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Date/Time of Last Update: Mon Nov 29 09:00:35 2021 UTC




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South Africa, which found the omicron variant first, sequences less than 1 percent of coronavirus samples
Sun, 28 Nov 2021 01:55:15 EST
Scientists say genetic sequencing is crucial to preventing the spread of new, highly contagious variants. But 20 months into the pandemic, global rates of sequencing remain low as vaccine inequality grows.
Match ID: 0 Score: 60.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 50.00 genetic, 10.00 amazon

10 Things for Americans to Be Grateful for This Thanksgiving
Thu, 25 Nov 2021 14:50:21 +0000

Here are some aspects of life today in America for which we can genuinely give thanks.

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


Match ID: 1 Score: 55.71 source: theintercept.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 21.43 trade, 21.43 google, 12.86 musk

The World’s Most Popular EVs Aren’t Cars, Trucks, or Motorcycles
Thu, 25 Nov 2021 14:00:01 +0000


When the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act last week, a lesser-recognized provision earmarked some $4.1 billion in tax credits to further stimulate an already booming EV market that Elon Musk hasn't even dabbled in.

Electric bicycles, better known as e-bikes, have moved from novelty to mainstream with breathtaking speed. They've been a boon to hard-working delivery persons during the pandemic (and their impatient customers), and commuters who don't care to be a sweaty mess when they arrive. And while the scoffing tends to center around the "purity" of cycling—the idea that e-bike riders are somehow lazy cheaters—that electric assist is actually luring people off the couch for healthy exercise. That's especially welcome for older or out-of-practice riders (which describes a whole lot of folks) who might otherwise avoid cycling entirely, put off by daunting hills or longer distances.

While powerful "Class 3" models especially are trying the patience of pedestrians in crowded cities like New York, with blazing assisted speeds approaching 30 mph, e-bikes are now front-and-center in discussions of future urban mobility. They're a way to potentially free up precious street space, provide alternatives to automobiles and reduce energy consumption and harmful emissions. California, through its powerful Air Resources Board, recently allocated $10 million in rebates for e-bike buyers, a smaller-scale version of state or federal tax breaks for EV car buyers. The possibilities are fueling cool tech ideas, from covered, rain-proof cargo bikes; to pavement-embedded wireless chargers and automated stabilization systems to help senior riders. CityQ is taking pre-orders for a four-wheeled cargo "bike" that it touts as cycling "with a Tesla feeling."

In 2020, according to one estimate, 500,000 e-bikes were sold in the U.S. alone—compared to 210,000 plug-in cars.

According to market research company NPD Group, the pandemic helped increase e-bike sales by 145 percent from 2019 to 2020, more than double the growth of traditional bikes. Exact figures on industry sales are hard to pin down; yet The New York Times quoted experts saying Americans bought roughly 500,000 e-bikes in 2020, compared to about 210,000 plug-in automobiles.

Industry analysts expect that uptick in adoption to continue. A report by the Business Research Company shows the global e-bike market growing from $32.5 billion last year to $53 billion by 2025, for annual compound growth of 9.9 percent. Even in bike-saturated Europe, e-bike sales jumped by 23 percent in 2019. And Deloitte expects 300 million e-bikes on the world's streets by 2023. That's a lot of bikes, batteries and saved muscle power from thankful riders. If you're not up to speed on e-bikes, or you're curious about taking one for a spin, here's a look at some of the techs, terms and players:

Pedal to the Metal

The tech behind e-bikes falls into two simpler categories, even if the choice between them isn't as simple. Hub motors integrate a motor directly in the wheel center (either front or rear wheel), in an enclosed system that's independent from the bike chain and pedal drive. There are two main types: Geared hub motors incorporate internal planetary gears for reduction, allowing the motor to operate efficiently at high rpm while the bike wheel spins at a lower speed. Gearless hub motors directly link the motor's stator to the bike axle. That reduces a key point of weakness—the toothed gears. Aside from bearings, there are no moving parts, nothing to wear out. Hub motors are relatively affordable, low-maintenance, mass produced by the millions. A do-it-yourselfer can find entire, 800- to 1,000-watt hub motor kits for around $200, where mid-drive power can cost three to five times as much. Hub motors add no extra stress or wear to a chain or shifters, and offer another advantage versus a mid-drive set-up: If a hub motor conks out, you can still pedal home, and vice-versa; if a chain or pedal breaks, a rider can keep moving under electric power. The downsides? Nearly every hub motor has a single gear ratio; fine for the flats, not so good for hill climbs, where the motor can't match a mid-drive unit for a robust shove against gravity, and may even overheat on long ascents. Hub motors can also make a bike feel unbalanced and awkward to steer—like it's being pushed or pulled rather than pedaled. Tire changes are more difficult because of the wheel-mounted motor.

Some electric bike companies claim up to 80 or even 100 miles of unassisted range, but expert riders say that would only be possible if most those miles were downhill.

"Mid-drive" bikes, in contrast, locate the motor inside the frame and between pedals at the bottom bracket. Motor power is transferred through the chain drive to the rear wheel. As with EVs, those motors are growing lighter, stronger, quieter and more affordable. The biggest edge—with a parallel downside—is sending power through a traditional chain and gear seat: The motor can deliver major torque up a steep hill or from a standstill, in a lower gear and higher rpm, just as your pedals do.

That energizer-style power keeps going and going, even on long climbs. The major con is the constant surge of power through the poor chain: A pro cyclist can generate roughly 400 watts of per over an hour. Most humans with normal-size thighs can't manage even half that. But e-bikes can generate up to 750 watts of continuous power. It's why most mid-drive e-bikes come with uprated chains. And if that chain snaps, you're not going anywhere, just as on an old-school bike.

On the upside, newer mid-drive motors are notably smaller and lighter than hub units. Hidden inside frames, they're making some e-bikes look so stealthy that onlookers have no idea it's electric.

For both types, a speed sensor or torque sensor detects pedal force or wheel rotation, and activates the motor for a helpful forward shove. Riders can typically adjust the level of electric assist, or just pedal harder for a corresponding boost in motor grunt. But mid-drive brings another advantage, with genuine torque sensors to detect the human power applied at the pedal crank, and smoothly dial in electric assist. Hub motors often use a simple cadence sensor at the wheel, and can produce jerky or unpredictable motor boost, especially going uphill.

Battery Range vs. Reality

A big issue with e-bike range claims is that there are so many variables: Rider weight, wind and tire resistance, varying terrain and topography. Some electric bike companies claim up to 80 or even 100 miles of unassisted range, but expert riders say that would only be possible if most those miles were downhill. As a general rule of thumb, throttle e-bikes that combine a 500-to-750 watt motor and a 480 watt-hour (Wh) battery can cover only about 20 miles at best on battery power alone; or less than 25 watt-hours per mile. Pedal-assisted bikes go farther: Figure about 15 watt-hours per mile, or 32 miles from that same 480 Wh battery, with a roughly "medium" level of preset electric assist. The price of that electric boost is weight. A lithium-ion battery usually adds a significant 6 to 8 pounds to the bike; weight that your legs must drive once its energy is depleted.

As the speedsters of the e-bike world, Class 3 models are typically allowed only on "curb-to-curb" roadways or bike lanes, and restricted on bike trails or multi-use paths shared with pedestrians.

Batteries can be mounted on rear racks for easy access and removal, at the price of less-than-ideal location: Too high and too rearward, which can affect handling. Batteries externally mounted on the downtube — the bar directly below the saddle — eliminate that issue, keeping weight low and along the bike's main axis. Batteries integrated inside the downtube create the sleekest profile, making these e-bikes look less bulky and more like a traditional cycle.

3, 2, 1, Go

Spurred by PeopleForBikes, a national advocacy group and industry trade association, more than 30 states have adopted a "3-Class" system that standardizes e-bikes based on their type of assist and how fast they can propel you. All three classes limit a motor's go-power to 750 watts, or 1 horsepower.

  • Class 1 e-bikes generate an electric boost only when you pedal, and reach a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph.
  • Class 2 models also limit assisted speed to 20 mph. But they add a hand throttle, either a grip-twist as found on motorcycles, or a button that can drive the electric motor even when you're not pedaling.
  • Class 3 bikes are the muscular alternative to Class 1. They're also exclusively pedal-assisted, but with a maximum boosted speed of 28 mph. Look out, LeMond: That's roughly as fast as a professional bicyclist can maintain speed for long distances over flat ground.

The roadway infrastructure that each class can use, however, remains a crazy quilt of local, state or national regulations. As the speedsters of the e-bike world, Class 3 models are typically allowed only on "curb-to-curb" roadways or bike lanes, and restricted on bike trails or multi-use paths shared with pedestrians. In Europe, electric mountain bikes, or eMTB's, are largely welcome on non-motorized trails. For American riders, be aware that the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service consider eMTBs as no different from a dirt bike, ATV or other motorized vehicle. So even Class 1 bikes are barred from non-motorized trails. Some states, including Pennsylvania, Utah and Colorado, have made exceptions for trails in state parks.

The Players, And What You'll Pay

E-bike prices range from as little as $1,200, for a Aventon 350 Pace 350 Step-Through, to $7,500 (or more) for "connected" bikes like the Stromer ST3 Sport. Stromer's luxurious "e-commuter" brings a powerful rear hub motor (with 600 watts and 44 Nm of torque), fat Pirelli tires, and connectivity features like GPS, remote locking and unlocking, stat readouts and over-the-air updates. Most of the biggest names in cycling have embraced e-bikes: Giant, Trek, Specialized, Schwinn. Even automakers like BMW, focused on expanding their mobility portfolios, are jumping into the game. Last week, Porsche took a majority stake in GreyP, the high-end Croatian bike company started by Mate Rimac, the electric hypercar entrepreneur and creator of the $2.4 million Rimac Nevera. Rimac himself controls Bugatti Rimac, with Porsche holding a minority stake in this newly combined purveyor of fantasy automobiles. That's all lofty company for a bicycle manufacturer: Imagine a technology trickle-down from seven-figure electric Rimacs and Bugattis to the bicycles you ride for work or play.


Match ID: 2 Score: 51.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 3 days
qualifiers: 21.43 trade, 12.86 musk, 8.57 tesla, 8.57 california

Omicron: Will new measures against Covid variant work?
Sun, 28 Nov 2021 08:55:54 GMT
The new variant's genetic profile has raised concerns, but there's a shortage of real-world data.
Match ID: 3 Score: 50.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 1 day
qualifiers: 50.00 genetic

The Hyperloop Is Hyper Old
Fri, 26 Nov 2021 16:00:01 +0000


"Lord how this world improves as we grow older," reads the caption for a panel in the " March of Intellect," part of a series of colored etchings published between 1825 and 1829. The artist, William Heath (1794–1840), shows many futuristic contraptions, including a four-wheeled steam-powered horse called Velocity, a suspension bridge from Cape Town to Bengal, a gun-carrying platform lifted by four balloons, and a giant winged flying fish conveying convicts from England to New South Wales, in Australia. But the main object is a massive, seamless metallic tube taking travelers from East London's Greenwich Hill to Bengal, courtesy of the Grand Vacuum Tube Company.


A group of people in front of a framework of a vehicle.

Photo of a small vehicle on a track. A public demonstration of the railway takes place in London in 1914. [top]; A 1910 photograph shows a working model of Émile Bachelet's magnetically levitated railway, in Mount Vernon, N.Y. [bottom] Émile Bachelet Collection/Archives Center/National Museum of American History

Heath was no science-fiction pioneer. Hiis fanciful etching was just a spoof of an engineering project proposed in 1825 and called the London and Edinburgh Vacuum Tunnel Company, which was to be established with the capital of 20 million pounds sterling. The concept was based on a 1799 proposal made by George Medhurst: A rectangular tunnel was to move goods in wagons, the vacuum was to be created by the condensation of steam, and the impetus was to be "the pressure of the atmosphere, which...is so astonishing as almost to exceed belief."

Yes, this is the first known attempt at what during the second decade of the 21st century became known as the hyperloop. That word, coined by Elon Musk, constitutes his main original contribution to the technology.

By the time Heath was drawing his intercontinental conveyor, enough was known about vacuum to realize that it would be the best option for achieving unprecedented travel speeds. But no materials were available to build such a tube—above all, there was no way to produce affordable high-tensile steel—nor were there ready means to enclose people in vacuum-moving containers.

Less than a century later, Émile Bachelet, a French electrician who emigrated to the United States, solved the propulsion part of the challenge with his 19 March 1912 patent of a "Levitation transmitting apparatus." In 1914, he presented a small-scale working model of a magnetically levitated train with a tubular prow, powerful magnets at the track's bottom, and tubular steel cars on an aluminum base.

A long white tube in the middle of the desert.

View of the passenger pod from inside the tube.

Two people in safety equipment next to a long pod.  Virgin Hyperloop, which aims to commercialize the concept, has built a test track in Las Vegas [top]. The passenger pod [middle] is magnetically levitated; it can be introduced into the vacuum tube through an air lock [bottom] at the end.Virgin Hyperloop

Japanese researchers have been experimenting with a modern version of Bachelet's maglev concept since 1969, testing open-air train models at a track in Miyazaki. Short trials were done in Germany and the Soviet Union. In 2002, China got the only operating maglev line—built by Siemens—running from the Shanghai Pudong International Airport to Shanghai; now China claims to be preparing to test it at speeds up to 1,000 kilometers per hour. But outside East Asia, maglev remained nothing but a curiosity until 2012, when Elon Musk put his spin on it.

People unaware of this long history greeted the hyperloop as stunningly original and fabulously transformative. A decade later we have many route proposals, and many companies engaged in testing and design, but not a single commercial application that can demonstrate that this is an affordable, profitable, reliable, and widely replicable travel option. Vacuum physicists and railway engineers, who best appreciate the challenges involved in such projects, have pointed out a long list of fundamental difficulties that must be overcome before public-carrying vacuum tubes could be as common as steel-wheel high-speed rail.

Other, nontrivial, problems run from the common and intractable—obtaining rights-of-way for hundreds, even thousands, kilometers of tracks elevated on pylons in NIMBY-prone societies—to the uncommon and unprecedented: maintaining the thousandfold pressure difference between the inside and outside steel walls of an evacuated tube along hundreds of kilometers of track while coping with the metal's thermal expansion.

Before rushing to buy shares in a hyperloop venture in 2022, remember the 1825 London and Edinburgh Vacuum Tunnel Company.


Match ID: 4 Score: 40.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 google, 15.00 musk

44 Best Cyber Monday Deals on Phones, Tablets, and Smartwatches
Mon, 29 Nov 2021 08:00:00 +0000
Come for the discounts on Google Pixels, Fire HD tablets, Apple Watches, iPhone 13 cases, and wireless chargers. Stay for that shiny "Add to cart" feeling.
Match ID: 5 Score: 35.00 source: www.wired.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 google, 10.00 apple

44 Best Black Friday Deals on Phones, Tablets, and Smartwatches
Sun, 28 Nov 2021 01:05:00 +0000
Come for the discounts on Google Pixels, Fire HD tablets, Apple Watches, iPhone 13 cases, and wireless chargers. Stay for that shiny "Add to cart" feeling.
Match ID: 6 Score: 35.00 source: www.wired.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 google, 10.00 apple

Memes, merchandise and Mars cocktails: Russia’s mania for Elon Musk has no bounds
Sat, 27 Nov 2021 05:00:00 EST
Even the Kremlin is a fan.
Match ID: 7 Score: 35.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 musk, 10.00 tesla, 10.00 amazon

A bancada do like: Google e iFood se inspiram em ruralistas e montam tropa de choque no Congresso
Thu, 25 Nov 2021 17:27:43 +0000

Instituto ligado à empresas de tecnologia está por trás da Frente Digital, que faz lobby por projetos de lei que afrouxam as regras para o setor.

The post A bancada do like: Google e iFood se inspiram em ruralistas e montam tropa de choque no Congresso appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 8 Score: 34.29 source: theintercept.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 21.43 google, 8.57 whatsapp, 4.29 uber

How Your 401(k) Is Helping Destroy the Amazon Rainforest
Tue, 23 Nov 2021 13:00:07 +0000

The growing financialization of Brazilian agribusiness is enabling foreign investment in the industry most responsible for deforestation.

The post How Your 401(k) Is Helping Destroy the Amazon Rainforest appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 9 Score: 25.71 source: theintercept.com age: 5 days
qualifiers: 14.29 trade, 5.71 development, 5.71 amazon

Sleaze is just a symptom – democratic politics in the UK is dying | Alan Finlayson
Mon, 29 Nov 2021 08:00:50 GMT

As the gap between people and politics grows, government is less interested in the good of society than in rewarding loyalty

  • Alan Finlayson is professor of political and social theory at the University of East Anglia

Though fears of Covid-19 are spiking once again, this seems to be a comforting moment for the Labour party. After a disastrous few weeks for the ruling party, it seems as though politics is returning to “normal”: sleazy Tories are being sleazy, reneging on commitments to the “red wall”, and the opposition is sneaking ahead in the polls. But flashbacks to the mid-90s are, in reality, delusions. What most hurt the Tories then was that sleaze came to symbolise a decaying, patrician regime that, Labour argued, must give way to a new political generation. Johnson is a big, tempting and sometimes easy target. But our problems are not reducible to the moral failings of one individual. The current state of British politics – with an “incompetent” and “corrupt” administration at its centre – is symptomatic of a British state in which democratic politics is failing.

To understand the depths of the problem, we can start by recognising that democracy isn’t just about voting. It names a much wider political and social system. People will be interested in politics – and more likely to see it as legitimate – if they think it cares about their interests. Large and active political parties circulate ideas, arguments and experiences between the centre and the periphery of power. So too do membership organisations: trade unions, business associations, consumer groups, campaign organisations, charities, churches. Through these, citizens identify the causes and interests they have in common and see them represented in their politics.

Alan Finlayson is professor of political and social theory at the University of East Anglia

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Match ID: 10 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 trade

Nelson, BLM and new voices: why Barbados is ditching the Queen
Mon, 29 Nov 2021 05:00:46 GMT

Michael Safi reports from the ground as island nation prepares to declare itself a republic

The first time, he stumbled on it by accident, after following a dirt track through fields of sugar cane that came to a clearing. There was a sign, Hakeem Ward remembers, beneath which someone had left an offering.

“The sign said it was a slave burial ground,” he says. “We went and Googled it, and then I realised it was actually one of the biggest slave burial grounds in the western hemisphere.”

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Match ID: 11 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 google

Dow Jones Newswires: Asian travel stocks fall on omicron fears
Mon, 29 Nov 2021 03:09:00 GMT
Airline and travel-related stocks are broadly lower in early Asian trade, weighed by investor concerns over the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, which has prompted tighter border controls in some countries.

Match ID: 12 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 trade

‘Perfect storm’ for UK manufacturers as costs, credit and cash crunch looms
Mon, 29 Nov 2021 00:01:40 GMT

Sector faces ‘unprecedented combination’ of rapidly rising costs, supply chain woes and high debts from the pandemic

Britain’s manufacturers are facing a “perfect storm” crisis of rapidly rising costs and towering debts that many fear could push them over the brink, according to a new survey.

The leading industry trade body on Monday urged the government to introduce payment holidays on loans, warning that thousands of firms faced a “tipping point” that could make their business models unviable.

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Match ID: 13 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 trade

Britain and Israel to sign trade and defence deal
Sun, 28 Nov 2021 23:56:11 GMT

Pact covers Iran as well as cybersecurity, despite controversy over use of Israeli firm NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware in UK

Britain and Israel will sign a 10-year trade and defence pact in London on Monday, promising cooperation on issues such as cybersecurity and a joint commitment to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

The agreement was announced by Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, and her Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid, despite evidence that spyware made by Israeli company NSO Group had probably been used to spy on two British lawyers advising the ex-wife of the ruler of Dubai, Princess Haya.

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Match ID: 14 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 trade

All the Cyber Monday Deals on Subscription Services
Sun, 28 Nov 2021 23:00:00 +0000
Keep your belly full, your kids busy, and your digital life secure with these Black Friday deals on subscription services.
Match ID: 15 Score: 25.00 source: www.wired.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 trade

15 Best Cyber Monday Deals on Google Devices We Like
Sun, 28 Nov 2021 21:00:00 +0000
Our favorite Pixel phone is $50 off, plus there are discounts on Nest security cameras and smart speakers.
Match ID: 16 Score: 25.00 source: www.wired.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 google

Tate exhibition to explore gallery’s links to Caribbean slave trade
Sun, 28 Nov 2021 19:16:15 GMT

Curator of Life Between Islands: Caribbean-British Art says institutions must take responsibility for past

British institutions must take responsibility for their history of benefiting from slavery, the curator of a new landmark exhibition of Caribbean-British art at Tate Britain has said.

Life Between Islands: Caribbean-British Art 1950s – Now features artists working across film, photography, painting, sculpture and fashion. They include those of Caribbean heritage as well as those inspired by the Caribbean, such as Ronald Moody, Sonia Boyce, Claudette Johnson and Steve McQueen.

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Match ID: 17 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 trade

How Facebook and Google fund global misinformation
2021-11-28T19:16:35+00:00
How Facebook and Google fund global misinformation submitted by /u/Hrmbee
[link] [comments]

Match ID: 18 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 google

Wealthy western countries cannot wash their hands of refugees | Letter
Sun, 28 Nov 2021 16:52:32 GMT

Instead of allowing a small group of rich countries to close off their borders, the international community must develop an inclusive and equitable system, writes Titus Alexander

The ugly truth behind the Channel deaths (Channel tragedy: ‘Smugglers tell their clients it’s just a lake – but it’s not’, 25 November) is a system of global governance that gives a few countries unequal power over international rules of trade, finance and security. Western governments prioritise their electorates, while the world’s majority are ignored. While our media spotlight desperate people on our shores, they ignore millions of refugees languishing in countries much poorer than ours.

Until we address the structural issues of minority rule to create an inclusive and equitable system of global governance, western electorates will demand higher fences and more draconian measures to protect their borders.

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Match ID: 19 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 trade

An Animal Rights Activist Saved a Sick Baby Goat From a Farm — and Faces Years in Prison
Sun, 28 Nov 2021 15:41:30 +0000

Wayne Hsiung faces felony charges — an escalation in the government's war against those who would put the value of life ahead of property.

The post An Animal Rights Activist Saved a Sick Baby Goat From a Farm — and Faces Years in Prison appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 20 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 google

The Android 12 Privacy Settings You Should Update Now
Sun, 28 Nov 2021 12:00:00 +0000
Google's new mobile operating system is finally rolling out to more phones. Here's what you need to tweak.
Match ID: 21 Score: 25.00 source: www.wired.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 google

Lawyers For Accused 9/11 Plotters Say Government Withheld Public Information
Sun, 28 Nov 2021 12:00:44 +0000

The sanitized summaries of CIA cables provided by the prosecution leave out vital details that journalists and others have obtained using FOIA.

The post Lawyers For Accused 9/11 Plotters Say Government Withheld Public Information appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 22 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 trade

Dow's Black Friday plunge puts blue-chip stock gauge at risk of closing below 50-day moving average
Fri, 26 Nov 2021 15:47:22 GMT

U.S. stocks were facing their worst Black Friday trade in recent memory and the decline was putting the Dow Jones Industrial Average at risk of closing below its 50-day moving average for the first time since mid October, as markets wrestle with reports of a new coronavirus variant.The Dow was down 826 points, or 2.3%, to trade at 34,969, which is below its 50-day MA at 35,261.93. Scientists say the coronavirus strain has a high number of mutations that may make it more transmissible and allow it to evade some of the immune responses triggered by previous infection or vaccination. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index , and the Nasdaq Composite Index were both trading sharply lower but holding above their short-term MAs. Moving averages are used by technical analysts to gauge short-term and long-term momentum in an asset.

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: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 trade

Tesla withdraws application for government subsidy for German battery plant
Fri, 26 Nov 2021 14:49:42 GMT

Tesla said on Friday it's withdrawing its formal request for a state subsidy in Germany for its planned battery production site east of Berlin, according to wire reports. Tesla founder Elon Musk's opposition to subsidies was cited as a reason for the move. The electric car maker did not provide a potential funding figure from the government, but it has been expected to range into the billions of euros. Tesla said it still plans to build a battery and recycling factory in its Berlin-Brandenburg gigafactory. Tesla shares fell by 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: 24 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 15.00 musk, 10.00 tesla

Dow plummets nearly 700 points as COVID variant sparks global selloff
Fri, 26 Nov 2021 14:36:23 GMT

U.S. stocks opened sharply lower Friday, joining a global equity selloff following the discovery in South Africa of a variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 694.53 points, or 1.9%, at 35,109.85 after falling more than 800 points in early action, while the S&P 500 dropped 62.31 points, or 1.3%, to 4,639.15. The Nasdaq Composite shed 137.84 points, or 0.9%, to 15,707.39. Analysts noted it remains unclear to what degree the new variant may be more transmissible or deadly. Traders warned that thin trading conditions could amplify market moves. U.S. markets close early Friday and were closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving Day 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: 25 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 trade

Wall Street's 'fear index' surges by most in 10 months as Dow and S&P 500 set to tumble on COVID variant worries
Fri, 26 Nov 2021 12:42:05 GMT

A measure of implied volatility on Wall Street on Black Friday touched the highest level since around September as futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average [: DJIA] and the S&P 500 index , looked set to tumble amid concerns of a fast-spreading strain of coronavirus, which was identified in South Africa, Hong Kong and Israel and was already leading to travel restrictions. The CBOE Volatility Index jumped by about 40% Friday morning, trading around 25.4, which would mark the highest level for the index since around Sept. 20 and mark the biggest daily jump for the measure since late January, according to FactSet data. The index, also known as the VIX, for its ticker symbol, has become well known as Wall Street's "fear gauge," since it was created in the early 1990s. The VIX itself, which uses S&P 500 options to measure trader expectations for volatility over the coming 30-day period, tends to rise as stocks fall and is often therefore referred to as a guide to the level of investor fear. It had been trading below its historic average of around 19.5.

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: 26 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 trade

Drug maker stocks rise but travel stocks sink on new coronavirus variant
Fri, 26 Nov 2021 12:31:31 GMT

Shares of airlines fell and drug makers rose in premarket trades on Friday as investors reacted to fresh travel bans related to a new variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 called B.1.1.529 identified in South Africa. Meanwhile, stocks relating to 'stay-at-home' activities gained. The British government has banned flights from South Africa and five other southern African countries. The World Health Organization's technical working group is meeting Friday to discuss the variant. Pfizer advanced by 5.8%, Moderna gained 8.7%, Southwest Airlines dropped 7%, American Airlines stock slumped 7%; Expedia fell 6.8% and United Airlines dropped 7.6%. Delta Air Lines lost 7.8%, Norwegian Cruise gave up 9.6% and Royal Caribbean shares slid 10%. Netflix rose 2%.Take-Two Interactive Software rose by 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: 27 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 trade

Surviving the Robocalypse
Tue, 23 Nov 2021 16:00:00 +0000


Does the value of a job lie in how long it resists automation?

Over the course of the pandemic, I saw a growing wave of mealtime deliveries: riders whizzing by silently on electric bicycles, ferrying takeout meals to folks in my urban neighborhood who don't want to venture out of their homes. Under constant pressure to pick up and deliver meals before they go cold, these delivery workers toil for some of the lowest wages on offer.


In the past, delivery was an entry-level position, a way to get a foot into the door, like working in the mail room. Today, it's a business all on its own, with gigantic public companies such as Uber and Deliveroo providing delivery services for restaurant owners. With that outsourcing, delivery has become a dead-end job. Success means only that you get to work the day shift.

Just a few years ago, we believed these jobs would be gone—wiped out by Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous driving systems. Yet, as engineers better understand the immense challenges of driving on roads crowded with some very irrational human operators, a task that once seemed straightforward now looks nearly intractable.

Other tasks long thought to be beyond automation have recently taken great leaps forward, though. At the end of June, for example, GitHub previewed its AI pair programmer, Copilot: a set of virtual eyes that works with developers to keep their code clean and logically correct. Copilot falls short of a complete solution—it wouldn't come up with a sophisticated algorithm on its own—but it shows us how automation can make weak programmers stronger.

While it's unlikely that most programming or copywriting will be done by machines anytime soon, those professions now face real competition from automation.

It won't be long before massive AI language models like Microsoft and Nvidia's Megatron-Turing Natural Language Generation (MT-NLG) make short work of basic business copywriting. Other writing jobs—digesting materials to extract key details, expressing them in accessible language, then preparing them for publication—are also surrendering to automation. The elements for this transformative leap are already falling into place.

While it's unlikely that most programming or copywriting will be done by machines anytime soon, an increasing portion will. Those professions now face real competition from automation. Paradoxically, bicycle-based deliveries look likely to need a human mind behind the handlebars for at least the next several years.

In a world where software eats everything in sight, those bits that can't be digested continue to require human attention. That attention requires people's time—for which they can earn a living. What we pay people for performing their jobs will increasingly be measured against the cost of using a machine to perform that task. Some white-collar workers will, no doubt, suffer from these new forms of competition from machines.

A century ago, farm labor faced a similar devaluation, as agriculture became mechanized. And while countless manufacturing jobs have succumbed to factory automation over the decades, Tesla production hiccups reveal what happens when you try to push automation too far on the factory floor. As the history of the Luddites so aptly demonstrates, the tension between machines and human labor isn't new—but it's growing again now, this time striking at the heart of knowledge work.

To stay one step ahead of the machines, we'll need to find the hard bits and maintain the skills required to keep crunching on them. Creativity, insight, wisdom, and empathy—these aptitudes are wholly human and look to remain that way into the future. If we lean into these qualities, we can resist the competitive rise of the machines.


Match ID: 28 Score: 22.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 5 days
qualifiers: 8.57 musk, 5.71 tesla, 5.71 microsoft, 2.86 uber

Fathers Can Be Gender Equity Advocates
Tue, 23 Nov 2021 19:00:01 +0000


In my article "A Father's Perspective About Daughters and Engineering," published in 2016, I shared my frustration about the lack of role models and the cultural messages that had left my two brilliant daughters—and many of their female friends—with little interest in pursuing an engineering career.

After the article was published, I received an email from Michelle Travis, who was writing a book about dads and daughters. She wanted to know my thoughts about creating a stronger pipeline for girls to pursue a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) career and what could be done to change the narrative about engineering to highlight its public-service role.


Travis is a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, where she co-directs its Work Law and Justice Program. She researches and writes about employment discrimination law, gender stereotypes, and work/family integration. She is also a founding member of the Work and Family Researchers Network and serves on the board of directors of the nonprofit Fathering Together.

Her latest book, Dads for Daughters, is a guide for engaging male allies in support of gender equity. (I was one of the fathers featured in the book.) She has written the award-winning My Mom Has Two Jobs, a children's picture book that celebrates working mothers.

Over the years, we have stayed in touch, followed each other's work, and looked for other ways to collaborate.

In the past few months, I became frustrated by the news of girls from certain countries either not being allowed to go to school or risking their safety even when they were officially allowed to attend. That is one reason I felt I needed to talk to Travis and learn from her about what else could be done to change the way fathers and men in general think about women's abilities and the successes women have had in almost every field including engineering.

Last month I asked her a few questions about her book and about what fathers can do to better support women. In the following interview, she gives a sneak peek of her book and lists several resources for engineering dads who want to encourage their daughters to pursue a STEM career.

QA: Why did you, a lawyer, decide to research and write about fathers and their daughters? Is it personal?

MT: My interest in engaging dads of daughters as gender equity advocates is both professional and personal. I've spent years as a lawyer and law professor using legal tools to advance women's equality in the workplace—seeking stronger employment-discrimination laws, equal-pay practices, and family-leave policies. Over time, I realized that the law has limits to what it can accomplish. I also realized that we've asked women to do too much of the heavy lifting to break down barriers and crack glass ceilings. Most importantly, I realized that progress requires commitment from male leaders who hold positions of power.

I started asking myself how women might engage more men in gender-equity efforts. At the same time, I noticed the powerful effect that my two daughters were having on my husband. He had always viewed women's equality as an important goal, but it wasn't until he started thinking about the world his daughters were entering that he fully internalized his personal responsibility and his own power to have an impact. Having daughters fueled his urgency to act. He wanted to become an outspoken advocate for girls and women, rather than just a bystander.

"Fathers who are engineers are uniquely positioned to become allies for expanding opportunities for girls and women."

Watching this transformation is what prompted my study of the father-daughter relationship. I discovered that my husband's experience was not unique. Researchers have found that having a daughter tends to increase a man's support for antidiscrimination laws, equal-pay policies, and reproductive rights, and it tends to decrease men's support of traditional gender roles. This has significant effects in the workplace. For example, dads of daughters are more likely than other male leaders to champion gender diversity. And CEOs who are dads of daughters tend to have smaller gender wage gaps in their company than in those run by men who aren't fathers.

Of course, many men without a daughter are women's allies, and not all dads with daughters are gender-equity advocates. We've even heard some men—including prominent politicians—invoke their "father of a daughter" status in disingenuous ways.

But most dads of daughters are genuinely interested in advancing equal opportunities for girls and women. This makes the father-daughter relationship an excellent entry place for inviting men into partnerships to build a more equitable world.

QA: Why should people read your book?

MT: Today's dads are raising confident, empowered daughters who believe they can achieve anything. But the world is still unequal, with workplaces run by men, a gender pay gap, and deeply ingrained gender stereotypes. My book celebrates the role that fathers can play in creating a better world for the next generation of girls.

Inspired by their daughters, fathers are well positioned to become powerful allies for girls and women. But in a post-#MeToo world, it can be difficult for men to step in and speak up. That's where Dads for Daughters can help. It arms fathers with the data they need to advocate for gender equity. It also offers concrete strategies for how they can make a difference in a variety of areas, from sports fields to science labs, and boardrooms to ballot boxes.

In addition to being a guidebook, it also shares stories of fathers who have already joined the fight. All the men highlighted credited their daughters for motivating them to focus more on gender equity. They include a CEO who invested in female entrepreneurs to run part of his company's supply chain and a lawyer who created part-time positions at his firm—which keeps women on a partnership track. There is also a head coach who hired the NBA's first female assistant coach. Another is a governor who broke from his party line to sign a bill expanding rights for sexual assault victims. There is an engineer who provided computer skills training to support girls who were victims of India's sex trafficking trade. In addition, there's a teacher, a U.S. Army colonel, a pipe fitter, a firefighter, and a construction contractor, who joined forces to battle for parity in girls' high school sports programs.

All those dads, and many others, were inspired to support gender equity because of their daughters. Their stories can motivate other dads to get involved. Dads who are committed to seeing their daughters achieve their dreams have an opportunity to improve the world that their daughters will enter, and Dads for Daughters will support them on this journey.

QA: What do you think fathers who are engineers can do differently from other dads, and why?

MT: Fathers who are engineers are uniquely positioned to become allies for expanding opportunities for girls and women. We all know that there's a huge gender imbalance in STEM fields. It results in an enormous loss of talent. Dads of daughters can take small but impactful steps in their homes, communities, and workplaces to welcome more girls and women into engineering careers.

At home, fathers can fill their home with books, toys, and activities that empower girls to imagine themselves as future engineers. There are some wonderful resources created by engineering dads for this very purpose. For example, finding a lack of engineering role models for his daughter, Greg Helmstetter created the STEAMTeam 5 book series, which shares the adventures of five girls who tackle challenges with their STEM skills. Anthony Onesto was inspired by his daughters to create the Ella the Engineer comic-book series, which features a superhero girl who uses her engineering know-how to solve problems and save the world.

Other great children's books include Andrea Beaty's Rosie Revere, Engineer, Tanya Lee Stone's Who Says Women Can't Be Computer Programmers? and Mike Adamick's Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments. Dads of daughters can also follow Ken Denmead's GeekDad blog, check out the Go Science Girls website, and buy one of Debbie Sterling's GoldieBlox engineering kits for their daughter's next birthday.

Dads who are engineers can have an even broader impact in their community by volunteering with a girl tech organization such as EngineerGirl, TechGirlz, Girls Who Code, Girl Develop It, or CoolTechGirls. These organizations are always looking for engineers to share their expertise and passion for STEM careers with talented young girls.

Engineer dads can also become gender-equity leaders at their workplace. Hiring, mentoring, and sponsoring women is a critical step in expanding women's representation in the engineering field. Dads can further support women by joining programs such as Million Women Mentors or partnering with IEEE Women in Engineering or the Society of Women Engineers. The empathy that dads gain from their daughters can also enable them to create a safer workplace culture by combating hostile work environments and speaking out against gender bias.

QA: From a grown daughter's perspective, what makes fathers different from husbands or friends?

MT: In a recent survey, dads rated strength and independence among the top qualities they hoped to instill in their daughters—which is different from the characteristics that men value most in their wives. From a daughter's perspective, this can make fathers particularly effective allies on their behalf.

When dads are engaged in their daughters' lives, the relationship has a singularly profound impact. Involved dads raise women who are more confident, have higher self-esteem, and have better mental health. Girls with supportive dads have stronger cognitive abilities and are more likely to stay in school and achieve greater financial success. Involved dads also help daughters enter healthier adult relationships with other men.

For fathers, the daughter relationship is a powerful way to build men's empathy skills and increase men's awareness of sex discrimination and gender inequality. For example, men often gain a better understanding of work/family integration challenges while watching their adult daughters juggle career and motherhood demands.

Researchers have found that dads of daughters often have more credibility with other men when supporting gender equity. When people advocate for a position that appears to be at odds with their own self-interest, others often react with surprise, anger, and resentment. These reactions go away if the speaker identifies a vested interest in the outcome. This means that invoking one's status as the father of a daughter can grant men "standing" to advocate for gender equity in ways that get others to listen. Because men tend to pay attention to dads of daughters who talk about the importance of women's rights, that makes fathers particularly strong recruiters of other male allies as well.
Match ID: 29 Score: 20.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 5 days
qualifiers: 14.29 trade, 5.71 amazon

Facebook Grants Government of Afghanistan Limited Posting Rights
Tue, 23 Nov 2021 14:51:30 +0000

The Taliban is banned from Facebook, but its Ministry of Interior was quietly allowed to post.

The post Facebook Grants Government of Afghanistan Limited Posting Rights appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 30 Score: 20.00 source: theintercept.com age: 5 days
qualifiers: 14.29 trade, 5.71 whatsapp

Os profissionais: quem são os articuladores do Centrão nos bastidores do orçamento secreto
Wed, 24 Nov 2021 22:45:13 +0000

Ex-escudeiros de Eduardo Cunha, Romero Jucá e Geddel Vieira Lima operam mecanismo que coloca o orçamento federal nas mãos de Arthur Lira e Rodrigo Pacheco.

The post Os profissionais: quem são os articuladores do Centrão nos bastidores do orçamento secreto appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 31 Score: 17.86 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 google

S&P 500 ends just below record high above 4,700 on Thanksgiving's eve, as Nasdaq rises and Dow closes flat
Wed, 24 Nov 2021 21:07:39 GMT

U.S. stocks finished mostly higher on the eve of Thanksiving as investors parsed a deluge of data, including minutes from the Federal Reserve's November meeting, which indicated that inflation pressures could take longer to subside than previously thought and that members of the central bank raised the possibility of ending bond purchases sooner than they planned if high prices persisted. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed in negative territory but virtually unchanged at around 35,805, on a preliminary basis, the S&P 500 index advanced 0.2% to around 4,701, just below a Nov. 18 closing record high at 4,704.54, and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.4% at roughly 15,845. U.S. markets will be closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving and will see an early finish on the following Friday session. An account of the Fed's Nov. 2-3 meeting showed that most senior officials at the central bank still expect price rises to slow next year, but they also acknowledged "inflation pressures could take longer to subside" than they previously believed due to continuing labor and supply shortages. Earlier investors digested U.S. economic data showing first-time claims for unemployment benefits plunged by 71,000 to 199,000 last week, the lowest levels since 1969. In other data Wednesday, the pace of economic growth in the third quarter was raised to a 2.1% annualized rate versus an initial estimate of 2%. The U.S. trade deficit in goods narrowed sharply in October. Data also highlighted historically elevated levels of inflation, with a measure of the cost of goods and services jumping 0.6% in October, based on the personal consumption expenditure index or PCE, and rose 5% over the past year from 4.4% in September. That's the highest level since December 1990. The PCE index is the Federal Reserve's favored inflation indicators. In corporate news, shares of Nordstrom Inc. slumped nearly 30% Wednesday after the department store chain reported third-quarter earnings short of analysts' expectations.

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: 32 Score: 17.86 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 trade

SambaNova CEO: “We’re Built for Large”
Fri, 26 Nov 2021 14:00:01 +0000


AI, particularly the huge neural networks that meant to understand and interact with us humans, is not a natural fit for computer architectures that have dominated for decades. A host of startups recognized this in time to develop chips and sometimes the computers they'd power. Among them, Palo Alto-based SambaNova Systems is a standout. This summer the startup passed US $1 billion in venture funding to value the company at $5 billion. It aims to tackle the largest neural networks that require the most data using a custom-built stack of technology that includes the software, computer system, and processor, selling its use as a service instead of a package. IEEE Spectrum spoke to SambaNova CEO Rodrigo Liang in October 2021.

Rodrigo Liang on…

IEEE Spectrum: What was the original idea behind SambaNova?

Rodrigo Liang: This is the biggest transition since the internet, and most of the work done on AI is done on legacy platforms, legacy [processor] architectures that have been around for 25 or 30 years. (These architectures are geared to favor the flow of instructions rather than the flow of data.) We thought, let's get back to first principles. We're going to flip the paradigm on its head and not worry as much about the instructions but worry about the data, make sure that the data is where it needs to be. Remember, today, you have very little control how you move the data in a system. In legacy architectures, you can't control where the data is, which cache its sitting on.

“Once we created the hardware, suddenly it opened up opportunities to really explore models like GPT-3.”
—Rodrigo Liang, CEO SambaNova

So we went back to first principles and said, "Let's just take a look at what AI actually wants, natively, not what other architectures cause AI to be." And what it wants is to actually create networks that are changing all the time. Neural nets have data paths that connect and reconnect as the algorithm changes.

We broke things down to a different set of sub-operators. Today, you have add, subtract, multiply, divide, load, and store as your typical operators. Here, you want operators that help with dataflow—things like map, reduce, and filter. These are things that are much more data focused than instruction focused.

Once you look at how these software programs want to be and how they want to flow, then the conclusion comes about what base units you need the amount of software controllability you need to allow these networks to interconnect and flow most efficiently. Once you've got to that point, then you realize "we can actually implement that in a processor"—a highly dense, highly efficient, highly performing piece of silicon with a single purpose of running AI efficiently. And that's what we built here with SambaNova.

Back to top

Is this an example of hardware-software co-development, a term that I am hearing more and more?

Liang: 100 percent. The first step is you take the software, you break it down, just see natively what you want it to do. Then we build the hardware. And what the hardware allowed us to do is explore a much bigger problems than we could imagine before. In the developers' lab, things are small, because we can't handle production-size data sets. But once we created the hardware, suddenly it opened up opportunities to really explore models like GPT-3, which people are running using thousands of GPUs and with hundreds of people managing that one model. That's really impractical. How many companies are going to be able to afford to hire hundreds of people just to manage one model and have thousands of GPUs interconnected to run one thing?

Photo of a computer chip that reads SambaNova Systems Cardinal SN10 Reconfigurable Dataflow Unit (RDU) is the industry's next-generation processor. RDUs are designed to allow the data to flow through the processor in ways in which the model was intended to run, freely and without any bottlenecks.SambaNova

So we asked, "How do we automate all of this?" Today, we deploy GPT-3 on a customer's behalf, and we operate the model for them. The hardware we're delivering as a software service. These customers are subscribing to it and paying us a monthly fee for that prediction.

So now we can ask, how well is the software operating? How well is the hardware operating? With each generation, you iterate, and you get better and better. That's opposed to traditional hardware design where once you build a microprocessor, you throw it over the fence, and then somebody does something with it, and maybe, eventually, you hear something about it. Maybe you don't.

Because we define it from the software, we build the hardware, we deploy the software, we make our money off these services, then the feedback loop is closed. We are using what we build, and if it's not working well, we'll know very quickly.

Back to top

“We’re not trying to be everything to everybody. We’ve picked some lanes that we’re really good at and really focus on AI for production.”

So you are spinning up new silicon that involves that feedback from the experience so far?

Liang: Yeah. We're constantly building hardware; we're constantly building software—new software releases that do different things and are able to support new models that maybe people are just starting to hear about. We have strong ties to university research with Stanford, Cornell, and Purdue professors involved. We stay ahead and are able to look at what's coming; so our customers don't have to. They will trust that we can help them pick the right models that are coming down the pipeline.

Is this hardware-and-software as service, full stack model of a computing company, the future in this space?

Liang: We're the only ones doing it today and for a couple different reasons. For one, in order to do these differentiated services, you really need a piece of silicon that's differentiated. You start with people that can produce a high-performance piece of silicon to do this type of computing, that requires a certain skill set. But then to have the skill set to build a software stack and then have the skill set to create models on behalf of our customers and then have the skill set to deploy on a customer's behalf, those are all things that are really hard to do; it's a lot of work.

For us, we've been able to do it because we're very focused on a certain set of workloads, a certain type of model, a certain type of use case that's most valuable to enterprises. We then focus on taking those to production. We're not trying to be everything to everybody. We've picked some lanes that we're really good at and really focus on AI for production.

“How are [smaller and medium-sized companies] going to compete in this next age of AI? They need people that come in and provide them a lot of the infrastructure so they don't have to build it themselves.”

For example, with natural language models, we're taking those for certain use cases and taking those to production. Image models, we're thinking about high resolution only. The world of AI is actually shockingly low res these days. [Today's computers] can't train high-res images; they have to downsample them. We're the only ones today that are able to do true resolution, original resolution, and train them as is.

Back to top

It sounds like your company has to have a staff that can understand the complete stack of the technology from software down to the chip.

Liang: Yeah. That's one of the most differentiated advantages we have. Chip companies know how to do chips, but they don't understand the stack. AI companies know how to do AI, but they can't do silicon. And the compiler technology—think about... how few companies are actually writing languages. These technologies are hard for certain classes of people to really understand across the divide. We were able to assemble a team that can truly do it. If you want to do hardware-software co-design, you truly have to understand across the boundaries, because if you don't, then you're not getting the advantages of it.

The other thing that I think you are also touching on is the expertise in the customer's own house. If you go outside of Fortune 50, most of them do not have an AI department with 200 data scientists that are A players. They might have 5. If you think about the expertise gap between these larger companies and your Fortune 500 company, how are they going to compete in this next age of AI? They need people that come in and provide them a lot of the infrastructure so they don't have to build it themselves. And most of those companies don't want to be AI centers. They have a very healthy business selling whatever they're selling. They just need the capabilities the AI brings.

Photo of black server cabinet with orange detailing and logo on the side, print on the cabinet reads SambaNova Systems DataScale SambaNova Systems DataScale is an integrated software and hardware system optimized for dataflow from algorithms to silicon. SambaNova DataScale is the core infrastructure for organizations that want to quickly build and deploy next-generation AI technologies at scale.Samba Nova

We do that on their behalf. Because everything is automated, we can service our systems and our platforms more efficiently than anybody else can. Other service companies would have to staff up on somebody else's behalf. But that wouldn't be practical. To the extent that there is a shortage of semiconductors, there is also a shortage of AI experts. So if I were to hire just as many as my customer had to hire, I couldn't scale the business up. But because I can do it automatically and much more efficiently, they don't have to hire all those people, and neither do I.

“Give me the entire data set; don’t chop it up.”

What's the next milestone you are looking towards? What are you working on?

Liang: Well, we've raised over $1 billion in venture capital at $5 billion valuation, but the company's fairly young. We're just approaching a four-year anniversary, and so we've got a lot of aspirations for ourselves as far as being able to help a much broader set of customers. Like I said, if you really see how many companies are truly putting AI in production, it's still a very small percentage. So we're very focused on getting customers into production with AI and getting our solutions out there for people. You're going to see us talk a lot about large data and large models. If you've got hairy problems with too much data and the models you need are too big, that's our wheelhouse. We're not doing little ones. Our place is when you have big, big enterprise models with tons of data; let us crunch on that for you. We're going to deploy larger and larger models, larger and larger solutions for people.

Back to top

Tell me about a result that you that kind of took your breath away? What is one of the coolest things that you've seen that your system has done?

Liang: One of our partners, Argonne National Labs, they're doing this project mapping the universe. Can you imagine this? They're mapping the universe.

They've been doing a lot of work trying to map the universe [training an AI with] really high-resolution images they've taken over many, many years. Well, as you know, artifacts in the atmosphere can really cause a lot of problems. The accuracy is actually not very good. You have to downsample these images and stitch them together, and then you've got all the atmospheric noise.

There are scientists that are much smarter than I am to figure all that stuff out. But we came in, shipped the systems, plugged it in and within 45 minutes, they were up and training. They mapped the whole thing without changing the image size and got a higher level of accuracy than what they had gotten for years before and in much, much less time.

We're really proud of that. It's the type of thing that you're confident that your technology can do, and then you see amazing customers do something you didn't expect and get this tremendous result.

Like I said, we're built for large. In e-commerce with all the uses and all of the products they've got, give me the entire data set; don't chop it up. Today, they have to chop it, because infrastructure doesn't allow it. In banking, all of the risks that you have across all your entities, well, let me see all the data. With all these different use cases, more data produces better results. We're convinced that if you have more data, it actually produces better results, and that's what we're built for.


Match ID: 33 Score: 15.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 2 days
qualifiers: 10.00 development, 5.00 startup

Advance Your Career With Rutgers’ Mini MBA Program for Engineers
Mon, 22 Nov 2021 19:00:01 +0000


Professionals who specialize in engineering and technology management must understand cross-discipline concepts and contribute to multifunctional teams. Although technical expertise is important, it is not enough for long-term career growth and success.

Many engineers and technical professionals lack vital skills. And with the recent transition to working remotely, many organizations aren't doing enough to train them. The consequences are telling, according to LinkedIn Learning. LinkedIn's guide, "How Learning Programs Attract and Retain Top Talent," says employees who feel their career goals are being sidelined are 12 times more likely to consider leaving their job.


By investing in leadership development programs for employees, organizations have been able to retain their best talent. In a survey of employers by CareerBuilder on the impact of hiring people with advanced degrees, 32 percent saw an increase in retention. That is why IEEE partnered with the Rutgers Business School to provide the only mini MBA program designed for teams of engineers and technical professionals.

"This course was well structured and gave us a taste of the world outside of the engineering realm."

Recently ranked as one of the top three mini MBA programs by Forbes, the IEEE | Rutgers Online Mini-MBA for Engineers is an entirely virtual program that offers foundational courses traditionally taught in master of business administration programs. Courses cover accounting, business communication, business ethics, entrepreneurship, finance, managerial economics, management, marketing, operations, and strategic management.

Completion of the program allows learners to:

  • Understand how organizational decisions are made from both operational and technical points of view.
  • Gain knowledge on how various teams within an organization can better work together to meet goals.
  • Leverage their new business skills in order to align their technical know-how with business strategy.

FEEDBACK

Here is what a couple of program graduates are saying:

"The reason I took this course was to get a better understanding of 'the other side,'" says IEEE Senior Member Sohaib Qamar Sheikh, a technology associate at a large commercial property development and investment company in the United Kingdom. "This course was well structured and gave us a taste of the world outside of the engineering realm. It has helped me get a better understanding of various other dimensions associated with our business products."

"I decided to take the program for the following reasons: It is cost-effective, rich in content, and flexible to fit my schedule," says IEEE Member Anis Ben Arfi, a systems engineer with Analog Devices. "Undertaking my mini MBA course, I learned various skills and improved my potential to handle business operations with ease. I am more informed about trade secrets and patents, more familiar with the product life cycle, different metrics to assess and measure customer experiences, and agile project management processes. My advice for aspiring applicants is: If you get an opportunity to be on board with this journey, please grab it."

HOW TO SIGN UP

Registration is now open for individuals interested in participating in next year's sessions. Two sessions are available. One begins in March; the other in September. The deadline to register for the March session is 4 February, and the deadline to register for the September session is 15 August. Individuals interested in registering can contact an IEEE account specialist.

The IEEE | Rutgers Online Mini-MBA for Engineers is also offered to organizations interested in getting access for groups of 10 or more. If you are interested in group access and pricing, including the option of a customized capstone designed for your organization's needs, contact an IEEE account specialist.

COMPLIMENTARY VIRTUAL EVENTS

Interested in learning more about leadership? Here are two free IEEE on-demand virtual events that can help future leaders bridge the gap between business and engineering as they prepare for growth into management roles:


    Match ID: 34 Score: 15.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 6 days
    qualifiers: 10.71 trade, 4.29 development

    A Small Startup Fights Rare Diseases With Big Data
    Tue, 16 Nov 2021 17:59:06 +0000


    Hi, this is Steven Cherry for IEEE Spectrum's podcast, Fixing the Future.

    Rare diseases are, well, rare. In two not unrelated ways. By definition, they're diseases that afflict fewer than 200,000 people. But because, in the world of big business, in particular big pharma, that's not enough to bother with, that is, it's not profitable enough to bother with, rare diseases are rarely worked on, to say nothing of cured.

    For example, hypertryptophanemia is a rare condition that likely occurs due to abnormalities in the body's ability to process the amino acid, tryptophan. How rare? I don't know. A Google search didn't yield an answer to that question. In fact, it's rare enough that Google didn't autocomplete the word even with 15 of its 19 letters typed in.

    Paradoxically, big data has the potential to change that. Because 200,000 is, after all, a lot of data points. But it presents problems of its own. There isn't one giant pool of 200,000 data points. So the first challenge is to aggregate all the potential data that's out there. And the big challenge there is that a lot of the data is contained, not in beautifully homogeneous, joinable, relatable databases. It's buried deep in documents like PubMed articles and patent filings.

    Deep Learning can help researchers pull that data out of those documents. At least, that's the strategy of a startup called Vyasa. Here to explain it is Vyasa's CEO and founder, Christopher Bouton.

    Chris, welcome to the podcast.

    Chris Bouton Thank you so much. It's really great to be here.

    Steven Cherry: Chris, if I understand this correctly, using Vyasa, data scientists or other researchers can construct a sort of traditional rows and columns database in a still-somewhat-manual process that's greatly sped up with your software. Is that right?

    Chris Bouton: That's correct. One of the big challenges that we have in science today is that so much of the information that we're generating nowadays was originally designed for humans to read one by one. And yet now we're generating tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of these types of data elements every day, all day long. And of course, I'm referring to things like scientific papers, PDF documents. All those things were originally designed for humans to read them. But now it's basically impossible to read all the scientific literature that's being published all the time. And so we need better tools to do that. And that's where deep learning comes in. Deep learning is really good at analyzing that kind of information and pulling information out of it that you can then use in something like a more structured form, like a database.

    Steven Cherry: So how would that work specifically for hypertryptophanemia, which I used in my intro because it's an example on your website.

    Chris Bouton: Well, if you think about it, you have this, let's call it a haystack of data and then you want to find that needle, which is rare in this case, that has to do with that particular rare disease. And the way that we do this is we train a deep learning algorithm on language itself, and we can train these deep learning algorithms on many different kinds of languages so we can find information about this particular disease in French, German, English, Chinese, Japanese, all at the same time. And as those algorithms learn how to literally read the language in all of the documents that we're giving them access to, they're also able to identify these specific terms. As they do that, we're then able to ask these algorithms natural language questions like What are the effects of this particular disease? What's the prevalence of this particular disease? What are the good treatments for this type of disease? And the algorithm is able to also go find those answers without us telling it how to find those answers. So the combination of being able to find the information in the first place and then find answers about questions about it turn out to be a really powerful way to conduct science and extract information from this kind of information that was previously very difficult for machines to analyze.

    Steven Cherry: There's a broader aspect to this than just medicine. In fact, Vyasa was developed mainly to pull out what you call dark data. You say that data scientists and researchers are spending too much time finding the data they need. What is dark data?

    Chris Bouton: Dark data or siloed data are two ways of referring to the fact that most organizations know that when they're attempting to make business decisions or research decisions, they know that they're making it on a very small percentage of all the information that they should have access to. This is a combination of all the external content that's being published and put out there every single day, all day long, as well as all of the internal data that each organization has access to. So the combination of those two forms of data and the fact that the organizations aren't using all of that effectively—it basically is the definition of dark data. In addition, we know that the vast majority of that dark data is unstructured.

    Steven Cherry: You worked at Pfizer before your first startup, and while there you developed something called the Pfizerpedia. That looks like an early attempt at finding dark data at this corporate level.

    Chris Bouton: Yeah, that's going back a ways now. Pfizerpedia was a really fun project to work on. You know, Pfizer, like many other organizations, do have this dark data challenge. I downloaded a MediaWiki instance, which is the same type of software that runs Wikipedia, installed it on a Linux computer under my desk, turned it on, and within a year we had, you know, we went from about zero to 20,000 users of the system. It was still on a computer under my desk, and I'd accidentally kicked the power strip every once in a while and the whole system would die out, which made nobody happy.

    But, but yeah, Pfizerpedia was a really great early example of how organizations are really excited to make better use of the data and information within their organizations. It was a collaborative project. It was a project that allowed people to share information at scale in a secure fashion within the organization. And all of those were really valuable learnings for me around how organizations want to do a better job of using their data internally.

    Steven Cherry: One of your company's slogans, at least on Twitter and you alluded to this before, is "Build the haystack, find the needle."

    Chris Bouton: So that tagline came from the fact that when we started the company, we went out and we were telling people primarily about the deep learning algorithms themselves, the things that can help find the needles. Time and time again, what we heard was, "that's great, but we still can't find our data." In other words, they were referring to the dark data problem.

    And so what we realized was that along the way, we had also built a completely novel type of architecture for integrating data and that's referred to as a data fabric. Layar, our solution for data fabrics, was being built the entire time that we were telling people about deep learning because we needed a better foundation for running the algorithms. What we realized was that Layar, and that data fabric architecture, was just as important as the algorithms themselves. And so that's why, in that tagline, we're saying, you know, build the haystack, i.e., use the data fabric to bring all your data together, and then you can find the needle, i.e., use the deep learning algorithms to drive the pulling of these types of insights from that haystack.

    Steven Cherry: There's a process in legal cases, especially lawsuits, that involves an incredibly tedious process of finding and extracting information from sometimes enormous masses of data that by law, the other side has to provide. It involves such things as looking for one incriminating statement in three years of all the company's emails, but this "discovery," as it's called, is yet another of your use cases. Is this hypothetical or are there clients already doing this?

    Chris Bouton: No, this is absolutely a real use case with clients already doing this type of work. This is yet another great example of where, as you noted, there's just far too many documents to read in a reasonable timeframe nowadays. In fact, I think in many of those cases, just hundreds of people are brought into rooms and given a lot of coffee to read all those documents. And by the way, that kind of activity is happening all over the place. Hundreds of thousands, often, of PDF documents are being sent to teams of people to just read them to extract information all over the place and many different types of verticals, many different types of activities.

    Deep learning algorithms give us a tool to do a much better job of extracting insights from those large document datasets. For example, we have a client who was running these kinds of manual extraction exercises and having it take months. That same exercise for them now takes milliseconds. And that time savings alone... not only is it a huge time efficiency gain, but also has allowed them to completely rethink their business model, how they're doing their business and what they're doing with their data. So yes, these are very much real-world use cases. And at Vyasa, we're excited about the applications of these technologies in the life sciences and health care space, but also in other verticals like legal, like fintech, like manufacturing.

    Steven Cherry: A new book, Work Without the Workers, notes that microwork—the kind of work that started with Amazon's Mechanical Turk, but now that's not even the largest microwork aggregator—microwork often involves tedious work cleaning data, labeling images and videos, for example. We'll have a show with the author of that book in a few weeks, but in the meantime, Chris, is it fair to say that Vyasa also would automate some of that microwork?

    Chris Bouton: There are cases where building things like training sets for deep learning algorithms does involve microwork, and that's a valuable place where microwork applies to deep learning use cases. I think, though, that at the same time, there are places where people assume that you need far more data than you actually need in order to run deep learning algorithms. And language models are a great example of that. Because these language models have literally all language to train against, they have plenty of data to train against, and that does two things. It means that these systems, like Layar, out of the box within just a couple of hours, is ready to perform the kinds of tasks that I've described. And two, it means that Layar in these deep learning models running in Layar can perform the types of microtasks that you're speaking about.

    I think that it's also important to note that these are just tools. They're new tools. They're really cool tools in the toolkit, but they're still tools that are used by humans. And so, for example, we've built applications on top of Layar that allow human curators to go in and make sure that what the algorithms are finding is correct and allowing those humans to update what the model is finding. And then the model actually actively learns from that type of curation. So there really is a very interesting novel set of technologies at play here that allow humans to increase the value of their work activity and do higher level, more strategic work—while using these new tools to do a lot more of that mundane type of work that has previously only been possible with humans.

    Steven Cherry: We're speaking with data scientist Christopher Bouton. When we come back, we'll talk about some data analytics tools and discoveries he made—milestones on a journey that started for him as a teenager.

    Fixing the Future is supported by COMSOL, the makers of COMSOL Multiphysics simulation software. Companies like the Manufacturing Technology Centre are revolutionizing the designs of additive manufactured parts by first building simulation apps from COMSOL models, allowing them to share their analyses with different teams and explore new manufacturing opportunities with their own customers. Learn more about simulation apps and find this and other case studies at comsol.com/blog/apps.

    We're back with my guest Christopher Bouton, founder and CEO of Vyasa Analytics, a provider of A.I. data tools and applications.

    Chris, I mentioned you had an earlier start-up after your stint at Pfizer. Tell us a bit about Entagen.

    Chris Bouton: Yeah, Entagen was a company that I founded in 2008 and we ran that company for five years and then it was ultimately acquired by Thomson Reuters in 2013. Entagen was a first pass at attempting to build data integration in infrastructures for organizations. So really, in a lot of ways, the same sorts of ideas that I had been working on throughout my career—I actually also worked on data integration in graduate school at Johns Hopkins. I built a system called DRAGON that integrated data for something called microarray data analysis. So I've been thinking about this for quite a long time. I'm not sure why, but it's interesting to me. An Entagen was also involved in the development of technologies for data integration, also primarily for the life sciences and health care space.

    At Entagen, what we were doing was using a specific kind of data format called RDF in order to do that data integration. The upside of that approach is that there's a number of standards and ways of structuring that type of integration capability. The downside is that it's a bit more brittle to all of the richness of information that we have in things like documents today. And so you have a difficult time converting from all of that rich information in the documents themselves into something that's usable in the RDF. And so with Vyasa what we tried to do was rethink how we could do the integration without having to use a data format like RDF in the middle.

    Steven Cherry: I'm glad you mentioned DRAGON, which is one of those contrived acronyms for Database Referencing of Array Genes ONline. And I understand that people are still using DRAGON. Your Ph.D., from Johns Hopkins involved using data to study the mechanisms, at the neural level, of lead poisoning.

    Chris Bouton: So lead is known to mimic calcium in the body. There's sort of an interesting backstory there that has to do with the fact that, you know, as mammalian systems were evolving, lead didn't exist in the environment, right? So mammalian systems—proteins, for example—didn't need to evolve the ability to differentiate between calcium and lead because lead wasn't in the environment. Then all of a sudden humans start digging lead out of the ground and we have a problem, right?

    In particular, the proteins in our body, many of them have what are called calcium-binding domains, and those binding domains know how to bind to calcium and as a result, do important things in the body like, for example, control synaptic vesicle release in the brain, which is really how our brains operate. Lead can get into the brain, mimic calcium in these calcium-binding domains and cause aberrant protein activity as a result. And so I was doing that type of research both at the level of the proteins themselves, but then we were also studying the expression of the genes associated with calcium-binding proteins. And that's where DRAGON became useful.

    Steven Cherry: Chris, your work has always had a data angle, but always tilted in the biomedical direction. It looks like it started all the way back in high school with your Westinghouse Science Talent Search submission.

    Chris Bouton: The Westinghouse changed my life. It was a wonderful opportunity to conduct biomedical research and then go through that whole process with that award. Prior to the Westinghouse, actually my first love in life was sharks, and I've always loved sharks, have always been fascinated by them and have recently become more involved again in the shark conservation, marine ecosystem conservation. And that's also an area that's near and dear to my heart. So you're right. Science has always been a love of my life and certainly a thread in my career.

    Steven Cherry: The name Vyasa comes from Hindu mythology, specifically, the Mahabharata, which is an enormous epic poem 20 or 30 times longer than the Iliad or the Odyssey, and only a bit younger than them—from the third or fourth century B.C. What's the connection between Hindu mythology and contemporary data analytics?

    Chris Bouton: Oh yeah, this is a great question. So I lived in India for four years as a boy, so I actually grew up reading the Mahabharata as a comic book, and I was trying to come up with a name for the company. And I thought, "Wow, 'Oracle' is cool name, ah, like that one's taken." And so I was looking around for the idea of gurus and knowledge compilers and came across the name Vyasa and just loved it. Because of my connection with India and because Vyasa was a guru who compiled knowledge, brought knowledge together, and I loved the idea of that activity of knowledge compilation being part of what Vyasa was going to do with deep learning algorithms. So there's a personal reference there, but then also a reference to the activity of knowledge compilation.

    Steven Cherry: Well, Chris, automation seems more related to me to the Hindu god Shiva. The name Shiva means "the auspicious one," but he is commonly thought of as the destroyer. It's incumbent on those using deep learning to develop tools that are auspicious, and you seem to have been doing that for your entire career. Thank you for all these innovations—may they always be auspicious, and thank you for joining us today.

    Chris Bouton: Thank you so much. Thank you to you and thank you so much for putting the podcast together, and it's been wonderful to participate.

    Steven Cherry: You're quite welcome.

    We've been speaking with Christopher Bouton, founder and head of Vyasa, a maker of deep learning tools to relieve the burden and tedium of data acquisition.

    Fixing the Future is sponsored by COMSOL, makers of mathematical modeling software and a longtime supporter of IEEE Spectrum as a way to connect and communicate with engineers.

    IEEE Spectrum is the member magazine of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.

    This interview was recorded October 12, 2021, on Adobe Audition via Zoom, and edited in Audacity. Our theme music is by Chad Crouch. I'd like to thank Nick Brown for suggesting the topic.

    You can subscribe to Fixing the Future wherever you get your podcasts, or listen on the Spectrum website, where you'll also find transcripts of all our episodes. We welcome your feedback on the web or in social media, and your rating us at your favorite app.

    For Fixing the Future, I'm Steven Cherry.


    Match ID: 35 Score: 15.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 12 days
    qualifiers: 7.14 genes, 3.57 google, 1.43 development, 1.43 amazon, 0.71 startup, 0.71 start-up

    TechScape: why Apple will now let you fix your own iPhone
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 11:45:44 GMT

    Up for discussion in this week’s newsletter: the tech giant’s new at-home repair programme is good for customers – but there’s reason to be cynical


    It’s risky for me to boldly state that technology news has quietened down in recent weeks. For one thing, confidently saying that nothing much is going on is the best way to summon up a news event breaking 15 seconds after I hit “send” on this email.

    Also, though, I’m currently sitting at home up to my eyeballs in parental leave. While I’m still compulsively keeping up with every tiny news story that breaks in my sector (if I could simply switch off that instinct, I wouldn’t be doing this job), I’m aware that my connection to many of them is less vivid than it used to be when I was desperately trying to find a new angle to move the story on for that day’s paper.

    Apple today announced Self Service Repair, which will allow customers who are comfortable with completing their own repairs access to Apple genuine parts and tools. Available first for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups, and soon to be followed by Mac computers featuring M1 chips, Self Service Repair will be available early next year in the US and expand to additional countries throughout 2022. Customers join more than 5,000 Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs) and 2,800 Independent Repair Providers who have access to these parts, tools, and manuals.

    The unnamed woman sent her iPhone for repair on 14 January 2016 to an Apple-approved repair contractor called Pegatron Technology Service in California. Technicians there then uploaded “extremely personal and private material” to the woman’s Facebook account and other internet locations, the documents said.

    The videos were uploaded to appear as though the woman herself had shared them on purpose, according to the documents, causing the woman “severe emotional distress”. The woman was made aware of the incident when friends saw the videos and images on Facebook.

    The document, one of 13 original copies dating from 1787, sold for almost three times its lower estimate of $15m, and more than 260 times the amount it achieved when it last sold for $165,000 in 1988. The bidding at Sotheby’s in New York took eight minutes.

    “ConstitutionDAO” had amassed more than £47m, or 11,600 of the cryptocurrency ether, in a few days on its online crowdfunding page. The group, which had committed to putting the document on public display “in the hands of the people”, promised to refund its 17,437 contributors after deducting transaction fees.

    Continue reading...
    Match ID: 36 Score: 14.29 source: www.theguardian.com age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 7.14 california, 7.14 apple

    Years Later, Alphabet’s Everyday Robots Have Made Some Progress
    Tue, 23 Nov 2021 23:51:47 +0000


    Last week, Google or Alphabet or X or whatever you want to call it announced that its Everyday Robots team has grown enough and made enough progress that it's time for it to become its own thing, now called, you guessed it, "Everyday Robots." There's a new website of questionable design along with a lot of fluffy descriptions of what Everyday Robots is all about. But fortunately, there are also some new videos and enough details about the engineering and the team's approach that it's worth spending a little bit of time wading through the clutter to see what Everyday Robots has been up to over the last couple of years and what their plans are for the near future.


    A skinny white robotic torso with a camera for a head and a single arm draws a squeegee across a coffee table That close to the arm seems like a really bad place to put an E-Stop, right?

    Our headline may sound a little bit snarky, but the headline in Alphabet's own announcement blog post is "everyday robots are (slowly) leaving the lab." It's less of a dig and more of an acknowledgement that getting mobile manipulators to usefully operate in semi-structured environments has been, and continues to be, a huge challenge. We'll get into the details in a moment, but the high-level news here is that Alphabet appears to have thrown a lot of resources behind this effort while embracing a long time horizon, and that its investment is starting to pay dividends. This is a nice surprise, considering the somewhat haphazard state (at least to outside appearances) of Google's robotics ventures over the years.

    The goal of Everyday Robots, according to Astro Teller, who runs Alphabet's moonshot stuff, is to create "a general-purpose learning robot," which sounds moonshot-y enough I suppose. To be fair, they've got an impressive amount of hardware deployed, says Everyday Robots' Hans Peter Brøndmo:

    We are now operating a fleet of more than 100 robot prototypes that are autonomously performing a range of useful tasks around our offices. The same robot that sorts trash can now be equipped with a squeegee to wipe tables, and use the same gripper that grasps cups to open doors.

    That's a lot of robots, which is awesome, but I have to question what "autonomously" actually means along with what "a range of useful tasks" actually means. There is really not enough publicly available information for us (or anyone?) to assess what Everyday Robots is doing with its fleet of 100 prototypes, how much manipulator-holding is required, the constraints under which they operate, and whether calling what they do "useful" is appropriate.

    If you'd rather not wade through Everyday Robots' weirdly overengineered website, we've extracted the good stuff (the videos, mostly) and reposted them here, along with a little bit of commentary underneath each.

    Introducing Everyday Robots

    Everyday Robots

    0:01 — Is it just me, or does the gearing behind those motions sound kind of, um, unhealthy?

    0:25 — A bit of an overstatement about the Nobel Prize for picking a cup up off of a table, I think. Robots are pretty good at perceiving and grasping cups off of tables, because it's such a common task. Like, I get the point, but I just think there are better examples of problems that are currently human-easy and robot-hard.

    1:13 — It's not necessarily useful to draw that parallel between computers and smartphones and compare them to robots, because there are certain physical realities (like motors and manipulation requirements) that prevent the kind of scaling to which the narrator refers.

    1:35 — This is a red flag for me because we've heard this "it's a platform" thing so many times before and it never, ever works out. But people keep on trying it anyway. It might be effective when constrained to a research environment, but fundamentally, "platform" typically means "getting it to do (commercially?) useful stuff is someone else's problem," and I'm not sure that's ever been a successful model for robots.

    2:10 — Yeah, okay. This robot sounds a lot more normal than the robots at the beginning of the video; what's up with that?

    2:30 — I am a big fan of Moravec's Paradox and I wish it would get brought up more when people talk to the public about robots.

    The challenge of everyday

    Everyday Robots

    0:18 — I like the door example, because you can easily imagine how many different ways it can go that would be catastrophic for most robots: different levers or knobs, glass in places, variable weight and resistance, and then, of course, thresholds and other nasty things like that.

    1:03 — Yes. It can't be reinforced enough, especially in this context, that computers (and by extension robots) are really bad at understanding things. Recognizing things, yes. Understanding them, not so much.

    1:40 — People really like throwing shade at Boston Dynamics, don't they? But this doesn't seem fair to me, especially for a company that Google used to own. What Boston Dynamics is doing is very hard, very impressive, and come on, pretty darn exciting. You can acknowledge that someone else is working on hard and exciting problems while you're working on different hard and exciting problems yourself, and not be a little miffed because what you're doing is, like, less flashy or whatever.

    A robot that learns

    Everyday Robots

    0:26 — Saying that the robot is low cost is meaningless without telling us how much it costs. Seriously: "low cost" for a mobile manipulator like this could easily be (and almost certainly is) several tens of thousands of dollars at the very least.

    1:10 — I love the inclusion of things not working. Everyone should do this when presenting a new robot project. Even if your budget is infinity, nobody gets everything right all the time, and we all feel better knowing that others are just as flawed as we are.

    1:35 — I'd personally steer clear of using words like "intelligently" when talking about robots trained using reinforcement learning techniques, because most people associate "intelligence" with the kind of fundamental world understanding that robots really do not have.

    Training the first task

    Everyday Robots

    1:20 — As a research task, I can see this being a useful project, but it's important to point out that this is a terrible way of automating the sorting of recyclables from trash. Since all of the trash and recyclables already get collected and (presumably) brought to a few centralized locations, in reality you'd just have your system there, where the robots could be stationary and have some control over their environment and do a much better job much more efficiently.

    1:15 — Hopefully they'll talk more about this later, but when thinking about this montage, it's important to ask what of these tasks in the real world would you actually want a mobile manipulator to be doing, and which would you just want automated somehow, because those are very different things.

    Building with everyone

    Everyday Robots

    0:19 — It could be a little premature to be talking about ethics at this point, but on the other hand, there's a reasonable argument to be made that there's no such thing as too early to consider the ethical implications of your robotics research. The latter is probably a better perspective, honestly, and I'm glad they're thinking about it in a serious and proactive way.

    1:28 — Robots like these are not going to steal your job. I promise.

    2:18 — Robots like these are also not the robots that he's talking about here, but the point he's making is a good one, because in the near- to medium term, robots are going to be most valuable in roles where they can increase human productivity by augmenting what humans can do on their own, rather than replacing humans completely.

    3:16 — Again, that platform idea...blarg. The whole "someone has written those applications" thing, uh, who, exactly? And why would they? The difference between smartphones (which have a lucrative app ecosystem) and robots (which do not) is that without any third party apps at all, a smartphone has core functionality useful enough that it justifies its own cost. It's going to be a long time before robots are at that point, and they'll never get there if the software applications are always someone else's problem.

    A man and a woman with laptops supervise a white mobile robot with one arm as it cleans tables Everyday Robots

    I'm a little bit torn on this whole thing. A fleet of 100 mobile manipulators is amazing. Pouring money and people into solving hard robotics problems is also amazing. I'm just not sure that the vision of an "Everyday Robot" that we're being asked to buy into is necessarily a realistic one.

    The impression I get from watching all of these videos and reading through the website is that Everyday Robot wants us to believe that it's actually working towards putting general purpose mobile manipulators into everyday environments in a way where people (outside of the Google Campus) will be able to benefit from them. And maybe the company is working towards that exact thing, but is that a practical goal and does it make sense?

    The fundamental research being undertaken seems solid; these are definitely hard problems, and solutions to these problems will help advance the field. (Those advances could be especially significant if these techniques and results are published or otherwise shared with the community.) And if the reason to embody this work in a robotic platform is to help inspire that research, then great, I have no issue with that.

    But I'm really hesitant to embrace this vision of generalized in-home mobile manipulators doing useful tasks autonomously in a way that's likely to significantly help anyone who's actually watching Everyday Robotics' videos. And maybe this is the whole point of a moonshot vision—to work on something hard that won't pay off for a long time. And again, I have no problem with that. However, if that's the case, Everyday Robots should be careful about how it contextualizes and portrays its efforts (and even its successes), why it's working on a particular set of things, and how outside observers should set our expectations. Over and over, companies have overpromised and underdelivered on helpful and affordable robots. My hope is that Everyday Robots is not in the middle of making the exact same mistake.


    Match ID: 37 Score: 14.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 5 days
    qualifiers: 14.29 google

    From Bush to Obama, and Trump to Biden, U.S. Militarism Is the Great Unifier
    Sun, 21 Nov 2021 11:30:08 +0000

    Joe Biden's presidency demonstrates, once again, that U.S. commitments to militarism and permanent global war are enduring and bipartisan.

    The post From Bush to Obama, and Trump to Biden, U.S. Militarism Is the Great Unifier appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 38 Score: 12.86 source: theintercept.com age: 7 days
    qualifiers: 7.14 trade, 2.86 development, 2.86 california

    Elon Musk and the Dangers of Another Stock Bubble
    Tue, 23 Nov 2021 00:25:12 +0000
    The current mania for electric-vehicle makers, from Tesla to Lucid to Rivian, is reminiscent of the dot-com boom and bust.
    Match ID: 39 Score: 10.71 source: www.newyorker.com age: 6 days
    qualifiers: 6.43 musk, 4.29 tesla

    The New Supersonic Boom
    Mon, 16 Aug 2021 15:00:00 +0000


    On 9 April 1945, less than a month before the end of hostilities in Europe, a young Luftwaffe pilot named Hans Guido Mutke put his jet-propelled Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter-bomber into a steep dive, intending to come to the aid of a fellow airman below. As the Messerschmitt accelerated downward, the plane began to shake violently, and the controls became unresponsive. Mutke managed to regain control and lived to describe the incident, in which he later laid claim to having exceeded the speed of sound, a controversial but plausible assertion.

    This and similar episodes during and after World War II led some to believe that aircraft would have great difficulty ever "breaking the sound barrier"—a phrase that led to a popular misconception that there is some kind of brick wall in the sky that a plane must pierce to fly at supersonic speeds.


    Image of Chuck Yeager piloting the Bell X-1 rocket plane in 1947. Piloting the bullet-shaped Bell X-1 rocket plane in 1947, Chuck Yeager became the first person to exceed the speed of sound while in horizontal flight.Everett Collection/Alamy

    The aircraft that unquestionably tore down that metaphorical wall was the Bell X-1, a bullet-shaped experimental rocket-plane. In October of 1947, test pilot Chuck Yeager coaxed his bright orange X-1 to a speed that slightly exceeded that of sound while the plane was in horizontal flight, although the U.S. Air Force didn't officially announce the feat until the following year.

    Since then, jets have been regularly exceeding Mach 1—shorthand for the speed of sound in the surrounding air. Even the Northrop T-38 Talon jet trainer, introduced in 1959, could do so. And some military jets can fly much faster. The SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft, which first flew in the 1960s, can travel at better than Mach 3.

    Although military aircraft were breaking the sound barrier daily during the 1950s and '60s, commercial passenger flights during this time remained limited to subsonic speeds. That situation didn't change until early in 1976, with the first scheduled flights of the French-British Concorde supersonic airliner, which could reach Mach 2. The Soviet Union's Tupolev TU-144, which could fly just as fast and had been used to transport mail and freight the previous year, began carrying passengers in 1977.

    It would have been reasonable to project that we'd all be zooming around the globe at supersonic speeds by now. But, of course, we're not.

    At the time, it would have been reasonable to project that we'd all be zooming around the globe at supersonic speeds by now. But, of course, we're not. The Concorde last flew nearly two decades ago. Today's airliners travel no faster than their counterparts of 60 years ago—indeed, they tend to fly somewhat slower to reduce fuel costs.

    Now, several aircraft manufacturers and NASA are intent on ushering in a new era of supersonic commercial aviation. They're preparing prototypes for flight and they've got designs for full-blown airliners capable of carrying scores of passengers. And this time, their biggest challenge probably won't be the sonic booms, which backers insist they can adequately address. The main obstacles will be regulatory and, especially, environmental: Supersonic airliners could be hugely more polluting than their subsonic counterparts.

    Are we nevertheless on the cusp of a new, golden age of high-speed commercial aviation? Will people soon be jetting across the Pacific in three hours? To answer those questions requires a deeper understanding of what went on, and what went wrong, during that first push to develop supersonic airliners more than a half century ago.

    Image of the Concorder airliner, taking flight during a test flight in 1970. The Concorde, shown here at the start of a test flight in 1970, was particularly noisy, both during takeoff and when exceeding the speed of sound, which subjected people below to the loud double bang of its sonic boom.AP

    In 1956, nine years after Yeager's history-making flight, the U.K. government established a Supersonic Transport Advisory Committee, which began discussions with international partners about building a supersonic airliner. And in 1962 the French and British governments forged an agreement to cooperate in the development of what soon became known as the Concorde. The sleek delta-winged airliner made its first supersonic test flight in 1969.

    Although the United States chose not to participate in the development of the Concorde, in 1963 President John F. Kennedy announced plans to develop a U.S. supersonic airliner. Shortly afterward, the federal government issued a contract to Boeing, which had prevailed over Lockheed and others in a design competition, to develop such a plane.

    Meanwhile, environmentalists were voicing concern—about how noisy such aircraft are taking off, about the possibility that their high-altitude emissions would erode the ozone layer, and about how disruptive the sonic booms would be. The last of these issues was perhaps the most vexing, prompting the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to mount various exercises to gauge how the public would react to sonic booms.

    The most extensive such experiment took place over Oklahoma City in 1964. For months, supersonic aircraft flew over the city, eight times a day, seven days a week, at unpredictable times but always during daylight hours. Dominic Maglieri, an expert on sonic booms whose career began in the early 1950s, recalls the results of those months-long tests.

    "It looked as though people were kind of acclimating to it," says Maglieri. "But as it went on that changed—considerably: Pretty soon they were getting thousands of calls and complaints." Some of that negative feedback included demands for compensation, says Maglieri, including one from the owner of a palatial home who claimed that a sonic boom had cracked his marble floors.

    A table of data showing the boom dates for sonic room damage. The 1964 Oklahoma City tests involved more than 1,000 flights, which sparked more than 15,000 complaints, as documented in a 1971 report prepared by the National Bureau of Standards.U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

    Clearly, nobody would accept stone-fracturing sonic booms. Those objections added to the concerns environmentalists were raising about the ozone layer—a scenario seemingly justified a few years later by MIT researchers, who concluded that a future fleet of 500 supersonic airliners would deplete the ozone layer by 16 percent.

    Despite strong support from the FAA, the airline industry, and aerospace companies, the U.S. Senate ceased funding the development of a supersonic airliner in 1971. Two years later, the FAA banned supersonic flight over land, a prohibition that remains to this day.

    The Concorde went on to serve various destinations, including some in the United States, flying at supersonic speeds only over water. That continued until 2003, when British Airways and Air France retired their fleets, together amounting to just 12 aircraft. (Fourteen production aircraft were manufactured, but one was scrapped in 1994 and another crashed in 2000.)

    While the Concorde successfully overcame the technical hurdles standing in the way of supersonic passenger service, it succumbed to economics: The cost of fuel and maintenance was especially high for these planes. A new generation of aeronautical engineers and entrepreneurs are, however, keen to once again take on the technical, environmental, and economic challenges.

    It's perhaps unsurprising that the 21st-century push for supersonic travel is being led by newcomers rather than established manufacturers. The best-funded of this group is Denver-based Boom Technology (which also goes by the trade name Boom Supersonic).

    Rendering of Boom Technology's Overture airliner in the sky. This artist's rendering shows Boom Technology's future Overture airliner, which will be able to carry as many as 88 people.Boom Supersonic

    In 2016, while it was still in Y Combinator's startup incubation program, Boom got a big shot in the arm from the Virgin Group, which offered engineering support and optioned the first 10 of Boom's airliners. (More recently, Virgin Galactic has been designing a supersonic airliner of its own.) Virgin's interest in this sphere shouldn't be surprising: 13 years earlier, the group's founder Sir Richard Branson attempted, unsuccessfully, to purchase the seven Concorde airliners British Airways was retiring, for use by Virgin Atlantic.

    Boom went on to garner more than US $150 million from various venture funds and Japan Airlines. It has used that money to build a one-third scale prototype, called the XB-1, of an airliner that will be able to carry as many as 88 passengers. The company expects commercial flights of the larger plane, which it calls Overture, to begin in 2029.

    What these aircraft manufacturers are contending is that their eventual customers are going to be willing to pay to prevent net carbon emissions.

    Boom is emphasizing its plans to mitigate the environmental impacts that inevitably arise with supersonic flight. Testifying to a House subcommittee on aviation this past April, Boom's CEO, Blake Scholl, noted that, "sustainable aviation fuels, or SAF, are key to Overture sustainability, and we are designing Overture from the ground up to run on 100 percent SAF, enabling net-zero-carbon flight." In preparation, Boom has investigated the use of biofuels in the engines of its XB-1 demonstrator, and it has partnered with Prometheus Fuels, which will provide the XB-1 with jet fuel synthesized using carbon extracted from the atmosphere using renewable energy.

    Boom has stated that its plane will go supersonic only over water. Even so, the company is " shaping the aircraft optimally for sonic-boom reduction," according to its website. In a similar vein, another startup, Boston-based Spike Aerospace, is stressing that its planned S-512 supersonic business jet is "aerodynamically designed to offer proprietary Quiet Supersonic Flight Technology. This will enable it to operate at its full cruising speed of Mach 1.6 (1,100 miles per hour) without producing a loud, disturbing sonic boom on the ground." Ditto for California-based Exosonic, which claims that the supersonic airliner it has on the drawing board "will create a softer thump on the ground that will be quieter than typical traffic."

    Rendering of NASA's X-59 aircraft flying in the sky. This artist's rendering depicts NASA's X-59 low-noise demonstrator aircraft, now being constructed by Lockheed Martin.Lockheed Martin

    This is exactly the strategy that NASA is exploring with an experimental aircraft called the X-59 QueSST, that name being a contraction of sorts of "quiet supersonic technology." Lockheed-Martin Corp. is right now constructing the X-59 at its famed Skunk Works facility in Palmdale, Calif.

    "I used to joke that the airplane looked like an F-16 on steroids," says David Richwine, NASA's deputy project manager for technology on the X-59. "It's a long airplane—I think it's around 97 feet long." Richwine explains that adding length is one of the ways to "manage the sonic-boom signature," which is an engineer's way of saying to make the sound less jarring.

    How successful NASA is in doing so will be tested as soon as 2024, when the X-59 is flown over a small set of U.S. cities to gauge the public's reactions to what Richwine expects to be a "sonic thump." Assuming this campaign takes place on schedule, it'll be 60 years after the FAA's Oklahoma City tests. Get your marble floors ready.

    Interestingly, the company that was working the hardest to reduce the sonic-boom effects from a supersonic jet it was developing, Aerion Corp., now appears to be going out of business. The company, based in Reno, Nev., was founded by billionaire Robert Bass in 2003.

    Aerion's initial foray into commercial supersonic aircraft was to be a 12-passenger business jet, the AS2, designed to have a top speed of Mach 1.4. The company was exploring the possibility of flying the AS2 in a fashion that would allow it to travel at supersonic speeds over land without subjecting the people below to a sonic boom. "Boomless Cruise" was Aerion's name for the technology.

    Although we won't get to see it in action with Aerion's AS2, another supersonic hopeful might yet pursue this intriguing strategy, which merits a brief description.

    Illustration of hot and cold air for slow and fast supersonic flight during Mach Cutoff. The phenomenon of Mach cutoff requires that the air near the ground be warmer and that the plane fly not too much faster than the speed of sound. Its sonic boom would then travel downward at a shallow angle and be refracted sufficiently to stay away from the ground [left]. A plane moving faster would create a sonic boom that travels downward at an angle that is too steep to be refracted away from the ground [right].David Schneider

    The key concept is a phenomenon known as Mach cutoff, the physics of which is straightforward. When a plane flies at supersonic speeds, it outpaces the sound waves it creates. Those sounds pile up, causing a shock wave to form. That boom-inducing shock wave travels away at an angle that depends on how fast the plane is moving relative to the speed of sound. For a jet traveling at many times the speed of sound, the boom propagates at a steep angle from the flight path. For one traveling just barely faster than the speed of sound, the boom propagates at a shallow angle.

    That second situation is important here because of another bit of relevant physics: The speed of sound in air depends on temperature. At altitude, where the air is colder, sound travels more slowly than it does in the warmer air near the ground. This phenomenon causes sound waves to refract (bend) as they travel downward, just as light waves refract when moving between water and air or glass and air.

    Because of such refraction, sounds traveling downward at a sufficiently shallow angle can be bent upward enough never to impinge on the ground. Similar physics accounts for the mirages you might see when shallowly inclined rays of light are bent upward by the air just above hot asphalt, which gives them the appearance of having reflected off a puddle.

    So if an aircraft is flown not too much faster than the speed of sound, in air that is sufficiently warmer near the surface, the sonic boom it creates, loud as it might be, will never reach the ground. You can have supersonic flight without the boom.

    Society will have to weigh the environmental consequences of supersonic transport against the time savings it would offer a relatively select few travelers.

    The compromise is that the plane can't travel much faster than the speed of sound—Mach 1.1 or 1.2, tops. That isn't a big improvement over something like the Cessna's Citation X business jet, which can travel at Mach 0.94. Exploiting the Mach cutoff phenomenon commercially would also require the FAA to relax its prohibition on supersonic flight over land, which it may never do.

    The companies working hard now to bring commercial supersonic flight back understand that they have to address sonic-boom noise, one way or another. And the farthest along, Boom Technology, is also taking pains to explain how its planes can be flown with fuels that won't add to the enormous amounts of carbon that commercial aviation is already spewing into the air.

    "There are a couple of problems with that logic," says Dan Rutherford, who is aviation and shipping program director for the International Council on Clean Transportation. "First of all, once the plane is out the door, there's very little control that a manufacturer has over what fuel is used." What these aircraft manufacturers are contending is that their eventual customers are going to be willing to pay to prevent net carbon emissions. "The planes themselves are not going to be fuel efficient," says Rutherford. He and two colleagues estimated in 2018 that a commercial supersonic airliner like the one Boom is designing would likely use five to seven times as much fuel per passenger-kilometer as a comparable subsonic aircraft.

    Rutherford further notes that biomass-derived jet fuels are at least three or four times as expensive as conventional jet fuel and that synthetic jet fuel made from carbon extracted from the atmosphere will be more expensive still. Combine those higher fuel costs with the higher fuel consumption and "you start to have such high operating costs for those planes that it is very difficult to see them succeed in the market," he says.

    Rendering of NASA's X-59 aircraft flying in the sky. This past June, United Airlines announced its intention to purchase 15 Overture airliners from Boom Technology. They will presumably resemble this artist's rendering after they go into service.Boom Supersonic

    But Michael Leskinen, vice president of corporate development for United Airlines, which in early June announced plans to purchase 15 of Boom's Overture airliners, explained to IEEE Spectrum, "We'll be working to introduce and supply the market with more and more sustainable aviation fuel, and our hope is that with more supply, we'll be able to drive that cost of fuel down as well." Still, it's easy to imagine that the economic pressures would be such that, even if United sticks to using sustainable fuels, other operators would end up flying the aircraft with conventional jet fuel, boosting carbon emissions from air travel by five or more times per passenger-kilometer flown.

    But it gets worse, according to Rutherford. "If you look at the other emissions from supersonics that also warm the planet—these are the nitrogen oxides, the particulate matter, and the water vapor for supersonics operating in the stratosphere—those could be even worse for the climate, on the order of 20 times or more just because the pollution stays up in the atmosphere so much longer."

    Rutherford admits that the science of these noncarbon effects is less certain than it is for CO 2. But as was true for concerns about the ozone layer back in the 1960s, proponents of supersonic commercial aviation need to consider the deleterious effects of all the pollutants these planes create and their extended residence times at the altitudes these planes fly. Will they actually do that?

    "We're committed to being 100 percent green," Leskinen says. "That's across the spectrum of impacts that our aircraft have. And that will be no different for Overture than it is for any other aircraft we choose to operate." It's a grand promise, but even if United can keep to it, it's a promise that the company is making for 2050, not for 2029 when the Overture will be introduced.

    Larger society will have to weigh the likely environmental consequences of supersonic transport against the time savings this futuristic mode of transportation would offer a select few travelers. There are, of course, many ways this could play out over the coming decades, perhaps with different nations adopting different policies. What seems certain, however, is that Adam Smith's invisible hand will exert considerable influence, just as it did for earlier supersonic wonders: the Concorde and the space shuttle. In the end, both proved technological dead ends simply because they cost more to operate than their services were worth.

    This article appears in the November 2021 print issue as "Mach 2, Take 2."


    Match ID: 40 Score: 10.71 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 104 days
    qualifiers: 3.57 trade, 3.57 google, 1.43 development, 1.43 california, 0.71 startup

    As the omicron variant arrives in the West, wealthy countries are reaping what they sowed
    Mon, 29 Nov 2021 12:01:01 EST
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    Match ID: 41 Score: 10.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
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    Malaysians working in Singapore are holding joyful reunions with their loved ones after returning to their homeland following the partial reopening of a land border that has been shuttered for nearly two years due to the pandemic
    Match ID: 42 Score: 10.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
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    Japan bans entry of foreign visitors as omicron spreads
    Mon, 29 Nov 2021 03:38:22 EST
    As cases of a new coronavirus variant are confirmed around the world, Japan has announced it will suspend entry of all foreign visitors, joining an increasing number of countries that are tightening their borders as fear spreads of yet another extension of pandemic suffering
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    Japan shuts borders to nonresident foreigners in response to omicron variant
    Mon, 29 Nov 2021 03:25:03 EST
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    Match ID: 44 Score: 10.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
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    The big idea: Should we worry about artificial intelligence?
    Mon, 29 Nov 2021 08:00:51 GMT

    Could AI turn on us, or is natural stupidity a greater threat to humanity?

    Ever since Garry Kasparov lost his second chess match against IBM’s Deep Blue in 1997, the writing has been on the wall for humanity. Or so some like to think. Advances in artificial intelligence will lead – by some estimates, in only a few decades – to the development of superintelligent, sentient machines. Movies from The Terminator to The Matrix have portrayed this prospect as rather undesirable. But is this anything more than yet another sci-fi “Project Fear”?

    Some confusion is caused by two very different uses of the phrase artificial intelligence. The first sense is, essentially, a marketing one: anything computer software does that seems clever or usefully responsive – like Siri – is said to use “AI”. The second sense, from which the first borrows its glamour, points to a future that does not yet exist, of machines with superhuman intellects. That is sometimes called AGI, for artificial general intelligence.

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    Omicron travel bans on African countries are ‘Afrophobia,’ Malawi’s president says
    Mon, 29 Nov 2021 02:54:47 EST
    Many countries have closed their borders to travelers from southern Africa after the new virus variant was identified by South African scientists last week.
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    Leftist opposition candidate Xiomara Castro is holding a commanding lead as Hondurans appear poised to remove the conservative National Party after 12 years of continuous rule
    Match ID: 47 Score: 10.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
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    14in MacBook Pro review: putting power back in Apple’s laptop
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    New M1 Pro and Max chips, larger screen, long battery life and more ports make for huge upgrade

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    But the new 14in and 16in models are no longer machines for the average consumer. Costing from £1,899 ($1,999 or A$2,999) they are workstation laptops for creative pros and developers and priced accordingly. They leave the excellent £999 M1 MacBook Air as Apple’s foremost consumer laptop.

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    Fundos de aposentadoria nos EUA especulam com a destruição da Amazônia
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    The post Fundos de aposentadoria nos EUA especulam com a destruição da Amazônia appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 49 Score: 10.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
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    U.S. will miss electric-vehicle targets without big investments in semiconductor manufacturing, commerce secretary warns
    Mon, 29 Nov 2021 01:01:00 EST
    The Biden administration wants half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 to be zero-emissions vehicles, including electric, plug-in hybrid or fuel cell electric vehicles.
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    ‘I owe an enormous debt to therapy!’ Rita Moreno on West Side Story, dating Brando and joy at 90
    Mon, 29 Nov 2021 06:00:49 GMT

    She overcame racism and abuse to break Hollywood, romanced Brando, dated Elvis to make him jealous, fought hard for civil rights and won an Egot. Now in her 10th decade, she is busier and happier than ever

    Rita Moreno pops up on my computer screen in a bright red hat, huge pendant necklace and tortoiseshell glasses. “Well, here I am in my full glory,” she says from her home in Berkeley, California. And glorious she sure is. Moreno is a couple of weeks short of her 90th birthday, but look at her and you would knock off 20 years. Listen to her and you would knock off another 50.

    Can I wish you an advance happy birthday, I ask. “Yes, you can. Isn’t it exciting?” Moreno is one of the acting greats. But she could have been so much greater. She is one of only six women to have bagged the Egot (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards), alongside Helen Hayes, Audrey Hepburn, Barbra Streisand, Whoopi Goldberg and Liza Minnelli. Yet she has spent much of her career battling typecasting or simply not being cast at all.

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    Match ID: 51 Score: 10.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
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    The Papers: Boosters 'for all adults' amid 'fight to save Xmas'
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    The 43 Best Cyber Monday Deals at Amazon This Year
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    Miss Manners: My partner’s daughter took all the best Thanksgiving leftovers
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    Ask Amy: I was ready to move to another continent for my relationship before she dumped me
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    21 Best Cyber Monday Deals on Amazon Devices
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    Microsoft expands cloud services with two new datacenters in Wyoming submitted by /u/ourlifeintoronto
    [link] [comments]

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    All the best Cyber Monday 2021 video game deals we can find, in one place
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    Match ID: 59 Score: 10.00 source: arstechnica.com age: 0 days
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    Travelers have been left stuck abroad, desperately trying to get home amid a slew of cancelations, while others are scratching plans to see loved ones in other countries — for many the latest in a series of pandemic-induced travel frustrations.
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    The 46 Best Cyber Monday Deals at Best Buy
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 20:00:00 +0000
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    Where to order the best panettone this holiday season
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 11:00:49 EST
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    We transformed a London borough into a game to get fewer people traveling by car
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 14:30:19 +0000
    Here's what happened.
    Match ID: 64 Score: 10.00 source: arstechnica.com age: 0 days
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    Boris Johnson announces tougher entry rules after 2 cases of omicron detected in the U.K.
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 09:19:46 EST
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    Match ID: 65 Score: 10.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
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    Solution to Evan Birnholz’s Nov. 28 Post Magazine crossword, “What’s Wrong With This Picture?”
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 09:00:12 EST
    Picture imperfect.
    Match ID: 66 Score: 10.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
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    How Foundation preserved Asimov’s big ideas while bringing the story to vivid life
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 13:00:21 +0000
    Ars chats with showrunner David S. Goyer and science advisor Kevin Hand
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    Can the Gambia turn the tide to save its shrinking beaches?
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 13:00:27 GMT

    In a developing country reliant on its tourist industry, the rapidly eroding ‘smiling coast’ shows the urgent need for action on climate change

    When Saikou Demba was a young man starting out in the hospitality business, he opened a little hotel on the Gambian coast called the Leybato and ran a beach bar on the wide expanse of golden sand. The hotel is still there, a relaxed spot where guests can lie in hammocks beneath swaying palm trees and stroll along shell-studded pathways. But the beach bar is not. At high tide, Demba reckons it would be about five or six metres into the sea.

    “The first year the tide came in high but it was OK,” he says. “The second year, the tide came in high but it was OK. The third year, I came down one day and it [the bar] wasn’t there: half of it went into the sea.”

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    Match ID: 72 Score: 10.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
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    Israel bars all foreigners, reinstates phone surveillance in effort to contain omicron variant
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    The 26-year-old was apprehended and brought to a hospital, Customs and Border Protection said.
    Match ID: 75 Score: 10.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
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    Channel crossings: who would make such a dangerous journey – and why?
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    Most of the people who reach the UK after risking their lives in small boats have their claims for asylum approved

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    Match ID: 77 Score: 10.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
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    Reader is sympathetic to her sister who has been widowed for 20 years. But she keeps insisting on including herself in couple’s plans.
    Match ID: 78 Score: 10.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
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    The best smartwatches and fitness tracker deals for Black Friday weekend [Updated]
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    Many of our top wearable picks are seeing strong discounts this week.
    Match ID: 79 Score: 10.00 source: arstechnica.com age: 1 day
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    The 43 Best Black Friday Deals at Amazon This Year
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    The best Black Friday 2021 weekend deals on Apple devices
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    Apple's gotten in on the Black Friday action, offering gift cards on many of its most popular devices.
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    For Clarence Thomas, avowed critic of Roe v. Wade, Mississippi abortion case a moment long awaited
    Sat, 27 Nov 2021 18:57:44 EST
    The most conservative Supreme Court in decades on Wednesday will consider the state’s restrictive law, which opponents and advocates alike agree is almost impossible to square with precedent.
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    Ghislaine Maxwell trial set to open in New York, two years after Jeffrey Epstein’s jailhouse suicide
    Sat, 27 Nov 2021 12:00:00 EST
    Maxwell, a longtime companion to Epstein, allegedly helped recruit and groom his young sex abuse victims.
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    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: 84 Score: 10.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 1 day
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    Biden’s challenge, gamble and wish set the table for the 2022 elections
    Sat, 27 Nov 2021 10:20:32 EST
    Biden hasn’t received credit for what he’s accomplished and hasn’t done all he said he would. Now a new coronavirus variant adds uncertainty to the months ahead.
    Match ID: 85 Score: 10.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
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    6 easy, satisfying snacks for weekend grazing
    Sat, 27 Nov 2021 10:00:10 EST
    If you're looking for something fun and filling to eat on the weekend but don't want a whole meal, try these satisfying snack recipes.
    Match ID: 86 Score: 10.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
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    The 53 Best Black Friday Deals at Best Buy
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    The retailer's holiday sale event is in full swing, with discounts on smart speakers, watches, headphones, laptops, and more.
    Match ID: 87 Score: 10.00 source: www.wired.com age: 1 day
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    The Pentagon Has Set Up a UFO Office
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    Plus: An Apple lawsuit, a GoDaddy breach, and more of the week's top security news.
    Match ID: 88 Score: 10.00 source: www.wired.com age: 1 day
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    ‘It’s critical’: can Microsoft make good on its climate ambitions?
    Sat, 27 Nov 2021 13:00:04 GMT

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    When the UN’s landmark climate report was released in 2018, calling for urgent and unprecedented changes, Microsoft executives were told to “commit it to memory”, said Elizabeth Willmott, who leads the company’s carbon program. “And so we did.”

    The report warned the world must reach net-zero emissions by 2050 in order to avert catastrophic climate change. To achieve this, not only must the emissions released by countries and companies be dramatically curtailed, but billions of tons of carbon dioxide must be sucked out of the atmosphere.

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    Honduras vote raises fears of violence at ‘key moment’ for Central America
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    ‘Afghan Girl’ from National Geographic cover evacuated to Rome, Italian government says
    Sat, 27 Nov 2021 07:25:31 EST
    Gula's penetrating stare made her a symbol of refugees and conflict in the 1980s.
    Match ID: 91 Score: 10.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
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    ‘We will start again’: Afghan female MPs fight on from parliament in exile
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    ‘You’ve got to prepare for the worst’: World responds to new variant’s arrival
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    White House officials, vaccine manufacturers say they are sprinting to stave off omicron.
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    Match ID: 96 Score: 10.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
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    While once Jamba could have expected to harvest enough rice to last the whole year, this year she reckons it will last three to four months. After that, she will have to look elsewhere for a way to feed her family and make enough money to live.

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    Miss Manners: Friend snooped in a closet to see if we used a gift he gave us
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    Ask Amy: Your dear friend is stuck in ‘high school drama.’ Is it wrong to cut her off?
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    Rep. Ilhan Omar calls for ‘appropriate action’ to be taken against Rep. Lauren Boebert after she shared anti-Muslim story
    Fri, 26 Nov 2021 19:50:18 EST
    Match ID: 104 Score: 10.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 2 days
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    The display, which is outside this year, highlights farms from around the world.
    Match ID: 105 Score: 10.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 2 days
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    Tesla forced to turn down €1.1 billion in EU support for German battery plant
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    Match ID: 108 Score: 10.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 2 days
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    Wedbush analyst Dan Ives sees Apple selling more than 10 million iPhones over Black Friday weekend
    Fri, 26 Nov 2021 16:03:18 GMT

    Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said Friday he estimates that Apple Inc. is on pace to sell more than 10 million iPhones over the Black Friday weekend, setting it up to sell about 40 million units between now and Christmas. That's despite the global chip shortage that is impacting supply, Ives wrote in a note to clients. "We are seeing shortages in many Apple stores with iPhone 13 Pro (Sierra Blue and Gold the most popular), as we estimate right now demand is outstripping supply for overall iPhone 13 units globally by roughly 15% heading into this holiday season," the analyst wrote. "Despite the chip shortage and Rubik's Cube logistics that Apple (and every other technology, auto, and retail vendor) is dealing with we are seeing tremendous demand trends both in the US and China for iPhone 13 which is a positive sign that Apple could exceed selling 80 million iPhone units in the quarter with stronger Pro versions driving higher ASPs." In China alone, Ives estimates there are about 15 million iPhone 13 upgrades due for the December quarter, as the region continues to be a major source of strength to Apple heading into 2022. Ives is sticking with his outperform rating on the stock and $185 price target. Shares were down 1.5% in a falling market, but are up 18.5% in the year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 14%.

    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.


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    Myanmar junta accused of forcing people to brink of starvation
    Fri, 26 Nov 2021 13:58:52 GMT

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    Proposed UK Law Bans Default Passwords
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    Following California’s lead, a new UK law would ban default passwords in IoT devices.


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    The Guide #10: the enduring appeal of the Beatles
    Fri, 26 Nov 2021 11:48:17 GMT

    In this week’s newsletter, why Peter Jackson’s eight-hour documentary proves the band still have a vice-like grip on our culture

    If you have already streamed any of The Beatles: Get Back, Peter Jackson’s mammoth documentary on the Fab Four’s Let It Be sessions, you will have probably marvelled at how alive it all looks: helped by Jackson and his team’s restorative whizzery, John, Paul, George and Ringo seem right there, noodling, improvising, gently ribbing each other (George seems to bear the brunt of it). Discount the odd contemporaneous reference to Enoch Powell or Zsa Zsa Gabor, not to mention some extremely late-60s fashions, and it often feels like you’re watching it live.

    Of course, the fact that Jackson had to use those restorative techniques – the same he used on his first world war doc They Shall Not Grow Old – to bring the Beatles rushing to the present is a pretty striking illustration of how long ago those sessions were. Today, nearly as much time has passed since the release of Let It Be, as had passed between the end of the first world war and the album’s arrival. Microprocessors, space stations, video recorders (let alone DVDs, USB sticks or the concept of streaming an entire eight-hour miniseries on the Beatles), Mark Wahlberg: none of these things were around when the Beatles were.

    Continue reading...
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    The 9 best deals on noise-canceling headphones we’re seeing for Black Friday
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    Match ID: 114 Score: 8.57 source: arstechnica.com age: 3 days
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    Stephen K. Bannon files motion to request all documents in court case be made public
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    Match ID: 116 Score: 8.57 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 3 days
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    How to talk about politics this Thanksgiving
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    qualifiers: 8.57 amazon

    No Antenna Could Survive Europa’s Brutal, Radioactive Environment—Until Now
    Wed, 21 Jul 2021 20:30:00 +0000


    Europa, one of Jupiter's Galilean moons, has twice as much liquid water as Earth's oceans, if not more. An ocean estimated to be anywhere from 40 to 100 miles (60 to 150 kilometers) deep spans the entire moon, locked beneath an icy surface over a dozen kilometers thick. The only direct evidence for this ocean is the plumes of water that occasionally erupt through cracks in the ice, jetting as high as 200 km above the surface.

    The endless, sunless, roiling ocean of Europa might sound astoundingly bleak. Yet it's one of the most promising candidates for finding extraterrestrial life. Designing a robotic lander that can survive such harsh conditions will require rethinking all of its systems to some extent, including arguably its most important: communications. After all, even if the rest of the lander works flawlessly, if the radio or antenna breaks, the lander is lost forever.

    Ultimately, when NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where I am a senior antenna engineer, began to seriously consider a Europa lander mission, we realized that the antenna was the limiting factor. The antenna needs to maintain a direct-to-Earth link across more than 550 million miles (900 million km) when Earth and Jupiter are at their point of greatest separation. The antenna must be radiation-hardened enough to survive an onslaught of ionizing particles from Jupiter, and it cannot be so heavy or so large that it would imperil the lander during takeoff and landing. One colleague, when we laid out the challenge in front of us, called it impossible. We built such an antenna anyway—and although it was designed for Europa, it is a revolutionary enough design that we're already successfully implementing it in future missions for other destinations in the solar system.

    Currently, the only planned mission to Europa is the Clipper orbiter, a NASA mission that will study the moon's chemistry and geology and will likely launch in 2024. Clipper will also conduct reconnaissance for a potential later mission to put a lander on Europa. At this time, any such lander is conceptual. NASA has still funded a Europa lander concept, however, because there are crucial new technologies that we need to develop for any successful mission on the icy world. Europa is unlike anywhere else we've attempted to land before.

    People standing in front of an antenna.  The antenna team, including the author (right), examine one of the antenna's subarrays. Each golden square is a unit cell in the antenna. JPL-Caltech/NASA

    For context, so far the only lander to explore the outer solar system is the European Space Agency's Huygens lander. It successfully descended to Saturn's moon Titan in 2005 after being carried by the Cassini orbiter. Much of our frame of reference for designing landers—and their antennas—comes from Mars landers.

    Traditionally, landers (and rovers) designed for Mars missions rely on relay orbiters with high data rates to get scientific data back to Earth in a timely manner. These orbiters, such as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Odyssey, have large, parabolic antennas that use large amounts of power, on the order of 100 watts, to communicate with Earth. While the Perseverance and Curiosity rovers also have direct-to-Earth antennas, they are small, use less power (about 25 W), and are not very efficient. These antennas are mostly used for transmitting the rover's status and other low-data updates. These existing direct-to-Earth antennas simply aren't up to the task of communicating all the way from Europa.

    Additionally, Europa, unlike Mars, has virtually no atmosphere, so landers can't use parachutes or air resistance to slow down. Instead, the lander will depend entirely on rockets to brake and land safely. This necessity limits how big it can be—too heavy and it will require far too much fuel to both launch and land. A modestly sized 400-kilogram lander, for example, requires a rocket and fuel that combined weigh between 10 to 15 tonnes. The lander then needs to survive six or seven years of deep space travel before finally landing and operating within the intense radiation produced by Jupiter's powerful magnetic field.

    We also can't assume a Europa lander would have an orbiter overhead to relay signals, because adding an orbiter could very easily make the mission too expensive. Even if Clipper is miraculously still functional by the time a lander arrives, we won't assume that will be the case, as the lander would arrive well after Clipper's official end-of-mission date.

    JPL engineers pose with a mock-up of a Europa lander concept JPL engineers, including the author (bottom row on left), pose with a mock-up of a Europa lander concept. The model includes several necessary technological developments, including the antenna on top and legs that can handle uneven terrain. JPL-Caltech/NASA

    I've mentioned previously that the antenna will need to transmit signals up to 900 million km. As a general rule, less efficient antennas need a larger surface area to transmit farther. But as the lander won't have an orbiter overhead with a large relay antenna, and it won't be big enough itself for a large antenna, it needs a small antenna with a transmission efficiency of 80 percent or higher—much more efficient than most space-bound antennas.

    So, to reiterate the challenge: The antenna cannot be large, because then the lander will be too heavy. It cannot be inefficient for the same reason, because requiring more power would necessitate bulky power systems instead. And it needs to survive exposure to a brutal amount of radiation from Jupiter. This last point requires that the antenna must be mostly, if not entirely, made out of metal, because metals are more resistant to ionizing radiation.

    The antenna we ultimately developed depends on a key innovation: The antenna is made up of circularly polarized, aluminum-only unit cells—more on this in a moment—that can each send and receive on X-band frequencies (specifically, 7.145 to 7.19 gigahertz for the uplink and 8.4 to 8.45 GHz for the downlink). The entire antenna is an array of these unit cells, 32 on a side or 1,024 in total. The antenna is 32.5 by 32.5 inches (82.5 by 82.5 centimeters), allowing it to fit on top of a modestly sized lander, and it can achieve a downlink rate to Earth of 33 kilobits per second at 80 percent efficiency.

    Let's take a closer look at the unit cells I mentioned, to better understand how this antenna does what it does. Circular polarization is commonly used for space communications. You might be more familiar with linear polarization, which is often used for terrestrial wireless signals; you can imagine such a signal propagating across a distance as a 2D sine wave that's oriented, say, vertically or horizontally relative to the ground. Circular polarization instead propagates as a 3D helix. This helix pattern makes circular polarization useful for deep space communications because the helix's larger “cross section" doesn't require that the transmitter and receiver be as precisely aligned. As you can imagine, a superprecise alignment across almost 750 million km is all but impossible. Circular polarization has the added benefit of being less sensitive to Earth's weather when it arrives. Rain, for example, causes linearly polarized signals to attenuate more quickly than circularly polarized ones.

    This exploded view of an 8-by-8 subarray of the antenna This exploded view of an 8-by-8 subarray of the antenna shows the unit cells (top layer) that work together to create steerable signal beams, and the three layers of the power divider sandwiched between the antenna's casing. JPL-Caltech/NASA

    Each unit cell, as mentioned, is entirely made of aluminum. Earlier antenna arrays that similarly use smaller component cells include dielectric materials like ceramic or glass to act as insulators. Unfortunately, dielectric materials are also vulnerable to Jupiter's ionizing radiation. The radiation builds up a charge on the materials over time, and precisely because they're insulators there's nowhere for that charge to go—until it's ultimately released in a hardware-damaging electrostatic discharge. So we can't use them.

    As mentioned before, metals are more resilient to ionizing radiation. The problem is they're not insulators, and so an antenna constructed entirely out of metal is ­­still at risk of an electrostatic discharge damaging its components. We worked around this problem by designing each unit cell to be fed at a single point. The “feed" is the connection between an antenna and the radio's transmitter and receiver. Typically, circularly polarized antennas require two perpendicular feeds to control the signal generation. But with a bit of careful engineering and the use of a type of automated optimization called a genetic algorithm, we developed a precisely shaped single feed that could get the job done. Meanwhile, a comparatively large metal post acts as a ground to protect each feed from electrostatic discharges.

    The unit cells are placed in small 8-by-8 subarrays, 16 subarrays in total. Each of these subarrays is fed with something we call a suspended air stripline, in which the transmission line is suspended between two ground planes, turning the gap in between into a dielectric insulator. We can then safely transmit power through the stripline while still protecting the line from electric discharges that would build up on a dielectric like ceramic or glass. Additionally, suspended air striplines are low loss, which is perfect for the highly efficient antenna design we wanted.

    Put together, the new antenna design accomplishes three things: It's highly efficient, it can handle a large amount of power, and it's not very sensitive to temperature fluctuations. Removing traditional dielectric materials in favor of air striplines and an aluminum-only design gives us high efficiency. It's also a phased array, which means it uses a cluster of smaller antennas to create steerable, tightly focused signals. The nature of such an array is that each individual cell needs to handle only a fraction of the total transmission power. So while each individual cell can handle only a few watts, each subarray can handle more than 100 watts. And finally, because the antenna is made of metal, it expands and contracts uniformly as the temperature changes. In fact, one of the reasons we picked aluminum is because the metal does not expand or contract much as temperatures change.

    The power divider for an 8-by-8 subarray The power divider for an 8-by-8 subarray splits the signal power into a fraction that each unit cell can tolerate without being damaged. JPL-Caltech/NASA

    When I originally proposed this antenna concept to the Europa lander project, I was met with skepticism. Space exploration is typically a very risk-averse endeavor, for good reason—the missions are expensive, and a single mistake can end one prematurely. For this reason, new technologies may be dismissed in favor of tried-and-true methods. But this situation was different because without a new antenna design, there would never be a Europa mission. The rest of my team and I were given the green light to prove the antenna could work.

    Designing, fabricating, and testing the antenna took only 6 months. To put that in context, the typical development cycle for a new space technology is measured in years. The results were outstanding. Our antenna achieved the 80 percent efficiency threshold on both the send and receive frequency bands, despite being smaller and lighter than other antennas.

    In order to prove how successful our antenna could be, we subjected it to a battery of extreme environmental tests, including a handful of tests specific to Europa's atypical environment.

    One test is what we call thermal cycling. For this test, we place the antenna in a room called a thermal chamber and adjust the temperature over a large range—as low as –170 ℃ and as high as 150 ℃. We put the antenna through multiple temperature cycles, measuring its transmitting capabilities before, during, and after each cycle. The antenna passed this test without any issues.

    Photo of unit cells Each unit cell is pure aluminum. Collectively, they create a steerable signal by canceling out one another's signals in unwanted directions and reinforcing the signal in the desired direction. JPL-Caltech/NASA

    The antenna also needed to demonstrate, like any piece of hardware that goes into space, resilience against vibrations. Rockets—and everything they're carrying into space—shake intensely during launch, which means we need to be sure that anything that goes up doesn't come apart on the trip. For the vibration test, we loaded the entire antenna onto a vibrating table. We used accelerometers at different locations on the antenna to determine if it was holding up or breaking apart under the vibrations. Over the course of the test, we ramped up the vibrations to the point where they approximate a launch.

    Thermal cycling and vibration tests are standard tests for the hardware on any spacecraft, but as I mentioned, Europa's challenging environment required a few additional nonstandard tests. We typically do some tests in anechoic chambers for antennas. You may recognize anechoic chambers as those rooms with wedge-covered surfaces to absorb any signal reflections. An anechoic chamber makes it possible for us to determine the antenna's signal propagation over extremely long distances by eliminating interference from local reflections. One way to think about it is that the anechoic chamber simulates a wide open space, so we can measure the signal's propagation and extrapolate how it will look over a longer distance.

    What made this particular anechoic chamber test interesting is that it was also conducted at ultralow temperatures. We couldn't make the entire chamber that cold, so we instead placed the antenna in a sealed foam box. The foam is transparent to the antenna's radio transmissions, so from the point of view of the actual test, it wasn't there. But by connecting the foam box to a heat exchange plate filled with liquid nitrogen, we could lower the temperature inside it to –170 ℃. To our delight, we found that the antenna had robust long-range signal propagation even at that frigid temperature.

    The last unusual test for this antenna was to bombard it with electrons in order to simulate Jupiter's intense radiation. We used JPL's Dynamitron electron accelerator to subject the antenna to the entire ionizing radiation dose the antenna would see during its lifetime in a shortened time frame. In other words, in the span of two days in the accelerator, the antenna was exposed to the same amount of radiation as it would be during the six- or seven-year trip to Europa, plus up to 40 days on the surface. Like the anechoic chamber testing, we also conducted this test at cryogenic temperatures that were as close to those of Europa's surface conditions as possible.

    Photo of antenna in an anechoic chamber with the antenna in a white foam box. The antenna had to pass signal tests at cryogenic temperatures (–170 °C) to confirm that it would work as expected on Europa's frigid surface. Because it wasn't possible to bring the temperature of the entire anechoic chamber to cryogenic levels, the antenna was sealed in a white foam box. JPL-Caltech/NASA

    The reason for the electron bombardment test was our concern that Jupiter's ionizing radiation would cause a dangerous electrostatic discharge at the antenna's port, where it connects to the rest of the lander's communications hardware. Theoretically, the danger of such a discharge grows as the antenna spends more time exposed to ionizing radiation. If a discharge happens, it could damage not just the antenna but also hardware deeper in the communications system and possibly elsewhere in the lander. Thankfully, we didn't measure any discharges during our test, which confirms that the antenna can survive both the trip to and work on Europa.

    We designed and tested this antenna for Europa, but we believe it can be used for missions elsewhere in the solar system. We're already tweaking the design for the joint JPL/ESA Mars Sample Return mission that—as the name implies—will bring Martian rocks, soil, and atmospheric samples back to Earth. The mission is currently slated to launch in 2026. We see no reason why our antenna design couldn't be used on every future Mars lander or rover as a more robust alternative—one that could also increase data rates 4 to 16 times those of current antenna designs. We also could use it on future moon missions to provide high data rates.

    Although there isn't an approved Europa lander mission yet, we at JPL will be ready if and when it happens. Other engineers have pursued different projects that are also necessary for such a mission. For example, some have developed a new, multilegged landing system to touch down safely on uncertain or unstable surfaces. Others have created a “belly pan" that will protect vulnerable hardware from Europa's cold. Still others have worked on an intelligent landing system, radiation-tolerant batteries, and more. But the antenna remains perhaps the most vital system, because without it there will be no way for the lander to communicate how well any of these other systems are working. Without a working antenna, the lander will never be able to tell us whether we could have living neighbors on Europa.

    This article appears in the August 2021 print issue as “An Antenna Made for an Icy, Radioactive Hell."

    During the editorial process some errors were introduced to this article and have been corrected on 27 July 2021. We originally misstated the amount of power used by Mars orbiters and the Europa antenna design, as well as the number of unit cells in each subarray. We also incorrectly suggested that the Europa antenna design would not require a gimbal or need to reorient itself in order to stay in contact with Earth.


    Match ID: 118 Score: 8.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 130 days
    qualifiers: 7.14 genetic, 1.43 development

    Polyp removed from Biden’s colon requires ‘no further action,’ doctor says
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 22:30:00 EST
    Biden’s physician described it as “a potentially precancerous lesion” and recommended that “routine surveillance” should continue.
    Match ID: 119 Score: 7.14 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 4 days
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    Rep. Greene introduces bill to award Congress’s highest honor to Kyle Rittenhouse, who fatally shot two men
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    Match ID: 120 Score: 7.14 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 4 days
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    Democrats’ disappointing performance in Virginia should be wake-up call for party, report says
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    Match ID: 121 Score: 7.14 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 4 days
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    Data released Wednesday showed differences among government agencies as federal workers were prodded to vaccinate by a Biden administration mandate.
    Match ID: 122 Score: 7.14 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 7.14 amazon

    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 solar wind, 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: 123 Score: 7.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 7.14 california

    Paying Tribute to Former IEEE President Richard Gowen
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 19:00:01 +0000

    Richard Gowen, 1984 IEEE president, died on 12 November at the age of 86.

    An active volunteer who held many high-level positions throughout the organization, Gowen was president of the IEEE Foundation from 2005 to 2011 and two years later was appointed as president emeritus of the IEEE Foundation. He was also past chair of the IEEE History Committee.


    "I, along with the IEEE staff and Board of Directors are deeply saddened by this loss," says Susan K. (Kathy) Land, 2021 IEEE president and CEO. "Dick served not only as IEEE president but was a dedicated advocate of the IEEE Foundation and a strong champion of the IEEE History Center. I know I speak for both the members of IEEE and supporters of the IEEE Foundation in extending our sincere sympathies to his family and colleagues."

    Photo of a man in a dark jacket and red tie. IEEE Foundation

    At the time of death, he was president and CEO of Dakota Power, a company in Rapid City, S.D., that develops lightweight electric drive systems for military and civilian use.

    EDUCATION

    Gowen was born in New Brunswick, N.J., and received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1957 from Rutgers University there. While at Rutgers, he participated in the school's ROTC.

    After graduating, he joined RCA Laboratories in Princeton, N.J., as a researcher but was called to active duty by the U.S. Air Force. He was a communications electronics officer at Yaak Air Force Station, in Montana. While there, he applied to join the electrical engineering faculty at the Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was accepted, and the academy sponsored his postgraduate studies at Iowa State University, in Ames. He earned a master's degree in electrical engineering in 1959 and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering in 1962.

    For his doctoral research, he developed an engineering model of the cardiovascular system. His project led to the development of a device worn on a person's finger that measures blood pressure during physical exercise. He was granted his first U.S. patent for the technology.

    ASSISTING NASA

    Gowen began his academic career in 1962 as an electrical engineering professor at the Air Force Academy. He was selected in 1966 to be an astronaut in NASA's Apollo 1 program but withdrew after suffering a back injury that left him unable to walk.

    After undergoing an operation that restored his ability to walk, he returned to the academy. In addition to teaching, he led a research team to develop technology that could help NASA study the effects of weightlessness on astronauts' cardiovascular systems. The research was being conducted at a new lab NASA and the Air Force built at the academy.

    Gowen and his team worked with the astronauts of the Apollo and Skylab missions to virtually test and evaluate physiological changes that might have occurred during their long space missions. His research led to the development of the lower body negative pressure device, which can vary the transfer of fluids from the upper body to the lower body. It gave the research team "the ability to evaluate the movement of fluids on the cardiovascular system," Gowen wrote in an article about the research on the Engineering Technology and History Wiki.

    The device is now on display in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian National Space and Air Museum.

    Gowen served as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Defense while at the academy. He retired in 1977 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

    He joined the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, in Rapid City, in 1977 as vice president and dean of engineering. He left seven years later to serve as president of Dakota State College, now Dakota State University, in Madison, S.D.

    In 1987 he returned to South Dakota Mines as its president. Under his leadership, new engineering programs were created and graduate research projects were expanded. He also increased the number of projects that were conducted in collaboration with NASA and the U.S. military.

    After he retired from the school in 2003 he was appointed as a member of the South Dakota Department of Education. In that role, he was active in encouraging more Native Americans to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

    After retiring, he led the conversion of the Homestake gold mine, in Lead, S.D., into a scientific laboratory in 2003 at the request of the U.S. National Science Foundation. The Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory opened in 2009.

    Gowen was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2012 for his work in expanding academic research and STEM education.

    He helped found Dakota Power in 2007.

    ACTIVE VOLUNTEER

    Gowen joined IEEE in 1956 to give back to the engineering profession, gain leadership skills, and serve on boards and committees, according to the Wiki article.

    He was active in the IEEE Denver Section and was a founding member of the IEEE Pikes Peak Section, in Colorado Springs. He was the 1976 Region 5 director and a member of several boards including the IEEE Regional Activities board (now the IEEE Member and Geographic Activities board), the IEEE Standards Association Standards Board, and the IEEE Technical Activities board.

    "Over several decades, Dick made enormous contributions to IEEE, the IEEE Foundation, and the engineering profession," says IEEE Life Fellow Lyle Feisel, director emeritus of the IEEE Foundation. "He was a risk-taker who saw solutions where others saw only problems. Above all, he had enthusiasm, often belied by his low-key approach."

    Gowen was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 1981 in recognition of his contributions to space research and education. He played a major role in the merger of IEEE and Eta Kappa Nu to form the IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu honor society. Gowen was elevated in 2002 to eminent member of IEEE-HKN.

    He and his wife, Nancy, were avid supporters of the IEEE Foundation and IEEE History Center. Last year, thanks to their generous donation, the History Center was able to complete its GPS collection on its Engineering and Technology History Wiki. Now oral histories from all four GPS fathers—Brad Parkinson, James Spilker, Richard Schwartz, and Hugo Fruehauf—are available online.

    The Gowens were also members of the IEEE Heritage Circle and the IEEE Goldsmith Legacy League. The Heritage Circle acknowledges members who have pledged more than US $10,000 to support IEEE programs. Legacy League members have pledged money to the IEEE Foundation through a bequest in their will, trust, life insurance policy, or retirement plan.

    "Dick's contributions to IEEE and the IEEE Foundation were far-reaching, impactful, and impossible to measure," Karen Galuchie, IEEE Foundation executive director, says. "He was known as a servant leader and tirelessly dedicated his time, talent, and treasure to making IEEE stronger and more productive. His impression on IEEE will last forever."

    Gifts can be made in Gowen's memory to a variety of IEEE's philanthropic programs that were important to him such as the IEEE Foundation Fund, the IEEE History Center, and IEEE-HKN. The Gowen family will be notified of your donation unless you make your gift anonymously, according to Galuchie.


    Match ID: 124 Score: 7.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 7.14 development

    Nashville DA’s Office Seeks to Vacate Claude Garrett’s 29-Year-Old Murder Conviction
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 18:55:18 +0000

    A reinvestigation of the case “dismantles every single piece of evidence previously believed to inculpate Garrett,” the director of the DA’s Conviction Review Unit wrote.

    The post Nashville DA’s Office Seeks to Vacate Claude Garrett’s 29-Year-Old Murder Conviction appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 125 Score: 7.14 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 7.14 development

    What the Supreme Court justices have said about abortion and Roe v. Wade
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 13:00:02 EST
    On Dec. 1, the Supreme Court will consider a Mississippi law that could overturn Roe v. Wade — the 1973 ruling establishing a nationwide right to abortion. Here's what we know about where each justice stands on the issue.
    Match ID: 126 Score: 7.14 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 7.14 amazon

    Apple Sues NSO Group
    2021-11-24T15:29:13Z

    Piling more on NSO Group’s legal troubles, Apple is suing it:

    The complaint provides new information on how NSO Group infected victims’ devices with its Pegasus spyware. To prevent further abuse and harm to its users, Apple is also seeking a permanent injunction to ban NSO Group from using any Apple software, services, or devices.

    NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware is favored by totalitarian governments around the world, who use it to hack Apple phones and computers.

    More news:

    Apple’s legal complaint provides new information on NSO Group’s FORCEDENTRY, an exploit for a now-patched vulnerability previously used to break into a victim’s Apple device and install the latest version of NSO Group’s spyware product, Pegasus. The exploit was originally identified by the Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto. ...


    Match ID: 127 Score: 7.14 source: www.schneier.com age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 7.14 apple

    U.S. Court Issues Landmark Ruling on Paramilitary Violence in Colombia
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 15:02:00 +0000

    In a civil lawsuit, the court found that the paramilitaries operated in a “symbiotic relationship” with U.S.-funded Colombian forces.

    The post U.S. Court Issues Landmark Ruling on Paramilitary Violence in Colombia appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 128 Score: 7.14 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 7.14 development

    What Democrats need to do to maintain power in 2022
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 09:00:45 EST
    It's the economy, stupid
    Match ID: 129 Score: 7.14 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 7.14 amazon

    Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine wins full approval in Canada in first major regulatory nod
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 13:03:03 GMT

    Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday its one-dose COVID-19 vaccine has been granted full approval by Health Canada, marking its first major regulatory approval. The vaccine has been granted an emergency use authorization in the U.S. So far, only the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and German partner BioNTech SE has gained full approval from the U.S. regulator, the Food and Drug Administration, in an August decision. A full approval allows the vaccine to be mandated by companies and institutions and experts were hopeful it would help persuade unvaccinated people that the vaccine is safe and effective. "As vaccination rates continue to climb, a vaccine that prevents severe disease and protects against COVID-related hospitalization and death will help ease the strain on healthcare systems and is an important option for people in Canada and around the world," said Mathai Mammen, M.D., Ph.D., global head, Janssen Research & Development, Johnson & Johnson, in a statement. J&J shares were slightly lower premarket, but have gained 2% in the year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 17% and the S&P 500 has gained 25%.

    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: 130 Score: 7.14 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 7.14 development

    Westlake Chemical buys Hexion Epoxy for $1.2 billion
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 12:23:15 GMT

    Westlake Chemical Corp. on Wednesday said it agreed to buy Hexion Inc.'s global epoxy business for about $1.2 billion. The Rotterdam, Netherlands business rang up $1.5 billion sales in the 12 months ended Sept. 30. Hexion Epoxy operates on three continents with eight manufacturing plants and five research and development labs in Asia, Europe and the U.S. Shares of Westlake Chemical are up 22.5% this year, compared to a rise of24.9% by the S&P 500.

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


    Match ID: 131 Score: 7.14 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 7.14 development

    With federal oversight in short supply, state AGs step in to probe troubled police
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 06:00:00 EST
    Four state attorneys general were recently empowered to investigate civil rights abuses in local departments.
    Match ID: 132 Score: 7.14 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 7.14 amazon

    Inside the controversial world of animal testing: 'It's not putting lipstick on a kitten' - video
    Wed, 10 Nov 2021 13:43:59 GMT

    No animal industry attracts more criticism than research, where emotive images of lab rats, vivisection and cosmetic testing rub up against medical breakthroughs, genetic research and treatment for disease. The Guardian's Richard Sprenger visits three research labs to find out how the use of animals for research continues to evolve, and why the current conversation about sentience provides a bedrock for animal welfare 

    Continue reading...
    Match ID: 133 Score: 7.14 source: www.theguardian.com age: 18 days
    qualifiers: 7.14 genetic

    Stocks to Watch: Google, Barnes & Noble are stocks to watch Wednesday
    Wed, 25 Jun 2014 16:17:02 GMT
    Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Wednesday’s session are Google Inc., and Barnes and Noble Inc.

    Match ID: 134 Score: 7.14 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 2713 days
    qualifiers: 3.57 trade, 3.57 google

    The Chip Shortage Hurts Auto Sales a Lot, Consumer Electronics Only a Little
    Mon, 22 Nov 2021 16:00:01 +0000


    Hot consumer tech is hard to snag this holiday season. Get used to it.

    New-car shoppers in the United States, China, and everywhere else face slim inventory and dealers unwilling to budge on price. It's all because of the global chip shortage, which has prompted the Biden administration to support legislation that includes US $52 billion in federal subsidies for U.S. semiconductor manufacturing.


    But the problem extends far beyond new cars. A report by The Information found that 70 percent of wireless retail stores in the United States faced smartphone shortages. Graphics card pricing remains well above the manufacturer's suggested retail level and shows no sign of retreat. Game consoles are drawing hundreds-long lines a full year after launch. Televisions are both more expensive and more difficult to find than last year.

    You might think this a temporary, COVID-related supply-chain shortfall, but no. The problem is not the number of PlayStation 5 consoles in stock. The problem is the people in line ahead of you.

    Sony's PlayStation 5 sales data illustrates the nature of the challenge. Global sales of the PlayStation 5 outpace those of the PlayStation 4 at this point in the product's life cycle: The PS5 has sold more quickly than any other console in Sony's history. The same pattern holds for PCs, smartphones, video games, and tablets, which all saw an uptick in year-over-year sales during the first quarter of 2021. That's quite an achievement, given the unprecedented, lockdown-driven highs of 2020.

    The serious chip shortage really is hobbling the production of automobiles, the largest and most expensive of all our consumer gadgets. But it's a mistake to assume that this shortage limits supplies of lesser gadgets, most of which are in fact pouring into stores and then flying off the shelves.

    The automotive industry's problems really are the result of a serious chip shortage. But that's the exception: Most consumer tech is pouring into stores, then flying off the shelves.

    You should expect unrelenting prices and very long lead times that only lengthen. If you want truly in-demand gear to unwrap for the holidays, whether it's a game console or the new iPad Mini, it may already be too late to get it (from a retailer, at least—there's always eBay). And you should plan to plan ahead for the next year, as there's no sign that supply will catch up in 2022.

    This may annoy shoppers, but the disruption among consumer tech companies is even more dire. Record demand is typically a good thing, but the sudden surge has forced a competition for chip production that only the largest companies can win. Rumors hint that Apple has locked in most, if not all, leading-edge chip production from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's largest independent semiconductor foundry. Apple's order is said to include up to 100 million chips for new iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks. Even large companies like Qualcomm are struggling to compete with Apple's size and volume.

    Big moves from big companies have the trickle-down effect of delaying innovative ideas from smaller players: a crank-powered game console, a customizable LED face mask, and a tiny, 200-watt USB charger are just three out of hundreds of examples. The result could be a subtle, unfortunate squeeze on tiny tech startups that can spoil the most conservative production timeline. Backers are likely to face ever-increasing waits. Some will give up and demand a refund.

    So, should you learn to live with stock notifications and long lines indefinitely? Maybe not. Investment in production might well catch up with demand by 2023. Industry analysts worry this could lead to a price crash if semiconductor manufacturers overshoot. Perhaps the summer of 2023 will be the year you can once again buy the latest consumer tech not just minutes but hours after it's released. Until then, well, you'll just have to be patient.

    This article appears in the December 2021 print issue as "When the Chips Are Down."


    Match ID: 135 Score: 6.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 6 days
    qualifiers: 4.29 apple, 2.14 startup

    Watch Apple’s ‘Unleashed’ event live right here
    Mon, 18 Oct 2021 10:26:00 +0000

    apple october event

    Apple is set to announce new hardware today. The company is holding a (virtual) keynote at 10 AM PT (1 PM in New York, 6 PM in London, 7 PM in Paris). And you’ll be able to watch the event right here as the company is streaming it live.

    Rumor has it that the company is set to announce some new Macs. Over the past year, Apple has updated its entry-level computers with new custom-designed M1 chips. And now, the company could bring its own chips to higher-end computers, such as a 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, a new Mac Mini and a 27-inch iMac.

    Apple could use this opportunity to redesign its laptops from the ground up with new display technologies, a new array of ports and a new form factor in general. But that’s not all. Apple has also been working on an updated version of its entry-level AirPods.

    You can watch the livestream directly on this page, as Apple is streaming its conference on YouTube.

    If you have an Apple TV, you can open the TV app and look for the ‘Apple Special Event’ section. It lets you stream today’s event and rewatch old ones.

    And if you don’t have an Apple TV and don’t want to use YouTube, the company also lets you livestream the event from the Apple Events section on its website. This video feed now works in all major browsers — Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome.

    Source: Tech crunch


    Match ID: 136 Score: 6.43 source: techncruncher.blogspot.com age: 41 days
    qualifiers: 3.57 google, 1.43 microsoft, 1.43 apple

    China Could Be Exploiting Internet Security Process to Steal Data, Cyber Experts Warn
    Mon, 18 Oct 2021 10:08:00 +0000

    Gaming keyboard-chinese hacking group

    To access the data of unsuspecting users, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could take advantage of a universal authentication process that is believed to be secure but may not actually be, cybersecurity experts warned, although encryption is still the preferred method of protecting digital data and Protection of computers - in some cases, the same digital certificates used for internet authentication allow the Chinese regime to infiltrate and wreak havoc on various computer networks, they said. 

    Digital certificates that verify the identity of a digital entity on the Internet. A digital certificate can be compared to a passport or driver's license, according to Andrew Jenkinson, CEO of cybersecurity company Cybersec Innovation Partners (CIP) and author of the book Stuxnet to Sunburst: 20 Years of Digital Exploitation and Cyber ​​Warfare. 

    "Without it, the person or device you are using may not meet industry standards, and the encryption of critical data could be bypassed so that what should be encrypted remains in plain text," Jenkinson told The Epoch Times Used to Encrypt internal and external communications that prevent a hacker, for example, from intercepting and stealing data. But "fake certificates" or invalid certificates can tamper with any data. 

    Sense of security, "said Jenkinson. Cybersecurity firm Global Cyber ​​Risk LLC said digital certificates are generally issued by trusted CAs and then the same level of trust is passed on to intermediaries However, there are opportunities for a communist entity, malicious actor, or other untrustworthy entity to issue certificates to other "hideous people" who appear trustworthy but are not, he said.

    "If you issue a certificate from a trusted authority, you will trust it," said Duren. "But what the issuer could actually do is pass that trust on to someone who shouldn't be trusted. Duren said he would never trust." a Chinese certification authority for this reason, stating that it is aware of a number of companies that have banned Chinese certificates because they were issued to untrustworthy agencies. 

    Jenkinson said that Chinese certification bodies make up a small portion of the overall industry and the certificates they issue are generally limited to Chinese companies and products.

    prince a member of chinese hacking group
    Prince, a member of the hacking group Red Hacker Alliance who declined to give his real name, uses his computer at their office in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, China, on Aug. 4, 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP via Getty Images).

     In 2015, certificates from China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), the state agency overseeing domain name registration in China, were challenged. Mozilla revoked CNNIC certificates because it knew of unauthorized digital certificates associated with multiple domains. Both Internet companies opposed CNNIC delegating its authority to issue certificates to an Egyptian company that issued the unauthorized certificates. According to Jenkinson, CNNIC certificates were banned because they had "back doors". 

    A back door means that [the Chinese certification body] could literally take administrative access and send data back to the mothership, ”he said. Since 2016, Mozilla, Google, Apple and Microsoft have also blocked the Chinese certification authorities WoSign and their subsidiary StartCom due to unacceptable security practices.Vulnerability Despite these bans on Chinese digital certificates in recent years, the CCP has not been deterred and has long-term gambling, Jenkinson said, referring to an alarming discovery by his cybersecurity firm two years ago that it was a multinational consulting firm. 

    Digital certificates are typically valid for a few years depending on the certification authority, and a renewal is required to keep them valid and keep the data they are supposed to protect secure, he said. "But in 2019, CIP Chinese discovered certificates that had been valid for 999 years," Jenkinson said. His company made this discovery by researching the laptops of a leading global consulting firm. 

    Jenkinson made the company aware of the vulnerability and offered, "They are either incredibly accommodating or complicit," he said, noting that the company's customers include government agencies.This multi-billion dollar company's failure to fix this problem means hundreds of thousands of people could be exposed to Chinese infiltration through the company's lax safeguards, Jenkinson said. The company engages its customers every time someone uses one of its laptops, he said. 

    Companies or customers who use the company's services could be held for ransom, they have their intellectual advantages


    Match ID: 137 Score: 6.43 source: techncruncher.blogspot.com age: 41 days
    qualifiers: 3.57 google, 1.43 microsoft, 1.43 apple

    NASA, SpaceX Launch DART: First Test Mission to Defend Planet Earth
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 02:29 EST
    NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the world’s first full-scale mission to test technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet hazards, launched Wednesday at 1:21 a.m. EST on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
    Match ID: 138 Score: 5.71 source: www.nasa.gov age: 5 days
    qualifiers: 5.71 california

    U.S. plans to lift terrorist designation from former Colombian guerrilla group
    Tue, 23 Nov 2021 19:39:52 EST
    The Biden administration told Congress it will remove the terror designation but issue new ones for at least one splinter group.
    Match ID: 139 Score: 5.71 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 5 days
    qualifiers: 5.71 amazon

    Republican National Committee dismisses call for Ronna McDaniel to resign as chairwoman over outreach to LGBTQ voters
    Tue, 23 Nov 2021 19:35:22 EST
    The episode underscores the tension between the national Republican Party and some influential parts of the GOP base — particularly Christian conservatives — on the issue of LGBTQ rights.
    Match ID: 140 Score: 5.71 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 5 days
    qualifiers: 5.71 amazon

    The Trailer: Gerrymandering is creating more safe seats — and fights over who should have them
    Tue, 23 Nov 2021 18:20:28 EST
    Match ID: 141 Score: 5.71 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 5 days
    qualifiers: 5.71 amazon

    NASA Awards Information Technology Support Services Contract
    Tue, 23 Nov 2021 16:11 EST
    NASA has selected Centuria Corporation of Reston, Virginia, for management systems engineering, software development, project management, information technology security, and enterprise architecture support services for the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Johnson Space Center in Houston, and Ames Research Center.
    Match ID: 142 Score: 5.71 source: www.nasa.gov age: 5 days
    qualifiers: 5.71 development

    A grana da sua gasolina de R$ 7 abastece o Auxílio Mercado de Bolsonaro
    Tue, 23 Nov 2021 10:00:33 +0000

    Trata-se de um dos maiores programas de transferência de renda pró-ricos do mundo, iniciado por Temer e turbinado por Bolsonaro. Política de preços da Petrobras engorda remuneração de acionistas.

    The post A grana da sua gasolina de R$ 7 abastece o Auxílio Mercado de Bolsonaro appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 143 Score: 5.71 source: theintercept.com age: 5 days
    qualifiers: 5.71 whatsapp

    A Smart Artificial Pancreas Could Conquer Diabetes
    Sun, 21 Nov 2021 16:00:01 +0000


    In some ways, this is a family story. Peter Kovatchev was a naval engineer who raised his son, Boris, as a problem solver, and who built model ships with his granddaughter, Anna. He also suffered from a form of diabetes in which the pancreas cannot make enough insulin. To control the concentration of glucose in his blood, he had to inject insulin several times a day, using a syringe that he kept in a small metal box in our family's refrigerator. But although he tried to administer the right amount of insulin at the right times, his blood-glucose control was quite poor. He passed away from diabetes-related complications in 2002.

    Boris now conducts research on bioengineered substitutes for the pancreas; Anna is a writer and a designer.

    A person who requires insulin must walk a tightrope. Blood-glucose concentration can swing dramatically, and it is particularly affected by meals and exercise. If it falls too low, the person may faint; if it rises too high and stays elevated for too long, the person may go into a coma. To avoid repeated episodes of low blood glucose, patients in the past would often run their blood glucose somewhat high, laying themselves open to long-term complications, such as nerve damage, blindness, and heart disease. And patients always had to keep one eye on their blood glucose levels, which they measured many times a day by pricking their fingers for drops of blood. It was easily the most demanding therapy that patients have ever been required to administer to themselves.

    No longer: The artificial pancreas is finally at hand. This is a machine that senses any change in blood glucose and directs a pump to administer either more or less insulin, a task that may be compared to the way a thermostat coupled to an HVAC system controls the temperature of a house. All commercial artificial pancreas systems are still "hybrid," meaning that users are required to estimate the carbohydrates in a meal they're about to consume and thus assist the system with glucose control. Nevertheless, the artificial pancreas is a triumph of biotechnology.

    It is a triumph of hope, as well. We well remember a morning in late December of 2005, when experts in diabetes technology and bioengineering gathered in the Lister Hill Auditorium at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. By that point, existing technology enabled people with diabetes to track their blood glucose levels and use those readings to estimate the amount of insulin they needed. The problem was how to remove human intervention from the equation. A distinguished scientist took the podium and explained that biology's glucose-regulation mechanism was far too complex to be artificially replicated. Boris Kovatchev and his colleagues disagreed, and after 14 years of work they were able to prove the scientist wrong.

    It was yet another confirmation of Arthur Clarke's First Law: "When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."

    In a healthy endocrine system, the fasting blood glucose level is around 80 to 100 milligrams per deciliter of blood. The entire blood supply of a typical adult contains 4 or 5 grams of sugar—roughly as much as in the paper packet that restaurants offer with coffee. Consuming carbohydrates, either as pure sugar or as a starch such as bread, causes blood glucose levels to rise. A normally functioning pancreas recognizes the incoming sugar rush and secretes insulin to allow the body's cells to absorb it so that it can be used as energy or stored for such use later on. This process brings the glucose level back to normal.

    However, in people with type 1 or insulin-requiring type 2 diabetes—of whom there are nearly 8.5 million in the United States alone—the pancreas produces either no insulin or too little, and the control process must be approximated by artificial means.

    In the early days, this approximation was very crude. In 1922, insulin was first isolated and administered to diabetic patients in Canada; for decades after, the syringe was the primary tool used to manage diabetes. Because patients in those days had no way to directly measure blood glucose, they had to test their urine, where traces of sugar proved only that blood-glucose levels had already risen to distressingly high levels. Only in 1970 did ambulatory blood-glucose testing become possible; in 1980 it became commercially available. Chemically treated strips reacted with glucose in a drop of blood, changing color in relation to the glucose concentration. Eventually meters equipped with photodiodes and optical sensors were devised to read the strips more precisely.

    The first improvement was in the measurement of blood glucose; the second was in the administration of insulin. The first insulin pump had to be worn like a backpack and was impractical for daily use, but it paved the way for all other intravenous blood-glucose control designs, which began to emerge in the 1970s. The first commercial "artificial pancreas" was a refrigerator-size machine called the Biostator, intended for use in hospitals. However, its bulk and its method of infusing insulin directly into a vein prevented it from advancing beyond hospital experiments.

    Black and white photo shows a young woman, her face blacked out, with a doll in bed. She is hooked up to a large machine on the right. The original artificial pancreas, called the Biostator, is shown here in hospital use in about 1977. It delivered insulin and glucose directly into the veins and could not be adapted to home use.William Clarke/University of Virginia

    That decade also saw work on more advanced insulin-delivery tools: pumps that could continually infuse insulin through a needle placed under the skin. The first such commercial pump, Dean Kamen's AutoSyringe, was introduced in the late 1970s, but the patient still had to program it based on periodic blood-glucose measurements done by finger sticks.

    Through all this time, patients continued to depend on finger sticks. Finally, in 1999, Medtronic introduced the first continuous glucose monitor portable enough for outpatient use. A thin electrode is inserted under the skin with a needle and then connected to the monitor, which is worn against the body.

    Abbott and Dexcom soon followed with devices presenting glucose data in real time. The accuracy of such meters has consistently improved over the past 20 years, and it is thanks to those advances that an artificial pancreas has become possible.

    The ultimate goal is to replicate the entire job of the pancreatic control system, so that patients will no longer have to minister to themselves. But mimicking a healthy pancreas has proven exceptionally difficult.

    Fundamentally, blood-glucose management is a problem in optimization, one that is complicated by meals, exercise, illness, and other external factors that can affect metabolism. In 1979, the basis for solving this problem was introduced by the biomedical engineers Richard Bergman and Claudio Cobelli, who described the human metabolic system as a series of equations. In practice, however, finding a solution is hard for three main reasons:

    Insulin-action delay: In the body, insulin is secreted in the pancreas and shunted directly into the bloodstream. But when injected under the skin, even the fastest insulins take from 40 minutes to an hour to reach the peak of their action. So the controller of the artificial pancreas must plan on lowering blood glucose an hour from now—it must predict the future.

    Inconsistency: Insulin action differs between people, and even within the same person at different times.

    Sensor inaccuracy: Even the best continuous glucose monitors make mistakes, sometimes drifting in a certain direction—showing glucose levels that are either too low or too high, a problem that can last for hours.

    Illustration of a person eating a green apple. The digestive system is highlighted to show food being digested, and broken down into glucose. In blue, an infusion set and external insulin pump are shown to be pumping Insulin into the body. The artificial pancreas reproduces the healthy body's glucose-control system, which begins when carbohydrates are digested into glucose and ferried by the blood to the pancreas, which senses the increased glucose concentration and secretes just enough insulin to enable the body's cells to absorb the glucose.

    Colorful illustration has two pink boxes with different numbers of circles representing low or high blood glucose. Arrows point to a pancreas, then a down left arrow says \u201cGlucagon released by alpha cells of the Pancreas\u201d and a down arrow to a drawing of a liver that says \u201cLiver releases glucose into the blood\u201d and another arrow to a single pink box with blue dots that says \u201cNormal Blood.\u201d On the right below the pancreas is a down arrow that says \u201cInsulin released by beta cells of the pancreas\u201d, a down arrow with a drawing of 6 circles that says \u201cFat cells take in glucose from the blood\u201d and a down arrow that connects to the bottom single pink box. Two control systems based in the pancreas cooperate to keep blood-glucose concentrations within healthy bounds. One uses insulin to lower high levels of glucose, the other uses another hormone, called glucagon, to raise low levels. Today's artificial pancreas relies on insulin alone, but two-hormone systems are being studied. Chris Philpot

    What's more, the system must take into account complex external influences so that it works just as well for a middle-aged man sitting at a desk all day as for a teenager on a snowboard, rocketing down a mountainside.

    To overcome these problems, researchers have proposed various solutions. The first attempt was a straightforward proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller in which insulin is delivered proportionally to the increase of blood-glucose levels and their rate of change. This method is still used by one commercial system, from Medtronic, after many improvements of the algorithm that adjusts the reaction of the PID to the pace of subcutaneous insulin transport. A more sophisticated approach is the predictive control algorithm, which uses a model of the human metabolic system, such as the one proposed in 1979 by Bergman and Cobelli. The point is to predict future states and thereby partially compensate for the delayed diffusion of subcutaneous insulin into the bloodstream.

    Yet another experimental controller uses two hormones—insulin, to lower blood-glucose levels, and glucagon, to raise it. In each of these approaches, modeling work went far to create the conceptual background for building an artificial pancreas. The next step was to actually build it.

    To design a controller, you must have a way of testing it, for which biomedical engineering has typically relied on animal trials. But such testing is time consuming and costly. In 2007, our group at the University of Virginia proposed using computer-simulation experiments instead.

    Together with our colleagues at the University of Padua, in Italy, we created a computer model of glucose-insulin dynamics that operated on 300 virtual subjects with type 1 diabetes. Our model described the interaction over time of glucose and insulin by means of differential equations representing the best available estimates of human physiology. The parameters of the equation differed from subject to subject. The complete array of all physiologically feasible parameter sets described the simulated population.

    In January 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made the unprecedented decision to accept our simulator as a substitute for animal trials in the preclinical testing of artificial pancreas controllers. The agency agreed that such in silico simulations were sufficient for regulatory approval of inpatient human trials. Suddenly, rapid and cost-effective algorithm development was a possibility. Only three months later, in April of 2008, we began using the controller we'd designed and tested in silico in real people with type 1 diabetes. The UVA/Padua simulator is now in use by engineers worldwide, and animal experiments for testing of new artificial pancreas algorithms have been abandoned.

    Perhaps one day it will make sense to implant the artificial pancreas within the abdominal cavity, where the insulin can be fed directly into the bloodstream, for still faster action.

    Meanwhile, funding was expanding for research on other aspects of the artificial pancreas. In 2006 the JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) started work on a device at several centers in the U.S. and across Europe; in 2008 the U.S. National Institutes of Health launched a research initiative; and from 2010 to 2014, the European Union–funded AP@Home consortium was active. The global frenzy of rapid prototyping and testing bore fruit: The first outpatient studies took place from September 2011 through January 2012 at camps for diabetic children in Israel, Germany, and Slovenia, where children with type 1 diabetes were monitored overnight using a laptop-based artificial pancreas system.

    Most of these early studies rated the artificial pancreas systems as better than manual insulin therapy in three ways. The patients spent more time within the target range for blood glucose, they had fewer instances of low blood glucose, and they had better control during sleep—a time when low blood glucose levels can be hard to detect and to manage. But these early trials all relied on laptop computers to run the algorithms. The next challenge was to make the systems mobile and wireless, so that they could be put to the test under real-life conditions.

    Our team at UVA developed the first mobile system, the Diabetes Assistant, in 2011. It ran on an Android smartphone, had a graphical interface, and was capable of Web-based remote observation. First, we tested it on an outpatient basis in studies that lasted from a few days to 6 months. Next, we tried it on patients who were at high risk because they had suffered from frequent or severe bouts of low blood glucose. Finally we stress-tested the system in children with type 1 diabetes who were learning to ski at a 5-day camp.

    In 2016, a pivotal trial ended for the first commercial hybrid system—the MiniMed 670G—which automatically controlled the continuous rate of insulin throughout the day but not the additional doses of insulin that were administered before a meal. The system was cleared by the FDA for clinical use in 2017. Other groups around the world were also testing such systems, with overwhelmingly good results. One 2018 meta-analysis of 40 studies, totaling 1,027 participants, found that patients stayed within their blood-glucose target range (70–180 mg/dL) about 15 percent more of the time while asleep and nearly 10 percent more overall, as compared to patients receiving standard treatment.

    Our original machine's third-generation descendant—based on Control-IQ technology and made by Tandem Diabetes Care in San Diego—underwent a six-month randomized trial in teenagers and adults with type 1 diabetes, ages 14 and up. We published the results in the New England Journal of Medicine in October 2019. The system uses a Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor—one that no longer requires calibration by finger-stick samples—an insulin pump from Tandem, and the control algorithm originally developed at UVA. The algorithm is built right in to the pump, which means the system does not require an external smartphone to handle the computing.


    A rectangular device shows a graphic of insulin levels dropping and rising.


    A phone, a large rectangular device, and a small white device.

    Control-IQ still requires some involvement from the user. Its hybrid control system asks the person to push a button saying "I am eating" and then enter the estimated amount of carbohydrates; the person can also push a button saying "I am exercising." These interventions aren't absolutely necessary, but they make the control better. Thus, we can say that today's controllers can be used for full control, but they work better as hybrids.

    The system has a dedicated safety module that either stops or slowly attenuates the flow of insulin whenever the system predicts low blood glucose. Also, it gradually increases insulin dosing overnight, avoiding the tendency toward morning highs and aiming for normalized glucose levels by 7 a.m.

    The six-month trial tested Control-IQ against the standard treatment, in which the patient does all the work, using information from a glucose monitor to operate an insulin pump. Participants using Control-IQ spent 11 percent more time in the target blood-glucose range and cut in half—from 2.7 percent to 1.4 percent—the time spent below the low-glucose redline, which is 70 mg/dL. In December 2019, the FDA authorized the clinical use of Control-IQ for patients 14 and up, and our system thus became the first "interoperable automated insulin-dosing controller," one that can connect to various insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors. Patients can now customize their artificial pancreases.

    Selected Artificial Pancreas Projects From Around the World

    1. Two that have been approved by the FDA:

    a. Medtronic MiniMed 670G

    b. Control-IQ from Tandem Diabetes Care

    2. Beta Bionics

    3. Bigfood Biomedical

    4. Diabeloop

    5. DreaMed Diabetes

    6. EOPancreas

    7. Inreda Diabetic

    8. Eli Lilly and Ypsomed

    9. Pancreum

    10. Then there are the many, many DIY projects underway.

    11. And research proceeds on the potential of a fully implantable artificial pancreas

    The FDA approval came almost 14 years to the day after the expert in that Maryland conference room stated that the problem was unsolvable. A month after the approval, Control-IQ was released to users of Tandem's insulin pump as an online software upgrade. And in June 2020, following another successful clinical trial in children with type 1 diabetes between 6 and 13 years old, the FDA approved Control-IQ for ages 6 and up. Children can benefit from this technology more than any other age group because they are the least able to manage their own insulin dosages.

    In April 2021, we published an analysis of 9,400 people using Control-IQ for one year, and this real-life data confirmed the results of the earlier trials. As of 1 September 2021, Control-IQ is used by over 270,000 people with diabetes in 21 countries. To date, these people have logged over 30 million days on this system.

    One parent wrote Tandem about how eight weeks on the Control-IQ had drastically reduced his son's average blood-glucose concentration. "I have waited and toiled 10 years for this moment to arrive," he wrote. "Thank you."

    Progress toward better automatic control will be gradual; we anticipate a smooth transition from hybrid to full autonomy, when the patient never intervenes. Work is underway on using faster-acting insulins that are now in clinical trials. Perhaps one day it will make sense to implant the artificial pancreas within the abdominal cavity, where the insulin can be fed directly into the bloodstream, for still faster action.

    What comes next? Well, what else seems impossible today?

    This article appears in the December 2021 print issue as "Creating the Artificial Pancreas."


    Match ID: 144 Score: 5.71 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 7 days
    qualifiers: 2.86 development, 2.86 apple

    Faces I Didn’t Realize I Was Making (and What I Was Thinking)
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 11:00:00 +0000
    A gamut of expressions for everything, from thinking up the next big app to realizing that your conspiracy-theorist Uber driver knows where you live.
    Match ID: 145 Score: 5.00 source: www.newyorker.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 5.00 uber

    iRobot CEO: Why Voice is the Future​ of Robot Control
    Thu, 18 Nov 2021 19:13:09 +0000


    I am not a fan of Alexa. Or Google Assistant. Or, really, any Internet-connected camera or microphone which has a functionality based around being in my house and active all of the time. I don't use voice-activated systems, and while having a webcam is necessary, I make sure to physically unplug it from my computer when I'm not using it. Am I being overly paranoid? Probably. But I feel like having a little bit of concern is reasonable, and having that concern constantly at the back of my mind is just not worth what these assistants have so far had to offer.

    iRobot CEO Colin Angle disagrees. And last week, iRobot announced that it has "teamed with Amazon to further advance voice-enabled intelligence for home robots." Being skeptical about this whole thing, I asked Angle to talk me into it, and I have to say, he kinda maybe almost did.


    Using Alexa, iRobot customers can automate routines, personalize cleaning jobs and control how their home is cleaned. Thanks to interactive Alexa conversations and predictive and proactive recommendations, smart home users can experience a new level of personalization and control for their unique homes, schedules, preferences and devices.

    Here are the kinds of things that are new to the Roomba Alexa partnership:

    "Roomba, Clean Around the [Object]" – Use Alexa to send your robot to clean a mess right where it happens with precision Clean Zones. Roomba can clean around specific objects that attract the most common messes, like couches, tables and kitchen counters. Simply ask Alexa to "tell Roomba, clean around the couch," and Roomba knows right where to go.

    iRobot Scheduling with Alexa voice service – Thanks to Alexa's rich language understanding, customers can have a more natural interaction directing their robot using their voice to schedule cleaning Routines. For example, "Alexa, tell Roomba to clean the kitchen every weeknight at 7 pm," or "Alexa, tell Braava to mop the kitchen every Sunday afternoon."

    Alexa Announcements – Alexa can let customers know about their robot's status, like when it needs help or when it has finished a cleaning job, even if your phone isn't nearby.

    Alexa Hunches – The best time to clean is when no one is home. If Alexa has a 'hunch' that you're away, Alexa can begin a cleaning job.

    The reason why this kind of voice control is important is because Roombas are getting very, very sophisticated. The latest models know more about our homes than ever before, with maps and object recognition and all kinds of complex and intelligent behaviors and scheduling options. iRobot has an app that does its best to simplify the process of getting your Roomba to do exactly what you want it to do, but you still have to be comfortable poking around in the app on a regular basis. This poses a bit of a problem for iRobot, which is now having to square all these really cool new capabilities with their original concept for the robot that I still remember as being best encapsulated by having just one single button that you could push, labeled "Clean" in nice big letters.

    iRobot believes that voice control is the answer to this. It's fast, it's intuitive, and as long as there's a reliable mapping between what you tell the robot to do and what the robot actually does, it seems like it could be very successful—if, of course, you're fine with having Alexa as a mediator, which I'm not sure I am. But after talking with iRobot CEO Colin Angle, I'm starting to come around.

    IEEE Spectrum: I know you've been working on this for a while, but can you talk about how the whole Alexa and Roomba integration thing came about?

    Colin Angle: This started back when Alexa first came out. Amazon told us that they asked people, "what should we do with this speaker?" And one of the first things that came up was, "I want to tell my Roomba to clean." It was within the original testing as to what Alexa should do. It certainly took them a while to get there, and took us a while to get there. But it's a very substantial and intuitive thing that we're supposed to be able to do with our robots—use our voice and talk to them. I think almost every robot in film and literature can be talked to. They may not all talk back in any logical way, but they all can listen and respond to voice.

    Alexa's "hunches" are a good example of the kind of thing that I don't like about Alexa. Like, what is a hunch, and what does the fact that Alexa can have hunches imply about what it knows about my life that I didn't explicitly tell it?

    That's the problem with the term "hunch." It attributes intelligence when what they're trying to do is attribute uncertainty. Amazon is really trying to do the right thing, but naming something "hunch" just invites speculation as to whether there's an AI there that's listening to everything I do and tracking me, when in some way it's tragically simpler than all that—depending on what it's connected to, it can infer periods of inactivity.

    There's a question of what should you do and what shouldn't you do with an omnipresent ear, and that requires trust. But in general, Alexa is less creepy the more you understand how it works. And so the term "hunch" is meant to convey uncertainty, but that doesn't help people's confidence.

    One of the voice commands you can give is having Alexa ask Roomba to clean around the couch. The word "around" can have different meanings for different people, so how do you know what a user actually wants when they use a term like "around?"

    We've had to build these skills using words like around, underneath, beneath, near… All of these different words which convey approximate location. If we clean a little more than you want us to clean, but not a ton more, you're probably not going to be upset. So taking a little bit of superset liberties around how Roomba cleans still yields a satisfying result. There's a certain pragmatism that's required, and it's better to understand more prepositions and have them converge into a carefully designed behavior which the vast majority of people would be okay with, while not requiring a magic incantation where you'd need to go grab your manual so that you can look up what to tell Roomba in order to get it to do the right thing.

    This is one of the fascinating challenges—we're trying to build robots into partners, but in general, the full functionality has largely been in the iRobot app. And yet the metaphor of having a partner usually is not passing notes, it's delivering utterances that convey enough meaning that your partner does what they're supposed to do. If you make a mess, and say, "Alexa, tell Roomba to clean up around the kitchen table" without having to use the app, that's actually a pretty rewarding interaction. It's a very natural thing, and you can say many things close to that and have it just work.

    Our measure of success is that if I said Evan, suck it up, plug in that Alexa and then without reading the instructions, convey your will to Roomba to clean your office every Sunday after noon or something by saying something like that, and see if it works.

    Clearly communicating intent using voice is radically more complicated with each additional level of complexity that you're trying to convey. —Colin Angle

    Roomba can now recognize commands that use the word "and," like "clean under the couch and coffee table." I'm wondering how much potential there is to make more sophisticated commands. Things like, "Roomba, clean between the couch and the coffee table," or "Roomba, clean the living room for 10 minutes."

    Of the things you said, I would say that we can do the ones that are pragmatic. You couldn't say "clean between these two places;" I suppose we might know enough to try to figure that out because we know where those two areas are and we could craft the location, but that's not a normal everyday use case because people make messes under or near things rather than between things. With precise and approximate scheduling, we should be able to handle that, because that's something people are likely to say. From a design perspective, it has to do with listening intently to how customers like to talk about tasking Roomba, and making sure that our skill is sufficiently literate to reasonably precisely do the right thing.

    Do these voice commands really feel like talking to Roomba, or does it feel more like talking to Alexa, and how important is that distinction?

    Unfortunately, the metaphor is that you're talking to Alexa who is talking to Roomba. We like the fact that people personify Roomba. If you don't yet own a Roomba, it's kind of a creepy thing to go around saying, because it's a vacuum cleaner, not a friend. But the experience of owning a Roomba is supposed to feel like you have a partner. And this idea that you have to talk to your helper through an intermediary is the price that we pay, which in my mind diminishes that partnership a little bit in pursuit of iRobot not having to build and maintain our own speakers and voice system. I think both Amazon and Google played around with the idea of a direct connection, and decided that enforcing that metaphor of having the speaker as an intermediary simplifies how people interact with it. And so that's a business decision on their side. For us, if it was an option, I would say direct connection every time, because I think it elevates the feeling of partnership between the person and the robot.

    From a human-robot interaction (HRI) perspective, do you think it would be risky to allow users to talk directly to their Roomba, in case their expectations for how their robot should sound or what it might say don't match the reality that's constrained by practical voice interaction decisions that iRobot will have to make?

    I think the benefits outweigh the risks. For example, if you don't like the voice, you should be able to change the voice, and hopefully you can find something that is close enough to your mental model that you can learn to live with it. If the question is whether talking directly to Roomba creates a higher expectation of intelligence than talking through a third party, I would say it does, but is it night and day? With this announcement we're making the strong statement that we think that for most of the things that you're going to want Roomba to do, we have enabled them broadly with voice. Your Roomba is not going to know the score of the baseball game, but if you ask it about what it's supposed to be able to do, you're going to have a good experience.

    Coming from the background that you have and being involved in developing Roomba from the very beginning, now that you're having to work through voice interactions and HRI and things like that, do you miss the days where the problems were power cords and deep carpet and basic navigation?

    Honestly, I've been waiting to tackle problems that we're currently tackling. If I have to tackle another hair entrainment problem, I would scream! I mean, to some extent, here we are, 31 years in, and I'm getting to the good stuff, because I think that the promise of robots is as much about the interaction as it is around the physical hardware. In fact, ever since I was in college I was playing around with hardware because the software sucked and was insanely hard and not going to do what I wanted it to do. All of my early attempts at voice interaction were spectacular failures. And yet, I kept going back to voice because, well, you're supposed to be able to talk to your robot.

    Voice is kind of the great point of integration if it can be done well enough. And if you can leave your phone in your pocket and get up from your meal, look down, see you made a mess and just say, "hey Roomba, the kitchen table looks messy," which you can, that's progress. That's one way of breaking this ceiling of control complexity that must be shattered because the smart home isn't smart today and only does a tiny percentage of what it needs to do.


    Match ID: 146 Score: 5.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 10 days
    qualifiers: 3.57 google, 1.43 amazon

    ​​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: 147 Score: 5.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 17 days
    qualifiers: 3.57 trade, 1.43 development

    Apple activist reportedly fired after deleting files on work device
    Sun, 17 Oct 2021 09:12:00 +0000

    jannake parish
    Janneke Parrish, an Austin-based employee who worked on Apple Maps, is a leader of #AppleToo.

    An Apple program manager who posted anonymous stories of discrimination against employees at the tech giant has reportedly been canned. 

    Janneke Parrish, an Austin-based employee who worked at Apple Maps, runs #AppleToo, an online story-sharing group. of alleged "racism, sexism, inequality, discrimination, intimidation, repression, coercion, abuse, unjust punishment, and unlimited privilege" faced by Apple employees.

     According to The Verge, she was fired last week for deleting files - including the Google Drive, Robinhood, and Pokemon Go apps - from her work device during a company investigation. 

    In a tweet, Parrish, 30, hinted that she was fired in retaliation for her work with #AppleToo. the right thing, "he said. But we're doing the right thing because it's the right thing. # AppleToo is about asking Apple to do better to end systemic discrimination, abuse, and pay inequality. 


    Match ID: 148 Score: 5.00 source: techncruncher.blogspot.com age: 42 days
    qualifiers: 3.57 google, 1.43 apple

    Trump critics keep departing Fox News
    Mon, 22 Nov 2021 17:33:07 EST
    Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes are merely the latest. Many were reporters who criticized stolen-election claims.
    Match ID: 149 Score: 4.29 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 6 days
    qualifiers: 4.29 amazon

    Kyle Rittenhouse, Ahmaud Arbery, and the Future of Right-Wing Vigilantism
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 11:00:11 +0000

    Rittenhouse being acquitted of all charges clears the way for more guns and right-wing violence at protests nationwide.

    The post Kyle Rittenhouse, Ahmaud Arbery, and the Future of Right-Wing Vigilantism appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 150 Score: 3.57 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 3.57 uber

    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: 151 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 32 days
    qualifiers: 3.57 trade

    How Supergirl Revamped Superman IV's Story And Made It Work
    Sun, 17 Oct 2021 19:31:00 +0000

    Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for Supergirl season 6, episode 15, "Hope For Tomorrow."

    The Supergirl season 6 episode "Hope For Tomorrow" enhanced the story of the Superman movie Superman 4: The Quest For Peace in every respect. The final movie to star Christopher Reeve as Kal-El of Krypton, Superman 4 is widely considered to be the worst of the classic Superman films. Given that, it would be all but impossible for Supergirl to revamp The Quest For Peace and not improve it, but the episode "Hope For Tomorrow" successfully addressed nearly every common complaint about the movie.

    The central storyline of the second half of Supergirl season 6 found Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) competing with the exiled 5th Dimensional Princess Nyxly (Peta Sergeant) for control of seven magical totems, tied to the seven cosmic forces of Hope, Love, Courage, Humanity, Dreams, Destiny and Truth. Each totem required its wielder to pass a test proving their mastery of each force. The Test of Hope in the Supergirl season 6 episode "Hope For Tomorrow" proved particularly difficult, as it required the victor to "inspire a hope that burns longer and brighter than the sun." While this might ordinarily have been an easy task for Supergirl, this test came at a time when nuclear war seemed imminent between the nations of Kaznia and Corto Maltese and hope was in short supply.


    The story of Superman 4: The Quest For Peace, was likewise based around the fear of nuclear war and Superman acting to end the threat after receiving a letter from a concerned boy. Sadly, the movie did so poorly it sunk any chance of a Superman 5. While the story of Superman 4 made a noble effort to tackle a serious issue, the film suffered from budget cuts and editing issues that eliminated most of the film's more thoughtful moments in favor of recycled flight scenes and nonsensical padding. The Supergirl season 6 episode "Hope For Tomorrow" takes most of the story elements from Superman IV and builds upon the base concepts to create something far better.

    Roughly halfway through the Supergirl season 6 episode "Hope For Tomorrow," Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) asked the same question as the worried boy in Superman 4: The Quest For Peace; why can't Supergirl just take away all the nuclear weapons and throw them into the sun? Kara gave the same basic answer as Superman in the movie, saying that she was "forbidden from interfering in human history." However, Kara further explained to her friend Lena Luthor that human nations needed to be free to determine their own destinies without some all-powerful alien imposing their beliefs on them. Kara also pointed out that even if she could get rid of all the nuclear weapons in the world, it wouldn't solve the conflicts that lead to war. (Ironically, Kara did wind up having to throw several nuclear missiles into the sun before the episode's end.)

    This point was driven home by another scene, in which the United States diplomat overseeing the peace talks between Kaznia and Corto Maltese asked J'onn J'onzz (David Harewood) to use his telepathic powers to make the leaders of the two delegations sign a peace treaty. The Martian Manhunter refused, saying that while he was glad to use his powers to pacify the two leaders after Nxyly used the Totem of Courage to make them afraid of looking weak during the negotiations, he refused to directly control their actions. Both of the Supergirl scenes did a far better job of showing why heroes have a responsibility not to use their powers than every speech Superman made regarding that point in Superman 4: The Quest For Peace.

    The Supergirl season 6 episode "Hope For Tomorrow" featured a subplot that centered around Esme, a foster child adopted by Alex Danvers/Sentinel (Chyler Leigh) and Kelly Olsen/Guardian (Azie Tesfai), and the Super Friends' efforts to help the young girl get acclimated to her new home. A victim of an abusive situation in her previous foster home, Esme was shy and fearful of being sent back to the group home she had been in. Restoring Esme's hope in the future went beyond being a test of Supergirl's ability to inspire hope and became a test for the whole team, as well as a central part of the theme of "Hope For Tomorrow." By contrast, despite being the inspiration of Superman's effort to bring an end to nuclear war in Superman 4: The Quest For Peace, the boy who wrote to Superman disappeared from the movie after Superman took him to the United Nations to hear him speak.


    Originally set up as a romantic interest for Kara Danvers in Supergirl season 5, reporter William Dey (Staz Nair) has been one of the more divisive characters created for the Arrowverse, with many fans finding the character annoying and wondering what purpose he served after he and Kara agreed to be just friends in Supergirl season 6. Comparisons could be drawn between William Dey and Lacy Warfield (Mariel Hemingway) whose only purpose in Superman 4: The Quest For Peace was acting as a hostage and pushing an unconvincing love triangle between herself, Lois Lane and Clark Kent. However, the Supergirl season 6 episode "Hope For Tomorrow" redeemed William, who was far from a passive figure after being taken captive by Nyxly. Indeed, it was William's quick thinking that enabled the Super Friends to take the Totem of Courage away from Nyxly.

    While Superman 4: The Quest For Peace saw legendary actor Gene Hackman return as Lex Luthor, his role in the film was far from extensive. Apart from creating the monstrous Nuclear Man, Luthor had surprisingly little to do with the action of the film and most of his scenes were comedic non-sequiturs. By contrast,  the Arrowerse Lex Luthor does not appear on camera in the Supergirl season 6 episode "Hope For Tomorrow," but nevertheless had a major impact on the episode's final scene.

    As "Hope For Tomorrow" came to a close, Supergirl elected to throw the Totem of Hope into the sun, knowing that Nxyly needed all seven totems as part of her scheme to defeat Supergirl and the Super Friends. Shortly after Nxyly learned what Supergirl had done, a box fell through a portal in front of her. The box contained a watch and a note from a secret admirer telling her not to "lose hope." When Nyxly put on the watch, it formed one of Lex Luthor's trademark armored Lexo-Skeletons around her, revealing the identity of her mysterious new ally in a clever fashion. It was certainly more subtle than most of Gene Hackman's scenes trolling Superman in Superman 4: The Quest For Peace. This, coupled with the other connections throughout the episode, highlight how Supergirl was able to successfully revitalize the failed film's story arc.


    Match ID: 152 Score: 3.57 source: techncruncher.blogspot.com age: 42 days
    qualifiers: 3.57 trade

    Stocks to Watch: DuPont, Nike, KB Home are stocks to watch
    Fri, 27 Jun 2014 10:48:27 GMT
    Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Friday’s session are DuPont, Nike, and KB Home.

    Match ID: 153 Score: 3.57 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 2711 days
    qualifiers: 3.57 trade

    Stocks to Watch: Bed Bath & Beyond, GoPro, Nike are stocks to watch
    Thu, 26 Jun 2014 10:30:24 GMT
    Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Thursday’s session are Bed Bath & Beyond, GoPro, and Nike.

    Match ID: 154 Score: 3.57 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 2712 days
    qualifiers: 3.57 trade

    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: 155 Score: 3.57 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 2718 days
    qualifiers: 3.57 trade

    Stocks to Watch: BlackBerry, Oracle, Kroger are stocks to watch
    Thu, 19 Jun 2014 11:01:11 GMT
    Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Thursday’s session are BlackBerry, Oracle, and Kroger.

    Match ID: 156 Score: 3.57 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 2719 days
    qualifiers: 3.57 trade

    Stocks to Watch: FedEx, Jabil, Red Hat are stocks to watch
    Wed, 18 Jun 2014 10:30:21 GMT
    Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Wednesday’s session are FedEx, Jabil Circuit, and Red Hat.

    Match ID: 157 Score: 3.57 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 2720 days
    qualifiers: 3.57 trade

    Stocks to Watch: Covidien, Medtronic, are stocks to watch
    Mon, 16 Jun 2014 13:05:28 GMT
    Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Monday’s session are Covidien, Medtronic and Layne Christensen and Korn/Ferry International.

    Match ID: 158 Score: 3.57 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 2722 days
    qualifiers: 3.57 trade

    Stocks to Watch: Lululemon, Finisar, Target are stocks to watch
    Thu, 12 Jun 2014 11:24:41 GMT
    Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Thursday’s session are Lululemon Athletica, Finisar, and Target.

    Match ID: 159 Score: 3.57 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 2726 days
    qualifiers: 3.57 trade

    The McDonald’s Ice Cream Machine Hacking Saga Has a New Twist
    Tue, 23 Nov 2021 20:13:23 +0000
    The cold war between a startup and a soft-serve machine manufacturer is heating up, thanks to a newly released trove of internal emails.
    Match ID: 160 Score: 2.86 source: www.wired.com age: 5 days
    qualifiers: 2.86 startup

    Bionic Hand Gives Amputees Sense of Touch
    Fri, 19 Nov 2021 19:00:01 +0000


    On a visit to Pakistan with his parents, 7-year-old Aadeel Akhtar met a girl his age who was missing her right leg. That was the first time he had met a person with a limb difference. The girl's family could not afford the cost of getting her a prosthetic leg, so she used a tree branch as a crutch to help her walk. From that encounter, Akhtar decided that one day he would develop affordable artificial limbs.

    Twenty-one years later, in 2015, the IEEE member founded Psyonic, which designs and builds advanced, affordable artificial limbs. Akhtar is the CEO. The startup, headquartered in Champaign, Ill., released its first product—the Ability Hand—in September. It is the fastest bionic hand on the market and the only one with touch feedback.


    The prosthesis uses pressure sensors to mimic the sensation of touch through vibrations. It functions almost like a regular hand. All five fingers on the lightweight prosthesis flex and extend. It offers 32 different grips.

    "The most important thing for us is to give people a functioning, robust prosthesis that allows them to do things they never thought they would be able to do again," Akhtar says.

    The Ability Hand is available in the United States for patients age 13 or older.

    MAKING PROSTHETIC LIMBS ACCESSIBLE

    Akhtar originally wanted to work with people with amputations as a physician. He earned a bachelor's degree in biology in 2007 from Loyola University in Chicago. But while pursuing his degree, he took a computer science course and fell in love with the subject.

    "I loved everything about engineering, programming, and building things," he says. "I wanted to figure out a way to combine my interests in both engineering and medicine."

    He went on to earn a master's degree in computer science in 2008, also from Loyola. Two years later he was accepted into the Medical Scholars Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The program allows students to earn both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in tandem. Akhtar earned an additional master's degree in electrical and computer engineering and a doctorate in neuroscience in 2016 but has not completed his medical degree.

    His research for his doctorate focused on developing what eventually became the Ability Hand.

    In 2014 he and another graduate student, Mary Nguyen, partnered with the Range of Motion Project, a nonprofit that provides prosthetic devices to people around the world who can't afford them. Akhtar and Nguyen flew to Quito, Ecuador, to test their product on Juan Suquillo, who lost his left hand during a 1979 border war between Ecuador and Peru.

    "Everything that we do has the patient in mind."

    Using the prototype, Suquillo was able to pinch together his thumb and index finger for the first time in 35 years. He reported that he felt as though a part of him had come back thanks to the prosthesis. After that feedback, Akhtar said, he wanted "everyone to feel the same way that Juan did when using our prosthetic hand."

    Shortly after returning from that trip, Akhtar founded Psyonic. To get some advice about how to run the company and possibly win some money, he entered the bionic hand into the Cozad New Venture Challenge at the University of Illinois. The competition provides mentoring to teams, as well as workshops on topics such as pitching skills and customer development. Psyonic placed first and received a US $10,000 prize. The startup also won a $15,000 Samsung Research innovation prize in 2015. Since then, Psyonic has received funding from the University of Illinois Technology Entrepreneur Center, the iVenture Accelerator, and the U.S. National Science Foundation.

    The startup currently has 23 employees including engineers, public health experts, social workers, and doctors.

    DEVELOPING THE ABILITY HAND

    Psyonic's artificial hand weighs 500 grams, around the weight of an average adult hand. Most prosthetic hands weigh about 20 percent more, Akhtar says. The Ability Hand contains six motors housed in a carbon fiber casing. It has silicone fingers, a battery pack, and muscle sensors that are placed over the patient's residual limb. If the patient has an amputation below her elbow, for example, two muscle sensors would be placed over her intact forearm muscle. She would be able to use those sensors to control the hand's movement and grip.

    The Ability Hand is connected by Bluetooth to a smartphone app, which provides users another way to configure and control the hand's movements. The hand's software is automatically updated through the app. Its battery recharges in an hour, the company says.

    A person in a red shirt and jacket smiling and looking at a prosthetic hand. Akhtar working on the prosthetic handPSYONIC

    While talking to patients who used prosthetic hands, Akhtar says, they cited issues such as a lack of sensation and frequent breakage.

    To give patients a sense of touch, the Ability Hand contains pressure sensors on the index finger, pinky, and thumb. When a patient touches an item, he will feel vibrations on his skin that mimic the sensation of touch. The prosthesis uses those vibrations to alert the user when he touches an object as well as indicate how hard he has grabbed it and when he has let go.

    The reason most prosthetic limbs break, Akhtar says, is because they are made of rigid materials such as plastic, wood, or metal, which can't bend when they hit a hard surface. Psyonic uses rubber and silicone to make the fingers, which are flexible and can withstand a great deal of force, he says.

    ARM WRESTLING WITH A BIONIC HAND!?!?!?! www.youtube.com

    To test the durability of the hand, Akhtar arm-wrestled Dan St. Pierre, 2018–2019 U.S. paratriathlon national champion.

    The Ability Hand is also water-resistant, Akhtar says.

    "Everything we do has the patient in mind," Akhtar says. "We want to improve the quality of life for people with limb differences as much as possible. Seeing the effect the Ability Hand has already had on people in such a short time span motivates us to keep going."

    Psyonic and its partners are researching how to improve the artificial hand. Akhtar says some of the partners, including the Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh, are developing brain and spinal cord implants that could help patients control the prosthesis. The implants could stimulate the areas of the brain that control sensory intake. When a patient touches the prosthesis's fingers, the implants would send a signal to the brain that would make the patient feel the pressure.

    POSITIVE FEEDBACK

    Akhtar joined IEEE in 2010 when he was a doctoral student.

    He has presented papers on Psyonic's work at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems and the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation.

    IEEE provides a great "ecosystem," he says, on prosthetic limbs and robotics, and "it's amazing to be part of that community." He adds that having access to IEEE's community of scholars and professionals, some of whom are pioneers in the field, has helped the company gain important feedback on how it can improve the hand, as well as help in the development of legs in the future.


    Match ID: 161 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 9 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 development, 0.71 startup

    Stratospheric Balloons Take Monitoring and Surveillance to New Heights
    Wed, 21 Jul 2021 20:00:00 +0000


    Alphabet's enthusiasm for ­balloons deflated earlier this year, when it announced that its high-altitude Internet company, Loon, could not become commercially viable.

    But while the stratosphere might not be a great place to put a cellphone tower, it could be the sweet spot for cameras, argue a host of high-tech startups.

    The market for Earth-observation services from satellites is expected to top US $4 billion by 2025, as orbiting cameras, radars, and other devices monitor crops, assess infrastructure, and detect greenhouse gas emissions. Low­-altitude observations from drones could be worth.

    Neither platform is perfect. Satellites can cover huge swaths of the planet but remain expensive to develop, launch, and operate. Their cameras are also hundreds of kilometers from the things they are trying to see, and often moving at tens of thousands of kilometers per hour.

    Drones, on the other hand, can take supersharp images, but only over a relatively small area. They also need careful human piloting to coexist with planes and helicopters.

    Image of the United States Map displaying different altitudes. Click here to see larger. StoryTK

    Balloons in the stratosphere, 20 kilometers above Earth (and 10 km above most jets), split the difference. They are high enough not to bother other aircraft and yet low enough to observe broad areas in plenty of detail. For a fraction of the price of a satellite, an operator can launch a balloon that lasts for weeks (even months), carrying large, capable sensors.

    Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the U.S. military has funded development in stratospheric balloon tests across six Midwest states to “provide a persistent surveillance system to locate and deter narcotic trafficking and homeland security threats."

    But the Pentagon is far from the only organization flying high. An IEEE Spectrum analysis of applications filed with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission reveals at least six companies conducting observation experiments in the stratosphere. Some are testing the communications, navigation, and flight infrastructure required for such balloons. Others are running trials for commercial, government, and military customers.

    The illustration above depicts experimental test permits granted by the FCC from January 2020 to June 2021, together covering much of the continental United States. Some tests were for only a matter of hours; others spanned days or more.


    Match ID: 162 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 130 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 development, 0.71 startup

    Supercomputers Flex Their AI Muscles
    Sat, 20 Nov 2021 15:00:01 +0000


    Scientific supercomputing is not immune to the wave of machine learning that's swept the tech world. Those using supercomputers to uncover the structure of the universe, discover new molecules, and predict the global climate are increasingly using neural networks to do so. And as is long-standing tradition in the field of high-performance computing, it's all going to be measured down to the last floating-point operation.

    Twice a year, Top500.org publishes a ranking of raw computing power using a value called Rmax, derived from benchmark software called Linpack. By that measure, it's been a bit of a dull year. The ranking of the top nine systems are unchanged from June, with Japan's Supercomputer Fugaku on top at 442,010 trillion floating point operations per second. That leaves the Fujitsu-built system a bit shy of the long-sought goal of exascale computing—one-thousand trillion 64-bit floating-point operations per second, or exaflops.

    But by another measure—one more related to AI—Fugagku and its competitor the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have already passed the exascale mark. That benchmark, called HPL-AI, measures a system's performance using the lower-precision numbers—16-bits or less—common to neural network computing. Using that yardstick, Fugaku hits 2 exaflops (no change from June 2021) and Summit reaches 1.4 (a 23 percent increase).

    By one benchmark, related to AI, Japan's Fugaku and the U.S.'s Summit supercomputers are already doing exascale computing.

    But HPL-AI isn't really how AI is done in supercomputers today. Enter MLCommons, the industry organization that's been setting realistic tests for AI systems of all sizes. It released results from version 1.0 of its high-performance computing benchmarks, called MLPerf HPC, this week.

    The suite of benchmarks measures the time it takes to train real scientific machine learning models to agreed-on quality targets. Compared to MLPerf HPC version 0.7, basically a warmup round from last year, the best results in version 1.0 showed a 4- to 7-fold improvement. Eight supercomputing centers took part, producing 30 benchmark results.

    As in MLPerf's other benchmarking efforts, there were two divisions: "Closed" submissions all used the same neural network model to ensure a more apples-to-apples comparison; "open" submissions were allowed to modify their models.

    The three neural networks trialed were:

    • CosmoFlow uses the distribution of matter in telescope images to predict things about dark energy and other mysteries of the universe.
    • DeepCAM tests the detection of cyclones and other extreme weather in climate data.
    • OpenCatalyst, the newest benchmark, predicts the quantum mechanical properties of catalyst systems to discover and evaluate new catalyst materials for energy storage.

    In the closed division, there were two ways of testing these networks: Strong scaling allowed participants to use as much of the supercomputer's resources to achieve the fastest neural network training time. Because it's not really practical to use an entire supercomputer-worth of CPUs, accelerator chips, and bandwidth resources on a single neural network, strong scaling shows what researchers think the optimal distribution of resources can do. Weak scaling, in contrast, breaks up the entire supercomputer into hundreds of identical versions of the same neural network to figure out what the system's AI abilities are in total.

    Here's a selection of results:

    Argonne National Laboratories used its Theta supercomputer to measure strong scaling for DeepCAM and OpenCatalyst. Using 32 CPUs and 129 Nvidia GPUs, Argonne researchers trained DeepCAM in 32.19 minutes and OpenCatalyst in 256.7 minutes. Argonne says it plans to use the results to develop better AI algorithms for two upcoming systems, Polaris and Aurora.

    The Swiss National Supercomputing Centre used Piz Daint to train OpenCatalyst and DeepCAM. In the strong scaling category, Piz Daint trained OpenCatalyst in 753.11 minutes using 256 CPUs and 256 GPUs. It finished DeepCAM in 21.88 minutes using 1024 of each. The center will use the results to inform algorithms for its upcoming Alps supercomputer.

    Fujitsu and RIKEN used 512 of Fugaku's custom-made processors to perform CosmoFlow in 114 minutes. It then used half of the complete system—82,944 processors—to perform the weak scaling benchmark on the same neural network. That meant training 637 instances of CosmoFlow, which it managed to do at an average of 1.29 models per minutes for a total of 495.66 minutes (not quite 8 hours).

    Helmholtz AI, a joint effort of Germany's largest research centers, tested both the JUWELS and HoreKa supercomputers. HoreKa's best effort was to chug through DeepCAM in 4.36 minutes using 256 CPUs and 512 GPUs. JUWELS did it in as little as 2.56 minutes using 1024 CPUs and 2048 GPUs. For CosmoFlow, its best effort was 16.73 minutes using 512 CPUs and 1024 GPUs. In the weak scaling benchmark JUWELS used 1536 CPUs and 3072 GPUs to plow through DeepCAM at rate of 0.76 models per minute.

    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory used the Perlmutter supercomputer to conquer CosmoFlow in 8.5 minutes (256 CPUs and 1024 GPUs), DeepCAM in 2.51 minutes (512 CPUs and 2048 GPUs), and OpenCatalyst in 111.86 minutes (128 CPUs and 512 GPUs). It used 1280 CPUs and 5120 GPUs for the weak scaling effort, yielding 0.68 models per minute for CosmoFlow and 2.06 models per minute for DeepCAM.

    The (U.S.) National Center for Supercomputing Applications did its benchmarks on the Hardware Accelerated Learning (HAL) system. Using 32 CPUs and 64 GPUs they trained OpenCatalyst in 1021.18 minutes and DeepCAM in 133.91 minutes.

    Nvidia, which made the GPUs used in every entry except Riken's, tested its DGX A100 systems on CosmoFlow (8.04 minutes using 256 CPUs and 1024 GPUs) and DeepCAM (1.67 minutes with 512 CPUs and 2048 GPUs). In weak scaling the system was made up of 1024 CPUs and 4096 GPUs and it plowed through 0.73 CosmoFlow models per minute and 5.27 DeepCAM models per minute.

    Texas Advanced Computing Center's Frontera-Longhorn system tackled CosmoFlow in 140.45 minutes and DeepCAM in 76.9 minutes using 64 CPUs and 128 GPUs.
    Match ID: 163 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 8 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 apple

    Brazil: Amazon sees worst deforestation levels in 15 years
    Fri, 19 Nov 2021 09:47:31 GMT
    The figures come after Brazil promised to end the practice by 2030 during the COP climate summit.
    Match ID: 164 Score: 1.43 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 9 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 amazon

    Amazon's Dark Secret: It Has Failed to Protect Your Data
    Thu, 18 Nov 2021 11:00:00 +0000
    Voyeurs. Sabotaged accounts. Backdoor schemes. For years, the retail giant has handled your information less carefully than it handles your packages.
    Match ID: 165 Score: 1.43 source: www.wired.com age: 10 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 amazon

    Hacking Ham Radio for Texting
    Wed, 17 Nov 2021 16:00:00 +0000


    My first exposure to radio communication happened when I was around 5 or 6 years old. My dad was working as an airport electrician. He would bring walkie-talkies home, and my brothers and I would play with them around the yard. That's as far as my radio experience went, until a friend and I decided to get our amateur radio licenses together. This was only months before the COVID-19 lockdown, so it turned out to be the perfect time to learn to communicate using amateur radio!

    However, I found that just talking over ham radio was boring for me. I started thinking about an old police scanner my dad owned and how we would sometimes hear odd sounds that sort of sounded like a dial-up modem. And that is when the lightbulb for HamMessenger turned on. What if I could find an easy way to communicate digitally with my handheld radio?


    I started learning about the many different types of digital communication modes that people use with ham radio and I came across APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System). APRS is a store-and-forward radio network protocol developed over 25 years ago by U.S. Navy researcher Robert Bruninga and was originally designed to track tactical information in real time. APRS operates on a frequency within the VHF 2-meter band and is popular for applications like location transponders or weather stations. You can view APRS activity in your area at www.aprs.fi right now.

    APRS supports sending text messages, and if you're in range of an Internet-connected gateway node you can even exchange SMS texts with cellphones and send one-line emails. Sending texts traditionally meant using a PC hooked up to a so-called terminal node controller (TNC) packet radio modem, which is in turn connected to a radio (signals are transmitted as audio tones, just like old dial-up modems). More recently, TNC modems that interface with smartphones have been created. And these are awesome projects! But at its core, HamMessenger was created in the shadow of my simple childhood experiences. I wanted a portable device I could connect to my handheld radio that was completely self-contained, with a keyboard, screen, and GPS receiver all built in.

    First, I would need to nail down the hardware and software I was going to use. I found MicroAPRS, which is an open-source and Arduino-compatible firmware package for DIY packet radio modems. With MicroAPRS you can quicky implement a full-featured APRS modem with the ability to automatically switch the radio between receiving and transmitting.

    I wanted a portable device that was completely self-contained, with a keyboard, screen, and GPS receiver all built in.

    This was perfect. I could now focus on the rest of the HamMessenger. I thought about building it around a Raspberry Pi. It would have been cool, but a Pi is overkill. It would need a lot of power, and there's a risk of corrupting the filesystem if you don't do a controlled shutdown, a problem if the battery dies.

    I decided on a dual Arduino approach. An Arduino Pro Mini (US $10) would act as the modem, running MicroAPRS and communicating with the rest of the system via a serial connection. An Arduino Mega 2560 ($40) would be the central controller, tying together the modem, keyboard, display, and GPS. Rechargeable batteries with a battery-management board would provide the power.

    An illustration showing the primary components of the HamMessenger. The HamMessenger is compatible with most handheld VHF radios [left] by using an adapter cable [top, middle] that connects to a printed circuit board with a display, GPS receiver, and Arduino Pro acting as a modem [top right]. The PCB plugs into an Arduino Mega [middle right], a GPS antenna [top left], a mini keyboard [bottom middle], and batteries [bottom right].James Provost

    The GPS provides the location data that is integrated into most APRS transmissions. I chose a $10 NEO 6M-based GPS receiver that is popular with hobbyists for things such as DIY drones. Like my modem, the NEO has a serial interface.

    In my initial design, the human input setup was very simple, with just three buttons. One button let me step through displayed menus and modify parameters, one button selected a submenu or set a parameter, and the last button let me cancel a parameter entry or navigate to a previous menu.

    Ultimately, because of the difficulty of using the buttons to enter text messages, I replaced them with a mini CardKB QWERTY keyboard ($8.50). However, the limits of the three-button system forced me to simplify the HamMessenger's user interface as much as possible, something I am very thankful for now, as it means the HamMessenger is easy to operate with just a basic knowledge of APRS.

    For the display, I chose an OLED screen for its power efficiency. The only drawback for hobbyist OLEDs is their small size. The 0.96-inch displays are the most common, but I was able to find a $9 1.3-inch display that communicates via an I2Cserial bus.

    The final modular component I needed for the HamMessenger was some nonvolatile storage for received messages. I decided on a micro-SD card reader because they natively speak the SPI Interface protocol.

    An illustration showing the transmission range of radio in a network as shaded circles with handheld radios having a shorter range than digipeaters. A link connects two digipeaters that are out of range of each other. The Automatic Packet Reporting System relies on a backbone of digital repeaters, or digipeaters, that repeatedly retransmit messages sent by handheld and other radios. Other digipeaters that pick up the signal in turn will retransmit the message up to a specified number of hops. Some digipeaters are connected to the Internet, which allows the user to send messages to distant digipeaters or relay them as cellphone SMS messages or emails. James Provost

    All of these feed into the Arduino Mega. The Mega was chosen for the central controller as it doesn't need a lot of power, yet has enough resources to handle all the different module connections—two serial, two SPI, and one I2C connection. (And then I added a third serial port so you can control the HamMessenger with a PC or other device using an ASCII-based API.)

    I designed a shield (a printed circuit board that accommodates the modules and some supporting circuitry that simply plugs into the top of the Mega), using Autodesk's Eagle, and then used the shield design files to help create a 3D-printed enclosure in Fusion 360 (full details are available on the HamMessenger GitHub page).

    Currently, the HamMessenger is still in a prototype stage, but it works well. I have a HamMessenger installed in my truck that doubles as a location beacon. It will never replace a cellphone for most people, of course, but those in places without coverage might find it useful. Still, it was primarily created as a way to promote electronics and alternative uses of amateur radio, and if you want an easy way to learn and blend these hobbies, then I think the HamMessenger is a great way to do that.

    This article appears in the December 2021 print issue as "Phone-Free Texting."


    Match ID: 166 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 11 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 amazon

    Is Microsoft Stealing People’s Bookmarks?
    2021-11-17T13:53:54Z

    I received email from two people who told me that Microsoft Edge enabled synching without warning or consent, which means that Microsoft sucked up all of their bookmarks. Of course they can turn synching off, but it’s too late.

    Has this happened to anyone else, or was this user error of some sort? If this is real, can some reporter write about it?

    (Not that “user error” is a good justification. Any system where making a simple mistake means that you’ve forever lost your privacy isn’t a good one. We see this same situation with sharing contact lists with apps on smartphones. Apps will repeatedly ask, and only need you to accidentally click “okay” once.)...


    Match ID: 167 Score: 1.43 source: www.schneier.com age: 11 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 microsoft

    Climate Expert: Stop Talking About "Geoengineering"
    Tue, 16 Nov 2021 18:13:19 +0000


    The leaders of the world have just returned from the UN's latest climate change summit, COP26, in which the countries that have signed on to the Paris Agreement upped their commitments to fight climate change. Everyone solemnly agreed, again, to follow the science, which has shown in exhaustive detail that humanity will suffer from heat, fire, floods, and droughts if the world warms beyond 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels.

    Yet if countries continue on their present course, the world will likely have warmed by 2.7° C by the year 2100, according to Climate Action Tracker. If they meet all the pledges they've made for emission reductions by 2030, global temperature rise will be at 2.4° C by then. Hardly the breakthroughs we need to stave off disaster.

    In light of this situation, there's increasing talk of actions that governments can take beyond reducing greenhouse gas emissions—actions that could either remove existing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere or reduce the amount of sunlight coming into the atmosphere. Nobody's proposing relying solely on such tactics, but they could potentially help the planet in the short-term.

    Such approaches are usually called geoengineering, and they're controversial: Many people worry about the unintended consequences of interfering with nature on a global scale. But Kelly Wanser, the executive director of the non-profit Silver Lining, argues that humanity is already interfering with nature on a global scale; that's what climate change is all about. She spoke with IEEE Spectrum about her work in encouraging basic scientific research on climate interventions.

    IEEE Spectrum: What role does Silver Lining play in climate research or advocacy?

    Kelly Wanser: Silver Lining's focus is on near-term climate risk: the exposure that we have to climate change between now and the middle of the century. The IPCC report released this past August said that in all of the realistic scenarios that they look at for climate change, warming continues to increase between now and 2050. And right now, we don't have enough ways to significantly reduce that warming.

    Portrait of a blonde woman in a black shirt Kelly Wanser

    Spectrum: Where does the name of the organization come from?

    Wanser: It's partly a play on words. One approach to reducing warming has to do with brightening clouds with salt from seawater. But it's also a way of indicating that there is hope and possibility in navigating the dangerous part of the climate change situation.

    Spectrum: I've been reporting on this topic recently, and I think I irritated a few researchers by using the term "geoengineering." Do you object to that term, and if so, what term do you prefer?

    Wanser: We do object to it, because we don't think it's a good reflection of what is being proposed in these rapid responses to climate change. In 2015, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences published a report on these types of technological approaches to reducing warming or reducing greenhouse gases, and the term that they arrived at was "climate intervention." It's a useful term because it speaks to the problem it's aimed at, climate, and expresses the uncertainty involved—we're trying to influence a system, but we don't have a high degree of control, like we would in an engineering context.

    We actually conducted a public poll on the terms "geoengineering" and "climate intervention" and found that people were better able to comprehend what was meant by climate intervention, and also were less fearful.

    Spectrum: When you talk about climate interventions, are you including carbon removal and sequestration in that category?

    Wanser: We do include that in the broad category. But we focus on it less, because we've opted to focus on approaches that are likely to be most rapid and most likely to help address near-term risks. We've also focused on the parts of the portfolio where there are fewer people and fewer investments that are moving things forward. So, we focus significant energy on solar climate intervention, or sunlight reflection. We do some work on carbon removal, but that's pretty big space with a lot of investment. Which is good.

    Spectrum: When you talk about the rationale for research on climate interventions, do you start with moral arguments or economic arguments?

    Wanser: We start from the point of view of public safety, which is a concept in international environmental law and environmental law in the United States. We're really focused on the fact that we have quite a serious safety problem—potentially a catastrophic safety problem—in terms of human life, displacement and suffering, and the natural systems that we rely on.

    The projections are that up to a billion people could be displaced between now and 2050, meaning that many parts of the world will become uninhabitable by then. What do we have to offer these billion people? We see it as similar to the ozone hole problem, where we really needed a tight, science-based focus on the limits to human inputs to the system--and howthose inputs affected the ozone layer's ability to keep people safe.

    Spectrum: You've spoken before about tipping points: the idea that we may exceed thresholds in natural systems and thus cause drastic and irreversible changes. Which ones do you worry about?

    Wanser: I'll focus on the one for which there is the most robust information. The Amazon rainforest is called the lungs of the planet because it gives oxygen back to the system and takes in a lot of CO2. But a combination of deforestation and warming pressure have caused the Amazon to now release more greenhouse gas than it absorbs, which is considered to be a big accelerant of climate change.

    We are working with climate modelers to try to figure out how that changes the projections. But the IPCC report that came out in August does not include this newly discovered state of the rain forest. And, therefore, the curves in that report's [warming] pathways may not reflect the real amplification this might create. In almost all previous projections for climate, tipping events like these were far in the future. For the Amazon rain forest, the climate modelers that we talked to said there were almost no climate simulations where the rain forest tips in this century.

    Spectrum: You're saying the situation is even more dire than we thought. And yet there's a lot of resistance to research on climate interventions that you say could help with near-term risks. I typically hear two critiques. The first is the moral hazard argument: If we embark on this research, it will undermine attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. People will think it's a get-out-of-jail-free card. How do you guys respond to that?

    Wanser: Well, I usually respond with some sympathy for it. If we had started ratcheting back greenhouse gas emissions in the 1980s, that would have been the wisest and the safest thing to do. I like to use the analogy of medicine. It's not very smart to not take simple precautions and to let the patient get sick. But when the patient is very sick, then preventative measures like healthy diet and exercise don't help effectively enough or quickly enough. The treatment options aren't the same when a patient is sicker, and it appears we have quite a sick patient now.

    Spectrum: The second critique I usually hear is that we will never understand enough about our complex climate systems to be able to intervene safely, and that we're guaranteed to mess things up and create massive side effects. How do respond to people who say the precautionary principle applies here?

    Wanser: This is one of the reasons that we don't like term geoengineering. If you think of it as something wholly new and different, then there's this understandable thought: Why would we do something totally new and different than we don't understand? But a dirty, unmanaged variation of this is happening already.

    Two graphs labelled Contributions to warming based on two complementary approaches showing red and blue bars based on contributions to warming Humanity is already reducing global warming... by spewing pollution into the air. IPCC Report: Climate Change 2021

    The 2021 IPCC report includes a chart where they show the human influences on the climate system, with pink bars for warming effects and blue bars for cooling. The largest blue bar is the effect of pollution particles on clouds. [[The particles attract water to increase the number of droplets in clouds, and those clouds reflect more sunlight away from the Earth.]] It's a cooling effect and it's happening all over the world as a result of pollution from factories, ships, and cars. We're planning to remove that pollution, so it would be wise for us to understand that effect. And it would be interesting for us to think about whether there's a clean variation that we might want to replace it with. For example, some scientists are proposing to use a salt particles from seawater to brighten clouds over the ocean and send more sunlight back to space.

    If you think about it that way, then this isn't a question of should we do something totally new or not, but how do we manage this situation that we already have, which includes these existing dynamics, these variations of things that are happening now.

    Spectrum: In September, Spectrum published an article by the researchers working on that marine cloud brightening project. But do you want to sum up what they're doing?

    Wanser: It's one of the few research efforts in the world that is looking at the process-level science around these climate intervention techniques for reflecting sunlight from the atmosphere: How would it actually work? How would you disperse the particles? How would they move in the atmosphere and affect the reflection of sunlight? For years, they have been developing technology for local dispersal and figuring out how to make the size and quantity of particles they think will work best. Now they have a large scientific collaboration to do [atmospheric and climate] modeling from very local to regional to global scales and to maybe step out and spray at very small scales to study those dynamics and inform the models.

    It's exciting because they have the potential to do really important science about how pollution is impacting clouds and climate and also because they can likely determine, in a fairly reasonable amount of time, whether or not marine cloud brightening might be an option to significantly reduce warming.

    Spectrum: Imagine that the researchers find that marine cloud brightening is effective at reflecting sunlight and doesn't have negative impacts. How would it be implemented?

    Wanser: There are three parts of the world that have large banks of marine stratocumulus clouds that are very susceptible to this effect. Scientists propose having ships or autonomous vessels that would cruise around and spray particles in these regions, maybe be in the low-digit thousands of ships. Their goal would be to brighten these clouds by something like five to seven percent, so probably not in a way that's visible from the ground, and maybe not even visible from space.

    Spectrum: Where are these three parts of the world?

    Wanser: One of them is in the Pacific off the west coast of North America, another is off the west coast of South America, the third is off the coast of southern Africa.

    Spectrum: The marine cloud project deals with adding particles to low-level clouds, but I also wanted to get your perspective on the SCoPEx project from Harvard, which wants to test the effect of stratospheric particles. They'd hoped this past year to simply test the technology platform, not to actually do any kind of experiments with spraying reflective particles. And yet the research group's advisory board stopped them and said they had to postpone it and think it through more. What's your perspective on both that project and that decision?

    Wanser: We think that this early science is really important to inform decision-making. This was meant to be a test of a research apparatus, it wasn't even a test of something that would release any material. This was a balloon for research—like the balloons that go up every day to do atmospheric science.

    The problem is, this valuable early science was positioned as a moment for a societal decision about research in this category. The testing they proposed wouldn't have had any environmental impact or impact on people. So the basis for the decision was not scientific; it was really about a small set of people's opinions about whether or not this kind of research should go forward. While the intentions were good, they inadvertently set up an undemocratic situation where a very tiny group of people are deciding whether scientific information would be available for everybody else.

    We think that scientific independence and integrity is really important, especially in this research. We need scientists doing independent science, and when they have generated a lot of information for people around the world to review, we then need the societal moment where everybody can weigh in.


    Match ID: 168 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 12 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 amazon

    Researchers Take the Guesswork Out of PET Imaging
    Mon, 15 Nov 2021 18:53:16 +0000


    Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging uses radioactive tracers to detect metabolic activity in the body and brain, in order to detect cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and more. PET uses a process called tomographic reconstruction, in which algorithms used statistical methods to compensate for limited data, to form images. This causes PET scans to have relatively poor spatial resolution. While new advances have improved this resolution, they haven't eliminated the need for iterative reconstruction. Now, in a new study published in Nature Photonics, a group of scientists in the US and Japan have created a technique that eliminates the need for the guessing game of tomographic reconstruction.

    "This has been a huge holy grail in our field for decades," said Simon Cherry, a professor of biomedical engineering and radiology at the University of California, Davis and senior author of the new study.

    As the name implies, PET scans rely on positron emission. Before the scan, a patient is injected with a glucose radiotracer, and the radioactive elements in the sugar will release positrons. As soon as a positron encounters an electron in the body, the two particles annihilate each other, producing two high-energy photons, called a gamma ray, traveling in opposite directions and forming a line. PET scanners work by detecting these photons and identifying roughly where they originated from by finding this line. That allows them to identify areas that took up more tracer, such as cancer cells.

    The problem is, a straight line by itself doesn't do much to narrow down where the photons originated from, said Michael King, a professor of radiology at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School who was not involved with the study. So an algorithm uses all the data it has on other photon lines combined with statistical models to guess where each positron originated from.

    "The end result is that you get something which is pretty good," said King. "But it's still a guess."

    In recent years, detectors have gotten fast enough at detecting photons that they can estimate where they originated based on the time difference of when they arrive at the PET's scanner's sensors. This is called time-of-flight PET, and it makes scans more accurate—but not accurate enough to avoid tomographic reconstruction. The new study took time-of-flight PET to its logical conclusion—they created a system in which a sensor identified photons so fast that reconstruction became unnecessary.

    Top, three red and purple images labelled as dPEI images of phantom objects seen at bottom, which range in size from 30mm, 102mm and 184mm, which looks like a clear brain in a petri dish. Images acquired using the dPEI set-up on various test objects.Nature Photonics

    The researchers used three different methods to accomplish this. They used a very fast method of converting gamma rays into visible light by utilizing vacuum tubes, and placed this mechanism inside the machine's photodetector, eliminating the time it would take for light to travel between them. They also used a convolutional neural network to predict timing.

    Previous time-of-fight PET used sensors that took around 200 picoseconds to register photons. In that time, light can travel around 3 centimeters. On the other hand, the sensor in the new study has a lag time of just 32 picoseconds, in which time light travels just 4.8 millimeters.

    King described the research as "not unique to [the researchers] in terms of striving towards this goal." Ever since time-of-flight PET was invented, radiologists have known that this method, which the researchers here call direct positron emission imaging, would be much more accurate if it were possible.

    The method could also have other benefits, said Lacey McIntosh, the division chief of oncologic and molecular imaging at UMass Memorial Medical Center and an assistant professor of radiology at UMass Chan Medical School. These might include a lower dose of radiotracer for the same quality of image. Although the radiation that a single dose of radiotracer exposes the body to is tiny, any radiation exposure has the potential to be harmful. Scanners would also not have to have sensors in a ring, which would help claustrophobic patients. Also, scans could be done faster, which might enable doctors to do several scans in a session and would help children who struggle to stay still.

    However, it would likely not be able to create a system with all of these benefits at once, said Cherry. For example, the increase in the signal could be used to decrease the radiation dose, make the scan faster, or increase the image quality. Which option you choose would depend on the patient, their preferences, and their situation.

    "You're going to be able to tailor what you do to the specific clinical situation," he said.

    It's also possible that such a system would be less expensive, said Cherry, because it may need less detectors. But he also says it may be the case that just as many detectors would be necessary to produce a higher-quality image than today's scanners can create.

    This technology has a long way to go before it can be used in a medical setting. Cherry describes this study as a proof-of-concept, with the researchers' prototype design being impractical in a number of ways. For instance, the images took 10 to 24 hours to produce, and objects the researchers imaged were exposed to large amounts of radiation. Nevertheless, Cherry said the study shows the technique is possible, and there aren't any theoretical barriers—only technological ones.

    "Some people thought there might be some other effects that might come into play at this very fast timing precisions that might make this not work the way that we thought it would," Cherry said. "I think we've put that to rest."


    Match ID: 169 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 13 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 california

    A Black Woman Invented Home Security. Why Did It Go So Wrong?
    Sun, 14 Nov 2021 12:00:00 +0000
    Surveillance systems, no matter the intention, will always exist to serve power.
    Match ID: 170 Score: 1.43 source: www.wired.com age: 14 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 amazon

    Can California save itself from the flames?
    Sat, 13 Nov 2021 03:23:23 GMT
    Unprecedented drought and heat, combined with bad land management, have culminated in historic wildfires.
    Match ID: 171 Score: 1.43 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 16 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 california

    Hackers Targeted Hong Kong Apple Devices in Widespread Attack
    Thu, 11 Nov 2021 18:25:46 +0000
    Visitors to pro-democracy and media sites in the region were infected with malware that could download files, steal data, and more.
    Match ID: 172 Score: 1.43 source: www.wired.com age: 17 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 apple

    Indigenous activists on tackling the climate crisis: 'We have done more than any government' – video
    Thu, 04 Nov 2021 10:30:27 GMT

    Despite only making up about 6% of the global population, Indigenous people protect 80% of biodiversity left in the world. We speak to six young Indigenous climate activists from the Ecuadorian Amazon, Chad, Alaska, Sweden, Indonesia and Australia about their people and culture – and what we can learn from them about protecting our planet. 

    Nina Gualinga, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Charitie Ropati, Sara-Elvira Kuhmunen, Emmanuela Shinta and Amelia Telford also tell us about what they want to see from world leaders at the Cop26 summit and what makes them hopeful about the future

    Continue reading...
    Match ID: 173 Score: 1.43 source: www.theguardian.com age: 24 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 amazon

    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: 174 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 38 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 development

    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: 175 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 40 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 development

    What Katey Sagal Has Done Since Sons of Anarchy Ended
    Sun, 17 Oct 2021 19:31:00 +0000

    Katey Sagal played one of the most important characters in Sons of Anarchy, but what has she done since the show came to an end? In 2008, Kurt Sutter took the audience to a small town in California to meet a motorcycle club and all the drama in their daily lives in the TV series Sons of Anarchy. The series premiered on FX in 2008 and lived on for a total of seven seasons, coming to an end in 2014. Sons of Anarchy got positive reviews throughout its whole run, with most praise going towards the themes it addressed (such as corruption and racism) and the performances of the main cast.

    Sons of Anarchy tells the story of Jackson “Jax” Teller (Charlie Hunnam), VP of the motorcycle club Sons of Anarchy in the fictional town of Charming, California. The series kicks off when Jax finds a manifesto written by his late father, John “JT” Teller, one of the founding members of the MC. In it, JT shared his plans and vision for the club, which were very different from those of the current President and Jax’s stepfather, Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman). Reading his father’s ideas and seeing how different the club was, among other events, send Jax on a personal journey that leads him to question his path, role in the club, relationships, family, and more. Sons of Anarchy also introduced the audience to Gemma Teller-Morrow (Katey Sagal), Jax’s mother and the matriarch of the club, who even though wasn’t a member of it, had a lot of influence in it and the town in general, but she was also a very dangerous woman.


    Katey Sagal’s role as Gemma in Sons of Anarchy was one of the most praised elements of the series, and she was one of the few characters from the first season who made it to the final one, though not to the series finale, as she was killed by Jax in the second last episode. Gemma Teller has become one of Sagal’s most memorable roles, but it definitely isn’t her most famous one, as she has played a variety of characters before and after Sons of Anarchy. Prior to living in Charming, Sagal did a lot of voice work in film, such as in Recess: School’s Out (playing Mrs. Flo Spinelli) and the Futurama movies, voicing Turanga Leela. In TV, she became known for playing Peggy Bundy in the sitcom Married… with Children from 1987 to 1997, and other notable roles include Edna Hyde in That 70’s Show and Cate S. Hennessy in 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter.

    While working on Sons of Anarchy, Sagal continued doing voice work, most notably in Futurama, and once the show came to an end, she explored other genres in TV. Sagal played Annora of the Alders in The Bastard Executioner, Penny’s mother in one episode of The Big Bang Theory, and Lanie Schultz in This Is Us. Sagal reprised her role as Gemma in one episode of Mayans M.C, the spinoff series of Sons of Anarchy, and after that, she went on to play Dr. Ingrid Jones in Shameless, Louise Goldufski in The Conners, Teresa Williams in Grand Hotel, and Eleanor Hale in Dead to Me. Her most recent work is in the legal comedy-drama Rebel, inspired by the life of Erin Brockovich, and in which she plays the lead role of Annie “Rebel” Bello. On the big screen, she played Lee Ann in There’s Always Woodstock, Katherine Junk in Pitch Perfect 2, and Louise Pazienza in Bleed for This.

    In addition to an incredible acting career that has covered almost every genre, Katey Sagal has a musical career and released her first solo album in 1994, and she also contributed with at least one song per season in Sons of Anarchy. Katey Sagal is a woman of many talents, and while many will always remember her as Gemma Teller-Morrow, it’s definitely worth checking out her other works in both film and TV.


    Match ID: 176 Score: 1.43 source: techncruncher.blogspot.com age: 42 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 california

    9 Best Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg Movies, Ranked By IMDb
    Sun, 17 Oct 2021 19:02:00 +0000

    Ever since the instant classic high school comedy Superbad put them on the map and the subsequent release of action-packed buddy picture Pineapple Express proved they weren’t one-trick ponies, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have been two of the most prolific and sought-after screenwriters in Hollywood. They’ve moved into producing streaming shows like The Boys and Invincible, but Rogen and Goldberg haven’t lost sight of their big-screen roots.


    Not all of their movies have been as great as Superbad and Pineapple Express, but a bunch of their scripts – including the ones they directed themselves – have impressive scores on IMDb.

    9 Drillbit Taylor (5.7)

    The screenplay for Drillbit Taylor was written by Rogen, in his only screenwriting effort without Goldberg’s contributions, and Kristofor Brown, based on a story by John Hughes, the legendary director of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Owen Wilson stars as a bodyguard who’s hired by three kids to protect them from bullies.

    As the movie’s mediocre IMDb rating would suggest, the execution doesn’t match the greatness of its premise. But a typically charming performance by Wilson as the title character makes it at least watchable.

    8 The Watch (5.7)

    Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and Richard Ayoade star in The Watch as a band of bored suburban men who form a neighborhood watch to escape the mundanity of their lives and unwittingly stumble upon an alien invasion stemming from the local Costco.

    According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Watch was initially conceived as a PG-13 vehicle in the vein of Ghostbusters. When it was retooled as a raunchy R-rated affair, Rogen and Goldberg were brought aboard the project to inject it with a healthy dose of curse words and sex references.

    7 Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (5.7)

    After Mac and Kelly successfully ousted a fraternity that moved next door to them in the first Neighbors movie, the second one sees a sorority moving into the very same house. It could’ve come off as a rehash of the original, but Sorority Rising adds a unique twist as the couple reluctantly teams up with Zac Efron’s frat boy Teddy, the villain from the first one.

    After they resisted the urge to pen sequels to Superbad and Pineapple Express, Neighbors 2 marked the first time Rogen and Goldberg had written a follow-up to one of their movies.

    6 The Green Hornet (5.8)

    Despite its critical panning, Rogen and Goldberg’s movie version of The Green Hornet is a fun superhero adventure carried by Rogen’s palpable on-screen chemistry with Jay Chou, who takes on Bruce Lee’s iconic role as Kato.

    A lot of diehard Green Hornet fans were upset that Rogen and Goldberg adapted the property as a straightforward comedy, but their script has a nice balance of action and humor and director Michel Gondry brings some dazzling visuals to the proceedings.

    5 Sausage Party (6.1)

    Rogen and Goldberg brought their particular brand of raunchy hard-R humor to the typically kid-friendly realm of computer animation in 2016. Sausage Party is a hysterical riff on Pixar’s premises about anthropomorphized objects in which food products at a grocery store learn that their ultimate fate is to be eaten alive by giants.


    On top of all the gags about sausages resembling penises, Sausage Party’s story of foods learning they worship a false god, and that their faith in “The Great Beyond,” is unfounded is a brilliant satire of religion.

    4 The Interview (6.5)

    Rogen and Goldberg’s second directorial effort after This is the End, The Interview, stars Rogen as a tabloid TV producer and James Franco as a late-night celebrity interviewer who’s invited to North Korea to interview Kim Jong-un. When the CIA catches wind, they task him with assassinating the infamous dictator.

    This movie has the distinction of being the only movie in Rogen and Goldberg’s filmography to cause a geopolitical crisis that almost led to World War III. Despite the controversy it caused, The Interview actually has a lot more scatological gags and crass wordplay than biting political satire.

    3 This Is The End (6.6)

    After observing the work of directors like Michel Gondry and David Gordon Green bringing their scripts to life over the years, Rogen and Goldberg finally tried their hand at directing in 2013 with the apocalyptic comedy This is the End.

    With all the actors in Rogen and Goldberg’s regular company – Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, etc. – playing satirical riffs on themselves, This is the End is a must-see for fans of self-aware comedy.

    2 Pineapple Express (6.9)

    Almost every Seth Rogen movie is about weed in some capacity, but his most overtly marijuana-oriented effort is Pineapple Express, in which he plays a process server who goes on the run with his pot dealer after witnessing a drug lord commit a murder.


    After the runaway success of Superbad, Pineapple Express proved it wasn’t a one-off and that Rogen and Goldberg were a screenwriting team to be reckoned with.

    1 Superbad (7.6)

    The modern comedy classic that put Rogen and Goldberg on the map, Superbad is a coming-of-age gem about two high schoolers – aptly named Seth and Evan – trying to secure booze for a big party. It’s set up as a typical American Pie riff about sex-obsessed teens trying to lose their virginity, but Superbad is really about Seth and Evan’s separation anxiety as they prepare to go to different colleges.

    According to The Guardian, Rogen and Goldberg began writing Superbad when they were 13, which explains why the teen angst rings so true. Superbad was the script that launched Rogen and Goldberg’s screenwriting career and, having been finetuned over more than a decade, it remains their strongest script to date.



    Match ID: 177 Score: 1.43 source: techncruncher.blogspot.com age: 42 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 apple

    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: 178 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 52 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 california

    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: 179 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 61 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 development

    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: 180 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 67 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 development

    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: 181 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 67 days
    qualifiers: 0.71 startup, 0.71 start-up

    Solar Power from Space? Caltech’s $100 Million Gambit
    Wed, 11 Aug 2021 15:01:13 +0000


    In 1941 Isaac Asimov, the science fiction writer, published a short story called "Reason." It was a cautionary tale about robotics and artificial intelligence, but it's also remembered now for its fanciful setting: A space station that gathered solar energy to send to the planets via microwave. Ever since, space-based solar power has been an out-there idea—something with potential to change the world, if we can ever master the technology, and muster the funds, to do it.

    Donald Bren has done his share of reading about solar power, and since he is one of America's wealthiest real estate developers, he's in a position to help muster the funds. The California Institute of Technology has just announced that, since 2013, Bren and his wife Brigitte have given the school more than US $100 million to help make photovoltaic power from orbit a reality.

    That's a lot of money, and, importantly, the work has been spread out over a decade. A team at Caltech is aiming for the first launch of a test array in late 2022 or 2023.

    "This is something that's pretty daring," says Ali Hajimiri, a professor of electrical engineering and a co-director of Caltech's Space Solar Power Project. The long timeline, he says, "allows you take chances, and take risks. Sometimes they pay off and sometimes they don't, but when you do that, in an educated, controlled fashion, you end up with things that you never expected."

    Bren, 89, made most of his fortune—estimated between $15.3 billion and $16.1 billion—building offices and homes in Orange County, California. He is majority owner of New York City's iconic MetLife Building. He's also donated land and money for environmental conservation. He gives few interviews (he declined to speak for this story), and while Caltech's Space Solar Power Project has been public, Bren's support of it was a secret until now.

    High Earth orbit is a great place for a solar farm—the sun never sets and clouds never form. But to generate a meaningful amount of electricity, most past designs were unrealistically, and unaffordably, massive. Engineers depicted giant truss structures, usually measured in kilometers or miles, to which photovoltaic panels or mirrors were attached, absorbing or concentrating sunlight to convert to direct current, then transmit it to the ground via laser or microwave beams. Hundreds of rocket launches might be needed to build a single installation. It was technology too big to succeed.

    "What was really required to make this compelling was to have a paradigm shift in the technology," says Harry Atwater, the Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science at Caltech and a leader of the project. "Instead of weighing a kilogram per square meter, we're talking about systems we can make today in the range of 100 to 200 grams per square meter, and we have a roadmap for getting down to the range of 10 to 20 grams per square meter."

    How? Through no single step, but perhaps the biggest change in thinking has been to make solar arrays that are modular. Lightweight gallium-arsenide photovoltaic cells would be attached to "tiles"—the fundamental unit of the Caltech design, each of which might be as small as 100 square centimeters, the size of a dessert plate.

    Each tile—and this is key—would be its own miniature solar station, complete with photovoltaics, tiny electronic components, and a microwave transmitter. Tiles would be linked together to form larger "modules" of, say, 60 square meters, and thousands of modules would form a hexagonal power station, perhaps 3 km long on a side. But the modules would not even be physically connected. No heavy support beams, no bundled cables, much less mass.

    "You can think of this as like a school of fish," says Atwater. "It's a bunch of identical independent elements flying in formation."

    Transmission to receivers on the ground would be by phased array—microwave signals from the tiles synchronized so that they can be aimed with no moving parts. Atwater says it would be inherently safe: microwave energy is not ionizing radiation, and the energy density would be "equal to the power density in sunlight."

    Space solar power is probably still years away. Analysts at the Aerospace Corporation's Center for Space Policy and Strategy caution that it "will not be a quick, easy, or comprehensive solution." But there is ferment around the world. JAXA, Japan's space agency, is hard at work, as is China's. Launch costs are coming down and new spacecraft are going up, from internet satellites to NASA's moon-to-Mars effort. The Aerospace Corp. analysts say terrestrial power grids may not be the first users of solar power satellites. Instead, they say, think of…other space vehicles, for which a microwave beam from an orbiting solar farm may be more practical than having their own solar panels.

    "Is there a need for a lot of additional work? Yes," says Hajimiri. But "some of the ingredients that were major showstoppers before, we are moving in the direction of addressing them."

    All of this has the Caltech engineers excited. "It's important for us to be willing to take chances," Hajimiri continues, "and move forward with challenging problems that, if successful, would work toward the betterment of our lives."


    Match ID: 182 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 109 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 california

    Space Station Incident Demands Independent Investigation
    Fri, 06 Aug 2021 19:20:30 +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.

    In an International Space Station major milestone more than fifteen years in the making, a long-delayed Russian science laboratory named Nauka automatically docked to the station on 29 July, prompting sighs of relief in the Mission Control Centers in Houston and Moscow. But within a few hours, it became shockingly obvious the celebrations were premature, and the ISS was coming closer to disaster than at anytime in its nearly 25 years in orbit.

    While the proximate cause of the incident is still being unravelled, there are worrisome signs that NASA may be repeating some of the lapses that lead to the loss of the Challenger and Columbia space shuttles and their crews. And because political pressures seem to be driving much of the problem, only an independent investigation with serious political heft can reverse any erosion in safety culture.

    Let's step back and look at what we know happened: In a cyber-logical process still not entirely clear, while passing northwest to southeast over Indonesia, the Nauka module's autopilot apparently decided it was supposed to fly away from the station. Although actually attached, and with the latches on the station side closed, the module began trying to line itself up in preparation to fire its main engines using an attitude adjustment thruster. As the thruster fired, the entire station was slowly dragged askew as well.

    Since the ISS was well beyond the coverage of Russian ground stations, and since the world-wide Soviet-era fleet of tracking ships and world-circling network of "Luch" relay comsats had long since been scrapped, and replacements were slow in coming, nobody even knew Nauka was firing its thruster, until a slight but growing shift in the ISS's orientation was finally detected by NASA.

    Russia's Nauka approaches the space station, preparing to dock on 29 July 2021. NASA

    Within minutes, the Flight Director in Houston declared a "spacecraft emergency"—the first in the station's lifetime—and his team tried to figure out what could be done to avoid the ISS spinning up so fast that structural damage could result. The football-field-sized array of pressurized modules, support girders, solar arrays, radiator panels, robotic arms, and other mechanisms was designed to operate in a weightless environment. But it was also built to handle stresses both from directional thrusting (used to boost the altitude periodically) and rotational torques (usually to maintain a horizon-level orientation, or to turn to a specific different orientation to facilitate arrival or departure of visiting vehicles). The juncture latches that held the ISS's module together had been sized to accommodate these forces with a comfortable safety margin, but a maneuver of this scale had never been expected.

    Meanwhile, the station's automated attitude control system had also noted the deviation and began firing other thrusters to countermand it. These too were on the Russian half of the station. The only US orientation-control system is a set of spinning flywheels that gently turn the structure without the need for thruster propellant, but which would have been unable to cope with the unrelenting push of Nauka's thruster. Later mass-media scenarios depicted teams of specialists manually directing on-board systems into action, but the exact actions taken in response still remain unclear—and probably were mostly if not entirely automatic. The drama continued as the station crossed the Pacific, then South America and the mid-Atlantic, finally entering Russian radio contact over central Europe an hour after the crisis had begun. By then the thrusting had stopped, probably when the guilty thruster exhausted its fuel supply. The sane half of the Russian segment then restored the desired station orientation.

    Initial private attempts to use telemetry data to visually represent the station's tumble that were posted online looked bizarre, with enormous rapid gyrations in different directions. Mercifully, the truth of the situation is that the ISS went through a simple long-axis spin of one and a half full turns, and then a half turn back to the starting alignment. The jumps and zig-zags were computational artifacts of the representational schemes used by NASA, which relate to the concept of "gimbal lock" in gyroscopes.

    How close the station had come to disaster is an open question, and the flight director humorously alluded to it in a later tweet that he'd never been so happy as when he saw on external TV cameras that the solar arrays and radiators were still standing straight in place. And any excessive bending stress along docking interfaces between the Russian and American segments would have demanded quick leak checks. But even if the rotation was "simple," the undeniably dramatic event has both short term and long-term significance for the future of the space station. And it has antecedents dating back to the very birth of the ISS in 1997.

    How close the ISS had come to disaster is still an open question.

    At this point, unfortunately, is when the human misjudgments began to surface. To calm things down, official NASA spokesmen provided very preliminary underestimates in how big and how fast the station's spin had been. These were presented without any caveat that the numbers were unverified—and the real figures turned out to be much worse. The Russian side, for its part, dismissed the attitude deviation as a routine bump in a normal process of automatic docking and proclaimed there would be no formal incident investigation, especially any that would involve their American partners. Indeed, both sides seemed to agree that the sooner the incident was forgotten, the better. As of now, the US side is deep into analysis of induced stresses on critical ISS structures, with the most important ones, such as the solar arrays, first. Another standard procedure after this kind of event is to assess potential indicators of stress-induced damage, especially in terms of air leaks, and where best to monitor cabin pressure and other parameters to detect any such leaks.

    The bureaucratic instinct to minimize the described potential severity of the event needs cold-blooded assessment. Sadly, from past experience, this mindset of complacency and hoping for the best is the result of natural human mental drift that comes when there are long periods of apparent normalcy. Even if there is a slowly emerging problem, as long as everything looks okay in the day to day, the tendency is ignore warning signals as minor perturbations. The safety of the system is assumed rather than verified—and consequently managers are led into missing clues, or making careless choices, that lead to disaster. So these recent indications of this mental attitude about the station's attitude are worrisome. The NASA team has experienced that same slow cultural rot of assuming safety several times over the past decades, with hideous consequences. Team members in the year leading up to the 1986 Challenger disaster (and I was deep within the Mission Control operations then) had noticed and begun voicing concerns over growing carelessness and even humorous reactions to occasional "stupid mistakes," without effect. Then, after imprudent management decisions, seven people died.

    The same drift was noticed in the late 1990s, especially in the joint US/Russian operations on Mir and on early ISS flights. It led to the forced departure of a number of top NASA officials, who had objected to the trend that was being imposed by the White House's post-Cold War diplomatic goals, implemented by NASA Administrator Dan Goldin. Safety took a decidedly secondary priority to international diplomatic value. Legendary Mission Control leader Gene Kranz described the decisions that were made in the mid-1990s over his own objections, objections that led to his sudden departure from NASA. "Russia was subsequently assigned partnership responsibilities for critical in-line tasks with minimal concern for the political and technical difficulties as well as the cost and schedule risks," he wrote in 1999. "This was the first time in the history of US manned space flight that NASA assigned critical path, in-line tasks with little or no backup." By 2001-'02, the results were as Kranz and his colleagues had warned. "Today's problems with the space station are the product of a program driven by an overriding political objective and developed by an ad hoc committee, which bypassed NASA's proven management and engineering teams," he concluded.

    To reverse the apparent new cultural drift, NASA headquarters or some even higher office is going to have to intervene.

    By then the warped NASA management culture that soon enabled the Columbia disaster in 2003 was fully in place. Some of the wording in current management proclamations regarding the Nauka docking have an eerie ring of familiarity. "Space cooperation continues to be a hallmark of U.S.-Russian relations and I have no doubt that our joint work reinforces the ties that have bound our collaborative efforts over the many years" wrote NASA Director Bill Nelson to Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency, on July 31. There was no mention of the ISS's first declared spacecraft emergency, nor any dissatisfaction with Russian contribution to it.

    To reverse the apparent new cultural drift, and thus potentially forestall the same kind of dismal results as before, NASA headquarters or some even higher office is going to have to intervene. The causes of the Nauka-induced "space sumo match" of massive cross-pushing bodies need to be determined and verified. And somebody needs to expose the decision process that allowed NASA to approve the ISS docking of a powerful thruster-equipped module without the on-site real-time capability to quickly disarm that system in an emergency. Because the apparent sloppiness of NASA's safety oversight on visiting vehicles looks to be directly associated with maintaining good relations with Moscow, the driving factor seems to be White House diplomatic goals—and that's the level where a corrective impetus must originate. With a long-time U.S. Senate colleague, Nelson, recently named head of NASA, President Biden is well connected to issue such guidance for a thorough investigation by an independent commission, followed by implementation of needed reforms. The buck stops with him.

    As far as Nauka's role in this process of safety-culture repair, it turns out that quite by bizarre coincidence, a similar pattern was played out by the very first Russian launch that inaugurated the ISS program, the 'Zarya' module [called the 'FGB'] in late 1997. Nauka turns out to be the repeatedly rebuilt and upgraded backup module for that very launch, and the parallels are remarkable. The day the FGB was launched, on 20 November 1998, the mission faced disaster when it refused to accept ground commands to raise its original atmosphere-skimming parking orbit. As it crossed over Russian ground sites, controllers in Moscow sent commands, and the spacecraft didn't answer. Meanwhile, NASA guests at a nearby facility were celebrating with Russian colleagues as nobody told them of the crisis. Finally, on the last available in-range pass, controllers tried a new command format that the onboard computer did recognize and acknowledge. The mission—and the entire ISS project—was saved, and the American side never knew. Only years later did the story appear in Russian newspapers.

    Still, for all its messy difficulties and frustrating disappointments, the U.S./Russian partnership turned out to be a remarkably robust "mutual co-dependence" arrangement, when managed with "tough love." Neither side really had practical alternatives if it wanted a permanent human presence in space, and they still don't—so both teams were devoted to making it work. And it could still work—if NASA keeps faith with its traditional safety culture and with the lives of those astronauts who died in the past because NASA had failed them.

    Postscript: As this story was going to press, a NASA spokesperson responded to queries about the incident saying:

    As shared by NASA's Kathy Lueders and Joel Montalbano in the media telecon following the event, Roscosmos regularly updated NASA and the rest of the international partners on MLM's progress during the approach to station. We continue to have confidence in our partnership with Roscosmos to operate the International Space Station. When the unexpected thruster firings occurred, flight control teams were able to enact contingency procedures and return the station to normal operations within an hour. We would point you to Roscosmos for any specifics on Russian systems/performance/procedures.

    Match ID: 183 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 114 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 amazon

    2022 U.S. Budget Funds New ICBMs—A Reckless Diversion?
    Fri, 02 Jul 2021 14:30:00 +0000


    With the Biden administration’s 2022 defense budget coming in at US $753 billion, it’s easy to get diverted by the megaton-sized sum that the United States plans to spend on modernizing its nuclear forces over the coming decades. But a bigger question about the future of nuclear deterrence arguably looms—namely, how might intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) affect national security in an era of emerging tech threats? Some of those tech threats are not even typically associated with warfare: social media, deepfakes, cyber weapons, machine learning, commercial satellites, and autonomous systems, to name a few.

    To the surprise of many, President Biden decided in May 2021 to push ahead with a strategic-weapons modernization proposed by past administrations. The centerpiece is a planned replacement for the aging Minuteman III ICBMs called the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), for which a whopping $2.6 billion has been pledged to begin development. Given Biden’s promise to take a closer look at reducing the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal during his campaign, many arms control advocates were stunned by the administration’s full endorsement of the GBSD in the budget. The new land-based missiles are scheduled to replace the 400 Minuteman III missiles deployed under the New Start Treaty in the states of Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wyoming over the next sixteen years; they will be in active service until sometime in the 2080s, at least.

    Conspicuously missing from the debate over new ICBMs is the destabilizing implications of emerging technologies—including cyber weapons and autonomous systems. 

    In the lead up to the budget request, experts on both sides of the issue engaged in a spirited debate about the necessity, or lack thereof, for maintaining all three legs of the U.S. nuclear triad—nuclear-armed bombers, land-based ICBMs, and submarine-launched missiles. A recurring theme in these arguments revolves around the role that ICBMs might play in the deterrence equation in the 21st century. And yet, conspicuously missing from the discussion was sufficient consideration of the dangerous, destabilizing implications for ICBMs and other strategic weapons created by the categories of emerging technologies indicated above: cyber weapons, autonomous systems, and so on.

    Proponents view ICBMs as a key component of a sound U.S. nuclear deterrent in the future, raising the threshold for nuclear war—and thereby reducing any likelihood of a nuclear attack by an adversary. In an interview, Dr. Brad Roberts, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy, suggests two scenarios, one without any ICBMs and the other with the current stockpile: “In one, the adversary has the means to eliminate most of the U.S. nuclear force with preemptive attacks on a few submarine and bomber bases, reserving the bulk of its nuclear force for punishment of the U.S. if it retaliates. In the other, the adversary must launch hundreds of nuclear weapons into the American heartland, depleting its arsenal while killing millions. In which scenario can U.S. leaders be expected by enemy leaders to have the political will to retaliate? The latter. The ICBM force helps adversaries to understand that the U.S. will defend its interests if attacked—and thereby to avoid a serious miscalculation.”

    Other experts vehemently disagree. Former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry has argued that ICBMs in particular are highly unstable, increasing the risk of miscalculation, accidental launch, and thus nuclear war. As such, an enormous program to make new ICBMs is a dangerous enterprise. In Perry’s view it’s also an unnecessary expense, especially when the lifetime of existing Minutemen III can be extended until 2030, allowing for these missiles to be phased out in the course of future arms treaties or other weapons-reduction initiatives. However, it still remains unclear whether such life extension would result in any cost savings. Meanwhile, the total costs for the new land-based missiles could reach more than $264 billion over the course of their development and eventual deployment. 

    Given their perceived instability, ICBMs would likely face more risks from emerging technologies that distort the information landscape (including deep fakes) or that compress decision-making timeframes (including autonomous systems). Roberts is sanguine about risks, suggesting that “new technologies such as social media, deepfakes, and cyber weapons make a complex situation even more complex. But this is an old problem in new form,” he says. “Nuclear decision-makers have faced the challenges of information overload, the risk of unreliable information, and the pressure to act for decades, and they will continue to adapt their practices to a changing technology environment.”

    Oddly, the debate surrounding ICBMs has mostly failed to take emerging technologies into account. But Marina Favaro, a Research Fellow at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy (IFSH) at the University of Hamburg, warns in a new report that in a nuclear crisis, several of the new technologies have the potential to distort the information landscape and force leaders to make hasty, badly informed decisions. “When you consider the strategic environment today, we see a number of emerging technologies that may contract decision-making windows or disrupt information flows,” Favaro said in an interview. That, she added, “could lead to uncertainty, miscalculation, and escalation in a nuclear crisis.”

    Biden’s budget decision appears to reflect a deep bipartisan consensus among a majority of experts within the defense community about the need for a nuclear triad—a notion that has been deeply embedded in American strategic thinking for many decades. The U.S. and Russia have maintained a strong nuclear triad since the height of the Cold War in the 1960s, and were recently joined by both China and India. The Nuclear Posture Reviews of both the Obama and Trump administrations strongly support the triad as a means of providing options for reducing incentives for nuclear war and for hedging against possible changes in nuclear threats. 

    The desire to hedge against the future makes the absence of a thorough debate about the relative impact of emerging technologies on the different legs of nuclear triad more striking. The Biden administration plans to begin deliberations on its Nuclear Posture Review in the coming months. Early indications suggest that the President will seek to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security. Perhaps, the administration will also take another look at plans for ICBM modernization and examine the new risks posed by emerging technologies.

    Dr. Natasha Bajema is the Director of the Converging Risks Lab at the Council on Strategic Risks and an IEEE Spectrum contributor. She has held long-term assignments at the National Defense University, in the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense, and at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.


    Match ID: 184 Score: 1.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 149 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 development

    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: 185 Score: 1.43 source: www.nasa.gov age: 506 days
    qualifiers: 1.43 california

    Q&A: How 3D Printing Can Enable On-Demand Space Launches
    Mon, 01 Nov 2021 14:01:14 +0000


    The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has established itself as one of the world's leading national space agencies, with a reputation for frugal innovation and a booming commercial launch operation.

    But in recent years the government has signaled its intent to open up the sector to private players and last year passed a series of reforms designed to foster innovation and encourage new start ups. Earlier this month Prime Minister Narendra Modi also launched the Indian Space Association, an industry body designed to foster collaboration between public and private players.

    One of the companies that has been quick to pounce on these new opportunities is Agnikul, which is being incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in Chennai. This February, the company successfully test fired its 3D-printed Agnilet rocket engine, just four years after its founding.

    While other private space companies like Relativity Space and Rocket Lab also use 3D printing to build their rockets, Agnikul is the first to print an entire rocket engine as a single piece. IEEE Spectrum spoke to co-founder and chief operating officer Moin SPM to find out why the company thinks this gives them an edge in the burgeoning "launch on-demand" market for small satellites. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

    “We are able to actually create a [rocket] engine from scratch, including the pre-processing, 3D printing, and post-processing, in 72 hours."
    —Agnikul COO Moin SPM

    IEEE Spectrum: Can you explain what you are building at Agnikul?

    Moin SPM, Chief Operating Officer of Agnikul: We are building a launch vehicle that carries a payload capacity of 30 to 300 kilograms, depending on the needs of the customers. We are trying to provide a rapid, on-demand launch service by 3D-printing the entire rocket engine in one shot.

    Generally, when you're 3D-printing a rocket engine there are multiple parts that get fused. Or if it is conventionally manufactured many parts are joined through welding or other means. But here the entire rocket engine from the head to the bottom is done in one shot. Normally you have to do a separate qualification process for each individual part, and then another once they have been integrated. Because we print in one piece the qualification time is drastically reduced. So we are able to actually create an engine from scratch, including the pre-processing, 3D printing, and post-processing, in 72 hours.

    The engines are the heart of the launch vehicle, and it is around the engine that you build the rest of the vehicle. The other parts will be conventionally manufactured so it is more a case of organizing an inventory supply chain system. But we will be able to assemble and integrate the entire launch vehicle in two weeks. One of the other advantages to what we've done is that the vehicle itself is configurable. We allow our customers to customize the vehicle, depending on the payload. So if I'm carrying only 30 kg, I can fly with seven engines. But if I'm taking 300 kg, I'll be flying with 21.

    What did you have to solve to make printing in one piece possible?

    First was designing an engine that could be 3D printed. The second thing was the size of the engine. It is not possible to accommodate a normal-sized rocket engine in today's standard printers, [which is] why others are actually fusing multiple components. What we've done is just take the standard 3D printer that is available in the market and designed an engine that can actually fit in it.

    “What we want to do is, if you build a satellite, you have an opportunity to launch in two weeks. So this reduces your waiting time, your cost, your other operational costs, your maintenance costs."
    —Moin SPM, Agnikul

    Has 3D printing constrained the way you designed the rocket?

    Standardization is an issue. Each printer has different parameters so the same engine might have certain differences when printed on different ones. But that's why we've actually bought a printer in-house through a deal with [industrial 3D printer supplier] EOS. So now every time the engine comes out of the machine, it is exactly the same as what we have printed before.

    What problems does an on-demand launch vehicle solve?

    Today, we see a lot of customers waiting for a launch opportunity. One of the primary reasons is that the majority of the launch vehicles carry bigger satellites, so the smaller ones are basically forced to ride share. Second, once there is a ride share the big payload guy would actually infuse a few criteria that have to be met by the smaller players. For example, they might say their satellite has to be radiation protected, which pushes up the cost for a satellite manufacturer.

    More importantly, the satellites have to be maintained until the flight. Let's say if you manufactured a satellite in 2021 and you get a launch slot in 2022, for 12 months you have to keep the satellite in a clean room, and you have to maintain the satellite, which is another cost to the company. So what we want to do is, if you build a satellite, you have an opportunity to launch in two weeks. So this reduces your waiting time, your cost, your other operational costs, your maintenance costs.

    How is your offering going to be different to the bigger, more established space players like SpaceX?

    So there are two segments in the launch industry. You can take an analogy of one being a bus and the other being a cab. The small launch players like us are the cabs, they go from point A to point B on the discretion of the customer. Whereas with the bus, the mission is already planned for the bigger player. The bus goes from one point to another, and all the other players who have joined have to get on at the bus stop.

    What stage of testing are you at? Where are you in terms of getting the launch vehicle ready for missions?

    We've successfully tested the engines independently and now we are putting them together and trying to do a cluster test. We've got a lot of structural components done, so once the clustering test is finished we'll be integrating the vehicle and I think it should be ready for a test launch next year, maybe around the fourth quarter.

    The launches are going to be happening from Sriharikota [an island off India's east coast that hosts the Satish Dhawan Space Centre]. We've entered into an MOU with ISRO to use their facilities to test our systems and subsystems, as well as for the launch.

    Firing Agnilet - Repeatability & performance validation test

    What kind of customers are you targeting?

    We split the market into conventional and unconventional customers. Conventional is earth imaging and communication. But now we are seeing a lot of other industries are trying to use space as a platform. For example, construction companies are trying to use space to monitor how buildings are being constructed. Space tourism is coming up, so are applications for the entertainment industry, the pharmaceutical industry, [and] space data storage.

    We are pretty agnostic to the type of player, but we are looking for companies that are trying to do constellations. So before, there used to be only one big communication satellite, now they have turned that into 10 small satellites.

    The new satellite manufacturers are also trying to use space to validate the products that they've been developing. This is exactly where the small launch vehicles and on-demand comes in because you shouldn't need to wait for two years, instead your waiting time should be less than two weeks. That's exactly what we're trying to achieve.


    Match ID: 186 Score: 0.71 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 27 days
    qualifiers: 0.71 startup

    Dark Souls 3 & Bloodborne DLCs' Final Bosses Fight Each Other In New Mod
    Sun, 17 Oct 2021 19:16:00 +0000

    A new mod for Dark Souls 3 pits the final boss of the game's last DLC against the final DLC boss from fellow FromSoftware title Bloodborne. FromSoftware has developed a reputation for challenging bosses over the past decade and seems to be continuing that trend with the upcoming Elden Ring, which fans have been awaiting eagerly for some time now following its initial reveal at E3 2019. A more in-depth trailer released at Summer Games Fest earlier this year revealed many of the hallmarks fans have come to expect from the upcoming title.

    Another unique aspect FromSoftware titles have cultivated over the years is a dedicated modding community that still puts out content for installments as far back as the original Dark Souls. As with other communities, the mods cover a wide range of changes and additions, including one that brings sports into Dark Souls 3. Thanks to the work of the modding community, one fan was recently able to answer a unique question: who is the ultimate final DLC boss?


    YouTuber Garden of Eyes started their channel at the end of 2020 with the focus of pitting Bloodborne bosses against one another. Since then, however, that goal has expanded to encompass more FromSoftware titles, and their latest fight features Dark Souls 3's Slave Knight Gael from "The Ringed City" DLC against Bloodborne's Orphan of Kos from "The Old Hunters." The video consists of three bouts between the two bosses, featuring an updated version of Orphan of Kos from a mod named "Call of the Abyss." Each fight takes place in a different boss arena from Dark Souls 3. Despite a victory in round one, the Orphan of Kos ends up losing to Slave Knight Gael in the following two rounds, culminating in a neck and neck competition in the finals.

    Watch Slave Knight Gael and the Orphan of Kos do battle on YouTube here.

    Boss vs boss battles are not the only FromSoftware content Garden of Eyes posts. Sometimes the fights feature NPCs or notoriously difficult mini bosses taking on the actual bosses as well as one another. The channel also features some unique FromSoftware mods such as a Bloodborne first-person camera mod. It goes to show how much creativity can be found in the gaming industry, even in the player base of such a brutally difficult franchise as Dark Souls.

    There is an undeniable appeal in watching Dark Souls and Bloodborne bosses savagely beating each other instead of a helpless player. It comes from a shared struggle every player of From Software's games has had at some point, particularly when going through these titles for the first time. It also helps that the bosses themselves are imposing figures, and make for thrilling adversaries when turned against each other. Elden Ring will likely add more notable bosses that will not only make seasoned players feel right at home, but bring a new generation of players into the fold that have not yet taken on the FromSoftware experience. Until then, however, players can continue to fight against what came before and, if ever things become too difficult, watch the likes of Gael and the Orphan smack each other around for a change.


    Source: Garden of Eyes/YouTube




    Match ID: 187 Score: 0.71 source: techncruncher.blogspot.com age: 42 days
    qualifiers: 0.71 uber

    Filter efficiency 76.293 (188 matches/793 results)


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    No Antenna Could Survive Europa’s Brutal, Radioactive Environment—Until Now
    Wed, 21 Jul 2021 20:30:00 +0000


    Europa, one of Jupiter's Galilean moons, has twice as much liquid water as Earth's oceans, if not more. An ocean estimated to be anywhere from 40 to 100 miles (60 to 150 kilometers) deep spans the entire moon, locked beneath an icy surface over a dozen kilometers thick. The only direct evidence for this ocean is the plumes of water that occasionally erupt through cracks in the ice, jetting as high as 200 km above the surface.

    The endless, sunless, roiling ocean of Europa might sound astoundingly bleak. Yet it's one of the most promising candidates for finding extraterrestrial life. Designing a robotic lander that can survive such harsh conditions will require rethinking all of its systems to some extent, including arguably its most important: communications. After all, even if the rest of the lander works flawlessly, if the radio or antenna breaks, the lander is lost forever.

    Ultimately, when NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where I am a senior antenna engineer, began to seriously consider a Europa lander mission, we realized that the antenna was the limiting factor. The antenna needs to maintain a direct-to-Earth link across more than 550 million miles (900 million km) when Earth and Jupiter are at their point of greatest separation. The antenna must be radiation-hardened enough to survive an onslaught of ionizing particles from Jupiter, and it cannot be so heavy or so large that it would imperil the lander during takeoff and landing. One colleague, when we laid out the challenge in front of us, called it impossible. We built such an antenna anyway—and although it was designed for Europa, it is a revolutionary enough design that we're already successfully implementing it in future missions for other destinations in the solar system.

    Currently, the only planned mission to Europa is the Clipper orbiter, a NASA mission that will study the moon's chemistry and geology and will likely launch in 2024. Clipper will also conduct reconnaissance for a potential later mission to put a lander on Europa. At this time, any such lander is conceptual. NASA has still funded a Europa lander concept, however, because there are crucial new technologies that we need to develop for any successful mission on the icy world. Europa is unlike anywhere else we've attempted to land before.

    People standing in front of an antenna.  The antenna team, including the author (right), examine one of the antenna's subarrays. Each golden square is a unit cell in the antenna. JPL-Caltech/NASA

    For context, so far the only lander to explore the outer solar system is the European Space Agency's Huygens lander. It successfully descended to Saturn's moon Titan in 2005 after being carried by the Cassini orbiter. Much of our frame of reference for designing landers—and their antennas—comes from Mars landers.

    Traditionally, landers (and rovers) designed for Mars missions rely on relay orbiters with high data rates to get scientific data back to Earth in a timely manner. These orbiters, such as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Odyssey, have large, parabolic antennas that use large amounts of power, on the order of 100 watts, to communicate with Earth. While the Perseverance and Curiosity rovers also have direct-to-Earth antennas, they are small, use less power (about 25 W), and are not very efficient. These antennas are mostly used for transmitting the rover's status and other low-data updates. These existing direct-to-Earth antennas simply aren't up to the task of communicating all the way from Europa.

    Additionally, Europa, unlike Mars, has virtually no atmosphere, so landers can't use parachutes or air resistance to slow down. Instead, the lander will depend entirely on rockets to brake and land safely. This necessity limits how big it can be—too heavy and it will require far too much fuel to both launch and land. A modestly sized 400-kilogram lander, for example, requires a rocket and fuel that combined weigh between 10 to 15 tonnes. The lander then needs to survive six or seven years of deep space travel before finally landing and operating within the intense radiation produced by Jupiter's powerful magnetic field.

    We also can't assume a Europa lander would have an orbiter overhead to relay signals, because adding an orbiter could very easily make the mission too expensive. Even if Clipper is miraculously still functional by the time a lander arrives, we won't assume that will be the case, as the lander would arrive well after Clipper's official end-of-mission date.

    JPL engineers pose with a mock-up of a Europa lander concept JPL engineers, including the author (bottom row on left), pose with a mock-up of a Europa lander concept. The model includes several necessary technological developments, including the antenna on top and legs that can handle uneven terrain. JPL-Caltech/NASA

    I've mentioned previously that the antenna will need to transmit signals up to 900 million km. As a general rule, less efficient antennas need a larger surface area to transmit farther. But as the lander won't have an orbiter overhead with a large relay antenna, and it won't be big enough itself for a large antenna, it needs a small antenna with a transmission efficiency of 80 percent or higher—much more efficient than most space-bound antennas.

    So, to reiterate the challenge: The antenna cannot be large, because then the lander will be too heavy. It cannot be inefficient for the same reason, because requiring more power would necessitate bulky power systems instead. And it needs to survive exposure to a brutal amount of radiation from Jupiter. This last point requires that the antenna must be mostly, if not entirely, made out of metal, because metals are more resistant to ionizing radiation.

    The antenna we ultimately developed depends on a key innovation: The antenna is made up of circularly polarized, aluminum-only unit cells—more on this in a moment—that can each send and receive on X-band frequencies (specifically, 7.145 to 7.19 gigahertz for the uplink and 8.4 to 8.45 GHz for the downlink). The entire antenna is an array of these unit cells, 32 on a side or 1,024 in total. The antenna is 32.5 by 32.5 inches (82.5 by 82.5 centimeters), allowing it to fit on top of a modestly sized lander, and it can achieve a downlink rate to Earth of 33 kilobits per second at 80 percent efficiency.

    Let's take a closer look at the unit cells I mentioned, to better understand how this antenna does what it does. Circular polarization is commonly used for space communications. You might be more familiar with linear polarization, which is often used for terrestrial wireless signals; you can imagine such a signal propagating across a distance as a 2D sine wave that's oriented, say, vertically or horizontally relative to the ground. Circular polarization instead propagates as a 3D helix. This helix pattern makes circular polarization useful for deep space communications because the helix's larger “cross section" doesn't require that the transmitter and receiver be as precisely aligned. As you can imagine, a superprecise alignment across almost 750 million km is all but impossible. Circular polarization has the added benefit of being less sensitive to Earth's weather when it arrives. Rain, for example, causes linearly polarized signals to attenuate more quickly than circularly polarized ones.

    This exploded view of an 8-by-8 subarray of the antenna This exploded view of an 8-by-8 subarray of the antenna shows the unit cells (top layer) that work together to create steerable signal beams, and the three layers of the power divider sandwiched between the antenna's casing. JPL-Caltech/NASA

    Each unit cell, as mentioned, is entirely made of aluminum. Earlier antenna arrays that similarly use smaller component cells include dielectric materials like ceramic or glass to act as insulators. Unfortunately, dielectric materials are also vulnerable to Jupiter's ionizing radiation. The radiation builds up a charge on the materials over time, and precisely because they're insulators there's nowhere for that charge to go—until it's ultimately released in a hardware-damaging electrostatic discharge. So we can't use them.

    As mentioned before, metals are more resilient to ionizing radiation. The problem is they're not insulators, and so an antenna constructed entirely out of metal is ­­still at risk of an electrostatic discharge damaging its components. We worked around this problem by designing each unit cell to be fed at a single point. The “feed" is the connection between an antenna and the radio's transmitter and receiver. Typically, circularly polarized antennas require two perpendicular feeds to control the signal generation. But with a bit of careful engineering and the use of a type of automated optimization called a genetic algorithm, we developed a precisely shaped single feed that could get the job done. Meanwhile, a comparatively large metal post acts as a ground to protect each feed from electrostatic discharges.

    The unit cells are placed in small 8-by-8 subarrays, 16 subarrays in total. Each of these subarrays is fed with something we call a suspended air stripline, in which the transmission line is suspended between two ground planes, turning the gap in between into a dielectric insulator. We can then safely transmit power through the stripline while still protecting the line from electric discharges that would build up on a dielectric like ceramic or glass. Additionally, suspended air striplines are low loss, which is perfect for the highly efficient antenna design we wanted.

    Put together, the new antenna design accomplishes three things: It's highly efficient, it can handle a large amount of power, and it's not very sensitive to temperature fluctuations. Removing traditional dielectric materials in favor of air striplines and an aluminum-only design gives us high efficiency. It's also a phased array, which means it uses a cluster of smaller antennas to create steerable, tightly focused signals. The nature of such an array is that each individual cell needs to handle only a fraction of the total transmission power. So while each individual cell can handle only a few watts, each subarray can handle more than 100 watts. And finally, because the antenna is made of metal, it expands and contracts uniformly as the temperature changes. In fact, one of the reasons we picked aluminum is because the metal does not expand or contract much as temperatures change.

    The power divider for an 8-by-8 subarray The power divider for an 8-by-8 subarray splits the signal power into a fraction that each unit cell can tolerate without being damaged. JPL-Caltech/NASA

    When I originally proposed this antenna concept to the Europa lander project, I was met with skepticism. Space exploration is typically a very risk-averse endeavor, for good reason—the missions are expensive, and a single mistake can end one prematurely. For this reason, new technologies may be dismissed in favor of tried-and-true methods. But this situation was different because without a new antenna design, there would never be a Europa mission. The rest of my team and I were given the green light to prove the antenna could work.

    Designing, fabricating, and testing the antenna took only 6 months. To put that in context, the typical development cycle for a new space technology is measured in years. The results were outstanding. Our antenna achieved the 80 percent efficiency threshold on both the send and receive frequency bands, despite being smaller and lighter than other antennas.

    In order to prove how successful our antenna could be, we subjected it to a battery of extreme environmental tests, including a handful of tests specific to Europa's atypical environment.

    One test is what we call thermal cycling. For this test, we place the antenna in a room called a thermal chamber and adjust the temperature over a large range—as low as –170 ℃ and as high as 150 ℃. We put the antenna through multiple temperature cycles, measuring its transmitting capabilities before, during, and after each cycle. The antenna passed this test without any issues.

    Photo of unit cells Each unit cell is pure aluminum. Collectively, they create a steerable signal by canceling out one another's signals in unwanted directions and reinforcing the signal in the desired direction. JPL-Caltech/NASA

    The antenna also needed to demonstrate, like any piece of hardware that goes into space, resilience against vibrations. Rockets—and everything they're carrying into space—shake intensely during launch, which means we need to be sure that anything that goes up doesn't come apart on the trip. For the vibration test, we loaded the entire antenna onto a vibrating table. We used accelerometers at different locations on the antenna to determine if it was holding up or breaking apart under the vibrations. Over the course of the test, we ramped up the vibrations to the point where they approximate a launch.

    Thermal cycling and vibration tests are standard tests for the hardware on any spacecraft, but as I mentioned, Europa's challenging environment required a few additional nonstandard tests. We typically do some tests in anechoic chambers for antennas. You may recognize anechoic chambers as those rooms with wedge-covered surfaces to absorb any signal reflections. An anechoic chamber makes it possible for us to determine the antenna's signal propagation over extremely long distances by eliminating interference from local reflections. One way to think about it is that the anechoic chamber simulates a wide open space, so we can measure the signal's propagation and extrapolate how it will look over a longer distance.

    What made this particular anechoic chamber test interesting is that it was also conducted at ultralow temperatures. We couldn't make the entire chamber that cold, so we instead placed the antenna in a sealed foam box. The foam is transparent to the antenna's radio transmissions, so from the point of view of the actual test, it wasn't there. But by connecting the foam box to a heat exchange plate filled with liquid nitrogen, we could lower the temperature inside it to –170 ℃. To our delight, we found that the antenna had robust long-range signal propagation even at that frigid temperature.

    The last unusual test for this antenna was to bombard it with electrons in order to simulate Jupiter's intense radiation. We used JPL's Dynamitron electron accelerator to subject the antenna to the entire ionizing radiation dose the antenna would see during its lifetime in a shortened time frame. In other words, in the span of two days in the accelerator, the antenna was exposed to the same amount of radiation as it would be during the six- or seven-year trip to Europa, plus up to 40 days on the surface. Like the anechoic chamber testing, we also conducted this test at cryogenic temperatures that were as close to those of Europa's surface conditions as possible.

    Photo of antenna in an anechoic chamber with the antenna in a white foam box. The antenna had to pass signal tests at cryogenic temperatures (–170 °C) to confirm that it would work as expected on Europa's frigid surface. Because it wasn't possible to bring the temperature of the entire anechoic chamber to cryogenic levels, the antenna was sealed in a white foam box. JPL-Caltech/NASA

    The reason for the electron bombardment test was our concern that Jupiter's ionizing radiation would cause a dangerous electrostatic discharge at the antenna's port, where it connects to the rest of the lander's communications hardware. Theoretically, the danger of such a discharge grows as the antenna spends more time exposed to ionizing radiation. If a discharge happens, it could damage not just the antenna but also hardware deeper in the communications system and possibly elsewhere in the lander. Thankfully, we didn't measure any discharges during our test, which confirms that the antenna can survive both the trip to and work on Europa.

    We designed and tested this antenna for Europa, but we believe it can be used for missions elsewhere in the solar system. We're already tweaking the design for the joint JPL/ESA Mars Sample Return mission that—as the name implies—will bring Martian rocks, soil, and atmospheric samples back to Earth. The mission is currently slated to launch in 2026. We see no reason why our antenna design couldn't be used on every future Mars lander or rover as a more robust alternative—one that could also increase data rates 4 to 16 times those of current antenna designs. We also could use it on future moon missions to provide high data rates.

    Although there isn't an approved Europa lander mission yet, we at JPL will be ready if and when it happens. Other engineers have pursued different projects that are also necessary for such a mission. For example, some have developed a new, multilegged landing system to touch down safely on uncertain or unstable surfaces. Others have created a “belly pan" that will protect vulnerable hardware from Europa's cold. Still others have worked on an intelligent landing system, radiation-tolerant batteries, and more. But the antenna remains perhaps the most vital system, because without it there will be no way for the lander to communicate how well any of these other systems are working. Without a working antenna, the lander will never be able to tell us whether we could have living neighbors on Europa.

    This article appears in the August 2021 print issue as “An Antenna Made for an Icy, Radioactive Hell."

    During the editorial process some errors were introduced to this article and have been corrected on 27 July 2021. We originally misstated the amount of power used by Mars orbiters and the Europa antenna design, as well as the number of unit cells in each subarray. We also incorrectly suggested that the Europa antenna design would not require a gimbal or need to reorient itself in order to stay in contact with Earth.


    Match ID: 0 Score: 95.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 130 days
    qualifiers: 71.43 space travel, 10.71 space travel, 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

    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.


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    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: 4 Score: 90.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 1 day
    qualifiers: 65.00 nasa, 25.00 mit

    NASA hopes to hit an asteroid now in case we really need to knock one away later
    2021-11-27T14:05:58+00:00
    NASA hopes to hit an asteroid now in case we really need to knock one away later submitted by /u/speckz
    [link] [comments]

    Match ID: 5 Score: 90.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 1 day
    qualifiers: 65.00 nasa, 25.00 mit

    Paying Tribute to Former IEEE President Richard Gowen
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 19:00:01 +0000

    Richard Gowen, 1984 IEEE president, died on 12 November at the age of 86.

    An active volunteer who held many high-level positions throughout the organization, Gowen was president of the IEEE Foundation from 2005 to 2011 and two years later was appointed as president emeritus of the IEEE Foundation. He was also past chair of the IEEE History Committee.


    "I, along with the IEEE staff and Board of Directors are deeply saddened by this loss," says Susan K. (Kathy) Land, 2021 IEEE president and CEO. "Dick served not only as IEEE president but was a dedicated advocate of the IEEE Foundation and a strong champion of the IEEE History Center. I know I speak for both the members of IEEE and supporters of the IEEE Foundation in extending our sincere sympathies to his family and colleagues."

    Photo of a man in a dark jacket and red tie. IEEE Foundation

    At the time of death, he was president and CEO of Dakota Power, a company in Rapid City, S.D., that develops lightweight electric drive systems for military and civilian use.

    EDUCATION

    Gowen was born in New Brunswick, N.J., and received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1957 from Rutgers University there. While at Rutgers, he participated in the school's ROTC.

    After graduating, he joined RCA Laboratories in Princeton, N.J., as a researcher but was called to active duty by the U.S. Air Force. He was a communications electronics officer at Yaak Air Force Station, in Montana. While there, he applied to join the electrical engineering faculty at the Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was accepted, and the academy sponsored his postgraduate studies at Iowa State University, in Ames. He earned a master's degree in electrical engineering in 1959 and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering in 1962.

    For his doctoral research, he developed an engineering model of the cardiovascular system. His project led to the development of a device worn on a person's finger that measures blood pressure during physical exercise. He was granted his first U.S. patent for the technology.

    ASSISTING NASA

    Gowen began his academic career in 1962 as an electrical engineering professor at the Air Force Academy. He was selected in 1966 to be an astronaut in NASA's Apollo 1 program but withdrew after suffering a back injury that left him unable to walk.

    After undergoing an operation that restored his ability to walk, he returned to the academy. In addition to teaching, he led a research team to develop technology that could help NASA study the effects of weightlessness on astronauts' cardiovascular systems. The research was being conducted at a new lab NASA and the Air Force built at the academy.

    Gowen and his team worked with the astronauts of the Apollo and Skylab missions to virtually test and evaluate physiological changes that might have occurred during their long space missions. His research led to the development of the lower body negative pressure device, which can vary the transfer of fluids from the upper body to the lower body. It gave the research team "the ability to evaluate the movement of fluids on the cardiovascular system," Gowen wrote in an article about the research on the Engineering Technology and History Wiki.

    The device is now on display in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian National Space and Air Museum.

    Gowen served as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Defense while at the academy. He retired in 1977 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

    He joined the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, in Rapid City, in 1977 as vice president and dean of engineering. He left seven years later to serve as president of Dakota State College, now Dakota State University, in Madison, S.D.

    In 1987 he returned to South Dakota Mines as its president. Under his leadership, new engineering programs were created and graduate research projects were expanded. He also increased the number of projects that were conducted in collaboration with NASA and the U.S. military.

    After he retired from the school in 2003 he was appointed as a member of the South Dakota Department of Education. In that role, he was active in encouraging more Native Americans to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

    After retiring, he led the conversion of the Homestake gold mine, in Lead, S.D., into a scientific laboratory in 2003 at the request of the U.S. National Science Foundation. The Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory opened in 2009.

    Gowen was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2012 for his work in expanding academic research and STEM education.

    He helped found Dakota Power in 2007.

    ACTIVE VOLUNTEER

    Gowen joined IEEE in 1956 to give back to the engineering profession, gain leadership skills, and serve on boards and committees, according to the Wiki article.

    He was active in the IEEE Denver Section and was a founding member of the IEEE Pikes Peak Section, in Colorado Springs. He was the 1976 Region 5 director and a member of several boards including the IEEE Regional Activities board (now the IEEE Member and Geographic Activities board), the IEEE Standards Association Standards Board, and the IEEE Technical Activities board.

    "Over several decades, Dick made enormous contributions to IEEE, the IEEE Foundation, and the engineering profession," says IEEE Life Fellow Lyle Feisel, director emeritus of the IEEE Foundation. "He was a risk-taker who saw solutions where others saw only problems. Above all, he had enthusiasm, often belied by his low-key approach."

    Gowen was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 1981 in recognition of his contributions to space research and education. He played a major role in the merger of IEEE and Eta Kappa Nu to form the IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu honor society. Gowen was elevated in 2002 to eminent member of IEEE-HKN.

    He and his wife, Nancy, were avid supporters of the IEEE Foundation and IEEE History Center. Last year, thanks to their generous donation, the History Center was able to complete its GPS collection on its Engineering and Technology History Wiki. Now oral histories from all four GPS fathers—Brad Parkinson, James Spilker, Richard Schwartz, and Hugo Fruehauf—are available online.

    The Gowens were also members of the IEEE Heritage Circle and the IEEE Goldsmith Legacy League. The Heritage Circle acknowledges members who have pledged more than US $10,000 to support IEEE programs. Legacy League members have pledged money to the IEEE Foundation through a bequest in their will, trust, life insurance policy, or retirement plan.

    "Dick's contributions to IEEE and the IEEE Foundation were far-reaching, impactful, and impossible to measure," Karen Galuchie, IEEE Foundation executive director, says. "He was known as a servant leader and tirelessly dedicated his time, talent, and treasure to making IEEE stronger and more productive. His impression on IEEE will last forever."

    Gifts can be made in Gowen's memory to a variety of IEEE's philanthropic programs that were important to him such as the IEEE Foundation Fund, the IEEE History Center, and IEEE-HKN. The Gowen family will be notified of your donation unless you make your gift anonymously, according to Galuchie.


    Match ID: 6 Score: 64.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 46.43 nasa, 17.86 mit

    Upcoming Moon missions spur the search for new spacesuits
    Fri, 26 Nov 2021 00:08:00 GMT
    Nasa has asked the private sector to design new spacesuits that can be used on the Moon.
    Match ID: 7 Score: 55.71 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 3 days
    qualifiers: 55.71 nasa

    Scientists use seismic noise to image first hundred meters of Mars
    Thu, 25 Nov 2021 14:30:35 +0000
    Mars' winds create enough noise to see what's underneath the InSight lander.
    Match ID: 8 Score: 55.71 source: arstechnica.com age: 3 days
    qualifiers: 55.71 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 solar wind, 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: 9 Score: 46.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 46.43 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: 10 Score: 46.43 source: www.nasa.gov age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 46.43 nasa

    NASA, SpaceX Launch DART: First Test Mission to Defend Planet Earth
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 02:29 EST
    NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the world’s first full-scale mission to test technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet hazards, launched Wednesday at 1:21 a.m. EST on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
    Match ID: 11 Score: 37.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 5 days
    qualifiers: 37.14 nasa

    Nasa Dart asteroid spacecraft: Mission to smash into Dimorphos space rock launches
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 06:38:48 GMT
    A spacecraft has started its journey as it aims to deliberately nudge an asteroid off course.
    Match ID: 12 Score: 37.14 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 5 days
    qualifiers: 37.14 nasa

    NASA Awards Information Technology Support Services Contract
    Tue, 23 Nov 2021 16:11 EST
    NASA has selected Centuria Corporation of Reston, Virginia, for management systems engineering, software development, project management, information technology security, and enterprise architecture support services for the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Johnson Space Center in Houston, and Ames Research Center.
    Match ID: 13 Score: 37.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 5 days
    qualifiers: 37.14 nasa

    ISS Daily Summary Report – 11/23/2021
    Tue, 23 Nov 2021 16:00:45 +0000
    Payloads: Astrobatics: The crew relocated items out of the experiment area, set up the appropriate hardware, and assisted the ground team with the Astrobatics experiment session tasks.  Astrobee Maneuvering by Robotic Manipulator Hopping (Astrobatics) demonstrates the Astrobee robotic vehicles using robotic manipulators to execute a hopping or self-toss maneuver as the primary mean of propulsion, …
    Match ID: 14 Score: 37.14 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 5 days
    qualifiers: 37.14 nasa

    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: 15 Score: 36.43 source: www.nasa.gov age: 6 days
    qualifiers: 27.86 nasa, 8.57 planets

    NASA Awards Contract for Bed Rest Studies
    Mon, 22 Nov 2021 15:47 EST
    NASA has selected Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR) of Cologne, Germany, to provide use of its facility to support long-duration bed rest research.
    Match ID: 16 Score: 27.86 source: www.nasa.gov age: 6 days
    qualifiers: 27.86 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: 17 Score: 27.86 source: www.nasa.gov age: 6 days
    qualifiers: 27.86 nasa

    ISS Daily Summary Report – 11/22/2021
    Mon, 22 Nov 2021 16:00:25 +0000
    Cygnus NG-16 Departure: On Saturday, November 20th, NG-16 was unberthed from the Node 1 nadir CBM, maneuvered and then released by the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) at 10:01 am CST. Cygnus will deorbit on Wednesday, Dec. 15, following a deorbit engine firing to set up a destructive re-entry. The spacecraft, filled with waste …
    Match ID: 18 Score: 27.86 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 6 days
    qualifiers: 27.86 nasa

    UNESCO Members Adopt First Global AI Ethics Agreement 'To Benefit Humanity'
    2021-11-29T08:33:09+00:00
    UNESCO Members Adopt First Global AI Ethics Agreement 'To Benefit Humanity' submitted by /u/meatballsinsugo
    [link] [comments]

    Match ID: 19 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Labour calls for overhaul of system regulating ministers' conduct
    Mon, 29 Nov 2021 08:03:51 GMT
    It comes as the Commons standards committee prepares to publish its review of the code for MPs.
    Match ID: 20 Score: 25.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Sleaze is just a symptom – democratic politics in the UK is dying | Alan Finlayson
    Mon, 29 Nov 2021 08:00:50 GMT

    As the gap between people and politics grows, government is less interested in the good of society than in rewarding loyalty

    • Alan Finlayson is professor of political and social theory at the University of East Anglia

    Though fears of Covid-19 are spiking once again, this seems to be a comforting moment for the Labour party. After a disastrous few weeks for the ruling party, it seems as though politics is returning to “normal”: sleazy Tories are being sleazy, reneging on commitments to the “red wall”, and the opposition is sneaking ahead in the polls. But flashbacks to the mid-90s are, in reality, delusions. What most hurt the Tories then was that sleaze came to symbolise a decaying, patrician regime that, Labour argued, must give way to a new political generation. Johnson is a big, tempting and sometimes easy target. But our problems are not reducible to the moral failings of one individual. The current state of British politics – with an “incompetent” and “corrupt” administration at its centre – is symptomatic of a British state in which democratic politics is failing.

    To understand the depths of the problem, we can start by recognising that democracy isn’t just about voting. It names a much wider political and social system. People will be interested in politics – and more likely to see it as legitimate – if they think it cares about their interests. Large and active political parties circulate ideas, arguments and experiences between the centre and the periphery of power. So too do membership organisations: trade unions, business associations, consumer groups, campaign organisations, charities, churches. Through these, citizens identify the causes and interests they have in common and see them represented in their politics.

    Alan Finlayson is professor of political and social theory at the University of East Anglia

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

    Preloved and perfect! The seven essential rules for secondhand presents
    Mon, 29 Nov 2021 08:00:50 GMT

    For a thoughtful, less consumerist Christmas, make sure to tell the truth about your purchases, spritz musty clothes with vodka and invest in vintage wrapping paper

    It’s not a pair of box-fresh Bottega Veneta boots, or cashmere spun from the wool of a rare-breed yak, that will ensure you strike gifting gold with fashion fans this Christmas: it’s the revelation that you bought their present secondhand.

    Once a dirty word, secondhand is an increasingly valued quality (the global “preloved” fashion market alone is worth $130bn). A survey conducted by the online secondhand marketplace Vinted found that one in six of us are committed to giving preloved only this Christmas, and buying secondhand can also help to combat the £42m worth of unwanted Christmas gifts sent to landfill each year.

    Continue reading...
    Match ID: 22 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Retailers are hungry for your email address this holiday season. Here’s why.
    2021-11-29T07:57:26+00:00
    Retailers are hungry for your email address this holiday season. Here’s why. submitted by /u/Sorin61
    [link] [comments]

    Match ID: 23 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    GlaxoSmithKline ready for human trials of HIV cure
    2021-11-29T07:49:43+00:00
    GlaxoSmithKline ready for human trials of HIV cure submitted by /u/WannoHacker
    [link] [comments]

    Match ID: 24 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Ties that bind: Missouri Senate candidate hopes Trump notices neckwear
    Mon, 29 Nov 2021 07:00:48 GMT

    Congressman Billy Long seeks Trump’s endorsement for ‘the guy that was with you from day one. I mean, look at this tie’

    Senate candidates endorsed by Donald Trump have struggled of late, from Sean Parnell’s withdrawal in Pennsylvania while denying allegations of domestic abuse to the former NFL star Herschel Walker angering party leaders with his run in Georgia.

    But to one candidate for the Republican nomination in Missouri, Congressman Billy Long, the former president’s endorsement still carries the ultimate weight.

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    Match ID: 25 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Rhik Samadder tries … pottery: ‘I’m making a bowl – if it’s hideous, we’ll call it an ashtray’
    Mon, 29 Nov 2021 07:00:49 GMT

    Working clay is as much meditation as craft, but there is so much to learn, from ram’s head wedging to coiling and glazing. And the results sometimes leave a lot to be desired

    It’s an awkward start to my pottery journey. I’ve arrived at the Kiln Rooms in Peckham, south-east London, dressed as Demi Moore, star of the movie Ghost, and the most famous pottery scene ever filmed. “Should I have worn a tank top?” asks my tutor David McGuire. Tank top? I realise with horror that he has never seen the film. “When you say you’re a potter, people always mention Ghost!” he winces, almost in physical pain. I have no idea why he thinks Patrick Swayze wears a tank top in it. Then again, when I check the film, I realise I am dressed nothing like Demi Moore either. Is McGuire choosing not to watch Ghost purely on a point of principle? Perhaps, he admits. You should watch it, I insist, it’s classic Whoopi Goldberg. “Shall we make a start?” he says.

    The lesson begins with physical heft, pushing and turning the clay in an arduous technique known as ram’s head wedging. Wedging removes air pockets from the clay, lest they cause the finished product to bloat or explode in the oven. It’s like kneading dough, I remark, always thinking about pizza. It’s the opposite, says McGuire, apologetically, as kneading introduces air to dough. He has a lovely Donegal accent, which makes corrections easy to hear. Also, I’m thinking about putting a quattro formaggi in my oven tonight, which will certainly lead to bloating, possibly an explosion.

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    Match ID: 26 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Fundos de aposentadoria nos EUA especulam com a destruição da Amazônia
    Mon, 29 Nov 2021 06:41:24 +0000

    A mercantilização da agricultura e as falsas ‘obrigações climáticas’ favorecem investimentos estrangeiros em negócios que desmatam.

    The post Fundos de aposentadoria nos EUA especulam com a destruição da Amazônia appeared first on The Intercept.


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

    Lithium-Ion Batteries Have Plunged in Cost by 97% – Here’s the Reasons Behind the Rapid Cost Decline
    2021-11-29T06:14:07+00:00
    Lithium-Ion Batteries Have Plunged in Cost by 97% – Here’s the Reasons Behind the Rapid Cost Decline submitted by /u/Azurebluenomad
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    Match ID: 28 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    UK regulator set to block Meta's Giphy deal - FT
    2021-11-29T05:55:54+00:00
    UK regulator set to block Meta's Giphy deal - FT submitted by /u/Hrmbee
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    Match ID: 29 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Cartoon Caption Contest
    Mon, 29 Nov 2021 05:05:00 +0000
    Submit your caption.
    Match ID: 30 Score: 25.00 source: www.newyorker.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Bosnian Serb leader: Putin and China will help if west imposes sanctions
    Mon, 29 Nov 2021 05:00:46 GMT

    Exclusive: Milorad Dodik dismisses fears Serb separatists are planning breakup of Bosnia-Herzegovina

    The Bosnian Serb leader accused of risking war by pursuing the breakup of Bosnia-Herzegovina has dismissed the threat of western sanctions and hinted at an imminent summit with Vladimir Putin, saying: “I was not elected to be a coward”.

    In an interview with the Guardian, Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of the tripartite leadership of Bosnia-Herzegovina, said he would not be deterred by the outcry from London, Washington, Berlin and Brussels.

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

    Astronomers Discover Ancient “Failed Star” With Lithium Deposits Intact
    2021-11-29T01:46:11+00:00
    Astronomers Discover Ancient “Failed Star” With Lithium Deposits Intact submitted by /u/ourlifeintoronto
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    Match ID: 32 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    The underwater kites generating electricity as they move
    2021-11-29T01:41:28+00:00
    The underwater kites generating electricity as they move submitted by /u/Sweep145
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    Match ID: 33 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Microsoft expands cloud services with two new datacenters in Wyoming
    2021-11-29T01:40:59+00:00
    Microsoft expands cloud services with two new datacenters in Wyoming submitted by /u/ourlifeintoronto
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    Match ID: 34 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    The Telegraph: "Nvidia at risk of $1.25bn loss if Arm takeover falls through"
    2021-11-29T00:40:00+00:00
    The Telegraph: "Nvidia at risk of $1.25bn loss if Arm takeover falls through" submitted by /u/Dakhil
    [link] [comments]

    Match ID: 35 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Emma Day murder: Sister of mother killed by ex calls for changes
    Mon, 29 Nov 2021 00:02:23 GMT
    The Met and Child Maintenance Service have admitted faults were made in the handling of Emma Day's case.
    Match ID: 36 Score: 25.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Britain and Israel to sign trade and defence deal
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 23:56:11 GMT

    Pact covers Iran as well as cybersecurity, despite controversy over use of Israeli firm NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware in UK

    Britain and Israel will sign a 10-year trade and defence pact in London on Monday, promising cooperation on issues such as cybersecurity and a joint commitment to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

    The agreement was announced by Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, and her Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid, despite evidence that spyware made by Israeli company NSO Group had probably been used to spy on two British lawyers advising the ex-wife of the ruler of Dubai, Princess Haya.

    Continue reading...
    Match ID: 37 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Can AI Truly Give Us a Glimpse of Lost Masterpieces? | Recent projects used machine learning to resurrect paintings by Klimt and Rembrandt. They raise questions about what computers can understand about art.
    2021-11-28T22:35:16+00:00
    Can AI Truly Give Us a Glimpse of Lost Masterpieces? | Recent projects used machine learning to resurrect paintings by Klimt and Rembrandt. They raise questions about what computers can understand about art. submitted by /u/nxthompson_tny
    [link] [comments]

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

    Spotify Pulls Plug on Car View Feature, Offers Users No Alternative
    2021-11-28T21:40:55+00:00
    Spotify Pulls Plug on Car View Feature, Offers Users No Alternative submitted by /u/FrodoSam4Ever
    [link] [comments]

    Match ID: 39 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
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    Parker Solar Probe sets new distance and speed records on solar slingshot
    2021-11-28T19:44:39+00:00
    Parker Solar Probe sets new distance and speed records on solar slingshot submitted by /u/Devils_doohickey
    [link] [comments]

    Match ID: 40 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
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    How Facebook and Google fund global misinformation
    2021-11-28T19:16:35+00:00
    How Facebook and Google fund global misinformation submitted by /u/Hrmbee
    [link] [comments]

    Match ID: 41 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
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    Covid boosters may be expanded as soon as Monday to tackle Omincron spread
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 18:50:25 GMT

    Change to criteria could happen as soon as Monday as No 10 tries to combat variant’s spread

    The Covid booster vaccination scheme could be significantly expanded as early as Monday as ministers try to combat the seemingly inevitable spread of the Omicron variant, with secondary school pupils being told to wear masks in communal areas.

    The government’s vaccines watchdog, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which held an emergency meeting over the weekend, is expected to advise the use of boosters for younger people, and could also recommend a cut in the current six-month wait between second and booster doses, it is understood.

    Continue reading...
    Match ID: 42 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    The Guardian view of US foreign policy: the case for democratic dominance | Editorial
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 18:30:33 GMT

    China will be the ghost at the gathering of America’s allies next month

    Joe Biden’s foreign policy doctrine views the future relationship between democracies and authoritarian regimes as a competitive one, accompanied by a battle of narratives. Nondemocratic regimes have become brazen in their repression and many democratic governments have regressed by adopting their tactics of restricting free speech and weakening the rule of law. The US, under Donald Trump, was not immune to such trends. One European thinktank warned last week that there remains a risk that the US could slip into authoritarianism.

    The Biden administration has announced the first of two virtual “summits for democracy” next month to bring together government, civil society and business leaders from more than 100 nations. This might seem a bit rich, given America’s history of befriending dictators and overthrowing elected leaders it did not like. Invitations have gone out to a group so broad it includes liberal democracies, weak democracies and states with authoritarian characteristics. Mr Biden deserves a cheer for seeking a renewal of democracy, asking attendees to reflect on their record of upholding human rights and fighting corruption.

    Continue reading...
    Match ID: 43 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    ‘Buy now, pay later’ is booming. But companies are facing pressure to change.
    2021-11-28T18:13:16+00:00
    ‘Buy now, pay later’ is booming. But companies are facing pressure to change. submitted by /u/Sorin61
    [link] [comments]

    Match ID: 44 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Deepcut deaths: army ‘treating victims’ families with contempt’
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 17:33:39 GMT

    Exclusive: Pte Sean Benton’s sister says MoD failed to honour pledge to tackle bullying at barracks

    The sister of Pte Sean Benton, who committed suicide at Deepcut barracks, has accused the British army of treating victims’ families with contempt after it emerged that the military had failed to honour a pledge made at his inquest in 2018.

    Tracy Lewis said the coroner had been told that recruits would be informed they could report serious physical or sexual assaults to the police, a commitment intended to help tackle bullying and harassment in the ranks.

    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 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

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    Match ID: 45 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    The search for extraterrestrial life is going to look at our nearest galactic neighbor
    2021-11-28T16:18:28+00:00
    The search for extraterrestrial life is going to look at our nearest galactic neighbor submitted by /u/Elsa-Fidelis
    [link] [comments]

    Match ID: 46 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    An Animal Rights Activist Saved a Sick Baby Goat From a Farm — and Faces Years in Prison
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 15:41:30 +0000

    Wayne Hsiung faces felony charges — an escalation in the government's war against those who would put the value of life ahead of property.

    The post An Animal Rights Activist Saved a Sick Baby Goat From a Farm — and Faces Years in Prison appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 47 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
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    How bad will the Omicron Covid variant be in Britain? Three things will tell us | Devi Sridhar
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 15:40:29 GMT

    A new variant identified in southern Africa is causing global panic – but its real impact will be shown by the data scientists are racing to establish

    Omicron, the name of the new Covid-19 variant that is sending worrying signals from southern Africa, sounds like something from Transformers. It has caused panic across the world, among governments, the public and the stock markets. After adding a number of southern African countries to the red list, the UK government has reimposed mandatory masks in England from Tuesday, and will require anyone travelling to the country from abroad to take a PCR test. Omicron is probably the first variant to have scientists worried since Delta became the predominant strain in every country last summer. But how bad it is? What does it mean for future lockdowns – and future deaths?

    Scientists are waiting on three pieces of data before they will be able to tell what effect this new variant will have over the next six to 12 months. The first is how infectious Omicron is. Can it outcompete Delta? Earlier this year we saw another worrying variant, Beta, that luckily faded away as a result of a selective advantage in Delta that allowed it to transmit faster between people. Limited data from South Africa shows that Omicron is very infectious, but whether it will become the predominant strain remains to be seen.

    Prof Devi Sridhar is chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh

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    Match ID: 48 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Robots outnumber human workers in this autonomous truck yard north of Denver
    2021-11-28T13:46:01+00:00
    Robots outnumber human workers in this autonomous truck yard north of Denver submitted by /u/Sorin61
    [link] [comments]

    Match ID: 49 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
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    How will post-Covid Britain look? For many, like it did in the brutal 19th century | John Harris
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 13:00:26 GMT

    While Boris Johnson talks of ‘building back better’, the reality is growing poverty and hunger – and a government that is fuelling them

    In December 2019, Boris Johnson was electioneering in Salisbury, where he visited a butcher’s shop and local military veterans’ centre. The same city is also the home of the Trussell Trust, which runs the UK’s largest network of food banks – and Johnson was asked whether anything in the Conservative party’s manifesto might reduce the need for the kind of help it provides. He answered in the affirmative, claiming that helping people with living costs was a personal “crusade”, paying tribute to “everybody who gets involved with running food banks”, but also insisting that “it is wrong that people should be dependent on them”. He then mentioned “cutting national insurance for everyone”, before his punchline: “It is imperative in my view that the next government, if I’m lucky enough to be leading it, tackles the cost of living for everybody in this country. That’s what we’re going to do.”

    Then as now, words just tumbled out of his mouth. We all know what happened to the national insurance promise, and if Johnson and his ministers had any credible intention of reducing living costs, any such hope has now been quashed. Instead we’ve had soaring energy bills, higher inflation and the cruel end of the £20-a-week universal credit “uplift” – partially mitigated via changes in the budget aimed at people in employment, but still a grim reality for the 3.4 million people on that benefit who are not in work.

    John Harris is a Guardian columnist

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    Match ID: 50 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    How Foundation preserved Asimov’s big ideas while bringing the story to vivid life
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 13:00:21 +0000
    Ars chats with showrunner David S. Goyer and science advisor Kevin Hand
    Match ID: 51 Score: 25.00 source: arstechnica.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    "The Pirate Bay Can't Be Stopped ," Co-Founder Says • TorrentFreak
    2021-11-28T12:42:33+00:00
    "The Pirate Bay Can't Be Stopped ," Co-Founder Says • TorrentFreak submitted by /u/BurstYourBubbles
    [link] [comments]

    Match ID: 52 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    ‘Shocking’ that UK is moving child refugees into hotels
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 12:28:38 GMT

    Children’s Society criticises practice of placing unaccompanied minors in hotels with limited care

    Record numbers of unaccompanied child asylum seekers who arrived in the UK on small boats are being accommodated in four hotels along England’s south coast, a situation that the Children’s Society has described as “shocking”.

    About 250 unaccompanied children who arrived in small boats are thought to be accommodated in hotels, which Ofsted said was an unacceptable practice.

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    Match ID: 53 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    This decorated mammoth ivory pendant is 41,500 years old
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 12:15:01 +0000
    The pendant is the oldest example of a style that swept Paleolithic Europe.
    Match ID: 54 Score: 25.00 source: arstechnica.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Lawyers For Accused 9/11 Plotters Say Government Withheld Public Information
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 12:00:44 +0000

    The sanitized summaries of CIA cables provided by the prosecution leave out vital details that journalists and others have obtained using FOIA.

    The post Lawyers For Accused 9/11 Plotters Say Government Withheld Public Information appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 55 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Another U-turn likely from UK government on care costs bill
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 09:15:22 GMT

    Senior Tories told ‘dog’s dinner’ legislation will change to prevent defeat over proposals that would penalise the poor

    The government is preparing to drop controversial plans that would force poorer pensioners to pay more for their social care, in order to avert a possible Commons defeat that would further damage Boris Johnson’s authority, the Observer has been told.

    Senior figures and officials in the House of Lords are understood to have been reassured by the health minister Lord Kamall that the legislation will not return to the Lords in its current form after its committee stage early next year.

    Continue reading...
    Match ID: 56 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Australia to introduce new laws to force media platforms to unmask online trolls
    2021-11-28T09:13:44+00:00
    Australia to introduce new laws to force media platforms to unmask online trolls submitted by /u/avadhutsawant
    [link] [comments]

    Match ID: 57 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    The James Webb space telescope: in search of the secrets of the Milky Way | James Webb space telescope
    2021-11-28T09:00:50+00:00
    The James Webb space telescope: in search of the secrets of the Milky Way | James Webb space telescope submitted by /u/Tao_Dragon
    [link] [comments]

    Match ID: 58 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Scientists sharing Omicron data were heroic. Let’s ensure they don’t regret it | Jeffrey Barrett
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 09:00:21 GMT
    The teams in Africa who detected the new Covid genome moved quickly. Their actions should not result in economic loss
    Coronavirus – latest updates
    See all our coronavirus coverage

    One of the positive experiences during two years of pandemic gloom has been the speed of scientific progress in understanding and treating Covid. Many effective vaccines were launched in less than a year and rapid large-scale trials found a cheap and effective drug, dexamethasone, that saved thousands of lives.

    The global scientific community has also carried out “genomic surveillance” – sequencing the genome of the virus to track how it evolves and spreads at an unprecedented level: the public genome database has more than 5.5m genomes. The great value of that genomic surveillance, underpinned by a commitment to rapid and open sharing of the data by all countries in near-real time, has been seen in the last few days as we’ve learned of the Covid variant called Omicron.

    Continue reading...
    Match ID: 59 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Who knew that a woman playing Dr Who could drive boys to crime? | Maria Le Conte
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 07:30:20 GMT

    Male role models are disappearing – to be replaced by women. So says MP Nick Fletcher. He should look again

    I’ll always remember my last bank robbery; it took place in June 2017 and was the last time I picked up a gun. A month later, the BBC announced that Jodie Whittaker would become the first woman to play the eponymous Doctor in Doctor Who and suddenly I saw the error of my ways. I have been a law-abiding journalist ever since.

    If this chain of events sounds somewhat far-fetched to you, Nick Fletcher is here to set you straight. In a debate on International Men’s Day in Westminster Hall last week, the Conservative MP said: “In recent years, we have seen Doctor Who, the Ghostbusters, Luke Skywalker and The Equalizer all replaced by women, and men are left with the Krays and Tommy Shelby. Is it any wonder that so many young men are committing crimes?”

    Continue reading...
    Match ID: 60 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Germany plans to phase out the sale of combustion-engine vehicles to help meet its ambitious goal of getting 15 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030
    2021-11-27T23:05:43+00:00
    Germany plans to phase out the sale of combustion-engine vehicles to help meet its ambitious goal of getting 15 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030 submitted by /u/chrisdh79
    [link] [comments]

    Match ID: 61 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 1 day
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Royal Air Force Lifts Off With Guinness World Record for First Flight Using 100% Synthetic Fuel
    2021-11-27T19:41:50+00:00
    Royal Air Force Lifts Off With Guinness World Record for First Flight Using 100% Synthetic Fuel submitted by /u/HentaiUwu_6969
    [link] [comments]

    Match ID: 62 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 1 day
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    Why Omicron quickly became a variant of concern
    Sat, 27 Nov 2021 17:54:45 +0000
    The WHO lets Omicron skip over variant of interest, go straight to concern.
    Match ID: 63 Score: 25.00 source: arstechnica.com age: 1 day
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Nuclear fusion: why the race to harness the power of the sun just sped up
    2021-11-27T14:20:30+00:00
    Nuclear fusion: why the race to harness the power of the sun just sped up submitted by /u/Devils_doohickey
    [link] [comments]

    Match ID: 64 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 1 day
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    ‘It’s critical’: can Microsoft make good on its climate ambitions?
    Sat, 27 Nov 2021 13:00:04 GMT

    The company has set an example in the fight against carbon – but it retains ties to obstructionist groups

    When the UN’s landmark climate report was released in 2018, calling for urgent and unprecedented changes, Microsoft executives were told to “commit it to memory”, said Elizabeth Willmott, who leads the company’s carbon program. “And so we did.”

    The report warned the world must reach net-zero emissions by 2050 in order to avert catastrophic climate change. To achieve this, not only must the emissions released by countries and companies be dramatically curtailed, but billions of tons of carbon dioxide must be sucked out of the atmosphere.

    Continue reading...
    Match ID: 65 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    O político Moro pode desfrutar dos aliados que o juiz Moro não quis melindrar nos tribunais
    Sat, 27 Nov 2021 10:00:10 +0000

    Com a confusão das prévias do PSDB, há chances de os tucanos se aliarem a Sergio Moro em sua chapa para 2022. O ex-juiz, que poupou os adversários dos petistas, vai enfim colher o que plantou.

    The post O político Moro pode desfrutar dos aliados que o juiz Moro não quis melindrar nos tribunais appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 66 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 1 day
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Got a tech question or want to discuss tech? Bi-Weekly /r/Technology Tech Support / General Discussion Thread
    2021-11-27T09:40:44+00:00

    Greetings Good People of /r/Technology,

    Welcome to the /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 iterations of these support discussions.

    cheers, /r/technology moderators.

    submitted by /u/veritanuda
    [link] [comments]
    Match ID: 67 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 1 day
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    WHO names coronavirus variant from South Africa 'omicron' and designates it a 'variant of concern'
    Fri, 26 Nov 2021 18:08:41 GMT

    The World Health Organization's technical advisory group said Friday it has assigned the B.1.1.529 variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 the Greek letter omicron and said it has been designated a "variant of concern." Earlier reports suggested the variant would be assigned the letter nu. The variant, which was first reported from South Africa, led the U.K. and European Union to implement travel bans on South Africa and neighboring countries on Friday, amid concerns it may be more transmissible than the original virus and more lethal. "This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning," the group said in a statement. "Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs. The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa." For now, there are a number of studies underway, and the group will continue to monitor and track the variant. It called on countries to enhance surveillance and sequencing efforts, to submit complete genome sequences and associated metadata to a publicly available database and to report cases and clusters to the WHO. "Individuals are reminded to take measures to reduce their risk of COVID-19, including proven public health and social measures such as wearing well-fitting masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing, improving ventilation of indoor spaces, avoiding crowded spaces, and getting vaccinated," said the statement.

    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: 68 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 2 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    The Hyperloop Is Hyper Old
    Fri, 26 Nov 2021 16:00:01 +0000


    "Lord how this world improves as we grow older," reads the caption for a panel in the " March of Intellect," part of a series of colored etchings published between 1825 and 1829. The artist, William Heath (1794–1840), shows many futuristic contraptions, including a four-wheeled steam-powered horse called Velocity, a suspension bridge from Cape Town to Bengal, a gun-carrying platform lifted by four balloons, and a giant winged flying fish conveying convicts from England to New South Wales, in Australia. But the main object is a massive, seamless metallic tube taking travelers from East London's Greenwich Hill to Bengal, courtesy of the Grand Vacuum Tube Company.


    A group of people in front of a framework of a vehicle.

    Photo of a small vehicle on a track. A public demonstration of the railway takes place in London in 1914. [top]; A 1910 photograph shows a working model of Émile Bachelet's magnetically levitated railway, in Mount Vernon, N.Y. [bottom] Émile Bachelet Collection/Archives Center/National Museum of American History

    Heath was no science-fiction pioneer. Hiis fanciful etching was just a spoof of an engineering project proposed in 1825 and called the London and Edinburgh Vacuum Tunnel Company, which was to be established with the capital of 20 million pounds sterling. The concept was based on a 1799 proposal made by George Medhurst: A rectangular tunnel was to move goods in wagons, the vacuum was to be created by the condensation of steam, and the impetus was to be "the pressure of the atmosphere, which...is so astonishing as almost to exceed belief."

    Yes, this is the first known attempt at what during the second decade of the 21st century became known as the hyperloop. That word, coined by Elon Musk, constitutes his main original contribution to the technology.

    By the time Heath was drawing his intercontinental conveyor, enough was known about vacuum to realize that it would be the best option for achieving unprecedented travel speeds. But no materials were available to build such a tube—above all, there was no way to produce affordable high-tensile steel—nor were there ready means to enclose people in vacuum-moving containers.

    Less than a century later, Émile Bachelet, a French electrician who emigrated to the United States, solved the propulsion part of the challenge with his 19 March 1912 patent of a "Levitation transmitting apparatus." In 1914, he presented a small-scale working model of a magnetically levitated train with a tubular prow, powerful magnets at the track's bottom, and tubular steel cars on an aluminum base.

    A long white tube in the middle of the desert.

    View of the passenger pod from inside the tube.

    Two people in safety equipment next to a long pod.  Virgin Hyperloop, which aims to commercialize the concept, has built a test track in Las Vegas [top]. The passenger pod [middle] is magnetically levitated; it can be introduced into the vacuum tube through an air lock [bottom] at the end.Virgin Hyperloop

    Japanese researchers have been experimenting with a modern version of Bachelet's maglev concept since 1969, testing open-air train models at a track in Miyazaki. Short trials were done in Germany and the Soviet Union. In 2002, China got the only operating maglev line—built by Siemens—running from the Shanghai Pudong International Airport to Shanghai; now China claims to be preparing to test it at speeds up to 1,000 kilometers per hour. But outside East Asia, maglev remained nothing but a curiosity until 2012, when Elon Musk put his spin on it.

    People unaware of this long history greeted the hyperloop as stunningly original and fabulously transformative. A decade later we have many route proposals, and many companies engaged in testing and design, but not a single commercial application that can demonstrate that this is an affordable, profitable, reliable, and widely replicable travel option. Vacuum physicists and railway engineers, who best appreciate the challenges involved in such projects, have pointed out a long list of fundamental difficulties that must be overcome before public-carrying vacuum tubes could be as common as steel-wheel high-speed rail.

    Other, nontrivial, problems run from the common and intractable—obtaining rights-of-way for hundreds, even thousands, kilometers of tracks elevated on pylons in NIMBY-prone societies—to the uncommon and unprecedented: maintaining the thousandfold pressure difference between the inside and outside steel walls of an evacuated tube along hundreds of kilometers of track while coping with the metal's thermal expansion.

    Before rushing to buy shares in a hyperloop venture in 2022, remember the 1825 London and Edinburgh Vacuum Tunnel Company.


    Match ID: 69 Score: 25.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 2 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Andrew and Lee continue watching The Wheel of Time—and it’s getting real
    Fri, 26 Nov 2021 14:00:35 +0000
    The show's latest episode gives its characters a minute to breathe, then goes big.
    Match ID: 70 Score: 25.00 source: arstechnica.com age: 2 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Dark-Money Group Linked to Anti-Iran, Pro-Israel Network Targets Turkey but Has No Turks
    Fri, 26 Nov 2021 12:00:47 +0000

    The Turkish Democracy Project shares leadership and personnel with the most well-funded foreign policy pressure network in Washington.

    The post Dark-Money Group Linked to Anti-Iran, Pro-Israel Network Targets Turkey but Has No Turks appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 71 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 2 days
    qualifiers: 25.00 mit

    Kevin Strickland Comes Home After 43 Years Behind Bars for a Crime He Didn’t Commit
    Thu, 25 Nov 2021 17:42:18 +0000

    A new Missouri law empowers prosecutors to right wrongful convictions. But the state attorney general is intent on standing in the way.

    The post Kevin Strickland Comes Home After 43 Years Behind Bars for a Crime He Didn’t Commit appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 72 Score: 21.43 source: theintercept.com age: 3 days
    qualifiers: 21.43 mit

    A bancada do like: Google e iFood se inspiram em ruralistas e montam tropa de choque no Congresso
    Thu, 25 Nov 2021 17:27:43 +0000

    Instituto ligado à empresas de tecnologia está por trás da Frente Digital, que faz lobby por projetos de lei que afrouxam as regras para o setor.

    The post A bancada do like: Google e iFood se inspiram em ruralistas e montam tropa de choque no Congresso appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 73 Score: 21.43 source: theintercept.com age: 3 days
    qualifiers: 21.43 mit

    EU proposes nine-month time limit on validity of COVID vaccinations for travel
    Thu, 25 Nov 2021 16:59:17 GMT

    The European Union has announced proposals that would put a nine-month time limit on COVID vaccinations for travelers in and out of the bloc. After that point, boosters would be required, the European Commission recommended, in a statement on its website on Thursday. "The 9-month period takes into account the guidance of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on the administration of booster doses as of 6 months, and provides for an additional period of 3 months to ensure that national vaccination campaigns can adjust and citizens can have access to boosters," the statement said. Also on Thursday, the Commission updated its framework for travel from outside the EU, saying travel should reopen by Jan. 10 to those who have World Health Organization approved shots, but that an additional proof of negative PCR test will also be required.

    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: 74 Score: 21.43 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 3 days
    qualifiers: 21.43 mit

    10 Things for Americans to Be Grateful for This Thanksgiving
    Thu, 25 Nov 2021 14:50:21 +0000

    Here are some aspects of life today in America for which we can genuinely give thanks.

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


    Match ID: 75 Score: 21.43 source: theintercept.com age: 3 days
    qualifiers: 21.43 mit

    The World’s Most Popular EVs Aren’t Cars, Trucks, or Motorcycles
    Thu, 25 Nov 2021 14:00:01 +0000


    When the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act last week, a lesser-recognized provision earmarked some $4.1 billion in tax credits to further stimulate an already booming EV market that Elon Musk hasn't even dabbled in.

    Electric bicycles, better known as e-bikes, have moved from novelty to mainstream with breathtaking speed. They've been a boon to hard-working delivery persons during the pandemic (and their impatient customers), and commuters who don't care to be a sweaty mess when they arrive. And while the scoffing tends to center around the "purity" of cycling—the idea that e-bike riders are somehow lazy cheaters—that electric assist is actually luring people off the couch for healthy exercise. That's especially welcome for older or out-of-practice riders (which describes a whole lot of folks) who might otherwise avoid cycling entirely, put off by daunting hills or longer distances.

    While powerful "Class 3" models especially are trying the patience of pedestrians in crowded cities like New York, with blazing assisted speeds approaching 30 mph, e-bikes are now front-and-center in discussions of future urban mobility. They're a way to potentially free up precious street space, provide alternatives to automobiles and reduce energy consumption and harmful emissions. California, through its powerful Air Resources Board, recently allocated $10 million in rebates for e-bike buyers, a smaller-scale version of state or federal tax breaks for EV car buyers. The possibilities are fueling cool tech ideas, from covered, rain-proof cargo bikes; to pavement-embedded wireless chargers and automated stabilization systems to help senior riders. CityQ is taking pre-orders for a four-wheeled cargo "bike" that it touts as cycling "with a Tesla feeling."

    In 2020, according to one estimate, 500,000 e-bikes were sold in the U.S. alone—compared to 210,000 plug-in cars.

    According to market research company NPD Group, the pandemic helped increase e-bike sales by 145 percent from 2019 to 2020, more than double the growth of traditional bikes. Exact figures on industry sales are hard to pin down; yet The New York Times quoted experts saying Americans bought roughly 500,000 e-bikes in 2020, compared to about 210,000 plug-in automobiles.

    Industry analysts expect that uptick in adoption to continue. A report by the Business Research Company shows the global e-bike market growing from $32.5 billion last year to $53 billion by 2025, for annual compound growth of 9.9 percent. Even in bike-saturated Europe, e-bike sales jumped by 23 percent in 2019. And Deloitte expects 300 million e-bikes on the world's streets by 2023. That's a lot of bikes, batteries and saved muscle power from thankful riders. If you're not up to speed on e-bikes, or you're curious about taking one for a spin, here's a look at some of the techs, terms and players:

    Pedal to the Metal

    The tech behind e-bikes falls into two simpler categories, even if the choice between them isn't as simple. Hub motors integrate a motor directly in the wheel center (either front or rear wheel), in an enclosed system that's independent from the bike chain and pedal drive. There are two main types: Geared hub motors incorporate internal planetary gears for reduction, allowing the motor to operate efficiently at high rpm while the bike wheel spins at a lower speed. Gearless hub motors directly link the motor's stator to the bike axle. That reduces a key point of weakness—the toothed gears. Aside from bearings, there are no moving parts, nothing to wear out. Hub motors are relatively affordable, low-maintenance, mass produced by the millions. A do-it-yourselfer can find entire, 800- to 1,000-watt hub motor kits for around $200, where mid-drive power can cost three to five times as much. Hub motors add no extra stress or wear to a chain or shifters, and offer another advantage versus a mid-drive set-up: If a hub motor conks out, you can still pedal home, and vice-versa; if a chain or pedal breaks, a rider can keep moving under electric power. The downsides? Nearly every hub motor has a single gear ratio; fine for the flats, not so good for hill climbs, where the motor can't match a mid-drive unit for a robust shove against gravity, and may even overheat on long ascents. Hub motors can also make a bike feel unbalanced and awkward to steer—like it's being pushed or pulled rather than pedaled. Tire changes are more difficult because of the wheel-mounted motor.

    Some electric bike companies claim up to 80 or even 100 miles of unassisted range, but expert riders say that would only be possible if most those miles were downhill.

    "Mid-drive" bikes, in contrast, locate the motor inside the frame and between pedals at the bottom bracket. Motor power is transferred through the chain drive to the rear wheel. As with EVs, those motors are growing lighter, stronger, quieter and more affordable. The biggest edge—with a parallel downside—is sending power through a traditional chain and gear seat: The motor can deliver major torque up a steep hill or from a standstill, in a lower gear and higher rpm, just as your pedals do.

    That energizer-style power keeps going and going, even on long climbs. The major con is the constant surge of power through the poor chain: A pro cyclist can generate roughly 400 watts of per over an hour. Most humans with normal-size thighs can't manage even half that. But e-bikes can generate up to 750 watts of continuous power. It's why most mid-drive e-bikes come with uprated chains. And if that chain snaps, you're not going anywhere, just as on an old-school bike.

    On the upside, newer mid-drive motors are notably smaller and lighter than hub units. Hidden inside frames, they're making some e-bikes look so stealthy that onlookers have no idea it's electric.

    For both types, a speed sensor or torque sensor detects pedal force or wheel rotation, and activates the motor for a helpful forward shove. Riders can typically adjust the level of electric assist, or just pedal harder for a corresponding boost in motor grunt. But mid-drive brings another advantage, with genuine torque sensors to detect the human power applied at the pedal crank, and smoothly dial in electric assist. Hub motors often use a simple cadence sensor at the wheel, and can produce jerky or unpredictable motor boost, especially going uphill.

    Battery Range vs. Reality

    A big issue with e-bike range claims is that there are so many variables: Rider weight, wind and tire resistance, varying terrain and topography. Some electric bike companies claim up to 80 or even 100 miles of unassisted range, but expert riders say that would only be possible if most those miles were downhill. As a general rule of thumb, throttle e-bikes that combine a 500-to-750 watt motor and a 480 watt-hour (Wh) battery can cover only about 20 miles at best on battery power alone; or less than 25 watt-hours per mile. Pedal-assisted bikes go farther: Figure about 15 watt-hours per mile, or 32 miles from that same 480 Wh battery, with a roughly "medium" level of preset electric assist. The price of that electric boost is weight. A lithium-ion battery usually adds a significant 6 to 8 pounds to the bike; weight that your legs must drive once its energy is depleted.

    As the speedsters of the e-bike world, Class 3 models are typically allowed only on "curb-to-curb" roadways or bike lanes, and restricted on bike trails or multi-use paths shared with pedestrians.

    Batteries can be mounted on rear racks for easy access and removal, at the price of less-than-ideal location: Too high and too rearward, which can affect handling. Batteries externally mounted on the downtube — the bar directly below the saddle — eliminate that issue, keeping weight low and along the bike's main axis. Batteries integrated inside the downtube create the sleekest profile, making these e-bikes look less bulky and more like a traditional cycle.

    3, 2, 1, Go

    Spurred by PeopleForBikes, a national advocacy group and industry trade association, more than 30 states have adopted a "3-Class" system that standardizes e-bikes based on their type of assist and how fast they can propel you. All three classes limit a motor's go-power to 750 watts, or 1 horsepower.

    • Class 1 e-bikes generate an electric boost only when you pedal, and reach a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph.
    • Class 2 models also limit assisted speed to 20 mph. But they add a hand throttle, either a grip-twist as found on motorcycles, or a button that can drive the electric motor even when you're not pedaling.
    • Class 3 bikes are the muscular alternative to Class 1. They're also exclusively pedal-assisted, but with a maximum boosted speed of 28 mph. Look out, LeMond: That's roughly as fast as a professional bicyclist can maintain speed for long distances over flat ground.

    The roadway infrastructure that each class can use, however, remains a crazy quilt of local, state or national regulations. As the speedsters of the e-bike world, Class 3 models are typically allowed only on "curb-to-curb" roadways or bike lanes, and restricted on bike trails or multi-use paths shared with pedestrians. In Europe, electric mountain bikes, or eMTB's, are largely welcome on non-motorized trails. For American riders, be aware that the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service consider eMTBs as no different from a dirt bike, ATV or other motorized vehicle. So even Class 1 bikes are barred from non-motorized trails. Some states, including Pennsylvania, Utah and Colorado, have made exceptions for trails in state parks.

    The Players, And What You'll Pay

    E-bike prices range from as little as $1,200, for a Aventon 350 Pace 350 Step-Through, to $7,500 (or more) for "connected" bikes like the Stromer ST3 Sport. Stromer's luxurious "e-commuter" brings a powerful rear hub motor (with 600 watts and 44 Nm of torque), fat Pirelli tires, and connectivity features like GPS, remote locking and unlocking, stat readouts and over-the-air updates. Most of the biggest names in cycling have embraced e-bikes: Giant, Trek, Specialized, Schwinn. Even automakers like BMW, focused on expanding their mobility portfolios, are jumping into the game. Last week, Porsche took a majority stake in GreyP, the high-end Croatian bike company started by Mate Rimac, the electric hypercar entrepreneur and creator of the $2.4 million Rimac Nevera. Rimac himself controls Bugatti Rimac, with Porsche holding a minority stake in this newly combined purveyor of fantasy automobiles. That's all lofty company for a bicycle manufacturer: Imagine a technology trickle-down from seven-figure electric Rimacs and Bugattis to the bicycles you ride for work or play.


    Match ID: 76 Score: 21.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 3 days
    qualifiers: 21.43 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: 77 Score: 21.43 source: www.esa.int age: 3 days
    qualifiers: 21.43 mit

    Family Members at Thanksgiving, Ranked
    Thu, 25 Nov 2021 11:00:00 +0000
    This year, I’m going to work on my boundaries.
    Match ID: 78 Score: 21.43 source: www.newyorker.com age: 3 days
    qualifiers: 21.43 mit

    The disappearance of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai
    Thu, 25 Nov 2021 03:00:48 GMT

    The Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai vanished after making an allegation of sexual assault against a senior political figure. Her subsequent reappearance has raised more questions than answers

    At the beginning of November, the Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai publicly accused a former vice-premier of sexual assault, pitching the Communist party into a #MeToo scandal. Chinese authorities expunged her social media post within minutes and censors even appeared to block the word ‘tennis’ from online search results. Then Peng vanished from public view.

    The Guardian’s Tania Branigan tells Hannah Moore how the affair has caused outrage across the world, with tennis authorities demanding answers from Beijing about the star’s wellbeing. A letter that emerged purportedly from Peng saying ‘everything is fine’ only served to heighten worries. She then appeared in a video interview with the International Olympic Committee, which again did not allay international fears about her ability to speak freely.

    Continue reading...
    Match ID: 79 Score: 17.86 source: www.theguardian.com age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 17.86 mit

    Os profissionais: quem são os articuladores do Centrão nos bastidores do orçamento secreto
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 22:45:13 +0000

    Ex-escudeiros de Eduardo Cunha, Romero Jucá e Geddel Vieira Lima operam mecanismo que coloca o orçamento federal nas mãos de Arthur Lira e Rodrigo Pacheco.

    The post Os profissionais: quem são os articuladores do Centrão nos bastidores do orçamento secreto appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 80 Score: 17.86 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 17.86 mit

    Nashville DA’s Office Seeks to Vacate Claude Garrett’s 29-Year-Old Murder Conviction
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 18:55:18 +0000

    A reinvestigation of the case “dismantles every single piece of evidence previously believed to inculpate Garrett,” the director of the DA’s Conviction Review Unit wrote.

    The post Nashville DA’s Office Seeks to Vacate Claude Garrett’s 29-Year-Old Murder Conviction appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 81 Score: 17.86 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 17.86 mit

    U.S. Court Issues Landmark Ruling on Paramilitary Violence in Colombia
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 15:02:00 +0000

    In a civil lawsuit, the court found that the paramilitaries operated in a “symbiotic relationship” with U.S.-funded Colombian forces.

    The post U.S. Court Issues Landmark Ruling on Paramilitary Violence in Colombia appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 82 Score: 17.86 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 17.86 mit

    Economic Report: Coming up: U.S. durable-goods orders
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 13:19:00 GMT

    Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesOrders for U.S. durable goods are forecast to rise 0.4% in October, according to economists polled by The Wall Street Journal. The report will be issued at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. Manufacturers have plenty of orders and are investing heavily, but ongoing shortages have limited production.

    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: 83 Score: 17.86 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 17.86 mit

    Peru Opens Criminal Probe Into Journalist Who Exposed Illegal Collusion With Witness
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 13:00:45 +0000

    Ernesto Cabral of OjoPúblico, along with The Intercept Brasil, exposed Peruvian prosecutors’ misconduct in the sprawling Car Wash probe.

    The post Peru Opens Criminal Probe Into Journalist Who Exposed Illegal Collusion With Witness appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 84 Score: 17.86 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 17.86 mit

    TechScape: why Apple will now let you fix your own iPhone
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 11:45:44 GMT

    Up for discussion in this week’s newsletter: the tech giant’s new at-home repair programme is good for customers – but there’s reason to be cynical


    It’s risky for me to boldly state that technology news has quietened down in recent weeks. For one thing, confidently saying that nothing much is going on is the best way to summon up a news event breaking 15 seconds after I hit “send” on this email.

    Also, though, I’m currently sitting at home up to my eyeballs in parental leave. While I’m still compulsively keeping up with every tiny news story that breaks in my sector (if I could simply switch off that instinct, I wouldn’t be doing this job), I’m aware that my connection to many of them is less vivid than it used to be when I was desperately trying to find a new angle to move the story on for that day’s paper.

    Apple today announced Self Service Repair, which will allow customers who are comfortable with completing their own repairs access to Apple genuine parts and tools. Available first for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups, and soon to be followed by Mac computers featuring M1 chips, Self Service Repair will be available early next year in the US and expand to additional countries throughout 2022. Customers join more than 5,000 Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs) and 2,800 Independent Repair Providers who have access to these parts, tools, and manuals.

    The unnamed woman sent her iPhone for repair on 14 January 2016 to an Apple-approved repair contractor called Pegatron Technology Service in California. Technicians there then uploaded “extremely personal and private material” to the woman’s Facebook account and other internet locations, the documents said.

    The videos were uploaded to appear as though the woman herself had shared them on purpose, according to the documents, causing the woman “severe emotional distress”. The woman was made aware of the incident when friends saw the videos and images on Facebook.

    The document, one of 13 original copies dating from 1787, sold for almost three times its lower estimate of $15m, and more than 260 times the amount it achieved when it last sold for $165,000 in 1988. The bidding at Sotheby’s in New York took eight minutes.

    “ConstitutionDAO” had amassed more than £47m, or 11,600 of the cryptocurrency ether, in a few days on its online crowdfunding page. The group, which had committed to putting the document on public display “in the hands of the people”, promised to refund its 17,437 contributors after deducting transaction fees.

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

    Kyle Rittenhouse, Ahmaud Arbery, and the Future of Right-Wing Vigilantism
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 11:00:11 +0000

    Rittenhouse being acquitted of all charges clears the way for more guns and right-wing violence at protests nationwide.

    The post Kyle Rittenhouse, Ahmaud Arbery, and the Future of Right-Wing Vigilantism appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 86 Score: 17.86 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
    qualifiers: 17.86 mit

    Rocky roads through Lanzarote
    Fri, 19 Nov 2021 15:36:00 +0100
    Image:

    Take away the clouds, bulk up the humans with suits and add an orange-red filter and this could be an image from a future mission to Mars.

    The actual site, the Corona lava tube in Lanzarote, Spain, is closer than one might think to the Red Planet.

    That’s why participants of ESA’s Pangaea course came here this week for the third session of their planetary geology training.

    ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen, ESA engineer Robin Eccleston and NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins are this year’s students learning from geologists how to best explore the Moon and Mars right here on Earth.

    Before ending up in one of Europe’s volcanic hotspots, Andreas, Kathleen and Robin learned how to describe geological sites, and how to classify rocks and identify traces of life during field trips to the Italian Dolomites and the Ries crater in Germany in September.

    Lanzarote’s volcanic landscapes are exceptionally well-preserved, and the long history of geological activity make it a unique open-air museum. Here, basaltic lava flows resemble vast plains on the lunar maria and volcanoes are similar to those in some regions of Mars.

    For an astronaut whose day job is the daily operations of the International Space Station at Mission Control in Houston, USA, Andreas admits that looking at rocks sounded kind of boring at first.

    But in Lanzarote, Andreas and his crewmates were set loose on the Mars-like terrain to follow pre-planned geological investigation routes and analyse the mineralogy of the soil all while remaining in constant communication with the science and training teams with dedicated tools.

    Now, Andreas has learned to see the rocks in a new light. “It’s intriguing to interpret the layers of the Earth where the rocks come from, and from there begin to understand the evolution of our planet,” he says.

    Looking at rocks has led to an interesting three weeks for the astronaut, who would choose Mars as a destination for future spaceflight. Mars exploration might be in the distant horizon, but “still a fascinating place to visit,” he adds.

    Pangaea – named after the ancient supercontinent – prepares the astronauts for geological expeditions to other planets. Trainees acquire skills and knowledge both in the field and in the classroom, tailored towards the needs of future planetary explorers.


    Match ID: 87 Score: 15.71 source: www.esa.int age: 9 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit, 2.86 planets

    Solar Power from Space? Caltech’s $100 Million Gambit
    Wed, 11 Aug 2021 15:01:13 +0000


    In 1941 Isaac Asimov, the science fiction writer, published a short story called "Reason." It was a cautionary tale about robotics and artificial intelligence, but it's also remembered now for its fanciful setting: A space station that gathered solar energy to send to the planets via microwave. Ever since, space-based solar power has been an out-there idea—something with potential to change the world, if we can ever master the technology, and muster the funds, to do it.

    Donald Bren has done his share of reading about solar power, and since he is one of America's wealthiest real estate developers, he's in a position to help muster the funds. The California Institute of Technology has just announced that, since 2013, Bren and his wife Brigitte have given the school more than US $100 million to help make photovoltaic power from orbit a reality.

    That's a lot of money, and, importantly, the work has been spread out over a decade. A team at Caltech is aiming for the first launch of a test array in late 2022 or 2023.

    "This is something that's pretty daring," says Ali Hajimiri, a professor of electrical engineering and a co-director of Caltech's Space Solar Power Project. The long timeline, he says, "allows you take chances, and take risks. Sometimes they pay off and sometimes they don't, but when you do that, in an educated, controlled fashion, you end up with things that you never expected."

    Bren, 89, made most of his fortune—estimated between $15.3 billion and $16.1 billion—building offices and homes in Orange County, California. He is majority owner of New York City's iconic MetLife Building. He's also donated land and money for environmental conservation. He gives few interviews (he declined to speak for this story), and while Caltech's Space Solar Power Project has been public, Bren's support of it was a secret until now.

    High Earth orbit is a great place for a solar farm—the sun never sets and clouds never form. But to generate a meaningful amount of electricity, most past designs were unrealistically, and unaffordably, massive. Engineers depicted giant truss structures, usually measured in kilometers or miles, to which photovoltaic panels or mirrors were attached, absorbing or concentrating sunlight to convert to direct current, then transmit it to the ground via laser or microwave beams. Hundreds of rocket launches might be needed to build a single installation. It was technology too big to succeed.

    "What was really required to make this compelling was to have a paradigm shift in the technology," says Harry Atwater, the Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science at Caltech and a leader of the project. "Instead of weighing a kilogram per square meter, we're talking about systems we can make today in the range of 100 to 200 grams per square meter, and we have a roadmap for getting down to the range of 10 to 20 grams per square meter."

    How? Through no single step, but perhaps the biggest change in thinking has been to make solar arrays that are modular. Lightweight gallium-arsenide photovoltaic cells would be attached to "tiles"—the fundamental unit of the Caltech design, each of which might be as small as 100 square centimeters, the size of a dessert plate.

    Each tile—and this is key—would be its own miniature solar station, complete with photovoltaics, tiny electronic components, and a microwave transmitter. Tiles would be linked together to form larger "modules" of, say, 60 square meters, and thousands of modules would form a hexagonal power station, perhaps 3 km long on a side. But the modules would not even be physically connected. No heavy support beams, no bundled cables, much less mass.

    "You can think of this as like a school of fish," says Atwater. "It's a bunch of identical independent elements flying in formation."

    Transmission to receivers on the ground would be by phased array—microwave signals from the tiles synchronized so that they can be aimed with no moving parts. Atwater says it would be inherently safe: microwave energy is not ionizing radiation, and the energy density would be "equal to the power density in sunlight."

    Space solar power is probably still years away. Analysts at the Aerospace Corporation's Center for Space Policy and Strategy caution that it "will not be a quick, easy, or comprehensive solution." But there is ferment around the world. JAXA, Japan's space agency, is hard at work, as is China's. Launch costs are coming down and new spacecraft are going up, from internet satellites to NASA's moon-to-Mars effort. The Aerospace Corp. analysts say terrestrial power grids may not be the first users of solar power satellites. Instead, they say, think of…other space vehicles, for which a microwave beam from an orbiting solar farm may be more practical than having their own solar panels.

    "Is there a need for a lot of additional work? Yes," says Hajimiri. But "some of the ingredients that were major showstoppers before, we are moving in the direction of addressing them."

    All of this has the Caltech engineers excited. "It's important for us to be willing to take chances," Hajimiri continues, "and move forward with challenging problems that, if successful, would work toward the betterment of our lives."


    Match ID: 88 Score: 15.71 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 109 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit, 2.86 planets

    Looking for Alien Life? Seek Out Alien Tech
    Sun, 28 Nov 2021 14:00:00 +0000
    Shifting the search for extraterrestrial life from biological to technological signs could break us out of anthropocentrism and help guide humanity's future.
    Match ID: 89 Score: 15.00 source: www.wired.com age: 0 days
    qualifiers: 15.00 aliens

    Valor de empresas e de papéis do agronegócio explode com desmonte de leis ambientais
    Wed, 24 Nov 2021 07:17:09 +0000

    Setores que sustentam Bolsonaro, agronegócio e mercado financeiro se uniram para liberar operações de risco e especulação de terras.

    The post Valor de empresas e de papéis do agronegócio explode com desmonte de leis ambientais appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 90 Score: 14.29 source: theintercept.com age: 5 days
    qualifiers: 14.29 mit

    Republican National Committee dismisses call for Ronna McDaniel to resign as chairwoman over outreach to LGBTQ voters
    Tue, 23 Nov 2021 19:35:22 EST
    The episode underscores the tension between the national Republican Party and some influential parts of the GOP base — particularly Christian conservatives — on the issue of LGBTQ rights.
    Match ID: 91 Score: 14.29 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 5 days
    qualifiers: 14.29 mit

    Peng Shuai and the High Stakes of Business in China
    Tue, 23 Nov 2021 21:30:03 +0000
    The Women’s Tennis Association has taken an unusually bold—and costly—stance on behalf of the tennis star against the state that censored her.
    Match ID: 92 Score: 14.29 source: www.newyorker.com age: 5 days
    qualifiers: 14.29 mit

    Fathers Can Be Gender Equity Advocates
    Tue, 23 Nov 2021 19:00:01 +0000


    In my article "A Father's Perspective About Daughters and Engineering," published in 2016, I shared my frustration about the lack of role models and the cultural messages that had left my two brilliant daughters—and many of their female friends—with little interest in pursuing an engineering career.

    After the article was published, I received an email from Michelle Travis, who was writing a book about dads and daughters. She wanted to know my thoughts about creating a stronger pipeline for girls to pursue a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) career and what could be done to change the narrative about engineering to highlight its public-service role.


    Travis is a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, where she co-directs its Work Law and Justice Program. She researches and writes about employment discrimination law, gender stereotypes, and work/family integration. She is also a founding member of the Work and Family Researchers Network and serves on the board of directors of the nonprofit Fathering Together.

    Her latest book, Dads for Daughters, is a guide for engaging male allies in support of gender equity. (I was one of the fathers featured in the book.) She has written the award-winning My Mom Has Two Jobs, a children's picture book that celebrates working mothers.

    Over the years, we have stayed in touch, followed each other's work, and looked for other ways to collaborate.

    In the past few months, I became frustrated by the news of girls from certain countries either not being allowed to go to school or risking their safety even when they were officially allowed to attend. That is one reason I felt I needed to talk to Travis and learn from her about what else could be done to change the way fathers and men in general think about women's abilities and the successes women have had in almost every field including engineering.

    Last month I asked her a few questions about her book and about what fathers can do to better support women. In the following interview, she gives a sneak peek of her book and lists several resources for engineering dads who want to encourage their daughters to pursue a STEM career.

    QA: Why did you, a lawyer, decide to research and write about fathers and their daughters? Is it personal?

    MT: My interest in engaging dads of daughters as gender equity advocates is both professional and personal. I've spent years as a lawyer and law professor using legal tools to advance women's equality in the workplace—seeking stronger employment-discrimination laws, equal-pay practices, and family-leave policies. Over time, I realized that the law has limits to what it can accomplish. I also realized that we've asked women to do too much of the heavy lifting to break down barriers and crack glass ceilings. Most importantly, I realized that progress requires commitment from male leaders who hold positions of power.

    I started asking myself how women might engage more men in gender-equity efforts. At the same time, I noticed the powerful effect that my two daughters were having on my husband. He had always viewed women's equality as an important goal, but it wasn't until he started thinking about the world his daughters were entering that he fully internalized his personal responsibility and his own power to have an impact. Having daughters fueled his urgency to act. He wanted to become an outspoken advocate for girls and women, rather than just a bystander.

    "Fathers who are engineers are uniquely positioned to become allies for expanding opportunities for girls and women."

    Watching this transformation is what prompted my study of the father-daughter relationship. I discovered that my husband's experience was not unique. Researchers have found that having a daughter tends to increase a man's support for antidiscrimination laws, equal-pay policies, and reproductive rights, and it tends to decrease men's support of traditional gender roles. This has significant effects in the workplace. For example, dads of daughters are more likely than other male leaders to champion gender diversity. And CEOs who are dads of daughters tend to have smaller gender wage gaps in their company than in those run by men who aren't fathers.

    Of course, many men without a daughter are women's allies, and not all dads with daughters are gender-equity advocates. We've even heard some men—including prominent politicians—invoke their "father of a daughter" status in disingenuous ways.

    But most dads of daughters are genuinely interested in advancing equal opportunities for girls and women. This makes the father-daughter relationship an excellent entry place for inviting men into partnerships to build a more equitable world.

    QA: Why should people read your book?

    MT: Today's dads are raising confident, empowered daughters who believe they can achieve anything. But the world is still unequal, with workplaces run by men, a gender pay gap, and deeply ingrained gender stereotypes. My book celebrates the role that fathers can play in creating a better world for the next generation of girls.

    Inspired by their daughters, fathers are well positioned to become powerful allies for girls and women. But in a post-#MeToo world, it can be difficult for men to step in and speak up. That's where Dads for Daughters can help. It arms fathers with the data they need to advocate for gender equity. It also offers concrete strategies for how they can make a difference in a variety of areas, from sports fields to science labs, and boardrooms to ballot boxes.

    In addition to being a guidebook, it also shares stories of fathers who have already joined the fight. All the men highlighted credited their daughters for motivating them to focus more on gender equity. They include a CEO who invested in female entrepreneurs to run part of his company's supply chain and a lawyer who created part-time positions at his firm—which keeps women on a partnership track. There is also a head coach who hired the NBA's first female assistant coach. Another is a governor who broke from his party line to sign a bill expanding rights for sexual assault victims. There is an engineer who provided computer skills training to support girls who were victims of India's sex trafficking trade. In addition, there's a teacher, a U.S. Army colonel, a pipe fitter, a firefighter, and a construction contractor, who joined forces to battle for parity in girls' high school sports programs.

    All those dads, and many others, were inspired to support gender equity because of their daughters. Their stories can motivate other dads to get involved. Dads who are committed to seeing their daughters achieve their dreams have an opportunity to improve the world that their daughters will enter, and Dads for Daughters will support them on this journey.

    QA: What do you think fathers who are engineers can do differently from other dads, and why?

    MT: Fathers who are engineers are uniquely positioned to become allies for expanding opportunities for girls and women. We all know that there's a huge gender imbalance in STEM fields. It results in an enormous loss of talent. Dads of daughters can take small but impactful steps in their homes, communities, and workplaces to welcome more girls and women into engineering careers.

    At home, fathers can fill their home with books, toys, and activities that empower girls to imagine themselves as future engineers. There are some wonderful resources created by engineering dads for this very purpose. For example, finding a lack of engineering role models for his daughter, Greg Helmstetter created the STEAMTeam 5 book series, which shares the adventures of five girls who tackle challenges with their STEM skills. Anthony Onesto was inspired by his daughters to create the Ella the Engineer comic-book series, which features a superhero girl who uses her engineering know-how to solve problems and save the world.

    Other great children's books include Andrea Beaty's Rosie Revere, Engineer, Tanya Lee Stone's Who Says Women Can't Be Computer Programmers? and Mike Adamick's Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments. Dads of daughters can also follow Ken Denmead's GeekDad blog, check out the Go Science Girls website, and buy one of Debbie Sterling's GoldieBlox engineering kits for their daughter's next birthday.

    Dads who are engineers can have an even broader impact in their community by volunteering with a girl tech organization such as EngineerGirl, TechGirlz, Girls Who Code, Girl Develop It, or CoolTechGirls. These organizations are always looking for engineers to share their expertise and passion for STEM careers with talented young girls.

    Engineer dads can also become gender-equity leaders at their workplace. Hiring, mentoring, and sponsoring women is a critical step in expanding women's representation in the engineering field. Dads can further support women by joining programs such as Million Women Mentors or partnering with IEEE Women in Engineering or the Society of Women Engineers. The empathy that dads gain from their daughters can also enable them to create a safer workplace culture by combating hostile work environments and speaking out against gender bias.

    QA: From a grown daughter's perspective, what makes fathers different from husbands or friends?

    MT: In a recent survey, dads rated strength and independence among the top qualities they hoped to instill in their daughters—which is different from the characteristics that men value most in their wives. From a daughter's perspective, this can make fathers particularly effective allies on their behalf.

    When dads are engaged in their daughters' lives, the relationship has a singularly profound impact. Involved dads raise women who are more confident, have higher self-esteem, and have better mental health. Girls with supportive dads have stronger cognitive abilities and are more likely to stay in school and achieve greater financial success. Involved dads also help daughters enter healthier adult relationships with other men.

    For fathers, the daughter relationship is a powerful way to build men's empathy skills and increase men's awareness of sex discrimination and gender inequality. For example, men often gain a better understanding of work/family integration challenges while watching their adult daughters juggle career and motherhood demands.

    Researchers have found that dads of daughters often have more credibility with other men when supporting gender equity. When people advocate for a position that appears to be at odds with their own self-interest, others often react with surprise, anger, and resentment. These reactions go away if the speaker identifies a vested interest in the outcome. This means that invoking one's status as the father of a daughter can grant men "standing" to advocate for gender equity in ways that get others to listen. Because men tend to pay attention to dads of daughters who talk about the importance of women's rights, that makes fathers particularly strong recruiters of other male allies as well.
    Match ID: 93 Score: 14.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 5 days
    qualifiers: 14.29 mit

    Facebook Grants Government of Afghanistan Limited Posting Rights
    Tue, 23 Nov 2021 14:51:30 +0000

    The Taliban is banned from Facebook, but its Ministry of Interior was quietly allowed to post.

    The post Facebook Grants Government of Afghanistan Limited Posting Rights appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 94 Score: 14.29 source: theintercept.com age: 5 days
    qualifiers: 14.29 mit

    How Your 401(k) Is Helping Destroy the Amazon Rainforest
    Tue, 23 Nov 2021 13:00:07 +0000

    The growing financialization of Brazilian agribusiness is enabling foreign investment in the industry most responsible for deforestation.

    The post How Your 401(k) Is Helping Destroy the Amazon Rainforest appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 95 Score: 14.29 source: theintercept.com age: 5 days
    qualifiers: 14.29 mit

    A grana da sua gasolina de R$ 7 abastece o Auxílio Mercado de Bolsonaro
    Tue, 23 Nov 2021 10:00:33 +0000

    Trata-se de um dos maiores programas de transferência de renda pró-ricos do mundo, iniciado por Temer e turbinado por Bolsonaro. Política de preços da Petrobras engorda remuneração de acionistas.

    The post A grana da sua gasolina de R$ 7 abastece o Auxílio Mercado de Bolsonaro appeared first on The Intercept.


    Match ID: 96 Score: 14.29 source: theintercept.com age: 5 days
    qualifiers: 14.29 mit

    At Least 2,034 Ways Earth Has Blown Its Cover
    Fri, 02 Jul 2021 13:00:00 +0000


    We search the stars for signs of intelligent life. What if the stars were looking back, wondering the same thing about us?

    Austrian astrophysicist Lisa Kaltenegger has an idea of what that might mean, or at least where that perspective might be coming from: 2,034 stars, seven with known and confirmed exoplanents, either are, have been, or will one day be positioned so they could spot Earth using techniques currently known to us.

    This would cover a period starting roughly about the beginning of recorded history (a time when people still spoke Proto-Indo-European, and the first Pharaonic dynasty sprouted in the Nile Valley) and going 5,000 years into the future. And at some point during this timeline, beings orbiting one of those 2,034 stars might have a chance to look Earthward and see our pale blue dot transiting the sun. 

    The observation comes out of a nifty bit of trajectory mining on a giant catalog of nearby stars.

    Kaltenegger, director of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University, and Jackie Faherty, astrophysicist and star catalog expert at the American Museum of Natural History, teamed up to explore it. They used analytical software to comb through a cosmic chart of observed star positions; this data comes via the European Space Agency craft Gaia. Gaia is a space observatory now eight years in orbit and delivering increasingly robust snapshots in its quest to plot a three-dimensional map of perhaps two billion stars in the Milky Way and further out when it’s all said and done.

    Kaltenegger and Faherty use motion calculations to plot linear star trajectories backwards and forwards in time, filtering the observed stars to focus on the region of the sky through which from our perspective the sun appears to pass through during a year. Projected out into space on a narrow band, it is a place from which an observer would be able to detect the transit of our planet across the sun. 

    In our long-running search for extraterrestrial life, we use transits to examine exoplanets, or planets outside our solar system. (We’ve even used transits of Venus to study the solar system.) Starlight passes through the atmosphere of a planet, or is reflected off of it. We can use spectrometry to analyze and gain an understanding of the chemical composition of planetary atmospheres, and so whether they might be friendly to life (as we know it). 

    Kaltenegger and Faherty show the perspective from the other end of the telescope—where we’d be the aliens—and show the potential, at least, for advanced life forms. Spectrometric sensing from far away might have picked up our Great Oxidation Event and marked us as a living world. 

    As published in the journal Nature, Faherty and Kaltenegger sifted through a Gaia catalog of nearby stars, starting with 330,000 star positions within 100 parsecs of us (that’s 326 light years and a common celestial distance benchmark). They converted these positions into three-dimensional Cartesian coordinates and back using scripts and a classification algorithm; in going through these steps in increments of time, backwards and forwards, they could see which stars were entering or exiting a position where they’d have a view on Earth. (For a closer look at Faherty’s code subroutines, check her GitHub repository.) 

    They found 313 stars had been in the zone at some point in the last 5,000 years, 1,402 stars that have been there for some time, and 319 that will do so at some point in the next 5,000 years (Teegarden’s Star will come into the zone in 29 years). Faherty then wrote code in order to ingest the list into OpenSpace visualization software.

    The star data Kaltenegger and Faherty worked with is a recent download, as researchers get ready for Gaia’s next full data delivery sometime in 2022. Kaltenegger’s been pondering how we look from space for some time, though. She published the first “Alien ID Chart” in 2007, showing how Earth might appear as seen through geological time. “That’s interesting,” says Leiden Observatory’s Anthony Brown, who heads Gaia’s data processing and analysis consortium. “Thinking about these stars that in principle could see Earth transit across the Sun.”

    Brown’s also worked with Gaia astrometry data to build a map, his being an image of star trails projected across the sky for the next 400,000 years. As Gaia takes more and more census observations over time, the projections will get more precise. Gaia’s set to deliver other surprises, too: spectral data from Gaia’s blue and red photometers mean astronomers are in process of characterizing the astrophysics of hundreds of millions of stars. 

    Sorting through all this and getting to findings will take data processing power and creative thinking, says Minia Manteiga, a member of Gaia’s data processing consortium and astronomer at the University of A Coruña. “Gaia is a paradigmatic example of big data astronomy,” she says. It will require inferential statistics as well as unsupervised algorithms and machine learning techniques, she adds.

    Kaltenegger’s role-reversing perspective—where we become the observed instead of the observer—prompt questions for her students, who generally say they’d visit advanced planets, given the means. “But while I love Earth—it is my favorite planet— in terms of technology and evolution we are not that far along yet,” Kaltenegger says, pointing out we have only been using radio waves for 100 years. “Assume the cosmos is teeming with life, would we really be the place everyone would want to contact and visit? Or maybe...not yet?” 


    Match ID: 97 Score: 14.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 149 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 2.86 planets, 2.14 aliens

    Video Friday: Dronut
    Fri, 19 Nov 2021 17:06:11 +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 – May 23-27, 2022 – Philadelphia, PA, USA

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


    We first met Cleo Robotics at CES 2017, when they were showing off a consumer prototype of their unique ducted-fan drone. They've just announced a new version which has been beefed up to do surveillance, and it is actually called the Dronut.

    For such a little thing, the 12 minute flight time is not the worst, and hopefully it'll find a unique niche that'll help Cleo move back towards the consumer market, because I want one.

    [ Cleo ]

    Happy tenth birthday, Thymio!

    [ EPFL ]

    Here we describe a protective strategy for winged drones that mitigates the added weight and drag by means of increased lift generation and stall delay at high angles of attack. The proposed structure is inspired by the wing system found in beetles and consists of adding an additional set of retractable wings, named elytra, which can rapidly encapsulate the main folding wings when protection is needed.

    [ EPFL ]

    This is some very, very impressive robust behavior on ANYmal, part of Joonho Lee's master's thesis at ETH Zurich.

    [ ETH Zurich ]

    NTT DOCOMO, INC. announced today that it has developed a blade-free, blimp-type drone equipped with a high-resolution video camera that captures high-quality video and full-color LED lights glow in radiant colors.

    [ NTT Docomo ] via [ Gizmodo ]

    Senior Software Engineer Daniel Piedrahita explains the theory behind robust dynamic stability and how Agility engineers used it to develop an unique and cohesive hardware and software solution that allows Digit to navigate unpredictable terrain with ease.

    [ Agility ]

    The title of thie video from DeepRobotics is "DOOMSDAY COMING." Best not to think about it, probably.

    [ DeepRobotics ]

    More Baymax!

    [ Disney ]

    At Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, they're trying to figure out how to make a COVID-19 officer robot authoritative enough that people will actually pay attention to it and do what it says.

    [ Paper ]

    Thanks, Andy!

    You'd think that high voltage powerlines would be the last thing you'd want a drone to futz with, but here we are.

    [ GRVC ]

    Cassie Blue navigates around furniture treated as obstacles in the atrium of the Ford Robotics Building at the University of Michigan.

    [ Michigan Robotics ]

    Northrop Grumman and its partners AVL, Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost and Michelin are designing a new vehicle that will greatly expand and enhance human and robotic exploration of the Moon, and ultimately, Mars.

    [ Northrop Grumman ]

    This letter proposes a novel design for a coaxial hexarotor (Y6) with a tilting mechanism that can morph midair while in a hover, changing the flight stage from a horizontal to a vertical orientation, and vice versa, thus allowing wall-perching and wall-climbing maneuvers.

    [ KAIST ]

    Honda and Black & Veatch have successfully tested the prototype Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle (AWV) at a construction site in New Mexico. During the month-long field test, the second-generation, fully-electric Honda AWV performed a range of functions at a large-scale solar energy construction project, including towing activities and transporting construction materials, water, and other supplies to pre-set destinations within the work site.

    [ Honda ]

    This could very well be the highest speed multiplier I've ever seen in a robotics video.

    [ GITAI ]

    Here's an interesting design for a manipulator that can do in-hand manipulation with a minimum of fuss, from the Yale Grablab.

    [ Paper ]

    That ugo robot that's just a ball with eyes on a stick is one of my favorite robots ever, because it's so unapologetically just a ball on a stick.

    [ ugo ]

    Robot, make me a sandwich. And then make me a bunch more sandwiches.

    [ Soft Robotics ]

    Refilling water bottles isn't a very complex task, but having a robot do it means that humans don't have to.

    [ Fraunhofer ]

    To help manufacturers find cost effective and sustainable alternatives to single -use plastic, ABB Robotics is collaborating with Zume, a global provider of innovative compostable packaging solutions. We will integrate and install up to 2000 robots at Zume customer's sites worldwide over the next five years to automate the innovative manufacturing production of 100 percent compostable packaging molded from sustainably harvested plant-based material for products from food and groceries to cosmetics and consumer goods.

    [ ABB ]


    Match ID: 98 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 9 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

    Here we GO, Matthias
    Fri, 12 Nov 2021 16:25:00 +0100
    Image:

    After a series of delays due to weather and a minor crew medical issue, ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer was finally launched to the International Space Station on 11 November. But not before reading some final words of support, shared by ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, as Matthias waited to drive to the launchpad.  

    Alongside NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron, Matthias lifted off on board Space X Crew Dragon “Endurance” at 03:03 CET Thursday 11 November and arrived ahead of schedule to the Station in the early hours of 12 November.

    It is the first space mission for Matthias, who is the 600th human to fly to space, a number made possible by the wider team working to safely ferry astronauts to space.

    Matthias was surrounded by the team in the lead-up to the start of his Cosmic Kiss mission, and will be well-supported throughout.

    Standing next to Luca, now Head of Astronaut Operations, is ESA flight surgeon Maybritt Kuypers. Flight surgeons accompany astronauts to launch and welcome them back after landing, monitoring and ensuring their health and well-being pre-, during and post-flight.

    Luca was not the only astronaut in attendance. German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst was also present this past week to offer his support, both to Matthias and his family and to a wider audience via media appearances.

    Now on board the Station, Matthias and his fellow Crew-3 mates are adjusting to their ‘space legs’. Matthias will sleep in the new CASA crew quarters prepared by ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet before he returned to Earth earlier this week.

    Over the next six months, Matthias will continue to support a wide range of European and international science experiments and technological research on the Station before handing off to the next ESA astronaut to fly, Samantha Cristoforetti.

    Welcome to space Matthias and go #CosmicKiss!


    Match ID: 99 Score: 12.86 source: www.esa.int age: 16 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

    ISS Daily Summary Report – 11/10/2021
    Wed, 10 Nov 2021 16:00:31 +0000
    ISS Reboost: US tracking sources identified a debris conjunction of concern yesterday with a Time of Closest Approach (TCA) approximately forty-six minutes after Crew-3 docking. As a mitigation step, ground teams opted to implement a Predetermined Debris Avoidance Maneuver (PDAM) prior to Crew-3 launch. Earlier today, the conjunction was cleared but teams progressed with the …
    Match ID: 100 Score: 12.86 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 18 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: 101 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 52 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: 102 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 67 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: 103 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 94 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

    The New Supersonic Boom
    Mon, 16 Aug 2021 15:00:00 +0000


    On 9 April 1945, less than a month before the end of hostilities in Europe, a young Luftwaffe pilot named Hans Guido Mutke put his jet-propelled Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter-bomber into a steep dive, intending to come to the aid of a fellow airman below. As the Messerschmitt accelerated downward, the plane began to shake violently, and the controls became unresponsive. Mutke managed to regain control and lived to describe the incident, in which he later laid claim to having exceeded the speed of sound, a controversial but plausible assertion.

    This and similar episodes during and after World War II led some to believe that aircraft would have great difficulty ever "breaking the sound barrier"—a phrase that led to a popular misconception that there is some kind of brick wall in the sky that a plane must pierce to fly at supersonic speeds.


    Image of Chuck Yeager piloting the Bell X-1 rocket plane in 1947. Piloting the bullet-shaped Bell X-1 rocket plane in 1947, Chuck Yeager became the first person to exceed the speed of sound while in horizontal flight.Everett Collection/Alamy

    The aircraft that unquestionably tore down that metaphorical wall was the Bell X-1, a bullet-shaped experimental rocket-plane. In October of 1947, test pilot Chuck Yeager coaxed his bright orange X-1 to a speed that slightly exceeded that of sound while the plane was in horizontal flight, although the U.S. Air Force didn't officially announce the feat until the following year.

    Since then, jets have been regularly exceeding Mach 1—shorthand for the speed of sound in the surrounding air. Even the Northrop T-38 Talon jet trainer, introduced in 1959, could do so. And some military jets can fly much faster. The SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft, which first flew in the 1960s, can travel at better than Mach 3.

    Although military aircraft were breaking the sound barrier daily during the 1950s and '60s, commercial passenger flights during this time remained limited to subsonic speeds. That situation didn't change until early in 1976, with the first scheduled flights of the French-British Concorde supersonic airliner, which could reach Mach 2. The Soviet Union's Tupolev TU-144, which could fly just as fast and had been used to transport mail and freight the previous year, began carrying passengers in 1977.

    It would have been reasonable to project that we'd all be zooming around the globe at supersonic speeds by now. But, of course, we're not.

    At the time, it would have been reasonable to project that we'd all be zooming around the globe at supersonic speeds by now. But, of course, we're not. The Concorde last flew nearly two decades ago. Today's airliners travel no faster than their counterparts of 60 years ago—indeed, they tend to fly somewhat slower to reduce fuel costs.

    Now, several aircraft manufacturers and NASA are intent on ushering in a new era of supersonic commercial aviation. They're preparing prototypes for flight and they've got designs for full-blown airliners capable of carrying scores of passengers. And this time, their biggest challenge probably won't be the sonic booms, which backers insist they can adequately address. The main obstacles will be regulatory and, especially, environmental: Supersonic airliners could be hugely more polluting than their subsonic counterparts.

    Are we nevertheless on the cusp of a new, golden age of high-speed commercial aviation? Will people soon be jetting across the Pacific in three hours? To answer those questions requires a deeper understanding of what went on, and what went wrong, during that first push to develop supersonic airliners more than a half century ago.

    Image of the Concorder airliner, taking flight during a test flight in 1970. The Concorde, shown here at the start of a test flight in 1970, was particularly noisy, both during takeoff and when exceeding the speed of sound, which subjected people below to the loud double bang of its sonic boom.AP

    In 1956, nine years after Yeager's history-making flight, the U.K. government established a Supersonic Transport Advisory Committee, which began discussions with international partners about building a supersonic airliner. And in 1962 the French and British governments forged an agreement to cooperate in the development of what soon became known as the Concorde. The sleek delta-winged airliner made its first supersonic test flight in 1969.

    Although the United States chose not to participate in the development of the Concorde, in 1963 President John F. Kennedy announced plans to develop a U.S. supersonic airliner. Shortly afterward, the federal government issued a contract to Boeing, which had prevailed over Lockheed and others in a design competition, to develop such a plane.

    Meanwhile, environmentalists were voicing concern—about how noisy such aircraft are taking off, about the possibility that their high-altitude emissions would erode the ozone layer, and about how disruptive the sonic booms would be. The last of these issues was perhaps the most vexing, prompting the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to mount various exercises to gauge how the public would react to sonic booms.

    The most extensive such experiment took place over Oklahoma City in 1964. For months, supersonic aircraft flew over the city, eight times a day, seven days a week, at unpredictable times but always during daylight hours. Dominic Maglieri, an expert on sonic booms whose career began in the early 1950s, recalls the results of those months-long tests.

    "It looked as though people were kind of acclimating to it," says Maglieri. "But as it went on that changed—considerably: Pretty soon they were getting thousands of calls and complaints." Some of that negative feedback included demands for compensation, says Maglieri, including one from the owner of a palatial home who claimed that a sonic boom had cracked his marble floors.

    A table of data showing the boom dates for sonic room damage. The 1964 Oklahoma City tests involved more than 1,000 flights, which sparked more than 15,000 complaints, as documented in a 1971 report prepared by the National Bureau of Standards.U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

    Clearly, nobody would accept stone-fracturing sonic booms. Those objections added to the concerns environmentalists were raising about the ozone layer—a scenario seemingly justified a few years later by MIT researchers, who concluded that a future fleet of 500 supersonic airliners would deplete the ozone layer by 16 percent.

    Despite strong support from the FAA, the airline industry, and aerospace companies, the U.S. Senate ceased funding the development of a supersonic airliner in 1971. Two years later, the FAA banned supersonic flight over land, a prohibition that remains to this day.

    The Concorde went on to serve various destinations, including some in the United States, flying at supersonic speeds only over water. That continued until 2003, when British Airways and Air France retired their fleets, together amounting to just 12 aircraft. (Fourteen production aircraft were manufactured, but one was scrapped in 1994 and another crashed in 2000.)

    While the Concorde successfully overcame the technical hurdles standing in the way of supersonic passenger service, it succumbed to economics: The cost of fuel and maintenance was especially high for these planes. A new generation of aeronautical engineers and entrepreneurs are, however, keen to once again take on the technical, environmental, and economic challenges.

    It's perhaps unsurprising that the 21st-century push for supersonic travel is being led by newcomers rather than established manufacturers. The best-funded of this group is Denver-based Boom Technology (which also goes by the trade name Boom Supersonic).

    Rendering of Boom Technology's Overture airliner in the sky. This artist's rendering shows Boom Technology's future Overture airliner, which will be able to carry as many as 88 people.Boom Supersonic

    In 2016, while it was still in Y Combinator's startup incubation program, Boom got a big shot in the arm from the Virgin Group, which offered engineering support and optioned the first 10 of Boom's airliners. (More recently, Virgin Galactic has been designing a supersonic airliner of its own.) Virgin's interest in this sphere shouldn't be surprising: 13 years earlier, the group's founder Sir Richard Branson attempted, unsuccessfully, to purchase the seven Concorde airliners British Airways was retiring, for use by Virgin Atlantic.

    Boom went on to garner more than US $150 million from various venture funds and Japan Airlines. It has used that money to build a one-third scale prototype, called the XB-1, of an airliner that will be able to carry as many as 88 passengers. The company expects commercial flights of the larger plane, which it calls Overture, to begin in 2029.

    What these aircraft manufacturers are contending is that their eventual customers are going to be willing to pay to prevent net carbon emissions.

    Boom is emphasizing its plans to mitigate the environmental impacts that inevitably arise with supersonic flight. Testifying to a House subcommittee on aviation this past April, Boom's CEO, Blake Scholl, noted that, "sustainable aviation fuels, or SAF, are key to Overture sustainability, and we are designing Overture from the ground up to run on 100 percent SAF, enabling net-zero-carbon flight." In preparation, Boom has investigated the use of biofuels in the engines of its XB-1 demonstrator, and it has partnered with Prometheus Fuels, which will provide the XB-1 with jet fuel synthesized using carbon extracted from the atmosphere using renewable energy.

    Boom has stated that its plane will go supersonic only over water. Even so, the company is " shaping the aircraft optimally for sonic-boom reduction," according to its website. In a similar vein, another startup, Boston-based Spike Aerospace, is stressing that its planned S-512 supersonic business jet is "aerodynamically designed to offer proprietary Quiet Supersonic Flight Technology. This will enable it to operate at its full cruising speed of Mach 1.6 (1,100 miles per hour) without producing a loud, disturbing sonic boom on the ground." Ditto for California-based Exosonic, which claims that the supersonic airliner it has on the drawing board "will create a softer thump on the ground that will be quieter than typical traffic."

    Rendering of NASA's X-59 aircraft flying in the sky. This artist's rendering depicts NASA's X-59 low-noise demonstrator aircraft, now being constructed by Lockheed Martin.Lockheed Martin

    This is exactly the strategy that NASA is exploring with an experimental aircraft called the X-59 QueSST, that name being a contraction of sorts of "quiet supersonic technology." Lockheed-Martin Corp. is right now constructing the X-59 at its famed Skunk Works facility in Palmdale, Calif.

    "I used to joke that the airplane looked like an F-16 on steroids," says David Richwine, NASA's deputy project manager for technology on the X-59. "It's a long airplane—I think it's around 97 feet long." Richwine explains that adding length is one of the ways to "manage the sonic-boom signature," which is an engineer's way of saying to make the sound less jarring.

    How successful NASA is in doing so will be tested as soon as 2024, when the X-59 is flown over a small set of U.S. cities to gauge the public's reactions to what Richwine expects to be a "sonic thump." Assuming this campaign takes place on schedule, it'll be 60 years after the FAA's Oklahoma City tests. Get your marble floors ready.

    Interestingly, the company that was working the hardest to reduce the sonic-boom effects from a supersonic jet it was developing, Aerion Corp., now appears to be going out of business. The company, based in Reno, Nev., was founded by billionaire Robert Bass in 2003.

    Aerion's initial foray into commercial supersonic aircraft was to be a 12-passenger business jet, the AS2, designed to have a top speed of Mach 1.4. The company was exploring the possibility of flying the AS2 in a fashion that would allow it to travel at supersonic speeds over land without subjecting the people below to a sonic boom. "Boomless Cruise" was Aerion's name for the technology.

    Although we won't get to see it in action with Aerion's AS2, another supersonic hopeful might yet pursue this intriguing strategy, which merits a brief description.

    Illustration of hot and cold air for slow and fast supersonic flight during Mach Cutoff. The phenomenon of Mach cutoff requires that the air near the ground be warmer and that the plane fly not too much faster than the speed of sound. Its sonic boom would then travel downward at a shallow angle and be refracted sufficiently to stay away from the ground [left]. A plane moving faster would create a sonic boom that travels downward at an angle that is too steep to be refracted away from the ground [right].David Schneider

    The key concept is a phenomenon known as Mach cutoff, the physics of which is straightforward. When a plane flies at supersonic speeds, it outpaces the sound waves it creates. Those sounds pile up, causing a shock wave to form. That boom-inducing shock wave travels away at an angle that depends on how fast the plane is moving relative to the speed of sound. For a jet traveling at many times the speed of sound, the boom propagates at a steep angle from the flight path. For one traveling just barely faster than the speed of sound, the boom propagates at a shallow angle.

    That second situation is important here because of another bit of relevant physics: The speed of sound in air depends on temperature. At altitude, where the air is colder, sound travels more slowly than it does in the warmer air near the ground. This phenomenon causes sound waves to refract (bend) as they travel downward, just as light waves refract when moving between water and air or glass and air.

    Because of such refraction, sounds traveling downward at a sufficiently shallow angle can be bent upward enough never to impinge on the ground. Similar physics accounts for the mirages you might see when shallowly inclined rays of light are bent upward by the air just above hot asphalt, which gives them the appearance of having reflected off a puddle.

    So if an aircraft is flown not too much faster than the speed of sound, in air that is sufficiently warmer near the surface, the sonic boom it creates, loud as it might be, will never reach the ground. You can have supersonic flight without the boom.

    Society will have to weigh the environmental consequences of supersonic transport against the time savings it would offer a relatively select few travelers.

    The compromise is that the plane can't travel much faster than the speed of sound—Mach 1.1 or 1.2, tops. That isn't a big improvement over something like the Cessna's Citation X business jet, which can travel at Mach 0.94. Exploiting the Mach cutoff phenomenon commercially would also require the FAA to relax its prohibition on supersonic flight over land, which it may never do.

    The companies working hard now to bring commercial supersonic flight back understand that they have to address sonic-boom noise, one way or another. And the farthest along, Boom Technology, is also taking pains to explain how its planes can be flown with fuels that won't add to the enormous amounts of carbon that commercial aviation is already spewing into the air.

    "There are a couple of problems with that logic," says Dan Rutherford, who is aviation and shipping program director for the International Council on Clean Transportation. "First of all, once the plane is out the door, there's very little control that a manufacturer has over what fuel is used." What these aircraft manufacturers are contending is that their eventual customers are going to be willing to pay to prevent net carbon emissions. "The planes themselves are not going to be fuel efficient," says Rutherford. He and two colleagues estimated in 2018 that a commercial supersonic airliner like the one Boom is designing would likely use five to seven times as much fuel per passenger-kilometer as a comparable subsonic aircraft.

    Rutherford further notes that biomass-derived jet fuels are at least three or four times as expensive as conventional jet fuel and that synthetic jet fuel made from carbon extracted from the atmosphere will be more expensive still. Combine those higher fuel costs with the higher fuel consumption and "you start to have such high operating costs for those planes that it is very difficult to see them succeed in the market," he says.

    Rendering of NASA's X-59 aircraft flying in the sky. This past June, United Airlines announced its intention to purchase 15 Overture airliners from Boom Technology. They will presumably resemble this artist's rendering after they go into service.Boom Supersonic

    But Michael Leskinen, vice president of corporate development for United Airlines, which in early June announced plans to purchase 15 of Boom's Overture airliners, explained to IEEE Spectrum, "We'll be working to introduce and supply the market with more and more sustainable aviation fuel, and our hope is that with more supply, we'll be able to drive that cost of fuel down as well." Still, it's easy to imagine that the economic pressures would be such that, even if United sticks to using sustainable fuels, other operators would end up flying the aircraft with conventional jet fuel, boosting carbon emissions from air travel by five or more times per passenger-kilometer flown.

    But it gets worse, according to Rutherford. "If you look at the other emissions from supersonics that also warm the planet—these are the nitrogen oxides, the particulate matter, and the water vapor for supersonics operating in the stratosphere—those could be even worse for the climate, on the order of 20 times or more just because the pollution stays up in the atmosphere so much longer."

    Rutherford admits that the science of these noncarbon effects is less certain than it is for CO 2. But as was true for concerns about the ozone layer back in the 1960s, proponents of supersonic commercial aviation need to consider the deleterious effects of all the pollutants these planes create and their extended residence times at the altitudes these planes fly. Will they actually do that?

    "We're committed to being 100 percent green," Leskinen says. "That's across the spectrum of impacts that our aircraft have. And that will be no different for Overture than it is for any other aircraft we choose to operate." It's a grand promise, but even if United can keep to it, it's a promise that the company is making for 2050, not for 2029 when the Overture will be introduced.

    Larger society will have to weigh the likely environmental consequences of supersonic transport against the time savings this futuristic mode of transportation would offer a select few travelers. There are, of course, many ways this could play out over the coming decades, perhaps with different nations adopting different policies. What seems certain, however, is that Adam Smith's invisible hand will exert considerable influence, just as it did for earlier supersonic wonders: the Concorde and the space shuttle. In the end, both proved technological dead ends simply because they cost more to operate than their services were worth.

    This article appears in the November 2021 print issue as "Mach 2, Take 2."


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

    China Plans Near-Earth Asteroid Smash-and-Grab
    Tue, 10 Aug 2021 13:00:00 +0000


    China is looking to build on its recent moon sample return success by attempting to retrieve material from an ancient near Earth asteroid.

    The country will launch a spacecraft in 2024, reaching Kamoʻoalewa, a quasi-satellite of Earth, in 2025. When it returns home a year later it hopes to deliver invaluable samples from a body of rock thought to be made of remnants from the early solar system.

    In keeping with China's long-term approach to space of developing and building specific and more advanced technologies, the mission will aim to be a milestone in Chinese exploration by apply newly-developed capabilities and science prowess in a novel scenario.

    The mission will follow in the footsteps of the Japanese Hayabusa 1 and 2 missions, and NASA's OSIRIS-Rex, while presenting new and greater challenges for China. The country has so far launched just one interplanetary mission, Tianwen-1, which saw an orbiter and rover arrive at Mars earlier this year. And while it has collected samples from the moon with Chang'e-5, conducting operations in deep space means a greater signal delay, requiring greater spacecraft autonomy. The spacecraft will also need to maintain orbit around and approach a small body with very weak gravity. Long-life propulsion engines, high-precision navigation, guidance and control, and a small capsule capable of surviving ultra-high-speed reentry into Earth's atmosphere are also hurdles that need clearing.

    And the sampling aspect itself will be a significant feat. According to a correspondence in Nature Astronomy, there are two typical approaches to sampling asteroids like Kamoʻoalewa, namely anchor-and-attach and touch-and-go.

    The former requires delicate and dangerous interactions with the planetary body but allows more controllable sampling and more chances for surface analysis. The latter, used by Hayabusa 2 and OSIRIS-Rex, is a quick interaction facilitated by advanced navigation, guidance and control and fine control of thrusters.

    China's mission will use both architectures in order to "guarantee that at least one works." The paper states that there is "still no successful precedent for the anchor-and-attach architecture," meaning a possible deep space first. A 2019 presentation reveals that China's spacecraft will attempt to land on the asteroid using four robotic arms, with a drill on the end of each for anchoring.

    Two illustrations of space landers on an asteroid. The left is labelled Anchor-and-attach architecture. The right is labelled Touch-and-go architecture. Tao Zhang, Kun Xu, and Xilun Ding/Nature Astronomy

    Chang'e-5 similarly opted to both drill for and scoop up its samples, providing redundancy and greater science value.

    The mission is just one of China's ambitious sample return plans in the next few years. Chang'e-6 will follow up the complex Chang'e-5 moon mission, but even more ambitiously attempt to collect samples from the ancient and scientifically enticing South Pole-Aitken basin on the lunar far side. The mission will require assistance from a relay satellite as the moon's far side never faces Earth.

    Around 2028 China plans to launch an audacious Mars sample return mission, a so-far not attempted quest (though NASA and ESA are also preparing a mission) that is one of the most sought-after goals of Mars science. Beyond this, a new Chinese company, Origin Space, has launched pathfinding missions and has its sights on utilizing resources from near Earth asteroids for commercial purposes.

    But the sample return is just one aspect of the mission. After delivering samples to Earth in a return capsule, the spacecraft will continue its journey, heading out to Mars and using the Red Planet for a gravity-assist to send it on its way to the main-belt comet 311P/PANSTARRS.

    Examining 311P/PANSTARRS with the spacecraft's suite of imaging, multispectral and spectrometer cameras and other instruments could provide vital information about the origin of the water on Earth and the theory that much of it was delivered by comet impacts. It would also provide insight into the differences between what are considered active asteroids and classic comets.

    Notably both Kamoʻoalewa and 311P were discovered by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) at Haleakala in Hawaii within the last decade.

    The spacecraft will also carry an experiment designed by students. Teams of students from primary schools up to universities have submitted proposals, with public voting now underway as part of the selection process.

    The probe is likely to be named ZhengHe, after the famous Ming dynasty admiral and explorer. The name would be apt, both drawing on the country's exploration history and marking a new age of Chinese exploration, this time in the deep sea of space.


    Match ID: 105 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 110 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

    Space Station Incident Demands Independent Investigation
    Fri, 06 Aug 2021 19:20:30 +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.

    In an International Space Station major milestone more than fifteen years in the making, a long-delayed Russian science laboratory named Nauka automatically docked to the station on 29 July, prompting sighs of relief in the Mission Control Centers in Houston and Moscow. But within a few hours, it became shockingly obvious the celebrations were premature, and the ISS was coming closer to disaster than at anytime in its nearly 25 years in orbit.

    While the proximate cause of the incident is still being unravelled, there are worrisome signs that NASA may be repeating some of the lapses that lead to the loss of the Challenger and Columbia space shuttles and their crews. And because political pressures seem to be driving much of the problem, only an independent investigation with serious political heft can reverse any erosion in safety culture.

    Let's step back and look at what we know happened: In a cyber-logical process still not entirely clear, while passing northwest to southeast over Indonesia, the Nauka module's autopilot apparently decided it was supposed to fly away from the station. Although actually attached, and with the latches on the station side closed, the module began trying to line itself up in preparation to fire its main engines using an attitude adjustment thruster. As the thruster fired, the entire station was slowly dragged askew as well.

    Since the ISS was well beyond the coverage of Russian ground stations, and since the world-wide Soviet-era fleet of tracking ships and world-circling network of "Luch" relay comsats had long since been scrapped, and replacements were slow in coming, nobody even knew Nauka was firing its thruster, until a slight but growing shift in the ISS's orientation was finally detected by NASA.

    Russia's Nauka approaches the space station, preparing to dock on 29 July 2021. NASA

    Within minutes, the Flight Director in Houston declared a "spacecraft emergency"—the first in the station's lifetime—and his team tried to figure out what could be done to avoid the ISS spinning up so fast that structural damage could result. The football-field-sized array of pressurized modules, support girders, solar arrays, radiator panels, robotic arms, and other mechanisms was designed to operate in a weightless environment. But it was also built to handle stresses both from directional thrusting (used to boost the altitude periodically) and rotational torques (usually to maintain a horizon-level orientation, or to turn to a specific different orientation to facilitate arrival or departure of visiting vehicles). The juncture latches that held the ISS's module together had been sized to accommodate these forces with a comfortable safety margin, but a maneuver of this scale had never been expected.

    Meanwhile, the station's automated attitude control system had also noted the deviation and began firing other thrusters to countermand it. These too were on the Russian half of the station. The only US orientation-control system is a set of spinning flywheels that gently turn the structure without the need for thruster propellant, but which would have been unable to cope with the unrelenting push of Nauka's thruster. Later mass-media scenarios depicted teams of specialists manually directing on-board systems into action, but the exact actions taken in response still remain unclear—and probably were mostly if not entirely automatic. The drama continued as the station crossed the Pacific, then South America and the mid-Atlantic, finally entering Russian radio contact over central Europe an hour after the crisis had begun. By then the thrusting had stopped, probably when the guilty thruster exhausted its fuel supply. The sane half of the Russian segment then restored the desired station orientation.

    Initial private attempts to use telemetry data to visually represent the station's tumble that were posted online looked bizarre, with enormous rapid gyrations in different directions. Mercifully, the truth of the situation is that the ISS went through a simple long-axis spin of one and a half full turns, and then a half turn back to the starting alignment. The jumps and zig-zags were computational artifacts of the representational schemes used by NASA, which relate to the concept of "gimbal lock" in gyroscopes.

    How close the station had come to disaster is an open question, and the flight director humorously alluded to it in a later tweet that he'd never been so happy as when he saw on external TV cameras that the solar arrays and radiators were still standing straight in place. And any excessive bending stress along docking interfaces between the Russian and American segments would have demanded quick leak checks. But even if the rotation was "simple," the undeniably dramatic event has both short term and long-term significance for the future of the space station. And it has antecedents dating back to the very birth of the ISS in 1997.

    How close the ISS had come to disaster is still an open question.

    At this point, unfortunately, is when the human misjudgments began to surface. To calm things down, official NASA spokesmen provided very preliminary underestimates in how big and how fast the station's spin had been. These were presented without any caveat that the numbers were unverified—and the real figures turned out to be much worse. The Russian side, for its part, dismissed the attitude deviation as a routine bump in a normal process of automatic docking and proclaimed there would be no formal incident investigation, especially any that would involve their American partners. Indeed, both sides seemed to agree that the sooner the incident was forgotten, the better. As of now, the US side is deep into analysis of induced stresses on critical ISS structures, with the most important ones, such as the solar arrays, first. Another standard procedure after this kind of event is to assess potential indicators of stress-induced damage, especially in terms of air leaks, and where best to monitor cabin pressure and other parameters to detect any such leaks.

    The bureaucratic instinct to minimize the described potential severity of the event needs cold-blooded assessment. Sadly, from past experience, this mindset of complacency and hoping for the best is the result of natural human mental drift that comes when there are long periods of apparent normalcy. Even if there is a slowly emerging problem, as long as everything looks okay in the day to day, the tendency is ignore warning signals as minor perturbations. The safety of the system is assumed rather than verified—and consequently managers are led into missing clues, or making careless choices, that lead to disaster. So these recent indications of this mental attitude about the station's attitude are worrisome. The NASA team has experienced that same slow cultural rot of assuming safety several times over the past decades, with hideous consequences. Team members in the year leading up to the 1986 Challenger disaster (and I was deep within the Mission Control operations then) had noticed and begun voicing concerns over growing carelessness and even humorous reactions to occasional "stupid mistakes," without effect. Then, after imprudent management decisions, seven people died.

    The same drift was noticed in the late 1990s, especially in the joint US/Russian operations on Mir and on early ISS flights. It led to the forced departure of a number of top NASA officials, who had objected to the trend that was being imposed by the White House's post-Cold War diplomatic goals, implemented by NASA Administrator Dan Goldin. Safety took a decidedly secondary priority to international diplomatic value. Legendary Mission Control leader Gene Kranz described the decisions that were made in the mid-1990s over his own objections, objections that led to his sudden departure from NASA. "Russia was subsequently assigned partnership responsibilities for critical in-line tasks with minimal concern for the political and technical difficulties as well as the cost and schedule risks," he wrote in 1999. "This was the first time in the history of US manned space flight that NASA assigned critical path, in-line tasks with little or no backup." By 2001-'02, the results were as Kranz and his colleagues had warned. "Today's problems with the space station are the product of a program driven by an overriding political objective and developed by an ad hoc committee, which bypassed NASA's proven management and engineering teams," he concluded.

    To reverse the apparent new cultural drift, NASA headquarters or some even higher office is going to have to intervene.

    By then the warped NASA management culture that soon enabled the Columbia disaster in 2003 was fully in place. Some of the wording in current management proclamations regarding the Nauka docking have an eerie ring of familiarity. "Space cooperation continues to be a hallmark of U.S.-Russian relations and I have no doubt that our joint work reinforces the ties that have bound our collaborative efforts over the many years" wrote NASA Director Bill Nelson to Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency, on July 31. There was no mention of the ISS's first declared spacecraft emergency, nor any dissatisfaction with Russian contribution to it.

    To reverse the apparent new cultural drift, and thus potentially forestall the same kind of dismal results as before, NASA headquarters or some even higher office is going to have to intervene. The causes of the Nauka-induced "space sumo match" of massive cross-pushing bodies need to be determined and verified. And somebody needs to expose the decision process that allowed NASA to approve the ISS docking of a powerful thruster-equipped module without the on-site real-time capability to quickly disarm that system in an emergency. Because the apparent sloppiness of NASA's safety oversight on visiting vehicles looks to be directly associated with maintaining good relations with Moscow, the driving factor seems to be White House diplomatic goals—and that's the level where a corrective impetus must originate. With a long-time U.S. Senate colleague, Nelson, recently named head of NASA, President Biden is well connected to issue such guidance for a thorough investigation by an independent commission, followed by implementation of needed reforms. The buck stops with him.

    As far as Nauka's role in this process of safety-culture repair, it turns out that quite by bizarre coincidence, a similar pattern was played out by the very first Russian launch that inaugurated the ISS program, the 'Zarya' module [called the 'FGB'] in late 1997. Nauka turns out to be the repeatedly rebuilt and upgraded backup module for that very launch, and the parallels are remarkable. The day the FGB was launched, on 20 November 1998, the mission faced disaster when it refused to accept ground commands to raise its original atmosphere-skimming parking orbit. As it crossed over Russian ground sites, controllers in Moscow sent commands, and the spacecraft didn't answer. Meanwhile, NASA guests at a nearby facility were celebrating with Russian colleagues as nobody told them of the crisis. Finally, on the last available in-range pass, controllers tried a new command format that the onboard computer did recognize and acknowledge. The mission—and the entire ISS project—was saved, and the American side never knew. Only years later did the story appear in Russian newspapers.

    Still, for all its messy difficulties and frustrating disappointments, the U.S./Russian partnership turned out to be a remarkably robust "mutual co-dependence" arrangement, when managed with "tough love." Neither side really had practical alternatives if it wanted a permanent human presence in space, and they still don't—so both teams were devoted to making it work. And it could still work—if NASA keeps faith with its traditional safety culture and with the lives of those astronauts who died in the past because NASA had failed them.

    Postscript: As this story was going to press, a NASA spokesperson responded to queries about the incident saying:

    As shared by NASA's Kathy Lueders and Joel Montalbano in the media telecon following the event, Roscosmos regularly updated NASA and the rest of the international partners on MLM's progress during the approach to station. We continue to have confidence in our partnership with Roscosmos to operate the International Space Station. When the unexpected thruster firings occurred, flight control teams were able to enact contingency procedures and return the station to normal operations within an hour. We would point you to Roscosmos for any specifics on Russian systems/performance/procedures.

    Match ID: 106 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 114 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

    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: 107 Score: 12.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 395 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: 108 Score: 12.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 534 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 2.86 planets

    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: 109 Score: 10.71 source: www.politico.com age: 6 days
    qualifiers: 10.71 mit

    Can Earth's Digital Twins Help Us Navigate the Climate Crisis?
    Mon, 22 Nov 2021 16:03:20 +0000


    Powerful climate models have helped dispel any uncertainty about the scale of the climate crisis the world faces. But these models are large global simulations that can't tell us much about how climate change will impact our daily lives or how to respond at a local level. That's where a digital twin of the Earth could help.

    A digital twin is a virtual model of a real-world object, machine, or system that can be used to assess how the real-world counterpart is performing, diagnose or predict faults, or simulate how future changes could alter its behavior. Typically, a digital twin involves both a digital simulation and live sensor data from the real world system to keep the model up to date.

    So far, digital twins have primarily been used in industrial contexts. For example, a digital twin could monitor an electric grid or manufacturing equipment. But there's been growing interest in applying similar ideas to the field of climate simulation to provide a more interactive, and detailed, way to track and predict changes in the systems, such as the atmosphere and oceans, that drive the Earth's climate.

    Now chipmaker Nvidia has committed to building the world's most powerful supercomputer dedicated to modeling climate change. Speaking at the company's GPU Technology Conference, CEO Jensen Huang said Earth-2 would be used to create a digital twin of Earth in the Omniverse—a virtual collaboration platform that is Nvidia's attempt at a metaverse.

    "We may finally have a way to simulate the earth's climate 10, 20, or 30 years from now, predict the regional impact of climate change, and take action to mitigate and adapt before it's too late," said Huang.

    The announcement was light on details, and a spokesman for Nvidia said the company was currently unable to confirm what the architecture of the computer would look like or who would have access to it. But in his talk Huang emphasized the significant role the company sees for machine learning to boost the resolution and speed of climate models and create a digital twin of the Earth.

    Today, most climate simulation is driven by complex equations that describe the physics behind key processes. Many of these equations are very computationally expensive to solve and so, even on the most powerful supercomputers, models normally only achieve resolutions of 10 to 100 kilometers.

    Some important processes, such as the behavior of clouds that reflect the Sun's radiation back to space, operate at scales of just a few meters though, said Huang. He thinks machine learning could help here. Alongside announcing Earth-2, the company also unveiled a new machine learning framework called Modulus designed to help researchers train neural networks to simulate complex physical systems by learning from observed data or the output of physical models.

    "The resulting model can emulate physics 1,000 to 100,000 times faster than simulation," said Huang. "With Modulus, scientists will be able to create digital twins to better understand large systems like never before."

    Improving the resolution of climate models is a key ingredient for an effective digital twin of Earth, says Bjorn Stevens, director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology. Today's climate models currently rely on statistical workarounds that work well for assessing the climate at a global scale, but make it hard to understand local effects. That will be crucial for predicting the regional impacts of climate change so that we can better inform adaptation efforts, he says.

    But Steven is skeptical that machine learning is some kind of magic bullet to solve this problem. "There is this fantasy somehow that the machine learning will replace the things that we know how to solve physically, but I think it will always have a disadvantage there."

    The key to creating a digital twin is making a system that is highly interactive, he says, and the beauty of a physical model is that it replicates every facet of the process in an explainable way. That's something that a machine learning model trained to mimic the process may not be able to do.

    That's not to say there is no place for machine learning, he adds. It is likely to prove useful in helping speeding up workflows, compressing data and potentially developing new models in areas where we have lots of data but little understanding of the physics—for instance how water moves through earth and land. But he thinks the rapid advances in supercomputing power means that running physical models at much higher resolution is more a case of will and resources than capabilities.

    The European Union hopes to fill that gap with a new initiative called Destination Earth, which was formally launched in January. The project is a joint effort by the European Space Agency, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).

    The goal is to create a platform that can bring together a wide variety of models, simulating both key aspects of the climate like the atmosphere and the oceans, but also human systems, says Peter Bauer, deputy director of research at ECMWF. "So you're not only monitoring and simulating precipitation and temperature, but also what that means for agriculture, or water availability, or infrastructure," he says.

    The result won't be a single homogeneous simulation of every aspect of Earth, says Bauer, but an interactive platform that allows users to pull in whatever models and data are necessary to answer the questions they're interested in.

    The project will be implemented gradually over the coming decade, but the first two digital twins they hope to deliver will include one aimed at anticipating extreme weather events like floods and forest fires, and another aimed at providing longer-term predictions to support climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.

    While Nvidia's announcement of a new supercomputer dedicated to climate modeling is welcome, Bauer says the challenge today is more about software engineering than developing new hardware. Most of the critical models have been developed in isolation using very different approaches, so getting them to talk to each other and finding ways to interface highly disparate data streams is an outstanding problem.

    "Part of the challenge to actually hide the diversity and complexity of these components away from the user and make them work together," Bauer says.

    Correction 24 Nov. 2021: An update was made to the description of machine learning’s utility for digital earths—it could be useful, the story now reads, in understanding how water moves through earth on land (not the mechanics of dirt as the original version of the story stated).


    Match ID: 110 Score: 10.71 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 6 days
    qualifiers: 10.71 mit

    The Chip Shortage Hurts Auto Sales a Lot, Consumer Electronics Only a Little
    Mon, 22 Nov 2021 16:00:01 +0000


    Hot consumer tech is hard to snag this holiday season. Get used to it.

    New-car shoppers in the United States, China, and everywhere else face slim inventory and dealers unwilling to budge on price. It's all because of the global chip shortage, which has prompted the Biden administration to support legislation that includes US $52 billion in federal subsidies for U.S. semiconductor manufacturing.


    But the problem extends far beyond new cars. A report by The Information found that 70 percent of wireless retail stores in the United States faced smartphone shortages. Graphics card pricing remains well above the manufacturer's suggested retail level and shows no sign of retreat. Game consoles are drawing hundreds-long lines a full year after launch. Televisions are both more expensive and more difficult to find than last year.

    You might think this a temporary, COVID-related supply-chain shortfall, but no. The problem is not the number of PlayStation 5 consoles in stock. The problem is the people in line ahead of you.

    Sony's PlayStation 5 sales data illustrates the nature of the challenge. Global sales of the PlayStation 5 outpace those of the PlayStation 4 at this point in the product's life cycle: The PS5 has sold more quickly than any other console in Sony's history. The same pattern holds for PCs, smartphones, video games, and tablets, which all saw an uptick in year-over-year sales during the first quarter of 2021. That's quite an achievement, given the unprecedented, lockdown-driven highs of 2020.

    The serious chip shortage really is hobbling the production of automobiles, the largest and most expensive of all our consumer gadgets. But it's a mistake to assume that this shortage limits supplies of lesser gadgets, most of which are in fact pouring into stores and then flying off the shelves.

    The automotive industry's problems really are the result of a serious chip shortage. But that's the exception: Most consumer tech is pouring into stores, then flying off the shelves.

    You should expect unrelenting prices and very long lead times that only lengthen. If you want truly in-demand gear to unwrap for the holidays, whether it's a game console or the new iPad Mini, it may already be too late to get it (from a retailer, at least—there's always eBay). And you should plan to plan ahead for the next year, as there's no sign that supply will catch up in 2022.

    This may annoy shoppers, but the disruption among consumer tech companies is even more dire. Record demand is typically a good thing, but the sudden surge has forced a competition for chip production that only the largest companies can win. Rumors hint that Apple has locked in most, if not all, leading-edge chip production from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's largest independent semiconductor foundry. Apple's order is said to include up to 100 million chips for new iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks. Even large companies like Qualcomm are struggling to compete with Apple's size and volume.

    Big moves from big companies have the trickle-down effect of delaying innovative ideas from smaller players: a crank-powered game console, a customizable LED face mask, and a tiny, 200-watt USB charger are just three out of hundreds of examples. The result could be a subtle, unfortunate squeeze on tiny tech startups that can spoil the most conservative production timeline. Backers are likely to face ever-increasing waits. Some will give up and demand a refund.

    So, should you learn to live with stock notifications and long lines indefinitely? Maybe not. Investment in production might well catch up with demand by 2023. Industry analysts worry this could lead to a price crash if semiconductor manufacturers overshoot. Perhaps the summer of 2023 will be the year you can once again buy the latest consumer tech not just minutes but hours after it's released. Until then, well, you'll just have to be patient.

    This article appears in the December 2021 print issue as "When the Chips Are Down."


    Match ID: 111 Score: 10.71 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 6 days
    qualifiers: 10.71 mit

    La NASA traduce al español ‘La primera mujer’
    Fri, 19 Nov 2021 12:33 EST
    La NASA publicó la traducción al español de una novela gráfica digital el viernes.
    Match ID: 112 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 9 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    ISS Daily Summary Report – 11/19/2021
    Fri, 19 Nov 2021 16:00:18 +0000
    Payloads: Airborne Particulate Monitor (APM): The crew removed the memory card from the APM, transferred the data, and then reinstalled the card.  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 verifies whether these requirements are met.  …
    Match ID: 113 Score: 9.29 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 9 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    NASA Invites Media to SpaceX’s 24th Cargo Launch to Space Station
    Thu, 18 Nov 2021 15:23 EST
    Media accreditation is now open for SpaceX’s 24th cargo resupply mission for NASA to the International Space Station.
    Match ID: 114 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 10 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    ISS Daily Summary Report – 11/18/2021
    Thu, 18 Nov 2021 16:00:55 +0000
    Payloads: Grip Seated Science 2 Experiment Session: From an upright seated posture, the crew performed experiment tasks looking at friction, discrete movement (with eyes open/closed), and collisions.  The Grip experiment studies the long-duration spaceflight effects on the abilities of human subjects to regulate grip force and upper limbs trajectories when manipulating objects during different kind …
    Match ID: 115 Score: 9.29 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 10 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    NASA Television to Air Russian Port Module Launch, Docking to Station
    Thu, 18 Nov 2021 09:57 EST
    NASA will provide live coverage of the upcoming launch and docking of a new Russian docking module to the International Space Station.
    Match ID: 116 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 10 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    Humans Are On Track to Export Our Environmental Woes to Space
    Thu, 18 Nov 2021 13:00:00 +0000
    The cosmos is turning into the playground for entrepreneurs, so the outdated legal spacescape needs to directly address space pollution.
    Match ID: 117 Score: 9.29 source: www.wired.com age: 10 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    NASA Selects Intuitive Machines for New Lunar Science Delivery
    Wed, 17 Nov 2021 15:31 EST
    NASA has awarded Intuitive Machines of Houston a contract to deliver research, including science investigations and a technology demonstration, to the Moon in 2024.
    Match ID: 118 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 11 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    ISS Daily Summary Report – 11/17/2021
    Wed, 17 Nov 2021 16:00:42 +0000
    Radial Hatch Opening: This morning, FE-12 opened all radial hatches in the USOS. This allowed the crew to opportunity to perform several activities, notably EVA preparation activities in the US Airlock. The ISS team continues to monitor the effects of a Russian satellite breakup that created sufficient debris and posed a conjunction threat to the …
    Match ID: 119 Score: 9.29 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 11 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    NASA to Air Northrop Grumman Cygnus Departure from Space Station
    Tue, 16 Nov 2021 16:30 EST
    Northrop Grumman’s uncrewed Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to depart the International Space Station on Saturday, Nov. 20, more than three months after delivering nearly 8,000 pounds of supplies, scientific investigations, commercial products, hardware, and other cargo to the orbiting laboratory.
    Match ID: 120 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 12 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    NASA Invites Media to Webb Telescope Science Briefings
    Tue, 16 Nov 2021 14:26 EST
    NASA will hold two virtual media briefings Thursday, Nov. 18, on the science goals and capabilities of the James Webb Space Telescope.
    Match ID: 121 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 12 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    NASA TV to Air DART Prelaunch Activities, Launch
    Tue, 16 Nov 2021 12:03 EST
    NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s first planetary defense test mission, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART).
    Match ID: 122 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 12 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    ISS Daily Summary Report – 11/16/2021
    Tue, 16 Nov 2021 16:00:22 +0000
    Orbital Debris Continued Influence: The ISS team continues to monitor the effects of a Russian satellite breakup that created sufficient debris and posed a conjunction threat to the ISS. As part of the nominal procedure for ISS conjunctions, yesterday the crew closed all hatches and both Dragon and Soyuz crews sheltered in their respective vehicles. …
    Match ID: 123 Score: 9.29 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 12 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    ISS Daily Summary Report – 11/15/2021
    Mon, 15 Nov 2021 16:00:19 +0000
    Orbital Debris Shelter-In-Place: The ISS team has been notified of a satellite breakup that may create sufficient debris to pose a conjunction threat to the ISS. As part of the nominal procedure for ISS conjunctions, this morning the crew closed all hatches and both Dragon and Soyuz crews sheltered in their respective vehicles. Out of …
    Match ID: 124 Score: 9.29 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 13 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: 125 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 16 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: 126 Score: 9.29 source: www.esa.int age: 16 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    ISS Daily Summary Report – 11/12/2021
    Fri, 12 Nov 2021 16:00:23 +0000
    Crew-3 Launch/Dock: On Wednesday, November 10th at 8:03 PM CST, the Crew-3 Dragon Endurance lifted off from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center. Endurance then completed a 21-hour rendezvous and successfully docked to the ISS on Thursday, November 11th at 5:33 PM CST. The hatch to Dragon Endurance was opened at 7:25 PM and …
    Match ID: 127 Score: 9.29 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 16 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    News conference with ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet
    Fri, 12 Nov 2021 12:00:00 +0100
    Video: 00:55:31

    Replay of the news conference with ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet held at the European Astronaut Centre on 12 November.

    Thomas splashed down on Earth after 199 days in space on 8 November. After being helped out of the Crew Dragon Endeavour, just four days later and after a boat, helicopter and multiple aircraft rides, Thomas arrived at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.

    A one-hour news conference was held at ESA’s astronaut centre on 12 November.

    Programme:

    •             Welcome by ESA’s Director of Human and Robotic Exploration Dave Parker.

    •             Statement from ESA’s Director General Josef Aschbacher

    •             Presentation on ESA’s vision on the future of human and robotic space exploration

    •             Thomas Pesquet statement

    •             Questions and answers from press (in French)

    Thomas flew to the International Space Station as part of Crew-2 alongside NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.

    During Thomas’ second mission to space, called Alpha, he broke many ESA spaceflight records including most time spent spacewalking and most time in space for any European. He also became the first French commander of the International Space Station, taking over the role from Aki.

    In addition to supporting 200 investigations in space, including 40 European ones and 12 new experiments led by the French space agency CNES, Thomas saw seven spacecraft come and go, the 20-year old Pirs module leaving for good and the arrival of the Russian Nauka laboratory module with a very special passenger, the European Robotic Arm.

    Back on Earth, Thomas will continue working with European researchers on experiments including Acoustic Diagnostics that looks into the impact of the Space Station environment on astronaut hearing, the TIME experiment that looks at whether astronauts judge time differently in space, and two experiments known as Grip and Grasp that look into the physiology behind eye-hand coordination and the role of gravity in regulating grip force, among others.


    Match ID: 128 Score: 9.29 source: www.esa.int age: 16 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    Crew-3 docking replay
    Fri, 12 Nov 2021 09:30:00 +0100
    Video: 00:06:35

    Relive the moment the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, Endurance, docked to the International Space Station with ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer and his NASA colleagues Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron on board.

    Docking took place at 23:32 GMT Thursday, 11 November/00:32 CET Friday, 12 November, around 22 hours after Crew-3 was launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.

    Crew Dragon docking is autonomous. Once docked, astronauts on Endurance and aboard the Space Station conducted standard leak checks and pressurisation before the hatch between the two spacecraft was opened at 01:25 GMT/02:25 CET. On Station, the astronauts were greeted by their Expedition 66 crew mates, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov (current International Space Station commander) and Pyotr Dubrov.

    This was followed by a welcoming ceremony in which ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher and NASA Associate Administrator Space Operations Kathy Lueders wished the four astronauts all the best for science, research, and operations aboard their new home for the next six months.

    Crew-3’s arrival on board the International Space Station marks the official start of Matthias’s first space mission “Cosmic Kiss”. During this mission Matthias will support over 35 European and many more international experiments in human research, biology, materials science, fluid physics, environmental science and radiation, and technology.

    For more information on science and operations Matthias will carry out in space, view the Cosmic Kiss mission brochure in English or German. Regular updates will also be provided on the ESA Cosmic Kiss mission page, ESA Exploration blog and Matthias’s TwitterFacebook and Instagram channels.


    Match ID: 129 Score: 9.29 source: www.esa.int age: 17 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    Watch live: Crew-3 arrive at International Space Station
    Thu, 11 Nov 2021 12:01:00 +0100
    ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer and NASA astronaut NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron walk out from the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA, ready for launch.

    Coverage of ESA astronaut Matthias’s Maurer’s journey to the International Space Station continues, with docking now expected around 00:33 CET Friday, 12 November (23:33 GMT Thursday, 11 November) and streaming live on ESA Web TV 2.

    Matthias and his NASA astronaut crew mates Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron were launched in a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft called Endurance from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA, at 02:03 GMT/03:03 CET Thursday 11 November.


    Match ID: 130 Score: 9.29 source: www.esa.int age: 17 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    Crew-3 launch to the Space Station
    Thu, 11 Nov 2021 07:00:00 +0100
    Video: 00:06:58

    ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer and NASA astronaut 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. They 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 will be 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: 131 Score: 9.29 source: www.esa.int age: 18 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    Alpha: a return to Earth in one minute
    Wed, 10 Nov 2021 16:00:00 +0100
    Video: 00:01:28

    After 199 days in space, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet left the International Space Station together with alongside NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, marking the end of his second six-month mission known as Alpha.

    The return to Earth took ten hours, including a two-hour fly-around of the International Space Station, but this highlight reel shows the key moments of the journey in just a minute. From the Space Station to undocking, fly-around, reentry and splashdown off the coast of Florida, USA.

    Thomas and crew splashed down on 9 November 2021 at 03:33 GMT (04:33 CET). From there Thomas flew to Cologne, Germany, where he is being monitored by ESA’s space medicine team as he readapts to Earth’s gravity at ESA’s astronaut centre and German Aerospace Centre’s  ‘Envihab’ facility.


    Match ID: 132 Score: 9.29 source: www.esa.int age: 18 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    Nasa's Moon return pushed back to 2025
    Wed, 10 Nov 2021 08:55:06 GMT
    The first Nasa mission to return to the surface of the Moon has been delayed by one year to 2025.
    Match ID: 133 Score: 9.29 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 19 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    ISS Daily Summary Report – 11/09/2021
    Tue, 09 Nov 2021 16:00:43 +0000
    Payloads:           ISS HAM:  A crewmember initiated an ISS HAM contact with South Yarra Primary School, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia.  ISS Ham Radio provides opportunities to engage and educate students, teachers, parents and other members of the community in science, technology, engineering and math by providing a means to communicate between astronauts and the ground HAM …
    Match ID: 134 Score: 9.29 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 19 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: 135 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 22 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: 136 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 23 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: 137 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 23 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: 138 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 23 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: 139 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 23 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    NASA to Hold Double Asteroid Redirection Test Launch Preview Briefing
    Tue, 02 Nov 2021 09:36 EDT
    NASA will hold a virtual media briefing at 1 p.m. EDT Thursday, Nov. 4, to preview the launch of the agency’s first planetary defense test mission, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART).
    Match ID: 140 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 26 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    New dates for Crew-2 return and Crew-3 launch
    Fri, 29 Oct 2021 11:20:00 +0200
    Crew-3 astronauts with their Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft in Hangar 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center

    Update: Undocking of Crew-2 with Thomas Pesquet now planned for Monday, 8 November, 19:05 GMT/20:05 CET for a splashdown on Tuesday, around 03:33 GMT/04:33 CET. Next launch opportunity for Crew-3 with Matthias Maurer is planned for Thursday, 11 November, 02:03 GMT/03:03 CET.


    Match ID: 141 Score: 9.29 source: www.esa.int age: 30 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    NASA’s Juno: Science Results Offer First 3D View of Jupiter Atmosphere
    Thu, 28 Oct 2021 14:52 EDT
    New findings from NASA’s Juno probe orbiting Jupiter provide a fuller picture of how the planet’s distinctive and colorful atmospheric features offer clues about the unseen processes below its clouds.
    Match ID: 142 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 31 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    NASA to Host Briefing on Webb Telescope Engineering, Deployments
    Thu, 28 Oct 2021 09:14 EDT
    NASA will hold a virtual media briefing 11 a.m. EDT Tuesday, Nov. 2, to discuss the engineering of the James Webb Space Telescope, the world’s largest and most powerful space science telescope.
    Match ID: 143 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 31 days
    qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

    What Computing Tech Will Drive Future Space Exploration?
    Wed, 27 Oct 2021 13:00:01 +0000