After months of listening to Broadcom say flattering things about Qualcomm during its hostile takeover bid, it’s tempting to see Qualcomm as a prized jewel bursting with potential. But now that Broadcom’s pursuit has been permanently blocked due to national security concerns, it’s worth remembering that Qualcomm is a company with…Read More Apple – VentureBeat
California has been trying to construct a high-speed rail system in the state since at least 1981, yet the project’s most recent business plan has even the most enthusiastic proponents of the bullet train wincing over its estimated cost. The plan suggests that the price of connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco could be at least $ 77.3 billion, and could rise to $ 98.1 billion.
The LA Times reports that projections from two years ago had previously pegged the railway’s cost at around $ 13 billion cheaper.
The plan also estimates that the first trains won’t begin running along a partial stretch of rail, between San Francisco and Bakersfield (a little under 480 km [300 miles] south), until 2029, with the final system operating by 2033. Previous projections said rails would be complete four years earlier.
The reality is that the rail has a $ 40-billion gap in funding, which the rail authority was hoping to fill through passenger revenue and private investments after an initial operating system was set up. There are also significant construction challenges ahead, including building 58 km (36 miles) of tunnels through Southern California’s mountainous terrain — which the report suggests will make up a $ 26-billion to $ 45-billion chunk of the final cost. However, the rail section that would run through Central Valley saw the biggest price increase.
There’s no word yet on whether the rising costs could potentially kill the project, but an oversight hearing on the plan is scheduled for April. Politicians have been less than pleased with the continually rising price tag; the LA Times reports that Republican senator Andy Vidak called the project a “never-ending scam.” He added, “Initially a rathole, now a sinkhole, soon it will be an abyss in which more and more tax dollars are forever lost.”
Outside of Charleston, West Virginia police are actively searching for a suspect that shot a man who was ultimately saved by his iPhone.
Anthony Kaufman planned to sell a $ 1,200 custom computer in the parking lot of Lakewood Elementary School in St. Albans at 10:40 p.m. on Wednesday. Beforehand, he happened to put his iPhone in the front-right pocket of his jeans. An action that might have saved his life.
The buyer, who remains unknown at this time, “was interested in it for like two weeks, and he just said he didn’t have the money; he was going to get paid soon,” Kaufman said. “It looked like he just wanted to buy it,” according to Charleston Gazette-Mail.
Kaufman invited the potential buyer into his vehicle on the passenger side. Kaufman claims after entering the vehicle, the man immediately pulled out an olive colored handgun.
“Kaufman said he hit the man before they both grabbed the gun. A burst of light filled the car, followed by shattering glass and wisping smoke. A bullet had pierced both ends of his center console before it ripped through his iPhone, leaving only a small tear in his jeans.”
The shooter exited the vehicle when Kaufman hit the gas. Reportedly a woman pulled her car in front of his, then a second man approached Kaufman with another handgun. He put the gun to Kaufman’s head and ordered him to shut his eyes. Shortly after that, all three of the aggressors were gone.
No warrants have been issued and no arrests have been made. Kaufman was not injured; however it appears his iPhone 7 Plus did not survive the incident.
The media tends to depict bullet-proof armor as something that’s thick and heavier than regular clothes. Despite being for bodily protection, the added bulk of that armor might restrict a person’s movements. But scientists at the City University of New York’s Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) have found that diamond-hard armor doesn’t need to be thick. The key to less-bulky protection is graphene, a tightly-packed layer of bonded carbon atoms one million times thinner than a piece of paper.
The researchers discovered that two layers of graphene stacked on top of one another can temporarily become as hard as diamond — and just as impenetrable — when struck by, say, a bullet. The hardening of the new material, called diamene, only happens when exactly two sheets of graphene are layered together, according to the study published in Nature Nanotechnology. When more sheets were added, the hardening effect didn’t happen.
“Previously, when we tested graphite or a single atomic layer of graphene, we would apply pressure and feel a very soft film,” explained Elisa Riedo, professor of physics at the ASRC and lead project researcher, on the research center’s website. “But when the graphite film was exactly two-layers thick, all of a sudden we realized that the material under pressure was becoming extremely hard and as stiff, or stiffer, than bulk diamond.”
The team’s research could be used for more than just armor, and may be used in the development of wear-resistant protective coatings as well.
It will be interesting to see how this impacts the future of warfare. Soldiers wearing lightweight armor that makes them almost impervious to bullets would likely cause militaries around the world to shift to other weaponry. We know the United States is looking at laser weapons, while Russia is reportedly designing a missile controlled by artificial intelligence. Ironically, effective bullet-proof armor won’t count for much if no one’s using bullets anymore.
A woman said her life was saved after a bullet struck her Rose Gold iPhone, instead of her, as she was fleeing the Las Vegas mass shooting Sunday night, according to a new report.
The woman, who is currently unidentified, was attending the Route 91 Harvest country music festival, where the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history occurred. After escaping the event, the woman was picked up by a Las Vegas taxi driver. She reportedly showed the driver her rose-colored iPhone and told him that it had saved her life while she was fleeing the festival grounds. The taxi driver then took a picture of the device, which was posted to Twitter by CNN Executive Producer Jason K. Morrell.
The rose-colored iPhone 7 Plus with a clear hard case installed, seems to have suffered extensive damage near its charging port, where the round apparently struck.
While the handset was shattered by the bullet, the woman was reportedly unharmed, according to local media outlet KLAS. The iPhone 7 Plus has a backing made of aluminum alloy.
There are currently no details on where exactly the woman was holding or carrying the device. But Jason Morrell, who shared the photo, said she was carrying the iPhone in her hand when the bullet struck it instead of her. “Just inches away from her body,” he added.
The woman was one of roughly 22,000 people attending the music festival when a gunman opened fire around 10 p.m. from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, located across the street from the festival grounds. A total of 59 people were killed and more than 500 were injured.
The gunman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound as police were storming the hotel room he was in. At least 23 weapons, including long-rifles, were found in the Mandalay Bay suite, as well as materials to make explosives. The shooter’s motive is still under investigation, police said.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is all the rage, as you probably very well know, and, understandably, mobile developers want to join the party. We wrote a couple of days ago about Guns Royale, which is a cartoonish take on the popular battle royale game, but there’s another PUBG-inspired game under development right now, Bullet Strike: Battlegrounds, which goes for a more “realistic” take on the formula and looks a lot more like PUBG than Guns Royale does. We wrote about Bullet Strike a few months ago, and starting tomorrow, you can pre-register for the game’s Android version, if that’s your platform of choice.
If you’ve been following the game’s development in our forums, then you know that the game looks and plays a lot like PUBG, which I know many of you are happy about since there’s a reason the PC game is so popular. The game has you join up to 19 other players in real-time and try to fight it out in an ever-shrinking map until only one person is left. The game comes with leaderboards and competitive seasons, with a replay feature and tournaments coming in the near future. If Bullet Strike nails the PUBG feel, it’s going to be very popular once it releases. Keep an eye on our forum thread if you want to join the iOS testing.
Calling all bullet hell fanatics, Danmaku Unlimited 3 has been ported to Android, and it was just released onto the Play Store. If you purchase it soon, you can snag it at its special launch price of $ 4.99. While the sale will not last forever, the gameplay should hold up thanks to its claim of being a perfect 1:1 port that contains absolutely no advertisements or in-app purchases.
As with previous entries in the series, Danmaku Unlimited 3 is a tough as nails top down space shooter that takes the bullet hell genre seriously.
As has been always the case in video game history, when game is successful, many follow in its wake. Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds has sold over 4 million copies, so it’s not surprising that mobile developers are trying to capture some of that magic on phones and tablets. Bullet Strike: Battlegrounds is one of those games, and it’s looking for alpha testers in our Upcoming Games forums. As you can see from the trailer below, the game appears to adopt many of the usual battle royale mechanics of having to find weapons and get to killing people.
Whether this game will end up playing well and whether it will add anything to the battle royale formula or simply walk the same beaten path remains to be seen. If you want to help the developers improve the game, go to our forum thread to apply for the beta.
Everyone knows that the US lags far behind most other countries in terms of rail travel offerings, and for many decades, the answer to increased travel demand has been to widen highways or increase flight frequencies. However, a privately funded rail company now aims to grab a piece of the pie when it comes to intra-Texas travel, which could affect the three US airlines that have a huge presence in the state.
Texas Central is planning to build a bullet train route that will cut between Dallas and Houston, trimming about 2 hours off the average driving time, and saving over an hour compared to air travel. The approximately 240-mile high-speed rail line will offer a total travel time of less than 90 minutes, with departures every 30 minutes during peak periods each day and every hour during off-peak periods — with 6 hours reserved each night for system maintenance and inspection. Texas Central plans to deploy Central Japan Railway Company’s (JRC) “N700-I Bullet” high-speed rail system based on the “Shinkansen” system.
Looking at flights between Dallas (both DAL and DFW) and Houston (both HOU and IAH), American flies nine daily round-trips from DFW to IAH and six to HOU, while United flies nine round-trips each weekday between DFW and IAH. Southwest flies twenty round-trips each weekday between DAL and HOU. The DAL-HOU route has been a bread and butter route for Southwest since the day it started service in 1971.
I reached out to American, Southwest and United to get their opinions on whether the train could hurt business by absorbing some of their commuting customers. American replied, saying it has no position on it.
Southwest’s response was typically colorful. Spokesperson Chris Mainz told me Southwest didn’t really have any feelings on the matter but that, “Texas already enjoys a very robust ‘high speed’ transportation system and it departs Dallas Love Field 20 times a day for Houston [Hobby Airport (HOU)].” It’s also important to note that Southwest is an entirely different airline than when it objected to the first proposal decades ago. Its size has nearly doubled, and it’s added dozens of destinations, so if a tiny fraction of its passengers on one route defect to the train, it won’t badly hurt the airline. United did not respond to our request for comment.
One can easily see the appeal for business travelers seeking to avoid the hassle of airports and cramped airplane seats with tiny tray tables. Texas Central estimates the need for each train to hold about 400 passengers, which would amount to eight train cars. In comparison, between Tokyo and Osaka, Japan Railway Company operates 16-car trains.
A Better Alternative
As a native Texan who has lived in both Dallas and Houston for 10-plus years, I’ve driven and flown between Dallas and Houston dozens of times, and there’s really not much for scenery, except during the spring when the wildflowers are blooming. The trip takes almost four hours by car on a good day, but a bad wreck on Interstate 45 can easily add two hours to that.
The company says ticket prices will be competitive with the costs of air and car travel. Plus, the train is guaranteed to give you a smooth, stress-free ride, with the opportunity to get an hour and a half of work done, without having to worry about storing your laptop and tray table at certain times. The train is also much less susceptible to weather issues than when traveling by air or car. It will have Wi-Fi, so you’ll be able to work or entertain yourself during the ride.
The whole project is being funded by investors, rather than state taxes and subsidies. That alone makes it so much more appealing to Texans. The construction start date will depend on permitting. Federal Railroad Administration is currently wrapping up the Environmental Impact Study. Construction could begin in late 2018 depending on the federal regulations. The overall project cost is estimated to be $ 12 billion, but is expected to bring a $ 36 billion economic benefit in its first 25 years of service.
A ridership study performed by Texas Central found that 71% of those surveyed who had traveled between Dallas and Houston within the past twelve months would “definitely” take the train, and that 90% currently choose to drive because flying saves little to no time. The study also predicted travel within the Dallas-Houston corridor to increase 2% annually between now and 2050.