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For the first time, a Starship prototype roars to life with three engines

SN8 test. Static fire occurs at 2 hours, 27 minutes.
SpaceX engineers achieved another milestone ear..

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SN8 test. Static fire occurs at 2 hours, 27 minutes.

SpaceX engineers achieved another milestone early Tuesday morning when the company's Starship vehicle roared to life for the first time with multiple Raptor engines.

At 3:13am local time in South Texas, a Starship prototype dubbed SN8, or Serial Number 8, fired three Raptor engines for several seconds during a static fire test. Although there was no immediate confirmation from the company, the test at the company's Boca Chica launch site appeared to be successful.

This was an important step toward preparing SN8 for a 15km test flight later this month, or in early November. Even as one team prepared to ignite the rocket during the wee hours on Tuesday—which tested its plumbing to handle chilled liquid oxygen and methane fuels, and the recent installation of three Raptor engines—another team assembled the nose cone that will go on top of SN8 in preparation for its flight.

Development of the SN8 vehicle has proceeded relatively quickly. SpaceX built the core of SN8 this fall, and moved it from its factory-beneath-tents in South Texas to the nearby launch site in early October. Between October 6 and 8 it underwent three "proof tests" to ensure the integrity of its large, stainless steel fuel tanks. It then completed the static fire test—a moment of truth for any launch vehicle—early on Tuesday.

As part of the Starship program, SpaceX began experimenting with earlier prototypes in late 2019 and early 2020, losing three vehicles during various proof tests. In May, the company successfully tested a full-scale tank section of its Starship vehicle (SN4) for the first time with a single Raptor engine. It was later lost due to a ground-systems issue.

Then, in August, and again in September, it flew two different vehicles—SN5 and SN6—on short hops to 150 meters. These flying contraptions looked something like flying spray paint cans as they rose above the scrubby Texas coastal plain, but they provided valuable experience to the company's engineers, who learned to control the Raptor engine in flight and pushed the pressure limits on its fuel tanks.

Since then, work has proceeded on developing SN8 to make a far higher flight. For this, SpaceX needed to add large flaps to the tank section, and a nose cone. This vehicle more closely resembles what the final Starship vehicle will look like. It will ultimately have six Raptor engines. This will include three engines optimized for thrust at sea-level, and three more with larger nozzles optimized for thrust in the vacuum of space.

  • Ignition of SN5 on August 4, 2020. Trevor Mahlmann
  • Starhopper looks on as SN5 lifts off for its 150m hop test. Trevor Mahlmann
  • Roger, roger, SN5—we see you hovering clear five by. Trevor Mahlmann
  • SN5. In flight. Over Texas. Trevor Mahlmann
  • Turning to orient for landing. Read More – Source

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Gamers face price rise on PS5 but not Switch

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Gamers looking to buy a new console face a price rise if they want a Sony PlayStation 5, but not if they choose a Nintendo Switch.

PS5s will cost an extra £30 in the UK, with EU consoles going up by €50 (£42) and Canadian consoles by CAD $20 (£13).

Sony is increasing its console prices because of inflation, it says, but Nintendo says that despite rising costs, its prices will stay the same.

Meanwhile, PC gamers may soon be able to save money on their hardware.

Jensen Huang, chief executive of tech company Nvidia, said the company had overproduced graphics cards, which have been in short supply in recent years.

“Our strategy is to sell in well below the current sell-through levels in the marketplace to give the channel an opportunity to correct,” he said, according to the Verge.

This could mean the price of high-end graphics cards, including the RTX 3000 series, and gaming laptops falling.

No PS5 rise in US

Despite the increase in cost of the PS5 in many jurisdictions, there will be no price rises in the US.

Piers Harding-Rolls, industry analyst at gaming research firm Ampere Analysis, told the BBC the lack of a price increase in the US was a result of the strength of the dollar.

“Sony is a global entity which is operating I guess more consistently in lots of global markets, so they are impacted by currency exchanges and the strength of the dollar,” he said.

“And that’s why you’re seeing price increases in some markets, but not in others – you’ve got this nuanced approach which is trying to reflect the impact on the costs of goods in relation to those specific markets.”

Jim Ryan, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and chief executive said in a blog post: “The global economic environment is a challenge that many of you around the world are no doubt experiencing.

“We’re seeing high global inflation rates, as well as adverse currency trends, impacting consumers and creating pressure on many industries.”

But Mr Harding-Rolls said he did not expect the price increase to put off gaming enthusiasts.

“I think pent-up demand for PS5, even though the availability is not good, means that this price increase won’t have a huge impact at all,” he said.

“I don’t see it changing Sony’s outlooks or their sales. I think they’re going to sell all the products that they can get into market.”

He added the move could potentially hand an advantage to Microsoft, which makes the Xbox console, “because it has the cheaper console in the market coupled with Game Pass”.

The BBC has approached Microsoft for comment.

‘Value of fun’

Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa told financial newspaper Nikkei: “In order to offer unique entertainment to a wide range of customers, we want to avoid pricing people out.

“Our competition is the variety of entertainment in the world, and we always think about pricing in terms of the value of the fun we offer.”

Read from; https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-62659688

 

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Twitter users are exposing pro-Russian sentiment in China, and Beijing is not happy

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Anonymous Twitter users are exposing the extreme nationalism and pro-Russian sentiment circulating online in China — and Beijing is not happy about it.

Scores of screen-grabbed posts from China’s most popular social media platforms have been translated and shared on Twitter in recent weeks, offering Western audiences a rare glimpse into the Chinese internet.
Among those posts: a prominent military blog falsely claiming a Russian attack on a train station in Kramatorsk was actually carried out by Ukraine, a well known media commentator dismissing the atrocities in Bucha, and a vlogger with hundreds of thousands of followers using a misogynistic term for Ukraine.
The posts appear courtesy of anonymous Twitter users who say their aim is to expose Western audiences to the true extent of pro-Russian or nationalistic content on China’s heavily censored platforms.
They often come under the hashtag of “The Great Translation Movement,” or shared by an account with the same name run by a decentralized, anonymous team that crowdsources the collection and translation of popular posts on Ukraine and other hot topics, according to an administrator interviewed by CNN. Many, but not all, appear to have been widely liked or shared within China — selection criteria cited by the administrator.
Since the account’s launch in early March it has already made plenty of friends and enemies — attracting both 116,000 followers (and counting) and a slew of criticism from China’s state-run media.
The movement was formed in response to China’s alleged hypocrisy in portraying itself as neutral on Ukraine, even while its state and social media circulated pro-Russian narratives, the administrator told CNN.
“We want the outside world to at least know what is going on inside, because we don’t think there could be any change made from inside,” said the administrator, who requested anonymity due to security concerns.

In bad faith?

China’s state media has lashed out against what it decries as “cherry picked content.” The overseas arm of the People’s Daily — the mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party — has claimed the translators behind the movement are guilty of attributing the “extreme remarks” of some netizens to the “whole country.”
The nationalistic Global Times newspaper has accused the group of being “Chinese-speaking bad faith actors” and one of its opinion writers claimed the group included “foreign hostile forces” perpetuating “psychological warfare against China.”
Outside China, media experts caution the posts do not show a holistic view of public opinion in China and appear to at least partially be selected for shock value — but could still be useful in bringing these elements of China’s media sphere to light.
Critics also say the group’s tweets show evidence of its own bias — such as in posts that use a term comparing China to Nazi Germany.
Posts which gain traction on China’s social media must be seen in light of its highly censored environment, where nationalistic voices thrive and liberal ones have largely retreated or been censored, experts say.
But the administrator who spoke to CNN said the point was to highlight the visibility of such posts — some coming from popular influencers, comments receiving thousands of likes or from prominent commenstators, and even government-backed news outlets.
“Our goal is to raise awareness about the state of public opinion in China, whether it is purely the result of spontaneous interactions (or) the result of government censorship,” the administrator said.
“We want to counter the effort of the Chinese state-affiliated media by showing the West some content they do not want to show.”

Dual messaging

The resistance against the group from China’s state media highlights the sensitivities around how China wants to present itself on the world stage, especially at a time when it has been attempting to walk a diplomatic tightrope between Russia and the West over Ukraine.
China has often sought to present two different narratives — one for domestic audiences and another for those overseas. This is made possible through both a language barrier and an online ecosystem that bans apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The Great Translation Movement breaks down both of these barriers.
“Even before the social media era, the way China talks internally through its state media is something it doesn’t appreciate being parsed and translated for the world,” said David Bandurski, director of the China Media Project, a research program in partnership with the Journalism & Media Studies Center at the University of Hong Kong.
And when it comes to Ukraine, China has sought to portray itself — at least to overseas audiences — as unaligned and invested in calling for peace. But its media coverage back home tells a different story, Bandurski said.
“If you just look at (state) media coverage, it’s really hard to talk about neutrality … Everything they have said is amplifying disinformation and aligning with Russia in terms of narratives.”
While the tone of state-backed media is clear, experts say it is difficult to gauge public opinion in China simply by looking at social media, even when it comes to popular influencers or viral posts.
Like anywhere in the world, views on social media can be extreme. In China, heavy manipulation and censorship often amplifies select voices.
“The authorities certainly have an interest in promoting their preferred narrative online, and they have the technical and political means to unapologetically ‘guide public opinion,'” said Florian Schneider, director of the Leiden Asia Center in The Netherlands.
“We should also not underestimate the power of social media algorithms: as pro-Russia statements become mainstream, they receive ever more likes and shares, which makes them more visible,” he said.

Suppressed voices, echo chambers

The situation is complicated: Beijing too has reason to be wary of ultra-nationalist voices, which platforms sometimes censor. And while nationalist rhetoric has become more dominant online in recent years, the loudest voices may not show a majority.
Bandurski said that an analogy would be looking at ultra-conservative voices in the US media environment, and assuming that was representative of the American perspective.
“So the danger is this kind of echo chamber of content, which we might assume is representative of China and its perspective, and it’s really a lot more complicated than that,” he said.
Maria Repnikova, director of the Center for Global Information Studies at Georgia State University, said when it comes to Ukraine there have been “alternative voices talking about the war…but they’re not as dominant or as loud or as visible.” Their posts may either be censored or hard to detect as social media users may express dissenting views through code and allusion.
She also asks if things would be different if images of bombarded cities of Ukraine or the atrocities in Bucha were not restricted in China.
“If people could see all of those images and scenes, would that be a different story? Would different voices pick up?”
The Great Translation Movement administrator said they hoped that the movement could help push Beijing to tone down the rhetoric on these platforms so that there would be room for more voices.
“In today’s Chinese mainstream discourse there is a very limited space for people who have a rational mind to speak,” the administrator said.
“Even if you speak out and if it doesn’t get deleted, you are still going to be spammed…and people are going to say you are a spy… the dignity of people themselves is destroyed.”

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BLACKBERRY PHONES TO STOP WORKING AS COMPANY FINALLY PULLS PLUG

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independent– BlackBerry phones, once the height of mobile devices, are finally being shut off.

The company announced that services for the older devices will be brought to an end on 4 January. At that point, they will “no longer reliably function”, BlackBerry said, and will be unable to get data, texts or make phone calls, including to emergency numbers.

It is just the latest in a series of endings for the once equally beloved and hated name, which helped drive the mobile revolution and was at the forefront of business and technology. While the BlackBerry has been declared dead a number of times before, the latest move means that the phones themselves will actually stop working.

In 2016, after its phones had been replaced largely by smartphones from Apple and others, BlackBerry announced that it had transitioned away from phones and into making software and that it would focus on providing security tools to companies and governments. It has sold the BlackBerry brand to other companies, who have created devices bearing the name.

In 2020, BlackBerry said that with that move complete, it would start taking offline the legacy services that allowed those old devices to keep working. Phones that run any of BlackBerry’s own operating systems – BlackBerry 7.1 OS and earlier, BlackBerry 10 software – were given an “end of life or termination date” at the start of 2022.

Next week, that date will finally arrive and support will end. While the phones will still be able to perform some of their functions without BlackBerry’s services, many of their central features will be removed, and the phones will not work reliably.

BlackBerry said the support was being removed in recognition of the fact that it now works in security software and that the old products did not reflect its business. It had prolonged support in the years since that transition “as an expression of thanks to our loyal partners and customers”, it said.

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