Bluesky finally has DMs, with encrypted messaging coming ‘down the line’

Bluesky, the open source social media service that began as an internal Twitter project, has gained a key feature as it looks to compete with X and Threads. The service has finally added direct messaging capabilities more than a year after it started onboarding new users.

Direct messages are now available on both Bluesky’s app and website, the company announced in a blog post. The default setting allows users to receive messages from people they follow, though settings can be adjusted to receive messages from “everyone” or “no one.” For now, it sounds like DMs on Bluesky are fairly basic and only support person-to-person text chats, but the company says it plans to add support for media and group messaging, as well as end-to-end encryption “down the line.”

Until then, the company notes that it will be able to access users’ messages in some situations when it’s “absolutely necessary,” such as an investigation into spam or harassment. “In rare cases, the Bluesky moderation team may need to open your DMs to investigate broader patterns of abuse, such as spam or coordinated harassment,” Bluesky says in a blog post. “This would only be done when absolutely necessary to keep Bluesky safe. Access is extremely limited and tracked internally.”

So, like most other social platforms, Bluesky DMs are probably not an ideal space for sharing sensitive information. But the addition of messaging will likely be welcome news from users hoping to make more connections on the service and have conversations out of public view.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/bluesky-finally-has-dms-with-encrypted-messaging-coming-down-the-line-193235051.html?src=rss

Snap brings its AR lenses to Chrome through an extension

Back when we were all stuck at home in 2020 and had to stay on video calls all day, some companies tried to liven things up with augmented reality filters and background replacements. Maybe they caused someone, somewhere to smile once or twice. Although it's hard to argue that they lifted most people out of the doom and gloom of the pandemic, the filters by and large stuck around. 

That's not entirely true in Snap's case. The company used to have a desktop camera app that included AR folders, but it killed that last year. Now Snap is bringing its AR lenses to the desktop in a different way — via a Google Chrome extension.

Snapchat Camera for Chrome can enable AR lenses directly on your webcam. You can then use them for video calls, livestreams, video recordings and so on. Unlike the previous desktop app, you will need to sign in with a Snapchat account to use the lenses. You'll be able to employ any custom lenses you create too. 

Bringing the lenses to Chrome will give you a bit more flexibility, but they didn't appear from the desktop entirely. Microsoft Teams started using the filters last year.

AR lenses have long been ingrained in Snapchat's identity. They're one of the major features that helped the app stand out alongside the early selling point of ephemeral visual messages. So it makes sense for Snap to make use of them in as many areas as possible. While the lenses might liven things up a bit when you're on a Discord call with friends, it's hard to imagine anyone having a shooting star effect or a virtual frog headpiece in place during a serious conference call.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/snap-brings-its-ar-lenses-to-chrome-through-an-extension-192805977.html?src=rss

Spidique Chair Harmonizes Computational Intelligence And Human Touch For A Sustainable Future

The introduction of plastic in manufacturing has been a double-edged sword, celebrated for its unmatched convenience and versatility, yet criticized for its environmental impact. The true ecological footprint of plastic largely depends on its post-production management. Efficient recycling significantly diminishes its environmental harm. Embracing sustainable design by minimizing plastic use while achieving robust and elegant structures is a path toward eco-friendly innovation. Inspired by this philosophy, the designer of Spidique created a plastic-based chair, using advanced simulations to ensure structural integrity and aesthetic appeal.

Designer: Siqi Yang

Spidique draws inspiration from renowned designers Ross Lovegrove and Luigi Colani. Lovegrove is known for using cutting-edge technology to craft futuristic and organic forms, evident in Spidique’s mesh-like structure reminiscent of Lovegrove’s Formula 1 metal perfume bottle. Colani’s mastery of round, organic shapes is seen in the chair’s fluid lines. These influences combine to create a design that marries modern technology’s mechanical precision with seasoned craftsmanship’s artistic touch.

Spidique’s manufacture relies on 3D printing technology, utilizing Ameba software and the Bidirectional Evolutionary Structural Optimization (BESO) algorithm. This algorithm is critical for topological optimization, designing a chair that is both structurally sound and material-efficient.

The design process unfolds in several stages, beginning with algorithm execution, where parameters are set to generate the chair’s initial shape. This is followed by evaluation and refinement, where designers assess the initial model for ergonomic and aesthetic qualities, making necessary adjustments to enhance comfort and visual appeal. Next, the refined model is prototyped using 3D printing technology and undergoes rigorous testing for comfort, durability, and user feedback. Based on this feedback, further refinements are made to ensure the design is optimal for production.

The iterative process continues until the design achieves the desired balance of comfort, aesthetics, and sustainability. This process highlights the interaction between computational precision and human-centric design. While the algorithm provides a precise and optimized structure, the human touch ensures the design meets ergonomic and aesthetic standards.

The designer’s research emphasizes 3D printing technology in furniture manufacturing, exploring its potential to drive innovation and enhance sustainability. A comparative analysis contrasting traditional furniture production with 3D-printed methods involved surveys of 20 furniture designers and 100 consumers, along with creating multiple prototypes using CAD software and 3D printers. Findings revealed that 3D printing could reduce material waste by approximately 25% and shorten production time by about 30%, highlighting its potential for significant environmental and commercial benefits.

The post Spidique Chair Harmonizes Computational Intelligence And Human Touch For A Sustainable Future first appeared on Yanko Design.

There’s a new Vision show coming to Disney+ with Paul Bettany

Disney+ has greenlit a standalone show for Marvel’s Vision, as reported by Variety. Paul Bettany will return to portray everyone’s favorite android/synthezoid and reporting indicates that the story will pick up after the events of WandaVision. We have a long time to wait, however, as it won’t air on the streaming platform until 2026.

This tracks with Disney CEO Bob Iger’s recent announcement that it would start being much more picky when it comes to Marvel content. The current plan is to reduce the number of shows from four per year to two. 

As for Vision, it’s not being helmed by Jacqueline Schaeffer, who created WandaVision. Showrunning duties fall to Terry Matalas. He created the criminally underrated 12 Monkeys TV show and acted as showrunner for the final season of Star Trek: Picard, which was miles better than those early seasons. Schaeffer was working on an earlier version of the concept before moving to the forthcoming spinoff Agatha All Along.

While the presence of Matalas may be good news for Marvel fans, it’s bad news for Star Trek fans. Ever since the breakout success of Picard’s final season, fans have been pushing Paramount to greenlight a show they have been calling “Star Trek Legacy” with Matalas at the helm. This would be a continuation that follows the events of Picard season three, spotlighting Star Trek: Voyager’s Seven of Nine and other returning characters from the 1990s era of the franchise. Now that Matalas has been snatched up by Marvel, this is unlikely to happen. Between that and the recent cancellation of Star Trek: Lower Decks, it looks like 90s Trek is just about over and done with. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/theres-a-new-vision-show-coming-to-disney-with-paul-bettany-185730521.html?src=rss

New research places the sun’s magnetic field close to the surface, upending decades of theories

New research indicates the sun’s magnetic field originates close to the surface and not deep within the star, according to findings published in the journal Nature. This upends decades of prevailing scientific thought that placed the field more than 130,000 miles below the surface of the sun. It also brings us closer to understanding the nature of the sun’s magnetic field, which has been on scientist’s minds since Galileo.

The study, led by Northwestern University and a team of international researchers, suggests that the magnetic field actually generates 20,000 miles below the surface. This was discovered after the team ran a series of complex calculations on a NASA supercomputer. It’s worth noting that these are just initial findings and more research is required to confirm the data.

The sun’s magnetic field fluctuates in a cycle that lasts 11 years. During the strongest part of this cycle, powerful winds and sunspots form at the solar equator, along with plumes of material that cause the aurora borealis here on Earth. Previous theories that place the magnetic field deeper within the sun have had a difficult time connecting these various solar phenomena. Scientists hope that, given further study, they’ll be able to use this theory to not only explain the creation of solar events, but more accurately predict when they will occur.

This could lead to more than just earlier predictions of the next aurora borealis event. The sun’s intense magnetic energy is also the source of solar flares and eruptions of plasma called coronal mass ejections. When these ejections travel toward Earth, all kinds of bad things happen. This famously occurred back in 1859, when a giant geomagnetic storm created the largest solar storm in recorded history.

This is called the Carrington Event, attributed to British astronomer Richard Christopher Carrington. The solar flare, which was actually a magnetic explosion on the sun’s surface, briefly outshone the sun and caused colored lights to erupt all over the planet, similar to the aurora borealis. It also supercharged telegraph cables, shocking operators, and set telegraph paper on fire. It was pretty nasty.

Now, this was 1859, before the modern use of electricity and before computers and all related technologies. If something like the Carrington Event were to occur today, we’d have it much worse. The emitted X-rays and ultraviolet light would interfere with electronics, radio and satellite signals. The event would cause a solar radiation storm, which would be deadly to astronauts not fully equipped with protective gear.

It would also lead a coronal mass ejection to bump up against Earth’s magnetic field, which would shut down power grids, cell phone satellites, modern cars and even airplanes. The resulting global power outages could last for months. Last month’s smallish (relatively speaking) storm messed with electronics and that was no Carrington-sized event. Even worse? We are absolutely due for this to happen. It’s basically a ticking time bomb.

So these findings could, in theory, be used to prepare new early warning methods for large-scale solar flares hitting Earth. Someday, we might have solar flare warnings alongside hurricane warnings and the like. The research has already demonstrated some interesting links between sunspots and the sun’s magnetic activity.

“We still don’t understand the sun well enough to make accurate predictions” of solar weather, lead study author Geoffrey Vasil of the University of Edinburgh told The Hill. These new findings “will be an important step toward finally resolving” this mysterious process, added co-author Daniel Lecoanet of Northwestern University.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/new-research-places-the-suns-magnetic-field-close-to-the-surface-upending-decades-of-theories-182059055.html?src=rss

INDIKA weaves a mature tale of absurdity, hypocrisy and sexual violence

This story contains discussions of sexual violence.

Multiple scenes from INDIKA are seared into my brain. A palm-sized person crawls out of a nun’s mouth and runs down her arm, frenzied, in the middle of a Catholic ritual. A man is suspended in the air, his torso impaled on a strip of curling rebar, while a guitarist gently encourages him to die. Dozens of bus-sized fish dangle on rotating spits above a blazing silo. The mangled head of a feral dog flops repeatedly against the gears of a mill, neck limp and tongue lolling. The sudden glimpse of a demon: gray skin, too many arms and joints bent the wrong way, bug-like and hulking. When I move, it moves.

Back at home in front of my PC, my skin prickles with goosebumps. INDIKA generates visceral reactions effortlessly and always with a tinge of surprise. It’s a (mostly) third-person narrative adventure set in an alternative 19th century Russia, and it stars an ostracized nun, Indika, who has the devil’s voice in her head. From this foundation, the game offers a flurry of whimsical absurdity and raw human suffering, and even as its visual and mechanical styles shift from scene to scene, everything comes together in a cohesive package. INDIKA is a masterful example of maturity in video games.

INDIKA
Odd Meter

The devil is Indika’s constant companion. As she travels from her convent to deliver a letter in another village, the voice in her head gleefully vocalizes her cruelest thoughts and points out the hypocrisies built into Catholicism, her chosen religion. The devil speaks like he’s narrating a children’s book, a Rumpelstiltskin glee dripping from every syllable as he tells Indika how weak, unloved and naive she is. Indika debates him and, at a few points, he splinters reality around her, opening deep cracks in the scenery, revealing new pathways and filling the world with a red glow. Players can hold down a button to pray, keeping his machinations at bay. To progress in these scenes, Indika has to shift between the devil’s reality and her own, inviting him in at specific moments to make use of his hellish platforms. Indika becomes more comfortable with the devil in her mind as the game progresses, and the “press X to pray” moments are just the first examples of their uneasy alliance.

As a piece of religious criticism, INDIKA plays all the hits. Its jokes about the manipulation, hypocrisy and rigid inhumanity of Catholicism are clear and sharp, though not particularly revelatory. The devil's laughing tone makes every line sound like a lullaby, and to my ears — an atheist who grew up Catholic and was extremely confused by the gaudy, culty exclusion being preached every Sunday — INDIKA is soul-soothing. The game never fully explains whether Indika is experiencing a psychotic break or is truly possessed by the devil in this world; everything exists in the gray area where both of these states meet. Psychosis or Satan, it’s all incredibly real to Indika.

INDIKA is underpinned by a delirious tension between levity and agony, and the developers at Odd Meter got the rhythm just right. Indika’s reality is a frozen hellscape filled with pain, betrayal and isolation, but it also has laugh-out-loud moments that feel more like a rom-com than a psychodrama about a sad nun. The game also slips into a lighter visual style as it delves into her past, mining memories out of pixelated platformers in sun-drenched environments. These contrast sharply against the 3D brutalism of the main scenes, and they’re incredibly engaging, offering smooth jumps with tricky timings.

INDIKA
Odd Meter

This is a game that requires an escape every now and then, and moments of reprieve are built into its progression, perfectly positioned to ease the anxiety as it reaches a fever pitch.

About a quarter of the way through the game, Indika encounters a blood-chilling scene: Through the crack of a doorway, she sees and hears a man attempting to rape a woman, scuffles and screams spilling into the hallway. Indika freezes, accidentally makes a noise, and then hides in a closet as the assaulter turns his attention toward the interruption. The devil taunts Indika — "Did you see the size of that thing?" and "Maybe you wanted to join them?" — as the man searches for her. The danger of the situation bursts through the screen, heavy and white-hot.

This is horror.

Minutes later, Indika is driving a steampunk motorcycle with a trailer full of corpses down a winding path, an unexpected friend perched on the bodies behind her, throwing out cheeky one-liners. Suddenly, it feels like the beginning of a buddy-cop movie. The shift in tone is a huge relief, and this balance of extremes is something that INDIKA does with incredible deftness, time and time again. The (first) sexual assault scene is quick and powerful, showing enough to drive home the depravity of the situation without becoming gratuitous. After I played through it, I took a deep breath, collected myself, and then dove back into the game, eager to uncover more of its commentary. The handling of this topic increased my trust in the developers’ artistic instincts and their ability to reveal the nature of true terror; it made me more invested in the rest of the game.

INDIKA
Odd Meter

Of all the memorable visuals in INDIKA, one remains particularly vibrant in my mind’s eye. Indika is kneeling in a prison cell and a guard enters alone, his intentions clear. He puts his hand on the back of Indika’s head and reality breaks like it often does in this game — but this time it’s softer, slower and all-encompassing. The screen becomes a red pool, and in the center, Indika and the devil float around each other like amoebae in a petri dish, quietly discussing the injustices of human existence. Indika dissociates while her body experiences violence, and the scene lingers on the red womb, providing space for players to absorb the situation from an artistic and philosophical distance. It’s authentic and powerful. It’s oddly calming.

INDIKA stands out for these moments of sexual violence, each so delicately handled. The video game industry in particular is built on a foundation of physical violence — guns, war, blood and murder — but there aren’t many games that broach the subject of sexual abuse. This is largely for the best, as sexual violence is a topic that we’re still learning how to talk about on a cultural scale. It’s the ugliest side of humanity, the most uncomfortable to address, yet it’s pervasive. Sexual abuse is as worthy of compassionate discussion as gun violence, but for a multitude of societal and individual reasons, it’s much harder to look at directly.

Interactive media in particular can be a powerful vessel for immersion and revelatory storytelling. Sexual violence demands empathy if it’s going to be included in any piece of entertainment media, and this is particularly true in video games, where players are acting out the events, placing themselves in the character’s shoes, getting lost in their second-to-second actions. There’s high risk in telling a story about sexual abuse in a video game, and it’s not only about alienating or offending a portion of the audience. The risk lies in the potential to literally retraumatize players. Mishandling a topic like rape can be damaging and perpetuate harmful messages about power, autonomy and self-worth in the real world.

INDIKA
Odd Meter

The best outcome for creators who don’t know how to approach the topic is to leave it alone, and for the most part, video game developers have. The alternative — adding sexual violence to a game without understanding the cruelty of the act, using it for shock value or lazily turning it into a point of motivation for a separate character — will always be much more upsetting.

For example, Immortality. This is one of the few contemporary games that uses sexual violence as a plot point, and, to me, its lens feels lecherous rather than poignant. Immortality employs real-life actors and puts the abuse itself center-screen, using the guise of edgy commentary to let the camera linger on extended scenes of softly lit molestation, the woman’s body in greater focus than her pain. The sexual abuse in Immortality feels like voyeuristic fantasy.

INDIKA, on the other hand, centers the person receiving the violence and reveals the true horror of the act. INDIKA demonstrates how a video game can tell a strange and beautiful story that involves sexual abuse, and proves it can be done without overwhelming the narrative or flow. These scenes add layers of insight and emotional heft to Indika’s journey, revealing truths about her psyche and her world. It’s encouraging to see these themes explored so deftly in a piece of interactive art.

INDIKA is not solely about sexual violence. The bulk of the game is filled with puzzles, platforming and witty wordplay from the devil, and most of it plays out in engaging and ridiculous ways. Plenty of segments in INDIKA are downright jovial, with a warped sense of humor that reminds me of Alice in Wonderland (or, more appropriately, American McGee’s Alice). However, it doesn’t shy away from the dark realities of Indika’s world, where rape is as pervasive as gun violence, war and religious oppression. The assault scenes — presented alongside running themes of death, manipulation, isolation, shame, guilt and cruelty — solidify one of INDIKA’s core messages: With a world like this, how much worse can Hell really be?

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/indika-weaves-a-mature-tale-of-absurdity-hypocrisy-and-sexual-violence-182019378.html?src=rss

Volkswagen indefinitely delays the ID.7 electric sedan’s arrival in North America

Volkswagen has delayed the launch of its ID.7 sedan in the US and Canada. Before Wednesday’s indefinite postponement, the automaker had slated the EV’s North American launch for this year. The ID.7, which was set to be Volkswagen’s first electric sedan in the US, has seen high demand in Europe, where it arrived last year.

“As market dynamics continue to change, Volkswagen is delaying the introduction of the ID.7 sedan in the U.S. and Canada,” the automaker wrote in a press release announcing the delay. Volkswagen added that its Microbus is still slated for a Q4 2025 stateside arrival. The company also touted in its press release how well its electric SUVs did in North America during Q1 2024.

Shadow sepia-like image of the Volkswagen ID.7 electric sedan.
Volkswagen

Volkswagen confirmed to Engadget sister site Autoblog that it doesn’t currently have a new timeline for the delayed ID.7 in North America, not an encouraging sign for folks who were eagerly waiting for the sedan. The Verge notes that the model would fill a gap in the American electric industry’s offerings: a decently affordable electric sedan. Right now, most non-SUV electric vehicles in the American market sit on the high end of the pricing spectrum, starting at around $70,000.

The European ID.7 is an “upper mid-size” EV sedan that merges a powerful and efficient 282-hp motor with a 77-kWh battery. Rated for around 300 miles of range, it was expected to start at around $50,000 in the US.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/volkswagen-indefinitely-delays-the-id7-electric-sedans-arrival-in-north-america-175929524.html?src=rss

What Are the Best Watches Under $1000? The Perfect Gifts for Dads

Father’s Day is around the corner, and finding the perfect watch that combines style, functionality, and affordability could add so much more joy to your dad’s special day. Whether your dad prefers a classic design, a sporty look, or something with a vintage vibe, there’s a watch out there that will make him smile. Here are the top watches under $1000 that are sure to impress any dad, from the classic Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical and the retro Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 to the adventurous Nezumi Aviera GMT and the rugged Casio G-Shock GM2100-1A. Each of these timepieces offers unique features and timeless appeal, making them perfect gifts for Father’s Day.

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical

The Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical is a tribute to classic military watches, offering rugged charm and timeless style. It features a 38mm matte stainless steel case and a dark dial with light, luminescent numerals. The dial shows both hours and minutes, and the three-hand display is clear and functional. This model also boasts a durable NATO strap, enhancing its vintage military aesthetic. The new Khaki Field Mechanical is a faithful recreation of its original 1960s forebear and is true to Hamilton’s military heritage. Inspired by the military and built to last, this is the original soldier’s watch.

KHAKI FIELD: MECHANICAL 38MM | H69439931

Designer: Hamilton

Under the hood, the watch houses the H-50 caliber, an exclusive movement developed for Hamilton’s hand-winding watches. The H-50 offers an impressive 80-hour power reserve, ensuring reliability even when unworn for a few days. Other features include a sapphire crystal, a case thickness of 9.5mm, and a water resistance of up to 50 meters. The watch reference is H69439931, and the strap reference is H6006941021, made from a textile with a pin buckle. With a lug width and buckle width of 20mm, this watch combines rugged durability with sophisticated design elements, making it an excellent choice for dads who appreciate both form and function. (MSRP $575)

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 35mm

TISSOT PRX POWERMATIC 80 | T137.407.11.041.00

When Tissot unveiled a throwback watch two years ago that paid homage to their quartz model from the ’70s, it was highly acclaimed as one of the coolest quartz watches around. This year, Tissot introduced the PRX Powermatic 80, bringing that ’70s cool into the world of mechanical watches. This model, with its slim 35mm case and integrated bracelet, harks back to the 1970s while featuring a modern self-winding movement. The PRX Powermatic 80 maintains the vintage integrated design but adds a patterned dial in various colors, including the popular blue dial version, reminiscent of much more expensive watches.

Designer: Tissot

The blue and green patterned dial adds depth and sophistication, making it a stylish choice for any dad. The Powermatic 80 automatic movement, with its impressive 80-hour power reserve, offers reliability and precision thanks to the innovative Nivachron hairspring. Handling the PRX for the first time, the heft and quality are immediately noticeable. From the dial to the hands, the angles of the case, to the flexibility of the bracelet and clasp, everything feels well-constructed and thoughtful. For dads who appreciate vintage aesthetics combined with modern technology, this watch makes an exceptional gift.

TISSOT PRX POWERMATIC 80 35MM | T137.207.11.091.00

To say that the PRX is popular would be an understatement. The quartz version already presented incredible value at $395, but the $675 price tag of the Powermatic is even more value-packed. With it, you get a watch with heritage from a historic brand fitted with an ETA-based caliber. Additionally, you get a great bracelet and clasp system, making this watch feel luxurious on the wrist. It’s a standout piece that has entered the cultural conversation, seen on wrists from colleagues to celebrities, making it a perfect choice for dads who value style and substance. (MSRP $675)

Nezumi Aviera GMT

AVIERA GMT – Ref. AA2.102

The Nezumi Aviera GMT offers both functionality and classic design. Its vintage-inspired aesthetics include a clean dial and a sophisticated color scheme. The GMT function allows tracking of multiple time zones, perfect for dads who travel or have international connections. Quality craftsmanship is evident in its robust build and reliable Swiss movement.

Designer: Nezumi

Designed nearly a decade ago, the Aviera GMT is a blend of aviation and navigation, aptly named by founder and designer David Campo. Assembled in Germany, this updated iteration is powered by the Japanese Miyota cal.9075 Automatic GMT movement, providing a 42-hour power reserve with 28,800 VPH. The dial markings, bright yellow GMT arrow, and custom cream-colored Grade X1 Swiss Super-LumiNova ensure great legibility in all lighting situations. With a brushed 316L stainless steel case, a fixed bezel with 24-hour markings, and a screw-down crown, this watch is both durable and stylish.

The case measures 40mm in diameter, 47mm lug to lug, and 12mm thick (including the 1.5mm sapphire glass). The sapphire crystal with AR coating inside the glass enhances clarity. The Aviera GMT is water-resistant, up to 20 ATM (220m/660ft), making it suitable for various activities. This watch is available with multiple strap options: black leather strap, brown leather strap, black FKM fluoro rubber strap, off-white FKM fluoro rubber strap, and a brushed stainless steel bracelet. Its robust construction and thoughtful design make it a versatile and thoughtful gift for Father’s Day, standing out in any watch collection. (MSRP $875)

Timex Reissue Black Dial with Black/Green Strap

Q Timex Reissue 38mm Stainless Steel Bracelet Watch

The Timex Reissue brings a touch of vintage charm with its black dial and black/green strap. This watch is a modern take on a classic design, featuring a stainless steel case and a reliable quartz movement. It’s perfect for dads who appreciate retro style with contemporary reliability. Durability and versatility are key features, with its water resistance of up to 30 meters and a comfortable strap.

Designer: Timex

First released in the 1970s, the original Q Timex introduced a new generation of quartz technology with a modern watch. The Timex Reissue pays homage to this legacy, adding bright pops of color to iconic features like the rotating bezel, woven stainless-steel bracelet, and domed acrylic crystal. It retains the beloved elements of the original, such as the functional battery hatch and luminant hands.

The watch has a 38mm stainless steel case with a brushed/polished finish, a black dial with full markers, and a domed acrylic crystal. The case height is 11.5mm, and it has a strap lug width of 18mm. The stainless steel case is highly resistant to scratches, corrosion, and tarnish, ensuring the watch remains in excellent condition over time. Additionally, the watch features a day-date window for added functionality and sophistication. Water-resistant up to 50 meters, it’s suitable for light swimming but not for snorkeling or diving. (MSRP $179)

Casio G-Shock GM2100-1A 

Metal Covered GM2100-1A

The Casio G-Shock GM2100-1A is a watch that combines rugged durability with a sleek design. Its metal-covered case offers extra protection, while the shock-resistant and water-resistant features make it ideal for active dads. The analog-digital display provides a modern touch, ensuring readability and functionality. This watch is built to last, with features like a stopwatch, world time, and full auto-calendar.

Designer: Casio

The G-Shock GM2100-1A is perfect for dads who need a reliable watch that can keep up with their adventurous lifestyle. It’s a practical and stylish gift that won’t disappoint. This watch’s tough build and sleek appearance make it a favorite for those who lead an active life. (MSRP $200)

Don’t wait until the last minute to find the perfect gift. These watches offer a blend of elegance, durability, and practicality, ensuring your dad will cherish his new timepiece for years to come. Visit your favorite watch retailer or online store to purchase one of these top picks and make this Father’s Day unforgettable. Show your dad how much he means to you with a gift that combines timeless style and dependable performance. One last note: Happy Wristwatch Wednesday!

The post What Are the Best Watches Under $1000? The Perfect Gifts for Dads first appeared on Yanko Design.

Starliner’s first crew mission gets pushed back yet again, this time with no new launch date

The first crewed flight of Boeing’s Starliner capsule still hasn’t launched more than two weeks after its originally scheduled liftoff date, and as of right now, there’s no telling when it will. In a statement emailed to members of the press late on Tuesday, NASA announced it was calling off the launch attempt set for May 25. Starliner’s maiden crew mission has already been rescheduled multiple times, but in this instance, NASA hasn’t set a new launch date. “NASA will share more details once we have a clearer path forward,” the agency said in its statement, per SpaceNews.

The first attempt at the beginning of the month was scrubbed due to the discovery of a faulty oxygen relief valve on the ULA Atlas V rocket carrying Starliner. Engineers replaced the valve and Starliner was slated to fly later that week, but that attempt was postponed, too. On May 14, NASA revealed that engineers were working to resolve a helium leak in the spacecraft’s propulsion system. In an update a few days later, NASA said the leak was “stable and would not pose a risk at that level during the flight.” A new targeted launch date was set at that time and ultimately rescheduled once more, but it seems the problems are ongoing.

“The team has been in meetings for two consecutive days, assessing flight rationale, system performance and redundancy,” the agency said in the latest update, according to SpaceNews. “There is still forward work in these areas, and the next possible launch opportunity is still being discussed.” Delays have defined Starliner’s development up until this point, but since two astronauts — Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams — will be on board for this mission, the stakes are especially high; now isn't the time to start cutting corners.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/starliners-first-crew-mission-gets-pushed-back-yet-again-this-time-with-no-new-launch-date-163020007.html?src=rss

Sure, why not: China built a chatbot based on Xi Jinping

Chatting it up with a fake ScarJo not doing it for you? Why not try a conversation with the leader of China? There’s a new chatbot in town and it's based on Xi Jinping. As a matter of fact, it was trained using the ‘thoughts’ of the Chinese leader. I put thoughts in quotes because researchers didn’t use some kind of new mind-reading technology. Chinese officials just used a bunch of his books and papers for training purposes, according to a report by The Financial Times.

His political philosophy is collectively known as “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” or, simply, “Xi Jinping Thought.” This ideological doctrine has been created during his tenure as leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). With that in mind, the chatbot was trained on official literature that falls under that umbrella, including more than 12 books allegedly written by Xi Jinping himself. The training set also includes government regulations, policy documents, state media reports and other official publications.

A single document examined by The Financial Times used to train the chatbot contained over 86,000 mentions of Xi Jinping, with language that urges citizens to “ensure that in thought, politics, and action, we are always in high alignment with the Party Central Committee with General Secretary Xi Jinping at its core.” This chatbot must be really fun at parties.

The technology hasn’t rolled out to the general public yet. It’s being used at a research center under the purview of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), though it may eventually be released for wider use. The model can answer questions, create reports, summarize information and translate between Chinese and English. It’s a basic chatbot, though one that’s likely to disseminate Xi’s ideas on politics, economics and culture.

This move comes amid extensive efforts by Chinese officials to promote the philosophies of Xi and his authoritarian state. As previously mentioned, more than a dozen books are attributed to the leader and they typically take center stage at the country’s book fairs. Popular news apps from companies like Tencent and Netease reserve slots at the top of feeds for articles from official state media, and most of these posts feature Xi. Children as young as ten are required to study his political philosophy, so the chatbot could find a use there.

The major Western AI models aren't available in China, as the CAC mandates that generative AI providers “embody core socialist values” and that the output from any chatbot must not “contain any content that subverts state power.” So there’s no ChatGPT, Google Gemini or anything like that. Chinese companies like Baidu and Alibaba must ensure that their models strictly control generated content related to Xi or any sensitive issue.

This is a huge challenge for these companies, as most groups train their models with some English language data. This introduces the potential for responses that run afoul of the country’s speech regulations. To get around this, Chinese chatbots will typically restart the chat when asked about sensitive topics. The country is, however, leading the way in the “chatbots based on deceased relatives” department. With that in mind, Xi Jinping could very well espouse his philosophy from now until the end of time.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/sure-why-not-china-built-a-chatbot-based-on-xi-jinping-155828456.html?src=rss