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11-19-2019 Science&Technology
Samsung's Epic 2019 TV: The Wall 219

Samsung has been at the forefront of display technology for the past few years. In the smartphone world, some of their competitors are known to use Samsung panels for their flagship devices, the most popular of which is Apple's iPhones. On the TV front, Samsung is a clear frontrunner with control of over 20% of the market. They also account for around 50% of all 75-inch TVs nationwide. Even in PC Monitors, enthusiasts will easily vouch for the overall color accuracy, responsiveness, and maximum frame rates that Samsung panels have. And yet, still, Samsung wants to take it a step further. Behold The Wall A new type of TV screen, dubbed "The Wall," was previewed back at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2019. The giant TV, if it can even be called that, stands at a massive 219 inches. In the previous year, they already previewed The Wall, but at only 146 inches. This year, they were able to expand the wall by a significant amount thanks to a new type of panel they're developing. "The Wall" works by having multiple modular panels that are seamless when putting right next to each other. These panels do not carry the usual bezels, or borders older modular panels have, allowing them to create one seamless image with outstanding picture quality. Samsung sees "The Wall" as much more than a TV. The company proposes that the display can instead be a central piece of decoration as it can be used to display artwork when not used as a video display device. MicroLED: An advancement in display technology Dubbed MicroLED, these new types of panels are quite similar to Samsung's OLED offerings. The new panels feature higher contrast ratios as well as black levels that are quite close to OLED. MicroLED works by cramming millions of inorganic LED chips of the three colors (red, blue, and green) that emit their light. Samsung also claims that because of its inorganic nature, MicroLED is supposed to last longer than OLED and eliminate burn-in. MicroLED displays are quite sharp, with them displaying 4K UHD resolution at the lowest. However, these are not the highest resolution displays available as other technologies are already offering 8K and beyond. A TV For The Exquisite For those looking to buy The Wall, it won't be cheap. On Samsung's own website, you'll have to contact them if you're interested in getting your own The Wall. These displays aren't readily available in your nearest electronics retailer—whether it be a big-name store or a specialty store. Instead, Samsung will contact you and set up a meeting with you and with one of their specialists who will advise and oversee the installation of The Wall. While Samsung doesn't show the price of each setup, probably, the estimated cost is at least $300,000 just for the modular panels alone. For the rest of us who can't afford realistically such luxury, we don't have to worry. Samsung is already planning to release 75-inch MicroLED TVs for just around $20,000.

Source: Tech Times

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11-19-2019 Politics
Trump attacks another witness as his impeachment defense faces new tests

(CNN)President Donald Trump's impeachment angst led him to fire off a new attack on a key witness and threatens to deepen in the frenetic week ahead with crucial testimony scheduled from officials caught in the middle of the Ukraine storm. But as is perpetually the case with the President, a brew of competing scandals and controversies will jostle for attention in Washington. That includes fallout from a mysterious and unscheduled trip to a hospital on Saturday, his fight against efforts to reveal his tax records and an apparent new tactic -- firing off searing attacks on witnesses who criticize him in televised hearings. The President opened a window into the state of his mind Sunday when he lashed out against Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, who described his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in her deposition as "inappropriate." An appearance on Wednesday from Gordon Sondland, the US envoy to the European Union, could prove to be the most pivotal moment so far of the inquiry into whether Trump abused his power. The former GOP donor is emerging as Trump's top point of contact with Ukranian officials as the President pushed for an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, a possible 2020 rival. Other witnesses have testified that Sondland had a direct line to the President and as saying that the only thing Trump cared about in relations with Ukraine was his own political advantage. That leaves Sondland facing a dilemma -- does he seek to protect the President when he testifies under oath or can he mitigate his own exposure? He may not be able to do both. But Sondland is not the only witness with the capacity to damage the President's case this week. At least eight current and former officials are expected to testify in a dramatic week of televised hearings that are likely to infuriate Trump and may tie him more directly to the scheme to go around official US foreign policy channels to heap pressure on Ukraine. Trump blasted Williams in a tweet as part of a band of "Never Trumpers, who I don't know & mostly never even heard of." Pence's office pointedly declined to defend Williams -- with a spokeswoman apparently seeking to downplay her importance to the Vice President by saying she was a staffer on assignment from the State Department. The President's attack may be an attempt to discredit public testimony from Williams due on Tuesday when she is scheduled to appear alongside Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a senior National Security Council official who has also criticized Trump. Trump's assault follows his attack on former US ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch during her testimony at a televised hearing on Friday in a tweet that sparked a debate over whether he was guilty of witness tampering -- with some Democrats suggesting the episode could be folded into articles of impeachment. ...

Source: CNN

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11-19-2019 Science&Technology
HP rejects Xerox buyout offer, at least for now

HP has been receiving buyout offers as of late, but it's not ready to lose its independence -- at least, not yet. The tech pioneer has rejected a Xerox proposal to buy the company for $22 per share, arguing that the current offer "undervalues" HP and isn't in shareholders' "best interests." It also cast doubt on Xerox's ability to pull off the deal in the first place, noting Xerox's declining revenue and the prospect of massive debt for the combined company. However, HP not so subtly hinted that it was open to a better deal. The HP board told Xerox that "substantive engagement" from executives and access to relevant information could help it gauge the value of a deal. It's not averse to being acquired, then, but it does want to know that any buyout will make sense. The bid appears to have been prompted by activist investor Carl Icahn, who's well-known for trying to push companies together. He recently bought a $1.2 billion stake in HP and owns a 10.6 percent slice of Xerox, and hasn't been shy about arguing that a combined HP-Xerox would both save money and thrive in the printer world. HP has reasons to both give in and hold out. In October, it announced plans to cut up to 9,000 jobs (about 16 percent of its current headcount) between now and the end of its fiscal 2022. It isn't in dire straits when its profits grew this summer, but it clearly wants to tighten its belt. At the same time, selling to Xerox would mark the end of an era -- one of Silicon Valley's oldest companies would lose some control over its destiny. This wouldn't be a trivial move for HP, even if it made financial sense.

Source: Engadget

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11-19-2019 Cars
Electric 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E officially revealed

Ford unveiled the battery-powered Mustang Mach-E utility vehicle on Sunday night, marking the first time the Mustang name has been used on a model other than a two-door sports car. As Ford’s first purpose-built electric vehicle, The Mustang Mach-E is a compact utility that’s about the same size as the Ford Escape, but features a sportier look infused with plenty of Mustang-influenced styling cues. The Mexican-made vehicle is set to be the first of 16 electric cars Ford launches worldwide by 2025. A lineup of five Mustang Mach-E models with a mix of driving range and performance will begin rolling out late next year with two battery size options and a variety of rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive powertrains. Starting prices run from $44,995 to $61,600 before state and federal electric car tax credits are applied. All of the Mustang Mach-Es share the same four-door hatchback design with seating for five and a water-resistant trunk under the hood that compliments the rear cargo area. A digital instrument cluster sits behind the steering wheel while a 15.5-inch touchscreen display dominates the center of the dashboard and is equipped with Ford’s next-generation Sync4 infotainment system. Depending on the configuration, the Mustang Mach-E will be able to travel from 210 miles to 300 between charges, with rear-wheel-drive versions equipped with an extended range battery pack delivering the longest distance. The California Route 1 looks set to be the least expensive of these at a base price of $51,500. The top of the line GT is aimed at delivering the kind of muscle car-like performance the Mustang name evokes. It’s powered by an all-wheel-drive system rated at 429 hp and 612 lb-ft of torque. Ford says it can accelerate to 60 mph in the mid-three-second range, which makes it nearly as quick to the speed as a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and puts it in the same league as the most powerful version of the upcoming Tesla Model Y. However, Ford estimates the GT will have a range of 235 miles, compared to 280 miles for the Model Y, which is similarly priced at $62,125. Unlike Tesla, Ford isn’t promising any future full-self-driving capability for the Mustang Mach-E, but it does offer a driver aid system electronic driver aid system with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-centering assist. It is also compatible with Ford’s Phone as Key feature that allows drivers to open and start the vehicle with a smartphone app. ...

Source: Fox News

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11-19-2019 Science&Technology
This App Knows If Your iPhone Has Been Hacked—Do You?

Finding security toolkits that work in a meaningful way on the iPhone is a bit like looking for a needle in a thousand haystacks. Apple has made it nigh on impossible for such apps to make it into the App Store, with rules regarding scanning of other apps and data front and center of the brick wall it has erected. So, is one new app the security needle that you've been looking for? If you're running iOS 12 or higher, the answer could be a reserved yes: iVerify reckons it can tell if your iPhone has been hacked. There are no iPhone anti-virus apps in the App Store There's a reason that there are no "proper" anti-virus apps in the Apple App Store because Apple bans them. Apple engineered the iOS platform with security at its core; it says so itself and users are meant just to accept that. In fairness, iOS is a pretty secure platform, and the iPhone doesn't suffer anywhere near as many security issues as Android smartphones as a result. Not that iPhones are immune from security and privacy problems, as the recent 1.1 billion eGobbler badverts attack illustrated. However, back to the security apps point I was making, Apple ensures that all apps execute in sandboxes to prevent them from accessing the data of other apps or interfering with iOS files. Also, Apple only allows apps from the App Store to be installed unless you have an enterprise developer account or jailbreak your iPhone. All of this makes life tough for users who want to go the extra mile when it comes to security matters, and for security researchers looking for vulnerabilities to report. The argument that what makes life easier for ethical hackers also applies to cybercriminals is there to be made, but one could always toss the open-source software concept back as a response. That debate, however, isn't one I'm getting into now. Developers of meaningful security tools for the iPhone have generally found themselves in a "head, meet wall" situation when trying to get their apps into the App Store. Some, such as Corellium which bypassed the App Store, have even found themselves facing legal action from Apple itself. What does iVerify do that’s different? The iVerify app from Trail of Bits, it would seem, has managed to get the Apple seal of approval and is now available in the App Store. Unlike most other "security apps" in the App Store, iVerify does include a scanning element that could be very useful indeed. Although it's most definitely not an anti-virus product. What it is, is an anti-hacking scanner. It could also be $4.99 (£3.85) well spent. iVerify exists to scan for those consequential effects and anomalies that an iPhone hack, or jailbreak, can throw up. If an anomaly is detected, the user is warned and offered advice on how to deal with the situation. ...

Source: Forbes

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11-19-2019 Science&Technology
Google Assistant will finally get Nest’s best feature next year

Google will let the popular Works with Nest program live until it can replicate the same features in Google Assistant—which should be next year. It’s been more than six months since Google announced—and then retracted—its decision to end Works with Nest, a program that let developers and smart home device makers easily connect the Nest Learning Thermostat to their products. And it’s going to be a few more months before Works with Google Assistant gets one of Nest’s best features. Michele Turner, the senior director of Google’s smart home ecosystem, sat down with Tom’s Guide to provide an update on the transition from Works with Nest to Works with Google Assistant, as well as why this decision was made in the first place. Turner acknowledges that Google’s original decision to end Works with Nest so abruptly was a mistake, especially because consumers would not be able to replicate everything using Google Assistant. “I think the the frustrating pieces that we did not have the routines and automations in place for people to be able to cut over to,” she says. “And yeah, we underestimated the reaction a bit, to be totally honest with you.” According to Turner, the APIs used for Nest’s third-party integrations gave away too much information. When Google first acquired Nest, security and privacy wasn’t as big a concern, primarily because there weren’t all that many smart home devices. However, when Google reabsorbed Nest last year, it took a harder look at Nest’s APIs, and was uncomfortable that they were exposing customers’ Home/Away data to third party developers. “We have to completely rethink how we're doing Home/Away because we want to be able to have that device to device interaction without giving away the Home states.” For example, if you have a routine that has your Philips Hue lights turn on if motion is detected but only if your Nest Thermostat is in Away mode, Google needs to figure out how to convey that command to Philips without disclosing the fact that you’re not home. Turner says Google is still a few months away from launching Home/Away routines through Google Assistant, but hopes to roll it out in early 2020. At the same time, Google is working on incorporating data from more of its devices, so that the Home/Away status is more accurate. If your thermostat is in your downstairs living room, it won’t detect you if you’re upstairs in your bedroom, and go into Away mode. However, if you have, say, a Nest Mini in your bedroom, its microphones could detect your presence, and override the thermostat. This part will take longer, but Turner says that this should be available by Google I/O. ...

Source: Tom´s Guide

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11-19-2019 Science&Technology
How the Rising Voice Technology Helps a Business

Within the voice industry, speculations are spreading that there has recently been a 'channel of disappointment' following the new technology's usual track. Nevertheless, this view stems from the wrong recognition of the existing and future implementation of this transformative technology. While businesses may be enticed to wait until technology matures, or, at least achieves apparent market saturation, brands that see their voice tactics as a long-term, tactical play are set to be well-positioned to benefit from the first-mover lead. As more firms consider entry in technology, there is a need to evaluate the industry carefully, specifically voice technology, to reveal what's really going on, why development may feel delayed, and what's in store--"not just in the voice industry, but the tech industry and the United States economy, as well." Voice is a representation of a fundamental shift in an economy controlled by technology firms. U.S. companies did not shift to a web- and app-based structure overnight. How Voice Technology Came to Fame Since 2007, a conceptual shift in the manner consumers are interacting with the brand has changed attention, dollars, and jobs into the digital space. Nevertheless, this technology buildup was gradual. Companies that grasped the digital transformation early, according to mondo.com, "were many steps ahead of their competitors." Similarly, companies prepare to record in voice technology will earn valuable market share. Meanwhile, as Google and Amazon launched the Alexa and Google Assistant, they have tightly controlled as well, the "ecosystem of apps;" much more securely than the mobile phones' app system was ever limited. As a result, traditional marketing promotion has enticed the attention away from the more revolutionary aspects of this kind of technology. Moreover, the market, consumers, and even developers have not really seen the potential for revolution in this space. Meet Alexa For most people, Alexa is simply the name of the voice behind the Alexa-enabled speakers. Basically, Amazon's Alexa is equivalent to Apple's Siri. It is a voice you, as a user, can ask questions and get answers from. Questions on the weather in a particular area are one of the things you can ask Alexa. Amazon's voice technology has been incorporated into many services of the company. You can use Amazon with many of its products, such as Amazon Echo, Echo Spot, Amazon Fire TV, and Echo dot. And, since Amazon launched it, Alexa has turned to be the center of most smart-home systems such as SmartThings and Logitech Harmony, to name two. This can also be used as a voice assistant to build the "smart home piecemeal," and be paired with other hubless devices like Nest thermostats and WeMo.

Source: Tech Times

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11-19-2019 Science&Technology
SpaceX Successfully Test-fires Crew Dragon’s Abort Systems

Earlier this week, SpaceX successfully completed a static fire test of its Crew Dragon spacecraft's launch escape system. This major milestone may indicate that SpaceX and its Crew Dragon are moving closer to their goal of bringing NASA astronauts to the International Space Station next year. "Full duration static fire test of Crew Dragon's launch escape system complete - SpaceX and NASA teams are now reviewing test data and working toward an in-flight demonstration of Crew Dragon's launch escape capabilities," says the SpaceX tweet celebrating the success. Crew Dragon Success Brings SpaceX Back on Track This is the same static fire test that ended in a catastrophic explosion when what NASA and SpaceX officials later identified to be a propellant leak. The propellant leak in the check valve caused a "slug" of liquid oxidizer through the check valve leading to the explosion. The incident delayed plans for the two-week crewed test missions scheduled for July, but this latest success hopefully sets the Dragon back on track. An update from NASA in a blog posting provides further details on the tests: The engine tests, conducted near SpaceX's Landing Zone 1 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, began with two burns for a duration of one-second each for two of Crew Dragon's 16 Draco thrusters. These Draco thrusters are used for on-orbit maneuvering and attitude control, and would also be used for re-orientation during certain in-flight launch escapes. Following these initial Draco thruster burns, the team completed a full-duration firing for approximately nine seconds of Crew Dragon's eight SuperDraco engines. The SuperDraco engines are designed to accelerate Dragon away from the F9 launch vehicle in the event of an emergency after liftoff. In quick succession, immediately after the SuperDracos shut down, two Dracos thrusters fired, and all eight SuperDraco flaps closed, mimicking the sequence required to reorient the spacecraft in-flight to a parachute deploy attitude and close the flaps before reentry. The full sequence, from SuperDraco startup to flap closure, spanned approximately 70 seconds. Crew Dragon Timeline The Crew Dragon has been making waves since 2015 with successful milestones one after another. SpaceX has been rigorously testing the Crew Dragon's flight and safety systems. The company has also demonstrated the Crew Dragon's capabilities in its inaugural flight earlier in March where it reached the ISS and returned in an unusual ocean touchdown off the coast of Florida. However, the April incident during the cargo test set back the plans for manned tests that should have occurred in July. Hopefully, this week's success means that SpaceX and NASA are ready to continue with manned test flights as soon as early next year. ...

Source: Tech Times

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11-18-2019 Science&Technology
New MacBook Pro Laptops Reveal An Embarrassing Problem

This week saw Apple announce the laptop that everyone has been waiting for since the start of 2019. The 16-inch MacBook Pro becomes the top-tier laptop powered by MacOS Catalina, and the geekerati have welcomed it with open arms. But it’s also a laptop that highlights the flaws with every other MacBook currently sold by Apple. If the hardware issues can be fixed for this machine, it’s embarrassing that they have not been fixed over the entire range. Let’s look at two of the headline features of the new MacBook Pro to illustrate this problematic point. While were still waiting to find out if The Rock beats the new Scissor Style keyboard design, it’s clear that the scissor keyboard introduced on the larger MacBook Pro addresses many of the flaws of the butterfly design - flaws that have been present in the various iterations of the butterfly design since its launch in 2015. Just remember that this is not a backwards step to an older keyboard design, this is Apple’s new Magic Keyboard in a laptop. Then there is the screen. The engineering to hit the 16-inch screen into the same footprint as the 15-inch screen is to be applauded. But it also shows just how old-school the previous screen design was, with its extensive bezels and relatively low resolution for a ‘Pro’ laptop. Apple’s leap forward in screen technology looks impressive because of how far back the leap has to start from. Both of these technologies can be easily fitted into the 13-inch MacBook Pro chassis, and many of the geekerati are expecting Apple to do just that, although with the product release cycle its unlikely to happen before the end of 2019. I personally feel that the March event for the expected launch of the iPhone SE 2 would be the best estimate - that gives time for the Christmas retail chain to be cleared of the old inventory before the launch of the new product. It also means that the smart decision for those looking at the smaller MacBook Pro should hold off a few months, get through the festive season, and pick up a MacOS laptop that replaces the hobbled keyboard and smaller screen on the current 13-inch MacBook Pro. Thanks to the 16-inch MacBook Pro revealing the new hardware, Apple has effectively Osborned the current 13-inch family… assuming that the MacBook Pro buying consumer is switched on enough to realise that the new features of the 16-inch MacBook Pro are expected to arrive on a 14-inch MacBook Pro early in 2020. For many consumers looking for ‘an Apple laptop’ they’re going to head into the festive season with a new 13-inch MacBook Pro that has the temperamental butterfly keyboard and a tired screen. And when that new MacBook Pro is announced, they’re going to look at their recent investment and wonder why Apple’s message of putting the consumer first wasn’t strong enough to replace the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops at the same time. ...

Source: Forbes

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11-18-2019 Science&Technology
Google Pixel 4 review—Overpriced, uncompetitive, and out of touch

The Pixel 4 arrived on the market as one of the most leaked, most talked about smartphones of 2019. This year, Google seems like it is really trying to find something unique to offer, with new features like the Google-developed "Motion Sense" radar gesture system, face unlock, a 90Hz display, the next-gen Google Assistant, and a new astrophotography mode. At the prices Google is asking, though, the Pixel 4 is hard to recommend. The company saddled the phone with an ultra-premium price tag, but the Pixel 4 can't compete with ultra-premium phones. The phone falls down on a lot of the basics, like battery life, storage speed, design, and more. The new additions like face unlock and Motion Sense just don't work well. It seems like Google just cut too many corners this year. The strongest feature of the Pixel line—the camera—hasn't really gotten better, either. The camera sensor is the same as last year, and the big new software feature, astrophotography mode, is also available on older Pixel devices and the much cheaper Pixel 3a. The Pixel 4 isn't bad in a vacuum, but the rest of Google's Android competition gets better every year, while Google stands still. This year, Google turned in a weak, timid update to its flagship smartphone, and I'm not sure who to recommend this to at $800 or $900. Google just can't do premium right. So, when can we have the Nexus line back?

Source: Ars Technica

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11-18-2019 Politics
Why Republicans lost another deep-red state in Louisiana governor's election

(CNN)For the second time this month, Republican President Donald Trump failed to carry a Republican gubernatorial candidate across the finish line in a deep-red state. Last time, Kentucky was the stage. This time it was Louisiana. Gov. John Bel Edwards defeated Republican Eddie Rispone 51% to 49% in Saturday's runoff election. This came after Edwards failed to reach a majority in an election last month, in which the Republican candidates combined actually beat the Democrats combined by a 52% to 47% margin. The Democrat's victory Saturday is another demonstration of the limits of Trump's appeal and the importance of candidate quality even in our deeply polarized age. Make no mistake: Louisiana is a deeply red state. Trump won it by 20 points in 2016. Currently, the President's approval rating percentage in the state is in the 50s. His last minute visit to Louisiana last week wasn't enough just as it wasn't enough in Kentucky on the eve of that election. Like with Kentucky -- and indicative of the Trump era generally speaking -- the election returns showed Republicans had key abatements of support in urban and suburban areas. Edwards emerged with 90% of the vote in urban Orleans Parish and 66% of the vote in partially urban and partially suburban East Baton Rouge Parish. They are home to the two most populous cities (New Orleans and Baton Rouge) in the state. Trump did lose both of those in 2016. Yet Democrat Hillary Clinton only won Orleans with 81% and East Baton Rouge with 52%. Edwards' 90% in Orleans is particularly impressive given he took 87% of it in 2015, when he first won election statewide with 56% of the vote. The movement of suburban areas away from the Republicans is most clearly seen in Jefferson Parish, on the border with Orleans. Edwards won it with 57% of the vote on Saturday. This was impressive. Clinton won a mere 41% of the vote there in 2016. Heck, Edwards took a bare majority of 51% in his 2015 victory. Why Edwards won Louisiana's outcome was not just about persuasion -- changing a Republican vote into a Democratic one -- though. Turnout changes may have made the difference between Edwards falling short of 50% in the primary and eclipsing it in the runoff. Specifically, the rise in black turnout. In heavily African American, Caddo, East Baton Rouge and Orleans parishes, turnout was up about 15% to 30% compared to last month's Louisiana "jungle primary" -- in which all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, ran against each other and the top two advanced ¿because no candidate reached a majority. Parishes in the rest of the state saw a lower increase in turnout. This trend in the early vote data suggested that African Americans were going to make up a larger share of voters in the runoff than they did in October's jungle primary. ...

Source: CNN

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11-18-2019 Science&Technology
Cosmic dangers: Why NASA astronauts risk their lives every minute they spend in space

The three NASA astronauts currently stationed on the International Space Station (ISS) live in relative comfort. The ISS is frequently supplied with cargo from Earth, the life support systems turn water into breathable oxygen and powerful filtration systems ensure not a single drop of liquid is wasted. Outside of the space station, however, the void of space is an incredibly inhospitable environment where danger can come from any direction. One of the biggest threats faced by astronauts is the amount of radiation streaming from the Sun out into space. At an orbital height of about 250 miles (402km), the ISS is mostly protected from this radiation by Earth’s magnetosphere. Astronauts, however, lose this natural barrier when they venture beyond Earth’s boundaries to places like the Moon and Mars. Space radiation takes the form of highly energetic particles ejected from the Sun at great speeds. These charged protons and electrons shoot out from the star and penetrate anything they encounter. Even within the comfort of the ISS and Earth’s magnetosphere, astronauts still see bright flashes of light when they close their eyes – particles flying through their eyes. With the exposure to radiation comes the increased risk of developing cancer and other dangerous maladies. Energetic particles can tear through strands of DNA, triggering mutations and the growth of cancer cells. According to Dr Andrzej Fludra from RAL Space at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), the particles are powerful enough to even punch through spacecraft walls. He told Express.co.uk: “These energetic particles always pose a danger to astronauts in space. “Even during the Apollo mission, there was a study that said if it was launched a few weeks this way or that way, they could have been hit by one of these energetic particle streams. “Fortunately they are quite sparsely distributed in time, so they can happen only once every few days, but when the Sun is very active during the maximum of the solar cycle, they would be launched much more frequently. Maybe even a few times a day. "They are so energetic these protons, that they can penetrate the walls of the spacecraft. “The only way for the astronauts to avoid the damage is to hide behind lead partitions.” With NASA’s Artemis programme returning to the Moon by 2024, the space agency will have to figure out a way of shielding astronauts from radiation. One plan involves sending robots first to build habitats from the Moon’s soil – material that will keep astronauts safe from radiation and small space rock impacts. A trip to Mars is of even greater concern because an average voyage from Earth to the Red Planet lasts between six to eight months. During this time, astronauts would be exposed to incredible amounts of space radiation. An extensive study on the effects of space radiation on mice found prolonged exposure threatens brain-related disorders such as memory loss and anxi

Source: Express

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11-16-2019 Games
Microsoft announces its xCloud streaming service and a truckload of new games are coming in 2020

Microsoft has announced a vague intention to launch its xCloud game streaming service sometime in 2020, and dropped a double handful of new titles that will arrive on it and the existing Game Pass subscription. It seems that next year will indeed be the opening battle in the streaming wars to come. The announcements came at XO19, the company’s Xbox-focused event, which is taking place in London. They seem calculated to take the wind out of Google’s sails; the opening lineup of Stadia, Google’s entry in the game streaming world, was finalized earlier this week and is rather bare bones. Microsoft is hoping Google’s first-mover advantage will be nullified by the expected confusion around payments, features, titles and other issues Stadia is still working out. Game Pass is currently in a preview period on PC. Although Microsoft did not supply a hard release date, saying only that 2020 is the plan. That year will also bring Windows 10 support, PC game streaming and potentially an expansion beyond Android for mobile streaming. The price, too, is TBA — Google’s proposition is remarkably complicated, and it will take time for consumers to figure out what they’re willing to pay for, what the real costs are, and so on. So Microsoft is probably going to wait and see here. But what is known about xCloud is that gamers will get access to all the games currently available on Microsoft’s Game Pass subscription — well over a hundred PC and console titles right now, with more being added regularly. That makes it easier to commit to for a lot of gamers. New controllers will be supported soon, including Sony’s DualShock 4, which comes with the PlayStation 4; that’s a real olive branch to Microsoft’s arch-rival. And new countries will be brought into the fold soon, as well: Canada, India, Japan and “Western Europe.” Game Pass will also be receiving dozens of titles old and new throughout 2020, including Final Fantasy 7 through 15, Darksiders 3, Flight Simulator and a bunch of newly announced games such as Obsidian’s new “Honey, I Shrunk the Survival Game” title, “Grounded.” ...

Source: Tech Crunch

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11-15-2019 Politics
‘Evo, I hope your exile is short’: Roger Waters sends message of support to Bolivia’s Morales (VIDEO

Bolivian President Evo Morales was “ripped away from his people by greed,” former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters said in a message of support to the exiled leader, ousted in a coup and forced to seek asylum in Mexico. “Evo Morales, if you see this, more power to you. I hope your exile is short, your people need you. They need a leader like you,” Waters said in the video posted online, adding that the socialist leader had done a “great job” as the country’s first indigenous leader. “You’ve pulled so many of your people out of poverty and gave them a sense of dignity,” the rock ‘n’ roll legend said. You have right and history on your side and the sooner you are able to come home to your beloved Bolivia, the better it would be for the people and for you… but also for the rest of us. Waters said he was not a religious man, but if he were, he would be “praying for that moment.” Bolivia has fallen into the hands of “thugs and fascists and totalitarianism” since the coup which forced Morales to resign this week, the British musician said. Waters is a lifelong left-wing political activist and opponent of US imperialism around the world. He has also spoken out about the jailing of former Brazilian President Lula da Silva and has been a staunch advocate for jailed Australian journalist Julian Assange. Morales fled Bolivia on Tuesday after being pressured by to step down following weeks of protests over election results that the opposition claimed were tampered with. Meanwhile, unelected opposition politician Jeanine Anez declared herself “interim president” on Wednesday.

Source: RT Question More

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11-07-2019 Science&Technology
SpaceX begins Starship launch mount installation at historic Pad 39A in Florida

At the same time as SpaceX’s Boca Chica, Texas team is working around the clock to prepare Starship Mk1 for several major tests, the company is building a second dedicated Starship launch complex at Pad 39A and as of November 4th, that construction effort has reached a symbolic milestone. — Chris B – NSF (@NASASpaceflight) November 4, 2019 According to photos taken by local resident and famed rocket and ship photographer Julia Bergeron on a bus tour of Kennedy Space Center (KSC), SpaceX has officially begun to install a large steel structure at Launch Complex 39A, a pad the company has leased from NASA since 2014. Known as a launch mount, the massive structure will one day support SpaceX’s first East Coast Starship and Super Heavy static fires and test flights. At SpaceX’s Boca Chica, Texas Starship facilities, the company has already made a huge amount of progress fabricating and outfitting a brand new launch mount that will soon support Starship Mk1’s first propellant loading, static fire, and flight tests. The spartan steel structure looks different from anything SpaceX has built in the past for Falcon 9 and is equally unrecognizable alongside the renders of a finished-product launch pad included in an updated Starship launch video. What is undeniable, nevertheless, is the speed with which technicians have taken the Texas launch mount from a group of unconnected, partially-finished parts to a nearly complete structure with the business half of Starship Mk1 installed on top. SpaceX workers have built the mount, completed a large amount of plumbing to connect it to nearby liquid oxygen, methane, nitrogen, and helium reserves, and installed Starship on the mount in less than two months. The final integration of different prefabricated pieces began barely a month before Starship was moved to the pad, as pictured below. TWO PADS, TWO APPROACHES Although Boca Chica’s launch mount is quite large, based on Julia’s photos of Pad 39A, Florida’s nascent launch mount is going to be significantly bigger. The section that SpaceX began installing in the first days of November appears already be much taller than the mount in Texas, and it also looks more like a rectangular corner than anything resembling part of Boca Chica’s hexagonal structure. At the same time, the apparent rectangular corner being worked on in Florida would be a much better fit for the partially-enclosed launch mount structure shown in SpaceX’s official 2019 Starship launch video. ...

Source: Tesla Rati

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10-31-2019 Environment
'Start Listening': Greta Thunberg Rejects Major Environmental Award

Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg has turned down a major environmental prize. "It is a huge honor," Thunberg said of the Nordic Council Environment Prize. "But the climate movement does not need any more awards." "What we need is for our politicians and the people in power to start listening to the current, best available science," she added. The award Thunberg rejected came with prize money of 350,000 Danish kroner — about $52,000. The Swedish activist, who is currently traveling in North America, was also a contender for the Nobel Peace Prize this year. That award ultimately went to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali. The Nordic Council, an organization aimed at promoting cooperation between Nordic governments, awarded Thunberg the prize for "breathing new life into the debate surrounding the environment and climate at a critical moment in world history." "She has stubbornly and persuasively urged the world to listen to research and act on the basis of facts," the council said in a statement. Council president Hans Wallmark said that the body respects both Thunberg's decision to turn down the award "and the reasons for this decision." As for the $52,000 award, Wallmark said the council "will now think carefully about what to do with the prize money." In a statement on Instagram explaining why she declined, Thunberg slammed the council's member countries for not taking firmer action on climate change. "The Nordic countries have a great reputation around the world when it comes to climate and environmental issues," she said. "But when it comes to our actual emissions and our ecological footprints per capita — if we include our consumption, our imports as well as aviation and shipping — then it's a whole other story." Thunberg referenced a recent WWF and Global Footprint Network report that stated Swedes, and other EU residents, are depleting natural ecosystems far faster than they can renew.

Source: NPR

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