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Tesla Working To Resolve Dispute With Walmart Over Solar Panel Fires
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Walmart and Tesla are actively negotiating to resolve the lawsuit Walmart filed against Tesla earlier this week over defective solar panels, the two companies said in a joint statement sent out on Thursday evening. "Walmart and Tesla look forward to addressing all issues and re-energizing Tesla solar installations at Walmart stores, once all parties are certain that all concerns have been addressed," the statement said. The companies say they're both committed to a "sustainable energy future" as well as safety and efficiency. Spokespeople for Tesla and Walmart declined to provide any further details about the state of the negotiations, but it's not hard to guess what happened. The optics of Walmart suing Tesla over multiple fires on its store roofs were not good for Tesla. Tesla wants the public -- and potential customers -- to know that it's now working to address Walmart's concerns. Walmart filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Tesla accusing the company of supplying solar panels that were responsible for fires at about seven of its stores. "This is a breach of contract action arising from years of gross negligence and failure to live up to industry standards by Tesla with respect to solar panels that Tesla designed, installed, and promised to operate and maintain safely on the roofs of hundreds of Walmart stores," Walmart said in the court filing.

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HP Names Head of Printer Division As New CEO
Longtime HP veteran Enrique Lores, who runs the $20 billion printer business, is succeeding Dion Weisler effective November 1. Weisler, who was named CEO in late 2014 after the computing behemoth was split into two companies, is returning to Australia for a "family health matter." He will remain on the company's board. MarketWatch reports: Lores, a native of Spain who started his 30-year career as an intern, vowed to "simplify" and "evolve" the company's business model during a conference call with analysts following the earnings release. The executive change comes amid wrenching changes -- and turmoil -- in the PC market, raising the question of where the market is headed for the rest of the year.

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Electric Dump Truck Produces More Energy Than It Uses
The Elektro eDumper dump truck is being put to work at a mine in Switzerland where it's able to produce more power than it consumes. "The dump truck drives up a mountain with no load, and carries double the weight back down the mountain after getting loaded up with lime and marl to deliver to a cement plant," reports Hackaday. "Since electric vehicles can recover energy through regenerative braking, rather than wasting that energy as heat in a traditional braking system, the extra weight on the way down actually delivers more energy to the batteries than the truck used on the way up the mountain." From the report: The article claims that this is the largest electric vehicle in the world at 110 tons, and although we were not able to find anything larger except the occasional electric train, this is still an impressive feat of engineering that shows that electric vehicles have a lot more utility than novelties or simple passenger vehicles.

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Valve Says Turning Away Researcher Reporting Steam Vulnerability Was a Mistake
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: In an attempt to quell a controversy that has raised the ire of white-hat hackers, the maker of the Steam online game platform said on Thursday it made a mistake when it turned away a researcher who recently reported two separate vulnerabilities. In its statement, Valve Corporation references HackerOne, the reporting service that helps thousands of companies receive and respond to vulnerabilities in their software or hardware. Valve's new HackerOne program rules specifically provide that "any case that allows malware or compromised software to perform a privilege escalation through Steam, without providing administrative credentials or confirming a UAC dialog, is in scope. Any unauthorized modification of the privileged Steam Client Service is also in scope." The statement and the policy change from Valve came two days after security researcher Vasily Kravets, an independent researcher from Moscow, received an email telling him that Valve's security team would no longer receive his vulnerability reports through the HackerOne bug-reporting service. Valve turned Kravets away after he reported a steam vulnerability that allowed hackers who already had a toe-hold on a vulnerable computer to burrow into privileged parts of an operating system. Valve initially told Kravets such vulnerabilities were out of scope and gave no indication that the one Vasily reported would be fixed. The company later publicly denied that the issue was a vulnerability by incorrectly claiming that the exploit required hackers to have physical access to a vulnerable computer. The company went so far as to dispute the vulnerability in the advisory issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

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Intel's Line of Notebook CPUs Gets More Confusing With 14nm Comet Lake
Intel today launched a new series of 14nm notebook CPUs code-named Comet Lake. Going by Intel's numbers, Comet Lake looks like a competent upgrade to its predecessor Whiskey Lake. The interesting question -- and one largely left unanswered by Intel -- is why the company has decided to launch a new line of 14nm notebook CPUs less than a month after launching Ice Lake, its first 10nm notebook CPUs. From a report: Both the Comet Lake and Ice Lake notebook CPU lines this month consist of a full range of i3, i5, and i7 mobile CPUs in both high-power (U-series) and low-power (Y-series) variants. This adds up to a total of 19 Intel notebook CPU models released in August, and we expect to see a lot of follow-on confusion. During the briefing call, Intel executives did not want to respond to questions about differentiation between the Comet Lake and Ice Lake lines based on either performance or price, but the technical specs lead us to believe that Ice Lake is likely the far more attractive product line for most users. Intel's U-series CPUs for both Comet Lake and Ice Lake operate at a nominal 15W TDP. Both lines also support a "Config Up" 25W TDP, which can be enabled by OEMs who choose to provide the cooling and battery resources necessary to support it. Things get more interesting for the lower-powered Y-series -- Ice Lake offers 9W/12W configurable TDP, but Comet Lake undercuts that to 7W/9W. This is already a significant drop in power budget, which Comet Lake takes even further by offering a new Config Down TDP, which is either 4.5W or 5.5W, depending on which model you're looking at. Comet Lake's biggest and meanest i7, the i7-10710U, sports 6 cores and 12 threads at a slightly higher boost clock rate than Ice Lake's 4C/8T i7-1068G7. However, the Comet Lake parts are still using the older UHD graphics chipset -- they don't get access to Ice Lake's shiny new Iris+, which offers up to triple the onboard graphics performance. This sharply limits the appeal of the Comet Lake i7 CPUs in any OEM design that doesn't include a separate Nvidia or Radeon GPU -- which would in turn bump the real-world power consumption and heat generation of such a system significantly.

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YouTube Removes Videos of Robots Fighting For 'Animal Cruelty'
YouTuber and robot enthusiast Anthony Murney noticed YouTube has removed hundreds of videos showing robots battling other robots after claiming they are in breach of its rules surrounding animal cruelty. He's blaming a new algorithm introduced by YouTube to detect instances of animal abuse. The Independent reports: Several other channels dedicated to robot combat have also produced videos pointing out the issue in an effort to get YouTube to restore the content. Channels posting robot combat videos saw their content removed and received a notice from YouTube explaining that the videos were in breach of its community guidelines. Each notice cited the same section of these guidelines, which states: "Content that displays the deliberate infliction of animal suffering or the forcing of animals to fight is not allowed on YouTube." It goes on to state: "Examples include, but are not limited to, dog fighting and cock fighting."

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Walmart Sues Tesla Over Fires At Stores Fitted With Its Solar Panels
Walmart filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Tesla accusing the company of supplying solar panels that were responsible for fires at about seven of its stores. Reuters reports: The fires destroyed significant amounts of store merchandise and required substantial repairs, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket losses, Walmart said in the lawsuit. As of November 2018, no fewer than seven Walmart stores, including in Denton, Maryland and Beavercreek, Ohio, had experienced fires due to Tesla's solar systems, according to the lawsuit. The world's largest retailer started using solar panels made by SolarCity in 2010 and the roofs of around 240 of its stores were fitted with solar panels made by the company. "This is a breach of contract action arising from years of gross negligence and failure to live up to industry standards by Tesla with respect to solar panels that Tesla designed, installed, and promised to operate and maintain safely on the roofs of hundreds of Walmart stores," Walmart said in the court filing.

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Solar Power Is Now As Inexpensive As Grid Electricity In China
An anonymous reader quotes a report from IEEE Spectrum: Solar power now costs the same as, or less than, electricity from the grid in many of China's cities, a new study finds. This research may encourage broader adoption of industrial and commercial solar power there. Advances in solar technology have helped bring solar within reach of grid parity sooner than expected in China. Whereas the cost of solar photovoltaic electricity there was up to 15.1 Chinese yuan per kilowatt-hour in 2000, it was only up to 0.79 Chinese yuan per kilowatt-hour in 2018. In addition, in 2018, the Chinese government dramatically cut subsidies to the solar photovoltaic industry to drive it to compete with coal without government aid. To see where Chinese solar energy stood now, scientists in Sweden and China analyzed the net costs and profits associated with building and operating industrial and commercial solar energy projects in 344 prefecture-level cities in China. They found in all 344 cities, solar photovoltaic systems were capable of generating and selling electricity at lower prices than the grid without subsidies, and in 22 percent of those cities, they could also produce electricity at lower prices than coal. The scientists detailed their findings in the 12 August edition of the journal Nature Energy.

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Jaguar and Audi SUVs Fail To Dent Tesla's Electric-Car Dominance
Tesla has managed to expand its electric-car marketshare, despite two new battery-powered luxury SUVs that have been in U.S. showrooms for the last 10 months: Jaguar's I-Pace and Audi's e-tron. Bloomberg reports: Their starts are the latest indications that legacy automakers aren't assured instant success when they roll out new plug-in models. Tesla's Model S and X have largely held its own against the two crossovers that offer shorter range and less plentiful public charging infrastructure. Jaguar and Audi also lack the cool factor Musk has cultivated for the Tesla brand by taking an aggressive approach to autonomy and using over-the-air software updates to add games and entertainment features. Tesla's Model X and Model S each boast more than 300 miles of range, and the cheaper Model 3 travels 240 miles between charges. Jaguar's $69,500 I-Pace is rated at 234 miles, and Audi's $74,800 e-tron registers 204 miles. Jaguar's marketing team spent years laying the groundwork to introduce the I-Pace. In 2016, the brand joined Formula E, an open-wheeled, electric-powered race circuit similar to Formula One. Porsche and Mercedes-Benz are also joining Formula E for the 2019-2020 season to help generate buzz for the new all-electric models they have coming out. The circuit makes stops in cities including New York, Hong Kong and London, which the brands are banking on as major markets for plug-in cars. But while Formula E is drawing crowds of urban dwellers and a substantial audience on social media, all that buzz may not necessarily translate into showroom traffic.

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Cerebras Systems Unveils a Record 1.2 Trillion Transistor Chip For AI
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: New artificial intelligence company Cerebras Systems is unveiling the largest semiconductor chip ever built. The Cerebras Wafer Scale Engine has 1.2 trillion transistors, the basic on-off electronic switches that are the building blocks of silicon chips. Intel's first 4004 processor in 1971 had 2,300 transistors, and a recent Advanced Micro Devices processor has 32 billion transistors. Samsung has actually built a flash memory chip, the eUFS, with 2 trillion transistors. But the Cerebras chip is built for processing, and it boasts 400,000 cores on 42,225 square millimeters. It is 56.7 times larger than the largest Nvidia graphics processing unit, which measures 815 square millimeters and 21.1 billion transistors. The WSE also contains 3,000 times more high-speed, on-chip memory and has 10,000 times more memory bandwidth.

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An Ode To Microsoft Encarta
Scott Hanselman: Microsoft Encarta came out in 1993 and was one of the first CD-ROMs I had. It stopped shipping in 2009 on DVD. I recently found a disk and was impressed that it installed just perfectly on my latest Window 10 machine and runs nicely. Encarta existed in an interesting place between the rise of the internet and computer's ability to deal with (at the time) massive amounts of data. CD-ROMs could bring us 700 MEGABYTES which was unbelievable when compared to the 1.44MB (or even 120KB) floppy disks we were used to. The idea that Encarta was so large that it was 5 CD-ROMs (!) was staggering, even though that's just a few gigs today. Even a $5 USB stick could hold Encarta - twice! My kids can't possibly intellectualize the scale that data exists in today. We could barely believe that a whole bookshelf of Encyclopedias was now in our pockets. I spent hours and hours just wandering around random articles in Encarta. The scope of knowledge was overwhelming, but accessible. But it was contained - it was bounded. Today, my kids just assume that the sum of all human knowledge is available with a single search or a "hey Alexa" so the world's mysteries are less mysteries and they become bored by the Paradox of Choice. In a world of 4k streaming video, global wireless, and high-speed everything, there's really no analog to the feeling we got watching the Moon Landing as a video in Encarta - short of watching it live on TV in the 1969! For most of us, this was the first time we'd ever seen full-motion video on-demand on a computer in any sort of fidelity - and these are mostly 320x240 or smaller videos!

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Three Years Later, France's Solar Road is a Flop
DigressivePoser and schwit1 both submitted the same story. That 1-km ( .62-mile) "solar road" paved with photovoltaic panels in France is "too noisy, falling apart, and doesn't even collect enough solar energy," reports Popular Mechanics: Le Monde describes the road as "pale with its ragged joints," with "solar panels that peel off the road and the many splinters [from] that enamel resin protecting photovoltaic cells." It's a poor sign for a project the French government invested in to the tune of €5 million, or $5,546,750. The noise and poor upkeep aren't the only problems facing the Wattway. Through shoddy engineering, the Wattway isn't even generating the electricity it promised to deliver... Normandy is not historically known as a sunny area. At the time, the region's capital city of Caen only got 44 days of strong sunshine a year, and not much has changed since. Storms have wrecked havoc with the systems, blowing circuits. But even if the weather was in order, it appears the panels weren't built to capture them efficiently... Solar panels are most efficient when pointed toward the sun. Because the project needed to be a road as well as a solar generator, however, all of its solar panels are flat. So even within the limited sun of the region, the Wattway was further limiting itself. The problem-plagued road is producing just half the solar energy expected -- although that's more energy than you'd get from an asphalt road. But Marc Jedliczka, vice president of the Network for Energetic Transition (CLER), which promotes renewable energy, offered this suggestion in the Eurasia Times. "If they really want this to work, they should first stop cars driving on it." He later told Le Monde that the sorry state of the project "confirms the total absurdity of going all-out for innovation to the detriment of solutions that already exist and are more profitable, such as solar panels on roofs." But Futurism adds that the idea of having roadways generate solar power "is far from dead, according to Business Insider. In the Netherlands, a solar bike lane has fared much better, exceeding the expected energy production. A solar panel road is also being tested near Amsterdam's Schiphol airport."

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'Mining Bitcoin On a 1983 Apple II: a Highly Impractical Guide'
option8 ((Slashdot reader #16,509) writes: TL;DR: Mining Bitcoin on a 1MHz 8-bit processor will cost you more than the world's combined economies, and take roughly 256 trillion years. "But it could happen tomorrow. It's a lottery, after all," explains the blog post (describing this mad scientist as a hardware hacker and "self-taught maker", determined to mine bitcoin "in what must be the slowest possible way. I call it 8BITCOIN....") There's also a Twitch.TV stream, with some appropriate 8-bit music, and the blog post ends by including his own bitcoin address, "If you feel like you absolutely must throw some money at me and this project." "Upon doing some research, I found that, not only were other 8-bit platforms being put to the task, but other, even more obscure and outdated hardware. An IBM 1401 from the 1960s, a rebuilt Apollo Guidance Computer, and even one deranged individual who demonstrated the hashing algorithm by hand. It turns out, those examples all come from the same deranged individual, Ken Shirriff."

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Researchers Build a Heat Shield Just 10 Atoms Thick To Protect Electronic Devices
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: Excess heat given off by smartphones, laptops and other electronic devices can be annoying, but beyond that it contributes to malfunctions and, in extreme cases, can even cause lithium batteries to explode. To guard against such ills, engineers often insert glass, plastic or even layers of air as insulation to prevent heat-generating components like microprocessors from causing damage or discomforting users. Now, Stanford researchers have shown that a few layers of atomically thin materials, stacked like sheets of paper atop hot spots, can provide the same insulation as a sheet of glass 100 times thicker. In the near term, thinner heat shields will enable engineers to make electronic devices even more compact than those we have today, said Eric Pop, professor of electrical engineering and senior author of a paper published Aug. 16 in Science Advances. "To make nanoscale heat shields practical, the researchers will have to find some mass production technique to spray or otherwise deposit atom-thin layers of materials onto electronic components during manufacturing," adds Phys.Org. "But behind the immediate goal of developing thinner insulators looms a larger ambition: Scientists hope to one day control the vibrational energy inside materials the way they now control electricity and light. As they come to understand the heat in solid objects as a form of sound, a new field of phononics is emerging, a name taken from the Greek root word behind telephone, phonograph and phonetics."

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Nvidia CEO Says Google Is the Company's Only Customer Building Its Own Silicon At Scale
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: Nvidia's CEO, Jensen Huang, has reason to be concerned about other chipmakers, like AMD. But he's not worried about Nvidia's own big customers turning into competitors. Amazon, Facebook, Google and Tesla are among the companies that buy Nvidia's graphics cards and have kicked off chip-development projects. "There's really one I know of that have silicon that's really in production," Huang told CNBC in an interview on Thursday. That company would be Google, he said. "But our conversation with large customers is intensifying," Huang said. "We're talking to more large customers." Google first announced its entrance into the data center AI chip-making world in 2016. As it came up with new versions, the web company pointed to performance advantages over graphics cards that were available at the time. Google hasn't started selling data center chips for training AI models to other companies, though. (Google has started offering various products that use its Edge tensor processing unit chips, but those chips aren't as powerful as the TPU chips for training AI models in Google's cloud.)

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