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Paramount Global plans to merge its Showtime streaming service with Paramount+’s ad-free tier later in 2023 and call the new offering Paramount+ with SHOWTIME (Matt Tamanini/The Streamable) January 31, 2023

Matt Tamanini / The Streamable: Paramount Global plans to merge its Showtime streaming service with Paramount+’s ad-free tier later in 2023 and call the new offering Paramount+ with SHOWTIME  —  It’s been a long time coming, but later this year, Paramount Global will finally fully integrate the streaming arm …

Here’s the Asus Zenfone 9 from all angles in leaked press renders

Credit: Twitter
The Asus Zenfone 9 has leaked in a series of press renders.
The renders show a flat-sided phone with a flat display and a large dual-lens rear camera.
Asus will formally launch the phone on July 28.

Asus is one of the few companies left to create compact Android phones with higher-end specs. The Asus Zenfone 8 is the most recent of these, which came out in early 2021. Now, we have our first solid look at what to expect from the follow-up.

Thanks to SnoopyTech on Twitter, we have a series of press renders for the Asus Zenfone 9. The phone has a redesign that abandons a lot of the elements of the Zenfone 8. This will be good news for many, as the overall consensus was that the Zenfone 8’s design was rather boring.

How to Watch the Final January 6 Committee Hearing Live

The House committee’s investigation covering the deadly riot at the US Capitol will be streamed online for free—no subscription required.

The Delaware Court of Chancery grants Twitter an expedited five-day trial in October in its lawsuit against Elon Musk, who wanted the trial to begin in 2023 (CNBC)

The Delaware Court of Chancery grants Twitter an expedited five-day trial in October in its lawsuit against Elon Musk, who wanted the trial to begin in 2023  —  – Twitter won its motion for an expedited trial in its lawsuit against Elon Musk on Tuesday.  — Delaware Court …

Dead Solar Panels Are The Hottest New Recyclables

When it comes to renewable energy, there are many great sources. Whether it’s solar, wind, or something else, though, we need a lot of it. Factories around the globe are rising to the challenge to provide what we need.

We can build plenty of new solar panels, of course, but we need to think about what happens when they reach end of life. As it turns out, with so much solar now out in the field, a major new recycling industry may be just around the corner.

Crunch ‘Em Up

Wind turbines and solar panels are being installed en-masse to supply renewable energy to the grid. Neither last forever, and planning for their end-of-life is key to avoiding valuable materials ending up in landfill. Credit: Adobe Stock

Solar panels are great at harvesting energy from the sun, but they don’t last forever. They can get damaged or smashed, or simply age out. Most panels are rated for a service life of 25 years. The solar boom really took off in the early 2000s, and has gathered steam ever since. That means that we’ll soon face an avalanche of solar panels that are ready for retirement.

Like so much modern tech, solar panels wrap up a bunch of expensive and exotic materials into one fancy product. The photovoltaic cells that produce power from the sun are made using materials like silver, copper, and aluminium, all of which are valuable. The cells also use plenty of polysilicon, which is expensive to produce. Other trace materials can include tin and lead used in solder connections, though hazardous waste regulations have reduced this in recent years.

The problem is that all these fancy materials can be difficult to separate out. Copper wiring can be cut off the back of panels relatively easily, and aluminum frames stripped off. However, all the other materials require more processing.

Currently, the bulk of solar panels that are recycled are basically shredded and treated as relatively impure crushed glass, referred to as glass cullet in the industry. Combined with the copper wiring and aluminium frame, recyclers can expect to get around $3 a panel for their efforts. That doesn’t stack up well against the cost of the process, which can be anywhere from $12 to $25 a panel when transport and processing costs are stacked up.

These high costs mean that many solar panels are simply sent to landfill instead. At the present time, only around 10% of solar panels are recycled in the US.

New Processes are the Key

The trick to recovering more from solar cells is to take more care in the recycling process. One method is known as the FRELP process, for “Full Recovery End of Life Photovoltaic” process. It uses a hot knife to carefully separate out the silicon cells from the glass and plastic of the panel, which lets each component be processed separately. Chemical processes can then be used to separate out high-value silver and copper, rather than leaving these materials churned up with the glass. The hope is that the silicon recovered could be of good enough purity to be reused in solar panel production without requiring expensive repurification steps.

Waste management company Veolia has also been working in this area, running a commercial-scale plant in France since 2018, and a newer test project in Germany this year. Similar to most processes, the wiring, cable panel, and aluminium frame are all removed, in this case by robots. Then, the PV panel itself is chopped into small tablets, ground up, and the glass seperated from the metal content with an eddy-current seperator This allows for efficient recovery of the raw materials, rather than simply shredding the whole panel and mixing all the precious metals and silicon up with the glass. Veolia hopes to continue developing its process to the point where it can reliably recover high-purity silver and silicon from the panels, to be reused in the production of new panels. The company hopes to step up its operations to the point where it can recycle all solar panels that are being decommissioned in France.

An Industry Set To Boom

Rystad Energy estimates that the solar panel recycling market will boom as installed panels start aging out in coming years. Source: Rystad Energy

The global solar panel waste stream is set to boom. At the end of 2016, there were around 250,000 tons of waste panels, but that’s expected to balloon to over five million tons by 2050. As more solar capacity is installed, it locks in a larger waste stream for the future.

This giant waste stream is quickly becoming a resource ready to be tapped. Rather than running a silver or aluminium mine, companies will compete to get their share of a waste stream full of precious metals. The trick is in perfecting the techniques to extract and purify that metal in a clean and cost-effective way. Research firm Rystad expects the solar recycling industry to be worth $2.7 billion by 2030, and $80 billion by 2050, up from a comparatively-miniscule $170 million today.

Mastering the recycling of solar panels and wind turbines will be key to ensuring we have the renewable power we need into the future. Thus, if you’ve got some creative ideas on how to recover materials from solar panels, there’s plenty of scope to make money at it in the coming years!

Banner photo: “Installing solar panels” by Oregon DOT.

(Yeah, we know, but “installation is in the reverse order of removal.”)

Memo to staff: Meta is reallocating resources from Facebook’s News tab and newsletter platform Bulletin, as the company focuses more on the creator economy (Wall Street Journal)

Wall Street Journal:
Memo to staff: Meta is reallocating resources from Facebook’s News tab and newsletter platform Bulletin, as the company focuses more on the creator economy  —  Senior executive Campbell Brown told employees that products will be ‘put on the backburner’  —  Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook …

Xbox’s ‘Grounded’ is getting an animated TV adaption

Image: Xbox

Grounded, the survival co-op that combines elements of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and A Bug’s Life, is getting an animated TV adaptation, as first reported by Deadline. Brent Friedman of Star Wars: Clone Wars will write the story, with Halo 4’s Brien Goodrich sitting in the director’s chair.

Grounded was developed by Obsidian Entertainment and launched on Xbox and PC in 2020. The game amassed over 10 million players and follows a group of four friends who shrink down to the size of ants, similar to the premise of the 1989 movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. As they battle their way through a backyard teeming with the now-giant insects, they must gather resources, craft supplies, and build a base to survive.

Waterproof Studios / SC…

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Google’s prototype augmented reality glasses are going outside

Google is going to test AR devices in the real world soon. | Image: Google

Google is planning to test augmented reality (AR) prototypes in public beginning next month, the company announced Tuesday. Google has been exploring concepts like AR glasses that show translations in real time, but the company wants to take its ideas from the lab into the real world. The Verge previously reported that Google hopes to ship its “Project Iris” AR headset in 2024.

“This will allow us to better understand how these devices can help people in their everyday lives,” Google’s Juston Payne wrote in a blog post. “And as we develop experiences like AR navigation, it will help us take factors such as weather and busy intersections into account — which can be difficult, sometimes impossible, to fully recreate indoors.”


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Shows like Resident Evil on Netflix: 7 shows to watch next

Credit: Netflix

Netflix is home to the latest adaptation of the iconic video game series Resident Evil. The new show has had a mixed critical reception, and has one of Netflix’s lowest audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes. Still, it already has its die-hard fans, and it plays into a lot of familiar genre tropes. So, what are some other shows like Resident Evil? We’ve compiled a few.

Resident Evil jumps back and forth in time. In 2022, two sisters live in New Racoon City under the watchful eye of the mysterious Umbrella Corporation, where their father works on secret research. When they break into an Umbrella lab, they realize that the company may be working on something dangerous. In the near future, one of the sisters researches what went wrong at Umbrella. The world is overrun by zombies, and she works with a group of survivors to find a cure before Umbrella makes things worse.

COVID-19’s Impact on Biotech – A Good Time to Invest

A Pandemic Legacy: Saving Lives

The devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to be felt, both in terms of human cost and the destruction it has wrought on the economies of the world. However, there looks to be a silver lining to the COVID cloud in the shape of medical research.

 Change in research and development for healthcare

The pandemic has completely transformed how research and development for healthcare are conducted and funded—most obviously in the fields of vaccine and drug development, but also with the use of artificial intelligence for medical research. In this context, it is not unreasonable to hope that the research spurred on by COVID-19 may, one day, save more lives than the pandemic has taken.

Biotech thrived where other sectors stagnated

In the dark, locked-down days of 2020–2021, the Biotech sector thrived where other sectors stagnated. However, the understandably stratospheric financial performance shown by companies like Moderna, BioNTech, and Pfizer, over that period has slowed, with the market recognizing that the crest of that particular wave has passed.

However, with predictions of a slow-down now priced into market valuations—and with the world now awake to the possibilities that new medical technologies present—does Biotech still represent a good investment opportunity? And can investors help to prepare humanity for the next great pandemic when it comes?

The mRNA Breakthrough

The most obvious and well-publicized development regarding COVID-19’s impact on Biotech has been the use of mRNA in the creation of vaccines. Messenger RiboNucleic Acid, to give it its full and catchy name, works by instructing the human body to create antibodies (as opposed to the traditional method, which encourages the creation of antibodies by exposing the immune system to a small part of the virus).

The idea of using mRNA technology is not new but has been treated with skepticism for some time. Moderna, one of the pioneers of the technology, was unable to use it to develop a drug until 2020.

However, now the world has seen the astonishing success of the technology, there are trials underway for mRNA vaccines against a host of diseases—including HIV, shingles, and flu. There is also optimism that the technology may even be able to be adapted in the development of cancer-curing drugs.

An AI Revolution

Less heralded but potentially even more exciting has been the expansion in the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the development of drugs. As in other sectors, the benefits of AI in this field boil down to its ability to expedite the process of analyzing information and accurately predicting outcomes.

In 2020, BioNTech collaborated with Tunisian start-up Instadeep to model the behaviors of protein, aiding in the creation of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine—a great example of innovation in the field of machine learning, as the tools used were developed originally for language translation.

Development of computation method to predict future mutations

Earlier this year (2022), the companies announced that the same tools had been used to create a computational method that can predict future mutations of the virus — demonstrating the vast potential and versatility of AI in Biotech.

Other uses of AI include examining a range of existing drugs in the hope that they may be repurposed for the treatment of other illnesses and diseases. It has also been applied in a building management/architecture environment to simulate airflow models within hospitals and to reduce (or prevent) the transmission of airborne diseases.

Innovation from Crisis

Beyond these radical changes in how drugs and treatments are developed, the pandemic has also brought about more prosaic but no less critical advances in antiviral drug treatments, as well as trials and diagnostics.

Pfizer’s “Paxlovid” drug, used in the treatment of moderate COVID-19 cases, has been demonstrated to be almost 90% effective in preventing death or hospitalization. Meanwhile, another treatment used in the fight against the virus is “monoclonal antibodies”—just one output from the huge amount of research conducted into new antibody treatments over the past two years.

Expansion in Remote Drug Trials

The urgency of COVID-19 stimulated an expansion in remote drug trials, and the birth of “mega trials” has been demonstrated to rapidly accelerate the process of testing and consequent approval of useful drugs.

Likewise, diagnostic technology has also seen rapid advancements, with a global acknowledgment of the pressing need to have a robust diagnostic structure to help prevent or mitigate the next pandemic threat.

Investing in Biotech Amid the Pandemic: Opportunities for the Long Term

With the war in Ukraine, a cost-of-living crisis, and the world still recovering from COVID-19, the climate remains challenging for many sectors, but Biotech bucks this trend. Thinking about the future, many of the recent developments present exciting investment possibilities for the sector.

Biotechs Double Digit Growth — VC — Triple Digit Growth from IPOs

From 2019–2020, Biotech saw annual growth in double digits from VC—with triple-digit growth from IPOs during that period. While we may not see another year like that, the sector has a well-earned reputation for being a safe investment bet and a perennial home of innovation.

Of course, the current pandemic is not over yet, and as it moves from pandemic to endemic, new challenges will continue to create new opportunities. Mutations are likely to cause further regional outbreaks and surges of the virus.

What About the Long Hauler Needs and Cures?

At the same time, another task is the increasingly pressing need to find cures or treatments for the fatigue, breathlessness, and brain fog that afflicts “long Covid” sufferers. An ongoing need for booster jabs, affordable testing, and treatments will provide plenty of opportunities for the industry to innovate.

The surge in healthcare research means that Biotech represents an excellent investment—and, above all, a way for investors to make a real impact in terms of global health as we continue to face the challenges of the coming decades.

Image Credit: Chokniti Khongchum; Pexels; Thank you!

The post COVID-19’s Impact on Biotech – A Good Time to Invest appeared first on ReadWrite.

Instagram adds a searchable map for exploring nearby popular tagged locations, which can be filtered by restaurants, cafes, beauty salons, and other categories (Aisha Malik/TechCrunch)

Aisha Malik / TechCrunch:
Instagram adds a searchable map for exploring nearby popular tagged locations, which can be filtered by restaurants, cafes, beauty salons, and other categories  —  Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today that the company is introducing a new searchable and dynamic map experience on Instagram.

Lightyear will be available to stream on Disney Plus in August

Buzz Lightyear in Lightyear. | Image: Disney / Pixar

Lightyear, Disney and Pixar’s Buzz Lightyear-focused movie that hit theaters in June, will be available to stream on Disney Plus beginning August 3rd.

Get ready to blast off with Disney and Pixar’s #Lightyear, streaming August 3 only on #DisneyPlus.

— Disney+ (@disneyplus) July 19, 2022

Lightyear stars Chris Evans as Buzz Lightyear, though he’s not the toy Buzz Lightyear you might be familiar with from Toy Story — instead, Evans portrays a sci-fi action hero Buzz Lightyear in a movie about the character. My colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore called the film “a visual stunner with a predictable story” in his review, and that honestly put me off from seeing the movie in theaters. But I’ve still been wanting…

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Twitch is launching a new charity fundraising tool

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Twitch is launching a new built-in fundraising tool called Twitch Charity to make it easier for streamers to run charity streams.

Many streamers and organizations put on charity streams to help raise funds for causes they support. Right now, streamers often pledge donations, subscriptions, and Bits (Twitch’s virtual currency) received over a certain period of time to the charity of their choice. But there can be a lot to manage when hosting a charity stream — you can get an idea of what’s involved in this guide to hosting a charity stream from my former colleague Bijan Stephen.

Twitch Charity is designed to simplify the fundraising process. Streamers will be able to go into “charity mode,” which activates a “Donate to Charity” button…

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BeReal, the social photo sharing app launched in 2020 in France, is the No. 1 free app in the US App Store; Sensor Tower says it has topped 20M downloads (Christopher Zara/Fast Company)

Christopher Zara / Fast Company:
BeReal, the social photo sharing app launched in 2020 in France, is the No. 1 free app in the US App Store; Sensor Tower says it has topped 20M downloads  —  No doubt you’ve seen the innumerable recent hot takes about BeReal.  The French photo app, launched in early 2020 as a kind of stripped …

Washington, DC Finally Gets its Own PCB Metro Map

There was a time, not so long ago, when folks who wanted to make their own custom PCBs would have found themselves in the market for a bucket of acid and a second-hand laser printer. These days, all you have to do is click a few buttons in your EDA program of choice and send the files off for fabrication. It’s easy, cheap, and nobody ends up with chemical burns.

This has obviously had a transformative effect on the electronics hobby — when you can place traces on a PCB like an artist using a brush, it’s only a matter of time before you get projects like [Logan Arkema]’s DCTransistor. This open source board uses carefully arranged RGB LEDs to recreate the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WTMA) metro map, and thanks to an ESP8266 connected to the WTMA’s API, can display the positions of trains in real-time.

If you’re getting a sense of déjà vu here, it’s not just in your head. We’ve seen similar maps created for other major metropolitan areas, and [Logan] certainly isn’t trying to take credit for the idea. In fact, he was a bit surprised to find that nobody had ever made one for the DC area — so he decided to take on the challenge himself. He reasoned it would be a good way to hone his PCB design skills and become more comfortable with embedded development. We’d say the end result proves his theory correct, and makes one more city that can boast about its IoT cartography.

Looking to hang a DCTransistor on your own wall? [Logan] says he’ll be dropping the board design files and schematics into the project’s GitHub repository soon, and he also plans on selling pre-made boards in the near future.

We covered this London “tube” map back in 2020, and were impressed by the attention to detail that went into similar displays for Tokyo, Singapore, and the San Francisco Bay Area a year later. Perhaps it’s time to map out your own hometown in LEDs?

Blizzard QA workers in Albany are organizing Activision’s second union

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The QA department at Blizzard Albany, the studio formerly known as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2’s Vicarious Visions, has become the second QA department within Activision Blizzard to organize a union.

Today, we announce a new union at Activision Blizzard.

QA is currently an undervalued discipline in the games and software industries. We strive to
foster work environments where we are respected and compensated for our essential role in the
development process. 1/5

— GWA Albany (@WeAreGWAAlbany) July 19, 2022

The group, organized as GWA Albany, has around 20 members and formed a union to address issues like competitive and fair compensation, healthcare, and “establishing reasonable protocols to address demands of ‘crunch’ time.”


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A company called Meta is suing Meta for naming itself Meta

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

When Facebook changed its name to Meta in October, there were a few concerns that the company was planning to dominate the nascent metaverse — but there’s one aggrieved party that’s only now going public.

An installation-art company called META (or announced Tuesday that it will be suing Meta (or Facebook) for trademark violation, alleging that Zuckerberg’s name change violated the smaller company’s established brand.

“On October 28, 2021, Facebook seized our META mark and name, which we put our blood, sweat, and tears into building for over twelve years,” reads a post on the smaller company’s site. “Today, after eight months of trying to negotiate with Facebook in good faith to no avail, we were left with no choice but to file…

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Apple will settle butterfly keyboard lawsuit for $50 million

If you had your keyboard repaired, you may be eligible for some money back. | Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Apple has agreed to pay out $50 million to settle a class action lawsuit that said the company knew about flaws with the butterfly keyboard switches it built into several MacBook models (via Reuters).

The keyboards, introduced with the 2015 MacBook, were notoriously unreliable; basically any sort of grime, crumb, or dust could make it so that a key stopped responding altogether or got stuck, resulting in embarrassing typos. Apple tried several fixes for the keyboards, but each new generation failed to fix the core issue, with computers impacted as recently as the 2019 MacBook Pros and Air. (A full list of the affected computers is included on the first page of the settlement, but it’s basically all of Apple’s laptops from 2015 to 2019.)…

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Memo to staff: healthcare administration automation startup Olive AI, valued at $4B in July 2021, is laying off 450 employees, or about 31% of the company (Erin Brodwin/Axios)

Erin Brodwin / Axios:
Memo to staff: healthcare administration automation startup Olive AI, valued at $4B in July 2021, is laying off 450 employees, or about 31% of the company  —  Exit Content Preview … – “Our fast-paced growth and lack of focus strained our product and engineering resources and prevented us …

PlayStation outage meant some PS5, PS4 owners couldn’t start games or access multiplayer

The cat from Stray. | Image: Annapurna Interactive

The PlayStation Network experienced some issues on Tuesday. At the time, Sony’s PlayStation status page said that says that things like launching games, buying, downloading, and browsing games, and signing in to your account may have been impacted.

The issues popped up just a few hours after the release of Stray, the futuristic adventure game starring a cat. Sony didn’t give a specific reason as to why there were problems, so I’m going to place the blame for the outage squarely on the cute kitty. The cat wreaked havoc.

It’s not clear how widespread the issues were. Things seemed to work fine on my PS5, though I saw a lot of people report issues on Twitter, and there was a spike of user reports of problems on Downdetector. Maybe someone…

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Google and Oracle report some of their cloud servers in the UK are temporarily offline, blaming cooling failures amid the country’s record-breaking heatwave (Katyanna Quach/The Register)

Katyanna Quach / The Register:
Google and Oracle report some of their cloud servers in the UK are temporarily offline, blaming cooling failures amid the country’s record-breaking heatwave  —  Clouds burst as nation hits 40C  —  Cloud services and servers hosted by Google and Oracle in the UK have fallen offline due …

Sources: Neuralink co-founder Paul Merolla departs the Musk-backed startup, the latest in a string of departures at the brain implant startup (Rachael Levy/Reuters)

Rachael Levy / Reuters:
Sources: Neuralink co-founder Paul Merolla departs the Musk-backed startup, the latest in a string of departures at the brain implant startup  —  A founding member of Elon Musk’s Neuralink left the company in recent weeks, according to two people familiar with the matter …

Instagram Slow to Tackle Bots Targeting Iranian Women’s Groups

Despite alerting Meta months ago, feminist groups say tens of thousands of fake accounts continue to bombard them on the platform.

Internal documents show Facebook and Google discussing platform strategies

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

New internal documents released Tuesday detail how three of Big Tech’s most prominent companies favored their own products as a means of stamping out competition. Their release comes as lawmakers push to approve stronger antitrust legislation by the end of the year.

The documents were obtained by the House Judiciary Committee as part of its lengthy investigation into anticompetitive behavior from Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook’s parent company Meta. The investigation wrapped up in 2020, but the newly published emails, memos, and reports provide new evidence backing the committee’s calls to advance tougher competition rules for the tech industry.

“It is time for Congress to act,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), chair of the antitrust…

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Fitbit’s adding one of the Apple Watch’s most useful features to the Charge 5

Please just tell me where my phone is. | Photo by Jay Peters / The Verge

If you own a Fitbit Charge 5 and are chronically forgetful, there’s good news — according to 9to5Google and Android Police, the fitness tracker’s latest update adds an app that lets you ring your phone from your wrist. This feature has been available on some Fitbit smartwatches for a while, but it’s exciting to see it come to one of the company’s simpler devices, especially as someone who used to ping my phone several times a day back when I had an Apple Watch.

Charge 5 owners should get the find my phone feature automatically when they install the 171.50 update. Instructions on how to do so can be found in this Fitbit help article. Reportedly, the option will show up when you swipe down from the top of the screen, amid other options…

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Celebrating VIR FIDELIS

Happy Golfing everyone.  Proud to be part of Farrell life. 

Happy Golfing everyone