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Amazon is making it more expensive to fulfill 'dangerous' items in its warehouses weeks after a can of bear spray exploded and injured dozens of workers

Amazon is making it more expensive to fulfill 'dangerous' items in its warehouses weeks after a can of bear spray exploded and injured dozens of workers

Amazon appears to be discouraging its sellers who use the Fulfillment by Amazon program from sending more dangerous items into its warehouses.FBA is a program in which third-party sellers send their goods to be stored in Amazon warehouses before they are sold on Amazon.com. Items are then shipped out like a normal order by the e-commerce giant.Amazon announced on its seller forum last Wednesday that it will be introducing a new fee for "dangerous" items like aerosol cans and lithium-ion batteries that sellers send to Amazon warehouses. The fees are higher than the regular fees Amazon charges for using Fulfillment by Amazon.For example: a normal item with a shipping weight of between 10 and 16 ounces and is considered small would qualify for a fee of $2.48, while a "dangerous" item the same size would carry a charge of $3.45.
UK police release airport drone suspects and admit there may not have been any drones after all

UK police release airport drone suspects and admit there may not have been any drones after all

Less than a week after mystery drones grounded flights at the U.K.’s second largest airport, wreaking havoc on as many as 140,000 people’s travel plans for the Christmas period, police have admitted that there may in fact not have been any drones at all.Gatwick airport reopened on Friday after a one-day shutdown but it appears that investigators are no closer to knowing what actually took place.The Guardian reports that police released and exonerated a couple who had been detained as suspects, while a senior police spokesperson said there is “always a possibility that there may not have been any genuine drone activity in the first place.”
Apple confirms some iPad Pros ship slightly bent, but says it’s normal

Apple confirms some iPad Pros ship slightly bent, but says it’s normal

Apple has confirmed to The Verge that some of its 2018 iPad Pros are shipping with a very slight bend in the aluminum chassis. But according to the company, this is a side effect of the device’s manufacturing process and shouldn’t worsen over time or negatively affect the flagship iPad’s performance in any practical way. Apple does not consider it to be a defect.The bend is the result of a cooling process involving the iPad Pro’s metal and plastic components during manufacturing, according to Apple. Both sizes of the new iPad Pro can exhibit it. The iPad Pro ranges in price from $799 for the base 11-inch model up to $1,899 for a fully-loaded 12.9-inch device with 1TB of storage and LTE connectivity.
Microsoft, Amazon respond to Facebook privacy concerns

Microsoft, Amazon respond to Facebook privacy concerns

Microsoft and Amazon were called out in a New York Times investigation of Facebook this week, as customers of the social media site that received data about users that Facebook didn’t receive permission to distribute.Microsoft received information about Facebook users’ friends, the report said, and Amazon got contact info about people, also through access to their friends.Microsoft acknowledged the Facebook report Wednesday morning, but said it did not use data from Facebook to create profiles for advertising on its Bing search engine.
Congressional Democrats Release Report On Marijuana Legalization’s Economic Benefits

Congressional Democrats Release Report On Marijuana Legalization’s Economic Benefits

Democrats on the congressional Joint Economic Committee published a report on Tuesday highlighting the “economic benefits of legalized cannabis at the state and national levels.”Titled, “The National Cannabis Economy,” the report finds that the marijuana industry brought in more than $8 billion in sales in 2017, with sales estimated to reach $11 billion this year and expected to soar to $23 billion by 2022.“The growth of the cannabis economy presents opportunities for greater job creation, more tax revenue, and better patient care,” the report concludes after summarizing the banking and tax fairness issues that current federal policy causes for state-legal marijuana businesses.
Smartglasses Maker North Picks Up Intel's Vaunt Patents

Smartglasses Maker North Picks Up Intel's Vaunt Patents

When wearables startup North officially unveiled its Focals smartglasses in October, the stylish frames strongly resembled, in form and function, Intel's canceled Vaunt smartglasses.Now, North's Focals may be about to have even more in common with Vaunt, as the startup has acquired the patent portfolio behind Intel's shelved project.On Monday, North CEO Stephen Lake revealed, in a report from The Verge that his company, formerly known as Thalmic Labs, has purchased about 230 patents and applications, along with related "technology and assets," that would bring North's total patent arsenal to more than 650.
Last-Minute Shoppers Increasingly Trust Only Amazon to Deliver

Last-Minute Shoppers Increasingly Trust Only Amazon to Deliver

SEATTLE — Olivia Zimmermann started her holiday shopping early this year, buying a Bluetooth speaker from Best Buy for her sister. It was supposed to arrive by Dec. 10, two weeks before Christmas.The speaker never showed up — and the post office said it had delivered the package to a different town. Best Buy apologized and offered to reship it. But Ms. Zimmermann, who works in marketing in Chicago, was over it.“I just want a refund,” she told the retailer, and then added: “At this point, I have already ordered from Amazon because I know for a fact it will be here when they say it will.”
Annual Smart Speaker IQ Test

Annual Smart Speaker IQ Test

We recently tested four smart speakers by asking Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, and Cortana 800 questions each. Google Assistant was able to answer 88% of them correctly vs. Siri at 75%, Alexa at 73%, and Cortana at 63%. Last year, Google Assistant was able to answer 81% correctly vs. Siri (Feb-18) at 52%, Alexa at 64%, and Cortana at 56%.As part of our ongoing effort to better understand the practical use cases of AI and the emergence of voice as a computing input, we regularly test the most common digital assistants and smart speakers. This time, we focused solely on smart speakers Amazon Echo (Alexa), Google Home (Google Assistant), HomePod (Siri), and Invoke (Cortana).
Bitcoin crosses $4,000 for the first time in two weeks

Bitcoin crosses $4,000 for the first time in two weeks

Bitcoin has surpassed $4,000 for the first time in two weeks, continuing to break away from a months-long rout.The price of the world’s best-known cryptocurrency climbed almost 7 percent to $4,037 on Thursday, according to CoinDesk’s index tracker.The last time the digital currency was trading at the $4,000 level was on Dec. 4. It began to plummet in mid-November after months of stability, restoring volatility in an asset known to jump or fall hundreds of dollars within hours.It has fallen almost 80 percent since a record high near $20,000 in December last year. Earlier this week, bitcoin began to jolt upward on the anniversary of the cryptocurrency’s all-time high.
Why Autodesk Just Spent $1.15 Billion On Two Construction Tech Startups

Why Autodesk Just Spent $1.15 Billion On Two Construction Tech Startups

Autodesk’s construction software business is getting its second acquisition-fueled jolt of the past few weeks. The company announced on Thursday that it is acquiring startup BuildingConnected for $275 million.The acquisition of BuildingConnected comes exactly one month after Autodesk announced plans to acquire PlanGrid, another construction tech startup, for $875 million in November (the deal closed today). Together, the two acquisitions mean San Rafael, California-based Autodesk has paid $1.15 billion in a month for the startup companies.


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