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Epic Games asks court to force Apple to reinstall Fortnite - Bangkok Post
SAN FRANCISCO - Epic Games is trying to convince a California court to reinstate Fortnite on the Apple App Store pending legal proceedings, arguing that doing so is in the "public interest," court documents show.
SAN FRANCISCO - Epic Games is trying to convince a California court to reinstate Fortnite on the Apple App Store pending legal proceedings, arguing that doing so is in the "public interest," court documents show. If not, the game could suffer "irreparable harm," the company's lawyers said in a new lawsuit delivered Friday. The gambit comes amid a battle over whether Apple's tight control over the App Store, and its 30 percent cut of revenue, counts as monopolistic behavior. Apple pulled Fortnite from its online mobile apps marketplace on August 13 after Epic released an update that dodges revenue sharing with the iPhone maker. Last month a US court rejected Epic's bid to have Fortnite reinstated on the App Store, saying its eviction by Apple was a "self-inflicted wound." "Over 116 million registered users have accessed Fortnite through iOS more than any other platform," Epic says in the new complaint. "By eliminating many of these players from Fortnite, and blocking Fortnite's ability to access over a billion iOS users, Apple is irreparably harming Epic's chances," it continues. Daily active users have dropped by more than 60 percent since Fortnite was removed, it says, while Epic's reputation has also taken a hit. "Epic may never see these users again," the lawsuit says. But it did not back down from its fight against Apple, stating that the tech giant "is a monopolist." Due to the legal row, Fortnite fans using iPhones or other Apple products no longer have access to the latest game updates, including the new season released at the end of August. Apple does not allow users of its popular devices to download apps from anywhere but its App Store.
Small asteroid becomes closest ever seen passing Earth: NASA - Bangkok Post
WASHINGTON: An asteroid the size of an SUV passed 2,950 kilometres above Earth, the closest asteroid ever observed passing by our planet, Nasa said on Tuesday.
WASHINGTON: An asteroid the size of an SUV passed 2,950 kilometres above Earth, the closest asteroid ever observed passing by our planet, Nasa said on Tuesday. If it had been on a collision course with Earth, the asteroid -- named 2020 QG -- would likely not have caused any damage, instead disintegrating in the atmosphere, creating a fireball in the sky, or a meteor, Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said in a statement. The asteroid, which was about three to six meters long, passed above the southern Indian Ocean on Sunday at 0408 GMT (11.08am Bangkok). It was moving about 12.3 kilometres per second, and was far below the geostationary orbit of about 35,000 kilometres at which most telecommunication satellites are placed. The asteroid was first recorded six hours after its approach by the Zwicky Transient Facility, a telescope at the Palomar Observatory at the California Institute of Technology, as a long trail of light in the sky. The US space agency said that similarly sized asteroids pass by Earth at a similar distance a few times per year. But they're difficult to record, unless they're heading directly towards the planet, in which case the explosion in the atmosphere is usually noticed -- as in Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013, when the explosion of an object about 66 feet long shattered windows for miles, injuring a thousand people. One of Nasa's missions is to monitor larger asteroids (140 metres or more) that could actually pose a threat to Earth, but their equipment also tracks smaller ones. "It's really cool to see a small asteroid come by this close, because we can see the Earth's gravity dramatically bends its trajectory," said Paul Chodas, the director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at Nasa. According to the JPL's calculations, the asteroid turned by about 45 degrees due to Earth's gravitational pull.
Dinosaurs got cancer too, say scientists - Bangkok Post
OTTAWA - Dinosaurs loom in the imagination as forces of nature, but a new study that identifies the first known case of cancer in the creatures shows they suffered from the debilitating disease too.
OTTAWA - Dinosaurs loom in the imagination as forces of nature, but a new study that identifies the first known case of cancer in the creatures shows they suffered from the debilitating disease too. A badly malformed Centrosaurus leg bone unearthed in the Alberta, Canada badlands in 1989 had originally been thought by paleontologists to be a healed fracture. But a fresh examination of the growth under a microscope and using a technique also employed in human cancer care determined it was actually a malignant tumor. "The cancer discovery makes dinosaurs more real," study co-author Mark Crowther told AFP. "We often think of them as mythical creatures, robust and stomping around, but (the diagnosis shows) they suffered from diseases just like people." The findings were published in the August issue of The Lancet Oncology. Most cancers occur in soft tissues, which are not well-preserved in fossil records, noted Crowther, a dinosaur enthusiast and chair of McMaster University's medical faculty in Canada. "Oddly enough, under a microscope it looked a lot like human Osteosarcoma," he said. "It's fascinating that this cancer existed tens of millions of years ago and still exists today." Osteosarcoma is an aggressive bone cancer that still afflicts about three out of one million people each year. - 'Just part of life' - In this horned herbivore that lived 76 million to 77 million years ago it had metastasised and likely hobbled the giant lizard, the researchers said in the study. But neither the late-stage cancer nor a predator looking to make a meal out of slow and weak prey is believed to have killed it. Because its bones were discovered with more than 100 others from the same herd, the researchers said, it's more likely they all died in a sudden disaster such as a flood, and that prior to this catastrophe the herd protected the lame dinosaur, extending its life. Lead researchers Crowther and David Evans, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, and their team sifted through hundreds of samples of abnormal bones at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta, to find the bone with a tumour, which is about the size of an apple. The team also used high-resolution computed tomography (CT) scans, a multidisciplinary diagnostic technique used in human cancer care. Crowther said dinosaurs would probably have been at higher risk of Osteosarcoma, which affects youths with fast-growing bones, because they grew very quickly and big. "In terms of the biology of cancer," he said, "you often hear about environmental, dietary and other causes of cancer. Finding a case from more than 75 million years ago you realize it's just a part of life." "You have an animal that surely wasn't smoking (a leading cause of cancer in humans) and so it shows that cancer is not a recent invention, and that it's not exclusively linked to our environment."
Nasa demands fixes for Boeing space capsule's software - Bangkok Post
WASHINGTON: Nasa has drawn up a list of 80 recommendations that US aerospace giant Boeing will have to address before attempting to refly its Starliner space capsule, following the failure of an uncrewed test last year.
WASHINGTON: Nasa has drawn up a list of 80 recommendations that US aerospace giant Boeing will have to address before attempting to refly its Starliner space capsule, following the failure of an uncrewed test last year. The recommendations primarily concern the on-board software, which was the main problem with the flight test last December. The capsule could not be placed in the correct orbit, due to a clock error, and a had to return to Earth after two days instead of docking with the International Space Station as planned. Boeing subsequently learned that other software problems could have caused the capsule and the rocket to collide at the time of separation, a potentially very dangerous event if the flight had been crewed. Most of the problems identified run deep and are organizational, for example Nasa's verification procedures. The space agency has been a client of Boeing's for decades, but seems to have placed too much faith in its historic partner. "Perhaps we were a little more focused on SpaceX," said Steve Stich, manager of Nasa's Commercial Crew Program, in a call with reporters. SpaceX, a relative newcomer to the space industry, is the other company chosen by Nasa to develop a crewed vessel -- but unlike Boeing, its Crew Dragon successfully completed its uncrewed test flight in 2019, then its first crewed flight in May, with two astronauts on board. Starliner's next attempt could take place in "the latter part of this year," added Stich, without making a guarantee. Boeing won't therefore be able to carry astronauts until at least 2021, while SpaceX's second crewed flight is set to take place this summer.
Microsoft to permanently close all retail stores - Bangkok Post
SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft said Friday it will close all of its stores and move its retail operations online, keeping just four locations and transforming them into "experience centers."
SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft said Friday it will close all of its stores and move its retail operations online, keeping just four locations and transforming them into "experience centers." The move means the more than 80 Microsoft stores closed due to the coronavirus pandemic will not reopen as the tech giant enters "a new approach to retail," according to a statement. "Microsoft will continue to invest in its digital storefronts on Microsoft.com, and stores in Xbox and Windows," the statement said. The four locations that will become Microsoft Experience Centers are in London, New York, Sydney and at the company's Redmond, Washington headquarters. Retail team members will "serve customers from Microsoft corporate facilities and remotely providing sales, training, and support," the company said. Microsoft said it will set aside $450 million to cover the costs of closing the locations. The number of employees who would be affected was not immediately available. "Our sales have grown online as our product portfolio has evolved to largely digital offerings, and our talented team has proven success serving customers beyond any physical location," said Microsoft corporate vice president David Porter. Microsoft in recent years has been relying more on its services such as cloud computing, with the retail locations focusing on its Surface tablets and laptops as well as Xbox gaming gear. But the physical stores failed to gain the momentum of rival Apple. Independent technology analyst Neil Cybart said the closures were because "the Surface business increasingly looks to be losing momentum in the consumer space." The impact of the pandemic has not yet been reflected in Microsoft's financial results. It posted a net profit of $10.8 billion from January to March, up 22 percent year-on-year, on a turnover of $35 billion. Despite production delays for its Surface range, the group believes it is well positioned to weather the crisis, thanks in particular to the explosion of cloud computing. In an era of social distancing, Microsoft can also count on its teleworking, distance and education software and services. However, it has just closed down video game streaming platform Mixer, leaving the field open to the industry giant Twitch, owned by Amazon, and its two rivals, YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming.
Dino-dooming asteroid hit Earth at 'deadliest possible' angle - Bangkok Post
PARIS - This much we knew: some 66 million years ago an asteroid roughly twice the diameter of Paris crashed into Earth, wiping out all land-dwelling dinosaurs and 75 percent of life on the planet.
PARIS - This much we knew: some 66 million years ago an asteroid roughly twice the diameter of Paris crashed into Earth, wiping out all land-dwelling dinosaurs and 75 percent of life on the planet. What remained a mystery was whether it was a direct hit or more of a glancing blow, and which would be more destructive. As it turns out, according to a study published Tuesday in Nature Communications, the giant space rock struck at the "deadliest possible" angle -- 60 degrees. The cataclysmic impact kicked up enough debris and gases into the upper atmosphere to radically change the climate, dooming T-Rex and everything it ever hunted to extinction. Analysing the structure of the 200-kilometre-wide crater in southern Mexico where the asteroid hit, scientists ran a series of simulations. Lead author Gareth Collins of Imperial College London and colleagues at the University of Freiburg and the University of Texas at Austin looked at four possible impact angles -- 90, 60, 45 and 30 degrees -- and two impact speeds, 12 and 20 kilometres per second. The best fit with the data from the crater was a 60 degree strike. "Sixty degrees is a more lethal impact angle because it ejects a larger amount of material fast enough to engulf the planet," Collins told AFP. "The Chicxulub impact triggered a mass extinction because it ejected huge quantities of dust and gas out of the crater fast enough to disperse around the globe." Had the asteroid hit head on or at a more oblique angle, not as much debris would have been thrown up into the atmosphere, he added. Large amounts of sulphur in the form of tiny particles that remained suspended in the air blocked the Sun, cooling the climate by several degrees Celsius. - Rocks 'rebound' - Smoke, ash and debris engulfed the atmosphere, eventually destroying most plants and wiping out 75 percent of species on Earth. Chicxulub is also thought to have triggered an earthquake whose seismic waves reached Tanis - the fossil site 3,000 km away in North Dakota where definitive evidence of the asteroid's devastating impact was uncovered - in just 13 minutes. The seismic shock triggered a torrent of water and debris from an arm of an inland sea known as the Western Interior Seaway. Thus far, scientists have only been able to study the early stages of the impact. The researchers combed through geological data gathered during a recent dig to better understand how the cataclysm unfolded. They soon realised that the asteroid did not, as long assumed, approach Earth from the southeast. "Our work overturns this hypothesis," Collins explained. "The crater's central uplift is leaning slightly to the southwest, and numerical simulations of the impact reproduce this." The findings could lead to a greater understanding about how craters are formed in general. The 3-D simulations, for example, suggest that rocks "rebound" to fill in some of the impact layer during the final stage of crater formation, a process that takes only minutes, the researchers conjectured. Scientists are still trying to figure out exactly how the asteroid triggered a mass extinction event and why some species survived while others didn't. "The Chicxulub impact was a very bad day for the dinosaurs," Collins said, adding that the new research showed it was "even worse" than had been previously thought. "It makes it even more remarkable that life survived and recovered as rapidly as it did."
WHO stops hydroxychloroquine trials over safety concerns - Bangkok Post
GENEVA: The WHO suspended trials of the drug that Donald Trump has promoted as a coronavirus defence, fuelling concerns about the US president's handling of the pandemic that has killed nearly 100,000 Americans.
GENEVA: The WHO suspended trials of the drug that Donald Trump has promoted as a coronavirus defence, fuelling concerns about the US president's handling of the pandemic that has killed nearly 100,000 Americans. Trump has led the push for hydroxychloroquine as a potential shield or treatment for the virus, which has infected nearly 5.5 million people and killed 345,000 around the world, saying he took a course of the drug as a preventative measure. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has also heavily promoted hydroxychloroquine while the virus has exploded across nation, which this week became the second most infected in the world after the United States. But the World Health Organization said Monday it was halting testing of the drug for Covid-19 after studies questioned its safety, including one published Friday that found it actually increased the risk of death. The WHO "has implemented a temporary pause... while the safety data is reviewed", its chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, referring to the hydroxychloroquine arm of a global trial of various possible treatments. Trump announced last week he was taking the drug, explaining he had decided to take after receiving letters from a doctor and other people advocating it. "I think it's good. I've heard a lot of good stories," Trump told reporters then, as he declared it safe. Trump dismissed the opinions then of his own government's experts who had warned of the serious risks associated with hydroxychloroquine, with the Food and Drug Administration highlighting reported poisonings and heart problems. Trump has been heavily criticised for his handling of the virus, after initially downplaying the threat and then repeatedly rejecting scientific analysis. The United States has by far the world's highest coronavirus death toll, reaching 98,218 on Monday, with more than 1.6 million confirmed infections. Despite the WHO suspension, Brazil's health ministry said Monday it would keep recommending hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19. "We're remaining calm and there will be no change," health ministry official Mayra Pinheiro told a news conference. Bolsonaro is a staunch opponent of lockdown measures and like Trump has played down the threat of the virus, even as Latin America has emerged as the new global virus hotspot. Brazil has reported nearly 375,000 cases, widely considered to be far fewer than the real number because of a lack of testing, and more than 23,000 deaths. Chile also is in the grip of a virus surge, with a record of nearly 5,000 infections in 24 hours on Monday. - 'Thrilled to break the isolation' - While South America and parts of Africa and Asia are only just beginning to feel the full force of the pandemic, many European nations are easing lockdowns as their outbreaks are brought under control. In hard-hit Spain, Madrid and Barcelona on Monday emerged from one of the world's strictest lockdowns, with parks and cafe terraces open for the first time in more than two months. Elsewhere, gyms and swimming pools reopened in Germany, Iceland, Italy and Spain. And slowing infection rates in Greece allowed restaurants to resume business a week ahead of schedule -- but only for outdoor service. "I'm thrilled to break the isolation of recent months and reconnect with friends," said pensioner Giorgos Karavatsanis. "The cafe in Greece has a social dimension, it's where the heart of the district beats." Despite the encouraging numbers, experts have warned that the virus could hit back with a devastating second wave if governments and citizens are careless, especially in the absence of a vaccine. The latest reminder of the threat came from Sweden, where the Covid-19 death toll crossed 4,000 -- a much higher figure than its neighbours. The Scandinavian nation has gained international attention -- and criticism -- for not enforcing stay-at-home measures like other European countries. - 'What will happen if I die' - The extended lockdowns, however, have started to bite globally, with businesses and citizens wearying of confinement and suffering immense economic pain. Unprecedented emergency stimulus measures have been introduced, as governments try to provide relief to their economies, with the airline and hospitality sectors hit particularly hard because of travel bans. Lufthansa became the latest major global company to be rescued, as the German government agreed a 9 billion euros ($9.8 billion) bailout for one of the world's biggest airlines. But analysts have warned that the pandemic's economic toll will be even more painful for countries far poorer than Western nations. In the Maldives, a dream destination for well-heeled honeymooners, tens of thousands of impoverished foreign labourers have been left stranded, jobless and ostracised as the tiny nation shut all resorts to stop the virus. "We need money to survive. We need our work," said Zakir Hossain, who managed to send about 80 percent of his $180 a month wage to his wife and four children in Bangladesh before the outbreak. "I heard that if a Bangladeshi worker dies here, they don't send his body back and he is buried here," he said. "I am worried what will happen if I die."