This Week in Tech – 1/21/18: Walmart Officials Plan To Cut Thousands Of Jobs Through Store Closures, Automation

Walmart Officials Plan To Cut Thousands Of Jobs Through Store Closures, Automation

At the same time Walmart officials announced an increase in starting pay and bonuses for their employees, they were taking actions that will likely end up placing thousands of those employees on the unemployment line


China Uses Facial Recognition to Monitor Ethnic Minorities

China is adding facial recognition to its overarching surveillance systems in Xinjiang, a Muslim-dominated region in the country’s far west that critics claim is under abusive security controls. The geo-fencing tools alert authorities when targets venture beyond a designated 300-meter safe zone, according to an anonymous source who spoke to Bloomberg


Amazon Won’t Say if It Hands Your Echo Data to the Government

Three years ago, the retail giant became the last major tech company to reveal how many subpoenas, search warrants, and court orders it received for customer data in a half-year period. While every other tech giant had regularly published its government request figures for years, spurred on by accusations of participation in government surveillance, Amazon had been largely forgotten


Senate Votes to Extend NSA’s Warrantless Surveillance Program

Last week, the US House of Representatives voted to renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a law that lets the National Security Agency monitor communications of non-US citizens living outside of the US. Today, the Senate has also voted in favor of renewing the law for another six years


Renewable Energy Set to Be Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels by 2020, According to New Report

Renewable energy will be cheaper than fossil fuels in two years, according to a new report. Experts predict that investment in green infrastructure projects will lead to decreases in the cost of energy for consumers. Continuous technological improvements have led to a rapid fall in the cost of renewable energy in recent years, meaning some forms can already comfortably compete with fossil fuels


Chernobyl’s Transformation Into a Massive Solar Plant Is Almost Complete

At the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine, work is almost finished on a huge new solar plant that’s set to provide one megawatt of renewable power for the local electricity grid. The new plant sits just a hundred metres (328 feet) from the Object Shelter, nicknamed the “sarcophagus”, a sealed metal dome designed to prevent further radiation leakage from the remains of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant


I Tried Out a Sleep Mask That Emits Light From the Inside to Wake You Up Naturally

Startup Dreamlight debuted a new sleep mask at CES that makes a number of promises, including the ability to lessen the effects of jet lag, recommend adjustments to your sleep habits based on your 23andMe profile, and, um, project infrared light to supposedly help with under eye circles

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