Former Qualcomm chairman Paul Jacobs is assembling a group of buyers to take it private

Paul Jacobs

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Paul Jacobs

Paul Jacobs, who was ousted as Qualcomm’s chairman in March, is talking to strategic investors and sovereign wealth funds to chip in for a fully financed bid to take Qualcomm private in the next two months, according to people familiar with the plan. He would run the company after it’s gone private.

One of the potential investors is mobile chip designer ARM, which SoftBank bought in 2016 for more than $30 billion, these people said. ARM’s technology forms the basis for most processors used in smartphones and tablets, including Qualcomm’s processors.

ARM denied that it has talked to Jacobs about a possible acquisition involving Qualcomm. ” “There have been no discussions between Arm and Paul Jacobs on any potential acquisition of Qualcomm,” a spokesperson said.

Jacobs has hired two banks and lawyers to work on the deal, the people said. When the deal is completed, he is hoping for fewer than ten owners to be involved. Economic ownership might not align with control of the company. Jacobs, himself, owns less than 1 percent of Qualcomm.

Control will remain in the United States under Jacobs’ plan, which he believes would allow the deal to avoid the kind of scrutiny that sank Broadcom’s attempt to buy Qualcomm for around $120 billion. President Trump blocked that deal in March after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States expressed concerns over potential national security risks. Broadcom was based in Singapore, but has since re-domiciled to the United States.

Still, Jacobs has been working with CFIUS behind the scenes to address potential problems, which theoretically could arise if a large amount of the economic ownership comes from foreign sovereign wealth funds. The SoftBank-controlled Vision Fund includes a major investment from Saudi Arabia’s main sovereign wealth fund.

A person familiar with his thinking says Jacobs does not believe Qualcomm should be carved up, but he believes he can only implement his plan for it as a private company, because that plan will require significant investment and things that public shareholders would not like.

Jacobs’ father, Irwin, was a co-founder of Qualcomm, and Paul Jacobs rose through the ranks to become CEO from 2005 through 2014. Steve Mollenkopf has been CEO since then, while Jacobs served as chairman. The board removed him in March after Jacobs informed them of his desire to take the company private.

The company has been involved in a complicated high-stakes legal dispute with Apple, which licenses core wireless technology from Qualcomm. Apple claims that the company overcharges for licenses and has sued it for patent infringement, while Qualcomm has sought to have Apple phones banned from China, among other things. Jacobs plans to settle the dispute with Apple and rely on his strong relationship with Tim Cook, the people said.

Jacobs plans to maintain Qualcomm’s license business, unlike Broadcom, which would have shut that piece down, the people said. Jacobs feels the licensing business is actually the strongest part of Qualcomm if operated correctly, the people said.

Wirecutter’s best deals: Save $30 on an Apple Watch Series 3

Amazon Fire HD 8

Street price: $80; Deal price: $55 w/ Prime

At $55, this is a nice drop for Prime members on the Amazon Fire HD 8, beating the deal pricing we saw in late March by $5. While we’ve seen this tablet fall as low as $50, $55 is still a tremendous price for it as it usually goes for $80. If you or someone in your life needs a basic tablet, it’s a great option at this price.

The Amazon Fire HD 8 is our budget pick in our guide to the best Android tablet. Ryan Whitwam wrote, “Most people use tablets for streaming video, browsing the Web, and reading. The Amazon Fire HD 8 excels at all three and is the best budget Android tablet we’ve tested. The Fire HD 8 starts at just $80 (with lockscreen ads), but it lacks the powerful hardware or high-resolution screens of the ZenPad or Galaxy Tab S3. The base model of the Fire HD 8 has only 16 GB of storage, but it accepts microSD cards. It also uses Amazon’s services, not Google’s, which means no easy way to use Google Play Store or Google apps—adding them yourself requires some technical knowledge.”

Anker PowerPort Wireless 5 Pad

Street price: $20; Deal price: $15 w/ code VERGEAA2

Use code VERGEAA2 in cart to drop the price of the Anker PowerPort Wireless 5 Pad from $20 to $15. This matches the lowest price we’ve seen for this recommended Qi charging pad. The Anker PowerPort Wireless 5 is notable for how inexpensive it is, but an AC wall adapter isn’t included, so you’ll need to provide your own.

The Anker PowerPort Wireless 5 Pad is our inexpensive pick in our guide to the best Qi wireless charger for iPhone and Android. Nick Guy wrote, “Anker’s PowerPort Wireless 5 Pad and PowerPort Wireless 5 Stand are the most affordable WPC-certified chargers we’ve tried from a reputable company, and in our tests they performed as well as the more expensive Samsung models we recommend as our main picks. They’re extremely basic black-plastic-and-rubber units that simply get the job done. Notably, though, neither model comes with an AC adapter, so they’re not complete options out of the box. You can use any USB charger you have lying around, or buy one separately.”

Guy continues, “The Pad is 4 inches in diameter and a little under 0.4 inch thick; it’s so light that it feels kind of empty. It’s grippy enough on top to hold a bare phone in place, but not tacky, and the same rubber material on the bottom holds the charger itself in place. A tiny blue LED glows to indicate when the charger is engaged.”

Apple Watch Series 3

Street price: $330; Deal price: $300

The Apple Watch Series 3 (aluminium) is seeing a rare sale presently on both sizes. The 38mm is down to $300 from $330 and the 42mm is down to $330 from $360. All 3 colors of each size are on sale and shipping is free through Best Buy. This is one of the first drops we’ve seen – we’re hoping for more significant discounts in the future.

The Apple Watch Series 3 is our upgrade pick in our Apple Watch guide. Nick Guy and Dan Frakes wrote, “The Apple Watch Series 3 is essentially identical to the Series 1 on the outside—and very similar on the inside—but it has a few upgrades for those who need serious exercise tracking. The Series 3’s $80 price premium gets you built-in (no phone needed) GPS, swim-friendly waterproofing, and a brighter screen that’s easier to see outside. (The Series 3 also includes an AC wall charger; with the Series 1, you provide your own charger or use your computer’s USB port.)”

Guy and Frakes continue, “The Series 3 also has a few other upgrades compared with the Series 1, some more noticeable than others. The aforementioned brighter OLED screen (1,000 nits versus the 450 nits of the Series 1) doesn’t seem “twice as bright” to our eyes, as Apple claims, but it’s definitely brighter, especially in direct sunlight. The Series 3 also has a faster processor, a barometric altimeter for counting floors and tracking elevation, and audible Siri responses (the voice assistant can speak to you through the Watch’s speakers, rather than just displaying text on the screen.)”

Trump follows Amazon jabs by ordering US Postal Service review

LG V30S ThinQ review: A solid but pointless phoneTrump follows Amazon jabs by orde

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President Trump recently tweeted that the US Postal Service’s deal with Amazon was bad for taxpayers, but he has now taken his complaints beyond social media, the New York Times reported. The White House has convened a task force to examine the service’s operations and “conduct a thorough evaluation of the operations and finances of the USPS,” the order states.

Trump has said that the USPS loses $1.50 for every Amazon package it delivers. However, experts have countered that the while the service does lose money delivering first class mail, e-commerce package deliveries are profitable. In 2017 they brought in $19.5 billion, up 11.4 percent over the year prior.

Trump ordered the task force to look at how the USPS does package deliveries with companies like Amazon, and also at declines in mail volume. “A number of factors, including the steep decline in first-class mail volume, coupled with legal mandates that compel the USPS to incur substantial and inflexible costs, have resulted in a structural deficit,” the order states. “The USPS is on an unsustainable financial path and must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout.”

Amazon also uses all major logistics companies in the US. Amazon does use USPS but, if an arrangement were to become uneconomic to Amazon, Amazon has plenty of options. What are the options for the USPS?

Trump’s Amazon Twitter tirades have often coincided with negative pressfrom the Washington Post, a paper owned privately by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Experts have noted that its nearly unprecedented for a sitting president to criticize a US business, and some of those rants have actually caused the company’s stock to fall.

In any case, revenue the USPS makes from Amazon helps offset unprofitable parts of its business, so raising rates to gain more revenue may produce the opposite outcome, said financial analyst Scott Devitt. “Amazon also uses all major logistics companies in the US,” he wrote in a report. “Amazon does use USPS but, if an arrangement were to become uneconomic to Amazon, Amazon has plenty of options. What are the options for the USPS?”

ring US Postal Service review

China’s Sina Weibo backtracks from gay content ban after outrage

Picture of Pu Chunmei and her son

Chinese social media network Sina Weibo has backtracked from a controversial gay content ban after a massive outcry.

Last Friday the microblogging platform said that posts related to homosexuality would be taken down.

It prompted a deluge of posts from outraged netizens protesting against the decision. On Monday, Sina Weibo said it would reverse the ban.

Often described as China’s answer to Twitter, Sina Weibo is one of the most popular social networks in the country.

What happened?

Last Friday Sina Weibo made a surprise announcement that it was launching a “clean-up campaign”.

It said that for the next three months, the platform would remove content including images, videos, text and cartoons that were related to pornography, violence, or homosexuality.

“This is to further ensure a clear and harmonious society and environment,” the network said in its statement, adding that it had already scrubbed more than 50,000 posts by then.

Sina Weibo said it was initiating the clean-up because of stricter internet laws put in place last year, but it did not explain why it was only acting now.

Chinese authorities have embarked on a campaign in recent years aimed at purging internet content that it deems inappropriate.

By early Monday morning, the most censored search term on Weibo was “homosexuality”, according to censorship tracker FreeWeibo.

How did netizens react?

Over the weekend many in the LGBT community took to the network to protest against the decision, using hashtags such as #IAmGay# and #ScumbagSinaHelloIAmGay#.

Some tried testing the ban and uploaded pictures of themselves with partners or gay friends or relatives.

Among them was LGBT rights activist Pu Chunmei, whose impassioned post accompanied with pictures of her with her gay son quickly went viral.

Trump slams Clinton for her remarks on his voters

Trump slams Clinton for her remarks on his voters

US President Donald Trump has slammed Hillary Clinton for her remarks on his voters in India last week, saying Democrats still think that loyal citizens who care about jobs and borders and security are “deplorable”.

Trump’s remarks came after Clinton said in a speech that women have to get approval from their husbands, their sons, and their male bosses to vote for Trump.

In her remarks, Clinton suggested that those who supported Trump did so because they didn’t like black people getting rights, women getting jobs or Indian-American succeeding more than them.

“You know, you didn’t like black people getting rights. You don’t like women, you know, getting jobs. You don’t want to see that Indian-American succeeding more than you are. Whatever your problem is, I am going to solve it,” the 2016 US presidential candidate had said during a conclave in Mumbai.

“We do not do well with white men and we don’t do well with married, white women, and part of that is an identification with the Republican Party, and a sort of ongoing pressure to vote the way your husband, your boss, your son, whoever, believes you should,” Clinton had said last week.

Trump, 71, slammed 70-year-old Clinton, saying that was not a “good statement”.

“Not good,” Trump said amidst laughter and applause at the National Republican Congressional Committee dinner.

“I would say her last statement about women — they have to get approval from their husbands, their sons, and their male bosses to vote for Trump. That was not a good statement,” Trump said.

“The truth is the Democrats have never been more vulnerable because they’ve lost touch with normal everyday working people,” Trump said. “Democrats haven’t learned. They still think the loyal citizens who care about jobs and borders and security are deplorable.”

Trump was talking about Clinton’s fundraiser speech weeks before the 2016 presidential election, where she called half of his supporters “deplorables.”

“The problem is she said so many of my people were deplorable and you know the next day I made a speech and everybody is wearing ‘I am deplorable.’ I said, ‘There is something going on here.’ That was not a good word to use. You have to be careful in politics, right?” Trump said.

Trump claimed that her Democrat colleagues have distanced themselves from her.

“You notice how fast the Democrats have run from these statements now? They are disavowing those statements like I’ve never heard before.

“She’s wrong, people that were her biggest supporters are now saying, What is she doing? Why doesn’t she just go home? But that was not a good statement,” Trump said.

Apple AirPods: the audiophile review

As The Verge’s resident headphones obsessive, I’m not supposed to like the AirPods. My initial reaction upon first seeing them many months ago was to pour scorn on Apple’s designers for crafting a pair of expensive and easy-to-lose cigarette butts. The AirPods were the resurrection of the awful Bluetooth headsets of years past, I thought. But this year, I finally got around to testing a pair of the AirPods for myself, and I finally understand why everyone who owns them loves them.

Taking the AirPods seriously hasn’t been easy for me. I spend my days attached to large and pricey headphones like the exceptional Audeze MX4 because my priorities are heavily skewed in favor of maximizing sound quality over convenience. Convenience for audiophiles is a pair of cans that don’t require a toaster-sized amplifier. So when I first cast eyes on the AirPods, all glossy, frail, and vanishingly small, I had no faith that they’d sound good enough to justify their $159 price. Hearing they were just like the EarPods didn’t fill me with confidence either.

But here’s the thing: using the AirPods isn’t merely a “wireless EarPods” experience. Or rather, there are surprising aspects to making the EarPods wireless that I didn’t appreciate until I used the AirPods. My impression of the EarPods has always been colored by how loosely they sat in my ears. The merest tug or tension on their wire would unseat them. Well, without a wire, that entire issue is obviated, and moreover, the stem of the AirPods sits flush with the side of my face and helps to anchor them in place. I have run with the AirPods, I’ve done push-ups, lifted weights, and moved around vigorously without either one coming close to falling out. Your mileage will, of course, vary, but I can’t say the same about Google’s Pixel Buds or the majority of other earbuds on the market, wired or wireless.

Because the AirPods are so much more comfortable for me, I find their sound is also more dynamic and emotive than anything I’ve heard from the EarPods. Apple isn’t threatening any hi-fi audio companies (yet), but I think that both it and Google have figured out a new class of high-enough-fi for audio products that appeal with strengths other than sound quality. The Google Home Mini and Pixel Buds also sound extremely decent for their compact dimensions.

The AirPods convey a full sense of the mood and intent of the music I listen to. By that, I mean that they’re not technically spectacular. They don’t fill my world with a sparkling shimmer when listening to “Rachel’s Song” on the Vangelis Blade Runner soundtrack, but they still put me in that longing, wistful mood. Similarly, the AirPods’ bass doesn’t make my world shake, but it still hits with surprising impact on songs like Woodkid’s “Iron.” There’s enough of everything — bass and treble extension, soundstage, clarity, and detail — in Apple’s tuning to render a convincing reproduction of most genres of music.

I say the AirPods aren’t technically amazing, but that’s only when comparing against existing standards for sound quality. In the category of truly wireless earbuds, the AirPods are the best I’ve yet heard. Bragi’s The Headphone and Dash Pro left me underwhelmed, with the latter being especially bloated and disfigured by an overabundance of bass. At CES this year, Jabra introduced the Elite 65t, which sound good, but I can’t listen to them for longer than 15 seconds without the wireless connection dropping out.

Apple’s AirPods design, which I initially ridiculed, is actually the best and most functional one available for truly wireless buds today. Because Apple moved the Bluetooth electronics and batteries to the stem, it was able to use the full cavity of each bud for sound reproduction. That’s how the AirPods reproduce a wider soundstage than most Bluetooth earbuds without being any thicker or protruding from the ear. For a counterexample, you can try listening to the Jaybird X3s, which are very well tuned, but everything inside them sounds condensed like a closed accordion because of how close the sound driver is to the listener’s ear. Apple’s design compromise, extending that stem down toward the face, is simply the most optimal one we have at the present time. Yes, the AirPods are designed for function first, in spite of their stylized appearance.

I started testing the AirPods alongside the iPhone X a few weeks ago, and the seamless pairing between the two is just as wonderful as advertised. But I’ve now spent the last two weeks using the AirPods with a Google Pixel 2, and that’s been entirely unproblematic, too. The only missing features on Android are the auto-pause and the battery life indicator on the phone — neither of which I miss. Maintaining a consistent and reliable Bluetooth connection, the thing I actually care about, is still sadly uncommon among truly wireless buds, so Apple’s wireless earphones are easy to recommend even to Android phone users.

My wireless-doom scenario is walking into my kitchen, which is so full of metal things that it’s like a Faraday cage, while leaving my music source device in the bedroom: every non-Apple pair of wireless headphones I test becomes unusable in that situation. With the AirPods (and the Beats Solo and Studio 3, which have the same W1 wireless chip) connected to my MacBook Pro, I maintained a pretty decent connection with only minor dropouts in the kitchen.

The design of the AirPods case is a total masterpiece. It’s tiny but holds multiple extra charges for the earphones, and the rounded sides make them irresistible fidget toys. The tension of the case lid is perfect, delivering a satisfying snap when it opens and closes. When I was trying out the Elite 65t, by contrast, I managed to chip a nail trying to open their (similarly shaped, but infinitely more finicky) case. Anyone who’s used the AirPods will know the experience of absent-mindedly opening and closing their case for minutes at a time. It’s subtly great design, where both form and function are served to the utmost degree.

The AirPods still come with substantial compromises. They don’t isolate external sound at all, and so you can carry on a conversation with someone next to you without ever taking them out. That renders the AirPods difficult to use for noisy urban commutes (where you’re likely crank up the volume to unsafe levels to compensate), and it also leads to people just leaving them in at all times, which is irritating to others. The four-hour battery life on a single charge isn’t great. The $159 price is higher than most people are happy to spend on earphones for uncritical daily listening. And that Lightning charger totally spoils the USB-C hegemony of my current tech loadout.

But when I look at the limits of what’s possible today — in terms of miniaturization of audio and wireless components — I can’t see a better combination of price, features, and performance than what’s offered by the AirPods. The price is fair and the compromises are acceptable. I make it my job to review (and enjoy) super heavy and expensive headphones that do amazing things with music, recreating and illuminating every minute detail of a recording. That makes me extremely picky about any products I listen to, and the thing the AirPods share with the giant cans built by the likes of Audeze and Focal is that they convey the sense and intent of the music. And the reason I now reach for the AirPods even when I’m at home, the unique thing that delights all their users, is their unrivalled ease of use.

YouTube star who claims veganism healed her breast cancer dies from disease

Mari Lopez (pictured) stopped her vegan diet after her cancer returned, according to her niece.

A YouTube star who had claimed a vegan diet and spiritual lifestyle cured her of breast cancer died of the disease, her niece confirmed.

Liz Johnson said her aunt Mari Lopez died in December after the cancer recurred. The two women hosted a YouTube channel together titled “Liz & Mari.”

Johnson posted a video Sunday explaining her aunt stopped her vegan diet after her cancer returned. She attributed Lopez’s death to undergoing radiation, chemotherapy and eating meat again.

“My aunt passed away in December because her cancer came back,” Johnson posted on the YouTube channel. “My aunt was inconsistent in her diet and spiritual life … I never pushed my aunt to do anything or stay away from doctors.”

In the video, Johnson said Lopez asked her to take down videos of her speaking about a vegan lifestyle after she realized she would die from the disease, but she refused, KSDK reported. She believed the videos could help others.

In 2016, the two women uploaded a video titled, “Stage 4 cancer natural transformation.” In the video, Lopez shared how she cured herself of cancer through a vegan diet, juicing and a lot of praying. The video has more than 370,000 views.

FLORIDA HOUSE DECLARES PORN A PUBLIC HEALTH RI

In other videos, the two women shared recipes of “all natural remedies.”

But Johnson said she has never been “against doctors or medical advice.” Lopez acted in accordance with her own beliefs, she said.

“She chose to do what she did and experienced healing, leading her to share her testimony to help others,” Johnson said.

In an interview with Babe, Johnson said her family pushed Lopez to seek chemotherapy. She also said she believed her aunt would still be alive today if she continued her vegan lifestyle.

“I think [the results] would have [been different], honestly,” Johnson told Babe. “I really, truly think that they would have. That’s what really contributed to her change in the first place. Going backwards is not going to help anything.”

Johnson said she plans to continue posting videos to the YouTube channel.

Lexus UX Concept Heading to Production

Lexus has confirmed a report that its funky UX compact SUV is headed for production, though the luxury brand is not yet saying which markets will receive the small crossover or when it will arrive.

Yoshihiro Sawa, Lexus managing officer, initially spilled the beans at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, telling Australia’s Motoring to “Please expect UX, it’s not so far away.” He also believes the UX appeals to younger buyers who prefer models like the IS and CT.

Lexus UX Concept Detroit Auto Show Doors Open

“The loyal users always [are] changing the car, but at the same time the average age is going up. But this year we tried to seek the buyer average that is younger,” Sawa told the Aussie auto site.

“We try to capture these new younger buyers, so that we change our design ways.”

The funky four-seat crossover made its debut last year at the 2016 Paris auto show to raves and a few rants. But overall the UX has been lapping the international car show circuit to more acclaim than jeers.

Lexus UX Concept Detroit Auto Show

When it arrives, the UX will join the popular NX and RX crossovers in Lexus’ stable. It combines the looks of an off-roader with a coupe-like driving position. It was designed at the automaker’s ED2 design center in France.

Inside, the UX concept features its Kinetic seating setup with web-like seat cushions and backrests that move kinetically with its occupants’ weight to provide a more comfortable driving experience, we are told.

If you haven’t seen it in person, Lexus tells us that the UX Concept will make definitely make an appearance at the New York auto show next month. It will not be at the company’s main stand, but downstairs in the truck/SUV area at the Javits Convention Center in case you want to take a closer look.

Source: Motoring

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Lexus UX Concept Detroit Auto Show Rear

How cryptocurrency mining is hurting astronomers

Aaron Parsons is on a quest to discover the first stars that formed in our Universe around 13 billion years ago. But one thing is getting in the way of his primordial cosmic quest: cryptocurrency.

The mining craze of cryptocurrencies like Ethereum is draining the supplies of graphics cards on the market. And that’s spiking the prices of so-called graphics processing units, or GPUs, super powerful chips that can process huge amounts of data. Without GPUs, astronomers like Parsons can’t do their job.

Parsons, at UC Berkeley, works with radio telescopes. These are made of hundreds of antennas that pick up radio emissions permeating the cosmos. All that data needs to be processed in real time by a supercomputer to create a map of the sky that can help Parsons spot the earliest stars, and ultimately understand how our Universe transitioned from hot plasma into a cosmos made of galaxies and planets.

Parsons is currently trying to upgrade his radio telescope, called the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA), to a total of 350 antennas in South Africa. But this week, he found that the GPUs he needs to process data from all those antennas doubled in price — from $500 to $1,000 apiece. That will cost an extra $32,000 that won’t go to paying extra graduate student researchers.

“I kind of rolled my eyes a little bit,” Parsons tells The Verge. “I usually think of cryptocurrency as some kind of peripheral thing, and I was surprised and a bit annoyed to discover that it’s impacting the bottom line of our telescope.”

Cryptocurrency miners need the GPUs to solve the ever-more-complicated mathematical problems to create new cryptocurrencies. It’s a system that makes the network safe, but it has also spiked energy consumptions and pillaged GPUs from the market. The demand is so high that makers like AMD and Nvidia haven’t been able to keep up. That’s hurting PC gamers, as well as other scientists, like SETI researchers who are looking for alien life, as the BBC reports.

For Parsons, it could mean having to build a smaller telescope, which wouldn’t detect faint radio signals as well as a large telescope would. That would hinder his ability to see as far back in time and ultimately answer those fundamental questions about “the story of our origin, how did we get to be where we are, when we are in the universe,” he says

Astronomer Keith Vanderlinde at the University of Toronto had similar problems back in 2014 when he was building a prototype version of his radio telescope called the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME). “We designed the whole thing, priced it all out, and then suddenly bitcoin showed up in the headlines and overnight the price of GPUs doubled. And within a week, they were all gone, which was sort of a pain,” Vanderlinde tells The Verge. “When we needed 50 [GPUs] back in 2014, it was me on eBay with a personal credit card all night long buying individual cards.”

At the time, in January 2014, Vanderlinde’s team was buying AMD 280x boards, and the prices for one went from $220 to $440 (CAD), he says. But it’s not exactly the extra money that creates problems. The budgets for radio telescopes like the ones Vanderlinde and Parsons work with runs in the millions of dollars, so there’s some slack for a few extra thousand bucks. The real crux is “the instability that makes it hard to predict,” Vanderlinde says. “Being unable to forecast what things are going to cost, it just makes for a logistical nightmare.”

When there’s a shortage, it’s virtually impossible to buy the GPUs in bulk — and dealing with vendors can be hard. “It’s really difficult to buy them in the quantity we want,” says Jack Hickish, a digital engineer working with Parsons on the HERA telescope. ”The vendors we’ve spoken to are hesitant to promise us 40, and if I can get that availability, I can get a quote. But [if] you order a week from now, you have to quote again because they might be gone.”

Hickish says that if GPUs become too unaffordable or impossible to find, it is possible to switch to other custom-made hardware. But GPUs were chosen in the first place because they were affordable and relatively easy to use. The CHIME telescope in Canada, which detects radio light to map out the huge volume of space and figure out how the Universe has been expanding has 1,024 antennas, which produce a couple of terabytes of data every second, Vanderlinde says. That data has to be processed in real time, 24/7, requiring several petaflops of computing power. “The only way that we can get to that in reasonable budget,” he says, “was to leverage consumer technology.”

But if GPUs remain out of reach, radio astronomy will be much harder, and the secret history of the Universe will stay just that — a secret. “[GPUs] are a critical component. Without having the processing in place, you can’t do anything,” Vanderlinde says. “We basically can’t turn on the telescope until we have them in hand.”

Manchester City interested in Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk

Manchester City are interested in signing Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred, according to Sky sources.

City are understood to be looking at the 24-year-old Brazilian as a long-term replacement for Fernandinho, who turns 33 this year.

Having ended their interest in Alexis Sanchez, City now have more money to spend and could turn their attention to signing Fred in the January transfer window.