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Facebook announces scholarships for students pursuing careers in journalism

Over the course of the past year, Facebook has made an effort to curtail the influence of fake and misleading news stories on its platform. Most of its efforts have focused on limiting the ability of fake news stories to go viral or providing a means to easily fact-check a story. However, Facebook’s most recent effort is taking a more indirect approach by offering scholarships to students seeking to pursue careers in journalism.

The company is partnering with multiple organizations in order to help provide students from diverse backgrounds with the opportunity to pursue a career in journalism, communications or digital media. The eligible organizations include the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Asian American Journalists Association, Native American Journalists Association and National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Each of the four organizations will receive grants of £250,000 and will be able to award £50,000 over five years.

In addition, five scholarships of £10,000 will be given to applicants each year. In order to be eligible for these scholarships, the students must be enrolled as juniors, seniors, or graduate students in accredited U.S. universities. Of course, those students must be pursuing degrees in journalism, digital media, or communications.

Additionally, applicants will need to submit proof of coursework, a letter of recommendation, and clips or writing samples that demonstrate their commitment to the field of journalism. This move is just the latest in Facebook’s recent efforts to address its influence on the field of journalism. Along with Google, the site accounts for one of the web’s largest sources of ad revenue and many sites use Facebook to reach or expand their audience.

Facebook’s influence came to head during the aftermath of the 2016 election, as many accused the platform of being a haven for fake news and propaganda. Facebook has rolled out many efforts to address this problem. One of its first attempts was partnering with fact-checking organizations such as Snopes and PolitiFact to check the accuracy of disputed news stories.

However, it has recently pivoted away from this move to more user-driven approach.

The company has also worked to improve its algorithms to make it harder for clickbait to thrive on the platform.

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I tried using the Surface Book 2 as my only PC, and it let me down

Microsoft wants the Surface Book 2 to be your only PC. Its website calls the Book 2 a “versatile laptop, powerful tablet, and portable studio in one,” going on to tell users it will “speed through intensive tasks,” and even handle Windows Mixed Reality. It’s an appealing idea.

I’ve long been a three, even four-PC guy; I have a desktop and laptop for work, and often have both at home, too. That’s a lot of computers, and while cloud connectivity has bridged most gaps between them, it seems wasteful. What if one PC could do it all?

I thought the Surface Book 2 15-inch would be that device. It certainly seems powerful enough on paper. With a Core i7 quad-core processor, Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics, and 16GB of RAM, the Book 2 is quicker than my work desktop.

Seeing a chance, I eagerly cleared it a place in my battlestation — but it wasn’t meant to be.

The scale of the problem

The Surface Book 2 15-inch has a beautiful, pixel-dense display with a 3:2 aspect ratio that packs about 250 pixels per inch. It’s fantastic. My work desktop, however, pairs well with a humbler 2,560 x 1,440, 27-inch monitor.

The Surface Book 2 doesn’t seem to play nicely with it. Fine text wasn’t as smooth as I expected, and everything on the screen looked and felt slow. I noticed the problems almost immediately.

Connecting the monitor was easy enough, but when I made it the primary display, the (now secondary) Book 2’s screen looked off. Fine text wasn’t as smooth as I expected, and everything on the Book 2’s screen looked and felt slow, as if it were refreshing at a slower rate than it should. “That’s too bad,” I thought, and then closed the Surface Book 2, thinking the problem solved.

Boy, was I wrong. My problems were just starting. They were minor at first.

The icons on the desktop spaced themselves strangely. A few hours later, I noticed the title bar of several windows had shrunken. Not a big deal.

Then, my cursor began to disappear as it entered certain application windows, including Word and Outlook. That was more of an annoyance, and I rebooted the Book 2. That fixed the problems, but they soon returned.

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

As it turns out, my unusual behavior is the cause.

I sometimes disconnect the Book 2 to use it as a laptop, and then re-connect to my monitor when I return. Crazy, right? Microsoft even has a support page for this, titled “Windows scaling issues for high-DPI devices.” According to the page, “These symptoms also occur when the hardware configuration changes, such as when you dock and undock a device that uses external monitors, or you detach an external monitor from the device.” The fix?

Log off, and log back in. This “resets the display information and improves the behavior.” Let’s summarize.

The Surface Book 2 — and all Windows devices, apparently — can’t properly handle docking/undocking from an external display. The result is a snowball of UI rendering issues that eventually force the user to log off. There’s no fix.

That’s just how it is. Ouch.

What are you doing, GPU?

Alright. So the icons don’t always look quite right.

It’s annoying, sure, but does it really matter? Is logging off and back on that annoying? Perhaps not, but it’s not the only problem.

I frequently saw the Surface Book 2 slow to a crawl for no obvious reason. Surface devices are notorious for odd bugs. They’ve earned plenty of criticism in the past.

Consumer Reports made waves last year when it revoked recommendations from Surface products, citing a high rate of reported problems. Prior to that, in 2015, Microsoft apologized for problems with the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4, saying “For those of you who’ve had a less-than-perfect experience, we’re sorry for any frustration this has caused.” The frustration continues.

I frequently saw the Surface Book 2 slow to a crawl for no obvious reason. Upon investigating, I found it was linked to extremely high GPU use by the Desktop Window Manager. As with UI scaling, this isn’t a problem specific to the Book 2, but that didn’t make my experience any better.

I ran out of patience with it quickly, and I’m using a review unit. I don’t know what I’d do if I saw this performance after spending at least £1,500 or, in the case of our review unit, £3,300 — but I’m sure it’d include cursing. While that’s the most headache-inducing problem, there’s plenty more.

Why doesn’t OneDrive work when I try to browser it through an Office application? Why do I hear strong coil whine when I connect the Book 2 to a monitor, and only then? Why did Microsoft ship it with a power brick that’s too small, so the battery discharges under heavy load?

I work with PCs all the time. It’s my job. I’m fine with seeing a glitch here or there, and on their own, each problem I had with the Surface Book 2 wouldn’t be a dealbreaker.

Together, they’ve ruined my experience, and I’m going back to my multi-PC lifestyle. The Surface Book 2 is still a great 2-in-1, and is a solid choice if you need a workstation laptop, but we can’t recommend tossing your desktop for it.

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Elon Musk's giant SpaceX Mars rocket could launch Feb. 6

Elon Musk’s SpaceX repeatedly missed the promised January launch date of the Falcon Heavy, a massive rocket intended to orbit Mars. Now, the next-generation rocket will fire up its 27 engines by Feb.

6, tweeted Chris Gebhardt, assistant managing editor and writer for NASASpaceFlight.com.

Guys… are you ready!? #FalconHeavy LAUNCH DATE! February 6th, with a backup on the 7th.

Launch time is 13:30-16:30 EST (18:30-21:30 UTC)#ItsHappening

— Chris G – NSF (@ChrisG_NSF) January 26, 2018

SpaceX hasn’t made the date official, but CNET has reached out for comment. Gebhardt followed up his initial tweet with a second saying that Feb.

6 is the earliest possible date for Falcon Heavy lift-off, subject to more slipping, especially if Musk’s company pushes back the launch date of its Falcon 9 rocket, which could be mistaken for an alien flying over Southern California.

And please remember, this is the NET (No Earlier Than) date. It is the plan right now, but it is subject to change as all launch dates are.

Remember, too, there’s a Falcon 9 launch before this that needs to happen first. https://t.co/Ud7Z9IY8Oj

— Chris G – NSF (@ChrisG_NSF) January 26, 2018

The Falcon Heavy rocket will carry a payload of Musk’s own cherry red Tesla Roadster and play David Bowie’s song “Space Oddity.”

Read more: Falcon Heavy finally fires up for the first time

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Apple HomePod pre-orders open today; is it worth $350?

Almost Home(Pod) If you’ve been waiting and waiting for Apple’s entry into the smart home speaker race, today’s the big day to at least pre-order the new device. That’s right, it’s January 26th, and if you get in line today, you’ll likely receive one of the first Apple HomePod speakers by around February 9th.

We were able to play around with one for about an hour to get some early impressions, and so far, so good. First off: It does sound pretty amazing. The HomePod features a central woofer and seven high-frequency drivers, and it seemed like wherever we were in the room, sound quality was very good – and quite loud.

The HomePod’s built-in microphones sniff out your room’s acoustics and set up the sound accordingly, and it does a solid job of it. Speaking of setup, it was a breeze, as you’d likely expect from an Apple device. It also looks pretty good: Stylish but also low-profile, and it comes in two colors – so far.

One music note: Siri will only control Apple Music by voice, not Spotify or Pandora and so on, but you can route those streaming tunes to the HomePod from your iPhone if need be. Siri worked as expected, although we had to ask twice a few times when the music was loud. And of course it works great with HomeKit-capable smart home SB© toys.

So is it perfect? Not quite. Check out our hands-on review and then decide if you want to drop £350 on it. Fixing a hole

Intel just reported solid numbers for their last quarter, but the main thing on investor’s – and everyone else’s – minds is the ongoing problems with the Meltdown and Spectre chip flaws. Intel and OS makers have tried to roll out software patches for the problem with varying degrees of success – and some outright failures – and now Intel says they are working on hardware-based fixes for the problem. However, we won’t likely see the “fixed” chips until later this year.

As scary as the Meltdown and Spectre problems sounds, the folks over at Extreme Tech think the incident could actually give Intel and other CPU makers a boost in the long run as companies – especially those that use a lot of servers – look to quickly upgrade to newer “fixed” CPUs, rather than hold out hope that their now patched-up systems will safely soldier on. In the meantime, we have some links below to check if your PC is updated or still at risk. Take your protein pill

Elon Musk and the SpaceX team fired up the Falcon Heavy earlier this week, and while the engines were only lit for well under a minute, the massive plume the 27 rocket motors created gives you some hint as to how much power is on tap. And good news: The test went well, as in the whole rocket didn’t explode, as Musk said it might. Now, Musk says he plans to launch a Tesla Roadster into orbit around Mars in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned for that. But in the bigger picture of American space travel, there’s news that President Trump wants to kill U.S. funding for the International Space Station by 2025. SpaceX is planning on sending both goods and people to the ISS as a primary NASA contractor, so that may put a dent in their plans.

Or will it? With the Falcon Heavy going operational at last and NASA also spooling up their SLS heavy-lift program, SpaceX could find itself heading for Trump’s new target: A possible new lunar base. Multiple sources report that a draft of future US space exploration priorities includes returning to the moon – maybe permanently – and then moving on to Mars, where Musk has repeatedly said he plans on going anyway – and in a big, big way.

Now, there’s really no way of telling the exact future of NASA, since it’s at the mercy of budgets, the economy and competing visions within each successive administration. But SpaceX is its own animal, and Musk’s vision of humanity becoming an “interplanetary species” with Mars bases, moon bases and maybe other bases even farther out there, is the kind of vision we can get behind. We can only hope NASA gets on board as well.

The ISS is great, but it’s stuck in low earth orbit, and always will be. Is it time to move beyond where we’ve already been? Let us know what you think about defunding the ISS and moving on to the moon and Mars in our YouTube comments section.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans) on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.

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