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Ireland To Ban New Petrol, Diesel Vehicles By 2030

Slashdot.org - 17 min 18 sec ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: The Irish government plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, as part of a major strategy to protect the environment. The aim is to ensure that all new cars and vans on Irish roads in 11 years' time are electric vehicles. The proposed legislation was among 180 measures in the government's Climate Action Plan, published on Monday. The document also includes a target to implement an EU-wide ban on non-recyclable plastic by 2030. Unveiling the plan on Monday, the Environment Minister Richard Bruton said Ireland was "currently 85% dependent on fossil fuels." Mr Bruton said the plan was a roadmap to achieving existing 2030 emissions targets and would put Ireland "on a trajectory to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050." The hope is that by the time the petrol and diesel vehicle ban is introduced in 2030 there will be 950,000 electric vehicles on Irish roads. The government is set to invest in a "nationwide" charging network to power the new vehicles. By 2025, at least one recharging point will be required at new non-residential buildings with more than 10 parking spaces. The government also said it would stop granting National Car Test (NCT) certificates to fossil fuel cars by 2045. "The compulsory inspection program is carried out every year on vehicles that are more than 10 years old," reports the BBC.

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KDE Plasma 5.16 Released

Linux.Slashdot.org - 1 hour 12 min ago
Categories: Linux

Bernie Sanders Supports Video Game Workers Unions

Slashdot.org - 1 hour 45 min ago
U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has taken to Twitter to announce his support for video game workers unions. "In his message, Sanders gives shout-outs to IATSE (the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) and Game Workers Unite, two organizations that have been working to help game creators organize," reports VentureBeat. "He also links to a June 11 Time story about the epidemic of worker burn out occurring in the industry." From the report: Video games make a ton of money, including $43 billion in revenue in 2018 in the U.S. (as Sanders also points out). But the people making games are often overworked and suspect to "crunch," mandatory (and sometimes unpaid) overtime. Recently, stories of unhealthy crunch cultures have surrounded giant game makers like Rockstar and Electronic Arts. Other employees suffer mass layoffs, like at Activision Blizzard earlier this year, even when their companies are big or even record profits. Some studios shut down completely.

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Secretive Magic Leap Says Ex-Engineer Copied Headset For China

Slashdot.org - 2 hours 22 min ago
Magic Leap, a secretive U.S. startup that makes a $2,295 augmented-reality headset, filed a lawsuit Monday accusing one of its former engineers of stealing its technology to create his own AR device for China. Bloomberg reports: In a lawsuit filed Monday, Magic Leap alleges that Chi Xu, who left in 2016, exploited its confidential information to "quickly develop a prototype of lightweight, ergonomically designed, mixed reality glasses for use with smart phones and other devices that are strikingly similar" to the Florida-based startup's designs. The lawsuit marks the latest accusation from an American firm of intellectual property theft by Chinese companies, a perennial sore point that's helped escalate tensions between the world's two largest economies. With more than $2 billion in financing, Magic Leap is one of the better-funded startups delving into so-called augmented or mixed reality, a technology that gives users the illusion that fantastical, three-dimensional digital objects exist in the physical world. Xu, who founded Beijing-based Hangzhou Tairuo Technology Co., also known as Nreal, unveiled his own augmented reality glasses at a major Las Vegas trade show in January, touting them as lighter than the Magic Leap One, Forbes has reported. Magic Leap released its headset last August after seven years of secretive work and more than $2 billion of investment. The startup alleges that Xu plotted during his roughly 13 months working there to launch his own competing company in China and "neglected his work duties" to acquire proprietary information. Xu is accused in the suit of breach of contract, fraud and unfair competition.

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Facebook's Calibra Is a Secret Weapon For Monetizing Its New Cryptocurrency

Slashdot.org - 3 hours 2 min ago
Earlier today, Facebook announced its cryptocurrency "Libra" and the nonprofit association that will oversee it. "But behind Facebook's ambitions to create a quasi-nation state ruled by mostly corporate interests is a secret weapon, one the company hopes it can use to create another platform used by billions of people -- and generate enormous new revenue streams along the way," reports The Verge. "It's called Calibra, and it's a new subsidiary of Facebook the company is launching to build financial services and software on top of the Libra blockchain." From the report: At first blush, Calibra resembles a fairly standard payments company -- but its tight integration with Facebook's enormous user base could give it a significant advantage over any rivals. Thanks to its proximity to the technical development of Libra, and its ability to leverage WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram, Calibra could very well become Facebook's next big thing. Calibra's immediate goal is to develop and launch its own digital cryptocurrency wallet, and integrate that wallet into other Facebook products. The company will become a member of the nonprofit Libra Association and have equal voting power the other partners as Facebook's official representative, which include Uber, Lyft, eBay, and PayPal, along with several other tech companies, financial service providers, venture capitalists, and fellow nonprofits. That way, Facebook can say it does not solely control the currency or the network by itself. It also gets the benefit of having twice the representation as other companies, at least for now. Libra is the technology that underpins the network. But when it launches, Calibra will likely be how most people interact with the currency until competing wallets arise. In fact, it will likely be the first cryptocurrency wallet that hundreds of millions of people will have access to, by nature of being bundled with Facebook's massive ecosystem. With billions of users potentially interacting with Calibra, it will instantaneously have many hundreds of times the user base of the world's most popular existing wallets from Coinbase and others. Kevin Weil, vice president of product at Calibra, says the primary business model isn't to make money off ads targeted using your purchase history or to charge people for using the Calibra app. The real goal, Weil says, is to boost adoption to the point where Libra can have a vibrant financial services economy built on top of it, not just by Facebook but by any other company in the world. Weil says Libra becoming successful will have all sorts of positive ripple effects for all participants. "You suddenly have billions of new consumers for any online service. Businesses today that operate in cash only, if they have access to a digital currency they have access to advertising platforms, including Facebook," he says. "There are meaningful side effects on Facebook's business if Libra is successful."

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Engineers Boost Output of Solar Desalination System By 50 Percent

Slashdot.org - 3 hours 45 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: Researchers in Rice's Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP) this week showed they could boost the efficiency of their solar-powered desalination system by more than 50% simply by adding inexpensive plastic lenses to concentrate sunlight into "hot spots." The results are available online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "The typical way to boost performance in solar-driven systems is to add solar concentrators and bring in more light," said Pratiksha Dongare, a graduate student in applied physics at Rice's Brown School of Engineering and co-lead author of the paper. "The big difference here is that we're using the same amount of light. We've shown it's possible to inexpensively redistribute that power and dramatically increase the rate of purified water production." In conventional membrane distillation, hot, salty water is flowed across one side of a sheetlike membrane while cool, filtered water flows across the other. The temperature difference creates a difference in vapor pressure that drives water vapor from the heated side through the membrane toward the cooler, lower-pressure side. Scaling up the technology is difficult because the temperature difference across the membrane -- and the resulting output of clean water -- decreases as the size of the membrane increases. Rice's "nanophotonics-enabled solar membrane distillation" (NESMD) technology addresses this by using light-absorbing nanoparticles to turn the membrane itself into a solar-driven heating element. Dongare and colleagues, including study co-lead author Alessandro Alabastri, coat the top layer of their membranes with low-cost, commercially available nanoparticles that are designed to convert more than 80% of sunlight energy into heat. The solar-driven nanoparticle heating reduces production costs, and Rice engineers are working to scale up the technology for applications in remote areas that have no access to electricity.

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