Lower silicon production in China may increase chip production costs

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A surge in pricing for silicon metal may become a big issue for Apple and other major manufacturers, with production cuts in China shooting up the price of the material by 300% in less than two months.

Silicon is an important part of the technology landscape, being used for chip production as well as in other industries, including glass production and even concrete, as well as silicone products. However, it seems that the supply of the material is getting extremely tight, despite silicon being abundant enough to make up 28% of the earth’s crust.

While issues ranging from higher chip demand and water shortages have impacted device vendors so far, in what is termed the global chip shortage, silicon itself is a growing problem area. In a report by Bloomberg, production cuts in China has forced up the price of the material to triple what it was two months previous.

Three more U.K. energy firms have collapsed, taking the total number of U.K. utilities that have gone under in the past two mont …

Three more U.K. energy companies were pushed out of business by sky-high natural gas prices, bringing to more than 1.7 million the number of customers who have lost their supplier and adding to pressure on the government to step in.

Igloo Energy Supply Ltd., Enstroga Ltd. and Symbio Energy Ltd. announced their collapse on Wednesday, representing a total of about 233,000 households. Those customers will be allocated another supplier by energy regulator Ofgem. Since the start of August, 10 utilities in the country have gone under.

The latest failures increase the chances that government intervention will be needed. The crisis is building even before the start of winter, when power and gas prices typically increase due to demand for heating. Rising costs are making it difficult for larger suppliers — which have already taken on thousands of additional clients — to absorb even more, absent government support.

Students who grew up with search engines might change STEM education forever

Catherine Garland, an astrophysicist, started seeing the problem in 2017. She was teaching an engineering course, and her students were using simulation software to model turbines for jet engines. She’d laid out the assignment clearly, but student after student was calling her over for help. They were all getting the same error message: The program couldn’t find their files.

Garland thought it would be an easy fix. She asked each student where they’d saved their project. Could they be on the desktop? Perhaps in the shared drive? But over and over, she was met with confusion. “What are you talking about?” multiple students inquired. Not only did they not know where their files were saved — they didn’t understand the question.

Gradually, Garland came to the same realization that many of her fellow educators have reached in the past four years: the concept of file folders and directories, essential to previous generations’ understanding of computers, is gibberish to many modern students.

‘Territorial’ ravens disrupt surge in Wing drone deliveries under Canberra’s lockdown

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It’s a raven swooping on a drone attempting to make a delivery to a Canberran craving caffeine.

A battle for aerial dominance is emerging as nesting season coincides with a surge in demand for drone deliveries during Canberra’s lockdown.

Drone delivery service operator Wing has paused flights in the northern suburb of Harrison while bird experts assess the behaviour of local ravens to ensure their welfare is safeguarded. In written feedback provided to a customer, Wing advised: “We’ve identified some birds in your area demonstrating territorial behaviours and swooping at moving objects.

“While this is common during nesting season, we are committed to being strong stewards of the environment, and would like to have ornithological experts investigate this further to ensure we continue to have minimal impact on birdlife in our service locations.”

統計からみた我が国の高齢者

高齢者の人口〜総人口が減少する中で、高齢者人口は3640 万人と過去最多。総人口に占める割合は29.1%と過去最高

我が国の総人口(2021年9月15日現在推計)は、前年に比べ51万人減少している一方、65歳以上の高齢者(以下「高齢者」といいます。)人口は、3640万人と、前年(3618万人)に比べ22万人増加し、過去最多となりました。総人口に占める割合は29.1%と、前年(28.8%)に比べ0.3ポイント上昇し、過去最高となりました。
男女別にみると、男性は1583万人(男性人口の26.0%)、女性は2057万人(女性人口の32.0%)と、女性が男性より474万人多くなっています。
人口性比(女性100人に対する男性の数)をみると、15歳未満では105.0、15~64歳では102.6と男性が多いのに対し、65歳以上では76.9と女性が多くなっています。
年齢階級別にみると、いわゆる「団塊の世代」(1947年~1949年生まれ)を含む70歳以上人口は2852万人(総人口の22.8%)で、前年に比べ、61万人増(0.6ポイント上昇)となりました。また、75歳以上人口は1880万人(同15.0%)で、前年に比べ、9万人増(0.1ポイント上昇)、80歳以上人口は1206万人(同9.6%)で、46万人増(0.4ポイント上昇)となりました。