US restricts 7 Chinese supercomputing entities over national security concerns – CNET

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The TaihuLight supercomputer at the National Supercomputer Center in Wuxi.

Getty Images

The United States is expanding its list of restricted companies and government labs whose supercomputing abilities are "used by China's military actors, its destabilizing military modernization efforts, and/or weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs," the US Commerce Department said in a statement Thursday.

Inclusion on the Entity List, as it's called, means these groups have to apply for licenses from the Commerce Department if they want to get goods from US suppliers, Reuters noted.

"Supercomputing capabilities are vital for the development of many -- perhaps almost all -- modern weapons and national security systems, such as nuclear weapons and hypersonic weapons," Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

The additions to the list are: the Tianjin Phytium Information Technology Shanghai High-Performance Integrated Circuit Design Center, Sunway Microelectronics, the National Supercomputing Center Jinan, the National Supercomputing Center Shenzhen, the National Supercomputing Center Wuxi, and the National Supercomputing Center Zhengzhou.

The Chinese Embassy In Washington, DC, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Supercomputers are used for physics simulations that model nuclear weapons explosions. The US has spent billions of dollars on supercomputers designed to support the country's nuclear weapons stockpile.

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Microsoft Paint could finally be moving to the Microsoft Store – CNET

"We still [heart] MS Paint"

Microsoft Paint could get new life in the Microsoft Store.

Microsoft

For fans of Microsoft Paint, their artistic visions won't have to languish much longer. The once popular program for drawing and painting, which made its debut with Windows 1.0 in 1985, could finally be moving to the Microsoft Store

In a blog post announcing the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 21354, Microsoft said MSPaint will be "updateable via the Microsoft Store outside major OS updates."

In 2017, Microsoft said Paint would be available through the Microsoft Store, instead of as part of its OS. The company backed away from that somewhat and left the program in Windows 10 for several years. Now it finally appears the move is happening.

Microsoft didn't immediately respond to a request for comment as to when Paint will be available to all. 

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Ghostbusters: Afterlife trailer unleashes Mini-Puft chaos on Paul Rudd – CNET

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Mini-Pufts are full of fluff and destruction.

Sony

The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters is something of a chaos agent. This is known. The giant snack waddled through New York, wreaking havoc in the 1984 original movie. A new clip released Wednesday from the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife reveals that many smaller versions of the marshmallow mascot have plenty of chaos to unleash themselves.

In a clip out Wednesday, Paul Rudd encounters a mischievous legion of Mini-Pufts at a grocery store. They cruise around on a robot vacuum, bite Rudd on the finger (rude) and even try to roast one another into s'mores. 

Ghostbusters: Afterlife, originally slated for a 2020 release, was one of many movies pushed back to the coronavirus pandemic. The movie is set to hit theaters Nov. 21. 

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NASA’s Hubble telescope spots rare pair of blazing double quasars – CNET

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A pair of quasars from merging galaxies, as depicted in an artist rendering.

NASA

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is offering yet more insightful images from the cosmos. It captured two quasars that look fairly close together, from a pair of merging galaxies -- and then discovered a second set, according to findings published in the journal Nature Astronomy last week.

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Actual images of the quasars.

NASA

A quasar is an intense light that comes from the center of a galaxy, according to NASA. It can be so bright that it outshines the galaxy itself and, the space agency says, is fueled by a "supermassive black hole voraciously feeding on inflating matter, unleashing a torrent of radiation."

A double quasar situation is on the rare side, explained lead researcher Yue Shen of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "We estimate that in the distant universe, for every 1,000 quasars, there is one double quasar." Finding two pair is even more rare.

Researchers say that in both instances, the quasars are less than 10,000 light-years from each other. Eventually, the galaxies will merge and an even bigger black hole will form. Making observations about this process will help scientists better understand galaxy formation and the role that quasars play in it.

So far, researchers have found about 100 double quasars in merging galaxies. 

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New Black Widow trailer from Marvel trumpets July 9 release – CNET

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Marvel

Saturday brought us a closer look at Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff in the upcoming blockbuster Black Widow, now slated for July 9 of this year.  

Black Widow marks the first standalone movie for Johansson's character, and opens Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It also stars Florence Pugh as fellow assassin/sister Yelena Belova. David Harbour plays the fatherly character Alexei Shostakov, also known as the Red Guardian, and Rachel Weisz is his wife Melina. 

Set after the events of 2016's Captain America: Civil War, Black Widow pits Romanoff against supervillain Taskmaster

The movie is just one of many delayed by the coronavirus pandemic since March of last year.

Cate Shortland directs Black Widow, making her the first female director Marvel has hired to single-handedly helm a feature-length, live-action film. Shortland is best known for her female-led movies Lore and Berlin Syndrome.

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Casio to release new G-Shock smartwatch powered by Wear OS – CNET

gshock

There's a new Casio smartwatch. 

Casio

Casio unveiled its latest G-Shock smartwatch on Thursday. 

The GSW-H1000, part of the rugged G-Squad line of watches, has an optical sensor to measure heart rate, as well as an accelerometer, gyrometer, GPS and a sensor to measure altitude and air pressure. In addition, it comes with a microphone and a charging terminal, and is powered by Google's Wear OS.

"This powerful hardware profile enables the watch to capture the data on distance, speed and pace which is so useful for people doing physical training," the release said, also noting that the watch comes preloaded with 15 activities and 24 indoor workout options, as well as the ability to pair with the G-Shock Move smartphone app. 

Though Casio didn't give a release date, the G-Shock website in the UK lists the watch at £599 (about $830). The company didn't immediately respond to a request for details on availability and pricing in other markets.

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All episodes of The Office are now free to stream online – CNET

The Office

You have a week to watch all of The Office. 

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Keen to rewatch The Office but don't want to subscribe to a new streaming network? NBC Universal's Peacock is giving everyone one week to watch the entire show for free!

All nine seasons (excluding the superfan episodes) will be available to stream for free March 18-24, Peacock said in a tweet Thursday.

According to a statement, the promotion is timed for the show's 16th anniversary. The Office used to stream on Netflix, but NBC Universal got the rights back for Peacock, and the show has lived there since the beginning of the year. Normally, only the first two seasons are available for free with ads on Peacock.

See also: Best streaming service of 2021

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Justin Long, aka ‘I’m a Mac’ guy, turns on Apple in new ads for Intel – CNET

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Justin Long is a PC these days.

Screenshot/CNET

Apparently actor Justin Long isn't a Mac anymore. 

Long, who appeared in Apple commercials with comedian John Hodgman in the late 2000s (the "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" guys), is now starring in a series of ads for Intel, flipping the script on the campaign that made PCs look like least hip devices around. 

In the new ads, Long says, "I'm a... Justin, just a real person doing a comparison between Mac and PC." He compares everything from the color and style offerings of PCs to MacBooks' inability to bend into a tablet. The ads also take a shot at PC versus Mac gaming. "No one really games on a Mac," the ad says. Another spot highlights the ASUS ZenBook Duo 14's touchscreen, versus the MacBook Pro touch bar

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

At its Mac event in November, Apple featured a "one last thing" cameo with Hodgman reprising his role as the PC guy.

The Intel ads aren't the first time a spokesperson has defected to a rival camp. Notably, former Verizon commercial star Paul Marcarelli (the "Can you hear me now?" guy) started doing ads for Sprint in 2016.

See also: Best laptops of 2021

Now playing: Watch this: Hands-on with the entire new Apple Mac M1 lineup

9:02

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TikTok could be the place you meet your next great love – CNET

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Singles are finding each other on TikTok.

James Martin/CNET

Since joining TikTok, I've learned some things. No one likes inverted images of their face. Skinny jeans are deeply uncool. Drawing a ferret is easier than you'd think. 

One of the biggest lessons? You can get a date on TikTok.

Forget swiping around The Apps: There's an ever-widening pool of singles searching for love by looking into their ring lights and saying, "Hey, I need a date for a wedding in June."

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Read more Love Syncs.

I discovered this in the early days of my For You Page (the algorithmically driven feed of videos you see when you open the app), before TikTok knew what to show me. There were videos of people volunteering facts about themselves, decrying their poor flirting skills and offering up their comfiest hoodies that potential future partners could borrow. I scrolled, a little slack-jawed. 

TikTok as a dating app?

I hate this.

Wait, do I hate this?

I don't hate this. 

Here's the thing: Online dating is difficult at the best of times. Dating during a pandemic is worse. For many singles, 2020 (and increasingly 2021) felt like being on the bench. Yet people persist. Dating apps like OkCupid are reporting that more people are expanding their geographic filters, apparently more open than ever to whatever might be out there. Maybe it's not the wildest idea that folks would look at the internet's latest watering hole and say, why not?

Scrolling singles

Stephen Oswald turned to TikTok in October 2020 when he needed to find a date to his friend's December wedding. On a lark, the 24-year-old from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, made a highlight reel of sorts of himself -- skydiving, skateboarding, jumping into a pool -- with a voiceover about how he was looking for a date to have fun with at his buddy's nuptials. It got more than 12,000 likes and more than a thousand comments.

@theyesmans

2 tik tok post looking for a wedding date is 2 too many. Don’t blow this up and don’t share w every1 u kno. ##foryou##sarcasm##weddingseason##hunter

♬ Marry Me - Will You Say Yes

"So where can I send my resume?"

"ME. I got killer moves & terrible signing skills."

"I wanna go!!! This sounds amazing, and I'm great at breaking it down on the dance floor!"

Oswald wasn't betting on his plan working. "I would have taken it down because at that time most of the people following me were just buddies and I didn't want my buddies making fun of me," he says.

Meanwhile, in Orange County, California, 24-year-old Joy Ellis, fresh off a breakup, saw Oswald's video and commented, never thinking she'd hear back. They ended up FaceTime-ing and bonding over their shared religious beliefs. He picked her as his date for the wedding, and after a bit more than a month's worth of chatting, she flew out to Sioux Falls. 

"I'm really excited to one day tell my grandkids that I met some random person on the internet and was able to go to their best friend's wedding and have the time in my life," Ellis says. They're not dating, but have plans to hang out when Oswald makes a road trip over the summer and stops in California.

Elsewhere in the world, @hrpeacock13 slid into @paffevara's DMs in May. About seven months later, @paffevera, who is Australian, moved to Scotland to be with @hrpeacock, documenting every step along the way.

@paffevara

suspicious indeed @hrpeacock13 👀can’t believe we pulled this off but you’re the best thing to ever happen to me. ##fyp##tiktokcouple

♬ TikTok Couples how - Lane Moore

Another user, @tatcedie, made a TikTok in December 2020 about how it felt like she'd be single forever. In February, she posted a followup about the "TikTokmance" that had started almost immediately afterward with another user, who lived 1,600 miles away. As of the end of February @tatcedie posted another about the pair's hunt for an apartment. 

"It's pretty much your stereotypical TikTokmance," @tatcedie says in her video, "There was a TikTok crush involved, there was a DM slide involved."

@tatcedie

##stitch with @tatcedie Things change quickly ##tiktokmance##ldr##weirdosinlove

♬ original sound - Kris (she/her)

Can't any app be a dating app?

To better understand this trend, I turned to one of my favorite TikTok creators, 27-year-old Seattle-based Amelia Samson, whose account is devoted to critiquing the most mind-bendingly weird, awful, illogical and offensive dating app profiles out there. If you find yourself flabbergasted by The Apps, you will find a kindred spirit in Samson.

On the surface, it's easy to say anything can function as a dating app. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram … shoot, I know women who've had guys slide into their DMs on LinkedIn. But there are reasons TikTok in particular could be conducive to dating these days, Samson says. 

"[TikTok] is kind of like getting into somebody else's world without being in the same room as them," she says. "You're getting a view of who somebody is through their style and their sense of humor. Sometimes they're just talking at the camera, and you can see if you have aligned beliefs."

Samson hits on two important points. At the moment, you can't -- or at least you really shouldn't -- be in the same room with people outside your household. During the pandemic, TikTok's seen a surge in popularity. App analytics platform App Annie told Forbes in September it was the top-grossing app globally in the App Store in the second quarter of 2020. Perhaps TikTok is filling the void left by not being able to go out to a bar or club and be around other random humans.  

And maybe The Apps aren't cutting it. Data from SurveyMonkey showed that 56% of adults viewed dating apps negatively and suggested that the main possible reason could be how hard it is to get a read on people online. Looking at a profile, you're missing out on indicators like body language and tone of voice, qualities you can't get a feel for looking at grainy selfies and pics of daters holding up fish

And as Samson put it, it's not hard to swipe away and feel a little burned out.

"They're ... starting to not try," she says.

That isn't to say TikTok, like most other social media apps, doesn't have its share of artifice (and thirst traps), or that people on the app aren't carefully managing their images or seeking validation constantly. However, Samson notes that, unlike other platforms, TikTok seems to breed a level of vulnerability and earnestness.

@bigbeeflord420

##duet with @lillalove69420

♬ original sound - lillalove

Along with the skateboarding dogs and lip syncs, people talk about gender, body positivity, mental health, physical health, neurodiversity. And it's not abstract. It's real humans talking about what it's like to feel depressed, to have ADHD, to be the target of microaggressions, about how they relate to their friends, families and pets. About how they moved across the country, about the books they like and how they finally, finally got the hang of winged eyeliner. 

And maybe that's why people are willing to express bluntly what they want, and trust that the algorithm will get their video to the person who needs to see it. 

@alexmerrilla

##3 is the best I have to offer ##hubby##lilhuddy##fyp##foryou##future

♬ original sound - Alex Merrill

Getting serious

If that last bit about placing faith in an algorithm sounds a little too mystical for you, know this: TikTok has accounts purely dedicated to the art of matchmaking. 

The woman behind the account Your Rishta Auntie (who asked to only be identified by her handle) wanted to find a space in between the more traditional matchmaking process you might find in some cultures, and the social media world of millennials. So she's been posting TikToks introducing serious, rishta-minded folks to the world. (Rishta translates to marriage proposal, she tells me, in Urdu and Hindi.) 

@yourrishtaauntie

##perfectmatch##muslim##desi##albumcover##healthyheart

♬ Home - Edith Whiskers

"I had this idea of creating this judgment-free safe space where we could get more exposure for quality people that are just trying to find someone," she says.

Her account has accrued more than 12,000 followers, many of whom are young Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus (and more -- anyone can apply for Rishta Auntie's help). When we talked, Rishta Auntie had to set a cap of 1,000 responses on the Google Form she created for applicants. She's essentially built a database and is serving as matchmaker. Some people want to be featured on TikTok, some don't. She talks to everyone on the phone.

"A lot of them wanted to try something new, and they're willing to put themselves out there," she says. 

Rishta Auntie isn't the only one surfacing singles on TikTok. Chloe Burdette, a 29-year-old in Chicago posted a video over the summer, somewhat cheekily, where she said, "I'm going to expose my hot single friends" and made a montage of video clips of her friend Ty, with facts about him. It took off. So she made more.

"It was just content that I had on my phone," she says, "This is truly who they are. You can see their smile, you can see them laugh, you can see them in motion."

@chloe_burdette

insta: Ty.Harrington. More to come, they’re going to hate me. You’re welcome. ##matchmaker##chicago##over30##single##bachelor##thebachelor

♬ Big Love - Louis The Child & EARTHGANG & MNDR

Burdette's videos rack up thousands of likes, and they've yielded numerous dates, some involving out-of-state travel, and a couple of relationships. The demand led her to also create a form for people to fill out, and she had 6,000 applicants within a month.

Part of the reason for the success, she thinks, is that she can do a better job selling her friends, so to speak, than they can. And her background in the menswear industry has been an asset in what's essentially been marketing and leads generation, but for dating. 

Burdette's spinning this matchmaking pursuit into a company called Intro. She's in the process of talking to investors about funding. In the future, she might build it into an app. 

Love in 60 seconds

How the dating scene will evolve on TikTok remains to be seen. After all, it's not set up to be a dating app. There's no surefire way to access the app's willing singles and wall off anyone who doesn't want to or shouldn't be in the mix. Likely there are plenty of folks on the platform who would rather not deal with flirtatious DMs from strangers. 

Such is the internet: a mess that flickers between brilliant usefulness and disaster. 

But for the 18.5 billion views the hashtag #single has garnered it's not a big leap to think there's interest in a new way to shoot your shot. 

Or as Samson explained it: "TikTok opens up the world, and it's like, well if I put myself out there then maybe my soulmate will watch it."

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Google pledges $25 million to empower women and girls – CNET

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The next Google Impact Challenge focuses on women and girls.

Getty

Google is committing $25 million in grants to nonprofits addressing economic inequities faced by women and girls, as its next Google.org Impact Challenge.

Impact Challenges are a way for Google to give money and support to nonprofits with ideas for working toward solving problems. Past Impact Challenges have covered topics such as artificial intelligence and climate change.

In a blog post Monday, timed for International Women's Day, the tech giant put out a call for applications for charitable initiatives focusing on anything from "barriers to economic equality" to "cultivating entrepreneurship."

"Women and men remain on unequal footing -- and these inequalities have worsened in the wake of COVID-19," Jacquelline Fuller, president of Google's charitable wing Google.org, said in the post. Fuller cited a statistic showing that women in the US alone have lost more than 5.4 million jobs in 2020, according to the National Women's Law Center. 

Since the coronavirus pandemic started, other organizations have also sounded the alarm about what women stand to lose. A September report from McKinsey & Company warned that the pandemic could undo six years worth of progress for women in the workplace.  

Applicants will be judged by a panel including US Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, Google Chief Diversity Officer Melonie Parker and musician Shakira, among others. 

The deadline to apply is April 9, and grant recipients could get between $300,000 and $2 million, as well as non-monetary support like mentorship from Google.

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