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OnePlus 8T (Ultra?) with 12GB RAM & SD865 appears on Geekbench

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OnePlus 8T

OnePlus will release its latest flagship smartphone, OnePlus 8T on October 14th. Some weeks ago, a new OnePlus device with model number KB2001 appeared on the Geekbench 5 database. This smartphone comes with 8GB of RAM, Snapdragon 865 SoC, and Android 11. This device is obviously the OnePlus 8T. However, another OnePlus model with the number “KB2000” appeared on Geekbench today. According to the listing, this smartphone also comes with a Snapdragon 865 SoC but uses 12GB of RAM.

The test model has a single-core running score of 3843 points and a multi-core running score of 11714. For reference, the OnePlus 8 with the Snapdragon 865 chip has a Geekbench 4.4.0 running score of about 4200 points for single-core and 13000 points for multi-core. It is worth mentioning that OnePlus CEO, Liu Zuohu, has confirmed that there will be no OnePlus 8T Pro model. Therefore, the best guess here is that there could be an “Ultra” model with 12GB of RAM.

Earlier this month, OnePlus KB2000 got network access certification. The network access information shows that this device is produced in Dongguan, Guangdong Province.

According to previous information, the OnePlus 8T uses the same 120Hz Fluid AMOLED display of OnePlus 8 Pro. It also comes with a dual C-line + C-port charging head, a built-in 4500mAh battery, and supports the new Warp Charge 65 fast charge.

OnePlus 8T will use a pretty old camera sensor

It’s no secret that OnePlus has decided to retain the brand’s most advanced smartphone, OnePlus 8 Pro. The company may present only one flagship device on October 14 – the OnePlus 8T. However, it could surprise us with an “Ultra” model. It appears that the manufacturer does not intend to create competition with the main flagship of the year. This could be why the autumn smartphone will receive an outdated IMX586 camera sensor.

This sensor was introduced back in 2018 and is found both in budget devices (like the Honor Play 4T) and in previous OnePlus flagships: 7, 7 Pro, 7T, 7T Pro, 8, and even Nord. The top-end IMX689 sensor will remain only on the OnePlus 8 Pro, while there is no information on the OnePlus 8T Pro camera yet.

At the moment, we do not know how OnePlus plans to explain such a decision. This situation is similar to Google’s approach, whose Pixel line uses the same 12-megapixel IMX363 sensor from year to year. However, it does this because of its unique combination of quality and affordability.

The Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 includes its own built-in wireless earbuds

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The Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 includes its own built-in wireless earbuds

submitted by /u/TotallyYourGrandpa
[comments]

Many ventilation systems may increase risk of COVID-19 exposure, study suggests — ScienceDaily

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New theory predicts movement of different animals using sensing to search -- ScienceDaily

Ventilation systems in many modern office buildings, which are designed to keep temperatures comfortable and increase energy efficiency, may increase the risk of exposure to the coronavirus, particularly during the coming winter, according to research published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics.

A team from the University of Cambridge found that widely-used ‘mixing ventilation’ systems, which are designed to keep conditions uniform in all parts of the room, disperse airborne contaminants evenly throughout the space. These contaminants may include droplets and aerosols, potentially containing viruses.

The research has highlighted the importance of good ventilation and mask-wearing in keeping the contaminant concentration to a minimum level and hence mitigating the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The evidence increasingly indicates that the virus is spread primarily through larger droplets and smaller aerosols, which are expelled when we cough, sneeze, laugh, talk or breathe. In addition, the data available so far indicate that indoor transmission is far more common than outdoor transmission, which is likely due to increased exposure times and decreased dispersion rates for droplets and aerosols.

“As winter approaches in the northern hemisphere and people start spending more time inside, understanding the role of ventilation is critical to estimating the risk of contracting the virus and helping slow its spread,” said Professor Paul Linden from Cambridge’s Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP), who led the research.

“While direct monitoring of droplets and aerosols in indoor spaces is difficult, we exhale carbon dioxide that can easily be measured and used as an indicator of the risk of infection. Small respiratory aerosols containing the virus are transported along with the carbon dioxide produced by breathing, and are carried around a room by ventilation flows. Insufficient ventilation can lead to high carbon dioxide concentration, which in turn could increase the risk of exposure to the virus.”

The team showed that airflow in rooms is complex and depends on the placement of vents, windows and doors, and on convective flows generated by heat emitted by people and equipment in a building. Other variables, such as people moving or talking, doors opening or closing, or changes in outdoor conditions for naturally ventilated buildings, affect these flows and consequently influence the risk of exposure to the virus.

Ventilation, whether driven by wind or heat generated within the building or by mechanical systems, works in one of two main modes. Mixing ventilation is the most common, where vents are placed to keep the air in a space well mixed so that temperature and contaminant concentrations are kept uniform throughout the space.

The second mode, displacement ventilation, has vents placed at the bottom and the top of a room, creating a cooler lower zone and a warmer upper zone, and warm air is extracted through the top part of the room. As our exhaled breath is also warm, most of it accumulates in the upper zone. Provided the interface between the zones is high enough, contaminated air can be extracted by the ventilation system rather than breathed in by someone else. The study suggests that when designed properly, displacement ventilation could reduce the risk of mixing and cross-contamination of breath, thereby mitigating the risk of exposure.

As climate change has accelerated since the middle of the last century, buildings have been built with energy efficiency in mind. Along with improved construction standards, this has led to buildings that are more airtight and more comfortable for the occupants. In the past few years however, reducing indoor air pollution levels has become the primary concern for designers of ventilation systems.

“These two concerns are related, but different, and there is tension between them, which has been highlighted during the pandemic,” said Dr Rajesh Bhagat, also from DAMTP. “Maximising ventilation, while at the same time keeping temperatures at a comfortable level without excessive energy consumption is a difficult balance to strike.”

In light of this, the Cambridge researchers took some of their earlier work on ventilation for efficiency and reinterpreted it for air quality, in order to determine the effects of ventilation on the distribution of airborne contaminants in a space.

“In order to model how the coronavirus or similar viruses spread indoors, you need to know where people’s breath goes when they exhale, and how that changes depending on ventilation,” said Linden. “Using these data, we can estimate the risk of catching the virus while indoors.”

The researchers explored a range of different modes of exhalation: nasal breathing, speaking and laughing, each both with and without a mask. By imaging the heat associated with the exhaled breath, they could see how it moves through the space in each case. If the person was moving around the room, the distribution of exhaled breath was markedly different as it became captured in their wake.

“You can see the change in temperature and density when someone breathes out warm air — it refracts the light and you can measure it,” said Bhagat. “When sitting still, humans give off heat, and since hot air rises, when you exhale, the breath rises and accumulates near the ceiling.”

Their results show that room flows are turbulent and can change dramatically depending on the movement of the occupants, the type of ventilation, the opening and closing of doors and, for naturally ventilated spaces, changes in outdoor conditions.

The researchers found that masks are effective at reducing the spread of exhaled breath, and therefore droplets.

“One thing we could clearly see is that one of the ways that masks work is by stopping the breath’s momentum,” said Linden. “While pretty much all masks will have a certain amount of leakage through the top and sides, it doesn’t matter that much, because slowing the momentum of any exhaled contaminants reduces the chance of any direct exchange of aerosols and droplets as the breath remains in the body’s thermal plume and is carried upwards towards the ceiling. Additionally, masks stop larger droplets, and a three-layered mask decreases the amount of those contaminants that are recirculated through the room by ventilation.”

The researchers found that laughing, in particular, creates a large disturbance, suggesting that if an infected person without a mask was laughing indoors, it would greatly increase the risk of transmission.

“Keep windows open and wear a mask appears to be the best advice,” said Linden. “Clearly that’s less of a problem in the summer months, but it’s a cause for concern in the winter months.”

The team are now working with the Department for Transport looking at the impacts of ventilation on aerosol transport in trains and with the Department for Education to assess risks in schools this coming winter.

Yaya Mayweather Confirms Pregnancy Rumors In Post & Delete TikTok Video

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Rumors have been swirling about Yaya Mayweather having a bun in the oven, and she has just confirmed her pregnancy in a lil’ dancing video!

We previously posted footage of Yaya seemingly sporting a baby bump after a fan spotted her out and about, but Yaya has been very good about footage of herself off of social media for the last few months.

Well, it looks like social media hiatus is over, as Yaya lets the world know that she is very much pregnant, and seems to be pretty far along.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

#PressPlay: #Roommates, #YaYaMayweather is having fun with some late night dance moves. #PostAndDelete

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Sep 28, 2020 at 10:11pm PDT

Yaya may be the most recent one of NBA Youngboy‘s ladies to be with child, but she certainly isn’t the only one at this time. Another young lady, who we know as Drea Symone, is also pregnant, and while she hasn’t confirmed whether or not YB is the father, she was rumored to be one of his recent boo’s.

Yaya made headlines just a few months back, after she allegedly stabbed a young lady who she found at Youngboy’s house. That young lady was also rumored to be carrying a child at the time, but some of her recent posts on Instagram show no signs of a pregnancy.

Regardless, we wish Yaya the best in her journey as a new mom!

Want updates directly in your text inbox? Hit us up at 917-722-8057 or https://my.community.com/theshaderoom

The post Yaya Mayweather Confirms Pregnancy Rumors In Post & Delete TikTok Video appeared first on The Shade Room.

How to report an incorrect location in Apple Maps

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How to report an incorrect location in Apple Maps

No map is perfect; all are approximations. But it’s galling to business owners when a modern digital map lists the wrong address, has incorrect business hours, or even says the business is closed when it’s still open—a tremendous concern right now for struggling enterprises.

Many, many people email Mac 911 asking for help with this when customers can’t find them, or, recently, when an address listed offered a dangerous turnoff that wasn’t the main entrance.

(Clarification: When people find the Mac 911 email address they think we’re Apple. “Mac 911? That must be help!” We do aim to try. Apple doesn’t offer support via direct email.)

Apple Maps offers a correction feature that’s changed and expanded slightly in recent releases for iOS/iPadOS and macOS. You don’t have to be a business owner to suggest changes or request a correction. Mistaken addresses and routes of course affect homeowners and renters, too, as well as non-profits, schools, and other organizations. (Google Maps years ago placed my house four miles west for about six months, which was a constant problem for deliveries, service people, and parents trying to bring their kids over for playdates and birthday parties.)

Here’s how to report errors or add places that aren’t listed. Note that human beings do review the additions and changes; they’re not made higgledy-piggledy.

Correct and add in iOS/iPadOS

IDG

To correct errors in a listing, you can enter revisions, which Apple reviews.

Launch Maps. To correct a listing:

  1. Tap a location.

  2. Swipe to find Report an Issue and tap it.

  3. Revise the details shown.

  4. Tap Submit.

To add a listing:

  1. Hold down to create a Marked Location.

  2. Swipe to find Add a Missing Place and tap it.

  3. Choose the missing place type, like Business or Landmark.

  4. Fill in details and ensure the pin is over the correct location.

  5. Tap Submit.

You can also tap the info (i) icon on the map with nothing selected, tap Add a Missing Place or Report an Issue. Add a Missing Place starts you at step 3 in the steps to add a listing above. For Report an Issue, tap Map Labels, move the marker to the right location, and fill out the problem problem.

Correct and add in macOS Catalina and earlier

Launch Maps. To correct a listing:

  1. Select a place’s icon.

  2. Click its info (i) icon and then click Report an Issue at the very bottom of its panel.

  3. Select the kind of issue. In Mojave, these options appear: Location on Map, Place Details, Place Closed, or Other Issue. In Catalina, only Edit Place Details appears.

  4. Click Continue.

  5. Perform the necessary action associated with that choice (see below).

  6. Click Send.

mac911 mojave correction maps IDG

Select an item to report an issue and then select Edit Place Details to provide updates.

Each of the four actions has a separate process:

  • Location on Map: Move the pin to the correct location.

  • Place Details or Edit Place Details: Revise information or add it.

  • Place Closed: Write a description providing documentation.

  • Other Issue: In freeform text, explain the problem.

To add a new item in Mojave and earlier:

  1. Control-click and drop a pin and then select it.

  2. Click its info (i) icon and then click Report an Issue.

  3. Click Add a Place and click Continue.

  4. Move the pin to the correct place, and then click Continue.

  5. Choose the type of place, like Business or Landmark, fill in the details, and click Send.

The only way to add a listing in Catalina, which also works in Mojave and earlier:

  1. Choose Maps > Report an Issue.

  2. Click Add a Missing Place (Catalina) or Add a Place (Mojave and earlier) and click Continue.

  3. Move the pin to the correct place, and then click Continue.

  4. Choose the type of place, like Business or Landmark, fill in the details, and click Send.

Correct and add in macOS Big Sur (public beta)

mac911 maps big sur report issue IDG

Click a place, click the More … button, and you can report errors. (You can also scroll down to select Report an Issue.)

Launch Maps. To correct a listing:

  1. Click a place’s icon.

  2. Scroll down to Report an Issue at the very bottom and click it.

  3. You can then modify and detail, including location, and click Submit.

It’s not at first obvious that there’s more to the dialog in some cases, as the map may appear to be the only thing you can select. Jiggle your pointing device to display the scroll bar or use a trackpad or scroll control on a mouse to scroll down to uncover categories, hours, and other details.

To add a listing:

  1. Control-click and drop a pin.

  2. Click the pin and select Add a Missing Place.

  3. Fill out details and click Submit.

This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Anne.

Ask Mac 911

We’ve compiled a list of the questions we get asked most frequently along with answers and links to columns: read our super FAQ to see if your question is covered. If not, we’re always looking for new problems to solve! Email yours to mac911@macworld.com including screen captures as appropriate, and whether you want your full name used. Not every question will be answered, we don’t reply to email, and we cannot provide direct troubleshooting advice.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 review: lacking any real punch

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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 review: lacking any real punch

Who is the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 for?

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 is a high-end smartphone that was released on August 5, 2020. It is only available in a single 256GB/8GB memory configuration. You can choose between 4G and 5G models: the 4G version costs £849, while picking up the 5G model would set you back by £949.

I used this smartphone for more than 3 weeks after I panned it rather vocally – this is something that I am not going to hide from when it was first announced. Hence, I tried to approach it without any prejudice. However, objectivity is something that can be hard to pin down in journalism – I remember one of my professors when pursuing my Master’s degree, saying that the goal is “to approach a matter as objectively as possible.”

This particular mantra makes it all the more important to follow in a review, without having to rely on my personal feeling. There is a need to be fair in doing so, to take a step back and counterbalance your bias. And I’ve had time to reconcile with myself some of the flaws of the Note 20 that I found unforgivable just a month ago.

However, I did find it rather challenging to complete this article as the product did not inspire me. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 is a good smartphone, make no mistake about it, but the total lack of ambition does not make it a good flagship in 2020. Unless the stylus is a must-have purchase in your list of criteria, the Note 20 is no more relevant than a Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, and even less so than the S20 Fan Edition.

What I like about Samsung Galaxy Note 20…

Its quality OLED display despite the 60 Hz refresh rate

The difference in range between the basic Galaxy Note 20 and the Ultra version is very clear from the outset.
Instead of sporting 4K resolution, there are only 2400 x 1080 pixels crammed into 6.7-inches of viewing real estate while sporting a refresh rate of 60 Hz instead of 120 Hz. This is still a choice that I cannot understand, especially when you have a 120 Hz refresh rate on the base Galaxy S20 model.

The absence of curved edges is entirely forgivable though. This is especially so since it’s quite fashionable lately to “hate” curved screens, heaven knows why. All in all, the Galaxy Note 20’s display could obviously not be all that bad, as this is a Samsung handset that we are referring to!

The contrast levels of an OLED display makes it a stunning performer while the brightness levels can be pushed to the extreme, allowing the elements on the display to always remain legible, even when you are using it under direct sunlight. There is a small punch hole located at the top center segment of the display which does not interfere too much with immersion when you’re playing a game or watching a video.

The OLED display on the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 is nice and well-calibrated, but I miss the 120 Hz refresh rate. / © NextPit

By default, the smartphone is calibrated in vivid display mode with the white balance set to the middle. I found that the colors tended to veer slightly toward blue tones, which can be a little cold but you can easily bring a little more warmth via the settings.

So it’s very good for a Samsung display. But, at the risk of getting booed in the comments, I really had a hard time enjoying the 60 Hz refresh rate for such a display, no matter how nice and well-calibrated it is.

Solid performance, but the Exynos 990 is still below par

While we could have hoped for an Exynos 992 processor running proceedings for the Galaxy Note 20 underneath the hood, which is somewhat an overclocked version of the S20 series SoCs, Samsung decided to go ahead with the Exynos 990 SoC. The processor is here mated to 8 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256 GB of storage space which cannot be further expanded via a microSD memory card slot.

This means there is no Snapdragon 865 chipset – at least not in Europe where, before the recent release of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, you had to buy a foldable smartphone from Samsung in order to enjoy Qualcomm’s processor, which is far more powerful than their own Exynos chipset.

I’ll let you compare the benchmark scores of the Galaxy Note 20 with the Ultra model (Exynos 990) and with another Android model equipped with the Snapdragon 865. Overall, we end up with solid performance figures. I can’t seriously list the slightly lesser performance of the Exynos 990 against the Snapdragon 865 as a defect.

The navigation is very fluid, even when multitasking. And the most demanding of games like Fortnite or Call of Duty Mobile are launched with graphics and FPS at maximum by default. We’re definitely on a high-end chip, no matter what our detractors say, including me.

Samsung Galaxy S20 benchmark results compared:

  Galaxy Note 20 Galaxy S20 OnePlus 8 Pro Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
3D Mark Sling Shot Extreme ES 3.1 6227 6187 7122

5412

3D Mark Sling Shot Vulkan 6205 5285 6613

5170

3D Mark Sling Shot ES 3.0 7713 7462 8864

6009

Geekbench 5 (Single / Multi) 569/2485 896 / 2737 887 / 3313

735 / 2508

PassMark Memory 16116 22045 27118

22652

PassMark Disk 99506 36311 50083 98122

But it still ticks me off to think that in the US, Galaxy Note 20 owners are entitled not just to the Snapdragon 865, but to its overclocked version, the Snapdragon 865+. In my opinion, it is simply unfair to sell two different products with different performances at the same price by claiming that they are similar.

The versatile camera module

The Galaxy Note 20 is equipped with three cameras at the back. One will thus find from top to bottom:

  • 12 MP ultra-wide-angle lens, 13 mm equivalent (f/2.2)
  • 12 MP wide-angle main lens, 26 mm equivalent (f/1.8)
  • 64 MP wide-angle lens dedicated to 3x zoom, 28 mm equivalent (f/2.0)

Also read: Smartphone camera aperture guide: What does F1.7 actually do?

NextPit samsung galaxy note 20 camera
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 does not have a dedicated telephoto lens for its 3x zoom. / © NextPit

So instead of a telephoto lens, here we end up with a 64-megapixel sensor, with a high definition, and a wide-angle lens but is also not the main lens (when you take regular photos). The default main lens is the 12-megapixel wide-angle sensor.

During the day under good lighting conditions, the results are obviously very good as Samsung has shown that they are capable of some rather stunning photos in the past. The colors always stand out a little more compared to the other manufacturers, but it’s a choice that I appreciate. We have a rather wide dynamic range, while the level of detail is more than satisfactory.

The pictures are very bright, regardless of the lens used and there is consistency from one sensor to another in terms of colorimetry (below are three photos taken in 0.6x/12 MP, 1x/12 MP, and 3x/64 MP, clockwise from top).

samsung galaxy note 20 photo day1
The triple camera module of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 is nothing special, but it is efficient and versatile. / © NextPit

In terms of zoom capability, the 64-megapixel lens provides a hybrid 3x zoom without suffering from any loss of detail, at least according to Samsung. In real-life use, I found that the promise was kept pretty well. But as soon as you go beyond the limits of “optical” magnification, things do go wrong.

To perform its hybrid zoom and then fully digital zoom once goes past the 3x mark, Samsung’s photo software crops the 64-megapixel image, enlarges, and reframes it. Needless to say, the 10x and 30x magnifications are unusable and are merely a marketing gimmick.

samsung galaxy note 20 photo zoom
The hybrid 3x zoom of the 64 MP lens offers good results, but the level of details degrades too much to be of any use at 10x or 30x. / © NextPit

At night, the main 12 MP sensor does rather poorly on its own, but the Night Mode does a decent job of patching up any shortcomings. From a photo that is drowned out by digital noise, with zero spikes you end up with a far more legible rendering – which could be deemed to be a little smooth, although the smartphone does light up the scene rather well.

The good thing is that the Night Mode works well on all three lenses of the camera module. And it’s not too aggressive. Yes, it does smoothen the image, but it doesn’t try to show what the eye is unable to see, unlike other competitors in its class. It does enough to illuminate shadows and fabric without burning out the bright areas. This helps it maintain the impression of a night shot, instead of a photo that was taken in broad daylight.

samsung galaxy note 20 photo night
The night mode of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 limits the breakage on your night shots very well. / © NextPit

What I don’t like the Samsung Galaxy Note 20…

Its tendency to overheat limits performance

This is one big flaw in the Exynos 990 and one that I won’t dwell on so that this review doesn’t turn into yet another one that nobody will want to read: overheating.
It is this particular burden that the Exynos has been carrying around for several years. In one of my articles on the topic of gaming performance of smartphones, I told you about “thermal throttling.”

This is a mechanism that reduces performance by lowering the clock speed of the CPU cores and even shutting down its cores to reduce heat build-up and prevent overheating. Almost all smartphones now turn themselves off when they get too hot, for example.

Except that the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 does heat up way too fast than expected. So much so that, and I don’t have the tools to measure the rate of overheating and therefore demonstrate it with certainty. In fact, I came away with the impression that I had to stop using it after just a few minutes of gaming.

On Fortnite, which has a native FPS counter and with the graphics cranked up all the way to the maximum level, I was easily running at 60 FPS but suffered heavy frame-rate drops once I got past the half-hour mark. The same can be said for Call of Duty Mobile, where I felt slowdowns after 1 hour of play where everything else worked fine before that.

Even when you update the smartphone or download an app, the smartphone tends to heat up really fast. So when I really wanted to play CoD at night on my way home from the office, I’d switch to the Asus ROG Phone 3 just to avoid any slowdowns or even worse – a total shutdown.

The best way to get the most out of your smartphone

Apple has been mocked a lot in the past for the ridiculous battery life of its iPhone. But the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 frankly fares no better by today’s standards.

But with a classic, or even moderate use of three hours of screen time, the smartphone falls below the 15% remaining battery life mark in a matter of just 12 hours. That’s a full day’s use, no more, no less. It’s a far cry from other competitors that are just as expensive.

samsung galaxy note 20 battery life
Even with moderate use, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 does not last all day. / © NextPit

On the PC Mark benchmark that we use at NextPit, which simulates an unrealistic but rather intensive usage pattern, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 held a little more than 10 hours out of the three tests, which were spaced four or five days apart from each other, that I was able to launch during my 3 weeks of use (10:30, 9:43, 10:11).

When it comes to charging, Samsung provides a 25W charger. That’s not much, especially when you compare it to some smartphones that now offer 40W or even 65W chargers. Starting from a 20% charge, it took me more than an hour (1 hour 10 minutes) to reach 100% battery life. That’s not bad for a 25W charger, but far more affordable models are able to do much better.

This is a really big flaw for the Samsung Galaxy Note 20. What makes it even more disappointing would be the overheating problems that are related to the SoC. The overheating occurs only after a rather intensive use with resource-intensive games. Here, the battery life lags behind even with a more conventional usage pattern compared to what a regular user would have put it through.

The S-Pen is just another gadget

I can fully understand the interest of having a stylus and I do not in any way question the affection that some users have for this accessory.

And I do not deny either that Samsung has improved its recipe once again since the previous generation Galaxy Note 10. The S-Pen is the best of its kind on the market and on the Android platform.

But I’ll be honest, I barely used it after my first few days into the review. In fact, I even forgot it even existed, and so rare were the situations in which I was likely to need it on a daily basis, apart from the review.

NextPit Samsung Galaxy Note 20 notes
The S-Pen is not a strong enough selling point for the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 in my opinion. / © NextPit

Screenshots, comments, animated scribbles, written notes: everything can be copied as text at the touch of a finger. OCR (Optical Character Recognition) works really well and it’s pretty cool to be able to turn your handwritten notes into PDF documents to send them by email.

I’ve tried it a few times to take notes during online keynotes when I’m usually waiting for the summary press release (but shhh, keep it here between us). The ability to make partial screenshots was also pretty cool to take advantage of.

samsung galaxy note 20 s pen
The S-Pen is a great accessory and full of features, but I found it forgettable. / © NextPit

But “Air Gestures”, which are gestures made with the S-Pen that Samsung launched last year on the Note 10, are still of little interest to me. What interests me even less would be to take photos by casting Expelliarmus and Avada Kedavra spells with a ‘magic wand’ in front of my display.

I would find the use of the S-Pen to be far more relevant on a larger display like a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, for example. Hence I do not deny it of its qualities. It’s an accessory that has its usefulness and some interesting features under the right conditions. And it is very obvious for all to see that Samsung has done a lot of work on it.

But this stylus is far too forgettable for me. If that’s the key argument to bring home the Samsung Galaxy Note 20, I have as much use for this S-Pen as I have for my collection of White Pepper fountain pens accumulated during my college years.

Its plastic design

I’ve been bitching a lot about the plastic back of the Galaxy Note 20 when it was first released. After testing it, I’ve calmed down a bit, and the smartphone remains elegant overall. I do regret the fact that the edges are not as angular as on the Note 10.

But we’re looking at a clean flagship design, where there is nothing sticking out. The grip is rather commendable while the metal edges bring a premium touch to compensate for the “Fairphone 3” effect of the PLASTIC back! Matte plastic will no doubt have fewer fingerprints to catch, of course, while making room for wireless charging, this I admit.

NextPit Samsung Galaxy Note 20 back
Not necessarily a deal-breaker, but the plastic back of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 didn’t appeal to me. / © NextPit

But it is plastic all the same at the end of the day, and on a smartphone sells for a whopping €1,000 ($1,167)! Calm down Antoine, it’s not so bad. And in truth, it really isn’t. Yes, I exaggerate when I talk about the Fairphone 3 effect. We’re not there yet either. The design doesn’t look cheap. I just regret that we didn’t get a more premium material at this price point. Especially when, once again, Samsung did place the glass on the back of its basic Galaxy S20 model.

I also give Samsung a thumbs up for the thinness of its camera module at the back. The latter has the merit of not taking up too much space.

Its price, which has no relevance

“Yes, the price of Galaxy Note 20 will drop quickly. A recommended retail price of £849 will appeal to operators, who will then be able to offer their customers a device with probably spectacular margins. But you’ll probably be able to get the smartphone for £200-£300 less within a few months.”

This is what my colleague Stefan wrote last August in his take on the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 which had just been released. And he wasn’t wrong, quite the contrary.

Except for the fact that the price of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20, even if it were to drop to £650, is no longer relevant today. Because this week alone, Samsung announced the release of its Galaxy S20 Fan Edition with Snapdragon 865 at £699 for the 5G version.

samsung galaxy s20 fe back
When compared to the Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition, the Galaxy Note 20 has lost all relevance. / © Samsung

So why choose the Samsung Galaxy Note 20, which is more expensive and with a less powerful processor? The question should not even be mooted in my opinion, hence it does not need an answer. I sincerely doubt that the addition of a stylus will make the difference between the Galaxy Note 20 and the S20 FE.

I found that the Note 20 was already irrelevant when it was released, being little more than an S20 with an S-Pen but with some key features missing, such as a 120Hz refresh rate. But next to the recently announced Galaxy S20 FE, I can tell you without hesitation that the Note 20 has absolutely no place in Samsung’s catalog.

The marketing around the 50x zoom is a little silly

The Galaxy Note 20 follows in the dubious footsteps of the S20 in February. Samsung advertised the smartphone to come with a “30x spatial zoom”; with a 1.06x optical zoom – we would assume that the camera hardware should be identical to the S20.

To obtain a digital/hybrid magnification of 30x from the 1x optical zoom of the 64MP main sensor, the magnification must be multiplied by 30. Now, each time a magnification is performed, the image resolution is divided by the square of the magnification. Basically, if I have a 64MP sensor, a 30x zoom divides the resolution by 302 or 30×30, or 900.

With 30x zoom, we end up with 71 “kilopixels”. This corresponds approximately to the QVGA resolution of 320×240 pixels. 1995 called and wants its resolution back.

NextPit samsung galaxy note 20 30x space zoom
Honestly, forget the 30x zoom ‘feature’. / © NextPit

Of course, this is not new in terms of advertising. Also, Samsung is not the first manufacturer to adopt such strategies. But it doesn’t seem to get any better. I wish the company would drop this kind of marketing lingo.

3 Best Indian Document Scanner Apps for Android – Gadgets To Use

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3 Best Indian Document Scanner Apps for Android

After the ban on CamScanner and other Chinese apps, many Indian developers have come forward with Indigenous applications. Till now, people were using apps like Microsoft Lens and Adobe Scan as alternatives to CamScanner. But now, we’ve got some competent Indian options that are equally feature-rich and quite reliable. Here are three of the best Indian document scanner apps available for Android.

Indian PDF Document Scanner Apps for Android

1. AIR Scanner

AIR Scanner is an AI-based Reading Assistant & Document Scanner app. Using it, you can not only scan, store, and share your images into PDF but also use AI-powered features like AI Dictionary and Narrator.

In my experience, the app worked perfectly fine for scanning documents. The AI Narrator automatically detects the text and reads it out while the dictionary feature lets you tap any word to know its meaning. Both features are unique and handy.

Overall, it’s a great document scanning app with a clean UI, developed locally by IIT Bombay undergraduates in India. That said, when you install the app, make sure to change the image quality to High in settings.

Key Features: 

  • Ad-free UI
  • AI Dictionary
  • Text Narrator
  • Available in Hindi & English

Developed by: Air Scanner Team, IIT Bombay

Download Here

2. Kaagaz Scanner

Kaagaz Scanner is another easy to use Made-in-India PDF Document Scanner app that’s completely free to use without any watermarks or ads. Using it, you can scan anything ranging from books and articles to documents and notes and convert them into PDF.

There are four different filters to choose from – Magic Colour, Gray, Black & White, and Original. You can go with either of them based on your liking. Interestingly, you can also add your watermark on documents and secure the app with the built-in app lock feature.

Key Features: 

  • Ad-free UI
  • Built-in App Lock
  • Custom Watermarks
  • Available in Hindi, English, Marathi, and Tamil.

Developed by: Sorted AI, Gurgaon

Download Here

3. Photocopy.ai

Photocopy.ai is a no-frills document scanning app with the most straightforward interface of all. You open the app, click on Camera, and scan the document, which is a swift process. Plus, the built-in filters are nice and work well with almost all kinds of documents.

I particularly liked the Photocopy filter, which is best suited to scan notes and book pages. Moreover, you can fine-tune the image by tweaking brightness and contrast based on your liking.

There’s also an AI-based OCR that detects the text and converts them into digital form to be copied or shared with others. It works quite accurately, even with Hindi.

Key Features: 

  • Straightforward, Ad-free UI
  • Variety of Filters
  • Powerful Text Recognition
  • Available in Hindi, English, Gujrati, Bengali, and Telugu

Developed by: Entrepreneurs at IIT Kanpur

Download Here

Wrapping Up

So these were three of the best Indian document scanner apps for Android. All three apps are locally developed and have their own set of features. More importantly, I didn’t see any annoying advertisements. Anyway, which one did you like the most? Do let me know in the comments below.

Also, read- How to Digitally Sign a PDF Document on Your Smartphone.

Covid-19 news: UK government criticised for confusion over new rules

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Covid-19 news: UK government criticised for confusion over new rules

People sit and stand near artwork in Newcastle city centre, north-east England

OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

Latest coronavirus news as of 5 pm on 29 September

Confusion over new restrictions introduced in parts of north-east England

Local leaders have criticised the UK government for creating confusion over its announcement of tightened restrictions in north-east England. Newcastle council leader Nick Forbes told the BBC that government announcements about new restrictions lacked detail. He said, “there is a “gap between what’s announced in headlines and the details that people can understand […] what that does is sow confusion, it creates doubt, it creates uncertainty.” 

The new rules, coming into force tomorrow, will apply to Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Northumberland and Sunderland. They will extend the ban on people from different households meeting indoors to include venues such as restaurants, bars or pubs. People who break the rules could face fines up to £6400. 

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UK education minister Gillian Keegan, speaking today on BBC Radio 4, was unable to clarify whether the new restrictions prevented people from meeting outdoors in pub and restaurant gardens, as well as indoors.

Separately, the UK’s prime minister Boris Johnson apologised today after incorrectly suggesting that another rule limiting gatherings to six people in England does not apply outdoors in the north-east. Johnson was answering media questions after a speech in Exeter. He later tweeted an apology, saying “I misspoke today” and clarified that people in the north-east “should also avoid socialising with other households outside”. 

Other coronavirus news

The number of deaths mentioning covid-19 on the death certificate has risen in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics. There were 158 deaths involving the coronavirus registered in the week ending 18 September, up by 48 from the week before. “This is by no means a large spike in deaths,” Kevin McConway, at the Open University, said in a statement. “But the recent rise in the numbers of infections, shown by data from the ONS Infection Survey and the REACT-1 study from Imperial College, did not really get started until late August or early September,” said McConway. “If the rise in infections is going to lead to a corresponding rise in numbers of deaths […] – that rise in deaths mostly won’t have showed up yet.”

There has been a jump in the proportion of coronavirus cases in US children over the summer months, according to a study published online in the journal Pediatrics. From April to September, the proportion of cases in children rose from 2.2 to 10 per cent of all cumulative reported cases. It isn’t clear whether this is partly due to increased testing capacity, although the proportion of tests administered to under 18s has remained relatively stable at between 5 and 7 per cent since late April, the authors write in the paper. Earlier studies have suggested that children don’t get as ill with covid-19, compared to adults.

Independent SAGE, an independent group of scientists publishing advice for the UK government, says that UK universities should switch to online teaching and give university students the “right to return home.” In its latest report, the group argues that students should be allowed to return home at any point during term following a coronavirus test, and have their accommodation fees refunded.

More than 1 million people have died from covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University. UN secretary-general António Guterres described the worldwide death toll as a “mind-numbing figure” and an “agonizing milestone”. Guterres tweeted: “We must never lose sight of each & every life.”

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 1 million. The number of confirmed cases is more than 33.4 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

A million deaths: The coronavirus pandemic has claimed a million lives since it first emerged in Wuhan, China. How did we get here?

Young people: As a rise in cases of covid-19 is met with anti-lockdown protests, a small minority are arguing that we should let the virus rip through the young and healthy.

Europe’s second wave: Several countries in Europe are reporting more daily covid-19 cases than during the first wave in March, though the higher numbers may be due to more people being tested.

Essential information about coronavirus

Everything you need to know about the pandemic

What is covid-19?

What are the worst symptoms and how deadly is covid-19?

You could be spreading the coronavirus without realising you’ve got it

Which covid-19 treatments work and how close are we to getting more?

What are the main coronavirus vaccine candidates?

What to read, watch and listen to about coronavirus

Race Against the Virus: Hunt for a Vaccine is a Channel 4 documentary which tells the story of the coronavirus pandemic through the eyes of the scientists on the frontline.

The New York Times is assessing the progress of different vaccine candidates and potential drug treatments for covid-19, and ranking them for effectiveness and safety.

Humans of COVID-19 is a project highlighting the experiences of key workers on the frontline in the fight against coronavirus in the UK, through social media.

Coronavirus, Explained on Netflix is a short documentary series examining the on-going coronavirus pandemic, the efforts to fight it and ways to manage its mental health toll.

New Scientist Weekly features updates and analysis on the latest developments in the covid-19 pandemic. Our podcast sees expert journalists from the magazine discuss the biggest science stories to hit the headlines each week – from technology and space, to health and the environment.

The Rules of Contagion is about the new science of contagion and the surprising ways it shapes our lives and behaviour. The author, Adam Kucharski, is an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, and in the book he examines how diseases spread and why they stop.

Previous updates

Passengers standing around and walking with suitcases in London's Heathrow airport

Passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport in London, UK, 30 July 2020

ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

28 September

Coronavirus rates have been higher among people who have travelled abroad

Rates of people testing positive for the coronavirus within communities in England in recent weeks were higher among people who had travelled abroad, according to analysis by the Office for National Statistics. About one in 286 people who said they had travelled abroad within the previous 30 days are estimated to have tested positive for the virus on 10 September, compared to about one in 1000 who said they hadn’t. However, both groups saw increases in the rates of positive tests between 2 August and 10 September. The analysis also found that coronavirus infection rates increased more in the least deprived areas within each region, and that positivity rates were higher among people under 35 who reported having had socially-distanced contact with six or more people aged 18 to 69, compared to those over 35. The Office for National Statistics says this suggests “socially-distanced direct contact in younger age groups is an increasingly important factor in contracting covid-19.”

Other coronavirus news

The mayor of Greater Manchester today called for an urgent review of the 10 pm closure rule for restaurants, bars and pubs across England, which came into force last week. Andy Burnham said it was resulting in people gathering in homes and supermarkets that were “packed” once the bars closed. “This curfew is doing more harm than good,” he told BBC Radio 4. A spokesperson for UK prime minister Boris Johnson told the BBC there are no specific plans to review the policy but that all measures are kept under review. Some scientists agree that the measures could be counterproductive. “We have seen this type of measure backfire before. In March, the London Underground reduced services, hoping that only key workers would use it. Instead, we saw trains crowded with commuters,” said Flaxio Toxvaerd at the University of Cambridge in a statement. Scientists advising the government have previously suggested that high risk venues such as indoor pubs and restaurants should close in order to try and make sure schools can stay open, said Susan Michie at University College London in a statement. “We can’t have it all.”

The president of the National Union of Students, Larissa Kennedy, today warned that students risked being “trapped” in “disgusting conditions” in their halls of residence due to self-isolation rules. The remarks came after UK culture minister Oliver Dowden on Sunday suggested that students would only be allowed to go home during the Christmas break if the general public is seen to be following government guidance. Thousands of students at universities including Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Glasgow and Edinburgh Napier University, are currently self-isolating in their rooms following rises in cases. “We would expect all students to be able to go home at Christmas,” a spokesperson for UK prime minister Boris Johnson told journalists today.

People in England could now face fines of up to £10,000 for refusing to self-isolate when asked. A preliminary study published last week suggested only 11 per cent of people in the UK who are told to self-isolate actually do so for the full 14-days. 

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

The worldwide death toll has passed 998,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 33.1 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Members of the public are seen by public information messages in central Manchester, England, . The UK has reached "a perilous turning point", Boris Johnson said as he set out a raft of new coronavirus restrictions

Public information messages in central Manchester, England

Jon Super/AP/Shutterstock

25 September

Infection rate within communities in England and Wales continues to rise 

One in 500 people in England had the coronavirus in the week ending 19 September, up from one in 900 people the previous week, according to the latest results from a random swab testing survey by the Office for National Statistics. “It’s a worrying increase and is occurring across all age groups, particularly in the North of England and London,” said Simon Clarke at the University of Reading in a statement. “While it’s true that there are many more tests conducted nowadays, this is clear evidence of an accelerating spread of the virus,” said Clarke. “We can expect to see an increasing burden placed on our hospitals and a consequent increase in deaths.” 

Northern Ireland, which was included in the survey for the first time, and Wales have also seen increases in infections. One in 300 people are estimated to have had the virus in Wales and Northern Ireland during the same time period. In Wales, this figure is up from one in 500 the week before. This weekend, new restrictions will be put in place in the Welsh city of Cardiff as well as in Swansea county areas and in the town of Llanelli. 

The UK’s R number the number of people each coronavirus case infects has increased for the third week in a row, up to an estimate of between 1.2 and 1.5, an increase from between 1.1 and 1.4 the previous week, according to official figures. This is most likely to represent the situation two to three weeks ago due to a time lag in the data used to model the R. Infections across the country are estimated to be growing at a rate of between 4 and 8 per cent every day.

Other coronavirus news

Only 11 per cent of people told to self-isolate actually do so for the full 14-day period, which the UK government has been aware of since June. The finding comes from a survey that began in February. Results were published online yesterday to the pre-print server medRxiv and have not yet been peer-reviewed. The government’s scientific advisors recommend that 80 per cent or more of the contacts of people diagnosed with the coronavirus self-isolate for the full time period in order to help limit onward spread. 

Independent SAGE an independent group of scientists publishing advice for the UK government says Sweden’s success in tackling the coronavirus pandemic has been overstated. In a report published today, the group dismissed the idea of “herd immunity” as a strategy for dealing with the UK’s epidemic in the absence of a vaccine and said it is “irresponsible and unethical to try”.

Spain’s government has recommended imposing a new partial lockdown on the entire city of Madrid due to rising cases. The capital accounts for more than a third of the country’s hospital admissions, according to local authorities. Under the new restrictions, people would be banned from travelling outside of the city but would still be allowed to leave their homes to go to work and school.

The Netherlands recorded its highest daily increase in cases since the start of the pandemic, with 2777 new cases confirmed today. The country’s previous record for daily new cases was set just yesterday, when 2544 cases were recorded.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 984,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 32.3 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

When did the coronavirus first reach Europe and the US?: No cases were reported outside China until January 2020, but a study published on 10 September claims that cases in the US began to rise by 22 December. Many people there and in Europe suspect they had coronavirus around this time. Yet overall, the evidence suggests there were few cases outside China this early on. 

Birdsong during lockdown: If you thought birdsong sounded different during lockdown, it turns out you were probably right. The uniquely quiet circumstances of the covid-19 restrictions in San Francisco saw birds respond by lowering their pitch, singing sexier songs and making their songs clearer.

A smartphone being held in a person's hand while they tap on the screen, which is displaying the NHS Covid-19 app

The new NHS Covid-19 app for England and Wales

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

24 September

NHS Covid-19 app goes live in England and Wales but testing and tracing still limited

The official test and trace app for England and Wales went live today, with more than one million downloads so far. The app uses Bluetooth technology built into smartphones to detect people nearby and alert users if any of those people later test positive for the virus. The government is urging everyone over the age of 16 to download and use the app. 

Some users have already reported issues with the app, and it does not work on some iPhone and Android smartphones, including iPhone 6 and older models. UK health minister Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast this morning that the app would run on the “vast majority” of smartphones in the country. But there are concerns that limitations in testing and contact tracing could negate any potential benefit of the app. 

The latest NHS Test and Trace figures reveal that it is taking longer to return results for coronavirus tests in England. Only 28.2 per cent of coronavirus tests performed in community testing centres returned results within 24 hours in the week leading up to 16 September, down from 33.3 per cent in the previous week. During the same period, NHS Test and Trace reached 60.2 per cent of the contacts of people who were diagnosed with the virus, below the level of 80 per cent or more recommended by the government’s scientific advisors. 

Just 18 per cent of people in the UK report self-isolating after developing symptoms of the coronavirus and only 11 per cent say they self-isolate after being told by contact tracers that they have been in contact with a confirmed coronavirus case, according to a preliminary study by researchers at King’s College London. The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, surveyed more than 31,000 people in the UK between 2 March and 5 August.

The number of new coronavirus cases in England also went up, but less sharply than the previous week, with 19,278 people testing positive for the virus between 10 and 16 September, compared to 18,371 the week before. This small weekly increase may reflect “oddities in the reporting testing system, rather than a sudden plateau in viral cases,” said James Naismith at the University of Oxford in a statement

Other coronavirus news

The number of people in the UK diagnosed with common conditions – including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and mental health conditions was about 50 per cent lower than would normally have been expected between March and May this year, a study has found. The study, published in The Lancet Public Health analysed electronic health records from 47 general practices in Salford, UK, between January 2010 and May this year. The UK went into lockdown on 23 March.

United Airlines in the US is expected to become the first airline to offer rapid coronavirus testing to some of its passengers. The firm plans to conduct a trial of the programme on flights from San Francisco to Hawaii starting on 15 October, using 15-minute rapid tests supplied by US biotechnology company Abbott.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

The worldwide death toll has passed 978,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 31.9 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Testing troubles: How the UK can get its catastrophic coronavirus testing under control. 

A doctor holds a syringe near a patients arm

Doctor administers a vaccine

Udom Pinyo/Getty Images

23 September

Volunteers will be deliberately infected with the coronavirus in first challenge trials

Healthy volunteers will be deliberately infected with the coronavirus to test the effectiveness of experimental coronavirus vaccines in London next year, in the world’s first human challenge trials for coronavirus. About 2000 people in the UK have volunteered to be given one of a number of experimental vaccines and then receive a dose of the coronavirus under controlled conditions. The volunteers have joined the trial, which is due to begin in January, through advocacy group 1Day Sooner. Earlier this year the group organised an open letter signed by prominent researchers including Nobel laureates, urging the US government to immediately prepare for human challenge trials. The researchers behind the trials, which are being funded by the UK government, told the Financial Times that the trials would play an important role in helping to identify the most promising vaccine candidates likely to move into clinical testing in early 2021.

Other coronavirus news

There were 6178 new coronavirus cases recorded across the UK today, the highest daily total since 1 May. Scotland recorded 486 new coronavirus cases yesterday, the highest daily figure since its epidemic began, first minister Nicola Sturgeon told a briefing today. In the Scottish city of Dundee, 500 university students have been told to self-isolate due to a suspected outbreak in a halls of residence. Meanwhile, in England, more than a million pupils were absent from school last Thursday for reasons related to covid-19, according to the nation’s Department for Education. Yesterday, the Isle of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall in England recorded its first coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.

The UK’s prime minister Boris Johnson has urged people in England to follow new rules announced yesterday aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus, warning that the government could introduce further restrictions if people fail to adhere. “If people don’t follow the rules we have set out, then we must reserve the right to go further,” Johnson said during a televised address. However, some have questioned the logic behind the new rules. “Closing down restaurants and pubs earlier will do little to stave the spread for as long as multiple different households can interchangeably meet up,” David Strain at the University of Exeter said in a statement.

The official test and trace app for England and Wales will be launched tomorrow after being trialled in Newham in London and the Isle of Wight. It will be the second iteration of the app, after the first was abandoned because it struggled to detect iPhones. There are concerns about the lack of transparency around the new app, and the government has not yet demonstrated that it is effective and ready for mass rollout, the Health Foundation charity said in a statement today.  

Germany’s contact tracing app, the Corona-Warn-App, has been used to transmit 1.2 million coronavirus test results from laboratories to users during its first 100 days, according to officials. The app has been downloaded more than 18 million times since it was first launched in June and more than 90 per cent of laboratories in the country are now connected to it.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

The worldwide death toll has passed 972,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 31.6 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Asymptomatic infection: People who have the coronavirus without symptoms appear to have similar levels of the virus in their noses and throats to people with mild symptoms, a study has found. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are as likely to spread covid-19 as those who are sick.

Doctor’s diary: How can we deal with the long covid-19 symptoms?

A restaurant staff member wearing a mask carries a tray with drinks

A staff member wears a face mask as she serves customers at the The Shy Horse pub and restaurant in Chessington, Greater London

BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

22 September

New restrictions for England could last six months, UK prime minister says

People in England will be asked to work from home where possible and pubs, bars and restaurants will be required to close at 10 pm each night, under a series of new restrictions announced by UK prime minister Boris Johnson today, which come into force on Thursday. Under the new rules, which Johnson today told MPs could stay in place for six months, pubs, bars and restaurants will be restricted to table service only and face masks will be compulsory for hospitality staff and non-seated customers, as well as for retail workers and taxi drivers. In Scotland, a ban on meeting people in houses will be extended from Glasgow and its surroundings to the entire country, and bars, pubs and restaurants will have to close at 10 pm. 

Linda Bauld at the University of Edinburgh said in a statement that the new measures for England are not as stringent as might have been expected, with some of them already in place in parts of the nation under local lockdowns. “What is worrying, however, is that they will be accompanied by sticks but no carrots,” said Bauld, which she says “risks rising levels of non-compliance” among the public. Shops and hospitality businesses that fail to comply to the rules on use of face coverings, contact tracing and limits on maximum group sizes, risk closure or fines of up to £10,000. Fines for individuals not wearing face coverings or following rules will be increased from £100 to £200 for the first offence. 

Cabinet office minister Michael Gove told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that people should work from home “if you can,” a reversal of advice from the prime minister in July, when he encouraged people to go back to workplaces. 

“The urging of people to work from home if at all possible is sensible. There should never have been encouragement of people to return to their workplace,” Michael Head at the University of Southampton said in a statement. “We have already seen outbreaks linked to the office environment, and there is no reason to promote an increase in numbers of commuters travelling on public transport.”

Other coronavirus news

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has backtracked on advice it posted last week regarding airborne transmission of the coronavirus. The advice suggested the virus spreads through tiny droplets that can linger in the air. The World Health Organization acknowledges that there is some evidence that airborne transmission can occur in crowded spaces with inadequate ventilation but says the main route of coronavirus transmission is through larger droplets from coughs and sneezes, which can land on surfaces and get onto people’s hands. The CDC retracted its guidance yesterday, with a spokesperson telling CNN that a “draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error.”

More than 200,000 people in the US have now died from covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University, the highest number for any nation. The country has recorded more than 6.8 million cases of the coronavirus.

Covid-19 was a factor in 1 per cent of all deaths registered across England and Wales in the week ending 11 September, according to the Office for National Statistics. The figure is among the lowest since March but there are concerns deaths may rise due to recent increases in cases and hospitalisations.

No new locally acquired coronavirus infections were recorded in New South Wales in Australia today for the first time in 76 days. Two infections confirmed yesterday were both returned travellers in hotel quarantine, according to local health authorities.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

The worldwide death toll has passed 965,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 31.3 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Two people standing outdoors under a gazebo, manning a temporary coronavirus testing facility

Staff at a NHS appointment only testing facility take testing kits from members of the public in Redcar, England

Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

21 September

New localised lockdown restrictions to come into force in parts of the UK tomorrow

Amid warnings from scientists that the UK’s epidemic is doubling every seven days, which could lead to 50,000 cases a day by mid-October, the UK has imposed new restrictions to try and limit the spread of coronavirus. The country’s chief medical officers also advised that the coronavirus alert level be raised from 3 to 4. According to the government’s 5-tier alert system, an alert level of 4 indicates that transmission is high or rising exponentially and warrants increased social distancing measures. The UK is currently recording around 3000 cases per day, compared to around 5000 a day at the peak of the epidemic in spring. 

Wales has now followed England in introducing additional localised coronavirus restrictions, set to come into force tomorrow. In total, at least 13.9 million people in the UK now face some form of additional local restrictions. From 6 pm tomorrow, people in Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent and Newport in Wales will not be allowed to leave those areas or to meet with people from other households. Restaurants, bars and pubs will be required to close from 11 pm each night. Similar restrictions will affect Rhondda Cynon Taf in Wales as well as 10.9 million people in parts of north-west England, West Yorkshire and the Midlands starting tomorrow. Today, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon told journalists that additional lockdown restrictions will “almost certainly” be put in place in Scotland over the next few days as well. 

Other coronavirus news

Coronavirus restrictions will be lifted across New Zealand today, with the exception of Auckland, where some restrictions will remain in place. “Our actions collectively have managed to get the virus under control,” the country’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern told a press conference today. There are currently 62 active cases of the virus in New Zealand, 33 of which are connected to a cluster in Auckland. Rules in Auckland will be eased further on Wednesday, with a limit on gatherings to be increased from 10 to 100 people.

Strict new lockdown measures came into force in Spain’s capital Madrid today. At the weekend, thousands of people in the city’s southern district of Vallecas took to the streets to protest against the new restrictions. Under the new rules people won’t be allowed to leave the areas where they live except to go to work or for emergency medical treatment.

India’s Taj Mahal reopened today for the first time since it was closed due to the pandemic in March. Visitors will be required to adhere to strict physical distancing rules and the number of visitors will be limited to 5000 per day a quarter of the usual rate.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

The worldwide death toll has passed 961,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 31.1 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Death toll: Most people still don’t have any level of immunity to the virus behind covid-19. But there is a growing risk that some of us are becoming immune to the enormous numbers that this pandemic is throwing out on a weekly basis. The global death toll from covid-19 is nearing 1 million. That is a number that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to become blasé about.

UK epidemic: The UK faces a “very difficult problem” of rising covid-19 deaths and cases if it does not change course, chief medical officer for England Chris Whitty has warned.

Shoppers walk past an electronic billboard displaying a UK Government advert advising the public to take precautions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, in Newcastle city centre

Shoppers walk past an electronic billboard displaying a UK Government advert in Newcastle, UK

OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

18 September

UK government considering short-term national lockdown in October

The UK could face a second nation-wide lockdown in October, according UK health minister Matt Hancock. In an interview today, Hancock told Sky News that the government isn’t ruling out a short-term national lockdown in October. “We do have to recognise that the number of cases is rising and we do have to act,” he said. This comes after warnings from senior scientific advisors to the government that the UK is about six weeks behind France and Spain in terms of coronavirus cases, and can expect to see a significant increase in cases by mid-October without further intervention. France set a record for daily new coronavirus cases in the country on Thursday, recording 10,593 new cases within 24 hours, according to its health ministry.

The latest estimate of the UK’s R number the number of people each coronavirus case infects is between 1.1 and 1.4, up from between 1 and 1.2 the previous week and between 0.9 and 1.1 the week before, according to the latest government figures. The current number is representative of the situation two to three weeks ago due to a time-lag in the data used to model the R number. In documents released today, the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies warn that new infections in the UK may be doubling as quickly as every seven days and, according to the latest results from a random swab testing survey by the Office for National Statistics, about one in 900 people in communities in England had the virus in the week ending 10 September, up from about one in 1400 the previous week. 

Parts of north-west England, West Yorkshire and the Midlands have become the latest areas in the UK to see tightening coronavirus restrictions. Starting on Tuesday, people in these areas won’t be allowed to mix with people from other households, and pubs and restaurants will be required to shut at 10 pm each day. “It does seem ironic that after encouraging mass attendance at pubs, cafes and restaurants through ‘eat out to help out’, that we are now contemplating restricting or closing those activities down,” said Jonathan Ball at the University of Nottingham in a statement. At least 13.5 million people in the country are now facing local restrictions of some kind, including 10.9 million people in England. 

Other coronavirus news

Details on a participant in the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine trial who experienced neurological symptoms, which halted the trial in early September, have been revealed in an internal safety report by the firm. The 37 year-old woman experienced symptoms of a rare neurological condition called transverse myelitis, including pain, weakness and difficulty walking, according to the report.

Israel today became the first country to introduce a second nation-wide lockdown, with people required to stay within 500 metres of their homes, except if they are travelling to work. 

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 947,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 30.2 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

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People entering Oxford Circus Station in London, England.

17 September

Steep rise in new coronavirus cases in England despite testing shortage

The weekly number of people testing positive for the coronavirus in England has risen sharply, as the country is experiencing testing shortages. Between 3 and 9 September, 18,371 people were diagnosed with covid-19, which is “a substantial increase of 167 per cent compared to the end of August,” according to NHS Test and Trace. These may be “the last reliable figures” on the state of the nation’s epidemic for some time because of the reduced availability of tests, said Daniel Lawson at the University of Bristol in a statement

The time for tests to be returned is also taking longer. The proportion of test results received within 24 hours fell to 14.3 per cent during the same period in September, down from 32 per cent the week before. “Tests which take many days to report and action, are of no value in suppressing the pandemic,” said James Naismith at the University of Oxford in a statement. In June, UK prime minister Boris Johnson told parliament that all coronavirus tests would be returned within 24 hours by the end of the month.  

The website for booking coronavirus tests online in the UK is struggling to cope with the growing demand for tests. An increasing number of users are reporting receiving error messages when attempting to book tests on the site.

Other coronavirus news

Today the UK government announced new restrictions affecting almost two million people in the north-east of England, where case rates are particularly high. Under the new rules, which come into force at midnight tonight, people will be banned from meeting people from other households. Restaurants, bars and pubs will also be required to close at 10 pm. Affected areas include Sunderland, where the infection rate is currently 103 per 100,000 people, as well as Newcastle, South Tyneside and Gateshead, all of which have infection rates above 70, UK health minister Matt Hancock told MPs today. “The data says that we must act now,” said Hancock. 

Europe has “alarming rates of transmission”, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned today, as it encouraged countries to stick to the recommended 14-day self-isolation period for people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. In the UK, the recommendation is currently 10 days. Other European countries, including Portugal and Croatia, are considering reducing the length of recommended self-isolation, according to the Guardian. “Knowing the immense individual and societal impact even a slight reduction in the length of quarantine can have […] I encourage countries of the region to make scientific due process with their experts and explore safe reduction options,” Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said at a press conference.

It will take at least a year before a coronavirus vaccine becomes generally available to the US public, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield told a US Senate panel yesterday. In an interview with Fox & Friends earlier this week, US president Donald Trump said a vaccine could be ready “in a matter of weeks.”

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 942,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 29.9 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Tracking blood oxygen: Apple’s recently released Series 6 smart watch incorporates a new feature: it can measure your blood oxygen levels. The tech must have been years in the making, but the timing of its release worked well given we are in the middle of a global respiratory pandemic.

Stopping the next pandemic: Covid-19 isn’t the first pandemic humanity has faced and it won’t be the last. What has happened offers lessons about how to judge and respond to virus warnings in future.

What now?: Five scientists tell us what happens next with the covid-19 pandemic.

People queue at a coronavirus testing facility

People queue at a coronavirus testing facility in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham

Jacob King/PA Wire/PA Images

15 September

Widespread reports of people struggling to get coronavirus tests in England

England’s coronavirus testing system is significantly overwhelmed, with many people in the nation’s 10 worst-hit coronavirus hotspots unable to get tests. People trying to book swab tests on Monday in Bolton, Salford, Bradford, Blackburn, Oldham, Preston, Pendle, Rochdale, Tameside and Manchester were told that it was not possible, according to LBC. Bolton currently has 171 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, the highest rate in England. “It seems that there are several bottlenecks in the testing procedures. These are not being made publicly available so we can only speculate that these may be limited materials for the testing process, capacity and procedural issues,” said Brendan Wren at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in a statement. “This needs to be addressed urgently, and if it is [a lab] capacity [problem] then university labs should be more widely deployed,” said Wren.

A spokesperson for the Department for Health and Social Care told the Guardian: “It is wrong to say testing is not available in these areas, and our capacity continues to be targeted where it is needed most.” However, there have also been reports of testing shortages elsewhere. NHS Providers, a body that represents hospital trusts in England, told the BBC that NHS staff are having to self-isolate, because they are unable to get tests for themselves or their family members. 

Laboratories analysing community swab tests in England were stretched to capacity as far back as August, emails seen by the Guardian revealed today. NHS England sent an email to all NHS laboratories on 24 August calling for them to support the UK Lighthouse Labs Network, a private group of labs that has been analysing community swabs, due to a “surge in capacity.”

Other coronavirus news

A report by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation warns that the coronavirus pandemic has pushed back progress on improving health around the world by “about 25 years.” The pandemic has increased poverty by 7 per cent and led to a drop in routine vaccination coverage from 84 per cent last year down to 70 per cent, according to the report. “It’s a huge setback,” Bill Gates said at a media briefing on the report’s findings today. The report also highlighted the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women, racial and ethnic minority communities and people living in extreme poverty. 

Schools in England have seen a higher absence rate among pupils this term compared to last year, according to the nation’s Department for Education. Official figures suggest 88 per cent of pupils attended school last Thursday, below the figure for the same term last year of about 95 per cent. Since schools reopened earlier this month, school leaders have warned that delays in testing are leading to year groups being sent home, the BBC reported.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 930,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 29.3 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Man wearing face mask carries Spanish flag during protest

Anti-government protesters rallying in Madrid, Spain amid the covid-19 outbreak, on September 12, 2020

Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

14 September

New global record for daily new coronavirus cases as WHO warns of rise in deaths in Europe

A record single day increase in global coronavirus cases was recorded on Sunday with 307,930 new confirmed cases . The largest increases were in India, the US and Brazil, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO also warned that Europe can expect to see more deaths from covid-19 as soon as next month. “It’s going to get tougher. In October, November, we are going to see more mortality,” said Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, in an interview with the AFP news agency today. Cases in Europe have increased sharply over the last few weeks, with case rates highest in Spain and France. There are 270.7 cases per 100,000 people in Spain and 153.9 per 100,000 people in France, according to the latest 14-day cumulative figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. In the UK there are 51.1 cases per 100,000 people.

Other coronavirus news

Laboratory-made antibodies will be given to about 2000 covid-19 patients in UK hospitals as part of the UK’s RECOVERY trial, a large-scale clinical trial to test existing drugs as therapies for covid-19. In June, data from the RECOVERY trial provided the first evidence that a steroid drug called dexamethasone could save lives for those with severe covid-19. In the new trial of antibodies made specifically to combat the coronavirus, the first patients will be given the experimental treatment in the coming weeks. “There are lots of good reasons for thinking it might well be effective stopping the virus from reproducing, stopping the virus from causing damage, improving survival for patients,” Martin Landray at the University of Oxford, who is co-leading the RECOVERY trial, told the BBC. “Monoclonal, or targeted, antibodies are already used to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases,” said Fiona Watt, executive chair of the Medical Research Council in the UK, in a statement. “The new trial will tell us whether antibodies that attack the virus can be an effective treatment for covid-19.”

An email seen by the BBC reveals that UK government chief scientific advisor Patrick Vallance argued that the UK’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions be imposed earlier than they actually were, and in response he was given a “telling off” from other senior officials. Vallance referred to advice given by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies on 16 March, suggesting “additional social-distancing measures” be implemented “as soon as possible.” The UK went into lockdown on 23 March, about two months after the country’s first confirmed case, which some researchers blame for the UK’s high number of coronavirus deaths.

Israel has become the first country to announce a second nationwide lockdown to begin Friday and last three weeks. It is an effort to contain a second-wave surge of new cases, Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday. People will be required to stay within 500 metres of their homes, with the exception of travelling to workplaces. Schools will also be closed.

US president Donald Trump held the first indoor presidential campaign rally in months in Nevada on Sunday, despite local officials saying it violated the state’s rule limiting gatherings to 50 people. In a statement before the rally, Nevada’s governor Steve Sisolak criticised Trump’s decision saying “Now he’s decided he doesn’t have to respect our state’s laws. As usual, he doesn’t believe the rules apply to him.”

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 925,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 29 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Coronavirus family tree: Like any other biological entity, SARS-CoV-2 has a family tree. It isn’t a very old one – the virus has only been recognised since December – but it still has tales to tell.

Racism in healthcare: Covid-19 is affecting ethnic minorities more severely, but we will never understand why if we don’t collect the right data, says Alisha Dua.

Two people attend a covid-19 testing facility

Members of the public attend an NHS covid testing facility in Bolton town centre as restrictions are tightened in the area on 9 September

Anthony Devlin/Getty Images

11 September

New data suggests England’s R number could be as high as 1.7

The UK’s coronavirus epidemic is growing, according to the latest government figures. Simon Clarke at the University of Reading described this as a “massive blow to the government’s strategy to contain the spread of covid-19.” The UK’s R number the estimated number of people each infected person goes on to infect is between 1 and 1.2, up from between 0.9 and 1.1 last week. This data is representative of the situation two to three weeks ago, due to a time-lag in the data used to model the R, but is in line with more recent data for England from a separate study by researchers at Imperial College London, which suggests England’s R number could be as high as 1.7. 

The study, commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care, tested over 150,000 people in communities in England between 22 August and 7 September and used this to model the R number. It found that 0.13 per cent of people tested positive equivalent to 130 per 100,000 people in the population. The latest results from a random swab testing survey by the Office for National Statistics also indicate an increase in infections in communities in England and Wales in recent weeks.

The rise in cases “suggests that the recent uptick in cases is not just because of greater testing,” said Clarke in a statement. “It’s likely that the coronavirus is circulating more freely out in the community again, meaning we are likely to need greater restrictions on our lives to push the transmission rate back down again.”

Other coronavirus news

A new coronavirus contact tracing app will go live across England and Wales on 24 September, the government announced today. The new app will allow people to scan QR codes to register visits to bars and restaurants and will use Apple and Google’s method for detecting other smartphones nearby. The UK government was previously forced to abandon development of an earlier app, built on different technology, due to its inability to recognise a significant proportion of Apple and Android devices. Scotland’s app, Protect Scotland, went live yesterday.

Birmingham in England is being put under a local lockdown due to a spike in cases. The city now has the second highest rate of coronavirus infection in England, after Bolton. There were 85.4 cases per 100,000 people in Birmingham during the week ending 7 September, up from 32 in the previous week. People in Birmingham will no longer be allowed to meet with other households.

India has recorded the highest number of daily new coronavirus cases in a single country since the pandemic began, with 96,551 cases recorded in the country on Thursday.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 910,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 28.2 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Reports of reinfection: In recent weeks, the first confirmed reports of people who have been re-infected with the coronavirus have begun to trickle in. Such cases suggest that, in some people at least, the immune system doesn’t develop lasting protection against the virus. How worried should we be?

An adult singer wearing robes and a face shield walking in a church

An adult singer from the York Minster Choir walks to rehearse ahead of a performance in York, England.

Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

10 September

Latest figures show significant jump in weekly coronavirus cases in England

The number of people who tested positive for the coronavirus in England was 9864 in the week ending 2 September, up 47 per cent from 6732 in the previous week, according to the latest figures from NHS Test and Trace. It’s the highest number of weekly positive cases recorded since the system was launched in May. During the same week, NHS Test and Trace only managed to reach 69.2 per cent of the contacts of people diagnosed with the virus in England – below the target of 80 per cent or more recommended by government scientific advisors to limit infections from spreading

Public health specialists have raised concerns about the feasibility of government plans announced yesterday to spend £100 billion on expanding testing to 10 million tests per day by early 2021. Chaand Nagpaul, council chairman of the British Medical Association told the BBC it is unclear how these tests will work, given the “huge problems” with lab capacity. Sarah-Jane Marsh, director for testing at NHS Test and Trace apologised for the problems with the testing scheme earlier this week. Even if testing can be expanded, concerns remain about accuracy and contact tracing capacity. Transport secretary Grant Shapps told BBC Breakfast this morning that the technology to carry out the plan doesn’t currently exist.

Other coronavirus news

US president Donald Trump admitted to playing down the threat posed by the coronavirus in March, during an interview with journalist Bob Woodward revealed in his forthcoming book. “I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward on 19 March. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.” Trump also acknowledged the virus was “more deadly than even your strenuous flu” as early as February a time when he was publicly saying the virus was less of a concern than the flu.

AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot today told an online briefing he is hopeful that the company’s coronavirus vaccine candidate could be ready for global distribution in the first half of 2021. Trials of the vaccine, which is being developed in partnership with the University of Oxford, were put on hold yesterday after a participant developed neurological symptoms. An independent safety committee is currently reviewing data on the affected participant, said Soriot. 

Scotland’s Test and Protect system, the nation’s equivalent to NHS Test and Trace in England, today released its Protect Scotland app, which alerts people if they have been in close contact with someone who later tests positive for the coronavirus. Like Northern Ireland’s app, Scotland’s new app was built using the toolkit provided by Apple and Google. England doesn’t yet have a widely available equivalent app but has been testing a similar one on the Isle of Wight and in the London borough of Newham over the past month, after abandoning development of an NHS Covid-19 app built on different technology, due to its inability to recognise 96 per cent of Apple phones and 25 per cent of Google Android devices.

University students in England may be required to stay in their student accommodation and avoid visiting their family homes in the event of local coronavirus outbreaks, according to new guidance published by the UK Department for Education today. Students with covid-19 symptoms should “self-isolate in their current accommodation”, the guidance says. It also suggests that universities group students living in halls of residence into “households” that include all of those living on the same floor or sharing communal facilities, potentially including as many as 30 students. The guidelines add that private gatherings, including those within student households, must still be limited to a maximum of six people.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 905,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 27.9 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Coronavirus and flu: Doctors are fretting about concurrent outbreaks of flu and covid-19 but some virologists are worrying about another scenario: a Frankenvirus. Could the coronavirus merge with another virus to create a new threat?

A chemist working in a laboratory

A general view of analytical chemists at AstraZeneca headquarters in Sydney

DAN HIMBRECHTS/AAP/PA Images

9 September

UK government plans to expand coronavirus testing to 10 million tests a day

The UK government plans to carry out 10 million coronavirus tests per day by early 2021, according to documents obtained by the BMJ. Currently, the UK’s testing capacity is 350,000 per day. As part of the new plan, £100 billion will go towards the expansion of the country’s testing programme, the documents revealed, and GSK and AstraZeneca are among firms named for supplying tests and laboratory capacity respectively. 

Martin McKee at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine told the BMJ the plan is too optimistic and disregards “enormous problems with the existing testing and tracing programmes.” NHS Test and Trace in particular has been criticised for its repeated failure to reach a sufficient proportion of the contacts of people who test positive for the virus in England. Between 28 May and 26 August, the scheme reached 78.5 per cent of the contacts of people diagnosed in England – below the target of 80 per cent or more recommended by government scientific advisors

Jon Meeks, a biostatistician at the University of Birmingham who reviewed the documents for the BMJ, tweeted that the documents “show a severe lack of science or reality. No consideration of harms that screening us all would create.” In the BMJ he raised the problem of false positives: “If you test 60 million people [with a 99% accurate test] we will be classifying a group the size of the population of Sheffield as wrongly having covid.”

Other coronavirus news

Advanced trials of one of the most promising coronavirus vaccine candidates have been put on hold after a participant became ill in the UK. Drug firm AstraZeneca, which is developing the vaccine in partnership with the University of Oxford, has voluntarily paused the trials. This is standard procedure in vaccine development, and allows time for the researchers to determine the cause of the illness and ensure the safety of participants. AstraZeneca described the action as “routine” in a statement to STAT. The vaccine candidate has already passed preliminary trials, and is now undergoing phase II and III trials involving approximately 30,000 participants in the US as well as in the UK, Brazil and South Africa. These larger trials are designed to test whether it can prevent people from becoming infected with the coronavirus or getting ill with covid-19, as well as assessing long term safety.

Social gatherings in England will be limited to a maximum of six people from Monday 14 September, in an effort to tackle a recent spike in coronavirus cases. People will not be allowed to gather in groups larger than six either indoors or outdoors, with the exception of gatherings in schools, workplaces and some events such as weddings and funerals. UK health minister Matt Hancock told the BBC today that the new rule is “super simple” and will be “enforced by the police.” People could be fined between £100 and £3200 for violating the rule, he said. “We’ve seen in other countries around the world where they don’t take action then you end up with this second peak, resulting in more hospitalisations and more deaths, and we don’t want to see that here,” said Hancock.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 898,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 27.6 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Severe symptoms: An out-of-control human peptide called bradykinin could be responsible for some of the varied and sometimes deadly symptoms seen in people who have contracted the coronavirus. We already have drugs to control bradykinin, which are being tested as treatments for people with covid-19.

People walk on the street in central Bolton, Greater Manchester

People walk on the street in central Bolton, Greater Manchester

Jon Super/Xinhua/PA Images

8 September

New restrictions could be introduced across England due to surge in cases 

The government could tighten restrictions on people meeting in England following the recent spike in coronavirus cases. According to several reports, the government could reduce the number of people allowed to meet outdoors to six, down from the current limit of 30. Restrictions on how many people can meet indoors may also become tighter, according to Sky News. Under current guidelines, only two households can congregate indoors. 

England’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, said the new wave of cases was because “people have relaxed too much.” Today, 2420 people tested positive for the coronavirus in the UK, down from 2948 on Monday but still high compared to daily figures in recent months. John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies told ITV that the UK as a whole is in a “risky period” because the country’s R number – the number of people each infected person goes on to infect – has risen above 1. An R number higher than 1 means that an epidemic is growing. 

Some measures are already tightening in some parts of the UK, including Bolton, in Greater Manchester. The town currently has the highest case rate in the country, with 120 cases of the virus per 100,000 people. Pubs and restaurants there will now have to be take-away only and stay closed between 10 pm and 5 am, UK health minister Matt Hancock announced today. The current guidance, which says people should not socialise with those from a different household, will be made legally binding, he told MPs. The number of people allowed to visit hospitals and care homes will also be reduced under the new measures. “The rise in cases in Bolton is partly due to socialising by people in their 20s and 30s. We know this from contact tracing,” said Hancock, adding “we’ve identified a number of pubs at which the virus has spread significantly.” 

Other coronavirus news

Amid increasing reports of people being told to attend drive-through testing centres hundreds of kilometres away from their homes, the director of testing for NHS Test and Trace, Sarah-Jane Marsh, tweeted an apology today to people in England who haven’t been able to get tested for the coronavirus. Marsh described laboratory processing as “the critical pinch-point” and said “we are doing all we can to expand quickly.” Last month researchers warned that the UK would probably face a second wave of coronavirus infections in winter if the country’s testing and contact tracing system didn’t improve by September.

There were 101 deaths from covid-19 in England and Wales during the week ending 28 August, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics. This is down from 138 deaths in the previous week and is also the lowest number of deaths from the disease recorded since the week ending 13 March.

A school in Nottinghamshire in England has been forced to close after its head teacher was admitted to hospital with covid-19. Pupils and staff at Trowell Primary School have been told to stay home and self-isolate until 21 September. In the week since pupils returned to classrooms, coronavirus outbreaks have been reported at dozens of schools in England and Wales. Across Liverpool, an estimated 200 pupils are self-isolating after positive covid-19 cases at five schools, while five teachers at a school in Suffolk have tested positive.Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 897,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 27.3 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

What is a vaccine and how do they work?: The latest video in our new YouTube series, Science with Sam, explains how vaccines work by training your immune system to recognise viruses and bacteria. We also take a look at the unprecedented worldwide effort to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, and consider the challenges involved in making, testing and distributing covid-19 vaccines.

People take coronavirus swab tests

People undertake a coronavirus test at a walk-in test facility in Bolton, UK, September 7, 2020

Phil Noble/REUTERS

7 September

The UK recorded its highest number of daily new cases since May on Sunday

There were 2948 new coronavirus cases confirmed in the UK today, down slightly from the 2988 new cases confirmed on Sunday, which marked the highest daily increase in cases recorded in the country since 23 May. “This is especially concerning for a Sunday when report numbers are generally lower than most other days of the week,” said Paul Hunter at the University of East Anglia in a statement. “Sadly it is beginning to look like we are moving into a period of exponential growth in the UK epidemic and if so we can expect further increases over coming weeks,” said Hunter.

UK health minister Matt Hancock yesterday expressed concern about the rise in cases, which he said were largely among people under 25, especially those between 17 and 21. “Of course younger people can pass on the disease to their grandparents and we do not want to see that,” Hancock said yesterday. In France and Spain, rises in infections among younger adults in August were followed by higher numbers of hospital admissions for older and more vulnerable people in subsequent weeks. “It’s concerning because we’ve seen a rise in cases in France, in Spain, in some other countries across Europe, and nobody wants to see a second wave here,” Hancock said today.

Hancock’s concerns about younger people transmitting the virus to more vulnerable groups are shared by the government’s scientific advisors. A report endorsed by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies published last week warns there is a significant risk that reopening universities could amplify local and national transmission, adding that “it is highly likely that there will be significant outbreaks.” Because of the higher proportion of asymptomatic cases among younger age groups, cases and outbreaks are also likely to be harder to detect among student populations, says the report.

Other coronavirus news

India confirmed 90,632 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, the country’s health ministry reported on Sunday, setting a new global record for the number of infections recorded in a single country in one day. India has confirmed more than 4.2 million cases since the pandemic began, the second-highest number for any country after the US.

The Tokyo Olympic Games will take place next year “with or without covid”, according to John Coates, vice-president of the International Olympic Committee. Previously, the committee said they would cancel the Games scheduled for July 2021 if necessary. 

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 889,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 27.1 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Keeping schools safe: There is wide agreement that schools must reopen, and stay open. Achieving this is fraught with unknowns, however. Although it seems that children are less likely to transmit and get sick from the coronavirus, we don’t know why that is the case. Should an outbreak occur, pupils’ families and school staff could still be at risk. In order to keep schools safe, governments must be prepared to shut down other areas of society to keep overall levels of virus transmission low.

A scientist pipettes liquid in a laboratory

Sputnik V, Gamaleya National Center

THE RUSSIAN DIRECT INVESTMENT FUND

4 September

Russia’s vaccine candidate produced antibody and T-cell responses in early-stage trial

A preliminary trial of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine candidate Sputnik V suggests it is safe and induces an immune response. The vaccine was approved by Russian authorities last month, before any data had been made public or a large-scale trial had begun. In the preliminary trial, it was tested in a small group of 76 healthy volunteers. All the volunteers developed coronavirus-specific antibodies and T-cells, and none experienced serious adverse reactions, according to results published in The Lancet today. However, it still isn’t clear whether the vaccine protects people from becoming infected with the coronavirus or from getting ill. This will be investigated through phase III testing, which is already underway, and which is expected to include 40,000 people across Russia. 

Some researchers are concerned that vaccine developers may come under political pressure to release doses of the vaccine for administration to the general public, before phase III testing is complete. “A vaccine should not be used to short-cut the implementation of public health interventions that are already known to be safe and effective, until the vaccine itself has been shown to be safe and effective,” said Eleanor Riley at the University of Edinburgh, in a statement

The World Health Organization (WHO) today said it does not expect widespread coronavirus vaccination until mid-2021. “We are not expecting to see widespread vaccination until the middle of next year,” said WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris at a briefing in Geneva. Harris said phase III trials will need to go on long enough to determine how “truly protective” and safe a given vaccine candidate is.

Other coronavirus news

Preliminary findings from a study by Public Health England found low rates of coronavirus infection among children and teachers in pre-school and primary school. Researchers took swabs from more than 12,000 children and teachers across 131 primary schools in England in June and early July, and detected only three cases of the virus. Ravindra Gupta at the University of Cambridge said the findings are not surprising, since limited numbers of children were attending schools in England during this time period. “We must not be complacent and falsely reassured,” said Gupta in a statement. “From September there will be more children, more mixing, more crowding and over winter less time will be spent outdoors,” he said, adding that there will be less chance to socially distance in schools in the coming months than it was possible to do in June.

New Zealand has recorded its first death from covid-19 since 28 May. A man in Auckland died after being admitted to hospital. His death is the first connected to a recent outbreak in the city, including 152 cases.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 870,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 26.3 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Social distancing: Computer scientists have used a database of public cameras to keep track of how well people are adhering to social distancing guidelines.

A medical worker takes a swab to test for the coronavirus at a drive-in testing facility, as a colleague looks on

A medical worker takes a swab to test for the coronavirus at a drive-in testing facility

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

3 September

New funding announced for trials of rapid new coronavirus tests in the UK

The UK government today announced £500 million worth of funding for trials of rapid coronavirus tests, including recently developed swab and saliva tests that can be performed in 90 minutes or less. The trials will also include community pilots investigating the effectiveness of repeat testing in schools and among the general population. “We are backing innovative new tests that are fast, accurate and easier to use and will maximise the impact and scale of testing, helping us to get back to a more normal way of life,” UK health minister Matt Hancock said in a statement today. 

Having quicker tests could help speed up the identification of infected people and the tracing of their close contacts. But having a rapid test is “useless” if contacts can’t be identified because the tracing system is overwhelmed, Joshua Moon at the University of Sussex said in a statement. NHS Test and Trace has been criticised for its repeated failure to reach a sufficient proportion of the contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus in England. According to the latest figures, 78.5 per cent of the contacts of people diagnosed with the virus in England were reached by NHS Test and Trace between 28 May and 26 August – below the target of 80 per cent or more recommended by government scientific advisors.

Other coronavirus news

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has notified states to prepare for the roll-out of a coronavirus vaccine within two months. “Limited covid-19 vaccine doses may be available by early November 2020,” according to CDC documents first published by the New York Times.  And in a letter to governors on 27 August, first obtained by McClatchy, CDC director Robert Redfield wrote: “CDC urgently requests your assistance in expediting applications for [vaccine] distribution facilities and, if necessary, asks that you consider waiving requirements that would prevent these facilities from becoming fully operational by November 1, 2020.” But public health researchers are concerned that the move is being driven less by evidence and instead by a political effort to rush a vaccine before the November election. Michael Osterholm at the University of Minnesota told the Associated Press that “the public health community wants a safe and effective vaccine as much as anybody […] but the data have to be clear and compelling.”

Pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi will start testing their protein-based coronavirus vaccine candidate in humans for the first time, to assess its safety and ability to induce an immune response. If this and subsequent trials are successful, the companies have said they could be requesting regulatory approval in the first half of next year. 

A surge in demand for coronavirus tests has left the UK struggling to keep up. Some people with symptoms who tried to book coronavirus swab tests online told the BBC they were directed to testing centres more than 100 miles away from their homes. This could act as a “big disincentive to being tested”, Paul Hunter at the University of East Anglia told the BBC, potentially limiting efforts to contain localised spikes in cases.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 864,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 26 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Pharmacist holding packs of dexamethasone anti-inflammatory steroid tablets.

Pharmacist holding packs of dexamethasone anti-inflammatory steroid tablets.

LEWIS HOUGHTON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

2 September

Steroid drugs that reduce inflammation found to save lives from severe covid-19

A group of drugs that reduce inflammation have been confirmed to increase survival in people with severe covid-19. In a landmark study bringing together all the trials done so far looking at the effect of steroids on coronavirus, researchers in the World Health Organization (WHO) REACT working group analysed results from seven randomised clinical trials, which included 1703 critically ill patients with covid-19. They compared the outcomes of those who had received one of three corticosteroid drugs dexamethasone, hydrocortisone or methylprednisolone with those who received standard care or a placebo. The researchers found that 32 per cent of those who received a corticosteroid treatment had died from the disease after 28 days, compared to 40 per cent of those who did not. 

“The evidence for benefit is strongest for dexamethasone,” Stephen Evans at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said in a statement. These new results, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, add weight to earlier findings from the RECOVERY trial, which found that dexamethasone reduced deaths in critically ill covid-19 patients by a third for patients on ventilators and by a fifth for those receiving oxygen – the first drug shown to do so. “This analysis increases confidence that [dexamethasone] has a really worthwhile role in critically ill patients with covid-19,” Evans said. As a result of the study, the WHO is expected to update its guidance on treatment. In the UK, the drug has been in use for treating severely ill covid-19 patients since June.

Other coronavirus news

The US will not take part in a global initiative to develop and distribute a future coronavirus vaccine, because of its association with the WHO. More than 170 countries are participating in the initiative, called COVAX, which is working to ensure the equitable and fair global allocation of a potential vaccine. “We will not be constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China,” White House spokesperson Judd Deere said in a statement. The US is due to withdraw from the WHO entirely next July – a move Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has vowed to reverse if he is elected in November.

Coronavirus restrictions have been eased in parts of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire in England, with the exceptions of Bolton and Trafford in Greater Manchester. The government today announced that restrictions on meetings between different households indoors in these areas, which were also due to be lifted today, would now remain in place due to increasing infection rates. Bolton currently has one of the highest rates of new virus cases in England, with 59 cases per 100,000 people in the week ending 29 August. Similar restrictions have also been introduced in the Glasgow area in Scotland, which has seen a rise in cases over the last two days.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 858,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 25.8 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Schools reopening: Schools across England and the US are about to reopen their doors to students who have been at home for months thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. What is the best way to keep children, and school staff and parents, safe?

Face coverings in schools: Should children returning to school wear face coverings? Official advice on this has evolved during the pandemic.

Oxford vaccine: A large trial of a coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford has begun in the US. With similar trials already under way in the UK and Brazil, hopes are rising that we could find out if the vaccine works before the end of the year.

Pupils wash their hands

Pupils wash their hands as they arrive on the first day back to school at Charles Dickens Primary School in London

Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

1 September

Pupils around the world return to schools with new coronavirus measures in place

Millions of pupils returned to school today for the first time since coronavirus lockdowns were introduced, including pupils in France, Poland, Russia, England and Wales as well as in Wuhan in China, where the coronavirus was first detected. Schools in England and Wales have introduced hygiene and social distancing measures in line with recently updated government guidance, including wearing of face coverings by pupils in communal areas and staggering of break times for different year groups. But a survey of 653 parents in these regions by YouGov revealed that 17 per cent were considering keeping their children out of school due to concerns about coronavirus. 

UK schools minister Nick Gibb today urged parents to send their children back to school. Doing so would “help them catch up on the lost education they’ll inevitably have suffered in the lockdown period,” he told the BBC Breakfast show. A survey of thousands of teachers by the National Foundation for Educational Research suggests that children in England are three months behind in their studies following lockdown, and that the estimated learning gap between advantaged and disadvantaged pupils has risen by 46 per cent. 98 per cent of the teachers in the survey, which was conducted at the end of the last school year in July, said their pupils were further behind in the curriculum than they should have been at the time.

Other coronavirus news

The UK’s prime minister Boris Johnson today told MPs that people in the UK were returning to the office in “huge numbers”, although no evidence has emerged to support the claim. A spokesperson for Johnson told the Huffington Post “people will be returning to the office after the summer break and also children going back to school gives parents some added flexibility.” The UK government’s campaign to encourage people to return to offices launched today. But in a recent survey of more than 6000 workers who have been working from home due to the pandemic, nine out of 10 said they would like to continue to do so.

Pharmaceutical giant Astrazeneca has expanded its agreement with UK company Oxford Biomedica to scale up production of its coronavirus vaccine candidate. Oxford Biomedica has agreed to produce tens of millions of doses of the vaccine candidate, which is being developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with the University of Oxford. The candidate recently entered late-stage trials in the US, with 30,000 people enrolled. In a statement, AstraZeneca said its global manufacturing capacity was close to 3 billion doses.

Although there has been an increase in the use of face coverings in the UK, only 13 per cent of people who wear reusable face masks are maintaining them in a way that is helpful to stopping the spread of coronavirus, according to a poll of 1944 people by YouGov. The survey found that the use of face coverings in the UK increased from 38 per cent to 69 per cent from mid to late July. However, only 13 per cent of people who said they wear washable face masks also said they wash them after every use and at 60 degrees C or higher.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 851,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 25.5 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Immune response: Throughout the coronavirus pandemic there have been fierce debates over the science – when to lock down, whether face coverings help and whether children are less susceptible, for example. The latest row is over whether we have been ignoring a crucial part of our immune response to the virus: T-cells.

schoolchildren waiting

Children wait outside the school gate in Johannesburg, South Africa.

KIM LUDBROOK/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

28 August

Children are at “strikingly low” risk of getting severely ill from coronavirus

Children are much less likely to get severe covid-19 than adults, and it is very rare for them to die from it, according to a UK study that was published in the BMJ today. The study tracked 651 under-18s admitted to hospital with coronavirus between January and July in England, Scotland and Wales. Six children died, 1 per cent of the total, and they had all had other severe illnesses before the virus struck, some of which were themselves life-limiting. The authors say this is a “strikingly low” death rate compared with 27 per cent for all ages in the population as a whole over the same time period. The findings are in line with previous similar research. Young people make up 1 to 2 per cent of cases of covid-19 worldwide, although it’s not clear why they seem to be less affected.

“There have been no deaths in otherwise healthy school-age children,” Calum Semple at the University of Liverpool told the BBC. “There is no direct harm from children going back to school,” he said. The findings come as some UK schools have been reopening for all their pupils for the first time since lockdown in March, with most schools in England due to be back by next week.

Other coronavirus news

The UK has announced plans for quickly immunising large numbers of people if a coronavirus vaccine is developed before winter. They involve allowing a wider range of healthcare staff to give shots, such as midwives, physiotherapists and dentists, as well as pharmacists, who already administer flu vaccines. It also grants powers to approve any vaccine that is proven safe and effective before the end of the year to the Medicines Healthcare Regulatory Agency. This body will become responsible for approving all drugs and vaccines from the start of 2021 once the UK’s Brexit transition period is over.

Schools reopening in the US have found Legionnaires’ disease bacteria in their water supply, which can cause deadly pneumonia. The Legionella microbe was found in the water supply of five schools in Ohio and four in Pennsylvania last week, and experts say it could be in more.

The World Health Organization is trying to get more countries to join Covax, its coronavirus vaccine allocation scheme, according to documents seen by Reuters. The WHO plan would see countries pooling funds so that if one vaccine succeeds, all participants will get a fair allocation. But the UN agency has struggled to get enough richer nations on board. Countries including the UK, the US and Japan have made their own deals with manufacturers developing vaccines, securing millions of doses for their own citizens. 

Several large US states have said they will not follow official federal policy to stop testing people who think they have been exposed to the coronavirus but who do not have symptoms. In a rebuke to the new testing policy announced by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California, Texas, Florida, New York and four other states have said they will continue with the old regime. The CDC’s move provoked claims that it was a politically motivated move to lower the number of people testing positive ahead of the 2020 election.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide death toll has passed 832,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 24.5 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Internet outage slows covid-19 contact tracing: Health officials were unable to trace and isolate the contacts of thousands of people who tested positive for the coronavirus in England until up to a week later.

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A woman walks past chairs painted with the colours of the Tour de France leaders’ jerseys on the seafront in Nice, France

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27 August

WHO warns Europe is entering “tricky moment” as coronavirus cases climb

As some European countries have continued to report growth in covid-19 cases, governments are responding by tightening up restrictions and safety measures. France reported 5429 daily cases today, up from 3776 a week ago, and Italy counted 1366 cases, its biggest daily increase in more than three months and up against 642 a week ago. Daily numbers in other major European countries are relatively stable, with Spain at 7296, Germany at 1507 and the UK at 1048.

The French prime minister Jean Castex warned the country had seen an “undeniable surge” of cases and the epidemic “could become exponential”, with cases rising as quickly as they did in the early days of the pandemic. The virus is now circulating in 20 of the country’s 101 “departments”, up from two previously. With France’s reproduction number – the average number of people one infected person will likely infect – now at 1.4, Castex said masks will become mandatory in Paris. The 21-day Tour de France will still go ahead this Saturday.

The German government today rejected calls to relax restrictions, with a leaked plan saying private parties will be limited to 25 people and the anticipated end of a ban on large public gatherings in October will instead be extended to the end of the year.

Hans Kluge at the World Health Organization said today that Europe is entering a “tricky moment” as schools reopen across the continent, though he stressed that schools had not been a “main contributor” to the epidemic. Asked by New Scientist at a press conference today if European countries’ responses to growing cases this week are commensurate with keeping the virus in check, Maria van Kerkhove at the WHO said: “What we are seeing is countries applying different measures. What we are seeing are targeted, tailored approaches. Hopefully these are time-bound.” On measures such as mandating face coverings and limiting the size of gatherings, she said: “All of these are different tools that may need to be applied. I think what we’re seeing is this calibration, of putting in efforts to suppress transmission to keep it at a low level while allowing societies to open up. This is one of the critical things we are all trying to figure out now.”

Other coronavirus news

The number of patients getting heart disease services at hospitals in the US and UK dropped by more than half during the countries’ lockdown, researchers have found. Writing in the journal Open Heart, they warned cardiology departments need to be prepared for a “significant increase in workload” in the coming months as a result.

In the UK, government statistics today show that three months after the launch of England’s contact tracing scheme, it is still falling short of reaching 80 per cent of close contacts of people who have tested positive for covid-19, the level the government’s scientific advisers say is needed. Three quarters of close contacts were reached between 13-19 August. Nearly 300,000 people have been reached since the system’s launch.

Separately, anyone in the UK on a low income who needs to self-isolate for 10 days and cannot work from home will be eligible to get £13 a day from the government in areas affected by local outbreaks, health secretary Matt Hancock said today.

A drug used to help cats with another coronavirus has been found to show promise in tackling the current coronavirus outbreak. The drug, GC376, and its parent, GC373, are “strong drug candidates for the treatment of human coronavirus infections because they have already been successful in animals,” the team write in Nature Communications. Here’s the New Scientist guide to all the latest on covid-19 treatments.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide death toll has passed 826,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 24 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Is the rush to roll out a coronavirus vaccine undermining safety? Some shortcuts are being taken in the race to get a coronavirus vaccine approved, but there are also more resources, openness and scrutiny than ever before.

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Pupils in Glasgow, Scotland return to school after lockdown on 12 August

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26 August

Face coverings will now be mandatory for secondary school pupils in areas of England under lockdown 

Secondary school pupils in areas of England under local lockdowns will now be required to wear face coverings in all communal areas except classrooms, after the government reversed its guidance last night. The government has been under mounting pressure from headteachers to adopt a stricter policy on the use of face coverings ahead of schools reopening next month. Within coronavirus hotspots, “it probably does make sense in confined areas outside the classroom to use a face covering in the corridor and elsewhere,” UK prime minister Boris Johnson told journalists today, citing recently updated World Health Organization guidelines. The new rule won’t apply to schools in areas that aren’t under lockdown, although head teachers in any secondary school will have the flexibility to introduce their own rules. In Wales, the decision on the use of face coverings in schools will be left to individual schools and councils.

Other coronavirus news

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been criticised for changing its guidelines on coronavirus testing to say that some people without symptoms may not require a test, even if they have been in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. The change has not been explained by CDC leaders. Leana Wen, a doctor and public health professor at George Washington University, told CNN, “These are exactly the people who should be tested,” as they are key to contact tracing.

Fewer than 40,000 cases were confirmed in the US yesterday and daily new coronavirus cases there have been falling, after peaking on 22 July at about 70,000, though this may be due to insufficient testing. The total number of tests administered has fallen from an average of more than 820,000 per day in mid-August to about 690,000 per day in the last week or so.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide death toll has passed 820,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 23.9 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Vaccine race: Some shortcuts are being taken in the race to get a coronavirus vaccine approved, but there are also more resources, openness and scrutiny than ever before.

Face coverings: Do you get angry when you see someone without a face covering? They might have a good reason to avoid one, even if it isn’t obvious.

Man and two children wearing face masks walk towards school gate

Father and two children walking to school wearing face masks

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25 August

UK government under pressure to review policy on face coverings in schools in England

There is growing pressure on the UK government to review its policy on the wearing of face coverings in schools in England, after the Scottish government today announced that secondary school pupils will have to wear them in communal areas from Monday. Public Health England’s current guidance, issued in July, doesn’t recommend the use of face coverings in schools. The Association of School and College Leaders a headteachers’ union in the UK has criticised the lack of clarity around the rules on whether teachers and pupils can wear face coverings in schools in England. “The guidance is silent on what schools should do if staff or pupils want to wear face coverings,” the union’s general secretary, Geoff Barton told the BBC. During a visit to the south-west of England today, UK prime minister Boris Johnson said the government is continuing to look at the changing medical evidence, adding “if we need to change the advice then of course we will.” The Welsh government has said it will review its position on face coverings in schools. 

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization issued new guidance saying that children above age 12 should wear face masks in line with recommended practice for adults in the place where they live. Recent outbreaks in Scotland “reinforce the idea that covid-19 transmission in schools is potentially substantial”, said Rowland Kao at the University of Edinburgh in a statement. “Should masks be adopted, their use must be accompanied by awareness of the need for good mask hygiene and regular handwashing.”

Other coronavirus news

Two more patients have been reported to have been reinfected with the coronavirus, one in the Netherlands and another in Belgium. Yesterday, researchers at the University of Hong Kong announced that they had documented the first case of coronavirus reinfection. “That someone would emerge with a reinfection, that doesn’t make me nervous,” Marion Koopmans at Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands told Dutch broadcaster NOS. “We have to see whether this happens more often.” 

Coronavirus cases in Spain are continuing to surge, with 175.7 cases per 100,000 people, according to the latest 14-day cumulative figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. This is compared to 62.8 cases per 100,000 people in France and 22.5 cases per 100,000 people in the UK. Unions in Madrid last week warned that the primary care system was “on the edge of collapse” due to lack of staff and capacity for testing.

People living in the Gaza Strip have been put under a lockdown after local authorities confirmed the first locally acquired cases of the coronavirus. A 48-hour lockdown went into effect on Monday evening across the territory.

Bali in Indonesia will not reopen to foreign tourists this year due to concerns about rising coronavirus cases.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide death toll has passed 814,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 23.6 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Less deadly in Europe: It is becoming increasingly clear that people are less likely to die if they get covid-19 now compared with earlier in the pandemic, at least in Europe, but the reasons why are still shrouded in uncertainty.

Plasma treatment: Blood plasma donated by people who have recovered from covid-19 will be used as a treatment for the infection in the US. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an emergency use authorisation for the treatment on 23 August, but the evidence that it works is lacking.

First case of reinfection: A healthy 33-year-old man is the first person confirmed to have caught the coronavirus twice, according to unpublished research from the University of Hong Kong. As details of the case emerge, researchers say there is still much we don’t know.

Person waits in line to receive covid-19 test kit

Hong Kong residents receive free covid-19 test kits

MIGUEL CANDELA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

24 August

Researchers say they have detected the first case of coronavirus reinfection

Researchers at the University of Hong Kong say they have documented the first case of a person being reinfected with the coronavirus. The team analysed virus samples taken from a man when he first tested positive for the coronavirus in late March, and again when he tested positive for a second time in mid-August. They discovered several differences in the sequences of the virus from the first and second infections, suggesting the man had been infected with two separate strains of the virus, rather than one long-lasting infection. Their findings have been accepted for publication in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal.

What will the discovery mean for the dozens of vaccine candidates being developed to protect people against the coronavirus? It may indicate that being infected with the virus doesn’t necessarily protect people against future infections, said David Strain at the University of Exeter in a statement. “Vaccinations work by simulating infection to the body, thereby allowing the body to develop antibodies. If antibodies don’t provide lasting protection, we will need to revert to a strategy of viral near-elimination in order to return to a more normal life,” says Strain. But Brendan Wren at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said it is important to take these results into context: “This is a very rare example of reinfection and it should not negate the global drive to develop covid-19 vaccines.”

Other coronavirus news

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Sunday issued emergency use authorisation for convalescent plasma as a treatment for severe covid-19. This is drawn from people who have recovered from infection with the coronavirus and contains antibodies to fight the virus. In a statement the FDA said that “the known and potential benefits of the [treatment] outweigh the known and potential risks.” More than 70,000 people in the US have received convalescent plasma as a treatment for covid-19 since March, through a programme run by the Mayo Clinic. FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn said studies have found a 35 per cent improvement in survival for covid-19 patients given the plasma.

At least 17 staff and pupils at a school in Dundee have tested positive for the coronavirus less than two weeks after pupils returned to schools in Scotland. Kingspark school closed last Wednesday and pupils have been told to self-isolate until 3 September. Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon today announced that secondary school pupils in Scotland may be advised to wear face coverings, in light of new guidance from the World Health Organization. Schools in England are due to reopen in September, but a spokesperson for the prime minister today said there are no plans to review the current guidance in England for the wearing of face coverings in schools.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide death toll has passed 809,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 23.4 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Australia’s second wave: Australia’s second wave of the coronavirus appears to be finally subsiding, but the country isn’t out of the woods yet.

Vaccine technology: Prevention is better than cure, so we should start using genetic techniques to stop dangerous animal diseases jumping to humans, say Scott Nuismer and James Bull.

Commuters in front of a train station

Commuters arrive for work at Victoria Station in London

Alex Lentati/LNP/Shutterstock

21 August

Coronavirus R number in UK rises slightly but infections appear to be levelling off

In the UK, the latest estimate for the R number, the number of people each coronavirus case infects, has risen to between 0.9 and 1.1, up slightly from 0.8 to 1.0 the previous week. However, due to a time lag in the data used to model the R number, this is more representative of the situation two to three weeks ago. Estimates for the infection growth rates range between -3 and 1 per cent. This suggests infections in the UK are levelling off on average, in a continuation of the trend observed over the last few weeks. This is consistent with the latest results from the random swab testing survey by the Office for National Statistics, which suggests about 24,600 people in England 1 in 2200 had the virus in the week ending 13 August, compared to 28,300 people 1 in 1900 in the week ending 9 August

Local coronavirus restrictions in place in parts of northern England will be lifted on Saturday. People from two different households in Wigan in Greater Manchester and Rossendale and Darwen in Lancashire will now be allowed to meet in homes and gardens. But restrictions will remain in place in some other parts of Greater Manchester and Lancashire, as well as in parts of West Yorkshire and in Leicester. Oldham, which had the highest rate of infections in the UK last week at 103.1 cases per 100,000 people, has avoided the introduction of restrictions but will be subjected to “a more targeted intervention”, according to the Department of Health and Social Care. 

Other coronavirus news

Travellers arriving in the UK from Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago will be required to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival, starting at 4.00 am on Saturday, UK transport minister Grant Shapps announced yesterday. There are currently 47.2 cases per 100,000 people in Croatia compared to 21.2 per 100,000 people in the UK, according to cumulative figures for the last 14 days from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Those arriving in the UK from Portugal, which currently has a case rate of 28.5 per 100,000 people, will no longer need to self-isolate. Shapps said it would be “too difficult” for the UK to adopt a more targeted approach to the quarantine rules like Germany’s, affecting travellers from specific regions rather than entire countries, due to the difficulty in assessing infection patterns overseas in sufficient detail.

Coronavirus cases have been reported among pupils or teachers at 41 schools in Germany’s capital Berlin, less than two weeks after schools reopened. Berlin was one of the first places in Germany to reopen schools after the summer break. Schools in Scotland reopened earlier this month and schools in England will reopen in September. 

South Korea recorded its highest number of daily new coronavirus cases since 8 March, with 324 new cases confirmed on Thursday. There have been 732 cases linked to the new outbreak so far, 56 of which have been linked to a single church in Seoul.

Lebanon has reintroduced a partial lockdown and an overnight curfew in an attempt to suppress a recent spike in coronavirus infections in the aftermath of the Beirut port explosion. The country recorded 605 new cases on Thursday, its highest daily case number so far.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 794,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 22.7 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Coronavirus and flying: Is it safe to fly with the coronavirus still circulating? That depends partly on where you are. But while hard evidence is scarce, it appears the risk of being infected with covid-19 during a flight is relatively low.

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Commuters at Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof central train station in Frankfurt, Germany.

Alex Kraus/Bloomberg via Getty Images

20 August

WHO warns of “risk of resurgence” in Europe as Germany and Spain see cases surge

The risk of a resurgence of the coronavirus “has never been far away,” the World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge said during a briefing today. Europe recorded 40,000 more coronavirus cases in the first week of August, compared to the first week of June, when cases were at their lowest, and cases have steadily been rising in the region, in part due to the relaxation of public health and social measures, he said. Germany recorded its highest daily number of new cases since April, with 1707 new cases confirmed on Wednesday. Spain recorded 3715 cases on the same day, the highest daily number there since the country’s lockdown was lifted in late June. “Authorities have been easing some of the restrictions and people have been dropping their guard,” said Kluge. 

Kluge thanked young people for the sacrifices they have made to protect themselves and others from covid-19 but expressed concern about people aged between 15 and 24, who account for a growing number of cases. “Low risk does not mean no risk. No one is invincible,” he said.

Other coronavirus news

England saw a 27 per cent increase in the number of people testing positive for coronavirus in the week ending 12 August compared to the previous week, according to the Department of Health and Social Care. Its latest figures state that 6616 people tested positive for the virus, whilst the number of people tested for the virus went down by 2 per cent over the same time period.

UK health minister Matt Hancock yesterday told the BBC that people in the UK should be able to return to workplaces without the need for wearing face masks, citing evidence from NHS Test and Trace that people have been largely catching the virus in meetings between households rather than in offices. But researchers, including microbiologist Simon Clarke at the University of Reading, say there isn’t sufficient data to rule out the risk of transmission within workplaces and from workplaces to households. “The virus needs to be taken into homes by someone and they will have had to pick it up from somewhere else […] even a single workplace transmission could lead to multiple onward infections in a family, household or other setting.”

India reported a record daily increase in coronavirus cases for the country today, with more than 69,652 cases confirmed, according to its health ministry.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 788,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 22.4 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Rewilding the sky: Let’s take inspiration from the way we intervene to help degraded ecosystems recover and attempt to restore the atmosphere back to full health, taking advantage of the lull in human activity under covid-19, writes Graham Lawton.

Medical worker takes swab sample in a drive-thru testing centre

A medical worker takes a swab sample in a drive-thru testing centre

REUTERS/Carl Recine – RC2Z2I9ILO1A

19 August

Random swab testing survey to be expanded in England and to other UK nations

Coronavirus tests will be carried out on more people in the UK to help monitor the spread of the virus, the government says. The random swab testing survey for coronavirus by the Office for National Statistics, which started in May, will be expanded to test more people in England as well as people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the UK’s health minister Matt Hancock announced today. In England, the survey will expand from testing 28,000 people every two weeks in the community, outside of hospitals and care homes, to testing 150,000 people. Hancock said this is part of a wider effort to expand coronavirus testing in the UK.

Testing larger numbers of people will allow smaller changes in infection growth trends to be interpreted with more reliability, says biologist and medical innovation researcher Michael Hopkins at the University of Sussex. It will provide a “higher definition picture of the outbreak”, helping to pinpoint at-risk groups within the population, says Hopkins. More widespread testing could also help capture people who have the virus but are asymptomatic. An analysis by the ONS published yesterday found that only 28 per cent of people testing positive for the coronavirus in England reported having symptoms around the time they were tested.

Other coronavirus news

Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison backtracked today after saying that coronavirus vaccination would be mandatory in Australia. Currently there isn’t a coronavirus vaccine available but there are 160 vaccine candidates being developed and 31 are in human trials. The Australian government recently secured access to the vaccine candidate being developed by the University of Oxford in partnership with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, and has now said that if the vaccine is approved it will offer it to Australian citizens for free. Clarifying his earlier comments about making the vaccine mandatory, Morrison said “we can’t hold someone down and make them take it”, adding that vaccination would be “encouraged.”

Almost 1200 fewer people died this year in New Zealand up to 20 July compared to during the same period last year, a rare trend in light of the global pandemic. Some researchers speculate this may be due to a reduction in deaths from other respiratory illnesses, thanks to the introduction of measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus. In May, neighbouring Australia reported lower flu rates than usual, which was also attributed to coronavirus lockdown measures. New Zealand has recorded only 22 covid-19 related deaths

South Korea recorded its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases since March yesterday, with 297 cases of the virus confirmed. Officials in Seoul have begun introducing restrictions on gatherings in the city and its surrounding area, prohibiting indoor gatherings of more than 50 people and outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 782,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 22.1 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Achieving herd immunity: Today, some headlines celebrate the fact that many places might have achieved herd immunity including Britain and pockets of London, New York and Mumbai. But others warn that millions will die before we get there. The true picture is far messier, partly because scientists don’t even agree on what herd immunity is, let alone how it might be achieved. So how will we know when populations are protected against the coronavirus?

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A worker holding a tray containing ampoules of “Sputnik V”, a covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology in Zelenograd, Russia

Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images

18 August

“We need to prevent vaccine nationalism,” says WHO director-general

The World Health Organization (WHO) today called for an end to “vaccine nationalism”, the hoarding of vaccine doses by some nations. “The fastest way to end this pandemic and to reopen economies is to start by protecting the highest risk populations everywhere,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press briefing today. “We need to prevent vaccine nationalism,” he said. The priority should be protecting essential workers and other at-risk groups, Ghebreyesus said: “If we can work together, we can ensure that all essential workers are protected and proven treatments like dexamethasone are available to those who need them.” Although there currently isn’t a vaccine available for covid-19 there are more than 160 candidates in development, with 31 in human trials. Several countries have already secured deals for doses of some of these vaccine candidates. The UK has purchased at least 190 million doses, including 100 million of the vaccine candidate being developed by the University of Oxford and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. 

Separately, Takeshi Kasai, WHO Western Pacific regional director, told the briefing that “the epidemic is changing.” He said that “people in their 20s, 30s and 40s are increasingly driving the spread. Many are unaware they are infected.” This increases the risk of the virus spreading to the more vulnerable,” he added.

Other coronavirus news

Public Health England will be replaced by a new public health agency, UK health minister Matt Hancock confirmed today. The new agency, called the National Institute for Health Protection, will combine “the expertise of Public Health England with the enormous response capabilities of NHS Test and Trace and the Joint Biosecurity Centre,” Hancock said at the Policy Exchange think tank. Dido Harding, the current head of NHS Test and Trace, will lead the new organisation initially, Hancock said. NHS Test and Trace has been criticised for repeatedly failing to reach the proportion of contacts of people diagnosed with coronavirus that is recommended by government scientific advisors 80 per cent or more. Between 30 July and 5 August for instance, the system only managed to reach 74.2 per cent of the contacts of people who tested positive for the virus in England. 

The proportion of people in the UK who reported experiencing symptoms of depression was 20 per cent in June, up from 10 per cent in July last year, according to a survey by the Office for National Statistics.

Voters from six US states filed a lawsuit against the country’s president Donald Trump and the postmaster general Louis DeJoy yesterday over cuts to the US postal service ahead of the upcoming general election. Many states are expecting a surge in postal ballots this year due to the pandemic.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

The worldwide death toll has passed 775,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 21.9 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Travelling abroad safely: Many countries have seen an increase in coronavirus cases, making going abroad more of a gamble. So what are the different options for managing the current risks from international travel, and which countries have got it right?

Return of covid-19 to New Zealand: New Zealand has acted swiftly to contain a new coronavirus outbreak after going 102 days virus-free, but it’s still unclear whether it can stamp it out again.

Protestor holds placard reading 'Yo Gavin, I just wanna talk'A-level students hold a sit in protest at the Department for Education over the results fiasco

17 August

A-level and GCSE grades in England to be based on teachers’ predictions instead of controversial algorithm

Pupils in England will be given A-level and GCSE grades estimated by their teachers rather than by an algorithm that sparked protests after it was used to moderate the grades of A-level pupils last week. The algorithm, which was introduced because the pandemic disrupted the usual exam process, resulted in about 280,000 A-level pupils in England seeing their scores drop by at least one grade or more compared to their predicted results.Those from disadvantaged backgrounds were worst-affected. UK education minister Gavin Williamson today announced that England’s exams regulator, Ofqual is scrapping the algorithm, bringing policy in line with the UK’s other nations. Williamson and Ofqual chair, Roger Taylor apologised for the “distress” caused. 

Other coronavirus news

England’s health agency, Public Health England, could be replaced by a new body specifically focused on dealing with pandemics. The new agency would be modelled on Germany’s Robert Koch Institute and is expected to be announced this week by the UK’s health minister, Matt Hancock, according to a report in the Sunday Telegraph. The article also indicates that Hancock plans to merge the NHS Test and Trace scheme with the pandemic response work of Public Health England. “The reports in the media of a proposed ‘axing’ of Public Health England is of huge concern,” said Amitava Banerjee, clinical data scientist and cardiologist at University College London. A major restructuring of public health function, as the global covid-19 emergency continues, will divert limited resources away from public health measures such as testing and tracing, said Banerjee. 

Voters in the US are concerned about whether it is still safe to post their ballots, after the country’s president Donald Trump last week said he would block additional funding required for the postal service to handle the expected surge in postal ballots this year. Many US states have been trying to make postal voting easier so that people are able to vote safely during the pandemic.

South Korea tightened social distancing rules on Sunday after 197 new coronavirus cases linked to a new outbreak were confirmed on Saturday. “We’re facing a crisis where if the current spread isn’t controlled, it would bring an exponential rise in cases, which could in turn lead to the collapse of our medical system and enormous economic damage,” director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Jeong Eun-kyeong said during a briefing.

New Zealand’s general election will be postponed by a month due to an on-going coronavirus outbreak in Auckland, the country’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. Nine new cases in the new cluster were confirmed today, bringing the total to 58 cases so far.

A new test for coronavirus-specific T-cells immune cells that help the body fight infections could help researchers developing vaccine candidates. The test is being developed by UK company Indoor Biotechnologies, which says early trials found that some people who had the coronavirus but tested negative for antibodies went on to test positive for T-cells. It still isn’t clear whether antibodies or T-cells provide long-lasting immunity against the virus and how long such immunity might last.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 776,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 21.7 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Coronavirus and pets: Reports of pets being infected with the coronavirus have been growing, but how worried should owners be? And could pets be spreading the virus between people?

People sitting and waiting in a train station

Passengers wait next to the Eurostar Terminal at the Gare du Nord train station in Paris.

Michel Euler/AP/Shutterstock

14 August

UK visitors to France could face restrictions after UK imposed quarantine on arrivals 

Travellers arriving in France from the UK could be required to quarantine for two weeks after arrival into the country, Clément Beaune, France’s junior minister for European Affairs, told journalists on Thursday. His statement came after the UK added France and the Netherlands to its list of countries from which arriving travellers will be required to quarantine for 14 days. France currently has a coronavirus case rate of 34.0 people per 100,000, according to cumulative figures for the last 14 days from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, with 41.6 cases per 100,000 people in the Netherlands. The case rate in the UK is currently 17.3 per 100,000 people. The UK’s new rules are effective from 4:00 BST on Saturday 15 August and will also apply for people arriving in the UK from Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos and Aruba. Transport minister Grant Shapps said that there are currently about 160,000 people from the UK on holidays in France. 

Other coronavirus news

Restrictions affecting parts of northern England and Leicester will stay in place due to on-going local outbreaks, the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care announced today. People living in the affected areas in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Leicester aren’t allowed to meet with people from other households indoors or in private gardens. Oldham in Greater Manchester has experienced the largest week-on-week rise in cases in England, recording a rate of 107.5 cases per 100,000 people between 2 and 8 August, up from 57.8 during the previous week. The government says the restrictions will be reviewed again next week. 

Elsewhere in England, easing of restrictions allowing small wedding receptions, live indoor performances and beauty treatments will go ahead from Saturday after being delayed from the original date of 1 August, UK prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed today. Bowling alleys, casinos and play centres will also be allowed to reopen.

Despite some local outbreaks, coronavirus cases across England as a whole appear to be levelling off, according to the latest results from a random swab testing survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS estimates that 28,300 people in England one in 1900 people had the virus in the week ending 9 August, the same as the previous week.

New Zealand has extended a lockdown in Auckland by at least 12 days, the country’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. New Zealand had been free of locally transmitted coronavirus infections for 102 days until four people from the same household in Auckland tested positive for the virus earlier this week. The number of cases in the new outbreak there has since risen to 29. 

North Korea has lifted a three-week lockdown in the border city of Kaesong after a suspected coronavirus case there, state media reported today. The World Health Organization last week said that tests on the suspected case a man who returned to North Korea after defecting had been inconclusive. North Korea has not reported any other cases.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 760,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 20.9 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Men move casket for a funeral

Staff of Guardian Funerals transport the casket of Covid-19 victim

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

13 August

UK government has changed the way deaths from covid-19 are recorded in England

England’s covid-19 death toll has been revised down by more than 5000, after the UK government announced a new UK-wide standard for recording deaths caused by the coronavirus. The changes mean the removal of 5377 deaths from Public Health England’s official record, decreasing the UK’s total numbers of deaths from the virus from 46,706 to 41,329 as of 12 August. 

People who recovered from covid-19 before dying from other causes more than a month later may have been included in the previous death toll due to the way Public Health England was collecting its data. “It had become essentially useless for epidemiological monitoring,” said epidemiologist Keith Neal at the University of Nottingham, UK. From now on England’s official death toll will only include people who died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus, bringing it in line with the other nations in the UK. 

Other coronavirus news

The number of patients admitted to hospitals in England for routine treatment was down by 67 per cent in June compared to the same time last year, according to data from NHS England. The number of people visiting accident and emergency units was also down, by 30 per cent compared to last year, as was the number going to their family doctor with symptoms of cancer and being urgently referred to a specialist , at 20 per cent lower than last year. The NHS England data also suggests more people waited longer than usual for planned procedures, such as knee and hip operations. The Health Foundation charity told the BBC that this indicates the NHS is still “nowhere close to business as usual following the first outbreak of covid-19,” and warned that long waiting times could lead to deterioration in people’s health.

The coronavirus may have been circulating in New Zealand for weeks prior to the country’s new outbreak, according to New Zealand’s director-general of health, Ashley Bloomfield. The first person in the new cluster of cases started showing symptoms as early as 31 July, Bloomfield said during a media briefing in Wellington, adding that genome sequencing was underway on the original four cases to try and trace the train of transmission. Officials are also investigating the theory that the cases were imported via refrigerated freight. New Zealand had been free of locally transmitted coronavirus infections for 102 days before four people from the same household tested positive earlier this week. 

Authorities in two cities in China said they found traces of the coronavirus on imported frozen food and on food packaging. Samples of chicken wings imported to the city of Shenzhen from Brazil and packaging of frozen shrimp imported from Ecuador to a city in China’s Anhui province tested positive for the virus. It isn’t yet clear when the products became contaminated but China is increasing screening at its ports. The coronavirus can survive for up to two years frozen at -20°C but is destroyed by heating to 70°C. The World Health Organization says that there isn’t currently any evidence that people can catch the virus from food or food packaging. 

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 750,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 20.6 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Sweden’s coronavirus strategy: Sweden was one of the few European countries not to impose a compulsory lockdown. Its unusual strategy for tackling the coronavirus outbreak has both been hailed as a success, and condemned as a failure. So which is it?

Two women wearing face masks leaving a coronavirus testing tent

Two woman in Ripollet, Catalonia wearing face masks outside a coronavirus testing area.

PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images

12 August

Germany and Spain among a growing list of western European countries where coronavirus cases are surging

Coronavirus cases are rising in Germany, Spain and other countries in western Europe, with Spain recording 1418 new infections on Tuesday, and Germany detecting 1200 cases in the last 24 hours, the country’s biggest daily increase for three months. In the Netherlands, daily new infections are back to about half the level they were at during the initial peak. Spain now has the highest rate of coronavirus infections in the region, with 94 cases per 100,000 people, compared to 38 in the Netherlands, 30 in France, 18 in the UK and 14 in Germany, according to cumulative figures for the last 14 days from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, says people returning from holiday may be the reason for the increasing number of cases in Germany, as the UK and Germany continue to warn people against non-essential travel to parts of Spain. Any holidaymakers returning to the UK from Spain are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The list of countries from which all arrivals to the UK must quarantine may be updated this week to include 14 more countries, including France.

Other coronavirus news

The World Health Organization (WHO) is in talks with Russian authorities about reviewing the coronavirus vaccine candidate whose approval for use in Russia yesterday sparked criticism from researchers. Russia’s vaccine, Sputnik-V, is not on the WHO’s list of six vaccines that have reached phase III trials involving clinical testing on large groups of people. Russia’s health minister Mikhail Murashko today dismissed safety concerns expressed by foreign researchers about the rapid approval of the vaccine as “groundless.”

Lebanon announced its highest number of daily new coronavirus cases yesterday since the start of the pandemic, with more than 300 new cases and seven deaths from covid-19. Hospitals in the country are overwhelmed following the aftermath of the explosion in Beirut last week. WHO spokesperson Tarik Jarasevic told a UN briefing yesterday that the displacement of people due to the explosion risks accelerating the spread of the coronavirus there.

At least 800 people are estimated to have died around the world as a result of misinformation about the coronavirus during the first three months of this year, a study has found. A further 5800 people are estimated to have been admitted to hospital for the same reason during this period. The majority of the deaths and hospitalisations were due to people consuming methanol and alcohol-based cleaning products, incorrectly believing that they were cures for covid-19, according to the study, which was published in The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide death toll has passed 744,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 20.4 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Children at risk: A staggering 115 million children in India are at risk of malnutrition, as the world’s largest school lunch programme has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Who should get vaccinated first?: It is August 2021, and the moment the world has been waiting for has finally arrived – a vaccine against covid-19 has passed all the tests and is ready to be rolled out. But this isn’t the end. There are more than 7.5 billion people in need of vaccination but perhaps only a billion doses available in the first six months of production. Who gets one?

Staying connected: Greeting neighbours or gossiping with a colleague can boost your health and well-being, but coronavirus lockdowns are putting that in jeopardy. Here’s how to stay connected.

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New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced new lockdown measures in Auckland after four new coronavirus cases were detected in the community

New Zealand government

11 August

New Zealand reimposes Auckland lockdown after first locally transmitted cases for 102 days

New Zealand has reported its first new coronavirus cases thought to be acquired through local transmission, after going 102 days without a single reported case outside of managed isolation or quarantine. Four people within one family in south Auckland tested positive for the virus, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern said today at a press briefing. New Zealand has been widely praised for its aggressive response to the coronavirus, closing its borders to non-nationals and implementing one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, all at a time when the country had only 205 cases and no deaths from covid-19. Testing is now being ramped up in Auckland and lockdown restrictions will be reimposed there from tomorrow. Everyone except essential workers will be asked to work from home and schools will be closed for most children. Other public facilities, including bars and restaurants, will be required to close and gatherings will be limited to 10 people. 

Other coronavirus news

Researchers have expressed concerns about the approval of a coronavirus vaccine candidate in Russia today. The virus has been approved for widespread use, despite only being tested in dozens of people. “There is no data on the Russian-led vaccine for the global health community to scrutinise,” said Michael Head, public health research fellow at the University of Southampton, UK. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin said one of his daughters has already been inoculated, and claimed it was safe. 

The number of contact tracers working for NHS Test and Trace will be reduced by 6000 in England by the end of this month, the UK government has announced. The remaining 12,000 contact tracers will work more closely with local public health authorities to help with contact tracing within communities. Between 16 and 22 July, NHS Test and Trace only managed to reach 75 per cent of the contacts of people who tested positive for the coronavirus in England. Dido Harding, head of NHS Test and Trace said that having a more localised approach will ensure more contacts of coronavirus cases within communities can be reached.

Australia’s remote Northern Territory will keep its borders shut to coronavirus-affected states until at least 2022, according to local officials. People arriving from affected states will be required to quarantine at a hotel for 14 days at their own expense.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 737,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 20.1 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Question about the UK’s new rapid tests: Two 90-minute tests for the coronavirus will be rolled out by the UK government in the coming weeks – and while both are promising, neither has publicly available data to support its use.

Common cold virus vaccine: A vaccine that protects against one of the main common cold viruses – respiratory syncytial virus – has been shown to be safe and effective in a clinical trial and could be available by 2024.

Man wearing mask and hat in snow

A man seen in a street during a snowfall in the early stages of the pandemic.

Sergei Fadeichev/TASS via Getty Images

10 August

No indication there is seasonality with the coronavirus, says WHO 

There is no indication that the coronavirus is seasonal and it could bounce back any time, World Health Organization (WHO) leaders said at a press briefing today. Evidence suggests the coronavirus is unlike flu, which tends to spike in autumn and winter. “If you take pressure off the virus, the virus will bounce back. That’s what we will say to countries in Europe – keep the pressure on,” said Mike Ryan, WHO executive director of the emergencies program. Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead of WHO’s covid-19 response, said that the majority of the world’s population remains susceptible to the virus, and WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus emphasised the importance of countries taking targeted action to tackle local outbreaks through methods like localised lockdowns employed in Leicester, UK. 

Other coronavirus news

The WHO says it has only received a fraction of the funding it needs for an initiative aimed at developing and distributing drugs, vaccines and other tools to help tackle the pandemic. “While we’re grateful for those that have made contributions, we’re only 10 per cent of the way to funding the billions required to realise the promise of the ACT [Access to Covid-19 Tools] accelerator,” Tedros said during a press briefing today.

“Greece has formally entered a second wave of the epidemic,” Gkikas Magiorkinis, an epidemiologist at Athens University and one of the scientists advising the Greek government, told journalists today. This comes after Greece recorded its highest number of daily new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, with 203 confirmed on Sunday.

In France, it is now compulsory to wear a face mask outdoors in certain crowded areas within Paris. Health officials said the rate of positive coronavirus tests was 2.4 per cent in the Paris area compared to the average of 1.6 per cent for people tested in the country as a whole. Other cities, including Nice and Lille, have also introduced new rules making face masks mandatory in specific outdoor areas.

It has been more than 100 days since New Zealand last detected a locally acquired coronavirus case. As of today, the country has only 21 active infections, all of which are being managed in isolation facilities. Authorities are still testing thousands of people each day. “We need to be prepared to quickly stamp out any future cases,” said New Zealand’s director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield on Sunday. 

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 731,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 19.9 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

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NHS advice board promoting Test and Trace in Birmingham city centre in the UK

Mike Kemp/In PIctures via Getty Images

7 August

The number of people estimated to have the virus in England may be levelling off

The number of people estimated to have covid-19 in England appears to be levelling off, after rising slightly in July, according to a random swab testing survey of almost 120,000 people by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS estimates that 28,300 people outside of hospitals and care homes in England had the virus in the week ending 2 August about one in every 1900 people. This is down slightly from the previous week’s estimate of 35,700. But it isn’t clear how infection rates may differ across different regions. In Wales, which was included in the survey for the first time, an estimated 1400 people had covid-19 in the week ending 2 August, equivalent to one in every 2200 people.

The proportion of people in the UK who say they have been wearing face coverings has gone up for the second week in a row, according to a separate ONS survey. In the week ending 2 August, 96 per cent of people said they had worn a face covering outside their home, up from 84 per cent in the previous week and 71 per cent the week before. The survey also found that 72 per cent of people said they had socialised with others in person, just over half of whom said they had always maintained social distancing. 

Other coronavirus news

Coronavirus vaccine trials could be undermined by the lack of diversity among participants, according to researchers. In the recent trial of a coronavirus vaccine candidate being developed by the University of Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca, fewer than 1 per cent of the approximately 1000 participants were black and only about 5 per cent were Asian, compared to 91 per cent of participants who were white. In a smaller trial of a vaccine candidate being developed by US company Moderna, 40 out of 45 participants were white. “Diversity is important to ensure pockets of people don’t have adverse side-effects,” Oluwadamilola Fayanju, a surgeon and researcher at Duke University told the Guardian.

The city of Preston in England is being placed under stricter local lockdown measures following a rise in coronavirus cases. From midnight on 7 August residents from different households aren’t allowed to meet indoors or in private gardens. These new measures are in line with those currently in place in east Lancashire, Greater Manchester and parts of West Yorkshire.

More than one million people in countries across Africa have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, although health officials say this is certainly an underestimate. “We haven’t seen the peak in Africa yet,” Mary Stephen, technical officer at the World Health Organization’s regional office for Africa told Al Jazeera. Although the majority of cases confirmed so far are in South Africa, it is also performing significantly more tests than other African countries.

India has recorded its highest number of daily new coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, with 62,538 cases confirmed on Friday. There have been more than 2 million cases recorded in the country since the pandemic began.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 715,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 19.1 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.


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Trailer Watch: A New Generation of Witches Learns the Power of Four in “The Craft: Legacy”

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There’s a new coven in town. A trailer for “The Craft: Legacy” introduces the next generation of witches and pays tribute to their foremothers. A sequel to 1996’s “The Craft,” Zoe Lister-Jones’ pic sees Hannah (Cailee Spaeny, “On the Basis of Sex”) and her mom (Michelle Monaghan, “Messiah”) moving in with latter’s new husband and starting school in a new city.

An unexpected — and leaky — period leads to Hannah being bullied in the classroom, but not everyone is a jerk. Three girls (Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone, and Zoey Luna) visit her in the washroom she’s hiding out in, and invite her to hang out after school. “You’re our fourth,” they tell her. The coven of witches has finally found its missing link. “Half the battle of having your powers is believing you do,” they tell Hannah, explaining that this is the reason why covens have always been so important.

We see the girls trying their hand at “light as a feather, stiff as a board” — a game made famous by the original “Craft” — and their success inspires them to try more spells.

The spot suggests that Hannah begins losing control of her powers and abusing them. “The number one rule of the craft,” we’re told, is that “if a person is a danger to herself or others they will be bound.” An image of Nancy Downs (Fairuza Balk), the witch who went to the dark side and had to be bound in “The Craft,” appears on-screen.

Lister-Jones made her feature directorial debut with 2017’s “Band Aid,” for which she hired an all-female crew. She penned the script for the comedy about a couple who turn their fights into songs and co-starred. Her other screenplay credits include “Consumed,” “Lola Versus,” and “Breaking Upwards,” all of which she appeared in.

“The Craft: Legacy” will be available On Demand October 28. Lister-Jones wrote the script.

Apple gives developers new App Store marketing tools including QR codes and more

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Apple gives developers new App Store marketing tools including QR codes and more

Apple has refreshed its App Store marketing tools for developers today with the ability to create custom assets and links including new QR codes and short links.

Apple detailed the news on its developer website:

Take advantage of new marketing resources to promote your apps around the world. You can now generate short links or embeddable code that lead to your App Store product page and display your app icon, a QR code, or an App Store badge. Download localized App Store badges, your app icon, and more.

You can get started with the new custom assets and links on Apple’s landing page here. For a unique touch, the QR code generator gives customization options like choosing a color or adding an icon.

Related:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

How to Experience VR on your smartphone

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How to Experience VR on your smartphone

Like 3D TV, you may not have actually tried out Virtual Reality (VR) just yet. It’s becoming a growing trend, especially with gamers and now with businesses too as online training and distanced interaction becomes more commonplace.

However, most still don’t realise that there’s no need for expensive equipment or big cash outlays in order to get involved in virtual reality. With simple tools and apps, you can actually experience VR on your very own smartphone. In this article, we explain 5 simple steps which will let you start enjoying VR right now.

5 steps to follow to experience VR on your smartphone

1. Check if your smartphone is VR enabled

This is easy enough to do and pretty much all modern smartphones will be able to meet the video requirements. However, if you want to be sure – just watch VR content on your smartphone on YouTube and you’ll soon see whether your phone or the app you’re using can support it. On YouTube this is especially easy as, even without a headset, you can hold your phone outstretched and view around a new and far-flung destination.

VR simply uses sensors in your phone to detect which way you’re holding your phone, then you can freely explore the video.

2. Get hold of a compatible headset

Despite what you might have thought from reading about intricate full bodysuits and specially designed treadmills, an expensive Oculus Rift or HTC Vive is actually not actually necessary to experience VR.

All you need to do is invest in a standard headset that you can slip your phone into, to make viewing this content more immersive. Some of the more affordable options include the Google Cardboard. If you like DIY, you can also choose to make your own, but this will involve the use of lenses and magnets. We’ve done it before here at Coolsmartphone.

If you have the means to invest a little bit more, there are various levels of VR headsets to suit your budget, including brands such as Shinecon and Samsung Gear VR.


3. Search for relevant content

As we mentioned above, there is a lot of free content available to view online. This includes free 3D videos on YouTube, which have been shot in a certain format that allows you to feel completely immersed in the experience while you are watching it, even if it isn’t technically VR.

The YouTube VR icon

Some of the most fun videos to watch that we could find include the range of National Geographic 360 degree videos, as well as some very innovative roller coaster rides, that make you feel like you’re really defying gravity. Just look for the icon above and “Virtual Reality” in your search.

4. Download a VR app

To take things a step further, you can download a variety of VR apps, including the Google Cardboard app, VR One Cinema, Rollercoaster VR and Titans of Space, which takes you right out into the universe, where you can learn all about different stars and planets.

If you’re a gamer, there are a variety of free VR games that you can download. If you like a game with higher stakes, which we’re sure you do, you can also immerse yourself in an online casino environment with an app, which certainly seems to be the future of VR when it comes to gaming.

5. Start having fun!

Once you’ve checked your phone, got your headset sorted out, and have taken a look at what kinds of VR content you’d like to engage with, it’s now time to have fun! Some pointers to note include making sure that you have placed your phone correctly into the headset, so that it doesn’t fall out. No one likes to have to fix a phone unnecessarily, or deal with a cracked screen!

It might seem obvious, but it’s also important to make sure that you are in a safe environment before you put on your headset. This includes checking your surroundings if you plan on moving around. Otherwise, sit back, relax and enjoy being transported to another virtual realm.

Final thoughts on experiencing VR on your smartphone

It’s incredible to think that with all of the advanced VR technology being developed, that experiencing this much hyped technology can be as simple as placing your phone into a headset. Some of this technology might still be expensive, but as products like the Google Cardboard show, it is becoming more and more accessible to the wider market.

As we’ve covered, there are some simple steps to follow before you can fully immerse yourself, which includes checking whether your phone is VR enabled, purchasing/making a headset and downloading or viewing all the relevant content. However, once you have all the tools at your disposal, it’s time to have fun, while staying safe and not bumping into anything in your home while you’re watching, of course!

Nature’s Splendor Exceeds Our Imagination

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Nature's Splendor Exceeds Our Imagination

The sincerest expression of love is to learn the characteristics of the object of our affection as they are, without reservations or prejudice. By this definition, the pursuit of scientific knowledge is the ultimate act of loving nature in its full splendor. Scientific inquiry can only enhance the awe we feel when witnessing reality in all of its quantitative detail.

The beauty of nature comes for free. The fact that all phenomena in the physical world obey a small set of strict laws is remarkable, given how difficult it is to enforce societal laws in the human world. I often imagine how disorganized the universe could have been if it resembled my daughters’ rooms each morning.

We tend to feel hubris when we contemplate cutting-edge technological accomplishments, such as self-driving cars. But in fact, a more balanced perspective requires humility, not hubris. Following a recent injury, my body healed from its bruises faster than it took my optometrist to get me a new pair of glasses. Our most advanced technologies are yet to produce a self-healing car that repairs itself after accidents like the human body.

Nature is not just beautiful; it exceeds the limits of our imagination. Relatively recent examples in astronomy include the unexpected discoveries of dark matter and dark energy whose nature are still mysterious; the ubiquity of “hot Jupiters” that hug their suns in tight orbits, in contrast to the Jupiter in our own planetary system; or the strange properties of `Oumuamua, the first interstellar object discovered in the solar system. This experience is generic to all research fields, making science a learning experience in which we expand our ability to imagine simply by observing reality.

The scientific process is a dialogue with nature where we propose theoretical ideas and listen to nature’s response through our experiments, rather than a monologue in which we focus on mathematical beauty and simply assume its relevance to reality. Figuring out the subtleties of nature is more challenging than proving theorems in mathematics, because the latter activity involves only the human. But there is only one physical reality out there, out of an infinite number of possibilities that could have existed. The outcome of our scientific inquiry is not up to us: reality is predetermined by nature.

While pursuing research, we could miss important discoveries if we expect the future course of science to resemble its past history. When you are not ready to find exceptional things, you will never discover them. The 1995 discovery of the first “hot Jupiter,” 51 Pergasi b, by Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz, for which they won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics, confirmed a theoretical proposal by Otto Struve from 1952. The four-decade delay was caused by the refusal of the mainstream to allocate telescope time for a hot Jupiter search based on the argument that it would violate what we “know” about the solar system. A similar sort of delay predated the 1992 discovery of the first Kuiper belt object in the outer solar system by David Jewitt and Jane Luu.

These examples illustrate how scientists rely on conventional wisdom to decide what’s true rather than having the humility to subject their assumptions to experimental tests. Before Galileo Galilei, it was the conventional wisdom that heavy objects fall faster than light objects under the influence of gravity. But he dared to conduct an experimental test that proved this notion wrong, and established the “equivalence principle,” which in turn became a foundation for Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. In reaction to his contesting another false prejudice—that the sun orbits the Earth—Galileo was kept in house arrest for nine years until his death in 1642. But this did not make the sun revolve around the Earth nine times; it only delayed the natural progression of scientific knowledge.

Reluctance to test new ideas based on the conviction that they are “unreasonable” is not the only repeating pattern since the days of Galileo. There is also the tendency, after data are taken, to ignore anomalies—to downplay the unexplained and declare “business as usual” even in the face of contradicting evidence. Giant arcs of light around the cores of clusters of galaxies appeared in images that were published in the Astrophysical Journal, but were ignored until the topic of gravitational lensing became fashionable in the 1980s. In this case, Fritz Zwicky predicted such arcs in 1937, more than four decades earlier.

Scientists are not immune to wishful thinking, and a reality check on their convictions is mandatory. This is a particularly important lesson to keep in mind when considering the risk from in-person events before an experimentally tested vaccine for COVID-19 is widely available. Scientific rigor should not be compromised, especially in life-and-death situations.

In a recent exchange with a philosopher who suggested that there is “no loss” inherent in our natural death because we do not own our future, I responded that from the perspective of astronomy, death involves losing the ability to follow the universe as it evolves. The experience of death therefore feels like being in a concert hall, with the usher escorting you out while the orchestra is still playing the symphony. It is a fundamentally lesser experience to listen just to a part of the symphony, whose full meaning and beauty is apparent from the whole. Cutting our stay short represents a loss. He conceded.

The human being as a spectator of nature appears on occasion comical, at other times tragic, but most of the time insignificant relative to everything else taking place out there. Humanity’s lack of imagination should be forgiven as a temporary handicap that scientists are attempting to repair. Education takes time even when the students love the class.

Sky Series ‘Romulus’ to Debut At Rome Film Festival – Deadline

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The first two episodes of Sky’s Euro series Romulus, about the events that led to the foundation of Rome, will launch at the Rome Film Festival next month. Produced by Sky, Cattleya and Groenlandia, the show comes from director Matteo Rovere, marking his TV debut, and will star Andrea Arcangeli, Marianna Fontana and Francesco Di Napoli. The ten episodes were filmed in archaic Latin by Rovere alongside Michele Alhaique ed Enrico Maria Artale. Set eight centuries before Christ, the series charts an archaic and brutal world where the tribes of the Lega Latina have lived for years under the leadership of the king of Alba, but drought and famine are threatening peace and the life of the cities. ITV Studios is handling international sales. The show will debut in Italy on Sky.

A joint New York-based office for German Films and the Goethe-Institut will open from October 1 with €50,000 in support from the German government. Sara Stevenson, who has been responsible for the Goethe-Institut New York film and its arts programming since 2011, will head the combined office. Among the aims will be to present and promote German films in the U.S. market and build local film and TV ties. Simone Baumann, managing director of German Films stated: “The opening of the German Film Office marks a new stage in our long-term, worldwide partnership with the Goethe-Institut and we hope it is a strategic milestone for many other joint projects. We are very happy to work with the Goethe-Institut to create even more of an impact with German movies and series in the United States.” Among inaugural events will be a sneak peak of series Deutschland 89 and German movie night drive-ins co-presented with Rooftop Films at the Brooklyn Army Terminal.

Foxconn amping up ‘iPhone 12’ production with holiday cancellations, 24-hour production

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Apple assembly partner Foxconn is pushing its “iPhone 12” production lines hard, with staff at the largest iPhone factory in China enduring mandatory overtime and canceled holidays to keep production running around the clock.

The “iPhone 12” has yet to be officially announced by Apple, but its supply chain is already working hard to meet anticipated demand for the new models. This includes Foxconn, a key assembly partner for Apple, which is trying to meet Apple’s orders as quickly as possible.

According to the South China Morning Post, the production push includes running operations at the Zhengzhou facility for 24 hours a day, as well as initiatives to make employees work for longer. Details revealed by employees, recruitment advertising, and local media reports reveal Foxconn is cancelling holidays previously arranged by workers, as well as requiring them to take hours of overtime.

To keep workers with previous experience onboard, Foxconn is also offering bonuses to longer-serving staff. One employee explained overtime work had increased since the summer, with most workers also limited to just four days off per month.

One employee says workers at the factory can earn around $880 per month, with those who last more than 90 days able to receive “special pay.” This included a 10,000 yuan ($1,450) bonus for workers who started after September 18, is employed for at least 90 days, and works for at least 55 days, with the bonus reduced to 8,500 yuan for those who joined after September 26.

Staff have also been asked to cancel their holiday plans for the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day to work on iPhone assembly. One worker claims some staff will accept the demand as local laws mandate a tripling of salary for the first three days of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The production push is primarily caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which greatly affected Apple’s supply chain partners, as well as other areas of its empire. Factories gradually reopened over a series of months, with firms now attempting to catch up on the delayed production schedules.

Poco X3 Vs Realme Narzo 20 Pro Full Comparison

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Poco X3 Vs Realme Narzo 20 Pro Full Comparison

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Amazon One uses your palm to approve store purchases

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Amazon One uses your palm to approve store purchases

Amazon is putting contactless payments in the palm of your hand. No, seriously. Today, the company has revealed Amazon One, a service that uses your unique palm signature to authenticate purchases and let you into gated locations, such as offices, gyms and stadiums. For now, palm reading is restricted to two Amazon Go stores — the type that doesn’t require you to interact with a cashier or self-service checkout — in Seattle. You’ll need to ‘enroll’ on your first visit by inserting your credit card and following the scanner’s on-screen instructions. Once your card and palm have been paired, you’ll able to enter the Seattle stores simply by holding your hand above the device “for about a second or so,” according to a blog post.

For now, it feels like a pilot. Amazon has big plans for the technology, though. The company says it will “start” in select Amazon Go stores before expanding to “additional Amazon stores,” which could mean bookshops or Whole Foods Market locations, “in the coming months.” It will also offer the service to third-party retailers and other businesses that might find the technology beneficial. I know what you’re thinking: why palms? Well, Amazon believes that it offers more privacy than other biometric methods because you can’t figure out a person’s identity with a palm image alone.

A stop-motion experiment reveals supercooled water’s dual nature

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A stop-motion experiment reveals supercooled water's dual nature

Supercooled water may be a two-for-one deal.

A long-standing theory holds that liquid water at temperatures well below freezing is composed of two different arrangements of molecules, one with high density and one with low density. Now, an experiment provides new evidence for that theory, researchers report in the Sept. 18 Science.

Typically, water freezes below 0° Celsius thanks to impurities, such as dust in the water, on which ice crystals can nucleate. But pure water, which lacks those crystallization kick starters, can remain liquid to much lower temperatures, a phenomenon called supercooling.

In the 1990s, a group of physicists proposed that, at high pressures and very low temperatures, supercooled water splits into two distinct liquids of different densities. At atmospheric pressure, under which the new experiment took place, supercooled water would retain some traces of that behavior, resulting in small-scale, transient arrangements of molecules in high-density and low-density formations. Normal liquids have only one such arrangement, rather than two.

Although experiments have hinted at this effect, scientists haven’t been able to fully pin it down (SN: 6/18/14). “There’s a temperature region where [supercooled water is] just experimentally very difficult to look at,” says Loni Kringle of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash.

Between about –113° C and –38° C, the liquid crystallizes extremely rapidly, even if it’s entirely pure. That makes teasing out its properties difficult, as measurements must be made in the fraction of a second before the water freezes.

Now, Kringle and colleagues have glimpsed that murky temperature regime with an experiment that works a bit like a stop-motion movie. They heated a thin film of water using a laser and then rapidly cooled the liquid. Hitting the film with infrared light revealed how the water molecules jostled around, hinting at the water’s structure. The team then repeated this process to take snapshots of how that structure evolved over time as the film was heated and cooled. That let the scientists measure the properties of the liquid at temperatures at which it would quickly crystallize if held there for longer periods of time.

The researchers conclude that the water’s behavior as it was heated and cooled could be explained by the coexistence of two different molecular arrangements, as previously predicted. However, the team hasn’t directly measured the density of those structures, so more work is still needed to confirm whether the theory is correct.

“The combination of techniques is quite new and original,” says chemical engineer Pablo Debenedetti of Princeton University, who was not involved with the study.

Better understanding the strange properties of supercooled water might help scientists understand water’s quirks. For example, unlike most substances, water expands when it freezes, making it less dense than its liquid form. That’s the reason why ice floats in your cup and why it sits atop a lake, leaving a liquid layer underneath that can shelter aquatic life over the winter.

“Water is a very strange liquid,” says physicist Greg Kimmel, a coauthor of the study, also at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.  “But everybody’s familiar with it, so we don’t really realize how weird it is.”

‘Captain Marvel’ Art Reveals Impressive Alternate Looks For Gemma Chan

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New concept art from Captain Marvel reveals alternate Star-Force costumes for Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva in the cosmic adventure.

Although fans will next see Gemma Chan as Sersi in Eternals, new concept designs show off alternate costumes for her role as Minn-Erva in Captain Marvel. The character was a member of Star-Force and begrudgingly worked with Carol Danvers after she lost her memory and was inducted into the Kree Empire. But after the warrior was killed off towards the finale of the film, Gemma Chan came aboard Eternals.

But artist Ian Joyner took to Twitter to show off the alternate costumes for Gemma Chan in Captain Marvel, revealing that she was originally intended to be an explore and went by Dr. Minerva instead of Minn-Erva. However she looks no less terrifying in the design thanks to her piercing blue eyes. Coincidentally, the red armor with a white star looks strangely reminiscent of David Harbour’s costume in Black Widow, although there’s likely no connection between the two. The second design focuses on the goggles the warrior wore in the film, highlighting the details in the visor. Take a look at the alternate designs for Gemma Chan below.

What do you make of the alternate look for Gemma Chan in the concept art? Are you excited to see Gemma Chan in Eternals? Are you disappointed that the upcoming film has been delayed? Sound-off in the comments below!

Here is the official synopsis for the first Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel:

Set in the 1990s, Marvel Studios’ “Captain Marvel” is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that follows the journey of Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes. While a galactic war between two alien races reaches Earth, Danvers finds herself and a small cadre of allies at the center of the maelstrom.

Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Captain Marvel stars Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Algenis Perez Soto, Rune Temte, McKenna Grace, Clark Gregg, and Jude Law.,

Captain Marvel is now available on Digital HD, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD. Stay tuned for all the latest news on Captain Marvel 2, Gemma Chan and Eternals and be sure to subscribe to Heroic Hollywood’s YouTube channel for more original video content!

Source: Ian Joyner

Leaker: ‘iPhone 12 mini’ and iPhone 12 Storage Capacities Start at 64GB, Pro Models at 128GB

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Leaker: 'iPhone 12 mini' and iPhone 12 Storage Capacities Start at 64GB, Pro Models at 128GB

Rumors suggest Apple’s iPhone 12 launch event will be held on October 13, with the more affordable 5.4 and 6.1-inch devices set to ship out ahead of the more expensive 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch Pro devices, and this morning hit-and-miss leaker Jon Prosser has further committed to that date by providing alleged details on Apple’s first shipment of finalized ‌iPhone 12‌ units.


Prosser claims the initial shipment of ‌iPhone 12‌ units will go out to distributors on October 5 in advance of the launch event, and this will include the 5.4-inch ‌iPhone 12‌ “mini” – which he says is “definitely the final marketing name” – and the lower end 6.1-inch ‌iPhone 12‌ model. Prosser asserts that the two higher-end Pro models will be announced at the same event but will ship later in November.

Prosser also claims that the more affordable models will come in 64, 128, and 256GB storage capacities, which conflicts with a claim he made in May that Apple’s ‌iPhone 12‌ lineup will start with 128GB of storage. Prosser’s explanation for the earlier misinformation is that it was given “well before even the [production validation test] ‌iPhone 12‌ units had started,” and in fact it is only the ‌iPhone 12‌ Pro and ‌iPhone 12‌ Pro Max that will start at 128GB.

By changing his claims about storage capacities, Prosser has aligned himself with proven leaker L0vetodream, who said as early as May that the more affordable 5.4-inch and 6.1-inch devices will start with 64GB while the Pro devices will start with 128GB.


Prosser is a leaker with a mixed track record when it comes to Apple’s plans. In August 2020, he claimed new Apple Watch and iPad models would be introduced via press releases. In September 2020, Prosser even narrowed down the day of these press releases to Tuesday, September 8, but no products were announced that day. Instead, Apple sent out invites to its “Time Flies” event, where it did introduce new Apple Watch and ‌iPad‌ models a week later.

Earlier this month, however, Prosser was accurate when he said an eighth-generation ‌iPad‌ and a lower-priced Apple Watch model would be unveiled at Apple’s “Time Flies” event, but no new iPhones or AirPods Studio headphones.

OPPO A93 to launch as rebadged F17 Pro in Malaysia on October 6

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OPPO A93 launch date

Earlier this month, OPPO announced the OPPO F17 and OPPO F17 Pro smartphone in India. The F17 Pro handset recently went official in Ukraine as Reno4 Lite. The Reno4 F phone launching in Indonesia on Oct. 12 is also a rebadged version of the F17 Pro. OPPO will be launching the OPPO A93 smartphone in Malaysia on Oct. 6. The A93 is also a rebranded edition of the F17 Pro.

The launch event of the OPPO A93 in Malaysia will be held at 3 PM (local time) on Oct. 6 in Malaysia. The launch posters show that the device has a dual punch-hole display and a square-shaped camera module on its rear. The thickness of the device is 7.48mm and it will come with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of built-in storage.

The OPPO F17 Pro and Reno4 F will have identical specs, but one noticeable difference on the Reno4 F is that it comes with 18W charging whereas the F17 Pro supports 30W VOOC 4.0. It is unclear whether the A93 will support 18W or 30W charging.

OPPO A93 specifications (Rumored)

Considering the OPPO A93 is a rebranded F17 Pro, it will come with a 6.43-inch S-AMOLED full HD+ display, an under-screen fingerprint sensor, Helio P95 chipset, and a 4,015mAh battery. For photography, the handset will come with a 16-megapixel + 2-megapixel dual selfie camera system and a 48-megapixel + 8-megapixel + 2-megapixel + 2-megapixel quad camera setup. The ColorOS 7.2 based Android 10 OS will come preloaded on the smartphone.

 

 

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The Roku Channel Launches as Free Streaming App for Everyone

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The Roku Channel Launches as Free Streaming App for Everyone

Illustration for article titled Roku Chases the Best Free Streaming Service With Mobile Support

Image: Roku

Roku has announced the launch of a dedicated mobile app for The Roku Channel, the company’s longtime hub for free and streamable content that’ll be familiar to folks with Roku devices. But rather than limit the app to Roku users alone, The Roku Channel will be available to even users without physical Roku devices. With this move, Roku is looking to secure more eyeballs and compete more directly for streaming dominance—maybe even against free TV titans like YouTube.

The Roku Channel was previously available to non-Roku users via the web but will now make its way to mobile devices as well. The Roku Channel will be its own app, available on iOS and Android, and won’t replace the existing Roku app that allows users to control their devices and navigate the platform. Instead, Roku hopes to broaden its appeal to even non-Roku device viewers. Rather than merely relying on its streaming devices or baked-in OS on smart TVs to win over viewers, why not make its app more accessible to viewers who may be watching on their phones?

In addition to this free content, however, you’ll also be able to subscribe to paid premium programming like IFC Films Unlimited, Starz, Shudder, HBO, and Showtime, among others. In many ways, the Roku Channel is a kind of build-your-own Netflix—something that helps it stand out against many other free TV apps and services. Keep in mind that all of those individual paid subscriptions do add up, but it does offer users the ability to hand select the kind of stuff they want to pay for under a single umbrella rather than having to do so for each service individually.

There’s more free TV easily accessible from mobile, web, and our TVs than ever before (more streaming options than we even want or need, you might say). Heck, even a premium service like Peacock offers a free, ad-supported tier, upping the bar significantly from some of the more “meh” stuff you’ve traditionally been able to find on ad-supported services. And all of these services are competing for your eyeballs—the time you actively are or could be consuming content. Nobody knows this better than Netflix, which pits its service against immensely popular games like Fortnite and your own damn REM cycle.

Currently, YouTube towers over the free streaming space as a virtually bottomless abyss of content that covers just about every niche interest under the sun. It’s difficult not to pit YouTube against other free services like Pluto TV, Peacock, Vudu, or even The Roku Channel, simply because it dominates the mobile space so successfully. While YouTube does offer a premium ad-free version of its app, you don’t actually need one to access the majority of its vast library of creator video content. And that’s also the primary reason why YouTube remains a streaming king while everybody else scrambles to keep up: YouTube has more content and a limitless pipeline, and it’s all generally free.

But while it may be scrappy, The Roku Channel has taken a page from the Google playbook by making its service widely available to just about everyone. Customization and ease of use aren’t half bad, either. And being that YouTube’s translation to TV is godawful, Roku wins bonus points there, too. In fact, there’s quite a lot to like about The Roku Channel, even if it’s still got a ways to go.

YouTube may still be the best free streaming service, but Roku proves the little guys aren’t giving up without a fight.

1 million people have now died from COVID-19 worldwide

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1 million people have now died from COVID-19 worldwide

At least 1 million people have now died from COVID-19. This grim milestone comes eight months after the public first learned that a mysterious respiratory virus was infecting people in China.

The novel coronavirus swept quickly across the globe and overwhelmed hospitals from Italy to New York City.  The virus has caused a larger death toll in some places than in others; the toll is highest in the U.S. with more than 204,900 deaths, followed by more than 141,700 deaths in Brazil and more than 95,500 deaths in India, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.

Meghan McCain Gives Birth, Goes With Most Patriotic Name Ever

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Craig Federighi talks how machine learning makes iPad’s Scribble possible

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Craig Federighi talks how machine learning makes iPad's Scribble possible

In an interview with Popular Mechanics, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, sat down to talk about how Scribble, the company’s newest feature for the Apple Pencil and iPad in iPadOS 14, came to be.

When it came to understanding how people wrote, Apple literally had tons of people physically write. Doing so allowed the company to understand all the variations that go into how someone writes fast, slow, at an angle, and more.

“When it comes to understanding (handwriting) strokes, we do data-gathering. We find people all over the world, and have them write things,” says Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering at Apple. “We give them a Pencil, and we have them write fast, we have them write slow, write at a tilt. All of this variation.” That methodology is distinct from the comparatively simple approach of scanning and analyzing existing handwriting. Federighi says that for Apple’s tech, static examples weren’t enough. They needed to see the strokes that formed each letter. “If you understand the strokes and how the strokes went down, that can be used to disambiguate what was being written.”

Apple’s machine learning, which understands not only what you are writing but what you may write next, is calculating everything on the iPad itself. Federighi says that this is required in order to protect user privacy and perform at the speed that people need.

That dynamic understanding of how people write means Apple’s software can reliably know what you’re writing as you’re writing it, but combined with data on a language’s syntax, the iPad can also predict what stroke or character or word you’ll write next. The massive amount of statistical calculations needed to do this are happening on the iPad itself, rather than at a data center. “It’s gotta be happening in real time, right now, on the device that you’re holding,” Federighi says. “Which means that the computational power of the device has to be such that it can do that level of processing locally.”

The Scribble feature, which allows users to convert writing into text with an Apple Pencil, launched with iPadOS 14.

Everything Xiaomi announced at its Smarter Living event

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xiaomi mi watch revolve render 1

  • Xiaomi has announced six new products for India at its Smarter Living event.
  • Products include the new Mi Watch Revolve smartwatch and Mi Smart Speaker.

Xiaomi has kicked off its third annual Smarter Living event, where it typically announces a range of tech products for health and smart home segments. This iteration is no different, as the company had plenty of products in these segments.

The teaser image for the event pointed to several products, such as the Mi Band 5, a smartwatch, and other home electronics. And these were all indeed represented at this event in addition to a few surprises.

Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve

xiaomi mi watch revolve 2

According to Xiaomi, a new smartwatch was the most requested product from its fans in India.

The Mi Watch Revolve features a stainless steel 46mm wide circular face with two color options – midnight black chrome silver. An AMOLED display with 450 nits of brightness also packs an always-on option which remains activated while the watch is worn.

A Gorilla Glass 3 coating protects the display, while customers have a choice between 112 watch faces and five straps in silicone or leather.

Xiaomi’s watch also features heart-rate variability monitoring technology. Stress tracking and sleep tracking are also included. The watch also estimates users’ energy levels, a figure that’s calculated using sleep, heart-rate, and stress levels garnered throughout the day.

Read also: The best smartwatches you can buy

For active users, the Mi Watch Revolve tracks 10 specialized sports disciplines including running, cycling, and swimming. The wearable also keeps tabs on users’ VO2 max levels, recovery time post-workout, and energy consumption during training.

Other niceties include 5 ATM water resistance, onboard GPS and Glonass, and a 420mAh battery which can provide juice for up to two weeks.

The Mi Watch Revolve will be priced at Rs 10,999 (~$149) and will be available on Xiaomi’s Mi Store, Amazon India, and other stores.

Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 5

xiaomi mi smart band 5 1

We’ve previously covered the Mi Band 5 when it launched internationally, but the fifth iteration of the Mi Band finally has Indian pricing and availability.

As a quick recap, the 1.1-inch AMOLED display wearable comes with five strap colorways, lasts up to three weeks on a single charge, and now features magnetic charging. It’s also water-resistant up to 50 meters, packs tracking for 11 workout modes, sleep tracking, blood oxygen monitoring, and a personal activity recommendation system. NFC, music control smarts, a find my phone feature, and an onboard voice assistant also make the cut.

The Mi Band 5 is priced at Rs 2,499 (~$34) and is available from October 1 on Xiaomi’s Mi Stores and Amazon India.

Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker

xiaomi mi smart speaker 1

Another new segment for Xiaomi, the company believes it can offer an intelligent speaker that also focuses on sound quality.

Those smarts are provided by Google Assistant but the unit itself arguably looks a little like a fat Amazon Echo with a light ring around its top. Touch control buttons are also included on top, as well as a mic off option. Two far-field microphones are also positioned on its roof. The speaker itself is shrouded in a metal mesh offering 360-degrees of audio from the 12W 63.5mm driver with DTS support. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity is also present.

The Mi Smart Speaker will be priced at Rs 3,999 (~$54) and will be available from October 1 via Mi Stores and Flipkart.

The other stuff

Mi Smart Light

Also plugging into Google or Amazon’s smart ecosystems, the company’s intelligent LED bulbs can offer up to 810 lumens of brightness during their quoted 15,000 hour lifetime. They’ll be available from 29 September for Rs 499 (~$7) on Mi Stores.

Mi Athleisure Shoes

Yes, Xiaomi is launching new shoes too. Its kicks have a shock-absorbing sole, a breathable mesh body, come in three color variants, and feature reflective strips for night-time runners. They’ll cost Rs 1,499 (~$20) a pair from September 29 and will be sold on Xiaomi’s Mi Stores.

Mi Automatic Soap Dispenser

Forget flagship smartphones. 2020 will be the year remembered in the tech world for smart soap dispensers. Xiaomi’s calling this product the “most advanced way to wash your hands” and it’s about as simple as it seems. The unit has a motion sensor and dispenses soap within 0.25 seconds of detection. Up to 300ml of liquid can be stored too, giving users nearly 400 hand washes. It’ll cost Rs 999 (~$14) at Mi Stores from September 29.

Next: What is a smart home, and why should you want one?

watchOS 7 Is Causing Apple Watch Series 3 To Randomly Reboot

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watchOS 7 Is Causing Apple Watch Series 3 To Randomly Reboot

Apple’s watchOS 7 was released not too long ago and the update brings a host of new features and improvements to the Apple Watch. However, it seems that if you’re the owner of an Apple Watch Series 3 and you have yet to update to the latest version of watchOS, you might want to hold off on that for now.

This is because according to multiple user complaints made on Apple’s website and the MacRumors forum, it seems that there are more than a few Apple Watch Series 3 owners who are experiencing various problems related to the update. According to the reports, users are experiencing issues like random reboots, lockups, complications that don’t load properly, and also sluggish performance.

Apple did release the watchOS 7.0.1 update shortly after watchOS 7, but it seems that the update did not address any of these issues. Right now, it also appears that this is a mostly Apple Watch Series 3 issue, and that other Apple Watches aren’t experiencing it. Personally, I haven’t had any issues with my Series 3 since the update, so your mileage may vary.

In any case, hopefully Apple is aware of these problems and that they are working on an update that will fix it. In the meantime, like we said, if you have yet to update to the latest version, consider holding off for now.

Filed in Apple >Gadgets. Read more about , and . Source: engadget

China’s air pollutant reduction success could make it tougher to control climate change

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China's air pollutant reduction success could make it tougher to control climate change

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

China’s success in improving air quality by cutting polluting emissions may have a negative knock-on effect on climate change overall, a new study has found.

The research, by scientists from Carnegie Institution for Science, U.S., Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning, China, Tsinghua University, China and the University of California Irvine, U.S., used modelling to analyse the effect China’s success in reducing emissions such as sulphur dioxide, black , and organic carbon, has had on global . Their results are published today in Environmental Research Letters.

Lead author Dr. Yixuan Zheng, from Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning, a former postdoc at Carnegie Institution for Science, said: “Economic growth and industrialisation in China over the recent decades has been supported by increasing consumption of energy from coal, making China the world’s largest emitter of major air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and black carbon. These pollutants have significant impacts on and public health, so China put stringent measures in place to reduce them. The measures were effective, and in China was substantially alleviated after 2013, with notable benefits.”

However, changes in pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and black carbon also affect radiative forcing—the determinant of the earth’s temperature—with sulphate aerosol the dominant cooling agent in the atmosphere. It and other aerosols scatter and absorb incoming solar radiation and interact with clouds, affecting regional and .

Dr. Zheng said: “Anthropogenic sulphate aerosol was estimated to cool the earth on average by half a degree centigrade in 2010, equivalent to 76 percent of all-anthropogenic-aerosols-induced cooling. Black carbon, on the other hand, absorbs heat in the atmosphere and warms the Earth. So, understanding the effect reduction in these materials could have on warming is essential for future mitigation strategies.”

To understand the full range of impacts of China’s clean air actions, the researchers analysed the near-equilibrium radiative and climate effects of China’s reductions in aerosol (and precursors) emissions from 2006 to 2017, simulated in a fully coupled ocean and atmosphere climate model. They examined the climate effects of the reductions under the assumption these reductions continue, and that the climate system is linear enough that the climate effect of the aerosol emission changes can be considered additional to the climate effects of other forcing.

They found the potential climate effects of China’s air pollution control policies—enacted between 2006 and 2017—were expected to result in more than 0.1 °C warming over the northern hemisphere. The emission reductions in China exert warming effects not only locally but also remotely.

Co-author Professor Steven J Davis, from the University of California Irvine, said: “From 2006 to 2017, China’s carbon dioxide emissions grew by around 54 percent, along with around 70 percent reductions in emissions, a 30 percent reduction in emissions, and a 40 percent reduction in emissions. The decoupling of carbon dioxide and aerosol emissions is mainly caused by installing end-of-pipe control devices, which reduce aerosol emissions but not carbon dioxide. Such decoupling exacerbated the global warming effects of China’s carbon dioxide emissions.”

Carnegie’s Professor Ken Caldeira, also a co-author, said: “Cleaning up aerosol emissions has tremendous health benefits, but unmasks some global warming. While this may seem like a climate setback, we need healthy people to help tackle the climate problem, and if we are to have more resources to allocate to better energy systems, we need to be spending less on the health damage caused by our aerosols. Helping people to become healthier can be a win for the climate system, even if it does directly lead to some warming.”


Climate impacts of changing aerosol emissions since 1996


More information:
Climate effects of China’s efforts to improve its air quality, Environmental Research Letters (2020). DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab9e21

Citation:
China’s air pollutant reduction success could make it tougher to control climate change (2020, September 29)
retrieved 29 September 2020
from https://phys.org/news/2020-09-china-air-pollutant-reduction-success.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Teen Wolf Star Tyler Posey Joins OnlyFans (After Ex Bella Thorne Nearly Broke It!)

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Another major celeb has joined OnlyFans, and he has fans howling already!

Tyler Posey of Teen Wolf fame announced on Monday that he had joined the NSFW-friendly site — just after his ex Bella Thorne was the catalyst for some MAJOR changes which left creators feeling less than thrilled.

Related: OMG Cardi B Joined OnlyFans!

On Monday, the 28-year-old hottie shared a new video on his Instagram account, featuring clips from his hit MTV series… plus a new video of himself in the nude, strumming the guitar while sitting on a stool. Take a look for yourself (below):

While he didn’t exactly specify what type of content subscribers will be receiving, he did promise that they would “get wet with me.” BTW, interested parties can subscribe to his content for $14.99 per month! He’s no stranger to sharing spicy selfies, or even cooking in the nude (inset, above), so we wouldn’t be totally shocked if he went the NSFW route…

As we mentioned, his ex Miz Thorne set the internet ablaze back in August when she announced that she’d joined the site. After setting an INSANE record by making $2 million in subscriptions in just two days, she hit a wall of controversy. Apparently she was selling access to “no clothes naked” photos priced at $200 per view. However, it turned out these pics didn’t include any actual nudity, just the kind of nearly nudes she’d been posting to Instagram for years! Buyers began requesting chargebacks en masse saying they had been hoodwinked by the Disney Channel alum, leading the company to make BIG changes to their policy.

Because of this, users will get paid out every 30 days instead of weekly. The site also maxed out tipping at $100 and decreased the max upcharge to $50 per post. All of this to say, creators who rely on the site to pay their bills (read: not famous celebs), were SERIOUSLY pissed off.

After some time as friends, these two took things to the next level in 2016. / (c) WENN

Via Twitter, the 22-year-old apologized, sharing her intentions behind joining the site were only pure ones, and she did not intend to disrupt anyone’s income:

“[I joined OnlyFans to] remove the stigma behind sex, sex work, and the negativity that surrounds the word ‘sex’ itself by bringing a mainstream face to it. That’s what I was trying to do, to help bring more faces to the site to create more revenue for content creators on the site. I wanted to bring attention to the site–the more people on the site, the more likely of a chance to normalize the stigmas. I am a mainstream face, and when you have a voice, a platform, you try to use [it] in helping others and advocate for something bigger than yourself. Again, in this process, I hurt you, and for that, I’m truly sorry.”

Of course, it was too late by then — the damage was done.

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see if Tyler’s presence on the site creates the same tidal waves!

[Image via Tyler Posey/Instagram.]

These Power-Packed Headphones Deliver 35 Hours of Listening Time

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These Power-Packed Headphones Deliver 35 Hours of Listening Time


Keep the music coming with the TREBLAB Z2 Bluetooth 5.0 Noise-Cancelling Headphones. These power-packed sound solutions, which have been named an Amazon’s Choice Product, are a top-flight headphone choice. And right now they’re available in the iPhone Hacks Deals Hub for just $78.99, an impressive 69% off the $259 MSRP.

Your quest for the perfect headphones ends here! The Z2’s earned their name because they boast twice the sound, twice the battery life and twice the convenience of other headphones on the market. Neodymium-backed 40mm speakers give top-grade, high-performance sound, while T-Quiet™ active noise canceling technology ensures you skip annoying background noise. Aside from coming packed with a 35-hour battery life, the Z2’s are also comfortable enough for all-day wear thanks to their ergonomic fit, and ready to pair with either Siri or Google Voice assistants.

Listen to your music while unplugged and uninterrupted for hours on end with the TREBLAB Z2 Bluetooth 5.0 Noise-Cancelling Headphones. Snag them in the iPhone Hacks Deals Hub today for $78.99.

OnePlus Nord: Everything you need to know!

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OnePlus Nord: Everything you need to know!

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

The OnePlus Nord marks the start of a new product line for OnePlus The company is getting back to its roots of creating truly affordable smartphones that deliver quality user experiences for as little money as possible — something it’s shifted away from with devices like the OnePlus 8 Pro.

OnePlus Nord is one of the most enticing phones from OnePlus we’ve seen in a while, and if you’re eager to learn all about it, you’ve come to the right place. From official specs, pricing, and our impressions of the phone, here’s everything you need to know about OnePlus Nord!

Nice balance



OnePlus Nord

A new value standard

The OnePlus Nord delivers all the features you’re looking for in a value flagship. There’s a 90Hz AMOLED display, Snapdragon 765G chipset with 5G connectivity, a 48MP camera at the back, and all-day battery life with 30W wired charging. Add a clean software interface and you get one of the best values in 2020.

How much does the OnePlus Nord cost?

OnePlus Nord

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

The big draw to the OnePlus Nord is that it marks OnePlus’ return to affordable smartphones, and that’s clearly evident by how much OnePlus is asking for the phone.

If you live in the UK or Europe, the OnePlus Nord costs £379 (around $480 USD) and €399 ($450), respectively. Indian customers, however, are able to buy the phone for even less at just ₹24,999 ($335).

India has one of the most competitive smartphone markets on the planet, particularly when it comes to getting a good deal. So many companies do what they can to deliver excellent phones at low prices in the country, and this is something OnePlus knocked out of the park with the Nord. Combine that with excellent specs, a great design, and clean software with timely updates, and the OnePlus Nord stands out as a clear winner in the Indian market.

When and where can I buy the OnePlus Nord?

OnePlus Nord packaging

Source: OnePlus

The OnePlus Nord is available in 31 countries across the globe. That’s an impressive launch for the company and should result in the Nord becoming immensely popular, but there is one market that’s missing out on it — the United States.

OnePlus is focusing on European countries and India with the Nord, which is where it expects the phone to sell the best. A few lucky OnePlus fans got the chance to use the Nord in the U.S., but a full-on launch isn’t happening any time soon. Per OnePlus CEO Pete Lau:

A select number of users in North America will also get a chance to experience the new device through a highly limited beta program after launch.

That’s certainly a bummer if you live in the U.S. and were hoping to buy the Nord as your next smartphone, but now for the good part. OnePlus is set to launch another model in the Nord series that will be available in the U.S.

What is the OnePlus Nord N10 5G and is it coming to the U.S.?

While the OnePlus Nord isn’t available in the U.S., OnePlus is releasing another model in the series called the OnePlus Nord N10 5G that will go on sale in the U.S. for around $400 later this year.

We revealed that the Nord N10 5G will be powered by a Snapdragon 690 chipset with 5G connectivity, and the phone will have a 90Hz panel, and 64MP camera at the back.

The fact that a new Nord model is launching in the U.S. makes it that much more enticing, and at $400 it will be going up against the likes of the Pixel 4a. It has the potential to be one of the best mid-range phones in the U.S., and there is a lot of excitement for the device.

Have we reviewed the OnePlus Nord?

If you’re interested in learning more about the Nord, you should read our detailed review. The Nord holds up just as well as the OnePlus 8 in real-world use, and the value on offer is incredible.

From our review:

What OnePlus has managed to achieve with the Nord is commendable. You don’t miss out on any of the core features that make OnePlus’ flagships stand out, and that makes the Nord a particularly great option if you’re looking to buy a phone for under $500 in 2020.

As the Nord borrows a lot of the core features from the OnePlus 8, you ultimately get a device that delivers 90% of the same features at 60% of the cost.

What does the OnePlus Nord look like?

OnePlus Nord

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

The front of the OnePlus Nord is home to a 6.44-inch AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate, slim bezels, and a hole-punch cutout in the top-left. The display also isn’t curved at all, which is something you do get on the 8 and 8 Pro. You’ll also notice that the Nord has two cameras on the front, which is a first for any OnePlus phone.

Gorilla Glass 5 covers the front and back of the OnePlus Nord, giving it a very premium in-hand feel despite its low price. The glossy finish for the glass is different from the matte one on the OnePlus 8 series, but even so, it still looks excellent (especially in that Blue Marble color). The mid-frame is made out of plastic, and you get metal buttons for the volume rocker, power/lock button, and alert slider.

Around back, the Nord opts for a left-mounted rear camera bump, an LED flash, and a couple of OnePlus logos. On the bottom, you’re treated to a USB-C port and speaker grille. There isn’t a 3.5mm headphone jack, which isn’t all that surprising seeing as how the last OnePlus phone to offer it was the OnePlus 6 from 2018.

All-in-all, the OnePlus Nord has an excellent design. You could argue that it’s not as eye-catching as something like the OnePlus 8 or 8 Pro, but given just how cheap the phone is, we’re more than happy with what OnePlus was able to achieve.

What specs does the OnePlus Nord have?

OnePlus Nord

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

OnePlus phones are known for delivering flagship specs at lower prices than their rivals. The OnePlus Nord is a little bit different in these regards as its the first OnePlus phone to ship without a Snapdragon 800-series chipset, but that doesn’t mean its specs are bad. In fact, these are some of the best specs you’ll find for a sub-$500 smartphone.

Category Features
Operating System OxygenOS 10.5 based on Android 10
Display 6.44-inch 90Hz Fluid AMOLED
2400×1080
Gorilla Glass 5
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
1 x 2.4GHz Cortex A76
1 x 2.2GHz Cortex A76
6 x 1.8GHz Cortex A55
GPU Adreno 620
RAM 6GB/8GB/12GB
Storage 64GB/128GB/256GB
Rear Camera 1 48MP, f/1.75 (Sony IMX586)
0.8μm, OIS, EIS
4K at 30fps
Rear Camera 2 8MP wide-angle, f/2.25
119-degree field-of-view
Rear Camera 3 2MP macro, f/2.4
Rear Camera 4 5MP portrait lens, f/2.4
Front Camera 1 32MP, f/2.45 (Sony IMX616)
0.8μm, EIS, fixed focus
Front Camera 2 8MP, f/2.45
105-degree field-of-view
Battery 4115mAh non-removable
Charging USB-C 2.0
30W Warp Charge 30T
Security In-display fingerprint sensor (optical)
Dimensions 158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm
Weight 184g
Colors Blue Marble, Grey Onyx

The Snapdragon 765 powering the Nord has proven to be a big talking point for 2020. It’s a chip that allows for fast performance and 5G connectivity without the insane cost of the 865, and we’ve tested it extensively.

OnePlus offers plenty of RAM and storage options for the Nord, and even the baseline offering of 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is pretty great for a phone in this price category. We’re also excited to see that large 4,115 mAh battery, which is of course backed by OnePlus’s Warp Charge 30T wired charging.

Add that together with an impressive array of cameras, a 90Hz OLED display, and you’re looking at one beast of a phone.

Is the OnePlus Nord part of a new product line?

OnePlus Nord

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

Back when the OnePlus Nord was thought to be the “OnePlus 8 Lite,” we were expecting it to be a typical release for the company. It would obviously target a lower price than we’d seen from past OnePlus phones, but at the end of the day, that’s all it would be — another OnePlus phone. Now, we know that it’s a much bigger deal.

On June 23, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau shared a post on the OnePlus forums to announce the creation of a new “affordable smartphone product line.”

As we have always done when we try something new, we are going to start relatively small with this new product line by first introducing it in Europe and India. But don’t worry, we’re also looking to bring more affordable smartphones to North America in the near future as well.

This new product team is led by Paul Yu, who has headed product hardware development for many of our previous flagship devices over the past 5 years. We’ve also assembled a team of young, creative and enthusiastic OnePlus staff from all over the world, who have been working tirelessly over the past few months to bring this product line to life.

Shortly after that on June 30, OnePlus made the name official via a video on its OnePlus Nord Instagram page. In the video, OnePlus CEO and founder Pete Lau says:

Launching the OnePlus Nord product line marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for OnePlus. The ‘Never Settle’ spirit is centered around sharing the best technology and products with the world, but it is also about challenging ourselves and going beyond our comfort zone. We are immensely proud of our flagship products and will continue to create more tech-leading flagships for our users. Now we are excited to share the OnePlus experience with even more users around the world through this new product line.

All of this is to say that OnePlus Nord is the start of a new beginning for OnePlus. It’s been exciting to watch the company compete more and more closely with the likes of Samsung and Apple with its flagship releases, but more premium phones has also resulted in considerably higher prices.

With the launch of Nord, OnePlus can continue focusing on its higher-end handsets while also offering a robust budget option. That’s indeed the case with the Nord N10 5G, and OnePlus is planning on following it up with a $200 entry-level option dubbed the Nord N100.

Is the OnePlus Nord a successor to the OnePlus X?

OnePlus X

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

Unless you’ve been following OnePlus from the very beginning, there’s a good chance you don’t remember the OnePlus X. Honestly, we don’t blame you.

The OnePlus X was released in October 2015, just a few months after the OnePlus 2 hit the scene. The idea behind the OnePlus X was to deliver the OnePlus experience at the lowest price possible, resulting in a $249 phone that offered a 5-inch Full HD AMOLED display, Snapdragon 801 chipset, 3GB of RAM, and a 13MP rear camera. At the time, those were great specs for a phone so cheap.

Unfortunately for OnePlus, the phone was plagued by poor cameras, weak battery life, and just never captivated a similar audience that its other phones had.

The OnePlus X remains as the most affordable handset OnePlus has ever sold, but the OnePlus Nord gets awfully close to it with a price of around $335 in India.

Should I just get the OnePlus 8 instead?

OnePlus 8

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

There’s no denying that the OnePlus Nord is an exciting phone, but the fact of the matter is that it’s not available for purchase in the United States. If you live in the U.S. and want a OnePlus phone, check out the OnePlus 8 or wait for the Nord N10 5G.

The OnePlus 8 is a lot more expensive than what the OnePlus Nord costs, but it’s still a pretty good price considering everything it brings to the table. Some highlights for the phone include a 6.55-inch AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate, Snapdragon 865 chipset, up to 12GB of RAM, and a 4,300 mAh battery.

The OnePlus 8 isn’t the absolute best value we’ve ever seen from the company, but if you’re shopping for a new Android handset, it’s definitely one of the top ones you should consider.

Nice balance



OnePlus Nord

A new value standard

The OnePlus Nord delivers all the features you’re looking for in a value flagship. There’s a 90Hz AMOLED display, Snapdragon 765G chipset with 5G connectivity, a 48MP camera at the back, and all-day battery life with 30W wired charging. Add a clean software interface and you get one of the best values in 2020.

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tado° smart radiator thermostat can be controlled via your phone » Gadget Flow

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tado° smart radiator thermostat can be controlled via your phone » Gadget Flow

The tado° Smart Radiator Thermostat Starter Kit V3+ home heating system connects to your phone so you can adjust the heating from the app. This allows you to set heating or cooling schedules, as well as receive insights and tips on improving your home climate. You can even adjust individual room temperatures on the go. The tado° home heating system lets you plan your temperatures based on your routine. Therefore, you’ll improve your home comforts and reduce your energy bill. Once installed, you can even control it via voice commands, including Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit. tado° is compatible with almost all radiator valves. This versatility makes it great for all homes. Also, with smart technology, it can detect if windows or open. In fact, it’ll even remind you to turn down your heating to help you save money. Never waste a dime again.

Bioelectronic device achieves unprecedented control of cell membrane voltage

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Bioelectronic device achieves unprecedented control of cell membrane voltage

Driven by a machine learning algorithm, the closed-loop biohybrid device maintained a set membrane voltage in human stem cells for 10 hours

In an impressive proof-of-concept demonstration, an interdisciplinary team of scientists has developed a bioelectronic system driven by a machine learning algorithm that can shift the membrane voltage in living cells and maintain it at a set point for 10 hours.

Every living cell maintains a voltage across the cell membrane that results from differences in the concentrations of charged ions inside and outside the cell. Often called the membrane potential or resting potential, this voltage is regulated by ion channels in the cell membrane and plays important roles in cell physiology and functions such as proliferation and differentiation.

Controlling cells with bioelectronics is difficult due to the complex ways cells respond to changes in their environment and the natural self-regulating feedback process known as homeostasis. Cells regulate ion movements to maintain a steady membrane voltage, so the researchers had to develop a system that could counteract this natural response.

“Biological feedback systems are fundamental to life, and their malfunctioning is often involved in diseases. This work demonstrates that we can tweak this feedback using a combination of bioelectronic devices actuated by machine learning, and potentially restore its functioning,” said Marco Rolandi, professor and chair of electrical and computer engineering at the UC Santa Cruz Baskin School of Engineering.

The researchers developed a system involving an array of bioelectronic proton pumps that add or remove hydrogen ions from solution in proximity to cultured human stem cells. The cells were genetically modified to express a fluorescent protein on the cell membrane that responds to changes in membrane voltage. The system is controlled by a machine learning algorithm that tracks how the membrane voltage responds to stimuli from the proton pumps.

“It is a closed-loop system, in that it records the behavior of the cells, determines what intervention to deliver using the proton pumps, sees how the cells react, then determines the next intervention needed to achieve and maintain the membrane voltage status we desire,” Rolandi explained.

Prof. Gomez, who developed the machine learning algorithm, said the algorithm is not trained on any data in advance and does not rely on a model of the system. Instead, the “learning” happens in real time as the neural network responds to input regarding the current state of the membrane voltage.

“The adaptive nature of biology—that is, the ability of cells to change their response to external stimuli—calls for an adaptive approach in controls, where static models and past information can become obsolete,” Gomez said.

Because the membrane voltage of stem cells is different from that of mature, differentiated cells, the researchers are interested in the possibility of using the system to induce and direct the differentiation of stem cells into specific cell types. They did not, however, explicitly look at cell differentiation in this proof-of-concept study.

More broadly, the combination of bioelectronics and machine learning in a closed-loop biohybrid system has many potential applications in regenerative medicine and synthetic biology, Rolandi said. He noted that the results of this study will inform the team’s work on a major effort to develop a “smart bandage” providing bioelectronic intelligent control of wound regeneration.

“This study is an important proof of concept for the use of bioelectronics and machine learning to control cell functions,” he said.

Reference: J. Selberg et. al., Machine Learning-Driven Bioelectronics for Closed-Loop Control of Cells, Adv. Intell. Syst. (2020) doi:10.1002/aisy.202000140

Adapted from press release

Kylie Jenner Goes OFF After Kim Kardashian Posts Pre-Plastic Surgery Pic: Delete It NOW!

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It’s no secret that the ladies of the Kardashian clan have had quite a bit of work done.


And while they don’t necessarily feel the need to lie about it (anymore), they also don’t like to remind fans of the extent to which they’ve been surgically enhanced.


And we guess that’s why Kylie Jenner was less than pleased to see this pic on Kim Kardashian’s Instagram page.


Kylie is the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, so she has little cause for complaint in life.


But she’s also the youngest of Kim’s sisters, which means that we saw more of her awkward phase than anyone else’s.


That might be why Kylie started correcting what she saw as her “imperfections” while she was still in her teens.


Nowadays, it’s widely accepted that Kylie has dramatically altered her appearance.


But at the beginning of her career in the public eye, her rapidly changing face was a major source of controversy (you might remember the years in which Kylie denied having lip fillers, despite abundant evidence to the contrary).


So it stands to reason that she would chastise Kim for posting a pic from the days before she first went under the knife.


Kim seemed to mean no harm by posting the group photo, which she captioned, “Babies at Benihana.”


But Kylie was understandably not a fan of the pic, taken in 2009, when she was just 12 years old.


“Delete this immediately,” the makeup mogul commented.


Was she joking? Very likely.


But she probably really would have preferred that the photo not be posted for Kim’s massive Instagram audience.


Plus, her older sister went on pour salt in the wound by reminding Kylie of an embarrassing incident from her more recent past.


“Should I Diddy crop you out?” Kim replied.


“Absolutely,” Kylie answered.


That’s a reference to a 2017 mini-scandal in which Diddy cropped Kylie and Kendall out of a group photo!

Diddy Crop


Not exactly Kylie’s proudest moment, so this one post turned into a sort of double-diss for the young billionaire.


The pic and the exchange in the comments were enough to revive a rumor about an intense rivalry between Kylie and Kim.


Is it really playing out in passive-aggressive fashion right in the open on Instagram?


Whatever the case, fans had a field day remarking on Kim’s apparent shade-throwing,


“Why she do that to her sisters lol,” one commenter wrote.


“Kim knows she looks good but her sisters [laughing emojis] that’s why she posted it,” another added.


“Kourtney the only one that looks the same,” a third chimed in.


Yes, Kourtney isn’t even in the photo and somehow she came out of this situation on top.


Now that’s winning!


Believe it or not, this one photo ignited a second controversy that folks are still hashing out in the comments section.


Kim stands accused of re-touching the pic and passing it off as an unedited throwback.


Some say she only lightened it, while others insist that she also messed with Kylie and Kendall’s noses.


There’s no denying that the two images (the original and the one that appeared on Kim’s page this week) look different — but would Kim really go so far as to alter a photo when the whole point of posting it was to show how her family used to look?


It sounds crazy — but we wouldn’t put it past her.


After all, pissing off a 23-year-old billionaire sounds crazy too, but Kim went right ahead and did that!

How to share and download Apple Watch faces in watchOS 7

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How to share and download Apple Watch faces in watchOS 7

Apple’s new watchOS 7 update gives Apple Watch owners the ability to share their best faces for the first time. It also lets you download awesome faces designed by others — and it’s all incredibly simple.

We’ll show you how.

Apple still hasn’t given us (or even developers) the ability to design our own watch faces from scratch. But it did add new faces in watchOS 7, and for the first time, the faces you create can be shared with others.

What’s more, it’s possible to download other face setups you like either by having them sent to you, or by using apps such as Buddywatch. We’ll show you how to get started.

How to share an Apple Watch face in watchOS 7

There are two ways to share your own Apple Watch faces, and they’re both incredibly simple. The easiest is to use Apple Watch itself. Once you’ve created a face you love, simply follow these steps:

  1. Tap and hold a watch face on your Apple Watch to open the edit menu.
  2. Select the face you wish to share, then tap the share button.
  3. Add a contact and attach a message if you wish.
  4. Scroll down and tap the Send button.
Sharing faces from Apple Watch is easy.
Image: Cult of Mac

To share a face from your iPhone, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Watch app.
  2. Under the My Faces section, tap the face you want to share.
  3. Tap the share button in the top-right corner.
  4. Choose how you would like to send your face.

How to download Apple Watch faces

Using the steps above, a friend can easily send you their favorite faces for you to use on your Apple Watch. Alternatively, you can find ready-made faces elsewhere using an app like Buddywatch.

Buddywatch is free to download and offers a wide variety of custom faces categorized by theme, color scheme, and more. It also has an “Editor’s choice” selection, and showcases the latest additions.

How to share and download Apple Watch faces in watchOS 7
Buddywatch has a ton of great faces to choose from.
Image: Cult of Mac

When you find a face you like, simply tap the Download button. The face will be sent to the Watch app, and you can tap Add to My Faces to add it to you library. It will also appear on your Apple Watch.

About complications

There is something to be aware of when downloading ready-made Apple Watch faces: Some will come with complications from third-party apps that you may not have installed on your device.

When you add a face with complications you don’t yet have access to, the Watch app will prompt you to download the apps you’ll need. If you choose not to do that, the complications simply won’t appear.


Confirmed: There is no OnePlus 8T ‘Pro’

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OnePLus 8T 5G launch

OnePlus is all set to launch its T-series smartphone in India on October 14. This time around, the company is said to unveil just the vanilla variant of OnePlus 8T. There were rumors claiming that there will be no Pro variant in the T-series. Now, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau has confirmed the development that there is indeed no OnePlus 8T Pro. The company official took to Weibo to reveal the details.

According to Pete Lau’s Weibo post, those who like the Pro-level products could purchase the OnePlus 8 Pro. He says that there is no room for upgrade in the Pro variant. Hence, there will only be the vanilla OnePlus 8T this year. He added that the company also has a surprise worth waiting for. The company is speculated to announce OnePlus Bullets Wireless 3, OnePlus Buds Z, a smartwatch, and more.

OnePlus 8T 5G leaked specifications

OnePlus 8T 5G

The OnePlus 8T 5G will feature a flat display, as confirmed by Pete Lau himself. It will come with a 120Hz refresh rate display of 6.5-inches. The smartphone will be using a 2.5D flexible screen that is said to offer an improved light permeability and can reach a maximum brightness of up to 1100 nits. Moreover, it will come with a 91.9% screen-to-body-ratio, which would be the highest ever on an OnePlus smartphone.

The handset is tipped to be powered by Snapdragon 865, and not Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 865 Plus. In the optics department, the OnePlus 8T 5G is rumored to sport a quad rear camera setup of 48MP primary camera, a 16MP wide-angle shooter, a 5MP macro lens, and a 2MP portrait camera. It might house a 16MP selfie shooter. Further, it could pack a 4,800mAh battery with support for 65W fast charging technology. It is likely to ship with OxygenOS 11 based on Android 11

According to a tipster, the OnePlus 8T 5G will arrive in Europe in two options of 8GB RAM + 128GB storage and 12GB RAM + 256GB storage. The price of these variants is said to be 799 euros and 899 euros, respectively.

Via: Gizmochina

Eve Cam goes on sale, the first indoor camera for HomeKit Secur

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Eve Cam goes on sale, the first indoor camera for HomeKit Secur


(Pocket-lint) – Originally announced at the start of the year, Eve Systems has put its Eve Cam on sale at last and it’ll ship on June 23. 

The $150/150 Euro