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[June 1st, 2017] Sci/tech News Megapack

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    [June 1st, 2017] Sci/tech News Megapack

    Paul Allen and Stratolaunch Unveil Giant Plane That Can Lift Half a Million Pounds

    17 years ago, Paul Allen resigned from the board of directors at Microsoft. He’s kept himself busy since then. One of the things he’s been working on was this freaking gigantic airplane.

    Allen has been involved in the aerospace business for more than a decade now. His first venture involved pumping $25 million into Scaled Composites’ SpaceShipOne. In 2011, Allen founded Stratolaunch Systems. They’ve been working for years on a game-changing suborbital launch vehicle, and this is it: the Stratolaunch aircraft. Apparently after designing and building a plane this size they were way too tired to come up with a catchy name in time for the announcement.

    So just how big is this thing? From wingtip to wingtip it measures an incredible 385 feet. You could just about line up 11 Cessna 172s across the span. The Stratolaunch aircraft weighs in at 500,000 pounds and can handle a maximum takeoff weight of 1.3 million pounds. That’s enough to safely pack on another 550,000 pounds of payload according to the company.

    "Destination: Pulsar!" --NASA To Launch NICER Mission --The 1st Ever to a Neutron Star

    Nearly 50 years after British astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell discovered the existence of rapidly spinning neutron stars, first thought to be signals from an alien civilization, NASA will launch the world’s first mission devoted to studying these unusual objects. The agency also will use the same platform to carry out the world’s first demonstration of X-ray navigation in space.
    The agency plans to launch the two-in-one Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer, or NICER, aboard SpaceX CRS-11, a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station to be launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.

    About a week after its installation as an external attached payload, this one-of-a-kind investigation will begin observing neutron stars, the densest objects in the universe. The mission will focus especially on pulsars — those neutron stars that appear to wink on and off because their spin sweeps beams of radiation past us, like a cosmic lighthouse.
    Intel’s new chip puts a teraflop in your desktop. Here's what that means

    Earlier this week in Taipei, Intel announced the most powerful desktop chip for consumers that it has ever sold. With 18 cores and a price tag of $1,999, the processor is known as a teraflop chip, meaning it can accomplish a trillion computational operations every second.

    Called the Core i9 Extreme Edition processor, the chip is not for the average computer user, someone who just wants to check email, read the news, and watch “House of Cards.” Instead, the processor is for people who want to do extreme stuff, like playing a game in 4K while simultaneously livestreaming it—oh, and also doing two other things at the same time. In a cute turn of phrase, Intel calls this “mega-tasking.”

    This is Intel’s first time making a consumer desktop chip that breaks the teraflop barrier, and Gregory Bryant, an Intel senior vice president, calls it “by far the most extreme desktop processor ever introduced.”
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  • #2

    How does that plane get off the ground? Yet apparently it does. Kind of amazing to see the way things are going now. Plus it's nice to know Paul Allen is still around and doing things. He had some medical problems a few years back.

    As to Intel's i9. 18 cores, 32 threads, $2000. Perfect for Twitch streaming! Really? That's what they're touting? Smells of desperation to me.
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