Google discloses FBI inquiry

 A new transparency report Google released on Wednesday disclosed a previously secret FBI inquiry for user data. Google wrote in its biannual report that an FBI gag restriction on the subpoena or national security letter issued in the second half of 2015 had been lifted. The Intercept first reported on the subpoena mentioned in Google’s transparency report. Law enforcement officials’ power to use national security letters was greatly extended after the passage of the Patriot Act. The letters do not require a judge’s approval like warrants, and those who receive the letters are barred from publicly talking about them. The FBI and Department of Justice must periodically review national security letters to assess if the gag restrictions are still necessary, according to the Intercept’s report. The restriction is…

Only watch HBO or Sportsnet? Canada’s TV providers must offer solo channels on Dec. 1 Consumers who hate paying for dozens of television channels they never watch can celebrate their new right to tailor their own TV packages, with the caveat they won’t necessarily save money under the system. As of Thursday, TV service providers must offer channels à la carte and in packages of up to 10 channels to complement existing TV packages in order to comply with a policy issued in spring 2015 by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. The regulator introduced the changes after its Let’s Talk TV proceedings, a public hearing that aimed to give consumers more choice in television packages to help broadcasters quell cord cutting and compete with streaming services such as Netflix. The same decision forced providers to offer $25 per month skinny TV packages...

Crucial 750GB SSD going for $169.99 in Black Friday sales for a limited time (updated) Update: Since publishing the story the price has now changed to a more sensible $169.99. $99 price was for a "Sold and ships from Amazon" directly. It is now out of stock but may be replenished. Original story: You can pick up this Crucial MX300 SATA 750GB SSD on Amazon for $99 right now, which is a $70 saving on a great quality of life component for your rig. If you put your OS on there your PC will boot in seconds, and your games will load faster.  You will want to move quickly, however, the offer ends in 20 hours, at the time of writing, which means the offer will expire at around 11pm PST / 7am GMT Friday 25. If you're looking for even more GB for your...

Google hits Pixel resellers with 'digital death sentence' SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Some of Google's unwitting users are learning a harsh lesson: If you violate the company's policies, it may abruptly cut you off from your Gmail account, online photos and other vital digital services. Several people who recently bought Pixel phones for a New Hampshire dealer are now suffering that punishment. Google detected their online purchases and judged they violated its rules against "commercial" resale of the Pixel. The consumers received $5 for each phone they bought for the reseller. One Google user locked out from his account since Monday likened it to a "digital death sentence." In a Thursday statement, Google described the reselling arrangement as a "scheme," but promised to restore the accounts of customers who it believes were unaware ...

19 'Heartbeat' Stars Mapped — Most Ever in Single Study NASA's Kepler space telescope characterized 19 "heartbeat stars" — stellar pairs whose tight orbits lead to a heartbeat-like brightness curve and ellipsoidal shape. Scientists recently characterized 19 "heartbeat" star systems — pairs of binary stars that vary in brightness over time, creating a brightness curve that blips up and down like an electrocardiogram.  This is the largest group of heartbeat stars mapped in a single study, NASA officials said in a statement.  Avi Shporer, a currently a researcher at California Institute of Technology and lead author of the study, used NASA's Kepler space telescope to discover the stars. The Kepler telescope has found several heartbeat star systems in the past few years: A 2011 study discovered a star called KOI-54 that shows an increase in brightness every 41.8 days, and ...

Amazon Alexa users now have access to 60,000+ recipes – CNET Allrecipes on Friday announced integration with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, and Fire TV owners now have hands-free access to more than 60,000 recipes. The new skill is capable of recommending meals and providing step-by-step instructions. You can also have Allrecipes send you a text message of the recipe to take with you to the store. Here are some examples of the commands: "Alexa, ask Allrecipes, what can I make with chicken, bacon and cheddar cheese?" "Alexa, ask Allrecipes for the recipe of the day." "Alexa, ask Allrecipes to find the World's Best Lasagna recipe." "Alexa, ask Allrecipes, how much butter is needed for Award Winning Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies?" To enable the new Allrecipes skill, ...

Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections, study says What future for Lake Champlain? A powerful new model from a team of scientists at the University of Vermont suggests that climate change may pose greater risks to the health of the lake than previously realized. The results may have implications for how the EPA and others manage and regulate not just this international lake but other freshwater lakes across the nation. Credit: Joshua Brown/UVM New research suggests that Lake Champlain may be more susceptible to damage from climate change than was previously understood—and that, therefore, the rules created by the EPA to protect the lake may be inadequate to prevent algae blooms and water quality problems as the region gets hotter and wetter. "This paper provides very clear evidence that the lake could be far...

Mark Zuckerberg has sold $95 million worth Facebook stock according to regulatory filings Continuing on his goal to improve the world with his donations, Social networking giant Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has sold $95 million in Facebook stock between November 17 and 18, according to regulatory filings. The sale follows $190 million in Facebook stock sold by the same entities in October and another $190 million sold in September, Forbes reported on Monday adding that Zuckerberg has said that he will not sell or give away more than $1 billion in Facebook stock per year through 2018. “Zuckerberg’s net worth at $52 billion. His net worth has increased over the past year despite the stock sales as a result of the rise in Facebook’s stock price,” noted the report. In September Chan and Zuckerberg had pledged to spend $3 billion over next...