Just in time to avoid the end of the fiscal year, the US Air Force has finally selected a successor to the aged UH-1 Hueys used by the Air Force's nuclear missile security force: the MH-139, a militarized version of the AgustaWestland AW139 from the Italian aerospace and defense company Leonardo. The MH-139 was a joint bid by Leonardo and Boeing and will be built in the United States at Leonardo's facilities in Philadelphia. The award this morning is for $375 million, covering delivery of the first four helicopters. But the overall program could be worth up to $2.4 billion, delivering up to 84 helicopters, as well as training systems and support equipment.
The MH-139 beat out two separate bids to provide helicopters based on the Lockheed Martin Sikorsky H-60 Blackhawk—one from Lockheed for a new variant based on the helicopter being built for the Air Force's special operations squadrons, and another from Sierra Nevada Corporation that would have refurbished retired US Army UH-60s with new avionics. The competition had been held up by a pre-award protest by Lockheed Martin, and there had been concern that the Air Force would not be able to make a selection in time to avoid having to go back to Congress for reauthorization of the purchase.
The Blackhawk was the original pick to win the program, which the Air Force had intended to simply sole-source to Sikorsky. But then the service's procurement team decided to put the program up for bid, and the competition paid off for the Air Force. The overall price tag of the helicopter program came down considerably from what the Air Force originally expected to pay—an estimated $4.1 billion. "Strong competition drove down costs for the program, resulting in $1.7 billion in savings to the taxpayer,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson in a statement on the award.
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Huawei's latest flagship smartphone will be the Mate 20 Pro, and the first images of it have leaked. German site WinFuture has posted press images of the upcoming smartphone, which will be announced on October 16th.
The pictures show a mostly cookie-cutter smartphone design on the front. There's a sizable notch on the top and a bit of a "chin" bezel at the bottom. In the pictures, only the earpiece and a single front camera is visible in the notch, although it's a safe bet that there are sensors for proximity and brightness in there. Things get interesting on the back, where the triple-camera layout forms a big black square.
A no-show at Apple's September event, we look to October for the rumored MacBook Air redesign.
Almost all of modern physics comes down to understanding steam engines. Yes, we have all sorts of fancy laws about the Universe and atoms, but thermodynamics rules them all (and not in Sauron’s benevolent dictatorship style). When thermodynamics slaps you, you feel it. In a new theory paper, a pair of physicists have risked a slapping by nature. They’ve proposed a heat engine that may be practical—for a given value of practical—and operate very close to the limits of physical law.Carnot rules
One famous limit of thermodynamics is that heat engines, like steam engines and internal combustion engines, must be less efficient than a Carnot heat engine (a heat engine cycle designed by French engineer Carnot). Although the Carnot efficiency is very easy to calculate, building an engine that operates at that efficiency is highly impractical.
It's not just the impractical mechanics of such an engine. The very nature of the engine suggests that the ideal operating efficiency is achieved only for zero output power. Not very useful, in so many words. But it gets even less useful than that. By delving into the details, you find that as the output power approaches zero, the fluctuations in output power get very large. In other words, even if we could construct such an engine, it would run erratically and drive the operator insane.
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Customers might have to wait a hot minute to get their cars, though.
Apple announced a number of features that got people excited for the Apple Watch Series 4, and its redesigned internals show how much thought the company put into its latest smartwatch. iFixit tore down the Series 4 and found a few interesting tidbits about the Watch that prove it represents a thorough redesign of the original device, making it a more repairable wearable.
Despite having the same estimated battery life as the Series 3, the Series 4's new battery stands out among the details of the teardown. A 1.113Whr battery powers the Series 4, which is larger than the 1.07Whr battery in last year's 38mm Series 3 but smaller than the 1.34Whr of the 42mm Series 3 (iFixit tore down a 44mm Series 4, which is the new equivalent to a 42mm Series 3).
It appears Apple tried to achieve a solid middle-ground with the battery's size, while relying on other hardware and software improvements to do extra work in maintaining overall battery life for both the 40mm and 44mm models. Both are expected to last up to 18 hours on a single charge.
FuboTV is aiming for flashy design its heavyweight-backed competitors haven't tried.
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Uber wants to fly you around the city like the Jetsons, but there are still roadblocks to overcome before UberAir can get off the ground.
Most Peruvian mummies come bundled in cloth, with their legs folded up to their chests and their arms around their knees. But the young boy we now know only as the Nasca Boy was buried in a position he probably occupied in life: on a contoured, cushioned adobe stool, with his lower legs tucked beneath his seat. It’s the only burial of its kind that archaeologists have ever seen, and it immediately suggests two very important things about this child: he lived with a disability that would have required additional care and resources, and he was well cared for and valued by the people around him, even during a period of their history when food was scarce and life was uncertain.
That’s the conclusion of a new study, which revisits the original 1973 research on the mummified remains of the young boy, who died around 700 CE. The original archaeologists, led by the late Marvin Allison, focused on identifying evidence of tuberculosis in the boy’s remains; they provided the first evidence that the disease had stalked South American populations long before Europeans arrived.
Archaeologist Lorna Tilley and her colleagues have taken a second look at that study in an effort to reconstruct details of the child’s experience with his illness and disability, the kind of care he probably received, and what that reveals about the culture in which he lived. “I rely on taking the information available from the work of other archaeologists and synthesizing it, hoping that I've understood their research results and providing copious references so that readers can go to the sources themselves,” Tilley told Ars Technica.