Tech News Feed

James Webb telescope captures surreal images of Jupiter's auroras

Engadget - Mon, 2022-08-22 10:37

The James Webb Space Telescope team is still flexing its ability to capture detailed images close to home. Webb has snapped a pair of near-infrared photos showing Jupiter's polar auroras. You can also see the planet's extremely faint rings and two of its smaller moons, Amalthea (the bright spot to the far left) and Adrastea (the dot at the left edge of the central ring).

The pictures were taken using NIRCam's widefield view on July 27th. As for the trippy visuals? Astronomers created composites using several images produced with filters mapped to multiple colors (particularly visible in the image below). The Great Red Spot and other cloud formations are white as they reflect large amounts of sunlight.

Jupiter auroras captured by James Webb Space TelescopeNASA, ESA, Jupiter ERS Team; image processing by Judy Schmidt

The James Webb crew didn't just create these images for the sake of bragging rights. The observations should provide more insights into Jupiter's "inner life," according to the European Space Agency. That, in turn, could help scientists understand the behavior of gas giants beyond the Solar System. In other words, Webb's data could soon prove useful on multiple levels.

This 1-Day Zulily Sale Takes up to 45% Off Tarte Cosmetics - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-08-22 10:27
Check out this epic sale on Tarte's bestsellers for less.

Neobanks Are Struggling To Make Good on Their Lofty Promises

SlashDot - Mon, 2022-08-22 10:09
Some offers of high rates and low fees have strings attached. From a report: Digit is a trendy financial technology company in San Francisco that offers traditional banking services online, complete with a tool that can automatically allocate a portion of customers' deposits to a savings account to match their investing goals. The service comes with a "no overdraft guarantee." Sound too good to be true? According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, some of it is. Earlier this month the regulator hit Digit, now part of Oportun Financial, a lender in San Carlos, Calif., with a $2.7 million fine for falsely advertising the no-overdraft guarantee. Turns out, the algorithm Digit used to move funds around drained some customers' checking accounts, triggering the overdraft fees. Even after customers complained, Digit failed to reimburse them, despite saying it would, the CFPB found. "While we disagree with the CFPB on this matter, we are happy to have it settled," says an Oportun spokesperson. The company says fewer than 2,000 customers were overcharged. Digit isn't the only consumer finance company failing to meet the lofty expectations its own advertising sets. There are about 60 other such fintechs, known as "challenger banks" or "neobanks," in the US, offering a similar suite of products. They have about 23 million customers, a figure that's expected to more than double -- to 50 million -- by 2025, according to consumer finance website Despite the name, they aren't banks but technology companies that form partnerships with obscure, conventional banks to give customers digital access to their money. In doing so, neobanks can offer Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. protection to checking and savings accounts. In Digit's case, its banking-services partner is South Dakota-based MetaBank, which says it wasn't involved in the CFPB matter.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Saints Row Takes Big Step Back, Becoming Unremarkable GTA Clone - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-08-22 10:02
Commentary: Volition's reboot of its franchise comes off as uninspired and a bit of a hot mess.

Use This Old Navy Flash Sale to Load Up on Fall Clothes at 40% Off - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-08-22 09:50
With tons of options available for the whole family, you won't want to miss out on this one-day sale.

Apple's Self Service Repair program now includes some recent MacBooks

Engadget - Mon, 2022-08-22 09:33

Apple's Self Service Repair program is no longer limited to iPhones. The company is adding M1-based MacBook Air and Pro systems to the program on August 23rd, giving you access to official parts and tools to fix your laptop at home. You can replace the display, the battery (plus the top case), trackpad and other major components. As before, you're using "many" of the same resources you'd find at an Apple retail store or authorized repair shop.

You'll pay $49 to rent a repair kit. TechCrunchnotes part pricing is the same as for third-party service centers, ranging from $12 for an audio board through to $580 for a motherboard. You'll have to trade in your old parts to get these prices (a motherboard costs three times as much otherwise), but Apple will recycle anything it can't rescue. Don't expect to use this as a memory or storage upgrade — Apple will charge the full amount if you buy a board that doesn't match the computer you bought.

The program will expand to more Macs and countries later this year. As usual, Apple recommends repairs only to experienced users. It's still pointing the "vast majority" of customers to approved repair facilities.

The program kicked off in April, and is widely seen as Apple's response to Right to Repair laws and regulations, including at the federal level. It won't necessarily reduce government scrutiny, and may not change much for DIY repair fans who've turned to unofficial sources like iFixit. Still, this could be welcome news if you'd rather not rely on a technician to maintain your Mac.

YouTube kicks off its podcast push with an Explore page

Engadget - Mon, 2022-08-22 09:20

YouTube's interest in podcasts appears to extend beyond paying creators to make videos. 9to5Googlenotes YouTube has quietly launched a podcast Explore page. Only some people can access it on desktop or mobile, but those that can will see popular channels, episodes and playlists as well as categories and recommended shows. At present, you'll see standard video thumbnails and playback controls, even if you're a YouTube Premium subscriber who normally sees listening-oriented options.

We've asked YouTube for comment. The Explore page appears to have gone live near the end of July, but is only now becoming more widely available. It's not clear what (if anything) will happen to Google Podcasts.

YouTube podcasts Explore pageEngadget

While YouTube's longer-term plans aren't evident, the new area suggests the Google brand is positioning itself as an alternative to major podcast clients like Apple Podcasts and Spotify. That wouldn't be surprising if so. YouTube already hosts numerous podcasts, particularly those that have video versions. The Explore page could draw more attention to those productions and encourage more podcasters to publish their work on YouTube.

The best Apple AirTag accessories you can buy

Engadget - Mon, 2022-08-22 09:15

Apple lovers who constantly lose their keys got a new way to keep track of them with the launch of AirTags. But despite how easy they are to set up, Apple’s tiny Bluetooth trackers have one critical flaw: no built-in keychain hole. That means anyone who buys AirTags will have to buy holders or cases to attach them to their stuff.

Despite how backwards this seems, it’s a very Apple move since many will simply buy the company’s own AirTag holders to make things easy for themselves. But those aren’t the only options available as plenty of accessory companies have hopped on the AirTag train with their own cases, holders, straps and more. If you already bought an AirTag or two, you probably know where you want to put it – and that placement will dictate the type of case you should get for it. These are some of our favorite AirTag cases that will work for a variety of items.

Spigen ValentinusSpigen Valentinus for AirTagSpigen

Spigen’s Valentinus AirTag cover is one of the best alternatives I’ve found to Apple’s own leather key rings. It has a very similar design to the first-party accessory (albeit made with pleather) , but it comes in much cheaper at only $8. Your AirTag nestles into the perfectly-shaped leather circle and snaps shut, and since the leather extends slightly over both sides of the tracker, there’s very little chance it will pop out unexpectedly. I also appreciate that it comes with a carabiner-style key ring, which makes it easier to secure to your belongings.

Buy Spigen Valentinus at Amazon - $8Orbitkey Leather HolderOrbitkey Leather Holder for AirTagOrbitkey

Orbitkey’s Leather Holder for AirTag is a more elegant version of Apple’s accessory. It’s a genuine leather sleeve that opens just wide enough for you to slide your AirTag into its pocket. Attached to it is a quick-release ring that takes some getting used to, but once you know how to open it up, it’s easy to secure onto your keys. You essentially just have to push in one direction on the holder’s ring to unlock it, which then allows you to secure the AirTag to a lanyard, your car keys and the like. It’s a good option if you prefer that your accessories have a more polished look.

Buy Orbitkey Leather Holder at Amazon - $39Caseology VaultApple AirTag with Caseology VaultValentina Palladino / Engadget

Caseology’s Vault has a more utilitarian design, made with tough, textured TPU. The oval-shaped holder has an opening on one side into which you pop your AirTag. The other side has a smaller opening that attaches to the included carabiner, which is one of the best clips I came across in my testing. It’s pretty basic as far as carabiners go, but it’s better than a standard key ring — especially if you want to easily attach your AirTag to something other than your keys like straps on a backpack, or even a pet collar. Overall, the Caseology Vault is one of the most attractive holders I tested and it will be a solid choice for anyone who doesn’t need leather.

Buy Caseology Vault at Amazon - $20Incase Woolenex AirTag Key ClipIncase Woolenex AirTag Key ClipIncase

Incase's Woolenex AirTag holder is one that is just as attractive as it is durable. The company's Woolenex fabric is made of a woven blend of polyester fibers that make the accessory lightweight, water repellant and fade- and tear-resistant. Incase makes a bunch of accessories out of this material, and those who like premium fabrics that can also handle a bit of wear-and-tear will gravitate to it. The holder has a TPU snap closure and circular cutout so it won't interrupt the AirTag's signal — plus, it lets you see any cute engraving you may have on your tracker.

Buy AirTag Key Clip at Incase - $20Belkin Secure Holder with StrapApple AirTag with Belkin Secure Holder and StrapValentina Palladino / Engadget

AirTags can also help you keep track of larger bags and luggage, and you could easily slip one into an interior pocket and call it a day. But if you’d rather hook the tracker to the outside, you’ll need something a bit larger and more flexible than a standard key ring. Belkin’s Secure Holder with Strap is a good option, and it’s budget friendly at only $13. The case opens up into two pieces, allowing you to sit the AirTag inside the circle and twist and snap the two halves together to lock it in. You can then attach the AirTag to your luggage handle, water bottle or other item with the strap, which feels quite strong.

I appreciate the unique design of Belkin’s Secure Holder, although it was hard to twist open when the AirTag was inside of it. But that’s a good thing for daily use; your AirTag isn’t going anywhere when in the Secure Holder. I also liked its slightly raised edges, which provide extra protection against impacts and bumps.

Buy Belkin Secure Holder w/ Strap at Amazon - $13Elago silicone casesElago AirTag caseElago

Whether you’re attaching an AirTag to your house keys or clipping one to your kid’s backpack, you don’t need to settle for a boring holder. There are a number of fun AirTag cases available now and some of our favorites come from Elago. The accessory company makes a bunch of minimalist AirTag holders – which are good options if you’re looking for something simple and cheap – but it also has cases in the shapes of avocados, ice cream bars, floppy disks and even retro game controllers. The best part is that, unlike other brands that can quickly raise prices when you want a fancily-shaped case or a holder with your favorite character on it, Elago’s playful cases will run you no more than $15 apiece.

Shop Elago AirTag cases at AmazonPelican Protector Sticker MountPelican Protector Sticker Mount for AirTagPelican

Keyrings and straps aren’t the best way to attach an AirTag to anything and everything. Things like bikes, coolers, luggage and other items would be better served by an adhesive mount. Pelican makes one of the most protective ones available at the moment – the Protector Sticker Mount case has a two-piece design that you pop open to insert your AirTag inside. It basically acts as a little box in which your AirTag lives while it’s tracking your stuff. You can stick it to your items using the strong adhesive panel on the back of the case, and Pelican even includes an extra adhesive pad in the package as well, just in case you need another one. While the case itself is a bit tough to get open at first, that just shows how hard it would be for your AirTag to accidentally pop out of it.

Buy Pelican Protector Sticker Mount at Amazon - $20Moment Stretch Fabric MountMoment Stretch Fabric Mount for AirTagMoment

Similar to Pelican’s Protector, Moment’s Stretch Fabric Mount for AirTag sticks to surfaces – in this case, any fabric – and keeps your tracker enveloped in its double-hemmed, powermesh design. It’s a good alternative if you don’t want your AirTag sliding around inside the interior pocket of your backpack, or worse, the less-secure pockets of your coat. And since Moment’s wrap is quite thin, it blends into the lining of bags, jackets and other things better than bulkier options.

Buy Moment Stretch Fabric Mount at Amazon - $25

Thor: Love and Thunder Hits Disney Plus on Sept. 8 - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-08-22 09:15
The Marvel Cinematic Universe movie and a making of documentary are among the Disney Plus Day additions coming to the streaming service.

Mortgage Refinance Rates on Aug. 22, 2022: Rates Increase - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-08-22 09:00
Several important refinance rates trended upward today. See how the Fed's interest rate hikes could affect refinancing your home this year.

Today's Mortgage Rates for Aug. 22, 2022: Rates Move Up - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-08-22 09:00
Today a handful of important mortgage rates moved up. If you're shopping for a mortgage, see how your payments might be affected by inflation.

Google's Pixel Buds Pro are cheaper than ever right now on Amazon

Engadget - Mon, 2022-08-22 08:38

Google has made some solid wireless earbuds over the past couple of years, but the latest Pixel Buds Pro are its best yet. We gave them a score of 87 when we reviewed them last month, and now you can pick the buds up while they're on discount for the first time. Amazon has the Pixel Buds Pro in charcoal and lemongrass for $175, which is $25 off their usual price and a record low. The more affordable Pixel Buds A-Series have also been discounted to $69, which is their lowest price yet.

Buy Pixel Buds Pro at Amazon - $175Buy Pixel Buds A-Series at Amazon - $69

Essentially, Google made small changes to the earbuds' design and also added a few key features to make them worthy of the "Pro" moniker. The buds themselves are bit more oval shaped than the previous models, helping them fit better into the contours of the ear. They're IPX4-rated, so they'll survive sweaty workouts, and they have onboard controls that let you play/pause, skip tracks, adjust the volume and switch between ANC and transparency mode.

ANC is arguably the biggest new feature on the Pixel Buds Pro, and Google did a pretty good job with it. The buds use a six-core audio chip for active noise cancellation, and a feature called Silent Seal helps block out even more noise and minimize sound leaks. All of those things combine to make solid ANC that blocks out noises like a TV show playing in the same room as you or sounds of people talking nearby. Sound quality is also quite good and Google added a feature called Volume EQ that automatically adjusts tuning when you change the volume, so the highs, miss and lows are more balanced and nuanced at any volume.

The buds' companion app lets you do things like customize touch controls, change sound modes, fine-tune Google Assistant features and check in on the last known location of the earbuds. You can also turn on automatic switching between Android devices in the app, which will come in handy when you use a few devices in tandem. Finally, when it comes to battery life, you'll get roughly 13 hours out of the Pixel Buds Pro when using ANC or up to 20 hours with that feature turned off. Google also added wireless charging capabilities to the buds' carrying case, which is a feature that previous iterations didn't have. So while the Pixel Buds Pro are Google's most expensive wireless earbuds to date, they're also its best sounding, most capable and most versatile buds yet.

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Funny Business: TikTok Is Putting a New Spin on Standup Comedy - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-08-22 08:00
The Edinburgh Fringe is the world's largest arts festival, and TikTok's influence can be felt everywhere.

San Francisco Transit Center Criticized over Restaurant's Plans for Expensive NFT-Based Private Club

SlashDot - Mon, 2022-08-22 07:34
Last month an columnist explored plans for San Francisco's first NFT-based restaurant, an "ostentatious Japanese-themed restaurant and private club" featuring a members-only Sho Club Sky Lounge. What's more galling than the repeated use of the terms "immersive" and "experiential" to describe an actual restaurant is the fact that, as the group's website proudly proclaims, the astronomically expensive and exclusive eatery "is the only rooftop restaurant located on the Salesforce Transit Center's roof." As downtown San Francisco suffers through soaring homelessness, vacant storefronts and a deadly fentanyl epidemic, the idea of its newest public space only providing food for those willing to spend exorbitant sums is brazen. In a terrifying J.G. Ballard-like dystopian metaphor come to life, the private lounge, which will charge a top-tier membership fee of $300,000 a pop... will be situated 70 feet above surrounding homeless encampments. [The cheapest membership tier is available for a one-time fee of $7,500.] In maybe a projection of the venture's deficits, the most common word used in interviews and marketing blurbs surrounding the decidedly exclusionary club is "community." The word, adored in the crypto world, is used relentlessly in all of Sho marketing materials, as though if said enough times this ultra-bourgeois establishment under the bright lights of Salesforce Tower's beaming helmet will somehow magically help the working man under Sauron's gaze.... Outside of the private members lounge, the restaurant will be open to the public. Sho told SFGATE over email that the number of seats and tables available to the public is not available at this time.... It's a smug celebration of the widening chasm of wealth disparity, planted in a time and a city that needs just the opposite. Marketing materials note that paid memberships "will be minted on the Ethereum blockchain. As an NFT, the SHO Club membership will be an asset to the holder, publicly verifiable, and can later be sold or transferred on the secondary market." So Friday paid another visit to "the empty husk of the building that will, if all goes smoothly, soon sell NFT memberships between $7,500 and $300,000 to join a hospitality club at a yet-to-be-constructed Japanese fine-dining restaurant in the middle of Salesforce Park." (Predicted grand opening date: September/October 2023.) The public will have allocated reservations too, [CEO Joshua] Sigel said, without revealing numbers. "Then what's the selling point for a membership?" a reporter interjected. There will be special events, a monthly membership dinner for certain tiers, and concierge service, among other benefits, Sigel said... Sigel said there's "fantastic" interest in Sho Club memberships, that they've had thousands of sign-ups on their website, and they anticipate rolling out a private NFT sale next week, followed by a public sale in mid- to late September.... Inevitably came web3 talk. Once the 3,275 NFTs memberships are sold, that's it, no more. If you want to become a member after that, you'll have to obtain a Sho Group NFT on OpenSea, a secondary market for NFTs.... Sho Group will get a 10% kickback on any secondary market sales of NFTs. A reporter astutely asked how the restaurant will keep tabs on who its new members are, once the NFTs start exchanging hands. In other words: What happens when a genuine piece of s — t snags a secondary market membership? Sigel assured us the restaurant will have a terms and conditions agreement to deal with unruly forces.... Someone abruptly asked Sigel if he'll be helping the homeless, a non sequitur of epic proportions that does, in fairness, loom over everything related to this fancy restaurant located in an ostensibly public park. "Great question," he started, announcing that in the next few weeks, his group will be rolling out a foundation of some kind. "For those who know Sho and I well, giving back and supporting the community is a very big thing for us. You specifically asked about the homeless — I have a family member who's homeless. It's near and dear to my heart, in terms of serving not only the unhoused, but also those who are in need of food."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Morning After: The first look at HBO’s live-action ‘The Last of Us’ adaptation

Engadget - Mon, 2022-08-22 07:31

Ahead of the premiere of HBO’s new Game Of Thrones spin-off, House of the Dragon, the company shared the first glimpse of its adaptation of PlayStation’s The Last of Us. In a trailer published on YouTube, we get a heady 20 seconds of Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as Joel and Ellie, including a flashback to Joel interacting with his daughter. The 10-episode series should premiere in early 2023.

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missedLincoln replaced the steering wheel with a 'chess piece controller' in its new concept carIt drives itself.TMALincoln

Last week, Lincoln revealed the Model L100, its futuristic foray into electrified mobility, which draws inspiration from the company’s very first luxury sedan, the 1922 Model L. The Model L100 tries to match the opulence of the original, with “next generation battery cell and pack technologies” that apparently deliver “game changing energy density.” Instead of a steering wheel, it has a “jewel-inspired chess piece controller that captures light and depth by redefining the vehicle controls inside the cabin.” Sure.

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Scientists may have found an affordable way to destroy forever chemicalsPFAS are everywhere and have been linked to negative health effects.

A team of scientists may have found a safe, affordable way to destroy forever chemicals. PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are in many household items, including non-stick Teflon pans and dental floss. They share one common feature: a carbon-fluorine backbone that is one of the strongest known bonds in organic chemistry. It’s what gives PFAS-treated cookware its non-stick quality, while also making them harmful to humans. A group of scientists have been able to break down these PFAS with a mix of sodium hydroxide and an organic solvent called dimethyl sulfoxide.

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The Sega Genesis Mini 2's 60-game line-up includes two unreleased titlesLet’s not forget the Sega CD classics.

Sega has unveiled the complete list of games coming with the Genesis Mini 2, and it's clear the new machine is as much for collectors as it is nostalgic fans. The 60-game catalog includes two previously unreleased games, for starters. There’s Devi & Pii, a "paddle-style" game designed by Sonic 3's Takashi Iizuka, as well as Mindware's finished but unpublished puzzler Star Mobile. I think the 12 Sega CD titles — including Night Trap and CD versions of classics Sonic the Hedgehog and Ecco the Dolphin — are the most exciting part.

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Search ads could arrive in Apple Maps as early as next yearThe company may have already allocated resources to the project.

Apple could integrate ads into Maps by next year, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. Gurman says the company has begun preparing the software to support search ads. He previously reported the company had tested an internal version of Maps that included search ads. Apple already serves ads through its App Store. Developers can pay the company to prioritize their software in search results, ensuring it shows up at the top of the page when users input specific terms. Search ads within Maps would work in a similar way, says Gurman.

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Best Windows Laptop for 2022 - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-08-22 07:02
Only the best running Windows 11. Mac and Chrome laptops need not apply.

What Is 3D Printing? - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-08-22 06:45
What is 3D printing? How much does it cost? You have questions, CNET has answers.

Apple employees launch petition to protest return-to-office plans

Engadget - Mon, 2022-08-22 05:33

A group of Apple employees is pushing back against a looming deadline demanding they return to working in the office. The Financial Times has seen a petition, circulated by employee group Apple Together, requesting more flexibility around remote work. It’s in response to an edict that demanded workers return to working in the company’s Santa Clara Valley offices for at least three days a week starting September 5th, 2022.

It’s the latest in a series of attempts by Apple to return to the status quo ante after COVID-19 forced it to adopt home working. Tim Cook has always emphasized the important nature of in-person collaboration as fundamental to Apple’s business and success. Apple Together, however, says that the company’s culture of secrecy makes chance moments of inspiration impossible, and that workers are happier and more productive with a more flexible arrangement.

The announcement of a new working model has already seen a tweak after pushback — the original plan was to enforce office working on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Now, the order is for Tuesday and Thursday, with the third office to be set by both the employee and their manager. Even so, the rigidity of the announcement has already seen Apple’s head of machine learning, Ian Goodfellow, quit the company (to go to Google) in search of more flexible work.

Apple Together has become a powerful voice inside a company that has previously been famed for its culture of secrecy. Revelations published earlier this year say that the company retaliated against women who reported incidents of misconduct, including sexual assault. Ashley Gjøvik was fired after attempting to blow the whistle about unsafe working conditions at an office in Sunnyvale. The company also stands accused of union busting after its retail employees at several locations across the US started discussing forming a union.

World's First Commercial Electric Seaplane Completes Short-Haul Flight

SlashDot - Mon, 2022-08-22 04:34
"An aviation company at the cutting edge of electrified air travel has taken a significant step forward, completing a first-of-a-kind test flight using a retrofitted seaplane," reports New Atlas: Harbour Air's De Havilland Beaver completed a short hop from the Canadian mainland to Vancouver Island using its all-electric drivetrain, demonstrating the viability of its cleaner approach to short-haul flights. Harbour Air is the largest seaplane airline in North America and claims to transport around half a million passengers across 30,000 commercial flights each year. In 2019, it pledged to become the world's first all-electric airline, a bold vision that involves retrofitting its fleet of existing six-seater seaplanes with electric propulsion systems. These systems come via a partnership with electric motor company MagniX, which is making important advances with its high-power electric motors and has partnered with other ambitious companies in the aviation space. In December of 2019, the modified De Havilland Beaver took off to complete the first successful flight of an all-electric commercial aircraft, a brief jaunt above the Fraser River at Harbour Air's terminal in Richmond, British Columbia. The company has since continued this testing program with an eye to certifying and approving the aircraft with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transport Canada. "The historic De Havilland Beaver has been completely retrofitted in 2019 to operate using 100% electricity flew 45 miles in 24 minutes," the company said in a statement. They're calling the flight "a major milestone in the advancement of all-electric commercial flights." More data from the ePlane's web site: Our ePlane project will ultimately turn our 40+ fleet of seaplanes from carbon-neutral to carbon-zero! We know that the electrification of our fleet is the next necessary step to truly make a difference in our environmental and economic goals. It is better for the communities we serve and it also to gives our passengers a better way to travel. It's a bold step in making a big difference for our planet.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.