logo RSS Rabbit quadric
News that matters, fast.
Good luck, have news.
Happy scrolling!

Categories



Date/Time of Last Update: Sat Sep 24 18:00:45 2022 UTC




********** CLIMATE **********
return to top



UK environment laws under threat in ‘deregulatory free-for-all’
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 08:22:34 GMT

Campaigners say revoking of post-Brexit protections amounts to legislative vandalism

Hundreds of Britain’s environmental laws covering water quality, sewage pollution, clean air, habitat protections and the use of pesticides are lined up for removal from UK law under a government bill.

Environmentalists accused Liz Truss’s government of reneging on a commitment made after Brexit to halt the decline of nature by 2030. They say the revoking of 570 environmental laws that were rolled over from EU law after Brexit amounts to a deregulatory free-for-all leaving the environment unprotected.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 0 Score: 40.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 40.00 air pollution

Climate Change is NSF Engineering Alliance’s Top Research Priority
Tue, 20 Sep 2022 20:00:00 +0000


Since its launch in April 2021, the Engineering Research Visioning Alliance has convened a diverse set of experts to explore three areas in which fundamental research could have the most impact: climate change; the nexus of biology and engineering; and securing critical infrastructure against hackers.

To identify priorities for each theme, ERVA—an initiative funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation—holds what are termed visioning events, wherein IEEE members and hundreds of other experts from academia, industry, and nonprofits can conceptualize bold ideas. The results are distilled into reports that identify actionable priorities for engineering research pursuit. Reports from recent visioning events are slated to be released to the public in the next few months.


IEEE is one of more than 20 professional engineering societies that have joined ERVA as affiliate partners.

Research energy storage and greenhouse gas capture solutions

Identifying technologies to address the climate crisis was ERVA’s first theme. The theme was based on results of a survey ERVA conducted last year of the engineering community about what the research priorities should be.

“The resounding answer from the 500 respondents was climate change,” says Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska, EVRA’s principal investigator. She is a vice president for knowledge enterprise at Ohio State University, in Columbus.

During the virtual visioning event in December, experts explored solar and renewable energy, carbon sequestration, water management, and geoengineering. The climate change task force released its report last month.

These are some of the research areas ERVA said should be pursued:

  • Energy storage, transmission, and critical materials. The materials include those that are nanoengineered, ones that could be used for nontraditional energy storage, and those that can extract additional energy from heat cycles.
  • Greenhouse gas capture and elimination. Research priorities included capturing and eliminating methane and nitrous oxide released in agriculture operations.
  • Resilient, energy-efficient, and healthful infrastructure. One identified priority was research to develop low-cost coatings for buildings and roads to reduce heat effects and increase self-cooling.
  • Water, ecosystem, and geoengineering assessments. The report identifies research in creating sensing, measuring, and AI models to analyze the flow of water to ensure its availability during droughts and other disruptive events caused or worsened by climate change.

“The groundwork ERVA has laid out in this report creates a blueprint for funders to invest in,” Grejner-Brzezinska says, “and catalyzes engineering research for a more secure and sustainable world. As agencies and research organizations enact legislation to reduce carbon emissions and bolster clean-energy technologies, engineering is poised to lead with research and development.”

IEEE is developing a strategy to guide the organization’s response to the global threat.

Use biology and engineering to interrupt the transfer of viruses

A virtual visioning event on Leveraging Biology to Power Engineering Impact was held in March. The hope, as explained on the event’s website, is to transform research where biology and engineering intersect: health care and medicine, agriculture, and high tech.

“As agencies and research organizations enact legislation to reduce carbon emissions and bolster clean-energy technologies, engineering is poised to lead with research and development.”

The experts considered research directions in three areas: Use biology to inspire engineers to develop new components, adapt and adopt biological constructs beyond their original function, and create engineering systems and components that improve on biology. An example would be to interrupt the transfer of viruses from one species to another so as to reduce the spread of diseases.

The task force’s report on which research areas to pursue is scheduled to be released next month, according to Grejner-Brzezinska.

Protect infrastructure from hackers

One of today’s main engineering challenges, according to ERVA, is the protection of infrastructure against hackers and other threats. At the in-person visioning event held last month at MIT on the Engineering R&D Solutions for Unhackable Infrastructure theme, researchers discussed gaps in security technologies and looked at how to design trustworthy systems and how to build resilience into interdependent infrastructures.

ERVA describes unhackable as the ability to ensure safety, security, and trust in essential systems and services that society relies on.

The task force examined research themes related to physical infrastructure such as assets and hardware; software and algorithms; and data and communication networks. It also considered new security methods for users, operators, and security administrators to thwart cyberattacks.

Grejner-Brzezinska says the task force’s report will be released in mid-December.

Sustainable transportation networks

Planning has begun for the next visioning event, Sustainable Transportation Networks, to be held virtually on 2 and 3 November. The session is to explore innovative and sustainable transportation modes and the infrastructure networks needed to support them. Some of the areas to be discussed are green construction; longitudinal impact studies; interconnected transportation modes such as rail, marine, and air transport; and transportation equity.

Become an ERVA supporter

ERVA will convene four visioning events each year on broad engineering research themes that have the potential to solve societal challenges, Grejner-Brzezinska says. IEEE members who are experts in the fields can get involved by joining the ERVA Champions, now more than 900 strong. They are among the first to learn about upcoming visioning sessions and about openings to serve on volunteer groups such as thematic task forces, advisory boards, and standing councils. Members can sign up on the ERVA website.

“Becoming a champion is an opportunity to break out of your silos of disciplines and really come together with others in the engineering research community,” Grejner-Brzezinska says. “You can do what engineers do best: solve problems.”


Match ID: 1 Score: 25.71 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 3 days
qualifiers: 12.86 climate change, 12.86 carbon

Interview: New UN climate chief takes the fight personally
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 13:43:02 EDT
The United Nations official now in charge of the fight to curb climate change has a personal stake in the battle to reduce emissions
Match ID: 2 Score: 15.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

This dash for growth represents the death of green Toryism
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 16:00:08 GMT

Boris Johnson was far more eco-conscious than recent Conservative predecessors. But this mini-budget is a reversion to type

The dash for growth by Kwasi Kwarteng means unshackling City bankers and property developers from the taxes and regulations that prevent them from paving over what’s left of Britain’s green and pleasant land.

The humble concrete mixer will be elevated to exalted status. There will be more executive homes built on greenfield sites. More distribution sheds dotted along busy A-roads. And more urban renewal of the kind that involves tearing down buildings in a plume of dust and carbon emissions to replace them with something not much better, at least not in environmental terms.

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

Philadelphia’s Diatom Archive Is a Way, Way, Wayback Machine
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 12:00:00 +0000
A cache of phytoplankton at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is helping researchers reconstruct historical coastlines.
Match ID: 4 Score: 15.00 source: www.wired.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

Decarbonising the energy system by 2050 could save trillions - Oxford study
2022-09-24T08:31:56+00:00
Decarbonising the energy system by 2050 could save trillions - Oxford study submitted by /u/editorijsmi
[link] [comments]

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

Mercedes’ F1 team cut its freight emissions by 89% with biofuel switch
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 14:47:08 +0000
16 trucks used biofuels to haul between the final three European races this year.
Match ID: 6 Score: 15.00 source: arstechnica.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 carbon

Yeti CFO Paul Carbone resigning effective Oct. 28, shares dip 3.5% premarket
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 12:06:08 GMT

Yeti Holdings Inc. said Friday that Chief Financial Officer Paul Carbone is resigning effective Oct. 28, to pursue a business opportunity that will allow him to be closer to family in Boston. The provider of outdoor products such as coolers and drinkware and backpacks has commenced a search for a replacement. Shares were down 3.5% premarket and have fallen 65% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has fallen 21%.

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: 7 Score: 15.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 carbon

Mini-budget fell far short of promoting low-carbon future for UK
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 12:00:08 GMT

While not devoid of green measures, Kwarteng’s announcement was more notable for what it did not include

The chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, has announced that the effective ban on onshore wind farms is to be lifted, and the poorest households will regain access to insulation and energy efficiency measures.

Polls show that onshore wind is popular, with more than 70% of people supporting it. Jess Ralston, a senior analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: “The ban on onshore wind has been a major anomaly in British energy policy given it’s both cheap and popular with the public. So a decision to lift the ban suggests [Kwarteng] has listened to the experts and understands building more British renewables reduces our reliance on costly gas and so brings down bills.”

Continue reading...
Match ID: 8 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 carbon

Climate change risk to coastal castles - English Heritage
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 00:04:19 GMT
Rising sea levels are threatening ancient castles and forts at an accelerating rate, says English Heritage.
Match ID: 9 Score: 15.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

Climate change: Spike in Amazon emissions linked to law enforcement
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 23:00:23 GMT
Scientists say a huge increase in deforestation in the Amazon is linked to lax law enforcement.
Match ID: 10 Score: 15.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

Lawns Are Dumb. But Ripping Them Out May Come With a Catch
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 12:00:00 +0000
Meticulous turf is environmentally terrible. Yet grass does have one charm: It “sweats,” helping cool the local area.
Match ID: 11 Score: 15.00 source: www.wired.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

Europe’s Heat Waves Offer a Grim Vision of the Future
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 11:00:00 +0000
Extreme temperatures are the direct result of climate change, which means more intense heat events, wildfires, and droughts to come.
Match ID: 12 Score: 15.00 source: www.wired.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

UN chief: 'Tax fossil fuel profits for climate damage'
Tue, 20 Sep 2022 13:30:00 GMT
Tax fossil fuel companies' profits to pay for the damage done by climate change, says UN Secretary General.
Match ID: 13 Score: 10.71 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 4 days
qualifiers: 10.71 climate change

We Can Now Train Big Neural Networks on Small Devices
Tue, 20 Sep 2022 13:02:00 +0000


The gadgets around us are constantly learning about our lives. Smartwatches pick up on our vital signs to track our health. Home speakers listen to our conversations to recognize our voices. Smartphones play grammarian, watching what we write in order to fix our idiosyncratic typos. We appreciate these conveniences, but the information we share with our gadgets isn’t always kept between us and our electronic minders. Machine learning can require heavy hardware, so “edge” devices like phones often send raw data to central servers, which then return trained algorithms. Some people would like that training to happen locally. A new AI training method expands the training capabilities of smaller devices, potentially helping to preserve privacy.

The most powerful machine-learning systems use neural networks, complex functions filled with tunable parameters. During training, a network receives an input (such as a set of pixels), generates an output (such as the label “cat”), compares its output with the correct answer, and adjusts its parameters to do better next time. To know how to tune each of those internal knobs, the network needs to remember the effect of each one, but they regularly number in the millions or even billions. That requires a lot of memory. Training a neural network can require hundreds of times the memory called upon when merely using one (also called “inference”). In the latter case, the memory is allowed to forget what each layer of the network did as soon as it passes information to the next layer.


To reduce the memory demanded during the training phase, researchers have employed a few tricks. In one, called paging or offloading, the machine moves those activations from short-term memory to a slower but more abundant type of memory such as flash or an SD card, then brings it back when needed. In another, called rematerialization, the machine deletes the activations, then computes them again later. Previously, memory-reduction systems used one of those two tricks or, says Shishir Patil, a computer scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, and the lead author of the paper describing the innovation, they were combined using “heuristics” that are “suboptimal,” often requiring a lot of energy. The innovation reported by Patil and his collaborators formalizes the combination of paging and rematerialization.

“Taking these two techniques, combining them well into this optimization problem, and then solving it—that’s really nice,” says Jiasi Chen, a computer scientist at the University of California, Riverside, who works on edge computing but was not involved in the work.

In July, Patil presented his system, called POET (private optimal energy training), at the International Conference on Machine Learning, in Baltimore. He first gives POET a device’s technical details and information about the architecture of a neural network he wants it to train. He specifies a memory budget and a time budget. He then asks it to create a training process that minimizes energy usage. The process might decide to page certain activations that would be inefficient to recompute but rematerialize others that are simple to redo but require a lot of memory to store.

One of the keys to the breakthrough was to define the problem as a mixed integer linear programming (MILP) puzzle, a set of constraints and relationships between variables. For each device and network architecture, POET plugs its variables into Patil’s hand-crafted MILP program, then finds the optimal solution. “A main challenge is actually formulating that problem in a nice way so that you can input it into a solver,” Chen says. “So, you capture all of the realistic system dynamics, like energy, latency, and memory.”

The team tested POET on four different processors, whose RAM ranged from 32 KB to 8 GB. On each, the researchers trained three different neural network architectures: two types popular in image recognition (VGG16 and ResNet-18), plus a popular language-processing network (BERT). In many of the tests, the system could reduce memory usage by about 80 percent, without a big bump in energy use. Comparable methods couldn’t do both at the same time. According to Patil, the study showed that BERT can now be trained on the smallest devices, which was previously impossible.

“When we started off, POET was mostly a cute idea,” Patil says. Now, several companies have reached out about using it, and at least one large company has tried it in its smart speaker. One thing they like, Patil says, is that POET doesn’t reduce network precision by “quantizing,” or abbreviating, activations to save memory. So the teams that design networks don’t have to coordinate with teams that implement them in order to negotiate trade-offs between precision and memory.

Patil notes other reasons to use POET besides privacy concerns. Some devices need to train networks locally because they have low or no Internet connection. These include devices used on farms, in submarines, or in space. Other setups can benefit from the innovation because data transmission requires too much energy. POET could also make large devices—Internet servers—more memory efficient and energy efficient. But as for keeping data private, Patil says, “I guess this is very timely, right?”


Match ID: 14 Score: 10.71 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 4 days
qualifiers: 10.71 carbon

Satellite Imagery for Everyone
Sat, 19 Feb 2022 16:00:00 +0000


Every day, satellites circling overhead capture trillions of pixels of high-resolution imagery of the surface below. In the past, this kind of information was mostly reserved for specialists in government or the military. But these days, almost anyone can use it.

That’s because the cost of sending payloads, including imaging satellites, into orbit has dropped drastically. High-resolution satellite images, which used to cost tens of thousands of dollars, now can be had for the price of a cup of coffee.

What’s more, with the recent advances in artificial intelligence, companies can more easily extract the information they need from huge digital data sets, including ones composed of satellite images. Using such images to make business decisions on the fly might seem like science fiction, but it is already happening within some industries.


This image shows are variety of blue and green hues, interwoven in a geometrically intriguing way.

These underwater sand dunes adorn the seafloor between Andros Island and the Exuma islands in the Bahamas. The turquoise to the right reflects a shallow carbonate bank, while the dark blue to the left marks the edge of a local deep called Tongue of the Ocean. This image was captured in April 2020 using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite.

Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory


Here’s a brief overview of how you, too, can access this kind of information and use it to your advantage. But before you’ll be able to do that effectively, you need to learn a little about how modern satellite imagery works.

The orbits of Earth-observation satellites generally fall into one of two categories: GEO and LEO. The former is shorthand for geosynchronous equatorial orbit. GEO satellites are positioned roughly 36,000 kilometers above the equator, where they circle in sync with Earth’s rotation. Viewed from the ground, these satellites appear to be stationary, in the sense that their bearing and elevation remain constant. That’s why GEO is said to be a geostationary orbit.

Such orbits are, of course, great for communications relays—it’s what allows people to mount satellite-TV dishes on their houses in a fixed orientation. But GEO satellites are also appropriate when you want to monitor some region of Earth by capturing images over time. Because the satellites are so high up, the resolution of that imagery is quite coarse, however. So these orbits are primarily used for observation satellites designed to track changing weather conditions over broad areas.

Being stationary with respect to Earth means that GEO satellites are always within range of a downlink station, so they can send data back to Earth in minutes. This allows them to alert people to changes in weather patterns almost in real time. Most of this kind of data is made available for free by the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.


This black-and-white image shows a narrow waterway blocked by a large ship. The resolution of the image is sufficient to make out individual shipping containers on its deck, as well as the tugboats arrayed around it.

In March 2021, the container ship Ever Given ran aground, blocking the Suez Canal for six days. This satellite image of the scene, obtained using synthetic-aperture radar, shows the kind resolution that is possible with this technology.

Capella Space


The other option is LEO, which stands for low Earth orbit. Satellites placed in LEO are much closer to the ground, which allows them to obtain higher-resolution images. And the lower you can go, the better the resolution you can get. The company Planet, for example, increased the resolution of its recently completed satellite constellation, SkySat, from 72 centimeters per pixel to just 50 cm—an incredible feat—by lowering the orbits its satellites follow from 500 to 450 km and improving the image processing.

The best commercially available spatial resolution for optical imagery is 25 cm, which means that one pixel represents a 25-by-25-cm area on the ground—roughly the size of your laptop. A handful of companies capture data with 25-cm to 1-meter resolution, which is considered high to very high resolution in this industry. Some of these companies also offer data from 1- to 5-meter resolution, considered medium to high resolution. Finally, several government programs have made optical data available at 10-, 15-, 30-, and 250-meter resolutions for free with open data programs. These include NASA/U.S. Geological Survey Landsat, NASA MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer), and ESA Copernicus. This imagery is considered low resolution.

Because the satellites that provide the highest-resolution images are in the lowest orbits, they sense less area at once. To cover the entire planet, a satellite can be placed in a polar orbit, which takes it from pole to pole. As it travels, Earth rotates under it, so on its next pass, it will be above a different part of Earth.

Many of these satellites don’t pass directly over the poles, though. Instead, they are placed in a near-polar orbit that has been specially designed to take advantage of a subtle bit of physics. You see, the spinning Earth bulges outward slightly at the equator. That extra mass causes the orbits of satellites that are not in polar orbits to shift or (technically speaking) to precess. Satellite operators often take advantage of this phenomenon to put a satellite in what’s called a sun-synchronous orbit. Such orbits allow the repeated passes of the satellite over a given spot to take place at the same time of day. Not having the pattern of shadows shift between passes helps the people using these images to detect changes.




It usually takes 24 hours for a satellite in polar orbit to survey the entire surface of Earth. To image the whole world more frequently, satellite companies use multiple satellites, all equipped with the same sensor and following different orbits. In this way, these companies can provide more frequently updated images of a given location. For example, Maxar’s Worldview Legion constellation, launching later this year, includes six satellites.

After a satellite captures some number of images, all that data needs to be sent down to Earth and processed. The time required for that varies.

DigitalGlobe (which Maxar acquired in 2017) recently announced that it had managed to send data from a satellite down to a ground station and then store it in the cloud in less than a minute. That was possible because the image sent back was of the parking lot of the ground station, so the satellite didn’t have to travel between the collection point and where it had to be to do the data “dumping,” as this process is called.

In general, Earth-observation satellites in LEO don’t capture imagery all the time—they do that only when they are above an area of special interest. That’s because these satellites are limited to how much data they can send at one time. Typically, they can transmit data for only 10 minutes or so before they get out of range of a ground station. And they cannot record more data than they’ll have time to dump.

Currently, ground stations are located mostly near the poles, the most visited areas in polar orbits. But we can soon expect distances to the nearest ground station to shorten because both Amazon and Microsoft have announced intentions to build large networks of ground stations located all over the world. As it turns out, hosting the terabytes of satellite data that are collected daily is big business for these companies, which sell their cloud services (Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure) to satellite operators.

For now, if you are looking for imagery of an area far from a ground station, expect a significant delay—maybe hours—between capture and transmission of the data. The data will then have to be processed, which adds yet more time. The fastest providers currently make their data available within 48 hours of capture, but not all can manage that. While it is possible, under ideal weather conditions, for a commercial entity to request a new capture and get the data it needs delivered the same week, such quick turnaround times are still considered cutting edge.


The best commercially available spatial resolution is 25 centimeters for optical imagery, which means that one pixel represents something roughly the size of your laptop.


I’ve been using the word “imagery,” but it’s important to note that satellites do not capture images the same way ordinary cameras do. The optical sensors in satellites are calibrated to measure reflectance over specific bands of the electromagnetic spectrum. This could mean they record how much red, green, and blue light is reflected from different parts of the ground. The satellite operator will then apply a variety of adjustments to correct colors, combine adjacent images, and account for parallax, forming what’s called a true-color composite image, which looks pretty much like what you would expect to get from a good camera floating high in the sky and pointed directly down.

Imaging satellites can also capture data outside of the visible-light spectrum. The near-infrared band is widely used in agriculture, for example, because these images help farmers gauge the health of their crops. This band can also be used to detect soil moisture and a variety of other ground features that would otherwise be hard to determine.

Longer-wavelength “thermal” IR does a good job of penetrating smoke and picking up heat sources, making it useful for wildfire monitoring. And synthetic-aperture radar satellites, which I discuss in greater detail below, are becoming more common because the images they produce aren’t affected by clouds and don’t require the sun for illumination.

You might wonder whether aerial imagery, say, from a drone, wouldn’t work at least as well as satellite data. Sometimes it can. But for many situations, using satellites is the better strategy. Satellites can capture imagery over areas that would be difficult to access otherwise because of their remoteness, for example. Or there could be other sorts of accessibility issues: The area of interest could be in a conflict zone, on private land, or in another place that planes or drones cannot overfly.

So with satellites, organizations can easily monitor the changes taking place at various far-flung locations. Satellite imagery allows pipeline operators, for instance, to quickly identify incursions into their right-of-way zones. The company can then take steps to prevent a disastrous incident, such as someone puncturing a gas pipeline while construction is taking place nearby.


\u200bThis satellite image shows a snow-covered area. A tongue of darker material is draped over the side of a slope, impinging on a nearby developed area with buildings.

This SkySat image shows the effect of a devastating landslide that took place on 30 December 2020. Debris from that landslide destroyed buildings and killed 10 people in the Norwegian village of Ask.

SkySat/Planet



The ability to compare archived imagery with recently acquired data has helped a variety of industries. For example, insurance companies sometimes use satellite data to detect fraudulent claims (“Looks like your house had a damaged roof when you bought it…”). And financial-investment firms use satellite imagery to evaluate such things as retailers’ future profits based on parking-lot fullness or to predict crop prices before farmers report their yields for the season.

Satellite imagery provides a particularly useful way to find or monitor the location of undisclosed features or activities. Sarah Parcak of the University of Alabama, for example, uses satellite imagery to locate archaeological sites of interest. 52Impact, a consulting company in the Netherlands, identified undisclosed waste dump sites by training an algorithm to recognize their telltale spectral signature. Satellite imagery has also helped identify illegal fishing activities, fight human trafficking, monitor oil spills, get accurate reporting on COVID-19 deaths, and even investigate Uyghur internment camps in China—all situations where the primary actors couldn’t be trusted to accurately report what’s going on.

Despite these many successes, investigative reporters and nongovernmental organizations aren’t yet using satellite data regularly, perhaps because even the small cost of the imagery is a deterrent. Thankfully, some kinds of low-resolution satellite data can be had for free.

The first place to look for free satellite imagery is the Copernicus Open Access Hub and EarthExplorer. Both offer free access to a wide range of open data. The imagery is lower resolution than what you can purchase, but if the limited resolution meets your needs, why spend money?

If you require medium- or high-resolution data, you might be able to buy it directly from the relevant satellite operator. This field recently went through a period of mergers and acquisitions, leaving only a handful of providers, the big three in the West being Maxar and Planet in the United States and Airbus in Germany. There are also a few large Asian providers, such as SI Imaging Services in South Korea and Twenty First Century Aerospace Technology in Singapore. Most providers have a commercial branch, but they primarily target government buyers. And they often require large minimum purchases, which is unhelpful to companies looking to monitor hundreds of locations or fewer.

Expect the distance to the nearest ground station to shorten because both Amazon and Microsoft have announced intentions to build large networks of ground stations located all over the world.

Fortunately, approaching a satellite operator isn’t the only option. In the past five years, a cottage industry of consultants and local resellers with exclusive deals to service a certain market has sprung up. Aggregators and resellers spend years negotiating contracts with multiple providers so they can offer customers access to data sets at more attractive prices, sometimes for as little as a few dollars per image. Some companies providing geographic information systems—including Esri, L3Harris, and Safe Software—have also negotiated reselling agreements with satellite-image providers.

Traditional resellers are middlemen who will connect you with a salesperson to discuss your needs, obtain quotes from providers on your behalf, and negotiate pricing and priority schedules for image capture and sometimes also for the processing of the data. This is the case for Apollo Mapping, European Space Imaging, Geocento, LandInfo, Satellite Imaging Corp., and many more. The more innovative resellers will give you access to digital platforms where you can check whether an image you need is available from a certain archive and then order it. Examples include LandViewer from EOS and Image Hunter from Apollo Mapping.

More recently, a new crop of aggregators began offering customers the ability to programmatically access Earth-observation data sets. These companies work best for people looking to integrate such data into their own applications or workflows. These include the company I work for, SkyWatch, which provides such a service, called EarthCache. Other examples are UP42 from Airbus and Sentinel Hub from Sinergise.

While you will still need to talk with a sales rep to activate your account—most often to verify you will use the data in ways that fits the company’s terms of service and licensing agreements—once you’ve been granted access to their applications, you will be able to programmatically order archive data from one or multiple providers. SkyWatch is, however, the only aggregator allowing users to programmatically request future data to be collected (“tasking a satellite”).

While satellite imagery is fantastically abundant and easy to access today, two changes are afoot that will expand further what you can do with satellite data: faster revisits and greater use of synthetic-aperture radar (SAR).

This image shows a sprawling compound of dozens of large buildings located in a desert area.

This image shows a race-track shaped structure with a tall chimney in the middle, built in an area where the ground is a distinctly reddish hue. Satellite images have helped to reveal China’s treatment of its Muslim Uyghur minority. About a million Uyghurs (and other ethnic minorities) have been interned in prisons or camps like the one shown here [top], which lies to the east of the city of Ürümqi, the capital of China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Another satellite image [bottom] shows the characteristic oval shape of a fixed-chimney Bull’s trench kiln, a type widely used for manufacturing bricks in southern Asia. This one is located in Pakistan’s Punjab province. This design poses environmental concerns because of the sooty air pollution it generates, and such kilns have also been associated with human-rights abuses.Top: CNES/Airbus/Google Earth; Bottom: Maxar Technologies/Google Earth

The first of these developments is not surprising. As more Earth-observation satellites are put into orbit, more images will be taken, more often. So how frequently a given area is imaged by a satellite will increase. Right now, that’s typically two or three times a week. Expect the revisit rate soon to become several times a day. This won’t entirely address the challenge of clouds obscuring what you want to view, but it will help.

The second development is more subtle. Data from the two satellites of the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 SAR mission, available at no cost, has enabled companies to dabble in SAR over the last few years.

With SAR, the satellite beams radio waves down and measures the return signals bouncing off the surface. It does that continually, and clever processing is used to turn that data into images. The use of radio allows these satellites to see through clouds and to collect measurements day and night. Depending on the radar band that’s employed, SAR imagery can be used to judge material properties, moisture content, precise movements, and elevation.

As more companies get familiar with such data sets, there will no doubt be a growing demand for satellite SAR imagery, which has been widely used by the military since the 1970s. But it’s just now starting to appear in commercial products. You can expect those offerings to grow dramatically, though.

Indeed, a large portion of the money being invested in this industry is currently going to fund large SAR constellations, including those of Capella Space, Iceye, Synspective, XpressSAR, and others. The market is going to get crowded fast, which is great news for customers. It means they will be able to obtain high-resolution SAR images of the place they’re interested in, taken every hour (or less), day or night, cloudy or clear.

People will no doubt figure out wonderful new ways to employ this information, so the more folks who have access to it, the better. This is something my colleagues at SkyWatch and I deeply believe, and it’s why we’ve made it our mission to help democratize access to satellite imagery.

One day in the not-so-distant future, Earth-observation satellite data might become as ubiquitous as GPS, another satellite technology first used only by the military. Imagine, for example, being able to take out your phone and say something like, “Show me this morning’s soil-moisture map for Grover’s Corners High; I want to see whether the baseball fields are still soggy.”

This article appears in the March 2022 print issue as “A Boom with a View.”

Editor's note: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Maxar's Worldview Legion constellation launched last year.


Match ID: 15 Score: 7.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 217 days
qualifiers: 5.71 air pollution, 2.14 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: 52 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change, 2.14 carbon

Climate change: Pakistan floods 'likely' made worse by warming
Thu, 15 Sep 2022 22:41:45 GMT
Emissions from human activities played a role in the recent floods that have brought devastation to Pakistan.
Match ID: 17 Score: 2.14 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 8 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

Ensuring Underwater Robots Survive in Hot Tropical Waters
Thu, 15 Sep 2022 15:00:00 +0000


The hot, humid environment of tropical marine areas such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef can wreak havoc on the marine autonomous systems. Underwater and surface MAS are used for marine monitoring, locating objects such as mines on the seafloor, and rescuing swimmers.

“Tropical conditions can cause systems to overheat or prevent high-density lithium batteries from recharging,” says Melanie Olsen, who is a project director of the Australian Institute of Marine Science’s (AIMS) ReefWorks, a technology testing and evaluation facility in northern Australia. “And the microbial and small creatures that thrive in these tropical environments grow rapidly on underwater surfaces and degrade the sensor performance and the hydrodynamics of the robotics and autonomous systems.”


Developing technology that can stand up to these conditions is part of Olsen’s job, as is supporting ReefWorks’ broader mission of helping others move their autonomous systems out of the lab. It’s essential to test these systems and collect compliance evidence to demonstrate they meet regulatory requirements and can be certified for operations, says Olsen, an IEEE senior member. But there are very few places to test marine robotics, autonomous systems, and artificial-intelligence (RAS-AI) technologies, which hampers the growth of the industry, Olsen says. “It’s difficult for RAS-AI vendors to progress from a prototype to a commercial product because the pathway to a certified system is complex.”

That’s why AIMS established ReefWorks. The facility is used to test crewed and uncrewed tropical and marine vessels as well as robots, sensors, and other innovations. “We are Australia’s—and possibly the world’s—first such testing facility in the tropics,” Olsen says. Examples of underwater and surface MAS include the ReefScan CoralAUV, which is used for marine monitoring, and the Wave Adaptive Modular Vessel, a surface vessel used for marine monitoring, locating mines and other objects on the seafloor, and rescuing swimmers.

AIMS has been testing equipment for over a decade, but this part of AIMS’s facilities opened to the public in December 2021. ReefWorks supports the entire development cycle, from digital-model validation and developmental testing to product and operational-level testing, Olsen says. Physical tests can be done at AIMS’s three marine field ranges, which offer different testing conditions. ReefWorks also has land-based facilities, plus the National Sea Simulator sensor test tank, and drone corridors between the at-sea ranges for verifying the performance of long-range marine autonomous systems.

“Our overall objective is to establish a sustainable marine autonomous systems [MAS] sector in Australia,” she says.

One of the ways ReefWorks helps its users make the most of their time on test ranges is to offer “digital twins” and virtual worlds. A digital twin is a virtual model of a real-world object, machine, or system that can be used to assess how the real-world counterpart is performing.

“Each of our test ranges is developing a digital twin,” Olsen says. “Developers will be able to conduct a test mission on the virtual range so when they get here, they can replay missions with real-time collected data, and validate their MAS digital-model performance.”

Olsen leads a team of five people and is currently recruiting another five. She expects the staff to triple in size in a few years as ReefWorks becomes more established in the region.

An IEEE senior member, Olsen is active with the IEEE Northern Australia Section. She served as the section chair in 2020 and 2021, during which time the section achieved the Region 10 Outstanding Small Section Award.

Integrating embedded AI and IOT edge computing

Before joining AIMS, Olsen spent a decade in Australia’s Department of Defence (DOD) as a lead engineer working on future technologies and maritime electronic-warfare systems.

Olsen grew up in a farming family and wasn’t really exposed to computers or engineers until an EE lecturer from James Cook University, in Australia, came to her rural high school to give a presentation. He brought along a remote-controlled quadrotor helicopter—a decade before quadcopters were commonplace.

The lecture led Olsen to pursue a bachelor’s degree in electrical, electronics, and computer systems, also from James Cook University, in Townsville. She went on to earn a master’s degree in systems engineering from Australia’s University of New South Wales, in Canberra. In 2016, Olsen took a job at AIMS as an engineering team leader in technology development.

“I’m very passionate about new technologies and seeing them integrated in the field,” she says. “During my decade at the [Australian] DOD, I grew my skills in systems engineering to solve more complex technology-integration challenges. AIMS offered me an opportunity to apply these skills to the challenges facing the tropical marine environment.”

“We are Australia’s—and possibly the world’s—first such testing facility in the tropics.”

There are many similarities between what Olsen had been doing at DOD and her role at ReefWorks. “My work at both DOD and AIMS requires an understanding of how electronic subsystems work, determining what’s viable for the use case, understanding the importance of modeling and simulation, and being able to communicate engineering terminology to an interdisciplinary team,” she says. “Both roles are all about engineering problem-solving.”

Olsen is currently working on integrating embedded AI and Internet of Things edge computing into AIMS infrastructure. “Artificial intelligence is used to increase a marine autonomous system’s capabilities,” she says. “For example, AI is used to train a MAS to navigate and avoid colliding with coral reefs, other vessels, or other objects or to allow the MAS to identify specific marine species, reef areas suitable for reseeding, and marine mines.”

IoT edge computing is used to process data closer to its point of origin. “This has the potential to speed up the decision process for vessels and operators while minimizing the communications and data bandwidth needed, which are key limitations when operating in marine northern Australia,” Olsen says.

Since GPS doesn’t work underwater, another of her team’s projects is looking for additional ways to conduct accurate geospatial positioning and control for missions that don’t require marine autonomous systems to come to the surface.

“We’re only just starting to get a feel for what marine autonomous systems can do—not just for our tropical marine waters but in general,” she says. “There are grand challenges no one can solve right now, like dealing with ocean pollution and the impacts of climate change.”

Robotics engineers needed

There’s nowhere near enough robotics engineers in the world, Olsen says. She recommends that engineering students take courses that include group projects.

“Group projects help you grow your ability to solve problems outside your knowledge or expertise,” she says. “They teach you how to work as an interdisciplinary team, who to ask for help, and where to find it.”

This article appears in the October 2022 print issue as “Melanie Olsen.”


Match ID: 18 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 9 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

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: 19 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 16 days
qualifiers: 2.14 carbon

How Pakistan floods are linked to climate change
Fri, 02 Sep 2022 13:42:00 GMT
Pakistan's geography - and its immense glaciers - make it vulnerable to climate change.
Match ID: 20 Score: 2.14 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 22 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

Climate change: 'Staggering' rate of global tree losses from fires
Wed, 17 Aug 2022 09:00:36 GMT
A report says around 16 football pitches of trees per minute were lost to wildfires in 2021.
Match ID: 21 Score: 2.14 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 38 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

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: 22 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 80 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: 23 Score: 2.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 86 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: 24 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 158 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: 25 Score: 2.14 source: www.crunchhype.com age: 207 days
qualifiers: 2.14 toxic

Filter efficiency 96.615 (26 matches/768 results)


********** UNIVERSITY **********
return to top



Forget Oxbridge: St Andrews knocks top universities off perch
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 07:00:07 GMT

Latest Guardian University Guide shows leading trio are in league of their own for undergraduate courses

Oxbridge is being replaced at the apex of UK universities by “Stoxbridge” after St Andrews overtook Oxford and Cambridge at the top of the latest Guardian University Guide.

It is the first time the Fife university has been ranked highest in the Guardian’s annual guide to undergraduate courses, pushing Oxford into second and Cambridge into third.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 0 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 rankings

The Guardian University Guide 2023 – the rankings
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 06:59:07 GMT

Find a course at one of the top universities in the country. Our league tables rank them all subject by subject, as well as by student satisfaction, staff numbers, spending and career prospects

Continue reading...
Match ID: 1 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 rankings

Video Friday: Loona
Fri, 16 Sep 2022 18:19:52 +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.

IROS 2022: 23–27 October 2022, KYOTO, JAPAN
ANA Avatar XPRIZE Finals: 4–5 November 2022, LOS ANGELES
CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today's videos!


Another robotic pet on Kickstarter, another bunting of red flags.

Let's see, we've got: "she's so playful and affectionate you'll forget she's a robot." "Everything you can dream of in a best friend and more." "Get ready to fall in love!" And that's literally like the first couple of tiles on the Kickstarter post. Look, the hardware seems fine, and there is a lot of expressiveness going on, I just wish they didn't set you up for an inevitable disappointment when after a couple of weeks it becomes apparent that yes, this is just a robotic toy, and will never be your best friend (or more).

Loona is currently on Kickstarter for about USD $300.

[ Kickstarter ]

Inspired by the flexibility and resilience of dragonfly wings, we propose a novel design for a biomimetic drone propeller called Tombo propeller. Here, we report on the design and fabrication process of this biomimetic propeller that can accommodate collisions and recover quickly, while maintaining sufficient thrust force to hover and fly.

[ JAIST ]

Thanks Van!

Meet Tom, a software engineer at Boston Dynamics, as he shares insights on programming and testing the practical—and impractical—applications of robotics. Whether Spot is conducting inspections or playing an instrument, learn how we go from code on a computer to actions in the real world.

Yeah, but where do I get that awesome shirt?!

[ Boston Dynamics ]

This Ameca demo couples automated speech recognition with GPT 3 —a large language model that generates meaningful answers—the output is fed to an online TTS service which generates the voice and visemes for lip sync timing. The team at Engineered Arts Ltd. pose the questions.

"Meaningful answers."

[ Engineered Arts ]

The ANT project develops a navigation and motion control system for future walking systems for planetary exploration. After successful testing on ramps and rubble fields, the challenge of climbing rough inclines such as craters is being tackled.

[ DFKI ]

Look, if you’re going to crate-train Spot, at least put some blankets and stuffed animals in there or something.

[ Energy Robotics ]

With multitrade layout, all trades’ layouts are set down with a single pass over the floor by Dusty's FieldPrinter system. Trades experience unparalleled clarity and communication with each other, because they can see each others’ installation plans and immediately identify and resolve conflicts. Instead of fighting over the floor and pointing fingers, they start to solve problems together.

[ Dusty Robotics ]

We present QUaRTM—a novel quadcopter design capable of tilting the propellers into the forward flight direction, which reduces the drag area and therefore allows for faster, more agile, and more efficient flight.

[ HiPeRLab ]

Is there an option in the iRobot app to turn my Roomba into a cake? Because I want cake.

[ iRobot ]

Looks like SoftBank is getting into high-density robotic logistics.

[ Impress ]

GITAI S2 ground test for space debris removal. During this demonstration, a tool changer was also tested to perform several different tasks at OSAM.

[ GITAI ]

Recent advances allow for the automation of food preparation in high-throughput environments, yet the successful deployment of these robots requires the planning and execution of quick, robust, and ultimately collision-free behaviors. In this work, we showcase a novel framework for modifying previously generated trajectories of robotic manipulators in highly detailed and dynamic collision environments.

[ Paper ]

The LCT Hospital in South Korea uses “Dr. LCT” for robotic-based orthopedic knee procedures. The system is based on the KUKA LBR Med robotic platform, which is ideally suited for orthopedic surgery with its seven axes, software developed specifically for medical technology, and appropriate safety measures.

[ Kuka ]

A year in review. Compilation of 2022 video highlights of the Game Changing Development (GCD) Program. The Game Changing Development Program is a part of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. The program advances space technologies that may lead to entirely new approaches for the agency’s future space missions and provide solutions to significant national needs.

[ NASA ]

Naomi Wu reviews a Diablo mobile robot (with some really cool customizations of her own), sending it out to run errands in Shenzhen during lockdown.

[ Naomi Wu ]

Roundtable discussion on how teaching automation in schools, colleges, and universities can help shape the workers of tomorrow. ABB Robotics has put together a panel of experts in this field to discuss the challenges and opportunities.

[ ABB ]

On 8 September 2022, Mario Santillo of Ford talked to robotics students as the first speaker in the Undergraduate Robotics Pathways & Careers Speaker Series, which aims to answer the question “What can I do with a robotics degree?”

[ Michigan Robotics ]


Match ID: 2 Score: 2.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 7 days
qualifiers: 2.86 school

Filter efficiency 99.609 (3 matches/768 results)


********** USA POLITICS **********
return to top



Norm Coleman Oversees GOP Congressional War Chest, Then Lobbies on Saudi Arabia’s Behalf
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 19:05:43 +0000

The former senator also oversees a dark-money group that pours funds into the Republican super PAC.

The post Norm Coleman Oversees GOP Congressional War Chest, Then Lobbies on Saudi Arabia’s Behalf appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 0 Score: 210.00 source: theintercept.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 55.00 midterms, 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat, 25.00 election, 15.00 executive, 15.00 elections, 10.00 congress

Election reform, police funding and Democrats’ other priorities before the midterms
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 08:30:00 EDT
Democrats know their time in power could be limited to the next few months. Here's what they're trying to do before it runs out.
Match ID: 1 Score: 150.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 55.00 midterms, 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat, 25.00 election, 10.00 congress

Ron DeSantis Chartered Planes From GOP-Allied Donor to Fly Migrants to Martha's Vineyard
Wed, 21 Sep 2022 16:58:45 +0000

Recipients of the firm’s donations include the appropriations chief responsible for funding Florida’s migrant relocation program.

The post Ron DeSantis Chartered Planes From GOP-Allied Donor to Fly Migrants to Martha’s Vineyard appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 2 Score: 128.57 source: theintercept.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 25.71 republican, 25.71 politics, 25.71 democrat, 17.14 federal government, 12.86 legislature, 12.86 executive, 8.57 congress

How far from reality can a top elections official be? Arizona may find out.
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 14:53:21 EDT
Secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem's rhetoric about fraud has not moderated at all since he won the Republican primary — nor has it gotten more accurate.
Match ID: 3 Score: 100.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics, 25.00 election, 15.00 elections

The Fetterman-Oz meme campaign, illustrated
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 06:00:43 EDT
Democratic nominee John Fetterman is waging a relentless trolling offensive against Republican rival Mehmet Oz, who has fired back with memes of his own.
Match ID: 4 Score: 90.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat

US Midterms: Inflation's got her thinking she'd 'vote Trump again'
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 12:08:58 GMT
Economic pessimism in the crucial state of Pennsylvania could hurt Democrats in the midterms.
Match ID: 5 Score: 85.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 55.00 midterms, 30.00 democrat

GOP candidate jokes about kidnapping plot against Michigan governor
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 20:39:00 EDT
In 2020, federal officials interrupted a kidnapping plot that targeted Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Tudor Dixon's Democratic rival in November's election.
Match ID: 6 Score: 85.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat, 25.00 election

New Trump-backed super PAC formed ahead of midterms
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 12:58:55 EDT
The super PAC is a step toward former president Donald Trump's increased involvement in the midterm races, with an eye to his own presidential run in 2024.
Match ID: 7 Score: 85.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 55.00 midterms, 30.00 politics

Fact Check: Rep. Rashida Tlaib Said Progressives Must Oppose Israeli Apartheid
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 16:42:08 +0000

Recent claims that Tlaib insisted progressives must reject Israel’s right to exist have been examined and found to be misinformation.

The post Fact Check: Rep. Rashida Tlaib Said Progressives Must Oppose Israeli Apartheid appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 8 Score: 85.00 source: theintercept.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat, 15.00 progressives, 10.00 congress

No Way Home, Episode Four: Getting Out Alive
Wed, 21 Sep 2022 10:00:37 +0000

After a year in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, one family gets an unexpected chance to leave.

The post No Way Home, Episode Four: Getting Out Alive appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 9 Score: 72.86 source: theintercept.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 25.71 politics, 21.43 election, 12.86 executive, 12.86 elections

‘It’s extraordinary’: Liz Truss’s low-tax gamble has yet to convince Tory MPs
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 14:55:14 GMT

Colleagues ask if the new PM and chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s experiment is ‘a stroke of genius – or will blow up the economy’

In the hyperbole-fuelled theatre of Westminster, where breathless rhetoric and implausible spin are so often the defining qualities, few events can truly be said to live up to a big billing. Yet when allies of the chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, promised a “game-changing” address in the run-up to Friday’s economic announcement, for once the performance matched the promise.

In fact, officials who had been billing the announcement as a mere “fiscal event” or “mini-budget” had been engaging in a rare piece of political understatement. What emerged was a package so large, bracingly expensive and unapologetically ideological that it looks certain to set the terms not just of the next election, but the country’s economic fortunes for years.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 10 Score: 70.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 25.00 election, 15.00 conservatives

Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright Conduct a MasterClass on the Banal Horror of U.S. Foreign Policy
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 11:00:54 +0000

Watching the 3.5 hour video is like being forced to eat gallons of stale banana pudding. Also, the pudding contains a small amount of botulism.

The post Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright Conduct a MasterClass on the Banal Horror of U.S. Foreign Policy appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 11 Score: 70.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 25.00 election, 15.00 elections

Bank analyst Dick Bove says Democrats have more concerns with banks than Republicans in Congress
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 11:32:19 GMT

Banking analyst Dick Bove of Odeon Capital said in a research note Friday that this week's Capitol Hill hearings between bank CEOs and members of Congress revealed more topics of interest from Democrats than Republicans. "As might be expected, the Democrats had meaningful differences in interest from the Republicans," Bove said. Democrat issues with banks include excessive profits, a lack of sensitivity to the needs of the underbanked and low-income households, overdraft fees, mortgage underwriting and affordable housing, reimbursement for fraud in Zelle payments, programs for banks in low income communities and climate control. Republican issues include overregulation by banks, and under regulation of non-banks; banks overburdened by regulations to the extent that they cannot perform functions, capital requirements forcing banks to reduce lending in bad times; banks intimidated by the "woke" movement that fail to make required loans for oil and gas development, and opposition to plans by credit card companies to add a code to identify purchases at gun retailers. Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF is down 19.2% in 2022 compared to a drop of 21.2% by the S&P 500 .

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: 12 Score: 70.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 democrat, 10.00 congress

Ajuda militar dos EUA à Ucrânia cresce em proporções históricas – junto com riscos
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 07:00:51 +0000

A Ucrânia está a caminho de se tornar a maior beneficiária da assistência militar dos EUA no último século. Mas as dúvidas sobre as consequências permanecem.

The post Ajuda militar dos EUA à Ucrânia cresce em proporções históricas – junto com riscos appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 13 Score: 70.00 source: theintercept.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics, 10.00 congress

This dash for growth represents the death of green Toryism
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 16:00:08 GMT

Boris Johnson was far more eco-conscious than recent Conservative predecessors. But this mini-budget is a reversion to type

The dash for growth by Kwasi Kwarteng means unshackling City bankers and property developers from the taxes and regulations that prevent them from paving over what’s left of Britain’s green and pleasant land.

The humble concrete mixer will be elevated to exalted status. There will be more executive homes built on greenfield sites. More distribution sheds dotted along busy A-roads. And more urban renewal of the kind that involves tearing down buildings in a plume of dust and carbon emissions to replace them with something not much better, at least not in environmental terms.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 14 Score: 60.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 15.00 executive, 15.00 conservatives

South Dakota investigates governor’s use of state airplane
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 14:11:36 GMT

County prosecutor will decide whether Republican Kristi Noem broke an untested law to rein in questionable use of state plane

South Dakota’s governor, Kristi Noem, was returning from an official appearance in Rapid City in 2019 when she faced a decision: overnight in the capital of Pierre, where another trip would start the next day, or head home and see her son attend his high school prom?

The Republican governor chose the latter, a decision that eventually cost taxpayers about $3,700 when the state airplane dropped her off near her home and then returned the next day to pick her up.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 15 Score: 60.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics

Trump and DeSantis: Once allies, now in simmering rivalry with 2024 nearing
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 06:00:00 EDT
The two are widely seen in the Republican Party as potential rivals for the 2024 presidential nomination and public contrasts and behind-the-scenes tensions have already erupted.
Match ID: 16 Score: 60.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics

Post Politics Now: Hoyer, McCarthy make dueling pitches in Pittsburgh area
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 20:19:25 EDT
In Washington, President Biden is attending a Democratic National Committee fundraiser and hosting a concert at the White House by Elton John.
Match ID: 17 Score: 60.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat

Biden says Catholic Church wouldn’t agree with Graham’s abortion ban
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 10:11:06 EDT
President Biden accused Republicans of seeking to ban abortions with "no exceptions," although the proposed nationwide ban by Sen. Lindsey Graham does include some.
Match ID: 18 Score: 60.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics

The Dark Odds Facing Iran's Brave Protesters
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 12:14:19 +0000

The overthrow of the Iranian regime would be just, but if recent history has taught us anything, its collapse is unlikely to be pretty.

The post The Dark Odds Facing Iran’s Brave Protesters appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 19 Score: 55.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 election, 15.00 political parties, 15.00 elections

The Man Who Explains Italy
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 18:41:09 +0000
In the lead-up to a historic election, Francesco Costa has become a new-media phenomenon, cutting through the insularity of the big papers to deliver funny, incisive commentary.
Match ID: 20 Score: 55.00 source: www.newyorker.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 25.00 election

This Dangerous Meme in US Politics Is Over a Century Old
Wed, 21 Sep 2022 12:00:00 +0000
Many associate the “America First” movement with Trump, but its origins—and rebirth—are more complicated.
Match ID: 21 Score: 47.14 source: www.wired.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 25.71 politics, 21.43 election

Behind the Campaign to Put Election Deniers in Charge of Elections
Tue, 20 Sep 2022 19:20:14 +0000
The states’ secretaries of state are supposed to insure election integrity, but a far-right coalition seeks to transform that office.
Match ID: 22 Score: 47.14 source: www.newyorker.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 21.43 election, 12.86 elections, 12.86 conservatives

Cut ‘symbolic gestures’, Braverman tells police in England and Wales
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 10:55:55 GMT

Home secretary directs police chiefs to focus on ‘common-sense’ policing over diversity and inclusion initiatives

Suella Braverman has ordered police chiefs to spend less time on “symbolic gestures” and more time on policing.

In an open letter to police leaders in England and Wales, in which she set out her policing agenda, the new home secretary said diversity and inclusion initiatives “should not take precedence” over tackling crime.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 23 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 15.00 conservatives

Britain is crying out for radical solutions, but Labour still thinks it’s in the 1990s | Jeremy Gilbert
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 09:00:00 GMT

Support for strikes demonstrates a shifting public mood. Unless politicians listen, something more sinister may fill the vacuum

The past few weeks of British politics have been very strange indeed. As one of the hottest summers on record drew to a close, a wave of militant strike action propelled union leaders on to the national stage for the first time in decades. A new mass movement to combat the cost of living crisis attracted tens of thousands of supporters within days. With Britain facing an imminent recession, Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng announced tax cuts for the rich in a “fiscal event” that felt like a surreal exercise in looting the country.

It’s clear that nobody in the political mainstream is offering solutions that are remotely up to the task of dealing with the climate crisis, the imminent recession or the spiralling costs of energy bills and other basic essentials. The new Conservative leadership has a policy agenda that would have seemed like satire or science fiction in the 1980s, while Labour has become so preoccupied with its factional war against the left that it seems not to care that Jeremy Corbyn’s core policy programme always enjoyed broad popular support.

Jeremy Gilbert and Alex Williams are the authors of Hegemony Now, published by Verso.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 24 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 15.00 conservatives

One in six UK public procurement contracts had tax haven link, study finds
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 06:00:06 GMT

Exclusive: Labour vows to end ‘Tory procurement racket’ and reward firms that pay taxes responsibly

One in every six public procurement contracts issued by the government over a five-year period were won by businesses with connections to a tax haven, analysis has found.

The companies behind the taxpayer-funded deals were owned by firms that were at least partly domiciled in one of 27 tax havens around the world, including the British Virgin Islands, Panama and Jersey.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 25 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 15.00 conservatives

Labour’s Angela Rayner: ‘We’re very radical – but it’s radical and responsible and realistic’
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 05:00:05 GMT

The deputy leader on Liz Truss’s ‘fanciful’ economics and why people are starting to listen to Labour again

Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, is up for a fight with the Conservatives along the old rules of engagement as her party heads to its annual conference in Liverpool.

Accusing Liz Truss of launching a “failed experiment” on the country with “fanciful” economic plans, Rayner batted away suggestions that Labour could struggle to get a grip on the new prime minister as stark ideological differences deepen between the two parties.

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

The Guardian view on the Tory trickle up policies: redistributing to the rich | Editorial
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 16:55:21 GMT

Kwasi Kwarteng thinks Britain needs to give millionaires huge handouts and concrete over the country. He’s wrong

Kwasi Kwarteng came to the Commons determined to bury the politics of redistribution. But the Conservative chancellor revived it with a “mini-budget” that attached rocket boosters on to bankers’ pay, gave millionaires a £40,000 handout by abolishing the top rate of tax and cut levies for businesses and buy-to-let landlords. It is in a cost of living crisis that Mr Kwarteng has chosen to show his true colours. Ordinary families are choosing between heating and eating. The nation’s public services are falling apart. The chancellor’s medicine for such ailments is to shower money – and to loosen regulatory safeguards – on the City, energy companies and housebuilders.

These were not policies characterised by a withering away of the state but those conducted by an interventionist administration. The government is borrowing around £200bn this year to place the commanding heights of economic policy in the hands of an asset-owning class. Some of this money will be used to keep energy bills low for households and companies facing an inflationary shock. But a large chunk will be handed to the wealthiest in society. The New Economics Foundation calculates that the chancellor’s plan will see incomes for the poorest 10% of families on average this year fall behind rising costs by £900, while incomes for the richest 5% will exceed them by £8,500.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 27 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 15.00 conservatives

Italian election campaign ends as far right bids for power
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 23:12:37 GMT
Political leaders hold rallies ahead of elections on Sunday that could bring Giorgia Meloni to power.
Match ID: 28 Score: 40.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 election, 15.00 elections

US Lawmakers Push Tech Firms on Abortion Benefits for Gig Workers
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 16:15:05 +0000
Elizabeth Warren and Cori Bush led over two dozen congressional Democrats in urging Amazon, Lyft, Uber, and others to reclassify contractors as employees.
Match ID: 29 Score: 40.00 source: www.wired.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 30.00 democrat, 10.00 congress

How Partisan Politics Play Out in American Boardrooms
2022-09-20T00:00:00Z
The discord gripping the nation has reached the heights of corporate America, with costly consequences for companies and investors. Research by Elisabeth Kempf shows just how polarized the executive suite has become.
Match ID: 30 Score: 32.14 source: hbswk.hbs.edu age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 politics, 10.71 executive

Why has the FA not spoken up over Uefa failings after Liverpool fans’ Paris ordeal? | David Conn
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 17:00:09 GMT

With no sense of solidarity after the Champions League final chaos it could be that the Euro 2028 bid is seen as a priority

The profoundly shocking way Uefa mishandled its Champions League final on 28 May has prompted alarming questions about the organisation and its president Aleksander Ceferin and, by natural extension, the whole edifice governing modern football.

Uefa may still be that great institution, formed in 1954 to organise the European Cup and still 68 years on, thanks to last year’s defeat of the Super League breakaway, organisers of the glittering Champions League.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 31 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Skate parks and shooting cabins: do the super-rich care nothing for their neighbours | Catherine Bennett
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 17:00:10 GMT
Let no one stand in the way of the property ambitions of Guy Ritchie and co

Supposing the one per cent read newspapers, some of them may have become dimly aware of a cultural glut, last week examined by my colleague Vanessa Thorpe, of entertainment about the greed and awfulness of the one per cent.

Though they’ve clearly been some time in the making, these “angry attacks on privilege and wealth”, as Vanessa called them, arrive at an excellent time for British audiences currently denied any prospect of real-life economic justice or retribution. The experience could be less cathartic for any of the real-life super-rich accidentally subjected to viewing in which their yachts are disrespected and their tribe mocked, harangued, occasionally murdered.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 32 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Flying pig or Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget? – cartoon
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 17:00:09 GMT

The new chancellor launches his economic plan for growth. But is it just so much hot air?

You can order your own copy of this cartoon

Continue reading...
Match ID: 33 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Government poised to scrap nature ‘Brexit bonus’ for farmers
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 16:00:12 GMT

Defra accused of ‘all-out attack’ on environment by wildlife groups

The government is to scrap the “Brexit bonus” which would have paid farmers and landowners to enhance nature, in what wildlife groups are calling an “all-out attack” on the environment, the Observer can reveal.

Instead, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) sources disclosed, they are considering paying landowners a yearly set sum for each acre of land they own, which would be similar to the much-maligned EU basic payments scheme of the common agricultural policy.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 34 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Nearly all abortions become illegal in Arizona
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 15:30:00 GMT

Several clinics halt procedure as dual measures, including 19th-century ban with no exception for rape or incest, take effect

Almost all abortions became illegal in Arizona on Saturday, after a new law banning abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy took effect and a judge lifted an almost 50-year-old injunction that blocked a near-total ban on abortions from being enforced in the state.

Judge Kellie Johnson of Pima county’s superior court released a ruling on Friday that allowed the enforcement of the decades-old ban, a day before a new law that would ban most procedures after 15 weeks was scheduled to take effect, reported the Washington Post.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 35 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

More than 40 MPs likely to benefit from scrapping of 45p tax rate
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 15:14:26 GMT

Every cabinet minister to benefit from change that ends top rate of tax for people on more than £150,000 a year

An estimated 41 MPs will benefit from the scrapping of the top rate of income tax – including every cabinet minister.

Owing to MPs’ standard pay increasing to £84,144 from April this year, 2022-23 would have been the first year that senior government ministers would have to pay the 45p rate of tax.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 36 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Mini-budget benefits London and south-east England, study shows
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 15:06:48 GMT

Analysis by Resolution Foundation shows 95% of UK population will be worse off after chancellor’s actions

The chancellor’s mini-budget will disproportionately benefit London and the south-east, a new analysis has found, marking a sharp U-turn from the levelling up strategy of the previous government.

According to the Resolution Foundation, an independent thinktank, households in London and the south-east could gain an average of £1,600 next year from Friday’s fiscal statement. This is three times as much as those in Wales, the north-east and Yorkshire, which it predicts will gain an average of £500.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 37 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Starmer's task is to soothe nerves and grow the economy
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 15:01:17 GMT
Laura Kuenssberg on why her guest this Sunday faces a whole new set of political and economic challenges.
Match ID: 38 Score: 30.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Tax cuts: Kwasi Kwarteng's measures benefit richest, Labour says
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 14:02:28 GMT
The government is taking a dangerous gamble, Angela Rayner says, but ministers argue tax cuts will get the economy growing.
Match ID: 39 Score: 30.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Florida asks Supreme Court to be the final referee in its fight with Big Tech
2022-09-24T13:58:35+00:00
Florida asks Supreme Court to be the final referee in its fight with Big Tech submitted by /u/bobbyw24
[link] [comments]

Match ID: 40 Score: 30.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

US anti-abortion extremists are already waging war on IVF | Arwa Mahdawi
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 13:00:06 GMT

Republicans have made it very clear that they aren’t going to stop at abortion: they’re coming for birth control and fertility treatments

Going through fertility treatment isn’t fun at the best of times: it’s expensive, invasive and emotionally exhausting. Ever since Roe v Wade was overturned earlier this year, however, getting fertility treatments in the US has become exponentially more stressful; the end of Roe triggered a spate of new personhood bills in Republican states which define a fertilized egg or embryo as a legal human entity. If you know anything about in vitro fertilization (IVF), which I’m not sure any of the men drafting these personhood bills do, you’ll immediately know that makes IVF hugely complex. Numerous embryos are usually created during the IVF process as not all will be genetically viable. Unviable embryos, along with embryos that aren’t donated or frozen for later use, will be disposed. If these collections of cells are considered people then, according to the personhood laws, you’ve committed a crime by disposing of them.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 41 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican

Elton John ‘flabbergasted’ and teary after Biden surprises him with medal
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 08:52:11 EDT
“I will treasure this so much,” an emotional Elton John told President Biden, as he received his surprise national humanities medal at a White House concert.
Match ID: 42 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Services for county lines victims in England and Wales get funding boost
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 10:51:04 GMT

Up to £5m allocated to help young people escape drug gangs, with money also going to helpline

Up to £5m has been allocated by the Home Office to support victims of county lines exploitation over the next three years.

Hundreds of victims will be helped to escape drug gangs following the expansion of support services in London, the West Midlands, Merseyside and Greater Manchester.

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

Só falta a terceira via, essa invenção da imprensa, embarcar no voto útil
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 09:00:11 +0000

Ciro e Tebet estão mais preocupados com suas carreiras políticas do que com a preservação da democracia. Mas ainda podem desistir.

The post Só falta a terceira via, essa invenção da imprensa, embarcar no voto útil appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 44 Score: 30.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 democrat

Arizona judge reinstates near-total abortion ban from 19th century
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 04:00:19 EDT
An injunction on a law that bans abortions except when the mother is at risk was lifted by a judge.
Match ID: 45 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

PM speaks out against discrimination; Penny Wong calls on China to rein in Putin – as it happened
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 07:09:17 GMT

Dozens of flood warnings across NSW after state lashed by heavy rainfall overnight. This blog is now closed

Wong highlights decline in the UN’s Human Development Index

Despite inheriting the biggest debt in our nation’s history, the new Australian Government is determined to play its part in supporting the development of other nations, particularly in our region.

We are alarmed that, for the first time, the UN’s Human Development Index has declined for two consecutive years – in 2020 and 2021 – and the impact of this decline has been most severe on women and girls, with nearly half a billion women and girls now living in extreme poverty. And the global food security crisis is increasingly grave.

The Australian parliament I serve in is ever more reflective of our modern nation, both enriched by their diversity. And this follows the collective decision of the Australian people to turn the page and write a new future for themselves. Newly elected parliamentarians have origins from across the world and Indigenous Australians have been elected in record numbers and serve in the ministry in record numbers.

The new Australian government is determined to make real progress on the national journey of healing with Indigenous Australians, the First Peoples of our continent. And as foreign minister, I am determined to see First Nations perspective at the heart of Australian foreign policy, and this week I have been encouraged by discussions with other countries on their own journeys. I am humbled to be guided in these efforts by First Nations colleagues.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 46 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Chris Mason: Tax cuts signal radical shift in No 10 policy
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 05:10:33 GMT
For something that wasn't even technically a Budget, it was one heck of a statement of intent.
Match ID: 47 Score: 30.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Trump lawyers argue to limit White House aides’ testimony to Jan. 6 grand jury
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 23:00:47 EDT
The legal dispute could impact the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation.
Match ID: 48 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

UK's Labour looks more united as conference starts
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 01:56:10 GMT
Divisions haven't gone away but Labour is coalescing in opposition to Tory policies, says the BBC's Iain Watson.
Match ID: 49 Score: 30.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Analysis: Labour looks more united as conference starts
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 01:56:10 GMT
Divisions haven't gone away but Labour is coalescing in opposition to Tory policies, says the BBC's Iain Watson.
Match ID: 50 Score: 30.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

How a Trump soundtrack became a QAnon phenomenon
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 21:34:47 EDT
A song’s journey from a Trump video to online forums and back to Trump rallies shows the melding of the MAGA and QAnon movements
Match ID: 51 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Kwarteng's mini-budget: Shock-and-awe tactics from an unapologetic chancellor
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 00:52:08 GMT
The sheer daring nature of the Kwasi Kwarteng's announcement caused shockwaves, says Newsnight's Nicholas Watt.
Match ID: 52 Score: 30.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Plunge in sterling leaves drivers paying £6 more for tank of petrol, says AA
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 23:01:47 GMT

While oil prices are back to pre-Ukraine war levels, a weaker pound results in higher costs for motorists

The plunge in the value of the pound has left drivers paying an extra £6 for a tank of petrol, an analysis from the AA has found.

The recent fall in sterling, exacerbated by Friday’s market-spooking mini-budget, has hit hard-pressed motorists in the pocket, the motoring group said.

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

Donors spending millions on Trump's legal battles
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 22:46:26 GMT
The former president's mounting bills are being paid by donors and the Republican party.
Match ID: 54 Score: 30.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican

Career prosecutors recommend no charges for Gaetz in sex-trafficking probe
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 16:21:33 EDT
Career prosecutors have told superiors they don't think Rep. Matt Gaetz should be charged with sex trafficking, citing concerns about witness credibility.
Match ID: 55 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

The online incel movement is getting more violent and extreme, report says
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 14:51:02 EDT
More than 2.6 million visit the incel forum each month, where their posts often endorse rape and mass murder, according to the Center for Countering Digital Hate.
Match ID: 56 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

The sex-trafficking investigation of Matt Gaetz, explained
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 14:32:20 EDT
The latest in the years-long investigation is that Gaetz sought a preemptive pardon from Trump for sex trafficking.
Match ID: 57 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

If we may: A proposed script for Hannity to correct Trump’s falsehoods
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 12:40:37 EDT
Should Sean Hannity wish to ensure that his viewers aren't misinformed, here's what he could clarify for them.
Match ID: 58 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Fracking could shake the Conservative vote | Letter
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 16:26:05 GMT

Tremors above magnitude 3 could be destructive – not least to the Tory party if people’s houses start crumbling, writes David Nowell

Having been taught seismology by Prof Peter Styles, who developed a traffic-light monitoring system in the 1980s that dramatically reduced the impact of coal mining under Swansea for local residents, I believe Jacob Rees-Mogg has a risible scientific understanding about shale gas extraction (Tory MPs angrily challenge Rees-Mogg’s fracking revival plan, 22 September). Vibrations from quarries and building sites tend not to be widespread, compared to shaking generated a few kilometres beneath an area.

The current 0·5 magnitude limit was set so tremors should not rise above 2·5, “because of the increased risk of larger magnitude events”, according to a recent British Geological Survey report. Proposing a higher limit would be reckless, as any anthropogenic tremors above 3 could prove to be destructive – not least to the Tory vote, if people’s houses start crumbling.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 59 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Liz Truss faces questions over Foreign Office spending
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 16:01:37 GMT

Data shows Foreign Office spending was up by 45% on items ranging from dining, wallpaper and Norwich City

The Foreign Office, under Liz Truss’s leadership, is facing questions about its spending on credit cards including £1,841 at Norwich City football club online, and £10,000 at Fortnum and Mason.

Emily Thornberry, the shadow attorney general, wrote to the Foreign Office questioning why spending was up by 45% on its government procurement cards between September 2021 to July 2022.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 60 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Mahsa Amini’s death could be the spark that ignites Iran around women’s rights
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 15:56:51 GMT

The country faces a litany of problems, from inflation to a democratic deficit, and the women’s movement is seen as an agent of change

On the day that news of Mahsa Amini’s death spread throughout Iran, a young woman with a shaved head joined protesters who had gathered outside Kasra hospital, where Amini had lain in a coma since her violent arrest by Iran’s morality police days earlier.

In her hand she carried a plastic bag full of her long hair, shorn off in a gesture of solidarity with Amini and in defiance of the increasing crackdown on women by the regime.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 61 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 democrat

TRE manda Facebook apagar comentários racistas contra candidato indígena no Paraná
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 15:35:35 +0000

Indígena da etnia Kaingang, Kretã é candidato a deputado estadual e fazia live na rede social quando foi atacado.

The post TRE manda Facebook apagar comentários racistas contra candidato indígena no Paraná appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 62 Score: 30.00 source: theintercept.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Trump’s special master pick turns into a headache
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 11:21:32 EDT
The point of calling for a special master would seem to be to delay the government's investigation. Instead, Raymond J. Dearie has pressed Trump's team on several baseless claims their client made out of court.
Match ID: 63 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

The political peril of using immigrants as props
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 11:16:03 EDT
Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump are making a dubious cost-benefit analysis.
Match ID: 64 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

‘What do they expect me to do?’ Part-time workers dismayed by benefits rule changes
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 15:13:19 GMT

Childcare, health problems or other constraints mean taking action to boost earnings will be a struggle

Part-time workers have reacted with dismay at the tightening of rules that could result in a cut to their benefits unless they work longer hours or take steps to increase their earnings.

The changes, which come into force in January, will require claimants who work up to 15 hours a week (24 hours a week for couples) to take action to boost their earnings. The current threshold is nine hours, but this goes up to 12 hours a week on Monday, and 19 hours a week for couples.

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

Kwasi Kwarteng's mini-budget of tax cuts reward the wealthy, Labour says
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 13:59:53 GMT
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves says the mini-budget is "admission of 12 years of economic failure".
Match ID: 66 Score: 30.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Bogus Fears of Censorship Could Spell the End of Content Moderation
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 13:00:00 +0000
Plus: The Supreme Court in cyberspace, what’s up with Web3, and ghost town resurrections.
Match ID: 67 Score: 30.00 source: www.wired.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Mini-budget fell far short of promoting low-carbon future for UK
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 12:00:08 GMT

While not devoid of green measures, Kwarteng’s announcement was more notable for what it did not include

The chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, has announced that the effective ban on onshore wind farms is to be lifted, and the poorest households will regain access to insulation and energy efficiency measures.

Polls show that onshore wind is popular, with more than 70% of people supporting it. Jess Ralston, a senior analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: “The ban on onshore wind has been a major anomaly in British energy policy given it’s both cheap and popular with the public. So a decision to lift the ban suggests [Kwarteng] has listened to the experts and understands building more British renewables reduces our reliance on costly gas and so brings down bills.”

Continue reading...
Match ID: 68 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

How the mini-budget’s tax changes could affect you
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 11:44:11 GMT

From income tax to stamp duty and national insurance, how Kwasi Kwarteng’s announcements could affect you

The chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, has announced a sweeping package of measures in his mini-budget, including a number of tax cuts that will have a huge impact on millions of people’s finances. Here we look at what the main announcements mean for household finances.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 69 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

National Insurance: Will tax cut save me money?
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 10:20:05 GMT
The government has confirmed it will reverse the 1.25p increase in National Insurance.
Match ID: 70 Score: 30.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

House GOP tries to embark on a united front as expected rifts loom
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 06:00:04 EDT
Recent polls suggest GOP gains in the House could be smaller than previously expected — a worry for lawmakers who believe a new class of Trump allies could embolden the ultraconservative and rebellious House Freedom Caucus.
Match ID: 71 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

UK environment laws under threat in ‘deregulatory free-for-all’
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 08:22:34 GMT

Campaigners say revoking of post-Brexit protections amounts to legislative vandalism

Hundreds of Britain’s environmental laws covering water quality, sewage pollution, clean air, habitat protections and the use of pesticides are lined up for removal from UK law under a government bill.

Environmentalists accused Liz Truss’s government of reneging on a commitment made after Brexit to halt the decline of nature by 2030. They say the revoking of 570 environmental laws that were rolled over from EU law after Brexit amounts to a deregulatory free-for-all leaving the environment unprotected.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 72 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Biden’s unwarranted bragging about reducing the budget deficit
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 03:00:09 EDT
The president argues he is not a big spender, pointing to a decline in the budget deficit. But his policies have increased the debt.
Match ID: 73 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

The “Cynical, Disgusting” Migrant Flights to Martha’s Vineyard
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 19:00:00 +0000
What a political stunt by Ron DeSantis involving vulnerable people tells us about the current politics of U.S. immigration policy.
Match ID: 74 Score: 30.00 source: www.newyorker.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

The Defeat of Identity Politics
Wed, 21 Sep 2022 18:23:48 +0000
In a new book, the philosopher Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò condemns the “elite capture” of radical movements.
Match ID: 75 Score: 30.00 source: www.newyorker.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Israeli Forces Deliberately Killed Palestinian American Journalist, Report Shows
Tue, 20 Sep 2022 17:11:53 +0000

A new forensic analysis proves that an Israeli sniper could see that Shireen Abu Akleh was a journalist before firing the bullet that killed her.

The post Israeli Forces Deliberately Killed Palestinian American Journalist, Report Shows appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 76 Score: 28.57 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 politics, 7.14 congress

Italy braces for sharp move to the right after election voting closes
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 16:11:12 GMT

Giorgia Meloni, who leads Brothers of Italy, looks likely to become the first woman to head a government

Italians were braced for seismic change on Saturday, on the eve of an election forecasted to hand Italy the most rightwing government since the second world war.

Giorgia Meloni, the head of the post-fascist Brothers of Italy party, is widely tipped to become the country’s first woman to head a government.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 77 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 election

‘An unbelievable Die Hard rip-off’: two decades of Alan Rickman’s withering film reviews
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 06:00:09 GMT

When the Harry Potter actor died in 2016, he left a trove of revealing diaries – which included some very frank critiques of movies of the time

• Read an exclusive extract from Rickman’s deliciously indiscreet diaries

It’s clear from Alan Rickman’s diaries that he never lost his passion for the screen. The pages are littered with his verdicts on the movies he loved – and hated. Here’s a small selection.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 78 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 election

Week in pictures: 17 - 23 September 2022
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 23:26:17 GMT
A selection of powerful images from all over the globe, taken in the past seven days.
Match ID: 79 Score: 25.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 election

Video Friday: Humans Helping Robots
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 18:05:01 +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.

IROS 2022: 23–27 October 2022, KYOTO, JAPAN
ANA Avatar XPRIZE Finals: 4–5 November 2022, LOS ANGELES
CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today’s videos!


Until robots achieve 100 percent autonomy (HA), humans are going to need to step in from time to time, and Contoro is developing a system for intuitive, remote human intervention.

[ Contoro ]

Thanks, Youngmok!

A one year update of our ongoing project with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and RMUS Canada to investigate the capabilities of Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot for autonomous inspection and first response in the power sector. Highlights of the first year of the project, featuring the work of Ph.D. student Christopher Baird, include autonomous elevator riding and autonomous door opening (including proxy card access doors) as part of Autowalks, as well as autonomous firefighting.

[ MARS Lab ]

Teams involved in DARPA’s Robotic Autonomy in Complex Environments with Resiliency (RACER) program have one experiment under their belts and will focus on even more difficult off-road landscapes at Camp Roberts, California, September 15–27. The program aims to give driverless combat vehicles off-road autonomy while traveling at speeds that keep pace with those driven by people in realistic situations.

[ DARPA ]

Tool use has long been a hallmark of human intelligence, as well as a practical problem to solve for a vast array of robotic applications. But machines are still wonky at exerting just the right amount of force to control tools that aren’t rigidly attached to their hands. To manipulate said tools more robustly, researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), in collaboration with the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), have designed a system that can grasp tools and apply the appropriate amount of force for a given task, like squeegeeing up liquid or writing out a word with a pen.

[ MIT ]

Cornell researchers installed electronic “brains” on solar-powered robots that are 100 to 250 micrometers in size, so the tiny bots can walk autonomously without being externally controlled.

[ Cornell ]

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have developed soft devices containing algae that glow in the dark when experiencing mechanical stress, such as being squished, stretched, twisted or bent. The devices do not require any electronics to light up, making them an ideal choice for building soft robots that explore the deep sea and other dark environments, researchers said.

[ UCSD ]

Thanks, Liezel!

Our robotaxi is built to withstand a range of temperatures to ensure that the vehicle, and most importantly, its riders are never too hot or too cold...no matter the weather. Learn more about our thermal testing in the latest episode of Putting Zoox to the Test.

[ Zoox ]

Thanks, Whitney!

Skydio drones will do an excellent job of keeping you in frame, whatever happens.

[ Skydio ]

With the accelerated urbanization in the world, the development and utilization of the underground space are important for economic and social development and the survival of people’s lives is important for all of us. Zhejiang University Huzhou Research Institute convened a robot team to conduct an underground space unknown environment exploration adventure in Yellow dragon cave. DEEP Robotics participate in this fascinated robot party and try out the underground challenges, also team up with the drone team (air-ground robot) to seek new collaboration.

[ Deep Robotics ]

The title of this video is “Ion Propulsion Drone Proves Its Commercial Viability,” but it seems like quite a leap from a 4.5-minute flight to reaching the 15-minute flight with a significant payload that would be required for last-mile delivery.

[ Undefined Technologies ]

Welcome to this week’s edition of “How much stuff can you cram onto a Husky?”

[ Clearpath ]

In the Nanocopter AI challenge the teams demonstrated the AI they developed for Bitcraze AB’s Crazyflie nanocopters to perform vision-based obstacle avoidance at increasing speeds. The drones flew around in our “Cyberzoo,” avoiding a range of obstacles, from walls to poles and artificial plants. The drones were primarily scored on the distance they covered in the limited time but could gain extra points when flying also through gates.

[ IMAV ]

Watch this drone deliver six eggs to an empty field!

Sorry, I shouldn’t be so snarky, but I’m still not sold on the whole urban drone delivery of groceries thing.

[ Wing ]

Flexiv is pleased to announce the launch of its ROS 2 driver to bring a better robot development experience for customers.

[ Flexiv ]

Northrop Grumman has been pioneering new capabilities in the undersea domain for more than 50 years. Manta Ray, a new unmanned underwater vehicle, taking its name from the massive “winged” fish, will need to be able to operate on long-duration, long-range missions in ocean environments without need for on-site human logistics support—a unique but important mission needed to address the complex nature of undersea warfare.

[ Northrop Grumman ]

Some unique footage from drones that aren’t scared of getting a little wet.

[ Blastr ]

People tend to overtrust sophisticated computing devices, especially those powered by AI. As these systems become more fully interactive with humans during the performance of day-to-day activities, ethical considerations in deploying these systems must be more carefully investigated. In this talk, we will discuss various forms of human overtrust with respect to these intelligent machines and possible ways to mitigate the impact of bias in our interactions with them.

[ Columbia ]

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s success in landing the low-cost Mars Pathfinder mission in 1997 was viewed as proof that spacecraft could be built more often and for far less money—a radical cultural change NASA termed “Faster, Better, Cheaper.” The next challenge taken on by JPL was to fly two missions to Mars for the price of the single Pathfinder mission. Mars Climate Orbiter and the Mars Polar Lander both made it to the launchpad, on time and on budget, but were lost upon arrival at Mars, resulting in one of the most difficult periods in the history of JPL. “The Breaking Point” tells the story of the demise of these two missions and the abrupt end of NASA’s “Faster, Better, Cheaper” era.

[ JPL ]


Match ID: 80 Score: 25.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 election

Africa's week in pictures: 16 - 22 September 2022
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 23:18:28 GMT
A selection of the best photos from across Africa and beyond this week.
Match ID: 81 Score: 25.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 election

Brazil election: Bolsonaro and Lula dance and cry
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 23:15:10 GMT
Brazil presidential hopefuls step up their social media campaigns with dancing, crying and celebrity endorsements.
Match ID: 82 Score: 25.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 election

Why Is Trump Openly Embracing QAnon Now?
Tue, 20 Sep 2022 16:54:48 +0000
The former President is likely signalling to prosecutors that he won’t go quietly, so they had better beware.
Match ID: 83 Score: 21.43 source: www.newyorker.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 politics

California’s Proposed Law Could Change the Internet
Tue, 20 Sep 2022 16:00:00 +0000


Today, for better or worse, the Internet is a rather free range for children. Websites ask their users’ ages, sure. But virtually anyone who came of age around the rise of the Internet can probably relate a time or 20 when they gave a false birthdate.

A California law now in the works might bring that world to a crashing halt.

AB 2273, or the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, promises to make the Internet safer for children—in part by tightening age verification. Its opponents instead believe that, in the process, AB 2273 could completely decimate the existing Internet as we know it.


AB 2273 isn’t final just yet. To become California law, a bill has to pass both houses of the state legislature—the Assembly and the Senate—and then attain the signature of the governor. AB 2273 passed the Assembly on 29 August, and the Senate the next day, posting it to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk. As of this writing, Newsom has yet to sign the bill. There’s little indication whether he will.

Suppose he does sign. Then, beginning on 1 July 2024, any website or app that “conducts business in California” and “provides an online service, product, or feature likely to be accessed by children” would need to follow yet-to-be-crafted code.

California wouldn’t be the first jurisdiction to tighten age-related design standards for websites. AB 2273 explicitly cites an existing law in the United Kingdom, which expects websites to comply with a bespoke age-appropriate design code. (In fact, both bills share a backer, one Baroness Beeban Kidron, a campaigner for children’s rights online.)

That U.K. law has already made ripples. YouTube disabled its autoplay feature for users under 18. Instagram started preventing adults from messaging under-18s who don’t follow them. TikTok stopped sending under-18s push notifications after a certain point each evening.

But according to Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University and one of the bill’s harshest critics, in a U.S. regulatory environment that’s generally even less friendly to businesses, California’s code is likely to be stricter. “Any ‘lessons learned’ in the U.K. do not extend to the U.S. because the law literally cannot be implemented in the same way,” he says.

What does California’s AB 2273 require tech companies to do?

Though California’s code doesn’t yet exist, AB 2273 lays out a few requirements. For one, websites must report their data-management practices to a California government agency. Also, websites can’t collect or sell data on children (including geolocation) that isn’t absolutely necessary for children to use the website. And websites must tell a child when a parent or guardian is tracking their activity on that site.

Where AB 2273 becomes more than a little controversial is the requirement that, to determine which users ought to experience what, websites must “estimate the age of child users with a reasonable level of certainty.”

“Assuming businesses do not want to intentionally degrade their value proposition to adults, then they have no alternative other than to authenticate the age of all of their customers and then segregate adults from children, with different offerings for each,” says Goldman.

How a website will “estimate the age of child users” isn’t clear, and according to Techdirt, it might vary by website. A child entering a “high-risk” website, then, might need to submit an ID document for age verification. That failing, a child might literally have to scan their face. Not only is face recognition a technology whose reliability is questionable, mandating it could make websites inaccessible to people without a functioning camera.

And although the law champions privacy, it’s not clear that authentication along those lines could even be done in a privacy-conscious manner. Goldman says that websites might rely on insecure third-party services.

If AB 2273 passes, then its effects could spread well beyond the state’s borders. Websites will be left with two options: geolocating users in California (perhaps blocking them completely, potentially risking revenue), or applying the rules to all their users. Many websites will just find it easier to do the latter.

Then around the world, users might have to face the same age-authentication gauntlet that Californians would. And, according to Goldman, other jurisdictions might take after California in drafting their own laws.

Some of AB 2273’s sponsors and defenders see the bill as a necessary measure in a world where children are vulnerable to dangers like manipulative websites, invasive apps, and social-media addiction.

But from many corners, the reaction has been less than positive. AB 2273 has garnered a wide range of opponents, including privacy advocates and big tech. Santa Clara’s Goldman likens the law to a neutron bomb. “It will depopulate the Internet and turn many services into ghost towns,” he says.

Of course, this is all still hypothetical. For now, the bill awaits Governor Newsom’s signature. Even if that happens, AB 2273 is hardly immune to lawsuits. NetChoice—an advocacy group that has helped take other laws passed in Florida and Texas to court—has already come out against the bill.
Match ID: 84 Score: 21.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 4 days
qualifiers: 10.71 legislature, 10.71 constitution

The Legal Fight for Democracy
Mon, 19 Sep 2022 21:00:00 +0000
The attorney Marc Elias is working on two critical Supreme Court cases challenging voter suppression. He talks with The New Yorker’s Sue Halpern about the battle ahead.
Match ID: 85 Score: 21.43 source: www.newyorker.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 politics

Fears for Indigenous rock art as construction begins on WA’s Burrup peninsula
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 02:00:01 GMT

Ex-chair of Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation says hydrogen plant, gas facility and proposed urea plant are all threats to cultural sites

Traditional custodians fighting to protect ancient rock art on the Burrup peninsula have raised concerns that construction work has begun at multiple sites despite the federal government ordering a cultural heritage assessment of the area.

The peninsula in northern Western Australia is home to industrial operations including of the country’s largest gas producer Woodside, the Yara Pilbara ammonia plant and a proposed urea plant by Indian company Perdaman.

Sign up to receive an email with the top stories from Guardian Australia every morning

Continue reading...
Match ID: 86 Score: 20.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 20.00 federal government

Facebook Report Concludes Company Censorship Violated Palestinian Human Rights
Wed, 21 Sep 2022 22:45:05 +0000

The report, due out tomorrow, said Facebook and Instagram showed bias against Palestinians during a brutal Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip last May.

The post Facebook Report Concludes Company Censorship Violated Palestinian Human Rights appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 87 Score: 20.00 source: theintercept.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 20.00 federal government

Sign up for the Pushing Buttons newsletter: our free video games email
Tue, 20 Sep 2022 10:59:30 GMT

Keza MacDonald’s look at the world of gaming, direct to your inbox each week

Keza MacDonald’s weekly look at the world of gaming. Sign up to receive our video games editor’s unique insights into the most interesting goings on in thegames world, as well as a selection of the best journalism from the Guardian and around the world.

Explore all our newsletters: whether you love film, football, fashion or food, we’ve got something for you

Continue reading...
Match ID: 88 Score: 17.86 source: www.theguardian.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 election

The Florida activist hoping to become the first Gen Z member of Congress – video
Tue, 06 Sep 2022 09:21:41 GMT

Maxwell Frost, at just 25 years old, has won a competitive primary in Florida’s heavily Democratic 10th congressional district. That gives him a strong chance of becoming a member of the US House of Representatives – and the first generation Z candidate to do so. Before his victory, the Guardian's Oliver Laughland met him during his campaign to talk about why he decided to enter the race and what he hopes  to achieve as in Congress 

Continue reading...
Match ID: 89 Score: 17.14 source: www.theguardian.com age: 18 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics, 4.29 democrat, 3.57 election, 2.14 elections, 1.43 house of representatives, 1.43 congress

Music on the brain: Listening can influence our brain’s activity
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 11:00:22 +0000
The "Mozart effect" isn't real—but music does affect our mental processes.
Match ID: 90 Score: 15.00 source: arstechnica.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 executive

AFL and Fifa must rethink concussion rules amid Paul McCrory plagiarism claims, says expert
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 20:00:47 GMT

Another generation is at risk of developing fatal brain disease, says Dr Chris Nowinski. ‘Whether you’re hitting your child in the head or letting them get tackled, their brain can’t tell the difference’

A leading international concussion expert has said “anything Paul McCrory has touched” must be reviewed in the wake of plagiarism allegations against the Australian-based neurologist who has advised global sporting bodies on the effects of concussion.

American neuroscientist and chief executive of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, Dr Chris Nowinski, said the advice that McCrory gave to some sporting bodies that participants of collision-based sports are not necessarily at risk of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy was damaging and wrong. He accused McCrory of “sowing doubt” about the link between head impacts in sport and CTE in a way that has substantially damaged efforts to prevent another generation from developing the brain disease.

Sign up to receive an email with the top stories from Guardian Australia every morning

Continue reading...
Match ID: 91 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 executive

Can I Tell You a Secret, episode 1: the beginning - podcast
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 02:00:22 GMT

In the first part of a new series, the Guardian journalist Sirin Kale takes us to a small town in the north of England to uncover how one man began a decade of cyberstalking

In this new six-episode podcast, the Guardian journalist Sirin Kale investigates the story of Matthew Hardy, a cyberstalker who terrified people in his hometown and beyond for more than a decade.

His harassment would often start in the same way, a fake profile posing as a young woman with a simple message: “Hey hun, can I tell you a secret?”. This series attempts to untangle his web of deception to find out how and why he wreaked havoc over so many people’s lives.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 92 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 executive

Boeing nearing settlement with SEC related to 737 Max crashes: WSJ
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 20:24:18 GMT

Shares of Boeing Co. edged higher in the extended session Thursday after The Wall Street Journal reported that the aerospace and defense company was seen "poised" to settle a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's investigation into its 737 Max crashes a few years back. The settlement pertains to "allegedly misleading statements" from the company and then-Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg about the jets that crashed in Indonesia in 2018 and Ethiopia in 2019, the newspaper said, citing people familiar with the matter. The Journal said that financial terms of the civil settlement, which could be announced as soon as this week, couldn't be learned. The deal could be announced as soon as this week, the people said. Shares of Boeing ended the regular trading day down 3.2%, underperforming the S&P 500 index.

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: 93 Score: 15.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 executive

DocuSign hires Google vet as CEO
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 20:23:06 GMT

DocuSign on Thursday said its board hired Allan Thygesen as its new chief executive. The electronic-signature platform said Thygesen would take the helm and assume a role on its board of directors on Oct. 10. He will replace Mary Agnes "Maggie" Wilderotter as CEO. Wilderotter will stay on as chairman of DocuSign's board. Thygesen will join the company from Alphabet's Google, where he worked as president, Americas & global partners and led the search giant's ad business in North and South America. Wilderotter, in a statement, noted Thygesen's "deep experience in e-commerce" and business digitization, as well as DocuSign's moves to expand its executive team. Thygesen also held a previous role at Google, as well as at The Carlyle Group and Wink Communications. He has been on the board of RingCentral since October 2015, DocuSign said. DocuSign stock rose 3.2% after hours.

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: 94 Score: 15.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 executive

How the Champions League final nearly ended in disaster - podcast
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 02:00:45 GMT

Liverpool fans attending this year’s Champions League final faced a crush outside the stadium that held stark echoes of the worst day in the club’s history. David Conn has spent months investigating what happened

On the morning of 28 May, thousands of Liverpool supporters arrived at fan zones in Paris for that night’s culmination of Europe’s football season: their team’s Champions League final against Real Madrid. The atmosphere was good natured, the anticipation was electric. It ended in chaos and came closer to catastrophe than many realised at the time.

Thousands of Liverpool supporters, like Kevin Cowley, were crammed together on a dangerous route to the stadium. Later, as the crush intensified and the match was delayed, they would be blamed for the event nearly turning deadly. For Cowley, a survivor of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, it transported him back to that day, he tells Michael Safi.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 95 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 15.00 executive

Coding Made AI—Now, How Will AI Unmake Coding?
Mon, 19 Sep 2022 12:00:01 +0000


Are coders doomed? That question has been bouncing around computer-programming communities ever since OpenAI’s large language model, GPT-3, surprised everyone with its ability to create html websites from simple written instructions.

In the months since, rapid-fire advances have led to systems that can write complete, albeit simple, computer programs from natural-language descriptions—spoken or written human language—and automated coding assistants that speed the work of computer programmers. How far will artificial intelligence go in replacing or augmenting the work of human coders?

According to the experts IEEE Spectrum consulted, the bad news is coding as we know it may indeed be doomed. But the good news is computer programming and software development appears poised to remain a very human endeavor for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, AI-powered automated code generation will increasingly speed software development by allowing more code to be written in a shorter time.

Programmers will not always need to learn a programming language. That will open software development to a much broader population.

“I don’t believe AI is anywhere near replacing human developers,” said Vasi Philomin, Amazon’s vice president for AI services, adding that AI tools will free coders from routine tasks, but the creative work of computer programming will remain.

If someone wants to become a developer, say, 10 years down the line, they won’t necessarily need to learn a programming language. Instead, they will need to understand the semantics, concepts, and logical sequences of building a computer program. That will open software development to a much broader population.

When the programming of electronic computers began in the 1940s, programmers wrote in numerical machine code. It wasn’t until the mid-1950s that Grace Hopper and her team at the computer company Remington Rand developed FLOW-MATIC, which allowed programmers to use a limited English vocabulary to write programs.

Since then, programming has climbed a ladder of increasingly efficient languages that allow programmers to be more productive.

AI-written code is the cutting edge of a broader movement to allow people to write software without having to code at all. Already, with platforms like Akkio, people can build machine-learning models with simple drag, drop, and button-click features. Users of Microsoft’s Power Platform, which includes a family of low-code products, can generate simple applications by just describing them.

In June, Amazon released CodeWhisperer, a coding assistant for programmers, like GitHub’s Copilot, which was first released in limited preview in June 2021. Both tools are based on large language models (LLMs) that have been trained on massive code repositories. Both offer autocomplete suggestions as a programmer writes code or suggest executable instructions from simple natural-language phrases.

“There needs to be some incremental refinement, some conversation between the human and the machine.”
—Peter Schrammel, Diffblue

A GitHub survey of 2,000 developers found that Copilot cuts in half the time it takes for certain coding tasks and raised overall developer satisfaction in their work.

But to move beyond autocompletion, the problem is teaching the intent to the computer. Software requirements are usually vague, while natural language is notoriously imprecise.

“To resolve all these ambiguities in English written specification, there needs to be some incremental refinement, some conversation between the human and the machine,” said Peter Schrammel, cofounder of Diffblue, which automates the writing of unit tests for Java.

To address these problems, researchers at Microsoft have recently proposed adding a feedback mechanism to LLM-based code generation so that the computer asks the programmer for clarification of any ambiguities before generating code.

The interactive system, called TiCoder, refines and formalizes user intent by generating what is called a “test-driven user-intent formalization”—which attempts to use iterative feedback to divine the programmer’s algorithmic intent and then generate code that is consistent with the expressed intentions.

According to their paper, TiCoder improves the accuracy of automatically generated code by up to 85 percent from 48 percent, when evaluated on the Mostly Basic Programming Problems (MBPP) benchmark. MBPP, meant to evaluate machine-generated code, consists of around 1,000 crowd-sourced Python programming problems, designed to be solvable by entry level programmers.

A unit of code, which can be hundreds of lines long, is the smallest part of a program that can be maintained and executed independently. A suite of unit tests, typically consisting of dozens of unit tests, each of them between 10 and 20 lines of code, checks that the unit executes as intended, so that when you stack the units together, the program works as intended.

Unit tests are useful for debugging individual functions and for detecting errors when code is manually changed. But a unit test can also be used as the specification for the unit of code and can be used to guide programmers to write clean, bug-free code. While not many programmers pursue true test-driven development, in which the unit tests are written first, unit test and units are generally written together.

Hand-coding software programs will increasingly be like hand-knitting sweaters.

According to a survey by Diffblue, developers spend roughly 35 percent of their time writing quality-control tests (as opposed to writing code destined for production use), so there are significant productivity gains to be made just by automating a part of this.

Meanwhile, Github’s Copilot, Amazon’s CodeWhisperer, and AI programming assistant packages can be used as interactive auto-completion tools for writing unit tests. The programmer is given suggestions and picks the one that they think will work best. Diffblue’s system, called Diffblue Cover, uses reinforcement learning to write unit tests automatically, with no human intervention.

Earlier this year, Google’s U.K.-based, artificial intelligence lab, DeepMind, went further in fully automatic code generation with AlphaCode, a large language model that can write simple computer programs from natural-language instructions.

AlphaCode uses an encoder-decoder transformer architecture, first encoding the natural-language description of the problem and then decoding the resulting vector into code for a solution.

The model was first trained on the GitHub code repository until the model was able to produce reasonable-looking code.

To fine-tune the model, DeepMind used 15,000 pairs of natural-language problem descriptions and successful code solutions from past coding competitions to create a specialized data set of input-output examples.

Once AlphaCode was trained and tuned, it was tested against problems it hadn’t seen before.

“I don’t believe AI is anywhere near replacing human developers. It will remove the mundane, boilerplate stuff that people have to do, and they can focus on higher-value things.”
—Vasi Philomin, Amazon

The final step was to generate many solutions and then use a filtering algorithm to select the best one. “We created many different program possibilities by essentially sampling the language model almost a million times,” said Oriol Vinyals, who leads DeepMind’s deep-learning team.

To optimize the sample-selection process, DeepMind uses a clustering algorithm to divide the solutions into groups. The clustering process tends to group the working solutions together, making it easier to find a small set of candidates that are likely to work as well as those written by human programmers.

To test the system, DeepMind submitted 10 AlphaCode-written programs to a human coding competition on the popular Codeforces platform where its solutions ranked among the top 54 percent.

“To generate a program, will you just write it in natural language, no coding required, and then the solution comes out at the other end?” Vinyals asked rhetorically in a recent interview. “I believe so.”

Vinyals and others caution that it will take time, possibly decades, to reach that goal. “We are still very far away from when a person would be able to tell a computer about the requirements for an arbitrary complex computer program, and have that automatically get coded,” said Andrew Ng, a founder and CEO of Landing AI who is an AI pioneer and founding lead of Google Brain.

But given the speed at which AI-code generation has advanced in a few short years, it seems inevitable that AI systems will eventually be able to write code from natural-language instructions. Hand-coding software programs will increasingly be like hand-knitting sweaters.

To give natural-language instructions to a computer, developers will still need to understand some concepts of logic and functions and how to structure things. They will still need to study foundational programming, even if they don’t learn specific programming languages or write in computer code. That will, in turn, enable a wider range of programmers to create more and more varied kinds of software.

“I don’t believe AI is anywhere near replacing human developers,” Amazon’s Philomin said. “It will remove the mundane, boilerplate stuff that people have to do, and they can focus on higher-value things.”

Diffblue’s Schrammel agrees that AI-automated code generation will allow software developers to focus on more difficult and creative tasks. But, he adds, there will at least need to be one interaction with a human to confirm what the machine has understood is what the human intended.

“Software developers will not lose their jobs because an automation tool replaces them,” he said. “There always will be more software that needs to be written.”


Match ID: 96 Score: 14.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 5 days
qualifiers: 14.29 election

The police killing of Chris Kaba - podcast
Wed, 21 Sep 2022 02:00:16 GMT

The killing of a 24-year-old black man by firearms officers in south London comes at a time of plummeting faith in the police and serious questions about accountability for the new Met chief

On 5 September, 24-year-old Chris Kaba was driving through Streatham in south London when specialist police were alerted by his number plate and engaged in a pursuit of his car. It ended with his vehicle being boxed in before a single shot was fired. Kaba died in hospital a few hours later.

As Damien Gayle tells Nosheen Iqbal, the killing of another black man at the hands of police comes just as the Met has installed a new chief. The officer who fired the shot has been suspended from frontline duties, and colleagues have reportedly threatened to hand in their weapons in response.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 97 Score: 12.86 source: www.theguardian.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 12.86 executive

Orçamento secreto chove no Piauí de Ciro Nogueira
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 16:04:32 +0000

Aos amigos do PP, a verba está garantida.

The post Orçamento secreto chove no Piauí de Ciro Nogueira appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 98 Score: 10.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 10.00 congress

Governo do Paraná admite disparo em massa de SMS golpista e culpa empresa terceirizada
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 13:51:40 +0000

Mensagem que pede invasão ao Supremo Tribunal Federal e ao Congresso partiu de número usado por prestadores de serviços públicos.

The post Governo do Paraná admite disparo em massa de SMS golpista e culpa empresa terceirizada appeared first on The Intercept.


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

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: 100 Score: 10.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 1 day
qualifiers: 10.00 congress

South Korea president criticised over gaffes at Queen’s funeral and UN
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 09:18:13 GMT

Yoon Suk-yeol accused of discourtesy in London and of swearing after chat to Joe Biden

South Korea’s president has been accused of causing a “diplomatic disaster” after his first major international trip, to the Queen’s funeral and the UN general assembly, was marred by alleged discourtesy and an expletive directed at members of the US congress.

Yoon Suk-yeol, a conservative who was already battling low approval ratings only months after taking office, drew criticism from across the South Korean political spectrum after he failed to attend the Queen’s lying in state despite traveling to London.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 101 Score: 10.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 10.00 congress

Entidade acusa Jota de censurar artigo crítico à indústria farmacêutica
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 18:59:43 +0000

Site jurídico publicou uma série de artigos patrocinados por farmacêuticas defendendo a extensão de patentes, mas apagou uma crítica a eles.

The post Entidade acusa Jota de censurar artigo crítico à indústria farmacêutica appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 102 Score: 10.00 source: theintercept.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 10.00 congress

Quilombo nos Parlamentos divulga candidaturas comprometidas com a pauta antirracista
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 08:45:08 +0000

Iniciativa suprapartidária divulga mais de 100 candidaturas em todas as regiões do país.

The post Quilombo nos Parlamentos divulga candidaturas comprometidas com a pauta antirracista appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 103 Score: 10.00 source: theintercept.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 10.00 congress

So, You Want Twitter to Stop Destroying Democracy
Tue, 06 Sep 2022 13:00:00 +0000
Telling people to quit the platform is less effective than stopping influential elites from using the site in harmful ways.
Match ID: 104 Score: 10.00 source: www.wired.com age: 18 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics, 3.57 election, 2.14 elections

Defining the Future Using Next Generation IP Intelligence Solutions
Mon, 19 Sep 2022 12:19:00 +0000


With the continued growth in intellectual property and related innovation data, how confident are you that your intelligence tools are delivering the insights you need to make the right IP decisions? Can these tools give you an accurate picture of your technology domain, competitive activity and emerging threats?

Register now for this free webinar!

By combining enhanced IP data with powerful search technology, next generation tools make it easy for the world’s IP and business executives to find actionable insights and make higher confidence R&D, IP and business decisions.


Register for this webinar where we will cover the following topics:

  • Today’s challenges for data-driven, innovative organizations such as how to bring innovation to market faster.
  • How can you sharpen your competitive edge by including IP data in your analyses and workflows?
  • What critical insights can you gain by correlating patent, trademark, litigation, non-patent literature, firmographic, and proprietary 3rd party data?
  • The Clarivate way - Close the confidence gap in your IP research and analysis
Our speaker:
Rohit Gole
Principal Consultant, Clarivate

Match ID: 105 Score: 8.57 source: discover.clarivate.com age: 5 days
qualifiers: 8.57 executive

Biden touts record jobs but faces new headwinds as GDP shrinks
Thu, 28 Jul 2022 08:09:13 EST
Republicans are poised to cast aside all the economic technicalities and bash Democratic candidates up and down the midterm ballot over an economy that is already deeply unpopular with voters in both parties.
Match ID: 106 Score: 8.57 source: www.politico.com age: 58 days
qualifiers: 4.29 republican, 4.29 democrat

Hear Here: sign up for our curated weekly podcast newsletter
Wed, 30 Mar 2022 15:28:30 GMT

Discover new audio delights with a weekly selection of must-listen podcasts and hidden gems, hand-picked by Guardian writers

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.

***

Continue reading...
Match ID: 107 Score: 7.86 source: www.theguardian.com age: 178 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics, 3.57 election

Watch live: ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti calls International Astronautical Congress from space
Tue, 20 Sep 2022 15:29:00 +0200
ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti looks out from a window on the cupola
Match ID: 108 Score: 7.14 source: www.esa.int age: 4 days
qualifiers: 7.14 congress

Video Friday: Loona
Fri, 16 Sep 2022 18:19:52 +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.

IROS 2022: 23–27 October 2022, KYOTO, JAPAN
ANA Avatar XPRIZE Finals: 4–5 November 2022, LOS ANGELES
CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today's videos!


Another robotic pet on Kickstarter, another bunting of red flags.

Let's see, we've got: "she's so playful and affectionate you'll forget she's a robot." "Everything you can dream of in a best friend and more." "Get ready to fall in love!" And that's literally like the first couple of tiles on the Kickstarter post. Look, the hardware seems fine, and there is a lot of expressiveness going on, I just wish they didn't set you up for an inevitable disappointment when after a couple of weeks it becomes apparent that yes, this is just a robotic toy, and will never be your best friend (or more).

Loona is currently on Kickstarter for about USD $300.

[ Kickstarter ]

Inspired by the flexibility and resilience of dragonfly wings, we propose a novel design for a biomimetic drone propeller called Tombo propeller. Here, we report on the design and fabrication process of this biomimetic propeller that can accommodate collisions and recover quickly, while maintaining sufficient thrust force to hover and fly.

[ JAIST ]

Thanks Van!

Meet Tom, a software engineer at Boston Dynamics, as he shares insights on programming and testing the practical—and impractical—applications of robotics. Whether Spot is conducting inspections or playing an instrument, learn how we go from code on a computer to actions in the real world.

Yeah, but where do I get that awesome shirt?!

[ Boston Dynamics ]

This Ameca demo couples automated speech recognition with GPT 3 —a large language model that generates meaningful answers—the output is fed to an online TTS service which generates the voice and visemes for lip sync timing. The team at Engineered Arts Ltd. pose the questions.

"Meaningful answers."

[ Engineered Arts ]

The ANT project develops a navigation and motion control system for future walking systems for planetary exploration. After successful testing on ramps and rubble fields, the challenge of climbing rough inclines such as craters is being tackled.

[ DFKI ]

Look, if you’re going to crate-train Spot, at least put some blankets and stuffed animals in there or something.

[ Energy Robotics ]

With multitrade layout, all trades’ layouts are set down with a single pass over the floor by Dusty's FieldPrinter system. Trades experience unparalleled clarity and communication with each other, because they can see each others’ installation plans and immediately identify and resolve conflicts. Instead of fighting over the floor and pointing fingers, they start to solve problems together.

[ Dusty Robotics ]

We present QUaRTM—a novel quadcopter design capable of tilting the propellers into the forward flight direction, which reduces the drag area and therefore allows for faster, more agile, and more efficient flight.

[ HiPeRLab ]

Is there an option in the iRobot app to turn my Roomba into a cake? Because I want cake.

[ iRobot ]

Looks like SoftBank is getting into high-density robotic logistics.

[ Impress ]

GITAI S2 ground test for space debris removal. During this demonstration, a tool changer was also tested to perform several different tasks at OSAM.

[ GITAI ]

Recent advances allow for the automation of food preparation in high-throughput environments, yet the successful deployment of these robots requires the planning and execution of quick, robust, and ultimately collision-free behaviors. In this work, we showcase a novel framework for modifying previously generated trajectories of robotic manipulators in highly detailed and dynamic collision environments.

[ Paper ]

The LCT Hospital in South Korea uses “Dr. LCT” for robotic-based orthopedic knee procedures. The system is based on the KUKA LBR Med robotic platform, which is ideally suited for orthopedic surgery with its seven axes, software developed specifically for medical technology, and appropriate safety measures.

[ Kuka ]

A year in review. Compilation of 2022 video highlights of the Game Changing Development (GCD) Program. The Game Changing Development Program is a part of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. The program advances space technologies that may lead to entirely new approaches for the agency’s future space missions and provide solutions to significant national needs.

[ NASA ]

Naomi Wu reviews a Diablo mobile robot (with some really cool customizations of her own), sending it out to run errands in Shenzhen during lockdown.

[ Naomi Wu ]

Roundtable discussion on how teaching automation in schools, colleges, and universities can help shape the workers of tomorrow. ABB Robotics has put together a panel of experts in this field to discuss the challenges and opportunities.

[ ABB ]

On 8 September 2022, Mario Santillo of Ford talked to robotics students as the first speaker in the Undergraduate Robotics Pathways & Careers Speaker Series, which aims to answer the question “What can I do with a robotics degree?”

[ Michigan Robotics ]


Match ID: 109 Score: 7.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 7 days
qualifiers: 7.14 election

The Shaky Future of a Post-Roe Federal Privacy Law
Thu, 15 Sep 2022 11:00:00 +0000
The American Data Privacy and Protection Act could protect people across the country. But first, it has to get past Nancy Pelosi.
Match ID: 110 Score: 5.71 source: www.wired.com age: 9 days
qualifiers: 4.29 democrat, 1.43 congress

The End of Roe Will Spark a Digital Civil War
Wed, 14 Sep 2022 12:00:00 +0000
New privacy and expression laws that vary state to state will be a nightmare for platforms, and for users’ rights.
Match ID: 111 Score: 4.29 source: www.wired.com age: 10 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

Who Pays for an Act of Cyberwar?
Tue, 30 Aug 2022 13:00:00 +0000
Cyberinsurance doesn't cover acts of war. But even as cyberattacks mount, the definition of "warlike" actions remains blurry.
Match ID: 112 Score: 4.29 source: www.wired.com age: 25 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

Boycotting Russian Scientists Is a Hollow Victory
Wed, 24 Aug 2022 12:00:00 +0000
Science agencies around the world halted partnerships with Russia after it invaded Ukraine. But such actions are shortsighted and do more harm than good.
Match ID: 113 Score: 4.29 source: www.wired.com age: 31 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

Putin's Russia: dictator syndrome and the rise of a 'mafia state' – video
Mon, 20 Jun 2022 11:00:52 GMT

Guardian correspondent Luke Harding chronicles the defining moments in Putin's early presidency that helped turn Russia into a 'mafia state' – from the clampdown on the independent media, to shocking assassinations and the emergence of pro-western democratic movements in neighbouring Georgia and Ukraine

Continue reading...
Match ID: 114 Score: 4.29 source: www.theguardian.com age: 96 days
qualifiers: 4.29 democrat

Satellite Imagery for Everyone
Sat, 19 Feb 2022 16:00:00 +0000


Every day, satellites circling overhead capture trillions of pixels of high-resolution imagery of the surface below. In the past, this kind of information was mostly reserved for specialists in government or the military. But these days, almost anyone can use it.

That’s because the cost of sending payloads, including imaging satellites, into orbit has dropped drastically. High-resolution satellite images, which used to cost tens of thousands of dollars, now can be had for the price of a cup of coffee.

What’s more, with the recent advances in artificial intelligence, companies can more easily extract the information they need from huge digital data sets, including ones composed of satellite images. Using such images to make business decisions on the fly might seem like science fiction, but it is already happening within some industries.


This image shows are variety of blue and green hues, interwoven in a geometrically intriguing way.

These underwater sand dunes adorn the seafloor between Andros Island and the Exuma islands in the Bahamas. The turquoise to the right reflects a shallow carbonate bank, while the dark blue to the left marks the edge of a local deep called Tongue of the Ocean. This image was captured in April 2020 using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite.

Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory


Here’s a brief overview of how you, too, can access this kind of information and use it to your advantage. But before you’ll be able to do that effectively, you need to learn a little about how modern satellite imagery works.

The orbits of Earth-observation satellites generally fall into one of two categories: GEO and LEO. The former is shorthand for geosynchronous equatorial orbit. GEO satellites are positioned roughly 36,000 kilometers above the equator, where they circle in sync with Earth’s rotation. Viewed from the ground, these satellites appear to be stationary, in the sense that their bearing and elevation remain constant. That’s why GEO is said to be a geostationary orbit.

Such orbits are, of course, great for communications relays—it’s what allows people to mount satellite-TV dishes on their houses in a fixed orientation. But GEO satellites are also appropriate when you want to monitor some region of Earth by capturing images over time. Because the satellites are so high up, the resolution of that imagery is quite coarse, however. So these orbits are primarily used for observation satellites designed to track changing weather conditions over broad areas.

Being stationary with respect to Earth means that GEO satellites are always within range of a downlink station, so they can send data back to Earth in minutes. This allows them to alert people to changes in weather patterns almost in real time. Most of this kind of data is made available for free by the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.


This black-and-white image shows a narrow waterway blocked by a large ship. The resolution of the image is sufficient to make out individual shipping containers on its deck, as well as the tugboats arrayed around it.

In March 2021, the container ship Ever Given ran aground, blocking the Suez Canal for six days. This satellite image of the scene, obtained using synthetic-aperture radar, shows the kind resolution that is possible with this technology.

Capella Space


The other option is LEO, which stands for low Earth orbit. Satellites placed in LEO are much closer to the ground, which allows them to obtain higher-resolution images. And the lower you can go, the better the resolution you can get. The company Planet, for example, increased the resolution of its recently completed satellite constellation, SkySat, from 72 centimeters per pixel to just 50 cm—an incredible feat—by lowering the orbits its satellites follow from 500 to 450 km and improving the image processing.

The best commercially available spatial resolution for optical imagery is 25 cm, which means that one pixel represents a 25-by-25-cm area on the ground—roughly the size of your laptop. A handful of companies capture data with 25-cm to 1-meter resolution, which is considered high to very high resolution in this industry. Some of these companies also offer data from 1- to 5-meter resolution, considered medium to high resolution. Finally, several government programs have made optical data available at 10-, 15-, 30-, and 250-meter resolutions for free with open data programs. These include NASA/U.S. Geological Survey Landsat, NASA MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer), and ESA Copernicus. This imagery is considered low resolution.

Because the satellites that provide the highest-resolution images are in the lowest orbits, they sense less area at once. To cover the entire planet, a satellite can be placed in a polar orbit, which takes it from pole to pole. As it travels, Earth rotates under it, so on its next pass, it will be above a different part of Earth.

Many of these satellites don’t pass directly over the poles, though. Instead, they are placed in a near-polar orbit that has been specially designed to take advantage of a subtle bit of physics. You see, the spinning Earth bulges outward slightly at the equator. That extra mass causes the orbits of satellites that are not in polar orbits to shift or (technically speaking) to precess. Satellite operators often take advantage of this phenomenon to put a satellite in what’s called a sun-synchronous orbit. Such orbits allow the repeated passes of the satellite over a given spot to take place at the same time of day. Not having the pattern of shadows shift between passes helps the people using these images to detect changes.




It usually takes 24 hours for a satellite in polar orbit to survey the entire surface of Earth. To image the whole world more frequently, satellite companies use multiple satellites, all equipped with the same sensor and following different orbits. In this way, these companies can provide more frequently updated images of a given location. For example, Maxar’s Worldview Legion constellation, launching later this year, includes six satellites.

After a satellite captures some number of images, all that data needs to be sent down to Earth and processed. The time required for that varies.

DigitalGlobe (which Maxar acquired in 2017) recently announced that it had managed to send data from a satellite down to a ground station and then store it in the cloud in less than a minute. That was possible because the image sent back was of the parking lot of the ground station, so the satellite didn’t have to travel between the collection point and where it had to be to do the data “dumping,” as this process is called.

In general, Earth-observation satellites in LEO don’t capture imagery all the time—they do that only when they are above an area of special interest. That’s because these satellites are limited to how much data they can send at one time. Typically, they can transmit data for only 10 minutes or so before they get out of range of a ground station. And they cannot record more data than they’ll have time to dump.

Currently, ground stations are located mostly near the poles, the most visited areas in polar orbits. But we can soon expect distances to the nearest ground station to shorten because both Amazon and Microsoft have announced intentions to build large networks of ground stations located all over the world. As it turns out, hosting the terabytes of satellite data that are collected daily is big business for these companies, which sell their cloud services (Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure) to satellite operators.

For now, if you are looking for imagery of an area far from a ground station, expect a significant delay—maybe hours—between capture and transmission of the data. The data will then have to be processed, which adds yet more time. The fastest providers currently make their data available within 48 hours of capture, but not all can manage that. While it is possible, under ideal weather conditions, for a commercial entity to request a new capture and get the data it needs delivered the same week, such quick turnaround times are still considered cutting edge.


The best commercially available spatial resolution is 25 centimeters for optical imagery, which means that one pixel represents something roughly the size of your laptop.


I’ve been using the word “imagery,” but it’s important to note that satellites do not capture images the same way ordinary cameras do. The optical sensors in satellites are calibrated to measure reflectance over specific bands of the electromagnetic spectrum. This could mean they record how much red, green, and blue light is reflected from different parts of the ground. The satellite operator will then apply a variety of adjustments to correct colors, combine adjacent images, and account for parallax, forming what’s called a true-color composite image, which looks pretty much like what you would expect to get from a good camera floating high in the sky and pointed directly down.

Imaging satellites can also capture data outside of the visible-light spectrum. The near-infrared band is widely used in agriculture, for example, because these images help farmers gauge the health of their crops. This band can also be used to detect soil moisture and a variety of other ground features that would otherwise be hard to determine.

Longer-wavelength “thermal” IR does a good job of penetrating smoke and picking up heat sources, making it useful for wildfire monitoring. And synthetic-aperture radar satellites, which I discuss in greater detail below, are becoming more common because the images they produce aren’t affected by clouds and don’t require the sun for illumination.

You might wonder whether aerial imagery, say, from a drone, wouldn’t work at least as well as satellite data. Sometimes it can. But for many situations, using satellites is the better strategy. Satellites can capture imagery over areas that would be difficult to access otherwise because of their remoteness, for example. Or there could be other sorts of accessibility issues: The area of interest could be in a conflict zone, on private land, or in another place that planes or drones cannot overfly.

So with satellites, organizations can easily monitor the changes taking place at various far-flung locations. Satellite imagery allows pipeline operators, for instance, to quickly identify incursions into their right-of-way zones. The company can then take steps to prevent a disastrous incident, such as someone puncturing a gas pipeline while construction is taking place nearby.


\u200bThis satellite image shows a snow-covered area. A tongue of darker material is draped over the side of a slope, impinging on a nearby developed area with buildings.

This SkySat image shows the effect of a devastating landslide that took place on 30 December 2020. Debris from that landslide destroyed buildings and killed 10 people in the Norwegian village of Ask.

SkySat/Planet



The ability to compare archived imagery with recently acquired data has helped a variety of industries. For example, insurance companies sometimes use satellite data to detect fraudulent claims (“Looks like your house had a damaged roof when you bought it…”). And financial-investment firms use satellite imagery to evaluate such things as retailers’ future profits based on parking-lot fullness or to predict crop prices before farmers report their yields for the season.

Satellite imagery provides a particularly useful way to find or monitor the location of undisclosed features or activities. Sarah Parcak of the University of Alabama, for example, uses satellite imagery to locate archaeological sites of interest. 52Impact, a consulting company in the Netherlands, identified undisclosed waste dump sites by training an algorithm to recognize their telltale spectral signature. Satellite imagery has also helped identify illegal fishing activities, fight human trafficking, monitor oil spills, get accurate reporting on COVID-19 deaths, and even investigate Uyghur internment camps in China—all situations where the primary actors couldn’t be trusted to accurately report what’s going on.

Despite these many successes, investigative reporters and nongovernmental organizations aren’t yet using satellite data regularly, perhaps because even the small cost of the imagery is a deterrent. Thankfully, some kinds of low-resolution satellite data can be had for free.

The first place to look for free satellite imagery is the Copernicus Open Access Hub and EarthExplorer. Both offer free access to a wide range of open data. The imagery is lower resolution than what you can purchase, but if the limited resolution meets your needs, why spend money?

If you require medium- or high-resolution data, you might be able to buy it directly from the relevant satellite operator. This field recently went through a period of mergers and acquisitions, leaving only a handful of providers, the big three in the West being Maxar and Planet in the United States and Airbus in Germany. There are also a few large Asian providers, such as SI Imaging Services in South Korea and Twenty First Century Aerospace Technology in Singapore. Most providers have a commercial branch, but they primarily target government buyers. And they often require large minimum purchases, which is unhelpful to companies looking to monitor hundreds of locations or fewer.

Expect the distance to the nearest ground station to shorten because both Amazon and Microsoft have announced intentions to build large networks of ground stations located all over the world.

Fortunately, approaching a satellite operator isn’t the only option. In the past five years, a cottage industry of consultants and local resellers with exclusive deals to service a certain market has sprung up. Aggregators and resellers spend years negotiating contracts with multiple providers so they can offer customers access to data sets at more attractive prices, sometimes for as little as a few dollars per image. Some companies providing geographic information systems—including Esri, L3Harris, and Safe Software—have also negotiated reselling agreements with satellite-image providers.

Traditional resellers are middlemen who will connect you with a salesperson to discuss your needs, obtain quotes from providers on your behalf, and negotiate pricing and priority schedules for image capture and sometimes also for the processing of the data. This is the case for Apollo Mapping, European Space Imaging, Geocento, LandInfo, Satellite Imaging Corp., and many more. The more innovative resellers will give you access to digital platforms where you can check whether an image you need is available from a certain archive and then order it. Examples include LandViewer from EOS and Image Hunter from Apollo Mapping.

More recently, a new crop of aggregators began offering customers the ability to programmatically access Earth-observation data sets. These companies work best for people looking to integrate such data into their own applications or workflows. These include the company I work for, SkyWatch, which provides such a service, called EarthCache. Other examples are UP42 from Airbus and Sentinel Hub from Sinergise.

While you will still need to talk with a sales rep to activate your account—most often to verify you will use the data in ways that fits the company’s terms of service and licensing agreements—once you’ve been granted access to their applications, you will be able to programmatically order archive data from one or multiple providers. SkyWatch is, however, the only aggregator allowing users to programmatically request future data to be collected (“tasking a satellite”).

While satellite imagery is fantastically abundant and easy to access today, two changes are afoot that will expand further what you can do with satellite data: faster revisits and greater use of synthetic-aperture radar (SAR).

This image shows a sprawling compound of dozens of large buildings located in a desert area.

This image shows a race-track shaped structure with a tall chimney in the middle, built in an area where the ground is a distinctly reddish hue. Satellite images have helped to reveal China’s treatment of its Muslim Uyghur minority. About a million Uyghurs (and other ethnic minorities) have been interned in prisons or camps like the one shown here [top], which lies to the east of the city of Ürümqi, the capital of China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Another satellite image [bottom] shows the characteristic oval shape of a fixed-chimney Bull’s trench kiln, a type widely used for manufacturing bricks in southern Asia. This one is located in Pakistan’s Punjab province. This design poses environmental concerns because of the sooty air pollution it generates, and such kilns have also been associated with human-rights abuses.Top: CNES/Airbus/Google Earth; Bottom: Maxar Technologies/Google Earth

The first of these developments is not surprising. As more Earth-observation satellites are put into orbit, more images will be taken, more often. So how frequently a given area is imaged by a satellite will increase. Right now, that’s typically two or three times a week. Expect the revisit rate soon to become several times a day. This won’t entirely address the challenge of clouds obscuring what you want to view, but it will help.

The second development is more subtle. Data from the two satellites of the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 SAR mission, available at no cost, has enabled companies to dabble in SAR over the last few years.

With SAR, the satellite beams radio waves down and measures the return signals bouncing off the surface. It does that continually, and clever processing is used to turn that data into images. The use of radio allows these satellites to see through clouds and to collect measurements day and night. Depending on the radar band that’s employed, SAR imagery can be used to judge material properties, moisture content, precise movements, and elevation.

As more companies get familiar with such data sets, there will no doubt be a growing demand for satellite SAR imagery, which has been widely used by the military since the 1970s. But it’s just now starting to appear in commercial products. You can expect those offerings to grow dramatically, though.

Indeed, a large portion of the money being invested in this industry is currently going to fund large SAR constellations, including those of Capella Space, Iceye, Synspective, XpressSAR, and others. The market is going to get crowded fast, which is great news for customers. It means they will be able to obtain high-resolution SAR images of the place they’re interested in, taken every hour (or less), day or night, cloudy or clear.

People will no doubt figure out wonderful new ways to employ this information, so the more folks who have access to it, the better. This is something my colleagues at SkyWatch and I deeply believe, and it’s why we’ve made it our mission to help democratize access to satellite imagery.

One day in the not-so-distant future, Earth-observation satellite data might become as ubiquitous as GPS, another satellite technology first used only by the military. Imagine, for example, being able to take out your phone and say something like, “Show me this morning’s soil-moisture map for Grover’s Corners High; I want to see whether the baseball fields are still soggy.”

This article appears in the March 2022 print issue as “A Boom with a View.”

Editor's note: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Maxar's Worldview Legion constellation launched last year.


Match ID: 115 Score: 4.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 217 days
qualifiers: 4.29 democrat

The Twitter Whistleblower’s Testimony Has Senators Out for Blood
Wed, 14 Sep 2022 19:01:41 +0000
Peiter “Mudge” Zatko’s allegations about the social media platform renewed a sense of urgency for lawmakers to rein in Big Tech.
Match ID: 116 Score: 3.57 source: www.wired.com age: 9 days
qualifiers: 2.14 judiciary, 1.43 congress

Video Friday: DARPA ANCILLARY
Fri, 09 Sep 2022 15:55:30 +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.

CLAWAR 2022: 12–14 September 2022, AZORES, PORTUGAL
IROS 2022: 23–27 October 2022, KYOTO, JAPAN
ANA Avatar XPrize Finals: 4–5 November 2022, LOS ANGELES
CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today’s videos!


DARPA’s AdvaNced airCraft Infrastructure-Less Launch And RecoverY X-Plane program, nicknamed ANCILLARY, aims to develop and flight demonstrate critical technologies required for a leap ahead in vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), low-weight, high-payload, and long-endurance capabilities.

[ DARPA ]

Behold the tastiest robot ever, thanks to the 40 kilograms of dark chocolate that it’s made of.

[ Amaury Guichon ]

When a video features a robot operating outdoors while being pursued by a human with a laptop on a cart, you know it’s going to be some cutting-edge stuff. In this case, it’s the University of Michigan’s Cassie autonomously navigating based on directions from a hand-drawn map.

First, we show Cassie a map with a hand-drawn path, which she needs to follow. Second, she localizes herself into the OpenStreetMap, used as a topological global map. Third, she then converts the drawn path to her own understanding in the OpenStreetMap. Fourth, she determines terrain types such as sidewalks, roads, and grass. Fifth, she decides what categories she should walk on at the moment. Sixth, a multi-layered map is built. Seventh, a reactive CLF planning algorithm is guiding Cassie to walk safely without hitting obstacles. Finally, the planning signal is sent to Cassie’s 20 degree-of-freedom motion controller.

[ University of Michigan ]

Thanks, Bruce!

Apparently Indonesia drone laws are very permissive? Or they are for DJI, anyway.

[ DJI Avata ]

Waymo Co-CEO Dmitri Dolgov recently took another rider-only trip around San Francisco. Watch as the Waymo Driver reacts dynamically to other human drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians during the nearly hour-long ride.

[ Waymo ]

This capacitive sensing skin will keep you from getting whacked by a robot arm.

[ Paper ]

Dexterous Teleoperation combining shadow hand with real-time volumetric telepresence rendering in VR.

[ Extend Robotics ]

Breathtaking landscape aerial cinematography is made easy when using Skydio drone technology! Enjoy some of our favorite scenic landscape moments from the Skydio community.

[ Skydio ]

Most people think of intelligence as existing in the computer or our brain. Artificial intelligence recognizes faces, understands speech, picks movies, and corrects typos. These tasks are well-suited for computers. But when it comes to roboticists, they are all about physical tasks in the real world. And intelligence is no longer confined to the realm of the bits; the intelligent agent is a robot. Professor Matei Ciocarlie’s Robotic Manipulation and Mobility lab is embodying intelligence in robot hands to solve the problem of physical interaction in our complicated world.

[ ROAM Lab ]

In this episode of our Robot Spotlight series, we showcase a Polaris GEM electric vehicle that has been outfitted with our OutdoorNav autonomy software. Watch the video to learn how it all came together and to find out if the team was able to use the autonomy software to navigate the vehicle through a local shopping plaza and through a Starbucks drive thru.

[ Clearpath ]

Two research talks from UPenn’s GRASP lab: Nadia Figueroa on Collaborative Human-Aware Robotics, and M. Ani Hsieh on Robots for Climate, Energy, and Stability.

[ GRASP Lab ]


Match ID: 117 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 15 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: 118 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 77 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: 119 Score: 3.57 source: www.crunchhype.com age: 216 days
qualifiers: 3.57 election

Take a Trip Through Switzerland’s Museum of Consumer Electronics
Fri, 16 Sep 2022 18:00:00 +0000


For more than a decade Museum ENTER, in Solothurn, Switzerland, has been a place where history buffs can explore and learn about the development and growth of computer and consumer electronics in Switzerland and the rest of the world. On display are computers, calculators, floppy disks, phonographs, radios, video game consoles, and related objects.

Thanks to a new four-year partnership between the museum and the IEEE Switzerland Section, IEEE members may visit the facility for free. They also can donate their time to help create exhibits; translate pamphlets, display cards, and other written media; and present science, technology, engineering, and math workshops.

room full of historical audio radios The technology on display includes televisions and radios from the 1950s.ENTER Museum

Collections of calculators, radios, telephones, and televisions

ENTER started as the private collection of Swiss entrepreneur Felix Kunz, who had been amassing computers and other electronics since the mid-1970s. Kunz and Peter Regenass—a collector of calculators—opened the museum in 2011 near the Solothurn train station.

The museum’s collection focuses on the history of technology made in Switzerland by companies including Bolex, Crypto AG, and Gretag. The technology on display includes early telegraphs, telephones, televisions, and radios.

There are 300 mechanical calculators from Regenass’s collection. One of the mechanical calculators, Curta, looks like a pepper mill and has more than 700 parts.

The museum also has several Volksempfängers, the early radio models used by the Nazis to spread propaganda.

Visitors can check out the collection of working Apple computers, which the museum claims is the largest in Europe.

Free admission, discounts, and STEM education courses

The IEEE Switzerland Section began its partnership with the museum last year, when the student branch at the IEEE EPFL hosted a presentation there, says IEEE Senior Member Mathieu Coustans, the Switzerland Section’s treasurer.

In May, the section and the museum organized a workshop celebrating 100 years of radio broadcasting in Switzerland. IEEE members presented on the topic in French, Coustans says, and then translated the presentations to English.

Based on the success of both events, he says, the section and the museum began to discuss how else they could collaborate.

The two organizations discovered they have “many of the same goals,” says IEEE Member Violetta Vitacca, chief executive of the museum. They both aim to inspire the next generation of engineers, promote the history of technology, and bring together engineers from academia and industry to collaborate. The section and museum decided to create a long-term partnership to help each other succeed.

In addition to the free visits, IEEE members receive a 10 percent discount on services offered by the museum, including digitizing books and other materials and repairing broken equipment such as radios and vintage record players. Members can donate historical artifacts too. In addition, IEEE groups are welcome to host conferences and section meetings at the facility.

The IEEE Switzerland Section as well as members of student branches and the local IEEE Life Members Affinity Group have agreed to speak at events held at the museum and teach STEM classes there.

“The museum is a space where both professional engineers and young people can network and learn from each other,” Vitacca says. “I think this partnership is a win-win for both IEEE and the museum.”

She says she hopes that “collaborating with IEEE will help Museum ENTER gain an international reputation.”

The perks of the collaboration will become “especially attractive with the opening of the brand-new Museum ENTER building” next year, says IEEE Senior Member Hugo Wyss, chair of the Switzerland Section, who led the partnership effort.

Exhibits on gaming, inventors, and startups

The museum is set to move in May to a larger building in the village of Derendingen. When it reopens there in November, these are some new additions visitors can look forward to:

  • Audio guides, display cards, and pamphlets in German, English, and French.
  • “The Academy,” which aims to inspire the next generation of engineers, offering workshops, lectures, and other events, as well as access to a technical library.
  • A data digitization laboratory where collectors and electronics enthusiasts can convert vintage media carriers, records, and film.
  • A public-gathering piazza with an attached café and meeting rooms.

Electronic in foreground with a group of children watching adult use something in his hands in background The museum offers STEM workshops. ENTER Museum

In addition, these eight permanent exhibits will be available, the museum says:

  • Game Area. A display featuring innovations that have driven the rise of gaming and high-performance computing.
  • Hall of Brands. A showcase of technologies from well-known companies.
  • Now. Current technology highlighted in the news.
  • Show of Pioneers. A look at the inventors of popular consumer and computer electronics.
  • Switzerland Connected. A showcase for the country’s former and current accelerators, startups, and schools.
  • Time Travel. A retrospective look at 150 years of technology.
  • Typology of Technology. Applications such as optical and magnetic recording used for music and film.

The museum also plans to curate special exhibitions.

“We are going from being simply a museum with an extensive collection to being a center for networking, education, and innovation,” Vitacca says. “That’s why it’s important for the museum to collaborate with IEEE. Our offerings are not only unique in Switzerland but also across Europe. IEEE is a great partner for us to help get the word out about what we do.”


Match ID: 120 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 8 days
qualifiers: 2.14 executive

Faster, Meaner, Deadlier: The Evolution of “BattleBots”
Thu, 15 Sep 2022 16:13:51 +0000


Earlier this year, friend-of-IEEE Spectrum and fashiontech designer Anouk Wipprecht gave a peek of what it’s like to be a competitor on “BattleBots,” the 22-year-old robot-combat competition, from the preparation “pit” to the arena. Her team, Ghostraptor, was knocked out of the regular competition after losing its first and second fights, though they regained some glory by winning a round in the bonus Golden Bolt tournament, which recently finished airing on the TBS TV channel.

This week, tickets went on sale for audience seating for the next season of “BattleBots”; filming will commence in October in Las Vegas. We thought it was a good moment to get a different perspective on the show, so Spectrum asked one of the founders of “BattleBots” and its current executive producer, Greg Munson, about how two decades’ worth of technological progress has impacted the competition.

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen, technology-wise, over 20 years or so?

Greg Munson: Probably the biggest is battery technology. “BattleBots” premiered on Comedy Central in, I think it was, 2000. Now we’re 22 years later. In the early days, people were using car batteries. Then NiCad packs became very popular. But with the advent of lithium technology, when the battery packs could be different sizes and shapes, that’s when things just took off in terms of power-to-weight ratio. Now you can have these massively spinning disk weapons, or bar weapons, or drum weapons that can literally obliterate the other robot.

A bearded man in a black hat and t-shirt that say Battlebots Greg MunsonGabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

Second is the [improvement in electronic speed control (ESC) circuitry]. We built a robot called Bombmachine back in the day. And besides its giant gel cell batteries, which were probably a third of the [bot’s total] weight, we had this big old Vantex speed controller with a big giant heat sink. The ESC form factors have gotten smaller. They’ve gotten more efficient. They’re able to handle way more amperage through the system, so they don’t blow up. They’ve got more technology built into them, so the team can have a person monitoring things like heat, and they’ll know when to, for instance, shut a weapon down. You see this a lot now on the show where they’re spinning up really fast, going in for a hit. And then they actually back off the weapon. And watchers will think, “Oh, the weapon’s dead.” But no, they’re actually just letting it cool down because the monitor guy has told his driver, “Hey, the weapon’s hot. I’m getting some readings from the ESC. The weapon’s hot. Give me five seconds.” That kind of thing. And that’s a tremendous strategy boon.

So instead of just one-way remote control, teams are getting telemetry back from the robots now as well?

Munson: A lot of that is starting to happen more and more, and teams like Ribbot are using that. I think they’re influencing other teams to go that route as well, which is great. Just having that extra layer of data during the fight is huge.

CAD gives the robots more personality and character, which is perfect for a TV show.

What other technologies have made a big difference?

Munson: CAD is probably just as big of a technology boost since the ’90s compared to now. In the early “BattleBots” era, a lot of teams were using pencil and paper or little wooden prototypes. Only the most elite, fancy teams back then would use some early version of Solidworks or Autodesk. We were actually being hit up by the CAD companies to get more builders into designing in CAD. Back in the day, if you’re going to build a robot without CAD, you think very pragmatically and very form-follows-function. So you saw a lot of robots that were boxes with wheels and a weapon on top. That’s something you can easily just draw on a piece of paper and figure out. And now CAD is just a given. High-school students are designing things in CAD. But when you’ve got CAD, you can play around and reshape items, and you can get a robot like HyperShock—it looks like there’s no right-angled pieces on HyperShock.

CAD gives the robots more personality and character, which is perfect for a TV show because we want the audience to go, “Hey, that’s HyperShock, my favorite!” Because of the silhouettes, because of the shape, it’s branded, it’s instantly identifiable—as opposed to a silver aluminum box that has no paint.

It quickly became obvious that if there’s a battery fire in the pit, with the smoke and whatnot, that’s a no-go.

When Anouk was writing about being a competitor, she pointed out that there’s quite a strict safety regime teams have to follow, especially with regard to batteries, which are stored and charged in a separate area where competitors have to bring their robots before a fight. How did those rules evolve?

Munson: It’s part “necessity is the mother of invention” and part you just know the lithium technology is more volatile. We have a really smart team that helps us do the rules—there are some EEs on there and some mechanical engineers. They know about technology issues even before they hit the awareness of the general public. The warning shots were there from the beginning—lithium technology can burn, and it keeps on burning. We started out with your basic bucket full of sand and special fire extinguishers along the arena side and in the pit where people were fixing the robots. Every row had a bucket of sand and a protocol for disposing of the batteries properly and safely. But it quickly became obvious that if there’s a battery fire in the pit, with the smoke and whatnot, that’s a no-go. So we quickly pivoted away from that [to a separate] battery charging pit.

We’ve seen batteries just go up, and they don’t happen in the main pit; they happen in the battery pit—which is a huge, huge win for us because that’s a place where we know exactly how to deal with that. There’s staff at the ready to put the fires out and deal with them. We also have a battery cool-down area for after a fight. When the batteries have just discharged massive amounts of energy, they’re hot and some of them are puffing. They get a full inspection. You can’t go back to the pit after your match. You have to go to the battery cool-down area—it’s outside, it’s got fans, it’s cool. A dedicated safety inspector is there inspecting the batteries, making sure they’re not on the verge of causing a fire or puffing in any kind of way. If it’s all good, they let them cool down and stay there for 10, 15 minutes, and then they can go back to the battery-charging tent, take the batteries out and recharge them, and then go back to fixing the robot. If the batteries are not good, they are disposed of properly.

The technology has become more flexible, but how do you prevent competitors from just converging on a handful of optimal design solutions, and all start looking alike?

Munson: That’s a constant struggle. Sometimes we win, and sometimes we lose. A lot of it is in the judging rules, the criteria. We’ve gone through so many iterations of the judging rules because builders love to put either a fork, a series of forks, or a wedge on their bot. Makes total sense because you can scoop the guy up and hit them with your weapon or launch them in the air. So okay, if you’re just wedging the whole fight, is that aggressive? Is that control? Is that damage? And so back in the day, we were probably more strict and ruled that if you all you do is just wedge, we actually count it against you. We’ve loosened up there. Now, if all you do is wedge, it only counts against you just a little bit. But you’ll never win the aggression category if all you’re going to do is wedge.

Because a wedge can beat everything. We often saw the finals would be between a big gnarly spinner and a wedge. Wedges are a very effective, simple machine that can clean up in robot combat. So we’re tweaking how we count the effectiveness of wedges and our judging guide if the fight goes to judges. Meanwhile, we don’t want it to go to judges. We want to see a knockout. So we demand that you have to have an active weapon. You can’t just have a wedge. It has to be a robust, active weapon that can actually cause damage. You just can’t put a Home Depot drill on the top of your robot and call it a day. That was just something we knew we needed to have to push the sport forward. What seems to be happening is the vertical spinners are now sort of the dominant class.

We don’t want the robots to be homogenized. That’s one of the reasons why we allow modifications during the actual tournament. Certain fans have gotten mad at us, like, “Why’d you let them add this thing during the middle of the tournament?” Because we want that. We want that spirit of ingenuity and resourcefulness. We want to break any idea of “vertical spinners will always win.” We want to see different kinds of fights because people will get bored otherwise. Even if there’s massive amounts of destruction, which always seems to excite us, if it’s the same kind of destruction over and over again, it starts to be like an explosion in Charlie’s Angels that I’ve seen 100 times, right? A lot of robots are modular now, where they can swap out a vertical spinner for a horizontal undercutter and so on. This will be a constant evolution for our entire history. If you ask me this question 20 years from now, I’m going to still be saying it’s a struggle!


Match ID: 121 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 9 days
qualifiers: 2.14 executive

Looking For a Job? Some LinkedIn Connections Matter More Than Others
2022-09-15T00:00:00Z
Debating whether to connect on LinkedIn with that more senior executive you met at that conference? You should, says new research about professional networks by Iavor Bojinov and colleagues. That person just might help you land your next job.
Match ID: 122 Score: 2.14 source: hbswk.hbs.edu age: 9 days
qualifiers: 2.14 executive

IEEE Is Working to Reconfigure Its Geographic Regions
Wed, 07 Sep 2022 18:00:01 +0000


IEEE has been analyzing its region and geographic unit structure to ensure there is equitable representation across its global membership.

IEEE’s region structure organizes membership into 10 globe-spanning geographic organizational units. Each member is assigned to a local section within one of the 10 regions, and each region elects a representative to serve on the IEEE Member and Geographic Activities (MGA) Board and on the IEEE Board of Directors. The regional units work to fulfill IEEE’s mission and to meet the needs of IEEE members living within the region’s borders.

As of June, the distribution of the IEEE membership across the 10 regions is Region 1: 24,938 members; Region 2: 21,795 members; Region 3: 24,202 members; Region 4: 16,836 members; Region 5: 22,317 members; Region 6: 43,089 members; Region 7: 14,179 members; Region 8: 74,451 members; Region 9: 16,426 members; and Region 10: 151,421 members.

Last year, the MGA Board, which oversees IEEE membership and the activities of geographic units worldwide, formed a region realignment ad hoc committee to review the regional organization and propose recommendations for structural changes. The committee consists of current region directors among other MGA volunteers.

Based on the ad hoc committee’s recommendations, several actions have been taken to date. A formal plan will be presented to the MGA Board for approval at a meeting later this year.

A plan has been developed to divide Region 10, IEEE’s largest region, into two regions, to better meet the needs of its members in this region. Region 10 leadership and the MGA ad hoc committee have been working to develop the geographic boundaries of the two regions and have been creating implementation plans to execute this regional division following approval by the MGA Board and the IEEE Board of Directors.

To maintain a total of 10 regions across the world, IEEE Region 1 and Region 2 are proposing to merge formally into a single region with a single region director. The Region 1 and Region 2 Board of Governors and Executive Committees will work collaboratively to document and determine the best path forward in merging the two regions affairs, governance, and member activities.

While planning efforts for regional realignment are ongoing, another recent initiative has been the introduction of additional zone representatives at the MGA Board. A zone is a substructure within a region with a significant number of members. In these large regions, zone representatives can assist in the region and provide an additional voice for members within the zone.

To test the zone concept, in February the MGA Board approved the formation of four zones: two in Region 8 and two in Region 10. Representatives from the new zones participated in the MGA Board meeting held in June. The ad hoc committee is continuing to further develop specific responsibilities for the zone leaders.

The ad hoc committee is planning to bring motions forward to an upcoming MGA Board meeting to confirm the direction and next steps of the realignment, including next steps in the split of Region 10 into two regions, the consolidation of Regions 1 and 2 into a single region, and further definition of the zone concept.

If approved by the MGA Board, the vice president of MGA, David Koehler, will then present motions related to these matters for consideration by the IEEE Board of Directors at its November meeting.


Match ID: 123 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 17 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: 124 Score: 2.14 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 158 days
qualifiers: 2.14 executive

EVTOL Companies Are Worth Billions—Who Are the Key Players?
Tue, 22 Feb 2022 21:16:10 +0000


“Hardware is hard,” venture capitalist Marc Andreessen famously declared at a tech investors’ event in 2013. Explaining the longstanding preference for software startups among VCs, Andreessen said, “There are so many more things that can go wrong in a hardware company. There are so many more ways a hardware company can blow up in a nonrecoverable way.”

Even as Andreessen was speaking, however, the seeds were being sown for one of the biggest and most sustained infusions of cash into a hardware-based movement in the last decade. Since then, the design and construction of electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) aircraft has been propelled by waves of funding from some of the biggest names in tech. And, surprisingly for such a large movement, the funding is mostly coming from sources outside of the traditional venture-capital community—rich investors and multinational corporations. The list includes Google cofounder Larry Page, autonomy pioneer Sebastian Thrun, entrepreneur Martine Rothblatt, LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, Zynga founder Mark Pincus, investor Adam Grosser, entrepreneur Marc Lore, and companies including Uber, Mercedes-Benz, Airbus, Boeing, Toyota, Hyundai, Honda, JetBlue, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and many more.

Today, some 250 companies are working toward what they hope will be a revolution in urban transportation. Some, such as Wisk and Kittyhawk and Joby, are flying a small fleet of prototype aircraft; others have nothing more than a design concept. If the vision becomes reality, hundreds of eVTOLs will swarm over the skies of a big city during a typical rush hour, whisking small numbers of passengers at per-kilometer costs no greater than those of driving a car. This vision, which goes by the name urban air mobility or advanced air mobility, will require backers to overcome entire categories of obstacles, including certification, technology development, and the operational considerations of safely flying large numbers of aircraft in a small airspace.

Even tech development, considered the most straightforward of the challenges, has a way to go. Joby, one of the most advanced of the startups, provided a stark reminder of this fact when it was disclosed on 16 February that one of its unpiloted prototypes crashed during a test flight in a remote part of California. Few details were available, but reporting by FutureFlight suggested the aircraft was flying test routes at altitudes up to 1,200 feet and at speeds as high as 240 knots.

No one expects the urban air mobility market, if it does get off the ground, to ever be large enough to accommodate 250 manufacturers of eVTOLs, so a cottage industry has sprung up around handicapping the field. SMG Consulting (founded by Sergio Cecutta, a former executive at Honeywell and Danaher) has been ranking eVTOL startups in its Advanced Air Mobility Reality Index since December 2020. Its latest index—from which our chart below has been adapted, with SMG’s kind permission—suggests that the top 10 startups have pulled in more than US $6 billion in funding; the next couple of hundred startups have combined funding in the several hundred million at most.

Cecutta is quick to point out that funding, though important, is not everything when it comes to ranking the eVTOL companies. How they will navigate the largely uncharted territory of certifying and manufacturing the novel fliers will also be critical. “These companies are all forecasting production in the hundreds, if not thousands” of units per year, he says.

“The aerospace industry is not used to producing in those kinds of numbers….The challenge is to be able to build at that rate, to have a supply chain that can supply you with the components you need to build at that rate. Aerospace is a team sport. There is no company that does 100 percent in-house.” Hardware really is hard.

This article appears in the March 2022 print issue as “What’s Behind the Air-Taxi Craze”; on 24 Feb. 2022, the chart was updated with data kindly provided by Beta Technologies.


Match ID: 125 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 213 days
qualifiers: 2.14 executive

Following the Money in the Air-Taxi Craze
Tue, 08 Feb 2022 15:04:00 +0000


When entrepreneur JoeBen Bevirt launched Joby Aviation 12 years ago, it was just one of a slew of offbeat tech projects at his Sproutwerx ranch in the Santa Cruz mountains. Today, Joby has more than 1,000 employees and it’s backed by close to US $2 billion in investments, including $400 million from Toyota Motor Corporation along with big infusions from Uber and JetBlue.

Having raked in perhaps 30 percent of all the money invested in electrically-powered vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft so far, Joby is the colossus in an emerging class of startups working on these radical, battery-powered commercial flyers. All told, at least 250 companies worldwide are angling to revolutionize transportation in and around cities with a new category of aviation, called urban air mobility or advanced air mobility. With Joby at the apex, the category’s top seven companies together have hauled in more than $5 billion in funding—a figure that doesn’t include private firms, whose finances haven’t been disclosed.

But with some of these companies pledging to start commercial operations in 2024, there is no clear answer to a fundamental question: Are we on the verge of a stunning revolution in urban transportation, or are we witnessing, as aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia puts it, the “mother of all aerospace bubbles”?

Even by the standards of big-money tech investment, the vision is giddily audacious. During rush hour, the skies over a large city, such as Dubai or Madrid or Los Angeles, would swarm with hundreds, and eventually thousands, of eVTOL “air taxis.” Each would seat between one and perhaps half a dozen passengers, and would, eventually, be autonomous. Hailing a ride would be no more complicated than scheduling a trip on a ride-sharing app.

“We’re going to have to get the consumer used to thinking about flying in a small aircraft without a pilot on board. I have reservations about the general public’s willingness to accept that vision.”
—Laurie Garrow, Georgia Tech

And somehow, the cost would be no greater, either. In a discussion hosted by the Washington Post last July, Bevirt declared, “Our initial price point would be comparable to the cost of a taxi or an Uber, but our target is to move quickly down to the cost of what it costs you to drive your own car. And we believe that's the critical unlock to making this transformative to the world and for people’s daily lives.” Asked to put some dollar figures on his projection, Bevirt said, “Our goal is to launch this service [in 2024] at an average price of around $3 a mile and to move that down below $1 a mile over time.” The cost of an Uber varies by city and time of day, but it’s usually between $1 and $2 per mile, not including fees.

Industry analysts tend to have more restrained expectations. With the notable exception of China, they suggest, limited commercial flights will begin with eVTOL aircraft flown by human pilots, a phase that is expected to last six to eight years at least. Costs will be similar to those of helicopter trips, which tend to be in the range of $6 to $10 per mile or more. Of the 250+ startups in the field, only three—Kittyhawk, Wisk Aero (a joint venture of Kittyhawk and Boeing), and Ehang—plan to go straight to full autonomy without a preliminary phase involving pilots, says Chris Anderson, Chief Operating Officer at Kittyhawk.

To some, the autonomy issue is the heart of whether this entire enterprise can succeed economically. “When you figure in autonomy, you go from $3 a mile to 50 cents a mile,” says Anderson, citing studies done by his company. “You can’t do that with a pilot in the seat.”

Laurie A. Garrow, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, agrees. “For the large-scale vision, autonomy will be critical,” she says. “In order to get to the vision that people have, where this is a ubiquitous mode of transportation with a high market share, the only way to get that is by… eliminating the pilot.” Garrow, a civil engineer who co-directs the university’s Center for Urban and Regional Air Mobility, adds that autonomy presents challenges beyond technology: “We’re going to have to get the consumer used to thinking about flying in a small aircraft without a pilot on board. I have reservations about the general public’s willingness to accept that vision, especially early on.”

“The technical problems are, if not solved, then solvable. The main limiters are laws and regulations.”
—Chris Anderson, COO, Kittyhawk

Some analysts have much more fundamental doubts. Aboulafia, managing director at the consultancy AeroDynamic Advisory, says the figures simply don’t add up. eVTOL startups are counting on mass-manufacturing techniques to reduce the costs of these exotic aircraft, but such techniques have never been applied to producing aircraft on the scale specified in the projections. Even the anticipated lower operating costs, Aboulafia adds, won’t compensate. “If I started a car service here in Washington, D.C., using Rolls Royces, you’d think I was out of my mind, right?,” he asks. “But if I put batteries in those Rolls Royces, would you think I was any less crazy?”

What everyone agrees on is that achieving even a modest amount of success for eVTOLs will require surmounting entire categories of challenges, including regulations and certification, technology development, and the operational considerations of safely flying large numbers of aircraft in a small airspace.

To some, certification will be the highest hurdle. “The technical problems are, if not solved, then solvable,” says Anderson. “The main limiters are laws and regulations.”

There are dozens of aviation certification agencies in the world. But the three most important ones for these new aircraft are the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the U.S., the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). Of the three, the FAA is considered the most challenging, for several reasons. One is that, to deal with eVTOLs, the agency has chosen to adapt its existing certification rules. That gives some observers pause, because the FAA does not have a body of knowledge and experience for certifying aircraft that fly by means of battery systems and electric motors. The EASA, on the other hand, has created an entirely new set of regulations tailored for eVTOL aircraft and related technology, according to Erin Rivera, senior associate for regulatory affairs at Lilium.

To clear an aircraft for commercial flight, the FAA actually requires three certifications: one for the aircraft itself, one for its operations, and one for its manufacturing. For the aircraft, the agency designates different categories, or “parts,” for different kinds of fliers. For eVTOLs (other than multicopters), the applicable category seems to be Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 23, which covers “normal, utility, acrobatic, and commuter category airplanes.” The certification process itself is performance based, meaning that the FAA establishes performance criteria that an aircraft must meet, but does not specify how it must meet them.

Because eVTOLs are so novel, the FAA is expected to lean on industry-developed standards referred to as Means of Compliance (MOC). The proposed MOCs must be acceptable to the FAA. Through a certification scheme known as the “issue paper process,” the applicant begins by submitting what’s known as a G1 proposal, which specifies the applicable certification standards and special conditions that must be met to achieve certification. The FAA reviews and then either approves or rejects the proposal. If it’s rejected, the applicant revises the proposal to address the FAA’s concerns and tries again.

“If very high levels of automation are critical to scaling, that will be very difficult to certify. How do you certify all the algorithms?”
—Matt Metcalfe, Deloitte Consulting

Some participants are wary. When he was the chief executive of drone maker 3D Robotics, Anderson participated in an analogous experiment in which the FAA had pledged to work more closely with industry to expedite certification of drone aircraft such as multicopters. “That was five years ago, and none of the drones have been certified,” Anderson points out. “It was supposed to be agile and streamlined, and it has been anything but.”

Nobody knows how many eVTOL startups have started the certification process with the FAA, although a good guess seems to be one or two dozen. Joby is furthest along in the process, according to Mark Moore, CEO of Whisper Aero, a maker of advanced electric propulsor systems in Crossville, Tenn. The G1 certification proposals are not public, but when the FAA accepts one (presumably Joby’s), it will become available through the U.S. Federal Register for public comment. Observers expect that to happen any day now.

This certification phase of piloted aircraft is fraught with unknowns because of the novelty of the eVTOL craft themselves. But experts say a greater challenge lies ahead, when manufacturers seek to certify the vehicles for autonomous flight. “If very high levels of automation are critical to scaling, that will be very difficult to certify,” says Matt Metcalfe, a managing director in Deloitte Consulting's Future of Mobility and Aviation practice. “That’s a real challenge, because it’s so complicated. How do you certify all the algorithms?”

“It’s a matter of, how do you ensure that autonomous technology is going to be as safe as a pilot?,” says an executive at one of the startups. “How do you certify that it’s always going to be able to do what it says? With true autonomous technology, the system itself can make an undetermined number of decisions, within its programming. And the way the current certification regulations work, is that they want to be able to know the inputs and outcome of every decision that the aircraft system makes. With a fully autonomous system, you can’t do that.”

Perhaps surprisingly, most experts contacted for this story agreed with Kittyhawk's Anderson that the technical challenges of building the aircraft themselves are solvable. Even autonomy—certification challenges aside—is within reach, most say. The Chinese company EHang has already offered fully autonomous, trial flights of its EH216 multicopter to tourists in the northeastern port city of Yantai and is now building a flight hub in its home city of Guangzhou. Wisk, Kittyhawk, Joby, and other companies have collectively conducted thousands of flights that were at least partially autonomous, without a pilot on board.

Experts foresee eVTOLs largely replacing helicopters for niche applications. There’s less agreement on whether middle-class people will ever be routinely whisked around cities for pennies a mile.

A more imposing challenge, and one likely to determine whether the grand vision of urban air mobility comes to pass, is whether municipal and aviation authorities can solve the challenges of integrating large numbers of eVTOLs into the airspace over major cities. Some of these challenges are, like the aircraft themselves, totally new. For example, most viable scenarios require the construction of “vertiports” in and around cities. These would be like mini airports where the eVTOLs would take off and land, be recharged, and take on and discharge passengers. Right now, it’s not clear who would pay for these. “Manufacturers probably won’t have the money to do it,” says Metcalfe at Deloitte.

As Georgia Tech's Garrow sees it, “vertiports may be one of the greatest constraints on scalability of UAM.” Vertiports, she explains, will be the “pinch points,” because at urban facilities, space will likely be limited to accommodating several aircraft at most. And yet at such a facility, room will be needed during rush hours to accommodate dozens of aircraft needing to land, be charged, take on passengers, and take off. “So the scalability of operations at the vertiports, and the amount of land space required to do that, are going to be two major challenges.”

Despite all the challenges, Garrow, Metcalfe, and others are cautiously optimistic that air mobility will eventually become part of the urban fabric in many cities. They foresee an initial period in which the eVTOLs largely replace helicopters in a few niche applications, such as linking downtown transportation depots to airports for those who can afford it, taking tourists on sightseeing tours, and transporting organs and high-risk patients among hospitals. There’s less agreement on whether middle-class people will ever be routinely whisked around cities for pennies a mile. Even some advocates think that’s more than 10 years away, if it happens at all.

If it does happen, a few studies have predicted that travel times and greenhouse-gas and pollutant emissions could all be reduced. A 2020 study published by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences found a substantial reduction in overall energy use for transportation under “optimistic” scenarios for urban air mobility. And a 2021 study at the University of California, Berkeley, found that in the San Francisco Bay area, overall travel times could be reduced with as few as 10 vertiports. The benefits went up as the number of vertiports increased and as the transfer times at the vertiports went down. But the study also warned that “vertiport scheduling and capacity may become bottlenecks that limit the value of UAM.”

Metacalfe notes that ubiquitous modern conveniences like online shopping have already unleashed tech-based revolutions on a par with the grand vision for UAM. “We tend to look at this through the lens of today,” he says. “And that may be the wrong way to look at it. Ten years ago we never would have thought we’d be getting two or three packages a day. Similarly, the way we move people and goods in the future could be very, very different from the way we do it today.”

This article appears in the March 2022 print issue as “What’s Behind the Air-Taxi Craze.”


Match ID: 126 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 228 days
qualifiers: 2.14 executive

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: 127 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 16 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: 128 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 27 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: 129 Score: 1.43 source: www.nasa.gov age: 57 days
qualifiers: 1.43 congress

Filter efficiency 83.073 (130 matches/768 results)

ABOUT THE PROJECT

RSS Rabbit links users to publicly available RSS entries.
Vet every link before clicking! The creators accept no responsibility for the contents of these entries.

Relevant

Fresh

Convenient

Agile

CONTACT

We're not prepared to take user feedback yet. Check back soon!

rssRabbit quadric