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GoPro releases a flashlight for some reason

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Today GoPro entered the cutthroat business of personal lighting. This is the GoPro Zeus Mini; it looks like a rad little light, though it’s a curious product from an action camera company.

The waterproof Zeus Mini costs $69.99 and ships with a magnetic spring clip. GoPro says the light is also compatible with all of GoPro’s mounts. The versatile mounts could be the best thing about the Zeus Mini. This light makes sense for those invested in GoPro’s ecosystem. Already have a GoPro mount on a bike? Now it can be used for a camera or a light.

The lighting market is increasingly competitive. Subreddits and forums and fan sites have popped up over the last few years, where people obsess about the latest products from such brands as Fenix, Nitecore, Sofirn and Olight. Spec for spec, the Zeus Mini looks up to par with the best from these companies for a novice like me.

The Zeus has four brightness levels, which can result in an output of up to 200 lumens. Flashlight nerds will be quick to point out that 200 lumens is good, but not great, and it’s the range and spread of the light that’s important.

Since it’s a GoPro product, it’s waterproof, compact and seemingly durable, though I’ve yet to see one in person.

GoPro’s stock is climbing and flirting with hitting its highest level in 2020. As of writing, the stock is trading at $4.14 a share, up nearly 3% on the day. The company is recovering from the COVID-19 crash, though the stock price is still almost half that of its 52-week high of $7.33.

GoPro is following other companies that offer similar lights for use in GoPro’s mounts. These lights are widely available across online retailers. Some provide higher output, while others are much less expensive.

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The pandemic has caused an ‘extreme’ drop in global carbon dioxide emissions

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FILE - This Dec. 12, 2018, file photo shows traffic on the Hollywood Freeway in Los Angeles. President Donald Trump's is expected to mark a win in his two-year fight to gut one of the United States' single-biggest efforts against climate change, relaxing ambitious Obama-era vehicle mileage standards and raising the ceiling on damaging fossil fuel emissions for years to come. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With less cars on the road, the amount of CO2 pushed into the atmosphere has fallen dramatically (Credits: AP)

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has caused global carbon emissions to drop beyond all expectations.

With millions of people around the world confined to their homes, the environmental impact of cars and planes has been curbed.

According to new research, carbon emissions have fallen by a sixth around the world.

However, the ‘extreme’ reduction in emissions is ‘likely to be temporary’, said Professor of Climate Change Science Corinne Le Quere, of the University of East Anglia.

Daily emissions decreased by 17% – or 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide – globally during the peak of the confinement measures in early April compared to mean daily levels in 2019, the study indicated.

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The last time emissions were this low was 14 years ago back in 2006.

Emissions from surface transport such as car journeys account for almost half (43%) of the decrease in global emissions during peak confinement on April 7, according to the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Air pollution over London (Credits: PA)
Air pollution over London (Credits: PA)

Emissions from industry and from power together account for a further 43% of the decrease in daily global emissions.

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Aviation is the economic sector most impacted by the lockdown, but it only accounts for 3% of global emissions, or 10% of the decrease in emissions during the pandemic, researchers said.

The increase in the use of residential buildings from people working at home only marginally offset the drop in emissions from other sectors.

Prof Le Quere, who led the analysis, said: ‘Population confinement has led to drastic changes in energy use and CO2 emissions.

‘These extreme decreases are likely to be temporary though, as they do not reflect structural changes in the economic, transport, or energy systems.

‘The extent to which world leaders consider climate change when planning their economic responses post Covid-19 will influence the global CO2 emissions paths for decades to come.

EMBARGOED TO 1600 WEDNESDAY MARCH 4 Undated handout photo issued by the University of Leeds of Amazon Forest canopy at dawn. The ability of the world's tropical forests to absorb carbon from the atmosphere is decreasing - decades ahead of predictions, researchers have warned. PA Photo. Issue date: Wednesday March 4, 2020. The finding that tropical forests are absorbing less of the extra carbon dioxide caused by human activities makes efforts to cut emissions to curb rising global temperatures even more urgent, the scientists said. See PA story ENVIRONMENT Forests. Photo credit should read: Peter Vander Sleen/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
How world leaders consider climate change when planning the response to Covid-19 will influence emissions for decades to come (Credits: PA)

‘Opportunities exist to make real, durable changes and to be more resilient to future crises, by implementing economic stimulus packages that also help meet climate targets, especially for mobility, which accounts for half the decrease in emissions during confinement.

‘For example, in cities and suburbs, supporting walking and cycling, and the uptake of electric bikes, is far cheaper and better for wellbeing and air quality than building roads, and it preserves social distancing.’

In individual countries, emissions decreased by 26% on average at the peak of their confinement.

Researchers analysed government policies on confinement for 69 countries responsible for 97% of global CO2 emissions.

At the peak of the confinement, regions responsible for 89% of global CO2 emissions were under some level of restriction.

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Data on activities indicative of how much each economic sector was affected by the pandemic was then used to estimate the change in fossil CO2 emissions for each day and country from January to April 2020.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Aircraft come in to land at Heathrow airport over nearby houses on February 27, 2020 in London, England. Plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport have been ruled illegal by the court of appeal because it is said that the government's climate change commitments were not adequately taken into account. The UK government will not appeal the decision whilst they have set a target in law of net zero emissions by 2050. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
The aviation industry only accounts for 3% of global emissions (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

The estimated total change in emissions from the pandemic amounts to 1,048 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2) until the end of April.

Of this, the changes are largest in China where the confinement started, with a decrease of 242 MtCO2, then in the US (207 MtCO2), Europe (123 MtCO2), and India (98 MtCO2).

The impact of confinement on 2020 annual emissions is projected to be around 4% to 7% compared to 2019, depending on the duration of the lockdown and the extent of the recovery.

Paul Morozzo, senior climate campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: ‘The only way this reduction will mean anything is if governments lock it in as we recover and rebuild.’

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Source: Metro News

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Remains of giant armoured fish dug up…in the Sahara

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***EMBARGOED UNTIL WEDNESDAY 00.01BST/19.01ET*** This is an artist impression of Titanichthys. See SWNS story SWNNfish; A giant armoured fish that roamed the prehistoric oceans 380 million years ago has been dug up... in the Sahara
An artist’s impression of Titanichthys, the giant armoured fish that swam the seas 380 million years ago (Credits: Mark Witton / SWNS)

A giant armoured fish that roamed the prehistoric seas 380 million years ago has been dug up… in the Sahara.

And it could hold the key to saving the world’s two biggest fish – the basking shark and the whale shark.

Named Titanichtys, it too was a filter feeder – swimming slowly with jaws ajar and straining zooplankton instead of sucking water in.

Basking sharks, so named because they often look like they are basking in the sun, and whale sharks do the same – today.

Only closing their mouths to swallow, long comb like structures known as gill rakers trap and filter food particles. They can strain up to 2,000 tonnes of water an hour.

The endangered creatures reach lengths of up to 40 and 60 feet, respectively. Baleen whales are among a number of marine animals that also use the technique.

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Now an enormous three foot head belonging to Titanichtys may improve conservation efforts, say British scientists.

The remarkably preserved specimen dates back to the Late Devonian – 140 million years before the first dinosaurs roamed the earth.

At the time the world’s biggest sand desert was covered by a deep ocean teeming with life.

***EMBARGOED UNTIL WEDNESDAY 00.01BST/19.01ET*** Fossils used in the study, as they were found in Morocco. See SWNS story SWNNfish; A giant armoured fish that roamed the prehistoric oceans 380 million years ago has been dug up... in the Sahara
Fossils used in the study, as they were found in Morocco. (Credits: C. Klug / SWNS)

Swimming slowly with its mouth wide open, Titanichtys fed all day on tiny plankton to keep its huge body well nourished.

It was among the largest animals of the time – reaching up to twenty feet long and weighing more than three tons.

Its bones were so big it was once thought to be a dinosaur. But Titanichthys belonged to an extinct group of bizarre marine creatures called the placoderms.

Their heads and thoraxes were covered by articulated plates – and the rest of the body was scaled.

Lead author Sam Coatham, who carried out the research while studying for his masters in palaeobiology at the University of Bristol, said: ‘We have found Titanichthys was very likely to have been a suspension-feeder (filter feeder).

‘Its lower jaw was considerably less mechanically robust than those of other placoderm species that fed on large or hard-shelled prey.

‘Consequently, those feeding strategies – common amongst its relatives – would probably have not been available for Titanichthys.’

Placoderms were among the first fish to evolve jaws. Most were predators – setting Titanichthys apart.

It shared features with modern plankton-slurping fish including a lack of teeth, a large body size, relatively small eye sockets and long, slender lower jaws.

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Fossils found in North America, Morocco and Poland show it shared the seas with many other strange fish.

These included the 30 foot long fanged sea monster Dunkleosteus – one of the scariest animals that ever lived. It had a thick body, bulging head and massive jaws.

Mr Coatham said: ‘The lower jaw of Titanichthys we investigated was over three feet long and still slightly incomplete – so it was definitely large.’

It was found in Morocco by co-author Professor Christian Klug, a palaeontologist at the University of Zurich, in a remote mountain range known as the Anti-Atlas.

Mr Coatham, who is now at the University of Manchester, added: ‘Titanichthys fossils have been observed with puncture marks caused by Dunkleosteus – an apex predator and one of few species which approached the size of Titanichthys.

‘I suspect Dunkleosteus would have been one of its only potential predators – akin to modern basking sharks only being predated by killer whales and potentially great white sharks.’

Unlike its similarly giant contemporary there is no previous evidence of how Titanichthys fed.

Where the lower jaw of Dunkleosteus and many of its relatives had clear fangs and crushing plates, Titanichthys’ is narrow and lacking any teeth or sharp edges suitable for cutting.

Consequently, Titanichthys was a ‘filter-feeder’, capturing high concentrations of plankton.

But no evidence of the comb-like projections that cover the gills of modern fish that do this have ever been found in the fossil record.

So the international team demonstrated it in Titanichthys indirectly – using bio-mechanical analysis to compare its lower jaw with those of other species.

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The findings reported in the Royal Society journal Open Science are based on the fossilised skull unearthed by Prof Klug.

The Sahara desert used to be an ocean teaming with fish (Credits: Diego Mattarelli / SWNS)

He explained: ‘When you do field work in the Anti-Atlas, massive skull bones of placoderms can be found quite frequently.’

The team tested the resilience of the jaws by virtually applying forces using a technique called FEA (Finite Element Analysis).

This revealed the lower jaw of Titanichthys was much less resistant to stress and was more likely to break than those of the other placoderm species – such as the famous Dunkleosteus.

So the jaw of Titanichthys would not have been able to withstand the higher stresses associated with their strategies of feeding on large prey – which exerts more mechanical stress.

This pattern was consistent in both sharks and whales, with filter-feeders proving less resistant to stress than other species within the same lineage.

Further analyses comparing the distribution of stress across the jaws showed similar patterns in Titanichthys and the basking shark – reinforcing the results.

It has been established that there were almost certainly giant filter feeding vertebrates living 380 million years ago.

Mr Coatham said: ‘Our methods could be extended to identify other such species in the fossil record and investigate whether there were common factors driving the evolution and extinction of these species.

‘We suggest a link between oceanic productivity and the evolution of Titanichthys, but this should be investigated in detail in the future.

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‘An established link could have implications for our understanding of the conservation of modern suspension-feeders.’

Large shark populations are plummeting due to overfishing and the shark fin trade. The fish are slow growing, late maturing and produce few young compared to other fishes.

These characteristics make them especially vulnerable to exploitation by humans.

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Source: Metro News

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Facebook, YouTube, Netflix and more get eye-tracking apps from Tobii

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Modern apps and services are a mixed bag when it comes to accessibility, and people with conditions that prevent them from using the usual smartphone or mouse and keyboard don’t often have good alternatives. Eye-tracking tech leader Tobii has engineered a solution with a set of popular apps that are built for navigation through gaze alone.

Working with a third party developer that specializes in accessibility development, the company’s new suite of apps includes: Facebook, FB Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, Google, Google Calendar, Google Translate, Netflix, Spotify, YouTube, MSN, and Android Messages.

These custom apps are for Tobii’s eye-tracking I-Series tablets or Windows PCs usingTobii peripherals and software.

Previously, users would generally have to use the generic web interfaces for those services, or some kind of extra layer on top of the native apps. It can work, but the buttons and menus are generally not designed for use via eye tracking, and may be small or finicky.

The new versions are still based on the web apps, but designed with gaze tracking in mind, with large, clear controls on one side and the app’s normal interface on the right. There are simple directional controls, of course, but also context- and app-specific ones, like “genre” when browsing Netflix.

The company highlights one user, Delaina Parrish (in the lead image), who relies on apps like Instagram to build her Fearless Independence brand but has been limited in how easily she could use them due to her cerebral palsy. “These accessible apps have improved my daily productivity, my channels of communicating personally and for business, and my overall independence,” she said in the Tobii press release.

It’s hard to overestimate the difference between a tool or interface that’s “good enough” and able to be used by people with disabilities, and one that’s built with accessibility as a goal from the start. The new apps should be available on compatible devices now.

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