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2022-06-24 16:31:03| Engadget

Netflix continues to lock down plans to offer ad-supported service. As The Hollywood Reporternotes, company co-chief Ted Sarandos confirmed to guests at the Cannes Lions festival that Netflix is adding an ad-backed tier with a lower price. He stressed that the option wouldn't bring ads to Netflix "as you know it today" as with rivals like Peacock, you'll still have the option to avoid marketing altogether. This is just for people who "don't mind advertising," he said.Sarandos didn't share further details. However, The Wall Street Journalsources recently claimed Google and NBCUniversal are the "top contenders" to help Netflix build the ads-included plan. Either would likely have an exclusive arrangement to serve and (at least in NBCU's case) sell ads. Roku has also had early discussions, according to tipsters. Industry executives talking to Netflix supposedly haven't learned specifics, such as the amount of ads you'll see each hour or whether there will be ad targeting. We've asked Netflix for comment.The future option is an acknowledgment that Netflix left a large group of customers "off the table," according to Sarandos. The company lost subscribers for the first time in a decade this past quarter, and it's eager to return to growth quickly. An ad-supported plan could help with that goal by drawing in customers put off by Netflix's regular pricing.


Category: Marketing and Advertising

 

2022-06-24 16:00:18| Engadget

There are a million and one ways to die in space, whether its from micrometeoroid impacts shredding your ship or solar flares frying its electronics, drowning in your own sweat during a spacewalk or having a cracked coworker push you out an airlock. And right at the top of the list is death by radiation.Those same energetic emissions from our local star that give you a tan can scour the atmosphere from a planet if it doesnt enjoy the protection of an ozone layer. While todays low Earth orbit crew and cargo capsules may not come equipped with miniature magnetospheres of their own, tomorrows might or maybe well just protect humanitys first deep space explorers from interstellar radiation by ensconcing them safely in their own poop.Types of Radiation and what to do about themLike strokes and folks, there are different types and sources of radiation both terrestrial and in space. Non-ionizing radiation, meaning the atom doesnt have enough energy to fully remove an electron from its orbit, can be found in microwaves, light bulbs, and Solar Energetic Particles (SEP) like visible and ultraviolet light. While these forms of radiation can damage materials and biological systems, their effects can typically be blocked (hence sunscreen and microwaves that don't irradiate entire kitchens) or screened by the Ozone layer or Earths magnetosphere.Earths radiation belts are filled with energetic particles trapped by Earths magnetic field that can wreak havoc with electronics we send to space. Credits: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio/Tom BridgmanIonizing radiation, on the other hand, is energetic to shed an electron and there isnt much that can slow their positively-charged momentum. Alpha and beta particles, Gamma rays, X-rays and Galactic Cosmic Rays, heavy, high-energy ions of elements that have had all their electrons stripped away as they journeyed through the galaxy at nearly the speed of light, per NASA. GCR are a dominant source of radiation that must be dealt with aboard current spacecraft and future space missions within our solar system. GCR intensity is inversely proportional to the relative strength of the Suns magnetic field, meaning that they are strongest when the Suns field is at its weakest and least able to deflect them.Chancellor, J., Scott, G., & Sutton, J. (2014)Despite their dissimilar natures, both GCR and SEP damage the materials designed to shield our squishy biological bodies from radiation along with our biological bodies themselves. Their continued bombardment has a cumulative negative effect on human physiology resulting not just in cancer but cataracts, neurological damage, germline mutations, and acute radiation sickness if the dose is high enough. For materials, high-energy particles and photons can cause temporary damage or permanent failure of spacecraft materials or devices, Zicai Shen of the Beijing Institute of Spacecraft Environment Engineering notes in 2019s Protection of Materials from Space Radiation Environments on Spacecraft.Charged particles gradually lose energy as they pass through the material, and finally, capture a sufficient number of electrons to stop, they added. When the thickness of the shielding material is greater than the range of a charged particle in the material, the incident particles will be blocked in the material.How NASA currently protects its astronautsTo ensure that tomorrows astronauts arrive at Mars with all of their teeth and fingernails intact, NASA has spent nearly four decades collecting data and studying the effects radiation has on the human body. The agencys Space Radiation Analysis Group (SRAG) at Johnson Space Center is, according to its website, responsible for ensuring that the radiation exposure received by astronauts remains below established safety limits.According to NASA, the typical average dose for a person is about 360 mrems per year, or 3.6 mSv, which is a small dose. However, International Standards allow exposure to as much as 5,000 mrems (50 mSv) a year for those who work with and around radioactive material. For spaceflight, the limit is higher. The NASA limit for radiation exposure in low-Earth orbit is 50 mSv/year, or 50 rem/year.SRAGs Space Environment Officers (SEOs) are tasked with ensuring that the astronauts can successfully complete their mission without absorbing too many RADs. They take into account the various environmental and situational factors present during a spaceflight whether the astronauts are in LEO or on the lunar surface, whether they stay in the spacecraft or take a spacewalk, or whether there is a solar storm going on combine and model that information with data collected from onboard and remote radiation detectors as well as the NOAA space weather prediction center, to make their decisions.The Radiation Effects and Analysis Group at Goddard Space Flight Center, serves much the same purpose as SRAG but for mechanical systems, working to develop more effective shielding and more robust materials for use in orbit.We will be able to ensure that humans, electronics, spacecraft and instruments anything we are actually sending into space will survive in the environment we are putting it in, Megan Casey, an aerospace engineer in the REAG said in a 2019 release. Based on where theyre going, we tell mission designers what their space environment will be like, and they come back to us with their instrument plans and ask, Are these parts going to survive there? The answer is always yes, no, or I dont know. If we dont know, thats when we do additional testing. Thats the vast majority of our job.NASAs research will continue and expand throughout the upcoming Artemis mission era. During test flights for the Artemis I mission, both the SLS rocket and the Orion spacecraft will be outfitted with sensors measuring radiation levels in deep space beyond the moon specifically looking at the differences in relative levels beyond the Earths Van Allen Belts. Data collected and lessons learned from these initial uncrewed flights will help NASA engineers build better, more protective spacecraft in the future.And once it does eventually get built, crews aboard the Lunar Gateway will maintain an expansive radiation sensor suite, including the Internal Dosimeter Array, designed to carefully and continually measure levels within the station as it makes its week-long oblong orbit around the moon.Understanding the effects of the radiation environment is not only critical for awareness of the environment where astronauts will live in the vicinity of the Moon, but it will also provide important data that can be used as NASA prepares for even greater endeavors, like sending the first humans to Mars, Dina Contella, manager for Gateway Mission Integration and Utilization, said in a 2021 release.NASA might use magnetic bubbles in the futureTomorrows treks into interplanetary space, where GCR and SEP are more prevalent, are going to require more comprehensive protection than the current state of the art passive shielding materials and space weather forecasting predictions can deliver. And since the Earths own magnetosphere has proven so handy, researchers with the European Commission's Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) have researched creating one small enough to fit on a spaceship, dubbed the Space Radiation Superconducting Shield (SR2S).The 2.7 million SR2S program, which ran from 2013 to 2015, expanded on the idea of using superconducting magnets to generate a radiation-stopping magnetic force field first devised by ex-Nazi aerospace engineer Wernher von Braun in 1969. The magnetic field produced would be more than 3,000 times more concentrated than the one encircling the Earth and would extend out in a 10-meter sphere.In the framework of the project, we will test, in the coming months, a racetrack coil wound with an MgB2 superconducting tape, Bernardo Bordini, coordinator of CERN activity in the framework of the SR2S project, said in 2015. The prototype coil is designed to quantify the effectiveness of the superconducting magnetic shielding technology.It wouldnt block all incoming radiation, but would efficiently screen out the most damaging types, like GCR, which flows through passive shielding like water through a colander. By lowering the rate at which astronauts are exposed to radiation, theyll be able to serve on more and longer duration missions before hitting NASAs lifetime exposure limit.As the magnetosphere deflects cosmic rays directed toward the earth, the magnetic field generated by a superconducting magnet surrounding the spacecraft would protect the crew, Dr Riccardo Musenich, scientific and technical manager for the project, told Horizon in 2014. SR2S is the first project which not only investigates the principles and the scientific problems (of magnetic shielding), but it also faces the complex issues in engineering.Two superconducting coils have already been constructed and tested, showing the feasibility in using them to build lightweight magnets but this is very preliminary research, mind you. The CORDIS team doesnt anticipate this tech making it into space for another couple decades.Researchers from University of WisconsinMadison's Department of Astronomy have recently set about developing their own version of CORDIS idea. Their Cosmic Radiation Extended Warding using the Halbach Torus (CREW HaT) project, which received prototyping funding from NASAs Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program in February, uses new superconductive tape technology, a deployable design, and a new configuration for a magnetic field that hasn't been explored before," according to UWM associate professor and researches lead author, Dr. Elena D'Onghia told Universe Today in May.NASAThe HaT geometry has never been explored before in this context or studied in combination with modern superconductive tapes, she said in Februarys NIAC summary. It diverts over 50 percent of the biology-damaging cosmic rays (protons below 1 GeV) and higher energy high-Z ions. This is sufficient to reduce the radiation dose absorbed by astronauts to a level that is less than 5 percent of the lifetime excess risk of cancer mortality levels established by NASA.Or astronauts might wear leaden vests to protect their privatesBut why go through the effort of magnetically encapsulating an entire spaceship when really its just a handful of torsos and heads that actually need the protection? Thats the idea behind the Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE).Developed in partnership with both the Israel Space Agency (ISA) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), two of the MARE vests will be strapped aboard identical mannequins and launched into space aboard the Orion uncrewed moon mission. On their three-week flight, the mannequins, named Helga and Zohar, will travel some 280,000 miles fro Earth and thousands of miles past the moon. Their innards are designed to mimic human bones and soft tissue, enabling researchers to measure the specific radiation doses they receive.Its sibling study aboard the ISS, the Comfort and Human Factors AstroRad Radiation Garment Evaluation (CHARGE), focuses less on the vests anti-rad effectiveness and more on the ergonomics, fit and feel of it as astronauts go about their daily duties. The European Space Agency is also investigating garment-based radiation shielding with the FLARE suit, an emergency device that aims to protect astronauts from intense solar radiation when traveling out of the magnetosphere on future Deep Space missions.Or well line the ship hulls with water and poo!One happy medium between the close-in discomfort of wearing a leaded apron in microgravity and the existential worry of potentially having your synapses scrambled by a powerful electromagnet is known as Water Wall technology.Nature uses no compressors, evaporators, lithium hydroxide canisters, oxygen candles, or urine processors, Marc M. Cohen Arch.D, argued in the 2013 paper Water Walls Architecture: Massively Redundant and Highly Reliable Life Support for Long Duration Exploration Missions. For very long-term operation as in an interplanetary spacecraft, space station, or lunar/planetary base these active electro-mechanical systems tend to be failure-prone because the continuous duty cycles make maintenance difficult.So, rather than rely on heavy and complicated mechanizations to process the waste materials that astronauts emit during a mission, this system utilizes osmosis bags that mimic natures own passive means of purifying water. In addition to treating gray and black water, these bags could also be adapted to scrub CO2 from the air, grow algae for food and fuel, and can be lined against the inner hull of a spacecraft to provide superior passive shielding against high energy particles.Water is better than metals for [radiation] protection, Marco Durante of the Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany, told New Scientist in 2013. This is because the three-atom nucleus of a water molecule contains more mass than a metal atom and therefore is more effective at blocking GCR and other high energy rays, he continued.The crew aboard the proposed Inspiration Mars mission, which would have slingshot a pair of private astronauts around Mars in a spectacular flyby while the two planets were at their orbital closest in 2018. You havent heard anything about that because the nonprofit behind it quietly went under in 2015. But had they somehow pulled off that feat, the plan was to have the astronauts poop into bags, sophon out the liquid for reuse and then pile the vacuum-sealed shitbricks against the walls of the spacecraft alongside their boxes of food to act as radiation insulation.Its a little queasy sounding, but theres no place for that material to go, and it makes great radiation shielding, Taber MacCallum, a member of the nonprofit funded by Dennis Tito, told New Scientist. Food is going to be stored all around the walls of the spacecraft, because food is good radiation shielding. Its just a quick jaunt to the next planet over, who needs plumbing and sustenance?


Category: Marketing and Advertising

 

2022-06-24 15:45:27| Engadget

Twitch has been tightening its content policies in recent months, and that now includes mentions of self-harm. The livestreaming service has updated its Community Guidelines to include examples of the self-harm behavior it doesn't allow. The clarified policy is meant to foster "meaningful conversation" about mental and physical health while preventing further harm.Broadcasters can share stories of self-harm or suicide, but can't describe them in "graphic detail" or share suicide notes. Studies show this could lead to similar thoughts among vulnerable people, Twitch said. The refined policy also singles out content that encourages eating disorders, such as unhealthy weight loss programs and attempts to glorify common eating disorder habits.The move comes relatively soon after Twitch clamped down on usernames referencing hard drugs and sex, as well as creators who routinely spread misinformation. Not long after, the Amazon brand rolled out improved reporting tools to help viewers flag inappropriate content while providing a streamlined appeals process. Twitch has dealt with abuses in the weeks since, but it's clearly hoping the policy changes will reduce the volume of incidents going forward.In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Crisis Text Line can be reached by texting HOME to 741741 (US), 686868 (Canada), or 85258 (UK). Wikipedia maintains a list of crisis lines for people outside of those countries.


Category: Marketing and Advertising

 

2022-06-24 15:30:19| Engadget

When you hear the word "bacteria," you probably picture organisms that couldn't be seen unless they're placed under a microscope. A bacterium that has now been classified as the largest in the world ever discovered, however, needs no special tools to be visible to the naked eye. Thiomargarita magnifica, as it's called, takes on a filament-like appearance and can be as long as a human eyelash. As the BBC notes, that makes it bigger than some more complex organisms, such as tiny flies, mites and worms. It was first discovered by marine biologist Olivier Gros living on sunken mangrove tree leaves in the French Caribbean back in 2009. Due to the organism's size, Gros first thought he was looking at a eukaryote rather than simpler prokaryotic organisms like bacteria. It wasn't until he got back to his laboratory that he found out that it wasn't the case at all. Years later, Jean-Marie Volland and his team at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California took a closer look at the bacterium using various techniques, such as transmission electron microscopy, to confirm that it is indeed a single-cell organism. They've recently published a paper describing the centimeter-long bacterium in Science.Volland said T. magnifica is "5,000 times bigger than most bacteria" and is comparable to an average person "encountering another human as tall as Mount Everest." One other information Volland's team has discovered is that the bacterium keeps its DNA organized within a structure that has a membrane. In most bacteria, DNA materials just float freely in their cytoplasm. Further, it has around 6,000 billion bases of DNA. "For comparison, a diploid human genome is approximately six giga (billion) bases in size. So this means that our Thiomargarita stores several orders of magnitude more DNA in itself as compared to a human cell," said team member Tanja Woyke. While the scientists know that T. magnifica grows on top of mangrove sediments in the Caribbean and that it creates energy to live using chemosynthesis, which is similar to photosynthesis in plants, there's still a lot about it that remains a mystery. And it'll likely take some time before the scientists can discover its secrets: They have yet to figure out how to grow the organism in the lab, so Gros has to gather samples every time they want to run an experiment. It doesn't help that the organism has an unpredictable life cycle. Gros told The New York Times that he couldn't even find any over the past two months. Volland and his team now aim to find a way to grow T. magnifica in the lab. As for Gros, he now expects other teams to go off in search of even bigger bacteria, which like T. magnifica, may also be hiding in plain sight.


Category: Marketing and Advertising

 

2022-06-24 15:00:29| Engadget

The Metaverse, as Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg envisions it, will be a fully immersive virtual experience that rivals reality, at least from the waist up. But the visuals are only part of the overall Metaverse experience.Getting spatial audio right is key to delivering a realistic sense of presence in the metaverse, Zuckerberg wrote in a Friday blog post. If you're at a concert, or just talking with friends around a virtual table, a realistic sense of where sound is coming from makes you feel like you're actually there.That concert, the blog post notes, will sound very different if performed in a full-sized concert hall than in a middle school auditorium on account of the differences between their physical spaces and acoustics. As such, Metas AI and Reality Lab (MAIR, formerly FAIR) is collaborating with researchers from UT Austin to develop a trio of open source audio understanding tasks that will help developers build more immersive AR and VR experiences with more lifelike audio.The first is MAIRs Visual Acoustic Matching model, which can adapt a sample audio clip to any given environment using just a picture of the space. Want to hear what the NY Philharmonic would sound like inside San Franciscos Boom Boom Room? Now you can. Previous simulation models were able to recreate a rooms acoustics based on its layout but only if the precise geometry and material properties were already known or from audio sampled within the space, neither of which produced particularly accurate results.MAIRs solution is the Visual Acoustic Matching model, called AViTAR, which learns acoustic matching from in-the-wild web videos, despite their lack of acoustically mismatched audio and unlabeled data, according to the post.One future use case we are interested in involves reliving past memories, Zuckerberg wrote, betting on nostalgia. Imagine being able to put on a pair of AR glasses and see an object with the option to play a memory associated with it, such as picking up a tutu and seeing a hologram of your childs ballet recital. The audio strips away reverberation and makes the memory sound just like the time you experienced it, sitting in your exact seat in the audience.MAIRs Visually-Informed Dereverberation mode (VIDA), on the other hand, will strip the echoey effect from playing an instrument in a large, open space like a subway station or cathedral. Youll hear just the violin, not the reverberation of it bouncing off distant surfaces. Specifically, it learns to remove reverberation based on both the observed sounds and the visual stream, which reveals cues about room geometry, materials, and speaker locations, the post explained. This technology could be used to more effectively isolate vocals and spoken commands, making them easier for both humans and machines to understand.VisualVoice does the same as VIDA but for voices. It uses both visual and audio cues to learn how to separate voices from background noises during its self-supervised training sessions. Meta anticipates this model getting a lot of work in the machine understanding applications and to improve accessibility. Think, more accurate subtitles, Siri understanding your request even when the room isn't dead silent or having the acoustics in a virtual chat room shift as people speaking move around the digital room. Again, just ignore the lack of legs.We envision a future where people can put on AR glasses and relive a holographic memory that looks and sounds the exact way they experienced it from their vantage point, or feel immersed by not just the graphics but also the sounds as they play games in a virtual world, Zuckerberg wrote, noting that AViTAR and VIDA can only apply their tasks to the one picture they were trained for and will need a lot more development before public release. These models are bringing us even closer to the multimodal, immersive experiences we want to build in the future.


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