(CNN)China claims to have successfully tested its first hypersonic aircraft, a big step forward in aerospace technology that could intensify pressure on the US military.
(CNN)China claims to have successfully tested its first hypersonic aircraft, a big step forward in aerospace technology that could intensify pressure on the US military.
Toyota just doubled the size of its hydrogen-powered truck fleet.
From one to two.
(Hey, it’s a start.)
The automaker on Monday unveiled the second generation of its Project Portal semi-truck, which is larger, lighter and has a longer range than the original that was put to work shipping cargo between the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles last year and has since covered over 10,000 miles.
Both of the Class 8 trucks use technology from the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car and emit only water vapor as emissions. The fuel cell generates electricity to power two electric motors with a combined output of 670 hp and 1,327 lb-ft of torque.
The new truck – based again on a Kenworth as Toyota’s Hino truck division doesn’t make a truck this big – uses 10 fuel tanks instead of 6, which increases its range from 200 to 300 miles.
Toyota and its technology partner Ricardo are considering turning the system into an easy to install module, according to Trucks.com, but for now the new red Beta truck will join the blue Alpha in southern California for additional tests down at the docks.
If you’ve ever looked at a $5 H&M white T-shirt, you’ll notice it doesn’t look all that different from a plain white designer tee that sells for upwards of $300.What’s the deal with the price difference? Is the designer tee just ridiculously marked up, or is there more to it than that?
There are plenty of factors involved in determining the retail price of a T-shirt, many of which the average consumer probably doesn’t think about while shopping. Everything from the type of fabric to the manufacturing process to the branding can have an effect on how much we pay. How do we know that what we’re getting is worth it? Or, alternatively, what exactly are we paying for?
The answers aren’t that simple, but we spoke to a few experts who gave us some insight into the world of the wardrobe staple.
“Fabric is the largest cost component of most wearing apparel,” Margaret Bishop, a professor at Parsons New School for Design and at The Fashion Institute of Technology, told HuffPost, adding that fiber “is the largest cost component of most fabric.”
So what exactly does that mean? Well, let’s look at cotton, one of the most common fabrics used for basic white T-shirts. Preeti Gopinath, associate professor of textiles and director of the MFA textile program at Parsons New School for Design, explained that higher grades of cotton will cost more than lower grades.
The grading, she said, is “usually based on the length of the staple, which is the length of each individual baby fiber in [the fabric]. The longer the fiber, the smoother the yarn will be. If the fiber is short, many short fibers twist together and you’ll have more joints in the yarn. The more joints, the more texture.”
Then there’s the variety and quality of cotton ― is it Sea Island cotton? Egyptian cotton? Pima cotton? That choice further affects the cost, and if elastane is added to the cotton for stretch and better recovery ability, that adds to the cost as well.
There are also branded fibers, which, you guessed it, cost more than unbranded ones (similar to generic versus brand-name pharmaceuticals). For instance, the brand name for pima cotton is Supima, and that name has a marketing cost associated with it, Bishop explained.
Processes called carding and combing also add a cost to the final product. Carding cotton is the standard process of brushing fibers before twisting them into yarn. That can be followed by combing, which gets rid of any shorts bits in the yarn and gives it a smooth finish, Gopinath explained. Combing leads to a smoother, higher-quality yarn that’s also more expensive.
On top of all that, Bishop and Gopinath noted, if cotton is 100 percent organic, it will come with a higher price tag. Something that is made of a blend of cotton and a synthetic fabric, like polyester, on the other hand, will likely be cheaper; polyester and other synthetic fabrics are cheaper fibers, Gopinath said.
It’s not necessarily true that a designer T-shirt will be made with the most expensive cotton available, but, as Bishop explained, “it’s more likely that if it’s a very low price, the quality is not going to be as good as it will be for many of the more expensive brands.”
Both the labor involved in making a T-shirt and the country in which it’s manufactured play a role in determining the cost of a product, though one much more than the other.
According to Bishop, “Many people erroneously think the labor cost makes a big difference in the cost of a T-shirt, but the labor is a very small portion of the overall cost of the garment.”
If a brand is made overseas, Gopinath expanded, the labor may add practically nothing to the final price of a T-shirt. “It’s negligible,” she said, noting that it may add “a few cents … if it’s a mass-produced T-shirt made in Bangladesh.”
“If we see how much an American is paid, even at the lowest minimum wage of $8 an hour, if you convert that into Indian or Bangladeshi rupees, no one is paid that kind of money [in India or Bangladesh],” Gopinath said. “That’s like a king’s ransom already for the person overseas. They’re paid, in our equivalency, maybe a dollar or 50 cents, not even per T-shirt, but maybe per hour or per a few hours of work.”
Again, not every single cheap T-shirt is made in India or Bangladesh, where the minimum wage is significantly lower than in the U.S., but it’s extremely common. Just take a look at any of your H&M and Forever 21 tees, and you’ll notice many of them say “Made in Bangladesh.”
The economy of scale also plays a role in figuring out the overall cost. That means if a company produces 10,000 shirts, it would be cheaper than producing only 10 shirts, Gopinath explained. So, if the same mass-produced shirt made in Bangladesh for $5 was made in the U.S. in a small batch of, say, 20, the cost of labor and the retail price would be much higher, she added.
There’s an ethical component involved, too. As we’ve learned over the years, the garment industry, especially in places like Bangladesh, doesn’t have a great track record for providing safe work environments or fair wages for employees. Yet, we still bring those $5 T-shirts up to the cash register and revel in our thriftiness.
And while we tend to associate “Made in America” with higher prices, Bishop said that doesn’t always need to be the case. She said that in some of her research, she found that people were able to produce T-shirts in the United States affordably while still making a profit.
When it comes to the country of manufacture, it affects the overall cost largely because of import duties and shipping costs, Bishop said.
“Import duty on clothing is determined by the garment style, fiber content and country of manufacture. If a T-shirt is manufactured in a country that has a free trade agreement with the United States, the import duty will be zero,” Bishop said. “That same T-shirt, manufactured in another country, could have an import duty of 20 percent or more, depending on the fiber content and country of manufacture.”
There are also shipping costs involved with sending T-shirts from other countries to the United States. Bishop said that shipping white T-shirts from China, Vietnam, Thailand or Bangladesh to the U.S. will cost more in time and money than shipping from Haiti, Mexico or Central America.
As is the case with many products in the fashion and beauty industry, you pay for the name. So, if you go to H&M knowing it’s a fast-fashion retailer, you expect to pay $10 or less for a white T-shirt. But if you buy luxury goods from brands like The Row (which sells a T-shirt for $320) or Maison Margiela (which sells a three-pack of T-shirts for $340), you’re paying for the prestige on top of the product.
“Each brand or retailer has its own overhead, its own profit margin requirements and its own brand values,” Bishop said. “Some brands prioritize delivering a good quality product to its consumers at an affordable price, others prioritize creating brand buzz and status, and sometimes use high prices as a part of doing so.”
In some cases, sure, a $100 or $200 T-shirt may warrant such a price tag. For instance, Gopinath said, if a company is using eco-friendly and sustainable processes to make T-shirts in small batches in the U.S. with a small ecological footprint, those products would definitely cost more. But at the same time, “you can get what looks like the same thing made in Bangladesh or India for $5.”
As Bishop noted, “You could have a very expensive brand that actually makes and sells low-quality product, and you could have a more affordable brand that sells very high-quality product.”
We spoke to Benjamin Sehl, co-founder of Kotn, a clothing company offering cotton basics designed in Canada and made in Egypt, who said if a consumer wants to take care of their garments and have them for a long time, “they should probably be investing in better quality pieces that are going to last and not fall apart in the wash.”
“The more people that see the value in better-quality garments, especially ones that are ethically made,” Sehl said, the more they will vote with their dollars. Then brands will be motivated to take steps toward quality goods and ethical practices.
He agreed it’s difficult for a consumer to determine whether an expensive T-shirt is better than a cheaper one, but he encouraged everyone to do a little research into their go-to brands.
According to Bishop, there are some things to look for when you want to make sure you’re getting a quality tee.
For instance, if you hold the fabric up to the light, the yarn is generally much more uniform and smooth in a high-quality fabric. You can also train your fingertips to feel the fabric. A nice quality T-shirt should feel smoother, she said.
Now that you’re armed with knowledge to assess the value of your next white T-shirt, the choices are up to you.
(CNN)The newly announced preliminary trade deal with Mexico is a welcome breakthrough in the Trump administration’s trade strategy. It should benefit workers and consumers in both countries and should provide needed stability to the Mexican economy.
(CNN)The bomb used by the Saudi-led coalition in a devastating attack on a school bus in Yemen was sold as part of a US State Department-sanctioned arms deal with Saudi Arabia, munitions experts told CNN.
We just got one step closer to “touching” the sun.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, a NASA rocket carrying the Parker Solar Probe was successfully launched from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station — marking the beginning of a seven-year mission that aims to get the probe closer to the sun than any human-made object has gone before.
The car-sized probe was launched aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket at 3:31 a.m. Eastern on Sunday after an initial launch attempt on Saturday was scrubbed because of a last-minute technical glitch.
NASA says the probe will travel directly into the sun’s atmosphere over the course of its mission and will get to within about four million miles of the star’s surface.
The spacecraft will face heat and radiation “like no spacecraft before it,” the agency said. The probe’s 4.5-inch-thick, 8-foot-wide carbon-composite shield has been built to endure temperatures of nearly 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
NASA hopes the probe — which was named in honor of Dr. Eugene Parker, a University of Chicago professor who successfully predicted the existence of solar wind in 1958 — will help scientists crack some of the sun’s greatest mysteries, including the secret of the corona’s incredibly high temperatures and the origins of and the mechanism behind the acceleration of solar wind.
“The Sun’s energy is always flowing past our world,” Nicola Fox, mission project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, said in a statement about the mission. “And even though the solar wind is invisible, we can see it encircling the poles as the aurora, which are beautiful ― but reveal the enormous amount of energy and particles that cascade into our atmosphere. We don’t have a strong understanding of the mechanisms that drive that wind toward us, and that’s what we’re heading out to discover.”
Scientists have been debating these questions for decades, but NASA said technology has finally come far enough to make the solar mission a reality.
Unlike many planetary exploration missions, which primarily orbit the planet itself, the Parker probe will be swooping closer and closer to the sun by way of an elliptical orbit that will include seven “gravity-assist” flybys of Venus.
The probe will reach tremendous speeds as it orbits the sun. According to NASA, it is expected to hit 430,000 miles per hour. That’s “fast enough to get from New York City to Tokyo in under a minute,” the agency said.
According to CNET, the probe is expected to reach the sun in November.
In an interview with The New York Times last week, Musk said that the last year had “been the most difficult and painful year of my career” as he struggled to meet Tesla’s production targets. He also revealed that he gets very little sleep, working up to 120 hours a week and relying on Ambien when he manages to squeeze in time for rest.
“You’re a science and data-driven person,” Huffington wrote. “You’re obsessed with physics, engineering, with figuring out how things work. So apply that same passion for science not just to your products but to yourself. People are not machines. For machines ― whether of the First or Fourth Industrial Revolution variety ― downtime is a bug; for humans, downtime is a feature. The science is clear. And what it tells us is that there’s simply no way you can make good decisions and achieve your world-changing ambitions while running on empty.”
Musk tweeted his reply at 2:32 a.m. Sunday, per The Los Angeles Times: “Ford & Tesla are the only 2 American car companies to avoid bankruptcy. I just got home from the factory. You think this is an option. It is not.”
The tweet was later deleted, but Huffington apparently saw it.
In a statement to CNN, she said: “This is not about sleep, or about slowing down, or about asking Elon to chill out under a mango tree. It’s about how we can unlock and sustain our peak performance, and see solutions and opportunities where others can’t.”
Singer Kelly Clarkson also joined the discussion:
The Twitter page for the MTA New York City Transit subway service (@NYCTSubway) got raunchy Monday when it engaged in conversation with an adventurous commuter who asked: “Whose dick do I have to suck to get a train @MTA?”
Many accounts on the receiving end of such a question would opt to not respond, but the MTA wrote back just two minutes after the commuter’s initial tweet.
New Yorkers have a love-hate relationship with the MTA that tends to veer far more into the hate category.
The subway system is, to put it simply, a hot mess. Trains are consistently late, if they arrive at all, and ride fares continue to go up as service gets worse. All of this is to say that any sort of trust that the MTA will take you from point A to point B has been shot to hell over the years.
These problems are surely what led to the aforementioned tweet offering someone, anyone, fellatio if only a train would arrive.
The commuter told HuffPost she was being sarcastic because she was grumpy about a train not arriving. She also followed up her first tweet ― after the MTA’s response ― by saying she didn’t usually make these sort of pleas but that she was “tired of melting” on train platforms.
To which this reporter says: Same, girl.
A transit source said the @NYCTSubway account aims for a 100 percent response rate to tweets it receives. MTA spokesman Andrei Berman told HuffPost it responded to the tweet because “customers have asked that we be radically transparent in our communications.”
“As Space Force Cadet Lo reporting for duty can now attest, we listened,” Berman said without providing any clarity about the real identity of “JP.”
Some may argue that the subway account should have skipped responding to this one. We, along with many on Twitter, are supremely happy it did not:
The MTA may not be reliable, but Twitter’s fire content sure is.
This article has been updated with comment from the MTA.
Politics is often seen as a game but rarely does a political crisis form the basis for an actual video game.
Northern Ireland hasn’t had a devolved government for 18 months, after a power-sharing deal between the two main parties – the DUP and Sinn Féin – collapsed.
Since then there have been two elections, lots of political rows and several deal-or-no-deal situations – with no sign of an end to the deadlock.
Now, the political parties are gearing up for a fight: albeit in the glorious eight-bit quality that only an arcade-style video game can provide.
Super Stormont Deadlock takes its inspiration from the popular fighting game, Street Fighter, except in this version it’s the assembly members putting up their fists.
The artist behind it is Andrew Pope, who is 23 years old and lives in Belfast.
He began working on the project last December, but only completed it in July.
“There were a few versions of the project before it became a game,” he told BBC News NI.
“When I moved back home from university in Scotland, the whole idea of the deadlock and the systemic crisis was rattling around in my head and it was something I wanted to put on paper.”
But it went through several incarnations including a short animation and a comic book before Andrew settled on a video game, after playing Street Fighter 2 and drawing parallels between the impasse at Stormont and a virtual fight-em-up.
“A big part of the problem with Stormont is that if you look at it like a zero-sum game where there are clear winners and losers, then you can’t get anywhere,” he said.
“That was the point I was trying to make – it’s not a way to solve the crisis but it seems to be the only way that’s being pursued by the two main parties.”
Hand-crafting a video game from scratch and drawing politicians from all of Northern Ireland’s main parties, takes time and effort – luckily Andrew has some skills in that area.
“My father was an art teacher and I’ve been doodling since I was no age,” he said.
Andrew sketched every character and background by hand in pencil and ink before scanning them all into his computer to build the game.
He even roped in his girlfriend, Katherine McKnight, who made the eight-bit style music giving the game that authentic arcade sound.
“I was thinking the deadlock may well end before I finished it, which would have been good for Northern Ireland – but for me, the silver lining is that the deadlock didn’t end by the time I put the game out,” he added.
Once the two players have selected a character, battle can commence but there’s a further catch.
“You can only play as Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill. It says you can unlock all the others but there’s no system for doing that,” Andrew said.
“It’s an extra joke because it says you have to win more seats, but there’s no method to call an election. It relates to how I think a lot of the smaller voices have been locked out of the debate at Stormont.
“Particularly in terms of how the crisis is represented in the rest of the UK, you don’t get to hear many parties outside of the DUP and Sinn Féin.”
But what about the fight itself: is it fisticuffs based on political point-scoring and can one player, for example, deploy a petition of concern to block their opponent from striking a blow?
“You can attack each other but you can’t score a hit, both characters block every attack,” said Andrew.
“With the petition of concern and how discourse in Stormont works, there’s no way for either of the parties to win. So in the game it doesn’t matter what attacks you’re landing, it’s pre-determined how it’s going to work and that’s why both characters block everything.
“It’s frustrating that we don’t have a government and haven’t had one for so long, and I stand by the point I’m making with the game.”
Not all of Northern Ireland’s political hitters make an appearance in the game but if things remain as they are for much longer, Andrew might have to go back to the drawing board.
Could “Super Stormont Deadlock 2: Direct Rule” be on the cards?
“I think (Northern Ireland Secretary) Karen Bradley might know better than I would about the chances of direct rule, but if that’s the way we’re heading, it would be a worthwhile sequel,” said Andrew.
(CNN)The Trump administration is considering increasing the rate of proposed tariffs to 25% on an additional $200 billion worth of goods from China.