Researchers Found a Brand New Mineral Tucked in a Tiny Meteorite. It’s Never Been Seen in Nature Before - NTD - Canada News Media
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Researchers Found a Brand New Mineral Tucked in a Tiny Meteorite. It’s Never Been Seen in Nature Before – NTD

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Between 2015 and 2019, researchers discovered 31 new carbon minerals, most of them vividly colorful. Edscottite is one of the least flashy new finds, but it’s also the one that’s set geologists abuzz.

Edscottite is one of the phases iron goes through when it’s cooling down from a high temperature, as it’s smelted into steel. But the edscottite discovered in a tiny meteorite and officially named this year is the first to occur in nature.

The Wedderburn meteorite’s been sitting in Museums Victoria in Australia since it was found nearby in 1951, and researchers have sliced it open to search its contents just as long.

“We have discovered 500,000 to 600,000 minerals in the lab, but fewer than 6,000 that nature’s done itself,” Stuart Mills, Museums Victoria’s senior curator of geosciences, told Melbourne newspaper The Age.

It’s named for Ed R.D. Scott, a cosmochemist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and pioneering meteorite researcher. He first identified the unique iron carbide in 1971 while studying the meteorite, but technology hadn’t advanced far enough for him to characterize its structure.

It Might Have Formed in Space

Researchers Chi Ma of Caltech and Alan Rubin at UCLA examined a slab of the meteorite and were surprised to find edscottite under an electron microscope.

Just how it formed is still unclear. Geoffrey Bonning, a planetary scientist at the Australian National University who was not involved with the study, speculated to The Age that it was blasted out of the core of another planet.

The hypothetical planet, he said, formed when asteroids clumped into one big planet. The planet heated up during its formation, and hot metal dripped into its core.

“This meteorite had an abundance of carbon in it. And as it slowly cooled down, the iron and carbon came together and formed this mineral,” Mills said.

Eventually, the planet might’ve been struck by another astronomical body and destroyed, flinging the debris across the solar system.

The debris, Bonning posited, became the Wedderburn meteorite. The edscottite might’ve been created when all that metal heated up in the former planet.

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Arwings spawned in the vanilla version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the first time – GoNintendo

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First up, a little backstory for those who don’t know. During the development of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Nintendo used Arwing models to test the flight patterns of Volvagia, alongside the Z-targeting system. This was left in the game’s code, and discovered a number of years later by modders.

Since then, we’ve seen countless videos of people using cheats and mods to make the Arwings spawn in-game. That’s what makes today’s video that much more impressive. It marks the very first time that someone has gotten the Arwings to spawn in-game without using cheat codes or mods.

This player in particular got the Arwings to spawn via “arbitrary code execution.” This method is used by speedrunners to force the game to load and run the save file name as if it’s game code. The end result in this instance is some attacking Arwings!

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Google Will Re-Assess its New Look Desktop Search Display

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Earlier this month, Google rolled out a new display format for its desktop search result listings, which aimed to bring them more into line with mobile search display, and added prominent favicons and URL listings to each result.

But the change has seen significant criticism, with some suggesting that the format makes it much harder for users to distinguish between paid ads and actual, earned results.

The criticism, when viewing examples like the above, seems valid, and research has already suggested that the updated desktop format is leading to more people clicking on ads, supporting this theory.

As reported by Digiday, various ad tech providers have noted changes in desktop ad click-through rates following the update, with CTRs for search ads increasing between 4% and 10.5%. That’s clearly beneficial for Google’s ad business, but it could also diminish trust in the company’s core search product – if people can no longer tell what’s a reputable business, as opposed to one with the deepest pockets, questions around search, and Google’s motivations, could eventually have adverse consequences for the company.

And now, Google has taken note, announcing on Twitter that it will review its updated format.

As per Google:

“Last week we updated the look of Search on desktop to mirror what’s been on mobile for months. We’ve heard your feedback about the update. We always want to make Search better, so we’re going to experiment with new placements for favicons. Our experimenting will begin today. Over the coming weeks, while we test, some might not see favicons while some might see them in different placements as we look to bring a modern look to desktop.”

The two statements here seem almost contradictory – on one hand, Google acknowledges the noted, and significant, concerns that have been raised, while on the other, it says that early feedback has been positive.

Whether it will lead to Google rolling back the change, we’ll have to wait and see, but definitely there’s a case to be made that Google is intentionally diluting the separation between paid and organic results over time, and confusing users in the process.

In fact, this is only the latest in a long history of Google’s gradual merging of the two elements. Illustrating this, the team from Search Engine Land recently updated their infographic, which illustrates the changes over time.

Google search ads over time

When you see it laid out like this, it’s difficult to argue against the idea that Google is deliberately seeking to reduce the distinction between the two elements. Which, for Google’s ad business, makes sense, but as noted, if consumers lose trust in the transparency of Google’s results, that could lead to further consequences, and potentially, reduced usage.

But then again, it probably won’t. As you can see here, as Google has made similar changes over time, it hasn’t lost out in terms of search traffic, and while this latest change seems more significant, if Google sticks to its guns, it will likely be fine. But then, of course, there could be further regulatory questions around such, and Google could come under scrutiny over misleading results. There are clear, and pressing, reasons why Google would want to revise its approach, but whether that results in a roll-back remains to be seen.

For businesses, if Google does remove favicons from desktop search, that somewhat lessens the emphasis on them – but still, if you don’t have a favicon attached to your website, it’s worth updating your info.

You can read more about how to add a favicon to your web identity here.

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U.S.-China trade deal clears way for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X – VentureBeat

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The United States and China have agreed to wind down the foolish trade war that president Donald Trump started in late 2018. Last week, the two countries signed “phase 1” of a trade deal. That agreement includes an increase in U.S. exports to China and some mechanisms for potentially protecting intellectual property in China. But it’s maybe more important to Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo because it gives some assurance that the U.S. won’t enact new tariffs on video game consoles.

As the U.S. and China went tit-for-tat throughout 2019, the console manufacturers made an unprecedented joint request aimed at Donald Trump’s government. Trump was planning to add a 25% import tax to a huge swath of Chinese goods by August including products like Xbox and PlayStation. In their June letter, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo asked U.S. trade representative Joseph Barloon not to go through with that plan.

Trump never responded directly to that request, but he did delay the new tariffs to December 15. The United States then further delayed the taxes to work on the trade deal. And now, Trump claims those proposed tariffs are off the table.

If that’s true (which is impossible to predict because Trump could always go back on his deal), then the entire video games industry dodged a bullet.

Clear skies for the launch of PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Switch Pro

It’s tough to tell if the trade deal will have a wider positive effect on the economy. It doesn’t undo any of the previous tariffs that are already in effect, which are taxes that Americans must continue to pay. But that’s exactly why the timing was so important to console manufacturers.

The tariffs never went into effect on consoles, so Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo don’t have to wait for the government to repeal them. This is especially crucial this year because new, expensive hardware is coming out during the holidays. Sony has the PlayStation 5. Microsoft has Xbox Series X. And Nintendo may even have a Switch Pro, according to some rumors.

The one thing that all of these new devices have in common is that they cost a lot of money. PlayStation 5 and Xbox are using advanced AMD Ryzen CPUs and cutting-edge SSD storage. It’s unlikely they are going to sell for under $500. And the last thing Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo need is to add an extra $100-to-$125 to the price to pay a 25% import tax.

I reached out to Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo for a comment on this story, and they all declined to respond. They are likely practicing the Billy Beane strategy of hanging up the phone when you get the answer you’re looking for.

But now with tariffs seemingly no longer looming, the big three have a clear runway to launch whatever hardware they want. And this is good news for gaming fans because it means that Microsoft and Sony can get as aggressive with their pricing as possible.

That should also have a run-off effect where it should leave more money in consumers pockets to spend on software. And that should help the wider business overall.

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