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A CO2 Shortage is Causing a Beer and Meat Crisis in Britain

Slashdot - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 20:43
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is used in the production of a wide variety of food and drink products. But with at least five CO2 producers across northern Europe offline, a shortfall in the gas is causing shortages in beer, fizzy drinks, and meat. From a report: Britain is particularly affected because the seasonal shutdown of the plants has meant that the UK has only one big plant producing CO2 left. The British Beer and Pub Association, along with individual beer producers and pubs, has warned of the crisis caused by the shortage. Without naming companies, the trade association said the shortfall has caused beer production shortages. Heineken, the UK's biggest brewer, said its CO2 supplier was facing "a major issue" in the UK. Meanwhile, one of Britain's biggest pub chains, Wetherspoons, said it'll be forced to pull a number of beers and fizzy drinks from its menu soon.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Days After Buying Time Warner, AT&T Launches New TV Service

Slashdot - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 20:08
AT&T is launching a new streaming service incorporating television networks from the Time Warner company it just bought. From a report: The WatchTV service, a cable-like package of more than 30 TV channels delivered over the internet, is an example of the "skinny bundles" coming from telecom and broadband providers as more people watch TV online. Competitors include Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and AT&T's own DirecTV Now. WatchTV will be free for subscribers of two unlimited wireless plans AT&T is launching. Others can get WatchTV for $15 -- $20 less than DirecTV Now, but with just half the channels.

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Search is on For Cobalt-Free Batteries As Metal Gets Increasingly Rare and Expensive

Slashdot - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 19:20
An anonymous reader writes: Conamix, a little-known startup based in Ithaca, New York, has raised several million dollars to accelerate its development of cobalt-free materials for lithium-ion batteries, the latest sign that companies are eager to find alternatives to the increasingly rare and expensive metal. The problem: The price of cobalt has more than doubled in recent months, as global demand skyrockets for the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles and smartphones. It's also being driven up by the fact that the metal is mined primarily in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where labor and corruption issues are rife. Earlier this year, the nation decided to raise royalties on cobalt and other metals. Given the ambitious expansion plans of lithium-ion producers, the world will face cobalt shortages by the early 2020s, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. This is keeping prices of lithium-ion batteries high and preventing major automakers from lining up long-term supply deals on favorable terms. The mounting threat to electric-vehicle growth has prompted a growing number of companies to explore other solutions.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Discord launches a Games tab and it's basically Steam

Eurogamer - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 19:00

About a week after Steam announced social changes to make it more like Discord, Discord has announced - launched, even - changes to be more like Steam.

The changes roll out now, apparently, and introduce game launching, news feeds and friend activity so, as on Steam, you can see what your nice mates are up to. Are they playing PUBG like they said they would or are they secretly playing Fortnite instead? It is this year's biggest gaming dilemma, said no one ever.

Discord provided a screenshot of the new Games tab, where you can see featured news items at the top (I'm not sure where they're sourced from), a Quick Launcher bar underneath, and Now Playing and Listening Together areas below. It looks rather nice.

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Categories: Video Games

Supreme Court Rules States Can Require Online Retailers To Collect Sales Tax

Slashdot - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 18:40
New submitter zippo01 shares a report: Online shopping will soon become more expensive after the U.S. Supreme court ruled Thursday that states can require internet retailers to collect sales taxes. The 5-4 decision broke with 50 years' worth of legal rulings that barred states from imposing sales taxes on most purchases their residents make from out-of-state retailers. The decision was a victory for South Dakota, which had asked the court to uphold its recently passed law imposing an internet sales tax. "Our state is losing millions for education, health care and infrastructure, and our citizens are harmed by an uneven playing field," said Marty Jackley, South Dakota's attorney general.

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Epic wants the Fortnite endgame to be more than "just build lol"

Eurogamer - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 18:27

The Fortnite endgame has become a tad one-note. Anyone who's into the world's most popular game will know that late game strategy - most of the time - boils down to a building face-off with shotguns and rocket launchers.

Well, it sounds like developer Epic knows this, too - and wants Fortnite's endgame to be about more.

In a post on the Fortnite website titled Counterplay and Play Styles, Epic said it plans to make changes to the battle royale game to give players multiple ways to counter each other in combat and create more strategies to win the game.

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Categories: Video Games

The US Startup Is Disappearing

Slashdot - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 18:00
Dan Kopf, writing for Quartz: Historically, startups have been the engine of US economy. By creating new jobs and surfacing new ideas, startups play an outsized role in making the economy grow. It's too bad they are a dying breed. While companies that were less than two years old made up about 13% of all companies in 1985, they only accounted for 8% in 2014. From around 1998 to 2010, the share of private sector workers in companies that were less than two years old plummeted from more than 9% to less than 5%. A new report from the Brookings Institution, finds that in nearly every industry, from agriculture to finance, the share of new companies is falling.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Here's when you can download Life is Strange 2's free prequel

Eurogamer - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 17:48

Life is Strange 2's free prequel chapter, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, will be available to download next Monday, 25th June at 5pm UK time.

So that's 6pm in Western Europe, or 9am Pacific and midday Eastern if you're in North America.

Overall, it's a day earlier than planned - and the exact same timing for all platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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Categories: Video Games

Nintendo Switch and Xbox One Minecraft cross-platform trailer hammers home lack of PlayStation support

Eurogamer - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 17:27

Minecraft's Better Together version finally launches today for Nintendo Switch, and a new trailer has dropped to play up its cross-platform capabilities.

Xbox One and Nintendo Switch owners can now play Minecraft as if they were on the same platform but notably - as the trailer hammers home - it is just Nintendo and Xbox on board. Not Sony.

Minecraft's Better Together Update (which is in fact an entirely new game, although free to existing owners) is also compatible with Minecraft on Windows 10, iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

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Categories: Video Games

The Man Who Was Fired By a Machine

Slashdot - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 17:20
"It wasn't the first time my key card failed, I assumed it was time to replace it." So began a sequence of events that saw Ibrahim Diallo fired from his job, not by his manager but by a machine. From a report: He has detailed his story in a blogpost which he hopes will serve as a warning to firms about relying too much on automation. "Automation can be an asset to a company, but there needs to be a way for humans to take over if the machine makes a mistake," he writes. The story of Mr Diallo's sacking by machine began when his entry pass to the Los Angeles skyscraper where his office was based failed to work, forcing him to rely on the security guard to allow him entry. "As soon as I got to my floor, I went to see my manager to let her know. She promised to order me a new one right away." And that was just the beginning. Mr Diallo soon realized that he was logged out of his work system and "inactive" status was appearing next to his name, his colleagues told him. He was then informed by his recruiter, who was just as puzzled, that his contract has been terminated. Next day, says Mr Diallo, he was locked out of every system, except his Linux machine. Things continued to go south, as two people approached Mr Diallo to escort him out of the building. The story continues: It took Mr Diallo's bosses three weeks to find out why he had been sacked. His firm was going through changes, both in terms of the systems it used and the people it employed. His original manager had been recently laid off and sent to work from home for the rest of his time at the firm and in that period he had not renewed Mr Diallo's contract in the new system. After that, machines took over -- flagging him as an ex-employee. "All the necessary orders are sent automatically and each order completion triggers another order. For example, when the order for disabling my key card is sent, there is no way of it to be re-enabled. "Once it is disabled, an email is sent to security about recently dismissed employees. Scanning the key card is a red flag. The order to disable my Windows account is also sent. There is also one for my Jira account. And on and on."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Nvidia Appears To Have A GPU Inventory Problem

Slashdot - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 16:44
Reports out of Taiwan now suggest that Nvidia has a gaming GPU inventory problem. An anonymous reader writes: Tech news site SemiAccurate which covers the GPU space pretty closely, and has broken stories like AMD's acquisition of ATI Technologies and Nvidia's Bumpgate, just published an article on why Nvidia has delayed their new gaming GPUs. It seems the Hot Chips 30 agenda cancellation and Jensen's no new GPUs for 'a long time' comment have created enough of a stir to get journalists and industry insiders asking questions. While curiosity amongst all this confusion is natural, I was surprised to discover that people were starting to speculate Nvidia's delay was due to technical issues with their new GPUs. This had never been a concern of mine, and as it turns out, it's clearly not the case. So, what the problem? Nvidia has overestimated pent-up gaming demand and underestimated the impact of declining mining demand.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Pre-order Dragon Ball FighterZ on Nintendo Switch and you get obscure SNES game Dragon Ball Z: Super Butoden

Eurogamer - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 16:15

Arc System Works' superb fighting game Dragon Ball FighterZ comes out on Nintendo Switch on 28th September.

All the already-released DLC characters will be available to buy day one, publisher Bandai Namco said. If you pre-order you get immediate access to Goku and Vegeta SSGSS, and you get the Japanese version of obscure SNES game Dragon Ball Z: Super Butoden, which was released in Japan, France and Spain in 1993. It looks like this:

And here's an image showing how it looks on Switch:

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Categories: Video Games

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich Resigns Over Relationship With Employee

Slashdot - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 15:34
Intel has announced that CEO Brian Krzanich has resigned from the company effective immediately. From a report: CFO Robert Swan is now Intel's interim chief executive officer. "Intel was recently informed that Mr. Krzanich had a past consensual relationship with an Intel employee," the company said in a press release. "An ongoing investigation by internal and external counsel has confirmed a violation of Intel's non-fraternization policy, which applies to all managers." Krzanich's immediate resignation was accepted to show "that all employees will respect Intel's values and adhere to the company's code of conduct," according to Intel.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

You can play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in the UK next month

Eurogamer - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 15:03

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Nintendo's biggest game of 2018, will be playable for the first time in the UK next month.

Nintendo is holding a special event at London's Royal Horticultural Halls on the 28th and 29th of July where you can go hands-on with Smash yourself.

The event will also be the first stop on 2018's Splatoon 2 UK Championship tour, with further qualifiers scheduled for Summer in the City (11-12th August), Insomnia63 (23-27th August), MCM Comic Con (26-28th October), and a certain huge gaming event due at the end of September. Wonder what that could be!?

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Categories: Video Games

Nier Automata's surprise Xbox One port tested

Eurogamer - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 15:00

A welcome announcement at Microsoft's E3 2018 media briefing, Nier Automata is receiving a long-overdue port onto Xbox One. Better yet, the game is due for release next week and our E3 hands-on suggests that Xbox One X is set to deliver the best version of the game yet. Indeed, Microsoft's list of X-enhanced titles suggests that we'll be receiving a 4K ultra HD experience (with HDR, no less) - a substantial boost over the PS4 Pro's 1080p showing. So is the upgrade as substantial as Microsoft suggests?

The content we had to sample was effectively a mirror for the existing PlayStation 4 playable demo, delivering the entirety of the first full level beyond the prologue. It's a decent enough workout for the engine, featuring an expansive stage to explore with a variety of scenarios, including some taxing boss encounters. And it's clear straight from the off that there is a resolution advantage on Xbox One X, delivering a significantly crisper image. But native 4K? That's quite a push bearing in mind that Nier Automata is actually a really demanding game.

We know this not just from the PlayStation 4 Pro version's relatively low 1080p resolution but also because of how difficult it is to extract decent performance from the PC build. Over a year on, this release still has issues - most of them thankfully resolved by the FAR mod - but the big takeaway is that the global illumination system used in Nier Automata is remarkably demanding on GPU resources. The FAR mod can dial back its quality levels with only limited impact on visual quality, and right now this is the only way to get Platinum's brilliant game operating at anything approaching a sustained 60 frames per second at 4K on GTX 1080 Ti-class hardware.

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Categories: Video Games

Mature Fish Are Found In Deeper Water Because of Humans

Slashdot - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: When studying populations of a flounder-like North Sea fish called plaice in the early 1900's, a man named Heincke noticed that older, larger fish are found deeper in the water than younger, smaller fish. The same phenomenon was subsequently found for other North Atlantic species like cod, haddock, pollock, and some species of flatfish; it was thus dubbed Heincke's Law and treated as an established fact. Biologists assumed it was ontogenic in nature, meaning that it must be connected to how the fish age and mature. All the species in which older, bigger fish are found in deeper water have something else in common: we eat them. Could it be, some Canadian scientists wondered, that all the big fish are found in deeper water because we fished them out of shallower water? Apparently (and somewhat astonishingly) this possibility had never been evaluated. And the scientists found that not only could this be the case -- it in fact was. "[T]he researchers added a simulation in which the depth and mass of fish were tied to the rate of mortality by fishing," the report adds. "When set to mimic the actual fishing rate over the two decades spanning the dataset, the model outcomes were consistent with both the new and old fish data. When fishing mortality rates were increased in the model, larger fish moved progressively deeper. And when fishing rates were set to zero in the model, there was no age-related deepening seen at all." The study has been published in the PNAS journal.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Criterion founders reveal two new games

Eurogamer - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 14:48

Pining for a new Burnout? EA doesn't seem interested in having Criterion make a new one just yet. But we may soon get a couple of spiritual successors from the founders of the famed UK studio.

Three Fields Entertainment, which is led by Criterion founders Fiona Sperry and Alex Ward, has announced Danger Zone 2 (the sequel to the studio's 2017 game Danger Zone) and Dangerous Driving, both for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Danger Zone 2, due out in July, takes the crash testing of Danger Zone and puts onto real public roads. It's set on the freeways of the USA, the motorways of the UK and the autovias of Spain. There are 26 single-player levels set across 17 locations.

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Categories: Video Games

Mario Tennis Aces has a day one download to unlock online tournaments

Eurogamer - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 12:50

Mario Tennis Aces has a day one update which changes the game's tournament mode. It's as much of a surprise to us as it is to you - Eurogamer was under the impression the build we played was final code, with Nintendo failing to mention any day one updates when it handed out review code.

Tournaments are a big deal for the game, as they will allow you to access forthcoming characters a month earlier than everyone else if you take part online.

The mode is now split into online and offline matches. You can play in Standard Class - a tournament with the standard rules and powers - and Simple Class, which allows you to play without the energy meter. June's tournament is brief, obviously, while in July you play for Koopa Troopa.

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Categories: Video Games

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 gets imminent Xbox One release date and open beta

Eurogamer - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 12:04

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 will launch for Xbox One on 11th July, developer Fatshark has announced, with an Xbox Insider open beta available from today.

Vermintide 2 will also be an Xbox Game Pass game, so if you pay the £8 monthly sub, or regional equivalent, you'll be able to play the game from 11th July for free.

But what about PlayStation 4? "Yes, the PS4 version is coming," a Fatshark spokesperson told me this morning. "We don't have a date for it yet, but will communicate that soon. We don't expect it to be too far away, but we want to do one system at a time to be able to maintain the highest quality of the releases."

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Categories: Video Games

Instagram Allows Longer Videos In Challenge To YouTube

Slashdot - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 12:00
On Wednesday, Instagram launched a new long-form video portal called IGTV, "marking one of the biggest shifts in the app's history," reports NBC News. The new app will rival YouTube, allowing people to post videos up to one hour in length and start their own channels. One of the key differences between IGTV and YouTube will be the user interface: IGTV will be in the vertical format. From the report: IGTV will be a part of Instagram's explore tab and will also be a standalone app, where people can watch vertical videos from "many hundreds of creators" who Instagram worked with to help populate the platform ahead of the launch. Some accounts have privileges letting them post videos lasting as long as an hour, co-founder Kevin Systrom said. "Right now, we are focused on building engagement, and right now, there are no ads in IGTV from day one," Systrom said, adding that he sees an opportunity for creators to monetize their followings in the future, similar to how they already can on YouTube. Systrom said IGTV is run by a small team, but noted that the company would be staffing up its moderation team to ensure content on the new platform adheres to Instagram's rules.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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