Tag Archives: Gadget Features

Space station astronaut sees solar eclipse shadow on Earth

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The ISS astronauts had a great view of the moon’s shadow.


Paolo Nespoli

The view of a solar eclipse from space can be very different than what we see down here on Earth. Italian Space Agency and European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli snapped a series of photos of the moon casting its shadow on the planet from his vantage point on board the International Space Station. Nespoli tweeted the images on Monday.

Two of the photos show the view with parts of the space station in the frame. A dark blotch appears near the curve of the Earth where the moon cast its umbra. The shadow looks huge from this perspective. People standing in that umbra would be seeing the solar eclipse as it happened. 

Nespoli wrote, “Voila! The # Eclipse2017 shadow from @Space_Station, no words needed.” 

The world’s space agencies have been busy documenting the eclipse. Earlier Monday, a NASA photographer captured a gorgeous photo of the ISS transiting the sun as the moon took a bite out of the star’s bright face.

The International Space Station Twitter account later shared another series of photos showing what the six astronauts in orbit witnessed during the event:

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/astronaut-solar-eclipse-space-station-moon-earth-photo-image-umbra-iss/#ftag=CAD590a51e

NASA: Wave at the moon during the solar eclipse

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The LRO snapped this photo of Earth during the 2012 solar eclipse. 


NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University

While you’re standing outside enjoying the spectacle of the great North American solar eclipse, be sure to reach a hand out toward the moon and give an enthusiastic wave. 

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) will turns its eyes from the moon and instead aim its camera at Earth during Monday’s eclipse, so the space agency wants you to say “hi” to the distant spacecraft.

The LRO will snap a portrait of Earth around 11:25 a.m. PT, so be sure to set an alert on your calendar. NASA’s LRO team member Andrea Jones notes that you don’t have to be in the path of totality to participate, saying “everyone in an entire hemisphere of the Earth can wave at the Moon as LRO takes our picture.” 

The LRO captured an image of Earth during the 2012 solar eclipse. A dark blotch shows where the moon’s shadow fell at the time. 

The LRO’s camera will again get a great look at the Earth’s surface features today, but it doesn’t have the resolution to make out individual people. It’s the thought that counts, though. With millions able to witness the eclipse, the moon-wave is all about bringing us together for a shared experience at a moment in history.

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/nasa-solar-eclipse-moon-wave-lro-lunar-reconnaissance-orbiter/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Intel bets on a big speed boost for 8th-gen Core chips

Intel is very concerned that you may be using a five-year-old computer. The company claims there are at least 450 million computers still in service that are five or more years old.

So, one of the big selling points for the just-announced 8th generation of Core i-series CPUs is that these new chips are twice as fast as those found in five-year-old laptops. That’s not too much of a stretch, as we’ve seen massive performance improvements over the last five years in laptops, desktops, hybrids and tablets.

More potentially interesting is Intel’s claim of up to a 40-percent improvement over the current 7th-gen Core i-series CPUs, which many PC makers have only recently rolled out across their product lines. Intel called it a “once in a decade” performance jump in a briefing for reporters.  

Kaby Lake, refreshed 

Each new generation of Intel CPUs generally goes by a code name, but the 8th-gen chips will likely be split across (at least) two. These first 8th-gen chips, which Intel says are “designed specifically for thin and light premium notebooks and 2-in-1s,” keep the Kaby Lake code name from the 7th gen, although these are referred to as Kaby Lake R, for “refresh.”

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Intel

This includes 15-watt U-series Core i5 and Core i7 processors. The biggest on-paper change for the low-voltage CPUs is a jump to a quad-core design from a dual-core one, which should make for better multitasking.

The initial 8th-gen CPUs are:

  • 1.9GHz Core i7-8650U
  • 1.8GHz Core i7-8550U
  • 1.7GHz Core i5-8350U
  • 1.6GHz Core i5-8250U

Future 8th-gen chips may be part of the already revealed code name series called Coffee Lake. These will use the same 14nm (nanometer) process as the previous generation, which is a measure of the transistors used in fabricating semiconductors. An expected jump to smaller 10nm parts isn’t expected until 2018, although Intel has dropped a number of hints about future plans, and they may be part of this 8th generation as well.

Intel expects desktop-class CPUs by the end of 2017, and further new chips for laptops in early 2018, so you’ll have to wait for then for more information on both the very low-power side, like Core M and Core i3 CPUs, and the very high-end side, like the upcoming Core i9 CPUs.

The future is 4K

With the same code name and same 14nm process, you may be asking, what’s new and exciting here? Intel points to the following as reasons you should want an 8th-gen CPU in your next laptop:

  • Up to 10 hours of 4K UHD local video playback
  • Editing photos or creating a slideshow is up to 48 percent faster on 8th Gen than 7th gen
  • Editing video footage is now up to 14.7x faster
  • New Windows Mixed Reality headsets will support some content even with only the standard built-in integrated graphics
  • “Intel Precise Touch Technology” will make Windows Ink app response better when using a stylus
  • The integrated graphics can support up to three 4K external displays at once
  • Intel Online Connect, also coming to older-gen chips, will enable two-factor security, using your laptop itself as one of the factors
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Intel/John Schulz

Intel is pushing the 8th-gen chips as well suited for the growth of viewing, shooting and editing of 4K and 360-degree video. Support for the upcoming wave of mixed-reality headsets in especially interesting, as Acer, LenovoHP and others all have similar headsets coming soon. But, the supported content without a dedicated Nvidia or AMD graphics card will probably be limited to simple things like 360 video.

Not getting an upgrade in this wave are the built-in graphics, although Intel is renaming the HD 620 graphics to UHD 620 (UHD often refers to 4K content). Also generally unchanged are battery life estimates. Rather than a boost to battery life, Intel says all this new 8th-gen power won’t come with battery life “compromises.”

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Acer’s new 8th-gen gaming hybrid, the Nitro Spin 5. 


Acer

Intel says at least 145 PCs with 8th gen CPUs are in the works, with about 80 expected by this holiday season. Many of those early 8th-gen laptops may be announced at the annual IFA show happening in Germany later this month, but at least one is being announced immediately. 

Acer says it is introducing a new convertible gaming laptop, the Nitro Spin 5. It will combine an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 and Nvidia GeForce 1050 graphics card with a 15.6-inch display and 360-degree hinge. The Nitro Spin 5 will be available in October.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/intel-bets-on-a-big-speed-boost-for-8th-gen-core-chips/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Elon Musk calls for ban on use of killer robots

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Elon Musk, along with a group of prominent robotics and AI experts, worry that the use of autonomous weapons could usher in a new era of warfare.


CBS

Elon Musk is joining a group of prominent robotics and artificial intelligence researchers in calling on the UN to prohibit the development and use of robotic weapons.

The CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX joined 116 specialists from 26 countries warning in a letter that the use of autonomous weapons could usher in the “third revolution in warfare,” The Guardian reported Sunday. The UN recently voted to begin formal discussions on such weapons, including drones, tanks and automated machine guns.

“Once developed, lethal autonomous weapons will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend,” the letter warns. “These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways.

“We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”

Research in AI — a term used for the ability of a machine, computer or system to exhibit human-like intelligence — has been dominated lately by large tech companies such as Google and Facebook. One application of particular interest is autonomous weapons, including unmanned planes, missile defense systems and sentry robots.

Musk may be a techno-optimist when it comes to solar power, space exploration and electric cars, but he continues to express his concerns that superintelligent machines might one day pose a threat to human existence.

Though many futurists envision an application of AI more beneficial for humans, Musk has voiced his apprehensions on several occasions. In 2014, he told CNBC that he worries unrestrained AI could breed an uncontrollable threat to humans like that depicted in the 1984 movie “The Terminator.”

Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/elon-musk-calls-for-ban-on-use-of-killer-robots/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Xbox One X preorders open, Project Scorpio Edition revealed

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The Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition.


Microsoft

If you’re the kind of person who plunks down cash early for the latest, greatest game consoles, I hope you’re paying attention: 

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The Project Scorpio Edition controller.


Microsoft

1. Microsoft just opened preorders for its new Xbox One X, the souped-up Xbox One with enough added muscle to play games at higher resolution, with faster load times and more graphical detail, coming November 7.

2. Microsoft just revealed the Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition, a limited-edition early adopter version of that console with a custom finish and special “Project Scorpio” branding on the console and controller, plus a free vertical stand, for the same $500 or £450 (roughly AU$630) you’ll pay for the regular version. 

It’s now on preorder, and will ship on November 7 too. Project Scorpio was the codename for the Xbox One X, and this is one way it’ll live on.

3. Microsoft has a limited-edition Xbox One S that’s Minecraft come to life. It looks like a bunch of grass and dirt blocks stacked together, you can see Redstone circuits visible through the transparent underside (fitting, because that’s how you build computers in Minecraft!) and it comes with a Creeper controller. It’ll be out October 3.

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In addition to the Minecraft and Project Scorpio consoles, there’ll also be a Middle-earth: Shadow of War bundle (right).


Microsoft

Microsoft says it now has 100 new and existing Xbox One games committed to playing better on Xbox One X, many but not all of which will play at 4K resolution if you’ve got a 4K TV. (We only counted 25 back when Microsoft revealed the Xbox One X, so there are quite a few more since the last time you checked our master Xbox One X post.) 

That doesn’t mean they’ll all be available right away, though — for instance, the long-awaited Crackdown 3, previously an Xbox One X launch title, was recently delayed to spring 2018.

Here’s our first up-close encounter with the Xbox One X

The Xbox One X is smaller than you’d think and Microsoft says it’s the most powerful console ever made. You’ll be able to see for yourself when it goes on sale November 7, 2017, for $499. For now, here’s the console from every angle and what it looks like compared with the Xbox One S.

by Jeff Bakalar

Xbox chief marketing officer Mike Nichols couldn’t give CNET a ballpark number for how many of the limited-edition Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition would be produced, but did say they should be available at some third-party retailers as well.

In related news, Microsoft says it will now be the official publishing partner for the Xbox version of PC smash hit PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds — which means its small Korean developer will now get sales, marketing and technical support from one of gaming’s biggest names. PUBG, as the game is known, sold 6 million copies in just four months and just crossed 8 million, despite being a buggy, unfinished game. 

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/xbox-one-x-pre-order-project-scorpio-edition/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Namechap pulls the plug on neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer

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Namecheap has become the latest domain registrar to dump neo-Nazi webiste The Daily Stormer.


James Martin/CNET

The Daily Stormer again finds itself without a webhost after Namecheap said Sunday it wouldn’t host the neo-Nazi website due to its message of hate and violence.

The site, dubbed the “top hate site in America,” registered with Namecheap on Friday after being turned out by Google, GoDaddy and its Russian registrar. The site has been the target of criticism since it published an offensive story about Heather Heyer, who was killed earlier this month while counter-protesting against white supremacist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Namecheap CEO Richard Kirkendall wrote in a blog post that he had examined the site’s content to determine whether deleting the site’s domain would contradict the registrar’s advocacy of free speech.  He cited specific references to incitements to violence and graphic anti-Semitic statements that factored into the company’s decision.

“This alone is a drastic departure from traditional freedom of speech principles and endorsement of a very violent eventuality,” Kirkendall wrote. “Based on this statement alone, the site should be legitimately shut down as the speech constitutes an incitement of violence.”

With the move, Namecheap joins a slew of companies and organizations seeking to distance themselves from white supremacist activity on the web. Apple and PayPal have disabled support of their services at websites that sell merchandise glorifying white nationalists and support hate groups, while Reddit and Facebook have each banned entire hate groups

Click to see our in-depth coverage of online hatred.

 Click to see our in-depth coverage of online hatred.


Aaron Robinson/CNET

On Wednesday, internet security provider Cloudflare dropped its support for the  website, essentially allowing it to be taken down with a denial-of-service attack. Twitter also joined the campaign by suspending the accounts linked to the website.

The site has retreated to the darknet, a part of the web that can only be accessed through the Tor Project’s browser, which hides users’ online identities.

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/namechap-pulls-the-plug-on-neo-nazi-site-daily-stormer/#ftag=CAD590a51e