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Mediator: Social Media Pollution, a Huge Problem in the Last Election, Could Be Worse in 2020

It’s unlikely you have heard of @ToTheXToTheY. But you may be familiar with its work.This anonymously run Twitter account made a splash in 2016, after a protester rushed Donald J. Trump at a rally in Dayton, Ohio.The Secret Service nabbed the man before he got too close, but not before Mr. Trump flinched. That was an understandable reaction, but it created a potential image problem for the candidate, since he was the No. 1 tough guy in the Republican primary race at the time.Soon after the incident, @ToTheXToTheY posted a doctored video that falsely linked the protester, a college student named Tommy DiMassimo, to ISIS. The bogus…

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Tech Jobs Lead to the Middle Class. Just Not for the Masses.

Brittney Ball was living in a homeless shelter with her baby when she learned of a one-year program offering technical training, professional skills and an internship. She took the plunge.Five years later, Ms. Ball is a software engineer in Charlotte, N.C., earning more than $50,000 a year. A 30-year-old single mother, she has health insurance, retirement savings and plans to vacation in Mexico this year.“It showed me that I could do something different,” she said about the training program. “It really lit a fire under me.”Preparing people for tech jobs is hailed as the great employment hope of the future. Cities and states across the country are…

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise to Acquire Supercomputer Pioneer Cray

SAN FRANCISCO — Hewlett Packard Enterprise said Friday that it would buy the supercomputer pioneer Cray, a relatively tiny financial transaction that could loom large in a quickening race between the United States and China at the highest reaches of computing.The big Silicon Valley company will pay about $1.4 billion to absorb a much smaller rival that has designed some of the most powerful systems in use and on the drawing board at national laboratories in the United States.Supercomputers have long been a mainstay of military and intelligence agencies, used for chores ranging from cracking codes to designing nuclear weapons. They have many civilian uses as well,…

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‘Knitting is Coding’ and Yarn is Programmable in This Physics Lab

BOSTON — On the eve of the American Physical Society’s annual March meeting, a Sunday “stitch ‘n bitch” session convened during happy hour at a lobby bar of the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel.Karen Daniels, a physicist at North Carolina State University, had tweeted notice of the meet-up earlier that day: “Are you a physicist into knitting, crocheting, or other fiber arts?” she asked. “I’ll be the one knitting a torus.” (A torus is a mathematized doughnut; hers was inspired by a figure in a friend’s scientific paper.)At the bar, amid tables cluttered with balls of yarn, Dr. Daniels absorbed design advice from a group of specialized knitters,…

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Amazon to Invest in Deliveroo, a Rival to Uber in Food Delivery

LONDON — Amazon is taking a big step into the international restaurant delivery business — and taking a shot at one of Uber’s most promising markets in the process.The e-commerce giant said on Friday that it would lead a $575 million investment in Deliveroo, becoming one of the London-based start-up’s biggest backers.The cash infusion will strengthen one of the largest international rivals to Uber’s meal-delivery division, UberEats, which the ride-hailing company has identified as one of its most promising businesses.Including the new investment round, which also involved existing backers like T. Rowe Price and Fidelity, Deliveroo has now raised $1.53 billion.The start-up, which was founded in 2013,…

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Facebook’s A.I. Whiz Now Faces the Task of Cleaning It Up. Sometimes That Brings Him to Tears.

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, was tearing up.For half an hour, we had been sitting in a conference room at Facebook’s headquarters, surrounded by whiteboards covered in blue and red marker, discussing the technical difficulties of removing toxic content from the social network. Then we brought up an episode where the challenges had proved insurmountable: the shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand.In March, a gunman had killed 51 people in two mosques there and live streamed it on Facebook. It took the company roughly an hour to remove the video from its site. By then, the bloody footage had spread across social media.Mr.…

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Bits: The Week in Tech: Putting an A.I. Genie Back in Its Bottle

Each week, we review the week’s news, offering analysis about the most important developments in the tech industry. Want this newsletter in your inbox? Sign up here.Hi, I’m Jamie Condliffe. Greetings from London. Here’s a look at the week’s tech news:“The facial recognition genie, so to speak, is just emerging from the bottle,” Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, wrote in December, when he called for regulation of the technology.San Francisco just put it back in.On Tuesday, the city’s Board of Supervisors banned the use of facial recognition software by the police and other city agencies in an 8-to-1 vote. Supporters said its use by government was an invasion…

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Violent Japanese Mascot That Tickled John Oliver Is Suspended by Twitter

HONG KONG — The Twitter accounts of a Japanese mascot whose naughty antics charmed the internet and drew praise from the comedian John Oliver were abruptly suspended this week.Fans are bereft. But still kind of amused.The cutesy-looking unsanctioned mascot, Chiitan, was modeled on a real-life otter that was itself an official honorary tourism mascot last year for the southern Japanese city of Susaki.But Chiitan’s violent stunts — such as pushing over a car or attacking an inflatable pole with a baseball bat — became instant memes that delighted social media users around the world. Susaki city officials initially turned a blind eye toward them — until complaints…

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Trump’s Latest Move Takes Straight Shot at Huawei’s Business

BEIJING — The Trump administration has filed criminal charges against Huawei for stealing technology. It has all but snuffed out the Chinese tech giant’s sales in the United States, calling the firm an espionage threat. And it has tried to persuade other governments to do similarly.But Washington had not taken a straight shot at Huawei’s ability to do business anywhere in the world until late Wednesday, when the Commerce Department announced restrictions on the company’s access to American technology.American companies including Qualcomm, Intel and Broadcom sell Huawei microchips and other specialized parts that go into its smartphones and telecom equipment. Google’s Android software powers its phones. Of…

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SpaceX Again Delays Starlink Internet Satellite Launch

For the second time in two nights, SpaceX, the private rocket company founded by Elon Musk, said on Thursday evening it would postpone the launch of dozens of satellites.Wednesday’s attempt to launch Starlink, the company’s bid to get into the space-based internet business, was postponed because of strong winds high in Earth’s atmosphere. The Thursday delay, SpaceX said on Twitter, was related to checking the systems it planned to launch. The company could try again next week.Standing down to update satellite software and triple-check everything again. Always want to do everything we can on the ground to maximize mission success, next launch opportunity in about a week.—…

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