Hope dims as rescue workers search for 2 in NYC blast

Hope dimmed as emergency workers continued their search Saturday for two people still missing after an apparent gas explosion leveled three Manhattan apartment buildings and investigators worked to piece together what exactly caused the blast that injured 22. Dogs sniffed for anyone possibly still trapped beneath the heap of loose brick and rubble two days after the explosion. Detectives issued posters seeking information on the whereabouts of two men believed to have been in the sushi restaurant on the ground floor of one of the collapsed buildings: 26-year-old Moises Lucon, who worked at the restaurant, and 23-year-old Nicholas Figueroa, a bowling alley worker who had been there on a date.

Ellen Pao: Discrimination defeat, but venture capital partner hopes case will help women

Note: We do not store your email address but your IP address will be logged to prevent abuse of this feature. Please read our Legal Terms & Policies Following the loss of her $16m gender discrimination lawsuit against the venture capital-firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Bryers , former partner of the firm Ellen Pao took to twitter express her feelings following the case.

Mobile Marketing Trends To Follow From The Israeli Elections

israelelections The impact of mobile and social media on every aspect of our lives is nothing new, but certain events can really shine a light on how mobile has changed our way of conduct. The presidential elections do just that. During the 2012 elections, mobile was already at the center of everything, but the smartphone industry was relatively in its diapers and smartphone shipment has since grown by… Read More

‘Things will not change’ after sex bias verdict without push

The sex bias court case that rocked Silicon Valley for five weeks came to a close on Friday -- but many are hoping the spotlight on gender discrimination won't fade anytime soon. Ellen Pao lost her sex bias suit against prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers on Friday when a San Francisco judge ruled that the firm did not discriminate against her.

Boeing has patented a ‘Star Wars’-style force field


Boeing has won a patent for a protective force field that could stop vehicles from being harmed by explosions, Popular Science reports.

It might sound futuristic — and it is. The patent isn’t about stopping bullets or lasers or anything like that, though. Instead, it detects explosions near a vehicle, and then quickly heats up the air or water between the vehicle and the blast. The heat creates a plasma shield that is more dense than normal air, adding to the vehicle’s protection.

This diagram from Boeing shows the different parts of the force-field system:

Boeing force field diagram

Boeing’s patent application shows how the force-field technology could work with a military vehicle:

Boeing force field patent

The above diagram shows a military Humvee with a device that can lessen the impact of explosions from bombs like improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Boeing force field

But there could be other uses for Boeing’s force-field technology. Boeing notes that it can be used in water as well as air, heating up the area around boats or submarines to lessen damage from explosions.

Here’s Boeing’s full patent filing:

Method and system for shockwave attenuation via electromagnetic arc by Michael Janitch

This story originally appeared on Business Insider.

A 4-inch iPhone 6 would be welcomed by many users (but will Apple deliver?)

iPhone 6 Yanki01 Flickr

Have you noticed how many iPhone 4 series and iPhone 5 series phones are still in use in the wild? I see them everywhere.

Apple has no doubt noticed that lots of users of these smaller phones have not upgraded to the iPhone 6, and that’s got to be a source of concern.

Some people say the smaller phones are more manageable in the hand, while the larger iPhone 6 is easier to drop. And the iPhone 6, without a case, is easy to drop (as the small dents in mine prove), because of the smooth metal surface of the device. Had Apple put stripes of rougher metal down the sides of the phone this wouldn’t have been a problem.

There’s no doubt that the iPhone 6 has been a smash hit, but Apple has sold far fewer of the huge iPhone 6 Plus, suggesting that consumers will go along with the supersizing or their smartphones only to a point.

iPhone screen sizes

The iPhone 6 Plus is huge at 6.2 inches tall, with a 5.5-inch display (measured diagonally). The iPhone 6 is 5.44 inches tall, with a 4.7-inch display.

The iPhone 4 and 4S phones had 3.5-inch displays and stood about 4.5 inches tall. Millions are still in use. Where the 4S display had a 3:2 aspect ratio, the aspect ratio of the iPhone 5 series (the 5, 5S, and 5C) phones moved up to 16:9 with their 4-inch displays. The iPhone 5 series phones are roughly 4.9 tall.

Reports earlier this week claimed that Apple is now preparing to release not only new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus phones, but also a new iPhone 6c phone. And the news has revived the old argument about whether a return to a smaller iPhone might be in the works in Cupertino.

One source has told VentureBeat that the two 6s phones are indeed being built, and will be introduced in the fall. These phones would mimic the sizes of the 6 and 6 Plus, but might use a plastic back, as the iPhone 5c did. They might also have considerably lower price points to capture more sales from owners of older iPhones.

But that other phone — the iPhone 6c — if it exists, could be a return to a 4-inch iPhone. This could bring all those 4 and 5 series iPhone owners back into the iPhone 6 fold.

One question is whether or not Apple can stuff all that iPhone 6 technology inside such a radically smaller phone. I suspect it can. The technology jump from the iPhone 5 series to the iPhone 6 was actually not that radical. The larger screen was the biggest change. So a 4-inch iPhone 6 with a smaller screen size and the rest of the technology the same might be possible (a smaller battery would suffice to run the smaller display).

Of course there’s no way to know for sure if a smaller iPhone is on the way. But a 4-inch iPhone 6 (the iPhone 6 “mini”?) would be an interesting development, and may provide Tim Cook with a nice “one more thing” moment at the end of the Apple event next fall.

VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools. Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.

The five most ignorant media myths about electric cars

We spend more time than we probably should in grumbling at media coverage of plug-in electric cars.

Journalists try to get it right, in general, but often the specific and complex issues around electric cars, who buys them, and how they’re really used get lost or ignored in general reporting.

At one reader’s suggestion, then, here are the five myths about electric cars we see most often.

(1) Gas prices will hurt or kill sales of plug-in electric cars

It’s possible that this will happen, but as of yet, there’ll little data to suggest that.

And the data from a four-year study by Plug-In America of gas price fluctuations versus sales of plug-in cars shows gasoline costs bouncing around while electric-vehicle sales rise more or less consistently.

The recent, sharp, sudden dip in gas prices might have a different effect–although consumers largely don’t trust that prices will stay low.

And, indeed, in California, gas prices have recently risen by up to a dollar a gallon from their lows last fall.

Mark this one mythical, although potentially true if there turns out to be data.

Chevrolet Bolt EV concept, 2015 Detroit Auto Show

(2) The 200-mile 2017 Chevrolet Bolt will compete with Tesla

There may be some overlap, but a sexy five-seat mid-size luxury sport sedan priced from $70,000 to $130,000 rarely competes with subcompact hatchbacks.

The powertrain may put them in the same consideration set among some buyers, granted.

But we think the Bolt will do much more to expand the market than to hurt Tesla. And that’s pretty much what Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said, at various points.

His comments boil down to the old adage, “A rising tide (of electric cars) lifts all boats (among their makers).”

(3) Without widespread public charging infrastructure, electric cars are doomed

This is another myth that pretty much refuses to die, despite recent studies suggesting that charging at home–and, crucially, at work–are by far the most important locations.

You can prove this one by asking electric-car owners when the last time they used a public charging station.

Some use them regularly, but our sense after talking to dozens (if not hundreds) is that many of them are quite content to charge overnight, and maybe at work.

We’d love to see additional data on this, but given that most Chevy Volt owners still just use their 120-Volt charging cables–not even a Level 2 charging station–in their garages, we sense it’s just not that much of an issue.

2011 Nissan Leaf electric car during IIHS crash testing

(4) Plug-in vehicles are unsafe, and their batteries will fail in only a couple of years

Two in one here.

As for safety, automakers have largely received good crash-safety ratings for the electric cars that have been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

We’ll be curious to see how the BMW i3, with its carbon-fiber reinforced plastic body, fares in those tests as the first of its kind.

As for battery durability, there have been a small handful of Nissan Leafs in extremely hot climates that have lost capacity more rapidly than expected.

The vast majority have not, and Nissan says a new battery chemistry vastly increases the hot-weather durability of current Leafs.

And every manufacturer warranties its battery pack against failure for either eight or 10 years, depending on what state the car is sold in.

Gas pump

(5) Electric car sales are a failure because they haven’t overtaken gas cars

RLY? This one we just laugh at.

It took technology advances like the automatic transmission, disc brakes, and fuel injection literally decades to arrive in a majority of the cars sold.

To think that electric-car sales would be half of a 16-million-unit U.S. market in less than five years is idiotic.

Or, put more charitably, it betrays an extreme lack of knowledge of the auto business.

This story originally appeared on Green Car Reports.

The Backed Pack: A security sensor, an all-in-one charger, & a smart messenger bag


Each week, our friends at Backerjack bring us updates on some of the most successful gadget crowdfunding campaigns.

iSensor HD Patio

The iSensor HD Patio was specifically designed for use outside the home and is housed in a clear, weather-resistant casing. It can be controlled remotely by users via both Android and iOS apps. The camera comes standard with 4 GB of onboard memory and can remotely pan 170 degrees with a user’s mobile device. Further, the camera has a motion sensor and a 240 degree range of view without distortion, according to its Indiegogo campaign. If suspicious activity is detected, the camera will instantly inform users via notifications, snapshots, and HD-quality video that is automatically uploaded to the user’s Google Drive; all for no extra charge.

While the iSensor is only looking for $1,000 on Indiegogo, but has raised over $150,000. ISensor HD Patio holds great promise, offering clear advantages over many rival products.



The WonderCube, a tiny device featuring eight-in-one mobile functions, aims to end that problem. The WonderCubs is small enough such that it can conveniently be attached to a key ring. Some of its features include a foldout flexible USB cord measuring 3 inches when extended; gold-plated connectors that allow quick charging through any USB port; USB On-The-Go (OTG) functionality that provides 64 GB of smartphone storage via a built-in microSD card reader; a battery charger that allows users to plug in a 9-volt battery in order to provide an emergency power boost to a depleted phone battery; a mini LED flashlight; and a phone stand function that can be used in either portrait or landscape mode.

The WonderCube has a lot of potential on account of its small size and its many mobile functions. Backers agree and have helped raise over $150,000 for this product.



HiSmart is a smart convertible bag that goes from messenger to backpack in just two seconds. Simply connect a smartphone to the bag and an external remote allows the wearer to accomplish a number of things. For instance, if the wearer wants to remember a certain location, they can pin that spot to a map to find it later. Music and camera controls are also accessible from the remote. HiSmart also makes hands free calling and recording notes or messages easy. In addition, it has a “Buddy System” feature that lets the HiSmart find a lost smartphone and a smartphone find a lost HiSmart.

All in all, HiSmart is a great product for commuters and other important business people who find themselves in motion a lot. With the help of Indiegogo, HiSmart has already exceeded $100,000 in funding.

VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools. Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.