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Politics Are Already Leading Us Into the Metaverse

Both left and right love fantasy role-playing. But there are good reasons to prefer the real world.

Putin's Threat to Ukraine Isn't Limited to Invasion

By stoking unrest and chaos, Russia could set the stage for a puppet regime without the costs of war.

Youngkin Nixes 'Equity' for 'Opportunity'

Virginia’s new Governor sends an important political message.


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ABC’s ‘The Promised Land’ Combines Smart Family Drama With (Too) Many Soap Twists: TV Review

“The Promised Land,” Matt Lopez’s new ABC drama, makes the most of its 44 minute runtime. Barely a scene goes by without a reveal, or at least a dramatic music cue hinting at a reveal soon to come. It has a sprawling cast spread across two timelines that intersect in a way that sets the […]

How Production Designer Bob Shaw Layered on the Wealth of ‘The Gilded Age’

An aura of economic growth and wealth permeates the new drama “The Gilded Age,” premiering Jan. 24 on HBO. Christine Baranski is Agnes van Rhijn, a socialite living in early-1880s New York City with her sister, Ada Brook, played by Cynthia Nixon. The sisters represent the old money of New York’s aristocracy as it was […]

Variety Rolls Out Digital Voters’ Guide

Timed to coincide with the beginning of the Academy Awards Phase One voting, Variety is rolling out a digital Voters’ Guide on Jan. 24, called “Awards Circuit Down to the Wire.” Coming out on the heels of Variety’s Ultimate Awards Guide, the stand-alone publication that Variety has been sending out as a deep-dive look at […]

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SoftBank and Toyota want driverless cars to change the world

Softbank and Toyota are partnering on an effort to use autonomous vehicles and other technologies to change the world of transportation.

7 things to know before the bell

Read full story for latest details.

All eyes on Congress as vote on Kavanaugh draws near

The lead story for Thursday's morning shows: The impending vote to advance Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.

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There are several big cell phone providers out there for you to choose from if you’re looking for cell phone service, but you should compare cell phone plans to help ensure that you get the best coverage for the best price. Before opting for any one provider, take a look at these things.


Blog Posts

Voyage to Alfa. A childhood story

Posted by Toyz Nation on November 20, 2018 at 2:56pm 29 Comments


I had landed at Charles De Gaul Airport in Paris, France and wounded up spending two nights in this beautiful city.  I will visit Gilbert Joseph's bookstore where I have a catalog of media being sold, enjoy fine dining and will eventually voyage onto Barcelona in Spain.

While in Barcelona, I will visit the NBA store along with a variety of record shops and in the midst of all…


DC to Hong Kong to Seoul in search of the future of Industrialization. First stop Hyundai

Posted by Toyz Nation on October 9, 2018 at 2:39pm 29 Comments


It was not my first trip to South Korea.  I had already made my maiden voyage in 2017 and landed in Incheon before visiting both Seoul and Samcheok.  During my initial journey, I was fascinated with how modern Seoul was and South Korea, in general.  Seoul is a metropolis of around 10 million people with every modern accouterments you would expect in any metropolis in the world.  It is gorgeous, in the nighttime especially, exceptionally…


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Peloton: exercise bike maker must peddle its wares

Lockdown darling must embrace change as sales sag and Blackwells Capital puts the boot in

Kohl’s: all-cash bid may tip argument in private capital’s favour

Public shareholders now have a chance to pass on operational risks at the chain store

Tesla strikes back at JPMorgan in legal fight tied to Musk’s take-private tweet

Car company accuses the US bank of putting its ‘thumb on the scale’ to secure windfall of shares


Meta says its new AI supercomputer will be the world's fastest by mid-2022

Meta has completed the first phase of a new AI supercomputer. Once the AI Research SuperCluster (RSC) is fully built out later this year, the company believes it will be the fastest AI supercomputer on the planet, capable of "performing at nearly 5 exaflops of mixed precision compute."

The company says RSC will help researchers develop better AI models that can learn from trillions of examples. Among other things, the models will be able to build better augmented reality tools and "seamlessly analyze text, images and video together," according to Meta. Much of this work is in service of its vision for the metaverse, in which it says AI-powered apps and products will have a key role.

"We hope RSC will help us build entirely new AI systems that can, for example, power real-time voice translations to large groups of people, each speaking a different language, so they can seamlessly collaborate on a research project or play an AR game together," technical program manager Kevin Lee and software engineer Shubho Sengupta wrote in a blog post.

RSC currently has 760 Nvidia DGX A100 systems with a total of 6,080 GPUs. Meta believes the current iteration is already among the fastest AI supercomputers on the planet. Based on early benchmarks, it claims RSC can, compared with the company's older setup, run computer vision workflows up to 20 times faster and the NVIDIA Collective Communication Library more than nine times faster.

Meta says RSC can train large-scale natural language processing models three times faster as well. As such, AI models that determine whether "an action, sound or image is harmful or benign" (for example, to root out hate speech) can be trained more quickly. According to the company, that research will help protect people on current services like Facebook and Instagram, as well as in the metaverse.

Along with creating the physical infrastructure and systems to run RSC, Meta said it needed to ensure there were security and privacy controls in place to protect the real-world training data it uses. It says that by using real-world data from its production systems, instead of publicly available data sets, it can more effectively put its research to use by, for instance, identifying harmful content.

This year, Meta plans to increase the number of GPUs in RSC to 16,000. It says that will boost AI training performance by more than 2.5 times. The company, which started working on the project in early 2020, wanted RSC to train AI models on data sets up to an exabyte in size (the equivalent of 36,000 years' worth of high-quality video).

"We expect such a step function change in compute capability to enable us not only to create more accurate AI models for our existing services, but also to enable completely new user experiences, especially in the metaverse," Lee and Sengupta wrote.

Other exascale systems are being built in the US. The delayed Aurora supercomputer at the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory is expected to hit 2 exaflops, while the El Capitan supercomputer, which will manage the country's nuclear stockpile, is expected to top 2 exaflops when it arrives next year.

GOG's New Year Sale includes deals on 'Cyberpunk 2077' and 'The Witcher 3'

PC gamers who are looking for a bargain (or a game or two to keep them going until Elden Ring arrives next month) might wish to take a gander at GOG's New Year Sale. There are many repeat deals from the Winter Sale, but it's still worth checking out the discounts, as you can save up to 90 percent on more than 2,500 games. Among them is Cyberpunk 2077, which is 50 percent off at $30.

Buy Cyberpunk 2077 at GOG - $30

While the first-person RPG had a notoriously rocky debut, CD Projekt Red has fixed some of the game's many bugs over the last 13 months. The studio plans to roll out the next major update for all platforms by the end of March.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is 80 percent off during the sale. You can pick up one of the most highly regarded RPGs of the last decade for $8. Control Ultimate Edition is down 70 percent to $12 as well. The bundle includes the excellent base game as well as both expansions.

Elsewhere, you can scoop up Metro Exodus: Gold Edition for $14.80 (63 percent off) and Kingdom Come: Deliverance Royal Edition for $12 (70 percent off). These barely scratch the surface of the deals, which include a ton of indie games and franchises like Batman Arkham and Bioshock. You can check out the entire New Year Sale at GOG.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

AT&T is rolling out multi-gig fiber internet to more than 70 cities

Following the activation of its C-band 5G network last week, AT&T is now upgrading its fiber-based broadband service with two new plans that top out at 2Gbps and 5Gbps, respectively. The company says its new multi-gig fiber broadband will be available in more than 70 metro areas including Dallas, LA and Atlanta. Currently, AT&T’s fiber broadband covers around 15 million customers across 90 markets, with the ISP looking to expand its network to reach more than 30 million customers by 2025.

While AT&T’s new 5 GIG plan is almost certainly overkill for a typical household (even with a bunch of people making Zoom calls at the same time), the ongoing pandemic and shift towards working and schooling from home continues to put a strain on families with more limited internet.

The new 2 GIG plan is set to start at $110 per month plus tax (or $225 a month for a business fiber), while the faster 5 GIG plan will cost $180 per month (or $395 a month for businesses). Notably, AT&T describes both plans as offering “symmetrical” speeds, which means customers should see equally fast download and upload speeds. That last part is important for anyone who has to move large files around, especially when a lot of older internet plans often featuring upload speeds that are significantly lower than download speeds.

In addition to its new multi-gig fiber plans, AT&T is updating its fiber internet plans with more straightforward pricing. AT&T says this means new customers won’t get hit with any equipment fees, data caps or annual contracts, with initial pricing locked in for at least 12 months. So your bill should just be the price of the service plus tax, with AT&T throwing in perks such as its ActiveArmor internet security, speedy Wi-Fi 6 routers, and a free HBO Max subscription for customers with top-tier plans (either the gigabit, 2 GIG or 5 GIG plans).

So, while AT&T’s new fiber plans aren’t cheap, they should supply ample bandwidth for data-hungry people like content creators and stream video enthusiasts. To find out if you live in an area covered by AT&T’s new multi-gig plans, you can check availability on AT&T’s fiber landing page here.

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