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FCC shuts New York out of $20B broadband fund, and senators are angry
The Federal Communications Commission has unfairly shut New York state out of a planned $20.4 billion broadband-funding program, US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai last week. ISPs in 48 states are eligible for funding in the FCC rural-broadband program, which will distribute the money over…

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No one hurt in Firefly “anomaly” as company tests its Alpha first stage
On Wednesday evening, at Firefly Aerospace's test site about an hour north of Austin in Central Texas, some sort of anomaly occurred. The Burnet County Sheriff's Office reported that the incident took place at 6:24pm CT (00:24 UTC, Thursday), and that officers had called for evacuations of residences within one mile of the test site.

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The Mount Vesuvius eruption was so hot, one man’s brain turned to glass.
When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE, the heat was so extreme in some places that it vaporized body fluids and exploded the skulls of several inhabitants unable to flee in time. Now, archaeologists have determined that the heat also fused brain tissue into glass in one victim. The discovery is described in a new short paper in the New…

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Sonos sunsets several smart speakers’ software support, spurring storm
Sonos has been slinging smart speakers—and tech for connecting them—to dedicated fans since 2005. This week, however, Sonos announced the end of software support for its older product lines, and many of those once-loyal customers are furious. Software support for "legacy" product lines will end in May of this year, Sonos said Tuesday in a corporate blog post and an…

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Ancient African skeletons hint at a “ghost lineage” of humans
Understanding humanity's shared history means understanding what happened in Africa. But figuring out what happened in Africa has been a difficult task. Not every area is well represented in the fossil history, and most African environments aren't conducive to the preservation of ancient DNA. DNA sequencing of modern African populations lags behind other regions, in part because DNA sequencing hardware…

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The math of brewing a better espresso
Skilled baristas know that achieving the perfect complex flavor profile for a delectable shot of espresso is as much art as science. Get it wrong, and the resulting espresso can taste too bitter or sourly acidic rather than being a perfect mix of each. Now, as outlined in a new paper in the journal Matter, an international team of scientists…

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After a 1-month delay, the new Moto Razr will be out February 6
The Moto Razr has a new release date. After announcing a delay just a few days before it was planned to go on sale in December, Verizon now says the new-school flip phone will go up for pre-order January 26, with an in-store date of February 6. It's still $1,499.99.

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Monty Python’s Terry Jones joins the choir invisible
Monty Python’s Terry Jones died at age 77 on January 21 at his London home. Born in Colwyn Bay, Wales, Jones got his comedy start at Oxford University, playing in revues with fellow future Python Michael Palin. After graduation, he worked as a writer on a handful of BBC shows, including The Frost Report, and he performed on Do Not…

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Report: Bezos phone uploaded GBs of personal data after getting Saudi prince’s WhatsApp message
It's like a plot from a bad thriller: a forensic analysis paid for by Jeff Bezos found that his cell phone coughed up massive amounts of personal information within hours of receiving a WhatsApp-attached video file sent by the future king of Saudi Arabia, the Guardian and the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.