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25Sep/210

The Morning After: The EU’s grand USB-C plan

Like a band with too few hit singles, the European Union is resorting to playing the classics over and over again. The bloc has, like clockwork, tabled a proposal for legislators to think about maybe possibly having a debate about if it’s worth creating a common charging standard.

This has happened more than a few times before, as it pushed micro-USB as a voluntary standard in 2009 and tried to pass it into law in 2014. And in 2018. And it started this process again in January 2020, although some world-shattering event got in the way of that process.

The new proposal would require that “all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld video game consoles” would use USB-C for charging. The law would also “unbundle” the sale of chargers from devices as a way of reducing e-waste.

EU officials are also proposing for technology manufacturers to harmonize their fast charging technology to ensure continuity between devices. Officials added that such harmonization would prevent “different producers unjustifiably [limiting] the charging speed” which isn't really the issue here.

Naturally, the obvious target for this is Apple, which has already come out against the proposal. Perhaps it will be this, rather than anything else, that prompts the arrival of the long-rumored portless iPhone.

This proposal may, like its predecessors, wind up dashed against the rocks of politics never to be heard from again. But, even if it does succeed, the transition period is going to be sufficiently long that no company needs to worry about this being some sort of cruel surprise.

-Dan Cooper

California governor signs warehouse productivity quota bill into law

It aims to eliminate the worst of Amazon’s warehouse policies.

California governor Gavin Newsom has signed AB-701 into law, a bill which aims to regulate productivity quotas for warehouse workers. Inspired by the horror stories of poor treatment coming out of Amazon’s logistics facilities, the law will make quotas more transparent. Workers will also be able to say no to doing work which isn’t in compliance with health and safety laws and can’t be fired for failing to meet an unsafe quota. The law, which comes into effect on January 1st, 2022, could improve the quality of life for thousands of employees. Or not.

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'Flying' microchips could ride the wind to track air pollution

The chips are the size of a grain of sand.

Northwest University’s John Rogers is back in the headlines after his team created a microchip the size of a grain of sand. The team say that the chip, which could be made from biodegradable materials, would be carried on the wind like a cottonwood seed. It’s hoped that the chips will host sensors which could track air pollution or the spread of airborne diseases. If the team can work out the kinks in the idea, the chips could become vital tools for environmental monitoring in the future.

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What rights does an evil sentient computer have on Star Trek?

‘Lower Decks’ plays around with the knottiest of philosophical problems.

Humanity has yet to satisfactorily answer the question about how many rights, if any, an artificial intelligence deserves to have. It’s an issue that the latest episode of Lower Decks blows the odd raspberry toward during its latest episode. Mariner and Boimler wind up babysitting a sinister AI on its way to the Daystrom institute, with plenty of time to consider the issues. Or not, as it is, after all, an animated sitcom. Once you’ve watched the episode, however, come check out Kris Naudus’ deep dive into the episode, the highlight of which is the return of Star Trek legend Jeffrey Combs to the series that loves him the most. Kris also took a deep dive into this week’s episodes of Marvel’s What If and Star Wars: Visions if that’s more your sort of thing.

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Razer's Kaira X is a lower-cost headset for console gamers

If you want to save money, embrace the wire.

Razer has launched a cheaper version of its popular Kaira gaming headset that ditches the wireless connectivity to save money. The Kaira X costs $60, down from the $100 of its older sibling, and ships with a 3.5mm cable for connecting to your console of choice. Otherwise, however, you’ll still get the same 50mm “TriForce” drivers, cardioid boom mic and on-headset controls. If there’s one other compromise, it’s in the colorways: The PlayStation-compatible version is only shipping in a matching (and very fetching) monochrome.

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Article source: https://www.engadget.com/the-morning-after-the-e-us-grand-usb-c-plan-111505159.html?src=rss

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