Goodbye Zachtronics, Developers of Very Cool Video Games
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Kotaku:
On July 5, Zachtronics will be releasing Last Call BBS, a collection of stylish little puzzle games wrapped up in a retro PC gaming vibe. After 11 years in business (and even longer outside of commercial releases), a time which has seen the studio develop a cult following almost unrivaled in indie gaming, it will be the last new game Zachtronics will ever release. We spoke to founder Zach Barth to find out why.
Named for founder Zach Barth, Zachtronics has spent most of those 11 years specializing in puzzle games (or variations on the theme). And pretty much every single one of them has been great (or at least interesting). [...] The result has been a succession of games that may not have been to everyone's tastes, but for those with whom they resonated, it was their shit. It's not hard seeing why: most of Zachtronics' games involved challenging puzzles, but also a deeply cool and interesting presentation surrounding them, such as the grimy hacker aesthetic of Exapunks, or the Advance Wars-like Mobius Front 83. Given those initial and superficial differences, it can sometimes be hard pinpointing exactly what makes a game so clearly a Zachtronics joint, but like love and art, when you see it you just know it.
So it's sad, but also awesome in its own way, that 2022 will see the end of Zachtronics. Not because their publisher shuttered them, or because their venture capital funding ran out, or because Activision made them work on Call of Duty, or any other number of reasons (bankruptcy! scandal!) game developers usually close their doors. No, Zachtronics is closing because...they want to. "We're wrapping things up!" Barth tells Kotaku's Luke Plunkett. "Zachtronics will release Last Call BBS next month. We're also working on a long-awaited solitaire collection that we're hoping to have out by the end of the year. After that, the team will disband. We all have different ideas, interests, tolerances for risk, and so on, so we're still figuring out what we want to do next."
"We felt it was time for a change. This might sound weird, but while we got very good at making 'Zachtronics games' over the last twelve years, it was hard for us to make anything else. We were fortunate enough to carve out a special niche, and I'm thankful that we've been able to occupy it and survive in it, but it also kept us locked into doing something we didn't feel like doing forever."
Last Call BBS will be released on July 5 on Steam. You can view the trailer
Engineers Demonstrate Quantum Integrated Circuit Made Up of Just a Few Atoms
Engineers in Sydney have
demonstrated a quantum integrated circuit made up of just a few atoms. By precisely controlling the quantum states of the atoms, the new processor can simulate the structure and properties of molecules in a way that could unlock new materials and catalysts. New Atlas reports:
The new quantum circuit comes from researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and a start-up company called Silicon Quantum Computing (SQC). It's essentially made up of 10 carbon-based quantum dots embedded in silicon, with six metallic gates that control the flow of electrons through the circuit. It sounds simple enough, but the key lies in the arrangement of these carbon atoms down to the sub-nanometer scale. Relative to each other, they're precisely positioned to mimic the atomic structure of a particular molecule, allowing scientists to simulate and study the structure and energy states of that molecule more accurately than ever before.
In this case, they arranged the carbon atoms into the shape of the organic compound polyacetylene, which is made up of a repeating chain of carbon and hydrogen atoms with an alternating pattern of single and double carbon bonds between them. To simulate those bonds, the team placed the carbon atoms at different distances apart. Next, the researchers ran an electrical current through the circuit to check whether it would match the signature of a natural polyacetylene molecule -- and sure enough, it did. In other tests, the team created two different versions of the chain by cutting bonds at different places, and the resulting currents matched theoretical predictions perfectly. The significance of this new quantum circuit, the team says, is that it could be used to study more complicated molecules, which could eventually yield new materials, pharmaceuticals, or catalysts. This 10-atom version is right on the limit of what classical computers can simulate, so the team's plans for a 20-atom quantum circuit would allow for simulation of more complex molecules for the first time. The research has been
published in the journal Nature.
The Mars Express Spacecraft Is Finally Getting a Windows 98 Upgrade
Engineers at the European Space Agency (ESA) are getting ready for a
Windows 98 upgrade on an orbiter circling Mars. The Verge reports:
The Mars Express spacecraft has been operating for more than 19 years, and the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding (MARSIS) instrument onboard has been using software built using Windows 98. Thankfully for humanity and the Red Planet's sake, the ESA isn't upgrading its systems to Windows ME. The MARSIS instrument on ESA's Mars Express was key to the discovery of a huge underground aquifer of liquid water on the Red Planet in 2018. This major new software upgrade "will allow it to see beneath the surfaces of Mars and its moon Phobos in more detail than ever before," according to the ESA. The agency originally launched the Mars Express into space in 2003 as its first mission to the Red Planet, and it has spent nearly two decades exploring the planet's surface.
MARSIS uses low-frequency radio waves that bounce off the surface of Mars to search for water and study the Red Planet's atmosphere. The instrument's 130-foot antenna is capable of searching around three miles below the surface of Mars, and the software upgrades will enhance the signal reception and onboard data processing to improve the quality of data that's sent back to Earth. "We faced a number of challenges to improve the performance of MARSIS," explains Carlo Nenna, a software engineer at Enginium who is helping ESA with the upgrade. "Not least because the MARSIS software was originally designed over 20 years ago, using a development environment based on Microsoft Windows 98!"
Goldman Sachs Raising Funds to Buy Celsius Assets
Goldman Sachs is looking to raise $2 billion from investors to
buy up distressed assets from troubled crypto lender Celsius, according to two people familiar with the matter. CoinDesk reports:
The proposed deal would allow investors to buy up Celsius' assets at potentially big discounts in the event of a bankruptcy filing, the people said. Goldman Sachs appears to be gauging interest and soliciting commitments from Web3 crypto funds, funds specializing in distressed assets and traditional financial institutions with ample cash on hand, according to a person familiar with the situation. The assets, most likely cryptocurrencies having to be sold on the cheap, would then likely be managed by participants in the fundraising push. Celsius has tapped restructuring advisory firm Alvarez & Marsal, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday afternoon. Earlier this month, Celsius abruptly
paused withdrawals, swaps, and transfers between accounts, citing "extreme market conditions." The disclosure sent bitcoin's price below $20,000 and prompted the firm's token to take a 60% tumble.
As of Monday, the company said it's still working on "
stabilizing [their] liquidity and operations."
The Sleep Debt Collector Is Here
Recent studies in humans and mice have shown that late nights and early mornings may
cause long lasting damage to your brain. From a report:
The sleep debt collectors are coming. They want you to know that there is no such thing as forgiveness, only a shifting expectation of how and when you're going to pay them back. You think of them as you lie in bed at night. How much will they ask for? Are you solvent? You fall asleep, then wake up in a cold sweat an hour later. You fall asleep, then wake up, drifting in and out of consciousness until morning. As most every human has discovered, a couple nights of bad sleep is often followed by grogginess, difficulty concentrating, irritability, mood swings and sleepiness.
For years, it was thought that these effects, accompanied by cognitive impairments like lousy performances on short-term memory tests, could be primarily attributed to a chemical called adenosine, a neurotransmitter that inhibits electrical impulses in the brain. Spikes of adenosine had been consistently observed in sleep-deprived rats and humans. Adenosine levels can be quickly righted after a few nights of good sleep, however. This gave rise to a scientific consensus that sleep debt could be forgiven with a couple of quality snoozes -- as reflected in casual statements like "I'll catch up on sleep" or "I'll be more awake tomorrow."
But a review article published recently in the journal Trends in Neurosciences contends that the folk concept of sleep as something that can be saved up and paid off is bunk. The review, which canvassed the last couple of decades of research on long term neural effects of sleep deprivation in both animals and humans, points to mounting evidence that getting too little sleep most likely leads to long-lasting brain damage and increased risk of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease. "This is really, really important in setting the stage for what needs to be done in sleep health and sleep science," said Mary Ellen Wells, a sleep scientist at the University of North Carolina, who did not contribute to the review.
A Garage-Sized Reactor Could Provide Limitless Energy With Magnet-Free Technology
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Interesting Engineering:
Seattle-based Zap Energy is using a lesser-known approach to nuclear fusion to build modular, garage-sized reactors. They are cheaper and don't require the large, incredibly powerful magnets used in traditional fusion experiments. Ultimately, they may also provide a quicker route to achieving commercially viable nuclear fusion, a press statement reveals.
Nuclear fusion has the potential to remove our reliance on fossil fuels by providing a practically limitless energy source that produces power in a similar way to the Sun and the stars. Fusion experiments, such as Europe's ITER, typically rely on large donut-shaped tokamak reactors using extremely powerful magnets to control the plasma generated during the fusion reaction. Zap Energy has developed a different approach with its Z-pinch technology. The company uses an electromagnetic field instead of the expensive magnetic coils and shielding materials used in tokamaks. This, they say, pins the plasma inside a relatively small space and "pinches" it until it becomes hot and dense enough for the required reaction to take place.
Z-pinch technology was first thought up in the 1950s, but until recently, instability problems meant that research had been largely focused on the more stable tokamak technology. In 2019, a group of researchers from the University of Washington proposed the use of sheared axial flow to smooth the plasma streams, preventing distortions that previously led to instability. One of the authors of that study, Uri Shumlak, co-founded Zap Energy in 2017 in a bid to leverage the sheared axial flow technique to make Z-pinch technology commercially viable. Just last week, Zap Energy reached a key milestone by creating the first plasmas inside its prototype reactor, called the FuZE-Q. The Zap Energy team also just closed a $160-million Series C funding round, which will help it to further develop its Z-pinch technology and hopefully bring it to the market. The company says its reactors could be small enough to fit inside a garage, meaning it could give both micro nuclear reactor and nuclear fusion firms a run for their money.
Apple Rumored To Announce 'Game-Changer' AR/VR Headset In January 2023
Apple is "likely" to announce its long-rumored mixed-reality headset
as soon as January 2023, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reiterated. MacRumors reports:
In a detailed post on Medium, Kuo explained that Apple's headset will be a "game-changer" for the augmented-reality and virtual-reality market. Describing some of the headset's functionality, Kuo said that while Apple has repeatedly touted its focus on AR, the headset will "offer an excellent immersive experience" and a "video see-thru" mode. The headset is expected to boost demand for immersive gaming and multimedia entertainment experiences.
Kuo said that the device is "the most complicated product Apple has ever designed," leading Apple to use components from many of its existing suppliers. Kuo also believes that Apple will be an industry leader in the headset space, has "significant competitive advantages," and does not need to join the Metaverse Standards Forum. Notably, Kuo thinks that rivals will race to imitate Apple's headset once it launches, "leading the headset hardware industry to the next stage of rapid growth."
Senator Posts Cryptocurrency Bill On GitHub, Chaos Ensues
On Wednesday, Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)
posted her upcoming cryptocurrency regulation bill on GitHub. What she got in return were eight pull requests and lots of trolling. The Verge reports:
As of press time, Github users have commented on 24 issues in the bill and made eight pull requests -- some of which have proposed meaningful additions to the bill. One user asked the senators to "increase the value of proof-of-work cryptocurrencies with a tax on mining." Another thread raised concerns about algorithmic backing of stablecoins.
However, the more common response has been trolling. One flagged issue is titled, "You Know You Can Find Someone To Do Findom Using Google, Right." Another is titled only with the eggplant emoji. In a related thread, a user commented, "Feds are not looking post floppa," accompanied by a picture of a popular Russian caracal who has gained an internet following under the name "Big Floppa." The trolling also extends to commit requests, where one user proposed replacing the bill with the source code of the popular first-person shooter Doom. "This bill would do far more to benefit everyday Americans if its text was replaced with the source code of Doom," reads a comment responding to the request. "Devs should merge asap."
Bungie Slaps YouTube Takedown Impersonator With $7.6 Million Lawsuit
An anonymous reader quotes a report from PC Gamer:
Back in March, a wave of bizarre copyright strikes rocked the Destiny 2 community. Not only did it affect some of the game's biggest content creators, but also videos on Bungie's own YouTube channel. It turned out none of them had actually come from the developer but a "bad actor" impersonating two employees from the CSC, Bungie's IP protection agency of choice. Now, that person has allegedly been identified and Bungie's suing them for a whopping $7.6 million. Ouch.
Nicholas 'Lord Nazo' Minor is accused of fraudulently firing off 96 separate DMCA takedown notices throughout mid-March (thanks, TheGamePost). According to the lawsuit (PDF), Minor was issued legitimate copyright strikes in both December 2021 and March 2022 for uploading the OST for Destiny's The Taken King and The Witch Queen expansions. During that period, Minor is said to have created two separate email addresses impersonating CSC employees. He then used those email addresses to issue the false takedown notices.
The lawsuit goes on to say that during the whole kerfuffle, Minor was "taking part in the community discussion of 'Bungie's' takedowns, spreading disinformation" as well as trying to file a counterclaim with YouTube, saying the legitimate takedowns on his channel were included in the wave of fraudulent ones. Bungie claims that the situation caused "significant reputational and economic damage," with the publisher having to "devote significant internal resources to addressing it and helping its players restore their videos and channels." It claims its "entitled to damages and injunctive relief, including enhanced statutory damages of $150,000 for each of the works implicated in the Fraudulent Takedown Notice that willfully infringed Bungie's registered copyrights, totaling $7,650,000."
Female Scientists Less Likely To Be Given Authorship Credits, Analysis Finds
Female scientists are less likely to receive authorship credit or to be named on patents related to the work they do compared with their male counterparts -- including in fields such as healthcare, where women dominate --
data suggests. From a report:
This gender gap may help to explain well-documented disparities in the apparent contributions of male and female scientists -- such as that of Rosalind Franklin, whose pivotal contribution to the discovery of the structure of DNA initially went unrecognised because she was not cited on the core Nature article by James Watson and Francis Crick.
"We have known for a long time that women publish and patent at a lower rate than men. But, because previous data never showed who participated in research, no one knew why," said Prof Julia Lane at New York University in the US, who led the new research. Lane and her colleagues analysed administrative data on research projects conducted at 52 US colleges and universities between 2013 and 2016. They matched information about 128,859 scientists to 39,426 journal articles and 7,675 patents, looking at which people who worked on individual projects received credit and which did not.
Mark Zuckerberg is More Interested in the Metaverse Than Election Integrity
Mark Zuckerberg's intense focus on the metaverse has
replaced securing elections as the Meta CEO's top concern, four Meta employees with knowledge of the situation told The New York Times. From a report:
Zuckerberg has been public with his desire to transform Meta -- formerly known as Facebook -- into a metaverse company, ploughing billions of dollars into developing metaverse technology.
The New York Times reports Meta's core election team has shrunk significantly since 2020. With the US midterms approaching, a reduced election team at Meta could mean less enforcement against misinformation. Whereas it used to comprise over 300 people, now 60 people spend their time focused on election security and some additional employees divide their time between elections and other projects, sources told The Times.
As China Shuts Out the World, Internet Access From Abroad Gets Harder Too
Most internet users trying to get past China's Great Firewall search for a cyber tunnel that will take them outside censorship restrictions to the wider web. From a report:
But Vincent Brussee is looking for a way in, so he can better glimpse what life is like under the Communist Party. An analyst with the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Berlin, Brussee frequently scours the Chinese internet for data. His main focus is information that will help him understand China's burgeoning social credit system. But in the last few years, he's noticed that his usual sources have become more unreliable and access tougher to gain.
Some government websites fail to load, appearing to block users from specific geographic locations. Other platforms require a Chinese phone number tied to official identification. Files that were available three years ago have started to disappear as Brussee and many like him, including academics and journalists, are finding it increasingly frustrating to penetrate China's cyber world from the outside. "It's making it more difficult to simply understand where China is headed," Brussee said. "A lot of the work we are doing is digging for little scraps of information."
Online Privacy Bill Clears Early Hurdle in House
Bipartisan legislation to establish
broad privacy rights for consumers won approval from a House subcommittee on Thursday, adding to its momentum. From a report:
Lawmakers approved the bill, the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, on a voice vote with no dissent. It now moves to the full Energy and Commerce Committee for a vote. The bill still faces a long and potentially difficult path, particularly in the Senate. Rep. Frank Pallone (D., N.J.), the committee chairman and a sponsor of the bill, termed it "a massive step forward."
"Every American knows it is long past time for Congress to protect their data privacy and security," he said. "The modern world demands it." Republicans also praised the legislation, while suggesting more changes might be needed. "This bill protects all Americans, regardless of ZIP Code, and provides certainty for businesses so they clearly understand their obligations," said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), the committee's top Republican. She said the legislation also would strengthen national security by requiring companies such as TikTok -- owned by Beijing-based ByteDance -- to specify when they are transferring and storing consumers' data in countries such as China.
The Ohio State University Officially Trademarks the Word 'THE'
The Ohio State University has successfully trademarked the word "THE," in a victory for the college and its branding that is sure to produce eye rolls from Michigan fans and other rivals. Stating the full name of the school has become a point of pride for Ohio State's athletes when introducing themselves on television during games. The three-letter article "THE" has also become an important part of the school's merchandise and apparel. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved Ohio State's application Tuesday. The trademark applies to T-shirts, baseball caps and hats.
"'THE' has been a rallying cry in the Ohio State community for many years," said Benjamin Johnson, a spokesman for the university. Ohio State registered the word as a trademark to protect the university's brand, Mr. Johnson said. Ohio State's trademark and licensing program makes about $12.5 million annually for the university, which funds student scholarships and university programs, he said. "Universities historically are very particular about their trademarks, and they go to a lot of lengths to enforce their trademarks," said Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney, who noted Ohio State's trademark application on Twitter. "There is a lot of value in a university's brand."
Japanese City Worker Loses Flash Drive Containing Personal Details of Every Resident
A city in Japan has been forced to apologise after a contractor admitted he had lost a USB memory stick containing the
personal data of almost half a million residents after an alcohol-fuelled night out. From a report:
Officials in Amagasaki, western Japan, said the man -- an unnamed employee of a private contractor hired to oversee Covid-19 relief payments to local households -- had taken the flash drive from the city's offices to transfer the data at a call centre in nearby Osaka. After spending Tuesday evening drinking at a restaurant, he realised on his way home that the bag containing the drive was missing, along with the personal details of all 460,000 Amagasaki residents. He reported the loss to police the following morning. The information included the residents' names, addresses and dates of birth, as well as details of their residence tax payments and the bank account numbers of those receiving child benefits and other welfare payments, according to the Asahi Shimbun. All of the information is encrypted and password protected, and there have been no reports of data leaks.
Microsoft Will Start Banning Players From All Private Minecraft Servers
Since its initial release over a decade ago (and even following Microsoft's 2014 acquisition of developer Mojang), Minecraft has let players create private servers where they're in full control of what behaviors (and players) are allowed. Next week, though, Microsoft is set to roll out a new update that lets it
ban a Minecraft player from all online play, including private servers and those hosted on Microsoft's subscription-based Realms plan. From a report:
Earlier this week, Microsoft launched a pre-release version of Update 1.19.1 for the Java Edition of Minecraft, which will go live for everyone on Tuesday, June 28. That update will add the ability to report users who abuse the game's chat system and allow for "reported players [to be] be banned from online play and Realms after moderator review." On a recently updated "Why Have I been Banned from Minecraft?" help page, Microsoft notes that banned players will also get a message when they "sign into Minecraft on any platform (non-Java Edition) [aka "Bedrock"]." That message will clarify that "banned players are not allowed to play on servers, join Realms, host or join multiplayer games, or use the marketplace. They are also not allowed to access Minecraft Earth. Xbox players will no longer have access to their worlds [emphasis added]."
Blockchain Startup Harmony Says $100 Million Was Stolen From Its Service
A popular product on the Harmony network was
exploited for over $100 million in cryptocurrencies in what is one of the biggest crypto hacks in recent weeks. From a report:
"The Harmony team has identified a theft occurring this morning on the Horizon bridge amounting to approx. $100MM," the network's developers said in a tweet. "We have begun working with national authorities and forensic specialists to identify the culprit and retrieve the stolen funds. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the domestic intelligence and legal enforcement agency of the U.S., and cybersecurity firms have joined the search for the attacker, they said in a subsequent tweet. Harmony's native ONE token slumped on news of the exploit, taking its decline in the past 24 hours to more than 12%.
Years After Brigham-Harvard Scandal, US Pours Millions Into Tainted Stem-Cell Field
Faked heart studies by a once-obscure scientist duped the U.S. government and medical establishment for years. Washington is
still paying for it. From a Reuters investigation:
Mario Ricciardi, a young Italian molecular biologist, was thrilled when he was selected to work with one of Harvard Medical School's most successful stem cell researchers. His new boss, Dr. Piero Anversa, had become famous within the field for his bold findings in 2001 that adult stem cells had special abilities to regenerate hearts or even cure heart disease, the leading cause of U.S. deaths . Millions in U.S. government grants poured into Anversa's lab at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Top journals published his papers. And the American Heart Association (AHA) proclaimed him a "research pioneer."
"He was like a god," recalled Ricciardi, now 39, one of several scientists to speak out for the first time about their experiences in Anversa's lab. Within a year of Ricciardi's arrival in 2011, they grew suspicious, the scientists recalled. They couldn't replicate the seminal findings of their celebrated boss and became concerned that data and images of cells were being manipulated. Anversa and his deputy gruffly dismissed their questions, they said. They took their concerns to Brigham officials, telling them that Anversa's blockbuster results appeared to have been faked. "The science just wasn't there," Ricciardi said.
After an investigation lasting almost six years, Brigham and Harvard wrote in a two-paragraph statement that they had found "falsified and/or fabricated data" in 31 papers authored by Anversa and his collaborators. In April 2017, the U.S. Justice Department separately concluded in a civil settlement with Brigham that Anversa's lab relied on "the fabrication of data and images" in seeking government grants and engaged in "reckless or deliberately misleading record-keeping." Yet federal money has continued to flow to test the proposition advanced by Anversa -- that adult stem cells can regenerate or heal hearts. Over two decades, federal and private grants have streamed into research labs despite allegations of fraud and fabrication against Anversa and others in the field, Reuters found. Meanwhile, no scientist has credibly established that Anversa's regeneration hypothesis holds true in humans, according to researchers and a review of medical literature.
Software Maker Zendesk To Be Bought by Investor Group in $9.5 Billion Cash Deal
Software maker Zendesk agreed
to be acquired by a group of buyout firms led by Hellman & Friedman and Permira for about $9.5 billion. From a report:
The all-cash transaction offers shareholders $77.50 a share, a premium of 34% over Zendesk's closing stock price on Thursday, the company said in a statement on Friday. The stock jumped about 29% to $74.75 on the news. Including debt, the deal is valued at about $10.2 billion. The announcement comes after Zendesk said earlier this month that it would remain independent after failing to find a potential buyer. The San Francisco-based company said June 9 that it would no longer seek to sell itself after a strategic review that reached out to 16 potential strategic partners and 10 financial sponsors. Ultimately, "no actionable proposals were submitted," Zendesk said in a statement, and final bidders cited "adverse market conditions and financing difficulties at the end of the process."
Five Planets Take Center Stage as They Align in the Night Sky
A rare, five-planet alignment will
peak on June 24, allowing a spectacular viewing of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn as they line up in planetary order. From a report:
The event began at the beginning of June and has continued to get brighter and easier to see as the month has progressed, according to Diana Hannikainen, observing editor of Sky & Telescope. A waning crescent moon will be joining the party between Venus and Mars on Friday, adding another celestial object to the lineup. The moon will represent the Earth's relative position in the alignment, meaning this is where our planet will appear in the planetary order. This rare phenomenon has not occurred since December 2004, and this year, the distance between Mercury and Saturn will be smaller, according to Sky & Telescope.
Microsoft Prepares To Forget About Windows 8.1 With End of Support Notifications
Microsoft is preparing to send reminders to Windows 8.1 users that
support will end on January 10th 2023. The software giant will start sending notifications to existing Windows 8.1 devices next month, as a first reminder leading up to the January 2023 support cutoff. From a report:
The notifications will be similar to ones Microsoft has used in the past to remind Windows 7 users about end of support dates. Microsoft originally sunset Windows 8 support in 2016, but the Windows 8.1 update will cease support fully in January 2023. Microsoft will not be offering an Extended Security Update (ESU) program for Windows 8.1, so businesses won't be able to pay for additional security patches and will have to upgrade or accept the risk of running software without security updates.
Intel Delays Groundbreaking Ceremony for Ohio Plant Amid Uncertainty Over Chips Legislation
Intel has told lawmakers and officials that it is
delaying indefinitely the groundbreaking ceremony for a planned multibillion-dollar chip-manufacturing facility in Ohio, signaling frustration over uncertainty in Congress about legislation that would provide support for the U.S. chip industry. From a report:
The ceremony had been tentatively scheduled for July 22. Intel informed the office of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and members of Ohio's congressional delegation on Wednesday that it was delaying the groundbreaking "due in part to uncertainty around" the chips-related legislation, known as the Bipartisan Innovation Act, according to an email reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Intel still plans to build the facility and hasn't pushed back the start of construction, said Intel spokesman Will Moss. Intel, which announced the plant plans in January, said it intended to invest at least $20 billion in the Ohio facility, with construction expected to begin in late 2022 and production to start in 2025. The company said in its announcement that spending on the Ohio project could reach around $100 billion over the next decade, but that the expansion depends in part on progress on the U.S. chips legislation.
NASA Declares Megarocket Rehearsal Complete, Setting Stage For Inaugural Launch
The fourth and most recent attempt at a full launch rehearsal of NASA's Space Launch System went reasonably well, and despite some lingering issues and uncertainties, the agency is
sending the rocket back to the hangar for final preparations in advance of its first flight. That inaugural launch will represent Artemis 1, the first mission in NASA's Artemis lunar program. Gizmodo reports:
In a press release today, NASA -- to my surprise -- said it is done testing SLS after reviewing data from the recent launch rehearsal. That another full-blown rehearsal would be required seemed likely to me on account of an unresolved hydrogen leak linked to a faulty quick-connect fitting, which subsequently prevented ground teams from practicing the fully scheduled launch countdown on Monday. The goal was to reach T-10 seconds, but the launch controllers decided to quit the rehearsal at T-29 seconds for safety reasons. "NASA plans to return SLS and Orion to the pad for launch in late August," says the release. "NASA will set a specific target launch date after replacing hardware associated with the leak."
Despite the hydrogen leak and the incomplete countdown, Monday's wet dress did appear to go well. The ground teams finally managed to fully load SLS with propellants. Upwards of 755,000 gallons of cryogenic liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen were supplied to the rocket's two stages, which the teams had failed to do during the first three attempts. What's more, all of the issues experienced during the first three wet dress rehearsals appear to have been resolved. The Orion spacecraft, currently sitting atop the rocket, also performed well during the test. Said Tom Whitmeyer, NASA's exploration systems manager, during a media teleconference on Tuesday: "We think that we had a really successful rehearsal," adding that there is "relative risk" is running a fifth wet dress, with the 322-foot-tall (98-meter) rocket standing fully exposed on the launch pad.
Solana Launches Web3-Focused Smartphone Saga To Improve Crypto-Mobile Relationship
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch:
The co-founder and CEO of Solana, Anatoly Yakovenko, had a Steve Jobs moment when he stood in front of an auditorium in New York City and announced the launch of Saga, an Android web3-focused smartphone. "This is something that I fundamentally believe the industry needs to do," Yakovenko said. "We didn't see a single crypto feature at the Apple developer conference 13 years after Bitcoin was alive." People will pull out their laptops in the middle of dates so they don't miss an NFT minting opportunity, Yakovenko joked. "So I think it's time for crypto to go mobile," Yakovenko added.
Saga aims to implement digital asset products and services, so users can easily transact with their cryptocurrency through the device, opposed to a laptop browser. In addition to the announcement of Saga, Yakovenko shared the launch of the Solana Mobile Stack, or SMS, which is a web3 layer for Solana built on the phone. SMS will consist of a number of products including a seed vault, a custody solution, a mobile wallet adapter, Solana Pay for Android and its decentralized application (dApp) store. It "provides a new set of libraries for wallets and apps, allowing developers to create rich mobile experiences on Solana," a press release said.
A number of crypto companies including FTX, Phantom and Magic Eden will partner with SMS and there is also a $10 million developer fund for people who build apps on it. "The builders are coming and they are higher quality than before," Raj Gokal, COO at Solana Labs said. "They're ready for the next leg of user growth." The $1,000 device will have 512 GB of storage with a 6.67-inch OLED display and is available for preorder with a $100 deposit and deliveries will occur in Q1 2023, Yakovenko said.