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Industry & Technology

Inside the visual effects factory where movie magic is made - CNET - News - 1 hour 28 min ago
This is how modern CG effects are created.

ROLI Songmaker Kit mini-review: Rediscover musical roots with fancy new tech

Ars Technica - 1 hour 36 min ago

Samuel Axon

I've been a musician for the past 20 years, but I've been an electronic musician for a lot less than that. I use Apple's Logic Pro and a variety of software synthesizers to record songs these days, but coming from an electric guitar, I've missed the natural expressiveness that comes from playing a traditional instrument—particularly a stringed one.

Yes, you can create amazing expressive sounds with software, but there's just something about having that direct connection from your fingers to the amp or speakers that can't be replicated.

Read 30 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Workhorse brings an electric pickup truck, helicopter to Manhattan

Ars Technica - 2 hours 6 min ago

Enlarge / Workhorse's electric helicopter looks less like a traditional helicopter and more like an oversized drone. (credit: John Timmer)

I wasn't sure entirely what I expected an electric helicopter to look like, but what I found waiting for me at New York's Flatiron Plaza wasn't it. It's not because it didn't look like a helicopter; to an extent, it did. It just looked more like a grossly oversized drone with seats.

Workhorse, the company that makes the helicopter, wasn't giving anyone rides in the hardware, which is still undergoing FAA testing. But company CEO Steve Burns was there to talk about the 'copter, which is being called the SureFly. And, for good measure, he also showed off an electric pickup truck, which went by the less dramatic monicker W-15.

If pickup trucks and helicopters seem largely unrelated, it's only because they're at opposite extremes of the company's business interests. Workhorse is currently building electric delivery vans and testing one with a drone-based delivery system integrated into the van roof. (During our conversation, Burns mused about the prospect of using a drone to deliver burgers from a nearby Shake Shack to a 25th-floor balcony on one of the buildings that overlooked the plaza.) So both are in keeping with the company's interests.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

There’s a new insecticide on the block, and it’s also bad news for bees

Ars Technica - 3 hours 5 min ago

Enlarge / A foraging bee. (credit: Nunzio_Zotti / Flickr)

We need bees to pollinate the plants that feed us. And bees need us to stop inadvertently poisoning them with the insecticides we use to keep those plants healthy. Unfortunately, just as we start to make progress on reducing the worldwide use of neonicotinoids (a class of insecticides that are toxic to bees), it seems like we might be at risk of rolling out an alternative insecticide that causes similar problems.

“Sulfoximine-based insecticides are the most likely successor [to neonicotinoids]” write the University of London’s Harry Siviter and his colleagues in a paper published in Nature this week. And that’s not great, as they found that bumblebee colonies exposed to a sulfoximine-based insecticide called sulfoxaflor suffered severe effects compared to a control colony. The insecticide didn’t kill the bees, but it damaged their ability to run a successful colony—a similar effect to neonicotinoids.


When insecticides are sprayed on crops, they settle not just on the crops themselves but also nearby wildflowers. Crops grown from insecticide-treated seeds also result in contaminated dust, soil, and pollen. This all exposes foraging bumblebees to the insecticide and also means that contaminated pollen and nectar make their way back to the bee colony, where larvae are exposed.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Movies and shows on Amazon: September 2018 - CNET - News - 3 hours 6 min ago
Classics like Chinatown, Blazing Saddles and Ghostbusters are headed your way!

OnePlus 6T will launch with T-Mobile in first US carrier deal ever - CNET - News - 4 hours 15 min ago
The company is shooting to price the phone at $550, although that still needs to be finalized.

Visual effects company MPC reveals modern movie magic - CNET - News - 4 hours 35 min ago
Computer-generated visual effects are everywhere in movies and TV. But how is digital magic conjured?

Know your visual effects lingo - CNET - News - 4 hours 36 min ago
From compositing to previz, understand the latest filmmaking terms with this handy glossary of visual effects jargon.

Morgan Motor Company still makes cars by hand with wood - Roadshow - News - 5 hours 6 min ago
Hand-built sports cars made largely of wood are still being built. Here’s a look inside the anachronistic Morgan Motor Company.

The shaky world of coffee maker startups - CNET - News - 5 hours 6 min ago
Backing a coffee maker startup is a wild ride: see where a few recent ones stand.

Classic of classics: How Morgan still makes its wooden wonders - Roadshow - News - 5 hours 6 min ago
The tiny British automaker Morgan still makes cars by hand using a combination of woodworking skill and modern technology. Here’s how.

5 ways Samsung's new Bixby speaker can beat Alexa, HomePod and Google Home - CNET - News - 5 hours 51 min ago
Commentary: If Samsung follows this blueprint, the Galaxy Home will have a fighting chance versus Amazon, Google and Apple.

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin review: A gaming laptop that does split-personality with style - CNET - Reviews - 6 hours 6 min ago
A good choice for work and play without looking too flashy -- or too boring.

The Dota 2 competition 'International' is coming up, are you ready for battle? - CNET - News - 17 hours 19 min ago
Sure, Dota 2 is only a video game, but the winning team in this global esports contest will pocket nearly $11 million.

See Hasbro make its first Power Rangers toy: A highly detailed White Ranger - CNET - News - 17 hours 45 min ago
Exclusive: Tommy the White Ranger kicks off Hasbro's Lightning Collection, a premium line of Power Rangers figures.

Harry Potter wand teaches children to code

BBC Technology News - 17 hours 52 min ago
A magic wand designed to teach children how to code has been revealed.

See the Sony PlayStation 4 Pro 500M Limited Edition - CNET - News - 18 hours 45 min ago
It's translucent, it's got a 2TB hard drive and it's a limited edition run of 50,000 consoles.

Trump tweets that social media firms discriminate against the right - CNET - News - 18 hours 56 min ago
The president accuses social media of "closing down the opinions" of conservatives.

London museum is livestreaming a key 21st-century artifact—festering sewage

Ars Technica - August 18, 2018 - 7:15pm

Enlarge / The last remaining piece of a monster fatberg that was discovered in Whitechapel sewers last September. (credit: David Parry/PA Wire)

You can now feast your eyes on a festering chunk of solidified sewage as it ages, not-so-gracefully, inside a specially-designed isolation case that is being livestreamed from a museum in London.

Is there anything more 21st century than that?

The rancid refuse was chipped off an infamous sewer clog discovered in London late last year called the Whitechapel “Fatberg”—the preferred term for such muck monsters. The complete clog clocked in as an epic 250-meter-long, 130-metric ton mass of congealed excrement and waste, thought to be one of the largest—if not the largest—fatbergs ever identified. Authorities found it blocking a Victorian-era sewer line in the eastern Whitechapel area of the city. They spent nine long weeks in a subterranean war, hacking and blasting away the hardened blob of feces, fats, wet wipes, and various other detritus.

Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

This straight-up audiophile turntable costs less than you'd think - CNET - News - August 18, 2018 - 6:47pm
Looking to step up your vinyl game? The $999 MoFi StudioDeck looks, sounds and feels terrific -- and it’s made in the US.

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