Posts with «oil» label

Toyota announces a three-row electric SUV for US customers

While Toyota helped lead the hybrid charge with its Prius, the company has been less active in EV production. But that might be in the past, as Toyota has announced another $1.3 billion for its Kentucky facility, with a focus on EVs. In particular, the company is building a new three-row electric SUV that will be available for US customers. 

Toyota's Kentucky operation is its flagship facility, with nearly 9,400 employees. "Today's announcement reflects our commitment to vehicle electrification and further reinvesting in our US operations," Kerry Creech, president of Toyota Kentucky, said in a release. "Generations of our team members helped prepare for this opportunity, and we will continue leading the charge into the future by remaining true to who we are as a company and putting our people first for generations to come."

Little is known so far about the three-row electric SUV, as Toyota only mentions it briefly in relation to the investment. However, it follows the company's prior announcement of its Urban SUV concept slated to launch in Europe this year. 

The $1.3 billion investment will also go towards creating a battery pack assembly line at its Kentucky factory (a separate manufacturing plant in North Carolina produces the batteries). Toyota has big plans for its battery production, previously announcing three battery ranges focused on higher performance and low cost slated for 2026 and onward. The company is also working on its first solid-state batteries, which have the potential to charge an EV from 10 to 80 percent in 10 minutes. Toyota's bZ4X EV currently takes 32 minutes to do so. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is just $709 right now

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 was recently banned from sale due to a patent dispute, but has now returned to the market pending an appeal by Apple. Now that you can buy one again, it's available with a solid discount from Amazon, priced at just $709 (with the Olive Alpine Loop strap) instead of $799 thanks to a $40 coupon and six percent discount — near it's all-time-low price.

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 arrived this fall with the new S9 SiP (system in package) chip, allowing you to double tap your thumb and forefinger together to perform activities like ending calls and playing music. The Ultra 2 also automatically turns on Night Mode, processes Siri requests right on the watch and has an always-on display. The form factor matches the OG Ultra smartwatch, but the display is now extra bright, at 3,000 nits vs 2,000 nits from last year’s release.

The watch has fantastic battery life, which comes in handy when you’re trekking through the wilderness, with up to 36 hours per charge. However, there’s also a low-power mode that brings this number up to 72 hours. The depth-tracker works even better for divers, adding the ability to save past dives and track depth history straight from the watch.

The Ultra 2 adds new widgets, an upgraded compass app, new workout-tracking features and much more. Apple also noted that it was manufactured using 95 percent recycled materials as part of a broader push to lessen the environmental impact of its product line. There's one caveat, though: This deal is only available on the Ultra 2 small model, which fits wrists of 130mm to 160mm, and the Olive Alpine Loop.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Fitbit's Inspire 3 fitness tracker is 20 percent off right now

Fitbit makes some of the best fitness trackers around and a couple of our favorite models are currently on sale. The Inspire 3 has dropped to $80, which is $20 off the usual price. It's only $10 more than the record low price of $70, which we saw the fitness tracker fall to during last year's holiday season. This sale also marks the Inspire 3's best price of 2023 thus far.

The Fitbit Inspire 3 is our pick for the best budget fitness tracker. Along with a color touchscreen, it has connected GPS functionality, which means it can track the pace and distance of your running and cycling sessions even if you leave your phone behind. Other features include automatic workout detection, while Fitbit says you’ll get up to 10 days of use out of a single charge.

Those looking for a tracker with more bells and whistles may want to opt for the Fitbit Charge 5 instead. It’s our overall favorite fitness tracker. It has built-in GPS tracking, so it can map your runs and other activities. We found that this feature was fast and accurate.

In addition, the Charge 5 supports Fitbit Pay, giving you another excuse to keep your phone at home when you’re out jogging. You can also take an electrocardiogram reading with this tracker. Moreover, the Charge 5 can track your sleep and it has a full-color AMOLED display. The Charge 4 had a smaller grayscale screen and it a thicker profile, so the more recent model is more refined.

Best of all, the Fitbit Charge 5 is on sale too. It has dropped from $150 to $120.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Reason's popular DAW finally gets native Apple Silicon support

Reason Studios (formerly Propellerhead) announced today that Reason, its popular digital audio workstation and plugin suite, now natively runs on Apple M1 / M2 chips. After installing the new Reason 12.6 update, users can skip the slower speeds from Apple’s Rosetta 2 emulator and run the DAW natively on non-Intel Macs for “50 percent better performance.”

The update also applies to Reason’s Rack Extension tech. The company says all 750+ extensions will also run natively on Apple Silicon, including older extensions abandoned by third-party developers.

Although the update is a bit late to the party, the (relatively small) Sweden-based studio likely had its hands full optimizing the music-creation suite for Apple Silicon, which Apple introduced in late 2020. Competitor Ableton Live didn’t launch M1 support until February 2022, and even Apple’s Logic Pro didn’t run natively on the company’s chipset until a year after the first M1 Macs’ arrival.

Reason 12.6 also includes a new offline mode, which should be welcome news for frequent fliers, off-grid adventurers or anyone with sketchy internet service. After logging in with an online connection to authenticate, the software will continue working offline without requiring extra third-party software.

The 12.6 update is free for owners of Reason 12 and subscribers of Reason+ (a $20 / mo. service that includes Reason, an up-to-date sound bank and the Reason rack). Finally, the company offers users running old versions an extra incentive to update by offering 40 percent off Reason 12 upgrades through May 8th when purchasing from the developer’s website.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Walmart announces major expansion to EV charging network

Walmart just announced a major expansion to its electric vehicle charging network, with "thousands" of Walmart and Sam's Club locations getting new EV charging stations. According to the company, full implementation will be completed by 2030.

The news does not say precisely how many of the approximately 5,300 Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations throughout the country will be added to the network. We've reached out to the company for comment. Walmart currently operates 1,300 EV fast-charging stations located at more than 280 retail stores and affiliated facilities.

“With a store or club located within 10 miles of approximately 90% of Americans, we are uniquely positioned to deliver a convenient charging option that will help make EV ownership possible whether people live in rural, suburban or urban areas,” wrote Vishal Kapadia, Senior Vice President of Energy Transformation at Walmart. “Easy access to on-the-go charging is a game-changer for drivers who have been hesitant to purchase an EV.”

Walmart is still looking for energy suppliers, according to a report by Reuters. In the past, it has worked with providers EVgo and VW’s Electrify America. No matter the provider, Walmart has stated that each participating store will receive four chargers and that the company will keep energy prices low, though it has not provided cost estimates. 

Walmart wants to improve its overall environmental footprint in ways both large and small. In addition to this new EV charger initiative, the company stated that all supply chain vehicles will achieve "zero emissions" by 2040 and that it has already transitioned to some electric vehicles for deliveries. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

EU wind and solar energy production overtook gas last year

Energy generated from solar and wind power reportedly overtook natural gas in the European Union (EU) for the first time last year. The data comes from UK clean-energy think tank Ember (via Bloomberg), which projects the gap to grow.

Solar and wind energy rose to an all-time high of 22 percent of the EU’s 2022 electricity use. Meanwhile, Ember projects fossil-fuel generation to drop by 20 percent this year — with gas falling the fastest.

The shifts stem largely from reducing reliance on gas and coal after Russia invaded Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin ordered the cutoff of natural gas exports to the EU as retaliation for Western sanctions. Ember says the resulting high costs helped lower energy demand by around eight percent in Q4 2022 compared to the same quarter the previous year.

“There is now a focus on rapidly cutting gas demand — at the same time as phasing out coal,’’ the report said. “This means a massive scale-up in clean energy is on its way.” It expects nuclear power to remain flat in 2023, with a planned phase-out of German nuclear reactors canceling out a ramp-up from France. However, it projects hydropower to rise by around 40 terawatt-hours this year following a severe drought in 2022.

NASA's 38-year-old science satellite falls safely to Earth

NASA's 38-year-old dead satellite has returned to Earth without incident. The Defense Department has confirmed that the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) reentered the atmosphere off the Alaskan coast at 11:04PM Eastern on January 8th. There are no reports of damage or injuries, according to the Associated Press. That isn't surprising when NASA said there was a 1-in-9,400 chance of someone getting hurt, but it's notable when officials said there was a possibility of some parts surviving the plunge.

ERBS had a storied life. It travelled to aboard Space Shuttle Challenger in 1984, and pioneering woman astronaut Sally Ride placed it in orbit using the robotic Canadarm. Crewmate Kathryn Sullivan performed the first spacewalk by an American woman during that mission. The satellite was only expected to collect ozone data for two years, but was only retired in 2005 — over two decades later. The vehicle helped scientists understand how Earth absorbs and radiates solar energy.

Update: @NASA’s retired Earth Radiation Budget Satellite reentered Earth’s atmosphere over the Bering Sea at 11:04 p.m. EST on Sunday, Jan. 8, the @DeptofDefense confirmed.

— NASA Earth (@NASAEarth) January 9, 2023

You might not see much ancient equipment fall to Earth in coming decades. The FCC recently proposed a five-year cap on the operation of domestically owned satellites that aren't in geostationary orbits. The current guidelines suggest deorbiting within 25 years. While there could be waivers for exceptional cases, future satellites like ERBS (which was in a non-Sun synchronous orbit) might bow out long before they're reduced to space junk.

The Wire retracts reporting on Meta citing 'certain discrepancies'

After nearly three weeks of escalating rhetoric, The Wire is retracting its reporting on Meta. On Sunday, the nonprofit publication said it had discovered “certain discrepancies” with the material that had informed its reporting on the social media giant since October 6th. “The Wire believes it is appropriate to retract the stories,” the outlet said, pointing to the fact it could not authenticate two emails that were critical to its previous coverage of Meta. One of the emails The Wire said it could not verify includes a message the outlet had attributed to Meta spokesperson Andy Stone.

“Our investigation, which is ongoing, does not as yet allow us to take a conclusive view about the authenticity and bona fides of the sources with whom a member of our reporting team says he has been in touch over an extended period of time,” The Wire said. “We are still reviewing the entire matter, including the possibility that it was deliberately sought to misinform or deceive The Wire.”

Before Sunday’s retraction, The Wire claimed Meta gave Amit Malviya, an information technology official with India’s ruling BJP party, the power to remove posts from Instagram, an assertation Meta has consistently disputed. Rather than backing down after the company shared a comprehensive rebuttal on October 12th, The Wire kept publishing stories that claimed Meta was misleading the public, culminating in an October 15th article that featured a screen recording the outlet claimed showed proof of the original takedown request that kicked off the entire saga. One day later, Meta said an internal investigation found the video showed a Workspace account created on October 13th, suggesting someone made the account to back up The Wire’s reporting.

Meta did not immediately respond to Engadget’s request for comment. Amid all the back and forth, Instagram eventually reinstated the post that prompted The Wire’s investigation in the first place.

The bizarre saga of Meta, The Wire and their fight over Indian content moderation

When a journalist at The Wire, an independent Indian publication, published a story on October 6th about a meme page’s claim that their Instagram post had been wrongfully removed, it hardly seemed like the kind of story that would draw much attention. The Instagram account, @cringearchivist, was a private account with fewer than 1,000 followers. The fact that their post, a satirical image depicting an Indian government official, was removed for breaking the app’s rules around sexual activity — despite showing nothing of the sort — was odd, but not the kind of thing that might draw international attention.

But in an increasingly bizarre turn of events, the nonprofit newsroom began publishing stories with more explosive claims about what it alleged led up to the removal of @cringearchivist’s post. And, in an even more unusual move, Meta not only refuted the claims but said the publication’s reporting was based on “fabricated” evidence and likely the result of some kind of elaborate hoax.

What happened?

After the initial story on the Instagram takedown, The Wire then started looking more closely at what happened. After not getting a response from Meta, reporters started asking around with sources inside the company. According to what one reporter for The WiretoldNewsLaundry, sources within Meta told them the post had been removed not by Instagram’s moderators but at the behest of Amit Malviya, an official in India’s ruling BJP party who oversees its IT cell.

The Wire then published a followup to its original story on October 10th, with the headline “Exclusive: If BJP’s Amit Malviya Reports Your Post, Instagram Will Take it Down – No Questions Asked.” The story alleged that Malviya had the power to remove Instagram posts thanks to Meta’s controversial cross-check program, which has been credited with shielding high-profile celebrities and politicians from the company’s rules.

It was an explosive allegation. While cross-check has received plenty of scrutiny, no previous reporting had indicated that those privileges might extend to the ability for those outside the company to influence content takedowns.

Where to even begin with this story?! X-check has nothing to do with the ability to report posts. The posts in question were surfaced for review by automated systems, not humans. And the underlying documentation appears to be fabricated.

— Andy Stone (@andymstone) October 11, 2022

Meta immediately refuted the story, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone said that cross-check had “nothing to do with” the ability to report posts and that the original Instagram post was removed due to Instagram's automated tools. He also said that “the underlying documentation appears to be fabricated.”

Rather than backing down, though, The Wire published a new story the next day, this one featuring an email – supposedly sent by Stone — in which the comms official blasted staff for allowing the documents to “leak.” But the supposed email only raised more questions about The Wire’s reporting. Most glaringly, the grammar and syntax in the messages was… strange. It used phrases like “for the last one month” and “post which I will tweet about it.” Journalists who cover Meta and frequently interact with Stone pointed out that not only did it not sound like him, it didn’t sound as if it was written by a native English speaker.

I'm also late to this saga (in Israel & just catching up on the news).
My immediate thoughts on this fabricated @andymstone text:

-An experienced spokesperson/Crisis Comm professional would NEVER write such an email.
-It looks like a sloppy/failed Google Translate attempt. WTF?

— Nirit Weiss-Blatt, PhD (@DrTechlash) October 14, 2022

Stone also denied sending the email, and again said The Wire seemed to be relying on faked documents. Meta also published its own rebuttal on October 12th. The screenshots, according to the company, were fabricated. The @cringearchivist posts in question were removed by the company’s automated systems, not a human, much less an Indian government official. “We hope that The Wire is the victim of this hoax, not the perpetrator,” the company wrote.

Once again, The Wire responded that it wasn’t backing down. On October 15th, it published yet another story, titled “Meta Said Damaging Internal Email is ‘Fake’, URL 'Not in Use', Here's Evidence They're Wrong.” The lengthy post included several technical explanations about how the alleged emails from Stone were analyzed and verified. It also cited emails from independent security researchers who allegedly backed up their analysis. And, crucially, it included a screen recording from Meta’s Workplace software that allegedly showed proof of the takedown requests.

But, again, The Wire’s supposed evidence only raised new questions about its sources. On October 16th, Meta weighed in again. This time, the company said that an internal investigation revealed the alleged Workplace video was created from a Workplace account created with a free trial of the software on October 13th.

“At this time, we can confirm that the video shared by The Wire that purports to show an internal Instagram system (and which the Wire claims is evidence that their false allegations are true) in fact depicts an externally-created Meta Workplace account that was deliberately set up with Instagram’s name and brand insignia in order to deceive people,” the company wrote. “It is not an internal account. Based on the timing of this account’s creation on October 13, it appears to have been set up specifically in order to manufacture evidence to support the Wire’s inaccurate reporting.”

And, once again, The Wire said it was standing by its reporting. In a statement on October 17th, the publication essentially said it would no longer engage with Meta on the topic. The publication accused the company of attempting to “goad” them into revealing its sources. “We are not prepared to play this game any further,” it said.

By repeatedly making wild claims about #TheWire’s evidence, the #Meta hopes we will feel obliged to seek and publish further information that could be more easily traced back to our sources. We are not prepared to play this game any further. ~@thewire_in

— Mahtab महताब مہتاب (@MahtabNama) October 17, 2022

Meanwhile, the alleged proof provided by The Wire continued to fall apart. And one of the security researchers who The Wire said had backed up their verification said he had never sent the messages it cited in its reporting.

On October 18th, the publication reversed course, saying it would review its reporting, and would pull the stories from public view while it investigated. “This will include a review of all documents, source material and sources used for our stories on Meta,” The Wire wrote in a statement. “Based on our sources’ consent, we are also exploring the option of sharing original files with trusted and reputed domain experts as part of this process.”

Now what?

At this point, there are still more questions than answers about how and why The Wire’s reporting went so wrong. It’s clear there are serious issues with the “evidence'' it relied on, though it’s not clear whether it intentionally lied or if it was misled as part of some broader scheme. The publication has said numerous times it relied on two separate sources, which suggests the whole thing is more complex than one bad source.

More information is likely to come out in the coming days and weeks as The Wire and others now look more closely at how the story got so out of control. But there’s a reason why the stakes in this particular incident feel so high. India ranks 150 out of 180 in terms of press freedom, according to Reporters Without Borders. And The Wire, a nonprofit publication, is one of a shrinking number of independent newsrooms in the country.

It’s also worth pointing out that some elements of this saga point to real and serious issues about Meta’s policies and how they impact its billions of users. For one, the entire situation began with something many people have experienced: a content moderation decision gone awry due to a mistake in the company’s automated systems. Amid all the back and forth, Instagram ended up reinstating the original Story post from @cringearchivist that had kicked off The Wire’s investigation.

There’s also the fact that Meta has been less than forthcoming about its cross-check rules for celebrities, politicians and other VIPs. Many details we now know about the program only came to light thanks to a company whistleblower and other investigative reporting into the company. The company’s own Oversight Board, which has been working on an advisory opinion for nearly a year about the program, even accused the company of misleading it about the program.

And while there continues to be no evidence that cross-check would enable a company outsider to initiate content takedowns, journalists and activists have long raised questions about whether Meta gives too much leeway to India’s BJP in other policy decisions.

Put all that together and it becomes clear why a publication like The Wire might be so invested in a story like this in the first place. “Our recent coverage of Meta began with an incident that reflected the lack of transparency at the social media giant and its various platforms,” The Wire wrote in its most recent statement. Unfortunately, its own reporting has so far only made things more opaque.

Apple Podcasts' new charts help you find the top paid shows

Apple Podcasts has offered paid subscriptions for a while, but how are you supposed to find shows worth a monthly outlay? You now have some help. Apple has introduced charts for both the top 100 subscriber shows and top 100 subscriber channels, making it clearer which shows and providers are interesting enough for people to spend their hard-earned money.

Both new charts are available through the Podcasts app in the US, UK, Australia and Canada. You'll need at least iOS 15.6, iPadOS 15.6 or macOS 12.5. They're available through both the Browse tab and the Charts page, and are refreshed multiple times per day.

There's a clear frontrunner in the inaugural charts. As of this writing, Amazon's Wondery is dominating the show and channel rankings with podcasts like Morbid and SmartLess. Recognizable rivals like Luminary (Black Star's No Fear of Time) and Pushkin (Malcolm Gladwell's Go and See) are also present on the channel list.

There's no mystery behind the strategy. Apple is clearly hoping you'll sign up for subscriptions and support your favorite series while giving the iPhone maker a cut of the fees. Nonetheless, this might be helpful if you're looking for ad-free shows and otherwise crave paid perks.