What else is new and interesting in the ever-changing world of science and technology? Glad you asked, because I still have a mortgage. Here goes…
* Lake Erie is under attack from noxious algae blooms, and the problem only looks likely to get worse if something isn’t done to reverse the trend, new research from Stanford University suggests. The problems: Too much agricultural runoff fertilizing the algae, big spring storms and warmer temperatures.
* Here’s a roundup of April Fool’s Day online.
* Looks like Mars is in for a heck of a sky show from a comet next year. Scientists are both excited for the spectacular visuals, and worried about their equipment on the Red Planet.
* It’s back to the office for Silicon Valley. In an era when remote working is losing its favor, companies are building spectacular new offices in an effort to wring more productivity out of workers. Apple’s ring-shaped, gleaming “Spaceship Headquarters” will include a world class auditorium and an orchard for engineers to wander. Google’s new Bay View campus will feature walkways angled to force accidental encounters. Facebook, while putting final touches on a Disney-inspired campus including a Main Street with a B-B-Q shack, sushi house and bike shop, is already planning an even larger, more exciting new campus.
* A federal appeals court said Monday that Aereo, an Internet company that offers live broadcast television feeds to mobile devices, does not violate U.S. copyright law. The 2-to-1 ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cleared the way for Aereo Inc.’s expansion of its $8-a-month service, which had been limited to New York City until this year. Several weeks ago, the company expanded to New York City suburbs, including New Jersey and parts of Connecticut, and it has announced plans to expand to Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington and 18 other U.S. markets later this year.
* Apple has issued an apology to Chinese consumers after government media attacked its repair policies for two weeks in a campaign that reeked of economic nationalism. A statement posted in Chinese to Apple’s website on Monday said the complaints had prompted “deep reflection” and persuaded the company of the need to revamp its repair policies, boost communication with Chinese consumers and strengthen oversight of authorized resellers.
* When filmmaker Carla MacKinnon started waking up several times a week unable to move, with the sense that a disturbing presence was in the room with her, she didn’t call up her local ghost hunter. She got researching. Now, that research is becoming a short film and multiplatform art project exploring the strange and spooky phenomenon of sleep paralysis.
* In a major lawsuit testing the legitimacy of music downloads, Capitol Records LLC has won a court ruling that the start-up ReDigi Inc has infringed its music copyrights. U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan in Manhattan said ReDigi was not authorized to allow listeners to use its platform to buy and sell “used” digital music tracks originally bought from Apple Inc’s iTunes Web site.
* MetroPCS Communications Inc. urged shareholders to support its proposed merger with Deutsche Telekom AG’s unit T-Mobile USA after two proxy advisory firms recommended that shareholders vote against it.