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US may subsidize Huawei alternatives with proposed $1.25 billion fund
The US government should spend at least $1.25 billion "to invest in Western-based alternatives to Chinese equipment providers Huawei and ZTE," a bipartisan group of six US senators said yesterday. The senators submitted legislation called the Utilizing Strategic Allied (USA) Telecommunications Act to make that happen, arguing that the US must counter the Chinese government's investments in the telecom sector.

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The 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid isn’t exciting, but it is quite frugal
Further ReadingThe 2020 Toyota Prius Prime plug-in proves pleasing, perhaps pedestrianOn Tuesday, I wrote about the week I spent with the current Toyota Prius Prime. Today, you get to read about another Toyota hybrid, the 2020 Corolla Hybrid, which I drove for 10 days immediately following my week with the plug-in Prius.

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Letting slower passengers board airplane first really is faster, study finds
Commercial airlines often prioritize boarding for passengers traveling with small children, or for those who need extra assistance—in other words, those likely to be slower to stow their bags and take their seats—before starting to board the faster passengers. It's counter-intuitive, but it turns out that letting slower passengers board first actually results in a more efficient process and less…

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This year may finally fulfill the promise of private human spaceflight
This year could see the fulfillment of a number of long-promised achievements in human spaceflight. For the first time, private companies could launch humans into orbit in 2020, and two different companies could send paying tourists on suborbital missions. The aerospace community has been watching and waiting for these milestones for years, but 2020 is probably the year for both.

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Google plans to drop Chrome support for tracking cookies by 2022
Further ReadingGoogle defends tracking cookies—some experts aren’t buying itThe plan is laid out in a post titled "Building a more private Web: A path towards making third party cookies obsolete." It articulates a shift from a stance Chrome developers took in August, when they warned that the blocking of support for third-party cookies—which allow advertisers to track people as they…

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Forgotten trove of fossil feathers belonged to tiny polar dinosaurs
Researchers have described ten fossil feathers from the polar regions of the former continent Gondwana for the first time. The collection, documented in a recent paper in Gondwana Research, contains a highly diverse array of feathers collected from the 118 million-year-old Koonwarra Fossil Bed in Victoria, Australia. The paper describes what is potentially the earliest evidence of a flight feather,…

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FBI arrests man suspected of orchestrating dozens of “swatting” calls
The US government has criminally charged a Virginia man for helping to organize dozens of "swatting" attacks and bomb threats made against a variety of targets in the United States and Canada. The man allegedly belonged to a group which coordinated via IRC and Tor hidden services to target prominent gamers, journalists, and government officials.

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Verizon offers no-tracking search engine, promises to protect your privacy
Verizon today launched a new search engine, claiming that its "OneSearch" service will offer users more privacy than the standard options in a market dominated by Google. Verizon's actual search results are provided by Microsoft's Bing, but Verizon added several privacy-focused features—while retaining the ability to serve contextual ads. "To allow for a free search engine experience, OneSearch is an…

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Major investment firm to prioritize sustainability, back off coal
When it comes to taking action on climate change, the world has entered a very strange place. Scientific results continue to indicate that the consensus on our role in driving climate change has every reason to be accepted. Several years of the predicted impacts of climate change—record-high temperatures, massive storms, and out-of-control wildfires—have left ever more of the public ignoring…