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    Tesla has added 2,000 job listings

    The company has job openings at 98 showroom locations across the country

    Tesla is hiring showroom sales and delivery staff at 98 locations, Thinknum reports. The move comes at a time when the electric car maker is focusing on profitability after having hit its Model 3 production output target.

    Analysts at Thinknum chalk up the increase in job listings to “moving back into ‘make-money’ mode at the retail sales level.” Tesla currently has more than 2,000 open positions in 98 showroom locations across the U.S.

    With 129 listings, the most common job title is for Customer Experience Specialists -- a sales-focused position. Listings for Vehicle Prep Specialists (employees who set up new cars for customers during the delivery process) are the second-most common, followed by Delivery Experience Specialists.

    Hiring spree

    At Tesla's showrooms, Customer Experience Specialists are similar to salespeople at traditional car dealerships. These employees act as both sales and customer service agents, talking with customers about the features and benefits of Tesla’s electric vehicles.

    “At Tesla, our Customer Experience Specialists, consistently deliver on an incredible educational, immersive, and exciting experience to all of our current and future customers,” Tesla says in its introduction to the job on its careers site.

    “They constitute Tesla’s front line and are our brand ambassadors, supporting our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy by creating memorable experiences for our customers.”

    During May and June, Tesla saw a 24 percent reduction in new job listings. In June, CEO Elon Musk announced that as much as 9 percent of Tesla’s workforce would be leaving the company as part of a “thorough reorganization” of the company intended to help it achieve profitability during the second half of the year.

    Earlier this week, Musk announced that he is dropping his previous idea of going private. Taking the company private would have been "more time-consuming and distracting than initially anticipated,” he said.

    Tesla is hiring showroom sales and delivery staff at 98 locations, Thinknum reports. The move comes at a time when the electric car maker is focusing on pr...
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      Walmart is looking to replace Toys 'R' Us

      The chain is gearing up for the first holiday season without its toy giant competitor

      With Toys “R” Us having permanently closed its doors nationwide, the market for toys is certainly any retailers’ game.

      However, Walmart is hoping to become shoppers’ go-to location for all things toys, especially as the holiday season approaches -- the first without Toys “R” Us in many years.

      The world’s largest retailer will be ramping up its toy selection both online and in stores in preparation for the holidays. The toy selection in stores will be increased by 30 percent, while the toy selection online will increase by 40 percent.

      Consumers can expect hands-on demos of toys in-store, in addition to hundreds of new brands that will soon be available both in stores and online. Moreover, Walmart will soon be partnering with young YouTube star Ryan (“Ryan’s World”) to produce a line of toys that he recommends.

      It’s not just toys. Walmart will soon be expanding its retail options for babies, as the nursery page on its website is undergoing a redesign, and the options for car seats and strollers are being upgraded.

      “We are making even bigger investments in the category to ensure we have the widest selection,” said Anne Marie Kehoe, Walmart’s vice president of toys.

      Competitors with similar ideas

      Walmart isn’t the only company looking to up its game in the wake of Toys “R” Us’ demise.

      Both JCPenney and Kohl’s have announced additions to their baby and toy offerings in recent weeks, while Party City plans to open nearly 50 toy pop up shops.

      “It is likely that the Toys ‘R’ Us news has kept toys top-of-mind for parents and grandparents when shopping for kids,” said Juli Lennett, a senior vice president and industry advisor for toys at NPD Group.

      Experts in the field think Walmart has a good shot at capitalizing on Toys “R” Us’ mistakes, as studies have shown that Walmart and Target shoppers have the most overlap with former Toys “R” Us shoppers.

      Target has taken a similar path as Walmart by increasing its toy options in stores, with the company reporting double-digit sales growth just in toys.

      “Given the strong affinity between families with young children and our brand, both toys and [baby] are key categories for us,” said Target CEO Brian Cornell.

      Toys “R” Us’ decline

      Back in January, Toys “R” Us announced it would be closing 180 of its stores in an effort to reorganize the business under bankruptcy protection. The toy chain filed for bankruptcy in September of 2017, as it needed to restructure $5 billion worth of debt.

      The pressure came from retailers like Amazon and Walmart, who were more competitive to consumers -- particularly in online offerings.

      By March, the company announced all of its U.S. stores would be closing. Toys “R” Us was unable to find a buyer or restructure its debt. The company was confident that the 2017 holiday season would help it return to profitability, as it announced the hiring of thousands of seasonal employees. However, sales came in way under expectations, thus prompting the initial closing of stores in January of 2018.

      With Toys “R” Us having permanently closed its doors nationwide, the market for toys is certainly any retailers’ game.However, Walmart is hoping to bec...
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      Google reportedly monitors credit card usage

      The search giant reportedly links searches to actual purchases

      Google and Mastercard reportedly have a deal that allows the search giant to link online searches to in-store purchases.

      Bloomberg News cites four unnamed sources who confirm the deal, three of whom are said to have directly worked on the project. Bloomberg reports the relationship has never been publicly disclosed.

      According to a spokeswoman for Google, a high level of encryption prevents anyone from viewing personally identifiable information about consumers.

      “We do not have access to any personal information from our partners’ credit and debit cards, nor do we share any personal information with our partners,” the company said in a statement.

      Being able to determine whether a consumer who searched for a product using Google then went to a store and purchased that product is an extremely valuable tool. It allows Google to demonstrate to an advertiser just how effective the ad campaign was. It's an advantage over traditional advertising mediums and may be one reason these other forms of advertising are in decline.

      Growing mistrust

      In the wake of Facebook's privacy issues, it could lead to further scrutiny of large technology companies, already the subject of growing mistrust.

      In March, Facebook revealed that data on millions of its users was obtained by a political marketing firm that used it to target ads during the 2016 presidential campaign. The company, Cambridge Analytica, was not authorized to receive the information, but it didn't lessen the public outrage directed at the social media company.

      But living in an online world often means giving up a great degree of privacy. In an interview with the Harvard Gazette last year, cybersecurity expert and Berkman Klein fellow Bruce Schneier said surveillance has become the business model of the internet.

      'Constant surveillance'

      "Everyone is under constant surveillance by many companies, ranging from social networks like Facebook to cell phone providers," Schneier told the newspaper. "This data is collected, compiled, analyzed, and used to try to sell us stuff. Personalized advertising is how these companies make money, and is why so much of the internet is free to users. We’re the product, not the customer."

      Privacy issues aside, any kind of undisclosed sharing of credit card data has been a sensitive area for both consumers and policymakers in the past. Before it was outlawed, businesses often sold access to customers' credit cards to third party marketers.

      These deals resulted in widespread abuse when these third party marketers charged consumers' credit cards for things they had not knowingly agreed to purchase.

      Google and Mastercard reportedly have a deal that allows the search giant to link online searches to in-store purchases.Bloomberg News cites four unnam...
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      Researchers make major stride toward developing non-addictive painkiller

      A newly developed compound provides effective pain relief but lacks the addiction potential of opioids

      As the opioid epidemic rages on, scientists have been working to develop a safe, non-addictive pain medication -- and, recently, scientists made a major breakthrough toward achieving this goal.

      A new chemical compound known as AT-121 appears to provide pain relief that is more powerful than morphine, but without the addictive effects of opioids.

      “In our study, we found AT-121 to be safe and non-addictive, as well as an effective pain medication,” said Mei-Chuan Ko, professor of physiology and pharmacology at the School of Medicine.

      “In addition, this compound also was effective at blocking abuse potential of prescription opioids, much like buprenorphine does for heroin, so we hope it could be used to treat pain and opioid abuse,” Ko said.

      Cuts abuse potential

      Scientists set out to design and test a chemical compound that would work on both the mu opioid receptors and the nociceptin receptors. The former is the main component in the most effective prescription pain killers, while the latter counters the abuse and dependence-related side effects of mu-targeted opioids.

      Fentanyl and oxycodone, two commonly abused prescription drugs, target only the mu opioid receptors. However, researchers observed that AT-121 targets mu opioid receptors and nociceptin receptors, which enables the compound to provide pain relief while simultaneously blocking the pleasure component.

      “We developed AT-121 that combines both activities in an appropriate balance in one single molecule, which we think is a better pharmaceutical strategy than to have two drugs to be used in combination,” Ko said.

      Researchers observed that AT-121 provided equivalent pain relief to an opioid, but at a hundred times lower dose than morphine. The drug also did not produce other opioid side effects, such as itch, respiratory depression, tolerance, and dependence.

      Dialing down addictive qualities

      The new compound has been tested successfully in rats and monkeys, and final safety tests are underway before clinical trials on people can begin. When monkeys were given access to the drug, they did not seek it out or become addicted.

      “Our data shows that targeting the nociceptin opioid receptor not only dialed down the addictive and other side-effects, it provided effective pain relief,” Ko said. “The fact that this data was in nonhuman primates, a closely related species to humans, was also significant because it showed that compounds, such as AT-121, have the translational potential to be a viable opioid alternative or replacement for prescription opioids.”

      The new research was conducted by scientists at Wake Forest School of Medicine with the support of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It has been published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

      As the opioid epidemic rages on, scientists have been working to develop a safe, non-addictive pain medication -- and, recently, scientists made a major br...
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      California legislature pledges to bar fossil fuels by 2045

      The measure is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk

      California has followed Hawaii in pledging to stop using all forms of fossil fuel in the state by 2045. The California legislature has passed a bill to that effect and sent it to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk to be enacted into law.

      The bill would require all electricity sold to consumers to be generated by solar, wind and other renewable energy sources within three decades. The measure passed over the protests of California utility companies, which told lawmakers the goal isn't practical.

      According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) fossil fuels generated more than 62 percent of U.S. electricity in 2017 while nuclear energy contributed 20 percent. Renewable energy provided just over 17 percent of U.S. electricity.

      The EIA reports California currently gets about a third of its energy needs from renewable sources. Natural gas provides nearly half the state's energy and it gets 9 percent from nuclear.

      '100 percent clean energy'

      “When it comes to fighting climate change and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, California won’t back down, ” said State Senator Kevin de León, who sponsored the measure. “We have taken another great stride toward a 100 percent clean energy future.”

      California lawmakers approved the measure after statewide polls showed widespread support for phasing out fossil fuels. One poll showed 72 percent of state residents were in favor.

      The measure passed the legislature on a 43 to 32 vote. Opponents warned supporters of the economic consequences.

      "We pass all these goals for renewables, but at the same time our families back home will pay the cost with an increase in the electric bills every year as we try to achieve this,” said Assemblyman Devon Mathis, who cast one of the no votes.

      Scientific debate

      Scientists have long debated whether it is feasible to produce all of the nation's energy needs from renewable sources.

      Writing in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, researcher Benjamin Heard and colleagues cast doubt on the ability to produce all needed energy from renewable sources, citing extreme weather events with low sun and low wind.

      Scientists supporting the idea counter that it will be possible, arguing there are technical solutions to all of the drawbacks Heard and his colleagues raised.

      California has followed Hawaii in pledging to stop using all forms of fossil fuel in the state by 2045. The California legislature has passed a bill to tha...
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      KFC to give $11,000 to first baby named after founder

      The money is meant to go towards the child’s education

      As the cost of tuition spirals to unimaginable new heights, one corporation is offering a solution that will surely come with no regrets for anyone involved.

      KFC says that people who name their babies Harland, after founder Colonel Harland Sanders, will have a chance to win money. According to the wording of the press release, however, it may take about 18 years to see the cash. The funds are intended “to go towards their college education, setting them up for future success,” an announcement for the contest explains.

      There are several other caveats as well. The babies will only qualify for the tuition money if they are born on September 9, the day that Colonel Sanders was born in 1890.  Only one person -- whoever delivers their Harland first on September 9 -- will receive the money. The winner will have to confirm that the baby was actually named Harland by showing a birth certificate.

      The full amount that the baby will receive is $11,000 -- enough money to cover exactly one year of tuition at a public university in 2017.

      Inspiring the next generation

      In-state public schools are the cheapest options for four-year universities in the United States, but even then, students last year were charged an annual average of  $9,650. That figure does not include dormitory costs, textbooks, and other fees.

      Regardless, KFC says in a news release that there are other good reasons to name your baby Harland, even if you don’t win the money. Harland is a very uncommon name, and KFC doesn’t want it to die out completely. The chain says that its founder’s name represents the American dream.  

      “Harland's grit, passion and fervor are what KFC wants to instill into the next generation,” the fast-food chain says in a press release.

      "We hope that this birthday celebration honors the Colonel and encourages the next generation of people aspiring to live the American dream,” Andrea Zahumensky, KFC U.S. chief marketing officer, said in a statement.

      An alternative option to achieving the American dream and getting an education: send your college-aged child to one of the numerous foreign countries that does not charge anything for tuition.

      As the cost of tuition spirals to unimaginable new heights, one corporation is offering a solution that will surely come with no regrets for anyone involve...
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      BSN Sports recalls rubber critter toys

      The toys violate the federal lead paint ban

      BSN Sports of Farmers Branch, Texas, is recalling about 31,200 rubber critter toys.

      The orange and yellow surface paint on the toys contains levels of lead that exceed the federal lead paint ban. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health issues.

      No incidents or injuries are reported.

      This recall involves all rubber critter toys sold in various colors and animal shapes including octopus, alligators, chickens, frogs, pigs, penguins and cows.

      The toys are primarily used to play physical education tossing games. They were sold individually and in sets ranging from two to 24 rubber critters.

      The rubber critter toys, manufactured in China, were sold by BSN Sports and US Games catalogs, and online at www.amazon.com, www.athleticconnection.com, www.bsnsports.com, www.esportsonline.com and www.usgames.com from February 2017, through June 2018, for about $10 for an individual rubber critter and up to $145 for a set.

      What to do

      Consumers should immediately take the recalled rubber critter toys away from children and contact BSN Sports for a merchandise credit. The company is contacting all known purchasers directly.

      Consumers may contact BSN Sports toll free at (888) 847-8816 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CT) or online at www.bsnsports.com, www.usgames.com, www.athleticconnection.com and www.esportsonline.com and click on the product recall link at the bottom of the page or at www.recallrtr.com/rubbercritters for more information.

      BSN Sports of Farmers Branch, Texas, is recalling about 31,200 rubber critter toys.The orange and yellow surface paint on the toys contains levels of l...
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      Gas prices drift higher ahead of Labor Day

      The shift to cheaper winter grade blends begins soon

      Even though gasoline prices have been rock steady in the latter half of the summer, motorists on the road for the Labor Day weekend will face the highest prices at the pump since 2014.

      The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey shows the national average price of regular gas is $2.83 a gallon, up a penny from last Friday. However, prices are 43 cents higher than last Labor Day weekend.

      The average price of premium gas is also little changed from last week, at $3.38 per gallon. The average price of diesel fuel is $3.15 per gallon, a penny higher than seven days ago.

      “With Labor Day approaching, motorists could see a small swing towards higher gas prices, but any jump should not last past the holiday weekend,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA's spokesperson.

      Last year, gas prices spiked immediately after Labor Day, but that was because of Hurricane Harvey, which battered refining facilities along the Gulf Coast and interrupted supply.

      As gas stations begin selling winter grade fuel blends, prices should ease a bit, so long as oil prices remain steady. In its latest report, the Energy Information Administration reports stockpiles of both crude oil and gasoline went down unexpectedly last week, which could prevent prices of both from going down very much.

      The states with the most expensive regular gas

      The following states currently have the most expensive regular gas prices on average, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Survey.

      • Hawaii ($3.77)
      • California ($3.60)
      • Washington ($3.37)
      • Alaska ($3.34)
      • Idaho ($3.25)
      • Oregon ($3.24)
      • Nevada ($3.19)
      • Utah ($3.19)
      • Connecticut ($3.03)
      • Pennsylvania ($3.03)

      The states with the cheapest regular gas

      These states currently have the lowest prices for regular gas, the survey found.

      • South Carolina ($2.53)
      • Alabama ($2.53)
      • Mississippi ($2.55)
      • Arkansas ($2.56)
      • Virginia ($2.59)
      • Louisiana ($2.59)
      • Tennessee ($2.59)
      • Texas ($2.59)
      • Missouri ($2.61)
      • Oklahoma ($2.62)
      Even though gasoline prices have been rock steady in the latter half of the summer, motorists on the road for the Labor Day weekend will face the highest p...
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      The airline industry continues shifting its revenue stream toward ancillary income

      Airlines churn out billions in gravy as fliers are asked to pay for things like seat assignments and baggage

      What’s included in the fares consumers pay for airline tickets has become a can of worms over the last few years. What presents itself to the consumer as a $100 fare can easily wind up as $140 by the time "additional fees and taxes" are tagged on.

      Then, if you want a certain seat, to carry on a bag, or board the plane in the first group, you could easily run that $140 charge up to $200 or more.

      There’s no doubt that the ecosystem of running an airline is complex. There’s fuel, regulations, maintenance, ticketing, and layers upon layers of people trying to make customers happy and the planes get from point A to point B.

      There’s also picking out the routes that will create the most return on investment (ROI) and making sure the airline has the deal everyone wants.

      What airline has the most add-on fees?

      In its annual ancillary revenue rankings, the IdeaWorksCompany found the top 10 most expensive carriers based on average fees charged per passenger were as follows:

      1. Spirit: $51 per passenger

      2. WOW Air: $49 per passenger

      3. Allegiant: $49 per passenger

      4. Frontier: $48 per passenger

      5. Jet2.com: $43 per passenger

      6. Qantas Airways: $43 per passenger

      7. United: $39 per passenger

      8. AirAsia X: $33 per passenger

      9. HK Express: $33 per passenger

      10. Wizz Air: $31 per passenger

      Scanning that list, you probably noticed that most of those airlines are small, regional, no-frills types.

      "Consumers in the US enjoy far lower fares courtesy of the presence of Spirit, Frontier, and Sun Country,” Jay Sorensen, President of Product, Partnership and Marketing Practice for IdeaWorksCompany told ConsumerAffairs.

      "These low fare airlines rely upon two revenue streams - fares and ancillary revenue. Now to be certain, the latter must be provided using transparent and fair methods. There have certainly been abuses in terms of transparency and fairness by LCCs. But I confess, if you complete the booking process at the Spirit Airlines website and are surprised by bag fees being charged at the airport for large carry-ons… well, you are intellectually challenged."

      So, ancillary revenue is a good thing?

      IdeaWorksCompany further defines ancillary revenue using these categories: 1) a la carte features, 2) commission-based products, 3) frequent flyer activities, 4) miscellaneous sources such as advertising, and 5) the a la carte components associated with a fare or product bundle.

      If you take a close look at IdeaWorks report, your eyes might widen when you see that United, Delta, and American all took in more than $5 billion in ancillary revenue last year in the way of a la carte features, commission-based products, and frequent flyer activities.

      But, in the long run, that extra revenue stream can be a good thing for the customer.

      If an airline can keep its fares competitive and pick up enough money from its side hustles -- baggage fees, seat assignments, and the like -- then it’s on the consumer to decide how much the perks are worth and if they really need that extra four inches of legroom.

      Do the homework

      When looking for a fare, think about what you want versus what you need. Is it a free checked bag? If so, then Southwest may be your answer. Need a seat toward the front of the plane? United has a new plan you may want to try out.

      "If you can survive with a smaller bag as a carry-on -- you can save that expense," said Sorensen. "Ditto for seat assignments. Consumers are usually best served by applying for the carrier's co-branded credit card and relying on the customary offer of a free checked bag."

      Is the government on the consumer’s side?

      Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called on Congress in 2017 to pass legislation to ground exorbitant airline fees in light of a newly-released Government Accountability Office (GAO) report confirming that many airlines do not consider the costs of the services provided when pricing their airline fees.

      "This report confirms what countless passengers across the country already know to be true – that airlines are nickel and diming captive passengers to line their pockets, not to cover the costs of the services provided," said Senator Markey.

      "GAO’s findings show that many airlines are actually emboldened to increase their fees to match their competitors and actively seek to deceive passengers by offering artificially low fares and then charging exorbitant fees on the back end. It’s time to put a stop to this fee gouging and restore sanity to the skies. It’s time to pass the FAIR Fees Act."

      Unless Markey and Blumenthal can get their bill all the way through and signed, there’s not much hope. While the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration take their jobs seriously in protecting the safety of fliers, those agencies have decided to stay out of the ring when it comes to things like ticket prices and baggage fees.

      Before the Obama administration left office, it proposed a requirement that airlines list their baggage fees at the start of the booking process, a measure intended to make shopping for tickets easier and more transparent for consumers. However, when Donald Trump moved into the Oval Office, he scrapped that proposal.

      What’s included in the fares consumers pay for airline tickets has become a can of worms over the last few years. What presents itself to the consumer as a...
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      FDA warns 21 more websites to stop selling opioids

      Health officials are continuing to target sites that are illegally marketing opioids

      The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent letters to four online businesses operating 21 websites warning them to stop selling "potentially dangerous, unapproved and misbranded" opioids online.

      The warning letters note that the opioids being sold on these websites might be counterfeit, contaminated, or expired. Some of the drugs being sold by these online businesses are actually a dangerous form of pressed fentanyl, the agency said.

      In addition to being a health risk, regulators also warned that purchasing these drugs online can put consumers at risk of credit card fraud, identity theft, and computer viruses.

      “The illegal online sale of opioids represents a serious risk to Americans and is helping to fuel the opioid crisis,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. “Cutting off this flow of illicit internet traffic in opioids is critical, and we’ll continue to pursue all means of enforcement to hinder online drug deals and curb this dangerous practice.”

      Cracking down on online opioid sales

      The warning letters follow other efforts by the FDA to clamp down on illegal online opioid distribution. In June, the agency sent warning letters to nine online networks that operate 53 websites.

      “Today’s effort builds on previous actions against the illegal online sale of opioids, for a total of 13 warning letters to more than 70 websites just this summer,” Gottlieb said. “The FDA remains resolute in our promise to continue cracking down on these networks to protect the public health.”

      The four online businesses that most recently received warning letters were CoinRX, MedInc.biz, PharmacyAffiliates.org, and PharmaMedics. The networks must respond within 10 working days. Failure to correct the violations stated in the warning letters may result in legal enforcement action, the FDA said.

      “Offering unapproved opioids for sale is particularly concerning given their potential for abuse and dependency, especially amid the growing opioid epidemic in the U.S,” the warning letters stated, in part. “On average, 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. In 2016, opioids killed more than 42,000 people, surpassing even the number of deaths resulting from traffic accidents in the U.S.”

      The FDA noted that it has “more operations underway, and additional actions planned” to combat online opioid sales. “We are also working closely with legitimate Internet stakeholders, including leading social media sites, in these public health efforts,” the agency said.

      The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent letters to four online businesses operating 21 websites warning them to stop selling "potentially dangerous...
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      Dyson reveals new plans for electric cars

      The company known for vacuums is looking to make a splash in the automotive industry

      While Dyson has teased plans for testing electric cars, a great deal of the company’s intentions have been kept under wraps thus far. However, the company announced today that it will be investing £116 million ($151 million) in 10 miles of test tracks -- and workspace for 2,000 employees -- in England at a former Royal Air Force base.

      “Our growing automotive team is now working from Dyson’s state-of-the-art hangars at Hullavington Airfield,” said Jim Rowan, Dyson’s CEO.

      “It will quickly become a world-class vehicle testing campus where we hope to invest [200 million pounds ($260 million)], creating more high-skilled jobs for Britain. We are now firmly focused on the next stage of our automotive project strengthening our credentials as a global research and development organization.”

      Six tracks

      The test tracks -- which will exceed 10 miles -- will feature various courses. The company outlined the different tracks and the benefits each one brings to the company’s efforts.

      • Dynamic Handling Track: This track will help Dyson “assess and tune” the vehicle’s suspension, brakes, and steering from top to bottom.

      • Fast Road Route: Dyson will be able to test just how fast each vehicle is able to go, as well as various functions within its advanced driver assistance systems.

      • Hill and Handling Road Route: On this track, Dyson will be able to simulate difficult driving conditions, incorporating altitude changes, and lots of hills, twists, and turns to really put the vehicle to the test.

      • Off-Road Route: Using different kinds of terrain, Dyson will use this track to recreate an off-road driving experience.

      • Test Slopes: Here, the vehicles will be tested on hills of various heights, as Dyson assesses the powertrain.

      • Vehicle Stability Dynamic Platform: This is the track where Dyson will be able to test each vehicle’s ability to maneuver, on a track the company describes as a “large asphalt covered area.”

      Competitive market

      James Dyson, the company’s founder, announced last year that the company -- known for its high-end vacuum cleaners and hand-dryers -- would be entering the electric car market. In doing so, the company will be rivaling many Silicon Valley specialists, including Tesla.

      While Dyson has yet to disclose what kind of electric car they’re looking to build, or where the building will take place, the company did disclose last year that it is looking to have the project completed by 2021.

      In addition to Tesla, Volkswagen has recently become a heavy hitter in the electric car market. The company announced last year that its goal is to become completely electric by 2030, and invested $60 billion on battery cells for all 300 of its models.

      While Dyson has teased plans for testing electric cars, a great deal of the company’s intentions have been kept under wraps thus far. However, the company...
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      Dark web hackers sold data of 130 million users for eight Bitcoin

      A China-based cybersecurity group speculated that the data was leaked

      Hotel guests at a well-known Chinese hotel chain are now victims of a security breach.

      Despite China’s efforts to crack down on cybersecurity, a hacker is now selling the data of 130 million hotel guests for eight Bitcoin ($56,000) on a Chinese Dark Web forum. Chinese media reported the data breach after several cybersecurity groups saw the forum’s ads.

      The hacker noted that he got the data from Huazhu Hotels Group Ltd. As one of China’s largest hotel chains, the company operates 13 hotel brands across 5,162 hotels in 1,119 Chinese cities.

      “Those who commit illegal acts, including theft, trading, and exchange of residents’ personal data will be heavily punished,” the Shanghai police said in a statement. “We are resolute in protecting people’s interest and ensuring information safety.”

      The hack

      Based on the hacker’s description in the ads, the stolen data totals 240 million records -- which is information on approximately 130 million hotel guests -- and is 141.5 GB worth of data.

      The following information is what the hacker has sold online: check-in registration information (customer name, ID card number, home address, and birthday), booking information (name, card number, mobile phone number, check-in time, departure time, room number, and hotel ID number), and official website registration information (mobile phone number, email address, login password, and ID card number).

      According to the breach, customers at any of Huazhu’s chains were affected by the hack, including: Orange, All Season, Hanting Hotel, Ibis, Manxin, CitiGo, Mercure, Grand Mercure, Haiyou, Starway, Novotel, Joye, and Elan.

      A China-based cybersecurity group -- Zibao -- believes the breach occurred when Huazhu developers or programmers uploaded portions of the company’s server to Github earlier this month. The hotel chain has yet to comment on the specifics of the incident, but it has already started an internal investigation and the authorities have been contacted.

      Similar problems in China

      China has been working to eradicate countless issues regarding cryptocurrency and the buying and selling of items on the dark web. However, the issue continues to plague the country.

      The dark web is not indexed by search engines, and sites are able to sell counterfeit money and drugs, among other things -- like people’s personal data.

      According to Yin Ran, a Shanghai-based investor in the information technology arena, data breaches are a serious threat to China’s continued digitalisation efforts and are also becoming more and more frequent.

      “Strangers would approach us for trading of personal data owned by our portfolio firms,” Ran said. “The potential risks are huge and such illegal behavior must be eradicated to pave the way for further development of digitalised business.”

      Chinese artist Deng Yufeng bought the personal data of 340,000 residents in Wuhan on the black market back in April and then displayed them in an art gallery. The authorities promptly put an end to that.

      Hotel guests at a well-known Chinese hotel chain are now victims of a security breach.Despite China’s efforts to crack down on cybersecurity, a hacker...
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      Multistate Salmonella outbreak linked to kosher chicken

      Consumers who became ill reported eating Empire brand Kosher chicken

      At least 17 people in four states have suffered from Salmonella infections linked to kosher chicken, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday.

      Eight people were hospitalized for their symptoms and one person in New York has died. Of those sickened, one is from Maryland, eleven are from New York, four are from Pennsylvania, and one is from Virginia.

      The CDC said 14 of the people it interviewed who became ill reported having eaten Empire-brand Kosher chicken prior to becoming sick. Investigators found the Salmonella strain in samples of raw chicken from two different facilities. One of the facilities was processing Empire Kosher chicken.

      The raw chicken items were produced and sold to consumers from September 2017 to June 2018. Illness onset dates ranged from September 2017 to June 2018, health officials said.

      On August 24, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a health alert about Empire Kosher brand raw chicken items “out of an abundance of caution.”

      "FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers' freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged to properly handle, prepare, and cook these raw chicken products,” the agency said at the time.

      Safe handling precautions

      The CDC said in its announcement that it is "not advising that people avoid eating kosher chicken or Empire Kosher brand chicken." The agency has not ordered a recall of Empire Kosher chicken. Instead, it is urging consumers to follow certain safety precautions when handling and preparing raw chicken.

      Safe handling practices include washing hands before and after touching raw chicken and washing utensils and surfaces where raw chicken was prepared. Chicken should also be cooked until its internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

      In a statement, Empire said that it is “shocked and saddened to have just learned there may have been a death potentially related to a Salmonella outbreak and we extend our sympathies to anyone affected."

      The company noted that it has "no data that connects this tragic event to our products" but that it is fully cooperating with the FSIS and CDC investigations.

      At least 17 people in four states have suffered from Salmonella infections linked to kosher chicken, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) s...
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      Twitter testing ‘unfollow’ recommendations

      The company wants to help users clean up their timeline

      In a reversal from its “Who to Follow” suggestions, Twitter has started testing a feature that recommends who users should unfollow, Slate reported.

      The company didn’t elaborate on the feature, nor did it say whether it will launch to everyone. However, the feature -- which was initially discovered by The Next Web’s Matt Navarra -- reportedly shows users a list of accounts they could unfollow in order to “improve” their timeline.

      The platform’s personalized unfollow recommendations are meant to help users discover who they don’t “engage with regularly.” Twitter told Slate. Twitter said the feature was tested with an “incredibly limited” set of users over a period of a few days.

      Improving the Twitter experience

      “We know that people want a relevant Twitter timeline,” the company said. “One way to do this is by unfollowing people they don’t engage with regularly. We ran an incredibly limited test to surface accounts that people were not engaging with to check if they’d like to unfollow them.”

      If rolled out widely, the feature could help Twitter build upon its past efforts to curb the spread of misinformation, harassment, and spam on its site. Earlier this year, CEO Jack Dorsey admitted that the company hadn’t done enough to address hate speech and abuse on the platform.

      Previous changes to the site have included demoting “troll-like” tweets with the goal of facilitating healthy conversation, removing millions of fake accounts, and suspending accounts linked to “Tweetdecking.”

      The platform’s new unfollow recommendations could also help create less timeline content, which could help users cut down on the amount of time they spend online. Recent studies have shown that an increasing number of teens and adults are concerned about the amount of time they spend using digital media.

      In a reversal from its “Who to Follow” suggestions, Twitter has started testing a feature that recommends who users should unfollow, Slate reported.The...
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