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Defense Department seeks nuclear propulsion for small spacecraft

The US Defense Department’s ambitions beyond Earth just grew a little clearer. SpaceNews has learned the department recently put out a call for privately-made nuclear propulsion systems that could power small- and mid-sized spacecraft. The DoD wants to launch missions venturing beyond Earth orbit, and existing electric and solar spacecraft are neither suitable for that job nor suitable to smaller vehicles, the department’s Defense Innovation Unit said.

© NASA NASA nuclear thermal propulsion spacecraft concept

The nuclear propulsion system will ideally offer “high delta-V” (above 33ft/s) while scaling down to less than 2,000kg in dry mass (4,409lbs on Earth). On top of providing electricity for the payload, the technology will hopefully keep the spacecraft warm when in shadow and minimize radiation both on the ground and to other components. Responses are expected by September 23rd, with contracts handed out as quickly as 60 to 90 days afterward.

Officials acknowledged they were making the request as a matter of expediency. NASA and other agencies are already developing or backing nuclear spacecraft, but those won’t be ready for a long while. The DoD is hoping for a prototype within three to five years — this technology would serve as a stopgap that puts nuclear propulsion into service relatively quickly for near-term projects.

While the request didn’t provide clues as to what spacecraft were in the works, the focus on smaller spacecraft suggests it could involve probes, satellites or other vehicles with modest goals. You won’t see this power human trips to Mars. All the same, it’s clear the DoD is frustrated by the limitations of existing spacecraft engines and wants a fast track to more powerful designs.

News Technology

Facebook reportedly provided inaccurate data to misinformation researchers

Facebook apologized to misinformation researchers for providing them with flawed, incomplete data for their work examining how users interact with posts and links on its platform, the New York Times reported. Contrary to what the company told the researchers, the data Facebook provided apparently only included information for roughly half of its users in the US, not all of them.

The Times revealed that individuals from Facebook’s Open Research and Transparency group held a call with specialists on Friday to apologize for the blunder. A portion of the scientists addressed whether the misstep was purposeful to attack the exploration, or just a case of carelessness.

The blemish in the information was first found by a specialist at Italy’s University of Urbino, who analyzed a report Facebook delivered freely in August to the information it had given exclusively to the scientists. The informational collections didn’t coordinate, as indicated by the Times.

Facebook didn’t quickly answer to a solicitation for input from The Verge on Saturday, however a representative told the Times that the mix-up was the aftereffect of a specialized blunder and the organization “proactively outlined for affected accomplices and are working quickly to determine” the issue.

The report from August 18th that the University of Urbino researcher used in his comparison was released in the interest of “transparency,” showing the most-viewed content in Facebook’s public News Feed between April and June of this year, its second quarter. However, the Times discovered that Facebook had shelved a report about its first quarter that portrayed the company in a much-less flattering light. Facebook eventually released the shelved report.

Also in August, Facebook banned academic researchers from New York University’s Ad Observatory project from its platform, after the group’s Ad Observer browser plug-in highlighted problems. Its research found Facebook had failed to disclose who paid for some political ads on its site.

News Technology

TCL won’t release a foldable smartphone this year

Electronics company TCL is pausing its plans release a lower-cost foldable phone this year, the company confirmed in an email to ScienceNews18. Its clamshell-style foldable phone, codenamed Project Chicago, was in mid-development when the company made the decision to put it on indefinite hold. According to TCL the delay is due in part to rising production costs and supply chain shortages.

“Albeit the foldable market is developing every year, it is as yet an exceptional item class,” Stefan Streit, head promoting official of TCL said in an assertion to The Verge. “In mix with late part deficiencies, the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing expenses in foldable creation, TCL has settled on the troublesome choice to suspend the dispatch of its first industrially accessible foldable cell phone until the organization can deliver and put up it for sale to the public at a cost point that is available to however many customers as could reasonably be expected.”

Streit added that the organization is “intently checking the market to decide the best an ideal opportunity to dispatch a foldable cell phone.”

The company gave out a few sample devices to reviewers (looks like MrMobile got their hands on one) , but said it did not have any additional devices available, or any photos of Chicago to share.

The news comes a few weeks after the launch of Samsung’s latest foldable devices: the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy Z Flip 3 (TCL decided to pause its Chicago device before Samsung’s launch) But both of the foldable Samsung phones are on the higher end of the price range; the Flip 3 goes for $999, and the Fold 3 is priced at $1,799.

TCL showed off a few foldable prototypes last year, and again earlier this year at CES 2021, as well as a “rollable” screen design. In April TCL showed off a Fold ‘n Roll device that could expand from a 6.87-inch phone screen to become an 8.85-inch phablet, or a 10-inch tablet size.

The company says it’s not giving up on the foldable product category but doesn’t have a time frame for when its first foldable device may be commercially available.

News Technology

Apple says iPhone cameras can be hurt by motorcycle vibrations

If you’ve been rockin’ down the highway with your iPhone mounted on your motorcycle, you might want to think again. On Friday, Apple said certain motorcycle engines can give your iPhone’s camera bad vibes.

“Exposing your iPhone to high amplitude vibrations within certain frequency ranges, specifically those generated by high-power motorcycle engines, can degrade the performance of the camera system,” the company said in a post on its support site.

The energies are diverted through the case and handlebars, so you shouldn’t connect your telephone to bikes with high-force or high-volume motors, the organization said. It said mopeds and bikes, which will in general have little volume or electric motors, are to a lesser degree a worry yet that you should utilize a vibration hosing mount and “keep away from customary use for delayed periods.”

The issue has to do with cutting edge whirligig and magnet-based camera frameworks intended to make up for unsteady shots. Such frameworks, as optical picture adjustment and shut circle self-adjust, make programmed changes on the off chance that you coincidentally move while snapping a photo.

“The OIS and shut circle AF frameworks in iPhone are intended for solidness,” Apple said. Yet, “long haul direct openness to high-adequacy vibrations … may debase the presentation of these frameworks and lead to decreased picture quality for photographs and recordings.”

For details on which iPhone models feature these camera systems, you can check out Apple’s post. For the latest iPhone news, take a look at all the rumors tied to Apple’s upcoming, Sept. 14 event. And here’s our discussion of the big shoes Apple’s next iPhone has to fill.

News Technology

Dish cuts a 10-year, $5 billion deal to make AT&T the primary service provider for its MVNO

Dish Network has another organization administrator accomplice for its MVNO brands: AT&T. The companies have signed a network services agreement (NSA) that will see Dish pay AT&T basically $5 billion throughout the following ten years to utilize its 4G and 5G organizations as Dish brings its own 5G organization on the web.

The arrangement produces results promptly and comes when relations among Dish and T-Mobile — as of now a significant organization accomplice — are especially stressed. It’s a nonexclusive understanding, and Dish says that a portion of its clients will probably keep on interfacing with T-Mobile’s organization. The course of action likewise gives AT&T the option to demand admittance to utilize a portion of Dish’s remote range.

Dish possesses Boost Mobile, Ting, and Republic Wireless MVNOs, which work on other transporter organizations. Dish procured Boost Mobile in the T-Mobile/Sprint securing bargain, as a component of a plan to set the organization up as the fourth remote transporter in the US. Dish’s Ting and Republic Wireless acquisitions likewise gave the organization admittance to backend foundation and endorsers fully expecting its dispatch as an undeniable versatile transporter.

Things haven’t actually gone easily. There’s the approaching T-Mobile CDMA closure — an organization many Boost clients actually depend on — that Dish says is occurring sooner than anticipated (T-Mobile’s reactions on the matter have had solid “quit hitting yourself” flows). Dish has also been losing wireless subscribers in the hundreds of thousands over recent financial quarters.

AT&T doesn’t work a CDMA organization, so this new arrangement isn’t intended to resolve that issue. Essentially it incorporates a two-year change period when the arrangement closes during which AT&T should participate to help clients proceed with their administration, so Dish can ideally stay away from extra likely difficulties.

News Technology

Amazon will end onsite COVID-19 testing at its US warehouses

Amazon has informed workers that it will end on-site COVID-19 testing at its US warehouses, as first reported by The Information. The company confirmed to The Verge that it will begin ramping down its testing operations in the US by July 30th.

Although many in the US are vaccinated — 48 percent of the country is fully vaccinated, according to The New York Times’ data as of Monday — the change comes as case rates around the country are going up. The significant majority of new cases have been found among unvaccinated people.

Amazon educated staff Monday about its arrangement to end COVID-19 testing, as indicated by The Information. “Free COVID-19 testing is presently generally accessible and our representatives have numerous choices accessible to them, including through wellbeing suppliers and public testing locales,” some portion of the message supposedly said.

The company had instituted a massive testing operation

The company had instituted a massive testing operation, saying in October that it planned to handle 50,000 tests per day across 650 sites by November. And as of May 19th, Amazon no longer required masks for fully vaccinated warehouse workers unless otherwise mandated by local laws, according to CNBC. Although the company hasn’t required that warehouse workers be vaccinated, it is encouraging it by offering bonuses of up to $80 for getting vaccinated.

But workers at some warehouses walked out early in the pandemic to protest the company’s handling of the virus at its facilities. Sometimes, Amazon left workers in the dark when their colleagues had tested positive for the virus, for example. In June, the company also started selling a $39.99 at-home COVID-19 test that is available for consumers.

Amazon will resume its employee testing program if there is a change in guidance from local or national public health officials, the company tells Science News18.


Google is making it easier to find Wear OS apps on the Play Store

As we approach the arrival of Google and Samsung’s joint smartwatch working framework in the not so distant future, Google today laid out some new Play Store upgrades that will make it simpler for clients to discover and download applications to their Wear OS gadgets.

The organization is making it quicker to look for smartwatch applications on your Android telephone and right away introduce them. There are new channels that are initiated when you incorporate “watch” or “watch face” in your Play Store search question. In view of this post, it seems as though Google will likewise be putting forth an attempt to more readily feature the best and most valuable wrist applications with more curated assortments in the assigned Wear OS and watchfaces segments of the Play Store.

Google is making it easier to discover and install Wear OS apps from your Android phone.

The Play Store insight on smartwatches is likewise being refined and streamlined; Google says it’s currently “founded on the standards of Material You” and more qualified for the “little surface space of a watch face.” Easy-to-tap cards are turning out to be more noticeable on this variant of the Play Store.

The revamped Play Store on Wear OS is better optimized for smartwatch screens.

In situations where you need to make an in-application buy, “the Play Store currently dependably prompts the buy page to open on your Android telephone or for a URL to open in an internet browser, to handily finish your installment.”

Google says these changes will be going to the Play Store both on Wear OS and Android in the norm, dubious “coming weeks” time period that tech organizations love to such an extent. However they’re showing up first on Wear OS, the enhancements to discoverability and perusing applications ought to likewise eventually profit the new OS that Google and Samsung are making together. Samsung has said it will declare the primary customer item running that product, referred to just as “Wear” at the present time, in the not so distant future. The organization as of late saw what the interface will resemble on its up and coming age of Galaxy smartwatches.


Nvidia RTX 30-series graphics cards will be available in-store at Best Buy on July 20th

Nvidia’s tricky RTX 30-series illustrations cards are rarely in stock (for their MSRP cost, in any event), yet they’ll be accessible to buy all well and good tomorrow, Tuesday, July twentieth, at some Best Buy areas around the US (per Polygon). Representatives at these areas will start giving out passes to a select measure of individuals holding up in line at 7:30AM neighborhood time Tuesday morning, and getting one of these tickets will promise you the chance to buy a GPU when each store opens up at 8:00AM nearby time.

Best Buy hasn’t shared which Nvidia RTX models will be accessible during this drop. Given that it shows the RTX 3080 Ti in its blog entry, that could be a sign that you may have the chance to drop $1,199 on one of Nvidia’s generally competent and expensive GPUs.

It’s likewise conceivable that the retailer will have a more extensive assortment to suit more spending plans in stock, maybe with either the RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3070 Ti, or the RTX 3080 blended in. Notwithstanding what’s accessible for snatches, the stock is probably going to evaporate rapidly at every area, so be early assuming you need to guarantee that you get a ticket.

Look at the connections only above for audits of every one of Nvidia’s most recent designs cards. It is possible that you don’t have to spend however much you thought in case you’re gaming on a 1080p screen. Then again, in case you’re playing on a 1440p or 4K gaming screen, the audits should give you a smart thought of which card may be most appropriate to deal with a portion of your #1 games.


Military-grade spyware reportedly found on phones of journalists, activists

Military-grade spyware authorized by an Israeli firm was utilized in endeavored and effective hacks of cell phones having a place with writers and basic liberties activists, as per an examination by The Washington Post and 16 media accomplices.

On the whole, 37 telephones, including those having a place with two ladies near killed Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, were assaulted with spyware authorized by the Israeli firm NSO Group to governments for following fear based oppressors and hoodlums, the examination found. The telephones were remembered for a rundown of in excess of 50,000 numbers amassed in nations known to direct observation on their residents.

The rundown was imparted to news associations by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based reporting not-for-profit, and basic liberties bunch Amnesty International. The examination, called the Pegasus Project, incorporated a scientific investigation of the telephones. The numbers on the rundown are unattributed, however agents had the option to recognize more than 1,000 across in excess of 50 nations.

“The Pegasus Project reveals how NSO’s spyware is a weapon of decision for severe governments trying to quietness writers, assault activists and smash disagree, setting endless lives in hazard,” Agnès Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International, said in an explanation.

“While the organization guarantees its spyware is just utilized for real lawbreaker and fear examinations, it’s reasonable its innovation works with foundational misuse,” Callamard said.

Reprieve International’s examined 67 telephones that were suspected assault targets, 23 of which were discovered to be effectively contaminated and 14 showed proof of endeavored entrance, as per the examination.

The rundown, which traces all the way back to 2016, incorporates columnists turning out abroad for a few driving news associations, including a modest number from CNN, the Associated Press, Voice of America, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, Le Monde in France, the Financial Times in London and Al Jazeera in Qatar.

Heads of state and PMs were additionally allegedly on the rundown.

NSO Group said the Forbidden Stories report contained “unfounded allegations” with “deluding allegations.”

“The report by Forbidden Stories is brimming with wrong suspicions and baseless hypotheses that raise genuine questions about the dependability and interests of the sources,” a NSO Group representative said in an explanation. “It seems like the ‘unidentified sources’ have provided data that has no verifiable premise and are a long way from the real world.”

NSO Group has been ensnared by past reports and claims in different hacks, including an announced hack of previous Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. A Saudi protester sued the organization in 2018 for its supposed job in hacking a gadget having a place with writer Khashoggi, who had been killed inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey that year.

Columnists and activists from Mexico and Qatar have additionally sued the organization for giving instruments that hacked their gadgets. A Citizen Lab report from January said a New York Times writer expounding on a Saudi nonconformist got a connection containing a NSO Group hacking instrument on his telephone in 2018.


How to use Focus modes for notifications on iOS 15

Quite possibly the most remarkable new highlights in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, is Focus mode.

At its center, a Focus mode is a more adjustable form of Apple’s current Do Not Disturb and is gotten to from similar menu on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. However, Focus modes are undeniably more adaptable, taking into account more granular triggers for when you’re sifting through warnings.

  • To set up a Focus, head over to “Settings” > “Focus” and hit the plus button to add a new Focus. You’ll also be able to see existing Focus modes that you’ve set up and edit them.
  • Apple offers an assortment of preset Focus modes to begin with, including Personal, Work, Fitness, Gaming, Reading, and then some. You’re not restricted to Apple’s preset ideas, however a portion of the presets — like the Driving, Fitness, or Gaming ones — offer extra highlights and triggers that aren’t accessible to client made ones. Apple’s Fitness Focus mode, for instance, can be naturally set off when you start a Fitness Plus exercise on your Apple Watch, while the Gaming mode can turn on at whatever point you interface a Bluetooth regulator.
  • You can create a custom Focus by selecting Custom, which will let you select a name, icon, and color for that specific focus.
  • Next, you’ll be asked to choose which of your contacts (if any) you’d like to be able to message you when that Focus mode is activated — similar to how Do Not Disturb works.
  • The following screen will ask you to select which apps (if any) you want to allow to send notifications when that Focus is active. For example, if you’re making a “Work” Focus, you might only want your email and Slack apps to be able to send you pings.
  • Lastly, Apple will ask if you’d like to be able to receive special “Time Sensitive Notifications” — a new category of extra-important notifications that apps will be able to send that might not be able to wait until later.
The toggle to permit time-sensitive notifications.
The main Focus setting menu.

Whenever you’ve wrapped setting up your Focus, you’ll end up on the Focus mode’s setting menu, where there are a couple of extra things you’ll have the option to arrange. You can likewise get back here whenever by going to “Settings” > “Center,” then, at that point choosing the Focus mode you need to alter.

  • The Focus Status menu will let you decide whether contacts will see a notice if you’re in an active Focus mode and their messages are muted. (Although right now, the only app that supports the feature is Apple’s Messages.)
  • The Home Screen menu allows you to hide specific home screens on your iPad or iPhone when you’re in a Focus mode. Combined with iOS 15’s App Library and the new ability to create multiple copies of an app icon, you can use this feature to customize what your phone looks like in different situations.
  • The Lock Screen menu offers the option to show or hide silenced notifications on the lock screen or to dim the lock screen when the Focus mode is active.

Once you’ve finished setting up your Focus, you’ll end up on the Focus mode’s setting menu, where there are a few additional things you’ll be able to configure. You can also get back here at any time by heading to “Settings” > “Focus,” then selecting the Focus mode you want to edit.

  • The Focus Status menu will let you decide whether contacts will see a notice if you’re in an active Focus mode and their messages are muted. (Although right now, the only app that supports the feature is Apple’s Messages.)
  • The Home Screen menu allows you to hide specific home screens on your iPad or iPhone when you’re in a Focus mode. Combined with iOS 15’s App Library and the new ability to create multiple copies of an app icon, you can use this feature to customize what your phone looks like in different situations.
  • The Lock Screen menu offers the option to show or hide silenced notifications on the lock screen or to dim the lock screen when the Focus mode is active.
Focus modes on iPadOS 15.

At long last, there’s the real initiation of a Focus mode. Apple offers two different ways to turn on a Focus mode: you can either physically choose it from the moon symbol in Control Center or timetable it consequently (settings for which can be found in the Focus menu).

The least difficult alternative is “Brilliant Activation,” which has your gadget naturally flip a Focus all alone. Be that as it may, you can likewise add more granular manual controls, actuating a Focus for explicit occasions, when you’re at a particular area, or when you’re utilizing explicit applications.