How to Design the Perfect Yoga Space at Home

Get at least two yoga blocks. There are going to be times that, no matter how good your form and strength are, you’re going to wish your arms were a bit longer to pull off a pose. That’s where a block comes in handy. When you need to plant a hand on the floor but aren’t flexible enough to reach, the block will allow you to brace yourself.

You can also use blocks in other ways, such as raising the pelvis or resting your head in other positions. It’s the most useful and ubiquitous prop. “It’s not about assisting the practice,” Stanley says. “It’s about deepening the practice.” Other options are bolsters, which are large cushions used for support in various positions where you wouldn’t want to use a hard block, and straps, which can help you reach your feet in poses where you need extra flexibility.

Like with the mat and towel, you can use stuff lying around the house as alternatives if you want to save money while you’re still new to yoga. Tape cardboard boxes together to make blocks. Use books or a couch cushion. Stanley has even used a trash can as a block and her dog’s leash as a yoga strap. You really don’t need to buy stuff to practice yoga, she says, although once you start improvising equipment you’ll start to realize the virtue in buying gear made for yoga.

Wear the Right Clothes

Image may contain Clothing Apparel Pants Tights Human and Person
Photograph: Lululemon

“You should practice as close to naked as possible,” Stanley says. If you’re comfortable practicing naked, do that. If you can’t because you’re sharing your home or just aren’t down with the idea of it, then practice in your underwear. I use these ExOfficio boxer briefs for hiking, but the synthetic, stretchy fabric is tight-fitting but flexible: perfect for yoga. The women’s version is similarly made.

Still too much skin? Go for tighter yoga clothes instead of loose, baggy clothing. Tighter yoga pants let you be more aware of your body positioning and less concerned about extra fabric getting in your way. There are fewer yoga pant options for men than for women. A lot of what’s marketed toward men is loose-fitting, which hangs and gets caught up while positioning yourself.

It’s easier to find a T-shirt in your wardrobe that’ll work for yoga, but it could still help to buy one with some stretch in the material to prevent it from restricting your movements. Yoga clothes are expensive, but you don’t need to spend big. Uniqlo has affordable, tight-fitting pants marketed as leggings for women and tights for men that will work just fine for yoga.


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Nest Learning Thermostat vs. Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control – CNET

The Nest Learning Thermostat and the Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control share a lot of features and functionality. Both smart thermostats cost $249, both work with voice assistants and both are compatible with remote sensors. But there's also a lot that separates these two competing models. Below we'll compare the Nest and Ecobee smart thermostats so you can decide which one is right for you.

Read more: The best smart thermostats

CNET

The Learning Thermostat is Nest's inaugural product, first released in 2011. Nest has added additional Nest thermostats, security devices, smart speakers, smart displays and more over the past decade. But the $249 Learning Thermostat that helped launch the brand's initial success is still sold today as an updated, third-gen model

The Learning Thermostat has a sturdy metal dial you turn to change the temperature and make other settings adjustments. The dial is sold in seven color finishes, including stainless steel, mirror black, polished steel, brass, white, black and copper. Your purchase includes a trim kit, which you can use to cover old paint or holes -- or you can install the thermostat without it.  

The Learning Thermostat is compatible with the Nest app and the Google Home app and supports Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands. The thermostat has a proximity sensor to determine if you're home or not, as well as a learning algorithm that gets to know your schedule over time and adjusts your heat and air conditioning for you. 

This model works with Nest's remote temperature sensor, available for $39 each or in a three-pack for $117 (the pack is currently on sale for $99). 

Read CNET's review of the Nest Learning Thermostat..

Chris Monroe/CNET

Like the Nest Learning Thermostat, the Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control costs $249 and comes with a trim kit to cover any old paint or holes. But instead of the Nest's turn dial design, this model has a touch display. Just tap the screen to change the temperature and other settings.

The thermostat also works with the Ecobee app and has a built-in Alexa speaker, supports Spotify and can connect to Bluetooth speakers. 

The Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control supports Google Assistant and Siri voice commands, but you'll need a separate Google Nest or Apple smart speaker. This model has an integrated occupancy sensor. The occupancy sensor adjusts the thermostat's home and away modes automatically based on whether you're home or away. 

The thermostat also comes with a remote sensor. The sensor has an occupancy sensor, as well as a temperature sensor. Place the remote sensor in a room that runs warmer or cooler than the rest of your house and use it as the default ambient temperature for your house instead of the temperature where your thermostat is located. 

Extra remote sensors are sold in an $80 two-pack

Read CNET's review of the Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control..

Nest or Ecobee?

If you're searching for a premium smart thermostat, both the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control should be in the running. The Nest Learning Thermostat has a more sophisticated design, including seven color finishes to choose from. 

The Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control has more features and accessories. It has a built-in Alexa speaker and comes with a remote sensor (instead of having to buy it separately). In addition to its integrated Alexa speaker, the Ecobee model also works with Google Assistant and Siri. The Nest Learning Thermostat only works with Alexa and Google Assistant and doesn't have a dedicated built-in smart speaker like the Ecobee thermostat. 

The Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control has an edge over the Nest Learning Thermostat due to its many included options. But you should always consider your home's heating and cooling priorities and go from there. Would you actually use the Ecobee's built-in Alexa speaker based on the location of your thermostat? Are you more interested in coordinating your thermostat to your home decor? The design-forward Nest Learning Thermostat might be a better option for you. 

Want to learn even more about Nest and Ecobee thermostats? Check out this comparison of the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Thermostat and this one comparing the Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control to the Ecobee3 Lite

Read more: How the Nest Learning Thermostat started a design revolution

Now playing: Watch this: Ecobee's new thermostat is part Alexa speaker

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Nest Learning Thermostat vs. Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control – CNET

The Nest Learning Thermostat and the Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control share a lot of features and functionality. Both smart thermostats cost $249, both work with voice assistants and both are compatible with remote sensors. But there's also a lot that separates these two competing models. Below we'll compare the Nest and Ecobee smart thermostats so you can decide which one is right for you.

Read more: The best smart thermostats

CNET

The Learning Thermostat is Nest's inaugural product, first released in 2011. Nest has added additional Nest thermostats, security devices, smart speakers, smart displays and more over the past decade. But the $249 Learning Thermostat that helped launch the brand's initial success is still sold today as an updated, third-gen model

The Learning Thermostat has a sturdy metal dial you turn to change the temperature and make other settings adjustments. The dial is sold in seven color finishes, including stainless steel, mirror black, polished steel, brass, white, black and copper. Your purchase includes a trim kit, which you can use to cover old paint or holes -- or you can install the thermostat without it.  

The Learning Thermostat is compatible with the Nest app and the Google Home app and supports Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands. The thermostat has a proximity sensor to determine if you're home or not, as well as a learning algorithm that gets to know your schedule over time and adjusts your heat and air conditioning for you. 

This model works with Nest's remote temperature sensor, available for $39 each or in a three-pack for $117 (the pack is currently on sale for $99). 

Read CNET's review of the Nest Learning Thermostat..

Chris Monroe/CNET

Like the Nest Learning Thermostat, the Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control costs $249 and comes with a trim kit to cover any old paint or holes. But instead of the Nest's turn dial design, this model has a touch display. Just tap the screen to change the temperature and other settings.

The thermostat also works with the Ecobee app and has a built-in Alexa speaker, supports Spotify and can connect to Bluetooth speakers. 

The Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control supports Google Assistant and Siri voice commands, but you'll need a separate Google Nest or Apple smart speaker. This model has an integrated occupancy sensor. The occupancy sensor adjusts the thermostat's home and away modes automatically based on whether you're home or away. 

The thermostat also comes with a remote sensor. The sensor has an occupancy sensor, as well as a temperature sensor. Place the remote sensor in a room that runs warmer or cooler than the rest of your house and use it as the default ambient temperature for your house instead of the temperature where your thermostat is located. 

Extra remote sensors are sold in an $80 two-pack

Read CNET's review of the Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control..

Nest or Ecobee?

If you're searching for a premium smart thermostat, both the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control should be in the running. The Nest Learning Thermostat has a more sophisticated design, including seven color finishes to choose from. 

The Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control has more features and accessories. It has a built-in Alexa speaker and comes with a remote sensor (instead of having to buy it separately). In addition to its integrated Alexa speaker, the Ecobee model also works with Google Assistant and Siri. The Nest Learning Thermostat only works with Alexa and Google Assistant and doesn't have a dedicated built-in smart speaker like the Ecobee thermostat. 

The Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control has an edge over the Nest Learning Thermostat due to its many included options. But you should always consider your home's heating and cooling priorities and go from there. Would you actually use the Ecobee's built-in Alexa speaker based on the location of your thermostat? Are you more interested in coordinating your thermostat to your home decor? The design-forward Nest Learning Thermostat might be a better option for you. 

Want to learn even more about Nest and Ecobee thermostats? Check out this comparison of the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Thermostat and this one comparing the Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control to the Ecobee3 Lite

Read more: How the Nest Learning Thermostat started a design revolution

Now playing: Watch this: Ecobee's new thermostat is part Alexa speaker

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My first DJI FPV drone flight: 5 things I’ve learned – CNET

dji-fpv-07
Drew Evans/CNET

DJI's new $1,299 (£1,249, AU$2,099) FPV drone is here and its incredible speed and awesome first-person perspective means it's a flying experience unlike anything else I've experienced before. 

FPV stands for "first person view." And while all drones offer a point-of-view from the front of the craft, it's been up to hobbyists and racers to move that view from the phone or tablet screen to VR-style goggles. But with its new FPV drone, DJI is pulling that experience together in the box. It's the first ready-to-fly FPV system from the default name in drones, and it promises to make it much easier to experience and shoot fast-action FPV footage. 

You can read all about the drone in our in-depth hands-on test, but here I've put together my findings after my first few drone flights and what you should expect if you're looking to invest. 

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1. It can be nauseating

The nature of the first-person view means you're seeing through the eyes of the drone as you send it speeding over the landscape. As a result, there's a high chance of motion sickness, caused by your brain thinking your body is moving while you're actually staying still. 

It's much the same as using a VR headset, so if you've ever felt sick after playing a game using the Oculus Quest or the HTC Vive then prepare for similar feelings here. I definitely experienced it with the drone, but not to an extent that I felt physically ill -- I just had to take regular short breaks while flying. If you're among those who really suffer with motion sickness then an FPV drone may not be for you.

dji-fpv-drone-v2
CNET

2. It's difficult to judge distance

The wide angle view of the camera means it's difficult to get a proper idea of your proximity to objects, which can be something of a danger when you're flying at speeds of up to 87 miles per hour (140 kilometers per hour). I've seen amazing FPV videos of people expertly flying through tiny gaps between rocks or trees, but it's now clear to me that must take a lot of practice hours to get right. 

There are sensors that warn if you're too close to an object, but even so, when you're skimming over trees at top speed, a split second of missing a warning can be the difference between safely passing a branch or smashing straight into it. 

My advice? Play it safe while you get used to using the drone and do lots of practice flights. Try setting up some safe plastic hoops in your park and practice flying through them before you try the same with something more solid. 

3. You need a second person

The nature of FPV flying means you need to be wearing a headset. That means you're totally blocked off from the world around you which is not only risky, but can be illegal, depending on your local drone laws. In the UK, for example, you have to always be in line of sight of your drone, which is a gray area (at best) if you're wearing goggles. Bottom line: You'll want an ungoggled spotter to watch out for any dangers. 

dji-fpv-02
Drew Evans/CNET

Those dangers could be anything from an incoming helicopter, a kite, a flock of geese or maybe just another drone user. All things you'd spot from the ground normally, but that you might not see until it's too late when you're only seeing the world from your drone's perspective. (Always make sure you fly within the local laws wherever you are.)

4. You need more space than you think

The tiny Mavic Mini 2 might have been easy to fly around a small park, but the terrifying top speeds of the FPV means you're going to need a much bigger playground to properly experience it. I took it to a local reservoir on a hillside, thinking I would have endless space and was amazed at how quickly it shot from one side to the other. 

Don't underestimate how quickly it can get around and try and fly it somewhere too small and enclosed. It either won't be as fun to fly, or you'll run the risk of ploughing it into something solid and smashing it to bits. 

5. It's damn cool

All of the above cautionary advice aside, it's amazing fun to fly. As someone who's always dreamed of flying over the landscape like a bird, the DJI FPV is the closest thing I've ever found to that. I loved trying to spot routes I want to take before speeding through them -- and that's before you even consider how cool your footage might look. 

There's unquestionably a big learning curve to get the hang of it properly, and there's the risk of damaging it if you try to run before you can walk. But take things steadily -- and safely -- and you'll have no trouble. If you've ever wanted to replicate any of the amazing FPV drone videos online, or if you've already got a regular drone and want to take things further, I highly recommend considering the DJI FPV. 

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Facebook is giving you more control over what you see in your News Feed – CNET

change-the-order-of-news-feed-including-favourites

You now have more control over what appears in your News Feed.

Facebook

Facebook is giving you more control over what you see when you use the social media platform -- in particular what you see appear in your News Feeds and who's allowed to comment on your posts. The social network announced on Wednesday that it's introducing a number of changes, all designed to put Facebook users in the driving seat while navigating the platform.

Most significant among the new tools is the ability to determine what content appears in your News Feed and in what order. You'll now have the power to determine whether you see content appearing chronologically as it's posted, or, as is currently standard on the platform, to see what Facebook's algorithm has decided to show you. If neither of those choices offers you the experience you're after, you'll also be able to filter to see content only from your favourites.

To access these new options, you'll need to look out for the Feed Filters Bar that should appear at the top of your News Feed. This will allow you to switch easily between the different feeds. Facebook introduced a tool allowing you to choose up to 30 favourite people and pages you most enjoy seeing content from back in October, so make sure you've chosen some accounts to view content from before choosing that option in the Feed Filters Bar.

Facebook sometimes places content in your News Feed from people or pages you don't actively follow, which can be confusing. Even with the new controls, it will continue to do this, but it will now explain why it's showing you this content. When these "suggested for you" posts pop up in your feed, you'll now have the option to tap "Why am I seeing this?", which should provide you with more context around the decision.

In addition to having more control over what you see in your News Feed, you'll also have new powers to control who is able to comment on your own public posts. This can range from anyone who is able to see the post, to only the specific people and pages you tag. The hope, said Facebook in a press release, is that you'll be able to limit unwanted interactions and engage in conversations that are "meaningful" to you.

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Turing Award goes to researchers who made programming easier and more powerful – CNET

The A.M. Turing Award is the top prize in the computer science field.

The A.M. Turing Award is the top prize in the computer science field.

Association for Computing Machinery; Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Without a crucial software development tool called the compiler, we'd have to descend into the incomprehensible world of machine-code mutterings before we could control computers. Which is why two researchers who helped develop the compiler, Alfred Aho and Jeffrey Ullman, just won the prestigious 2020 A.M. Turing Award.

The collaboration between Ullman and Aho that pioneered compiler technology began in 1967 at Bell Labs, AT&T's storied research center, according to the Association for Computing Machinery. The professional organization selects recipients for the A.M. Turing Award and its $1 million cash prize.

The award, named for British computing pioneer Alan Turing, gives plaudits to computer science giants. Previous recipients are researchers instrumental to creating today's artificial intelligence technology, the reduced instruction set computing chip (RISC) design now in all smartphones, the World Wide Web, data encryption and the computer graphics that made Toy Story and modern animation possible.

Alfred Aho and Jeffrey Ullman, winners of the 2020 A.M. Turing Award

Alfred Aho, left, and Jeffrey Ullman, winners of the 2020 A.M. Turing Award

Columbia University, Stanford University

Ullman is now a professor emeritus at Stanford University and chief executive of computer science e-learning company Gradiance. Aho is professor emeritus at Columbia University. 

Today's computers are programmed with high-level languages that are relatively comprehensible to humans, with a range of data types and elaborate commands. It's the job of a compiler to turn those language instructions into the machine code that a processor actually understands. That low-level code includes operations like fetching a number from a memory slot and adding its value to the number stored in another memory slot. Beyond the most basic operations, it's hard for humans to write or follow.

Aho and Ullman helped figure out compiler technology that translates high-level programs into low-level machine code.

They also were instrumental in developing software algorithms, the recipes computers can follow for repeated tasks like sorting a jumble of data into an ordered list. And they documented their work in influential books like the "dragon books" on compiler design.

"Their textbooks have been the gold standard for training students, researchers, and practitioners," said Jeff Dean, senior vice president at Google AI, in a statement. Google funds the award's prize money.

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LinkedIn is ‘doing early tests’ to build a Clubhouse rival – CNET

concept-mock-linkedin
LinkedIn

LinkedIn is throwing its hat into the live audio ring. 

The professional networking platform is conducting "early tests" to create an audio experience that's connected to your professional identity, the company said Tuesday, in a bid to stake out a place in the fast-growing social audio category made popular by Clubhouse. This comes as Twitter undergoes a global rollout out its live audio feature, Spaces. It also follows Spotify and Slack's announcements that they're building Clubhouse-style rivals on their own.

"We're looking at how we can bring audio to other parts of LinkedIn such as events and groups, to give our members have even more ways to connect to their community." Suzi Owens, a spokesperson for LinkedIn said.

The live audio feature is the latest in a gaggle of new features announced by LinkedIn. It's also rolling out a video introduction feature on the website, in an effort to let its community of professionals better showcase their individuality. 

Based on a mockup provided by LinkedIn, its yet-to-be-named version of Clubhouse will feature a stage that will spotlight the room's host and speakers, as well as a group of listeners.

Clubhouse is a popular invite-only audio app that shot to fame after tech tycoons Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg made appearances on it this year.

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WHO study in Wuhan offers no definitive answers on coronavirus origins – CNET

A joint study into the origins of the coronavirus, conducted by experts with the World Health Organization and China, delivered a 316-page report Tuesday, detailing the complex, confusing origins of the pandemic but providing little definitive evidence as to how the coronavirus first emerged.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference Tuesday morning it "advances our understanding in important ways," but concluded "I do not believe that this assessment was extensive enough."

The long-delayed report is based around a 28-day visit to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first COVID-19 cases were reported in 2019. It was carried out by a team of 34 experts, including 17 international experts led by the WHO's Peter Ben Embarek, and 17 experts from China. The visit took place in January and February this year, a full year after the virus emerged.

The findings in the expansive document were telegraphed by a press conference conducted on Feb. 9, in which researchers suggested SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, most likely jumped from a bat to another animal before infecting humans. It also reiterates the stance taken by study members during a press conference in February that a laboratory incident is an "extremely unlikely" pathway for the coronavirus to have entered the human population. 

But the dense, technical report was never going to be a watershed moment in the origins discussion. 

It was designed to be the first phase of a two-phase study, in which international researchers would collaborate with Chinese counterparts to review the early data surrounding the pandemic and plan for a more in-depth mission. Embarek himself has said this wasn't an investigation.

It has also been dogged by questions around interference from Beijing and conflicts of interest in members chosen to be part of the international research team. Ghebreyesus acknowledged on Tuesday the difficulties the team had in "accessing raw data" from China and hoped future studies "include more timely and comprehensive data sharing." 

While the question "where did the coronavirus come from?" remains unanswered, the report details the four scenarios the team propose for its emergence:

  1. It directly passed from an animal, such as a bat, to a human
  2. It passed from a bat through another species, before infecting humans
  3. It was introduced through frozen food and the cold-chain
  4. Or it emerged from a laboratory incident
pathways.png

The pathways to emergence diagram in the report, showing the various potential origins of the pandemic.

Joint WHO-China Study

Simplifying things, the report interrogates two opposing locations for SARS-CoV-2's emergence: a wet market and a laboratory. Other global locations are also suggested, but the brunt of the report focuses on how the virus may have emerged via wildlife or frozen food sold at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, a wet market in Wuhan visited by some of the earliest known people with COVID-19, and other markets in the city that sell fresh meat and fish. 

Little data is provided for the opposing scenario, a laboratory incident, but there are interesting takeaways from the 193-page annexes, detailing presentations by researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and extensive sampling of wildlife in different parts of China. We've highlighted some of the key findings below.

Market pressures

Contact with wild animals and livestock can initiate the spillover of viruses from animal to human.

The report discusses much of the sampling and distribution of cases in the Huanan Seafood market and suggests further work is required in studying the supply chains that fed into it (and other Wuhan markets).

Huanan was closed on Jan. 1, 2020, and disinfected, with China's CDC collecting environmental and animal samples on the same day. The WHO-China visit occurred on Jan. 31, 2021, but report the data hasn't yet been analyzed in depth by the joint team due to lack of time. 

The researchers aimed to understand how the virus arrived in, and moved through, Huanan by exploring molecular data, epidemiological data and sampling of animals. Although the Huanan market has been the focus of inquiry, only 28% of early cases had been exposed to just this market, and the very first case had no exposure to the market. 

The attention on the market has largely been on the animals traded there and the wildlife brought in. Several species are known to harbor coronaviruses and one of them may have carried the virus into the market. At least 10 animal stalls sold animals or products including snakes, chickens, ducks, deer, badgers, rabbits, bamboo rats, crocodiles and hedgehogs. Other products were sold frozen and imported from areas across China.

There are several key points regarding the testing data:

  • There were 718 environmental samples taken in the Huanan market, and 110 taken from the drainage system. Of those samples, 64 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.
  • There's no evidence of animal infections were discovered from the 188 animals tested. 
  • There's no evidence of the sale of live mammals was found in 2019 or during the 2021 visit. 
  • Residents interviewed by the team reported never seeing any live animals sold at the market.
  • Extensive testing of animal samples in the market and in supply farms all tested negative.
  • There's no evidence for association between early cases and specific products sold in the market. 
  • It's impossible to tell if a vendor or a customer brought the virus into the market.
  • Over 1,100 bats in Hubei province were tested for SARS-CoV-2 and similar viruses, but none tested positive.

On the evidence presented, there appears little reason to suggest Huanan market was the birthplace of the pandemic. With animal samples and vendor suppliers turning up zero positive cases, there's no obvious route for the virus to get into the marketplace. This is the same conclusion that Gao Fu, the director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, came to in May 2020.

Another theory, propagated by Beijing in recent months, suggests cold-chain and frozen food products may have brought SARS-CoV-2 into Wuhan. Flimsy evidence has shown the coronavirus can survive on these surfaces, but there's no compelling example of the cold-chain resulting in COVID-19 infections outside of China. 

In all, the report states "no firm conclusion" can be drawn about the role of the Huanan market in the origin of the outbreak. This doesn't rule out a jump from bat to human, however. Such a leap may have occurred elsewhere or in animals yet to be sampled.

At a seminar in Sydney on Wednesday, Edward Holmes, a virologist from the University of Sydney, suggested both raccoon dogs and minks, which weren't tested in and around Huanan, were good candidates for the missing link the virus needed to jump from bats to humans. Though the 2021 team found no evidence they were in the market, a trip by Holmes in 2014 did reportedly find raccoon dogs at Huanan.

Lab questions

Though the majority of scientists believe the virus leapt from animals to humans and the research team dubbed a laboratory incident "extremely unlikely," there is a growing number of scientists who think SARS-CoV-2 could have accidentally been released from a lab in Wuhan.

The focus in this hypothetical scenario has been on the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a laboratory in the city known to harbor and study a large collection of coronaviruses. 

The research team visited the WIV on Feb. 3, 2021, but that visit isn't mentioned in the final report. Details of the trip can be found over four pages in one of the report's annexes. "They clearly didn't give this a lot of thought," says Nikolai Petrovsky, a vaccine developer from Flinders University in Australia.

Researchers at the WIV, including Shi Zhengli, have been sampling bats across China for over a decade and studying the coronaviruses that lurk within the flying mammals. The research team weren't given access to any data in the laboratory but were provided with an "extensive scientific report" by Shi.

A few key details about the trip show:

  • The WIV collected 19,000 samples, with 2,481 testing positive for coronaviruses. 
  • A claim all fieldwork is done with full PPE, though this has been contested.
  • Staff at the WIV, including director Yuan Zhiming, professor Wang Yanyi and virologist Shi Zhengli were questioned, but no raw data was seen.
  • Yuan Zhiming emphasized the international team's visit could help to defuse some of the conspiracy theories that were circulating.
  • Staff at the WIV working on coronavirus research all tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in April 2019 and March 2020.
  • A database of coronavirus data, taken offline by the WIV, was attacked more than 3,000 by hackers and taken offline. It remains offline.
  • Yuan Zhiming "refuted categorically" the rumors of a leak.

One of the most pertinent points is the WIV's testing of staff members for SARS-CoV-2. No staff member tested positive for antibodies to the virus, an indicator they had carried the virus. That makes it unclear how a WIV member could have carried the virus out into Wuhan. These tests, according to the report, were performed in March 2020. How quickly antibodies disappear is still up for debate, but recent studies have suggested they persevere for months and, thus, should be detectable at this time.  

Shi also provided information to the team on a spate of mysterious pneumonia cases in mineshaft workers in 2012. The workers cleaned a cave where SARS-CoV-2's closest ancestor, RaTG13, was discovered by the WIV team. Three of the workers died.

The WHO-China team state that, "according to the WIV experts," the miners' mysterious pneumonia was likely explained by fungal infections rather than a coronavirus. This goes against information uncovered by independent researchers where doctors examining the miners suggested they had SARS-like symptoms.

What's next?

Although the report lists a laboratory incident as "extremely unlikely" and deems further study unnecessary, the WHO doesn't see it the same way.

"As far as WHO is concerned, all hypotheses remain on the table," Ghebreyesus said Tuesday. 

Prior to the report's publication, a small group of researchers and scientists, known as the Paris group, published an open letter pre-empting the findings and calling for a "full and unrestricted international forensic investigation" into COVID-19's origins. The group suggests the WHO-China mission had structural limitations making it impossible to fully examine the pandemic's origin. 

They were joined in their concern on Tuesday by 14 governments across the world, including the US, Australia, Canada, Japan and the UK. The nations expressed concern about the transparency in the WHO-China study. 

"We voice our shared concerns that the international expert study on the source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples," the statement reads. 

During a press briefing on Tuesday, team leader Embarek cited difficulties in obtaining raw data but said the international researchers "were never pressured to remove critical elements in our report."  Others point out a double-standard. The same nations would likely be reluctant to "open their drawers," says Mary-Louise McLaws, an epidemiologist at the University of New South Wales.

Such assurances are unlikely to see the debate around the coronavirus origins end any time soon, however. Jamie Metzl, co-author of the Paris Group open letter, says the team will very likely release another open letter soon. "It's my personal view that the best next step is a new resolution at the World Health Assembly," he notes.

The Assembly, which takes place in May, will likely see discussion around the studies proposed by the WHO-China team that need to take place in phase two. The report suggests further investigation of the supply chain to the Huanan market and other markets in Wuhan is required, in addition to expanding the "geographic range" of surveillance. 

***
Want to get in touch about COVID-19's origin story? Email the author.
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2022 Porsche 911 GT3 priced from $162,450 – Roadshow

Can't wait to see that wing in person.

Porsche

The new Porsche 911 GT3 will no doubt be a total firecracker, but it certainly won't come cheap. Porsche confirmed Tuesday that the 2022 911 GT3 will cost $162,450 when it arrives in the US this fall, and that price includes a $1,350 destination charge.

Sure, the 2022 GT3 is over $17,000 more expensive than the previous 2018 GT3, but let's put these numbers into perspective. The new GT3 undercuts the price of a Porsche 911 Turbo by $13,200, and it lines up pretty evenly with its closest competitors, including the Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition ($162,000) and Mercedes-AMG GT R ($163,895). The GT3 even puts up a solid fight with more powerful, more expensive supercars like the Lamborghini Huracan Evo or McLaren 600LT. I'm definitely not trying to convince you that $162,450 is in any way affordable, but considering the competition and the rest of Porsche's 911 range, the new GT3 is reasonably priced.

The best thing about the new GT3 is that it doesn't mess with the attributes that have always made this car great. Power comes from a naturally aspirated 4.0-liter flat-6, sending 502 horsepower and 364 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. You can row your own gears with a proper six-speed manual transmission, and Porsche offers its PDK dual-clutch automatic, too, which allows the GT3 to accelerate to 60 mph in as little as 3.2 seconds.

More impressively, the new 911 GT3 was able to rip off a 6-minute, 59.927-second lap time at Germany's Nürburgring Nordschleife, which is more than 17 seconds quicker than the previous GT3. A lot of that time-saving is thanks to the new car's improved chassis, including a double-wishbone front suspension setup borrowed from the 911 RSR race car.

Inside, the GT3 has sport seats, and you can option full carbon fiber buckets. The GT3 also gets the same infotainment updates as the rest of the 2022 911 range, meaning it'll be one of the first Porsche models to get Android Auto compatibility. (Finally!)

Look for a full 911 GT3 first drive review to hit Roadshow in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, check out the video below, where Porsche's GT car director, Andreas Preuninger, shares his thoughts on this sportiest of 992-generation 911s.

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2022 Porsche 911 update finally includes Android Auto – Roadshow

You can order the 911 Turbo with Remote Park Assist, too.

Porsche

Porsche announced a number of tech updates for the 911 lineup on Tuesday, and one of the additions is something we've wanted for a while: Android Auto. Yes, the Porsche Communication Management infotainment system will finally support this smartphone compatibility, though it's an update that'll be limited to the 911 for now.

The 911's 10.9-inch central touchscreen will run the updated version of PCM found in the Taycan EV. But that doesn't necessarily guarantee the Taycan will get Android Auto, too. "We've not announced any model year 2022 Taycan variants yet, so we can't speak to any potential updates or changes that may or may not occur there," a Porsche spokesperson told Roadshow via email.

Along those same lines, it looks like the rest of Porsche's lineup will remain Android Auto-less for the foreseeable future. The current 718 Boxster/Cayman range still uses the old PCM setup on a 7-inch screen, so that's definitely a no-go. But as for the Cayenne, Macan and Panamera, Porsche told us, "There are no current plans, but we are constantly evaluating the potential integration of further technology into our vehicles." Fingers crossed.

Android Auto joins wireless Apple CarPlay as a standard part of the 911's infotainment package, but it's included as a trial within the Porsche Connect suite of services. Thankfully, Porsche Connect is now equipped as a three-year trial, and includes things like natural-language navigation, real-time traffic, satellite radio and more. The PCM update also brings along Apple Music and Apple Podcasts integration, just like in the Taycan.

"Customers can choose to extend wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto compatibility at the time of ordering the 911 prior to production for $360, or at a higher price as a Function on Demand after the three years is up," Porsche told us. With the new 911 GT3, however, the extended offering is standard.

Finally, Porsche is adding a Remote Park Assist option to the 911 Carrera, Targa and Turbo models (so, everything but the GT3) equipped with the PDK dual-clutch transmission. This gives drivers the option to pull their vehicle in or out of a parking space via smartphone control, and will be bundled alongside other useful amenities like a 3D surround-view camera, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change assist.

Mechanically speaking, the 2022 911s are identical to their predecessors (well, aside from the GT3, which is the new hotness), but because of the added equipment, these cars see a price bump across the board. The 911 Carrera and Targa models cost $2,000 more than before, while Turbo versions have a $3,500 price hike. This means the base 911 Carrera now begins at $102,550 (including $1,350 for destination) with the top-end Turbo S Cabriolet stretching to $221,150.

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