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Boom Supersonic Picks North Carolina To Build and Test Ultra-Fast Planes

Slashdot - 5 orë 33 min më parë
Boom Supersonic, which is developing ultra-fast airplanes it believes will lead to the return of commercial supersonic flights, has picked Greensboro, N.C., to build and test those planes. CNBC reports: The Greensboro-based plant, which is expected to employ 1,250 workers by the end of the decade, is the latest example of a new aviation manufacturing facility being built in the region. In the last 11 years, Boeing and Airbus have established new final assembly plants in North Charleston, S.C., and Mobile, Ala., respectively. "This is the right choice for us and we couldn't be more excited," Blake Scholl, founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic told CNBC. "Greensboro brings a significant, local skilled labor population and there are more than two hundred aerospace suppliers in the state. Many will be key suppliers for The Overture." The Overture is Boom's first commercial supersonic plane. The company plans to start building the plane in 2024, with the first one rolling off the line in 2025 and the initial test flight set for 2026. If all goes as planned, Boom's inaugural supersonic jet would enter commercial service by 2029. While Boom is based in Denver and will continue designing aircraft at its headquarters, it chose Greensboro, in part, because of its short distance from the Atlantic coast. "The proximity to the ocean is an important factor," Scholl said. "The vast majority of our flight tests will be over the water, where the plane can speed up so there is not a sonic boom over populated areas." Boom says the Overture will fly at a top speed of Mach 1.7, or about 1,300 mph, allowing it to shave hours off of some of the longest international flights.

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Amazon Ends Widely Mocked Scheme That Turned Workers Into Twitter 'Ambassadors'

Slashdot - 6 orë 13 min më parë
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Amazon has killed a program under which it paid warehouse employees to say nice things about the company on social media. "Amazon quietly shut down and removed all traces of the influence campaign at the end of last year, people with direct knowledge of the decision told the Financial Times," FT reported today. FT noted that the social media program suffered from "poor reach and embarrassing backfires." Amazon began paying workers to tweet in 2018 in a widely mocked effort to counter negative perceptions about the company. As Business Insider reported in August 2018, "The company now has a small army of 'FC Ambassadors' saying nice things about the company online and engaging in dialogue with average Twitter users. The ambassadors are full-time employees, according to an Amazon spokesperson, and it is their job to share their experiences working at a fulfillment center." "FC" stands for fulfillment centers, and the "ambassadors" worked in the Amazon warehouses before being paid to tweet, and in at least some cases, they split duties between the warehouse and Twitter. "I get paid $15/hr whether I am answering tweets or out on the floor stowing. I do this 2 days a week and 2 days a week I stow," one Amazon employee explained in 2019, as seen in a Bellingcat report that found 53 Amazon FC Ambassador accounts on Twitter. "The 'ambassador' program was always a laughable attempt to minimize the abuses unfolding inside Amazon warehouses," Warehouse Worker Resource Center Executive Director Sheheryar Kaoosji told the Financial Times.

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YouTube Gaming Boss Leaving To Join Crypto Company

Slashdot - 6 orë 53 min më parë
YouTube Gaming's top boss, Ryan Wyatt, is leaving the company to join the cryptocurrency company Polygon Studios. Wyatt is expected to depart YouTube at the end of February. GameSpot reports: Wyatt, a former higher-up at Major League Gaming, joined Google in 2014 and has been the global head of gaming at the company since then. "I will miss YouTube dearly, but it is time for me to pursue other endeavors in life and where my passions are taking me," Wyatt said. "I am fascinated by blockchain app development and am beyond thrilled to enter the web3 space." Wyatt is becoming the CEO of Polygon Technology Studios where he will head up efforts to grow the "developer ecosystem" by way of investment, marketing, and developer support. "I'll be leading the Polygon Studios organization across Gaming, Entertainment, Fashion, News, Sports, and more. I'm excited to work with developers and builders across the Polygon ecosystem and I'll be sharing more about my journey over the coming months," Wyatt said. Wyatt said in a video that he understands the issues and concerns people have with blockchain video games. One of the leading blockchain games today is Axie, and Watt said a lot of people don't quite understand what the game is really all about or believe it's not for them. But Watt said he foresees a future with MMOs, shooters, and RPGs in the blockchain space that people will be excited about. Engadget adds that Jamie Byrne, senior director of creator partnerships, and vice president and global head of product partnerships, Heather Rivera, are departing too. "Like many other companies, we've seen some of our people choose a new direction in the new year," YouTube told Tubefilter. "We are also fortunate to have a deep bench of talented leaders to take our business forward. We thank Heather, Jamie, and Ryan for their incredible contribution to YouTube over the years and can't wait to see what they do next."

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Valve Will Start Selling the Steam Deck Next Month

Slashdot - 7 orë 13 min më parë
It's official: Valve's Steam Deck gaming portable will go on sale starting February 25th. The Verge reports: According to the company's blog, customers who have reservations will get an email on that day and have three days to place an order. Valve also says that it'll release new batches on a weekly basis, so if you've got a reservation, March will be the time to keep an eye on your email. Here's some more info from Valve's announcement: "We will start sending invites shortly after 10:00 am on February 25th, PST. Order emails are sent in the same order that reservations were made. You can only order the Steam Deck model that you originally reserved. Your reservation deposit will be applied to the final price of Steam Deck, and shipping costs are included." Valve says that the orders placed on the 25th will start shipping out on the 28th.

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North Korean Internet Downed By Suspected Cyber Attacks

Slashdot - Mër, 26/01/2022 - 11:50md
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: North Korea's internet appears to have been hit by a second wave of outages in as many weeks, possibly caused by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, researchers said on Wednesday. The latest incident took place for about six hours on Wednesday morning local time, and came a day after North Korea conducted its fifth missile test this month. Junade Ali, a cybersecurity researcher in Britain who monitors a range of different North Korean web and email servers, said that at the height of the apparent attack, all traffic to and from North Korea was taken down. "When someone would try to connect to an IP address in North Korea, the internet would literally be unable to route their data into the country," he told Reuters. Hours later, servers that handle email were accessible, but some individual web servers of institutions such as the Air Koryo airline, North Korea's ministry of foreign affairs, and Naenara, which is the official portal for the North Korean government, continued to experience stress and downtime. "It's common for one server to go offline for some periods of time, but these incidents have seen all web properties go offline concurrently," said Ali. "It isn't common to see their entire internet dropped offline." During the incidents, operational degradation would build up first with network timeouts, then individual servers going offline and then their key routers dropping off the internet, Ali said. "This indicates to me that this is the result of some form of network stress rather than something like a power cut."

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The Rise of the Crypto Mayors

Slashdot - Mër, 26/01/2022 - 11:10md
This new political breed accepts paychecks in Bitcoin. The mayors also want to use buzzy new tech like NFTs to raise money for public projects. From a report: The ballooning popularity of Bitcoin and other digital currencies has given rise to a strange new political breed: the crypto mayor. Eric Adams, New York's new mayor, accepted his first paycheck in Bitcoin and another cryptocurrency, Ether. Francis Suarez, Miami's mayor, headlines crypto conferences. Now even mayors of smaller towns are trying to incorporate crypto into municipal government, courting start-ups and experimenting with buzzy new technologies like nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, to raise money for public projects. Their growing ranks reflect the increasing mainstream acceptance of digital currencies, which are highly volatile and have fallen in value in recent days. The mayors' embrace of crypto is also a recognition that its underlying blockchain technology -- essentially a distributed ledger system -- may create new revenue streams for cities and reshape some basic functions of local government. "Mayors rationally want to attract high-income citizens who pay their taxes and impose few costs on the municipality," said Joseph Grundfest, a business professor at Stanford. "Crypto geeks fit this bill perfectly." But as with many ambitious crypto projects, it's unclear whether these local initiatives will ultimately amount to much. So far, most are either largely symbolic or largely theoretical. And the mayors' aims are partly political: Crypto boosterism has a useful bipartisan appeal, garnering popularity among both antigovernment conservatives and socially liberal tech moguls. "You can do these things because you want to be associated with dudes with AR-15s, or you want to be associated with Meta," said Finn Brunton, a technology studies professor at the University of California, Davis, who wrote a 2019 book about the history of crypto. "A lot of it is hype and hot air."

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Doctors Find 'Antibody Signature' for Patients Most at Risk of Developing Long Covid

Slashdot - Mër, 26/01/2022 - 10:30md
Doctors have discovered an "antibody signature" that can help identify patients most at risk of developing long Covid, a condition where debilitating symptoms of the disease can persist for many months. From a report: Researchers at University hospital Zurich analysed blood from Covid patients and found that low levels of certain antibodies were more common in those who developed long Covid than in patients who swiftly recovered. When combined with the patient's age, details of their Covid symptoms and whether or not they had asthma, the antibody signature allowed doctors to predict whether people had a moderate, high or very high risk of developing long-term illness. "Overall, we think that our findings and identification of an immunoglobulin signature will help early identification of patients that are at increased risk of developing long Covid, which in turn will facilitate research, understanding and ultimately targeted treatments for long Covid," said Onur Boyman, a professor of immunology who led the research. The team studied 175 people who tested positive for Covid and 40 healthy volunteers who acted as a control group. To see how their symptoms changed over time, doctors followed 134 of the Covid patients for up to a year after their initial infection. When Covid strikes, IgM antibodies ramp up rapidly, while IgG antibodies rise later and provide longer-term protection. Blood tests on the participants showed that those who developed long Covid -- also known as post-acute Covid-19 syndrome (Pacs) -- tended to have low levels of IgM and the antibody IgG3.

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Researchers Build AI That Builds AI

Slashdot - Mër, 26/01/2022 - 9:50md
By using hypernetworks, researchers can now preemptively fine-tune artificial neural networks, saving some of the time and expense of training. From a report: Artificial intelligence is largely a numbers game. When deep neural networks, a form of AI that learns to discern patterns in data, began surpassing traditional algorithms 10 years ago, it was because we finally had enough data and processing power to make full use of them. Today's neural networks are even hungrier for data and power. Training them requires carefully tuning the values of millions or even billions of parameters that characterize these networks, representing the strengths of the connections between artificial neurons. The goal is to find nearly ideal values for them, a process known as optimization, but training the networks to reach this point isn't easy. "Training could take days, weeks or even months," said Petar Velickovic, a staff research scientist at DeepMind in London. That may soon change. Boris Knyazev of the University of Guelph in Ontario and his colleagues have designed and trained a "hypernetwork" -- a kind of overlord of other neural networks -- that could speed up the training process. Given a new, untrained deep neural network designed for some task, the hypernetwork predicts the parameters for the new network in fractions of a second, and in theory could make training unnecessary. Because the hypernetwork learns the extremely complex patterns in the designs of deep neural networks, the work may also have deeper theoretical implications. For now, the hypernetwork performs surprisingly well in certain settings, but there's still room for it to grow -- which is only natural given the magnitude of the problem. If they can solve it, "this will be pretty impactful across the board for machine learning," said Velickovic.

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ID CEO Backtracks on Claims Company Doesn't Use Powerful Facial Recognition Tech

Slashdot - Mër, 26/01/2022 - 9:19md
Identity verification company uses a type of powerful facial recognition that searches for individuals within mass databases of photos, CEO Blake Hall explained in a LinkedIn post on Wednesday. From a report: The post follows a news release from the company last week stating directly that: "Our 1:1 face match is comparable to taking a selfie to unlock a smartphone. does not use 1:many facial recognition, which is more complex and problematic." Hall's post on Wednesday confirms that does indeed use 1:many technology. Privacy advocates say that both versions of facial recognition pose a threat to consumers. In addition to numerous studies demonstrating the technology is less effective on non-White skin tones, amassing biometric data can prove a huge security risk. "Governments and companies are amassing these databases of your personal biometric information, which unlike databases, of credit cards, cannot be replaced," explained Caitlin Seeley-George, campaign director at nonprofit Fight for the Future. "And these are databases that are highly targeted by hackers and information that can absolutely be used in ways that are harmful to people." In the Wednesday LinkedIn post Hall said that 1:many verification is used "once during enrollment" and "is not tied to identity verification. It does not block legitimate users from verifying their identity, nor is it used for any other purpose other than to prevent identity theft," he writes.

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Qualys Research Team Warns of Significant polkit Vulnerability Affecting All Linux Users> - Mër, 26/01/2022 - 7:52md
The Qualys Research Team reached out to LinuxSecurity after discovering a memory corruption vulnerability in polkit's pkexec. Pkexec is a SUID-root program that is installed by default on every major Linux distribution of the open-source operating system. This vulnerability is easily exploited and gives hackers the opportunity to gain full root privileges on a vulnerable host. Much like the Log4j vulnerability, the severity of this flaw is high and it is imperative that vulnerabilities are reported in a timely fashion. Experts also expressed that due to the simple possibility for exploitation the vulnerability needs to be patched and mitigated immediately.

Verizon's TracFone Customers Complain of Attackers Stealing Their Phone Numbers

Slashdot - Mër, 26/01/2022 - 7:45md
Attackers have commandeered thousands of TracFone customers' phone numbers in recent weeks, forcing new owner Verizon Communications to improve safeguards less than two months after it took over the prepaid wireless provider. From a report: TracFone offers prepaid wireless service under several brands, including Straight Talk, Total Wireless and its namesake brand. Some customers of Straight Talk said they found their phone lines suddenly disconnected around the December holidays. "We were recently made aware of bad actors gaining access to a limited number of customer accounts and, in some cases, fraudulently transferring, or porting out, mobile telephone numbers to other carriers," TracFone said in a notice posted on its website this month. In some cases, customers said they discovered their lines had been moved without their permission to Metro, a unit of T-Mobile US. A T-Mobile spokeswoman said the company investigated and found "no fraud or data breach of any sort" on its side. The company added that such unauthorized transfers "are unfortunately an industrywide issue." Verizon, which acquired TracFone in late November in a $6.25 billion deal, said it had added security protections to the recently acquired services to prevent such fraudulent transfers. For instance, the prepaid operators will now send customers a text message notification when a transfer request is made. A Verizon spokeswoman said the attack appeared to affect about 6,000 TracFone customers, a fraction of Verizon's roughly 24 million prepaid lines. "We have no reason to think that this was caused by anybody on the inside," the spokeswoman said. "You've got the bad actors out there constantly trying to find points of weakness," Matt Ellis, Verizon's finance chief, said Tuesday in an interview. "We've addressed that weakness."

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Microsoft Teams Surpasses 270 Million Monthly Active Users

Slashdot - Mër, 26/01/2022 - 7:04md
Microsoft's Teams communications and collaboration platform topped 270 million monthly active users in the December quarter, continuing to add users but at a much slower pace than in the initial months of the pandemic. From a report: Satya Nadella, the Microsoft CEO, revealed the latest number Tuesday afternoon in conjunction with the company's quarterly earnings. The number represents an increase of 20 million monthly active users from the 250 million that Microsoft reported six months ago, in July 2021. Prior to that, the company used the metric of daily active users, so the numbers aren't directly comparable, but they do show how the growth has slowed. Monthly numbers are more forgiving because users don't need to use the product as frequently to move the needle. In daily active users, Teams jumped from 75 million in April 2020 to 115 million in October 2020 to 145 million in April 2021.

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White House Attempts To Strengthen Federal Cybersecurity After Major Hacks

Slashdot - Mër, 26/01/2022 - 6:24md
The White House plans to release an ambitious strategy Wednesday to make federal agencies tighten their cybersecurity controls after a series of high-profile hacks against government and private infrastructure in the last two years, according to a copy shared with CNN. From a report: It's one of the biggest efforts yet by the Biden administration to secure the computer networks that the government relies on to do business. Under the strategy, federal employees will need to sign on to agency networks using multiple layers of security and agencies will have to do a better job of protecting their internal network traffic from hackers. The strategy gives agencies until the end of the 2024 fiscal year to meet these benchmarks and others. The overhaul was inspired in part by a 2020 spying campaign by alleged Russian hackers that infiltrated several US agencies and went undetected for months, leaving US officials frustrated at their blind spots. The hackers tampered with software made by federal contractor SolarWinds, among other tools, to sneak onto the unclassified networks of the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and others.

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Cybercriminals Laundered $8.6 Billion Worth of Cryptocurrency in 2021

Slashdot - Mër, 26/01/2022 - 5:43md
Cybercriminal gangs laundered an estimated $8.6 billion worth of cryptocurrency last year, in 2021, a 30% rise from the previous year, according to a Chainalysis report published today. From a report: The company said it arrived at the number by tracking transactions linked to cybercriminal activity across different cryptocurrency blockchains. This included tracking addresses linked to activity such as darknet market sales, online scams, cryptocurrency platform hacks, and ransomware attacks. "Overall, cybercriminals have laundered over $33 billion worth of cryptocurrency since 2017, with most of the total over time moving to centralized exchanges. For comparison, the UN Office of Drugs and Crime estimates that between $800 billion and $2 trillion of fiat currency is laundered each year -- as much as 5% of global GDP," Chainalysis said. In most cases, cybercrime groups sent funds to centralized cryptocurrency exchanges, from where they converted the stolen funds into real-world fiat currency. Almost 47% of all stolen cryptocurrency was laundered through traditional exchanges, Chainalysis said.

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Intel Wins Historic Court Fight Over EU Antitrust Fine

Slashdot - Mër, 26/01/2022 - 4:25md
Intel won a historic victory in its court fight over a record 1.06 billion-euro ($1.2 billion) competition fine, in a landmark ruling that upends one of the European Union's most important antitrust cases. From a report: The EU General Court ruled on Wednesday that regulators made key errors in a landmark 2009 decision over allegedly illegal rebates that the U.S. chip giant gave to PC makers to squeeze out rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). While the surprise ruling can be appealed one more time, it's a stinging defeat for the European Commission, which hasn't lost a big antitrust case in court for more than 20 years. The Luxembourg-based EU court said the commission provided an "incomplete" analysis when it fined Intel, criticizing it for failing to provide sufficient evidence to back up its findings of anti-competitive risks.

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Windows 11 is Getting Android Apps, Taskbar Improvements, and More Next Month

Slashdot - Mër, 26/01/2022 - 3:50md
Microsoft is planning to launch a public preview of its Android apps for Windows 11 next month, alongside some taskbar improvements and redesigned Notepad and Media Player apps. Windows chief Panos Panay outlined the upcoming changes to Windows 11 in a blog post today, and they appear to be part of Windows 11's first big update. From a report: The taskbar improvements include a mute and unmute feature and likely the ability to show a clock on secondary monitors. Both were missing at the launch of Windows 11, but Microsoft is still working on improving the taskbar further to bring back missing functionality like drag and drop. The upcoming Windows 11 next month will also include the weather widget returning to the taskbar, something Microsoft started testing last month. Microsoft is also redesigning its Notepad and Media Player apps, and both include dark modes and design tweaks that more closely match Windows 11. The big new addition will be Android apps on Windows 11, though. Panay says this will be a "public preview," indicating that the feature will still be in beta when it's widely available next month. Microsoft first started testing Android apps on Windows 11 with testers in October, and the feature allows you to install a limited number of apps from Amazon's Appstore. There are a variety of workarounds to get Google Play Store running on Windows 11, but Microsoft isn't officially supporting this. Panay also shared a variety of stats about how important Windows has become over the past couple of years. Windows 10 and Windows 11 now run on 1.4 billion devices each month, and the PC market has experienced strong growth throughout the pandemic.

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LVFS Exploring Alternate, Open-Source Firmware For Capable End-Of-Life Devices> - Mër, 26/01/2022 - 1:00md
The Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS) with Fwupd for firmware updating on Linux could soon be making it easier to transition older, end-of-life devices off official firmware packages and onto the likes of open-source Coreboot for capable aging PC hardware. This not only would make the system run on more free software but would extend the life of the hardware with firmware updates where the vendor has ceased their support.

Critical Bugs in Control Web Panel Expose Linux Servers to RCE Attacks> - Mar, 25/01/2022 - 1:00md
Researchers have disclosed details of two critical security vulnerabilities (CVE-2021-45467) in Control Web Panel, an open-source Linux control panel software used for deploying web hosting environments, that could be abused as part of an exploit chain to achieve pre-authenticated remote code execution (RCE) on affected servers.

Linux Foundation Launches Open Source Software Development, Linux, and Git Certification

Slashdot - Mar, 25/01/2022 - 11:00pd
The Linux Foundation has released three new training courses on the edX platform: Open Source Software Development: Linux for Developers (LFD107x), Linux Tools for Software Development (LFD108x), and Git for Distributed Software Development (LFD109x). The three courses can be taken individually or combined to earn a Professional Certificate in Open Source Software Development, Linux, and Git. ZDNet reports: The first class, Open Source Software Development: Linux for Developers (LFD107x) explores the key concepts of developing open-source software and how to work productively in Linux. You don't need to know Linux before starting this class, as it's an introduction to Linux designed for developers. In it, you'll learn how to install Linux and programs, how to use desktop environments, text editors, important commands and utilities, command shells and scripts, filesystems, and compilers. For this class, the Foundation recommends you use a computer installed with a current Linux distribution. I'd go further and recommend you use one with one of the professional Linux distributions. In particular, you should focus on one of the three main enterprise Linux families: Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), and Ubuntu. There are hundreds of other distros, but these are the ones that matter to companies looking for Linux developers. The next course, Linux Tools for Software Development (LFD108x) examines the tools necessary to do everyday work in Linux development environments and beyond. It is designed for developers with experience working on any operating system who want to understand the basics of open-source development. Upon completion, participants will be familiar with essential shell tools, so they can work comfortably and productively in Linux environments. In addition, I recommend you come to this class with a working knowledge of the C programming language. Finally, Git for Distributed Software Development (LFD109x) provides a thorough introduction to Git. Git is Linux Torvalds' other great accomplishment. This source control system was first used by the Linux kernel community to enable developers from around the world to operate efficiently. In addition, thanks to such sites as GitHub and GitLab, Git has become the lingua franca of all software development. Everyone uses Git today. With this class, you'll learn to use Git to create new repositories or clone existing ones, commit new changes, review revision histories, examine differences with older versions, work with different branches, merge repositories, and work with a distributed development team. Whether or not you end up programming in Linux, knowing how to use Git is essential for the modern programmer. As ZDNet's Steven Vaughan-Nichols notes, you can take the three courses through edX in audit mode for no cost. However, you'll need to earn the professional certificate so employers will know you're capable of open-source programming. "To do this, you must enroll in the program, complete all three courses, and pay a verified certificate fee of $149 per course."

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The James Webb Space Telescope Arrives At Its Final Orbit

Slashdot - Mar, 25/01/2022 - 8:00pd
NASA has confirmed that the James Webb Space Telescope has successfully entered its final orbit around the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point after one last course correction burn. Engadget reports: The telescope's primary mirror segments and secondary mirror have already been deployed, but you'll have to wait until the summer for the first imagery. NASA will spend the next several months readying the JWST for service, including a three-month optics alignment process. The L2 orbit is crucial to the telescope's mission. It provides a largely unobstructed view of space while giving the spacecraft a cold, interference-free position that helps its instruments live up to their full potential. The JWST is expected to study the early Universe using infrared light, providing data that wouldn't be available from an Earth orbit telescope like Hubble.

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