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Tesla launches electric quad bike in U.S. for kids

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2021)

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) has launched an electric quad bike for kids in the United States for $1,900, two years after the electric-car maker introduced the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) along with its pickup vehicle Cybertruck, Reuters reported.

The four-wheel ATV – “Cyberquad for Kids” – is inspired by the Cybertruck model and will begin shipping in 2-4 weeks, according to the company website.

According to the report the bike, however, cannot be shipped to Hawaii, Alaska or Puerto Rico, Tesla said.

Musk had tweeted in 2019 that an electric ATV will arrive as an option for Tesla’s much-anticipated and yet-to-be-launched Cybertruck, whose production has been facing challenges due to supply chain problems.

From launching an agave-based liquor “Tesla Tequila” to a humanoid robot prototype “Tesla Bot,” the company has come up with multiple quirky products in the past, read the report.

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Chinese hackers target German pharma and tech firms

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(Last Updated On: January 27, 2022)

Chinese hacker group APT 27, long suspected of launching attacks on Western government agencies, has started targeting German companies in sectors such as pharmaceuticals and technology, Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) said on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

In addition to stealing trade secrets and intellectual property, the hackers may be trying to penetrate customers’ and service providers’ networks to infiltrate several companies at once, the BfV said in a circular to companies.

According to Reuters in its annual constitutional protection report from 2019, the BfV had pointed out the group’s acronym APT 27 is an alias for a Chinese hacker group also known as the “Emissary Panda,” which is believed to target foreign embassies and critical sectors.

Last year, the United States and its allies accused China of a carrying out a global cyberespionage campaign. China has denied the allegation, read the report.

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NASA’s new space telescope nears destination in solar orbit

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(Last Updated On: January 24, 2022)

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, designed to give the world an unprecedented glimpse into the earliest stages of the universe, neared its gravitational parking space on Monday in orbit around the sun, almost 1 million miles from Earth.

With a final course-correcting maneuver by onboard rocket thrusters set for 2 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT), Webb is expected to reach its destination at a position of orbital stability between the Earth and sun known as Lagrange Point Two, or L2, arriving one month after launch.

The thrusters will be activated by mission control engineers at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, and the ground team will use radio signals to confirm when Webb has been successfully “inserted” into orbit, said Eric Smith, NASA’s program scientist for Webb.

From its vantage point in space, Webb will follow a special path in constant alignment with Earth, as the planet and telescope circle the sun in tandem, enabling uninterrupted radio contact.

By comparison, Webb’s 30-year-old predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, orbits the Earth from 340 miles (547 km) away, passing in and out of the planet’s shadow every 90 minutes.

The combined pull of the sun and Earth at L2 can hold the telescope firmly in place so it takes little additional rocket thrust to keep Webb from drifting.

Utilized by several other deep-space satellites over the years, and L2 position allows a “minimum amount of fuel to stay in orbit,” Smith said.

The operations center has also begun fine-tuning the telescope’s primary mirror – an array of 18 hexagonal segments of gold-coated beryllium metal measuring 21 feet, 4 inches (6.5 meters) across – far larger than Hubble’s main mirror.

Its size and design to operate mainly in the infrared spectrum will allow Webb to peer through clouds of gas and dust and observe objects at greater distances, thus farther back in time, than Hubble or any other telescope.

These features are expected to usher in a revolution in astronomy, giving the first view of infant galaxies dating to just 100 million years after the Big Bang, the theoretical flashpoint that set the expansion of the known universe in motion and estimated 13.8 billion years ago.

Webb’s instruments also make it ideal to search for signs of potentially life-supporting atmospheres around scores of newly documented exoplanets – celestial bodies orbiting distant stars – and to observe worlds much closer to homes, such as Mars and Saturn’s icy moon Titan.

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Intel plans $20 bln chip manufacturing site in Ohio – sources

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2022)

Intel Corp on Friday is set to announce it will invest $20 billion in a massive new manufacturing site near Columbus, Ohio to develop and manufacture advanced semiconductor chips, sources briefed on the matter told Reuters.

The planned investment includes 3,000 permanent jobs on the 1,000-acre site in New Albany, Ohio. Time magazine, which first reported the news, said Intel will build at least two semiconductor fabrication plants.

President Joe Biden is making remarks Friday on the U.S. government’s efforts “to increase the supply of semiconductors, make more in America, and rebuild our supply chains here at home,” the White House said earlier.

Intel Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger is set to appear with Biden on Friday at the White House, sources told Reuters. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

The initial $20 billion is the first step of what could be an eight-factory complex costing tens of billions of dollars.

Intel declined to comment on its plans but said in a statement that Gelsinger would disclose details Friday of “Intel’s latest plans for investment in manufacturing leadership” as it works “to meet the surging demand for advanced semiconductors.”

Chipmakers are scrambling to boost output after manufacturers around the world, from autos to consumer electronics, faced shortages of chips. Intel also is trying to win back its position as maker of the smallest and fastest chips from current leader TSMC , which is based in Taiwan.

Gelsinger last fall also said he planned to announce another U.S. campus site before the end of the year that would eventually hold eight chip factories.

He told the Washington Post the complex could cost $100 billion over a decade and eventually employ 10,000.

Gelsinger is driving Intel plans to expand, especially in Europe and the United States, as it seeks to heat up competition with global rivals and respond to a worldwide microchip shortage.

Intel and Italy are intensifying talks over investments expected to be worth around 8 billion euros ($9 billion) to build an advanced semiconductor packaging plant, Reuters reported late last year.

The Biden administration is making a big push to convince Congress to approve $52 billion in funding to dramatically increase chip production in the United States. The Senate in June voted 68-32 for the chips funding as part of a broader competitiveness bill, but it has been stalled in the House.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she hopes to “go to conference” on the chips funding measure soon.

Still, Intel’s plans for new factories will not alleviate the current demand crunch, because such complexes take years to build. Gelsinger previously said he expected the chip shortages to last into 2023.

In September, Intel broke ground on two factories in Arizona as part of its turnaround plan to become a major manufacturer of chips for outside customers. The $20 billion plants will bring the total number of Intel factories at its campus in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler to six.

Intel told Time it considered 38 sites before picking New Albany, Ohio in December. Ohio has agreed to invest $1 billion in infrastructure improvements to facilitate the factory, Time said.

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