics & Prosthetics, Inc. and DEKA Research and Development demonstrated the LUKE (Life Under Kinetic Evolution) arm for the public in Manchester.

The LUKE arm is a modular prosthetic arm developed by DEKA and funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. According to Next Step, the LUKE arm is configurable for people who are amputated from shoulder to forearm. The hand has four pre-programmed grips.

In 2007, DARPA awarded what would be become a multi-year, $40 million contract to DEKA for an advanced prosthesis that would be minimally invasive and easily controlled.

The public demonstration showed how the arm works on its recipients, Ron Currier and Chuck Hildreth. Both men are missing at least part of their arms and hands.

Currier lost his hands in the Air Force. He was electrocuted.

"This arm right here is the closest thing to a real hand that I've had in 43 years," Currier said.

Currier has engineer and inventor Dean Kamen of DEKA to thank for that.

"These people have literally given their arms for this country," Kamen said. "We can't keep giving them the same 150-year-old technology that military gave soldiers in the Civil War."

Matthew Albuquerque is the CEO of Next Step Bionics & Prosthetics. They're the first to try the LUKE arms out.

"Those little boxes on his feet send wireless signals up to the arm so he can move the prosthesis, however he wants to move his feet," Albuquerque said.

"These are going to give me back my new normal," said Currier.

The LUKE arms starts at $150,000 if you're not a veteran. Albuquerque said he hopes as more are made, the cost will decrease.

Photo Credit: NBC10 Boston]]>
<![CDATA[Snap Shares Fall 7 Percent After Kylie Jenner Slams Redesign]]> Thu, 22 Feb 2018 17:36:37 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/kyliejennerevent_1200x675.jpg

Tech giant Snap shares dropped nearly 7 percent on Thursday, after reality star Kylie Jenner tweeted to her 24.5 million Twitter followers that she is no longer using the popular app due to design changes, CNBC reported.

Jenner tweeted: "sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me... ugh this is so sad."

Soon after Snap lost over an estimated $1 billion in market capitalization.

The new layout first debuted in November and was rolled out gradually. It is a drastically different design from its previous design changes and many users felt it became confusing to use.

Photo Credit: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images/Huffington Post, File]]>
<![CDATA[What Will Happen to the Tesla SpaceX Shot Into Space?]]> Wed, 07 Feb 2018 17:44:56 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/AP_18037818136560.jpg

After the Tesla Roadster hitched a ride into orbit on SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket Tuesday, experts are predicting smooth sailing for the cherry red convertible, NBC News reported.

The car's current trajectory will take it beyond mars and into the asteroid belt in its planned orbit around the sun, according to a diagram tweeted by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. But scientists say it is unlikely the car will encounter anything beyond ultraviolet radiation, cosmic rays, other highly charged particles or an occasional micrometeoroid.

As a result, ongoing exposure to UV light will cause the car's paint to fade over time, just as cars here on Erth do.

A NASA physicist estimated that the Roadster has traveled about 450,000 miles from Earth, or roughly twice the distance from Earth to the moon, as of Wednesday afternoon.

Photo Credit: SpaceX via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Smart TV Is Vulnerable to Hacking, Consumer Reports Finds]]> Thu, 08 Feb 2018 10:52:26 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-123351234.jpg

Millions of smart TVs sitting in family living rooms are vulnerable to hackers taking control — and could be tracking the household's personal viewing habits much more closely than their owners realize, according to a new Consumer Reports investigation.

The non-profit consumer product testing organization examined five of the top smart TVs on the market and found that in several of them, "a relatively unsophisticated hacker" could conduct remote hijinks like cranking the volume to a roar, knocking the TV off the Wi-Fi network, quickly changing channels or forcing it to play objectionable YouTube content.

The vulnerability was found in sets by Samsung, TCL, and devices using the Roku TV platform, which can include brands like Philips, RCA, Hisense, Hitachi, Insignia, and Sharp, along with some of Roku's own streaming players.

In a statement on their blog, Roku said that Consumer Reports's story was "a mischaracterization of a feature" and "there is no security risk." The company said users could turn off the remote control function by navigating to "settings," then "system," then "advanced system settings," then switching "external control" to "disabled."

Photo Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[SpaceX Launches World's Biggest Rocket]]> Tue, 06 Feb 2018 20:58:30 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAT+SPACE+X.00_00_06_27.Still006.jpg

SpaceX has successfully launched Falcon Heavy, the most powerful operational rocket in the world, into orbit.

<![CDATA[SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Rocket Is Ready for Liftoff]]> Tue, 06 Feb 2018 11:20:36 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/NC_spacexam0206_1500x845.jpg
After years of tests, delays and setbacks, SpaceX is poised to launch its Falcon Heavy rocket, designed to be the most powerful rocket in the world and the first step toward returning astronauts to the moon or even Mars.
<![CDATA[Study of Rats Reveals Cellphone Radiation Risk Is Low]]> Mon, 05 Feb 2018 14:53:23 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/NC_cellstudy0202_1920x1080.jpg

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health found low risk of radiations affecting human bodies, according to a new study that exposed rats and mice to high levels of radio frequency radiation nine hours a day for more than two years.

<![CDATA[Alexa on Eagles Win: 'Woo-Hoo!']]> Mon, 05 Feb 2018 06:38:37 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/20180205+Alexa.jpg

Amazon's Alexa proved herself to be an Eagles fan this postseason. 

The voice assistant said as much when asked Super Bowl questions after the Eagles beat the Vikings. And in recent days, she choked when she tried to say Tom Brady's name. 

Now, she's celebrating with the rest of the Eagles fans.

Ask if she is happy that the Eagles won the Super Bowl and she says, "Woo hoo! I knew the Eagles would fly high. Congratulations to the Patriots for a great season, and big congratulations to the Eagles for their first Super Bowl win."

<![CDATA[Elon Musk's Flamethrowers Are Already Sold Out]]> Thu, 01 Feb 2018 15:06:01 -0400 https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/855370170-elon-musk-sept-space-x.jpg

Elon Musk has a hot new product on his hands. 

The Los Angeles entrepreneur, who also leads Tesla and SpaceX, has been advertising flamethrowers sold by his tunnel-boring business Boring Co., and they've sold out in just four days.

Musk said Monday that Boring Co. had pre-sold 10,000 flamethrowers in two days, pulling in $5 million, according to The Los Angeles Times. By Thursday, the company’s website said all 20,000 flamethrowers it was making had been sold.

The white, shotgun-shaped devices were being for $500 each, with $30 fire extinguishers being sold separately as a safety precaution — which Musk admitted was overpriced. However, Musk said Thursday that the flamethrowers would ship with a complementary fire extinguisher.

Musk and the Boring Co. have been using lighthearted, even joking language when talking up the product, leading some people to question its legitimacy. 

"Obviously, a flamethrower is a super terrible idea. Definitely don’t buy one," Musk tweeted Saturday, before adding in a second tweet, "Unless you like fun."

A Boring Co. representative confirmed to NBC that the product is real.

Boring Co. describes the flamethrowers on its website as "guaranteed to liven up any party!" and the "world's safest flamethrower!" A video on the website shows two people demonstrating how to use the devices, shooting out flames about three feet.

Musk posted an Instagram video of himself laughing as he used one of the flamethrowers, which he even turned toward the camera and the person holding it.

The company first indicated that it may sell flamethrowers in December, when it offered company-branded baseball caps and said that if it sold 50,000 of them, flamethrowers would follow. The goal was reached and Musk announced over the weekend that the flame-spitting devices were officially for sale.

To the Twitter-sphere's dismay, Musk tweeted Wednesday that the flamethrowers were sold out.

However, not everyone was as excited as Musk. California Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, told The Los Angeles Times on Monday that he was worried that the sale of the flamethrowers could be a public health hazard, noting that California has already gone through some catastrophic fires.

"It's a bad joke," Santiago told the newspaper.

Boring Co. has not responded to a request for comment on the intended uses of the flamethrower.

California has some restrictions on flamethrowers. State health and safety codes mandate that, to use flamethrowing devices with a range of at least 10 feet, a person must have a permit or be part of a firefighting agency.

A Boring Co. spokesman told The Los Angeles Times the flamethrowers on pre-sale have a range of fewer than 10 feet, meaning no such permits are needed.

Musk founded the Boring Co. in late 2016 in an effort to build underground tunnels that would lessen traffic. It's currently working on a test tunnel in Los Angeles and is planning a tunnel from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., that would be extended to New York City and seeking permits for another tunnel in the Chicago area. The company suggests one use for its tunnels could be another of Musk's futuristic ideas: the Hyperloop transportation system.

Photo Credit: Mark Brake/Getty Images, File
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