Terra Blockchain Will Split, Abandon Collapsed UST Stablecoin

A proposal by the founder of the troubled Terra ecosystem to salvage the project was approved, averting a total collapse of one of the most-watched experiments in decentralized finance. From a report: Under the newly approved structure, the original blockchain will be known as Terra Classic, while its native token Luna, which plunged close to zero this month, will be renamed Luna Classic with the ticker LUNC. The new Terra blockchain will start running a coin under the existing Luna name and ticker, and won't include the TerraUSD stablecoin.

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Watching Less TV Could Cut Heart Disease, Study Finds

More than one in 10 cases of coronary heart disease could be prevented if people reduced their TV viewing to less than an hour a day, research suggests. From a report: Coronary heart disease occurs when fatty material builds up inside the coronary arteries causing them to narrow, reducing the heart's blood supply. Researchers say cutting down on time spent in front of the TV could lower the risk of developing the disease. "Reducing time spent watching TV should be recognised as a key behavioural target for prevention of coronary heart disease, irrespective of genetic susceptibility and traditional risk markers," said Dr Youngwon Kim, an assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong and an author of the research. While the team did not look at what was behind the association, Kim said previous studies had found excessive TV viewing time is associated with adverse levels of cholesterol and glucose in the body. "Unfavourable levels of these cardiometabolic risk markers may then lead to increased risk of developing coronary heart disease," he said. Writing in the journal BMC Medicine, Kim and colleagues report how they used data from 373,026 white British people aged 40-69 who were part of an endeavour known as the UK Biobank study.

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Shards of the Planet Mercury May Be Hiding on Earth

New research explains how meteorites called aubrites may actually be shattered pieces of the planet closest to the sun from the early days of the solar system. From a report: Mercury does not make sense. It is a bizarre hunk of rock with a composition that is unlike its neighboring rocky planets. "It's way too dense," said David Rothery, a planetary scientist at the Open University in England. Most of the planet, the closest to the sun, is taken up by its core. It lacks a thick mantle like Earth has, and no one is quite sure why. One possibility is that the planet used to be much bigger -- perhaps twice its current bulk or more. Billions of years ago, this fledgling proto-Mercury, or super Mercury, could have been hit by a large object, stripping away its outer layers and leaving the remnant we see behind. While a nice idea, there has never been direct evidence for it. But some researchers think they have found something. In work presented [PDF] at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston in March, Camille Cartier, a planetary scientist at the University of Lorraine in France, and colleagues said pieces of this proto-Mercury may be hiding in museums and other meteorite collections. Studying them could unlock the planet's mysteries. "We don't have any samples of Mercury" at the moment, said Dr. Cartier. Gaining such specimens "would be a small revolution" in understanding the natural history of the solar system's smallest planet. According to the Meteoritical Society, nearly 70,000 meteorites have been gathered around the world from places as remote as the Sahara and Antarctica, finding their way into museums and other collections. Most are from asteroids ejected from the belt between Mars and Jupiter, while more than 500 come from the moon. More than 300 are from Mars.

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Amazon Employees Are Quitting at Twice the Rate of Recent Years

A growing number of employees Amazon doesn't want to lose are leaving the company, according to a report. Insider: An internally tracked metric, called "regretted" attrition, has reached an average of 12.1% since June 2021, more than double the average in recent years, according to internal data obtained by Insider. That number had hovered around 5% from 2016 to mid-2021, the data shows. Regretted attrition is the portion of employees Amazon didn't want to see leave, typically through voluntary departures. Separately, Amazon closely follows another metric called "unregretted" attrition, which represents employees it's not afraid to lose, as Insider previously reported. [...] The spike in Amazon's regretted attrition is one of the many fallouts of rising inflation, as wage inflation and competition for talent make it easier for the company's most prized corporate employees to find better opportunities elsewhere. Amazon employees who previously spoke to Insider said the company's relatively low pay, stagnant stock price, and grueling work culture have all contributed to the growing departure rate.

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Apple Shipped Me a 79-Pound iPhone Repair Kit To Fix a 1.1-Ounce Battery

An anonymous reader shares a report: Last month, Apple launched its Self-Service Repair program, letting US customers fix broken screens, batteries, and cameras on the latest iPhones using Apple's own parts and tools for the first time ever. I couldn't wait. I'd never successfully repaired a phone. This time, armed with an official repair manual and genuine parts, I'd make it right. That Apple would even let me buy those parts, much less read its manuals and rent its tools, is a major change of pace for the company. For years, Apple has been lobbying to suppress right-to-repair policies around the country, with the company accused of doing everything it can to keep customers from repairing their own phones. It's easy to see this as a huge moment for DIY advocates. But having tried the repair process, I actually can't recommend it at all -- and I have a sneaking suspicion that Apple likes it that way. The thing you should understand about Apple's home repair process is that it's a far cry from traditional DIY if you opt for the kit -- which I did, once I saw the repair manual only contains instructions for Apple's own tools. (You can just buy a battery if you want.) I expected Apple would send me a small box of screwdrivers, spudgers, and pliers; I own a mini iPhone, after all. Instead, I found two giant Pelican cases -- 79 pounds of tools -- on my front porch. I couldn't believe just how big and heavy they were considering Apple's paying to ship them both ways. I lugged those cases onto a BART train to San Francisco and dragged them down the streets to our office. Then, I set everything out on a table and got started.

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Climate Worries Galvanize a New Pro-Nuclear Movement in the US

As states race to keep plants open, California becomes a test case of how much the tide has shifted. From a report: Charles Komanoff was for decades an expert witness for groups working against nuclear plants, delivering blistering critiques so effective that he earned a spot at the podium when tens of thousands of protesters descended on Washington in 1979 over the Three Mile Island meltdown. Komanoff would go on to become an unrelenting adversary of Diablo Canyon, the hulking 37-year-old nuclear facility perched on a pristine stretch of California's Central Coast that had been the focal point of anti-nuclear activism in America. But his last letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, in February, was one Komanoff never expected to write. He implored Newsom to scrap state plans to close the coastal plant. "We're going to have to give up some of our long-held beliefs if we are going to deal with climate," Komanoff said in an interview. "I am still a solar and wind optimist. But I am a climate pessimist. The climate is losing." Komanoff's conversion is emblematic of the rapidly shifting politics of nuclear energy. The long controversial power source is gaining backers amid worries that shutting U.S. plants, which emit almost no emissions, makes little sense as governments race to end their dependence on fossil fuels and the war in Ukraine heightens worries about energy security and costs. The momentum is driven in large part by longtime nuclear skeptics who remain unsettled by the technology but are now pushing to keep existing reactors running as they face increasingly alarming news about the climate. The latest report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published in April, warned that the world is so dangerously behind on climate action that within a decade it could blow past the targets crucial to containing warming to a manageable level. Emissions analysts are increasingly critical of retirements of existing nuclear reactors as they take large amounts of low-emissions power off the grid, undermining the gains made as sources such as wind and solar come online. The movement to keep plants open comes despite persistent worries about toxic waste and just a decade after the nuclear disaster at Japan's Fukushima plant. It has been boosted by growing public acceptance of nuclear power and has nurtured an unlikely coalition of industry players, erstwhile anti-nukers, and legions of young grass-roots environmental activists more worried about climate change than nuclear accidents.

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Google Brings Street View History To Phones, Introduces ‘Street View Studio’

Today is the 15th birthday of Google Maps Street View, Google's project to take ground-level, 360-degree photographs of the entire world. To celebrate, the company is rolling out a few new features. From a report: First up, Google is bringing historical Street View data to iOS and Android phones. The feature has long existed on desktop browsers, where you can click into Street View mode and then time travel through Google's image archives. When you tap on a place to see Street View imagery, a "see more dates" button will appear next to the current age of the photo, letting you browse all the photos for that area going back to 2007. Google says the feature will release "starting today on Android and iOS globally," though, like all Google product launches, it will take some time to fully roll out. If you'd like to help Google with its plan to photograph the entire world, the company is launching "Street View Studio." Google calls this "a new platform with all the tools you need to publish 360 image sequences quickly and in bulk." The Street View app is still around for people who want to build a 360 photosphere from a regular smartphone camera, but Google imagines Street View Studio as a tool for people with consumer 360 cameras. Google has a store-style page that lists compatible 360 cameras; the options range from sub-$200 fisheye cameras to the $3,600, ball-shaped Insta360 Pro, which looks like something out of Star Wars.

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Microsoft Launches Power Pages for Designing Business Websites

Riding the wave of enthusiasm for no-code/low-code solutions, Microsoft today announced Power Pages, a standalone product within the company's Power Platform portfolio for creating business websites. Power Pages previously existed as a component within Power Apps called Power Apps portals, but it's been broken out and redesigned with a new user experience. From a report: "As a new, standalone product, Power Pages empowers anyone, regardless of their technical background, with an effective platform to create data-powered, modern, and secure websites," Sangya Singh, vice president of power portals at Microsoft, said in a blog post. "In addition to being low-code, Power Pages extends far beyond portals former capabilities to enable organizations of any size to securely build websites with exciting new aesthetic features and advanced capabilities for customization with pro-dev extensibility." There's no shortage of web design startups on the market. But Microsoft is touting Power Pages' integrations with its existing services as the key differentiator. For example, Power Pages ties in with Visual Studio Code, GitHub, the Power Platform command line interface and Azure DevOps to let more advanced users automate development workflows (e.g. by downloading and uploading projects) and leverage CI/CD practices. Power Pages also allows users to implement role-based access controls and web app firewalls via Azure, and to collect and share business info with site visitors via Microsoft's Dataverse platform.

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Microsoft Brings Support for Arm-based AI Chips To Windows

Today at Build 2022, Microsoft unveiled Project Volterra, a device powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon platform that's designed to let developers explore "AI scenarios" via Qualcomm's new Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine (SNPE) for Windows toolkit. From a report: The hardware arrives alongside support in Windows for neural processing units (NPUs), or dedicated chips tailored for AI- and machine learning-specific workloads. Dedicated AI chips, which speed up AI processing while reducing the impact on battery, have become common in mobile devices like smartphones. But as apps like AI-powered image upscalers come into wider use, manufacturers have been adding such chips to their laptop lineups. M1 Macs feature Apple's Neural Engine, for instance, and Microsoft's Surface Pro X has the SQ1 (which was co-developed with Qualcomm). Intel at one point signaled it would offer an AI chip solution for Windows PCs, but -- as the ecosystem of AI-powered Arm apps is well-established, thanks to iOS and Android -- Project Volterra appears to be an attempt to tap it rather than reinvent the wheel. It's not the first time Microsoft has partnered with Qualcomm to launch AI developer hardware. In 2018, the companies jointly announced the Vision Intelligence Platform, which featured "fully integrated" support for computer vision algorithms running via Microsoft's Azure ML and Azure IoT Edge services. Project Volterra offers evidence that, four years later, Microsoft and Qualcomm remain bedfellows in this arena, even after the reported expiration of Qualcomm's exclusivity deal for Windows on Arm licenses. Arriving later this year, Microsoft says (somewhat hyperbolically) that Project Volterra will come with a neural processor that has "best-in-class" AI computing capacity and efficiency. The primary chip will be Arm-based, supplied by Qualcomm, and will enable developers to build and test Arm-native apps alongside tools including Visual Studio, VSCode, Microsoft Office and Teams. Project Volterra is the harbinger of an "end-to-end" developer toolchain for Arm-native apps from Microsoft, as it turns out, which will span the full Visual Studio 2022, VSCode, Visual C++, NET 6, Windows Terminal, Java, Windows Subsystem for Linux and Windows Subsystem for Android (for running Android apps).

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Founder Alleges That YC-Backed Fintech Startup is ‘Copy-and-Pasting’ Its Business

A new startup lifting elements of competing businesses is far from unusual in today's venture world, but sometimes competing founders don't find the imitation all that flattering. From a report: Andy Bromberg, CEO of the a16z-backed startup Eco, is claiming that Pebble, another fintech startup that came out of stealth this morning, "plagiarized" Eco's materials and business model. Bromberg posted a Twitter thread this afternoon saying Pebble engaged in "copy-and-pasting, immaturity, lying, and espionage." In the thread, Bromberg detailed the background behind his claims, and he also spoke to TechCrunch about the allegations. Bromberg claims the Pebble co-founders, CEO Aaron Bai and CTO Sahil Phadnis, impersonated Y Combinator investors to get access to Eco's waitlist. He also alleges that Phadnis asked detailed questions about Eco's backend under the guise of looking for employment and that multiple aspects of Pebble's product and marketing language are essentially copy-pasted from Eco. TechCrunch covered the news earlier this week that Pebble, which participated in Y Combinator's Winter 2022 cohort, raised $6.2 million in seed funding from YC itself alongside LightShed Ventures, Eniac Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Montage Ventures, Soma Capital and angel investors. On its website, Pebble, founded last year, calls itself "the first app that pays you to save, spend, and send your money -- all in one balance." It launched with two core products -- a 5% APY interest offering for customer cash deposits, and a 5% cash back offering when customers spend at its partner merchants, which include Uber, Amazon and Chipotle, Pebble CEO Aaron Bai said. The former product is based on the model of taking in customer funds, converting them to stablecoins, and lending them out to institutions, Bai explained at the time. Bromberg subsequently told TechCrunch that both core products were based on two of Eco's core offerings.

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