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What if the Earth stopped orbiting the Sun?



It’s a natural cycle: the Earth orbits the sun. But what if something catastrophic happened and we were knocked out of orbit?

Following is a transcript of the video.

Earth zooms around the sun at 110,000 kph, but what if it just…stopped? Well, for one thing, you’d have only a month to live. First off, if Earth stopped short, you’d actually die immediately because you’d fly off the planet and hurtle into space, just like you lurch forward in a car when a driver slams on the brakes. But if Earth slows down more gradually, you’d instead suffer a slower (but still horrific) death. That’s because the planet is about to get very, very hot. You see, the sun’s tremendous gravity pulls the Earth right toward it. Meanwhile, the planet is trying to whiz away in this direction. This tug of war keeps us in orbit. But if the Earth slows down and stops, the sun wins and yanks us toward our doom. In fact, a model from the University of Colorado shows us how long that terrible trip would take. Just two months. In the first week, you wouldn’t notice much of a change. The average global temperature would climb less than 1 degree Celsius and hover around 16 degrees for another week. But the closer we get, the stronger the sun’s pull and the faster we go. This causes the temperature to rise exponentially. By day 21, global temperatures will have jumped to 35 degrees. That’s hotter than an average day in the Sahara. And with desert heat comes desert droughts, sparking wildfires and killing crops. UV radiation from the sun is so strong, we’d get severe sunburn after just 15 minutes outdoors. At this point, our bodies also will have hit the upper limit of their heat tolerance. Any hotter, and heat stroke can set in, leading to exhaustion, delirium, or even a coma. And guess what? It gets hotter. By day 35, world temperatures will reach 48 degrees. That’s as hot as an average summer day in Death Valley, one of the hottest places on Earth. Most mammals, birds, and insects die as the proteins that make up their cells start to cook. Yes, even roaches can’t withstand this apocalypse. If we want to live, we need some indoor air-conditioning, stat. Except, the amount of energy you need to run millions of AC units at once would wipe out power grids around the world. So, with no way to keep cool, humanity dies. By day 41, the Earth has passed by Venus. We’re now the second planet from the sun, and temperatures have climbed to 66 degrees. But believe it or not, some creatures still cling to life. Like Thermus aquaticus, a bacteria that lives in Yellowstone’s hot geysers. But less than a week later, temperatures are hot enough to boil water and kill even that bacteria. By day 54, temperatures surpass 160 degrees, and the last remnant of life on Earth flickers out. Soon after, the barren planet crosses Mercury’s orbit. For its last week of existence, Earth is the first planet from the sun. Until day 65. The final day. By now, the sun’s extreme gravity stretches the planet into an oval shape, and magma begins to leak through the crust. At about noon, Earth tears apart, bleeding liquid rock as temperatures hit 3,800 degrees. Our planet is no more.


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Microsoft is reportedly working on 2 new Xbox consoles for 2020, and one of them won’t have a disc drive (MSFT)




Microsoft is reportedly considering launching two versions of its next Xbox console, according to Kotaku.

Xbox One Family of Devices
Xbox One Family of Devices
  • Microsoft has already confirmed that the next Xbox, codenamed Project Scarlett, will launch during the 2020 holiday season, and sources told Kotaku that Microsoft is developing two different versions of the console.
  • The more powerful of the two consoles is codenamed Anaconda, while the less powerful version is codenamed Lockhart. Lockhart reportedly doesn’t have a disc drive, and would emphasize Microsoft’s digital Xbox subscription services.
  • Microsoft has employed a similar strategy with its current console, the Xbox One. The $500 Xbox One X is the most powerful console on the market, while the $250 Xbox One S All-Digital Edition offers the lowest entry level price, but no disc drive.

Microsoft has promised a new Xbox for the 2020 holiday season, but according to a new report, the company is considering launching two different versions of the next-gen console.

The new Xbox has been codenamed Project Scarlett, but Kotaku’s Jason Schrier reports that Project Scarlett’s development has resulted in two different devices a more powerful console codenamed Anaconda and a disc-free console codenamed Lockhart. Anaconda would offer a premium gaming experience with the highest possible quality, while Lockhart would provide a more affordable price point for gamers looking to upgrade to the lastest console generation.

Microsoft is already employing a similar strategy with the Xbox One. The $500 Xbox One X is the most powerful console on the market, while the the $300 Xbox One S plays all the same games with a lower visual quality. Earlier this year Microsoft launched the $250 Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, which removes the console’s disc-drive.

Xbox games are all available digitally through the Microsoft Store, making the disc-drive optional for gaming. Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass subscription also offers a digital library with more than 100 downloadable games for $10 per month. Removing the disc-drive lowers the final cost, and essentially guarantees long-term business for Microsoft’s online store.

Kotaku reports that Microsoft’s Lockhart would be cheaper and less powerful than Anaconda, but would still out-perform existing video game consoles. Sources told Kotaku that Microsoft wants Anaconda to be capable of 4K visuals at 60 frames per second, while Lockhart would run games at 1440p and 60 frames per second. Both consoles will benefit from a solid state hard drive that will drastically improve loading times compared to current consoles.

Since confirming the release window of Project Scarlett in June, Microsoft hasn’t shared much information on the new Xbox. In October Sony revealed that the PlayStation 5 will be launching during the 2020 holiday season as well, and the company has slowly been teasing new details.

Whether it’s picking Xbox versus PlayStation or choosing between two versions of Project Scarlett, it looks like gamers will have plenty of choices to make to next fall.


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Samsung Galaxy S11 rumors: 120Hz display, five cameras, big size increase




The first Galaxy S11 renders came out this weekend, so it’s probably time for a Galaxy S11 rumor roundup. Like last year, we’re expecting three versions of the S11: the normal S11 and S11+ along with a cheaper, smaller model, the S11e.

First up: the renders. As usual with early phone renders, these are not official renders from the company but are instead from leaker OnLeaks. OnLeaks is a reliable source for leaks; he pumps out phone renders based on CAD drawings and most recently has nailed early previews for the Pixel 4OnePlus 7 Pro, and Galaxy S10.

The front of the Galaxy S11 looks like you’d expect from a Samsung phone. The S11 sticks very close to the Galaxy Note 10, with a centered punch out for the front camera, minimal bezels all around, and curves display sides on the long edges. Just like on the Note 10, the Bixby button is dead, leaving only power and volume on the right side. Also like the Note 10, the bottom edge has only a USB-C port and a speaker—the headphone jack is dead.

Galaxy Note10 hands-on: Samsung falls behind the competition, which produced the renders in partnership with OnLeaks, says the display for the S11 (not the S11+) is “between 6.63-inch and 6.7-inches” This would be a huge increase over the Galaxy S10, which has a 6.1-inch display, and the baseline S11 would be bigger than even the S10+, which was 6.4-inches. OnLeaks has the S11 dimensions at 161.9 x 73.7 x 7.8mm, which compared to last year is again taking the base model S phone and pushing it into “S+” territory. The S11 dwarfs the S10 (149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8 mm) and is a better match for the S10+ (157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8 mm), although it’s still even taller than that phone. Despite phones being bigger than ever this year, Samsung apparently plans to push the envelope even more next year.

The much bigger phone sizes should lead to bigger batteries, and Samsung is going to need them this year, as the report says “all the three models are expected to come with both 4G and 5G connectivity.” This will be the first time all three S phones have come with 5G. The S10e, S10, and S10+ were 4G only, with a monstrous “Galaxy S10 5G” version existing as an even bigger size tier than the S10+. It was an S10++. Come to think of it, with the S11 being the size of an S10+, maybe Samsung’s plan this year is to bump each S11 model up a size and kill the smallest phone, the Galaxy S10e.JUMP TO ENDPAGE 1 OF 2

Samsung has gone with the new industry trend of putting a big camera block housing all the sensors on the back of the phone. OnLeaks and 91Mobiles have a whopping five sensors on the back of the base model S10. The report says, “While we know three of these will be the regular cameras and one should be the 3D ToF sensor, the purpose of the last sensor is not yet known.” The telephoto is a 5x optical zoom, according to the report. According to another plugged-in Samsung leaker, IceUniverse on Twitter, the bottom right circle in the camera block is a laser auto-focus module.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is the US’ first 5G phoneIceUniverse earlier this month claimed that the S11 has a “high probability” of using a new 108MP sensor for the main camera. Over at XDA Developers, Max Weinbach tore down the latest S10 camera app and found support for a new resolution: 12,000 by 9,000 pixels, which would perfectly match the output from a 108MP sensor. As Weinbach notes, don’t expect to get full 108MP images from the camera. Like we’ve seen Xiaomi do with its 108MP sensors, expect Samsung’s software to fuse surrounding pixels together for improved low-light photography, with an output of around 12MP. One spot this 108MP sensor will be put to use will apparently be in the video mode. In a second report, XDA found support for [email protected] video along with [email protected] video.

High-speed displays are the big new trend in smartphones, and Samsung has been supplying these high refresh rate display panels to everyone while simultaneously neglecting to put them in its own smartphones. That’s apparently going to change with the S11, though. IceUniverse posted screenshots of a 120Hz mode in Samsung’s Android build, which would make the display even faster than the 90Hz displays in the OnePlus 7s and the Pixel 4. The only other phones we’ve seen ship displays this fast have been Asus ROG Phone 2 and the Razer Phone 2, though the latter uses an LCD.

The SoC will be the latest and greatest out there, of course. In some markets, this will be the Samsung Exynos 990 SoC; in others, it will be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, which we’ll get a lot more information on next week, when Qualcomm holds its Snapdragon Tech Summit 2019. The Galaxy S10 launched February 20, so expect an S11 launch around then. There will probably be a lot more leaks between now and then, though.


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Huawei: Trouble overseas but boom time in China




More than 20 smartphones, old tablets and other devices lurk in a corner of his Beijing home – an ever-growing tech junkyard.

His apartment also boasts a Google Home smart assistant and an Amazon Echo.

“I take three phones out with me every day. I use a phone for Chinese apps, I use my iPhone for Gmail and western apps, and I use my Google Pixel phone for work,” says the 34-year-old tech entrepreneur.

His obsession has paid off though. In 2009, he bought the first phone to use Android, the software that now runs more than 80% of smartphones.

A year later, the physics graduate, founded his own company creating content for Chinese Android users. By 2016 he had sold the company for an undisclosed amount to Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant.

People try out 5G mobile phones at Huawei booth during China Mobile Global Partners Conference 2019 at Poly World Trade Center Expo on November 14, 2019 in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province of China.
Image captionChinese technology firms see 5G as an opportunity to overtake rivals

Now he is excited about the next generation of technology, known as 5G. It promises lightning fast internet connections for your mobile phone – fast enough to download movies in a matter of seconds, or to stream high definition TV.

In October, Jun Yu pre-ordered a 5G-ready smartphone, made by China’s Xiaomi.

“4G has enabled many things like mobile video, more immersive gaming. I know 5G will too. But I don’t exactly know how yet,” he says.

But in the US and UK the rollout of 5G networks has been hampered by an international row over one of the most important suppliers of 5G equipment, China’s Huawei.

Presentational grey line
Rivals branding

Rivals is a season of in-depth coverage on BBC News about the contest for supremacy between the US and China across trade, tech, defence and soft power.

The US has banned the use of Huawei equipment in 5G networks over security fears, and has encouraged its allies to do the same. It also maintains a tight control over what US companies can sell to Huawei, which has disrupted sales of Huawei phones overseas.

Industry analysts like Edison Lee, an analyst from financial services group Jefferies, see the US pressure on Huawei as an attempt to break China’s potential dominance of the global 5G market.

“The tech war is based on America’s argument that China’s technological advances have been built upon stolen intellectual property rights, and heavy government subsidies, and their belief that Chinese telecom equipment is not safe, and is a national security threat to the US and its allies,” he says.

A woman walks past Huawei 5G sign on the opening day of PT Expo China 2019 at the China National Convention Center on October 31, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Image captionHuawei has built around half of China’s 5G network

“As Huawei and [fellow Chinese firm] ZTE increasingly dominate the global telecom equipment market, the western world will be more vulnerable to Chinese spying,” Lee adds.

Huawei has always strongly denied that its technology can be used for spying.

While western nations worry about one of the key suppliers of 5G technology, China is racing ahead with its 5G rollout.

On 31 October Chinese telecom companies launched 5G services in more than 50 Chinese cities, creating one of the world’s largest 5G networks.

Huawei has built an estimated 50% of the network.

The Chinese Ministry of Information claims that in just 20 days the country registered more than 800,000 subscribers. Analysts predict China will have as many as 110 million 5G users by 2020.

And China’s tech sector is busy coming up with uses for the new tech.

Autonomous car
Image caption5G could be a key piece of technology for autonomous cars

On a large plot of land in northern Hong Kong, researchers are developing 5G powered autonomous vehicles.

Researchers at Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institution are working in partnership with China Mobile, the largest telecom company in China.

They see 5G as being particularly useful for self-driving cars, allowing the cars to build an accurate picture of what’s going on around them, by communicating with other vehicles, traffic signals and sensors in the road.

“For consumers, 5G will possibly transform how we interact with other. For the government, 5G will transform roads and road infrastructure to enable new applications like enhanced assisted-driving and eventually autonomous driving,” says Alex Mui, a researcher on the project.

Miao Wei, Minister of Industry and Information Technology, speaks during the opening ceremony of the World Robot Conference (WRC) 2019 at Beijing Etrong International Exhibition and Convention Center on August 20, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Image captionChina’s minister for IT says the accusations against Huawei are ‘unproven allegations’

China is not the first country to roll out 5G. But it is building one of the world’s biggest 5G markets very quickly.

While Huawei and ZTE are doing well from that expansion, they would still like to break into lucrative overseas markets like the US.

Speaking at a 5G convention in Beijing in November, China’s minister for industry and information accused America of using cybersecurity as an excuse for protectionism.

“No country should ban a company in its 5G network rollout by using the unproved allegations of cybersecurity risks,” said Miao Wei.

Industry analysts are not confident that the row between China and the US will be sorted out anytime soon.

“We see the current tensions as a technological Cold War, as tech nationalism intensifies,” says Ben Wood, chief of research, at CCS Insight.

“With the Chinese government firmly committed to establishing China as a world-leading 5G nation, the opportunity for Huawei in its home market is immense.

“However, the rest of the world can’t afford to get left behind, and without access to Huawei infrastructure US mobile network operators in particular will need to rely on alternative suppliers who may be more expensive and less advanced with 5G.”


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