A Kit Harington profile earlier this week seemed to indicate that Jon Snow will survive until the final episode of Game of Thrones’ upcoming season 8. The actor implied during the interview that he was on location for the entire duration of the shoot, while others came and went.
But Jon Snow wasn’t the only one to talk to the press about what happens next in Game of Thrones, as actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau suggested that he is satisfied with his last scene as Jaime Lannister.
“I am proud to have been on a show that has had this kind of impact and success,” Coster-Waldau told Star 2. “And relief that it has come to an end in the way that (showrunners) David Benioff and DB Weiss had wanted it to.”
“I find Jaime so interesting,” he went on to say about the character who he played for eight seasons on the HBO show. “The core of this guy is that he does what he does in the name of love. He’s a complex guy.”
“That’s the key to Game Of Thrones, the characters are never just black and white. Even though his story is set in this fantastical world and his circumstances are extreme, he is relatable.”
The actor mentioned his final scene without spoiling what actually happens: “I had a great last scene. It was absolutely beautiful. It was the perfect way to end.” However, he did say the scene was towards the end, which means we’ll see plenty of Jaime in the upcoming season.
“Obviously I can’t tell you what the scene was. It wasn’t the final scene (of the series), but it was close to the end, and it was shot at a beautiful location,” the actor said, revealing that other cast members finished their filming for season 8 before him. “At this point, I had seen quite a lot of colleagues wrap, so I had seen a lot of tears, beautiful speeches, and I knew what to expect.”
As a reminder, Jaime is currently at odds with his twin sister and lover Cersei, as they happen to have opposing views on the danger that threatens the whole planet. So yes, Jaime is heading to battle against the undead, and surviving that ordeal won’t be easy. The first episode of Game of Thrones season 8 premieres on April 14th.
vivo unveiled the X27 today, a phone that’s similar in a lot of ways to the previously announced V15 Pro, but definitely comes with a bunch of differences as well. At the same launch event, the Chinese company also officially presented the latest iteration of its Android skin, now Funtouch 9.
As the number implies, this is based on Google’s Android 9 Pie, and although it’s what the V15 Pro runs as well, vivo has only gone through what’s new this time around.
Funtouch 9 apparently comes with 72 new features, 55 optimizations of different details, 263 UI improvements, as well as a simpler and more beautiful interface, and a smarter and friendlier user experience – at least according to vivo.
There’s more white space because that’s been a UI/UX design trend for too long now and can’t be ignored anymore, and this lets you more easily focus on the content. Funtouch 9 is said to have “soft and restrained” colors, as well as rich details.
You can change themes, icon layouts, add rounded corners, and dark patterns. The new OS comes with some semi-abstract wallpapers built-in too. Expect to see Funtouch 9 on all vivo smartphones launching from this point forward.
It’s somewhat difficult to square the hand-drawn animation that dominated the box office for decades with the almost hyper-realistic CGI that we see today, but as technology continues to advance, both art and animation will continue to change. To that point, Nvidia appears to be on the verge of changing the game once again with a new deep learning model capable of transforming the most basic of sketches into photo-realistic images.
The AI leverages generative adversarial networks (GANs), which you can read about here, to convert the maps you see in the video below into beautiful landscapes. In a nod to French post-impressionist painter Paul Gauguin, Nvidia decided to name the interactive app which uses the model “GauGAN.”
The app works by letting users draw “segmentation maps” (the left side of the image at the top of this article), labeling each segment as mountains, snow, water, or grass, and then filling in the detail automatically. Bryan Catanzaro, vice president of applied deep learning research at NVIDIA, compares the technology to a “smart paintbrush,” which the company says has been trained on a million images to know what to fill in where.
“It’s like a coloring book picture that describes where a tree is, where the sun is, where the sky is,” Catanzaro said. “And then the neural network is able to fill in all of the detail and texture, and the reflections, shadows and colors, based on what it has learned about real images.”
The key to the realism of these computer-generated scenes is something called a discriminator, which gives another important element — the generator — “pixel-by-pixel feedback on how to improve the realism of its synthetic images.” For example, after seeing enough photos of lakes, the generator understands that objects cast reflections on water, and going forward, it will do its best to imitate those reflections when generating landscapes.
GauGAN is on display at the GPU Technology Conference this week, but is not yet available to the public.
If you find yourself constantly tweaking your home’s thermostat in search of the perfect temperature, you might save some time by just moving to eastern Africa. That might sound drastic, but a new study reveals that you’d probably be a whole lot more comfortable than you are right now.
The research, which was published in Royal Society Open Science, reveals that the temperatures Americans typically gravitate towards when adjusting their thermostats closely match the conditions in Kenya and other regions in eastern Africa. This probably isn’t just a coincidence.
The study, carried out by researchers at North Carolina State University, originally sought to learn more about various organisms that live in human abodes alongside us, including pests like insects and rodents.
However, in the process of monitoring dozens of homes across the United States the researchers began to compare the average temperatures and temperature changes inside with the environmental conditions of other parts of the world. What they found was that the conditions humans (in America, anyway) typically set for themselves during the day and night very closely match the outside temperatures of Kenya and other locations in the same region.
The researchers found that the range of home temperatures fluctuated between the upper 40s Fahrenheit (usually at night) to as high as the mid 90s, with most homes falling well within those margins. Then, using a grid system to average worldwide temperatures, they matched that range with the specific areas of the globe. Eastern Africa was top of the list.
Exactly why this seems to be the case is something that could be debated, but modern archaeological evidence suggests that Africa is where the human race originated. Remains of human ancestors have been found all along the eastern half of Africa, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that our species evolved to match the climate of that area.
Humans eventually branched out to new areas with the help of primitive technology — crude clothing, fire making, etc — and today we have lovely things like air conditioning and furnaces to keep us as close to our preferred temperatures as possible.
Amazon has launched an updated version of its cheapest Kindle. For the first time, the base model Kindle now comes with an illuminated display.
The new Kindle features a 4 LED front lighting system (an e-ink display is front lit, as opposed to being backlight like an LCD). In comparison, the more expensive Kindle Paperwhite has a 5 LED lighting while the top of the line Kindle Oasis has 12 LED lighting. Still, 4 LED is better than no LED, and the Kindle features adjustable brightness for comfortable reading in all lighting conditions.
The 6-inch display itself has also been updated with a newer panel that has higher contrast. It’s also a capacitive touchscreen now for fewer accidental swipes. Unfortunately, at 167 ppi, the new model still has the same pixel density as the previous one. In comparison, the more expensive Kindle Paperwhite and Oasis have a 300 ppi display, which makes the text look considerably sharper and print-like.
The new model also features a slightly updated design, which is thinner and lighter.
Apart from that, this is still pretty much the same basic Kindle as before, which is to say, it’s still a great tool for reading on the go. Sure, the more expensive models are nicer with a few extra bells and whistles but if you just want to get into reading, this base model will be perfectly fine and now with the backlight, it will no longer become useless in the dark.
Dyson has led the charge in the evolution of the cordless vacuum for years, but this week, the company is unveiling the most futuristic stick vac to date. Meet the V11, which Dyson says is the result of more than ten years of cord-free vacuum and digital motor development. At a glance, it looks incredibly similar to the Cyclone V10, which arrived last April, but there are a variety of notable upgrades on board, some more obvious than others.
The advancement that Dyson’s representatives were most eager to show off during our meeting was the intelligent Dynamic Load Sensor (DLS) system. This system is capable of detecting the resistance of the brush bar on the new High Torque cleaner head, and then communicating with the motor and the battery in order to increase or decrease the suction power depending on whether the vacuum is being used on a carpet or a hard surface.
The sheer power of this relatively lightweight device is hard to overstate. Though it glides along on hardwood floor as you would expect a vacuum cleaner to, it really digs in when you hit a carpet, which allows the nylon bristles to break apart the dirt and grime that might have settled in. The resistance was noticeable, but based on how quickly the V11 canister filled up, it’s clear that the carpet in my living room needed some tough love.
Image Source: Dyson
Visually, though, the star of the show is the new LCD screen, which not only displays the remaining battery life down to the seconds (and updates in real-time as you move from one surface to another), but also shows you which mode you’re currently in. But that’s not all — it will also automatically run a short video if your vacuum gets clogged, telling you where to look for obstructions, and warns you when it’s time to clean your filter.
Another major change from the V10 to the V11: You don’t have to manually change to max mode when you move from a hard surface to a soft one. Of the three modes available, the one you’ll be in most often is Auto mode, which will adjust to the task at hand without any manual input. On the other hand, if you know you’re going to be vacuuming exclusively on a carpeted floor, you can switch over to the high-powered Boost mode with the push of a button. And if you instead value battery life over power, the Eco mode will provide plenty of run time.
Image Source: Dyson
Dyson goes in to all sorts of technical detail in the press release for the V11, but here’s what you really need to know: It offers 20% more suction power than the V10, it can last for up to sixty minutes of cleaning time (depending on the surface and the mode selected), the canister is up to
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Well, that didn’t take long. We told you on Monday about some of the novel promotions HBO is using to keep excitement high for the upcoming final season of Game of Thrones, which premieres on April 14. Those promotions include encouraging fans to go on a quest #ForTheThrone by searching for six of the series’ signature Iron Thrones that HBO has hidden in far-flung locations around the world.
HBO posted a few 360-degree YouTube videos of the first hidden throne at https://www.forthethrone.com, which showed what appeared to be the throne hiding in a forest. Turns out, the mystery setting was an ancient wooded site in Gloucestershire, England, and it was found by these guys (who got a crown as a reward for their successful sleuthing):
Meanwhile, HBO is already teasing its next hidden throne, which has been squirreled away in the “North.” A vague reference, of course, but also one that’s highly relevant to Game of Thrones fans. Take a look for yourself and see if this locale looks familiar to you:
At the time of this writing, on Wednesday, HBO’s countdown clock on the “For the Throne” site shows that fans have 13 days left to find that second throne.
As we mentioned in our earlier piece, this “Quest” is part of HBO’s #ForTheThrone marketing effort in advance of the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones that’s also included the network’s encouragement for fans to “bleed” for the throne and to “create” for the throne.
About the former, HBO decided to use excitement about the series’ swan song to team up with the American Red Cross to host a “Bleed for the Throne” blood drive. In terms of the “Create for the Throne” element of this marketing push, HBO tapped 18 artists from around the world to reimagine 18 official show props — to see what they would “create,” in other words.
Separate from HBO’s effort along these lines, we’ll of course continue to cover all of the fresh details that keep trickling out about the final season of the show in advance of its premiere, which is fast shaping up to be one of the most anticipated conclusions to an entertainment franchise ever.
Almost two years after adding free and unlimited VPN to its desktop browser Opera for Android is getting the same treatment. Version 51 of Opera for Android, will finally bring VPN service to the mobile browser, in continuation of the company’s commitment to user security.
Opera claims you will have enhanced control over your online privacy, notably when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks. The VPN service is of the no log variety, meaning it will not store any user data on Opera’s servers.
To start using the new feature, simply download or update your current app and head over to settings where you will now see a VPN sub-menu. Once activated, the 256-bit encryption will create a secure private connection between the user’s device and the remote VPN server.
The feature will not allow you to mask your location to a specific country but simply offer three regions – America, Asia and Europe.
Here’s what we know about the Flat Earth trip: In 2020, the “Flat Earthers” aim to sail to Antarctica to locate the ice wall that they believe marks the edge of our planet. This “frozen barrier” is said to tower 164 feet high, be a couple of thousands of feet thick, and surround Earth.
“If you take a globe and you squish it down, the Antarctic would go all the way around the Earth. It’s kind of like an ice shore and it’s very, very large. It’s not like you just go there and you can just peek over it,” Robbie Davidson, FEIC’s founder, told Forbes. “We don’t believe anything can fall off the edge, because a big portion of the flat earth community believes that we’re in a dome, like a snow globe.”
Despite this Flat Earth perspective, many sailing experts have pointing out that the “Flat Earther” cruise ship will use navigational devices that are based on the planet’s spherical shape. GPS systems use many satellites that orbit the planet and pinpoint each other’s location to help sailors get to their destinations. Henk Keijer, a veteran cruise ship captain, told The Guardian that, “I have not encountered one sea captain who believes the Earth is flat.”
The FEIC has not provided comment on the Flat Earth cruise or how it will execute its upcoming Antarctica expedition.
The Nike Air Max 720 ‘Throwback Future’ drops on March 21. (Photo Credit: Nike)
I’ll be real with you: I didn’t “get” the Air Max 720 at first. The texture of the upper seemed strange, as did its pattern, and the big wraparound Air Max bubble on the lower seemed tacky as hell. Was this really the shoe Nike would be pushing this quarter?
It took about two days for me to realize that I was an idiot, that the Air Max 720 is awesome. That wraparound Air Max bubble on the sole — the largest of any featured on a Nike sneaker — is a killer innovation and once I tried a pair on for the first time I regretted ever doubting the shoe. It’s as comfy as you’d expect an Air Max sneaker to be and the futuristic design mixed with killer colorways inspired by nature (the desert, ocean, and the Northern Lights, for instance) makes for a fashion-forward look that is sure to catch the eyes of friends and strangers alike.
But the best is yet to come. One Thursday, Nike is releasing the Throwback Future pack to commemorate Air Max Month. The line is filled with some killer silhouettes like the Air Vapormax in some truly stunning colorways that incorporate black and metallic blues and greens for an intense retro-future vibe.
The crown jewel, though, is the Air Max 720 Throwback Future. Take a look at that shoe for a minute and see if it reminds you of anything. Alright, cool? Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Photo Credit: Nike
That’s a Xenomorph. That’s what a Xenomorph would look like as a sneaker. Look at that sheen black texture, at the blue-green accents, at the vibe of the whole thing. That is the creature to which one Ellen Ripley laid waste and you cannot convince me otherwise. Sure, there’s no official connection between Nike’s sneaker and the Alien franchise. But still, this sneaker does a better job of capturing that H.R Giger design vibe than the actual official Alien sneakers from a few years ago.
And look, I’m not saying you have to wear it with the intention of repping your Alien fandom. It’s totally dope as a standalone sneaker and I, for one, look forward to wearing it nonstop over the next year. It’s just worth pointing out that this shoe is also going to be the rough equivalent of walking around with the Alien queen wrapped around your foot, but in the best way possible.
Speaking of which, you can cop a pair for yourself this week. The Nike Air Max 720 Throwback Future (as well as the rest of the Throwback Future pack) drops on Thursday, March 21 at 10 a.m. on Nike’s SNKRS app. If you miss out there, hit up your local Foot Locker (or Foot Locker’s website), which should also have the full Throwback Future line.
It’s now been several months since Chinese scientist He Jiankui revealed that he had successfully edited the genes of human embryos, which were then carried to term, resulting in the first genetically modified humans. His work was quickly shunned by all corners of the scientific community, and his fate remains unknown.
Last week, a large group of geneticists and researchers called for a moratorium on genetic editing until a robust regulatory framework could be established. Now, the World Health Organization is weighing in, and while it stops short of suggesting a prohibition on current genetics work, the group makes it clear that it supports regulations and oversight in genome editing.
In a new bulletin, WHO reveals what it believes are the next steps that need to be taken in order to ensure safe and responsible genetics research. The group says it plans on building a “central registry on human genome editing research” so that scientists around the world can update colleagues on progress of various research efforts, holding everyone accountable.
WHO also commits to forming a framework by which scientists can adhere in order to ensure their work is being conducted responsibly:
Over the next two years, through a series of in-person meetings and online consultations, the committee will consult with a wide range of stakeholders and provide recommendations for a comprehensive governance framework that is scalable, sustainable and appropriate for use at the international, regional, national and local levels. The committee will solicit the views of multiple stakeholders including patient groups, civil society, ethicists and social scientists.
“Gene editing holds incredible promise for health, but it also poses some risks, both ethically and medically,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. “This committee is a perfect example of WHO’s leadership, by bringing together some of the world’s leading experts to provide guidance on this complex issue. I am grateful to each member of the Expert Advisory Committee for their time and expertise.”
It’s been said that war makes strange bedfellows, and now we can say the same thing about the out-of-control problem of robocalls and spam calls that bombard all of our phones day-in, day-out. Normally, AT&T and Comcast are competing telecommunications giants, but in the case of the anti-robocall fight, they’ve come together to announce what may be a first-of-its-kind triumph — the ability to authenticate calls made across both companies’ networks.
That paves the way for both AT&T and Comcast to start offering call authentication between the two networks to customers later this year. Letting customers, in other words, see verified calls not only when they originate from within their network but also from outside it.
AT&T today announced that the successful test leading to this breakthrough was conducted on March 5 on phones used on both companies’ consumer networks. It was done across AT&T Phone’s digital home service and Comcast’s Xfinity Voice home phone service, and the calls were authenticated via the industry’s SITR/SHAKEN protocol. That standard lets consumers know if an incoming call is really coming from the number listed on the caller ID.
Developments like these can’t come soon enough for some people — including AT&T’s CEO himself, Randall Stephenson, who was appearing at The Economic Club of Washington D.C. today and actually got interrupted by a robocall. You can watch him decline the call on his Apple Watch below, incredulously letting people know he was getting interrupted by one of these calls:
According to AT&T, other major service providers are going to be conducting similar cross-service tests in the coming months — likewise verifying that they can use the STIR/SHAKEN standard to verify calls from outside their network. Speaking of that industry protocol, AT&T and Comcast also jointly chair the working group that’s developing technical standards for it.
Beyond that, carriers like AT&T also deploy a variety of their own solutions to keep customers protected from as many of these spam and robocalls as possible. In AT&T’s case, that includes free and automatic in-network systems that ID or block billions of unwanted or illegal robocalls, with no download or action needed on the customer’s part. AT&T offers additional layers of protection, such as its AT&T Call Protect app that’s also available by going to your account settings on myAT&T and turning it on. When you download the app, you can create a personal blocked number list.
As an indication of the greater awareness the general public has begun giving to this issue, John Oliver devoted part of his HBO show Last Week Tonight in recent days to the topic of robocalls. As of mid-day Wednesday, almost 6 million people have watched the clip of that segment posted to YouTube, in which Oliver talks about an automated call his show put together that would keep ringing each FCC commissioner every hour and a half:
If you’re looking for a new pair of Bluetooth earbuds, we cover great deals on excellent options all the time. But not everyone wants wireless headphones, and if you fit into that category then this deal is for you. The Panasonic ErgoFit RP-HJE120-K In-Ear Earbud Headphones offer crystal clear sound, a comfortable fit, and a wire so you don’t ever have to worry about charging them. They have more than 37,000 5-star ratings on Amazon, and they cost less than $10!
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