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Industry & Technology

Blackhawks beaten out by Italian-designed copter for Air Force UH-1 replacement

Ars Technica - 1 hour 40 min ago

Enlarge / A military version of the Leonardo AW139 flown by the Qatar Emiri Air Force. A US version, built in partership with Boeing, has won the US Air Force's nuclear security helicopter competition. (credit: Boeing)

Just in time to avoid the end of the fiscal year, the US Air Force has finally selected a successor to the aged UH-1 Hueys used by the Air Force's nuclear missile security force: the MH-139, a militarized version of the AgustaWestland AW139 from the Italian aerospace and defense company Leonardo. The MH-139 was a joint bid by Leonardo and Boeing and will be built in the United States at Leonardo's facilities in Philadelphia. The award this morning is for $375 million, covering delivery of the first four helicopters. But the overall program could be worth up to $2.4 billion, delivering up to 84 helicopters, as well as training systems and support equipment.

The MH-139 beat out two separate bids to provide helicopters based on the Lockheed Martin Sikorsky H-60 Blackhawk—one from Lockheed for a new variant based on the helicopter being built for the Air Force's special operations squadrons, and another from Sierra Nevada Corporation that would have refurbished retired US Army UH-60s with new avionics. The competition had been held up by a pre-award protest by Lockheed Martin, and there had been concern that the Air Force would not be able to make a selection in time to avoid having to go back to Congress for reauthorization of the purchase.

The Blackhawk was the original pick to win the program, which the Air Force had intended to simply sole-source to Sikorsky. But then the service's procurement team decided to put the program up for bid, and the competition paid off for the Air Force. The overall price tag of the helicopter program came down considerably from what the Air Force originally expected to pay—an estimated $4.1 billion. "Strong competition drove down costs for the program, resulting in $1.7 billion in savings to the taxpayer,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson in a statement on the award.

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Office 2019 lumbers to the stage once more as Microsoft promises future releases

The Register - 1 hour 45 min ago
Office 365 seen lurking in the wings, sharpening an axe

What might well be the last non-cloudy version of Microsoft Office has been nudged gently into the light.…

Qualcomm accuses Apple of giving chip secrets to Intel - CNET - News - 1 hour 50 min ago
The chipmaker says Apple stole source code and other confidential information.

Facebook content moderators are suffering from PTSD, lawsuit claims - CNET - News - 1 hour 57 min ago
The suit seeks class action status for those whose job is to view violent and disturbing potential Facebook posts.

Google releases data privacy framework ahead of Senate hearing - CNET - News - 2 hours 3 min ago
The suggestions comes as the search giant faces political pressure on user privacy.

Microsoft and Shell team up to build AI into gas stations - CNET - News - 2 hours 4 min ago
Shell is experimenting with cameras that can tell if you're smoking at a gas station.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro pictures show off new triple-camera setup

Ars Technica - 2 hours 6 min ago


Huawei's latest flagship smartphone will be the Mate 20 Pro, and the first images of it have leaked. German site WinFuture has posted press images of the upcoming smartphone, which will be announced on October 16th.

The pictures show a mostly cookie-cutter smartphone design on the front. There's a sizable notch on the top and a bit of a "chin" bezel at the bottom. In the pictures, only the earpiece and a single front camera is visible in the notch, although it's a safe bet that there are sensors for proximity and brightness in there. Things get interesting on the back, where the triple-camera layout forms a big black square.

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MacBook Air 2018: All the rumors on specs, price and Touch ID possibilities for October - CNET - News - 2 hours 9 min ago
A no-show at Apple's September event, we look to October for the rumored MacBook Air redesign.

Buy 6 Espressotoria coffee-pod packs for less than $54, get the $99 machine free - CNET - News - 2 hours 11 min ago
Your total outlay: $53.34 plus tax. Plus: a $5 learn-to-read app is free for a limited time!

Pulsed engines provide high efficiency, output power, low fluctuations

Ars Technica - 2 hours 15 min ago

Enlarge / Neither of these steam engines get close to the Carnot efficiency. (credit: Les Chatfield)

Almost all of modern physics comes down to understanding steam engines. Yes, we have all sorts of fancy laws about the Universe and atoms, but thermodynamics rules them all (and not in Sauron’s benevolent dictatorship style). When thermodynamics slaps you, you feel it.  In a new theory paper, a pair of physicists have risked a slapping by nature. They’ve proposed a heat engine that may be practical—for a given value of practical—and operate very close to the limits of physical law. 

Carnot rules

One famous limit of thermodynamics is that heat engines, like steam engines and internal combustion engines, must be less efficient than a Carnot heat engine (a heat engine cycle designed by French engineer Carnot). Although the Carnot efficiency is very easy to calculate, building an engine that operates at that efficiency is highly impractical.

It's not just the impractical mechanics of such an engine. The very nature of the engine suggests that the ideal operating efficiency is achieved only for zero output power. Not very useful, in so many words. But it gets even less useful than that. By delving into the details, you find that as the output power approaches zero, the fluctuations in output power get very large. In other words, even if we could construct such an engine, it would run erratically and drive the operator insane.

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Secret IBM script could have prevented 11-hour US tax day outage

The Register - 2 hours 16 min ago
Two chances missed to swerve mainframe drive array bug

The April 2018 US tax day outage was due to a faulty IBM disk array and could have been avoided twice – first with a more up-to-date microcode bundle, and second with a secret IBM script.…

Here's why you won't find Audi E-Trons sitting around the dealership - Roadshow - News - 2 hours 22 min ago
Customers might have to wait a hot minute to get their cars, though.

Teardown reveals big changes inside the Apple Watch Series 4

Ars Technica - 2 hours 29 min ago

Enlarge / iFixit opens up the Apple Watch Series 4. (credit: iFixit)

Apple announced a number of features that got people excited for the Apple Watch Series 4, and its redesigned internals show how much thought the company put into its latest smartwatch. iFixit tore down the Series 4 and found a few interesting tidbits about the Watch that prove it represents a thorough redesign of the original device, making it a more repairable wearable.

Despite having the same estimated battery life as the Series 3, the Series 4's new battery stands out among the details of the teardown. A 1.113Whr battery powers the Series 4, which is larger than the 1.07Whr battery in last year's 38mm Series 3 but smaller than the 1.34Whr of the 42mm Series 3 (iFixit tore down a 44mm Series 4, which is the new equivalent to a 42mm Series 3).

It appears Apple tried to achieve a solid middle-ground with the battery's size, while relying on other hardware and software improvements to do extra work in maintaining overall battery life for both the 40mm and 44mm models. Both are expected to last up to 18 hours on a single charge.

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One small live-TV streamer is rolling out a big Netflix-like design - CNET - News - 2 hours 40 min ago
FuboTV is aiming for flashy design its heavyweight-backed competitors haven't tried.

Sprinkler controller Rachio 3 adds Apple HomeKit support - CNET - News - 2 hours 42 min ago
Ask Siri to water the front yard with help from your Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller.

Nailed it? Canon's new Pixma printer could help you save on manicures - CNET - News - 2 hours 42 min ago
But it takes up a lot more space than a few bottles of nail polish.

Aggregate this: NewsNow has spilt a bunch of 'encrypted' passwords

The Register - 2 hours 46 min ago
But no one will take the trouble to decipher them, right?

Updated UK aggregator NewsNow has suffered a breach resulting in the leak of users' "encrypted" passwords.…

Flying cars are closer than you think - CNET - News - 3 hours 7 min ago
Uber wants to fly you around the city like the Jetsons, but there are still roadblocks to overcome before UberAir can get off the ground.

Mummy of paraplegic child shows how Peru’s Nasca culture treated disability

Ars Technica - 3 hours 9 min ago

The Nasca Boy's remains are now on display in the National Museum of Ica, Peru. (credit: Tilley et al. 2018)

Most Peruvian mummies come bundled in cloth, with their legs folded up to their chests and their arms around their knees. But the young boy we now know only as the Nasca Boy was buried in a position he probably occupied in life: on a contoured, cushioned adobe stool, with his lower legs tucked beneath his seat. It’s the only burial of its kind that archaeologists have ever seen, and it immediately suggests two very important things about this child: he lived with a disability that would have required additional care and resources, and he was well cared for and valued by the people around him, even during a period of their history when food was scarce and life was uncertain.

That’s the conclusion of a new study, which revisits the original 1973 research on the mummified remains of the young boy, who died around 700 CE. The original archaeologists, led by the late Marvin Allison, focused on identifying evidence of tuberculosis in the boy’s remains; they provided the first evidence that the disease had stalked South American populations long before Europeans arrived.

Archaeologist Lorna Tilley and her colleagues have taken a second look at that study in an effort to reconstruct details of the child’s experience with his illness and disability, the kind of care he probably received, and what that reveals about the culture in which he lived. “I rely on taking the information available from the work of other archaeologists and synthesizing it, hoping that I've understood their research results and providing copious references so that readers can go to the sources themselves,” Tilley told Ars Technica.

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