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The Morning After: TESS takes off and Russia battles Telegram

Also: Intel's smart glasses project is dead.

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Richard Lawler
April 19, 2018 6:30 AM
'GLOW' - Netflix
'GLOW' - Netflix

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

Twitch has a tiny Russian problem, and Intel has pulled the plug on its smart glasses. We also have an update on what Pornhub is (not) doing about deepfake videos and everything you need to know about last night's SpaceX launch.

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Just two years late.Paul Allen's massive Stratolaunch may finally take off this summer

With a wingspan measuring 385 feet, the 500,000-pound, twin-fuselage Stratolaunch is the largest plane in the world. And at the 34th Space Symposium, its makers revealed they're planning its first test flights. First, though, it will need to hit 80 and then 138 MPH during on-ground taxi tests.

And Twitch gets caught in the crossfire.Russia stops at nothing to silence Telegram

In order to block Telegram's access in the country, Russia has indiscriminately blocked the better part of two million IP addresses owned by Google and Amazon, which means other services that use the same hosts are also at risk of disruption. Amazon-owned Twitch has noticeably felt the effects, and until the situation with Telegram is resolved, VPNs may be the best way for Russian viewers to tune in.

Lack of investment.Intel cancels its subtle smart glasses project

When Intel showed off its Vaunt smart glasses (aka Superlight, internally) back in February, we had high hopes for a new wave of wearable tech that wouldn't turn us into Borgs. Alas, according to The Information's source, word has it that the chip maker is closing the group responsible for wearable devices, which, sadly, included the Vaunt. This was later confirmed by Intel in a statement, which hinted at a lack of investment due to "market dynamics." Indeed, Bloomberg had earlier reported that Intel was looking to sell a majority stake in this division, which had about 200 employees and was valued at $350 million.

It's a frantic first-person account of losing a sibling in a terrorist attack.'The Loss Levels' is a game about shock, grief and powerlessness

It isn't beautiful or challenging, competitive or replayable. The Loss Levels isn't even fun. The game, commissioned for London's Games Festival, puts the player in the aftermath of last year's Manchester Arena bombing and tells the personal story of developer Dan Hett, who lost his brother in the terror attack that claimed 23 lives, including that of the bomber.

The Kepler successor is on its way to orbit.SpaceX launches NASA's planet-finding spacecraft, TESS

NASA's new planet-hunting Kepler successor, TESS, is on its way to orbit. SpaceX has successfully launched the spacecraft with its Falcon 9 rocket. The TESS spacecraft will remain in an elongated orbit of the Earth, 67,000 miles away, at the very least, to keep it well outside of the Van Allen radiation belts. While it can keep an eye on an area 400 times greater than Kepler's field of view, it will focus on finding planets from nearby systems.

If there was any will, there'd be a way.Our democracy is broken. Why can't technology fix it?

Turnout for presidential elections hasn't topped 65 percent of the eligible population in the past 100 years nor has it even come close to cracking 50 percent for midterms over the same period. During the 2016 election, just 63 percent of the US civilian voting-age population showed up at the polls, according to the US Election Assistance Commission, with just five states -- Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Oregon -- managing to break 70 percent participation. Aside from allowing early and absentee votes, little of our electoral system has changed in 118 years. Tech could help. If people wanted it to.

Mid-game AI coaching.Alexa can help improve your skills in 'Call of Duty: WWII'

Beside recapping NBA and NHL scores, Amazon's Alexa can now summarize how you did in your last Call of Duty: WWII match, too. The new skill, in beta, will use AI and machine learning to give personalized tips to improve your play in, of course, a soldier-sounding voice. Ten hut.

The skill considers several factors, like accuracy, movement, engagement distance, relationship distance and the all-important kill-death ratio, to make custom recommendations. Users can ask for them in the middle of a match or simply as a performance summary at the end. It's like a robotic pro-gamer buddy with patience.

But wait, there's more...

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