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DJI announces compact, modular, and magnetic Action 2 camera

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DJI has announced a follow-up to its Osmo Action camera, and it’s got a completely new design — the Action 2 drops the Osmo name and focuses on modularity with a suite of additional parts and accessories that attach to the camera magnetically.

The camera module itself is small (it’s 39mm square and 22mm deep) and includes a 12MP sensor capable of 4K recording, a lens that provides a 155-degree field of view, and a 1.76-inch OLED touchscreen covered by Gorilla Glass. Using magnets, you can attach another touchscreen (which also boosts the battery life and adds an array of microphones), an extra battery, or a variety of mounts that let you attach it to tripods or GoPro mounts, or even wear the camera as a necklace.

Modules, like the one that adds extra battery power, attach with both magnets and physical clips.
Image: DJI

Speaking of GoPro, any action cam is going to face comparisons, and the Action 2’s specs fall short when put side by side with those of the recent Hero10 Black: it can do 4K at 120 frames per second like the Hero10 but lacks any higher-resolution options (the Hero10 can do 5.3K60), and its 240fps super slow-motion runs at 1080p instead of the GoPro’s 2.7K.

It’s worth keeping in mind that the Action 2 is tiny in comparison — it weighs just 53 grams, which is almost exactly a third the weight of the Hero10. DJI also includes 32GB of built-in storage (expandable with a microSD card), something the GoPro lacks.

There’s also the system of magnetic accessories DJI is working on, which lets you customize your camera in a way that’s not really possible with the GoPro. If you need a second screen or more battery, you can just snap them on — and then take them off when you want a compact or discreet camera. Other accessories, like a headband or magnetic ball-mount adapter that can be attached to tripods, are similar to GoPro accessories but will (in theory) be easier to attach to and detach from the camera.

The Action 2 has a touchscreen on the back, and the front screen module lets you add another one, as well as augmenting the camera’s single microphone with three others.
Image: DJI

The Action 2 also has action cam table-stakes features like electronic stabilization, horizon leveling, and the ability to livestream or be used as a webcam, as well as some neat tricks like a color temperature sensor that DJI says will help produce better colors in complicated lighting situations or underwater.

Comparing the Action 2’s price with GoPro’s isn’t straightforward, due to GoPro’s pricing model and the DJI’s modularity. You can get the Hero10 for $400, but that requires having a $50-a-year subscription — otherwise, the camera is $500. The Action 2 power bundle costs $399 and includes the camera, power module (which extends your record time to 180 minutes versus the camera’s 70 and adds an extra microSD card slot), a mount, and a lanyard. DJI tells me you can’t buy the camera by itself, which seems like a shame.

If you want to replicate the Hero10’s built-in front-facing screen, you’ll have to go for the $519 dual-screen bundle, which includes the same things as the power bundle (but swaps out the battery module with the screen one) and adds a ball-joint adapter as well. While that’s technically more than the GoPro’s non-subscriber asking price, the Hero10’s lack of built-in storage means that you’d probably make up the price difference buying a microSD card anyways.

DJI says that the dual-screen bundle will be coming on November 2nd, and the power combo, along with most other accessories, will be coming in “mid-November.”



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Daunte Wright’s mom relives ‘worst day of my life’ at manslaughter trial of ex-Minnesota officer Kim Potter – USA TODAY

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In this screen grab from video, prosecutor Erin Eldridge speaks during her opening statement Wednesday in the manslaughter trial of former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis.




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Elizabeth Holmes’ defense rests its case

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While the prosecution called 29 witnesses to testify, the defense’s case relied almost entirely on Holmes. During her testimony, she offered up a complicated, and at times seemingly contradictory, portrayal of herself while at Theranos’ helm. On the one hand, Holmes confirmed that the buck stopped with her at Theranos. On the other, she claimed she was a victim of a decade-long abusive relationship with the company’s COO, Ramesh «Sunny» Balwani, who she said tried to control nearly every aspect of her life. (Balwani’s attorneys have previously denied those allegations.)

As her time on the stand came to a close, Holmes testified that while she wasn’t aware of everything that happened at Theranos, she herself «never» took any steps to try to mislead people who invested in Theranos, or to mislead patients about the accuracy and reliability of its tests.

Holmes was the third and final witness called to the stand by the defense, following a paralegal for the law firm representing Holmes and a former Theranos board member who joined after its downfall had begun.

Holmes, 37, was once upheld as a rare female founder whose startup had skyrocketed to a $9 billion valuation, making herself a billionaire. Now, she’s a rare Silicon Valley entrepreneur on trial for criminal fraud, more than six years after a Wall Street Journal reporter published the first expose about the company. She faces nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Holmes has pleaded not guilty and faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution, for each count of wire fraud and each conspiracy count.

On Wednesday, Holmes testified that her goal in conversations with potential investors was to lay out a broad vision for Theranos.

«They were people who were long-term investors, and I wanted to talk about what this company could do a year from now, five years from now, ten years from now,» she said. «They weren’t interested in today or tomorrow or next month. They were interested in what kind of change we could make.»

In his final question to Holmes Wednesday, her attorney Kevin Downey asked whether she focused her comments to investors on the technology it had invented and its capabilities in the long run? Holmes testified: «I did. I talked about what we’d created and what it could do, what was possible.»

When she got off the stand, Holmes looked at the jury as she slowly walked away. Following the defense resting its case, the government indicated it would not put on a rebuttal case.

After conferring with jurors about any scheduling issues, Judge Edward Davila scheduled closing arguments for December 16 and December 17. Jury deliberations may then begin as soon as December 17.

Holmes’ seven days on the witness stand

During direct questioning by her lawyers, Holmes addressed some key points raised during the prosecution’s 11-week case against her, as it seeks to prove she deliberately deceived investors, patients and doctors in order to take their money and advance her company.
Under oath, Holmes acknowledged the company only ever performed 12 tests on its own devices, that she herself doctored Theranos reports by adding pharmaceutical logos to them, and that Theranos never deployed its devices with the military.

But Holmes, in confronting these points, cited her good faith explanations, which countered what jurors had heard from government witnesses. She repeatedly pointed the finger at others for their representations of the company’s capabilities and steps the company took that are under fire. At times, she expressed some contrition, or completely denied earlier witness testimonies.

She testified that Theranos only ever performed a dozen tests, rather than hundreds, using its proprietary technology, but she said it was largely relying on modified third-party machines to accommodate a key retail partnership with Walgreens. The government’s witnesses had claimed that Theranos’ leaned on machines manufactured by others due to its own technological failings.

Holmes testified Theranos did not disclose its use of third-party machines to Walgreens, investors and journalists because it was a closely-held trade secret that she fought to protect, citing the advice of her counsel. Assistant US attorney Robert Leach drew out Tuesday that Theranos had a confidentiality agreement with Walgreens and was comfortable sending the retailer two of its devices to review, which were more important to the company’s future. On Wednesday, Leach again attempted to cut into Holmes’ testimony on this, citing that she told Walgreens many other confidential aspects of Theranos’ business. «We did,» she testified.

Holmes testified that Theranos devices were never deployed in Afghanistan, on military medevacs, or for use by soldiers, despite conversations and aspirations to eventually do so. Numerous witnesses during the government’s case testified that they’d been told some variation of that, and had been impressed by it. When pressed on this point by Leach, who ticked off a list of witnesses who’d testified as such, Holmes, under oath, denied this: «My testimony is that I don’t think I said that.»

Holmes also testified that she herself added logos of pharmaceutical companies to Theranos reports before circulating them to stakeholders as validations of its technology — something numerous government witnesses testified misled them into thinking those companies had prepared the reports. She expressed contrition about this decision, saying that she had heard witness testimony during this case: «I wish I had done it differently.»

According to Jessica Roth, a Cardozo Law School professor and former federal prosecutor, it can be a «credible strategy» for a defendant to acknowledge some things that may be irrefutable because it buys goodwill with the jury when objecting to others.

Jill Huntley Taylor, a jury consultant, similarly told CNN Business this approach could add to Holmes’ credibility with the jury. «It lets her control that narrative.»

An emotionally-charged moment at the trial

Perhaps the most striking aspect of Holmes’ time on the stand came as she fought back tears, testifying that she dropped out of Stanford during her sophomore year — a key part of her well-chronicled origin story — not just to start a company but also because she had been raped and was having trouble attending classes.

«I was questioning what — how I was going to be able to process that experience and what I wanted to do with my life, and I decided that I was going to build a life by building this company,» she said.

Holmes founded Theranos in 2003 at the age of 19 and spent a decade working on the company under the radar in its quest to revolutionize blood testing. By 2005, she started living with Balwani, whom she had met after graduating high school and sought business advice from. Their romantic relationship had largely been kept hidden.

She testified that Balwani’s control over her ranged from forcing her to having sex with him to prescribing her an incredibly restrictive lifestyle that he said would help her succeed in the business world. He allegedly regulated her eating, her voice and her image. He also allegedly isolated her from others. Balwani is facing the same charges as Holmes when his trial kicks off in January. He has also pleaded not guilty.

Holmes testified that Balwani didn’t control her interactions with investors, journalists, retail executives, or board members. But she said she considered him the most important adviser to her at Theranos. She also appeared to cast doubt on her own ability to see her time at the company clearly due to the psychological, emotional and sexual abuse she claims she experienced.

«He impacted everything about who I was, and I don’t fully understand that,» Holmes said in a tearful testimony last week.

She testified that it was Balwani who oversaw key aspects of the company, including its lab operations and its financial projections. Asked by her defense attorney what Balwani told her about the performance of Theranos’ lab prior to the fall of 2015, when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ran an inspection, Holmes testified: «That it was one of the best labs in the world.» (The inspection’s findings would end with the license of Theranos’ California blood-testing facility being revoked and Holmes being banned from running a lab for two years.)

Holmes cited this disconnect between the inspection’s findings and Balwani’s alleged representations to her as what ultimately led to their relationship’s end. He left the company in May 2016, which Holmes positioned as an attempt to right the ship.

The testimony about her alleged abuse «can’t help but to make some jurors sympathetic to her,» Taylor said. «Strategically, it is basically suggesting to the jury that this other person was, sort of, in her head.»



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Massive planet 10 times bigger than Jupiter discovered orbiting pair of giant stars

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Scientists have discovered a giant planet orbiting a massive pair of extremely hot stars, an environment previously thought too inhospitable for a planet to form.

A research article published Wednesday in the science journal Nature said that the discovery of the planet, named “b Centauri (AB)b” or “b Centauri b,” disproves a widely-held belief among astronomers.

“Until now, no planets had been spotted around a star more than three times as massive as the Sun,” wrote the European Southern Observatory, which photographed the planet from its Very Large Telescope (VLT) in the Chilean desert.

Stockholm University Astronomy Prof. Markus Janson, the study leader, said “it completely changes the picture about massive stars as planet hosts.”

The “B-type” dual star, which sits at the center of a solar system in the Centaurus constellation, is extremely massive and hot. It emits large amounts of high-energy ultraviolet and x-ray radiation, which has “a strong impact on the surrounding gas that should work against planet formation,” ESO said.

“B-type stars are generally considered as quite destructive and dangerous environments, so it was believed that it should be exceedingly difficult to form large planets around them,” Janson said in the press release.

“It’s a harsh environment, dominated by extreme radiation, where everything is on a gigantic scale: the stars are bigger, the planet is bigger, the distances are bigger.”

GAYATHRI VISWANATH, PHD STUDENT AT STOCKHOLM UNIVERSITY

The planet’s discovery was described in July and formally published in Nature on Wednesday, with researchers saying the “results show that planets can reside in much more massive stellar systems than what would be expected from extrapolation of previous results.”

The newly discovered b Centauri (AB)b is an exoplanet, a planet located outside of our own solar system, and “is 10 times as massive as Jupiter, making it one of the most massive planets ever found,” ESO wrote.

Co-author Gayathri Viswanath, a PhD student at Stockholm University, added in the press release that it is “an alien world in an environment that is completely different from what we experience here on Earth and in our Solar System.”

“It’s a harsh environment, dominated by extreme radiation, where everything is on a gigantic scale: the stars are bigger, the planet is bigger, the distances are bigger,” Viswanath wrote.

Its orbit is “one of the widest yet discovered,” 100 times greater than the distance between Jupiter and the Sun, ESO wrote. «This large distance from the central pair of stars could be key to the planet’s survival.»

While the ESO photograph published this month is the first of the planet since it has been identified, b Centauri (AB)b was imaged but unrecognized in previous telescope captures, researchers said.

In an email to NBC News, Janson said the discovery has motivated him and his colleagues to expand on a survey called BEAST, which is examining 85 similar stars.

«We will be attempting to acquire more telescope time for an extended survey, and we are also scanning all the telescope archives after any individual high-mass stars that might have been observed in the past,” Janson wrote.

“I think in the field altogether there will be an increased search intensity toward high-mass stars, both for the purpose of detecting planets, but also for characterizing them, to find out what they are composed of and try to figure out more in detail how they might have formed.”



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