SpaceX successfully launches a Falcon 9 booster for a record seventh time

SpaceX has launched yet another Starlink mission, adding 60 more Starlink satellites to its low-Earth orbit constellation. That’s good news for its efforts to blanket the globe in high-speed broadband, and today’s flight is even better news for its equally important ambition of developing more reusable rocket systems, since the first-stage booster that helped launch today’s Falcon 9 rocket made a record-breaking seventh trip.

SpaceX broke its own reusability records of six flights for a reused first-stage rocket component, and it also recovered the booster with a controlled landing using its drone flight in the Atlantic Ocean, which means it could potentially break this record with yet another future flight for this same booster.

Today’s launch took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, lifting off at 9:13 PM EST (6:13 PM PST). The flight also uses a fairing cover to protect the payload on its way to space that had flown previously, including one half that’s flown one prior mission, and another that’s been used twice before.

SpaceX aims for greater usability as a way to continue to reduce costs – every time it flies a component used in a previous mission, it realizes some degree of cost savings vs. using all new parts. Today’s mission represents likely its most cost-effective flight to date as a result.

This is SpaceX’s sixteenth Starlink mission thus far, and it has now launched nearly 1,000 total small satellites for its constellation. The service is currently operating in beta, and recently expanded from parts of the U.S. to areas in southern Canada .

 

#aerospace, #broadband, #canada, #falcon, #falcon-9, #florida, #outer-space, #science, #space, #spaceflight, #spacex, #starlink, #tc, #united-states

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Why Were Canadians Warned Not to Let Moose Lick Their Cars?

Let us explain.

#canada, #jasper-national-park-canada, #moose, #parks-and-other-recreation-areas, #salt

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In Canada, a Push to Keep Schools Open in Second Lockdown

Like many places in Europe — and in contrast to New York and other big American cities — school districts in Canada’s largest province and many elsewhere are finding in-class learning outweighs the risks.

#canada, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #shutdowns-institutional, #toronto-ontario

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Watch live as SpaceX tests the limits of Falcon 9 reusability with sixteenth Starlink satellite launch

SpaceX is set to launch its sixteenth Starlink mission on Monday at 9:34 PM EST (6:34 PM PST). This launch will carry 60 of the company’s broadband internet satellites to low-Earth orbit, where they’ll join the existing constellation and contribute to its growing network of eventually global coverage. The launch is also significant because it will potentially set a new record for Falcon 9 rocket reusability – this marks the seventh flight for the first stage booster flying tonight.

The booster SpaceX is using for this mission previously flew in August, June and January of this year, as well as May 2019, January 2019 and also September 2018. And that’s no the only way that this is SpaceX’s most reusable flights ever – the fairing covering the payload of satellites on top of the rocket includes one half that flew on one mission previously, and another half that supported not one, but two prior missions before being recovered and refurbished.

Of course, it’ll also be furthering SpaceX’s mission with Starlink, which is ultimately to provide fast, low-latency and relatively low-cost broadband internet access to hard-to-reach areas around the world. SpaceX has launched nearly 900 satellites for Starlink to date, and began operating its ‘Better Than Nothing’ early beta in parts of Canada last week, in addition to the areas in the U.S. where it’s offering this early access service.

The launch livestream will begin above at around 15 minutes prior to liftoff, or at around 9:19 PM EST (6:19 PM PST).

#aerospace, #broadband, #canada, #falcon, #falcon-9, #hyperloop, #outer-space, #space, #spaceflight, #spacex, #starlink, #tc, #united-states

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Pfizer and BioNTech to submit request for emergency use approval of their COVID-19 vaccine today

Two of the companies behind one of the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates will seek approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization (EUA) of their preventative treatment with an application to be delivered today. Pfizer and BioNTech, who revealed earlier this week that their vaccine was 95% effective based on Phase 3 clinical trial data, are submitting for the emergency authorization in the U.S., as well as in Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan and the U.K., and says that could pave the way for use of the vaccine to begin in “high-risk populations” by the end of next month.

The FDA’s EUA program allows therapeutics companies to seek early approval when mitigating circumstances are met, as is the case with the current global pandemic. EUA’s still require that supporting information and safety data are provided, but they are fast-tracked relative to the full, formal and more permanent approval process typically used for new drugs and treatments that come before they’re able to actually be administered broadly.

Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine candidate, which is an mRNA-based vaccine that essentially provides a recipient’s body with instructions on how to produce specific proteins to block the ability of SARS-CoV-19 (the virus that causes COVID-19) to attach to cells. The vaccine has recently been undergoing a Phase 3 clinical trial, that included 43,661 participants so far. The companies are submitting supporting information they hope will convince the FDA to grant the EUA, including data from 170 confirmed cases from among the participants, and safety information actively solicited from 8,000 participants, and supplementary data form another 38,000 who that was passively collected.

While production is ramping globally for this and other vaccines in late stage development, and EUA will potentially open up access to high-risk individuals including frontline healthcare workers, it’s worth pointing out that any wide vaccination programs likely aren’t set to begin until next year, and likely later in 2021.

#australia, #biontech, #biotech, #canada, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #europe, #health, #japan, #medical-research, #medicine, #pfizer, #tc, #united-kingdom, #united-states, #vaccination, #vaccines

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Climate Change Is Making Winter Ice More Dangerous

A new study has found that cold-weather drownings are increasing sharply in warmer parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

#canada, #drownings, #environment, #global-warming, #ice, #ice-fishing, #japan, #plos-one-journal, #research, #united-states, #winter-season

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Toronto’s Van Killing Case Goes to Trial

Two years after a man drove a rental van down a sidewalk, killing 10 and injuring 16, he has pleaded not criminally responsible because of the autism spectrum disorder.

#autism, #canada, #mental-health-and-disorders, #minassian-alek, #rodger-elliot-o, #toronto-ontario-attack-april-2018

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Living in Nova Scotia’s Covid-Free World

Welcome to Nova Scotia, the land that proves that beating back the virus is possible.

#canada, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #nova-scotia-canada, #prince-edward-island-canada, #quarantines, #shutdowns-institutional

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Google updates Maps with more COVID info and finally launches its Assistant driving mode

Google today announced an update to Google Maps that includes a number of new COVID-related features, as well as the ability to see the live status of your takeout or delivery orders, as well as the launch of the long-expected new Assistant driving mode.

In addition, the company shared a few new stats around Google Maps today. The company says that it makes 50 million updates to Maps each day now, for example, though that includes user-generated content like user reviews, photos and ratings. The company also now features “popular times” information for 20 million places around the globe.

Image Credits: Google Maps

As far as COVID is concerned, there are two announcements here. First, Google is updating the COVID layer in Google Maps on Android and iOS with some new information, including the number of all-time detected cases in an area and links to COVID resources from local governments. Second, Google Maps can now tell you, in real time, how busy a given transit line is so you can avoid packed trains or busses, for example. That’s based on real-time feedback from Google Maps users and will feel familiar if you are aware of how Google Maps can already show you how busy a given store or restaurant currently is.

Image Credits: Google Maps

Semi-related — delivery services are booming during the pandemic, after all (even as they continue to struggle to make a profit) — Google Maps on mobile will now be able to show you the live delivery status of your takeout and delivery orders in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Australia, Brazil and India. To do so, you have to book your order from Google Maps on Android or iOS.

For Google Maps users who don’t have an Android Auto-compatible car, the new Google Assistant driving mode in Maps has long been something to look forward to. The company first talked about this set of new features at its I/O developers conference in May 2019, but as is so often the case, features announced at I/O take a while to get to market. Originally, this was supposed to launch last summer.

Image Credits: Google Maps

The idea here is to allow drivers to get alerts about incoming calls, have the Assistant read out text messages and control your music right inside of Google Maps. Using the Assistant ideally reduces driver distractions. For now, this new mode is only coming to Android users in the U.S., though, and the number of features it supports remains limited. Google promises to support more features over time, but it’s not clear which features it plans to add to this mode.

#android, #apps, #assistant, #australia, #brazil, #canada, #computing, #covid-19, #driver, #germany, #google, #google-maps, #india, #operating-systems, #software, #tc, #united-states

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How Many Snowbirds Will Be Flying South for the Winter?

The tradition of flocking to Florida and other sunny shores for the winter, usually by retirees, looks different this year.

#canada, #florida, #hotels-and-travel-lodgings, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #renting-and-leasing-real-estate, #southern-states-us, #texas, #travel-and-vacations, #winter-season

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Ride Vision raises $7M for its AI-based motorcycle safety system

Ride Vision, an Israeli startup that is building an AI-driven safety system to prevent motorcycle collisions, today announced that it has raised a $7 million Series A round led by crowdsourcing platform OurCrowd. YL Ventures, which typically specializes in cybersecurity startups but also led the company’s $2.5 million seed round in 2018, Mobilion VC and motorcycle mirror manufacturer Metagal also participated in this round. The company has now raised a total of $10 million.

In addition to this new funding round, Ride Vision also today announced a new partnership with automotive parts manufacturer Continental .

“As motorcycle enthusiasts, we at Ride Vision are excited at the prospect of our international launch and our partnership with Continental,” Uri Lavi, CEO and co-founder of Ride Vision, said in today’s announcement. “This moment is a major milestone, as we stride toward our dream of empowering bikers to feel truly safe while they enjoy the ride.”

The general idea here is pretty straightforward and comparable with the blind-spot monitoring system in your car. Using computer vision, Ride Vision’s system, the Ride Vision 1, analyzes the traffic around a rider in real time. It provides forward collision alerts and monitors your blind spot, but it can also tell you when you’re following another rider or car too closely. It can also simply record your ride and, coming soon, it’ll be able to make emergency calls on your behalf when things go awry.

As the company argues, the number of motorcycles (and other motorized two-wheeled vehicles) has only increased during the pandemic, as people started avoiding public transport and looked for relatively affordable alternatives. In Europe, sales of two-wheeled vehicles increased by 30% during the pandemic.

The hardware on the motorcycle itself is pretty straightforward. It includes two wide-angle cameras (one each at the front and rear), as well as alert indicators on the mirrors, as well as the main computing unit. Ride Vision has patents on its human-machine warning interface and vision algorithms.

It’s worth noting that there are some blind-spot monitoring solutions for motorcycles on the market already, including those from Innovv and Senzar. Honda also has patents on similar technologies. These do not provide the kind of 360-degree view that Ride Vision is aiming for.

Ride Vision says its products will be available in Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Greece, Israel and the U.K. in early 2021, with the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Australia, Japan, India, China and others following later.

#artificial-intelligence, #australia, #austria, #brazil, #canada, #china, #continental, #europe, #france, #germany, #greece, #honda, #india, #israel, #italy, #japan, #motorcycle, #ourcrowd, #recent-funding, #ride-vision, #spain, #startups, #tc, #transportation, #united-kingdom, #united-states, #yl-ventures

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The Spirits of Abandoned Ambitions

In this original short story, a couple flees the bustle of the city for Desolation Sound, British Columbia. Their urges to do and be more, though, prove harder to shake.

#british-columbia-canada, #canada, #travel-and-vacations

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From ‘Street Kid’ in India to Top Toronto Chef

After a rugged childhood, Sash Simpson realized his dream last year when he opened a high-end restaurant. Within months, the pandemic struck.

#canada, #chefs, #content-type-personal-profile, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #orphans-and-orphanages, #restaurants, #sash-toronto-ontario-restaurant, #shutdowns-institutional, #simpson-sash, #toronto-ontario

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Ubisoft Montreal staffers barricade on roof amid possible hostage situation

Ubisoft Montreal staffers barricade on roof amid possible hostage situation

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images / Ubisoft / Aurich Lawson)

A potential hostage situation is reportedly taking place at the building in which game developer Ubisoft’s Montreal office is housed.

A group of suspects are reportedly holding tens of people hostage at Ubisoft M ontreal, according to local (French-language) media outlet LCN. The situation reportedly began around 1:30pm Eastern Time. Montreal police confirmed that there is an “ongoing police operation” at the intersection where Ubisoft Montreal sits, adding, “We ask people to avoid the area. The SVPM is currently validating information and more details will follow.”

Live-streamed footage from an LCN helicopter showed a group of people together on the roof deck of the building behind a makeshift barricade seemingly constructed of folding tables leaning against the access door. Developer Eric Pope confirmed in a Tweet that the individuals on the roof were indeed Ubisoft employees, saying, “This is insane. This is my team on the roof.”

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#canada, #crime, #gaming-culture, #hostages, #montreal, #ubisoft

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SITREP: Azerbaijan’s drone war expands with Reaper-like TB2

(video link)

The renewed war between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagoro-Karabakh region has captured the attention of military strategists worldwide, including the United States, because of the degree to which drones have changed the battlefield. While the wide-open, rugged terrain of the region has played a role, Turkish- and Israeli-built remotely piloted vehicles are dominating the battlefield, causing strategists to think a lot about land-battle tactics—and about the value of tanks in the 21st century.

Azerbaijan has been using a number of weapons systems from both Turkey and Israel, including the Israeli Harop (seen in this Azerbaijani pop music video) and Orbiter-1k drones. Both are “loitering munitions”—i.e., drones that carry warheads and crash into their targets.

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#arms-control, #arms-embargo, #azerbaijan, #bayractash, #biz-it, #bombardier, #canada, #drone-warfare, #harop, #harpy-drone, #mq-9a-reaper, #orbiter-1k, #policy, #tanks, #tb2, #turkish-security-forces, #wescam

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New Technology Claims to Pinpoint Even Small Methane Leaks From Space

Amid growing alarm about methane’s role in driving global warming, a Canadian firm has begun selling a service to detect even relatively small leaks. At least two rivals are on the way.

#canada, #environment, #environmental-defense-fund, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #methane, #natural-gas, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #satellites

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McDonald’s to launch a McPlant vegetarian option

McDonalds is developing what it calls a plant-based platform called the McPlant that will debut in markets around the world early next year, according to a report in USA Today.

In an investor meeting McDonald’s announced that it had worked to develop its McPlant formulation exclusively. “McPlant is crafted exclusively for McDonald’s, by McDonald’s,” Ian Borden, McDonald’s international president, said at an investor meeting, quoted by USA Today.

The company’s special formulation could extend across plant-based products including burgers, chicken-substitutes and breakfast sandwiches, according to Borden.

To date, McDonald’s has been a laggard in the corporate fight over plant-based burgers and chicken — at least in the U.S.

In McDonald’s around the world — including locations in Germany, the UK, Hong Kong, Israel, Canada, and Finland — diners under the golden arches can find a vegetarian sandwich option.

Indeed, in Canada, McDonald’s launched a pilot last year with Beyond Meat for the PLT sandwich (a play off of the company’s previous sandwich the McDLT, I’m assuming).

Compared to some other fast food chains in the US, McDonald’s has been something of a laggard. Burger King has worked with Impossible Foods to launch the Impossible Whopper and Beyond Meat has partnered with KFC on a plant-based nugget.

The two leading alternative protein makers have done a fairly good job of carving up the fast food market to date — but McDonald’s entry with its exclusive formulation must come as a blow to the companies (and the other startups that were hoping for a bite of McDonald’s food empire).

That includes startups like Chile’s the Not Company and Hong Kong’s Green Monday Holdings, which have both been vying for McDonald’s plant-based patty business.

#beyond-meat, #burger-king, #canada, #chile, #fast-food, #finland, #germany, #green-monday-holdings, #impossible-foods, #israel, #kfc, #mcdonalds, #restaurants, #tc, #united-kingdom, #united-states, #usa-today, #whopper

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Elections Don’t Have to Be So Chaotic and Excruciating

The random way in which returns were released caused anxiety and sowed conspiracy theories.

#absentee-voting, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #canada, #elections, #presidential-election-of-2020, #trump-donald-j

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Canada Hasn’t Slept Well Since the U.S. Election

Canadians have been ripping their cuticles off while they wait for the United States to pick its next president.

#aghdashloo-aydin, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #canada, #presidential-election-of-2020, #singh-jagmeet, #trump-donald-j

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Aydin Aghdashloo, Under #MeToo Cloud, Faces Art World Repercussions

In Iran, an exhibit of Aydin Aghdashloo’s work was canceled and a prominent auction is considering dropping him. In Canada, a petition calls for an art festival to cut ties with him.

#metoo-movement, #aghdashloo-aydin, #aghdashloo-shohreh, #art, #canada, #iran, #sexual-harassment, #university-of-calgary, #women-and-girls, #womens-rights

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2 Reported Killed in Halloween Stabbing Spree in Quebec City

The police arrested a suspect in the attack, a man in his mid-20s who they said was dressed in medieval garb. Five people were said to be injured in the attack.

#canada, #halloween, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #quebec-city-quebec

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In Canada, Hockey Struggles to Return Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

Because of concerns about the coronavirus, two of the three top junior leagues have yet to start their seasons. One of them may be allowed to resume only if it bans body checking.

#canada, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #hockey-ice, #ontario-hockey-league, #quebec-province-canada

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SpaceX launches Starlink app and provides pricing and service info to early beta testers

SpaceX has debuted an official app for its Starlink satellite broadband internet service, for both iOS and Android devices. The Starlink app allows users to manage their connection – but to take part you’ll have to be part of the official beta program, and the initial public rollout of that is only just about to begin, according to emails SpaceX sent to potential beta testers this week.

The Starlink app provides guidance on how to install the Starlink receiver dish, as well as connection status (including signal quality), a device overview for seeing what’s connected to your network, and a speed test tool. It’s similar to other mobile apps for managing home wifi connections and routers. Meanwhile, the emails to potential testers that CNBC obtained detail what users can expect in terms of pricing, speeds and latency.

The initial Starlink public beta test is called the “Better than Nothing Beta Program,” SpaceX confirms in their app description, and will be rolled out across the U.S. and Canada before the end of the year – which matches up with earlier stated timelines. As per the name, SpaceX is hoping to set expectations for early customers, with speeds users can expect ranging from between 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s, and latency of 20ms to 40ms according to the customer emails, with some periods including no connectivity at all. Even with expectations set low, if those values prove accurate, it should be a big improvement for users in some hard-to-reach areas where service is currently costly, unreliable and operating at roughly dial-up equivalent speeds.

Image Credits: SpaceX

In terms of pricing, SpaceX says in the emails that the cost for participants in this beta program will be $99 per moth, plus a one-time cost of $499 initially to pay for the hardware, which includes the mounting kit and receiver dish, as well as a router with wifi networking capabilities.

The goal eventually is offer reliably, low-latency broadband that provides consistent connection by handing off connectivity between a large constellation of small satellites circling the globe in low Earth orbit. Already, SpaceX has nearly 1,000 of those launched, but it hopes to launch many thousands more before it reaches global coverage and offers general availability of its services.

SpaceX has already announced some initial commercial partnerships and pilot programs for Starlink, too, including a team-up with Microsoft to connect that company’s mobile Azure data centers, and a project with an East Texas school board to connect the local community.

#aerospace, #android, #broadband, #canada, #microsoft, #satellite-broadband, #science, #space, #spacecraft, #spaceflight, #spacex, #starlink, #tc, #telecommunications, #united-states

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As China Clamps Down, Activists Flee Hong Kong for Refuge in the West

China calls them “violent criminals.” Asylum seekers from Hong Kong are the latest catalyst for deteriorating relations between Beijing and Western countries.

#asylum-right-of, #canada, #cheng-simon, #china, #germany, #great-britain, #hong-kong-protests-2019, #immigration-and-emigration, #politics-and-government, #refugees-and-displaced-persons, #united-states, #united-states-international-relations

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A ‘Final Fantasy’ Alliance Gets Real

Kate Armitage and Eric de Grandmont met online while playing a video game. During chats, they realized their connection ran deeper. Soon they were traveling between New Jersey and Canada and falling in love.

#canada, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #quarantines, #shutdowns-institutional, #weddings-and-engagements

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A Francophile’s Unexpected Love Affair With Canadian Wine

Our Montreal-based Canada correspondent, Dan Bilefsky, was seduced by British Columbia’s picturesque wine region. There was just one problem: Finding the wine back home.

#british-columbia-canada, #canada, #wines

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Asbestos, a Quebec Mining Town, Will Change Name to Val-des-Sources

The Quebec town is home to one of the world’s largest former asbestos mines. Residents voted to rename the town Val-des-Sources, or Valley of the Springs.

#asbest-russia, #asbestos, #canada, #cancer, #france, #hazardous-and-toxic-substances, #mines-and-mining, #names-geographical, #names-personal, #quebec-province-canada, #russia, #strikes, #world-health-organization, #world-war-i-1914-18

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Mi’kmaq Lobstermen in Nova Scotia Face Attacks by Fishermen

A battle over the lucrative lobster industry in Nova Scotia has become the latest flash point in a series of abuses of Indigenous people in Canada.

#adam-allan-athabasca-chipewyan-first-nation-chief, #canada, #discrimination, #fishing-commercial, #indigenous-people, #lobsters, #nova-scotia-canada, #royal-canadian-mounted-police, #singh-jagmeet, #trudeau-justin

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Canadian Military’s Wolf Exercise Alarms Nova Scotians

They also mounted speakers that broadcast growling in the woods of Nova Scotia. It was all part of a psychological training exercise.

#bay-of-fundy-canada, #canada, #defense-and-military-forces, #exercise, #letters, #nova-scotia-canada, #ottawa-citizen-the, #rumors-and-misinformation, #wolves

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Kamala Harris’s ‘Canadian Dream’

The Democratic nominee for vice president grew up in the same Montreal neighborhood where a Times reporter lived. He reflects on how Canada helped shape her.

#canada, #gopalan-shyamala, #harris-kamala-d

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New York Grandparents Are Kidnapped and Taken to Canada

Their captors demanded the return of cocaine worth $3.5 million. They were freed after the authorities used cellphone data to track them to a house in Quebec.

#brown-graigory, #canada, #cellular-telephones, #cocaine-and-crack-cocaine, #drug-abuse-and-traffic, #drug-enforcement-administration, #helm-james, #helm-sandra, #kidnapping-and-hostages, #moira-ny, #quebec-province-canada, #surete-du-quebec

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Apple brings Health Records to iPhone in the UK and Canada

Apple has added support for the Health Records feature of its Health app on iPhones in two new markets – the UK and Canada. The electronic medical records feature originally debuted in the U.S. in 2018, and the company says that it’s now supported by over 500 institutions across that country. At its debut in its two new markets, it’ll be supported by three hospitals in Canada and two in the UK, but obviously the plan is to expand support to more over time.

Apple’s EHR feature was created with its commitment to user privacy in mind. In practice, that means that any information transferred between a user’s iPhone and their healthcare provider is encrypted, and the data is transmitted directly, with no intermediary sever storage. Also, Apple Health Records data on a user’s device is fully encrypted and locally stored, unlock able only via a user’s individual passcode, as well as Touch ID or Face ID for devices that support those.

Health Records on iPhone requires institutional support, but can provide a high degree of individual ownership of health data, as well as a means of making sure that data is portable and can follow a patient to integrate with a variety of care facilities and providers. Many efforts have been made to unify and standardize EHR systems in different parts of the world, but few have gained widespread support. Apple’s has the advantage of working broadly with devices that make up roughly half the mobile representation in markets where it’s available, and a user-friendly, clear and concise design.

#apple, #apple-inc, #biotech, #canada, #face-id, #health, #healthcare, #ios, #ios-11, #iphone, #operating-systems, #smartphones, #tc, #touch-id, #united-kingdom, #united-states

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Kamala Harris, a Disco-Dancing Teenager, Yearned for Home in Canada

Senator Harris spent her adolescent years in Canada. Friends say being a California girl at a multicultural public high school in Montreal helped shape her.

#canada, #gopalan-shyamala, #harris-kamala-d, #montreal-quebec, #presidential-election-of-2020, #vice-presidents-and-vice-presidency-us

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The Times Starts Review of ‘Caliphate’ Podcast After Hoax Charge

The Canadian authorities arrested a man featured in the podcast and accused him of falsely claiming to have been an ISIS executioner.

#caliphate-radio-program, #callimachi-rukmini-maria-1973, #canada, #chaudhry-shehroze, #hoaxes-and-pranks, #islamic-state-in-iraq-and-syria-isis, #new-york-times, #news-and-news-media, #podcasts, #syria, #terrorism

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D-Wave launches its 5,000+ qubit Advantage system

D-Wave today announced the launch of its new Advantage quantum computers. These new systems, with over 5,000 qubits and 15-way qubit connectivity, are now available in the company’s Leap cloud computing platform. That’s up from about 2,000 qubits in the previous system, which featured six-way connectivity. Using Leap’s hybrid solver, which combines classic CPUs and GPUs with the company’s quantum system, users can now solve significantly more complex problems, thanks to both the higher qubit and connection count.

“With over twice the number of qubits, with over twice the connectivity, with over five times the number of devices on the superconducting chip, we’re still able to program it in the same amount of time, read out in the same amount of time, run it at the same temperature — which means we’re able to continue scaling the technology,” said D-Wave CEO Alan Baratz, who is never afraid to compare his company’s systems against the competition. “This is a really important point because, over the years, there have been various so-called experts who have said that the D-Wave technology just wouldn’t scale. And yet, we’re the only quantum computing technology that has scaled.”

Image Credits: D-Wave Systems

Some of D-Wave’s competitors, who have scaled up their systems over time, will likely take offense with this, but it’s worth noting that D-Wave’s quantum annealing approach is quite different from what competitors are using.

As Baratz explained, this new processor was designed from the ground up, using a new fabrication stack.

Coming next month, D-Wave is also launching a major update to its solver, the discrete quadratic solver.

“Up until now our hybrid solver has worked on binary quadratic problems, problems where the variables were binary variables — zero or one, or plus and minus one, if you’re a physicist,” Baratz explained. You can scale this up by adding more variables, but that only lets you go so far. Now, with this new system, developers can use discrete variables with up to a million variables that D-Wave argues will expand the set of problems developers can tackle with its systems. Scheduling, for example, which is a sweet spot for D-Wave’s systems, is one area where companies can now solve significantly larger problems. Baratz also noted that protein folding is another area where users can now look at solving larger real-world problems, too.

Image Credits: D-Wave Systems

One of the companies using the system today for protein design is Menten AI.

“We are using quantum to design proteins today. Using hybrid quantum applications we’re able to solve astronomical protein design problems that help us create new protein structures,” said Hans Melo, the co-founder and CEO of Menten AI. “We’ve seen extremely encouraging results with hybrid quantum procedures often finding better solutions than competing classical solvers for de novo protein design. This means we can create better proteins and ultimately enable new drug discoveries.”

As for other real-world usages, Volkswagen, for example, is now using D-Wave’s hybrid solver to run its paint shop scheduling application, while Canada’s Save-On-Foods is piloting it to optimize some of its processes and speed up those calculations.

The other new product the company is launching is D-Wave Launch, a new white-glove service to help enterprises get started with quantum computing. D-Wave will pair up businesses with experts in a given area — and from partners like Accenture — to ensure that these users are successful.

“Up until now, a lot of the developers and customers of quantum computing have been the research part of the company that really just wanted to play with the systems, do some research and experimentation. But as you start moving into the part of the business that wants to build real business applications, those are the ones that we are looking for now,” Baratz explained.

 

 

#accenture, #canada, #ceo, #cloud, #d-wave, #d-wave-systems, #leap, #menten-ai, #quantum-computing, #quantum-mechanics, #qubit, #tc

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Stars Beat Lightning in Double Overtime to Force Game 6

Corey Perry’s goal gave Dallas a 3-2 victory and stopped Tampa Bay from clinching its second Stanley Cup.

#canada, #dallas-stars, #edmonton-alberta, #hockey-ice, #national-hockey-league, #stanley-cup, #tampa-bay-lightning

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‘Schitt’s Creek’ Star, and His Fans, Are Taking Indigenous Studies

Dan Levy suggested in an Instagram post that his fans study Canadian Indigenous history along with him. About 64,000 people signed up.

#canada, #e-learning, #indigenous-people, #levy-daniel-actor, #university-of-alberta

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‘I Feel Sorry for Americans’: A Baffled World Watches the U.S.

From Myanmar to Canada, people are asking: How did a superpower allow itself to be felled by a virus? And why won’t the president commit to a peaceful transition of power?

#bangkok-thailand, #belarus, #berlin-germany, #canada, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #mexico, #presidential-election-of-2020, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-international-relations

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Trudeau Promises Bold Plan for Canada in Throne Speech

The prime minister promised dramatic actions to fix the economy and more as Parliament resumes. But rising coronavirus cases may temper his ambition.

#canada, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #trudeau-justin

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An Indigenous Canadian Journalist Was Covering a Protest. Then He Got Arrested.

He is one of four reporters arrested while covering Indigenous affairs in a country that has been trying to make amends for its colonial past.

#aboriginal-peoples-television-network, #canada, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #dockstader-karl, #freedom-of-the-press, #indigenous-people, #news-and-news-media, #ontario-canada

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Ricin Suspect Threatened to Kill Trump Over Re-election Campaign, Prosecutors Say

The woman was found with a loaded gun and knife when she was arrested on Sunday while trying to enter the United States from Canada.

#buffalo-ny, #canada, #federal-bureau-of-investigation, #ferrier-pascale-cecile-veronique, #immigration-and-customs-enforcement-us, #justice-department, #presidential-election-of-2020, #ricin-poison, #threats-and-threatening-messages, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Microsoft launches new Cortana features for business users

Cortana may have failed as a virtual assistant for consumers, but Microsoft is still betting on it (or at least its brand) for business use cases, now that it has rebranded it as a ‘personal productivity assistant’ as part of Microsoft 365. Today, at its Ignite conference, Microsoft launched and announced a number of new Cortana services for business users.

These include the general availability of Cortana for the new Microsoft Teams displays the company is launching in partnership with a number of hardware vendors. You can think of these as dedicated smart displays for Teams that are somewhat akin to Google Assistant-enabled smart displays, for example — but with the sole focus on meetings. These days, it’s hard to enable a device like this without support for a voice assistant, so there you go. It’ll be available in September in English in the U.S. and will then roll out to Australia, Canada, the UK and India in the coming months.

In addition to these Teams devices, which Microsoft is not necessarily positioning for meeting rooms but as sidekicks to a regular laptop or desktop, Cortana will also soon come to Teams Rooms devices. Once we go back to offices and meeting rooms, after all, few people will want to touch a shared piece of hardware, so a touchless experience is a must.

For a while now, Microsoft has also been teasing more email-centric Cortana services. Play My Emails, a service that reads you your email out aloud and that’s already available in the U.S. on iOS and Android is coming to n Australia, Canada, the UK and India in the coming months. But more importantly, later this month, Outlook for iOS users will be able to interact with their inbox by voice, initiate calls to email senders and play emails from specific senders.

Cortana can now also send you daily briefing emails if you are a Microsoft 365 Enterprise users. This feature is now generally available and will get better meeting preparation, an integration with Microsoft To Do and other new features in the coming months.

And if you’re using Cortana on Windows 10, this chat-based app now let you compose emails, for example (at least if you speak English and are in the U.S.). And if you so desire, you can now use a wake word to launch it.

#android, #artificial-intelligence, #australia, #bing-mobile, #canada, #cortana, #enterprise, #google, #india, #microsoft, #microsoft-ignite-2020, #microsoft-office, #operating-systems, #smartphones, #software, #united-kingdom, #united-states, #virtual-assistant, #voice-assistant, #windows-10, #windows-phone

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Impossible Foods nabs some Canadian fast food franchises as it expands in North America

After rolling out in some of Canada’s most high-falutin burger bistros, Impossible Foods is hitting Canada’s fast casual market with new menu items at national chains like White Spot and Triple O’s, Cactus Club Cafe, and Burger Priest.

While none of those names mean anything to yours truly, they may mean something to our friendly readers to the North. However, I have heard of Qdoba, Wahlburgers and Red Robin. And Canadian customers can also pick up Impossible Foods -based menu items at those chains too.

Since its debut at Momofuku Nishi in New York in 2016, the Impossible Burger is now served in 30,000 restaurants across the U.S. and is available in 11,000 grocery stores across America.

The Silicon Valley manufacturer of meat substitutes expects that Canada, the company’s first market outside of Asia, may become its largest market — second only to the U.S.

#asia, #canada, #food-and-drink, #impossible-foods, #meat-substitutes, #menu, #momofuku, #new-york, #restaurants, #tc, #united-states

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Canadians Rejoice as ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Sweeps 2020 Emmy Awards

The Canadian series took top honors in all seven categories in which it was nominated.

#canada, #emmy-awards, #levy-daniel-actor, #levy-eugene, #ohara-catherine, #ontario-canada, #schitts-creek-tv-program, #television

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Canada’s Napa Valley Seeks Elusive Audience: Canadian Wine Drinkers

British Columbia’s wines are improbably being embraced by wine snobs around the world. But legal restrictions, and regional biases, are getting in the way at home.

#british-columbia-canada, #canada, #okanagan-british-columbia, #robinson-jancis, #wines

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Can Biden Fix What Trump Broke?

E.U. leaders are still learning to navigate a world ever more dangerous for them, while relations with the United States grow more and more awkward.

#balkan-states, #baltic-sea, #belarus, #berlin-germany, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #canada, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #european-union, #group-of-seven, #johnson-boris, #lukashenko-aleksandr-g, #macron-emmanuel-1977, #merkel-angela, #navalny-aleksei-a, #north-atlantic-treaty-organization, #presidential-election-of-2020, #putin-vladimir-v, #russia, #trudeau-justin, #trump-donald-j, #united-nations, #united-states, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Unity launches its Cloud Content Delivery service for game developers

Unity, the company behind the popular real-time 3D engine, today officially launched its Cloud Content Delivery service. This new service, which is engine-agnostic, combines a content delivery network and backend-as-a-service platform to help developers distribute and update their games. The idea here is to offer Unity developers — and those using other game engines — a live game service option that helps them get the right content to their players at the right time.

As Unity’s Felix The noted, most game developers currently use a standard CDN provider, but that means they must also develop their own last-mile delivery service in order to be able to make their install and update process more dynamic and configurable. Or, as most gamers can attest, the developers simply opt to ship the game as a large binary and with every update, the user has to download that massive file again.

“That can mean the adoption of your new game content or any content will trail a little bit behind because you are reliant on people doing the updates necessary,” The said.

And while the Cloud Delivery Service can be used across platforms, the team is mostly focusing on mobile for now. “We are big fans of focusing on a certain segment when we start and then we can decide how we want to expand. There is a lot of need in the mobile space right now — more so than the rest,” The said. To account for this, the Cloud Content Delivery service allows developers to specify which binary to send to which device, for example.

Having a CDN is one thing, but that last-mile delivery, as The calls it, is where Unity believes it can solve a real pain point for developers.

“CDNs, you get content. Period,” The said. “But in this case, if you want to, as a game developer, test a build — is this QA ready? Is this something that is still being QAed? The build that you want to assign to be downloaded from our Cloud Content Delivery will be different. You want to soft launch new downloadable content for Canada before you release it in the U.S.? You would use our system to configure that. It’s really purpose-built with video games in mind.”

The team decided to keep pricing simple. All developers pay for is the egress pricing, plus a very small fee for storage. There is no regional pricing either, and the first 50GB of bandwidth usage is free, with Unity charging $0.08 per GB for the next 50TB, with additional pricing tiers for those who use more than 50TB ($0.06/GB) and 500TB ($0.03).

“Our intention is that people will look at it and don’t worry about ‘what does this mean? I need a pricing calculator. I need to simulate what’s it going to cost me,’ but really just focus on the fact that they need to make great content,” The explained.

It’s worth highlighting that the delivery service is engine-agnostic. Unity, of course, would like you to use it for games written with the help of the Unity engine, but it’s not a requirement. The argues that this is part of the company’s overall philosophy.

“Our mission has always been centered around democratizing development and making sure that people — regardless of their choices — will have access to success,” he said. “And in terms of operating your game, the decision of a gaming engine typically has been made well before operating your game ever comes into the picture. […] Developer success is at the heart of what we want to focus on.”

#canada, #cloud-computing, #cloud-infrastructure, #cloud-storage, #computing, #content-delivery-network, #developer, #distributed-computing, #game-engine, #gaming, #streaming, #tc, #united-states, #unity, #unity-technologies

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House Hunting in Canada: A Rowhouse in Old Montreal With Income Potential

Prices and sales volume have bounced back in Montreal since the spring quarantine, but the growing recession has the housing market on edge.

#canada, #montreal-quebec, #real-estate-and-housing-residential

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Committing to a fully zero-emission fleet by 2040, Uber is dedicating $800 million to electrifying its drivers

Ride hailing giant Uber is committing to become a fully zero-emission platform by 2040 and setting aside $800 million to help get its drivers using electric vehicles by 2025.

The company said that it would invest further in its micro-mobility options as well with the goal of having 100 percent of its rides take place on electric vehicles in the US, Canada, and European cities in which the company operates. Uber also said it would commit to reaching net-zero emissions from its own corporate operations by 2030.

If the company can hit its timeline, Uber would achieve necessary milestones in its operations a decade ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement targets set for 2050.

The keys to the company’s efforts are four new and expanding initiatives, according to a statement.

The first is the launch of Uber Green in 15 US and Canadian cities. For customers willing to spend an extra dollar, they can request an EV or hybrid electric vehicle to pick them up. By the end of the year, Uber Green will be available in over 65 cities around the world. Riders who choose the green option will also receive three times the Uber Rewards points they would have received for a typical UberX ride, the company said.

Uber’s second step toward making the world a greener place is to commit $800 million to transition its fleet to electric vehicles. Part of that transition is being subsidized by the $1 surcharge for riders who choose to go green and from fees that the company collects under its London and French Clean Air Plans. Those are 15 cent (or pence) surcharges that Uber has been collecting since January of last year to pay for the electrification of its drivers’ cars in European cities.

Dara Kowsrowshahi, chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc., speaks during an event in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. During his Japan trip, Khosrowshahi has made it clear the ride-hailing company isnt scaling back its ambitions in certain Asian markets, despite speculation of a retreat. Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

To incentivize drivers to go green, Uber’s doling out an extra 50 cents per trip in the US and Canada for every “Uber Green” trip completed to be paid out by riders. Drivers using EVs will also get another dollar from Uber itself, amounting to $1.50 more per trip for each EV ride completed.

Other enticements include partnerships with GM in the US and Canada and Renault -Nissan in Europe to offer discounts on electric vehicles to Uber drivers. Working with Avis, Uber is planning to offer more electric vehicles for rental to US drivers. Meanwhile, the company said it would also expand electric vehicle charging by working to develop new charging stations in conjunction with companies like BP, EVgo, Enel X, Izivia by EDF, and Power Dot.

Uber’s also working to revive the vision of robotic battery swapping to enable customers to forget about their concerns when it comes to charging a new vehicle. It’s working with the San Francisco-based startup, Ample, as the young company develops its battery-swapping tech — and Lithium Urban Technologies, an electric fleet operator out of India.

Building on its existing micro-mobility network, the company is going to integrate bikes and scooters from Lime even closer into its networks and expanding its shared ride programs as soon as its safe to do it. The company is also intent on expanding its Journey Planning feature to enable users to see pricing options, schedules, and directions to and from transit stations. Uber also now offers in-app ticketing in more than ten cities, so people can buy public transit passes in the app itself. As a coup de grace, Uber’s also unveiling a new feature that allows users to plan their trips in Chicago and Sydney using cars and public transit to get where they need to go.

Finally, the company has released its first Climate Assessment and Performance Report analyzing emissions from the company’s operations in the United States and Canada from 2017 through 2019. Unsurprisingly, Uber found that it was more efficient than single-occupant driving, but the company did reveal that its carbon intensity is higher than that of average-occupancy personal cars. Meaning when there’re two people using a personal car, their footprint is lower than that of an Uber driver looking for passengers.

Although arguably, Uber shouldn’t be having its customers foot so much of the bill for its electric transition, these are all positive steps from a company that still has a long road ahead of it if it’s looking to reduce its carbon footprint.

#bp, #canada, #charging-station, #chicago, #chief-executive-officer, #driver, #electric-vehicle, #enel, #europe, #evgo, #garrett-camp, #gett, #getty, #gm, #india, #japan, #london, #new-delhi, #nissan, #paris, #photographer, #renault, #san-francisco, #sydney, #tc, #transport, #uber, #united-states

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Watch SpaceX launch its 12th Starlink satellite internet mission live

SpaceX is about to hit an even dozen for its Starlink launches, which carry the company’s own broadband internet satellites to low Earth orbit. This flight carries a full 60-satellite complement of the Starlink spacecraft, after the last couple of these have reserved a little space for client payloads. The launch is set to take off at 8:46 AM EDT (5:46 AM PDT) from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and there’s a backup opportunity tomorrow morning should it need to be scrubbed for any reason.

This mission will use a Falcon 9 booster that has flown once previously, just a few months ago in June for a mission that delivered a GPS III satellite on behalf of the U.S. Space Force. SpaceX will also try to recover the booster with a landing at sea on its ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ drone landing ship.

Starlink has been by far the most frequent launch focus for SpaceX this year, as the company ramps the size of its active constellation in preparation for the deployment of its service in the U.S. According to some internet speed testing websites, the service is already being used by some individuals, and a leak from SpaceX’s dedicated Starlink website indicates a broader public beta test is imminent. The company has said service should be available in parts of the U.S. and Canada by later this year, with a planned expansion to follow in 2021.

The webcast above should go live about 15 minutes prior to the liftoff time, so at around 8:31 AM EDT (5:31 AM PDT).

#aerospace, #broadband, #canada, #elon-musk, #falcon, #falcon-9, #florida, #gps, #hyperloop, #outer-space, #space, #spacecraft, #spaceflight, #spacex, #starlink, #tc, #u-s-space-force, #united-states

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