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Apple CEO Tim Cook Remembers Steve Jobs On Fifth Anniversary of His Death
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '16 at 05:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rest-in-peace department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MacRumors: As he has done over the past four years, Apple CEO Tim Cook has shared a tribute to the late Steve Jobs, touching on the importance of remembering the Apple co-founder and former CEO today, which marks the fifth anniversary of his death on October 5, 2011. In previous years, Apple also updated its website to remember Jobs, creating a two-minute slideshow of his various keynote presentations and most famous audio clips on the one year anniversary of his death. In the days following his passing, Apple started posting "Remembering Steve" comments from fans on its website. The company noted that well over one million submissions came in for the project, all from well-wishing fans in the wake of Jobs' losing battle with pancreatic cancer. "'Most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.' Remembering Steve and the many ways he changed our world," tweeted Apple CEO Tim Cook with a picture of Jobs. In remembrance of Jobs, Recode has compiled several of Steve Job's best interviews conducted at the D: All Things Digital conference. You can watch Recode's reflection video directly on YouTube here.

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New AI Is Capable of Beating Humans At Doom
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '16 at 04:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's Skynet-approved department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Den of Geek UK: Two students at Carnegie Mellon University have designed an artificial intelligence program that is capable of beating human players in a deathmatch game of 1993's Doom. Guillaume Lample and Devendra Singh Chaplot spent four months developing a program capable of playing first-person shooter games. The program made its debut at VizDoom (an AI competition that centered around the classic shooter) where it took second place despite the fact that their creation managed to beat human participants. That's not the impressive part about this program, however. No, what's really impressive is how the AI learns to play. The creator's full write-up on the program (which is available here) notes that their AI "allows developing bots that play the game using the screen buffer." What that means is that the program learns by interpreting what is happening on the screen as opposed to following a pre-set series of command instructions alone. In other words, this AI learns to play in exactly the same way a human player learns to play. This theory has been explored practically before, but Doom is arguably the most complicated game a program fueled by that concept has been able to succeed at. The AI's creators have already confirmed that they will be moving on to Quake, which will be a much more interesting test of this technologies capabilities given that Quake presents a much more complex 3D environment.

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Android 7.1 Nougat's Changelog Reveals Pixel-Exclusive Features Not Available To Nexus Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '16 at 04:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's stock-Android department:
With the launch of the Google Pixel and Pixel XL yesterday, Google failed to mention the fact that vanilla Android is dead. The Pixel and Pixel XL run Android 7.1 Nougat, custom software made solely for the new Pixel devices and not for past Nexus smartphones. A changelog for Android 7.1 reveals that Nexus smartphones and tablets will not get Pixel-specific features. They won't get the Pixel Launcher or Google Assistant. BGR reports: Google is trying to set the Pixels apart by giving them special features, and it's not like that's an irrational business decision. But the Pixels might change the way Android fans buy devices. Before, you could go for Nexus to get the hottest Android features as soon as Google released Android updates, or you could buy anything else and hope for speedy software upgrade. Now, it seems that you'll have to buy Pixel to get a full Android experience as Google envisions it, or get anything else and never experience Android in its full glory. Some of the Pixel product-specific features, as mentioned in the changelog found by Android Police, include: Pixel Launcher, Google Assistant, unlimited original quality photo/video backup to Google Photos, phone/chat support, and various cosmetic changes.

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Linus Torvalds Says 'Buggy Crap' Made It Into Linux 4.8
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '16 at 02:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's never-change,-linus department:
Two days after Linus Torvalds announced the release of Linux 4.8, he began apologizing for a bug fix gone bad. The Register reports: "I'm really sorry I applied that last series from Andrew just before doing the 4.8 release, because they cause problems, and now it is in 4.8 (and that buggy crap is marked for stable too)." The "crap" in question is an attempt to fix a bug that's been present in Linux since version 3.15. Torvalds rates the fix for that bug "clearly worse than the bug it tried to fix, since that original bug has never killed my machine!" Torvalds isn't happy with kernel contributor Andrew Morton, who he says is debugging with a known bad use of BUG_ON(). "I've ranted against people using BUG_ON() for debugging in the past. Why the f*ck does this still happen?" Torvalds writes, pointing to a 2002 post to the kernel mailing list outlining how to do BUG_ON() right. He later adds "so excuse me for being upset that people still do this shit almost 15 years later."

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Judge Allows Small Businesses To Sue Credit Card Giants For Forcing Them To Adopt Chip Readers
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '16 at 02:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's class-action-lawsuit department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Computerworld: A federal judge has ruled it is plausible that four national credit-card companies improperly conspired "in lockstep" to set a deadline of Oct. 1, 2015 for requiring retailers to upgrade their technology to accept embedded chip cards for credit and debit card purchases. In an order issued Friday (Case number C 16-01150 WHA), U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup agreed with two small Florida businesses -- B and R Supermarket and Grove Liquors -- which brought the lawsuit in March. Alsup's ruling also allows the antitrust case against Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover Financial Services to move forward in federal court for the Northern District of California. The two retailers are seeking to create a class-action case involving millions of small retailers who have been required under the Oct. 1, 2015 deadline to assume liability for fraudulent card charges if they haven't upgraded to the more-secure chip card technology instead of magnetic-stripe cards. The retailers believe there was industry conspiracy over creation of the deadline that violates fair trade practices. In the same ruling, the judge allowed two other retailers -- Los Angeles-based gourmet food chain Monsieur Marcel and New York-based grocery story chain Fine Fare -- to intervene in the case. Lawyers for the retailers have said a class-action lawsuit could include 8 million U.S. small businesses. They would seek repayment of the cost of upgrading to chip card readers and related software, estimated at $6 billion. However, the National Retail Federation has recently estimated the total cost of the conversion in the U.S. at up to $35 billion.

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Nokia Makes a Play For 5G With Purchase of US Startup Eta Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '16 at 01:29 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's next-gen department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Nokia has signaled fresh commitment towards 5G infrastructure with the acquisition of Eta Devices -- a small U.S.-based startup that specializes in improving power efficiency at base stations. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based outfit has around 20 staff, some of whom work at its research and development site in Stockholm, Sweden. Nokia said it hoped the buyout, financial details of which weren't disclosed, allow it "to enhance base station energy efficiency, an increasingly important area for operators on the path to 4.9G and 5G." Eta claims its tech can "drastically" reduce "heat waste" via an "amplifier that works like an automated gearbox" by adjusting energy usage by need. It has tech which claims to improve smartphone battery life, too -- with supposed boosts of up to 50 percent. However, Nokia seems to have acquired it for the "significant" power savings it says it can make at base stations, both in readiness for the Internet of Things, and to improve its carbon footprint and help its "zero emission base station solution." The acquisition includes fixed assets, employees, intellectual property rights, and lease and supplier deals, Nokia said. Nokia said in a statement: "This translates to savings for operators that can be invested as 4.9G and 5G approach. Eta Devices' technology reduces the need for backup power, translating into smaller base station cabinets and reduced equipment breakdown rates, and supporting Nokia's target to continuously strengthen the base station power efficiency of its products."

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There's Even More Evidence That Fitness Trackers Don't Work
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '16 at 01:29 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's get-that-thing-out-of-my-face department:
Turns out it's really hard to persuade people to exercise -- even when they have access to how many steps they've taken, and even when they get paid for it. A staggering 90 percent of people stop wearing fitness trackers when given the choice. Fortune reports: In the new yearlong study, published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, researchers randomized 800 people in Singapore who had a full-time job into four groups. Some wore a Fitbit Zip and were paid a small amount of money to get moving -- which they were instructed either to keep or to donate to charity -- while others didn't wear Fitbits. Researchers measured their physical activity, weight, blood pressure, the body's ability to use oxygen (called cardiorespiratory fitness) and their self-reported quality of life. For the last six months of the study, all incentives were dropped, and people could choose whether or not to continue wearing their fitness trackers. (About 40% of people had stopped wearing it in the first six months anyway.) The cash seemed to work at first. Those who were rewarded with cash did an extra 13 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each week and added 570 steps to their daily counts. Raising money for charity had no effect. But once the monetary rewards stopped, so did the improvements. By the end of the study, just 10% of people were still wearing the trackers.

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Google's Autonomous Car Passes 2 Million Miles
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '16 at 12:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's future-is-here department:
Google said today it recently reached a huge milestone with its autonomous cars. Its cars have logged its two-millionth mile. To put into perspective, Google's self-driving cars have travelled roughly 300 years of human driving. The first million miles took Google six years, the second million came in at 16 months. Recode evaluates how far Google's self-driving cars have come. It notes that Google has been involved in 14 of such incidents, 13 of which were caused by other drivers.

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Replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Phone Catches Fire on Southwest Plane
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '16 at 12:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's phone-on-fire department:
After learning about faulty battery issues in its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, Samsung said it will offer its existing customers a safe, replacement unit. It appears the replacement unit also suffers from the same issue. Jordan Golson, reporting for The Verge: Southwest Airlines flight 944 from Louisville to Baltimore was evacuated this morning while still at the gate because of a smoking Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. All passengers and crew exited the plane via the main cabin door and no injuries were reported, a Southwest Airlines spokesperson told The Verge. More worryingly, the phone in question was a replacement Galaxy Note 7, one that was deemed to be safe by Samsung. The Verge spoke to Brian Green, owner of the Note 7, on the phone earlier today and he confirmed that he had picked up the new phone at an AT&T store on September 21st. A photograph of the box shows the black square symbol that indicates a replacement Note 7 and Green said it had a green battery icon.A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines said, "prior to the Southwest Airlines Flight 994 departing from Louisville for Baltimore, a customer reported smoke emitting from an electronic device. All customers and crew deplaned safely via the main cabin door. Customers will be accommodated on other Southwest flights to their final destinations. Safety is always our top priority at Southwest and we encourage our customers to comply with the FAA Pack Safe Guidelines."

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Amazon Piles On the Prime Benefits With New 'Prime Reading' Perk
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '16 at 10:48 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's more-books-for-you department:
Amazon today unveiled the latest perk for Prime members in the United States: Prime Reading. With this, the company is offering access to "over a thousand" Kindle books, comics, magazines and more. The selection will rotate, the company says, suggesting that you should be able to read titles that aren't available today. GeekWire adds: The new perk, Prime Reading, lets Amazon Prime members access more than 1,000 e-books from best-selling authors at no extra charge, read a rotating selection of popular magazines, and read content from the company's Kindle Singles library, including classic short stories and essays. Prime reading is available on the Kindle app for iOS and Android, and on the company's Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets. The new perk comes in addition to the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, which lets Prime members who own Amazon devices borrow one e-book a month from a larger selection of titles. Separate from a Prime membership, Amazon offers the $10/month Kindle Unlimited e-book subscription service.Amazon Prime program costs $99 per year.

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Verizon Workers Can Now Be Fired If They Fix Copper Phone Lines
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '16 at 10:48 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's choice-is-yours department:
Verizon has told its field technicians in Pennsylvania that they can be fired if they try to fix broken copper phone lines. Instead, employees must try to replace copper lines with a device that connects to Verizon Wireless's cell phone network, ArsTechnica reports. From the article:This directive came in a memo from Verizon to workers on September 20. "Failure to follow this directive may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal," the memo said. It isn't clear whether this policy has been applied to Verizon workers outside of Pennsylvania. The memo and other documents were made public by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union, which asked the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to put a stop to the forced copper-to-wireless conversions. The wireless home phone service, VoiceLink, is not a proper replacement for copper phone lines because it doesn't work with security alarms, fax machines, medical devices such as pacemakers that require telephone monitoring, and other services, the union said.

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NSA Contractor Arrested in Possible New Theft of Secrets
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '16 at 09:23 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's we-are-all-snowdens department:
The New York Times, citing senior law enforcement and intelligence officials, reports today that the FBI secretly arrested a National Security Agency contractor in recent weeks (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; alternate source). The newspaper adds that the FBI is currently investigating whether the contractor (identified as male) stole and disclosed highly classified computer codes developed to "hack into the networks of foreign governments." From the report: The theft raises the embarrassing prospect that for the second time in three years an insider has managed to steal highly damaging secret information from the N.S.A. In 2013, Edward J. Snowden, who was also a contractor for the agency, took a vast trove of documents that were later passed to journalists, exposing N.S.A. surveillance programs in the United States and abroad. The information believed stolen by this contractor -- who like Mr. Snowden worked for the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, which is responsible for building and operating many of the agency's most sensitive cyberoperations -- appears to be different in nature from Mr. Snowden's theft.

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New Project Lets You Install Arch Linux In the Windows Subsystem For Linux
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '16 at 09:23 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's good-things department:
prisoninmate writes: Softpedia reports that there's a new project on GitHub, called alwsl, which promises to let you install the Arch Linux operating system on Windows 10's new WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) feature, which allows users to run native Linux command-line tools directly on the Windows operating system alongside their modern desktop and apps. For example, Canonical and Microsoft brought Bash on Ubuntu on Windows using the new WSL functionality. For now, the alwsl project, which is developed by a group of German developers that call themselves "Turbo Developers," offers a .bat file that you can use to install Arch Linux on a WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) host, but the software is in developer preview stage. The first stable release, alwsl 1.0 will be able not only to install Arch Linux on the Windows Subsystem for Linux host in Windows 10 editions that support it, but also to create and manage users and snapshots. Also, it looks like it will get rolling upgrades just like a normal Arch Linux installation gets. The final release is expected to launch on December 2016, and you can monitor its development progress on GitHub.

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Yahoo Offers Non-Denial Denial of Bombshell Spy Report
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '16 at 09:23 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's caught-off-guard department:
Reuters reported on Tuesday that Yahoo last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers' incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials. When The Intercept reached out to Yahoo for an official comment and explanation, the company offered a non-denial response after 20 hours since Reuters's report, a report said. (If a report is inaccurate, the company says so explicitly. Non-denial is something you give when you are caught off guard and things reported are true.) From the report: From Yahoo's PR firm, "The article is misleading. We narrowly interpret every government request for user data to minimize disclosure. The mail scanning described in the article does not exist on our systems." This is an extremely carefully worded statement, arriving roughly 20 hours after the Reuters story first broke. That's a long time to craft 29 words. It's unclear as well why Yahoo wouldn't have put this statement out on Tuesday, rather than responding, cryptically, that they are "a law abiding company, [that] complies with the laws of the United States." But this day-after denial isn't even really a denial: The statement says only that the article is misleading, not false. It denies only that such an email scanning program "does not" exist -- perhaps it did exist at some point between its reported inception in 2015 and today. It also pins quite a bit on the word "described" -- perhaps the Reuters report was overall accurate, but missed a few details. And it would mean a lot more for this denial to come straight from the keyboard of a named executive at Yahoo -- perhaps Ron Bell, the company's general counsel -- rather than a "strategic communications firm."Reuters reported that Yahoo's decision has prompted questions in Europe whether EU citizens' data had been compromised, and this could result in derailing a new trans-Atlantic data sharing deal.

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Interviews: Ask Martin Shkreli a Question
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '16 at 07:52 AM
By whipslash from Slashdot's this-should-be-interesting department:
Martin Shkreli has agreed to answer your questions. Shkreli is the co-founder of the hedge fund MSMB Capital Management, the co-founder and former chief executive officer (CEO) of the biotechnology firm Retrophin, and the founder and former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. Shkreli has been active on Twitter about a wide range of topics, including the 2016 presidential election. Most recently, he expressed interest in buying 4chan. Ask him your questions here, and we'll post the full interview with Shkreli's answers in the near future.

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Apple's Use Of 'Sapphire' in iPhone Camera Lens Questioned in New Tests
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '16 at 07:52 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's in-quest-of-real-sapphire department:
An anonymous reader writes: Apple has been using sapphire on its iPhone camera lenses for a few years now since the launch of the iPhone 5S, but it might not be as scratch resistant as you'd expect. A new video raises questions over Apple's use of sapphire in its iPhone camera lens, and includes scratch tests to rate its durability. While Apple claims it uses sapphire crystal in its iPhone lens, tests by YouTuber JerryRigEverything show that Apple could be using a more cost effective sapphire laminate on top of regular glass. JerryRigEverything tested Apple's iPhone lens with an XRF machine and electron microscope, and concluded that Apple doesn't use pure sapphire in its lenses. The underside of the lens contains less sapphire than the exposed part, and a scratching comparison with a Tissot sapphire watch showed that the lens cover will scratch at a level 6 on Mohs Scale of Hardness, compared to level 8 for the Tissot watch.

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BuzzFeed Hacked By OurMine As Group Accuses Site of Publishing 'Fake News'
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '16 at 06:32 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department:
BuzzFeed has become the latest website to be compromised by hackers. A number of stories on the website have been vandalized by hackers in what appears a retaliation for a story that claimed to expose a member of their group. The hacker group, which calls itself OurMine, changed titles of several BuzzFeed posts to note that the website has been hacked. There's another note left by hackers which says "share fake news about us again." From a report: Several stories on BuzzFeed.com have been affected, with The Drum receiving the below message on a link that was meant to contain a news feature. The hackers warned BuzzFeed that it has the media owner's "database," adding: "Next Time it will be public. Don't fuck with OurMine again." The group has claimed responsibility for several high-profile hacks over the past 12 months including security breaches which saw them access the accounts of Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, Google boss Sundar Pichai and former Twitter head Dick Costolo. Some Twitter users were reporting that hacking outfit's message had appeared on "dozens" of articles on BuzzFeed, but the site appears to have dealt with the cyber attack quite quickly.

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BadKernel Vulnerability Affects One In 16 Android Smartphones
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '16 at 05:11 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's staggering-statistics department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Softpedia: A security bug in Google's V8 JavaScript engine is indirectly affecting around one in 16 Android devices, impacting smartphone models from all major vendors, such as LG, Samsung, Motorola, and Huawei. Despite this bug being public for more than a year, only in August 2016 have Chinese security researchers discovered that the V8 issue also affected a whole range of Android-related products where the older V8 engine versions had been deployed. Affected products included Google Chrome Mobile, Opera Mobile, apps that use the WebView component (Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, WeChat, etc.) and apps that deploy the Tencent X5.SDK (a bunch of Chinese apps). It is estimated that around one in 16 Android devices is vulnerable to this issue, nicknamed BadKernel. The flaw leads to a RCE on Android devices, allowing attackers to take full control over one's smartphone. Despite BadKernel being discovered in August 2016, because all research was only published in Chinese, most E.U. and U.S. users have no clue they might be affected. One of the best ways to protect yourself, as noted in the report, is to keep your apps and operating system updated. You can view this list via Trustlook's website to see if your device is affected. There's also a dedicated BadKernel security scanner you can download from the Play Store to check for the vulnerability.

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Indonesia Wants To Criminalize Memes
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '16 at 02:31 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's scumbag-steve department:
While the United States has the First Amendment to justify the spread of memes that may ridicule political figures for example, the Indonesian government doesn't. In fact, it is looking to criminalize internet users for posting memes. The Daily Dot reports via Jakarta Post: Its Electronic Information and Transactions Law (ITE) punishes any electronic media communication that incites fear or embarrassment under its defamation article. The public has continuously called for the article's removal, but instead Indonesia is introducing more restrictions to freedom of expression. Posting memes, texts, pictures, or videos would be punishable if found to have a defamatory or slanderous tone. According to the Indonesian government, this provision stands to prevent and control cyberbullying. But it can further be used as a political tool against opposition during elections. Since its implementation in 2008, 200 people have been prosecuted according to data from the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network. Among the most notable cases, was the prosecution of Prita Mulyasari in 2009 for complaining about Omni International Hospital services on an online mailing list.

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Boeing CEO Vows To Beat Elon Musk To Mars
Posted by News Fetcher on October 04 '16 at 11:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's space-race department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg sketched out a Jetsons-like future at a conference Tuesday, envisioning a commercial space-travel market with dozens of destinations orbiting the Earth and hypersonic aircraft shuttling travelers between continents in two hours or less. And Boeing intends to be a key player in the initial push to send humans to Mars, maybe even beating Musk to his long-time goal. "I'm convinced the first person to step foot on Mars will arrive there riding a Boeing rocket," Muilenburg said at the Chicago event on innovation, which was sponsored by the Atlantic magazine. Like Musk's SpaceX, Boeing is focused on building out the commercial space sector near earth as spaceflight becomes more routine, while developing technology to venture far beyond the moon. The Chicago-based aerospace giant is working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to develop a heavy-lift rocket called the Space Launch System for deep space exploration. Boeing and SpaceX are also the first commercial companies NASA selected to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. Boeing built the first stage for the Saturn V, the most powerful U.S. rocket ever built, which took men to the moon. Nowadays, Muilenburg sees space tourism closer to home "blossoming over the next couple of decades into a viable commercial market." The International Space Station could be joined in low-earth orbit by dozens of hotels and companies pursuing micro-gravity manufacturing and research, he said. Muilenburg said Boeing will make spacecraft for the new era of tourists. He also sees potential for hypersonic aircraft, traveling at upwards of three times the speed of sound.

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