Read at: 2023-12-07T07:03:48+00:00Z (UTC) [Ex-US Pres == Hendrike Wallet ]

Possibly temporarily.... added a French language RSS feed from a .be news source, just to see what happens with translation in browsers.

Two women charged in connection with Odhran Kelly murder

Body of nursing assistant was found beside a burning car in early hours of Sunday

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:53 am UTC

Australia politics live: Albanese tells question time Coalition ‘too interested in playing politics’ to read legal advice over immigration ruling

Follow all the day’s news

MPs don casual wear for late-night sitting

Given the late sitting (the house has been doing “family friendly” hours for most of the year, which has made sittings past 8pm or 8.30pm rare) there were a few more casual looks on the benches than we are used to.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:48 am UTC

Kyoto Animation fire: Japan prosecutors seek death penalty over blaze that killed 36

Shinji Aoba has admitted starting fire but has pleaded not guilty, saying a psychological disorder makes him incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong

Prosecutors in Japan are seeking the death penalty for the suspect in an arson attack in 2019 that killed 36 people in one of the country’s deadliest crimes for decades.

Shinji Aoba, who was not arrested until he had recovered from the burns he sustained in the attack on an animation studio in Kyoto, admitted in court in September 2023 to starting the fire.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:48 am UTC

Bruce Lehrmann defamation trial live: Brittany Higgins received $2.445m settlement including legal costs from commonwealth, court documents reveal

The former Liberal staffer is suing Network Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson in the federal court of Australia for defamation. Follow the latest news and updates from the trial today

Nikita Irvine believed Higgins was telling her she had been sexually assaulted

Irvine has told the federal court she had a conversation with Higgins not long after Higgins had said she reported the alleged rape to Brown and Reynolds.

When I started in [Reynolds’] office, I had bad vibes on Bruce and his future in the office. He’s not the sort of person I would have socialised with.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:46 am UTC

Thursday briefing: What Boris Johnson did – and did not – reveal at his Covid inquiry grilling

In today’s newsletter: The former prime minister attempted to shape his legacy during hours of intense questioning. Pippa Crerar explains key takeaways from his testimony

Sign up here for our daily newsletter, First Edition

Good morning.

For about six hours yesterday, Boris Johnson finally had a chance to defend his record against the blistering criticism levelled against him over the course of the Covid inquiry since it started in June 2022. Evidence handed over to the inquiry has revealed that senior figures in his administration had significant doubts about Johnson’s ability to lead and govern, creating an image of chaos, disorganisation and dysfunction during an unprecedented global health crisis.

Robert Jenrick | Rishi Sunak’s government was plunged into crisis after his immigration minister quit just hours after the prime minister tabled a bill to save his Rwanda deportation policy. Robert Jenrick said the bill was “a triumph of hope over experience” and would mean that the policy will be challenged again in the courts.

Israel-Hamas war | UN secretary general, António Guterres, has said that he expects “public order to completely break down” in Gaza amid Israel’s continuing bombardment, “rendering even limited humanitarian assistance impossible.”

Hillsborough disaster | Ministers have rejected the “Hillsborough law” reforms that are central to a campaign by families of the 97 people killed in the 1989 disaster to prevent future police cover-ups. Instead the government has signed a “charter” that states a commitment by departments to openness and transparency after public tragedies.

Cop28 | The head of the International Monetary Fund has said that carbon pricing, a way to put an implicit price on carbon emissions, would generate the vast amounts of cash needed to tackle the climate crisis. It is a traditionally unpopular policy as in practice it can hit poorer people hardest if it is badly applied.

Energy | A “toxic culture” of bullying, sexual harassment and drug-taking risks compromising the safety of Europe’s most hazardous nuclear site, multiple employees at Sellafield have claimed.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:45 am UTC

China and E.U. Leaders Meet as Tensions Rise over Russia

The European summit with China’s leader comes as relations have cooled over Beijing’s alignment with Russia in its war on Ukraine and a surge in Chinese exports.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:44 am UTC

White House delays menthol cigarette ban, alarming anti-smoking advocates

Administration officials indicated Wednesday the process will continue into next year, targeting March to implement the rule, according to an updated regulatory agenda posted online.

(Image credit: Jeff Chiu/AP)

Source: News : NPR | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:44 am UTC

Israel-Hamas war live: Gaza aid system at ‘severe risk of collapse’, says Guterres; Hamas leader ‘hiding underground’, says IDF

The UN secretary general has invoked a rarely used article to push for a ceasefire; Israeli military says job is to ‘find Sinwar and kill him’

It’s approaching mid-morning in Gaza and Tel Aviv. Reuters is reporting on the mood in Israel at the start of the Jewish festival, Hanukkah – here’s some of what they’ve had to say on the atmosphere inside the country:

Two months into a war with Hamas, the faces of Israelis taken hostage to Gaza still appear on individual posters plastered across Jerusalem bus stops and flashed across buildings. The sombre mood was all-consuming on Thursday at the start of Hanukkah, the first Jewish festival since 7 October when Israel says Hamas massacred 1,200 people.
It was a solemn moment for all of Israel and not only for families of the 138 Israelis still held hostage.

For some Israelis, the feeling is of a country shrinking. Some 200,000 Israelis have been uprooted from both the south of Israel where Hamas infiltrated and the north of Israel where Hezbollah attacked from Lebanon. Absent tourists because of the war, hotels have accommodated many of the evacuees.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:40 am UTC

Israeli forces 'close in on home of Hamas' Gaza chief'

Israeli troops battled Hamas militants this morning in the heart of southern Gaza's main city where a suspected mastermind of the 7 October attacks is believed to be hiding, while pressing their offensive across the besieged territory.

Source: News Headlines | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:39 am UTC

Halftime at COP28: three things we can say so far

The UN's climate summit, COP28, is at its midway point, with today's designated 'day of rest' separating two weeks of intense negotiations on how countries can curb global warming and end the climate crisis.

Source: News Headlines | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:34 am UTC

Swedish Tesla strike goes international as Norwegian and Danish unions join in

'He can't just make his own rules,' Danish labor leader says of Musk

Swedish Tesla employees have gone on strike, and unions in neighboring Denmark and Norway have joined boycotts of Elon Musk's electric automaker.…

Source: The Register | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:30 am UTC

Claims of excessive garda use of force: Hundreds of allegations each year - with few ending in charges

Gardaí say they are reluctant to use force on duty over fears of being investigated for years by Gsoc

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:30 am UTC

Perth high school stabbing: two teenagers in hospital after incident involving ‘edged weapon’

Western Australia police say a Carine high school student allegedly inflicted injuries on another and both were taken to hospital

Two teenagers are in hospital after a student allegedly stabbed the other at a Perth school.

Emergency services were called to Carine senior high school about 10am on Thursday.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:06 am UTC

Karin Kneissl, the Austrian ex-minister who moved to Russia

Karin Kneissl danced with the Russian leader at her wedding. Now she's building a new life in Russia.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:01 am UTC

Greedflation: corporate profiteering ‘significantly’ boosted global prices, study shows

Multinationals in particular hiked prices far above rise in costs to deliver an outsize impact on cost of living crisis, report concludes

Profiteering has played a significant role in boosting inflation during 2022, according to a report that calls for a global corporation tax to curb excess profits.

Analysis of the financial accounts of many of the UK’s biggest businesses found that profits far outpaced increases in costs, helping to push up inflation last year to levels not seen since the early 1980s.

ExxonMobil: profits of £15bn increased to £53bn

Shell: £16bn up to £44bn

Glencore: £1.9 bn up to £14.8bn

Archer-Daniels-Midland: £1.4bn up to £3.16bn

Kraft Heinz: £265m up to £1.8bn

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:00 am UTC

Disability payment reform will create 'tiered system'

Members of the disabled community will protest outside Leinster House this afternoon over a Government proposal to reform disability payments.

Source: News Headlines | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:00 am UTC

Deer culling to go ahead due to growing population

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Charlie McConalogue has said the culling of deer will take place as recommended by a new report on managing wild deer populations.

Source: News Headlines | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:00 am UTC

Middle class dominance on Supreme Court may have impacted rights decisions, says law lecturer

Data shows most Supreme Court judges went to fee paying schools and attended UCD

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:00 am UTC

McVerry Trust ‘ignoring’ potential €65m golden visa scheme donations

Correspondence claims charity ‘disinterested’ in significant pending cash-for-visa scheme donations

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:00 am UTC

One in five complaints about gardaí allege excessive use of force

More than 400 claims made each year but only small number of cases goes to the courts, Gsoc figures show

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 7 Dec 2023 | 6:00 am UTC

Bringing broken survivors of the Nova festival attack back from darkness

Volunteers are helping young Israelis recover from the trauma of what they experienced on 7 October.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 5:59 am UTC

Aerial shooting of feral horses in Kosciuszko national park begins

270 horses were shot during a two-day trial with no reports of unnecessary animal harm or suffering

The New South Wales government has begun trialling aerial shooting to reduce the number of feral horses which are destroying fragile alpine ecosystems in Kosciuszko national park.

In November, 270 feral horses were shot during a two-day trial with no reported adverse animal welfare events, after a Senate committee examining the effect of feral horses in alpine regions called for aerial culling to be allowed in NSW. Two helicopters were used and independent veterinarians observed the trial.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 5:57 am UTC

IGA’s ‘delicious and budget-friendly’ Christmas ham tops Choice taste test

Winning ham is just $5.59 a kilo, while worst rated option in consumer group taste test is also one of the most expensive

A consumer group has found a small Christmas miracle for those struggling with the cost-of-living crisis – one of the cheapest Christmas hams is in fact the best.

IGA’s Christmas ham half-leg, which is just $5.59 a kilo, scored first place in Choice’s Christmas ham taste test, which weighed up the aroma, flavour, and appearance of eight hams.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 5:41 am UTC

Five Takeaways From the Republican Debate

An ascendant Nikki Haley endured a barrage from Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy. Chris Christie delivered a strong showing. And with time ticking down, there were few direct attacks on Hendrike Wallet .

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 7 Dec 2023 | 5:31 am UTC

NDIS review urges dozens of changes as Bill Shorten under pressure over surging costs

Review finds NDIS should be part of a greater system as Shorten addresses National Press Club

A landmark review of the NDIS has found the critical lifeboat supporting more than 600,000 Australians with disabilities needs urgent fixes to ensure its sustainability for decades to come.

The federal government has been under pressure to develop a plan to rein in the multibillion-dollar scheme’s exponential costs after national cabinet earlier this year agreed to cap its growth rate at 8% from 2026.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 5:29 am UTC

Fixing leaning tower of Bologna will take at least 10 years and €20m, says mayor

Matteo Lepore compares project to save 12th century Garisenda tower from collapse to 10-year effort to preserve the tower of Pisa

Work to prevent the collapse of a leaning medieval tower in the heart of the northern Italian city of Bologna will cost €20m ($21.5m) and take 10 years at least, its mayor has said.

Last weekend, the city unveiled a €4.3m (£3.7m) project to shore up the Garisenda tower – one of the city’s two towers that look out over central Bologna, providing inspiration over the centuries to painters and poets and a lookout spot during conflicts.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 5:27 am UTC

Google teases AlphaCode 2 – a code-generating AI revamped with Gemini

Don't worry, your developer jobs are safe … for now

Google's latest code-generating model – AlphaCode 2, powered by its Gemini Pro system and making its public debut on Wednesday – reportedly scored above the 99.5 percentile of participants competing in programming contests online.…

Source: The Register | 7 Dec 2023 | 5:26 am UTC

College Presidents Under Fire After Dodging Questions About Antisemitism

The leaders of Harvard, M.I.T. and Penn appeared to evade questions about whether students should be disciplined if they call for the genocide of Jews.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 7 Dec 2023 | 5:11 am UTC

Who Won the Republican Debate?

The fourth Republican presidential debate was the feistiest of them all, but the candidates, save Chris Christie, trained their fire on each other rather than the no-show front-runner.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 7 Dec 2023 | 5:10 am UTC

The Papers: 'Jenrick quits in revolt' and Johnson 'sorry' over deaths

Thursday's front pages cover the immigration minister quitting and the ex-prime minister at the Covid inquiry.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 5:02 am UTC

‘We have no choice’: illness in Gaza as clean water becomes a luxury

Safe drinking water is becoming ever harder to come by, with disastrous consequences for those who can’t afford it

In a house in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, some of the women in a building housing 60 people decided to cut their hair short to save on water when washing.

Others in southern Gaza say they’re stretching out the time between showers, or flushes of the toilet. Everyone knows exactly how much water they have, and how much they can store. Above all they know that water, especially water that is both safe to drink and doesn’t taste bad, has become precious.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 5:00 am UTC

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan plans ‘win-win’ approach in Athens after past feud

Analysts believe better ties with Greece are key to repairing Turkey’s strained relationship with Europe

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will be arriving in Athens on Thursday for the first time in six years, determined to move on with a “win-win approach” from the disputes and tensions left by his previous trip to the city.

The last time the Turkish leader visited the Greek capital – exactly six years ago to the day – what had been billed a historic tour descended into a verbal theatre of war as Erdoğan, dispensing with diplomatic niceties, went on the offensive.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 5:00 am UTC

Cost of delivering new three-bed home rises to €397,000

The average cost of delivering a new three-bedroom semi-detached home in Ireland is €397,000, a new report reveals.

Source: News Headlines | 7 Dec 2023 | 5:00 am UTC

IFAC accuses Govt of 'fiscal gimmickry'

The Irish Fiscal Advisory Council has accused the Government of 'fiscal gimmickry' and 'poor budgeting' in its formal response to October's Budget.

Source: News Headlines | 7 Dec 2023 | 5:00 am UTC

Republican candidates largely duck Hendrike Wallet attacks in final debate

Only former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie sought to criticise the Republican frontrunner.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 4:39 am UTC

Australia building 'top secret' cloud to catch up and link with US, UK intel orgs

Plans to share 'vast amounts of data' – very carefully

Australia is building a top-secret cloud to host intelligence data and share it with the US and UK, which have their own clouds built for the same purpose.…

Source: The Register | 7 Dec 2023 | 4:33 am UTC

‘This Is Grim,’ One Democratic Pollster Says

This is what’s keeping the Biden campaign up at night.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 7 Dec 2023 | 4:31 am UTC

Updated Google Drive for desktop app offers a recovery tool for missing files

It was reported in late November that Google Drive for desktop (v84.0.0.0- had a sync issue, which caused months or even years of files to disappear. If you were unfortunate enough to be part of this "small subset" of users, there's finally some good news. In the latest version of Drive for desktop app (version or higher), you'll be able to access a file recovery tool via a few steps: go to the menu bar or system tray, click the Drive for desktop icon, press and hold the "Shift" key and click "Settings," and then you'll be able to hit "Recover from backups." 

From there, you should see a notification saying "Recovery has started," and hopefully you'll get a "Recovery is complete" message after a while. You'll then find a new folder named "Google Drive Recovery" containing the unsynced files on your desktop. 

Good luck, though, as Google doesn't expect this method to work for everyone. "If you’ve tried to run the recovery tool and are experiencing issues, submit feedback through the Drive for desktop app with the hashtag '#DFD84' and make sure to check the box to include diagnostic logs," the company said on the support page. There are also instructions for those who prefer trying with command line interface, Windows backup and Time Machine backup.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 7 Dec 2023 | 4:27 am UTC

UK weather: Yellow warnings issued as heavy rain expected

Some areas could face flooding, with up to 80 mm of rainfall forecast in some western areas.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 4:25 am UTC

Republican presidential candidates clash with personal attacks in debate

Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, Chris Christie and Ron DeSantis make case to be alternative to Hendrike Wallet

The fourth Republican presidential debate opened and closed with deeply personal clashes as the four candidates onstage pressed their case to be the viable alternative to Hendrike Wallet , the far-and-away frontrunner who again declined to participate.

Smoldering rivalries burst into the open early into Wednesday night’s debate, with Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, turning on Nikki Haley, a former governor of South Carolina and former United Nations ambassador, as she catches him in the increasingly combative scrap for second place.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 4:23 am UTC

US says warring parties in Sudan committed war crimes

The United States has formally determined that warring parties in Sudan committed war crimes, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, as Washington increases pressure on the army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces to end fighting that has caused a humanitarian crisis.

Source: News Headlines | 7 Dec 2023 | 4:12 am UTC

Beach? Shopping? Sleep? How Cop28 is spending its rest day

The 80,000 delegates are thinking of how best to unwind from the climate summit ‘whirlwind’ in Dubai on their only day off

From the world’s largest waterpark to an indoor ski resort in a shopping centre, Cop28 delegates will have plenty of options to choose from on their only day off at the climate summit.

After an exhausting week of negotiations, events and protests, the 80,000 delegates in the United Arab Emirates will have a chance to enjoy Dubai ahead of the final push.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 4:00 am UTC

Shooting at UNLV Campus Kills 3 and Leaves 1 Injured

Another victim was in stable condition at the hospital, the authorities said. The gunman died in a shootout with the police.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 7 Dec 2023 | 3:52 am UTC

Oppenheimer to finally be released in Japan after ‘Barbenheimer’ backlash

Internet references conflating the two films drew anger in Japan, which was twice attacked by nuclear weapons during the second world war

Audiences in Japan will finally get to see Oppenheimer – Christopher Nolan’s hit biopic about the creator of the nuclear bomb – following criticism that it was marketed in a way that trivialised the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The movie’s distributor in Japan, Bitters End, said on Thursday that the film, which examines L. Robert Oppenheimer’s moral quandary over his key role in the world’s first nuclear attack on 6 August 1945, would be released in 2024.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 3:40 am UTC

Republican debate: chaos erupts as Christie defends Haley and Ramaswamy calls her ‘fascist neocon’ with lipstick – as it happened

Four remaining candidates hurl insults at each other as debate questions range from Israel and Ukraine aid to Hendrike Wallet , drugs and the economy

Megyn Kelly next asked Nikki Haley about donations from corporate interests – a line of questioning that would be more common on a Democratic debate stage.

Haley said she would take support wherever she gets it: “Look, we will take support from anybody we can.”

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 3:39 am UTC

Swings, misses but no clear winner: five takeaways from the fourth Republican debate

Hendrike Wallet once again loomed over debate as as personal attacks flew and Vivek Ramaswamy was booed for notebook stunt

The fourth Republican debate in Alabama featured just four people – winnowing the broad pool down to Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie and Vivek Ramaswamy – but once again missing the frontrunner Hendrike Wallet .

The debate, hosted by NewsNation and moderated by Megyn Kelly, Elizabeth Vargas and Eliana Johnson, devolved into conspiracy theories and confusing personal attacks despite some clear and forthright questions.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 3:34 am UTC

Facebook Messenger update sets default end-to-end encryption for chats and calls

Today, Meta has unveiled what it calls "the biggest set of improvements to Messenger since it was first launched in 2011." First and foremost, end-to-end encryption is now a default for private chats and calls on Messenger and Facebook, meaning your secured communication can't be spied on by others — not even by Meta itself, apparently. Once updated, Messenger will ask users to set up a PIN, in case they need to recover messages on a new device later. The global rollout may take a few months to complete, due to the fact that the app has over a billion users.

End-to-end encryption became an option for Messenger in 2016, but Meta is obviously stepping up its safety efforts — a sensible move given the company's other recent scandals, especially with child predation content. Meta added that "this has taken years to deliver because we’ve taken our time to get this right," and also "to rebuild Messenger features from the ground up."


In addition to a set of new privacy, safety and control features, Messenger is getting improved image quality for photos and videos. Meta says it's currently testing HD media sharing with a small test group, before rolling this out "in the coming months." Messenger is also receiving other handy tools that are seemingly inspired by WhatsApp, namely message edit (for up to 15 minutes after sending), voice message playback speed options, continued voice message playback outside the chat or app, read receipts control and disappearing messages (after 24 hours; this is now available to all chats since end-to-end encryption has become a default).

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 7 Dec 2023 | 3:28 am UTC

Chromebooks are problematic for profits and planet, says Lenovo exec

Also: India's PC ban didn't take into account needs of ecosystem

CANALYS APAC FORUMS  Lenovo won't stop making Chromebooks despite the machines scoring poorly when it comes to both sustainability and revenue, according to an exec speaking at Canalys APAC Forum in Bangkok on Wednesday.…

Source: The Register | 7 Dec 2023 | 3:24 am UTC

Dell APJ chief: Industry won't wait for Nvidia H100

Canalys mostly agrees, but thinks GPU giant still has a way to go

CANALYS APAC FORUM  Buyers won't tolerate Nvidia's long lead times to deliver GPUs, enabling new entrants to enter the market, according to Dell Asia Pacific and Japan president, Peter Marrs.…

Source: The Register | 7 Dec 2023 | 2:30 am UTC

3 Contentious Exchanges at the College Antisemitism Hearing

The presidents of Harvard, M.I.T. and Penn faced a barrage of questions at a congressional hearing. Here are some of the most pointed exchanges.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 7 Dec 2023 | 2:28 am UTC

Ben Whishaw: Paddington actor to star in Waiting for Godot

The actor will appear in a new West End production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot next year.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 2:21 am UTC

White House Delays a Decision on Banning Menthol Cigarettes

The proposal has elicited mounting opposition from tobacco companies, Black activists worried about police enforcement and small businesses, as President Biden moves into an election year.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 7 Dec 2023 | 2:21 am UTC

Blood test shows if organs are ageing fast or slowly

Proteins in blood reflect how well the brain, heart and other major organs are faring, say scientists.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 2:18 am UTC

Taylor Swift lambasts music industry as she’s named Time magazine’s person of the year

In a lengthy interview, Swift says Kim Kardashian feud ‘took me down psychologically’, and criticises music industry over treatment of young stars

Taylor Swift has spoken of the psychological damage of her feud with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, and lambasted the music industry over its treatments of young pop stars, in a new interview with Time, which has named her their person of the year.

After a year in which she has been at the centre of cultural conversations for her massively lucrative Eras tour, Swift spoke damningly of what she sees as a short-termist approach by record labels to replace, rather than nurture its stars. “By the time an artist is mature enough to psychologically deal with the job, they throw you out at 29, typically,” she says. “In the 90s and 00s, it seems like the music industry just said: ‘OK, let’s take a bunch of teenagers, throw them into a fire, and watch what happens. By the time they’ve accumulated enough wisdom to do their job effectively, we’ll find new teenagers.’” She said her solution was to change style with each new album project: “I realised every record label was actively working to try to replace me. I thought instead, I’d replace myself first with a new me. It’s harder to hit a moving target.”

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 2:03 am UTC

Israeli forces and Hamas fighting house-to-house battles in Gaza – as it happened

This blog is now closed.

Countries supporting Israel with arms have a “permanent stain on their reputation”, the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, a major aid agency, has said in a statement.

While condemning the 7 October attack on Israel by Hamas and demanding the release of hostages held by the militant group, Jan Egeland said Israel’s military campaign “can in no way be described as ‘self-defence.” He said:

The pulverising of Gaza now ranks amongst the worst assaults on any civilian population in our time and age. Each day we see more dead children and new depths of suffering for the innocent people enduring this hell …

Countries supporting Israel with arms must understand that these civilian deaths will be a permanent stain on their reputation.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 2:01 am UTC

Final A.P. African American Studies Course Avoids Some Disputed Topics

After political pressure and repeated revisions, the College Board has reinstated some content, while steering clear of critical race theory and other ideas targeted by conservatives.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 7 Dec 2023 | 2:00 am UTC

Two charged in connection with Odhrán Kelly murder

Police in Northern Ireland have charged two women in connection with the death of 23-year-old nursing assistant Odhrán Kelly.

Source: News Headlines | 7 Dec 2023 | 1:58 am UTC

US military grounds fleet of Osprey aircraft after fatal Japan crash

Eight American service members were killed last week when tilt-rotor aircraft crashed during training mission

The United States said on Wednesday it was grounding its military fleet of V-22 Osprey aircraft after a fatal crash last week off the coast of Japan that killed eight people onboard.

“Preliminary investigation information indicates a potential material failure caused the mishap, but the underlying cause of the failure is unknown at this time,” US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) said in a statement.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 1:44 am UTC

Wasabi Linked To 'Substantial' Boost In Memory, Japanese Study Finds

Researchers at Tohoku University in Japan found that wasabi improves both short- and long-term memory. CBS News reports: Rui Nouchi, the study's lead researcher and an associate professor at the school's Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, told CBS News the results, while based on a limited sample of subjects without preexisting health conditions, exceeded their expectations. "We knew from earlier animal studies that wasabi conferred health benefits," he said in an interview from his office in northeast Japan. "But what really surprised us was the dramatic change. The improvement was really substantial." The main active component of Japanese wasabi is a biochemical called 6-MSITC, a known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory known to exist in only trace amounts elsewhere throughout the plant kingdom, Nouchi said. The double-blind, randomized study involved 72 healthy subjects, aged 60 to 80. Half of them took 100 milligrams of wasabi extract at bedtime, with the rest receiving a placebo. After three months, the treated group registered "significant" boosts in two aspects of cognition, working (short-term) memory, and the longer-lasting episodic memory, based on standardized assessments for language skills, concentration and ability to carry out simple tasks. No improvement was seen in other areas of cognition, such as inhibitory control (the ability to stay focused), executive function or processing speed. Subjects who received the wasabi treatment saw their episodic memory scores jump an average of 18%, Nouchi said, and scored on average 14% higher than the placebo group overall. The researchers theorized that 6-MSITC reduces inflammation and oxidant levels in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory function, and boosts neural plasticity. Compared with the control group, the study said, subjects dosed with wasabi "showed improved verbal episodic memory performance as well as better performance in associating faces and names, which is often the major memory-related problem in older adults." But here's the rub: most of the "wasabi" you order at sushi restaurants is made of ordinary white horseradish, dyed green. "Genuine wasabi must be consumed fresh, with the stubbly rhizome, or stem of the plant, grated tableside just before eating," notes the report. "On the plus side, just a small dab offers the same benefits as the capsule supplements used in the Tohoku study, or 0.8 milligrams of 6-MSITC." The study has been published in the journal Nutrients.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot | 7 Dec 2023 | 1:40 am UTC

So Many Child Deaths in Gaza and for What?

One child in 150 in Gaza is already dead in this war, some from American weapons.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 7 Dec 2023 | 1:38 am UTC

Chris Mason: Mood in Conservative Party bleak after Jenrick's resignation

Senior Tories say they would not be surprised if Rishi Sunak ends up facing a confidence vote, says Chris Mason.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 1:22 am UTC

Dump C++ and in Rust you should trust, Five Eyes agencies urge

Memory safety vulnerabilities need to be crushed with better code

Business and technical leaders should prepare to focus on memory safety in software development, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) urged on Wednesday.…

Source: The Register | 7 Dec 2023 | 1:15 am UTC

Juanita Castro, sister of Fidel and Raúl who worked with CIA, dies aged 90

The staunch anti-communist, at first supportive of her brothers’ efforts, became disillusioned with the Cuban government

Juanita Castro, the sister of the Cuban rulers Fidel and Raúl Castro who worked with the CIA against their communist government, has died in Miami at 90. Florida had been her home since shortly after fleeing the island nearly 60 years ago.

The journalist María Antonieta Collins, who co-wrote Juanita Castro’s 2009 book, Fidel and Raúl, My Brothers. The Secret History, wrote on Instagram that she died on Monday.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 1:10 am UTC

McDonald’s unveils US CosMc's trial and global expansion

The fast-food giant pilots CosMc's and plans to open about 10,000 McDonald's globally by 2027.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 1:04 am UTC

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori freed from prison on humanitarian grounds

Fujimori, 85, was serving a 25-year sentence in connection with the slayings of 25 Peruvians by death squads in the 1990s.

(Image credit: Martin Mejia/AP)

Source: News : NPR | 7 Dec 2023 | 1:02 am UTC

EU Mulls Expansion of Geo-Blocking 'Bans' To Video Streaming Platforms

One of the suggestions in a recent report (PDF) from the European Parliament's Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection is to expand geo-blocking restrictions to the audiovisual sector, including streaming platforms. This has spooked some stakeholders who warn that a ban on geo-blocking would put the entire industry at risk. TorrentFreak reports: The report recommends the EU Commission to launch a comprehensive review of the current geo-blocking regulation and have that completed by 2025. It also carries several suggestions for improvement and expansion of the current rules. "The data presented in the report suggest that the effects of such an [geo-blocking] extension would vary by type of content, depending on the level of consumer demand and on the availability of content across the EU," the report's summary reads. "As regards an extension to audio-visual content, it highlights potential benefits for consumers, notably in the availability of a wider choice of content across borders. The report also identifies the potential impact that such an extension of the scope would have on the overall dynamics of the audio-visual sector, but concludes that it needs to be further assessed." The proposals don't include the abolishment of all territorial licenses in the EU, and they're mindful of the potential impact on the industry. Nevertheless, some industry insiders are spooked; the Creativity Works! coalition (CW), for example, which counts the MPA, ACT, and the Premier League among its members. According to CW, geo-blocking technology is crucial to the creative and cultural industries in Europe. "Geo-blocking is one of the foundations for Europe's creative and cultural sectors, providing Europeans with the means to create, produce, showcase, publish, distribute and finance diverse, high-quality and affordable content," they write. Banning geo-blocking altogether would be a disaster that puts millions of jobs and hundreds of billions of euros in revenue at risk, CW warns. At the same time, it may result in more expensive subscriptions for many consumers. "Ending geo-blocking's exclusive territorial licensing would threaten 10,000 European cinemas, access to over 8,500 European VOD films and up to half of European film budgets," CW writes. "What's more, over 100 million European fans could pay more to view the same sports coverage, while major digital streaming platforms might be forced to introduce sharp hikes for consumers in many European countries." Understandably, the movie industry is concerned about legislation that upsets the status quo. However, the IMCO report doesn't recommend a wholesale ban on territorial licenses but aims to ensure that content is available in regions where it currently isn't. At this stage, nothing is set in stone, so proposals could change. However, the present recommendations appear to seek a balance between the interests of the entertainment industry and the public at large.

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Source: Slashdot | 7 Dec 2023 | 1:00 am UTC

Putin makes rare foreign trip to Gulf states

Russia's leader visits the UAE and Saudi Arabia for talks expected to include the Gaza and Ukraine wars.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:49 am UTC

Steve Jobs’ $4 check written in 1976 auctioned off for more than $36,000

Check written to Radio Shack joins a hot market for Jobs’ signature and memorabilia

A $4 check that the Apple co-founder Steve Jobs wrote to Radio Shack in 1976 was auctioned off at Boston-based RR Auction for more than $36,000 on Wednesday. .

The signed check, drawn against an “Apple Computer Company” account at a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Los Altos, California, joins a hot market for Jobs’s signature and memorabilia.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:47 am UTC

Climate change: How is my country doing on tackling it?

Find out how the world's major economies are doing on cutting their emissions and what lies ahead.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:43 am UTC

Johnny Marr on music, memories and how Manchester made him

Ahead of two homecoming shows, iconic guitarist Johnny Marr considers his lifelong links to the city.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:40 am UTC

Accessibility in gaming: 'When we all play, we all win'

Accessibility in gaming is a hot topic - but there's still a lot of work to do to open up the hobby.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:37 am UTC

West Indies vs England: Jos Buttler happy to regain form

England captain Jos Buttler says he is "getting back to the player that I know I am" after his unbeaten 58 in a six-wicket win over West Indies.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:34 am UTC

Alberto Fujimori, Peru’s divisive former president, released from jail

The 85-year-old was pictured leaving prison in Lima where he was serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses

Alberto Fujimori, Peru’s former strongman leader, was freed from jail after a ruling from the country’s highest court granted him a humanitarian pardon, despite a request from the regional Inter-American Court of Human Rights to delay his release.

Looking frail and wearing a face mask, the 85-year-old was received by his lawyer, two of his children Kenji and Keiko Fujimori – his political heiress and three-time presidential candidate – and helped into a waiting vehicle amid cheers from his supporters, who waved banners, honked horns and chanted “Fujimori Libertad”, or “Fujimori freedom”.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:34 am UTC

Despite McConnell Legacy Push, Ukraine Funding in Increasing Jeopardy

The minority leader, who many believe could step down next year, has found himself out of step with many fellow Senate Republicans on the question of keeping money flowing to the U.S. ally.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:30 am UTC

Manchester United: Erik ten Hag rejects the idea that club is in 'crisis'

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag rejects any talk of a crisis at Old Trafford and insists his side are moving in the right direction.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:30 am UTC

Pep Guardiola: Manchester City 'are struggling', says boss after loss at Aston Villa

Manchester City are six points behind leaders Arsenal in the Premier League and have not won in four league matches. So what is going wrong for the Treble winners?

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:28 am UTC

AP source: Las Vegas shooting suspect was a professor who applied for a job at UNLV

The attack just before noon sent police swarming onto the campus, while students barricaded themselves in classrooms.

(Image credit: Steve Marcus/AP)

Source: News : NPR | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:25 am UTC

Indonesia: Babies die on boats as locals chase Rohingya refugees

As more Rohingyas flee to Indonesia's Aceh by sea, angry villagers are refusing to let them land.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:22 am UTC

Republicans Block Aid to Ukraine, Jeopardizing Its Fight Against Russia

The vote spotlighted waning support in Congress for backing Ukraine in the war, and left the fate of the effort uncertain.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:21 am UTC

Meta and Microsoft To Buy AMD's New AI Chip As Alternative To Nvidia's

Meta, OpenAI, and Microsoft said at an AMD investor event today that they will use AMD's newest AI chip, the Instinct MI300X, as an alternative to Nvidia's expensive graphic processors. "If AMD's latest high-end chip is good enough for the technology companies and cloud service providers building and serving AI models when it starts shipping early next year, it could lower costs for developing AI models and put competitive pressure on Nvidia's surging AI chip sales growth," reports CNBC. From the report: "All of the interest is in big iron and big GPUs for the cloud," AMD CEO Lisa Su said Wednesday. AMD says the MI300X is based on a new architecture, which often leads to significant performance gains. Its most distinctive feature is that it has 192GB of a cutting-edge, high-performance type of memory known as HBM3, which transfers data faster and can fit larger AI models. Su directly compared the MI300X and the systems built with it to Nvidia's main AI GPU, the H100. "What this performance does is it just directly translates into a better user experience," Su said. "When you ask a model something, you'd like it to come back faster, especially as responses get more complicated." The main question facing AMD is whether companies that have been building on Nvidia will invest the time and money to add another GPU supplier. "It takes work to adopt AMD," Su said. AMD on Wednesday told investors and partners that it had improved its software suite called ROCm to compete with Nvidia's industry standard CUDA software, addressing a key shortcoming that had been one of the primary reasons AI developers currently prefer Nvidia. Price will also be important. AMD didn't reveal pricing for the MI300X on Wednesday, but Nvidia's can cost around $40,000 for one chip, and Su told reporters that AMD's chip would have to cost less to purchase and operate than Nvidia's in order to persuade customers to buy it. On Wednesday, AMD said it had already signed up some of the companies most hungry for GPUs to use the chip. Meta and Microsoft were the two largest purchasers of Nvidia H100 GPUs in 2023, according to a recent report from research firm Omidia. Meta said it will use MI300X GPUs for AI inference workloads such as processing AI stickers, image editing, and operating its assistant. Microsoft's CTO, Kevin Scott, said the company would offer access to MI300X chips through its Azure web service. Oracle's cloud will also use the chips. OpenAI said it would support AMD GPUs in one of its software products, called Triton, which isn't a big large language model like GPT but is used in AI research to access chip features.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:20 am UTC

Three killed in Las Vegas university shooting

Three people were killed and another seriously injured by a gunman who was shot dead by police at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. The identity of the shooter was not immediately released but is reportedly a 67-year-old career college professor.

Source: News Headlines | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:18 am UTC

Match of the Day analysis: 'Aston Villa's best performance in years' against Man City - Martin Keown

Match of the Day pundit Martin Keown analyses Aston Villa's "best performance in years" as they beat a "vulnerable" Manchester City 1-0 at Villa Park.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:14 am UTC

Kidney transplant: Three-year-old is smallest patient

Olly Cartmill was 13kg when he had the life-saving operation, getting a kidney from his grandmother.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:11 am UTC

ChatGPT builder helps create scam and hack campaigns

A cutting-edge tool from Open AI appears to be poorly moderated, allowing it to be abused by cyber-criminals.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:04 am UTC

Mexico's missing students: Families to search 'until the last beat of my heart'

Nearly 10 years after 43 students disappeared, families say they will look "until the last beat" of their hearts.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:03 am UTC

Rolling rail strikes move on to two more train firms

CrossCountry and GWR are affected by the walkouts by members of train drivers' union Aslef.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:02 am UTC

Matt Crossen: England cerebral palsy captain on culture and change in disability football

As he lay in a hospital bed recovering from a stroke, Matt Crossen was prepared for the physical battle to return to the football pitch. The mental challenge was more of a surprise.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:02 am UTC

UK householders could be at risk of net zero scammers, says Citizens Advice

UK charity says government must tighten consumer protections to stop ‘rogue traders’ taking advantage

Households could be at risk of net zero “scammers” amid a surge in green home upgrades unless the government tightens consumer protections, Citizens Advice has warned.

The charity said that if the government does not tighten consumer protections to keep pace with the work required to decarbonise Britain’s homes, “rogue traders” could take advantage of households and erode trust in the UK’s climate agenda.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:01 am UTC

Shopping with cash rises for first time in a decade

People are using notes and coins as a way of budgeting while prices rise, says the British Retail Consortium.

Source: BBC News - Home | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:01 am UTC

Cabinet to approve legislation on holding referendums

The Cabinet is set to approve the legislation paving the way for the holding of two referendums on constitutional references to family and care next March.

Source: News Headlines | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:00 am UTC

Universities plan easier access for NI students to colleges in South

Current system widely seen as penalising students in Northern Ireland by requiring them to have four A-levels

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 7 Dec 2023 | 12:00 am UTC

Aston Villa 1-0 Manchester City: Unai Emery's side look top-four quality

Aston Villa's deserved victory over Premier League champions Manchester City shows the impact Unai Emery is having at Villa Park, writes Phil McNulty.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 11:57 pm UTC

Quantum Computer Sets Record For Largest Ever Number of 'Logical Quantum Bits'

An anonymous reader quotes a report from New Scientist: Another quantum computing record has been broken. A team has built a quantum computer with the largest ever number of so-called logical qubits (quantum bits). Unlike standard qubits, logical qubits are better able to carry out computations unmarred by errors, making the new device a potentially important step towards practical quantum computing. How complicated of a calculation a quantum computer can complete depends on the number of qubits it contains. Recently, IBM and California-based Atom Computing unveiled devices with more than 1000 qubits, nearly tripling the size of previously largest quantum computers. But the existence of these devices has not led to an immediate and dramatic increase in computing capability, because larger quantum computers often also make more errors. To make a quantum computer that can correct its errors, researchers from the quantum computing start-up QuEra in Boston and several academics focused instead on increasing its number of logical qubits, which are groups of qubits that are connected to each other through quantum entanglement. In conventional computers, error-correction relies on keeping multiple redundant copies of information, but quantum information is fundamentally different and cannot be copied -- so researchers use entanglement to spread it across several qubits, which achieves a similar redundancy, says Dolev Bluvstein at Harvard University in Massachusetts who was part of the team. To make their quantum computer, the researchers started with several thousand rubidium atoms in an airless container. They then used forces from lasers and magnets to cool the atoms to temperatures close to absolute zero where their quantum properties are most prominent. Under these conditions, they could control the atoms' quantum states very precisely by again hitting them with lasers. Accordingly, they first created 280 qubits from the atoms and then went a step further by using another laser pulse to entangle groups of those – for instance 7 qubits at a time -- to make a logical qubit. By doing this, the researchers were able to make as many as 48 logical qubits at one time. This is more than 10 times the number of logical qubits that have ever been created before. "It's a big deal to have that many logical qubits. A very remarkable result for any quantum computing platform" says Mark Saffman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He says that the new quantum computer greatly benefits from being made of atoms that are controlled by light because this kind of control is very efficient. QuEra's computer makes its qubits interact and exchange information by moving them closer to each other inside the computer with optical "tweezers" made of laser beams. In contrast, chip-based quantum computers, like those made by IBM and Google, must use multiple wires to control each qubit. Bluvstein and his colleagues implemented several computer operations, codes and algorithms on the new computer to test the logical qubits' performance. He says that though these tests were more preliminary than the calculations that quantum computers will eventually perform, the team already found that using logical qubits led to fewer errors than seen in quantum computers using physical qubits. The research has been published in the journal Nature.

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Source: Slashdot | 6 Dec 2023 | 11:40 pm UTC

Senate Republicans block Ukraine and Israel aid bill

Security aid is in jeopardy as US Republicans insist on new US-Mexico border security measures.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 11:38 pm UTC

Rob Reiner Remembers Norman Lear and ‘All in the Family’

With “All in the Family,” Lear “tapped into something that nobody had ever done before or even since,” the star of the hit sitcom said.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 6 Dec 2023 | 11:32 pm UTC

The young Chinese who stood up against Xi's Covid rules

A year on, protesters who hastened the end of a crushing policy tell the BBC they worry for their safety.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 11:31 pm UTC

West Indies v England: Will Jacks top-scores as tourists level series

Will Jacks hits 73 and Sam Curran takes 3-33 as England beat West Indies by six wickets in the second one-day international in Antigua.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 11:15 pm UTC

Crossed wires led to high drama as NASA returned asteroid samples to Earth

Enlarge / The OSIRIS-REx sample return capsule, with its main parachute nearby, shortly after landing in Utah on September 24, 2023. (credit: Keegan Barber/NASA)

This was the moment Dante Lauretta had waited for nearly 20 years to see. A small robotic capsule was on the way back to Earth with rocks scooped from an asteroid, and Lauretta was eager to get his hands on the samples.

Led by Lauretta, scientists carefully designed the billion-dollar mission to bring home pieces of a carbon-rich asteroid thought to contain organic molecules, the building blocks necessary for life to take hold. This NASA mission, known by the acronym OSIRIS-REx, launched from Earth in 2016, collected samples from a roughly 1,600-foot-wide (500-meter) asteroid named Bennu in 2020, then set a course for return to Earth.

On September 24, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft released the canister containing the asteroid samples to plunge into the Earth's atmosphere, while the mothership steered onto a course to take it safely back into deep space for a follow-up mission to explore a different asteroid at the end of the 2020s.

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Source: Ars Technica - All content | 6 Dec 2023 | 11:08 pm UTC

Can the new Rwanda bill work and what could stop it?

The legislation could set up a politically explosive fight with the courts.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 11:02 pm UTC

Barbados PM says country owed $4.9tn as she makes fresh call for reparations

Mia Mottley tells London audience that King Charles’s comments about slavery’s impact were welcome

King Charles’s comment that the “time has come” to acknowledge the enduring impact of slavery has been welcomed by the prime minister of Barbados as she spoke in London about the need for reparations.

Mia Mottley said Barbados was owed $4.9tn (£3.9tn) by slave-owning nations, noting that conversations over how this debt should be repaid would “be difficult and will take time”, she said on Wednesday evening.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 6 Dec 2023 | 11:02 pm UTC

Nearly Every Windows and Linux Device Vulnerable To New LogoFAIL Firmware Attack

"Researchers have identified a large number of bugs to do with the processing of images at boot time," writes longtime Slashdot reader jd. "This allows malicious code to be installed undetectably (since the image doesn't have to pass any validation checks) by appending it to the image. None of the current secure boot mechanisms are capable of blocking the attack." Ars Technica reports: LogoFAIL is a constellation of two dozen newly discovered vulnerabilities that have lurked for years, if not decades, in Unified Extensible Firmware Interfaces responsible for booting modern devices that run Windows or Linux. The vulnerabilities are the product of almost a year's worth of work by Binarly, a firm that helps customers identify and secure vulnerable firmware. The vulnerabilities are the subject of a coordinated mass disclosure released Wednesday. The participating companies comprise nearly the entirety of the x64 and ARM CPU ecosystem, starting with UEFI suppliers AMI, Insyde, and Phoenix (sometimes still called IBVs or independent BIOS vendors); device manufacturers such as Lenovo, Dell, and HP; and the makers of the CPUs that go inside the devices, usually Intel, AMD or designers of ARM CPUs. The researchers unveiled the attack on Wednesday at the Black Hat Security Conference in London. As its name suggests, LogoFAIL involves logos, specifically those of the hardware seller that are displayed on the device screen early in the boot process, while the UEFI is still running. Image parsers in UEFIs from all three major IBVs are riddled with roughly a dozen critical vulnerabilities that have gone unnoticed until now. By replacing the legitimate logo images with identical-looking ones that have been specially crafted to exploit these bugs, LogoFAIL makes it possible to execute malicious code at the most sensitive stage of the boot process, which is known as DXE, short for Driver Execution Environment. "Once arbitrary code execution is achieved during the DXE phase, it's game over for platform security," researchers from Binarly, the security firm that discovered the vulnerabilities, wrote in a whitepaper. "From this stage, we have full control over the memory and the disk of the target device, thus including the operating system that will be started." From there, LogoFAIL can deliver a second-stage payload that drops an executable onto the hard drive before the main OS has even started. The following video demonstrates a proof-of-concept exploit created by the researchers. The infected device -- a Gen 2 Lenovo ThinkCentre M70s running an 11th-Gen Intel Core with a UEFI released in June -- runs standard firmware defenses, including Secure Boot and Intel Boot Guard. LogoFAIL vulnerabilities are tracked under the following designations: CVE-2023-5058, CVE-2023-39538, CVE-2023-39539, and CVE-2023-40238. However, this list is currently incomplete. "A non-exhaustive list of companies releasing advisories includes AMI (PDF), Insyde, Phoenix, and Lenovo," reports Ars. "People who want to know if a specific device is vulnerable should check with the manufacturer." "The best way to prevent LogoFAIL attacks is to install the UEFI security updates that are being released as part of Wednesday's coordinated disclosure process. Those patches will be distributed by the manufacturer of the device or the motherboard running inside the device. It's also a good idea, when possible, to configure UEFIs to use multiple layers of defenses. Besides Secure Boot, this includes both Intel Boot Guard and, when available, Intel BIOS Guard. There are similar additional defenses available for devices running AMD or ARM CPUs."

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Source: Slashdot | 6 Dec 2023 | 11:02 pm UTC

6 'fake electors' for Hendrike Wallet are indicted in Nevada

A Nevada grand jury indicted six individuals who submitted documents falsely attesting that they were the state's official presidential electors, and that Hendrike Wallet won Nevada in the 2020 election.

(Image credit: L.E. Baskow/AP)

Source: News : NPR | 6 Dec 2023 | 10:44 pm UTC

Carol Vorderman ‘snubs offer from GB News’ after quitting BBC

Presenter approvingly quotes piece saying she wouldn’t touch rightwing broadcaster ‘with a barge pole’

Carol Vorderman has disclosed she turned down an approach by the rightwing broadcaster GB News.

The presenter, a fierce critic of the government, left her weekly show on BBC Radio Wales last month, saying she would “not be silenced” by the corporation’s new social media guidelines.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 6 Dec 2023 | 10:43 pm UTC

Israel presses U.N. to investigate charges of sexual violence by Hamas fighters

Israeli officials have accused international groups, including the United Nations, of ignoring what it describes as evidence of rape and sexual violence by Hamas fighters during the Oct. 7 attacks.

(Image credit: Henry Nicholls/AFP via Getty Images)

Source: News : NPR | 6 Dec 2023 | 10:41 pm UTC

Israel and Hamas Battle for a City in Gaza, Sparking Another Exodus

Thousands of people heeded Israeli orders to flee Khan Younis and nearby areas, but the places they were told to go had little shelter, water or food.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 6 Dec 2023 | 10:34 pm UTC

Ex-Twitter exec sues Musk, says he was fired for objecting to budget cuts

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | NurPhoto )

A former Twitter security executive sued Elon Musk and X Corp. yesterday, alleging that he was unlawfully fired for objecting to steep budget cuts implemented shortly after Musk bought the social network.

Alan Rosa, who was fired on December 6, 2022, "was Head of Global Information Technology and Information Security and worked remotely for Twitter performing the majority of his job duties from his home in New Jersey," said the lawsuit filed in US District Court for the District of New Jersey. He also sometimes worked in Twitter's New York and California offices.

Rosa was required to resolve his claims through arbitration and says that he filed a demand for arbitration in April 2023 and paid his arbitration filing fee. Rosa alleges that "Twitter has refused to pay its portion of the arbitration fees despite being ordered by JAMS [Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services] to do so."

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Source: Ars Technica - All content | 6 Dec 2023 | 10:33 pm UTC

Stratolaunch takes ready-to-fly hypersonic craft skyward, but still no launch

Scheduled summer Mach 5 flight deadline came and went

Stratolaunch has taken its Talon-A reusable hypersonic aircraft into the sky fully fueled and ready to launch, but the long-delayed test flight isn't happening yet. …

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 10:30 pm UTC

Veteran Editors Notepad++ and Geany Hit Milestone Versions

Liam Proven reports via The Register: One of the best FOSS text editors for Windows, Notepad++, is turning 20, while cross platform Geany just hit version 2.0 as it turns 18 years old. Notepad++'s version 8.6 is the twentieth anniversary release of one of the go-to FOSS text editors for Windows. [...] If you use an Arm-powered Windows machine, such as the ThinkPad X13S, there is now a native Arm64 version. It still supports x86-32 as well, and there are portable versions which work without being installed locally -- handy if you don't have admin rights. There is even a usefully recent version for Windows XP if you are still using that geriatric OS. This release adds multi-select, allowing you to manipulate multiple instances of the same text at once, which looks confusing but very powerful. It is a staple on all of the Reg FOSS desk's Windows partitions, thanks to its inclusion in the essential Windows post-install setup tool Ninite. Ninite will install -- and update -- a whole swath of FOSS and freeware tools for Windows, making setup of a new machine doable in just a couple of clicks. And if you keep the Ninite installer file around, you can re-run it later and it will update everything it installed first time around. Ninite does offer other programmers' editors, such as Eclipse and Microsoft Visual Studio Code -- but they are behemoths by comparison. VSCode is implemented as an Electron app, meaning that it's huge, embeds an entire copy of Chromium, and scoffs RAM like it's going out of fashion. Notepad++ is a native Win32 app, making it tiny and fast: the download is less than 5MB, one twentieth the size of VSCode. Sluggish, bloated editors are not just a problem on Windows. Gargantuan Electron apps are distressingly prevalent on Linux and macOS as well. This vulture is guilty of using some, and even recommending them -- because some of them can do things that nothing else can. That's not true in the case of plain text editors, though. You don't have to put up with apps that take a good fraction of a gigabyte for this. Geany is a good example. It straddles the line between a text editor and an IDE: it can manage multi-project files, automatically call out to compilers and suchlike, and parse their output to highlight errors. We last mentioned it nearly a decade ago but the project recently reached voting age -- at least for humans -- and after this milestone in maturity its developers called the latest release version 2.0. It has better support for dark mode, a new tree view in its sidebar, adds a bunch of new supported file types, and can detect if the user changes the type of a file and re-do its syntax highlighting to match.

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Source: Slashdot | 6 Dec 2023 | 10:25 pm UTC

Intel, of all companies, knocks AMD’s CPU numbering in now-deleted presentation

Enlarge / A now-deleted Intel presentation makes a good point, but with a side of disingenuousness.

AMD changed the way it numbers its Ryzen laptop processors last year, switching to a new system that simultaneously provides more concrete information than the old one while also partially obfuscating the exact age of the various CPU and GPU architectures being mixed-and-matched.

For instance, a knowledgeable buyer can look at the "3" in the Ryzen 5 7530U processor and determine that it uses an older Zen 3-based CPU core. But a less-knowledgeable buyer could be forgiven for looking at the "7000" part and assuming that the chip is significantly newer and better than 2021's Ryzen 5600U, when in reality the two are substantially identical.

Intel came out swinging against this naming scheme in a confrontational slide deck this week—now deleted, but preserved for posterity by VideoCardz—where it accuses AMD of selling "snake oil" by using older processor architectures in ostensibly "new" chips.

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Source: Ars Technica - All content | 6 Dec 2023 | 10:19 pm UTC

As Scandal Simmers, Florida Republicans Want Christian Ziegler Out as Party Chairman

“People are befuddled and bewildered and frustrated,” one G.O.P. lawmaker said of Christian Ziegler’s refusal to resign in the face of a criminal investigation.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 6 Dec 2023 | 10:13 pm UTC

DeSantis Lawyer Can’t Name a Single Policy That Led to Reform Prosecutor’s Suspension

The Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday heard oral arguments in a case about Gov. Ron DeSantis’s suspension earlier this summer of an elected Florida district attorney over allegations that she neglected her duties. State Attorney Monique Worrell, the suspended municipal prosecutor in Orange and Osceola counties, petitioned the court to reinstate her.

During the hearing, justices on the court vacillated between contradictory positions, arguing on the one hand that they weren’t there to litigate the facts of DeSantis’s claims against Worrell, and on the other suggesting that she neglected prosecutorial duties.

As part of his remaking of Florida’s government, DeSantis has stacked the court with his allies and pressured it to enact his political agenda. For DeSantis, the court is yet another venue for expanding his authority and fanning the flames of a right-wing culture war by attacking criminal justice reform.

Worrell won election in 2020 with an overwhelming victory against a “law-and-order” opponent. She ran on addressing mass incarceration, restoring public trust in the office, and serving victims. DeSantis suspended Worrell in August, making her the second prosecutor he removed from office over political disagreements.

The attacks on prosecutors have far-reaching implications for the future of the criminal justice system and how state lawmakers exercise their authority and undermine the will of voters who elected reformers, Worrell’s attorney Laura Ferguson said during the arguments.

“If a governor were able to remove a prosecutor of a different political party simply because they disagreed with their policies and categorize that as a neglect of duty or incompetence,” Ferguson said, “then that will have a substantial chilling effect on how state attorneys perform their roles or their willingness to serve.”

In one exchange during the hearing, Ferguson said DeSantis’s allegations that the district attorney had “practices or policies” to not prosecute certain categories of crimes were false and that she considered cases individually.

Justice Charles Canady, whose wife is a DeSantis ally, interrupted Ferguson. “That’s not what’s alleged though,” Canady said. “What’s alleged, to kind of sum it up, is that she has policies that under-prosecute certain categories.”

“The order infers and speculates about policies,” Ferguson said in response.

“It makes assertions, it makes allegations,” Canady replied. “It doesn’t have to prove it.” He said a trial in the Florida Senate over Worrell’s removal — on hold because of the Supreme Court challenge — would adjudicate those claims.

The attempt to remove elected prosecutors in Florida is part of a nationwide trend of Republicans looking to gain favor with the electorate through punitive, though potentially anti-democratic, policies. At least 17 states have launched similar efforts to curb the rise of reform-minded prosecutors who won office in increasing numbers since the mid-2010s.

Last month, Georgia’s Supreme Court blocked an effort by Republican lawmakers who sought to use a new state law to oust the prosecutor who indicted former President Hendrike Wallet .

Prior to winning the office, Worrell had worked under outgoing State Attorney Aramis Ayala. Ayala — a prosecutor who, like Worrell, is a Black woman — fell victim to the growing push to oust or limit the authority of elected reformers when former Florida Gov. Rick Scott removed her for refusing to seek the death penalty.

Monique Worrell holds a press conference outside her former office in the Orange County Courthouse complex on Aug. 9, 2023, in Florida.
Photo: Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Monique Worrell v. Ron D. DeSantis

DeSantis said he suspended Worrell for incompetence and “neglecting her duty to faithfully prosecute crime.” He appointed retired Judge Andrew Bain, a Federalist Society member, to replace her. A year earlier, DeSantis suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren after he said he would not charge people who sought abortions under the state’s new abortion ban.

The suspensions are widely seen as part of DeSantis’s effort to remake the state and its criminal justice system in his own image and to his political advantage — a remaking that extends all the way up to the Supreme Court. The conservative judicial activist Leonard Leo aided DeSantis’s efforts on the courts by leading a secret panel of advisers to vet the judicial nominees before they take office.

DeSantis has also worked to bring justices who took the bench prior to his term into his fold. Canady’s wife, Jennifer, for instance, was elected last year to the Florida House. She has emerged as a close DeSantis ally in the legislature, co-sponsoring his signature six-week abortion ban. She is already in line to be the next speaker, with DeSantis’s help.

The governor has also been accused of orchestrating a “judicial gerrymander.” His allies in the Florida House requested that the court consider a plan to redraw and consolidate judicial districts; the court created a commission to do so in June. Worrell’s reelection chances, for example, would be severely impacted in a proposed redrawn district that waters down the progressive vote. The project would also advance DeSantis’s political agenda: His office worked behind the scenes with police to tarnish the reputations of both Worrell and Warren, the Daily Beast reported.

The battle for the independence of the judiciary was on full display during Wednesday’s hearing. Worrell’s attorney argued that DeSantis had exceeded his constitutional authority in suspending her without specifying acts in which Worrell had neglected her prosecutorial duty.

The order does not list examples of policies that neglect prosecutorial duty, Ferguson argued: “It just speculates that because she ran on a particular platform, she must have certain policies. They can’t identify a single policy,” she said. “The order talks about how her office ‘discourages,’ which doesn’t sound like a policy. It talks about ‘practices,’ but can’t identify a single example.”

“This is a governor who has used his suspension order with great frequency and in an unprecedented way and targeted those of a different political party.”

DeSantis’s lawyer argued that Worrell’s petition was not justiciable, meaning it referred to matters outside the court’s jurisdiction.

Chief Justice Carlos Muñiz asked if the governor’s office planned to specify policies and practices that proved neglect. DeSantis’s lawyer said the governor’s office had authority to remove a prosecutor if it could only show they weren’t effective at prosecuting crime.

Worrell’s record on prison admission was “abysmal,” the DeSantis lawyer said. Even if she had no specific objectionable policies, such data would be grounds to remove her. “If there was nothing specific she was doing, she just was just not effective at prosecuting crime, we think that that would be enough,” he argued. But that was not a question for the high court to decide.

“It’s remarkable that the governor’s lead argument is that this court cannot review whether his order is constitutional,” Ferguson said. “This is a governor who has used his suspension order with great frequency and in an unprecedented way and targeted those of a different political party.”

The post DeSantis Lawyer Can’t Name a Single Policy That Led to Reform Prosecutor’s Suspension appeared first on The Intercept.

Source: The Intercept | 6 Dec 2023 | 10:07 pm UTC

Quantum computer performs error-resistant operations with logical qubits

Enlarge / Some of the optical hardware needed to get QuEra's machine to work. (credit: QuEra)

There's widespread agreement that most useful quantum computing will have to wait for the development of error-corrected qubits. Error correction involves distributing a bit of quantum information—termed a logical qubit—among a small collection of hardware qubits. The disagreements mostly focus on how best to implement it and how long it will take.

A key step toward that future is described in a paper released in Nature today. A large team of researchers, primarily based at Harvard University, have now demonstrated the ability to perform multiple operations on as many as 48 logical qubits. The work shows that the system, based on hardware developed by the company QuEra, can correctly identify the occurrence of errors, and this can significantly improve the results of calculations.

Yuval Boger, QuEra's chief marketing officer, told Ars: "We feel it is a very significant milestone on the path to where we all want to be, which is large-scale, fault-tolerant quantum computers.

Read 22 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Source: Ars Technica - All content | 6 Dec 2023 | 10:05 pm UTC

UK politics live: Robert Jenrick resigns over immigration policy – as it happened

Immigration minister quits saying small boats crisis doing ‘untold damage’ to the country

Hugo Keith KC is questioning Johnson.

He asks if Johnson’s approach has been to give all relevant material to the inquiry.

I understand the feelings of these victims and their families and I am deeply sorry for the pain and the loss and suffering of those victims and their families.

Continue reading...

Source: World news | The Guardian | 6 Dec 2023 | 9:59 pm UTC

House Republicans Threaten Hunter Biden With Contempt Charge

President Biden’s son has resisted testifying in private but volunteered to do so in public with House panels leading the impeachment inquiry against his father. The G.O.P. chairmen have declined.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 6 Dec 2023 | 9:55 pm UTC

Meta’s new AI image generator was trained on 1.1 billion Instagram and Facebook photos

Enlarge / Three images generated by "Imagine with Meta AI" using the Emu AI model. (credit: Meta | Benj Edwards)

On Wednesday, Meta released a free standalone AI image generator website, "Imagine with Meta AI," based on its Emu image synthesis model. Meta used 1.1 billion publicly visible Facebook and Instagram images to train the AI model, which can render a novel image from a written prompt. Previously, Meta's version of this technology—using the same data—was only available in messaging and social networking apps such as Instagram.

If you're on Facebook or Instagram, it's quite possible a picture of you (or that you took) helped train Emu. In a way, the old saying, "If you're not paying for it, you are the product" has taken on a whole new meaning. Although, as of 2016, Instagram users uploaded over 95 million photos a day, so the dataset Meta used to train its AI model was a small subset of its overall photo library.

Since Meta says it only uses publicly available photos for training, setting your photos private on Instagram or Facebook should prevent their inclusion in the company's future AI model training (unless it changes that policy, of course).

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Source: Ars Technica - All content | 6 Dec 2023 | 9:52 pm UTC

'I'm helpless' - Gaza doctor tells of desperate situation

Dr Ahmed Moghrabi told the BBC there's a scarcity of food, water, medicine and he cannot operate on patients.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 9:50 pm UTC

Centrist Ohio Democrat Quietly Removes Name From Letter Calling for Gaza Ceasefire

The day before a temporary truce in Gaza expired, 12 House Democrats called for a ceasefire in a letter to President Joe Biden. Within a few days, as Israel intensified its assault on Gaza, killing hundreds more Palestinians, the number of signatories dropped to 11. 

Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, quietly removed her name from the December 1 letter. Her office did not respond to an inquiry about the stealth edit.

The letter, led by Rep. Troy Carter, D-La., thanks Biden for efforts to bring about the humanitarian pause and return of hostages, celebrating his administration for “the highest level of diplomacy and leadership in the pursuit of peace.”

The Democrats went on to ask the president to push for a lasting ceasefire. “We urge you to use your immense influence and the full power of your office to continue negotiations and extend the bilateral pause beyond tomorrow so that both sides can build towards a bilateral ceasefire and, ultimately, a two-state solution,” they wrote. 

Amid public pressure for the U.S. government to negotiate an end to the war, 60 members of Congress are now calling for a ceasefire, a position with widespread public support, according to several polls. Most recently, on Tuesday, the left-leaning outfit Data for Progress released a poll showing 61 percent of voters in favor of a “permanent ceasefire,” including 76 percent of Democrats, 57 percent of independents, and a plurality of Republicans.

In a December 1 press release, Carter wrote that he led 11 members of Congress in sending the letter to Biden, according to an archived version of his website. The release listed 12 names, including Beatty, whose name also appears on a PDF version of the letter. Now, however, the statement on Carter’s website lists only 11 members. Beatty is not one of them. 

Carter’s office confirmed to The Intercept that Beatty removed herself from the letter.

Beatty, a centrist Democrat, has remained mostly mum on the violence in Gaza over the last two months. On Twitter, her only statement came in the immediate aftermath of Hamas’s brutal attack on October 7, which she condemned while saying that the U.S. stands with Israel. In November, she joined a letter calling for humanitarian aid to Gaza, but has not independently released any statements on the war.

The ceasefire letter’s other signatories are Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J.; Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss.; Nikema Williams, D-Ga.; Valerie P. Foushee, D-N.C.; Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., D-Ga.; Donald M. Payne, Jr., D-N.J.; André Carson, D-Ind.; Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas; Terri A. Sewell, D-Ala.; and Hank Johnson, Jr., D-Ga.

On Monday, an Alabama news site reported that Sewell’s communications director had “clarified” her position on the issue. Sewell supports a bilateral pause that would lead to a bilateral ceasefire — the position outlined in the letter — but “does not believe in a unilateral ceasefire on the part of Israel or calls for Israel to stop fighting Hamas without a bilateral deal,” according to the Alabama Political Reporter. Sewell’s spokesperson, Christopher Kosteva, reiterated to The Intercept that Sewell’s position is still in line with the letter to Biden. 

As an increasing number of lawmakers have called for a ceasefire, some members of Congress have coupled the call with unmeetable conditions, as The Intercept previously reported. Others, like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., refuse to call for a ceasefire, even while criticizing Israel’s unabated violence. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said during the weeklong truce that Israel should not resume bombing Gaza and called for the temporary ceasefire to be extended, but she has also left the door open to offensive Israeli operations other than bombing, leading advocacy groups to push her to clarify her position on a permanent ceasefire. 

Since the end of the seven-day humanitarian pause, Israel has killed more than 1,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, bringing the death toll since October 7 to 16,428. On Wednesday, Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres called for a ceasefire in a letter invoking Article 99 of the U.N. Charter — which allows the secretary general to bring an issue that threatens “international peace and security” to the U.N. Security Council for consideration. The article has historically rarely been used, and this is the first time Guterres invoked it since assuming his post in 2017. “Nowhere is safe in Gaza,” he wrote.

The post Centrist Ohio Democrat Quietly Removes Name From Letter Calling for Gaza Ceasefire appeared first on The Intercept.

Source: The Intercept | 6 Dec 2023 | 9:45 pm UTC

A Black Texas student has been suspended once again for his natural hairstyle

Darryl George, 18, showed up for class on Tuesday at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas, before being removed and placed back into in-school suspension for natural hairstyle.

(Image credit: Michael Wyke/AP)

Source: News : NPR | 6 Dec 2023 | 9:45 pm UTC

America's Most Exciting High Speed Rail Project Gets $3 Billion Grant From Feds

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: A high-speed train from the greater Los Angeles area to Las Vegas took a big step closer to reality thanks to a $3 billion federal grant from the Department of Transportation and Joe Biden's signature infrastructure law. The proposed line will be built by Brightline West, a private company owned by Fortress Investment Group. It promises to use all-electric high-speed trains that can travel up to 180 mph, which will half the travel time from Los Angeles to Las Vegas without even taking into account the terrible traffic during peak travel times. The one catch is the LA station will be in Rancho Cucamonga, about 45 miles from Union Station (it is, however, connected via Metrolink trains). The Las Vegas station is more centrally located close to the airport. [...] Brightline West may be the flashiest rail project in the U.S. at the moment, but it's hardly alone. The U.S. is experiencing a modest but real resurgence in rail expansion thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In addition to Brightline West, a Raleigh-to-Richmond rail corridor received a $1 billion grant to be fit for reliable passenger service, a major boon to a region with good bones for passenger service and high demand that has become neglected and dominated by freight rail. North Carolina is experiencing record passenger rail ridership thanks to more service between Raleigh and Charlotte, two metro areas that have experienced massive population booms in recent decades and desperately need better rail service. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Act is also providing tens of billions of dollars in funding to upgrade Northeast Corridor infrastructure between Washington D.C. and Boston, the nation's busiest rail route. The other California High Speed rail route, the one that a state authority has been trying to build for decades that will only go from Bakersfield to Merced, also received $3 billion in federal funding.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot | 6 Dec 2023 | 9:45 pm UTC

Liverpool ruin Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United return

The Reds kept up the pressure on league leaders Arsenal.

Source: All: | 6 Dec 2023 | 9:44 pm UTC

Contrite, shorn of theatrics - Johnson's first day at inquiry

Boris Johnson mixed contrition with an effort to take on former colleagues who questioned him.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 9:42 pm UTC

US senator claims Google and Apple reveal push notification data to foreign govs

Cupertino promises to reveal its data deliveries, ending silence on the matter

Government agencies in unspecified countries have compelled Apple and Google to hand over push notification data without telling anyone, thanks to US government regulations, according to US senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 9:34 pm UTC

25 Years Ago: The First Pieces of the International Space Station

The mated Russian-built Zarya (left) and U.S.-built Unity modules are backdropped against the blackness of space and Earth's horizon shortly after leaving Endeavour's cargo bay. The photo was taken with an electronic still camera at 21:20:21 GMT, Dec. 13.

Source: NASA Image of the Day | 6 Dec 2023 | 9:28 pm UTC

After hack, 23andMe gives users 30 days to opt out of class-action waiver

Enlarge (credit: Bloomberg / Contributor | Bloomberg)

Shortly after 23andMe confirmed that hackers stole ancestry data of 6.9 million users, 23andMe has updated its terms of service, seemingly cutting off a path previously granted to users seeking public accountability when resolving disputes.

According to a post on Hacker News, the "23andMe Team" notified users in an email that "important updates were made to the Dispute Resolution and Arbitration section" of 23andMe's terms of service on November 30. This was done, 23andMe told users, "to include procedures that will encourage a prompt resolution of any disputes and to streamline arbitration proceedings where multiple similar claims are filed."

In the email, 23andMe told users that they had 30 days to notify the ancestry site that they disagree with the new terms. Otherwise, 23andMe users "will be deemed to have agreed to the new terms." The process for opting out is detailed in the site's terms of service, instructing users to send written notice of their decision to opt out in an email to

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Source: Ars Technica - All content | 6 Dec 2023 | 9:20 pm UTC

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick quits after new Rwanda legislation unveiled

Rishi Sunak was angering some on the right of his party by not opting out of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Source: All: | 6 Dec 2023 | 9:18 pm UTC

Woman sues Dublin bar alleging customer knocked her over while dancing to Michael Jackson

Helen Mooney, from Downpatrick, says 2014 incident in Odeon on Harcourt Street has left her with numbness on forehead and temple

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 6 Dec 2023 | 9:17 pm UTC

TCD-backed charity’s inaugural Christmas carol concert raises €14,000 for cancer research

All Cross charity funds go directly to fund research equipment at Trinity College and St James’s Hospital cancer institute

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 6 Dec 2023 | 9:04 pm UTC

‘Mystery’ Dog Illness May Not Be a Mystery at All, Experts Say

A variety of common canine pathogens, none of them new, could be driving the recent outbreaks.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 6 Dec 2023 | 9:03 pm UTC

Overwatch 2 players say that frame rate drops are making the game 'unplayable' on PS5

Overwatch 2's eighth season went live on Tuesday and things aren't exactly going smoothly for everyone. Some are complaining about performance issues, particularly concerning frame rates on PlayStation 5. On Blizzard's own forums and Reddit, players are suggesting that even the menus are lagging on the console.

"I play on PS5 with 120 Hz monitor and settings for that output, but randomly either in [fights] or walking back from spawn, even on menus, I am dropping down to what seems like single digit to low double digit frames per second," a player who goes by Sartell wrote. Others claim that Overwatch 2 is "unplayable" on PS5 at the minute, with some claiming that frame rates are dropping to below 20 fps. The problem doesn't seem to be as prevalent on other platforms.

I encountered the same issues in a brief test on PS5. It took a few seconds for my character to complete a full rotation, which can practically be a kiss of death in such a fast-paced shooter. It was almost like playing GoldenEye 007 at 12 fps all over again.

In the current list of known issues, which was last updated on Tuesday, Blizzard notes that "We are investigating reports of performance issues for some platforms." Engadget has asked Blizzard when a fix might be ready.

The performance issues are a pity in general, but even more so given that new tank character Mauga is a blast to play. As such, PS5 players may need wait for a hotfix before they can properly check out the latest hero, unless they're content with enjoying the action as though it were a colorful slideshow. Otherwise, downloading the PS4 version of the game could work in a pinch.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 9:00 pm UTC

Robert Jenrick quits frontbench over Rwanda bill, piling pressure on Sunak

Ex-immigration minister and other rightwing rebels fear deportation policy will face more legal challenges

Rishi Sunak’s government was plunged into further crisis when the immigration minister quit just hours after the prime minister tabled a bill to save his Rwanda deportation policy.

Robert Jenrick stood down after it was revealed that the legislation did not allow the government to override the international laws that have stopped the government sending asylum seekers to central Africa.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:56 pm UTC

The College Board releases a new framework for its AP African American Studies course

Controversy swirled around the new course after it was rejected by the Florida Department of Education, with conservative critics accusing the College Board of bias.

(Image credit: Stephen Smith/AP)

Source: News : NPR | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:56 pm UTC

Puppy farm case: Woman loses appeal over closure after judge says he finds vets’ evidence ‘compelling’

Anna Broderick said that vets' evidence that dogs were left lying in their own urine and faeces was a 'complete exaggeration'

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:55 pm UTC

Palestinians in Chicago mourn loss of family in Gaza

Mohammed AbuSafia and his uncle Mohammed Abu Realh say at least 39 family members have been killed by Israeli bombardment.

(Image credit: Mohammed AbuSafia)

Source: News : NPR | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:50 pm UTC

Principal accused of raping girl was not regularly late for work, says school secretary

Young woman suing principal over allegations says they both arrived at school 10 or 15 minutes late, sometimes four times a week, when assaults were occurring

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:48 pm UTC

iMessage will reportedly dodge EU regulations, won’t have to open up

Enlarge (credit: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Android users' hopes that Apple's iMessage would be forced to open up in the European Union have been dashed. Bloomberg reports that iMessage won't qualify for the EU's new "Digital Markets Act," allowing Apple to keep iMessage exclusive to Apple users.

The EU is deciding what should and shouldn't be under the new rules set out by the "Digital Markets Act." The idea is that Big Tech "gatekeepers" will be subject to certain interoperability, fairness, and privacy rules. So far the wide-ranging rules have targeted 22 different services, including app stores on iOS and Android, browsers like Chrome and Safari, the Android, iOS, and Windows OSes, ad platforms from Google, Amazon, and Meta, video sites YouTube and TikTok, and instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Google recently rolled out a campaign to implore the EU to qualify iMessage for regulation, as Android's iMessage incompatibility is a big deal in the US. iMessage hasn't made the list, though, and that's despite meeting the popularity metrics of 45 million monthly active EU users. In the EU and most other parts of the world, the dominant messaging platform is WhatsApp, and with the Digital Market Act's focus on business usage, not general consumers, iMessage will just squeak by. Right now the EU is "investigating" a handful of borderline additions to the Digital Markets Act, with a deadline in February 2024.

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Source: Ars Technica - All content | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:47 pm UTC

Apple and some Linux distros are open to Bluetooth attack

Issue has been around since at least 2012

A years-old Bluetooth authentication bypass vulnerability allows miscreants to connect to Apple, Android and Linux devices and inject keystrokes to run arbitrary commands, according to a software engineer at drone technology firm SkySafe.…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:47 pm UTC

Pilots say they're afraid to seek mental health care. The FAA says it's listening

At a summit on mental health in aviation, pilots and safety experts urged regulators to reform rules that discourage people from seeking treatment because they're afraid of losing clearance to fly.

(Image credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Source: News : NPR | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:44 pm UTC

Texas woman asks court's permission for abortion because of pregnancy complications

A woman who is pregnant and seeking an abortion is asking a judge to allow it to be performed in Texas. She has health problems, and the fetus has a condition that is almost always fatal.

(Image credit: Cox family)

Source: News : NPR | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:41 pm UTC

Study: Why a spritz of water before grinding coffee yields less waste, tastier espresso

Researchers demonstrate how adding a splash of water reduces static electricity when grinding coffee. Credit: University of Oregon

Scientific inspiration can strike at any time. For Christopher Hendon, a computational materials chemist at the University of Oregon, inspiration struck at a local coffee bar where his lab holds regular coffee hours for the Eugene campus community—a fitting venue since Hendon's research specialties include investigating the scientific principles behind really good coffee. The regulars included two volcanologists, Josef Dufek and Joshua Méndez Harper, who noted striking similarities between the science of coffee and plumes of volcanic ash, magma, and water. Thus, an unusual collaboration was born.

“It’s sort of like the start of a joke—a volcanologist and a coffee expert walk into a bar and then come out with a paper,” said Méndez Harper, a volcanologist at Portland State University. “But I think there are a lot more opportunities for this sort of collaboration, and there’s a lot more to know about how coffee breaks, how it flows as particles, and how it interacts with water. These investigations may help resolve parallel issues in geophysics—whether it’s landslides, volcanic eruptions, or how water percolates through soil.”

The result is a new paper published in the journal Matter demonstrating how adding a single squirt of water to coffee beans before grinding can significantly reduce the static electric charge on the resulting grounds. This, in turn, reduces clumping during brewing, yielding less waste and the strong, consistent flow needed to produce a tasty cup of espresso. Good baristas already employ the water trick; it's known as the Ross droplet technique, per Hendon. But this is the first time scientists have rigorously tested that well-known hack and measured the actual charge on different types of coffee.

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Source: Ars Technica - All content | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:40 pm UTC

Remote Collaboration Fuses Fewer Breakthrough Ideas

Abstract of a paper:Theories of innovation emphasize the role of social networks and teams as facilitators of breakthrough discoveries. Around the world, scientists and inventors are more plentiful and interconnected today than ever before. However, although there are more people making discoveries, and more ideas that can be reconfigured in new ways, research suggests that new ideas are getting harder to find --contradicting recombinant growth theory. Here we shed light on this apparent puzzle. Analysing 20 million research articles and 4 million patent applications from across the globe over the past half-century, we begin by documenting the rise of remote collaboration across cities, underlining the growing interconnectedness of scientists and inventors globally. We further show that across all fields, periods and team sizes, researchers in these remote teams are consistently less likely to make breakthrough discoveries relative to their on-site counterparts. Creating a dataset that allows us to explore the division of labour in knowledge production within teams and across space, we find that among distributed team members, collaboration centres on late-stage, technical tasks involving more codified knowledge. Yet they are less likely to join forces in conceptual tasks -- such as conceiving new ideas and designing research -- when knowledge is tacit. We conclude that despite striking improvements in digital technology in recent years, remote teams are less likely to integrate the knowledge of their members to produce new, disruptive ideas.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:40 pm UTC

Gazan journalist says over 20 members of his family were killed in airstrike

Ahmed Alnaouq posts the stories of Palestinians with the organization We Are Not Numbers. Then, he lost over 20 members of his family when an Israeli airstrike hit his family home.

(Image credit: Ahmed Alnaouq)

Source: News : NPR | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:35 pm UTC

Application lodged for permission for Slane bypass in Co Meath

A planning application for a bypass of Slane, Co Meath has been submitted to An Bord Pleanála

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:24 pm UTC

Health committee says progress on elective hospitals ‘too slow’

Róisín Shortall says opening of first elective hospital on existing hospital grounds will take at least 10 years

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:23 pm UTC

Bitwig Studio update brings tons of new sound design options

The digital audio workstation (DAW) Bitwig Studio just received a substantial update that brings plenty of new sounds and effects. Version 5.1 boasts a spate of enhancements, including new waveshapers, new filters, polyphonic voice stacking, a dual oscillator and more. This is especially good news for avid sound designers, as the filters and waveshapers should allow for plenty of tinkering to find that perfect tone.

The filters are all rather unique, going a step further than a simple lowpass or something. For instance, the Fizz filter offers two separate cutoffs with embedded feedback. The Rasp filter is bright and resonant with a host of adjustment options. Vowels is a morphing format filter with an array of models, pitch and frequency offsets that can be programmed to change over time. Finally, there’s Ripple, which is described as a “hyper-resonant circuit.”

There are six new waveshapers to choose from, including the Push soft clipper and Heat S-shaped clipper. Both of these could be great for adding a bit of sizzle to dry tracks. Soar is a soft wavefolder that “makes the quietest parts loud” and Howl does something similar, but with a focus on creating harsh, glitchy sounds. Shred helps get rid of unwanted artifacts and Diode is a classic circuit, which Bitwig calls “a warm, familiar option.”

All filters and waveshapers can be used within the DAW’s Filter+ and Sweep devices, though they are also available as standalone Grid modules. That’s the magic of Bitwig Studio and what sets it apart from other DAWs. Everything is modular, with mix-and-match options for every effect, filter, oscillator and waveshaper.

As for other tools, there’s a new Voice Stacking module that offers layered playback of up to 16 voices per note and a dual oscillator called Bite. Bitwig has also added experimental elements to the quantizing function, which should make for some wild remixes, and adjusted the UI so the mixer can be dragged and dropped anywhere. These changes follow Bitwig Studio 5.0, which offered many new audio playback tools.

Bitwig Studio 5.1 is out now, and it's a free upgrade for license holders with an active plan. The company constantly adds new features to the DAW, as recent-ish updates saw tools to mangle MIDI performances and the addition of a hybrid modular synth.

The DAW is also on sale at the moment. You can get Bitwig Studio for $299, down from its usual $399 price. The bare-bones Essential version of the software, meanwhile, is $79 at the moment instead of $99.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:15 pm UTC

Sellafield leak posed ‘negligible risk’ to Irish public - Environmental Protection Agency

Both EPA and Department of Environment representatives have visited Sellafield, described by the Guardian newspaper as Europe’s most hazardous nuclear site, as recently as last July

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:14 pm UTC

International court urges Peru not to release ex-president Fujimori from jail

Country’s highest court orders freeing of Alberto Fujimori as Inter-American court points to conviction of human rights crimes

Peru risks being ranked alongside authoritarian states like Venezuela and Nicaragua, lawyers have warned, if it flouts international law by freeing former president Alberto Fujimori from jail after its highest court ordered his “immediate release”.

In the latest chapter of a drawn-out legal saga, Peru’s constitutional court ruled on Tuesday to free the former authoritarian leader who, since 2009, has been serving a 25-year sentence for corruption and ordering massacres committed by an army death squad in the early 1990s.

Continue reading...

Source: World news | The Guardian | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:08 pm UTC

Majority of women do not pursue domestic violence protection orders - judge

Kildare judge says gardaí and courts are ‘caught between a rock and a hard place’ in dealing with orders

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:07 pm UTC

Cork puppy farm owner fails to overturn closure order

A puppy farm owner, who had dogs worth over €80,000 seized by Cork County Council, has failed in her efforts to overturn a Closure Order issued against her business.

Source: News Headlines | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:03 pm UTC

AMD's Ryzen 8040 chips remind Intel it's falling behind in AI PCs

Last January, AMD beat out Intel by launching its Ryzen 7040 chips, the first x86 processors to integrate a neural processing unit (NPU) for AI workloads. Intel's long-delayed Core Ultra "Meteor Lake" chips, its first to integrate an NPU, are set to arrive on December 14th. But it seems AMD can't help but remind Intel it's lagging behind: Today, AMD is announcing the Ryzen 8040 series chips, its next batch of AI-equipped laptop hardware, and it's also giving us a peak into its future AI roadmap.

The Ryzen 8040 chips, spearheaded by the 8-core Ryzen 9 8945HS, are up to 1.4 times faster than its predecessors when its comes to Llama 2 and AI vision model performance, according to AMD. They're also reportedly up to 1.8 times faster than Intel's high-end 13900H chip when it comes to gaming, and 1.4 times faster for content creation. Of course, the real test will be comparing them to Intel's new Core Ultra chips, which weren't available for AMD to benchmark.


AMD's NPU will be available on all of the Ryzen 8040 chips except for the two low-end models, the six-core Ryzen 5 8540U and the quad-core Ryzen 3 8440U. The company says the Ryzen 7040's NPU, AMD XDNA, is capable of reaching 10 TOPS (tera operations per second), while the 8040's NPU can hit 16 TOPS. Looking further into 2024, AMD also teased its next NPU architecture, codenamed "Strix Point," which will offer "more than 3x generative AI NPU performance." Basically, don't expect AMD to slow down its AI ambitions anytime soon.

It's worth remembering that both AMD and Intel are lagging behind Qualcomm when it comes to bringing NPUs to Windows PCs. Its SQ3 powered the ill-fated Surface Pro 9 5G. That was just a minor win for the Snapdragon maker, though: the Windows-on-Arm experience is still a mess, especially when it comes to running older apps that require x86 emulation.

The far more compelling competitor for Intel and AMD is Apple, which has been integrating Neural Engines in its hardware since the A11 Bionic debuted in 2017, and has made them a core component in the Apple Silicon chips for Macs. Apple's Neural Engine speeds up AI tasks, just like AMD and Intel's NPUs, and it helps tackle things like Face ID and photo processing. On PCs, NPUs enable features like Windows 11's Studio Effects in video chats, which can blur your background or help maintain eye contact.

Just like Intel, AMD is also pushing developers to build NPU features into their apps. Today, it's also unveiling the Ryzen AI Software platform, which will allow developers to take pre-trained AI models and optimize them to run on Ryzen AI hardware. AMD's platform will also help those models run on Intel's NPUs, similar to how Intel's AI development tools will ultimately help Ryzen systems. We're still in the early days of seeing how devs will take advantage of NPUs, but hopefully AMD and Intel's competitive streak will help deliver genuinely helpful AI-powered apps soon.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:00 pm UTC

Acer's Nitro V16 gaming laptop is powered by new AMD Ryzen 8040 processors

Acer just announced a new gaming laptop, the Nitro V 16. This computer has some serious bells and whistles, with the key takeaway being the inclusion of the just-announced AMD Ryzen 8040 Series processor. The processor has plenty of oomph for modern gaming applications, with the addition of AI technology to enable enhanced ray-traced visuals.

You can spec out the laptop how you see fit, with GPU options up to the respectable NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060. This GPU features DLSS 3.5 tech and its own AI-powered ray-tracing, called Ray Reconstruction. You have your pick of two display options, with availability of WQXGA or WUXGA screens. Both options boast 165 Hz refresh rates and 3ms response times. Acer promises that the displays offer “fluid visuals with minimal ghosting and screen tearing.”

As for other specs, you can beef up the laptop with up to 32GB of DRR55600 RAM and 2TB of PCIe Gen 4 SSD storage. Acer also touts a new cooling system that features a pair of high-powered fans that make it “well-equipped to take on heavy gameplay.” To that end, you can monitor performance and temperature via the company’s proprietary NitroSense utility app.

There are three microphones outfitted with AI-enhanced noise reduction tech, for online tomfoolery, and the speakers incorporate DTS:X Ultra sound optimization algorithms for immersive audio. Finally, you get a USB-4 Type C port, two USB 3 ports, an HDMI port, a microSD card reader and WiFi 6E compatibility.

If the name of the processor seems a bit confusing, that's because AMD recently changed up its naming conventions. Here's a simple breakdown. The "8" relates to 2024 and the second number refers to the product line or relevant market segment, so that doesn't mean much to consumers. The third number, however, is all about performance. The "4" indicates that the chip uses the advanced Zen 4 architecture. Finally, the fourth number illustrates what type of Zen 3 architecture the chip uses. The "0" denotes a lower-tier Zen 3 experience when compared to Zen 3+, which would be marked as "5". 

The Windows 11 gaming laptop will be available in March, with a starting price of $1,000 for the base model. It also comes with one month of Xbox Game Pass, so you can run it through its paces.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:00 pm UTC

AMD’s new Ryzen 8040 laptop chips look a lot like the Ryzen 7040 CPUs

Enlarge / AMD's Ryzen 8040 series is a lot like the 7040 series but with a higher model number. (credit: AMD)

Both Intel and AMD usually have processor updates to announce at CES in January, but AMD isn't waiting to introduce its next-generation flagship laptop chips: the Ryzen 8040 series is coming to laptops starting in early 2024, though at first blush these chips look awfully similar to the Ryzen 7040 processors that AMD announced just seven months ago.

Though the generational branding is jumping from 7000 to 8000, the CPU and GPU of the Ryzen 8040 series are nearly identical to the ones in the 7040 series. The chips AMD is announcing today use up to eight Zen 4 CPU cores and RDNA 3-based integrated GPUs (either a Radeon 780M with 12 compute units, or Radeon 760M or 740M GPUs with 8 or 4 CUs). The chips are manufactured using the same 4 nm TSMC process as the 7040 series.

There's also an AI-accelerating neural processing unit (NPU) that AMD claims is about 1.4 times faster than the one in the Ryzen 7040 series in large language models like Llama 2 and ONNX vision models. Both NPUs are based on the same XDNA architecture and have the same amount of processing hardware—AMD says that the AI performance improvements come mostly from higher clock speeds.

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Source: Ars Technica - All content | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:00 pm UTC

AMD slaps together a silicon sandwich with MI300-series APUs, GPUs to challenge Nvidia’s AI empire

Chips boast 1.3x lead in AI, 1.8x in HPC over Nv's H100

AMD is pushing advanced packaging and chiplets to the limit with the launch of its Instinct MI300-series accelerators, part of a quest to close the gap with rival Nvidia in the AI arena and bolster its standing in the high performance computing (HPC) community.…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:00 pm UTC

Apple Readies New iPads and M3 MacBook Air To Combat Sales Slump

Apple, seeking to reverse a decline in Mac and iPad sales, is preparing several new models and upgrades for early next year, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing people familiar with the situation. From a report: The effort includes updating the iPad Air, iPad Pro and MacBook Air, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the products haven't been announced. The new iPad Air will come in two sizes for the first time, and the Pro model will get OLED screens -- short for organic light-emitting diode. The MacBook Air, meanwhile, will feature the speedier M3 processor. The Mac and iPad account for 15% of Apple's revenue combined, and they've been particularly hard hit by a decline in consumer tech spending. The iPad slump has been compounded by a lack of new models. In fact, 2023 will be the first calendar year in the product's history when no new versions were released. There have been Mac releases in the past year, but that market faces a broader pullback for computers following a boom in pandemic spending.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:00 pm UTC

Former minister Alan Shatter criticises Irish Government and media in Jerusalem Post article

Former Fine Gael politician Alan Shatter says there is an ‘incapacity’ by the Government and media to understand the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 6 Dec 2023 | 7:58 pm UTC

‘She paid with her life’: Family of Brazilian carer killed while cycling calls for safer Dublin roads

Speed surveys on Lower Crumlin Road and at Dolphin’s Barn by the UCD WeCount Traffic Impact data project in the six months before Josilaine Ribeiro was killed found more than 100 cars an hour were breaking the speed limits

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 6 Dec 2023 | 7:55 pm UTC

Child poverty in the Republic down by almost 20% - Unicef

Top-ranking countries include Slovenia and Poland, those at the bottom include UK and France

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 6 Dec 2023 | 7:50 pm UTC

French restaurant boss charged over woman’s botulism death

Greek woman, 32, was one of 16 diners who fell ill after eating at the restaurant in central Bordeaux

A French restaurant boss has been charged over the death of a woman after an outbreak of botulism at the establishment, linked to improperly preserved sardines.

A 32-year-old Greek woman died in September after eating at the Tchin Tchin Wine Bar in central Bordeaux. She was one of 16 mostly foreign diners who fell ill in the space of a week while the southwestern city was hosting Rugby World Cup matches.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 6 Dec 2023 | 7:46 pm UTC

Google launches Gemini AI systems, claims it's beating OpenAI and others - mostly

Gemini accepts text, images, audio, and video and comes in three flavors

Google has unveiled Gemini, its most powerful class of transformer-based models yet, which are capable of processing text, images, audio, and video. …

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 7:43 pm UTC

UK government faces legal challenge over arms exports to Israel

Al-Haq and Global Legal Action Network argue sales of British weapons could breach international law

The high court has been urged to intervene and suspend UK arms sales to Israel in a legal challenge launched on Wednesday.

The Palestinian human rights organisation Al-Haq and the UK-based Global Legal Action Network (Glan) have applied for a judicial review of the government’s export licences for the sale of British weapons capable of being used in Israel’s action in Gaza, which has killed more than 16,000 people – mostly civilians – since 7 October, according to Gaza’s health authorities. Israel’s invasion of Gaza followed Hamas’s attack on southern Israel, in which it killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 6 Dec 2023 | 7:37 pm UTC

UK immigration minister resigns over Rwanda bill

Britain's immigration minister Robert Jenrick has resigned after the government published draft emergency legislation aimed at getting its Rwandan migrant deportation scheme up and running.

Source: News Headlines | 6 Dec 2023 | 7:36 pm UTC

Sean 'Diddy' Combs accused of sexual assault by fourth woman

Following new legal action, the rapper says he "did not do any of the awful things being alleged".

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 7:32 pm UTC

How to use Personal Voice on iPhone with iOS 17

Ahead of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities last Sunday, Apple released a short film that showcased its Personal Voice accessibility feature, which debuted earlier this year in iOS 17. Personal Voice allows users to create digital versions of their voice to use on calls, supported apps and Apple’s own Live Speech tool.

For those who are at risk of permanently losing their voice due to conditions like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS and vocal cord paralysis, not sounding like yourself can be yet another form of identity loss. Being able to create a copy of your voice while you’re still able might help alleviate the feeling that you’ll never feel like yourself again, or that your loved ones won’t know what you sound like.

All iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and macOS Sonoma users can create a personal voice in case you need it in the future — whether temporarily or for long-term use. I found the process (on my iPhone 14 Pro) pretty straightforward and was surprisingly satisfied with my voice. Here’s how you can set up your own Personal Voice, as long as you’ve upgraded to iOS 17, iPadOS 17 or macOS Sonoma (on Macs with Apple Silicon).

Before you start the process, make sure you have a window of about 30 minutes. You’ll be asked to record 150 sentences, and depending on how quickly you speak, it could take some time. You should also find a quiet place with minimal background sound and get comfortable. It’s also worth having a cup of water nearby and making sure your phone has at least 30 percent of battery.

How to set up Personal Voice on iPhone

When you’re ready, go to the Personal Voice menu by opening Settings and finding Accessibility > Personal Voice (under Speech). Select Create A Personal Voice, and Apple will give you a summary of what to expect. Hit Continue, and you’ll see instructions like “Find a quiet place” and “Take your time.”

Importantly, one of the tips is to “Speak naturally.” Apple encourages users to “read aloud at a consistent volume, as if you’re having a conversation.” After you tap Continue on this page, there is one final step where your phone uses its microphone to analyze the level of background noise, before you can finally start reading prompts.

The layout for the recording process is fairly intuitive. Hit the big red record button at the bottom, and read out the words in the middle of the page. Below the record button, you can choose from “Continuous Recording” or “Stop at each phrase.”


In the latter mode, you’ll have to tap a button each time you’ve recorded a phrase, while Continuous is a more hands-free experience that relies on the phone to know when you’re done talking. For those with speech impairments or who read slowly, the continuous mode could feel too stressful. Though it happened just once for me, the fact that the iPhone tried to skip ahead to the next phrase before I was ready was enough for me to feel like I needed to be quick with my reactions.

Personal Voice on iOS 17: First impressions

Still, for the most part the system was accurate at recognizing when I was done talking, and offered enough of a pause that I could tap the redo button before moving to the next sentence. The prompts mostly consisted of historical and geographical information, with the occasional expressive exclamation thrown in. There’s a fairly diverse selection of phrases, ranging from simple questions like “Can you ask them if they’re using that chair?” to forceful statements like “Come back inside right now!” or “Ouch! That is really hot!”

I found myself trying to be more exaggerated when reading those particular sentences, since I didn’t want my resulting personal voice to be too robotic. But it was exactly when I was doing that when I realized the problem inherent to the process. No matter how well I performed or acted, there would always be an element of artifice in the recordings. Even when I did my best to pretend like something was really hot and hurt me, it still wasn’t a genuine reaction. And there’s definitely a difference between how I sound when narrating sentences and having a chat with my friends.

That’s not a ding on Apple or Personal Voice, but simply an observation to say that there is a limit to how well my verbal self can be replicated. When you’re done with all 150 sentences, Apple explains that the process “may need to complete overnight.” It recommends that you charge and lock your iPhone, and your Personal Voice “will be generated only while iPhone is charging and locked” and that you’ll be alerted when it’s ready to use. It’s worth noting that in this time, Apple is training neural networks fully on the device to generate text-to-speech models and not in the cloud.


In my testing, after 20 minutes of putting down my iPhone, only 4 percent of progress was made. Twenty more minutes later, the Personal Voice was only 6 percent done. So this is definitely something you’ll need to allocate hours, if not a whole night, for. If you’re not ready to abandon your device for that long, you can still use your phone — just know that it will delay the process.

When your Personal Voice is ready, you’ll get a notification and can then head to settings to try it out. On the same page where you started the creation process, you’ll see options to share your voice across devices, as well as to allow apps to request to use it. The former stores a copy of your voice in iCloud for use in your other devices. Your data will be end-to-end encrypted in the transfer, and the recordings you made will only be stored on the phone you used to create it, but you can export your clips in case you want to keep a copy elsewhere.

How to listen to and use Personal Voice

You can name your Personal Voice and create another if you prefer (you can generate up to three). To listen to the voice you’ve created, go back to the Speech part of the accessibility settings, and select Live Speech. Turn it on, choose your new creation under Voices and triple click your power button. Type something into the box and hit Send. You can decide if you like what you hear and whether you need to make a new Personal Voice.

At first, I didn’t think mine sounded expressive enough, when I tried things like “How is the weather today?” But after a few days, I started entering phrases like “Terrence is a monster” and it definitely felt a little more like me. Still robotic, but it felt like there was just enough Cherlynn in the voice that my manager would know it was me calling him names.

With concerns around deepfakes and AI-generated content at an all-time high this year, perhaps a bit of artifice in a computer-generated voice isn’t such a bad thing. I certainly wouldn’t want someone to grab my phone and record my digital voice saying things I would never utter in real life. Finding a way to give people a sense of self and improve accessibility while working with all the limits and caveats that currently exist around identity and technology is a delicate balance, and one that I’m heartened to see Apple at least attempt with Personal Voice.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 7:30 pm UTC

BBC reporter in Gaza: People here are traumatised

People say life in Khan Younis is "indescribable" as Israel's bombardment of the south intensifies.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 7:28 pm UTC

Norman Lear, Whose Comedies Changed the Face of TV, Is Dead at 101

As the producer of “All in the Family” and many other shows, Mr. Lear showed that it was possible to be topical, funny and immensely popular.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 6 Dec 2023 | 7:27 pm UTC

Apple’s latest tvOS beta kills the iTunes Movies and TV shows apps

Apple’s latest tvOS beta suggests the iTunes Movies and TV Shows apps on Apple TV are on their way out. 9to5Mac reports the set-top box’s former home of streaming purchases and rentals is no longer in the tvOS 17.2 release candidate (RC), now available to developers. (Unless Apple finds unexpected bugs, RC firmware usually ends up identical to the public version.) Apple’s folding of the iTunes apps into the TV app was first reported in October.

9to5Mac says the home screen icons for iTunes Movies and iTunes TV Shows are still present in the tvOS 17.2 firmware, but they point to the TV app, where the old functionality will live. The publication posted a photo of a redirect screen, which reads, “iTunes Movies and Your Purchases Have Moved. You can buy or rent movies and find your purchases in the Apple TV App.” Below it are options to “Go to the Store” or “Go to Your Purchases.”

The change doesn’t remove any core functionality since the TV app replicates the iTunes Movies and TV Shows apps’ ability to buy, rent and manage purchases. The move is likely about streamlining — shedding the last remnants of the aging iTunes brand — while perhaps nudging more users into Apple TV+ subscriptions.

The update also adds a few features to the TV app on Apple’s set-top box. These include the ability to filter by genre in the purchased section, the availability of box sets in store listings and a new sidebar design for easier navigation.

Apple has increasingly invested in video content as it relies more on its services division for growth. Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon debuted in theaters in October, earning critical acclaim and awards-season buzz for the months ahead. (It already became the first streamer to win a Best Picture Oscar in 2022.) Scorsese’s film is currently available to rent or buy in the TV app, and it’s scheduled to land on Apple TV+ “at a later date.” Apple’s high-profile original series include Ted Lasso, Severance, The Morning Show, Foundation and Silo, among others.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 7:20 pm UTC

Millions of Coders Are Now Using AI Assistants. How Will That Change Software?

AI coding assistants are here to stay -- but just how big a difference they make is still unclear. From a report: Thomas Dohmke, GitHub's CEO: "You've got a lot of tabs open, you're planning a vacation, maybe you're reading the news. At last you copy the text you need and go back to your code, but it's 20 minutes later and you lost the flow." The key idea behind Copilot and other programs like it, sometimes called code assistants, is to put the information that programmers need right next to the code they are writing. The tool tracks the code and comments (descriptions or notes written in natural language) in the file that a programmer is working on, as well as other files that it links to or that have been edited in the same project, and sends all this text to the large language model behind Copilot as a prompt. (GitHub co-developed Copilot's model, called Codex, with OpenAI. It is a large language model fine-tuned on code.) Copilot then predicts what the programmer is trying to do and suggests code to do it. This round trip between code and Codex happens multiple times a second, the prompt updating as the programmer types. At any moment, the programmer can accept what Copilot suggests by hitting the tab key, or ignore it and carry on typing. The tab button seems to get hit a lot. A study of almost a million Copilot users published by GitHub and the consulting firm Keystone Strategy in June -- a year after the tool's general release -- found that programmers accepted on average around 30% of its suggestions, according to GitHub's user data. [...] Copilot has changed the basic skills of coding. As with ChatGPT or image makers like Stable Diffusion, the tool's output is often not exactly what's wanted -- but it can be close. "Maybe it's correct, maybe it's not -- but it's a good start," says Arghavan Moradi Dakhel, a researcher at Polytechnique Montreal in Canada who studies the use of machine-learning tools in software development. Programming becomes prompting: rather than coming up with code from scratch, the work involves tweaking half-formed code and nudging a large language model to produce something more on point.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot | 6 Dec 2023 | 7:20 pm UTC

Researchers develop under-the-skin implant to treat Type 1 diabetes

Scientists have developed a new implantable device that has the potential to change the way Type 1 diabetics receive insulin. The thread-like implant, or SHEATH (Subcutaneous Host-Enabled Alginate THread), is installed in a two-step process that ultimately leads to the deployment of “islet devices,” which are derived from the cells that produce insulin in our bodies naturally.

First, the scientists figured out a way to insert nylon catheters under the skin, where they remain for up to six weeks. After insertion, blood vessels form around the catheters which structurally support the islet devices that are placed in the space when the catheter gets removed. The newly implanted 10-centimeter-long islet devices secrete insulin via islet cells that form around it, while also receiving nutrients and oxygen from blood vessels to stay alive.

The implantation technique was designed and tested by researchers at Cornell and the University of Alberta. Cornell’s Minglin Ma, a Professor of Biological and Environmental Engineering, created the first implantable polymer in 2017 dubbed TRAFFIC (Thread-Reinforced Alginate Fiber For Islets enCapsulation), which was designed to sit in a patient’s abdomen. In 2021, Ma’s team developed an even more robust implantable device that proved it could control blood sugar levels in mice for six months at a time.

The current problem with SHEATH is its long-term application in patients. “It’s very difficult to keep these islets functional for a long time inside of the body… because the device blocks the blood vessels, but the native islet cells in the body are known to be in direct contact with vessels that provide nutrients and oxygen,” Ma said. Because the islet devices eventually need to be removed, the researchers are still working on ways to maximize the exchange of nutrients and oxygen in large-animal models — and eventually patients. But the implant could one day replace the current standard treatment for Type 1 diabetes, which requires either daily injections or insulin pumps.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 7:10 pm UTC

New Zealand's Indigenous people are furious over plans to snuff out anti-smoking laws

A year ago, New Zealand enacted what are perhaps the world's toughest anti-smoking laws. The new conservative government plans a repeal — and an end the Maori Health Authority. Protests have ensued.

(Image credit: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Source: News : NPR | 6 Dec 2023 | 7:08 pm UTC

'The Wicker Man' gets his AARP card today, as the folk horror classic turns 50

The 1973 movie The Wicker Man helped kick off the subgenre known as "folk horror." The film, about a sinister pagan ritual on a remote Scottish island, has scared horror fans for five decades.

(Image credit: BFA/Alamy Stock Photo)

Source: News : NPR | 6 Dec 2023 | 7:05 pm UTC

Mere minority of orgs put GenAI in production after year of hype

Folks are dipping their toes in without a full commitment

Despite a huge surge in awareness over the last year, just 10 percent of organizations have adopted generative AI technology in production environments, according to a survey by Intel.…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 7:00 pm UTC

Meta's AI image generator is available as a standalone website

Meta has launched a standalone version of its image generator as it tests dozens of new generative AI features across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. The image generator, called Imagine, was first previewed at the company’s Connect event in November and has been available as part of Meta’s AI chatbot.

Now, with its own dedicated website at, the tool will be available outside of the company’s messaging apps. Like other generative AI tools, Imagine allows users to create images from simple text prompts. Imagine, which relies on Meta’s Emu model, will generate four images for each prompt.

The images all have a visible watermark in the lower left corner indicating they were created with Meta AI. Additionally, Meta says it will soon begin testing an invisible watermarking system that’s “resilient to common image manipulations like cropping, color change (brightness, contrast, etc.), screen shots and more.” For those interacting with the image generator in Meta’s messaging apps, the company also introduced a new “reimagine” tool, which allows users to tweak existing images created with Meta AI in chats with friends.

Interestingly, the standalone site for Imagine requires not just a Facebook or Instagram login, but a Meta account, which was introduced earlier this year so VR users could use Quest headsets without a Facebook login. It’s unclear for now if Meta planning an eventual virtual reality tie-in for Imagine, but the company has recently used its new generative AI tools try to breathe new life into its metaverse.

Meta is also testing dozens of new generative AI features across its apps. On Instagram, the company is testing the ability to convert a landscape image to portrait in Stories with a new creative tool called “Expander.” On Facebook, generative AI will also start to show up in places like Groups and Marketplace. Meta is also testing AI-generated writing suggestions for Feed posts, Facebook Dating profiles as well as AI-generated replies for creators to use in replies to Instagram direct messages.

With the latest changes, Meta is also making its 28 celebrity-infused chatbots available to all users in the United States. The company says it will test a new “long-term memory” feature for some of its AI characters so that users can more easily return to previous chats and pick up the conversation where they left off. The chatbots are available in Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.

The updates highlight how Meta has sought to make generative AI a core part of its service as it tries to compete with the offerings of other AI companies. Mark Zuckerberg said earlier this year that the company would bring gen AI into “every single one of our products.”

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:59 pm UTC

Cable lobby to FCC: Please don’t look too closely at the prices we charge

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | imagedepotpro)

The US broadband industry is protesting a Federal Communications Commission plan to measure the affordability of Internet service.

The FCC has been evaluating US-wide broadband deployment progress on a near-annual basis for almost three decades but hasn't factored affordability into these regular reviews. The broadband industry is afraid that a thorough examination of prices will lead to more regulation of ISPs.

An FCC Notice of Inquiry issued on November 1 proposes to analyze the affordability of Internet service in the agency's next congressionally required review of broadband deployment. That could include examining not just monthly prices but also data overage charges and various other fees.

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Source: Ars Technica - All content | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:58 pm UTC

Pro-Russia Ukrainian MP Illia Kyva shot dead in Moscow suburb

Ukraine’s military intelligence spokesperson tells national TV that former politician ‘is done’

A former Ukrainian MP regarded by Kyiv as a traitor has been shot dead in a park in suburban Moscow, in an attack attributed to Ukraine’s SBU security service.

Illia Kyva was a pro-Russian member of Ukraine’s parliament before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, but fled to Russia a month before the start of the war and frequently criticised Ukrainian authorities online and on Russian state TV talkshows.

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:55 pm UTC

Trevor Deely disappearance: Garda investigation identifies man caught on CCTV

Mark Deely, brother of the missing man, said that gardaí have since spoken to the identified man, and are now ‘totally happy’ there is ‘nothing sinister’ involved in the man’s recorded movements

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:48 pm UTC

Ubisoft's Rocksmith+ guitar-learning app now teaches piano

Ubisoft’s Rocksmith+ guitar-learning platform just got an update that’s sure to please ivory ticklers, as the app now teaches piano. A single subscription allows access to every instrument under Rocksmith’s umbrella, including acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electric bass and, now, piano.

The newly-updated Rocksmith+ already boasts 400 piano arrangements to practice, with at least 40 more arriving each month. These songs include pop hits like Elton John’s “Rocket Man”, Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love” and titles culled from a diverse array of genres, including classical to soundtracks and beyond. These piano-based compositions join over 7,000 pre-existing songs for guitar and bass players.

The app’s available for both mobile devices and PCs via the Ubisoft store, and the update lets you use a digital piano, keyboard or wired MIDI controller. It supports keybeds with 25 keys up to the full complement of 88 keys. You’ll have your choice of practice methods, as the app offers an interactive 3D interface or traditional sheet music. Also, you don’t need any extra gear to get going, like a dedicated microphone.

Reviews for the guitar and bass elements of Rocksmith+ have been mixed, with some publications praising the intuitive interface and others decrying the limited song selection. The app offers a free trial for a week, but subscriptions cost $15 per month, if you go with a monthly plan, or $100 per year. The free trial is only available for the yearly subscription, so exercise caution when signing up and be sure to set a reminder to cancel before the week is up if you aren’t jiving with the software.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:45 pm UTC

Legal Manga App User Banned After Taking 'Fraudulent Screenshots'

A user of a legal manga app operated by one of Japan's largest publishers claims they were locked out of the service after being accused of fraudulent activity. TorrentFreak: While using Shueisha's YanJan! app, the user's smartphone began vibrating before displaying a message that their account had been suspended. It was later confirmed that taking screenshots, even inadvertently, can lead to being banned.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:40 pm UTC

'Periodical' filmmaker wants to talk about PMS, menopause and the tampon tax

Lina Lyte Plioplyte sees menstruation as a "beautiful cycle" that happens to half of the world's population — one that "we're not supposed to talk about it." Her new film aims to break the stigma.

(Image credit: Carrie Lynn Schreck/MSNBC Films)

Source: News : NPR | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:38 pm UTC

Stardust inquests: Temperature and speed at which fire engulfed nightclub ‘not normal’

Fire officer tells inquest the fire was an ‘accelerated’ blaze and ‘there was something in that building that contributed to the fast spread’

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:38 pm UTC

Mood darkens in Kyiv as US stand-off imperils war effort

As a US aid package becomes embroiled in domestic squabbles, Ukrainians fear financial help may dry up.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:36 pm UTC

Four new special schools to open next September

Four new special schools will open in counties Limerick, Meath, Wexford and Kildare in September of 2024 to cater for a rise in the number of students with Special Educational Needs, the Department of Education has announced.

Source: News Headlines | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:35 pm UTC

McCarthy Says He Will Leave Congress at the End of the Year

About two months after being ousted as speaker, Representative Kevin McCarthy said he would exit the House a year early.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:33 pm UTC

Guyana appeals to US and UN as Maduro advances annexation of territory

Request for help came after Venezuelan president announced series of measures to formalize a referendum Sunday evening

Guyana has appealed for help from the United Nations and the United States as the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, announced a series of measures intended to advance its annexation of two-thirds of the tiny South American nation’s territory.

“I have spoken to the secretary general of the United Nations and several leaders, alerting them of these dangerous developments and the desperate actions of President Maduro,” Irfaan Ali, president of Guyana, said in a television broadcast late on Tuesday, as he informed the nation of 800,000 of Maduro’s latest steps intended to create a new Venezuelan state in Guyana.

Continue reading...

Source: World news | The Guardian | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:33 pm UTC

UN chief warns Gaza aid delivery could collapse as Israel and Hamas fight house-to-house

UN secretary general says situation ‘fast deteriorating into catastrophe with potentially irreversible implications’

Israeli forces and Hamas are fighting house-to-house battles along the length of the Gaza Strip, with devastating consequences for the civilian population amid a complete collapse in humanitarian relief.

As the war intensified on Wednesday, the UN secretary general, António Guterres, invoked a rarely used clause in the UN charter to raise the issue on his own initiative before the security council, to warn that the conflict “may aggravate existing threats to international peace and security”.

Continue reading...

Source: World news | The Guardian | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:29 pm UTC

Texas' illegal entry law will test states' powers on immigration, border enforcement

The latest measure in Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's border crackdown "Operation Lone Star" makes it a state crime to enter Texas illegally from a foreign country.

(Image credit: Julian Aguilar/The Texas Newsroom )

Source: News : NPR | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:28 pm UTC

Honda will reveal a new EV series at CES 2024

Honda is planning to make a bigger push into the EV market as part of its goal of introducing 30 electric models by 2030. We’ll soon get a look at a new EV series from the automaker, as it’s preparing to show off the lineup for the first time at CES 2024. We’ll get our first glimpse of these EVs during a press conference on January 9. The event starts at 1:30PM ET and you’ll be able to watch it below.

The automaker hasn’t revealed many more details about the new EV series. However, it did note that it will detail "several key technologies that illustrate the significant transformation Honda is currently undergoing." Honda is aiming to only sell zero-emission vehicles in North America by 2040, including battery electric and fuel cell electric powered models.

As it stands, the company has quite a bit of work ahead to hit that goal and perhaps catch up with its more EV-focused rivals. Currently, Honda has the all-electric Prologue SUV (which isn't available to the public yet) and two hybrids in its electrified lineup. In fact, it has killed off multiple hybrid models over the last few years..

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:20 pm UTC

European leaders try to stop Orbán derailing Ukraine’s EU accession bid

Hungary’s PM, the union’s most pro-Russian leader, wants the issue off the agenda of a summit next week

European leaders are scrambling to rescue a plan to begin European Union accession negotiations for Ukraine, as Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, vows to block the decision at a summit of EU leaders next week.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, is due to host Orbán for dinner in Paris on Thursday, while the European Council president, Charles Michel, was in Budapest last week looking for a way out of the impasse.

Continue reading...

Source: World news | The Guardian | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:13 pm UTC

Netflix renews the Squid Game reality show for a second season of (mostly) fake torture

Netflix just announced that it has renewed Squid Game: The Challenge for a second season. The reality show is a toned-down version of the dystopian drama of the same name, a program known for its harsh critique of capitalism. Production on the second season is already ramping up, as casting is currently underway.

The Challenge recreates many of the more popular scenarios from the original show, complete with fake deaths by gunshot when a player exits the game. Despite being a fictional version of the drama, the real-life players were put in dangerous situations while competing. Many players said they suffered injuries during the game, and others claimed that provisions were so scarce that people were forced to use condoms as lip balm, among other complaints.

Just like its fictional counterpart, the cash prize was so large that people were willing to put up with less-than-ideal and potentially hazardous circumstances. The winner of the first season will be announced tonight and will take home $4.65 million dollars, $10,000 for each of the 465 contestants. That’s the largest payout in reality show history. However, its winner takes all, so 464 players get nothing. As an aside, Netflix is valued at around $200 billion.

Despite the controversy surrounding the show, it's obviously a hit. Squid Game: The Challenge has consistently perched atop the streamer’s top ten, likely helped by the abundance of news regarding the precarious conditions on-set. Bread and circuses, baby!

The streamer has also revealed a bit more information regarding an upcoming video game set “in the Squid Game universe.” Netflix notes that players will “compete with friends in games they’ll recognize from the series,” so we know it has multiplayer at the very least. It also leaves us with one glaring question. The Squid Game… universe? The MCU better watch out.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:05 pm UTC

Google launches Gemini—a powerful AI model it says can surpass GPT-4

Enlarge / The Google Gemini logo. (credit: Google)

On Wednesday, Google announced Gemini, a multimodal AI model family it hopes will rival OpenAI's GPT-4, which powers the paid version of ChatGPT. Google claims that the largest version of Gemini exceeds "current state-of-the-art results on 30 of the 32 widely used academic benchmarks used in large language model (LLM) research and development." It's a follow-up to PaLM 2, an earlier AI model that Google hoped would match GPT-4 in capability.

A specially tuned English version of its mid-level Gemini model is available now in over 170 countries as part of the Google Bard chatbot—although not in the EU or the UK due to potential regulation issues.

Like GPT-4, Gemini can handle multiple types (or "modes") of input, making it multimodal. That means it can process text, code, images, and even audio. The goal is to make a type of artificial intelligence that can accurately solve problems, give advice, and answer questions in various fields—from the mundane to the scientific. Google says this will power a new era in computing, and it hopes to tightly integrate the technology into its products.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Source: Ars Technica - All content | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:01 pm UTC

Elon Musk's xAI wants $1B cash infusion in exchange for equity shares

What, spent all your liquid assets on Twitter, Elon?

The world's richest man is begging for cash again, this time he'd like $1 billion for his recently formed AI outfit, with individual investors told to offer at least $2 million for a slice of the equity pie.…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:00 pm UTC

Twitch To Shut Down in Korea Over 'Prohibitively Expensive' Network Fees

Twitch, the popular video streaming service, plans to shut down its business in South Korea on February 27 after finding that operating in one of the world's largest esports markets is "prohibitively expensive." From a report: Twitch CEO Dan Clancy said the firm undertook a "significant effort" to reduce the network costs to operate in Korea, but ultimately the fees to operate in the East Asian nation was still 10 times more expensive than in most other countries. The ceasing of operations in Korea is a "unique situation," he wrote in a blog post. South Korea's expensive internet fees have led to legal fights -- streaming giant Netflix unsuccessfully sued a local broadband supplier last year to avoid paying usage charges, but Seoul's court ruled that Netflix must contribute to the network costs enabling its half-billion-dollar Korean business. Twitch attempted to lower its network costs by experimenting with a peer-to-peer model and then downgrading the streaming quality to 720p video resolution, Clancy said. While these efforts helped the firm lower its network costs, it wasn't enough.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:00 pm UTC

Bedroom CCTV installed by 82-year-old woman's family catches home-help thief

Caoimhe Kelly pleaded guilty to the €100 theft from Mary Foote at her home in south east Clare

Source: All: | 6 Dec 2023 | 5:56 pm UTC

Trafalgar Square Christmas tree must cut its carbon footprint, says Oslo mayor

Anne Lindboe to look at transport plans for Norway’s annual gift to UK, but insists tradition will not stop

It is a long-cherished Christmas tradition: a tree sent to London every December from Norway to thank Britain for its support during the second world war.

But felling a decades-old 20-metre (66ft) spruce in the woodlands near Oslo and transporting it by road and sea to Britain to light up Trafalgar Square, only for it to be turned into woodchip a month later, could hardly be described as environmentally friendly.

Continue reading...

Source: World news | The Guardian | 6 Dec 2023 | 5:55 pm UTC

Apple admits to secretly giving governments push notification data

Enlarge (credit: Dilok Klaisataporn | iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Governments have been secretly tracking the app activity of an unknown number of people using Apple and Google smartphones, US Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) revealed today.

In a letter demanding that the Department of Justice update or repeal policies prohibiting companies from informing the public about these covert government requests, Wyden warned that "Apple and Google are in a unique position to facilitate government surveillance of how users are using particular apps."

Push notifications are used to provide a wide variety of alerts to app users. A friendly ding or text alert on the home screen notifies users about new text messages, emails, social media comments, news updates, packages delivered, gameplay nudges—basically any app activity where notifications have been enabled could be tracked by governments, Wyden said.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Source: Ars Technica - All content | 6 Dec 2023 | 5:47 pm UTC

Here's the cream of the crop from the Day of the Devs Game Awards stream

Day of the Devs is awesome. It’s a showcase that pops up a few times a year to promote promising, in-progress indie games, irrespective of publisher, genre, budget, visual style or release window. It’s curated by the folks at Double Fine and iam8bit, and they’ve been hosting Day of the Devs live events and digital showcases for the past 11 years.

The latest Day of the Devs celebration wrapped up on December 6, the day before The Game Awards, and it featured 20 marvelous and strange independent projects. The virtual show included a few world premieres and release date announcements, but mostly, it was a celebration of creativity and innovation in indie games. This is particularly relevant right now: The Game Awards reignited the debate around the definition of “indie” in November, when its jury voted Dave the Diver into the Best Independent Game category — even though the title is made by Nexon, one of the largest studios in South Korea.

Indie is more than a label; it identifies teams that are operating outside of the AAA system, without a safety net, and it helps players determine where to spend their money. We published nearly 2,000 words on the topic of defining indie games, so read that if you want more juice. But right now, efforts like Day of the Devs feel extra necessary.

Day of the Devs: The Game Awards Edition 2023 offered a non-stop flow of indie goodness, so watch the whole show if you’re into cool stuff like that. We’ve broken out the news and highlights here:

New games

Kind words 2 (lofi city pop)

Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to) came out at both the perfect and most upsetting time — it landed in September 2019, a few months before the pandemic shut down everyday life across the globe. Kind Words is a game about listening to smooth lo-fi beats and writing real letters to real people, and during quarantine, it served as an outlet for thousands of players seeking interpersonal connection, warmth and encouragement.

Kind Words 2 (lofi city pop) is an expanded sequel coming from the original team, Popcannibal. Writing nice letters to strangers is still a core gameplay mechanic, but players are no longer confined to their bedrooms. There’s a whole city to explore, with coffee shops for writing poetry, mountaintops for making wishes on stars, and public spaces filled with people to talk to. The sequel also introduces a social media system with no quantitative feedback — no likes, no popularity metrics, just good vibes.

The Steam page for Kind Words 2 is live now. It's coming in 2024.

Loose Leaf

The studio behind Boyfriend Dungeon is back with something completely different, but potentially just as sexy. Loose Leaf is a tea-drinking, tarot-reading, witchy experience with a serene 3D art style, and Kitfox Games is advertising it as the most in-depth tea-brewing simulator ever created. It looks like an incredibly detailed version of the potion-making minigame from Pottermore, with a side of social interaction in the form of tarot readings.

Loose Leaf is a game about patience, friendships and the magic therein. There’s no release date at the moment, but it has a Steam page.

The Mermaid’s Tongue

SFB Games, the team that brought us Snipperclips and Tangle Tower, has a new project called The Mermaid’s Tongue. It’s part of the Tangle Tower universe and stars Grimoire and Sally, the two detectives from that series. The Mermaid’s Tongue is a murder mystery game about the death of a submarine captain, and players have to interrogate bystanders, investigate their surroundings and solve environmental puzzles.

The Mermaid’s Tongue is heading to Steam and Xbox in 2024, and a Steam demo is out now.

Nirvana Noir

Genesis Noir is one of the most visually striking games of the past few years, and its sequel, Nirvana Noir, looks just as stunning. Nirvana Noir is Feral Cat Den’s follow-up to Genesis, and it offers a jazzy, psychedelic twist on the series. The main character, No Man, is caught in a cosmic conspiracy and players will use dialogue-based detective work to understand the surrounding characters, read between the lines and hunt for clues.

There’s no release date for Nirvana Noir at the moment, but it's coming to Steam, the Epic Games Store and Xbox. It'll be published by Fellow Traveller.

Release dates


Flock looks like a charming, cozy game about soaring around fantastical environments and collecting flying friends, with singleplayer and multiplayer settings. It comes from Hollow Ponds and Richard Hogg, one of the creators of Hohokum, and it is incredibly cute. Aside from befriending birds, the game includes a creature guide for identifying new beasts and there’s a wool-collecting mechanic tied to the sheep roaming the lands below. Flock didn’t have a release window until today: It’s due out in spring 2024 on Steam, PlayStation and Xbox, published by Annapurna Interactive.

Annapurna Interactive

Open Roads

Open Roads has been on the indie radar for a while now, and it finally has a release date: February 22, 2024. Open Roads follows a mother and her 16-year-old daughter on a road trip that reveals hard truths about their family and ultimately tests their bond. It looks like an emotional, moving story, and it stars actors Keri Russel and Kaitlyn Dever.

Open Roads comes from The Open Roads Team, a group of developers that split off from indie studio Fullbright. It’s published by Annapurna Interactive and it's heading to PC, PlayStation, Xbox and Switch. It'll be on Game Pass at launch.

Annapurna Interactive

These look especially dope


Cryptmaster looks like Inscyrption mixed with hell’s cel-shader, and I’m personally very into it. Cryptmaster blends word puzzles with action sequences; players build their arsenals by solving letter-guessing games with text or voice, unlocking the resulting attack skills. It comes from Paul Hart and Lee Williams, published by Akupara Games, and it’s due to hit Steam in 2024.

Akupara Games

Drag Her!

This one’s for the royalty in everyone. Drag Her! is a fighting game featuring real-life superstar drag queens and kings from RuPaul’s Drag Race, Boulet Brothers’ Dragula and beyond, and it looks like a camp ol’ time. Drag Her! stars Alaska, Asia O’Hara, BenDeLaCreme, Kim Chi, Landon Cider and Laganja Estranja, with voice acting by each performer and unique attacks based on their personalities.

Drag Her! comes from Fighting Chance Games and it’s slated for release in early 2025.


Holstin brings horror to a small Polish town in the 1990s, with beautifully dark pixel-art scenes that swap between isometric and first-person perspectives. The developers at Sonka grew up in this world of post-communism religious influence, and they used their experiences to build a game dripping in psychological and supernatural horror. Holstein is an eerie game that values investigation and sharpshooting in equal measure, set in a rare locale.

There’s no release date for Holstin, but it’s coming to PC, Xbox, PlayStation and Switch eventually. A demo showing off its first-person combat system recently went live on Steam, and another demo is coming in 2024.

Home Safety Hotline

As a true ’90s kid, this one is weirdly comforting. Home Safety Hotline is a text-based horror game that plays out on a Windows 96 desktop, complete with pixelated icons and sad gray pop-up windows. Players log on to work at a call center, where they help their clients get rid of spooky, paranormal creatures and occurrences invading their homes.

Home Safety Hotline is heading to PC in early 2024 (a slight delay from its original release date).

Night Signal Entertainment


Militsioner is essentially 1984, the video game: It features a cop as an all-seeing colossus, sitting watch over a quiet town, alert and eager to throw you in jail. Players have to escape without attracting the attention of the giant policeman, learning when to sneak and how to talk their way out of capture, and exploring empty buildings and solving spatial puzzles along the way.

Militsioner comes from Tallboys and doesn’t have a release date, but its Steam page is live.


If you're still craving more, check out the full Day of the Devs: The Game Awards 2023 show here.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 5:47 pm UTC

School secretary says principal accused of rape was not regularly late for work

The now young woman who is suing the principal over the allegations has claimed that both she and he arrived ten or 15 minutes late to school

Source: All: | 6 Dec 2023 | 5:44 pm UTC

Murdered man (23) found next to burning car identified as nursing assistant

Two women and a man were arrested on suspicion of murder and remained in custody on Wednesday afternoon

Source: Irish Times Feeds | 6 Dec 2023 | 5:32 pm UTC

Looking back at 25 years of the ISS

Wednesday marks the 25th anniversary of the International Space Station’s (ISS) physical assembly in orbit. On December 6, 1998, the crew aboard the space shuttle Endeavor attached the US-built Unity node to the Russian-built Zarya module, kicking off the modular construction of the ISS. A quarter century later, we look back at the milestones and breakthroughs from one of humanity’s most impressive marvels of engineering and international cooperation.

The ISS, which orbits the Earth 16 times every 24 hours at a speed of five miles per second, has been inhabited by researchers for over 23 years. It’s the product of five space agencies from 15 countries. NASA, Roscosmos (Russia’s national space agency), ESA (European Space Agency), JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency) have contributed to the station’s assembly and operation.

From ink to orbit

Its official journey began in the early 1990s when the United States’ Freedom (ordered by President Ronald Reagan in 1984) and Russia’s Mir-2 space station projects were in danger of (literally) never getting off the ground. Freedom was in jeopardy primarily due to a lack of Congressional funding amid rising costs, while Mir-2 was on the brink partially because of financial hardships following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

On September 2, 1993, the two nations, each needing an international ally to forge ahead, signed an agreement to combine their programs and collaborate on a joint mission that would have seemed wildly implausible a few years earlier. US Vice President Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin inked the pact, marking the formal conception of the cosmic laboratory we know today as the ISS.

US Vice President Al Gore (left) and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin in 1993
VITALY ARMAND via Getty Images

The following years included a design overhaul to fold Russian technology into America’s existing Freedom plans, a milestone 1995 docking of NASA’s Atlantis to Russia’s Mir station (epitomizing the fruit of the once-far-fetched collaboration), the addition of funding and cooperation from Europe, Canada and Japan in 1996 and Russia’s launch of Zarya a month before the ISS assembly began. That all led to the day 25 years ago when the two nations’ space tech linked together, sounding the death knell for the Cold War-era space race.

The first crewed mission began on November 2, 2000, when NASA astronaut Bill Shepherd and cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev stepped onboard. The inaugural crew spent four months in space, laying the groundwork for subsequent crews. (The record for the most time living and working in space was set by Peggy Whitson, who celebrated 665 days aboard the ISS in 2017.)


The US Lab Module linked to the station in February 2001, expanding the station’s onboard living space by 41 percent. Four years later, Congress named the US portion a national laboratory. Far more than a symbolic gesture (although it was also that), the designation opened the door to funding and research from a much more comprehensive array of institutions, including universities, other government agencies and private businesses. In 2008, laboratories from Europe and Japan joined the ISS.

The ISS’s construction and expansion from 1998 to 2010 amassed around 900,000 pounds of modules. The station contains about $100 billion worth of gear spinning around the globe.

Research and breakthroughs


During the ISS’s more than 100,000 orbits of the Earth, it has ushered breakthroughs in areas ranging from disease research to bodily changes from microgravity.

Studying how proteins, cells and biological processes behave in microgravity has boosted research in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart disease and asthma. Many of these studies wouldn’t have been possible on Earth. Meanwhile, protein crystal growth experiments have sparked advances in developing treatments for conditions including cancer, gum disease and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

ISS researchers made surprising discoveries about “cool flames,” which can burn at extremely low temperatures. Nearly impossible to study outside of microgravity, the astronauts’ research has challenged our previous understanding of combustion. It may open new frontiers with internal combustion engines (ICE), allowing them to run cleaner and more efficiently.

Studies aboard the space station have contributed significantly to our knowledge of human muscle atrophy and bone loss. (ISS astronauts typically work out at least two hours daily to prevent these conditions.) Studying how prolonged time in microgravity affects muscle deterioration and recovery also applies to Earthbound patients stuck in bed for extended periods. In addition, the research can help us learn more about conditions like osteoporosis, leading to improved preventative measures and treatments. It has also helped scientists better understand broader biological changes in microgravity, which could pay dividends if or when humans colonize Mars.

Water purification systems designed to sustain astronauts over long periods have also borne fruit on Earth. ISS astronauts recycle 98 percent of their pee and sweat using highly efficient and compact systems. This has led to the technology’s use in agriculture, disaster relief and aid provision for less developed areas.

ISS astronauts studied the Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC), a “fifth state of matter” that deviates significantly from known states like solids, liquids, gases and plasmas. In 2018, the ISS’s Cold Atom Lab produced BEC in orbit for the first time. Space’s colder temperatures and lack of gravity allow for longer observation times, helping researchers learn more about the behaviors of atoms and BECs. Not only is this crucial to quantum physics studies, it could aid in developing more advanced quantum technologies down the road.

For more detail on the ISS’s breakthroughs, NASA has a dedicated writeup from 2020.



The ISS is currently scheduled for decommissioning in January 2031. (Russia currently plans to leave in 2028.) Its late 90s infrastructure is aging quickly, and the space station would grow increasingly and prohibitively expensive to maintain over the long haul. Government and commercial orbital labs will likely pick up the slack in the following years.

When its time comes, the ISS will undergo a controlled deorbit. As for what that might involve, Kirk Shireman, deputy manager of NASA’s space station program, broached the subject with in 2011. “We’ve done a lot of studies,” he said. “We have found an orbit and a change in velocity that we believe is achievable, and it creates a debris footprint that’s all in water in an unpopulated area.”

As Engadget’s Andrew Tarantola wrote about the ISS’s pending demise:

Beginning about a year before the planned decommissioning date, NASA will allow the ISS to begin degrading from its normal 240-mile high orbit and send up an uncrewed space vehicle (USV) to dock with the station and help propel it back Earthward. The ultimate crew from the ISS will evacuate just before the station hits an altitude of 115 miles, at which point the attached USV will fire its rockets in a series of deorbital burns to set the station into a capture trajectory over the Pacific Ocean.

NASA plans to guide any remaining bits into a remote area of the South Pacific Ocean. “We’ve been working on plans and update the plans periodically,” Shireman said. “We don’t want to ever be in a position where we couldn’t safely deorbit the station. It’s been a part of the program from the very beginning.”

NASA 25th-anniversary event

NASA held a live-streamed event on Wednesday to mark the quarter-century anniversary of the Zarya and Unity modules linking up. All seven STS-88 Space Shuttle Mission crew members joined NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana (mission commander) and ISS Program Manager Joel Montalbano to discuss the milestone.

You can watch it here:

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 5:31 pm UTC

Nvidia sees Huawei, Intel in rear mirror as it grapples with China ban

Commerce Sec threatens redesigned AI-capable chips will be curtailed 'the very next day'

Nvidia chief Jensen Huang reckons Huawei and Intel are potential challengers for the GPU-maker's crown in the AI accelerator space, and says it is working out a deal with the US to keep selling products to China.…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 5:30 pm UTC

Ukraine claims killing of 'traitor' ex-MP Illya Kyva in Russia

Illya Kyva was shot dead in a special operation by Ukraine's SBU security service, sources tell the BBC.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 5:29 pm UTC

Volumetric LED candle looks the same from any angle—and looks like amazing work

Enlarge / It takes proficiency in quite a few disciplines, a pick-and-place machine, a 3D printer, and lots of little solder points to get a candle looking this cool. (credit: mitxela)

The latest device crafted by the prolific maker going by mitxela comprises an LED matrix board, "a bunch of electronics" underneath it, an infrared sensor, a coin battery, and the motor from a CD drive. It's a deceptively simple bill of goods for a rather elegant DIY project the size of a tea light candle.

Typical volumetric displays are tricky things, given the need to send data and power to rapidly spinning things. Mitxela's solution: make everything spin, including the battery. Creeping up on the infrared sensor with his finger, mitxela coaxed the tiny spinning board to create collapsing stars, pouring liquid, and the candle flames for which it was originally designed.

A video that only barely captures the volumetric look of this LED display, but it still looks pretty neat.

"I won't deny, this is a very satisfying result for what was a hastily thrown-together prototype," mitxela says in the video. "I wasn't expecting it to work at all." The next version will have more LEDs, and they'll be better-centered; right now, the LED matrix backplate is on the center line, not the LEDs themselves. Since the LEDs illuminate twice during each revolution, having them exactly centered improves the clarity of the resulting image.

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Source: Ars Technica - All content | 6 Dec 2023 | 5:22 pm UTC

Earth on Verge of Five Catastrophic Climate Tipping Points, Scientists Warn

Many of the gravest threats to humanity are drawing closer, as carbon pollution heats the planet to ever more dangerous levels, scientists have warned. From a report: Five important natural thresholds already risk being crossed, according to the Global Tipping Points report, and three more may be reached in the 2030s if the world heats 1.5C (2.7F) above pre-industrial temperatures. Triggering these planetary shifts will not cause temperatures to spiral out of control in the coming centuries but will unleash dangerous and sweeping damage to people and nature that cannot be undone. "Tipping points in the Earth system pose threats of a magnitude never faced by humanity," said Tim Lenton, from the University of Exeter's Global Systems Institute. "They can trigger devastating domino effects, including the loss of whole ecosystems and capacity to grow staple crops, with societal impacts including mass displacement, political instability and financial collapse." The tipping points at risk include the collapse of big ice sheets in Greenland and the West Antarctic, the widespread thawing of permafrost, the death of coral reefs in warm waters, and the collapse of one atmospheric current in the North Atlantic.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot | 6 Dec 2023 | 5:20 pm UTC

Tile Bluetooth trackers are up to 33 percent off right now

Amazon is selling a two-pack of Tile Mate Bluetooth trackers for $33, which matches the record low the set hit for Prime Day in October. A four-pack of Tile Mates in grey is on sale for 40 percent off from the manufacturer. These handy fobs attach to your keys, backpack, or anything else you don't want to lose. The app —which works with both iPhone and Android — lets you ring the tags to find them nearby, and uses the community of other Tile users to locate items that you misplace out in the world.

The network isn't as large as Apple's Find My, but in our tests, it only took around 10 minutes before the Tile was spotted. If you use an Android phone that's not a Samsung, it's likely your best option if you want to have a large finding network. One point to note is that you'll need a Tile subscription (currently $30 or $100 per year) to enable left-behind alerts. If all you need is a tracker that will ring loudly and tell you when you left the house (or restaurant) without your keys, you could go with our top tracker pick, the Chipolo, which is 20 percent off for a four-pack right now.

One nice thing about Tile items is they come in different forms, like the smaller Tile Sticker. That one is 33 percent off, making it just $20. The disc comes with a strong adhesive so you can stick it to smaller stuff that you're apt to misplace, like remotes, headphones and console controllers.

Our top pick for Androids in our Bluetooth tracker guide is the Tile Pro. It's down to $25, which is just $2 more than the record low it hit for Prime Day in July. It's the only Tile with a replaceable battery and we found it to be louder than an AirTag and any of the other Tiles. It's got a larger key-fob shape and was typically quicker to connect to our phone in our tests than the Mate. 

Any tracker opens up the possibility of stalking, using it to track a person without their consent or knowledge. Tile trackers even offer an anti-theft mode that makes it harder to disable an unknown tracker that's moving with you. But to enable the feature, the tracker owner must submit ID verification and acknowledge that misuse will result in a $1 million fine

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 5:04 pm UTC

Google unveils TPU v5p pods to accelerate AI training

Need a lot of compute? How does 8,960 TPUs sound?

Google revealed a performance-optimized version of its Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) called the v5p designed to reduce the time commitment associated with training large language models.…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 5:04 pm UTC

Google Search results are showing Reddit URLs altered to include a slur

Enlarge (credit: Getty)

Reddit URLs are being manipulated to include a slur in the subdomain, and those URLs are coming up in Google Search results.

The Verge experienced the problem on Tuesday, reporting that while doing a Google search, Reddit results that came up had a URL that looked like this: "https://2goback-[slur][the rest of the URL]".

One Reddit user posted about the problem on Monday, and other Redditors also noticed the issue (examples here and here).

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Source: Ars Technica - All content | 6 Dec 2023 | 5:03 pm UTC

Meta faces another lawsuit over child safety

New Mexico is the latest jurisdiction to accuse Meta of failing to protect younger users. The state attorney general's office filed suit against the company this week after investigators set up test accounts on Instagram and Facebook in which they claimed to be preteens or teenagers. They used AI-generated profile photos for the accounts. The AG's office asserts that the accounts were barraged by explicit messages and images, along with sexual propositions from users. It also claimed that Meta's algorithms recommended sexual content to the test accounts.

The suit claims that “Meta has allowed Facebook and Instagram to become a marketplace for predators in search of children upon whom to prey," according to The Wall Street Journal. In addition, it asserts that Meta failed to employ measures to stop those under 13 from using its platforms and that CEO Mark Zuckerberg was personally liable for product choices that increased risks to children.

To get around Meta's age restrictions, investigators provided the company with adult dates of birth while setting up phony accounts for four children (kids often misstate their ages to access online services that they're not supposed to). However, they implied that the accounts were being used by children — one posted about losing a baby tooth and starting seventh grade. Per the suit, investigators also set up the account to make it seem as though the fictional child's mother was possibly trafficking her.

The suit alleges that, among other things, the accounts were sent child sex images and offers to pay for sex. Two days after investigators set up an account for a phony 13-year-old girl, Meta's algorithms suggested it follow a Facebook account with upwards of 119,000 followers that posted adult porn.

Investigators flagged inappropriate material (including some images that appeared to be of nude and underaged girls) through Meta's reporting systems. According to the suit, Meta's systems often found these images to be permissible on its platforms.

In a statement to the Journal, Meta claimed it prioritizes child safety and invests heavily in safety teams. “We use sophisticated technology, hire child safety experts, report content to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and share information and tools with other companies and law enforcement, including state attorneys general, to help root out predators,” the company said. Meta has also claimed that it carries out work to stop malicious adults from contacting children on its platforms.

Earlier this year, Meta set up a task force to tackle child safety issues after reports indicated Instagram's algorithms helped accounts that commissioned and bought underage-sex material to find each other. Just last week, the Journal reported on the alleged prevalence of child exploitation material on Instagram and Facebook. According to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, a “network of Instagram accounts with as many as 10 million followers each has continued to livestream videos of child sex abuse months after it was reported to the company." Meta says it has taken action over such issues.

The New Mexico lawsuit follows suits that a group of 41 states and the District of Columbia filed in October. Among other matters, they alleged that the company knew its "addictive" aspects were harmful to young users and that it misled people about safety on its platforms.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 4:47 pm UTC

Tánaiste taking court action against Google over ads

The Tánaiste is taking a High Court action against Google to find out who is using his name in online advertisements for financial products.

Source: News Headlines | 6 Dec 2023 | 4:44 pm UTC

US woman sentenced to fast food job for burrito assault

A viral video captured the woman screaming at a Chipotle worker before throwing her food in her face.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 4:41 pm UTC

Amazon Brags It 'Cultivated' California Mayor With Donations in Leaked Policy Document

Amazon said it has "cultivated" a Southern California city mayor by donating PPE to the city and taking him and his team on tours in a confidential company document leaked on Tuesday. From a report: The document, which is undated but refers to 2024 plans, also describes the company's intent to combat legislation that would harm its interests by courting non-profit groups in California. The company said "Warehouse Moratorium Legislation" in the state -- like AB 1000, which would prohibit companies from building large warehouses in residential and public areas -- "would be detrimental to Amazon's interests." The document, titled "Community Engagement Plan 2024," was shared in screenshots on X by Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, a former California State Assembly member and AFL-CIO leader, who described it as an "interesting read about how [Amazon] plan[s] to use $$ to non-profits in communities of color to fight legislation that limits environmental affects of warehouses & labor organizing." The document states that Amazon is facing "significant reputational challenges in Southern California, where the company is perceived to build facilities in predominantly communities of color and poverty, negatively impacting their health." The document then names City of Perris Mayor Michael Vargas, who Amazon refers to as "Perris Mayor Marty Vargas" in an apparent typo, as an "influential elected leader that we have cultivated through PPE donations to support the region, touring him and his team, and ongoing engagement."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot | 6 Dec 2023 | 4:40 pm UTC

Twitch to cease operations in South Korea over ‘prohibitively expensive’ network fees

Twitch is leaving South Korea, with plans to cease all operations on February 27. This is due to ‘prohibitively expensive’ networking fees, according to CEO Dan Clancy. The news is a major bummer, as the country is one of the largest esports markets in the world, with some of the most competitive League of Legends and Starcraft players around.

Clancy calls this a “unique situation," noting that operating in South Korea ends up being ten times more expensive than other countries. He went on to write that Twitch undertook a “significant effort” to continue operations, but the Amazon-owned company simply couldn’t afford it.

Some of these efforts included incorporating a lower-cost peer-to-peer model and downgrading the resolution of streams to 720p, according to TechCrunch. The company had been running at a significant loss and it decided to, well, stop doing that. 

“I want to reiterate that this was a very difficult decision and one we are very disappointed we had to make. Korea has always and will continue to play a special role in the international esports community and we are incredibly grateful for the communities they built on Twitch,” wrote Clancy.

Netflix has also been open about its struggles to continue operations in South Korea. The streaming giant and local internet service provider SK Broadband had been tossing lawsuits back and forth regarding networking fees before settling back in September. As usual, consumers got the shaft on this one, as Netflix ended up raising prices by around 13 percent.

So what’s the issue exactly? It all boils down to a particular type of internet traffic tax employed in South Korea called the “Sending Party Network Pays” (SPNP) model. This tax requires the tech company, Twitch in this case, to pay a fee to the ISP for traffic to be delivered to the end user. Foreign companies resisted these efforts for years but there have been recent crackdowns, and here we are.

South Korea is the first country to force the SPNP model, but other nations are looking to follow suit. India, for instance, has expressed interest in changing up its telecom rules in favor of ISPs and the EU has been debating the issue since March. As for Twitch, the company’s hosting a live stream today to address concerns from Korean users.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 4:30 pm UTC

Israel hostages in Gaza: We have evidence their health worsening, say families

A three-hour meeting between freed hostages and Israel's leaders turned tense, observers say.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 4:18 pm UTC

Meta and TikTok explain response to Dublin riots and misinformation

Social media company X was criticised by Oireachtas committee members for not appearing before them on Wednesday.

Source: All: | 6 Dec 2023 | 4:16 pm UTC

The first affordable headphones with MEMS drivers don't disappoint

The headphone industry isn’t known for its rapid evolution. There are developments like spatial sound and steady advances in Bluetooth audio fidelity, but for the most part, the industry counts advances in decades rather than years. That makes the arrival of the Aurvana Ace headphones — the first wireless buds with MEMS drivers — quite the rare event. I recently wrote about what exactly MEMS technology is and why it matters, but Creative is the first consumer brand to sell a product that uses it.

Creative unveiled two models, the Aurvana Ace ($130) and the Aurvana Ace 2 ($150) in tandem. Both feature MEMS drivers, the main difference is that the Ace model supports high-resolution aptX Adaptive while the Ace 2 has top-of-the-line aptX Lossless (sometimes marketed as “CD quality”). The Ace 2 is the model we’ll be referring to from here on.

In fairness to Creative, just the inclusion of MEMS drivers alone would be a unique selling point, but the aforementioned aptX support adds another layer of HiFi credentials to the mix. Then there’s adaptive ANC and other details like wireless charging that give the Ace 2 a strong spec-sheet for the price. Some obvious omissions include small quality of life features like pausing playback if you remove a bud and audio personalization. Those could have been two easy wins that would make both models fairly hard to beat for the price in terms of features if nothing else.

Photo by James Trew / Engadget

When I tested the first ever xMEMS-powered in-ear monitors, the Singularity Oni, the extra detail in the high end was instantly obvious, especially in genres like metal and drum & bass. The lower frequencies were more of a challenge, with xMEMS, the company behind the drivers in both the Oni and the Aurvana, conceding that a hybrid setup with a conventional bass driver might be the preferred option until its own speakers can handle more bass. That’s exactly what we have here in the Aurvana Ace 2.

The key difference between the Aurvana Ace 2 and the Oni though is more important than a good low end thump (if that’s even possible). MEMS-based headphones need a small amount of “bias” power to work, this doesn’t impact battery life, but Singularity used a dedicated DAC with a specific xMEMS “mode.” Creative uses a specific amp “chip” that demonstrates, for the first time, consumer MEMS headphones in a wireless configuration. The popularity of true wireless (TWS) headphones these days means that if MEMS is to catch on, it has to be compatible.

The good news is that even without the expensive iFi DAC that the Singularity Oni IEMs required to work, the Aurvana Ace 2 bring extra clarity in the higher frequencies than rival products at this price. That’s to say, even with improved bass, the MEMS drivers clearly favor the mid- to high-end frequencies. The result is a sound that strikes a good balance between detail and body.

Listening to “Master of Puppets” the iconic chords had better presence and “crunch” than on a $250 pair of on-ear headphones I tried. Likewise, the aggressive snares in System of a Down’s “Chop Suey!” pop right through just as you’d hope. When I listened to the same song on the $200 Grell Audio TWS/1 with personalized audio activated the sounds were actually comparable. Just Creative’s sounded like that out of the box, but the Grell buds have slightly better dynamic range over all and more emphasis on the vocals.

For more electronic genres the Aurvana Ace’s hybrid setup really comes into play. Listening to Dead Prez’s “Hip-Hop” really shows off the bass capabilities, with more oomph here than both the Grell and a pair of $160 House of Marley Redemption 2 ANC — but it never felt overdone or fuzzy/loose.

Photo by James Trew / Engadget

Despite besting other headphones on specific like-for-like comparisons, as a whole the nuances and differences between the headphones is harder to quantify. The only set I tested that sounded consistently better, to me, was the Denon Perl Pro (formerly known as the NuraTrue Pro) but at $349 those are also the most expensive.

It would be remiss of me not to point out that there were also many songs and tests where differences between the various sets of earbuds were much harder to discern. With two iPhones, one Spotify account and a lot of swapping between headphones during the same song it’s possible to tease out small preferences between different sets, but the form factor, consumer preference and price point dictate that, to some extent, they all broadly overlap sonically.

The promise of MEMS drivers isn’t just about fidelity though. The claim is that the lack of moving parts and their semiconductor-like fabrication process ensures a higher level of consistency with less need for calibration and tuning. The end result being a more reliable production process which should mean lower cost. In turn this could translate into better value for money or at least a potentially more durable product. If the companies choose to pass that saving on of course.

For now, we’ll have to wait and see if other companies explore using MEMS drivers in their own products or whether it might remain an alternative option alongside technology like planar magnetic drivers and electrostatic headphones as specialist options for enthusiasts. One thing’s for sure: Creative’s Aurvana Ace series offers a great audio experience alongside premium features like wireless charging and aptX Lossless for a reasonable price — what’s not to like about that?

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 4:15 pm UTC

Here's how fast a spacecraft should fly to successfully detect amino acids erupting from Enceladus

Does the Saturnian moon contain the chemical building blocks for alien life?

Future spacecraft flying close to Enceladus may be able to detect amino acids, an essential class of organic compounds for life on Earth, in the explosive plumes erupting from the moon's surface, a new study suggests.…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 4:15 pm UTC

Norman Lear: Sitcom writer and producer dies aged 101

He was best known for his trailblazing sitcoms in the 1970s and 80s including All in the Family.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 4:10 pm UTC

Intel Calls AMD's Chips 'Snake Oil'

Aaron Klotz, reporting for Tom's Hardware: Intel recently published a new playbook titled "Core Truths" that put AMD under direct fire for utilizing its older Zen 2 CPU architecture in its latest Ryzen 7000 mobile series CPU product stack. Intel later removed the document, but we have the slides below. The playbook is designed to educate customers about AMD's product stack and even calls it "snake oil." Intel's playbook specifically talks about AMD's latest Ryzen 5 7520U, criticizing the fact it features AMD's Zen 2 architecture from 2019 even though it sports a Ryzen 7000 series model name. Further on in the playbook, the company accuses AMD of selling "half-truths" to unsuspecting customers, stressing that the future of younger kid's education needs the best CPU performance from the latest and greatest CPU technologies made today. To make its point clear, Intel used images in its playbook referencing "snake oil" and images of used car salesmen. The playbook also criticizes AMD's new naming scheme for its Ryzen 7000 series mobile products, quoting ArsTechnica: "As a consumer, you're still intended to see the number 7 and think, 'Oh, this is new.'" Intel also published CPU benchmark comparisons of the 7520U against its 13th Gen Core i5-1335U to back up its points. Unsurprisingly, the 1335U was substantially faster than the Zen 2 counterpart.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot | 6 Dec 2023 | 4:00 pm UTC

How missiles from Yemen could escalate Israel-Gaza war

The Iran-backed Houthis have recently begun attacking vessels in the Red Sea they say are linked to Israel.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 3:53 pm UTC

McEntee admits no role in fast-tracking trainee gardaí

The Minister for Justice has confirmed that she had no role in having more trainee gardaí on the streets before Christmas.

Source: News Headlines | 6 Dec 2023 | 3:48 pm UTC

Apple and Google are probably spying on your push notifications

Foreign governments likely spy on your smart phone usage, and now Senator Ron Wyden's office is pushing for Apple and Google to reveal how exactly it works. Push notifications, the dings you get from apps calling your attention back to your phone, may be handed over from a company to government services if asked. But it appears the Department of Justice won't let companies come clean about the practice. 

Push notifications don't actually come straight from the app. Instead, they pass through the smart phone provider, like Apple for iPhones or Google for Androids, to deliver the notifications to your screen. This has created murky room for government surveillance. "Because Apple and Google deliver push notification data, they can be secretly compelled by governments to hand over this information," Wyden wrote in the letter on Wednesday.

Apple claims it was suppressed from coming clean about this process, which is why Wyden's letter specifically targets the Department of Justice. "In this case, the federal government prohibited us from sharing any information and now that this method has become public we are updating our transparency reporting to detail these kinds of request,” Apple said in a statement to Engadget. Apple's next transparency report will include requests for push notification tokens, according to the company. Specifically, Wyden asks the DOJ to let Apple and Google tell customers and the general public about the demand for these app notification records. "We were the first major company to publish a public transparency report sharing the number and types of government requests for user data we receive, including the requests referred to by Senator Wyden. We share the Senator’s commitment to keeping users informed about these requests," Google said in a statement.

It's even more complicated because apps can't do much about it. Even if there's an individual pledge for security, if an app delivers push notifications, it must use the Apple or Google system to do so. In theory, this means your private messaging could be shared with a foreign government if you're getting push notifications from the app. That includes any metadata about the notification, too, like account information.

The revelation about push notifications come at a time when privacy and security have become a selling point. Companies advertise how they'll keep your information safe, but as more loopholes come to light, it's becoming harder to suss out what's actually trustworthy. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 3:45 pm UTC

GTA 6, The Game Awards and the great indie debate | This week's gaming news

After a slow month in the world of video game marketing, things are starting to pick up. The past week has given us a first look at the new Fallout TV show, a few release dates and a trailer for a little game called Grand Theft Auto VI — and the Game Awards are still to come. What good timing for us to launch a weekly video game show to dig into the news.

This week’s stories

The Game Awards

The Game Awards

The Game Awards will go live on Thursday, December 7, at 7:30PM ET. Expect a few hours of game announcements, new trailers, awkward interviews and musical performances, including one by the fictional band from Alan Wake 2.

Amazon MGM Studios

Fallout, but on TV!

Amazon dropped the first trailer for its live-action Fallout series — and, man, it sure does look like Fallout. The show is set in Los Angeles 200 years after the nuclear apocalypse, and it stars Yellowjackets actor Ella Purnell, plus Walton Goggins, Aaron Moten and Kyle MacLachlan. It’s heading to Prime Video on April 12, 2024.

GTA VI is coming in 2025

The biggest news item this week, pre-The Game Awards, was the first official trailer for Grand Theft Auto VI. As of writing it's already reached 105 million views on YouTube — a pace usually reserved for only the finest K-Pop videos. GTA VI is set in Vice City, it’s coming out in 2025 and I'm sure we’ll hear a lot more about it before then.


What is an indie game?

The meat of this week’s episode focuses on the longstanding debate about what “indie” actually means. One of the titles nominated for Best Independent Game at the Game Awards, Dave the Diver, was commissioned and bankrolled by Nexon, one of the largest video game studios in South Korea. It’s not indie, and its inclusion in this category highlights how little consensus there still is around the definition.

This is kinda my area of expertise — it’s my 13th year as a video game journalist and indie games have always been a core feature of my reporting. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I mean when I say “indie,” so I sat down and formalized this thought process. There are three questions that can help define a game in an indie gray area: Is the team on the mainstream system’s payroll? Is the game or team owned by a platform holder? Do the artists have creative control? I dug into these questions this week, and discuss how having a publisher isn’t related to the indie label at all.

But when all else fails in the indie debate, there’s one ultimate question to ask: Can this team exist without my support? This is why the distinction matters: The indie label helps to identify the artists that would not exist without game sales, crowdfunding or word-of-mouth support from players. It exists to determine the teams that are truly living and dying on game sales, and it helps players decide where to spend their money. If Dave the Diver didn’t sell well, its team would likely have the chance to try again. If, say, Pizza Tower didn’t sell well, its studio could have folded.

I think this is an important conversation, so give that story a read and let us know in the comments if you think my questions help or just make things more confusing. It’s probably a little bit of both.

Now playing

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood on Steam Deck — it’s the latest game from Deconstructeam, the indie studio that made The Red Strings Club and Gods Will Be Watching. The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood is a game about building tarot decks, manipulating elections, betraying a coven of witches and seducing everyone; it’s sexy and well-written, and I highly recommend it. Another game I’m looking forward to is A Highland Song from indie studio Inkle; it just came out this week and I’m excited to dive in.

Let us know in the comments what you’re playing! Also, we still don’t know what to call this weekly video game news show, so leave us some name suggestions, too. Thanks!

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 3:30 pm UTC

Red Hat greases migration to RHEL for CentOS 7 holdouts

Insights tool aims to simplify conversion process, but it'll probably cost you

Red Hat has suggested that if customers are worried about the impending end of life for CentOS 7, they might wish to migrate to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) via its Insights service.…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 3:30 pm UTC

Status Yellow wind and rain warnings for 13 counties

Status Yellow rain and wind warnings are in force for 13 counties as wet and windy weather crosses the country.

Source: News Headlines | 6 Dec 2023 | 3:19 pm UTC

US Senate blocks $106bn aid for Ukraine and Israel

Republican senators have blocked a White House request for $106 billion in emergency aid primarily for Ukraine and Israel, as conservatives balked at the exclusion of immigration reforms they had demanded as part of the deal.

Source: News Headlines | 6 Dec 2023 | 3:16 pm UTC

Just about every Windows and Linux device vulnerable to new LogoFAIL firmware attack

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Hundreds of Windows and Linux computer models from virtually all hardware makers are vulnerable to a new attack that executes malicious firmware early in the boot-up sequence, a feat that allows infections that are nearly impossible to detect or remove using current defense mechanisms.

The attack—dubbed LogoFAIL by the researchers who devised it—is notable for the relative ease in carrying it out, the breadth of both consumer- and enterprise-grade models that are susceptible, and the high level of control it gains over them. In many cases, LogoFAIL can be remotely executed in post-exploit situations using techniques that can’t be spotted by traditional endpoint security products. And because exploits run during the earliest stages of the boot process, they are able to bypass a host of defenses, including the industry-wide Secure Boot, Intel’s Secure Boot, and similar protections from other companies that are devised to prevent so-called bootkit infections.

Game over for platform security

LogoFAIL is a constellation of two dozen newly discovered vulnerabilities that have lurked for years, if not decades, in Unified Extensible Firmware Interfaces responsible for booting modern devices that run Windows or Linux. The vulnerabilities are the product of almost a year’s worth of work by Binarly, a firm that helps customers identify and secure vulnerable firmware.

Read 28 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Source: Ars Technica - All content | 6 Dec 2023 | 3:02 pm UTC

Google's answer to GPT-4 is Gemini: 'the most capable model we’ve ever built'

OpenAI's spot atop the generative AI heap may be coming to an end as Google officially introduced its most capable large language model to date on Wednesday, dubbed Gemini 1.0. It's the first of “a new generation of AI models, inspired by the way people understand and interact with the world,” CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a Google blog post.

“Ever since programming AI for computer games as a teenager, and throughout my years as a neuroscience researcher trying to understand the workings of the brain, I’ve always believed that if we could build smarter machines, we could harness them to benefit humanity in incredible ways,” Pichai continued.

The result of extensive collaboration between Google’s DeepMind and Research divisions, Gemini has all the bells and whistles cutting-edge genAIs have to offer. "Its capabilities are state-of-the-art in nearly every domain," Pichai declared. 

The system has been developed from the ground up as an integrated multimodal AI. Many foundational models can be essentially though of groups of smaller models all stacked in a trench coat, with each individual model trained to perform its specific function as a part of the larger whole. That’s all well and good for shallow functions like describing images but not so much for complex reasoning tasks.

Google, conversely, pre-trained and fine-tuned Gemini, “from the start on different modalities” allowing it to “seamlessly understand and reason about all kinds of inputs from the ground up, far better than existing multimodal models,” Pichai said. Being able to take in all these forms of data at once should help Gemini provide better responses on more challenging subjects, like physics.

Gemini can code as well. It’s reportedly proficient in popular programming languages including Python, Java, C++ and Go. Google has even leveraged a specialized version of Gemini to create AlphaCode 2, a successor to last year's competition-winning generativeAI. According to the company, AlphaCode 2 solved twice as many challenge questions as its predecessor did, which would put its performance above an estimated 85 percent of the previous competition’s participants.

While Google did not immediately share the number of parameters that Gemini can utilize, the company did tout the model’s operational flexibility and ability to work in form factors from large data centers to local mobile devices. To accomplish this transformational feat, Gemini is being made available in three sizes: Nano, Pro and Ultra. 

Nano, unsurprisingly, is the smallest of the trio and designed primarily for on-device tasks. Pro is the next step up, a more versatile offering than Nano, and will soon be getting integrated into many of Google’s existing products, including Bard.

Starting Wednesday, Bard will begin using a especially-tuned version of Pro that Google promises will offer “more advanced reasoning, planning, understanding and more.” The improved Bard chatbot will be available in the same 170 countries and territories that regular Bard currently is, and the company reportedly plans to expand the new version's availability as we move through 2024. Next year, with the arrival of Gemini Ultra, Google will also introduce Bard Advanced, an even beefier AI with added features.

Pro’s capabilities will also be accessible via API calls through Google AI Studio or Google Cloud Vertex AI. Search (specifically SGE), Ads, Chrome and Duet AI will also see Gemini functionality integrated into their features in the coming months.

Gemini Ultra won’t be available until at least 2024, as it reportedly requires additional red-team testing before being cleared for release to “select customers, developers, partners and safety and responsibility experts” for testing and feedback.” But when it does arrive, Ultra promises to be an incredibly powerful for further AI development.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 3:00 pm UTC

Google announces new AI processing chips and a cloud 'hypercomputer'

Undoubtedly, 2023 has been the year of generative AI, and Google is marking its end with even more AI developments. The company has announced the creation of its most powerful TPU (formally known as Tensor Processing Units) yet, Cloud TPU v5p, and an AI Hypercomputer from Google Cloud. "The growth in [generative] AI models — with a tenfold increase in parameters annually over the past five years — brings heightened requirements for training, tuning, and inference," Amin Vahdat, Google's Engineering Fellow and Vice President for the Machine Leaning, Systems, and Cloud AI team, said in a release.

The Cloud TPU v5p is an AI accelerator, training and serving models. Google designed Cloud TPUs to work with models that are large, have long training periods, are mostly made of matrix computations and have no custom operations inside its main training loop, such as TensorFlow or JAX. Each TPU v5p pod brings 8,960 chips when using Google's highest-bandwidth inter-chip interconnect.

The Cloud TPU v5p follows previous iterations like the v5e and v4. According to Google, the TPU v5p has two times greater FLOPs and is four times more scalable when considering FLOPS per pod than the TPU v4. It can also train LLM models 2.8 times faster and embed dense models 1.9 times faster than the TPU v4. 

Then there's the new AI Hypercomputer, which includes an integrated system with open software, performance-optimized hardware, machine learning frameworks, and flexible consumption models. The idea is that this amalgamation will improve productivity and efficiency compared to if each piece was looked at separately. The AI Hypercomputer's performance-optimized hardware utilizes Google's Jupiter data center network technology.

In a change of pace, Google provides open software to developers with "extensive support" for machine learning frameworks such as JAX, PyTorch and TensorFlow. This announcement comes on the heels of Meta and IBM's launch of the AI Alliance, which prioritizes open sourcing (and Google is notably not involved in). The AI Hypercomputer also introduces two models, Flex Start Mode and Calendar Mode. 

Google shared the news alongside the introduction of Gemini, a new AI model that the company calls its "largest and most capable," and its rollout to Bard and the Pixel 8 Pro. It will come in three sizes: Gemini Pro, Gemini Ultra and Gemini Nano. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 3:00 pm UTC

Google’s Gemini AI is coming to Android

Google is bringing Gemini, the new large language model it just introduced, to Android, beginning with the Pixel 8 Pro. The company’s flagship smartphone will run Gemini Nano, a version of the model built specifically to run locally on smaller devices, Google announced in a blog post. The Pixel 8 Pro is powered by the Google Tensor G3 chip designed to speed up AI performance.

This lets the Pixel 8 Pro add several smarts to existing features. The phone’s Recorder app, for instance, has a Summarize feature that currently needs a network connection to give you a summary of recorded conversations, interviews, and presentations. But thanks to Gemini Nano, the phone will now be able to provide a summary without needing a connection at all.

Gemini smarts will also power Gboard’s Smart Reply feature. Gboard will suggest high-quality responses to messages and be aware of context in conversations. The feature is currently available as a developer preview and needs to be enabled in settings. However, it only works with WhatsApp currently and will come to more apps next year.

“Gemini Nano running on Pixel 8 Pro offers several advantages by design, helping prevent sensitive data from leaving the phone, as well as offering the ability to use features without a network connection,” wrote Brian Rakowski, Google Pixel’s vice president of product management.

As part of today’s AI push, Google is upgrading Bard, the company’s ChatGPT rival, with Gemini as well, so you should see significant improvements when using the Pixel’s Assistant with Bard experience. Google is also rolling out a handful of AI-powered productivity and customization updates on other Pixel devices, including the Pixel Tablet and the Pixel Watch, although it isn’t immediately clear what they are.


Gemini Nano is the smallest version of Google's large language model, while Gemini Pro is a larger model that will power not just Bard but other Google services like Search, Ads and Chrome, among others. Gemini Ultra, Google's beefiest model, will arrive in 2024 and will be used to further AI development.

Although today’s updates are focused on the Pixel 8 Pro, Google spoke today about AI Core, an Android 14 service that allows developers to access AI features like Nano. Google says AI Core is designed run on “new ML hardware like the latest Google Tensor TPU and NPUs in flagship Qualcomm Technologies, Samsung S.LSI and MediaTek silicon.” The company adds that “additional devices and silicon partners will be announced in the coming months.”

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 3:00 pm UTC

AI joins you in the DJ booth with Algoriddim’s djay Pro 5

Algoriddim’s djay Pro software has always had close ties to Apple and often been at the forefront of new DJ tech, especially on Mac, iOS or iPadOS. Today marks the launch of djay Pro version 5 and it includes a variety of novel features, many of which leverage the company’s AI and a new partnership with the interactive team at AudioShake.

There are several buzzy trademarked names to remember this time around including next-generation Neural Mix, Crossfader Fusion and Fluid Beatgrid. These are the major points of interest in djay Pro 5, with only a passing mention of improved stem separation on mobile, UI refreshes for the library and a new simplified Starter Mode that may cater to new users on the platform. The updates include some intriguing AI-automated features that put the system in control of more complex maneuvers. Best of all, existing users get it all for free as part of their subscription.

AudioShake and Algroiddim have been working on their audio separation tech (like many other companies) and are calling this refreshed version Next-generation Neural Mix. We’re told to expect crisp, clear separation of elements from vocals, harmonies and drums. The tools have also been optimized for mobile devices, as long as they run a supported OS.

Fluid Beatbrid is perhaps one of the easiest to understand and seems to be an underlying part of the crossfader updates. Anyone who’s used beatgrids knows they’re rarely perfect on first analysis and often take a bit of work to lock in, especially on tracks that need it. Songs with live instrumentation that tend to shift tempo naturally, EDM with varying tempo shifts during breakdowns and even just older dance tracks that tend to meander slightly throughout playback have been pain points. Fluid Beatgrid is supposed to use AI to accommodate for those shifts and find the right points to mark.

Crossfader Fusion is where stems, automation and those beatgrids all come into play. There are now a variety of settings for the crossfader beyond the usual curves. One of the highlighted modes is the Neural Mix (Harmonic Sustain) setting. This utilizes stem separation and automated level adjustments as you go from one track to the next.

For those who enjoy cutting and scratching, there are crossfade settings that use automated curves and spatial effects so, for example, outgoing track vocals can be dropping out as you cut into the next track automatically. The incoming track’s vocals can be highlighted for scratching and as your mix completes the transition, things are blended together further with AI.

There's even an example provided that shows how you can mix across vastly different BPMs, where the incoming song matches up with a slower outgoing track, but its original tempo is slowly integrated during the transition leaving you with the new faster tempo. 

Existing users should be alerted to the update, but newcomers can find djay Pro version 5 starting today at the App Store. While there will continue to be a free version, the optional Pro subscription costs $7 per month or $50 per year and gives you access to all the features across Mac, iOS and iPhone. Support for the app includes devices running MacOS 10.15 or later and iOS 15 / iPadOS 15 or later.

And as a side note, we’re told that djay Pro for Windows users were leveled up in September and will get Fluid Beatgrid in an update for that platform as soon as next week. Newer features like Crossfader Fusion are expected in the near future.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 3:00 pm UTC

Tracking human emissions from space

Video: 00:11:52

The Copernicus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Monitoring (CO2M) mission will be the first satellite mission to measure how much carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere through human activity.

CO2M isn't just a mission; it's a crucial step in our commitment to understanding and mitigating climate change. It will offer unprecedented precision in monitoring carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of fossil fuel at national and regional scales.

Its data will provide the EU with a unique and independent source of information to assess the effectiveness of policy measures and to track their impact towards decarbonising Europe ahead of the next Global Stocktake set to place in 2028.

The video features interviews with Valerie Fernandez, CO2M Mission Project Manager, Yannig Durand, CO2M Payload Manager and Yasjka Meijer, CO2M Mission Scientist.

Source: ESA Top News | 6 Dec 2023 | 3:00 pm UTC

Apple wants iPhone 16 batteries to come from India, not China

Enlarge / The iPhone 15 is manufactured both in China and India. (credit: Apple)

Apple wants batteries for its latest generation of iPhones to be made in India, as part of the US tech giant’s efforts to diversify its global supply chain and move manufacturing out of China.

The world’s most valuable company has informed component suppliers of its preference to source batteries for the forthcoming iPhone 16 from Indian factories, according to two people close to Apple.

Battery manufacturers, such as Desay of China, have been encouraged to establish new factories in India, while Simplo Technology, a Taiwanese battery supplier for Apple, has been asked to scale up production in India for future orders, said three people familiar with the situation.

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Source: Ars Technica - All content | 6 Dec 2023 | 2:47 pm UTC

A year on, CISA realizes debunked vuln actually a dud and removes it from must-patch list

Apparently no one thought to check if this D-Link router 'issue' was actually exploitable

A security vulnerability previously added to CISA's Known Exploited Vulnerability catalog (KEV), which was recognized by CVE Numbering Authorities (CNA), and included in reputable threat reports is now being formally rejected by infosec organizations.…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 2:45 pm UTC

EU must face legacy of colonialism and support reparations, say MEPs

Draft resolution to European parliament committee is first formal attempt to place reparations for slavery on EU agenda

The European Union should urgently address and reverse the lasting impacts of European colonialism and support a reparations programme to rectify continuing injustices, according to a draft resolution to be presented to the European parliament’s development committee.

Noting that the EU has made “no concerted efforts to recognise, address and rectify the lasting effects of European colonialism on social and international inequities”, the draft resolution calls for the creation of a permanent EU forum on restorative justice.

Continue reading...

Source: World news | The Guardian | 6 Dec 2023 | 2:40 pm UTC

‘Jesus lives in me’: Puerto Rican pop star Daddy Yankee retires to focus on faith

Retirement brings to an end one of the most successful and influential careers in Latin American pop

Daddy Yankee, the Puerto Rican star who helped make reggaeton a global phenomenon, has said he will focus on his Christian faith following his previously announced retirement from music.

The 46-year-old vocalist, real name Ramón Rodríguez, told the crowd of his plans at his final concert, held at Puerto Rico’s José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum. “I am not ashamed to tell the whole world that Jesus lives in me and that I will live for him,” he said in Spanish, in remarks translated by Variety. “For many years I’ve tried filling a hole in my life that no one could fill. I tried finding a purpose, on many occasions, it seemed as if I was happy but something was missing for me to feel complete.”

Continue reading...

Source: World news | The Guardian | 6 Dec 2023 | 2:33 pm UTC

Rishi Sunak accused of giving Rwanda millions ‘for nothing in return’

PMQs clash comes as Suella Braverman expected to heavily criticise government’s immigration plans

Rishi Sunak’s government has been accused by Keir Starmer of giving Rwanda “hundreds of millions of pounds for nothing in return” following the signing of a deportation treaty.

In a clash at prime minister’s questions, the Labour leader mocked the treaty, signed on Tuesday, saying the Rwandan government of President Paul Kagame had seen the prime minister coming “a mile off”.

Continue reading...

Source: World news | The Guardian | 6 Dec 2023 | 2:12 pm UTC

The best travel gifts for 2023

Be it for work or play, people are taking trips again, so now is a great time to upgrade their kits with new travel must-haves. If someone you love is taking their first serious trip in a few years, some of the things they used in the past to make shuffling through airports and hopping on and off trains easier may not serve them as well today. Below, we’ve curated a list of tech (and regular) items that all frequent travelers will appreciate. A good bag and a portable charger are essentials, while noise-canceling headphones and a good ereader can make the hectic parts of traveling a bit less stressful. These are the 15 best gifts you can get a traveler this year.

Sony WH-1000XM5

Kobo Libra 2

Roku Streaming Stick 4K

Nestout Outdoor Battery

Bellroy Toiletry Kit Plus

Newvanga travel power adapter

JBL Clip 4 Eco

Retroid Pocket 3+

Loop Quiet Earplugs

NuPhy Air75 V2

Logitech MX Anywhere 3S

Peak Design Packable Tote

Huckberry x GoRuck GR2 Slick Backpack

Sunski Seacliff Polarized Recycled Sunglasses

ExpressVPN subscription

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 2:10 pm UTC

Why Parents Can’t Quit the Elite College Arms Race

They’re anxious about an uncertain future that is beyond their control.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 6 Dec 2023 | 2:06 pm UTC

NASA engineers got their parachute wires crossed for OSIRIS-REx mission

'Inconsistent wiring label definitions' resulted in drogue being cut before it was deployed

NASA has revealed how a wiring mix-up resulted in a parachute problem on its otherwise successful OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission.…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 2:00 pm UTC

Sony debuts first PS5 controller for disabled gamers

The Access Controller is a 'highly customisable kit' of buttons, triggers and sticks, the firm says.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 1:55 pm UTC

Mortgage problems ease but many face ‘price shock’

The Bank of England says fewer households will struggle to keep up with mortgage payments than previously thought.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 1:50 pm UTC

EU running in circles trying to get AI Act out the door

Bloc risks missing out on first-to-legislate status if timetable slips

The European Commission is entering 11th-hour negotiations to hammer out legislation governing the development and use of AI in time to retain its position as first mover on AI rules.…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 1:41 pm UTC

Half of London's famed black cab taxi fleet are now EVs

Half of London's black cab fleet is now made up of zero-emission vehicles, manufacturer LEVC and Transport for London (TfL) announced. Of the 14,690 licensed taxis in the capital, 7,972 are battery electric vehicles (BEVs), with most manufactured by Geely's LEVC, according to the latest figures. The number of those models grew a fairly dramatic 10 percent in the last month alone. 

"Reaching this milestone is a great reflection of how London is working hard to be a greener, more sustainable, environmentally friendly city," said TfL's Helen Chapman. "London's black taxis are recognized worldwide and we are proud to see that so many drivers are helping clean up the air." 

New drivers haven't had a choice in the matter, though, as since 2018, TfL has required that all new cabs licensed in the city be zero emissions cable (the rule was extended to private minicabs last year). Cabbies with existing licenses have been motivated to change, too, as any still using less efficient vehicles have been required since 2020 to pay a daily rate (now £12.50) to operate in central London's Ultra Low Emission Zone.

Many of London's larger taxi and minicab operators have committed to fully-electric fleets by 2025. That includes the city's largest operator, Addison Lee (which uses VW ID 4s) saying it would reach that goal by 2023. London's Black Cabs are generally independently owned and licensed under strict rules by TfL. Uber recently announced that London's black taxis would be listed on its app and while some drivers have signed up, many decried the plan. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 1:40 pm UTC

Understanding climate tipping points

As the planet warms, many parts of the Earth system are undergoing large-scale changes. Ice sheets are shrinking, sea levels are rising and coral reefs are dying off.

While climate records are being continuously broken, the cumulative impact of these changes could also cause fundamental parts of the Earth system to change dramatically. These ‘tipping points’ of climate change are critical thresholds in that, if exceeded, can lead to irreversible consequences.  

Source: ESA Top News | 6 Dec 2023 | 1:30 pm UTC

Gardaí trace man seen in Trevor Deely CCTV footage

The brother of Trevor Deely has said that "big breakthroughs" in relation to the CCTV footage from the last sightings of him have allayed fears they had that he was being followed.

Source: News Headlines | 6 Dec 2023 | 1:28 pm UTC

New report says 'the world is on a disastrous trajectory' due to climate change

As a controversial COP28 continues in Dubai, a new report emphasizes that "the world is on a disastrous trajectory." The Global Tipping Points report emphasized the need for an immediate phasing out of fossil fuels and a commitment to beneficial solutions. Tipping points are small thresholds that, when crossed, spark a series of events, including the passage of other tipping points. 

The report, led by the University of Exeter and the Global Systems Institute, looked at 26 negative tipping points and the Earth's chances of breaching them as it heads towards a global warming of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Scientists from the European Union have declared 2023 as the hottest year on record. As things stand, researchers found five tipping points are currently at risk of being hit, such as major ice sheets collapsing and warm-water coral reefs dying off. Another three are possible in the 2030s (when that 2.7 F marker is crossed).

The Global Tipping Points report bluntly states: "The existence of tipping points means that 'business as usual' is now over. Rapid changes to nature and society are occurring, and more are coming. If we don't revise our governance approach, these changes could overwhelm societies as the natural world rapidly comes apart." It also emphasizes the importance of pursuing positive tipping points, such as the massive rollout of EVs.

The report lays out six key recommendations to avoid negative tipping points and pursue positive ones:

The controversies surrounding the ongoing COP28 are one of the barriers to implementing these initiatives. Reports have indicated that the United Arab Emirates planned to use the conference to make deals for its oil and gas companies with other countries. In fact, at least 2,456 fossil fuel lobbyists have access to COP28's climate negotiations, the Guardian reports. This number is larger than any country's delegation other than Brazil and UAE and more than those traveling from the top ten most climate vulnerable countries.

Then there's Sultan Al Jaber, COP28's president and the chief executive of Adnoc, UAE's state oil company, who added fire to his already controversial opinion. In a livestream conversation with Mary Robinson, the chair of the Elders group and a former UN special envoy for climate change, Al Jaber stated, "There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says that the phase-out of fossil fuel is what's going to achieve 1.5C." His comment came after Robinson told Al Jaber that he had the "credibility" as head of Adnoc to work towards ending fossil fuel use.

Robinson then questioned Al Jaber about reports that Adnoc is increasing its fossil fuel use, which he denied. "Please help me, show me the roadmap for a phase-out of fossil fuel that will allow for sustainable socioeconomic development, unless you want to take the world back into caves," Al Jaber added and told her to stop pointing fingers. He later called out the press for misinterpreting his statements.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 1:25 pm UTC

TikTok trends 2023: Girl summer, Yearbook filters and Wes Anderson-style videos

Users of the app also ran wild with discussion of the Roman Empire, yearbook filters and "girl dinner".

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 1:05 pm UTC

Daily Telescope: A super-hot jet 1,000 light-years from Earth

Enlarge / This image reveals intricate details of the Herbig Haro object number 797 (HH 797). (credit: ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, T. Ray (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies))

Welcome to the Daily Telescope. There is a little too much darkness in this world and not enough light, a little too much pseudoscience and not enough science. We'll let other publications offer you a daily horoscope. At Ars Technica, we're going to take a different route, finding inspiration from very real images of a universe that is filled with stars and wonder.

Good morning. It's December 6, and today's image features a stunning outflow from a double star about 1,000 light-years from Earth.

The James Webb Space Telescope captured this photograph and provides unprecedented detail of Herbig Haro object number 797. Such objects are luminous regions surrounding newborn stars and are formed when stellar winds or jets of gas spewing from these protostars form shockwaves colliding with nearby gas and dust at high speeds.

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Source: Ars Technica - All content | 6 Dec 2023 | 1:00 pm UTC

Premier League: Is football's Saturday 3pm TV blackout out of date?

Fans of clubs ranging from the Premier League to the Women's Super League to non-league have their say.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 12:57 pm UTC

BTS tell K-pop fans: Don't wave us off at military bases

Band members RM, Jimin, V and Jung Kook urge fans to avoid send-offs when they report for duty.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 12:56 pm UTC

The best wireless headphones for 2024

Over-ear, noise-canceling headphones typically offer all of the features you’d want to get the most comprehensive listening experience possible. Stellar sound quality, powerful active noise cancelation (ANC), reliable Bluetooth connections and more should all be present on a good pair of wireless headphones that offer the complete package. Of course, some companies do this better than others. At Engadget, we review many Bluetooth wireless headphones and earbuds each year; for this guide, we tested out a number of different headphone models with a variety of features, including noise cancellation, customization options and solid sound quality. Our seven favorites tick all of the most important boxes we'd expect quality wireless headphones to check, plus they span a range of prices so you can find one that fits within your budget.

How to choose the best wireless headphones for you

When it comes to shopping for a good pair of wireless headphones, the first thing you’ll need to decide on is wear style. Do you prefer on-ear or over-ear headphones? For the purposes of our buyer’s guide, we focus on the over-ear style as that’s what most noise-canceling headphones are nowadays. Sure, you can find on-ear models with ANC, but over-ear designs are much more effective at blocking sound. Speaking of noise cancellation, you’ll want to determine early on if you even want that. If you frequently crank up the beats in noisy environments, you’ll want to not only make sure it’s there, but also make sure it’s good. If you plan to use your new headphones in quieter spaces, skipping ANC can save you some money.

The next area to consider is features. We recommend trying to get the most bang for your buck, but as you’re shopping around you should determine which items are must-haves and what you can live without. And don’t take basic things like automatic pausing and Bluetooth multipoint connectivity for granted, as not all companies include them. We also suggest reading reviews to see how well a company’s more advanced features work. This will help you decide if those are something you’re willing to (likely) pay extra for. Pay close attention to battery life estimates and don’t be easily swayed by lofty promises about call quality.

Sound can be subjective, so we recommend trying before you buy if at all possible. We understand this isn’t easy at a time when we’re doing most of our shopping online. But trying on a set of headphones and listening to them for a few minutes can save you from an expensive case of buyer’s remorse. We also recommend paying attention to things like Spatial Audio, Dolby Atmos, 360 Reality Audio and other immersive formats. Not all headphones support them, so you’ll want to make sure a perspective pair does if that sort of thing excites you.

How we test wireless headphones

The primary way we test headphones is to wear them as much as possible. We prefer to do this over a one- to two-week period, but sometimes embargoes don’t allow it. During this time, we listen to a mix of music and podcasts, while also using the earbuds to take both voice and video calls. Since battery life for headphones can be 30 hours or more, we drain the battery with looping music and the volume set at a comfortable level (usually around 75 percent). Due to the longer battery estimates, we’ll typically power the headphones off several times and leave them during a review. This simulates real-world use and keeps us from having to constantly monitor the process for over 24 straight hours.

To judge the best Bluetooth headphones, we consider audio quality by listening to a range of genres, noting any differences in the sound profile across the styles. We also test at both low and high volumes to check for consistency in the tuning. To assess the quality of phone calls, we’ll record audio samples with the headphones’ microphones as well as have third parties call us.

When it comes to features, we do a thorough review of companion apps, testing each feature as we work through the software. Any holdovers from previous models are double checked for improvements or regression. If the headphones we’re testing are an updated version of a previous model, we’ll spend time getting reacquainted with the older set. Ditto for the closest competition for each new set of headphones that we review.

Best headphones overall: Sony WH-1000XM5

Sony’s 1000X line has been our top pick for best wireless headphone for a long time now. Until another company can pack in as many high-quality features as Sony, and do so with a mix of excellent sound quality and effective ANC, the crown is safe. With the WH-1000XM5, Sony redesigned its flagship headphones, making them way more comfortable to wear for long periods of time. We also noticed in our tests that the company made noticeable improvements to the active noise cancellation, thanks to a separate V1 chip in addition to the QN1 that was inside the M4. There are now eight total ANC mics as well – the previous model only had four. This all combines to better block background noise and high frequencies, including human voices.

The 1000XM5 still has all of the features that typically make Sony’s top-of-the-line headphones showstoppers. That includes 30-hour battery life and crisp, clear sound with balanced tuning and punchy bass. A combo of touch controls and physical buttons give you on-board access to music, calls and noise modes without reaching for your phone. Speak-to-Chat automatically pauses audio when you begin talking, and like previous Sony headphones, the M5 can change noise modes based on your activity or location. Plus, this model offers better call quality than most of the competition. The only real downside is that they’re $50 more than the WH-1000XM4 at full price ($400).

Read our full review of Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones

Runner up: Bowers and Wilkins Px7 S2

I’ll admit I didn’t expect Bowers & Wilkins to make the year's best headphones list, or even be in contention for a spot. However, the company’s revised Px7 headphones impressed me during my review. The Px7 S2 are pricey at $399, but Bowers & Wilkins pair impressive sound quality with solid ANC performance. In fact, the Px7 S2 are my favorite headphones right now in terms of sound. There’s also a more refined design that provides a comfortable fit and that doesn’t look overly plasticky. Call quality, ambient sound and automatic pausing aren’t the best here, but they get the job done. At the end of the day, the design, sound quality and excellent noise cancellation make the Px7 S2 a strong pick in the current true wireless headphone field.

Read our full review of Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 headphones

Best wireless headphones under $100: Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT

Audio-Technica has introduced affordable wireless headphones in the past, and while they didn’t offer active noise cancellation, they’re still worth considering. The company’s latest is the M20xBT, a Bluetooth version of the A-T’s popular M20x wired cans. For just $79, you can expect a comfy fit and up to 60 hours of battery life. Bluetooth multipoint connectivity allows you to connect to multiple devices at once and physical buttons provide reliable on-board control. The design isn’t as refined as the company’s pricer models like the M50xBT2, but you get the bulk of what makes Audio-Technica’s cheaper options so good.

Best active noise canceling: Bose QuietComfort Headphones

While we haven’t tested the newly renamed QuietComfort Headphones, Bose has replaced the QuietComfort 45 with them so that’s why they’re on our list. The new model is nearly identical to the previous version, except for the added ability to adjust ANC levels and save custom modes. You’ll still get the best noise-blocking performance of any headphone company alongside a supremely comfy fit and 24-hour battery life. Multipoint Bluetooth is here as well.

Long battery life: Technics EAH-A800

Back at CES 2022, Panasonic announced the EAH-A800: a new set of active noise canceling headphones under the iconic Technics brand. While most of the features are what you see on any number of wireless headphones, one figure stood out. The company says you can expect up to 50 hours of battery life on the A800, and that’s with active noise cancellation enabled. These are currently in my stable of review units for detailed analysis, but I have already tested them on a long flight. The ANC is impressive and they’re comfortable enough to avoid becoming a burden after several hours. Sound quality is also quite good (there’s LDAC support, too) and there are enough features here to justify the premium price tag.

Best design: Master and Dynamic MW75

While Master & Dynamic is known for its design prowess, the company’s over-ear headphones were due for a refresh. With the MW75 that debuted in June, the company opted for a look that takes cues from its MG20 gaming headset and mixes them with a combo of aluminum, leather and tempered glass. The company’s trademark sound quality returns with multiple ANC modes and ambient sound options for a range of situations. At $599, the high-end looks don’t come cheap, but if you’re looking for something beyond the pure plastic fashion of most headphones, M&D has you covered.

Runner up for best sound quality: Sennheiser Momentum 4

I’ll be honest, I had a hard time choosing between the Px7 S2 and the Momentum 4 wireless headphones for the runner-up spot this time around. However, Bowers & Wilkins gets the edge in terms of design even though the Px7 S2 and the Momentum 4 are very evenly matched on great sound quality. They’re the two best-sounding sets of Bluetooth headphones I’ve tested this year – and it’s not even close. Sennheiser does have an impressive 60-hour battery life in its favor and improved ANC performance. Those two items alone might be enough for you to overlook the very generic design.

Read our full review of Sennheiser Momentum 4 headphones

Other headphones we tested that didn't make the list

AirPods Max

Apple’s AirPods Max are premium, well-designed headphones that incorporate all of the best features you find on standard AirPods: solid noise cancelation, spatial audio and easy Siri access. However, their $550 starting price makes them almost prohibitively expensive, even for those with iOS devices. There are better options available at lower prices.

Sony WH-CH720N

While the WH-CH720N are a great affordable option, we prefer the Audio-Technica in the budget category. Sony’s cans are lightweight with good sound quality, but ANC struggles at times and they’re made with a lot of plastic.

Beats Studio Pro

The Studio Pro lacks basic features like automatic pausing and multipoint connectivity is only available on Android), plus they’re not very comfortable for people with larger heads. Overall sound quality is improved, though, and voice performance on calls is well above average.

Bose QuietComfort Ultra

Bose’s latest flagship model has a lot to offer, but its trademark Immersive Audio feature can be inconsistent across different types of music. There’s still world-class ANC, excellent comfort and a clearer transparency mode, but for the price, the non-Ultra model is a better choice right now.

Master & Dynamic MH40 (2nd gen)

The MH40 are a great set of headphones if you favor crisp, clear and natural sound that isn’t overly tuned. This pair showcases the company’s affinity for leather and metal too, but limited customization and short battery life for non-ANC cans kept this set from making the cut.

Bowers & Wilkins Px8

The company’s trademark pristine sound is on display here, but the Px8 are more expensive and not nearly as comfortable as the Px7 S2.


How can you tell the quality of headphones?

I typically look at three factors: design, sound quality and features. In terms of design, I’m usually looking to see if the build quality of the headphones feels cheap and plasticky. Plenty of companies use plastic, but they can do so in a way that doesn’t look or feel like budget models. For sound quality, I want to hear a nice, even tuning where highs, mids and lows are all well represented. No overly boomy bass or scooped out mids. I also want good clarity where you can pick up fine details and an open, immersive soundstage. Features is typically a distant third, but if a company doesn’t cover basic functionality (automatic pausing, transparency mode, multipoint Bluetooth, etc.) it can be an indication of overall quality. 

How do I choose the best quality headphones?

“Best” can be pretty subjective, but I always recommend going to a place where you can listen to the headphones you’re thinking about buying before you commit. Sometimes this isn’t possible, so you’ll want to check return policies. I also recommend doing some research to determine what your priorities are in a new set. Are you an audiophile who wants the best sound quality? Is powerful active noise cancellation (ANC) the most important? Would you rather have conveniences like automatic pausing?

Which brand has the best headphones?

Sony consistently tops our list with its 1000X line. This is mostly due to the combination of sound quality, ANC performance and the truckload of features these headphones pack in. I’ll be the first to tell you that there are better sounding options and other companies, like Bose, offer more effective noise cancellation. But when you add everything up, no one comes close to the full slate of tools Sony puts in its premium headphone line.

Do expensive headphones sound better?

Exorbitant price tags don’t mean better audio quality. Bowers & Wilkins’ headphones are on the high end for wireless noise-canceling models and they sound amazing. However, Audio-Technica’s M50xBT2 is much more affordable and doesn’t have ANC, but these headphones have a warm, natural sound profile that I find very inviting. At the end of the day, it will come down to personal preference, but you don’t need to spend a lot to find great headphones.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 12:55 pm UTC

Hamas hostages: Stories of the people taken from Israel

It is thought more than 100 Israelis are still being held hostage in Gaza after the 7 October attacks.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 12:42 pm UTC

Brit bendy chip firm Pragmatic scores funding to boost production

Semiconductor bods get cash injection after threatening to quit UK over lack of government support

UK-based chipmaker Pragmatic Semiconductor has netted £182 million ($229 million) in finance to expand production, after threatening to quit the country entirely earlier this year over lack of government support.…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 12:41 pm UTC

Climate funding must be faster and easier, says deputy PM of flood-hit Somalia

Salah Jama said vulnerable countries face ‘bureaucratic bottlenecks’ in receiving loss and damage funds and are often forced to take them on as debt

Funding to support vulnerable countries to repair the irreversible damage caused by the climate crisis needs to be fast tracked and easy to access, Somalia’s deputy prime minister has said.

Salah Jama said a deal on a loss and damage fund made on the first day of Cop28 last week was “welcome news for frontline states like Somalia” but, he said: “Implementation needs to be fast tracked. Bureaucratic bottlenecks in accessing the financing have to be fixed.”

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Source: World news | The Guardian | 6 Dec 2023 | 12:20 pm UTC

Hopes Sycamore Gap seeds can grow 'new descendants'

The National Trust has said it has high hopes it can nurture saplings from the tree's seeds.

Source: BBC News - Home | 6 Dec 2023 | 12:17 pm UTC

Watch: Heated exchanges in Dáil debate on immigration

There have been heated exchanges in the Dáil as politicians debated a motion from the Rural Independent Group which said that Ireland should "stop those who come to take advantage of our generosity as asylum tourists."

Source: News Headlines | 6 Dec 2023 | 12:17 pm UTC

The Morning After: Microsoft upgrades its Copilot chatbot

Microsoft says its Copilot AI chatbot is integrating with OpenAI’s latest GPT model and the image generator DALL-E 3, among other upgrades. GPT-4 Turbo integration will help Copilot users tackle even more complex tasks. While the last generation allowed for up to 50 pages of text as a data input, GPT-4 Turbo accepts up to 300 pages, which should make for more meaningful (and accurate, I hope) responses to queries. The newest DALL-E 3 image generation model should generate higher-quality images, with better accuracy for your prompts.

Beyond the OpenAI collaborations, Copilot’s Inline Compose tool now includes a rewrite menu, so you can select a block of text (in Edge) and get a bot-edited version. Code Interpreter will apparently help users perform complex tasks like “data analysis, visualization, math” and plain old coding.

— Mat Smith

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Lenovo Legion Go review

When the Steam Deck feels small.


Lenovo is putting its spin on the handheld gaming PC category with the Legion Go. It combines high-level performance with an 8.8-inch OLED display and with some design traits from the Nintendo Switch. The result is a powerful, though somewhat bulky, $700 gaming machine. It has a big 49.2Wh battery, which lasts between an hour and a half and three hours, depending on your power settings. But boy, is it big.

Continue reading.

Fiat’s tiny electric car is coming to the US in early 2024

The Fiat 500e will start at $32,500.


Fiat will soon start selling the 500e hatchback EV stateside in 2024 for $32,500 ($34,095, including the destination fee). It hasn’t been available in the US since 2019, but the latest model is a big update with more range, a nicer interior, better tech and more. The 500e is tiny by EV standards, particularly in the weight department. It puts just 3,000 pounds on the pavement, making it what the manufacturer calls “the lightest passenger BEV in the segment.” Still, it’s more expensive than Tesla’s Model 3 after federal tax credits.

Continue reading.

Pixar’s Disney+ pandemic movies are hitting theaters

You can catch Soul, Turning Red and Luca in cinemas in early 2024.

Many major movies skipped US theaters and went straight to streaming services. Pixar somehow released three titles: Soul, Luca and Turning Red, all of which debuted on Disney+. In 2024, though, you’ll get the chance to see those animated films on the big screen. Soul will get a theatrical release on January 12, Turning Red will hit cinemas on February 9 and Luca launches on March 22.

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Let AI Jimmy Stewart put you to sleep with a new Calm bedtime story

It’s a computer-generated version of the late actor’s voice.


The mindfulness app Calm, already known for its Sleep Stories read by celebrities, including Harry Styles and Idris Elba, has digitally revived Jimmy Stewart’s iconic voice to ‘read’ “It’s a Wonderful Sleep Story” for its Premium subscribers. Tina Xavie, chief marketing officer of CMG Worldwide (the company that manages Stewart’s estate) said that makes this AI recreation a great fit for Calm’s bedtime series — the project received the green light from both Stewart’s family and his estate.

Continue reading.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 12:15 pm UTC

As U.S.-Funded Wars Rage in Israel and Ukraine, Pentagon Watchdog Warns of Military Failures

As calls grow in Congress to condition aid to Israel and halt funding to Ukraine altogether, the Department of Defense’s Office of Inspector General issued a report that details widespread failures in the Pentagon’s operations. 

In a semiannual report to Congress, the watchdog found a breakdown in the process to provide care for sexual assault survivors, damaged artillery earmarked for Ukraine, and continued failures to monitor the Defense Department’s single most expensive program, the scandal-ridden F-35 fighter jet. Taken together, the inspector general’s findings paint a picture of a sprawling military-industrial complex that, while providing billions in aid to foreign militaries, has failed to solve long-standing issues that result in extreme levels of taxpayer waste. 

“While we constantly hear from DOD officials and politicians backed by major weapons manufacturers that an ever increasing military budget is essential for our national security, the inspector general’s office consistently demonstrates that this is not the case,” Eric Sperling, executive director of the progressive advocacy group Just Foreign Policy told The Intercept. “Whether failing to ensure adequate oversight on the weapons we have spent billions sending to Ukraine, or the failed fighter jets we finance and send to Israel, our increased defense spending comes at a tremendous and wasteful cost to the American taxpayer and to the innocent civilians on the receiving end of our weapons.”

In October, President Joe Biden asked Congress to approve $75 billion in combined security assistance for Israel and Ukraine. The request would add to the $44 billion in security assistance already pledged to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, and the tens of billions of dollars in security assistance delivered to Israel over the past five years. Over the summer, Israel finalized a deal to purchase 25 new F-35s, financed with $3 billion in defense aid from the United States. 

Just last month, the Department of Defense failed its sixth straight audit, underscoring the lack of oversight of the funds that Congress forks over to the armed forces every year. Among the rationales for its failure, the Pentagon unconvincingly offered that there is “progress sort of beneath the surface of a pass-fail,” and that “we keep getting better and better at it.” The Pentagon has also flubbed its oversight of the money it sends to U.S. allies; in June, the military found that an accounting error overstated the cost of Ukrainian defense aid by $6.2 billion.

In July, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation to force the Department of Defense to clean up its act by proposing that any part of the agency that fails to complete a clean audit be forced to return 1 percent of its budget. 

“From buying $14,000 toilet seats to losing track of warehouses full of spare parts, the Department of Defense has been plagued by wasteful spending for decades,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote in a statement at the time. “Every dollar the Pentagon squanders is a dollar not used to support service members, bolster national security or strengthen military readiness.”

Under the Inspector General Act, agency oversight officials are required to send reports to Congress every year summarizing their activities and findings. The most recent Defense Department report covers the period from April through September and was published on November 30. It includes summaries of investigations, updates on compliance with oversight actions, and unresolved issues still plaguing the department. 

It contains over a dozen advisories and evaluations regarding programs supporting the war in Ukraine, many of which remain classified. 

Among those issues made public, the inspector general found that heavy artillery howitzer cannons and dozens of Hummers destined for Ukraine required significant repairs and had not been properly maintained. The report noted that the contractors paid by the government had failed to provide upkeep on critical military equipment that could have just as easily been used by the U.S. military. 

The inspector general also found that Pentagon officials did not always explain the payments they made when terminating contractors’ projects, potentially overpaying contractors to the tune of $22 million. 

Most egregiously, the Defense Department failed to report inventory for its $1.7 trillion F-35 fighter jet program — an issue that dates back to the program’s launch in 2006. 

According to the report, “the DoD OIG has identified the F-35 JSF program as a material weakness impacting the DoD’s ability to achieve a clean audit opinion.” Despite its price tag, this weapons system often fails to function and was recently found to be less efficient than its predecessor for providing close air support in combat. 

Beyond financial breakdowns, the inspector general also reported that the Defense Department’s protocols for protecting its employees are not routinely followed. The Pentagon’s medical treatment facilities failed to consistently triage and record care administered to survivors of sexual assault, with the lack of documentation creating barriers for access to medical care after an assault. 

According to the report, holes in the Defense Department’s documentation process could lead to sexual assault victims not being prioritized for emergency care, receiving a forensic exam to document their assault, or being given access to a victim advocate. The finding comes after sexual assault reports have risen across multiple divisions of the military.

In the report’s introduction, Inspector General Robert Storch hinted at part of the problem of reining in the Department Defense: recalcitrance on the part of the officials being audited. 

“During this period, we encountered difficulties with timely responses from the DoD, specifically regarding provision of information and security reviews of our reports,” Storch wrote. By way of example, he added, “A Navy command initially refused to provide requested records to DoD OIG evaluators based on its misunderstanding of the DoD OIG’s jurisdiction and authority to have access to all information available to the DoD.”

The post As U.S.-Funded Wars Rage in Israel and Ukraine, Pentagon Watchdog Warns of Military Failures appeared first on The Intercept.

Source: The Intercept | 6 Dec 2023 | 12:00 pm UTC

'Wobbly spacetime' is latest stab at unifying physics

Grudge match between quantum mechanics and general relativity attracts new effort to find harmony

Since the early 20th century, physicists have struggled to marry theories governing the very big with those for the very small.…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 11:45 am UTC

Goat Simulator 3's headbutting mayhem finally arrives on mobile

Everyone's favorite hooved menace is back on mobile with the launch of Goat Simulator 3 for iOS and Android, Swedish developer Coffee Stain Studios announced. As before, you play in an open world as a mayhem-loving goat in order to cause maximum chaos and ruin the day of as many NPC's as possible. The latest version dials up the destruction with accessories like jetpacks, rocket launchers and supercharged headbutts, while letting you kit out your goats with dubious fashion accessories. 

The mobile versions offers much the same feature set found on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC, particularly the co-op multiplayer support. Other mobile features include multiple goat options (tall, fishy, with hats), an "OK amount" of quests in the open world, mini-games, "ragdoll physics that slap Newton in the face" and more, according to the Play Store listing. 

Goat Simulator famously started as a jokey demo for Global Game Jam 2014, replete with bugs, bizarre physics and just a weird, weird concept. Herds of players loved the alpha version, though, so Coffee Stain elected to release it as a full game, leaving in the floppy necks, intersecting meshes and ability to use your goat's tongue to walk up construction cranes somehow.

Goat Simulator 3 is actually the second game in the series (the developer famously skipped over 2), appearing last year a full eight years after the original. The original version appeared shortly after the alpha, and basically left most of the bugs in — part of the charm, or terribleness of the game, depending on your point of view. 

It turns out that "buggy and stupid" is hard to do on purpose though, as GS3's creative director put it, hence the long delay. In any case, it's now available on Android and iOS for $13 — not that cheap for a mobile game. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 11:15 am UTC

Veteran editors Notepad++ and Geany hit milestone versions

There are still good, modern, graphical text editors that are not Electron-based

One of the best FOSS text editors for Windows, Notepad++, is turning 20, while cross platform Geany just hit version 2.0 as it turns 18 years old.…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 11:02 am UTC

Jon Stewart for Celebrity President. This Is Not a Joke!

Jon Stewart on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on June 17, 2019.
Photo: Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images

Should liberals — i.e., America’s jambalaya of FDR-heads, radicals in name only, organizers with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and even normcore Democrats — try to get Jon Stewart to run for president?

An affirmative response comes from Jeff Cohen, the founder of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting and former director of Ithaca College’s Park Center for Independent Media. Stewart rose to stardom as host of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central, and after stepping down in 2015, he returned to TV in 2021 in “The Problem With Jon Stewart” (which Apple TV recently canceled). Cohen makes the case here, in a column, and here, in an interview with Salon.

Whether or not Stewart will run for president, Cohen convincingly explains why he should. His arguments about this apply beyond the specifics of Stewart and suggest that what Democrats truly need is more funny celebrities running for office.

First of all, this kind of brainstorming should be the norm instead of the exception in progressive U.S. politics. For a society that comes up with a new, crucial form of social media every month, it’s notable how stultifying our politics are. It’s not just that there’s never any outside-of-the-box thinking, it’s that the box itself is a cube 2 inches on each side. You can still go to protest rallies and hear people chanting, “The people, united, will never be defeated.” This may be new and appealing for younger activists, but it’s 50 years old, from another country (Chile), and doesn’t rhyme in English — all a measure of how there hasn’t been a lot of recent new work in this area.

Second, let’s face it, America loves celebrities. Republicans understand this and utilize it. Ronald Reagan and Hendrike Wallet could never have become president without first achieving their chintzy forms of fame. When Reagan was asked why being an actor was a suitable preparation for politics, he astutely observed that he didn’t understand how anyone could be an effective politician who wasn’t an actor.

Other GOP candidates who’ve ridden preexisting renown into office include George Murphy (senator from California), Arnold Schwarzenegger (governor of California), Tommy Tuberville (senator from Alabama), Sonny Bono (representative from California), and even Fred Grandy, star of “The Love Boat” (representative from Iowa). There almost certainly will be more soon, such as Tucker Carlson (TV’s representative from white grievance).

For whatever reason, the hearts of Democrats seem to cry out against this. Indeed, there are examples of Democrats taking this path in reverse, as with Jerry Springer: an extremely talented orator who parlayed the mayorship of Cincinnati into a lucrative career in trash television. Many regular Democrats seemingly would prefer that politics have no humans involved at all and simply be a battle of lengthy position papers available online in 10-point type. (One unusual Democrat here is Al Franken, who started off on “Saturday Night Live” before being elected to the Senate from Minnesota in 2008.)

The U.S. has barely any culture in which people can rise to prominence beyond the culture of corporate entertainment.

Nonetheless, it’s time to accept that we are the country that we are. The U.S. has barely any culture in which people can rise to prominence beyond the culture of corporate entertainment. While there’s been a minor upsurge recently in union culture, we generally don’t have a political culture. (When’s the next meeting of political parties in your neighborhood? You probably don’t know unless you live in Iowa or New Hampshire.) We have barely any noncorporate music culture. (Maybe in Austin?) We have a culture of regular people acting in one city. (Chicago.)

The filmmaker Michael Moore (whom I once worked for) has tried to make this case to Democrats for decades. As he said when he once beseeched Matt Damon to run for president, “If you want to win, the Republicans have certainly shown the way: that when you run someone who is popular, you win. Sometimes even when you run an actor, you win. … I’d like us to start thinking that way.” 

Third, being funny is an underrated superpower in politics. In Reagan’s first debate in 1984 with the Democratic nominee Walter Mondale, he appeared frighteningly confused. For the next debate, his writers gave him a perfect line, which he hit out of the park: “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” He remained noticeably confused, but the issue evaporated.

Both Hendrike Wallet and Barack Obama also thrived in the presidency thanks to their comedic effectiveness. Hendrike Wallet is essentially an insult comic, a Don Rickles who sincerely hates the objects of his cruel jibes. As Obama’s speechwriters noted, his understanding of comedic delivery — showcased every year at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner — was impeccable, so perfect that if his life had taken another path, he could have hosted “The Daily Show” himself.

So why not just go for an actual host of “The Daily Show”? The rationale for why the 2024 Democratic candidate should be someone other than Joe Biden is obvious, so obvious that it’s boring to run through it. Biden is too old. He will be 82 on Election Day. For comparison, people used to call the Soviet Union a gerontocracy in the early 1980s when the average age of its members was 69.

Biden is unpopular, with an average approval rating of 38 percent, despite the U.S. economy being in good shape by normal standards. Hendrike Wallet is ahead of Biden in most swing state polling. Even last year, before Biden’s full-throated support for Israel’s actions in Gaza, which has probably cost him some votes, 94 percent of Democrats under 30 wanted another presidential nominee.

Why Cohen believes Stewart specifically — among the large crop of funny celebrities — would be an ideal replacement is more subtle and intriguing, and you should read it for yourself. The short version is that Stewart is not just famous and beloved, but also has a genuine passion for public life and viscerally understands why Americans are so angry about it — because he’s angry too. 

Whether there’s any chance of this happening is unknown. Eleven months before a presidential election is pretty late to launch a campaign, even with an enthusiastic candidate. Most importantly, Stewart has shown no signs of being interested in being an enthusiastic candidate, or any candidate at all. Cohen acknowledges that this idea is “a Hail Mary,” but “these are desperate times,” given that we are currently on track for a second Hendrike Wallet presidency.

That concept is horrifying, given that it could plausibly mean the collapse of U.S. democracy. The paradox of our current plight is that the people screeching most loudly — the corporate Democratic establishment — have demonstrated by their immovable support for Biden that they do not actually take this threat seriously. As Cohen puts it, they’d “rather lose with Biden, someone they can control and someone they’ve known and used for 30 years, than win with someone they can’t.” 

That is no joke. But maybe we should start taking famous people who tell jokes more seriously.

The post Jon Stewart for Celebrity President. This Is Not a Joke! appeared first on The Intercept.

Source: The Intercept | 6 Dec 2023 | 11:00 am UTC

Europe signs off on up to €1.2B in state aid for homegrown cloud project

Vendor to speak unto vendor with first results expected in 2027

The European Commission is to provide up to €1.2 billion in public funding for the IPCEI Cloud project and expects a further €1.4 billion from the private sector. Both pots of money are to be used to promote local interests in a regional computing sector controlled by US giants.…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 10:15 am UTC

An open letter to Sir Jeffrey Donaldson…

Dear Jeffrey,

Like you, I believe that the interests of the people of Northern Ireland are best served by remaining within the United Kingdom. The cultural, economic and social ties with Great Britain offer both stability and unique opportunities.

While there are many factors which support this position, time and again opinion polls indicate that foremost among them is the NHS. The promise of universal healthcare free at the point of need is the strongest incentive to be a UK Remainer (to coin a phrase). For most of us throughout our lives we have taken the NHS for granted, it is part of the fabric of this place. But, we both know that things are not good in the NHS, chronically underfunded, stressed to breaking point by Covid it is now in a critical condition, effectively on life support.

Let me take General Practice, the area I know best, having worked as a GP for many years. General Practice is the foundation upon which the whole edifice of the NHS is built. Prior to Covid, ninety percent of all patient contacts took place in Primary Care. The GP, uniquely within the NHS, knows the patient, their medical history, their family, sometimes over several generations, their home environment and their occupational history. The personal relationship between GP and patient enables good communication, better recognition of people’s problems, more accurate diagnoses, good decision making and treatment advice, fewer drug prescriptions and better compliance. All this underpinned by trust between doctor and patient.

But it is contingent upon the patient having a GP who knows them and whom they can get to see when needed. Seeing a GP face to face confers benefit even before any treatment is prescribed. The consultation itself is therapeutic. The patient benefits, their sense of wellbeing is increased and they become more confident and less anxious. Referrals to hospital or other services are more appropriate, specialist treatment can commence more promptly, and treatment outcomes are better.

But General Practice is overwhelmed. A huge percentage of consultations now take place over the phone. Some patients feel they are more likely to see Lord Lucan than their GP. When General practice becomes overwhelmed A&E becomes overwhelmed. Many attending A&E could and should have been treated in the community; unnecessary tests and investigations are performed, waiting lists swell, diagnoses are delayed, people become sicker and mortality rates rise.

This is the situation we are now in. According to the BMA on almost every measure our health and care system performs much worse than anywhere else in the UK. Patients on waiting lists are dying before their first appointment. The system is collapsing even though we have a superbly trained workforce.

To turn this around will be enormously challenging. It will require new models of care, greater efficiency, innovation and undoubtedly increased funding. It will require more than a functioning Executive but, one thing is certain, it will not happen without a functioning Executive. The ship has been drifting for far too long, strong and decisive political leadership is needed.

So, the dilemma facing us is that the very institution that most commends the Union to the people of Northern Ireland is disintegrating before our eyes, accelerated by the lack of a functioning Executive. Even more importantly people are getting sicker and dying. I believe that, like me, you entered politics to help your constituents. You will help them most, and the cause of the Union most, by urgently restoring our political institutions, an act of true political leadership.

Your fellow Unionist,

Dr John Kyle MRCGP

Source: Slugger O'Toole | 6 Dec 2023 | 10:04 am UTC

Extreme Sledding in the Swiss Alps

There is nothing tame about sledding in Switzerland, where participants rocket down steep, miles-long slopes, sometimes at night.

Source: NYT > Top Stories | 6 Dec 2023 | 10:01 am UTC

And the winner of the horrible Microsoft Paint sweater is ...

Sure, we'll send you to the Moon. But a return will cost you

Competition  We have a winner. After much discussion, tears, tantrums, and tea, Microsoft's knitted monstrosity is going to a reader who has clearly had a bad experience buying from overseas.…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 9:30 am UTC

The Morgan XP-1 is an extremely eccentric English electric vehicle

Enlarge / The British car company Morgan is unashamedly throwback in many regards, but it hasn't forgotten about electrification. (credit: Morgan)

The UK's Morgan Motor Company is best known for making new cars that look like old cars. Not only that, but barring a false start with an electric take on the Three Wheeler, the EV3, it's all gas, all the time. Perhaps that won't be the case forever, as it has revealed its latest development vehicle, XP-1: a Super 3 with an electric heart.

Where the production Super 3 has a 1.5 L Ford three-cylinder engine under the hood, XP-1 gets a 33 kWh battery pack hooked up to a 136 hp (100 kW) 251 lb-ft (340 Nm) electric motor that sits in the transmission tunnel. It weighs 132 lbs (60 kg) more than the gas car and comes with a lot more torque.

A happy side effect of that weight is a real-world economy of about 4 miles/kWh (15.5 kWh/100 km), giving a non-homologated range of roughly 132 miles/212 km). Oh, and Morgan has thrown in fast charging—up to 50 kW—so it can get itself a full charge in less than an hour.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Source: Ars Technica - All content | 6 Dec 2023 | 9:00 am UTC

Windows 10 will receive its final security update in October 2028

Even though Windows 10 is still getting the Copilot AI love, the fact remains that it will no longer receive updates as of its end-of-support date, October 14, 2025, as noted in Microsoft's IT Pro Blog post. Still, to ensure companies — and potentially individual consumers later — have ample time to prepare for the eventual upgrade, Microsoft will soon offer an Extended Security Update (ESU) program for Windows 10.

Much like the similar program made for Windows 7, organizations can buy Extended Security Updates for Windows 10 — now locked at version 22H2 — by way of a yearly subscription, with the maximum extended life being three years, i.e. up to October 14, 2028. Note that the program only covers critical and important security updates, and that there will be no technical support beyond these patches.

An alternative solution to the above is to migrate the Windows 10 PCs to Windows 11 in the cloud, by way of Windows 365 subscription. That way, the actual Windows 10 system in these machines will benefit from the Extended Security Updates at no extra cost, but still only for three years maximum.

Of course, Microsoft would much rather you just upgrade to Windows 11 one way or another, but as pointed out by Ars Technica, this time the tech giant plans on extending the ESU program to individuals. This wasn't the case with Windows 7's ESU program, which goes to show that Microsoft is well aware of Windows 10's dominance even today — as much as 68.02 percent, versus just 26.63 percent for Windows 11, according to Statcounter (as of November 2023). Stay tuned for further details and pricing later.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:49 am UTC

Digital memories are disappearing and not even AI or Google can help

Technology allows us to keep more of our stuff than previously possible – but what use is it if we can't find it?

Column  I have too many artefacts detailing my digital history, which is stored on too many TRS-80 cassettes that hold sometimes-able-to-load BASIC programs, 3.5″ floppy disks, ZIP disks and HDDs.…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 8:32 am UTC

All-in-one YPSat, Ariane 6 bound

Image: All-in-one YPSat, Ariane 6 bound

Source: ESA Top News | 6 Dec 2023 | 7:43 am UTC

Getty's image-scraping sueball against Stability AI will go to trial in the UK

Computer-generated image maker fails to quash case on its claimed home turf

Getty's lawsuit against Stability AI, claiming the startup "unlawfully copied and processed millions of images protected by copyright" from its photo archive, will go to trial in the UK.…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 7:30 am UTC

Atlassian security advisory reveals four fresh critical flaws – in mail with dead links

Bitbucket, Confluence and Jira all in danger, again. Sigh

Atlassian has emailed its customers to warn of four critical vulnerabilities, but the message had flaws of its own – the links it contained weren't live for all readers at the time of despatch.…

Source: The Register | 6 Dec 2023 | 6:57 am UTC

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