1st private space crew paying $55 million each to fly to station
The first private space station crew was introduced Tuesday: Three men who are each paying $55 million to fly on a SpaceX rocket. They'll be led by a former NASA astronaut now working for Axiom Space, the Houston company that arranged the trip for next January.
Asus announces all-new slim and light TUF Dash F15 gaming laptop in the UAE
Technology|: Asus today announced the new TUF Dash F15 gaming laptop, a super slim 15-inch device that represents a more portable, lightweight, and inclusive direction for the TUF Gaming series. Engineered to empower more gamers with the ability to game, work, and stay productive anywhere, it uses latest-gen processors; 11th Gen Intel ® Core™ i7-11370H CPU and GeForce RTX™ 3070 GPU. Its powerful core experience is rounded out with high-end features not typically seen at accessible price points, such as a tournament-level gaming panel with up to a 144Hz refresh rate, a versatile Thunderbolt™ 4 port, and Two-Way AI Noise Cancelation technology. Gamers can be productive longer on the go thanks to an expansive battery that nets up to 16.6 hours of video playback and Type-C charging that extends battery life from a variety of adapters and power packs. The TUF Dash F15 fits all of these features in a chassis that is stylish without sacrificing the TUF Gaming series’ signature military-grade durability. Slim and stylish The all-new TUF Dash F15 is lighter and thinner than standard TUF Gaming laptops, at only 19.9 mm thin and 2kg (4.4 lb), while still meeting MIL-STD-810H military standards. It has been rigorously tested to survive everything from extreme environments and ambient vibration to accidental knocks and bumps, making it a device that’s reliable to take on the road. Because it represents such a new direction for TUF Gaming, the Dash F15 was designed with a streamlined new look and feel. The Eclipse Gray color scheme is professional and understated, accentuated by bolt blue backlighting on the keyboard. The refreshed TUF logo boasts a modern look that evokes the strength of the series, while the thin lettering across the lid underscores the slim new design direction. . Image Credit: Supplied Fastest 11th Gen Intel Core laptop Users can do more than game with up to the latest 11th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-11370H processor. The CPU clocks up to an astounding 4.8 GHz, nearly matching the frequency of the fastest desktop processors, but in a much smaller power envelope - up to 35W of sustained power when the GPU is active and 64W when the CPU is on its own – enabling amazing performance in a thin chassis. It also features four lanes of CPU-attached PCI Gen 4 for high bandwidth to connect the latest discrete graphics. The Dash F15 is the fastest 11th Gen Intel Core-powered laptops available to date, accelerating everything from gaming and streaming to intensive tasks like compiling code. Intel shares the ROG vision of powerful ultraslim gaming laptops that let users work and play in more places. The TUF Dash is a result of close collaboration with fine-tuned performance that allows the processor reaches its full potential and also sustain high speed while gaming. Room for 16 GB of DDR4-3200 memory means there’s enough RAM for productive multitasking and content creation. Everything loads at warp speed thanks to a PCI Express® SSD that makes systems feel more responsive. 512GB of space holds a massive collection of games, while an additional SSD slot makes it easy to add terabytes of extra capacity for massive multimedia files and more. The Dash F15 features an easy-upgrade design that puts the SO-DIMM slot and both M.2 slots just behind the bottom panel, held in place with standard Philips screws. A special pop-open screw pushes the bottom corner away from the chassis so it’s easy to get under the hood fast. The surrounding hooks holding the edges together are smaller and stronger than conventional counterparts, making it easy to lift off the panel without scuffing the body or special tools. . Image Credit: Supplied Powered by Ampere Graphics power is assured with up to a GeForce RTX™ 3070 GPU clocked up to 1390 MHz at 80W with ROG Boost, allowing it to pump out massive frame rates in the latest blockbuster games and popular esports titles alike. Built on NVIDIA’s latest Ampere architecture, this all-new GPU blends traditional CUDA processing cores with 2nd generation RT and 3rd generation Tensor cores to accelerate ray tracing and artificial intelligence. This combination of cores enables realistic in-game lighting and effects, and it also speeds up other computationally intensive work like AI deep learning. A powerful GPU puts triple-digit FPS within reach in popular games, but a fast display is essential to get the full effect. A gaming panel with 144 Hz display that still offers competitive gaming speed, more than doubling the refresh rate of conventional laptop displays. Its panel maintains colors and contrast across wide viewing angles, so you can sit off to the side while playing games or streaming videos with friends. Adaptive-Sync support across all display options enables ultra-smooth gameplay by synchronizing the refresh rate with the GPU’s frame rate, reducing lag, minimizing stuttering, and eliminating visual tearing. The display is framed by 6.2 mm super-narrow bezels that minimize distractions from the action. The slim border shrinks the footprint of the chassis, too, making the laptop more compact. Portable power Working anywhere is more flexible with ample battery life. Up to 16.6 hours of continuous video playback time means gamers can stream or take care of other tasks without tethering themselves to an outlet. When a full recharge is needed, new fast-charging technology takes the battery from 0% to 50% in under 30 minutes. Battery life can be extended even further with Type-C charging support that can top off a charge from compatible adapters and power packs. Type-C adapters up to 100W are supported, meaning users can travel lighter and save the standard AC adapter for gaming or other intensive tasks that need full performance. The Type-C port works with Thunderbolt 4 and USB4, so it connects to the latest generation of premium devices. Thunderbolt 4 lets users plug in a docking station to drive a desktop setup or hook up an external GPU to boost gaming performance and overall graphics power on demand. The Dash F15 is also equipped with a wide variety of additional ports keep users flexible for any situation. Three USB 3.2 Type-A ports make room for vital peripherals like a gamepad, mouse, and external storage. HDMI 2.0b can be connected to a wide range of displays at resolutions up to 4K. The Type-C port also doubles as a DisplayPort 1.4 output, making it simple to connect a secondary display. Getting online is easy with ultrafast WiFi 6 (802.11ax). It’s hard to beat the convenience of wireless networking, but wired connections have lower latency for serious multiplayer gaming, so Gigabit Ethernet is also included. Comprehensive cooling Advanced cooling enables the TUF Dash F15 to fit top tier processors in a super slim form factor. A substantial heat spreader and five copper heat pipes distribute thermal energy from the CPU, GPU, VRAM, and VRM into four heatsinks, each lined with thin fins that maximize surface area for heat dissipation and minimize resistance to airflow. Dual fans channel air through four outlets that expel heat faster and with less noise than typical ultraslim designs. The n-Blade fans are specially sculpted to move more air. They’re made from a special liquid crystal polymer that makes enough space to fit 83 blades per fan and still ensure that each blade is strong enough to hold up at high RPMs. Such a high blade density means each fan can draw and push more air per rotation, cooling components faster. With 0dB Technology, the fans switch off completely when CPU and GPU temperatures drop below 50°C in the Silent operating mode. This makes cooling truly silent under light workloads. The self-cleaning cooling module maintains long-term stability and performance by preventing build-up on critical components like fan blades and heatsink fins. Updated anti-dust tunnels are shorter to create more space for airflow around the fan, while still redirecting particles away from crucial hardware. Users can take fine-tuned control of the Dash F15 with Scenario Profiles, which can be set to switch seamlessly between three operating modes that mix different cooling and performance profiles. Turbo mode delivers maximum performance and fan speeds for intensive tasks, while Performance mode optimizes speed and acoustics for the best gaming experience. Silent mode reduces power and noise for lighter loads like web surfing and video streaming. Scenario Profiles can be set to trigger automatically when you launch specific apps and games, and they can also change additional system settings, like the display profile and behavior of the Windows key. . Image Credit: Supplied Premium sound The TUF Dash F15 is topped off with a range of premium features that enhance its everyday user experience for gaming, entertainment, and more. Voice chat is crystal clear thanks to new Two-Way AI Noise Cancelation technology. This advanced technology removes a broad range of unwanted background noise from both input and output audio, meaning that both the user’s voice and incoming communications are fuzz-free. It supports any input device, and noise cancelation settings can be applied and adjusted for specific apps, so unwanted sounds can be filtered out of voice chat software without adversely affecting game audio or music apps. Best of all, this technology runs on the CPU, allowing the GPU to focus all its resources on maximizing gaming performance. A new, quiet keyboard design keeps inputs under 30dB. Commands can be input freely and discreetly no matter where users want to play. Its desktop-style design is optimized for gaming, with four dedicated hotkeys allow for quick access to essential features like volume, mic mute, and Armoury Crate. Function keys are separated in the usual groups to make shortcuts more intuitive, while arrow keys are offset for effortless navigation. The stealthy keyboard switches have a 1.7mm travel distance that makes typing more comfortable. Entertainment experiences are more immersive with DTS:X Ultra technology that brings 7.1-channel virtual surround sound to stereo headsets or speakers. Users can choose between built-in presets for games, movies, and sports or try customizing their tuning with the embedded equalizer. Availability and Pricing Asus TUF Dash F15 will be available from January 27, 2021 in Dubai exclusively from EMax. Price is AED 6299
Singapore faces talent crunch as tech giants scale up
Business|Technology|: At least three recruiters approach Singapore-based software engineer Xiao Yuguang every day with job offers. Demand for Xiao's skills has soared since he graduated in 2014 with a computer engineering degree but now he just ignores the offers, having recently joined TikTok owner Bytedance after several years with Southeast Asia's Grab. "It's not like I want to change jobs frequently," said Xiao. Singapore is aiming to become a regional tech hub but faces a severe talent crunch as more firms move in, interviews with more than a dozen recruiters, companies and workers show. China's Tencent, Bytedance, U.S.-based Zoom Video Communications and unicorn Grab and Sea Ltd are among companies expanding in Singapore, fueling a war for tech talent in the city-state, where the jobless rate had reached a 16-year high due to a coronavirus-induced recession. "Certain member companies have been expanding their operations ... and looking to hire more data scientists, more coders," said Lei Hsien-Hsien, chief executive officer at the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore. "So the demand is very strong but the supply is relatively weak, which then slows down some of the expansion plans." Up to 500 new tech vacancies are posted each week on job sites, according to NodeFlair, which is helping hire for Bytedance and Sea's e-commerce business Shopee. The information communications sector would need another 60,000 professionals over the next three years, cabinet minister Vivian Balakrishnan said in June. In response to a Reuters query on the figure, the communications ministry said in mid-September there were nearly 10,000 tech-related job postings on a government-run careers portal and another 6,800 jobs and traineeships would be created by June 2021 through industry partnerships. Border curbs due to the coronavirus and tighter foreign worker policies are delaying overseas hiring, exacerbating the shortage, some headhunters said. Some tech professionals can command pay increases of up to 30% when they switch jobs. "It's not sustainable," said Daljit Sall at recruitment firm Randstad, who expects salaries to even out once borders reopen and as the talent pool develops. The government has been re-training thousands of people with tech skills while the intake for IT courses at Singapore colleges has risen 17% over the past three years to about 7,600 for the 2020 academic year. 'SMALL ISLAND' Singapore, an Asian base for many multinationals and banks, has for years had a tight labour market and the country of 5.7 million people does not yet have the capacity to quickly match the tech skills and experience the industry needs. "There are a lot of tech companies coming in and it's a small island," said Raagulan Pathy, head of enterprise Asia Pacific at Zoom, which plans to hire hundreds of engineers. "The simple maths of it means that at a certain point you are going to run out of talent," said Pathy, adding that Singapore's programme for allocating visas for foreign workers was pragmatic. For now, the labour crunch does not seem to be putting anyone off. The Economic Development Board (EDB) is getting healthy interest from global tech companies keen to expand operations, it said. "We constantly seek to ensure companies who set up here have access to a strong Singaporean workforce complemented by a diverse foreign workforce," said Managing Director Chng Kai Fong. The EDB has various programmes to bridge the skills shortage including one that helps tech companies bring in talent from overseas and a new work visa for top-tier tech executives. The work visa, launched this month, has prompted many enquiries, recruiters said. But it is limited to 500 participants and has strict criteria. Companies are finding ways to cope. Shopping rewards platform ShopBack resorts to reallocating workload to its existing engineers to meet new demands. Fintech firm Nium's 250-strong engineering team is in India. Its 13-strong team of product managers is being doubled in Singapore, CEO Prajit Nanu said. Singapore's open economy was hit hard by the pandemic, airlines and tourism in particular, and former Singapore Airlines flight attendant Alloysius Lee is thankful he decided to study data analytics. "I feel lucky ... I spent the past few years learning and picking up a new skill," said Lee, 32.
Walmart to build more robot-filled warehouses at stores
Technology|Business|: New York: Walmart is enlisting the help of robots to keep up with a surge in online orders. The company said Wednesday that it plans to build warehouses at its stores where self-driving robots will fetch groceries and have them ready for shoppers to pick up in an hour or less. Walmart declined to say how many of the warehouses it will build, but construction has started at stores in Lewisville, Texas" Plano, Texas" American Fork, Utah" and Bentonville, Arkansas, where Walmart's corporate offices are based. A test site was opened more than a year ago at a store in Salem, New Hampshire. Walmart hopes the warehouses will speed up curbside pickups, where orders are brought outside to shoppers' cars. Both options became increasingly popular as virus-weary shoppers avoid going inside stores. At the start of the pandemic last year, Walmart said delivery and pickup sales grew 300%. The company said the robots won't roam store aisles. Instead, they'll stay inside warehouses built in separate areas, either within a store or next to it. Windows will be placed at some locations so shoppers can watch the robots work. The wheeled robots carry crates of apple juice, cereal and other small goods to Walmart workers, who then bag them for shoppers. Rival Amazon uses similar technology in its warehouses, with robots bringing books, vitamins and other small items to workers to box and ship. Walmart said the robots save time since employees don't have to walk store aisles to find items. Workers will, however, have to go into the store to pick out fresh groceries, such as meat, fish and vegetables. They'll also have to grab TVs, vacuum cleaners and other large items that are too large for the robots to carry.
YouTube Shorts eyes TikTok competition with 3.5 billion daily views in India
Media|World|Business|: YouTube Shorts - the video-sharing website's quick clips meant to compete with TikTok - are racking up 3.5 billion views a day during beta testing in India, the platform's head said Tuesday. Susan Wojcikci explained the feature in a note laying out her 2021 priorities. "So far, videos in our new Shorts player - which helps people around the world watch short videos on YouTube - are receiving an impressive 3.5 billion daily views!" she said. "We're looking forward to expanding Shorts to more markets this year." YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, unveiled Shorts in mid-September, describing the videos as "a new way to express yourself in 15 seconds or less." The feature, directly integrated into the existing YouTube interface, is currently only available in India as part of development work. The new format is seen as a way for Google to compete with Gen Z-favorite TikTok, which currently has 700 million users worldwide. Former president Donald Trump had threatened to ban TikTok - owned by Chinese group ByteDance - from the United States when he accused the company, without formal proof, of spying on behalf of Beijing. Facebook-owned Instagram responded to TikTok's popularity with their own short video format called Reels last August. And in November, Snapchat launched Spotlight, a public feed of content produced by users.
Deep water temperatures hit 'scary' highs in Gulf of St. Lawrence
News/Canada/Nova Scotia: A decade-long warming trend in the Gulf of St. Lawrence continued in 2020 with deep waters reaching record highs, according to ocean climate data released Tuesday by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
SpaceX, Amazon spat pits world's richest men against each other over space real estate
SpaceX and Amazon — companies run by the two richest men in the world — are sparring over their competing satellite-based internet businesses, with SpaceX accusing Amazon of "stifling competition" and Amazon accusing SpaceX of looking to "smother competition in the cradle."
Canadian among private space crew paying $55M each to fly to station
News/Technology & Science: The first private space station crew will be made up of a mission commander and three men paying $55 million each to fly to the International Space Station on a SpaceX rocket. The first customers include Canadian financier Mark Pathy, Larry Connor, a real estate and tech entrepreneur from Dayton, Ohio, and Israeli businessman Eytan Stibbe.
What the Biden administration means for the future of Silicon Valley
The biggest tech companies spent much of the last four years in Washington playing defense: Answering to threats of regulation and repeatedly being called before congressional committees; serving as former President Donald Trump's foil on social media moderation; and protesting his approach to immigration and tariffs.