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posted by hubie on Monday September 26, @06:13PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the share-and-share-alike dept.

Volkswagen is partnering with a Belgian network operator to integrate electric vehicles into the power grid:

Volkswagen's charging unit Elli and re.alto, a startup owned by Brussels-based Elia, signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday to collaborate on ways to integrate EVs into the electricity system.

The multiyear partnership plans to identify barriers to EV integration and explore how powering the grid with EV batteries can help stabilize electricity costs and reduce energy prices.

The vehicle-to-grid concept allows customers to inject the electricity stored in their EV battery back into the grid, drawing energy from it when necessary. Volkswagen said the partnership will explore price incentives to encourage drivers to contribute to the electricity system when the vehicle is parked.

"The rapid rise in electric vehicles is reinforcing the need for cooperation between the electricity and mobility sectors," Elia Group CEO Chris Peeters said in a statement. "We want to enable the increasing number of EV users to charge their EVs while keeping the electricity system in balance.

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Monday September 26, @03:25PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the this-miracle-food-of-high-energy-plankton-is-NOT-people dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

The global food supply faces a range of threats including climate change, wars, pests and diseases. An organism too small for the human eye to see—microalgae—could offer some answers.

Feeding a growing world population that will, according to United Nations forecasts, reach 9.8 billion by 2050, and the need to conserve natural resources for generations to come may seem conflicting at first.

But a solution, while not yet in sight, is certainly not out of reach. European scientists recently have developed an appetite for microalgae, also called phytoplankton, a sub-group of algae consisting of unicellular photosynthetic microorganisms.

Most people are familiar with the largest form of algae, kelp or seaweed. It can grow up to three meters long and, in some forms, is a well-known delicacy. The related species microalgae, which can be found in both seawater and freshwater, have gained attention in research due to their extraordinary properties.

These microscopic organisms can be used for animal feed, particularly in aquaculture, and various foods including pasta, vegan sausages, energy bars, bakery products and vegetable creams.

[...] "Microalgae can be cultivated in many different locations, under very different conditions," said Massimo Castellari, who is involved in the Horizon-funded ProFuture project aimed at scaling up microalgae production. "We can grow it in Iceland and in a desert climate."

The technologies for the intensive cultivation of microalgae have been in development since the 1950s.

Today, microalgae are cultivated in open- or closed-system photobioreactors, which are vessels designed to control biomass production. The closed-system version, while more expensive to build, offers more control over experimental parameters and less risk of contamination.

The substance is by no means just a trendy food supplement. For example, in Chad, a landlocked, low-income country, the consumption of spirulina harvested from Lake Chad has significantly improved people's nutritional status because spirulina is an excellent source of proteins and micronutrients.

On top of its nutritional value, microalgae offer climate benefits by sequestering carbon dioxide as well as economic advantages by using farming areas more efficiently and—through the use of non-arable land—expanding the possibility of biomass production.

[...] While the benefits of cultivating organic microalgae for food and feed are substantial, market growth will require overcoming obstacles including a lack of automated production in the industry, according to Castellari, who works at the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology in Barcelona, Spain.

[...] "Microalgae can help us to increase the protein production within Europe to reduce our dependence on other countries," said Castellari of the ProFuture project.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday September 26, @12:42PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the speaking-trees dept.

Researchers at the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience have expanded the understanding of how the brain is engaged during complex audiovisual speech perception:

The study now out in NeuroImage, describes how listening and watching a narrator tell a story activates an extensive network of brain regions involved in sensory processing, multisensory integration, and cognitive functions associated with the comprehension of the story content. Understanding the involvement of this larger network has the potential to give researchers new ways to investigate neurodevelopmental disorders.

"Multisensory integration is an important function of our nervous system as it can substantially enhance our ability to detect and identify objects in our environment," said Lars Ross, Ph.D., research assistant professor of Imaging Sciences and Neuroscience and first author of the study. "A failure of this function may lead to a sensory environment that is perceived as overwhelming and can cause a person to have difficulty adapting to their surroundings, a problem we believe underlies symptoms of some neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism."

Using fMRI, researchers examined the brain activity of 53 participants as they watched a video recording of a speaker reading "The Lorax." How the story was presented would change randomly in one of four ways – audio only, visual only, synchronized audiovisual, or unsynchronized audiovisual. Researchers also monitored the participants' eye movements. They found that along with the previously identified sites of multisensory integration, viewing the speaker's facial movements also enhanced brain activity in the broader semantic network and extralinguistic regions not usually associated with multisensory integration, such as the amygdala and primary visual cortex. Researchers also found activity in thalamic brain regions which are known to be very early stages at which sensory information from our eyes and ears interact.

[...] "Our lab is profoundly interested in this network because it goes awry in a number of neurodevelopmental disorders," said John Foxe, Ph.D., lead author of this study. "Now that we have designed this detailed map of the multisensory speech integration network, we can ask much more pointed questions about multisensory speech in neurodevelopmental disorders, like autism and dyslexia, and get at the specific brain circuits that might be impacted."

Journal Reference:
Lars A. Ross, Sophie Molholm, John S. Butler, et al. Neural correlates of multisensory enhancement in audiovisual narrative speech perception: A fMRI investigation [open], NeuroImage, 263, 2022. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2022.119598

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday September 26, @09:55AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the under-pressure dept.

Pressure mounts against Europol over data privacy:

An EU watchdog says rules that allow Europol cops to retain personal data on individuals with no links to criminal activity go against Europe's own data privacy protections, not to mention undermining the regulator's powers and role.

As such, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has asked Europe's top court to toss out two amendments to the Europol Regulation that took effect on June 28 enabling this data hoarding by the police. In court documents filed this month, EDPS claimed the new provisions retroactively legalize Europol's practice of storing personal data on people not linked to criminal activity — a practice the watchdog has sanctioned the law enforcement agency for in the past, and in January ordered Europol to delete such information.

So in summary, EDPS told the police at the start of the year to not hoard these records, and then months later European lawmakers authorized the practice by updating the rules, leading to the supervisor challenging the amendments.

The regulator's order to delete people's data stemmed from an investigation that took place between April 2019 and September 2020, and concluded Europol harvested and retained too much information on too many individuals for far too long.

To remedy this, the order required the European cops to check to see if an individual was linked to criminal activity within six months of collecting their personal data. If those folks had no nefarious ties, then the law enforcement agency was supposed to erase the private information.

"A six-month period for pre-analysis and filtering of large datasets should enable Europol to meet the operational demands of EU Member States relying on Europol for technical and analytical support, while minimizing the risks to individuals' rights and freedoms," EDPS head Wojciech Wiewiorowski said in a statement earlier this year.

The pan-Europe police, for its part, cited [PDF] the nature of long-running criminal investigations as its reason for needing longer retention periods.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday September 26, @07:10AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the same-old-voodoo-follows-me-about dept.

Graphics firm 3dfx was a pioneer in PC 3D acceleration and ploughed a deep furrow in the PC industry from about 1996, until it went insolvent in 2000. Just before the lights went out it launched the Voodoo 5 5500, one of a quartet of VSA-100 GPU-based graphics cards that it had showed off at Comdex, Las Vegas, in November 1999. You can read the HEXUS review of the Voodoo 5 5500 if you want a trip down memory lane.

At the aforementioned Comdex event, 3dfx showcased the VSA-100 processor including the products Voodoo 4 4500, Voodoo 5 5000/5500 and Voodoo 5 6000. The graphics chip was codenamed Napalm, packed in about 14 million transistors, and was built on the 250nm process. One of the goals of the VSA-100 was scalability (VSA = Voodoo Scalable Architecture) and thus the Voodoo 4 4500 was the only SKU with one VSA-100, the Voodoo 5 5000/5500 used a pair of these processors, and the Voodoo 5 6000 was slated to pack in four VSA-100 chips – but it never arrived in commercial quantities. Only about a thousand Voodoo 5 6000 graphics cards were produced in an initial batch, and they hardly ever turn up on the used market.

Earlier this week a modder and enthusiast called Anthony revealed that he had built his own Voodoo 5 6000 graphics card by purchasing a number of VSA-100 chips, SDRAM modules, and applying a sizable pinch of electrical engineering know-how. The finished full working sample is pictured above.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday September 26, @04:28AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the aye-aye-eyes dept.

Scientists find that a short break to look away from screen every 20 minutes improves symptoms of eye strain for computer users:

It's long been recommended as a way of easing eye strain while working at a computer screen. Now the 20-20-20 rule – taking a break of at least 20 seconds, every 20 minutes, to look at least 20 feet away - has been confirmed by scientists at Aston University to help ease some of the symptoms of prolonged computer use.

It's estimated that at least half of people using computers in their regular work have some form of digital eye strain, resulting in eye surface problems including irritation and dryness, or vision issues such as headaches or blurred vision. Humans normally blink around 15 times each minute. When staring at screens, this number decreases generally to half that rate or less. That can lead to dry, irritated, and tired eyes, but twenty seconds focusing elsewhere is long enough for the eyes to relax enough to reduce the strain.

This is the first time that the 20-20-20 guidance rule has been properly validated.

[...] The findings confirm that people should try and take breaks from their screens. He added: "Although we used sophisticated software, it's easy for others to replicate the effect by setting a timer on their phone, or downloading a reminder app. It's a simple way of reminding yourself to take regular breaks for the good of your eyes."

Journal Reference:
Cristian Talens-Estarelles, Alejandro Cerviño, Santiago García-Lázaro, et al. The effects of breaks on digital eye strain, dry eye and binocular vision: Testing the 20-20-20 rule [open], Contact Lens Anterio, 2022. DOI: 10.1016/j.clae.2022.101744

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday September 26, @01:43AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Starlink Activated in Iran

Elon Musk activates Starlink for Iranian citizens after US Sec of State issued a General License

Elon Musk announced that he was activating Starlink in response to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's tweet announcing the issuing of a General License to provide the Iranian people with access to digital communications.

"We took action today to advance Internet freedom and the free flow of information for the Iranian people, issuing a General License to provide them greater access to digital communications to counter the Iranian government's censorship," Secretary Blinken said.

Currently, in Iran, massive protests are happening as a result of the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained by the morality police for her head scarf not being properly worn. Although she had no known heart-related health problems, the police said she suddenly died of heart failure.

[...] Elon also responded, "OK," to @agusantonetti who asked if he could do the same for other countries under a dictatorship such as Cuba.

Has some entity been gathering Starlink terminals and smuggling them into Iran in the weeks or months prior to this announcement?

See also: U.S. Treasury Issues Iran General License D-2 to Increase Support for Internet Freedom
Musk says he will activate Starlink amid Iran protests
Starlink Benefit "Literally Zero" For Iranian Protestors Says Expert
Iran protests: UK and Norwegian ambassadors summoned over 'interference'

Previously: Starlink Will Ask for Exemption to Iran Sanctions, Says Musk

Related: Ukraine Asks Musk for Starlink Terminals as Russian Invasion Disrupts Broadband
Russia May Have Just Put Elon Musk's Starlink on Notice

Iran Restricts Internet Access

Iran restricts internet as Mahsa Amini protest deaths mount and UN calls for investigation

Iranian authorities say they will restrict internet access in the country until calm is restored to the streets, as protests over the death of a young woman in the custody of the morality police rock the Islamic Republic.

[...] Speaking with state broadcaster IRIB on Friday, Iran's Minister of Communications Ahmad Vahidi said, "Until the riots end, the internet will have limitations. To prevent riot organization through social media, we are obliged to create internet limitations."

Vahidi's comments came after videos on social media showed scenes of public defiance, with women removing and burning their headscarves and demonstrators chanting such slogans as, "women, life, freedom."

The move to further restrict the internet also followed a call by the United Nations for an independent investigation into Amini's death and for Iran's security forces to refrain from using "disproportionate force" on the protesters.

Also at BBC.

Starlink speeds have slowed as more people sign up, report shows

News and Advice on the World's Latest Innovations:

Starlink, the SpaceX satellite internet service, has had a busy year, expanding into new countries and continents – and even onto boats and RVs. However, Starlink's growing customer base is having an impact on its performance.

According to a new report from Ookla, a network intelligence firm, Starlink's speeds decreased across the globe in the second quarter of 2022 in correspondence with more users signing up for the service. In fact, Starlink speeds decreased in every country Ookla surveyed, across Europe, Oceania, North America and South America.

Median download speeds for Starlink fell across Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, the UK, and the US, dropping between 9% and 54% from Q2 2021 to Q2 2022. In the US, Starlink's median download speed in Q2 hit just over 62 Mbps – that's more than sufficient for one or two people to stream videos or download games. However, a year prior, download speeds in the US were closer to 90 Mbps.

Original Submission #1Original Submission #2Original Submission #3

posted by janrinok on Sunday September 25, @08:57PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

DART Impacts Asteroid on September 26

NASA Invites Media to Witness World's First Planetary Defense Test

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the world's first mission to test technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet hazards, will impact its target asteroid—which poses no threat to Earth—at 7:14 p.m. EDT on Monday, Sept. 26.

Among other activities, NASA will host a televised briefing beginning at 6 p.m. on Sept. 26 from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. APL is the builder and manager of the DART spacecraft for NASA. [Ed Comment: For timings please see below-JR]

This test will show a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and intentionally collide with it to change the asteroid's motion in a way that can be measured using ground-based telescopes. DART will provide important data to help better prepare for an asteroid that might pose an impact hazard to Earth, should one ever be discovered.

Everything you need to know about NASA's DART mission happening on Monday

News and Advice on the World's Latest Innovations:

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is meant to test the technology that could defend Earth from being struck by potential asteroid or comet hazards in the future. You do remember the dinosaur incident, right? NASA says humankind won't have the same fate.

[...] DRACO will provide the SMART Nav with images, and then the SMART Nav will collect and process these images using computational algorithms to determine the spacecraft's course, according to NASA.

[...] A big component of the mission, in addition to testing whether the asteroid is capable of reaching the target, is determining the reliability of the approach, assessing how best to apply it to future planetary defense scenarios, and determining how accurate the computer simulations are and how well they reflect the behavior of a real asteroid, says NASA.

To see how much the asteroid actually moves, the team will be harnessing the power of its telescopes, including the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), Hubble Space Telescope and Lucy Space Probe.

The NASA team is very confident that the mission will go according to plan, reassuring reporters that the rehearsals and simulations have prepared the team for this momentous occasion.

"All subsystems on the spacecraft are green," said Edward Reynolds, DART Project Manager, during the briefing.

To tune in and watch the mission on Monday, you have two different options: a live broadcast and a quiet live feed of the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO) camera.

The DRACO images will be on NASA TV starting at 2:30 PM ET/5:30 PM ET.
The live coverage will begin at 3 PM PT/6 PM ET on NASA TV. The collision is set to occur at 4:14 PM PT/7:14 PM ET. (23:14 UTC)

Also from takyon:

Bonus: NASA's Juno Will Perform Close Flyby of Jupiter's Icy Moon Europa

On Thursday, Sept. 29, at 2:36 a.m. PDT (5:36 a.m. EDT), NASA's Juno spacecraft will come within 222 miles (358 kilometers) of the surface of Jupiter's ice-covered moon, Europa. The solar-powered spacecraft is expected to obtain some of the highest-resolution images ever taken of portions of Europa's surface, as well as collect valuable data on the moon's interior, surface composition, and ionosphere, along with its interaction with Jupiter's magnetosphere.

[...] The close flyby will modify Juno's trajectory, reducing the time it takes to orbit Jupiter from 43 to 38 days. It will be the closest a NASA spacecraft has approached Europa since Galileo came within 218 miles (351 kilometers) on Jan. 3, 2000. In addition, this flyby marks the second encounter with a Galilean moon during Juno's extended mission. The mission explored Ganymede in June 2021 and plans to make close approaches of Io in 2023 and 2024.

Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

posted by hubie on Sunday September 25, @04:11PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the listen-my-children-and-you-shall-hear dept.

SEIS, the Mars lander's seismometer, has picked up vibrations from four separate impacts in the past two years:

NASA's InSight lander has detected seismic waves from four space rocks that crashed on Mars in 2020 and 2021. These represent the first impacts detected by the spacecraft's seismometer since InSight touched down on the Red Planet in 2018. In fact, it also marks the first time seismic and acoustic waves from an impact have been detected on Mars.

[...] A “meteoroid” is the term used for space rocks before they hit the ground. The first of the four confirmed meteoroids made the most dramatic entrance: It exploded into at least three shards that each left a crater behind after entering Mars’ atmosphere on September 5, 2021.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter then flew over the estimated impact site to confirm the location. The orbiter used its black-and-white Context Camera to reveal three darkened spots on the surface. After locating these spots, the orbiter's team used the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera, or HiRISE, to get a color close-up of the craters (the meteoroid could have left additional craters on the surface, but they would be too small to see in HiRISE's images). See the images in the "Mars Crater Collage" below.

“After three years of InSight waiting to detect an impact, those craters looked beautiful,” said Ingrid Daubar of Brown University. She is a co-author of the paper and a specialist in Mars impacts.

After combing through earlier data, researchers confirmed three other impacts had occurred on May 27, 2020; February 18, 2021; and August 31, 2021.

Scientists are perplexed as to why they haven’t detected more meteoroid impacts on Mars. The Red Planet is located next to the solar system’s main asteroid belt, which should provide an ample supply of space rocks to scar the planet’s surface. Additionally, far more meteoroids pass through Mars’ atmosphere without disintegrating because it is just 1% as thick as Earth’s.

InSight’s team suspects that noise from wind or seasonal changes in the atmosphere may have obscured other impacts. But now that the distinctive seismic signature of an impact on Mars has been discovered, researchers expect to discover more hiding within InSight’s nearly four years of data.

[...] However, the impacts will be critical to refining Mars’ timeline. “Impacts are the clocks of the solar system,” said the paper’s lead author, Raphael Garcia of Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace in Toulouse, France. “We need to know the impact rate today to estimate the age of different surfaces.”

Scientists can calculate the approximate age of a planet’s surface by counting its impact craters: The more they see, the older the surface. By calibrating their statistical models based on how often they see impacts occurring now, researchers can then estimate how many more impacts happened earlier in the solar system’s history.

Two-minute TLDR summary with the actual sounds

Journal Reference:
Garcia, R.F., Daubar, I.J., Beucler, É. et al. Newly formed craters on Mars located using seismic and acoustic wave data from InSight. Nat. Geosci. (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41561-022-01014-0

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Sunday September 25, @01:27PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the I-thought-you-were-dead dept.

Chips "going... down in price is a story of the past," CEO says:

When Nvidia rolled out its new RTX 40-series graphics cards earlier this week, many gamers and industry watchers were a bit shocked at the asking prices the company was putting on its latest top-of-the-line hardware. New heights in raw power also came with new heights as far as MSRP, which falls in the $899 to $1,599 range for the 40-series cards.

When asked about those price increases, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang told the gathered press to, in effect, get used to it. "Moore's law is dead," Huang said during a Q&A, as reported by Digital Trends. "A 12-inch wafer is a lot more expensive today. The idea that the chip is going to go down in price is a story of the past."

[...] Generational price comparisons aside, Huang's blanket assertion that "Moore's law is dead" is a bit shocking for a company whose bread and butter has been releasing graphics cards that roughly double in comparable processing power every year. But the prediction is far from a new one, either for Huang—who said the same thing in 2019 and 2017—or for the wider industry—the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors formally announced it would stop chasing the benchmark in its 2016 roadmap for chip development.

[...] As Kevin Kelly laid out in a 2009 piece, though, Moore's law is best understood not as a law of physics but as a law of economics and corporate motivation. Processing power keeps doubling partly because consumers expect it to keep doubling and finding uses for that extra power.

That consumer demand, in turn, pushes companies to find new ways to keep pace with expectations. In the recent past, that market push led to innovations like tri-gate 3D transistors and production process improvements that continually shrink the size of individual transistors, which IBM can now push out at just 2 nm.

The point here is that Huang's purported "death of Moore's law" isn't entirely up to Nvidia. Even if Nvidia can no longer keep its processor power increases on trend at consistent prices, they're not the only game in town. AMD, for instance, is already teasing that its soon-to-be-announced RDNA 3 cards could sport some larger-than-expected improvements in efficiency and overall processing power, thanks to some new chiplet-based designs.

While it's much too soon to say how AMD and Nvidia's new chips will compare, this is the kind of market competition that has traditionally kept hardware makers from becoming too complacent in the push toward new frontiers of relative hardware power (see also: Apple Silicon versus previous Intel-based Macintoshes). In other words, even if Nvidia can't figure out how to keep up with Moore's law these days, someone else might.

Or is this just nVidia hype?

    Intel Unveils Plan to 'Propel Moore's Law Beyond 2025'
    Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger Says Moore's Law is Back
    Please, No Moore: 'Law' That Defined How Chips were made is no Longer True
    Another Step Toward the End of Moore's Law
    Death Notice: Moore's Law. 19 April 1965 – 2 January 2018
     . . .

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Sunday September 25, @08:43AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the ask-me-no-questions-and-I'll-tell-you-no-lies dept.

Meta Faces Mounting Questions from Congress on Health Data Privacy As Hospitals Remove Facebook Tracker – The Markup:

Meta is facing mounting questions about its access to sensitive medical data following a Markup investigation that found the company's pixel tracking tool collecting details about patients' doctor's appointments, prescriptions, and health conditions on hospital websites.

During a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Wednesday, Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) requested that Meta—the parent company of Facebook and Instagram—provide a "comprehensive and precise" accounting of the medical information it keeps on users.

[...] In response to Ossoff's question about whether Meta has medical or health care data about its users, Meta chief product officer Chris Cox responded, "Not to my knowledge." Cox also promised to follow up with a written response to the committee.

[...] "Advertisers should not send sensitive information about people through our Business Tools," Meta spokesperson Dale Hogan wrote to The Markup in an emailed statement. "Doing so is against our policies and we educate advertisers on properly setting up Business tools to prevent this from occurring. Our system is designed to filter out potentially sensitive data it is able to detect."

Meanwhile, developments in another legal case suggest Meta may have a hard time providing the Senate committee with a complete account of the sensitive health data it holds on users.

In March, two Meta employees testifying in a case about the Cambridge Analytica scandal told the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that it would be very difficult for the company to track down all the data associated with a single user account.

[...] The engineers' comments echo the same worries expressed in a 2021 privacy memo written by Facebook engineers that was leaked to Vice.

"We do not have an adequate level of control and explainability over how our systems use data, and thus we can't confidently make controlled policy changes or external commitments such as 'we will not use X data for Y purpose,' " the memo's authors wrote.

    Meta Faces Lawsuit for Allegedly Collecting Patient Health Data Without Consent
    Facebook is Receiving Sensitive Medical Information From Hospital Websites – the Markup

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Sunday September 25, @03:57AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Gray's-Dinosaur-Anatomy dept.

One of the Best-Preserved Dinosaurs Of All Time Found in Canada - ExtremeTech:

Professor Brian Pickles and paleontologist Caleb Brown stand next to the exposed parts of their newly-discovered fossil. (Photo: Melissa Dergousoff/University of Reading)When we think of dinosaur fossils, we often think of footprints preserved in sandstone, or bones carefully displayed inside a museum. But what about mummified dinosaurs? That's what researchers think they've found lodged into a hillside in Alberta, Canada.

Professor Brian Pickles, a paleontologist at the United Kingdom's University of Reading, recently led a scouting trip at Alberta's Dinosaur Provincial Park. [...] when he and his team saw what appeared to be a full "dinosaur mummy" sticking out of the hillside.

An excavation mission followed. The mummy's exposed parts included a foot and part of a tail covered in fossilized skin. The dinosaur is so well-preserved that the researchers were able to make out individual scales and tendons. If the rest of the fossil is as well-preserved as the exposed bits, the researchers might even be able to examine the dinosaur's internal organs, as well as its stomach contents to determine what its last meal was.

[...] "This animal probably either died and then immediately got covered over by sand and silt in the river," Pickles told USA Today. "Or it was killed because a river bank fell onto it." Pickles went on to say that because dinosaurs grew very quickly, it's less common to find fossilized juveniles. This specific subset is important as it offers researchers insight into how dinosaurs' lives developed with age.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday September 24, @11:13PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

GM invests in Canadian battery recycler to fight supply shortage:

General Motors is partnering with a Canadian battery recycler to produce new batteries from recovered battery materials, as it aims to scale EV production in North America amid supply shortages and rising costs.

The automaker invested through its GM Ventures arm in a Series A financing round for Lithion Recycling, a developer of advanced battery recycling technology. Together, the two companies will work toward establishing a circular ecosystem for recycling EV batteries, a critical bottleneck as the industry races to phase out gas engines at the end of the decade.

Until recently, the EV rollout worldwide has focused on building ample charging stations to support the spate of battery-electric vehicles expected on the road by 2030. But the COVID-19 pandemic and war in Ukraine halted global supply chains, making the raw materials used for batteries scarcer and more expensive.

GM and other automakers are pushing for more control over the supply by onshoring operations and bringing more of the battery lifecycle in house. About 15 million tons of lithium-ion batteries are expected to retire by 2030, the deadline most automakers have set for phasing out gas-engine vehicles, according to AquaMetals.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday September 24, @06:34PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the privacy-is-like-virginity dept.

In September 2022 private data for around 9 million Optus users was stolen.

In response, the CEO of Optus Australia has offered an emotional apology after customers raged about the hack online. A statement from Optus said that Information which may have been exposed includes customers' names, dates of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, and, for a subset of customers, addresses, ID document numbers such as driver's licence or passport numbers.

It is thought that 2.8 million people had all of their details taken, while information for around 7 million people which included DOB, email address, and phone numbers was stolen. Optus is "very sorry" and knows that "customers will be concerned". Optus has said its services were not affected in the breach and remain safe to use, with messages and voice calls not compromised.

Customers have taken to social media to say that the telco had not yet contacted them to make them aware of the breach.

Nothing to worry about. Just another online day in Australia.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday September 24, @01:48PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the anything-the-Met-police-can-do,-the-SFPD-can-do-better dept.

San Francisco police can now watch private surveillance cameras in real time:

Police in San Francisco got a boost to their surveillance powers this week after the city's board of supervisors voted on Tuesday to grant the police department access to private surveillance cameras in real time.

The vote, which passed 7–4, approved a one-year pilot program that will allow police to monitor footage from private cameras across the city with the camera owners' consent. The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) will not have continuous access to the cameras but will be able to tap into the network under certain conditions, such as during the investigation of crimes including misdemeanors and property crimes. The SFPD will also be able to access private camera footage during large-scale public events such as protests, even if there is no suspicion that a crime has taken place.

"This ordinance essentially gives the SFPD the ability to put the entire city under live surveillance indefinitely"

Civil liberties groups such as the EFF and ACLU were strongly critical of the new measure, which they argue will increase the surveillance of already marginalized groups within the city. In a blog post, EFF policy analyst Matthew Guariglia wrote that the wide range of crimes that could trigger camera activation would allow blanket surveillance at almost any time.

"Make no mistake, misdemeanors like vandalism or jaywalking happen on nearly every street of San Francisco on any given day—meaning that this ordinance essentially gives the SFPD the ability to put the entire city under live surveillance indefinitely," Guariglia wrote.

However, San Francisco Mayor London Breed heralded the new legislation as a necessary measure for increasing public safety in the city, which has struggled with rising crime rates.

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