2020 AFL Grand Final: How to watch Tigers vs. Cats live, start time, stream, US cable – CNET

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It’s the Cats vs. the Tigers in the 2020 AFL Grand Final.

Chris Hyde/Getty Images

The pandemic has really messed with a lot of sports this year, but down in Australia we’ve managed to get through 20-plus weeks of Professional Australian Rules Football without any significant COVID-19 setbacks. This weekend, it all comes to an end in Australia’s Super Bowl: The AFL Grand Final.

It’s a feline extravaganza as the top two teams, the Richmond Tigers and the Geelong Cats, face off for the 2020 Premiership Cup.

Usually, around 100,000 spectators would pack out the Melbourne Cricket Ground for a game of “footy” in September. This year, things are a little different. For one, it’s October. Two: Pat McAfee single-handedly got US viewers excited about Aussie Rules when lockdowns shut down all the major US sports, so there’s a bit of extra interest. 

It’ll be a historic Grand Final for the AFL. It’s the first time the Grand Final will be played at night, under lights. That’s not the best news for international viewers in the US, which puts the game live into the States in the early morning. 

Australian Rules Football is the greatest game in the world, but the Australian Football League isn’t great at pulling together guides for international viewers — its international broadcast guide refers to 2016. But, look, I swear we’re not backwards down here, and despite how it looks, the AFL does want to expand its fan base. 

If you’re keen to see the biggest* spectacle on the planet without all the ads you get during Super Bowl…  here’s everything you need to know.

When does the Grand Final start?

The first bounce is at 7:30 p.m. AEDT in Australia. If you’re in the US, you’ll need to make a night of it or get up early and brew a latte (that’s what the folk in Melbourne, where the Grand Final is normally played, would do.)

Let’s run through some US time zones: 

  • Hawaii: 10:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23.
  • Pacific: 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24.
  • Mountain: 2:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24.
  • Central: 3:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24.
  • Eastern: 4:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24.

And if you’re in the UK:

  • BST: 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24.

Just because this is a (potential) one-off nighttime Grand Final and the start time is a little wonky, here it is in all Australian time zones:

  • NSW, VIC, ACT, TAS: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24.
  • QLD: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24.
  • SA, NT: 7:00 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24.
  • WA: 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24.

How to watch the 2020 AFL Grand Final 

The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 in the US, and coverage starts an hour before the bounce at 12:30 a.m. PT / 3:30 a.m. ET. In the UK, BT Sport 3 will be carrying the Grand Final. That means you’re going to need a cable subscription if you want to get involved. If you don’t have one, there are a few other options you can pursue. 

Any international viewer can stream the game by using Watch AFL, though a Grand Final Pass is going to set you back $40 AUD (about $28 USD). 

Even though the website looks like it was developed in the 1990s, you can watch on a compatible phone, tablet or computer, and it supports Chromecast, Airplay or the Apple TV app. There’s VPN potential here, if that’s something you’re interested in.

Aussies are, understandably, covered. Channel 7 will broadcast the Grand Final on free-to-air live. Coverage will start at 4:30 p.m. AEDT. 

The AFL Broadcasting department tells CNET that “streaming in Australia is only available on the AFL Live App presented by Telstra,” which means you won’t be able to get on any free streaming services and watch along. 

The AFL Live Pass costs $4.99 for a week, but new customers can get a free two-week trial — so that might be your best bet if you haven’t signed up before. However, this doesn’t support casting to devices. 

There are certain devices that will allow you to play the game on 7Plus if you’re inside Australia. For a full list, head to the 7Plus website. Apple TV, PlayStation4, Android TV are all included.

I know nothing about Aussie Rules but I’m excited, what should I know?

To be honest, this video produced by the AFL gives a really clear, concise rundown of everything you need to know. I’d start there. Then watch highlights from the 1997 AFL Grand Final between the Adelaide Crows and the St. Kilda Saints and you’ll be set.

Wait, they’re not wearing pads?

Pads? Pfft, please.

Where is the Grand Final played?

Unlike the Super Bowl, the Grand Final is only ever played in one stadium in Australia: the Melbourne Cricket Ground, or MCG. However, this year being… well, this year, there’s been a change of plans. 

The Grand Final will now be played at the Gabba in Brisbane, Queensland. Perhaps to show our international readers just how important the MCG is to the Grand Final, consider this: The AFL decided to cut up a patch of grass from the MCG and ship it 1,100 miles across the country so the MCG would somehow be involved in the final game of the year.

This is a spare no expense type operation, guys. I can’t imagine what McAfee feels about this.

Is there a halftime show?

Weirdly, yes. The AFL doesn’t typically run a halftime show, but COVID-19 has got them trying new things and they’ll be running entertainment at the break. 

Look, fair warning: This is the biggest event on the Australian sporting calendar, but it can’t compete with the spectacle that is the Super Bowl. The halftime show will feature a band by the name of Sheppard, who you may know from their huge single “Geronimo” (or you might not). 

For what it’s worth, the AFL is going with an All Australian theme for the entertainment, but it probably should just go back to The Killers, who delivered an iconic pregame show that was as delightful as anything Springsteen’s done at a Super Bowl. 

Facebook Threatens to Muzzle an NYU Research Project Into Its Political Ad Targeting

Illustration for article titled Facebook Threatens to Muzzle an NYU Research Project Into Its Political Ad Targeting

Photo: Loic Venance (Getty Images)

Facebook’s trying to muzzle a group of academic researchers working to shine a light on the company’s notoriously opaque political-ad targeting practices. It’s threatened the team with “enforcement action” if they don’t pull the plug on the project and wipe all data gathered so far, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

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Researchers with New York University’s engineering school launched the NYU Ad Observatory project in September, an initiative that uses a custom-built browser to gather data from more than 6,500 volunteers on what kind of political ads Facebook shows them. Facebook contends that this violates its terms of service banning automated data collection. Per the Journal, Facebook’s director of privacy and data policy Allison Hendrix sent a letter on Oct. 16 warning the researchers that they “may be subject to additional enforcement action” if the university doesn’t shut down the project immediately and delete any data it has collected.

“Scraping tools, no matter how well-intentioned, are not a permissible means of collecting information from us,” she wrote.

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Company spokesman Joe Osborne said in a statement to the Journal that the university received a warning months ago that its project would violate Facebook’s policies. He added that if the team didn’t voluntarily shutter its research, Facebook could prevent them from collecting any more data by tweaking the platform’s coding. After the report went live, Facebook sent a statement to the outlet saying that it “wouldn’t take any action on the NYU project’s data collection until well after the election.”

The project, which has cataloged targeting data for more than 200,000 ads so far, aims to establish an online repository for journalists, researchers, and policymakers to search political ads by state and learn what messages that advertisers are trying to push to which demographics. Following the outrage over Facebook’s botched handling of political advertising and user data in the 2016 presidential election, the company increased transparency around its ad process, though critics say it still has far to go. Facebook made available an archive of advertisements shown on the platform and included data about who sponsored the ad, where it ran, and the geographic location of users who saw it. But the archive’s noticeable lack of information about its ad-targeting practices means there’s still a huge knowledge gap regarding how Facebook determines which users see the ads in the first place.

Laura Edelson, a researcher who helps oversee the Ad Observatory project, told the Journal that the team has zero plans to halt its research. “The only thing that would prompt us to stop doing this would be if Facebook would do it themselves, which we have called on them to do,” she said.

And it’s far from the first time Facebook’s been fiercely defensive over its walled garden. Jessica González, co-founder of the civil rights coalition Change the Terms, said in December that she’d interviewed many data scientists eager to get a peek under Facebook’s hood; in particular, at the ways in which the platform programmatically surfaces certain types of content over others. But Facebook has remained averse, she said, to giving qualified researchers the level of access they’d need for any meaningful analysis.

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Lack of transparency is one of the top complaints of civil rights leaders who’ve personally engaged with Facebook’s senior-most staff, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who in November hosted Change the Terms’ members for a private dinner at his Palo Alto home. “They’re building systems and tools, AI tools, that are intended on dealing with misinformation, dealing with hate, but where is the transparency around how those systems actually work?” Rashad Robinson, one of the civil rights leaders invited, told Gizmodo at the time.

Robinson’s organization, Color of Change, was formerly the target of a smear campaign carried out by a public relations firm funded by Facebook, as the New York Times first reported.

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Policymakers have similarly denounced the company’s lack of transparency. Senator Amy Klobuchar, who’s currently sponsoring a bill that would force online platforms to open up about how they handle political advertising, said in a statement to the Journal that Facebook’s threat to crack down on NYU’s research “is further evidence that voluntary standards are insufficient.”

It’s unacceptable that in the middle of an election, Facebook is making it harder for Americans to get information about online political ads,” she said.

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[The Wall Street Journal]

How Riot used tech from The Mandalorian to build Worlds’ astonishing mixed reality stage

After a hard-fought win over Korean team Gen.G, all five members of Europe’s G2 Esports stood at the edge of a pool of clear, glistening water to take a bow and celebrate their victory. Two members then picked up their star teammate, Rasmus “Caps” Borregaard Winther, and held him over the water, as if to throw him overboard. It’s a good thing they didn’t — despite how real the water may have looked to viewers, it was nothing but pixels.

The annual League of Legends World Championship is currently underway in Shanghai, and like most major events, it has had to be re-envisioned in order to be possible in our new pandemic-dominated reality. Typically, the early stages of the tournament are something of a traveling road show, with different rounds taking place in different cities. In 2020, things had to change.

With travel restrictions in place, and fans no longer able to attend matches, the team at League developer Riot tried something different. They built out a set made up of massive LED screens in a technology setup similar to what Disney used to create The Mandalorian’s sci-fi landscapes. It has been used to startling effect. Matches have looked like they’ve taken place in a cloudy, cyberpunk Shanghai skyline or amid a flooded landscape. What could have been a drab competition in the absence of fans has turned into perhaps the most impressive Worlds in recent memory.

“There are any number of days where we come to the set and say ‘Wait, I don’t think this has ever been done before.’ You just kind of get used to it after a while,” says Michael Figge, creative director at Possible Productions, which partnered with Riot on the event.

The feat is all the more impressive when you consider the compressed schedule. Typically, producers from Riot and Possible spend well over a year planning for Worlds, but that simply wasn’t possible this year. It wasn’t until May that the decision was made to utilize this tech in a studio without fans.

The setup is a powerhouse, and Riot says that the LED screens — there are more than 900 LED tiles in total — display visuals at 32K resolution and at 60 frames per second. Those visuals were made using a modified version of the Unreal Engine, and in total, the team is made up of 40 artists and technicians. Nick Troop, executive producer for Worlds 2020 at Riot, describes it as “a creative tool that gives us effectively infinite power to manifest whatever our collective imaginations bring to the fore.” And he says one of the most important elements of the whole setup is the way things are shot, powered by four specialized cross-reality cameras.

“Rather than having a single projected camera perspective, we actually have two running simultaneously, effectively all of the time,” he explains. This allows the broadcast team to work in a more traditional way; they can swap between the two simulated perspectives at will, using four cameras to shoot the action on set. “It means that the broadcast team can do what feels to them what feels like a ‘normal television show,’ but in this curated, and beautiful series of environments,” says Troop.

For viewers watching on Twitch or YouTube, the LED soundstage is transformed into a sprawling fantasy world, with AR technology used to make the images expand beyond just the screens. You still see players sitting at desks and playing, but their surroundings are quite elaborate. In a nod to the current state of League of Legends, where four elemental dragons are of pivotal importance in a game, each of the four preliminary rounds of Worlds was styled with a different element.

Initially, there were lots of crumbling rocks and mountains to represent the earth dragon; this was followed by the cloudy Shanghai skyline for the air dragons; later, the set appeared to be flooded with water that stretched on forever. This weekend, during the two semi-finals games, things will shift to fire.

While this technology has been used before, most notably on The Mandalorian, this is the first time it’s been done live. “Pretty much every [cross-reality] expression that has been broadcast to this point has not been live,” explains Possible’s Figge, whose company has worked on everything from Super Bowl halftime shows to Justin Bieber concerts. “It’s been pre-shot, similar to a lot of AR stuff for awards shows in North America. It’s risky to do live. We’re doing up to 10 hours a day of live television on this stage. There’s no second chance at it.”

One of the challenges was balancing the desire to make things look cool without interfering with the players. Everyone onstage — teams, coaches, and support staff — has a somewhat different visual experience than viewers at home, since the AR elements only appear for viewers at home. This turned into something of an advantage for the broadcast team.

“When we do these games, it’s really important for the competitive integrity of the sport for the players not to be able to see the game on the Jumbotron or anything like that. It’s a really difficult design problem,” says Figge. “With this stage, everything that’s above a certain level of height on the stage is completely virtual. It’s augmented reality. So we have the game playing in the background and the players can’t see it.”

A comparison showing how the stage looks to players (left) and viewers (right).
Photo: Riot Games

That said, while players don’t get the full experience viewers do, it was still important that being onstage felt special. This is the World Championship, after all, something teams from across the globe have been striving for all year long. Without the roar of a crowd to hype up players, the spectacle of a vibrant fantasy backdrop is a solid second option. Those onstage can’t see the AR elements, but they can see the graphics on the screens around them. “It helps ground the player,” says Troop. “They can still have a sense of the [game] world reacting, in a way that I think helps with their Worlds experience. There is a certain mindset that comes from being on stage, and we wanted to preserve that.”

In most years, the technical showcase of Worlds is reserved for the opening ceremonies at the finals. In the past, that’s included an AR K-pop concert and a holographic hip-hop performance. It’s still not clear what this year’s big show will look like (though it will likely involve K-pop again), but you could argue that the early rounds have already stolen the show thanks to this new technology. Each round even opened with its own mini ceremony, featuring choreographed dances set in the fantasy realm; performers jumped across crumbling stone bridges and twirled around with magical spells. Despite the circumstances, Riot turned what could have been a low-key edition of Worlds into a surprisingly memorable one.

“It’s been more educational than frustrating,” says Troop of the experience so far.

UFC 254: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje — Start time, how to watch, fight card – CNET

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We’re so close to this incredible main event. Can’t wait.

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC 254 is now just hours away. With the exception of a few stragglers, the fighters have made weight and we’re good to go. At the top of the card is arguably the biggest fight of 2020: A complete banger in every sense of the word. A lightweight unification contest between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje

From a styles standpoint, it could be the most compelling match-up of the year.

In one corner we have Nurmagomedov: The most dominant champion in UFC history. With a record of 28-0, he’s only lost one round in his entire MMA career — against Conor McGregor at UFC 229 — and has dominated almost every other second he’s been in the octagon.

In the other corner, possibly his nightmare match-up. Justin Gaethje is not just a technical brawler with concrete slabs for hands (and maybe the best leg kicks in MMA) he’s also a world class wrestler. The consensus is Gaethje has a better chance than anyone to keep this fight on the feet and out of Nurmagomedov’s comfort zone — who likes to take opponent down and wreck them with ground and pound till they’re sapped of life and energy. If you want further insight into this match-up, you can’t do better than Inside The Octagon with Dan Hardy. Great show, great insight.

If you want a little more information on the fight and the backstory leading up to the contest, I recommend UFC Countdown. 

UFC 254’s undercard is pretty light, with the exception of one fight: A middleweight contest between former champ Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier. That one will be an absolute banger so don’t miss it. Whittaker is one of the best UFC middleweights ever and Cannonier has been a wrecking ball in the last couple of years. The winner will most likely face off against current champ Israel Adesanya, so tune in.

How to watch UFC 254

This year the UFC entered a new partnership with ESPN. That’s great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you’re one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC live in the US.

In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 254, you’ll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN’s site.

  • Existing yearly ESPN Plus subscribers can order the upcoming UFC fight for $65
  • Existing monthly ESPN Plus subscribers will be able to either upgrade to an annual plan and buy UFC PPV for $85 or purchase the ability to watch the UFC event on PPV for $65 by itself.
  • New ESPN Plus subscribers can buy a bundle of one UFC PPV event (streaming in HD) and an ESPN Plus annual recurring subscription for $85. The ESPN Plus annual ESPN subscription will auto-renew after one year, at the price of an ESPN Plus annual subscription at the time of auto-renewal.

You can do all of the above at the link below.

MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 254 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 254 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation 4 or using the UFC app on your Xbox One.

Start time

This is a weird one. Normally UFC events have the same start times, this time round it’s absolutely topsy turvy so pay close attention to the times below. For those in other regions, the UFC has a great list of start times.

US

  • The main card starts Oct. 24, 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT).
  • The prelims start Oct. 24, 12 p.m. ET (9 a.m. PT).
  • The early prelims start Oct. 24, 10.15 a.m. ET (7.15 a.m. PT).

UK

  • The main card starts Oct. 24, 7 p.m. BST.
  • The prelims start Oct. 24, 5 p.m. BST.
  • The early prelims start Oct 24, 3.15 BST.

Australia

  • The main card starts Oct. 25, 5 a.m. AEDT.
  • The prelims start Oct. 25, 3 a.m. AEDT.
  • The early prelims start Oct. 25, 1.15 a.m. AEDT.

Fight Card

This card is subject to change. We’ll try and keep updated as much as possible.

Main Card

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje, 
  • Robert Whittaker vs. Jared Cannonier
  • Alexander Volkov vs. Walt Harris
  • Jacob Malhoun vs. Phil Hawes
  • Cynthia Calvillo vs. Lauren Murphy
  • Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba

Prelims

  • Stefan Struve vs. Tai Tuivasa 
  • Nathaniel Wood vs. Casey Kenney 
  • Alex Oliveira vs. Shavkat Rahkmonov 
  • Da-un Ung vs. Sam Alvey 

Early Prelims 

  • Liana Jojua vs. Miranda Maverick 
  • Joel Alvarez vs. Alexander Yakovlev

NASA robotic arm overflowing with spoils of asteroid Bennu theft – CNET

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The spacecraft’s sampling arm, called the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism, over the target sample site during a dress rehearsal in April. 

NASA

NASA’s asteroid-chaser Osiris-Rex completed a key part of its mission this week by managing to nab some rocks from the surface of the potentially hazardous asteroid Bennu, NASA reported Friday.

The spacecraft traveled over 200 million miles and four years to briefly bump into Bennu, blast it with compressed gas and collect bits of its surface. The space agency on Wednesday shared the first batch of images from the daring operation, revealing a delicate-yet-explosive moment between rock and robot.

NASA TV reported Tuesday that the spacecraft’s robotic sampling arm, named Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism,  or Tagsam, did touch down on Bennu. During the brief contact, it performed what amounts to a cosmic pickpocketing maneuver.  Mission planners expected that the total time of contact between the arm and asteroid would be less than 16 seconds. When preliminary data was released, it showed that the period of contact was just six seconds, with much of the sample collection happening in only the first three.

The spacecraft, which operates largely autonomously due to the 18-minute communications delay with mission control on Earth, fired a canister of gas through Tagsam that disrupted the surface of Bennu and forced a sample into the arm’s collector head. 

Photos taken of the head on Thursday showed that so much sample was collected that some larger rocks seemed to fail to make it all the way inside, wedging a mylar flap meant to seal the container partially open, allowing some small bits of dust and pebbles to escape back out into space. 

Captured by the spacecraft’s SamCam camera Oct. 22, this series of three images shows the sampler head on Osiris-Rex is full of rocks and dust collected from the surface of Bennu. They also show that some of these particles are slowly escaping the sampler head. 

NASA

“Bennu continues to surprise us with great science and also throwing a few curveballs,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science, in a statement. “And although we may have to move more quickly to stow the sample, it’s not a bad problem to have. We are so excited to see what appears to be an abundant sample that will inspire science for decades beyond this historic moment.”

Osiris-Rex was designed to touch down on a flat, even surface, but Bennu is so rocky the team found no suitable space. Fortunately, Osiris-Rex outperformed its design and was able to perform its sampling on a site dubbed Nightingale, which is only about as big as a few parking spaces. 

Now playing: Watch this: NASA successfully lands Osiris-Rex spacecraft on an asteroid…


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Osiris-Rex tags a boulder

As the spacecraft approached and then spent two years orbiting and surveying Bennu, it became clear this tiny world is different from what scientists expected. The team hoped to find a number of sandy surfaces ideal for sampling, but it turns out Bennu is a rubble pile, with a rugged terrain strewn with boulders. 

Around 24 hours after the operation, NASA shared the first images of the touchdown operation captured by the spacecraft. The Tagsam moves into position and its sampling head makes contact with Bennu’s surface before the explosive burst of nitrogen is fired. The operation kicks up a ton of debris that flies around the acquisition arm. It’s really something!

Touchdown!

NASA

Although the above GIF appears relatively fast, the operation proceeded much more delicately. The arm was lowered at around 10 centimeters per second, much slower than walking pace, when it contacted the sample site. 

The team’s goal is to collect about 60 grams of dust, dirt and pebbles from the surface of Bennu. It reported on Friday that it believes Osiris-Rex collected a sufficient sample and moved to begin to stow it quickly, skipping a planned sample mass measurement and canceling a braking burn to keep acceleration of the spacecraft to a minimum.

“We are working to keep up with our own success here, and my job is to safely return as large a sample of Bennu as possible,” said Dante Lauretta, Osiris-Rex principal investigator at the University of Arizona.

The Osiris-Rex team celebrates at the moment of touchdown.

NASA TV

The mission joins Japan’s Hayabusa and Hayabusa-2 missions in the annals of asteroid exploration. Hayabusa sampled and returned a tiny bit of material from asteroid Itokawa, and Hayabusa2 is in the process of returning a significant sample of space rock Ryugu.

Once the sample is stowed, the team will begin preparations for a long journey back to Earth, with a planned landing in the Utah desert in September 2023.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft collects significant amount of asteroid

Two days after touching down on asteroid Bennu, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission team received on Thursday, Oct. 22, images that confirm the spacecraft has collected more than enough material to meet one of its main mission requirements — acquiring at least 2 ounces (60 grams) of the asteroid’s surface material.

The spacecraft captured images of the sample collector head as it moved through several different positions. In reviewing these images, the OSIRIS-REx team noticed both that the head appeared to be full of asteroid particles, and that some of these particles appeared to be escaping slowly from the sample collector, called the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) head. They suspect bits of material are passing through small gaps where a mylar flap — the collector’s “lid” — is slightly wedged open by larger rocks.

“Bennu continues to surprise us with great science and also throwing a few curveballs,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “And although we may have to move more quickly to stow the sample, it’s not a bad problem to have. We are so excited to see what appears to be an abundant sample that will inspire science for decades beyond this historic moment.”

The team believes it has collected a sufficient sample and is on a path to stow the sample as quickly as possible. They came to this conclusion after comparing images of the empty collector head with Oct. 22 images of the TAGSAM head after the sample collection event.

The images also show that any movement to the spacecraft and the TAGSAM instrument may lead to further sample loss. To preserve the remaining material, the mission team decided to forego the Sample Mass Measurement activity originally scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24, and canceled a braking burn scheduled for Friday to minimize any acceleration to the spacecraft.

From here, the OSIRIS-Rex team will focus on stowing the sample in the Sample Return Capsule (SRC), where any loose material will be kept safe during the spacecraft’s journey back to Earth.

“We are working to keep up with our own success here, and my job is to safely return as large a sample of Bennu as possible,” said Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona in Tucson, who leads the science team and the mission’s science observation planning and data processing. “The loss of mass is of concern to me, so I’m strongly encouraging the team to stow this precious sample as quickly as possible.”

The TAGSAM head performed the sampling event in optimal conditions. Newly available analyses show that the collector head was flush with Bennu’s surface when it made contact and when the nitrogen gas bottle was fired to stir surface material. It also penetrated several centimeters into the asteroid’s surface material. All data so far suggest that the collector head is holding much more than 2 ounces of regolith.

OSIRIS-REx remains in good health, and the mission team is finalizing a timeline for sample storage. An update will be provided once a decision is made on the sample storage timing and procedures.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, provides overall mission management, systems engineering and the safety and mission assurance for OSIRIS-REx. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the spacecraft and is providing flight operations. Goddard and KinetX Aerospace of Tempe, Arizona, are responsible for navigating the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information, see: https://www.nasa.gov/osiris-rex

Story Source:

Materials provided by NASA. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

The best food processors of 2020: Cuisinart, KitchenAid, Braun and more – CNET

Deciding on the best food processor to suit your chopping, dicing, grinding and food prep needs can be challenging. Add a wide range of prices, and it’s not always easy to decipher which ones are worth the extra cash.

From motor power to capacity, attachments and overall value, we’re here to help find the best options on the market. Turns out, the best food processors aren’t always the most expensive.

Read more: The best blenders of 2020: NutriBullet, Ninja and more

When it comes to kitchen countertop appliances, a high-quality food processor is one of the most versatile, designed to accomplish specialized tasks quickly in the kitchen.

A high-performance food processor can feel like your own personal sous chef, saving you on effort and time spent laboring over a given recipe. And it doesn’t even have to be big: Small food processor and even mini food processor options need only a sharp blade to get the job done.

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Chowhound

Depending on the attachment, a good processor with a powerful motor can easily shred hard or soft cheeses, grind nuts into powder, knead bread dough or pizza dough, make a pie crust, dice and slice fruits and vegetables or make butter and spreads. You can even make emulsions and soups right in the working bowl with the help of a quality food processor in your kitchen. As with anything, there are stark differences in motor performance, the overall durability and the cost of the machine.

You also want to keep in mind how easy to clean the food processor is. Some or all of its components may be dishwasher safe. Even if you have to hand-wash the chopping blade, being able to toss the feed chute or main container in the dishwasher may be a boon.

I tested seven, representing major brands and best sellers according to Amazon, Target and Walmart food processor reviews. You can pick a food processor up for as little as $25 or splurge big on an expensive pro model for upward of $600. The food processors I tested fall squarely in the middle, in the $100 to $200 range made for general home use. There are also mini models and extra-large food processors but these are all average in size — between 10- and 14-cup capacities. 

How we test food processors

While food processors can perform many different tasks, I chose tests that represented the core functions of a food processor. Most people use these kitchen appliances to blend, chop, puree and shred. 

Narrowed down to these key functions, I chose hummus, pico de gallo, almond butter and shredding parmesan for the test kitchen tasks. Those recipes offer a mix of blending, chopping, shredding and pureeing to give me a feel for the performance of each model. 

Now playing: Watch this: How we put food processors to the test


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Hummus is a good indicator of how powerful the food processor’s motor is and thus how well the appliance can blend ingredients together into one smooth dish. Pico illustrated how easy it is for the chopping blade to get a uniformly chopped dish made up of ingredients in varying textures and hardnesses. 

Almond butter allows me to test the food processor’s ability to puree something like a hard almond into a nut butter consistency. It also allows me to run the processor for an extended period of time to see if there are overheating issues or noise and vibration complaints. I used 16 ounces of almonds in each test. 

A shredding test calls for a nice big block of parmesan, one of the hardest cheeses. This tests the grating disc performance as well as the usability of the mouth’s width and the food processor’s food pusher.

I tried my hand at performing each of these in each of these food processors. Each recipe was repeated twice in each machine using the same ingredients in the same amounts across all brands. Here’s how it all shook out and my recommendation for the three best food processors available in 2020.

Read more: 6 essential kitchen tools you didn’t know you needed

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

It isn’t pretty (not even a little), but this $180 German food processor from Braun’s Tribute Collection had the best results by far when it came to blending and chopping. The hummus from the Braun food processor was the smoothest of any I made in my testing. When I used the Braun FP3020 as a food chopper to make Pico de Gallo, it came out uniform and finely chopped without leaving too much juice pooled in the bottom of the bowl.

The 12-cup bowl is large enough for families and with 15 speeds you’ll have plenty of control over your processing. The ability to fine-tune the speed came in extra handy when I grated a hard block of parmesan. On high, it was uncontrollable in most food processors, but with the speed at, say, a 6 or 8 out of 15 in the Braun, I could steady the cheese and guide it better through the feed tube while still getting a good grate.

You’ll also get seven attachments to help make being a home chef easy. The attachments are perfect for slicing vegetables, kneading dough, shredding, whipping, juicing and mixing. $180 is on the upper end of our price range, but the Amazon price at the time of this posting put it at a reasonable $164 — not too shabby for a kitchen appliance that helps in all kinds of cooking and food prep.

Read more: 5 kitchen tools that make cooking healthy meals easy

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

We tested multiple Cuisinart models and this one wins for its balance of performance, value and features. The $130 price (currently $108 on Amazon) makes this Cuisinart food processor a reasonably priced, midrange processor that performed well in our food processor review tests. 

Hummus with the Cuisinart FP-11SV was smooth and well-blended. Four pulses worked as a food chopper for chopping up my pico de gallo ingredients well and although getting almonds to a butter consistency took significantly longer in this model (about 10 minutes on average compared to other models), the result was a smooth and well-mixed. 

Shredding cheese was a bit tricky since the mouth of this processor’s food chute is small compared to other models. I had to trim down my wedge of parmesan quite a bit to fit in the chute. However, you do get thoughtful extras like a disc with two shredding size options (fine or medium) and suction cups on the bottom of the processors to help it stay steady on your countertop.

Read more: How to make ice cream in your food processor

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

KitchenAid is a classic brand and while its stand mixers are beloved, I can’t say the same for the company’s food processor options. This 11-cup KitchenAid food processor model worked well, but it wasn’t the best performer in blending and chopping. However, you will get a lot of attachments and it’s a good food processor for shredding and slicing since it comes with multiple discs for different shred and slice sizes. 

Hummus in this model was a smooth, well-blended consistency with even flavor. Five pulses of the chopping blade did the trick as a food chopper for my pico de gallo vegetables and almond butter was easily processed, though the machine did heat up in the 18 minutes it took to process the almonds into nut butter, leaving me with questions about the motor. This KitchenAid model does have an automatic shut-off to prevent motor burnout, but that heat still made me nervous. 

Shredding and slicing is where KitchenAid really shines. There’s a reversible shredding disc option and an externally adjustable slicing disc that corresponds with a slider on the front of the base, so you can get really specific slice sizes. 

There’s also a nice storage case included, so you don’t end up throwing all those blades into your bowl when it’s not in use. It has a classic style and like any good KitchenAid appliance, it comes in multiple finishes. The price varies depending on which finish you choose. The silver model I tested has a suggested retail of $250 but is currently on sale at Amazon for $199. 

Other food processors we tested

In addition to the three recommended above, we tested four other food processors in the $100 to $200 range. 

Worth considering, but not as good as the top picks above:

  • Hamilton Beach Professional Dicing Food Processor: I was impressed by the design of this food processor, but it wasn’t the winner in performance and I found the button labels and noise level to be a bit bothersome. At $200, I can’t recommend it over better-performing models. 
  • Cuisinart DFP-14BKSY Custom 14-Cup Food Processor: This Cuisinart model performed well enough, but you’ll only get one speed option and just one sized shredding disc. The food processors recommended above offer more for your money.

Not recommended:

  • Ninja Smart Screen Blender and Processor: This kit comes with a blending bowl, processing bowl and a travel cup. With a smaller (five-cup) bowl capacity, inconsistent and underperforming results. The Ninja Smart Screen is a small food processor unit I would avoid if your priority is food processing.
  • Oster Designed for Life 14-Cup Food Processor: This food processor just didn’t perform well. Hummus had multiple unchopped chickpeas in it and the gusty airflow out of the front of the machine was enough to blow around items on my countertop. Another food processor I would avoid.

Read more: The Best Instant Pots of 2020

What to look for when buying a food processor

Picking the best food processor for you means considering all the features you’ll need for your favorite recipes and common home chef kitchen tasks. 

Capacity

Food processors come in many different sizes and volumes. The size of the food processor is based on the size of the work bowl. I tested models ranging from 11- to 14-cup capacity, but you can get food processors that come with mini bowl and mini chopper options and as small as three cups. For a household with two or more people, I’d recommend at least an 8-cup model and if you have the storage space, spring for a large food processor, just in case. 

Read more: Our favorite meal-prep containers will get you excited to make lunch

Speeds

Most recipes involving food processors specify mixing or chopping at either a high or low speed and for that reason, you’ll want a processor with at least two speeds and a powerful motor. The most common configuration is a low, high and pulse option. There are some food processors with just one speed, but that’s extremely limiting when it comes to having control over your meals so look for a food processor with at least some range of speeds.

My top food processor pick, the Braun FP3020 has 15 individual speeds on one dial. That’s much more than most people will ever need, but the option to really zero into a specific speed adds the option for precision. 

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Attachments

While your food processor is primarily two spinning blades, there are a host of other attachments that can expand your processor’s abilities. Some come with multiple attachments like discs for grating, shredding and slicing, dough blades for kneading bread dough, whipping cream and attachments for chopping nuts, juicing fruits or dicing vegetables. If you know the tasks you’ll do most often, be sure to check that your processor includes the blades and attachments you’ll need, such as the right mixing blade, chopping blade, slicing blade or citrus juicer. Some food processor models, like the Braun, come with a lot of these attachments while others must be purchased separately so depending on your food processing needs this may be something to consider. Remember, attachments shouldn’t be difficult to clean and you should definitely check if they can go in the dishwasher.

Read more: Get a smart kitchen without buying new appliances

Materials

You may also want to consider the materials from which the food processor is made. If you plan to use it often and are perhaps not the most careful chef in the kitchen consider a sturdy stainless steel food processor versus one with a plastic base which may be less expensive but more prone to breakage. Most food processor bowls are made from a hard plastic that is easy to clean and dishwasher safe but some are more sturdy than others. If you have the opportunity to touch and hold the food processor make sure the plastic bowl and its lid are tough enough to handle being knocked around without cracking.

Top food processors compared

Capacity

12 cups

11 cups

11 cups

Dimensions (depth, width, height)

14.9×11.3×15.4 inches

8.0×10.5×15.75 inches

10.17×10.04×16 inches

Number of speeds

15

2

2

Weight

9.8 lb

11.5 lb

12.4 lb

Watts

600

550

360

Price

$180

$250

$130

More tips for getting the most from food processors

National Guard Cracks Down on String of Cyberattacks in Louisiana Ahead of Election: Report

Illustration for article titled National Guard Cracks Down on String of Cyberattacks in Louisiana Ahead of Election: Report

Photo: Sean Gardner (Getty Images)

The Louisiana National Guard stepped in to thwart a series of cyberattacks after several government offices across the state were targeted in recent weeks, according to a Friday Reuters report.

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With the 2020 presidential election just days away, hackers seem to be targeting vulnerabilities in local government systems at an increasing rate. A cybersecurity consultant familiar with the matter told the outlet that authorities in Washington state recently faced a similar threat. Hackers hit government offices there with malware known for deploying ransomware, malicious software typically used to shut off access until the attackers are paid off.

Two people with knowledge of the events in Louisiana told Reuters that it wasn’t immediately clear whether the hackers simply wanted to extort money or were intentionally trying to disrupt systems tied to the election. While the attacks successfully compromised several government offices in northern Louisiana, officials thwarted the campaign in its early stages before “significant harm was done.” A spokesman for the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office told the outlet that because Louisiana is a “top down state,” meaning all election data is centrally stored, election officials are better equipped to quickly respond to cyber threats.

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In their investigation, experts reportedly found a tool described as a remote access trojan that has previously been used in hacks traced to a group associated with the North Korean government. However, cybersecurity analysts familiar with this RAT say parts of its code have been posted in an online computer virus repository, so it’s possible that an entirely unrelated group of hackers could have copied the code and used it, Reuters reports.

A spokesman for the Louisiana State Police confirmed to the outlet that they had been called to respond to the cyberattacks but declined to comment further. The Governor’s office said they couldn’t comment on ongoing investigations.

Ransomware attacks on high profile corporations and agencies have grown alarmingly frequent in recent years. Previous attacks have taken out government systems for Baltimore, Maryland, and Durham, North Carolina, as well as the network that supports the court system for the entire state of Texas. Last month, a bungled ransomware attack shut down a major hospital in Germany, resulting in the death of a patient whose treatment was delayed.

[Reuters]

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Samsung thinks its new 85-inch Interactive Display is the digital whiteboard for the COVID-19 classroom

Samsung would like you to believe its new 85-inch Interactive Display can bridge the gap between students in the classroom and students studying at home, now that blended-learning is the new normal across the country. In reality, it’s just a slightly bigger digital whiteboard — but assuming it doesn’t cost too much, the tweaked vision does sound intriguing.

Now that COVID-19 has swept the country, some students are huddling around tiny Chromebook screens at home while others stay in class, and Samsung’s internet-connected digital whiteboard promises to let students and teachers collaborate with each other, whether they’re in that classroom drawing on the board or adding to it in real-time from their laptop at home. The goal here isn’t to necessarily connect everyone better – they’ve had a few months to get a handle on that over Zoom – but rather to let the kind of collaboration that can happen when everyone’s together, happen while students are apart.

Samsung’s 65-inch Flip 2
Samsung

While the Interactive Display is mostly just a larger version of Samsung’s existing Flip 2 digital whiteboards, the 85-inch size means it’s as large as an actual school whiteboard (though it weighs far more at 164 pounds). Compared to the previous 55- and 65-inch models, more students could theoretically use the board at once. Samsung imagines the display primarily mounted in a classroom where they can use its 4K touchscreen and support for four pens (it comes with two) to write and draw; it supports up to 20 fingers (and pen tips) simultaneously. Teachers might be able to hook up multiple computers or other video sources to the display, too, with two HDMI 2.0 ports compared to the one on the Flip 2.

But before you petition your school for one, it’s worth mentioning that the device has no announced price. The 65-inch Flip 2 comes in at $2,599.00, and Samsung’s 85-inch TVs start at $1,799.99, so perhaps the Interactive Display won’t cost too much more than those? Still, most schools are even more constrained during the pandemic than they would be normally, and this screen doesn’t even come bundled with some of the education software Samsung is advertising. I think it would be great for these to be used in schools, but to me, Samsung’s framing for the Interactive Display sounds a little more opportunistic than realistic.