SpaceX just launched a new batch of Starlink internet-beaming satellites equipped with visors to block sun glare.
The new visors should make the fleet of satellites less visible in the night sky.
But visor technology won't prevent satellite constellations generally from affecting many scientists' astronomy projects.
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After a two-month gap, SpaceX has resumed launching batches of dozens of satellites in its gambit to blanket Earth with high-speed internet access.
The satellites are a new "VisorSat" variety to make them less shiny to the ground and especially to astronomers' telescopes. But researchers say the spacecraft's experimental new feature, while helpful, won't fully solve problems posed by the existence of Starlink itself (or other planned thousands-strong satellite fleets, for that matter).
SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, calls its internet project Starlink, and may deploy tens of thousands of the broadband internet-beaming satellites into low-Earth orbit. On Friday at 1:12 a.m ET, one of the company's Falcon 9 rockets launched a new batch of them, along with two Earth-imaging spacecraft built by BlackSky Global.
SpaceX fitted all 57 of its desk-sized Starlink satellites with a new feature: sun visors or shades.
The visors should deploy after launch and block sunlight from reflecting off the satellites' surfaces — glare that makes Starlink spacecraft appear as bright, moving trails in the night sky that can photobomb telescope observations, blot out faint astronomical objects, and even hinder searches for killer asteroids.
The visors will probably make the satellites less bright, but it won't stop them from interfering with astronomy, says astronomer Jonathan McDowell.
"If you figure out where to put the visors, you should be able to really cut down those reflections. And that will make the satellites no longer naked-eye objects, which is good," he told Business Insider in June. "It won't, probably, make them so faint that they won't be a problem for professional astronomers."
Astronomers fear that SpaceX's bright satellites could outshine the stars
After SpaceX launched its first set of Starlink satellites in May 2019, many astronomers were alarmed by how bright the new objects were. In the days after the launch, people across the world spotted the train of satellites, like a line of twinkling stars.
"I felt as if life as an astronomer and a lover of the night sky would never be the same," astronomer James Lowenthal told The New York Times in November.
"If there are lots and lots of bright moving objects in the sky, it tremendously complicates our job," Lowenthal added. "It potentially threatens the science of astronomy itself."
Telescopes on Earth that look for distant, dim objects could pick up these false stars and ruin astronomers' data. A single satellite can create a continuous streak of light across a telescope's long-exposure images of the sky, blocking the objects astronomers want to study.
"It takes just a couple seconds for the satellite to cross the telescope's field of view, but we take really long exposures with our cameras. So in that couple of seconds, a whole 10- or 15-minute exposure is ruined," McDowell said.
The satellites can especially affect telescopes that observe close to the horizon near dawn — the kind of observations that help astronomers track asteroids flying close to Earth.
SpaceX is sharing Starlink's orbital-path data with astronomers so that they can plan their telescope observations around the satellites' movements. Briefly shutting off the camera as the satellite passes overhead can save a long-exposure image.
To date, SpaceX has flown nearly 600 Starlink spacecraft to orbit — the most of any satellite operator. But Musk's grand ambitions could make it practically impossible for astronomers to avoid the fast-moving satellites. SpaceX already has permission to launch nearly 12,000 satellites, and last year sought additional clearance to put up to a total of 42,000 satellites into orbit. And that's not counting other providers' plans.
"If they're coming over all the time, then knowing when they're coming over isn't helpful," McDowell said. Even now, he added, sometimes astronomers can't avoid the photobombers.
It's not yet clear how well a VisorSat works
It's unclear how effective the SpaceX's new visors will be, though the company launched an experimental "VisorSat" to test the concept on June 3. SpaceX has yet to report the results of that test.
"We're still waiting for the satellite to reach its operational orbit," Youmei Zhou, an integration and test engineer for SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship, said during a live broadcast of the launch early Friday morning.
Launching a whole fleet of visor-equipped satellites without widely sharing, or possibly knowing, the results of the experimental spacecraft visor seems like "a gusty move" to McDowell.
"I think what it reflects is that they have much more confidence now that they understand the sources of the problem," he said.
The company doesn't expect earlier, visor-free Starlink satellites to complete their five-year life span, Patricia Cooper, SpaceX's vice president of satellite government relations, told Spaceflight Now in May. That means that, in a few years, the brightest satellites may no longer appear in the sky.
Satellite constellations pose larger problems that visors can't fix
The Starlink fleet caught astronomers' attention for how bright it was, but it revealed a much larger problem: The skies could soon be swarming with false stars.
SpaceX isn't the only company building a massive fleet of satellites. Companies like Amazon and OneWeb have similar aspirations to establish their own fleets and rake in billions of dollars each year.
"If OneWeb goes ahead and launches its proposed constellation without mitigation, that is going to have very severe impacts on ground-based astronomy to the point that, for at least four months out of the year, it's going to be pretty impossible to do most observations," McDowell said. "You might as well just shut the observatory down for the summer months, because there's going to be so many satellites screwing up your data."
Mitigating solar reflections also goes only so far. Astronomers also worry about invisible wavelengths of light that stand to compromise other forms of astronomy.
The Federal Communications Commission, which authorizes the flight and use of internet-beaming satellites in the US, says preventing disruption to astronomy is "not a condition" for licensing — so SpaceX is pursuing solutions on its own accord. Sources known to Business Insider also say Amazon's Kuiper satellite-internet project is working with astronomers to reduce those satellites' impact.
But SpaceX and others have yet to announce potential harm-reduction measures for radiowaves the satellites will broadcast, or for the infrared light they emit by producing heat. Both can interfere with telescopes on Earth that observe the skies using radio or infrared.
"We're in a new phase of space utilization. It's a new space industrial revolution, things are different, and astronomy's going to be affected," McDowell said. "We just have to make sure we're part of the conversation so we can keep it down to the 'pain in the neck' level and not the 'give up and go home' level."
SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Dave Mosher contributed reporting.SEE ALSO: 27 epic images show how SpaceX made history by flying NASA astronauts to and from the space station
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The share of European late-stage fintech deals with at least one US investor increased to 23% in 2020, from 19% in 2019, according to a new report from Silicon Valley Bank.
Europe has a strong pipeline of fintech startups and is an obvious market for US investors to diversify into, according to Rosh Wijayarathna, managing director at Silicon Valley Bank
COVID-19 has exaggerated an existing trend towards fewer, bigger-ticket rounds as investors "fly to quality," said Wijayarathna.
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American investors are flooding into Europe's burgeoning fintech upstarts, drawn by unicorns such as $5.5 billion neo-bank Revolut and money-transfer startup TransferWise.
The share of European late-stage fintech deals with at least one US investor increased to 23% in 2020, up from 19% in 2019, according to the latest State of the Markets report from Silicon Valley Bank.
"VC Investment as a whole coming into the UK and Europe is growing significantly and, as a percentage, it's growing faster than any other region globally in terms of US investment," according to Rosh Wijayarathna, managing director at Silicon Valley Bank.
"US investors are looking for investment outside of the US and the most comparable market to that is Europe."
There are a lot of macro factors driving US investors towards European fintech, including a strong market for financial services, a ready pool of talent, and a "relatively friendly" regulatory environment, said Wijayarathna.
In 2020 there have already been seven fintech funding rounds at $100 million or more, involving a number of US investors.
London-based neobank Revolut bagged $500 million in Series D funding in February from Silicon Valley-based growth fund TCV, while payments processor Checkout.com tripled its valuation to $5.5 billion in June with a $150 million raise from tech-focused hedge fund Coatue.
Startups like Revolut that offer a unique proposal and serve a high-value market are attracting the most money from US investors, said Wijayarathna.
As the fintech ecosystem in Europe has matured, it's established a strong pipeline of fast-growing fintech startups, making it a natural market for US investors to diversify in, he added.
Europe's late-stage fintech ecosystem is also taking a larger share of investment deals — 27% in Q2 2020, compared with 19% in Q4 2019 — according to the report.
This is despite a fall in the volume of deals over the past year, says Wijayarathna, as big-name investors like Accel increase the ticket size of rounds.
"I think that almost gets exaggerated in a high-stress environment like COVID where you fly to quality," says Wijayarathna, adding that the market could see more startups skipping straight to later-stage funding rounds as a result.
Business Insider reported in April that the pandemic could speed up a market shakeout in fintech which, as Silicon Valley Bank's data indicates, is looking increasingly bubbly. The number of competitors in payments, neo-banking, and other areas could shrink through 2020 as bigger players snap up smaller firms which don't have the cash runway to continue.
The volume of cash reserves held by VC firms — also known as dry powder — has also increased in the first half of 2020 across the US and Europe, most notably in the UK where it has grown 23% to $11.5 billion.
"As the market starts to normalize, I expect to see more M&A as private equity firms that have now stopped focusing so much on triaging their existing portfolio now waiting in the wings with this sheer volume of dry powder that's ready to deploy," said Wijayarathna.
He adds: "The easiest way to innovate is to acquire. I would expect to see more exit type scenarios either through strategic investment, strategic sales, or IPOs."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A cleaning expert reveals her 3-step method for cleaning your entire home quickly
Ferrari met analysts' expectations for Q2 earnings, but provided a weaker forecast for 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Q2 revenues declined 42% versus Q2 2019, and Ferrari shipped half as many vehicles in the quarter as it did in Q2 last year.
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Italian luxury carmaker Ferrari trimmed its sales forecasts for this year on Monday, after reporting decreasing, albeit in line with expectations, core earnings in the second quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 'Cavallino Rampante', or 'Prancing Horse', said its adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) would come in between 1.075 billion euros ($1.26 billion)and 1.125 billion euros this year.
That compare with the already-cut guidance it provided in May for an adjusted EBITDA between 1.05-1.20 billion euros.
In a statement, Ferrari said total shipments of "1,389 units" in the quarter were "halved versus prior year, as a result of both production and delivery suspensions."
Revenue for Q2 declined 42%.
Milan-listed shares in Ferrari were down 0.6% at 1135 GMT, after rising up to 2.2% before results were released.
On the NYSE, shares were flat in premarket trading, at $182.
(Reuters reporting by Giulio Piovaccari, editing by Stephen Jewkes)FOLLOW US: On Facebook for more car and transportation content!
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The parties charged range from ages 17-22, and are based in the UK and in the US state of Florida.
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(University of Texas at San Antonio) BioMedSA, the non-profit corporation founded in 2005 to promote and grow San Antonio's leading industry, healthcare and bioscience, will present its 2020 BioMedSA Award for Innovation in Healthcare and Bioscience to Dr. Rena Bizios, the Lutcher Brown Endowed Chair in the UTSA Department of Biomedical Engineering.
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The first case of Covid-19 in a UK pet has been confirmed after a cat in England caught the virus from its owners.The UK’s chief veterinary officer revealed on the government’s website that the infection was confirmed following tests at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) laboratory in Weybridge on Wednesday.The cat and its owners have since made a full recovery and there was no transmission to other animals or people in the household. The symptoms detected in the cat were “nasal discharge and shortness of breath”.Although it represents the first confirmed case of an animal infection with the coronavirus strain in the UK, there is no evidence to suggest that the animal was involved in transmission of the disease to its owners, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.There is also no evidence that pets or other domestic animals are able to transmit the virus to humans.Other countries have reported cases of pets contracting the virus, including China, US, France, Spain, Italy and Hong Kong.Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: “Tests conducted by the Animal and Plant Health Agency have confirmed that the virus responsible for Covid-19 has been detected in a pet cat in England.“This is a very rare event with infected animals detected to date only showing mild clinical signs and recovering within in a few days.“There is no evidence to suggest that pets directly transmit the virus to humans. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will update our guidance to pet owners should the situation change.”Yvonne Doyle, medical dsirector at Public Health England, said: “This is the first case of a domestic cat testing positive for Covid-19 in the UK but should not be a cause for alarm.“The investigation into this case suggest that the infection was spread from humans to animal, and not the other way round. At this time, there is no evidence that pets can transmit the disease to humans.“In line with the general advice on fighting coronavirus, you should wash your hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals.“The pet cat was initially diagnosed by a private vet with feline herpes virus, a common cat respiratory infection, but the sample was also tested for SARS-CoV-2 as part of a research programme.“Follow-up samples tested at the APHA laboratory in Weybridge confirmed the cat was also co-infected with SARS-CoV2 which is the virus known to cause Covid-19 in humans.”This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries has faced some difficulties that are holding back test flights.
Twitter gave an update late on Friday on its investigation into the highly visible hack of dozens of verified accounts on Wednesday.
Twitter said 130 accounts were targeted, of which 45 had their passwords reset and tweets sent by the hackers.
Up to eight accounts also had their data fully downloaded by the hackers. None were Verified accounts, the company said.
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The hackers who hijacked dozens of high-profile Twitter accounts this week may have had a second, less visible purpose.
The hack took place on Wednesday when the hackers successfully gained access to accounts belonging to public figures, including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Kim Kardashian, as well as some company accounts like Apple and Uber.
Hijacking these accounts, the hackers tweeted out a Bitcoin scam, asking followers to send Bitcoin to a specific wallet address and promising to send back double the amount.
Twitter said on Friday that it believed 130 accounts were affected by the hack, and that only a "small subset" actually tweeted anything.
Later that same day in a blog post, Twitter offered some more detail.
"As of now, we know that they accessed tools only available to our internal support teams to target 130 Twitter accounts. For 45 of those accounts, the attackers were able to initiate a password reset, login to the account, and send Tweets," Twitter said.
But sending tweets to a Bitcoin scam doesn't appear to have been the hackers' only objective.
Out of the 130 compromised accounts, Twitter says up to eight had their data fully downloaded by the hackers using the "Your Twitter Data" tool, allowing users to download all the data relating to their account, including their private messages.
Twitter said none of these eight accounts were verified, suggesting they may not have been any of the high-profile celebrity or company accounts that tweeted links to the Bitcoin scam. However, some of the hijacked accounts were popular but unverified accounts (e.g. the popular @TheTweetOfGod).
Twitter gave no details on which accounts these were or what they might have in common. Numerous reports have linked the attack with a community of hackers obsessed with so-called "OG" accounts with super-short Twitter handles.
Cybersecurity journalist Brian Krebs reported that hours before the Bitcoin links started being tweeted on Wednesday, a handful of OG accounts, including "@6," were also hijacked.
How did they do it
Twitter also provided more detail about how the hackers managed to crack into its systems.
Twitter said the hackers had managed to gain access to an internal company tool using a "coordinated social engineering attack," on Wednesday. Social engineering is a term which means hackers manipulate, trick, or convince their target to hand over access to a system, rather than technically hacking.
"The attackers successfully manipulated a small number of employees and used their credentials to access Twitter's internal systems, including getting through our two-factor protections," Twitter said in its Friday blog. It did not say how the employees were manipulated. On Thursday, Motherboard reported that a source who took part in the hack claimed the attackers paid a Twitter employee.
In its blog, the company said it would be implementing extra training to guard against social engineering.
Twitter says it is still investigating the attack and is working with law enforcement. The FBI is looking into the hack.
The company said it is also restoring access to the account holders who were locked out while it sought to reestablish control of the situation. At least one affected account appears to have gone back to its owner, as Tesla's Elon Musk started tweeting again late on Friday.SEE ALSO: Twitter says 'social engineering' led to the massive hack that targeted high-profile accounts like Barack Obama and Jeff Bezos. Here's what the technique involves and how to avoid it.
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One of the most hotly anticipated electric vehicles from the German automaker BMW is finally here, officially: say hello to the iX3. BMW isn’t shifting to all-electric drivetrains in one fell swoop, the iX3 is built on a platform that shares a lot of components with its combustion engined brothers and sisters. As a result the iX3 looks a lot like its petrol and diesel counterparts. But there are a few subtle styling cues that help tell the world that it’s an electric breed of the popular sports activity vehicle. [Read: The upcoming Fisker Ocean EV might end up being… This story continues at The Next Web
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
Last week I wrote about some of the forces putting the squeeze on TikTok — and, uncharacteristically for me when I write about TikTok, the course of events did not immediately reverse and put TikTok into a stronger position. Instead, by several measures, the situation for ByteDance’s popular video app got significantly worse.
For starters, Peter Navarro, an adviser to the president, said in an interview with Fox News on Sunday that he expects President Trump will take “strong action” against TikTok and a fellow Chinese-made social app, WeChat. Worse from ByteDance’s perspective is that Navarro said the United States will not back down even if TikTok is sold to an American buyer. Here’s Bloomberg:
The Trump administration is “just...
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The brother of OneCoin’s missing “CryptoQueen” has pleaded guilty to money laundering and fraud charges, BBC reports.Konstantin Ignatov admitted to his role in the multi-billion dollar OneCoin scam when he signed a plea deal on October 4.That document has since been obtained by Inner City Press.Ignatov is yet to be sentenced, but now faces up to 90 years in prison.OneCoin’s alleged ringleader Dr. Ruja Ignatova is still on the run, while Ignatov is reportedly worried that his recent plea deal may “reveal activities of individuals” who might use violence against him and his family.As such, BBC reports that he might be assigned a new identity under the US’ witness protection program.
Welcome to Riding Nerdy, TNW’s fortnightly dive into bicycle-based tech, where we go into too much detail and geek out on all things related to pedal-powered gadgets.Hexagonal cells, on the other hand, buckle, bend, and distort to decelerate a payload against impact, reducing peak impact forces.It was continual prototyping that allowed it to test the limits of the hexagonal cell.Essentially the helmets are produced through a process of sintering a plastic powder into a series of very specifically shaped layers that are built up over the course of about 24 hours.As the platform moves down, more powder is added, and the lasers continue to sketch out the helmet’s layers based on a computer-aided design generated by HEXR.This is so the lasers sketching out the shape of each layer, can push the powder beyind its melting point.
I’m preprogrammed to have a soft spot for the new Motorola Razr, the company’s first foldable-screen phone.In the days before smartphones they seemed positively magical.Phones like the RAZR V3, at least in North America and Europe, began to fall from favor as smartphones arrived.It’s comedic to look at the first-generation Galaxy Note with its 5.3-inch display – a screen that, in 2011, seemed massive – and compare it to today’s Note 10+ with its vast 6.8-inch panel.The reality is, though, that there’s a compromise to be made in deciding whether you want the functionality of a big screen or the portability of a smaller device.Foldable displays have the potential to tackle that, though Motorola’s strategy differs from other foldables we’ve already seen.
You may have noticed that every company and their dog is now embracing Kubernetes.Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM/Red Hat, Microsoft, VMware, the list goes on and on.Even Docker, which has its own container orchestration program, Docker Swarm, now supports Kubernetes.As we continue to move our applications from servers and virtual machines to containers, Kubernetes is inevitable.Once upon a time, and it wasn't so long ago, we still ran server programs on server hardware.Then along came virtual machines (VMs), and we could run multiple operating systems and applications on a single platform.
The Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium was founded by US automakers to try and change that.The group's latest proposal surrounds human operators and best practices for those tasked with overseeing Level 4 and Level 5 self-driving cars.The group's best practices include what companies should look for in a human test driver, their training and how to oversee a test driver's performance.The baseline the AVSC suggests for human test drivers is a minimum of three years of driving experience.Companies should, however, also perform record checks (perhaps to determine if there've been any instances of distracted driving) and a driving evaluation test is recommended.While it's unclear what kind of training companies provide to human test drivers right now, the AVSC says there should be an assortment of environment training, interaction training and skill assessment.