27 Oct 2021

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UK Reaches Highest COVID-19 Deaths Since March As New AY.4.2 Delta Sub-Variant Spreads

AleRunner writes: The United Kingdom's COVID-19 death rate has reached its highest rate since just after the peak of the last lockdown in March. This has been happening as the new AY.4.2 variant of the Delta strain of the SARS-COV-2 virus has begun to dominate in the UK. Coming into winter, the increase in coronavirus infection in the UK is already causing a collapse in health care with patients dying just after long waits for care or even whilst waiting. Although there's some similarity to 2020, and a worry that AY.4.2 might avoid immunity, the UK chancellor has decided to commit to a vaccines mainly strategy whilst other countries seem to be unconcerned with the CDC already declaring that no measures are planned to limit AY.4.2 spread.

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27 Oct 2021 10:00am GMT

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Astronomers see signs of a new world outside Milky Way for first time

27 Oct 2021 8:24am GMT

Climate change: Four things you can do about your carbon footprint

27 Oct 2021 7:13am GMT

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Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin Wants To Build a Tourism Space Station Nearly As Big As the ISS

Blue Origin, the rocket and space tourism company founded by Jeff Bezos, is proposing a massive new commercial space station called "Orbital Reef" that could be used to host science experiments, vacation getaways, and potentially even in-space manufacturing. CNN reports: The company plans to work alongside startup Sierra Space to bring the space station to fruition, and Boeing plans to design a research module on the station, though there are no guarantees the companies can make it happen. Such projects are still exorbitantly expensive and risky, likely costing in the tens of billions of dollars and requiring multiple safe launches before a human ever even floats aboard. Blue Origin and Sierra Space plan to co-finance the space station, though executives declined to give an all-in cost estimate during a press conference Monday. They did add that they are expecting to sign on NASA as an anchor tenant, though it's not exactly clear how such a partnership could take shape. Blue Origin hopes Orbital Reef could be operational in the late 2020s, though it will have to get quite a bit done to make that happen. The company has only managed a few crewed suborbital flights so far, much like NASA first achieved back in the early 1960s, and it has yet to put a spacecraft in orbit, let alone a person. A space station would take a major leap. New Glenn, the Blue Origin-built rocket that is expected to be powerful and large enough to haul the biggest portions of the space station to orbit, is not yet operational, and its maiden flight was recently delayed to at least late 2022. The orbital reef will be able to host up to 10 people and will have roughly the same internal volume as the ISS.

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27 Oct 2021 7:00am GMT

Apple's iPod Came Out Two Decades Ago

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Conversation: On October 23, 2001, Apple released the iPod -- a portable media player that promised to overshadow the clunky design and low storage capacity of MP3 players introduced in the mid-1990s. The iPod boasted the ability to "hold 1,000 songs in your pocket". Its personalized listening format revolutionized the way we consume music. And with more than 400 million units sold since its release, there's no doubt it was a success. Yet, two decades later, the digital music landscape continues to rapidly evolve. The iPod expanded listening beyond the constraints of the home stereo system, allowing the user to plug into not only their headphones, but also their car radio, their computer at work, or their hi-fi system at home. It made it easier to entwine these disparate spaces into a single personalized soundtrack throughout the day. [...] The rise of touchscreen smartphones ultimately led to the iPod's downfall. Interestingly, the music app on the original iPhone was called "iPod." The iPod's functions were essentially reappropriated and absorbed into the iPhone. The iPhone was a flexible and multifunctional device: an iPod, a phone and an internet communicator all in one -- a computer in your pocket. And by making the development tools for their products freely available, Apple and Google allowed third-party developers to create apps for their new platforms in the thousands. As of this year, mobile devices are responsible for 54.8% of web traffic worldwide. And while music piracy still exists, its influence has been significantly reduced by the arrival of streaming services such as Spotify and YouTube. These platforms have had a profound effect on how we engage with music as active and passive listeners. Spotify supports an online community-based approach to music sharing, with curated playlists. [...] As of February this year, more than 60,000 tracks were being uploaded to Spotify each day. The experience of listening to music will become increasingly immersive with time, and we'll only find more ways to seamlessly integrate it into our lives.

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27 Oct 2021 3:30am GMT

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A toilet tube on SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship broke and sprayed pee under the floor during its first tourist flight

27 Oct 2021 3:16am GMT

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Bounty hunter Spike Spiegel is back on the hunt in Cowboy Bebop trailer

"If the cops and the bounty hunters don't get you, the Syndicate will."

27 Oct 2021 2:12am GMT

N64 collection goes live on Nintendo Switch, and it’s-a me, disappointment

"Better than Wii U" is faint praise for underwhelming emulation performance.

27 Oct 2021 12:08am GMT

26 Oct 2021

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Promising-looking SETI signal turns out to be of human origin

Space junk may look like a supernova as SETI researchers struggle with a signal.

26 Oct 2021 11:14pm GMT