⇡ # What’s new in Russia and in the world?
Traditionally, we will start the release with a beautiful picture from space – at the beginning of the week NASA published an image from the Hubble Space Telescope, which captured the galaxy IC 5063, located at a distance of approximately 156 million light years from Earth. It is an active galaxy, in the center of which there is a supermassive black hole, the mass of which, according to rough estimates, is 105-1011 times that of the sun.
The stream of dark jets visible in the image is a kind of shadow from a black hole, or rather from a dense ring-shaped formation of gas and dust that surrounds this hole. Moreover, this “shadow” is thrown into space at a distance of about 36 thousand light years. An obligatory link for those who like to view pictures from Hubble in full resolution.
But the space news of the week is not limited to this. The most curious news came from a team of specialists studying data from the Curiosity rover. They found that in the distant past, Mars underwent flooding, which could have been caused by a cosmic catastrophe. A related article, published in the journal Nature, states that traces of flooding were found in Gale Crater, which is estimated to be approximately 3.5–3.8 billion years old.
According to scientists, the sedimentary rocks contained in the crater appeared as a result of flooding, accompanied by the rapid movement of fluid flows. This could have happened about 4 billion years ago as a result of a collision with a large cosmic body, which provoked a large release of energy and, as a result, large-scale melting of ice on the planet. This event could also provoke climate change – water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane, released into the atmosphere, caused a change in temperature regime and provoked prolonged rains.
Well, so that the transition from space news to earthly does not seem too abrupt, we note a little good news as a transition: SpaceX has set a record for rocket reuse by launching one of the Falcon 9s for the seventh time. This launch was carried out as part of the next Starlink mission, which expanded the LEO constellation with a batch of 60 new satellites. Reusing a large number of missile components is a major way to reduce launch costs. So the last missile launch was the most cost-effective for the company. Well, as for Starlink, it currently has almost a thousand satellites in orbit, which allow you to use the Internet in the United States and Canada. True, so far only in beta test mode.
Another news about Starlink may sound a little ominous – Elon Musk is testing space lasers. In a Q&A session on Reddit, the company’s engineers talked about why this will be needed. Of course, there is no talk of any military use. Space lasers will serve users where satellites cannot see the gateway’s ground antenna – for example, over the ocean and in regions poorly covered by fiber optic links. Testing on prototypes of such lasers showed a speed of several gigabytes of data per second. The challenge for Starlink engineers now is to bring down the cost of space lasers and start producing them in large quantities.
And now you can move on to earthly news. Let’s start with the sad ones: Photokina exhibition officially ended its 70-year history and ceased to exist. The next event was supposed to take place this year, but the coronavirus prevented these plans. However, the complete closure has nothing to do with the pandemic. The fact is that the exhibition was mainly devoted to photography in all its forms, as well as photographic equipment and printing technologies, but this market is rapidly shrinking, people are buying less cameras and accessories for them and more and more shooting on smartphones. Well, 2020 only accelerated this trend and made the exhibition unprofitable. However, the event organizer Koelnmesse is cautious in the wording and says that the organization of events is suspended until further notice. That is, theoretically, the possibility of returning the exhibition remains, but it is hardly worthwhile to cherish hopes on this score. Probably, such a turn of events could have been foreseen 4 years ago – the 2016 exhibition showed a noticeable decrease in scale, and in 2017 it was announced that Photokina would cut staff and move from a two-year cycle of events to an annual one – even then it was perceived as the beginning of the end and the desire of the organizers to do everything possible to stay relevant. However, Photokina could not completely switch to the annual cycle, and Photokina 2018 was the last exhibition.
But Photokina is not the only thing we no longer have. Recently it became known that Western Digital will rename the SanDisk company, which has been owned by it since 2016. All this time, the new owner did not interfere with the trademarks in any way, however, from January 1, 2021, SanDisk will be renamed Western Digital and change its organizational form, or rather it will be transformed from a corporation into a limited liability company.
Remember the initiative with the bill obliging manufacturers of smartphones and other devices to install Russian software on them? Now, this case has moved forward last week. First, the government approved the rules for preinstalling domestic software and published the corresponding document on the official portal of legal information. And secondly, all this can be postponed until April next year. The list of software mandatory for pre-installation includes browsers, search engines, cartographic and navigation products, cloud services, social networks, applications for using the World map, office software, mail services and instant messengers, antivirus programs, tools for accessing the portal of government services and socially significant sites. The Russian Ministry of Digital Affairs even announced the start of accepting applications for inclusion in the list of software, although the deadline is December 1, 2020. In general, this step is rather formal, it is unlikely that independent developers had at least some chance to get into the list of software approved by the state. But it will probably contain Yandex applications and services, as well as Mail.ru messengers and social networks.
Initially, it was assumed that the law will come into force on January 1, 2021. Rather, manufacturers will be required to install Russian software on equipment actually produced after this date. However, most likely this date will be shifted to April 1. This means that all smartphones presented at MWC 2021, which will be held next year in the summer, will be released on the Russian market with a corresponding set of applications.
Facebook has been working on its own cryptocurrency called Libra for a long time, but there was no news about it for so long that it began to seem to us that this project was frozen or even closed. But according to the Financial Times, the Zuckerberg cryptocurrency will be launched in January 2021, and will be issued by the Libra Association, based in Geneva. True, it is reported that the project will be severely cut compared to what was originally planned. At the first stage, a virtual currency will be issued, the rate of which will be pegged to the dollar, and tokens pegged to other currencies, as well as a multicurrency token, will be issued later. The Libra Association is now awaiting approval from the Swiss financial authorities, which should be given before the end of this year.
Well, since today we so often talk about plans for 2021, we cannot ignore the start of issuing electronic passports in Russia. This is an internal passport in the format of a plastic card, by analogy with those of EU citizens. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Finance of Russia, residents of Moscow will be the first to receive such cards – they should begin to be issued by December 1 of next year, and then – if the experiment is recognized as successful – such documents will be issued throughout the country.
The future card will have a built-in storage medium of domestic production, which will store the same information that is contained in the usual paper passport – last name, first name, patronymic, date and place of birth, residence permit, marital status and so on.
Players around the world have long known their hatred of Electronic Arts, which is mainly associated with extremely aggressive methods of monetizing games. But it turned out that not only gamers, but also professional athletes, in particular football players, suffer from the actions of the publisher.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic expressed his dissatisfaction that his appearance is used in FIFA 21 and decided to sue. This initiative was quickly supported by his numerous colleagues – in total, there were 300 professional players from different countries who are demanding compensation from the publisher for the damage caused, we are talking about an amount of billions of dollars. And most importantly, the matter will most likely be decided in favor of the athletes. The fact is that the rights to the appearance of athletes belong only to them, and not to clubs, leagues or football associations. Rather, the FIFPro organization has the right to the appearance of athletes, but not all players are members of it.
The precedent created will also be used in order to deprive her of the rights to the appearance of athletes. EA has all the necessary contracts with clubs, including Milan, for which Ibrahimovic is currently playing, but this is unlikely to help her. However, if EA does indeed lose billions of dollars, then in the future its monetization policy may become even more aggressive to compensate for the losses.
⇡ # What’s new in reviews on 3DNews?
Coincidentally, our reviews last week didn’t include anything from Electronic Arts. But there was a review of Demon’s Souls, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and, of course, the latest release of Gamesblender. Well, right after the gaming reviews, you can read the review of the Gigabyte G34WQC gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro 5 AN517 gaming laptop and the Deepcool AS500 processor cooler.
In addition, we had a review of the Huawei Mate 40 Pro smartphone and an excellent camera, the Amazfit GTS 2 smartwatch and the HP ProBook x360 435 G7 laptop. We should also recommend a review of alternatives to Yandex.Navigator and an interesting read about artificial intelligence. And the end of the issue, as always, is the last five issues of the digest:
- Everything you missed: an asteroid dangerously close to Earth, a drop in App Store fees, and a ranking of popular passwords in 2020.
- Everything you missed: the first ARM-based MacBooks and criminal liability for cryptocurrency holders.
- Everything you missed: Roscosmos space spending, $ 1 billion bitcoin confiscation, and the unexpected TikTok initiative.
- Everything you missed: NASA is colonizing the Moon, AMD is introducing new video cards, Cyberpunk 2077 is delayed, Beeline is losing subscribers.
- Everything you missed: the US Department of Justice sues Google, bitcoin is up again, Huawei unveils the flagship smartphone Mate 40.
That’s all! Take good care of yourself and try to read only good news from reliable sources.
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