Your 7-year fear of Americans legally getting to make in-flight calls has come to an end

The next time you get on a plane, you’ll probably have plenty of new things to worry about, but having to listen to people talking on the phone won’t be one. Way back in 2013, the FCC announced that it would be considering removing a ban on passengers making phone calls once the plane was above 10,000 feet. The proposal was unpopular even within the FCC, with then-Chairman Tom Wheeler saying he would prefer people not be allowed to make calls on a plane.

The FCC originally announced that it would be considering the proposal on December 12 (of 2013), but it took until today to reach a verdict (via Boing Boing): no. The decision cites “strong opposition,” especially among pilots and flight attendants, claiming that the proposal “[failed] to address significant safety and national security concerns.”

There are also concerns that the proposal would make flights less

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Bill Gates calls for creation of National Institutes of Energy Innovation to better address climate change

Wind power in Washington state. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

In the midst of one global disaster, Bill Gates is thinking about how to prevent the next. And while the world clearly wasn’t prepared to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Microsoft co-founder thinks there is one solution that could help address climate change.

In a new GatesNotes blog post on Thursday, the Microsoft co-founder is calling for a better national way to evaluate and nurture great ideas around clean energy research. Specifically, Gates would like to see the federal government create the National Institutes of Energy Innovation.

“This the most important thing the U.S. can do to lead the world in innovations that will solve climate change,” Gates said.

Rather than having research and ideas spread across departments such as Energy, Transportation, Defense and even NASA, Gates said the idea would follow the successful model demonstrated by the National

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Norristown Calls For Development Proposals On Downtown Property

NORRISTOWN, PA — Norristown and Montgomery County officials are on the hunt for a qualified developer to give purpose to 10 contiguous tracts of undeveloped land in downtown Norristown.

The county’s redevelopment authority last month issued a request for proposal (RFP) calling on real estate developers to “acquire, design, finance, construct, manage, and market” the infill site composed of approximately 4,000 square feet.

In the RFP, the redevelopment authority said the property was held for years by a speculative owner “whose actions impeded development or acquisition.” It was only recently acquired by the county.

Now, officials hope to create a transit-oriented development to give the property meaning and add value to Norristown’s Town Center zoning district.

Municipal Administrator Crandall Jones told radio station WHYY the initiative aims to “create some additional density in the town to help diversify our tax base,” Jones said.

According to the RFP, the property is

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FCC Maintains Ban on Mobile Phone Voice Calls During Flights

(Bloomberg) — The U.S. Federal Communications Commission killed a proposal to allow in-flight voice calls via mobile phones, ending its examination of an idea that evoked fears of air rage from passengers trapped beside jabbering seat mates.



a close up of a bicycle: Passenger seats are seen in the cabin of a grounded Lion Air Boeing Co. 737 Max 8 aircraft at terminal 1 of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Cenkareng, Indonesia, on Tuesday, March 15, 2019. Sunday’s loss of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737, in which 157 people died, bore similarities to the Oct. 29 crash of another Boeing 737 Max plane, operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air, stoking concern that a feature meant to make the upgraded Max safer than earlier planes has actually made it harder to fly.


© Bloomberg
Passenger seats are seen in the cabin of a grounded Lion Air Boeing Co. 737 Max 8 aircraft at terminal 1 of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Cenkareng, Indonesia, on Tuesday, March 15, 2019. Sunday’s loss of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737, in which 157 people died, bore similarities to the Oct. 29 crash of another Boeing 737 Max plane, operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air, stoking concern that a feature meant to make the upgraded Max safer than earlier planes has actually made it harder to fly.

The idea drew “strong opposition” from pilots and flight attendants, the agency said Friday in a four-paragraph order.

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The FCC in 2013 proposed

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Xi Jinping calls for ‘global internet’ despite censorship at home

Nov. 23 (UPI) — China wants to build a common cyberspace community with the outside world, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said during a conference that promotes the export of China’s model of a highly regulated internet.

Xi, who delivered his statement in a letter read at the 7th World Internet Conference in Wuzhen on Monday, said Beijing is ready to “cooperate” on building a shared Internet infrastructure, the South China Morning Post and China’s CGTN reported.

“Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, telemedicine, online education and telecommunication have been widely used and the internet has played an important role in promoting economic recovery,” Xi said.

“China is ready to work with other countries to grasp the information revolution, foster new driving forces for digital development and open up new prospects for digital cooperation.”

China has hosted the annual conference since 2014 to raise its profile on the world stage.

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Cogito raises $25 million to analyze phone calls with AI

Boston-based call analytics startup Cogito today closed a $25 million convertible debt round led by Goldman Sachs Growth Equity, Salesforce Ventures, and other new and existing investors. The company says this latest capital will be used to expand its go-to-market efforts and accelerate the development of new products.

Algorithm-driven call center platforms promise unprecedented insight into the performance of customer support agents. That’s particularly valuable in the midst of the pandemic, when historic call volume and physical distancing precautions make the need for triaging more acute. In March, as call center workers in the Philippines began to social distance, hold times for U.S.-based companies like TD Bank, Delta, and American Express increased dramatically.

Cogito, which was cofounded by MIT computer scientist Alex Pentland, develops software that performs emotional and sentiment analysis on call center conversations using natural language processing. It measures energy level, pace, tone of speech, and other factors

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Design firm calls on developers to include food spaces | The Land

THE “urban farm” continues to grow in popularity and necessity on the back of concern over food shortages.

That’s according to a design consultancy firm which is calling for developers to turn unused land into fruit and vegetable production spaces, in the hopes of incorporating localised food systems into communities.

Urban design and planning business, Hatch RobertsDay has backed one of its Queensland-based senior urban designers, Catherine Simpson, to see what can be done in the space.

Ms Simpson is a director of Brisbane Food City, a collaborative, community-led initiative consisting of several agriculture experts.

RobertsDay contributed to the Brisbane Food City initiative during its early stages.

The idea reimagines Brisbane as a sustainable, localised food system, bringing food production to 190 Brisbane suburbs through farms and hubs by 2050.

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Ms Simpson’s expertise, along with Brisbane Food City’s project vision, prompted the firm to engage with developers to

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Samsung boss calls meeting of top executives to plan for ‘another design revolution’

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Image: Samsung

Samsung Electronics vice chairman, Lee Jae-yong, has stressed the importance of using integrated design in a meeting with the company’s top executives.

Lee hosted the design strategy meeting to stress the importance of an integrated design competence that encompasses software and hardware, Samsung said.

“Let’s achieve another design revolution. Let us endlessly challenge ourselves for the future,” the vice chairman said, according to Samsung.   

He met with top executives from all of Samsung’s business units at the company’s Seoul R&D campus. It is the first time that all of the business units have come together for this type of meeting, Samsung said. Mobile boss TM Roh and TV boss Han Jong-hee were among those in attendance, the company added.

Prior to this meeting, since 2016, each business units have held their own respective design strategy meetings instead.

Lee was also briefed on the development of robots and wearable

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Maria Ressa calls for “emergency intervention” in social media

Journalist Maria Ressa, who has spent decades of her career exposing corruption and disinformation, is calling for “emergency intervention” to combat social media’s influence on politics and society. 



Maria Ressa holding a phone and looking at the camera: Rappler CEO Maria Ressa Arrest


© NurPhoto
Rappler CEO Maria Ressa Arrest

“We’re living in ‘The Matrix,’ we’re feeding energy to the social media platforms and we’re living in illusions. We are being manipulated and this is untenable for democracy,” Ressa said in a discussion with CBSN’s Elaine Quijano at the 2020 Reykjavík Global Forum – Women Leaders event Wednesday. “I now call social media platforms ‘behavior modification systems’ — we are Pavlov’s dogs.”

Ressa, co-founder and CEO of the news site Rappler in the Philippines, is currently appealing her conviction in a “cyber libel” case that could see her sentenced to years in prison. Known as a critic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s authoritarian regime, her arrest was widely criticized by the international community, and came in

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