By BeauHD from Slashdot's joined-forces department
The Raytheon Co. and United Technologies Corp. are merging in an all-stock deal that the two companies say is a merger of equals. The new company's name will be Raytheon Technologies Corp. -- and it's expected to have nearly $74 billion in annual sales. NPR reports: The new defense and aerospace company would be second only to Boeing in the U.S., according to the latest Forbes 500 rankings by annual revenue. On that list, Boeing had more than $101 billion in revenue while another rival, Lockheed Martin, racked up $53.7 billion, according to Forbes. "The combination of United Technologies and Raytheon will define the future of aerospace and defense," United Technologies Chairman and CEO Greg Hayes said in a statement about the deal. Hayes is set to become the leader of the new company: He'll take the titles of chairman and CEO two years after the merger is finalized.
Under the deal, United Technologies' shareholders will own about 57% and Raytheon shareholders will own about 43% of the merged company. Both Raytheon's and United Technologies' board of directors have unanimously approved the merger, which is expected to close during the first half of 2020. The headquarters of Raytheon Technologies will be in the Boston metro area, the companies say. Raytheon is currently based in Waltham, Mass., while United Technologies is based in Farmington, Conn. Under the deal, the new Raytheon Technologies will consolidate its operations into four businesses. One will be based on intelligence and aerospace and another based on defense and missile systems. Those entities will join Collins Aerospace (the recently acquired Rockwell Collins Inc.) and jet engine-maker Pratt & Whitney -- two of United Technologies' high-revenue divisions.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-shiny department
MojoKid writes: AMD let loose today with a number of high profile launches at the E3 2019 Expo in Los Angeles, CA. The company disclosed its full Zen 2 Ryzen 3000 series microarchitecture, which AMD claims offers an IPC uplift of 15% generation over generation, thanks to better branch prediction, higher integer throughput, and reduced effective latency to memory. Zen 2 also significantly beefs up floating point throughput with double the FP performance of the previous generation. AMD also announced a 16-core/32-thread variant, dubbed Ryzen 3950X, that drops at $750 -- a full $950 cheaper than a similar spec 16-core Intel Core i9-9960X. On the graphics side, AMD's RDNA architecture in Navi will power the company's new Radeon RX 5700 series, which is said to offer competitive performance to NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 2070 and 2060 series. The Navi-based GPU at the heart of the upcoming Radeon RX 5700 series is manufactured on TSMC's 7nm process node and features GDDR6 memory, along with PCI Express 4.0 interface support. Versus AMD's previous generation GCN (Graphics Core Next) architecture, RDNA delivers more than 50% better performance-per-watt and 25% better overall performance. Greater than 50% of that improvement comes from architecture optimizations according to AMD; the GPU also gets a boost from its 7nm process and frequency gains. Radeon RX 5700 and 5700 XT cards will be available in market on July 7th, along with AMD Ryzen 3000 chips, but pricing hasn't been established yet for the Radeon GPUs.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's how-horror-movies-are-meant-to-be-watched department
Spielberg's After Dark horror series will only be able to be streamed when it's dark outside. It'll be available exclusively on Quibi (short for "Quick Bites"), a new streaming platform dedicated to short-form video, created by former Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and former HP CEO Meg Whitman. Variety reports: Spielberg had an unusual request however: He wanted viewers to only be able to watch the program after midnight. Given that phones can track where it is at the moment -- and keep tabs on when the sun rises and sets in its area -- Katzenberg and Whitman challenged their engineers to come up with an idea for how to view the show when it's spooky out. The result: A clock will appear on phones, ticking down until sun sets in wherever that user is, until it's completely gone. Then the clock starts ticking again to when the sun comes back up -- and the show will disappear until the next night. According to the report, Quibi is planning for an April 2020 launch, and is "hoping to trigger a 'third generation of film narrative,' following movies and TV."
"At launch, Quibi will offer a two-week free trial period, and have eight 'super premium' productions (which Katzenberg still called 'movies') ready to view," reports Variety. "After that, there will be 26 more 'lighthouse' (read: signature projects) productions that will roll out, every other Monday, for the first year."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cause-and-effect department
The human rights and war crimes community is up in arms over Facebook's decision to turn off a set of advanced features in its graph search product, which is "a way to receive an answer to a specific query on Facebook, such as 'people in Nebraska who like Metallica,'" reports BuzzFeed News. "Using graph search, it's possible to find public -- and only public -- content that's not easily accessed via keyword search." The decision, which was not announced publicly, was likely made in an effort to limit data scandals and improve privacy. From the report: When Mark Zuckerberg personally introduced graph search in early 2013, he billed it as equal in importance to Facebook's News Feed and profile timeline. On launch day, the company also published a post offering journalists tips on how to use graph search. Over the years, graph search became a valuable tool for investigators, police officers, and journalists. At the same time, social media became a key source for uncovering war crimes, disinformation campaigns, child exploitation, and other crimes and abuses.
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-tools-at-your-disposal department
Google Maps is rolling out a new feature that will tell you if your taxi driver goes off-route in an attempt to rack up a higher fare. Sure, you could always use Google Maps to pick the shortest route possible, but the newest feature does the work for you. BGR reports: The feature is especially useful in cities you don't know, but also at home, allowing you to get live updates on your route. Google Maps will send an alert to your phone every time you're off-route by 500 meters, xda-developers explains. Moreover, your route will not be rerouted automatically, which is what happens when deviating from your route while using Google Maps for regular navigation. That's because the feature will help you stick to your chosen route rather than continuously adapting it.
Once you start receiving the alerts, you should notify the driver that you're aware of the changes he or she made, and ask to revert to the shortest route possible. It's unlikely they'll try to cheat again once it's clear you're keeping tabs on the journey. And don't believe them when they say that traffic is the reason for the detour unless you can verify it with Google Maps, which should give you an idea of what traffic to expect on your route. It's unclear whether the feature will be available in other markets or when it'll launch. You'll want to be on the lookout for new Maps buttons that says Stay safer and Get off-route alerts in the navigation menu to take advantage of it.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's not-very-diverse-programming department
The Supreme Court will consider whether a black television producer can pursue racial discrimination claims against Comcast for declining to carry his programming channels on its cable system (Warning: source paywalled; alternative source). The Wall Street Journal reports: The Comcast case stems from the cable operator's decision not to carry Pets.TV, Recipes.TV and other channels from Entertainment Studios Networks Inc. The Los Angeles company is solely owned by Byron Allen, who gained celebrity as co-host of "Real People," a 1980s reality show. Comcast has carried channels owned mostly or substantially by African-Americans, such as Magic Johnson's Aspire and Sean "Diddy" Combs's music channel, Revolt TV, as well as Black Entertainment Television, whose African-American founder, Robert Johnson, sold to Viacom in 2001.
The suit, filed under Reconstruction-era law affording "the same right" to contract "as is enjoyed by white citizens," alleges, however, that Comcast discriminated against "100% African American" owned media such as Entertainment Studios. A federal appeals court in San Francisco allowed the suit to proceed. "If discriminatory intent plays any role in a defendant's decision not to contract with a plaintiff, even if it is merely one factor and not the sole cause of the decision, then that plaintiff has not enjoyed the same right as a white citizen," Judge Milan Smith wrote for the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Comcast denies the allegations and says it was concerned the Entertainment Studios programming wouldn't draw enough of an audience to justify allotting it bandwidth. The cable operator argues that federal law requires the plaintiff to show that he or she would have gotten the contract absent racial bias.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
The world's seed-bearing plants have been disappearing at a rate of nearly 3 species a year since 1900 -- which is up to 500 times higher than would be expected as a result of natural forces alone, according to the largest survey yet of plant extinctions. From a report: The project looked at more than 330,000 species and found that plants on islands and in the tropics were the most likely to be declared extinct. Trees, shrubs and other woody perennials had the highest probability of disappearing regardless of where they were located. The results were published on 10 June in Nature Ecology & Evolution. The study provides valuable hard evidence that will help with conservation efforts, says Stuart Pimm, a conservation scientist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. The survey included more plant species by an order of magnitude than any other study, he says. "Its results are enormously significant."
The work stems from a database compiled by botanist Rafael Govaerts at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London. Govaerts started the database in 1988 to track the status of every known plant species. As part of that project, he mined the scientific literature and created a list of seed-bearing plant species that were ruled extinct, and noted which species scientists had deemed to be extinct but were later rediscovered. In 2015, Govaerts teamed up with plant evolutionary biologist Aelys Humphreys at Stockholm University in Sweden and others to analyse the data. They compared extinction rates across different regions and characteristics such as whether the plants were annuals that regrow from seed each year or perennials that endure year after year. The researchers found that about 1,234 species had been reported extinct since the publication of Carl Linnaeus's compendium of plant species, Species Plantarum, in 1753. But more than half of those species were either rediscovered or reclassified as another living species, meaning 571 are still presumed extinct.
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