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09-21-2018 Science&Technology
Spotify Song Download Limit Increased To 10,000 Tracks, To Fight Back Against Apple Music

Spotify has significantly increased the number of songs that users can download from the streaming service to their devices, in a bid to better challenge rival Apple Music. Downloading songs on Spotify, a feature that requires a Spotify Premium subscription, is a simple process. However, the previous limit on the number of songs that can be downloaded was a burden for the service's heavy users. Spotify Song Download Limit Increased Spotify used to limit the number of songs that Spotify Premium subscribers were able to download to 3,333 tracks per device, with a maximum of three devices. The latest update, however, has significantly increased that limit. After some heavy users started to notice that they were able to breach the 3,333-song limit, Spotify confirmed the change to Rolling Stone. From the previous limit of 3,333 songs per device on up to three devices, the new Spotify song download limit is 10,000 songs per device, on up to five devices. The Spotify song download limit was effectively increased by five times, from a total of 9,999 songs to a new limit of 50,000 songs. The song download limit implemented by Spotify was one of the biggest complaints of users against the music streaming service. The downloaded songs enabled Offline Mode, for when Spotify Premium users found themselves in areas with poor reception such as subways, or for when they are simply avoiding using up their data. Spotify seeks to better challenge Apple Music with its new 50,000-song download limit. However, in comparison, Apple Music does not have a song download limit, with the feature only limited by the amount of free space that users have in their iPhone. Spotify vs Apple Music After years dominating the music streaming space, newer rival Apple Music took over leadership in July in terms of the number of paid subscribers. It was only a matter of time for Apple Music, as the paid subscriber growth of Apple's music streaming service was far higher compared to that of Spotify's. Spotify is now playing catch up to Apple Music, with plans to reportedly license artists directly to the service to partially remove music labels from the picture, and to allow users to skip all advertisements to improve its streaming intelligence and deliver a better experience. It remains to be seen, however, if these efforts, including the increased song download limit, will help Spotify regain its throne in the music streaming industry.

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Times

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09-21-2018 Science&Technology
Super cheap earth element to advance new battery tech to the industry

Most of today's batteries are made up of rare lithium mined from the mountains of South America. If the world depletes this source, then battery production could stagnate. Sodium is a very cheap and earth-abundant alternative to using lithium-ion batteries that is also known to turn purple and combust if exposed to water—even just water in the air. Worldwide efforts to make sodium-ion batteries just as functional as lithium-ion batteries have long since controlled sodium's tendency to explode, but not yet resolved how to prevent sodium-ions from "getting lost" during the first few times a battery charges and discharges. Now, Purdue University researchers made a sodium powder version that fixes this problem and holds a charge properly. "Adding fabricated sodium powder during electrode processing requires only slight modifications to the battery production process," said Vilas Pol, Purdue associate professor of chemical engineering. "This is one potential way to progress sodium-ion battery technology to the industry." The study was made available online in June 2018 ahead of print on August 31, 2018 in the Journal of Power Sources. This work aligns with Purdue's giant leaps celebration, acknowledging the university's global advancements made in health, space, artificial intelligence and sustainability as part of Purdue's 150th anniversary. Those are the four themes of the yearlong celebration's Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues. Even though sodium-ion batteries would be physically heavier than lithium-ion technology, researchers have been investigating sodium-ion batteries because they could store energy for large solar and wind power facilities at lower cost. The problem is that sodium ions stick to the hard carbon end of a battery, called an anode, during the initial charging cycles and not travel over to the cathode end. The ions build up into a structure called a "solid electrolyte interface." "Normally the solid electrolyte interface is good because it protects carbon particles from a battery's acidic electrolyte, where electricity is conducted," Pol said. "But too much of the interface consumes the sodium ions that we need for charging the battery." Purdue researchers proposed using sodium as a powder, which provides the required amount of sodium for the solid electrolyte interface to protect carbon, but doesn't build up in a way that it consumes sodium ions. They minimized sodium's exposure to the moisture that would make it combust by making the sodium powder in a glovebox filled with the gas argon. To make the powder, they used an ultrasound—the same tool used for monitoring the development a fetus—to melt sodium chunks into a milky purple liquid. The liquid then cooled into a powder, and was suspended in a hexane solution to evenly disperse the powder particles. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Phys

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09-21-2018 General
3D-Printed Gun Advocate Cody Wilson Charged With Child Sexual Assault

ody Wilson, a staunch advocate for developing and releasing plans for 3D-printed guns on the internet via his organization Defense Distributed, has been charged with sexually assaulting a child. According to an arrest affidavit filed in Travis County District Court on Wednesday, Wilson, 30, is accused of paying a juvenile female “under the age of 17” $500 to have sex with him at a hotel in Austin, Texas, on Aug. 15, a second-degree felony. Austin police say Wilson initially met the girl on the website SugarDaddyMeet.com where he operated under the alias “Sanjuro.” Wilson identified himself by name and arranged to meet for sex in subsequent conversation, according to a police search of the girl’s phone authorized by her parents. In separate texts reviewed by police officers, Wilson sent the girl photos of his penis and described himself as “a big deal,” presumably referring to his efforts at Defense Distributed, the 3D-printing gun manufacturer he founded. Surveillance video obtained by the Austin Police Department corroborates the girl’s story and shows Wilson and the girl enter the hotel lobby and walk toward the guest rooms at 8:37 p.m. on Aug. 15, then leave roughly 40 minutes later at 9:19 p.m. As of Wednesday morning, Wilson did not appear to have surrendered to authorities, Travis County records show. A county magistrate has ordered he surrender his passport and be held on $150,000 bail. Austin Police Commander Troy Officer told reporters Wednesday afternoon that Wilson failed to appear for a flight home after being tipped off about the investigation by a friend of the victim. His last known whereabouts are Taipei, Taiwan. “We don’t know why he went to the Taiwan,” Officer said, “but we do know that he was informed that he was being investigated.” Taiwan does not have an extradition treaty with the United States. Defense Distributed did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday, nor did SugarDaddyMeet. Wilson, a self-described “crypto-anarchist,” attempted to distribute free plans to 3D-print plastic firearms on the internet, touting its efforts as heralding the “age of the downloadable gun.” After a federal judge blocked Defense Distributed from sharing the plans for free, Wilson attempted to circumvent the ruling by “selling” the blueprints for a nominal fee instead. In subsequent filings, Defense Distributed and a second gun-rights group called the Second Amendment Foundation argued their ability to share schematics for printing firearms constitutes free speech that’s protected under the First Amendment. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Huffington Post

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09-21-2018 Science&Technology
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Catches Fire: Galaxy Note 7 All Over Again?

A Samsung Galaxy Note 9 unit burst into flames inside a woman's purse, bringing back memories of the Galaxy Note 7 exploding battery fiasco that stretched from 2016 to 2017. It is too early to say that the Galaxy Note 9 is suffering from the same quality issues that plagued the Galaxy Note 7, but it should be very concerning for Samsung to have its latest flagship device linked with the failed smartphone. Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Bursts Into Flames Real estate agent Diane Chung from Long Island, New York claimed in a lawsuit against Samsung that she suffered a "traumatic" experience when her Galaxy Note 9 suddenly burst into flames inside her purse. Chung was riding in an elevator just after midnight last Sept. 3 when she felt her brand new Galaxy Note 9 getting "extremely hot" while using it. She placed it in her purse, but then heard a "whistling and screeching sound," followed by thick smoke. Chung placed her bag on the elevator floor and tried to remove its contents, burning her fingers as she grabbed the smoking Galaxy Note 9. The woman started to become "extremely panicked," as she was alone in the elevator. She pressed the elevator buttons while the thick smoke was making it hard for her to see. Fortunately, the elevator reached the lobby, where she kicked the Galaxy Note 9 out of the lift. The smartphone kept burning, until a helpful man wrapped it around a piece of cloth and dropped it in water. Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Exploding Batteries A Samsung spokesman said that the company has not received any reports of similar incidents involving the Galaxy Note 9, which should be good news for now. The company certainly does not want a repeat of the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, which plagued the company for a year starting in 2016. Samsung lost billions of dollars due to the Galaxy Note 7 exploding battery issue, with the company's investigation revealing that two different battery manufacturers came with two different flaws. Samsung implemented new safety standards to make sure that the debacle will never happen again, and started working on developing solid-state batteries to replace the problematic lithium-ion batteries. Record-breaking Galaxy Note 8 preorders revealed that Samsung fans already forgot about the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco after a year. However, apparently, all it takes is one Samsung smartphone catching fire to bring up all these memories. Hopefully, the Galaxy Note 9 that caught fire was a fluke, and that the situation will not devolve into the smartphone following the flaming footsteps of the Galaxy Note 7.

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Times

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09-21-2018 Science&Technology
New iOS 12 Features That iPhone Owners Should Definitely Try Out

Apple has finally rolled out iOS 12, the latest version of the company's mobile operating system that arrives alongside the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. The iOS 12 release date comes three months after Apple rolled out the mobile operating system's first public beta. Here are some of the new iOS 12 features that iPhone and iPad owners should try out. Creating Memojis The Memojis feature allows users to create emoji-fied versions of their faces through the Animoji button on the Messages app. Once users customize their Memoji, they can be recorded talking or singing in video clips and also share it with friends. Autofilling Passwords With iOS 12, third-party password managers will no longer need to be open to automatically fill in log-in credentials for online accounts and websites. To enable the feature, users will need to go to the Passwords & Accounts menu under Settings, then give their password manager access under the AutoFill Passwords option. Monitor Usage With Screen Time Screen Time for iOS 12 is a new feature that will show iPhone owners how much time they are spending on their devices. The Screen Time feature is accessible through the Settings app, and it will provide incredibly detailed information on how people use their iPhones. Live Listen For AirPods Starting with iOS 12, AirPods users will be able to access the Live Listen accessibility feature, which basically transforms the wireless earbuds into directional microphones. The feature looks to help users with hearing problems, allowing the AirPods to work as hearing aids. Better Performance And Battery Life Performance and battery life may not be features per se, but iPhone and iPad owners should appreciate how these two were improved by iOS 12. According to Apple, some older iPhones will receive a 70 percent performance boost upon upgrading to iOS 12. However, it should be noted that over the first 24 hours since installing iOS 12, battery life will suffer, as the mobile operating system will be doing a lot of work in the background. Afterward, there will be a significant improvement in battery life. How To Install iOS 12 Since Apple has launched iOS 12 as a public release, owners of compatible iPhones and iPads will be able to upgrade their devices through an over-the-air update. To check if iOS 12 is already available, users should access their Settings app and go into the General menu. Tap on Software Update, where iOS 12 will show up if it is ready to be downloaded and installed.

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Times

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09-21-2018 Science&Technology
Amazon Alexa Will Power 8 New Devices Coming This Year

Amazon is planning to further expand the reach of Alexa in the households of its customers, with eight new devices powered by the digital assistant coming out this year. Alexa now works with over 20,000 devices, increasing fivefold from 4,000 devices at the end of 2017. That number will continue to grow, as Alexa further proves itself as arguably the best digital assistant in the market. Eight New Amazon Alexa Devices Amazon will release at least eight new Alexa-powered products before the year ends, according to an exclusive report by CNBC. The upcoming voice-controlled hardware include a microwave oven, a receiver, a subwoofer, an amplifier, and an in-car device, according to sources familiar with the matter. In addition to all the devices being Alexa-enabled to easily connect with the digital assistant, some of them will even have Alexa built in. Some of the devices are expected to be unveiled at an event that will be held this September, according to an internal document acquired by CNBC. It remains unclear, however, if any of these new Alexa devices will carry the Echo brand. The Amazon Echo line has mostly focused on the home audio, so it may be possible that Amazon will focus on widening Alexa branding or launch an entirely new brand for the Alexa-powered hardware. Amazon Alexa Expands To More Places The Amazon Echo speakers, while very smart with Alexa, could do better in terms of audio quality. The Alexa-powered receiver, subwoofer, and amplifier will introduce high-end components that may attract power audio enthusiasts. More importantly, the upcoming Alexa-powered devices highlight Amazon's plans to increase the number of places where its digital assistant is present. The devices mark the company's initial entry into home appliances, which will place Amazon in competition with manufacturers that have integrated Alexa into their internet-connected products. Examples of instant rivals include Sonos, which already launched an amplifier and subwoofer that work with Alexa, and GE, which currently offers a smart microwave that may be connected to the digital assistant. Amazon has been busy in making Alexa more accessible. Last month, the company launched a toolkit named Alexa Auto, which will make it easier for developers to integrate the digital assistant into car infotainment systems. The partnership between Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana also finally went online, a year after the team-up was announced, leading to Microsoft enabling Xbox One voice commands through either of the digital assistants through the Xbox Skill.

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09-21-2018 Environment
Florence Flooding Hits North Carolina Hog

Floodwaters have caused the worst damage to North Carolina’s hog farms in nearly two decades, with more than 5,000 animals dying and several dozen waste lagoons releasing pollutants into waterways. Hog industry officials said Wednesday they didn’t expect much more damage to farms, despite some rivers continuing to rise in the state. But environmental groups are calling for the industry to relocate lagoons in floodplains to lessen the risks during major storms going forward. Flooding was expected in North Carolina through Saturday, and many roads remain under water, the National Weather Service said. “This is the most significant storm that we have faced probably ever,” said Andy Curliss, chief executive of the North Carolina Pork Council. Mr. Curliss said farmers moved 20,000 hogs to higher ground, which prevented a higher death toll. “From our point of view, there’s a lot of heroics,” he said, adding that media reports of damage to several of the state’s 3,300 active hog-waste lagoons was exaggerated. Hurricane Florence killed 5,500 of the state’s 8.9 million pigs and hogs, the state said. That is more than the 2,800 hogs that died during Hurricane Matthew in 2016, but far less than the 21,000 hogs that died during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, according to pork council numbers. An estimated 3.4 million chickens and turkeys were killed by Florence, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reported Wednesday. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality said it had received reports of breaches, or structural failures, at at least two hog-waste lagoons. One breach in Duplin County was considered a total loss and more than 2.2 million gallons had spilled out, said Megan Thorpe, a department spokeswoman. The agency said heavy rains had caused manure to spill over at 21 additional lagoons. It didn’t have an estimate for the total amount spilled at farms. Spilled waste from lagoons risks contaminating groundwater, including potentially from pathogens like salmonella, insecticides and pharmaceuticals. “Clearly it’s a lot of waste getting into the water,” said Bob Edwards, a professor of sociology at East Carolina University, who has studied the waste lagoons. Mr. Edwards said the storm will renew calls to relocate about 60 existing hog farms and associated waste lagoons from floodplains. Since Hurricane Floyd, a state program has bought farms and relocated more than 100 lagoons from floodplains, according to the state environmental agency. Mr. Curliss said the industry is supportive of the program, but he defended the lagoon system, saying it had the approval of federal and state environmental officials. “We have spent a lot of money, time and effort into looking into alternatives, and right now there isn’t one,” he said. “Lagoon technology is very widely accepted.” ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Wall Street Journal

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09-21-2018 Science&Technology
Astronomers just discovered Spock's home planet, Vulcan

No one is saying that any pointy-eared aliens live there, but astronomers have discovered an exoplanet orbiting 40 Eridani A, a star known to "Star Trek" fans as the host star of Spock's home planet, Vulcan. The newfound exoplanet is 16 light-years from Earth in the Constellation Eridanus. It orbits its host star — a sunlike star with the formal designation of HD 26965 — just inside the habitable zone, where water could exist in liquid form and where life as we know it could be possible. "It came as a total surprise to us," Jian Ge, a professor of astronomy at the University of Florida and co-author of a new paper about the discovery, told NBC News MACH in an email. "We did not have an intention to look for Vulcan orbiting HD 26965." The exoplanet is about twice the size of Earth and is considered the closest "super-Earth" orbiting a sunlike star. For now, it's known as HD 26965b, in keeping with naming guidelines set forth by the International Astronomical Union. But Ge said he planned to contact the Union to ask that the exoplanet be named Vulcan. It might be fun to name a real-life planet after a fictional world, but is it — as Spock might ask — logical? "Absolutely yes!" Sara Seager, an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at MIT, said in an email. "'Star Trek' (and other science fiction) paved the way for people to get excited about real exoplanets." Ge said the exoplanet is likely to have an atmosphere and to be tidally locked to its host star. That means one side perpetually faces the star while the other side points away. If this is the case, the side facing the host star would likely be very hot — "probably too hot to be habitable," Seager said. But Ge said the surface of the dark, cooler side could be habitable, adding, "On the other hand, life can also survive underground. Like what Star Trek imagines, Vulcans stay in the caves." Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, said super-Earths "could very well be the sort of world where life could begin, and perhaps evolve into intelligent beings... But you’ve got to ask yourself — with all the twists and turns of evolutionary history on any planet, how likely is it that a planet 16 light-years away would eventually produce beings that look nearly identical to us, except for ears that would challenge any barber?" The exoplanet was discovered using the Dharma Endowment Foundation Telescope, a 50-inch telescope atop Mount Lemmon in southern Arizona. But rather than observing the exoplanet directly, the astronomers inferred its presence based on the subtle movements of its host star in response to the exoplanet's moving gravitational field. ...

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09-20-2018 Games
Sony launching retro video game console PlayStation Classic in December

Sony's next video game console is going retro. The electronics giant announced early Wednesday it will sell the PlayStation Classic, a miniature version of its first PlayStation console, on Dec. 3. Instead of requiring discs to play games, the PS Classic will come pre-loaded with 20 retro games, including "Final Fantasy VII" and "Tekken 3." The Classic looks exactly like the original PlayStation, which launched in 1994, only the Classic is about 45 percent smaller. It was a huge hit for Sony, becoming the first home video game console to ship 100 million units worldwide. The device will sell for $99.99. Sony is hoping to achieve the same sales success as Nintendo when it launched the NES Classic in 2016. The miniature replica of the 1985 console Nintendo Entertainment System quickly sold out in stores, with some consumers posting eBay listings for the $60 device with prices ranging between $200 and $500. In April 2017, despite its popularity, Nintendo discontinued sales of the NES Classic, but announced in May plans to bring it back. Last fall, Nintendo launched a similar retro device featuring the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, called the Super NES Classic. Meanwhile, video game icon Atari is planning to launch its own console with a variety of its classic home video games next year.

Read Original Article     ON:   Usa Today

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09-20-2018 Science&Technology
Apple Watch Series 4 Reviews: Larger Screen is 'Incredibly Good', Upgrading From Series 0 or 1 a 'No

All Apple Watch Series 4 models feature a black ceramic and sapphire crystal backing, and the Digital Crown includes haptic feedback for what Apple says is a more mechanical, responsive feel. Inside, the Apple Watch features a faster, more efficient S4 chip that offers twice the speed. With all that in mind, several reviewers have been trying out Apple's new smartwatch for five days, and most of them agree that while the Series 4 model is a great smartwatch, it "isn’t the kind of refresh that justifies upgrading from the last generation," as TechCrunch's Brian Heater puts it. Likewise, iMore's Rene Ritchie thinks Series 3 owners looking to vindicate the purchase will "have to really want the new capabilities, never mind the new design," although he thinks that upgrading from a Series 0 or Series 1 is a "no brainer" and Series 2 owners will also find the new model "compelling". In terms of design and wearability, Heater found that the Series 4's larger, wider case was "not really noticeable unless you happen to have two side-by-side," although for those who have used an earlier model with any regularity, "the increase in surface area is pretty readily apparent." The Verge's Dieter Bohn found that the difference between a 42mm Series 3 and the Series 4's 44mm size is "only subtly bigger" and "feels about the same." However, Wired's Scott Rosenfield found more of a difference when actually interacting with the device: The watch still looks like a watch. But in practice, the larger screen feels as significant as going from the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 6. The rounded edges and thinner bezel give you substantially more screen space, which make it easier to read and tap. That changed how I used the watch: I crammed in more complications on each watch face, and I found myself scrolling through texts, looking at heart rate and workout data, and even playing with the News and Photos apps in a way that I hadn't since the watch first launched. TechCrunch's Heater took particular liking to the watch's new haptic Digital Crown, which "feels like turning a mechanical dial... And when there’s nothing on screen to move by spinning it, the feedback simply shuts off." iMore's Ritchie concurred, noting that the "the new clicking absolutely feels more precise and more fun to use." The new watch faces were also a hit with Ritchie, who called the new Infographic (analog) and Infographic Modular faces "informational escalations that manage to be denser without sacrificing legibility." ...

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09-20-2018 Science&Technology
09-20-2018 Cars
FERRARI’S MONZA CARS MIX ITS MOST POWERFUL ENGINE WITH 1950S COOL

CONSIDER THE PICKLE in which Ferrari finds itself. Consumers want SUVs. Regulators want electrics. Thus will the iconic car company make a plug-in hybrid SUV, to be called the Purosangue—Italian for thoroughbred. Quotidian demands, met. The true Ferrari aficionado, though, does not want vehicles that cater to hand-wringing bureaucrats or drivers who need to do things like go places with their kids and groceries. Which is why, at its Capital Markets Day conference this week, the automaker announced the launch of a new vehicle line it calls “Icona. The line starts with a pair of sports cars that mix 1940s and 50, classic racing style with the best 21st century engineering has to offer—including the most powerful engine Ferrari has ever made. The two cars, the Monza SP1 and Monza SP2, are nearly identical, except the SP2 has room for two humans, and the SP1’s tonneau cover blocks off half the cockpit, leaving just enough room for just the driver. The cars are styled simply, with nary a bold line or hulking wing to be found. A slight narrowing at the waist gives the Monzas a near-hourglass figure. As Ferrari’s press team puts it, “Visually complex solutions, such as those seen on recent racing cars, have been avoided.” Ferrari says both cars are a callback to the 1948 166 MM, one of the cars that helped it rack up World Sports Car Championship victories in the 40s and 50s. The engine in question is a 6.5-liter V12, good for nearly 800 horsepower (when revved up to 8,500 rpm) and 530 pound-feet of torque. Put those numbers in a carbon fiber ballet slipper of a car that weighs just 3,306 pounds (the SP2, which has a whole second seat, is 45 pounds heavier), and you get from zero to 62 mph in less than 3 seconds. (If you need proof of how much fun electric cars can be, consider that that’s barely fast enough to beat many battery-powered daily drivers.) Stay on the gas for another five seconds, and you’ll hit 124 mph. Stay on it even longer, and you’ll eventually top out at 186 mph. Which should be plenty fast, given the lack of a windshield. Eager to ensure you look the part in this retromobile—rumored to cost seven figures—Ferrari brought in luxury outfits Loro Piana and Berluti to make a “gentlemen-driver-inspired” helmet, gloves, scarf, driving shoes, and racing overalls. Fancy, fancy overalls. The Guardian reports Ferrari will produce fewer than 500 of the things, and—no surprise—it has already sold them all. But hey, maybe you’d like a nice, practical, SUV instead?

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09-11-2018 Science&Technology
Watch SpaceX return to orbit with its Telstar 18 Vantage launch

SpaceX aims for orbit today in its first flight since Aug. 5, the high-tempo company’s longest break between launches this year. Elon Musk’s rocket-maker will use a new “Block 5” Falcon 9 rocket to launch Telstar 18 Vantage, a communications satellite built by SSL, a US satellite-maker, and operated by the Canadian telecommunications firm Telesat. It will orbit high above Asia and Oceania, providing broadband connections to a variety of customers. The sixteenth SpaceX launch of the year takes place at Cape Canaveral and is expected at 11:28 pm ET (3:28 UTC), but the company has a four-hour window to hit go and still make it to the right orbit. Otherwise, the launch will be delayed until Sept. 10 at 11:28 pm ET. If all goes according to plan, SpaceX will also return the first stage of its rocket back to earth, where it will land on an autonomous droneship called “Of Course I Still Love You” (named after a sentient spaceship in Iain Banks’ science-fiction novels) a little more than eight minutes after-lift off. You can watch on the company’s live feed starting about 15 minutes before flight: August was the first month in 2018 where SpaceX did not launch two rockets—which would be normal at any other rocketmaker. After a record-breaking 18 launches last year, the company hopes to fly 24 or more missions this year. Last month, the company hoped to perform an uncrewed test flight of the spacecraft it is building to carry astronauts to the International Space Station, but that mission was delayed until November.

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09-11-2018 Sports
Novak Djokovic: Umpire 'should not have pushed' Serena Williams in US Open final

NEW YORK — It wasn’t all about winning the US Open for Novak Djokovic during his time with the media after posting a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 victory over Juan Martin del Potro on Sunday. Djokovic was asked by a British journalist if cared to offer an opinion on what transpired during the controversial women’s final with Serena Williams and umpire Carlos Ramos. Williams was fined $17,000 on Sunday for three different violations during the second set of the match — a coaching warning, a point penalty after breaking a racket and the loss of a game for verbal abuse of the umpire. Naomi Osaka won her first Grand Slam title of her career in that 6-2, 6-4 final, thereby denying Williams a 24th Grand Slam title, which would have tied Margaret Court’s all-time record. "Look, I love Serena, first of all," Djokovic said. "I really felt for her yesterday. Tough thing for a chair umpire to deal with, as well. We have to empathize with him. Everyone was in a very awkward situation yesterday. A lot of emotions. Serena was crying. Naomi was crying. It was really, really tough." After assessing the particulars, he offered his own viewpoint. "But I have my personal opinion that maybe the chair umpire should not have pushed Serena to the limit, especially in a Grand Slam final," he said. "Just maybe changed — not maybe, but he did change the course of the match. It was, in my opinion, maybe unnecessary. We all go through our emotions, especially when you're fighting for a Grand Slam trophy. "I just feel like, as Serena said yesterday in the closing ceremonies, Osaka deserves to have her moment. As for Serena, she knows I love her. She really inspires everyone. To see her still being so dedicated and so committed to this sport, it's inspiring really to me and to many tennis players, both men and women, around the world." Earlier in the day, the WTA released a statement by their CEO Steve Simon in part stating the following: "Yesterday also brought to the forefront the question of whether different standards are applied to men and women in the officiating of matches. The WTA believes that there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men vs. women and is committed to working with the sport to ensure that all players are treated the same. We do not believe that this was done last night." When Simon’s stance was relayed to Djokovic he disagreed with the contention. "I don't think it's (the) time and place really to get into other subjects," Djokovic said. "I don't see things as Mr. Simon does. I really don't. I think men and women are, you know, treated in this way or the other way depending on the situation. It's hard to generalize things, really. I don't see it's necessary really to debate that."

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09-10-2018 Science&Technology
Apple’s September 12, 2018 event: What we expect to be “gathering round” for

On September 12, 2018, Apple will hold its second major event at the Steve Jobs Theater at the company's new Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. An invitation was sent out to press and other invitees with the above image and the words "gather round." This is an allusion to Apple Park, which shares that shape. But there might be more to it. In any case, we expect the event to focus primarily on iPhones and the Apple Watch, just like the event on the same day in the same room last year, when Apple announced the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, and Apple Watch series 3. We'll dive deep on each possible product announcement momentarily, but first let's talk about Apple's general focus and strategy right now. While last year's iPhones have outperformed the rest of the smartphone industry, smartphone sales are not growing like they used to. A number of factors are behind this, market saturation being a major one. Apple has generally found the most success in the past by diving into developing-product categories and refining them; that's what the company did with the iPod, iPad, iPhone, Watch, and AirPods. Apple surely has its sights on future options for that—cars, TVs, and AR glasses possibly among them—though we don't know which of the company's internal experiments will actually come to market. What we do know is that Apple has been doubling down on its services business (which includes Apple News, the App Store, Apple Music, iCloud, and so on) and that the company is investing heavily in both augmented reality and machine learning. Expect all three of those points of focus to permeate the messaging around every product Apple announces next week, just as they do the iOS 12 beta we're currently poking around in. Machine learning drives key concepts behind both Siri and the TrueDepth camera. Augmented reality has been fundamental to most of what the company has done on mobile in the past year. And both macOS Mojave and iOS 12 infuse Apple News stories and other Apple services into new apps and parts of the user experience. Finally, with both consumers and legislators publicly criticizing companies like Facebook and Google for user-data-based business models over the past year, Apple is trying to position itself as the privacy-friendly alternative to its competitors. Expect Apple to talk this up a lot at the event, taking every opportunity to differentiate iOS and the features of the new products from their competitors on that basis. For example, while the company has implemented several new machine-learning-based ideas into the Photos app and Siri in iOS 12, it is very careful to tell customers, partners, and the press that it does not use customers' private data to train and improve those features. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   arstechnica

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09-10-2018 Science&Technology
Take a 360-Degree Look at Mars, Courtesy of NASA's Curiosity Rover

NASA’s Curiosity rover, chugging along the rocky surface of Mars since 2012, has captured a panorama image of the planet’s surface, providing a mesmerizing look into the rover’s environment. A NASA blog post describes the image as including “umber skies, darkened by a fading global dust storm.” The rover itself is visible at the bottom of the image, showing a layer of dust on its surface. Curiosity’s complement, Opportunity, got caught in the same dust storm on the other side of the planet, where conditions were much worse, Gizmodo reports. NASA operatives put Opportunity into hibernation mode to conserve energy, since the dusty skies prevented its solar panels from being able to charge. It’s uncertain when, or if, Opportunity will become active again, but Curiosity is doing some good work in the meantime. The panorama image of Mars, captured on August 9, shows Curiosity’s location at Vera Rubin Ridge. According to Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity’s project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the ridge’s rock composition is uniquely diverse. “The ridge isn’t this monolithic thing—it has two distinct sections, each of which has a variety of colors,” Vasavada said in a NASA blog post. “Some are visible to the eye and even more show up when we look in near-infrared, just beyond what our eyes can see. Some seem related to how hard the rocks are.” Curiosity grabbed a rock sample just before taking the panorama image, a small victory considering its past two drill attempts were not successful. “Unexpectedly hard rocks” thwarted the previous attempts, NASA reports, but an analysis of this rock sample can help them determine “what’s acting as ‘cement’ in the ridge, enabling it to stand despite wind erosion.” According to Vasavada, groundwater flowing in a far-away past could have helped strengthen the rock. The ridge contains a lot of hematite, a mineral found in water, so much so that “it drew the attention of NASA orbiters like a beacon,” says NASA. More studies are required to determine the cause of the rocks’ strength with certainty. You can take a closer look at Curiosity’s panorama using a 360-degree imaging experience provided by YouTube.

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