Styrofoam is not eco-friendly stuff. It’s made from petroleum, it can’t be efficiently recycled, it’s non-biodegradable, and it creates pollution when burned. A new plant-based foam reportedly has none of those drawbacks, however, plus it’s claimed to actually insulate better than regular Styrofoam.

Developed by scientists at Washington State University, the experimental foam consists of about 75 percent cellulose nanocrystals. Not only is it said to surpass the insulating capabilities of petroleum-based foam, but it can also support 200 times its own weight without deforming, it degrades thoroughly, and it doesn’t produce ash when incinerated.

To produce it, the researchers started by utilizing a process known as acid hydrolysis. This cleaved chemical bonds within cellulose derived from wood pulp, converting it into the nanocrystals. Polyvinyl alcohol was then added to those crystals, bonding with them to create an elastic, uniformly-structured foam.

And while other groups have previously created cellulose-based foams of their own, Washington State claims that those materials don’t insulate as well as its does, plus they degrade at high temperatures or in humid environments.

“We have used an easy method to make high-performance, composite foams based on nanocrystalline cellulose with an excellent combination of thermal insulation capability and mechanical properties,” says co-lead scientist Asst. Prof. Amir Ameli. “Our results demonstrate the potential of renewable materials, such as nanocellulose, for high-performance thermal insulation materials that can contribute to energy savings, less usage of petroleum-based materials, and reduction of adverse environmental impacts.”

No, not that McLaren. We’re talking this time about the British motorhome conversion shop with the lowercase “L”, Mclaren Sports Homes. The Leigh-based outfit’s latest project turns the Volkswagen Crafter into an all-out adventure machine. The hardy Savage camper van wears a full array of all-terrain equipment and packs dirt bikes or mountain bikes in a reinforced garage below a power-lift bed. Start your adventure on four wheels and continue on two.

Similar to what we’ve seen come out of Harrogate-based RP Motorhomes, Mclaren specializes in both regular camper vans and bike/gear-hauling “sporthomes” with integrated garages. The Savage smashes these two worlds into one, combining the camper van and the sporthome into a versatile all-terrain adventure rig.

Previous Mclaren conversions have their camper interiors walled off from the rear storage compartments, both the full garages on the sporthomes and the more compact trunk areas on the camper vans. With the Savage, Mclaren opens things up, creating a more open, seamless interior space that runs from driver cockpit to rear load doors.

The rear of the Savage is the most interesting part of the design, performing as both a gear-hauling space and a bedroom courtesy of the power-lift double bed. The bed sits above a garage area with diamond plate flooring and tie-down track, adjusting in height around the cargo inside.

The Savage can swallow motorbikes or bicycles, and the passthrough aisle to the front of the van means drivers can even load long items that might not fit in Mclaren’s typical sporthome garages — surfboards, kayaks, paddleboards, etc. With the height-adjustable bed, the van can also carry tall standing items that wouldn’t fit inside the shorter sporthome garages that sit below raised beds inside.

All in all, the Savage is a versatile van for those who want to take large gear on their road trips. The lift-away bed should also prove quite valuable for everyday cargo hauling (e.g. carrying home improvement supplies).

The Savage looks much like any other camper van up ahead of its adjustable garage/bedroom. Mclaren fills out the van’s belly with a kitchen block and wet bath. The compact kitchen has a dual-burner stove and sink below flush tops and a small refrigerator below the counter. A side-facing bench sits in front of the wet bath on the other side.

At this point, the Savage looks quite similar to a Crafter version of other lift-away rear bed adventure vans, such as the Winnebago Revel or Adria Twin Supreme 640 SGX. As more of a custom shop, though, Mclaren puts its own sporty, ruggedized imprint on the design. Inside, the Savage includes swiveling Recaro sport seats and leather and Alcantara trim. Outside, Mclaren ups ruggedness and off-roadability with a set of BFGoodrich all-terrain tires on 17-in Black Rhino wheels, rock sliders and a 300W LED light bar. It also tacks on a rear ladder and Fiamma awning.

Campsite energy comes from a 110-Ah leisure battery, 100-W solar panel and 20-L refillable LPG tank. Water is held in 90-L fresh and 50-L waste tanks, and a Truma Combi 4e heats both the water and camper interior. An exterior hookup provides for hot outdoor showers.

Mclaren coordinates closely with customers on personalized builds, so prices can vary accordingly. The Savage demo model with the aforementioned specs listed for £66,000 (approx. US$85,775) when Mclaren introduced it in February. Surprisingly, there’s no mention of 4Motion on that model, though we’d imagine Mclaren would be more than happy to source an all-wheel-drive Crafter for a customer Savage build.

Mclaren gets Savage with all-terrain, bike-hauling Volkswagen camper van [New Atlas]

These days, the capabilities of the humble shovel don’t necessarily need to end with digging holes. Over the past few years we’ve seen crafty gearmakers work all kinds of complimentary bits and pieces into the typical shovel design, ranging from fishing lines to matches to flashlights and many things in between. The latest comes from EST Gear and packs an impressive 18 tools into one, and can be taken apart and packed neatly into a pouch for easy carry into the wilderness.

Currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign, the EST Shovel is an adventure tool that is, first and foremost, a shovel, with a carbon steel spade and military-grade aluminum handle to lighten the load. It features a serrated edge along one side of the blade to help take on tougher materials and a foam grip for easier handling.

The shovel includes a further 17 tools in all, and here is the complete list: an axe, knife, spear, bottle opener, fire starter, wire-cutter, trowel, hexagon wrenches, nail puller, pick, ruler, hook, waterproof storage, screw driver, whistle, compass and rope cutter.

This is an impressive array of functionality, particularly considering the EST Shovel weighs a very manageable 2.5 lb (1.1 kg). Further adding to the portability of this versatile multi-tool is the modular form. This means the shovel can be pulled apart and individual tools used as needed, but also that they can be slipped into a purpose-built carry pouch for transport.

EST Shovel aims to be your ultimate adventure companion with 18 tools in one [New Atlas]

There’s a sense of irony in the development of new food-related technologies, as they’ve unfolded over the past several hundred years. We’ve gotten miraculously efficient at cultivating and distributing mass quantities of calorie-dense food, and for cheap. We’ve also gotten really good at making foods so tasty we eat them even when we’re not hungry, and so accessible it’s hard to turn them down. The end result is that many food companies are engaging in unsustainable practices, many consumers are overeating, and most of us aren’t providing our bodies with the nutrition they need to stay healthy.

Thankfully, we’re entering a new era, where entrepreneurs are founding startups to provide us with healthier, more sustainable options—and ones that are just as delicious and inexpensive as the junk foods that surround us every day.

The Healthy Startups That Want You to Eat Better

These are just some of the health-focused startups hoping to change the way we eat for the better:

  1. The Jar – Healthy Vending. First up, there’s The Jar – Healthy Vending, a London-based startup that provides vending machines to businesses and locations at no cost, featuring a wide range of locally-sourced, nutritious foods. Packed with options like salads, juices, snacks, and desserts, these vending machines are a simple and convenient way for busy professionals, students, and customers to pick up something quick and healthy to fill their stomachs. You can even purchase multiple items at once for a full meal, selected a-la-carte.
  2. Blue Apron. Blue Apron is one of the biggest names in meal delivery, providing customers with all the ingredients they need to make a healthy home-cooked meal. With it, you can create a meal for yourself in 35 minutes or less, with a total calorie count between 500 and 700—all with locally or sustainably sourced ingredients.
  3. Beyond Meat. Beyond Meat’s recent IPO generated tons of headlines, but the company has long been striving for a better meat alternative. Essentially, the company makes meat from vegetable proteins, attempting to recreate not just the function, but also the look, taste, smell, and feel of real meat. Vegetable-based meats would be much more sustainable for the planet, and could have health benefits to the average consumer as well.
  4. Soylent. Soylent is a product designed as a “food alternative.” It’s a nutritious, affordable drink that provides you with everything your body needs, including carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fiber, and micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. You can prepare an entire day of sustenance in just 3 minutes, and ensure you’re getting everything your body needs.
  5. Revolution Foods. School cafeteria food is notoriously bad, in terms of quality, sustainability, nutrition, and even taste, but Revolution Foods is out to make improvements. This company provides minimally processed foods with little to no artificial flavors or additives, and puts an emphasis on fruits and vegetables for school meals.
  6. Plated. Plated is another meal delivery service, sending you a box of pre-portioned, locally sourced ingredients every week. With it, you can pick and choose your options, and rest assured that no ingredient is wasted. And if you’re not around to pick up the delivered box the moment it arrives, you don’t have to worry, since your food will stay chilled for up to 24 hours.
  7. Instacart. Instacart is a different kind of startup that focuses on more standard grocery shopping, rather than meal delivery. With it, you’ll get a personal shopper in your area. You’ll give them a grocery list, and they’ll head to a local supermarket (or several), and provide you with all the groceries you need in a matter of hours. It’s more convenient, and can stop the temptation of deviating from your grocery list with junk food.

Changing the World, One Startup at a Time

The more we learn about the nuances of nutrition and the long-term effects of unhealthy eating, the more obvious it becomes that we need more sustainable food habits—both as individuals and as businesses. These startups are taking the first necessary steps toward a new era of healthy, sustainable eating, and they’re sparking a trend that will (hopefully) last for generations to come.

Dota 2 is no longer free to play if you want to have the best experience. In this year’s Dota 2 “Battle Pass” — a premium subscription that usually offers cosmetics and other optional curiosities to the game — Valve bundled one of the most important features it has ever created. Players who buy the Battle Pass can now use an “experimental” Avoid Player feature, which is supposed to keep toxic players away from you. Here’s a different way to say it: Valve is now charging players a minimum of $9.99 to avoid harassers.

I’m glad to see that Valve is finally taking more steps to address its toxic player community and protect Dota 2 players from the worst of the bunch. But it’s telling that the company sees this as an add-on, and not part of the core experience that should be offered to all players for free. Playing the game solo continues to be a wild gamble. Just last night I played a couple rounds of Dota, and while I was placed with a perfectly friendly group of teammates in the first round, in the next game I was subjected to a team of toxic players who argued for 40 minutes and launched vicious racial and homophobic slurs at everyone in the match.

And yes — it’s easy enough to mute others — but Valve hasn’t even taken basic steps to protect players in a game that has been around for six years. I still routinely encounter players with racist and other offensive words in their player names. It’s unconscionable that major developers and publishers like Valve can’t be bothered to implement the most basic player safety features in their games. No major company seems immune to this glaring lapse in responsibility; in my first few months of Battlefield V, I witnessed outrageous amounts of racist harassment on a daily basis that was supposed to be fixed by EA’s allegedly clever moderation AI. (The system couldn’t even seem to block the n-word, and EA never returned my requests for comment about why it was so broken.)

Of course, Valve’s new premium “avoid player” feature probably isn’t even worth paying for in its current state. Players report that the feature merely allows you to express a preference not to play with someone — not a guarantee that you won’t see them again. What the hell is the point of an avoid player feature that doesn’t actually let you avoid players? Why does this lame feature cost $9.99?

Players who buy the Battle Pass also get access to a new high-five feature that they can upgrade over time. But until Valve fixes its community mess, I suggest you leave them hanging.

In Arkady Martine’s debut novel, A Memory Called Empire, Ambassador Mahit Dzmare, an emissary from the distant Lsel Station, is called to the center of the vast Teixcalaanli Empire after her predecessor winds up dead. As she begins to understand the ins and outs of her new role, she also has to figure out how to keep her home station from being absorbed into the Empire, and what happened to her predecessor. Author Martine lays out a fantastic look at how a society’s memory steers cultural and political events, and offers a meditation on the lengths people will go to be free.

The novel is set in the very distant future: humanity has spread throughout the stars, traveling from system to system by way of a stargate-style network. That’s allowed the Teixcalaanli Empire — a hungry, expansion-minded society — to spread its influence throughout inhabited space, its culture and knowledge stretching from system to system. Mahit Dzmare is the ultimate fish-out-of-water when she’s abruptly assigned to replace Ambassador Yskandr Aghavn, who perished in the empire’s capital city. Her home, a self-sustaining habitat, has remained free of the empire’s oversight, something of paramount importance to the inhabitants of Lsel station. She’s seen as a barbarian by the cultured Teixcalaanlis, who view everything from her speech to her station’s burial practices as backwards and outdated.

Unbeknownst to the Teixcalaanlis, the inhabitants of Lsel Station have a particularly advanced technology at their disposal: an Imago, a thumb-sized device implanted in their brainstem that essentially grafts a digital persona into their mind. Think Altered Carbon’s cortical stacks: these devices copy a person’s personality and memories, and exist alongside their host. As Mahit describes it, it’s a technology that allows Lsel Station to pass critical knowledge to future generations of its sparse population. The Imagos are a closely held secret, a critical technology, and mental enhancement that would be seen by the Teixcalaanlis as another example of barbarism.

 Image: Tor Books

Mahit faces a major problem: Yskandr died in the capital city, and had been out of touch from Lsel Station for 15 years; as a result, her own Imago — a copy of Yskandr’s personality and memories — is a decade and a half out of date. So while Mahit has trained for years to understand Teixcalaanli’s language and culture, she finds herself in the midst of a tense situation: her predecessor dead and likely murdered, a battle for succession of the imperial throne brewing, and Yskandr — her out-of-date Yskandr — has suddenly vanished from her mind, leaving her without a crucial guide, save for her Teixcalaanli-assigned assistant, Three Seagrass.

That setup is the start to a stunning story that impressively blends together Martine’s fantastic and immersive world, a combination political thriller, cyberpunk yarn, and epic space opera that together make up a gripping read. Mahit’s situation is the perfect introduction to an unfamiliar world, as Martine moves her through the gilded halls of the Teixcalaanli capitol, meeting the politicians she’s been sent to interact with, the fantastical technologies installed in the city, and the poetry that represents the pinnacle of high culture for the empire. Three Seagrass, her devoted aide-de-camp, acts as a sort of cultural interface who brings her up to speed on her surroundings, and guides her as she moves around the city.

When Mahit goes to meet Yskandr’s original assistant, she discovers a bigger plot — and an assassin’s bomb that reveals that there’s more to her predecessor’s death than was originally reported. This leads her down a path to the heart of the Empire’s expansionist ambitions, where the technology in her head might be a critical bargaining chip for the aging Teixcalaanli emperor.

Martine’s book speeds along steadily as Mahit goes further down the rabbit hole of Teixcalaanli politics, and the plot unspools marvelously alongside each revelation about the empire’s culture and society. I’ve picked up similar space opera-type novels in recent years that I’ve largely bounced off of because their characters feel like they’re being used by their authors to sit in rooms and talk at one another, playing out political thought experiments while not much happens. There are certainly a lot of characters who sit in rooms and talk to one another about local politics here, but A Memory Called Empire feels like it does a better job weaving in all of those various elements: Teixcalaanli culture and world building, Lsel’s technology and its stance in the world, and Mahit and Three Seagrass’ relationship as a pair of genuinely interesting characters.

In fact, as Dr. AnnaLinden Weller (her real name), Martine is a scholar of the Byzantine Empire, and she noted in an interview in Strange Horizons that much of the novel is inspired by her own work on how that real-world empire interacted with its neighbors. It’s a meditation on how empires — real-world and fictional ones — expand and annex their surroundings. The Teixcalaanli Empire’s influence goes beyond just the warships that she mentions in passing — it’s the empire’s cultural exports that threaten to overwhelm the local cultures that it seeks to dominate.

At the crux of the book is the idea of how an institutional memory helps guide society. The Teixcalaanli have a vast history of poetry, histories, and their own versions of pulp space operas, while the inhabitants of Lsel Station have their own technologies for keeping knowledge around. At the heart of both societies is the same goal: keeping one’s identity intact for future generations so that their legacy moves forward generation after generation. A Memory Called Empire explores the good and the bad of that — bad, in that an expansionist, colonial-minded entity like the Teixcalaanli threaten to overwhelm their neighbors and replace their cultures with their own. But it’s good when you’re fighting for the very survival of your people. Martine threads a delicate needle through both arguments as the plot unfurls, showing off the complex facets where politics and identity mix.

As such, it’s an excellent, gripping novel with a brisk plot, outstanding characters, and plenty to think about long after it’s over.

Suppose you are running a pitch competition and need to create a scoring rubric? Or , maybe you are the head of a technology transfer office or innovation center and need to screen lots of ideas? Or maybe you teach innovation and entrepreneurship and need to clearly explain to your students how their submissions will …
The fatal flaw in AI isn’t the technology or its intelligence, it’s something far more difficult to change. Air France flight 447 wasn’t doomed because its technology couldn’t handle the weather but because its pilot wasn’t able to weather the storm. The challenge of artificial intelligence isn’t so much the technology as it is our …

Update: New analysis from 5G speeds tests live reporting in Chicago continues, as we’re here for five days testing Verizon’s powerful, but limited 5G ultra wideband signal on the new Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. 

You can at last get incredible 5G phone speeds today, according to our tests, but only in two US cities and only if you do what we’re calling ‘the 5G shuffle.’

We were able to test the Verizon 5G network in Chicago using a Samsung Galaxy S10 5G (and we’ll stick around to keep doing so until Tuesday on our own), and we’ve been able to pull down consistent speeds topping 1Gbps. One of our 5G tests peaked at 1.385Gbps.

But to get these headline-worthy speeds, we had to basically move (or dance) around the 5G nodes that sit above lampposts on specific blocks in Chicago. It’s reportedly the same in the only other US city with active Verizon 5G nodes, Minneapolis.

Amazing 5G speeds, with obvious caveats 

TechRadar became the first outlet with a 5G phone when the Moto Z3 5G launched last month, but the Verizon 5G network was just getting underway. It either wasn’t as fast back then, or we didn’t get consistent-enough signal to reach the heights we’re seeing now. It even frequently dropped back down to 4G LTE mid-test.

Now, five weeks later and with the Galaxy S10 5G in hand, we’ve gotten speeds that made the Verizon engineers on hand from New York visibly excited. They’re seeing the nearly 1.4Gbps speeds in the wild for the first time, too.

Speeds tests using the Ookla app offered us some insight into peak raw speeds, and they were great. But it was also important to do real-world tests – while doing the 5G shuffle – to see how Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Android game downloads did.

The most shocking 5G test we conducted?

  • Stranger Things (Entire First Season) on 5G: 38.78 seconds
  • Stranger Things (Entire First Season) on 4G: 1 hour 16 minutes

Yes, we waited on the same rainy street corner in Chicago to test these speeds. One finished in under a minute, and the other took one hour and 16 minutes.

The difference is staggering in this 5G test. We used the Galaxy S10 5G connected to Verizon’s 5G ultra wideband signal. The 4G comparison test used an iPhone XS Max on AT&T’s getting ‘5Ge’ signal (which isn’t actual 5G, as we’ve reported multiple times and a marketing stunt over which Sprint sued AT&T).

We were also able to download Fortnite in 2 minutes and 55 seconds and Asphalt 9: Legends in 2 minutes and 23 seconds on the Galaxy S10 5G.

While these 5G tests weren’t at nearly 1.4Gbps, they were fast (around 1Gbps) and depended on if the app maker was optimized to deliver fast speeds. Downloading the game PUBG from the Google Play Store, for example, was a bit slower than downloading the same game file from the Galaxy App Store.

In other words, the pull from our 5G device and direct line of sight of the 5G node was important, but so is the push from Google, Netflix and other content providers.

5G speed test: Chicago Day 2

Gone from Chicago are the other tech reporters, but we’re still here seeing if the 5G network holds up after the initial launch day hype. The answer: yes and no.

We can confirm that the 5G nodes are still active (this wasn’t purely a publicity stunt like some have implied). But, for large portion of the day, the our Samsung Galaxy S10 5G phone (we bought a unit at Verizon’s flagship Chicago store on launch day) did fall out of sync with both Verizon’s 5G and even 4G LTE signal. 

That’s right, we were operating on a 3G speeds for the better part of day two. Was it a network problem? Was it a hardware problem? We’ll never know. But a reset of the phone solved the issue and were we back up to 4G LTE and, in designated spots, 5G.

Day 3: More 5G speed downloads, but uploads are 4G

We are back on track with 5G speeds in Chicago during Day 3, as we reset the Galaxy S10 5G (which was getting abysmal 3G speeds yesterday for some reason). Some 5G cell sites atop lampposts were only dolling out 700Mbps (like we experienced with the Moto Z3 with the 5G Moto Mod), while we did get over 1Gbps again today.

What we found interesting is that uploads speeds remain the same, squarely in 4G LTE territory. In fact, when connected to Verizon’s 5G UWB, upload speeds peaked at a very normal 67Mbps. We did end up with 79Mbps on the uplink once, but that was in a 4G LTE speed test, so there’s really no 5G upload speed news to break yet.

Latency ranges from 30ms down to 17ms on 5G, which is slightly better than what we saw during 4G LTE tests, but not by much.

Clearly, 5G has growing pains. At nearly 1.4Gbps in our raw speeds tests, according to our speed tests, it shows tremendous promise. But blanketing the entire city of Chicago is going to take some time. Even saying 5G is more of a 2020 thing than a 2019 thing sounds hopeful at times.

We’ll continue to update our week-long 5G test as we get more time the the Galaxy S10 5G and compare it to 4G LTE in Chicago.

The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is finally here in all it’s camp glory. For some it’s a guilty pleasure, for others it’s an excuse to get all your mates round and embrace the sequins and general madness. The Tel Aviv Convention Centre in Israel is all prepared for the 64th edition of the annual singing extravaganza, but are you struggling to know where to watch it? You’ve landed in the right place to find out with TechRadar’s 2019 Eurovision live stream guide – it doesn’t even matter where on Earth you are.

With the “Big Five” of the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain qualifying automatically alongside the hosts and a further 20 coming from the two semi-finals, we’re now all set for the 26 act final event. That’s where the real business begins, with acts from the Netherlands, Russia and Sweden the early favorites to take home the trophy and the right to host next year’s event.

Once everyone has performed Madonna is set to take to the stage for a highly anticipated performance. Word is that she’ll be performing the incredible Like a Prayer, in addition to one of her new tracks.

Winners are then picked based on viewers’ votes and with up to 20 votes available per song, it’s important to play your part if you want to be involved. So watching the event is key and we’re going to tell you exactly how you can live stream the Eurovision 2019 song contest from wherever you are in the world. You can also scroll further down the page to discover more about this year’s event and some of our favorite bits from its rich history.

How to watch the Eurovision Song Contest from outside your country

This year the grand final will be available to watch via the Eurovision YouTube channel. This means easy access through any device that you can get at YouTube with. The downside? You’ll miss out on the commentary (or perhaps that’s a positive if you’re hosting a Eurovision party and really like the limelight).

If you’re more interested in watching your home country’s coverage – and there are details on watching in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, US and Canada further down this page – but you’re abroad this week, then you’ll soon discover that the Eurovision goodness is geo-blocked by the broadcaster. Annoying, if you take particular delight in your domestic coverage. But the good news is that there’s another way to get hold of it.

How to live stream Eurovision 2019 in the UK for FREE:

Good old aunty Beeb will be broadcasting the entire Eurovision Song Contest for free (assuming you have a TV Licence, of course). That means you can watch the main final via the BBC One on your TV from 8pm BST but it also means you can enjoy it online and on mobile via the iPlayer with Graham Norton as your wise-cracking host.

Representing the UK is 21-year-old singer Michael Rice who was voted in after competing on the BBC’s You Decide selection show. He will sing a song called “Bigger Than US” which was written by Laurell Barker, Anna-Khara Folin, Jonas Thander, and John Lundvik.

Outside the UK this week? Fear not, as you can follow our instructions above to use a VPN and watch as if you were back in blighty. So that means no need to miss out on Graham Norton’s unique take on the whole thing. Once downloaded, installed and a UK server has been chosen, head over to TVPlayer.com for a steady, free stream.

How to live stream Eurovision 2019 in Australia for FREE:

Since Australia’s SBS is airing the whole final it should be easy to enjoy it on the big screen. That also means you can get all the fun online using the SBS On Demand service that works on multiple devices – ideal if you’re on the go. Just remember to set your alarm if you want to watch all the singers live, as the show begins at 5am AEST. It’s all set to be the biggest vote since, well…actually, scrap that.

Find out more in our full guide on live streaming Eurovision in Australia.

How to stream Eurovision live in New Zealand this year:

New Zealand’s usual Eurovision broadcaster, UKTV, doesn’t appear to be airing the event this year. But you don’t need to be home in New Zealand to enjoy. You can still watch all the action online using a VPN. Check out how easy that is up the page with our handy guide.

Once you’ve sorted that, the next step is working out how you’ll get up early enough to watch it!

How to watch the Eurovision Song Contest in the US:

It doesn’t look like there’ll be any dedicated stateside broadcaster showing 2019 Eurovision. Sorry.

Luckily, there’s always that YouTube coverage. Or, if you want a more thorough watching experience, grab a VPN and watch via another country’s home broadcaster.

How to live stream Eurovision 2019 in Canada:

This year OMNI Television will broadcast the Eurovision 2019 event in Canada. Not heard of it? It’s a specialist multicultural station, so Eurovision is an obvious fit.

But if you’re out of Canada at the time but are still interested, scroll up to see how you can enjoy the contest using a VPN. It means you can watch everything for free from elsewhere on a tablet or phone.

Eurovision 2019 FAQ: Your questions answered

A symphony of staccato shutter snaps filled the air. Xenon gas strobed from dozens of camera flashes. Capcom was visiting a meat processing plant with a trove of camera equipment.

Iron-stomached photographers shot photo after photo of wild game meat along with ivory bones and flowing blood. Afterwards, they ordered tofu and pizza, but not to cleanse their palates. Those, too, were photographic fodder. 

The meat, bones, blood, and viscera translated into zombified flesh in their recent remake of Resident Evil 2. The tofu photographs helped them create the character Tofu from the game’s eponymous Tofu Survivor mode. As for the pizza, that was actually one of the first images audiences saw in the game’s E3 2018 trailer as a rat skittered across it.

The ability to scan objects and then separately collect texture data has existed for some time, but photogrammetry captures both at once. Streamlining that process allows us to create accurate, properly textured 3D models faster than ever before.

Members of the RE2 dev team

The process that Capcom employed to transduce multitudes of photos into what players saw reflected in their world of undeath is called photogrammetry, and Capcom has been tapping into the art and technique of this process since 2017’s Resident Evil 7.

“The photos we take are able to capture fine-grained details such as an object’s texture, which in turn allows us to create realistic, high-quality 3D models,” members of the Resident Evil 2 development team told us in an interview. 

“The ability to scan objects and then separately collect texture data has existed for quite some time, but photogrammetry captures both at once. Streamlining that process allows us to create accurate, properly textured 3D models faster than ever before.”

Streamlining processes like rendering is key when you want to make big budget games: it reduces cost, saves time and ultimately, creates a better product – in this case, one of the highest-rated games of 2019.

Photogrammetry 101 

The field of photogrammetry uses photographs to take precise and advanced measurements and has applications that range from cartography to archaeology.

The game industry has, over the last several years, adopted the science of photogrammetry to create highly detailed 3D models like the those found in Resident Evil 2’s art deco museum-turned-police station and the sanitized white laboratory stained in stark relief with arterial spurts of blood.

This process works by first taking an array of overlapping photos of a subject from all angles to build a comprehensive set of measurements of the subject in 3D space. The photos are then stitched together using specialized software which takes into accounts for scale, angle, and perspective. In that way, a series of 2D images become a seamless 3D reconstruction.

Overlapping aerial photographs can be used to create topographical maps, whereas 3D modelers more often get up close and personal with their subjects in employing this technique.

Photogrammetry is also remarkably scaleable. A cursory glance around the internet reveals tutorials on how to do rudimentary photogrammetry with a smartphone camera. Of course, the technology employed by AAA-development studios is a bit more advanced than that.

A match made in heaven (or… hell) 

This versatile approach to creating high-fidelity 3D models has allowed Capcom to push the boundaries into literally photorealistic territory. Not only can it be applied to architecture and organic materials, but facial capture and even details as minute as creases and wrinkles in clothing as well.

“For Resident Evil 2, we hired live models who fit the descriptions of our characters, fitted them with the appropriate costumes, and then used photogrammetry to capture the data from which we built the 3D models. The process was pretty similar to filming a live-action movie. Many of the objects in the game were created using the same process,” the developers told us. 

“Something we had to contend with in this game was the difference in size between the stunt actors and the facial model actors. We had to find a way to link the two of them by performing some initial facial scans to use as a target. We also use photogrammetry to capture the contortions that appear in the actors’ outfits as they move around and in their faces as they emote.”

To accomplish this, Capcom’s 3D-scanning studio houses 141 commercially available digital single-lens reflex cameras across two booths. One booth is dedicated to creating lavishly-detailed full-body scans composited from photos taken across 103 camera, while the other 38 reside in a separate booth dedicated to facial scans. 

According to Capcom, the number of photos needed per object or person is directly proportional to the desired quality. They took, on average, about 100 photos for each model in the game for things like …

Is the future of gaming picture-perfect? 

According to the Resident Evil 2 development team, there are a few drawbacks to employing photogrammetry – some objects can be cost-prohibitive to either procure or manufacture, while other objects that are constantly in motion (like trees and foliage that could sway in the wind) can introduce noise into the 3D data when converted if they move during the scanning process. 

That’s also not even mentioning the setup cost, which is rather sizable when you factor in a scanning studio and acquiring the equipment therein.

“However, assuming the object we want is easily deliverable, the quality of the final product compared to what’s possible with traditional methods is more than worth the extra cost,” according to Capcom. “We take the investment and operating costs of the photogrammetry studio into consideration as well, but we think this is an incredibly effective way to create assets, particularly in terms of the quality most contemporary games demand.”

That is why photogrammetry has continued to leave a footprint on the game development industry, and why Capcom has said they will continue to utilize it for their future projects. 

Moreover, Capcom tells us, they are looking towards a future where it isn’t something noteworthybut another commonplace tool in the belts of creators.

“Photogrammetry will eventually cease to be special, and in some ways it’s already reaching that point. What’s important is to have a kind of auteur mindset that is always aiming for higher quality and bringing even more value to the title. Photogrammetry is, in the end, just a part of the foundation used to create games and images.”

The Samsung Galaxy Watch is one of the smartest wearables on the market. Its thoughtful styling makes it an absolute pleasure to wear and its wide range of features mean it’s one of the most useful smartwatches out there. It’s so good in fact that it tops our best smartwatch list.

But as with all these watches it’s nice to add some flair and personality to your Samsung Galaxy Watch, and one of the best ways to do this is to find a strap that gives it a new look. Perhaps you want to switch straps depending on what you’re doing. A silicone band for exercise with a metal strap for nights out.

The good news is that there are loads of custom options for the Samsung Galaxy Watch that allow you to breathe some extra personality into yours, so we’ve been out hunting for the best bands and straps to make your watch reflect your personality.

The Galaxy Watch comes in two sizes – 46mm and 42mm – so we’ll be clear about compatibility with each band. 

These are products that we haven’t had in our test labs, but based on our experts’ opinion and knowledge of the most reputable brands around, we think these are worth looking at.

Our selections, ranked from cheapest to most expensive, take into account online reviews, brand reputation, product capability and unique features, to help you pick through the maze of choices available to you.

Image credit: Kades

The Kades Soft Silicone Band is one that allows easy removal, which means you can swap it out with different bands depending on your mood, or what you’re going to be doing during the day. The silicone band is ideal for heavy workouts, as it’s breathable and waterproof.

The pin clasp means that it’s easy to put on or remove, as well as keeping the watch nice and secure on your wrist. A massive range of colors and versions for both sizes of Galaxy Watches make this an excellent choice for those looking for a good all-round band on a budget.

Image credit: MroTech

It’s probably not much of a stretch to say that the MroTech Sport Loop borrows from the really excellent Apple Watch straps which use a similar ‘hook and loop’ fastening system to make them super-adjustable and simple to put on.

Nice design and a good selection of colors mean this is a great way to pick your style and make your watch stand out. MroTech has straps for both sizes of Galaxy Watch too, and like many of the bands here they will fit a wide range of smartwatches that use the same size fitting.

A sensible price and great design make this a really nice choice for many people.

Image credit: Goseth

Look, there’s no point pretending we don’t still love the Milanese loop strap design. The delicate look combined with its “wear with everything” practicality makes these styles pretty compelling to almost anyone. Perhaps not ideal for intense workouts, but a pretty good all-rounder nonetheless.

And the Goseth is an affordable option too, giving you bags of style without decimating your bank balance. The magnetic clasp is convenient and simple but by its very nature doesn’t lend itself to high-stress situations, so perhaps invest in something else if you’re always running marathons.

Image credit: TRUMiRR

For a modest price the TRUMiRR Stainless Steel strap brings a rather fetching two-color design to the Galaxy Watch. The high-end look makes this an ideal pairing with Samsung’s super-fancy smartwatch and should catch some admiring looks from friends.

We also really like the hassle-free clasp, which requires you press buttons on either side of the strap to release it. This should keep your watch securely on your wrist and prevent any accidents – essential when you’re dealing with an expensive smartwatch!

Image credit: Samsung

It’s not the most cost-effective band you can buy and there are loads of third-party silicone straps that are cheaper, but for a lot of people, sticking with Samsung for your Galaxy Watch accessories is essential.

We do however really like the design and color of the Blue version of this strap. While the Black and Natural Grey are both fine in their own way, the blue color makes this strap a little more interesting. The traditional watch-style notched clasp isn’t the most funky we’ve seen, but it will keep the watch on securely.

Image credit: Samsung

For some reason the color options are much better for the 20mm straps (which fit the 42mm Samsung Galaxy Watch) than the 22mm ones. Anyone who loves a nice bright color will enjoy the Violet and Pink bands, but we think the audacious Yellow is absolutely banging.

Samsung’s silicone bands are well-suited to exercise and should last a long time, but the traditional strap clasp is a bit frustrating as these designs can be a little uncomfortable for workouts. We’d prefer to see an Apple-style clip, but we can live with Samsung’s choice too.

Image credit: Samsung

Samsung knows that people may want to swap watch straps regularly, so the Hybrid Sport Strap allows for very quick removal and installation. That’s super-handy if you want to use different bands for different outfits or activities.

The combination of both leather and rubber means that the Hybrid Sport is hard-wearing but looks as classy as an all-leather strap does. You get a splash of color, which can either be bright and bold or a bit more conservative – ideal for all tastes.

It’s a bit expensive, especially compared to third-party bands, but it does offer some of the nicest design we’ve seen on a watch strap.

Tell us we aren’t the only ones that get emotional when Abide With Me is belted out immediately before the FA Cup Final. We aren’t? Phew! The stage is set at Wembley Stadium for the climax of the 2018/19 English football season. Manchester City and Watford are set to do battle under the now-famous arch. Is the outcome a foregone conclusion? Or is there a shock in the air? Whoever you’re cheering on, you can get a Man City vs Watford live stream in the 2019 FA Cup Final wherever you are – the time is here.

No matter how big a Hornet’s fan you are, there’s no denying that Man City are overwhelming favourites for this game.

A quick look at their team sheet (and how much the club has spent on players) should tell you everything you have to know. Aguero. Kompany. De Bruyne. Sterling. Sane. Silva squared. And with Pep Guardiola calling the shots from the bench, there aren’t many games that the blue side of Manchester go into as second favourites. And now with the Premier League and EFL Cup in the trophy cabinet, the historic treble is well and truly on.

It’s Watford’s first FA Cup Final appearance since 1984 and they will likely lean on influential leader and club captain Troy Deeney who will lead the line and set the tone and tempo for his team mates. With flair players Maxi Pereyra and semi-final hero Gerard Deulofeu, Watford have the creativity and skill in midfield to trouble the Wolves defense, but they certainly won’t have it all their own way. 

You can watch the players try to carve out their little piece of history by getting a live stream of all the FA Cup final action from wherever on Earth you are. Below we’re going to talk you through the best ways to watch the FA Cup final in the UK and the rest of the world so you can ensure you can easily live stream one of the biggest matches in the footballing calendar.

How to live stream FA Cup final in the UK for free:

Live stream the FA Cup final from outside your country

In the US? Then keep scrolling, as we have your viewing options below…spoiler alert, you’ll need an ESPN+ subscription. And footy fans Down Under, in Canada and in India can also see who’s broadcasting there.

But if you’re abroad for the game and find that you can’t watch your home coverage online because it is geo-blocked, we have a handy alternative to allow you to watch as if you were back on your sofa.

How to watch the FA Cup final: US live stream

How to watch Man City vs Watford live: Australia stream

How to live stream the FA Cup Final 2019 in Canada

How to live stream Man City vs Watford football in India

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