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TECH_Technology

Apple will unveil iPhone 6s and 6s plus on September 9

Apple is preparing for a monumental day in iPhone history, where it will unveil its newest iterations of the smartphone, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. According to a report from USA Today, the company hopes that the exciting new features will help drive sales after a bumpy summer.

Apple lost nearly 20 percent of its stock price over the past few weeks, amounting to a $155 billion loss for investors. The drop falls on the back of concerns about China’s smartphone market, which poses questions about Apple’s current financial situation.

According to Daniel Ives, an analyst from FBR Capital Markets, iPhone 6s and 6s Plus sales will largely determine the level of investor confidence in the company over the year’s remaining months. He calls the situation a “white knuckle period” for the company, but believes that Apple will pull through with the rollout of its newest mobile device.

Apple is facing an increasing level of competition from Chinese mobile phone producers Huawei and Xiaomi, prompting the company to seek other developing markets in India and South America. Still, Apple plans to have 40 retail stores in China by the middle of next year.

Despite Apple’s financial situation abroad, American consumers can expect to see a killer new iPhone, with improved Siri capabilities and the highly anticipated Force Touch technology. Be sure to check out the unveiling of the new phone on September 9 in San Francisco.

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Science

Invasive species pushes wildlife out of northern US lakes

Invasive species have the potential to choke out entire populations of native wildlife, and a new one has just been discovered throughout the waterways of multiple states in the Northern U.S. Wildlife officials and residents alike are extremely concerned about the presence of the new plant species. According to a report from CBS, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the presence of starry stonewort in multiple lakes throughout the state.

The department announced on Friday that starry stonewort has already invaded the waters of Lake Koronis and Mud Lake, which are connected by a system of streams in Stearns and Meeker counties.

Property owners on both lakes contacted the Minnesota DNR when they noticed a bizarre and abundant patch of vegetation sprawling out across the bottom of the lake. DNR agents arrived to investigate, and were stunned to discover that starry stonewort had spread throughout almost 53 acres of the lakebed.

Starry stonewort is an invasive species of large algae, a member of the family Characeae. It is significantly stronger and bigger than other species in its family, allowing it to survive and reproduce in foreign environments with ease. The plant can grow up to two meters in height, and uses transparent filaments called rhizoids to secure themselves to the bottom of alkaline lakes at depths of up to nine meters.

The algae was first found in North America in the St. Lawrence River in 1978, and has since spread its range to lakes all across the northern U.S. The creates competition for oxygen and sunlight in the lake with other plants, and diminishes biodiversity by pushing out the native plants and disrupting local food webs.

There is currently no course of action to remove the stonewort in place, but Minnesota officials hope they can keep the invasion confined to these two lakes before the algae spreads to the rest of the state.

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Science

Spike, Chicago corpse flower, fails to bloom after weeks of waiting

It’s a rare sight to behold. One of the world’s largest – and smelliest – flowers, the infamous “corpse flower, ” has been on display in the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe for the past month. According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, however, the display was ultimately a disappointment for many amateur botanists.

The rare rainforest flower never fully bloomed on its own, requiring assistance from a team of attendants at the botanic garden. Since the flower failed to bloom, it also didn’t produce the burning, rotting scent that fascinates so many people. This hardly seemed to matter to visitors at the garden this Sunday, who waited upwards of 45 minutes to take a picture with the flower.

The flower is know as Titan arum, and was typically called “Spike.” The plant showed signs of blooming for weeks and even produced a faint odor, but it never opened to reveal its tan and purple leaves. Garden scientists decided that after a week the best course of action was to cut around the plant’s trunk and open up the flower by themselves.

Spike is 68 inches tall, and researchers believe that the flower didn’t have enough energy to burst free of its closed position. The incision made by the scientists helped the outer layers fall off, revealing bizarre spongy leaves beneath.

Chicago Botanic Garden conservation scientist Patrick Herendeen, who narrated the opening for visitors, said, “It’s disappointing that it didn’t open because it’s really quite splendid. They’re amazing plants. Their flowers are amazing and their odor is amazing.”

While there’s no doubt that the flower is a truly intriguing plant, we would stop short of calling the odor amazing. It didn’t earn a name like “corpse flower” for no reason, after all.

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TECH_Technology

Now is the time to buy an Apple TV

Casual entertainment fans looking to grab an Apple TV should probably think about doing so quickly, because a new version of the set-top box is slated for release September 9, and it isn’t going to be cheap. According to a report from PC Mag, the price of an Apple TV is set to rise from $69 to upwards of $149.

Apple will debut the new set-top box at a San Francisco press conference next month. The device will be slightly larger than the current version, and will offer greater connectivity with Siri and Apple’s App Store. It will also include API support so developers can create applications to run with the device.

Despite the rollout of the new Apple TV, the company said that they would not be introducing their Apple Internet TV service at the press event. According to a Bloomberg report, Apple is still working on securing deals with content providers that would give traditional cable companies a serious run for their money.

Apple’s Internet TV service is expected to be released sometime next year and will run for somewhere around $40 per month. As younger generations increasingly prefer to seek out content from the Internet, giant cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner are growing nervous about their market share.

Some estimates say that the price for the new Apple TV could be as high as $199. Given that there are no seriously revolutionary features that come with the new set-top box, it may be a good idea to go and get one while they’re still inexpensive.

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Business NONE

The reason behind the declines in the US oil rig count

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. reported earlier this week that the number of rigs currently exploring for or producing oil and natural gas in the United States declined by 8 to a total of 877 nationwide. According to a report from Pulse Headlines, the decrease comes after a slow week of growth before.

Baker Hughes announced that there were currently 675 exploratory rigs in the country looking for oil, and 202 that were on the hunt for natural gas. Last year, when oil prices were nearly twice what they are today, there were 1,914 active rigs in the country.

Only the top oil-producing state was spared from the decline this week. Texas gained three rigs, while Louisiana lost six, New Mexico lost two, and Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma each lost one. Alaska, Arkansas, California, Kansas, North Dakota, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming’s rig counts all remained unchanged.

Baker Hughes has been counting rotary rigs since 1944, and has proved a valuable service in the oil industry. The company got their start in Canada counting drilling activity of American and Canadian drilling activity. It began issuing a monthly international rig count in 1975, although it excludes rigs located in Russia and onshore China from the final tally.

The North American rig count is released every Friday at 12pm CST, and the international count is released on the fifth working day of every month. It is a safe bet that weak oil prices are keeping rig numbers from growing, and oil producers will need a higher price to incentivize further drilling in many American oilfields.

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NONE

Pennsylvania team will face Japan in Little League World Series

It was the biggest crowd 12-year-old Chayton Krauss had ever heard as 46, 000 people erupted in applause to celebrate the end of the Little League World Series. According to an AP report, Krauss hit an RBI single deep into right field at the bottom of the final inning on Saturday, leading the Lewisberry, Pennsylvania team a 3-2 win over Pearland, Texas.

Krauss was elated about his big hit. “It felt awesome and it was amazing to get that hit and it felt great,” the boy says. “I just remember that he had a decent fastball and a decent curveball and I got a fastball and just drilled it.”

Pitcher Cole Wagner had 11 strike outs and a homerun for the Red Land Little League team, drawing from Lewisberry and multiple other towns in the Williamsport area.

Lewisberry will advance in the series to take on the undefeated Tokyo, Japan team in the Little League World Series championship game this Sunday. Tokyo earned victories over Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico in seven innings earlier on Saturday to earn the international title.

Red Land fans lined up ahead of the 3:30 pm start, setting a single game record of 45,716 attendees. According to Lewisberry manager Tom Peifer, “As far as you could see there were people. They were loud. I kept saying, ‘Let’s give them something to cheer about.’”

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Science

Millions of Americans stay up late to watch ‘Supermoon’

If you looked up in the night sky this weekend, you probably noticed that the moon was abnormally bright and large in the sky. Scientists refer to this phenomenon as a “supermoon,” which dazzled viewers across the planet on Saturday night. Supermoons are formed when the moon approaches the Earth at an obscure angle, making it appear bright and imposing. According to a report from UPI, the time when the moon is closest to Earth, also known as perigee, at 222,631 miles from our atmosphere happened on Saturday evening.

To viewers on the ground, the moon appeared 14 percent larger in the sky. It was roughly 5,200 miles closer to the Earth than it would be on its normal orbital path, which is roughly 238,855 miles away.

This weekend’s supermoon is the prelude to two more supermoons this autumn – the second on September 27 and the last on October 27. The term “supermoon” hasn’t been used for very long; astrologer Richard Nolle came up with the term just 30 years ago. Before, the phenomenon was simply called a perigee moon.

If you spent the weekend in the Canary Islands off of Morocco, you were probably treated to one of the best views of the moon on the planet. That didn’t stop stargazers across North America and Europe enjoying the big, round, glowing moon in the night sky this Saturday night.

People in coastal areas are concerned that the moon’s proximity will influence tides, and cause mild coastal flooding. No reports of catastrophic floods have appeared yet, fortunately. It was a calm night across the country, and even people who live by the ocean got to see a beautiful view of the stunning moon hanging low in the sky.

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TECH TECH_Technology

Surprise – Microsoft emerges from 8 year patent suit as the victor

Back in 2007, the iPhone had just come out and people were freaking out about Nokia’s latest phone. While most people have left these days far behind, the US International Trade Commission has been stuck there for the last 8 years. According to a report from Engadget, the US ITC has just ruled that a dispute between Microsoft and InterDigital over Nokia’s N95 phones did not constitute copyright infringement.

The dispute stemmed from a disagreement over patents for the then-new 3G cellular technology. The ruling has blocked a potential import ban that would prohibit Microsoft from selling much of its mobile phone inventory in the United States, including the new Lumias.

Microsoft narrowly avoided a hefty settlement or punishment when a judge ruled in April that Microsoft was, in fact, infringing on the patents of InterDigital. Microsoft enlisted its powerful legal team to contest the decision all the way to the top.

The company is grateful for the ruling, which appears to be a final twist of the knife for InterDigital. Microsoft sued the company earlier this year over its alleged “abusive licensing practices.” Microsoft claims that InterDigital is attempting to extort cash that it missed out on years ago from the company, but InterDigital claims that it is aware of its fate, and has been since Nokia fell out of favor with consumers.

InterDigital’s push for an import ban was based on its assumption that the company would be able to collect heavy royalties from a larger phone producer. The loss may be the final nail in the coffin for InterDigital.

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TECH_Social TECH_Technology

Virginia teen gets heavy sentence for helping ISIS on Twitter

A Virginia teenager, Ali Shukri Amin, 17, received a sentence of 11 years in a federal prison for helping another teen board a flight bound for Syria so he fight with ISIS. According to a report from NY Daily News, Amin was also charged with managing a Twitter account in support of the terrorist group.

Amin, who lived in Manassas, VA, expected no sympathy from the judge at the time of his sentencing. The teen will spend 11 years in a Federal prison on multiple counts related to his involvement with the terrorist group.

Amin was found guilty of conspiracy charges for providing material support to terrorists fighting in the destabilized region that straddles the border between Iraq and Syria. He is one of the few youths in recent memory that was sentenced to a stint in a federal prison.

The teen pled guilty to using Twitter and other social media networks to help solicit donations to financially support ISIS. He dropped a fellow teenager off at the airport where he would catch a flight to Syria. Amin then delivered a letter and a thumb drive to the departed teen’s parents, telling them that they would never see their son again.

According to FBI Assistant Director Andrew McCabe, “Today marks a personal tragedy for the Amin family and the community, as we have lost yet another young person to the allure of extremist ideology focused on hatred.”

Amin also pled guilty to showing ISIS supporters how to send money with Bitcoins, and potentially helped more aspiring ISIS fighters to exit the country.

 

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NONE

VA teen gets 11 years behind bars for tweeting to help ISIS

Virginia teenager Ali Shukri Amin, 17 was sentenced to 11 years behind bars for helping another teen board a flight bound for Syria so he could join ISIS. According to a report from NY Daily News, the teen was also charged with sending tweets in support of the terrorist group.

Amin, of Manassas, VA, didn’t ask the judge who sentenced him for any sympathy. The teen will spend 11 years in a Federal prison, he learned on Friday.

Amin pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges this June where he allegedly provided material support to terrorists fighting in the destabilized region between Iraq and Syria. He is one of the few juveniles in recent memory that has received a federal sentence.

The teen admitted to using Twitter and other social media platforms to accept donations on behalf of ISIS. He dropped a fellow teenager off at the airport so he could fly to Syria, and immediately delivered a message to his parents after saying that they would never see their son again.

According to FBI Assistant Director Andrew McCabe, “Today marks a personal tragedy for the Amin family and the community, as we have lost yet another young person to the allure of extremist ideology focused on hatred.”

Amin also pleaded guilty to transferring funds via Bitcoin in hidden parcels to ISIS, and helped other aspiring jihadists to leave the country.