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Australian Open: Edouard Roger-Vasselin's Covid quarantine chain reaction machine

BBC World - 1 hour 56 min ago
Edouard Roger-Vasselin gets creative whilst stuck in his hotel ahead of the Australian Open.
Categories: News

New RISC-V hardware designs from 5G startup EdgeQ

ARS Technica - 2 hours 39 min ago

Today, 5G cellular startup EdgeQ is announcing the addition of two new members to its advisory board—former Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, and former Qualcomm CTO Matt Grob. Their mission is to cut the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of 5G cellular base stations in half by leveraging and extending open hardware RISC-V designs.

Traditionally, Radio Access Network (RAN) devices have tended to be closed design and deeply proprietary—much like consumer Wi-Fi and network hardware, they depend on closed-design ASICs with vendor-provided drivers and firmware. Such closed stacks generally cannot be upgraded to accommodate new protocols and use cases—for example, a Radio Unit or Distributed Unit designed for 4G networks must typically be replaced in its entirety in order to service 5G devices.

By contrast, vendors can implement their own OpenRAN solutions, which generally implement fewer functions in hardware, and more in software running on traditional operating systems such as Linux. But implementing such an O-RAN properly requires very deep protocol expertise to get right, and it tends to be extremely power-hungry and expensive to maintain once finished.

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Categories: Tech

AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS Cezanne Review: Ryzen 5000 Mobile Tested

Anandtech - 2 hours 40 min ago

Since AMD’s introduction of its newest Zen 3 core for desktop users, the implementation for notebooks and mobile users has been eagerly awaited. In a single generation, on the same manufacturing process, AMD extracted +19% more performance per clock (we verified), so for any system that is power limited, extra performance is often very well received. AMD announced its new Ryzen 5000 Mobile processor family at the start of the year, with processors from 15W to 45W+ in the pipeline, and the first mobile systems coming to market in February. AMD sent us a peak example of Ryzen 5000 Mobile for today’s review, the 35W Ryzen 9 5980HS, as contained in the ASUS ROG Flow X13.

Categories: Tech

Intel Iris Xe Video Cards Now Shipping To OEMs: DG1 Lands In Desktops

Anandtech - 2 hours 40 min ago

Following plans first unveiled last year during the launch of their DG1 GPU, Intel sends word this morning that the first Iris Xe video cards have finally begun shipping to OEMs. Based on the DG1 discrete GPU that’s already being used in Intel’s Iris Xe MAX laptop accelerators, the Iris Xe family of video cards are their desktop counterpart, implementing the GPU on a traditional video card. Overall, with specifications almost identical to Xe MAX, Intel is similarly positioning these cards for the entry-level market, where they are being released as an OEM-only part.

As a quick refresher, the DG1 GPU is based on the same Xe-LP graphics architecture as Tiger Lake’s integrated GPU. In fact, in broad terms the DG1 can be thought of as a nearly 1-to-1 discrete version of that iGPU, containing the same 96 EUs and 128-bit LPDDR4X memory interface as Tiger Lake itself. Consequently, while DG1 is a big first step for Intel – marking the launch of their first discrete GPU of the modern era – the company is planning very modestly for this generation of parts.

Intel Desktop GPU Specification Comparison   Iris Xe
dGPU Tiger Lake
iGPU Ice Lake
iGPU Kaby Lake
iGPU ALUs 640
(80 EUs) 768
(96 EUs) 512
(64 EUs) 192
(24 EUs) Texture Units 40 48 32 12 ROPs 24? 24 16 8 Peak Clock 1650MHz? 1350MHz 1100MHz 1150MHz Throughput (FP32) 2.11 TFLOPs 2.1 TFLOPs 1.13 TFLOPs 0.44 TFLOPs Geometry Rate
2 2 1 1 Memory Clock LPDDR4X-4266? LPDDR4X-4266 LPDDR4X-3733 DDR4-2133 Memory Bus Width 128-bit 128-bit
(IMC) 128-bit
(IMC) 128-bit
(IMC) VRAM 4GB Shared Shared Shared TDP ~25W? Shared Shared Shared Manufacturing Process Intel 10nm SuperFin Intel 10nm SuperFin Intel 10nm Intel 14nm+ Architecture Xe-LP Xe-LP Gen11 Gen9.5 GPU DG1 Tiger Lake
Integrated Ice Lake Integrated Kaby Lake Integrated Launch Date 01/2021 09/2020 09/2019 01//2017

The first DG1 GPUs were shipped in the fall as part of Intel’s Iris Xe MAX graphics solution for laptops. At the time, Intel also indicated that a desktop card for OEMs would also be coming in 2021, and now, right on schedule, those desktop cards have begun shipping out.

Overall, Intel is taking a very OEM-centric approach to their DG1 products, and that goes for both laptops and the desktops. Even the desktop Iris Xe cards won’t be sold as retail – as entry-level cards, they are unlikely to fly off of shelves – and instead are only being sold to OEMs for use in pre-built systems. And even then, the cards were co-designed with ecosystem partners – of particular note, ASUS – rather than Intel building and shipping out their own video cards. So by desktop video card standards, Intel is being somewhat hands-off at the moment.

In a curious twist, the desktop cards will have slightly lower specifications than the laptop parts. While I’m still waiting to hear what the TDPs and final clockspeeds will be, Intel’s announcement confirms that the Iris Xe cards will only ship with 80 of 96 EUs enabled, rather than being fully-enabled in the case of the laptop parts. Given that this is an entry-level part, any further drop in performance isn’t doing the part any favors, but at the same time it was never going to be a speed-demon to begin with. At any rate, given that no chip has perfect yields, we now know where salvaged DG1 chips are going.

Meanwhile, like their laptop counterparts, the Iris Xe desktop cards will ship with 4GB of LPDDR4X memory. Intel has also confirmed that the cards will ship with up to three display outputs, with ASUS's card using a mix of HDMI, DisplayPort, and even a DL-DVI-D port.

Colorful's DG1 Card

As for Intel’s target market, the company is targeting what they’re calling the “high-volume, value-desktop market.” Notably, unlike the Iris Xe MAX launch, Intel’s (admittedly brief) news release doesn’t spend much time focusing on the cards as a secondary accelerator, and instead are promoting these as a superior solution over existing graphics options. Given the focus on things like AV1 decoding, HDR support, and deep learning inference performance, I’m assuming that these will primarily be showing up in Atom (Gemini Lake Refresh) systems. Though it may also show up in low-end Comet Lake Celeron and Pentium systems, where vendors are looking to add a few more display ports and take advantage of the additional hardware accelerator blocks for things like video encoding, similar to how Intel positioned Iris Xe MAX for laptops.

Finally, given the OEM-centric nature of today’s launch, Intel isn’t publishing any specific availability dates for their Iris Xe video cards. But we expect that they’ll begin showing up in short order.

Categories: Tech

Tractor rally: Farmers clash with police at Delhi's iconic Red Fort

BBC World - 4 hours 57 min ago
Tens of thousands of protesting farmers drove their tractors to Delhi on Tuesday.
Categories: News

Covid: The dressmaker helping Australia with modified masks

BBC World - Mon, 2021-01-25 17:22
When Manmeet Kaur began giving away masks, she realised many people would relish a different design.
Categories: News

Hope and fear as Somalia’s civil war turns 30

BBC World - Mon, 2021-01-25 17:21
The BBC's Andrew Harding has returned to Mogadishu to see what hopes people have for peace.
Categories: News

Covid vaccines: Why some countries will have to wait until 2022

BBC World - Mon, 2021-01-25 17:21
How are Covid-19 vaccines being distributed across the world? As some countries start vaccinating their populations, others are being left behind.
Categories: News

Not just MagSafe: Apple reminds users not to hold iPhones near pacemakers

ARS Technica - Mon, 2021-01-25 16:09

This week, Apple published clarifications to its support documents to address consumer concern that, because of the presence of the MagSafe magnet system in new iPhones, the iPhone 12 and its 2020 peers are particularly unsafe to hold in close proximity to an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) or pacemaker.

The updated warning from Apple to customers repeats previous statements that keeping any iPhone within six inches of an ICD or pacemaker (or within 15 inches, while charging wirelessly) is unsafe. The warning also claims the iPhone 12 is not specifically more dangerous than other models.

Several weeks back, Heart Rhythm Journal published results of a test wherein it repeatedly found that moving an iPhone 12 with MagSafe close to a patient's ICD interfered with the functioning of that lifesaving device. After that report, tech enthusiasts visited forums, Twitter, and Reddit to spread speculation that the iPhone 12 was particularly dangerous to people with pacemakers because of the introduction of MagSafe.

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Categories: Tech

Deactivation of Flash may have crippled Chinese railroad for a day [Updated]

ARS Technica - Mon, 2021-01-25 15:49

Enlarge / Dalian Railway Station. (credit: akiradhin / Wikipedia)

In 2017, Adobe announced it would deactivate Flash at the end of 2020. Earlier this month, on January 12, Adobe carried through on its plans, deactivating Flash installations around the world. One result, according to Apple Daily, was chaos in a Chinese railroad in Liaoning province.

Officials at China Railway Shenyang use Flash-based software to plan each day's railroad operations. As a result of the outage, Apple Daily says, "staffers were reportedly unable to view train operation diagrams, formulate train sequencing schedules, and arrange shunting plans."

As a result, the railroad was unable to dispatch its trains, "leading to a complete shutdown of its railroads in Dalian, Liaoning province," according to Apple Daily.

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Categories: Tech

AT&T may keep majority ownership of DirecTV as it closes in on final deal

ARS Technica - Mon, 2021-01-25 13:26

Enlarge / A DirecTV satellite dish seen outside a bar in Portland, Oregon, in October 2019. (credit: Getty Images | hapabapa)

AT&T is reportedly closing in on a deal to sell a stake in DirecTV to TPG, a private-equity firm.

Unfortunately for customers hoping that AT&T will relinquish control of DirecTV, a Reuters report on Friday said the pending deal would give TPG a "minority stake" in AT&T's satellite-TV subsidiary. On the other hand, a private-equity firm looking to wring value out of a declining business wouldn't necessarily be better for DirecTV customers than AT&T is.

It's also possible that AT&T could cede operational control of DirecTV even if it remains the majority owner. CNBC in November reported on one proposed deal in which "AT&T would retain majority economic ownership of the [DirecTV and U-verse TV] businesses, and would maintain ownership of U-verse infrastructure, including plants and fiber," while the buyer of a DirecTV stake "would control the pay-TV distribution operations and consolidate the business on its books."

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Categories: Tech

Bad news for land-speed record fans as Bloodhound goes up for sale

ARS Technica - Mon, 2021-01-25 13:15

Enlarge / Bloodhound LSR made it to South Africa in 2019 to begin high-speed testing, but only with its single jet engine. (credit: Charlie Sperring/Bloodhound LSR)

Bad news, land-speed record fans: the project to set a new 1,000mph (1,609km/h) speed record is yet again in serious doubt. On Monday morning, the Bloodhound Land Speed Record Project revealed that it's looking for a new owner in order to try and break the existing record. Whoever steps in will need pretty deep pockets, too—almost $11 million (£8 million), in fact.

Trying to set a new land-speed record is probably one of the harder activities one can engage in. You need to design and build a vehicle capable of going faster than 763mph (1,228km/h), twice within an hour. You need to find somewhere flat enough to run the car, presumably away from neighbors who might get annoyed by the window-shattering sonic booms. And while all that sounds like a serious challenge, perhaps the biggest problem is finding the money to make it all happen.

Bloodhound LSR—formerly Bloodhound SSC—certainly has the pedigree to break the record. It was the brainchild of Richard Noble, who also masterminded the last two successful land-speed-record attempts. (Noble was even behind the wheel for the 1982 record.) Chief aerodynamicist Ron Ayers is another veteran, having designed Thrust SSC before Bloodhound. And the project identified and prepared an 8.5-square mile (22km²) stretch of South Africa's Hakskeen Pan to conduct the attempt.

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Categories: Tech

How Final Fantasy VII Remake legitimizes sexuality and gender identity

ARS Technica - Mon, 2021-01-25 12:53

In Final Fantasy VII, spiky-haired protagonist Cloud Strife fights countless battles. But when he arrives in the red-light district called Wall Market, he faces what might be his greatest challenge: cross-dressing. To rescue his childhood friend and ally Tifa Lockhart from a seedy old slumlord, Cloud infiltrates an adults-only establishment called the Honey Bee Inn. The catch: to get to her, he must go undercover as a woman.

In the original 1997 version of FFVII, Cloud's drag transformation is played for laughs. Undertones of queer panic and derision punctuate nearly every character interaction while he's dressed in a frilly, lavender frock. The audience is supposed to guffaw at this warrior clad in women's clothing, tamping down any inherent issues of sexual identity and expression that could be attached to the scene. Final Fantasy VII, while heartfelt, dramatic, and in many ways beautiful, was never what could be interpreted as "in tune" with its sexual side.

Nearly 25 years later, Final Fantasy VII Remake flipped the script. A narrative that was once eager to mock Cloud's dalliances in drag, and which turned a blind eye to the sexual implications of the situation, has morphed. In Remake, this scene blossoms into a brilliant and daring piece of media that encourages the exploration and freedom of one's sexual identity. It also legitimizes both the cisgender and queer desires that certain characters harbor.

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Categories: Tech

Panorama: The Jihadis from my schooldays

BBC World - Mon, 2021-01-25 11:27
Olivia Davies went to school and college with two brothers who later left Wales and became extremists in Syria.
Categories: News

Apple doubles down on Fitness+ with new “Time to Walk” Apple Watch content

ARS Technica - Mon, 2021-01-25 11:12

Today, Apple launched a new component of its Fitness+ personal health subscription service: "Time to Walk." With it, users who own an Apple Watch can take a tracked walk exercise while listening to stories or inspiring talks from "influential and interesting people."

These talks will be automatically downloaded to users' Apple Watch, provided those users subscribe to Fitness+. When users start listening to one of the 25-40 minute episodes, the Watch will begin tracking a Walk workout. For users in wheelchairs, Time to Walk is instead called "Time to Push" and offers up an Outdoor Weelchair Walk Pace workout instead.

The announcement states that "each Time to Walk episode is shaped by the guest’s personal, life-shaping moments and includes lessons learned, meaningful memories, thoughts on purpose and gratitude, moments of levity, and other thought-provoking topics, recorded while walking outside or in locations that are meaningful to them."

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Categories: Tech

SpaceX now set to launch its next Starship prototype Tuesday [Updated]

ARS Technica - Mon, 2021-01-25 10:57

Enlarge / SN8 very nearly made a safe landing in South Texas in December. (credit: Trevor Mahlmann)

3:40pm ET Monday: SpaceX began preparations for a launch on Monday, and closed roads leading to the pad in South Texas. However, they ended up not evacuating local residents, indicating there would be no launch attempt on January 25. It is possible that winds at the launch site were too high—gusts near 30mph at the surface were noted.

This now means the company is likely to try again on Tuesday or Wednesday, when roads are scheduled to be closed from 8am to 5pm local time (18:00-23:00 UTC). Winds are forecast to be more favorable at that time.

Original post: It's finally time to find out whether Starship prototype Serial No. 9 will become SN Fine or SN Nein.

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Categories: Tech

“I can’t tell you how much vaccine we have,” new CDC head says

ARS Technica - Mon, 2021-01-25 10:53

Enlarge / A registered nurse practitioner holds up a sign and a flag asking for another patient to dose with the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine as well as a more vaccine doses at a vaccination site in Seattle, Washington on January 24, 2021. (credit: Getty | Grant Hendsley)

With the country’s vaccine rollout in utter disorder, health officials in the Biden administration are cautiously trying to both manage expectations and express optimism.

In a series of interviews over the weekend, officials warned that states could face vaccine shortages in the short term, with some states’ supplies already running low—or completely running out. On the other hand, the officials remained convinced that they would be able to achieve the administration’s goal of getting 100 million doses in arms in their first 100 days in office—a goal that has been criticized as being both too ambitious and not ambitious enough.

With 95 days to go until their goal’s deadline, the officials have made clear just how much work they face in getting vaccinations on track.

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Categories: Tech

The secret to this $5,000 electric motorcycle is a cast aluminum frame

ARS Technica - Mon, 2021-01-25 10:06

It's unavoidably clear that staving off the worst extremes of climate change will require a wide-scale electrification of our vehicle fleet. There's a hitch, though—it's not cheap. We have the technology to make electric vehicles, and it's getting better all the time. But as of right now, the bill of materials for an electric car is still higher than for an equivalent vehicle with an internal combustion engine, even with impressive reductions in the cost of lithium-ion batteries.

The problem doesn't just affect passenger cars. It's more expensive to buy an electric garbage truck or school bus than one with a diesel engine, although after four to five years of operation, it balances out thanks to the cost of fuel. It's even true for motorcycles; Harley Davidson's new electric LiveWire costs an eye-watering $30,000—only slightly less than a Nissan Leaf. All of which makes the price of the Sondors Metacycle so notable. When it goes into production later this year, you should be able to pick one up for just $5,000.

Until now, Sondors was a brand people associated with electric bicycles. It's the brainchild of company founder Storm Sondors, who decided the time was right to expand the company's range with a highly affordable electric motorbike that's meant not for enthusiasts but for everyday transport. And the key wasn't perfecting a new type of motor or battery. "Oh, the hard part was done by people who are 1000 times smarter than any one of us," Sondors told me by phone.

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Categories: Tech

Giant panda cub Fu Bao clings on to zookeeper's leg in viral video

BBC Tech - Mon, 2021-01-25 09:36
Six-month-old Fu Bao, who lives in South Korea, just won't let go of her zookeeper's leg.
Categories: Tech

Giant panda cub Fu Bao clings on to zookeeper's leg in viral video

BBC World - Mon, 2021-01-25 09:36
Six-month-old Fu Bao, who lives in South Korea, just won't let go of her zookeeper's leg.
Categories: News
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