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Tesla reports big first quarter loss

Ars Technica - 4 hours 18 min ago

Enlarge / Elon Musk. (credit: DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

After two back-to-back quarters of profits, Tesla lost $702 million in the first quarter of 2019, the company announced on Wednesday.

Tesla has been expected to post a loss for the quarter ever since the company admitted earlier his month that it had suffered a big drop in Model S and Model X deliveries. But the quarter's losses were larger than many Wall Street analysts expected.

Markets weren't fazed by the negative earnings news. After initially falling about 2 percent, Tesla's stock price bounced back and is now about where it was when the earnings numbers were released.

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Comic for April 24, 2019

Dilbert - 4 hours 29 min ago
Categories: Geek

Microsoft 3Q19 revenue up 14% on the back of strong cloud and, uh, Windows?

Ars Technica - 4 hours 48 min ago

(credit: Julien GONG Min / Flickr)

In the third quarter of its 2019 financial year, which ran up until March 31, 2019, Microsoft's revenue was $30.6 billion, up 14 percent year on year. Operating income was up 25 percent to $10.3 billion, net income up 19 percent to $8.8 billion, and earnings per share up 20 percent to $1.14.

Microsoft has three reporting segments: Productivity and Business Processes (covering Office, Exchange, SharePoint, Skype, Dynamics, and LinkedIn), Intelligent Cloud (including Azure, Windows Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio, and Enterprise Services), and More Personal Computing (covering Windows, hardware, and Xbox, as well as search and advertising).

Productivity group revenue was up 14 percent to $10.2 billion, with operating income rising 28 percent to $4.0 billion. There's no one standout in the division but, rather, strong growth across the entire division; commercial Office products and service revenue was up 12 percent, consumer revenue up 8 percent, Dynamics revenue up 13 percent, with Dynamics 365 revenue growing by 43 percent, and LinkedIn revenue was up 27 percent. The number of commercial Office 365 seats is up 27 percent with more than 180 million monthly active users, and consumer Office 365 subscribers were up 12 percent to 34.2 million. The transition to the cloud continues to shift where Microsoft makes its money: while commercial Office 365 revenue was up 30 percent, perpetually licensed Office revenue fell by 19 percent.

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Massachusetts offshore wind project gets green light at roughly 8.9 cents/kWh

Ars Technica - 5 hours 18 min ago

Enlarge / A rendering of the Vineyard Wind installation. (credit: Vineyard Wind)

Last May, Massachusetts chose companies representing a project called Vineyard Wind to negotiate long-term contracts for an 800 megawatt (MW) offshore wind project that would serve some 400,000 homes. This month, the state approved the negotiated contracts, clearing the way for Vineyard Wind to become the second (and the biggest) offshore wind farm in the United States.

The approval also included a promise from Vineyard Wind to invest $15 million to a fund that will "promote the use of battery storage in low-income communities" and "further the development of energy storage systems across the state."

There's a lot of untapped potential for offshore wind in the US. Currently, the nation only has one offshore wind farm: a 30MW site off of Rhode Island. But in places like Europe, offshore wind makes a significant contribution to energy generation, and the technology is maturing quickly there, with costs falling in tandem.

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AT&T says 5G will be priced like home Internet—pay more for faster speeds

Ars Technica - April 24, 2019 - 10:59pm

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. (credit: AT&T)

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson today said that 5G will likely be priced similarly to wireline Internet, with customers paying more for faster speeds.

With 5G, "I will be very surprised if... the pricing regime in wireless doesn't look something like the pricing regime you see in fixed line," Stephenson said during an earnings call today. (See transcript.)

Some customers "are willing to pay a premium for 500Mbps to 1Gbps speed and so forth," Stephenson continued. "And so I expect that to be the case. We're two or three years away from seeing that play out."

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Neo-Nazi's Facebook account left active

BBC Technology News - April 24, 2019 - 8:35pm
The social network says it is investigating why the profile was not removed - as it had promised.

Huawei 5G row: Ministers demand leak inquiry

BBC Technology News - April 24, 2019 - 8:15pm
One senior minister said leaking from the security council - the "holy of holies" - was extraordinary.

In meeting with Twitter chief, Trump complains about lost followers

Ars Technica - April 24, 2019 - 8:09pm

Enlarge / Trump giving Jack Dorsey advice on how to run Twitter better, April 23. (credit: White House )

On April 23, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had a meeting in the Oval Office with President Donald Trump. According to an email message to Twitter employees from Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's global lead for legal, policy, and trust and safety, the purpose of the meeting was to discuss “the health of the public conversation on Twitter.”

In the email thread, first revealed by Motherboard, Dorsey himself explained, “As you know, I believe that conversation, not silence, bridges gaps and drives towards solutions." Dorsey pointed out that he had met "with every world leader who has extended an invitation to me, and I believe the discussions have been productive, and the outcomes meaningful.” While Dorsey noted that some employees might be less than thrilled with him taking the meeting, "In the end, I believe it’s important to meet heads of state in order to listen, share our principles and our ideas.”

The meeting came just two days after Twitter suspended some 5,000 accounts believed to be "bots" involved in a campaign to boost "#RussiaGate" and other hashtags related to posts critical of the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller—bots that had connections to an account previously used to boost pro-Saudi propaganda.

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Out of bounds: Why basketball players believe they weren’t last to touch ball

Ars Technica - April 24, 2019 - 7:52pm

Enlarge / Boston Celtics' Al Horford and Indiana Pacers' Thaddeus Young chase a ball out of bounds during a March game. A new study found that a self-centered bias in time perception might affect how each perceives who touched the ball last. (credit: Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe/Getty Images)

With the NBA playoffs in full swing, emotions are running high among super-fans, inevitably leading to lots of heated arguments about bad referee calls and disputed plays. For instance, when a ball goes out of bounds, it can sometimes be challenging to determine which player touched it last. Both players will undoubtedly argue their opponent touched it last, trying to give possession of the ball to their own team. The other player will just as forcefully argue the opposite.

Who is right? According to a new paper in Science Advances, both players are subject to a kind of temporal bias whereby they will perceive themselves touching the ball first. "Our brains tell us that actions generated by ourselves come before simultaneous external events," the authors write. "Briefly, we have identified what may be a principal cause of arguments in ball games, and it's about time."

According to co-author Ty Tang, a graduate student in psychology at Arizona State University, the idea for the study emerged from conversations with his advisor, Michael McBeath, about subjective perception, particularly of time. This naturally evolved into how this subjective perception plays out in sports, specifically arguments over who touched the ball last before it went out of bounds in basketball. Tang proposed a series of three experiments to determine if the players might genuinely experience hitting the ball before their opponents in such scenarios. It wasn't the chaotic environment of a live basketball game, but it allowed them to control the variables to produce a robust study.

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EPA administrator asked to back up climate claims made on TV with science

Ars Technica - April 24, 2019 - 7:24pm

Enlarge / Acting Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency Andrew Wheeler listens as President Donald J. Trump leads a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House on July 18, 2018, in Washington, DC. (credit: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

In an appearance on CBS News in late March, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler told Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett that the threat posed by climate change is "50 to 75 years out."

Now, environmental lobby group Sierra Club has asked the EPA for any scientific evidence that backs up this claim. The group filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the agency, hoping to receive documentation that could back up Wheeler's claim.

The move is preliminary, but it's interesting because it follows in the footsteps of a successful challenge by another activist group: PEER, or Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. In 2017, PEER submitted a FOIA request for scientific evidence that could support statements made by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on CNBC, where the administrator claimed that carbon dioxide was not known to be a major factor in climate change.

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Motor technology from Model 3 helps Tesla boost Model S range 10%

Ars Technica - April 24, 2019 - 6:07pm

Enlarge (credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Tesla's Model S is known for its long range, with the 100kWh version rated to travel 335 miles between charges. On Tuesday, Tesla announced changes to the Model S drivetrain that boosted the range by more than 10 percent to 370 miles.

Similar improvements have pushed the range of the high-end Model X up to 325 miles. And that's all without increasing the vehicle's battery capacity. The cars are simply able to go 10 percent further for every kWh of charge—which translates to electricity savings for Tesla customers.

Several factors combined to produce these impressive efficiency gains. Tesla switched one of the motors in the Model S and Model X to a new technology pioneered in the Model 3. The company also announced an improved suspension system and other efficiency tweaks throughout the vehicle. The impressive result: greater than 93 percent energy efficiency.

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