TIME climate change

New Methane Measurements Suggest Pollution is Worse Than Researchers Thought

Caucasian technicians tightening bolts on pipe
Getty Images

Methane can have a major effect on global warming

A new study has found that a device widely used to detect methane gas may fail to capture the full scale of leakages, resulting in chronic underestimates of the potent greenhouse gas.

University of Texas researchers identified a pattern of measurement errors from the Bacharach Hi-Flow Sampler, a device widely deployed at natural gas facilities, which the Environmental Protection Agency uses to collect nationwide data on methane emissions. The device switches between two sensors that measure low and high intensity leakages. Researchers found the device frequently malfunctioned in the handoff, resulting in “systematically underestimated emissions.”

The study was published Tuesday in the journal Energy Science & Engineering.

TIME

Hitchhiking Robot’s Final Moments Caught in Surveillance Footage

The globe trotting robot lasted only 2 weeks in the U.S., thanks to a Philadelphia assailant

Video footage of a hitchhiking robot’s untimely demise at the hands of an American assailant surfaced online Monday.

Surveillance camera footage obtained by YouTube vlogger Jesse Wellens shows an unidentified Philadelphia man stomping on the robot early Saturday morning at 5:46 am. Wellens had previously posted a video of himself ferrying Hitchbot around Philadelphia.

Hitchbot was found last weekend with its arms torn free and its head missing. The amiable robot, which safely hitchhiked across Germany and Canada, lasted only two weeks in the U.S.

Canadian researchers designed Hitchbot to test the frontiers of human-robot relations.

TIME Internet

Big Game Hunter Defies Facebook Critics With Provocative Photos

"Everybody just thinks we're cold-hearted killers, and it's not that"

An Idaho hunter vowed to not buckle under pressure from Facebook critics after posting pictures of herself with a dead giraffe, wildebeest and impala, among other big game kills.

Sabrina Corgatelli said in an interview with the Today show that critics misunderstood the motivation of big game hunters like herself and the Minnesota dentist who was forced to go into hiding after killing Zimbabwe’s beloved Cecil the Lion.

“Everybody just thinks we’re cold-hearted killers, and it’s not that,” she told Today. “There is a connection with the animal, and just because we hunt them doesn’t mean we don’t have a respect for them. Giraffes are very dangerous animals. They could hurt you seriously very quickly.”

Corgatelli took a more defiant stance on her Facebook page, writing, “To all the haters, stay tuned, you’re gonna have so much more to be p***ed about.”

TIME Congress

U.S. Lawmakers Draft ‘CECIL Act’ to Curb Trophy Hunters

It's named for Cecil the lion

U.S. lawmakers joined the chorus of outrage over the killing of Cecil the lion on Friday, announcing a bill that would stop people from importing “trophies” gleaned from hunting potentially endangered animals.

The bill, Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large (CECIL) Animal Trophies Act, would make it illegal for trophy hunters to bring back parts of any species proposed or listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

“Let’s not be cowardly lions when it comes to trophy killings,” Senator Bob Menendez said in a public statement, adding that the legislation is “a necessary and prudent step that creates a disincentive for these senseless trophy killings and advances our commitment in leading the fight to combat global wildlife trafficking.”

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Cory Booker, Richard Blumenthal and Ben Cardin.

The proposed legislation comes after an outpouring of rage against a Minnesota dentist who paid $55,000 to slay the lion during a hunting excursion in Zimbabwe. African lions are not considered endangered species, but last year the United States Fish and Wildlife Service proposed placing them on a list of threatened animals.

TIME Military

New F-35 Fighter Jets Are Ready for Combat

The Joint Strike Fighter F-35 is undergoing flight tests and evaluations at Naval Air Station  Patuxent River, Md
Jonathan Newton—The Washington Post/Getty Images U.S. Marine Corps test pilot Maj. Richard Rusnok goes over his pre-flight check list in the cockpit of the F-35B Lightning II aircraft BF-4p prior to a test flight at Naval Air Station Patuxent River on March 7, 2013 in Patuxent, MD

Years of delay and cost overruns overshadow announcement

The U.S. Marine Corps declared a new squadron of F-35 fighter jets ready for deployment on Friday, yielding the first shipment from a controversial $400 billion fighter program that has struggled through years of costly delays.

A squadron of 10 F-35B Lightning II aircraft passed a final round of inspections on July 18, according to a statement by the U.S. Marine Corps.

“The F-35B’s ability to conduct operations from expeditionary airstrips or sea-based carriers provides our Nation with its first 5th generation strike fighter, which will transform the way we fight and win,” Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford said in a public statement. More than 50 pilots and 500 maintenance crew members have been trained on the newest variant of F-35 fighter jet.

TIME Television

Cosby Show Producer Hopes Fans Will Still Watch

"The legacy of the show is obviously very important to me"

The Cosby Show producer Tom Werner expressed hope on Friday that viewers would separate the show’s fictional patriarch, Heathcliff Huxtable, from the widespread accounts of sexual assault leveled at lead actor Bill Cosby.

Werner declined to comment specifically on the allegations in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, opting instead to focus on the show’s cultural significance.

“The legacy of the show is obviously very important to me because the show was a groundbreaking show and it portrayed a middle-class African-American family in a very positive way,” Werner said during a publicity tour for his Starz series, Survivor’s Remorse. “I’m hoping that people will still be able to watch the show and identify with the Huxtables,” he added.

Werner has been largely reticent on the scandal since he issued a joint statement with producing partner Marcy Carsey last November, calling the accusations against Cosby “beyond our knowledge or comprehension.” In all, 46 women have come forward with rape accusations, prompting cable channels to yank reruns of The Cosby Show.

[THR]

TIME Microsoft

8 Hidden Features in Windows 10

The Windows team went for a "familiar and fresh" look, tucking the fresh features behind the familiar ones

Microsoft’s Windows 10 tends to hide some of its coolest tricks, maybe with good reason. Who wants to reboot their computer and find their desktop radically altered? That was the dilemma Windows users faced after they upgraded to Windows 8 in 2012. Microsoft is determined to not repeat that mistake with Windows 10.

Instead, the Windows team focused on a look that was “familiar and fresh,” opting to tuck the fresh features discreetly behind the familiar ones. Here’s a roadmap to some of the hidden gems:

Adjustable Start Menu: The Start menu will default to a narrow column, but users can drag around the margins to their liking. Fans of “Live Tiles,” those icons that quick launch apps, may want a broader canvass. Detractors can winnow down the menu to Windows 7 proportions.

Spoken Reminders: Hit the mic icon in the search bar, and the digital assistant Cortana will listen for spoken commands. Cortana can then feed the relevant information directly into calendar, email, reminder and calculator apps. Try saying “Remind me to get milk tomorrow at 6 pm,” and you’ll get a sense of the possibilities.

“Hey Cortana:” Really chatty users can go into Cortana’s settings and flip on “Hey Cortana.” The digital assistant will then wake up at that very same voice command.

Notebook: Cortana follows your search and browsing habits in an attempt to decipher your personal tastes. Cut to the chase by hitting the notebook icon in Cortana’s settings and filling out your preferences directly. More privacy minded users can also cut off Cortana’s senses by hitting “Manage what Cortana knows about me in the cloud.”

Refined Searches: The search bar embedded in the Start screen simultaneously searches your personal files and the web. For a tighter focus, you’ll notice two buttons appear as you type a search term. One offers to search “My stuff,” the other, the “Web.” Select according to your needs.

Forget-Me-Not Files: Can’t remember the name of that PowerPoint deck? Enter the file type “.ppt” in the search bar, and it will pull up every saved PowerPoint file, sortable by relevance or recency. Ditto, Word docs and Excel spreadsheets.

Reading List: The star icon in Microsoft Edge doesn’t just add a webpage to your favorites list. You’ll notice a second option to save a story to a “Reading List.” The browser will then automatically save the headline, the picture and the link inside of a handy side menu, which slides out of view until you’re ready for some heavy duty reading.

Marginalia: Microsoft Edge includes a pen and notepad icon in the upper left hand corner. Hit it, and Edge will convert the webpage into mark-up mode. Use digital ink, highlighters and text boxes to mark up the page. Use the share icon to email or save your web clippings.

TIME Microsoft

Why You’ll Actually Want to Use Microsoft’s New Web Browser

Microsoft's Internet Explorer replacement packs two big new features

With Windows 10, Microsoft is finally moving toward putting Internet Explorer out of its misery. But can Microsoft’s new web browser finally knock rivals Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox off their stride?

Edge, the default browser in Microsoft’s Windows 10, certainly delivers on the basics. Early speed tests suggest it can render graphics at top speed, for instance. Throw in a clean layout and the belated addition of a “reading” mode, and Microsoft Edge is at least on an equal footing with Chrome, Firefox and Apple’s Safari — and certainly a vast improvement over its wheezy predecessor.

But the true test of user loyalty will boil down to two new features that no other browser currently provides. The first is a search engine that tucks results into surprisingly convenient places. The second is a digital “inking” feature that makes doodling across the web a sheer joy.

Search

Microsoft’s Siri-like assistant, Cortana, fetches intelligent search results as you type in the address bar. Type the word “weather,” for instance, and the forecast automatically appears in a dynamic pop up menu. Replace it with a basic math equation, and there’s your solution. Ditto for quick problems like metric unit conversions.

Cortana also has a limited ability to curate search results as you’re browsing. Visit a restaurant’s webpage and Cortana’s logo may appear in the address bar, offering to show “hours, directions and more.” Hit it, and a panel slides out from the right-hand side showing a street map along with the establishment’s business hours, phone number and Yelp reviews.

While the functionality is limited only to some restaurants at the moment, the Microsoft Edge team says it’s racing to add more content. “You can just think of the most common activities on the web,” says group program manager Drew DeBruyne. “Shopping, booking travel, reading. Those are the classes of scenarios that we think are very interesting for Cortana to assist.”

And where Cortana can’t proactively suggest answers, users can highlight words and fetch search results, again, in an non-obstructive side menu. Compared to Google Chrome’s option to simply flop a new tab over the one you’re reading, it’s a huge improvement.

Inking and Scribbling

But perhaps the single most intriguing new feature in Microsoft Edge is the ability to snap a picture of a webpage and start editing it. The “ink” feature, which appears as a notepad icon in the upper right hand corner, takes a little getting used to. Hitting it snaps an image of the page and opens a toolkit of pens, highlighters, an eraser and text boxes, which appear in the menu bar. Users will have to decide how they want to use them.

“It’s not something people expect to be able to do in a browser,” says DeBruyne. “Even before there is a learning curve, there’s a ‘what is this for’ curve.” DeBruyne himself is curious to see how Windows 10 users might take the feature in unexpected directions. “Of course, we see some people using it basically for mustaches,” he adds. Here are a few other possibilities:

Wikipedia/TIMEAccentuate points of interest using highlighters
Wikipedia/TIMEAdd text boxes for heavy duty marginalia
Wikipedia/TIMEScrawl directly onto a page using digital ink

Combined, these features could transform the way we engage with the web — or amount to little more than a bunch of silly browser tricks. Which way Edge goes will depend on the willingness of users to reach out and touch the web, a habit that may not come easily after two decades of more passive browsing. That word “browser” alone shows what Microsoft is up against. But given Internet Explorer’s fall from grace in recent years — falling below 15% of the global browser market, according to usage statistics gathered by StatCounter — Microsoft has good reason to take some creative risks with the web, in the hope that users might follow.

TIME Video Games

Microsoft Is About to Make PC Gamers’ Dreams Come True

CHINA-US-COMPUTERS-GAMES-INVESTIGATION
Johannes Eisele—AFP/Getty Images A control of a Microsoft's Xbox One game console is pictured in a shop in Shanghai on September 29, 2014.

Eventually you'll be able to play PC games on your Xbox One

We’ve known for a while that Xbox One owners can stream games from their console to their PC once they upgrade to Windows 10. But could they ever reverse the stream, letting players enjoy PC games on their Xbox One console? Microsoft’s Xbox division head Phil Spencer certainly thinks so.

“Those are absolutely in scope of things that we want to do,” he revealed to the Verge on Wednesday.

But the feature will take some coding before gamers can get their hands on it. Spencer cautioned that it could be a “little more challenging” than getting Xbox One games to stream to the PC. “But challenge is good,” he added. In other words, they’re working on it.

Read more: 10 Reasons Gamers Should Upgrade to Windows 10

[The Verge]

TIME Microsoft

Why Windows 10 Users May Never Use Google Again

It could change the way you use the web

Microsoft’s new Windows 10 software, out Wednesday, is effectively a sneak attack on Google, packing a new desktop search bar that can field just about any question under the sun. And it’s powered in part by Microsoft’s own Bing search engine, meaning the move could help Microsoft gain even more of the search market share against its foremost rival.

Windows 10’s search features are a welcome change to the myriad search options currently sprawling across our digital lives. Right now, search looks a little like this: Want to search the web? Go to Google. Your calendar appointments? Open your calendar app. Your local files on a phone, tablet or PC? Launch finder windows, one by one. Microsoft aims to replace all of those searches with a single, comprehensive search bar that scans everything — your device, your apps, your cloud and the web — in one fell swoop.

The result is a more versatile search experience, but one that users may find momentarily disorienting. After all, we’re used to rummaging through digital compartments and wielding search like a spotlight. At first glance, the search bar in Windows 10 looks like yet another circumscribed spotlight. That is, until you start typing in commands. The scope of answers soon expands well beyond your expectations.

File searches work not only by name, but by file type. Type in “.ppt,” for example, and a list of PowerPoint presentations crops up in a pop-up menu, sortable by most recent or most relevant and accessible in one click. Searches for the names of apps extend beyond your device and into the Windows Store, fetching not only the apps you’ve installed, but the apps you may want to download, too.

When it comes to web searches, you may not regularly visit Bing, though it recently reached 20% of the search market share in the U.S. Windows 10 brings Bing to the forefront, fetching answers faster than you can type the word “Google.” Open-ended questions, like “what’s the meaning of life?” automatically opens up the relevant results on Bing’s landing page. As you type, Bing will autopopulate frequent search phrases (Life lyrics? Life of Pi?) before zipping the question out to the web.

Questions with more definitive answers, like “what’s 2+2,” come even faster with an assist from Cortana, Microsoft’s new voice-activated digital assistant. Cortana pulls the answer, (four, in case you were wondering), directly into a pop-up menu above the search bar, circumventing the web browser entirely.

And that’s where things get interesting, because Cortana can also use machine learning to display everything you wanted to know, but were too busy to ask. Microsoft’s group program manager for Cortana, Marcus Ash, showed TIME his personalized suggestions from Cortana during his recent visit to Manhattan. A stack of cards in a pop-up menu displayed nearby restaurants in Midtown.

“[Cortana] knows I’m in New York and knows it’s roughly lunch time,” Ash said as he scrolled through a list of pubs and delicatessens. “The list will change for happy hour and change for dinner later on.” Throw in stock price gyrations and flight cancellations, and the very idea of search as most of us know it starts to look outdated.

Read More: Here’s What Really Makes Microsoft’s Cortana So Amazing

Windows 10’s personalized search feature isn’t exactly a breakthrough. Google Now users have been seeing similar results since 2012, and Apple’s next big Siri upgrade offers similar functionality. But it’s a field open to competition, and winner of the search wars in the years ahead is likely to be the one that delivers the best personalized results right when you need them. In a sign of how far Microsoft has come, this writer, for the first time ever, used a Bing Map, despite my historical preference for Google, simply because it popped up first in a Windows 10 search menu. If that’s true of other Windows 10 users, Microsoft’s new operating system could prove an unexpectedly successful trojan horse for the company.

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