The Next Web

Why girls are less likely to pursue a career in STEM — even though they score just as high as boys at school

Last month, the Australian Academy of Science published a report showing the COVID-19 pandemic would disproportionately affect women in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) disciplines.

The report noted before COVID-19, around 7,500 women were employed
in STEM research fields in Australia in 2017, compared to around 18,400 men. The authors wrote:

The pandemic appears to be compounding pre-existing gender disparity; women are under-represented across the STEM workforce, and weighted in roles that are typically less senior and less secure. Job loss at a greater rate than for men is now an immediate threat for many women in Australia’s STEM workforce, potentially reversing equity gains of recent years. Read More

Tech Radar

Electronic waste levels hit a new high in 2019

A new record for the amount of e-waste generated was set last year when 53.6m metric tonnes (Mt) of discarded electronics including smartphones and computers were thrown away as opposed to being recycled.

In fact, the amount of e-waste being produced is up by 21 percent over the last five years according to the third edition of The Global E-Waste Monitor 2020 from the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership (GESP).

The new report also predicts that global e-waste will reach 74 Mt by 2030 as a result of higher electric and electronic consumption rates, shorter lifecycles and limited repair options. Read More

Tech Radar

Taking the middleware out of high performance computing

Harnessing the full power of cloud computing can be difficult for developers as cost, complexity and time constraints often get in the way. Adding to this dilemma is the fact that traditional high performance computing relies on excessive amounts of middleware, orchestration and over engineering.

To make it easier for developers to create distributed applications which can solve large, complex and computationally intensive challenges, Hadean has created a new distributed computing platform that allows them to write scalable cloud-native applications. Read More


How high refresh and frame rates will change phone screens and cameras

Though 2020 will be remembered for many things, one of the year’s noteworthy smartphone device trends — broad availability of “120Hz” screens — could slip under the mainstream radar, mostly because average consumers have no idea what Hz (“Hertz”) means. Displays targeted at gamers and creative professionals adopted 120Hz technology several years ago, sometimes referring to “120Hz refresh rates,” and in 2020, even budget smartphones will include “120Hz display support.”

What that means is that smartphone users at $300-$400 price points are about to have access to the imperceptibly fast display technologies that were once restricted to high-end computers and tablets, right at the same time higher frame rate cameras are becoming increasingly popular on phones. Today, I’m going to simplify this complex topic, and explain why it actually matters when a screen moves from 30Hz to 60Hz or 120Hz refresh rates — as well as when it’s overkill. Read More


UK contact tracing app may warn you about areas with high infection rates

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson didn’t comment on the specific details. Instead, they reiterated the goal of supporting the NHS Test and Trace service.

The extras would come alongside a possible new “PPE in your pocket” marketing scheme, and would underscore the challenges the UK faces. Widescale adoption of the contact tracing app may be important to preventing infection spikes that lead to further lockdowns, but there’s no guarantee a wary public will download it. Singapore has considered smart bracelets after struggling to recruit users for its app — the UK might not fare much better if residents see few immediate benefits. Read More


Stephen Colbert mocks Pence’s search for positives as U.S. coronavirus cases reach record high

Despite President Donald Trump’s previous claims that the coronavirus would magically disappear in April, the deadly pandemic reached an all-time peak in the U.S. this week. The country set a new personal record for most new cases in a single day on Wednesday — then promptly beat it with on Thursday.

However, as Late Show host Stephen Colbert notes, Vice President Mike Pence is stubbornly ignoring these dire signs in favor of more “encouraging” ones.

“Yeah, 2.5 million infected Americans!” quipped Late Show host Stephen Colbert on Thursday. “Don’t look at the glass as half empty. Look at your lungs as half full.” Read More

The Next Web

Google to finally pay select publishers for ‘high quality’ news content

Google has agreed to pay select news publishers for distributing their content, finally bowing to pressure from antitrust regulators and media firms.

The search giant announced today it’s struck licensing deals with a handful of publishers in Germany, Australia, and Brazil to “with more to come soon.” 

The content will form part of a “new news experience” set to launch later this year, initially on Google News and Discover. Details on the product remain sparse, but it sounds like a potential rival to Apple News. Read More


Sony Xperia 1 II review: Cinematic 4K screen, 5G and better battery life, but the price is high Review

The Sony Xperia 1 II is Sony’s 2020 flagship handset, and the first from Sony to support 5G (in Europe, but not in the US). As we’ve come to expect from Sony, it packs in the features, but it’s pricey even given the top-end specifications. Last year’s Xperia 1 costs £849 (inc. VAT) or $799.99 in the US, but the Xperia 1 II moves into four figures at £1,099 or $1,199.99. That’s a lot of a lot of money for a smartphone, and while there are some really superb features here, it’s going to have to be pretty much perfect to justify the price. Let’s see. Read More

The Verge

US hits a new daily COVID-19 high, two months after the last peak

There were 38,672 positive COVID-19 tests reported in the United States today, a new record high, according to the COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer organization housed at The Atlantic that collects data on the pandemic. The count surged past the previous high of 36,001, reported on April 25.

Early in the pandemic, the US caseload was driven by outbreaks in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Those states have largely controlled the transmission of the virus, and daily case counts are down. The outbreak is now accelerating in the South and the West. States like Arizona, Florida, California, and South Carolina — which had relatively low numbers of cases early on — are home to the lion’s share of the newly diagnosed cases. Read More


Canva valuation hits new $6 billion high after closing $60 million funding round

Australia’s tech unicorn Canva has announced it has hit a new valuation of $6 billion, after closing off a $60 million funding round.

The latest valuation is nearly double the amount of when Canva achieved a private valuation of $3.2 billion in October last year.

This latest funding was led by Blackbird and Sequoia Capital China, with participation from Bond, Felicis, and General Catalyst.

Canva co-founder and COO Cliff Obrecht said despite an economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has continued to experience user growth. Read More