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“We hit 3M hard“—Trump orders 3M to keep US-made masks in the US

Enlargepengpeng/Getty Images Minnesota manufacturing giant 3M warned Friday that a Trump administration order reserving US-made N95 masks for the US market could backfire. Demand for these masks, also known as respirators, has surged in recent weeks because they help protect health care workers from contracting COVID-19. "Ceasing all export of respirators produced in the United States would likely cause other countries to retaliate and do the same," a 3M statement warned. "If that were to occur, the net number of respirators being made available to the United States would actually decrease." The statement was a response to President Trump's Thursday decision to invoke the Defense Production Act against 3M. The 1950 law gives the president broad powers to order US companies to devote manufacturing capacity to products that are essential to national defense. Trump invoked the law last week to order GM to manufacture ventilators. (GM was already planning to do so, but Trump said i..

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Xbox architect sues Atari over unpaid work on crowdfunded console

The $250 base system (with 4GB of RAM) doesn't include either of these two controllers. The "one button" joystick has an extra button on the shoulder. Note the red highlights that call back to the old Atari one-button joystick. The version with black walnut paneling on the front is exclusive to AtariVCS.com. This black and red design is a GameStop exclusive. The "Kevlar Gold" design can only be found at Walmart. Rob Wyatt, perhaps best known as the system architect on Microsoft's original Xbox, has filed a lawsuit against Atari Gamebox LLC. The suit, filed in a federal court in Colorado, alleges that the company has failed to pay Wyatt and his firm Tin Giant nearly $262,000 invoiced for work on the long-delayed Atari VCS microconsole. The project now known as the Atari VCS was first announced as Ataribox back in 2017, and it was originally targeting a spring 2018 launch. But despite a $3 million IndieGogo campaign in 2018, Atari's hybrid PC/microconsol..

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Google knows if everyone in your county is actually staying home or not

Enlarge / The reports are all public, but the nifty magnifying glass effect is not actually included.Google The entire world is scrambling to mitigate the novel coronavirus pandemic. By now, a majority of US states are under some kind of stay-at-home order, with governors nationwide asking or requiring non-essential businesses to close and everyone to plant their butts at home as much as possible. As the disease continues to march its way across the country and the globe, though—as of this writing, there have been more than 250,000 US diagnosed cases—officials, regulators, and we the work-from-home masses are all wondering: are we all actually complying with these new rules, or is it still chaos on the streets out there somewhere? Google has unfathomable reams of data from billions of individuals worldwide, and it has pulled some of that location information together into community mobility reports to try to answer that question. Here's the good news: by and large, trips to vir..

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Racing turns hard into esports while the real world is on hold

EnlargeElle Cayabyab Gitlin When it comes to sports, 2020 is going to be one of those asterisk years, like 1919. People years from now will scroll down the page to a note explaining that "*normal stuff was supposed to happen, but then we had a pandemic instead." The Summer Olympics are being postponed for a year, and pretty much every major sports series is on hold as organizers anxiously wait to see if public gatherings can happen once more later in the year. Motorsports is no exception, and its prospects are bleak when you consider what collapsing sales will do to marketing budgets. But while the pandemic rages, drivers, teams, and series are coming together online to put on a show for the rest of us. Or as NASCAR's Scott Warfield puts it, to give people "a distraction for 90 minutes, two hours on a Sunday and return some sense of normality to their lives." The move from real-world to online racing really took off in mid-March, over the weekend that should have seen F1 start ..

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Here are 10 alternative ideas for what NASA could do with its Moon budget

Enlarge / Lake Bosumtwi, located in Ghana, is situated inside a meteorite impact crater. Perhaps we should protect ourselves? (Photo by USGS/ NASA Landsat/Orbital Horizon/Gallo Images/Getty Images)USGS/ NASA Landsat/Orbital Horizon/Gallo Images/Getty Images One year ago, NASA embarked upon a journey to send humans back to the Moon for the first time since the Apollo Program. At the direction of the White House, NASA seeks to land astronauts at the South Pole of the Moon by 2024. Only recently, in February, did the space agency put a price on this Artemis Moon plan—$35 billion over the next five years above its existing budget. Since then, of course, the world has turned upside down. In the weeks after NASA released this cost estimate, the threat posed by COVID-19 has swamped space budget debates or policy concerns. Moreover, most of the space agency's major hardware development programs for the Moon landing are temporarily shuttered. And truth be told, no one knows what kind of e..

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SpaceX loses its third Starship prototype during a cryogenic test

SN3 cryo test failure. This week, SpaceX workers in South Texas loaded the third full-scale Starship prototype—SN3—onto a test stand ​at the company's Boca Chica launch site. On Wednesday night, they pressure-tested the vehicle at ambient temperature with nitrogen, and SN3 performed fine. On Thursday night SpaceX began cryo-testing the vehicle, which means it was loaded again with nitrogen, but this time it was chilled to flight-like temperatures and put under flight-like pressures. Unfortunately, a little after 2am local time, SN3 failed and began to collapse on top of itself. It appeared as if the vehicle may have lost pressurization and become top-heavy. Shortly after the failure, SpaceX's founder and chief engineer, Elon Musk, said on Twitter, "We will see what data review says in the morning, but this may have been a test configuration mistake." A testing issue would be good in the sense that it means the vehicle itself performed well, and the problem can be more easil..

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New Peninsula trailer looks just as thrilling as its zombie predecessor

Trailer for Peninsula. Fans of the zombie genre (and Asian cinema) are no doubt familiar with the 2016 Korean zombie horror film, Train to Busan, in which passengers aboard a speeding train must fight off ravenous zombies to survive long enough to reach their destination—and safety. Now we have the first trailer for a follow-up film, Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula, produced by James Wan (Insidious, Aquaman), and it looks like it will be just as much of a thrill-ride as its predecessor. (Some spoilers for the 2016 film and animated prequel below.) Directed by Yeon Sang-ho, the original Train to Busan might be described as Snowpiercer with zombies, with a dash of World War Z and Mad Max: Fury Road thrown in for good measure. But that doesn't really do the film justice. Gong Yoo stars as Seok-woo, a divorced, workaholic fund manager who missed his daughter Su-an's singing recital and decides to take her to visit her mother in Busan for her birthday to make it up to her. J..

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Security tips every teacher and professor needs to know about Zoom, right now

Enlargejencu / Flickr With the Coronavirus pandemic forcing millions of people to work, learn, and socialize from home, Zoom conferences are becoming a default method to connect. And with popularity comes abuse. Enter Zoom bombing, the phenomenon of trolls intruding into other people's meetings for the sole purpose of harassing attendees, usually by bombarding them with racist or sexually explicit images or statements. A small sample of the events over the past few days: An attendee who disrupted an Alcohol Anonymous meeting by shouting misogynistic and anti-Semitic slurs, along with the statement "Alcohol is soooo good," according to Business Insider. Meeting organizers eventually muted and removed the intruder but only after more than half of the participants had left. A Zoom conference hosting students from the Orange County Public Schools system in Florida that was disrupted after an uninvited participant exposed himself to the class. An online meeting of black students at th..

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Tesla beats expectations with strong first-quarter delivery numbers

Enlarge / The Tesla Factory is an automobile manufacturing plant in Fremont, California, and the principal production facility of Tesla Motors. The facility was formerly known as New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI), a joint venture between General Motors and Toyota. Tesla produces all electric automobiles.Steve Proehl / Getty Images Tesla produced 102,672 vehicles in the first quarter of 2020 and delivered 88,400 vehicles to customers, the company announced to investors on Thursday. While the delivery number is down from the previous quarter, the overall results were better than analysts had expected, sending Tesla's stock up more than 10 percent in after-hours trading. The fall in deliveries isn't surprising. December 31, 2019 was the deadline for Tesla customers to receive a federal electric vehicle tax credit, so customers thinking about buying a Tesla car had a strong incentive to do it before the end of the year. Tesla saw a similar decline in deliveries betwee..

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Americas COVID-19 testing has stalled, and thats a big problem

Enlarge / After growing exponentially for most of March, US testing has stalled out at around 100,000 tests per day.Eric Bangeman / Ars Technica One of America's biggest fumbles in the early weeks of the coronavirus crisis was inadequate testing. Thanks to a series of poor decisions by federal officials, the United States had far too little capacity to test for COVID-19 throughout the month of February, hampering our ability to contain the spread of the virus. In early March, things seemed to be turning around. According to data from COVID Tracking Project, daily testing grew exponentially from a few hundred tests on March 5 to 107,000 tests last Friday, March 27. But since then, progress has stalled. The US has been testing a bit over 100,000 people a day for the last six days—including 101,000 yesterday. And that's a cause for concern because the US will need to do considerably more testing to get its coronavirus outbreak under control. Why testing matters The most urgen..

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