Smoking smartphone sparks emergency evacuation of Alaska Airlines jet, two taken to hospital

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The Register 24 August, 2021 - 06:58pm 43 views

Passengers escaped an Alaska Airlines jet via emergency slides on Monday night after a malfunctioning smartphone filled the cabin with smoke.

The pilot ordered the evacuation of flight 751 from New Orleans to Seattle after someone's cellphone started to spit out sparks and smoke just after landing. As the aircraft was still waiting on the tarmac at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for a gate, the slides were deployed and all 129 passengers and six crew made it out.

The errant mobe was also stuffed in a bag to curb its compact conflagration. Two people, we're told, were taken to hospital.

"The crew acted swiftly using fire extinguishers and a battery containment bag to stop the phone from smoking," a spokesperson for Alaska Airlines told The Register.

"Crew members deployed the evacuation slides due to hazy conditions inside the cabin. Two guests were treated at a local area hospital."

Airport officials, meanwhile, said "only minor scrapes and bruises were reported."

Alaska, along with some other airlines, has carried battery containment bags since 2016 when a rash of exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones showed the aviation world that they'd be useful to have aboard. The FAA banned the handsets from commercial flights and Samsung eventually withdrew the devices at an estimated cost of $2.3bn.

The bags Alaska uses come in two sizes: a smaller one on the flight deck for the pilots' electronics, and a larger bag for the passengers' kit.

The bags can withstand temperatures up to 3,200°F (1,760°C), come with heat resistant gloves to handle a burning device, and can be sealed into an airtight pocket to prevent a fire from getting out of hand and spreading.

Such bags can be a lifesaver if a lithium-ion battery fire breaks out mid-flight, giving the pilot time to find a safe spot to touch down. And as we saw in Seattle on Monday, they can be pretty useful on the ground, too.

Then again, all the heat-resistant bags in the world won't be much use if the aircraft's own batteries catch fire, as Boeing demonstrated with its 787 Dreamliner. ®

Samsung has advanced its plans to relieve devices of the tedious chore that is moving data out of memory and into a processor – by putting more processing power into memory. It's already running in servers and should become a standard of sorts next year.

The Korean giant's efforts use its very fast Aquabolt high-bandwidth memory (HBM) architecture – tech to which the company added processing-in-memory (PIM) capabilities in February 2021. Samsung hasn't revealed a lot of detail about its PIM implementation, but The Register understands it involves placing a processing unit with unspecified specs alongside each cell array inside memory.

In early 2021 Samsung announced it had HBM and PIM working together in the same piece of silicon. Yesterday it announced it's made the two work inside a Xilinx Virtex Ultrascale+ (Alveo) AI accelerator, and also advanced HBM-PIM to a point at which it is ready for deployment inside DIMMS and mobile memory.

Four regions and provinces in China have announced they are joining an existing dedicated internet connectivity facility linking the Middle Kingdom and Singapore.

Launched in September 2019, the China-Singapore (Chongqing) International Dedicated Connectivity (IDC) is the first point-to-point internet connectivity between China and a foreign country and links Singapore with seven districts across Chongqing.

The project provides high-speed and low-latency connections through Singapore and Western China through Chongqing, supporting bandwidth-intensive industries like video games, media and conferencing services.

Interview On August 25, 1991, Linus Torvalds, then a student at the University of Helsinki in Finland, sent a message to the comp.os.minix newsgroup soliciting feature suggestions for a free Unix-like operating system he was developing as a hobby.

Thirty years later, that software, now known as Linux, is everywhere.

It dominates the supercomputer world, with 100 per cent market share. According to Google, the Linux kernel is at the heart of more than three billion active devices running Android, the most-used operating system in the world.

The European Space Agency's astronaut recruitment project has far exceeded its most optimistic forecasts by generating 23,000 applications.

Upon assessment, around 20 per cent of applicants were found not to meet the requirements for the job, so were quickly informed they would not be considered.

However "more than 80 per cent of all remaining, eligible applications are still under review," according to Antonella Costa, HR business partner at the Agency (ESA).

The US city of Phoenix, Arizona is getting more semiconductor factories – if all goes according to the plan lined up yesterday by Taiwan economic development officials and an Arizona economic group.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Taiwan-USA Industrial Cooperation Promotion Office (TUSA) and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) establishes a cooperation platform and plans for next-gen microelectronic product development and manufacturing. It will also match up strategic partners and court related industries to join in on the semiconductor fun and games.

TUSA is supported by Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs.

On July 25th, Google cloud launched a new region with all sorts of fanfare about how the new facility – australia-southeast2 in Melbourne – would accelerate the nation's digital transformation and make the world a better place in myriad ways.

And on August 24th, the region went down quite hard. Late in the afternoon, local time, users of the region lost the ability to create new VMs in the Google Cloud Engine. Load balancers became unavailable, as did cloud storage. In all, 13 services experienced issues.

Things improved an hour or so later, with some services resuming – but the number of services impacted blew out to 17.

NASA on Tuesday postponed a spacewalk after one of the astronauts due to work outside the International Space Station had a “pinched nerve” in his neck.

US astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Japan's Akihiko Hoshide were hoping to step out into the void at 1230 UTC on August 24. The pair were instructed to install equipment along the spacecraft’s Integrated Truss Structure, the 108.5-metre-long pole that stretches across the length of the ISS, to support upgraded solar panels for the station.

But, alas, Vande Hei was suffering from a pinched nerve, which thwarted NASA’s plans. “This issue is not a medical emergency,” the American agency confirmed. “The spacewalk is not time-sensitive and crew members are continuing to move forward with other station work and activities.”

A California man this month admitted he hoarded hundreds of thousands of photos and videos stolen from strangers' Apple iCloud accounts to find and share images of nude young women.

Prosecutors in Florida had charged [PDF] Hao Kuo Chi, 40, of Los Angeles County, who uses the first name David, with conspiracy and computer fraud.

Chi, using the online name "icloudripper4you," worked with other unidentified miscreants to obtain files from Apple customers' iCloud accounts by impersonating Apple customer support representatives in email messages.

The next release of GNOME desktop, version 41, is now in beta and its features and API are frozen.

GNOME 40 was released in March and, despite the huge leap in version number from 3.38, it was not intended to be radically different from the 3.x line in the same way that GNOME 3 was to GNOME 2. "Radical technological and design changes are too disruptive for maintainers, users, and developers," said Emmanuele Bassi from the GNOME Team.

Instead, the version number of 40 is to signify it's roughly the 40th release of GNOME – specifically, the 41st – rather than a 2.x-to-3.x level of change that 3.38 to, say, 4.0 would suggest.

Samsung is remotely bricking smart TVs it said were looted from one of its South African warehouses amid violent unrest in the nation.

On July 8, rioting kicked off in KwaZulu-Natal, the home province of former President Jacob Zuma, as he started a 15-month stretch behind bars for contempt of court. Shopping malls and other businesses were ransacked by mobs grabbing food, electronics, and other supplies.

A few days later, on July 11, Samsung's Cato Ridge warehouse in the province was caught up in the looting, the mega-corporation said, with smart televisions stolen from the distribution center. The violence wound down by July 18. Whoever ends up with the kit is likely in for disappointment as this month chaebol is disabling the devices as soon as they connect to the internet.

Bork!Bork!Bork! Bork takes a trip to the Baltic today, with a wraparound bit of digital signage demonstrating that all is not well in the Republic of Lithuania.

It appears that Windows has taken a well-earned break from disgracing itself over digital signage. Instead, a mystery app occupying a quarter of the corner is pleading for Feedback.

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Samsung Galaxy A21 catches fire on plane after landing

CNET 24 August, 2021 - 08:23pm

The Samsung Galaxy A21 was introduced in 2020.

A passenger's Samsung Galaxy A21 caught fire Monday inside the cabin of an Alaska Airlines flight after landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, forcing the crew to deploy the aircraft's evacuation slides to remove the flight's occupants.

The passenger's phone "overheated and began sparking" after the flight from New Orleans landed Monday evening, an Alaska Airlines spokesperson told the Associated Press. Perry Cooper, a spokesman for the Port of Seattle, which operates the airport, said the device was determined to be a Samsung Galaxy A21.

"After much digging, I can tell you that the phone was burned beyond recognition," Cooper sad in an email.  "However, during an interview with one of our Port of Seattle Police officers, the passenger volunteered the phone was a Samsung Galaxy A21. Again, we could not confirm it by looking at the remains of the device."

The Port of Seattle said in a series of tweets Monday evening that 128 passengers and six crew members were transported by bus to the terminal. There were no serious injuries associated with the fire, the Port said.

A Samsung spokesperson said the company is aware of the situation and "conducting a thorough investigation."

The Galaxy A21, unveiled in April 2020, features a 4,000-mAh battery.

Alaska Airlines didn't respond to a request for comment.

The alleged incident is reminiscent of the Galaxy Note 7 nightmare Samsung experienced five years ago. In 2016, the Korean electronics giant recalled the device twice before eventually discontinuing it after a battery flaw caused dozens of the phones to explode or burst into flames.

Some of the original batteries were found to have been constructed improperly and gotten a little squished, while some of the replacements were missing insulation tape and/or had sharp metal bits that punched through. To avoid future problems, the company created an eight-point inspection process for its batteries.

Alaska Airlines evacuated a plane after a phone burst into flame

KIRO Seattle 24 August, 2021 - 06:27pm

It was a Samsung Galaxy A21, according to the Port of Seattle

“After much digging, I can tell you that the phone was burned beyond recognition,” Cooper said in an email to The Seattle Times. “However, during an interview with one of our Port of Seattle Police officers, the passenger volunteered the phone was a Samsung Galaxy A21. Again, we could not confirm it by looking at the remains of the device.”

Samsung did not immediately reply to a request for comment from The Verge.

An Alaska Airlines spokesperson tells The Verge that the plane’s crew used fire extinguishers and a battery containment bag to “stop the phone from smoking.” Passengers were evacuated from the plane via the evacuation slides “due to hazy conditions inside the cabin,” and two of were treated at a local hospital, the spokesperson said. A Twitter user who said they were on the flight described the cabin as “like a smoke machine.”

That’s me on my phone on the right. The passenger was 2-3 rows behind me on the opposite side. It was like a smoke machine. Flight attendants did an excellent job and all passengers were very calm. I believe one person sitting beside them might have minor injuries.

Passengers were taken by bus to the terminal, according to a tweet by Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and two passengers were treated at a local hospital, the Alaska Airlines spokesperson said.

While the situation may bring to mind Samsung’s recall of the Galaxy Note 7 over fears of exploding batteries, it’s unclear if there’s any sort of common defect with any model of the A21 just yet. There have been many isolated incidents of phone batteries catching fire across many different brands. As for why those batteries can catch fire, here’s our explainer about why that happens.

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Alaska Airlines flight evacuated after landing due to sparking cellphone onboard

Fox Business 24 August, 2021 - 09:23am

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A passenger's cellphone began sparking on an Alaska Airlines flight Monday, forcing passengers and crew members to evacuate shortly after landing at the Sea-Tac International Airport. 

On Monday evening, officials responded to a report of a fire in the cargo hold of Flight 751, which was flying into Seattle from New Orleans. 

The Port of Seattle Fire Department arrived on the scene, and 129 passengers and six crew members were forced to evacuate. 

At first, officials, including Alaska Airlines, thought the cellphone had caught fire "shortly after landing at Sea-Tac International Airport and while waiting for a gate." 

However, Alaska Airlines later clarified that the phone had just "overheated and began sparking," according to the airline's updated statement. 

"The crew acted swiftly using fire extinguishers and a battery containment bag to stop the phone from smoking," an Alaska Airlines spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement.  

The fire-containment bags were deployed to Alaska's fleet in 2016 "to reduce the danger of mid-flight lithium-ion battery fires." 

During the incident, crew members also "deployed the evacuation slides due to hazy conditions inside the cabin," the airline said. 

Two people were treated at a local area hospital, according to the airline, which didn't detail their conditions. 

The plane was eventually towed to a gate and didn't impact airport operations, the airport tweeted. 

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