Hey, good morning! The biggest aircraft ever is ready for testing. (No it's not a blimp.) We hacked our very own proper D-pad for the Nintendo Switch and also took a closer look at how AI is changing our world -- and doing things better than humans.
As we've seen with SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and the rest, billionaires love nothing more than funding wild transportation projects. The Paul Allen-backed Stratolaunch is yet another program in that vein, intended as an airborne launch vehicle for future rockets. Now, after a few years of teasing, it appears the "world's largest aircraft" could be close to taking flight.
Nintendo's most enduring controller innovation is arguably the humble D-Pad: a simple plastic cross that lets players input eight different directions with precision and ease. Strangely, however, this iconic control pad was left out of the Nintendo Switch's default controller design, and Sean Buckley missed it so much, he did what any reasonable tech blogger would do: 3D-printed his own.
Who knew stringing four numbers together and slapping it on a feature phone could evoke such a strong consumer reaction in 2017? The hype is somewhat understandable.For many people, the original Nokia 3310 would've been a totem representing their first taste of freedom: an unsupervised connection to friends, a plaything for idle hands. However, many things have changed in 17 years.
Although modern AI systems lack the adaptability of humans, they're already outpacing the intellectual capabilities of their creators in a wide variety of fields. From beating grandmaster Go players to outguessing cardiac surgeons, lipreading to audio transcription, neural networks and machine learning have already surpassed humans -- and that list is only going to grow longer. We take a look at how AI is pervading our world. It's more than just an innocent game of Go.
On June 1st, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will carry supplies and new instruments to the ISS, including one designed to observe some of the strangest objects in the universe: neutron stars or pulsars. The Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) will be installed outside the ISS, where it will look for and study the extremely dense objects. Neutron stars begin their lives as stars around seven to 20 times the mass of our sun. When they collapse and cause a supernova explosion, they turn into a sphere that's only 12 miles across, with twice the mass of our sun squeezed inside. Scientists still have no idea what happens to atoms in that density, and that's what they're hoping to find out with the help of the new instrument. Its observations will help scientists figure out a pulsar's interior structure and to find out the mass threshold needed for a star to become a black hole instead of a pulsar.
In just a few weeks, you can finally handle Sony's latest high-end, high-performance flagship phone. Pre-order the Xperia XZ Premium through Amazon and Best Buy starting on June 12th, or just purchase it outright when retailers begin selling it on June 19th. We all like to live life dangerously. It'll become the second commercially available phone to support gigabit LTE after Samsung's Galaxy S8, which should offer a degree of future-proofing, at least carrier-wise.
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