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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

California Is Fighting the Trump Administration on Car Emissions

The state’s Air Resources Board passes new measures that reinforce its vehicle emissions rules—and maintain its collision course with the federal government.
Source: Wired

Amazon reportedly offloaded its Chinese server business because it was compromised

It looks like Amazon’s move to sell off its physical server business in China last year was because the unit had been compromised by a Chinese government spying program.

That’s according to a report from Bloomberg which details how the Chinese government infiltrated a number of U.S. companies by sneaking tiny chips onto motherboards from Supermicro. They then became part of servers deployed by the companies giving remote operatives potential access to data. It’s a huge story that includes a comparatively small but important passage shedding light on Amazon’s China deal last November — the U.S. firm sold the physical server business to local partner Beijing Sinnet for 2 billion yuan, or around $300 million.

That transaction initially sparked reports that AWS would exit China, but Amazon later clarified it planned to continue to operate its cloud services in China. Selling the physical server business, it said, was down to the fact that “Chinese law forbids non-Chinese companies from owning or operating certain technology for the provision of cloud services.”

While it is correct that China did introduce cybersecurity laws that placed restrictions on overseas firms and appeared to give the government unprecedented access to data, the Bloomberg report claims that Amazon’s China-based servers were in fact offloaded because they were plagued with compromised servers.

A notable exception was AWS’s data centers inside China, which were filled with Supermicro-built servers, according to two people with knowledge of AWS’s operations there. Mindful of the Elemental findings, Amazon’s security team conducted its own investigation into AWS’s Beijing facilities and found altered motherboards there as well, including more sophisticated designs than they’d previously encountered. In one case, the malicious chips were thin enough that they’d been embedded between the layers of fiberglass onto which the other components were attached, according to one person who saw pictures of the chips. That generation of chips was smaller than a sharpened pencil tip, the person says.

One source at Amazon described the deal to Bloomberg as a decision to “hack off the diseased limb.”

Amazon refuted the claims, as did other U.S. companies named in the report as well as the Chinese government itself.

“It’s untrue that AWS knew about a supply chain compromise, an issue with malicious chips, or hardware modifications when acquiring Elemental. It’s also untrue that AWS knew about servers containing malicious chips or modifications in data centers based in China, or that AWS worked with the FBI to investigate or provide data about malicious hardware,” Amazon told Bloomberg in a statement.


Source: TechCrunch

Asus' super-fast RT-AX88U wireless router is coming mid-October – CNET

The Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) router will launch in Singapore before rolling out to the rest of the world.
Source: CNET

Star Wars Resistance characters leap from screen to Hasbro action figures – CNET

Exclusive: Kaz, Poe Dameron and others from Disney’s new Star Wars series are getting toys in the animated show’s style.
Source: CNET

Zunum Aero bets on hybrid electric engines for its small commuter jet

The traditional aviation industry typically moves rather slowly, but over the last few years, we’ve seen a number of upstarts that are challenging the status quo both in the general and commercial aviation business. One of those is Zunum Aero, which is looking to produce a small hybrid electric-powered commuter plane for six to 12 passengers, with plans to launch its first plane, the ZA10, in the early 2020s.

As Zunum today announced, it has chosen Safran’s twin-spool Ardiden 3Z light helicopter engine as the powerplant for its first planes. While you have probably never heard of Safran, the company is one of the biggest suppliers of engines for turbine helicopters, and chances are that if you see one in the air, it’s probably powered by a Safran engine.

“The Ardiden 3Z represents a very powerful complement to the ZA10 because of its exceptional performance, along with low operating and maintenance costs,” said Safran’s head of OEM sales Florent Chauvancy. “This announcement marks a new step forward in demonstrating Safran’s ability to offer hybrid propulsive solutions for tomorrow’s mobility solutions.”

As Zunum chief engineer Matt Knapp told me, the company always believes that hybrid engines were the way to go — at least for the foreseeable future. The planes, however, can be converted to a pure electric powertrain if and when batteries reach enough energy density to make this an option. Right now, the only way to offer a plane that can cover the kind of distance between say San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, is to opt for this hybrid solution. Planes that solely rely on battery power simply aren’t a viable option for this kind of mission. Knapp believes that battery power alone would get the plane to about 500 miles, which isn’t bad, but less than most airlines would require.

The promise is that the hybrid powertrain will still reduce emissions by 80 percent and that airlines can save 40 to 80 percent per short-haul flight. Indeed, the company promises costs of 8 cents per passenger mile. Currently, the average for most of the major U.S. airlines is significantly more than that, even with their long-haul operations in the mix. For regional carriers, it’s even higher than that.

The new propulsion system will offer a peak performance of the equivalent of 1,300 horsepower, which should get the plane to a cruise speed of 340 miles per hour. During cruise, which uses far less power than the initial climb, the plane can go all-electric.

As for the airframe itself, Knapp notes there really isn’t anything all that special about it. “It’s more or less designed for high utilization in a commercial setting,” he said.

Knapp also noted that the plane can be flown by a single pilot, though the FAA would limit those operations to flights with nine seats or fewer. In the long run, though, Knapp actually expects that many new planes will be flying autonomously.

Until then, though, Zunum still has to prove it can build an airplane. For now, the company plans to use the hybrid powertrain on a test aircraft that it recently purchased (an old Aero Commander, for you avgeeks) while it starts working on its airframe.


Source: TechCrunch

Denon AVR-S740H review: Best-in-class sound and features in a sub-$500 package – CNET

The Denon AVR-S740H receiver offers excellent sound, a generous feature set and a great price, making it one of our favorite midpriced models.
Source: CNET

When Tech Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself

Historian Yuval Noah Harari and ethicist Tristan Harris discuss the future of artificial intelligence with WIRED Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Thompson.
Source: Wired

Zunum Aero’s Hybrid Plane Uses a Helicopter Engine Cut Fuel Use in Half

The Washington-based startup is using a modified helicopter engine to generate power, supplementing the batteries packed in its fuselage.
Source: Wired

Swarms of Super-Sized Mosquitoes Besiege North Carolina

These mosquitoes are monstrous in size, hyper-aggressive, and hatching by the millions in the wake of Hurricane Florence.
Source: Wired

Five things you need to know about the 2018 Land Rover Range Rover HSE video – Roadshow

Land Rover’s flagship SUV gets new infotainment tech and light visual alterations.
Source: CNET

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