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Air pollution linked to almost a million stillbirths a year
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 16:00:52 GMT

First global analysis follows discovery of toxic pollution particles in lungs and brains of foetuses

Almost a million stillbirths a year can be attributed to air pollution, according to the first global study.

The research estimated that almost half of stillbirths could be linked to exposure to pollution particles smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5), mostly produced from the burning of fossil fuels.

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Match ID: 0 Score: 55.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 40.00 air pollution, 15.00 toxic

The Future of the Transistor Is Our Future
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 17:45:32 +0000


This is a guest post in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the invention of the transistor. It is adapted from an essay in the July 2022 IEEE Electron Device Society Newsletter. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE.

On the 75th anniversary of the invention of the transistor, a device to which I have devoted my entire career, I’d like to answer two questions: Does the world need better transistors? And if so, what will they be like?

I would argue, that yes, we are going to need new transistors, and I think we have some hints today of what they will be like. Whether we’ll have the will and economic ability to make them is the question.

I believe the transistor is and will remain key to grappling with the impacts of global warming. With its potential for societal, economic, and personal upheaval, climate change calls for tools that give us humans orders-of-magnitude more capability.

Semiconductors can raise the abilities of humanity like no other technology. Almost by definition, all technologies increase human abilities. But for most of them, natural resources and energy constrains make orders-of magnitude improvements questionable. Transistor-enabled technology is a unique exception for the following reasons.

  1. As transistors improve, they enable new abilities such as computing and high-speed communication, the Internet, smartphones, memory and storage, robotics, artificial intelligence, and other things no one has thought of yet.
  2. These abilities have wide applications, and they transform all technologies, industries, and sciences.
    a. Semiconductor technology is not nearly as limited in growth by its material and energy usages as other technologies. ICs use relatively small amounts of materials. As a result, they’re being made smaller, and the less materials they use, the faster, more energy efficient, and capable they become.
  3. Theoretically, the energy required for information processing can still be reduced to less than one-thousandth of what is required today . Although we do not yet know exactly how to approach such theoretical efficiency, we know that increasing energy efficiency a thousandfold would not violate physical laws. In contrast, the energy efficiencies of most other technologies, such as motors and lighting, are already at 30 to 80 percent of their theoretical limits.

Transistors: past, present, and future

How we’ll continue to improve transistor technology is relatively clear in the short term, but it gets murkier the farther out you go from today. In the near term, you can glimpse the transistor’s future by looking at its recent past.

The basic planar (2D) MOSFET structure remained unchanged from 1960 until around 2010, when it became impossible to further increase transistor density and decrease the device’s power consumption. My lab at the University of California, Berkeley, saw that point coming more than a decade earlier. We reported the invention of the FinFET, the planar transistor’s successor, in 1999. FinFET, the first 3D MOSFET, changed the flat and wide transistor structure to a tall and narrow one. The benefit is better performance in a smaller footprint, much like the benefit of multistory buildings over single-story ones in a crowded city.

The FinFET is also what’s called a thin-body MOSFET, a concept that continues to guide the development of new devices. It arose from the insight that current will not leak through a transistor within several nanometers of the silicon surface because the surface potential there is well controlled by the gate voltage. FinFETs take this thin-body concept to heart. The device’s body is the vertical silicon fin, which is covered by oxide insulator and gate metal, leaving no silicon outside the range of strong gate control. FinFETs reduced leakage current by orders of magnitude and lowered transistor operating voltage. It also pointed toward the path for further improvement: reducing the body thickness even more.

The fin of the FinFET has become thinner and taller with each new technology node. But this progress has now become too difficult to maintain. So industry is adopting a new 3D thin-body CMOS structure, called gate-all-around (GAA). Here, a stack of ribbons of semiconductor make up the thin body.

Three different configurations of rectangles have blue, yellow, and pink portions. Each evolution of the MOSFET structure has been aimed at producing better control over charge in the silicon by the gate [pink]. Dielectric [yellow] prevents charge from moving from the gate into the silicon body [blue].

The 3D thin-body trend will continue from these 3D transistors to 3D-stacked transistors, 3D monolithic circuits, and multichip packaging. In some cases, this 3D trend has already reached great heights. For instance, the regularity of the charge-trap memory-transistor array allowed NAND flash memory to be the first IC to transition from 2D circuits to 3D circuits. Since the first report of 3D NAND by Toshiba in 2007, the number of stacked layers has grown from 4 to beyond 200.

Monolithic 3D logic ICs will likely start modestly, with stacking the two transistors of a CMOS inverter to reduce all logic gates’ footprints [see “3D-Stacked CMOS Takes Moore’s Law to New Heights”]. But the number of stacks may grow. Other paths to 3D ICs may employ the transfer or deposition of additional layers of semiconductor films, such as silicon, silicon germanium, or indium gallium arsenide onto a silicon wafer.

The thin-body trend might meet its ultimate endpoint in 2D semiconductors, whose thickness is measured in atoms. Molybdenum disulfide molecules, for example, are both naturally thin and relatively large, forming a 2D semiconductor that may be no more than three atoms wide yet have very good semiconductor properties. In 2016, engineers in California and Texas used a film of the 2D-semiconductor molecule molybdenum disulfide and a carbon nanotube to demonstrate a MOSFET with a critical dimension: a gate length just 1 nanometer across. Even with a gate as short as 1 nm, the transistor leakage current was only 10 nanoamperes per millimeter, comparable with today’s best production transistor.

“The progress of transistor technology has not been even or smooth.”

One can imagine that in the distant future, the entire transistor may be prefabricated as a single molecule. These prefabricated building blocks might be brought to their precise locations in an IC through a process called directed-self-assembly (DSA). To understand DSA, it may be helpful to recall that a COVID virus uses its spikes to find and chemically dock itself onto an exact spot at the surface of particular human cells. In DSA, the docking spots, the “spikes,” and the transistor cargo are all carefully designed and manufactured. The initial docking spots may be created with lithography on a substrate, but additional docking spots may be brought in as cargo in subsequent steps. Some of the cargo may be removed by heat or other means if they are needed only during the fabrication process but not in the final product.

Besides making transistors smaller, we’ll have to keep reducing their power consumption. Here we could see an order-of-magnitude reduction through the use of what are called negative-capacitance field-effect transistors (NCFET). These require the insertion of a nanometer-thin layer of ferroelectric material, such as hafnium zirconium oxide, in the MOSFET’s gate stack. Because the ferroelectric contains its own internal electric field, it takes less energy to switch the device on or off. An additional advantage of the thin ferroelectric is the possible use of the ferroelectric’s capacity to store a bit as the state of its electric field, thereby integrating memory and computing in the same device.

Two smiling men in suits. The man on the left wears a large golden medal around his neck. The author [left] received the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama [right] in 2016. Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Alamy

To some degree the devices I’ve described arose out of existing trends. But future transistors may have very different materials, structures, and operating mechanisms from those of today’s transistor. For example, the nanoelectromechanical switch is a return to the mechanical relays of decades past rather than an extension of the transistor. Rather than relying on the physics of semiconductors, it uses only metals, dielectrics, and the force between closely spaced conductors with different voltages applied to them.

All these examples have been demonstrated with experiments years ago. However, bringing them to production will require much more time and effort than previous breakthroughs in semiconductor technology.

Getting to the future

Will we be able to achieve these feats? Some lessons from the past indicate that we could.

The first lesson is that the progress of transistor technology has not been even or smooth. Around 1980, the rising power consumption per chip reached a painful level. The adoption of CMOS, replacing NMOS and bipolar technologies—and later, the gradual reduction of operation voltage from 5 volts to 1—gave the industry 30 years of more or less straightforward progress. But again, power became an issue. Between 2000 and 2010, the heat generated per square centimeter of IC was projected by thoughtful researchers to soon reach that of the nuclear-reactor core. The adoption of 3D thin-body FinFET and multicore processor architectures averted the crisis and ushered in another period of relatively smooth progress.

The history of transistor technology may be described as climbing one mountain after another. Only when we got to the top of one were we able see the vista beyond and map a route to climb the next taller and steeper mountain.

The second lesson is that the core strength of the semiconductor industry—nanofabrication—is formidable. History proves that, given sufficient time and economic incentives, the industry has been able to turn any idea into reality, as long as that idea does not violate scientific laws.

But will the industry have sufficient time and economic incentives to continue climbing taller and steeper mountains and keep raising humanity’s abilities?

It’s a fair question. Even as the fab industry’s resources grow, the mountains of technology development grow even faster. A time may come when no one fab company can reach the top of the mountain to see the path ahead. What happens then?

The revenue of all semiconductor fabs (both independent and those, like Intel, that are integrated companies) is about one-third of the semiconductor industry revenue. But fabs make up just 2 percent of the combined revenues of the IT, telecommunications, and consumer-electronics industries that semiconductor technology enables. Yet the fab industry bears most of the growing burden of discovering, producing, and marketing new transistors and nanofabrication technologies. That needs to change.

For the industry to survive, the relatively meager resources of the fab industry must be prioritized in favor of fab building and shareholder needs over scientific exploration. While the fab industry is lengthening its research time horizon, it needs others to take on the burden too. Humanity’s long-term problem-solving abilities deserve targeted public support. The industry needs the help of very-long-term exploratory research, publicly funded, in a Bell Labs–like setting or by university researchers with career-long timelines and wider and deeper knowledge in physics, chemistry, biology, and algorithms than corporate research currently allows. This way, humanity will continue to find new transistors and gain the abilities it will need to face the challenges in the centuries ahead.


Match ID: 1 Score: 30.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change, 15.00 carbon

US to spend $250m on cleanup at California’s toxic Salton Sea
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 21:49:11 GMT

Move could help restore drying lake, a former resort destination that has deteriorated into an environmental crisis amid drought

The US government said on Monday it will spend up to $250m over four years to help mitigate an environmental health disaster that has been brewing in California’s Salton Sea for nearly two decades.

The inland lake, which is fed by agricultural runoff and wastewater, has slowly been shrinking, exposing a powdery shoreline laced with arsenic, selenium and DDT. Dust from the drying lake has wafted into surrounding communities, exacerbating pollution and consequently respiratory conditions in one of California’s poorest and most environmentally burdened regions.

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Match ID: 2 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 toxic

Germany agrees 15-year liquid gas supply deal with Qatar
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 18:55:39 GMT

Racing to wean itself off Russian gas supplies, Germany is set to buy 2m tonnes of liquid gas from Gulf state

German firms have signed a 15-year deal to buy 2m tonnes of liquid gas from Qatar, sending out mixed signals over the priority Germany places on human rights in the Gulf and its commitment to a carbon neutral energy supply.

The deal was announced by state-owned Qatar Energy and deliveries will start from 2026. The gas will be sold by Qatar to the US company ConocoPhillips, which will then deliver it to the LNG terminal in Brunsbüttel, Qatar’s energy minister said in the capital, Doha.

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Match ID: 3 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 carbon

The Guardian view on Biden’s ‘Buy America’ strategy: a wake-up call for Europe | Editorial
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 18:50:30 GMT

Huge subsidies for US-based low-carbon manufacturers are posing big problems for EU leaders

In a slick General Motors advert aired during last year’s Super Bowl, the actor and comedian Will Ferrell took patriotic umbrage at Norway’s ability to sell more electric vehicles per capita than the US. “Norway’s beating us at EVs!”, Ferrell lamented, before promoting GM’s latest battery technology to the watching millions.

Almost two years on, the angst is being felt on the other side of the Atlantic. Following on from President Joe Biden’s “Buy America” rules for infrastructure, his Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will deliver, from January, almost $370bn worth of subsidies and tax breaks to US-based companies involved in the transition to a low-carbon economy. Around $50bn will come in the form of tax credits to persuade Americans to buy electric vehicles made in North America (Canada and Mexico were included in the deal after initially being left out).

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Match ID: 4 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 carbon

Only planning reform can fix Britain’s housing crisis | Letters
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 18:03:41 GMT

Readers on how years of poor Tory leadership mean there is no end in sight to the chronic shortage of homes

John Harris dissects key aspects of the housing “crisis” in a typically thoughtful and powerful way (The Tories are tearing themselves apart over housing – but this is another crisis of their own making, 27 November). But on the way he displays a crucial misunderstanding. There is no presumption in favour of development in the planning system; it’s a presumption in favour of sustainable development – something with which surely no one could disagree? This is an egregious example of the Tory use of sophistry that has made a massive contribution to the issue that Harris so ably describes. Far from being an objective, science-based definition, it is in reality a circular argument that the government inserted in the national planning guidance.

In effect, “sustainable” is what the government, Humpty Dumpty-like, says it is. The assessment of major housing proposals, which so often go to appeal, is comically perfunctory, the overriding criterion being the supply of new housing, however and wherever built. Many people participate in this charade. We have been building in unsustainability – carbon emissions, destruction of habitat, poor health and unaffordability – throughout the last 12 years. The cost of retrofitting will be astronomical. We need the houses we need. Campaigners cannot morally deny that, but development must be based on sound sustainability principles and by applying rigorous tests that are available but are never used effectively.

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Match ID: 5 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 carbon

Traces of ancient hurricanes on the seafloor are a warning for coastal areas
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 15:05:24 +0000
Evidence from millennia of Atlantic storms is not good news for the coast.
Match ID: 6 Score: 15.00 source: arstechnica.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

Big polluters given almost €100bn in free carbon permits by EU
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 13:00:48 GMT

Free allowances ‘in direct contradiction with the polluter pays principle’, WWF report says

Big polluting industries have been given almost €100bn (£86bn) in free carbon permits by the EU in the last nine years, according to an analysis by the WWF. The free allowances are “in direct contradiction with the polluter pays principle”, the group said.

Free pollution permits worth €98.5bn were given to energy-intensive sectors including steel, cement, chemicals and aviation from 2013-21. This is more than the €88.5bn that the EU’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) charged polluters, mostly coal and gas power stations, for their CO2 emissions.

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Match ID: 7 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 carbon

Rolls-Royce successfully tests hydrogen-powered jet engine | Britain's Rolls-Royce said it has successfully run an aircraft engine on hydrogen, a world aviation first that marks a major step towards proving the gas could be key to decarbonising air travel.
2022-11-29T12:42:25+00:00
Rolls-Royce successfully tests hydrogen-powered jet engine | Britain's Rolls-Royce said it has successfully run an aircraft engine on hydrogen, a world aviation first that marks a major step towards proving the gas could be key to decarbonising air travel. submitted by /u/yourSAS
[link] [comments]

Match ID: 8 Score: 15.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 carbon

If Labour’s leadership is hobbling internal candidates, is it fit to run a democracy? | Owen Jones
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 12:30:30 GMT

Mounting evidence of dirty tricks against prospective MPs can’t be dismissed as leftwing sour grapes. We were promised a ‘broad church’

Britain will almost certainly have a Labour government in two years’ time: you have the Tories’ unprecedented self-immolation to thank for that. Debating, then, how Rishi Sunak’s successors will govern is a democratic imperative. To some of Keir Starmer’s more zealous supporters, scrutinising the opposition is an act of treachery that simply makes a Tory government more likely. Welcome to “Schrödinger’s left”: where the left of the party is simultaneously so irrelevant and toxic that it must be marginalised, but so powerful it can help determine the result of general elections.

In his pitch for the Labour leadership, Starmer promised that under his watch the party would be a “broad church”, and that he would restore trust in Labour through “unity”. To underline that this wasn’t just empty rhetoric, he said that the selection of Labour candidates “needs to be more democratic and we should end NEC impositions of candidates. Local party members should select their candidates for every election.” To paraphrase Karl Marx, all that is a Starmer promise melts into air: but this particular issue has political consequences that go far beyond internal Labour politics.

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Match ID: 9 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 toxic

The Planet Desperately Needs That UN Plastics Treaty
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 12:00:00 +0000
An agreement can’t magically end the catastrophe of plastic pollution. But it could be a step in the right direction.
Match ID: 10 Score: 15.00 source: www.wired.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

Climate change: Wasted methane gas 'a scandal'
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 17:04:49 GMT
Green Alliance says the high price of gas means fossil fuel companies should be capturing more of their methane emissions
Match ID: 11 Score: 15.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

The Fijian island being strangled by vines
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 00:52:04 GMT

Vanua Levu is being overrun by invasive vines – and the increasing number of natural disasters, brought on by climate change, is only making things worse

In Vanua Levu, the second largest island of Fiji, every contour drips with green. The landscape is impossibly lush and verdant. But upon closer inspection, it’s evident that nearly everything is shrouded in vines.

There are several vine species in Fiji, one of which is the invasive kudzu, introduced by US troops in the second world war as living camouflage for Allied equipment. But, as botanist Judith Sumner, writes: “under tropical Pacific conditions kudzu quickly became an invasive species with a growth rate that aggressively outpaced native Fijian flora.”

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Match ID: 12 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

Neil Young Embraces Imperfection
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 15:23:20 +0000
The singer-songwriter discusses his new album with the theme of climate change, his friendship with Rick Rubin, and recording melodies on his flip phone.
Match ID: 13 Score: 15.00 source: www.newyorker.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

The Geological Fluke That's Protecting Sea Life in the Galapagos
Sat, 26 Nov 2022 13:00:00 +0000
The islands are in the line of an icy current that provides marine ecosystems refuge amid warming oceans. But the good news might not last for long.
Match ID: 14 Score: 12.86 source: www.wired.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 12.86 climate change

Delving for Joules in the Fusion Mines
Tue, 22 Nov 2022 16:00:00 +0000


The Big Picture features technology through the lens of photographers.

Every month, IEEE Spectrum selects the most stunning technology images recently captured by photographers around the world. We choose images that reflect an important advance, or a trend, or that are just mesmerizing to look at. We feature all images on our site, and one also appears on our monthly print edition.

Enjoy the latest images, and if you have suggestions, leave a comment below.

Shot of Nuclear Fusion


A women using robotic equipment in front of multiple screens.

An old saw regarding the multitude of dashed hopes about fusion energy’s promise goes “Fusion is 30 years away—and it always will be.” After decades of researchers predicting that fusion was just around the corner, a team at the UK Atomic Energy Authority (which hosts the Joint European Torus [JET] plasma physics experiment) did something that suggests scientists are homing in on exactly which corner that is. In February 2022, the JET experimenters induced the single greatest sustained energy pulse ever created by humans. It had twice the energy of the previous record-setting blast, triggered a quarter century earlier. A doubling every 25 years is far behind the pace of the microchip improvements described by Moore’s Law. But that hasn’t dampened enthusiasm over an alternative energy source that could make fossil fuels and their effect on the environment relics of a bygone era. In the foreground of the picture is a trainee learning how to use the systems involved in accomplishing the feat.

Leon Neal/Getty Images


A laser cut rice caked based drone.

Turning Drones into Scones

What has two wings, can reach a person stranded in a disaster zone, and doubles as a source of precious calories when no other food is available? This drone, designed and built by a team of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), has wings made entirely of laser-cut rice cakes held together with “glue” made from gelatin. The EPFL group says it plans to keep refining the edible aircraft to improve its aeronautics and enhance its nutritional profile.

EPFL


Green laser light illuminates a metasurface that is a hundred times as thin as paper.

Metasurface Weaves Entangled Photons

Creating the quantum mechanical state of entanglement (in which paired atoms influence each other from across vast distances) has heretofore been reminiscent of the story of Noah’s ark. The tried-and-true method for entangling photons (by shining light through a nonlinear crystal) puts them in this state two by two, the way the animals are said to have boarded the ark. The ambition of quantum researchers has been to expand these connections from pairs to parties. And it seems they’ve figured out how to reliably entangle multiple photons in a complicated web, using half-millimeter-thick metasurfaces covered with forests of microscopic pillars. This, say experts, will not only greatly simplify the setup needed for quantum technology but also help support more-complex quantum applications.

Craig Fritz


A large camera within a lab in Chile.

Colossal Camera Coming to Chile

In a world obsessed with miniaturization, it’s almost shocking when, every now and then, a big deal is made of something, er, big. That is certainly the case with the new camera being built for the Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile. When the camera is delivered and set up in May 2023, its 1.57-meter-wide lens will make it the world’s largest device for taking snapshots. The gargantuan point-and-shoot instrument will capture images of a swath of the sky seven times the width of the moon.

Jacqueline Ramseyer Orrell/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory


A young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

Bionic Hands Haven’t Fully Grasped Users’ Needs

When we’re carrying out our quotidian activities, most of us rarely stop to think about what marvels of engineering our arms and hands are. But for those who have lost the use of a limb—or, like Britt Young, the woman pictured here, were born without one—there’s hardly ever a day when the challenges of navigating a two-handed world are not in the forefront of their thoughts. In Young’s October 2022 IEEE Spectrum cover story, she discusses these challenges, as well as how the bionic-hand technology intended to come to the rescue falls short of designers’ and users’ expectations.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for Mac Cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof


Match ID: 15 Score: 4.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 7 days
qualifiers: 4.29 carbon

Solar-to-Jet-Fuel System Readies for Takeoff
Wed, 03 Aug 2022 17:00:00 +0000


As climate change edges from crisis to emergency, the aviation sector looks set to miss its 2050 goal of net-zero emissions. In the five years preceding the pandemic, the top four U.S. airlines—American, Delta, Southwest, and United—saw a 15 percent increase in the use of jet fuel. Despite continual improvements in engine efficiencies, that number is projected to keep rising.

A glimmer of hope, however, comes from solar fuels. For the first time, scientists and engineers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich have reported a successful demonstration of an integrated fuel-production plant for solar kerosene. Using concentrated solar energy, they were able to produce kerosene from water vapor and carbon dioxide directly from air. Fuel thus produced is a drop-in alternative to fossil-derived fuels and can be used with existing storage and distribution infrastructures, and engines.

Fuels derived from synthesis gas (or syngas)—an intermediate product that is a specific mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen—is a known alternative to conventional, fossil-derived fuels. Syngas is produced by Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis, in which chemical reactions convert carbon monoxide and water vapor into hydrocarbons. The team of researchers at ETH found that a solar-driven thermochemical method to split water and carbon dioxide using a metal oxide redox cycle can produce renewable syngas. They demonstrated the process in a rooftop solar refinery at the ETH Machine Laboratory in 2019.

Close-up of a spongy looking material Reticulated porous structure made of ceria used in the solar reactor to thermochemically split CO2 and H2O and produce syngas, a specific mixture of H2 and CO.ETH Zurich

The current pilot-scale solar tower plant was set up at the IMDEA Energy Institute in Spain. It scales up the solar reactor of the 2019 experiment by a factor of 10, says Aldo Steinfeld, an engineering professor at ETH who led the study. The fuel plant brings together three subsystems—the solar tower concentrating facility, solar reactor, and gas-to-liquid unit.

First, a heliostat field made of mirrors that rotate to follow the sun concentrates solar irradiation into a reactor mounted on top of the tower. The reactor is a cavity receiver lined with reticulated porous ceramic structures made of ceria (or cerium(IV) oxide). Within the reactor, the concentrated sunlight creates a high-temperature environment of about 1,500 °C which is hot enough to split captured carbon dioxide and water from the atmosphere to produce syngas. Finally, the syngas is processed to kerosene in the gas-to-liquid unit. A centralized control room operates the whole system.

Fuel produced using this method closes the fuel carbon cycle as it only produces as much carbon dioxide as has gone into its manufacture. “The present pilot fuel plant is still a demonstration facility for research purposes,” says Steinfeld, “but it is a fully integrated plant and uses a solar-tower configuration at a scale that is relevant for industrial implementation.”

“The solar reactor produced syngas with selectivity, purity, and quality suitable for FT synthesis,” the authors noted in their paper. They also reported good material stability for multiple consecutive cycles. They observed a value of 4.1 percent solar-to-syngas energy efficiency, which Steinfeld says is a record value for thermochemical fuel production, even though better efficiencies are required to make the technology economically competitive.

Schematic of the solar tower fuel plant.  A heliostat field concentrates solar radiation onto a solar reactor mounted on top of the solar tower. The solar reactor cosplits water and carbon dioxide and produces a mixture of molecular hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which in turn is processed to drop-in fuels such as kerosene.ETH Zurich

“The measured value of energy conversion efficiency was obtained without any implementation of heat recovery,” he says. The heat rejected during the redox cycle of the reactor accounted for more than 50 percent of the solar-energy input. “This fraction can be partially recovered via thermocline heat storage. Thermodynamic analyses indicate that sensible heat recovery could potentially boost the energy efficiency to values exceeding 20 percent.”

To do so, more work is needed to optimize the ceramic structures lining the reactor, something the ETH team is actively working on, by looking at 3D-printed structures for improved volumetric radiative absorption. “In addition, alternative material compositions, that is, perovskites or aluminates, may yield improved redox capacity, and consequently higher specific fuel output per mass of redox material,” Steinfeld adds.

The next challenge for the researchers, he says, is the scale-up of their technology for higher solar-radiative power inputs, possibly using an array of solar cavity-receiver modules on top of the solar tower.

To bring solar kerosene into the market, Steinfeld envisages a quota-based system. “Airlines and airports would be required to have a minimum share of sustainable aviation fuels in the total volume of jet fuel that they put in their aircraft,” he says. This is possible as solar kerosene can be mixed with fossil-based kerosene. This would start out small, as little as 1 or 2 percent, which would raise the total fuel costs at first, though minimally—adding “only a few euros to the cost of a typical flight,” as Steinfeld puts it

Meanwhile, rising quotas would lead to investment, and to falling costs, eventually replacing fossil-derived kerosene with solar kerosene. “By the time solar jet fuel reaches 10 to 15 percent of the total jet-fuel volume, we ought to see the costs for solar kerosene nearing those of fossil-derived kerosene,” he adds.

However, we may not have to wait too long for flights to operate solely on solar fuel. A commercial spin-off of Steinfeld’s laboratory, Synhelion, is working on commissioning the first industrial-scale solar fuel plant in 2023. The company has also collaborated with the airline SWISS to conduct a flight solely using its solar kerosene.


Match ID: 16 Score: 4.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 118 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change, 2.14 carbon

The Transistor of 2047: Expert Predictions
Mon, 21 Nov 2022 16:00:01 +0000


The 100th anniversary of the invention of the transistor will happen in 2047. What will transistors be like then? Will they even be the critical computing element they are today? IEEE Spectrum asked experts from around the world for their predictions.


What will transistors be like in 2047?

Expect transistors to be even more varied than they are now, says one expert. Just as processors have evolved from CPUs to include GPUs, network processors, AI accelerators, and other specialized computing chips, transistors will evolve to fit a variety of purposes. “Device technology will become application domain–specific in the same way that computing architecture has become application domain–specific,” says H.-S. Philip Wong, an IEEE Fellow, professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University, and former vice president of corporate research at TSMC.

Despite the variety, the fundamental operating principle—the field effect that switches transistors on and off—will likely remain the same, suggests Suman Datta, an IEEE Fellow, professor of electrical and computer at Georgia Tech, and director of the multi-university nanotech research center ASCENT. This device will likely have minimum critical dimensions of 1 nanometer or less, enabling device densities of 10 trillion per square centimeter, says Tsu-Jae King Liu, an IEEE Fellow, dean of the college of engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and a member of Intel’s board of directors.

"It is safe to assume that the transistor or switch architectures of 2047 have already been demonstrated on a lab scale"—Sri Samavedam

Experts seem to agree that the transistor of 2047 will need new materials and probably a stacked or 3D architecture, expanding on the planned complementary field-effect transistor (CFET, or 3D-stacked CMOS). [For more on the CFET, see "Taking Moore's Law to New Heights."] And the transistor channel, which now runs parallel to the plane of the silicon, may need to become vertical in order to continue to increase in density, says Datta.

AMD senior fellow Richard Schultz, suggests that the main aim in developing these new devices will be power. “The focus will be on reducing power and the need for advanced cooling solutions,” he says. “Significant focus on devices that work at lower voltages is required.”

Will transistors still be the heart of most computing in 25 years?

It’s hard to imagine a world where computing is not done with transistors, but, of course, vacuum tubes were once the digital switch of choice. Startup funding for quantum computing, which does not directly rely on transistors, reached US $1.4 billion in 2021, according to McKinsey & Co.

But advances in quantum computing won’t happen fast enough to challenge the transistor by 2047, experts in electron devices say. “Transistors will remain the most important computing element,” says Sayeef Salahuddin, an IEEE Fellow and professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. “Currently, even with an ideal quantum computer, the potential areas of application seem to be rather limited compared to classical computers.”

Sri Samavedam, senior vice president of CMOS technologies at the European chip R&D center Imec, agrees. “Transistors will still be very important computing elements for a majority of the general-purpose compute applications,” says Samavedam. “One cannot ignore the efficiencies realized from decades of continuous optimization of transistors.”

Has the transistor of 2047 already been invented?

Twenty-five years is a long time, but in the world of semiconductor R&D, it’s not that long. “In this industry, it usually takes about 20 years from [demonstrating a concept] to introduction into manufacturing,” says Samavedam. “It is safe to assume that the transistor or switch architectures of 2047 have already been demonstrated on a lab scale” even if the materials involved won’t be exactly the same. King Liu, who demonstrated the modern FinFET about 25 years ago with colleagues at Berkeley, agrees.

But the idea that the transistor of 2047 is already sitting in a lab somewhere isn’t universally shared. Salahuddin, for one, doesn’t think it’s been invented yet. “But just like the FinFET in the 1990s, it is possible to make a reasonable prediction for the geometric structure” of future transistors, he says.

AMD’s Schultz says you can glimpse this structure in proposed 3D-stacked devices made of 2D semiconductors or carbon-based semiconductors. “Device materials that have not yet been invented could also be in scope in this time frame,” he adds.

Will silicon still be the active part of most transistors in 2047?

Experts say that the heart of most devices, the transistor channel region, will still be silicon, or possibly silicon-germanium—which is already making inroads—or germanium. But in 2047 many chips may use semiconductors that are considered exotic today. These could include oxide semiconductors like indium gallium zinc oxide; 2D semiconductors, such as the metal dichalcogenide tungsten disulfide; and one-dimensional semiconductors, such as carbon nanotubes. Or even “others yet to be invented,” says Imec’s Samavedam.

"Transistors will remain the most important computing element"—Sayeef Salahuddin

Silicon-based chips may be integrated in the same package with chips that rely on newer materials, just as processor makers are today integrating chips using different silicon manufacturing technologies into the same package, notes IEEE Fellow Gabriel Loh, a senior fellow at AMD.

Which semiconductor material is at the heart of the device may not even be the central issue in 2047. “The choice of channel material will essentially be dictated by which material is the most compatible with many other materials that form other parts of the device,” says Salahuddin. And we know a lot about integrating materials with silicon.

In 2047, where will transistors be common where they are not found today?

Everywhere. No, seriously. Experts really do expect some amount of intelligence and sensing to creep into every aspect of our lives. That means devices will be attached to our bodies and implanted inside them; embedded in all kinds of infrastructure, including roads, walls, and houses; woven into our clothing; stuck to our food; swaying in the breeze in grain fields; watching just about every step in every supply chain; and doing many other things in places nobody has thought of yet.

Transistors will be “everywhere that needs computation, command and control, communications, data collection, storage and analysis, intelligence, sensing and actuation, interaction with humans, or an entrance portal to the virtual and mixed reality world,” sums up Stanford’s Wong.

This article appears in the December 2022 print issue as “The Transistor of 2047.”


Match ID: 17 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 8 days
qualifiers: 2.14 carbon

‘We couldn’t fail them’: how Pakistan’s floods spurred fight at Cop for loss and damage fund
Sun, 20 Nov 2022 16:24:54 GMT

With the deadly devastation fresh in the world’s mind, Pakistan pushed for damage funds with other frontline countries

In early September, after unprecedented rainfall had left a third of Pakistan under water, its climate change minister set out the country’s stall for Cop27. “We are on the frontline and intend to keep loss and damage and adapting to climate catastrophes at the core of our arguments and negotiations. There will be no moving away from that,” Sherry Rehman said.

Pakistan brought that resolve to the negotiations in Sharm el-Sheikh and, as president of the G77 plus China negotiating bloc, succeeded in keeping developing countries united on loss and damage – despite efforts by some rich countries to divide them. Its chief negotiator, Nabeel Munir, a career diplomat, was backed by a team of savvy veteran negotiators who had witnessed the devastation and suffering from the floods, which caused $30bn (£25bn) of damage and economic losses. Every day, Munir repeated the same message: “Loss and damage is not charity, it’s about climate justice.”

Continue reading...
Match ID: 18 Score: 2.14 source: www.theguardian.com age: 9 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

Climate change: Five key takeaways from COP27
Sun, 20 Nov 2022 11:04:11 GMT
The biggest win on climate since the Paris Agreement in 2015... or the biggest loss?
Match ID: 19 Score: 2.14 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 9 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

The EV Transition Explained: Battery Challenges
Sat, 19 Nov 2022 19:30:00 +0000


“Energy and information are two basic currencies of organic and social systems,” the economics Nobelist Herb Simon once observed. A new technology that alters the terms on which one or the other of these is available to a system can work on it the most profound changes.”

Electric vehicles at scale alter the terms of both basic currencies concurrently. Reliable, secure supplies of minerals and software are core elements for EVs, which represent a “shift from a fuel-intensive to a material-intensive energy system,” according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). For example, the mineral requirements for an EV’s batteries and electric motors are six times that of an internal-combustion-engine (ICE) vehicle, which can increase the average weight of an EV by 340 kilograms (750 pounds). For something like the Ford Lightning, the weight can be more than twice that amount.

EVs also create a shift from an electromechanical-intensive to an information-intensive vehicle. EVs offer a virtual clean slate from which to accelerate the design of safe, software-defined vehicles, with computing and supporting electronics being the prime enabler of a vehicle’s features, functions, and value. Software also allows for the decoupling of the internal mechanical connections needed in an ICE vehicle, permitting an EV to be controlled remotely or autonomously. An added benefit is that the loss of the ICE power train not only reduces the components a vehicle requires but also frees up space for increased passenger comfort and storage.

The effects of Simon’s profound changes are readily apparent, forcing a 120-year-old industry to fundamentally reinvent itself. EVs require automakers to design new manufacturing processes and build plants to make both EVs and their batteries. Ramping up the battery supply chain is the automakers’ current “most challenging topic,” according to VW chief financial officer Arno Antlitz.

It can take five or more years to get a lithium mine up and going, but operations can start only after it has secured the required permits, a process that itself can take years.

These plants are also very expensive. Ford and its Korean battery supplier SK Innovation are spending US $5.6 billion to produce F-Series EVs and batteries in Stanton, Tenn., for example, while GM is spending $2 billion to produce its new Cadillac Lyriq EVs in Spring Hill, Tenn. As automakers expand their lines of EVs, tens of billions more will need to be invested in both manufacturing and battery plants. It is little wonder that Tesla CEO Elon Musk calls EV factories “gigantic money furnaces.”

Furthermore, Kristin Dziczek a policy analyst with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago adds, there are scores of new global EV competitors actively seeking to replace the legacy automakers. The “simplicity” of EVs in comparison with ICE vehicles allows these disruptors to compete virtually from scratch with legacy automakers, not only in the car market itself but for the material and labor inputs as well.

Batteries and the supply-chain challenge

Another critical question is whether all the planned battery-plant output will support expected EV production demands. For instance, the United States will require 8 million EV batteries annually by 2030 if its target to make EVs half of all new-vehicle sales is met, with that number rising each year after. As IEA executive director Fatih Birol observes, “Today, the data shows a looming mismatch between the world’s strengthened climate ambitions and the availability of critical minerals that are essential to realizing those ambitions.”

This mismatch worries automakers. GM, Ford, Tesla, and others have moved to secure batteries through 2025, but it could be tricky after that. Rivian Automotive chief executive RJ Scaringe was recently quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying that “90 to 95 percent of the (battery) supply chain does not exist,” and that the current semiconductor chip shortage is “a small appetizer to what we are about to feel on battery cells over the next two decades.”

The competition for securing raw materials, along with the increased consumer demand, has caused EV prices to spike. Ford has raised the price of the Lightning $6,000 to $8,500, and CEO Jim Farley bluntly states that in regard to material shortages in the foreseeable future, “I don’t think we should be confident in any other outcomes than an increase in prices.”

Stiff Competition for Engineering Talent


One critical area of resource competition is over the limited supply of software and systems engineers with the mechatronics and robotics expertise needed for EVs. Major automakers have moved aggressively to bring more software and systems-engineering expertise on board, rather than have it reside at their suppliers, as they have traditionally done. Automakers feel that if they’re not in control of the software, they’re not in control of their product.

Volvo’s CEO Jim Rowan stated earlier this year that increasing the computing power in EVs will be harder and more altering of the automotive industry than switching from ICE vehicles to EVs. This means that EV winners and losers will in great part be separated by their “relative strength in their cyberphysical systems engineering,” states Clemson’s Paredis.

Even for the large auto suppliers, the transition to EVs will not be an easy road. For instance, automakers are demanding these suppliers absorb more cost cuts because automakers are finding EVs so expensive to build. Not only do automakers want to bring cutting-edge software expertise in-house, they want greater inside expertise in critical EV supply-chain components, especially batteries.

Automakers, including Tesla, are all scrambling for battery talent, with bidding wars reportedly breaking out to acquire top candidates. With automakers planning to spend more than $13 billion to build at least 13 new EV battery plants in North America within the next five to seven years, experienced management and production-line talent will likely be in extremely short supply. Tesla’s Texas Gigafactory needs some 10,000 workers alone, for example. With at least 60 new battery plants planned to be in operation globally by 2030, and scores needed soon afterward, major battery makers are already highlighting their expected skill shortages.


The underlying reason for the worry: Supplying sufficient raw materials to existing and planned battery plants as well as to the manufacturers of other renewable energy sources and military systems—who are competing for the same materials—has several complications to overcome. Among them is the need for more mines to provide the metals required, which have spiked in price as demand has increased. For example, while demand for lithium is growing rapidly, investment in mines has significantly lagged the investment that has been aimed toward EVs and battery plants. It can take five or more years to get a lithium mine up and going, but operations can start only after it has secured the required permits, a process that itself can take years.

Mining the raw materials, of course, assumes that there is sufficient refining capability to process them, which, outside of China, is limited. This is especially true in the United States, which, according to a Biden Administration special supply-chain investigative report, has “limited raw material production capacity and virtually no processing capacity.” Consequently, the report states, the United States “exports the limited raw materials produced today to foreign markets.” For example, output from the only nickel mine in the United States, the Eagle mine in Minnesota, is sent to Canada for smelting.

“Energy and information are two basic currencies of organic and social systems. A new technology that alters the terms on which one or the other of these is available to a system can work on it the most profound changes.” —Herb Simon

One possible solution is to move away from lithium-ion batteries and nickel metal hydride batteries to other battery chemistries such as lithium-iron phosphate, lithium-ion phosphate, lithium-sulfur, lithium-metal, and sodium-ion, among many others, not to mention solid-state batteries, as a way to alleviate some of the material supply and cost problems. Tesla is moving toward the use of lithium-iron phosphate batteries, as is Ford for some of its vehicles. These batteries are cobalt free, which alleviates several sourcing issues.

Another solution may be recycling both EV batteries as well as the waste and rejects from battery manufacturing, which can run between 5 to 10 percent of production. Effective recycling of EV batteries “has the potential to reduce primary demand compared to total demand in 2040, by approximately 25 percent for lithium, 35 percent for cobalt and nickel, and 55 percent for copper,” according to a report by the University of Sidney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures.



While investments into creating EV battery recycling facilities have started, there is a looming question of whether there will be enough battery factory scrap and other lithium-ion battery waste for them to remain operational while they wait for sufficient numbers of batteries to make them profitable. Lithium-ion battery-pack recycling is very time-consuming and expensive, making mining lithium often cheaper than recycling it, for example. Recycling low or no-cobalt lithium batteries, which is the direction many automakers are taking, may also make it unprofitable to recycle them.

An additional concern is that EV batteries, once no longer useful for propelling the EV, have years of life left in them. They can be refurbished, rebuilt, and reused in EVs, or repurposed into storage devices for homes, businesses, or the grid. Whether it will make economic sense to do either at scale versus recycling them remains to be seen.

Howard Nusbaum, the administrator of the National Salvage Vehicle Reporting Program (NSVRP), succinctly puts it, “There is no recycling, and no EV-recycling industry, if there is no economic basis for one.”

In the next article in the series, we will look at whether the grid can handle tens of millions of EVs.


Match ID: 20 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 10 days
qualifiers: 2.14 carbon

Why Your Organization Should Join the IEEE Standards Association
Fri, 18 Nov 2022 19:00:01 +0000


The global business landscape is constantly evolving. Digital transformation— compounded by the challenges of globalization, supply-chain stability, demographic shifts, and climate change—is pressuring companies and government agencies to innovate and safely deploy sustainable technologies.

As digital transformation continues, the pervasive growth of technology increasingly intersects with industry, government, and societal interests. Companies and organizations need access to technologies that can enhance efficiencies, productivity, and competitive advantage.


Governments seek influence over emerging technologies to preserve economic interests, advance global trade, and protect their citizens. Consumers are demanding more transparency regarding organizational motives, practices, and processes.

For those and other reasons, new types of stakeholders are seeking a voice in the technology standardization process.

How organizations benefit from developing standards

The need is evidenced in the membership gains at the IEEE Standards Association. IEEE SA membership for organizations, also known as entity membership, has increased by more than 150 percent in the past six years. Academic institutions, government agencies, and other types of organizations now account for more than 30 percent of the member base.

Entity membership offers the ability to help shape technology development and ensure your organization’s interests are represented in the standards development process. Other benefits include balloting privileges, leadership eligibility, and networking opportunities.

IEEE SA welcomes different types of organizations because they bring varied perspectives and they voice concerns that need to be addressed during the standards development process. Engaging diverse viewpoints from companies of all sizes and types also helps to identify and address changing market needs.

From a geographic standpoint, IEEE SA welcomes participation from all regions of the world. Diverse perspectives and contributions to the development cycle enable innovation to be shared and realized by all stakeholders.

Programs on blockchain, IoT, and other emerging technology

IEEE SA has introduced new industry-engagement programs such as open-source and industry-alliance offerings designed to speed innovation and adoption. In addition, industry participants have access to the full IEEE SA ecosystem of programs and services including technology incubation, pre-standardization work, standards development, and conformity assessment activities. Training and marketing tools support working groups at every stage of the process.

An increasing number of new standards projects from emerging technology areas have created a more robust and diversified portfolio of work. The technologies include artificial intelligence and machine learning, blockchain and distributed ledger technologies, quantum computing, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, smart cities, smart factories and online gaming. There is also more participation from the health care, automotive, and financial services sectors.

IEEE SA has grown and evolved its programs to address market needs, but its purpose has not changed. The organization is focused on empowering innovators to raise the world’s standards for the benefit of humanity.

Those innovators might be individuals or organizations looking to make a difference in the world, but it can be accomplished only when we all work together.

Learn more about IEEE SA membership for organizations and how your organization can play a key role in advancing future technologies.


Match ID: 21 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 11 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

India’s First Private Space Rocket Blasts Off
Fri, 18 Nov 2022 17:51:56 +0000


A rocket built by Indian startup Skyroot has become the country’s first privately developed launch vehicle to reach space, following a successful maiden flight earlier today. The suborbital mission is a major milestone for India’s private space industry, say experts, though more needs to be done to nurture the fledgling sector.

The Vikram-S rocket, named after the founder of the Indian space program, Vikram Sarabhai, lifted off from the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Satish Dhawan Space Centre, on India’s east coast, at 11:30 a.m. local time (1 a.m. eastern time). It reached a peak altitude of 89.5 kilometers (55.6 miles), crossing the 80-km line that NASA counts as the boundary of space, but falling just short of the 100 km recognized by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.

In the longer run, India’s space industry has ambitions of capturing a significant chunk of the global launch market.

Pawan Kumar Chandana, cofounder of the Hyderabad-based startup, says the success of the launch is a major victory for India’s nascent space industry, but the buildup to the mission was nerve-racking. “We were pretty confident on the vehicle, but, as you know, rockets are very notorious for failure,” he says. “Especially in the last 10 seconds of countdown, the heartbeat was racing up. But once the vehicle had crossed the launcher and then went into the stable trajectory, I think that was the moment of celebration.”

At just 6 meters (20 feet) long and weighing only around 550 kilograms (0.6 tonnes), the Vikram-S is not designed for commercial use. Today’s mission, called Prarambh, which means “the beginning” in Sanskrit, was designed to test key technologies that will be used to build the startup’s first orbital rocket, the Vikram I. The rocket will reportedly be capable of lofting as much as 480 kg up to an 500-km altitude and is slated for a maiden launch next October.

man standing in front of a rocket behind him Skyroot cofounder Pawan Kumar Chandana standing in front of the Vikram-S rocket at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, on the east coast of India.Skyroot

In particular, the mission has validated Skyroot’s decision to go with a novel all-carbon fiber structure to cut down on weight, says Chandana. It also allowed the company to test 3D-printed thrusters, which were used for spin stabilization in Vikram-S but will power the upper stages of its later rockets. Perhaps the most valuable lesson, though, says Chandana, was the complexity of interfacing Skyroot's vehicle with ISRO’s launch infrastructure. “You can manufacture the rocket, but launching it is a different ball game,” he says. “That was a great learning experience for us and will really help us accelerate our orbital vehicle.”

Skyroot is one of several Indian space startups looking to capitalize on recent efforts by the Indian government to liberalize its highly regulated space sector. Due to the dual-use nature of space technology, ISRO has historically had a government-sanctioned monopoly on most space activities, says Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, director of the Centre for Security, Strategy and Technology at the Observer Research Foundation think tank, in New Delhi. While major Indian engineering players like Larsen & Toubro and Godrej Aerospace have long supplied ISRO with components and even entire space systems, the relationship has been one of a supplier and vendor, she says.

But in 2020, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a series of reforms to allow private players to build satellites and launch vehicles, carry out launches, and provide space-based services. The government also created the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (InSpace), a new agency designed to act as a link between ISRO and the private sector, and affirmed that private companies would be able to take advantage of ISRO’s facilities.

The first launch of a private rocket from an ISRO spaceport is a major milestone for the Indian space industry, says Rajagopalan. “This step itself is pretty crucial, and it’s encouraging to other companies who are looking at this with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement,” she says. But more needs to be done to realize the government’s promised reforms, she adds. The Space Activities Bill that is designed to enshrine the country’s space policy in legislation has been languishing in draft form for years, and without regulatory clarity, it’s hard for the private sector to justify significant investments. “These are big, bold statements, but these need to be translated into actual policy and regulatory mechanisms,” says Rajagopalan.

Skyroot’s launch undoubtedly signals the growing maturity of India’s space industry, says Saurabh Kapil, associate director in PwC’s space practice. “It’s a critical message to the Indian space ecosystem, that we can do it, we have the necessary skill set, we have those engineering capabilities, we have those manufacturing or industrialization capabilities,” he says.

rocket launching into the sky with fire tail The Vikram-S rocket blasting off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, on the east coast of India.Skyroot

However, crossing this technical milestone is only part of the challenge, he says. The industry also needs to demonstrate a clear market for the kind of launch vehicles that companies like Skyroot are building. While private players are showing interest in launching small satellites for applications like agriculture and infrastructure monitoring, he says, these companies will be able to build sustainable businesses only if they are allowed to compete for more lucrative government and defense-sector contacts.

In the longer run, though, India’s space industry has ambitions of capturing a significant chunk of the global launch market, says Kapil. ISRO has already developed a reputation for both reliability and low cost—its 2014 mission to Mars cost just US $74 million, one-ninth the cost of a NASA Mars mission launched the same week. That is likely to translate to India’s private space industry, too, thanks to a considerably lower cost of skilled labor, land, and materials compared with those of other spacefaring nations, says Kapil. “The optimism is definitely there that because we are low on cost and high on reliability, whoever wants to build and launch small satellites is largely going to come to India,” he says.


Match ID: 22 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 11 days
qualifiers: 2.14 carbon

COP27: Lack of women at negotiations raises concern
Wed, 16 Nov 2022 01:01:11 GMT
Women barely feature in negotiations in Egypt despite bearing the brunt of climate change.
Match ID: 23 Score: 2.14 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 14 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

The Infinite Cloud Is a Fantasy
Tue, 15 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000
It's all too easy to believe in the illusion of neverending data storage and streaming. But it's destroying the natural world.
Match ID: 24 Score: 2.14 source: www.wired.com age: 14 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

Climate change: Dimming Earth, mustard shortages and other odd side-effects
Sat, 12 Nov 2022 00:51:32 GMT
Changes to our planet's shine is just one of the stranger side effects of rising temperatures.
Match ID: 25 Score: 2.14 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 18 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

Robotic Falcon Keeps Birds Away From Airports
Sun, 06 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000


Collisions with birds are a serious problem for commercial aircraft, costing the industry billions of dollars and killing thousands of animals every year. New research shows that a robotic imitation of a peregrine falcon could be an effective way to keep them out of flight paths.

Worldwide, so-called birdstrikes are estimated to cost the civil aviation industry almost US $1.4 billion annually. Nearby habitats are often deliberately made unattractive to birds, but airports also rely on a variety of deterrents designed to scare them away, such as loud pyrotechnics or speakers that play distress calls from common species.

However, the effectiveness of these approaches tends to decrease over time, as the birds get desensitized by repeated exposure, says Charlotte Hemelrijk, a professor on the faculty of science and engineering at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands. Live hawks or blinding lasers are also sometimes used to disperse flocks, she says, but this is controversial as it can harm the animals, and keeping and training falcons is not cheap.

“The birds don’t distinguish [RobotFalcon] from a real falcon, it seems.”
—Charlotte Hemelrijk, University of Groningen

In an effort to find a more practical and lasting solution, Hemelrijk and colleagues designed a robotic peregrine falcon that can be used to chase flocks away from airports. The device is the same size and shape as a real hawk, and its fiberglass and carbon-fiber body has been painted to mimic the markings of its real-life counterpart.

Rather than flapping like a bird, the RobotFalcon relies on two small battery-powered propellers on its wings, which allows it to travel at around 30 miles per hour for up to 15 minutes at a time. A human operator controls the machine remotely from a hawk’s-eye perspective via a camera perched above the robot’s head.

To see how effective the RobotFalcon was at scaring away birds, the researchers tested it against a conventional quadcopter drone over three months of field testing, near the Dutch city of Workum. They also compared their results to 15 years of data collected by the Royal Netherlands Air Force that assessed the effectiveness of conventional deterrence methods such as pyrotechnics and distress calls.

Flock-herding Falcon Drone Patrols Airport Flight Paths youtu.be

In a paper published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the team showed that the RobotFalcon cleared fields of birds faster and more effectively than the drone. It also kept birds away from fields longer than distress calls, the most effective of the conventional approaches.

There was no evidence of birds getting habituated to the RobotFalcon over three months of testing, says Hemelrijk, and the researchers also found that the birds exhibited behavior patterns associated with escaping from predators much more frequently with the robot than with the drone. “The way of reacting to the RobotFalcon is very similar to the real falcon,” says Hemelrijk. “The birds don’t distinguish it from a real falcon, it seems.”

Other attempts to use hawk-imitating robots to disperse birds have had less promising results, though. Morgan Drabik-Hamshare, a research wildlife biologist at the DoA, and her colleagues published a paper in Scientific Reports last year that described how they pitted a robotic peregrine falcon with flapping wings against a quadcopter and a fixed-wing remote-controlled aircraft.

They found the robotic falcon was the least effective of the three at scaring away turkey vultures, with the quadcopter scaring the most birds off and the remote-controlled plane eliciting the quickest response. “Despite the predator silhouette, the vultures did not perceive the predator UAS [unmanned aircraft system] as a threat,” Drabik-Hamshare wrote in an email.

Zihao Wang, an associate lecturer at the University of Sydney, in Australia, who develops UAS for bird deterrence, says the RobotFalcon does seem to be effective at dispersing flocks. But he points out that its wingspan is nearly twice the diagonal length of the quadcopter it was compared with, which means it creates a much larger silhouette when viewed from the birds’ perspective. This means the birds could be reacting more to its size than its shape, and he would like to see the RobotFalcon compared with a similar size drone in the future.

The unique design also means the robot requires an experienced and specially trained operator, Wang adds, which could make it difficult to roll out widely. A potential solution could be to make the system autonomous, he says, but it’s unclear how easy this would be.

Hemelrijk says automating the RobotFalcon is probably not feasible, both due to strict regulations around the use of autonomous drones near airports as well as the sheer technical complexity. Their current operator is a falconer with significant experience in how hawks target their prey, she says, and creating an autonomous system that could recognize and target bird flocks in a similar way would be highly challenging.

But while the need for skilled operators is a limitation, Hemelrijk points out that most airports already have full-time staff dedicated to bird deterrence, who could be trained. And given the apparent lack of habituation and the ability to chase birds in a specific direction—so that they head away from runways—she thinks the robotic falcon could be a useful addition to their arsenal.


Match ID: 26 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 23 days
qualifiers: 2.14 carbon

NASA, USAID Partnership Strengthens Global Development
Fri, 04 Nov 2022 16:08 EDT
NASA and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) signed an agreement Friday strengthening the collaboration between the two agencies, including efforts that advance the federal response to climate change.
Match ID: 27 Score: 2.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 25 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

NASA Leaders to Participate in Annual Global Climate Conference
Fri, 04 Nov 2022 14:52 EDT
NASA will participate in the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, which begins Sunday, Nov. 6, and runs through Friday, Nov. 18. The COP27 summit brings together countries from around the world to increase ambition by implementing existing goals and strengthening commitments to solutions th
Match ID: 28 Score: 2.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 25 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

Cop27: the climate carnage we've faced this year – video
Thu, 03 Nov 2022 11:07:52 GMT

One by one, the grim scenarios climate scientists had outlined for the near future have been overtaken by events: extreme storms, droughts, floods and ice-sheet collapses whose sudden appearances have outstripped researchers’ worst predictions. Catastrophic climate change is happening more rapidly and with greater intensity than their grimmest warnings, it transpires.

With the 2022 global climate summit Cop 27 upon us, the Guardian looks back at how the climate crisis has affected communities around the world since the last meeting in Glasgow in 2021

Continue reading...
Match ID: 29 Score: 2.14 source: www.theguardian.com age: 26 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

How gas is being rebranded as green – video
Thu, 03 Nov 2022 09:05:21 GMT

Is natural gas renewable? Is it a fossil fuel? A casual google search for natural gas gives the impression that these questions are somehow up for debate. And while natural gas has helped reduce carbon emissions as it was widely adopted as a replacement for coal, it is now up against zero-emission energy such as wind and solar. So how did natural gas end up in the same bracket as renewables? Josh Toussaint-Strauss explores the lengths fossil fuel companies have gone to in order to try to convince consumers, voters and lawmakers that natural gas is somehow a clean energy source

Continue reading...
Match ID: 30 Score: 2.14 source: www.theguardian.com age: 26 days
qualifiers: 2.14 carbon

Distilleries, golden eagles … and Macbeth: seven slow adventures in the Scottish Highlands and islands
Mon, 17 Oct 2022 13:32:19 GMT

Go at your own pace as you travel the path less followed – spend a morning foraging for lunch, learn to knit in Shetland or try aurora borealis hunting in Orkney this autumn and winter

Push those pedals on the Isles of Arran and Cumbrae
Get on your bike. Seriously, that’s the best way to see the small – yet accessible – island of Cumbrae, just off the Ayrshire coast near Largs. At only four miles long and two miles wide, anyone can enjoy a gentle cycle around this island. We say “anyone” because it’s completely flat, so there are no excuses, really. Sleep it off in one of Jack’s Alt-Stays’ eco-cabins, opening this autumn and, in return for your booking, the business will plant five trees to offset its carbon footprint.

Across the water on Arran, you can tour the island without pushing any pedals. Jump in one of Mogabout’s 4x4 trucks and be driven through forests and on to deserted beaches before pulling up at the Lagg Distillery for a well-earned dram.

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Match ID: 31 Score: 2.14 source: www.theguardian.com age: 43 days
qualifiers: 2.14 carbon

MOXIE Shows How to Make Oxygen on Mars
Thu, 08 Sep 2022 15:27:59 +0000


Planning for the return journey is an integral part of the preparations for a crewed Mars mission. Astronauts will require a total mass of about 50 tonnes of rocket propellent for the ascent vehicle that will lift them off the planet’s surface, including 31 tonnes of oxygen approximately. The less popular option is for crewed missions to carry the required oxygen themselves. But scientists are optimistic that it could instead be produced from the carbon dioxide–rich Martian atmosphere itself, using a system called MOXIE.

The Mars Oxygen ISRU (In-Situ Resource Utilization) Experiment is an 18-kilogram unit housed within the Perseverance rover on Mars. The unit is “the size of a toaster,” adds Jeffrey Hoffman, professor of aerospace engineering at MIT. Its job is to electrochemically break down carbon dioxide collected from the Martian atmosphere into oxygen and carbon monoxide. It also tests the purity of the oxygen.

Between February 2021, when it arrived on Mars aboard the Perseverance, and the end of the year, MOXIE has had several successful test runs. According to a review of the system by Hoffman and colleagues, published in Science Advances, it has demonstrated its ability to produce oxygen during both night and day, when temperatures can vary by over 100 ºC. The generation and purity rates of oxygen also meet requirements to produce rocket propellent and for breathing. The authors assert that a scaled-up version of MOXIE could produce the required oxygen for lift-off as well as for the astronauts to breathe.

Next question: How to power any oxygen-producing factories that NASA can land on Mars? Perhaps via NASA’s Kilopower fission reactors?

MOXIE is a first step toward a much larger and more complex system to support the human exploration of Mars. The researchers estimate a required generation rate of 2 to 3 kilograms per hour, compared with the current MOXIE rate of 6 to 8 grams per hour, to produce enough oxygen for lift-off for a crew arriving 26 months later. “So we’re talking about a system that’s a couple of hundred times bigger than MOXIE,” Hoffman says.

They calculate this rate accounting for eight months to get to Mars, followed by some time to set up the system. “We figure you'd probably have maybe 14 months to make all the oxygen.” Further, he says, the produced oxygen would have to be liquefied to be used a rocket propellant, something the current version of MOXIE doesn’t do.

MOXIE also currently faces several design constraints because, says Hoffman, a former astronaut, “our only ride to Mars was inside the Perseverance rover.” This limited the amount of power available to operate the unit, the amount of heat they could produce, the volume and the mass.

“MOXIE does not work nearly as efficiently as a stand-alone system that was specifically designed would,” says Hoffman. Most of the time, it’s turned off. “Every time we want to make oxygen, we have to heat it up to 800 ºC, so most of the energy goes into heating it up and running the compressor, whereas in a well-designed stand-alone system, most of the energy will go into the actual electrolysis, into actually producing the oxygen.”

However, there are still many kinks to iron out for the scaling-up process. To begin with, any oxygen-producing system will need lots of power. Hoffman thinks nuclear power is the most likely option, maybe NASA’s Kilopower fission reactors. The setup and the cabling would certainly be challenging, he says. “You’re going to have to launch to all of these nuclear reactors, and of course, they’re not going to be in exactly the same place as the [other] units,” he says. "So, robotically, you’re going to have to connect to the electrical cables to bring power to the oxygen-producing unit.”

Then there is the solid oxide electrolysis units, which Hoffman points out are carefully machined systems. Fortunately, the company that makes them, OxEon, has already designed, built, and tested a full-scale unit, a hundred times bigger than the one on MOXIE. “Several of those units would be required to produce oxygen at the quantities that we need,” Hoffman says.

He also adds that at present, there is no redundancy built into MOXIE. If any part fails, the whole system dies. “If you’re counting on a system to produce oxygen for rocket propellant and for breathing, you need very high reliability, which means you’re going to need quite a few redundant units.”

Moreover, the system has to be pretty much autonomous, Hoffman says. “It has to be able to monitor itself, run itself.” For testing purposes, every time MOXIE is powered up, there is plenty of time to plan. A full-scale MOXIE system, though, would have to run continuously, and for that it has to be able to adjust automatically to changes in the Mars atmosphere, which can vary by a factor of two over a year, and between nighttime and daytime temperature differences.


Match ID: 32 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 82 days
qualifiers: 2.14 carbon

Inside the Universe Machine: The Webb Space Telescope’s Staggering Vision
Wed, 06 Jul 2022 13:00:00 +0000


For a deep dive into the engineering behind the James Webb Space Telescope, see our collection of posts here.

“Build something that will absolutely, positively work.” This was the mandate from NASA for designing and building the James Webb Space Telescope—at 6.5 meters wide the largest space telescope in history. Last December, JWST launched famously and successfully to its observing station out beyond the moon. And now according to NASA, as soon as next week, the JWST will at long last begin releasing scientific images and data.

Mark Kahan, on JWST’s product integrity team, recalls NASA’s engineering challenge as a call to arms for a worldwide team of thousands that set out to create one of the most ambitious scientific instruments in human history. Kahan—chief electro-optical systems engineer at Mountain View, Calif.–based Synopsys—and many others in JWST’s “pit crew” (as he calls the team) drew hard lessons from three decades ago, having helped repair another world-class space telescope with a debilitating case of flawed optics. Of course the Hubble Space Telescope is in low Earth orbit, and so a special space-shuttle mission to install corrective optics ( as happened in 1993) was entirely possible.

Not so with the JWST.

The meticulous care NASA demanded of JWST’s designers is all the more a necessity because Webb is well out of reach of repair crews. Its mission is to study the infrared universe, and that requires shielding the telescope and its sensors from both the heat of sunlight and the infrared glow of Earth. A good place to do that without getting too far from Earth is an empty patch of interplanetary space 1.5 million kilometers away (well beyond the moon’s orbit) near a spot physicists call the second Lagrange point, or L2.

The pit crew’s job was “down at the detail level, error checking every critical aspect of the optical design,” says Kahan. Having learned the hard way from Hubble, the crew insisted that every measurement on Webb’s optics be made in at least two different ways that could be checked and cross-checked. Diagnostics were built into the process, Kahan says, so that “you could look at them to see what to kick” to resolve any discrepancies. Their work had to be done on the ground, but their tests had to assess how the telescope would work in deep space at cryogenic temperatures.

Three New Technologies for the Main Mirror

Superficially, Webb follows the design of all large reflecting telescopes. A big mirror collects light from stars, galaxies, nebulae, planets, comets, and other astronomical objects—and then focuses those photons onto a smaller secondary mirror that sends it to a third mirror that then ultimately directs the light to instruments that record images and spectra.

Webb’s 6.5-meter primary mirror is the first segmented mirror to be launched into space. All the optics had to be made on the ground at room temperature but were deployed in space and operated at 30 to 55 degrees above absolute zero. “We had to develop three new technologies” to make it work, says Lee D. Feinberg of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the optical telescope element manager for Webb for the past 20 years.

The longest wavelengths that Hubble has to contend with were 2.5 micrometers, whereas Webb is built to observe infrared light that stretches to 28 μm in wavelength. Compared with Hubble, whose primary mirror is a circle of an area 4.5 square meters, “[Webb’s primary mirror] had to be 25 square meters,” says Feinberg. Webb also “needed segmented mirrors that were lightweight, and its mass was a huge consideration,” he adds. No single-component mirror that could provide the required resolution would have fit on the Ariane 5 rocket that launched JWST. That meant the mirror would have to be made in pieces, assembled, folded, secured to withstand the stress of launch, then unfolded and deployed in space to create a surface that was within tens of nanometers of the shape specified by the designers.

Images of the James Webb Space Telescope and Hubble Space Telescope to scale, compared to a human figure, who is dwarfed by their size The James Webb Space Telescope [left] and the Hubble Space Telescope side by side—with Hubble’s 2.4-meter-diameter mirror versus Webb’s array of hexagonal mirrors making a 6.5-meter-diameter light-collecting area. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA and the U.S. Air Force, which has its own interests in large lightweight space mirrors for surveillance and focusing laser energy, teamed up to develop the technology. The two agencies narrowed eight submitted proposals down to two approaches for building JWST’s mirrors: one based on low-expansion glass made of a mixture of silicon and titanium dioxides similar to that used in Hubble and the other the light but highly toxic metal beryllium. The most crucial issue came down to how well the materials could withstand temperature changes from room temperature on the ground to around 50 K in space. Beryllium won because it could fully release stress after cooling without changing its shape, and it’s not vulnerable to the cracking that can occur in glass. The final beryllium mirror was a 6.5-meter array of 18 hexagonal beryllium mirrors, each weighing about 20 kilograms. The weight per unit area of JWST’s mirror was only 10 percent of that in Hubble. A 100-nanometer layer of pure gold makes the surface reflect 98 percent of incident light from JWST’s main observing band of 0.6 to 28.5 μm. “Pure silver has slightly higher reflectivity than pure gold, but gold is more robust,” says Feinberg. A thin layer of amorphous silica protects the metal film from surface damage.

In addition, a wavefront-sensing control system keeps mirror segment surfaces aligned to within tens of nanometers. Built on the ground, the system is expected to keep mirror alignment stabilized throughout the telescope’s operational life. A backplane kept at a temperature of 35 K holds all 2.4 tonnes of the telescope and instruments rock-steady to within 32 nm while maintaining them at cryogenic temperatures during observations.

Metal superstructure of cages and supports stands on a giant platform in a warehouse-sized clean-room. A man in a cleanroom suit watches the operations. The JWST backplane, the “spine” that supports the entire hexagonal mirror structure and carries more than 2,400 kg of hardware, is readied for assembly to the rest of the telescope. NASA/Chris Gunn

Hubble’s amazing, long-exposure images of distant galaxies are possible through the use of gyroscopes and reaction wheels. The gyroscopes are used to sense unwanted rotations, and reaction wheels are used to counteract them.

But the gyroscopes used on Hubble have had a bad track record and have had to be replaced repeatedly. Only three of Hubble’s six gyros remain operational today, and NASA has devised plans for operating with one or two gyros at reduced capability. Hubble also includes reaction wheels and magnetic torquers, used to maintain its orientation when needed or to point at different parts of the sky.

Webb uses reaction wheels similarly to turn across the sky, but instead of using mechanical gyros to sense direction, it uses hemispherical resonator gyroscopes, which have no moving parts. Webb also has a small fine-steering mirror in the optical path, which can tilt over an angle of just 5 arc seconds. Those very fine adjustments of the light path into the instruments keep the telescope on target. “It’s a really wonderful way to go,” says Feinberg, adding that it compensates for small amounts of jitter without having to move the whole 6-tonne observatory.

Instruments

Other optics distribute light from the fine-steering mirror among four instruments, two of which can observe simultaneously. Three instruments have sensors that observe wavelengths of 0.6 to 5 μm, which astronomers call the near-infrared. The fourth, called the Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), observes what astronomers call the mid-infrared spectrum, from 5 to 28.5 μm. Different instruments are needed because sensors and optics have limited wavelength ranges. (Optical engineers may blanch slightly at astronomers’ definitions of what constitutes the near- and mid-infrared wavelength ranges. These two groups simply have differing conventions for labeling the various regimes of the infrared spectrum.)

Mid-infrared wavelengths are crucial for observing young stars and planetary systems and the earliest galaxies, but they also pose some of the biggest engineering challenges. Namely, everything on Earth and planets out to Jupiter glow in the mid-infrared. So for JWST to observe distant astronomical objects, it must avoid recording extraneous mid-infrared noise from all the various sources inside the solar system. “I have spent my whole career building instruments for wavelengths of 5 μm and longer,” says MIRI instrument scientist Alistair Glasse of the Royal Observatory, in Edinburgh. “We’re always struggling against thermal background.”

Mountaintop telescopes can see the near-infrared, but observing the mid-infrared sky requires telescopes in space. However, the thermal radiation from Earth and its atmosphere can cloud their view, and so can the telescopes themselves unless they are cooled far below room temperature. An ample supply of liquid helium and an orbit far from Earth allowed the Spitzer Space Telescope’s primary observing mission to last for five years, but once the last of the cryogenic fluid evaporated in 2009, its observations were limited to wavelengths shorter than 5 μm.

Webb has an elaborate solar shield to block sunlight, and an orbit 1.5 million km from Earth that can keep the telescope to below 55 K, but that’s not good enough for low-noise observations at wavelengths longer than 5 μm. The near-infrared instruments operate at 40 K to minimize thermal noise. But for observations out to 28.5 μm, MIRI uses a specially developed closed-cycle, helium cryocooler to keep MIRI cooled below 7 K. “We want to have sensitivity limited by the shot noise of astronomical sources,” says Glasse. (Shot noise occurs when optical or electrical signals are so feeble that each photon or electron constitutes a detectable peak.) That will make MIRI 1,000 times as sensitive in the mid-infrared as Spitzer.

Another challenge is the limited transparency of optical materials in the mid-infrared. “We use reflective optics wherever possible,” says Glasse, but they also pose problems, he adds. “Thermal contraction is a big deal,” he says, because the instrument was made at room temperature but is used at 7 K. To keep thermal changes uniform throughout MIRI, they made the whole structure of gold-coated aluminum lest other metals cause warping.

Detectors are another problem. Webb’s near-infrared sensors use mercury cadmium telluride photodetectors with a resolution of 2,048 x 2,048 pixels. This resolution is widely used at wavelengths below 5 μm, but sensing at MIRI’s longer wavelengths required exotic detectors that are limited to offering only 1,024 x 1,024 pixels.

Glasse says commissioning “has gone incredibly well.” Although some stray light has been detected, he says, “we are fully expecting to meet all our science goals.”

NIRCam Aligns the Whole Telescope

The near-infrared detectors and optical materials used for observing at wavelengths shorter than 5 μm are much more mature than those for the mid-infrared, so the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) does double duty by both recording images and aligning all the optics in the whole telescope. That alignment was the trickiest part of building the instrument, says NIRCam principal investigator Marcia Rieke of the University of Arizona.

Alignment means getting all the light collected by the primary mirror to get to the right place in the final image. That’s crucial for Webb, because it has 18 separate segments that have to overlay their images perfectly in the final image, and because all those segments were built on the ground at room temperature but operate at cryogenic temperatures in space at zero gravity. When NASA recorded a test image of a single star after Webb first opened its primary mirror, it showed 18 separate bright spots, one from each segment. When alignment was completed on 11 March, the image from NIRcam showed a single star with six spikes caused by diffraction.

Image of a star with six-pointed spikes caused by diffraction Even when performing instrumental calibration tasks, JWST couldn’t help but showcase its stunning sensitivity to the infrared sky. The central star is what telescope technicians used to align JWST’s mirrors. But notice the distant galaxies and stars that photobombed the image too!NASA/STScI

Building a separate alignment system would have added to both the weight and cost of Webb, Rieke realized, and in the original 1995 plan for the telescope she proposed designing NIRCam so it could align the telescope optics once it was up in space as well as record images. “The only real compromise was that it required NIRCam to have exquisite image quality,” says Rieke, wryly. From a scientific point, she adds, using the instrument to align the telescope optics “is great because you know you’re going to have good image quality and it’s going to be aligned with you.” Alignment might be just a tiny bit off for other instruments. In the end, it took a team at Lockheed Martin to develop the computational tools to account for all the elements of thermal expansion.

Escalating costs and delays had troubled Webb for years. But for Feinberg, “commissioning has been a magical five months.” It began with the sight of sunlight hitting the mirrors. The segmented mirror deployed smoothly, and after the near-infrared cameras cooled, the mirrors focused one star into 18 spots, then aligned them to put the spots on top of each other. “Everything had to work to get it to [focus] that well,” he says. It’s been an intense time, but for Feinberg, a veteran of the Hubble repair mission, commissioning Webb was “a piece of cake.”

NASA announced that between May 23rd and 25th, one segment of the primary mirror had been dinged by a micrometeorite bigger than the agency had expected when it analyzed the potential results of such impacts. “Things do degrade over time,” Feinberg said. But he added that Webb had been engineered to minimize damage, and NASA said the event had not affected Webb’s operation schedule.

Corrections 26-28 July 2022: The story was updated a) to reflect the fact that the Lagrange point L2 where Webb now orbits is not that of the "Earth-moon system" (as the story had originally reported) but rather the Earth-sun system
and b) to correct misstatements in the original posting about Webb's hardware for controlling its orientation.

Corrections 12 Aug. 2022: Alistair Glasse's name was incorrectly spelled in a previous version of this story, as was NIRCam (which we'd spelled as NIRcam); Webb's tertiary mirror (we'd originally reported only its primary and secondary mirrors) was also called out in this version.

This article appears in the September 2022 print issue as “Inside the Universe Machine.”


Match ID: 33 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 146 days
qualifiers: 2.14 toxic

NASA to Industry: Let’s Develop Flight Tech to Reduce Carbon Emissions
Wed, 29 Jun 2022 14:25 EDT
NASA announced Wednesday the agency is seeking partners to develop technologies needed to shape a new generation of lower-emission, single-aisle airliners that passengers could see in airports in the 2030s.
Match ID: 34 Score: 2.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 153 days
qualifiers: 2.14 carbon

U.N. Kills Any Plans to Use Mercury as a Rocket Propellant
Tue, 19 Apr 2022 18:00:01 +0000


A recent United Nations provision has banned the use of mercury in spacecraft propellant. Although no private company has actually used mercury propellant in a launched spacecraft, the possibility was alarming enough—and the dangers extreme enough—that the ban was enacted just a few years after one U.S.-based startup began toying with the idea. Had the company gone through with its intention to sell mercury propellant thrusters to some of the companies building massive satellite constellations over the coming decade, it would have resulted in Earth’s upper atmosphere being laced with mercury.

Mercury is a neurotoxin. It’s also bio-accumulative, which means it’s absorbed by the body at a faster rate than the body can remove it. The most common way to get mercury poisoning is through eating contaminated seafood. “It’s pretty nasty,” says Michael Bender, the international coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG). “Which is why this is one of the very few instances where the governments of the world came together pretty much unanimously and ratified a treaty.”

Bender is referring to the 2013 Minamata Convention on Mercury, a U.N. treaty named for a city in Japan whose residents suffered from mercury poisoning from a nearby chemical factory for decades. Because mercury pollutants easily find their way into the oceans and the atmosphere, it’s virtually impossible for one country to prevent mercury poisoning within its borders. “Mercury—it’s an intercontinental pollutant,” Bender says. “So it required a global treaty.”

Today, the only remaining permitted uses for mercury are in fluorescent lighting and dental amalgams, and even those are being phased out. Mercury is otherwise found as a by-product of other processes, such as the burning of coal. But then a company hit on the idea to use it as a spacecraft propellant.

In 2018, an employee at Apollo Fusion approached the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a nonprofit that investigates environmental misconduct in the United States. The employee—who has remained anonymous—alleged that the Mountain View, Calif.–based space startup was planning to build and sell thrusters that used mercury propellant to multiple companies building low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations.

Four industry insiders ultimately confirmed that Apollo Fusion was building thrusters that utilized mercury propellant. Apollo Fusion, which was acquired by rocket manufacturing startup Astra in June 2021, insisted that the composition of its propellant mixture should be considered confidential information. The company withdrew its plans for a mercury propellant in April 2021. Astra declined to respond to a request for comment for this story.

Apollo Fusion wasn’t the first to consider using mercury as a propellant. NASA originally tested it in the 1960s and 1970s with two Space Electric Propulsion Tests (SERT), one of which was sent into orbit in 1970. Although the tests demonstrated mercury’s effectiveness as a propellant, the same concerns over the element’s toxicity that have seen it banned in many other industries halted its use by the space agency as well.

“I think it just sort of fell off a lot of folks’ radars,” says Kevin Bell, the staff counsel for PEER. “And then somebody just resurrected the research on it and said, ‘Hey, other than the environmental impact, this was a pretty good idea.’ It would give you a competitive advantage in what I imagine is a pretty tight, competitive market.”

That’s presumably why Apollo Fusion was keen on using it in their thrusters. Apollo Fusion as a startup emerged more or less simultaneously with the rise of massive LEO constellations that use hundreds or thousands of satellites in orbits below 2,000 kilometers to provide continual low-latency coverage. Finding a slightly cheaper, more efficient propellant for one large geostationary satellite doesn’t move the needle much. But doing the same for thousands of satellites that need to be replaced every several years? That’s a much more noticeable discount.

Were it not for mercury’s extreme toxicity, it would actually make an extremely attractive propellant. Apollo Fusion wanted to use a type of ion thruster called a Hall-effect thruster. Ion thrusters strip electrons from the atoms that make up a liquid or gaseous propellant, and then an electric field pushes the resultant ions away from the spacecraft, generating a modest thrust in the opposite direction. The physics of rocket engines means that the performance of these engines increases with the mass of the ion that you can accelerate.

Mercury is heavier than either xenon or krypton, the most commonly used propellants, meaning more thrust per expelled ion. It’s also liquid at room temperature, making it efficient to store and use. And it’s cheap—there’s not a lot of competition with anyone looking to buy mercury.

Bender says that ZMWG, alongside PEER, caught wind of Apollo Fusion marketing its mercury-based thrusters to at least three companies deploying LEO constellations—One Web, Planet Labs, and SpaceX. Planet Labs, an Earth-imaging company, has at least 200 CubeSats in low Earth orbit. One Web and SpaceX, both wireless-communication providers, have many more. One Web plans to have nearly 650 satellites in orbit by the end of 2022. SpaceX already has nearly 1,500 active satellites aloft in its Starlink constellation, with an eye toward deploying as many as 30,000 satellites before its constellation is complete. Other constellations, like Amazon’s Kuiper constellation, are also planning to deploy thousands of satellites.

In 2019, a group of researchers in Italy and the United States estimated how much of the mercury used in spacecraft propellant might find its way back into Earth’s atmosphere. They figured that a hypothetical LEO constellation of 2,000 satellites, each carrying 100 kilograms of propellant, would emit 20 tonnes of mercury every year over the course of a 10-year life span. Three quarters of that mercury, the researchers suggested, would eventually wind up in the oceans.

That amounts to 1 percent of global mercury emissions from a constellation only a fraction of the size of the one planned by SpaceX alone. And if multiple constellations adopted the technology, they would represent a significant percentage of global mercury emissions—especially, the researchers warned, as other uses of mercury are phased out as planned in the years ahead.

Fortunately, it’s unlikely that any mercury propellant thrusters will even get off the ground. Prior to the fourth meeting of the Minamata Convention, Canada, the European Union, and Norway highlighted the dangers of mercury propellant, alongside ZMWG. The provision to ban mercury usage in satellites was passed on 26 March 2022.

The question now is enforcement. “Obviously, there aren’t any U.N. peacekeepers going into space to shoot down” mercury-based satellites, says Bell. But the 137 countries, including the United States, who are party to the convention have pledged to adhere to its provisions—including the propellant ban.

The United States is notable in that list because as Bender explains, it did not ratify the Minamata Convention via the U.S. Senate but instead deposited with the U.N. an instrument of acceptance. In a 7 November 2013 statement (about one month after the original Minamata Convention was adopted), the U.S. State Department said the country would be able to fulfill its obligations “under existing legislative and regulatory authority.”

Bender says the difference is “weedy” but that this appears to mean that the U.S. government has agreed to adhere to the Minamata Convention’s provisions because it already has similar laws on the books. Except there is still no existing U.S. law or regulation banning mercury propellant. For Bender, that creates some uncertainty around compliance when the provision goes into force in 2025.

Still, with a U.S. company being the first startup to toy with mercury propellant, it might be ideal to have a stronger U.S. ratification of the Minamata Convention before another company hits on the same idea. “There will always be market incentives to cut corners and do something more dangerously,” Bell says.

Update 19 April 2022: In an email, a spokesperson for Astra stated that the company's propulsion system, the Astra Spacecraft Engine, does not use mercury. The spokesperson also stated that Astra has no plans to use mercury propellant and that the company does not have anything in orbit that uses mercury.

Updated 20 April 2022 to clarify that Apollo Fusion was building thrusters that used mercury, not that they had actually used them.


Match ID: 35 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 224 days
qualifiers: 2.14 toxic

Ahrefs vs SEMrush: Which SEO Tool Should You Use?
Tue, 01 Mar 2022 12:16:00 +0000
semrush vs ahrefs


SEMrush and Ahrefs are among the most popular tools in the SEO industry. Both companies have been in business for years and have thousands of customers per month.

If you're a professional SEO or trying to do digital marketing on your own, at some point you'll likely consider using a tool to help with your efforts. Ahrefs and SEMrush are two names that will likely appear on your shortlist.

In this guide, I'm going to help you learn more about these SEO tools and how to choose the one that's best for your purposes.

What is SEMrush?

semrush

SEMrush is a popular SEO tool with a wide range of features—it's the leading competitor research service for online marketers. SEMrush's SEO Keyword Magic tool offers over 20 billion Google-approved keywords, which are constantly updated and it's the largest keyword database.

The program was developed in 2007 as SeoQuake is a small Firefox extension

Features

  • Most accurate keyword data: Accurate keyword search volume data is crucial for SEO and PPC campaigns by allowing you to identify what keywords are most likely to bring in big sales from ad clicks. SEMrush constantly updates its databases and provides the most accurate data.
  • Largest Keyword database: SEMrush's Keyword Magic Tool now features 20-billion keywords, providing marketers and SEO professionals the largest database of keywords.

  • All SEMrush users receive daily ranking data, mobile volume information, and the option to buy additional keywords by default with no additional payment or add-ons needed
  • Most accurate position tracking tool: This tool provides all subscribers with basic tracking capabilities, making it suitable for SEO professionals. Plus, the Position Tracking tool provides local-level data to everyone who uses the tool.
  • SEO Data Management: SEMrush makes managing your online data easy by allowing you to create visually appealing custom PDF reports, including Branded and White Label reports, report scheduling, and integration with GA, GMB, and GSC.
  • Toxic link monitoring and penalty recovery: With SEMrush, you can make a detailed analysis of toxic backlinks, toxic scores, toxic markers, and outreach to those sites.
  • Content Optimization and Creation Tools: SEMrush offers content optimization and creation tools that let you create SEO-friendly content. Some features include the SEO Writing Assistant, On-Page SEO Check, er/SEO Content Template, Content Audit, Post Tracking, Brand Monitoring.

Ahrefs

ahrefs


Ahrefs is a leading SEO platform that offers a set of tools to grow your search traffic, research your competitors, and monitor your niche. The company was founded in 2010, and it has become a popular choice among SEO tools. Ahrefs has a keyword index of over 10.3 billion keywords and offers accurate and extensive backlink data updated every 15-30 minutes and it is the world's most extensive backlink index database.

Features

  • Backlink alerts data and new keywords: Get an alert when your site is linked to or discussed in blogs, forums, comments, or when new keywords are added to a blog posting about you.
  • Intuitive interface: The intuitive design of the widget helps you see the overall health of your website and search engine ranking at a glance.
  • Site Explorer: The Site Explorer will give you an in-depth look at your site's search traffic.
  • Domain Comparison
  • Reports with charts and graphs
  • JavaScript rendering and a site audit can identify SEO issues.
  • A question explorer that provides well-crafted topic suggestions

Direct Comparisons: Ahrefs vs SEMrush

Now that you know a little more about each tool, let's take a look at how they compare. I'll analyze each tool to see how they differ in interfaces, keyword research resources, rank tracking, and competitor analysis.

User Interface

Ahrefs and SEMrush both offer comprehensive information and quick metrics regarding your website's SEO performance. However, Ahrefs takes a bit more of a hands-on approach to getting your account fully set up, whereas SEMrush's simpler dashboard can give you access to the data you need quickly.

In this section, we provide a brief overview of the elements found on each dashboard and highlight the ease with which you can complete tasks.

AHREFS

ahrefs interface


The Ahrefs dashboard is less cluttered than that of SEMrush, and its primary menu is at the very top of the page, with a search bar designed only for entering URLs.

Additional features of the Ahrefs platform include:

  • You can see analytics from the dashboard, including search engine rankings to domain ratings, referring domains, and backlink
  • Jumping from one tool to another is easy. You can use the Keyword Explorer to find a keyword to target and then directly track your ranking with one click.
  • The website offers a tooltip helper tool that allows you to hover your mouse over something that isn't clear and get an in-depth explanation.

SEMRUSH

semrush domain overview


When you log into the SEMrush Tool, you will find four main modules. These include information about your domains, organic keyword analysis, ad keyword, and site traffic.

You'll also find some other options like

  • A search bar allows you to enter a domain, keyword, or anything else you wish to explore.
  • A menu on the left side of the page provides quick links to relevant information, including marketing insights, projects, keyword analytics, and more.
  • The customer support resources located directly within the dashboard can be used to communicate with the support team or to learn about other resources such as webinars and blogs.
  • Detailed descriptions of every resource offered. This detail is beneficial for new marketers, who are just starting.

WHO WINS?

Both Ahrefs and SEMrush have user-friendly dashboards, but Ahrefs is less cluttered and easier to navigate. On the other hand, SEMrush offers dozens of extra tools, including access to customer support resources.

When deciding on which dashboard to use, consider what you value in the user interface, and test out both.

Rank Tracking

If you're looking to track your website's search engine ranking, rank tracking features can help. You can also use them to monitor your competitors.

Let's take a look at Ahrefs vs. SEMrush to see which tool does a better job.

Ahrefs

ahrefs rank tracking


The Ahrefs Rank Tracker is simpler to use. Just type in the domain name and keywords you want to analyze, and it spits out a report showing you the search engine results page (SERP) ranking for each keyword you enter.

Rank Tracker looks at the ranking performance of keywords and compares them with the top rankings for those keywords. Ahrefs also offers:

You'll see metrics that help you understand your visibility, traffic, average position, and keyword difficulty.

It gives you an idea of whether a keyword would be profitable to target or not.

SEMRUSH

semrush position tracking


SEMRush offers a tool called Position Tracking. This tool is a project tool—you must set it up as a new project. Below are a few of the most popular features of the SEMrush Position Tracking tool:

All subscribers are given regular data updates and mobile search rankings upon subscribing

The platform provides opportunities to track several SERP features, including Local tracking.

Intuitive reports allow you to track statistics for the pages on your website, as well as the keywords used in those pages.

Identify pages that may be competing with each other using the Cannibalization report.

WHO WINS?

Ahrefs is a more user-friendly option. It takes seconds to enter a domain name and keywords. From there, you can quickly decide whether to proceed with that keyword or figure out how to rank better for other keywords.

SEMrush allows you to check your mobile rankings and ranking updates daily, which is something Ahrefs does not offer. SEMrush also offers social media rankings, a tool you won't find within the Ahrefs platform. Both are good which one do you like let me know in the comment.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is closely related to rank tracking, but it's used for deciding which keywords you plan on using for future content rather than those you use now.

When it comes to SEO, keyword research is the most important thing to consider when comparing the two platforms.

AHREFS



The Ahrefs Keyword Explorer provides you with thousands of keyword ideas and filters search results based on the chosen search engine.

Ahrefs supports several features, including:

  • It can search multiple keywords in a single search and analyze them together. At SEMrush, you also have this feature in Keyword Overview.
  • Ahrefs has a variety of keywords for different search engines, including Google, YouTube, Amazon, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, and other search engines.
  • When you click on a keyword, you can see its search volume and keyword difficulty, but also other keywords related to it, which you didn't use.

SEMRUSH



SEMrush's Keyword Magic Tool has over 20 billion keywords for Google. You can type in any keyword you want, and a list of suggested keywords will appear.

The Keyword Magic Tool also lets you to:

  • Show performance metrics by keyword
  • Search results are based on both broad and exact keyword matches.
  • Show data like search volume, trends, keyword difficulty, and CPC.
  • Show the first 100 Google search results for any keyword.
  • Identify SERP Features and Questions related to each keyword
  • SEMrush has released a new Keyword Gap Tool that uncovers potentially useful keyword opportunities for you, including both paid and organic keywords.

WHO WINS?

Both of these tools offer keyword research features and allow users to break down complicated tasks into something that can be understood by beginners and advanced users alike.

If you're interested in keyword suggestions, SEMrush appears to have more keyword suggestions than Ahrefs does. It also continues to add new features, like the Keyword Gap tool and SERP Questions recommendations.

Competitor Analysis

Both platforms offer competitor analysis tools, eliminating the need to come up with keywords off the top of your head. Each tool is useful for finding keywords that will be useful for your competition so you know they will be valuable to you.

AHREFS



Ahrefs' domain comparison tool lets you compare up to five websites (your website and four competitors) side-by-side.it also shows you how your site is ranked against others with metrics such as backlinks, domain ratings, and more.

Use the Competing Domains section to see a list of your most direct competitors, and explore how many keywords matches your competitors have.

To find more information about your competitor, you can look at the Site Explorer and Content Explorer tools and type in their URL instead of yours.

SEMRUSH



SEMrush provides a variety of insights into your competitors' marketing tactics. The platform enables you to research your competitors effectively. It also offers several resources for competitor analysis including:

Traffic Analytics helps you identify where your audience comes from, how they engage with your site, what devices visitors use to view your site, and how your audiences overlap with other websites.

SEMrush's Organic Research examines your website's major competitors and shows their organic search rankings, keywords they are ranking for, and even if they are ranking for any (SERP) features and more.

The Market Explorer search field allows you to type in a domain and lists websites or articles similar to what you entered. Market Explorer also allows users to perform in-depth data analytics on These companies and markets.

WHO WINS?

SEMrush wins here because it has more tools dedicated to competitor analysis than Ahrefs. However, Ahrefs offers a lot of functionality in this area, too. It takes a combination of both tools to gain an advantage over your competition.

Pricing

Ahrefs

  • Lite Monthly: $99/month
  • Standard Monthly: $179/month
  • Annually Lite: $990/year
  • Annually Standard: $1790/year

SEMRUSH

  • Pro Plan: $119.95/month
  • Guru Plan:$229.95/month
  • Business Plan: $449.95/month

Which SEO tool should you choose for digital marketing?

When it comes to keyword data research, you will become confused about which one to choose.

Consider choosing Ahrefs if you

  • Like friendly and clean interface
  • Searching for simple keyword suggestions

  • Want to get more keywords for different search engines like Amazon, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, Baidu, and more

 

Consider SEMrush if you:

  • Want more marketing and SEO features
  • Need competitor analysis tool
  • Need to keep your backlinks profile clean
  • Looking for more keyword suggestions for Google

Both tools are great. Choose the one which meets your requirements and if you have any experience using either Ahrefs or SEMrush let me know in the comment section which works well for you.

 

 


Match ID: 36 Score: 2.14 source: www.crunchhype.com age: 273 days
qualifiers: 2.14 toxic

Filter efficiency 95.281 (37 matches/784 results)


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Philly DA Larry Krasner: In Midterms, Democrats Went “Republican-Lite” on Crime
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 16:10:49 +0000

The embattled progressive district attorney said election victories show how Democrats can win big — by leaning into criminal justice reforms.

The post Philly DA Larry Krasner: In Midterms, Democrats Went “Republican-Lite” on Crime appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 0 Score: 215.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 55.00 midterms, 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat, 25.00 election, 15.00 legislature, 15.00 executive, 15.00 elections

In a Wisconsin Trump County, and Across the U.S., Progressive Health Care Initiatives Coasted Through
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 20:01:25 +0000

Initiatives to expand health care access and reduce costs won big on election night, rattling for-profit industry lobbyists.

The post In a Wisconsin Trump County, and Across the U.S., Progressive Health Care Initiatives Coasted Through appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 1 Score: 170.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat, 25.00 election, 15.00 legislature, 15.00 elections, 15.00 constitution, 10.00 congress

Philly’s Reform Prosecutor Reacts to His Impeachment
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 11:00:22 +0000

Pennsylvania lawmakers accused Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner of causing a crime “crisis.”

The post Philly’s Reform Prosecutor Reacts to His Impeachment appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 2 Score: 170.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat, 25.00 election, 15.00 liberals, 15.00 legislature, 15.00 elections, 10.00 house of representatives

Lobbyist for Saudi Alfalfa Company Desiccating Arizona Was Elected to Maricopa County Board of Supervisors
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 17:24:10 +0000

Thomas Galvin lobbied on behalf of a Saudi company soaking up Arizona’s groundwater. He is now mediating an ongoing water dispute in neighboring Maricopa County.

The post Lobbyist for Saudi Alfalfa Company Desiccating Arizona Was Elected to Maricopa County Board of Supervisors appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 3 Score: 170.00 source: theintercept.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 55.00 midterms, 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat, 25.00 election, 15.00 legislature, 15.00 elections

In U.S. Military, Sexual Assault Against Men Is Vastly Underreported
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 12:00:17 +0000

An average of 45 male servicemembers are sexually assaulted every day, according to Pentagon statistics. As with women, shame and stigma suppress the truth.

The post In U.S. Military, Sexual Assault Against Men Is Vastly Underreported appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 4 Score: 165.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat, 25.00 election, 15.00 executive, 15.00 elections, 10.00 house of representatives, 10.00 congress

The Data Guy Who Got the Midterms Right
Thu, 24 Nov 2022 03:43:32 +0000

Tom Bonier of TargetSmart on how Republican polls were able to skew media predictions.

The post The Data Guy Who Got the Midterms Right appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 5 Score: 120.00 source: theintercept.com age: 5 days
qualifiers: 31.43 midterms, 17.14 republican, 17.14 politics, 17.14 democrat, 14.29 election, 8.57 progressives, 8.57 elections, 5.71 congress

US Senate passes bill protecting same-sex marriage
Wed, 30 Nov 2022 00:32:58 GMT

House must now pass legislation as Democrats hurry to get it Biden to sign into law before Republicans take over the chamber

The US Senate has passed the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation to protect same-sex unions that Democrats are hurrying to get to Joe Biden to be signed into law before Republicans take over the House next year.

The House must now pass the bill, a step the majority leader, Steny Hoyer, said could come as soon as Tuesday 6 December. Nearly 50 House Republicans supported the measure earlier this year. In the Senate, support from 12 Republicans was enough to override the filibuster and advance the bill to Tuesday’s majority vote, which ended 61-36.

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Match ID: 6 Score: 115.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat, 15.00 constitution, 10.00 congress

Hakeem Jeffries’ likely elevation set to please US pro-Israel groups
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 10:00:24 GMT

Democrat set to succeed Nancy Pelosi maintains ties to Aipac and others but could be challenged by critics in his own caucus

Hakeem Jeffries might be about to make history but some critics fear that on one issue, at least, he will be on the wrong side of it.

The progressive New York congressman widely expected to lead the Democrats in the US House of Representatives will be the first person of color to head either party in the chamber. Jeffries’ election as House minority leader in the new Congress in January would also see the baton pass to a new generation of Democratic leaders as the speaker, Nancy Pelosi, 82, steps aside.

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Match ID: 7 Score: 105.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat, 25.00 election, 10.00 house of representatives, 10.00 congress

If Labour’s leadership is hobbling internal candidates, is it fit to run a democracy? | Owen Jones
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 12:30:30 GMT

Mounting evidence of dirty tricks against prospective MPs can’t be dismissed as leftwing sour grapes. We were promised a ‘broad church’

Britain will almost certainly have a Labour government in two years’ time: you have the Tories’ unprecedented self-immolation to thank for that. Debating, then, how Rishi Sunak’s successors will govern is a democratic imperative. To some of Keir Starmer’s more zealous supporters, scrutinising the opposition is an act of treachery that simply makes a Tory government more likely. Welcome to “Schrödinger’s left”: where the left of the party is simultaneously so irrelevant and toxic that it must be marginalised, but so powerful it can help determine the result of general elections.

In his pitch for the Labour leadership, Starmer promised that under his watch the party would be a “broad church”, and that he would restore trust in Labour through “unity”. To underline that this wasn’t just empty rhetoric, he said that the selection of Labour candidates “needs to be more democratic and we should end NEC impositions of candidates. Local party members should select their candidates for every election.” To paraphrase Karl Marx, all that is a Starmer promise melts into air: but this particular issue has political consequences that go far beyond internal Labour politics.

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Match ID: 8 Score: 100.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat, 25.00 election, 15.00 elections

Democratic and Republican Senators Demand Transfer of Gray Eagle Drone to Ukraine
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 16:23:30 +0000

Joe Manchin, Lindsey Graham, and 14 other U.S. senators demand that Biden give Ukraine a top-tier U.S. drone.

The post Democratic and Republican Senators Demand Transfer of Gray Eagle Drone to Ukraine appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 9 Score: 100.00 source: theintercept.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat, 10.00 congress

Here’s which senators voted for or against the Respect for Marriage Act
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 19:18:09 EST
Forty-nine Senate Democrats and 12 Republicans voted for the Respect for Marriage Act, which now goes back to the House before Biden can sign it into law.
Match ID: 10 Score: 90.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat

Republican leaders rebuke Trump over dinner with white supremacist
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 23:28:44 GMT

Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy break silence over meeting and say no room in party for antisemitism or white supremacy

The top two Republicans in Congress have broken their silence about Donald Trump’s dinner last week with the rightwing extremist Nick Fuentes, saying the Republican party has no place for antisemitism or white supremacy.

The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, and Kevin McCarthy, who may become House speaker in January, had not commented previously on the 22 November meeting.

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Match ID: 11 Score: 85.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics, 15.00 conservatives, 10.00 congress

Whip count: Here’s how much trouble Kevin McCarthy is in
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 13:20:27 EST
Here are the lawmakers who are likely to decide McCarthy's fate in January's House speaker election.
Match ID: 12 Score: 85.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics, 25.00 election

Republican officials turn to election rejection
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 10:24:39 EST
Donald Trump's push to reject election results catches on at the county level.
Match ID: 13 Score: 85.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics, 25.00 election

What good did the 2022 election do for Biden 2024?
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 16:50:29 EST
Democratic leaders might be more confident in him now. Democratic-leaning voters are another matter.
Match ID: 14 Score: 85.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat, 25.00 election

Schumer says he and McConnell agree on getting bill preventing rail strike done ASAP
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 17:25:04 GMT

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, told reporters Tuesday that he and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, have agreed to try to pass legislation that would prevent a U.S. railroad strike as soon as possible. Schumer's comment adds to the optimistic talk about averting a strike, as President Joe Biden said earlier Tuesday that he's confident that it can be avoided, and an analyst said there appears to be bipartisan support in Congress to act. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said a strike must be avoided and her chamber would pass the necessary legislation on Wednesday.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


Match ID: 15 Score: 80.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 democrat, 10.00 senate majority leader, 10.00 congress

McConnell: Anyone meeting with antisemites is ‘unlikely to ever be elected president’
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 17:24:38 EST
The top two Republicans in Congress condemned former president Donald Trump's dinner with Ye and Nick Fuentes, who have both espoused antisemitic views.
Match ID: 16 Score: 70.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics, 10.00 congress

‘Not decided yet’: David Miliband hints at political comeback
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 18:04:44 GMT

Former Labour foreign secretary does not rule out return to UK politics before next election and urges greater EU cooperation

The former foreign secretary David Miliband has fuelled speculation that he is preparing a political comeback in Britain after he said nothing had yet been decided on his return and delivered a set piece foreign policy speech urging the UK to make greater cooperation with the EU.

Miliband lost the Labour leadership to his brother Ed in 2010 and resigned from the shadow cabinet. He stood down as an MP and moved to New York in late 2013 with his family to act as the chief executive of the International Rescue Committee.

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Match ID: 17 Score: 70.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 25.00 election, 15.00 executive

Senate vote to protect same-sex marriage reflects long political shift
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 20:13:55 EST
A bipartisan group of 61 senators, including 12 Republicans, voted for the measure.
Match ID: 18 Score: 60.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics

Why Queer Communities Are Welcoming Armed Anti-Fascist Protection
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 22:31:38 +0000

After the Club Q massacre, there’s no comparing far-right violence and community self-defense.

The post Why Queer Communities Are Welcoming Armed Anti-Fascist Protection appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 19 Score: 60.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics

Pence, other Republicans issue rare rebuke of Trump over dinner with Fuentes and Ye
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 21:56:12 EST
Trump's former vice president is the highest-profile Republican to criticize the meal with someone known to espouse antisemitic views.
Match ID: 20 Score: 60.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics

Australia politics live: national anti-corruption commission legislation passes unanimously; parliament censures Morrison
Wed, 30 Nov 2022 02:36:50 GMT

The government has passed a key election promise. Follow all the day’s news

Milton Dick also makes these recommendations for things he believes may improve the parliament:

Offensive words or reflections on Members Standing Orders 88 to 90, for example, provide that Members should not use offensive words or cast adverse reflections on Members, but they do not refer specifically to language or behaviour that is sexist or otherwise exclusionary or discriminatory. Revisions to these Standing Orders, so that they explicitly include that this type of conduct is highly disorderly, would be advantageous to the Chair in ruling on such matters.

Education and procedural support

Sanctions against disorder Under Standing Order 94{a), the Speaker may direct a Member to leave the Chamber for one hour if the Member’s conduct is considered disorderly. At times, this direction to leave can be advantageous to a Member or be worn as a ‘badge of honour’.

If a Member’s conduct is grossly disorderly, the Speaker can choose to name the Member in accordance with Standing Order 94{b), but in practice this option is not often used and not used for ordinary offences. It would assist the Speaker to have additional options to sanction a Member for disorderly conduct. For example, choices for increased penalties of time, and/or the introduction of cascading penalties of time for continued disorder, would be a disincentive to Members to be ejected.

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Match ID: 21 Score: 55.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 25.00 election

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes found guilty of seditious conspiracy
Wed, 30 Nov 2022 00:26:42 GMT

Jury convicts leader of rightwing group which supported Trump’s attempt to overturn 2020 election

Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the rightwing Oath Keepers militia, has been found guilty of seditious conspiracy, a charge arising from the attack on the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump.

Rhodes and co-defendant Kelly Meggs are the first people in nearly three decades to be found guilty of the rarely used civil war-era charge at trial. The trial was the biggest test yet for the US justice department in its efforts to hold accountable those responsible for the attack that shook the foundations of US democracy.

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Match ID: 22 Score: 55.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 25.00 election

Three weeks after election, Arizona remains in turmoil over results
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 19:55:55 EST
Cochise County flouted a Monday deadline to certify the results, while officials in Maricopa County faced threats for following through on that duty.
Match ID: 23 Score: 55.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 25.00 election

Australia to consider tougher nicotine e-cigarette import and labelling laws to tackle teen vaping
Wed, 30 Nov 2022 01:24:33 GMT

Therapeutic Goods Administration to investigate border control laws, as well as tougher regulation of nicotine products and advertising

The federal government will crackdown on children accessing e-cigarettes, with the regulator to consider key changes including tightening importation rules and tougher labelling laws.

As rates of teenage vaping soar, Australia’s drugs regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will begin public consultation in four areas: changes to importation and border control laws required to stop illegal products entering Australia; pre-market assessments of vapes to create a regulated source of products for pharmacists and doctors to prescribe; labelling, advertising and flavouring of vapes that make them attractive to children; and stronger identification and regulation of nicotine-containing products.

Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup

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Match ID: 24 Score: 50.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 20.00 federal government

South Dakota bans TikTok access on state-owned devices citing ties to China
Wed, 30 Nov 2022 00:41:07 GMT

Governor Kristi Noem’s executive order prohibits employees and contractors from using the app on government gadgets

Kristi Noem, governor of South Dakota, on Tuesday issued an executive order banning state employees and contractors from accessing the video platform TikTok on state-owned devices, citing its ties to China.

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company that moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020. It has been targeted by Republicans who say the Chinese government could access user data such as browsing history and location. US armed forces also have prohibited the app on military devices.

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Match ID: 25 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 15.00 executive

Thurrock council admits disastrous investments caused £500m deficit
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 20:18:58 GMT

Tory-led Essex authority is on brink of bankruptcy and has appealed to government for emergency bailout

A Tory-led council has admitted a series of disastrous investments in risky commercial projects caused it to run up an unprecedented deficit of nearly £500m and brought it to the brink of bankruptcy.

The staggering scale of the catastrophe at Thurrock council in Essex – one of the biggest ever financial disasters in local government – is contained in an internal report made to the council’s cabinet, which reveals it has lost £275m on investments it made in solar energy and other businesses, and has set aside a further £130m this year to pay back investment debts.

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Match ID: 26 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 15.00 conservatives

Labour hits back at Tory attacks on plan to put VAT on private school fees
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 19:24:02 GMT

Figures show drop in partnerships with state schools – which Labour says Tories promised would trigger a review of fees

Labour has hit back at Conservative attacks on its pledge to put VAT on private school fees, with analysis showing a drop in partnerships with state schools.

The party has been accused of starting a “class war” against private schools though Labour sources said the Conservative’s 2017 manifesto had also promised to review whether to charge VAT on school fees if partnerships with state schools did not increase.

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Match ID: 27 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 15.00 conservatives

The Guardian view on the latest census: mapping an ever more diverse country | Editorial
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 18:50:00 GMT

The public have accepted that Britain is not just populated by white people – and have stopped imagining that it could ever be otherwise

In 1968, the Conservative MP Enoch Powell delivered probably the most inflammatory address ever given by a senior British politician. “As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding,” he declared. “Like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood’.” The bloodletting, he anticipated, would be taking place because of a race war. Seeing migrants arrive from Britain’s former colonies in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia was, Powell said, “like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre”. Britain in the half century since has repudiated Powell’s racist prophecy. Non-white immigrants and their children are not an existential threat to this country, but rather the source of some its most celebrated achievements.

Birmingham, the city in which Powell gave his “rivers of blood” speech, has quietly become among the country’s most diverse places. Along with London, Leicester, Manchester and Luton, it is part of an urban England that is fast becoming more black and brown than white. About four in 10 people in Milton Keynes, Nottingham and Peterborough are non-white. The figure, according to the 2021 census published on Tuesday, is roughly one in four in Bristol and Leeds. Despite the best efforts of politicians like Powell and his ilk to turn people against each other on the basis of race and ethnicity, a more multiracial, multicultural country has become a feature of modern life. It is progress that the public have overwhelmingly accepted that Britain is not just populated by white people – and have stopped imagining that it could ever be otherwise.

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Match ID: 28 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 15.00 conservatives

Only planning reform can fix Britain’s housing crisis | Letters
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 18:03:41 GMT

Readers on how years of poor Tory leadership mean there is no end in sight to the chronic shortage of homes

John Harris dissects key aspects of the housing “crisis” in a typically thoughtful and powerful way (The Tories are tearing themselves apart over housing – but this is another crisis of their own making, 27 November). But on the way he displays a crucial misunderstanding. There is no presumption in favour of development in the planning system; it’s a presumption in favour of sustainable development – something with which surely no one could disagree? This is an egregious example of the Tory use of sophistry that has made a massive contribution to the issue that Harris so ably describes. Far from being an objective, science-based definition, it is in reality a circular argument that the government inserted in the national planning guidance.

In effect, “sustainable” is what the government, Humpty Dumpty-like, says it is. The assessment of major housing proposals, which so often go to appeal, is comically perfunctory, the overriding criterion being the supply of new housing, however and wherever built. Many people participate in this charade. We have been building in unsustainability – carbon emissions, destruction of habitat, poor health and unaffordability – throughout the last 12 years. The cost of retrofitting will be astronomical. We need the houses we need. Campaigners cannot morally deny that, but development must be based on sound sustainability principles and by applying rigorous tests that are available but are never used effectively.

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Match ID: 29 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 15.00 conservatives

Tories will not reach ‘embarrassingly poor’ nature targets by 2030, Labour says
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 14:13:51 GMT

Opposition to unveil plan to reverse biodiversity loss rather than simply halting it, which is government’s current target

The government will not be able to achieve its nature targets by 2030, even though they are “embarrassingly poor”, the shadow environment minister and leading wildlife groups have said.

Next week at the Cop15 biodiversity conference in Montreal, Alex Sobel will be discussing Labour’s “science-led, joined-up plan to tackle the climate and ecological emergency”. The plan will aim to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, rather than simply halting it, which is the government’s current target.

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Match ID: 30 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 15.00 conservatives

How dangerous is it to live in a damp, mouldy home?
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 03:00:12 GMT

The death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak from exposure to mould has shown the consequences of uninhabitable homes. But how many people are living in similarly unhealthy conditions and what can be done to protect their health?

Toddler Awaab Ishak was said to be a happy, smiling little boy. And his parents say it is their home, where he should have been safe and cared for, that led to his death. The little boy fell ill after exposure to mould that blighted the family’s flat – and the coroner at his inquest said his tragic death must be a “defining moment” for the housing sector.

Yet grim though the conditions in the family’s flat were, they were not as uncommon as they should have been. Rob Booth, the Guardian’s social affairs correspondent, tells Nosheen Iqbal that mould is a widespread issue that, for some, can cause terrible health problems. One of them is Jane, whose lung condition may be terminal if she does not get a transplant – and has been caused, she says, by living in a home beset by mould. She is now taking legal action to try to protect others like her.

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Match ID: 31 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 15.00 executive

Scott Morrison becomes first former Australian prime minister to be censured by parliament
Wed, 30 Nov 2022 02:39:16 GMT

Former PM claims he would have answered truthfully if asked about any of the secret ministries he held and repeated past defence of arrangements

Scott Morrison has been censured by the House of Representatives after offering fresh defences for his failure to disclose extra ministerial appointments and accusing the government of pursuing the “politics of retribution”.

Morrison told the lower house it was “false” to equate his decision to administer colleagues’ departments with appointments as minister, and claimed if he had been asked he “would have responded truthfully about the arrangements”.

Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup

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Match ID: 32 Score: 40.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 10.00 house of representatives

The bigger the change in Congress, the busier the lame duck
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 15:06:55 EST
Our era of flip-flopping congressional control means more incentive to get things done while still in the majority.
Match ID: 33 Score: 40.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 10.00 congress

Biden seizes on gun control despite hurdles in Congress
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 10:00:56 EST
Biden is increasingly seizing on gun control—especially an assault weapons ban—as a political rallying cry, even as the votes remain elusive in Congress.
Match ID: 34 Score: 40.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 10.00 congress

Barbados plans to make Tory MP pay reparations for family’s slave past
Sat, 26 Nov 2022 17:16:51 GMT

Richard Drax reported to have visited Caribbean island for meeting on next steps, including plans for former sugar plantation

The government of Barbados is considering plans to make a wealthy Conservative MP the first individual to pay reparations for his ancestor’s pivotal role in slavery.

The Observer understands that Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset, recently travelled to the Caribbean island for a private meeting with the country’s prime minister, Mia Mottley. A report is now before Mottley’s cabinet laying out the next steps, which include legal action in the event that no agreement is reached with Drax.

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Match ID: 35 Score: 38.57 source: www.theguardian.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 25.71 politics, 12.86 conservatives

Pakistan’s Imran Khan vows to fight to ‘last drop of blood’ in first rally since being shot
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 01:42:03 GMT

Ousted PM calls off march on Islamabad to avoid further chaos but continues to press for early elections, possibly by pulling his PTI party out of regional assemblies

Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan told tens of thousands of supporters on Saturday that he would fight until his “last drop of blood” in his first public address since being shot in an assassination attempt this month.

The shooting was the latest twist in months of political turmoil that began in April when Khan was ousted by a vote of no confidence in parliament.

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Match ID: 36 Score: 34.29 source: www.theguardian.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 21.43 election, 12.86 elections

Inside Qatar 2022: the World Cup of politics and protest - podcast
Fri, 25 Nov 2022 03:00:45 GMT

Football’s governing body Fifa has tried to keep politics out of the World Cup – but there has never been a more political tournament, reports Michael Safi in Doha

The opening week of the World Cup began in bizarre fashion: a press conference with Fifa’s president, Gianni Infantino, accusing critics of the tournament of hypocrisy and claiming his own experience gave him a window into that of others: ‘Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel [like] a migrant worker.’

It came after an earlier plea from Fifa to keep politics out of the tournament but it has been a week dominated by off-pitch issues and protests. Michael Safi has been in Doha and hears how fans are experiencing the first World Cup in the Middle East. For sportswriters Sean Ingle and Louise Taylor, it is a tournament like no other and despite the entreaties from the authorities to focus on the football, protests have made all the headlines. There was the Iranian national team who refused to sing their national anthem in protest at the bloody repression across their country, and then Germany whose hands-over-mouth gesture clearly referred to Fifa’s denial of their right to wear pro-LGBT armbands.

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Match ID: 37 Score: 32.14 source: www.theguardian.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 politics, 10.71 executive

Dip in Australia’s inflation rate in October raises hopes price rises may have peaked
Wed, 30 Nov 2022 02:37:11 GMT

Headline CPI rate eases from 7.3% to 6.9%, lower than economists’ expectations, but fuel prices still rose as full excise rate returned

Australia’s inflation rate eased in October, helped by smaller increases for food, adding to expectations that the rate of price rises may be nearing their peak.

The headline consumer price index for last month was 6.9%, slowing from the 7.3% pace reported for September, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said. Some economists, such as CBA, had predicted the October CPI rate to come in at 7.4%.

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Match ID: 38 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Body of 19-year-old man found in NSW four days after he vanished in flood waters
Wed, 30 Nov 2022 02:12:21 GMT

Death is third this month linked to NSW flooding crisis after Ljubisa ‘Les’ Vugec, 85, and Dianne Smith, 60, died in Eugowra

The body of a young man who went missing while swimming in flood waters in southern New South Wales has been found.

The discovery was made in Balranald about 8.30am on Wednesday as police began a fifth day of searching for signs of the 19-year-old.

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Match ID: 39 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Respect for Marriage Act: Senate passes same-sex marriage bill
Wed, 30 Nov 2022 02:02:05 GMT
The bill now goes back to the Democrat-led House before President Biden signs it into law.
Match ID: 40 Score: 30.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 democrat

Post Politics Now: Senate passes bill protecting same-sex marriages
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 20:03:03 EST
President Biden visited Michigan, a presidential battleground state, to tout the growth in manufacturing jobs during his tenure.
Match ID: 41 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes guilty of Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 19:52:11 EST
The panel of seven men and five women deliberated for three days before finding Rhodes and a co-defendant guilty of conspiring to oppose by force the lawful transition of presidential power.
Match ID: 42 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

‘They’ll swim, they’ll climb trees’: experts hissue warning over snakes on the flood plains
Wed, 30 Nov 2022 00:45:18 GMT

As flood waters surge into South Australia, ecologists say locals should give fleeing snakes a wide berth

Snakes on the plains will seek shelter in back yards and homes as the flood waters from the eastern states surge down the system into South Australia.

The state’s flood plains and relatively flat topography will slow the advance of the water from New South Wales and Victoria, before it is channelled into the River Murray.

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Match ID: 43 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Richard Drax: Jamaica eyes slavery reparations from Tory MP
Wed, 30 Nov 2022 00:16:18 GMT
Richard Drax is facing demands to pay compensation for the role of his ancestors in the slave trade.
Match ID: 44 Score: 30.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Justices seem conflicted in immigration enforcement case
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 18:51:32 EST
Texas sued the Biden administration after it said agents would prioritize for deportation only recent border crossers and those deemed a threat to public safety.
Match ID: 45 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Senate passes bill to protect same-sex, interracial marriages
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 18:31:40 EST
The bipartisan measure would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as being between one man and one woman.
Match ID: 46 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Trump continues to be plagued by legal woes
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 17:15:13 EST
For Donald Trump, it’s one legal battle after another. Let’s check in on the status of several key investigations involving the former president as he mounts his 2024 campaign to return to the White House.
Match ID: 47 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

The GOP’s 2022 autopsy implements part of the GOP’s 2012 autopsy
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 17:14:26 EST
A new set of advisers is focused on presenting a diverse face for the party — as the autopsy a decade ago recommended.
Match ID: 48 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

San Francisco officials vote on police bid to use deadly robots
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 21:56:10 GMT

Tuesday’s closely watched decision comes as oversight groups warn of further militarization of officers

Police in San Francisco could get the ability to deploy potentially lethal, remote-controlled robots in emergency situations if supervisors of the politically Democratic city grant permission on Tuesday in a highly watched board vote.

Police oversight groups are urging the 11-member San Francisco board of supervisors to reject the idea, saying it would lead to further militarization of a police force already too aggressive with poor and minority communities. They said the parameters under which use would be allowed were too vague.

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Match ID: 49 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 democrat

Nick who? Fox News has barely mentioned the Nick Fuentes-Trump dinner
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 16:53:51 EST
This is how it tends to work with the right-leaning network.
Match ID: 50 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Biden, in Michigan, sharpens 2024 pitch with focus on 2021-2022
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 16:40:44 EST
Fresh from a midterm success, the president begins crafting a message that touts his first-term record.
Match ID: 51 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

McCarthy’s brazen revisionism on the GOP and Nick Fuentes
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 14:54:37 EST
Rep. Kevin McCarthy claimed both Donald Trump and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) have denounced white nationalist Nick Fuentes. In reality, neither has.
Match ID: 52 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Charities call for Windrush-style inquiry into Manston asylum failings
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 19:41:31 GMT

Letter from 44 charities urges independent investigation into ‘appalling’ treatment of people at Kent processing centre

Suella Braverman, the home secretary, is being urged by 44 leading charities to launch a Windrush-style inquiry into the crisis that engulfed Manston processing centre.

Organisations including the Refugee Council, Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee have written a letter to the Guardian seeking an independent investigation into how people seeking refuge in the UK were forced to live in cramped and insanitary conditions.

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Match ID: 53 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Martin Rowson on Rishi Sunak’s dilemma over onshore windfarms – cartoon
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 19:30:03 GMT
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Match ID: 54 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Try being trustworthy! Martin Lewis’s advice to MPs seeking to restore trust in politics
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 19:03:22 GMT

The money-saving expert and most trusted man in Britain has hard – and obvious - lessons for culture select committee

Here’s a thought. One that should keep some MPs awake at night. Are politicians intrinsically untrustworthy? Are only people who are predisposed to being economical with the truth attracted to a career in public life?

Or are they a misunderstood bunch? The good guys. Just ordinary men and women who want to make the world a better place. It’s just the nature of the job that forces them into some uneasy compromises with the truth.

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Match ID: 55 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

The Guardian view on Biden’s ‘Buy America’ strategy: a wake-up call for Europe | Editorial
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 18:50:30 GMT

Huge subsidies for US-based low-carbon manufacturers are posing big problems for EU leaders

In a slick General Motors advert aired during last year’s Super Bowl, the actor and comedian Will Ferrell took patriotic umbrage at Norway’s ability to sell more electric vehicles per capita than the US. “Norway’s beating us at EVs!”, Ferrell lamented, before promoting GM’s latest battery technology to the watching millions.

Almost two years on, the angst is being felt on the other side of the Atlantic. Following on from President Joe Biden’s “Buy America” rules for infrastructure, his Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will deliver, from January, almost $370bn worth of subsidies and tax breaks to US-based companies involved in the transition to a low-carbon economy. Around $50bn will come in the form of tax credits to persuade Americans to buy electric vehicles made in North America (Canada and Mexico were included in the deal after initially being left out).

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Match ID: 56 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Sizewell C ‘confirmed’ again – this time it might be the real deal | Nils Pratley
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 18:47:31 GMT

Buying out China’s stake was inevitable but the government still has the onerous task of finding committed investors

Another day, another “confirmation” that the government plans to build the Sizewell C nuclear power plant in Suffolk – surely the “most announced” project in UK infrastructure history. The latest update, though, contained a genuine sign of seriousness: the Chinese are being paid to go away.

China General Nuclear (CGN), a state-backed firm, owned a 20% stake in the fledgling project and had, in effect, a right to subscribe to maintain its holding through the various funding rounds – just as it did at Hinkley Point C in Somerset. In practice, any form of Chinese involvement in Sizewell has been impossible for at least a year.

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Match ID: 57 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Bank of England ‘blindsided’ by Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget, says governor
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 18:00:58 GMT

Andrew Bailey tells Lords committee of ‘extraordinary process’ with ‘no formal communication’ between Treasury and Bank

The governor of the Bank of England has indicated it was left blindsided by Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-budget, describing an “extraordinary process” in which there was “no formal communication” before the chancellor unveiled his measures.

In candid evidence to the Lords economic affairs committee, Andrew Bailey said Kwarteng had broken with tradition by failing to brief the central bank, suggesting that even Treasury officials were not fully aware of his plans a day before the event.

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Match ID: 58 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Changes to online safety bill tread line between safety and appearing ‘woke’
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 17:13:20 GMT

Ministers drop ‘harmful communications’ offence with some arguing it was ‘legislating for hurt feelings’

The online safety bill is returning to parliament under the aegis of its fourth prime minister and seventh secretary of state since it was first proposed as an online harms white paper under Theresa May.

Each of those has been determined to leave their fingerprints on the legislation, which has swollen to encompass everything from age verification on pornography to criminalisation of posting falsehoods online, and Rishi Sunak and the digital and culture secretary, Michelle Donelan, are no different.

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Match ID: 59 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Covid becomes plague of elderly, reviving debate over ‘acceptable loss’
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 09:12:53 EST
Nearly 9 out of 10 deaths are now in people 65 or older, the highest rate since the pandemic began.
Match ID: 60 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Qatar official says ‘400-500’ migrant workers died on World Cup projects
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 13:07:00 GMT
  • Hassan al-Thawadi makes comment in TV interview
  • Hosts accused of ‘inexcusable lack of transparency’

The Qatari official responsible for delivery of the 2022 World Cup has said the number of migrant workers who have died on World Cup-related projects is “between 400 and 500”.

Hassan al-Thawadi, the secretary general of the Supreme Committee for delivery and legacy, made the admission in an interview but said a precise figure for the number of fatalities was still “being discussed”.

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Match ID: 61 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Threatened with jail for live-streaming traffic stop, he sued
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 06:00:01 EST
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is debating whether streaming is different from recording, and whether passengers in cars can record at all.
Match ID: 62 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

UK waters down internet rules plan after free speech outcry
2022-11-29T10:30:39+00:00
UK waters down internet rules plan after free speech outcry submitted by /u/Sorin61
[link] [comments]

Match ID: 63 Score: 30.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Exército ilude golpistas em São Paulo
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 09:04:26 +0000

Mutirão para moradores de rua frustra bolsonaristas crentes de que as Forças Armadas estão completamente alinhadas ao golpismo.

The post Exército ilude golpistas em São Paulo appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 64 Score: 30.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican

Great Barrier Reef flagged as ‘in danger’ world heritage site. What does this mean?
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 02:48:59 GMT

Scientists have delivered clear advice for the reef. So what did their report say, how might the government respond and what happens next?

The status of the Great Barrier Reef as a globally significant and intact world heritage site is under the spotlight again.

Two UN-backed scientists have today recommended, after a 10-day inspection earlier this year, the world’s biggest coral reef system should be placed on a list of world heritage sites “in danger”.

Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup

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Match ID: 65 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

UK condemns ‘abhorrent’ torture of death row inmate in Saudi Arabia
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 20:35:27 GMT

Foreign Office minister says case of Hussein Abo al-Kheir raised ‘at highest level’ and demands end to executions

The British government has condemned as “abhorrent” what it said was the clear torture of a Jordanian national on death row in Saudi Arabia for drug offences, and demanded an end to a sudden spate of executions in the Gulf monarchy.

It was the first time the British government has made the allegation.

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Match ID: 66 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Kari Lake Storms Out of Thanksgiving After Losing Battle for Wishbone
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 15:57:26 +0000
Lake was locked in a fierce struggle with a rival identified by several onlookers as her nine-year-old niece Paisley.
Match ID: 67 Score: 30.00 source: www.newyorker.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 republican

UK households have cut energy consumption by 10%, say suppliers
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 15:30:08 GMT

E.ON reports up to 15% drop as Grant Shapps writes to firms saying customers cutting back on energy use should not face direct debit rise

Britons have cut their gas and electricity use by more than 10% since October in the first evidence of the impact of the energy crisis on household habits, according to two of Britain’s biggest suppliers.

E.ON, Britain’s second-largest supplier, and Telecom Plus, which owns Utility Warehouse, have reported “double-digit” declines in recent weeks.

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Match ID: 68 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Millions of households will be spending nearly third of income on fuel by spring
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 06:00:13 GMT

Findings come amid mounting evidence that the poorest people in the UK are paying a ‘poverty premium’ for basic services

Millions of households will be paying almost a third of their income in fuel costs this spring, amid warnings that a “black hole in provision” remains for Britain’s poorest families.

The vast majority of households in some vulnerable groups – including some 70% of pensioners – will be spending a tenth or more of their income on fuel from April, when support for energy costs will be reduced.

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Match ID: 69 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

I Experienced Jack Smith's Zeal Firsthand. Will Trump Get the Same Treatment?
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 16:15:01 +0000

His handling of the ex-president will show whether Smith really is an aggressive prosecutor — or just aggressive against the powerless.

The post I Experienced Jack Smith’s Zeal Firsthand. Will Trump Get the Same Treatment? appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 70 Score: 30.00 source: theintercept.com age: 6 days
qualifiers: 12.86 politics, 10.71 election, 6.43 executive

A Criminal Ratted Out His Friend to the FBI. Now He's Trying to Make Amends.
Sat, 26 Nov 2022 12:00:23 +0000

The FBI paid a convicted sex offender $90,000 to set up his friend and his friend’s mentally ill buddy in a terrorism sting.

The post A Criminal Ratted Out His Friend to the FBI. Now He’s Trying to Make Amends. appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 71 Score: 25.71 source: theintercept.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 25.71 politics

Temos que deixar de olhar como piada e enxergar como terrorismo
Sat, 26 Nov 2022 09:03:29 +0000

Atos golpistas nas estradas e em frente aos quartéis avançam na escalada de violência e sobem o tom para desafiar o Judiciário.

The post Temos que deixar de olhar como piada e enxergar como terrorismo appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 72 Score: 25.71 source: theintercept.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 25.71 democrat

World Cup 2022: England 'step up' in Wales win and show frightening depth of Gareth Southgate's squad
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 23:42:11 GMT
Superb performances from Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden against Wales will give Gareth Southgate a selection headache for England.
Match ID: 73 Score: 25.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 election

Left-Wing Voices Are Silenced on Twitter as Far-Right Trolls Advise Elon Musk
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 17:20:17 +0000

Elon Musk appears to have out-sourced decisions about who to ban from Twitter to the platform's right-wing extremists.

The post Left-Wing Voices Are Silenced on Twitter as Far-Right Trolls Advise Elon Musk appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 74 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 election

The James Webb Space Telescope was a Career-Defining Project for Janet Barth
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 19:00:01 +0000


Janet Barth spent most of her career at the Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Md.—which put her in the middle of some of NASA’s most exciting projects of the past 40 years.

She joined the center as a co-op student and retired in 2014 as chief of its electrical engineering division. She had a hand in Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions, launching the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Magnetospheric Multiscale mission, and developing the James Webb Space Telescope.


About Janet Barth


Employer: Miller Engineering and Research Corp.

Title: Advisory board member

Member grade: Life Fellow

Alma mater: University of Maryland in College Park

Barth, an IEEE Life Fellow, conducted pioneering work in analyzing the effects of cosmic rays and solar radiation on spacecraft observatories. Her tools and techniques are still used today. She also helped develop science requirements for NASA’s Living With a Star program, which studies the sun, magnetospheres, and planetary systems.

For her work, Barth was honored with this year’s IEEE Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award for “leadership of and contributions to the advancement of the design, building, deployment, and operation of capable, robust space systems.”

“I still tear up just thinking about it,” Barth says. “Receiving this award is humbling. Everyone at IEEE and Goddard who I worked with owns a piece of this award.”

From co-op hire to chief of NASA’s EE division

Barth initially attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, to pursue a degree in biology, but she soon realized that it wasn’t a good fit for her. She transferred to the University of Maryland in College Park, and changed her major to applied mathematics.

She was accepted for a co-op position in 1978 at the Goddard center, which is about 9 kilometers from the university. Co-op jobs allow students to work at a company and gain experience while pursuing their degree.

“I was excited about using my analysis and math skills to enable new science at Goddard,” she says. She conducted research on radiation environments and their effects on electronic systems.

Goddard hired her after she graduated as a radiation and hardness assurance engineer. She helped ensure that the electronics and materials in space systems would perform as designed after being exposed to radiation in space.

Because of her expertise in space radiation, George Withbroe, director of the NASA Solar-Terrestrial Physics program (now its Heliophysics Division), asked her in 1999 to help write a funding proposal for a program he wanted to launch—which became Living With a Star. It received US $2 billion from the U.S. Congress and launched in 2001.

During her 12 years with the program, Barth helped write the architecture document, which she says became a seminal publication for the field of heliophysics (the study of the sun and how it influences space). The document outlines the program’s goals and objectives.

In 2001 she was selected to be project manager for a NASA test bed that aimed to understand how spacecraft are affected by their environment. The test bed, which collected data from space to predict how radiation might impact NASA missions, successfully completed its mission in 2020.

Barth reached the next rung on her career ladder in 2002, when she became one of the first female associate branch heads of engineering at Goddard. At the space center’s Flight Data Systems and Radiation Effects Branch, she led a team of engineers who designed flight computers and storage systems. Although it was a steep learning curve for her, she says, she enjoyed it. Three years later, she was heading the branch.

She got another promotion, in 2010, to chief of the electrical engineering division. As the Goddard Engineering Directorate’s first female division chief, she led a team of 270 employees who designed, built, and tested electronics and electrical systems for NASA instruments and spacecraft.

vintage photograph of woman smiling in group of 3 people Barth (left) and Moira Stanton at the 1997 RADiation and its Effects on Components and Systems Conference, held in Cannes, France. Barth and Stanton coauthored a poster paper and received the outstanding poster paper award.Janet Barth

Working on the James Webb Space Telescope

Throughout her career, Barth was involved in the development of the Webb space telescope. Whenever she thought that she was done with the massive project, she says with a laugh, her path would “intersect with Webb again.”

She first encountered the Webb project in the late 1990s, when she was asked to be on the initial study team for the telescope.

She wrote its space-environment specifications. After they were published in 1998, however, the team realized that there were several complex problems to solve with the telescope’s detectors. The Goddard team supported Matt Greenhouse, John C. Mather, and other engineers to work on the tricky issues. Greenhouse is a project scientist for the telescope’s science instrument payload. Mather won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics for discoveries supporting the Big Bang model.

The Webb’s detectors absorb photons—light from far-away galaxies, stars, and planets—and convert them into electronic voltages. Barth and her team worked with Greenhouse and Mather to verify that the detectors would work while exposed to the radiation environment at the L2 Lagrangian point, one of the positions in space where human-sent objects tend to stay put.

Years later, when Barth was heading the Flight Data Systems and Radiation Effects branch, she oversaw the development of the telescope’s instrument command and data handling systems. Because of her important role, Barth’s name was written on the telescope’s instrument ICDH flight box.

When she became chief of Goddard’s electrical engineering division, she was assigned to the technical review panel for the telescope.

“At that point,” she says, “we focused on the mechanics of deployment and the risks that came with not being able to fully test it in the environment it would be launched and deployed in.”

She served on that panel until she retired. In 2019, five years after retiring, she joined the Miller Engineering and Research Corp. advisory board. The company, based in Pasadena, Md., manufactures parts for aerospace and aviation organizations.

“I really like the ethics of the company. They service science missions and crewed missions,” Barth says. “I went back to my roots, and that’s been really rewarding.”

The best things about being an IEEE member

Barth and her husband, Douglas, who is also an engineer, joined IEEE in 1989. She says they enjoy belonging to a “unique peer group.” She especially likes attending IEEE conferences, having access to journals, and being able to take continuing education courses and workshops, she says.

“I stay up to date on the advancements in science and engineering,” she says, “and going to conferences keeps me inspired and motivated in what I do.” The networking opportunities are “terrific,” she adds, and she’s been able to meet people from just about all engineering industries.

An active IEEE volunteer for more than 20 years, she is executive chairwoman of the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society’s Radiation Effects Steering Group, and she served as 2013–2014 president of the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society. She also is an associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science.

“IEEE has definitely benefited my career,” she says. “There’s no doubt about that.”


Match ID: 75 Score: 25.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 executive, 10.00 congress

The Twitter Bubble Let Democrats Defy Political Gravity
Thu, 17 Nov 2022 15:15:50 +0000
The midterm elections showed that the far-right's manufactured narrative about trans kids doomed the GOP when they made it policy.
Match ID: 76 Score: 22.14 source: www.wired.com age: 12 days
qualifiers: 7.86 midterms, 4.29 politics, 4.29 democrat, 3.57 election, 2.14 elections

Can America’s Aging Leadership Deliver the Future?
Fri, 25 Nov 2022 11:00:00 +0000
The Political Scene’s Washington roundtable discusses whether the United States is a gerontocracy, and what that means for the country’s politics.
Match ID: 77 Score: 21.43 source: www.newyorker.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 politics

Video Friday: Turkey Sandwich
Fri, 25 Nov 2022 17:13:24 +0000


Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today’s videos!

Happy Thanksgiving, for those who celebrate it. Now spend 10 minutes watching a telepresence robot assemble a turkey sandwich.

[ Sanctuary ]

Ayato Kanada, an assistant professor at Kyushu University, in Japan, wrote in to share “the world’s simplest omnidirectional mobile robot.”

We propose a palm-sized omnidirectional mobile robot with two torus wheels. A single torus wheel is made of an elastic elongated coil spring in which the two ends of the coil connected each other and is driven by a piezoelectric actuator (stator) that can generate 2-degrees-of-freedom (axial and angular) motions. The stator converts its thrust force and torque into longitudinal and meridian motions of the torus wheel, respectively, making the torus work as an omnidirectional wheel on a plane.

[ Paper ]

Thanks, Ayato!

This work, entitled “Virtually turning robotic manipulators into worn devices: opening new horizons for wearable assistive robotics,” proposes a novel hybrid system using a virtually worn robotic arm in augmented reality, and a real robotic manipulator servoed on such a virtual representation. We basically aim at creating the illusion of wearing a robotic system while its weight is fully supported. We believe that this approach could offer a solution to the critical challenge of weight and discomfort caused by robotic sensorimotor extensions—such as supernumerary robotic limbs (SRL), prostheses, or handheld tools—and open new horizons for the development of wearable robotics.

[ Paper ]

Thanks, Nathanaël!

Engineers at Georgia Tech are the first to study the mechanics of springtails, which leap in the water to avoid predators. The researchers learned how the tiny hexapods control their jumps, self-right in midair, and land on their feet in the blink of an eye. The team used the findings to build penny-size jumping robots.

[ Georgia Tech ]

Thanks, Jason!

The European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) have asked European space industries and research institutions to develop innovative technologies for the exploration of resources on the moon in the framework of the ESA-ESRIC Space Resources Challenge. As part of the challenge, teams of engineers have developed vehicles capable of prospecting for resources in a test-bed simulating the moon’s shaded polar regions. From 5 to 9 September 2022, the final of the ESA-ESRIC Space Resource Challenge took place at the Rockhal in Esch-sur-Alzette. On this occasion, lunar rover prototypes competed on a 1,800-square-meter “lunar” terrain. The winning team will have the opportunity to have their technology implemented on the moon.

[ ESA ]

Thanks, Arne!

If only cobots were as easy to use as this video from Kuka makes it seem.

The Kuka website doesn’t say how much this thing costs, which means it’s almost certainly not something that you impulse buy.

[ Kuka ]

We present the tensegrity aerial vehicle, a design of collision-resilient rotor robots with icosahedron tensegrity structures. With collision resilience and reorientation ability, the tensegrity aerial vehicles can operate in cluttered environments without complex collision-avoidance strategies. These capabilities are validated by a test of an experimental tensegrity aerial vehicle operating with only onboard inertial sensors in a previously unknown forest.

[ HiPeR Lab ]

The robotics research group Brubotics and the polymer-science and physical-chemistry group FYSC of the University of Brussels have together developed self-healing materials that can be scratched, punctured, or completely cut through and heal themselves back together, with the required heat, or even at room temperature.

[ Brubotics ]

Apparently, the World Cup needs more drone footage, because this is kinda neat.

[ DJI ]

Researchers at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms have made significant progress toward creating robots that could build nearly anything, including things much larger than themselves, from vehicles to buildings to larger robots.

[ MIT ]

The researchers from North Carolina State University have recently developed a fast and efficient soft robotic swimmer whose motions resemble a human’s butterfly-stroke style. It can achieve a high average swimming speed of 3.74 body lengths per second, close to five times as fast as the fastest similar soft swimmers, and also a high-power efficiency with a low energy cost.

[ NC State ]

To facilitate sensing and physical interaction in remote and/or constrained environments, high-extension, lightweight robot manipulators are easier to transport and can reach substantially further than traditional serial-chain manipulators. We propose a novel planar 3-degrees-of-freedom manipulator that achieves low weight and high extension through the use of a pair of spooling bistable tapes, commonly used in self-retracting tape measures, which are pinched together to form a reconfigurable revolute joint.

[ Charm Lab ]

SLURP!

[ River Lab ]

This video may encourage you to buy a drone. Or a snowmobile.

[ Skydio ]

Moxie is getting an update for the holidays!

[ Embodied ]

Robotics professor Henny Admoni answers the Internet’s burning questions about robots! How do you program a personality? Can robots pick up a single M&M? Why do we keep making humanoid robots? What is Elon Musk’s goal for the Tesla Optimus robot? Will robots take over my job writing video descriptions...I mean, um, all our jobs? Henny answers all these questions and much more.

[ CMU ]

This GRASP on Robotics talk is from Julie Adams at Oregon State University, on “Towards Adaptive Human-Robot Teams: Workload Estimation.”

The ability for robots, be it a single robot, multiple robots, or a robot swarm, to adapt to the humans with which they are teamed requires algorithms that allow robots to detect human performance in real time. The multidimensional workload algorithm incorporates physiological metrics to estimate overall workload and its components (cognitive, speech, auditory, visual, and physical). The algorithm is sensitive to changes in a human’s individual workload components and overall workload across domains, human-robot teaming relationships (supervisory, peer-based), and individual differences. The algorithm has also been demonstrated to detect shifts in workload in real time in order to adapt the robot’s interaction with the human and autonomously change task responsibilities when the human’s workload is over- or underloaded. Recently, the algorithm was used to analyze post hoc the resulting workload for a single human deploying a heterogeneous robot swarm in an urban environment. Current efforts are focusing on predicting the human’s future workload, recognizing the human’s current tasks, and estimating workload for previously unseen tasks.

[ UPenn ]


Match ID: 78 Score: 17.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 election

"Tantura" Exposes the Lie at the Heart of Israel's Founding Myth
Fri, 25 Nov 2022 11:00:32 +0000

A new documentary challenges Israel’s narrative about 1948 and the forced displacement of Palestinians.

The post “Tantura” Exposes the Lie at the Heart of Israel’s Founding Myth appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 79 Score: 17.86 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 election

More voters trust Republicans on economy as interest in midterms hits high, polls say
Sun, 23 Oct 2022 12:16:03 EST
According to an NBC News poll released Sunday, 70 percent of registered voters expressed interest in the upcoming election as a “9” or “10” on a 10-point scale.
Match ID: 80 Score: 15.71 source: www.politico.com age: 37 days
qualifiers: 7.86 midterms, 4.29 republican, 3.57 election

Singapore lifts gay sex ban but blocks path toward marriage equality
Wed, 30 Nov 2022 00:42:02 GMT

LGBTQ+ advocates welcome repeal of British colonial-era law while expressing dismay as parliament backs existing definition of marriage

Singapore’s parliament has decriminalised sex between men, but has amended the constitution to effectively block full marriage equality.

The British colonial-era law penalised sex between men with up to two years in jail, although the statute was not actively enforced.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 81 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 constitution

Mexico high court upholds keeping military on police duties
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 19:40:07 EST
Mexico’s Supreme Court has upheld a constitutional change that allows the military to continue in law enforcement duties until 2028
Match ID: 82 Score: 15.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 constitution

Wales wave goodbye as England wrap up first place in Group B – Football Daily
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 23:47:33 GMT

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Troy Townsend, Elis James, Barney Ronay and Nick Ames as England seal their neighbours’ fate

Rate, review, share on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast and Stitcher, and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

Today: England beat Wales 3-0 to secure their place at the top of Group B, setting up a Round of 16 game against Senegal. It’s the end of the road for Wales, and Elis James joins us to offer his perspective.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 83 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 executive

Foot Locker CFO to depart next year
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 22:06:41 GMT

Foot Locker Inc. said late Tuesday that Chief Financial Officer Andrew Page will leave the company after the fourth-quarter earnings report "to pursue other opportunities." The retailer is launching a search for a successor, with the help of a "leading" executive recruiting firm, it said. Foot Locker is slated to report fourth-quarter earnings in February. The company also announced that Elliott Rodgers is joining it as chief operations officer, effective Thursday, to oversee supply chain, information technology, and procurement. Rodgers previously was an executive at Ulta Beauty Inc. . Foot Locker also named Frank Bracken, who oversaw the company's growth initiatives, as its chief commercial officer. "Separating our commercial activities from our supply chain and IT functions will better position Foot Locker to support growth and enhance operating efficiency," Chief Executive Mary N. Dillon said in a statement. Shares of Foot Locker were flat in the extended session Tuesday after ending the regular trading day up 2.7%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


Match ID: 84 Score: 15.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 executive

UK faces ‘big, big shortages’ of free-range Christmas poultry
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 18:12:40 GMT

Half of free-range turkeys and geese grown for festive period have died or been culled due to bird flu, MPs told

Half of the free-range poultry grown for Christmas in the UK have died or been culled because of the bird flu epidemic, an industry leader has told MPs.

The British Poultry Council chief executive, Richard Griffiths, told the environment, food and rural affairs committee on Tuesday that free-range poultry had been hit “very, very hard”.

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Match ID: 85 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 executive

Tiger Woods says ‘Greg Norman has to go,’ to end PGA Tour and LIV hostility
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 17:41:21 GMT
  • Woods: LIV Golf and PGA Tour ‘cannot co-exist at the moment’
  • American reveals he has had two more operations this year

Tiger Woods has taken aim at Greg Norman by insisting the LIV Golf chief executive has to step down in order to end “animosity” between the rebel circuit and the PGA Tour.

Woods has called for both sides in golf’s power struggle to drop legal action – LIV is suing the PGA Tour and vice-versa – but he believes that will be feasible only if Norman exits the scene. Woods seemed to suggest that the Australian was seeking to “destroy” the PGA Tour.

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Match ID: 86 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 executive

The man to thank for Qatar World cup betting ad crackdown: ASA chief Guy Parker
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 17:12:25 GMT

Under its longtime boss, the Advertising Standards Authority is now baring its teeth at greedy influencers, unscrupulous crypto firms and anyone making spurious eco claims

Football fans enjoying a World Cup free of the usual bombardment of ads featuring top-flight players, celebrities and reality TV winners urging fans to go on a month-long gambling binge have Guy Parker to thank.

As chief executive of the UK’s advertising watchdog, Parker and his team are responsible for enforcing new regulations introduced just before the tournament in Qatar – a global event that gambling and betting companies traditionally target with a heavy marketing spend to attract bets from fans in the grip of football fever.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 87 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 executive

DraftKings stock jumps after deal with Churchill Downs to launch horse race betting app ahead of the Kentucky Derby
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 13:51:54 GMT

Shares of DraftKings Inc. jumped 2.3% in premarket trading Tuesday, after the online sports betting and fantasy sports company and Churchill Downs Inc. announced a multi-year agreement that will bring betting on horse racing to DraftKings. Churchhill Downs' stock was inactive in the premarket. DraftKings said it will launch "DK HORSE" in the coming months, a standalone app that will require customers to sign up and deposit funds separate from their "one account, one wallet" that is tied to DraftKings Sportsbook, Casino and fantasy sports apps. DK HORSE, which is expected to be available in 21 states to start, is scheduled to launch before the Kentucky Derby in May 2023. ""We are excited to collaborate with Churchill Downs Incorporated, not only to give our existing customers an opportunity to engage with pari-mutuel horse wagering, but also to acquire new customers efficiently during marquee horse racing moments," said DraftKings Chief Executive Jason Robins. DraftKings' stock has tumbled 47.2% year to date through Monday and Churchill Downs shares have lost 8.1%, while the S&P 500 has shed 16.8%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


Match ID: 88 Score: 15.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 executive

AMC Networks CEO Spade stepped down, after being promoted to the role in September
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 12:14:06 GMT

AMC Networks Inc. said Tuesday that Chief Executive Christina Spade has stepped down, after less than three months in the role. The company did not provide any other details. The entertainment and streaming services company said its board of directors is finalizing who it will name as a replacement. Spade joined the company as chief financial officer in January 2021, was promoted to a dual role of CFO and chief operating officer in November 2021 and then became CEO, effective Sept. 9. The stock, which was inactive in premarket trading, has tumbled 22.9% since Sept. 9, while the S&P 500 has slipped 2.5%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


Match ID: 89 Score: 15.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 executive

The crypto-collapse: inside the crazy world of FTX - podcast
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 03:00:14 GMT

The cryptocurrency exchange FTX collapsed earlier this month, leaving billions of dollars unaccounted for. Alex Hern explores what happened and where the money went

For a time, it seemed that everything Sam Bankman-Fried touched turned to gold. He’d been a maths whiz at university and made a fortune trading cryptocurrencies for a hedge fund before striking out on his own and founding a crypto exchange: FTX. The crypto boom made him a billionaire and he moved into a $40m apartment in the Bahamas with eight others in the group’s inner circle who were romantically linked. There were reports that stimulants were doled out to staff who worked intensely long days, often sleeping on beanbags at their desks.

Earlier this month, the music stopped. As investors in FTX began to take fright at rumours of a black hole in its balance sheet, the panic spread and Bankman-Fried failed to calm it. FTX collapsed, taking billions of dollars with it, and Bankman-Fried stood aside. Having become an ambassador for the crypto industry and one of its most trusted faces, he had become a pariah.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 90 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 executive

Elon Musk set to become number-one influencer on Twitter
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 00:57:27 GMT
What will one man's unprecedented status as both top influencer and chief executive mean for the Twitter?
Match ID: 91 Score: 15.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 executive

Angela Korch to rejoin Vail Resorts as financial chief
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 23:03:20 GMT

Vail Resorts Inc. late Monday named Angela Korch as its next chief financial officer beginning Dec. 22, to succeed Michael Barkin, who announced plans to retire back in July. Vail noted that Korch "rejoins" the company after serving as financial chief at CorePower Yoga since May 2020. Korch started working for Vail back in 2010 and rose to heading the company's Corporate & Mountain Finance division. Korch and Barkin will work together in the handoff until Barkin's last day on Jan. 1, 2023. "We are pleased to welcome Angela back to Vail Resorts as our new CFO," said Kirsten Lynch, Vail chief executive, in a statement. "Angela is a strong leader with deep experience in our industry, a passion for our sport, and a long history with our company." Vail shares were flat after hours, following a 2.6% decline in the regular session to close at $258.80.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


Match ID: 92 Score: 15.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 executive

A Special Prosecutor Found Kevin Johnson’s Case Was Tainted by Racism. Missouri Is About to Kill Him Anyway.
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 15:15:12 +0000

Kevin Johnson is facing execution for killing a cop when he was 19. A special prosecutor says his sentence should be vacated.

The post A Special Prosecutor Found Kevin Johnson’s Case Was Tainted by Racism. Missouri Is About to Kill Him Anyway. appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 93 Score: 15.00 source: theintercept.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 15.00 constitution

Could Trump's legal issues derail his 2024 presidential bid? – video explainer
Thu, 17 Nov 2022 16:09:08 GMT

Donald Trump has announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, probably sparking another period of tumult in US politics and especially his own political party. His third candidacy comes as he faces intensifying legal troubles, including investigations by the justice department into the removal of hundreds of classified documents from the White House to his Florida estate and into his role in the January 6 attack. But could they derail his bid? The Guardian US politics correspondent Hugo Lowell explains what Trump is facing and whether he still stands a chance

Continue reading...
Match ID: 94 Score: 14.29 source: www.theguardian.com age: 12 days
qualifiers: 4.29 republican, 4.29 politics, 3.57 election, 2.14 elections

Elon Musk Introduces Twitter Mayhem Mode
Sat, 12 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000
Plus: US midterms survive disinformation efforts, the government names the alleged Lockbit ransomware attacker, and the Powerball drawing hits a security snag.
Match ID: 95 Score: 13.57 source: www.wired.com age: 17 days
qualifiers: 7.86 midterms, 3.57 election, 2.14 elections

: Deepfake ad of Mark Zuckerberg praises Congress for inaction on antitrust legislation
Wed, 30 Nov 2022 00:56:00 GMT
A deepfake video of Mark Zuckerberg praising Congress for its inaction on tech antitrust legislation is creating waves after its debut in an ad Tuesday.
Match ID: 96 Score: 10.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 10.00 congress

: Senate passes bill protecting same-sex, interracial marriages
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 23:30:00 GMT
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a bill protecting same-sex and interracial marriages, sending the measure to the House of Representatives for a separate vote.
Match ID: 97 Score: 10.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 10.00 house of representatives

US rail strike 2022: What would be affected if it happens?
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 17:44:48 GMT
President Biden has urged Congress to take steps to avert a strike as it would devastate the economy.
Match ID: 98 Score: 10.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 10.00 congress

Biden says he's confident U.S. can avoid rail strike, as he meets with top lawmakers
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 16:04:13 GMT

President Joe Biden told reporters on Tuesday that he's confident that a railroad strike can be avoided, as he met with top U.S. lawmakers about year-end legislative priorities. "There's a lot to do, including resolving the train strike," Biden also said. Separately, an analyst said there appears to be bipartisan support in Congress to act as soon as the end of this week, or well ahead of the Dec. 9 strike deadline.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


Match ID: 99 Score: 10.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 10.00 congress

Railroad stocks rally as strike risk effectively removed after President Biden urged Congress to step in
Tue, 29 Nov 2022 15:39:00 GMT

Shares of railroad operators rallied Tuesday, as Evercore ISI analyst Jonathan Chappell said President Joe Biden's urging of Congress to step into the stalled talks between labor unions and rail operators effectively removes the risk of a strike. Biden's urging comes after a coalition of more than 400 business groups sent a letter asking congressional leaders to step get involved to avert a strike, which many believe would have devastating effects on the U.S. economy. Evercore's Chappell said there appears to be bipartisan support in Congress to act as soon as the end of this week, or well ahead of the Dec. 9 strike deadline. "We were uncertain on Congress's willingness to end a strike in a bipartisan manner (mainly owing to strong pro-labor leanings), let alone a week before the anticipated strike date, but this risk is now removed," Chappell wrote in a note to clients. The Dow Jones Transportation Average rallied 1.1% in morning trading, to outperform by a wide margin the Dow Jones Industrial Average , which tacked on 53 points, or 0.2%. Among the Dow transports' rail components, shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. climbed 1.5%, CSX Corp. hiked up 1.4% and Union Pacific Corp. advanced 1.4%. Shares of Matson Inc. , which provides rail intermodal services, gained 1.7%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


Match ID: 100 Score: 10.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 10.00 congress

The US Congress Is Starting to Question This Whole Crypto Thing
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 12:00:00 +0000
Think Washington lawmakers have what it takes to tackle the volatile world of cryptocurrencies? Neither do they.
Match ID: 101 Score: 10.00 source: www.wired.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 10.00 congress

The US Has a Shortage of Bomb-Sniffing Dogs
2022-11-23T16:23:54Z

Nothing beats a dog’s nose for detecting explosives. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough dogs:

Last month, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a nearly 100-page report about working dogs and the need for federal agencies to better safeguard their health and wellness. The GOA says that as of February the US federal government had approximately 5,100 working dogs, including detection dogs, across three federal agencies. Another 420 dogs “served the federal government in 24 contractor-managed programs within eight departments and two independent agencies,” the GAO report says...


Match ID: 102 Score: 8.57 source: www.schneier.com age: 6 days
qualifiers: 8.57 federal government

Watch live: ESA announces new European astronauts
Tue, 22 Nov 2022 12:08:00 +0100
Key graphic for ESA astronaut selection 2021/22

Join us live as ESA unveils the names and faces of the new class of European astronauts. ESA WebTV will broadcast the event after the briefing presenting the outcomes of the ESA Council at Ministerial level concludes on Wednesday, 23 November 2022.


Match ID: 103 Score: 7.14 source: www.esa.int age: 7 days
qualifiers: 7.14 election

Blood Test Only Needs a Drop and a Smartphone for Results
Thu, 17 Nov 2022 19:11:58 +0000


The phrase “from a single drop of blood” is full of both promise and peril for researchers trying to integrate clinical-quality medical testing technology with consumer devices like smartphones. While university researchers and commercial startups worldwide continue to introduce innovative new consumer-friendly takes on tests that have resided in laboratories for decades, the collective memory of the fraud perpetrated by those behind Theranos’s discredited blood-testing platform is still pervasive.

“What are you claiming from a single drop of blood?” says Shyamnath Gollakota, director of the mobile intelligence lab at the University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering. Gollakota and colleagues have developed a proof-of-concept test that is able to analyze how quickly a person’s blood clots using a single drop of blood by utilizing a smartphone’s camera, haptic motor, a small attached cup, and a floating piece of copper about the size of a ballpoint pen’s writing tip.


To activate the system, the user adds a drop of blood from a finger prick to a small cup attached to a bracket that fits over the phone. Then the phone’s motor shakes the cup while the camera monitors the movement of the copper particle, which slows down and eventually stops as the clot forms. To calculate the time it takes the blood to clot, the phone collects two time stamps. The first is when the user inserts the blood, and second is when the particle stops moving. The technology performed is in line with commercial coagulation tests in the original study (published in Nature Communications) in a medical facility; Gollakota’s team is now studying how it works in at-home environments.

If the technology ever enters the commercial realm, those with conditions such as atrial fibrillation or who have mechanical heart valves might be able to test their coagulation times quickly and simply themselves instead of making frequent trips to doctors’ offices or going without testing at all—they would have to visit a doctor only when their home tests are out of range. Gollakota is careful not to claim the technology can do too much, but he is also dedicated to making its potentially lifesaving capabilities available to anyone with a smartphone.

Blood clot testing using smartphones www.youtube.com

“We are not trying to say we can do miracles from a single drop of blood, but we are trying to say the devices that exist in hospitals to test for this haven’t changed much for 20 or 30 years,” Gollakota said. “But smartphones have been changing a lot. They have vibration motors, they have a camera, and these sensors exist on almost any smartphone.”

Ron Paulus, executive in residence at venture capital firm General Catalyst, said the Gollakota team’s technology hews to a trio of ongoing trends he sees with smartphones in health care. The first is the ability to interact with current lab infrastructure for things like ordering and scheduling tests and receiving results directly instead of relying on a doctor as middleman. The second trend is using the phone in the field as a power source for a separate plug-in or bridge to a wireless module with the analyzing intelligence built into that. The third trend is using the phone as both a power source and an analyzing platform.

There is no shortage of devices that inhabit the second category in Paulus’s triumvirate; one example he cited was a dongle that plugged into a phone’s headphone jack and performed tests for HIV and syphilis, returning results in 15 minutes, but the project’s senior author, Columbia University vice provost and professor of biomedical engineering Samuel Sia, said it did not advance to commercialization.

Another similar device is being developed by Sudbury, Ontario–based Verv Technologies, which is perfecting a platform that uses a drop of blood from a finger prick, a disposable test cartridge, a Bluetooth-enabled analyzer, and a connected smartphone app that will give the user results in 15 minutes. The company recently received C$3.8 million seed funding from Crumlin, Northern Ireland–based Randox Laboratories, and a C$314,000 grant with McMaster University from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; the grant will allow the McMaster research team to validate and derisk the technologies, according to Canadian Healthcare Technology.

Paulus said consumer-ready smartphone-enabled tests are promising but not ready for mass market adoption yet.

“We’re getting closer, but we’re still not there,” he said. “People can’t go through an eight-step process that requires any kind of technology expertise. It has to be made so any normal, regular person can just do it and can’t really make an error, and it has to be a reliable test. But there is no reason why in three to seven years, people should have to go out for a routine test, the kind of things people go to urgent care for. There is going to be a relentless push into this democratization.”

Ironically, both Paulus and Gollakota think the widespread at-home testing precipitated by the COVID pandemic made the idea of user tests requiring swabbing and dipping indicators and reading results commonplace to a large audience while developers perfect more streamlined devices.

“With COVID tests there were a lot of things we ended up doing ourselves and people are used to it in the home scenario now,” Gollakota said. “So I don’t think it’s completely far-fetched to expect people to be able to do testing themselves with multipart tests. But I also think the idea of going forward is to roll the whole thing into one simple attachment.”


Match ID: 104 Score: 6.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 12 days
qualifiers: 4.29 democrat, 2.14 executive

IEEE SIGHT Founder Amarnath Raja Dies at 65
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 19:00:01 +0000


Amarnath Raja

Founder of IEEE Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology

Senior member, 65; died 5 September

Raja founded the IEEE Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (SIGHT) in 2011. The global network partners with underserved communities and local organizations to leverage technology for sustainable development.


He began his career in 1980 as a management trainee at the National Dairy Development Board, in Anand, India. A year later he joined Milma, a state government marketing cooperative for the dairy industry, in Thiruvananthapuram, as a manager of planning and systems. After 15 years with Milma, he joined IBM in Tokyo as a manager of technology services.

In 2000 he helped found InApp, a company in Palo Alto, Calif., that provides software development services. He served as its CEO and executive chairman until he died.

Raja was the 2011–2012 chair of the IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee. He wanted to find a way to mobilize engineers to apply their expertise to develop sustainable solutions that help their local community. To achieve the goal, in 2011 he founded IEEE SIGHT. Today there are more than 150 SIGHT groups in 50 countries that are working on projects such as sustainable irrigation and photovoltaic systems.

For his efforts, he received the 2015 Larry K. Wilson Transnational Award from IEEE Member and Geographic Activities. The award honors effective efforts to fulfill one or more of the MGA goals and strategic objectives related to transnational activities.

For the past two years, Rajah chaired the IEEE Admission and Advancement Review Panel, which approves applications for new members and elevations to higher membership grades.

He was a member of the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software’s advisory board. The organization was established by the government of Kerala, India, to facilitate the development and distribution of free, open-source software.

Raja also served as one of the directors of the nongovernmental organization Bedroc.in, which was established to continue the disaster rehabilitation work started by him and his team after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1979 from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi.

Donn S. Terry

Software engineer

Life member, 74; died 14 September

Terry was a computer engineer at Hewlett-Packard in Fort Collins, Colo., for 18 years.

He joined HP in 1978 as a software developer, and he chaired the Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) working group. POSIX is a family of standards specified by the IEEE Computer Society for maintaining compatibility among operating systems. While there, he also developed software for the Motorola 68000 microprocessor.

Terry left HP in 1997 to join Softway Solutions, also in Fort Collins, where he developed tools for Interix, a Unix subsystem of the Windows NT operating system. After Microsoft acquired Softway in 1999, he stayed on as a senior software development engineer at its Seattle location. There he worked on static analysis, a method of computer-program debugging that is done by examining the code without executing the program. He also helped to create SAL, a Microsoft source-code annotation language, which was developed to make code design easier to understand and analyze.

Terry retired in 2014. He loved science fiction, boating, cooking, and spending time with his family, according to his daughter, Kristin.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1970 and a Ph.D. in computer science in 1978, both from the University of Washington in Seattle.

William Sandham

Signal processing engineer

Life senior member, 70; died 25 August

Sandham applied his signal processing expertise to a wide variety of disciplines including medical imaging, biomedical data analysis, and geophysics.

He began his career in 1974 as a physicist at the University of Glasgow. While working there, he pursued a Ph.D. in geophysics. He earned his degree in 1981 at the University of Birmingham in England. He then joined the British National Oil Corp. (now Britoil) as a geophysicist.

In 1986 he left to join the University of Strathclyde, in Glasgow, as a lecturer in the signal processing department. During his time at the university, he published more than 200 journal papers and five books that addressed blood glucose measurement, electrocardiography data analysis and compression, medical ultrasound, MRI segmentation, prosthetic limb fitting, and sleep apnea detection.

Sandham left the university in 2003 and founded Scotsig, a signal processing consulting and research business, also in Glasgow.

He served on the editorial board of IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems II: Analog and Digital Signal Processing and the EURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing.

He was a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and a member of the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists.

Sandham earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1974 from the University of Glasgow.

Stephen M. Brustoski

Loss-prevention engineer

Life member, 69; died 6 January

For 40 years, Brustoski worked as a loss-prevention engineer for insurance company FM Global. He retired from the company, which was headquartered in Johnston, R.I., in 2014.

He was an elder at his church, CrossPoint Alliance, in Akron, Ohio, where he oversaw administrative work and led Bible studies and prayer meetings. He was an assistant scoutmaster for 12 years, and he enjoyed hiking and traveling the world with his family, according to his wife, Sharon.

Brustoski earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1973 from the University of Akron.

Harry Letaw

President and CEO of Essex Corp.

Life senior member, 96; died 7 May 2020

As president and CEO of Essex Corp., in Columbia, Md., Letaw handled the development and commercialization of optoelectronic and signal processing solutions for defense, intelligence, and commercial customers. He retired in 1995.

He had served in World War II as an aviation engineer for the U.S. Army. After he was discharged, he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, then a master’s degree and Ph.D., all from the University of Florida in Gainesville, in 1949, 1951, and 1952.

After he graduated, he became a postdoctoral assistant at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He left to become a researcher at Raytheon Technologies, an aerospace and defense manufacturer, in Wayland, Mass.

Letaw was a member of the American Physical Society and the Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi honor societies.


Match ID: 105 Score: 6.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 6 days
qualifiers: 6.43 executive

'I fessed up': Matt Hancock's failures as health secretary – video
Wed, 16 Nov 2022 16:25:29 GMT

Matt Hancock has turned to reality TV following a turbulent political career during which he resigned as health secretary after breaking his own social distancing rules during the Covid pandemic. 

Hancock entered the I'm a Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! jungle, rumoured to be receiving £400k, and told fellow camp mates he was seeking forgiveness. The Guardian takes a look at his controversial stint as health secretary, including revelations over PPE contracts and the Sun's front page that forced his resignation

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Match ID: 106 Score: 4.29 source: www.theguardian.com age: 13 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

The Stereotype of the Woke Teen Is 'Tárring' Art
Wed, 16 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000
An archetype culled from the depths of social media seems to be short-circuiting screenwriters’ creativity.
Match ID: 107 Score: 4.29 source: www.wired.com age: 13 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

Collective Mental Time Travel Can Influence the Future
Wed, 09 Nov 2022 13:00:00 +0000
The way people imagine the past and future of society can sway attitudes and behaviors. How might this be wielded for good?
Match ID: 108 Score: 4.29 source: www.wired.com age: 20 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

Elon Musk’s Reckless Plan to Make Sex Pay on Twitter
Mon, 07 Nov 2022 11:37:00 +0000
A plan to monetize adult content could make sense from a business and social standpoint. In practice, Twitter won’t be able to pull it off.
Match ID: 109 Score: 4.29 source: www.wired.com age: 22 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

The Art of Hitting Disinformation Where It Lives
Fri, 28 Oct 2022 13:00:00 +0000
Combating fake news with facts doesn't work because humans are wired for emotion. It's time for more creative tactics.
Match ID: 110 Score: 4.29 source: www.wired.com age: 32 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

Musk’s Twitter Will Not Be the Town Square the World Needs
Fri, 28 Oct 2022 12:54:33 +0000
This is a moment to choose a different path, inspired by the lessons of thriving offline communities.
Match ID: 111 Score: 4.29 source: www.wired.com age: 32 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

Yes, the Liz Truss debacle matters for Americans
Thu, 20 Oct 2022 19:03:37 EST
The U.K. political drama will have ripple effects in the U.S.
Match ID: 112 Score: 4.29 source: www.politico.com age: 40 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

Who Will Fix Hubble and Chandra?
Thu, 20 Oct 2022 18:06:36 +0000


Elon Musk, step aside. You may be the richest rich man in the space business, but you’re not first. Musk’s SpaceX corporation is a powerful force, with its weekly launches and visions of colonizing Mars. But if you want a broader view of how wealthy entrepreneurs have shaped space exploration, you might want to look at George Ellery Hale, James Lick, William McDonald or—remember this name—John D. Hooker.

All this comes up now because SpaceX, joining forces with the billionaire Jared Isaacman, has made what sounds at first like a novel proposal to NASA: It would like to see if one of the company’s Dragon spacecraft can be sent to service the fabled, invaluable (and aging) Hubble Space Telescope, last repaired in 2009.

Private companies going to the rescue of one of NASA’s crown jewels? NASA’s mantra in recent years has been to let private enterprise handle the day-to-day of space operations—communications satellites, getting astronauts to the space station, and so forth—while pure science, the stuff that makes history but not necessarily money, remains the province of government. Might that model change?

“We’re working on crazy ideas all the time,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s space science chief. "Frankly, that’s what we’re supposed to do.”

It’s only a six-month feasibility study for now; no money will change hands between business and NASA. But Isaacman, who made his fortune in payment-management software before turning to space, suggested that if a Hubble mission happens, it may lead to other things. “Alongside NASA, exploration is one of many objectives for the commercial space industry,” he said on a media teleconference. “And probably one of the greatest exploration assets of all time is the Hubble Space Telescope.”

So it’s possible that at some point in the future, there may be a SpaceX Dragon, perhaps with Isaacman as a crew member, setting out to grapple the Hubble, boost it into a higher orbit, maybe even replace some worn-out components to lengthen its life.

Aerospace companies say privately mounted repair sounds like a good idea. So good that they’ve proposed it already.

The Chandra X-ray telescope, photographed by space shuttle astronauts after they deployed it in July 1999. The Chandra X-ray telescope, as photographed by space-shuttle astronauts after they deployed it in July 1999. It is attached to a booster that moved it into an orbit 10,000 by 100,000 kilometers from Earth.NASA

Northrop Grumman, one of the United States’ largest aerospace contractors, has quietly suggested to NASA that it might service one of the Hubble’s sister telescopes, the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Chandra was launched into Earth orbit by the space shuttle Columbia in 1999 (Hubble was launched from the shuttle Discovery in 1990), and the two often complement each other, observing the same celestial phenomena at different wavelengths.

As in the case of the SpaceX/Hubble proposal, Northrop Grumman’s Chandra study is at an early stage. But there are a few major differences. For one, Chandra was assembled by TRW, a company that has since been bought by Northrop Grumman. And another company subsidiary, SpaceLogistics, has been sending what it calls Mission Extension Vehicles (MEVs) to service aging Intelsat communications satellites since 2020. Two of these robotic craft have launched so far. The MEVs act like space tugs, docking with their target satellites to provide them with attitude control and propulsion if their own systems are failing or running out of fuel. SpaceLogistics says it is developing a next-generation rescue craft, which it calls a Mission Robotic Vehicle, equipped with an articulated arm to add, relocate, or possibly repair components on orbit.

“We want to see if we can apply this to space-science missions,” says Jon Arenberg, Northrop Grumman’s chief mission architect for science and robotic exploration, who worked on Chandra and, later, the James Webb Space Telescope. He says a major issue for servicing is the exacting specifications needed for NASA’s major observatories; Chandra, for example, records the extremely short wavelengths of X-ray radiation (0.01–10 nanometers).

“We need to preserve the scientific integrity of the spacecraft,” he says. “That’s an absolute.”

But so far, the company says, a mission seems possible. NASA managers have listened receptively. And Northrop Grumman says a servicing mission could be flown for a fraction of the cost of a new telescope.

New telescopes need not be government projects. In fact, NASA’s chief economist, Alexander MacDonald, argues that almost all of America’s greatest observatories were privately funded until Cold War politics made government the major player in space exploration. That’s why this story began with names from the 19th and 20th centuries—Hale, Lick, and McDonald—to which we should add Charles Yerkes and, more recently, William Keck. These were arguably the Elon Musks of their times—entrepreneurs who made millions in oil, iron, or real estate before funding the United States’ largest telescopes. (Hale’s father manufactured elevators—highly profitable in the rebuilding after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.) The most ambitious observatories, MacDonald calculated for his book The Long Space Age, were about as expensive back then as some of NASA’s modern planetary probes. None of them had very much to do with government.

To be sure, government will remain a major player in space for a long time. “NASA pays the cost, predominantly, of the development of new commercial crew vehicles, SpaceX’s Dragon being one,” MacDonald says. “And now that those capabilities exist, private individuals can also pay to utilize those capabilities.” Isaacman doesn’t have to build a spacecraft; he can hire one that SpaceX originally built for NASA.

“I think that creates a much more diverse and potentially interesting space-exploration future than we have been considering for some time,” MacDonald says.

So put these pieces together: Private enterprise has been a driver of space science since the 1800s. Private companies are already conducting on-orbit satellite rescues. NASA hasn’t said no to the idea of private missions to service its orbiting observatories.

And why does John D. Hooker’s name matter? In 1906, he agreed to put up US $45,000 (about $1.4 million today) to make the mirror for a 100-inch reflecting telescope at Mount Wilson, Calif. One astronomer made the Hooker Telescope famous by using it to determine that the universe, full of galaxies, was expanding.

The astronomer’s name was Edwin Hubble. We’ve come full circle.


Match ID: 113 Score: 4.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 40 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

Fed's Powell ignores politics — and may pay a heavy price
Mon, 03 Oct 2022 03:30:00 EST
It’s a rare moment for a Fed chair to toss aside all political considerations and ignore frantic investors.
Match ID: 114 Score: 4.29 source: www.politico.com age: 57 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

Sign up for the Hear Here newsletter: our free podcast email
Wed, 30 Mar 2022 15:28:30 GMT

Podcast recommendations for unexpected audio pleasures. Our reviewers and audio producers pick out the top shows

Hear Here highlights the best new podcasts and essential series to catch up on every week. Sign up and we’ll send you an email filled with the latest shows as reviewed by our podcast critics, plus best of lists and talking points from the world of audio. From entertainment to sport to politics and everything in between, you’ll find the best audio recommendations in your inbox every Thursday morning.

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Match ID: 115 Score: 4.29 source: www.theguardian.com age: 244 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

How the Graphical User Interface Was Invented
Sun, 20 Nov 2022 20:00:00 +0000


Mice, windows, icons, and menus: these are the ingredients of computer interfaces designed to be easy to grasp, simplicity itself to use, and straightforward to describe. The mouse is a pointer. Windows divide up the screen. Icons symbolize application programs and data. Menus list choices of action.

But the development of today’s graphical user interface was anything but simple. It took some 30 years of effort by engineers and computer scientists in universities, government laboratories, and corporate research groups, piggybacking on each other’s work, trying new ideas, repeating each other’s mistakes.


This article was first published as “Of Mice and menus: designing the user-friendly interface.” It appeared in the September 1989 issue of IEEE Spectrum. A PDF version is available on IEEE Xplore. The photographs and diagrams appeared in the original print version.


Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, many of the early concepts for windows, menus, icons, and mice were arduously researched at Xerox Corp.’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Palo Alto, Calif. In 1973, PARC developed the prototype Alto, the first of two computers that would prove seminal in this area. More than 1200 Altos were built and tested. From the Alto’s concepts, starting in 1975, Xerox’s System Development Department then developed the Star and introduced it in 1981—the first such user-friendly machine sold to the public.

In 1984, the low-cost Macintosh from Apple Computer Inc., Cupertino, Calif., brought the friendly interface to thousands of personal computer users. During the next five years, the price of RAM chips fell enough to accommodate the huge memory demands of bit-mapped graphics, and the Mac was followed by dozens of similar interfaces for PCs and workstations of all kinds. By now, application programmers are becoming familiar with the idea of manipulating graphic objects.

The Mac’s success during the 1980s spurred Apple Computer to pursue legal action over ownership of many features of the graphical user interface. Suits now being litigated could assign those innovations not to the designers and their companies, but to those who first filed for legal protection on them.

The GUI started with Sketchpad


The grandfather of the graphical user interface was Sketchpad [see photograph]. Massachusetts Institute of Technology student Ivan E. Sutherland built it in 1962 as a Ph.D. thesis at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Mass. Sketchpad users could not only draw points, line segments, and circular arcs on a cathode ray tube (CRT) with a light pen—they could also assign constraints to, and relationships among, whatever they drew.

Arcs could have a specified diameter, lines could be horizontal or vertical, and figures could be built up from combinations of elements and shapes. Figures could be moved, copied, shrunk, expanded, and rotated, with their constraints (shown as onscreen icons) dynamically preserved. At a time when a CRT monitor was a novelty in itself, the idea that users could interactively create objects by drawing on a computer was revolutionary.


Man sitting in front of a round cathode ray display with a white square and triangle on a black background

Moreover, to zoom in on objects, Sutherland wrote the first window-drawing program, which required him to come up with the first clipping algorithm. Clipping is a software routine that calculates which part of a graphic object is to be displayed and displays only that part on the screen. The program must calculate where a line is to be drawn, compare that position to the coordinates of the window in use, and prevent the display of any line segment whose coordinates fall outside the window.

Though films of Sketchpad in operation were widely shown in the computer research community, Sutherland says today that there was little immediate fallout from the project. Running on MIT’s TX-2 mainframe, it demanded too much computing power to be practical for individual use. Many other engineers, however, see Sketchpad’s design and algorithms as a primary influence on an entire generation of research into user interfaces.

The origin of the computer mouse


The light pens used to select areas of the screen by interactive computer systems of the 1950s and 1960s—including Sketchpad—had drawbacks. To do the pointing, the user’s arm had to be lifted up from the table, and after a while that got tiring. Picking up the pen required fumbling around on the table or, if it had a holder, taking the time after making a selection to put it back.

Sensing an object with a light pen was straightforward: the computer displayed spots of light on the screen and interrogated the pen as to whether it sensed a spot, so the program always knew just what was being displayed. Locating the position of the pen on the screen required more sophisticated techniques—like displaying a cross pattern of nine points on the screen, then moving the cross until it centered on the light pen.

In 1964, Douglas Engelbart, a research project leader at SRI International in Menlo Park, Calif., tested all the commercially available pointing devices, from the still-popular light pen to a joystick and a Graphicon (a curve-tracing device that used a pen mounted on the arm of a potentiometer). But he felt the selection failed to cover the full spectrum of possible pointing devices, and somehow he should fill in the blanks.

Then he remembered a 1940s college class he had taken that covered the use of a planimeter to calculate area. (A planimeter has two arms, with a wheel on each. The wheels can roll only along their axes; when one of them rolls, the other must slide.)

If a potentiometer were attached to each wheel to monitor its rotation, he thought, a planimeter could be used as a pointing device. Engelbart explained his roughly sketched idea to engineer William English, who with the help of the SRI machine shop built what they quickly dubbed “the mouse.”



This first mouse was big because it used single-turn potentiometers: one rotation of the wheels had to be scaled to move a cursor from one side of the screen to the other. But it was simple to interface with the computer: the processor just read frequent samples of the potentiometer positioning signals through analog-to-digital converters.

The cursor moved by the mouse was easy to locate, since readings from the potentiometer determined the position of the cursor on the screen-unlike the light pen. But programmers for later windowing systems found that the software necessary to determine which object the mouse had selected was more complex than that for the light pen: they had to compare the mouse’s position with that of all the objects displayed onscreen.

The computer mouse gets redesigned—and redesigned again

Engelbart’s group at SRI ran controlled experiments with mice and other pointing devices, and the mouse won hands down. People adapted to it quickly, it was easy to grab, and it stayed where they put it. Still, Engelbart wanted to tinker with it. After experimenting, his group had concluded that the proper ratio of cursor movement to mouse movement was about 2:1, but he wanted to try varying that ratio—decreasing it at slow speeds and raising it at fast speeds—to improve user control of fine movements and speed up larger movements. Some modern mouse-control software incorporates this idea, including that of the Macintosh.

The mouse, still experimental at this stage, did not change until 1971. Several members of Engelbart’s group had moved to the newly established PARC, where many other researchers had seen the SRI mouse and the test report. They decided there was no need to repeat the tests; any experimental systems they designed would use mice.

Said English, “This was my second chance to build a mouse; it was obvious that it should be a lot smaller, and that it should be digital.” Chuck Thacker, then a member of the research staff, advised PARC to hire inventor Jack Hawley to build it.

Hawley decided the mouse should use shaft encoders, which measure position by a series of pulses, instead of potentiometers (both were covered in Engelbart’s 1970 patent), to eliminate the expensive analog-to-digital converters. The basic principle, of one wheel rolling while the other slid, was licensed from SRI.

The ball mouse was the “easiest patent I ever got. It took me five minutes to think of, half an hour to describe to the attorney, and I was done.”
—Ron Rider

In 1972, the mouse changed again. Ron Rider, now vice president of systems architecture at PARC but then a new arrival, said he was using the wheel mouse while an engineer made excuses for its asymmetric operation (one wheel dragging while one turned). “I suggested that they turn a trackball upside down, make it small, and use it as a mouse instead,” Rider told IEEE Spectrum. This device came to be known as the ball mouse. “Easiest patent I ever got,” Rider said. “It took me five minutes to think of, half an hour to describe to the attorney, and I was done.”

Defining terms


Bit map

The pixel pattern that makes up the graphic display on a computer screen.

Clicking

The motion of pressing a mouse button to Initiate an action by software; some actions require double-clicking.

Graphical user interface (GUI)

The combination of windowing displays, menus, icons, and a mouse that is increasingly used on personal computers and workstations.

Icon

An onscreen drawing that represents programs or data.

Menu

A list of command options currently available to the computer user; some stay onscreen, while pop-up or pull-down menus are requested by the user.

Mouse

A device whose motion across a desktop or other surface causes an on-screen cursor to move commensurately; today’s mice move on a ball and have one, two, or three buttons.

Raster display

A cathode ray tube on which Images are displayed as patterns of dots, scanned onto the screen sequentially in a predetermined pattern of lines.

Vector display

A cathode ray tube whose gun scans lines, or vectors, onto the screen phosphor.

Window

An area of a computer display, usually one of several, in which a particular program is executing.


In the PARC ball mouse design, the weight of the mouse is transferred to the ball by a swivel device and on one or two casters at the end of the mouse farthest from the wire “tail.” A prototype was built by Xerox’s Electronics Division in El Segundo, Calif., then redesigned by Hawley. The rolling ball turned two perpendicular shafts, with a drum on the end of each that was coated with alternating stripes of conductive and nonconductive material. As the drum turned, the stripes transmitted electrical impulses through metal wipers.

When Apple Computer decided in 1979 to design a mouse for its Lisa computer, the design mutated yet again. Instead of a metal ball held against the substrate by a swivel, Apple used a rubber ball whose traction depended on the friction of the rubber and the weight of the ball itself. Simple pads on the bottom of the case carried the weight, and optical scanners detected the motion of the internal wheels. The device had loose tolerances and few moving parts, so that it cost perhaps a quarter as much to build as previous ball mice.

How the computer mouse gained and lost buttons

The first, wooden, SRI mouse had only one button, to test the concept. The plastic batch of SRI mice bad three side-by-side buttons—all there was room for, Engelbart said. The first PARC mouse bad a column of three buttons-again, because that best fit the mechanical design. Today, the Apple mouse has one button, while the rest have two or three. The issue is no longer 1950—a standard 6-by-10-cm mouse could now have dozens of buttons—but human factors, and the experts have strong opinions.

Said English, now director of internationalization at Sun Microsystems Inc., Mountain View, Calif.: “Two or three buttons, that’s the debate. Apple made a bad choice when they used only one.” He sees two buttons as the minimum because two functions are basic to selecting an object: pointing to its start, then extending the motion to the end of the object.

William Verplank, a human factors specialist in the group that tested the graphical interface at Xerox from 1978 into the early 1980s, concurred. He told Spectrum that with three buttons, Alto users forgot which button did what. The group’s tests showed that one button was also confusing, because it required actions such as double-clicking to select and then open a file.

“We have agonizing videos of naive users struggling” with these problems, Verplank said. They concluded that for most users, two buttons (as used on the Star) are optimal, if a button means the same thing in every application. English experimented with one-button mice at PARC before concluding they were a bad idea.


“Two or three buttons, that’s the debate. Apple made a bad choice when they used only one.”
—William English


A computer monitor with a chunky white keyboard sitting on a desk

But many interface designers dislike multiple buttons, saying that double-clicking a single button to select an item is easier than remembering which button points and which extends. Larry Tesler, formerly a computer scientist at PARC, brought the one-button mouse to Apple, where he is now vice president of advanced technology. The company’s rationale is that to attract novices to its computers one button was as simple as it could get.

More than two million one-button Apple mice are now in use. The Xerox and Microsoft two-button mice are less common than either Apple’s ubiquitous one-button model or the three-button mice found on technical workstations. Dozens of companies manufacture mice today; most are slightly smaller than a pack of cigarettes, with minor variations in shape.

How windows first came to the computer screen


In 1962, Sketchpad could split its screen horizontally into two independent sections. One section could, for example, give a close-up view of the object in the other section. Researchers call Sketchpad the first example of tiled windows, which are laid out side by side. They differ from overlapping windows, which can be stacked on top of each other, or overlaid, obscuring all or part of the lower layers.

Windows were an obvious means of adding functionality to a small screen. In 1969, Engelbart equipped NLS (as the On-Line System he invented at SRI during the 1960s was known, to distinguish it from the Off-Line System known as FLS) with windows. They split the screen into multiple parts horizontally or vertically, and introduced cross-window editing with a mouse.

By 1972, led by researcher Alan Kay, the Smalltalk programming language group at Xerox PARC had implemented their version of windows. They were working with far different technology from Sutherland or Engelbart: by deciding that their images had to be displayed as dots on the screen, they led a move from vector to raster displays, to make it simple to map the assigned memory location of each of those spots. This was the bit map invented at PARC, and made viable during the 1980s by continual performance improvements in processor logic and memory speed.

Experimenting with bit-map manipulation, Smalltalk researcher Dan Ingalls developed the bit-block transfer procedure, known as BitBlt. The BitBlt software enabled application programs to mix and manipulate rectangular arrays of pixel values in on-screen or off-screen memory, or between the two, combining the pixel values and storing the result in the appropriate bit-map location.

BitBlt made it much easier to write programs to scroll a window (move an image through it), resize (enlarge or contract) it, and drag windows (move them from one location to another on screen). It led Kay to create overlapping windows. They were soon implemented by the Smalltalk group, but made clipping harder.

Some researchers question whether overlapping windows offer more benefits than tiled on the grounds that screens with overlapping windows become so messy the user gets lost.

In a tiling system, explained researcher Peter Deutsch, who worked with the Smalltalk group, the clipping borders are simply horizontal or vertical lines from one screen border to another, and software just tracks the location of those lines. But overlapping windows may appear anywhere on the screen, randomly obscuring bits and pieces of other windows, so that quite irregular regions must be clipped. Thus application software must constantly track which portions of their windows remain visible.

Some researchers still question whether overlapping windows offer more benefits than tiled, at least above a certain screen size, on the grounds that screens with overlapping windows become so messy the user gets lost. Others argue that overlapping windows more closely match users’ work patterns, since no one arranges the papers on their physical desktop in neat horizontal and vertical rows. Among software engineers, however, overlapping windows seem to have won for the user interface world.

So has the cut-and-paste editing model that Larry Tesler developed, first for the Gypsy text editor he wrote at PARC and later for Apple. Charles Irby—who worked on Xerox’s windows and is now vice president of development at Metaphor Computer Systems Inc., Mountain View, Calif.—noted, however, that cut-and-paste worked better for pure text-editing than for moving graphic objects from one application to another.

The origin of the computer menu bar


Menus—functions continuously listed onscreen that could be called into action with key combinations—were commonly used in defense computing by the 1960s. But it was only with the advent of BitBlt and windows that menus could be made to appear as needed and to disappear after use. Combined with a pointing device to indicate a user’s selection, they are now an integral part of the user-friendly interface: users no longer need to refer to manuals or memorize available options.

Instead, the choices can be called up at a moment’s notice whenever needed. And menu design has evolved. Some new systems use nested hierarchies of menus; others offer different menu versions—one with the most commonly used commands for novices, another with all available commands for the experienced user.

Among the first to test menus on demand was PARC researcher William Newman, in a program called Markup. Hard on his heels, the Smalltalk group built in pop-up menus that appeared on screen at the cursor site when the user pressed one of the mouse buttons.

Implementation was on the whole straightforward, recalled Deutsch. The one exception was determining whether the menu or the application should keep track of the information temporarily obscured by the menu. In the Smalltalk 76 version, the popup menu saved and restored the screen bits it overwrote. But in today’s multitasking systems, that would not work, because an application may change those bits without the menu’s knowledge. Such systems add another layer to the operating system: a display manager that tracks what is written where.

The production Xerox Star, in 1981, featured a further advance: a menu bar, essentially a row of words indicating available menus that could be popped up for each window. Human factors engineer Verplank recalled that the bar was at first located at the bottom of its window. But the Star team found users were more likely to associate a bar with the window below it, so it was moved to the top of its window.

Apple simplified things in its Lisa and Macintosh with a single bar placed at the top of the screen. This menu bar relates only to the window in use: the menus could be ‘‘pulled down” from the bar, to appear below it. Designer William D. Atkinson received a patent (assigned to Apple Computer) in August 1984 for this innovation.

One new addition that most user interface pioneers consider an advantage is the tear-off menu, which the user can move to a convenient spot on the screen and “pin” there, always visible for ready access.

Many windowing interfaces now offer command-key or keyboard alternatives for many commands as well. This return to the earliest of user interfaces—key combinations—neatly supplements menus, providing both ease of use for novices and for the less experienced, and speed for those who can type faster than they can point to a menu and click on a selection.

How the computer “icon” got its name


Sketchpad had on-screen graphic objects that represented constraints (for example, a rule that lines be the same length), and the Flex machine built in 1967 at the University of Utah by students Alan Kay and Ed Cheadle had squares that represented programs and data (like today’s computer “folders”). Early work on icons was also done by Bell Northern Research, Ottawa, Canada, stemming from efforts to replace the recently legislated bilingual signs with graphic symbols.

But the concept of the computer “icon” was not formalized until 1975. David Canfield Smith, a computer science graduate student at Stanford University in California, began work on his Ph.D. thesis in 1973. His advisor was PARC’s Kay, who suggested that he look at using the graphics power of the experimental Alto not just to display text, but rather to help people program.

David Canfield Smith took the term icon from the Russian Orthodox church, where an icon is more than an image, because it embodies properties of what it represents.

Smith took the term icon from the Russian Orthodox church, where an icon is more than an image, because it embodies properties of what it represents: a Russian icon of a saint is holy and is to be venerated. Smith’s computer icons contained all the properties of the programs and data represented, and therefore could be linked or acted on as if they were the real thing.

After receiving his Ph.D. in 1975, Smith joined Xerox in 1976 to work on Star development. The first thing he did, he said, was to recast his concept of icons in office terms. “I looked around my office and saw papers, folders, file cabinets, a telephone, and bookshelves, and it was an easy translation to icons,” he said.

Xerox researchers developed, tested, and revised icons for the Star interface for three years before the first version was complete. At first they attempted to make the icons look like a detailed photographic rendering of the object, recalled Irby, who worked on testing and refining the Xerox windows. Trading off label space, legibility, and the number of icons that fit on the screen, they decided to constrain icons to a 1-inch (2.5-centimeter) square of 64 by 64 pixels, or 512 eight-bit bytes.

Then, Verplank recalls, they discovered that because of a background pattern based on two-pixel dots, the right-hand side of the icons appeared jagged. So they increased the width of the icons to 65 pixels, despite an outcry from programmers who liked the neat 16-bit breakdown. But the increase stuck, Verplank said, because they had already decided to store 72 bits per side to allow for white space around each icon.

After settling on a size for the icons, the Star developers tested four sets developed by two graphic designers and two software engineers. They discovered that, for example, resizing may cause problems. They shrunk the icon for a person—a head and shoulders—in order to use several of them to represent a group, only to hear one test subject say the screen resolution made the reduced icon look like a cross above a tombstone. Computer graphics artist Norm Cox, now of Cox & Hall, Dallas, Texas, was finally hired to redesign the icons.

Icon designers today still wrestle with the need to make icons adaptable to the many different system configurations offered by computer makers. Artist Karen Elliott, who has designed icons for Microsoft, Apple, Hewlett-Packard Co., and others, noted that on different systems an icon may be displayed in different colors, several resolutions, and a variety of gray shades, and it may also be inverted (light and dark areas reversed).

In the past few years, another concern has been added to icon designers’ tasks: internationalization. Icons designed in the United States often lack space for translations into languages other than English. Elliott therefore tries to leave space for both the longer words and the vertical orientation of some languages.


A square white macintosh computer with a white keyboard, in a separate image below, computer icons and the text address book, address, addresses

The main rule is to make icons simple, clean, and easily recognizable. Discarded objects are placed in a trash can on the Macintosh. On the NeXT Computer System, from NeXT Inc., Palo Alto, Calif.—the company formed by Apple cofounder Steven Jobs after he left Apple—they are dumped into a Black Hole. Elliott sees NeXT’s black hole as one of the best icons ever designed: ”It is distinct; its roundness stands out from the other, square icons, and this is important on a crowded display. It fits my image of information being sucked away, and it makes it clear that dumping something is serious.

English disagrees vehemently. The black hole “is fundamentally wrong,” he said. “You can dig paper out of a wastebasket, but you can’t dig it out of a black hole.” Another critic called the black hole familiar only to “computer nerds who read mostly science fiction and comics,” not to general users.

With the introduction of the Xerox Star in June 1981, the graphical user interface, as it is known today, arrived on the market. Though not a commercial triumph, the Star generated great interest among computer users, as the Alto before it had within the universe of computer designers.

Even before the Star was introduced, Jobs, then still at Apple, had visited Xerox PARC in November 1979 and asked the Smalltalk researchers dozens of questions about the Alto’s internal design. He later recruited Larry Tesler from Xerox to design the user interface of the Apple Lisa.

With the Lisa and then the Macintosh, introduced in January 1983 and January 1984 respectively, the graphical user interface reached the low-cost, high-volume computer market.

At almost $10,000, buyers deemed the Lisa too expensive for the office market. But aided by prizewinning advertising and its lower price, the Macintosh took the world by storm. Early Macs had only 128K bytes of RAM, which made them slow to respond because it was too little memory for heavy graphic manipulation. Also, the time needed for programmers to learn its Toolbox of graphics routines delayed application packages until well into 1985. But the Mac’s ease of use was indisputable, and it generated interest that spilled over into the MS-DOS world of IBM PCs and clones, as well as Unix-based workstations.

Who owns the graphical user interface?


The widespread acceptance of such interfaces, however, has led to bitter lawsuits to establish exactly who owns what. So far, none of several litigious companies has definitively established that it owns the software that implements windows, icons, or early versions of menus. But the suits continue.

Virtually all the companies that make and sell either wheel or ball mice paid license fees to SRI or to Xerox for their patents. Engelbart recalled that SRI patent attorneys inspected all the early work on the interface, but understood only hardware. After looking at developments like the implementation of windows, they told him that none of it was patentable.

At Xerox, the Star development team proposed 12 patents having to do with the user interface. The company’s patent committee rejected all but two on hardware—one on BitBlt, the other on the Star architecture. At the time, Charles Irby said, it was a good decision. Patenting required full disclosure, and no precedents then existed for winning software patent suits.


A computer screen in blue and white with multiple open windows


Three computer windows with greyscale images on a dark grey background


Computer windows tinted blue on a black background partially obscuring a planet and starfield


The most recent and most publicized suit was filed in March 1988, by Apple, against both Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard Co., Palo Alto, Calif. Apple alleges that HP’s New Wave interface, requiring version 2.03 of Microsoft’s Windows program, embodies the copyrighted “audio visual computer display” of the Macintosh without permission; that the displays of Windows 2.03 are illegal copies of the Mac’s audiovisual works; and that Windows 2.03 also exceeds the rights granted in a November 198S agreement in which Microsoft acknowledged that the displays in Windows 1.0 were derivatives of those in Apple’s Lisa and Mac.

In March 1989, U.S. District Judge William W. Schwarzer ruled Microsoft had exceeded the bounds of its license in creating Windows 2.03. Then in July 1989 Schwarzer ruled that all but 11 of the 260 items that Apple cited in its suit were, in fact, acceptable under the 1985 agreement. The larger issue—whether Apple’s copyrights are valid, and whether Microsoft and HP infringed on them—will not now be examined until 1990.

Among those 11 are overlapping windows and movable icons. According to Pamela Samuelson, a noted software intellectual property expert and visiting professor at Emory University Law School, Atlanta, Ga., many experts would regard both as functional features of an interface that cannot be copyrighted, rather than “expressions” of an idea protectable by copyright.

But lawyers for Apple—and for other companies that have filed lawsuits to protect the “look and feel’’ of their screen displays—maintain that if such protection is not granted, companies will lose the economic incentive to market technological innovations. How is Apple to protect its investment in developing the Lisa and Macintosh, they argue, if it cannot license its innovations to companies that want to take advantage of them?

If the Apple-Microsoft case does go to trial on the copyright issues, Samuelson said, the court may have to consider whether Apple can assert copyright protection for overlapping windows-an interface feature on which patents have also been granted. In April 1989, for example, Quarterdeck Office Systems Inc., Santa Monica, Calif., received a patent for a multiple windowing system in its Desq system software, introduced in 1984.

Adding fuel to the legal fire, Xerox said in May 1989 it would ask for license fees from companies that use the graphical user interface. But it is unclear whether Xerox has an adequate claim to either copyright or patent protection for the early graphical interface work done at PARC. Xerox did obtain design patents on later icons, noted human factors engineer Verplank. Meanwhile, both Metaphor and Sun Microsystems have negotiated licenses with Xerox for their own interfaces.

To Probe Further

The September 1989 IEEE Computer contains an article, “The Xerox ‘Star’: A Retrospective,” by Jeff Johnson et al., covering development of the Star. “Designing the Star User Interface,’’ [PDF] by David C. Smith et al., appeared in the April 1982 issue of Byte.

The Sept. 12, 1989, PC Magazine contains six articles on graphical user interfaces for personal computers and workstations. The July 1989 Byte includes ‘‘A Guide to [Graphical User Interfaces),” by Frank Hayes and Nick Baran, which describes 12 current interfaces for workstations and personal computers. “The Interface of Tomorrow, Today,’’ by Howard Reingold, in the July 10, 1989, InfoWorld does the same. “The interface that launched a thousand imitations,” by Richard Rawles, in the March 21, 1989, MacWeek covers the Macintosh interface.

The human factors of user interface design are discussed in The Psychology of Everyday Things, by Donald A. Norman (Basic Books Inc., New York, 1988). The January 1989 IEEE Software contains several articles on methods, techniques, and tools for designing and implementing graphical interfaces. The Way Things Work, by David Macaulay (Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1988), contains a detailed drawing of a ball mouse.

The October 1985 IEEE Spectrum covered Xerox PARC’s history in “Research at Xerox PARC: a founder’s assessment,” by George Pake (pp. 54-61) and “Inside the PARC: the ‘information architects,’“ by Tekla Perry and Paul Wallich (pp. 62-75).

William Atkinson received patent no. 4,464,652 for the pulldown menu system on Aug. 8, 1984, and assigned it to Apple. Gary Pope received patent no. 4,823,108, for an improved system for displaying images in “windows” on a computer screen, on April 18, 1989, and assigned it to Quarterdeck Office Systems.

The wheel mouse patent, no. 3,541,541, “X-Y position indicator for a display system,” was issued to Douglas Engelbart on Nov. 17, 1970, and assigned to SRI International. The ball mouse patent, no. 3,835,464, was issued to Ronald Rider on Sept. 10, 1974, and assigned to Xerox.

The first selection device tests to include a mouse are covered in “Display-Selection Techniques for Text Manipulation,” by William English, Douglas Engelbart, and Melvyn Berman, in IEEE Transactions on Human Factors in Electronics, March 1967.

Sketchpad: A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System, by Ivan E. Sutherland (Garland Publishing Inc., New York City and London, 1980), reprints his 1963 Ph.D. thesis.










Match ID: 116 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 9 days
qualifiers: 3.57 election

The EV Transition Explained: Battery Challenges
Sat, 19 Nov 2022 19:30:00 +0000


“Energy and information are two basic currencies of organic and social systems,” the economics Nobelist Herb Simon once observed. A new technology that alters the terms on which one or the other of these is available to a system can work on it the most profound changes.”

Electric vehicles at scale alter the terms of both basic currencies concurrently. Reliable, secure supplies of minerals and software are core elements for EVs, which represent a “shift from a fuel-intensive to a material-intensive energy system,” according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). For example, the mineral requirements for an EV’s batteries and electric motors are six times that of an internal-combustion-engine (ICE) vehicle, which can increase the average weight of an EV by 340 kilograms (750 pounds). For something like the Ford Lightning, the weight can be more than twice that amount.

EVs also create a shift from an electromechanical-intensive to an information-intensive vehicle. EVs offer a virtual clean slate from which to accelerate the design of safe, software-defined vehicles, with computing and supporting electronics being the prime enabler of a vehicle’s features, functions, and value. Software also allows for the decoupling of the internal mechanical connections needed in an ICE vehicle, permitting an EV to be controlled remotely or autonomously. An added benefit is that the loss of the ICE power train not only reduces the components a vehicle requires but also frees up space for increased passenger comfort and storage.

The effects of Simon’s profound changes are readily apparent, forcing a 120-year-old industry to fundamentally reinvent itself. EVs require automakers to design new manufacturing processes and build plants to make both EVs and their batteries. Ramping up the battery supply chain is the automakers’ current “most challenging topic,” according to VW chief financial officer Arno Antlitz.

It can take five or more years to get a lithium mine up and going, but operations can start only after it has secured the required permits, a process that itself can take years.

These plants are also very expensive. Ford and its Korean battery supplier SK Innovation are spending US $5.6 billion to produce F-Series EVs and batteries in Stanton, Tenn., for example, while GM is spending $2 billion to produce its new Cadillac Lyriq EVs in Spring Hill, Tenn. As automakers expand their lines of EVs, tens of billions more will need to be invested in both manufacturing and battery plants. It is little wonder that Tesla CEO Elon Musk calls EV factories “gigantic money furnaces.”

Furthermore, Kristin Dziczek a policy analyst with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago adds, there are scores of new global EV competitors actively seeking to replace the legacy automakers. The “simplicity” of EVs in comparison with ICE vehicles allows these disruptors to compete virtually from scratch with legacy automakers, not only in the car market itself but for the material and labor inputs as well.

Batteries and the supply-chain challenge

Another critical question is whether all the planned battery-plant output will support expected EV production demands. For instance, the United States will require 8 million EV batteries annually by 2030 if its target to make EVs half of all new-vehicle sales is met, with that number rising each year after. As IEA executive director Fatih Birol observes, “Today, the data shows a looming mismatch between the world’s strengthened climate ambitions and the availability of critical minerals that are essential to realizing those ambitions.”

This mismatch worries automakers. GM, Ford, Tesla, and others have moved to secure batteries through 2025, but it could be tricky after that. Rivian Automotive chief executive RJ Scaringe was recently quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying that “90 to 95 percent of the (battery) supply chain does not exist,” and that the current semiconductor chip shortage is “a small appetizer to what we are about to feel on battery cells over the next two decades.”

The competition for securing raw materials, along with the increased consumer demand, has caused EV prices to spike. Ford has raised the price of the Lightning $6,000 to $8,500, and CEO Jim Farley bluntly states that in regard to material shortages in the foreseeable future, “I don’t think we should be confident in any other outcomes than an increase in prices.”

Stiff Competition for Engineering Talent


One critical area of resource competition is over the limited supply of software and systems engineers with the mechatronics and robotics expertise needed for EVs. Major automakers have moved aggressively to bring more software and systems-engineering expertise on board, rather than have it reside at their suppliers, as they have traditionally done. Automakers feel that if they’re not in control of the software, they’re not in control of their product.

Volvo’s CEO Jim Rowan stated earlier this year that increasing the computing power in EVs will be harder and more altering of the automotive industry than switching from ICE vehicles to EVs. This means that EV winners and losers will in great part be separated by their “relative strength in their cyberphysical systems engineering,” states Clemson’s Paredis.

Even for the large auto suppliers, the transition to EVs will not be an easy road. For instance, automakers are demanding these suppliers absorb more cost cuts because automakers are finding EVs so expensive to build. Not only do automakers want to bring cutting-edge software expertise in-house, they want greater inside expertise in critical EV supply-chain components, especially batteries.

Automakers, including Tesla, are all scrambling for battery talent, with bidding wars reportedly breaking out to acquire top candidates. With automakers planning to spend more than $13 billion to build at least 13 new EV battery plants in North America within the next five to seven years, experienced management and production-line talent will likely be in extremely short supply. Tesla’s Texas Gigafactory needs some 10,000 workers alone, for example. With at least 60 new battery plants planned to be in operation globally by 2030, and scores needed soon afterward, major battery makers are already highlighting their expected skill shortages.


The underlying reason for the worry: Supplying sufficient raw materials to existing and planned battery plants as well as to the manufacturers of other renewable energy sources and military systems—who are competing for the same materials—has several complications to overcome. Among them is the need for more mines to provide the metals required, which have spiked in price as demand has increased. For example, while demand for lithium is growing rapidly, investment in mines has significantly lagged the investment that has been aimed toward EVs and battery plants. It can take five or more years to get a lithium mine up and going, but operations can start only after it has secured the required permits, a process that itself can take years.

Mining the raw materials, of course, assumes that there is sufficient refining capability to process them, which, outside of China, is limited. This is especially true in the United States, which, according to a Biden Administration special supply-chain investigative report, has “limited raw material production capacity and virtually no processing capacity.” Consequently, the report states, the United States “exports the limited raw materials produced today to foreign markets.” For example, output from the only nickel mine in the United States, the Eagle mine in Minnesota, is sent to Canada for smelting.

“Energy and information are two basic currencies of organic and social systems. A new technology that alters the terms on which one or the other of these is available to a system can work on it the most profound changes.” —Herb Simon

One possible solution is to move away from lithium-ion batteries and nickel metal hydride batteries to other battery chemistries such as lithium-iron phosphate, lithium-ion phosphate, lithium-sulfur, lithium-metal, and sodium-ion, among many others, not to mention solid-state batteries, as a way to alleviate some of the material supply and cost problems. Tesla is moving toward the use of lithium-iron phosphate batteries, as is Ford for some of its vehicles. These batteries are cobalt free, which alleviates several sourcing issues.

Another solution may be recycling both EV batteries as well as the waste and rejects from battery manufacturing, which can run between 5 to 10 percent of production. Effective recycling of EV batteries “has the potential to reduce primary demand compared to total demand in 2040, by approximately 25 percent for lithium, 35 percent for cobalt and nickel, and 55 percent for copper,” according to a report by the University of Sidney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures.



While investments into creating EV battery recycling facilities have started, there is a looming question of whether there will be enough battery factory scrap and other lithium-ion battery waste for them to remain operational while they wait for sufficient numbers of batteries to make them profitable. Lithium-ion battery-pack recycling is very time-consuming and expensive, making mining lithium often cheaper than recycling it, for example. Recycling low or no-cobalt lithium batteries, which is the direction many automakers are taking, may also make it unprofitable to recycle them.

An additional concern is that EV batteries, once no longer useful for propelling the EV, have years of life left in them. They can be refurbished, rebuilt, and reused in EVs, or repurposed into storage devices for homes, businesses, or the grid. Whether it will make economic sense to do either at scale versus recycling them remains to be seen.

Howard Nusbaum, the administrator of the National Salvage Vehicle Reporting Program (NSVRP), succinctly puts it, “There is no recycling, and no EV-recycling industry, if there is no economic basis for one.”

In the next article in the series, we will look at whether the grid can handle tens of millions of EVs.


Match ID: 117 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 10 days
qualifiers: 2.14 executive, 1.43 congress

A Destabilizing Hack-and-Leak Operation Hits Moldova
Sat, 19 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000
Plus: Google’s location snooping ends in a $391 million settlement, Russian code sneaks into US government apps, and the World Cup apps set off alarms.
Match ID: 118 Score: 3.57 source: www.wired.com age: 10 days
qualifiers: 3.57 election

Video Friday: Little Robot, Big Stairs
Fri, 18 Nov 2022 16:43:36 +0000


Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today’s videos!

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science and the University of California, Berkeley, have designed a robotic system that enables a low-cost and relatively small legged robot to climb and descend stairs nearly its height; traverse rocky, slippery, uneven, steep and varied terrain; walk across gaps; scale rocks and curbs, and even operate in the dark.

[ CMU ]

This robot is designed as a preliminary platform for humanoid robot research. The platform will be further extended with soles as well as upper limbs. In this video, the current lower limb version of the platform shows its capability in traversing uneven terrains without an active or passive ankle joint. The underactuation nature of the robot system has been well addressed with our locomotion-control framework, which also provides a new perspective on the leg design of bipedal robots.

[ CLEAR Lab ]

Thanks, Zejun!

Inbiodroid is a startup “dedicated to the development of fully immersive telepresence technologies that create a deeper connection between people and their environment.” Hot off the ANA Avatar XPrize competition, they’re doing a Kickstarter to fund the next generation of telepresence robots.

[ Kickstarter ] via [ Inbiodroid ]

Thanks, Alejandro!

A robot that can feel what a therapist feels when treating a patient, that can adjust the intensity of rehabilitation exercises at any time according to the patient's abilities and needs, and that can thus go on for hours without getting tired: It seems like fiction, and yet researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Imec have now finished a prototype that unites all these skills in one robot.

[ VUB ]

Thanks, Bram!

Self-driving bikes present some special challenges, as this excellent video graphically demonstrates.

[ Paper ]

Pickle robots unload trucks. This is a short overview of the Pickle Robot Unload System in action at the end of October 2022—autonomously picking floor-loaded freight to unload a trailer. As a robotic system built on AI and advanced sensors, the system gets better and faster all the time.

[ Pickle ]

Learning agile skills can be challenging with reward shaping. Imitation learning provides an alternative solution by assuming access to decent expert references. However, such experts are not always available. We propose Wasserstein Adversarial Skill Imitation (WASABI), which acquires agile behaviors from partial and potentially physically incompatible demonstrations. In our work, Solo, a quadruped robot, learns highly dynamic skills (for example, backflips) from only handheld human demonstrations.

WASABI!

[ WASABI ]

NASA and the European Space Agency are developing plans for one of the most ambitious campaigns ever attempted in space: bringing the first samples of Mars material safely back to Earth for detailed study. The diverse set of scientifically curated samples now being collected by NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover could help scientists answer the question of whether ancient life ever arose on the Red Planet.

I thought I was promised some helicopters?

[ NASA ]

A Sanctuary general-purpose robot picks up and sorts medicine pills.

Remotely controlled, if that wasn’t clear.

[ Sanctuary ]

I don’t know what’s going on here, but it scares me.

[ KIMLAB ]

The Canadian Space Agency plans to send a rover to the moon as early as 2026 to explore a polar region. The mission will demonstrate key technologies and accomplish meaningful science. Its objectives are to gather imagery, measurements, and data on the surface of the moon, as well as to have the rover survive an entire night on the moon. Lunar nights, which last about 14 Earth days, are extremely cold and dark, posing a significant technological challenge.

[ CSA ]

Covariant Robotic Induction automates previously manual induction processes. This video shows the Covariant Robotic Induction solution picking a wide range of item types from totes, scanning bar codes, and inducting items onto a unit sorter. Note the robot’s ability to effectively handle items that are traditionally difficult to pick, such as transparent polybagged apparel and small, oddly shaped health and beauty items, and place them precisely onto individual trays.

[ Covariant ]

The solution will integrate Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot; the ExynPak, powered by ExynAI; and the Trimble X7 total station. It will enable fully autonomous missions inside complex and dynamic construction environments, which can result in consistent and precise reality capture for production and quality-control workflows.

[ Exyn ]

Our most advanced programmable robot yet is back and better than ever. Sphero RVR+ includes an advanced gearbox to improve torque and payload capacity; enhanced sensors, including an improved color sensor; and an improved rechargeable and swappable battery.

$279.

[ Sphero ]

I’m glad Starship is taking this seriously, although it’s hard to know from this video how well the robots behave when conditions are less favorable.

[ Starship ]

Complexity, cost, and power requirements for the actuation of individual robots can play a large factor in limiting the size of robotic swarms. Here we present PCBot, a minimalist robot that can precisely move on an orbital shake table using a bi-stable solenoid actuator built directly into its PCB. This allows the actuator to be built as part of the automated PCB manufacturing process, greatly reducing the impact it has on manual assembly.

[ Paper ]

Drone-racing world champion Thomas Bitmatta designed an indoor drone-racing track for ETH Zurich’s autonomous high-speed racing drones, and in something like half an hour, the autonomous drones were able to master the track at superhuman speeds (with the aid of a motion-capture system).

[ ETH RSL ] via [ BMS Racing ]

Thanks, Paul!

Moravec’s paradox is the observation that many things that are difficult for robots to do come easily to humans, and vice versa. Stanford University professor Chelsea Finn has been tasked to explain this concept to 5 different people: a child, a teen, a college student, a grad student, and an expert.

[ Wired ]

Roberto Calandra from Meta AI gives a talk about “Perceiving, Understanding, and Interacting Through Touch.”

[ UPenn ]

AI advancements have been motivated and inspired by human intelligence for decades. How can we use AI to expand our knowledge and understanding of the world and ourselves? How can we leverage AI to enrich our lives? In his Tanner Lecture, Eric Horvitz, chief science officer at Microsoft, will explore these questions and more, tracing the arc of intelligence from its origins and evolution in humans to its manifestations and prospects in the tools we create and use.

[ UMich ]


Match ID: 119 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 11 days
qualifiers: 3.57 election

'Brazil was stolen': the Bolsonaro supporters who refuse to accept election result – video
Tue, 08 Nov 2022 15:35:51 GMT

A week after Brazil's presidential election, Jair Bolsonaro supporters remain defiant and are gathering outside military barracks across the country, asking for armed intervention. The Guardian spent the weekend with different groups of supporters in São Paulo to understand the reasons behind their demands.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva won what was widely seen as Brazil’s most important election in decades by a margin of 2.1m votes – 50.9% to 49.1% – and has been quickly embraced by the international community after four years in which Brazil became a pariah under Bolsonaro

Continue reading...
Match ID: 120 Score: 3.57 source: www.theguardian.com age: 21 days
qualifiers: 3.57 election

Voters pessimistic on economy, inflation as Election Day approaches
Wed, 19 Oct 2022 05:00:00 EST
A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll suggests economic woes are taking a toll on the electorate.
Match ID: 121 Score: 3.57 source: www.politico.com age: 41 days
qualifiers: 3.57 election

The Webb Space Telescope’s Profound Data Challenges
Fri, 08 Jul 2022 18:03:45 +0000


For a deep dive into the engineering behind the James Webb Space Telescope, see our collection of posts here.

When the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) reveals its first images on 12 July, they will be the by-product of carefully crafted mirrors and scientific instruments. But all of its data-collecting prowess would be moot without the spacecraft’s communications subsystem.

The Webb’s comms aren’t flashy. Rather, the data and communication systems are designed to be incredibly, unquestionably dependable and reliable. And while some aspects of them are relatively new—it’s the first mission to use Ka-band frequencies for such high data rates so far from Earth, for example—above all else, JWST’s comms provide the foundation upon which JWST’s scientific endeavors sit.


As previous articles in this series have noted, JWST is parked at Lagrange point L2. It’s a point of gravitational equilibrium located about 1.5 million kilometers beyond Earth on a straight line between the planet and the sun. It’s an ideal location for JWST to observe the universe without obstruction and with minimal orbital adjustments.

Being so far away from Earth, however, means that data has farther to travel to make it back in one piece. It also means the communications subsystem needs to be reliable, because the prospect of a repair mission being sent to address a problem is, for the near term at least, highly unlikely. Given the cost and time involved, says Michael Menzel, the mission systems engineer for JWST, “I would not encourage a rendezvous and servicing mission unless something went wildly wrong.”

According to Menzel, who has worked on JWST in some capacity for over 20 years, the plan has always been to use well-understood K a-band frequencies for the bulky transmissions of scientific data. Specifically, JWST is transmitting data back to Earth on a 25.9-gigahertz channel at up to 28 megabits per second. The Ka-band is a portion of the broader K-band (another portion, the Ku-band, was also considered).

An illustration depicting different Lagrange points and where the Webb Telescope is. The Lagrange points are equilibrium locations where competing gravitational tugs on an object net out to zero. JWST is one of three craft currently occupying L2 (Shown here at an exaggerated distance from Earth). IEEE Spectrum

Both the data-collection and transmission rates of JWST dwarf those of the older Hubble Space Telescope. Compared to Hubble, which is still active and generates 1 to 2 gigabytes of data daily, JWST can produce up to 57 GB each day (although that amount is dependent on what observations are scheduled).

Menzel says he first saw the frequency selection proposals for JWST around 2000, when he was working at Northrop Grumman. He became the mission systems engineer in 2004. “I knew where the risks were in this mission. And I wanted to make sure that we didn’t get any new risks,” he says.

IEEE Spectrum

Besides, K a-band frequencies can transmit more data than X-band (7 to 11.2 GHz) or S-band (2 to 4 GHz), common choices for craft in deep space. A high data rate is a necessity for the scientific work JWST will be undertaking. In addition, according to Carl Hansen, a flight systems engineer at the Space Telescope Science Institute (the science operations center for JWST), a comparable X-band antenna would be so large that the spacecraft would have trouble remaining steady for imaging.

Although the 25.9-GHz K a-band frequency is the telescope’s workhorse communication channel, it also employs two channels in the S-band. One is the 2.09-GHz uplink that ferries future transmission and scientific observation schedules to the telescope at 16 kilobits per second. The other is the 2.27-GHz, 40-kb/s downlink over which the telescope transmits engineering data—including its operational status, systems health, and other information concerning the telescope’s day-to-day activities.

Any scientific data the JWST collects during its lifetime will need to be stored on board, because the spacecraft doesn’t maintain round-the-clock contact with Earth. Data gathered from its scientific instruments, once collected, is stored within the spacecraft’s 68-GB solid-state drive (3 percent is reserved for engineering and telemetry data). Alex Hunter, also a flight systems engineer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, says that by the end of JWST’s 10-year mission life, they expect to be down to about 60 GB because of deep-space radiation and wear and tear.

The onboard storage is enough to collect data for about 24 hours before it runs out of room. Well before that becomes an issue, JWST will have scheduled opportunities to beam that invaluable data to Earth.

JWST will stay connected via the Deep Space Network (DSN)—a resource it shares with the Parker Solar Probe, Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, the Voyager probes, and the entire ensemble of Mars rovers and orbiters, to name just a few of the other heavyweights. The DSN consists of three antenna complexes: Canberra, Australia; Madrid, Spain; and Barstow, Calif. JWST needs to share finite antenna time with plenty of other deep-space missions, each with unique communications needs and schedules.

IEEE Spectrum

Sandy Kwan, a DSN systems engineer, says that contact windows with spacecraft are scheduled 12 to 20 weeks in advance. JWST had a greater number of scheduled contact windows during its commissioning phase, as instruments were brought on line, checked, and calibrated. Most of that process required real-time communication with Earth.

All of the communications channels use the Reed-Solomon error-correction protocol—the same error-correction standard as used in DVDs and Blu-ray discs as well as QR codes. The lower data-rate S-band channels use binary phase-shift key modulation—involving phase shifting of a signal’s carrier wave. The K-band channel, however, uses a quadrature phase-shift key modulation. Quadrature phase-shift keying can double a channel’s data rate, at the cost of more complicated transmitters and receivers.

JWST’s communications with Earth incorporate an acknowledgement protocol—only after the JWST gets confirmation that a file has been successfully received will it go ahead and delete its copy of the data to clear up space.

The communications subsystem was assembled along with the rest of the spacecraft bus by Northrop Grumman, using off-the-shelf components sourced from multiple manufacturers.

JWST has had a long and often-delayed development, but its communications system has always been a bedrock for the rest of the project. Keeping at least one system dependable means it’s one less thing to worry about. Menzel can remember, for instance, ideas for laser-based optical systems that were invariably rejected. “I can count at least two times where I had been approached by people who wanted to experiment with optical communications,” says Menzel. “Each time they came to me, I sent them away with the old ‘Thank you, but I don’t need it. And I don’t want it.’”


Match ID: 122 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 144 days
qualifiers: 3.57 election

Canva Review 2022: Details, Pricing & Features
Sun, 20 Feb 2022 12:02:00 +0000


Are you looking for a new graphic design tool? Would you like to read a detailed review of Canva? As it's one of the tools I love using. I am also writing my first ebook using canva and publish it soon on my site you can download it is free.  Let's start the review.

Canva has a web version and also a mobile app

What is Canva?

Canva is a free graphic design web application that allows you to create invitations, business cards, flyers, lesson plans, banners, and more using professionally designed templates. You can upload your own photos from your computer or from Google Drive, and add them to Canva's templates using a simple drag-and-drop interface. It's like having a basic version of Photoshop that doesn't require Graphic designing knowledge to use. It’s best for nongraphic designers.

Who is Canva best suited for?

Canva is a great tool for small business owners, online entrepreneurs, and marketers who don’t have the time and want to edit quickly.

To create sophisticated graphics, a tool such as Photoshop can is ideal. To use it, you’ll need to learn its hundreds of features, get familiar with the software, and it’s best to have a good background in design, too.

Also running the latest version of Photoshop you need a high-end computer.

So here  Canva takes place, with Canva you can do all that with drag-and-drop feature. It’s also easier to use and free. Also an even-more-affordable paid version is available for $12.95 per month.

Free vs Pro vs Enterprise Pricing plan

The product is available in three plans: Free, Pro ($12.99/month per user or  $119.99/year for up to 5 people), and Enterprise ($30 per user per month, minimum 25 people).

Free plan Features

  • 250,000+ free templates
  • 100+ design types (social media posts, presentations, letters, and more)
  • Hundreds of thousands of free photos and graphics
  • Invite members to your team
  • Collaborate and comment in real-time
  • 5GB of cloud storage
  • Try Canva Pro for free for 30 days

Pro Plan Features 

  • Everything Free, has plus:
  • 100+ million premium and  stock photos, videos, audio, and graphics
  • 610,000+ premium and free templates with new designs daily
  • Access to Background Remover and Magic Resize
  •  Create a library of your brand or campaign's colors, logos, and fonts with up to 100 Brand Kits
  • Remove image backgrounds instantly with background remover
  • Resize designs infinitely with Magic Resize
  • Save designs as templates for your team to use
  • 100GB of cloud storage
  • Schedule social media content to 8 platforms

Enterprise Plan Features

  • Everything Pro has plus:
  • Establish your brand's visual identity with logos, colors and fonts across multiple Brand Kits
  • Control your team's access to apps, graphics, logos, colors and fonts with brand controls
  • Built-in workflows to get approval on your designs
  • Set which elements your team can edit and stay on brand with template locking
  • Unlimited Storage
  • Log in with single-sign on (SSO) and have access to 24/7 Enterprise-level support.

How to Use Canva?

To get started on Canva, you will need to create an account by providing your email address, Google, Facebook or Apple credentials. You will then choose your account type between student, teacher, small business, large company, non-profit, or personal. Based on your choice of account type, templates will be recommended to you.

You can sign up for a free trial of Canva Pro, or you can start with the free version to get a sense of whether it’s the right graphic design tool for your needs.

Canva Sign Up

Designing with Canva

canva


When you sign up for an account, Canva will suggest different post types to choose from. Based on the type of account you set up  you'll be able to see templates categorized by the following categories: social media posts, documents, presentations, marketing, events, ads, launch your business, build your online brand, etc.

 Start by choosing a template for your post or searching for something more specific. Search by social network name to see a list of post types on each network.

Templates

canva templates


Next, you can choose a template. Choose from hundreds of templates that are ready to go, with customizable photos, text, and other elements.

You can start your design by choosing from a variety of ready-made templates, searching for a template matching your needs, or working with a blank template.


 Canva has a lot to choose from, so start with a specific search.if you want to create business card just search for it and you will see alot of templates to choose from

Elements

Inside the Canva designer, the Elements tab gives you access to lines and shapes, graphics, photos, videos, audio, charts, photo frames, and photo grids.The search box on the Elements tab lets you search everything on Canva.

canva elements

To begin with, Canva has a large library of elements to choose from. To find them, be specific in your search query. You may also want to search in the following tabs to see various elements separately:

Photos

The Photos tab lets you search for and choose from millions of professional stock photos for your templates.

You can replace the photos in our templates to create a new look. This can also make the template more suited to your industry.

You can find photos on other stock photography sites like pexel, pixabay and many more or simply upload your own photos.

canva photos

When you choose an image, Canva’s photo editing features let you adjust the photo’s settings (brightness, contrast, saturation, etc.), crop, or animate it.

 When you subscribe to Canva Pro, you get access to a number of premium features, including the Background Remover. This feature allows you to remove the background from any stock photo in  library or any image you upload.

Text

The Text tab lets you add headings, normal text, and graphical text to your design.

When you click on  text, you'll see options to adjust the font, font size, color, format, spacing, and text effects (like shadows). 

Canva Pro subscribers can choose from a large library of fonts on the Brand Kit or the Styles tab. Enterprise-level controls ensure that visual content remains on-brand, no matter how many people are working on it.

Audio

Create an animated image or video by adding audio to capture user’s attention in social news feeds.

If you want to use audio from another stock site or your own audio tracks, you can upload them in the Uploads tab or from the more option.

Video

Want to create your own videos? Choose from thousands of stock video clips. You’ll find videos that range upto 2 minutes

You can upload your own videos as well as videos from other stock sites in the Uploads tab. 

Once you have chosen a video, you can use the editing features in Canva to trim the video, flip it, and adjust its transparency.

Backgrounds

On the Background tab, you’ll find free stock photos to serve as backgrounds on your designs. Change out the background on a template to give it a more personal touch.

Styles


The Styles tab lets you quickly change the look and feel of your template with just a click. And if you have a Canva Pro subscription, you can upload your brand’s custom colors and fonts to ensure designs stay on brand.

Logos

If you have a Canva Pro subscription, you’ll have a Logos tab. Here, you can upload variations of your brand logo to use throughout your designs.

With Canva, you can also create your own logos. Note that you cannot trademark a logo with stock content in it.

Publishing with Canva

With Canva, free users can download and share designs to multiple platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Slack and Tumblr.

Canva Pro subscribers can create multiple post formats from one design. For example, you can start by designing an Instagram post, and Canva's Magic Resizer can resize it for other networks, Stories, Reels, and other formats.

Canva Pro subscribers can also use Canva’s Content Planner to post content on eight different accounts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Slack, and Tumblr.

Canva Team

Canva Pro allows you to work with your team on visual content. Designs can be created inside Canva, and then sent to your team members for approval. Everyone can make comments, edits, revisions, and keep track via the version history.

Canva Print

When it comes to printing your designs, Canva has you covered. With an extensive selection of printing options, they can turn your designs into anything from banners and wall art to mugs and t-shirts. 

Canva Print is perfect for any business seeking to make a lasting impression. Create inspiring designs people will want to wear, keep, and share. Hand out custom business cards that leave a lasting impression on customers' minds.

Canva Apps

The Canva app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play. The Canva app has earned a 4.9 out of five star rating from over 946.3K Apple users and a 4.5 out of five star rating from over 6,996,708 Google users.

In addition to mobile apps, you can use Canva’s integration with other Internet services to add images and text from sources like Google Maps, Emojis, photos from Google Drive and Dropbox, YouTube videos, Flickr photos, Bitmojis, and other popular visual content elements.

Canva Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • A user-friendly interface
  • Canva is a great tool for people who want to create professional graphics but don’t have graphic design skills.
  • Hundreds of templates, so you'll never have to start from scratch.
  • Wide variety of templates to fit multiple uses
  • Branding kits to keep your team consistent with the brand colors and fonts
  • Creating visual content on the go
  • You can find royalty free images, audio, and video without having to subscribe to another service.

Cons:

  • Some professional templates are available for Pro user only
  • Advanced photo editing features like blurring or erasing a specific area are missing.
  • Some elements that fall outside of a design are tricky to retrieve.
  • Features (like Canva presentations) could use some improvement.
  • If you are a regular user of Adobe products, you might find Canva's features limited.
  • Prefers to work with vectors. Especially logos.
  • Expensive enterprise pricing

Conclusion

In general, Canva is an excellent tool for those who need simple images for projects. If you are a graphic designer with experience, you will find Canva’s platform lacking in customization and advanced features – particularly vectors. But if you have little design experience, you will find Canva easier to use than advanced graphic design tools like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator for most projects. If you have any queries let me know in the comments section.






Match ID: 123 Score: 3.57 source: www.crunchhype.com age: 282 days
qualifiers: 3.57 election

The U.S.-China Chip Ban, Explained
Mon, 21 Nov 2022 17:28:29 +0000


It has now been over a month since the U.S. Commerce Department issued new rules that clamped down on the export of certain advanced chips—which have military or AI applications—to Chinese customers.

China has yet to respond—but Beijing has multiple options in its arsenal. It’s unlikely, experts say, that the U.S. actions will be the last fighting word in an industry that is becoming more geopolitically sensitive by the day.

This is not the first time that the U.S. government has constrained the flow of chips to its perceived adversaries. Previously, the United States has blocked chip sales to individual Chinese customers. In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, the United States (along with several other countries, including South Korea and Taiwan) placed Russia under a chip embargo.


But none of these prior U.S. chip bans were as broad as the new rules, issued on 7 October. “This announcement is perhaps the most expansive export control in decades,” says Sujai Shivakumar, an analyst at the Center for International and Strategic Studies, in Washington.

The rules prohibit the sale, to Chinese customers, of advanced chips with both high performance (at least 300 trillion operations per second, or 300 teraops) and fast interconnect speed (generally, at least 600 gigabytes per second). Nvidia’s A100, for comparison, is capable of over 600 teraops and matches the 600 Gb/s interconnect speed. Nvidia’s more-impressive H100 can reach nearly 4,000 trillion operations and 900 Gb/s. Both chips, intended for data centers and AI trainers, cannot be sold to Chinese customers under the new rules.

Additionally, the rules restrict the sale of fabrication equipment if it will knowingly be used to make certain classes of advanced logic or memory chips. This includes logic chips produced at nodes of 16 nanometers or less (which the likes of Intel, Samsung, and TSMC have done since the early 2010s); NAND long-term memory integrated circuits with at least 128 layers (the state of the art today); or DRAM short-term memory integrated circuits produced at 18 nanometers or less (which Samsung began making in 2016).

Chinese chipmakers have barely scratched the surface of those numbers. SMIC switched on 14-nm mass production this year, despite facing existing U.S. sanctions. YMTC started shipping 128-layer NAND chips last year.

The rules restrict not just U.S. companies, but citizens and permanent residents as well. U.S. employees at Chinese semiconductor firms have had to pack up. ASML, a Dutch maker of fabrication equipment, has told U.S. employees to stop servicing Chinese customers.

Speaking of Chinese customers, most—including offices, gamers, designers of smaller chips—probably won’t feel the controls. “Most chip trade and chip production in China is unimpacted,” says Christopher Miller, a historian who studies the semiconductor trade at Tufts University.

The controlled sorts of chips instead go into supercomputers and large data centers, and they’re desirable for training and running large machine-learning models. Most of all, the United States hopes to stop Beijing from using chips to enhance its military—and potentially preempt an invasion of Taiwan, where the vast majority of the world’s semiconductors and microprocessors are produced.

In order to seal off one potential bypass, the controls also apply to non-U.S. firms that rely on U.S.-made equipment or software. For instance, Taiwanese or South Korean chipmakers can’t sell Chinese customers advanced chips that are fabricated with U.S.-made technology.

It’s possible to apply to the U.S. government for an exemption from at least some of the restrictions. Taiwanese fab juggernaut TSMC and South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix, for instance, have already acquired temporary exemptions—for a year. “What happens after that is difficult to say,” says Patrick Schröder, a researcher at Chatham House in London. And the Commerce Department has already stated that such licenses will be the exception, not the rule (although Commerce Department undersecretary Alan Estevez suggested that around two-thirds of licenses get approved).

More export controls may be en route. Estevez indicated that the government is considering placing restrictions on technologies in other sensitive fields—specifically mentioning quantum information science and biotechnology, both of which have seen China-based researchers forge major progress in the past decade.

The Chinese government has so far retorted with harsh words and little action. “We don’t know whether their response will be an immediate reaction or whether they have a longer-term approach to dealing with this,” says Shivakumar. “It’s speculation at this point.”

Beijing could work with foreign companies whose revenue in the lucrative Chinese market is now under threat. “I’m really not aware of a particular company that thinks it’s coming out a winner in this,” says Shivakumar. This week, in the eastern city of Hefei, the Chinese government hosted a chipmakers’ conference whose attendees included U.S. firms AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm.

Nvidia has already responded by introducing a China-specific chip, the A800, which appears to be a modified A100 cut down to meet the requirements. Analysts say that Nvidia’s approach could be a model for other companies to keep up Chinese sales.

There may be other tools the Chinese government can exploit. While China may be dependent on foreign semiconductors, foreign electronics manufacturers are in turn dependent on China for rare-earth metals—and China supplies the supermajority of the world’s rare earths.

There is precedent for China curtailing its rare-earth supply for geopolitical leverage. In 2010, a Chinese fishing boat collided with two Japanese Coast Guard vessels, triggering an international incident when Japanese authorities arrested the boat’s captain. In response, the Chinese government cut off rare-earth exports to Japan for several months.

Certainly, much of the conversation has focused on the U.S. action and the Chinese reaction. But for third parties, the entire dispute delivers constant reminders of just how tense and volatile the chip supply can be. In the European Union, home to less than 10 percent of the world’s microchips market, the debate has bolstered interest in the prospective European Chips Act, a plan to heavily invest in fabrication in Europe. “For Europe in particular, it’s important not to get caught up in this U.S.-China trade issue,” Schröder says.

“The way in which the semiconductor industry has evolved over the past few decades has predicated on a relatively stable geopolitical order,” says Shivakumar. “Obviously, the ground realities have shifted.”


Match ID: 124 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 8 days
qualifiers: 2.14 executive

Are You Ready for Workplace Brain Scanning?
Sat, 19 Nov 2022 16:00:01 +0000


Get ready: Neurotechnology is coming to the workplace. Neural sensors are now reliable and affordable enough to support commercial pilot projects that extract productivity-enhancing data from workers’ brains. These projects aren’t confined to specialized workplaces; they’re also happening in offices, factories, farms, and airports. The companies and people behind these neurotech devices are certain that they will improve our lives. But there are serious questions about whether work should be organized around certain functions of the brain, rather than the person as a whole.

To be clear, the kind of neurotech that’s currently available is nowhere close to reading minds. Sensors detect electrical activity across different areas of the brain, and the patterns in that activity can be broadly correlated with different feelings or physiological responses, such as stress, focus, or a reaction to external stimuli. These data can be exploited to make workers more efficient—and, proponents of the technology say, to make them happier. Two of the most interesting innovators in this field are the Israel-based startup InnerEye, which aims to give workers superhuman abilities, and Emotiv, a Silicon Valley neurotech company that’s bringing a brain-tracking wearable to office workers, including those working remotely.

The fundamental technology that these companies rely on is not new: Electroencephalography (EEG) has been around for about a century, and it’s commonly used today in both medicine and neuroscience research. For those applications, the subject may have up to 256 electrodes attached to their scalp with conductive gel to record electrical signals from neurons in different parts of the brain. More electrodes, or “channels,” mean that doctors and scientists can get better spatial resolution in their readouts—they can better tell which neurons are associated with which electrical signals.

What is new is that EEG has recently broken out of clinics and labs and has entered the consumer marketplace. This move has been driven by a new class of “dry” electrodes that can operate without conductive gel, a substantial reduction in the number of electrodes necessary to collect useful data, and advances in artificial intelligence that make it far easier to interpret the data. Some EEG headsets are even available directly to consumers for a few hundred dollars.

While the public may not have gotten the memo, experts say the neurotechnology is mature and ready for commercial applications. “This is not sci-fi,” says James Giordano, chief of neuroethics studies at Georgetown University Medical Center. “This is quite real.”

How InnerEye’s TSA-boosting technology works

InnerEye Security Screening Demo youtu.be

In an office in Herzliya, Israel, Sergey Vaisman sits in front of a computer. He’s relaxed but focused, silent and unmoving, and not at all distracted by the seven-channel EEG headset he’s wearing. On the computer screen, images rapidly appear and disappear, one after another. At a rate of three images per second, it’s just possible to tell that they come from an airport X-ray scanner. It’s essentially impossible to see anything beyond fleeting impressions of ghostly bags and their contents.

“Our brain is an amazing machine,” Vaisman tells us as the stream of images ends. The screen now shows an album of selected X-ray images that were just flagged by Vaisman’s brain, most of which are now revealed to have hidden firearms. No one can knowingly identify and flag firearms among the jumbled contents of bags when three images are flitting by every second, but Vaisman’s brain has no problem doing so behind the scenes, with no action required on his part. The brain processes visual imagery very quickly. According to Vaisman, the decision-making process to determine whether there’s a gun in complex images like these takes just 300 milliseconds.

Brain data can be exploited to make workers more efficient—and, proponents of the technology say, to make them happier.

What takes much more time are the cognitive and motor processes that occur after the decision making—planning a response (such as saying something or pushing a button) and then executing that response. If you can skip these planning and execution phases and instead use EEG to directly access the output of the brain’s visual processing and decision-making systems, you can perform image-recognition tasks far faster. The user no longer has to actively think: For an expert, just that fleeting first impression is enough for their brain to make an accurate determination of what’s in the image.

An illustration of a person in front of screens with suitcases above it.  InnerEye’s image-classification system operates at high speed by providing a shortcut to the brain of an expert human. As an expert focuses on a continuous stream of images (from three to 10 images per second, depending on complexity), a commercial EEG system combined with InnerEye’s software can distinguish the characteristic response the expert’s brain produces when it recognizes a target. In this example, the target is a weapon in an X-ray image of a suitcase, representing an airport-security application.Chris Philpot

Vaisman is the vice president of R&D of InnerEye, an Israel-based startup that recently came out of stealth mode. InnerEye uses deep learning to classify EEG signals into responses that indicate “targets” and “nontargets.” Targets can be anything that a trained human brain can recognize. In addition to developing security screening, InnerEye has worked with doctors to detect tumors in medical images, with farmers to identify diseased plants, and with manufacturing experts to spot product defects. For simple cases, InnerEye has found that our brains can handle image recognition at rates of up to 10 images per second. And, Vaisman says, the company’s system produces results just as accurate as a human would when recognizing and tagging images manually—InnerEye is merely using EEG as a shortcut to that person’s brain to drastically speed up the process.

While using the InnerEye technology doesn’t require active decision making, it does require training and focus. Users must be experts at the task, well trained in identifying a given type of target, whether that’s firearms or tumors. They must also pay close attention to what they’re seeing—they can’t just zone out and let images flash past. InnerEye’s system measures focus very accurately, and if the user blinks or stops concentrating momentarily, the system detects it and shows the missed images again.

Can you spot the manufacturing defects?

Examine the sample images below, and then try to spot the target among the nontargets.

Ten images are displayed every second for five seconds on loop. There are three targets.

A pair of black and white images.  The left is labelled "non target" and the right is "target." there is a red circle around a black line on the right image.

A gif of a black and white static image

Can you spot the weapon?

Three images are displayed every second for five seconds on loop. There is one weapon.

A gif of x-rayed pieces of luggage. InnerEye

Having a human brain in the loop is especially important for classifying data that may be open to interpretation. For example, a well-trained image classifier may be able to determine with reasonable accuracy whether an X-ray image of a suitcase shows a gun, but if you want to determine whether that X-ray image shows something else that’s vaguely suspicious, you need human experience. People are capable of detecting something unusual even if they don’t know quite what it is.

“We can see that uncertainty in the brain waves,” says InnerEye founder and chief technology officer Amir Geva. “We know when they aren’t sure.” Humans have a unique ability to recognize and contextualize novelty, a substantial advantage that InnerEye’s system has over AI image classifiers. InnerEye then feeds that nuance back into its AI models. “When a human isn’t sure, we can teach AI systems to be not sure, which is better training than teaching the AI system just one or zero,” says Geva. “There is a need to combine human expertise with AI.” InnerEye’s system enables this combination, as every image can be classified by both computer vision and a human brain.

Using InnerEye’s system is a positive experience for its users, the company claims. “When we start working with new users, the first experience is a bit overwhelming,” Vaisman says. “But in one or two sessions, people get used to it, and they start to like it.” Geva says some users do find it challenging to maintain constant focus throughout a session, which lasts up to 20 minutes, but once they get used to working at three images per second, even two images per second feels “too slow.”

In a security-screening application, three images per second is approximately an order of magnitude faster than an expert can manually achieve. InnerEye says their system allows far fewer humans to handle far more data, with just two human experts redundantly overseeing 15 security scanners at once, supported by an AI image-recognition system that is being trained at the same time, using the output from the humans’ brains.

InnerEye is currently partnering with a handful of airports around the world on pilot projects. And it’s not the only company working to bring neurotech into the workplace.

How Emotiv’s brain-tracking technology works

Workers wearing earbuds sit in an office in front of computers. Emotiv’s MN8 earbuds collect two channels of EEG brain data. The earbuds can also be used for phone calls and music. Emotiv

When it comes to neural monitoring for productivity and well-being in the workplace, the San Francisco–based company Emotiv is leading the charge. Since its founding 11 years ago, Emotiv has released three models of lightweight brain-scanning headsets. Until now the company had mainly sold its hardware to neuroscientists, with a sideline business aimed at developers of brain-controlled apps or games. Emotiv started advertising its technology as an enterprise solution only this year, when it released its fourth model, the MN8 system, which tucks brain-scanning sensors into a pair of discreet Bluetooth earbuds.

Tan Le, Emotiv’s CEO and cofounder, sees neurotech as the next trend in wearables, a way for people to get objective “brain metrics” of mental states, enabling them to track and understand their cognitive and mental well-being. “I think it’s reasonable to imagine that five years from now this [brain tracking] will be quite ubiquitous,” she says. When a company uses the MN8 system, workers get insight into their individual levels of focus and stress, and managers get aggregated and anonymous data about their teams.

The Emotiv Experience

Illustration of head with an earpiece in.  With columns of data on either side. The Emotiv Experience Chris Philpot

Emotiv’s MN8 system uses earbuds to capture two channels of EEG data, from which the company’s proprietary algorithms derive performance metrics for attention and cognitive stress. It’s very difficult to draw conclusions from raw EEG signals [top], especially with only two channels of data. The MN8 system relies on machine-learning models that Emotiv developed using a decade’s worth of data from its earlier headsets, which have more electrodes.

To determine a worker’s level of attention and cognitive stress, the MN8 system uses a variety of analyses. One shown here [middle, bar graphs] reveals increased activity in the low-frequency ranges (theta and alpha) when a worker’s attention is high and cognitive stress is low; when the worker has low attention and high stress, there’s more activity in the higher-frequency ranges (beta and gamma). This analysis and many others feed into the models that present simplified metrics of attention and cognitive stress [bottom] to the worker.

Emotiv launched its enterprise technology into a world that is fiercely debating the future of the workplace. Workers are feuding with their employers about return-to-office plans following the pandemic, and companies are increasingly using “ bossware” to keep tabs on employees—whether staffers or gig workers, working in the office or remotely. Le says Emotiv is aware of these trends and is carefully considering which companies to work with as it debuts its new gear. “The dystopian potential of this technology is not lost on us,” she says. “So we are very cognizant of choosing partners that want to introduce this technology in a responsible way—they have to have a genuine desire to help and empower employees,” she says.

Lee Daniels, a consultant who works for the global real estate services company JLL, has spoken with a lot of C-suite executives lately. “They’re worried,” says Daniels. “There aren’t as many people coming back to the office as originally anticipated—the hybrid model is here to stay, and it’s highly complex.” Executives come to Daniels asking how to manage a hybrid workforce. “This is where the neuroscience comes in,” he says.

Emotiv has partnered with JLL, which has begun to use the MN8 earbuds to help its clients collect “true scientific data,” Daniels says, about workers’ attention, distraction, and stress, and how those factors influence both productivity and well-being. Daniels says JLL is currently helping its clients run short-term experiments using the MN8 system to track workers’ responses to new collaboration tools and various work settings; for example, employers could compare the productivity of in-office and remote workers.

“The dystopian potential of this technology is not lost on us.” —Tan Le, Emotiv CEO

Emotiv CTO Geoff Mackellar believes the new MN8 system will succeed because of its convenient and comfortable form factor: The multipurpose earbuds also let the user listen to music and answer phone calls. The downside of earbuds is that they provide only two channels of brain data. When the company first considered this project, Mackellar says, his engineering team looked at the rich data set they’d collected from Emotiv’s other headsets over the past decade. The company boasts that academics have conducted more than 4,000 studies using Emotiv tech. From that trove of data—from headsets with 5, 14, or 32 channels—Emotiv isolated the data from the two channels the earbuds could pick up. “Obviously, there’s less information in the two sensors, but we were able to extract quite a lot of things that were very relevant,” Mackellar says.

Once the Emotiv engineers had a hardware prototype, they had volunteers wear the earbuds and a 14-channel headset at the same time. By recording data from the two systems in unison, the engineers trained a machine-learning algorithm to identify the signatures of attention and cognitive stress from the relatively sparse MN8 data. The brain signals associated with attention and stress have been well studied, Mackellar says, and are relatively easy to track. Although everyday activities such as talking and moving around also register on EEG, the Emotiv software filters out those artifacts.

The app that’s paired with the MN8 earbuds doesn’t display raw EEG data. Instead, it processes that data and shows workers two simple metrics relating to their individual performance. One squiggly line shows the rise and fall of workers’ attention to their tasks—the degree of focus and the dips that come when they switch tasks or get distracted—while another line represents their cognitive stress. Although short periods of stress can be motivating, too much for too long can erode productivity and well-being. The MN8 system will therefore sometimes suggest that the worker take a break. Workers can run their own experiments to see what kind of break activity best restores their mood and focus—maybe taking a walk, or getting a cup of coffee, or chatting with a colleague.

What neuroethicists think about neurotech in the workplace

While MN8 users can easily access data from their own brains, employers don’t see individual workers’ brain data. Instead, they receive aggregated data to get a sense of a team or department’s attention and stress levels. With that data, companies can see, for example, on which days and at which times of day their workers are most productive, or how a big announcement affects the overall level of worker stress.

Emotiv emphasizes the importance of anonymizing the data to protect individual privacy and prevent people from being promoted or fired based on their brain metrics. “The data belongs to you,” says Emotiv’s Le. “You have to explicitly allow a copy of it to be shared anonymously with your employer.” If a group is too small for real anonymity, Le says, the system will not share that data with employers. She also predicts that the device will be used only if workers opt in, perhaps as part of an employee wellness program that offers discounts on medical insurance in return for using the MN8 system regularly.

However, workers may still be worried that employers will somehow use the data against them. Karen Rommelfanger, founder of the Institute of Neuroethics, shares that concern. “I think there is significant interest from employers” in using such technologies, she says. “I don’t know if there’s significant interest from employees.”

Both she and Georgetown’s Giordano doubt that such tools will become commonplace anytime soon. “I think there will be pushback” from employees on issues such as privacy and worker rights, says Giordano. Even if the technology providers and the companies that deploy the technology take a responsible approach, he expects questions to be raised about who owns the brain data and how it’s used. “Perceived threats must be addressed early and explicitly,” he says.

Giordano says he expects workers in the United States and other western countries to object to routine brain scanning. In China, he says, workers have reportedly been more receptive to experiments with such technologies. He also believes that brain-monitoring devices will really take off first in industrial settings, where a momentary lack of attention can lead to accidents that injure workers and hurt a company’s bottom line. “It will probably work very well under some rubric of occupational safety,” Giordano says. It’s easy to imagine such devices being used by companies involved in trucking, construction, warehouse operations, and the like. Indeed, at least one such product, an EEG headband that measures fatigue, is already on the market for truck drivers and miners.

Giordano says that using brain-tracking devices for safety and wellness programs could be a slippery slope in any workplace setting. Even if a company focuses initially on workers’ well-being, it may soon find other uses for the metrics of productivity and performance that devices like the MN8 provide. “Metrics are meaningless unless those metrics are standardized, and then they very quickly become comparative,” he says.

Rommelfanger adds that no one can foresee how workplace neurotech will play out. “I think most companies creating neurotechnology aren’t prepared for the society that they’re creating,” she says. “They don’t know the possibilities yet.”

This article appears in the December 2022 print issue.


Match ID: 125 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 10 days
qualifiers: 2.14 executive

Brett Arends's ROI: Retire to Portugal? Hot springs in January, no traffic, and universal health care — the best retirement escape you’ve never heard of
Tue, 19 Apr 2022 09:58:25 -0500
Oh, and it’s not too hard to immigrate, says Boston finance executive Matt Patsky.
Match ID: 126 Score: 2.14 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 224 days
qualifiers: 2.14 executive

NASA’s DART Mission Aims to Save the World
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 15:52:53 +0000


Armageddon ruined everything. Armageddon—the 1998 movie, not the mythical battlefield—told the story of an asteroid headed straight for Earth, and a bunch of swaggering roughnecks sent in space shuttles to blow it up with a nuclear weapon.

Armageddon is big and noisy and stupid and shameless, and it’s going to be huge at the box office,” wrote Jay Carr of the Boston Globe.

Carr was right—the film was the year’s second biggest hit (after Titanic)—and ever since, scientists have had to explain, patiently, that cluttering space with radioactive debris may not be the best way to protect ourselves. NASA is now trying a slightly less dramatic approach with a robotic mission called DART—short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test. On Monday at 7:14 p.m. EDT, if all goes well, the little spacecraft will crash into an asteroid called Dimorphos, about 11 million kilometers from Earth. Dimorphos is about 160 meters across, and orbits a 780-meter asteroid, 65803 Didymos. NASA TV plans to cover it live.

DART’s end will be violent, but not blockbuster-movie-violent. Music won’t swell and girlfriends back on Earth won’t swoon. Mission managers hope the spacecraft, with a mass of about 600 kilograms, hitting at 22,000 km/h, will nudge the asteroid slightly in its orbit, just enough to prove that it’s technologically possible in case a future asteroid has Earth in its crosshairs.

“Maybe once a century or so, there’ll be an asteroid sizeable enough that we’d like to certainly know, ahead of time, if it was going to impact,” says Lindley Johnson, who has the title of planetary defense officer at NASA.

“If you just take a hair off the orbital velocity, you’ve changed the orbit of the asteroid so that what would have been impact three or four years down the road is now a complete miss.”

So take that, Hollywood! If DART succeeds, it will show there are better fuels to protect Earth than testosterone.

The risk of a comet or asteroid that wipes out civilization is really very small, but large enough that policymakers take it seriously. NASA, ordered by the U.S. Congress in 2005 to scan the inner solar system for hazards, has found nearly 900 so-called NEOs—near-Earth objects—at least a kilometer across, more than 95 percent of all in that size range that probably exist. It has plotted their orbits far into the future, and none of them stand more than a fraction of a percent chance of hitting Earth in this millennium.

An infographic showing the orientation of Didymos,  Dimorphos, DART, and LICIACube. The DART spacecraft should crash into the asteroid Dimorphos and slow it in its orbit around the larger asteroid Didymos. The LICIACube cubesat will fly in formation to take images of the impact.Johns Hopkins APL/NASA

But there are smaller NEOs, perhaps 140 meters or more in diameter, too small to end civilization but large enough to cause mass destruction if they hit a populated area. There may be 25,000 that come within 50 million km of Earth’s orbit, and NASA estimates telescopes have only found about 40 percent of them. That’s why scientists want to expand the search for them and have good ways to deal with them if necessary. DART is the first test.

NASA takes pains to say this is a low-risk mission. Didymos and Dimorphos never cross Earth’s orbit, and computer simulations show that no matter where or how hard DART hits, it cannot possibly divert either one enough to put Earth in danger. Scientists want to see if DART can alter Dimorphos’s speed by perhaps a few centimeters per second.

The DART spacecraft, a 1-meter cube with two long solar panels, is elegantly simple, equipped with a telescope called DRACO, hydrazine maneuvering thrusters, a xenon-fueled ion engine and a navigation system called SMART Nav. It was launched by a SpaceX rocket in November. About 4 hours and 90,000 km before the hoped-for impact, SMART Nav will take over control of the spacecraft, using optical images from the telescope. Didymos, the larger object, should be a point of light by then; Dimorphos, the intended target, will probably not appear as more than one pixel until about 50 minutes before impact. DART will send one image per second back to Earth, but the spacecraft is autonomous; signals from the ground, 38 light-seconds away, would be useless for steering as the ship races in.

A golden cubesat with a bright light and lines The DART spacecraft separated from its SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle, 55 minutes after liftoff from Vandenberg Space Force Base, in California, 24 November 2021. In this image from the rocket, the spacecraft had not yet unfurled its solar panels.NASA

What’s more, nobody knows the shape or consistency of little Dimorphos. Is it a solid boulder or a loose cluster of rubble? Is it smooth or craggy, round or elongated? “We’re trying to hit the center,” says Evan Smith, the deputy mission systems engineer at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, which is running DART. “We don’t want to overcorrect for some mountain or crater on one side that’s throwing an odd shadow or something.”

So on final approach, DART will cover 800 km without any steering. Thruster firings could blur the last images of Dimorphos’s surface, which scientists want to study. Impact should be imaged from about 50 km away by an Italian-made minisatellite, called LICIACube, which DART released two weeks ago.

“In the minutes following impact, I know everybody is going be high fiving on the engineering side,” said Tom Statler, DART’s program scientist at NASA, “but I’m going be imagining all the cool stuff that is actually going on on the asteroid, with a crater being dug and ejecta being blasted off.”

There is, of course, a possibility that DART will miss, in which case there should be enough fuel on board to allow engineers to go after a backup target. But an advantage of the Didymos-Dimorphos pair is that it should help in calculating how much effect the impact had. Telescopes on Earth (plus the Hubble and Webb space telescopes) may struggle to measure infinitesimal changes in the orbit of Dimorphos around the sun; it should be easier to see how much its orbit around Didymos is affected. The simplest measurement may be of the changing brightness of the double asteroid, as Dimorphos moves in front of or behind its partner, perhaps more quickly or slowly than it did before impact.

“We are moving an asteroid,” said Statler. “We are changing the motion of a natural celestial body in space. Humanity’s never done that before.”


Match ID: 127 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 67 days
qualifiers: 1.43 congress

Apple Kicks Off the Cell-Calls-From-Space Race
Thu, 08 Sep 2022 14:18:38 +0000


The race to deliver cellular calls from space passes two milestones this month and saw one major announcement last month. First, Apple will offer emergency satellite messaging on two of its latest iPhone models, the company announced on Wednesday. Second, AST SpaceMobile plans a launch on Saturday, 10 September, of an experimental satellite to test full-fledged satellite 5G service. In addition, T-Mobile USA and SpaceX intend to offer their own messaging and limited data service via the second generation of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite constellation, as the two companies announced on 25 August.

Each contender is taking a different approach to space-based cellular service. The Apple offering uses the existing satellite bandwidth Globalstar once used for messaging offerings, but without the need for a satellite-specific handset. The AST project and another company, Lynk Global, would use a dedicated network of satellites with larger-than-normal antennas to produce a 4G, 5G, and someday 6G cellular signal compatible with any existing 4G-compatible phone (as detailed in other recent IEEE Spectrum coverage of space-based 5G offerings). Assuming regulatory approval is forthcoming, the technology would work first in equatorial regions and then across more of the planet as these providers expand their satellite constellations. T-Mobile and Starlink’s offering would work in the former PCS band in the United States. SpaceX, like AST and Lynk, would need to negotiate access to spectrum on a country-by-country basis.

Apple’s competitors are unlikely to see commercial operations before 2024.

“Regulators have not decided on the power limits from space, what concerns there are about interference, especially across national borders. There’s a whole bunch of regulatory issues that simply haven’t been thought about to date.”
—Tim Farrar, telecommunications consultant

The T-Mobile–Starlink announcement is “in some ways an endorsement” of AST and Lynk’s proposition, and “in other ways a great threat,” says telecommunications consultant Tim Farrar of Tim Farrar Associates in Menlo Park, Calif. AST and Lynk have so far told investors they expect their national mobile network operator partners to charge per use or per day, but T-Mobile announced that they plan to include satellite messaging in the 1,900-megahertz range in their existing services. Apple said their Emergency SOS via Satellite service would be free the first two years for U.S. and Canadian iPhone 14 buyers, but did not say what it would cost after that. For now, the Globalstar satellites it is using cannot offer the kind of broadband bandwidth AST has promised, but Globalstar has reported to investors orders for new satellites that might offer new capabilities, including new gateways.

Even under the best conditions—a clear view of the sky—users will need 15 seconds to send a message via Apple’s service. They will also have to follow onscreen guidance to keep the device pointed at the satellites they are using. Light foliage can cause the same message to take more than a minute to send. Ashley Williams, a satellite engineer at Apple who recorded the service’s announcement, also mentioned a data-compression algorithm and a series of rescue-related suggested auto-replies intended to minimize the amount of data that users would need to send during a rescue.

Meanwhile, AST SpaceMobile says it aims to launch an experimental satellite Saturday, 10 September, to test its cellular broadband offering.

Last month’s T-Mobile-SpaceX announcement “helped the world focus attention on the huge market opportunity for SpaceMobile, the only planned space-based cellular broadband network. BlueWalker 3, which has a 693 sq ft array, is scheduled for launch within weeks!” tweeted AST SpaceMobile CEO Abel Avellan on 25 August. The size of the array matters because AST SpaceMobile has so far indicated in its applications for experimental satellite licenses that it intends to use lower radio frequencies (700–900 MHz) with less propagation loss but that require antennas much larger than conventional satellites carry.

The size of the array will also make it more reflective, which has raised concerns among astronomers. The size of Starlink’s planned constellation has already provoked complaints among astronomers because it will interfere with their ability to observe space. Sky & Telescope magazine published on 1 September a call for both professional and amateur astronomers to observe the growing constellations of satellites to document the interference. Professional astronomy societies have lobbied U.S. government agencies and Congress on the issue and met with SpaceX officials in May to discuss a recent change that brightened satellites by 0.5 visual magnitudes.

So far government agencies have issued licenses for thousands of low-Earth-orbiting satellites, which have the biggest impact on astronomers. Even with the constellations starting to form, satellite-cellular telecommunications companies are still open to big regulatory risks. “Regulators have not decided on the power limits from space, what concerns there are about interference, especially across national borders. There’s a whole bunch of regulatory issues that simply haven’t been thought about to date,” Farrar says.

For a hiker with a twisted ankle, a messaging service that takes a while to connect and twinkles in and out of service as satellites fly by may be better than nothing, but early space-based cellular will not be a seamless way to connect to video calls from out at sea.

“User cooperation is in my view the single most critical aspect of whether this service will attract mass-market usage or people willing to pay a significant amount for this service,” Farrar says.


Match ID: 128 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 82 days
qualifiers: 1.43 congress

NASA’s Artemis I Revives the Moonshot
Sun, 28 Aug 2022 13:00:00 +0000



Update 5 Sept.: For now, NASA’s giant Artemis I remains on the ground after two launch attempts scrubbed by a hydrogen leak and a balky engine sensor. Mission managers say Artemis will fly when everything's ready—but haven't yet specified whether that might be in late September or in mid-October.

“When you look at the rocket, it looks almost retro,” said Bill Nelson, the administrator of NASA. “Looks like we’re looking back toward the Saturn V. But it’s a totally different, new, highly sophisticated—more sophisticated—rocket, and spacecraft.”

Artemis, powered by the Space Launch System rocket, is America’s first attempt to send astronauts to the moon since Apollo 17 in 1972, and technology has taken giant leaps since then. On Artemis I, the first test flight, mission managers say they are taking the SLS, with its uncrewed Orion spacecraft up top, and “stressing it beyond what it is designed for”—the better to ensure safe flights when astronauts make their first landings, currently targeted to begin with Artemis III in 2025.

But Nelson is right: The rocket is retro in many ways, borrowing heavily from the space shuttles America flew for 30 years, and from the Apollo-Saturn V.

Much of Artemis’s hardware is refurbished: Its four main engines, and parts of its two strap-on boosters, all flew before on shuttle missions. The rocket’s apricot color comes from spray-on insulation much like the foam on the shuttle’s external tank. And the large maneuvering engine in Orion’s service module is actually 40 years old—used on 19 space shuttle flights between 1984 and 1992.

“I have a name for missions that use too much new technology—failures.”
—John Casani, NASA

Perhaps more important, the project inherits basic engineering from half a century of spaceflight. Just look at Orion’s crew capsule—a truncated cone, somewhat larger than the Apollo Command Module but conceptually very similar.

Old, of course, does not mean bad. NASA says there is no need to reinvent things engineers got right the first time.

“There are certain fundamental aspects of deep-space exploration that are really independent of money,” says Jim Geffre, Orion vehicle-integration manager at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. “The laws of physics haven’t changed since the 1960s. And capsule shapes happen to be really good for coming back into the atmosphere at Mach 32.”

Roger Launius, who served as NASA’s chief historian from 1990 to 2002 and as a curator at the Smithsonian Institution from then until 2017, tells of a conversation he had with John Casani, a veteran NASA engineer who managed the Voyager, Galileo, and Cassini probes to the outer planets.

“I have a name for missions that use too much new technology,” he recalls Casani saying. “Failures.”

The Artemis I flight is slated for about six weeks. (Apollo 11 lasted eight days.) The ship roughly follows Apollo’s path to the moon’s vicinity, but then puts itself in what NASA calls a distant retrograde orbit. It swoops within 110 kilometers of the lunar surface for a gravity assist, then heads 64,000 km out—taking more than a month but using less fuel than it would in closer orbits. Finally, it comes home, reentering the Earth’s atmosphere at 11 km per second, slowing itself with a heatshield and parachutes, and splashing down in the Pacific not far from San Diego.

If all four, quadruply redundant flight computer modules fail, there is a fifth, entirely separate computer onboard, running different code to get the spacecraft home.

“That extra time in space,” says Geffre, “allows us to operate the systems, give more time in deep space, and all those things that stress it, like radiation and micrometeoroids, thermal environments.”

There are, of course, newer technologies on board. Orion is controlled by two vehicle-management computers, each composed of two flight computer modules (FCMs) to handle guidance, navigation, propulsion, communications, and other systems. The flight control system, Geffre points out, is quad-redundant; if at any point one of the four FCMs disagrees with the others, it will take itself offline and, in a 22-second process, reset itself to make sure its outputs are consistent with the others’. If all four FCMs fail, there is a fifth, entirely separate computer running different code to get the spacecraft home.

Guidance and navigation, too, have advanced since the sextant used on Apollo. Orion uses a star tracker to determine its attitude, imaging stars and comparing them to an onboard database. And an optical navigation camera shoots Earth and the moon so that guidance software can determine their distance and position and keep the spacecraft on course. NASA says it’s there as backup, able to get Orion to a safe splashdown even if all communication with Earth has been lost.

But even those systems aren’t entirely new. Geffre points out that the guidance system’s architecture is derived from the Boeing 787. Computing power in deep space is limited by cosmic radiation, which can corrupt the output of microprocessors beyond the protection of Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field.

Beyond that is the inevitable issue of cost. Artemis is a giant project, years behind schedule, started long before NASA began to buy other launches from companies like SpaceX and Rocket Lab. NASA’s inspector general, Paul Martin, testified to Congress in March that the first four Artemis missions would cost US $4.1 billion each—“a price tag that strikes us as unsustainable.”

Launius, for one, rejects the argument that government is inherently wasteful. “Yes, NASA’s had problems in managing programs in the past. Who hasn’t?” he says. He points out that Blue Origin and SpaceX have had plenty of setbacks of their own—they’re just not obliged to be public about them. “I could go on and on. It’s not a government thing per se and it’s not a NASA thing per se.”

So why return to the moon with—please forgive the pun—such a retro rocket? Partly, say those who watch Artemis closely, because it’s become too big to fail, with so much American money and brainpower invested in it. Partly because it turns NASA’s astronauts outward again, exploring instead of maintaining a space station. Partly because new perspectives could come of it. And partly because China and Russia have ambitions in space that threaten America’s.

“Apollo was a demonstration of technological verisimilitude—to the whole world,” says Launius. “And the whole world knew then, as they know today, that the future belongs to the civilization that can master science and technology.”

Update 7 Sept.: Artemis I has been on launchpad 39B, not 39A as previously reported, at Kennedy Space Center.


Match ID: 129 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 93 days
qualifiers: 1.43 congress

NASA Administrator Statement on Agency Authorization Bill
Thu, 28 Jul 2022 15:22 EDT
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson released this statement Thursday following approval by the U.S. Congress for the NASA Authorization Act of 2022, which is part of the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act of 2022.
Match ID: 130 Score: 1.43 source: www.nasa.gov age: 124 days
qualifiers: 1.43 congress

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