One of the observing modes is offline for now
There’s a kink in one of the instruments in NASA’s powerful James Web Space Telescope, the agency said Tuesday. After around two months of sending back beautiful, precise photos from deep in space, the team behind the telescope detected an issue with one of the four observing modes on JWST’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). Observations using that mode are on pause while the team learns more.
MIRI, the telescope’s mid-infrared instrument, can see wavelengths of light invisible to the human eye. It’s good for seeing clear details of things like newly forming stars. It was used to take the image of the galaxy group “Stephan’s Quintet,” for example.
In late August, the team saw “increased friction” on one of the wheels used to switch between wavelengths on one mode of MIRI — the medium-resolution spectroscopy mode, NASA said in a statement. The agency convened an anomaly review board on September 6th and decided to stop using that mode for now. They’re working to find a solution.
The rest of the modes in the mid-infrared instrument are fine and available to make observations, as is the rest of the telescope, the agency said. The telescope has 17 modes total across its four instruments, which can each be used to look for different kinds of information in the universe. MIRI’s medium-resolution spectroscopy mode can be used to analyze molecules in disks of planet-forming debris, while other modes might be better for looking at quasars or taking extremely detailed shots of distant galaxies.
This isn’t the only hiccup for the JWST, which got into position to observe the cosmos last winter — in June, it got hit by a micrometeoroid that damaged one of its mirrors. That incident wasn’t a huge shock. Even for a $10 billion telescope, getting hit with space debris is an inevitable part of space travel.
I cannot stop laughing at Trombone Champ.
You have to watch this video, and PC Gamer’s writeup is also great.
Accuracy and timing determine how well you play, with little words popping up to tell you how you’re doing. Words like Perfecto! Or Nice! If you’re sucking, as I typically do, you’ll get a Meh or sometimes a Nasty, which is maybe the funniest word to use to describe someone playing a trombone poorly.
Sarah Jeong18 minutes ago
Is it just me or are right-wing extremists a little too into Tolkien?
The obvious example is Peter Thiel naming his surveillance company Palantir (after an unspeakably evil scrying artifact that irreversibly corrupts its users?) but once you notice one profile of an alt-right or extremist figure mentioning how much they love Lord of the Rings, you start seeing it everywhere — including the footnotes of specious lawsuits attempting to undermine the 2020 election.
Anyways, you should read this, about an ascendant hard-right politician in Italy, whose politics are intertwined with high fantasy fandom in a way that will be unsettling to nerds of good conscience. And if you want to read more about Italy’s neo-fascist Camp Hobbit youth rallies in the 1970s, Atlas Obscura has you covered.
Republicans are not wild about antitrust enforcement.
The US government’s two biggest antitrust regulators — FTC chair Lina Khan and Justice Department antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter — appeared for a Senate Oversight hearing on Tuesday, and there were two quick takeaways:
1) Republicans still are eager to notch some kind of win against Khan and the Democratic FTC majority
2) They don’t really know how to do it yet.
Expect a lot of fireworks here if Republicans take back the Senate majority in November.
The Elon attrition is real.
“Hundreds of Twitter employees have fled since June,” according to Insider’s sources. That’s just over a month after Twitter agreed to sell the company to Musk — or, about as long as it’d take a highly qualified engineer to find a new job.
The company is down about 700 employees, according to the report, with many citing Musk and the acquisition as the reason why.
The PS VR2 has a new trailer, but no release date.
Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but it feels weird to release a slick trailer like this for a product without an official release date? Regardless, the ad offers a pretty nice summary of the headset’s key features, which you can also read about in our recent hands-on preview. The PS VR2 is currently scheduled for release in “early 2023.”
Here’s 3.5 hours of me and John Gruber talking about the iPhone 14.
Going on The Talk Show to dive deep on our iPhone reviews has become one of my favorite yearly traditions. A little bit of Apple Watch Ultra conversation in there too — and yes, I asked John what he thought of our redesign fonts.
David PierceTwo hours ago
YouTube’s former business chief will be Warner Music’s next CEO,
according to The Wall Street Journal. It’s a totally fascinating match: YouTube has always seen itself as a music service, even though nobody else really sees it that way, and talks a lot about how much it pays labels and artists. Warner needs to figure out how to get more money out of YouTube — and TikTok, and Fortnite, and the other platforms. Robert Kyncl’s going to be trying to improve the deals Robert Kyncl helped broker!
Andor, the latest Star Wars show, is now streaming.
Yet another Star Wars show is out, with the first three episodes of Andor — a prequel to Rogue One — available today on Disney Plus. My colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore calls it “a sobering reflection on the human costs of Star Wars’ never-ending conflicts.” My favorite part? There’s a sad droid named B2EMO.
This nifty AI lighting tool can give any selfie that ‘Golden Hour’ glow.
ClipDrop Relight is a free web app that allows you to apply artificial lighting to images in seconds. The tool is intended to be used with photos, but it’s taken the art community by storm as folks use it to add depth and funky lighting to their illustrations. Sure, it may not be able to replicate the real Golden Hour, but it saves you from relying on the sun’s schedule. AI = 1, sun = 0.
YouTuber smashes up car to test iPhone crash detection.
Spoiler: it works.
Pausing Starlink RV subscriptions is a great cost-saving feature.
Starlink can be expensive, but for me, paying an average price of €53/mth this year for fast internet from the remote beach where I work and play during the summer is totally worth it (read my review here). When my Starlink RV service is active, it costs €105 each month. But autumn is approaching so I’m closing my surf shack and pausing my subscription until April. With any luck, the price will be reduced again by the time I fire it back up.
Adobe has a $2.3 billion pot to keep Figma CEO and employees around for four years.
Forbes calls the retention package historic, with Figma CEO Dylan Field set to take home about half of the $2.3 billion earmarked as part of the acquisition by Adobe. Figma and Adobe would jointly decide what “subset of Figmates” would be entitled to the stock grants which vest in four years.
Neither Adobe nor Figma were available to speak to Forbes about the behemoth retention package, though we imagine those sharing in the riches would say “10/10, would be acquired by Adobe again.”
My Twitch streamer of the week is Reapz.
Hello, night Verge. The admins are asleep, so I’m going to post one of my favorite streams.
I spend a lot of time watching Twitch, and I’m constantly amazed by the creativity of variety streamers. Today I’m calling attention to Reapz: an Aussie who has one of the most creative technical setups I’ve seen. With a virtual soundstage and desk, he’s created the closest thing I’ve seen to a late night host on Twitch.