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Nasa confirms ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroid will pass Earth safely tomorrow

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An asteroid will pass Earth tomorrow travelling at 34,000mph (Nasa)

Nasa is tracking a ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroid that’s due to pass Earth safely by about three million miles tomorrow.

The ‘potentially hazardous’ part comes from the fact it measures about 3,250 feet in diameter, which makes it bigger than the Burj Khalifa. Combine that with a travelling speed of 34,000 miles per hour and you can see why the space agency has given it the label.

Nasa’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) says the asteroid (known as 163373 (2002 PZ39)) will reach it’s closest point to Earth on February 15, 2020, at 6.05am Eastern Time – which is 11.05am here in the UK.

‘Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are currently defined based on parameters that measure the asteroid’s potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth,’ Nasa said in a statement.

If the asteroid did end up hitting us, it would wipe out millions and trigger a ‘nuclear winter’ type event that would be catastrophic.

Thankfully, three million miles is a long way off. Not in space terms, but it is for us – actually, to put it in context, it’s about 15 times the distance from the Earth to the moon.

This scenario is unlikely, Nasa says (Getty Images)

This scenario is unlikely, Nasa says (Getty Images)

Also, having an asteroid pass by Earth isn’t that special. CNEOS currently lists about 20 that are set to pass us by in the next month alone.

‘On a daily basis, about one hundred tons of interplanetary material drifts down to the Earth’s surface. Most of the smallest interplanetary particles that reach the Earth’s surface are the tiny dust particles that are released by comets as their ices vaporize in the solar neighborhood,’ CNEOS says.

‘The vast majority of the larger interplanetary material that reaches the Earth’s surface originates as the collision fragments of asteroids that have run into one another some eons ago.’

The agency does go into some detail about would would happen if one of these rocks did end up smashing into us.

‘With an average interval of about 10,000 years, rocky or iron asteroids larger than about 100 meters would be expected to reach the Earth’s surface and cause local disasters or produce the tidal waves that can inundate low lying coastal areas.’

An asteroid strike could cause a nuclear winter (Metro.co.uk)

An asteroid strike could cause a nuclear winter (Metro.co.uk)

‘On an average of every several hundred thousand years or so, asteroids larger than a kilometer could cause global disasters. In this case, the impact debris would spread throughout the Earth’s atmosphere so that plant life would suffer from acid rain, partial blocking of sunlight, and from the firestorms resulting from heated impact debris raining back down upon the Earth’s surface.

‘Since their orbital paths often cross that of the Earth, collisions with near-Earth objects have occurred in the past and we should remain alert to the possibility of future close Earth approaches. It seems prudent to mount efforts to discover and study these objects, to characterize their sizes, compositions and structures and to keep an eye upon their future trajectories.’

But none of that will happen tomorrow, so enjoy your weekend.



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Purported OnePlus 8 specs leak contains a few surprising revelations

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The first wave of 2020 flagship Android phones is here, with the Galaxy S20 and Xiaomi Mi 10 being the first phones to rock Qualcomm’s brand new Snapdragon 865 processor, which comes with built-in 5G connectivity. These phones also feature insane specs when it comes to RAM and storage, with the 16GB/512GB Galaxy S20 Ultra being a phone that has no rival. It’s also extremely expensive, retailing for $1,599.

But the S20 won’t be the only high-end handset hitting stores this spring, and a much cheaper flagship is right around the corner. The OnePlus 8 series is also expected to rock the same Snapdragon 865 chip, but the new OnePlus phones will be a lot cheaper than Samsung’s without sacrificing performance. In fact, we have a brand new leak that lists the main specs of the purported OnePlus 8 models the Chinese vendor is about to unveil.

Word on the street is that OnePlus will unveil its newest phones in March or April. If that’s the case, more leaks will drop, which is a clear sign that a new phone series is incoming. OnePlus had already announced one of the tentpole features of the OnePlus 8 series – its 120Hz display – even before Samsung had a chance to unveil its own 120Hz screen tech for the Galaxy S20. But that’s about all we know about the upcoming handsets.

An online retailer whose track record can’t be verified posted listings for all three OnePlus 8 phones expected from OnePlus this spring: the Lite model, the standard model, and the Pro, complete with specs:

OnePlus 8 Lite

  • 6.4-inch AMOLED punch-hole display with 90Hz refresh rate
  • MTK Dimensity 1000 Octa-core Soc
  • Triple Rear cameras: 48MP+16MP+12MP, a 16MP Sony IMX471 selfie camera.
  • 8GB LPDDR4X RAM
  • 128GB/256GB UFS 3.0 storage
  • 4,000 mAh battery, Warp 30W fast charging
  • OxygenOS 10 base on Android 10 OS

OnePlus 8

  • 6.55-inch AMOLED FHD+ punch-hole display with 90Hz refresh rate
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 5G SoC, with Adreno 640 GPU
  • Triple Rear cameras: 48MP+16MP+2MP, a 32MP Samsung GD1 selfie camera
  • 6GB/8GB/12GB LPDDR5 RAM
  • 128GB/256GB UFS 3.0 storage
  • 4,000 mAh battery, Warp 30W fast charging
  • OxygenOS 10 base on Android 10 OS

OnePlus 8 Pro

  • 6.5-inch AMOLED FHD+ punch-hole display with 120Hz refresh rate
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 5G SoC, with Adreno 640 GPU
  • Triple Rear cameras: 60MP+16MP+13MP, 32MP Samsung GD1+ToF 3D dual selfie camera
  • 8GB/12GB LPDDR5 RAM
  • 128GB/256GB UFS 3.0 storage
  • 4,500 mAh battery, 50W Super Warp fast charging
  • OxygenOS 10 base on Android 10 OS

Assuming these specs are real, the three phones will be virtually identical in terms of performance. However, the bigger OnePlus 8 Pro model will be the only phone to feature a 120Hz display, and the only handset to feature a 4,500 mAh battery with faster 50W wired charging. The OnePlus 8 Lite, meanwhile, will be the only handset of the three to ship with a MediaTek flagship CPU, the new Dimensity 1000, instead of the Snapdragon 865. The phone will also be the only one to have slower DDR4X RAM instead of the brand new DDR5 memory. When it comes to the camera experience, the Pro is expected to feature better sensors as well.

If there’s one thing missing here, it’s wireless charging support. Several reports said recently that the OnePlus 8 phones will be the first OnePlus handsets to support wireless charging. Then again, this is just a leak and should be treated accordingly. Giztop may have very well populated its listing pages with placeholder information just so they wouldn’t be blank, and may not actually have any inside information on the matter.



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HQ Trivia is dead as app shuts down and all employees are fired

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The company behind HQ Trivia, the live-action quiz app that let users win real money, has announced it’s shutting down.

HQ Trivia hit its peak in 2017 and was named App of the Year by TIME Magazine as millions of people tuned in twice a day for the chance to win real money.

Over time, users began to fall away and the app struggled as a result.

And last week, all 25 full time employees working at the parent company HQ were told the app was closing and they were all being laid off.

‘We received an offer from an established business to acquire HQ and continue building our vision, had definitive agreements and legal docs, and a projected closing date of tomorrow, and for reasons we are still investigating, they suddenly changed their position and despite our best efforts, we were unable to reach an agreement.’ CEO Rus Yusupov said in a memo to staff.

‘Unfortunately, our lead investors are no longer willing to fund the company, and so effective today, HQ will cease operations and move to dissolution.’

The basic idea of HQ Trivia was that it’s a free app with live gameshows that happen at set times every day (usually twice or three times). Players tune in to the show, can interact with other players via the chat function, and follow and answer the questions as the presenter tells them.

Questions start easier, and gradually increase in difficulty as the game goes on. If a player answers all twelve questions correctly they win the money. If more than one person wins, the money is split.



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You Can Now Rickroll Your Fortnite Friends

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If you win at Fortnite it’s standard practice to troll your opponents. Because they’re losers. And now you have a new way to troll your Fortnite friends and enemies, thanks to the new Never Gonna emote. Yes, Rickrolling is still alive and well in 2020.

What Is Rickrolling?

Younger readers may not be familiar with Rickrolling, because the phenomenon peaked a decade ago. However, it still pops up every now and then. And even if Rickrolling has died down, people are still fond of Rick Astley and his song, Never Gonna Give You Up.

That song is the basis of Rickrolling, which is a classic bait and switch. To Rickroll someone, you pretend you’re linking to something amazing, but actually link to the YouTube video for Never Gonna Give You Up. A cheesy pop song first released in 1987.

How to Rickroll Your Fortnite Friends

While Rickrolling may have peaked around 2008, it’s getting a new lease of life in Fortnite. This is thanks to Epic Games launching a new emote called Never Gonna. And Epic Games even Rickrolled Fortnite players on the official Fortnite Twitter account.

The Never Gonna emote literally Rickrolls your opponents. Once triggered, your character will do Rick Astley’s infamous dance from the music video for Never Gonna Give You Up. And the actual song will play in the background, complete with Astley’s vocals.

You can buy the Never Gonna emote from the Fortnite item shop for 500 V-bucks. Which is about US$5. Even Rick Astley himself is promoting the emote on Twitter, but his warning to “grab it while you can” means it may not be available for long.

Everything You Need to Know About Fortnite

Rickrolling may not be the most up-to-date meme around, but it is a timeless classic. Hence why it can be employed in Fortnite. And if you’re old enough to remember Rick Astley being in the charts, here’s everything you need to know about Fortnite.

Image Credit: Alterna2/Flickr

Read the full article: You Can Now Rickroll Your Fortnite Friends



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