Tag Archives: Gadget Features

April the pregnant giraffe didn’t kick the vet — but she tried

April the Giraffe may be getting a little tired of waiting for baby to arrive, but no, she didn’t successfully kick her veterinarian, “Dr. Tim,” who came to check on her on Monday.

Pregnant April has been in the spotlight since a live webcam in her pen at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York, started up on Feb. 22. Since then, fans have watched her eat, play, poop and interact — mostly patiently — with the human keepers and doctors who pop in to check on baby.

“April’s attitude is good, though she did strike at (and miss) the vet again,” keepers wrote on the park’s Facebook page Monday night. “We just think she was giving him a hoof (hand) out the door.

And while fans may be getting impatient for a baby to arrive, imagine how April — and her human companions — must feel, as giraffes are pregnant for 15 months “plus or minus 60 days,” Dr. Tim said in a video published March 25.

“Keepers, vet, and Jordan (Patch, the park’s owner) agree — we are getting there!” the park’s Facebook update continues.

And for those who really want to know what biological variations to watch for, here you go.

“Her mammary development has continued to slowly increase,” the update continues. “Photo in comments. This is good! We do not expect any additional back-end swell, so all judging is now done based on udder changes. You will notice keepers continuing to snap photos of the underside to document changes.”

Sandra Lockman Jones wrote: “Never EVER thought I would be this interested in a giraffe’s teats!!!”

She’s not alone. At various times during Monday evening, more than 100,000 viewers were watching the livestream, and when zookeepers held a chat, comments were being posted so fast the stream flew by at an almost unreadable pace. The almost-kick at the vet was a topic of conversation, as was how the park knew April was pregnant (“she stopped cycling, we confirmed with a poo sample sent to a lab”) and how the keepers will know it’s go time (“hooves showing means active labor”).

The live feed and accompanying additional videos now have a sponsor in Toys R Us, whose cartoon mascot, Geoffrey, is a giraffe.

On Monday, the park posted a video of zoologist and head giraffe keeper Allysa Swilley, who’s familiar to live-feed watchers, discussing her bond with April. Swilley has known the giraffe since she arrived at the park in September 2016 and worked with her “almost every day since then.”

Giraffes, Swilley says in the video, only sleep about 20 minutes a day. “She doesn’t really go to bed, she takes quick short cat naps,” Swilley says of April. She also says the giraffes can eat about 50 pounds of food per day.

April, age 15, is expecting her fourth calf, and it’ll be the first for daddy Oliver, who’s 5. The calf will weigh around 150 pounds (68 kilograms) and will be about 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall at birth.

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/april-the-giraffe-pregnant-kick-the-vet-animal-adventure-park-baby-giraffe-birth/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Intel Optane is high-octane memory

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Intel Optane memory is making a lot of big promises. It’s a low-latency, high-response memory module that sits in front of your hard-drive, translating into faster launch, save and load times on your applications and files.

Faster. It makes your computer faster.

“But Luke,” I hear you ask through the magic of rhetorical devices that I am using to prove a point, “won’t more RAM do the same thing?”

Well, yes and no. RAM is memory that will improve the performance of your computer, but the key difference is that RAM is volatile memory, whereas Intel Optane is non-volatile. That means Optane won’t reset when your computer is turned off like RAM will, so every time you launch an application beyond the first, you should see those speed upgrades even if you rebooted your computer in between.

Essentially there’s a tradeoff between storage size and processing speed. Solid state drives brought that compromise way down, but you’re also paying for the privilege when comparing similarly sized hard drives. Intel is swinging for SSD-level performance by piggybacking the Optane chip on your hard drive, and running a file architecture that means your important apps are moved to the front of the storage pile and accessed that much faster.

Optane is also adaptable, which means the accompanying drivers and software will learn which files you use more frequently, and add those to the same up-front cache.



So what kind of performance boosts will you see? We’re going to have to wait to do our own testing, but Intel says Optane delivers “user-perceivable” speed boosts. You’ll notice the difference, especially if those claims of twice-as-fast boot times, browsers launching four times faster and Office applications loading up to six times faster hold true.

The demo session ran through loading things like large image files in Photoshop and load-intensive areas in World of Warcraft in side-by-side machines, one of which was powered with a 16GB Optane memory chip. The Optane machine was shaving tens of seconds off.

Average stats put desktop users at between 11 and 14 unique applications per day, with seven to eight launches of each app. That translates to feeling the benefits of the Optane memory boosts 70-80 times per day.

Optane Memory will be available on April 24 (preorders on March 27) in 16GB and 32GB sizes. Stay tuned for CNET’s hands-on experience with the new tech.

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/intel-optane-is-high-octane-memory/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Aliens have never been to Earth, claims former astronaut

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.

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They’ve never been here?

UIG via Getty Images

I’d always thought that aliens have visited us from quite a few planets.

Each time, they took one look, snorted: “Primitive creatures. Sad!” and left us to our own pitiful devices.

Former moonwalker Alan Bean, though, is of a different view.

Speaking to Australia’s news.com, Bean — an Apollo 12 astronaut and one of only 12 humans to have ever walked on the moon — mused: “I do not believe that anyone from outer space has ever visited the Earth.”

That’s quite a belief. Hasn’t he ever looked around the world — goodness, he lives in Texas — and wondered about a few of his fellow beings and where they might have originated?

Bean, though, insisted: “Civilizations that are more advanced are more altruistic and friendly — like Earth, which is better than it used to be — so they would have landed and said, ‘We come in peace and we know from our studies you have cancer that kills people, we solved that problem 50 years ago, here’s the gadget we put on a person’s chest that will cure it, we will show you how to make it.'”

How odd that he thinks Earthlings are altruistic and friendly. I suppose everything is relative. And how depressing is the idea implied here that we might be the most advanced, altruistic and friendly beings in the Universe.

But isn’t the idea that advanced civilizations always come in peace a touch far-fetched? World history suggests that at least some advanced civilizations were rather fond of conquering lesser nations and butchering their people.

Indeed, Stephen Hawking has already warned that aliens might hate us and seek to immediately destroy us, even if it’s just for fun.

Bean says he does believe aliens exist.

“There’s so many billions of stars and these stars have planets around them so there must be statistically many planets around many stars that have formed life,” he said.

Relying on statistics has its perils. But there could surely be fewer better times for aliens to show themselves to us than now.

It might give us a little perspective. It might even teach us what a small, uneducated blip in the galaxy we truly are.

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/aliens-have-never-been-to-earth-claims-former-astronaut-alan-bean/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Trump takes to Twitter to promise death of Obamacare

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.

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Pointing fingers and predicting explosions.

Pool, Getty Images

It was something of a Black Friday for President Donald Trump.

His attempt to push through the repeal and replace of Obamacare met the same mad, bad fate as Duke in the NCAA Tournament.

The president sprinkled a little blame on Democrats whom, oddly, he was unable to persuade to join his cause.

After sleeping on it, however, he took to his favorite instrument of optimism — Twitter — and sounded a newly upbeat tone.

“ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!” he tweeted.

Those of moderately dry temperament might feel that Obamacare surviving relieves the worries of up to 24 million people who might have otherwise lost their health care.

On Twitter, however, many were focused on Trump’s past tweeted pronouncements and offered them up as banners of victory.

For example, this from 2013: “Just shows that you can have all the cards and lose if you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Then there was this from a year earlier: “‘You can’t con people, at least not for long. If you don’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.’ — The Art of The Deal.”

Or these tweeted words from just a couple of weeks ago: “Despite what you hear in the press, healthcare is coming along great. We are talking to many groups and it will end in a beautiful picture!”

How we all crave a beautiful picture, just for a while at least.

Some might imagine that the president’s promise of everyone huddling as one to pick up the pieces from the Healthcare Humpty smacks of high fantasy.

I fear, instead, that there will be more explosions of the rhetorical kind. Many of them will continue to be on Twitter. And many will incite unhealthy levels of shrieking response.

Indeed, on Sunday morning, the president re-emerged on Twitter to declare: “Democrats are smiling in DC that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood Ocare!” Oh, save me.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/trump-twitter-to-promise-death-of-obamacare-health-care/#ftag=CAD590a51e

First look at ‘Twin Peaks’ cast, plus more clues


Here’s one of the three Entertainment Weekly covers out now featuring the cast of “Twin Peaks” and its director/co-creator David Lynch.

Entertainment Weekly

Dying to see Agent Cooper pontificate about murder and mayhem over a cup of Joe and a slice of cherry pie in the upcoming “Twin Peaks” revival?

Luckily for you, Entertainment Weekly magazine is not only revealing the first look at the “Twin Peaks” cast, on its March 31 cover, it’s also talked with actors Kyle MacLachlan, Sherilyn Fenn, Peggy Lipton, Everett McGill and Wendy Robie about their roles in the unusual murder mystery that originally debuted on ABC in 1990.

The revival comes to Showtime with a two-hour premiere May 21. (Disclosure: Showtime is owned by CBS, which is also the parent company of CNET.)

“We get to come back more grown up, with a level of wisdom we didn’t have,” Fenn says in a promo video posted March 23.

“It’s been a number of years, and we’re all different,” MacLachlan says in the video. “So you bring those world experiences with you into the creation of the characters.”

Entertainment Weekly also offers up a slideshow of the “Twin Peaks” revival that includes David Lynch directing as well as waitresses Shelly Johnson (Madchen Amick) and Norma Jennings (Lipton) back at the Double R Diner. But even more exciting is David Duchovny reprising his role as FBI agent Denise Bryson.

There’s also a shot of Lynch returning in front of the camera as hard-of-hearing FBI Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole.

Lucy (Kimmy Robertson), the police station receptionist, and the Don Knotts-esque Deputy Andy (Harry Goaz) also return to “Twin Peaks” — but are they still a quirky couple or just friendly co-workers?

Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) comes back to the police station with probably a lot more insight regarding the ancient myths surrounding the Black Lodge.

In another promo video, posted March 24, MacLachlan opens up about playing Cooper and explains why the role remains his favorite.

MacLachlan, Fenn, Lipton, Sheryl Lee and James Marshall discuss how some things have changed in the revival, in the March 23 video.

If fans want to stroll down memory lane, MacLachlan, Fenn, Robie and McGill talk about their favorite episodes in yet another video posted March 24.

And in a video posted Saturday, new cast member Laura Dern lists some of the many interesting unanswered questions left over from the original series, just to remind us that answers may be revealed in the revival.

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/first-look-at-twin-peaks-cast-plus-more-clues/#ftag=CAD590a51e

‘Justice League’ comes together in new trailer

The “Justice League” is finally forming, and in the first official trailer trailer released Saturday, the members are ready to have a good time.

Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) seek out the help of Aquaman (Jason Mamoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and The Flash (Ezra Miller) to face off against a new threat.

The trailer appears to provide a quick glimpse of that threat, but more details about it will have to come later. Meanwhile, we see fight scenes with the members of the new superhero fighting team.

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/justice-league-comes-together-in-new-trailer/#ftag=CAD590a51e