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Dangerous 'bomb trains' are rolling through Chicago

Millions of gallons of highly flammable crude oil roll daily through the busy metropolitan area surrounding Chicago, Chicago Magazine reported.

The so-called "bomb trains," which move along different, top-secret routes, carry mostly Bakken crude — a type known to be particularly explosive.

The trains are usually comprised of traditional tank cars which can carry up to 30,000 gallons each.

While derailments are rare, they're not unheard of. The magazine reported that there were at least 17 such incidents in North America in the previous three years:

In eight of them, the tank cars blew, sending fireballs hundreds of feet into the air, filling the sky with black mushroom clouds. In the most severe cases, the flames produced are so hot that firefighters almost inevitably choose to let them burn out, which can take days, rather than...

THE GLOBAL SMARTPHONE REPORT: The forces behind the global deceleration in smartphone sales

The global smartphone market is expected to slow considerably over the next few years. Despite a record-setting holiday quarter, 2015 was likely the last year of double-digit growth for smartphone shipments. 

Mature markets were at the heart of this year’s deceleration. Adoption has reached new highs in key markets in the United States, Europe, and China. The pool of first-time buyers in these countries is shrinking rapidly, and sales are now primarily coming from phone upgrades.

Meanwhile, emerging markets will continue to see robust shipment growth. India and Indonesia, in particular, will help fuel a large share of the shipments growth within the global smartphone market over the next few years.

In a recent report from BI Intelligence, we updated our smartphone forecast through 2021 to reflect slower, stabilizing growth in the long term. 

Here are some key points from the report:

The globa...

Adverts infected visitors to The Pirate Bay with ransom-demanding malware

Some people who visited notorious piracy site The Pirate Bay over the weekend were infected with "ransomware," according to security company MalwareBytes.

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts data on the victim's computer, making it permanently inaccessible unless the victim pays a ransom — typically in anonymous digital currency bitcoin.

The method of attack has become increasingly popular in recent years, largely because it works: Users almost always get their data back if they pay the ransom, because the attackers have a vested interest in encouraging them to pay. If word got out that you wouldn't get your data back even if you paid, the effectiveness of the attack would collapse pretty quickly as no-one would pay.

Pizza Hut wants to be like Uber
Posted April 27, 2016 0:25 AM
Pizza Hut wants to be like Uber

Pizza Hut has an unlikely new inspiration.

The chain is rolling out new digital tools that are inspired by tech startups, like Uber.

The pizza chain is officially launching "Visible Promise Time," which allows customers to see what time their pizzas will be prepared, ready, and delivered before they place their order, the company has announced in a release.

On top of that, the chain is testing a service that allows customers to track the exact location of their pizza by tracking the delivery driver’s GPS location.

"I think what we’re going though is … the 'Uber-ization' of our customer experience," Pizza Hut’s Chief Digital Officer, Baron Concors, told Business Insider. "A lot of people think Uber really transformed the transportation industry, but I think they’ve really transformed commerce."

Peter Thiel and Mitt Romney invested $100 million in a company that wants to be the Apple of smart homes

Vivint, a smarthome company based out of Provo, Utah, has raised its first-ever round of venture capital funding in the amount of $100 million.

That's a big number for any company, let alone one you might never have heard of.

Even more interestingly, that investment was co-lead by the famed investor and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel, alongside Solamere Capital, a venture firm cofounded by Mitt and Tagg Romney. 

It's Thiel's only known investment in the smart home industry. In fact, Vivint's whole existence is out of the ordinary for these kinds of massive venture deals. 

Vivint doesn't really sell gadgets the way companies such Alphabet's Nest and Amazon do — in fact, beyond the smart home components it makes in-house, Vivint will sell you an

Ad-block software is approaching 200 million users — here's how publishers are reacting

Ad-block software usage may be more common than previously thought. There are nearly 200 million monthly active users (MAU) of ad-block software globally, according to data from a new study by PageFair and Adobe included in our latest ad-blocking report.

That represents a big uptick in ad-block usage from just one year ago. The software, which blocks ads from appearing on websites, search, and social networks, is also catching on in the US. Ad-block MAU totaled 45 million in the US as of June 2015, increasing nearly 50% from last year, according to PageFair and Adobe.

Comcast reported solid quarterly earnings and lots of new cable subscribers (CMCSA)

Comcast reported stronger-than-expected earnings for the first quarter on Wednesday, and a big gain in pay-TV subscribers.

The cable and broadcasting company reported adjusted earnings per share of $0.84, topping the forecast for $0.79 according to Bloomberg.

Its revenues also beat expectations, at $18.8 billion versus $18.6 billion expected. 

"We delivered our best first quarter Internet results in four years and our best first quarter video results in nine years – adding 53,000 video customers," CEO Brian Roberts said in the statement, suggesting that the company did not fully bear the brunt of the cord-cutting trend sweeping its industry. 

Getty Images is going to file a complaint with the EU against Google (GOOG)

Photo agency Getty Images says it is going to file a formal complaint with the European Commission over the way Google displays its images in search results.

Getty Images is unhappy with the high-resolution images that Google includes when you search for images.

The company says in an emailed press released that in 2013 Google changed its service to stop linking through to source websites automatically, impacting Getty because nobody needed to visit its own site anymore.

Google has been accused by Getty of having "promoted piracy, resulting in widespread copyright infringement, turning users into accidental pirates." Basically, Getty says that users don't understand that the images they see through Google searches are licensed photos.

This isn't the first time that Getty and Google have clashed in the EU.

Apple is running into a wall in China (aapl)
Posted April 27, 2016 0:25 AM
Apple is running into a wall in China (aapl)

Apple just had a bad quarter.

The Cupertino company giant just reported a 13% drop in earnings for its March quarter — and stock dropped by 8% in after-hours trading.

Remarkably, it is the company's first year-on-year quarterly revenue drop in 13 years. And it's largely down to China. 

Sales in Greater China were down 26%. The Wall Street Journal's Eva Dou writes that the area accounts for 58% of Apple's global decline.

There are two factors at play here. First, there is the messiness that is China's economy. The economic downturn in the country is harming sales.

Carriers have approached a popular browser extension about deploying network-level ad blocking

Earlier this month, hidden within a company blog post about the FCC's proposed new privacy rules for broadband providers, anti-ad tracker service Ghostery revealed it is "in discussions with leading ISPs (internet service providers) and mobile carriers" to make its service available at a network level.

Right now, Ghostery claims millions of people use its browser extension tool to find out about the companies that are tracking them online and block certain companies from collecting their data.

But Ghostery imagines a world where consumers could set which sites and apps can collect their data and then sync those preferences across their devices via their ISP at a network level.