Here’s how four American astronauts will vote from space

They’re 220 miles above Earth



The American Presidential elections are just around the corner and mankind will be practicing democracy in space. Four American astronauts will vote from the International Space Station (ISS) in the coming US Presidential elections.

Kate Rubins will be launching to the ISS on board a Russian Soyuz rocket on October 14. Rubin has confirmed she intends to vote from space. Soon, Astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker will launch to the ISS alongside Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi as part of SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission.

“I think it’s really important for everybody to vote,” Rubins told the AP. “If we can do it from space, then I believe folks can do it from the ground, too.”

Millions of Americans vote via mail or in-person. Everyone is expected to practice their democratic right and the fact that astronauts are also pitching in plays a pivotal role in encouraging more voters to have their voice heard.

Right to vote from space

Interestingly, Texas voters have the right to vote from space since 1997. However, astronauts are usually based out of NASA’s Johnson Space Center is located in Houston, and are registered to vote in Harris County.

NASA explained that the Harris County Clerk’s Office uploads a secure electronic ballot to NASA’s Johnson Space Center Mission Control Center. NASA astronauts, using their credentials, access their ballot and cast their vote, which is delivered back to the county clerk’s office by email.

In astronaut Walker’s words to, “they basically send you an electronic file, it’s a PDF, and you mark your choices. And then you email it back to … the person who’s in charge of the election for the county. And so then that gets counted into all the ballots that are brought back.”

However, this isn’t the first time American astronauts are voting form space. In 2008, NASA astronauts Commander Edward Michael Fincke and Flight Engineer and Science Officer Greg Chamitoff cast their vote from the ISS.


Valve, Lenovo are giving away the Steam Deck and Legion Go

For tomorrow’s The Game Awards



The upcoming Game Awards is an amazing time for gamers. Aside from awarding the best of the best this year, the annual event also previews some of the most highly anticipated titles coming in the next year or so. Now, if you tune in, you might also get a chance to win cool freebies. Valve and Lenovo are giving away a hundred units each of the Steam Deck and the Legion Go.

Earlier today, Valve announced a giveaway for those who tune into the Game Awards on December 7. Viewers can sign up to win one of a hundred Steam Deck OLEDs. The signup period is incredibly slim, though. Interested viewers can place their entries only during the show — that is, from 4:30pm to 8:00pm, Pacific Standard Time. Plus, only residents in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and several countries in Europe can join.

Not to be outdone, Lenovo has followed suit and announced its own giveaway. As with the above, viewers can win one of a hundred units of the Legion Go during the awarding ceremony. Unfortunately, whereas Valve opened the sweepstakes for several countries around the world, only residents in the United States can sign up for the chance to win a Legion Go.

It’s a big giveaway for both companies. For one, the two handheld consoles are likely on a lot of Christmas wish lists this year. Both devices are certainly worthy of their hype, but their exorbitant price tags are probably too much to splurge on. The giveaway presents an interesting opportunity to grab two of the hottest devices in 2023.

SEE ALSO: Lenovo Legion Go review: There’s a new king in town

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Twitch is shutting down in South Korea

By the end of February 2024



Livestreaming has been an entertainment juggernaut since 2020. A lot of users online, especially those stuck at home or who have transitioned to work-from-home lifestyles, have turned to streaming both as viewers and as creators themselves. Unfortunately, in some countries, streaming doesn’t come cheap. If you’re in South Korea or are fans of Korean streamers, the streaming landscape is about to change. Twitch is shutting down in the country.

In a blog post released today, Twitch CEO Dan Clancy announced that the company’s operations in South Korea will stop on February 27. After this date, streamers who made Twitch their community’s home will have to find a new platform.

As a gesture of goodwill, Clancy says that the company will help Korean streamers find a new home — even if it’s not on Twitch — leading up the shutdown date. Currently, YouTube remains a possible destination for streamers.

Operating an online company in South Korea is pricey. Because laws are different in the country, internet service providers can charge companies significantly more for bandwidth usage. Because of the exorbitant costs, “Twitch has been operating in Korea at a significant loss,” Clancy said, leading to the withdrawal.

The death knell has sounded for a while. Last year, the platform downgraded the country’s maximum resolution to only 720p in an attempt to reduce costs. Though a former leader in South Korea’s thriving esports community, Twitch now finds itself on a flight heading out of the country.

SEE ALSO: Twitch cuts support for Nintendo Switch app

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Google introduces a new AI model called Gemini

Already in the Pixel 8 Pro



Artificial intelligence is the story of 2023. While the hype might have simmered down since the middle of the year, the segment is still pushing towards more advancements for the future. Unbothered by the dominance of OpenAI, Google has introduced its latest large language model called Gemini.

Touted as Google’s most flexible model yet, Gemini can understand text, code, audio, images, and videos. Though Google has not shared exactly how many parameters that the model can handle, the company says that Gemini can perform all the tasks you’d expect an LLM to do more accurately and more quickly.

Gemini will come in three flavors, spanning several markets: Nano, Pro, and Ultra. As the name implies, Gemini Nano is the model’s smallest variant. Starting today, the Pixel 8 Pro will start getting Nano to enhance the flagship’s on-device generative AI. The biggest improvements are naturally coming to the device’s camera capabilities. Photos and videos should be clearer and brighter, regardless of lighting conditions.

Meanwhile, Gemini Pro will come to Google’s other offerings. Bard, for example, is getting a huge upgrade, allowing for more intuitive replies. The same model will also come to Search, Ads, Chrome, and Duet AI.

Now, the beefiest of the three, Gemini Ultra is meant to further development in the field. While the previous two are available now, Ultra is coming next year. The premium model will mostly cater to enterprise customers and developers. However, if you want to try it for yourself, Google is also launching the top-tier model to an upcoming version of Bard called Bard Advanced.

SEE ALSO: Google Bard hands-on: Not much to worry about

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