HomePod Mini Supports Low-Power Thread Networking Technology

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As disclosed on the specs page for Apple’s new HomePod mini, the diminutive speaker is Apple’s first to support Thread networking technology.


Thread is a low-power IP-based networking technology for connecting Internet of Things (IoT) devices, offering a secure, mesh-based system that makes it easy to build an ecosystem of devices.

While Thread is essentially agnostic to the application layers that run on top of it, it can support multiple layers and may play a role in Project Connected Home over IP, the alliance of Apple, Amazon, Google, and other companies that is seeking to make it simpler to build devices compatible with multiple ecosystems such as Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant.

For the time being, however, Apple says in a footnote that ‌HomePod‌ mini’s Thread support is limited to HomeKit devices, so the technology can’t yet be leveraged cross-platform and it remains to be seen how Apple will embrace Thread going forward.

Apple is a noted supporter of the Thread project, with longtime Apple engineer Stuart Cheshire, who developed the Rendezvous/Bonjour zero-configuration standard nearly 20 years ago, serves as a director of Thread Group.

Apple’s ‌HomePod‌ mini will be available for pre-order starting November 6, and it will officially launch on November 16.

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Reliance Jio’s Ambani supports artificial intelligence for India

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Mukesh Ambani wearing a suit and tie


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After telecom and e-commerce, India’s richest man has now put his weight behind artificial intelligence (AI).

Mukesh Ambani, chairman of India’s most valued private company Reliance Industries, believes that AI is “indispensable” to India for achieving its “digital destiny.”

“The time is ripe, and the tools are ready to make India a world leader in artificial intelligence, and to make AI work for all Indians,” Ambani said at the Responsible Artificial Intelligence for Social Empowerment summit (RAISE 2020) yesterday (Oct. 5).

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The 63-year-old second-generation businessman, who has started dabbling in all things internet over the last few years, said AI could help India achieve its goals across economic growth, agriculture modernisation, affordable healthcare, and world-class education.

Ambani’s push for AI comes at a time when his digital business vertical, Jio Platforms, has been emerging as one of the youngest and fastest-growing tech firms in the world. The business has attracted investors such as Facebook and Google, which are considered pioneers in AI.

Ambani’s data and AI play

Calling them a part of a “fourth industrial revolution,” Ambani said technologies such as AI could help achieve a “strong, sustainable, and equitable new India.”

This is ironic, given the fact that Ambani’s growing digital clout has raised some fears of monopoly and unfair competition.

Afterall, Reliance Industries has in recent years become a treasure trove of data about Indians through its several industry-leading businesses. Reliance’s retail arm, Reliance Retail, for instance, is India’s largest organised retail chain, while the group’s telecom venture, Reliance Jio, is the country’s largest telecom operator. And Jio Platforms is fast becoming a leader across new technologies with significant investments across broadband connectivity, smart devices, cloud and edge computing, big data analytics, AI, internet of things, augmented and mixed reality, and blockchain.

First photo of a black hole supports Einstein’s theory of relativity

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The first image of a black hole, captured in 2019, has revealed more support for Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The new finding has suggested his theory is now 500 times harder to beat.



a star in the background: This is a simulation of M87's black hole showing the motion of plasma as it swirls around the black hole. The bright thin ring that can be seen in blue is the edge of what researchers call the black hole shadow.


© L. Medeiros/C. Chan/D. Psaltis/F. Özel; UArizona/IAS
This is a simulation of M87’s black hole showing the motion of plasma as it swirls around the black hole. The bright thin ring that can be seen in blue is the edge of what researchers call the black hole shadow.

Einstein’s theory, or the idea that gravity is matter warping space-time, has persisted for a hundred years as new astronomical discoveries have been made.

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Researchers from the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, the team that imaged the central black hole of the M87 galaxy last year, analyzed the black hole’s “shadow.”

Black holes don’t cast shadows in the typical sense because they aren’t solid objects that prevent light from passing through them.

Instead, black holes interact with light a little differently but create a similar effect. A black hole can pull light toward itself, and while light can’t escape the inside of a black hole, it’s possible for light to make a getaway in a region around the event horizon, or point of no return. This in-between space can look like a shadow.

Because black holes have such immense gravity, which curves space-time, it can actually act like magnifier that makes the black hole’s shadow appear larger than it is.

The research team measured this distortion and found that the size of this black hole’s shadow aligns with the theory of relativity — or matter warping space-time to create gravity.

The study published Thursday in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Video: Meet the diverse astronauts flying SpaceX’s next mission (CNN)

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Google’s Stadia Controller now supports USB-C headsets and headphones

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Google’s Stadia controller now has support for USB-C audio devices when playing on a Chromecast or via a web browser. That gives you an easy way to add headphones and a microphone, since you can simply plug in a set of wired USB-C earbuds like the Google’s Pixel USB-C earbuds, gaming headset, the Asus ROG Delta, or even the wireless SteelSeries Arctis 1 gaming headset with its wireless USB-C adapter (It works, a Redditor confirms.)

It’s nice that Stadia players have another audio option beyond the built-in 3.5mm jack, and it’s cool and unusual for any game controller to offer USB-C audio, but it still took almost a year for Google to add it after promising the feature was coming.

Up until now, you could only use the controller’s USB-C port to charge the controller or to plug it into a smartphone or computer with a USB-C cable. In fact, for a long time after launch, that was the only way to use it with a phone or computer — Google sold a $69 wireless controller that wasn’t wireless unless you were playing on its Chromecast Ultra, up until nearly seven months after launch when Google added support for phone and web in May and June updates respectively. It also took a month after launch until Google released the $15 “claw” mount that let you attach the Stadia controller to your phone so you could use it to play Stadia games on the go.

Google also promised that support for Bluetooth audio would be coming to the controller, but has yet to say when the option will actually arrive. At least with Google’s new Chromecast, the company’s giving itself time to keep its promises: Google says it won’t support Stadia until the first half of next year.

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Overwhelming evidence supports Jurassic fossil does belong to Archaeopteryx — ScienceDaily

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A new study provides substantial evidence that the first fossil feather ever to be discovered does belong to the iconic Archaeopteryx, a bird-like dinosaur named in Germany on this day in 1861. This debunks a recent theory that the fossil feather originated from a different species.

The research published in Scientific Reports finds that the Jurassic fossil matches a type of wing feather called a primary covert. Primary coverts overlay the primary feathers and help propel birds through the air. The international team of scientists led by the University of South Florida analyzed nine attributes of the feather, particularly the long quill, along with data from modern birds. They also examined the 13 known skeletal fossils of Archaeopteryx, three of which contain well-preserved primary coverts. The researchers discovered that the top surface of an Archaeopteryx wing has primary coverts that are identical to the isolated feather in size and shape. The isolated feather was also from the same fossil site as four skeletons of Archaeopteryx, confirming their findings.

“There’s been debate for the past 159 years as to whether or not this feather belongs to the same species as the Archaeopteryx skeletons, as well as where on the body it came from and its original color,” said lead author Ryan Carney, assistant professor of integrative biology at USF. “Through scientific detective work that combined new techniques with old fossils and literature, we were able to finally solve these centuries-old mysteries.”

Using a specialized type of electron microscope, the researchers determined that the feather came from the left wing. They also detected melanosomes, which are microscopic pigment structures. After refining their color reconstruction, they found that the feather was entirely matte black, not black and white as another study has claimed.

Carney’s expertise on Archaeopteryx and diseases led to the National