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

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

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


Match ID: 0 Score: 40.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 federal judge(|s), 15.00 judge

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

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

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


Match ID: 1 Score: 40.00 source: theintercept.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 federal judge(|s), 15.00 judge

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

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

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


Match ID: 2 Score: 28.57 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 federal judge(|s), 10.71 judge

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

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

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


Match ID: 3 Score: 17.86 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 10.71 judge, 7.14 congress

‘We need a breakthrough deal on biodiversity’: can Montreal summit deliver for nature?
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 10:00:05 GMT

In 201o, politicians pledged to halt devastation of Earth’s wildlife. Since then, no progress has been made. And despite glimmers of hope, prospects look grim for next month’s top-level meeting in Canada

In 2010, politicians and scientists made a pledge to halt the devastating reductions in wildlife numbers that had been denuding the planet of its animals and sea creatures for the previous century. At that time, wild animal populations were declining by about 2.5% a year on average as habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, climate change and disease ravaged habitats and lives. Such losses must end within a decade, it was agreed.

Next month, conservationists and politicians will meet in Montreal for this year’s biodiversity summit where they will judge what progress has been made over the past 12 years. “It will be an easy assessment to make,” said Andrew Terry, the director of conservation at ZSL, the Zoological Society of London. “Absolutely no progress has been made. Populations have continued to decline at a rate of around 2.5% a year. We haven’t slowed the destruction in the slightest. Our planet’s biodiversity is now in desperate peril as a result.”

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

Brazil judge fines Bolsonaro allies millions after ‘bad faith’ election challenge
Thu, 24 Nov 2022 02:13:23 GMT

Head of Brazil's electoral court rejects claim from outgoing president’s coalition that said voting machines malfunctioned

The head of Brazil’s electoral court has rejected an attempt by outgoing president Jair Bolsonaro’s party to overturn the results of October’s run-off election, which he lost.

Alexandre de Moraes, a supreme court justice, also fined the parties in Bolsonaro’s coalition 22.9m reais ($4.3m) for what the court described as bad faith litigation.

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Match ID: 5 Score: 10.71 source: www.theguardian.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 10.71 judge

Georgia Supreme Court reinstates six-week abortion ban
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 15:59:18 EST
The ban had been overturned one week earlier by a Fulton County judge who ruled it "unconstitutional."
Match ID: 6 Score: 10.71 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 10.71 judge

Democrats press for assault weapons ban, other gun laws after new mass shootings
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 18:03:21 EST
“The idea we still allow semi-automatic weapons to be purchased is sick. Just sick,” President Biden said after recent mass shootings at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs and a Walmart in Chesapeake, Va.
Match ID: 7 Score: 10.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 10.00 congress

Xi unlikely to tolerate dissent as momentous protests shake China
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 17:55:55 GMT

Chinese leader will see widespread demonstrations against zero-Covid policy as threat to CCP’s authority

Just five weeks after being elected to a historic third term, President Xi Jinping suddenly faces cracks in the facade of unchallenged authority that he so successfully presented to the world at the 20th national congress of the Chinese Communist party.

For groups of protesters, apparently without central coordination, to take to the streets across China and to social media, and for some then explicitly to call for Xi and the Communist party to stand aside, is a seismic shock.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 8 Score: 10.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 10.00 congress

The US Congress Is Starting to Question This Whole Crypto Thing
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 12:00:00 +0000
Think Washington lawmakers have what it takes to tackle the volatile world of cryptocurrencies? Neither do they.
Match ID: 9 Score: 10.00 source: www.wired.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 10.00 congress

Founder ran FTX as “personal fiefdom”; many assets stolen or missing, court hears
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 17:36:09 +0000
FTX "was run as a personal fiefdom of Sam Bankman-Fried," company lawyer says.
Match ID: 10 Score: 7.14 source: arstechnica.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 7.14 congress

Supreme Court clears way for Trump tax returns to go to Congress
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 11:18:52 EST
Lawmakers say they need Donald Trump’s tax returns from his time in office to help evaluate the effectiveness of annual presidential audits -- a premise Trump rejects.
Match ID: 11 Score: 7.14 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 7.14 congress

Cowen sees rising risk of rail strike
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 13:20:29 GMT

Cowen analysts on Wednesday said the possibility of the first U.S. rail strike since 1991 is currently at about 30% after statements earlier this week from union members. "Channel checks suggest that customers are already pulling freight off the rails as strike risk rises," analyst Jason Seidl said in a research note. Back in September when a potential work stoppage had loomed ahead of the midterm elections, Seidl projected a roughly 15% chance of a rail strike. While Congress appears motivated to intervene if a strike takes place, Seidl said he's seeing "clear stubbornness from both sides that is likely increasing animosity" and that strike sentiment appears to be growing and shippers are taking action. The president of the Association of American Railroads said Monday, "The window continues to narrow as deadlines rapidly approach" and that the companies are ready to reach new agreements with unions. The association's members work at Warren Buffett's BNSF, Union Pacific Corp. and Norfolk Southern .

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: 7.14 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 7.14 congress

Was the Killing of a Migrant by a Former ICE Warden a Hate Crime or a Terrible Accident?
Sat, 19 Nov 2022 11:00:49 +0000

At Fivemile Tank, a watering hole in the bleak desert of West Texas, two men pulled up in a truck. One aimed a gun into the brush.

The post Was the Killing of a Migrant by a Former ICE Warden a Hate Crime or a Terrible Accident? appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 13 Score: 7.14 source: theintercept.com age: 8 days
qualifiers: 3.57 federal judge(|s), 2.14 judge, 1.43 congress

Biden has appointed many judges but hasn’t recast the bench like Trump
Mon, 21 Nov 2022 10:46:39 EST
By keeping their Senate majority, Democrats can keep confirming judges. But thanks to the GOP’s 2015-2016 blockade, the makeup of the courts hasn’t shifted as substantially.
Match ID: 14 Score: 6.43 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 6 days
qualifiers: 6.43 judge

House Members Push for U.N. Oversight of Yemen Atrocities
Mon, 21 Nov 2022 20:00:12 +0000

Reps. Ilhan Omar and Joaquin Castro are leading the call to renew international oversight of atrocities committed in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

The post House Members Push for U.N. Oversight of Yemen Atrocities appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 15 Score: 4.29 source: theintercept.com age: 6 days
qualifiers: 4.29 congress

How the Graphical User Interface Was Invented
Sun, 20 Nov 2022 20:00:00 +0000


Mice, windows, icons, and menus: these are the ingredients of computer interfaces designed to be easy to grasp, simplicity itself to use, and straightforward to describe. The mouse is a pointer. Windows divide up the screen. Icons symbolize application programs and data. Menus list choices of action.

But the development of today’s graphical user interface was anything but simple. It took some 30 years of effort by engineers and computer scientists in universities, government laboratories, and corporate research groups, piggybacking on each other’s work, trying new ideas, repeating each other’s mistakes.


This article was first published as “Of Mice and menus: designing the user-friendly interface.” It appeared in the September 1989 issue of IEEE Spectrum. A PDF version is available on IEEE Xplore. The photographs and diagrams appeared in the original print version.


Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, many of the early concepts for windows, menus, icons, and mice were arduously researched at Xerox Corp.’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Palo Alto, Calif. In 1973, PARC developed the prototype Alto, the first of two computers that would prove seminal in this area. More than 1200 Altos were built and tested. From the Alto’s concepts, starting in 1975, Xerox’s System Development Department then developed the Star and introduced it in 1981—the first such user-friendly machine sold to the public.

In 1984, the low-cost Macintosh from Apple Computer Inc., Cupertino, Calif., brought the friendly interface to thousands of personal computer users. During the next five years, the price of RAM chips fell enough to accommodate the huge memory demands of bit-mapped graphics, and the Mac was followed by dozens of similar interfaces for PCs and workstations of all kinds. By now, application programmers are becoming familiar with the idea of manipulating graphic objects.

The Mac’s success during the 1980s spurred Apple Computer to pursue legal action over ownership of many features of the graphical user interface. Suits now being litigated could assign those innovations not to the designers and their companies, but to those who first filed for legal protection on them.

The GUI started with Sketchpad


The grandfather of the graphical user interface was Sketchpad [see photograph]. Massachusetts Institute of Technology student Ivan E. Sutherland built it in 1962 as a Ph.D. thesis at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Mass. Sketchpad users could not only draw points, line segments, and circular arcs on a cathode ray tube (CRT) with a light pen—they could also assign constraints to, and relationships among, whatever they drew.

Arcs could have a specified diameter, lines could be horizontal or vertical, and figures could be built up from combinations of elements and shapes. Figures could be moved, copied, shrunk, expanded, and rotated, with their constraints (shown as onscreen icons) dynamically preserved. At a time when a CRT monitor was a novelty in itself, the idea that users could interactively create objects by drawing on a computer was revolutionary.


Man sitting in front of a round cathode ray display with a white square and triangle on a black background

Moreover, to zoom in on objects, Sutherland wrote the first window-drawing program, which required him to come up with the first clipping algorithm. Clipping is a software routine that calculates which part of a graphic object is to be displayed and displays only that part on the screen. The program must calculate where a line is to be drawn, compare that position to the coordinates of the window in use, and prevent the display of any line segment whose coordinates fall outside the window.

Though films of Sketchpad in operation were widely shown in the computer research community, Sutherland says today that there was little immediate fallout from the project. Running on MIT’s TX-2 mainframe, it demanded too much computing power to be practical for individual use. Many other engineers, however, see Sketchpad’s design and algorithms as a primary influence on an entire generation of research into user interfaces.

The origin of the computer mouse


The light pens used to select areas of the screen by interactive computer systems of the 1950s and 1960s—including Sketchpad—had drawbacks. To do the pointing, the user’s arm had to be lifted up from the table, and after a while that got tiring. Picking up the pen required fumbling around on the table or, if it had a holder, taking the time after making a selection to put it back.

Sensing an object with a light pen was straightforward: the computer displayed spots of light on the screen and interrogated the pen as to whether it sensed a spot, so the program always knew just what was being displayed. Locating the position of the pen on the screen required more sophisticated techniques—like displaying a cross pattern of nine points on the screen, then moving the cross until it centered on the light pen.

In 1964, Douglas Engelbart, a research project leader at SRI International in Menlo Park, Calif., tested all the commercially available pointing devices, from the still-popular light pen to a joystick and a Graphicon (a curve-tracing device that used a pen mounted on the arm of a potentiometer). But he felt the selection failed to cover the full spectrum of possible pointing devices, and somehow he should fill in the blanks.

Then he remembered a 1940s college class he had taken that covered the use of a planimeter to calculate area. (A planimeter has two arms, with a wheel on each. The wheels can roll only along their axes; when one of them rolls, the other must slide.)

If a potentiometer were attached to each wheel to monitor its rotation, he thought, a planimeter could be used as a pointing device. Engelbart explained his roughly sketched idea to engineer William English, who with the help of the SRI machine shop built what they quickly dubbed “the mouse.”



This first mouse was big because it used single-turn potentiometers: one rotation of the wheels had to be scaled to move a cursor from one side of the screen to the other. But it was simple to interface with the computer: the processor just read frequent samples of the potentiometer positioning signals through analog-to-digital converters.

The cursor moved by the mouse was easy to locate, since readings from the potentiometer determined the position of the cursor on the screen-unlike the light pen. But programmers for later windowing systems found that the software necessary to determine which object the mouse had selected was more complex than that for the light pen: they had to compare the mouse’s position with that of all the objects displayed onscreen.

The computer mouse gets redesigned—and redesigned again

Engelbart’s group at SRI ran controlled experiments with mice and other pointing devices, and the mouse won hands down. People adapted to it quickly, it was easy to grab, and it stayed where they put it. Still, Engelbart wanted to tinker with it. After experimenting, his group had concluded that the proper ratio of cursor movement to mouse movement was about 2:1, but he wanted to try varying that ratio—decreasing it at slow speeds and raising it at fast speeds—to improve user control of fine movements and speed up larger movements. Some modern mouse-control software incorporates this idea, including that of the Macintosh.

The mouse, still experimental at this stage, did not change until 1971. Several members of Engelbart’s group had moved to the newly established PARC, where many other researchers had seen the SRI mouse and the test report. They decided there was no need to repeat the tests; any experimental systems they designed would use mice.

Said English, “This was my second chance to build a mouse; it was obvious that it should be a lot smaller, and that it should be digital.” Chuck Thacker, then a member of the research staff, advised PARC to hire inventor Jack Hawley to build it.

Hawley decided the mouse should use shaft encoders, which measure position by a series of pulses, instead of potentiometers (both were covered in Engelbart’s 1970 patent), to eliminate the expensive analog-to-digital converters. The basic principle, of one wheel rolling while the other slid, was licensed from SRI.

The ball mouse was the “easiest patent I ever got. It took me five minutes to think of, half an hour to describe to the attorney, and I was done.”
—Ron Rider

In 1972, the mouse changed again. Ron Rider, now vice president of systems architecture at PARC but then a new arrival, said he was using the wheel mouse while an engineer made excuses for its asymmetric operation (one wheel dragging while one turned). “I suggested that they turn a trackball upside down, make it small, and use it as a mouse instead,” Rider told IEEE Spectrum. This device came to be known as the ball mouse. “Easiest patent I ever got,” Rider said. “It took me five minutes to think of, half an hour to describe to the attorney, and I was done.”

Defining terms


Bit map

The pixel pattern that makes up the graphic display on a computer screen.

Clicking

The motion of pressing a mouse button to Initiate an action by software; some actions require double-clicking.

Graphical user interface (GUI)

The combination of windowing displays, menus, icons, and a mouse that is increasingly used on personal computers and workstations.

Icon

An onscreen drawing that represents programs or data.

Menu

A list of command options currently available to the computer user; some stay onscreen, while pop-up or pull-down menus are requested by the user.

Mouse

A device whose motion across a desktop or other surface causes an on-screen cursor to move commensurately; today’s mice move on a ball and have one, two, or three buttons.

Raster display

A cathode ray tube on which Images are displayed as patterns of dots, scanned onto the screen sequentially in a predetermined pattern of lines.

Vector display

A cathode ray tube whose gun scans lines, or vectors, onto the screen phosphor.

Window

An area of a computer display, usually one of several, in which a particular program is executing.


In the PARC ball mouse design, the weight of the mouse is transferred to the ball by a swivel device and on one or two casters at the end of the mouse farthest from the wire “tail.” A prototype was built by Xerox’s Electronics Division in El Segundo, Calif., then redesigned by Hawley. The rolling ball turned two perpendicular shafts, with a drum on the end of each that was coated with alternating stripes of conductive and nonconductive material. As the drum turned, the stripes transmitted electrical impulses through metal wipers.

When Apple Computer decided in 1979 to design a mouse for its Lisa computer, the design mutated yet again. Instead of a metal ball held against the substrate by a swivel, Apple used a rubber ball whose traction depended on the friction of the rubber and the weight of the ball itself. Simple pads on the bottom of the case carried the weight, and optical scanners detected the motion of the internal wheels. The device had loose tolerances and few moving parts, so that it cost perhaps a quarter as much to build as previous ball mice.

How the computer mouse gained and lost buttons

The first, wooden, SRI mouse had only one button, to test the concept. The plastic batch of SRI mice bad three side-by-side buttons—all there was room for, Engelbart said. The first PARC mouse bad a column of three buttons-again, because that best fit the mechanical design. Today, the Apple mouse has one button, while the rest have two or three. The issue is no longer 1950—a standard 6-by-10-cm mouse could now have dozens of buttons—but human factors, and the experts have strong opinions.

Said English, now director of internationalization at Sun Microsystems Inc., Mountain View, Calif.: “Two or three buttons, that’s the debate. Apple made a bad choice when they used only one.” He sees two buttons as the minimum because two functions are basic to selecting an object: pointing to its start, then extending the motion to the end of the object.

William Verplank, a human factors specialist in the group that tested the graphical interface at Xerox from 1978 into the early 1980s, concurred. He told Spectrum that with three buttons, Alto users forgot which button did what. The group’s tests showed that one button was also confusing, because it required actions such as double-clicking to select and then open a file.

“We have agonizing videos of naive users struggling” with these problems, Verplank said. They concluded that for most users, two buttons (as used on the Star) are optimal, if a button means the same thing in every application. English experimented with one-button mice at PARC before concluding they were a bad idea.


“Two or three buttons, that’s the debate. Apple made a bad choice when they used only one.”
—William English


A computer monitor with a chunky white keyboard sitting on a desk

But many interface designers dislike multiple buttons, saying that double-clicking a single button to select an item is easier than remembering which button points and which extends. Larry Tesler, formerly a computer scientist at PARC, brought the one-button mouse to Apple, where he is now vice president of advanced technology. The company’s rationale is that to attract novices to its computers one button was as simple as it could get.

More than two million one-button Apple mice are now in use. The Xerox and Microsoft two-button mice are less common than either Apple’s ubiquitous one-button model or the three-button mice found on technical workstations. Dozens of companies manufacture mice today; most are slightly smaller than a pack of cigarettes, with minor variations in shape.

How windows first came to the computer screen


In 1962, Sketchpad could split its screen horizontally into two independent sections. One section could, for example, give a close-up view of the object in the other section. Researchers call Sketchpad the first example of tiled windows, which are laid out side by side. They differ from overlapping windows, which can be stacked on top of each other, or overlaid, obscuring all or part of the lower layers.

Windows were an obvious means of adding functionality to a small screen. In 1969, Engelbart equipped NLS (as the On-Line System he invented at SRI during the 1960s was known, to distinguish it from the Off-Line System known as FLS) with windows. They split the screen into multiple parts horizontally or vertically, and introduced cross-window editing with a mouse.

By 1972, led by researcher Alan Kay, the Smalltalk programming language group at Xerox PARC had implemented their version of windows. They were working with far different technology from Sutherland or Engelbart: by deciding that their images had to be displayed as dots on the screen, they led a move from vector to raster displays, to make it simple to map the assigned memory location of each of those spots. This was the bit map invented at PARC, and made viable during the 1980s by continual performance improvements in processor logic and memory speed.

Experimenting with bit-map manipulation, Smalltalk researcher Dan Ingalls developed the bit-block transfer procedure, known as BitBlt. The BitBlt software enabled application programs to mix and manipulate rectangular arrays of pixel values in on-screen or off-screen memory, or between the two, combining the pixel values and storing the result in the appropriate bit-map location.

BitBlt made it much easier to write programs to scroll a window (move an image through it), resize (enlarge or contract) it, and drag windows (move them from one location to another on screen). It led Kay to create overlapping windows. They were soon implemented by the Smalltalk group, but made clipping harder.

Some researchers question whether overlapping windows offer more benefits than tiled on the grounds that screens with overlapping windows become so messy the user gets lost.

In a tiling system, explained researcher Peter Deutsch, who worked with the Smalltalk group, the clipping borders are simply horizontal or vertical lines from one screen border to another, and software just tracks the location of those lines. But overlapping windows may appear anywhere on the screen, randomly obscuring bits and pieces of other windows, so that quite irregular regions must be clipped. Thus application software must constantly track which portions of their windows remain visible.

Some researchers still question whether overlapping windows offer more benefits than tiled, at least above a certain screen size, on the grounds that screens with overlapping windows become so messy the user gets lost. Others argue that overlapping windows more closely match users’ work patterns, since no one arranges the papers on their physical desktop in neat horizontal and vertical rows. Among software engineers, however, overlapping windows seem to have won for the user interface world.

So has the cut-and-paste editing model that Larry Tesler developed, first for the Gypsy text editor he wrote at PARC and later for Apple. Charles Irby—who worked on Xerox’s windows and is now vice president of development at Metaphor Computer Systems Inc., Mountain View, Calif.—noted, however, that cut-and-paste worked better for pure text-editing than for moving graphic objects from one application to another.

The origin of the computer menu bar


Menus—functions continuously listed onscreen that could be called into action with key combinations—were commonly used in defense computing by the 1960s. But it was only with the advent of BitBlt and windows that menus could be made to appear as needed and to disappear after use. Combined with a pointing device to indicate a user’s selection, they are now an integral part of the user-friendly interface: users no longer need to refer to manuals or memorize available options.

Instead, the choices can be called up at a moment’s notice whenever needed. And menu design has evolved. Some new systems use nested hierarchies of menus; others offer different menu versions—one with the most commonly used commands for novices, another with all available commands for the experienced user.

Among the first to test menus on demand was PARC researcher William Newman, in a program called Markup. Hard on his heels, the Smalltalk group built in pop-up menus that appeared on screen at the cursor site when the user pressed one of the mouse buttons.

Implementation was on the whole straightforward, recalled Deutsch. The one exception was determining whether the menu or the application should keep track of the information temporarily obscured by the menu. In the Smalltalk 76 version, the popup menu saved and restored the screen bits it overwrote. But in today’s multitasking systems, that would not work, because an application may change those bits without the menu’s knowledge. Such systems add another layer to the operating system: a display manager that tracks what is written where.

The production Xerox Star, in 1981, featured a further advance: a menu bar, essentially a row of words indicating available menus that could be popped up for each window. Human factors engineer Verplank recalled that the bar was at first located at the bottom of its window. But the Star team found users were more likely to associate a bar with the window below it, so it was moved to the top of its window.

Apple simplified things in its Lisa and Macintosh with a single bar placed at the top of the screen. This menu bar relates only to the window in use: the menus could be ‘‘pulled down” from the bar, to appear below it. Designer William D. Atkinson received a patent (assigned to Apple Computer) in August 1984 for this innovation.

One new addition that most user interface pioneers consider an advantage is the tear-off menu, which the user can move to a convenient spot on the screen and “pin” there, always visible for ready access.

Many windowing interfaces now offer command-key or keyboard alternatives for many commands as well. This return to the earliest of user interfaces—key combinations—neatly supplements menus, providing both ease of use for novices and for the less experienced, and speed for those who can type faster than they can point to a menu and click on a selection.

How the computer “icon” got its name


Sketchpad had on-screen graphic objects that represented constraints (for example, a rule that lines be the same length), and the Flex machine built in 1967 at the University of Utah by students Alan Kay and Ed Cheadle had squares that represented programs and data (like today’s computer “folders”). Early work on icons was also done by Bell Northern Research, Ottawa, Canada, stemming from efforts to replace the recently legislated bilingual signs with graphic symbols.

But the concept of the computer “icon” was not formalized until 1975. David Canfield Smith, a computer science graduate student at Stanford University in California, began work on his Ph.D. thesis in 1973. His advisor was PARC’s Kay, who suggested that he look at using the graphics power of the experimental Alto not just to display text, but rather to help people program.

David Canfield Smith took the term icon from the Russian Orthodox church, where an icon is more than an image, because it embodies properties of what it represents.

Smith took the term icon from the Russian Orthodox church, where an icon is more than an image, because it embodies properties of what it represents: a Russian icon of a saint is holy and is to be venerated. Smith’s computer icons contained all the properties of the programs and data represented, and therefore could be linked or acted on as if they were the real thing.

After receiving his Ph.D. in 1975, Smith joined Xerox in 1976 to work on Star development. The first thing he did, he said, was to recast his concept of icons in office terms. “I looked around my office and saw papers, folders, file cabinets, a telephone, and bookshelves, and it was an easy translation to icons,” he said.

Xerox researchers developed, tested, and revised icons for the Star interface for three years before the first version was complete. At first they attempted to make the icons look like a detailed photographic rendering of the object, recalled Irby, who worked on testing and refining the Xerox windows. Trading off label space, legibility, and the number of icons that fit on the screen, they decided to constrain icons to a 1-inch (2.5-centimeter) square of 64 by 64 pixels, or 512 eight-bit bytes.

Then, Verplank recalls, they discovered that because of a background pattern based on two-pixel dots, the right-hand side of the icons appeared jagged. So they increased the width of the icons to 65 pixels, despite an outcry from programmers who liked the neat 16-bit breakdown. But the increase stuck, Verplank said, because they had already decided to store 72 bits per side to allow for white space around each icon.

After settling on a size for the icons, the Star developers tested four sets developed by two graphic designers and two software engineers. They discovered that, for example, resizing may cause problems. They shrunk the icon for a person—a head and shoulders—in order to use several of them to represent a group, only to hear one test subject say the screen resolution made the reduced icon look like a cross above a tombstone. Computer graphics artist Norm Cox, now of Cox & Hall, Dallas, Texas, was finally hired to redesign the icons.

Icon designers today still wrestle with the need to make icons adaptable to the many different system configurations offered by computer makers. Artist Karen Elliott, who has designed icons for Microsoft, Apple, Hewlett-Packard Co., and others, noted that on different systems an icon may be displayed in different colors, several resolutions, and a variety of gray shades, and it may also be inverted (light and dark areas reversed).

In the past few years, another concern has been added to icon designers’ tasks: internationalization. Icons designed in the United States often lack space for translations into languages other than English. Elliott therefore tries to leave space for both the longer words and the vertical orientation of some languages.


A square white macintosh computer with a white keyboard, in a separate image below, computer icons and the text address book, address, addresses

The main rule is to make icons simple, clean, and easily recognizable. Discarded objects are placed in a trash can on the Macintosh. On the NeXT Computer System, from NeXT Inc., Palo Alto, Calif.—the company formed by Apple cofounder Steven Jobs after he left Apple—they are dumped into a Black Hole. Elliott sees NeXT’s black hole as one of the best icons ever designed: ”It is distinct; its roundness stands out from the other, square icons, and this is important on a crowded display. It fits my image of information being sucked away, and it makes it clear that dumping something is serious.

English disagrees vehemently. The black hole “is fundamentally wrong,” he said. “You can dig paper out of a wastebasket, but you can’t dig it out of a black hole.” Another critic called the black hole familiar only to “computer nerds who read mostly science fiction and comics,” not to general users.

With the introduction of the Xerox Star in June 1981, the graphical user interface, as it is known today, arrived on the market. Though not a commercial triumph, the Star generated great interest among computer users, as the Alto before it had within the universe of computer designers.

Even before the Star was introduced, Jobs, then still at Apple, had visited Xerox PARC in November 1979 and asked the Smalltalk researchers dozens of questions about the Alto’s internal design. He later recruited Larry Tesler from Xerox to design the user interface of the Apple Lisa.

With the Lisa and then the Macintosh, introduced in January 1983 and January 1984 respectively, the graphical user interface reached the low-cost, high-volume computer market.

At almost $10,000, buyers deemed the Lisa too expensive for the office market. But aided by prizewinning advertising and its lower price, the Macintosh took the world by storm. Early Macs had only 128K bytes of RAM, which made them slow to respond because it was too little memory for heavy graphic manipulation. Also, the time needed for programmers to learn its Toolbox of graphics routines delayed application packages until well into 1985. But the Mac’s ease of use was indisputable, and it generated interest that spilled over into the MS-DOS world of IBM PCs and clones, as well as Unix-based workstations.

Who owns the graphical user interface?


The widespread acceptance of such interfaces, however, has led to bitter lawsuits to establish exactly who owns what. So far, none of several litigious companies has definitively established that it owns the software that implements windows, icons, or early versions of menus. But the suits continue.

Virtually all the companies that make and sell either wheel or ball mice paid license fees to SRI or to Xerox for their patents. Engelbart recalled that SRI patent attorneys inspected all the early work on the interface, but understood only hardware. After looking at developments like the implementation of windows, they told him that none of it was patentable.

At Xerox, the Star development team proposed 12 patents having to do with the user interface. The company’s patent committee rejected all but two on hardware—one on BitBlt, the other on the Star architecture. At the time, Charles Irby said, it was a good decision. Patenting required full disclosure, and no precedents then existed for winning software patent suits.


A computer screen in blue and white with multiple open windows


Three computer windows with greyscale images on a dark grey background


Computer windows tinted blue on a black background partially obscuring a planet and starfield


The most recent and most publicized suit was filed in March 1988, by Apple, against both Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard Co., Palo Alto, Calif. Apple alleges that HP’s New Wave interface, requiring version 2.03 of Microsoft’s Windows program, embodies the copyrighted “audio visual computer display” of the Macintosh without permission; that the displays of Windows 2.03 are illegal copies of the Mac’s audiovisual works; and that Windows 2.03 also exceeds the rights granted in a November 198S agreement in which Microsoft acknowledged that the displays in Windows 1.0 were derivatives of those in Apple’s Lisa and Mac.

In March 1989, U.S. District Judge William W. Schwarzer ruled Microsoft had exceeded the bounds of its license in creating Windows 2.03. Then in July 1989 Schwarzer ruled that all but 11 of the 260 items that Apple cited in its suit were, in fact, acceptable under the 1985 agreement. The larger issue—whether Apple’s copyrights are valid, and whether Microsoft and HP infringed on them—will not now be examined until 1990.

Among those 11 are overlapping windows and movable icons. According to Pamela Samuelson, a noted software intellectual property expert and visiting professor at Emory University Law School, Atlanta, Ga., many experts would regard both as functional features of an interface that cannot be copyrighted, rather than “expressions” of an idea protectable by copyright.

But lawyers for Apple—and for other companies that have filed lawsuits to protect the “look and feel’’ of their screen displays—maintain that if such protection is not granted, companies will lose the economic incentive to market technological innovations. How is Apple to protect its investment in developing the Lisa and Macintosh, they argue, if it cannot license its innovations to companies that want to take advantage of them?

If the Apple-Microsoft case does go to trial on the copyright issues, Samuelson said, the court may have to consider whether Apple can assert copyright protection for overlapping windows-an interface feature on which patents have also been granted. In April 1989, for example, Quarterdeck Office Systems Inc., Santa Monica, Calif., received a patent for a multiple windowing system in its Desq system software, introduced in 1984.

Adding fuel to the legal fire, Xerox said in May 1989 it would ask for license fees from companies that use the graphical user interface. But it is unclear whether Xerox has an adequate claim to either copyright or patent protection for the early graphical interface work done at PARC. Xerox did obtain design patents on later icons, noted human factors engineer Verplank. Meanwhile, both Metaphor and Sun Microsystems have negotiated licenses with Xerox for their own interfaces.

To Probe Further

The September 1989 IEEE Computer contains an article, “The Xerox ‘Star’: A Retrospective,” by Jeff Johnson et al., covering development of the Star. “Designing the Star User Interface,’’ [PDF] by David C. Smith et al., appeared in the April 1982 issue of Byte.

The Sept. 12, 1989, PC Magazine contains six articles on graphical user interfaces for personal computers and workstations. The July 1989 Byte includes ‘‘A Guide to [Graphical User Interfaces),” by Frank Hayes and Nick Baran, which describes 12 current interfaces for workstations and personal computers. “The Interface of Tomorrow, Today,’’ by Howard Reingold, in the July 10, 1989, InfoWorld does the same. “The interface that launched a thousand imitations,” by Richard Rawles, in the March 21, 1989, MacWeek covers the Macintosh interface.

The human factors of user interface design are discussed in The Psychology of Everyday Things, by Donald A. Norman (Basic Books Inc., New York, 1988). The January 1989 IEEE Software contains several articles on methods, techniques, and tools for designing and implementing graphical interfaces. The Way Things Work, by David Macaulay (Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1988), contains a detailed drawing of a ball mouse.

The October 1985 IEEE Spectrum covered Xerox PARC’s history in “Research at Xerox PARC: a founder’s assessment,” by George Pake (pp. 54-61) and “Inside the PARC: the ‘information architects,’“ by Tekla Perry and Paul Wallich (pp. 62-75).

William Atkinson received patent no. 4,464,652 for the pulldown menu system on Aug. 8, 1984, and assigned it to Apple. Gary Pope received patent no. 4,823,108, for an improved system for displaying images in “windows” on a computer screen, on April 18, 1989, and assigned it to Quarterdeck Office Systems.

The wheel mouse patent, no. 3,541,541, “X-Y position indicator for a display system,” was issued to Douglas Engelbart on Nov. 17, 1970, and assigned to SRI International. The ball mouse patent, no. 3,835,464, was issued to Ronald Rider on Sept. 10, 1974, and assigned to Xerox.

The first selection device tests to include a mouse are covered in “Display-Selection Techniques for Text Manipulation,” by William English, Douglas Engelbart, and Melvyn Berman, in IEEE Transactions on Human Factors in Electronics, March 1967.

Sketchpad: A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System, by Ivan E. Sutherland (Garland Publishing Inc., New York City and London, 1980), reprints his 1963 Ph.D. thesis.










Match ID: 16 Score: 4.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 7 days
qualifiers: 4.29 judge

Here’s All the Science Hitching a Ride on Artemis I
Wed, 16 Nov 2022 16:28:52 +0000


NASA’s Artemis I mission launched early in the predawn hours this morning, at 1:04 a.m. eastern time, carrying with it the hopes of a space program aiming now to land American astronauts back on the moon. The Orion spacecraft now on its way to the moon also carries with it a lot of CubeSat-size science. (As of press time, some satellites have even begun to tweet.)

And while the objective of Artemis I is to show that the launch system and spacecraft can make a trip to the moon and return safely to Earth, the mission is also a unique opportunity to send a whole spacecraft-load of science into deep space. In addition to the interior of the Orion capsule itself, there are enough nooks and crannies to handle a fair number of CubeSats, and NASA has packed as many experiments as it can into the mission. From radiation phantoms to solar sails to algae to a lunar surface payload, Artemis I has a lot going on.


Most of the variety of the science on Artemis I comes in the form of CubeSats, little satellites that are each the size of a large shoebox. The CubeSats are tucked snugly into berths inside the Orion stage adapter, which is the bit that connects the interim cryogenic propulsion stage to the ESA service module and Orion. Once the propulsion stage lifts Orion out of Earth orbit and pushes it toward the moon, the stage and adapter will separate from Orion, and the CubeSats will launch themselves.

A metal cylinder five meters across rests in a clean room with scaffolding around it, with ten small boxes mounted on platforms inside Ten CubeSats rest inside the Orion stage adapter at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.NASA KSC

While the CubeSats look identical when packed up, each one is totally unique in both hardware and software, with different destinations and mission objectives. There are 10 in total (three weren’t ready in time for launch, which is why there are a couple of empty slots in the image above).

Here is what each one is and does:

While the CubeSats head off to do their own thing, inside the Orion capsule itself will be the temporary home of a trio of mannequins. The first, a male-bodied version provided by NASA, is named Commander Moonikin Campos, after NASA electrical engineer Arturo Campos, who was the guy who wrote the procedures that allowed the Apollo 13 command module to steal power from the lunar module’s batteries, one of many actions that saved the Apollo 13 crew.

A mannequin in an orange flight suit lies on its back in a testing room Moonikin Campos prepares for placement in the Orion capsule.NASA

Moonikin Campos will spend the mission in the Orion commander’s seat, wearing an Orion crew survival system suit. Essentially itself a spacecraft, the suit is able to sustain its occupant for up to six days if necessary. Moonikin Campos’s job will be to pretend to be an astronaut, and sensors inside him will measure radiation, acceleration, and vibration to help NASA prepare to launch human astronauts in the next Artemis mission.

Two blue female mannequins, one wearing a bulky black vest, strapped into the interior of a space capsule Hel­ga and Zo­har in place on the flight deck of the Ori­on space­craft.NASA/DLR

Accompanying Moonikin Campos are two female-bodied mannequins, named Helga and Zohar, developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) along with the Israel Space Agency. These are more accurately called “anthropomorphic phantoms,” and their job is to provide a detailed recording of the radiation environment inside the capsule over the course of the mission. The phantoms are female because women have more radiation-sensitive tissue than men. Both Helga and Zohar have over 6,000 tiny radiation detectors placed throughout their artificial bodies, but Zohar will be wearing an AstroRad radiation protection vest to measure how effective it is.

A dozen researchers in masks stand in front of two blue bags in a NASA laboratory NASA’s Biology Experiment-1 is transferred to the Orion team.NASA/KSC

The final science experiment to fly onboard Orion is NASA’s Biology Experiment-1. The experiment is really just seeing what time in deep space does to some specific kinds of biology, so all that has to happen is for Orion to successfully haul some packages of sample tubes around the moon and back. Samples include:

  • Plant seeds to characterize how spaceflight affects nutrient stores
  • Photosynthetic algae to identify genes that contribute to its survival in deep space
  • Aspergillus fungus to investigate radioprotective effects of melanin and DNA damage response
  • Yeast used as a model organism to identify genes that enable adaptations to conditions in both low Earth orbit and deep space

There is some concern that because of the extensive delays with the Artemis launch, the CubeSats have been sitting so long that their batteries may have run down. Some of the CubeSats could be recharged, but for others, recharging was judged to be so risky that they were left alone. Even for CubeSats that don’t start right up, though, it’s possible that after deployment, their solar panels will be able to get them going. But at this point, there’s still a lot of uncertainty, and the CubeSats’ earthbound science teams are now pinning their hopes on everything going well after launch.

For the rest of the science payloads, success mostly means Orion returning to Earth safe and sound, which will also be a success for the Artemis I mission as a whole. And assuming it does so, there will be a lot more science to come.


Match ID: 17 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 11 days
qualifiers: 2.14 judge

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Batteries and the supply-chain challenge

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

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

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

Stiff Competition for Engineering Talent


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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


Match ID: 18 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 8 days
qualifiers: 1.43 congress

The Dangers of Democrats Boosting MAGA Republicans
Sat, 19 Nov 2022 12:00:35 +0000

The midterm strategy to fund Republican extremists in the primaries worked. Some fear it will strengthen the far right in the long term.

The post The Dangers of Democrats Boosting MAGA Republicans appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 19 Score: 1.43 source: theintercept.com age: 8 days
qualifiers: 1.43 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: 20 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 65 days
qualifiers: 1.43 congress

Apple Kicks Off the Cell-Calls-From-Space Race
Thu, 08 Sep 2022 14:18:38 +0000


The race to deliver cellular calls from space passes two milestones this month and saw one major announcement last month. First, Apple will offer emergency satellite messaging on two of its latest iPhone models, the company announced on Wednesday. Second, AST SpaceMobile plans a launch on Saturday, 10 September, of an experimental satellite to test full-fledged satellite 5G service. In addition, T-Mobile USA and SpaceX intend to offer their own messaging and limited data service via the second generation of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite constellation, as the two companies announced on 25 August.

Each contender is taking a different approach to space-based cellular service. The Apple offering uses the existing satellite bandwidth Globalstar once used for messaging offerings, but without the need for a satellite-specific handset. The AST project and another company, Lynk Global, would use a dedicated network of satellites with larger-than-normal antennas to produce a 4G, 5G, and someday 6G cellular signal compatible with any existing 4G-compatible phone (as detailed in other recent IEEE Spectrum coverage of space-based 5G offerings). Assuming regulatory approval is forthcoming, the technology would work first in equatorial regions and then across more of the planet as these providers expand their satellite constellations. T-Mobile and Starlink’s offering would work in the former PCS band in the United States. SpaceX, like AST and Lynk, would need to negotiate access to spectrum on a country-by-country basis.

Apple’s competitors are unlikely to see commercial operations before 2024.

“Regulators have not decided on the power limits from space, what concerns there are about interference, especially across national borders. There’s a whole bunch of regulatory issues that simply haven’t been thought about to date.”
—Tim Farrar, telecommunications consultant

The T-Mobile–Starlink announcement is “in some ways an endorsement” of AST and Lynk’s proposition, and “in other ways a great threat,” says telecommunications consultant Tim Farrar of Tim Farrar Associates in Menlo Park, Calif. AST and Lynk have so far told investors they expect their national mobile network operator partners to charge per use or per day, but T-Mobile announced that they plan to include satellite messaging in the 1,900-megahertz range in their existing services. Apple said their Emergency SOS via Satellite service would be free the first two years for U.S. and Canadian iPhone 14 buyers, but did not say what it would cost after that. For now, the Globalstar satellites it is using cannot offer the kind of broadband bandwidth AST has promised, but Globalstar has reported to investors orders for new satellites that might offer new capabilities, including new gateways.

Even under the best conditions—a clear view of the sky—users will need 15 seconds to send a message via Apple’s service. They will also have to follow onscreen guidance to keep the device pointed at the satellites they are using. Light foliage can cause the same message to take more than a minute to send. Ashley Williams, a satellite engineer at Apple who recorded the service’s announcement, also mentioned a data-compression algorithm and a series of rescue-related suggested auto-replies intended to minimize the amount of data that users would need to send during a rescue.

Meanwhile, AST SpaceMobile says it aims to launch an experimental satellite Saturday, 10 September, to test its cellular broadband offering.

Last month’s T-Mobile-SpaceX announcement “helped the world focus attention on the huge market opportunity for SpaceMobile, the only planned space-based cellular broadband network. BlueWalker 3, which has a 693 sq ft array, is scheduled for launch within weeks!” tweeted AST SpaceMobile CEO Abel Avellan on 25 August. The size of the array matters because AST SpaceMobile has so far indicated in its applications for experimental satellite licenses that it intends to use lower radio frequencies (700–900 MHz) with less propagation loss but that require antennas much larger than conventional satellites carry.

The size of the array will also make it more reflective, which has raised concerns among astronomers. The size of Starlink’s planned constellation has already provoked complaints among astronomers because it will interfere with their ability to observe space. Sky & Telescope magazine published on 1 September a call for both professional and amateur astronomers to observe the growing constellations of satellites to document the interference. Professional astronomy societies have lobbied U.S. government agencies and Congress on the issue and met with SpaceX officials in May to discuss a recent change that brightened satellites by 0.5 visual magnitudes.

So far government agencies have issued licenses for thousands of low-Earth-orbiting satellites, which have the biggest impact on astronomers. Even with the constellations starting to form, satellite-cellular telecommunications companies are still open to big regulatory risks. “Regulators have not decided on the power limits from space, what concerns there are about interference, especially across national borders. There’s a whole bunch of regulatory issues that simply haven’t been thought about to date,” Farrar says.

For a hiker with a twisted ankle, a messaging service that takes a while to connect and twinkles in and out of service as satellites fly by may be better than nothing, but early space-based cellular will not be a seamless way to connect to video calls from out at sea.

“User cooperation is in my view the single most critical aspect of whether this service will attract mass-market usage or people willing to pay a significant amount for this service,” Farrar says.


Match ID: 21 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 80 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: 22 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 91 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: 23 Score: 1.43 source: www.nasa.gov age: 122 days
qualifiers: 1.43 congress

Filter efficiency 96.883 (24 matches/770 results)


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

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

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


Match ID: 0 Score: 150.00 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 39.29 midterms, 21.43 republican, 21.43 politics, 21.43 democrat, 17.86 election, 10.71 progressives, 10.71 elections, 7.14 congress

10 Things for Americans to Be Grateful for at Thanksgiving 2022
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 11:00:34 +0000

Elon Musk, functioning elections, “Andor,” and death — Americans can genuinely give thanks for all these things and more this holiday.

The post 10 Things for Americans to Be Grateful for at Thanksgiving 2022 appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 1 Score: 103.57 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 republican, 21.43 politics, 21.43 democrat, 17.86 election, 10.71 elections, 10.71 constitution

Maricopa County says printer glitches didn’t prevent anyone from voting
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 19:17:12 EST
A report issued Sunday to the Arizona attorney general’s office blames Republicans for stoking doubts about a secure alternative available to voters.
Match ID: 2 Score: 100.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics, 25.00 election, 15.00 elections

Steny Hoyer sought ‘consensus.’ The next Democratic leaders may find that hard.
Sat, 26 Nov 2022 07:00:44 EST
Hoyer hopes the new top Democrats can replicate the balance of the outgoing three, but the new guard must contend with the polarization of the Republican Party.
Match ID: 3 Score: 90.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat

Georgia Voting Numbers Do Indeed Show Youth Surge
Tue, 22 Nov 2022 19:17:36 +0000

The number of young voters in Georgia more than doubled since 2014, counter to the narrative provided by David Shor.

The post Georgia Voting Numbers Do Indeed Show Youth Surge appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 4 Score: 82.86 source: theintercept.com age: 5 days
qualifiers: 17.14 republican, 17.14 politics, 17.14 democrat, 14.29 election, 8.57 progressives, 8.57 elections

Democrats press for assault weapons ban, other gun laws after new mass shootings
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 18:03:21 EST
“The idea we still allow semi-automatic weapons to be purchased is sick. Just sick,” President Biden said after recent mass shootings at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs and a Walmart in Chesapeake, Va.
Match ID: 5 Score: 70.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat, 10.00 congress

The Guardian view on Modi’s India: the danger of exporting Hindu chauvinism | Editorial
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 18:08:03 GMT

New Delhi’s foreign policy won’t be insulated from its domestic politics, which demonise India’s 200 million Muslims

When the US state department recently told a court that the Saudi Arabian crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, should have immunity in a lawsuit over the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, it portrayed its argument as a legal and not moral position. By way of evidence, it pointed to a rogues’ gallery of foreign leaders previously afforded similar protection. Nestling between Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, who, it was claimed, assassinated political rivals, and Congo’s Joseph Kabila, whose security detail was accused of assaulting protesters in Washington, was India’s Narendra Modi.

Dropping Mr Modi into such a list was no accident. It is a reminder that while New Delhi basks in its diplomatic success at recent G20 and Cop27 summits, it might find the international environment less accommodating if Mr Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) continue to stir up hatred to win elections. Washington’s gesture suggests that its strategic partnership with India cannot be completely insulated from domestic political issues. Mr Modi’s failure, as chief minister of Gujarat, to prevent anti-Muslim riots in 2002 that left hundreds dead saw him denied a US visa, until he became Indian prime minister. The message from Foggy Bottom was that the ban had not been withdrawn, but suspended, because Mr Modi ran a country that Washington wanted to do business with.

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Match ID: 6 Score: 70.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 25.00 election, 15.00 elections

What is the Tory party’s legacy after so many years in power? Pretty thin gruel | Isabel Hardman
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 08:30:16 GMT
Rishi Sunak is rehearsing reasons for voters to choose his party again with MPs wavering over standing at the next election

What will the Tories say to voters at the next election? They’ll be pitching for a historic fifth term, which is ambitious even in the best of times. That there have been three prime ministers in this term alone is one of the least dramatic points of this period. The current occupant of Number 10, Rishi Sunak, is trying to persuade his MPs to stick with him at least until that election, with many of the brightest and best considering quitting before they get shoved by their voters. In less than two years’ time, Sunak will be advancing an argument for why the electorate should stick with him, too. But what can he possibly say?

Once a party is in government its best election pitch is to say to voters that it’s safest to stay with the devil they know, rather than risking the opposition party. Party leaders tend to point to everything they’ve achieved, before asking voters for more time to finish the job. Sunak has two problems with this. He doesn’t have a lot to point to in the way of Conservative achievements from the past decade and a bit. It’s also not entirely clear what the job is that only the Tories can finish, given his focus on fixing a mess made far worse by his own party.

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Match ID: 7 Score: 70.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 25.00 election, 15.00 conservatives

National party won’t support Indigenous voice to parliament, saying it won’t close the gap
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 05:22:13 GMT

The Liberals are yet to reach a position on the referendum, which is expected by the end of 2023

The Nationals will not support the proposal for a voice to parliament, putting a dent in hopes for bipartisan support for a referendum on Indigenous constitutional recognition.

The Liberal party is still to settle its party room position on the pending referendum, but at least some members of the junior Coalition partner will campaign actively against the change.

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

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Match ID: 8 Score: 60.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 15.00 liberals, 15.00 constitution

Democrats issue fresh calls for assault weapons ban after shooting tragedies
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 19:36:25 GMT

Questions also raised about the funding of law enforcement agencies in places that refuse to enforce so-called red flag laws

Gun control returned as a leading topic over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, with Joe Biden and other prominent Democrats issuing fresh calls for a ban on assault weapons for the general public.

At the same time, questions were raised about the funding of law enforcement agencies in places that refuse to enforce so-called red flag laws, after shooting tragedies in Virginia and Colorado in the last two weeks.

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Match ID: 9 Score: 60.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat

Republican says Trump ‘empowering’ extremists by having dinner with white supremacist
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 18:32:36 GMT

‘It’s very troubling,’ says Arkansas governor who condemned Trump’s meeting with anti-semite Nick Fuentes

The Republican governor of Arkansas on Sunday joined a chorus of criticism of Donald Trump for having dinner with American white supremacist and anti-semite Nick Fuentes, accusing the former US president of effectively “empowering” such extremists.

“It’s very troubling and it should not happen,” Asa Hutchinson told CNN’s State of the Union show on Sunday morning, becoming the most senior Republican politician to condemn the meeting.

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Match ID: 10 Score: 60.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican, 30.00 politics

Democrats battle over 2024 nomination calendar as Biden weighs options
Fri, 25 Nov 2022 06:00:20 EST
New Hampshire and Nevada fight over first place, as Michigan and Minnesota angle to replace Iowa in the Democratic presidential process.
Match ID: 11 Score: 60.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 30.00 democrat

Australia politics live: Labor backs ADF chief on Brereton amid reports show-cause notices issued to veterans over honours
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 05:37:20 GMT

Follow the day’s news live

Coalition is alienating young voters, PM says

Over on ABC radio Melbourne, Anthony Albanese has been asked what he thinks about the Victorian election and the lessons for the Liberal party.

One of the things that we’re seeing, I believe is an alienation from younger voters from the Coalition.

When you have a position where you have senior members of the Coalition [who] can’t say that climate change is real in spite of the floods and bushfires and all of the evidence of the heating of the planet that we’re seeing, let alone any time something is put up to take action on climate change. They dismiss it.

[It] depends where you work. There will be some businesses, for example, which refuse to bargain with their staff where they used to and their staff where they used to and the better-off-overall test became too complex. Getting rid of the red tape we got there will bring some of the businesses back to the table straight away.

Also, any businesses that are concerned, like ... that actually don’t want to be involved in multi-employer bargaining, the simple fix for them is for them to negotiate with their staff now.

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Match ID: 12 Score: 55.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 25.00 election

Pakistan’s Imran Khan pulls his party out of legislatures, vows to press peacefully for new elections
Sat, 26 Nov 2022 14:50:34 EST
The rally in Rawalpindi city, 14 miles from the capital, was the culmination of Khan’s “long march” for “real freedom.”
Match ID: 13 Score: 55.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 election, 15.00 legislature, 15.00 elections

How to Fix Our Remaining Election Vulnerabilities
Tue, 22 Nov 2022 11:00:00 +0000
In the midterms, election skeptics lost races in critical swing states. But an upcoming Supreme Court case and a federal reform bill could make all the difference.
Match ID: 14 Score: 54.29 source: www.newyorker.com age: 5 days
qualifiers: 31.43 midterms, 14.29 election, 8.57 elections

Is a second referendum on Scotland’s independence further away than ever?
Thu, 24 Nov 2022 03:00:15 GMT

The supreme court has ruled that the Scottish parliament cannot hold a second referendum without Westminster’s approval. Where does that leave the independence movement?

It was a gamble on a legal solution to a political stalemate: successive prime ministers had refused to allow another referendum on Scotland’s independence from the UK, despite repeated calls from the SNP. So the supreme court was asked to rule on whether a referendum could be held without the approval of Westminster.

The decision was a unanimous no. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s longest-serving first minister, was disappointed but, she said, undaunted. Instead, she announced that the next general election would become a de facto referendum on the issue. But what does that mean in practice – and how likely is it to lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom?

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Match ID: 15 Score: 50.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 politics, 17.86 election, 10.71 executive

Lisa Murkowski and Mary Peltola win Alaska races, defeating Trump-backed opponents
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 20:45:16 EST
In Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) and Rep. Mary Peltola (D) are projected to win their races, defeating Trump-backed opponents.
Match ID: 16 Score: 50.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 politics, 17.86 election, 10.71 elections

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

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

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


Match ID: 17 Score: 50.00 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 politics, 17.86 election, 10.71 executive

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

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

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

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

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Match ID: 18 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 15.00 executive

Ministers face pressure to explain PPE Medpro contracts decision
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 18:59:57 GMT

Labour to ask how Michelle Mone-linked firm was assessed as fit to agree deal worth more than £200m

Ministers will come under intense pressure this week to explain how they assessed that a personal protective equipment (PPE) company linked to the Conservative peer Michelle Mone was fit to receive government contracts worth more than £200m during the pandemic.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, has drawn up a list of parliamentary questions over the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) decision to award major public contracts to the firm and whether it took into account its tax record.

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Match ID: 19 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 15.00 conservatives

We need a public inquiry into profiteering on PPE | Letters
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 18:20:08 GMT

Readers respond to the Guardian’s revelations about the Conservative peer Michelle Mone and PPE Medpro

The PPE procurement scandal runs deep. The information now emerging about Lady Mone needs to be met with a public inquiry )(Revealed: Tory peer Michelle Mone secretly received £29m from ‘VIP lane’ PPE firm, 23 November. There are several questions that this raises:

First, why weren’t all PPE contracts awarded on a full-cost-plus-margin basis? The profiteering percentages on all these deals are frankly mind-boggling. Where can anyone earn 30% margins on a simple procurement contract in the real world? You can’t, is the answer.

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Match ID: 20 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 15.00 conservatives

Former Tory chair joins rebellion over Sunak’s onshore windfarm ban
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 13:33:18 GMT

Jake Berry is latest senior MP to urge prime minister to amend de facto block on new projects in England

Rishi Sunak is embroiled in a growing rebellion over his ban on new onshore windfarms as the former Conservative chairman Jake Berry became the latest senior MP to announce he would join an effort to overturn the policy.

The former cabinet minister said he would support the former levelling up secretary Simon Clarke, who has tabled an amendment to legislation going through parliament demanding the current moratorium on new developments be lifted.

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Match ID: 21 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 15.00 conservatives

The Tories are tearing themselves apart over housing – but this is another crisis of their own making | John Harris
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 12:45:40 GMT

Twelve years of decaying public services mean any sensible conversation about much-needed new housing is impossible

In the corner of Somerset where I have lived for nearly 15 years, life in late-Tory England grinds on. Our MP is David Warburton, the formerly Conservative backbencher who was recently found to have broken the parliamentary code of conduct amid allegations of sexual harassment and drug use, which he denies. He has not been seen for eight months. Our new unitary county council faces a financial black hole of £38m before it has even come into being, so cuts are being readied. The town’s GP service is completely overstretched, bus services are a constant worry, trains to Bristol and Bath run at inexplicable times of the day, and the roads are regularly jammed with traffic. Use of the local food bank is at an all-time high. Meanwhile, a lot of local angst is now focused on an ever-increasing number of new housing developments: a huge local story that reflects one of the ever-growing number of internal Tory conflicts eating away at Rishi Sunak’s government.

The Conservatives’ 2019 manifesto promised that the government would trigger the building of 300,000 new homes a year, which inevitably entailed a sizeable loosening of the planning system. But proposals for drastically changing the rules and introducing new liberalised “development zones” were dropped after revolts led by Tory MPs, largely from the south of England.

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Match ID: 22 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 15.00 conservatives

Competence, what competence? Tory chancellors like Jeremy Hunt always spell disaster | Naomi Smith
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 12:05:12 GMT

Look at the record, from Lawson to Osborne – they have consistently overseen rises in poverty and falls in the pound

By placing a photo of Nigel Lawson behind his desk, artfully positioned to be caught by the official photographer, Jeremy Hunt shows himself to be a keen student of previous Tory chancellors. But if he is guided too much by them, that can only be a problem: for him, for his party and for all of us.

Tory chancellors have held the purse strings for 30 of the past 43 years, and from Geoffrey Howe through Norman Lamont to Rishi Sunak, they have nearly all left the UK economy in a worse state than they found it. Of the 11 previous Conservative chancellors since 1979, most left office with poverty rates higher or unchanged from when they started. Although these figures are not yet available for Rishi Sunak, Nadhim Zahawi or Kwasi Kwarteng, the extremely high use of foodbanks during their stints is surely a bad sign, and no Conservative chancellor has managed to reduce inequality anywhere close to pre-1979 levels.

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

From jungles to bras, Tory sleaze is lurking | Stewart Lee
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 10:00:04 GMT

As Matt Hancock and Michelle Mone are proving, the pandemic was just one big payday for the Conservatives

For the corrupt Tories and their opportunistic friends, the double whammy of Brexit and the pandemic has been a cash handout bonanza, the clatter of fruit machine payouts drowning the lamentations of millions of mourners. Handsy Matt Handcock even got a £400,000 cow’s anus-noshing, sin-eating television appearance out of his role in the racket.

At least it isn’t as offensive as Handcock’s last reality TV special, where he touched that woman’s bum in an office with his two hands when the rest of us weren’t even allowed to wave to Grandma through a window or go to her subsequent funeral. But it is disrespectful to a dead cow, an animal that is sacred to the Hindu, for example, to have its anus eaten by Handcock.

Stewart Lee’s standup shows Snowflake and Tornado are available on the BBC iPlayer. Basic Lee tour dates are available now

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

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

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

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

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

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Match ID: 25 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics, 15.00 conservatives

What happened to the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump?
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 21:01:18 EST
A look at the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump
Match ID: 26 Score: 42.86 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 republican, 21.43 politics

GOP candidate for Arizona attorney general sues to reverse results
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 13:46:26 EST
Abe Hamadeh trailed Democrat Kris Mayes by just 510 votes in a race that was already headed to a mandatory recount.
Match ID: 27 Score: 42.86 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 politics, 21.43 democrat

Can Any Republican Rival Take Down Donald Trump?
Tue, 22 Nov 2022 00:48:53 +0000
The only way for non-MAGA Republicans to consign the former President to history is for them to unite against him.
Match ID: 28 Score: 42.86 source: www.newyorker.com age: 6 days
qualifiers: 12.86 republican, 12.86 politics, 10.71 election, 6.43 elections

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

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

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

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

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Match ID: 29 Score: 40.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 election, 15.00 elections

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

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

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

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

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Match ID: 30 Score: 38.57 source: www.theguardian.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 25.71 politics, 12.86 executive

Cowen sees rising risk of rail strike
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 13:20:29 GMT

Cowen analysts on Wednesday said the possibility of the first U.S. rail strike since 1991 is currently at about 30% after statements earlier this week from union members. "Channel checks suggest that customers are already pulling freight off the rails as strike risk rises," analyst Jason Seidl said in a research note. Back in September when a potential work stoppage had loomed ahead of the midterm elections, Seidl projected a roughly 15% chance of a rail strike. While Congress appears motivated to intervene if a strike takes place, Seidl said he's seeing "clear stubbornness from both sides that is likely increasing animosity" and that strike sentiment appears to be growing and shippers are taking action. The president of the Association of American Railroads said Monday, "The window continues to narrow as deadlines rapidly approach" and that the companies are ready to reach new agreements with unions. The association's members work at Warren Buffett's BNSF, Union Pacific Corp. and Norfolk Southern .

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: 31 Score: 35.71 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 election, 10.71 elections, 7.14 congress

Once a Year, We Gather and Blame Those Most Deserving
Thu, 24 Nov 2022 11:00:00 +0000
Wait, what am I talking about? Not once a year—every day!
Match ID: 32 Score: 34.29 source: www.newyorker.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 21.43 election, 12.86 elections

Twitter Allows Russian Officials to Share Antisemitic Cartoon of Zelenskyy
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 03:34:28 +0000

Elon Musk’s Twitter permitted a Russian Embassy account to post a cartoon that echoed Nazi propaganda in its depiction of Ukraine’s Jewish president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The post Twitter Allows Russian Officials to Share Antisemitic Cartoon of Zelenskyy appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 33 Score: 34.29 source: theintercept.com age: 5 days
qualifiers: 17.14 politics, 17.14 democrat

House Members Push for U.N. Oversight of Yemen Atrocities
Mon, 21 Nov 2022 20:00:12 +0000

Reps. Ilhan Omar and Joaquin Castro are leading the call to renew international oversight of atrocities committed in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

The post House Members Push for U.N. Oversight of Yemen Atrocities appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 34 Score: 34.29 source: theintercept.com age: 6 days
qualifiers: 12.86 politics, 12.86 democrat, 4.29 house of representatives, 4.29 congress

Georgia Supreme Court reinstates six-week abortion ban
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 15:59:18 EST
The ban had been overturned one week earlier by a Fulton County judge who ruled it "unconstitutional."
Match ID: 35 Score: 32.14 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 politics, 10.71 constitution

Elon Musk’s “Free Speech” Twitter Is Still Censoring DDoSecrets
Tue, 22 Nov 2022 17:00:14 +0000

Twitter has censored the website of nonprofit transparency collective Distributed Denial of Secrets for more than two years.

The post Elon Musk’s “Free Speech” Twitter Is Still Censoring DDoSecrets appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 36 Score: 31.43 source: theintercept.com age: 5 days
qualifiers: 17.14 republican, 14.29 election

The Dangers of Democrats Boosting MAGA Republicans
Sat, 19 Nov 2022 12:00:35 +0000

The midterm strategy to fund Republican extremists in the primaries worked. Some fear it will strengthen the far right in the long term.

The post The Dangers of Democrats Boosting MAGA Republicans appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 37 Score: 31.43 source: theintercept.com age: 8 days
qualifiers: 7.86 midterms, 4.29 republican, 4.29 politics, 4.29 democrat, 3.57 election, 2.14 progressives, 2.14 elections, 1.43 senate majority leader, 1.43 congress

Defence training pushed recruits beyond their limits with fatal outcomes, ex-soldier tells inquiry
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 05:29:24 GMT

‘Every year there was a suicide,’ James Geercke says on first day of royal commission hearings in Wagga Wagga

A former soldier says he and fellow Australian Defence Force Academy recruits were so traumatised by their extreme training regime they began hallucinating and some became suicidal.

James Geercke joined the academy in 2008 as an 18-year-old. On Monday, he told the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide that recruits were routinely pushed to their limits.

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

In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on freephone 116 123, or email jo@samaritans.org or jo@samaritans.ie. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 800-273-8255 or chat for support. Other international helplines can be found at befrienders.org

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

Poorer women in UK have sixth-highest cancer death rates in Europe, WHO finds
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 05:00:15 GMT

Those from deprived backgrounds are particularly at risk of dying from cancer of the lungs, liver, bladder and oesophagus

Poorer women in Britain have some of the highest death rates from cancer in Europe, an in-depth new World Health Organization study has found.

They are much more likely to die from the disease compared with better-off women in the UK and women in poverty in many other European countries.

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

Queensland windfarm to provide enough power for 1.4m homes with new $2bn investment
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 04:32:39 GMT

Spain-based Acciona Energia will double capacity of project 200km south-west of Brisbane

One of Australia’s biggest windfarms will double its capacity to 2,000 megawatts, providing enough power for 1.4m homes and accelerating Queensland’s exit from fossil fuel-sourced electricity.

Spain-based Acciona Energia announced on Monday it would extend a windfarm already being built within the MacIntyre Precinct, a region about 200km south-west of Brisbane.

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

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

Queensland will continue coal exports ‘as long as the market dictates’ despite emissions targets
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 02:45:53 GMT

Annastacia Palaszczuk says demand for steelmaking metallurgical coal will drive its production in the state

Queensland carbon emissions targets will dramatically change in coming years, but coal exports will continue for “as long as the market dictates”, Annastacia Palaszczuk says.

The premier has promised to slash her state’s emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, and achieve net zero by 2050.

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

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Match ID: 41 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Ukraine live briefing: Electricity coming back online, Zelensky says; Russians may be fleeing power plant
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 21:05:17 EST
House Republicans, who will soon hold a slim majority, warned the Biden administration to expect tougher oversight of the $20 billion in military aid to Ukraine
Match ID: 42 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 republican

Partner of detained Australian journalist Cheng Lei hopeful of ‘compassionate and speedy resolution’
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 01:32:35 GMT

Nick Coyle said it was positive that prime minister Anthony Albanese and foreign minister Penny Wong had raised her case with their Chinese counterparts

The Australian journalist detained in China, Cheng Lei, is trying to remain positive despite her “very difficult situation” and is grateful for messages of encouragement from supporters, her partner has said.

Cheng’s partner, Nick Coyle, said it was positive that the Australian prime minister, the foreign minister and the deputy prime minister had all raised her case in recent talks with their Chinese counterparts.

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

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

I’m a Celebrity final review – at least Matt the rat didn’t win
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 00:17:15 GMT

Matt Hancock’s interminable 21 days in the jungle is over – and he was intolerable to the last. Who was voting for this self-serving rodent?

‘Oh my God!” shouted footballer Jill Scott halfway through her last bushtucker trial. “I’ve got a rat on my face!” On the plus side, the rat wasn’t the one who quit the sinking ship of the Conservative party before jumping on board a 20-year-old TV franchise that, if not sinking, then like Matt Hancock’s political career has a negligible future.

In the end, the slimiest thing in the jungle did not win. The disgraced former health secretary and MP who opted to be covered in toads, spiders and eels, rather than do the well-remunerated job he was elected to do, was not crowned king of the jungle but only came third in the final of I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!

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Match ID: 44 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Lack of support denting prospects for UK computer chip sector, say MPs
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 00:01:09 GMT

Call for semiconductor industry plan to be published urgently to help keep Britain in global supply chain

The UK is missing out on a wave of investment and falling behind other countries in the fast-growing semiconductor industry because of a lack of support from the government, MPs have warned.

The government should urgently publish a long-delayed semiconductor strategy, and also look to create partnerships with allies to try to ensure the UK remains part of the semiconductor supply chain, according to a report published on Monday by MPs on parliament’s business committee.

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Match ID: 45 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

DWP deducting on average £80 a month from Scottish families on UC
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 00:01:09 GMT

Exclusive: Report finds struggling families are having on average 10% of monthly income deducted to cover debt

Low-income families in Scotland are having on average 10% of their monthly income deducted by the Department for Work and Pensions to cover debts such as universal credit advances or school meals payments, according to research.

The report for Aberlour Children’s Charity, seen by the Guardian, found that families in receipt of universal credit (UC) are having their monthly income reduced on average by £80 to cover spiralling debt.

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

Amazon’s UK tax bill could rise by £29m amid business rates overhaul
Mon, 28 Nov 2022 00:01:09 GMT

Hikes set to hit warehouses and online retailers hardest in 2023 as UK government addresses ‘brick v clicks’ tax gap

Amazon’s UK tax bill jump could jump by £29m next year as a result of changes to business rates that are scheduled to hit warehouses and online retailers the hardest.

The online retailer is likely to be among firms facing big tax rises following the chancellor’s autumn statement, according to analysis from the real estate adviser Altus Group.

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Match ID: 47 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Favourite Jill Scott wins this year’s I’m a Celebrity, with Matt Hancock third
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 23:09:34 GMT

Former England footballer won public vote, with actor Owen Warner in second place and ex-health secretary coming third

Jill Scott has been crowned queen of the jungle after winning I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! on Sunday night.

The former England footballer, 35, who was the bookies’ favourite to triumph, accrued the most votes from the public, with actor Owen Warner finishing second after both spent 23 days in camp.

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Match ID: 48 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Rishi Sunak to set out pragmatic approach to Russia and China
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 22:35:24 GMT

Prime minister to make first major foreign policy speech, favouring a long-term, pragmatic attitude to Moscow and Beijing

Rishi Sunak will pledge an “evolutionary approach” to British foreign policy, arguing that states like Russia and China plan for the long term and the UK needs to follow suit as he attempts to set out his vision for the country’s place on the global stage.

In his first major foreign policy speech since becoming prime minister, he will draw on his years running the Treasury to say that the UK’s strength abroad must be underpinned by a strong economy at home as it stands up to competitors with “robust pragmatism”.

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

White House health officials: up-to-date vaccines key to move on from Covid
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 20:45:55 GMT

Fauci and Jha comments come amid campaign to encourage public to get the new coronavirus boosters as well as flu shots

White House public health officials offered cautious optimism that Americans could begin to move on from coronavirus, but cautioned that keeping immunity vaccination up-to-date and combating scientific disinformation remained key for the country to successfully emerge from the three-year Covid-19 pandemic.

“If you look at where we were a year ago at this time, when [coronavirus variant] Omicron started to surge, we were having 800,000 to 900,000 infections and 3,000 to 4,000 deaths [a day]. Today, we had less than 300 deaths. Yesterday, we had 350 deaths, and…anywhere from 27,000 to 45,000 cases” Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the US president, said.

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Match ID: 50 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Nicola Jennings on public-sector strike action – cartoon
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 19:30:03 GMT
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Match ID: 51 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Brexit has worsened shortage of NHS doctors, analysis shows
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 18:00:02 GMT

Exclusive: More than 4,000 European medics have chosen not to work in NHS since Britain left EU, data reveals

Brexit has worsened the UK’s acute shortage of doctors in key areas of care and led to more than 4,000 European doctors choosing not to work in the NHS, research reveals.

The disclosure comes as growing numbers of medics quit in disillusionment at their relentlessly busy working lives in the increasingly overstretched health service. Official figures show the NHS in England alone has vacancies for 10,582 physicians.

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Match ID: 52 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Keir Starmer rules out return of free movement between Britain and EU
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 17:22:31 GMT

Labour leader says it will be a ‘red line’ if party takes power, despite backing the policy three years ago

Keir Starmer has ruled out bringing back free movement of people between Britain and the EU, saying it would be a “red line” for Labour if it gets into power – despite supporting the policy just three years ago.

The Labour leader said free movement “won’t come back” if he becomes prime minister as Brexit has already happened and “ripping up” the deal would lead to years more wrangling with Brussels.

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

Home Office records only one case of diphtheria at Manston despite 50 reported
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 17:19:45 GMT

Government urged to explain official data on number of people with the disease at asylum reception centre

The Home Office is being urged to explain why official health data has shown only one case of diphtheria near Manston processing centre in recent months, despite there being 50 instances of the disease linked to the site.

According to weekly figures about cases of infectious diseases in England, known as the notification of infectious diseases data (NOID), there has only been one case recorded since September that is likely to relate to Manston – in Ashford, Kent.

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Match ID: 54 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

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

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

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

E.ON, Britain’s second-largest supplier, and the owner of Utility Warehouse have reported “double-digit” declines in recent weeks.

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

Alexei Navalny aide says his survival may depend on value to Vladimir Putin
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 15:01:11 GMT

Leonid Volkov warns Russian opposition leader’s health is at risk from indefinite solitary confinement

Alexei Navalny’s survival may depend on his value to Vladimir Putin as a future bargaining chip, his chief aide said, warning that the opposition leader’s health was at risk after being forced into indefinite solitary confinement.

Leonid Volkov, speaking on a visit to London, added that Navalny had lost access to his family and was being permanently detained in a “8 by 12ft” cell after the isolation decision by Russian authorities last week.

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

The Museum of London: a fundamental clash as the City of London dreams on
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 15:00:07 GMT

As the museum prepares to leave its 70s home, plans to raze the site and build an office-led new complex have sparked a battle with those who want to repurpose what’s already there

Next Sunday, the Museum of London, which as the official text puts it “tells the ever-changing story of this great world city and its people, from 450,000BC to the present day”, closes the doors of the building it has occupied for the past 46 years. This is on the edge of the Barbican, the brutalist estate of apartment blocks built in the 1960s and 70s in the City of London, with an adjoining arts centre completed in 1982. The renamed London Museum is due to reopen in 2026 in larger, more impressive and more accessible premises formed out of buildings that once served the meat market at nearby Smithfield. The current facility is closing with a bit of a bang, with a music weekend, cinema festival and 24-hour opening scheduled for its final days.

The move raises the contentious question of what to do with the buildings on the site, by the elegant postwar modernists Powell and Moya, which include the old museum and a 17-storey office tower called Bastion House. The City of London – the local authority-cum-business enterprise that owns the site – wants to replace them with 780,000 square feet of offices and other uses. Residents of the Barbican and other objectors say this would be a wasteful and environmentally damaging overdevelopment of the site, contrary to the City’s own policies and proclamations about climate.

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

Jon Batiste to headline Biden’s first state dinner, serenade Macron
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 08:55:00 EST
The Grammy-winning musician and former bandleader on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" gets another high point in a year full of them.
Match ID: 58 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Revealed: north of England train line vastly under-reports cancellations
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 13:33:43 GMT

TransPennine Express uses ‘outrageous’ loophole in which services cancelled a day ahead do not appear in statistics

One of the north of England’s main railway companies is taking advantage of an “outrageous” legal loophole that allows it to vastly under-report cancellations, it has emerged.

Figures obtained by the Guardian show that during the October half-term holiday, TransPennine Express (TPE) cancelled 30% of all trains, and at least 20% each subsequent week until 20 November. Most of those services were cancelled in full, but some started or ended at different stations from those advertised on the current May 2022 timetable.

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

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

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

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

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

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Match ID: 60 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

U.S. grants Chevron license to pump oil in Venezuela
Sat, 26 Nov 2022 17:34:11 EST
Under a new Treasury Department license, it will be able to resume pumping oil. The limited license stipulates that any oil produced can only be exported to the United States. No profits from its sale can go to the Venezuelan company but must be used to pay off Venezuelan creditors in the United States.
Match ID: 61 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Early voters in Georgia head to the polls Saturday for Senate runoff
Sat, 26 Nov 2022 11:46:36 EST
Those taking advantage of Saturday voting included college students visiting home for Thanksgiving, police officers and ambulance workers with busy schedules.
Match ID: 62 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Gordon Brown says China must pay into climate fund for poor countries
Sat, 26 Nov 2022 16:41:27 GMT

Former prime minister says US and Europe will pay biggest share of loss and damage fund, but China must too

China must pay into a new fund for poor countries stricken by climate-driven disaster on the basis of its high greenhouse gas emissions and large economy, the former UK prime minister Gordon Brown has said.

“America and Europe will have to provide most, but China will have to contribute more too,” he told the Guardian.

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Match ID: 63 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

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

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

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


Match ID: 64 Score: 30.00 source: theintercept.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

D.C. firefighters sue over policy banning beards for employees
Sat, 26 Nov 2022 06:00:35 EST
The District violated a court order by prohibiting facial hair, attorney says.
Match ID: 65 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

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

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

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


Match ID: 66 Score: 30.00 source: theintercept.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 30.00 democrat

Trump criticized for dining with far-right activist Nick Fuentes and rapper Ye
Fri, 25 Nov 2022 18:26:07 EST
The former president dined with Nick Fuentes and hip-hop artist Ye earlier this week
Match ID: 67 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Writer E. Jean Carroll sues Trump under new N.Y. sexual assault law
Fri, 25 Nov 2022 10:49:05 EST
The Adult Survivors Act gives adult sexual assault survivors up to one year to file a lawsuit, regardless of when the alleged violation happened.
Match ID: 68 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Former surgeon general faces his wife’s cancer — and the ‘Trump Effect’
Fri, 25 Nov 2022 06:00:00 EST
Jerome Adams and his wife want to tell their own story about melanoma and prevention.
Match ID: 69 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Can America’s Aging Leadership Deliver the Future?
Fri, 25 Nov 2022 11:00:00 +0000
The Political Scene’s Washington roundtable discusses whether the United States is a gerontocracy, and what that means for the country’s politics.
Match ID: 70 Score: 30.00 source: www.newyorker.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 30.00 politics

Is the Nancy Pelosi Era Really Ending?
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 17:00:00 +0000
The Speaker of the House is stepping aside, but her school of politics isn’t going anywhere.
Match ID: 71 Score: 28.57 source: www.newyorker.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 politics, 7.14 speaker of the house

Supreme Court clears way for Trump tax returns to go to Congress
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 11:18:52 EST
Lawmakers say they need Donald Trump’s tax returns from his time in office to help evaluate the effectiveness of annual presidential audits -- a premise Trump rejects.
Match ID: 72 Score: 28.57 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 politics, 7.14 congress

‘Desensitised’ ex-IS followers remain threats, Shamima Begum hearing told
Thu, 24 Nov 2022 19:14:40 GMT

Home Office argues people trafficked to Syria were exposed to extreme violence which poses ‘almighty problem’

People trafficked to Syria and radicalised remain threats to national security as they may be desensitised after exposure to extreme violence, the Home Office has argued, in contesting Shamima Begum’s appeal against the removal of her British citizenship.

Begum was 15 when she travelled from her home in Bethnal Green, east London, through Turkey and into territory controlled by Islamic State (IS). After she was found, nine months pregnant in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019, the then home secretary, Sajid Javid, revoked her British citizenship on national security grounds.

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Match ID: 73 Score: 25.71 source: www.theguardian.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 25.71 politics

Biden has appointed many judges but hasn’t recast the bench like Trump
Mon, 21 Nov 2022 10:46:39 EST
By keeping their Senate majority, Democrats can keep confirming judges. But thanks to the GOP’s 2015-2016 blockade, the makeup of the courts hasn’t shifted as substantially.
Match ID: 74 Score: 25.71 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 6 days
qualifiers: 12.86 politics, 12.86 democrat

Week in pictures: 19 - 25 November 2022
Sat, 26 Nov 2022 00:08:51 GMT
A selection of powerful images from all over the globe, taken in the past seven days.
Match ID: 75 Score: 25.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 election

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


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

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

Enjoy today's videos!

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

[ Sanctuary ]

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

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

[ Paper ]

Thanks, Ayato!

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

[ Paper ]

Thanks, Nathanaël!

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

[ Georgia Tech ]

Thanks, Jason!

The European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) have asked European space industries and research institutions to develop innovative technologies for the exploration of resources on the Moon in the framework of the ESA-ESRIC Space Resources Challenge. As part of the challenge, teams of engineers have developed vehicles capable of prospecting for resources in a test-bed simulating the Moon's shaded polar regions. From 5 to 9 September 2022, the final of the ESA-ESRIC Space Resource Challenge took place at the Rockhal in Esch-sur-Alzette. On this occasion, lunar rover prototypes competed on a 1,800 m² 'lunar' terrain. The winning team will have the opportunity to have their technology implemented on the Moon.

[ ESA ]

Thanks, Arne!

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

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

[ Kuka ]

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

[ HiPeR Lab ]

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

[ Brubotics ]

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

[ DJI ]

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

[ MIT ]

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

[ NC State ]

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

[ Charm Lab ]

SLURP!

[ River Lab ]

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

[ Skydio ]

Moxie is getting an update for the holidays!

[ Embodied ]

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

[ CMU ]

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

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

[ UPenn ]


Match ID: 76 Score: 25.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 election

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

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

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


Match ID: 77 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 election

Far-right extremist gets Israeli security job as coalition deals struck
Fri, 25 Nov 2022 10:29:43 GMT

Appointment of Itamar Ben-Gvir raises fears of further escalation in Israeli-Palestinian tensions

The far-right politician Itamar Ben-Gvir will be Israel’s national security minister under a coalition deal with Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, in what is likely to be the most rightwing government in the country’s history.

The agreement comes after the prime minister-designate’s alliance won a comfortable victory in this month’s parliamentary election, Israel’s fifth in less than four years.

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Match ID: 78 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 election

The Twitter Bubble Let Democrats Defy Political Gravity
Thu, 17 Nov 2022 15:15:50 +0000
The midterm elections showed that the far-right's manufactured narrative about trans kids doomed the GOP when they made it policy.
Match ID: 79 Score: 22.14 source: www.wired.com age: 10 days
qualifiers: 7.86 midterms, 4.29 politics, 4.29 democrat, 3.57 election, 2.14 elections

Jan. 6 panel staffers angry at Cheney for focusing so much of report on Trump
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 16:40:49 EST
Fifteen former and current staffers expressed concerns that important findings unrelated to Trump will not become available to the American public.
Match ID: 80 Score: 21.43 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 politics

Staughton Lynd, radical historian and activist, dies at 92
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 14:17:50 EST
A self-styled Marxist, pacifist and existentialist, he became “one of the visible saints of the modern American left," in the description of the Nation magazine.
Match ID: 81 Score: 21.43 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 politics

Abortion is now banned in these states. See where laws have changed.
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 13:07:50 EST
Thirteen states had "trigger bans" to criminalize abortion when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Several other states are working to enact other laws.
Match ID: 82 Score: 21.43 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 politics

White House likely to honor some GOP probes but not those on Hunter
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 13:06:34 EST
Biden aides eye a split strategy on GOP investigations — cooperating on topics like Afghanistan but refusing to engage on the president’s son.
Match ID: 83 Score: 21.43 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 politics

Hollywood’s Backlash to “Wokeness”
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 17:38:24 +0000
Doreen St. Félix on whether changes in Hollywood made in response to the B.L.M. and #MeToo movements are starting to recede.
Match ID: 84 Score: 21.43 source: www.newyorker.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 21.43 politics

Brazil judge fines Bolsonaro allies millions after ‘bad faith’ election challenge
Thu, 24 Nov 2022 02:13:23 GMT

Head of Brazil's electoral court rejects claim from outgoing president’s coalition that said voting machines malfunctioned

The head of Brazil’s electoral court has rejected an attempt by outgoing president Jair Bolsonaro’s party to overturn the results of October’s run-off election, which he lost.

Alexandre de Moraes, a supreme court justice, also fined the parties in Bolsonaro’s coalition 22.9m reais ($4.3m) for what the court described as bad faith litigation.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 85 Score: 17.86 source: www.theguardian.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 election

Musk breaks promise to form Twitter moderation panel, blames activists
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 16:50:09 +0000
Activists say they would never make such a deal with Musk.
Match ID: 86 Score: 17.86 source: arstechnica.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 election

Are We Doomed to See a Biden-Trump Rematch in 2024?
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 01:25:47 +0000
One thing’s sure: the early betting is often wrong—ask President Rand Paul.
Match ID: 87 Score: 17.14 source: www.newyorker.com age: 5 days
qualifiers: 17.14 politics

How Qatar Took the World Cup
Tue, 22 Nov 2022 19:38:32 +0000
Heidi Blake, a co-author of “The Ugly Game,” speaks about FIFA’s dirty business, and how Qatar came to host the games.
Match ID: 88 Score: 17.14 source: www.newyorker.com age: 5 days
qualifiers: 17.14 politics

More voters trust Republicans on economy as interest in midterms hits high, polls say
Sun, 23 Oct 2022 12:16:03 EST
According to an NBC News poll released Sunday, 70 percent of registered voters expressed interest in the upcoming election as a “9” or “10” on a 10-point scale.
Match ID: 89 Score: 15.71 source: www.politico.com age: 35 days
qualifiers: 7.86 midterms, 4.29 republican, 3.57 election

Germany grit, Morocco magic and Croatia crush Canada – Football Daily
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 23:28:50 GMT

Max Rushden is joined by Nicky Bandini, Ed Aarons and Archie Rhind-Tutt as the second round of fixtures in Group E & F are played

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

Today: Germany and Spain play out a lively 1-1 draw, with goals from Álvaro Morata and Niclas Füllkrug ensuring Group E remains firmly in the balance after Japan faltered against Costa Rica.

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

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

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

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


Match ID: 91 Score: 15.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 constitution

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

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

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


Match ID: 92 Score: 14.29 source: www.schneier.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 14.29 federal government

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

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


Match ID: 93 Score: 14.29 source: www.esa.int age: 5 days
qualifiers: 14.29 election

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

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

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Match ID: 94 Score: 14.29 source: www.theguardian.com age: 10 days
qualifiers: 4.29 republican, 4.29 politics, 3.57 election, 2.14 elections

Elon Musk Introduces Twitter Mayhem Mode
Sat, 12 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000
Plus: US midterms survive disinformation efforts, the government names the alleged Lockbit ransomware attacker, and the Powerball drawing hits a security snag.
Match ID: 95 Score: 13.57 source: www.wired.com age: 15 days
qualifiers: 7.86 midterms, 3.57 election, 2.14 elections

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


Amarnath Raja

Founder of IEEE Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology

Senior member, 65; died 5 September

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


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

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

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

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

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

He was a member of the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software’s advisory board. The organization was established by the government of Kerala, India, to facilitate the development and distribution of free, open-source software. Raja also served on the board of directors at Bedroc, an IT staffing and support firm in Nashville.

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

Donn S. Terry

Software engineer

Life member, 74; died 14 September

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

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

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

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

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

William Sandham

Signal processing engineer

Life senior member, 70; died 25 August

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stephen M. Brustoski

Loss-prevention engineer

Life member, 69; died 6 January

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

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

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

Harry Letaw

President and CEO of Essex Corp.

Life senior member, 96; died 7 May 2020

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

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

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

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


Match ID: 96 Score: 10.71 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 4 days
qualifiers: 10.71 executive

Curaleaf eliminating positions as it steps up cost-cutting measures
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 18:20:12 GMT

Cannabis company Curaleaf Holdings Inc. is eliminating "several positions" as it follows through on cost-control plans it shared with analysts recently. The company did not provide a specific number of job cuts. "Every responsible business is making tough choices right now, and as the cannabis industry evolves and faces unique challenges, we know there will continue to be ups and downs," a company spokesperson told MarketWatch in a statement. "Curaleaf has made the difficult decision to eliminate several positions as a part of an effort to control costs and drive efficiencies in the face of economic uncertainties ahead." The company also cited inflation, increased competition and slowing growth in the sector. On Nov. 8, Curaleaf executive chairman Boris Jordan told analysts the company was "taking appropriate actions" to ensure it continues driving growth and margin expansion next year. "We are taking the steps to right size our cost structure across all areas of the organization," Jordan said. "We are tightening our belts, reducing store payroll hours and eliminating unnecessary expenditures" as the U.S. cannabis industry is projected to grow 13% in 2023. Shares of Curaleaf are up 0.2% on Wednesday.

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


Match ID: 97 Score: 10.71 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 10.71 executive

MarketWise CEO resigns effective immediately, after 5 years in charge
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 13:34:52 GMT

MarketWise Inc. said Wednesday that Chief Executive Mark Arnold has resigned, effective immediately, after five years in the role and nearly 10 years with the company. The provider of financial research and education tools for investors named board member Stephen Sjuggerud interim CEO while it searches for a permanent replacement. There was no comment on any reason for the resignation. The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trading, had closed at a record low of $1.91 on Nov. 3. The stock has plunged 70.7% year to date, while the S&P 500 has lost 16.0%.

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: 98 Score: 10.71 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 10.71 executive

Xi unlikely to tolerate dissent as momentous protests shake China
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 17:55:55 GMT

Chinese leader will see widespread demonstrations against zero-Covid policy as threat to CCP’s authority

Just five weeks after being elected to a historic third term, President Xi Jinping suddenly faces cracks in the facade of unchallenged authority that he so successfully presented to the world at the 20th national congress of the Chinese Communist party.

For groups of protesters, apparently without central coordination, to take to the streets across China and to social media, and for some then explicitly to call for Xi and the Communist party to stand aside, is a seismic shock.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 99 Score: 10.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 10.00 congress

The US Congress Is Starting to Question This Whole Crypto Thing
Sun, 27 Nov 2022 12:00:00 +0000
Think Washington lawmakers have what it takes to tackle the volatile world of cryptocurrencies? Neither do they.
Match ID: 100 Score: 10.00 source: www.wired.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 10.00 congress

Was the Killing of a Migrant by a Former ICE Warden a Hate Crime or a Terrible Accident?
Sat, 19 Nov 2022 11:00:49 +0000

At Fivemile Tank, a watering hole in the bleak desert of West Texas, two men pulled up in a truck. One aimed a gun into the brush.

The post Was the Killing of a Migrant by a Former ICE Warden a Hate Crime or a Terrible Accident? appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 101 Score: 10.00 source: theintercept.com age: 8 days
qualifiers: 4.29 republican, 4.29 democrat, 1.43 congress

‘A remarkable man’: Anthony Albanese confirms release of Sean Turnell from Myanmar jail
Thu, 17 Nov 2022 14:12:51 GMT

PM pays tribute to foreign minister Penny Wong for diplomacy that led to freeing of Australian economist after 650 days

Anthony Albanese has paid tribute to his foreign minister Penny Wong and to regional neighbours while confirming that the economist Sean Turnell has been released from prison in Myanmar and is on his way home to Australia.

Australia’s prime minister spoke to Turnell – a former adviser to the democratically elected civilian government led by ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi – after arriving in Bangkok on Thursday night.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 102 Score: 8.57 source: www.theguardian.com age: 10 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics, 4.29 democrat

Kevin McCarthy’s speaker math
Fri, 18 Nov 2022 15:36:27 EST
Four GOP members have signaled their opposition and put him on the cusp of defeat. But there’s a lot yet to play out.
Match ID: 103 Score: 7.86 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 9 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics, 3.57 election

Founder ran FTX as “personal fiefdom”; many assets stolen or missing, court hears
Wed, 23 Nov 2022 17:36:09 +0000
FTX "was run as a personal fiefdom of Sam Bankman-Fried," company lawyer says.
Match ID: 104 Score: 7.14 source: arstechnica.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 7.14 congress

How the Graphical User Interface Was Invented
Sun, 20 Nov 2022 20:00:00 +0000


Mice, windows, icons, and menus: these are the ingredients of computer interfaces designed to be easy to grasp, simplicity itself to use, and straightforward to describe. The mouse is a pointer. Windows divide up the screen. Icons symbolize application programs and data. Menus list choices of action.

But the development of today’s graphical user interface was anything but simple. It took some 30 years of effort by engineers and computer scientists in universities, government laboratories, and corporate research groups, piggybacking on each other’s work, trying new ideas, repeating each other’s mistakes.


This article was first published as “Of Mice and menus: designing the user-friendly interface.” It appeared in the September 1989 issue of IEEE Spectrum. A PDF version is available on IEEE Xplore. The photographs and diagrams appeared in the original print version.


Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, many of the early concepts for windows, menus, icons, and mice were arduously researched at Xerox Corp.’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Palo Alto, Calif. In 1973, PARC developed the prototype Alto, the first of two computers that would prove seminal in this area. More than 1200 Altos were built and tested. From the Alto’s concepts, starting in 1975, Xerox’s System Development Department then developed the Star and introduced it in 1981—the first such user-friendly machine sold to the public.

In 1984, the low-cost Macintosh from Apple Computer Inc., Cupertino, Calif., brought the friendly interface to thousands of personal computer users. During the next five years, the price of RAM chips fell enough to accommodate the huge memory demands of bit-mapped graphics, and the Mac was followed by dozens of similar interfaces for PCs and workstations of all kinds. By now, application programmers are becoming familiar with the idea of manipulating graphic objects.

The Mac’s success during the 1980s spurred Apple Computer to pursue legal action over ownership of many features of the graphical user interface. Suits now being litigated could assign those innovations not to the designers and their companies, but to those who first filed for legal protection on them.

The GUI started with Sketchpad


The grandfather of the graphical user interface was Sketchpad [see photograph]. Massachusetts Institute of Technology student Ivan E. Sutherland built it in 1962 as a Ph.D. thesis at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Mass. Sketchpad users could not only draw points, line segments, and circular arcs on a cathode ray tube (CRT) with a light pen—they could also assign constraints to, and relationships among, whatever they drew.

Arcs could have a specified diameter, lines could be horizontal or vertical, and figures could be built up from combinations of elements and shapes. Figures could be moved, copied, shrunk, expanded, and rotated, with their constraints (shown as onscreen icons) dynamically preserved. At a time when a CRT monitor was a novelty in itself, the idea that users could interactively create objects by drawing on a computer was revolutionary.


Man sitting in front of a round cathode ray display with a white square and triangle on a black background

Moreover, to zoom in on objects, Sutherland wrote the first window-drawing program, which required him to come up with the first clipping algorithm. Clipping is a software routine that calculates which part of a graphic object is to be displayed and displays only that part on the screen. The program must calculate where a line is to be drawn, compare that position to the coordinates of the window in use, and prevent the display of any line segment whose coordinates fall outside the window.

Though films of Sketchpad in operation were widely shown in the computer research community, Sutherland says today that there was little immediate fallout from the project. Running on MIT’s TX-2 mainframe, it demanded too much computing power to be practical for individual use. Many other engineers, however, see Sketchpad’s design and algorithms as a primary influence on an entire generation of research into user interfaces.

The origin of the computer mouse


The light pens used to select areas of the screen by interactive computer systems of the 1950s and 1960s—including Sketchpad—had drawbacks. To do the pointing, the user’s arm had to be lifted up from the table, and after a while that got tiring. Picking up the pen required fumbling around on the table or, if it had a holder, taking the time after making a selection to put it back.

Sensing an object with a light pen was straightforward: the computer displayed spots of light on the screen and interrogated the pen as to whether it sensed a spot, so the program always knew just what was being displayed. Locating the position of the pen on the screen required more sophisticated techniques—like displaying a cross pattern of nine points on the screen, then moving the cross until it centered on the light pen.

In 1964, Douglas Engelbart, a research project leader at SRI International in Menlo Park, Calif., tested all the commercially available pointing devices, from the still-popular light pen to a joystick and a Graphicon (a curve-tracing device that used a pen mounted on the arm of a potentiometer). But he felt the selection failed to cover the full spectrum of possible pointing devices, and somehow he should fill in the blanks.

Then he remembered a 1940s college class he had taken that covered the use of a planimeter to calculate area. (A planimeter has two arms, with a wheel on each. The wheels can roll only along their axes; when one of them rolls, the other must slide.)

If a potentiometer were attached to each wheel to monitor its rotation, he thought, a planimeter could be used as a pointing device. Engelbart explained his roughly sketched idea to engineer William English, who with the help of the SRI machine shop built what they quickly dubbed “the mouse.”



This first mouse was big because it used single-turn potentiometers: one rotation of the wheels had to be scaled to move a cursor from one side of the screen to the other. But it was simple to interface with the computer: the processor just read frequent samples of the potentiometer positioning signals through analog-to-digital converters.

The cursor moved by the mouse was easy to locate, since readings from the potentiometer determined the position of the cursor on the screen-unlike the light pen. But programmers for later windowing systems found that the software necessary to determine which object the mouse had selected was more complex than that for the light pen: they had to compare the mouse’s position with that of all the objects displayed onscreen.

The computer mouse gets redesigned—and redesigned again

Engelbart’s group at SRI ran controlled experiments with mice and other pointing devices, and the mouse won hands down. People adapted to it quickly, it was easy to grab, and it stayed where they put it. Still, Engelbart wanted to tinker with it. After experimenting, his group had concluded that the proper ratio of cursor movement to mouse movement was about 2:1, but he wanted to try varying that ratio—decreasing it at slow speeds and raising it at fast speeds—to improve user control of fine movements and speed up larger movements. Some modern mouse-control software incorporates this idea, including that of the Macintosh.

The mouse, still experimental at this stage, did not change until 1971. Several members of Engelbart’s group had moved to the newly established PARC, where many other researchers had seen the SRI mouse and the test report. They decided there was no need to repeat the tests; any experimental systems they designed would use mice.

Said English, “This was my second chance to build a mouse; it was obvious that it should be a lot smaller, and that it should be digital.” Chuck Thacker, then a member of the research staff, advised PARC to hire inventor Jack Hawley to build it.

Hawley decided the mouse should use shaft encoders, which measure position by a series of pulses, instead of potentiometers (both were covered in Engelbart’s 1970 patent), to eliminate the expensive analog-to-digital converters. The basic principle, of one wheel rolling while the other slid, was licensed from SRI.

The ball mouse was the “easiest patent I ever got. It took me five minutes to think of, half an hour to describe to the attorney, and I was done.”
—Ron Rider

In 1972, the mouse changed again. Ron Rider, now vice president of systems architecture at PARC but then a new arrival, said he was using the wheel mouse while an engineer made excuses for its asymmetric operation (one wheel dragging while one turned). “I suggested that they turn a trackball upside down, make it small, and use it as a mouse instead,” Rider told IEEE Spectrum. This device came to be known as the ball mouse. “Easiest patent I ever got,” Rider said. “It took me five minutes to think of, half an hour to describe to the attorney, and I was done.”

Defining terms


Bit map

The pixel pattern that makes up the graphic display on a computer screen.

Clicking

The motion of pressing a mouse button to Initiate an action by software; some actions require double-clicking.

Graphical user interface (GUI)

The combination of windowing displays, menus, icons, and a mouse that is increasingly used on personal computers and workstations.

Icon

An onscreen drawing that represents programs or data.

Menu

A list of command options currently available to the computer user; some stay onscreen, while pop-up or pull-down menus are requested by the user.

Mouse

A device whose motion across a desktop or other surface causes an on-screen cursor to move commensurately; today’s mice move on a ball and have one, two, or three buttons.

Raster display

A cathode ray tube on which Images are displayed as patterns of dots, scanned onto the screen sequentially in a predetermined pattern of lines.

Vector display

A cathode ray tube whose gun scans lines, or vectors, onto the screen phosphor.

Window

An area of a computer display, usually one of several, in which a particular program is executing.


In the PARC ball mouse design, the weight of the mouse is transferred to the ball by a swivel device and on one or two casters at the end of the mouse farthest from the wire “tail.” A prototype was built by Xerox’s Electronics Division in El Segundo, Calif., then redesigned by Hawley. The rolling ball turned two perpendicular shafts, with a drum on the end of each that was coated with alternating stripes of conductive and nonconductive material. As the drum turned, the stripes transmitted electrical impulses through metal wipers.

When Apple Computer decided in 1979 to design a mouse for its Lisa computer, the design mutated yet again. Instead of a metal ball held against the substrate by a swivel, Apple used a rubber ball whose traction depended on the friction of the rubber and the weight of the ball itself. Simple pads on the bottom of the case carried the weight, and optical scanners detected the motion of the internal wheels. The device had loose tolerances and few moving parts, so that it cost perhaps a quarter as much to build as previous ball mice.

How the computer mouse gained and lost buttons

The first, wooden, SRI mouse had only one button, to test the concept. The plastic batch of SRI mice bad three side-by-side buttons—all there was room for, Engelbart said. The first PARC mouse bad a column of three buttons-again, because that best fit the mechanical design. Today, the Apple mouse has one button, while the rest have two or three. The issue is no longer 1950—a standard 6-by-10-cm mouse could now have dozens of buttons—but human factors, and the experts have strong opinions.

Said English, now director of internationalization at Sun Microsystems Inc., Mountain View, Calif.: “Two or three buttons, that’s the debate. Apple made a bad choice when they used only one.” He sees two buttons as the minimum because two functions are basic to selecting an object: pointing to its start, then extending the motion to the end of the object.

William Verplank, a human factors specialist in the group that tested the graphical interface at Xerox from 1978 into the early 1980s, concurred. He told Spectrum that with three buttons, Alto users forgot which button did what. The group’s tests showed that one button was also confusing, because it required actions such as double-clicking to select and then open a file.

“We have agonizing videos of naive users struggling” with these problems, Verplank said. They concluded that for most users, two buttons (as used on the Star) are optimal, if a button means the same thing in every application. English experimented with one-button mice at PARC before concluding they were a bad idea.


“Two or three buttons, that’s the debate. Apple made a bad choice when they used only one.”
—William English


A computer monitor with a chunky white keyboard sitting on a desk

But many interface designers dislike multiple buttons, saying that double-clicking a single button to select an item is easier than remembering which button points and which extends. Larry Tesler, formerly a computer scientist at PARC, brought the one-button mouse to Apple, where he is now vice president of advanced technology. The company’s rationale is that to attract novices to its computers one button was as simple as it could get.

More than two million one-button Apple mice are now in use. The Xerox and Microsoft two-button mice are less common than either Apple’s ubiquitous one-button model or the three-button mice found on technical workstations. Dozens of companies manufacture mice today; most are slightly smaller than a pack of cigarettes, with minor variations in shape.

How windows first came to the computer screen


In 1962, Sketchpad could split its screen horizontally into two independent sections. One section could, for example, give a close-up view of the object in the other section. Researchers call Sketchpad the first example of tiled windows, which are laid out side by side. They differ from overlapping windows, which can be stacked on top of each other, or overlaid, obscuring all or part of the lower layers.

Windows were an obvious means of adding functionality to a small screen. In 1969, Engelbart equipped NLS (as the On-Line System he invented at SRI during the 1960s was known, to distinguish it from the Off-Line System known as FLS) with windows. They split the screen into multiple parts horizontally or vertically, and introduced cross-window editing with a mouse.

By 1972, led by researcher Alan Kay, the Smalltalk programming language group at Xerox PARC had implemented their version of windows. They were working with far different technology from Sutherland or Engelbart: by deciding that their images had to be displayed as dots on the screen, they led a move from vector to raster displays, to make it simple to map the assigned memory location of each of those spots. This was the bit map invented at PARC, and made viable during the 1980s by continual performance improvements in processor logic and memory speed.

Experimenting with bit-map manipulation, Smalltalk researcher Dan Ingalls developed the bit-block transfer procedure, known as BitBlt. The BitBlt software enabled application programs to mix and manipulate rectangular arrays of pixel values in on-screen or off-screen memory, or between the two, combining the pixel values and storing the result in the appropriate bit-map location.

BitBlt made it much easier to write programs to scroll a window (move an image through it), resize (enlarge or contract) it, and drag windows (move them from one location to another on screen). It led Kay to create overlapping windows. They were soon implemented by the Smalltalk group, but made clipping harder.

Some researchers question whether overlapping windows offer more benefits than tiled on the grounds that screens with overlapping windows become so messy the user gets lost.

In a tiling system, explained researcher Peter Deutsch, who worked with the Smalltalk group, the clipping borders are simply horizontal or vertical lines from one screen border to another, and software just tracks the location of those lines. But overlapping windows may appear anywhere on the screen, randomly obscuring bits and pieces of other windows, so that quite irregular regions must be clipped. Thus application software must constantly track which portions of their windows remain visible.

Some researchers still question whether overlapping windows offer more benefits than tiled, at least above a certain screen size, on the grounds that screens with overlapping windows become so messy the user gets lost. Others argue that overlapping windows more closely match users’ work patterns, since no one arranges the papers on their physical desktop in neat horizontal and vertical rows. Among software engineers, however, overlapping windows seem to have won for the user interface world.

So has the cut-and-paste editing model that Larry Tesler developed, first for the Gypsy text editor he wrote at PARC and later for Apple. Charles Irby—who worked on Xerox’s windows and is now vice president of development at Metaphor Computer Systems Inc., Mountain View, Calif.—noted, however, that cut-and-paste worked better for pure text-editing than for moving graphic objects from one application to another.

The origin of the computer menu bar


Menus—functions continuously listed onscreen that could be called into action with key combinations—were commonly used in defense computing by the 1960s. But it was only with the advent of BitBlt and windows that menus could be made to appear as needed and to disappear after use. Combined with a pointing device to indicate a user’s selection, they are now an integral part of the user-friendly interface: users no longer need to refer to manuals or memorize available options.

Instead, the choices can be called up at a moment’s notice whenever needed. And menu design has evolved. Some new systems use nested hierarchies of menus; others offer different menu versions—one with the most commonly used commands for novices, another with all available commands for the experienced user.

Among the first to test menus on demand was PARC researcher William Newman, in a program called Markup. Hard on his heels, the Smalltalk group built in pop-up menus that appeared on screen at the cursor site when the user pressed one of the mouse buttons.

Implementation was on the whole straightforward, recalled Deutsch. The one exception was determining whether the menu or the application should keep track of the information temporarily obscured by the menu. In the Smalltalk 76 version, the popup menu saved and restored the screen bits it overwrote. But in today’s multitasking systems, that would not work, because an application may change those bits without the menu’s knowledge. Such systems add another layer to the operating system: a display manager that tracks what is written where.

The production Xerox Star, in 1981, featured a further advance: a menu bar, essentially a row of words indicating available menus that could be popped up for each window. Human factors engineer Verplank recalled that the bar was at first located at the bottom of its window. But the Star team found users were more likely to associate a bar with the window below it, so it was moved to the top of its window.

Apple simplified things in its Lisa and Macintosh with a single bar placed at the top of the screen. This menu bar relates only to the window in use: the menus could be ‘‘pulled down” from the bar, to appear below it. Designer William D. Atkinson received a patent (assigned to Apple Computer) in August 1984 for this innovation.

One new addition that most user interface pioneers consider an advantage is the tear-off menu, which the user can move to a convenient spot on the screen and “pin” there, always visible for ready access.

Many windowing interfaces now offer command-key or keyboard alternatives for many commands as well. This return to the earliest of user interfaces—key combinations—neatly supplements menus, providing both ease of use for novices and for the less experienced, and speed for those who can type faster than they can point to a menu and click on a selection.

How the computer “icon” got its name


Sketchpad had on-screen graphic objects that represented constraints (for example, a rule that lines be the same length), and the Flex machine built in 1967 at the University of Utah by students Alan Kay and Ed Cheadle had squares that represented programs and data (like today’s computer “folders”). Early work on icons was also done by Bell Northern Research, Ottawa, Canada, stemming from efforts to replace the recently legislated bilingual signs with graphic symbols.

But the concept of the computer “icon” was not formalized until 1975. David Canfield Smith, a computer science graduate student at Stanford University in California, began work on his Ph.D. thesis in 1973. His advisor was PARC’s Kay, who suggested that he look at using the graphics power of the experimental Alto not just to display text, but rather to help people program.

David Canfield Smith took the term icon from the Russian Orthodox church, where an icon is more than an image, because it embodies properties of what it represents.

Smith took the term icon from the Russian Orthodox church, where an icon is more than an image, because it embodies properties of what it represents: a Russian icon of a saint is holy and is to be venerated. Smith’s computer icons contained all the properties of the programs and data represented, and therefore could be linked or acted on as if they were the real thing.

After receiving his Ph.D. in 1975, Smith joined Xerox in 1976 to work on Star development. The first thing he did, he said, was to recast his concept of icons in office terms. “I looked around my office and saw papers, folders, file cabinets, a telephone, and bookshelves, and it was an easy translation to icons,” he said.

Xerox researchers developed, tested, and revised icons for the Star interface for three years before the first version was complete. At first they attempted to make the icons look like a detailed photographic rendering of the object, recalled Irby, who worked on testing and refining the Xerox windows. Trading off label space, legibility, and the number of icons that fit on the screen, they decided to constrain icons to a 1-inch (2.5-centimeter) square of 64 by 64 pixels, or 512 eight-bit bytes.

Then, Verplank recalls, they discovered that because of a background pattern based on two-pixel dots, the right-hand side of the icons appeared jagged. So they increased the width of the icons to 65 pixels, despite an outcry from programmers who liked the neat 16-bit breakdown. But the increase stuck, Verplank said, because they had already decided to store 72 bits per side to allow for white space around each icon.

After settling on a size for the icons, the Star developers tested four sets developed by two graphic designers and two software engineers. They discovered that, for example, resizing may cause problems. They shrunk the icon for a person—a head and shoulders—in order to use several of them to represent a group, only to hear one test subject say the screen resolution made the reduced icon look like a cross above a tombstone. Computer graphics artist Norm Cox, now of Cox & Hall, Dallas, Texas, was finally hired to redesign the icons.

Icon designers today still wrestle with the need to make icons adaptable to the many different system configurations offered by computer makers. Artist Karen Elliott, who has designed icons for Microsoft, Apple, Hewlett-Packard Co., and others, noted that on different systems an icon may be displayed in different colors, several resolutions, and a variety of gray shades, and it may also be inverted (light and dark areas reversed).

In the past few years, another concern has been added to icon designers’ tasks: internationalization. Icons designed in the United States often lack space for translations into languages other than English. Elliott therefore tries to leave space for both the longer words and the vertical orientation of some languages.


A square white macintosh computer with a white keyboard, in a separate image below, computer icons and the text address book, address, addresses

The main rule is to make icons simple, clean, and easily recognizable. Discarded objects are placed in a trash can on the Macintosh. On the NeXT Computer System, from NeXT Inc., Palo Alto, Calif.—the company formed by Apple cofounder Steven Jobs after he left Apple—they are dumped into a Black Hole. Elliott sees NeXT’s black hole as one of the best icons ever designed: ”It is distinct; its roundness stands out from the other, square icons, and this is important on a crowded display. It fits my image of information being sucked away, and it makes it clear that dumping something is serious.

English disagrees vehemently. The black hole “is fundamentally wrong,” he said. “You can dig paper out of a wastebasket, but you can’t dig it out of a black hole.” Another critic called the black hole familiar only to “computer nerds who read mostly science fiction and comics,” not to general users.

With the introduction of the Xerox Star in June 1981, the graphical user interface, as it is known today, arrived on the market. Though not a commercial triumph, the Star generated great interest among computer users, as the Alto before it had within the universe of computer designers.

Even before the Star was introduced, Jobs, then still at Apple, had visited Xerox PARC in November 1979 and asked the Smalltalk researchers dozens of questions about the Alto’s internal design. He later recruited Larry Tesler from Xerox to design the user interface of the Apple Lisa.

With the Lisa and then the Macintosh, introduced in January 1983 and January 1984 respectively, the graphical user interface reached the low-cost, high-volume computer market.

At almost $10,000, buyers deemed the Lisa too expensive for the office market. But aided by prizewinning advertising and its lower price, the Macintosh took the world by storm. Early Macs had only 128K bytes of RAM, which made them slow to respond because it was too little memory for heavy graphic manipulation. Also, the time needed for programmers to learn its Toolbox of graphics routines delayed application packages until well into 1985. But the Mac’s ease of use was indisputable, and it generated interest that spilled over into the MS-DOS world of IBM PCs and clones, as well as Unix-based workstations.

Who owns the graphical user interface?


The widespread acceptance of such interfaces, however, has led to bitter lawsuits to establish exactly who owns what. So far, none of several litigious companies has definitively established that it owns the software that implements windows, icons, or early versions of menus. But the suits continue.

Virtually all the companies that make and sell either wheel or ball mice paid license fees to SRI or to Xerox for their patents. Engelbart recalled that SRI patent attorneys inspected all the early work on the interface, but understood only hardware. After looking at developments like the implementation of windows, they told him that none of it was patentable.

At Xerox, the Star development team proposed 12 patents having to do with the user interface. The company’s patent committee rejected all but two on hardware—one on BitBlt, the other on the Star architecture. At the time, Charles Irby said, it was a good decision. Patenting required full disclosure, and no precedents then existed for winning software patent suits.


A computer screen in blue and white with multiple open windows


Three computer windows with greyscale images on a dark grey background


Computer windows tinted blue on a black background partially obscuring a planet and starfield


The most recent and most publicized suit was filed in March 1988, by Apple, against both Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard Co., Palo Alto, Calif. Apple alleges that HP’s New Wave interface, requiring version 2.03 of Microsoft’s Windows program, embodies the copyrighted “audio visual computer display” of the Macintosh without permission; that the displays of Windows 2.03 are illegal copies of the Mac’s audiovisual works; and that Windows 2.03 also exceeds the rights granted in a November 198S agreement in which Microsoft acknowledged that the displays in Windows 1.0 were derivatives of those in Apple’s Lisa and Mac.

In March 1989, U.S. District Judge William W. Schwarzer ruled Microsoft had exceeded the bounds of its license in creating Windows 2.03. Then in July 1989 Schwarzer ruled that all but 11 of the 260 items that Apple cited in its suit were, in fact, acceptable under the 1985 agreement. The larger issue—whether Apple’s copyrights are valid, and whether Microsoft and HP infringed on them—will not now be examined until 1990.

Among those 11 are overlapping windows and movable icons. According to Pamela Samuelson, a noted software intellectual property expert and visiting professor at Emory University Law School, Atlanta, Ga., many experts would regard both as functional features of an interface that cannot be copyrighted, rather than “expressions” of an idea protectable by copyright.

But lawyers for Apple—and for other companies that have filed lawsuits to protect the “look and feel’’ of their screen displays—maintain that if such protection is not granted, companies will lose the economic incentive to market technological innovations. How is Apple to protect its investment in developing the Lisa and Macintosh, they argue, if it cannot license its innovations to companies that want to take advantage of them?

If the Apple-Microsoft case does go to trial on the copyright issues, Samuelson said, the court may have to consider whether Apple can assert copyright protection for overlapping windows-an interface feature on which patents have also been granted. In April 1989, for example, Quarterdeck Office Systems Inc., Santa Monica, Calif., received a patent for a multiple windowing system in its Desq system software, introduced in 1984.

Adding fuel to the legal fire, Xerox said in May 1989 it would ask for license fees from companies that use the graphical user interface. But it is unclear whether Xerox has an adequate claim to either copyright or patent protection for the early graphical interface work done at PARC. Xerox did obtain design patents on later icons, noted human factors engineer Verplank. Meanwhile, both Metaphor and Sun Microsystems have negotiated licenses with Xerox for their own interfaces.

To Probe Further

The September 1989 IEEE Computer contains an article, “The Xerox ‘Star’: A Retrospective,” by Jeff Johnson et al., covering development of the Star. “Designing the Star User Interface,’’ [PDF] by David C. Smith et al., appeared in the April 1982 issue of Byte.

The Sept. 12, 1989, PC Magazine contains six articles on graphical user interfaces for personal computers and workstations. The July 1989 Byte includes ‘‘A Guide to [Graphical User Interfaces),” by Frank Hayes and Nick Baran, which describes 12 current interfaces for workstations and personal computers. “The Interface of Tomorrow, Today,’’ by Howard Reingold, in the July 10, 1989, InfoWorld does the same. “The interface that launched a thousand imitations,” by Richard Rawles, in the March 21, 1989, MacWeek covers the Macintosh interface.

The human factors of user interface design are discussed in The Psychology of Everyday Things, by Donald A. Norman (Basic Books Inc., New York, 1988). The January 1989 IEEE Software contains several articles on methods, techniques, and tools for designing and implementing graphical interfaces. The Way Things Work, by David Macaulay (Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1988), contains a detailed drawing of a ball mouse.

The October 1985 IEEE Spectrum covered Xerox PARC’s history in “Research at Xerox PARC: a founder’s assessment,” by George Pake (pp. 54-61) and “Inside the PARC: the ‘information architects,’“ by Tekla Perry and Paul Wallich (pp. 62-75).

William Atkinson received patent no. 4,464,652 for the pulldown menu system on Aug. 8, 1984, and assigned it to Apple. Gary Pope received patent no. 4,823,108, for an improved system for displaying images in “windows” on a computer screen, on April 18, 1989, and assigned it to Quarterdeck Office Systems.

The wheel mouse patent, no. 3,541,541, “X-Y position indicator for a display system,” was issued to Douglas Engelbart on Nov. 17, 1970, and assigned to SRI International. The ball mouse patent, no. 3,835,464, was issued to Ronald Rider on Sept. 10, 1974, and assigned to Xerox.

The first selection device tests to include a mouse are covered in “Display-Selection Techniques for Text Manipulation,” by William English, Douglas Engelbart, and Melvyn Berman, in IEEE Transactions on Human Factors in Electronics, March 1967.

Sketchpad: A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System, by Ivan E. Sutherland (Garland Publishing Inc., New York City and London, 1980), reprints his 1963 Ph.D. thesis.










Match ID: 105 Score: 7.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 7 days
qualifiers: 7.14 election

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


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

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


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

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

Blood clot testing using smartphones www.youtube.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Match ID: 106 Score: 6.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 10 days
qualifiers: 4.29 democrat, 2.14 executive

The U.S.-China Chip Ban, Explained
Mon, 21 Nov 2022 17:28:29 +0000


It has now been over a month since the U.S. Commerce Department issued new rules that clamped down on the export of certain advanced chips—which have military or AI applications—to Chinese customers.

China has yet to respond—but Beijing has multiple options in its arsenal. It’s unlikely, experts say, that the U.S. actions will be the last fighting word in an industry that is becoming more geopolitically sensitive by the day.

This is not the first time that the U.S. government has constrained the flow of chips to its perceived adversaries. Previously, the United States has blocked chip sales to individual Chinese customers. In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, the United States (along with several other countries, including South Korea and Taiwan) placed Russia under a chip embargo.


But none of these prior U.S. chip bans were as broad as the new rules, issued on 7 October. “This announcement is perhaps the most expansive export control in decades,” says Sujai Shivakumar, an analyst at the Center for International and Strategic Studies, in Washington.

The rules prohibit the sale, to Chinese customers, of advanced chips with both high performance (at least 300 trillion operations per second, or 300 teraops) and fast interconnect speed (generally, at least 600 gigabytes per second). Nvidia’s A100, for comparison, is capable of over 600 teraops and matches the 600 Gb/s interconnect speed. Nvidia’s more-impressive H100 can reach nearly 4,000 trillion operations and 900 Gb/s. Both chips, intended for data centers and AI trainers, cannot be sold to Chinese customers under the new rules.

Additionally, the rules restrict the sale of fabrication equipment if it will knowingly be used to make certain classes of advanced logic or memory chips. This includes logic chips produced at nodes of 16 nanometers or less (which the likes of Intel, Samsung, and TSMC have done since the early 2010s); NAND long-term memory integrated circuits with at least 128 layers (the state of the art today); or DRAM short-term memory integrated circuits produced at 18 nanometers or less (which Samsung began making in 2016).

Chinese chipmakers have barely scratched the surface of those numbers. SMIC switched on 14-nm mass production this year, despite facing existing U.S. sanctions. YMTC started shipping 128-layer NAND chips last year.

The rules restrict not just U.S. companies, but citizens and permanent residents as well. U.S. employees at Chinese semiconductor firms have had to pack up. ASML, a Dutch maker of fabrication equipment, has told U.S. employees to stop servicing Chinese customers.

Speaking of Chinese customers, most—including offices, gamers, designers of smaller chips—probably won’t feel the controls. “Most chip trade and chip production in China is unimpacted,” says Christopher Miller, a historian who studies the semiconductor trade at Tufts University.

The controlled sorts of chips instead go into supercomputers and large data centers, and they’re desirable for training and running large machine-learning models. Most of all, the United States hopes to stop Beijing from using chips to enhance its military—and potentially preempt an invasion of Taiwan, where the vast majority of the world’s semiconductors and microprocessors are produced.

In order to seal off one potential bypass, the controls also apply to non-U.S. firms that rely on U.S.-made equipment or software. For instance, Taiwanese or South Korean chipmakers can’t sell Chinese customers advanced chips that are fabricated with U.S.-made technology.

It’s possible to apply to the U.S. government for an exemption from at least some of the restrictions. Taiwanese fab juggernaut TSMC and South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix, for instance, have already acquired temporary exemptions—for a year. “What happens after that is difficult to say,” says Patrick Schröder, a researcher at Chatham House in London. And the Commerce Department has already stated that such licenses will be the exception, not the rule (although Commerce Department undersecretary Alan Estevez suggested that around two-thirds of licenses get approved).

More export controls may be en route. Estevez indicated that the government is considering placing restrictions on technologies in other sensitive fields—specifically mentioning quantum information science and biotechnology, both of which have seen China-based researchers forge major progress in the past decade.

The Chinese government has so far retorted with harsh words and little action. “We don’t know whether their response will be an immediate reaction or whether they have a longer-term approach to dealing with this,” says Shivakumar. “It’s speculation at this point.”

Beijing could work with foreign companies whose revenue in the lucrative Chinese market is now under threat. “I’m really not aware of a particular company that thinks it’s coming out a winner in this,” says Shivakumar. This week, in the eastern city of Hefei, the Chinese government hosted a chipmakers’ conference whose attendees included U.S. firms AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm.

Nvidia has already responded by introducing a China-specific chip, the A800, which appears to be a modified A100 cut down to meet the requirements. Analysts say that Nvidia’s approach could be a model for other companies to keep up Chinese sales.

There may be other tools the Chinese government can exploit. While China may be dependent on foreign semiconductors, foreign electronics manufacturers are in turn dependent on China for rare-earth metals—and China supplies the supermajority of the world’s rare earths.

There is precedent for China curtailing its rare-earth supply for geopolitical leverage. In 2010, a Chinese fishing boat collided with two Japanese Coast Guard vessels, triggering an international incident when Japanese authorities arrested the boat’s captain. In response, the Chinese government cut off rare-earth exports to Japan for several months.

Certainly, much of the conversation has focused on the U.S. action and the Chinese reaction. But for third parties, the entire dispute delivers constant reminders of just how tense and volatile the chip supply can be. In the European Union, home to less than 10 percent of the world’s microchips market, the debate has bolstered interest in the prospective European Chips Act, a plan to heavily invest in fabrication in Europe. “For Europe in particular, it’s important not to get caught up in this U.S.-China trade issue,” Schröder says.

“The way in which the semiconductor industry has evolved over the past few decades has predicated on a relatively stable geopolitical order,” says Shivakumar. “Obviously, the ground realities have shifted.”


Match ID: 107 Score: 6.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 6 days
qualifiers: 6.43 executive

How Trump could sabotage the GOP
Fri, 18 Nov 2022 12:20:29 EST
The obvious smart play for the GOP is to move on. Actually doing that is another matter, given Trump's demonstrated threats and capacity for vengefulness.
Match ID: 108 Score: 4.29 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 9 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

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

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

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

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Match ID: 109 Score: 4.29 source: www.theguardian.com age: 11 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

The Stereotype of the Woke Teen Is 'Tárring' Art
Wed, 16 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000
An archetype culled from the depths of social media seems to be short-circuiting screenwriters’ creativity.
Match ID: 110 Score: 4.29 source: www.wired.com age: 11 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

Collective Mental Time Travel Can Influence the Future
Wed, 09 Nov 2022 13:00:00 +0000
The way people imagine the past and future of society can sway attitudes and behaviors. How might this be wielded for good?
Match ID: 111 Score: 4.29 source: www.wired.com age: 18 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

Elon Musk’s Reckless Plan to Make Sex Pay on Twitter
Mon, 07 Nov 2022 11:37:00 +0000
A plan to monetize adult content could make sense from a business and social standpoint. In practice, Twitter won’t be able to pull it off.
Match ID: 112 Score: 4.29 source: www.wired.com age: 20 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

The Art of Hitting Disinformation Where It Lives
Fri, 28 Oct 2022 13:00:00 +0000
Combating fake news with facts doesn't work because humans are wired for emotion. It's time for more creative tactics.
Match ID: 113 Score: 4.29 source: www.wired.com age: 30 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

Musk’s Twitter Will Not Be the Town Square the World Needs
Fri, 28 Oct 2022 12:54:33 +0000
This is a moment to choose a different path, inspired by the lessons of thriving offline communities.
Match ID: 114 Score: 4.29 source: www.wired.com age: 30 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

Yes, the Liz Truss debacle matters for Americans
Thu, 20 Oct 2022 19:03:37 EST
The U.K. political drama will have ripple effects in the U.S.
Match ID: 115 Score: 4.29 source: www.politico.com age: 38 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

Who Will Fix Hubble and Chandra?
Thu, 20 Oct 2022 18:06:36 +0000


Elon Musk, step aside. You may be the richest rich man in the space business, but you’re not first. Musk’s SpaceX corporation is a powerful force, with its weekly launches and visions of colonizing Mars. But if you want a broader view of how wealthy entrepreneurs have shaped space exploration, you might want to look at George Ellery Hale, James Lick, William McDonald or—remember this name—John D. Hooker.

All this comes up now because SpaceX, joining forces with the billionaire Jared Isaacman, has made what sounds at first like a novel proposal to NASA: It would like to see if one of the company’s Dragon spacecraft can be sent to service the fabled, invaluable (and aging) Hubble Space Telescope, last repaired in 2009.

Private companies going to the rescue of one of NASA’s crown jewels? NASA’s mantra in recent years has been to let private enterprise handle the day-to-day of space operations—communications satellites, getting astronauts to the space station, and so forth—while pure science, the stuff that makes history but not necessarily money, remains the province of government. Might that model change?

“We’re working on crazy ideas all the time,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s space science chief. "Frankly, that’s what we’re supposed to do.”

It’s only a six-month feasibility study for now; no money will change hands between business and NASA. But Isaacman, who made his fortune in payment-management software before turning to space, suggested that if a Hubble mission happens, it may lead to other things. “Alongside NASA, exploration is one of many objectives for the commercial space industry,” he said on a media teleconference. “And probably one of the greatest exploration assets of all time is the Hubble Space Telescope.”

So it’s possible that at some point in the future, there may be a SpaceX Dragon, perhaps with Isaacman as a crew member, setting out to grapple the Hubble, boost it into a higher orbit, maybe even replace some worn-out components to lengthen its life.

Aerospace companies say privately mounted repair sounds like a good idea. So good that they’ve proposed it already.

The Chandra X-ray telescope, photographed by space shuttle astronauts after they deployed it in July 1999. The Chandra X-ray telescope, as photographed by space-shuttle astronauts after they deployed it in July 1999. It is attached to a booster that moved it into an orbit 10,000 by 100,000 kilometers from Earth.NASA

Northrop Grumman, one of the United States’ largest aerospace contractors, has quietly suggested to NASA that it might service one of the Hubble’s sister telescopes, the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Chandra was launched into Earth orbit by the space shuttle Columbia in 1999 (Hubble was launched from the shuttle Discovery in 1990), and the two often complement each other, observing the same celestial phenomena at different wavelengths.

As in the case of the SpaceX/Hubble proposal, Northrop Grumman’s Chandra study is at an early stage. But there are a few major differences. For one, Chandra was assembled by TRW, a company that has since been bought by Northrop Grumman. And another company subsidiary, SpaceLogistics, has been sending what it calls Mission Extension Vehicles (MEVs) to service aging Intelsat communications satellites since 2020. Two of these robotic craft have launched so far. The MEVs act like space tugs, docking with their target satellites to provide them with attitude control and propulsion if their own systems are failing or running out of fuel. SpaceLogistics says it is developing a next-generation rescue craft, which it calls a Mission Robotic Vehicle, equipped with an articulated arm to add, relocate, or possibly repair components on orbit.

“We want to see if we can apply this to space-science missions,” says Jon Arenberg, Northrop Grumman’s chief mission architect for science and robotic exploration, who worked on Chandra and, later, the James Webb Space Telescope. He says a major issue for servicing is the exacting specifications needed for NASA’s major observatories; Chandra, for example, records the extremely short wavelengths of X-ray radiation (0.01–10 nanometers).

“We need to preserve the scientific integrity of the spacecraft,” he says. “That’s an absolute.”

But so far, the company says, a mission seems possible. NASA managers have listened receptively. And Northrop Grumman says a servicing mission could be flown for a fraction of the cost of a new telescope.

New telescopes need not be government projects. In fact, NASA’s chief economist, Alexander MacDonald, argues that almost all of America’s greatest observatories were privately funded until Cold War politics made government the major player in space exploration. That’s why this story began with names from the 19th and 20th centuries—Hale, Lick, and McDonald—to which we should add Charles Yerkes and, more recently, William Keck. These were arguably the Elon Musks of their times—entrepreneurs who made millions in oil, iron, or real estate before funding the United States’ largest telescopes. (Hale’s father manufactured elevators—highly profitable in the rebuilding after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.) The most ambitious observatories, MacDonald calculated for his book The Long Space Age, were about as expensive back then as some of NASA’s modern planetary probes. None of them had very much to do with government.

To be sure, government will remain a major player in space for a long time. “NASA pays the cost, predominantly, of the development of new commercial crew vehicles, SpaceX’s Dragon being one,” MacDonald says. “And now that those capabilities exist, private individuals can also pay to utilize those capabilities.” Isaacman doesn’t have to build a spacecraft; he can hire one that SpaceX originally built for NASA.

“I think that creates a much more diverse and potentially interesting space-exploration future than we have been considering for some time,” MacDonald says.

So put these pieces together: Private enterprise has been a driver of space science since the 1800s. Private companies are already conducting on-orbit satellite rescues. NASA hasn’t said no to the idea of private missions to service its orbiting observatories.

And why does John D. Hooker’s name matter? In 1906, he agreed to put up US $45,000 (about $1.4 million today) to make the mirror for a 100-inch reflecting telescope at Mount Wilson, Calif. One astronomer made the Hooker Telescope famous by using it to determine that the universe, full of galaxies, was expanding.

The astronomer’s name was Edwin Hubble. We’ve come full circle.


Match ID: 116 Score: 4.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 38 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

Fed's Powell ignores politics — and may pay a heavy price
Mon, 03 Oct 2022 03:30:00 EST
It’s a rare moment for a Fed chair to toss aside all political considerations and ignore frantic investors.
Match ID: 117 Score: 4.29 source: www.politico.com age: 55 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

Sign up for the Hear Here newsletter: our free podcast email
Wed, 30 Mar 2022 15:28:30 GMT

Podcast recommendations for unexpected audio pleasures. Our reviewers and audio producers pick out the top shows

Hear Here highlights the best new podcasts and essential series to catch up on every week. Sign up and we’ll send you an email filled with the latest shows as reviewed by our podcast critics, plus best of lists and talking points from the world of audio. From entertainment to sport to politics and everything in between, you’ll find the best audio recommendations in your inbox every Thursday morning.

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Match ID: 118 Score: 4.29 source: www.theguardian.com age: 242 days
qualifiers: 4.29 politics

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Batteries and the supply-chain challenge

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

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

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

Stiff Competition for Engineering Talent


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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


Match ID: 119 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 8 days
qualifiers: 2.14 executive, 1.43 congress

A Destabilizing Hack-and-Leak Operation Hits Moldova
Sat, 19 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000
Plus: Google’s location snooping ends in a $391 million settlement, Russian code sneaks into US government apps, and the World Cup apps set off alarms.
Match ID: 120 Score: 3.57 source: www.wired.com age: 8 days
qualifiers: 3.57 election

Video Friday: Little Robot, Big Stairs
Fri, 18 Nov 2022 16:43:36 +0000


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

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

Enjoy today’s videos!

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science and the University of California, Berkeley, have designed a robotic system that enables a low-cost and relatively small legged robot to climb and descend stairs nearly its height; traverse rocky, slippery, uneven, steep and varied terrain; walk across gaps; scale rocks and curbs, and even operate in the dark.

[ CMU ]

This robot is designed as a preliminary platform for humanoid robot research. The platform will be further extended with soles as well as upper limbs. In this video, the current lower limb version of the platform shows its capability in traversing uneven terrains without an active or passive ankle joint. The underactuation nature of the robot system has been well addressed with our locomotion-control framework, which also provides a new perspective on the leg design of bipedal robots.

[ CLEAR Lab ]

Thanks, Zejun!

Inbiodroid is a startup “dedicated to the development of fully immersive telepresence technologies that create a deeper connection between people and their environment.” Hot off the ANA Avatar XPrize competition, they’re doing a Kickstarter to fund the next generation of telepresence robots.

[ Kickstarter ] via [ Inbiodroid ]

Thanks, Alejandro!

A robot that can feel what a therapist feels when treating a patient, that can adjust the intensity of rehabilitation exercises at any time according to the patient's abilities and needs, and that can thus go on for hours without getting tired: It seems like fiction, and yet researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Imec have now finished a prototype that unites all these skills in one robot.

[ VUB ]

Thanks, Bram!

Self-driving bikes present some special challenges, as this excellent video graphically demonstrates.

[ Paper ]

Pickle robots unload trucks. This is a short overview of the Pickle Robot Unload System in action at the end of October 2022—autonomously picking floor-loaded freight to unload a trailer. As a robotic system built on AI and advanced sensors, the system gets better and faster all the time.

[ Pickle ]

Learning agile skills can be challenging with reward shaping. Imitation learning provides an alternative solution by assuming access to decent expert references. However, such experts are not always available. We propose Wasserstein Adversarial Skill Imitation (WASABI), which acquires agile behaviors from partial and potentially physically incompatible demonstrations. In our work, Solo, a quadruped robot, learns highly dynamic skills (for example, backflips) from only handheld human demonstrations.

WASABI!

[ WASABI ]

NASA and the European Space Agency are developing plans for one of the most ambitious campaigns ever attempted in space: bringing the first samples of Mars material safely back to Earth for detailed study. The diverse set of scientifically curated samples now being collected by NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover could help scientists answer the question of whether ancient life ever arose on the Red Planet.

I thought I was promised some helicopters?

[ NASA ]

A Sanctuary general-purpose robot picks up and sorts medicine pills.

Remotely controlled, if that wasn’t clear.

[ Sanctuary ]

I don’t know what’s going on here, but it scares me.

[ KIMLAB ]

The Canadian Space Agency plans to send a rover to the moon as early as 2026 to explore a polar region. The mission will demonstrate key technologies and accomplish meaningful science. Its objectives are to gather imagery, measurements, and data on the surface of the moon, as well as to have the rover survive an entire night on the moon. Lunar nights, which last about 14 Earth days, are extremely cold and dark, posing a significant technological challenge.

[ CSA ]

Covariant Robotic Induction automates previously manual induction processes. This video shows the Covariant Robotic Induction solution picking a wide range of item types from totes, scanning bar codes, and inducting items onto a unit sorter. Note the robot’s ability to effectively handle items that are traditionally difficult to pick, such as transparent polybagged apparel and small, oddly shaped health and beauty items, and place them precisely onto individual trays.

[ Covariant ]

The solution will integrate Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot; the ExynPak, powered by ExynAI; and the Trimble X7 total station. It will enable fully autonomous missions inside complex and dynamic construction environments, which can result in consistent and precise reality capture for production and quality-control workflows.

[ Exyn ]

Our most advanced programmable robot yet is back and better than ever. Sphero RVR+ includes an advanced gearbox to improve torque and payload capacity; enhanced sensors, including an improved color sensor; and an improved rechargeable and swappable battery.

$279.

[ Sphero ]

I’m glad Starship is taking this seriously, although it’s hard to know from this video how well the robots behave when conditions are less favorable.

[ Starship ]

Complexity, cost, and power requirements for the actuation of individual robots can play a large factor in limiting the size of robotic swarms. Here we present PCBot, a minimalist robot that can precisely move on an orbital shake table using a bi-stable solenoid actuator built directly into its PCB. This allows the actuator to be built as part of the automated PCB manufacturing process, greatly reducing the impact it has on manual assembly.

[ Paper ]

Drone-racing world champion Thomas Bitmatta designed an indoor drone-racing track for ETH Zurich’s autonomous high-speed racing drones, and in something like half an hour, the autonomous drones were able to master the track at superhuman speeds (with the aid of a motion-capture system).

[ ETH RSL ] via [ BMS Racing ]

Thanks, Paul!

Moravec’s paradox is the observation that many things that are difficult for robots to do come easily to humans, and vice versa. Stanford University professor Chelsea Finn has been tasked to explain this concept to 5 different people: a child, a teen, a college student, a grad student, and an expert.

[ Wired ]

Roberto Calandra from Meta AI gives a talk about “Perceiving, Understanding, and Interacting Through Touch.”

[ UPenn ]

AI advancements have been motivated and inspired by human intelligence for decades. How can we use AI to expand our knowledge and understanding of the world and ourselves? How can we leverage AI to enrich our lives? In his Tanner Lecture, Eric Horvitz, chief science officer at Microsoft, will explore these questions and more, tracing the arc of intelligence from its origins and evolution in humans to its manifestations and prospects in the tools we create and use.

[ UMich ]


Match ID: 121 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 9 days
qualifiers: 3.57 election

'Brazil was stolen': the Bolsonaro supporters who refuse to accept election result – video
Tue, 08 Nov 2022 15:35:51 GMT

A week after Brazil's presidential election, Jair Bolsonaro supporters remain defiant and are gathering outside military barracks across the country, asking for armed intervention. The Guardian spent the weekend with different groups of supporters in São Paulo to understand the reasons behind their demands.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva won what was widely seen as Brazil’s most important election in decades by a margin of 2.1m votes – 50.9% to 49.1% – and has been quickly embraced by the international community after four years in which Brazil became a pariah under Bolsonaro

Continue reading...
Match ID: 122 Score: 3.57 source: www.theguardian.com age: 19 days
qualifiers: 3.57 election

Voters pessimistic on economy, inflation as Election Day approaches
Wed, 19 Oct 2022 05:00:00 EST
A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll suggests economic woes are taking a toll on the electorate.
Match ID: 123 Score: 3.57 source: www.politico.com age: 39 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: 124 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 142 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: 125 Score: 3.57 source: www.crunchhype.com age: 280 days
qualifiers: 3.57 election

Are You Ready for Workplace Brain Scanning?
Sat, 19 Nov 2022 16:00:01 +0000


Get ready: Neurotechnology is coming to the workplace. Neural sensors are now reliable and affordable enough to support commercial pilot projects that extract productivity-enhancing data from workers’ brains. These projects aren’t confined to specialized workplaces; they’re also happening in offices, factories, farms, and airports. The companies and people behind these neurotech devices are certain that they will improve our lives. But there are serious questions about whether work should be organized around certain functions of the brain, rather than the person as a whole.

To be clear, the kind of neurotech that’s currently available is nowhere close to reading minds. Sensors detect electrical activity across different areas of the brain, and the patterns in that activity can be broadly correlated with different feelings or physiological responses, such as stress, focus, or a reaction to external stimuli. These data can be exploited to make workers more efficient—and, proponents of the technology say, to make them happier. Two of the most interesting innovators in this field are the Israel-based startup InnerEye, which aims to give workers superhuman abilities, and Emotiv, a Silicon Valley neurotech company that’s bringing a brain-tracking wearable to office workers, including those working remotely.

The fundamental technology that these companies rely on is not new: Electroencephalography (EEG) has been around for about a century, and it’s commonly used today in both medicine and neuroscience research. For those applications, the subject may have up to 256 electrodes attached to their scalp with conductive gel to record electrical signals from neurons in different parts of the brain. More electrodes, or “channels,” mean that doctors and scientists can get better spatial resolution in their readouts—they can better tell which neurons are associated with which electrical signals.

What is new is that EEG has recently broken out of clinics and labs and has entered the consumer marketplace. This move has been driven by a new class of “dry” electrodes that can operate without conductive gel, a substantial reduction in the number of electrodes necessary to collect useful data, and advances in artificial intelligence that make it far easier to interpret the data. Some EEG headsets are even available directly to consumers for a few hundred dollars.

While the public may not have gotten the memo, experts say the neurotechnology is mature and ready for commercial applications. “This is not sci-fi,” says James Giordano, chief of neuroethics studies at Georgetown University Medical Center. “This is quite real.”

How InnerEye’s TSA-boosting technology works

InnerEye Security Screening Demo youtu.be

In an office in Herzliya, Israel, Sergey Vaisman sits in front of a computer. He’s relaxed but focused, silent and unmoving, and not at all distracted by the seven-channel EEG headset he’s wearing. On the computer screen, images rapidly appear and disappear, one after another. At a rate of three images per second, it’s just possible to tell that they come from an airport X-ray scanner. It’s essentially impossible to see anything beyond fleeting impressions of ghostly bags and their contents.

“Our brain is an amazing machine,” Vaisman tells us as the stream of images ends. The screen now shows an album of selected X-ray images that were just flagged by Vaisman’s brain, most of which are now revealed to have hidden firearms. No one can knowingly identify and flag firearms among the jumbled contents of bags when three images are flitting by every second, but Vaisman’s brain has no problem doing so behind the scenes, with no action required on his part. The brain processes visual imagery very quickly. According to Vaisman, the decision-making process to determine whether there’s a gun in complex images like these takes just 300 milliseconds.

Brain data can be exploited to make workers more efficient—and, proponents of the technology say, to make them happier.

What takes much more time are the cognitive and motor processes that occur after the decision making—planning a response (such as saying something or pushing a button) and then executing that response. If you can skip these planning and execution phases and instead use EEG to directly access the output of the brain’s visual processing and decision-making systems, you can perform image-recognition tasks far faster. The user no longer has to actively think: For an expert, just that fleeting first impression is enough for their brain to make an accurate determination of what’s in the image.

An illustration of a person in front of screens with suitcases above it.  InnerEye’s image-classification system operates at high speed by providing a shortcut to the brain of an expert human. As an expert focuses on a continuous stream of images (from three to 10 images per second, depending on complexity), a commercial EEG system combined with InnerEye’s software can distinguish the characteristic response the expert’s brain produces when it recognizes a target. In this example, the target is a weapon in an X-ray image of a suitcase, representing an airport-security application.Chris Philpot

Vaisman is the vice president of R&D of InnerEye, an Israel-based startup that recently came out of stealth mode. InnerEye uses deep learning to classify EEG signals into responses that indicate “targets” and “nontargets.” Targets can be anything that a trained human brain can recognize. In addition to developing security screening, InnerEye has worked with doctors to detect tumors in medical images, with farmers to identify diseased plants, and with manufacturing experts to spot product defects. For simple cases, InnerEye has found that our brains can handle image recognition at rates of up to 10 images per second. And, Vaisman says, the company’s system produces results just as accurate as a human would when recognizing and tagging images manually—InnerEye is merely using EEG as a shortcut to that person’s brain to drastically speed up the process.

While using the InnerEye technology doesn’t require active decision making, it does require training and focus. Users must be experts at the task, well trained in identifying a given type of target, whether that’s firearms or tumors. They must also pay close attention to what they’re seeing—they can’t just zone out and let images flash past. InnerEye’s system measures focus very accurately, and if the user blinks or stops concentrating momentarily, the system detects it and shows the missed images again.

Can you spot the manufacturing defects?

Examine the sample images below, and then try to spot the target among the nontargets.

Ten images are displayed every second for five seconds on loop. There are three targets.

A pair of black and white images.  The left is labelled "non target" and the right is "target." there is a red circle around a black line on the right image.

A gif of a black and white static image

Can you spot the weapon?

Three images are displayed every second for five seconds on loop. There is one weapon.

A gif of x-rayed pieces of luggage. InnerEye

Having a human brain in the loop is especially important for classifying data that may be open to interpretation. For example, a well-trained image classifier may be able to determine with reasonable accuracy whether an X-ray image of a suitcase shows a gun, but if you want to determine whether that X-ray image shows something else that’s vaguely suspicious, you need human experience. People are capable of detecting something unusual even if they don’t know quite what it is.

“We can see that uncertainty in the brain waves,” says InnerEye founder and chief technology officer Amir Geva. “We know when they aren’t sure.” Humans have a unique ability to recognize and contextualize novelty, a substantial advantage that InnerEye’s system has over AI image classifiers. InnerEye then feeds that nuance back into its AI models. “When a human isn’t sure, we can teach AI systems to be not sure, which is better training than teaching the AI system just one or zero,” says Geva. “There is a need to combine human expertise with AI.” InnerEye’s system enables this combination, as every image can be classified by both computer vision and a human brain.

Using InnerEye’s system is a positive experience for its users, the company claims. “When we start working with new users, the first experience is a bit overwhelming,” Vaisman says. “But in one or two sessions, people get used to it, and they start to like it.” Geva says some users do find it challenging to maintain constant focus throughout a session, which lasts up to 20 minutes, but once they get used to working at three images per second, even two images per second feels “too slow.”

In a security-screening application, three images per second is approximately an order of magnitude faster than an expert can manually achieve. InnerEye says their system allows far fewer humans to handle far more data, with just two human experts redundantly overseeing 15 security scanners at once, supported by an AI image-recognition system that is being trained at the same time, using the output from the humans’ brains.

InnerEye is currently partnering with a handful of airports around the world on pilot projects. And it’s not the only company working to bring neurotech into the workplace.

How Emotiv’s brain-tracking technology works

Workers wearing earbuds sit in an office in front of computers. Emotiv’s MN8 earbuds collect two channels of EEG brain data. The earbuds can also be used for phone calls and music. Emotiv

When it comes to neural monitoring for productivity and well-being in the workplace, the San Francisco–based company Emotiv is leading the charge. Since its founding 11 years ago, Emotiv has released three models of lightweight brain-scanning headsets. Until now the company had mainly sold its hardware to neuroscientists, with a sideline business aimed at developers of brain-controlled apps or games. Emotiv started advertising its technology as an enterprise solution only this year, when it released its fourth model, the MN8 system, which tucks brain-scanning sensors into a pair of discreet Bluetooth earbuds.

Tan Le, Emotiv’s CEO and cofounder, sees neurotech as the next trend in wearables, a way for people to get objective “brain metrics” of mental states, enabling them to track and understand their cognitive and mental well-being. “I think it’s reasonable to imagine that five years from now this [brain tracking] will be quite ubiquitous,” she says. When a company uses the MN8 system, workers get insight into their individual levels of focus and stress, and managers get aggregated and anonymous data about their teams.

The Emotiv Experience

Illustration of head with an earpiece in.  With columns of data on either side. The Emotiv Experience Chris Philpot

Emotiv’s MN8 system uses earbuds to capture two channels of EEG data, from which the company’s proprietary algorithms derive performance metrics for attention and cognitive stress. It’s very difficult to draw conclusions from raw EEG signals [top], especially with only two channels of data. The MN8 system relies on machine-learning models that Emotiv developed using a decade’s worth of data from its earlier headsets, which have more electrodes.

To determine a worker’s level of attention and cognitive stress, the MN8 system uses a variety of analyses. One shown here [middle, bar graphs] reveals increased activity in the low-frequency ranges (theta and alpha) when a worker’s attention is high and cognitive stress is low; when the worker has low attention and high stress, there’s more activity in the higher-frequency ranges (beta and gamma). This analysis and many others feed into the models that present simplified metrics of attention and cognitive stress [bottom] to the worker.

Emotiv launched its enterprise technology into a world that is fiercely debating the future of the workplace. Workers are feuding with their employers about return-to-office plans following the pandemic, and companies are increasingly using “ bossware” to keep tabs on employees—whether staffers or gig workers, working in the office or remotely. Le says Emotiv is aware of these trends and is carefully considering which companies to work with as it debuts its new gear. “The dystopian potential of this technology is not lost on us,” she says. “So we are very cognizant of choosing partners that want to introduce this technology in a responsible way—they have to have a genuine desire to help and empower employees,” she says.

Lee Daniels, a consultant who works for the global real estate services company JLL, has spoken with a lot of C-suite executives lately. “They’re worried,” says Daniels. “There aren’t as many people coming back to the office as originally anticipated—the hybrid model is here to stay, and it’s highly complex.” Executives come to Daniels asking how to manage a hybrid workforce. “This is where the neuroscience comes in,” he says.

Emotiv has partnered with JLL, which has begun to use the MN8 earbuds to help its clients collect “true scientific data,” Daniels says, about workers’ attention, distraction, and stress, and how those factors influence both productivity and well-being. Daniels says JLL is currently helping its clients run short-term experiments using the MN8 system to track workers’ responses to new collaboration tools and various work settings; for example, employers could compare the productivity of in-office and remote workers.

“The dystopian potential of this technology is not lost on us.” —Tan Le, Emotiv CEO

Emotiv CTO Geoff Mackellar believes the new MN8 system will succeed because of its convenient and comfortable form factor: The multipurpose earbuds also let the user listen to music and answer phone calls. The downside of earbuds is that they provide only two channels of brain data. When the company first considered this project, Mackellar says, his engineering team looked at the rich data set they’d collected from Emotiv’s other headsets over the past decade. The company boasts that academics have conducted more than 4,000 studies using Emotiv tech. From that trove of data—from headsets with 5, 14, or 32 channels—Emotiv isolated the data from the two channels the earbuds could pick up. “Obviously, there’s less information in the two sensors, but we were able to extract quite a lot of things that were very relevant,” Mackellar says.

Once the Emotiv engineers had a hardware prototype, they had volunteers wear the earbuds and a 14-channel headset at the same time. By recording data from the two systems in unison, the engineers trained a machine-learning algorithm to identify the signatures of attention and cognitive stress from the relatively sparse MN8 data. The brain signals associated with attention and stress have been well studied, Mackellar says, and are relatively easy to track. Although everyday activities such as talking and moving around also register on EEG, the Emotiv software filters out those artifacts.

The app that’s paired with the MN8 earbuds doesn’t display raw EEG data. Instead, it processes that data and shows workers two simple metrics relating to their individual performance. One squiggly line shows the rise and fall of workers’ attention to their tasks—the degree of focus and the dips that come when they switch tasks or get distracted—while another line represents their cognitive stress. Although short periods of stress can be motivating, too much for too long can erode productivity and well-being. The MN8 system will therefore sometimes suggest that the worker take a break. Workers can run their own experiments to see what kind of break activity best restores their mood and focus—maybe taking a walk, or getting a cup of coffee, or chatting with a colleague.

What neuroethicists think about neurotech in the workplace

While MN8 users can easily access data from their own brains, employers don’t see individual workers’ brain data. Instead, they receive aggregated data to get a sense of a team or department’s attention and stress levels. With that data, companies can see, for example, on which days and at which times of day their workers are most productive, or how a big announcement affects the overall level of worker stress.

Emotiv emphasizes the importance of anonymizing the data to protect individual privacy and prevent people from being promoted or fired based on their brain metrics. “The data belongs to you,” says Emotiv’s Le. “You have to explicitly allow a copy of it to be shared anonymously with your employer.” If a group is too small for real anonymity, Le says, the system will not share that data with employers. She also predicts that the device will be used only if workers opt in, perhaps as part of an employee wellness program that offers discounts on medical insurance in return for using the MN8 system regularly.

However, workers may still be worried that employers will somehow use the data against them. Karen Rommelfanger, founder of the Institute of Neuroethics, shares that concern. “I think there is significant interest from employers” in using such technologies, she says. “I don’t know if there’s significant interest from employees.”

Both she and Georgetown’s Giordano doubt that such tools will become commonplace anytime soon. “I think there will be pushback” from employees on issues such as privacy and worker rights, says Giordano. Even if the technology providers and the companies that deploy the technology take a responsible approach, he expects questions to be raised about who owns the brain data and how it’s used. “Perceived threats must be addressed early and explicitly,” he says.

Giordano says he expects workers in the United States and other western countries to object to routine brain scanning. In China, he says, workers have reportedly been more receptive to experiments with such technologies. He also believes that brain-monitoring devices will really take off first in industrial settings, where a momentary lack of attention can lead to accidents that injure workers and hurt a company’s bottom line. “It will probably work very well under some rubric of occupational safety,” Giordano says. It’s easy to imagine such devices being used by companies involved in trucking, construction, warehouse operations, and the like. Indeed, at least one such product, an EEG headband that measures fatigue, is already on the market for truck drivers and miners.

Giordano says that using brain-tracking devices for safety and wellness programs could be a slippery slope in any workplace setting. Even if a company focuses initially on workers’ well-being, it may soon find other uses for the metrics of productivity and performance that devices like the MN8 provide. “Metrics are meaningless unless those metrics are standardized, and then they very quickly become comparative,” he says.

Rommelfanger adds that no one can foresee how workplace neurotech will play out. “I think most companies creating neurotechnology aren’t prepared for the society that they’re creating,” she says. “They don’t know the possibilities yet.”

This article appears in the December 2022 print issue.


Match ID: 126 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 8 days
qualifiers: 2.14 executive

The EV Transition Explained
Sun, 13 Nov 2022 14:17:59 +0000


From the outside, there is little to tell a basic Ford XL ICE F-150 from the electric Ford PRO F-150 Lightning. Exterior changes could pass for a typical model-year refresh. While there are LED headlight and rear-light improvements along with a more streamlined profile, the Lightning’s cargo box is identical to that of an ICE F-150, complete with tailgate access steps and a jobsite ruler. The Lightning’s interior also has a familiar feel.

But when you pop the Lightning’s hood, you find that the internal combustion engine has gone missing. In its place is a front trunk (“frunk”), while concealed beneath is the new skateboard frame with its dual electric motors (one for each axle) and a big 98-kilowatt-hour standard (and 131-kWh extended-range) battery pack. The combination permits the Lightning to travel 230 miles (370 kilometers) without recharging and go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds, making it the fastest F-150 available despite its much heavier weight.

Invisible, too, are the Lightning’s sophisticated computing and software systems. The 2016 ICE F-150 reportedly had about 150 million lines of code. The Lightning’s software suite may even be larger than its ICE counterpart (Ford will not confirm this). The Lightning replaces the Ford F-150 ICE-related software in the electronic control units (ECUs) with new “intelligent” software and systems that control the main motors, manage the battery system, and provide charging information to the driver.

The EV Transition Explained


This is the first in a series of articles presenting just some of the technological and social challenges in moving from vehicles with internal-combustion engines to electric vehicles. These must be addressed at scale before EVs can happen. Each challenge entails a multitude of interacting systems, subsystems, sub-subsystems, and so on. In reviewing each article, readers should bear in mind Nobel Prize–winning physicist Richard Feynman’s admonition: “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”

Ford says the Lightning’s software will identify nearby public charging stations and tell drivers when to recharge. To increase the accuracy of the range calculation, the software will draw upon similar operational data communicated from other Lightning owners that Ford will dynamically capture, analyze, and feed back to the truck.

For executives, however, Lightning’s software is not only a big consumer draw but also among the biggest threats to its success. Ford CEO Jim Farley told the New York Times that software bugs worry him most. To mitigate the risk, Ford has incorporated an over-the-air (OTA) software-update capability for both bug fixes and feature upgrades. Yet with an incorrect setting in the Lightning’s tire pressure monitoring system requiring a software fix only a few weeks after its initial delivery, and with some new Ford Mustang Mach-Es recalled because of misconfigured software caused by a “service update or as an over-the-air update,” Farley’s worries probably won’t be soothed for some time.

Ford calls the Lightning a “Model T moment for the 21st century” and the company's US $50 billion investment in EVs is a bet-the-company proposition. Short-term success looks likely, as Ford closed Lightning preorders after reaching 200,000 and with sales expectations of 150,000 a year by 2024.

A construction crew working on a site with a Ford F-150's frunk open showing tools. The F-150 Lightning's front trunk (also known as a frunk) helps this light-duty electric pickup haul even more. Ford

However, long-term success is not guaranteed. “Ford is walking a tightrope, trying at the same time to convince everyone that EVs are the same as ICE vehicles yet different,” says University of Michigan professor emeritus John Leslie King, who has long studied the auto industry. Ford and other automakers will need to convince tens of millions of customers to switch to EVs to meet the Biden Administration’s decarbonization goals of 50 percent new auto sales being non-ICE vehicles by 2030.

King points out that neither Ford nor other automakers can forever act like EVs are merely interchangeable with—but more ecofriendly than—their ICE counterparts. As EVs proliferate at scale, they operate in a vastly different technological, political, and social ecosystem than ICE vehicles. The core technologies and requisite expertise, supply-chain dependencies, and political alliances are different. The expectations of and about EV owners, and their agreement to change their lifestyles, also differ significantly.

Indeed, the challenges posed by the transition from ICE vehicles to EVs at scale are significantly larger in scope and more complex than the policymakers setting the regulatory timeline appreciate. The systems-engineering task alone is enormous, with countless interdependencies that are outside policymakers' control, and resting on optimistic assumptions about promising technologies and wished-for changes in human behavior. The risk of getting it wrong, and the resulting negative environmental and economic consequences created, are high. In this series, we will break down the myriad infrastructure, policy, and social challenges involved learned from discussions with numerous industry insiders and industry watchers. Let's take a look at some of the elemental challenges blocking the road ahead for EVs.

The soft car

For Ford and the other automakers that have shaped the ICE vehicle ecosystem for more than a century, ultimate success is beyond the reach of the traditional political, financial, and technological levers they once controlled. Renault chief executive Luca de Meo, for example, is quoted in the Financial Times as saying that automakers must recognize that “the game has changed,” and they will “have to play by new rules” dictated by the likes of mining and energy companies.

One reason for the new rules, observes professor Deepak Divan, the director of the Center for Distributed Energy at Georgia Tech, is that the EV transition is “a subset of the energy transition” away from fossil fuels. On the other hand, futurist Peter Schwartz contends that the entire electric system is part of the EV supply chain. These alternative framings highlight the strong codependencies involved. Consequently, automakers will be competing against not only other EV manufacturers but also numerous players involved in the energy transition aiming to grab the same scarce resources and talent.

“Ford is walking a tightrope, trying at the same time to convince everyone that EVs are the same as ICE vehicles yet different.” —John Leslie King

EVs represent a new class of cyberphysical systems that unify the physical with information technology, allowing them to sense, process, act, and communicate in real time within a large transportation ecosystem, as I have noted in detail elsewhere. While computing in ICE vehicles typically optimizes a car’s performance at the time of sale, EV-based cyberphysical systems are designed to evolve as they are updated and upgraded, postponing their obsolescence.

“As an automotive company, we’ve been trained to put vehicles out when they’re perfect,” Ford’s Farley told the New York Times. “But with software, you can change it with over-the-air updates.” This allows new features to be introduced in existing models instead of waiting for next year’s model to appear. Farley sees Ford spending much less effort on changing vehicles’ physical properties and devoting more to upgrading their software capabilities in the future.

Systems engineering for holistic solutions

EV success at scale depends on as much, if not more, on political decisions as technical ones. Government decision-makers in the United States at both the state and federal level, for instance, have created EV market incentives and set increasingly aggressive dates to sunset ICE vehicle sales, regardless of whether the technological infrastructure needed to support EVs at scale actually exists. While passing public policy can set a direction, it does not guarantee that engineering results will be available when needed.

“A systems-engineering approach towards managing the varied and often conflicting interests of the many stakeholders involved will be necessary to find a workable solution.” —Chris Paredis

Having committed $1.2 trillion through 2030 so far toward decarbonizing the planet, automakers are understandably wary not only of the fast reconfiguration of the auto industry but of the concurrent changes required in the energy, telecom, mining, recycling, and transportation industries that must succeed for their investments to pay off.

The EV transition is part of an unprecedented, planetary-wide, cyberphysical systems-engineering project with massive potential benefits as well as costs. Considering the sheer magnitude, interconnectedness, and uncertainties presented by the concurrent technological, political, and social changes necessary, the EV transition will undoubtedly be messy.

This chart from the Global EV Outlook 2021, IEA, Paris shows 2020 EV sales in the first column; in the second column, projected sales under current climate-mitigation policies; in the third column, projected sales under accelerated climate-mitigation policies.

“There is a lot that has to go right. And it won’t all go right,” observes Kristin Dziczek, former vice president of research at the Center for Automotive Research and now a policy analyst with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. “We will likely stumble forward in some fashion,” but, she stresses, “it’s not a reason not to move forward.”

How many stumbles and how long the transition will take depend on whether the multitude of challenges involved are fully recognized and realistically addressed.

“Everyone needs to stop thinking in silos. It is the adjacency interactions that are going to kill you.” —Deepak Divan

“A systems-engineering approach towards managing the varied and often conflicting interests of the many stakeholders involved will be necessary to find a workable solution,” says Chris Paredis, the BMW Endowed Chair in Automotive Systems Integration at Clemson University. The range of engineering-infrastructure improvements needed to support EVs, for instance, “will need to be coordinated at a national/international level beyond what can be achieved by individual companies,” he states.

If the nitty gritty but hard-to-solve issues are glossed over or ignored, or if EV expectations are hyped beyond the market’s capability to deliver, no one should be surprised by a backlash against EVs, making the transition more difficult.

Until Tesla proved otherwise, EVs—especially battery EVs (BEVs)—were not believed by legacy automakers to be a viable, scalable approach to transport decarbonization even a decade ago. Tesla’s success at producing more than 3 million vehicles to date has shown that EVs are both technologically and economically feasible, at least for the luxury EV niche.

What has not yet been proven, but is widely assumed, is that BEVs can rapidly replace the majority of the current 1.3 billion-plus light-duty ICE vehicles. The interrelated challenges involving EV engineering infrastructure, policy, and societal acceptance, however, will test how well this assumption holds true.

Therefore, the successful transition to EVs at scale demands a “holistic approach,” emphasizes Georgia Tech’s Deepak Divan. “Everyone needs to stop thinking in silos. It is the adjacency interactions that are going to kill you.”

These adjacency issues involve numerous social-infrastructure obstacles that need to be addressed comprehensively along with the engineering issues, including the interactions and contradictions among them. These issues include the value and impacts of government EV incentives, the EV transition impacts on employment, and the public’s willingness to change its lifestyle behavior when it realizes converting to EVs will not be enough to reach future decarbonization goals.

“We cannot foresee all the details needed to make the EV transition successful,” John Leslie King says. “While there’s a reason to believe we will get there, there’s less reason to believe we know the way. It is going to be hard.”

In the next article in the series, we will look at the complexities introduced by trading our dependence on oil for our dependence on batteries.


Match ID: 127 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 14 days
qualifiers: 2.14 executive

COP27: What Can Business Leaders Do to Fight Climate Change Now?
2022-11-09T00:00:00Z
The US government plans to spend $370 billion to cut greenhouse gases and expand renewable energy—its biggest investment yet. In the wake of COP27, we asked Harvard Business School faculty members how executives could seize this moment.
Match ID: 128 Score: 2.14 source: hbswk.hbs.edu age: 19 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: 129 Score: 2.14 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 222 days
qualifiers: 2.14 executive

NASA’s DART Mission Aims to Save the World
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 15:52:53 +0000


Armageddon ruined everything. Armageddon—the 1998 movie, not the mythical battlefield—told the story of an asteroid headed straight for Earth, and a bunch of swaggering roughnecks sent in space shuttles to blow it up with a nuclear weapon.

Armageddon is big and noisy and stupid and shameless, and it’s going to be huge at the box office,” wrote Jay Carr of the Boston Globe.

Carr was right—the film was the year’s second biggest hit (after Titanic)—and ever since, scientists have had to explain, patiently, that cluttering space with radioactive debris may not be the best way to protect ourselves. NASA is now trying a slightly less dramatic approach with a robotic mission called DART—short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test. On Monday at 7:14 p.m. EDT, if all goes well, the little spacecraft will crash into an asteroid called Dimorphos, about 11 million kilometers from Earth. Dimorphos is about 160 meters across, and orbits a 780-meter asteroid, 65803 Didymos. NASA TV plans to cover it live.

DART’s end will be violent, but not blockbuster-movie-violent. Music won’t swell and girlfriends back on Earth won’t swoon. Mission managers hope the spacecraft, with a mass of about 600 kilograms, hitting at 22,000 km/h, will nudge the asteroid slightly in its orbit, just enough to prove that it’s technologically possible in case a future asteroid has Earth in its crosshairs.

“Maybe once a century or so, there’ll be an asteroid sizeable enough that we’d like to certainly know, ahead of time, if it was going to impact,” says Lindley Johnson, who has the title of planetary defense officer at NASA.

“If you just take a hair off the orbital velocity, you’ve changed the orbit of the asteroid so that what would have been impact three or four years down the road is now a complete miss.”

So take that, Hollywood! If DART succeeds, it will show there are better fuels to protect Earth than testosterone.

The risk of a comet or asteroid that wipes out civilization is really very small, but large enough that policymakers take it seriously. NASA, ordered by the U.S. Congress in 2005 to scan the inner solar system for hazards, has found nearly 900 so-called NEOs—near-Earth objects—at least a kilometer across, more than 95 percent of all in that size range that probably exist. It has plotted their orbits far into the future, and none of them stand more than a fraction of a percent chance of hitting Earth in this millennium.

An infographic showing the orientation of Didymos,  Dimorphos, DART, and LICIACube. The DART spacecraft should crash into the asteroid Dimorphos and slow it in its orbit around the larger asteroid Didymos. The LICIACube cubesat will fly in formation to take images of the impact.Johns Hopkins APL/NASA

But there are smaller NEOs, perhaps 140 meters or more in diameter, too small to end civilization but large enough to cause mass destruction if they hit a populated area. There may be 25,000 that come within 50 million km of Earth’s orbit, and NASA estimates telescopes have only found about 40 percent of them. That’s why scientists want to expand the search for them and have good ways to deal with them if necessary. DART is the first test.

NASA takes pains to say this is a low-risk mission. Didymos and Dimorphos never cross Earth’s orbit, and computer simulations show that no matter where or how hard DART hits, it cannot possibly divert either one enough to put Earth in danger. Scientists want to see if DART can alter Dimorphos’s speed by perhaps a few centimeters per second.

The DART spacecraft, a 1-meter cube with two long solar panels, is elegantly simple, equipped with a telescope called DRACO, hydrazine maneuvering thrusters, a xenon-fueled ion engine and a navigation system called SMART Nav. It was launched by a SpaceX rocket in November. About 4 hours and 90,000 km before the hoped-for impact, SMART Nav will take over control of the spacecraft, using optical images from the telescope. Didymos, the larger object, should be a point of light by then; Dimorphos, the intended target, will probably not appear as more than one pixel until about 50 minutes before impact. DART will send one image per second back to Earth, but the spacecraft is autonomous; signals from the ground, 38 light-seconds away, would be useless for steering as the ship races in.

A golden cubesat with a bright light and lines The DART spacecraft separated from its SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle, 55 minutes after liftoff from Vandenberg Space Force Base, in California, 24 November 2021. In this image from the rocket, the spacecraft had not yet unfurled its solar panels.NASA

What’s more, nobody knows the shape or consistency of little Dimorphos. Is it a solid boulder or a loose cluster of rubble? Is it smooth or craggy, round or elongated? “We’re trying to hit the center,” says Evan Smith, the deputy mission systems engineer at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, which is running DART. “We don’t want to overcorrect for some mountain or crater on one side that’s throwing an odd shadow or something.”

So on final approach, DART will cover 800 km without any steering. Thruster firings could blur the last images of Dimorphos’s surface, which scientists want to study. Impact should be imaged from about 50 km away by an Italian-made minisatellite, called LICIACube, which DART released two weeks ago.

“In the minutes following impact, I know everybody is going be high fiving on the engineering side,” said Tom Statler, DART’s program scientist at NASA, “but I’m going be imagining all the cool stuff that is actually going on on the asteroid, with a crater being dug and ejecta being blasted off.”

There is, of course, a possibility that DART will miss, in which case there should be enough fuel on board to allow engineers to go after a backup target. But an advantage of the Didymos-Dimorphos pair is that it should help in calculating how much effect the impact had. Telescopes on Earth (plus the Hubble and Webb space telescopes) may struggle to measure infinitesimal changes in the orbit of Dimorphos around the sun; it should be easier to see how much its orbit around Didymos is affected. The simplest measurement may be of the changing brightness of the double asteroid, as Dimorphos moves in front of or behind its partner, perhaps more quickly or slowly than it did before impact.

“We are moving an asteroid,” said Statler. “We are changing the motion of a natural celestial body in space. Humanity’s never done that before.”


Match ID: 130 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 65 days
qualifiers: 1.43 congress

Apple Kicks Off the Cell-Calls-From-Space Race
Thu, 08 Sep 2022 14:18:38 +0000


The race to deliver cellular calls from space passes two milestones this month and saw one major announcement last month. First, Apple will offer emergency satellite messaging on two of its latest iPhone models, the company announced on Wednesday. Second, AST SpaceMobile plans a launch on Saturday, 10 September, of an experimental satellite to test full-fledged satellite 5G service. In addition, T-Mobile USA and SpaceX intend to offer their own messaging and limited data service via the second generation of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite constellation, as the two companies announced on 25 August.

Each contender is taking a different approach to space-based cellular service. The Apple offering uses the existing satellite bandwidth Globalstar once used for messaging offerings, but without the need for a satellite-specific handset. The AST project and another company, Lynk Global, would use a dedicated network of satellites with larger-than-normal antennas to produce a 4G, 5G, and someday 6G cellular signal compatible with any existing 4G-compatible phone (as detailed in other recent IEEE Spectrum coverage of space-based 5G offerings). Assuming regulatory approval is forthcoming, the technology would work first in equatorial regions and then across more of the planet as these providers expand their satellite constellations. T-Mobile and Starlink’s offering would work in the former PCS band in the United States. SpaceX, like AST and Lynk, would need to negotiate access to spectrum on a country-by-country basis.

Apple’s competitors are unlikely to see commercial operations before 2024.

“Regulators have not decided on the power limits from space, what concerns there are about interference, especially across national borders. There’s a whole bunch of regulatory issues that simply haven’t been thought about to date.”
—Tim Farrar, telecommunications consultant

The T-Mobile–Starlink announcement is “in some ways an endorsement” of AST and Lynk’s proposition, and “in other ways a great threat,” says telecommunications consultant Tim Farrar of Tim Farrar Associates in Menlo Park, Calif. AST and Lynk have so far told investors they expect their national mobile network operator partners to charge per use or per day, but T-Mobile announced that they plan to include satellite messaging in the 1,900-megahertz range in their existing services. Apple said their Emergency SOS via Satellite service would be free the first two years for U.S. and Canadian iPhone 14 buyers, but did not say what it would cost after that. For now, the Globalstar satellites it is using cannot offer the kind of broadband bandwidth AST has promised, but Globalstar has reported to investors orders for new satellites that might offer new capabilities, including new gateways.

Even under the best conditions—a clear view of the sky—users will need 15 seconds to send a message via Apple’s service. They will also have to follow onscreen guidance to keep the device pointed at the satellites they are using. Light foliage can cause the same message to take more than a minute to send. Ashley Williams, a satellite engineer at Apple who recorded the service’s announcement, also mentioned a data-compression algorithm and a series of rescue-related suggested auto-replies intended to minimize the amount of data that users would need to send during a rescue.

Meanwhile, AST SpaceMobile says it aims to launch an experimental satellite Saturday, 10 September, to test its cellular broadband offering.

Last month’s T-Mobile-SpaceX announcement “helped the world focus attention on the huge market opportunity for SpaceMobile, the only planned space-based cellular broadband network. BlueWalker 3, which has a 693 sq ft array, is scheduled for launch within weeks!” tweeted AST SpaceMobile CEO Abel Avellan on 25 August. The size of the array matters because AST SpaceMobile has so far indicated in its applications for experimental satellite licenses that it intends to use lower radio frequencies (700–900 MHz) with less propagation loss but that require antennas much larger than conventional satellites carry.

The size of the array will also make it more reflective, which has raised concerns among astronomers. The size of Starlink’s planned constellation has already provoked complaints among astronomers because it will interfere with their ability to observe space. Sky & Telescope magazine published on 1 September a call for both professional and amateur astronomers to observe the growing constellations of satellites to document the interference. Professional astronomy societies have lobbied U.S. government agencies and Congress on the issue and met with SpaceX officials in May to discuss a recent change that brightened satellites by 0.5 visual magnitudes.

So far government agencies have issued licenses for thousands of low-Earth-orbiting satellites, which have the biggest impact on astronomers. Even with the constellations starting to form, satellite-cellular telecommunications companies are still open to big regulatory risks. “Regulators have not decided on the power limits from space, what concerns there are about interference, especially across national borders. There’s a whole bunch of regulatory issues that simply haven’t been thought about to date,” Farrar says.

For a hiker with a twisted ankle, a messaging service that takes a while to connect and twinkles in and out of service as satellites fly by may be better than nothing, but early space-based cellular will not be a seamless way to connect to video calls from out at sea.

“User cooperation is in my view the single most critical aspect of whether this service will attract mass-market usage or people willing to pay a significant amount for this service,” Farrar says.


Match ID: 131 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 80 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: 132 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 91 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: 133 Score: 1.43 source: www.nasa.gov age: 122 days
qualifiers: 1.43 congress

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