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One lost its way to experience one of the lowest

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This lyric, written 50 years ago about another time could apply to our world now. What we understood about the sixties revolution after it happened was that it was a reaction to a deep unhappiness with the established order that had brought two world wars. People didn’t know what exactly they wanted, but they certainly didn’t want what they had come to see as normal.

Now, five months into Donald Trump’s America, as we watch Brexit threaten the foundations of the European Union and stand appalled at increasingly nihilistic Islamist terrorism it is clear something is happening. The old order is crumbling. That’s easy to interpret. The difficult part is who is opposing who? It is a fast emerging conflict, but broadly it is between opportunist, populist, revanchist and nationalistic politicians and their followers against the ancient regime of liberal, consensus leaning, globalist internationalists.

President Trump is the standard bearer for the first group, but he has fellow travelers in Britain and across Europe. This, let us call it a movement, is not slavishly committed to political correctness or multiculturalism. Russia is being connected to Trump by the Western media. But a lot of this is down to the fact that Vladimir Putin, too, refuses to kow tow to the second group.

For the last 30 years liberal, consensus driven, globalist politics dominated the rich, influential power blocs. The United States and the European Union (EU) through the 1980s and 1990s dominated world politics. And the two power blocs, intertwined with the military alliance of NATO and supported by the United Nations formed one all dominating, usually cohesive conglomerate.

The EU, though it expanded to 27 countries, and was supposed to represent a homogenous group was and is dominated by an axis of Germany and France. The EU will not deviate toward policy that adversely affects the interests of this axis.

The United Kingdom stood up to the French-German axis, and now it has left. Russia, re-emerging with confidence, would not be intimidated. But all this the EU and its dominating powers could handle. Then Trump became US President. This wild card has blown all the old certainties away.

Rapidly the accepted pillars of global politics have crumbled. The old way of doing things, driven by the liberal democracies and leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel was stuttering. A week ago, in a Bavarian Beer Hall, Angela Merkel was driven to say: “The times when we could completely rely on others are, to an extent over.”

Merkel supporters – and even her internal enemies – nodded at her bellicose language.

She was saying that Trump’s America, the ‘want away’ British and the cynical Russians and everybody else can’t be relied on anymore. They disagree, and they must be wrong. There is a general acceptance in the global, opinion setting liberal media that these three power blocs have wronged the EU power brokers.

This scolding from Merkel was inspired by Trump’s tour through Europe when he did some scolding of his own.

At a G7 meeting in Sicily Trump criticized America’s traditional European allies over NATO obligations and made clear that he was willing to go it alone on climate change and trade.

The Old Guard, led by Germany its close EU colleagues, are characterizing Trump, the British and other nations and political movements who oppose them as right wing and reactionary. The language of their criticism carries innuendo. Those who oppose them are violent, racist and backward thinking. The narrative from the European leaders in the EU to the departing British has been that they are a nation of fools led by inward looking politicians.

America too is, they say, a misguided country led by a backward, isolationist leader in Donald Trump. These views are strongly supported by large swathes of the media. The Western media is predominantly liberal, leftist and supportive of consensus politics.

I contend that it is the consensus, liberal politicians that are out of step. It is they who are suddenly seen to be tied to an out-of-date and exhausted ideology. The reaction of the European democracies to Trump indicates history has overtaken them.

Trump said at a NATO meeting in Brussels at the end of May “NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations.”

And it was met with shock.

Trump has been castigating NATO and the unwillingness of America’s partners to spend the required 2 percent of GDP on defense for well over a year now. He has driven it home time after time.

I was in Washington when he told Merkel to her face about his concerns.

When Trump last week pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord there was a worldwide shrill revulsion.

Belatedly some thinkers and writers have come to see that the reaction to this was over the top. Again, amazingly, many world leaders and commentators have not been listening to what Trump has been saying. Or why he is saying it.

He has opposed this deal since he rose to become a Presidential contender a year ago.

His castigation of NATO is not some mindless attack on old allies. It is a deep belief that America is being taken advantage of. America First he says and he means it.

His exit from the Paris deal is down to the fact that he believes it is a bad deal for America. And many agree with him.

And we get to back to basic politics. Trump was elected in the Rust Belt of the United States. And Greater Appalachia, a huge neglected, mainly white area in the middle of the United States that has been wonderfully chronicled in the Hillbilly Elegy memoir of JD Vance.

Trump believes the Paris Accord is unfair. It is bad for the US, it is bad for the US coal industry, and it is bad for the working class folk in the middle America states that elected him. And he is out.

When he accompanies his departure with crass and rather inaccurate statements like “I represent the people of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” it allows the intelligentsia to sneer. But it is an ingenious summation. The Paris Accord hurts steel workers in Pittsburgh, so it is out.

To me, this indicates that NATO allies the EU and lots of the world aren’t really observing and analyzing their foe. They aren’t looking at his political base and understanding what he is doing.

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Digital SLR Cameras

Sony MEA Intros Three New High-Performance G Lenses

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Sony has announced three outstanding G Lenses to its impressive E-mount line-up – the FE 50mm F2.5 G (model SEL50F25G), FE 40mm F2.5 G (model SEL40F25G), and FE 24mm F2.8 G (model SEL24F28G). All three lenses deliver the high image quality and beautiful bokeh in a lightweight and compact design, perfect for photographers and videographers alike who strive for standout shots and easy mobility.

When paired with a Sony full-frame camera or APS-C, all three lenses boast high resolution, intuitive operability and fast, precise and quiet autofocus capabilities. The lenses have been introduced as the perfect set for photo and video for a wide range of uses including snap shooting, portraiture and landscape shots.

“At Sony we are constantly innovating to produce the tools that creators need to capture the beauty of this world” said Murat Gebeceli, Head of Digital Imaging, Sony Middle East & Africa. “With superb resolution and mesmerising bokeh, all housed in a compact and sophisticated design, the FE 50mm F2.5 G, FE 40mm F2.5 G and FE 24mm F2.8 G enable users to experience the joy of owning lenses that capture different perspectives of the same scene”. These three prime lenses each deliver a focal length for any shoot with the 50mm best for portraits, the 40mm optimal for still or movie snap shooting, and the 24mm ideal for landscapes. With their intuitive operability and superb build quality they are a fantastic set of three.

What’s more, the three lenses are of the same size (68mm diameter x 45mm), have the same filter diameter (49mm) and are almost the same weight (FE 50mm F2.5 G 174g, FE 40mm F2.5 G 173g and FE 24mm F2.8 G 162g) and internal focus so lens interchange is easy – even when using a gimbal. They feature the same stylish exterior design, but focal lengths are clearly marked for quick switches.

The FE 50mm F2.5 G, FE 40mm F2.5 G, and FE 24mm F2.8 G deliver the high image quality of a G Lens, whilst being compact and lightweight. The image quality is achieved by state-of-the-art optics using aspherical elements and ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements, delivering high resolution and suppressing colour fringing. The aspherical elements ensure high-resolution performance in every corner of the image, even from the widest aperture with shallow depth of field. Enjoy shooting in high resolution using a compact design.

The stunning bokeh of the G lens is achieved with the optimisation of a circular aperture and is delivered at the widest point of each lens (FE 50mm F2.5 G F2.5 at 50mm, FE 40mm F2.5 G F2.5 at 40mm, and the FE 24mm F2.8 G F2.8 at 24mm). All three lenses were carefully designed for optimum mobility and are compact and lightweight enough to suit any location. Whether shooting with a full-frame or APS-C body for portraiture, landscape, snapshots or movies with a gimbal and more, the size and weight are balanced perfectly. Experience the benefits of interchanging lenses to suit any scene or subject.

As well as the 50mm angle of view is perfect for portraits and snap shooting stills or movies, the FE 50mm F2.5 G has a minimum focus distance of 0.35m (AF) / 0.31m (MF) and a maximum magnification of 0.18x (AF) / 0.21x (MF), meaning it’s ideal for a variety of scenes and objects. The FE 40mm F2.5 G 40mm angle of view is ideal for snap shooting stills or movies with a minimum focus distance of 0.28m (AF) / 0.25m (MF) and a maximum magnification of 0.20x (AF) / 0.23x (MF). Particularly for movie shooting, 40mm is the preferred angle of view as it corresponds to the natural field of vision and for stills, 40mm allows subjects to stand out against backgrounds.

With a wide 24mm angle of view, the FE 24mm F2.8 G lens is perfect in situations where the background is included, such as gimbal or selfie shooting with a grip attached. And with a minimum focus distance of 0.24m (AF) / 0.18m (MF) and maximum magnification of 0.13x (AF) / 0.19x (MF), you can also shoot close-ups with a blurred background.

Despite their compact size, the lenses feature a focus hold button, focus mode switch, aperture ring, and Aperture click switch for ideal operability. The focus hold button is customisable from the camera menu and can be assigned a function that the user prefers. The aperture ring provides a more intuitive and direct feel, compared to operating the aperture from the camera body when shooting either stills or movies.

The aperture also provides switchable click stops that can be turned off for movie shooting using the aperture click switch. Furthermore, with Linear Response MF, the focus ring responds precisely and linearly when focusing manually so control feels immediate and intuitive, directly reflecting the intent of the photographer and allowing delicate focus adjustments.

The aluminium exterior and engraved Sony logo ensure a premium, sophisticated finish as well as increased strength and durability. Conveniently, the diameter of the filter threads on the hood and the lens barrel are equal (49mm), allowing the same cap and filter to be attached to both the hood and the lens barrel. The lenses are also designed to be dust and moisture resistant to ensure usability in any outdoor environment.

The FE 50mm F2.5 G, FE 40mm F2.5 G, and FE 24mm F2.8 G feature two linear motors to deliver fast, precise autofocus (AF) with excellent tracking performance which is maintained despite instantaneous changes in subject motion – making the lens ideal snapping moving subjects. The AF is also quiet, so works for both still and movie shooting.

The FE 50mm F2.5 G, FE 40mm F2.5 G, and FE 24mm F2.8 G will be available in selected countries in the Asia Pacific from April 2021.

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Gadgets

Review: ASUS ROG Flow X13 (GV301)

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The new ASUS ROG Flow X13 is the company’s ultra-slim gaming laptop that measures just 15.8mm thin and weighs just 1.3-kgs.

As soon as we took it out of its packaging, we were quite surprised at how thin the laptop was. This 13-inch gaming laptop comes with a 360-degree hinge, which ASUS calls Ergolift.

DESIGN
This hinge lets you use the laptop in multiple form factors to fit your needs. You can use it in the clamshell mode for the usual laptop usage. You can also flip the screen all the way to the back to use it as a tablet. In addition, you can even switch it to tent or stand modes to increase cooling that according to ASUS, lowers processor temperatures by up to 8°C.

And the Flow X13 looks pretty! You get textured lines across its surface for added grip for easy carrying. We also liked the fact that it has the metallic ROG badge on it, which makes it even cooler to look at. The ROG Flow X13 also supports the ROG XG Mobile external GPU, which is sold separately.

CONNECTIVITY
In terms of connectivity, you get plenty. On the left edge, you get a ROG XG Mobile interface, one HDMI 2.0b port, the 3.5mm audio combo jack, the activity LED and the power LED. On the right edge, you get one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports which come with DisplayPort 1.4 + PD support, and the power button, which also doubles-up as a fingerprint reader.

Around the edges of the Flow X13, you will find plenty of cooling vents to keep the device cool, even during your intense gaming sessions. The laptop also comes with two Speakers and a Smart Amp, with support for Hi-Res Audio and Dolby Atmos. In terms of battery, you get the 62Whr variety and ASUS bundles a smaller power adapter rated at 100W. The charger uses the USB-C connector to charge up the device.

DISPLAY
As soon as you open the top lid of the laptop, you come face to face with a 13.4-inches UHD touch display that offers an aspect ratio of 16:10. The screen offers a refresh rate of 60Hz, is Pantone validated, and comes packed into 4.9mm slim side bezels. For extra protection from drops or scratches, the display is equipped with Corning Gorilla Glass. You also get a webcam on top of the display that offers a resolution of 720P.

Everything displayed on the Flow X13’s screen looked awesome. You also get the ASUS Pen inside the box, which is bundled along with the Flow X13. Since the display is protected with Gorilla Glass, you don’t have to worry about scratches when you tap, swipe, and scribble on it. The ASUS Pen offers a smooth stylus action whether you’re sketching, writing, or just jotting down on the screen.

SPECIFICATIONS
Under the hood, the ROG Flow X13 is powered by AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS processor with Radeon Graphics, running at a clock speed of 3.30GHz. You also get 16GB of LPDDR4X 4266MHz Dual Channel RAM, and 1TB of M.2 2230 PCIe SSD storage. The laptop is also equipped with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth v5.2 wireless connectivity.

The 15-inch keyboard on this 13-inch laptop comes with curved keys that make typing on it a breeze. The keys offer a 1.7mm travel distance that allows for effortless keystrokes. The keyboard also comes with a white backlit that offers better visibility of the keys under low-light conditions.

PERFORMANCE
The performance offered by the ASUS ROG Flow X13 is top-notch, especially for a gaming laptop this thin and light. The AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS processor, coupled with 16GB of RAM, lets you run graphics-hungry applications with ease. Even CPU-intensive workloads such as video editing and 3D rendering become effortless.

[modula id=”36811″]

For a price of AED 6999, the ASUS ROG Flow X13 seems like a very good deal, considering the form factor it is available in. It is thin, light and is also a gaming laptop. It also comes packed with an outstanding specs sheet, which offers brilliant overall performance. If you are a road warrior who is heavily into content creation or hardcore gaming on the go, the ASUS ROG Flow X13 won’t disappoint.

Price: AED 6999

Photography by Ranbir Sen

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Nubia Launches the RedMagic 6 Series Tencent Edition Gaming Smartphone

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Developed together with Tencent Games, RedMagic announced the latest iteration of its mobile gaming flagship line, the Tencent edition of RedMagic 6 and 6 Pro devices.

Featuring an ultra-smooth 165Hz refresh rate gaming display, a unique active cooling system and cutting-edge mobile gaming performance, the Tencent RedMagic 6 Series aims to bring a new level of performance to mobile gaming. The company also unveiled the first ever wearable product from RedMagic, the RedMagic Watch as well as other gaming accessories.

A Revolutionary Screen Brings an Unprecedented Display Experience
The Tencent RedMagic 6 and 6 Pro adopts the industry’s highest refresh rate AMOLED screen at 165Hz, which refreshes with 21 more frames a second than the 144Hz panels. It reduces the lag and makes visuals even smoother, creating the industry’s smoothest and most stable screen display. The Tencent RedMagic 6 Series also supports Touch Choreographer, an intelligently adaptive technology that selects the most accurate refresh rate between 60Hz/90Hz/120Hz/165Hz based on your activity, resulting in a more comfortable visual experience, and saving battery power. Users can also manually lock the screen refresh based on their own preferences and activity, such as when playing games.

The Tencent RedMagic 6 and RedMagic 6 Pro also features the industry’s highest touch sampling rate – with a single finger touch sampling rate of up to 500Hz and a multi-finger touch sampling rate of up to 360Hz. The response time is as low as 8ms, which makes the device extremely responsive, enabling players to hit and play faster and more accurately.

To ensure these truly incredible display speeds do not impact battery life, NUBIA has implemented a mobile device CPHY-DSI Technology for the first time in the industry, increasing the transmission rate for high quality images by twice as much as before and uses 20-50% less power.

The display of RedMagic 6 Series Tencent Edition is also perfect for all kinds of entertainment. The visual experience is supreme. The 6.8” FHD+ AMOLED display also has a screen ratio of 20:9, a resolution of 2400*1080, and a screen-to-body ratio of 91.28%. The color performance is excellent with the stunning depth of color of 10bit and full DCI-P3. The peak brightness is 630 nits, and the contrast ratio is as high as 1000000:1. Every detail is vivid and sharp even in sunlight. This display is also certificated by SGS for eye care, low smear, and high refresh rate. The 6th generation fingerprint sensor sits under the display and unlocks 50% faster compared to the last generation. Press, unlock, and play quickly and smoothly.

Upgraded to ICE 6.0 Cooling System Ensures Top Core Performance
Tencent RedMagic 6 series uses the new ICE 6.0 Multi-dimensional Cooling System with a built-in turbofan. The built-in high-speed centrifugal turbofan can reach up to an astounding 20,000 rpm and the canyon air duct design for airflow increases the air heat transfer coefficient by 500%. There’s also a large copper foil, covering the battery, while a vapor chamber (the world’s thinnest at 0.33mm) sits behind the motherboard, connected by thermal paste. Even the intense graphically demanding games run smooth and cold on Tencent RedMagic 6 Series.

The back of the RedMagic 6 Pro adopts an aero-grade heat dissipation ice blade design. The material selected is a high thermal conductivity aviation aluminum alloy material with a thermal conductivity of 200W/(mK). It greatly enhances the heat dissipation and thermal conductivity of the back cover, and can reduce the tactile temperature of the fuselage surface by 3-5 degrees on average.

Go a step further and complete the ultimate cooling solution with the new Dual-core Ice Dock. As the name implies, it is a dual system with dual fans and dual semiconductors for improved cooling. Not only does it keep the phone cool, but it looks cool too with its RGB lights and wing-shaped design, it’s a no-holds-bar cooling machine. Pair up with Bluetooth to control the fan and lights to fit your style and cooling needs.

Top Spec Supports Elite Gaming Adventure
The Tencent RedMagic 6 and Tencent RedMagic 6 Pro are empowered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. The CPU part uses the latest Kryo 685 architecture and adds a new Cortex-X1 super large core and can clock up to 2.84GHz, increasing the CPU performance of Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 by 25%.

The Tencent RedMagic 6 Series is equipped with LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 Storage. Faster application retrieval and caching speed, even if multiple apps are opened in the background, the phone can still run smoothly, without worrying about running into memory performance limitations.

RedMagic gaming phone 6 Pro is also equipped with a new UFS3.1 flagship flash memory, supporting HS-G4 specifications, and has a single-channel bandwidth of 11.6Gbps, which is twice the performance of UFS 2.1.

In terms of network, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G mobile platform integrates a complete 5G solution from Qualcomm’s third-generation 5G modem to the antenna-Snapdragon X60 5G modem and radio frequency system. It has stronger performance, wider coverage and higher speeds.

The 5G solution uses dual-mode SA and NSA, supports n1/n3/n41/n77/n78 and other network frequency bands, allowing you to experience high-speed mobile communication anytime, anywhere.

RedMagic OS 4.0, Intelligent Software Optimization for a Fluid Experience
The Tencent RedMagic 6 Series edition adopts a deeply customized software system based on the Android 11 version and has carried out more than 100 in-depth game adaptations and optimizations to create the RedMagic OS 4.0. Based on the deep optimization of the software and hardware of the game’s bottom layer, Tencent RedMagic 6 series also cooperates with Tencent Games, using the SolarCore 3.1 gaming engine, bringing a better gaming experience.

RedMagic OS 4.0 can learn user habits and preloads frequently used applications in advance to achieve the effect of faster use. The intelligent scheduling of CPU, GPU and memory can quickly respond when performance is required, shortening loading times such as booting, application startup, game loading, and touch screen response; in addition, the rendering system can trigger related resources for scenes with different refresh rates to ensure a stable frame rate for high-refresh scenes, and intelligent power saving for low-refresh scenes.

RAM Boost memory compression technology, expands virtual memory, so that 12G memory is used like 18G memory. The more memory, the faster the system responses and the smoother the game.

Magic Write 2.0 is a fast read-write optimization patented technology developed exclusively by RedMagic. Through the intelligent classification of file content and characteristics, it can realize the systematic optimization of disk write synchronization and asynchronous mixed dispatch, taking into account asynchronous concurrency and serial writing. The long-lasting performance improvement brings faster, more stable and safer disk read and write performance. In addition to increasing the writing speed of small files by up to 10 times as fast, it also optimizes file reading and writing for Tencent applications such as WeChat and QQ, increasing the reading and writing speed by 50% and accelerating reading and writing.

RedMagic OS 4.0 also improves the Touch Choreographer feature which can make the frame rate more stable by up to 50% to always get the smoothest experience without worrying about screen tearing or battery life.

Through the all-around performance optimizations and upgrades of Red Magic OS 4.0, the game performance and user experience of RedMagic phones have been maximized. The RedMagic 6 Series Tencent edition is also empowered by Tencent’s Solar Core game engine, which solves the three major pain points of competitive mobile game response speed, frame rate stability, and network latency.

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