Posted Mar. 10, 2017 at 6:28 a.m.

Tech wrap: Probing AT&T 911 outage; Kiwi tech recruting; China lunar spaceship; Zuckerbergs expecting

Published: 2017-03-10 06:28:16
Updated: 2017-03-10 06:28:16

Bulldog Bulldog

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

  • FCC probes AT&T 911 outage
  • China gearing up for manned lunar capability
  • New Zealand's free trip to tech recruits
  • The Zuckerbergs are expecting

The details:

  • FCC probes AT&T 911 outage

The Federal Communications Commission says it is investigating why AT&T cellphone customers were unable to call 911 in several states on Wednesday night.

Law enforcement and government agencies in Texas, Florida, Tennessee and other states reported the problem and provided alternate numbers for people to call during emergencies. AT&T later on Wednesday evening said that service had been restored.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement Thursday that he has told the agency, which oversees phone and cable companies, to find out what happened.

AT&T spokeswoman Emily Edmonds on Thursday declined to comment on how many customers were affected or what caused the outage. In a statement, the company said it will be sharing information with the FCC.

  • New Zealand's free trip to tech recruits

It sounds almost too good to be true: A free trip to New Zealand to interview for a job in the tech sector.

But that's what local authorities and businesses in the capital, Wellington, are offering to 100 talented workers from around the globe as they seek to boost the city's growing tech hub. The idea has caught fire, with 12,000 people completing applications so far and thousands more registering interest ahead of the March 20 deadline.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said the city's tech sector has been growing at an annual rate of 14 percent over the past five years.

"The problem we need to solve is that we have a whole lot of businesses that are struggling to keep up with recruitment," he said.

The LookSee campaign was first promoted in tech hubs like San Francisco, which is more than 10,000 kilometers (6,000 miles) from Wellington.

About one-third of the applicants are from the U.S. but that mix is changing as more people from other parts of the world find out about the offer, said David Jones, who is helping oversee the campaign at the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency.

  • China gearing up for manned lunar capability

China is developing an advanced new spaceship capable of both flying in low-Earth orbit and landing on the moon, according to state media, in another bold step for a space program that equaled the U.S. in number of rocket launches last year.

The newspaper Science and Technology Daily cited spaceship engineer Zhang Bainian as saying the new craft would be recoverable and have room for multiple astronauts. While no other details were given in the Tuesday report, Zhang raised as a comparison the Orion spacecraft being developed by NASA and the European Space Agency. The agency hopes Orion will carry astronauts into space by 2023.

China's Shenzhou space capsule used on all six of its crewed missions is based on Russia's Soyuz and is capable of carrying three astronauts in its re-entry module.

China came late to crewed space flight, launching its first man into space in 2003, but has advanced rapidly since then. In its most recent crewed mission, two astronauts spent a month aboard a Chinese space station late last year.

A fully functioning, permanently crewed space station is on course to begin operations in around five years and a manned lunar mission has been suggested for the future.

Now firmly established among the big three in space travel, China last year moved ahead of Russia for the first time in number of rocket launches and equaled the United States at 22, according to Harvard University astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell. Russia had 17 launches, while the U.S. might have had several more if Space X's Falcon 9 rocket fleet hadn't been grounded following a Sept. 1 launchpad explosion.

  • The Zuckerbergs are expecting

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife are expecting their second child.

In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg says his wife Priscilla Chan is pregnant with a girl. The couple already has a 1-year-old daughter.

In his post, Zuckerberg writes that he's happy his first daughter, Max, will have a sister. Zuckerberg says he grew up with three sisters and they taught him to learn from smart, strong women. He also says his wife grew up with two sisters.

Zuckerberg says he and his wife can't wait to welcome the baby and do their best to raise another strong woman.

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