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Geek

Space Hurricane Seen Above Magnetic North Pole Was Raining Electrons

Slashdot - Thu, 03/04/2021 - 02:00
The first space hurricane ever was spotted in August 2014, consisting of "an eddy of plasma, a type of superhot, charged gas found throughout the solar system," reports Business Insider. "And instead of rain, this storm brought showers of electrons." From the report: In August 2014, satellites observed a swirling mass with a quiet center more than 125 miles above the North Pole. The space hurricane was more than 620 miles wide and high in the sky -- it formed in the ionosphere, between 50 and 600 miles up. Lockwood and his coauthors used the satellite data to create a 3D model of the storm. The space hurricane lasted eight hours, swirling counterclockwise. The researchers said it had several spiral arms snaking out from its center, a bit like a spiral galaxy. By plugging the satellite data into a computer model, Lockwood and his collaborators were able to reproduce the storm and figure out what caused it. They found that charged particles emitted by the sun's upper atmosphere, the corona, were to blame. This steady stream of solar particles and coronal plasma is known as solar wind. It moves at about 1 million miles an hour. As solar wind reaches Earth, it encounters the planet's magnetic field. Earth has such a field because of the swirling liquid iron and nickel in its outer core, which gives rise to electric currents. The magnetosphere protects the planet from deadly radiation from the sun but also retains a tiny layer of plasma from that solar wind. Typically, solar winds glance off this protective sheath. But sometimes the incoming charged particles and plasma interact with either the trapped plasma or the electrical currents generating the field. Such interactions create disturbances in the magnetosphere. The 2014 space hurricane was one such disturbance. Usually, magnetic fields don't mix. But if they do come close, portions of the fields can get realigned and even merge, forming a new pattern of magnetic energy. That's what likely happened on the day of the space storm: An influx of solar wind energy formed a new pattern above Earth's magnetic north pole. The storm acted as a channel from space into Earth's atmosphere, funneling some electrons down past the planet's armor. This particle rain could have wreaked havoc on our high-frequency radio communications, radar-detection systems, or satellite technology, the study's authors said. That's because charged solar particles that seep through Earth's magnetic field can cause malfunctions in computers and circuitry on satellites and the International Space Station. Luckily, in this case, no issues were observed.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

US Issues Warning After Microsoft Says China Hacked Its Mail Server Program

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 22:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: The U.S. has issued an emergency warning after Microsoft said it caught China hacking into its mail and calendar server program, called Exchange. The perpetrator, Microsoft said in a blog post, is a hacker group that the company has "high confidence" is working for the Chinese government and primarily spies on American targets. The latest software update for Exchange blocks the hackers, prompting the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to issue a rare emergency directive that requires all government networks do so. CISA, the U.S.'s primary defensive cybersecurity agency, rarely exercises its authority to demand the entire U.S. government take protective steps to protect its cybersecurity. The move was necessary, the agency announced, because the Exchange hackers are able "to gain persistent system access." All government agencies have until noon Friday to download the latest software update. In a separate blog post, Microsoft Vice President Tom Burt wrote that the hackers have recently spied on a wide range of American targets, including disease researchers, law firms and defense contractors. There was no immediate indication that the hack led to significant exploitation of U.S. government computer networks. But the announcement marks the second instance in recent months that the U.S. scrambled to address a widespread hacking campaign believed be the work of foreign government spies.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Scott Forstall asked Pandora to develop its app with jailbroken iPhones before the App Store

9to5Mac - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 21:54

Apple has always discouraged users from jailbreaking their iPhones, but that doesn’t mean that Apple engineers don’t have jailbroken iPhones for testing purposes. In a new Vice interview, Pandora executives revealed that none other than Scott Forstall suggested that they should use jailbroken iPhones to develop an iOS app before the App Store and an official iPhone SDK.

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The post Scott Forstall asked Pandora to develop its app with jailbroken iPhones before the App Store appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

SpaceX Mars Prototype Rocket Nails Landing For the First Time, But Explodes On Pad

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 21:02
A SpaceX rocket prototype, known as SN10, soared over South Texas during test flight Wednesday before swooping down to a pinpoint landing near its launch site. Approximately three minutes after landing, however, multiple independent video feeds showed the rocket exploding on its landing pad. CNN reports: SpaceX's SN10, an early prototype of the company's Starship Mars rocket, took off around 5:15 pm CT and climbed about six miles over the coastal landscape, mimicking two previous test flights SpaceX has conducted that ended in an explosive crash. Wednesday marked the first successful landing for a Starship prototype. "We've had a successful soft touch down on the landing pad," SpaceX engineer John Insprucker said during a livestream of the event. "That's capping a beautiful test flight of Starship 10." It was unclear what caused the rocket to explode after landing, and the SpaceX livestream cut out before the conflagration. He added that SpaceX has several other prototypes already in production and the next, SN11, will be ready to roll out for another test flight 'in the near future." SpaceX's first launch attempt on Wednesday, around 3 pm CT, was aborted at the last tenth of a second. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet that the abort was triggered by pre-set standards around the rocket's thrust, which Musk described as "slightly conservative." He added that the company would increase the rocket's thrust limit, giving the rocket more wiggle room for getting a go-ahead for liftoff. The company then recycled the SN10's fuel ahead of the second, successful attempt.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Cephalopod Passes Cognitive Test Designed For Human Children

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 20:25
mi shares a report from ScienceAlert: The marshmallow test, or Stanford marshmallow experiment, is pretty straightforward. A child is placed in a room with a marshmallow. They are told, if they can manage not to eat the marshmallow for 15 minutes, they'll get a second marshmallow, and be allowed to eat both. This ability to delay gratification demonstrates cognitive abilities such as future planning, and it was originally conducted to study how human cognition develops; specifically, at what age a human is smart enough to delay gratification if it means a better outcome later. Because it's so simple, it can be adjusted for animals. Obviously you can't tell an animal they'll get a better reward if they wait, but you can train them to understand that better food is coming if they don't eat the food in front of them straight away. [...] The researchers found that all of the cuttlefish in the test condition decided to wait for their preferred food (the live shrimp), but didn't bother to do so in the control group, where they couldn't access it. "Cuttlefish in the present study were all able to wait for the better reward and tolerated delays for up to 50-130 seconds, which is comparable to what we see in large-brained vertebrates such as chimpanzees, crows and parrots," the researchers said. The other part of the experiment was to test how good the six cuttlefish were at learning. They were shown two different visual cues, a grey square and a white one. When they approached one, the other would be removed from the tank; if they made the "correct" choice, they would be rewarded with a snack. Once they had learnt to associate a square with a reward, the researchers switched the cues, so that the other square now became the reward cue. Interestingly, the cuttlefish that learnt to adapt to this change the quickest were also the cuttlefish that were able to wait longer for the shrimp reward. The team's research has been published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

AMD Unveils New Radeon RX 6700 XT Midrange GPU To Take On GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 19:45
MojoKid writes: AMD announced a new member of its Radeon RX 6000 series graphics card line-up today, dubbed Radeon RX 6700 XT. Based on AMD's RDNA 2 GPU architecture, the Radeon RX 6700 XT targets high frame rate 1440p gaming at max image quality with an MSRP of $479. The new GPU has 40 Compute Units (CUs) with 40 Ray Tracing Accelerators, 96MB of on-chip Infinity Cache, and 12Gb of GDDR6 memory. Game Clocks of up to 2424MHz will be possible and board power is rated for 230 watts. Versus NVIDIA's current competitive offerings, AMD is claiming wins for the Radeon RX 6700 XT across many titles at 1440p/max settings versus the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3070, but with the added benefit of a larger 12GB frame buffer, which should add a measure of future-proofing as games get more graphically complex. Finally, AMD also revealed that it will be doing something a bit different with the launch of the Radeon RX 6700 XT. AMD-built reference cards will be available directly from AMD.com and numerous partner boards will be available from retailers and system builders, all on March 18th.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Apple Launches Service For Transferring iCloud Photos, Videos To Google Photos

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 19:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MacRumors: Apple this week introduced a new service that's designed to make it quick and easy for iCloud users to transfer their stored photos and videos to Google Photos. As outlined in an Apple support document, you can go to Apple's privacy website and sign in to see the "Transfer a copy of your data" option. If you select this and go through all the steps, Apple will transfer your iCloud photos and videos to Google Photos. Transferring photos and videos from iCloud Photos does not remove the content you have stored with Apple, but it provides a backup method and stores a copy of the content on Google Photos. The transfer process takes between three and seven days, with Apple verifying that the request was made by you. To do the transfer, you must have two-factor authentication turned on for your Apple ID account and you must have a Google Photos account with enough storage to complete the transfer. Smart Albums, Live Photos, photo stream content, some metadata, and some RAW photos are not able to be transferred.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Twitter implementing new shopping features in its mobile app

9to5Mac - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 18:18

As Twitter has been working on new ways to monetize its platform, the social network is now implementing new e-commerce features that will be extremely useful for those who sell products online.

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The post Twitter implementing new shopping features in its mobile app appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Get a free leather AirPods case from Nomad

iDownloadBlog - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 17:44

Heads up, our friends over at Nomad are running an exclusive deal for iDB readers. For a limited time, you can snag one of their leather Rugged AirPods cases for free—you just have to pay for shipping.
Categories: Geek

‘Wolfwalkers’ and ‘Stillwater’ help Apple TV+ to 11 Annie Award nominations

iDownloadBlog - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 17:42

"Wolfwalkers" and "Stillwater" helped Apple TV+ earn 11 Annie Award nominations.
Categories: Geek

Apple’s new tool lets you transfer iCloud Photos to Google Photos; here’s how it works

9to5Mac - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 17:21

Ahead of tech companies being forced by lawmakers to offer greater data portability options in the US and elsewhere, Apple has been proactive and started offering a new option on its Data & Privacy website. Follow along for a look at how to directly transfer iCloud Photos to Google Photos and other supported services that should launch in the future.

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The post Apple’s new tool lets you transfer iCloud Photos to Google Photos; here’s how it works appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Apple TV+ orders sci-fi thriller ‘Dr. Brain’ based on the popular Korean webtoon

iDownloadBlog - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 17:15

Apple TV+ has given a series order to "Dr. Brain", the streamer's first Korean-language project and based on the popular webtoon.
Categories: Geek

Apple says that missed Apple Card payments don’t impact Apple ID

iDownloadBlog - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 17:04

Apple aims to clarify any confusion regarding the Apple Card and Apple IDs, says a missed credit card payment won't lead to a frozen account.
Categories: Geek

Twitter CFO says Apple is ‘leveling the playing field’ with iOS 14 privacy changes

9to5Mac - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 16:37

iOS 14 introduced several privacy changes that are now becoming mandatory for developers, which has resulted in some large companies being unhappy with Apple. However, Twitter CFO Ned Segal said that he’s not worried about these changes, as he believes that this could even have a positive impact on smaller companies.

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The post Twitter CFO says Apple is ‘leveling the playing field’ with iOS 14 privacy changes appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Samsung Will Soon Ship Micro LED TVs, But Mini LED Still Leads the Lineup

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 16:22
Samsung has announced imminent availability (most models will start shipping this month) for its high-end Micro LED and Mini LED TV lineup. ArsTechnica adds: We'll get to Micro LED in a minute, but let's start with the mainstream high end, which comprises the Mini LED TVs. Samsung is giving these a proprietary "Neo QLED" label. The top-end QN900A is the most tricked-out 8K option, with 65-inch ($5,000), 75-inch ($7,000), and 85-inch options ($9,000). One step down while keeping the 8K banner flying is the QN800A, offered in the same sizes but at $3,500, $4,700, and $6,500, respectively. Since there's hardly any 8K content out there to enjoy, most people who aren't just looking for bragging rights will want to opt for the 4K models. The flagship there is the QN90A, at 55 inches ($1,800), 65 inches ($2,600), 75 inches ($3,500), and 85 inches ($5,000). One step down gets you the QN85A, which comes in the same sizes as the QN90A at $1,600, $2,200, $3,000, and $4,500. While much of the hype in the world of TVs is currently focused on OLED, Samsung's LCD TVs remain the bestselling TVs in many regions, and in-depth technical reviewers like Rtings pretty consistently name Samsung's sets as the best non-OLED ones available in terms of picture quality, albeit not always in bang-for-buck. Samsung doesn't even make OLED TVs, though it produces OLED panels for other products. And to potentially battle OLED in the long term, Samsung is relying on Micro LED technology, which has individually emissive pixels just like OLED does. That means Micro LED matches OLED's chief advantage, which is that pixels of maximum brightness appear right next to pixels that are completely black. But Samsung claims the burn-in risk associated with OLED is not a factor in the same way with Micro LED. Plus, OLED TVs have been knocked for not matching the HDR peak brightness of the best traditional LED TVs. Micro LED is said to combine the best of both worlds: perfect blacks with very high peak brightness and all the granularity you'd expect in between. Micro LED TVs have been talked up as the future TV tech for years, and they've been commercially available in very limited contexts before, but this year marks Samsung's first quasi-mainstream attempt to sell a bunch of them. They still won't be for everyone, though. They're sure to be colossally expensive for one thing, but they'll also only come in 110- and 99-inch sizes to start. Later, we'll get 88- and 76-inch sizes, but even those are bigger than most people's living rooms can accommodate. So for its more mainstream flagship TVs, Samsung is leaning on Mini LED, which is not the same as similarly named Micro LED. Mini LED TVs are still fundamentally the same technology as any other LCD TV the company has sold for years, but with a new approach that allows much more granular backlighting to reduce blooming around bright objects and other problems associated with LCD TVs while still delivering strong peak brightness.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Apple TV+ reportedly scores another win with the Billie Eilish documentary

iDownloadBlog - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 16:13

The new documentary "Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry" was a huge success for Apple TV+, especially for young adults.
Categories: Geek

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