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N.Korean leader observes new weapons test to enhance nuclear capabilities – KCNA

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(Last Updated On: April 17, 2022)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has observed the test firing of a new type of tactical guided weapon aimed at boosting the country’s nuclear capabilities, the North’s KCNA news agency reported on Sunday (April 17).

“The new-type tactical guided weapon system is of great significance in drastically improving the firepower of the frontline long-range artillery units and enhancing the efficiency in the operation of tactical nukes of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and diversification of their firepower missions,” KCNA said.

DPRK stands for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

South Korea’s military early on Sunday said North Korea had fired two projectiles towards the East Sea at around 6pm local time (0900GMT) on Saturday (April 16).

The U.S. Offices of Guam Homeland Security and Civil Defense said the launch did not pose an immediate threat to Guam or the Northern Marianas.

The KCNA report came shortly after North Korea celebrated on Friday (April 15) the 110th anniversary of the birth of late founder Kim Il Sung, one of the biggest annual public holidays in the country.

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Hundreds of flying taxis to be made in Ohio

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(Last Updated On: September 19, 2023)

The same Ohio river valley where the Wright brothers pioneered human flight will soon be manufacturing cutting-edge electric planes that take off and land vertically, under an agreement announced Monday between the state and Joby Aviation Inc.

“When you’re talking about air taxis, that’s the future,” Republican Gov. Mike DeWine told The Associated Press. “We find this very, very exciting — not only for the direct jobs and indirect jobs it’s going to create, but like Intel, it’s a signal to people that Ohio is looking to the future. This is a big deal for us.”

Around the world, electric vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOL aircraft are entering the mainstream, though questions remain about noise levels and charging demands. Still, developers say the planes are nearing the day when they will provide a wide-scale alternative to shuttle individual people or small groups from rooftops and parking garages to their destinations, while avoiding the congested thoroughfares below.

Joby’s decision to locate its first scaled manufacturing facility at a 140-acre site at Dayton International Airport delivers on two decades of groundwork laid by the state’s leaders, Republican Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said. Importantly, the site is near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the headquarters of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratories.

“For a hundred years, the Dayton area has been a leader in aviation innovation,” Husted said. “But capturing a large-scale manufacturer of aircraft has always eluded the local economy there. With this announcement, that aspiration has been realized.”

The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, lived and worked in Dayton. In 1910, they opened the first U.S. airplane factory there. To connect the historical dots, Joby’s formal announcement Monday took place at Orville Wright’s home, Hawthorn Hill, and concluded with a ceremonial flypast of a replica of the Wright Model B Flyer.

Joby’s production aircraft is designed to transport a pilot and four passengers at speeds of up to 321.87 kilometers per hour, with a maximum range of 160.93 kilometers. Its quiet noise profile is barely audible against the backdrop of most cities, the company said. The plan is to place them in aerial ridesharing networks beginning in 2025.

The efforts of the Santa Cruz, California-based company are supported by partnerships with Toyota, Delta Air Lines, Intel and Uber. Joby is a 14-year-old company that went public in 2021 and became the first eVTOL firm to receive U.S. Air Force airworthiness certification.

The $500 million project is supported by up to $325 million in incentives from the state of Ohio, its JobsOhio economic development office and local government. With the funds, Joby plans to build an Ohio facility capable of delivering up to 500 aircraft a year and creating 2,000 jobs. The U.S. Department of Energy has invited Joby to apply for a loan to support development of the facility as a clean energy project.

Joby CEO JoeBen Bevirt told the AP that the company chose Ohio after an extensive and competitive search. Its financial package wasn’t the largest, but the chance to bring the operation to the birthplace of aviation — with a workforce experienced in the field — sealed the deal, he said.

“Ohio is the No. 1 state when it comes to supplying parts for Boeing and Airbus,” Bevirt said. “Ohio is No. 3 in the nation on manufacturing jobs — and that depth of manufacturing prowess, that workforce, is critical to us as we look to build this manufacturing facility.

Construction on the manufacturing facility is expected to begin in 2024, with production to begin in 2025.

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NASA says more science and less stigma are needed to understand UFOs

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(Last Updated On: September 15, 2023)

NASA said Thursday that the study of UFOs will require new scientific techniques, including advanced satellites as well as a shift in how unidentified flying objects are perceived.

The space agency released the findings after a yearlong study into UFOs.

In its 33-page report, an independent team commissioned by NASA cautioned that the negative perception surrounding UFOs poses an obstacle to collecting data. But officials said NASA’s involvement should help reduce the stigma around what it calls UAPs, or unidentified anomalous phenomena, AP reported.

“We want to shift the conversation about UAPs from sensationalism to science,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said. He promised an open and transparent approach.

Officials stressed the panel found no evidence that UAPs had extraterrestrial origin. But Nelson acknowledged with billions of stars in billions of galaxies out there, another Earth could exist.

“If you ask me, do I believe there’s life in a universe that is so vast that it’s hard for me to comprehend how big it is, my personal answer is yes,” Nelson said at a news conference. His own scientists put the likelihood of life on another Earth-like planet at “at least a trillion.”

When pressed by reporters on whether the U.S. or other governments are hiding aliens or otherworldly spaceships, Nelson said: “Show me the evidence.”
NASA has said it doesn’t actively search for unexplained sightings. But it operates a fleet of Earth-circling spacecraft that can help determine, for example, whether weather is behind a strange event.

The 16-member panel noted that artificial intelligence and machine learning are essential for identifying rare occurrences, including UFOs.

NASA recently appointed a director of UAP research, but refused to divulge his identity at Thursday morning’s news conference in hopes of avoiding the threats and harassment faced by panel members during the study.

The government refers to unexplained sightings as UAPs versus UFOs. NASA defines them as observations in the sky or elsewhere that cannot be readily identified or scientifically explained.

The study was launched a year ago and cost under $100,000.

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Apple unveils iPhone 15 Pro with titanium case, holds line on prices

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(Last Updated On: September 13, 2023)

Apple launched a new series of iPhones that included a new titanium shell, a faster chip and improved video game playing abilities, Reuters reported.

The biggest surprise with the iPhone 15 that will come out Sept. 22: It did not raise prices, reflecting the global smartphone slump.

The event at Apple’s Cupertino, California, headquarters comes amid lingering economic uncertainty, especially in China, Apple’s third-largest market where it faces challenges from expanded restrictions on using its iPhones in government offices and the first new flagship phone in several years from Huawei Technologies (HWT.UL).

Huawei raised its second-half shipment target for the new Mate 60 series smartphone, which has satellite capability, by 20%, the country’s official Securities Times reported on Tuesday shortly before the Apple event.

Apple did not deliver any blockbuster surprises, and shares closed down 1.7% after event.

While Apple avoids the terms artificial intelligence, or AI, the technology was the driver of several new features.

An Apple executive said the company used machine learning to detect a person in the frame, allowing users to turn a picture into a portrait immediately or later in the Photos app.

Apple also showed off new watches, including a Series 9 Watch with a feature called “double tap” where users tap thumb and finger together twice, without touching the watch, in order to perform tasks like answering a phone call.

It uses machine learning to detect tiny changes in blood flow when the user taps their fingers together, freeing up the other hand for other tasks like walking a dog or holding a cup of coffee, said Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams.

Both the Pro and other iPhone 15 models will have a brighter display and a 48-megapixel camera as well as 100% recycled cobalt in their batteries, Reuters reported.

Apple said the iPhone 15’s satellite connectivity can now be used to summon roadside assistance. It is rolling out the feature out with the American Automobile Association (AAA) in the United States.

Apple said that USB-C charging cables are coming to both its iPhone 15 and the charging case of its AirPods Pro devices. The move reflects requirements from European regulators to use USB-C and allows the use of the same charging cables already used for iPads and Macs.

“I was expecting Apple to try and spin the all USB-C decision in certain way but they didn’t they were very matter of fact in the way they talked about it,” said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Creative Strategies. She said the shift “brought some differentiation to the iPhone Pro, because there’s faster throughput for data transfer. That is going to be valuable for people” who use the device for professional photography, Milanesi said.

Apple also said the iPhone 15 Pro can capture what it calls “spatial videos” by using two of the device’s cameras to capture a three-dimensional video. Those videos will be viewable on Apple’s Vision Pro headset that is due out early next year, marketing chief Greg Joswiak said.

The Pro’s use of titanium makes it lighter and stronger than previous models of other metals, read the report.

Bob O’Donnell, head of TECHnalysis Research said the steady prices were a surprise.

“I think both Apple and the carriers recognize that with consumers feeling pressure on their budget and the lack of dramatic changes it’s getting harder to convince people to upgrade. Keeping prices stable should help with that,” he said.

The iPhone 15 costs $799, the iPhone 15 Plus starts at $899 and the Pro series starts at $999. The Pro Max starts at $1,199, the same prices as last year for the same levels of storage. Last year, Apple offered a $1,099 iPhone Pro Max model with less memory.

Apple still relies on iPhone for more than half of its sales, but the global smartphone market has slumped from shipping 294.5 million total phones to 268 million in the second quarter. Apple’s shipments declined the least of any major smartphone maker, dropping from 46.5 million phones to 45.3 million, according to data from Counterpoint Research.

The outdoor sports-focused Apple Watch Ultra 2 has new features for cycling and diving and what Apple said is the brightest screen it has ever made. The Series 9 will start at $399 and the Ultra 2 watch will start at $799 and be available Sept. 22.

Apple will no longer use leather in any of its products, said Lisa Jackson, the company’s environmental chief. The company is replacing some of those products with a textile called “FineWoven” that it says feel like suede, Reuters reported.

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