The Edge Update: An Alaskan in space, cellphone privacy and a UK election disaster



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An Alaskan-raised man has been selected from thousands as a candidate in NASA’s astronaut training program. Robb Kulin, 33, was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. After graduating from Service High School, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Denver before completing a Master’s degree in Materials Science and a Doctorate in Engineering at the University of California, San Diego. At the time of his selection, Kulin was employed as an engineer at SpaceX, where he has worked since 2011. In an interview with KRUA 88.1, Kulin said that although he had never considered becoming an astronaut while growing up, it was the adventurous experience of being raised in Alaska that propelled him towards space once he began considering it. After going through two years of training, Robb will be assigned technical duties in NASA’s Astronaut Office while awaiting a flight assignment that will take him off Earth.


The Supreme Court has decided to hear a case that will determine whether or not police need warrants to track suspect’s locations through their cellphones. Under current rules, they do not. The court agreed to hear the appeal of a man convicted of armed robberies across Ohio and Michigan. The man, Timothy Simon, contends that the cellular location data used to convict him constituted a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizures. As in most cases, the police tracked Simon’s location by requesting data from his cell carrier that tracked which cellphone broadcast his calls. The four big wireless carriers — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint receive thousands of requests per year for this type of data. The requests are almost always granted. The case has raised questions of how much businesses protect their customer’s information, and whether or not giving information over to a third party means giving up your expectation of personal privacy. The case will be heard during the next session of the Supreme Court, which begins in October.

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When British Prime Minister Theresa May called for a snap election eight weeks ago, she intended to increase her Conservative Party’s majority in parliament. Instead, her attempt to consolidate power has backfired spectacularly, leaving the country with no clear majority party and an uncertain future. At the beginning of the campaign, May’s right-leaning Conservative Party enjoyed double-digit leads over the main opposition, the liberal Labour Party. But a poor campaign performance, combined with an apparent U-turn on an unpopular piece of legislation dubbed ‘The Dementia Tax,’ shrunk that lead until the parties were within spitting distance of each other. The Conservatives remain the largest party in Parliament, but lack the majority May had hoped for as she prepares to negotiate with the European Union over the terms of Brexit. Instead of a mandate to bargain as she chooses, she will make the terms of her negotiations palatable to an ideologically diverse group of legislators. Resisting calls for her resignation, May announced she would form a coalition with the tiny Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland in order to maintain a majority.