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Tech wrap: Tesla 3 woes; Equifax breach worsens; Nobel Physics prize; 3 share Nobel for bio clock (+ video); Uber CEO in London

Bulldog

Oct, 3 2017, 6:41 AM

In today's Bulldog wrapup of the latest technology and life science news:

The details:

Tesla Inc. missed its third-quarter production goals for its new Model 3 sedan, leaving customers and analysts to wonder if the company will meet future targets for the hotly anticipated electric car.

Tesla said it delivered 220 Model 3 cars in the quarter. It has produced a total of 260 Model 3s at its Fremont, California, factory since production began in early July.

At that time, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company should be making 100 Model 3s in August and "above 1,500" in September. He also said the company would likely be making 20,000 Model 3s per month by December.

But Musk also warned, in late July, that Tesla would go through "at least six months of manufacturing hell" as it ramped up production of the Model 3. He said there is always a risk of machines breaking down or suppliers not coming through with parts.

On Monday, Tesla blamed "production bottlenecks" for the slow rollout. But it said it was confident it could fix those issues.

"It is important to emphasize that there are no fundamental issues with the Model 3 production or supply chain," the company said in a statement. "We understand what needs to be fixed and we are confident of addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term."

More than 500,000 people are on a waiting list to get a Model 3. The car, which is half the price of Tesla's previous models, is critical for the company's goal of moving from a niche manufacturer of luxury cars to a mainstream automaker.

Credit report company Equifax said Monday that an additional 2.5 million Americans may have been affected by the massive security breach of its systems, bringing the total to 145.5 million people who had their personal information accessed or stolen.

Equifax said the company it hired to investigate the breach, Mandiant, has concluded its investigation and plans to release the results "promptly." The company also said it would update its own notification for people who want to check if they were among those affected by Oct. 8.

The information stolen earlier this year included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses — the kind of information that could put people at significant risk for identity theft.

While Equifax previously said up to 100,000 Canadian citizens may have been affected, it said Monday that the completed review did not bear that out and it determined that the information of only about 8,000 Canadian consumers was involved.

The update comes as Equifax's former CEO, Richard Smith, who announced his retirement last month, will testify in front of Congress starting Tuesday. He's expected to face bipartisan anger from politicians who have expressed outrage that a company tasked with securing vast amounts of personal data was unable to keep their security software up to date.

In prepared testimony, he apologized and said human error and technology failures allowed the data breach. He also apologized for the way the company handled the announcement of what happened.

The Nobel Physics Prize 2017 has been awarded to three scientists for their discoveries in faint ripples flying through the universe called gravitational waves — proof of a theory developed by Albert Einstein a century ago and that scientists say fundamentally alters our understanding of the universe.

Sweden's Royal Academy of Sciences announced Tuesday that the winners are Rainer Weiss of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Barry Barish and Kip Thorne of the California Institute of Technology.

The three were key to the first observation of gravitational waves in September 2015.

When the discovery was announced several months later, it was a sensation not only among scientists but the general public.

"The best comparison is when Galileo discovered the telescope, which allowed us to see that Jupiter had moons and all of a sudden we discovered that the universe was much vaster than we used to think about. With this discovery we can study processes which were completely impossible, out of reach to us in the past," said Ariel Goobar of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

With the technology that the three developed "We may even see entirely new objects that we haven't even imagined yet," said Patrick Sutton, an astronomer at Cardiff University in Wales.

Three Americans won a Nobel Prize on Monday for discovering key genetic "gears" of the body's 24-hour biological clock, the mechanism best known for causing jet lag when it falls out of sync.

Problems with our body clock have also been linked to such disorders as sleep problems, depression, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Researchers are now trying to find ways to tinker with the clock to improve human health, the Nobel committee said in Stockholm.

[VIDEO: Watch the Associated Press report about the Nobel Prize at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ct1hkROmxc ]

It awarded the $1.1 million (9 million kronor) Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Jeffrey C. Hall and Michael Rosbash, who worked together at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, and Michael W. Young of Rockefeller University in New York.

They "were able to peek inside our biological clock" and discover details of its inner workings, the Nobel citation said.

The work, done in fruit flies and dating back to 1984, identified genes and proteins that work together in people and other animals to synchronize internal activities throughout the day and night. Various clocks in the brain and elsewhere in the body, working together, regulate things like sleep patterns, eating habits and the release of hormones and blood pressure. Such 24-hour patterns are called circadian rhythms.

The new CEO of Uber will meet with London transport officials, just days after they refused to renew the cab-hailing app's license to operate.

Dara Khosrowshahi is set to meet Tuesday with Transport for London's Commissioner Mike Brown. Uber wants to keep operating in the capital, and has appealed the decision that it is not a fit and proper operator.

London transport officials have objected to Uber's approach to reporting serious criminal offenses and its use of technology, which authorities say has helped the company to evade law enforcement officials.

Khosrowshahi has apologized for past mistakes. Uber, with some 40,000 drivers and 3.5 million customers in London, says it is challenging the decision with the understanding that things have gone wrong and must change.





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