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Date/Time of Last Update: Wed Jan 19 15:00:39 2022 UTC




********** SPACE **********
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Space travel destroys red blood cells faster than on Earth
Fri, 14 Jan 2022 16:11:57 GMT
Tim Peake's red blood cells were studied alongside 13 other astronauts during his spell in space.
Match ID: 0 Score: 410.71 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 4 days
qualifiers: 357.14 space travel, 53.57 space travel

After six decades, Russia will build its final Proton rocket this year
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 13:41:49 +0000
Proton had reliability issues and could not compete with SpaceX's Falcon 9.
Match ID: 1 Score: 90.00 source: arstechnica.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 65.00 nasa, 25.00 mit

Games Bring Space Exploration Home. But They Omit the Full Risks
Sun, 16 Jan 2022 12:00:00 +0000
There’s something trickier than teaching players to design rockets and navigate radiation.
Match ID: 2 Score: 77.14 source: www.wired.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 55.71 nasa, 21.43 mit

La NASA invita a los medios al lanzamiento del nuevo mega-cohete y nave espacial lunares
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 15:05 EST
Ya está abierta la acreditación de medios de comunicación para las actividades de pre-lanzamiento y lanzamiento relacionadas con la misión Artemis I de la NASA, la primera misión desde Apolo de sistemas de exploración construidos para llevar tripulación a bordo que viajará alrededor de la Luna.
Match ID: 3 Score: 65.00 source: www.nasa.gov age: 0 days
qualifiers: 65.00 nasa

NASA Invites Media to Launch of New Mega-Moon Rocket and Spacecraft
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 12:57 EST
NASA Invites Media to Launch of New Mega-Moon Rocket and Spacecraft
Match ID: 4 Score: 65.00 source: www.nasa.gov age: 0 days
qualifiers: 65.00 nasa

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/17/2021
Mon, 17 Jan 2022 16:00:18 +0000
Payloads: Analyzing Interferometer for Ambient Air-2 (ANITA-2): The crew assisted with the initial power-up of the ANITA-2 system by closing switches and adjusting a video camera to monitor the unit.  Following this, the ground was unable to successfully ping the unit and is discussing the issue.  ANITA-2 is a compact gas analyzer which can analyze …
Match ID: 5 Score: 65.00 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 1 day
qualifiers: 65.00 nasa

SLS: Nasa fixes glitchy megarocket equipment ahead of key test
Mon, 17 Jan 2022 09:33:49 GMT
Nasa fixes malfunctioning equipment on a new rocket designed to take astronauts to the Moon.
Match ID: 6 Score: 65.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 2 days
qualifiers: 65.00 nasa

Washington Students to Hear from NASA Astronauts Aboard Space Station
Fri, 14 Jan 2022 12:18 EST
Students from Washington state will have an opportunity next week to hear from NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
Match ID: 7 Score: 46.43 source: www.nasa.gov age: 4 days
qualifiers: 46.43 nasa

Video Friday: Guitar Bot
Fri, 14 Jan 2022 17:00:00 +0000


Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!):

ICRA 2022: 23–27 May 2022, Philadelphia
ERF 2022: 28–30 June 2022, Rotterdam, Germany
CLAWAR 2022: 12–14 September 2022, Açores, Portugal

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos.


Robotics. It's a wicked game.

[ GA Tech ]

This experiment demonstrated the latest progress of the flying humanoid robot Jet-HR2. The new control strategy allows the robot to hover with position feedback from the motion-capture system. Video demonstrates the robot's ability to remain stable hovering in midair for more than 20 seconds.

[ YouTube ]

Thanks, Zhifeng!

This super cool soft robotic finger from TU Berlin is able to read Braille with astonishing accuracy by using sound as a sensor.

[ TU Berlin ]

Cassie Blue navigates around furniture used as obstacles in the Ford Robotics Building at the University of Michigan. All the clips in this video are magnified 1x on purpose to show Cassie's motion.

[ Michigan Robotics ]

Thanks, Bruce!

Tapomayukh Bhattacharjee received a National Science Foundation (NSF) National Robotics Initiative (NBI) collaborative grant for a project that aims to address—and ameliorate—the way people with mobility issues are given a chance for improved control and independence over their environments, especially in how they are fed—or better, how they can feed themselves with robotic assistance.

[ Cornell ]

A novel quadcopter capable of changing shape midflight is presented, allowing for operation in four configurations with the capability of sustained hover in three.

[ HiPeR Lab ]

Two EPFL research groups teamed up to develop a machine-learning program that can be connected to a human brain and used to command a robot. The program adjusts the robot’s movements based on electrical signals from the brain. The hope is that with this invention, tetraplegic patients will be able to carry out more day-to-day activities on their own.

[ EPFL ]

The MRV is SpaceLogistics’ next-generation on-orbit servicing vehicle, incorporating a robotic arm payload developed and integrated by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and provided by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. In this test of Flight Robotic Arm System 1, the robotic arm is executing an exercise called the Gauntlet, which moves the arm through a series of poses that exercise the full motion of all seven degrees of freedom.

[ Northrop Grumman ]

The Shadow Robot Co. would like to remind you that the Shadow Hand is for sale, and if you're a researcher who thinks "wow that would be great but I almost certainly can't afford it," the company encourages you to give them a ring to see what they may be able to do to help make it happen.

[ Shadow ]

Join ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer inside Kibo, the Japanese laboratory module of the International Space Station in 360°, setting up Astrobee free-flying robots for the ReSWARM (RElative Satellite sWArming and Robotic Maneuvering) experiment. This robotics demonstration tests autonomous microgravity motion planning and control for on-orbit assembly and coordinated motion.

[ NASA ]

Boeing's MQ-25 autonomous aerial tanker continues its U.S. Navy carrier testing.

[ Boeing ]

Sphero Sports is built for sports foundations, schools, and CSR-driven organizations to teach STEM subjects. Sphero Sports gets students excited about STEM education and proactively supports educators and soccer foundation staff to become comfortable in learning and teaching these critical skills.

[ Sphero ]

Adibot-A is Ubtech Robotics' fully loaded autonomous disinfection solution, which can be programmed and mapped to independently navigate one or multiple floor plans.

[ UBTECH ]

Survice Engineering Co. was proud to support the successful completion of the Unmanned Logistics System–Air (ULS-A) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) program as the lead system integrator. We worked with the U.S. government, leaders in autonomous unmanned systems, and our warfighters to develop, test, and evaluate the latest multirotor VTOL platforms and technologies for assured logistics resupply at the forward edge of the battlefield.

[ SURVICE ] via [ Malloy Aeronautics ]

Thanks, Chris!

Yaqing Wang from JHU's Terradynamics Lab gives a talk on trying to make a robot that is anywhere near as talented as a cockroach.

[ Terradynamics Lab ]

In episode one of season two of the Robot Brains podcast, host Pieter Abbeel is joined by guest (and close collaborator) Sergey Levine, professor at UC Berkeley, EECS. Sergey discusses the early years of his career, how Andrew Ng influenced his interest in machine learning, his current projects, and his lab's recent accomplishments.

[ The Robot Brains ]

Thanks, Alice!


Match ID: 8 Score: 46.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 4 days
qualifiers: 46.43 nasa

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/14/2021
Fri, 14 Jan 2022 16:00:51 +0000
Payloads: Advanced Nano Step: The Advanced Nano Step experiment return bag was transferred to a MERLIN unit in preparation for return to the ground for analysis. Advanced Nano Step, more formally known as Effects of Impurities on Perfection of Protein Crystals, Partition Functions, and Growth Mechanisms, monitors and records how the incorporation of specific impurity …
Match ID: 9 Score: 46.43 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 4 days
qualifiers: 46.43 nasa

NASA TV to Air SpaceX Cargo Dragon Departure from Space Station
Fri, 14 Jan 2022 10:32 EST
A SpaceX Dragon cargo resupply spacecraft is set to depart the International Space Station Friday, Jan. 21.
Match ID: 10 Score: 46.43 source: www.nasa.gov age: 4 days
qualifiers: 46.43 nasa

NASA Sets Coverage for Russian Spacewalk Outside Space Station
Thu, 13 Jan 2022 16:06 EST
Two Russian cosmonauts will venture outside the International Space Station at about 7 a.m. EST Wednesday, Jan. 19, to conduct a spacewalk to ready the new Prichal module for future Russian visiting spacecraft.
Match ID: 11 Score: 37.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 5 days
qualifiers: 37.14 nasa

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/13/2021
Thu, 13 Jan 2022 16:00:38 +0000
Payloads: AstroPi: After moving an AstroPi from Columbus to a Node 2 window, the focus and aperture were adjusted for the 5mm camera lens. This was performed during ISS orbital day to make sure the camera was viewing the Earth. Two augmented Raspberry Pi computers (called AstroPis) were originally flown to the ISS as part …
Match ID: 12 Score: 37.14 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 5 days
qualifiers: 37.14 nasa

2021 Tied for 6th Warmest Year in Continued Trend, NASA Analysis Shows
Thu, 13 Jan 2022 10:39 EST
Earth’s global average surface temperature in 2021 tied with 2018 as the sixth warmest on record, according to independent analyses done by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Match ID: 13 Score: 37.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 5 days
qualifiers: 37.14 nasa

El 2021 empata como el sexto año más cálido en la tendencia de calentamiento, según un análisis de la NASA
Thu, 13 Jan 2022 10:35 EST
La temperatura promedio global de la superficie de la Tierra en 2021 empató con la de 2018 como la sexta más cálida registrada, según análisis independientes realizados por la NASA y la Administración Nacional Oceánica y Atmosférica (NOAA, por sus siglas en inglés).
Match ID: 14 Score: 37.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 5 days
qualifiers: 37.14 nasa

NASA, White House Initiative to Spur Entrepreneurial Spirit of HBCU Scholars
Wed, 12 Jan 2022 16:27 EST
NASA and the Department of Education are collaborating to enhance the federal Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Scholar Recognition Program using NASA entrepreneurial expertise.
Match ID: 15 Score: 27.86 source: www.nasa.gov age: 6 days
qualifiers: 27.86 nasa

NASA Invites Media to Northrop Grumman’s February Launch from Virginia
Wed, 12 Jan 2022 14:55 EST
Media accreditation is open for the launch of Northrop Grumman’s 17th commercial resupply services mission for NASA to deliver science investigations, supplies, and equipment to the International Space Station aboard its Cygnus spacecraft.
Match ID: 16 Score: 27.86 source: www.nasa.gov age: 6 days
qualifiers: 27.86 nasa

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/12/2021
Wed, 12 Jan 2022 16:00:05 +0000
ISS Reboost: Today, the ISS performed a reboost using the aft 79 Progress thrusters. The purpose of this reboost is to set up the phasing conditions for the 80 Progress 34-Orbit rendezvous in February and begin to set up the phasing conditions for the 66 Soyuz landing and 67 Soyuz launch in March. The burn …
Match ID: 17 Score: 27.86 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 6 days
qualifiers: 27.86 nasa

“Don’t Look Up” and Fighting Capitalism With Naomi Klein
Wed, 12 Jan 2022 11:01:48 +0000

Naomi Klein and Jon Schwarz discuss the new film “Don’t Look Up” and the current state of the climate justice movement.

The post “Don’t Look Up” and Fighting Capitalism With Naomi Klein appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 18 Score: 25.71 source: theintercept.com age: 7 days
qualifiers: 18.57 nasa, 7.14 mit

Media Invited to see NASA Mega Moon Rocket Roll Out for First Time
Tue, 11 Jan 2022 16:55 EST
For a limited time, NASA has reopened media registration to capture images and video of the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft rolling out for the first time.
Match ID: 19 Score: 25.71 source: www.nasa.gov age: 7 days
qualifiers: 18.57 nasa, 7.14 mit

Covid live: face masks and working from home advice to be scrapped in England; Germany reports record cases
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 14:45:55 GMT

Plan B restrictions in England will be lifted next week, Boris Johnson tells MPs; daily rise of more than 100,000 cases seen in Germany for first time

China has reported its lowest daily count of local Covid infections in two weeks after cities clamped down on high-risk areas, quarantined infections and conducted mass testing on residents.

Mainland China reported a total of 55 domestically transmitted infections for Tuesday, according to data from the national health commission, lower than the 127 recorded a day earlier and marking the fewest since 1 January.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 20 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Monopoly money: is Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard good for gaming?
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 14:19:04 GMT

The company’s bottomless appetite for buying new studios means the art of the deal is threatening the art – and heart – of the game

In 2014, Microsoft bought Minecraft’s developer Mojang for what seemed, at the time, an eye-popping figure: $2.5bn (£1.8bn). It was the first in a series of bullish video-game studio acquisitions by the tech giant, whose games division has been led by executive Phil Spencer, a long-time advocate for video games within Microsoft and the wider business world, for the past eight years. More studios followed, for undisclosed amounts: beloved Californian comedy-game artists Double Fine, UK studio Ninja Theory, RPG specialists Obsidian Entertainment. It seemed that under Spencer’s leadership, Microsoft was cementing its commitment to the Xbox console and the video-games business by investing in what makes games great: the people who make them.

Then came 2020’s deal to acquire Zenimax (and with it Bethesda), for a properly astonishing $7.5bn. This was different. This wasn’t the Xbox division acquiring studios to make games for its consoles. This was an entire publisher, with several different studios and a whole portfolio of popular game series. At this point Microsoft’s spending started to look like a monopoly move – a bid to sew up the market by closing off hugely popular games behind Microsoft’s own consoles and services. When it was confirmed that Bethesda’s forthcoming games, including this year’s space role-playing epic Starfield and the next fantasy Elder Scrolls game, would be exclusive to Xbox and Microsoft Game Pass, I started to wonder whether Microsoft’s stated aim to make video games more widely available to everyone was lining up with its actions in the market.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 21 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Apple and Google are pleading with US lawmakers not to pass antitrust regulation challenging app stores and search
2022-01-19T13:50:01+00:00
Apple and Google are pleading with US lawmakers not to pass antitrust regulation challenging app stores and search submitted by /u/samplestiltskin_
[link] [comments]

Match ID: 22 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Housing starts edges higher in December as permitting for residential construction soars
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 13:34:18 GMT

U.S. home builders started construction on homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of roughly 1.7 million in December, representing a 1% increase from the previous month, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Wednesday. Compared with December 2020, housing starts were up 2.5%. Meanwhile, permitting for new homes occurred at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.87 million, up 9% from November and 6.5% from a year ago. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected housing starts to occur at a median pace of 1.65 million and building permits to come in at a median pace of 1.71 million.

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: 23 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Economic Report: Coming up: U.S. housing starts report for December
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 13:19:00 GMT

Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesU.S. home builders likely started construction on homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.65 million in December, according to economists polled by MarketWatch, while building permits likely reached an annual pace of 1.71 million. The popular gauge of new-home construction comes out at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

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: 24 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Smith could be a brilliant 10 for England but needs Farrell - Jones
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 12:51:21 GMT
England fly-half Marcus Smith "could be an absolutely brilliant 10", but needs the help of Owen Farrell to "run the game for him", says head coach Eddie Jones.
Match ID: 25 Score: 25.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Experts Raise Warnings about Steve Bannon’s New Cryptocurrency
2022-01-19T12:49:22+00:00
Experts Raise Warnings about Steve Bannon’s New Cryptocurrency submitted by /u/BigusDickusMaximus
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Match ID: 26 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Hackers Launder $15 Million Stolen From Crypto.com Using 'Mixer' App
2022-01-19T12:30:58+00:00
Hackers Launder $15 Million Stolen From Crypto.com Using 'Mixer' App submitted by /u/samplestiltskin_
[link] [comments]

Match ID: 27 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Ban proof of work crypto mining to save energy, EU regulator says
2022-01-19T12:25:22+00:00
Ban proof of work crypto mining to save energy, EU regulator says submitted by /u/tomb8man
[link] [comments]

Match ID: 28 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

‘I’ve turned a corner since Ryder Cup’: Rory McIlroy raring to go in Abu Dhabi
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 12:09:26 GMT

As the season gets underway, the Northern Irishman insists his game and the European Tour are in good health

Depending on who you talk to, professional golf has either never had it so good or is on the brink of being torn apart by Saudi Arabians bearing gifts. The proposed Saudi-backed Super Golf League would bestow millions on those willing to break from established tours. It is the talk of the range at Yas Links as the European Tour – now DP World Tour – season gets under way and where Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland head a stellar field.

McIlroy has long since made clear his disdain for all things Saudi. His commitment instead is to this and the PGA Tour. On the eve of his restart, the Northern Irishman made the case for golf in existing form. “Honestly, I don’t think it [the European Tour] has ever been in a healthier position,” McIlroy said. “I think the alliance with the PGA Tour is massive.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 29 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Millionaires make unusual plea: 'Tax us now'
2022-01-19T12:08:54+00:00
Millionaires make unusual plea: 'Tax us now' submitted by /u/Sorin61
[link] [comments]

Match ID: 30 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

The Black Cop: a police officer’s story of racism, remorse and resistance – documentary
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 12:00:11 GMT

This intimate portrait of Gamal ‘G’ Turawa, an ex-Metropolitan police officer, explores his memories of racially profiling and harassing black people and homophobia in his early career. Now an openly gay man, Turawa’s story is a multi-layered one and sits in the centre of three pivotal moments in recent British history, from the black communities’ resistance of oppressive policing, to the push for LGBTQIA equality and the aftermath of the west African ‘farming’ phenomenon, where white families took care of black children outside the remit of local authorities

Warning - viewers may find the content of this film distressing.

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

Continue reading...
Match ID: 31 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Starving Afghans Use Crypto to Sidestep U.S. Sanctions, Failing Banks, and the Taliban
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 12:00:52 +0000

NGOs looking to provide emergency aid to Afghanistan despite failing banks and U.S. sanctions are turning to cryptocurrency.

The post Starving Afghans Use Crypto to Sidestep U.S. Sanctions, Failing Banks, and the Taliban appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 32 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Elon Musk laments the declining birth rate: 'If there aren't enough people for Earth, then there definitely won't be enough for Mars'
2022-01-19T12:00:50+00:00
Elon Musk laments the declining birth rate: 'If there aren't enough people for Earth, then there definitely won't be enough for Mars' submitted by /u/Defiant_Race_7544
[link] [comments]

Match ID: 33 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Weibo users are backing Beijing's claim that it received Omicron via Canadian mail, saying an 'ugly nation' sent them 'poison'
2022-01-19T11:59:30+00:00
Weibo users are backing Beijing's claim that it received Omicron via Canadian mail, saying an 'ugly nation' sent them 'poison' submitted by /u/Defiant_Race_7544
[link] [comments]

Match ID: 34 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

KPMG fined £3m for ‘serious failings’ in Conviviality audit
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 11:56:32 GMT

Accountant also reprimanded severely for failing to check firm’s claims in latest blow to reputation

KPMG has been fined £3m for failures during its audit of the Bargain Booze owner Conviviality and severely reprimanded in the latest blow to its reputation.

The accounting regulator, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), found “a serious lack of competence” in KPMG’s 2017 audit of the company, which collapsed within nine months of the accounts being signed off. The initial fine was £4.3m, but this was reduced because the firm admitted the failings.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 35 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Microsoft to gobble up Activision in $69 billion metaverse bet
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 11:53:00 +0000
Activision

 (Mike Blake, Reuters)

Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) is buying "Call of Duty" maker Activision Blizzard (ATVI.O) for $68.7 billion in the biggest gaming industry deal in history as global technology giants stake their claims to a virtual future.


The deal announced by Microsoft on Tuesday, its biggest-ever and set to be the largest all-cash acquisition on record, will bolster its firepower in the booming videogaming market where it takes on leaders Tencent (0700.HK) and Sony (6758.T).

It also represents the American multinational's bet on the "metaverse," virtual online worlds where people can work, play and socialize, as many of its biggest competitors are already doing.

"Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms," Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella said.

Microsoft, one of the biggest companies in the world largely thanks to corporate software such as its Azure cloud computing platform and Outlook franchise, is offering $95 per share - a 45% premium to Activision's Friday close.

Activision's shares were last up 26% at $82.10, still a steep discount to the offer price, reflecting concerns the deal could get stuck in regulators' crosshairs.

Microsoft has so far avoided the type of scrutiny faced by Google and Facebook but this deal, which would make it the world's third largest gaming company, will put the Xbox maker on lawmakers' radars, said Andre Barlow of the law firm Doyle, Barlow & Mazard PLLC.

"Microsoft is already big in gaming," he said.

However, a source familiar with the matter said Microsoft would pay a $3 billion break-fee if the deal falls through, suggesting it is confident of winning antitrust approval.

The tech major's shares were last down 1.9%.

The deal comes at a time of weakness for Activision, maker of games such as "Overwatch" and "Candy Crush". Before the deal was announced, its shares had slumped more than 37% since reaching a record high last year, hit by allegations of sexual harassment of employees and misconduct by several top managers.

The company is still addressing those allegations and said on Monday it had fired or pushed out more than three dozen employees and disciplined another 40 since July.

CEO Bobby Kotick, who said Microsoft approached him about a possible buyout, would continue as CEO of Activision following the deal, although he is expected to leave after it closes, a source familiar with the plans said.

In a conference call with analysts, Microsoft boss Nadella did not directly refer to the scandal but talked about the importance of culture in the company.

"It's critical for Activision Blizzard to drive forward on its renewed cultural commitments," he said, adding "the success of this acquisition will depend on it."

'METAVERSE ARMS RACE'

Data analytics firm Newzoo estimates the global gaming market generated $180.3 billion of revenues in 2021, and expects that to grow to $218.8 billion by 2024.

Microsoft already has a significant beachhead in the sector as one of the big three console makers. It has been making investments including buying "Minecraft" maker Mojang Studios and Zenimax in multibillion-dollar deals in recent years.

It has also launched a popular cloud gaming service, which has more than 25 million subscribers.

According to Newzoo, Microsoft's gaming market share was 6.5% in 2020 and adding Activision would have taken it to 10.7%.

Executives talked up Activision's 400 million monthly active users as one major attraction to the deal and how vital these communities could play in Microsoft's various metaverse plays.

Activision's library of games could give Microsoft's Xbox gaming platform an edge over Sony's Playstation, which has for years enjoyed a more steady stream of exclusive games.

"The likes of Netflix have already said they'd like to foray into gaming themselves, but Microsoft has come out swinging with today’s rather generous offer," said Sophie Lund-Yates, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Microsoft's offer equates to 18 times Activision's 2021 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA). That compares with the 16 times EBITDA valuation of "Grand Theft Auto" maker Take-Two Interactive's (TTWO.O) cash-and-shares deal for Zynga last week.

According to Refinitiv data, the Microsoft-Activision deal would be the largest all-cash acquisition on record, trumping Bayer's $63.9 billion offer for Monsanto in 2016 and the $60.4 billion that InBev bid for Anheuser-Busch in 2008.

Tech companies from Microsoft to Nvidia have placed big bets on the so-called metaverse, with the buzz around it intensifying late last year after Facebook renamed itself as Meta Platforms to reflect its focus on its virtual reality business.

"This is a significant deal for the consumer side of the business and more importantly, Microsoft acquiring Activision really starts the metaverse arms race," David Wagner, equity analyst and portfolio manager at Aptus Capital Advisors said.

"We believe the deal will get done," he said, but cautioned: "This will get a lot of looks from a regulatory standpoint."

This article is copy paste from Reuters Check the original article here

Source: Reuters





Match ID: 36 Score: 25.00 source: techncruncher.blogspot.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Apple says antitrust bills could cause ‘millions of Americans’ to suffer malware attacks
2022-01-19T11:49:39+00:00
Apple says antitrust bills could cause ‘millions of Americans’ to suffer malware attacks submitted by /u/speckz
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Match ID: 37 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

What are Xbox's plans for Activision Blizzard after $68.7 billion deal?
2022-01-19T11:36:15+00:00
What are Xbox's plans for Activision Blizzard after $68.7 billion deal? submitted by /u/EastMojo
[link] [comments]

Match ID: 38 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Sheffield council to decide fate of chief Kate Josephs following lockdown drinks
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 11:31:37 GMT

Sheffield city council has set up a committee to consider the position of its chief executive

A cross-party committee of councillors is to decide the future of the Sheffield city council chief executive, Kate Josephs, a week after she apologised for having leaving drinks in Whitehall during lockdown.

Josephs led the government’s Covid-19 taskforce from July to December 2020. After details of the gathering emerged in the media she released a statement admitting it took place and saying she was “truly sorry”.

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Match ID: 39 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Even the new Girl Scout cookie is having supply-chain issues — but it’s worth tracking down
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 06:30:04 EST
The scourge might make it harder to get your mitts on the newest variety of the organization's famous treats.
Match ID: 40 Score: 25.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

‘I’m willing to take on absolutely everyone!’ Kwajo Tweneboa on fighting for Britain’s poorest tenants
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 11:10:37 GMT

After his dying father was nursed in their vermin-infested flat, the student took on the country’s biggest social landlord. Now, he champions all those living in terrible conditions

Kwajo Tweneboa adored his father. They were very similar: they both enjoyed a laugh, had an interest in current affairs and made sacrifices to care for others. Then, in January 2020, Tweneboa watched his father, who suddenly became terminally ill with cancer, die. All the while, cockroaches, mice and flies infested their dilapidated housing association flat on the Eastfields estate in Mitcham, south London.

Tweneboa, a 23-year-old student, shared the flat with his two sisters, 24 and 21. He says he asked the housing association, Clarion, to make repairs for more than a year, with little success, before deciding to take further action. Since then, he has become a champion for his neighbours and all those living in similarly squalid conditions, forcing landlords and housing associations to acknowledge their responsibilities and make urgent, necessary repairs.

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Match ID: 41 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Today’s news conference is a rare event for Biden
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 06:00:00 EST
Biden has held only one formal news conference as president before today. The limited nature of his press events raise the stakes for occasions like this one.
Match ID: 42 Score: 25.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Facebook's Tamil Censorship Highlights Risks to Everyone
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 11:00:29 +0000

Facebook moderators seem unable to distinguish the Tamil Guardian from the long-defunct Tamil Tigers. Experts say this sort of bumbling threatens press and cultural freedom worldwide.

The post Facebook’s Tamil Censorship Highlights Risks to Everyone appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 43 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
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Google Analytics declared illegal in the EU.
2022-01-19T10:45:53+00:00
Google Analytics declared illegal in the EU. submitted by /u/privfantast
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Match ID: 44 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
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'Hermit' Barty & Osaka both race through at Australian Open
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 10:20:39 GMT
World number one Ashleigh Barty says continuing to live like a "hermit" is helping her breeze through the Australian Open draw.
Match ID: 45 Score: 25.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Stars including Jay-Z call for end to use of rap lyrics as criminal evidence
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 10:09:35 GMT

Meek Mill, Kelly Rowland and more sign letter supporting proposed change in New York state law

Jay-Z, Meek Mill, Kelly Rowland and Killer Mike are among the star names arguing for a change in New York law that would prevent rap lyrics being used as evidence in criminal trials.

The vocalists, joined by Fat Joe, Yo Gotti, Robin Thicke and more, have signed a letter urging lawmakers in New York state to back the proposed change and uphold freedom of expression.

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Match ID: 46 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
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True blue: how to fall in love with jeans again
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 10:00:09 GMT

The tracksuit era is over, and denim is back. But with a dizzying number of styles – and claims of sustainability to wade through – which will you pick?

The tracksuit era began – as every history student will learn from now on – on 11 March 2020, the day that the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic, and the age of lockdowns commenced. The details of its demise are, as yet, not officially verified – but they say that journalism is the first draft of history, so I’m calling it for 31 October 2021, when the dystopian seaweed-green tracksuits of Squid Game became the go-to Halloween costume.

So now it is time to get back into your jeans. I don’t just mean getting them done up, although there is no doubt that may be a little tricky after two turgid years spent feeling dissatisfied with life while in eyeballing distance of the fridge. No, the real challenge is getting your head back into jeans, not your waistline. The most telling marker of the casualisation of our wardrobes is that jeans, which used to be what we wore to dress down, can now feel like too much effort. It’s not that I’m saying our standards have slipped, but – well, actually, that is exactly what I’m saying.

There is nothing more satisfying to reach for in the morning than your favourite denims. Jeans are timeless and democratic, because while silhouettes, colours and washes come and go, everyone who owns a pair of jeans makes them their own. To look at someone who is wearing a pair that they love and that suit them is like looking at the perfect black and white portrait: candid, but flattering.

This year’s Golden Globes ceremony had no red carpet, but it was a fashion moment that has turbocharged the denim revival. Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, one of the night’s big winners, is set in rural Montana in the 1920s, hinged between the dust-and-horses iconography of the cinematic western tradition and the modernity and raw energy of the 20th century as it begins to roar to top speed. Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil acts out masculine swagger in broken-in jeans with chaps, but it is Kodi Smit-McPhee as Peter who steals the fashion show. Slight and gawky in the stiff new jeans that his mother has bought him so that he will fit in on the ranch, he looks like a boy soldier in new uniform.

In westerns, jeans stand for real-world toughness – resilience, to use the buzzword of the hour – but also for the American dream. The brass rivets that are a feature of every traditional pair glint like the nuggets for which goldrushers once panned the rivers of the western states. Also, jeans represent sex – as they always have and always will. (Think of the album cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA, with the Boss’s jeans-clad back view standing in front of the stripes of the flag.) Resilience, fantasy, adventure and sex appeal: it is little wonder, really, that jeans are a style icon.

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Match ID: 47 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
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SuperMoustache! Sounds like a job for Venezuela’s socialist superhero
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 10:00:09 GMT

A cartoon character smiting imperialist enemies – a dead ringer for President Nicolás Maduro – has inspired acclaim and derision

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No – it’s a Venezuelan propaganda campaign designed to burnish Nicolás Maduro’s strongman credentials with the help of a caped crusader called SuperBigote – or SuperMoustache.

The musclebound cartoon superhero – who bears an unmistakable resemblance to Venezuela’s authoritarian president – has been met with acclaim or derision, depending on which side of the country’s bitter political schism viewers stand.

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Match ID: 48 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
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US introduces new privacy bill to ban targeted advertising on digital platforms
2022-01-19T09:50:53+00:00
US introduces new privacy bill to ban targeted advertising on digital platforms submitted by /u/HentaiUwu_6969
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Match ID: 49 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
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Protesting Winter Olympics athletes ‘face punishment’, suggests Beijing official
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 09:42:00 GMT

Organising committee official warns against ‘any behaviour or speech that is against the Olympic spirit’

Any athlete behaviour that is against the Olympic spirit or Chinese rules or laws will be subject to “certain punishment”, a Beijing 2022 official has said in response to a question about the possibility of athlete protests at next month’s Winter Games.

It comes shortly after human rights advocates told athletes they were better off staying silent for the duration of the Games and amid concerns over the online security of attendees’ data contained in a mandatory phone app.

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Match ID: 50 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
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Microsoft Deal Wipes $20 Billion Off Sony's Market Value in a Day
2022-01-19T09:42:16+00:00
Microsoft Deal Wipes $20 Billion Off Sony's Market Value in a Day submitted by /u/dontloseyourway1610
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Match ID: 51 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
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Expanding national parks not enough to protect nature, say scientists
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 07:30:05 GMT

‘Urgent’ coordinated action to tackle overconsumption, farming subsidies and the climate crisis also needed to halt biodiversity loss

Expanding national parks and protected areas will not be enough to halt the destruction of nature, warn leading scientists, who say urgent action on overconsumption, harmful subsidies and the climate crisis is also required to halt biodiversity loss.

Governments are expected to commit to a Paris-style agreement for nature at Cop15 in Kunming, China, later this year, with targets that include protecting at least 30% of the oceans and land by 2030.

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Match ID: 52 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
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Copyright Shouldn’t Stand in the Way of Your Right to Repair
2022-01-19T07:30:06+00:00
Copyright Shouldn’t Stand in the Way of Your Right to Repair submitted by /u/a_Ninja_b0y
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Match ID: 53 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
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‘Stop talking about the problem – fix the bloody thing!’ Keir Starmer on Boris Johnson’s parties and his plan to win power
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 06:00:05 GMT

With Labour ahead in the polls and the prime minister on the ropes, the former lawyer is riding high. But can he finally connect with the country?

There could not be a better day to meet Sir Keir Starmer than last Wednesday. A few hours earlier, at Prime Minister’s Questions, Boris Johnson had apologised for his presence at a Downing Street party held during lockdown in a manner that was as ludicrous as it was humiliating. When the prime minister said that he didn’t realise the 30 to 40 people gathered in his garden boozing and eating food from a long table constituted a party, Starmer told him he had run out of road. “His defence that he didn’t realise he was at a party is so ridiculous that it’s actually offensive to the British public,” Starmer told the Commons. “Is he now going to do the decent thing and resign?” Not surprisingly, partygate has helped Labour to its biggest lead over the Conservatives since 2013.

I half expect the leader of the opposition to be on a high. But I am not sure he does highs. Starmer is the anti-Johnson. While the prime minister appears to pride himself on being a feckless buffoon, Starmer is the straight man’s straight man – so solid he verges on stolid. He rises to greet me and offers an elbow by way of a handshake. He is wearing blue trousers and a pristine white shirt, sleeves rolled up. It is a metaphor as much as a sartorial statement.

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Match ID: 54 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
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Farmers seek jury trial against John Deere for anti repair practices - Right to Repair
2022-01-19T04:22:34+00:00
Farmers seek jury trial against John Deere for anti repair practices - Right to Repair submitted by /u/EngCompSciMathArt
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Match ID: 55 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
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Lyft is spending millions to stop its Massachusetts drivers from becoming employees
2022-01-19T03:41:08+00:00
Lyft is spending millions to stop its Massachusetts drivers from becoming employees submitted by /u/samplestiltskin_
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Match ID: 56 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
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Dogecoin jumps 9% after Elon Musk says it can be used to buy Tesla merchandise
2022-01-19T01:32:43+00:00
Dogecoin jumps 9% after Elon Musk says it can be used to buy Tesla merchandise submitted by /u/ashisht1122
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Match ID: 57 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
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US Capitol riot committee issues subpoena to Rudy Giuliani
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 00:27:01 GMT
The former Trump lawyer is among four aides slapped with subpoenas by the congressional inquiry.
Match ID: 58 Score: 25.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
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House Jan. 6 committee subpoenas Giuliani, Sidney Powell
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 19:20:07 EST
Match ID: 59 Score: 25.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
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Returning travellers made to hand over phones and passcodes to Australian Border Force | Privacy
2022-01-19T00:10:59+00:00
Returning travellers made to hand over phones and passcodes to Australian Border Force | Privacy submitted by /u/LisaMck041
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Match ID: 60 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
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Reddit Co-Founder Says Play-To-Earn Crypto Games Will Be 90% Of Gaming Market In 5 Years
2022-01-18T23:22:57+00:00
Reddit Co-Founder Says Play-To-Earn Crypto Games Will Be 90% Of Gaming Market In 5 Years submitted by /u/ashisht1122
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Match ID: 61 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
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The Continued Calamity at the Border
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 21:34:48 +0000
Migrants from across the region have again filled camps in northern Mexico, where criminals and traffickers prey upon them.
Match ID: 62 Score: 25.00 source: www.newyorker.com age: 0 days
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Democrats unveil bill to ban online ‘surveillance advertising’
2022-01-18T21:15:19+00:00
Democrats unveil bill to ban online ‘surveillance advertising’ submitted by /u/nextbern
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Match ID: 63 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
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After airline outcry, AT&T and Verizon postpone 5G deployments near some airports [Updated]
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 20:50:58 +0000
Aviation lobby says services will cause "incalculable" disruption to passengers, cargo.
Match ID: 64 Score: 25.00 source: arstechnica.com age: 0 days
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Figure at center of pro-Trump Jan. 6 theories to speak with select committee Friday
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 14:38:34 EST
Ray Epps met informally with the panel in November and told them he had no relationship with the FBI.
Match ID: 65 Score: 25.00 source: www.politico.com age: 0 days
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Latino Dems warn about midterm fall-off
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 14:00:51 EST
"The first step is admitting there’s a problem, and there’s a lot of people in my movement and my party that don’t," said one strategist.
Match ID: 66 Score: 25.00 source: www.politico.com age: 0 days
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Contra a Billionaire Bro: Why We Should Care About China's Rights Violations in Xinjiang
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 18:56:05 +0000

Even hypocritical criticisms exchanged by superpowers can do good. Over the last century, history shows that they have.

The post Contra a Billionaire Bro: Why We Should Care About China’s Rights Violations in Xinjiang appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 67 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
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Activision CEO Bobby Kotick will reportedly leave the company after Microsoft acquisition closes
2022-01-18T18:55:48+00:00
Activision CEO Bobby Kotick will reportedly leave the company after Microsoft acquisition closes submitted by /u/samplestiltskin_
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Match ID: 68 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
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The Guardian view on water pollution: come clean on sewage | Editorial
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 18:51:58 GMT

If the water industry is to improve its dismal performance, regulators need to be open with the public

English water companies have got used to pumping raw sewage into the sea and rivers. An investigation launched last year by the regulator, Ofwat, and the Environment Agency, is a chance to put things right. But there are worrying signs that this opportunity to shine a light is in danger of being missed. The refusal by the Environment Agency to reveal which 2,000 sewage treatment works in England are being looked at, and whether this will lead to delays in dealing with new complaints, raises questions about its commitment to openness.

That the investigation is happening at all is due to huge efforts by campaigners. Concern over sewage dumps has been rising in response to water companies’ failure to tackle a longstanding problem that increased extreme weather, due to climate change, is expected to make worse. Discharges of untreated waste into the sea or rivers are supposed to happen only in exceptional circumstances, to reduce flood risk. Over recent years, it has become clear that rules are being routinely flouted by an industry that puts profits before environmental stewardship. At the same time, the Environment Agency’s record for punishing breaches has sharply declined following budget cuts. A report from a committee of MPs last week drew attention to the poor condition of rivers and called for a step change.

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Match ID: 69 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
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Adblocking Does Not Constitute Copyright Infringement, Court Rules
2022-01-18T17:24:55+00:00
Adblocking Does Not Constitute Copyright Infringement, Court Rules submitted by /u/a_Ninja_b0y
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Match ID: 70 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
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Boris Johnson has turned Britain into a global laughing stock | Letters
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 16:56:33 GMT

Readers respond to Jonathan Freedland’s article about the disastrous and far-reaching effects of the prime minister’s behaviour

Jonathan Freedland (It’s a scandal that Boris Johnson ever got to No 10 – and shaming that he’s still there, 14 January) is right, but in common with most other commentators, he omits the unpalatable truth that this country is likely to become (if it hasn’t already) a laughing stock in foreign capitals. To think that we have put in place a leader who is so utterly shameless and so devoid of any idea of what constitutes the truth will not be missed by leaders in Paris, Washington, Brussels or indeed Moscow and Beijing.

How can such a person be trusted to negotiate sensibly or in a trustworthy manner on matters of international importance, when his main interest is his own political survival? And how can a nation that longs to be taken seriously on the international stage put up for a moment longer with this Pythonesque circus?

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Match ID: 71 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
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Antisemitic tropes cited by the Texas synagogue hostage-taker have deep roots
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 11:48:58 EST
Experts have long said the pervasiveness of antisemitic beliefs in society can fuel violence against Jewish people.
Match ID: 72 Score: 25.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
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A tech founder took out a full-page ad in The New York Times to accuse Tesla of treating Full Self-Driving users like 'crash test dummies'
2022-01-18T15:25:01+00:00
A tech founder took out a full-page ad in The New York Times to accuse Tesla of treating Full Self-Driving users like 'crash test dummies' submitted by /u/samplestiltskin_
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Match ID: 73 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
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Why protesters are worried about the police and crime bill – video report
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 14:25:53 GMT

Amika George, an activist who founded the #FreePeriods campaign, shares her worries about the police and crime bill.  She started her non-profit campaign group in 2017 and two years later got the government to commit to funding period products in every state school and college in England.

Guardian reporter Damien Gayle explains what is behind the government's police and crime bill and what it could mean for protesting.  On Monday night, the House of Lords voted down proposed changes in the law that would give more powers to police over the way they treat protests. Sections of the bill have been condemned by human rights activists as a ‘vitriolic attack’ on the right to protest, freedoms to show dissatisfaction or to call for change.

This week, activists and protesters across the UK have taken to the streets rallying against a bill that would limit their rights to protest and give tougher sentences to those who break the rules


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Match ID: 74 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
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Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard for $68.7 Billion
2022-01-18T13:45:20+00:00
Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard for $68.7 Billion submitted by /u/GrizzlyBear2021
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Match ID: 75 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 1 day
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Plexus stock falls after profit and revenue warning, due to accelerating supply chain challenges
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 13:14:08 GMT

Shares of Plexus Corp. slid 2.1% in premarket trading Tuesday after the electronic manufacturing services company warned that it will miss fiscal first-quarter profit and revenue guidance provided in October because of "unanticipated" supply chain challenges that accelerated in the finals weeks of the quarter. The company cut its outlook for net earnings per share to 80 cents to 84 cents from $1.01 to $1.17, saying the new outlook includes about 6 cents a share of unexpected severance costs. The revenue outlook was cut to $815 million to $820 million from $825 million to $865 million. The current FactSet consensus for EPS is $1.09 and for revenue is $846 million. "While the demand environment remains robust, new and unexpected supplier delivery shortfalls in the Americas region resulted in a revenue, GAAP operating margin, GAAP EPS and free cash flow shortfall," said Chief Executive Todd Kelsey. "We anticipate these supply chain headwinds will persist in the near term." For the fiscal second quarter, the company expects sequential growth in revenue but "limited improvement" in EPS. The stock has edged up 0.6% over the past three months through Friday while the S&P 500 has gained 3.9%.

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: 76 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 1 day
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Elon Musk says social media accounts that track his travel movements are becoming a 'security issue'
2022-01-18T11:20:19+00:00
Elon Musk says social media accounts that track his travel movements are becoming a 'security issue' submitted by /u/chrisdh79
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Match ID: 77 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 1 day
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Chemical pollution has passed safe limit for humanity, say scientists
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 08:00:49 GMT

Study calls for cap on production and release as pollution threatens global ecosystems upon which life depends

The cocktail of chemical pollution that pervades the planet now threatens the stability of global ecosystems upon which humanity depends, scientists have said.

Plastics are of particularly high concern, they said, along with 350,000 synthetic chemicals including pesticides, industrial compounds and antibiotics. Plastic pollution is now found from the summit of Mount Everest to the deepest oceans, and some toxic chemicals, such as PCBs, are long-lasting and widespread.

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Match ID: 78 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
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Capitol attack panel grapples with moving inquiry forward: to subpoena or not?
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 07:00:49 GMT

The committee is undecided on making the near-unprecedented step as the threat of Republican retaliation looms

The House select committee investigating the Capitol attack is weighing whether to subpoena some of Donald Trump’s top allies on Capitol Hill as it considers its options on how aggressively it should pursue testimony to move forward its inquiry into the January 6 insurrection.

The Republican House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, and Republican members of Congress Jim Jordan and Scott Perry may have inside knowledge about Trump’s plan to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election and whether it was coordinated with the Capitol attack.

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Match ID: 79 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
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NFT Group Buys Copy Of Dune For €2.66 Million, Believing It Gives Them Copyright
2022-01-18T06:58:09+00:00
NFT Group Buys Copy Of Dune For €2.66 Million, Believing It Gives Them Copyright submitted by /u/im-the-stig
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Match ID: 80 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 1 day
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Dallagnol expôs soberba e desumanidade ao prestar solidariedade a delegada após morte de reitor da UFSC
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 06:28:18 +0000

Diálogos inéditos: para o então chefe da Lava Jato, críticos da operação que levou Luiz Carlos Cancellier à morte são 'bando de imbecis'.

The post Dallagnol expôs soberba e desumanidade ao prestar solidariedade a delegada após morte de reitor da UFSC appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 81 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

The Power of Positivity
Mon, 17 Jan 2022 19:00:00 +0000
So, I’ve decided to commit to being positive!
Match ID: 82 Score: 25.00 source: www.newyorker.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Pfizer CEO: Virus will be here for years but this may be last wave with restrictions
Mon, 17 Jan 2022 12:33:00 +0000
Pfizer CEO
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla speaks during a ceremony in Thessaloniki, Greece, on October 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos, File)

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Monday that while the "most likely scenario" is that the coronavirus will circulate for many years, he believes the current wave of infections will be the last to require restrictions.

Bourla gave an interview to the French medium BFM. TV to commemorate the announcement of an investment package by the pharmaceutical company in France. Bourla also touted the vaccines' effectiveness and safety, saying  he believed people would still need booster shots. "It's important that people get Pfizer's three-dose regimen. coronavirus vaccine and will likely  require yearly booster shots, although the immunocompromised may need them every four months," Bourla said.

“Children need to be vaccinated  to protect them. Its effectiveness in children is very, very, very good. Bourla also said  the company's anti-COVID pill, Paxlovid, is "changing everything" as a new way to fight serious illnesses. Pfizer said in December that its Paxlovid pill had reduced hospitalizations and deaths by nearly 90 percent in vulnerable people.

In the interview, Bourla said the company was working on a plan that would invest 520 million euros ($593.7 million)  in France over the next five years, including a partnership with French company Novasep to develop an anti-inflammatory treatment -COVID pills.

France, like many other countries, is facing a record number of infections caused by the highly contagious Omicron variant. France's parliament passed legislation on Sunday barring unvaccinated people from all restaurants, sports stadiums and other venues, the centerpiece of the government's effort to protect hospitals. in the middle of the wave.

The government of French President Emmanuel Macron is hoping the step will be enough to limit the number of patients filling up strained hospitals nationwide without resorting to a new lockdown.


More than 76% of French ICU beds are occupied by virus patients, most of them unvaccinated, and some 200 people with the virus are dying every day. Like many countries, France is in the grip of the Omicron variant, recording more than 2,800 positive cases per 100,000 people over the past week.



Match ID: 83 Score: 25.00 source: techncruncher.blogspot.com age: 2 days
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Warren Buffett says these are the best businesses to own — 3 examples from Berkshire's portfolio
Mon, 17 Jan 2022 12:20:00 +0000


Warren Buffett says these are the best businesses to own — 3 examples from Berkshire's portfolio

While we're constantly bombarded with confusing investment mumbo jumbo, we must never forget that, for the most part, companies  exist for one primary reason: to take capital from investors and make a return on it. For this reason, it makes sense for investors to look for companies with enduring competitive advantages that are capable of consistently delivering high returns on investments.

As Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, once said, "The best company to own is one that  can deploy large amounts of incremental capital at very high prices at very high rates of return. With that in mind, here are three Berkshire holdings with double-digit returns on invested capital.

Moody's (MCO)

With returns on invested capital consistently in the mid-20% range, credit rating leader Moody’s leads off our list.

Moody’s shares held up incredibly well during the height of the pandemic and are up nearly 220% over the past five years, suggesting that it’s a recession-resistant business worth betting on.

Specifically, the company’s well-entrenched leadership position in credit ratings, which leads to outsized returns on capital, should continue to limit Moody’s long-term downside

Moreover, Moody’s has generated about $2.4 billion in trailing twelve-month free cash flow. And over the first three quarters of 2021, the company has returned $975 million to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends.

As of Q3 2021, Berkshire holds more than 24.6 million shares of Moody’s worth just under $8.8 billion. Moody’s has a dividend yield of 0.7%.

Apple (AAPL)

Next up, we have consumer technology gorilla Apple, which boasts a five-year return on invested capital of 28%, much higher than that of rivals like Nokia (-3%) and Sony (12%).

Even in the cutthroat world of consumer hardware, the iPhone maker has been able to generate outsized returns due to its loyalty-commanding brand and high switching costs (the iOS experience can only be had through Apple products).

And with the company continuing to penetrate emerging markets like India and Mexico, Apple’s long-term growth trajectory remains healthy.

In the most recent quarter, Apple’s revenue jumped 29% to $83.4 billion. The company also returned over $24 billion to shareholders.

The stock currently sports a dividend yield of just 0.5%, but with a buyback yield of 3%, Apple is doling out more cash to shareholders than you might think.

It's no wonder that Apple is Berkshire's largest public holding, owning more than 887 million shares in the tech giant worth roughly $125.5 billion.

Procter & Gamble (PG)

Rounding out the list is consumer staples giant Procter & Gamble, with a solid five-year average return on invested capital of 13.5%.

Berkshire held 315,400 shares at the end of Q3, worth around $44 million at today’s price. While that’s not a big position by Berkshire standards, something does make P&G stand out: the ability to deliver rising cash returns to investors through thick and thin.

The company offers a portfolio of trusted brands like Bounty paper towels, Crest toothpaste, Gillette razor blades and Tide detergent. These are products households buy on a regular basis, regardless of what the economy is doing.

In April, P&G’s board of directors announced a 10% increase to the quarterly payout, marking the company’s 65th consecutive annual dividend hike.

P&G share currently offer a dividend yield of 2.2%.

Source: Yahoo News



Match ID: 84 Score: 25.00 source: techncruncher.blogspot.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

A massive volcanic eruption and tsunami hit Tonga and the Pacific. Here's what we know
Mon, 17 Jan 2022 11:37:00 +0000


Satellite images from JMA show the volcano eruption in Tonga on January 15.

An undersea volcano near Tonga has erupted for the third time in four days, potentially threatening the ability of surveillance flights to assess  damage to the Pacific island nation following Saturday's massive eruption and tsunami.

The Australian Meteorological Service said a "major eruption" occurred on the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Monday, but no tsunami warning was issued. Saturday's eruption was probably the largest recorded  on the planet in more than 30 years, experts said.

Dramatic footage from space captured the eruption in real time, when a huge plume of ash, gas and steam was spewed up to 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) into the atmosphere and Tsunami waves were sent to crash into the Pacific.

Footage on social media showed people fleeing as waves flooded Tonga's capital, Nuku'alofa, and the afternoon sky turned  black from the heavy ash cloud.

Tsunami waves have also been recorded thousands of miles away along the west coast of the United States, in Peru, New Zealand and Japan. In Peru, at least two people have died after being hit by high waves.

No mass casualties have yet been reported, but aid organizations are concerned about  air contamination and access to clean water for residents of Tonga's outer islands.

With communications down, Australia and New Zealand sent flights to survey the damage.

Where is Tonga's Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano?

Tonga is a Polynesian country of over 170 islands in the South Pacific  and is home to around 100,000 people. It is a remote archipelago that lies about 800 kilometers (500 miles) east of Fiji and 2,380 kilometers (1,500 miles) from New Zealand.

The HungaTongaHungaHa'apai volcano, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) southeast of Tonga's Fonuafo'ou Island, lies underwater between two small islands  about 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) high from the sea floor, with about 100 meters (328 feet) visible above sea level.

Researchers said it has erupted steadily over the past few decades.

In 2009 an eruption sent plumes of steam and ash into the air and formed new land above the water, and an eruption in January 2015 created a new island about 2 kilometers wide , effectively merging with the islands of HungaTonga and HungaHa'apai.

The most recent eruption began in December 2021, with plumes of gas, steam and ash  rising about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) into the air.

The volcano erupted again on January 14, and a massive eruption on January 15 sent shock waves around the world and triggered tsunami waves in the Pacific.

Where did the tsunami hit?

The eruption caused a tsunami on Tonga's largest island, Tongatapu, with waves recorded at 1.2 meters (about 4 feet) near Nuku'alofa city flowing onto coastal roads and flooding properties on Saturday.


Tsunami warnings went into effect across Pacific Island nations including Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu. Footage from the ground in Fiji shows people fleeing to higher ground in the capital, Suva, as large waves hit the coast.


Tsunami warnings and advisories were also issued from parts of New Zealand, Japan and Peru, to the United States and Canada's British Columbia.


In Japan, the northeastern prefecture of Iwate saw waves as high as 2.7 meters (9 feet) and multiple smaller tsunamis were reported in numerous other locations, according to public broadcaster NHK. By Sunday afternoon, all tsunami advisories had been lifted in Japan.


The eruption also sent waves to the US West Coast, with some exceeding 3 and 4 feet in height, according to the National Weather Service office in San Diego. Tsunami waves were felt in California, Alaska and Hawaii.


What is happening with the ash cloud?


A giant cloud of volcanic ash  blanketed Tonga over the weekend, obscuring the afternoon sky  and blanketing Nuku'alofa in a thick foam of volcanic dust on Saturday.

Save the Children said drinking water supplies could be contaminated with ash and smoke and the immediate concern in Tonga is  air and water safety. The ash cloud was moving west and was visible over Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia on Sunday.

According to the state weather service, it reached Queensland in Australia on Monday. at dawn sunlight was  scattered by #volcanic ash from the #Tonga eruption," the Queensland Bureau of Meteorology said on Twitter.

The ash prevented an Australian reconnaissance flight from departing to assess the damage  early on January 17, although the flight took off later that morning.Several flights from Australia, New Zealand and Fiji to Tonga were postponed due to the ash cloud. suggest the volcanic ice eruption was the largest since the 1991 explosion at Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, New Zealand volcanologist Shane Cronin told Radio New Zealand.

"This is a better observed eruption  from space," Cronin said, according to Reuters. The eruption suggests  it was likely the largest since  the Pinatubo eruption in 1991," Cronin said.

What is the scale of devastation?

So far there have been no reports  of mass casualties in Tonga and the extent of the damage is unknown as communications, particularly on the offshore islands, have  yet to be restored.

Tonga "needs immediate help to provide its citizens with clean water and food". said the  Speaker of the country's House of Representatives, Lord Fakafanua, in a statement released on social media.

It said "many areas" had been affected by "significant volcanic ash fall" but "the full extent of the damage to life and property is unknown at this time". Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said  January 16 that tsunami waves had had a "significant impact" on Nuku'alofa as boats and large rocks washed ashore.

"Shops along the coast have been damaged and major cleanup will be required," he said. The main underwater communications cable is also affected, likely due to a power outage. Australia's Minister for Pacific and International Development  Zed Seselja said there was "significant  damage" in Tonga, including to roads and homes.

He said there was still "very limited, if any" information  from the outer islands. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said its teams are on the ground and have enough supplies in the country to feed 1,200 homes.

"Based on what little current information we have, the extent of the devastation could be immense, particularly for the outer  islands,"  Katie Greenwood, head of the IFRC's Pacific delegation, said, according to Reuters.

The New Zealand Defense Force sent an Orion aircraft  on a surveillance mission to Tonga to assess the damage. Ardern said the country initially provided $340,000 for relief supplies, technical assistance and on-site assistance.

Australia said it was preparing for additional support, with a plane loaded with humanitarian supplies including water and hygiene items ready to deliver to Tonga as soon as conditions allow.

China and the autonomous island of Taiwan said in separate statements that they are ready to provide assistance at Tonga's request.



Match ID: 85 Score: 25.00 source: techncruncher.blogspot.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Congressional Democrats Join Republicans to Undermine Biden Administration’s Surprise Medical Billing Rule
Mon, 17 Jan 2022 11:00:42 +0000

Worried an aggressive new rule could cut into providers’ earnings, key members of Congress including Rep. Richie Neal are helping private industry weaken the administration’s position in federal court.

The post Congressional Democrats Join Republicans to Undermine Biden Administration’s Surprise Medical Billing Rule appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 86 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Lei que tramitou na surdina em Salvador favorece interesses imobiliários de Carlos Suarez, ex-dono da OAS
Mon, 17 Jan 2022 05:23:37 +0000

Projeto que enfraquece proteção ambiental na capital baiana foi sancionado em novembro, sem nunca ter aparecido na ordem do dia da Câmara Municipal.

The post Lei que tramitou na surdina em Salvador favorece interesses imobiliários de Carlos Suarez, ex-dono da OAS appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 87 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Cartoon Caption Contest
Mon, 17 Jan 2022 05:05:00 +0000
Submit your caption.
Match ID: 88 Score: 25.00 source: www.newyorker.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

2021’s Inflation Proves How Incredibly Valuable Social Security Is for Americans
Sun, 16 Jan 2022 15:44:24 +0000

Social Security is inflation-adjusted, so benefits are going up 5.9 percent to keep the purchasing power of retirees the same.

The post 2021’s Inflation Proves How Incredibly Valuable Social Security Is for Americans appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 89 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

UAE Adviser Illegally Funneled Foreign Cash Into Hillary Clinton's 2016 Campaign
Sun, 16 Jan 2022 14:52:55 +0000

George Nader also cultivated key Trump advisers on behalf of his Gulf clients, prosecutors say.

The post UAE Adviser Illegally Funneled Foreign Cash Into Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 90 Score: 21.43 source: theintercept.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 21.43 mit

Jerome Powell Calls Fed’s Role in Addressing Climate “Limited”
Sat, 15 Jan 2022 15:33:51 +0000

Powell’s reappointment is threatened by Democrats calling for more aggressive action by the Federal Reserve on climate.

The post Jerome Powell Calls Fed’s Role in Addressing Climate “Limited” appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 91 Score: 21.43 source: theintercept.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 21.43 mit

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/11/2021
Tue, 11 Jan 2022 16:00:41 +0000
Payloads: Behavioral Core Measures (BCM): The crew completed a Robotic On-Board Trainer (ROBoT) research session. The Standardized Behavioral Measures for Detecting Behavioral Health Risks during Exploration Missions (Behavioral Core Measures) experiment initially examined a suite of measurements to reliably assess the risk of adverse cognitive or behavioral conditions and psychiatric disorders during long-duration spaceflight, and …
Match ID: 92 Score: 18.57 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 7 days
qualifiers: 18.57 nasa

NASA, NOAA to Announce 2021 Global Temperatures, Climate Conditions
Tue, 11 Jan 2022 10:44 EST
Climate researchers from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will release their annual assessments of global temperatures and discuss the major climate trends of 2021 during a media teleconference at 11 a.m. EST Thursday, Jan. 13.
Match ID: 93 Score: 18.57 source: www.nasa.gov age: 7 days
qualifiers: 18.57 nasa

Os detalhes da ameaça
Sat, 15 Jan 2022 14:37:59 +0000

Um homem me seguiu em Balneário Camboriú.

The post Os detalhes da ameaça appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 94 Score: 17.86 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 mit

Take a Look at The Largest And Most Detailed 3D Map of The Universe Ever Made
Sat, 15 Jan 2022 14:02:00 +0000
A 'CT scan' of the Universe across more than 5 billion light-years. (D. Schlegel/Berkeley Lab/DESI data

The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), currently pointed skyward from its home in the Nicholas U. Mayall Telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona, is tasked with tracking the expansion of space, to study dark energy and create the most detailed 3D map. of the Universe that was never assembled.

It's only been seven months since the DESI mission began, and we already have a record-breaking, stunning three-dimensional image of the galaxy  all around us, demonstrating DESI's capabilities  and  potential  for mapping space.
DESI has already cataloged and tracked over 7.5 million galaxies, with over a million new additions per month. When the scan is fully completed in 2026, more than 35 million galaxies would have been mapped, giving astronomers  a huge library of data to mine.

"There's a lot of beauty in there," says Lawrence astrophysicist Julien guy in California. "In the distribution of  galaxies on the 3D map, there are huge clusters, filaments and voids.These are the largest structures in the Universe.

But within them you will find an imprint of the  early Universe and the story of its expansion since DESI is made up of 5,000 optical fibers, each individually controlled and positioned ionized by its own little robot These fibers must be precisely positioned  within 10 microns,  less than the thickness of a human hair,  then catch glimpses of light as they filter through the Earth of the cosmos.

Through this fiber network, the instrument takes color spectrum images of millions of galaxies, covering more than a third of the entire sky, before calculating how much the light has been redshifted – that is, how much it's been pushed towards the red end of the spectrum due to the expansion of the Universe.


As this light can take up to several billion years to reach Earth, it's possible to use redshift data to see depth in the Universe: the greater the redshift, the farther away something is. What's more, the structures mapped by DESI can be reverse engineered to see the initial formation that they started out in.


The main objective of DESI is to reveal more about the dark energy that is thought to make up 70 percent of the Universe as well as speeding up its expansion. This dark energy could drive galaxies into an infinite expansion, cause them to collapse back on themselves or something in between – and cosmologists are keen to narrow down the options.

[DESI] will help us  search for clues about the nature of dark energy,” Carlos Frenk, a cosmologist at Durham University in the UK, told the BBC. We will also learn more about  dark matter and the role it plays in how it happens, forms galaxies such as the Milky Way, and how the universe evolves.

The 3D map that has already been released shows that scientists don't have to wait for DESI to finish its work to start benefiting from its deep look into space explores whether or not small galaxies have their own black holes like large galaxies.

The best way to spot a black hole is to identify the gas, dust and other material  dragged into it, but that's not easy to see in small galaxies - something where high-precision spectral data collected by DESI should help. Then there's the study of quasars

, particularly bright galaxies powered by supermassive black holes, which serve as clues to billions of years of space history.

DESI  will be used to test a hypothesis around quasars: that they start out surrounded by an envelope of dust that is chased away over time. The amount of dust around a quasar is believed to affect the color of the light it emits, making it a perfect job for DESI.

The tool should be able to collect information on around 2.4 million quasars before its survey is complete."DESI is really great because it collects much fainter, much redder objects," says Durham University astronomer Victoria Fawcett.

"We're finding quite a few exotic systems, including large samples of rare objects that we've simply never seen able to study in detail before.

Source: ScienceAlert


Match ID: 95 Score: 17.86 source: techncruncher.blogspot.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 mit

Is Biden in the Midst of a World Historic Crime Against Humanity?
Sat, 15 Jan 2022 11:01:59 +0000

Kabul-based journalist Masood Shnizai discusses the devastating effects of the ongoing U.S. sanctions against Afghanistan.

The post Is Biden in the Midst of a World Historic Crime Against Humanity? appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 96 Score: 17.86 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 mit

North Korean hackers said to have stolen nearly $400 million in cryptocurrency last year
Sat, 15 Jan 2022 10:18:00 +0000


North Korean hackers stole nearly $400 million worth of cryptocurrency in 2021, making it one of the most profitable years yet for cybercriminals in the severely isolated country, according to a new report

Hackers launched at least seven different attacks last year, mostly targeting corporate investments and centralized exchanges with a variety of tactics including phishing, malware and social engineering, according to a report by Chainalysis, a company that tracks cryptocurrencies. 


Cybercriminals attempted to gain access to organizations' "hot" wallets: Internet-connected digital wallets, and then transfer funds to accounts controlled by the DPRK. The thefts are the latest indication that the heavily sanctioned country continues to rely on a network of hackers to help fund its domestic programs. 


A confidential UN report previously accused North Korean regime leader Kim Jong Un of carrying out "operations against formerly moving financial institutions and virtual currency" to pay for weapons and keep the country afloat North Korean economy. 


Last February, the US Department of Justice  charged three North Koreans with conspiring to steal more than $1.3 billion from banks and businesses around the world and orchestrating crypto thefts. digital currency.


"North Korea is, in most respects, cut off from the global financial system by a long sanctions campaign by the United States and its foreign partners." said Nick Carlsen, an analyst at blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs. “As a result, they have taken to the digital battlefield to steal cryptocurrencies, essentially [a] high-speed internet bank robbery, to fund weapons programs, nuclear proliferation and other activities. 

>


North Korea's hacking efforts have benefited from this.The rise in value of Rising prices and the use of cryptocurrencies have generally made digital assets increasingly attractive to malicious actors, which led to more successful cryptocurrency thefts in 2021. 


According to Chainalysis, most of the thefts in the past year were committed by the Lazarus Group, a hacker group with ties to North Korea that was previously  linked to the  Sony Pictures hack, among other incidents. ie North Koreans, in addition to sanctiones cybersecurity defensive measures such as crimes such as criminql have no real chance of being extradited. 


As the cryptocurrency market becomes more popular, "we are likely to see continued interest from North Korea in targeting cryptocurrency companies that are young and that are building  cyber defenses and anti-virus controls. -money laundering," Carlsen said.


Match ID: 97 Score: 17.86 source: techncruncher.blogspot.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 mit

Bolsonaro se isolou como o maior líder antivacina do mundo
Sat, 15 Jan 2022 10:00:19 +0000

Alimentados por Bolsonaro, 30% dos pais desconfiam da vacina infantil contra covid. Até Trump já pulou desse barco.

The post Bolsonaro se isolou como o maior líder antivacina do mundo appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 98 Score: 17.86 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 mit

Testing TRM Performance in AESA Radar Antennas
Fri, 14 Jan 2022 17:29:09 +0000


In this webinar you will learn more about solutions for high test speeds and throughput as well as how to cover multiple tests with one set-up.

Speaker:

Jürgen Kausche, Product Manager for EMC and RF test systems and projects

  • Since 2001 Product manager for EMC and RF test systems and projects with special focus onradiated performance measurements including EMC, Radiated Spurious Emissions (RSE), Over The Air Performance (OTA) and EMF. Member of EMF standardization committee DKE GAK764.0.7. Since 2009 Product manager for EMC and A&D test systems and projects. This covers EMC test solutions for A&D (Aerospace and Defense), automotive and commercial applications and dedicated test systems for A&D e.g. ATEs for radar test.

Match ID: 99 Score: 17.86 source: engineeringresources.spectrum.ieee.org age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 mit

Psyche: NASA Mission to a Metal World
Mon, 27 Dec 2021 16:00:00 +0000


When our solar system was very young, there were no planets—only a diffuse disk of gas and dust circled the sun. But within a few million years, that churning cloud of primordial material collapsed under its own gravity to form hundreds, or maybe thousands, of infant planets. Some of those planetesimals, as astronomers call them, grew to be hundreds of kilometers across as they swept up more dust and gas within the swirling solar nebula.

Once they had attained such a size, heat from the decay of the radioactive elements within them became trapped, raising temperatures enough to melt their insides. The denser components of that melt—iron and other metals—settled to the center, leaving lighter silicates to float up toward the surface. These lighter materials eventually cooled to form mantles of silicate rock around heavy metallic cores. In this way, vast amounts of iron and nickel alloys were trapped deep inside these planetesimals, forever hidden from direct scrutiny.

Or were they?


At this time, the solar system was still relatively crowded despite its vast size. And over the next 20 million or so years, many planetesimals crossed paths and collided. Some merged and grew into even larger protoplanets, eventually forming what became the familiar planets we know today.

In each of those protoplanet collisions, the metallic cores were battered and remixed with silicate mantle material, later separating again after being melted by the heat of accretion. Some collisions had enough energy to completely obliterate a protoplanet, leaving behind debris that contributed to the asteroid belt that now exists between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

But a few protoplanets may have escaped either of these fates. Astronomers hypothesize that a series of “hit and run” impacts caused these bodies to lose most of their mantles, leaving behind only a small quantity of silicate rock and a large amount of metal. These materials combined to form a rare kind of world. If this theory is correct, the largest example would be an asteroid called 16 Psyche—named after the Greek goddess of the soul, Psyche, and because it was the 16th member of the asteroid belt to be discovered (in 1852).

This artist\u2019s rendering shows a highly cratered celestial object that is not quite spherical. This artist’s rendering suggests the kind of surface the asteroid 16 Psyche might have.Peter Rubin/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State University/NASA

16 Psyche is about as wide as Massachusetts and has metal-like density. This makes it large and dense enough to account for a full 1 percent of the total mass of the asteroid belt. Metal miners of the future may one day stake claims on it.

Psyche is also the name of a NASA mission to visit that asteroid. Led by Lindy Elkins-Tanton of Arizona State University and managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Psyche mission will test astronomers’ theories about planetary-core formation and composition while it explores a world with a landscape unlike any that space probes have visited so far.

This photo shows a woman apparently giving a presentation. Lindy Elkins-Tanton of Arizona State University leads the Psyche mission’s scientific team.Bill Ingalls/NASA

The Psyche mission is scheduled to launch in August 2022, with the spacecraft reaching its destination more than three years later. What will it find there? Astronomers think we might see enormous surface faults from the contraction of freezing metal, glittering cliffs of green crystalline mantle minerals, frozen flows of sulfur lava, and vast fields of metal shards scattered over the surface from millennia of high-speed impacts. There will no doubt be plenty of surprises, too.

The long journey this space probe must make to reach its destination will be especially demanding. 16 Psyche resides in the outer part of the main asteroid belt, well beyond the orbit of Mars. The probe will begin circling the asteroid in January of 2026 and will study it for nearly two years.

Counterintuitively, arranging for a probe to orbit a small body like an asteroid is harder than orbiting a planet. Big planets have deep gravity wells, which allow spacecraft to enter orbit with a single low-altitude rocket burn. Small bodies have little gravity and provide essentially no gravitational leverage, so the spacecraft’s propulsion system must do all the work.

Astronomers think we might see enormous surface faults, glittering cliffs of green crystalline mantle minerals, frozen flows of sulfur lava, and vast fields of metal shards.

Not long ago, NASA managed this maneuver successfully with its Dawn mission, which sent a probe to orbit the asteroids Vesta and Ceres. The Dawn spacecraft used solar-electric propulsion. Its three highly efficient engines converted electricity from solar arrays into thrust by ionizing a propellant gas and accelerating it though a high-voltage electric field.

When our team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory was designing the Psyche probe, we planned to do something similar. The main problem was figuring out how to do it without exceeding the mission’s budget. JPL engineers solved this problem by using what was for the most part existing technology, manufactured by Maxar, a company based in Westminster, Colo. It is one of the world’s largest providers of commercial geosynchronous communication satellites, produced at a division located in Palo Alto, Calif.

The Psyche spacecraft is built on the “chassis” used for those satellites, which includes high-power solar arrays, electric-propulsion thrusters, and associated power and thermal control elements. In many ways, the Psyche spacecraft resembles a standard Maxar communications satellite. But it also hosts JPL’s avionics, flight software, and the many fault-protection systems required for autonomous deep-space operation.

 This photograph shows technicians outfitted in clean-room garb working on a large blocky spacecraft that is suspended from a gantry by cables. Technicians at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory work on the Psyche spacecraft.Maxar

Making this concept work was difficult from the get-go. First, NASA management was rightfully wary of such cost-cutting measures, because the “ faster, better, cheaper” model of missions mounted in the 1990s produced some spectacular failures. Second, using Earth-orbiting systems on the Dawn mission resulted in large cost overruns during the development phase. Finally, many people involved believed (erroneously) that the environment of deep space is very special and that the Psyche spacecraft would thus have to be very different from a communications satellite intended only to orbit Earth.

We and our many NASA colleagues addressed each of these issues by teaming with engineers at Maxar. We kept costs under control by using hardware from the company’s standard product line and by minimizing changes to it. We could do that because the thermal environment in geosynchronous orbit isn’t in fact so different from what the Psyche probe will encounter.

Soon after launch, the Psyche spacecraft will experience the same relatively high solar flux that communications satellites are built for. It will also have to handle the cold of deep space, of course, but Maxar’s satellites must endure similar conditions when they fly through Earth’s shadow, which they do once a day during certain times of the year.

Because they serve as high-power telecommunications relays, Maxar’s satellites must dissipate the many kilowatts of waste heat generated by their microwave power amplifiers. They do this by radiating that heat into space. Radiating lots of heat away would be a major problem for our space probe, though, because in the vicinity of 16 Psyche the flux of light and heat from the sun is one-tenth of that at Earth. So if nothing were done to prevent it, a spacecraft designed for orbiting Earth would soon become too cold to function this far out in the asteroid belt.

Maxar addressed this challenge by installing multilayer thermal blanketing all over the spacecraft, which will help to retain heat. The company also added custom louvers on top of the thermal radiators. These resemble Venetian blinds, closing automatically to trap heat inside when the spacecraft gets too cold. But plenty of other engineering challenges remained, especially with respect to propulsion.

To reduce the mass of propellant needed to reach the asteroid, the Psyche spacecraft will use solar-electric thrusters that accelerate ions to very high velocities—more than six times as high as what can be attained with chemical rockets. In particular, it will use a type of ion thruster known as a Hall thruster.

The photograph on the left shows a luminous ring with a diffuse glow around it. The photograph on the right shows the source of this light, a black cylindrical device bolted to the side of the spacecraft. A Hall thruster, four of which will propel the Psyche spacecraft, produces an eerie blue glow during testing [left]. The unit consists of a ring-shaped anode, which has a diameter similar to that of a dinner plate, and a narrow, cylindrical cathode mounted to one side [right].JPL-Caltech/NASA

Soviet engineers pioneered the use of Hall thrusters in space during the 1970s. And we use four Russian-made Hall thrusters on the Psyche spacecraft for the simple reason that Maxar uses that number to maintain the orbits of their communications satellites.

Hall thrusters employ a clever strategy to accelerate positively charged ions [see sidebar, “How a Hall Thruster Works”]. This is different from what is done in the ion thrusters on the Dawn spacecraft, which used high-voltage grids. Hall thrusters, in contrast, use a combination of electric and magnetic fields to accelerate the ions. While Hall thrusters have a long history of use on satellites, this is the first time they will go on an interplanetary mission.

How a Hall Thruster Works

A Hall thruster uses an electron discharge to create a plasma—a quasi-neutral collection of positive ions and electrons—not unlike what goes on in a fluorescent lamp.

The thruster includes a hollow cathode (negative electrode), placed outside the thruster body, and an anode (positive electrode) positioned inside a ring-shaped discharge chamber. If these electrodes were all there was, the power applied to the thruster would just go into making a current of electrons flowing from cathode to anode, emitting some blue glow along the way. Instead, a Hall thruster applies a radially directed magnetic field across its discharge channel.

The electrons emitted by the cathode are very light and fast. So this magnetic field impedes the flow of electrons to the anode, forcing them instead to go in circular orbits around the center line of the thruster. The positive xenon ions that are generated inside the discharge chamber accelerate toward the cloud of circling electrons, but these ions are too massive to be affected by the weak magnetic field. So they shoot straight out in a beam, sweeping up electrons along the way. The ejection of that material at high speed creates thrust. It’s not much thrust—equal to about the weight of a few quarters—but applied steadily for months on end, it’s enough to get the spacecraft zooming.

We kept costs under control by using hardware from Maxar's standard product line and by minimizing changes to it.

You might think that thrusting around Earth isn’t any different from doing so in deep space. There are, in fact, some big differences. Remember, the power to run the thrusters comes from solar panels, and that power must be used as it is generated—there is no great big battery to store it. So the power available to run the thrusters will diminish markedly as the spacecraft moves away from the sun.

That’s an issue because electric thrusters are usually designed to run best at their maximum power level. It turns out to be pretty easy to throttle them a little, maybe to about half their maximum output. For example, the Hall thrusters Maxar uses on its communications satellites can run at as much as 4.5 kilowatts when the satellite’s orbit needs to be raised. For more routine station keeping, these thrusters run at 3 kW. We needed these thrusters to run at less than 1 kW when the spacecraft neared its destination.

The problem is that efficiency decreases when you do this kind of throttling. In that sense, a Hall thruster is like the engine in your car. But the situation is worse than in a car: The electrical discharge inside a thruster can become unstable if the power is decreased too much. The throttled thruster can even quit firing altogether—like a flameout in a jet engine.

But with some clever engineering, we were able to make modifications to how we run Maxar’s thruster so that it could operate stably at power levels as low as 900 W. We then tested our reengineered thruster in facilities at NASA’s Glenn Research Center and at JPL to prove to ourselves that it would indeed operate reliably for the full six-year Psyche mission.

This CAD drawing shows the major components of the Deep Space Optical Communications system: a cylindrical optical transceiver assembly, a photon-counting camera attached to one side of that assembly, a \u201cfloating\u201d electronics package attached to the base of the unit, and three of the four isolation struts attaching the system to the spacecraft. The Psyche mission will test equipment for sending and receiving data optically. This Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) system must be pointed with great precision and kept isolated from vibration.JPL-Caltech/Arizona State University/NASA

The Psyche probe will venture more than three times as far from the sun as Earth ever does. Generating the 2 kW of power needed to operate the spacecraft and fire its thrusters when it reaches its destination requires an array of solar cells large enough to generate more than 20 kW near Earth. That’s a lot of power as these things go.

Fortunately for NASA, the cost of solar power has dropped dramatically over the past decade. Today, the commercial satellites that beam television and Internet signals across the globe generate these power levels routinely. Their solar-power systems are effective, reliable, and relatively inexpensive. But they are designed to work while circling Earth, not at the outer edges of the asteroid belt.

When the Psyche mission was conceived in 2013, Maxar had successfully flown more than 20 spacecraft with power levels greater than 20 kW. But the company had never built an interplanetary probe. JPL, on the other hand, had years of experience operating equipment in deep space, but it had never built a power system of the size required for the Psyche mission. So JPL and Maxar combined forces.

The challenge here was more complicated than just dealing with the fact that sunlight at 16 Psyche is so dim. The solar cells on the Psyche spacecraft would also have to operate at temperatures much lower than normal. That’s a serious issue because the voltage from such cells rises as they get colder.

When orbiting Earth, Maxar’s solar arrays generate 100 volts. If these same arrays were used near 16 Psyche, they would produce problematically high voltages. While we could have added electronics to reduce the voltage coming out of the array, the new circuitry would be costly to design, build, and test for space. Worse, it would have reduced the efficiency of power generation when the spacecraft is far from the sun, where producing adequate amounts of power will be tough in any case.

Fortunately, Maxar already had a solution. When one of their communications satellites passes into Earth’s shadow, it’s powered by a bank of lithium-ion batteries about the size of what’s found in electric cars. That’s big enough to keep the satellite running while it is in darkness behind Earth, which is never for much longer than an hour. But the voltage from such batteries varies over time—perhaps from as low as 40 V on some satellites when the battery is deeply discharged all the way up to 100 V. To handle that variability, Maxar’s satellites include “discharge converters,” which boost voltage to provide power at a constant 100 V. These converters were flight proven and highly efficient—ideal to repurpose for Psyche.

The key was to rewire the solar array, lowering the voltage it produced in the vicinity of Earth to about 60 V. As the spacecraft moves away from the sun, the voltage will gradually rise as the arrays get colder until it reaches about 100 V at 16 Psyche. Maxar’s discharge converters, normally attached to batteries, are connected to the solar array instead and used to provide the spacecraft with power at a constant 100 V over the entire mission.

This approach incurs some energy losses, but those are greatest when the spacecraft is close to Earth and power is abundantly available. The system will operate at its highest efficiency when the spacecraft nears 16 Psyche, where generating power will be a lot harder. It uses flight-proven hardware and is far more economical than sophisticated systems designed to eke out peak power from a solar array throughout a deep-space mission.

One day the technology being tested may enable you to watch astronauts tromping around the Red Planet in high-definition video.

In addition to the set of scientific instruments that will be used to study the asteroid, the Psyche spacecraft will also be carrying what NASA calls a “technology demonstration” payload. Like so many things at NASA, it goes by an acronym: DSOC, which stands for Deep Space Optical Communications.

DSOC is a laser-based communications system intended to outdo current radio technology by as much as a hundredfold. DSOC will demonstrate its capability by transmitting data at up to 2 megabits per second from beyond the orbit of Mars. One day similar technology may enable you to watch astronauts tromping around the Red Planet in high-definition video.

The DSOC instrument has a “ground segment” and a “flight segment,” each of which includes both a laser transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter for the ground segment, a 7-kW laser, will be installed at JPL’s Optical Communications Telescope Laboratory, located about 60 kilometers northeast of Los Angeles. A sensitive receiver, one capable of counting individual photons, will be attached to the 5.1-meter-wide Hale Telescope at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory, located a similar distance northeast of San Diego.

This photo shows a dish antenna that is covered by fabric being tested inside a chamber that is lined with material shaped to absorb electromagnetic radiation The Psyche spacecraft’s high-gain radio antenna, shown here being tested at the Maxar's facilities in Palo Alto, Calif., will provide the data communications throughout the mission.Maxar

DSOC’s flight segment, the part on the spacecraft, contains the same type of equipment, but much scaled down: a laser with an average power of 4 watts and a 22-centimeter telescope. The flight segment sounds simple, like something you could cobble together yourself at home. In fact, it’s anything but.

For one, it needs some rather elaborate gear to point it in the right direction. The Psyche spacecraft itself is able to keep DSOC pointed toward Earth to within a couple of milliradians—about a tenth of a degree. Using built-in actuators, DSOC then searches for the laser beacon sent from the ground. After detecting it, the actuators stabilize the pointing of DSOC’s own laser back at Earth with an accuracy measured in microradians.

The flight segment is able to point so steadily in the same direction because it’s housed in a special enclosure that provides thermal and mechanical isolation from the rest of the spacecraft. DSOC also uses a long sun shield to eliminate stray light on its laser receiver, with a deployable aperture cover to ensure that the unit remains clean.

During DSOC operations in space, the spacecraft cannot use its thrusters or gimbal its solar arrays, which would introduce problematic movements. Instead, it will keep its attitude fixed solidly in one direction and will use its star-tracking system to determine what that direction is. The constraints on what the spacecraft can do at these times is not an impediment, though, because DSOC will be used only for tests during the first year of the mission, while traveling to just past the orbit of Mars. When the spacecraft reaches 16 Psyche, it will transmit data back to Earth over a microwave radio link.

Having emerged from nearly a decade of planning, and having traveled for more than three years, the Psyche spacecraft will finally reach its target in early 2026. There will no doubt be plenty of tension in the air when controllers at JPL maneuver the spacecraft into orbit, waiting the many minutes it will take signals to be returned to find out whether all went well in this distant corner of the asteroid belt.

If all goes according to plan, for the following two years this communications-satellite-turned-space-probe will provide scientists with a close-up look at this odd metallic world, having already demonstrated an advanced optical system for high-data-rate communications. These achievements will have been a long time coming for us—but we expect that what is learned will be well worth the many years we’ve put into trying to ensure that this mission is a success.


Match ID: 100 Score: 15.71 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 22 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit, 2.86 planets

Rainbow Six Extraction review – Call of Duty’s zombie mode crossed with XCOM’s alien invaders
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 11:17:56 GMT

PC, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One Xbox Series X/S; Ubisoft
This tense co-operative shooter is thoroughly entertaining, as much for the ideas it borrows as the ideas it comes up with

Sometimes a video game can be thoroughly entertaining, not for any new ideas it brings to the table, but for the way in which it combines a lot of old ideas into an excitingly fresh experience. The latest shooter from Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy interactive universe is a fine example.

Set in an alternative Rainbow Six timeline where Earth has been invaded by a race of swampy, Lovecraftian aliens known as the Archaeans, it stars the spec-ops warriors from the multiplayer shooter hit Siege as they set out to kick ET’s ass. Players form teams of three operatives, each with their own special skills and weapons, and then go into alien invasion sites to kill monsters and get things done. Every site is divided into three escalatingly difficult zones, with different objectives, and players can choose to exfiltrate after each section or gamble on not getting killed and continue on to the end, for greater rewards.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 101 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 aliens

Daily Cartoon: Tuesday, January 18th
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 16:06:44 +0000
“It sounds like taking over as their leader would actually be extremely ineffective.”
Match ID: 102 Score: 15.00 source: www.newyorker.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 aliens

Tesla delays initial production of Cybertruck to early 2023 - source
Fri, 14 Jan 2022 13:36:00 +0000
Image Credit:Jeenah Moon/Reuters

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) aims to start initial production of its long-awaited Cybertruck by the end of the first quarter of 2023, pushing plans to start production later this year, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

He said the delay comes when Tesla changes the features and functions of the electric pickup to make it a compelling product as competition heats up in the segment.

Tesla is expected to produce a limited production of the Cybertruck in the first quarter of 2023 before ramping up production, the source said.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Tesla, the world's largest electric car maker, produces electric sedans and SUVs, but has lost the pickup truck segment, which is profitable and hugely popular in America.

 Ford Motor Co (FN) and Rivian Automotive (RIVN.O). are ahead of Tesla in launching electric pickups. 

Ford said early this month it will nearly double annual production capacity for its red-hot F-150 Lightning electric pickup to 150,000 vehicles ahead of its arrival this spring at U.S. dealers.

Ford's market value topped $ 100 billion for the first time on Thursday, when Tesla shares fell 6.7% and Rivian's shares fell 7.1%.

CEO Elon Musk, who unveiled the futuristic vehicle in 2019, had already delayed  production from late 2021 to late 2022. 

Musk said he would provide an updated product roadmap during the earnings call for the Tesla on January 26.

“Oh man, this year has been such a nightmare for the supply chain  and it's not over yet!” He tweeted in late November when asked about the Cybertruck. 

Tesla recently removed a reference to its production schedule from its Cybertruck orders website. Last month, the website said, "You will be able to complete your setup as production nears in 2022." Now "in 2022" has been omitted.

Tesla plans to produce the Cybertruck at its plant in Texas, which is slated to begin production of Model Y cars earlier this year.


Match ID: 103 Score: 14.29 source: techncruncher.blogspot.com age: 5 days
qualifiers: 14.29 mit

Former Ambassador on Haitian President in March: “Put Him Aside” and Embrace “Prime Minister Option”
Thu, 13 Jan 2022 22:02:06 +0000

Four months later, Jovenel Moïse was assassinated and replaced with a U.S.-backed prime minister, fueling suspicion of American involvement.

The post Former Ambassador on Haitian President in March: “Put Him Aside” and Embrace “Prime Minister Option” appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 104 Score: 14.29 source: theintercept.com age: 5 days
qualifiers: 14.29 mit

Learn About the Candidates Running for 2023 President-Elect
Thu, 13 Jan 2022 19:00:02 +0000

The IEEE Board of Directors has nominated Life Fellow Thomas Coughlin and Senior Members Kathleen Kramer and Maike Luiken as candidates for IEEE president-elect. IEEE Life Fellow Kazuhiro Kosuge is seeking to be a petition candidate.

Other members who want to become a petition candidate still may do so by submitting their intention to elections@ieee.org by 8 April.

The winner of this year’s election will serve as IEEE president in 2024.

Life Fellow Thomas Coughlin

Nominated by the IEEE Board of Directors

Portrait of a white haired smiling man wearing glasses and a suit Tom CoughlinHarry Who Photography

Coughlin is founder and president of Coughlin Associates, in San Jose, Calif., which provides market and technology analysis as well as data storage, memory technology, and business consulting services. He has more than 40 years of experience in the data storage industry and has been a consultant for more than 20 years. He has been granted six patents.

Before starting his own company, Coughlin held senior leadership positions in Ampex, Micropolis, and SyQuest.

He is the author of Digital Storage in Consumer Electronics: The Essential Guide, which is in its second edition. He is a regular contributor on digital storage for the Forbes blog and other news outlets.

In 2019 he was IEEE-USA president as well as IEEE Region 6 director. He also was chair of the IEEE New Initiatives and Public Visibility committees. He was vice president of operations and planning for the IEEE Consumer Technology Society and served as general chair of the 2011 Sections Congress in San Francisco.

He is an active member of the IEEE Santa Clara Valley Section, which he chaired, and has been involved with several societies, standards groups, and the IEEE Future Directions committee.

As a distinguished lecturer for the Consumer Technology Society and IEEE Student Activities, he has spoken on digital storage in consumer electronics, digital storage and memory for artificial intelligence, and how students can make IEEE their “professional home.”

Coughlin is a member of the IEEE–Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN) honor society.

He has received several recognitions including the 2020 IEEE Member and Geographic Activities Leadership Award.

Coughlin is active in several other professional organizations including the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers and the Storage Networking Industry Association.

Senior Member Kathleen Kramer

Nominated by the IEEE Board of Directors

Portrait of a smiling blond woman Kathleen KramerJT MacMillan

Kramer is a professor of electrical engineering at the University of San Diego, where she served as chair of the EE department and director of engineering from 2004 to 2013. As director she provided academic leadership for all of the university’s engineering programs.

Her areas of interest include multisensor data fusion, intelligent systems, and cybersecurity in aerospace systems. She has authored or co-authored more than 100 publications.

Kramer has worked for several companies including Bell Communications Research, Hewlett-Packard, and Viasat.

She served as the 2017–2018 director of IEEE Region 6 and was the 2019–2021 IEEE secretary. In that position, she chaired the IEEE Governance Committee and helped make major changes including centralizing ethics conduct reporting, strengthened processes to handle ethics and member conduct, and improved the process used to periodically review each of the individual committees and major boards of the IEEE.

She has held several leadership positions in the IEEE San Diego Section, including chair, secretary, and treasurer. Her first position with the section was advisor to the IEEE University of San Diego Student Branch.

Kramer is an active leader within the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society. She currently heads its technical operations panel on cybersecurity. From 2016 to 2018 she served as vice president of education.

She is a distinguished lecturer for the society and has given talks on signal processing, multisensor data fusion, and neural systems.

Kramer serves as an IEEE commissioner within ABET, the global accrediting organization for academic programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology. She has contributed to several advances for graduate programs, cybersecurity, mechatronics, and robotics.

Life Fellow Kazuhiro Kosuge

Seeking petition candidacy

Portrait of a smiling man in a suit with dark hair Kazuhiro KozugeMajesty Professional Photo

Kosuge is a professor of robotic systems at the University of Hong Kong’s electrical and electronic engineering department. He has been conducting robotics research for more than 35 years, has published more than 390 technical papers, and has been granted more than 70 patents.

He began his engineering career as a research staff member in the production engineering department of Japanese automotive manufacturer Denso. After two years, he joined the Tokyo Institute of Technology’s department of control engineering as a research associate. In 1989 and 1990, he was a visiting research scientist at MIT. After he returned to Japan, he began his academic career at Nagoya University as an associate professor.

In 1995 Kosuge left Nagoya and joined Tohoku University, in Sendai, Japan, as a faculty member in the machine intelligence and system engineering department. He is currently director of the university’s Transformative AI and Robotics International Research Center.

An IEEE-HKN member, he has held several IEEE leadership positions including 2020 vice president of Technical Activities, 2015–2016 Division X director, and 2010–2011 president of the Robotics and Automation Society.

He has served in several advisory roles for Japan, including science advisor to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology’s Research Promotion Bureau from 2010 to 2014. He was a senior program officer of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science from 2007 to 2010. In 2005 he was appointed as a Fellow of the Japan Science and Technology Agency’s Center for Research and Development Strategy.

Among his honors and awards are the purple-ribbon Medal of Honor in 2018 from the emperor of Japan.

To sign Kosuge’s petition, click here.

Senior Member Maike Luiken

Nominated by the IEEE Board of Directors

Portrait of a smiling woman with grey hair and glasses Maike LuikenHeather O’Neil/Photos Unlimited

Luiken’s career in academia spans 30 years, and she has more than 20 years of experience in industry. She is co-owner of Carbovate Development, in Sarnia, Ont., Canada, and is managing director of its R&D department. She also is an adjunct research professor at Western University in London, also in Ontario.

Her areas of interest include power and energy, information and communications technology, how progress in one field enables advances in other disciplines and sectors, and how the deployment of technologies contributes—or doesn’t contribute—to sustainable development.

In 2001 she joined the National Capital Institute of Telecommunications in Ottawa as vice president of research alliances. There she was responsible for a wide area test network and its upgrades. While at the company, she founded two research alliance networks that spanned across industry, business, government, and academia in the areas of wireless and photonics.

She joined Lambton College, in Sarnia, in 2005 and served as dean of its technology school as well as of applied research and innovation. She led the expansion of applied research conducted at the school and helped Lambton become one of the top three research colleges in Canada.

In 2013 she founded the Bluewater Technology Access Centre (now the Lambton Manufacturing Innovation Centre). It provides applied research services to industry while offering students and faculty opportunities to develop solutions for industry problems.

Luiken, an IEEE-HKN member, was last year’s vice president of IEEE Member and Geographic Activities. She was president of IEEE Canada in 2018 and 2019, when she also served as Region 7 director.

She has served on numerous IEEE boards and committees including the IEEE Board of Directors, the Canadian Foundation, Member and Geographic Activities, and the Internet Initiative.


Match ID: 105 Score: 14.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 5 days
qualifiers: 14.29 mit

Video Friday: Welcome to 2022
Fri, 07 Jan 2022 17:57:52 +0000


Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!):

ICRA 2022: 23–27 May 2022, Philadelphia
ERF 2022: 28–30 June 2022, Rotterdam, Germany

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos.


Happy Holidays from Voliro!

[ Voliro ]

Thanks, Daniel!

Merry Christmas from the Autonomous Systems Lab!

[ ASL ]

Лаборатория робототехники Сбера сердечно поздравляет вас с наступающим новым годом!

[ Sberbank Robotics Laboratory ]

Thanks, Alexey and Mike!

Holiday Greetings from KIMLAB!

[ KIMLAB ]

Thanks, Joohyung!

Quebec is easy mode for wintery robot videos.

[ NORLAB ]

Happy New Year from Berkshire Grey!

[ Berkshire Grey ]

Introducing John Deere’s autonomous 8R Tractor for large-scale production. To use the John Deere autonomous tractor, a farmer only needs to transport the machine to a field and configure it for autonomous operation. Using John Deere Operations Center Mobile, he or she can swipe from left to right to start the machine. While the machine is working the farmer can leave the field to focus on other tasks, while monitoring the machine’s status from their mobile device.

[ John Deere ]

I appreciate the idea that this robot seems to have some conception of personal space and will react when that space is rudely violated.

[ Engineered Arts ]

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Xiaomi Robotics Lab!

[ Xiaomi ]

Thanks, Yangwei!

We developed advanced neural control with proactive behavior learning and short-term memory for complex locomotion and lifelong adaptation of autonomous walking robots. The control method is inspired by a locomotion control strategy used by walking animals like cats, in which they use their short-term visual memory to detect an obstacle and take proactive steps to avoid colliding it.

[ VISTEC ]

Thanks, Poramate!

Not totally sure what this is from Exyn, but I do like the music.

[ Exyn ]

Nikon, weirdly, seems to be getting into the computer vision space with a high-speed, high-accuracy stereo system.

[ Nikon ]

Drone Badminton enables people with low vision to play badminton again using a drone as a ball and a racket can move a drone. This has potential to diversify the physical activities available, and improve physical and mental health for people with low vision.

[ Digital Nature Group ]

The Manta Ray program seeks to develop unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) that operate for extended durations without the need for on-site human logistics support or maintenance.

[ DARPA ]

A year in the life of Agility Robotics.

[ Agility Robotics ]

A new fabrication technique, developed by a team of electrical engineers and computer scientists, produces low-voltage, power-dense artificial muscles that improve the performance of flying microrobots.

[ MIT ]

What has NASA’s Perseverance rover accomplished since landing on the surface of Mars in February 2021? Surface Operations Mission Manager Jessica Samuels reflects on a year filled with groundbreaking discoveries at Jezero Crater and counts up the rover's achievements.

[ NASA ]

Construction is one of the largest industries on the planet, employing more than 10M workers in the US each year. Dusty Robotics believes in a future where robots and automation are standard tools employed by the construction workforce to build buildings more efficiently, safer, and at lower cost. In this talk I'll tell the story of how Dusty Robotics originated, our journey through the customer discovery process, and our vision for how robotics will change the face of construction.

[ Dusty Robotics ]


Match ID: 106 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 11 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

12 Exciting Engineering Milestones to Look for in 2022
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 16:00:00 +0000


Psyche’s Deep-Space Lasers


An illustration of a satellite holding a ray gun in a cartoon style hand. MCKIBILLO

In August, NASA will launch the Psyche mission, sending a deep-space orbiter to a weird metal asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. While the probe’s main purpose is to study Psyche’s origins, it will also carry an experiment that could inform the future of deep-space communications. The Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) experiment will test whether lasers can transmit signals beyond lunar orbit. Optical signals, such as those used in undersea fiber-optic cables, can carry more data than radio signals can, but their use in space has been hampered by difficulties in aiming the beams accurately over long distances. DSOC will use a 4-watt infrared laser with a wavelength of 1,550 nanometers (the same used in many optical fibers) to send optical signals at multiple distances during Psyche’s outward journey to the asteroid.


The Great Electric Plane Race


An illustration of a battery with wings and a spinning propeller. MCKIBILLO

For the first time in almost a century, the U.S.-based National Aeronautic Association (NAA) will host a cross-country aircraft race. Unlike the national air races of the 1920s, however, the Pulitzer Electric Aircraft Race, scheduled for 19 May, will include only electric-propulsion aircraft. Both fixed-wing craft and helicopters are eligible. The competition will be limited to 25 contestants, and each aircraft must have an onboard pilot. The course will start in Omaha and end four days later in Manteo, N.C., near the site of the Wright brothers’ first flight. The NAA has stated that the goal of the cross-country, multiday race is to force competitors to confront logistical problems that still plague electric aircraft, like range, battery charging, reliability, and speed.

6-Gigahertz Wi-Fi Goes Mainstream

An illustration of the wifi signal and an arrow near the word \u201c6Ghz.\u201d MCKIBILLO

Wi-Fi is getting a boost with 1,200 megahertz of new spectrum in the 6-gigahertz band, adding a third spectrum band to the more familiar 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The new band is called Wi-Fi 6E because it extends Wi-Fi’s capabilities into the 6-GHz band. As a rule, higher radio frequencies have higher data capacity, but a shorter range. With its higher frequencies, 6-GHz Wi-Fi is expected to find use in heavy traffic environments like offices and public hotspots. The Wi-Fi Alliance introduced a Wi-Fi 6E certification program in January 2021, and the first trickle of 6E routers appeared by the end of the year. In 2022, expect to see a bonanza of Wi-Fi 6E–enabled smartphones.

3-Nanometer Chips Arrive

An illustration of a chip dancing and holding a hat with \u201c3nm\u201d at the center. MCKIBILLO

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) plans to begin producing 3-nanometer semiconductor chips in the second half of 2022. Right now, 5-nm chips are the standard. TSMC will make its 3-nm chips using a tried-and-true semiconductor structure called the FinFET (short for “fin field-effect transistor”). Meanwhile, Samsung and Intel are moving to a different technique for 3 nm called nanosheet. (TSMC is eventually planning to abandon FinFETs.) At one point, TSMC’s sole 3-nm chip customer for 2022 was Apple, for the latter’s iPhone 14, but supply-chain issues have made it less certain that TSMC will be able to produce enough chips—which promise more design flexibility—to fulfill even that order.

Seoul Joins the Metaverse

An illustration of a building MCKIBILLO

After Facebook (now Meta) announced it was hell-bent on making the metaverse real, a host of other tech companies followed suit. Definitions differ, but the basic idea of the metaverse involves merging virtual reality and augmented reality with actual reality. Also jumping on the metaverse bandwagon is the government of the South Korean capital, Seoul, which plans to develop a “metaverse platform” by the end of 2022. To build this first public metaverse, Seoul will invest 3.9 billion won (US $3.3 million). The platform will offer public services and cultural events, beginning with the Metaverse 120 Center, a virtual-reality portal for citizens to address concerns that previously required a trip to city hall. Other planned projects include virtual exhibition halls for school courses and a digital representation of Deoksu Palace. The city expects the project to be complete by 2026.

IBM’s Condors Take Flight

An illustration of a bird made up of squares. MCKIBILLO

In 2022, IBM will debut a new quantum processor—its biggest yet—as a stepping-stone to a 1,000-qubit processor by the end of 2023. This year’s iteration will contain 433 qubits, three times as much as the company’s 127-qubit Eagle processor, which was launched last year. Following the bird theme, the 433- and 1,000-qubit processors will be named Condor. There have been quantum computers with many more qubits; D-Wave Systems, for example, announced a 5,000-qubit computer in 2020. However, D-Wave’s computers are specialized machines for optimization problems. IBM’s Condors aim to be the largest general-purpose quantum processors.

New Dark-Matter Detector

An illustration of two dotted arrow headed lines and two circles with the letter \u201cp\u201d on them. MCKIBILLO

The Forward Search Experiment (FASER) at CERN is slated to switch on in July 2022. The exact date depends on when the Large Hadron Collider is set to renew proton-proton collisions after three years of upgrades and maintenance. FASER will begin a hunt for dark matter and other particles that interact extremely weakly with “normal” matter. CERN, the fundamental physics research center near Geneva, has four main detectors attached to its Large Hadron Collider, but they aren’t well-suited to detecting dark matter. FASER won’t attempt to detect the particles directly; instead, it will search for the more strongly interacting Standard Model particles created when dark matter interacts with something else. The new detector was constructed while the collider was shut down from 2018 to 2021. Located 480 meters “downstream” of the ATLAS detector, FASER will also hunt for neutrinos produced in huge quantities by particle collisions in the LHC loop. The other CERN detectors have so far failed to detect such neutrinos.

Pong Turns 50

An illustration of the pong game with the numbers \u201c6\u201d and \u201c9\u201d on top. MCKIBILLO

Atari changed the course of video games when it released its first game, Pong, in 1972. While not the first video game—or even the first to be presented in an upright, arcade-style cabinet—Pong was the first to be commercially successful. The game was developed by engineer Allan Alcorn and originally assigned to him as a test after he was hired, before he began working on actual projects. However, executives at Atari saw potential in Pong’s simple game play and decided to develop it into a real product. Unlike the countless video games that came after it, the original Pong did not use any code or microprocessors. Instead, it was built from a television and transistor-transistor logic.

The Green Hydrogen Boom

An illustration of a generator with large, circular blades. MCKIBILLO

Utility company Energias de Portugal (EDP), based in Lisbon, is on track to begin operating a 3-megawatt green hydrogen plant in Brazil by the end of the year. Green hydrogen is hydrogen produced in sustainable ways, using solar or wind-powered electrolyzers to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. According to the International Energy Agency, only 0.1 percent of hydrogen is produced this way. The plant will replace an existing coal-fired plant and generate hydrogen—which can be used in fuel cells—using solar photovoltaics. EDP’s roughly US $7.9 million pilot program is just the tip of the green hydrogen iceberg. Enegix Energy has announced plans for a $5.4 billion green hydrogen plant in the same Brazilian state, Ceará, where the EDP plant is being built. The green hydrogen market is predicted to generate a revenue of nearly $10 billion by 2028, according to a November 2021 report by Research Dive.

A Permanent Space Station for China

An illustration of a space station MCKIBILLO

China is scheduled to complete its Tiangong (“Heavenly Palace”) space station in 2022. The station, China’s first long-term space habitat, was preceded by the Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2 stations, which orbited from 2011 to 2018 and 2016 to 2019, respectively. The new station’s core module, the Tianhe, was launched in April 2021. A further 10 missions by the end of 2022 will deliver other components and modules, with construction to be completed in orbit. The final station will have two laboratory modules in addition to the core module. Tiangong will orbit at roughly the same altitude as the International Space Station but will be only about one-fifth the mass of the ISS.

A Cool Form of Energy Storage

An illustration of a lightning bolt in an ice cube. MCKIBILLO

Cryogenic energy-storage company Highview Power will begin operations at its Carrington plant near Manchester, England, this year. Cryogenic energy storage is a long-term method of storing electricity by cooling air until it liquefies (about –196 °C). Crucially, the air is cooled when electricity is cheaper—at night, for example—and then stored until electricity demand peaks. The liquid air is then allowed to boil back into a gas, which drives a turbine to generate electricity. The 50-megawatt/250-megawatt-hour Carrington plant will be Highview Power’s first commercial plant using its cryogenic storage technology, dubbed CRYOBattery. Highview Power has said it plans to build a similar plant in Vermont, although it has not specified a timeline yet.

Carbon-Neutral Cryptocurrency?

An illustration of a coin with stars around it. MCKIBILLO

Seattle-based startup Nori is set to offer a cryptocurrency for carbon removal. Nori will mint 500 million tokens of its Ethereum-based currency (called NORI). Individuals and companies can purchase and trade NORI, and eventually exchange any NORI they own for an equal number of carbon credits. Each carbon credit represents a tonne of carbon dioxide that has already been removed from the atmosphere and stored in the ground. When exchanged in this way, a NORI is retired, making it impossible for owners to try to “double count” carbon credits and therefore seem like they’re offsetting more carbon than they actually have. The startup has acknowledged that Ethereum and other blockchain-based technologies consume an enormous amount of energy, so the carbon it sequesters could conceivably originate in cryptocurrency mining. However, 2022 will also see Ethereum scheduled to switch to a much more energy-efficient method of verifying its blockchain, called proof-of-stake, which Nori will take advantage of when it launches.


Match ID: 107 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 19 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

NASA’s Space Launch System Will Lift Off
Sun, 26 Dec 2021 16:00:00 +0000


Inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida—a cavernous structure built in the 1960s for constructing the Apollo program’s Saturn V rockets and, later, for preparing the space shuttle—the agency’s next big rocket is taking shape.

Tom Whitmeyer, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for exploration system development, recalled seeing the completed Space Launch System (SLS) vehicle there in October, after the last component, the Orion spacecraft, was installed on top. To fully view the 98-meter-tall vehicle, he had to back off to the opposite side of the building.

“It’s taller than the Statue of Liberty,” he said at an October 2021 briefing about the rocket’s impending launch. “And I like to think of it as the Statue of Liberty, because it’s [a] very engineering-complicated piece of equipment, and it’s very inclusive. It represents everybody.”

Perhaps so. But it’s also symbolic of NASA’s way of developing rockets, which is often characterized by cost overruns and delays. As this giant vehicle nears its first launch later this year, it runs the risk of being overtaken by commercial rockets that have benefited from new technologies and new approaches to development.

NASA’s newest rocket didn’t originate in the VAB, of course—it began life on Capitol Hill. In 2010, the Obama administration announced its intent to cancel NASA’s Constellation program for returning people to the moon, citing rising costs and delays. Some in Congress pushed back, worried about the effect on the space industry of canceling Constellation at the same time NASA was retiring its space shuttles.

The White House and Congress reached a compromise in a 2010 NASA authorization bill. It directed the agency to develop a new rocket, the Space Launch System, using technologies and contracts already in place for the shuttle program. The goal was to have a rocket capable of placing at least 70 tonnes into orbit by the end of 2016.

To achieve that, NASA extensively repurposed shuttle hardware. The core stage of SLS is a modified version of the external tank from the shuttle, with four RS-25 engines developed for the shuttle mounted on its base. Attached to the sides of the core stage are two solid-rocket boosters, similar to those used on the shuttle but with five segments of solid fuel instead of four.

Difficulties pushed back the first SLS launch by years, although not all the problems were within NASA’s control.

Mounted on top of the core stage is what’s called the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, which is based on the upper stage for the Delta IV rocket and is powered by one RL10 engine, a design that has been used for decades. This stage will propel the Orion capsule to the moon or beyond after it has attained orbit. As the name suggests, this stage is a temporary one: NASA is developing a more powerful Exploration Upper Stage, with four RL10 engines. But it won’t be ready until the mid-2020s.

Even though SLS uses many existing components and was not designed for reusability, combining those components to create a new rocket proved more difficult than expected. The core stage, in particular, turned out to be surprisingly complex, as NASA struggled with the challenge of incorporating four engines. Once the first core stage was complete, it spent more than a year on a test stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, including two static-fire tests of its engines, before going to the Kennedy Space Center for launch preparations.

Those difficulties pushed back the first SLS launch by years, although not all the problems were within NASA’s control. Hurricanes damaged the Stennis test stand as well as the New Orleans facility where the core stage is built. The pandemic also slowed the work, before and after all the components arrived at the VAB for assembly. “In Florida in August and September [2021], it hit our area very hard,” said Mike Bolger, manager of the exploration ground systems program at NASA, describing the most recent wave of the pandemic at the October briefing.

Now, after years of delays, the first launch of the SLS is finally getting close. “Completing stacking [of the SLS] is a really important milestone. It shows that we’re in the home stretch,” said Mike Sarafin, NASA’s manager for the first SLS mission, called Artemis 1, at the same briefing.

After a series of tests inside the VAB, the completed vehicle will roll out to Launch Complex 39B. NASA will then conduct a practice countdown called a wet dress rehearsal—“wet” because the core stage will be loaded with liquid-hydrogen and liquid-oxygen propellants.

Controllers will go through the same steps as in an actual countdown, stopping just before the point where the RS-25 engines would normally ignite. “For us, on the ground, it’s a great chance to get the team and the ground systems wrung out and ready for launch,” Bolger said of the wet dress rehearsal.

This photograph shows a giant spherical storage tank with an adjacent stairway to the top and pipes leading to it that are close to the ground. This giant tank will help increase the capacity for storing liquid hydrogen at the Kennedy Space Center. Glenn Benson/NASA

After that test, the SLS will roll back to the VAB for final checks before returning to the pad for the actual launch. The earliest possible launch for Artemis 1 is 12 February 2022, but at the time of this writing, NASA officials said it was too soon to commit to a specific launch date.

“We won’t really be in a position to set a specific launch date until we have a successful wet dress [rehearsal],” Whitmeyer said. “We really want to see the results of that test, see how we’re doing, see if there’s anything we need to do, before we get ready to launch.”

To send the uncrewed Orion spacecraft to the moon on its desired trajectory, SLS will have to launch in one of a series of two-week launch windows, dictated by a variety of constraints. The first launch window runs through 27 February. A second opens on 12 March and runs through 27 March, followed by a third from 8 to 23 April. Sarafin said there’s a “rolling analysis cycle” to calculate specific launch opportunities each day.

A complicating factor here is the supply of propellants available. The core stage’s tanks store 2 million liters of liquid hydrogen and almost three-quarters of a million liters of liquid oxygen, putting a strain on the liquid hydrogen available at the Kennedy Space Center.

“This rocket is so big, and we need so much liquid hydrogen, that our current infrastructure at the Kennedy Space Center just does not support an every-day launch attempt,” Sarafin said. If a launch attempt is postponed after the core stage is fueled, Bolger explained, NASA would have to wait days to try again. That’s because a significant fraction of liquid hydrogen is lost to boil-off during each launch attempt, requiring storage tanks to be refilled before the next attempt. “We are currently upgrading our infrastructure,” he said, but improvements like larger liquid hydrogen storage tanks won’t be ready until the second SLS mission in 2023. There’s no pressure to launch on a specific day, Sarafin said. “We’re going to fly when the hardware’s ready to fly.”

SLS is not the only game in town when it comes to large rockets. In a factory located just outside the gates of the Kennedy Space Center, Blue Origin, the spaceflight company founded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, is working on its New Glenn rocket. While not as powerful as SLS, its ability to place up to 45 tonnes into orbit outclasses most other rockets in service today. Moreover, unlike SLS, the rocket’s first stage is reusable, designed to land on a ship.

New Glenn and SLS do have something in common: development delays. Blue Origin once projected the first launch of the rocket to be in 2020. By early 2021, though, that launch date had slipped to no earlier than the fourth quarter of 2022.

A successful SpaceX Starship launch vehicle, fully reusable and able to place 100 tonnes into orbit, could also make the SLS obsolete.

A key factor in that schedule is the development of Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine, seven of which will power New Glenn’s first stage. Testing that engine has taken longer than expected, affecting not only New Glenn but also United Launch Alliance’s new Vulcan Centaur rocket, which uses two BE-4 engines in its first stage. Vulcan’s first flight has slipped to early 2022, and New Glenn could see more delays as well.

Meanwhile halfway across the country, at the southern tip of Texas, SpaceX is moving ahead at full speed with its next-generation launch system, Starship. For two years, the company has been busy building, testing, flying—and often crashing—prototypes of the vehicle, culminating in a successful flight in May 2021 when the vehicle lifted off, flew to an altitude of 10 kilometers, and landed.

SpaceX is now preparing for orbital test flights, installing the Starship vehicle on top of a giant booster called, aptly, Super Heavy. A first test flight will see Super Heavy lift off from the Boca Chica, Texas, test site and place Starship in orbit. Starship will make less than one lap around the planet, though, reentering the atmosphere and splashing down in the Pacific about 100 kilometers from the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

When that launch will take place remains uncertain—despite some optimistic announcements. “If all goes well, Starship will be ready for its first orbital launch attempt next month, pending regulatory approval,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted on 22 October 2021. But Musk surely must have known at the time that regulatory approval would take much longer.

SpaceX needs a launch license from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to perform that orbital launch, and that license, in turn, depends on an ongoing environmental review of Starship launches from Boca Chica. The FAA hasn’t set a schedule for completing that review. But the draft version was open for public comments through the beginning of November, and it’s likely to take the FAA months to review those comments and incorporate them into the final version of the report. That suggests that the initial orbital flight of Starship atop Super Heavy will also take place sometime in early 2022.

Starship could put NASA in a bind. The agency is funding a version of Starship to serve as a lunar lander for the Artemis program, transporting astronauts to and from the surface of the moon as soon as 2025. So NASA clearly wants Starship development to proceed apace. But a successful Starship launch vehicle, fully reusable and able to place 100 tonnes into orbit, could also make the SLS obsolete.

Of course, on the eve of the first SLS launch, NASA isn’t going to give up on the vehicle it’s worked so long and hard to develop. “SLS and Orion were purpose-designed to do this mission,” says Pam Melroy, NASA deputy administrator. “It’s designed to take a huge amount of cargo and people to deep space. Therefore, it’s not something we’re going to walk away from.”


Match ID: 108 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 23 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

Can This DIY Rocket Program Send an Astronaut to Space?
Sun, 28 Nov 2021 16:00:00 +0000


It was one of the prettiest sights I have ever seen: our homemade rocket floating down from the sky, slowed by a white-and-orange parachute that I had worked on during many nights at the dining room table. The 6.7-meter-tall Nexø II rocket was powered by a bipropellant engine designed and constructed by the Copenhagen Suborbitals team. The engine mixed ethanol and liquid oxygen together to produce a thrust of 5 kilonewtons, and the rocket soared to a height of 6,500 meters. Even more important, it came back down in one piece.

That successful mission in August 2018 was a huge step toward our goal of sending an amateur astronaut to the edge of space aboard one of our DIY rockets. We're now building the Spica rocket to fulfill that mission, and we hope to launch a crewed rocket about 10 years from now.

Copenhagen Suborbitals is the world's only crowdsourced crewed spaceflight program, funded to the tune of almost US $100,000 per year by hundreds of generous donors around the world. Our project is staffed by a motley crew of volunteers who have a wide variety of day jobs. We have plenty of engineers, as well as people like me, a pricing manager with a skydiving hobby. I'm also one of three candidates for the astronaut position.


We're in a new era of spaceflight: The national space agencies are no longer the only game in town, and space is becoming more accessible. Rockets built by commercial players like Blue Origin are now bringing private citizens into orbit. That said, Blue Origin, SpaceX, and Virgin Galactic are all backed by billionaires with enormous resources, and they have all expressed intentions to sell flights for hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. Copenhagen Suborbitals has a very different vision. We believe that spaceflight should be available to anyone who's willing to put in the time and effort.

Copenhagen Suborbitals was founded in 2008 by a self-taught engineer and a space architect who had previously worked for NASA. From the beginning, the mission was clear: crewed spaceflight. Both founders left the organization in 2014, but by then the project had about 50 volunteers and plenty of momentum.

The group took as its founding principle that the challenges involved in building a crewed spacecraft on the cheap are all engineering problems that can be solved, one at a time, by a diligent team of smart and dedicated people. When people ask me why we're doing this, I sometimes answer, "Because we can."


The left photo shows three men gathered around a large blue tank and a small tube.


The right photo shows several workers in welding masks welding a seam on a large metal cylinder.


Volunteers use a tank of argon gas [left] to fill a tube within which engine elements are fused together. The team recently manufactured a fuel tank for the Spica rocket [right] in their workshop.


Our goal is to reach the Kármán line, which defines the boundary between Earth's atmosphere and outer space, 100 kilometers above sea level. The astronaut who reaches that altitude will have several minutes of silence and weightlessness after the engines cut off and will enjoy a breathtaking view. But it won't be an easy ride. During the descent, the capsule will experience external temperatures of 400 °C and g-forces of 3.5 as it hurtles through the air at speeds of up to 3,500 kilometers per hour.

I joined the group in 2011, after the organization had already moved from a maker space inside a decommissioned ferry to a hangar near the Copenhagen waterfront. Earlier that year, I had watched Copenhagen Suborbital's first launch, in which the HEAT-1X rocket took off from a mobile launch platform in the Baltic Sea—but unfortunately crash-landed in the ocean when most of its parachutes failed to deploy. I brought to the organization some basic knowledge of sports parachutes gained during my years of skydiving, which I hoped would translate into helpful skills.

The team's next milestone came in 2013, when we successfully launched the Sapphire rocket, our first rocket to include guidance and navigation systems. Its navigation computer used a 3-axis accelerometer and a 3-axis gyroscope to keep track of its location, and its thrust-control system kept the rocket on the correct trajectory by moving four servo-mounted copper jet vanes that were inserted into the exhaust assembly.

We believe that spaceflight should be available to anyone who's willing to put in the time and effort.

The HEAT-1X and the Sapphire rockets were fueled with a combination of solid polyurethane and liquid oxygen. We were keen to develop a bipropellant rocket engine that mixed liquid ethanol and liquid oxygen, because such liquid-propellant engines are both efficient and powerful. The HEAT-2X rocket, scheduled to launch in late 2014, was meant to demonstrate that technology. Unfortunately, its engine went up in flames, literally, in a static test firing some weeks before the scheduled launch. That test was supposed to be a controlled 90-second burn; instead, because of a welding error, much of the ethanol gushed into the combustion chamber in just a few seconds, resulting in a massive conflagration. I was standing a few hundred meters away, and even from that distance I felt the heat on my face.

The HEAT-2X rocket's engine was rendered inoperable, and the mission was canceled. While it was a major disappointment, we learned some valuable lessons. Until then, we'd been basing our designs on our existing capabilities—the tools in our workshop and the people on the project. The failure forced us to take a step back and consider what new technologies and skills we would need to master to reach our end goal. That rethinking led us to design the relatively small Nexø I and Nexø II rockets to demonstrate key technologies such as the parachute system, the bipropellant engine, and the pressure regulation assembly for the tanks.

For the Nexø II launch in August 2018, our launch site was 30 km east of Bornholm, Denmark's easternmost island, in a part of the Baltic Sea used by the Danish navy for military exercises. We left Bornholm's Nexø harbor at 1 a.m. to reach the designated patch of ocean in time for a 9 a.m. launch, the time approved by Swedish air traffic control. (While our boats were in international waters, Sweden has oversight of the airspace above that part of the Baltic Sea.) Many of our crew members had spent the entire previous day testing the rocket's various systems and got no sleep before the launch. We were running on coffee.

When the Nexø II blasted off, separating neatly from the launch tower, we all cheered. The rocket continued on its trajectory, jettisoning its nose cone when it reached its apogee of 6,500 meters, and sending telemetry data back to our mission control ship all the while. As it began to descend, it first deployed its ballute, a balloon-like parachute used to stabilize spacecraft at high altitudes, and then deployed its main parachute, which brought it gently down to the ocean waves.


The left photo shows a launch platform floating in the water, and a rocket ascending from the launch tower into the sky.


The right photo shows the rocket descending underneath a white-and-orange parachute.


In 2018, the Nexø II rocket launched successfully [left] and returned safely to the Baltic Sea [right].


The launch brought us one step closer to mastering the logistics of launching and landing at sea. For this launch, we were also testing our ability to predict the rocket's path. I created a model that estimated a splashdown 4.2 km east of the launch platform; it actually landed 4.0 km to the east. This controlled water landing—our first under a fully inflated parachute—was an important proof of concept for us, since a soft landing is an absolute imperative for any crewed mission.

A photo shows a metal engine nozzle with a jet of fire coming out of one end. This past April, the team tested its new fuel injectors in a static engine test. Carsten Olsen

The Nexø II's engine, which we called the BPM5, was one of the few components we hadn't machined entirely in our workshop; a Danish company made the most complicated engine parts. But when those parts arrived in our workshop shortly before the launch date, we realized that the exhaust nozzle was a little bit misshapen. We didn't have time to order a new part, so one of our volunteers, Jacob Larsen, used a sledgehammer to pound it into shape. The engine didn't look pretty—we nicknamed it the Franken-Engine—but it worked. Since the Nexø II's flight, we've test-fired that engine more than 30 times, sometimes pushing it beyond its design limits, but we haven't killed it yet.

The Spica astronaut's 15-minute ride to the stars will be the product of more than two decades of work.

That mission also demonstrated our new dynamic pressure regulation (DPR) system, which helped us control the flow of fuel into the combustion chamber. The Nexø I had used a simpler system called pressure blowdown, in which the fuel tanks were one-third filled with pressurized gas to drive the liquid fuel into the chamber. With DPR, the tanks are filled to capacity with fuel and linked by a set of control valves to a separate tank of helium gas under high pressure. That setup lets us regulate the amount of helium gas flowing into the tanks to push fuel into the combustion chamber, enabling us to program in different amounts of thrust at different points during the rocket's flight.

The 2018 Nexø II mission proved that our design and technology were fundamentally sound. It was time to start working on the human-rated Spica rocket.

A computer rendering shows a rocket with the words Spica and Copenhagen Suborbitals on it flying above the clouds.  Copenhagen Suborbitals hopes to send an astronaut aloft in its Spica rocket in about a decade. Caspar Stanley

With its crew capsule, the Spica rocket will measure 13 meters high and will have a gross liftoff weight of 4,000 kilograms, of which 2,600 kg will be fuel. It will be, by a significant margin, the largest rocket ever built by amateurs.

A computer rendering shows a metal rocket engine.    The Spica rocket will use the BPM100 engine, which the team is currently manufacturing. Thomas Pedersen

Its engine, the 100-kN BPM100, uses technologies we mastered for the BPM5, with a few improvements. Like the prior design, it uses regenerative cooling in which some of the propellant passes through channels around the combustion chamber to limit the engine's temperature. To push fuel into the chamber, it uses a combination of the simple pressure blowdown method in the first phase of flight and the DPR system, which gives us finer control over the rocket's thrust. The engine parts will be stainless steel, and we hope to make most of them ourselves out of rolled sheet metal. The trickiest part, the double-curved "throat" section that connects the combustion chamber to the exhaust nozzle, requires computer-controlled machining equipment that we don't have. Luckily, we have good industry contacts who can help out.

One major change was the switch from the Nexø II's showerhead-style fuel injector to a coaxial-swirl fuel injector. The showerhead injector had about 200 very small fuel channels. It was tough to manufacture, because if something went wrong when we were making one of those channels—say, the drill got stuck—we had to throw the whole thing away. In a coaxial-swirl injector, the liquid fuels come into the chamber as two rotating liquid sheets, and as the sheets collide, they're atomized to create a propellant that combusts. Our swirl injector uses about 150 swirler elements, which are assembled into one structure. This modular design should be easier to manufacture and test for quality assurance.

A photo shows two metallic circles. The one on the left is made of brass and has 19 large holes on its front. The one on the right is made of steel and has dozens of tiny holes on its front.  The BPM100 engine will replace an old showerhead-style fuel injector [right] with a coaxial-swirl injector [left], which will be easier to manufacture.Thomas Pedersen

In April of this year, we ran static tests of several types of injectors. We first did a trial with a well-understood showerhead injector to establish a baseline, then tested brass swirl injectors made by traditional machine milling as well as steel swirl injectors made by 3D printing. We were satisfied overall with the performance of both swirl injectors, and we're still analyzing the data to determine which functioned better. However, we did see some combustion instability—namely, some oscillation in the flames between the injector and the engine's throat, a potentially dangerous phenomenon. We have a good idea of the cause of these oscillations, and we're confident that a few design tweaks can solve the problem.

A man seated at a table holds a circular brass object toward the camera. The brass object has 19 large holes and has black char marks across its front. Volunteer Jacob Larsen holds a brass fuel injector that performed well in a 2021 engine test.Carsten Olsen

We'll soon commence building a full-scale BPM100 engine, which will ultimately incorporate a new guidance system for the rocket. Our prior rockets, within their engines' exhaust nozzles, had metal vanes that we would move to change the angle of thrust. But those vanes generated drag within the exhaust stream and reduced effective thrust by about 10 percent. The new design has gimbals that swivel the entire engine back and forth to control the thrust vector. As further support for our belief that tough engineering problems can be solved by smart and dedicated people, our gimbal system was designed and tested by a 21-year-old undergraduate student from the Netherlands named Jop Nijenhuis, who used the gimbal design as his thesis project (for which he got the highest possible grade).

We're using the same guidance, navigation, and control (GNC) computers that we used in the Nexø rockets. One new challenge is the crew capsule; once the capsule separates from the rocket, we'll have to control each part on its own to bring them both back down to Earth in the desired orientation. When separation occurs, the GNC computers for the two components will need to understand that the parameters for optimal flight have changed. But from a software point of view, that's a minor problem compared to those we've solved already.

A woman is seated in front of a computer and a table that has a large drone on it. Bianca Diana works on a drone she's using to test a new guidance system for the Spica rocket.Carsten Olsen

My specialty is parachute design. I've worked on the ballute, which will inflate at an altitude of 70 km to slow the crewed capsule during its high-speed initial descent, and the main parachutes, which will inflate when the capsule is 4 km above the ocean. We've tested both types by having skydivers jump out of planes with the parachutes, most recently in a 2019 test of the ballute. The pandemic forced us to pause our parachute testing, but we should resume soon.

A photo shows a camera descending; it\u2019s attached to a parachute made of many thin orange ribbons. For the parachute that will deploy from the Spica's booster rocket, the team tested a small prototype of a ribbon parachute.Mads Stenfatt

For the drogue parachute that will deploy from the booster rocket, my first prototype was based on a design called Supersonic X, which is a parachute that looks somewhat like a flying onion and is very easy to make. However, I reluctantly switched to ribbon parachutes, which have been more thoroughly tested in high-stress situations and found to be more stable and robust. I say "reluctantly" because I knew how much work it would be to assemble such a device. I first made a 1.24-meter-diameter parachute that had 27 ribbons going across 12 panels, each attached in three places. So on that small prototype, I had to sew 972 connections. A full-scale version will have 7,920 connection points. I'm trying to keep an open mind about this challenge, but I also wouldn't object if further testing shows the Supersonic X design to be sufficient for our purposes.

We've tested two crew capsules in past missions: the Tycho Brahe in 2011 and the Tycho Deep Space in 2012. The next-generation Spica crew capsule won't be spacious, but it will be big enough to hold a single astronaut, who will remain seated for the 15 minutes of flight (and for two hours of preflight checks). The first spacecraft we're building is a heavy steel "boilerplate" capsule, a basic prototype that we're using to arrive at a practical layout and design. We'll also use this model to test hatch design, overall resistance to pressure and vacuum, and the aerodynamics and hydrodynamics of the shape, as we want the capsule to splash down into the sea with minimal shock to the astronaut inside. Once we're happy with the boilerplate design, we'll make the lightweight flight version.

Two men stand on either side of a seated woman wearing an orange flight suit. The man on the left holds an orange flight helmet. Copenhagen Suborbitals currently has three astronaut candidates for its first flight: from left, Mads Stenfatt, Anna Olsen, and Carsten Olsen. Mads Stenfatt

Three members of the Copenhagen Suborbitals team are currently candidates to be the astronaut in our first crewed mission—me, Carsten Olsen, and his daughter, Anna Olsen. We all understand and accept the risks involved in flying into space on a homemade rocket. In our day-to-day operations, we astronaut candidates don't receive any special treatment or training. Our one extra responsibility thus far has been sitting in the crew capsule's seat to check its dimensions. Since our first crewed flight is still a decade away, the candidate list may well change. As for me, I think there's considerable glory in just being part of the mission and helping to build the rocket that will bring the first amateur astronaut into space. Whether or not I end up being that astronaut, I'll forever be proud of our achievements.

A computer rendering shows a cutaway of a small crew capsule for a spacecraft. Inside the capsule is a person seated in a chair. The astronaut will go to space inside a small crew capsule on the Spica rocket. The astronaut will remain seated for the 15-minute flight (and for the 2-hour flight check before). Carsten Brandt

People may wonder how we get by on a shoestring budget of about $100,000 a year—particularly when they learn that half of our income goes to paying rent on our workshop. We keep costs down by buying standard off-the-shelf parts as much as possible, and when we need custom designs, we're lucky to work with companies that give us generous discounts to support our project. We launch from international waters, so we don't have to pay a launch facility. When we travel to Bornholm for our launches, each volunteer pays his or her own way, and we stay in a sports club near the harbor, sleeping on mats on the floor and showering in the changing rooms. I sometimes joke that our budget is about one-tenth what NASA spends on coffee. Yet it may well be enough to do the job.

We had intended to launch Spica for the first time in the summer of 2021, but our schedule was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which closed our workshop for many months. Now we're hoping for a test launch in the summer of 2022, when conditions on the Baltic Sea will be relatively tame. For this preliminary test of Spica, we'll fill the fuel tanks only partway and will aim to send the rocket to a height of around 30 to 50 km.

If that flight is a success, in the next test, Spica will carry more fuel and soar higher. If the 2022 flight fails, we'll figure out what went wrong, fix the problems, and try again. It's remarkable to think that the Spica astronaut's eventual 15-minute ride to the stars will be the product of more than two decades of work. But we know our supporters are counting down until the historic day when an amateur astronaut will climb aboard a homemade rocket and wave goodbye to Earth, ready to take a giant leap for DIY-kind.

A Note on Safety

One reason that Copenhagen Suborbitals has advanced quite slowly toward its ultimate goal of crewed spaceflight is our focus on safety. We test our components extensively; for example, we tested the engine that powered the 2016 Nexø I rocket about 30 times before the launch.

When we plan and execute launches, our bible is a safety manual from the Wallops Flight Facility, part of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Before each launch, we run simulations of the flight profile to ensure there's no risk of harm to our crew, our boats, and any other people or property. We launch from the sea to further reduce the chance that our rockets will damage anyone or anything.

We recognize that our human-rated spacecraft, the Spica rocket and crew capsule, must meet a higher bar for safety than anything we've built before. But we must be honest about our situation: If we set the bar too high, we'll never finish the project. We can't afford to test our systems to the extent that commercial companies do (that's why we'll never sell rides on our rockets). Each astronaut candidate understands these risks. Speaking as one of those candidates, I'd feel confident enough to climb aboard if each of my friends who worked on the rocket can look me in the eyes and say, "Yes, we're ready."

—M.S.

This article appears in the December 2021 print issue as "The First Crowdfunded Astronaut."

A Skydiver Who Sews

A man attached to  a parachute in the sky. HENRIK JORDAHN

Mads Stenfatt first contacted Copenhagen Suborbitals with some constructive criticism. In 2011, while looking at photos of the DIY rocketeers' latest rocket launch, he had noticed a camera mounted close to the parachute apparatus. Stenfatt sent an email detailing his concern—namely, that a parachute's lines could easily get tangled around the camera. "The answer I got was essentially, 'If you can do better, come join us and do it yourself,' " he remembers. That's how he became a volunteer with the world's only crowdfunded crewed spaceflight program.

As an amateur skydiver, Stenfatt knew the basic mechanics of parachute packing and deployment. He started helping Copenhagen Suborbitals design and pack parachutes, and a few years later he took over the job of sewing the chutes as well. He had never used a sewing machine before, but he learned quickly over nights and weekends at his dining room table.

One of his favorite projects was the design of a high-altitude parachute for the Nexø II rocket, launched in 2018. While working on a prototype and puzzling over the design of the air intakes, he found himself on a Danish sewing website looking at brassiere components. He decided to use bra underwires to stiffen the air intakes and keep them open, which worked quite well. Though he eventually went in a different design direction, the episode is a classic example of the Copenhagen Suborbitals ethos: Gather inspiration and resources from wherever you find them to get the job done.

Today, Stenfatt serves as lead parachute designer, frequent spokesperson, and astronaut candidate. He also continues to skydive in his spare time, with hundreds of jumps to his name. Having ample experience zooming down through the sky, he's intently curious about what it would feel like to go the other direction.


Match ID: 109 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 51 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

What the Well-Dressed Spacecraft Will Be Wearing
Sat, 27 Nov 2021 16:00:00 +0000


This coming February, the Cygnus NG-17 spacecraft will launch from NASA Wallops, in Virginia, on a routine resupply mission to the International Space Station. Amid the many tonnes of standard crew supplies, spacewalk equipment, computer hardware, and research experiments will be one unusual package: a pair of electronic textile swatches embedded with impact and vibration sensors. Soon after the spacecraft's arrival at the ISS, a robotic arm will mount the samples onto the exterior of Alpha Space's Materials ISS Experiment (MISSE) facility, and control-room operators back on Earth will feed power to the samples.

For the next six months, our team will conduct the first operational test of sensor-laden electronic fabrics in space, collecting data in real time as the sensors endure the harsh weather of low Earth orbit. We also hope that microscopic dust or debris, traveling at least an order of magnitude faster than sound, will strike the fabric and trigger the sensors.

Our eventual aim is to use such smart electronic textiles to study cosmic dust, some of which has interplanetary or even interstellar origins. Imagine if the protective fabric covering a spacecraft could double as an astrophysics experiment, but without adding excessive mass, volume, or power requirements. What if this smart skin could also measure the cumulative damage caused by orbital space debris and micrometeoroids too small to be tracked by radar? Could sensored textiles in pressured spacesuits give astronauts a sense of touch, as if the fabric were their own skin? In each case, electronic fabrics sensitive to vibrations and charge could serve as a foundational technology.

Already, engineered fabrics serve crucial functions here on Earth. Geotextiles made of synthetic polymers are buried deep underground to strengthen land embankments. Surgical meshes reinforce tissue and bone during invasive medical procedures.

In space, the outer walls of the ISS are wrapped in a protective engineered textile that gives the station its white color. Called Beta cloth, the woven fabric covers the station's metal shell and shields the spacecraft from overheating and erosion. Beta cloth can also be found on the exterior of Apollo-era spacesuits and Bigelow Aerospace's next-generation inflatable habitats. Until it is possible to substantially alter the human body itself, resilient textiles like this will continue to serve as a crucial boundary—a second skin—protecting human explorers and spacecraft from the extremes of space.

Now it's time to bring some smarts to this skin.

Top, a woman in a clean room suit looks at an open piece of equipment. A small square of fabric can be seen at the top. Bottom, a square silver frame holds white woven cloth, sitting atop a blue metallic box, and connected by wires. Juliana Cherston prepares a smart-fabric system in the clean room at Alpha Space in Houston [top]. Electronics in the silver flight hardware box [bottom] stream data to the computer in the blue box. The system, set for launch in February, will be mounted on the Materials ISS Experiment facility.Allison Goode/Aegis Aerospace

Our lab, the Responsive Environments Group at MIT, has been working for well over a decade on embedding distributed sensor networks into flexible substrates. In 2018, we were knee-deep in developing a far-out concept to grapple an asteroid with an electronic web, which would allow a network of hundreds or thousands of tiny robots to crawl across the surface as they characterized the asteroid's materials. The technology was curious to contemplate but unlikely to be deployed anytime soon. During a visit to our lab, Hajime Yano, a planetary scientist at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, suggested a nearer-term possibility: to turn the Beta cloth blanket used on long-duration spacecraft into a science experiment. Thus began a collaboration that has so far resulted in multiple rounds of prototyping and ground testing and two experiments in space.

One of the tests is the upcoming launch aboard the Cygnus NG-17, funded by the ISS National Laboratory. As the ISS orbits Earth, and the local space environment changes, we'll be triggering our sensors with known excitations to measure how their sensitivity varies over time. Concurrently, we'll take impedance measurements, which will let us peek into the internal electrical properties of the fibers. Any changes to the protective capabilities of the Beta fabric will be picked up using temperature sensors. If the system functions as designed, we may even detect up to 20 micrometeoroid impacts across the fabric's 10-by-10-centimeter area. A triggering system will flag any interesting data to be streamed to Earth in real time.

A second in-space experiment is already underway. For more than a year, a wider range of our smart-fabric swatches has been quietly tucked away on a different section of the ISS's walls, on Space BD's Exposed Experiment Handrail Attachment Mechanism (ExHAM) facility. In this experiment, funded by the MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative, the samples aren't being powered. Instead, we're monitoring their exposure to the space environment, which can be tough on materials. They endure repeated cycles of extreme heat and cold, radiation, and material-eroding atomic oxygen. Through real-time videography sessions we've been conducting with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), we've already seen signs of some anticipated discoloration of our samples. Once the samples return to Earth in late January via the SpaceX CRS-24 rocket, we'll conduct a more thorough evaluation of the fabrics' sensor performance.

Video inspection displaying fabrics on a space station. A video inspection shows sensored fabrics mounted on the Exposed Experiment Handrail Attachment Mechanism (ExHAM) facility on the International Space Station. The experiment, which began in October 2020, is studying the resiliency of different types of fabric sensors when they're exposed to the harsh environment of low Earth orbit. JAXA/Space BD

By demonstrating how to sleekly incorporate sensors into mission-critical subsystems, we hope to encourage the widespread adoption of electronic textiles as scientific instrumentation.

Electronic textiles got an early and auspicious start in space. In the 1960s, the software for the Apollo guidance computer was stored in a woven substrate called core rope memory. Wires were fed through conductive loops to indicate 1s and around loops to indicate 0s, achieving a memory density of 72 kilobytes per cubic foot (or about 2,500 kilobytes per cubic meter).

Around the same time, a company called Woven Electronics (now part of Collins Aerospace) began developing fabric circuit board prototypes that were considered well ahead of their time. For a fleeting moment in computing, woven fabric circuits and core rope memory were competitive with silicon semiconductor technology.

Electronic fabrics then fell into a long hiatus, until interest in wearable technology in the 1990s revived the idea. Our group pioneered some early prototypes, working, for instance, with Levi's in the late '90s on a jean jacket with an embroidered MIDI keyboard. Since then, researchers and companies have created a plethora of sensing technologies in fabric, especially for health-related wearables, like flexible sensors worn on the skin that monitor your well-being through your sweat, heart rate, and body temperature.

More recently, sophisticated fiber sensors have been pushing the performance and capabilities of electronic textiles even further. Our collaborators in the Fibers@MIT group, for example, use a manufacturing technique called thermal drawing, in which a centimeter-thick sandwich of materials is heated and stretched to submillimeter thickness, like pulling a multicolored taffy. Incredibly, the internal structure of the resulting fiber remains highly precise, yielding functional devices such as sensors for vibration, light, and temperature that can be woven directly into fabrics.

Top, a hand holds a black object that has tiny, thin copper wires coming out of the top. Bottom, the same object on a gray background. The object narrows into a thin strip that curls around the object. To make a piezoelectric fiber sensor, researchers at the Fibers@MIT group sandwich materials together and then heat and stretch them like taffy. The faint copper wires are used to make electrical contact with the materials inside the fiber. The fibers can then be woven into Beta cloth.Bob O'Connor

But this exciting progress hasn't yet made its way to space textiles. Today's spacesuits aren't too different from the one that Alan Shepard wore inside Freedom 7 in 1961. Recent suit designs have instead focused on improving the astronaut's mobility and temperature regulation. They might have touch-screen-compatible fingertips, but that's about as sophisticated as the functionality gets.

Meanwhile, Beta cloth has been used on space habitats in more or less its present form for more than a half century. A smattering of fabric antennas and fiber-optic strain sensors have been developed for rigid composites. But little has been done to add electronic sensory function to the textiles we use in space.

To jump-start this research, our group has tackled three areas: We've built fabric sensors, we've worked with specialized facilities to obtain a baseline of the materials' sensitivity to impact, and we've designed instrumentation to test these fabrics in space.

We started by upgrading Beta cloth, which is a Teflon-impregnated fabric made of flexible fiberglass filaments that are so densely woven that the material feels almost like a thick sheet of paper. To this protective layer, we wanted to add the ability to detect the tiny submillimeter or micrometer-scale impacts from cosmic dust. These microparticles move fast, at speeds of up to 50 kilometers per second, with an average speed of around 10 km/s. A 10-micrometer iron-dominant particle traveling at that speed contains about 75 microjoules of kinetic energy. It isn't much energy, but it can still carry quite a punch when concentrated to a small impact area. Studying the kinematics and spatial distributions of such impacts can give scientists insight into the composition and origins of cosmic dust. What's more, these impacts can cause significant damage to spacecraft, so we'd like to measure how frequent and energetic they are.

Top, a blue square frame holds two swatches of white fabric with vertical strips of sensors. Bottom, the back of the square frame shows a red circuit board covered in electronics. A replica of the smart-fabric payload that's launching in February shows the electronics and internal layers.Bob O'Connor

What kind of fabric sensors would be sensitive enough to pick up the signals from these minuscule impacts? Early on, we settled on using piezoelectric fibers. Piezoelectric materials produce surface charge when subject to mechanical deformation. When a piezoelectric layer is sandwiched between two electrodes, it forms a sensor that can translate mechanical vibration into current. Piezoelectric impact sensors have been used on spacecraft before, but never as part of a fabric or as dispersed fibers.

One of the chief requirements for piezoelectrics is that the electric dipoles inside the material must all be lined up in order for the charge to accumulate. To permanently align the dipoles—a process called poling—we have to apply a substantial electric field of about 100 kilovolts for every millimeter of thickness.

Early on, we experimented with weaving bare polyvinylidene difluoride yarn into Beta cloth. This single-material yarn has the advantage of being as fine and flexible as the fibers in clothing and is also radiation- and abrasion-resistant. Plus, the fiber-drawing process creates a crystalline phase structure that encourages poling. Applying a hefty voltage to the fabric, though, caused any air trapped in the porous material to become electrically conductive, inducing miniature lightning bolts across the material and spoiling the poling process. We tried a slew of tricks to minimize the arcing, and we tested piezoelectric ink coatings applied to the fabric.

Imagine if the protective fabric covering a spacecraft could double as an astrophysics experiment, but without adding excessive mass, volume, or power requirements.

Ultimately, though, we determined that multimaterial fiber sensors were preferable to single-material yarns, because the dipole alignment needs to occur only across the very tiny and precise distances within each fiber sensor, rather than across a fabric's thickness or across a fabric coating's uneven surface. We chose two different fiber sensors. One of the fibers is a piezoceramic nanocomposite fiber designed by Fibers@MIT, and the other is a polymer we harvested from commercial piezoelectric cabling, then modified to be suitable for fabric integration. We coated these fiber sensors in an elastomeric conductive ink, as well as a white epoxy that keeps the fibers cool and resists oxidation.

To produce our fabric, we worked with space-textile manufacturer JPS Composite Materials, in Anderson, S.C. The company helped insert our two types of piezoelectric fibers at intervals across the fabric and ensured that our version of Beta cloth still adhered to NASA specifications. We have also worked with the Rhode Island School of Design on fabric manufacturing.

Laser equipment accelerating particles to supersonic speed in a facility. The green laser in the Laser-Induced Particle Impact Test facility at MIT's Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies accelerates particles to supersonic speeds.Bob O'Connor

To test the sensitivity of our fabric, we have been using the Laser-Induced Particle Impact Test (LIPIT) platform designed by Keith Nelson's group at MIT's Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies. This benchtop apparatus is designed for investigating how materials respond to microparticle impacts, such as in needle-free drug delivery and cold-sprayed industrial coatings. In our tests, we used the platform's high-speed particles to simulate space dust.

In a typical experiment, we spread steel particles ranging from a few micrometers to tens of micrometers onto gold film atop a glass substrate, which we call a launchpad. For each shot, a laser pulse vaporizes the gold film, exerting an impulsive force on the particles and accelerating them to speeds of many hundreds of meters per second. A high-speed camera captures the impact of the gold particles on our target fabric swatch every few nanoseconds, equivalent to hundreds of millions of frames per second.

So far, we've been able to detect electrical signals not only when the particles struck a sensor's surface but also when particles struck 1 or 2 cm away from the sensor. In some camera footage, it's even possible to see the acoustic wave created by the indirect impact propagating along the fabric's surface and eventually reaching the piezoelectric fiber. This promising data suggests that we can space out our sensors across the fabric and still be able to detect the impacts.

A woman and two men smile in a room full of technological equipment. Juliana Cherston and Joe Paradiso of MIT's Responsive Environments Group and Wei Yan of the Fibers@MIT group are part of the team behind the smart-textile experiment launching in February.Bob O'Connor

Now we're working to nail down just how sensitive the fabric is—that is, what ranges of particle mass and velocity it can register. We're soon scheduled to test our fabric at a Van de Graaff accelerator, which can propel particles of a few micrometers in diameter to speeds of tens of kilometers per second, which is more in line with interstellar dust velocities.

Beyond piezoelectrics, we're also interested in detecting the plumes of electric charge that form when a particle strikes the fabric at high speed. Those plumes contain clues about the impactor's constituent elements. One of our samples on the ISS is an electrically conductive synthetic fur made of silvered Vectran fibers. More typically used to reinforce electrical cables, badminton string, and bicycle tires, Vectran is also a key component in inflatable spacecraft. In our case, we manufactured it like a carpet or a fur coat. We believe this design may be well suited to catching the plumes of charge ejected from impact, which could make for an even more sensitive detector.

Meanwhile, there's growing interest in porting sensored textiles to spacesuits. A few members in our group have worked on a preliminary concept that uses fabrics containing vibration, pressure, proximity, and touch sensors to discriminate between a glove, metallic equipment, and rocky terrain—just the sorts of surfaces that astronauts wearing pressurized suits would encounter. This sensor data is then mapped to haptic actuators on the astronauts' own skin, allowing wearers to vividly sense their surroundings right through their suits.

Close up of a red circuit board. Text etched on the board reads \u201cSpaceskin MISSE Flight Board v2 Juliana Cherston ResEnv July 2021 YAL With the spirit of adventurous inquiry!\u201d and \u201cI am onto you \u2013 Universe \u2013 armed with the will to remain conscious of your existence while you laugh at mine!\u201d A close-up of the circuit board that will be used to control the powered fabric sensors on the MISSE experiment.Bob O'Connor

How else might a sensor-enhanced fabric enhance human engagement with the space environment? For long-duration missions, explorers residing for months inside a spacecraft or habitat will crave experiential variety. Fabric and thin-film sensors might detect the space weather just outside a spacecraft or habitat and then use that data to alter the lighting and temperature inside. A similar system might even mimic certain external conditions. Imagine feeling a Martian breeze within a habitat's walls or the touch of a loved one conveyed through a spacesuit.

To engineer a fabric that can survive extreme conditions, we foresee experimenting with piezoelectric materials that have intrinsic thermal and radiation resilience, such as boron nitride nanotubes, as well as devices that have better intrinsic noise tolerance, such as sensors based on glass fibers. We also envision building a system that can intelligently adapt to local conditions and mission priorities, by self-regulating its sampling rates, signal gains, and so on.

Space-resilient electronic fabrics may still be nascent, but the work is deeply cross-cutting. Textile designers, materials scientists, astrophysicists, astronautical engineers, electrical engineers, artists, planetary scientists, and cosmologists will all have a role to play in reimagining the exterior skins of future spacecraft and spacesuits. This skin, the boundary of person and the demarcation of place, is real estate ripe for use.

This article appears in the December 2021 print issue as "The Smartly Dressed Spacecraft."


Match ID: 110 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 52 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

FAA Fumbled Its Response To a Surge in GPS Jamming
Thu, 07 Oct 2021 14:42:45 +0000


FAA air traffic controllers supervising flights over Arizona, New Mexico and Texas were confused and frustrated by an increase in military tests that interfered with GPS signals for civilian aircraft, public records show.

In March and April this year, flight controllers at the Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center filed reports on NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), a forum where aviation professionals can anonymously share near misses and safety tips.

The complaints accused the FAA of denying controllers permission to ask the military to cut short GPS tests adversely affecting commercial and private aircraft. These so-called "stop buzzer" (or "cease buzzer") requests are supposed to be made by pilots only when a safety-of-flight issue is encountered.

"Aircraft are greatly affected by the GPS jamming and it's not taken seriously by management," reads one report. "We've been told we can't ask to stop jamming, and to just put everyone on headings."

In a second report, a private jet made a wrong turn into restricted airspace over the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico after being jammed. On that occasion, the air traffic controller called a stop buzzer. "[The] facility manager on duty later informed me we can't ask them to 'stop buzzer' and to just keep putting aircraft on headings," their ASRS report reads.

Putting an aircraft on headings requires giving pilots precise bearings to follow, rather than letting them perform their own navigation using GPS or other technologies. This adds work for controllers, who are already very busy at certain times of day.

"Busy traffic, bad rides, frequency congestion, then GPS jamming," reads one report. "Limit the length and what time of the day that facilities can GPS jam and have it taken seriously when we call and ask them to stop."

"Give controllers the ability to have White Sands stop GPS jamming during high traffic periods," agrees the other.

The Pentagon uses its more remote military bases, many in the American West, to test how its forces operate under GPS denial. A Spectrum investigation earlier this year discovered that such jamming tests are far more prevalent than had previously been thought, possibly affecting thousands of civilian flights each year.

The FAA does not share how many stop buzzer requests are made, but Spectrum's investigation obtained FAA data detailing four stop buzzers over the skies of California during a nine-week period in 2017. These included passenger jet flights operated by Frontier and Southwest.

The White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), whose tests appear to have caused the GPS jamming in both recent complaints, estimates it receives "in the low single digits" of stop buzzer requests a year.

A spokesperson for WSMR told Spectrum: "The US Army takes the safety of its operations extremely seriously. Calls for a cease buzzer are taken seriously and range control has not denied or ignored any cease buzzers. WSMR has also never requested or required any internal organization or outside agency to not make use of the cease buzzer in the event of an emergency, or unsafe event."

The FAA provided the following statement:

"The FAA cooperates with Department of Defense to mitigate the effects of the military's planned interference activities… to levels of acceptable risk. The primary mitigation when GPS is lost is for a pilot to use another means of navigation. Air Traffic Control (ATC) will assist the pilot with navigation on rare occasions, upon request. Should multiple pilots encounter problems, then ATC has the option to stop the underlying cause through [a] stop buzzer."

When a stop buzzer call is made by a controller, the FAA then has a review process to analyze the appropriateness of the action and the associated operational risk.

However, an FAA source also admitted that one ATC facility "expressed some confusion as to the scope of their authority to suspend operations using stop-buzzer protocols when GPS testing had ramped up significantly." The FAA now believes it has cleared up and abated those field concerns.

Although flight controllers may no longer be instructed not to issue stop buzzer calls when planes are in trouble, pilots continue to experience difficulties in the airspace around White Sands.

In May, the pilot of a light aircraft taking off at night in the Albuquerque area suddenly lost their GPS navigation and terrain warnings. Air traffic control told the pilot that WSMR was jamming, and instructed them to use other instruments. That pilot was ultimately able to land safely, but later submitted their own ASRS report: "Being unfamiliar with this area and possibly a different avionics configuration I feel my flight could have possibly ended as controlled flight into terrain."

Such an outcome–a likely deadly crash–would surely not meet anyone's definition of "acceptable risk."


Match ID: 111 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 104 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

China Aims for a Permanent Moon Base in the 2030s
Wed, 22 Sep 2021 19:00:00 +0000


On 3 January 2019, the Chinese spacecraft Chang'e-4 descended toward the moon. Countless craters came into view as the lander approached the surface, the fractal nature of the footage providing no sense of altitude. Su Yan, responsible for data reception for the landing at Miyun ground station, in Beijing, was waiting—nervously and in silence with her team—for vital signals indicating that optical, laser, and microwave sensors had combined effectively with rocket engines for a soft landing. "When the [spectral signals were] clearly visible, everyone cheered enthusiastically. Years of hard work had paid off in the most sweet way," Su recalls.

Chang'e-4 had, with the help of a relay satellite out beyond the moon, made an unprecedented landing on the always-hidden lunar far side. China's space program, long trailing in the footsteps of the U.S. and Soviet (now Russian) programs, had registered an international first. The landing also prefigured grander Chinese lunar ambitions.

In 2020 Chang'e-5, a complex sample-return mission, returned to Earth with young lunar rocks, completing China's three-step "orbit, land, and return" lunar program conceived in the early 2000s. These successes, together with renewed international scientific and commercial interest in the moon, have emboldened China to embark on a new lunar project that builds on the Chang'e program's newly acquired capabilities.

The International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) is a complex, multiphase megaproject that the China National Space Administration (CNSA) unveiled jointly with Russia in June in St. Petersburg. Starting with robotic landing and orbiting missions in the 2020s, its designers envision a permanently inhabited lunar base by the mid-2030s. Objectives include science, exploration, technology verification, resource and commercial exploitation, astronomical observation, and more.

ILRS will begin with a robotic reconnaissance phase running up to 2030, using orbiting and surface spacecraft to survey potential landing areas and resources, conduct technology-verification tests, and assess the prospects for an eventual permanent crewed base on the moon. The phase will consist of Chinese missions Chang'e-4, Chang'e-6 sample return, and the more ambitious Chang'e-7, as well as Russian Luna spacecraft, plus potential missions from international partners interested in joining the endeavor. Chang'e-7 will target a lunar south pole landing and consist of an orbiter, relay satellite, lander, and rover. It will also include a small spacecraft capable of "hopping" to explore shadowed craters for evidence of potential water ice, a resource that, if present, could be used in the future for both propulsion and supplies for astronauts.

CNSA will help select the site for a two-stage construction phase that will involve in situ resource utilization (ISRU) tests with Chang'e-8, massive cargo delivery with precision landings, and the start of joint operations between partners. ISRU, in this case using the lunar regolith (the fine dust, soil, and rock that makes up most of the moon's surface) for construction and extraction of resources such as oxygen and water, would represent a big breakthrough. Being able to use resources already on the moon means fewer things need to be delivered, at great expense, from Earth.

Illustration of the CNSA plans for a lunar base and landings. The China National Space Administration (CNSA) recently unveiled its plans for a lunar base in the 2030s, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS). The first phase involves prototyping, exploration, and reconnaissance of possible ILRS locations.James Provost

The utilization phase will begin in the early 2030s. It tentatively consists of missions numbered ILRS-1 through 5 and relies on heavy-lift launch vehicles to establish command, energy, and telecommunications infrastructure; experiment, scientific, and IRSU facilities; and Earth- and astronomical-observation capabilities. CNSA artist renderings indicate spacecraft will use the lunar regolith to make structures that would provide shielding from radiation while also exploring lava tubes as potential alternative areas for habitats.

The completed ILRS would then host and support crewed missions to the moon in around 2036. This phase, CNSA says, will feature lunar research and exploration, technology verification, and expanding and maintaining modules as needed.

These initial plans are vague, but senior figures in China's space industry have noted huge, if challenging, possibilities that could greatly contribute to development on Earth. Ouyang Ziyuan, a cosmochemist and early driving force for Chinese lunar exploration, notes in a July talk the potential extraction of helium-3, delivered to the lunar surface by unfiltered solar wind, for nuclear fusion (which would require major breakthroughs on Earth and in space).

Another possibility is 3D printing of solar panels at the moon's equator, which would capture solar energy to be transmitted to Earth by lasers or microwaves. China is already conducting early research toward this end. As with NASA's Artemis plan, Ouyang notes that the moon is a stepping-stone to other destinations in the solar system, both through learning and as a launchpad.

The more distant proposals currently appear beyond reach, but in its space endeavors China has demonstrated a willingness to develop capabilities and apply these for new possibilities. Sample-return tech from Chang'e-5 will next be used to collect material from a near-Earth asteroid around 2024. Near the end of the decade, this tech will contribute to the Tianwen-1 Mars mission's capabilities for an unprecedented Mars sample-return attempt. How the ILRS develops will then depend on success and science and resource findings of the early missions.

China is already well placed to implement the early phases of the ILRS blueprint. The Long March 5, a heavy-lift rocket, had its first flight in 2016 and has since enabled the country to begin constructing a space station and to launch spacecraft such as a first independent interplanetary mission and Chang'e-5. To develop the rocket, China had to make breakthroughs in using cryogenic propellant and machining a new, wider-diameter rocket body.

This won't be enough for larger missions, however. Huang Jun, a professor at Beihang University, in Beijing, says a super heavy-lift rocket, the high-thrust Long March 9, is a necessity for the future of Chinese aerospace. "Research and breakthroughs in key technologies are progressing smoothly, and the project may at any time enter the engineering-development stage."

Image of different landings missions by CNSA. CNSA's plans for its international moon base involve a set of missions, dubbed ILRS-1 through ILRS-5, now projected between 2031 and 2035. IRLS-1, as planned, will in 2031 establish a command center and basic infrastructure. Subsequent missions over the ensuing four years would set up research facilities, sample­ collection systems, and Earth­ and space­observation capabilities.James Provost

The roughly 100-meter-long, Saturn V–like Long March 9 will be capable of launching around 50 tonnes of payload to translunar injection. The project requires precision manufacturing of thin yet strong, 10-meter-diameter rocket stages and huge new engines. In Beijing, propulsion institutes under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., recently produced an engineering prototype of a 220-tonne thrust staged-combustion liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine. In a ravine near Xi'an, in north China, firing tests of a dual-chamber 500-tonne-thrust kerosene/liquid oxygen engine for the first stage have been carried out. Long March 9 is expected to have its first flight around 2030, which would come just in time to launch the robotic ILRS construction missions.

A human-rated rocket is also under development, building on technologies from the Long March 5. It will feature similar but uprated versions of the YF-100 kerosene/liquid oxygen engine and use three rocket cores, in a similar fashion to SpaceX's Falcon Heavy. Its task will be sending a deep-space-capable crew spacecraft into lunar orbit, where it could dock with a lunar-landing stack launched by a Long March 9.

The spacecraft itself is a new-generation advance on the Shenzhou, which currently ferries astronauts to and from low Earth orbit. A test launch in May 2020 verified that the new vessel can handle the greater heat of a higher-speed atmospheric reentry from higher, more energetic orbits. Work on a crew lander is also assumed to be underway. The Chang'e-5 mission was also seen as a scaled test run for human landings, as it followed a profile similar to NASA's Apollo missions. After lifting off from the moon, the ascent vehicle reunited and docked with a service module, much in the way that an Apollo ascent vehicle rejoined a command module in lunar orbit before the journey home.

China and Russia are inviting all interested countries and partners to cooperate in the project. The initiative will be separate from the United States' Artemis moon program, however. The United States has long opposed cooperating with China in space, and recent geopolitical developments involving both Beijing and Moscow have made things worse still. As a result, China and Russia, its International Space Station partner, have looked to each other as off-world partners. "Ideally, we would have an international coalition of countries working on a lunar base, such as the Moon Village concept proposed by former ESA director-general Jan Wörner. But so far geopolitics have gotten in the way of doing that," says Brian Weeden, director of program planning for the Secure World Foundation.

The final details and partners may change, but China, for its part, seems set on continuing the accumulation of expertise and technologies necessary to get to the moon and back, and stay there in the long term.

This article appears in the October 2021 print issue as "China's Lunar Station Megaproject."


Match ID: 112 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 118 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

Nauka's Troubled Flight—Before It Tumbled the ISS
Thu, 26 Aug 2021 15:30:00 +0000


This is a guest post. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE.

Any hopes that the space agencies in Houston and Moscow had for tamping down public concerns over the International Space Station's recent tumble in orbit were lost last week as new revelations from Moscow confirmed worst-case rumors.

The ISS's tumble was caused by the inadvertent firing of maneuvering thrusters on the newly arrived Nauka Russian research module (referred to as the MLM module by NASA). But it's become clear that the module had been lurching from crisis to crisis during its weeks-long flight before it rendezvoused and docked at the space station. This is raising concerns about exactly how much NASA knew and when, given the stringent safety requirements normally in place that any visiting vehicle must meet before being allowed to approach the station.

This and other questions have been raised as the last two weeks have seen a remarkable and surprising degree of Russian openness, especially as compared to NASA's. Some of that transparency has also surfaced an interesting coincidence (at minimum) involving a spaceflight-themed movie potentially being filmed aboard Nauka that at least complicates but also perhaps begins to explain some of the curious components of this near-disaster's chronology.

Here's the outline:

First, Alexander Khokhlov, a Russian space expert and member of the private Russian Federation of Cosmonautics, had told the RIA Novosti news agency that several emergency situations had occurred on the Nauka during the flight to the ISS, but that Russian specialists managed to cope with "most" of them.

According to him, systems that had significant problems included the infrared sensors which determine the local horizon, the radar antenna that feeds into the automated Kurs rendezvous system, and the Kurs system itself. He also had described a "severe emergency" with the propulsion system. A number of these failures were subsequently confirmed by the European Space Agency while NASA remained silent.

Then on August 7, Dmitry Rogozin, General Director of Roscosmos, spoke with RIA Novosti about the problems of building the Nauka space module. And on the YouTube channel "Soloviev LIVE" (typically noted for its hosts hewing to the official government line), Rogozin singled out the shutting down of a Ukrainian aerospace factory as creating "predictable difficulties in the flight" of Nauka. In Soviet days, this factory used to make an accordion-like bellows used in the propellant tanks to separate the pressurizing gas from the liquid fuel as it was pushed into the engines. In Rogozin's words, "We understood that we would have to spend, in fact, all eight days in manual control of both the flight of this module and the docking. And indeed we had problems there" While the exact details are unclear, it looks like the Russians were worried that accidental leaks across the propellant/pressurant barrier would frustrate automatic real-time management of propellant flow into the module's rocket engines, and instead required direct valve commanding from ground stations.

When asked about such reports last week, a NASA spokesman in Houston had simply said that "Roscosmos regularly updated NASA and the rest of the international partners on MLM's progress during the approach to station" but gave no details and referred all inquiries about Russian hardware issues to Moscow. "We would point you to Roscosmos for any specifics on MLM systems/performance/procedures."

Large screens show a blue and green world map and close ups of space vehicles in front of rows of people in front of computer screens. Moscow Mission Control CenterRoscosmos

On August 13, RIA Novosti reported that 61-year-old Deputy General Designer of the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation Alexander Kuznetsov, the senior Russian space official in direct charge of the Nauka module, had been hospitalized with a stroke immediately after the docking. He was, however, soon released—although a few days later was hospitalized again. The agency attributed the stroke to "the colossal tension" and that "Kuznetsov, along with other specialists and members of the state commission, spent all eight days of the module's flight at the Mission Control Center, practically without leaving the premises."

On August 14, RIA Novosti confirmed that "mass failures of the systems of the Nauka module… arose after it was put into low-earth orbit and threatened a serious emergency." But the story was upbeat: According to a "source in the rocket and space industry," these problems "were eliminated thanks to the continuous work of ground specialists for eight days, the revision of the module's flight task and the creation of an emergency working group of the best experts in the industry."

The story's chronology of challenges was daunting: "The main problems of the first two days of the flight of the Nauka module were: the failure of the flight program and the operation of one of the fuel valves, the problem of transmitting the command package on board from the ground measuring complexes, the absence of a signal from two sensors of the infrared vertical [sensor] and from one of the two star sensors." The story described how Mission Control Center director Vladimir Solovyov immediately reported on the critical situation to the general director of the Roskosmos state corporation, Dmitry Rogozin, who took direct control of the module's flight.

Communication between the Moscow Mission Control Center—"TsUP" in Russian—was too uncertain, so "engineers of the Russian Space Systems holding were promptly dispatched to all ground measuring points, who coped with the task of stable transmission of commands to the module and receiving telemetric information from it."

On July 23, a working group was created by Rogozin to save the troubled module. The group was headed by Sergey Kuznetsov, General Designer of the Salyut Design Bureau and included representatives of the Keldysh Center, the developers of Nauka.

Starting from July 25, the main and backup sets of the Kurs rendezvous and docking system were successfully tested, the fuel reserves required for the rendezvous were recalculated, a new docking scheme was calculated taking into account the strength of the station and the module (the maximum docking speed was limited to 8 centimeters per second), and the stable operation of both star sensors, responsible for the exact orientation of the Nauka, was restored.

These ad-hoc fixes raise the issue of how much did those rushed and admittedly often poorly coordinated ground station commanding and flight software reprogramming initiatives themselves contribute to the potential for onboard "software glitches" such as the still-undefined one now blamed for the renegade thruster firing that tumbled the station? And what is the actual current status and residual content level of the propellant tanks aboard Nauka, given the official descriptions of major monitoring function loss during the rendezvous maneuvers?

Large square solar panels stick out from cylindrical white and brown modules in space. An inset black and white screen shows numerical information. Roscosmos

In any case, the parade of details of the problems overcome during the pre-docking phase of the mission stands in stark contrast to the Russian press treatment of the post-docking thruster firing incident. On August 4 there had been one interview with former cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, executive director for manned programs of Roscosmos. on Russia 24 TV channel:

"The module, apparently, itself could not believe that it had already docked, so when the control system of the module was [reinitialized], the control system decided that it was still in free flight—and, not understanding what was happening, for safety, an algorithm was triggered, turning on the motors … This, of course, should not have happened. The commission is now examining the reasons for this…. The station is a rather delicate device ... Everything was done as lightly as possible. And the additional load causes a load on the [motor] drives of solar batteries, on the [frames] on which everything is installed…. This is an emergency situation that will need to be analyzed in detail… There are probably no damages ... Nothing broke off from the station, I can reassure you, but the extent to which we have loaded the station, what are the consequences, it will now be assessed by experts."

But, aside from these candid comments from Krikalev, the thruster firing became a non-event, except in brief press references to a short interlude in which the "station temporarily lost its orientation." That wording, more suggestive of an addled old man who felt dizzy than of an enormous structure doing a full tumble and a half with counter-thrusting rocket engines shoving at it in totally unexpected directions, recalled the laconic NASA press release after the near-catastrophic Mir fire in 1997: "Small Fire Put Out on Mir."

NASA's narrative-control lid in 1997 was so tight that Jerry Linenger—who'd been aboard Mir in 1997 and considered the incident a very narrow brush with death—later recalled how he was forced to send accurate accounts of that emergency to his wife via a data stick carried by a returning German visiting cosmonaut, since he knew all official messages (including family emails) were being monitored.

Perhaps an echo of that NASA policy is detectable today: Since the Nauka docking, nobody on the US side—three US crew members, a French astronaut, and the Japanese station commander—has been seen to tweet any mention of the dramatic tumble and recovery on docking day. Their public message traffic looks as if the incident never happened.

As the month of August passes, parallel review boards in the United States and Russia are at work behind closed doors. On August 9, NASA ISS program manager Joel Montalbano told journalist Jeff Foust on a Facebook discussion thread that it's a "little too early" to set a timeline for the investigation. NASA is in "regular communications" with Russian colleagues on this, he said. Montalbano also told US specialist on the Russian space program Marcia Smith that they "may have more to say in 2-3 weeks."

If the dramatic launch and trouble-plagued rendezvous of Nauka looks slapdash premature—a bizarre notion for a feat that was originally planned for fifteen years ago—there is one intriguingly suggestive schedule-driver that is only weeks in the future.

A routine launch of the next long-term Russian crew had long been slated for early October. Called "Soyuz MS-19," it was to carry three professional Russian cosmonauts who had been training for at least a year. But several months ago there was a redirection of the mission and the crew.

Two of the three cosmonauts were bumped from the mission and replaced by a movie actor and a director/cameraman, as part of a commercial project to make a spaceflight-themed movie in space.

The project reportedly has high level backing by powerful figures in Moscow, including in the Kremlin, as well as overseas investors.

Even more significant than political favoritism, however, is the simple question of cash. Since the mid-1990s, the influx of foreign funding for the Russian space industry has been a cash cow for space program officials and their political protectors.

Aside from rented official approvals, this first-of-its-kind movie project has been developed and the scene lists tailored specifically to the Nauka module. Nauka contains the living quarters for the extra visitors, the laboratory unit to simulate an in-space operating room (the movie's main theme), and high-quality viewports for spectacular imagery of Earth below.

The potential relevance for any putative urgency to launch Nauka, ready or not, is that it had to occur at least several weeks before this MS-19 mission, or the wrong people would have been aboard the Soyuz, and long-term crew activity planning was not subject to revision. The choice might have been go now, or wait another year for the cash commissions the movie project would have generated. Or the timing could just be a coincidence, just one more unanswered question in an orbital drama of mystery and misdirection.


Match ID: 113 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 145 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

New Deep Learning Method Adds 301 Planets to Kepler's Total Count
Mon, 22 Nov 2021 20:36 EST
Scientists recently added a whopping 301 newly confirmed exoplanets to the total exoplanet tally.
Match ID: 114 Score: 12.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 57 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 2.86 planets

About Half of Sun-Like Stars Could Host Rocky, Potentially Habitable Planets
Thu, 29 Oct 2020 07:00 EDT
According to new research using data from NASA’s retired planet-hunting mission, the Kepler space telescope, about half the stars similar in temperature to our Sun could have a rocky planet capable of supporting liquid water on its surface.
Match ID: 115 Score: 12.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 447 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 2.86 planets

Gravity Assist: Puffy Planets, Powerful Telescopes, with Knicole Colon
Fri, 12 Jun 2020 09:01 EDT
NASA astrophysicist Knicole Colon describes her work on the Kepler, Hubble, TESS and Webb missions, and takes us on a tour of some of her favorite planets.
Match ID: 116 Score: 12.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 586 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 2.86 planets

Physicists Spin Up Quantum Tornadoes
Thu, 13 Jan 2022 14:00:00 +0000


Shrink down to the level of atoms and you enter the quantum world, so supremely weird that even a physicist will sometimes gape. Hook that little world to our big, classical one, and a cat can be both alive and dead (sort of).

“If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics,” said the great Richard Feynman, four decades ago. And he knew what he was talking about (sort of).

Now comes a report on a quantum gas, called a Bose-Einstein condensate, which scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology first stretched into a skinny rod, then rotated until it broke up. The result was a series of daughter vortices, each one a mini-me of the mother form.

The research, published in Nature, was conducted by a team of scientists affiliated with the MIT-Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms and MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics.

The rotating quantum clouds, effectively quantum tornadoes, recall phenomena seen in the large-scale, classical world that we are familiar with. One example would be so-called Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds, which look like periodically repeating, serrated cartoon images of waves on the ocean.

White clouds stretching from the leftmost to the rightmost upper part of a photograph form a regularly repeating wavelike pattern above and behind a block of apartments. These wave-shaped clouds, seen over an apartment complex in Denver, exhibit what’s called Kelvin-Helmholtz instability.Rick Duffy/Wikipedia

The way to make quantum cloud vortices, though, involves more lab equipment and less atmospheric wind shear. “We start with a Bose-Einstein condensate, 1 million sodium atoms that share one and the same quantum-mechanical wave function,”…, says Martin Zwierlein, a professor of physics at MIT.

The same mechanism that confines the gas—an atom trap, made up of laser beams—allows the researchers to squeeze it and then spin it like a propeller. “We know what direction we’re pushing, and we see the gas getting longer,” he says. “The same thing would happen to a drop of water if I were to spin it up in the same way—the drop would elongate while spinning.”

What they actually see is effectively the shadow cast by the sodium atoms as they fluoresce when illuminated by laser light, a technique known as absorption imaging. Successive frames in a movie can be captured by a well-placed CCD camera.

At a particular rotation rate, the gas breaks up into little clouds. “It develops these funny undulations—we call it flaky, then becomes even more extreme. We see how this gas ‘crystalizes’ in a chain of droplets—in the last image there are eight droplets.”

Why settle for a one-dimensional crystal when you can go for two? And in fact the researchers say they have done just that, in as yet unpublished research.

That a rotating quantum gas would break into blobs had been predicted by theory—that is, one could infer that this would happen from earlier theoretical work. “We in the lab didn’t expect this—I was not aware of the paper; we just found it,” Zwierlein says. “It took us a while to figure it out.”

The crystalline form appears clearly in a magnified part of one of the images. Two connections, or bridges, can be seen in the quantum fluid, and instead of the single big hole you’d see in water, the quantum fluid has a whole train of quantized vortices. In a magnified part of the image, the MIT researchers found a number of these little holelike patterns, chained together in regularly repeating fashion.

“It’s similar in what happens when clouds pass each other in the sky,” he says. “An originally homogeneous cloud starts forming successive fingers in the Kelvin-Helmholtz pattern.”

Very pretty, you say, but surely there can be no practical application. Of course there can; the universe is quantum. The research at MIT is funded by DARPA—the Defense Research Advanced Project Agency—which hopes to use a ring of quantum tornadoes as fabulously sensitive rotation sensors.

Today if you’re a submarine lying under the sea, incommunicado, you might want to use a fiber optic gyroscope to detect slight rotational movement. Light travels in both one way and the other in the fiber, and if the entire thing is spinning, you should get an interference pattern. But if you use atoms rather than light, you should be able to do the job better, because atoms are so much slower. Such a quantum-tornado sensor could also measure slight changes in the earth’s rotation, perhaps to see how the core of the earth might be affecting things.

The MIT researchers have gone far down the rabbit hole, but not quite to the bottom of it. Those little daughter tornadoes can be confirmed as still being Bose-Einstein condensates because even the smallest ones still have about 10 atoms apiece. If you could get down to just one per vortex, you’d have the quantum Hall effect, which is a different state of matter. And with two atoms per vortex, you’d get a “fractional quantum Hall” fluid, with each atom “doing its own thing, not sharing a wave function,” Zwierlein says.

The quantum Hall effect is now used to define the ratio of Planck’s constant divided by the charge of the electron squared (h/e2)—a number called the von Klitzing constant—which is about as basic as basic physics gets. But this effect is still not fully understood. Most studies have focused on the behavior of electrons, and the MIT researchers are trying to use sodium atoms as stand-ins, says Zwierlein.

So although they’re not all the way to the bottom of the scale yet, there’s plenty of room for discovery on the way to the bottom. As Feynman also might have said (sort of).


Match ID: 117 Score: 10.71 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 6 days
qualifiers: 10.71 mit

I Spent 20 Years Covering America's Secretive Detention Regime. Torture Was Always the Subtext.
Thu, 13 Jan 2022 12:00:28 +0000

The U.S. naval base in Cuba was like another planet, where only the camaraderie of other journalists kept me tied to reality.

The post I Spent 20 Years Covering America’s Secretive Detention Regime. Torture Was Always the Subtext. appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 118 Score: 10.71 source: theintercept.com age: 6 days
qualifiers: 10.71 mit

O problema não é só o preço altíssimo: você também está comprando carne podre
Thu, 13 Jan 2022 06:02:48 +0000

Levantamento inédito mostra que queixas sobre carne estragada e de má qualidade dispararam nos últimos dois anos no Brasil.

The post O problema não é só o preço altíssimo: você também está comprando carne podre appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 119 Score: 10.71 source: theintercept.com age: 6 days
qualifiers: 10.71 mit

House Republicans Release Text of Redacted Fauci Emails on Covid Origins
Wed, 12 Jan 2022 22:25:58 +0000

A scientist told The Intercept he was advised not to “mention a lab origin as that will just add fuel to the conspiracists” after a call with NIH leaders.

The post House Republicans Release Text of Redacted Fauci Emails on Covid Origins appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 120 Score: 10.71 source: theintercept.com age: 6 days
qualifiers: 10.71 mit

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/10/2021
Mon, 10 Jan 2022 16:00:34 +0000
Payloads: Advanced Plant Experiment-07 (APEX-07): A harvest was performed for the plants that have been growing in petri plate experiment containers in the Veggie Facilities. This harvest follows approximately 12 days of plant growth for the Arabidopsis thaliana. APEX-07 examines how changes in gravity and other environmental factors associated with spaceflight affect plants at the …
Match ID: 121 Score: 9.29 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 8 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA’s Webb Telescope Reaches Major Milestone as Mirror Unfolds
Sat, 08 Jan 2022 12:16 EST
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope team fully deployed its 21-foot, gold-coated primary mirror, successfully completing the final stage of all major spacecraft deployments to prepare for science operations.
Match ID: 122 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 10 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA to Host Coverage, Briefing for Webb Telescope’s Final Unfolding
Thu, 06 Jan 2022 16:24 EST
NASA will provide live coverage and host a media briefing Saturday, Jan. 8, for the conclusion of the James Webb Space Telescope’s major spacecraft deployments.
Match ID: 123 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 12 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/06/2021
Thu, 06 Jan 2022 16:00:16 +0000
Payloads: Acoustic Diagnostics:  Acoustic Diagnostics (AUDIO) measurements were taken.  The Acoustic Upgraded Diagnostics In-Orbit (Acoustic Diagnostics) investigation tests the hearing of ISS crew members before, during, and after flight. This study assesses the possible adverse effects of noise and the microgravity environment aboard the ISS on human hearing. The investigation compares the relationship between the …
Match ID: 124 Score: 9.29 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 12 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/05/2021
Wed, 05 Jan 2022 16:00:22 +0000
Payloads: Analyzing Interferometer for Ambient Air-2 (ANITA-2): ANITA-2 hardware was installed into an EXPRESS Rack. Power cables were mated, and the facility was powered up followed by photo documentation.  The ANITA-2 is a compact gas analyzer which can analyze and quantify 33 trace contaminants in the atmosphere aboard the ISS automatically. ANITA-2 can also detect …
Match ID: 125 Score: 9.29 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 13 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/04/2021
Tue, 04 Jan 2022 16:00:46 +0000
Payloads: Airborne Particulate Monitor (APM):  A crewmember removed the SD Card from APM, transferred its data to an SSC laptop, and re-insert the SD Card back into APM.  Air quality in crewed spacecraft is important for keeping astronauts healthy and comfortable. Although requirements exist for maximum allowable concentrations of particulate matter, currently no measurement capability …
Match ID: 126 Score: 9.29 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 14 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Sunshield Successfully Deploys on NASA’s Next Flagship Telescope
Tue, 04 Jan 2022 10:51 EST
The James Webb Space Telescope team has fully deployed the spacecraft’s 70-foot sunshield, a key milestone in preparing it for science operations.
Match ID: 127 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 14 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Top Tech 2022: A Special Report
Mon, 03 Jan 2022 17:45:10 +0000


At the start of each year, IEEE Spectrum attempts to predict the future. It can be tricky, but we do our best, filling the January issue with a couple of dozen reports, short and long, about developments the editors expect to make news in the coming year.

This isn’t hard to do when the project has been in the works for a long time and is progressing on schedule—the coming first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System, for example. For other stories, we must go farther out on a limb. A case in point: the description of a hardware wallet for Bitcoin that the company formerly known as Square (which recently changed its name to Block) is developing but won’t officially comment on. One thing we can predict with confidence, though, is that Spectrum readers, familiar with the vicissitudes of technical development work, will understand if some of these projects don’t, in fact, pan out. That’s still okay.

Engineering, like life, is as much about the journey as the destination.

See all stories from our Top Tech 2022 Special Report



Match ID: 128 Score: 9.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 15 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/03/2021
Mon, 03 Jan 2022 16:00:01 +0000
Payloads: BioMole: BioMole Surface Sampling and DNA Extraction was performed. The Environmental Health System (EHS) Biomole Facility non-culture based samples are capable of providing microbial identification on-orbit within days of sampling.  The goal of this Tech Demo is to conduct comparative analysis for possible replacement of current microbial monitoring systems. Cytoskeleton: The Med Reservoirs were …
Match ID: 129 Score: 9.29 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 15 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Update: NASA Plans Coverage of Webb Space Telescope Deployments
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 11:12 EST
Over about the next two weeks, NASA will provide broadcast coverage, media briefings, and other updates on major deployment milestones for the James Webb Space Telescope, the world’s largest and most powerful space science telescope.
Match ID: 130 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 19 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Invites Media to View NOAA’s Weather Satellite Ahead of Launch
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 10:52 EST
Media are invited to view the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite T (GOES-T) satellite Thursday, Jan. 20, at 9:30 a.m. EST at the Astrotech Space Operations payload processing facility in Titusville, Florida.
Match ID: 131 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 20 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Invites Media to NOAA’s Weather Observing Satellite Launch
Mon, 27 Dec 2021 15:10 EST
Media accreditation is now open for the upcoming launch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) GOES-T satellite, the Western Hemisphere’s most advanced weather observing and environmental monitoring system.
Match ID: 132 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 22 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA's Webb Telescope Launches to See First Galaxies, Distant Worlds
Sat, 25 Dec 2021 08:10 EST
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope launched at 7:20 a.m. EST Saturday on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport.
Match ID: 133 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 25 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Selects Four University Teams for Aviation Projects
Thu, 23 Dec 2021 12:53 EST
NASA’s research focus on sustainable aviation will get some big help from teams of university faculty and students recently selected to participate in the agency’s University Leadership Initiative (ULI).
Match ID: 134 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 26 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA: Cobertura en español del despegue del telescopio espacial Webb
Tue, 21 Dec 2021 14:32 EST
NASA: Cobertura en español del despegue del telescopio espacial Webb
Match ID: 135 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 28 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA’s 2021 Included Mars Landing, First Flight, Artemis, More
Tue, 21 Dec 2021 10:00 EST
In 2021, NASA completed its busiest year of development yet in low-Earth orbit, made history on Mars, continued to make progress on its Artemis plans for the Moon, tested new technologies for a supersonic aircraft, finalized launch preparations for the next-generation space telescope, and much more – all while safely operating during a pandemic and
Match ID: 136 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 29 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Sets Coverage, Invites Public to View Webb Telescope Launch
Sat, 18 Dec 2021 10:20 EST
NASA will provide coverage of prelaunch, launch, and postlaunch activities for the James Webb Space Telescope, the world’s largest and most powerful space science telescope.
Match ID: 137 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 31 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

The Race for the Next-Gen Space Station
Thu, 16 Dec 2021 18:31:22 +0000


Since November 2000, there have always have been a select few people living apart from the rest of us—the astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station. On any list of humanity’s greatest engineering achievements, the ISS almost always ranks near the top. It is as long as a football field, as spacious as a jumbo jet. It has made more than 123,000 orbits in 21 years.

And it’s hard to find news stories today that don’t say it’s showing its age.

ISS Set the Standard


A photo of the ISS, as a sunrise shines through one of the 16 solar panel housings flanking the space station's central modules.

The International Space Station—originally expected to be completed by 1994 for $8 billion—was completed in 2011 for more than $100 billion. Its mission may be extended till 2030.

NASA


The station is slowly leaking air, presumably from stress cracks in its hull that crew members have struggled to locate, and it’s getting increasingly expensive to maintain as parts wear out. NASA is officially supposed to retire the ISS by 2024, though it says that can probably be pushed back to 2030. Meanwhile, it’s trying to get the next station into orbit as quickly as possible.

So what might a new station look like? And who will lead the charge?

NASA has now awarded US $415.6 million to three aerospace consortiums to develop a new “commercial low Earth orbit destination.” One team is led by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, another by the satellite company Nanoracks, and the third by the aerospace giant Northrop Grumman. NASA’s plan, for some years, has been for private industry to take over the routine work of space operations, with NASA as “one of many paying customers.” If it works—as it has in the case of SpaceX ferrying astronauts to and from the ISS—NASA says it will save billions of dollars and free the agency to go explore the cosmos.

Northrop Grumman’s Free Flyer


Illustration of space station in orbit around earth. Station includes four vertical solar panels extending up and down from the main module alongside eight more horizontal panels. A SpaceX Dragon crew capsule is docked to station.

The Dulles, Va.-based Northrop Grumman has proposed a space station concept that features elements in development for other projects. Note the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft docked at bottom center.

Northrop Grumman

Starlab 


Illustration of a space station with four long solar panels in an \u201cX\u201d arrangement attached to a module, the rightmost half of which is inflatable.

Starlab, from Nanoracks, Voyager Space, and Lockheed Martin, is a free-flying commercial space station concept. The largest module is inflatable.

Nanoracks/Lockheed Martin/Voyager Space

Orbital Reef, First Stages


Image of space station against the back blackdrop of space. A crew module approaches the station from the left, while a central cylinder is joined by a perpendicular cylinder and an inflated spheroid on the far side.

Illustration of the first components of Blue Origin and Sierra Nevada’s proposed Orbital Reef space station in orbit.

Blue Origin/Sierra Nevada

SpaceX’s “Station”?


Artist's conception of the SpaceX Starship on the surface of the moon. SpaceX has said the same ship can be used for many purposes in Earth orbit and deep space.

SpaceX


“We don’t see, coming out of this, one winner,” says Jeffrey Manber, Nanoracks’ chair and co-founder. "We see, by the end of this decade, multiple, privately owned space stations.”

There is a fourth contender, by the way: Axiom Space, a startup company, signed a contract in 2020 to build at least one new module for the ISS by mid-decade. When the time comes, Axiom says, it would detach its components and reconfigure them with other parts for a new station.

“If the ISS is extended to 2030, this will ensure that we don’t have a gap in our access to low Earth orbit,” said Philip McAlister, NASA’s director of commercial spaceflight.

But the race to avoid that gap may have already been lost—and if that warning seems ominous, it also comes from the space agency’s own in-house watchdog, the Office of Inspector General, or OIG.

“In our judgment, even if early design maturation is achieved in 2025—a challenging prospect in itself—a commercial platform is not likely to be ready until well after 2030,” the OIG said in an audit report. It said that without a working station, “the nascent low Earth orbit commercial space economy would likely collapse, causing cascading impacts to commercial space transportation capabilities, in-space manufacturing, and microgravity research.”

Remember, says the OIG, that the U.S. went nine years between the retirement of the space shuttles and the first SpaceX crew launch. And President Ronald Reagan originally proposed a space station by 1994 for $8 billion, but the ISS wasn’t finished until 2011 for more than $100 billion.

What’s more, new stations “might be obsolete before they’re even launched,” says Chad Anderson, a venture capitalist whose firm, Space Capital, has funded companies including Nanoracks. He wonders if SpaceX, which has been silent about its plans, might swoop in with its giant, reusable multipurpose Starship—launching laboratories and space factories, carrying tourists, doing almost everything a permanent space station could at a cost other contenders cannot match. Starship has already been picked as NASA’s next moon lander.

“They’re going to pull this off,” says Anderson. “The unit cost is just the cost of fuel. What is that? $50 million—that’s the same price people are paying per seat to go to the International Space Station right now.”

The competitors for NASA’s support say they can meet the challenge. They’d go in the opposite direction from SpaceX; their approach is not to get too ambitious.

Conceptually, their designs borrow heavily from the ISS, with cylindrical modules and photovoltaic panels docked together. Most of these components already exist or are well along in development. Some sections are visibly larger and more bulbous because they’d be folded up for launch and inflated in orbit. That’s an excellent way to fit more cabin space in the payload fairing of a rocket—but even that idea is decades old. An inflatable storage compartment, called BEAM, has been docked to the ISS since 2016.

“There’s nothing that’s going to prevent the technology from being there for the hardware that flies,” says Doug Cooke, a former associate administrator at NASA who was heavily involved in planning the ISS. “We have the history and the experience.”

The competitors say they can head off delays and deliver on price. “It’s much better than an order of magnitude less than what it cost to develop the International Space Station,” says Brent Sherwood of Blue Origin. “Most if not all of the challenges that need to be worked…have already been solved by the International Space Station program.”

The race goes to the swift, and to the inexpensive. What will win out? The proven approach? Or the revolutionary?


Match ID: 138 Score: 9.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 33 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Awards Contracts for Rotorcraft Vertical Lift Technology Services
Tue, 14 Dec 2021 16:15 EST
NASA has awarded multiple contracts to provide rotorcraft vertical lift technology development research and development support at the agency’s Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley.
Match ID: 139 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 35 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Launches New Mission to Explore Universe’s Most Dramatic Objects
Thu, 09 Dec 2021 01:16 EST
NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission launched at 1 a.m. EST Thursday on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Match ID: 140 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 41 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Mirror, mirror, on the Moon
Wed, 08 Dec 2021 13:21:00 +0100
Image:

Mirror, mirror, on the Moon, how far away are you? 

MoonLIGHT or Moon Laser Instrumentation for General relativity/geophysics High-accuracy Tests is seeking the answer to this and more questions on general relativity, the gravitational dynamics of the Earth-Moon system and the deep lunar interior.  

MoonLIGHT is a laser retroreflector, imaged here, which allows laser beams sent from Earth to be reflected back from the Moon to receivers on our planet. This allows very precise measurement of the distances between the reflector and the ground station.

Known as lunar laser ranging, this technique has been in use since the Apollo missions to investigate Einstein’s theory of general relativity, lunar geophysics and the Earth-Moon dynamics, among other fields of study. However, data from retroreflectors of the Apollo era is not as precise due to lunar vibrations, or the perceived lagging and wanning of the Moon when viewed from Earth, caused by its eccentric and tilted orbit of our planet.

The MoonLIGHT retroreflector can reduce this error thanks to its next-generation compact design. The single, larger reflector with a front face 100mm in diameter can improve accuracy to within millimeters.

Developed by the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics and managed by ESA, MoonLIGHT will launch in 2024 on NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative to the Reiner Gamma region of the Moon, which has one of the most distinctive and enigmatic natural features on the Moon, called lunar swirl, characterized by high surface luminosity (albedo) and the very rare presence of a local magnetic field.


Match ID: 141 Score: 9.29 source: www.esa.int age: 42 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA to Highlight New Science Findings, Missions During AGU Meeting
Mon, 06 Dec 2021 10:47 EST
NASA researchers and colleagues from around the world will present the latest findings on a range of Earth and space science topics at the annual American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting, being held virtually and in New Orleans from Monday, Dec.13, through Friday, Dec. 17.
Match ID: 142 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 43 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA TV to Air IXPE Prelaunch Activities, Launch
Tue, 30 Nov 2021 15:24 EST
NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission, the first satellite dedicated to measuring the polarization of X-rays from a variety of cosmic sources, such as black holes and neutron stars.
Match ID: 143 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 49 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Revealed: Jupiter’s Secret Power Source
Wed, 24 Nov 2021 20:00:00 +0000


For all its other problems, Earth is lucky. Warmed mostly by the sun, 150 million km away, shielded by a thin but protective atmosphere, the temperature at the surface averages 14 to 15 degrees Celsius—a good number to support liquid oceans and a riot of carbon-based life.

Jupiter is a different story. Its upper atmosphere (Jupiter has no solid surface) has a temperature closer to what you'd find on Venus than on some of Jupiter's own moons. As will be seen below, planetary scientists have for decades puzzled over why this planet so far from the sun is so inexplicably warm. In 2021, however, the solution to the mystery may at last have been found.


The solar system’s biggest planet has a big problem


image of the planet jupiter

You are orbiting Jupiter, 779 million km from the sun, where physics and logic say it ought to be very, very cold. Sunlight, out here, is less than four percent as intense as it is on Earth. If solar heating were the only factor at play, the planet's upper atmosphere would average 70 degrees below zero Celsius.

Jupiter in the infrared


image of the planet Jupiter taken in infrared light \u2014 revealing circulation patterns of surprisingly warm gases in Jupiter\u2019s atmosphere

But it doesn’t. It exceeds 400 Celsius—and scientists have puzzled over it for half a century. They have sometimes spoken of Jupiter as having an “energy crisis.” Now, an international team led by James O'Donoghue of JAXA, the Japanese space agency, says they've found an answer.

Jupiter’s northern (and southern) lights


Image of the planet Jupiter with a photograph of an aurora at the planet's north pole in glowing blue light

Jupiter's polar auroras are the largest and most powerful known in the solar system—and O'Donoghue says the energy in them, caused as Jupiter's atmosphere is buffeted by charged particles in its magnetic field, is strong enough to heat the outer atmosphere of the entire planet.


"The auroral power, delivered by the auroral mechanism, is actually 100 terawatts per hemisphere, and I always like that fact," says O'Donoghue. "I think that's something like 100,000 power stations."


Closeup of Jupiter\u2019s swirling cloud layers, indicating the planet\u2019s very active winds

The auroras had been suspected as Jupiter's secret heat source since the 1970s. But until now, scientists thought Jupiter's giant, swirling east-west cloud bands might shear the heat away before it could spread very far from the poles. Winds in the cloud bands reach 500 km/h.


Image of two giant telescope domes opened to reveal big telescopes inside, the Keck I and Keck II telescopes; outside is a cloudy night at sunset

To try to solve the mystery, the research team set out to create an infrared heat map of Jupiter's atmosphere. They used the 10-meter Keck II telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii, one of the five largest in the world, to take spectrographic readings of the planet on two nights: 14 April 2016 and 25 January 2017.


Back to original image of the planet Jupiter

Their April 2016 heat map (to be shown next) revealed that indeed the regions around the polar auroras were hottest, and the heat did spread from there—though the effect tailed off toward Jupiter's equator...

The first night of Keck observations


Image captioned 14 April 2016 of Jupiter taken by the Keck telescope revealing an aurora at the planet\u2019s poles and wide swaths of heat radiating downward into the planet\u2019s temperate latitudes

The heat was strong enough to propagate despite those powerful winds.


Image captioned 14 April 2016 of Jupiter taken by the Keck telescope revealing an aurora at the planet\u2019s poles and wide swaths of heat radiating downward into the planet\u2019s temperate latitudes

It was a promising find, but they needed more. Fortunately their next observation turned up, in O'Donoghue's words, "something spectacular."

The second night of Keck observations




The auroras the team observed in January 2017 are about 100 degrees hotter than they were on the first night—and so are temperatures at every point from there to the equator.


The researchers soon learned that Jupiter had around the time of their January 2017 observation been hit by an outsized surge in solar wind, ionized particles which would compress Jupiter's magnetic field and make the aurora more powerful.

It was sheer luck—a “happy accident," says O'Donoghue—that the surge of particles happened on their second night. Such pulses of energy probably happen every few weeks on average, but it is hard to know exactly when.

Other researchers had already tried to explain Jupiter's warmth by other means—perhaps some sort of acoustic-wave heating or convection from the planet's core, for instance—but they couldn't create convincing models that worked as well as the auroras. O'Donoghue and his colleagues worked for years on the resulting paper. They say they went through more than a dozen drafts before it was accepted for publication in the journal Nature earlier this year.

Where does this lead? It's too early to say, but scientists will want to replicate the findings and then see if they also explain the heating they see on the other gas giants in the solar system—Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Understanding of the auroral effects may also affect our picture of Jupiter's moons, including Europa and Ganymede, which are believed to have briny oceans beneath their icy outer crusts and may be good places to look for life. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. For now, the research continues.

“It's funny," says O'Donoghue, “the reactions from some people in the field. Some people thought, 'Oh, yeah, we knew it was the aurora all along.' And then other people are saying, 'Are you sure it's the aurora?' It tells you there's an issue, and hopefully our observations have solved it definitively.

“We once thought that it could happen, that the aurora could be the source," he says, “but we showed that it does happen."

Photos, from top: A. Simon/Goddard Space Flight Center and M. H. Wong/University of California, Berkeley/OPAL/ESA/NASA; Gemini Observatory/AURA/NSF/UC Berkeley; J. Nichols/University of Leicester/ESA/NASA; JPL-Caltech/NASA; Kevin M. Gill/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/NASA; Ethan Tweedie/W. M. Keck Observatory; A. Simon/Goddard Space Flight Center and M. H. Wong/University of California, Berkeley/OPAL/ESA/NASA; J. O'Donoghue/JAXA (heat maps) and STSCI/NASA (planet).

This article appears in the December 2021 print issue as "Jupiter's Electric Blanket."


Match ID: 144 Score: 9.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 55 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA’s Aviation Tech to Roll Out to Airports, Save Time for Passengers
Wed, 24 Nov 2021 12:41 EST
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson visited Orlando International Airport in Florida Wednesday and met with aviation leaders to discuss implementing aircraft flight scheduling technology developed by the agency that will soon improve dependability for passengers – which is especially important during peak travel times like the Thanksgiving holiday.
Match ID: 145 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 55 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA, Partner to Highlight Passenger-Friendly Aviation Technology
Mon, 22 Nov 2021 15:03 EST
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson will visit Orlando International Airport in Florida on Wednesday, Nov. 24 and meet with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) CEO Phil Brown.
Match ID: 146 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 57 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

6 Things to Know About Supercomputing at NASA
Fri, 12 Nov 2021 14:47 EST
From exploring the solar system and outer space to improving life here on Earth, supercomputing is vital to NASA missions.
Match ID: 147 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 67 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Throwing a Cosmic Kiss – Matthias Maurer's journey to the International Space Station
Fri, 12 Nov 2021 17:30:00 +0100
Video: 00:02:42

ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer and NASA  astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron liftoff to the International Space Station in the SpaceX  Crew Dragon spacecraft “Endurance”.

Collectively known as “Crew-3”, the astronauts were launched from launchpad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center  in Florida, USA at 02:03 GMT/03:03 CET Thursday 11 November.

The spacecraft docked to the International Space Station at 00:32 CET Friday, 12 November/23:32 GMT Thursday, 11 November, marking the official start of Matthias's first mission.

Crew-3 will spend around six months living and working aboard the orbital outpost before returning to Earth. It is the first space mission for Matthias, who’s become the 600th human to fly to space. He chose the name “Cosmic Kiss” for his mission as a declaration of love for space.

Matthias has a background in materials science and looks forward to supporting a wide range of science and research in orbit. The work he carries out throughout his mission will contribute to the success of future space missions and help enhance life on Earth.

Visit the Cosmic Kiss mission page to learn more about Matthias’s mission.


Match ID: 148 Score: 9.29 source: www.esa.int age: 67 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Participates in UN Climate Change Conference
Sat, 06 Nov 2021 09:53 EDT
NASA is participating in the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, which began Oct. 31, and runs through Friday, Nov. 12.
Match ID: 149 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 74 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Vice President Harris Visits NASA to See Vital Climate Science Work
Fri, 05 Nov 2021 19:17 EDT
The urgency of Earth science and climate studies took the spotlight Friday as Vice President Kamala Harris visited NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Match ID: 150 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 74 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA, USGS Release First Landsat 9 Images
Fri, 05 Nov 2021 17:02 EDT
Landsat 9, a joint mission between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) that launched Sept. 27, 2021, has collected its first light images of Earth.
Match ID: 151 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 74 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Selects New Mission to Study Storms, Impacts on Climate Models
Fri, 05 Nov 2021 13:25 EDT
NASA has selected a new Earth science mission that will study the behavior of tropical storms and thunderstorms, including their impacts on weather and climate models.
Match ID: 152 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 74 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Vice President Harris to Visit NASA Goddard Today, Deliver Live Remarks
Fri, 05 Nov 2021 09:49 EDT
Vice President Kamala Harris will visit NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland today, Nov. 5, to get a firsthand look at the agency’s work to combat the climate crisis and protect vulnerable communities.
Match ID: 153 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 75 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

What Computing Tech Will Drive Future Space Exploration?
Wed, 27 Oct 2021 13:00:01 +0000


This article is part of our exclusive IEEE Journal Watch series in partnership with IEEE Xplore.

At the heart of every successful space mission is a sophisticated and capable computer system.

In the 1960s, relatively basic computing systems took humankind to the moon. More recently, the Parker probe has reached the scorching outskirts of our Sun, and the Voyager probes have left our solar system completely. With each successive generation of space probe, of course, computers have followed the long march of Moore’s law toward smaller, faster and cheaper systems.

But, the question remains: which kind of computing system will best serve humankind's future, more ambitious space explorations?

Even for earthly applications, it can be challenging to develop computers that are the right size, weight, power, and cost. Often one of these desirable features are achieved at the expense of another. For example, more powerful computing systems tend be less energy efficient.

"In space processing applications, these tradeoffs are even more critical, where large volumes of data need to be processed within strict execution time and power consumption constraints," explains Michael Cannizzaro, a pre-doctoral fellow at the NSF Center for Space, High-Performance, and Resilient Computing (NSF-SHREC).

Cannizzaro has been studying and comparing different computing architectures for space applications, and has narrowed in on a choice. As part of his Masters thesis completed this past summer, he is recommending that RISC-V—which has been gaining much traction recently—could be an attractive option for future space missions. Although his work is not yet published, it won a Best Paper award at the 2021 IEEE Space Computing Conference.

According to Cannizzaro, the judges were impressed with his unique approach to analysis, which involved evaluating the RISC-V architecture in a commercially-available processor realized on silicon. "Since commercially-available RISC-V silicon is so new, to my knowledge, this was the first analysis to take a commercial RISC-V chip and use it for space processing-focused evaluations," explains Cannizzaro

He compared RISC-V to four other architecture designs, three of which are already prevalent in space processing applications: ARM Cortex-A9, ARM Cortex-A53, and POWER e5500. After analyzing the different options, Cannizzaro is recommending RISC-V because of its high-power efficiency (which is particularly important for space missions) and the fact that it's open source.

Interestingly, Cannizzaro's analysis suggests that RISC-V does not in fact offer the best performance characteristics. ARM Cortex-A53 achieved this distinction thanks to its vector capabilities, which RISC-V currently lacks. But Cannizzaro notes that RISC-V may be getting vector extensions in the near future. "This will of course open the door for future studies to evaluate the extension's impact on performance and power consumption," he says.

Cannizzaro says he is "extremely honored to win the award" and plans to build upon this work by incorporating additional architectures, processing platforms, and benchmark tests into his analysis. He also has his eye on evaluating the reliability of RISC-V.

"Leveraging a high-performance system is difficult to justify for space if that device is not going to withstand the harsh environments outside of earth's atmosphere, so reliability is another key factor to consider," he says. "Evaluating the reliability of RISC-V silicon is something I am hoping to incorporate into future work."


Match ID: 154 Score: 9.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 84 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Becoming a Leader at NASA
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 19:02:41 +0000


"Growing up in the Bowie, Md., area, whenever we drove by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, I told my parents that I would work there someday," recounts Proctor, who is now an associate chief at Goddard for NASA's Electrical Engineering Division (EED).

Originally, Proctor was focused on astronomy, but during high school at an engineering exploration summer program he solved "a resistor equivalence problem that nobody else in the class had gotten [and] the instructor recommended I look at electrical engineering as a career instead." He got a master's in EE from Johns Hopkins University. "I started working at Tracor Systems (now part of BAE Systems) in their Standard Missile Program," recalls Proctor. "In 2001, after three years there, an opening at Goddard became available. I applied...and I've been there ever since."

Today, as an associate chief in the EED—one of six senior leaders in the division—Proctor manages the EED's operational budget, and also oversees a major support contract, the Electrical Systems Engineering Services contract. The EED's portfolio includes the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) Mission, International Space Station Cosmic Ray Energetics And Mass (ISS-CREAM), and Neutron star Interior Composition ExploreR (NICER) .

"We have about 300 civil servants and 300 contractors," says Proctor. "We design, prototype, test, and build flight-production units of electronic boards and power systems. This includes reliability testing like making sure that boards are radiation-hardened—or, for the Webb Telescope, vibration-testing the mirror. We usually do the electronic systems overview of a spacecraft and integration and testing for the craft and subsystems. And we do communications for the spacecraft and ground networks."

If you'd like to follow Proctor into space engineering, "you need to take some types of internships," recommends Proctor. "Among other things, this will tell you what you do and don't like. And don't be afraid to reach out to people, especially in the aerospace industry. Introduce yourself and say, I have questions. Do you have someone who will talk with me or mentor me in the field? You'd be surprised how many will share time."

Also: "It's essential to link with industry to get the latest technologies and work with our scientists to incorporate these developments and methods in our designs. For example, 3D printing to build our circuit boards in-house and less expensively; chip design and manufacturing to make smaller parts and boards that fit into CubeSats...and finding ways for smaller, more compact chips that can do multiple functions while meeting size and power constraints."

As a Native American, says Proctor—a member of the Piscataway-Conoy Tribe—"I'd like to see more Native Americans at NASA. I think we bring a unique perspective to space."

"We get recruits through the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) and the Society of American Indian Government Employees (SAIGE). We have internship opportunities and try to recruit through AISES, and we do career fairs to get high school and college students into STEM/STEAM fields."

Working at NASA can have its perks, Proctor notes. "I got to attend a launch of the MMS spacecraft at Cape Canaveral—at night, with no clouds. It was amazing."

This article appears in the November 2021 print issue as "Marcellus Proctor."


Match ID: 155 Score: 9.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 91 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

EP21TDCS-LO: A Conductive Bonding Agent for Space-Environment Assemblies
Fri, 01 Oct 2021 21:55:39 +0000


Conductive bonding agents play a fundamental role in ensuring reliable electrical connectivity in many electromechanical assemblies designed to operate at the extremes of temperature and pressure of space. Failure of a single bond between conductive components in an assembly can ripple rapidly through mechanical and electrical systems, ultimately threatening spacecraft integrity and crew safety. In two applications, Master Bond EP21TDCS-LO conductive epoxy met critical requirements for maintaining robust bonds in electromechanical systems intended to operate in space conditions.

Master Bond Polymer System EP21TDCS-LO is a two component, silver-filled epoxy designed to ensure high-strength conductive bonds between dissimilar materials at temperatures down to 4K. Unlike most two-part silver-filled adhesives, Master Bond EP21TDCS-LO uses a simple one-to-one mix ratio that remains workable for 30-40 minutes and cures at room temperature in 24-48 hours or in 1-2 hours at 200°F. With volume resistivity less than 10 -3 ohm-cm, this adhesive cures to an electrically conductive bond that combines high strength (shear strength over 850 psi) and flexibility (T-peel strength over 5 pounds per linear inch) – properties unusual in a silver epoxy. Along with its workability and performance characteristics, Master Bond EP21TDCS-LO meets critical requirements for space operations including passing NASA low-outgassing test criteria.

The applications listed in the table below highlight use of Master Bond EP21TDCS-LO in ensuring high-strength, conductive bonds in assemblies designed to survive the harsh conditions of space.

Download this free case study

Applications of Master Bond EP21TDCS-LO

Industry Application EP21TDCS-LO Role Critical Properties
Aerospace Creating a space-like test environment for studying electrostatic discharge (ESD) effects on spacecraft1 Bonding samples for extended ESD testing at low temperature and pressure Ease of use
Bond conductivity and durability in high electric fields
Non-reactive, no volatiles, NASA-outgassing compliant
Aerospace Studying properties of an electrohydrodynamic (EHD) pump2 Bonding electrodes needed to generate electric fields for EHD Ease of use for bonding dissimilar materials
Bond conductivity and durability through extended mechanical, thermal, and electrical stress

Non-reactive, no volatiles, NASA-outgassing compliant

Sources

1Dekany, Justin; Johnson, Robert H.; Wilson, Gregory; Evans, Amberly; and Dennison, JR, "Ultrahigh Vacuum Cryostat System for Extended Low Temperature Space Environment Testing," All Physics Faculty Publications, Paper 1455, 2012.

2Sinnamon, Samuel, "Coolant Distribution Control in Satellite Structural Panels Using Electrohydrodynamic Conduction Pumping," MS thesis, Mechanical Engineering, University of New Mexico, May 2012.


Match ID: 156 Score: 9.29 source: www.masterbond.com age: 109 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Issues Contracts to Mature Electrified Aircraft Propulsion Technologies
Thu, 30 Sep 2021 16:03 EDT
NASA has selected two U.S. companies to support its Electric Powertrain Flight Demonstration (EPFD) that will rapidly mature Electrified Aircraft Propulsion (EAP) technologies through ground and flight demonstrations.
Match ID: 157 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 110 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Transfers Air Traffic Management Tool Updates to FAA
Tue, 28 Sep 2021 12:07 EDT
As part of an effort aimed at making aviation more sustainable, NASA has transferred findings from an air traffic management project to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for nationwide implementation, the two agencies announced at a media briefing Tuesday.
Match ID: 158 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 112 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA, FAA Invite Media to Briefing on Air Traffic Control Updates
Wed, 22 Sep 2021 09:58 EDT
NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will hold a virtual briefing for media Tuesday, Sept., 28 at 1 p.m. EDT to discuss efforts to improve the sustainability of aviation through the demonstration of more efficient airport operations, contributing to the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to tackle climate change.
Match ID: 159 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 119 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Statement on National Aerospace Week
Wed, 15 Sep 2021 10:51 EDT
The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson on National Aerospace Week, hosted by Aerospace Industries Sept. 13-17. This week recognizes innovations from aerospace manufacturers, suppliers, and workforce.
Match ID: 160 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 126 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA’s TESS Tunes into an All-sky ‘Symphony’ of Red Giant Stars
Wed, 04 Aug 2021 17:00 EDT
Using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, astronomers have identified a vast collection of pulsating red giant stars that will help us explore our galactic neighborhood.
Match ID: 161 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 167 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Planetary Sleuthing Finds Triple-Star World
Mon, 11 Jan 2021 13:40 EST
Years after its detection, astronomers have confirmed a planet called KOI-5Ab orbiting in a triple-star system with a skewed configuration.
Match ID: 162 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 372 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Awards SETI Institute Contract for Planetary Protection Support
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 12:04 EDT
NASA has awarded the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, a contract to support all phases of current and future planetary protection missions to ensure compliance with planetary protection standards.
Match ID: 163 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 557 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Imagining Another Earth
Thu, 28 May 2020 10:27 EDT
This artist's concept shows exoplanet Kepler-1649c orbiting around its host red dwarf star.
Match ID: 164 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 601 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA’s TESS Enables Breakthrough Study of Perplexing Stellar Pulsations
Wed, 13 May 2020 11:00 EDT
Astronomers have detected elusive pulsation patterns in dozens of young, rapidly rotating stars thanks to data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
Match ID: 165 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 616 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

AAS Names 29 NASA-Affiliated Legacy Fellows
Thu, 30 Apr 2020 09:00 EDT
Twenty-nine scientists working at or affiliated with NASA have been named Fellows of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), the major organization of professional astronomers in North America.
Match ID: 166 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 629 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Kepler-1649c: Earth-Size, Habitable Zone Planet Hides in Plain Sight
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 02:13 EDT
This artist's illustration shows what Kepler-1649c could look like from its surface.
Match ID: 167 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 643 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Jet Fighter With a Steering Wheel: Inside the Augmented-Reality Car HUD
Wed, 12 Jan 2022 14:00:00 +0000


The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS, the first all-electric sedan from the company that essentially invented the automobile in 1885–1886, glides through Brooklyn. But this is definitely the 21st century: Blue directional arrows seem to paint the pavement ahead via an augmented-reality (AR) navigation system and color head-up display, or HUD. Digital street signs and other graphics are superimposed over a camera view on the EQS’s much-hyped “Hyperscreen”—a 142-centimeter (56-inch) dash-spanning wonder that includes a 45-cm (17.7-inch) OLED center display. But here’s my favorite bit: As I approach my destination, AR street numbers appear and then fade in front of buildings as I pass, like flipping through a virtual Rolodex; there’s no more craning your neck and getting distracted while trying to locate a home or business. Finally, a graphical map pin floats over the real-time scene to mark the journey’s end.

It’s cool stuff, albeit for folks who can afford a showboating Mercedes flagship that starts above US $103,000 and topped $135,000 in my EQS 580 test car. But CES 2022 in Las Vegas saw Panasonic unveil a more-affordable HUD that it says should reach a production car by 2024.

Head-up displays have become a familiar automotive feature, with a speedometer, speed limit, engine rpms, or other information that hovers in the driver’s view, helping keep eyes on the road. Luxury cars from Mercedes, BMW, Genesis, and others have recently broadened HUD horizons with larger, crisper, more data-rich displays.

Mercedes Benz augmented reality navigation youtu.be

Panasonic, powered by Qualcomm processing and AI navigation software from Phiar Technologies, hopes to push into the mainstream with its AR HUD 2.0. Its advances include an integrated eye-tracking camera to accurately match AR images to a driver’s line of sight. Phiar’s AI software lets it overlay crisply rendered navigation icons and spot or highlight objects including vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, barriers, and lane markers. The infrared camera can monitor potential driver distraction, drowsiness, or impairment, with no need for a standalone camera as with GM’s semiautonomous Super Cruise system.

Close up of a car infotainment unit showing a man at the driving wheel, with eye-tracking technology overlayed on his face Panasonic's AR HUD system includes eye-tracking to match AR images to the driver's line of sight. Panasonic

Andrew Poliak, CTO of Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America, said the eye tracker spots a driver’s height and head movement to adjust images in the HUD’s “eyebox.”

“We can improve fidelity in the driver’s field of view by knowing precisely where the driver is looking, then matching and focusing AR images to the real world much more precisely,” Poliak said.

For a demo on the Las Vegas strip, using a Lincoln Aviator as test mule, Panasonic used its SkipGen infotainment system and a Qualcomm Snapdragon SA8155 processor. But AR HUD 2.0 could work with a range of in-car infotainment systems. That includes a new Snapdragon-powered generation of Android Automotive—an open-source infotainment ecosystem, distinct from the Android Auto phone-mirroring app. The first-gen, Intel-based system made an impressive debut in the Polestar 2, from Volvo’s electric brand. The uprated Android Automotive will run in 2022’s lidar-equipped Polestar 3 SUV—an electric Volvo SUV—and potentially millions of cars from General Motors, Stellantis, and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.

Gene Karshenboym helped develop Android Automotive for Volvo and Polestar as Google’s head of hardware platforms. Now, he’s chief executive of Phiar, a software company in Redwood, Calif. Karshenboym said AI-powered AR navigation can greatly reduce a driver’s cognitive load, especially as modern cars put ever more information at their eyes and fingertips. Current embedded navigation screens force drivers to look away from the road and translate 2D maps as they hurtle along.

“It’s still too much like using a paper map, and you have to localize that information with your brain,” Karshenboym says.

In contrast, following arrows and stripes displayed on the road itself—a digital yellow brick road, if you will—reduces fatigue and the notorious stress of map reading. It’s something that many direction-dueling couples might give thanks for.

“You feel calmer,” he says. “You’re just looking forward, and you drive.”

Street testing Phiar's AI navigation engine youtu.be

The system classifies objects on a pixel-by-pixel basis at up to 120 frames per second. Potential hazards, like an upcoming crosswalk or a pedestrian about to dash across the road, can be highlighted by AR animations. Phiar’s synthetic model trained its AI for snowstorms, poor lighting, and other conditions, teaching it to fill in the blanks and create a reliable picture of its environment. And the system doesn’t require granular maps, monster computing power, or pricey sensors such as radar or lidar. Its AR tech runs off a single front-facing, roughly 720p camera, powered by a car’s onboard infotainment system and CPU.

“There’s no additional hardware necessary,” Karshenboym says.

The company is also making its AR markers appear more convincing by “occluding” them with elements from the real world. In Mercedes’s system, for example, directional arrows can run atop cars, pedestrians, trees, or other objects, slightly spoiling the illusion. In Phiar’s system, those objects can block off portions of a “magic carpet” guidance stripe, as though it were physically painted on the pavement.

“It brings an incredible sense of depth and realism to AR navigation,” Karshenboym says.

Once visual data is captured, it can be processed and sent anywhere an automaker chooses, whether a center display, a HUD, or passenger entertainment screens. Those passenger screens could be ideal for Pokémon-style games, the metaverse, or other applications that combine real and virtual worlds.

Poliak said some current HUD units hog up to 14 liters of volume in a car. A goal is to reduce that to 7 liters or less, while simplifying and cutting costs. Panasonic says its single optical sensor can effectively mimic a 3D effect, taking a flat image and angling it to offer a generous 10- to 40-meter viewing range. The system also advances an industry trend by integrating display domains—including a HUD or driver’s cluster—in a central, powerful infotainment module.

“You get smaller packaging and a lower price point to get into more entry-level vehicles, but with the HUD experience OEMs are clamoring for,” Poliak said.


Match ID: 168 Score: 7.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 7 days
qualifiers: 7.14 mit

The Humanities Can't Save Big Tech From Itself
Wed, 12 Jan 2022 12:00:00 +0000
Hiring sociocultural workers to correct bias overlooks the limitations of these underappreciated fields.
Match ID: 169 Score: 7.14 source: www.wired.com age: 7 days
qualifiers: 7.14 mit

Apple’s Private Relay Roils Telecoms Around the World
Tue, 11 Jan 2022 21:31:20 +0000
Security experts say there's little reason for the criticism from Europe’s mobile operators and US limitations over the VPN-like iCloud tool.
Match ID: 170 Score: 7.14 source: www.wired.com age: 7 days
qualifiers: 7.14 mit

Why IoT Sensors Need Standards
Tue, 11 Jan 2022 19:00:01 +0000


Sensors traditionally have been used for camera imaging, as well as communicating information about humidity, temperature, motion, speed, proximity, and other aspects of the environment. The devices have become key enablers for a host of new technologies essential to business and to everyday life, from turning on a light switch to managing one’s health.

Several factors are fueling sensors’ growth, including miniaturization, increased functionality, and higher levels of integration into electronic circuitry. There are also greater levels of automation being incorporated into products and systems, such as with Internet of Things and Industrial Internet of Things applications.


Prominent users of sensors include the defense, energy, health care, and transportation industries. The global sensor market is large and growing fast. By one estimate, it is projected to reach US $346 billion in sales by 2028, up from $167 billion in 2019.

SAFE AND RELIABLE APPLICATIONS

As the sensor industry races to take advantage of market opportunities, the need to ensure the devices will operate safely and reliably is a growing concern.

In the energy industry, for example, drill rigs for oil and gas exploration are now equipped with sensors to achieve optimal, safe performance at the lowest cost possible. The sensors must operate under harsh environmental conditions. Their failure could result in a rig being taken out of service, leading to significant, costly downtime.

In industrial applications, worker safety would be compromised if gas sensors fail to detect the presence of toxic fumes. If the light detection and ranging remote-sensing system lidar fails in semiautonomous vehicles, they will be unable to function properly. Lidar is fundamental to advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).

Because there are now thousands of sensor products on the market, adherence to standards that could improve their performance or accelerate development of new applications has grown in importance, as has the need for independent conformity and certification protocols.

It has become challenging to effectively deploy sensors in complex IoT and IIoT applications given the interoperability issues that can arise when attempting to integrate systems from multiple vendors. Hardware compatibility, wired and wireless connectivity, security, software development, and cloud computing are key interoperability considerations as well as major issues in their own right.

STANDARDS FOR IOT SENSORS

For many years, the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) has provided an open platform for users, those in academia, and technical experts from sensor manufacturers to come together to develop standards. Here are a few examples of IEEE standards and projects that have come from the collaboration.

  • IEEE P1451.99: IEEE Standard for Harmonization of Internet of Things Devices and Systems. Current implementations of IoT devices and systems do not provide a way to share data or for an owner of such devices to authorize who has the right to control them or access the devices’ data. This standard will define a metadata bridge to facilitate IoT protocol transport for sensors, actuators, and other devices. It will address issues of security, scalability, and interoperability for cost savings and reduced complexity. The standard will offer a data-sharing approach that leverages current instrumentation and devices used in industry.
  • IEEE P2020: Standard for Automotive System Image Quality. Most automotive camera systems have been developed independently, with no standardized reference point for calibration or measurement of image quality. This standard will address the fundamental attributes that contribute to image quality for ADAS applications; identify existing metrics and other useful information relating to the attributes; define a standardized suite of objective and subjective test methods; and specify tools and test methods to facilitate standards-based communication and comparison among system integrators and component vendors.

REGISTRY AND CERTIFICATION

IEEE SA offers the IEEE Sensors Registry. The global Web-based service for manufacturers allows them to enter their sensors’ certifications, the standards they adhere to, and product data sheets so that buyers can find the right product. IEEE conducts an audit process on the submitted information to ensure its accuracy.

WEBINARS AND ROUNDTABLE

These free on-demand and upcoming webinars are available:

The first in a series of new webinars, Are Sensors the Weakest Link to Cyber Attacks?, is scheduled for 2 February at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.

IEEE SA plans to host an industry roundtable during the first quarter this year. It will focus on the creation of a comprehensive plan and timeline to address interoperability and cybersecurity issues for IoT sensor networks. Participants will include technology leaders from industry, government, and academia. Contact sensors-rt@ieee.org for more information.


Match ID: 171 Score: 7.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 7 days
qualifiers: 7.14 mit

Labrador Addresses Critical Need With Deceptively Simple Home Robot
Tue, 11 Jan 2022 18:02:00 +0000


It’s not often that we see a home robot that manages to be both relatively affordable and realistically technologically achievable while also solving a clear and widespread need. The iRobot Roomba was arguably the first good example of such a robot, but I’m hard pressed to think of what the second good example would be, which is why this new home robot from Labrador Systems is so exciting—it’s essentially a semi-autonomous mobile table, which is poised to have a huge impact on people who could really use exactly that.

If you’re not sure why anyone would need a semi-autonomous mobile table, then congratulations on likely being young enough and healthy enough that you aren’t currently experiencing significant mobility problems. But for many older adults as well as adults with disabilities, reliance on mobility aids (like canes or walkers) means that moving around while carrying things in hands or arms is difficult and dangerous, and for some, moving at all can be painful or exhausting. This can necessitate getting in-home help, or even having to leave your home completely, and this is the problem that Labrador wants to solve, or at least mitigate, with its mobile home robot.


When we spoke to Labrador cofounder Mike Dooley back in October of 2019, here’s how he described the (then still secret) robot that he was working on:

One of the core features of our robot is to help people move things where they have difficulty moving themselves, particularly in the home setting. That may sound trivial, but to someone who has impaired mobility, it can be a major daily challenge and negatively impact their life and health in a number of ways. Some examples we repeatedly hear are people not staying hydrated or taking their medication on time simply because there is a distance between where they are and the items they need. Once we have those base capabilities, i.e., the ability to navigate around a home and move things within it, then the robot becomes a platform for a wider variety of applications.

Two years later, this is the Labrador Retriever:

“Our robots are designed to serve as an extra pair of hands and lighten the load of everyday tasks in the home.” —Mike Dooley

The video above comes after several months of in-home testing of an alpha version of Labrador’s robot, which started back in February of 2021. “We saw usage rates as high as a hundred times a month,” Dooley told us. “All of the pilot users rated the robot highly, and two of them asked if they could invest in the company.” And honestly, I can totally understand why.

Despite its apparent simplicity, this is quite possibly the most exciting home robot I’ve seen in years, in the sense that it’s not just useful, but also needed. For people with limited mobility, the Labrador robot offers a place to store and transport heavy items that might be impossible for those people to carry or move on their own. Items that are used regularly, like water or books or medications or whatever, can live semi-permanently in the storage area in the middle deck of the robot, and in total the robot can handle up to 25 pounds (11 kilograms) of whatever you can fit on it. One version of the robot is at a fixed height, while a slightly more expensive version can raise and lower the height by about one-third of a meter and do some other clever stuff that we'll get into in a moment.

Graphic showing different stops around a home layout

Autonomy is fairly straightforward. Labrador uses 3D visual simultaneous localization and mapping, or SLAM, combined with depth sensors and bumpers on all sides to navigate through home environments, managing (we’re told) tight spaces, ADA-compliant floor transitions, and low lighting conditions, although you’ll have to keep clutter and cords away from the robot’s path and possibly tape down troublesome carpet edges. When you first get a robot, a Labrador representative will (remotely) drive it around to build a map and to set up the “bus stops” where the robot can be sent. This greatly simplifies control, since the end user can then just speak a destination into a smartphone app or a voice assistant and the robot will make its way there, zero training time required. The robot can also be scheduled to be at specific spots at specific times. All-day battery life is achievable since the robot spends most of its time being a table and not moving. And it’ll even charge the user's small electronics on its lower deck.

A quick word on privacy, because this is a mobile robot with cameras on it that has access to your home. Dooley tells us that aside from the setup and troubleshooting, Labrador’s robots are intended to be fully autonomous, without a human in the loop. Having a remote-access capability is certainly useful, and it’s easy to see how family members might be interested in being able to leverage the robot in this way in an emergency. But, there’s really no good way of giving someone on-demand remote access while also making sure that the robot respects your privacy at all times. This isn’t a problem that’s unique to Labrador, but Dooley says that the company plans to add a hardware or software switch that can enable or disable remote connectivity, which seems like a reasonable compromise.

Of course, you can’t very well call a robot a “Retriever” if it doesn’t solve the problem of bringing things back to you without relying on a person on the other end to place those things onto the robot. I’ve lost count of the number of beer- (or whatever-) fetching robots that attempt to use manipulators to open a refrigerator and find and grasp something inside, which is a superhard problem that is years away from being solved in a practical in-home way. Labrador has quite cleverly side-stepped this problem through a minor amount of environmental modification, which is really the right way of going about introducing home robots right now.

The Labrador robot pulls a tray with food on it out of a pallet on a table.

Labrador has designed a system of pallets and trays that allow its Retriever robot to carry out fetching tasks autonomously. Pallets can be attached to tables or countertops, and then the robot can be instructed to interface with a specific pallet and retrieve the tray. It takes a little bit of forethought, since obviously the robot can only fetch what’s on the tray and nothing else, but with a minimal amount of affordable infrastructure, the amount and variety of stuff that Retriever can bring to you is significantly increased.

One use case that Labrador is actively developing is a pallet and tray that can work with a small refrigerator. This is going to take more significant hardware mods (like, a custom fridge that will presumably come with a significant added cost), but the idea is that a meal or two on a tray could be preloaded into the fridge, kept cold, and then requested at any time. You could also imagine a microwave modified to work in a similar way, so that meals could be heated on demand as well.

The Labrador robot is shown in front of a fridge with the door open, retrieving food on a tray.

Before we get too caught up in add-ons like fridges and microwaves that aren’t yet available, let’s talk about the cost. Arguably the biggest challenge that Labrador has to face is not a technical one (although there are plenty of technical challenges to overcome with any mobile home robot), but rather an economic one: Users have to be able to afford it. This is a bit more complicated for Labrador in particular, since the robot is designed for people with disabilities or people who are likely retired or both, and who therefore may not have the kind of disposable income that’s usually associated with a mobile home robot. Labrador’s base model robot, called Caddie (which has a fixed height and is not compatible with the pallet/tray system), will cost US $1500 plus $100 per month for 36 months. Retriever, which does the clever tray stuff, goes for $150 per month; once the robot has been paid off, it’s all yours, although there will likely continue to be a (lower) monthly fee for support and new features. This is not an insignificant cost, but the context is critical here—rather than thinking of the cost in a vacuum, it’s important to consider what services Labrador’s robots are potentially replacing.

In-home care from humans is expensive. A disabled person might need help for only a couple hours a day, but the cost for that help could easily run into the hundreds of dollars per week. And even if they’re getting care from a human with whom they have a relationship, they’re not paying money for it, that care is still by no means free.

There’s a mental cost to always asking for help. If you're in a situation where your spouse is your caregiver, it can be stressful for both individuals. And I think that's why we get this super strong reaction of, “this really gives me some degree of independence back.” We’re not trying to replace a person with our robot, we’re just trying to give people the choice, especially for simple things, of whether they ask for help or not. —Mike Dooley

Consider also the cost of being restricted in what you can do by whether you have someone around to help you or not—like, imagine being only able to have lunch or do the laundry or even get a drink of water on someone else’s schedule. Labrador’s robots aren’t intended to replace the care of humans, but rather to extend the windows of time during which folks with mobility challenges can be safe and comfortable on their own. From that perspective, for many if not most users, Labrador’s robots will likely have no trouble paying for themselves in short order. Ideally, the relative difference in cost between a robot and in-home care from a professional human would provide an incentive for health care systems and insurance companies to provide subsidies, since it seems like it would improve care for members while lowering the overall cost. This hasn’t happened yet, but it’s something that Labrador is working on.

A woman in a wheelchair places a plate of food on top of the Labrador robot.

To its credit, Labrador is also being very, very careful about the rollout of its robots. The robot I was introduced to in secret at CES 2020 was very similar to this prerelease version announced at CES 2022, and Labrador has spent the intervening years making sure that it’s manufacturable, supportable, and can work reliably in a wide variety of homes. But it’s very much still a prerelease version. Labrador doesn’t expect to be in full production until the second half of 2023. The company is taking fully refundable $250 reservations now, though, and if you’re lucky (and live in the right place) you might be able to get access to a beta unit earlier than that. For the rest of us, 2023 does seem like a long time to wait, but it’ll be absolutely worth it if Labrador can get this right.


Match ID: 172 Score: 7.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 7 days
qualifiers: 7.14 mit

Why Multi-Functional Robots Will Take Over Commercial Robotics
Tue, 11 Jan 2022 16:36:25 +0000


This is a sponsored article brought to you by Avidbots.

The days of having single-purpose robots for specific tasks are behind us. A robot must be multi-functional to solve today’s challenges, be cost-effective, and increase the productivity of an organization.

Yet, most indoor autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) today are specialized, often addressing a single application, service, or market. These robots are highly effective at completing the task at hand, however, they are limited to addressing a single use case. While this approach manages development costs and complexity for the developer, it may not be in the best interest of the customer.

To set the stage for increased growth, the commercial AMR market must evolve and challenge the status quo. A focus on integrating multiple applications and processes will increase overall productivity and efficiency of AMRs.



The market for autonomous mobile robots is expected to grow massively, and at Avidbots we see a unique opportunity to offer multi-application, highly effective robotic solutions.


Today, there are many application-specific AMRs solving problems for businesses. Common applications include indoor parcel delivery, security, inventory management, cleaning, and disinfection, to name a few.

The market for these types of AMRs is expected to grow into the tens of billions by 2025 as projected by Verified Market Research. This is a massive opportunity for growth for the AMR industry. It is also interesting to note that the sensor set and autonomous navigation capabilities of the various single application indoor AMRs today are similar.

Hence, there is an opportunity to combine useful functionalities into a single multi-application robot, and yet the industry as a whole has been slow to make such advancement.

Today's Robots Focus on Single Tasks


Four examples of autonomous mobile robots: Knightscope, Reeman, Savioke, and Simbe.


There’s never been a better time for the AMR industry to take strategic steps given the changes we’ve had to embrace as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, there have been many robots brought to market recently that look to address disinfection, the majority of which have been single-purpose, including UVC robots.

With heightened standards of cleanliness in mind, let’s consider the potential of extending a cleaning robot from its single-use to performing both floor cleaning and high-touch surface disinfection.

In September 2021, Avidbots launched the Disinfection Add-On, expanding the functionality of the company’s fully autonomous floor-scrubbing robot, Neo. By simply adding a piece of hardware and pushing a software update, Avidbots' Neo, the floor-scrubbing robot, now serves multi-purposes.


Avidbots Neo 2 mobile robot with a disinfection add-on cleaning a hand railing at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

The Future: Multi-Purpose Robots


Not only will multi-application robots like this example provide more value through additional convenience to end-customers; when compared to single application robots, the value derived also comes from the economic impact.

The economics of multi-application robots are simple. Combining two applications on one robot can deliver significant cost savings versus running two full single-use robots. For example, the price to rent a disinfection-only robot or a cleaning-only robot is in the neighborhood of US $2,000–3,000 per month per robot.

But Neo with its Disinfection Add-On extends beyond its primary function of floor cleaning to disinfect for a few hundred dollars per month. Disinfection is available at a cost that is around one-tenth of the price of a single-purpose disinfection robot or manual disinfection.


These savings can only be realized since the main cleaning function already pays for the AMR itself and the disinfection is merely a hardware and software extension.

There are other OEMs following this trend; Brain Corp. combines cleaning with shelf-scanning, leveraging existing autonomous floor-scrubbing robots as the platform. Similarly, Badger combines hazard analysis (spill detection, etc.) with a shelf-scanning robot as the platform.

Meet Neo 2, a Fully Autonomous Robotic Floor Cleaner


This video presents an overview of Neo 2, Avidbots' advanced robotic platform optimized for autonomous cleaning and sanitization. Neo is equipped with the Avidbots AI Platform featuring 10 sensors, resulting in 360° visibility and intelligent obstacle avoidance. Combined with integrated diagnostics and Avidbots Remote Assistance, Neo offers advanced autonomy, navigation, and safety capabilities.

Video: Avidbots


There are a few parallels between the current state of robotics today and the early computer industry of the 1970s. In the early '70s, when mainframes still dominated computer system sales, several manufacturers released low-cost desktop computers that were designed to support multiple applications, peripherals, and programming languages.

The low cost of desktop computers, the key “killer-apps,” and the large number of potential applications resulted in large growth and the proliferation of desktop computers worldwide, which eventually overtook mainframe sales in 1984.

As sales of AMRs increase and the cost of processing systems continue to drop, mass-produced AMR OEMs will likely be capable of delivering AMRs at a significantly lower price in the coming years. Computer systems like the NVIDIA Xavier NX, which are designed specifically for leading-edge robotic perception applications, paint a promising picture of the evolution of computer systems for indoor AMRs.

We look forward to a day in the near future when indoor AMRs will be sold at much less than US $10,000. Lowering the cost of AMRs is certainly a key to enabling larger and faster growth in the industry.

About Avidbots


Avidbots is a robotics company with a vision to bring robotic solutions into everyday life to increase organizational productivity and to do that better than any other company in the world.

Our groundbreaking product, the Neo autonomous floor scrubbing robot, is deployed around the world and trusted by leading facilities and building service companies. Headquartered in Kitchener, ON, Canada, Avidbots is offering comprehensive service and support to customers on five continents.

Learn more about Avidbots


There is the open question of the “killer-app” in AMRs for commercial spaces. What application can best serve as a platform for multi-application robots?

Cleaning is certainly a candidate given that it's a service needed in most indoor spaces and saves two to four hours per night of manual labor. However, there are other industries such as the hospitality and food-service industry where parcel delivery has seen large growth and success since it saves many hours daily. In the examples above, customers will still likely benefit from having multiple potential applications in their AMRs.

While only time will tell how the industry will evolve, it's clear that delivering several applications with a single robot and at a much lower cost than multiple robots (or manual counterparts) has the potential to make AMRs more attractive. We can take the industry to new heights by continuing to push the boundaries, including developing multi-application robots that can be used across industries and allow organizations to focus on revenue-generating activities.

Our industry-leading multi-application solution is growing and so is our team of Avidbotters, including robotics engineers. If you’re interested in learning more about Avidbots or exploring career opportunities visit Avidbots.


Match ID: 173 Score: 7.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 7 days
qualifiers: 7.14 mit

Apple’s Private Relay Is Being Blocked
2022-01-11T15:09:37Z

Some European cell phone carriers, and now T-Mobile, are blocking Apple’s Private Relay anonymous browsing feature.

This could be an interesting battle to watch.

Slashdot thread.


Match ID: 174 Score: 7.14 source: www.schneier.com age: 7 days
qualifiers: 7.14 mit

Can Entrepreneurs and Governments Team Up to Solve Big Problems?
2022-01-11T00:00:00EST

Match ID: 175 Score: 3.57 source: hbswk.hbs.edu age: 8 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Simon Reeve: 'I feel a hypocrite over my carbon footprint'
Sun, 09 Jan 2022 00:23:01 GMT
The TV adventurer says he hopes the honest stories in his shows mitigate their environmental impact.
Match ID: 176 Score: 3.57 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 10 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Bi-Weekly /r/Technology Tech Support / General Discussion Thread. Have you a tech question or want to discuss tech?
2022-01-08T09:46:13+00:00

Greetings Fine Subscribers of /r/Technology,

This is the Bi-Weekly /r/Technology Tech Support / General Discussion Thread.

All questions must be submitted as top comments (direct replies to this post).

As always, we ask that you keep it civil, abide by the rules of reddit and mind your reddiquette. Please hit the report button on any activity that you feel may be in violation of any of the guidelines listed above.

Click here to review past entries of these support discussions.

/r/technology moderators.

submitted by /u/veritanuda
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Match ID: 177 Score: 3.57 source: www.reddit.com age: 11 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Building Better Qubits
Fri, 07 Jan 2022 19:00:01 +0000


While growing up in Germany, Heike Riel helped her father design and build furniture in the family workshop. She says the experience taught her that “precision and creativity are necessary to build something excellent.”

“Working as a furniture maker was actually a very nice experience because you built something that is high quality and lasts,” Riel says. “When I go back to my hometown, many of our clients still have the furniture that I helped build for them.”


Woodworking also instilled in her a passion for mathematics and physics, she says, adding that she knew she someday would pursue a career in one of those fields.

Today the IEEE senior member is head of science and technology at IBM Research in Zurich. She is also the lead for IBM Research Quantum Europe and Africa, a group that aims to create technologies in artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, quantum computing, and related fields.

The IBM Fellow has helped develop several groundbreaking technologies including OLED displays. She has conducted research in semiconducting nanowires and other nanostructures, as well as molecular electronics. She has authored more than 150 publications and holds more than 60 patents.

Riel is the recipient of this year’s IEEE Andrew S. Grove Award “for contributions to materials for nanoscale electronics and organic light-emitting devices.” The award is sponsored by the IEEE Electron Devices Society.

“I couldn't believe that I was selected [to receive] this very prestigious award,” Riel says. “I feel very humbled and honored because I have great respect for Andrew S. Grove, who was a true technical and business leader in the semiconductor industry, and many people I admire have received this award.”

THE FIRST OLED DISPLAY

After completing a woodworking apprenticeship in 1989, Riel decided to pursue a master’s degree in physics. She graduated in 1997 from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, in Germany. She joined IBM Research in Zurich in 1998 while pursuing her doctorate in physics in collaboration with the University of Bayreuth, also in Germany.

Her research focused on the optimization of multilayer organic light-emitting devices to be used in displays. After earning her Ph.D. in 2003 she worked at the lab as a research staff member. Riel’s research helped explain the physics behind charge transport and recombination, which govern the operation of all electronic devices, as well as light outcoupling in organic semiconductors.

“Back then, people didn’t believe it could be done, but that didn’t stop us.”

Her findings helped improve the efficiency, color, and endurance of OLEDs, which made it possible for her and the team to develop the first 51-centimeter full-color active-matrix OLED display. The technology is made by placing thin films of light-emitting organic compounds between two conductors. When voltage is applied, a bright light is emitted from each individual pixel. OLEDs can be found in TV screens, tablets, and smartphones.

“We had one year to scale organic LEDs to make a 20-inch display in three different colors with pixel sizes of 100 micrometers by 300 micrometers,” Riel said in a 2021 interview for IBM’s Research blog. “Back then [in the early 2000s], people didn’t believe it could be done, but that didn’t stop us.”

She says it’s rewarding to have developed something consumers use every day.

“When my husband bought our first OLED television, it was really exciting,” she recalls. “Suddenly I owned a product that is using technologies I developed.”

NANOWIRE TRANSISTORS

Riel went on to become head of IBM’s nanoscale electronics group, which develops semiconducting nanowires and nanostructures for transistors. She and her team helped develop the first vertical surround-gate nanowire field-effect transistor in 2006.

Researchers around the world had been trying to reduce the size of transistors for decades. But each time the transistors were miniaturized, their performance decreased; eventually they couldn’t effectively control electric current.

“It became clear,” Riel says, “that how we built transistors had to change in the early 2000s.”

“We had to come up with new ideas for how to improve the quality of [transistors] when we make them smaller,” she says. “We explored and developed new materials and integration schemes for nanoscale electronics and new transistor architectures based on semiconducting nanowires.”

Riel and her team implemented gate-all-around and cylindrical nanowires for transistors. Because the nanowires are cylindrical, the transistor gate can be wrapped around the nanowires—which allows better control of the current, according to a research paper authored by Riel and her colleagues.

In 2017 IBM released a new transistor—the Nanosheet—that uses the concepts Riel says she and her team developed between 2005 and 2012. Each transistor is made up of three stacked horizontal silicon sheets, each a few nanometers thick and completely surrounded by a gate. Last year IBM unveiled the world’s first 2-nm node chip, which was based on Nanosheet technology.

“IBM claims this new chip will improve performance by 45 percent using the same amount of power, or use 75 percent less energy while maintaining the same performance level, as today’s 7 nm-based chips,” an IEEE Spectrum article said.

ENHANCING THE QUBIT

Riel is currently conducting quantum-computing research. She and her team are developing qubits and related technologies.

Classical computers switch transistors on and off to represent data as ones or zeros. Because of the nature of quantum physics, qubits can be in a state of superposition, whereby they are both 1 and 0 simultaneously, as explained in a 2020 IEEE Spectrum article. Quantum computers can perform some tasks far faster and more accurately than conventional machines.

“We are trying to figure out whether a new material would make them function better and if [certain materials] could have advantages over today’s processors,” Riel says. Her team has been experimenting with silicon spin qubits and topological phenomena.

She and her team are taking a holistic approach, she says, and are building a quantum system from the ground up—creating the qubit, quantum processor unit technology, control electronics, and software. In November the IBM team demonstrated the Eagle, a 127-qubit chip: the world’s first quantum processor to break the 100-qubit barrier.

Her team also is working to find a good way to connect two quantum processors. In quantum computing, she says, transduction is necessary to transport information over a long distance from one processor to another. Quantum transduction is the process of converting quantum signals from a low-energy photon to a high-energy photon to protect its state during transmission.

“To do this conversion, you need sophisticated technology,” Riel says. “We are exploring different approaches and figuring out which is the best and how we can achieve the specifications that you need for doing it.”

CONNECTING THROUGH IEEE

Riel says she joined IEEE in 2007 so she could contribute to the community, participate in conferences, and connect with other engineers.

A member of the IEEE Electron Devices Society, she has helped to organize events including the IEEE European Solid-State Device Research Conference, the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting, and the IEEE Symposium on VLSI Technology and Circuits.

Riel says IEEE has enriched her career, allowing her to keep up with technology advances and to network with peers.


Match ID: 178 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 11 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

This Is the Year of the Shadow Pandemic
Thu, 06 Jan 2022 12:00:00 +0000
The long-tail consequences of fighting Covid-19 must be mitigated—in education, women’s rights, climate, and more.
Match ID: 179 Score: 3.57 source: www.wired.com age: 13 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

IEEE WIE Conference Will Explore the Future of Work
Wed, 05 Jan 2022 19:00:06 +0000


The 2022 IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference is scheduled for 6 and 7 June in a hybrid format, with both in-person and virtual networking events. The in-person events are to take place at the San Diego Convention Center.

The annual WIE ILC aims to support and sustain female leaders and technologists, especially mid- to senior-career workers. This year’s theme is Transforming Leadership.

The hybrid format lets attendees and speakers decide how to attend based on their own risk assessment. Virtual attendees will be able to access livestreams and remote events online. All in-person sessions will be recorded and made available to virtual attendees at a later date.

The past two conferences have been held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they both were successful, reaching a large international audience.

Proposals are being sought for this year’s keynote speakers and events, such as breakout sessions, panels, and workshops. The deadline is 1 February.

A SESSION FOR EVERYONE

In the past, the most popular WIE ILC sessions have been skill-building workshops for career management, breakout talks on new technologies, and executive leadership training sessions. They will be back this year as well.

Leadership and career topics to be covered at this year’s conference include career management; the future of remote/hybrid work; and increasing inclusion, intersectionality, and representation.

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, 5G, the Internet of Things, and the interface between business and technology will be explored in sessions and panels.

This year the conference is introducing Birds of a Feather sessions, which are designed to provide a safe space for like-minded attendees to network. Session attendees can discuss topics that are affecting them, such as caregiving, technology integration, and balancing being an underrepresented minority with working as an engineer. Attendees who are interested in leading a conversation on a topic of their choice can submit their suggestion on the IEEE WIE ILC website.

IEEE members can plan and host their own virtual global networking event during the conference. It can focus on specific IEEE regions or sections and can be conducted in various languages. Contact the conference committee staff if you’re interested in holding a networking event.

FLEXIBLE PLATFORM

WIE ILC’s virtual platform is flexible and interactive for attendees, speakers, and sponsors. It uses artificial intelligence to connect attendees with other participants who have similar interests. The platform also can identify and share program content that attendees might find interesting based on sessions they have attended.

The AI engine can connect sponsors and attendees through its “matchmaking” capabilities, which consider what sessions participants are attending and their profile information. Attendees who have expressed interest in a specific technology or career in a particular engineering field will be matched with sponsors in that area so the two can talk in more detail. Interested sponsors should contact the conference committee staff.

SPEAKERS NEEDED

Past speakers have had diverse backgrounds, and the plan is to continue that trend this year.

The WIE ILC is seeking experts who can talk about subjects such as the future of work, effectively leading dispersed teams, adapting to hybrid workplaces, and career transitions. The pandemic is causing many people around the world to change jobs and even careers, and the conference is looking for speakers who can help attendees through such transitions.

Speaker proposals may be submitted on the IEEE WIE ILC website.

Talks from last year’s conference are still available on IEEE.TV. They include keynotes from Qualcomm’s Susie Armstrong, Intel’s Sandra Rivera, and McAfee’s Lynne Doherty.

One speaker from last year’s conference who resonated with many was Julie Coker from the San Diego Tourism Authority. She told the audience to “find their seat at the corporate table.”

“If there is no table, make one,” Coker said. “If there is no chair, bring your own.”

We hope to see you virtually or in San Diego.


Match ID: 180 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 13 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Zapping the Brain and Nerves Could Treat Long COVID
Wed, 05 Jan 2022 14:00:00 +0000


New Year’s Day marked a dispiriting milestone for one New Jersey woman: 20 months of symptoms of COVID-19. The woman, who asked for anonymity to protect her medical privacy, suffers from a variety of neurological problems that are associated with long COVID, including brain fog, memory problems, difficulty reading, and extreme fatigue. In her search for treatment, she came across neurologists at New York University (NYU) who were trying electrical neurostimulation for long COVID patients. She signed up for experimental treatments five days per week that send gentle electric currents through her skull and into her cortex.

It might sound weird, she says, but the reality is quite mundane. “People ask me, ‘You’re putting electricity in your brain? Where do you go to do that?’ And I say, ‘I do it in my house, I just put on a headband and make a call.’ ”

The woman was part of a wave of people who started turning up at NYU’s neurology clinic in the late spring of 2020, several months after the first wave of COVID-19 cases hit New York City. “They were saying, ‘I can’t function, I can’t return to work,’ ” remembers Leigh Charvet, a professor of neurology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. To make matters worse, doctors had little to offer these patients.

Even as the world continues to grapple with new waves of acute illness, doctors are trying to understand and find treatments for long COVID, which can trouble patients for many months after their recovery from the initial infection. The syndrome, technically known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), is associated with a long list of possible symptoms, including heart palpitations, breathing problems, and a wide variety of neurological issues. “We need to do so much work to understand what long COVID is,” Charvet says. “But we also need to reach people now with something that we know is safe and deployable.”

Researchers Step Up

Neurostimulation refers to electrical stimulation of the brain or peripheral nerves with either implanted or external devices; it's part of a growing field that's sometimes called bioelectronic medicine or electroceuticals. When the pandemic hit, researchers who had been working on neurostimulation for other maladies looked for ways to help the medical response. “This was a chance for neuromodulation to step up,” says Marom Bikson, codirector of neural engineering at the City College of New York and cofounder of the neurotech company Soterix Medical, which supplied stimulation gear to several research groups.

Some researchers began investigating whether neurostimulation could help with the acute phase of infection. In Brazil, Suellen Andrade of the Federal University of Paraiba recently concluded a study using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to help patients in the intensive care unit. While her team is still preparing a publication on the results, she says that patients who received the stimulation (instead of a sham treatment) required significantly less time on ventilators and were discharged sooner.

Others, including Charvet, took on long COVID. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was seeking remote and scalable treatment options for COVID-19 patients, and actively solicited proposals for neurostimulation trials that could be carried out by patients in their own homes. While the trials so far have been very small, the results have been promising enough to support larger studies to optimize the technology and to test the efficacy of these treatments.

Charvet has tried tDCS with a handful of people so far. A patient puts on an electrode-studded headband that’s attached to a controller and calls the study coordinator, who provides a unique code to enable that day’s stimulation. During the 20-minute stimulation session, the patient also does a therapeutic activity such as a cognitive game, and may also do some physical exercise after the session. Charvet says the research so far has been “a testing ground—it’s not scientific, it’s not controlled.” Patients have come to her for help with brain fog, fatigue, headaches, emotional dysregulation, and other problems, and she tweaks the treatment protocols based on each person’s symptoms.

She’s now planning a larger trial with NYU patients that’s intended to optimize the technology for at-home treatments. The trial will debut a tDCS headband that also tracks heart-rate variability; she and her colleagues hope that this biomarker will serve as an indicator of the patient’s response to treatment. They’ll use a headset made by Soterix Medical that measures the impedance in the electrodes and translates that signal into heart-rate data. “What drives us is that there’s a tremendous unmet need,” Charvet says.And our patients are getting better.”

At the Medical University of South Carolina, psychiatry professor Mark George tried a different neurostimulation approach in a pilot study of 20 patients that he began in late 2020; his study used an at-home device that stimulated the vagus nerve through the ear. George’s team assembled a “real tough briefcase with a whole bunch of good stuff inside,’ ” he says, likening the equipment to Mission Impossible supplies. Each patient got an iPad for telemedicine consultations and for symptom surveys, the stimulation device, and “a portable ICU” with wearables that measured heart rate, oxygen saturation, and blood pressure. George’s patients did 1-hour sessions each morning and evening, six days per week, while seated and doing whatever they wished.

“We showed you could do this kind of stimulation at home; the safety data was impeccable,” George says. “And we saw reductions in brain fog, improvements in energy, some improvement in anxiety.” He’s now applying for funding for a larger study.

One of his patients, a woman in her 60s who asked to be identified only by her first name, Pam, says she suffered from brain fog, memory lapses, fatigue, and mood swings following her case of COVID-19, which sent her to the emergency room in April 2020. When she started the stimulation, she felt a lessening of the uncharacteristic depression and anger that had troubled her, she says. “When I started with the treatment, I felt a little brighter, more like myself,” Pam says.I think I was a little better mentally.” Another participant, a woman in her 50s who asked to be identified only as Beth, spent 23 days in the hospital during her initial battle with COVID-19, including more than a week in the intensive care unit. A few weeks after she started the stimulation, “I noticed improvements in my headaches,” Beth says, “and also with the vertigo.” Both women say their symptoms returned when the study ended, although not with the same intensity.

Disentangling Everything

One of the challenges that researchers face as they investigate the utility of neurostimulation for long COVID is the diversity of symptoms that patients report. George says his study deliberately took a “shotgun approach,” enrolling patients with a variety of neurological symptoms and looking at who responded best to the treatment. More work is needed to clarify which stimulation methods are most effective for which subsets of patients.

What’s more, there are a host of confounding factors at play, notes Jennifer Frontera, a professor of neurology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. “It’s a very heterogenous group of people describing very heterogenous symptoms,” she says. NYU initially become a hub for research on long COVID because the hospital saw so many patients in the first wave of the pandemic and has tracked released patients over time. In September 2021, the National Institutes of Health put the institution in charge of a US $470 million grant to support large-scale studies of Long COVID. Frontera notes that a big part of that project, called the Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) Initiative, will be disentangling everything.

“We don’t have a medication for brain fog.”
—Jennifer Frontera, NYU

Frontera explains that some people dealing with long COVID may have experienced low levels of oxygen in their brains during their acute illness, while others may have immune systems that went into overdrive following COVID-19 infection. But others may be experiencing a worsening of underlying conditions such as mood disorders and dementia, and still others may be having symptoms that aren’t actually related to their COVID-19 infections. “Many people are sitting around their houses, they’re not out walking around,” she says. “Some people are more in tune with their bodies and are noticing things they never noticed before.” Even the weight gain that’s been so common during the pandemic can confuse matters since it can lead to sleep apnea, which in turn can cause sleep problems, fatigue, and headaches.

To get a handle on the basics, Frontera and her colleagues conducted a study about health impacts of the pandemic, surveying 1,000 people whose demographics roughly matched those of the United States in terms of age, gender, and ethnicity. They didn’t ask participants if they’d been infected with COVID-19 until the end. They found that pandemic-related stress factors such as financial and relationship problems were equally predictive of anxiety, depression, and insomnia as a history of COVID-19 infection. However, a history of infection was more predictive of cognitive issues.

Frontera doesn’t see the study’s result as undercutting the severity of the long COVID problem. She notes that the study found that 25 percent of people with a history of COVID-19 had symptoms that persisted beyond a month. “If you translate that out to the population of the United States, that would be 6 million people,” she says. She’s most troubled by the cognitive problems she’s seeing, she says: “We don’t have a medication for brain fog.”

Frontera and her colleagues have also been following people who have been hospitalized because of COVID-19; they published a paper regarding the patient’s status six months after infection and recently submitted a paper with data from one year after infection. Even after one year, she says, 80 percent of those people were still experiencing symptoms, and 50 percent scored as abnormal on a cognitive screening tool. “That’s a lot of cognitive disability,” she says.

Searching for the “Why”

If neurostimulation does help with the neurological symptoms of long COVID, it’s not clear why. Stimulation with tDCS has been shown to increase “plasticity” in the brain, or the ability of the brain to make new connections between neurons; neuroplasticity is associated with learning, changing thought patterns, and rehabilitation after injury. Vagus-nerve stimulation has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, which is a component of autoimmune disorders; if some long haulers are suffering from an overactive immune system, vagus-nerve stimulation could help. George in South Carolina hopes to collect biomarkers associated with inflammation in his next study to examine that possible connection.

The researchers are hoping that larger studies will begin to shed light on the ways that neurostimulation impacts the neurology of people with long COVID. And if millions of people in the United States alone are in need of treatment, they may have an unprecedented opportunity for research.

Marom Bikson of Soterix Medical notes that both the research field and the industry of neurostimulation is just getting started. “We don’t have Pfizers of neuromodulation,” he says, “but you can only imagine what would happen if it shows an effect on long COVID.” It could lead to millions of people having stimulators in their homes, he suggests, which could open other doors. “Once you start stimulating for long COVID, you can start stimulating for other things like depression,” he says. But he says it’s crucial to proceed cautiously and not make unsupported claims for neurostimulation’s powers. “Otherwise,” he says, “it could have the opposite effect.”


Match ID: 181 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 14 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

AI’s 6 Worst-Case Scenarios
Mon, 03 Jan 2022 20:00:00 +0000


Hollywood’s worst-case scenario involving artificial intelligence (AI) is familiar as a blockbuster sci-fi film: Machines acquire humanlike intelligence, achieving sentience, and inevitably turn into evil overlords that attempt to destroy the human race. This narrative capitalizes on our innate fear of technology, a reflection of the profound change that often accompanies new technological developments.

However, as Malcolm Murdock, machine-learning engineer and author of the 2019 novel The Quantum Price, puts it, “AI doesn’t have to be sentient to kill us all. There are plenty of other scenarios that will wipe us out before sentient AI becomes a problem.”

“We are entering dangerous and uncharted territory with the rise of surveillance and tracking through data, and we have almost no understanding of the potential implications.”
—Andrew Lohn, Georgetown University

In interviews with AI experts, IEEE Spectrum has uncovered six real-world AI worst-case scenarios that are far more mundane than those depicted in the movies. But they’re no less dystopian. And most don’t require a malevolent dictator to bring them to full fruition. Rather, they could simply happen by default, unfolding organically—that is, if nothing is done to stop them. To prevent these worst-case scenarios, we must abandon our pop-culture notions of AI and get serious about its unintended consequences.

1. When Fiction Defines Our Reality…

Unnecessary tragedy may strike if we allow fiction to define our reality. But what choice is there when we can’t tell the difference between what is real and what is false in the digital world?

In a terrifying scenario, the rise of deepfakes—fake images, video, audio, and text generated with advanced machine-learning tools—may someday lead national-security decision-makers to take real-world action based on false information, leading to a major crisis, or worse yet, a war.

Andrew Lohn, senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), says that “AI-enabled systems are now capable of generating disinformation at [large scales].” By producing greater volumes and variety of fake messages, these systems can obfuscate their true nature and optimize for success, improving their desired impact over time.

The mere notion of deepfakes amid a crisis might also cause leaders to hesitate to act if the validity of information cannot be confirmed in a timely manner.

Marina Favaro, research fellow at the Institute for Research and Security Policy in Hamburg, Germany, notes that “deepfakes compromise our trust in information streams by default.” Both action and inaction caused by deepfakes have the potential to produce disastrous consequences for the world.

2. A Dangerous Race to the Bottom

When it comes to AI and national security, speed is both the point and the problem. Since AI-enabled systems confer greater speed benefits on its users, the first countries to develop military applications will gain a strategic advantage. But what design principles might be sacrificed in the process?

Things could unravel from the tiniest flaws in the system and be exploited by hackers. Helen Toner, director of strategy at CSET, suggests a crisis could “start off as an innocuous single point of failure that makes all communications go dark, causing people to panic and economic activity to come to a standstill. A persistent lack of information, followed by other miscalculations, might lead a situation to spiral out of control.”

Vincent Boulanin, senior researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), in Sweden, warns that major catastrophes can occur “when major powers cut corners in order to win the advantage of getting there first. If one country prioritizes speed over safety, testing, or human oversight, it will be a dangerous race to the bottom.”

For example, national-security leaders may be tempted to delegate decisions of command and control, removing human oversight of machine-learning models that we don’t fully understand, in order to gain a speed advantage. In such a scenario, even an automated launch of missile-defense systems initiated without human authorization could produce unintended escalation and lead to nuclear war.

3. The End of Privacy and Free Will

With every digital action, we produce new data—emails, texts, downloads, purchases, posts, selfies, and GPS locations. By allowing companies and governments to have unrestricted access to this data, we are handing over the tools of surveillance and control.

With the addition of facial recognition, biometrics, genomic data, and AI-enabled predictive analysis, Lohn of CSET worries that “we are entering dangerous and uncharted territory with the rise of surveillance and tracking through data, and we have almost no understanding of the potential implications.”

Michael C. Horowitz, director of Perry World House, at the University of Pennsylvania, warns “about the logic of AI and what it means for domestic repression. In the past, the ability of autocrats to repress their populations relied upon a large group of soldiers, some of whom may side with society and carry out a coup d’etat. AI could reduce these kinds of constraints.”

The power of data, once collected and analyzed, extends far beyond the functions of monitoring and surveillance to allow for predictive control. Today, AI-enabled systems predict what products we’ll purchase, what entertainment we’ll watch, and what links we’ll click. When these platforms know us far better than we know ourselves, we may not notice the slow creep that robs us of our free will and subjects us to the control of external forces.

Mock flowchart, centered around close-up image of an eye, surrounding an absurdist logic tree with boxes and arrows and concluding with two squares reading \u201cSYSTEM\u201d and \u201cEND" Mike McQuade

4. A Human Skinner Box

The ability of children to delay immediate gratification, to wait for the second marshmallow, was once considered a major predictor of success in life. Soon even the second-marshmallow kids will succumb to the tantalizing conditioning of engagement-based algorithms.

Social media users have become rats in lab experiments, living in human Skinner boxes, glued to the screens of their smartphones, compelled to sacrifice more precious time and attention to platforms that profit from it at their expense.

Helen Toner of CSET says that “algorithms are optimized to keep users on the platform as long as possible.” By offering rewards in the form of likes, comments, and follows, Malcolm Murdock explains, “the algorithms short-circuit the way our brain works, making our next bit of engagement irresistible.”

To maximize advertising profit, companies steal our attention away from our jobs, families and friends, responsibilities, and even our hobbies. To make matters worse, the content often makes us feel miserable and worse off than before. Toner warns that “the more time we spend on these platforms, the less time we spend in the pursuit of positive, productive, and fulfilling lives.”

5. The Tyranny of AI Design

Every day, we turn over more of our daily lives to AI-enabled machines. This is problematic since, as Horowitz observes, “we have yet to fully wrap our heads around the problem of bias in AI. Even with the best intentions, the design of AI-enabled systems, both the training data and the mathematical models, reflects the narrow experiences and interests of the biased people who program them. And we all have our biases.”

As a result, Lydia Kostopoulos, senior vice president of emerging tech insights at the Clearwater, Fla.–based IT security company KnowBe4, argues that “many AI-enabled systems fail to take into account the diverse experiences and characteristics of different people.” Since AI solves problems based on biased perspectives and data rather than the unique needs of every individual, such systems produce a level of conformity that doesn’t exist in human society.

Even before the rise of AI, the design of common objects in our daily lives has often catered to a particular type of person. For example, studies have shown that cars, hand-held tools including cellphones, and even the temperature settings in office environments have been established to suit the average-size man, putting people of varying sizes and body types, including women, at a major disadvantage and sometimes at greater risk to their lives.

When individuals who fall outside of the biased norm are neglected, marginalized, and excluded, AI turns into a Kafkaesque gatekeeper, denying access to customer service, jobs, health care, and much more. AI design decisions can restrain people rather than liberate them from day-to-day concerns. And these choices can also transform some of the worst human prejudices into racist and sexist hiring and mortgage practices, as well as deeply flawed and biased sentencing outcomes.

6. Fear of AI Robs Humanity of Its Benefits

Since today’s AI runs on data sets, advanced statistical models, and predictive algorithms, the process of building machine intelligence ultimately centers around mathematics. In that spirit, said Murdock, “linear algebra can do insanely powerful things if we’re not careful.” But what if people become so afraid of AI that governments regulate it in ways that rob humanity of AI’s many benefits? For example, DeepMind’s AlphaFold program achieved a major breakthrough in predicting how amino acids fold into proteins, making it possible for scientists to identify the structure of 98.5 percent of human proteins. This milestone will provide a fruitful foundation for the rapid advancement of the life sciences. Consider the benefits of improved communication and cross-cultural understanding made possible by seamlessly translating across any combination of human languages, or the use of AI-enabled systems to identify new treatments and cures for disease. Knee-jerk regulatory actions by governments to protect against AI’s worst-case scenarios could also backfire and produce their own unintended negative consequences, in which we become so scared of the power of this tremendous technology that we resist harnessing it for the actual good it can do in the world.

This article appears in the January 2022 print issue as "AI’s Real Worst-Case Scenarios."


Match ID: 182 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 15 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Quantum Dots + OLED = Your Next TV
Mon, 03 Jan 2022 16:00:01 +0000


For more than a decade now, OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays have set the bar for screen quality, albeit at a price. That’s because they produce deep blacks, offer wide viewing angles, and have a broad color range. Meanwhile, QD (quantum dot) technologies have done a lot to improve the color purity and brightness of the more wallet-friendly LCD TVs.

In 2022, these two rival technologies will merge. The name of the resulting hybrid is still evolving, but QD-OLED seems to make sense, so I’ll use it here, although Samsung has begun to call its version of the technology QD Display.


To understand why this combination is so appealing, you have to know the basic principles behind each of these approaches to displaying a moving image.

In an LCD TV, the LED backlight, or at least a big section of it, is on all at once. The picture is created by filtering this light at the many individual pixels. Unfortunately, that filtering process isn’t perfect, and in areas that should appear black some light gets through.

In OLED displays, the red, green, and blue diodes that comprise each pixel emit light and are turned on only when they are needed. So black pixels appear truly black, while bright pixels can be run at full power, allowing unsurpassed levels of contrast.

But there’s a drawback. The colored diodes in an OLED TV degrade over time, causing what’s called “burn-in.” And with these changes happening at different rates for the red, green, and blue diodes, the degradation affects the overall ability of a display to reproduce colors accurately as it ages and also causes “ghost” images to appear where static content is frequently displayed.

Adding QDs into the mix shifts this equation. Quantum dots—nanoparticles of semiconductor material—absorb photons and then use that energy to emit light of a different wavelength. In a QD-OLED display, all the diodes emit blue light. To get red and green, the appropriate diodes are covered with red or green QDs. The result is a paper-thin display with a broad range of colors that remain accurate over time. These screens also have excellent black levels, wide viewing angles, and improved power efficiency over both OLED and LCD displays.

Samsung is the driving force behind the technology, having sunk billions into retrofitting an LCD fab in Tangjeong, South Korea, for making QD-OLED displays While other companies have published articles and demonstrated similar approaches, only

Samsung has committed to manufacturing these displays, which makes sense because it holds all of the required technology in house. Having both the OLED fab and QD expertise under one roof gives Samsung a big leg up on other QD-display manufacturers.,

Samsung first announced QD-OLED plans in 2019, then pushed out the release date a few times. It now seems likely that we will see public demos in early 2022 followed by commercial products later in the year, once the company has geared up for high-volume production. At this point, Samsung can produce a maximum of 30,000 QD-OLED panels a month; these will be used in its own products. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not that much.

Unfortunately, as with any new display technology, there are challenges associated with development and commercialization.

For one, patterning the quantum-dot layers and protecting them is complicated. Unlike QD-enabled LCD displays (commonly referred to as QLED) where red and green QDs are dispersed uniformly in a polymer film, QD-OLED requires the QD layers to be patterned and aligned with the OLEDs behind them. And that’s tricky to do. Samsung is expected to employ inkjet printing, an approach that reduces the waste of QD material.

Another issue is the leakage of blue light through the red and green QD layers. Leakage of only a few percent would have a significant effect on the viewing experience, resulting in washed-out colors. If the red and green QD layers don’t do a good job absorbing all of the blue light impinging on them, an additional blue-blocking layer would be required on top, adding to the cost and complexity.

Another challenge is that blue OLEDs degrade faster than red or green ones do. With all three colors relying on blue OLEDs in a QD-OLED design, this degradation isn’t expected to cause as severe color shifts as with traditional OLED displays, but it does decrease brightness over the life of the display.

Today, OLED TVs are typically the most expensive option on retail shelves. And while the process for making QD-OLED simplifies the OLED layer somewhat (because you need only blue diodes), it does not make the display any less expensive. In fact, due to the large number of quantum dots used, the patterning steps, and the special filtering required, QD-OLED displays are likely to be more expensive than traditional OLED ones—and way more expensive than LCD TVs with quantum-dot color purification. Early adopters may pay about US $5,000 for the first QD-OLED displays when they begin selling later this year. Those buyers will no doubt complain about the prices—while enjoying a viewing experience far better than anything they’ve had before.

Update 5 January 2022: At CES 2022, the annual consumer electronics show held in Las Vegas, three companies announced products incorporating QD-OLED technology, all using Samsung’s display hardware. Samsung unveiled a 65-inch QD-Display TV. Alienware introduced a gaming monitor. And Sony’s launched two Bravia XR A95K TVs. None of these companies have yet announced pricing.


Match ID: 183 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 15 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Schrödinger’s Tardigrade Claim Incites Pushback
Fri, 31 Dec 2021 15:00:01 +0000


“I don’t like it, and I’m sorry I had anything to do with it,” the physicist Erwin Schrödinger supposedly said of the quantum theory.

He was so sorry that he worked to prove it nonsensical with the most famous thought problem in physics, one that involves putting a cat in a box that would fill with poison if a radioactive atom were to split apart spontaneously. According to the theory, that splitting can be said to have happened only if observed; otherwise, it must be deemed indeterminate. And because the cat’s fate is aligned with the atom’s, Schrödinger’s cat must also be considered neither dead nor alive.

Patent nonsense, concluded Schrödinger. But later researchers found ways to turn the thought problem into real experiments, and these have actually validated the predictions of quantum theory. One experiment used a resonator chilled nearly to absolute zero so that it became “entangled” across two quantum states, vibrating or not. Those two states were then shown to be superposed.

Actually entangling a living creature would be quite a feat for the physicists, perhaps more so for the biochemists. Complex chemical systems don’t normally stand still for inspection, but if you could freeze them quantum-cold you could probe their constituent parts. Some have suggested that biochemical processes, such as photosynthesis, must involve quantum effects; this method could be a way to prove it.

A tardigrade is a good candidate for freezing down to zero in a near-total vacuum. It’s about as tough as an animalcule gets.

To entangle a life-form you have to put it in an extreme vacuum and cool it nearly to absolute zero without killing it. Bacteria have been so entangled. Now a group of scientists say they’ve entangled a tardigrade, commonly called a water bear, a cute critter that’s just barely visible to the naked eye.

The 11 researchers published their work on 15 December in the online preprint server arXiv, which is not peer-reviewed. Among them are Rainer Dumke of the Center for Quantum Technologies, in Singapore, and Tomasz Paterek of the University of Gdansk, in Poland, who in 2019 were honored, so to speak, with an IgNobel Prize for their work on magnetized cockroaches (the results of which bear on methods by which animals navigate).

Let the record show that at least one winner of the IgNobel, Andre Geim, went on to win an actual Nobel. He got the IgNobel one for levitating a frog, the real Nobel for discovering graphene.

A tardigrade is a good candidate for freezing down to zero in a near-total vacuum. It’s about as tough as an animalcule gets. Insult the thing and it goes dormant by curling up into a ball, called a tun, in a process known as cryptobiosis. Though some have argued that at least some metabolism must still go on, a tun is perhaps best characterized as a life that’s been put on hold. In 2019, when a bunch of tardigrades were deposited on the moon during the very unintended crash-landing of an Israeli spacecraft, many people speculated that the critters would survive even there. Sadly, experiments involving the firing of nylon bullets later suggested that this didn’t happen.

Dumke and his colleagues came on their current interest in the course of studying superconducting qubits, electronic oscillators that many hope will produce a fundamentally new computer based on quantum effects. They wondered what would happen if they put a dormant tardigrade on top of one of their qubits, bringing the system to near absolute zero.

First, they learned, the tardigrade survived. That alone is a significant finding.

“At this very, very low temperature, almost nothing is moving, everything is in the ground state; it’s a piece of dust,” Dunke tells IEEE Spectrum. “Bring it back to conditions where it can survive, increasing the temperature gently, and the pressure, and it comes back. Some had suggested that in the cryptobiological state, some metabolism is going on. Not so.”

The presence of two superconducting qubits beside the tardigrade strengthens the case for the existence of entanglement—here it appears the creature is in superposition with one |0> qubit and one |1> qubit.

This discovery raises the question of what forces of natural selection might have shaped the tardigrade to be so tough? It seems way overengineered for its normal terrestrial habitats, including moss and lichen.

Second, Dumke and his colleagues argue, they achieved true quantum entanglement between the qubit and the tardigrade. Larger objects have been so entangled, but those objects were inanimate matter. This is a bigger claim—and one that’s harder to nail down.

“We start with a superconducting qubit at energy state 0, comparable to an atom in the ground state; there’s no oscillation—nothing is happening,” Dumke says. “We can use microwaves to supply exactly the right amount of energy for the right amount of time to raise this to level 1; this is like the second orbital in an atom. It is now oscillating.

“Or, and this is the important point, we can add exactly that much energy but supply it for just half the time to raise the system to a quantum state of ½, which is the superposition state. In this state, it is at the same time oscillating and not oscillating. You can do extensive testing to measure all three states.”

Then the workers tested the system under a number of different conditions to determine the quantum state, and they found that the system consisting of the qubit and the tardigrade together occupied a lower energy state than either one alone would have occupied. The researchers concluded that the two things had been entangled.

No need to wait for peer review; in a matter of days, the criticism began to come in.

One critic, Ben Brubaker, a physicist turned journalist, has argued on Twitter that the experiments do not demonstrate what the authors claim. He said there were three possibilities—that quantum entanglement had been achieved with the entire tardigrade, that it had been achieved with a part of it, and that it hadn’t been achieved at all. That last one would imply that any effects were caused by some classical (nonquantum) physical process.

The authors admit that they could not perform the perfect experiment, which would involve measuring the tardigrade and the qubit independently, using two probes. Their tardigrade comes packaged with the qubit, forming a hybrid structure, and so two probes are hard to manage.

Circuit diagram, circuit illustration and photographic image of a tardigrade along a microscopic strip of metal or semiconductor A sketch of the experiment—including a photo of the revived tardigrade on the system’s qubit. arXiv

“So you have to construct a model that represents the qubit as a quantum-mechanical system, and if you do it classically you wouldn’t be able to account for all the features,” says Vlatko Vedral, another author, who is a professor of physics at the University of Oxford. “The feature we are talking about is the quantum energy state that the combined system is able to reach. In fact, much of chemistry is based on this kind of thing—the Van der Waals force.”

Kai Sheng Lee, of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, says that the criticism of the entanglement claim is at least partially answered in the second part of the arXiv paper, “when we introduce the second qubit.” The presence of two superconducting qubits beside the tardigrade strengthens the case for the existence of entanglement, because here it seems the creature is in superposition with one qubit that’s in the 0 state (sometimes abbreviated |0>) and also with the other qubit, which is in the 1 state (a.k.a. |1>).

“But the major weakness,” Vedral concedes, “is that there is no direct measurements on the tardigrade alone. This is what you need to do to satisfy even the most conspiratorial critic, the one who says we could explain this with classical arguments.”

Can direct measurements of each part in this entanglement triangle ever be made? That question makes Dumke, Vendral, and Lee pause. Finally Dumke takes a stab at it.

“You could try to find a particular resonance frequency inside the tardigrade, then use this frequency to find what leads to a stronger entanglement,” he says.

“Or maybe you could genetically engineer the tardigrade to resonate,” Vendral suggests.

Why the pregnant pause? Maybe they’re thinking about the question. Maybe they’re thinking about how much of their research plan to reveal. Or maybe the two states are superposed.

1 January 2022 Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Ben Brubaker’s name. Apologies, Mr. Brubaker!


Match ID: 184 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 19 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Deep Learning Can’t Be Trusted, Brain Modeling Pioneer Says
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 19:00:06 +0000


During the past 20 years, deep learning has come to dominate artificial intelligence research and applications through a series of useful commercial applications. But underneath the dazzle are some deep-rooted problems that threaten the technology’s ascension.

The inability of a typical deep learning program to perform well on more than one task, for example, severely limits application of the technology to specific tasks in rigidly controlled environments. More seriously, it has been claimed that deep learning is untrustworthy because it is not explainable—and unsuitable for some applications because it can experience catastrophic forgetting. Said more plainly, if the algorithm does work, it may be impossible to fully understand why. And while the tool is slowly learning a new database, an arbitrary part of its learned memories can suddenly collapse. It might therefore be risky to use deep learning on any life-or-death application, such as a medical one.


Now, in a new book, IEEE Fellow Stephen Grossberg argues that an entirely different approach is needed. Conscious Mind, Resonant Brain: How Each Brain Makes a Mind describes an alternative model for both biological and artificial intelligence based on cognitive and neural research Grossberg has been conducting for decades. He calls his model Adaptive Resonance Theory (ART).

Grossberg—an endowed professor of cognitive and neural systems, and of mathematics and statistics, psychological and brain sciences, and biomedical engineering at Boston University—based ART on his theories about how the brain processes information.

“Our brains learn to recognize and predict objects and events in a changing world that is filled with unexpected events,” he says.

Based on that dynamic, ART uses supervised and unsupervised learning methods to solve such problems as pattern recognition and prediction. Algorithms using the theory have been included in large-scale applications such as classifying sonar and radar signals, detecting sleep apnea, recommending movies, and computer-vision-based driver-assistance software.

ART can be used with confidence because it is explainable and does not experience catastrophic forgetting, Grossberg says. He adds that ART solves what he has called the stability-plasticity dilemma: How a brain or other learning system can autonomously learn quickly (plasticity) without experiencing catastrophic forgetting (stability).

An illustration of a brain over a blue and red checkered pattern.

Grossberg, who formulated ART in 1976, is a pioneer in modelling how brains become intelligent. He is the founder and director of Boston University’s Center for Adaptive Systems and the founding director of the Center of Excellence for Learning in Education, Science, and Technology. Both centers have sought to understand how the brain adapts and learns, and to develop technological applications based on their findings.

For Grossberg’s “contributions to understanding brain cognition and behavior, and their emulation by technology,” he received the 2017 IEEE Frank Rosenblatt Award, named for the Cornell professor considered by some to be the “father of deep learning.”

Grossberg attempts to explain in his nearly 800-page book how “the small lump of meat that we call a brain” gives rise to thoughts, feelings, hopes, sensations, and plans. In particular, he describes biological neural models that attempt to explain how that happens. The book also covers the underlying causes of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, autism, amnesia, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Understanding how brains give rise to minds is also important for designing smart systems in computer science, engineering and tech, including AI and smart robots,” he writes. “Many companies have applied biologically inspired algorithms of the kind that this book summarizes in multiple engineering and technological applications.”

The theories in the book, he says, are not only useful for understanding the brain but also can be applied to the design of intelligent systems that are capable of autonomously adapting to a changing world. Taken together, the book describes the fundamental process that enables people to be intelligent, autonomous, and versatile.

THE BEAUTY OF ART

Grossberg writes that the brain evolved to adapt to new challenges. There is a common set of brain mechanisms that control how humans retain information without forgetting what they have already learned, he says.

“We retain stable memories of past experiences, and these sequences of events are stored in our working memories to help predict our future behaviors,” he says. “Humans have the ability to continue to learn throughout their lives, without new learning washing away memories of important information that we learned before.”

Understanding how brains give rise to minds is also important for designing smart systems in computer science, engineering, and tech, including AI and smart robots.

One of the problems faced by classical AI, he says, is that it often built its models on how the brain might work, using concepts and operations that could be derived from introspection and common sense.

“Such an approach assumes that you can introspect internal states of the brain with concepts and words people use to describe objects and actions in their daily lives,” he writes. “It is an appealing approach, but its results were all too often insufficient to build a model of how the biological brain really works.”

The problem with today’s AI, he says, is that it tries to imitate the results of brain processing instead of probing the mechanisms that give rise to the results. People’s behaviors adapt to new situations and sensations “on the fly,” Grossberg says, thanks to specialized circuits in the brain. People can learn from new situations, he adds, and unexpected events are integrated into their collected knowledge and expectations about the world.

ART’s networks are derived from thought experiments on how people and animals interact with their environment, he adds. “ART circuits emerge as computational solutions of multiple environmental constraints to which humans and other terrestrial animals have successfully adapted….” This fact suggests that ART designs may in some form be embodied in all future autonomous adaptive intelligent devices, whether biological or artificial.

“The future of technology and AI will depend increasingly on such self-regulating systems,” Grossberg concludes. “It is already happening with efforts such as designing autonomous cars and airplanes. It’s exciting to think about how much more may be achieved when deeper insights about brain designs are incorporated into highly funded industrial research and applications.”


Match ID: 185 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 19 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Gravity Batteries, Green Hydrogen, and a Thorium Reactor for China
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 14:00:00 +0000


2021 was a big year for energy-related news, what with the ongoing hunt for new forms of energy storage and cleaner if not carbon-free electricity and events and research that spotlighted the weak links in our power grid. As the pandemic continued to grind on, it was actually comforting to know that smart people in the energy sector were working hard to keep the lights on, advance the technology, and improve people’s lives. IEEE Spectrum did its best to cover those developments, and these were the stories that our readers liked best.

Gravity Energy Storage Will Show Its Potential in 2021

Why was this Spectrum’s most popular energy story of the year? Well, let’s think. As power grids everywhere increasingly rely on intermittent renewable energy, batteries and other forms of energy storage that can even out the bumps in supply and demand are taking on a crucial role. No battery is perfect, however, so engineers keep pushing for new and improved ways to store those electrons. The gravity batteries described in this story lift giant weights in the air or up mine shafts to store excess electricity, releasing the weights later on to recover the stored energy. One of the companies featured in the story, Gravitricity, completed its 250-kilowatt gravity-battery demonstrator in Edinburgh last April and is now working on a full-scale deployment at a mine in the Czech Republic.

Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Finally Takes Off in North America and Europe

Battery makers around the world are cranking out lithium-ion batteries of various flavors as fast as they can. While lithium isn’t exactly in short supply, extracting it from the ground exacts a huge environmental cost. Thus the recent boom in battery recycling—and readers’ interest in this story on how the industry is expanding beyond China and South Korea and into the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. Last May, one of the story’s featured startups, Canada’s Li-Cycle, announced it would begin recycling the manufacturing scrap from Ultium Cell’s US $2.3 billion EV battery plant—that’s GM’s and LG Chem’s new mega-gigafactory in Lordstown, Ohio.

Here’s How We Could Brighten Clouds to Cool the Earth

Geoengineering—altering the planet to mitigate the worst effects of climate change—is an idea that has taken on new currency of late. As global temperatures rise, greenhouse gases accumulate, and all signs point to Really Bad Things happening in the coming decades, Spectrum readers are clearly looking for a way out of our current climate predicament. This article, by researchers at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and the University of Washington, is one possible answer. The basic idea is to add particles of sea salt to the atmosphere to brighten clouds and cool the planet. We’ll still have to do the hard work of cutting carbon emissions, but geoengineering could be a way to buy us some time.

Solar-to-Hydrogen Tech Sees “Remarkable” Efficiency Jump

Another big development in the energy sector is the return of the hydrogen economy. This time around, though, the emphasis is on “green hydrogen”—that is, hydrogen produced using clean energy such as solar or wind power. Most of the world’s hydrogen comes from deeply polluting methods. And most green hydrogen production still relies on electrolyzers, which themselves consume lots of electricity. This story looks at promising research out of Japan’s Shinshu University on light-absorbing materials to split water into hydrogen and oxygen directly—cutting the electrolyzer out of the equation. As the story notes, it will take quite a bit more R&D until this method is “ready for prime-time hydrogen production.”

China Says It’s Closing in on Thorium Nuclear Reactor

Also getting a second look: nuclear power! While some recent efforts call for radical new reactor designs, this report highlights an old approach with a modern spin. Molten salt nuclear reactors fueled by thorium were first investigated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the 1950s. A new molten salt reactor reportedly being built by China follows the Oak Ridge design but also incorporates the same kind of high-temperature salt pumps used in concentrated solar-power plants.

What the Texas-Freeze Fiasco Tells Us About the Future of the Grid

In this clear-eyed consideration of last winter’s deadly deep freeze in Texas, Robert Hebner, director of the Center for Electromechanics at the University of Texas at Austin, describes the converging factors and troubled history that contributed to the catastrophic blackout. “It seems pretty clear that what happened in Texas was likely preventable with readily accessible and longstanding engineering practices,” Hebner concludes. “But a collective, and likely implicit, judgment was made that the risk to be mitigated was so small that mitigation would not be worth the cost. And nature ‘messed’ with that judgment.”

One Atmospheric Nuclear Explosion Could Take Out the Power Grid

Another popular story in the “things that are bad for the power grid” category was this piece by national security writer Natasha Bajema. She looked at a recent study out of the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Colorado on the likely effects of detonating a several-kiloton nuclear weapon in the atmosphere and generating a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (EMP). (To be fair, Foreign Policy, in a similar 2020 examination, rated the EMP problem as very much outsized and “the last thing you need to worry about in a nuclear explosion.”) The conductivity of the Earth, the Geological Survey scientists discovered, plays an important role in the outcome, with low-conductivity regions most at risk of suffering a “grid-crippling power surge,” as the electric field travels out through high-voltage power lines. Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen in 2022, or any other year.

Off-Grid Solar’s Killer App

Spectrum contributing editor Peter Fairley traveled to Kenya to report on a boom in agriculture driven by off-grid solar power and efficient solar-powered irrigation pumps. The pumps tap into vast stores of groundwater that lie not too far underground and cover much of sub-Saharan Africa. Solar-irrigation technology, combined with microlending payment plans, lets small farmers boost crop yields, lengthen growing seasons, and neutralize the effects of drought. It’s a win-win-win for a part of the world that could really use a victory right now.

How Much Energy Does It Take to Grow a Tomato?

Lastly but never leastly, Spectrum columnist and deep thinker Vaclav Smil contemplated the energy footprint of the tomato. Field tomatoes, unsurprisingly, are the least energy-intensive to produce, while raising hydroponic tomatoes grown in greenhouses can consume 60 times as much energy. Food for thought as we close out 2021.


Match ID: 186 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 20 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

China Will Attempt First Carbon-Neutral Winter Olympics
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 20:00:01 +0000


About 160 kilometers northwest of Beijing, the city of Zhangjiakou with its rugged terrain boasts some of the richest wind and solar resources in China. Renewables account for nearly half of the city’s electricity output with less than a third of its full solar and wind potential of 70 gigawatts installed so far.

That makes it an ideal cohost with Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, which China plans to make the greenest yet. The plan is to power all 26 venues fully with renewables, marking a first in the games’ history.


The Beijing 2022 Organising Committee aims to make the games carbon neutral, or as close as possible—a benchmark for the International Olympic Committee’s mission to make the Olympics carbon positive by 2024.

Besides being a symbol for President Xi Jinping’s ambitious goal of China being carbon neutral by 2060, the 2022 games should drive sustainable development in the region. The event has already helped Beijing clean up its skies and environment, and has fired up local energy-technology markets. It will also be a global stage to showcase new energy-efficiency, alternate-transport, and refrigeration technologies.

The Olympics will account for only a small fraction of the country’s annual electricity consumption. Powering them with clean energy sources won’t be difficult given China’s plentiful renewable capacity, says Michael Davidson, an engineering-systems and global-policy expert at the University of California, San Diego.

But Davidson also points out that insufficient infrastructure to manage intermittent renewables and electricity-dispatch practices that don’t prioritize them mean that much of China’s green-power capacity is often not put to use. And because the game venues are connected to a grid that is powered by a variety of sources, asserting that all the electricity used at the games is 100 percent from clean energy sources is “complicated,” he says. Nonetheless, the games will be important in raising the profile of green energy. “The hope is that this process will put into place some institutions that could help leverage a much broader-scale move to green.”

The Games will offer a global stage to showcase new energy-efficiency, alternate-transport, and refrigeration technologies.

Case in point: The flexible DC grid put into place in Zhiangjiakou in 2020 will let 22.5 billion kilowatt-hours of wind and solar energy flow from Zhiangjiakou to Beijing every year. By the time the Paralympics end in March, the game venues are expected to have consumed about 400 million kWh of electricity. If all of it is indeed provided by renewables, that should reduce carbon emissions by 320,000 tonnes, according to sports outlet Inside the Games. After the athletes go home, the flexible DC grid will continue to clean up around 10 percent of the capital’s immense electricity consumption.

Green transport infrastructure being built to shuttle athletes and spectators between venues will also be part of the games’ lasting legacy. A clean energy–powered high-speed railway that takes 47 minutes to travel between Beijing and Zhangjiakou was inaugurated in 2019. More than 85 percent of public-transport vehicles at the Olympics will be powered by batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, or natural gas, according to state media.

In August, officials at the Chinese capital revealed a five-year hydrogen-energy plan, with goals to build 37 fueling stations and have about 3,000 fuel-cell vehicles on the road by 2023, for which the Olympics should also be a stepping-stone. Already, hydrogen fueling stations built by China’s petrochemical giant Sinopec, Pennsylvania-based Air Products, and French company Air Liquide have cropped up in Beijing, Zhiangjiakou, and the Yanqing competition zone located in between.

In Yanqing alone, 212 fuel-cell buses made by Beijing-based Beiqi Foton Motor Co. will shuttle spectators around. Even the iconic Olympic torch will burn hydrogen for its flame.

Even the iconic Olympic torch will burn hydrogen for its flame.

The 2022 event will also put a limelight on climate-friendly refrigeration. The immense 12,000-square-meter speed-skating oval in downtown Beijing—8 times the size of a hockey rink—will be the first in the world to use carbon dioxide for making ice.

“We’ve built skating rinks with carbon dioxide direct cooling but never a speed-skating oval,” says Wayne Dilk of Toronto-based refrigeration company CIMCO Refrigeration, which has built most of the National Hockey League arenas in North America and designed and provided consulting services for the Olympics’ icy venues.

Ice-rink technology typically relies on refrigerants siphoning heat away from brine circulated under the floors, Dilk explains. But CO2-based cooling systems, which are getting more popular mainly in Europe and North America for supermarkets, food-manufacturing plants, and ice rinks, use CO2 both as the refrigerant and for transporting heat away from under the floor where it is pumped in liquid form.

CO2 is a climate villain, of course, but conventional hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants are worse. The common R-22 form of Freon, for example, is about 1,800 times as potent as a greenhouse gas. CO2 cooling systems are also 30 percent more energy efficient than Freon, says Dilk. Plus, the CO2 system produces higher-temperature waste heat, which can be used for space heating and hot water. And while the system is more expensive to build because it runs at higher pressure, the temperature across the large surface stays within a range of only 0.5 °C, giving more uniform ice. Consistent temperature and ice quality generate better competitive racing times. The Beijing 2022 hockey arenas and sliding center for bobsled and luge use climate-friendly ammonia or Opteon as refrigerants. Besides being a key part of the greenest Winter Olympics, these state-of-the-art ice venues should seal the deal for another goal China has in 2022: to establish itself as a world-class winter sports and tourism destination.

This article appears in the January 2022 print issue as “China’s Green Winter Olympics .”


Match ID: 187 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 20 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

In 1989, General Magic Saw the Future of Smartphones
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 16:00:00 +0000


Sometimes a design is so perfectly representative of its time that to see it brings long-forgotten memories flooding back. The user interface of the Motorola Envoy does that for me, even though I never owned one, or indeed any personal digital assistant. There’s just something about the Envoy’s bitmapped grayscale icons that screams 1990s, a time when we were on the cusp of the Internet boom but didn’t yet realize what that meant.


The Motorola Envoy was a paragon of skeuomorphic design

Open up the Envoy, and the home screen features a tableau of a typical office circa 1994. On your grayscale desk sits a telephone (a landline, of course), a Rolodex, a notepad, and a calendar. Behind the desk are a wall clock, in- and out-boxes, and a filing cabinet. It’s a masterstroke in skeuomorphic design.

Skeuomorphism is a term used by graphical user interface designers to describe GUI objects that mimic their real-world counterparts; click on the telephone to make a call, click on the calendar to make an appointment. In 1994, when the Envoy debuted, the design was so intuitive that many users did not need to consult the user manual to start using their new device.

About the size of a paperback and weighing in at 0.77 kilograms (1.7 pounds), the Envoy was a little too big to fit in your pocket. It had a 7.6-by-11.4-centimeter LCD screen, which reviewers at the time noted was not backlit. The device came with 1 megabyte of RAM, 4 MB of ROM, a built-in 4,800-bit-per-second radio modem, a fax and data modem, and an infrared transceiver.

The Envoy was one of the first handheld computers designed to run the Magic Cap (short for Communicating Applications Platform) operating system. It used the metaphor of a room to organize applications and help users navigate through the various options. For most business users, the Office with its default desk was the main interface. The user could also navigate to the virtual Hallway—complete with wall art and furniture—and then enter other rooms, including the Game Room, Living Room, Storeroom, and Control Room. Each room featured its own applications.

A grayscale graphical user interface shows a desktop with icons for a phone, Rolodex, calendar, and other common office implements. The Motorola Envoy’s graphical user interface was based on skeuomorphic design, in which virtual objects resemble their real-world counterparts and suggest their uses.Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

A control bar across the bottom of the screen aided in navigation. The desk button, the equivalent of a home link, returned the user to the Office. The rubber stamp offered decorative elements, including emoticons, which were then a new concept. The magic lamp gave access to search, print, fax, and mail commands. An icon that looks like a purse, but was described as a tote bag, served as a holding place for copied text that could then be carried to other applications, similar to your computer’s clipboard. The tool caddy invoked drawing and editing options. The keyboard button brought up an onscreen keyboard, an innovation widely copied by later PDAs and smartphones.

Skeuomorphic design began to wane in the mid-2000s, as Microsoft, Google, and Apple embraced flat design. A minimalist response to skeuomorphism, flat design prioritized two-dimensional elements and bright colors. Gone were needless animation and 3D effects. Apple’s trash can and Windows’ recycling bin are two skeuomorphic icons that survived. (Envoy had a garbage truck on its toolbar for that purpose.)

Part of the shift away from skeuomorphism was purely functional; as devices added more applications and features, designers needed a cleaner display to organize information. And the fast-paced evolution of both physical and digital technologies quickly led to outdated icons. Does anyone still use a Rolodex to store contact information or a floppy disc to save data? As their real-world counterparts became obsolete, the skeuomorphic equivalents looked old-fashioned.

The Envoy’s user interface is one of the reasons why the object pictured at top found its way to the collections of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, in New York City. Preserving and displaying the Envoy’s functionality a quarter century after its heyday presented a special challenge. Ben Fino-Radin, founder and lead conservator at Small Data Industries, worked on the digital conservation of the Envoy and wrote an instructive blog post about it. Museums have centuries’ worth of experience preserving physical objects, but capturing the unique 1994 feel of a software design required new technical expertise. Small Data Industries ended up purchasing a second Envoy on eBay in order to deconstruct it, inspect the internal components, and reverse engineer how it worked.

How General Magic both failed and succeeded

Although the Envoy’s interface is what captured my interest and made me select it for this month’s column, that is not why the Envoy is beloved of computer historians and retro-tech enthusiasts. Rather, it is the company behind the Envoy, General Magic, that continues to fascinate.

General Magic is considered a classic example of a Silicon Valley heroic failure. That is, if you define the precursor to the smartphone and a design team whose members later brought us the iPod, iPhone, Android, eBay, Dreamweaver, Apple Watch, and Nest as failures.

The story of General Magic begins at Apple in 1989, when Bill Atkinson, Andy Hertzfeld, and Marc Porat, all veterans of the Macintosh development team, started working on the Paradigm project. They tried to convince Apple CEO John Sculley that the next big thing was a marriage of communications and consumer electronics embodied in a handheld device. After about nine months, the team was not finding the support it wanted within Apple, and Porat convinced Sculley to spin it off as an independent company, with Apple maintaining a 10 percent stake.

In 1990, General Magic kicked off its operations with an ambitious mission statement:

We have a dream of improving the lives of many millions of people by means of small, intimate life support systems that people carry with them everywhere. These systems will help people to organize their lives, to communicate with other people, and to access information of all kinds. They will be simple to use, and come in a wide range of models to fit every budget, need, and taste. They will change the way people live and communicate.

Pretty heady stuff.

General Magic quickly became the hottest secret in Silicon Valley. The company prized confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements to keep its talent from leaking, but as well-known developers joined the team, anticipation of greatness kept building. General Magic inked partnerships with Sony, Motorola, AT&T, Matsushita, and Philips, each bringing a specific expertise to the table.

At its heart, General Magic was attempting to transform personal communications. A competitor to the Motorola Envoy that also used Magic Cap, Sony’s Magic Link, had a phone jack and could connect to the AT&T PersonaLink Service network via a dial-up modem; it also had built-in access to the America Online network. The Envoy, on the other hand, had an antenna to connect to the ARDIS (Advanced Radio Data Information Service) network, the first wireless data network in the United States. Formed in 1983 by Motorola and IBM, ARDIS had sketchy data coverage, its speeds were slow (no more than 19.2 kilobits per second), and costs were high. The Envoy initially sold for US $1,500, but monthly data fees could run $400 or more. Neither the Magic Link nor the Envoy were commercial successes.

Rabbits roam free to help spur creativity, personal hygiene seems optional, and pulling all-nighters is the norm.

Perhaps it was the hubris before the fall, or maybe the General Magic team truly believed that they were undertaking something historic, but the company allowed documentary filmmaker David Hoffman to record meetings and interview its employees. Filmmakers Sarah Kerruish, Matt Maude, and Michael Stern took this archival treasure trove and turned it into the award-winning 2018 documentary General Magic.

The original footage perfectly captures the energy and drive of a 1990s startup. Rabbits roam the office to help spur creativity, personal hygiene seems optional, and pulling all-nighters is the norm. Young engineers invent their own versions of the USB and touch screens in order to realize their dreams.

The film also shows a company so caught up in a vision of the future that it fails to see the world changing around it—specifically the emergence of the World Wide Web. As General Magic begins to miss deadlines and its products don’t live up to their hype, the company falters and goes into bankruptcy.

But the story doesn’t end there. The cast of characters moves on to other projects that prove far more remarkable than Magic Cap and the Envoy. Tony Fadell, who had joined General Magic right after college, goes on to invent the iPod, coinvent the iPhone, and found Nest (now Google Nest). Kevin Lynch, a star Mac software developer when he joined General Magic, leads the team that develops Dreamweaver (now an Adobe product) and serves as lead engineer on the Apple Watch. Megan Smith, a product design lead at General Magic, later becomes chief technology officer in the Obama administration.

Marc Porat had challenged his team to create a product that “once you use it, you won’t be able to live without it.” General Magic fell short of that mark, but it groomed a cadre of engineers and designers who went on to deliver those can’t-live-without-it devices.

Part of a continuing series looking at photographs of historical artifacts that embrace the boundless potential of technology.

An abridged version of this article appears in the January 2022 print issue as “Ode to the Envoy.”


Match ID: 188 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 20 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Ham Radio Jamming, Wireless Industry Battlegrounds, and IoT in Space
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 14:00:00 +0000


Communications bring us all together, and people are always experimenting with new ways to communicate. Despite—or perhaps because of—the global pandemic, 2021 saw plenty of new innovations for communications technologies. 5G has cemented its place in the cellular world, even as the industry looks toward 6G. Companies experimented with new kinds of satellite networks, new ways of building cell towers, and new ways of creating holograms. And even as the pandemic created a remote work world, some governments clamped down on wireless communications.

So in case you missed anything, we’ve got you covered. Here are the highlights of what went down in telecom this year:

Cuba Jamming Ham Radio? Listen For Yourself

Back in July, ham-radio operators in Florida began noticing interference swamping many of the amateur broadcasting bands. After coordination with operators in South America and Europe, the source of the interfering signals—which sound like “the unfortunate offspring of a frog and a Dalek”—was quickly identified as Cuba. At the time, Cubans were protesting in large numbers in response to the government’s handling of the pandemic and other economic woes, and many theorized that the government had cracked down on amateur radio bands as part of a wider response. The jamming seems to have subsided since (you can check for yourself by following the instructions in the original story) but for several days this past summer, it caused a lot of confusion and anxiety in the ham-radio community.

How the Huawei Fight is Changing the Face of 5G

There was a time when Huawei was ascendant in the wireless world, and the consensus in the industry was that the equipment vendor was the one to beat when it came to 5G. Now…that’s not quite so true. After three years of sanctions by the U.S. government, portions of Huawei’s hold on 5G infrastructure and mobile devices have slipped. The biggest fall came in its smartphone business, where in 2021 alone the company’s revenue dropped by US $30 billion to $40 billion (from a reported US $136.7 billion in 2020). Huawei isn’t down and out yet, however—it’s still one of the largest telecom equipment vendors in the world, and the company still sees plenty of interest for its infrastructure technologies around the world. And there’s 6G to think about; regional battles over the future direction of cellular technologies surely won’t die down anytime soon.

Swarm Takes LoRa Sky-High

The Internet of Things is still a contentious ecosystem. A handful of different wireless standards—5G for IoT, LoRa, Zigbee—are vying for dominance in the space. Slowly but surely, however, LoRa (short for long-range, low-power) seems to be winning out. In March, satellite startup Swarm, which carries the dubious honor of having conducted the first illegal satellite launch in history, announced it would be using LoRa for its space-based IoT relay network. The company demonstrated that LoRa indeed lived up to its name, as it was able to send signals up to 2,900 kilometers, or roughly the distance between Los Angeles and Chicago. In August, Swarm was acquired by SpaceX, further cementing the company’s—and by extension, LoRa’s—place in an emerging IoT satellite industry.

The U.S. Government Finally Gets Serious About IoT Security

Elsewhere in the IoT world, the U.S. government passed a sweeping cybersecurity bill called the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2020 at the very tail end of that year. The law is a more flexible and adaptable approach to cybersecurity than previous laws. Crucially, it requires the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish best practices that other government agencies must then follow when purchasing IoT devices. The initial rules unveiled by NIST in 2021 include requiring an over-the-air update option for devices and unique device IDs. And while the law pertains only to devices purchased by the U.S. government, there’s little reason to suspect it won’t have ongoing and broad effects on the IoT industry. Companies will likely include NIST’s cybersecurity requirements in all of its devices, whether selling to the U.S. government or elsewhere.

Hologram-in-a-Box Can Teleport You Anywhere

PORTL began shipping telephone-booth-size volumetric displays, offering an alternative to conversing with people for those sick of Zoom calls (and who can fork over US $60,000). Volumetric displays are more sophisticated versions of the “holograms” that have popped up in recent years, most noticeably for live concerts in order to controversially create performances by Tupac, Prince, and others. PORTL’s tech instead records a three-dimensional video of a person and transmits it to the person they’re conversing with. The speaker then appears inside PORTL’s booth at the other end, thanks to a combination of an open-cell LCD panel, bright LEDs, and shadows to trick the brain into seeing a two-dimensional image in 3D. PORTL hopes to introduce a smaller mini-PORTL for a fraction of the larger’s price.

The Cellular Industry’s Clash Over the Movement to Remake Networks

For years, there’s been a simmering resentment in the telecom world between the network operators—companies like AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, and Vodafone—that provide cell service to customers, and the vendors like Ericsson and Nokia from which they buy equipment to build their networks. The resentment stems from the ability of vendors to lock operators into their ecosystems with proprietary technologies and from the high prices that result from creating such captive markets. Recently, however, that resentment has boiled over, and operators are leading a charge to invent new technologies and standards that will see the way in which wireless networks are built drastically change. Bundled up into a movement called Open RAN (for radio access network, the portion of a cell network, like a cell tower, that connects a phone to everything else), the operators have begun forcing vendors to work with them to create open interfaces between components, split software and hardware functions, and develop more AI technologies to manage networks. The goal? Break the hold the big three vendors—Ericsson, Nokia, and Huawei—have over the rest of the industry. Open RAN has seen some roaring successes over the past year. It’s also seen some turmoil.

Here’s What 6G Will Be, According to the Creator of Massive MIMO

Believe it or not, 6G development has been going on for years already. In fact, we first wrote about it at IEEE Spectrum in 2018. Much of the work is still limited to fundamental research, such as investigating whether terahertz waves could be a good option for a new, high-data-rate spectrum band. Tom Marzetta, formerly of Nokia Bell Labs and currently a professor at New York University’s NYU Wireless research center, is focused on developing something “ten times better than massive MIMO.” MIMO is short for multiple-input, multiple-output, and it’s a type of antenna that, as the name suggests, can easily send and receive multiple signals at once, which increases the overall data throughput of a cell tower or base station. Massive MIMO dials the concept up even more by scaling up the amount of signals an antenna can handle to dozens or even hundreds at a time. Marzetta knows better than anyone else how to improve massive MIMO for the next cellular generation—he invented the technology. His Q&A with IEEE Spectrum is chock-full of insights on what 6G might have in-store for us all.

Forget Cryptocurrencies and NFTs—Securing Devices Is the Future of Blockchain Technology

Blockchains are currently having a moment, thanks to the attention being paid to cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). While the tech has plenty of evangelizers who see this as crypto’s triumphant, crowning moment, there are still plenty of us scratching our heads about what, exactly, any of this is good for. Here’s one option that isn’t getting discussed much, possibly because it’s not as fancy or splashy as crypto: cybersecurity. Earlier this year, the Zigbee Alliance put out a standard by its Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP) working group with the aim of making it easier and safer for IoT devices to communicate with each other. The standard describes a blockchain-based ledger that contains information about each IoT device certified by CHIP, its manufacturer, and other important information like its current software version. Using a blockchain ledger to track device security is a simple way to remove the burden from device owners to monitor potentially dozens of devices themselves.

Why Did It Take a Global Pandemic to Trigger the WFH Revolution?

Believe it or not, there was actually a time before the global COVID-19 pandemic. And while the pandemic drags through its second year, and many of us grow more comfortable working from home, it will pass eventually. At that time, companies and workers will have to negotiate returns to offices, hybrid work agreements, and remote work situations. (Of course, many companies are already doing this, for better or worse.) But here’s the thing—the technologies for many people to work from home have existed for years, if not decades. When the pandemic first emerged in 2020, many people were able to grab what they needed from their desks, bring it home, and set up shop without interruption. So why did it take the pandemic to create the work-from-home revolution? It’s simple—for the first time, we had no other choice.

St. Helena’s New Undersea Cable Will Deliver 18 Gb/s per Person

Undaunted by the pandemic, one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world underwent the first stages of a truly tremendous upgrade to its connection to the outside world this year. A spur from Google’s Equiano undersea cable landed on St. Helena, which is located in the South Atlantic, in September. Currently, the island relies on a single satellite dish to maintain a single 40-megabit-per-second link shared among the island’s 4,500 inhabitants. The cable, when it’s lit up in 2022, will flood the island with up to 80 terabits per second of data. If you do the math, as we did in our headline, that comes out to about 18 gigabits per second per person. Seems like overkill, right? As it stands, most of that data won’t be going to the island’s residents. The cost of the cable’s operation is being subsidized by satellite companies. OneWeb is one such company, and it sees the remote island as an ideal place to build ground stations for its satellite network. The island has overcome long odds to be where it is, on the brink of a massive infrastructure upgrade. There’s just one thing still standing in its way: The island’s incumbent telecom monopoly, which despite predatory pricing and failing infrastructure, might just be entrenched enough to turn the cable spur into a cable to nowhere.


Match ID: 189 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 21 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

IEEE Honors Pioneering Engineers
Tue, 28 Dec 2021 19:00:00 +0000


Meet the recipients of the 2022 IEEE medals, service awards, honorary membership, and corporate recognition. The awards are presented on behalf of the IEEE Board of Directors.

IEEE MEDAL OF HONOR

Sponsor: IEEE Foundation

ASAD M. MADNI

University of California, Los Angeles

“For pioneering contributions to the development and commercialization of innovative sensing and systems technologies, and for distinguished research leadership.”

IEEE FRANCES E. ALLEN MEDAL

Sponsor: IBM

Corecipients:

EUGENE W. MYERS

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics and Center for Systems Biology

Dresden, Germany

WEBB MILLER

The Pennsylvania State University, retired

State College, Pa.

“For pioneering contributions to sequence analysis algorithms and their applications to biosequence search, genome sequencing, and comparative genome analyses.”

IEEE ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL MEDAL

Sponsor: Nokia Bell Labs

P. R. Kumar

Texas A&M University

College Station

“For seminal contributions to the modeling, analysis, and design of wireless networks.”

IEEE MILDRED DRESSELHAUS MEDAL

Sponsor: Google

ANANTHA CHANDRAKASAN

MIT

“For contributions to ultralow-power circuits and systems, and for leadership in academia and advancing diversity in the profession.”

IEEE EDISON MEDAL

Sponsor: Samsung Electronics Co.

ALAN BOVIK

The University of Texas at Austin

"For pioneering high-impact scientific and engineering contributions leading to the perceptually optimized global streaming and sharing of visual media.”

IEEE MEDAL FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AND SAFETY TECHNOLOGIES

Sponsor: Toyota Motor Corp.

Corecipients:

SAGAWA MASATO

Advanced Magnetic Materials

Korat, Thailand

JOHN J. CROAT

John Croat Consulting, Inc.

Naples, Fla.

“For contributions to the development of rare earth-iron-boron permanent magnets for use in high-efficiency motors, generators, and other devices.”

IEEE FOUNDERS MEDAL

Sponsor: IEEE Richard and Mary Jo Stanley Memorial Fund of the IEEE Foundation

JOHN BROOKS SLAUGHTER

University of Southern California, Los Angeles

“For leadership and administration significantly advancing inclusion and racial diversity in the engineering profession across government, academic, and non-profit organizations.”

IEEE RICHARD W. HAMMING MEDAL

Sponsor: Qualcomm

MADHU SUDAN

Harvard

“For fundamental contributions to probabilistically checkable proofs and list decoding of Reed-Solomon codes.”

IEEE MEDAL FOR INNOVATIONS IN HEALTHCARE TECHNOLOGY

Sponsor: IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society

JAMES G. FUJIMOTO

MIT

“For pioneering the development and commercialization of optical coherence tomography for medical imaging and diagnostics.”

IEEE THEODORE W. HISSEY OUTSTANDING YOUNG PROFESSIONAL AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Young Professionals, Photonics Society, Power & Energy Society

EDHEM (EDDIE) ČUSTOVIĆ

La Trobe University

Bundoora, Victoria, Australia

“For leadership in the empowerment and development of technology professionals globally.”

IEEE JACK S. KILBY SIGNAL PROCESSING MEDAL

Sponsor: Apple

DAVID L. DONOHO

Stanford

“For groundbreaking contributions to sparse signal recovery and compressed sensing.”

IEEE/RSE JAMES CLERK MAXWELL MEDAL

Funder: ARM

INGO WOLFF

IMST GmbH

Kamp-Lintfort, Germany

“For the development of numerical electromagnetic field analysis techniques to design advanced mobile and satellite communication systems.”

IEEE JAMES H. MULLIGAN, JR. EDUCATION MEDAL

Sponsor: MathWorks, Pearson, Lockheed Martin Corp., and the IEEE Life Members Fund

NED MOHAN

University of Minnesota

Minneapolis

“For leadership in power engineering education by developing courses, textbooks, labs, and a faculty network.”

IEEE JUN-ICHI NISHIZAWA MEDAL

Sponsor: The Federation of Electric Power Companies, Japan

UMESH K. MISHRA

University of California, Santa Barbara

“For contributions to the development of gallium nitride-based electronics.”

IEEE ROBERT N. NOYCE MEDAL

Sponsor: Intel Corp.

JINGSHENG JASON CONG

University of California, Los Angeles

“For fundamental contributions to electronic design automation and FPGA design methods.”

IEEE DENNIS J. PICARD MEDAL FOR RADAR TECHNOLOGIES AND APPLICATIONS

Sponsor: Raytheon Technologies

MOENESS G. AMIN

Villanova University, Pa.

“For contributions to radar signal processing across a wide range of applications including through-the-wall imaging and health monitoring.”

IEEE MEDAL IN POWER ENGINEERING

Sponsors: IEEE Industry Applications, Industrial Electronics, Power Electronics, and Power & Energy societies

THOMAS M. JAHNS

University of Wisconsin, Madison

“For contributions to the development of high-efficiency permanent magnet machines and drives.”

IEEE SIMON RAMO MEDAL

Sponsor: Northrop Grumman Corp.

PRAVIN VARAIYA

University of California, Berkeley

“For seminal contributions to the engineering, analysis, and design of complex energy, transportation, and communication systems.”

IEEE JOHN VON NEUMANN MEDAL

Sponsor: IBM Corp.

DEBORAH ESTRIN

Cornell

“For leadership in mobile and wireless sensing systems technologies and applications, including personal health management.”

IEEE CORPORATE INNOVATION AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE

THE ARGO PROGRAM

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Mass.

“For innovation in large-scale autonomous observations in oceanography with global impacts in marine and climate science and technology.”

IEEE RICHARD M. EMBERSON AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Technical Activities Board

FRED MINTZER

Blue Gene Watson Supercomputer Center

IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, retired

Yorktown Heights, N.Y.

“For outstanding leadership of technical activities including the IEEE Collabratec and TAB technology-centric communities.”

IEEE HARADEN PRATT AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Foundation

JOSEPH V. LILLIE

BIZPHYX, retired

Lafayette, La.

“For sustained and outstanding focus on the engagement of volunteers and staff in implementing continuous improvement of IEEE operations.”

IEEE HONORARY MEMBERSHIP

Sponsor: IEEE

CALYAMPUDI RADHAKRISHNA (C.R.) RAO

The Pennsylvania State University

State College, Pa.

University at Buffalo

“For contributions to fundamental statistical theories and their applications to engineering and science, particularly in signal processing and communications.”

For additional information on the recipients and the awards process, visit the IEEE Awards website.


Match ID: 190 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 21 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Voices of Covid doctors: 'It was always about trying to save you' – video
Thu, 23 Dec 2021 12:08:32 GMT

Healthcare workers around the world have been on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic for almost two years, which put them through the darkest days of their careers. Five doctors who have worked in hospitals in Uganda, New Zealand, the US, India, the UK and Brazil told the Guardian about how the pandemic had tested them personally and professionally, but how they continue to find hope and resolve to keep working.

Thanks to Dr Peter Kavuma, Dr Dalilah Restrepo, Dr Yogesh Kalkonde, Dr Anne Menezes and Dr Megan Smith, who is also a spokesperson at the campaigning organisation EveryDoctor

Continue reading...
Match ID: 191 Score: 3.57 source: www.theguardian.com age: 27 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Gigantism Is a Never-Ending Temptation for Engineers and Designers
Mon, 20 Dec 2021 20:00:07 +0000


There is a fundamental difference between what can be designed and built and what makes sense. History provides a lesson in the shape of record-setting behemoths that have never since been equaled.

The Egyptian pyramids started small, and in just a few generations, some 4,500 years ago, there came Khufu’s enormous pyramid, which nobody has ever tried to surpass. Shipbuilders in ancient Greece kept on expanding the size of their oared vessels until they built, during the third century BCE, a tessarakonteres, with 4,000 oarsmen. That vessel was too heavy, too ponderous, and therefore a naval failure. And architect Filippo Brunelleschi’s vast cupola for Florence’s Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, built without scaffolding and finished in 1436, was never replicated.

The modern era has no shortage of such obvious overshoots. The boom in oil consumption following the Second World War led to ever-larger oil tankers, with sizes rising from 50,000 to 100,000 and 250,000 deadweight tonnes (dwt). Seven tankers exceeded 500,000 dwt, but their lives were short, and nobody has built a million-dwt tanker. Technically, it would have been possible, but such a ship would not fit through the Suez or Panama canals, and its draft would limit its operation to just a few ports.

The economy-class-only configuration of the Airbus A380 airliner was certified to carry up to 853 passengers, but it has not been a success. In 2021, just 16 years after it entered service, the last plane was delivered, a very truncated lifespan. Compare it with the hardly puny Boeing 747, which will see its final delivery in 2022, 53 years after the plane’s first flight, an almost human longevity. Clearly, the 747 was the right-sized record-breaker.

Of course, the most infamous overshoot of all airplane designs was Howard Hughes’s H-4 Hercules, dubbed the Spruce Goose,” the largest plane ever made out of wood. It had a wingspan of nearly 100 meters, and it was propelled by eight reciprocating engines, but it became airborne only once, for less than a minute, on 2 November 1947, with Hughes himself at the controls.

Another right-size giant is Ford’s heavy and powerful F-150, now in its 14th generation: In the United States, it has been the bestselling pickup since 1977 and the best-selling vehicle since 1981. In contrast, the Hummer, a civilian version of a military assault vehicle, had a brief career but is now being resurrected in an even heavier electric version: The largest version using an internal combustion engine, the H1, weighed nearly 3.5 tonnes, the electric Hummer, 4.1 tonnes. I doubt we will see 14 generations of this beast.

But these lessons of excess carry little weight with designers and promoters pursuing record sizes. Architects discuss buildings taller than a mile, cruise ship designers have already packed nearly 7,000 people into a single vessel (Symphony of the Seas, built 2018) and people are dreaming about much larger floating cities (perfect for spreading the next pandemic virus). There are engineers who think that we will soon have wind turbines whose more than 200-meter diameter blades will fold, like palm fronds, in hurricanes.

Depending on where you stand you might see all of this either as an admirable quest for new horizons (a quintessential human striving) or irrational and wasteful overreach (a quintessential human hubris).

This article appears in the January 2022 print issue as “Extreme Designs.”

Gigantism in the Air


Overhead view of four airplanes. The Airbus 380-800, Antonov An-225,  Hughes H-4 Hercules, and the Boeing 737-MAX7

Gigantism in the Air


Overhead view of an Antonov An-225

Gigantism in the Air


Overhead view of a Hughes H-4 Hercules

Gigantism in the Air


Overhead view of an Airbus A380-800

Gigantism in the Air


Overhead view of a Boeing 737-MAX7
Match ID: 192 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 29 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

How white mobs firebombed homes and decimated a Black community in Illinois – video
Sat, 18 Dec 2021 10:00:00 GMT

This is the final episode of Red Summers, a 360 video series by artist Bayeté Ross Smith covering the untold American history of racial terrorism. 

After the first world war, Black laborers moved to northern towns like East St Louis, Illinois, trying to escape Jim Crow in the south. In 1917, members of the White American Federation of Labor went on strike – and the company responded by hiring Black workers. 

Angry white workers began attacking Black people in the city. Eventually this leads to white mobs firebombing houses with Black families inside, while others outside waited to shoot and kill them. Historians estimate between 39 and 150 Black people were killed in the East St Louis riots.

Just months later, another race riot in Houston broke out after member of the all-white Houston police department arrested a high-ranking soldier in an all-Black army regiment – a group that had recently returned from war. Only the Black soldiers were penalized

Continue reading...
Match ID: 193 Score: 3.57 source: www.theguardian.com age: 32 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

What Might War in Space Even Look Like?
Fri, 17 Dec 2021 14:00:01 +0000


A top military official says there’s a simmering shadow conflict playing out in space, with U.S. satellites coming under regular attack. But what does an attack on a spacecraft look like, who is committing them, and how can operators protect themselves?

General David Thompson, the vice chief of space operations at the US Space Force, recently told the Washington Post that China and Russia are targeting U.S. government satellites on a daily basis. While that might conjure up images of satellites being blown out of orbit left, right, and center, the reality is more low-key.

Thompson said the bulk of the incidents they’re seeing are “reversible attacks”, which temporarily disrupt a satellites operations rather than causing permanent damage. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, from jamming satellite signals to carrying out cyber-attacks.

“I would call those activities concerning, because there isn't a shared understanding of where the thresholds are for retaliation.”
—Laura Grego, MIT

These kinds of attacks exist in a legal and political gray area, says Laura Grego, a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the MIT Laboratory for Nuclear Security and Policy. But while most states don’t currently treat them as acts of war, the lack of clarity and their growing frequency is a worry.

“They’re testing the boundaries, trying to explore how far you can go before you get a reaction,” says Grego. “I would call those activities concerning, because there isn't a shared understanding of where the thresholds are for retaliation.”

The most common kind of attack involves interfering with the radio signals coming to and from satellites, particularly those used by GPS satellites, Brian Weeden, director of program planning at the Secure World Foundation, writes in an email. This can involve beaming a signal from a ground-based transmitter at a satellite to interfere with its ability to pick up communications from its control station. Alternatively, it’s possible to direct a rogue transmission towards ground receivers to block the signal, or replace it with a fake one, something known as spoofing.

A 2019 report from security research non-profit C4ADS found evidence that Russia regularly uses jamming and spoofing attacks against GPS satellites to protect sensitive locations from drone attacks or surveillance. But the US also has similar capabilities - last year the US Navy tested GPS jamming technology that interfered with signals across six states.

The US, Russia and China have also all developed ground-based laser systems designed to dazzle the optical sensors of spy satellites as they pass over sensitive sites. “That's akin to shining a really bright flashlight in someone's eyes,” writes Weeden. “It can temporarily prevent the satellite from taking a picture, or in some cases might actually physically damage the [image sensor] if it's strong enough. ”

The advent of software-defined radios has made it far easier and cheaper to carry out jamming and spoofing attacks on satellites.

The leading space powers still have the capability to commit more obvious acts of war in space. Russia recently drew widespread condemnation for testing an anti-satellite missile on one of its own defunct surveillance satellites, and the US, China, and India have all carried out similar tests. One disincentive to carrying out this kind of attack, however, is that it litters Earth’s orbit with debris that can unintentionally damage other spacecraft, says Grego.

There are ways to physically attack a satellite without causing so much collateral damage, though. So-called “co-orbital anti-satellite weapons” are essentially spacecraft that can maneuver close to an adversary's satellite before attacking them with a projectile or clawing at them with a robotic arm to cause damage. They can also be used to snoop on enemy satellites, says Grego, either to intercept signals or try to work out what their mission is.

In 2020, a pair of Russian spacecraft were spotted tailing a US spy satellite and a few months later one of them was seen releasing a fast moving projectile. So far though, there have been no reports of anyone carrying out a physical attack on another country’s satellite, says Grego.

Attacks on spacecraft are no longer just the preserve of nation states though, says Frank Schubert, from Airbus Cybersecurity. The advent of software defined radios, which use a digital processor rather than specialized electronics to modulate radio signals, has made it far easier and cheaper to carry out jamming and spoofing attacks. And in 2019, researchers showed that they could intercept signals from a satellite broadband service and identify users and their browsing activity using just €285 ($322) worth of equipment.

Satellite operators are also subject to constant attacks from hackers, says Schubert. Typically, these are targeted at the ground stations that control and communicate with satellites, but if successful could be used to do everything from steal data to interfere with the operation of spacecraft. There’s also a growing threat from “hybrid attacks”, says Schubert. For instance, attackers might jam a signal from a satellite and quickly follow this up with a well-crafted phishing email to the operator claiming to be able to resolve the problem.

Countering these threats involves following the same kinds of cybersecurity best practices as any other industry. But given the complex supply chains involved in building spacecraft it’s also critical to ensure the provenance of every part of the system. “Security by design is key,” says Schubert. “I can have the best defense for cyber-attacks, but if the bug is already inside my system that went in through the supply chain, I'm in big trouble.”

Another important way to counteract many of these threats is to build resiliency into space systems, says Grego. This could involve investing in the ability to rapidly launch replacement satellites or swapping a single large, expensive satellite with a network of smaller ones that can still operate if one or two are knocked out.


Match ID: 194 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 33 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Drone Startup to Fly Pallets Without Pilots
Thu, 16 Dec 2021 16:00:00 +0000


Delivering things by drone began as a stunt in 2012, when a model airplane dropped a burrito by parachute to a hungry customer waiting below. The concept then graduated, first to a proof-of-principle venture in Iceland using multicopters, then to a well-funded Amazon project in the United Kingdom. But these and similar attempts to solve the last-mile problem—the mile leading to the customer—have largely been disappointing. Amazon recently scaled back its drone-based delivery project in the U.K.

In 2022, Dronamics, a company based in London and Sofia, Bulgaria, will test-fly a drone in Europe that will carry far more than a mere burrito and over far longer distances. It addresses the less sexy but equally important middle-distance problem—the route that connects factories to warehouses. The point is to take a slice of business that’s now handled by regular air freight and by trucks—above all, the quick delivery of critical parts. If this service had been available a year or two ago, it might not have prevented the logistics logjam that now plagues the world, but it would have cleared away some of the more problematic bottlenecks.


Dronamics will run trials with its partners, including DHL and Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, in the hope of eventually fielding thousands of drones, each carrying as much as 350 kilograms of cargo up to 2,500 kilometers. The European Union has facilitated this sort of experimentation by instituting a single certification policy for drone aircraft. Once its aircraft are certified, Dronamics must get a route approved through one of the E.U.’s member countries; that done, it should be fairly easy to get other member countries to agree as well.

In October, Dronamics announced that it would use Malta as its base, with a view to connecting first to Italy and later to other Mediterranean countries.

One thing Dronamics doesn’t do is full-scale autonomy: Its planes do not detect and avoid obstacles. Instead, each flight is programmed in advance, in a purely deterministic way. Flights often take place in controlled airspace and always between drone ports that the company controls. Someone on the ground monitors the flight from afar, and if something unexpected arises, that person can redirect the plane.

“We operate like a proper airline, but we can intervene,” says Svilen Rangelov, the cofounder and CEO of Dronamics. “We’re looking for underserved airports, using time slots where there is no passenger traffic. In the United States there are 17,000 airports, but only about 400 are commercially used. The rest don’t have regular service at all.”

Unlike the multicopter burrito drones of years past, or even Amazon’s prototypes, these machines fly on fixed wings and are powered by internal combustion engines, the better to carry big loads long distances and to operate at off-the-grid airfields. “Anything less than 200 miles [about 320 kilometers] is not appropriate because, given the time to get to the airport, fly, and then pick up, you may as well truck it,” Rangelov says.

The company’s drone is called Black Swan, a phrase often used to describe important but unpredictable events. “That was precisely the reasoning” behind the name, Rangelov says, explaining what makes this drone so unique and rare. "We knew [the drone] had to be cheaper to produce and to operate than any existing models.”

The drone likely will not be carrying one pallet of the same things but multiple packages for many customers.

Because this vehicle is intended to transport cargo with no people on board, Dronamics could design the interior to fit cargo pallets. “It’s exactly the right cargo size for this business,” Rangelov says. “It likely will not be carrying one pallet of the same things but multiple packages for many customers.” And Dronamics claims it can carry cargo for half of what today’s air freighters charge.

Hellmann Worldwide Logistics sees a lot of potential for using Dronamics in Africa and other places with limited infrastructure. For now, though, the company is focused on the dense population, manageable distances, and supportive governmental institutions of Europe.

“Especially between north and south Europe—from Germany and Hungary, where there’s a lot of automotive business,” says Jan Kleine-Lasthues, Hellmann’s chief operating officer for air freight. There are also supply lines going into Italy that service the cruise ships on the Mediterranean Sea, he says, and fresh fish would be ideal cargo. Indeed, Dronamics is working on a temperature-controlled container.

What effect would massive fleets of such drones have had on today’s supply-chain problems? “It could help,” he says. “If the container isn’t arriving with production material, we could use drones to keep production alive. But it’s not replacing the big flow—it’s just a more flexible, more agile mode of transport.”

Before cargo drones darken the skies, though, Hellmann wants to see how the rollout goes.

“First of all, we want to try it,” Kleine-Lasthues says. “One use case is replacing commercial air freight—for example, Frankfurt to Barcelona by drone; also, there’s a use case replacing vans. If it is working, I think it can be quickly ramped up. The question is how fast can Dronamics add capacity to the market.”

This article appears in the January 2022 print issue as “Flying Pallets Without Pilots.”


Match ID: 195 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 33 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

To Change Your Company's Culture, Don't Start by Trying to Change the Culture
2021-12-14T00:00:00EST
Skip the inspirational speeches and culture committees. Meaningful culture change comes about only when companies rethink how they manage, lead, and pursue strategic goals, says Michael Beer.
Match ID: 196 Score: 3.57 source: hbswk.hbs.edu age: 36 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Isolate in Antarctica, for science
Thu, 25 Nov 2021 12:09:00 +0100
Image:

Applications are now open for the role of ESA-sponsored research medical doctor at Concordia research station in Antarctica for the 2023 winter over season. Do you have a medical degree, an interest in space exploration and the fortitude to spend almost a year in isolation in the world’s largest desert? Apply today for this unique post.

The blank backdrop

Located at the mountain plateau called Dome C in Antarctica, the French-Italian base is one of only three that is inhabited all year long.

Between the extreme altitude – 3233 m above sea level means the crew experience chronic hypobaric hypoxia or lack of oxygen in the brain – four months of total darkness during the winter, and temperatures as low as –80°C, the base is fertile ground to research the effects of isolated, confined, and extreme environments on the human body and mind.

For this reason, each year ESA sponsors a medical doctor to oversee biomedical experiments at the base.

The 2021 winter over doctor, Nick Smith from the UK, is on his way back home after a successful year in Antarctica. Taking his place is Hannes Hagson from Sweden. He arrived with his crew of 12 in early November and will oversee research such as how isolation changes people’s brains, sleep and their immune system.

Summer in December

Concordia is currently hosting the summer season of researchers. About 60 researchers flock to the station to check equipment, set up sensors and run experiments for a few weeks. The last of the summer crew is expected to leave in February, and then the isolation begins. The 13-member crew will spend the next nine months with only each other for company as the sun begins to set, returning after four months.

If you think you have what it takes, apply for the position of ESA research doctor by 21 January 2022.

Good luck to Hannes and the DC 18 crew! Follow Hannes’ year on the Chronicles from Concordia blog.


Match ID: 197 Score: 3.57 source: www.esa.int age: 55 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Why Biden picked Powell
Mon, 22 Nov 2021 17:58:53 EST
In the end, President Joe Biden did what many close to him expected: He took a longer-than-anticipated amount of time to arrive at a reasonable, moderate decision that thrilled few but carried limited risk.
Match ID: 198 Score: 3.57 source: www.politico.com age: 57 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

​​Why the World’s Militaries Are Embracing 5G
Thu, 11 Nov 2021 17:00:00 +0000


It's 2035, and the sun beats down on a vast desert coastline. A fighter jet takes off accompanied by four unpiloted aerial vehicles (UAVs) on a mission of reconnaissance and air support. A dozen special forces soldiers have moved into a town in hostile territory, to identify targets for an air strike on a weapons cache. Commanders need live visual evidence to correctly identify the targets for the strike and to minimize damage to surrounding buildings. The problem is that enemy jamming has blacked out the team's typical radio-frequency bands around the cache. Conventional, civilian bands are a no-go because they'd give away the team's position.

As the fighter jet and its automated wingmen cross into hostile territory, they are already sweeping the ground below with radio-frequency, infrared, and optical sensors to identify potential threats. On a helmet-mounted visor display, the pilot views icons on a map showing the movements of antiaircraft batteries and RF jammers, as well as the special forces and the locations of allied and enemy troops.


While all this is going on, the fighter jet's autonomous wingmen establish an ad hoc, high-bandwidth mesh communication network that cuts through the jamming by using unjammed frequencies, aggregating signals across different radio channels, and rapidly switching among different channels. Through a self-organizing network of communication nodes, the piloted fighter in the air connects to the special forces on the ground.

As soon as the network is established, the soldiers begin transmitting real-time video of artillery rockets being transported into buildings. The fighter jet acts as a base station, connecting the flying mesh network of the UAVs with a network of military and commercial satellites accessible to commanders all over the world. Processors distributed among the piloted and unpiloted aircraft churn through the data, and artificial-intelligence (AI) algorithms locate the targets and identify the weapons in the live video feed being viewed by the commanders.

Suddenly, the pilot sees a dot flashing on the far horizon through his helmet-mounted display. Instantly, two of the four teammates divert toward the location indicated by the flash. The helmet lights up a flight path toward the spot, and the pilot receives new orders scrolling across the display:

New Priority: SEARCH AND RESCUE

Downed Pilot, 121 miles NNW

Execute Reconnaissance and Grid Search, Provide Air Cover

The two UAVs that have flown ahead start coordinating to identify the location of hostile forces in the vicinity of the downed aircraft. A Navy rescue helicopter and medical support vessel are already en route. Meanwhile, with the fighter jet speeding away on a new mission, the two other UAVs supporting the special forces squad shift their network configuration to directly link to the satellite networks now serving the base-station role formerly played by the fighter jet. The live video feed goes on uninterrupted. The reconfigurations happen swiftly and without human intervention.

Warfare has always been carried out at the boundary between chaos and order. Strategists have long tried to suppress the chaos and impose order by means of intelligence, communication, and command and control. The most powerful weapon is useless without knowing where to aim it. The most carefully constructed plan leads nowhere if it is based on bad intelligence. And the best intelligence is worthless if it arrives too late. No wonder that over the past two centuries, as technologies such as photography, electronic communications, and computing became available, they were quickly absorbed into military operations and often enhanced by targeted defense R&D.

The next key enabler is fifth-generation ( 5G) wireless communications. The United States, Europe, China, and Russia are now integrating 5G technologies into their military networks. These are sizable and complicated projects, and several different strategies are already becoming apparent.

At Lockheed Martin, we're enhancing standard 5G technologies to connect the many platforms and networks that are fielded by the various branches of the armed services. We call this our 5G.MIL initiative. Earlier this year, in two projects, called Hydra and HiveStar, we demonstrated the feasibility of key aspects of this initiative. Hydra yielded encouraging results on the interoperability challenge, and HiveStar showed that it was possible to quickly construct, in an area with no existing infrastructure, a highly mobile and yet capable 5G network, as would be required on a battlefield.

The new work takes an unusual approach. It is a collaboration with commercial industry in which technology is transferred from the civilian to the military sector, not the other way around. Radar, rocketry, and nuclear energy got their starts in military labs, and it took years, even generations, for these technologies to trickle into consumer products. But today, for fundamental technologies such as computing and communications, the sheer scale of private-sector development is increasingly beyond the resources of even the largest national defense agencies. To deploy networks that are sufficiently fast, adaptive, agile, and interoperable, warfighters now have little alternative but to exploit commercial developments.

No wonder, then, that the U.S. Department of Defense, through an initiative called 5G to NextG, and various complementary investments from individual armed services, has committed upwards of US $2 billion to advance commercial 5G research and to perform tests and experiments to adapt the results for military purposes.

To understand the significance of such a shift, consider how the United States got to this juncture. In 18th-century conflicts, such as the Revolutionary War, the only battlefield sensors were human eyes and ears. Long-distance communication could take days and could be interrupted if the messengers it relied on were captured or killed. Tactical battlefield decisions were signaled by flags or runners to commence maneuvers or attacks.

By World War II, combatants had radar, aircraft, and radios to sense enemy planes and bombers up to 80 miles ahead. They could communicate from hundreds of miles away and prepare air defenses and direct fighter-interceptor squadrons within minutes. Photoreconnaissance could supply invaluable intelligence—but in hours or days, not seconds.

Today, the field of battle is intensively monitored. There are countless sensors on land, sea, air, space, and even in cyberspace. Jet fighters, such as the F-35, can act as information-processing hubs in the sky to fuse all that data into a single integrated picture of the battlefield, then share that picture with war fighters and decision makers, who can thus execute command and control in near real time.

A grey fighter jet with a shiny dome flies over rocky mountains.

A gray military plane with wide wings flies over a mountainous landscape.

Two gray military planes fly side by side. Three Lockheed Martin military aircraft, built in different eras, have different communications systems designed to make it hard for an adversary to detect a transmission. In a project called Hydra, engineers used electronic systems called open-system gateways to enable the three to communicate freely. From the top, the aircraft are the F-22, the U-2S, and the F-35. Lockheed Martin

At least, that's the goal. The reality often falls short. The networks that knit together all these sensors are a patchwork. Some of them run over civilian commercial infrastructure and others are military, and among the military ones, different requirements among the different branches and other factors have contributed to an assortment of high-performance but largely incompatible communication protocols. Messages may not propagate across these networks quickly or at all.

Here's why that's a problem. Say that an F-35 detects an incoming ballistic missile. The aircraft can track the missile in real time. But today it may not be able to convey that tracking data all the way to antimissile batteries in time for them to shoot down the projectile. That's the kind of capability the 5G.MIL initiative is aiming for.

There are broader goals, too, because future battlefields will up the ante on complexity. Besides weapons, platforms, and gear, individual people will be outfitted with network-connected sensors monitoring their location, exposures to biochemical or radioactive hazards, and physical condition. To connect all these elements will require global mesh networks of thousands of nodes, including satellites in space. The networks will have to accommodate hypersonic systems moving faster than five times the speed of sound, while also being capable of controlling or launching cyberattacks, electronic warfare and countermeasures, and directed-energy weapons.

Such technologies will fundamentally change the character and speed of war and will require an omnipresent communications backbone to manage capabilities across the entire battlefield. The sheer range of coordinated activities, the volume of assets, the complexity of their interactions, and their worldwide distribution would quickly overwhelm the computing and network capabilities we have today. The time from observation to decision to action will be measured in milliseconds: When a maneuvering hypersonic platform moves more than 3.5 kilometers per second, knowing its location even a second ago may be of little use for a system designed to track it.

Our 5G.MIL vision has two complementary elements. One is exemplified by the opening scenario of this article: the quick, ad hoc establishment of secure, local networks based on 5G technology. The goal here is to let forces take sensor data from any platform in the theater and make it accessible to any shooter, no matter how the platform and the shooter each connect to the network.

Lockheed Martin

Aircraft, ships, satellites, tanks, or even individual soldiers could connect their sensors to the secure 5G network via specially modified 5G base stations. Like commercial 5G base stations, these hybrid base stations could handle commercial 5G and 4G LTE cellular traffic. They could also share data via military tactical links and communications systems. In either case, these battlefield connections would take the form of secure mesh networks. In this type of network, nodes have intelligence that enables them to connect to one another directly to self-organize and self-configure into a network, and then jointly manage the flow of data.

Inside the hybrid base station would be a series of systems called tactical gateways, which enable the base station to work with different military communication protocols. Such gateways already exist: They consist of hardware and software based on military-prescribed open-architecture standards that enable a platform, such as a fighter jet made by one contractor, to communicate with, say, a missile battery made by another supplier.

The second element of the 5G.MIL vision involves connecting these local mesh networks to the global Internet. Such a connection between a local network and the wider Internet is known as a backhaul. In our case, the connection might be on the ground or in space, between civilian and military satellites. The resulting globe-spanning backhaul networks, composed of civilian infrastructure, military assets, or a mixture of both, would in effect create a software-defined virtual global defense network.

The software-defined aspect is important because it would allow the networks to be reconfigured—automatically—on the fly. That's a huge challenge right now, but it's critical because it would provide the flexibility needed to deal with the exigencies of war. At one moment, you might need an enormous video bandwidth in a certain area; in the next, you might need to convey a huge amount of targeting data. Alternatively, different streams of data might need different levels of encryption. Automatically reconfigurable software-defined networks would make all of this possible.

The military advantage would be that software running on the network could use data sourced from anywhere in the world to pinpoint location, identify friends or foes, and to target hostile forces. Any authorized user in the field with a smartphone could see on a Web browser, with data from this network, the entire battlefield, no matter where it was on the planet.

We partnered recently with the U.S. Armed Services to demonstrate key aspects of this 5G.MIL vision. In March 2021, Lockheed Martin's Project Hydra demonstrated bidirectional communication between the Lockheed F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters and a Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance plane in flight, and then down to ground artillery systems.

This latest experiment, part of a series that began in 2013, is an example of connecting systems with communications protocols that are unique to their mission requirements. All three planes are made by Lockheed Martin, but their different chronologies and battlefield roles resulted in different custom communications links that aren't readily compatible. Project Hydra enabled the platforms to communicate directly via an open-system gateway that translates data between native communications links and other weapons systems.

Emerging technologies will fundamentally change the character and speed of war and will require an omnipresent communications backbone to manage capabilities across the entire battlefield.

It was a promising outcome, but reconnaissance and fighter aircraft represent only a tiny fraction of the nodes in a future battle space. Lockheed Martin has continued to build off Project Hydra, introducing additional platforms in the network architecture. Extending the distributed-gateway approach to all platforms can make the resulting network resilient to the loss of individual nodes by ensuring that critical data gets through without having to spend money to replace existing platform radios with a new, common radio.

Another series of projects with a software platform called HiveStar showed that a fully functional 5G network could be assembled using base stations about the size of a cereal box. What's more, those base stations could be installed on modestly sized multicopters and flown around a theater of operations—this network was literally "on the fly."

The HiveStar team carried out a series of trials this year culminating in a joint demonstration with the U.S. Army's Ground Vehicle Systems Center. The objective was to support a real-world Army need: using autonomous vehicles to deliver supplies in war zones.

The team started simply, setting up a 5G base station and establishing a connection to a smartphone. The base-station hardware, a gNodeB in industry parlance, was an OctNode2, from Octasic in Montreal. The base station weighs about 800 grams and measures about 24 × 15 × 5 centimeters.

A white 3D printed box with electronics inside sits on a black and red base. On top, multiple black pieces extend from the white box. A white 3-D printed box housed processors for distributed-computing and communications software, called HiveStar. The housings were mounted on unpiloted aerial vehicles for a demonstration of a fully airborne 5G network.Lockheed Martin

The team then tested the compact system in an area without existing infrastructure, as might very well be true of a war zone or disaster area. The team mounted the gNodeB and a tactical radio operating in the S band on a DJI Matrice 600 Pro hexacopter and flew the package over a test range at Lockheed Martin's Waterton, Colo., facility. The system passed the test: It established 5G connectivity between this roving cell tower in the sky with a tablet on the ground.

Next, the team set about wirelessly connecting a group of base stations together into a flying, roving heterogeneous 5G military network that could perform useful missions. For this they relied on Lockheed-Martin developed software called HiveStar, which manages network coverage and distributes tasks among network nodes—in this case, the multicopters cooperating to find and photograph the target. This management is dynamic: if one node is lost to interference or damage, the remaining nodes adjust to cover the loss.

For the team's first trial, they chose a pretty standard military chore: locate and photograph a target using multiple sensor systems, a function called tip and cue. In a war zone such a mission might be carried out by a relatively large UAV outfitted with serious processing power. Here the team used the gNodeB and S-band radio setup as before, but with a slight difference. All 5G networks need a software suite called 5G core services, which is responsible for such basic functions as authenticating a user and managing the handoffs from tower to tower. In this trial, those core functions were running on a standard Dell PowerEdge R630 1U rack-mounted server on the ground. So the network consisted of the gNodeB on the lead copter, which communicated with the ground using 5G and depended on the core services on the ground computers.

The lead copter communicated using S-band radio links, with several camera copters and one search copter with a software-defined radio programmed to detect an RF pulse in the target frequency. The team worked with the HiveStar software, which managed the network's communications and computing, via the 5G tablet. All that was needed was a target for the copters to search for. So the team outfitted a remotely controlled toy jeep, about 1 meter long, with a software-defined radio emitter as a surrogate target.

The team initiated the tip-and-cue mission by entering commands on the 5G tablet. The lead copter acted as a router to the rest of the heterogeneous 5G and S-band network. Messages initiating the mission were then distributed to the other cooperating copters via the S-band radio connection. Once these camera platforms received the messages, their onboard HiveStar mission software cooperated to autonomously distribute tasks among the team to execute search maneuvers. The multicopters lifted off in search of the target RF emitter.

Once the detecting copter located the target jeep's radio signal, the camera copters quickly sped to the area and captured images of the jeep. Then, via the 5G gNodeB, they sent these images, along with precise latitude and longitude information, to the tablet. Mission accomplished.

Next the team thought of ways to fly the entire 5G system, freeing it from any dependence on specific locations on the ground. To do this, they had to put the 5G core services on the lead copter, the one outfitted with the gNodeB. Working with a partner company, they loaded the core services software onto a single board computer, an Nvidia Jetson Xavier NX, along with the gNodeB. For the lead copter, which would carry this gear, they chose a robust, industrial-grade quadcopter, the Freefly Alta X. They equipped it with the Nvidia board, antennas, filters, and the S-band radios.

Lockheed Martin

At the Army's behest, the team came up with a plan to use the flying network to demonstrate leader-follower autonomous-vehicle mobility. It's a convoy: A human drives a lead vehicle, and up to eight autonomous vehicles follow behind, using routing information transmitted to them from the lead vehicle. Just as in the tip-and-cue demonstration, the team established a heterogeneous 5G and S-band network with the upgraded 5G payload and a series of supporting copters that formed a connected S-band mesh network. This mesh connected the convoy to a second, identical convoy several kilometers away, which was also served by a copter-based 5G and S-band base station.

After the commander initiated the mission, the Freefly Alta X flew itself above the lead vehicle at a height of about 100 meters and connected to it via the 5G link. The HiveStar mission-controller software directed the supporting multicopters to launch, form, and maintain the mesh network. The vehicle convoy started its circuit around a test range about 10 km in circumference. During this time, the copter connected via 5G to the lead convoy vehicle would relay position and other telemetric information to the other vehicles in the convoy, while following overhead as the convoy traveled at around 50 km per hour. Data from the lead vehicle was shared by this relay to following vehicles as well as the second convoy via the distributed multicopter-based S-band mesh network.

Illustration of satellites and other elements and how they are all connected. Current 5G standards do not include connections via satellites or aircraft. But planned revisions, designated Release 17 by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project consortium, are expected next year and will support nonterrestrial networking capabilities for 5G.Chris Philpot

The team also challenged the system by simulating the loss of one of the data links (either 5G or S-band) due to jamming or malfunction. If a 5G link was severed, the system immediately switched to the S band, and vice versa, to maintain connectivity. Such a capability would be important in a war zone, where jamming is a constant threat.

Though encouraging, the Hydra and HiveStar trials were but first steps, and many high hurdles will have to be cleared before the scenario that opens this article can become reality. Chief among these is expanding the coverage and range of the 5G-enabled networks to continental or intercontinental range, increasing their security, and managing their myriad connections. We are looking to the commercial sector to bring big ideas to these challenges.

Satellite constellations, for instance, can provide a degree of global coverage, along with cloud-computing services via the internet and the opportunity for mesh networking and distributed computing. And though today's 5G standards do not include space-based 5G access, the Release 17 standards coming in 2022 from the 3rd Generation Partnership Project consortium will natively support nonterrestrial networking capabilities for the 5G ecosystem. So we're working with our commercial partners to integrate their 3GPP-compliant capabilities to enable direct-to-device 5G connectivity from space. In the meantime, we're using the HiveStar/multicopter platform as a surrogate to test and demonstrate our space-based 5G concepts.

Security will entail many challenges. Cyberattackers can be counted on to attempt to exploit any vulnerabilities in the software-defined networking and network-virtualization capabilities of the 5G architecture. The huge number of vendors and their suppliers will make it hard to perform due diligence on all of them. And yet we must protect against such attacks in a way that works with any vendor's products rather than rely, as in the past, on a limited pool of preapproved solutions with proprietary (and incompatible) security modifications.

The advent of ultrafast 5G technology is an inflection point in military technology.

Another interesting little challenge is presented by the 5G waveform itself. It's made to be easily discovered to establish the strongest connection. But that won't work in military operations where lives depend on stealth. Modifications to the standard 5G waveform, and how it's processed within the gNodeB, can achieve transmission that's hard for adversaries to pick up.

Perhaps the greatest challenge, though, is how to orchestrate a global network built on mixed commercial and military infrastructure. To succeed here will require collaboration with commercial mobile-network operators to develop better ways to authenticate user connections, control network capacity, and share RF spectrum. For software applications to make use of 5G's low latency, we'll also have to find new, innovative ways of managing distributed cloud-computing resources.

It's not a leap to see the advent of ultrafast 5G technology as an inflection point in military technology. As artificial intelligence, unpiloted systems, directed-energy weapons, and other technologies become cheaper and more widely available, threats will proliferate in both number and diversity. Communications and command and control will only become more important relative to more traditional factors such as the physical capabilities of platforms and kinetic weapons. This sentiment was highlighted in the summary of the 2018 U.S. National Defense Strategy, the strategic guidance document issued every four years by the U.S. DOD: "Success no longer goes to the country that develops a new technology first, but rather to the one that better integrates it and adapts its way of fighting."

Here, it is worth noting that Chinese companies are among the most active in developing 5G and emerging 6G technologies. Chinese firms, notably Huawei and ZTE Corp., have more than 30 percent of the worldwide market for 5G technology, similar to the combined market shares of Ericsson and Nokia. Chinese market share could very well increase: According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the Chinese government backs companies that build 5G infrastructures in countries China invests in as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. Meanwhile, in Europe, NATO unveiled its first 5G military test site in Latvia in 2020. Norway, notably, is exploring dedicating software-defined networks in commercial 5G infrastructure to support military missions.

Perhaps this convergence of commercial and defense-sector development around 5G, 6G, and future communications technologies will lead to powerful and unexpected commercial applications. The defense sector gave the world the Internet. The world now gives militaries 5G communications and beyond. Let's find out what the defense sector can give back.

Authors' note: 5G.MIL, HiveStar, and Lockheed Martin are all trademarks of the Lockheed Martin Corporation. The authors wish to acknowledge the help of Brandon Martin in the writing of this article.


Match ID: 199 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 68 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Electric Airplanes Won’t Make Much of a Dent in Air Travel for Decades to Come
Mon, 01 Nov 2021 15:15:31 +0000


Exaggeration has become the default method for news reporting, and the possibility of commercial electric flight has been no exception, with repeated claims that these new planes will utterly change how we live.

In 2017, Boeing and JetBlue funded Zunum Aero, a U.S. company that promised nothing less than transforming air travel with short-haul electric planes capable of carrying 12 people–and doing it by 2022. Two years later Boeing declined to continue funding the project.


At the Paris Air Show in June 2019, the CEO of Eviation introduced Alice, a nine-seat commuter plane that had two pusher motors on the wing tips—a highly questionable design—and said, "This is not some future maybe…. It's operational." It was not. The first flight did not take place as advertised, and in 2021 the motors were relocated aft on the model fuselage.

Meanwhile, there is the Pipistrel Velis Electro, the first electric airplane to receive European Union flight certification. It is able to carry just two people, for only about an hour.

Illustration comparing the sizes of a Pipistral Velis Electro and a Boeing 787-10 in meters. More people, flying further have nearly doubled the passenger-kilometers traveled by air over the past decade. Short-haul flights on battery power, while undoubtedly convenient, would amount to a mere rounding error, not only for this metric but for the related one of carbon emissions. The Pipistrel Velis Electro, the first e-plane approved in the European Union, can carry two people for about 100 kilometers; the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner can carry 336 people 11,750 km—about a 20,000-fold difference. James Provost

But overly ambitious goals and setbacks are not the question here; such early failures are to be expected in any new technical endeavor. The problem is much more fundamental. Having all-electric aircraft for short-haul flights would indeed be great, and it would provide critical services to millions of travelers living in small towns. Still, it would make only a minor contribution to what is truly a gigantic business.

Air traffic surged from 28 billion passenger-kilometers (pkm) in 1950 to 2.8 trillion pkm by the year 2000, a 100-fold rise. It then rose to nearly 9 trillion pkm before the pandemic intervened. Trillions of passenger-kilometers could be added so rapidly thanks to the advent of wide-body airplanes carrying 300 to 500 passengers per plane between the continents. Consider such flights, spanning about 6,000 kilometers between Europe and North America, 8,000 km between Europe and East Asia, and 11,000 km between North America and Asia—and compare them to short-haul affairs, say between smaller towns and the largest city in a state.

Large turbofan engines powering these planes are fueled by aviation kerosene that provides nearly 12,000 watt-hours per kilogram. In contrast, today's best commercial Li-ion batteries deliver less than 300 Wh/kg, or 1/40th the energy density of kerosene. Even when taking into account the higher efficiency of electric motors, the effective energy densities go down to about 1/20th. That's more than better batteries can bridge within the next decade or two.

During the past 30 years the maximum energy density of batteries has roughly tripled. Even if electrochemists should replicate that feat, providing us with 1,000 Wh/kg batteries in 2050, it would still fall far short of what's needed to fly a wide-body plane nonstop from New York to Tokyo, something that All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, and United Airlines have been doing for years with the Boeing 777. And while kerosene-fueled planes get lighter as they travel to their destination, electric aircraft will have to carry a constant mass of batteries.

Moreover, the airline industry requires massive investments. Pre-COVID estimates indicated that between 2018 and 2038 the combined market for new planes, together with the cost of their maintenance, repair, and associated training services, would be on the order of US $16 trillion. Such enormous outlays require long planning horizons, embedded in commitments to specific designs and aircraft orders.

This means that the industry's next few decades have already been decided. Because the average lifespan of both single-aisle and wide-body planes is just over 20 years, forthcoming purchases of new planes will expand the existing fleet at least by half—and all of the large commercial planes will rely on kerosene-fueled turbofans.

This article appears in the November 2021 print issue as "Electric Flight."


Match ID: 200 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 78 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Sure, China’s Hypersonic Weapons May Have Incited a “Sputnik Moment”
Thu, 28 Oct 2021 22:42:15 +0000


Hypersonic flight may sound futuristic, but it's been around for at least 70-odd years—since the nose cones of ballistic missiles first began to regularly re-enter the atmosphere at better than Mach Five. (Five times the speed of sound is the commonly accepted definition of such speeds.)

In the 1960s the United States and the Soviet Union both experimented with the technology. In recent years Russia and China have doubled down on it, and they haven't been keeping quiet about it either. Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a speech in 2018 that was accompanied by an animated impression of how a hypersonic missile would look like on its way to North America. The Chinese have pushed the technology just as hard, and with far more funding.

So why is the Pentagon shocked, shocked to learn that in August, China tested two nuclear-capable hypersonic missiles? The Financial Times reported it earlier this month, apparently basing it on Pentagon sources. Though it just might have been an officially sanctioned leak.

Could this be a "Sputnik moment"? After the original such “moment," following the Soviet's 1958 launch of a satellite of that name, the United States more or less panicked: The government upped funding for the space program, and schools put new emphasis on science and mathematics. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, distanced himself from the concept only to embrace it. "I don't know if it's quite a Sputnik moment, but I think it's very close to that," he said in an interview yesterday on Bloomberg Television.

The U.S. has armed itself according to an outspend-our-rivals mindset at least since Grant prevailed over Lee in 1865. But is this really a wise move against China in 2021?

Expect yet more funding for U.S. research on hypersonic technology. I say "yet more" because Congress has been worried for some time about a possible hypersonic missile gap. For fiscal 2022 the Pentagon's request for hypersonic research funding is US $3.8 billion—up from $3.2 billion in 2021 and $2.6 billion in the previous year.

The U.S. military wants not only hypersonic missiles of its own but also a world-embracing network of low-orbiting satellites that can catch a hypersonic missile in time to alert potential targets. Not that the targets could defend themselves: There is today no antimissile that can hit such fast-moving, maneuverable vehicles. But at least a timely tip could enable the doomed site to retaliate before dying, a capability that would reinforce the sardonically named system of deterrence known as MAD, for mutual assured destruction.

Existing missile defense is based on high-orbiting, geostationary satellites, which are great at noticing booster missile launches but not the faint emanations from the trail of a hypersonic missile. "Because of these challenges our current terrestrial- and space-based sensor architecture may not be sufficient to detect and track these hypersonic missiles," Admiral Charles A. Richard, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, said at a symposium in August.

"We are witnessing a strategic breakout by China," Adm. Richard added. "The explosive growth and modernization of its nuclear and conventional forces can only be what I describe as breathtaking. And, frankly, that word 'Breathtaking' may not be enough."

What does all this mean for the balance of power? Perhaps the nuclear aspect is not the real problem. The Russians and the Chinese now have tactical missiles, ready for use, that can do quite a lot while packing nothing more powerful than high explosives.

Take as an example the recent talk of whether the United States might defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack of some kind. In any naval conflict in the South China Sea, Chinese missiles based on land could hold the U.S. Navy's supercarriers at arm's length, because both sides know that the carriers have no defense. The only thing a carrier could do is steam right into the death zone and say, “If you sink me, my country will be very, very cross with you."

But even this tactical point may not get to the true heart of the problem. Any arms race has an powerful economic component: It's a game of one-upmanship, and if it has any strictly strategic point at all, it is to force the other side to spend more money than it can afford.

Generally speaking, the side with the most resources will win.

The United States has fought according to this logic at least since Grant prevailed over Lee in 1865, and it has used it successfully in every subsequent conflict with a peer power—with Germany and Japan in World War II and with the Soviet Union in the Cold War. But the United States may no longer be able to count on sheer economic might.

By some measures, China now has an economy as big as that of the United States, though of course China is far behind on a per capita basis. Still, its interests are, for now, concentrated in just one part of the world, whereas the United States has responsibilities everywhere. For China, then, a costly arms race may be just the thing.


Match ID: 201 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 82 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Air Taxis Are Safe—According to the Manufacturers
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 19:00:00 +0000


Electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for urban commuting are currently under development by more than a dozen different companies. These concepts and prototypes, representing well over a billion dollars of venture capital investment in 2020 alone, promise that sometime in the near future, point-to-point travel between suburbs and urban centers will happen by air using innovative new flying vehicles that are fast, quiet, clean, and far more affordable than a helicopter. United Airlines has ordered 200 eVTOLs. American Airlines has ordered 250, with an option for 100 more. But none of these eVTOL platforms are yet certified to carry passengers, and as a fundamentally different approach to flight, there are still open questions about safety.

A significant difference in safety that separates many eVTOL designs from traditional aircraft (namely, airplanes and helicopters) is that eVTOLs often don't have a good way of passively generating lift in the event of a power system failure. An airplane can rely on its wings to provide lift even if it has no operational engines, and in several cases large passenger airliners with multiple engine failures have been able to make controlled long-distance glides to land safely. Similarly, helicopters can autorotate, using the unpowered rotor to generate enough lift to make a controlled descent and landing.

EVTOLs typically rely either entirely or in large part on distributed propulsion systems—many small electric motors driving propellers or fans that together generate lift. Some eVTOLs have wings, but those wings are not necessarily designed to facilitate landings. And some eVTOLs rely exclusively on powered lift systems, meaning that if a software or hardware failure disables the entire power system, the vehicle can no longer generate any lift at all. It's a scary thought, and the companies developing eVTOLs are well aware that in order to be successful, they'll have to achieve a level of safety that inspires confidence from both regulators and future passengers.

"This is indeed one of the unique elements of eVTOL aircraft," says Oliver Reinhardt, head of airworthiness certification and quality at Volocopter, based in Bruchsal, Germany. "We had to find a way to translate the level of safety of our novel aircraft for aviation authorities, and we did that by achieving a level of safety that's higher than what you would expect from a fixed-wing aircraft or a classical light rotorcraft." Volocopter's eVTOL uses an 18-rotor propulsion system without any passive lifting surfaces, and can carry two people for a distance of 35 kilometers at 110 kilometers per hour. Reinhardt explains that conventional light aircraft are engineered based on the potential for hazardous or catastrophic failures at a rate of approximately once per 1,000,000 hours of operation. Larger aircraft are engineered to more rigorous standards, with expected failure rates of once per 10 million hours of operation. Commercial passenger aircraft meet the highest standards of all, with expected catastrophic failures in the range of once per billion flight hours.

Image of the Volocopter flying in the sky. Designed and manufactured in Germany, the Volocopter 2X is a two-seat eVTOL that's been in testing since 2013.Volocopter

But even a failure that improbable must not be catastrophic, says Reinhardt. "Our safety will actually be at a threshold that is beyond the certification limits for a large passenger aircraft. We must show that we are able to continue to fly and to even get to a planned landing site, rather than an emergency landing at the nearest place. So even a failure at one in a billion flight hours doesn't mean that an aircraft with a distributed propulsion system is dropping out of the sky."

Volocopter's approach to safety involves multiple layers of both redundancy and dissimilarity. Every critical system has a backup system, and each backup system uses a different kind of hardware running different software written in a different programming language, all produced and validated by different companies. This insulates the overall system against any individual point of failure. But what about dual or even triple failures? That's typically where we must ensure that these events don't happen more often than one in a billion flight hours, Reinhardt says. Volocopter has to make sure that flight performance isn't affected by (for example) the failure of one motor, or of two motors. If three motors fail, the aircraft will likely have to descend, but according to Reinhardt, a simultaneous three-motor failure "is beyond one in a billion flight hours. That's the kind of logic that is behind our design—it's the very same logic that's behind large passenger aircraft, and it's what we need to demonstrate."

"EVTOLS potentially being safer than things that come before them is the goal," agrees Jim Tighe, chief technology officer of Wisk Aero, a company based in Mountain View, Calif., and backed by Boeing and Kitty Hawk Corp. Wisk's eVTOL uses 12 lift fans distributed around two wings, plus a pusher prop at the rear. These wings do allow the aircraft to glide, but their primary function is to increase the efficiency of the aircraft in flight, Tighe says. "The wing is helpful in that it serves as the primary source of lift during cruise; having a passive landing capability wasn't our primary motivation." Tighe points out that for eVTOLs, being able to glide to a landing could potentially be useful under some failure modes, but not others—it doesn't do you much good unless the aircraft is in a flight mode where the wings are generating a significant amount of lift, which would not be the case during vertical take-offs or landings. "As part of our aircraft design work and systems safety analysis, we think about all of the functions that the vehicle has to do and the flight phases that it has to do them in," says Tighe. "And then we think about, if those functions fail in a particular flight phase, what is the outcome, and how do we ensure that catastrophic outcomes are highly improbable?"

Like Volocopter, Wisk's safety is based around designing its aircraft with simple and highly redundant systems with no single points of failure. This is one of the advantages that eVTOLs have over traditional aircraft—compared to piston or turbine engines, electric motors are very simple, which according to Tighe allows the aircraft to handle failures in a way that's not possible with mechanical systems, as far fewer moving parts and easy electric power distribution allow individual motors to compensate for one another when necessary.

How confident are the companies in their statistics, considering how new these aircraft are?

Greg Bowles, head of government and regulatory affairs for Joby Aviation, agrees: "Electric is what's super cool here because it lets us do the kinds of things that mechanical systems just can't do." Joby's aircraft has six propellers, which can tilt to provide vertical or horizontal thrust, and wings that support gliding to an emergency landing. The propellers are powered by dual-wound motors, essentially two separate electric motors combined into one for redundancy, so that even if a failure of two motors happens during hover, the aircraft loses at most one propeller, which it can handle safely.

If the confidence that these companies have in their systems is based on failures being statistically unlikely, the question then becomes: How confident are they in those statistics, considering how new these aircraft are? In other words, if something is extremely improbable, how can you accurately measure that improbability?

"To understand what's extremely improbable," explains Bowles, "we do a system safety analysis across the board, looking at all kinds of known failures. What if the software does something unexpected here, what if that electronic component fails in this way, what if this wire fails in this other way, millions of combinations." This is an extensive process that involves looking at every single element of the system, down to the reliability of individual resistors and capacitors, since everything is a potential source of failure that needs to be understood and accounted for.

Beyond these estimates, real-world testing plays a significant role. "We do a lot of ground testing," says Wisk's Tighe. "You make multiple copies of things and you run them 24 hours a day. Another way to do it is accelerated life testing, meaning that you could test circuit boards at elevated temperatures and environmental conditions like vibration worse than that they'll see in flight to accelerate the degradation."

Image of the Wisk Aero aircraft flying in the sky. Wisk Aero's aircraft is designed to be flown autonomously, with a 40-kilometer range at up to 100 kilometers per hour.Wisk Aero

While eVTOL companies are understandably focused on safety internally, it's up to regulatory agencies like the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to establish the safety rules that will allow eVTOLs to be certified to carry passengers. This process is currently ongoing, and the two agencies are taking very different approaches. The FAA is adapting existing regulatory frameworks to eVTOLs by finding ways of applying airworthiness standards intended for more conventional aircraft designs. EASA, in contrast, is working on a complete set of dedicated technical specifications specifically for eVTOLs, which may ultimately have more stringent safety requirements than the FAA's approach does.

No matter what regulators require, it's obviously in the best interest of every eVTOL company to make its aircraft as safe as possible, and the goal, says Wisk's Tighe, is to "provide a service that people feel good about and that is much safer than driving to the airport." As with any statistical argument, though, the real challenge may be getting potential customers to actually feel that level of safety—to believe that these eVTOLs are designed with the thoughtfulness and care necessary to keep their passengers safe, even if something, or two or three things, go wrong.

This article appears in the November 2021 print issue as "How Safe Are eVTOLs?."


Match ID: 202 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 89 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Giving Geostationary Satellites Longer Lives
Tue, 28 Sep 2021 17:08:16 +0000


Orbiting at a speed that matches the rotation of the Earth, satellites in geostationary orbit occupy unique positions and provide invaluable services. Effectively fixed in place over points on the equator 35,786 kilometers below, they provide communication and broadcasting services, constant weather observation, and calibration for navigation constellations.

These satellites are huge and vastly expensive—typically hundreds of millions of US dollars—and operate for up to fifteen years. They have a store of propellant required to keep them in position and pointed the right way, and once this propellant is almost used up, a final push is used to send the satellites into a graveyard orbit. This prevents them from becoming a threat to active satellites and makes way for a replacement. There the satellites remain dormant, their otherwise still functional systems and transponders rendered useless. But engineers around the world are coming up with ways to keep these spacecraft on the job.

The Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST), an arm of China's main space contractor, has unveiled a concept for servicing satellites in geostationary orbit at the Zhuhai Airshow, running from September 28-October 3. The Supplemental service Vehicle would approach a satellite near the end of its mission lifetime and, using artificial intelligence, maneuver in to attach itself to the target. It could then carry out the station keeping and attitude control functions needed to keep the target satellite in its orbit and correctly directed to provide its services.

Yet SAST is merely a newcomer to a growing field of space actors looking to extend the lives of satellites, including the European Space Agency, with its Geostationary Servicing Vehicle, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Astroscale of Japan and SpaceLogistics, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman.

Northrop Grumman has already carried out the first such servicing and has two Mission Extension Vehicles (MEV) in orbit doing the station keeping for a pair of Intelsat satellites, prolonging their missions by five years. The company last week released footage from an infrared camera of MEV-2, launched in 2020, making a 12-hour rendezvous and docking with Intelsat IS-10-02 satellite.

"The technical prowess required to accomplish these missions took years to develop because of the complexity of doing something that had never been done in the unyielding environment of space," said Joe Anderson, vice president of operations and business development at Space Logistics.

While docking a spacecraft to the International Space Station or China's Tianhe space station module are relatively routine, the space stations are designed to received visitors. The satellites in geostationary orbit are, for now, not designed to allow rendezvous and docking. The MEV servicing spacecraft thus use a suite of instruments including narrow and wide field optical and infrared imagers as well as active scanning LIDAR to provide the navigation data needed to rendezvous and operate in proximity of the target satellites. MEVs then dock by locking on to structures—engine nozzles and launch adaptor rings—found on nearly 80 percent of all geostationary satellites in orbit today.

Space Logistics is also developing the second-generation Mission Robotic Vehicle (MRV) which includes a partnership with DARPA that provides a robotic arm and will be capable of installing a Mission Extension Pod (MEP) on target satellites. Together these will be able to carry a range of mission-extending services, including inspection and repair, relocations, propulsion augmentation, and replacement of parts and systems. Eventual in-orbit robotic assembly of space structures is a long-term goal. The MRV and MEP face critical design reviews next year ahead of launch of the first MRV and the first three MEPs in 2024.

Having new capabilities and more actors looking to extend the life of satellites could be more than a cost benefit for satellite operators. It could help mitigate the growing issue of orbital debris which threatens the use of low Earth and geostationary orbits in particular. Currently there are more than 500 active satellites operating in finite positions in geostationary orbit, with more in graveyard orbits. Anderson also states that Space Logistics proposes that all new spacecraft should include requirements that make satellites serviceable.

The other, darker side of the coin is that servicing spacecraft will be inherently "dual-use", that is, capable of not just servicing but also closing in and disabling a satellite. Satellite servicing will provide opportunities to boost space sustainability, but will require international discussion and a measure of openness to define a common and beneficial way forward.


Match ID: 203 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 112 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Will This Jetpack Fly Itself?
Wed, 22 Sep 2021 13:23:30 +0000


Jetpacks might sound fun, but learning how to control a pair of jet engines strapped to your back is no easy feat. Now a British startup wants to simplify things by developing a jetpack with an autopilot system that makes operating it more like controlling a high-end drone than learning how to fly.

Jetpacks made the leap from sci-fi to the real world as far back as the 1960s, but since then the they haven't found much use outside of gimmicky appearances in movies and halftime shows. In recent years though, the idea has received renewed interest. And its proponents are keen to show that the technology is no longer just for stuntmen and may even have practical applications.

American firm Jetpack Aviation will teach anyone to fly its JB-10 jetpack for a cool $4,950 and recently sold its latest JB-12 model to an "undisclosed military." And an Iron Man-like, jet-powered flying suit developed by British start-up Gravity Industries has been tested as a way for marines to board ships and as a way to get medics to the top of mountains quickly.

Flying jetpacks can take a lot of training to master though. That's what prompted Hollywood animatronics expert Matt Denton and Royal Navy Commander Antony Quinn to found Maverick Aviation, and develop one that takes the complexities of flight control out the pilot's hands.

The Maverick Jetpack features four miniature jet turbines attached to an aluminum, titanium and carbon fiber frame, and will travel at up to 30 miles per hour. But the secret ingredient is software that automatically controls the engines to maintain a stable hover, and seamlessly convert the pilot's instructions into precise movements.

"It's going to be very much like flying a drone," says Denton. "We wanted to come up with something that anyone could fly. It's all computer-controlled and you'll just be using the joystick."

One of the key challenges, says Denton, was making the engines responsive enough to allow the rapid tweaks required for flight stabilization. This is relatively simple to achieve on a drone, whose electric motors can be adjusted in a blink of an eye, but jet turbines can take several seconds to ramp up and down between zero and full power.

To get around this, the company added servos to each turbine that let them move independently to quickly alter the direction of thrust—a process known as thrust vectoring. By shifting the alignment of the four engines the flight control software can keep the jetpack perfectly positioned using feedback from inertial measurement units, GPS, altimeters and ground distance sensors. Simple directional instructions from the pilot can also be automatically translated into the required low-level tweaks to the turbines.

It's a clever way to improve the mobility of the system, says Ben Akih-Kumgeh, an associate professor of aerospace engineering at Syracuse University. "It's not only a smart way of overcoming any lag that you may have, but it also helps with the lifespan of the engine," he adds. “[In] any mechanical system, the durability depends on how often you change the operating conditions."

The software is fairly similar to a conventional drone flight controller, says Denton, but they have had to accommodate some additional complexities. Thrust magnitude and thrust direction have to be managed by separate control loops due to their very different reaction times, but they still need to sync up seamlessly to coordinate adjustments. The entire control process is also complicated by the fact that the jetpack has a human strapped to it.

"Once you've got a shifting payload, like a person who's wobbling their arms around and moving their legs, then it does become a much more complex problem," says Denton.

In the long run, says Denton, the company hopes to add higher-level functions that could allow the jetpack to move automatically between points marked on a map. The hope is that by automating as much of the flight control as possible, users will be able to focus on the task at hand, whether that's fixing a wind turbine or inspecting a construction site.

Surrendering so much control to a computer might give some pause for thought, but Denton says there will be plenty of redundancy built in. "The idea will be that we'll have plenty of fallback modes where, if part of the system fails, it'll fall back to a more manual flight mode," he said. "The user would have training to basically tackle any of those conditions."

It might be sometime before you can start basic training, though, as the company has yet to fly their turbine-powered jetpack. Currently, flight testing is being conducted on an scaled down model powered by electric ducted fans, says Denton, though their responsiveness has been deliberately dulled so they behave like turbines. The company is hoping to conduct the first human test flights next summer.

Don't get your hopes up about commuting to work by jetpack any time soon though, says Akih-Kumgeh. The huge amount of noise these devices produce make it unlikely that they would be allowed to operate within city limits. The near term applications are more likely to be search and rescue missions where time and speed trump efficiency, he says.


Match ID: 204 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 119 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Flame Retardant Epoxies and Silicones Play Key Role in Aircraft Construction
Thu, 02 Sep 2021 19:03:39 +0000


Designed to mitigate the worst effects of fires, fire retardant materials play a particularly important role in aircraft construction. Used in aircraft, epoxies and silicones must maintain their primary role as adhesives or coatings while exhibiting resistance to heat and flame in accordance with government and industry specifications.

Master Bond's series of flame retardant epoxies and silicones comply with specifications for flame resistance and reduction of smoke density and toxic emissions.


Download this free whitepaper


Match ID: 205 Score: 3.57 source: event.on24.com age: 138 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Stocks to Watch: Stocks to watch: Oracle, Smith & Wesson, Family Dollar
Fri, 20 Jun 2014 11:42:33 GMT
Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Friday’s session are Oracle, Smith & Wesson, and Family Dollar.

Match ID: 206 Score: 3.57 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 2770 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

European research for interplanetary isolation
Wed, 22 Dec 2021 12:35:00 +0100
Isolation gate

Isolation affects people in different ways. Studies on how humans cope with stress in a secluded environment and with little social interaction are useful to learn about ourselves in challenging times – and to test whether our species is fit for long journeys to other planets.


Match ID: 207 Score: 2.86 source: www.esa.int age: 28 days
qualifiers: 2.86 planets

Filter efficiency 74.321 (208 matches/810 results)


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Climate change: Wales has 'duty' due to coal mining history
Mon, 17 Jan 2022 06:08:32 GMT
A charity director says the country's coal mining history means it has released a lot of carbon.
Match ID: 0 Score: 30.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 2 days
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change, 15.00 carbon

Jerome Powell Calls Fed’s Role in Addressing Climate “Limited”
Sat, 15 Jan 2022 15:33:51 +0000

Powell’s reappointment is threatened by Democrats calling for more aggressive action by the Federal Reserve on climate.

The post Jerome Powell Calls Fed’s Role in Addressing Climate “Limited” appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 1 Score: 25.71 source: theintercept.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 12.86 climate change, 12.86 carbon

Missing mass? Not on our watch—Dr. Paul Sutter explains dark matter
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 14:10:59 +0000
In the pilot episode of our new series Edge of Knowledge, we explore science!
Match ID: 2 Score: 15.00 source: arstechnica.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

75 Years On, the Doomsday Clock Keeps Ticking
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 12:00:00 +0000
The iconic graphic of a timepiece originated as a nuclear warning. It updates its time on Thursday amid threats like climate change and pandemics.
Match ID: 3 Score: 15.00 source: www.wired.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

Small gardens as vital as big ones for conserving bees, says study
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 09:20:14 GMT

Many urban gardens rich in pollinator-friendly plants and provide food all year round, find Bristol researchers

Small gardens are as important as big gardens for conserving bees and other pollinators in UK cities, a study has found.

Worldwide, bee populations are declining. Habitat destruction, pesticide use, and climate change have led to the disappearance of some pollinators, but researchers found that small urban gardens are some of the most pollinator-friendly places.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 4 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

The Guardian view on water pollution: come clean on sewage | Editorial
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 18:51:58 GMT

If the water industry is to improve its dismal performance, regulators need to be open with the public

English water companies have got used to pumping raw sewage into the sea and rivers. An investigation launched last year by the regulator, Ofwat, and the Environment Agency, is a chance to put things right. But there are worrying signs that this opportunity to shine a light is in danger of being missed. The refusal by the Environment Agency to reveal which 2,000 sewage treatment works in England are being looked at, and whether this will lead to delays in dealing with new complaints, raises questions about its commitment to openness.

That the investigation is happening at all is due to huge efforts by campaigners. Concern over sewage dumps has been rising in response to water companies’ failure to tackle a longstanding problem that increased extreme weather, due to climate change, is expected to make worse. Discharges of untreated waste into the sea or rivers are supposed to happen only in exceptional circumstances, to reduce flood risk. Over recent years, it has become clear that rules are being routinely flouted by an industry that puts profits before environmental stewardship. At the same time, the Environment Agency’s record for punishing breaches has sharply declined following budget cuts. A report from a committee of MPs last week drew attention to the poor condition of rivers and called for a step change.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 5 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

BlackRock’s Larry Fink: climate policies are about profits, not being ‘woke’
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 13:14:35 GMT

Investment fund manager says firms that do not plan for a carbon-free future risk being left behind

Larry Fink, the chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s biggest investment fund manager, said pushing climate policies was about profits, not being “woke”.

In his annual letter to CEOs , Fink said businesses, cities and countries that do not plan for a carbon-free future risked being left behind. He argued that the pursuit of long-term returns was the main driver behind climate policies, after being criticised for seeking to influence companies.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 6 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 carbon

A Project to Count Climate Crisis Deaths Has Surprising Results
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 12:15:38 +0000
Climate change is already killing people, but countries don’t have an easy way to count those deaths. A new project might change that.
Match ID: 7 Score: 15.00 source: www.wired.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

Your Medical History Might Someday Include ‘Climate Change’
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 12:00:00 +0000
Last summer, a doctor wrote “climate change” in his patient’s chart. But is medicine really ready to address systemic health impacts?
Match ID: 8 Score: 15.00 source: www.wired.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

Humanity Has Turned Land Itself Into a Menace
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 12:00:00 +0000
All of our meddling has primed Earth to collapse under cities and belch greenhouse gases, a nasty feedback loop that’s accelerating global warming.
Match ID: 9 Score: 15.00 source: www.wired.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

Chemical pollution has passed safe limit for humanity, say scientists
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 08:00:49 GMT

Study calls for cap on production and release as pollution threatens global ecosystems upon which life depends

The cocktail of chemical pollution that pervades the planet now threatens the stability of global ecosystems upon which humanity depends, scientists have said.

Plastics are of particularly high concern, they said, along with 350,000 synthetic chemicals including pesticides, industrial compounds and antibiotics. Plastic pollution is now found from the summit of Mount Everest to the deepest oceans, and some toxic chemicals, such as PCBs, are long-lasting and widespread.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 10 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 toxic

Government says its climate change curbs inadequate
Mon, 17 Jan 2022 17:47:17 GMT
Ministers say coping even with low levels could cost the country billions of pounds a year.
Match ID: 11 Score: 15.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

Is There Really Such a Thing as Low-Carbon Beef?
Mon, 17 Jan 2022 12:00:00 +0000
The USDA is making it easier for farmers to market their meat as “low-carbon.” Not everyone is happy about it.
Match ID: 12 Score: 15.00 source: www.wired.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 15.00 carbon

How to Prepare for Climate Change's Most Immediate Impacts
Sun, 16 Jan 2022 14:00:00 +0000
The effects of the climate crisis are happening right now. From natural disasters to supply chain shortages, here's how to cope.
Match ID: 13 Score: 12.86 source: www.wired.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 12.86 climate change

Old Climate Clues Shed New Light on History
Sat, 15 Jan 2022 13:00:00 +0000
Historians are reexamining eras of social turmoil and linking them to volcanic eruptions, prolonged droughts, and other disturbances in the natural world.
Match ID: 14 Score: 10.71 source: www.wired.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 10.71 climate change

How the Refrigerator Became an Agent of Climate Catastrophe
Sat, 15 Jan 2022 11:00:00 +0000
The evolution of cooling technology helps to explain why supposed solutions to global warming have only made the situation worse.
Match ID: 15 Score: 10.71 source: www.newyorker.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 10.71 climate change

“Don’t Look Up” and Fighting Capitalism With Naomi Klein
Wed, 12 Jan 2022 11:01:48 +0000

Naomi Klein and Jon Schwarz discuss the new film “Don’t Look Up” and the current state of the climate justice movement.

The post “Don’t Look Up” and Fighting Capitalism With Naomi Klein appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 16 Score: 4.29 source: theintercept.com age: 7 days
qualifiers: 4.29 climate change

Why IoT Sensors Need Standards
Tue, 11 Jan 2022 19:00:01 +0000


Sensors traditionally have been used for camera imaging, as well as communicating information about humidity, temperature, motion, speed, proximity, and other aspects of the environment. The devices have become key enablers for a host of new technologies essential to business and to everyday life, from turning on a light switch to managing one’s health.

Several factors are fueling sensors’ growth, including miniaturization, increased functionality, and higher levels of integration into electronic circuitry. There are also greater levels of automation being incorporated into products and systems, such as with Internet of Things and Industrial Internet of Things applications.


Prominent users of sensors include the defense, energy, health care, and transportation industries. The global sensor market is large and growing fast. By one estimate, it is projected to reach US $346 billion in sales by 2028, up from $167 billion in 2019.

SAFE AND RELIABLE APPLICATIONS

As the sensor industry races to take advantage of market opportunities, the need to ensure the devices will operate safely and reliably is a growing concern.

In the energy industry, for example, drill rigs for oil and gas exploration are now equipped with sensors to achieve optimal, safe performance at the lowest cost possible. The sensors must operate under harsh environmental conditions. Their failure could result in a rig being taken out of service, leading to significant, costly downtime.

In industrial applications, worker safety would be compromised if gas sensors fail to detect the presence of toxic fumes. If the light detection and ranging remote-sensing system lidar fails in semiautonomous vehicles, they will be unable to function properly. Lidar is fundamental to advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).

Because there are now thousands of sensor products on the market, adherence to standards that could improve their performance or accelerate development of new applications has grown in importance, as has the need for independent conformity and certification protocols.

It has become challenging to effectively deploy sensors in complex IoT and IIoT applications given the interoperability issues that can arise when attempting to integrate systems from multiple vendors. Hardware compatibility, wired and wireless connectivity, security, software development, and cloud computing are key interoperability considerations as well as major issues in their own right.

STANDARDS FOR IOT SENSORS

For many years, the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) has provided an open platform for users, those in academia, and technical experts from sensor manufacturers to come together to develop standards. Here are a few examples of IEEE standards and projects that have come from the collaboration.

  • IEEE P1451.99: IEEE Standard for Harmonization of Internet of Things Devices and Systems. Current implementations of IoT devices and systems do not provide a way to share data or for an owner of such devices to authorize who has the right to control them or access the devices’ data. This standard will define a metadata bridge to facilitate IoT protocol transport for sensors, actuators, and other devices. It will address issues of security, scalability, and interoperability for cost savings and reduced complexity. The standard will offer a data-sharing approach that leverages current instrumentation and devices used in industry.
  • IEEE P2020: Standard for Automotive System Image Quality. Most automotive camera systems have been developed independently, with no standardized reference point for calibration or measurement of image quality. This standard will address the fundamental attributes that contribute to image quality for ADAS applications; identify existing metrics and other useful information relating to the attributes; define a standardized suite of objective and subjective test methods; and specify tools and test methods to facilitate standards-based communication and comparison among system integrators and component vendors.

REGISTRY AND CERTIFICATION

IEEE SA offers the IEEE Sensors Registry. The global Web-based service for manufacturers allows them to enter their sensors’ certifications, the standards they adhere to, and product data sheets so that buyers can find the right product. IEEE conducts an audit process on the submitted information to ensure its accuracy.

WEBINARS AND ROUNDTABLE

These free on-demand and upcoming webinars are available:

The first in a series of new webinars, Are Sensors the Weakest Link to Cyber Attacks?, is scheduled for 2 February at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.

IEEE SA plans to host an industry roundtable during the first quarter this year. It will focus on the creation of a comprehensive plan and timeline to address interoperability and cybersecurity issues for IoT sensor networks. Participants will include technology leaders from industry, government, and academia. Contact sensors-rt@ieee.org for more information.


Match ID: 17 Score: 4.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 7 days
qualifiers: 4.29 toxic

Climate change destroying homes across the Arctic
Tue, 11 Jan 2022 16:00:33 GMT
New research shows the huge threat posed by permafrost thaw to millions living in the Arctic.
Match ID: 18 Score: 4.29 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 7 days
qualifiers: 4.29 climate change

Gravity Batteries, Green Hydrogen, and a Thorium Reactor for China
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 14:00:00 +0000


2021 was a big year for energy-related news, what with the ongoing hunt for new forms of energy storage and cleaner if not carbon-free electricity and events and research that spotlighted the weak links in our power grid. As the pandemic continued to grind on, it was actually comforting to know that smart people in the energy sector were working hard to keep the lights on, advance the technology, and improve people’s lives. IEEE Spectrum did its best to cover those developments, and these were the stories that our readers liked best.

Gravity Energy Storage Will Show Its Potential in 2021

Why was this Spectrum’s most popular energy story of the year? Well, let’s think. As power grids everywhere increasingly rely on intermittent renewable energy, batteries and other forms of energy storage that can even out the bumps in supply and demand are taking on a crucial role. No battery is perfect, however, so engineers keep pushing for new and improved ways to store those electrons. The gravity batteries described in this story lift giant weights in the air or up mine shafts to store excess electricity, releasing the weights later on to recover the stored energy. One of the companies featured in the story, Gravitricity, completed its 250-kilowatt gravity-battery demonstrator in Edinburgh last April and is now working on a full-scale deployment at a mine in the Czech Republic.

Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Finally Takes Off in North America and Europe

Battery makers around the world are cranking out lithium-ion batteries of various flavors as fast as they can. While lithium isn’t exactly in short supply, extracting it from the ground exacts a huge environmental cost. Thus the recent boom in battery recycling—and readers’ interest in this story on how the industry is expanding beyond China and South Korea and into the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. Last May, one of the story’s featured startups, Canada’s Li-Cycle, announced it would begin recycling the manufacturing scrap from Ultium Cell’s US $2.3 billion EV battery plant—that’s GM’s and LG Chem’s new mega-gigafactory in Lordstown, Ohio.

Here’s How We Could Brighten Clouds to Cool the Earth

Geoengineering—altering the planet to mitigate the worst effects of climate change—is an idea that has taken on new currency of late. As global temperatures rise, greenhouse gases accumulate, and all signs point to Really Bad Things happening in the coming decades, Spectrum readers are clearly looking for a way out of our current climate predicament. This article, by researchers at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and the University of Washington, is one possible answer. The basic idea is to add particles of sea salt to the atmosphere to brighten clouds and cool the planet. We’ll still have to do the hard work of cutting carbon emissions, but geoengineering could be a way to buy us some time.

Solar-to-Hydrogen Tech Sees “Remarkable” Efficiency Jump

Another big development in the energy sector is the return of the hydrogen economy. This time around, though, the emphasis is on “green hydrogen”—that is, hydrogen produced using clean energy such as solar or wind power. Most of the world’s hydrogen comes from deeply polluting methods. And most green hydrogen production still relies on electrolyzers, which themselves consume lots of electricity. This story looks at promising research out of Japan’s Shinshu University on light-absorbing materials to split water into hydrogen and oxygen directly—cutting the electrolyzer out of the equation. As the story notes, it will take quite a bit more R&D until this method is “ready for prime-time hydrogen production.”

China Says It’s Closing in on Thorium Nuclear Reactor

Also getting a second look: nuclear power! While some recent efforts call for radical new reactor designs, this report highlights an old approach with a modern spin. Molten salt nuclear reactors fueled by thorium were first investigated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the 1950s. A new molten salt reactor reportedly being built by China follows the Oak Ridge design but also incorporates the same kind of high-temperature salt pumps used in concentrated solar-power plants.

What the Texas-Freeze Fiasco Tells Us About the Future of the Grid

In this clear-eyed consideration of last winter’s deadly deep freeze in Texas, Robert Hebner, director of the Center for Electromechanics at the University of Texas at Austin, describes the converging factors and troubled history that contributed to the catastrophic blackout. “It seems pretty clear that what happened in Texas was likely preventable with readily accessible and longstanding engineering practices,” Hebner concludes. “But a collective, and likely implicit, judgment was made that the risk to be mitigated was so small that mitigation would not be worth the cost. And nature ‘messed’ with that judgment.”

One Atmospheric Nuclear Explosion Could Take Out the Power Grid

Another popular story in the “things that are bad for the power grid” category was this piece by national security writer Natasha Bajema. She looked at a recent study out of the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Colorado on the likely effects of detonating a several-kiloton nuclear weapon in the atmosphere and generating a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (EMP). (To be fair, Foreign Policy, in a similar 2020 examination, rated the EMP problem as very much outsized and “the last thing you need to worry about in a nuclear explosion.”) The conductivity of the Earth, the Geological Survey scientists discovered, plays an important role in the outcome, with low-conductivity regions most at risk of suffering a “grid-crippling power surge,” as the electric field travels out through high-voltage power lines. Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen in 2022, or any other year.

Off-Grid Solar’s Killer App

Spectrum contributing editor Peter Fairley traveled to Kenya to report on a boom in agriculture driven by off-grid solar power and efficient solar-powered irrigation pumps. The pumps tap into vast stores of groundwater that lie not too far underground and cover much of sub-Saharan Africa. Solar-irrigation technology, combined with microlending payment plans, lets small farmers boost crop yields, lengthen growing seasons, and neutralize the effects of drought. It’s a win-win-win for a part of the world that could really use a victory right now.

How Much Energy Does It Take to Grow a Tomato?

Lastly but never leastly, Spectrum columnist and deep thinker Vaclav Smil contemplated the energy footprint of the tomato. Field tomatoes, unsurprisingly, are the least energy-intensive to produce, while raising hydroponic tomatoes grown in greenhouses can consume 60 times as much energy. Food for thought as we close out 2021.


Match ID: 19 Score: 4.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 20 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change, 2.14 carbon

Tropical Futurism Envisions the Climate of Our Fate
Sun, 09 Jan 2022 12:00:00 +0000
Futurism has failed. It’s time for an alternative. In the era of climate change, tropical futurism reimagines a different relationship to the earth.
Match ID: 20 Score: 2.14 source: www.wired.com age: 10 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

Simon Reeve: 'I feel a hypocrite over my carbon footprint'
Sun, 09 Jan 2022 00:23:01 GMT
The TV adventurer says he hopes the honest stories in his shows mitigate their environmental impact.
Match ID: 21 Score: 2.14 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 10 days
qualifiers: 2.14 carbon

E-Waste Is a Cybersecurity Problem, Too
Fri, 07 Jan 2022 15:17:33 +0000


Many of us have obsolete devices relegated to the backs of our drawers, little museums of the technology of days long past. These forgotten laptops and phones seem like merely quaint relics, but if they’re not disposed of correctly, they can leak two different but dangerous things: toxic chemicals and sensitive data.

The world generated a record 53.6 million metric tons of electronic waste in 2019, up more than 21 percent over five years, according to the United Nations’ most recent assessment.

Only about 17 percent of that e-waste was recycled, and what happens to the rest can be detrimental for both human health and privacy. A new systematic review by The Lancet found that “people living in e-waste exposed regions had significantly elevated levels of heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants,” and it advocated for “novel cost-effective methods for safe recycling operations…to ensure the health and safety of vulnerable populations.”

John Shegerian couldn’t agree more. He’s the cofounder and CEO of ERI, one of the largest electronics recycling-and-disposal providers in the world, and the coauthor of ERI’s 2021 book The Insecurity of Everything: How Hardware Data Security Is Becoming the Most Important Topic in the World.

We spoke with Shegerian about e-waste’s effect on the future of our world and our privacy, and the role engineers can play in solutions. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Left show a book cover with an illustration of a devices behind a barbed wire fence. Right photo shows a smiling man in a suit. ERIJohn Shegerian, Chairman/CEO of ERI and coauthor of the 2021 book The Insecurity of Everything.

The conclusion of the Lancet study surely isn’t a shock to you, but others might be surprised about the kinds of pollutants inside our old computers, phones, and TVs—and the danger they present when not handled responsibly.

John Shegerian: When we got into the industry [in 2002], Al Gore had not yet won his awards for An Inconvenient Truth. There was no iPhone or Internet of Things. But [e-waste] was still already the fastest-growing solid waste stream in the world. Now, in 2022, electronic waste is the fastest-growing waste stream by an order of magnitude.

A worker at a prominent New York City bank “threw his laptop in the trash in Manhattan and someone fished it out. On that laptop was information from the many clients of the entire banking firm—and the bank’s multibillion-dollar enterprise.”
—John Shegerian

People might say, how is that possible given that we’re talking more about environment and there are more companies like yours? The truth is, the magnitude of the problem grossly outstrips the amount of solutions. We have so, so, so many devices. And when [e-waste isn’t disposed of correctly], it can get put into a landfill, thrown into a river or a lake, or just buried. Sadly, it could also be sent to a country where they don't have the right tools or expertise to dismantle old electronics.

Eventually the linings [of devices] break, and when they’re rained upon, the very toxic materials [they contain]—mercury, lead, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium—come out. If they get back into the land and water, it has very negative effects on the health of our vegetation, our animals, and our people. So unfortunately, no, I’m not surprised [by the Lancet study].

You founded ERI because of the environmental concern, but you and your team quickly came to realize the cybersecurity risk as well: Many of these tossed-out devices contain sensitive personal or professional data.

Shegerian: Yes, we saw these little bread crumbs about data and privacy throughout the 2000s: the birth of Palantir, the founding of LifeLock, what we were seeing ourselves at ERI. Really, in 2012 I started speaking to companies about the need to “shred” data the way they shred sensitive papers. They looked at us like we were green Martians. Over the years, I spoke about it at conferences anyway, and at one of these in 2017, Robert Hackett from Fortune asked for an interview and wrote an article that ended with this line: “Turns out e-waste isn’t just an environmental menace, but a cybersecurity one too.” Five years of banging the drum, and thanks to this article, we were finally off to the races…comparatively.

Comparatively. Because you find that people, both as individuals and on the enterprise level, aren’t taking the data risk seriously enough. How did that inspire The Insecurity of Everything?

Shegerian: Technology is so ubiquitous that this is a societal problem we all have to reckon with. It’s much more serious than just affecting your family or your company. This is a problem of international magnitude, that has homeland-security risks around it. That’s why we wrote the book: The vast majority of our clients still were not listening. They just wanted us for environmental work but they weren’t really sold on the hardware data-destruction part of the work yet. We wanted to write this book to share some of examples of serious consequences—that this isn’t some remote, theoretical concern.

Can you share some of those anecdotes?

Shegerian: I once had a big, big bank call me up: “John, we’ve had a breach, but we don’t believe it’s phishing or software. We think it came from hardware.” I go out there and it turns out one of their bankers threw his laptop in the trash in Manhattan and someone fished it out. On that laptop was information from the many clients of the entire banking firm—and the bank’s multibillion-dollar enterprise. The liability, the data…God, just absolutely priceless. If it got into the wrong people’s hands, the ransom that could have been extracted was truly of huge magnitude.

You also have situations like the federal government—I won’t say what branches—telling us: “We have all of these old electronics that are potentially data-heavy, and when companies like yours gave us quotes [for responsible recycling], it seemed kind of expensive. We were told to save money and we found someone to do it for free.”

Free? Yeah, no. What happens is that a guy will pick up the devices for free, put them in a container, and sell them wholesale to the highest bidder. Lots of those buyers are harvesting the precious metals and materials out of old electronics—but there are also people adverse for homeland security who want to pull out the hard drives and find a way to harm us here in the U.S. or hold corporate data for ransom. From those examples you can see how you need to protect your financial and personal data on an individual level too.

What do people need to know—and do—to avoid becoming one of these stories?

Shegerian: It is crucial to make sure that if you’re giving [your device] to a retailer who has a take-back or trade-in program, vet them and make sure they’re using responsible recyclers. Make sure they guarantee you that all your data will be destroyed before they take your phone and resell it. If they won’t tell you, with radical transparency, who the vendor is handling the materials or where they’re going to go? Pass.

Harddrives with a red cable coming out of each sit in a row on numbered shelves Hard drives are wiped at ERI’s facilities.ERI

For the engineers of today and tomorrow who are interested in this work, how can they be part of the solution?

Shegerian: Engineers have been such important partners for us, whether it’s creating e-waste shredding machines or things like glass-cleaning technology helps us recycle materials. They’ve also helped us be the first to develop AI and robotics in our facility. So they could come work for someone like us and answer questions like, How do we recycle more of this material in a faster and better way, with less impact to the environment?

On the other side, engineers are still going to be hired by great OEMs, whether tech or auto companies, and that’s beautiful because now they could design and engineer for circular economy behavior. They could create new products made of recycled copper, gold, silver, steel, plastics—keeping them out of our landfills.

Engineers have a huge opportunity to help leave the world a better, safer, and cleaner place than we inherited. But everyone on Earth is a stakeholder in this. We all have to be part of the solution.


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

Can Being Reminded of My Death Improve My Life?
Thu, 06 Jan 2022 13:00:00 +0000
WIRED’s spiritual advice columnist on whether apps that send reminders of your mortality can help you live a better life.
Match ID: 23 Score: 2.14 source: www.wired.com age: 13 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

The Global Economy Ignores Developing Nations at Its Own Peril
Tue, 04 Jan 2022 12:00:00 +0000
Rebooting after two years of the pandemic is difficult—but leaving emerging economies behind only makes things worse.
Match ID: 24 Score: 2.14 source: www.wired.com age: 15 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

12 Exciting Engineering Milestones to Look for in 2022
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 16:00:00 +0000


Psyche’s Deep-Space Lasers


An illustration of a satellite holding a ray gun in a cartoon style hand. MCKIBILLO

In August, NASA will launch the Psyche mission, sending a deep-space orbiter to a weird metal asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. While the probe’s main purpose is to study Psyche’s origins, it will also carry an experiment that could inform the future of deep-space communications. The Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) experiment will test whether lasers can transmit signals beyond lunar orbit. Optical signals, such as those used in undersea fiber-optic cables, can carry more data than radio signals can, but their use in space has been hampered by difficulties in aiming the beams accurately over long distances. DSOC will use a 4-watt infrared laser with a wavelength of 1,550 nanometers (the same used in many optical fibers) to send optical signals at multiple distances during Psyche’s outward journey to the asteroid.


The Great Electric Plane Race


An illustration of a battery with wings and a spinning propeller. MCKIBILLO

For the first time in almost a century, the U.S.-based National Aeronautic Association (NAA) will host a cross-country aircraft race. Unlike the national air races of the 1920s, however, the Pulitzer Electric Aircraft Race, scheduled for 19 May, will include only electric-propulsion aircraft. Both fixed-wing craft and helicopters are eligible. The competition will be limited to 25 contestants, and each aircraft must have an onboard pilot. The course will start in Omaha and end four days later in Manteo, N.C., near the site of the Wright brothers’ first flight. The NAA has stated that the goal of the cross-country, multiday race is to force competitors to confront logistical problems that still plague electric aircraft, like range, battery charging, reliability, and speed.

6-Gigahertz Wi-Fi Goes Mainstream

An illustration of the wifi signal and an arrow near the word \u201c6Ghz.\u201d MCKIBILLO

Wi-Fi is getting a boost with 1,200 megahertz of new spectrum in the 6-gigahertz band, adding a third spectrum band to the more familiar 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The new band is called Wi-Fi 6E because it extends Wi-Fi’s capabilities into the 6-GHz band. As a rule, higher radio frequencies have higher data capacity, but a shorter range. With its higher frequencies, 6-GHz Wi-Fi is expected to find use in heavy traffic environments like offices and public hotspots. The Wi-Fi Alliance introduced a Wi-Fi 6E certification program in January 2021, and the first trickle of 6E routers appeared by the end of the year. In 2022, expect to see a bonanza of Wi-Fi 6E–enabled smartphones.

3-Nanometer Chips Arrive

An illustration of a chip dancing and holding a hat with \u201c3nm\u201d at the center. MCKIBILLO

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) plans to begin producing 3-nanometer semiconductor chips in the second half of 2022. Right now, 5-nm chips are the standard. TSMC will make its 3-nm chips using a tried-and-true semiconductor structure called the FinFET (short for “fin field-effect transistor”). Meanwhile, Samsung and Intel are moving to a different technique for 3 nm called nanosheet. (TSMC is eventually planning to abandon FinFETs.) At one point, TSMC’s sole 3-nm chip customer for 2022 was Apple, for the latter’s iPhone 14, but supply-chain issues have made it less certain that TSMC will be able to produce enough chips—which promise more design flexibility—to fulfill even that order.

Seoul Joins the Metaverse

An illustration of a building MCKIBILLO

After Facebook (now Meta) announced it was hell-bent on making the metaverse real, a host of other tech companies followed suit. Definitions differ, but the basic idea of the metaverse involves merging virtual reality and augmented reality with actual reality. Also jumping on the metaverse bandwagon is the government of the South Korean capital, Seoul, which plans to develop a “metaverse platform” by the end of 2022. To build this first public metaverse, Seoul will invest 3.9 billion won (US $3.3 million). The platform will offer public services and cultural events, beginning with the Metaverse 120 Center, a virtual-reality portal for citizens to address concerns that previously required a trip to city hall. Other planned projects include virtual exhibition halls for school courses and a digital representation of Deoksu Palace. The city expects the project to be complete by 2026.

IBM’s Condors Take Flight

An illustration of a bird made up of squares. MCKIBILLO

In 2022, IBM will debut a new quantum processor—its biggest yet—as a stepping-stone to a 1,000-qubit processor by the end of 2023. This year’s iteration will contain 433 qubits, three times as much as the company’s 127-qubit Eagle processor, which was launched last year. Following the bird theme, the 433- and 1,000-qubit processors will be named Condor. There have been quantum computers with many more qubits; D-Wave Systems, for example, announced a 5,000-qubit computer in 2020. However, D-Wave’s computers are specialized machines for optimization problems. IBM’s Condors aim to be the largest general-purpose quantum processors.

New Dark-Matter Detector

An illustration of two dotted arrow headed lines and two circles with the letter \u201cp\u201d on them. MCKIBILLO

The Forward Search Experiment (FASER) at CERN is slated to switch on in July 2022. The exact date depends on when the Large Hadron Collider is set to renew proton-proton collisions after three years of upgrades and maintenance. FASER will begin a hunt for dark matter and other particles that interact extremely weakly with “normal” matter. CERN, the fundamental physics research center near Geneva, has four main detectors attached to its Large Hadron Collider, but they aren’t well-suited to detecting dark matter. FASER won’t attempt to detect the particles directly; instead, it will search for the more strongly interacting Standard Model particles created when dark matter interacts with something else. The new detector was constructed while the collider was shut down from 2018 to 2021. Located 480 meters “downstream” of the ATLAS detector, FASER will also hunt for neutrinos produced in huge quantities by particle collisions in the LHC loop. The other CERN detectors have so far failed to detect such neutrinos.

Pong Turns 50

An illustration of the pong game with the numbers \u201c6\u201d and \u201c9\u201d on top. MCKIBILLO

Atari changed the course of video games when it released its first game, Pong, in 1972. While not the first video game—or even the first to be presented in an upright, arcade-style cabinet—Pong was the first to be commercially successful. The game was developed by engineer Allan Alcorn and originally assigned to him as a test after he was hired, before he began working on actual projects. However, executives at Atari saw potential in Pong’s simple game play and decided to develop it into a real product. Unlike the countless video games that came after it, the original Pong did not use any code or microprocessors. Instead, it was built from a television and transistor-transistor logic.

The Green Hydrogen Boom

An illustration of a generator with large, circular blades. MCKIBILLO

Utility company Energias de Portugal (EDP), based in Lisbon, is on track to begin operating a 3-megawatt green hydrogen plant in Brazil by the end of the year. Green hydrogen is hydrogen produced in sustainable ways, using solar or wind-powered electrolyzers to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. According to the International Energy Agency, only 0.1 percent of hydrogen is produced this way. The plant will replace an existing coal-fired plant and generate hydrogen—which can be used in fuel cells—using solar photovoltaics. EDP’s roughly US $7.9 million pilot program is just the tip of the green hydrogen iceberg. Enegix Energy has announced plans for a $5.4 billion green hydrogen plant in the same Brazilian state, Ceará, where the EDP plant is being built. The green hydrogen market is predicted to generate a revenue of nearly $10 billion by 2028, according to a November 2021 report by Research Dive.

A Permanent Space Station for China

An illustration of a space station MCKIBILLO

China is scheduled to complete its Tiangong (“Heavenly Palace”) space station in 2022. The station, China’s first long-term space habitat, was preceded by the Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2 stations, which orbited from 2011 to 2018 and 2016 to 2019, respectively. The new station’s core module, the Tianhe, was launched in April 2021. A further 10 missions by the end of 2022 will deliver other components and modules, with construction to be completed in orbit. The final station will have two laboratory modules in addition to the core module. Tiangong will orbit at roughly the same altitude as the International Space Station but will be only about one-fifth the mass of the ISS.

A Cool Form of Energy Storage

An illustration of a lightning bolt in an ice cube. MCKIBILLO

Cryogenic energy-storage company Highview Power will begin operations at its Carrington plant near Manchester, England, this year. Cryogenic energy storage is a long-term method of storing electricity by cooling air until it liquefies (about –196 °C). Crucially, the air is cooled when electricity is cheaper—at night, for example—and then stored until electricity demand peaks. The liquid air is then allowed to boil back into a gas, which drives a turbine to generate electricity. The 50-megawatt/250-megawatt-hour Carrington plant will be Highview Power’s first commercial plant using its cryogenic storage technology, dubbed CRYOBattery. Highview Power has said it plans to build a similar plant in Vermont, although it has not specified a timeline yet.

Carbon-Neutral Cryptocurrency?

An illustration of a coin with stars around it. MCKIBILLO

Seattle-based startup Nori is set to offer a cryptocurrency for carbon removal. Nori will mint 500 million tokens of its Ethereum-based currency (called NORI). Individuals and companies can purchase and trade NORI, and eventually exchange any NORI they own for an equal number of carbon credits. Each carbon credit represents a tonne of carbon dioxide that has already been removed from the atmosphere and stored in the ground. When exchanged in this way, a NORI is retired, making it impossible for owners to try to “double count” carbon credits and therefore seem like they’re offsetting more carbon than they actually have. The startup has acknowledged that Ethereum and other blockchain-based technologies consume an enormous amount of energy, so the carbon it sequesters could conceivably originate in cryptocurrency mining. However, 2022 will also see Ethereum scheduled to switch to a much more energy-efficient method of verifying its blockchain, called proof-of-stake, which Nori will take advantage of when it launches.


Match ID: 25 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 19 days
qualifiers: 2.14 carbon

China Will Attempt First Carbon-Neutral Winter Olympics
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 20:00:01 +0000


About 160 kilometers northwest of Beijing, the city of Zhangjiakou with its rugged terrain boasts some of the richest wind and solar resources in China. Renewables account for nearly half of the city’s electricity output with less than a third of its full solar and wind potential of 70 gigawatts installed so far.

That makes it an ideal cohost with Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, which China plans to make the greenest yet. The plan is to power all 26 venues fully with renewables, marking a first in the games’ history.


The Beijing 2022 Organising Committee aims to make the games carbon neutral, or as close as possible—a benchmark for the International Olympic Committee’s mission to make the Olympics carbon positive by 2024.

Besides being a symbol for President Xi Jinping’s ambitious goal of China being carbon neutral by 2060, the 2022 games should drive sustainable development in the region. The event has already helped Beijing clean up its skies and environment, and has fired up local energy-technology markets. It will also be a global stage to showcase new energy-efficiency, alternate-transport, and refrigeration technologies.

The Olympics will account for only a small fraction of the country’s annual electricity consumption. Powering them with clean energy sources won’t be difficult given China’s plentiful renewable capacity, says Michael Davidson, an engineering-systems and global-policy expert at the University of California, San Diego.

But Davidson also points out that insufficient infrastructure to manage intermittent renewables and electricity-dispatch practices that don’t prioritize them mean that much of China’s green-power capacity is often not put to use. And because the game venues are connected to a grid that is powered by a variety of sources, asserting that all the electricity used at the games is 100 percent from clean energy sources is “complicated,” he says. Nonetheless, the games will be important in raising the profile of green energy. “The hope is that this process will put into place some institutions that could help leverage a much broader-scale move to green.”

The Games will offer a global stage to showcase new energy-efficiency, alternate-transport, and refrigeration technologies.

Case in point: The flexible DC grid put into place in Zhiangjiakou in 2020 will let 22.5 billion kilowatt-hours of wind and solar energy flow from Zhiangjiakou to Beijing every year. By the time the Paralympics end in March, the game venues are expected to have consumed about 400 million kWh of electricity. If all of it is indeed provided by renewables, that should reduce carbon emissions by 320,000 tonnes, according to sports outlet Inside the Games. After the athletes go home, the flexible DC grid will continue to clean up around 10 percent of the capital’s immense electricity consumption.

Green transport infrastructure being built to shuttle athletes and spectators between venues will also be part of the games’ lasting legacy. A clean energy–powered high-speed railway that takes 47 minutes to travel between Beijing and Zhangjiakou was inaugurated in 2019. More than 85 percent of public-transport vehicles at the Olympics will be powered by batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, or natural gas, according to state media.

In August, officials at the Chinese capital revealed a five-year hydrogen-energy plan, with goals to build 37 fueling stations and have about 3,000 fuel-cell vehicles on the road by 2023, for which the Olympics should also be a stepping-stone. Already, hydrogen fueling stations built by China’s petrochemical giant Sinopec, Pennsylvania-based Air Products, and French company Air Liquide have cropped up in Beijing, Zhiangjiakou, and the Yanqing competition zone located in between.

In Yanqing alone, 212 fuel-cell buses made by Beijing-based Beiqi Foton Motor Co. will shuttle spectators around. Even the iconic Olympic torch will burn hydrogen for its flame.

Even the iconic Olympic torch will burn hydrogen for its flame.

The 2022 event will also put a limelight on climate-friendly refrigeration. The immense 12,000-square-meter speed-skating oval in downtown Beijing—8 times the size of a hockey rink—will be the first in the world to use carbon dioxide for making ice.

“We’ve built skating rinks with carbon dioxide direct cooling but never a speed-skating oval,” says Wayne Dilk of Toronto-based refrigeration company CIMCO Refrigeration, which has built most of the National Hockey League arenas in North America and designed and provided consulting services for the Olympics’ icy venues.

Ice-rink technology typically relies on refrigerants siphoning heat away from brine circulated under the floors, Dilk explains. But CO2-based cooling systems, which are getting more popular mainly in Europe and North America for supermarkets, food-manufacturing plants, and ice rinks, use CO2 both as the refrigerant and for transporting heat away from under the floor where it is pumped in liquid form.

CO2 is a climate villain, of course, but conventional hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants are worse. The common R-22 form of Freon, for example, is about 1,800 times as potent as a greenhouse gas. CO2 cooling systems are also 30 percent more energy efficient than Freon, says Dilk. Plus, the CO2 system produces higher-temperature waste heat, which can be used for space heating and hot water. And while the system is more expensive to build because it runs at higher pressure, the temperature across the large surface stays within a range of only 0.5 °C, giving more uniform ice. Consistent temperature and ice quality generate better competitive racing times. The Beijing 2022 hockey arenas and sliding center for bobsled and luge use climate-friendly ammonia or Opteon as refrigerants. Besides being a key part of the greenest Winter Olympics, these state-of-the-art ice venues should seal the deal for another goal China has in 2022: to establish itself as a world-class winter sports and tourism destination.

This article appears in the January 2022 print issue as “China’s Green Winter Olympics .”


Match ID: 26 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 20 days
qualifiers: 2.14 carbon

IEEE Honors Pioneering Engineers
Tue, 28 Dec 2021 19:00:00 +0000


Meet the recipients of the 2022 IEEE medals, service awards, honorary membership, and corporate recognition. The awards are presented on behalf of the IEEE Board of Directors.

IEEE MEDAL OF HONOR

Sponsor: IEEE Foundation

ASAD M. MADNI

University of California, Los Angeles

“For pioneering contributions to the development and commercialization of innovative sensing and systems technologies, and for distinguished research leadership.”

IEEE FRANCES E. ALLEN MEDAL

Sponsor: IBM

Corecipients:

EUGENE W. MYERS

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics and Center for Systems Biology

Dresden, Germany

WEBB MILLER

The Pennsylvania State University, retired

State College, Pa.

“For pioneering contributions to sequence analysis algorithms and their applications to biosequence search, genome sequencing, and comparative genome analyses.”

IEEE ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL MEDAL

Sponsor: Nokia Bell Labs

P. R. Kumar

Texas A&M University

College Station

“For seminal contributions to the modeling, analysis, and design of wireless networks.”

IEEE MILDRED DRESSELHAUS MEDAL

Sponsor: Google

ANANTHA CHANDRAKASAN

MIT

“For contributions to ultralow-power circuits and systems, and for leadership in academia and advancing diversity in the profession.”

IEEE EDISON MEDAL

Sponsor: Samsung Electronics Co.

ALAN BOVIK

The University of Texas at Austin

"For pioneering high-impact scientific and engineering contributions leading to the perceptually optimized global streaming and sharing of visual media.”

IEEE MEDAL FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AND SAFETY TECHNOLOGIES

Sponsor: Toyota Motor Corp.

Corecipients:

SAGAWA MASATO

Advanced Magnetic Materials

Korat, Thailand

JOHN J. CROAT

John Croat Consulting, Inc.

Naples, Fla.

“For contributions to the development of rare earth-iron-boron permanent magnets for use in high-efficiency motors, generators, and other devices.”

IEEE FOUNDERS MEDAL

Sponsor: IEEE Richard and Mary Jo Stanley Memorial Fund of the IEEE Foundation

JOHN BROOKS SLAUGHTER

University of Southern California, Los Angeles

“For leadership and administration significantly advancing inclusion and racial diversity in the engineering profession across government, academic, and non-profit organizations.”

IEEE RICHARD W. HAMMING MEDAL

Sponsor: Qualcomm

MADHU SUDAN

Harvard

“For fundamental contributions to probabilistically checkable proofs and list decoding of Reed-Solomon codes.”

IEEE MEDAL FOR INNOVATIONS IN HEALTHCARE TECHNOLOGY

Sponsor: IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society

JAMES G. FUJIMOTO

MIT

“For pioneering the development and commercialization of optical coherence tomography for medical imaging and diagnostics.”

IEEE THEODORE W. HISSEY OUTSTANDING YOUNG PROFESSIONAL AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Young Professionals, Photonics Society, Power & Energy Society

EDHEM (EDDIE) ČUSTOVIĆ

La Trobe University

Bundoora, Victoria, Australia

“For leadership in the empowerment and development of technology professionals globally.”

IEEE JACK S. KILBY SIGNAL PROCESSING MEDAL

Sponsor: Apple

DAVID L. DONOHO

Stanford

“For groundbreaking contributions to sparse signal recovery and compressed sensing.”

IEEE/RSE JAMES CLERK MAXWELL MEDAL

Funder: ARM

INGO WOLFF

IMST GmbH

Kamp-Lintfort, Germany

“For the development of numerical electromagnetic field analysis techniques to design advanced mobile and satellite communication systems.”

IEEE JAMES H. MULLIGAN, JR. EDUCATION MEDAL

Sponsor: MathWorks, Pearson, Lockheed Martin Corp., and the IEEE Life Members Fund

NED MOHAN

University of Minnesota

Minneapolis

“For leadership in power engineering education by developing courses, textbooks, labs, and a faculty network.”

IEEE JUN-ICHI NISHIZAWA MEDAL

Sponsor: The Federation of Electric Power Companies, Japan

UMESH K. MISHRA

University of California, Santa Barbara

“For contributions to the development of gallium nitride-based electronics.”

IEEE ROBERT N. NOYCE MEDAL

Sponsor: Intel Corp.

JINGSHENG JASON CONG

University of California, Los Angeles

“For fundamental contributions to electronic design automation and FPGA design methods.”

IEEE DENNIS J. PICARD MEDAL FOR RADAR TECHNOLOGIES AND APPLICATIONS

Sponsor: Raytheon Technologies

MOENESS G. AMIN

Villanova University, Pa.

“For contributions to radar signal processing across a wide range of applications including through-the-wall imaging and health monitoring.”

IEEE MEDAL IN POWER ENGINEERING

Sponsors: IEEE Industry Applications, Industrial Electronics, Power Electronics, and Power & Energy societies

THOMAS M. JAHNS

University of Wisconsin, Madison

“For contributions to the development of high-efficiency permanent magnet machines and drives.”

IEEE SIMON RAMO MEDAL

Sponsor: Northrop Grumman Corp.

PRAVIN VARAIYA

University of California, Berkeley

“For seminal contributions to the engineering, analysis, and design of complex energy, transportation, and communication systems.”

IEEE JOHN VON NEUMANN MEDAL

Sponsor: IBM Corp.

DEBORAH ESTRIN

Cornell

“For leadership in mobile and wireless sensing systems technologies and applications, including personal health management.”

IEEE CORPORATE INNOVATION AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE

THE ARGO PROGRAM

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Mass.

“For innovation in large-scale autonomous observations in oceanography with global impacts in marine and climate science and technology.”

IEEE RICHARD M. EMBERSON AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Technical Activities Board

FRED MINTZER

Blue Gene Watson Supercomputer Center

IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, retired

Yorktown Heights, N.Y.

“For outstanding leadership of technical activities including the IEEE Collabratec and TAB technology-centric communities.”

IEEE HARADEN PRATT AWARD

Sponsor: IEEE Foundation

JOSEPH V. LILLIE

BIZPHYX, retired

Lafayette, La.

“For sustained and outstanding focus on the engagement of volunteers and staff in implementing continuous improvement of IEEE operations.”

IEEE HONORARY MEMBERSHIP

Sponsor: IEEE

CALYAMPUDI RADHAKRISHNA (C.R.) RAO

The Pennsylvania State University

State College, Pa.

University at Buffalo

“For contributions to fundamental statistical theories and their applications to engineering and science, particularly in signal processing and communications.”

For additional information on the recipients and the awards process, visit the IEEE Awards website.


Match ID: 27 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 21 days
qualifiers: 2.14 carbon

Revealed: Jupiter’s Secret Power Source
Wed, 24 Nov 2021 20:00:00 +0000


For all its other problems, Earth is lucky. Warmed mostly by the sun, 150 million km away, shielded by a thin but protective atmosphere, the temperature at the surface averages 14 to 15 degrees Celsius—a good number to support liquid oceans and a riot of carbon-based life.

Jupiter is a different story. Its upper atmosphere (Jupiter has no solid surface) has a temperature closer to what you'd find on Venus than on some of Jupiter's own moons. As will be seen below, planetary scientists have for decades puzzled over why this planet so far from the sun is so inexplicably warm. In 2021, however, the solution to the mystery may at last have been found.


The solar system’s biggest planet has a big problem


image of the planet jupiter

You are orbiting Jupiter, 779 million km from the sun, where physics and logic say it ought to be very, very cold. Sunlight, out here, is less than four percent as intense as it is on Earth. If solar heating were the only factor at play, the planet's upper atmosphere would average 70 degrees below zero Celsius.

Jupiter in the infrared


image of the planet Jupiter taken in infrared light \u2014 revealing circulation patterns of surprisingly warm gases in Jupiter\u2019s atmosphere

But it doesn’t. It exceeds 400 Celsius—and scientists have puzzled over it for half a century. They have sometimes spoken of Jupiter as having an “energy crisis.” Now, an international team led by James O'Donoghue of JAXA, the Japanese space agency, says they've found an answer.

Jupiter’s northern (and southern) lights


Image of the planet Jupiter with a photograph of an aurora at the planet's north pole in glowing blue light

Jupiter's polar auroras are the largest and most powerful known in the solar system—and O'Donoghue says the energy in them, caused as Jupiter's atmosphere is buffeted by charged particles in its magnetic field, is strong enough to heat the outer atmosphere of the entire planet.


"The auroral power, delivered by the auroral mechanism, is actually 100 terawatts per hemisphere, and I always like that fact," says O'Donoghue. "I think that's something like 100,000 power stations."


Closeup of Jupiter\u2019s swirling cloud layers, indicating the planet\u2019s very active winds

The auroras had been suspected as Jupiter's secret heat source since the 1970s. But until now, scientists thought Jupiter's giant, swirling east-west cloud bands might shear the heat away before it could spread very far from the poles. Winds in the cloud bands reach 500 km/h.


Image of two giant telescope domes opened to reveal big telescopes inside, the Keck I and Keck II telescopes; outside is a cloudy night at sunset

To try to solve the mystery, the research team set out to create an infrared heat map of Jupiter's atmosphere. They used the 10-meter Keck II telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii, one of the five largest in the world, to take spectrographic readings of the planet on two nights: 14 April 2016 and 25 January 2017.


Back to original image of the planet Jupiter

Their April 2016 heat map (to be shown next) revealed that indeed the regions around the polar auroras were hottest, and the heat did spread from there—though the effect tailed off toward Jupiter's equator...

The first night of Keck observations


Image captioned 14 April 2016 of Jupiter taken by the Keck telescope revealing an aurora at the planet\u2019s poles and wide swaths of heat radiating downward into the planet\u2019s temperate latitudes

The heat was strong enough to propagate despite those powerful winds.


Image captioned 14 April 2016 of Jupiter taken by the Keck telescope revealing an aurora at the planet\u2019s poles and wide swaths of heat radiating downward into the planet\u2019s temperate latitudes

It was a promising find, but they needed more. Fortunately their next observation turned up, in O'Donoghue's words, "something spectacular."

The second night of Keck observations




The auroras the team observed in January 2017 are about 100 degrees hotter than they were on the first night—and so are temperatures at every point from there to the equator.


The researchers soon learned that Jupiter had around the time of their January 2017 observation been hit by an outsized surge in solar wind, ionized particles which would compress Jupiter's magnetic field and make the aurora more powerful.

It was sheer luck—a “happy accident," says O'Donoghue—that the surge of particles happened on their second night. Such pulses of energy probably happen every few weeks on average, but it is hard to know exactly when.

Other researchers had already tried to explain Jupiter's warmth by other means—perhaps some sort of acoustic-wave heating or convection from the planet's core, for instance—but they couldn't create convincing models that worked as well as the auroras. O'Donoghue and his colleagues worked for years on the resulting paper. They say they went through more than a dozen drafts before it was accepted for publication in the journal Nature earlier this year.

Where does this lead? It's too early to say, but scientists will want to replicate the findings and then see if they also explain the heating they see on the other gas giants in the solar system—Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Understanding of the auroral effects may also affect our picture of Jupiter's moons, including Europa and Ganymede, which are believed to have briny oceans beneath their icy outer crusts and may be good places to look for life. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. For now, the research continues.

“It's funny," says O'Donoghue, “the reactions from some people in the field. Some people thought, 'Oh, yeah, we knew it was the aurora all along.' And then other people are saying, 'Are you sure it's the aurora?' It tells you there's an issue, and hopefully our observations have solved it definitively.

“We once thought that it could happen, that the aurora could be the source," he says, “but we showed that it does happen."

Photos, from top: A. Simon/Goddard Space Flight Center and M. H. Wong/University of California, Berkeley/OPAL/ESA/NASA; Gemini Observatory/AURA/NSF/UC Berkeley; J. Nichols/University of Leicester/ESA/NASA; JPL-Caltech/NASA; Kevin M. Gill/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/NASA; Ethan Tweedie/W. M. Keck Observatory; A. Simon/Goddard Space Flight Center and M. H. Wong/University of California, Berkeley/OPAL/ESA/NASA; J. O'Donoghue/JAXA (heat maps) and STSCI/NASA (planet).

This article appears in the December 2021 print issue as "Jupiter's Electric Blanket."


Match ID: 28 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 55 days
qualifiers: 2.14 carbon

‘We want to support businesses on their journey to sustainability’: the cloud tools that can deliver a low-carbon economy
Fri, 12 Nov 2021 10:53:45 GMT

From supply chain visibility to tracking emissions, there are a wealth of cloud-based applications to help businesses deliver on their climate goals

Technology is playing a huge role in helping organisations from all sectors become more sustainable, from monitoring carbon footprints – and helping to ensure greater transparency across supply chains – to managing and supporting electromobility (e-mobility).

Many businesses are also introducing wide-ranging sustainability goals, driven both externally by customers but also internally by employees.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 29 Score: 2.14 source: www.theguardian.com age: 68 days
qualifiers: 2.14 carbon

NASA Participates in UN Climate Change Conference
Sat, 06 Nov 2021 09:53 EDT
NASA is participating in the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, which began Oct. 31, and runs through Friday, Nov. 12.
Match ID: 30 Score: 2.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 74 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

Electric Airplanes Won’t Make Much of a Dent in Air Travel for Decades to Come
Mon, 01 Nov 2021 15:15:31 +0000


Exaggeration has become the default method for news reporting, and the possibility of commercial electric flight has been no exception, with repeated claims that these new planes will utterly change how we live.

In 2017, Boeing and JetBlue funded Zunum Aero, a U.S. company that promised nothing less than transforming air travel with short-haul electric planes capable of carrying 12 people–and doing it by 2022. Two years later Boeing declined to continue funding the project.


At the Paris Air Show in June 2019, the CEO of Eviation introduced Alice, a nine-seat commuter plane that had two pusher motors on the wing tips—a highly questionable design—and said, "This is not some future maybe…. It's operational." It was not. The first flight did not take place as advertised, and in 2021 the motors were relocated aft on the model fuselage.

Meanwhile, there is the Pipistrel Velis Electro, the first electric airplane to receive European Union flight certification. It is able to carry just two people, for only about an hour.

Illustration comparing the sizes of a Pipistral Velis Electro and a Boeing 787-10 in meters. More people, flying further have nearly doubled the passenger-kilometers traveled by air over the past decade. Short-haul flights on battery power, while undoubtedly convenient, would amount to a mere rounding error, not only for this metric but for the related one of carbon emissions. The Pipistrel Velis Electro, the first e-plane approved in the European Union, can carry two people for about 100 kilometers; the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner can carry 336 people 11,750 km—about a 20,000-fold difference. James Provost

But overly ambitious goals and setbacks are not the question here; such early failures are to be expected in any new technical endeavor. The problem is much more fundamental. Having all-electric aircraft for short-haul flights would indeed be great, and it would provide critical services to millions of travelers living in small towns. Still, it would make only a minor contribution to what is truly a gigantic business.

Air traffic surged from 28 billion passenger-kilometers (pkm) in 1950 to 2.8 trillion pkm by the year 2000, a 100-fold rise. It then rose to nearly 9 trillion pkm before the pandemic intervened. Trillions of passenger-kilometers could be added so rapidly thanks to the advent of wide-body airplanes carrying 300 to 500 passengers per plane between the continents. Consider such flights, spanning about 6,000 kilometers between Europe and North America, 8,000 km between Europe and East Asia, and 11,000 km between North America and Asia—and compare them to short-haul affairs, say between smaller towns and the largest city in a state.

Large turbofan engines powering these planes are fueled by aviation kerosene that provides nearly 12,000 watt-hours per kilogram. In contrast, today's best commercial Li-ion batteries deliver less than 300 Wh/kg, or 1/40th the energy density of kerosene. Even when taking into account the higher efficiency of electric motors, the effective energy densities go down to about 1/20th. That's more than better batteries can bridge within the next decade or two.

During the past 30 years the maximum energy density of batteries has roughly tripled. Even if electrochemists should replicate that feat, providing us with 1,000 Wh/kg batteries in 2050, it would still fall far short of what's needed to fly a wide-body plane nonstop from New York to Tokyo, something that All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, and United Airlines have been doing for years with the Boeing 777. And while kerosene-fueled planes get lighter as they travel to their destination, electric aircraft will have to carry a constant mass of batteries.

Moreover, the airline industry requires massive investments. Pre-COVID estimates indicated that between 2018 and 2038 the combined market for new planes, together with the cost of their maintenance, repair, and associated training services, would be on the order of US $16 trillion. Such enormous outlays require long planning horizons, embedded in commitments to specific designs and aircraft orders.

This means that the industry's next few decades have already been decided. Because the average lifespan of both single-aisle and wide-body planes is just over 20 years, forthcoming purchases of new planes will expand the existing fleet at least by half—and all of the large commercial planes will rely on kerosene-fueled turbofans.

This article appears in the November 2021 print issue as "Electric Flight."


Match ID: 31 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 78 days
qualifiers: 2.14 carbon

NASA, FAA Invite Media to Briefing on Air Traffic Control Updates
Wed, 22 Sep 2021 09:58 EDT
NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will hold a virtual briefing for media Tuesday, Sept., 28 at 1 p.m. EDT to discuss efforts to improve the sustainability of aviation through the demonstration of more efficient airport operations, contributing to the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to tackle climate change.
Match ID: 32 Score: 2.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 119 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

Will This Jetpack Fly Itself?
Wed, 22 Sep 2021 13:23:30 +0000


Jetpacks might sound fun, but learning how to control a pair of jet engines strapped to your back is no easy feat. Now a British startup wants to simplify things by developing a jetpack with an autopilot system that makes operating it more like controlling a high-end drone than learning how to fly.

Jetpacks made the leap from sci-fi to the real world as far back as the 1960s, but since then the they haven't found much use outside of gimmicky appearances in movies and halftime shows. In recent years though, the idea has received renewed interest. And its proponents are keen to show that the technology is no longer just for stuntmen and may even have practical applications.

American firm Jetpack Aviation will teach anyone to fly its JB-10 jetpack for a cool $4,950 and recently sold its latest JB-12 model to an "undisclosed military." And an Iron Man-like, jet-powered flying suit developed by British start-up Gravity Industries has been tested as a way for marines to board ships and as a way to get medics to the top of mountains quickly.

Flying jetpacks can take a lot of training to master though. That's what prompted Hollywood animatronics expert Matt Denton and Royal Navy Commander Antony Quinn to found Maverick Aviation, and develop one that takes the complexities of flight control out the pilot's hands.

The Maverick Jetpack features four miniature jet turbines attached to an aluminum, titanium and carbon fiber frame, and will travel at up to 30 miles per hour. But the secret ingredient is software that automatically controls the engines to maintain a stable hover, and seamlessly convert the pilot's instructions into precise movements.

"It's going to be very much like flying a drone," says Denton. "We wanted to come up with something that anyone could fly. It's all computer-controlled and you'll just be using the joystick."

One of the key challenges, says Denton, was making the engines responsive enough to allow the rapid tweaks required for flight stabilization. This is relatively simple to achieve on a drone, whose electric motors can be adjusted in a blink of an eye, but jet turbines can take several seconds to ramp up and down between zero and full power.

To get around this, the company added servos to each turbine that let them move independently to quickly alter the direction of thrust—a process known as thrust vectoring. By shifting the alignment of the four engines the flight control software can keep the jetpack perfectly positioned using feedback from inertial measurement units, GPS, altimeters and ground distance sensors. Simple directional instructions from the pilot can also be automatically translated into the required low-level tweaks to the turbines.

It's a clever way to improve the mobility of the system, says Ben Akih-Kumgeh, an associate professor of aerospace engineering at Syracuse University. "It's not only a smart way of overcoming any lag that you may have, but it also helps with the lifespan of the engine," he adds. “[In] any mechanical system, the durability depends on how often you change the operating conditions."

The software is fairly similar to a conventional drone flight controller, says Denton, but they have had to accommodate some additional complexities. Thrust magnitude and thrust direction have to be managed by separate control loops due to their very different reaction times, but they still need to sync up seamlessly to coordinate adjustments. The entire control process is also complicated by the fact that the jetpack has a human strapped to it.

"Once you've got a shifting payload, like a person who's wobbling their arms around and moving their legs, then it does become a much more complex problem," says Denton.

In the long run, says Denton, the company hopes to add higher-level functions that could allow the jetpack to move automatically between points marked on a map. The hope is that by automating as much of the flight control as possible, users will be able to focus on the task at hand, whether that's fixing a wind turbine or inspecting a construction site.

Surrendering so much control to a computer might give some pause for thought, but Denton says there will be plenty of redundancy built in. "The idea will be that we'll have plenty of fallback modes where, if part of the system fails, it'll fall back to a more manual flight mode," he said. "The user would have training to basically tackle any of those conditions."

It might be sometime before you can start basic training, though, as the company has yet to fly their turbine-powered jetpack. Currently, flight testing is being conducted on an scaled down model powered by electric ducted fans, says Denton, though their responsiveness has been deliberately dulled so they behave like turbines. The company is hoping to conduct the first human test flights next summer.

Don't get your hopes up about commuting to work by jetpack any time soon though, says Akih-Kumgeh. The huge amount of noise these devices produce make it unlikely that they would be allowed to operate within city limits. The near term applications are more likely to be search and rescue missions where time and speed trump efficiency, he says.


Match ID: 33 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 119 days
qualifiers: 2.14 carbon

Flame Retardant Epoxies and Silicones Play Key Role in Aircraft Construction
Thu, 02 Sep 2021 19:03:39 +0000


Designed to mitigate the worst effects of fires, fire retardant materials play a particularly important role in aircraft construction. Used in aircraft, epoxies and silicones must maintain their primary role as adhesives or coatings while exhibiting resistance to heat and flame in accordance with government and industry specifications.

Master Bond's series of flame retardant epoxies and silicones comply with specifications for flame resistance and reduction of smoke density and toxic emissions.


Download this free whitepaper


Match ID: 34 Score: 2.14 source: event.on24.com age: 138 days
qualifiers: 2.14 toxic

Filter efficiency 95.679 (35 matches/810 results)


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Bank of America stock jumps as profit rises above expectations, while revenue comes up a bit shy
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 12:02:40 GMT

Shares of Bank of America Corp. rallied 2.0% in premarket trading Wednesday, after the moneycenter bank reported fourth-quarter profit that rose above expectations while revenue came up a bit shy, while growth in loans and deposits helped boost net interest income (NII) despite a challenging interest rate environment. Net income rose to $6.77 billion, or 82 cent a share, from $5.21 billion, or 59 cents a share, in the year ago period, and beat the FactSet consensus of 77 cents. Total revenue rose 9.8% to $22.06 billion, below the FactSet consensus of $22.18 billion, as NII grew 11.3% to $11.41 billion to top expectations of $11.32 billion. Within business segments, consumer banking revenue rose 8% to $8.9 billion, global wealth and investment management revenue rose 16% to a record $5.4 billion and global banking revenue increased 24% to $5.9 billion, while global markets revenue fell 2% to $3.8 billion. Within markets, equities revenue rose 3% to $1.4 billion while fixed income, currency and commodities (FICC) revenue fell 10% to $1.6 billion. The stock has slipped 0.5% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has been little changed and the S&P 500 has gained 1.3%.

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: 0 Score: 80.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks, 25.00 money, 20.00 business, 10.00 wealth

Starving Afghans Use Crypto to Sidestep U.S. Sanctions, Failing Banks, and the Taliban
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 12:00:52 +0000

NGOs looking to provide emergency aid to Afghanistan despite failing banks and U.S. sanctions are turning to cryptocurrency.

The post Starving Afghans Use Crypto to Sidestep U.S. Sanctions, Failing Banks, and the Taliban appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 1 Score: 75.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 finance, 25.00 money, 20.00 economy

Warren Buffett says these are the best businesses to own — 3 examples from Berkshire's portfolio
Mon, 17 Jan 2022 12:20:00 +0000


Warren Buffett says these are the best businesses to own — 3 examples from Berkshire's portfolio

While we're constantly bombarded with confusing investment mumbo jumbo, we must never forget that, for the most part, companies  exist for one primary reason: to take capital from investors and make a return on it. For this reason, it makes sense for investors to look for companies with enduring competitive advantages that are capable of consistently delivering high returns on investments.

As Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, once said, "The best company to own is one that  can deploy large amounts of incremental capital at very high prices at very high rates of return. With that in mind, here are three Berkshire holdings with double-digit returns on invested capital.

Moody's (MCO)

With returns on invested capital consistently in the mid-20% range, credit rating leader Moody’s leads off our list.

Moody’s shares held up incredibly well during the height of the pandemic and are up nearly 220% over the past five years, suggesting that it’s a recession-resistant business worth betting on.

Specifically, the company’s well-entrenched leadership position in credit ratings, which leads to outsized returns on capital, should continue to limit Moody’s long-term downside

Moreover, Moody’s has generated about $2.4 billion in trailing twelve-month free cash flow. And over the first three quarters of 2021, the company has returned $975 million to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends.

As of Q3 2021, Berkshire holds more than 24.6 million shares of Moody’s worth just under $8.8 billion. Moody’s has a dividend yield of 0.7%.

Apple (AAPL)

Next up, we have consumer technology gorilla Apple, which boasts a five-year return on invested capital of 28%, much higher than that of rivals like Nokia (-3%) and Sony (12%).

Even in the cutthroat world of consumer hardware, the iPhone maker has been able to generate outsized returns due to its loyalty-commanding brand and high switching costs (the iOS experience can only be had through Apple products).

And with the company continuing to penetrate emerging markets like India and Mexico, Apple’s long-term growth trajectory remains healthy.

In the most recent quarter, Apple’s revenue jumped 29% to $83.4 billion. The company also returned over $24 billion to shareholders.

The stock currently sports a dividend yield of just 0.5%, but with a buyback yield of 3%, Apple is doling out more cash to shareholders than you might think.

It's no wonder that Apple is Berkshire's largest public holding, owning more than 887 million shares in the tech giant worth roughly $125.5 billion.

Procter & Gamble (PG)

Rounding out the list is consumer staples giant Procter & Gamble, with a solid five-year average return on invested capital of 13.5%.

Berkshire held 315,400 shares at the end of Q3, worth around $44 million at today’s price. While that’s not a big position by Berkshire standards, something does make P&G stand out: the ability to deliver rising cash returns to investors through thick and thin.

The company offers a portfolio of trusted brands like Bounty paper towels, Crest toothpaste, Gillette razor blades and Tide detergent. These are products households buy on a regular basis, regardless of what the economy is doing.

In April, P&G’s board of directors announced a 10% increase to the quarterly payout, marking the company’s 65th consecutive annual dividend hike.

P&G share currently offer a dividend yield of 2.2%.

Source: Yahoo News



Match ID: 2 Score: 70.00 source: techncruncher.blogspot.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 30.00 finance, 20.00 economy, 20.00 business

In One Chart: This budget shows a Seattle-area couple giving $13K a year to a church — and just $3K to savings
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 14:13:00 GMT
A chart raising eyebrows on Reddit also sees the couple paying less than $2K a month for their mortgage in one of the country’s priciest housing markets

Match ID: 3 Score: 65.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 40.00 saving, 25.00 savings

The big six energy providers don’t need a bailout – nor do they deserve one | Sandy Hager and Joseph Baines
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 13:12:27 GMT

Instead of subsidising companies, the government should be taxing them to pay for the cost of living crisis

As the energy crisis deepens, the UK government is frantically searching for ways to provide relief to households facing sharp increases in gas and electricity bills. In the latest development, Downing Street is said to be considering paying energy supply companies when wholesale energy prices are high in the hope that they do not pass on rising costs to consumers. When wholesale prices fall below a certain threshold, the energy companies would give money back to the government. In effect, this amounts to an emergency bailout that guarantees the income of private energy companies when wholesale prices rise.

The energy companies, perhaps unsurprisingly, support the plan and financial journalists have described it as a “radical intervention”. But subsidising energy companies is not radical in any meaningful sense of the term. In fact, the proposed initiative is firmly aligned with the status quo, in which private companies reap massive profits through the good times, and have their losses absorbed by the state through the bad.

Sandy Hager is a senior lecturer in International Political Economy at City, University of London. This piece was written with Joseph Baines, a senior lecturer in International Political Economy at King’s College London


Continue reading...
Match ID: 4 Score: 65.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 money, 20.00 economy, 20.00 business

Stocks end sharply lower as bond yields hit 2-year high, Goldman shares slump
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 21:03:27 GMT

Stocks ended sharply lower Tuesday, kicking off a holiday-shortened week on a down note as Treasury yields jumped to two-year highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell around 542 points, or 1.5%, to close near 35,369, while the S&P 500 shed around 86 points, or 1.8%, ending near 4,577. The Nasdaq Composite declined around 387 points, or 2.6%, to finish near 14,507. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumped more than 9 basis points to 1.866%, its highest since January 2008. Shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. fell 7%, leading Dow decliners after the investment bank delivered results that missed Wall Street expectations on earnings.

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: 5 Score: 65.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 40.00 gold, 25.00 stocks

Bank of America's stock falls ahead of earnings, in wake of Goldman and JPMorgan disappointments
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 20:06:54 GMT

Shares of Bank of America Corp. dropped 2.9% in afternoon trading Tuesday, putting them on track for a fourth-straight decline, ahead of the bank's fourth-quarter results due out before the next session's opening bell. The stock has now shed 5.5% during its losing streak. The stock's losses comes after bank and broker Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reported disappointing fourth-quarter results on Tuesday, sending the stock down 6.4%, and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. fourth-quarter results reported before Friday's open has helped trigger a two-day drop of 10.0%. Bank of America's stock rose 4.5% on the day it reported third-quarter results (Oct. 14), but fell on the day of the previous seven quarterly reports by an average of 3.2%, according to FactSet data. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 fell 1.4% on Tuesday after gaining 0.1% on Friday.

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: 6 Score: 65.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 40.00 gold, 25.00 stocks

Gold futures end lower for a third straight session
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 18:45:18 GMT

Gold futures settled lower on Tuesday, marking a third straight session decline as bond yields and the dollar climbed, dulling the metal's investment appeal. Changes in bond yields and the U.S. dollar index will continue to impact the gold price until the Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting next week, said Chintan Karnani, director of research at Insignia Consultants. February gold fell $4.10, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,812.40 an ounce. Prices based on the most-active contract posted declines on Thursday and Friday, ahead of Monday's Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

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


Match ID: 7 Score: 65.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 40.00 gold, 25.00 stocks

Goldman Sachs CEO Solomon sees 'above-trend' inflation possibly for 'some time'
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 18:00:47 GMT

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO David Solomon told analysts on Tuesday the bank expects inflationary pressure to increase in 2022. Inflation is persisting in many countries and major central banks are beginning to raise rates including the Bank of England last year, while the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to boost rates four times in 2022. "Based on my experience, it makes sense that coming out of the recent period of easy monetary policy, inflation may be above-trend for some time," Solomon said. "In the near-term, inflationary pressures may continue to intensify before they start to decrease." He also expects to see more volatility amid interest rate hikes, which will likely have an impact on economic growth, asset prices and client activity. Goldman Shares are down 8.3% in recent trades.

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: 8 Score: 65.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 40.00 gold, 25.00 stocks

Goldman Sachs stock selloff slashing more than 100 points off the Dow's price
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 13:58:58 GMT

Shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. sank 4.2% in premarket trading Tuesday, putting them on track to open at a six-month low, after the bank and broker reported fourth-quarter profit that fell well short of expectations. The stock was by far the biggest drag on the Dow Jones Industrial Average . The implied price decline would shave about 105 points off the Dow's price, while Dow futures slid 307 points or 0.9%. The next biggest drag on the Dow is Microsoft Corp.'s stock , which slumped 1.4% after announcing a $68.7 billion deal to buy Activision Blizzard Inc. , with the implied price decline taking about 29 points off the Dow's price.

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: 9 Score: 65.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 40.00 gold, 25.00 stocks

Tesla investors urge judge to order Musk repay $13 bln for SolarCity deal
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 12:20:00 +0000

 

REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) shareholders on Tuesday asked a judge  to find that Elon Musk forced the company's board of directors into a  deal for SolarCity in 2016 and wanted the CEO convicted, the electric vehicle maker one of the largest judgments in history paid $13 billion.

"This case was always  about whether the acquisition of SolarCity was a bailout from financial troubles, a bailout orchestrated by Elon Musk," said Randy Baron, a shareholders' attorney, at the Zoom hearing.

The closing arguments listed the key findings of a 10-day trial in July when Musk spent two days at the stand defending the deal.Lawsuit from union pension funds and wealth managers alleges  Musk forced Tesla's board of directors to cut the deal to approve for cash -strapped SolarCity, in which Musk was the largest shareholder.

Musk has countered that the deal was part of a decade-old master plan to create a vertically integrated company that would transform energy generation and consumption with SolarCity's roof panels and Tesla's cars and batteries.
Evan Chesler, one of Musk's attorneys, said at the hearing that the deal was not a bailout and that SolarCity is far from insolvent and that its finances are similar to those of many high-growth companies.

"They were building billions of dollars of long-term value," Chesler said of SolarCity.


The all-stock deal was valued at $2.6 billion in 2016, but since that time Tesla's stock has soared.


Shareholder attorney Lee Rudy urged Vice Chancellor Joseph Slights of Delaware's Court of Chancery to order Musk return the Tesla stock he received, which would be worth around $13 billion at its current price.


Musk said in court papers such an award would be at least five times the largest award ever in a comparable shareholder lawsuit and called it a "windfall" for plaintiffs.


Rudy said Slights should consider Musk's contempt for the deposition and trial process, in which he repeatedly clashed with and insulted shareholder attorneys.


"It would be a windfall for Elon Musk if he got to keep shares he never should have gotten in the first place," Rudy said.


Chesler called the request to order Musk to return the stock from the deal "preposterous" and said it ignored five years of unprecedented success at Tesla.


Tesla's stock was down 1% at around $1,040in afternoon trade.


Tesla acquired SolarCity as the electric vehicle maker was approaching the launch of its Model 3, a mass-market sedan that was critical to its strategy. Shareholders allege the deal was a needless distraction and burdened Tesla with SolarCity's financial woes and debt.


Shareholders claim that despite owning only 22% of Tesla, Musk was a controlling shareholder due to his ties to board members and domineering style. If plaintiffs can prove this, it increases the likelihood that the court will conclude the deal was unfair to shareholders.


Musk's lawyers said the celebrity entrepreneur had no authority to fire directors or control their salaries and withdrew from price negotiations in the SolarCity deal.

"Without Elon Musk, Tesla couldn't exist, let alone be worth $1 trillion," said Vanessa Lavely, Musk's attorney. "That doesn't make him a controller. This makes him a highly effective CEO.
Slights ended the hearing by saying he expects to rule in about three months. He said last week that he intends to retire in the next few months. And a request for related shareholders contesting Musk's record pay package was transferred from Slights to another judge.

Source: Reuters


Match ID: 10 Score: 60.00 source: techncruncher.blogspot.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 finance, 20.00 business, 10.00 wealth

Contra a Billionaire Bro: Why We Should Care About China's Rights Violations in Xinjiang
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 18:56:05 +0000

Even hypocritical criticisms exchanged by superpowers can do good. Over the last century, history shows that they have.

The post Contra a Billionaire Bro: Why We Should Care About China’s Rights Violations in Xinjiang appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 11 Score: 60.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 40.00 gold, 20.00 business

Jerome Powell Calls Fed’s Role in Addressing Climate “Limited”
Sat, 15 Jan 2022 15:33:51 +0000

Powell’s reappointment is threatened by Democrats calling for more aggressive action by the Federal Reserve on climate.

The post Jerome Powell Calls Fed’s Role in Addressing Climate “Limited” appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 12 Score: 60.00 source: theintercept.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 25.71 finance, 17.14 economy, 17.14 business

The 'Dune' NFT Copyright Fiasco Is the Least of Crypto's Legal Worries
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 12:00:00 +0000
Spice DAO's copyright misstep shows how many questions there are about the rules of cryptoart. This is an opportunity for transformation
Match ID: 13 Score: 55.00 source: www.wired.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 finance, 25.00 money

Burberry predicts 35% rise in annual profits backed by Asia sales
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 10:25:23 GMT

UK luxury brand records 22% sales growth in Asia over pre-pandemic levels but 4% fall in Europe

Burberry’s profit hopes have increased after attracting younger shoppers with puffer jackets and trainers under the designer Riccardo Tisci and benefiting from a rebound in the luxury goods market as lockdowns unwind across the world.

Fellow luxury brands Richemont and Prada also revealed strong trading as wealthy consumers splashed out on bags, watches and designer clothing after being unable to spend money on holidays and nights out because of Covid-19 restrictions.

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Match ID: 14 Score: 55.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 money, 20.00 business, 10.00 wealth

2021’s Inflation Proves How Incredibly Valuable Social Security Is for Americans
Sun, 16 Jan 2022 15:44:24 +0000

Social Security is inflation-adjusted, so benefits are going up 5.9 percent to keep the purchasing power of retirees the same.

The post 2021’s Inflation Proves How Incredibly Valuable Social Security Is for Americans appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 15 Score: 55.00 source: theintercept.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 money, 20.00 business, 10.00 wealth

A pro-business retired cop sparks liberal revolt in first few weeks as mayor
Sun, 16 Jan 2022 07:00:59 EST
By the time Eric Adams was sworn in as the city’s 110th mayor on Jan. 1, he had already tangled with progressives on criminal justice policy.
Match ID: 16 Score: 51.43 source: www.politico.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 34.29 gold, 17.14 business

UAE Adviser Illegally Funneled Foreign Cash Into Hillary Clinton's 2016 Campaign
Sun, 16 Jan 2022 14:52:55 +0000

George Nader also cultivated key Trump advisers on behalf of his Gulf clients, prosecutors say.

The post UAE Adviser Illegally Funneled Foreign Cash Into Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 17 Score: 47.14 source: theintercept.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 21.43 money, 17.14 business, 8.57 wealth

North Korean hackers said to have stolen nearly $400 million in cryptocurrency last year
Sat, 15 Jan 2022 10:18:00 +0000


North Korean hackers stole nearly $400 million worth of cryptocurrency in 2021, making it one of the most profitable years yet for cybercriminals in the severely isolated country, according to a new report

Hackers launched at least seven different attacks last year, mostly targeting corporate investments and centralized exchanges with a variety of tactics including phishing, malware and social engineering, according to a report by Chainalysis, a company that tracks cryptocurrencies. 


Cybercriminals attempted to gain access to organizations' "hot" wallets: Internet-connected digital wallets, and then transfer funds to accounts controlled by the DPRK. The thefts are the latest indication that the heavily sanctioned country continues to rely on a network of hackers to help fund its domestic programs. 


A confidential UN report previously accused North Korean regime leader Kim Jong Un of carrying out "operations against formerly moving financial institutions and virtual currency" to pay for weapons and keep the country afloat North Korean economy. 


Last February, the US Department of Justice  charged three North Koreans with conspiring to steal more than $1.3 billion from banks and businesses around the world and orchestrating crypto thefts. digital currency.


"North Korea is, in most respects, cut off from the global financial system by a long sanctions campaign by the United States and its foreign partners." said Nick Carlsen, an analyst at blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs. “As a result, they have taken to the digital battlefield to steal cryptocurrencies, essentially [a] high-speed internet bank robbery, to fund weapons programs, nuclear proliferation and other activities. 

>


North Korea's hacking efforts have benefited from this.The rise in value of Rising prices and the use of cryptocurrencies have generally made digital assets increasingly attractive to malicious actors, which led to more successful cryptocurrency thefts in 2021. 


According to Chainalysis, most of the thefts in the past year were committed by the Lazarus Group, a hacker group with ties to North Korea that was previously  linked to the  Sony Pictures hack, among other incidents. ie North Koreans, in addition to sanctiones cybersecurity defensive measures such as crimes such as criminql have no real chance of being extradited. 


As the cryptocurrency market becomes more popular, "we are likely to see continued interest from North Korea in targeting cryptocurrency companies that are young and that are building  cyber defenses and anti-virus controls. -money laundering," Carlsen said.


Match ID: 18 Score: 46.43 source: techncruncher.blogspot.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 money, 14.29 economy, 14.29 business

Monopoly money: is Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard good for gaming?
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 14:19:04 GMT

The company’s bottomless appetite for buying new studios means the art of the deal is threatening the art – and heart – of the game

In 2014, Microsoft bought Minecraft’s developer Mojang for what seemed, at the time, an eye-popping figure: $2.5bn (£1.8bn). It was the first in a series of bullish video-game studio acquisitions by the tech giant, whose games division has been led by executive Phil Spencer, a long-time advocate for video games within Microsoft and the wider business world, for the past eight years. More studios followed, for undisclosed amounts: beloved Californian comedy-game artists Double Fine, UK studio Ninja Theory, RPG specialists Obsidian Entertainment. It seemed that under Spencer’s leadership, Microsoft was cementing its commitment to the Xbox console and the video-games business by investing in what makes games great: the people who make them.

Then came 2020’s deal to acquire Zenimax (and with it Bethesda), for a properly astonishing $7.5bn. This was different. This wasn’t the Xbox division acquiring studios to make games for its consoles. This was an entire publisher, with several different studios and a whole portfolio of popular game series. At this point Microsoft’s spending started to look like a monopoly move – a bid to sew up the market by closing off hugely popular games behind Microsoft’s own consoles and services. When it was confirmed that Bethesda’s forthcoming games, including this year’s space role-playing epic Starfield and the next fantasy Elder Scrolls game, would be exclusive to Xbox and Microsoft Game Pass, I started to wonder whether Microsoft’s stated aim to make video games more widely available to everyone was lining up with its actions in the market.

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Match ID: 19 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 money, 20.00 business

What Xbox will likely do with its $68B purchase of Activision Blizzard King
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 14:18:55 +0000
Breaking down Microsoft's highest-priced gaming acquisition ever—with Kotick quotes.
Match ID: 20 Score: 45.00 source: arstechnica.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 money, 20.00 business

‘I’m not getting through the month’: five Britons on the cost of living crisis
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 08:25:19 GMT

People who are feeling the pinch explain how their expenses are stacking up

Most of primary school teacher Kate Locke’s salary goes on her rent – and in the last month, that’s gone up by 10%. Combined with the rising costs of food and energy, Locke, 39, is increasingly worried about money. “By end of month I’m in my overdraft, I haven’t been able to save anything – there’s no stability,” Locke, who lives in Reading, says.

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Match ID: 21 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 money, 20.00 business

On the frontline of the cost of living crisis
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 03:00:08 GMT

Households across the UK will see rising prices and stalling wages strain their budgets in the year ahead, money and consumer editor Hilary Osborne reports. Some families are already feeling the pinch

It’s being called “the year of the squeeze”: thanks to stagnating wages, rising costs of consumer goods, and increases in energy tariffs, plus changes in government measures, the cost of living is set to increase sharply in 2022. “The months ahead will not be easy for households who see their wages fall back as energy bills and taxes rise,” a recent report from the thinktank Resolution concluded.

“In the time that I’ve been writing about money – which is two decades, almost – it’s a year like no other,” Hilary Osborne, the Guardian’s money and consumer editor, tells Nosheen Iqbal. She says the price of everything – from food and clothes, to housing and transportation, and heating and energy – is going up this year. At the same time, the end of the £20 a week of the universal credit uplift and a 1.25% increase in national insurance will only add more pressure to strained budgets.

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Match ID: 22 Score: 45.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 money, 20.00 business

Milan men’s fashion week AW 22: the shows – in pictures
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 10:36:39 GMT

Despite Giorgio Armani cancelling his two shows and a raft of other designers switching to digital, Milan fashion week went ahead with the likes of Prada and D&G opting for high-profile catwalks and models to match

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Match ID: 23 Score: 40.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 40.00 gold

True blue: how to fall in love with jeans again
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 10:00:09 GMT

The tracksuit era is over, and denim is back. But with a dizzying number of styles – and claims of sustainability to wade through – which will you pick?

The tracksuit era began – as every history student will learn from now on – on 11 March 2020, the day that the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic, and the age of lockdowns commenced. The details of its demise are, as yet, not officially verified – but they say that journalism is the first draft of history, so I’m calling it for 31 October 2021, when the dystopian seaweed-green tracksuits of Squid Game became the go-to Halloween costume.

So now it is time to get back into your jeans. I don’t just mean getting them done up, although there is no doubt that may be a little tricky after two turgid years spent feeling dissatisfied with life while in eyeballing distance of the fridge. No, the real challenge is getting your head back into jeans, not your waistline. The most telling marker of the casualisation of our wardrobes is that jeans, which used to be what we wore to dress down, can now feel like too much effort. It’s not that I’m saying our standards have slipped, but – well, actually, that is exactly what I’m saying.

There is nothing more satisfying to reach for in the morning than your favourite denims. Jeans are timeless and democratic, because while silhouettes, colours and washes come and go, everyone who owns a pair of jeans makes them their own. To look at someone who is wearing a pair that they love and that suit them is like looking at the perfect black and white portrait: candid, but flattering.

This year’s Golden Globes ceremony had no red carpet, but it was a fashion moment that has turbocharged the denim revival. Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, one of the night’s big winners, is set in rural Montana in the 1920s, hinged between the dust-and-horses iconography of the cinematic western tradition and the modernity and raw energy of the 20th century as it begins to roar to top speed. Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil acts out masculine swagger in broken-in jeans with chaps, but it is Kodi Smit-McPhee as Peter who steals the fashion show. Slight and gawky in the stiff new jeans that his mother has bought him so that he will fit in on the ranch, he looks like a boy soldier in new uniform.

In westerns, jeans stand for real-world toughness – resilience, to use the buzzword of the hour – but also for the American dream. The brass rivets that are a feature of every traditional pair glint like the nuggets for which goldrushers once panned the rivers of the western states. Also, jeans represent sex – as they always have and always will. (Think of the album cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA, with the Boss’s jeans-clad back view standing in front of the stripes of the flag.) Resilience, fantasy, adventure and sex appeal: it is little wonder, really, that jeans are a style icon.

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Match ID: 24 Score: 40.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 40.00 gold

Ancient metal tubes unearthed in 1897 could be oldest surviving drinking straws
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 06:00:06 GMT

Gold and silver tubes, each more than a metre long, were discovered in North Caucasus

A set of ancient gold and silver tubes dating to about 5,500 years ago and unearthed in North Caucasus in Russia could be the world’s oldest surviving drinking straws, experts have claimed.

The eight thin-walled tubes, each more than a metre in length with a narrow perforated tip, were found in the largest of three compartments containing human remains, discovered during the excavation of a mound near Maykop in the summer of 1897.

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Match ID: 25 Score: 40.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 40.00 gold

Gig Workers Were Promised a Better Deal. Then They Were Outsourced
Mon, 17 Jan 2022 12:00:00 +0000
A new subcontractor industry in Europe is benefiting from platforms’ efforts to clean up their image and comply with stricter employment rules.
Match ID: 26 Score: 40.00 source: www.wired.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 20.00 economy, 20.00 business

Morgan Stanley shares jump premarket as profit tops Street estimates
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 12:48:05 GMT

Morgan Stanley shares rose 2.3% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the bank beat profit estimates for the fourth quarter amid strong performances at its investment banking and wealth management divisions. Morgan Stanley posted net income of $3.7 billion, or $2.01 a share, for the quarter, up from $3.4 billion, or $1.81 a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose to $14.524 billion from $13.597 billion a year ago. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of $1.94 and revenue of $14.558 billion. Investment banking revenues rose 6%, driven by higher M&A fees from a flurry of deals. Equity underwriting revenue fell from a year ago amid a decline in follow-on offerings and block trades, but were partially offset by higher revenue from private placements. Fixed income underwriting revenue rose, driven by higher securitized products and high-yield issuances. In trading, equity revenues rose 13% driven by higher prime brokerage revenues and a mark-to-market gain of $225 million on a strategic investment. Fixed income revenues fell 31% from a year ago in what the bank called a "challenging trading environment." In the wealth management division, revenue rose 10% from a year ago to $6.3 billion from $5.7 billion. Net interest income rose thanks to growth in lending and higher brokerage sweep deposits. Investment management revenue rose to $128 billion from $1.1 billion, driven by the acquisition of Eaton Vance, higher performance fees and higher assets under management. Shares have gained 25% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 20.5%.

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


Match ID: 27 Score: 35.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks, 10.00 wealth

Google’s ‘dragonscale’ solar-powered roof signals growing demand for sustainable workspaces
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 11:00:10 GMT

Tightening regulations and a growing eco-conscious workforce are major factors in heralding green office campuses

About 40 miles south of San Francisco, three futuristic structures rise from the earth. With sloping roofs clad in thousands of overlapping tiles, the buildings could be mistaken for the world’s most architecturally advanced circus tent.

They are, in fact, part of Google’s new Bay View campus, which is due to welcome employees this year – pandemic allowing – and is situated a few miles east of its existing HQ campus in Mountain View.

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Match ID: 28 Score: 35.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 35.00 real estate

Tell us: are you facing a steep rise in your energy bills in the UK?
Wed, 12 Jan 2022 17:26:08 GMT

We would like to hear from people about the rise in their energy bills and how their finances will be affected

Customers are expecting a steep rise in what they pay for household energy, following the increase in the regulator’s price cap in October and the failure of several small providers. As the regulator Ofgem decides how to set the price cap for April onwards, some have predicted average bills could soar by as much as £700 a year.

We would like to hear what has happened to your energy bills. Have you seen a rise already? Have you been told that one is on its way? If so, by how much? What impact will this have on your household income? We also want to hear if you are coming to the end of a fixed rate tariff and face an increase.

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Match ID: 29 Score: 32.14 source: www.theguardian.com age: 6 days
qualifiers: 12.86 finance, 10.71 money, 8.57 business

N.Y. attorney general alleges Trump’s business inflated property values, wealth statements
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 08:45:00 EST
New York Attorney General Letitia James outlined the claims in a bid to force Trump and his adult children to testify in a civil probe.
Match ID: 30 Score: 30.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 20.00 business, 10.00 wealth

Microsoft Deal Wipes $20 Billion Off Sony's Market Value in a Day
2022-01-19T09:42:16+00:00
Microsoft Deal Wipes $20 Billion Off Sony's Market Value in a Day submitted by /u/dontloseyourway1610
[link] [comments]

Match ID: 31 Score: 30.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 finance

“Don’t Look Up” and Fighting Capitalism With Naomi Klein
Wed, 12 Jan 2022 11:01:48 +0000

Naomi Klein and Jon Schwarz discuss the new film “Don’t Look Up” and the current state of the climate justice movement.

The post “Don’t Look Up” and Fighting Capitalism With Naomi Klein appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 32 Score: 30.00 source: theintercept.com age: 7 days
qualifiers: 11.43 saving, 7.14 money, 5.71 economy, 5.71 business

How to help Afghans without aiding the Taliban
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 12:01:37 EST
Without a solution that restores the flow of money into and throughout the country, the number of Afghans at risk of hunger is doomed to soar, aid groups say.
Match ID: 33 Score: 25.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 money

The Moneyist: I spent $20,000 on a house my brother promised, but failed, to sell me. I texted: ‘Congratulations on the sale. Now is your chance to do the right thing.’
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 14:38:00 GMT
'The repairs were much more than I anticipated and, in 2019, I told my brother I would need to file for bankruptcy.'

Match ID: 34 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 money

Stocks open modestly higher after Tuesday tumble
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 14:32:57 GMT

Stocks opened higher Wednesday, taking back some of the ground lost in the previous session when the 10-year Treasury yield jumped to a two-year high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 123 points, or 0.3%, to 35,492, while the S&P 500 gained 0.4% to 4,595. The Nasdaq Composite was up 0.5% at 14,584. The tech-heavy Nasdaq on Tuesday led major indexes to the downside, dropping 2.6% and finishing below its 200-day moving average. Bank earnings appeared to help sentiment Wednesday, with shares of Bank of America Corp. and Morgan Stanley rising after reporting results.

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: 35 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

Regions Bank to eliminate non-sufficient funds fees in the coming months
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 14:15:49 GMT

Regions Financial Corp. said Wednesday its Regions Bank subsidiary will eliminate non-sufficient funds fees by the end of the second quarter, as the regional bank matched moves made recently by Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. . The regional bank's stock rose 0.8% in premarket trading. Regions said it will also eliminate overdraft protection transfer fees by the end of the first quarter, and will lower the number of Paid Overdraft Item Fees that can be charged on consumer banking accounts to three per day. The bank also said that it will make consumers' paychecks available up to two days before the regular payday, if their employer uses direct deposit. Regions' stock has rallied 8.7% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the SPDR S&P Bank ETF has climbed 6.5% and the S&P 500 has gained 1.3%

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: 36 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

MGM Resorts, Entain to boost investment in BetMGM by $450 million in 2022, after 2021 revenue topped projections
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 13:57:52 GMT

MGM Resorts International and U.K.-based Entain PLC , joint owners of sports betting and iGaming operator BetMGM, said Wednesday they expect to invest another $450 million in BetMGM in 2022. That will bring the combined investment to $1.1 billion since BetMGM was launched in 2018. MGM's stock rose 1.0% in premarket trading, while Entain's U.K.-listed stock surged 3.7%. The announcement comes as the companies said they were "wholly supportive" of BetMGM's success, as they said BetMGM net revenue from operations is expected to be about $850 million in 2021, which is above expectations and up nearly fivefold from a year ago. For 2022, net revenue from operations is expected to rise to $1.3 billion, with the expected launch of online sportsbooks in Illinois and Louisiana in the first quarter, retail sportsbooks in Puerto Rico and both online sportsbooks and iGaming in Ontario later this year. MGM shares have dropped 7.7% over the past three months through Tuesday and Entain's stock has tumbled 18%, while the S&P 500 has gained 1.3%

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: 37 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

After a storm, school football coach told players to ‘find an elderly or disabled neighbor and shovel their driveway’
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 08:54:29 EST
"Don’t accept any money — that’s our Monday workout," coach Brian DeLallo wrote.
Match ID: 38 Score: 25.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 money

Housing starts edges higher in December as permitting for residential construction soars
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 13:34:18 GMT

U.S. home builders started construction on homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of roughly 1.7 million in December, representing a 1% increase from the previous month, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Wednesday. Compared with December 2020, housing starts were up 2.5%. Meanwhile, permitting for new homes occurred at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.87 million, up 9% from November and 6.5% from a year ago. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected housing starts to occur at a median pace of 1.65 million and building permits to come in at a median pace of 1.71 million.

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: 39 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

Economic Report: Coming up: U.S. housing starts report for December
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 13:19:00 GMT

Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesU.S. home builders likely started construction on homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.65 million in December, according to economists polled by MarketWatch, while building permits likely reached an annual pace of 1.71 million. The popular gauge of new-home construction comes out at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

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: 40 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

U.K. announces relaxing to COVID-19 restrictions
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 13:16:15 GMT

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday announced a series of changes relaxing COVID-19 restrictions. In England, the use of mandatory certification that shows either vaccination or a recent negative test at major venues will end, as will the mandate that required the wearing of face masks in classrooms. The U.K. also is no longer recommending employees work at home, Johnson said. Self-isolation rules are still mandatory, though the waiting period will be reduced to five days after two negative tests.

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: 41 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

Memories of office life: as a temp, I was self-conscious and disillusioned – until John arrived
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 12:50:55 GMT

I worried that I didn’t fit in and that my uninspiring admin role meant I couldn’t be creative. But my work pal made me feel part of the gang

The office was a strange and alienating terrain for me when I arrived in it at 23. I had dropped out of university years before, expecting something to happen to me that would focus my future and simultaneously bestow a great windfall. It hadn’t. But I was sick of being poor and I had a boyfriend I wanted to play house with. When a temporary admin contract at a medical institution in Dublin came up, I jumped at it.

Immediately, I felt overwhelmed, and self-conscious about my stupid little outfits – pastiches of what professional women wear, which I had cobbled together from Topshop sale racks and charity shops. I was prickly, wary of saying the wrong thing, unable to relax.

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Match ID: 42 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 money

Adele’s divorce album is a slyly subversive fit for a Vegas residency
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 12:50:36 GMT

The singer’s new Caesars Palace concerts are motivated by the search for fulfilment that plays out in her latest album – and will challenge audiences there for a good time to do the same

Las Vegas is a comfortable place to land for pop stars. It’s where you go to bask in the validation of a job well done, to rest on a solid legacy at a point where the future may have become less certain and any tentative steps into it may harm that legacy. It seemed, for a while, a safe harbour for Britney Spears after her troubles (until she said she was made to perform against her will); Lady Gaga and Katy Perry also set up shop in the desert after their imperial phases faded.

Adele, whose three-month Caesars Palace residency begins this weekend, has no need for this lucrative safety net – her latest, 30, was the biggest album of 2021 with just six weeks on sale. She’s playing there for practical reasons: she hates touring and wants to be close to her son at home in Los Angeles. But there is also something quietly subversive about her presence, right now, in a place synonymous with light entertainment and celebrating adult milestones. Once known for supplying comfort and artistic consistency (even complacency, perhaps), Adele made one of last year’s most confrontational albums.

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Match ID: 43 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 money

Activision Blizzard could be paid up to $3 billion if Microsoft buyout deal is terminated
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 12:30:21 GMT

Activision Blizzard Inc. disclosed Wednesday the termination provisions of the $68.7 billion merger agreement with Microsoft Corp. , which include payment of up to $3 billion by Microsoft. The videogame maker said if the merger deal is terminated, including termination under antitrust concerns, if Activision isn't in material breach of any provisions of the deal, Microsoft would pay a termination fee of $2.0 billion if the termination notice is provided before Jan. 18, 2023; pay $2.5 billion if provided after Jan. 18, 2023 but before April 18, 2023; and pay $3.0 billion if provided after April 18, 2023. If, however, Activision terminates the deal to accept a superior proposal from another buyer, Activision would pay Microsoft a termination fee of $2.27 billion. Meanwhile, Activision said its board of directors has "unanimously" approved the merger deal and recommends shareholders vote in favor of the deal. Activision's stock slipped 0.1% in premarket trading after soaring 25.9% on Tuesday after the deal was announced. It has still lost 11.6% over the past 12 months, while Microsoft shares have run up 39.8% and the S&P 500 has advanced 20.5%.

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


Match ID: 44 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

P&G beats the Street, narrows sales guidance
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 12:25:28 GMT

Procter & Gamble Co. shares rose 0.8% in Wednesday premarket trading after the consumer products company reported fiscal second quarter results that beat expectations and narrowed its full-year sales guidance. Net income totaled $4.22 billion, or $1.66 per share, up from $3.85 billion, or $1.47 per share, last year. Sales of $20.95 billion were up from $19.75 billion last year. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of $1.65 and sales of $20.34 billion. "These results keep us on track to deliver our earnings outlook and to raise estimates for sales growth, cash productivity and cash return to shareowners," said Chief Executive Jon Moeller in a statement. Organic sales were up across all segments, with health care and fabric and home care up 8%, and grooming and baby, feminine and family care up 5%. P&G brands include Bounty paper towels, Pantene hair products and Tide laundry care products. For fiscal 2022, P&G is guiding for sales growth in the range of 3% to 4%, up from a previous range of 2% to 4%. The FactSet consensus is for sales of $79.12 billion, implying 3.9% growth. EPS growth is still expected to be in the range of 6% to 9% from $5.50 last year, and adjusted EPS growth is forecast to be in the range of 3% to 6% from $5.66 last year. The FactSet consensus is for EPS of $5.91, suggesting 4.4% growth. P&G stock has gained 17.3% over the past year while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 14.4% for the period.

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: 45 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

Canopy Growth announces launch of Martha Stewart CBD-based topicals
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 12:21:41 GMT

Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth Corp. said Wednesday that Martha Stewart CBD has launched a line of CBD-based topicals in its first category expansion, adding to existing products that include gummies, oils and softgels. The new Martha Stewart CBD Wellness Topicals are designed to improve wellbeing, with a cream designed for muscle recovery, one for better sleep and one aimed at stress management. CBD is the non-psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant that is widely held to have wellness benefits. The creams are priced at a range of $19.99 up to $99.99 for 150 mL, of the Super Strength CBD cream aimed at muscle recovery. They were designed by Stewart along with Marquee Brands and Canopy Growth. Canopy's U.S.-listed shares were up 1.3% premarket, but have fallen 11% in the last 12 months, while the Cannabis ETF has 57% and the S&P 500 has gained 20.5%.

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


Match ID: 46 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

Are Fake COVID Testing Sites Harvesting Data?
2022-01-19T12:10:53Z

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen a bunch of writing about what seems to be fake COVID-19 testing sites. They take your name and info, and do a nose swab, but you never get test results. Speculation centered around data harvesting, but that didn’t make sense because it was far too labor intensive for that and — sorry to break it to you — your data isn’t worth all that much.

It seems to be multilevel marketing fraud instead:

The Center for COVID Control is a management company to Doctors Clinical Laboratory. It provides tests and testing supplies, software, personal protective equipment and marketing services — online and printed — to testing sites, said a person who was formerly associated with the Center for COVID Control. Some of the sites are owned independently but operate in partnership with the chain under its name and with its guidance...


Match ID: 47 Score: 25.00 source: www.schneier.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 money

Coronavirus tally: White House to offer 400 million N95 masks to Americans from national stockpile
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 11:30:13 GMT

The White House will announce plans later Wednesday to offer 400 million N95 masks to Americans for free at pharmacies and community health centers across the country, the Wall Street Journal reported. The masks will be sourced from the national strategic stockpile and the program will start next week, a White House official told the paper. The move comes as part of a stepped-up government response to the surge in cases driven by the highly infectious omicron variant and after the CDC said single-layer cloth masks are not enough to protect against infection. The administration launched its covidtests.gov site offering at-home tests on Tuesday, a day ahead of its official launch date. The omicron variant has pushed U.S. new cases to a record high of about 800,000 a day, although cases appear to be peaking in northeastern states that were among the first to be hit hard. New York City, Cleveland, Chicago and Washington, D.C. are showing case numbers level off and start to fall, according to a New York Times tracker. Hospitalizations are averaging 156,894 a day, up 47% from two weeks ago, and daily deaths are close to 1,900, up 43% from two weeks ago. On a global basis, the total tally for COVID-19 cases hiked up above 334.3 million and the death toll rose above 5.55 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. leads the world with a total COVID-19 case count of 67.6 million and death toll of 854,074.

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: 48 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

UnitedHealth stock gains after profit, revenue rise above expectations
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 11:10:59 GMT

Shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc. rose 0.3% in premarket trading Wednesday, after the health insurer reported fourth-quarter profit and revenue that rose above expectations and affirmed its full-year outlook. Net income increased to $4.07 billion, or $4.26 a share, from $2.21 billion, or $2.30 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding nonrecurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to $4.48, above the FactSet consensus of $4.30. Revenue grew 12.6% to $73.74 billion, topping the FactSet consensus of $72.98 billion, as premiums increased 13.8% to $57.55 billion. Operating costs rose 10.1% to $68.20 billion, with medical costs growing 14.4% to $48.16 billion. The company affirmed its 2022 guidance ranges for adjusted earnings per share of $21.10 to $21.60 and for revenue of $317 billion to $320 billion, which compares with the FactSet consensus for EPS of $21.63 and revenue of $316.8 billion. The stock has gained 8.6% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the SPDR Health Care Select Sector ETF has tacked on 2.7% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has slipped 0.3%.

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: 49 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

Being loud and female is about more than volume – it’s about being unashamed | Viv Groskop
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 10:20:30 GMT

The sacking of Dr Annette Plaut hints at an entrenched attitude to women who won’t pipe down

Should noisy people be tolerated, celebrated or stifled? And are loud women particularly objectionable? Dr Annette Plaut was sacked from her post in the physics department of the University of Exeter after 29 years, and claims that the combination of her being “female and loud” led to her losing her job. She has just been awarded £101,000 for unfair dismissal. The university and the human resources department could not tolerate her volume, she said, because it “contradicts their stereotypical assumptions of how a woman should behave”.

Clearly there is more to this case than simply volume. You don’t suddenly notice overnight that your colleague has the voice of Thor, God of Thunder, after 29 years, and the university argued during the tribunal that she was dismissed for the way she dealt with two PhD students. But the “loud” argument reveals something interesting. One person’s “valued” colleague – as Plaut was described – is another’s definition of “boisterous” and “overbearing”, as she was also called. Her reaction to the tribunal outcome? “I have a naturally loud voice. As such I have no ability to sense when I am speaking loudly.” The University of Exeter has said it will appeal against the decision.

Viv Groskop is a writer and the host of the podcast How to Own the Room: Women and the Art of Brilliant Speaking

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Match ID: 50 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 money

RBC analyst says was wrong on Exxon as oil giant upgraded to sector perform
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 09:41:00 GMT

Exxon Mobil was upgraded to sector perform from underperform at RBC Capital Markets, which lifted its price target to $90 from $70. Analyst Biraj Borkhataria said the firm was wrong on Exxon last year and that the oil giant has gone from the brink of a potential dividend cut to significant free cash flow potential in 2022. Despite moderating chemicals margins, he says more upgrades will flow through this year. Exxon shares rose 1.7% on Tuesday to reach a new 52-week high, and have jumped 53% over the last 52 weeks.

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: 51 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

Memories of office life: at the call centre, every customer interaction became a prank
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 06:00:06 GMT

Switching accents and deliberately mispronouncing words was silly, but it helped keep up our spirits when managers were tracking our toilet breaks and listening to our calls

The part of communal work-life I miss most is gallows humour. This can only be forged in really crap jobs, and they don’t come much worse than call-centre work. I’ve done a fair bit, cold-calling for rubbish products, financial services and charities. Call centres are offices, but also open prisons. Managers keep track of the number and length of your toilet breaks. They count how many calls you attempt each minute, so you can’t slack off. When some poor sap does pick up, they sometimes listen in. You would only know this after you got taken to one side and asked why you hadn’t attempted to flog the cash-strapped pensioner some side plates. Your continued employment was always at stake. We all suffered the same dilemma. On the one hand, crippling financial need; on the other, our souls.

Yet an atmosphere of Stasi-like distrust can really juice one’s rebellious instincts. These call centres were frequently staffed by actors (one of whom is now Hollywood royalty, starring in Marvel films for presumably more than £10 an hour). We were young, had the gift of the gab and could work off-script, which made sales conversations less robotic, and often more lucrative. If skiving was off the table, there were other plays.

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Match ID: 52 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 money

Oil extends gains after reports that an explosion disrupted flow through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 23:52:11 GMT

Oil futures gained more ground in electronic trading late Tuesday, with U.S. benchmark prices near $87 a barrel after settling at their highest level in more than seven years. Turkey's state pipeline operator Botas said it cut oil flow through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan crude oil pipeline after an explosion near the southeastern province of Kahramanmaras in Turkey, Reuters reported Tuesday. In a translated statement, Botas said the pipeline would be put back into operation as soon as possible, once necessary measures are taken. The pipeline carries more than 450,000 barrels from northern Iraq into the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan (Turkey), according to a tweet from Javier Blas, energy and commodities columnist at Bloomberg. The news of the disruption to the pipeline's flow of oil follows Tuesday's price rise to their highest levels since 2014, which were triggered by an attack on oil infrastructure in the United Arab Emirates. In electronic trading, February West Texas Intermediate crude was at $86.89, up from Tuesday’s settlement at $85.43.

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: 53 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

U.S. oil prices mark highest settlement since 2014
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 19:40:28 GMT

Oil prices rose Tuesday to mark their highest settlement since 2014. "A lot of fundamentals just flipped to bullish and that could have oil prices continue to push higher," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA. "The Houthi drone attack on the UAE reignited worries about potential supply disruptions in the region," and OPEC+ is falling short of hitting their production quotas, he said. "It seems a handful of countries and regions, such as UAE, Libya, Kazakhstan, Canada and North Dakota can have a disruption in crude production at any time from geopolitical tensions or due to cold weather," he added. February West Texas Intermediate crude climbed by $1.61, or 1.9%, to settle at $85.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the highest front-month WTI contract finish since October 2014, FactSet data show.

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: 54 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

Arms Index suggests there's no panic at all in the stock market's selloff
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 19:30:25 GMT

Despite the broad, sharp selloffs in the Big 3 stock market indexes, market internals suggest there is no panic in the selling, and there may even be signs that investors are looking to buy on the dip. The NYSE Arms Index, a volume-weighted breadth measure that tends to rise above 1.000 during market selloffs and fall below 1.000 during rallies, is actually down to 0.843, while the Nasdaq Arms is down to 0.715. Many Wall Street technicians suggest Arms readings of 2.000 and above indicate panic-like selling behavior, while readings below 0.500 indicate panic buying. Currently, number of declining stocks is outnumbering advances by a 5.2-to-1 margin on the NYSE and by a 4.7-to-1 margin on the Nasdaq, while share volume in declining stocks is outnumbering up volume by a smaller 4.4-to-1 on the Big Board and by 3.3-to-1 on the Nasdaq. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is falling 502 points, or 1.4%, the S&P 500 is down 1.7% and the Nasdaq Composite is shedding 2.2%.

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: 55 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

Russell 2000 falls toward a 1-year low, in danger of first 'death cross' since March 2020
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 19:08:15 GMT

The Russell 2000 is taking the brunt of the broader market's selloff, as the small-capitalization companies tracker is sinking 2.4% to put it on track for the lowest close since Jan. 29, 2021. The index has tumbled 13.6% since it closed at a record 2,442.74 a little over two months ago (Nov. 8). The selloff puts the index on the verge of producing a "death cross" chart pattern for the first time since March 2020. A "death cross" appears when the 50-day moving average crosses (DMA) below the 200-DMA, which many chart watchers say marks the spot a short-term pullback graduates to a longer-term downtrend, but they're not always good market-timing tool given that their appearances are usually well telegraphed. The Russell 2000's 50-DMA came in at 2,255.33 on Tuesday, and has been falling by a little over 4 points per day over the past week, while the 200-DMA came in at 2,253.30 and has been falling by about 0.4 points per day. The last "death cross" appeared on March 19, 2020, which was the day after the index closed at its post-pandemic low of 991.16. A "death cross" came within about 0.4 points from appearing in October 2021, just before a renewed rally took the index to its record close in early November. In comparison, for the S&P 500 , which was down 1.6% on Tuesday, the 50-DMA is at 4,679.20 and the 200-DMA is at 4,423.39.

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: 56 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

Ford, ADT to launch vehicle-security monitoring joint venture
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 16:52:00 GMT

Ford Motor Co. and ADT Inc. said Tuesday they are forming Canopy, a joint venture aimed at vehicle security. The JV "combines ADT's professional security monitoring and Ford's AI-driven video camera technology to help customers strengthen security of new and existing vehicles" of all brands, the companies said. The systems would be offered "early next year," they said, with the first products designed for commercial and retail pickups and vans including the Ford F-150, F-150 Lightning, Transit vans and E-Transit. Shares of Ford have gained 150% in the past 12 months, compared with gains of around 22% for the S&P 500 index.

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


Match ID: 57 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

ProKidney set to go public after SPAC merger that values combined company at $2.6 billion
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 14:49:51 GMT

ProKidney LP, a cellular therapeutics company focused on kidney disease, announced an agreement to merge with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Social Capital Suvretta Holdings Corp. III in a deal that values the combined company at $2.64 billion. The deal, which will take ProKidney public, is expected to provide $825 million in cash proceeds. After the deal closes, which is expected to occur in the third quarter of 2022, the combined company is expected to trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "PROK." A Phase 3 trial for ProKidney's lead product candidate, REACT, launched in January 2022, with primary analysis projected to occur in 2025. and has the potential to slow progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) but in some cases can improve kidney function. Social Capital's stock, which rose 0.4% in morning trading, has edged up 0.6% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has gained 2.4%.

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: 58 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

Blink Charging to supply EV charging stations to GM dealers in U.S. and Canada
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 14:44:18 GMT

Blink Charging Co. said Tuesday it was supplying its IQ 200 level 2 electric vehicle charging stations to participating General Motors Co. dealerships in the U.S and Canada. The EV charging station provider's stock rose 0.7% in morning trading, erasing earlier loss of as much as 2.4%, while GM shares sank 3.2%. Blink said it has already shipped chargers to GM dealerships in 50 U.S. states and has orders to supply GM dealer in the U.S. and Canada with additional charging stations in the U.S. and Canada over the next several months. Bling's stock has lost about 18% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has gained 2.7%.

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


Match ID: 59 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

Dow trades over 500 points lower as yields extend pop, with 2-year above 1%
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 14:43:02 GMT

U.S. stock indexes opened sharply lower Tuesday after a three-day break, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr., with the high-growth technology sector trading sharply lower at the the start of a busy week of corporate earnings report. Meanwhile, a blockbuster tech deal was also in the spotlight, after Microsoft Corp. said it had reached an agreement to acquire Activision Blizzard Inc. in an all-cash deal valued at $68.7 billion. The Dow was down 529 points, or 1.5%, at 35,393, the S&P 500 index was off 1.3% at 4,600, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was off 1.7% at 14,651. The moves for stocks come as the 10-year Treasury note yields above 1.8% and the 2-year Treasury note breaches 1%.

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: 60 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

Charles Schwab Q4 profit rises, but falls short of estimate
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 14:00:00 GMT

Charles Schwab Corp. said Tuesday its fourth-quarter profit rose 39% to $1.58 billion, or 76 cents a share, from $1.14 billion, or 57 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. The online brokerage firm's adjusted profit rose to 86 cents a share from 74 cents a share. Revenue increased 13% to $4.71 billion. The financial firm was expected to earn 88 cents a share on revenue of $4.79 billion, according to an analyst survey by FactSet. Shares of Charles Schwab fell 2.7% in premarket trades. Full-year 2021 net income rose to a record $5.9 billion, up from $3.3 billion in 2020. The company's financial results include its TD Ameritrade results from Oct. 6.

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: 61 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

UPDATE: Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard in all-cash deal valued at $68.7 billion to mark its biggest-ever deal
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 13:40:33 GMT

Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday it has reached an agreement to acquire Activision Blizzard Inc. in an all-cash deal valued at $68.7 billion that will be the biggest ever by the software giant. Microsoft will pay $95 per Activision share to create the world's third-biggest gaming company measured by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. The deal includes franchises "Warcraft," "Diablo," "Overwatch," "Call of Duty" and "Candy Crush," in addition to global eSports activities through Major League Gaming, the companies said in a joint statement. The deal is expected to close in fiscal 2023. Activision will continue to be led by CEO Bobby Kotick and his management team, who have come under criticism for their handling of misconduct by some of the company's employees. "Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms," said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO of Microsoft. Microsoft shares fell 1.8% premarket on the news. Activision shares were halted for the news, but had gained 37.6% before the halt was announced. Last week, Take-Two Interactive Inc. announced its acquisition of Zynga Inc. in a $12.7 billion cash-and-stock deal.

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: 62 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

Plexus stock falls after profit and revenue warning, due to accelerating supply chain challenges
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 13:14:08 GMT

Shares of Plexus Corp. slid 2.1% in premarket trading Tuesday after the electronic manufacturing services company warned that it will miss fiscal first-quarter profit and revenue guidance provided in October because of "unanticipated" supply chain challenges that accelerated in the finals weeks of the quarter. The company cut its outlook for net earnings per share to 80 cents to 84 cents from $1.01 to $1.17, saying the new outlook includes about 6 cents a share of unexpected severance costs. The revenue outlook was cut to $815 million to $820 million from $825 million to $865 million. The current FactSet consensus for EPS is $1.09 and for revenue is $846 million. "While the demand environment remains robust, new and unexpected supplier delivery shortfalls in the Americas region resulted in a revenue, GAAP operating margin, GAAP EPS and free cash flow shortfall," said Chief Executive Todd Kelsey. "We anticipate these supply chain headwinds will persist in the near term." For the fiscal second quarter, the company expects sequential growth in revenue but "limited improvement" in EPS. The stock has edged up 0.6% over the past three months through Friday while the S&P 500 has gained 3.9%.

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: 63 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 stocks

Netflix raises monthly subscription prices in U.S., Canada
Sat, 15 Jan 2022 13:34:00 +0000
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Netflix is ​​raising the prices of all  its plans in the United States today. The enterprise standard plan will increase from $14 to $15.50 per month, while the 4K plan will increase from $18 to $20 per month. The basic plan, which does not include HD, goes up to $10 per month from $9 per month. Prices in Canada are also on the rise.

Price increases take effect immediately for new subscribers. For existing subscribers, the changes will be rolled out "gradually", with Netflix promising to email members 30 days before the price hike takes effect. The prices for a Netflix package have steadily increased over the past few years. 

The standard plan went from $13 to $14 per month at the end of 2020, after dropping from $11 to $13 in 2019. Previously, Netflix raised prices in 2017 and 2015. When Netflix announced its first  price hike in 2014, the company was so worried about losing subscribers with a $1 a month hike that it allowed existing members to hold their price for two years. It hasn't offered such a generous perk in the years since then.

The price hikes come during a successful but challenging moment for Netflix. The company already has a wealth of subscribers across the US, and adding more is a challenge — making price hikes an obvious answer for how it can make more money. At the same time, Netflix is now competing with several other serious streaming services for attention, including Disney Plus and HBO Max, and it’s been spending big on content to keep up.

“We are updating our pricing so that we can continue to offer a wide variety of quality entertainment options,” a Netflix spokesperson told Reuters.

 "As always, we offer a range of plans so members can choose a price that fits their budget. Netflix isn't the only service that has increased prices lately. Hulu has increased the price of its funded tiers by advertising and without advertising of $1 per month in October.


Match ID: 64 Score: 25.00 source: techncruncher.blogspot.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 money, 7.14 wealth

Why IoT Sensors Need Standards
Tue, 11 Jan 2022 19:00:01 +0000


Sensors traditionally have been used for camera imaging, as well as communicating information about humidity, temperature, motion, speed, proximity, and other aspects of the environment. The devices have become key enablers for a host of new technologies essential to business and to everyday life, from turning on a light switch to managing one’s health.

Several factors are fueling sensors’ growth, including miniaturization, increased functionality, and higher levels of integration into electronic circuitry. There are also greater levels of automation being incorporated into products and systems, such as with Internet of Things and Industrial Internet of Things applications.


Prominent users of sensors include the defense, energy, health care, and transportation industries. The global sensor market is large and growing fast. By one estimate, it is projected to reach US $346 billion in sales by 2028, up from $167 billion in 2019.

SAFE AND RELIABLE APPLICATIONS

As the sensor industry races to take advantage of market opportunities, the need to ensure the devices will operate safely and reliably is a growing concern.

In the energy industry, for example, drill rigs for oil and gas exploration are now equipped with sensors to achieve optimal, safe performance at the lowest cost possible. The sensors must operate under harsh environmental conditions. Their failure could result in a rig being taken out of service, leading to significant, costly downtime.

In industrial applications, worker safety would be compromised if gas sensors fail to detect the presence of toxic fumes. If the light detection and ranging remote-sensing system lidar fails in semiautonomous vehicles, they will be unable to function properly. Lidar is fundamental to advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).

Because there are now thousands of sensor products on the market, adherence to standards that could improve their performance or accelerate development of new applications has grown in importance, as has the need for independent conformity and certification protocols.

It has become challenging to effectively deploy sensors in complex IoT and IIoT applications given the interoperability issues that can arise when attempting to integrate systems from multiple vendors. Hardware compatibility, wired and wireless connectivity, security, software development, and cloud computing are key interoperability considerations as well as major issues in their own right.

STANDARDS FOR IOT SENSORS

For many years, the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) has provided an open platform for users, those in academia, and technical experts from sensor manufacturers to come together to develop standards. Here are a few examples of IEEE standards and projects that have come from the collaboration.

  • IEEE P1451.99: IEEE Standard for Harmonization of Internet of Things Devices and Systems. Current implementations of IoT devices and systems do not provide a way to share data or for an owner of such devices to authorize who has the right to control them or access the devices’ data. This standard will define a metadata bridge to facilitate IoT protocol transport for sensors, actuators, and other devices. It will address issues of security, scalability, and interoperability for cost savings and reduced complexity. The standard will offer a data-sharing approach that leverages current instrumentation and devices used in industry.
  • IEEE P2020: Standard for Automotive System Image Quality. Most automotive camera systems have been developed independently, with no standardized reference point for calibration or measurement of image quality. This standard will address the fundamental attributes that contribute to image quality for ADAS applications; identify existing metrics and other useful information relating to the attributes; define a standardized suite of objective and subjective test methods; and specify tools and test methods to facilitate standards-based communication and comparison among system integrators and component vendors.

REGISTRY AND CERTIFICATION

IEEE SA offers the IEEE Sensors Registry. The global Web-based service for manufacturers allows them to enter their sensors’ certifications, the standards they adhere to, and product data sheets so that buyers can find the right product. IEEE conducts an audit process on the submitted information to ensure its accuracy.

WEBINARS AND ROUNDTABLE

These free on-demand and upcoming webinars are available:

The first in a series of new webinars, Are Sensors the Weakest Link to Cyber Attacks?, is scheduled for 2 February at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.

IEEE SA plans to host an industry roundtable during the first quarter this year. It will focus on the creation of a comprehensive plan and timeline to address interoperability and cybersecurity issues for IoT sensor networks. Participants will include technology leaders from industry, government, and academia. Contact sensors-rt@ieee.org for more information.


Match ID: 65 Score: 24.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 7 days
qualifiers: 11.43 saving, 7.14 savings, 5.71 business

Why Multi-Functional Robots Will Take Over Commercial Robotics
Tue, 11 Jan 2022 16:36:25 +0000


This is a sponsored article brought to you by Avidbots.

The days of having single-purpose robots for specific tasks are behind us. A robot must be multi-functional to solve today’s challenges, be cost-effective, and increase the productivity of an organization.

Yet, most indoor autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) today are specialized, often addressing a single application, service, or market. These robots are highly effective at completing the task at hand, however, they are limited to addressing a single use case. While this approach manages development costs and complexity for the developer, it may not be in the best interest of the customer.

To set the stage for increased growth, the commercial AMR market must evolve and challenge the status quo. A focus on integrating multiple applications and processes will increase overall productivity and efficiency of AMRs.



The market for autonomous mobile robots is expected to grow massively, and at Avidbots we see a unique opportunity to offer multi-application, highly effective robotic solutions.


Today, there are many application-specific AMRs solving problems for businesses. Common applications include indoor parcel delivery, security, inventory management, cleaning, and disinfection, to name a few.

The market for these types of AMRs is expected to grow into the tens of billions by 2025 as projected by Verified Market Research. This is a massive opportunity for growth for the AMR industry. It is also interesting to note that the sensor set and autonomous navigation capabilities of the various single application indoor AMRs today are similar.

Hence, there is an opportunity to combine useful functionalities into a single multi-application robot, and yet the industry as a whole has been slow to make such advancement.

Today's Robots Focus on Single Tasks


Four examples of autonomous mobile robots: Knightscope, Reeman, Savioke, and Simbe.


There’s never been a better time for the AMR industry to take strategic steps given the changes we’ve had to embrace as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, there have been many robots brought to market recently that look to address disinfection, the majority of which have been single-purpose, including UVC robots.

With heightened standards of cleanliness in mind, let’s consider the potential of extending a cleaning robot from its single-use to performing both floor cleaning and high-touch surface disinfection.

In September 2021, Avidbots launched the Disinfection Add-On, expanding the functionality of the company’s fully autonomous floor-scrubbing robot, Neo. By simply adding a piece of hardware and pushing a software update, Avidbots' Neo, the floor-scrubbing robot, now serves multi-purposes.


Avidbots Neo 2 mobile robot with a disinfection add-on cleaning a hand railing at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

The Future: Multi-Purpose Robots


Not only will multi-application robots like this example provide more value through additional convenience to end-customers; when compared to single application robots, the value derived also comes from the economic impact.

The economics of multi-application robots are simple. Combining two applications on one robot can deliver significant cost savings versus running two full single-use robots. For example, the price to rent a disinfection-only robot or a cleaning-only robot is in the neighborhood of US $2,000–3,000 per month per robot.

But Neo with its Disinfection Add-On extends beyond its primary function of floor cleaning to disinfect for a few hundred dollars per month. Disinfection is available at a cost that is around one-tenth of the price of a single-purpose disinfection robot or manual disinfection.


These savings can only be realized since the main cleaning function already pays for the AMR itself and the disinfection is merely a hardware and software extension.

There are other OEMs following this trend; Brain Corp. combines cleaning with shelf-scanning, leveraging existing autonomous floor-scrubbing robots as the platform. Similarly, Badger combines hazard analysis (spill detection, etc.) with a shelf-scanning robot as the platform.

Meet Neo 2, a Fully Autonomous Robotic Floor Cleaner


This video presents an overview of Neo 2, Avidbots' advanced robotic platform optimized for autonomous cleaning and sanitization. Neo is equipped with the Avidbots AI Platform featuring 10 sensors, resulting in 360° visibility and intelligent obstacle avoidance. Combined with integrated diagnostics and Avidbots Remote Assistance, Neo offers advanced autonomy, navigation, and safety capabilities.

Video: Avidbots


There are a few parallels between the current state of robotics today and the early computer industry of the 1970s. In the early '70s, when mainframes still dominated computer system sales, several manufacturers released low-cost desktop computers that were designed to support multiple applications, peripherals, and programming languages.

The low cost of desktop computers, the key “killer-apps,” and the large number of potential applications resulted in large growth and the proliferation of desktop computers worldwide, which eventually overtook mainframe sales in 1984.

As sales of AMRs increase and the cost of processing systems continue to drop, mass-produced AMR OEMs will likely be capable of delivering AMRs at a significantly lower price in the coming years. Computer systems like the NVIDIA Xavier NX, which are designed specifically for leading-edge robotic perception applications, paint a promising picture of the evolution of computer systems for indoor AMRs.

We look forward to a day in the near future when indoor AMRs will be sold at much less than US $10,000. Lowering the cost of AMRs is certainly a key to enabling larger and faster growth in the industry.

About Avidbots


Avidbots is a robotics company with a vision to bring robotic solutions into everyday life to increase organizational productivity and to do that better than any other company in the world.

Our groundbreaking product, the Neo autonomous floor scrubbing robot, is deployed around the world and trusted by leading facilities and building service companies. Headquartered in Kitchener, ON, Canada, Avidbots is offering comprehensive service and support to customers on five continents.

Learn more about Avidbots


There is the open question of the “killer-app” in AMRs for commercial spaces. What application can best serve as a platform for multi-application robots?

Cleaning is certainly a candidate given that it's a service needed in most indoor spaces and saves two to four hours per night of manual labor. However, there are other industries such as the hospitality and food-service industry where parcel delivery has seen large growth and success since it saves many hours daily. In the examples above, customers will still likely benefit from having multiple potential applications in their AMRs.

While only time will tell how the industry will evolve, it's clear that delivering several applications with a single robot and at a much lower cost than multiple robots (or manual counterparts) has the potential to make AMRs more attractive. We can take the industry to new heights by continuing to push the boundaries, including developing multi-application robots that can be used across industries and allow organizations to focus on revenue-generating activities.

Our industry-leading multi-application solution is growing and so is our team of Avidbotters, including robotics engineers. If you’re interested in learning more about Avidbots or exploring career opportunities visit Avidbots.


Match ID: 66 Score: 24.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 7 days
qualifiers: 11.43 saving, 7.14 savings, 5.71 business

The Lies that Powered the Invention of Pong
Sat, 15 Jan 2022 16:00:01 +0000


In 1971 video games were played in computer science laboratories when the professors were not looking—and in very few other places. In 1973 millions of people in the United States and millions of others around the world had seen at least one video game in action. That game was Pong.

Two electrical engineers were responsible for putting this game in the hands of the public—Nolan Bushnell and Allan Alcorn, both of whom, with Ted Dabney, started Atari Inc. in Sunnyvale, Calif. Mr. Bushnell told Mr. Alcorn that Atari had a contract from General Electric Co. to design a consumer product. Mr. Bushnell suggested a Ping-Pong game with a ball, two paddles, and a score, that could be played on a television.

“There was no big contract,” Mr. Alcorn said recently. “Nolan just wanted to motivate me to do a good job. It was really a design exercise; he was giving me the simplest game he could think of to get me to play with the technology.”

The key piece of technology he had to toy with, he explained, was a motion circuit designed by Mr. Bushnell a year earlier as an employee of Nutting Associates. Mr. Bushnell first used the circuit in an arcade game called Computer Space, which he produced after forming Atari. It sold 2000 units but was never a hit.


This article was first published as "Pong: an exercise that started an industry." It appeared in the December 1982 issue of IEEE Spectrum as part of a special report, “Video games: The electronic big bang.” A PDF version is available on IEEE Xplore.


The key piece of technology he had to toy with, he explained, was a motion circuit designed by Mr. Bushnell a year earlier as an employee of Nutting Associates. Mr. Bushnell first used the circuit in an arcade game called Computer Space, which he produced after forming Atari. It sold 2000 units but was never a hit.

In the 1960s Mr. Bushnell had worked at an amusement park and had also played space games on a PDP-10 at college. He divided the cost of a computer by the amount of money an average arcade game made and promptly dropped the idea, because the economics did not make sense.

Then in 1971 he saw a Data General computer advertised for $5000 and determined that a computer game played on six terminals hooked up to that computer could be profitable. He began designing a space game to run on such a timeshared system, but because game action occurs in real time, the computer was too slow. Mr. Bushnell began trying to take the load off the central computer by making the terminals smarter, adding a sync generator in each, then circuits to display a star field, until the computer did nothing but keep track of where the player was. Then, Mr. Bushnell said, he realized he did not need the central computer at all—the terminals could stand alone.

“He actually had the order for the computers completed, but his wife forgot to mail it,” Mr. Alcorn said, adding, “We would have been bankrupt if she had.”

Mr. Bushnell said, “The economics were not longer a $6000 computer plus all the hardware in the monitors; they became a $400 computer hooked up to a $100 monitor and put in a $100 cabinet. The ice water thawed in my veins.”


The ball in Pong is square. Considering the amount of circuitry a round ball would require, “who is going to pay an extra quarter for a round ball?”


Computer Space appealed only to sophisticated game players—those who were familiar with space games on mainframe computers, or those who frequent the arcades today. It was well before its time. Pong, on the other hand, was too simple for an EE like Mr. Bushnell to consider designing it as a real game—and that is why it was a success.

Mr. Bushnell had developed the motion circuit in his attempt to make the Computer Space terminals smarter, but Mr. Alcorn could not read his schematics and had to redesign it. Mr. Alcorn was trying to get the price down into the range of an average consumer product, which took a lot of ingenuity and some tradeoffs.

“There was no real bulk memory available in 1972,” he said. “We were faced with having a ball move into any of the spots in a 200-by-200 array without being able to store a move. We did it with about 10 off-the-shelf TTL parts by making sync generators that were set one or two lines per frame off register.”

Thus, the ball would move in relation to the screen, both vertically and horizontally, just as a misadjusted television picture may roll. Mr. Alcorn recalled that he originally used a chip from Fairchild to generate the display for the score, but it cost $5, and he could do the same thing for $3 using TTL parts, though the score was cruder.

The ball in Pong is square—another tradeoff. Considering the amount of circuitry a round ball would require, Mr. Alcorn asked, “who is going to pay an extra quarter for a round ball?”

Sound was also a point of contention at Atari. Mr. Bushnell wanted the roar of approval of a crowd of thousands; Mr. Dabney wanted the crowd booing.

“How do you do that with digital stuff?” Mr. Alcorn asked. “I told them I didn’t have enough parts to do that, so I just poked around inside the vertical sync generator for the appropriate tones and made the cheapest sound possible.”

The hardware design of Pong took three months, and Mr. Alcorn’s finished prototype had 73 ICs, which, at 50 cents a chip, added up to $30 to $40 worth of parts. “That’s a long way from a consumer product, not including the package, and I was depressed, but Noland said ‘Yeah, well, not bad.’”

They set the Pong 2 prototype up in a bar and got a call the next day to take it out because it was not working. When they arrived, the problem was obvious: the coin box was jammed full of quarters.



Match ID: 67 Score: 21.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 3 days
qualifiers: 21.43 money

Surging food prices push inflation to 30-year high
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 14:53:39 GMT
The UK's cost of living surged by 5.4% in the 12 months to December, hitting its highest level since 1992.
Match ID: 68 Score: 20.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 20.00 business

Donald Trump investigation reveals new details of alleged fraud
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 14:16:36 GMT
New documents accuse the ex-president's business of misreporting asset values to get loans and tax breaks.
Match ID: 69 Score: 20.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 20.00 business

Apple and Google are pleading with US lawmakers not to pass antitrust regulation challenging app stores and search
2022-01-19T13:50:01+00:00
Apple and Google are pleading with US lawmakers not to pass antitrust regulation challenging app stores and search submitted by /u/samplestiltskin_
[link] [comments]

Match ID: 70 Score: 20.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 20.00 business

Millionaires ask to pay more tax
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 13:18:01 GMT
A group of more than 100 of the richest people say current tax systems are "not fair".
Match ID: 71 Score: 20.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 20.00 business

Can Freight Train Cars Go Electric—and Self-Driving?
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 13:00:00 +0000


Moving freight by rail hasn’t changed a whole heck of a lot over the last several decades. And there are good reasons for this: trains can move freight four times more efficiently than trucks can, and they can move a huge amount of it at once with minimal human supervision. The disadvantage of trains is that they’re best at long distance hub-to-hub freight transfers, and usually, you still need to put your cargo on a truck to get it to its final destination. Plus, if you just have a little bit of cargo, you may be at the mercy of a network that prioritizes large volume rather than small.

Parallel Systems, a startup founded by a trio of former SpaceX engineers that is coming out of stealth today, hopes to change this model substantially by introducing autonomous rail vehicles that can handle standard shipping containers—the same containers that currently move freely between cargo ships, traditional rail systems, and trucks. By moving containers one at a time, Parallel Systems believes that rail can be much more agile with no loss in efficiency, helping reduce the reliance on trucking. Can they do it? Maybe—but there are some challenges.


From a technical perspective, these autonomous electric rail vehicles really seem like they’re achievable. It’s a substantial simplification of an autonomous driving problem, in the sense that you only need to worry about control in one dimension, and (in particular) that most of the time you can be reasonably certain that you’ll have right of way on the track. With some halfway decent sensors to detect obstacles on the track, reliable motors and batteries that last long enough (current range is 800km with a sub-hour recharge time), and the software infrastructure required to sort it all out, I don’t see any major obstacles to building these things and putting them on some tracks. Where things get more complicated is when you consider the long-term plan that Parallel Systems has for its technology:

The overall vision seems very compelling. Decentralizing freight transport and distribution can provide flexibility and increased efficiency, getting cargo closer to where it needs to go in a more timely manner while taking some stress off of overloaded ports. And with each individual container being effectively an independent autonomous vehicle, there are a bunch of clever things you can do, like platooning. In a traditional platoon, efficiency is unequal since the leader takes the brunt of the aerodynamic forces to make things easier on all of the following vehicles, and obviously rotating leaders won’t work on rail. But Parallel Systems’ vehicles can go bumper to bumper and push each other, meaning that overall energy use can be equalized. Neat!

Illustration showing a small freight terminal transferring freight containers from Parallel Systems vehicles onto trucks Parallel Systems

The potential issue here, and it could be a significant one, is that Parallel Systems only builds and controls these little railcars. They don’t build, own, or control the rail systems that their vehicles require. North America has rail all over the place already, but that rail is in the charge of other companies who are using it to do their own thing. So the question is, how does Parallel Systems fit in with that?

To get a better understanding of the current state of rail in the United States and how Parallel Systems might fit in with that, we spoke with Nick Little, Director of the Railway Management Program at the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University.

IEEE Spectrum: Can you describe how the rail network functions in the United States?

Nick Little: We've got 250,000 km of railroad in the US and it's owned by over 600 different companies. There are seven large companies called Class 1s which move the majority of the freight the majority of distance, between large cities or across the country. Those companies all own their own infrastructure—the track, the bridges, the signaling system, the locomotives. The other 600-odd railroads are generally referred to as short lines, which do a lot of the first and last mile, and most of those railroads are small operations that may not have good quality track and older equipment, including less sophisticated signaling systems.

I can imagine that a difficulty here will be integrating this new vehicle into an existing railroad network, since it’s such a different concept. If one of these vehicles was going to travel a distance of hundreds of kilometers, there could be a lot of different railroads involved, with a lot of different pieces of track and switches to navigate.

Can you talk a little more about switches and signaling?

N.L.: To really benefit from the ability of these vehicles to increase capacity by transporting single containers, you’d need to have the right signaling and control system in place, and it would have to be much more like what is used on a high capacity metropolitan subway—control based on direct communication with vehicles, rather than the block control that’s used on most long distance railroads in this country at the moment. That block system operates on the principle that you can only have one train in that block at any one time to avoid collisions, and sometimes those blocks are 20 km long. And a lot of the long distance freight lines are still basically single track lines with passing sidings rather than one track in each direction.

In theory, you could make these vehicles a lot more responsive by being able to send a signal to some ... trackside device that would change a switch for dynamic rerouting, but this isn’t something that currently exists across freight rail networks. It does exist on tramways, urban streetcars work that way. Could it be done? Heck yes. The technology there is there.

So in the short term, you don't see that there's really a good way of mixing these vehicles in with traditional freight traffic on existing freight lines?

N.L.: Correct.

Does our rail system currently have the spare capacity to add more traffic to the existing network anyway?

N.L.: If we run the rail system the same way it's set up at the moment, it's pretty close to capacity in many areas, but not at absolute capacity across the whole network, by no means. And some of the constraints on capacity are nothing to do with the physical side of it, it's also down to availability of trained and experienced labor.

If you were in charge of a Class 1 railway right now and Parallel Systems came to you with this idea, would you be interested?

N.L.: If I had a dedicated set of track that didn't carry any other different types of traffic, just moved containers, I would be interested, but I don't know of any company that does that. However, if you think about the problem we've got in this country at the moment, with all the ships and containers stacked up outside the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports, and how to get those containers from the docks to an inland terminal where they can go to transloading places or warehouses or some of them can go straight through to other destinations, if you were to build a short dedicated stretch of line that just moved containers off the port to, let's call it, a pop-up inland port, that could be a great idea. That seems like a really, really efficient way of doing it.

The technology needs to be proven, which could be done on a small scale. Scaling it up could have a lot more issues, but I’d like to see it potentially applied to urban freight. A lot of container traffic has to move on roads through cities, but if you could actually have distribution with rail from a major terminal to lots of different customers on an industrial park, that could be something useful too. But that’s a different scale.

And for Parallel Systems’ perspective on some of these challenges, we were also able to speak with the company’s Co-founder & CEO, Matt Soule.

Why is now the right time to start a company like this, and what challenges are you dealing with?

Matt Soule: There is a big advantage in that what we're building is achievable. There are no breakthroughs required to do it. We're basically integrating a lot of existing technologies together. But a lot of what we're doing is very unique for the railroads themselves, what one of the challenges has been is just understanding how railroads operate at the nuts and bolts level of how do you actually manage that kind of network.

One of the things working through now is how to leverage the physical infrastructure that's already there, because we want to use that as it is. We think that's a big advantage in terms of our market entry—not having to force the creation of any infrastructure. But there's also the control and data management infrastructure that exists at the software level. And discovering how that works requires working with the industry to really figure it out. So that's been one of the things we’ve been working hard towards.

Are you concerned about having to rely on potentially many different companies for track access?

M.S.: So in terms of our market entry, it's going to be working with specific railroads on specific sections of network, and we’ll be captive to that network, but as we validate and verify what we're doing, we’ll start working towards becoming a common interface that can address the needs of all railroads. In terms of the business side, we likely would have to build no individual relationships with railroads, but it's something they already do with each other today—they work with each other to use each other's tracks, and it’s one of the successes of North American rail that the industry has worked together to create interchange standards.

What kind of feedback have you gotten from the rail industry so far?

M.S.: We've had a lot of conversations with the rail industry; we're definitely calibrating off of the problems that they see. I’d say across the board, the reception has been very positive and it's exceeded our expectations. I think there are certainly operators out there that are going to take a wait and see approach, but we have a lot of strong interest from industry already. Railroads are our customers.

We think that marrying autonomy with electrification gives the railroads a lot of tools to create new markets, like capturing trucking volume, that were previously out of reach.
—Matt Soule, CEO Parallel Systems

Will dealing with signals autonomously with your system be an issue?

M.S.: Class 1 railroads have state of the art control systems, and a tremendous amount of software that ties it all together and operates it. And so what we're doing is building out our own system that can be compatible with these existing network control systems. The short line railroads have more variety. I wouldn't say they're out of date, but they're not quite as modernized as some of the Class 1 systems. They'll usually use a phone or radio to call into a central dispatch office, and then say, “Hey, can I have this track authority?” And the dispatcher will have a software tool that's managing those authorities, which are what prevents trains from having a collision.

What's nice about our system is that it can electronically make that same request from that dispatch office. So, there's electronic handshaking happening between our system and that legacy dispatching office, and there’s various levels at which you could automate that. The grand vision would be that the dispatching office and our system are just computers talking to each other.

What’s next for Parallel Systems?

M.S.: We're in the midst of building our second generation vehicle, so we're looking to hire a lot of software and hardware engineers. We should be rolling this quarter, and we're launching an advanced testing program this year. We are working with some players in the rail industry, but we're not revealing too much about the nature of this relationship.

Parallel Systems has raised $49.55 million in a Series A round, so they should have plenty of time to see if they can make this work. And if they can, I’d be first in line for the spinoff business that they should absolutely do by putting little luxury private compartments on their vehicles and offering private tours of scenic rail lines.


Match ID: 72 Score: 20.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 0 days
qualifiers: 20.00 business

Airlines cancel some US flights over 5G concerns
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 12: